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Acoustic Brunch is back! Click here to check out the schedule!
Mr. Mayor and the Highballers performing raucous and high-energy versions of folk and blues songs of the 30s and 40s, as well as original tunes and more modern numbers with a jug band twist. They've hooted, hollered, and delivered "old time music at jug band prices" at venues all over Chicago including The Empty Bottle, Reggie's Rock Club, and The Old Town School of Folk Music.
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Thematically, a lot of the new Wilderness of Manitoba album, Island of Echoes, is about the past year or so and all of the songs come from that timeframe. There wasn’t a lot of downtime for the Toronto-based band as they were on tour, primarily in the United States and England. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham reflects, “For me personally, a lot of my songwriting was done on the road because it had to be. So, whenever I was home, I'd have a week or two to record demos and then be back at the drawing board again in a van or hotel room.” The constant touring, the ever-changing geography, playing larger venues and working the new songs into the live sets, all had a profound influence on both the band and the new album. Whitwham started playing electric guitars and the sound became more expansive to fill the halls they were playing. “This also carried over into writing the new songs as we had fuller band arrangements in mind”, adds Whitwham.
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In the six years since Sleepy Sun released the White Dove 7”, the Northern California band sometimes seemed to live the lives of a hundred bands. They toured incessantly, shed old skin, tore down walls with riffs, and explored black smoke, barrel-dark songs, and studio sheen—all with a core that has survived since the band crawled from the dusty sage-scented Santa Cruz underbrush.
It’s that core, and the experiential sum of those hundred lives, that shape the band’s new songs. In the sounds of their new 7?, out October 15th via Dine Alone Records, you hear echoes of nights shared with fellows and allies like Arctic Monkeys and Black Angels…a band growing self-assured as studio presence…the elasticity and tensions of a creative brotherhood.
There has always been a sort of effortlessness in what Sleepy Sun does—derived, probably, from decades-old friendships within the band and months stuffed in vans traversing and criss-crossing continents. It’s heard readily in their new tracks, as well as the band’s now-well-cultivated roles as instrumentalists.