Kool Kats of the Week: Nashville’s Blackfoot Gypsies Are Out to Prove Rock’s Not Dead by Blastin’ Out Their Raw and Modern Twist on ‘60s and ‘70s-style Rock, Country ‘n’ Delta Blues at The 120 Tavern & Music Hall

Posted on: Feb 17th, 2015 By:

by Melanie CrewBFG logo2
Managing Editor

Nashvilles’s Blackfoot Gypsies will make a rockin’ pit stop in Atlanta during their Winter 2015 Tour, opening for old-school folk, rock ‘n’ alt-country punkers, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and fellow Nashville rocker, Warner E. Hodges of Jason & the Scorchers at The 120 Tavern & Music Hall in Marietta, this Saturday, Feb. 21 at 8 pm! If you’re looking for a fresh sound harkening back to the days of classic rock ‘n’ blues, come on down for the ruckus that will being goin’ down this Saturday night at The 120 Tavern & Music Hall!

Blackfoot Gypsies, hailing from Music City USA and formed by Matthew Paige (vocals/guitar) and Zack Murphy (drums) in 2010 have expanded into the rock outfit they are today with the addition of Dylan Whitlow (vocals/bass) and Ollie Dogg (harmonica). The band’s just a few short months shy of releasing their new LP, HANDLE IT (April 2015), put out by Nashville’s famed genre-bending, Plowboy Records! “Under My Skin,” their first single from HANDLE IT was released Jan. 2015 and will soon be made into their first music video for the LP. And if that wasn’t enough, after delving into their deep grooves and rockin’ riffs, you’ll just have to get your grimy little hands on the band’s earlier releases [2010’s EP BLACK GYPSIES – self-released; 2011’s EP DANDEE CHEESEBALL – self-released; 2012’s LP ON THE LOOSE– self-released; and 2013’s Limited 7” “The New Sounds of TransWestern” – released by Fat Elvis Records). Blackfoot Gypsies headlined the Muddy Roots Music Festival in 2013 and have shared bills with Alabama Shakes, Trampled by Turtles and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Catch ‘em while you can, because these fellas are on a rockin’ voyage with no end in sight!

ATLRetro caught up with Paige and Murphy for a quick interview about the band’s retro rock influences; their upcoming LP “Handle It”; Nashville’s music scene; and their take on the current state of Rock ‘n’ Roll!

And while you’re takin’ a gander at our little Q&A with Paige and Murphy, why not take a peek at the Blackfoot Gypsies and their Jan. 9, 2014 live recording on Nashville’s The Written Record: Sessions at Electric Kite Studio <here> and get an earful of their news single off their soon-to-be released LP, “Under My Skin.

L-R: Matthew Paige, Dylan Whitlow, Zack Murphy, Ollie Dogg

L-R: Matthew Paige, Dylan Whitlow, Zack Murphy, Ollie Dogg

ATLRetro: So what’s the secret origin story of the Blackfoot Gypsies and how did you get your name?

Paige: The secret is a secret, so I’ll tell you a lie that may be the truth. When you’re from nowhere and you’re headed to the same place, you grab hold of all the resources you can. You hold onto your friends until they become family — generating a channel of common earthly vibrations that are streamed into a concentrated beam that transforms your world, if even for a minute, to a plane of love and understanding within our hilarious existence. The Blackfoot Gypsies are a distraction for your distractions that are distracting you from your passion. We’ve developed a unique walk as we tread down many over-walked paths, garnering us blackfeet, while our gypsy eyes are transfixed on the present. Travel till you die. Home is for the birds. Smoke on that for a while.

Murphy: We got our name from the cosmos. There are no secrets within the cosmos, only our naked truths of the origin of all nature.

You’ve listed the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Faces and MC5 among your top influences. All of these were founded in the ’60s, which it’s hard to believe is 50 years ago. Why do you think these acts and musicians have stayed relevant for so long? Are they the Beethovens of the 20th century?

Paige: They had a similar approach to living the music, not just playing it, that we do. It feels so pure. They were pushing their limits to reach the world — expressing their lives and having people connect over it. That’s all we’re really looking for after all, a genuine connection. It’s magic when it happens, and it happens around magic. Real, live music is magic.

