Flying Cat Music is thrilled to bring back the dynamic five-piece band Bobtown on Saturday, April 25. The show will be at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 prompt. Admission is $17 or $15 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-688-9453.
You know a band is offering something a tad different when they are described as “mixing elements of country gospel, bluegrass, and field hollers with an often macabre Nashville gothic tinge” (Lucid Culture) or as “a kind of pan-American collage in which the wailing of tent revivals is sometimes overlaid with urban rhythms and occasionally surreal lyrics” (Butch Kara at KZGM FM). And you know you’ve set out on a path less taken if this quote from Americana UK about Bobtown speaks personally to you “If you’re looking for acoustic, Gothic-folk-Americana kissed with gorgeous harmonies then look no further.”
The New York Music Daily describes Bobtown as “eclectically haunting” which is particularly apt given their third CD’s release. Acoustic Live Magazine praises the “typically impeccable harmonies” present on The History of Ghosts, concluding with: “This is a superb third album from this group.” That’s a sentiment widely shared. With a Mid-November 2014 release, The History of Ghosts debuted at number 9 on the national FolkDJ Chart, while the 11/26 Roots Music Report listed The History of Ghosts as number 3 on their Top 50 Contemporary Folk Album Chart. It’s no mystery why respected folk DJ John Platt of WFUV Radio calls Bobtown “…poised to enter the top tier of Americana groups.”
With four compelling songwriters, four distinctive vocalists (three of whom are women) and a wide array of instruments in play, Bobtown’s sound eludes musical clichés. The band is a five-piece assemblage of diverse talents tapping into transcendent roots, with field hollers among them. Field hollers were a pre-Civil War vocal and percussive call-and-response music, thought to have pre-dated spirituals. They originated with African-American slaves working in the fields. Bobtown founder, Katherine Etzel, credits her fascination with field hollers to her experience as a youth working in Iowa bean and corn fields. Other band inspirations run the gamut from brooding Celtic ballads to the Andrews Sisters.
One Dutch reviewer, writing for Rootstime, calls Bobtown’s sound, “…ancient folk music for the 21st century” which it well might be, but that phrase fails to capture the deliciously dark humor that inhabits the lyrics of many Bobtown songs. That nod toward the macabre led one reviewer for NewFolkRadio to marvel that Bobtown can sometimes sound like children of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (the 2010 Grammy Award Winners for Best Traditional Folk Album) and other times like Children of the Corn (the young sect in Stephen King’s horror story that spawned a slew of frightful films). Through it all, Bobtown remains incandescent, overflowing with sheer energy, and always only in the best of spirits. Bobtown last performed for Flying Cat Music in September 2013. Ever since that night, we’ve been dying to have them back.