Girlyman in Concert with special guests Coyote Grace
$10 Advance (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
ticket avail soon online or call
$12 at the door if available.
Can the members of Girlyman read each other’s minds? Sometimes it seems so. Onstage they often finish one another’s sentences or burst into improvised three-part ditties so tight they seem rehearsed. Truth is, the Atlanta-based trio has had years to develop this rapport. Doris Muramatsu and Tylan Greenstein became best friends in second grade. The two met Nate Borofsky in college at a talent show, and since then they’ve been creating their own unique language of three-part harmony. Informed by 60s vocal groups like Simon & Garfunkel and The Mamas and the Papas, and infused with years of classical and jazz training, Girlyman’s songs are a dance of melody and suspensions – an irresistible blend of acoustic, Americana, and rock The Village Voice calls “really good, really unexpected, and really different.”
Everything’s Easy, Girlyman’s fourth studio album, is the band’s most intimate and sophisticated effort. The cover, a playful paint-by-numbers scene, suggests a world where one creates reality with only a brushstroke. Yet much of Girlyman’s rare appeal is a willingness to see the shadow side of its own idealism. A placid suburban childhood unfolds amid the mounting pressure of the Watergate era in “Easy Bake Ovens,” while the “one hundred billion metric tons” of New York City rise beside the wide, unburdened river in “Hudson.” Some songs highlight Girlyman’s trademark playfulness, as in the Tin Pan Alley tribute “My Eyes Get Misty,” while the swirling counterpoint of “Wherever You Keep” strains musically and lyrically for the light. Self-produced and engineered, Everything’s Easy was recorded with a single, ten thousand dollar microphone, financed by fan donations. This microphone, along with the work of Grammy-winning mixer Ben Wisch, has created an immeasurably rich sound.
Girlyman formed in 2001 in Brooklyn, where the friends shared an apartment; their first rehearsal was scheduled for Tuesday, September 11. It was postponed, but the events of that day helped the trio clarify its vision: “We decided to just have fun,” explains Nate, “and not take ourselves too seriously. We started by naming our new band Girlyman.” Others, however, took the group quite seriously. The first few years brought critical delight, awards, and long opening runs with the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams. Girlyman quickly became a strong headliner in its own right, and now plays in every corner of the country to intensely loyal “girlyfans” who often travel hundreds of miles to see shows. Girlyman sells out renowned venues such as The Barns at Wolftrap, The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, The Ark, and The Freight and Salvage. They also frequent festival main stages, making a huge splash this past year at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, the Kate Wolf Memorial Folk Festival, and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, to name a few.
Most recently, Girlyman has been collaborating with comedian Margaret Cho, co-writing songs for her upcoming album,Guitarded. Of Girlyman, Cho says, “They seamlessly blend folk, country, pop, and rock, and they genre bend as fearlessly and flawlessly as they gender-bend. It’s the music of my heart and soul. Girlyman is the future and the past and the present.”
If you’d like to watch from a front-row seat as roots music reinvents itself, look no further than Coyote Grace. At once both radically progressive and unashamedly nostalgic, the trio is at the forefront of a growing movement to redefine the meanings of “roots” and “tradition.”
“Coyote Grace plays with the heart of traditional country and Americana music, but tells their stories with a bold twist,” says the Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray. “They write heartwrenching melodies and make such textured harmonies that I find myself enraptured and taken by their timelessness of song.”
Armed with a bevy of acoustic instruments from guitar and upright bass to banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and accordion, Coyote Grace’s Joe Stevens, Ingrid Elizabeth and Michael Connolly fill theater, club, and festival stages with a wash of sound seemingly far too expansive for three musicians, mixing bluegrass and blues, soul and Southern twang into a unique sound that hovers just beyond the edge of ‘familiar.’ The sultry trio combines virtuosic musicianship combined with a humble, warm stage presence, all stemming from a history of self-invention – and re-invention.
“Playing roots music doesn’t simply mean imitating old traditions,” says multi-instrumentalist Michael Connolly. “All of us have a strong sense of wanting to hold onto the past, to tradition – while still being unburdened enough to move forward.”
This is perhaps no more evident than in the case of guitarist and transman Joe Stevens, whose gender transition resolved a lifetime of dissonance between being raised as female while identifying as male. Not without cost, Joe’s transition closed some doors while opening many others, and significantly informs his songwriting and performance.
Meanwhile, Ingrid Elizabeth, the self-proclaimed “pink sheep” of her small Ohio hometown, and Memphis-born Michael Connolly both carry the twang and soul of their Middle America roots while maintaining decidedly Left Coast values.
Coyote Grace’s rise to national prominence comes from a decidedly humble origin – beginning as a Seattle-based duo in 2004, Ingrid Elizabeth and Joe Stevens founded the band as street performers outside of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, using their busking proceeds to fund their first studio album, Boxes and Bags, which is now in its sixth pressing, and accompanied at the merch table by three other albums: The Harvey Tour, Buck Naked, and Ear To the Ground, which in February of 2011 reached #4 on the Roots Music Report’s Folk charts — the highest charting independent album at the time.
The radio airplay itself comes on the heels of a highly successful touring season in 2010, during which Coyote Grace performed three separate tours opening for and playing alongside the Indigo Girls. Audience response was immediate and enthusiastic, with the group breaking the Indigo Girls’ tour records for album sales by an opening band. Coyote Grace has also performed with Girlyman, Melissa Ferrick, Chris Pureka, and Lowen & Navarro.