Any patron of the downtown Athens gift shop Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother will probably remember Dave Martin. If they don’t, chances are they may have caught the musical group, Poncho Magic at Tasty World once or twice.
Since way back when, Martin has kept busy in a variety of ways, like performing various duties with electronic act Astral Summer and playing guitar with Gypsy Farm artists Uncle Goo and The Humms.
Naturally, we are proud to announce the debut of Dave’s latest endeavor, a bedroom pop-stained, musical mattress titled THE BEAR TRAPS and it’s two singles: “Desert Of Love” b/w “I Don’t Want To Die Tonight” are out now on Gypsy Farm Records.
Cicada Rhythm is the dynamic duo of Andrea DeMarcus and Dave Kirslis.
Hailing from Northeast Georgia, they are more often than not, joined by the likes of Colin Agnew, Matt Stoessel, and Dan Kirslis.
They are also quite fine friends of the Gypsy Farm organization and first official installment of what we hope will become our on-going interview series, brought to you by GF field correspondent, Willie Shears.
“What Cicada Rhythm offers is roots music that’s unassuming, expertly played and sung by two clear as glass voices.” – NPR
How did y’all meet? I’ve heard there was a train involved?
Andrea: Dave and I met after he jumped off of a freight train with his old pal Matt Pendrick (Slow Parade). He called a mutual friend and we both went to pick them up! They were really dirty. He always says “It wasn’t love at first sight”, and he’s right, but I will never forget that day.
Andrea, what can you say about your experience at Juilliard?
It was a time when I worked very hard on myself and my talent. I wish I could say it was the best thing that ever happened to me, but the truth is, it was the greatest challenge I have ever faced. I had many shining moments playing music with exceptional artists, and I met many people who were on their way to fame and achievement. It opened my eyes and humbled me in so many ways so very many times.
I’m happy to have graduated, and pressed myself to learn exactly what I wanted from life, which is changing all the time, even still. It seems that the adventure of creation, performing, and earning every new fan with a made from scratch sound and vocal vulnerability that excites me infinitely more than reading notes from a page.
Dave, when did you begin playing guitar and harmonica?
My first guitar came from a trash pile on the side of the road, it had a shattered slotted headstock which my dad rebuilt. It existed in my childhood home as long as I can remember but neither my dad or I knew how to play or tune it. I was always attracted to it and in 6th grade I got a couple lessons from Rick Rudica at what was Dekalb Music in downtown Decatur, Georgia.
After that I pretty much knew how to tune it and would mess around at home. When I went to boarding school for the rest of middle and high school, I taught myself through that period. After graduating high school I came back to Atlanta and took a few more lessons with Rick and then became interested in finger picking.
At that time I was very interested in early blues and roots music. I saw Joe Mcguinness play at the 5 spot in little five points one night in 2008 and was really impressed with his finger style. I later contacted him to take lessons and I learned a lot from him about technique and music. I became interested in theory and Joe told me to try a few lessons with Oliver Wood.
I took a few lessons with him until he moved to Nashville. Shortly after that I moved to Athens, and I took a few classical guitar lessons. Then I had a lesson with Dan Nettles and I plan to take some more lessons from him. There’s always something to learn on guitar.
I began playing harmonica when I found an old dusty harmonica under the stage at Blind Willies, I should have never put that thing in my mouth. I used to perform roots music on Monday nights at Blind Willies with my band Midnight Revival. I know just enough about harmonica to be dangerous but I find it useful when there are too many guitars in the mix. I also enjoy carving out electric tones when playing one through an amp and try to stay out of the way.
When did y’all sign with Normaltown / New West Records?
We signed with Normaltown in 2015, and our most recent record, “Everywhere I go” came out on New West in 2018.
How was your experience recording with producer Drew Vandenburg? (Faye Webster,Deerhunter, Of Montreal)
Dave: Drew was great. I love the tones he captures and his approach. When you work with him you know you’re in good hands plus he is a classy chap and a straight shooter. He tries to capture you the way you sound, but the best it can sound, if that makes sense.
When did Colin join? I love his drumming / percussion style.
Dave: Colin started playing in CR around 2015, Andrea and I were touring as a duo and we did a co-bill tour with Adron. They were also a duo and Colin would hop on stage during “In the Garden” and play percussion for that tune. It felt very natural with him. Andrea, like any good bass player, has a great time. But my squirrelly guitar playing weaves in and out sometimes, but Colin can play seamlessly between Andrea and I and it makes it work on a new level. Colin is a very musical person, he is also a great piano player and can sing! Not to mention a great engineer too, he is a huge part of the band.
