Tuesday, July 13, 2010

June-Swoon (part 2 of 2)

I've spent the better part of today trying to fix the many glitches with our new website.  I announce with pride that I've FINALLY figured out how to make the backgrounds stretch with the browser window, getting rid of that annoying white bar forever and ever.  Turns out the instinctive and very easy solution will be available with the next version of CSS but I'm screwed for now so I had to find a fakey backdoor tactic.

But before I plunge back into code-land, I'm gonna tell you about our post-Wonderland Ballroom month.

On Saturday, June 26th, we got to play at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world: Cugini's.  It's the best pizza place ever run by some of the best people ever.  If you haven't been there, get up and go because it's some of the best pie you'll ever have.  And the cheesy bread?  Don't get me started.  And now they have a bar and live music pretty much every week- never a cover.  It's awesome.  It was also my first and favorite job :)

We played for almost 3 hours straight to a steady stream of awesome people.  We played lots of new songs (brand new- mostly learned that afternoon :D) including Poor Boy John and Blood on the Saddle, both of which featured banjo (first time!), and the now-notorious Night of 1000 Cats (the link is to a facebook video clip!) performed by bassist Brian, whose high-kicks and snarling visage put Jack Black to shame.  Please note the hysterically-undersized sweatshirt:  a priceless Poolesville Thrift Store number featuring an oversized cat face on an undersized black background.

The story:  Willie and I were getting our car fixed by the dirt mall in Frederick when we found this incredible movie in the bargain bin:

 So we took it to Brian and MK's house with some serious booze and somehow managed to sit through all 63 minutes.  It was the longest hour of our lives but most definitely worth it in the end, as it sparked the spontaneous and ingenious birth of our new favorite song.  It exploded out of Brian and Willie with such passionate force that MK and I almost left the kitchen.  But instead I recorded it on my phone, we dictated it later, rehearsed it never, and the rest is history. 

We got to hang out with so many spectacular people at the Cug- it really was one of our best shows ever.  We also had our home-made screen-printed shirts available for the first time and sold out!!!  Woo hoo!!

Just a few days later came Bar Monkey in Frostburg on the 29th.  We weren't exactly sure what to expect since neither of us has spent much time in Frostburg, but that town blew us away with awesome!  The bar is actually set up in the downstairs of a house, so it's got the greatest, coziest atmosphere.  The outdoor area is huge and beautiful.  Cushy grass, freshly-carpeted stage with primo equipment, dance floor, grill, horseshoe pit, the list goes on and on.  And the people are so welcoming and wonderful.  We're going back in July and September and we cannot wait!  Pictures don't even do it justice, but here's one anyway.
A local legend came by and was dancin' some seriously fancy footwork through at least half of our set.  His name is Swamp Fox and he generously insisted on giving us these amazing hats of his.

After the show, we hung out for a long time in the warm summer night, meeting lots wonderful people and eating bbq that's making me hungry even thinking about it.
Then we made our way up the street to Dante's, another stellar Frostburg bar, where we did an impromptu set to a brilliantly toasty crowd (we fit right in :D).

Eventually we stumbled back to Bar Monkey and slept under the stars on their comfy stage.

We woke up at 6:45am *blecch!* to me hacking my lungs out- I had picked up a gross cough earlier that week that fortunately settled down when I sang.  Mornings are not our strong suit but some kind folks had told us of an Amish breakfast buffet down the road, so we set off on a quest for Penn Alps.  Much to our chagrin, it didn't open for another 3 hours, so we continued on to Thomas, WV where we were playing later that night.

We were set to play at The Purple Fiddle, one of the coolest places in the Allegheny Mountains.  Thomas is a beautiful mountain town and The Purple Fiddle is set up in an old general store turned restaurant/bar/music venue.  It is eclectic and cozy, run by awesome people and covered with posters of all the bands that have played there.  They also have this delicious beer on tap that's made right up the street at Mountain State Brewing Co.

Well, we were still running early when we got to town so the Fiddle wasn't open yet.  We napped in the car for a bit and then wandered around Black Water Falls after a mouth-watering cheeseburger and country-fried steak sandwich.  We had a hot and lazy day spent at some of the best overlooks in the country.

We had a great time during our set that night and would've loved to have hung around for days.  Alas, Willie had to work the next morning so we drove through the misty mountains until the wee hours.  It was a breathtaking drive until the very end when we tragically tried and failed to avoid a suicidal skunk who has left an unyeilding stink-cloud of death around our poor van.

Well, that's pretty much it for June.  July just opened with a killer weekend at New Deal Cafe and Piratz Tavern but the website's calling me back, so more on that later.  Party on, Wayne, and party on, Garth.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We Swoon for June (part 1 of 2)

Hiya everybody!

We've had a spectacular bundle of shows over the past month so I figured I'd give a recap for anyone who couldn't make it- you were there in spirit :)- and a big huge THANK YOU to everyone that could.  (We're also still planning a write-up of our tour in May.... remember that?  When that happened?  If you don't, it's not your fault.  But we're gonna tell you about it, I swear!)

