Music has a spirit beyond tune and tempo. Music is alive. It occupies a space in time. One beat follows another, creating a rhythm. “Bad music makes you weak,” as the late, great Charlie Freeman used to say. Stands to reason good music has the opposite effect.
The music in this recording will transport you to somewhere else, a made-up place that has never been. Part Morocco, part prewar Berlin, St. Louis with a touch of Hollywood. Sit back and put some gin in your glass. Let the gypsies carry you away. You’re taking off for parts unknown, to your own private Casablanca.
The shadows are deep and dark. The women are spectacular and forbidding; the men are world-worn and mustachioed. Sirens and gauchos, holy virgins and matadors, legionaries and ladies of the night. A midnight meeting at the barricade. Film noir meets epic theater, Captain Beefheart meets Edith Piaf. One way or the other, this music will uplift and enhance your life. You will have more than you do. Listen and enjoy.
Jim Dickinson, Independence, Mississippi
At the invitation of legendary producer Jim Dickinson, Watts and Boister traveled to Mississippi in the summer of 2008 to record Some Moths at Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch studio. Dickinson—who has worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, The Replacements, Big Star, and Aretha Franklin—was blown away by the sessions. “I’ve recorded stranger music, but none better,” he says, pointing to Watts’ “Limes” and “Old House,” and a version of Brecht’s “Song of the Eighth Elephant” as particular favorites. “This music is virtually unclassifiable, but it will connect with anyone who appreciates a band that can reference Edith Piaf and Captain Beefheart in the same set.”
Over the past few years, Boister has been featured on NPR (the segment “Music from Madness” is archived at www.npr.org), played The Kennedy Center and Toronto’s NXNE festival, and earned a great deal of critical acclaim.
Some Moths represents something of a departure for the group, as Watts stripped much of the material down to its melodic and lyrical core. Curt Heavey’s masterful banjo playing—which Dickinson likens to flamenco—was added to instrumentation that already included bass clarinet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, accordion, and drums.
Working his magic, Dickinson recorded 13 brand new songs, completely live. He claims they “make Tom Waits sound like a sissy.”
The cover art was created by Mary Hambleton, who won a prestigious Guggenheim last year.