Murphy: There’s only one Beethoven. There’s no need for any more Beethovens. The Stones, Dylan, Faces & MC5 are definitely all influences. They’ve stayed relevant because of their uniqueness. There’s no need to have another Stones, Dylan, Faces, MC5, etc… They did it right the first time. You can’t top the original. So, while they’re our influences, we aim to keep our music unique to us. There’s only one Blackfoot Gypsies, the world only needs one because nobody does us better than we do.

Dylan really evolved throughout his long career from folk to rock. His 70s work, especially “Blood on the Tracks,” is seminal to us. What’s his

L-R: Ollie Dogg, Dylan Whitlow, Matthew Paige, Zack Murphy

L-R: Ollie Dogg, Dylan Whitlow, Matthew Paige, Zack Murphy

key period (or album/song) for you and why?

Paige: The period where he transformed from trying to be someone else into just being as radically himself as he could be. He lived how we should all live our lives: copy the masters that teach you your art and then harness the power that is you, and let yourself explode.

Murphy: I don’t have a favorite. All of it is amazing, but most of all I love that he is still doin’ it and keepin’ it fresh. There’s no reason to stop, and because he hasn’t stop he’s stayed relevant; and is not a throwback act. Bob Dylan is still exciting.

We’ve talked about influences, but you also have a very fresh sound which merges roots, blues and we’ve even heard “Zeppelin.” Who else is on your key “retro” listening list? Do you think rock music still has some places to go and how do you keep your sound fresh and vibrant?

Paige: Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter. People with soul. Real rock n’ roll is just a code for truly visceral music. Soul doesn’t go out of style, and when you put a fat slab of soul on something real, and then you have it IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE! That’s as fresh as it gets. Yesterday, today AND tomorrow. I’m not sure music goes anywhere; it’s just a part of us. And, it’s fun to get excited about it.

Murphy: Anything visceral is on my listening list. It doesn’t have to be retro. It could be new hip hop. Rock music can always go new places. The best way to sound fresh and vibrant is to be you and not worry about the rules.

ZM, DW, DO, MP

Zack Murphy, Dylan Whitlow, Ollie Dogg, Matthew Paige

You’re touring in support of your latest album, “On the Loose.” What would you like people to know about it?

Paige: It’s a fun record, capturing a great place and time. We did all of it on 2-inch tape, so the vinyl sounds especially tasty. It’s got a good vibe and the songs lay a good base for where we plan on visiting with our next records. I’m proud of it still, and I wouldn’t change a thing on it.

Murphy: “On the Loose” is an album that I’m very proud of. Matthew and I were just gettin’ our sound and new line-up together. I think it was a great first step out into the world of album-making for us. We love playin’ these songs, but “On the Loose” has become part of the template for the live show. Come see a show. Buy an album. Get in our van…

And you’ve just scored a deal with Plowboy Records for your next LP, HANDLE IT. Tell us about that.

Paige: Plowboy Records honors the past, but in a relevant way. It was a no-brainer to go with them. Everything they stand for. I find myself saying, “Yeah, that’s right! Me too!” They’ll be putting out our next album HANDLE IT (out Apr. 14) on vinyl record and CD. We’re really excited for the world to hear it. I know a guy who makes fake platinum records, and I’m going to send one to my mom. I’m pretty sure she’ll fall for it.

Murphy: Plowboy Records are a natural fit for us. They are based in Nashville and are very much into the same stuff we are. HANDLE IT is the BFG logonext step. I’m also very proud of this album. It is a total natural evolution from our previous releases and I can’t wait to get this album out into the world. We’re playin’ the songs out live too. So, once again, come out and see the show.

Nashville is Music City and many folks think about country, but plenty of great rock bands have emerged from it. What’s it like to be a rock band in a country town right now? Any other Nashville bands we should be looking out for?

Paige: Nashville’s been the host to great musicians of all genres for a long time, although country is the popular one here. But, the cool thing about the “rock” bands here is that if you slowed them down, and mellowed them out, more often than not it’s basically country music, and I love it! I like to think of ourselves as more of an energetic, eclectic band of stray dog people. Bands I like to see in town are Margo Price, Justin Collins, Ranch Ghost; any band with soul. There’s a lot going on around here.

