Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Who is Toyboat?

Or should I say what? Toyboat Band is the product of a very disturbing conversation between Eric Coleman and Daniel Gunderson. Eric, who is already an award winning singer/songwriter, told Daniel (aka gundo) that he would like to start a filk band. gundo's response was "great, let's do it". Eric wasn't convinced, because "we have two guitars, who would play drums?" gundo laughed, told Eric that he had played drums off and on for 20 years - and promptly went out and bought a brand new electronic drum set to prove his sincerity.

They quickly got Jason Neerenberg in on their twisted little plan. Jason, who had never played bass before, was handed one of gundo's bass guitars and told "There you go." They quickly realized that they needed a lead guitarist, so Mike Nixon was brought in. Practice began in earnest, and their first song was a version of "The Lady" (by Urban Tapestry) to the tune of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". Next came a blues rendition of "Mary O'Meara".

The whole idea of the band is to take filk standards and change them up, put them into new styles and formats. Mary O'Meara is a classic filk song - the words were written by Poul Anderson in one of his books, and local Midwestern filker Anne Passavoy provided the music for it. It's a haunting tune, and much loved by filker types all over the world. Toyboat has managed to take it and make it new, while still paying homage to Poul Anderson & Anne Passovoy. Anne & her husband Bob gave it a big thumbs up at Ohio Valley Filk Festival this past weekend - people seem pleased to hear it, and there were a lot of great comments.

All the guys are kind of out of their element. Eric, a well known solo performer, isn't singing much. gundo, a long time professional guitarist isn't playing much guitar and he's singing more. Jason has (as I've said) never played bass). Mike hasn't ever played in a band before. They're loving the new musical opportunities, and it's exciting to see a new filk band coming up. There aren't many bands that do filk - Wild Mercy and Dandelion Wine are two that come to mind. Toyboat is the Midwest's newest merry band of musical miscreants... and they're having a lot of fun.

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