Listen Up: "Ramblin' Papa Blues" by Rye Baby
Jennifer Hope Brumlow and Callie Harmon have spent the past year performing and making music as The Quote Unquotes. But recently, they rechristened themselves as Rye Baby; and in the process, the Chattanooga duo has learned to transition from playing rock 'n' roll in previous local bands to existing as a folk duo, paring back the noise and finding the hopeful and occasionally forlorn heart of their own music.
They've shared the stage with artists such as Shonna Tucker and Paleface and have used their time onstage to hone their already razor-sharp musical instincts. The band let slip that they are working on recording their first EP at Red Crow Studios in Chattanooga and have posted two new songs, "Ramblin' Papa Blues" and "Twitchin'," to their Bandcamp page. These songs are listed as having come from a collection called Flat 716 Sessions.
On "Ramblin' Papa Blues," Brumlow and Harmon borrow some pointers from a hundred years of blues traditions and come away with the heart and soul and emotional weariness of singers like Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Brandishing insistent guitar lines, banjo plucks and a stomping beat, they work their way through a broad musical template that has worked perfectly for the past century and will continue to work on into the next.
Brumlow sings in a ragged howl, backed up by Harmon's wonderfully loose and ramshackle fretwork. The song instantly makes you think of front porch get-togethers and displays a sort of Dust Bowl unsentimentality—all hard times and backbreaking work. Somehow, this music makes it all bearable, but just so.
Rye Baby may be a relatively new project for both Brumlow and Harmon, but if "Ramblin' Papa Blues" is any indication, it may house some of their finest and most creatively mature work to date. Let the blues wail and the music keep on coming. They can't get done with that new EP soon enough.
Nooga.com | 04.16.14 | Joshua Pickard
- Acoustic/Electric guitars
- Tenor Banjo
- Various Percussion (foot tambourine, kick board with pickup, kick drum)
- 2 Vocal Mics
- Mic for Electric Guitar Amp
- Mic for Foot Tambourine
- Mic for Kick
- D.I.'s for Acustic Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Autoharp.
Jennifer Brumlow - vocals, guitar, banjo, Autoharp, kazoo, melodica, percussion
Callie Harmon - guitar, mandolin, banjo, lap steel, percussion, vocals