Banjos and soirees go together like grape jelly and beef jerky scrambled eggs. Often we hear these wonderful recipes and we think "that could be interesting" but at times the concept is much greater than the finished project. Take it from a father who once had a child inspire his greatness using a chocolate chip pancake, maple flavored syrup, ketchup and whipped creme to the massive failure that was indeed the gnarliest looking concoction that ever came forth at three times the speed of sound. Come to think of it those eggs might grow on you...
When we traveled to the "Barley Street Tavern" in Omaha on Good Friday, April 18th, 2014 it was to see the band "Banjo Loco" and as if I needed to have an even greater incentive to make the trip it was the debut CD release for the two-man trio. Yes I said "two man trio" because you will swear that there must be another person on stage with "the Blind Burrito" and "Banjoboy the Brave." Troy "the Blind Burrito" Johnson and Matt "Banjoboy the Brave" are the architects of the concoction "Banjo Loco" but unlike those scrambled eggs this recipe works.
Soiree is a nice way of saying CD release party and CD release party is a cool way of saying a blast. I've written about Banjo Loco before but as I sit here I cannot get that debut CD out of my head. I was told once that banjos are one of those instruments that makes a person smile and you can't help but smile with these guys on their banjos. The music of the band one could call 'Progressive Folk" or even "Progressive Bluegrass" labels that although accurate are still remiss in the flavor of the band. I suppose other terms that could be attached to their labels would be smart, edgy and fun but what it really is in essence is great music, labels be damned.
The night we traveled to the "Barley Street Tavern" to see the band I obviously hadn't a clue as to what the bar was like as I live exactly on the other side of the State of Iowa but it immediately became apparent that this bar is the perfect atmosphere for the soiree. "Barley Street Tavern" is the perfect complement to "Banjo Loco." Its eclectic, its energetic, its fun, its where small bands draw huge crowds and welcomes all, just like Troy and Matt.
The release of "100% Banjo 100% Loco" is one of those records that piques the interest of the listener and shows the complexity of its creators. With the banjo induced smiles comes forth songs like "Stanky Shoe" and "18 Wheels and High Heels" that will stick in your ear and I promise you will generate the description "you have GOT to hear these guys" when you start talking about them. The entire CD is full of catchy songs but look at them at a cerebral level for a minute, those songs are smart. Anyone can create a popular song, look at Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and anything by boy bands for the last 50 years, but making a song intelligent is difficult. No you will not hear Stephen Hawking wax poetic about the Theory of Relativity but you will hear melodies that will catch your attention with lyrics that fit in a way that will tickle your grey matter.
I started this endeavor by talking about "grape jelly and beef jerky scrambled eggs" while comparing that combination with banjos and soirees and that was for a good reason. Its not that I think I can convince you to try that concoction but in some ways it would be ideal if you would. With Banjo Loco that combination is combined with what some may consider a simple folk instrument and the sophistication of a fancy party, the soiree but that is simply not the case. The banjo is the complexity, and the soiree is a simple party. But you see that is what makes this band and its music that good. Banjo Loco makes the complex simple, their music is great and they can appeal to everyone. Buy the CD and find out for yourself just click the link here.
I love this CD and I love this band and I don't live in Omaha but you don't have to be from Omaha to love this band but if you really try and LIKE grape jelly and beef jerky scrambled eggs, get help immediately.