Murphy: Nashville has always had good rock ‘n’ roll; people are just now talking about it. Outside of the Music Row modern bro-country stuff, REAL country music is actually pretty damn similar to REAL rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t know how or why people always forget that, but we’re happy to remind them that good music is just good music, no need to read between the lines.

Show PosterDo you have anything special planned for the Atlanta stop on your tour?

Paige: We’ll be shooting a music video, for the first single off HANDLE IT. We have some of our Atlanta friends coming out to be in it with us. I’m predicting lots of fun and nudity, but who knows. I’d really like to go to Manuel’s and get glared at over a beer. We’re also looking for the best donut in town. You know the place? Let’s do it!

Murphy: We’re gonna shoot that video and tear up the town. We haven’t played with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, but we’re pretty damn stoked to be doin’ that. I’m sure something special will happen. The most special things are rarely planned.

What question do you wish somebody would ask you in an interview but they never do and what’s the answer?

Paige: Interviewer: “Can I please buy you dinner and our new, soon-to-be, matching big bird tattoos?” Me: “Yes.”

Murphy: Interviewer: “Would you like a drink?”  Me – “Yes.”

All photos courtesy of Blackfoot Gypsies and used with permission.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kool Kat of the Week: Gritty Psychedelic Garage Rockers Nick and Peter Furgiuele of Gringo Star Get Nostalgic and Make a Hometown Pit-Stop, Slingin’ Some Old-School Sounds with a Modern Twist

Posted on: Oct 27th, 2014 By:

by Melanie CrewGringo Star 2014 PR-5 (2)
Managing Editor/Contributing Writer

Gringo Star, will be slingin’ that nitty gritty, ‘60s beach-y dirty rock ‘n’ roll your mama warned you about this Thursday, October 30, during a homecoming pit-stop on their whirlwind of a Fall tour, at DASHBOARD CO-OP, presented by Atlanta’s own WRAS-Album 88! And if that wasn’t enough, they’ll be hawkin’ their hot-off-the-presses, 7”- debuting two new edgy singles, “Long Time Gone” and “World of Spin” released by dizzybird records, which can also be purchased here. So, rock out, clear your calendar, and shake on down for a night of psychedelic shenanigans with Gringo Star and their pals, the psych-rock outfit, the Mood Rings at DASHBOARD CO-OP this Thursday!

Atlanta’s Gringo Star is a long-running collaboration of brothers Nick and Pete Furgiuele, catching the ears of the nation and the itch reaped from the godfathers of R&B, rock and soul. Their tantalizing and tainted tunes pay homage to The Kinks, Richie Valens, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Sam Cooke and a helluva lot of old-school rockers and purveyors of doo-wop and soul. Their love of music sprung from a childhood chock full of the wonderment spilling over from their radio dj’ing granddad and his tales of the past. With three full-length albums under their gritty garage rockin’ belts [2008’s “All Y’All”, 2011’s “Count Yer Lucky Stars”, 2013’s “Floating Out to See”], their new 7” and nods from national outlets [December 2011, Rolling Stone mention here, Consequence of Sound articles here and more recently, a review in The New York Times here ], they are well on their way to the psychedelic garage rockin’ celestial cloud of Gringo Star-dom!

ATLRetro caught up with Nick Furgiuele for a quick interview about Gringo Star’s rock ‘n’ roll roots, their new singles “Long Time Gone/World of Spin”, why Aretha Franklin rubs them the wrong way and their upcoming show at DASHBOARD CO-OP!

Gringo Star 2014 PR-6And while you’re takin’ a gander at our little Q&A with Furgiuele, take a peek at Gringo Star’s new “World of Spin” video, reminiscent of “an old Polaroid coming to life”, here, directed, shot and edited by Megan Gamez.

ATLRetro: Your Fall 2014 tour has been a non-stop rockin’ trek across the U.S. What’s it like getting to come home and put on a show for your local fans?

Nick Furgiuele: It’s always great to play in Atlanta, getting to come back to a bunch of familiar faces and friends after being gone awhile.

You have a show nearly every day so far on this tour; what’s a day on the road like for Gringo Star?

Well, there are nights we don’t get to bed until 4:30 am, and then we’re up at 9 am. to start driving to the next spot. So first, we have to find coffee. Seventy-five percent of touring, we’re driving down the highway, so we have a little acoustic guitar and we just have sing-alongs in the van. The radio sucks and our CD player doesn’t work, either, so that helps pass the time on the drives. That and apples. Then we get to the place—load in, sound check, hurry up and wait. Play the set, load out. Repeat.

How did you get involved in Atlanta’s rockin’ indie music scene?

We’re all from Atlanta or the surrounding area.

Gringo Star has been described as being the purveyors of retro-infused rock, stepping in and out of genres, while keeping your fans on their toes anticipating what’s coming next. How would you describe your sound?

#underground

Can you tell folks a little bit about your new 7-inch featuring “Long Time Gone” and “World of Spin?”gringorooftopcincy

This is the first record we’ve recorded that was just Pete and me on all the instruments, vocals and recording. We did it at his home studio in Atlanta earlier this spring. “Long time Gone” is my song and “World of Spin” is Pete’s.

Having experienced releasing albums that were both produced in studio with an engineer [2008’s All Y’all and 2011’s Count Yer Lucky Stars] and home recorded, mixed and produced [2013’s Floating Out to See and your new 7-inch], which would you say fits your band’s persona more and why?

We like doing things both ways. Lately we’ve been more into doing it ourselves. It’s just nice to have more time to experiment with the songs, arrangements and sounds. Sometimes when you’re in a studio with a producer, you feel more pressure to finish things up or hurry because of time constraints. Plus, although it’s great to have some other ears besides ours involved, in a way, it’s also kind of nice that we don’t have any other outside perspectives—it’s as much us as it can be.

You guys draw much of your sound from a wide spectrum of musical acts of the past [Sam Cooke; Ritchie Valens; The Stooges; CCR, to name a few], fusing their genius with your own. If you could pick one musician/band from the past that influenced you the most, who would it be and why?

It’s hard to pick only one. The Kinks are way up there. Buddy Holly was one of the first guys I was really into, but there are so many great bands and singers out there.

1277168_10151884827439797_837269387_oMusic definitely runs in your family with your grandfather’s involvement in ‘40s and ‘50s radio and his induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Can you tell our readers any interesting tales about what it was like growing up with his stories and how they influenced your own musical upbringing?

That all definitely played a big part in us playing music growing up. Our mom used to always tell us stories about her childhood, being around the early rock & roll scene, hanging out with Sam Cooke, who was granddad’s favorite, working at the record shop and going to shows. Our granddad started off as a radio DJ and then got into promoting shows and opened several record shops in Columbus, Ga. He used to put on shows by Sam Cooke, The Soul Stirrers, James Brown, Otis Redding, Little Stevie Wonder, Jackie Wilson, Martha and the Vandellas and on and on. We always used to look through my grandma’s scrapbook at all the photos she took of the shows, and we’d listen to her retell the stories. I guess one of the go-to stories we used to hear was how our granddad was putting on a show with Aretha Franklin coming through town, and she got completely wasted on whiskey and then fell off the stage that night and broke her arm. My grandma took her to the ER. She said she was swearing at her the whole way. And then she sued my granddad for the medical bill. So, yeah, never been much of an Aretha fan. Can’t stand her voice.

If you could put together a dream lineup of bands to play with [still around or not], who would it be and why?

I would have loved to have played with Ritchie Valens. I love his guitar playing so much.

Anything special planned for your 7” release party at Dashboard Co-Op this Thursday?10373113_10152507399444797_5166874530616465230_o

We couldn’t be more excited to have this show at the Dashboard Co-Op space over on North Ave. We’ve been friends with them for years and love that we’re getting to do the show somewhere a little different from the normal clubs in town. Plus, Dashboard has a major rad exhibit currently installed over there that folks can check out. We have the WRAS DJs spinning tunes between bands and afterward for the dance party! And our pals Mood Rings are playing with us, too! And it’s ALL AGES!! And if you’re old enough, there’s free beer!!!

