On Saturday, August 12, festival-headlining, amped-up Americana band Spuyten Duyvil comes to the Empire State Railway Museum (ESRM), with a performance for Flying Cat Music. The ESRM is located at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and music begins at 7:30. Admission is $17 or $15 with reservations. For information or reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-688-9453.
No Depression Magazine calls Spuyten Duyvil, “infused in blues and smoked with folk.” The New York Times offers up a two-word summation of their sound, “Raucous Roots.” This six-piece Americana band seems like something out of a parallel universe, a world where traditional music went feral and a Rock scene never emerged. In that alternate universe, roots music took a different turn and folk, as we typically know it, mutated to fill the Rock and Roll void. With Spuyten Duyvil, you can almost believe that were true.
Spuyten Duyvil is to standard folk music what a monsoon is to rain. Rich Warren, host of The Midnight Special on WFMT, says that seeing a Spuyten Duyvil show for the first time is like “throwing a cherry bomb into a lake.” Though perhaps more explosive in a sensory sense, a Spuyten Duyvil concert remains as authentically folk as any show Pete Seeger ever performed, with or without the Weavers.
A reviewer for Motif, the New England Arts and Entertainment Magazine, once wrote, “Spuyten Duyvil are that rare breed of band that can cover songs written long before their grandparents were born, and reinterpret them so that an audience will swear on a stack of Rolling Stones that they are new.” The opposite is equally true. Spuyten Duyvil is fronted by a formidable song writing couple, Beth Kaufman and Mark Miller. Unless you possess an encyclopedic knowledge of traditional music, it is near impossible, on first listen, to be sure that some of their original compositions are not, in fact, a century old.
The band itself describes its sound as, “unapologetically amped up Americana” that “mashes up the blues, the Olde Timey, gospel, bluegrass, jug band, Appalachian, punk rock and second line music.” Whatever you call it, the love of roots music that Spuyten Duyvil projects is palpable. They honor old traditions by instilling them with life, in the process re-imagining genres that they wholeheartedly embrace. Spuyten Duyvil’s most recent album, The Social Music Hour Vol. 1 was nominated for The International Folk Music Awards Album of the Year in 2016, and has received extensive air play and uniformly positive reviews.
Since their formation about ten years ago, Spuyten Duyvil has become a major festival favorite. Described as a “mighty powerhouse” by Huffington Post, they exude the energy needed to hold down the stage at storied gatherings like the Philadelphia Folk Festival, where they are repeat performers, and, closer to home, at the Clearwater and Falcon Ridge Folk Festivals. But the band relishes the audience intimacy that only smaller venues offer, and this year’s show at the Empire State Railway Museum will be a long awaited encore performance for Spuyten Duyvil to a concert they gave there in 2011. Don’t risk having to wait years for an opportunity like this to come around again.