‘In Spite of the Devil’ Spuyten Duyvil Soared
Spuyten Duyvil is a section of Bronx County, New York; it is also the name of a New York-based American roots band that roared into an Extended Play session at Alternate Root TV recently.
I was excited to see this band because their music seemed to be right up my favorite alley. I felt the energy that emanates from one of their publicity photos, and their live show supported that feeling.
The seven members of the band took the stage, which quickly became crowded, and immediately launched into ‘I’ll Fly Away’ which is one of my favorite traditional songs, especially when the musicians harmonize as well as Spuyten Duyvil does. They not only did justice to it, but improved it if that’s possible.
From there, they performed songs mostly from ‘Temptation’, their most recent release. Their sound is old-timey, bluegrassy, funky, second-liney, and FUN!
It was difficult to remain seated when all I wanted to do was dance (okay, and take photos which is difficult to do when dancing). Even though their music is unique, it somehow felt familiar, probably because it is a style I enjoy so much.
On this night, Mark Miller on guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, and vocals; Beth Jamie Kaufman on vocals and hand percussion; James Meigs on harmonica; John Neidhart on bass; Jagoda on drums; Rik Mercaldi on guitar and lap steel; and a fiddler player (whose name I unfortunately do not recall) comprised the band.
They are all extremely talented musicians, but I was especially captivated by James’ harmonica and Rik’s guitar; these are not the instruments that generally capture my attention (those would be keyboard and saxophone) but James and Rik play them very well!
Most of the songwriting is done by Mark and Beth, a husband and wife team. One of the songs, ‘Bitter’, might be my favorite from the evening. As I listen to their CDs, however, I keep changing my mind about which song is my favorite.
Beth has an impressive vocal range, from higher and almost bird-like to deeper and sultry.
I particularly enjoyed the way the entire band, but Beth in particular, connected with the audience. Beth made a lot of eye contact with me and others, feeding off our joy. I felt their passion, and I believe others did as well.
The conversation after the performance was enlightening. They talked about their songwriting process as well as the chemistry among them. When the television show airs, I believe my readers will find it extremely interesting.
This is a band that is now on my radar for a return trip to Boston; they should be on your radar if you enjoy their style.
Posted on August 1, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged Alternate Root TV, Beth Kaufman, Bluegrass music, concert review, Extended Play Session, Jagoda, James Meigs, John Neidhart, Mark Miller, music, old-time music, Rik Mercaldi, Spuyten Duyvil. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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