Monday, August 1, 2011

Band Philosophy

I wrote this as a description of the new album. CD Baby suggested writing plenty of information so that the style of music is clear to the reader. What I came up with is a kind of band manifesto. It seems a little self involved but I thought I'd put it up so that people who like our music can crawl in our heads and see it how we do.

Thanks for reading,

We are The Galt Line, a duo consisting of ukulele and guitar with innovative home-made percussion consisting of bottle-caps, chains, shin-belts, & bare wood. We play American dance music with rock and roll energy. We draw our influences from classic styles like Hot Jazz, Western Swing, R&B, Rockabilly, and Honky-Tonk. Our music has modern ferocity with the traditional sounds of hard strummed strings and roots influenced melodies.

American music is heaped haphazardly on a great stone edifice of dance. Americans have been dancing to music since the Irish began tapping in the dockside bars of New Amsterdam and since Congo Square rang with African drums echoing off the gleaming stone facades of New Orleans. Emerging American artists have always drawn on the music that haunted them in their childhood, and the greatest musicians are often dammed rivers that collected everything that came before. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, and anyone else who changed the face of our music were accidental scholars of the American musical canon.

We make dance music in the American tradition and deliver it with the passion of the originators, not the erudite, museum-like reverence that many roots acts show. From punk we learned that rock can be stripped down to a stream of pure, youthful energy, and we use that energy to decode the experience of hearing some of these classic genres for the first time. Do you think that all of our grandparents were sitting quietly in recliners, listening to this music float over the ghostly airwaves? No! Someone was in those audiences you can hear in the background of those recordings. They were in the dancehalls, theaters, juke joints, and honky-tonks, drinking sloe gin fizzes and blackberry brandy, dancing and sweating for hours before climbing in the back of an enormous car to steam up the windows and blast the local DJ constantly feeding music to fuel the night further. Why shouldn’t our American music be played with the same vitality and hunger with which it was received?

Though nailed together at a breakneck pace, this album represents several years of hard work. Listen closely and you can hear more than 200 shows; weeks on the road, gigs paid in beer, nights spent on venue floors, and all the splendor of the American landscape spilling through the windshield of our minivan. This album was assembled in three weeks of recording and mastering spread intermittently between playing shows, rehearsing for and performing in a play in a DC theater festival, and multiple day jobs, including our work at The Pritchard Music Academy, where the tracks were recorded on a mixer built for a live PA system. Many of these tunes are newer, but there are a few of old favorites, harkening back to our band's first days in Brooklyn, when we were dragging our instruments on the train to play night after night in every joint in New York that would have us.

We tried specifically to retain the energy of our live performance. Hopefully you’ll hear the uke and guitar pressed through your speakers, jangling percussion filling in the spaces, and Blythe’s voice crooning and howling in front of it all, with all of the abandon of one of our nights playing in a local beer joint. So, at your next party, crack a beer, down a shot of bourbon, and slide this disc into the player. Everyone will be dancing.

1 comment:

  1. Yes,

    Love the album art and bed bugs made the cut!
    Cheers from our mountain neighborhood where the sunsets look like a tequila and orange juice mixer and The Galt Line is in rotation on the cd player.

    all the best,

    Craig and Caroline


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