The Boyz Are Back

This month's article is a lesson to bands about the wisdom of sending me free CDs. I am a very busy person, a fact illustrated by the fact that I actually look forward to those rare times when I can stay home and do my laundry. I am planning a wedding, I work two jobs, I write this column, and when I'm not doing that, I try to have a social life – the latter of which usually revolves around food, since I have to take time off to eat. What this means to bands is that it is a good idea to have me in the email list of fans, so when you play a gig, I will be able to place it on my calendar and see your band. Even more important, if you have CD, you should send it to me, because then I can multitask by driving my car and listening to your masterpiece. If I like it after the first listen, I will listen to it at least three more times, and then I will review it. Bands that do this not only get mentioned once but can get mentioned several times. Case in point, the band and CD that I am about to review now.
A while back, I went to listen to The Fabulous Bagasse Boyz. I loved their performance because they were musically tight and they didn't take themselves seriously. They also kept me on their email list after I reviewed their performance, so I always knew when and where they were playing. This reason alone is how I knew that The Boyz had recorded a CD, Not 'Yer Daddy's Bluegrass, and were peddling it to the public.

I emailed them back and told them that I would review their CD if they sent it to me. People, I got that disc within TWO days. I was massively impressed, and it was perfect timing. My fiancé and I were driving to Virginia, a fourteen-hour drive, and we were in desperate need of something new to listen to. The CD arrived the day before we were scheduled to leave. Since we had to drive through the home of bluegrass to get to Virginia, I thought it would be the perfect soundtrack to accompany that section of our drive.

The production of this compilation is actually very well done. The three-part harmony of the Boyz is balanced perfectly, and the sound is not muffled as you sometimes get from local recordings.

It starts a little slow, and after a couple of songs, I started to get a little disappointed. The CD was good. The music was good. But the quirky humor that was so integral to The Boyz’ live performance seemed to be lacking. Fortunately, my disappointment was premature, and it was a lesson to me that I should be more patient. In track three, they gave me what I was waiting for when they did a bluegrass version of “I Can See Clearly Now.” It's fun and fast and it made me smile – which is more than I can say for the original version of the song, which practically puts me in a coma.

My absolute favorite song on the CD is track number five, “Lost Indian” (or “Disoriented Native American”). It's an entirely instrumental track with a sharp focus on the banjo and a traditional bluegrass piece. The song is upbeat, has a great rhythm, and made me wish I wasn't in the car so I could be dancing, even though I have no idea how to dance to bluegrass. (I know it has got to entail more than stomping one foot up and down, bringing the knee up to chest level while clapping your hands, despite what Hollywood shows me.) However, I'm Irish, so surely I have the knowledge of how to do a jig in my genetic code.

Another song that I really liked was another instrumental piece called “Calgary” (track 10). No, it's not because I don't enjoy the vocals on the CD. The Boyz are very good and have wonderful harmonies. I just really enjoy listening to the instruments. Bluegrass is not an easy genre of music to play, and I love to hear the complicated note patterns and rhythms that bluegrass musicians seem to so easily produce. One vocal track that I really enjoyed, and can partially sing from memory now, is track 15, “Diamond Joe,” another traditional bluegrass song. Driving through Appalachia, it made me wonder how many other times this song may have been played by other musicians in that very same area.

Overall, I enjoyed the disc. My only complaint is that, as so often happens when a band makes a CD, the recording is never as good as the band is when they play live. (What can I say; I'm spoiled.) When a band plays live, there is an intangible energy between the performers and the audience that you just can't get from a recording, and itÂ’s one of the reasons that live performances are so awesome.

I would highly recommend picking up this CD, especially if you are a bluegrass fan, but even more, I would recommend that you go see this band in person. When they play live, they are unbelievably fun and entertaining. (One of these days, I am actually going to take my future in-laws to see them play, if I can ever get a moment.) To find out how to get a CD, and where and when The Boyz are playing, you can go to www.myspace.com/thefabulousbagasseboyz. There’s also a link to the podcast of their February 17 performance on WRKF's “Hootenanny Power.”

So the lesson is this: If you have a CD, SEND IT TO ME! I can't review something if I don't have it to hear it. If you don't have a CD, but your band performs live somewhere, send me the times and locations where you are playing, and I promise that I will find some way to fit it into my schedule and come listen to you. As you can see, if you're any good and I like you, I don't mind reviewing a band more than once, if you come out with something new to offer, but I have to know who you are first.

Fans of bands, don't be afraid to email me and let me know if you have heard some awesome local talent while you have been out in the city. If I have a name and where you heard them play, I can find out how to contact them to learn when and where they will play again.

If youÂ’re in a local band and want a taste of CaroleÂ’s medicine, send her a demo or let her know when and where she can check you out. Sign up for her treatment via carole@redshtickmagazine.com.