The Blind Owl Band: Rabble Rousing in upstate New York

As you may have read in yesterday’s song pick, I ran away to Saranac Lake, New York in the Adirondacks for a week to do nothing but see live music, drink and enjoy being cold. Well, it’s time for shaky cell phone video from vacation part 2. Thursday it was IDM time, but now the spotlight is on some damn good local bluegrass.

The Blind Owl Band is a young, heavily bearded quartet that calls Saranac home. The band only officially formed about one year ago, released an album, Rabble Rousing, last month and is receiving lots of love from around town. They’re playing somewhere in town every single night this week, and by the end of it, I’ll have watched them three times. Still, I feel I’ll be driving home on Sunday wanting a little more.

Blind Owl is bluegrass on the surface, but it’s bluegrass with teeth. These fellas play hard and fast–so furiously that Arthur Buezo, the band’s guitarist, snapped five strings during their relentless two-hour set last night.

The band is also bluegrass by accident. While hitting the town last night, I bumped into Eric Munley (mandolin), who told me he couldn’t even play a mandolin a little more than a year ago. In fact, except for James Ford (banjo), none of the guys draw their main influences from bluegrass. Munley grew up with punk rock, Buezo leans toward classical and flamenco guitar and bass player Christian Cardiello likes his jazz. But, when they throw it all into the pot with a hint of jam and some gruff vocals, it’s the real deal.

Let’s hope these guys keep picking up steam and find their way to Ohio one day.

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