Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blue Merle Then & Now

I love to keep track of the tiny webs of musicians that seem to keep popping up in my life, reminding me that although the music world is growing at an exponential rate, it isn't THAT huge. I was working on a soundtrack for a video last month when I ran into their manager who provided the missing link between four bands. Back in 2005, Nashville's Blue Merle hit the radio waves with their mandolin filled, light rock hit "Burning In the Sun."

Blue Merle - Burning In the Sun

The group was started by singer/songwriter/guitarist Luke Reynolds and bassist Jason Oettel who were actually offered a quick deal by Sony only 4 months into recording together. The duo passed on the offer, decided to start a band, and acquired singer/mandolinist Beau Stapleton and drummer William Ellis. Quoting Zeppelin's "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp," the band named themselves Blue Merle. Queue the split of Blue Merle.

After the split of Blue Merle, Luke Reynolds started a new project, Pictures and Sound. In the self-titled album from Vanguard Records, Reynolds plays a dozen different instruments, ranging from lap steel to guitar. According to their MySpace, Reynolds aimed to "create an album that is modern in its arrangements and soundscapes, yet a throw back to an era when songs were written and recorded in a more organic atmosphere."

Pictures and Sound - It's You

Beau Stapleton, the other key component behind Blue Merle joined with Johnny Mann to start Computer Vs. Banjo, an experimental sound combining kick-ass beats with some rooted, almost bluegrass melodies. Based in Nashville, Computer Vs. Banjo have had their sounds in a lot of speakers lately due to MTV, a Kenneth Cole campaign, KCRW, and the outdoor adventure flick I worked on (which also featured Pictures and Sound and their mutual acquaintance, Ki: Theory).

Computer Vs. Banjo - Give Up On Ghosts

1 comment:

Katie said...

Bodie--first time commenter, long-time reader. I f'ing love YOUR brain! Mostly because I usually agree with you. I was semi-heartbroken to hear that Blue Merle was not together anymore. Thanks for the heads-up And...couldn't agree more about the Ray video. I know he can do better. Scratch that-he should avoid videos as a whole, Ray is not meant for such trivialities.