GRITTY 1-MAN BAND PLAYS “SWAMP YANKEE” WITH FOUND INSTRUMENTS AND HARMONIC THROAT SINGING
Suitcase Junket – the remarkable act using mainly found instruments who was named to Spotify’s Best of 2016 Folk & Americana playlist – will release his new album ‘Pile Driver’ April 21 on Signature Sounds. He’s also been named as one of “public radio’s favorite sessions.” The Suitcase Junket’s stellar songwriting with earworm choruses and muscular, gritty verses puts him in a company of shining lights of Americana and rock & roll like Shovels & Rope, M. Ward, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Sam Amidon, Flat Duo Jets, and The Record Company (for whom he has opened shows).
The one-man band – aka Matt Lorenz – calls his music “swamp Yankee,” with a muddy, southern aesthetic joining with pioneer ingenuity. The Suitcase Junket originated after he found a Japanese-made guitar in a dumpster and cleaned out the mold with white vinegar. It sounded best in an open tuning (he’s now settled on open C), which reminded him of early 20th century field recordings and focused his songwriting for the project. He now plays the guitar simultaneously with a kick attached to a double-wide suitcase on which he sits; a high hat that features a box of silverware and an 8 millimeter film reel; a baby shoe hitting a gas can; a cooking pot; and a circular saw blade. The upcoming ‘Pile Driver’ tour will see him add a keyboard as well.
While singing verses and choruses with a powerful voice, he has also taught himself South Indian throat singing, a technique by which one can sing a low droning note and get a high harmonic. After five years of practice in the car and shower, it sounds absolutely otherworldly. Onstage, he sings this through a bullet-style microphone that hides the drone note amidst the guitar’s amplification but lets through the overtone glide atop the mix. This is shown at its apex with the intro to the “Beta Star” or the break in “Ten Rivers.”
However, ‘Pile Driver’s’ constant is the Suitcase Junket’s remarkable songwriting, with rousing choruses underpinned with gritty, distorted guitar and imagistic, evocative verses. The album kicks off with the modal “The Next Act” and rides the high peaks of the garage rocker “Jackie,” the punk-blues tale of an affair gone wrong “Evangeline” and back-against-the-wall narrative of “Why So Brief,” the anthemic “What Was I Gonna Say,” and the inspiring “Seed Your Dreams, ” with its carpe diem message. “Mountain of Mind,” perhaps the album’s most affecting song, a portrait of overcoming an abusive relationship and one’s own self-destructive tendencies. “Beta Star” tackles the first pangs of love and featuring an alternating keyboard and guitar part played simultaneously. He shows himself a master fingerpicking guitarist on “Busted Gut” and “Ten Rivers.” The album then closes with the great campfire song “Red Flannel Rose,” finding the Suitcase Junket singing of perseverance.
Suitcase Junket is an artist to watch in 2017. Boston's NPR station WBUR has said, "It's an astonishing thing to watch Matt Lorenz perform... What’s impressive is not merely the complexity of the endeavor—Lorenz sings, strums and plays up to four instruments with his feet at once—but how utterly he is able to transcend the mechanical minutiae." Already, The Suitcase Junket has opened tour dates for Lake Street Dive, The Record Company, Jackie Greene, the Suffers, and Los Lobos and played Mountain Jam, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Joshua Tree, and Green River festivals.
Suitcase Junket Winter Tour Dates
January 12 - Abilene Bar & Lounge - Rochester, NYJanuary 13 Rusty Rail Brewing Company - Mifflinburg, PA
January 14 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
January 15 - House Show - Buckhannon, WV
January 18 - The Purple Fiddle - Thomas, WV
January 19 - The Burl - Lexington, KY
January 20 Bar None - Springfield, IL
January 21 - Private Show - Johnston, IA
January 22 - The Warming House - Minneapolis, MN
January 24 - Off Broadway - St Louis, MO
January 26 - Cafe Carpe - Fort Atkinson, WI
January 27 - SPACE - Evanston, IL
January 28 - Tanners Grill & Bar Kimberly, WI
February 01 - Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MAFebruary 08 Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MA
February 15 Atwood's Tavern- Cambridge, MAFebruary 22 Atwood's Tavern- Cambridge, MA