What’s next for Gringo Star?

We’re going down to Florida for a final week of shows after the Atlanta release show, and then we’ll be back to start working on the new album, which we hope to finish before the end of the year.

What question do you wish somebody would ask you and what’s the answer?

The question is, “How do I do shots with Gringo Star at one of their upcoming shows?” Answer: Tweet at us. #shotswithgringo

I take Lorazepam by https://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ativan before I go to work. Within 30 minutes I feel more relaxed and calm that helps me to communicate better.

All photos courtesy of Gringo Star and used with permission.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kool Kat of the Week: Genre-Bending, Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Slingin’, Nashville Soul Revivalist, Will Stewart of Willie and the Giant, has Rhythm, So Who Could Ask for Anything More?

Posted on: Oct 14th, 2014 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor/
Contributing Writer

L-R Grant Prettyman, Mac Kramer, Jon Poor, Will Stewart. Photo Credit: Abbey Grace Henley

L-R Grant Prettyman, Mac Kramer, Jon Poor, Will Stewart. Photo Credit: Abbey Grace Henley

Willie and the Giant, vintage rock ‘n’ roll slingers will be takin’ Atlanta by storm at Smith’s Olde Bar this Saturday, Oct. 18 on their tour through the South! Their newly pressed 7-inch vinyl, debuting two singles reeking of nostalgia, “Ain’t Gonna Wait” and “Poor Boy,” both cut and recorded live at the ever comfy and throwback studio, Welcome to 1979, will be up for grabs! So, rock out, get a whole lotta rhythm, shake a tail feather and don’t forget to snag up a 7-inch or two! Acoustic folk and blues duo, Alex & Todd are along for the rhythmic ride, so come on down for a rockin’ retro ruckus this Saturday night at Smith’s Olde Bar!

Willie and the Giant, musical sons of Nashville and Birmingham, is made up of Will Stewart (vocals/guitar), Jon “The Giant” Poor (vocals/guitar), Grant Prettyman (bass) and Mac Kramer (drums). Not only has the group released two new singles, but a self-titled album is on the horizon for 2015, with their brand new label, Cumberland Brothers Music, run by Nick Worley, the band’s producer and engineer.The new album will be filled to the brim with an explosion of sounds with nods to American roots rock, ‘70s funk and more! Willie and the Giant, bathing in the blood, sweat and tears of vintage rock ‘n’ roll, are groovin’ to the top and have no plans to slow the momentum any time soon!

ATLRetro caught up with Stewart, for a quick interview about Willie and the Giant’s headfirst dive into rock ‘n’ roll, their new singles and record deal with Cumberland Brothers Music and their aversion to music labels and genres.

And while you’re takin’ a gander at our little Q&A with Stewart, take a listen to Willie and the Giant’s “Ain’t Gonna Wait”/”Poor Boy” single, here.

ATLRetro: Can you tell folks how you found the “Giant” and the rest of your band-mates and what brought you guys together?

Will Stewart: I moved from Birmingham to Nashville in November 2012. By coincidence, Jon Poor (“Giant”) and Mac Kramer (drums) moved from Birmingham to Nashville at the exact same time (We didn’t know each other while living in Birmingham.) They moved into a house with my then-bandmate Nick (also a Birmingham transplant), and that’s how we eventually met. The rest, as they say, is history.

There’s got to be a story behind the band’s name. Can you fill our readers in?

Photo Credit: Jack Smith

Photo Credit: Jack Smith

My height is pretty average and Jon is 6’5″ on a good day. There’s a video of us playing a show a few years back in which the camera exaggerates his height and has the opposite effect for my height. We thought it was hilarious and jokingly said, “Willie and the Giant!” When we formed the band, that name immediately came to mind as the obvious choice for the band name. We also think the “Giant” is a nice metaphor for our monster rhythm section – it could go a few different ways I suppose.

Can you tell folks a little about your debut singles, “Ain’t Gonna Wait” and “Poor Boy,” released this past September?

