Calamity Row is trying to reconcile the guts of old-time folk with the last half-century of recorded popular music. Drawing on influences from Motörhead to Simon and Garfunkel, they are part bluegrass and barroom, part twang and snarl. Formed in 2014 in Washington DC as the result of a few beers, outdoor hootenannies, and late night barbecues, their common love of eclectic music soon drew them together to write and record original music. They have since played to hundreds at music festivals, dive bars, salvage yards, and everything in between.
On their second album, Rote Revival, the band returned to Mobtown Studios with producer Mat Leffler-Schulman with the intention to capture their live sound as close as possible. It was crucial to get all of the acoustic instruments mic’d with as little bleed as possible – but with just enough so it was not too clinical, so each band member was placed in a separate room while live takes were recorded through headphones. Even the vintage subway-tiled studio bathroom ended up being used as a recording space.
Mat knowingly directed the recording process so everything ran smoothly, and the results of the sessions were fantastic. After a few days in the studio, the 12 initial tracks were completed and the band returned a bit later with additional overdubs recorded in the band’s personal studio to mix.
Mat again steered the band’s ambitious goals during mixing, expertly sorting through numerous instruments and takes to get a sound that was both layered and nuanced without sacrificing spontaneity. Each band member writes songs and sings on the album, so each has a unique vision for their own songs. In the end, the band felt as if the only thing they had left to give was their blood for the album.
Calamity Row will be supporting their album throughout 2016. You can purchase Rote Revival on bandcamp.
Guitar, vocals, violin and mandolin by Annie Miller
Guitar, bass, drums and vocals by Chris Winther
Guitar and vocals by Jordan Cutler
Vocals and banjo by Josh McDonald
Produced by Chris Winther
Engineered by Mat Leffler-Schulman and Chris Winther
Mixed by Mat Leffler-Schulman