A Country Music Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Independence Weekend began early as the Brooklyn based hipster country band The Defibulators started the fireworks party inside Music Box Supper Club Thursday evening. Not only has this writer been trending toward the under-my-radar artists, but this group just happens to be the second consecutive band I’ve covered (Spirit Family Reunion ND 06252015) that hails from the borough outside of Manhattan.
The heart and soul of these wonderful singer/songwriters begins with front man Bryan “Bug” Jennings on acoustic guitar/banjo/harp singing most of the lead vocals through a traditional mic or a classic silver Turner mic from the ‘60’s giving a fuzz distortion effect. Adding duet, harmony, and lead vocals on “Pay For That Money”, a great country song about credit card debt, was the sweetheart of this rodeo Erin Brueggemann. On the corners were Chris “Roadblock” Hartway playing his home made telecaster and fiddler Adam Moss who were trading licks and fills the entire evening. Holding down the fort with the back beat was Mike Riddleberger on the sticks and Dave Speranza on bass.
This summer, The Defibulators are on the end of touring behind the 2013 release Debt’ll Get ‘Em with plans of going back into the studio for their next project. Most of the first set came from that portion of their songbook leading things off with the lovely duet “Get Your Papers”. That was followed by the catchy single “Holy Roller” about being stuck behind a church bus on a two lane highway. Other favorites included three defining Americana country tunes “Let Me See That Ponytail Run”, “Hee-Haw in Heaven” and the lovely harmonies weaved into the ballad “Real Slow”. The band mixed in songs from their 2009 debut Lp Corn Money including “Thin Air” a song about drinking a bit too much on an airplane and the fiddle tune “Ol’ Winchester” that was derived from a Wall Street banker who had an antique firearms collection. One of the funnier moments of the evening was setting up the song “Go-Go Truck” about how a little boy can grow up to be a trucker with a trailer full of go-go dancers. During the song, Jennings walked out into the audience and on top of the tables singing through the Turner microphone to the delight of the faithful. Mixed in were some beautiful takes on George Jones, Warren Zevon, Doug Kershaw, The Band, and a cowpunk version of the June Carter/Johnny Cash classic “Jackson” with Bug and Erin trading lead vocals. The chemistry was evident on stage as the band loved the audio quality of the room and the enthusiastic response throughout their two hour performance.
I can’t tell you enough what a pleasure it was to talk with The Defibulators and how accommodating they were in assisting me with this story. The connections we all make in life due to the love of music is …. well, priceless.