Name other musicians that tour with Cicada Rhythm.
Matt Stoessel, Dan Kirslis, John Neff, Steven Leadbetter, Rex Hussmann, Justin Hotzclaw, Rhett Huffman, Colin James Dean, Chris Mala, Joseph Faul and Patrick Russert are all folks we’ve had play with Cicada.
How was your first tour abroad, outside of the US, (with Jim White?)
We love Jim. He is one of the best storytellers I know and such a great songwriter. Touring Europe for the first time and playing with Jim was a memory we will never forget. We didn’t have a tour manager so we were doing everything so it was a huge handful. We also got to meet some really interesting people hanging out with him. Jim is like a character out of a Wes Anderson movie.
CR recently toured the U.S. with Kishi Bashi, both as an opener and backing band.. how different was that experience from the usual tour?
Again, another Athens great who provided an unforgettable experience for CR. Touring with him was the real deal, we were on a bus, had a crew, early load ins and very late nights.
But it was magical, Kaoru is one of the kindest folks we have ever got to work with. He’s a brilliant musician and a talented songwriter and fearless when it comes to music.
But to answer your question, his tour was different than ours mostly by scale and reach. He could play to 2k people a night, where we’d play to 200 hopefully. He’d play one day in San Francisco, the next day in Seattle, that wouldn’t be possible in our band-driven Sprinter van.
Hopefully someday, if the music industry ever returns to normal we can get there.
Dave, you’ve recently started to work with bees, how’s that experience?
It has consumed me. I started with two hives last year, now I have twelve. Hoping to continue to grow. I really love it, they are fascinating creatures.
Dave, when did your father begin to play the flute?
He picked it up in college. He took piano lessons up until then and knew a lot of theory. But he prefers to play flute now when improvising. It’s still one of my goals to record with him someday.
Andrea, what is your ideal way to prepare, pre-gig?
I guess I don’t really have one!
Dave, were you once a DJ at WREK? How was that? Favorite records?
I was the host of Friday Night Fish Fry and the Jazz morning show. The fish fry was blues so I would play a lot of Sean Costello, Joe Mcguinness,Mudcat, Coopdaville, Nate Nelson & his entertainment crackers, the Breeze Kings, which were all local Northside Tavern Bands. I would play the classics like Chuck Berry, Jerry Reed, JB Lenoir, Howlin Wolf, Robert Johnson.
I used to love playing Robert Johnson records and I would slow down the rpms to 30 rpm. I think the recording equipment used when tracking him was sped up somehow. I would get tons of calls into the station of people very curious about it. When I was on the jazz show, I played a lot of Art Tatum, Billie Holliday, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chet Baker, and really any other records I found interesting in the WREK Archives. I loved working as a DJ there.
Andrea, what strings do you prefer on the upright bass / double bass / bull fiddle?
I know you both have recently been recording more demos at home, how has that been? What’s your set up? Feel free to get as technical as desired.
We built a standing desk on wheels, with rack mount gear underneath, and a Sound Workshop 1280B console on top of the desk. I recently recapped the whole console myself. I have a 12 channel snake that goes into my console, and then the console has direct outs that go through the patch bay normalled to my Lynx [Aurora 16] interface.
I have some UA and ampex analog gear I can patch in before or after I hit Pro Tools 12. I also have a tascam 414 that has some of the SW console bus channels routed to it. I love that thing. I really enjoy recording at home, I’ve found it can be helpful to have an engineer on hand when tracking a lot of songs, so instead of me playing both roles I can just focus on the music.
Shortly before his passing, you sat down to dinner with the late Col. Bruce Hampton, how was that experience?
Dave: He was amazing and larger than life. Our Manager Matt Wilson was his good friend and lawyer. He came to two CR shows at Eddie’s Attic. We listened to him tell stories after our set and he guessed my birthday on the 3rd try. He said I was an earthy guy for a Cancer sign haha. I felt very lucky and honored to have met with him.
We had tickets to go to see his final show, but we were booked and gave them to my friend, Sam Holt, who was thankful to be there, Sam was in that jam circle, he’s also a great guitar player. Col Bruce was an Atlanta treasure. May he rest in peace.
How was working with Oliver of the Wood Brothers + Milk Carton Kids on your most recent release?
