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New Music Now Spotlight: The Crawdaddies
Published: February 13, 2008 8:12 PM EST
By: Isaac Joseph Davis Junior
Americana / Pop
Spice it Up
Founded in 1995, The Crawdaddies are making music that certainly is jamming hard these days with their infusion of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, Ska, Roots, Rock and Reggae into a unique sound that can certainly be coined as original. I recently had the pleasure to review their EPK (Electronic Press Kit) on Sonicbids.com (Music Resource Community) and was taken away by the band's sounds. I then spoke with Guitarist, Vocalist, Producer and primary Songwriter for the group Chris Huntington about the band. Check out this great spotlight as Chris revealed many great things about The Crawdaddies.
Isaac-Joseph: How is everyone doing today?
Chris Huntington: I'm fat and sassy
Isaac-Joseph: Your music has a nice acoustical feel to it. What I really like about the music is that when you are listening to it I feel I am listening to a story being told. How do you approach your music?
Chris Huntington: We do tend to lean toward an acoustic sound built around Kraig Greff's accordion. Even when recording the electric guitar, drums, bass and accordion our goal is to get the acoustic sound of each instrument on tape. We very seldom use processing. Oh yeah...and the washboard... is as acoustic as you can get, but we tend to take the acoustic instrument / sound and arrange it in a non-traditional way. Example: we commonly use the accordion where most others would use a horn section. Kids, don't try this at home, only a seasoned pro like Kraig can pull this off on an accordion! Example 2: We like to use the washboard as percussion over reggae rhythms and rock guitar with a Cajun feel, etc. Most of the songs I have written for The Crawdaddies start with a lyric concept or story line. The music is then, typically, composed to support the lyrics or help tell the story with a certain feel or sound (hence the overlap of so many musical styles in The Crawdaddies).
Isaac-Joseph: What aspect of making music excites you the most right now as an entertainer?
Chris Huntington: The more I study music the more I find to learn...I love the fact that there is always new territory to cover and music is a life long lesson. I enjoy songwriting. Songwriting is a very satisfying way to express feelings and tell stories. The process can be like putting a puzzle together. With the Crawdaddies, I will write a tune and then the band will perform it live for, sometimes, a year before recording. It is fun watching the song unfold live...and I have always enjoyed the live performance part best...I am always saying "I tolerate all the bullshit of the music biz just for that 90 minutes on stage." There is nothing like performing for 30,000 people.
Isaac-Joseph: What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged you the most?
Chris Huntington: The most discouraging aspect of music is on the business side. Major corporations controlling the music biz have made it difficult for any artist with unique ideas to be heard. If millions are not to be made, the music will never be played and the majority of the public will never know it existed. Many talented musicians are left struggling, and I'm not talking about kids plucking around, there are some greats out there that are barely making a living.
Isaac-Joseph: You have some new releases. Expound on your new project and what can we expect from them.
Chris Huntington: The Crawdaddies released its third CD "Keep Lookin' Up" with Louddust Records in 2007. The CD is being spun on 300 + radio stations worldwide and getting some nice reviews. We are seriously thinking of releasing a live CD sometime in 2008 or 2009. We started recording at some amphitheater and theater shows in 2007 and taped our show at Sellersville Theater, PA on Feb 8, 2008. We might use some of these takes but also plan to continue taping through 2008. Many folks seem to enjoy The Crawdaddies' live energy so we are hoping to get some of that on tape.
Isaac-Joseph: What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?
Chris Huntington: The most unusual place The Crawdaddies ever played has got to be the show we did for the Jones Falls Watershed Association. It was a fundraiser event during a hot Baltimore summer. The promoter had us set up on the bank of the Jones Falls under a stone bridge with the audience on the other side of the water. The stone bank was sloped at about a 30-degree angle so the drummer could only bring a snare. They ran a 75-foot power cable from a generator placed above for power and we all just got our footing and played on. The echo from under the bridge was strange and, well, all the songs kind of had a mountain goat feel to them. One of the strangest shows was at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. The college flew us in from a show we had in Dallas,Texas. We arrived for sound check at a huge auditorium / gym with full production. All good until it was about 10 minutes from show time and the gym was empty. We all went out to the outside smoking area behind stage to bitch about how much the show could suck, out in the middle of nowhere, loud with no crowd but when returning, to our surprise, the auditorium had quickly filled with about 5,000 screaming college kids and the show came off great! Those folks at Augustana College really know how to party!
Isaac-Joseph: In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived); affect the music you create, or your taste in music?
Chris Huntington: I grew up in Portsmouth, NH about 45 minutes from Boston. I think I was very influenced by the ska / rock that I grew up with. Also, Portsmouth was and is still very supportive of the arts and my family was always taking me to various musical and cultural events that had a strong affect on my musical taste. Baltimore has also had a very strong influence on my music. I've studied music at the prestigious Peabody conservatory and with some great players from the area and also have had the chance to check out some musical cultures that I had never experienced, authentic African music, Polka, and even Zydeco I had never heard much of until moving south into an urban environment.
Isaac-Joseph: When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?
Chris Huntington: I write songs in bits and pieces almost on a daily basis. Sometimes I will come up with a lyric concept, usually from everyday experience, and then build on it for years before finishing into a complete song. That is why I say songwriting can be like putting a puzzle together. I sit on many musical and lyrical ideas until something clicks. Once a lyric, melody and chord structure click I can usually put a song together in about a week or two or sometimes only days. When it comes time to actually finishing the idea I prefer to have a band to write for and know the instrumentation.
Isaac-Joseph: As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?
Chris Huntington: I try to seek out the origin of the particular style of music. I am always open to somebody who is doing something new but for my own interest I tend to seek out the roots of the music and study where the original ideas came from.
Isaac-Joseph: Lately, what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)
Chris Huntington: I am drawn to anything done well from any period and any style.
Isaac-Joseph: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?
Chris Huntington: Cajun: Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, album: Bon Reve Singer songwriter: Alexi Murdoch, album: Time Without Consequence One of my all time favorites: Lyle Lovett, album: Joshua Judges Ruth
Isaac-Joseph: What is your favorite song of yours that you enjoy performing on stage?
Chris Huntington: I enjoy performing the song Jive Time Farmer from The Crawdaddies “Keep Lookin' Up” CD because I think the song is fun and most folks don't realize I'm singing about myself (Jive Time Farmer, definition - a white boy who doesn't know how to dress, therefore looks like a tired old farmer) and The Difference from The Crawdaddies “Spice it Up” CD because the country pickin' is fun live.
Isaac-Joseph: This is what we call our Shout Out time. Elaborate on any and everyone that matters the most to you:
Chris Huntington: My parents Ron and Evelyn Huntington (both graduates of the Maine Conservatory of music) have been a lifelong influence to me. Their musical lessons to me as a youngster and unconditional support of my choice for music as a career has made it possible for me to stand proud as a full time musician, be competitive and perform with confidence in a field that is changing on a daily basis.
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