Friday, February 21, 2014
Way down in lower Alabama, almost every weekend for the past two years, folks have been coming together for a music gathering called The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm. One part house concert, one part Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, the affair has hosted some of the country’s finest songwriters, pickers, bluesman and troubadours ranging from Mary Gauthier to Alvin Youngblood Hart, Malcolm Holcombe to Randall Bramblett, Sergio Webb to George Porter, Jr. It was here that frequent encounters between reoccurring artists—Grayson Capps, Will Kimbrough, Corky Hughes and the duo Sugarcane Jane featuring Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford—led to the birth of a band, the aptly named Willie Sugarcapps.
At first it was simply songwriter-in-the-round and jam session-styled collaborations, but it quickly grew to become something more. There was chemistry between the five distinct musicians that inspired a repertoire of songs demanding to be documented. They recruited Capps’ longtime partner and Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker to record them, which resulted in the self-titled, debut album, Willie Sugarcapps. The collection presents ten impeccably crafted songs imbued by relaxed performances, angelic harmonies and country Zen sentiment. Band members often take turns singing lead as they switch up between fiddle, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, bass and even ukulele.
“Willie Sugarcapps is a homecoming for all of us,” explains Will Kimbrough. “It’s coming full circle back to the beginning of why we do this in the first place and the joy of what happens when you play and sing with people who are alike in spirit and mind.”
Their collective musical experiences mingle together to create a new kind of organic and artisanal music. It’s laid back, it rocks, it comes from classic country, from the blues, from New Orleans and from the best kind of rock ‘n’ roll. It tells a story through five individual voices full of character and experience with humanity, energy and soul. It’s comforting to know that music in the hands of these five artists still happens for no other reason than purely the sake of the music itself.