The People's Blues of Richmond

The People's Blues of Richmond

People's Blues of Richmond brings a carnival-like mayhem to their dark, blues-infused psychedelia. Their new album, Good Time Suicide, is a study in excess, brimming with ballads of drugs, vice and murder that sonically recall early Led Zeppelin, only weirder and with a modern sheen. Word is starting to spread about the manic intensity of the band’s live performances as they burn up the road in support of Good Time Suicide, sharing bills with a diverse collection of bands—from Ghostland Observatory and Black Joe Lewis to Galactic and Flogging Molly.

People’s Blues co-founders and lifelong friends Tim Beavers (lead guitar/vox) and Matt Volkes (bass, vox) began playing music together in college as a way to grieve the loss of a mutual friend. Those bleak, drug-fueled days pushed the two into a maelstrom of songwriting and camaraderie that led to their debut LP, Hard-On Blues. Recorded in just two days, the record teems with urgency, transcendence and raw, primal emotion. The band wasted no time in hitting the road behind the release, galloping off on a year-and-a-half-long endurance test of live dates. During this tour, original drummer Raphael Katchinoff introduced the band to Tommy Booker, who left behind his more subdued life in NYC to play keys with People’s Blues on the road, and write and record with them back home in Richmond.

The band's sophomore release, Good Time Suicide, came together in a time of flux. Busy with new side projects and tired of the constant touring, Booker and Katchinoff decided to leave People's Blues as soon as the record was finished. Undaunted, Beavers and Volkes pressed on, paring down to a three-piece and bringing on local hotshot Neko Williams (son of Drummie Zeb of legendary reggae band The Wailers) as their new drummer.

“It was a wild time," Volkes says, "because we were simultaneously practicing with Neko and recording with our old drummer, sometimes on the same day.”

Good Time Suicide was recorded and produced by Adrian Olsen (Futurebirds, Steve Wynn) at Montrose Recording in Richmond on the exact same handmade ’68 Flickinger board used to record T. Rex’s Futuristic Dragon.

“There was definitely a vibe to the sessions,” Beavers says. “We had the songs down so well that we could’ve easily nailed them all in one take, but instead we took the time try new things—space-echo on the drums, layering multiple amps to get just the right sound. And if you got frustrated you could just walk out behind the studio and chop some wood.”

Good Time Suicide is a debauched album wrapped in an ecstatic, celebratory delivery, lead track “Cocaine” spilling forth with a raw, rootsy gypsy/klezmer feel. “I'd been off of drugs for six months,” Beavers says, “and I wanted to write a tongue-in-cheek song about being strung out. For percussion we pounded a steel chain on the bass drum and banged on some pottery we found outside.”

“Black Cat” sets pulsing mad-scientist organ to the narrative of two addicts slowly tearing each other apart, while on “Free Will” and “Nihilist,” the band wrestles with the ideas of destiny and futility. “I just screamed at my ceiling with my acoustic guitar while writing ‘Free Will,’” Volkes says, “and in that same vein, ‘Nihilist’ came out like a temper tantrum.”

People’s Blues is currently on the road touring behind Good Time Suicide and has been busy crafting a whole new set of eclectic, blues-infused psychrockers. “It’s working out really well because we all have the same dream,” Neko says. “ We’re hungry for it."

“It’s more than that even,” Volkes adds. “This band—we look out for each other. If I have a sandwich, Tim and Neko get a bite. It’s like we’re brothers.”

“The whole concept behind People’s Blues of Richmond," Beavers says, "is that we all struggle, we all experience pain. Life is full of highs and lows, and we all work hard to survive. So we do the only thing we know how—we get out on the road, and we keep moving forward. We become a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

The Woolly Bushmen

sweat, beer, dangerously faulty equipment, pointless arguments, and a West Virginian! That's all…..

But also...
Formed in early 2011 and based out of Winter Park, Florida, The Woolly Bushmen have managed to combine 1960's rock and roll with 1950's rockabilly and a dash of soul, forming their own unique genre of all original crowd-rocking songs. These young musicians (all college age) have captured the respect and admiration of seasoned musicians, some icons in their own right, that are twice their age while grabbing every audience by the scruff of their necks and whipping them into a dance frenzy. Teenagers, middle-agers, old-agers, male, female, black, white, green, purple, The Woolly Bushmen tend to appeal to everyone without compromising their style and musical integrity...mass appeal without losing cult appeal...they do their thing and it works! Audience comments run from, "...where did this band come from!?", "...how did we not know about them before!?", "...These guys have IT!", and very often, "the best band I've seen!".

A typical Woolly Bushmen show will see lead singer, Simon Palombi, switch from vintage VOX organ to guitar, whilst, Jacob Miller, switches from bass to guitar allowing the band to play two different sets in one, much to the surprise and delight of the audience! The songs of The Woolly Bushmen are based around catchy organ and guitar riffs with infectious choruses that sound straight out of the charts of the late 1950's and 1960's. These all original songs give you, the listener/audience, the sense that you've heard them before...only, you haven't unless you've seen The Woolly Bushmen or listened to Tampa, Orlando, St. Louis, and Philadelphia college/independent radio. The sole purpose of The Woolly Bushmen's music is to get people dancing...and it works every time!

Leave your angst at home, nothing heavy or moody here! One reviewer said, "...It's like Buddy Holly fronting The Troggs, or, Jerry Lee Lewis singing 'Incense and Peppermints'"...that is the unusual and unique mix of 1950's and 1960's at it's best.

Over the past five years, The Woolly Bushmen have played many notable shows with iconic acts like, Southern Culture on the Skids, The Dexter Romweber Duo, King Khan, Ty Segall, The Beat, The Fleshtones, Gringo Star, and many more, as well as frequently being invited to play festivals. They currently do routine tours of the United States.

From the beginning, The Woolly Bushmen have rarely had to hustle for gigs...shortly after they emerged from their garage studio, they were and continue to be asked to play more gigs than they can handle. Both, The Orlando Weekly and The Orlando Music News have voted them Best New Band, Band of the Week, and Best Orlando Release of 1012...you name it. The Tampa press and media have similarly lauded them as well, to the point where Tampa has adopted them as their own even though they hail from the Orlando area. The Woolly Bushmen have repeatedly been invited to play live on multiple radio stations as well as having regular radio airplay.

In July 2011, The Woolly Bushmen released a demo EP entitled, "Here Cometh The Woolly Bushmen" on retro cassette tape and sold out in less than 2 months! The band's eponymously titled full length CD was released in July 2012 at a live show in Orlando that saw the parking lot filled with fans unable to get in to the packed club, yet, stayed on site because it was the place to be! The CD received great reviews and has sold thousands without any promotion other than gigs! The band's merchandise, t-shirts, bumper stickers and CD's are sold out as soon as a new run is produced. They released a well-received seven-inch record in April of 2013. All three releases have seen airplay on several college radio stations on the east coast.

In 2015 The Woolly Bushmen released their first vinyl LP “SKY BOSSES” on their self run label Chesterwick Records. “SKY BOSSES” has been reviewed by countless Rock ‘N’ Roll/ Indie music blogs (both domestic and international) as well as having International radio play.

The group recently recorded their latest LP “ARDUINO” produced by Rick Miller of Southern Culture On The Skids. Though it is still in the works, various labels have already begun to show interest in releasing the LP.

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