To the Stars on the Wings of a Pig
Anti-folkers The Foghorns began in 2001 with Bart Cameron bringing songs written in Wisconsin to Brooklyn New York for various strange performances, mainly with the help of Brooklyn bluegrass band The Cobble Hillbillies. The band released two albums in New York. When Bart moved to Iceland in 2003 as a Fulbright Fellow, he revamped the band and toured Iceland using the moniker. In Iceland, Bart released a bucket and guitar folk album, So Sober. The band, still with bucket percussion, performed across Iceland including performing twice at Iceland Airwaves, at Innipukinn, and more than a 100 other performances across the island. In 2006, Bart moved to Seattle, Washington. The Foghorns were eventually reformed. With Katie and Rich Quigley, they recorded 'A Diamond as Big as the Motel Six' in 2009. The tour that supported that CD took the band to Iceland, England, Scotland, Denmark and Sweden, along with a 42-stop cross country US tour. In 2011, The Foghorns will release their seventh full length CD, and it will be their first full-length LP on vinyl. The lineup has changed again. Now ranging from a three-piece to an eight-piece, the core now features Bart Cameron, Jason Kopec (a converted taiko drummer performing on pots, pans, and sometimes drums), and accordionist/ pianist Peter Colclasure, along with a number of other Seattle-based musicians. Paul Constant, of the Seattle Stranger, described the band this way: Seattle-by-way-of-Iceland country-rock combo the Foghorns (who are signed on Wisconsin label Beefy Beef Records to make things even more geographically confusing) are, to put it mildly, a band with catholic tastes. They've stocked their repertoire with a couple of traditional waltzes that sound like something the Smithsonian recorded in Appalachia in the 1950s, but they can also let go with a Black Lips-style stomper when they're ready to rock. One song, 'Old Bachelors in Cleveland,' twangs like a country song, but sashays with an honest-to-God hula beat. The Foghorns could very well be the local band with the biggest arsenal of genres in their pocket, and they're definitely the best country band in Seattle that can also whip up a catchy synthesizer riff at a moment's notice. Fensepost described the band this way: There's a growing number of country-based folk bands appearing throughout the Seattle area and the latest to warrant your attention is the male/female duo The Foghorns. This week they released their new record, A Diamond As Big As The Motel 6, on Beefy Beef Records. Their home may be Seattle, but they're not strangers to the world, having resided everywhere from Ireland to Wisconsin to Brooklyn. The Foghorns' old-time country-folk is filled with emotive verse, lovable in all it's harmony, and the perfect lament for the wanderer. Songs like "Not Every Horse" are ripe with emotion, while others like "Rose" and "Old Bachelors In Cleveland" are just plain excellent. "Brooklyn Bridge" even pulls out pop keyboard riffs and jangle guitar! These tunes easily place The Foghorns in company with The Banyans for the best new Seattle folk band of the year. And the Scottish paper The Edinburgh List described them this way: There's something dark at the melancholy heart of lead Foghorn Bart Cameron's country-tinged missives of loves past, present and possible. On a low-key two-date Scottish stopover in a stripped-back duo format, some-time Reykjavik resident Cameron's downbeat demeanour is offset by the honeyed counterpoint of co-vocalist Katie Quigley in a short set of gentle heartbreak. Standing side by side, Cameron in vintage suit, Quigley swaying with hands in print frock pockets, and with only their voices and an acoustic guitar for company, a doleful harmonica sets the tone, with most songs drawn from this year's Beefy Beefy Records release, 'A Diamond As Big As The Motel Six.' Cameron's milieu is old-time booze-soaked laments deep-fried with dust-bowl languor. The delivery is as contrary to the band name as possible, with only the throwaway rites-of-passage boogie of 'Brooklyn Bridge,' when the're joined by Iceland's own Benni Hemm Hemm on drums, coming close to bottle-smashing clatter. Cynicism and idealism step out together on 'Old Bachelors in Cleveland,' a gentle sneer at aging singletons once the narrator's own true love has come calling. This was presumably written before the adulterous smooch of 'Sleepy Waltz,' which, like a Raymond Carver miniature set to a slowed-down n' woozy melody from The Velvet Underground's 'I'm Sticking With You', shuffles through it's after-hours liaison with a set of conflicting emotions that are as bittersweet as they are unrepentant in a swoonalong song worth staying out late for.