The EASY WINNERS are singularly delightful.
If I may, I will quote myself:
“There are so many names for the music The Easy Winners create (is it string-band music, ragtime, roots music, Americana, or venerable popular song?) that I have given up the quest to name it. But it’s light-hearted, sweet, sometimes hilarious, sentimental in the best ways, old-fashioned without being stuffy.
To me, this music is completely charming — what I envision people who lived some distance from cities playing and singing at home (ideally on the porch in summer), old songs, pop songs, swinging without trying hard to, joining their individual string sounds and vocal harmonies to entertain family, friends, neighbors. They feel a million miles away from music funneled through the iPhone into earbuds or blasting from someone’s car speaker: they remind me of a time when people made music on their own and they were expert at it even when Ralph Peer didn’t offer them a record contract: a landscape full of wonderful sounds, people creating beautiful melodies for their own pleasure.”
The Easy Winners are Nick Robinson, mandolin, guitar, vocals); Zac Salem (mandolin, guitar, vocal); Robert Armstrong (guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, banjo-guitar, ukulele, musical saw, vocals); Irene Hermann (mandolin) — and for this set, so nicely video-recorded by Rob Thomas, they added kindred spirits Matt Tolentino (accordion); Marty Eggers (string bass); Virginia Tichenor (drums).
A friend sent me their eleven-song playlist, their set for dancers, at the 2022 West Coast Ragtime Festival, and it’s a delicious interlude, showing not only their joyous precision, but also their wide repertoire. They begin with the venerable NOLA strain, CREOLE BELLES, then WHISPERING, EL CHOCLO (Tango), SWIPSEY CAKEWALK, HELIOTROPE BOUQUET, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, TOBASCO, STARDUST, THE ENTERTAINER, SAN and HINDUSTAN, and end with BUCKSNORT STOMP, aptly named.
I dream of hearing this in rotation over the sound system at Starbucks — but for now, make sure your friends and perhaps neighbors hear it too. Good for what ails you.
They refresh the ear . . . and we certainly need that.
May your happiness increase!