If you have not yet been hustled by The Hustle, you are missing out. Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle will knock your socks off. It is that simple. Out of Cincinnati, this Americana fold band consists of leading man, Buffalo Wabs, or better known to his friends and family as Matt Wabnitz on vocals and guitar, Casey Campbell on drums, Ian Mathieu on bass, and Scott Risner on mandolin. All sharing a dream the foursome joined forces to create their own flavor of music, founded in high energy, mixed with deep roots, and topped off with a touch of contemporary, ending with pure party, a band that must be experienced live. This band will get you up, singing, dancing, and mesmerized before you know what hit you. In other words, as anyone who has witnessed Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle, they will hustle you. Prior to this weekend's Whispering Beard Folk Festival, I caught up with the Hustle to chat about how they got their start, their unique twist on instruments, and where you can get hustled by The Hustle!
CB: Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle are a newly formed band, barely a year old. How did the band get started?
Matt: Well, the band officially got started on February 22nd, 2013, but it was something that had been brewing for awhile. Casey Campbell, Ian Mathieu, and I had been trying to put something together for quite some time, but this effort was usually at four in the morning and would not amount to much by the time we were all chewing aspirins. After I had promised a good farmer friend of ours from Chicago that I would open a set for him, I had to put something together quick. So, I asked Casey Campbell if he would bring his junk kit and back me up on a few tunes that night. Most of the tunes we had played together many times. It seemed to go over pretty well, and most importantly, we had a lot of fun. So, we decided to do a few more shows together, and we did so along with Andy Mcpheters on mandolin. "Big Ian" Mathieu, joined us in November that year on upright, and really gave the band the kick in the ass we needed and provided a sound that we had been missing. With Andy's hectic touring schedule with Charlie & The Fox Trots, he was no longer able to hustle, so we picked up Scott Risner on mandolin. I can't begin to express how much Scott has added to his band, not only by what you obviously can hear, but having a guy as talented as Scott in the band forces you to get better at what you are doing. So there you have it, the cliff notes to the Price Hill Hustle's beginning.
CB: You are more comely known as the Hustle. What is the history behind the band’s name?
Matt: Well this is a tough one. The "Price Hill Hustle" is a term I had coined for a local racket, in which if I went too deep into this one there would surely be a few indictments and the band's configuration could look a little different at the next show. The first show we did was originally billed as just Buffalo Wabs (me), as I booked to do the show solo. The last minute addition of drums and a mandolin to the show warranted a band name. With a "Price Hill Hustle" having been pulled off earlier that day, it was fresh on my mind so we used that. Also, we had all met years before playing music together at the Crows Nest's open mic in Price Hill, so it seemed fitting.
CB: Your first album, Nothin’ Like a Lincoln, hypnotizes us with soulful melodies such as in Walkin’ Down the Line and I Ain’t Got No Home. What do you want your fans to take away from this album and your music?
Casey: We hope people feel the heart and energy we put into our performances. I believe, as much as we plan on recording in the future, that this group is best experienced live; passion is what drives our sound. And, as utilitarian as it may seem, this first recording is meant to make folks want more. It is a tool to help spread what we enjoy doing most.
CB: Traditional instruments such as the guitar and bass are easily recognized in your songs, however, anyone that has seen you live, will notice not-so traditional devices are present, especially in my favorite, Long John Blues. How did chains, self-made drums, and a foot-propelled tambourine make their way into your tunes?
Casey: By trade, I am not a drummer; though I was fortunate to grow up around it, as my dad was a drummer/vocalist throughout my childhood. When I began playing percussion it was to fill the need in various jams and outfits I found myself a part of: it started with a cheese grater, then a washboard, and eventually morphed into the 'junk kit' I play now. Specifically, the chains came about to fill a sound I was searching for-- there really was no substitute for the rhythmic, mechanical edge that I wanted. Sort of a lesson in music found in all things. I plan on incorporating more of these found instruments as the band progresses. Besides, back in the day, you made music with whatever you could get your hands on!
CB: This year will be your musical debut at the Whispering Beard Festival. What are you most looking forward to?
Scott: Most music festivals you go to are about the music, meeting new people, and sharing the experience together. The Beard seems to take that to another level. Everyone is focused on having fun and not at the expense of anyone else. Besides our performance, we look forward to meeting up with our friends and making new ones. What we always look forward to when we play is to see people dance with smiles on their faces.
CB: Besides the Whispering Beard Festival, where can folks go to see you perform?
Ian: We have been incredibly fortunate with all the support we've received from the folks in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, and we are truly grateful to stay as busy as we've been. The weekend after The Beard, we'll be heading up to Columbus, Ohio to play a show at Woodland's Tavern on August 29th with Erika Hughes & The Well Mannered, and the following evening we'll be playing at Ohiolina Music Festival in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. We've got fourteen gigs in September booked which will include 50 West Fest at 50 West Brewing Company, Ft. Ancient Bluegrass Festival in Oregonia, Ohio, shows at some of our favorite local spots, including Arnold's Bar & Grill, Eli's BBQ and Northside Tavern, in addition to a few out of town dates including Indianapolis, Dayton, Lexington, Chillicothe and a weekend trip to West Virginia. Hopefully we’ll have our new CD wrapped up by the end of the year for a big CD Release Show at The Southgate House Revival. At this point, we're just trying to push on and hopefully gain a few new fans and friends along the way.