Last night, I had the pleasure of joining my friends in The Backyard Committee for a few songs on lap steel guitar at one of our 35 Below parties at the Huntington. I’ve played a shows with them before, mostly on keyboards, and this was a fun, different experiment, as I don’t really get to play lap steel guitar out in front of people very often (it’s also a very difficult instrument to play by yourself). The band is essentially Mike Sembos, and whatever musicians he finds to accompany him. Even if I hadn’t been friends with Mike for 12 or so years now, I’d still love this band, because Mike is an utterly fantastic songwriter. So they’re always a blast to play with, and I’m hoping to do it again pretty soon. Did I mention that you can download both of their albums for free on their website?
…also there was Duck Hunt:
About a year and a half ago, I had the idea to record an album of classic punk cover songs, done in a folky / bluegrass style. I got most of the demo / scratch tracks down, but then of course, life got in the way, as it often does. But now that I got some fancy new toys in my musical arsenal, I decided to revisit it.
And so without any further ado, here’s the first track of the album that would (and someday might still) be called Folk In Drublic: “Radio” by Rancid. Except, ya know, with less growls, more banjo and lap steel.
(Banjo by my buddy Andy Michaels)
Thanks to everyone who came out to see The Backyard Committee at Cafe Nine in New Haven last night (especially my Dad, even though he fell asleep before we went on). I felt a lot more comfortable with the songs this time around, so I think it went pretty well (and if the Canadian guy who was dancing is any reliable indication, I’m right). The Fatal Flaw from Boston (literally, around the corner from me) also played, so thanks to them for coming down. Joel Reader is a great guy, and if you asked 16-year-old-Thom if he’d be headlining a show over Joel from the Mr. T Experience, he would totally freak (25-year-old-Thom, meanwhile, has a much more well-adjusted worldview, at least comparatively)
My good friend Mike Sembos (of The Alternate Routes) has recently recorded and released a new full-length album under the name The Backyard Committee:
The Backyard Committee is a band based out of New Haven, Connecticut that blends genres ranging from Americana to punk rock into a jam-friendly framework. Singer/guitarist Mike Sembos (The Alternate Routes, superfallingstars, Kennesaw) writes the songs, and they’re played by a rotating cast of his musical friends. Each member of the “committee” is encouraged to bring his or her own unique voice to the project, be it on stage, on tape, in the artwork or in the crowd. The group’s debut self-titled album was released in December 2010, and it’s posted indefinitely for free download on their website below. All music ever released by the band will be made available for free in digital form in an attempt to make the band experience less of a business venture and more of an art collective.
The album is an excellent collection of indie/Americana tunes, and I’m excited to say that I’ll be joining him onstage for a few gigs this winter on keyboards. Catch us at Daniel Street in Milford, CT on January 17, and then again at New Haven’s own Cafe Nine on February 24.
And download the damn album! I mean, c’mon. It’s free. Sheesh.