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Maynard and the Musties
Maynard and the Musties
22 Jun 2012
Americana Country Rock. Guitars, fiddle, trombone, singer-songwriter. Whiskeytown meets Felice Brothers
Bio: Maynard moved to New York City from Nashville in 1981 to attend art school. He quickly adjusted into the freaky surroundings of the then delapidated and vibrant New York art scene, and was a painter for well over a decade. Gradually his art became full of words and he found himself simply writing fiction and publishing a couple of xeroxed "zines." He then found himself working at Christies Auction House, and finally in the book department of that glitzy establishment, where he no longer had time to finish his increasingly lengthy fiction pieces. He had always played guitar, if poorly, and songs were generally quicker to write. The guitar was also a comfort zone, reminding him, in a fuzzy, romanticized way, of his childhood in Nashville. Ah, the memories...His first aesthetic discussion was with Kris Kristofferson at 6 years old. His babysitter's parents were out of town, she threw a party. The next morning, after Kristofferson apparently spent the night with the baby-sitter, Maynard found himself at the breakfast nook discussing with the legendary songwriter the merits of Super Sugar Crisps versus Sugar Pops.
The Musties are a nexus of friends, largely in the book or publishing or printing trade... and one used to be a librarian. Most are also southern transplants (one being from the south of France). Naa Koshie Mills, ex-librarian, New Orleans ex-pat, walked into Maynard's book shop that he once had in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. They instantly hit it off, and have been friends and musical collaborators for about 8 years, once calling themselves The Millerite-Redeemers. Maynard and Mo Jepson have known each other since the 1990s. Maynard watched Mo's progressive musical ventures, No No Bun Bun, singing solo at open mics, and later the band Mr. MacGregor. At one point Mo asked Maynard if he wanted to come to a Mr. MacGregor rehersal and play songs with them. Together with Naa Koshie, and the late, great Drew Glackin, Maynard and the Musties were born.
Their first album, So Many Funerals, came about because Maynard was selling books at the 25th Street Garage Flea Market. He wanted to make a demo with his new group the Musties. Maynard had heard that one of his customers was in the music biz, and thought the Musties should do a demo for the purposes of getting gigs. So he asked this customer, Russ Titelman, "Russ, you're wa-ay up here and I'm wa-ay down here. I know you have some killer suggestions for recording studios, you know, like a secret super place." Russ suggested Dubway Studios. Shortly after, Ryan Adams, also a frequent customer came by. Making small talk, Maynard mentioned he was making a demo. "Fuck that!" Adams said, "Make an album!" Adams asked where Maynard was recording and upon hearing it was Dubway said, "I love that place! Rent the room with the Piano, I'll play with you!" And thus, So Many Funerals came into being. (Adams plays on the track Elvis Museum.)
Soon after, Maynard sought out his own band, as the MacGregor fellers were increasingly unavailable due to marriages, babies and such. Then, he found Dikko Faust, a letter-press printer he had known for years, had indulged himself as a middle-age crisis gift to himself, trombone lessons. Formerly a percussionist, one will notice in Cheap Cigar noises emanating from the trombone section, that one would normally not expect (Miles of Broadway, Marfa, 17 Broken Candles). From playing gigs with Jeph Duarte and the Newton Gang, Joe added the Newton Gang's Chet Hartin at bass, and later brother Gordon Hartin on steel. He also added longtime friend John McQueenie as part time drummer, stealing him away from his Jazz project, Combat Jazz, where McQueenie plays saxophone. They also added Pierre Scoffoni on drums, who came to New York from Aix-en-Provance for grad school at NYU.
Maynard had briefly met Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, as he is co-owner of The Lakeside Lounge where they often play, but had also long admired Roscoe's work with the obvious big acts such as Joan Jett and Steve Earle, but foremost was a fan of his production work with The Blood Oranges and Chip Robinson, who was a a close buddy of Maynard's late roommate Drew Glackin. (Roscoe and Chip did a very eloquent and memorable dobro and guitar duet at Drew's memorial). After hearing Chip's record Mylow, Maynard was certain that he wanted to work with Roscoe. Maynard emailed Ambel, and Ambel scheduled a lunch meeting at Cowboy Technical, where they listened to Tom Waits and talked about music, gear and studio logistics. As coincidence would have it, Ambel moved into Maynard's neighborhood about 3 blocks away, and lunch meetings are now a fairly regular thing. Maynard thinks of Ambel as a coach, friend, and pretty much a member of the Musties. Ambel's influence has been huge, including suggestions at rehearsals, suggesting gear and whatnot, and describing the band as such: "You've got your rhythm section, consisting of Joe, drums and bass, and your weirdos: Naa Koshie, Mo and Dikko." Also a big mentor over the years has been Mike Randall, a writer and film maker who Maynard knows from his 'zine days. Randall, a bonafide music school graduate, has an encyclopedic knowledge of country music and country guitar riffs.
So there you have it. The lineage, in a nut-shell, of Maynard and the Musties, Inc. Hope you enjoy Cheap Cigar.
Press Release: Maynard and the Musties (Americana/Country/Rock)
...is a band of mostly southern transplants—including one from the south of France—living in New York City. They are a loose network of friends that have been getting together for around six years and playing gigs at the Rodeo Bar, Lakeside Lounge, Hank’s Saloon, and othersimpatico venues. Joe Maynard, the singer-songwriter in the band, originally moved from Tennessee to New York to attend art school. Maynard had admired the work of Eric “Roscoe” Ambel for some time and, upon hearing excerpts from Chip Robinson’s album Mylow, decided to ask Ambel if he’d produce a Musties album. The 12 musical gems that comprises Cheap Cigar is the result of their collaboration.
“A relaxed musical roadtrip.” —Johan Schoenmakers, altcountryforum.nl
"Cheap Cigar is loose and worn and boozy. Every note is a surprise. Every line is sad but true. This is highly recommended as good hanging out and drinking music." —Calvin Powers, Taproot Radio
“Scripted with a Swagger.” —Jeph Duarte, brooklyncountry.com
The track list:
Rock this Little Boat
Pretty & Cryin'
Lay Here In The Ground
Miles of Broadway
17 Broken Candles
After the Game
Battle of Nashville
Players for This Album:
Joe Maynard (lead vocal, accoustic guitar), Mo Jepson (lead guitar), Dikko Faust (trombone), Naa Koshie Mills (fiddle), Gordon Hartin (pedal steel), Eric Ambel (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Mary Lee Kortes (backing vocals), Chet Hartin (bass), Kelly Looney (bass), Keith Christopher (bass), John McQueeney (drums), and Pierre Scoffoni (drums)
Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel
Recorded by Tim Hatfield and Mario Viele at Cowboy
Mixed by Eric Ambel at Evie’s
Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering
Contact info: Joe Maynard 718-636-3955. firstname.lastname@example.org
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