These two tunes just go really well together. I wrote these when I first moved to Nashville in late 2012, before the formation of WATG but thought they would fit into the set we were building in the early months of the band. I was listening to a lot of songs from the early/mid-sixties Chess Records and Atlantic Records R&B catalogs and almost every song seemed to be about breaking-up or falling in/out of love. So these tunes were sort of born out of that period of listening – it’s a tip of the hat musically and lyrically to that era.   

L-R Mac Kramer, Will Stewart, Jon Poor, Grant Pettyman. Photo Credit: Sarah Sellari

L-R Mac Kramer, Will Stewart, Jon Poor, Grant Prettyman. Photo Credit: Sarah Sellari

Any special tricks on snagging the jazzy award-winning, The Chad Fisher Group, known for backing Greg Allman, and legendary groups, like The Temptations, The O’Jays and the Four Tops, for your debut singles?

Well, being from Birmingham, we had nothing but respect and admiration for Chad Fisher – he’s an institution in Birmingham and when we decided to use horns on these two tracks we knew immediately that we wanted Chad Fisher Horns to play and arrange the parts. 

How exciting to not only get offered a rockin’ record deal, but to be the first group to sign with the new label, Cumberland Brothers Music. Can you tell folks a little about how you were discovered?

It’s incredibly exciting and we’re all very grateful to be part of the Cumberland Brothers family. Nick Worley and I met in late 2012. We shared very similar tastes in music, so I approached him about recording some demos in early 2013. After that we continued working on other projects and some months passed. Later, I got a call one day from Nick saying that he was starting a label and wanted me to be a part of it. As a musician, it’s one of those things you always fantasize about, so when it actually happened I was just thrilled and very grateful for the opportunity.

L-R Mac Kramer, Will Stewart, Grant Pettyman, Jon Poor. Photo Credit: Abbey Grace Henley

L-R Mac Kramer, Will Stewart, Grant Prettyman, Jon Poor. Photo Credit: Abbey Grace Henley

How would you, as a musician, describe your band’s sound? Willie and the Giant has been described as being like, “M. Ward fronting a Memphis soul revue,” groove rock and a vintage soul revival. Was this intentional, or did it just happen?

People are going to throw around labels and genres pretty loosely, that’s just how it is. Obviously, our first two singles are our interpretation of early American R&B, so we’ve heard the “soul” thing quite a bit (not that that’s a bad thing). That said, our forthcoming full-length and live show is a smattering (word of the day!) of American roots and rock to British invasion to 70s funk to modern indie and pop. So I’m going to stop short of labeling and just let folks listen and decide for themselves. Ultimately we want to be a band whose music is very difficult to label.

Who are some of your favorite vintage performers and influences?

I’ll just keep this pre-1965: Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, The Impressions, Solomon Burke, Elvis, James Brown, the Stones, Dylan, Sam Cooke and on and on.

Can you tell our readers a little about your upcoming debut album and when they’ll be able to snag ‘em up?

We’re actually right in the middle of mixing the full-length and hoping for an early 2015 release. But again, it’s kind of hard to describe the sound because it covers a lot of ground. We’re just so excited that this is becoming a reality and can’t wait to share it with everyone. 

L-R Will Stewart, Grant Prettyman, Mac Kramer, Jon Poor.

L-R Will Stewart, Grant Prettyman, Mac Kramer, Jon Poor.

What brings you southern guys even further south, way down into Atlanta?

Our bassist (Grant) is from Atlanta, so we have some roots there. I have some close friends there and we always have a hell of a time playing in Atlanta – we’re looking forward to the show next week!

Any special plans for your show at Smith’s Olde Bar this Saturday?

Nothing too crazy, just playing a ton of new tunes. We’ll also have our newly pressed 7-inch vinyl and t-shirts in tow (We accept cash and all major credit cards!)

What’s next for Willie and the Giant?

We’re going to be hitting the road as much as possible for the next two to three months, leading up to the release of the debut full-length album. Playing live is what we get off on – so that’s always going to be front and center for us as a band.

All photographs are courtesy of Will Stewart/Willie and the Giant and used with permission.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

© 2020 ATLRetro. All Rights Reserved. This blog is powered by Wordpress