From a broken mold
Clumsy Lovers plays folk music you can slam dance to
January 15, 2004
Go see this band.
With their eighth album, self-released in September, Clumsy Lovers finally is getting noticed by mainstream music promoters in America. And after playing on their own since 1993, the band members just signed with independent record label Nettwerk.
In articles, Clumsy Lovers has been called “Raging bluegrass Celtic Rock” and “Speed-metal hillbilly polka” and “Square dancing punks.”
“That is a problem,” bass player and band founder Chris Jonat said. “There isn’t an obvious simple label for us. We think of ourselves as a rock band, but we also have a fiddle and a banjo. You just play what comes naturally, then try to explain it.”
If anything, Clumsy Lovers is a Celtic pub band that got bored with traditional tunes and let their fingers start wandering.
“One song at a time, we started developing in a different direction,” Jonat said.
A Celtic undercurrent can still be heard in most of their songs, but since those early days, their music sped up and wierded out.
“We play fast because a lot of our sound comes from being a live band,” Jonat said. “I hate it when a band slows into a ballad and it kind of kills the night. I’ll never understand why they do that. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of even mid-tempo songs.”
The album before “After the Flood” was an album of cover songs called “Under the Covers.” The album opened with a speed-metal version of Paul Simon’s “That Was Your Mother” and a version of “Where the Streets Have No Name” that listeners can slam dance to.
To get the band’s name out, Clumsy Lovers plays 300 shows a year, hitting venues on both coasts.
They played Steamboat last summer at Slopeside’s Sunday afternoon free concert series.
“After the Flood” is a little slower than “Under the Covers,” Jonat said. It will be re-released by Nettwerk, a label out of Clumsy Lovers’ hometown of Vancouver, Canada.
“We were afraid of (being on a label) for a long time,” he said. “Nettwerk offered us a deal that was very sympathetic to that. It allows us to keep doing what we’ve been doing, but we are amazed by the size of the machine that’s all of a sudden behind us.”