In close quarters at Smoke Daddy’s in Wicker Park, a four piece took the stage and brought their energy to the Friday night crowd. Mike Martin (vocals/guitar), Caryn Egan (vocals/fiddle), Mikey McKnight (drums) & Lars Lindokken (bass) performed their own material and some great covers. They were also joined by guest bass player Kevin Egan later on in the night. After a fantastic set I got a chance to run some questions by fiddler extraordinaire Caryn.
How we met/got started:
Mike has been playing music the last 15 or so years with different musicians in IN and SC. Generally using “Michael Martin Band” because he knew that he would be the one constant. Mike and I met in Muncie when I was going to Ball State for music education and he was running Doc’s Music Hall. I slowly began to work with the band and decided to join full time when I graduated. Doc’s closed, he had another bar/music venue (Folly Moon) for a year which also closed. We decided to take our music more seriously and move out of Muncie. We thought about Nashville but decided on Charleston, SC where we’ve lived and played music full-time for the last five years.
We eventually put together a band in Charleston and felt like it was defined enough as its own project and got enough recognition to warrant a name change. We were all taking it very seriously, playing 3-4 gigs most weeks, traveling to Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, etc. We played around with a lot of names. We have a song called “Beautiful Mess” and we liked how it sounded as a band name and people seemed to identify with it.
We use “Country/Roots Rock/Americana” a lot. It’s old school country (not pop country as we often have to clarify) with influences from folk, Irish music, rock n roll, jam bands, bluegrass, etc. It’s gritty and energetic but we also take the songwriting/lyrics seriously and often try to convey a message with emotion and authenticity. We won Country/Americana Band of the Year in Charleston for 2018 so country/Americana seems pretty straightforward and accurate.
Favorite genre to cover:
I like doing the old school country covers, like Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash and June Carter. I also like interesting indie rock covers you don’t hear a lot – we’re working on a cover of “Gone for Good” by the Shins. Mike loves and lives for classic country like Kris Kristofferson and Tom T Hall.
Favorite places to play:
In Charleston, we love the Pour House, the Royal American, and Burns Alley – just a few of the many amazing and authentic independent music venues in town. We get to travel to and play at so many amazing places and venues that it’s hard to pick favorites.
What’s coming up next:
We’re mostly in Charleston this summer, playing locally with a few gigs out of town – Augusta, GA, Asheville, NC, and Dallas, NC – and starting work on our upcoming album “Home”.