Sunday, March 18, 2007:

Roots Canal: The Woes

The Woes -- Sunset
Saw another unusual band at Barbes last night, called the Woes. The mix of banjo and French horn, backed by violin (no, it wouldn't be right to call it a fiddle) and sousaphone, just slayed me. Their CD has different instrumentation, but the core of singer/banjoist/guitarist Osei Essed and French-hornist/organist Cicero Jones is still at the heart of it. Osei (pronounced a lot like Jose) writes the songs and sings the lyrics with a gruff, sometimes Tom-Waitsy, sometimes almost howling voice. They're tough to pigeonhole. On their MySpace site, they call it "experimental/country/blues." Barbes called it "post-Apocalyptic traditional music." I suppose that will have to do.

Bonus track: Osei's banjo reminds me of Otis Taylor's unconventional take on the blues, so here's one of his tracks:
Otis Taylor -- Shakie's Gone

[That Coke Oven March]
[Truth Is Not Fiction]
The Woes reminded me instantly of a group I've heard a few songs from - Suicide Jack.

Thanks for sharing.

What an interesting sound on both of these tracks. Otis' voice reminds me of Taj Mahal somehow, though I can't remember him cutting any tracks like this one (it's possible, though, given his decades of recording).

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