Chicago-bred Americana band Brown Bag will perform Saturday, January 19 at Tres Hombres. The city-slicker roots should not fool anyone, as Brown Bag hones a sound that is both honest and unique. They are a perfect fit for even the pickiest Southern Illinois folk/Americana fan. Self-described as “organic-folk-blues-rock,” Brown Bag represents a resurgence of folk music that has been described as a youthful, modern-day version of the Band.
Brown Bag consists of Dave Waterman (who about a decade ago played in Carbondale band Rural Love Invasion and the Super American Happy Fun Good-time Jamband) on vocals and guitar, Jack Pieroth on bass, Dan Cantone on guitar and vocals, Mike Ellis on keys and vocals, and Matt Rezetko on drums and percussion.
Brown Bag’s debut album, Recycled Music, was recorded right here in Southern Illinois at Misunderstudio, and is a strong, well-written, precision-delivered introduction to the band’s modern roots music. Check it out at www.BrownBag.bandcamp.com. There, listeners can also hear Live at The Ace Bar, recorded in July 2012.
Check out our interview with Brown Bag founder Dave Waterman.
Tell us a bit about the history of the band.
The band started in 2010 at the annual Oink Fest in Chicago, Illinois. For the past two years we have been mastering our style in various venues around the city. In June of 2012 we released our debut album, titled Recycled Music, recorded at Misunderstudio. We also played local Illinois festivals like Whippersnap Music Festival and Shoe Fest this past summer.
Who are some of the band’s major influences?
Budweiser, Coors Light, and Maker’s Mark.
Tell us a bit about your debut album, Recycled Music. You recorded it down here at Misunderstudio?
Yeah, the album was recorded at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro, Illinois, last January. We had a blast working with producer Mike Lescelius and engineer Alex Kirk. Recycled Music is a hodgepodge of different styles of music, penned by [me] during the three years prior to recording.
On a mild Friday afternoon in January, we took the five-hour drive down to the studio, where Lescelius made us feel like we were at home until Monday morning. For two and a half days we lived in the studio, recording from early in the morning till late at night. Due to the lack of studio time, we approached the sessions well-prepared, having practiced thoroughly prior to heading down. We started with Jack and Matt laying down the rhythm tracks, while meticulously editing where we could over the long weekend. Mike and Dan recorded most of the weekend, adding color and psychedelic noises through soloing. On the last day Dave added his guitar and vocals.
I was a little tired at the end of the weekend when it came time to lay down the lead vocals. Luckily, Lescelius is not only a great producer but also a great bartender. He gave me the pick-me-up I needed to do my best. It was a great experience to really dedicate a whole weekend to recording our music.
Where did the name Brown Bag come from?
Soon after realizing the diversity of the band’s music, anything could be in the bag. So, through stream-of-consciousness [I] blurted out “Brown Bag!” and the name stuck.
Members in the band are involved in different projects. Tell us about that.
Cantone and Rezetko play with the live hip-hop group Shapes and Colors. [Me] and Pieroth play in Caution. Ellis is a full-time music teacher at Morgan Park Academy. We all think it’s important to stay busy at our craft.
What are some of the themes of the writing?
Some of the themes include desire to escape, communication– verbal/nonverbal– displacement, empowerment, and happiness to be alive.
What can people expect at the show?
Music driven by melodies, angst, and blues, with some witty stage banter, as well as quality live sound.