Moppa and MOPDtK

Moppa Elliott This Tuesday we were pleased to host Moppa Elliott from the band Mostly Other People Do the Killing on The Music Room.

Mostly Other People Do the Killing (MOPDtK) has released six albums and won the Downbeat Critics’ Poll in the Rising Star Ensemble category. They pay homage to jazz by deconstructing both its standards and earlier pieces, combining those features with new ideas, creating a high energy music that celebrates what’s come before and pushes the music forward.

Their unpredictable switching of styles mid-piece, their humorous and interactive performances, and their naming of each new piece after “a small town in Pennsylvania,” has earned them critical acclaim.

MOPDtK has toured throughout the Northeast and Midwest, from Chicago to Boston, and in 2009, made its first trip to Europe for the Moer Festival. Their most recent CD, Hannover, captures a live concert from a late 2014 appearance in Hannover, Germany.

Their 2014 album Blue is an homage–years in the making–to Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue LP, originally recorded in 1958 and released in 1959. It was fascinating to hear Moppa talk about the process of producing MOPDtK’s Blue.

Moppa also revealed how he balances his musical career with his teaching profession, and how the origins of the band’s name, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, has its roots in the history of both electronic music AND the Soviet Union.

The Interview

Moppa Elliott
(Recorded live 03/10/15; host: Mandorichard), 31:28, 30.2 MB.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Date / Notes
  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Bird in Hand / Red Hot / 2012
  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Blue in Greeen / Blue / 2014
  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Is Granny Spry? / Slippery Rock / 2013 (Excerpt)

The Rua: Essence of a group

Alanna, Roseanna, and Jonathan Brown

Alanna, Roseanna, and Jonathan Brown

Today at the Music Room, we did not talk to one artist. We talked to three.

Alanna, Roseanna, and Jonathan Brown, living in Windsor, London, are here in NY on their third visit to the US, after their performance at the NYC CMJ festival last October. Their group’s name The Rua, comes from the Hebrew word “ruah” meaning “essence of a group,” and the Irish word “rua” or “red.” Given the siblings’ Celtic roots and soaring melodies on the violin, this choice seems very appropriate.

That being said, The Rua is best known for their percussive guitar style, rock genre, and thematic lyrics.

Although the siblings have fairly distinct roles, with Alanna on piano, Roseanna providing vocals, and Jonathan playing the violin and fiddle, all three are familiar with various musical disciplines, and consequently are attentive to each others’ individual parts…a very useful advantage when co-writing songs.

They have also collaborated with Nigel Harrison, a bass player from London, and Portishead drummer Clive Dreamer, and this December at France’s RFM Studios, broadcasted an acoustic version of their song “Without You” from their Essence album of last fall, a version that has apparently never been replayed…until now.

The Browns also discussed learning curves during their career, their tour in Rome, the importance of music education, their role in the Harry Potter movies, and ginger stereotypes.

The Interview

The Rua
(Recorded live 03/03/15; host: Mandorichard), 31:35, 30.3 MB.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Date / Notes
  • The Rua / Into the Crowd / Essence / 2014
  • The Rua / Without You / Live on RFM, Paris, France, 12.5.14 / 2014
  • The Rua / Fight for What’s Right / Essence / 2014

Pure Poison and Family Gospel

Sarah HarrisIt’s a familiar story. Mike and Lisa meet in church, fall in love, get married, have three kids, give their oldest daughter guitar lessons…

And by 2011 have started touring the continental US as a family bluegrass group.

Not so familiar then. Today on the Music Room we talked to Sarah Harris, a “ray of sunshine” from Callahan, FL and lead singer and mandolinist of the Trinity River Band.

The Trinity River Band is a bluegrass/gospel group that incorporates various genres into their music, including Irish American folk and 80s rock. For this versatility, they have earned worldwide radio broadcasts, and “Better than Blue,” from their eponymous 2014 album, peaked on the Bluegrass Today Weekly National Survey at #4.

Within that album appears Sarah’s song “Pure Poison,” which she wrote for her brother John, the group’s banjo player who also wields a variety of musical instruments.

We also spoke with Sarah about the influence of gospel on country, traveling on the road as a family, her appearance on Alex Rutledge’s TV show Bloodlines, and Brianna, the youngest member, who plays the fiddle and turns 13 tomorrow. All the best!

Be sure to stay posted; they tour the Northeast this summer, and their new album Heartstrings comes out this May.

The Interview

Sarah Harris
(Recorded live 02/24/15; host: Mandorichard), 29:59, 29.3 MB.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Date / Notes
  • Trinity River Band / Bearfoot Breakdown / Better than Blue / 2014
  • Trinity River Band / Pure Poison / Better than Blue / 2014
  • Trinity River Band / Near the Cross (excerpt) / Bluegrass on the Plains Festival / 2013 (Excerpt)
  • Trinity River Band / Better than Blue / Better than Blue/ 2014