Dave: Working with Oliver and Kenneth was pretty great. Oliver has been a hero for me since day one, and I learned alot from working with Kenneth. Kenneth also got me obsessed with Hammond organs.
We felt very lucky to be in the company of both of those great players. We learned a lot through that album, and it was stressful making a record in a town you are 6 hours away from but I am proud of that record and we come away stronger.
Dave, you’ve been refurbishing a 1950’s Gibson acoustic guitar, how did that come about?
Robert Motes is an excellent luthier down the road from me. He brought that guitar back to life and did an incredible job. It was an LG1 1950s Gibson that I bought off a girl in Hiawassee, GA . It was priced very low because the sunburst finished had been sanded off and it was warped beyond belief.
Robert took off the back and redid some bracing, flattened out the warps in the belly and installed a bridge doctor and a new bridge and saddle. The guitar is now one of my favorites, I still am in awe of the work he did.
Andrea/Dave, tell us about the strangest gig you can recollect.
(Andrea) Probably playing a set on one of our first tours. We were in Knoxville, playing a Christian coffee house. We were literally only getting paid in coffee and the coffee was awful. They set us up in front of a large glass wall, which had an narcotics anonymous meeting going on on the other side.
(Dave) The only person that came was my dad who lived in Oakridge, he sat on a couch in front of us, and occasionally would hop up and dance around in his flip flops. A couple times they would walk around the glass wall and tell us to quiet down. It was a strange gig.
Directed by WJAY and shot within the Shoal Creek Music Park, this selection features the Southern-fried, psychedelia imagery that is synonymous with the group, and their latest music video comes off the release of sophomore effort, “Vampire Hours” released this past Tuesday.
Stream and share the “Merry Days” music video below:
Long-time correspondent and GF recording artist, Garett Hatch (Mother The Car, Nate & The Nightmares, Ancient Ethel) delighted us earlier this year with the sudden release of his first solo album, “Place Without a Name” conceived, written and recorded while under quarantine in Asheville.
(TOP) Garett Hatch. Photo 2020 by Maddie Kendrick.
“Hatch’s first official solo effort, titled “Place Without A Name” showcases a range of different styles and features the piano-wizardry of Mark Plemmons among several other musical guests. The album is set to be an enjoyable experience for the listener.” –Plez Jay
Then, Hatch surprised everyone with an immediate follow up, titled “Home” and it’s packed with supreme musical guests Annie Leeth, Casey Trivett and Stephen Britt, featuring artwork by Michelle Kaiser.
Garett Hatch’s “Home” is due out Oct 20th, stream and share the album via bandcamp:
In support of #saveourstages, current GFR recording artists Uncle Goo (with backing band, the Country Dragons) and The Humms will perform live today at 4pm on NetfreqTV via their twitch account.
The show, hosted by Matthew Suwalski, and produced by Atlanta, GA’s NetfreqTV, is called Freq Out and will feature new material from The Humms off of their forthcoming album, Vampire Hours (GF011) as well as their first ‘public’ performance since 2013.
Tune in today, starting at noon (E.S.T.) for the complete stream, beginning with “Studio Stories”.
The Athens, GA psychedelic group will release their first album of new material in over a decade next month, titled “Vampire Hours” on all streaming platforms..but patrons of this year’s Record Store Day will have a chance to enjoy an early opportunity at snagging the vinyl version, this Saturday, August 29th, at participating record shops.
“Grim motor-psycho music that goes from growling Steppenwolf jams to delightfully strange jazz/krautrock diversions.”
— Bandcamp (New & Notable)
“Starting out with a suggestion of Merseybeat and then destabilizing the relation as it goes along, but keeping the movement of the harmony coherent.”
— Kevin Dunn (co-producer; The B-52s, Pylon)
While some shops will open for R.S.D, we ask that folks adhere to proper social distancing, commonsense and wear a mask. It’s more fun than you may imagine. In fact, at some locations, it’s mandatory.
“Vampire Hours” by The Humms will be available this Saturday at these fine locations:
Athens, GA folk-pop ensemble, Sea of Dogs have remained inactive for the most part, after their crooner and banjo picker relocated to North Carolina.
While in early 2016, the group assembled at GF studio and recorded a whole album’s worth of material, most of which remains indefinitely shelved today.
We are pleased now to have received word, down from the mountain, granting permission to release a song from those sessions, Old Woman.
