Tag Archives: The Bill Murray Experience

New Speed the Plough — live on the Fourth of July

True fans of The Feelies will remember Speed the Plough fondly, given that many Feelies played in Toni and John Baumgartner‘s band during its existence in the early 1990s. Like The Feelies, STP is back making music. Earlier this year, the band released its first album in 15 years, Swerve.

On the Fourth of July, before heading to Maxwell’s in Hoboken for the third and final Feelies show of the holiday weekend, the members of STP visited the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. There, tucked away on the plaza surrounding sculptor Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain (1985), the band gathered around the public piano that was one of 60 installed around NYC as part of the Play Me, I’m Yours art project. The Fourth of July was the last day of the installation, and the members of STP thought it would be fun to take advantage of it as a group. (STP wasn’t the only band to think of this. The Bill Murray Experience did something quite similar, as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? reported previously.)

They did an acoustic rendering of “Kentucky Moon” that was captured on video by Katie Demeski. Enjoy!

The Bill Murray Experience: No, not that Bill Murray, but quite an experience!

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The Bill Murray Experience at The Cupping Room Cafe on June 25. (Copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? knew nothing about The Bill Murray Experience until a couple of days ago, when the old-timey New York City based band was featured in this New York Post video about Play Me, I’m Yours, the art project that has put 60 pianos — available for anyone to play — in public places around New York City.

But it was love at first sight — and sound! Singer Jessy Carolina has an amazingly bluesy voice and her bandmates — Horatio Baltz on lead guitar, Jay Sanford on upright bass and the irrepressible Blind Boy Paxton on banjo — provide the perfect setting for it. It’s a new generation tackling early American roots music, jazz and pop standards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s repertoire that has been a rich source over the years for artists like Leon Redbone, with tunes like “My Melancholy Baby” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody.”

How we’ve missed them is a mystery. They are fantastic, and proved it last night in performance before a small and not entirely attentive crowd at The Cupping Room Cafe at West Broadway and Broome streets in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.

Peter Stampfel, of Holy Modal Rounders fame, knows a thing or two about this kind of music. And he sums up the band’s primary appeal quite well — it’s Jessy’s emotive and engaging singing. “She doesn’t sing songs as much as she embodies them. Her singing and moves are both about as good as it gets,” Stampfel says.

But Jessy needs the rest of the band to pull it off. Her interplay with the players — especially the jovial, overall-wearing Paxton — is charming adds so much to the overall feel of the performance.

BME plays around NYC quite a bit, at places like the “secret” Shanghai Mermaid, 893 Bergen St., Brooklyn, where they play at 9 tonight, June 26 and at the Jalopy Theater, 315 Columbia St., Red Hook, Brooklyn, where they’re performing at 8 p.m. Monday, June 28.

Here’s a clip of the band that gives you great sense of its joyous, freewheeling style at a June 20 show at the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, Vt.

Of course any band that takes Bill Murray’s name in vain has to evoke Murray’s spot in Jim Jarmusch’s 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes. Remember “Bill Groundhog Day, Ghostbustin’ ass Murray”? How could you forget? We’ll leave you with that: