By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Want to hear what a band that has collectively gigged with the likes of Antibalas, Janet Jackson, TV on the Radio, Tom Waits, Wu-Tang Clan, and Davy Jones (that's right, the Monkee) sounds like? Look no further. For the past couple of years, some of Bogie's favorite local musicians have played under the guise of Volney Litmusbe it in the studio or onstage, Bogie enthuses that the result plays "like the best mix tape ever."
That's been holding true at the Zebulon shows, which take on a clubhouse kind of feela room full of enthusiastic people conversing with song. These conversations range from Fast Times at Ridgemont Highworthy pop tunes to country-blues eulogies that lament the loneliness of life on the road, but it all fits together seamlesslythe work of dedicated, extraordinarily talented musicians off the clock at their main gigs, content to make music that has no expectations beyond keeping the conversation going.
That conversation doesn't necessarily sound like Afropop, but Bogie's arrangements echo that genre's ability to juggle multiple instruments and keep a big band from sounding muddy, even as swelling horns duel with fuzzy guitars. Such fusion creates beautiful moments: Consider Antibalas cohort Del Stribling singing Carole King's "So Far Away" as his bandmates lock into a perfectly pocketed groove. Volney Litmus is a gumbo of genres reflecting the band's varied palettes, but it's an unforced, self-aware eclecticism that doesn't try too hard and doesn't give a damn. Bogie spices and stirs, somehow knowing how to make it all come out just right: catchy, unexpected, and authentic.
Volney Litmus play Zebulon February 27, zebuloncafeconcert.com.