So here we are on a rainy Wednesday here in the Skope HQ New England. It is so good to be alive & here listening & talking about music, what could be better! There is so much going on so lets get right to it. In legal news, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice confirmed in a landmark ruling that access providers such as Deutsche Telekom can be obliged to make accessing infringing websites more difficult for customers by blocking access if the website operators and hosts are unidentifiable. In Canada we have some more legal news as, SOCAN welcomes a Supreme Court of Canada decision confirming that broadcast-incidental copies of musical works require a separate license under the Copyright Act of Canada. It is nice to see the courts see music as a valuable product with real value. NAMM is doing good as well, members of NAMM’s Executive Committee personally donate $25,000 to kickoff new music industry “community chest” donor program expanding efforts to keep music education strong. The NAMM Foundation works year round to create a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught. Now NAMM members and all of those who share that vision are invited to help support the Foundation’s work through the ‘Believe in Music’ fund. So my guests this week are The Muddy Crows from Washington DC who play classic Americana/Roots-Rock. I caught a listen to their single “Always Right” and I was hooked from there and had to have the guys on. Join us as we chat with The Muddy Crows about Black Friday shopping, how The Muddy Crows came to be, their passion for playing live, and so much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from and what are your plans for Thanksgiving?
It looks like we are going to be staying in the DC area this Thanksgiving. The Muddy Crows and I have had a busy year, and this holiday season will be no exception. We have a few shows over that weekend, most notably Penn Social on November 27th at 9PM.
Stoli: Do you think that the retail stores are going overboard with Black Friday and they will ruin the whole fun of it?
I can’t speak for others in the band, but I have never personally participated in the Black Friday nonsense – I never considered engaging in fisticuffs, with a shop-a-holic grandmother, over a television set, a good use of my time. But truthfully I believe that I have avoided the festivities mostly out of food-coma-laziness and an aversion to standing around waiting in the cold. I do concede that the whole extravaganza seems to have morphed from its original intent, which seems harmless and fun, into something much more of a celebration of consumerism with a tendency to devolve into barbarity. How quickly we forget about being “Thankful” for what we have.
Stoli: Offer is a brief history how you all came together and how did you decide on the name, The Muddy Crows?
We liked the idea of being known as “The Dirty Birds,” but felt that this name would appear tired and without a creative edge. So, we thought, “What’s dirtier than dirt? Mud. What’s birdier than birds? Crows.” And thus we became “The Muddy Crows.” Of course, this is not the true story, but it’s much more interesting than just saying, “the domain name was available.”
Stoli: Being that there are five of you how long did it take before you reached musical synergy and found your sound with original material?
I have been playing with Steve Mead (keyboard) since late 2010, and we added Eric Grabow (bass) shortly thereafter. We each bring a unique set of skills and musical influence that together formed a sound worth developing over time. In the last 4 years we have had a half-dozen drummers and several lead guitar players that have each added to our collective vision. Often these other players have a tendency to influence our sound and perhaps our specific sub-genre. But whether our current line-up has us sounding more like Folk, Blues Rock, or Alternative Americana, I think that we have maintained our “spiritual center,” which is focused on songwriting and musicianship, while maintaining an artistic freshness that keeps audiences engaged.
Stoli: Would you say that you are all friends outside of the music and how many times per week do you practice/perform?
I am not sure that I can rightly claim to have much life outside of music these days. We are no strangers to playing anywhere from 2-4 shows a week, and with day jobs and families, this leaves little time for purely recreational fraternization. That being said, we are quite close and I do believe that we would be friends outside of the band, if we ever had the opportunity. But until our schedule clears up, we will never know!
Stoli: Your last album was released in 2014 and is on iTunes now. Any plans to put out a new album/EP anytime?
Presently, The Muddy Crows are focused on promoting our existing recordings and prioritizing our live performances. Personally, I have gone through a number of trials in the last few years and those experiences have led to a number of new introspective writings and recordings. Pushing this as “solo project,” I had hoped to have a collection ready by Christmas this year, but it looks like that may have been too ambitious. Once I release the new material in 2016, then we will talk about next steps as a band. In the meantime, we are focused on providing the best live entertainment experience that we can, and maybe we can sell a few CD’s in the process!
Stoli: You guys play many live shows. Do you prefer live shows verse recording and how do you get ready for a show?
Between full-band and solo shows, I will have played over 80 shows by the end of 2015. For a part-time musician, it is really starting to look a lot more like a real job! As a perfectionist, I had to learn to accept that live shows will not always be the most note-for-note representations of one’s musical creativities – live shows are all about the energy! Then again, there is something to be said for the subtle beauty of recording in a sound-proof space and begging for the perfect performance. I am not sure that one is better than the other.
Stoli: I love your song “One Of Those Days” so much. Who wrote and composed that song and what is it based on?
I don’t believe that you can force songs into being, it’s not a matter of pushing pen to paper, but rather they seem to sprout on their own volition out of some organic, often invisible, inspiration. Believe it or not, this was the first song that I ever wrote. I had the music in my head for some time, I think that I even had the melody – but the poetry was absent. As I recall, I was trying to write a duet with a wonderful singer named Jessica Longoria, but the afternoon passed without progress. After she had left, I remember being frustrated and thinking that it was “just one of those days.” Instantly, I knew that I had found the hook and within 10 minutes, I had written the rest of the verses. I was particularly fond of the way that the chorus introduced a sense of spirituality: “It’s been a while, but I’m praying now.” Far from profundity, I think that the repetitive simplicity of this tune is what makes it most memorable. And I think that we can all connect with the message in the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
Stoli: Who will be moving into DC in January 2017, Trump or Hillary?
As a band, we try to stay away from the DC political fray. There is no better way to isolate wide audiences than to get bogged down in matters of politics. But much like the difference between a studio recording and a live show with flashing lights and a well fueled smoke machine: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Between now and election day, a lot can change, I guess we will just have to wait and see!
Stoli: What is coming up for The Muddy Crows and where you @ online?
Social media as a concept is both a blessing a curse. We try to make ourselves as available as possible, but it does take quite a bit of time to keep everything updated! With so many apps and sites available, there is no shortage of promotional platforms, so please forgive the laundry list. For more information about The Muddy Crows, please visit any/all of the following: