Spuyten Duyvil Bring Their Original Oldtime Americana to the Rockwood
Hudson Valley Americana band Spuyten Duyvil (“spitting devil” in Dutch) play an exuberantly original take on classic Americana that draws on influences from the 70s on forward, from outlaw country to newgrass to folk-pop. All but two of the songs on their new album, Temptation, are originals. They’ve got a sense of humor, sizzling instrumental chops and catchy tunes. They’re playing the album release show on Oct 5 at 8 PM at the big room at the Rockwood; cover is $10 and includes a $5 credit toward band merch (i.e. this album, hint hint).
The album’s opening track, I’ll Fly Away gets an exuberant revival-camp workout, with a spiraling bluesy harmonica solo by James Meigs, winningly melismatic vocals from frontwoman Beth Jamie Kaufman and some high-voltage contrapuntal harmonies as it winds up on a high note. The album’s other cover, Red Molly‘s surreal, bitingly aphoristic Honey on My Grave pulses along on a catchy garage-rock riff, with a raw, bluesy Efrat Shapira violin solo, Rik Mercaldi’s lapsteel smoldering behind it. The first of the band’s tunes, Here & Hereafter draws a wry barroom scenario as it bounces along, a Lowell George-ish rock tune done oldtimey style.
The ballad The Window features a tasty interweave of guitar, bouzouki and banjo. One of the guys sings the scampering, shuffling title track: “Watching you walk’s like watching the last train leaving the station tonight: switchman sleeping, engineer’s been drinking, trust the lord, turn out the light.” They follow that with a couple of southern gothic-tinged numbers. Mercaldi’s lingering, jangly, guitar electric blues guitar drives Bitter, while the brooding banjo tune Old Abram reminds of New York’s excellent, creepy Bobtown, no surprise since that band’s Katherine Etzel sings the backing vocals, which may be the best on the whole album.
They pick up the pace with Scratch, a drolly vaudevillian oldtimey swing tune in the same vein as the Wiyos before that band went into psychedelic rock. Honey Whiskey reaches for a coyly amusing, Amy Allison-esque countrypolitan bittersweetness. The last track, Everything I Am, sounds suspiciously like it had a past life as would-be autotune pop song. You want eclectic?