A few months ago I hit up a Happy Hour/CD release show (The Mooncussers) at Rumba Cafe. Honestly, I left work a bit late and was hoping that I wouldn’t have to sit through the opening act (Tom Evanchuck) that I didn’t know anything about. So glad that my timing was off and I arrived just as Evanchuck was getting started. What I saw really blew me away … a two-piece dirty blues band (I hesitate using the word “blues”, but there is elements of blues and folk in Evanchuck’s music).
Peloton Records – the local label that has already hit a home run by pushing their artist Lydia Loveless to the next level (ie – a label deal with Bloodshot) – is handling the release of Evanchuck’s TWO new CDs, the acoustic/folky Fadin’ Glow and the rougher, plugged-in Tom Evanchuck is Back as The Evanchucks. We’ll explore these two releases next week but right now the electric album, which paints Evanchuck as a young Chris Whitley in my opinion, is at the top of my playlist.
Evanchuck joins The Mooncussers and Lydia Loveless, fresh off a lengthy midwest/west coast tour, tonight at Rumba. Show starts around 9pm.
Stumbled into the Rumba Cafe a little past start time for the Happy Hour show last night, ready to bid a long work week adieu. I was more than pleasantly surprised by Tom Evanchuck’s opening set of Delta-style blues/folk. If I understood correct, the singer’s name was Tom and the drummer’s last name was Evanchuck and they merged the two together to name the band.
Call it “being in the moment”, but given the time of day, the $1.50 PBR drafts, the respect the audience was giving the duo, the intimacy of the Rumba Cafe, I was having SXSW flashbacks. It’s always great to step into a club with no expectations and be blown away as I was last night.
While I’m kicking myself for not picking up a copy of the live album (Live Birth) Tom was promoting from the stage just before the set ended, both that album and a full-length (Tom) are available digitally on iTunes and Amazon. Remember that “Buy a $20 Amazon gift card for $10” promotion running rampant on the internet a week ago? Yep, I’ll be spending my on Evanchuck’s music today.
The Mooncussers sound makes total sense when you take a look at the resumes of the guys who make up the band. While a few of them played in noisier rock outfits in the early ’90s up and down High Street, as everyone grew a little older/a little grayer, the good ol’ Americana sound so prevalent in the midwest (is Ohio REALLY in the midwest?) started to creep into the different projects that these guys were involved with.
The end result, which I think was sort of a stroke of luck that originally was conceived as a Todd May (Lilybandits) solo album, is The Mooncussers whose backroom, late-night bar sound isn’t so much alt.country as it is “tractor rock” (ie rock music that sounds like it was written by rural boys who grew up listening to Tom Petty, Skynyrd, Jackson Browne, Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons records).
Not sure if the EP is getting a physical release or if you’ll just have to settle for digital, but The Mooncussers will be playing these tracks (and others) during a special happy hour show on Friday at Rumba Cafe.
The Mooncussers happy hour show runs from 6pm – 9pm at Rumba Cafe. Tom Evanchuck and The Mallards (formerly Big Back Forty, minus Barry Hensley, plus Jason Sturgis) will perform before The Mooncussers hit the stage.