December 04, 2004

Andru Bemis

I saw a guy named Andru Bemis perform last night at Innkeepers (and then some more after we retired to Bill and Lisa Stephens' house). He's pretty cool. He has a folky sort of sound that I mostly associate with the crowd that plays at Zach Miller's New Year's Eve events, although I don't ever remember there being a banjo chez Zach. Having released his second album "Singer" (which has in the liner notes a picture of the Singer sewing machine store in downtown Galesburg, though he had never been here before), he is now crisscrossing the country by train.

The most interesting thing about his sound (to me) was the way his singing was musical but not that tightly tied to the playing. That is, the stuff he was singing obviously could be set to the exact rhythm and melody of the music being played, and it mostly was. But without abandoning musicality entirely, Bemis frequently diverged to fit the rhythm of the words and letting the guitar or banjo carry the tune. It's hard to describe it without making it sound like some William-Shatner-esque spoken-word performance, but that's not what it felt like at all. Guess you'll have to just look him up and give him a listen yourself. :)

"This was part of the aesthetic of the early seventies in which folk art was judged by its resemblance to marijuana buds and/or bongs. Macrame looked like both, and was smiled upon." --Lore Fitzgerald Sj÷berg

Posted by blahedo at 12:23pm on 4 Dec 2004
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