We dove into June at Mad City Coffee, a lovely and HUGE coffeeshop in Columbia, MD where we did an acoustic set on a lovely summer night.  They have a big patio and huge windows, which all makes for a terribly pleasant evening.  Late in the set, the floor got a little lonely, so our buddies Chris and Neha got a very intimate show right at their table. We're excited to go back on July 31st, this time with bass, bodhran, and amplification :)

Next came the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, which was extremely hot, but run by some of the nicest people on the planet.  We had a killer time playing and watching the other musicians, which included Olivia Mancini, Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga, Mercury in Summer, and KC & The Sunshine Band!  We also got to ride in a golf-cart, which probably shouldn't be so pleasing but is always a bucket'o'fun!

Then we returned to Common Grounds: A Fair Trade Coffee House in Salisbury, MD.  We played to a full and appreciative room full that we can't wait to go back to, including our buddy Daric that we met the first time we played there, who knows our favorite Kentucky fingerpicker Jerry Belsak!  Small world :)  We also got to play to another musician (always a pleasure), one Joy Miller, who just released her first CD and we're all super excited about it.  We've had a blast hanging out with her and her awesome kids, Luke and Jenna, at both our Salisbury shows :)

We camped at the beautiful Lake Somerset Campground that night with nefarious Neha, one of our best friends and favorite people, hiding sips from a delicious brown bottle and stargazing to our hearts' content.  Then we swam and sunned at Chincoteague for one whole glorious day.

We wrapped up that amazing weekend at The Wonderland Ballroom, our favorite spot in DC.  We got to see The Nice Trys do their very first show with a drumkit, manned by Patrick Frank.  He also plays with World's Fair, another killer local group.  Patrick uses a drum with a tube going into its innards that he can blow into to change the pitch (so cool!!!).  The Nice Trys have always been awesome but they really blew the walls down that night- a crazy-tight set and energy through the roof.  We had a blast.

Ian Walters tore it up on piano for our set, falling right into our weird songs as if he'd been playing them for years.  He can back you up, he can solo, he can play straight, he can play crazy, and he can play aaaallll night long.  The man is a genius, as well as as one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.  And he plays around DC all the time so please catch a show- you'll only be sorry you didn't do it sooner.

We got to meet and hang out with so many awesome people that night- Patrick's friends Ali and Ashley, Dan and Wednesday (coolest music-lovers in town!), Matt Kelley of the Idle Americans, Bill and Alissa of Star FK Radium, the list goes on.  Thanks for coming out, everybody!

And one last note about that night- I almost reset the high score on their Ms. Pac Man machine.  That is a life goal of mine (this is Blythe, not Willie- I wouldn't dare pin such nerdiness on him).  They have my very favorite machine- MS. Pac Man (way better with the bow- regular Pac Man doesn't have different level layouts!), joystick instead of rollerball, pac-booster always on.  *Droool*  Here's my proof.  13,930 points short.  That's less than half a level, folks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our Monocacy Monocle Write-up!!

Hi guys!

We got an awesome write-up in the local newspaper, The Monocacy Monocle, for our show this past weekend at Cugini's, the greatest pizza place ever (that we are fortunate to live just a few blocks from). Sweet!

Center Stage: Getting The Party Started

June 25th, 2010
by Dominique Agnew

Are you looking for angst? Do you want someone to wallow in your tears with you? Maybe you're angry and need to rage against the evil machinations around you. Well, some groups provide the songs and the emotions to commiserate with you, but don't expect any heavy lifting from The Galt Line. Guitarist Willie Gammell remarks, "We don't talk about our feelings very much." His cohort in crime, Blythe Crawford, sums it up succinctly, "We're just trying to throw a party."

 Getting people moving is what they're all about, and moving around is what they've been doing a lot of, as well. Both Willie and Blythe hail from the Poolesville area, but lately, they've been everywhere but Poolesville. About three years ago, they had separately made their way to New York seeking individual opportunities, Willie with his guitar and possible session work, Blythe with the theater. Fate brought them together, and the music grew. "We didn't know what it would be," says Blythe, "but we pushed towards the music we liked." With Blythe contributing vocals, the ukulele (she acquired one from a production of "Sex! Drugs! And Ukuleles!), and leg percussion that she wears made out of bottle caps, the duo have created a unique American style- "a conglomeration of all American styles," adds Willie- fusing the blues, jazz, gypsy jazz, honky-tonk, country, bluegrass, and more.

 With their desire for the touring life, Willie and Blythe decided that being in New York wasn't as important as they thought and that Poolesville could be an equally effective home base. When they perform in the area, Brian Truesdale joins them on bass and Mary Kate Schneider on the bodhran. While they tour, the call on people in their touring area for backup instruments; however, they've expanded their call to include more instruments, hoping to go for the large dance band feel. They've announced openings for horns and keyboards, as well as percussion and bass.

The dynamic duo has just finished a successful tour of the Midwest and the South, and after playing the D.C. metro area for the summer, they plan to start another tour in September.

They will be performing at Cugini's on June 26th from 8:00p.m. to 11:00p.m. Catch them while you can, and get ready to dance.
Thank you for such an awesome article, Dominique! It can be rare for us to find someone who really gets what we're going for. So with a tip of the hat, we raise our glasses to you!