2008

Found instruments, playing found music, music that is genuinely unique although firmly grounded in traditional folk and blues. Being inspired is one thing, but making inspiring music is another, and the two don’t always go together. With the Groanbox Boys though there’s never a moment when their music isn’t inspired. They draw the listener into their world, a world where music is more primal, more connected to the earth and whose vibrations reach right down inside them and touch their very core. Their latest album, Fences Come Down, couldn’t be more aptly named, as the Boys recognise no boundaries, no limit to what they play, the sounds they make, or what separates them from their audience. Truly one of those nights. -Jeremy Searle, Maverick.

Full of hillbilly, hobo blues, and banjo frenzy…also resurrected are period instruments, such as the freedom boot and shackles, employed as advocates to the 1930s and 1940s wandering freedom songs. Lively, entertaining, intriguing, at times melancholy, and at other times vibrant, there is an enjoyable ride to be had here on this train…” -Russell Welton, Acoustic Magazine.

Utterly individual…one of the roots albums of the year. -Andy Snipper, Blues Matters.

The infectious energy the band generate proves irresistible…There’s a simplicity to bashing away at gourd skins and tree stumps, although such accessibility disguises the sophistication of the band’s music. -Alfred Hickling, The Guardian.

Itinerant road songs for the new austerity. -Tim Cumming, The Independent.

Describing them simply as American roots musicians really wouldn’t cover it. They play with such a variety of influences, often within a single piece, that no genre would be able to contain them…the emotion was on display for all to hear and feel. -Martin Lennon, The Scotsman.

Now, I have just come across the next duo, and there is so much to say that I am gonna leave it to another program. They have a completely new, completely different take on the music. They are simply amazing! – Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2 (27th August 2008).

An extraordinary mix of European and American folk styles – like Uncle Dave Macon dancing on the tables in a Parisian cafe with Django Reinhardt and Clifton Chenier riffing in the background. Alfred Hickling, The Guardian.

A rich sound with Seznec pulling vintage, deeply characterful tones from guitar and a fretless-sounding gourd-banjo, and Ward-Bergeman adding longing counterpoint as Clifford applies a hammer to a yew log or plays with brushes ( as in paint, rather than the standard drummer’s issue)…An arresting blend of sophistication, foot-stompin’ bonhomie and furious harmonica storms… -Rob Adams, The Herald.

Multi-cultural eclecticism, dynamic performances and a joyous, foot-tapping folk heart… Rich but relaxed, vibrant but subtle, Fences Come Down is highly recommended to those who love colourful and characterful roots music. -HC, Maverick Magazine.

Every now and then, a musical experience comes your way that makes you sit up and listen and do a sort of aural double-take, like the sort of thing you used to see in those old cartoons; a real ‘huh!!” experience. This CD is one of those. Not blues, not folk, not even really any specific kind of American roots music, more like all of the above and then some. -Ian M, review of Fences Come Down for Blues in the South.

On the Freedom Boot: It’s a percussion instrument to us but between all the stuff that people have given us to put in the bag and all the theoretical and historical stuff that’s been attached to it, it’s become pretty heavy both physically and spiritually. -From Michael’s interview with Rob Adams, The Herald.

We try to make a point of creating a recording that’s indicative of the way we sound live – capturing that energy. -from the Metro‘s 5 questions with…

…The music was considerably more interesting than duelling banjos however, with Michael Ward-Bergeman’s accordion combining well with Cory Seznec’s varied stringed instruments to touch on gipsy music and all points south, including Cajun. -Paul Rhodes, The Press.

Folk, Blues, Hillbilly, Old Time and Country, Zydeco, with a zest of Gypsy music: it’s smooth’n’rough, it’s stompin’, it’s unexpected, and is said to have ‘the power to energize everyone who comes close’ -Jill Turner for Gondwana Sound.

…the Boys’ sheer exuberance – not to mention the fascinating and enthralling sounds they conjure from the simplest of means – wins me over completely. – David Kidman, Netrhythms.co.uk, review of Fences Come Down.

There are acoustic-guitar- picking folk groups, there are accordion-pounding Gypsy troupes, there are harmonica-blowing blues combos and gourd-banjo-frailing world-music troubadours; there are even, probably, musicians who carry six-foot-high percussion sticks around with them. But there is surely no musical partnership that brings all of the above together as bracingly as the Groanbox Boys. -Ben Chu, The Independent, tour preview.