Artist Feature: The Blackfoot Gypsies–New Sounds of Transwestern

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Matthew Paige PAINTS with all the muthaf**ckn’ colors of the wind.

Blackfoot Gypsies?! HELL, you must mean the Cherokee Cowboys or the Drifting Cowboys! It’s Cherokee we know all about here–Willie Nelson, Loretta, Cash, Ray Price, Elvis, Sequoyah, and our beloved East Tennessee neighbors. If you haven’t been to the TN State Pow-Wow or the Qualla Arts Festival–I personally recommend you getcher donk in a woody wagon, grab an RC Cola/Moon-Pie and take a good ol’ road trip. Resist all stereo-type junk. Find yourself an AUTHENTIC dreamcatcher in Cherokee, NC. I have two going on a million. Sadly you can’t visit Chief Henry because he passed away in 2007. I have a picture of an itty bitty me kissing him on the cheek while petting his head dress. He smelled of tobacco and leather. Sniff.

Billy Ray Cyrus. Well, he says he has Cherokee roots, but I have a feeling it was a shitty attempt to justify his hair obsession…

The “Great Spirit” has blessed Nashville once again, brothers and sisters. Fine music packaged in retro-sexy feathers, hair, hats, animal skins, beads, and fringe. Matthew Paige and Zack Murphy are the medicine men that form the duo, Blackfoot Gypsies, a rockin’ roving country/garage/Americana sensation from Nashville. They generate a tribe of fans (who love classic southern rock, blues, 60s-70s guitar gods, bluegrass, and Americana) everywhere their big sweet gypsy hearts take them. They are charming performers who cast a wickedly good musical spell if you’ll just venture to their latest tepee location.

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During performances, expect Matthew’s glasses to slip down his sweaty nose and Zack’s purdy hair to end up tangled like a rat’s nest. Aw shiit.

Don’t let their extroverted looks fool you into thinking they are savage Woodstock posers. BFG certainly isn’t just another band of organized sound with bitchin’ outfits. While delightfully aggressive, these two guys bond into an organic, yet sophisticated angle. Matthew and Zack are true music aficionados who take influences of their favorite artists, people, and places to construct songs that make you want to both ponder their relatable lyrics and shake your ass until your cheeks are numb. As for “Blackfoot”…like their Plains dwelling namesake, they constantly travel in order to satisfy their free-spirit–using the natural resources of a given environment to feed their creative hunger. Performances and recordings are audible postcards decorated with imaginary buffalo stamps. God Bless The Pony Express.

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Inside Zack is a frontier waiting to be discovered.

They have performed at East Nashville Underground and many local venues ranging from Mercy Lounge to Stone Fox. My favorite experience seeing BFG was at Cause A Scene Music, where they joined forces with Alanna Royale and The Black Cadillacs. This concert was so fired up that even after the BFG set, Matthew spontaneously launched himself into The Black Cadillacs while they were playing to grab a stick and beat the drum along with them. Damn, I wonder if he was acting instinctively…can you say ‘drum circle’?!

Their latest album, “On the Loose” (2012) will introduce you to an even deeper dimension of their artistry. These gentlemen are rebels with top-notch musical discipline. As the needle skates the vinyl, you are going to hear serious texture and versatility. Matthew is the master of string instruments, harmonica, and vocals, etc. Zack is the rhythm monster. There is a lot of Nashville spice in their sauce.

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BFG at the High Watt. War paint melts when your face get rocked up. By the end of the show, something always gets busted or broken. Blood and tufts of fur.

Talk about rubbin’ a hole through the bottom of a pair of Minnetonkas. Rock and roll, sure. There are influences of hillbilly, blues, and folk. As far as tribal music, I’d say a few of the selections are like peyote songs. Think melodic contour shaped by rattling. The use of isorhythm with nasal sound in “Stay Away from Me” reminds me of the non-lexical vocables utilized by the actual Blackfoot, Apache, and even Scottish peoples. Very pan-tribal of you, boys. Doesn’t surprise me one bit there is only the two of you’s. Sangin and Drummin…most important factors in Native American music.

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It’s one of the best albums of 2012. They’ll shoot you right through the heart with a feather adorned-flint headed arrow at first twang. Costs the same as two craft beers and you won’t just drink and piss it away in a few hours, you’ll have it forever. Buy here. At the end of the month, I hear they have more fun stuff coming…Hint: It’s gonna be a colorful seven inches…..

Your next opportunity to see them is TONIGHT at the 5-Spot when they perform with TWO of my favorite bands, The Static Trees and Zach Ryan and the Renegades. You can also reach them at Muddy Roots Festival this weekend.

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After you leave a show, you might be a little depressed, but not to worry Jon Vaughn—A Thousand Pounds of Nashville Hair—keeps a Facebook page of their antics at Blackfoot Gypsies Funhouse to keep you connected.

Now, come join the pow-wow. All you have to do is follow the smoke signal.

Special Thanks to JON VAUGHN for the photos and to my dear friends, Matt and Zach who ARE the Blackfoot Gypsies.

2 comments

  1. Nice article! I love these guys! The new colorful (and might i say limited!) 7″ entitled “The New Sounds of TransWestern” will be relesed by Fat Elvis Records on June 11. Presale date is May 24!

    Reply
    • Congrats on the release..glad you enjoy the article. Keep us posted!

      Reply

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