Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Budrows Release “No Bad Whiskey” on June 1

It started with a cigar box guitar. When Jason Farthing began building the affordable 19th Century instrument they were initially displayed in galleries, but its original intention was to be played. Soon Farthing became a one-man-band, playing his cigar box guitar along with a kick drum and a tambourine to show off the bluesy sound of the homemade instrument. Singer Macarena Rivera (Farthing’s stepdaughter) added vocals and lures audiences in with her deep, exotic vocal range – all while playing a washboard. The two began to write songs and play shows together as The Budrows (meaning buddies).

They later met Jesse “El Gato” Boden, who played harmonica and even some flute to round out the sound for an unexpected and unique musical experience.  The trio released two full-length original albums and a 4-song EP of blues covers. With punk and rock influences, the band is also rooted in country and blues, with traditional undertones. It’s swampy music - made on the cigar box guitar, gas can banjo, washboard, harmonica, and a few other old time instruments. The trio is releasing their newest EP No Bad Whiskey, out June 1, 2015.

"‘No Bad Whiskey’ is my favorite song to play now,” says Jason. “We were coming back from a gig one night after a few whiskeys and somehow, ‘no bad whiskey’ came out of my mouth. It’s kind of a blue collar drinking song, being rich for the weekend and spending it all on a night on the town, but having your friends around to help you enjoy it all.”

The song is a raucous affair – the gas can banjo, and the foot stomping energy is a crowd favorite and the crowd sings aloud with gusto, “no bad whiskey’s ever crossed these lips of mine!”

The Budrows collaborate on songwriting – even though they are personal stories. Macarena speaks on “Prove Me Wrong,” portraying the struggle of conflicting cultures. “My mother was born and raised in Argentina, while I was brought to the US at the age of 10 and was introduced to American culture.  I wrote this when I was in high school after my mom had declared that she would be moving back to Argentina because I was no longer her family, thus she claimed she had no business being in the US."

Jason’s gas can banjo is the perfect tired, almost worn out sound, to compliment vocals, along with the bittersweet sound of Jesses’ flute. “In the recording we added Hannah Glass on both the viola and the violin, and Alan Deremo on upright bass,” says Macarena. Deremo also played with Glenn Frey, Bo Diddley, The Mamas and the Papas, Men At Work and John Denver.

“Jason has always been a little skeptical of the flute, he sees it as a band geek instrument. Me, I’m actually first and foremost a singer-guitar player, started playing guitar when I was 14, and played the harmonica. I didn’t pick the flute up until I was in my mid-twenties, never was in the band at school, it was just a fluke that I started playing flute, but I got into it and taught myself how to play, and practiced for hours,” said Jesse.

“Devil on My Side’’ was written by Jesse, and Jason did the music. “We started jamming it and Jesse was saying, ‘something, something Baton Rouge’…. What the hell? I laid down the structure and recorded it on my phone for Jesse and sent it to him to write the lyrics,” said Jason. “He came back with some cool stuff and we finished that next week and played it out right away. It’s been a screaming foot-stomper at live shows ever since - and it’s funny cause Boden will introduce the song and say, ‘we just wrote this one a few weeks ago’… even though it’s been like almost a year now.”

Macarena Rivera
lead vocals, washboard, & percussion
Jason Farthing
gas can banjo, cigar box guitar,
kick drum & kick tambourine
Jesse “El Gato” Boden
harmonica & flute
(vocals on “Devil’s On My Side” &
“Never Comin’ Back”)

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