Band of the Day

2012.03.19

Blackfoot Gypsies

A Nashville duo makes foot-stompin' blues rock seeping with Southern soul
You call my name like you were howling at the moon, and now I can't get over you.
lyrics from Coming Through The Pines

The Blackfoot Gypsies are a duo from Nashville, Tennessee that draw from the roots of classic American musical elements like blues, soul, and country to create a sound that is completely their own - “Cosmic American/ Trans-Western” as they like to call it. Matthew Paige (vocals, guitar, harmonica, fiddle, banjo) and Zack Murphy (drums) met through a Craigslist ad and have created songs that evidence stylistic elements of their influences such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, The Band, and MC5 to name just a few, also bringing an energy level reminiscent of early punk bands. Their self-titled five-song EP was released in early 2011 and was followed up by the sophomore EP Dandee Cheeseball almost a year later. The duo is currently on tour and will be releasing a vinyl record titled A Piece of American History in March of 2012.

See that Play button up there on the left? Press it, start playing the song “Coming Through The Pines,” and close your eyes. You've just been transported to 1970s-era Nashville, Tennessee, thanks to the musical time machine of The Blackfoot Gypsies. The duo—Matthew Paige on vocals and guitar, and Zach Murphy on drums—aren't actually from the 70s, nor have they accidentally invented a time machine. But all five songs on their 2011 self-titled debut EP might have you thinking otherwise. “Coming Through The Pines,” the EP's opening track, starts with a slide guitar riff that's seeping with Southern twang and blues folklore. Perhaps, like blues legend Robert Johnson, Paige also had it tuned by the devil. However, listening to Paige sing lines like, “You call my name/Like you were howling at the moon/And now I can't get over you,” shows that the devil may have been duped, as there's nothing but soul in Paige's delivery. Murphy provides foot-stompin' beats that chug along steadily for most of the song, before ramping up for a big finale. Considering the fact that The Blackfoot Gypsies are a two-man outfit, they know how to turn the music up into a powerful force to be reckoned with. Before coming together as The Blackfoot Gypsies, Paige was living in various parts of the Pacific Northwest, while Murphy was based in Nashville. When Paige relocated to Nashville, he put out a Craigslist ad looking for “My Charlie Watts” [in reference to The Rolling Stones' drummer]. Murphy responded, the two bonded over their common taste in music, and are now proving that you don't need a large band to make a large sound. “Keep Running” pays tribute to their vintage country influences, like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, with Paige's Southern twang coming through in the way he stretches out the word “running” into well beyond two syllables. Though most of The Blackfoot Gypsies' music is distinctly Southern, closing track “Just Can't Stop (Myself From Loving You)” pays homage to their rock n'roll forefathers from across the pond, namely early Rolling Stones and Kinks. With such a promising and trans-generational debut, The Blackfoot Gypsies have established themselves as a band to keep closely on your radar.