Band performs off-the-cuff, eclectic playlist
by Staff Writer
Country music legend Conway Twitty said it best, “A good song takes a page out of someone’s life and puts it to music.”
Few things connect like a familiar melody. Music can take us back in time, remind us of particular places or reintroduce us to old friends.
The only thing more powerful is when we can hear the composition up close and personal, directly from those who put pen to paper, then assign it timing and a group of pitches for the masses to enjoy.
Life’s journey entertains a similar quest. Personalities and scenarios emit distinct energies attracting or distracting the attention of others. There are laws we must adhere to regardless of beliefs or opinions. There are structures that are comforting or test the boundaries of normalcy.
Such a vibe is overly apparent in our local music scene.
Chords and tempos reverberate in the streets that previously took us to neighboring towns and venues. These sounds are playing in our backyards. We must embrace the artists who provide a glimpse into their worlds. Whether imaginative or realistic, their creations are a gift that should never be taken for granted.
Hence, Sound Check. This weekly feature will highlight homegrown acts, the people who influence and inspire. It is designed to engage and encourage readers. It is a vehicle to support local artists, a guide to find them and an invitation to share in their passion.
Sound Check will always be about the music. We welcome your input and ask for updates on the latest happenings and events.
In the meantime, enjoy the vibe.
Spongecake and the Fluff Ramblers, originally The Shelter Boys, formed four years ago in nearby Concord. The line-up includes seven players from three states, none of which are strangers to the road.
True to their roots, Spongecake often makes ends meet by selling jewelry, hula-hoops and tie-dyes at each of their shows.
Playing atop their tour bus, the group recently won over fans in Raleigh, but that is only part of the trip. Each of the members seems to tirelessly travel up and down the East Coast, making friends wherever the music may take them.
Spongecake plays original tunes but dabbles with covers.
Influences include the Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, Widespread Panic, Eric Clapton and Ben Harper. Although their set list spans several genres, nothing is ever planned or rehearsed. This creates improvisations crucial to their success, thus every performance is unique and completely off-the-cuff.
Fans are encouraged to tape and video concerts, adding to the band’s appeal.
The band’s alter ego is Uncle Dad, an acoustic tongue-in-cheek, sometimes poking fun at its expense. Either way, you will have a blast listening and dancing to its eclectic mix of rock, funk and bluegrass.
Guitar parts are divided between Jason Longoria, “Wavy” Davey Roberts and Steven Davidson. Davidson is also quite prolific on mandolin and bass, while Roberts shines on lead vocals. Amer Saab plays keyboard once in a blue moon. Stephen Schmidt has found his niche on bass guitar and accompanying vocals. The percussion section is comprised of Bill Shadden, Luke Ruggieri and Peter Barrett.
Check out the many live recordings, keeping in mind Spongecake is not conducive to a studio environment by visiting www.spongecakeandtheflufframblers.com.
Book the band by calling 704-663-6371 or 910-391-1951.
After years in advertising, Chris Montgomery followed his dreams this year by opening Big Hat Larry’s Guitars, Music & More on Main Street. He served as mayor of Mooresville from 2009 to 2011.