By now, you may have heard that No Country Presents alumnus (see this post), and resident blues rock ’n’ rollers, Blackfoot Gypsies, have a new record coming out. We are pleased to remind you it has officially hit the streets TODAY, so pick up your copy of Handle It digitally right here. While we have your attention, take a minute to read on after jump to get the scoop straight from the founding gypsies’ (Matthew Paige and Zack Murphy) mouths. We talked with them about the new LP, signing with Plowboy Records, and tearing shit up at SXSW. So get to know some of our favorite Music City musicians, and be sure to catch them this Friday at The Basement for the official hometown CD release show!
“Sorry if I’m trailing off man, I’m trying not to scare the shit out of these goats,” lead singer/guitarist Mathew Paige said over the phone, from his parents farm in Oregon. “I wanted to get out of the rain, so I’m kind of hanging out in their shed. And it’s definitely their shed.” (speaking to the goats)
After a good chuckle, I composed myself, and got back to the interview. I’d rapped with Matthew before, after the Acme set he and the Gypsies did for No Country Presents. Besides being hilarious, and an all around stand up dude, he mentioned that their then shelved, label-less album would be titled Handle It, and talked a little about where the name came from. For the sake of a blog post, I asked him to elaborate.
“It was just this saying that kept reemerging, again and again. It came from a club owner in Tulsa, OK. Everything was just ‘handle it,’ handle it,’ and we just kept saying it, over and over. Anytime something needed to be done, or if we had a lot shit of to do, just handle it, ya know? It’s more a way of life. Handle it, or fall down and die … I guess that would be the other option. At some point we just said that has to be an album title.”
Fair enough. I mentioned that I’d read somewhere the album was recorded at Fry Pharmacy Recording in Old Hickory, TN, and his voice lit up with excitement.
“Man, the mojo and the mood there is so great. Scott McEwen, the guy who runs it, is such a wizard of sound. He really worked with us, financially and time wise. He has a great collection of stuff too, and all his pieces are historical. His mixing board used to be in the Grand Ole Opry. He’s got these magic amps. Everything he has, has a cool story and he got it on purpose. Nothing is there by accident. It’s just a great place. The vibes, it’s like … MAN!”
Later the same day, over a couple of pitchers of Shiner Bock at Edgefield, I caught up drummer Zack Murphy. We also talked about the record title, Tulsa’s Mercury Lounge, the club Matthew had mentioned, and it’s (now) infamous owner.
“Paul Riley!” He said with a twinkle in his eye. “He’s … honestly, you just have to meet him to really get it. If I tried to explain it, I wouldn’t be able to do a good job. He’s a character, in the best way. First time we played his club and met him, he was sitting at the bar, just handing out drinks and we are all ‘alright!’ He would text us, to see how we were doing. ‘Handle your shit!’ He’d say. It was his mantra and we adopted it.”
Shortly after they played our showcase, BFG signed with local label Plowboy Records, then it was on to SXSW, where they played a handful of packed out gigs, and now their record, which had been finished for a while, is dropping. Things seem like they are picking up speed.
“I’ve always thought (making music) was something we could do,” Zack said. “It was just a matter of how many people are going to know we’re doing it. Am I going to have to work a day job when I get back from the road? And honestly, that’s never bothered me personally. I’ll always be able to do that if I have to, but if things get bigger, and I don’t have to, hell yeah! But with being backed by (Plowboy) we’ve got a lot more power behind our punch with this new album. More people pimping our shit. Some people are always bitching about their label, but (ours) has been nothing but great to us.”
“Going to SXSW with a label was way different,” he continued. “We checked in to our hotel, got our free massages, played the Plowboy showcase, and got to pick up some other things. Whatever we needed (the label) was there. We ended up playing one showcase in a backyard with some other bands. They literally had a half-pipe set up and dudes were dropping in. There was booze and beer … it was like a movie.”
Sounds like things are definitely looking up. Decide for yourself, after you sample some of the goods below, but, most importantly, be there to see the Blackfoot Gypsies do their thing live and in person, this Friday at The Basement for their official CD release show. It should be a rowdy one, and we look forward to seeing you there. And as always, stay glued to No Country for all the news you need about the local rock scene.