Long-time listeners will immediately recognize the tune, as it was first released on their 2010 album “You’re Not Too Old” recorded and mixed by Tim Schrieber.
In a notable departure from the album’s full band arrangement, this alternate take on the song finds singer Emily Armond’s voice in a pure, yet vulnerable state, bouncing through hollows, embraced only by a warn, piano accompaniment, courtesy of Jacob Morris.
Stream and share “Old Woman” by Sea of Dogs via bandcamp or youtube.
Despite the valid plea of longtime acquaintances to just “leave the corpse buried”, the official announcement came via the Humms’ website after a lone image appeared, revealing the album cover of a forthcoming record, Vampire Hours.
This sophomore effort is the band’s follow up to 2010’s Lemonland which debuted on Bachelor records (Austria) with an additional release by Odd Box (U.K).
“Screaming for the life they once forgot, shadow boxing the vampire they’re afraid to admit they are.” — Jared Cobb, The Peacock Observer
Flagpole magazine premiered the official music video for the record’s first single, “Lady Low” and announced that pre-orders for the album on 12″ vinyl LP are now available here.
Watch and share the music video for “Lady Low” below! Directed by W.J.A.Y / A KLEM Production.
Vampire Hours is out Sept 29th, with a special advance release for Record Store Day at select shops on Aug 29th, Sept 26th.
“It was so hot out there”, said Willie Shears [producer], echoing the perspiration of a group that had gathered in the studio on that scorching afternoon at Gypsy Farm.
“But you know” Shears continued, “it just wouldn’t have felt right, recording a song like This Heat in the comfort of air conditioning”.
Indeed, when This Heat debuted on radio last year, local country music disk jockey ‘Porkchop’ was quick to point out the atmosphere stating: “Creepy steel guitar & haunting vocals! I didn’t think it was possible to get chills because of a song about the heat.”
– Michael “Porkchop” Branch / WLHR 92.1
Uncle Goo / This Heat is available on Cattywampus!!! (2019 / Gypsy Farm Records)
In related news, long time GF veterans and psychedelic-folk-dream-team, otherwise known as “Old Smokey” (Jim Willingham), have reissued their first ep, Weeping Willow, and made it available for the first time online, thanks to John Fernandes’ Cloud Recordings label.
The ep was Gypsy Farm’s fifth release (GF005) having since gone out-of-print but is available now digitally, via bandcamp.
“Sounds as if it were originally featured on “The Wickerman” Soundtrack (1973), but some how, rather found itself reincarnated, falling through the laws of time and landing on your turntable, here in this strange modern world.” – WJAY review of Old Smokey 
Rounding out our scope of all things in GFR news, pre-orders are now live for the long awaited album by The Humms. The sophomore effort, titled Vampire Hours, marks the return of original founding drummer, John Bleech, among other special guest appearances and is due out September 29th with a special advance release for Record Store Day at select locations in Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky.
“This new release from The Humms yanks the listener from the ghoulish psychedelia of ‘Lemonland’, thrusting them deep into a depraved and possessed saloon in 17th century Transylgeorgia, spinning through violent and resplendent waves of dusty, mescaline-dipped Mai Tais, screaming for the life they once forgot, shadow boxing the vampire they’re afraid to admit they are.”
— Jared Cobb, The Peacock Observer
Along with the announcement, came a weird video collage, seemingly composed of old footage from the GFR archives, accompanied by a soundscape, with a rhythm not unlike that of some defunct Maytag dryer.
The audio has yet to be confirmed as being any part of the album’s track list. [UPDATE: The song title is “Fangs”]
Pre-order The Humms Vampire Hours on 12″ vinyl and get a digital download of the record, including the first single “Lady Low”.
We are pleased to have been involved earlier this year with the solo release of guitarist and known slugger, J.R. Fisher and the release of his song Vacation.
Fisher, who plays guitar with Ohio hard knockers, Unchipped, is also head-barker over at local Columbus record label, We Used To Drink Together Records and was instrumental in working with GF way back in January on the task of producing this limited run cassette release of their self-titled debut album.
“Today I received a box of Unchipped cassettes. This tape is a totally different mix and master than what you have heard so far, mixed by Zac Szymusiak at Weird Music Studios, and mastered by Zeke Sayer at Gypsy Farm Records, including cover art by Naoya Kawakami, and photos taken by Skot Thompson and John Toohill.
– We Used To Drink Together Records via an official press release.