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The beer-bards behind the suds-soaked CD titled
Who are the Esoteric Ramblers?
Beer-focused acoustic Americana-ish musicians who appreciate a good beer whenever playing or listening to a three (sometimes more) chord song.
For the "Keg of Love" sessions, the musicians were: Chris Jones, songwriter, lead vocals, and understated yet dynamic harmonica; Jennings Lyon, the Human Metronome, rhythm acoustic guitar, and harmonies; Frank Tiffany, Guitar Savant, lead guitar; Gene Bowers, banjo; Mike Connell, bass; and Peter Zinc, snare drum. Alas, musicians come and go, chasing their respective muses. Gene Bowers rambled in January 2014, and Mike Connell rambled in February 2014.
For the "Beer and Now" sessions, the musicians were: Chris Jones, songwriter, lead vocals, and hand-tremor-enhanced harmonica; Jennings Lyon, Volume King, acoustic guitar, and harmonies; Frank Tiffany, lead guitar and truly stunning harmonies; Ron Charlton, Bass God, bass; and Peter Zinc, snare drum and blistering bells. We snuck in some ringers on this CD, and received instant credibility when we were joined by Gina Dalmas and Logan Vath, harmonies, and Bernie Lee, piano.
Now we fly with as few as two, or as many as we can fit on stage, going to the bullpen to bring in Supplemental Ramblers as needed. Some of those who have answered the call include, David Almeleh (guitar and presence), Jordan (Vest) Kaoudis (acoustic guitar and presence), Bernie Lee (guitar, piano, and instant credibility), Steve Johnson (guitar), Jim Perry (guitar), and Marty Jones, Chris' brother (guitar, vocals, and motivation).
What have the aurally enlightened said about "Keg of Love"?
The first review of "Keg of Love" was by Veer Magazine's Jeff Maisey in the June 2012 issue (NOTE: Chris Jones and his wife Diane Catanzaro write a beer column for Veer). Jeff said "Norfolk's own Esoteric Ramblers, led by Veer beer columnist Chris Jones, have crafted a sonic homebrew of 13 gut-busting tunes lyrically focused on our favorite four-letter word - beer" .... "'Last Call Boogie' recalls 1950s style rock'n' roll .... 'Hellbound Party Train' gallops at the pace of binge drinking college frat boys throwin' back some Budweisers" while the title track's "melodic, sing-along chorus is as sweet and memorable as raspberry lambic." He called "Fill My Feeding Tube With Beer" "flat out funny" and said Gene Bowers' banjo work gave "Obama Self" "an athentic bluegrass taste."
"Keg of Love" received nationwide media attention. In July 2012, "Keg of Love" was reviewed by Carol Smagalski, BellaOnline's Beer Fox.
The Philadelphia-based beer writer said the CD "displays as much variety as there are styles of beer". Don't take our word for it, read it here!
On August 4, 2012, Chris Jones, Lead Rambler, was interviewed by Lisa Morrison, the Beer Goddess.
That interview was broadcast over a gazillion ... OK, a dozen, Oregon radio stations; give it a listen!
On August 9, 2012, Philadelphia beer writer Joe Sixpack wrote about "Keg of Love" in his weekly update (an email subscription that you need!).
Joe wrote: "Norfolk, Va., beer writer Chris Jones writes malt-inspired music for his band, 'Esoteric Ramblers', and they've got a new CD called 'Keg of Love' that you can download at Amazon for just $8.99. I don't believe I've ever come across a more beer-oriented selection of tunes: 'Six Ways (to Forget You)' is a twangy number that vows, 'Six ways for me to get over you, I'm drinking them one at a time.'
And try to keep a dry eye while singing along with the title track: ... May our pale ales always be hoppy, May our porters always be robust, May our keg of love never run dry, May you always be by my side."
Joe knows beer and beer music!
The Esoteric Ramblers were recorded live at the WHRV-FM 89.5 "Out of the Box, Out on the Beach" on September 8, 2012. We played three songs,
"Six Ways (To Forget You)", "Keg of Love" and "Last Call Boogie".
What, you missed it? Well, it was broadcast from Norfolk, Virginia to the universe and beyond on Paul Shugrue's Out of the Box program a few weeks later.
Thanks to the miracle of modern science, you can hear it here.
That's Chris Jones on lead vocals, harmonica, and the gift of gab, with J.L. Lyon on rhythm guitar and harmonies, and Frank Tiffany on lead guitar.
The Esoteric Ramblers' CD "Keg of Love" was reviewed in the Virginian Pilot, Norfolk, VA's daily paper, on 10 Jan 2013.
Frank Roberts, the reviewer, gave "Keg of Love" four stars = go get it now"! You can read that glorious review here!
The Esoteric Ramblers' CD "Keg of Love" was nominated as "Album (CD) of the Year" on the Veer 2013 Local Music Awards ballot.
The Esoteric Ramblers were nominated as "Best Americana" (band), too!
The Peninsula's Daily Press music writer, Sam McDonald, mentioned the Esoteric Ramblers in his Sound Check music blog on January 16th.
Maybe, if the moon is in the seventh house, he'll review our CD ....
The Esoteric Ramblers were recorded live for broadcast on the Hunter at Sunrise program on March 17, 2013, on WHRV-FM, 89.5. We played three songs, and bantered about beer.
What, you missed it? Well, thanks to the wonder of the web, you can hear it here.
Tom Dahldorf, publisher of Celebrator Beer News, reviewed "Keg of Love" in the June/July 2013 issue, where he said "Fill My Feeding Tube With Beer" is a "soon-to-be-classic".
DJ Stockbizzy, music reviewer for Ale Street News, reviewed "Keg of Love" in the August/September 2013 issue. Calling it "some crazy stuff", he said "It's rare to find music so heavily woven with beer culture and interest as this." He refers to Chris Jones'playing as "wicked dope", he sings the praises of Gene Bowers' banjo, and he says "this whole recording gets a green, hoppy thumbs up." A smokin' review!
You can purchase Keg of Love mp3s on the web at Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes.
You can purchase a "hard copy", a good ol' plastic disc in an eco-friendly cardboard sleeve, from CD Baby.
In the Norfolk, VA area you can find the latest Esoteric Ramblers CD, "Beer and Now" at two local gourmet beer retailers, the Grape and Gourmet in Virginia Beach, VA, the bottleBOX in Norfolk, VA, and one local music store, Birdland Music in Virginia Beach, VA.
Everyone digs "Keg of Love", even prehistoric beasts. The T-rex listens to "Keg of Love" while hoisting pony bottles with those little arms!
We have a song on "Keg of Love" titled "No Condom Blues" that is perhaps a bit difficult to play at a family-friendly church social, so, Chris Jones, harp player and lead Rambler, changed the song to one about the lack of condiments, "No Condiment Blues". Check it out!
In November 2012, at the Mariner's Museum's "Battle of the Beers", an English beer (long established, traditional, Queenly) versus American beer (new, upstart, Presidential) slapdown, we debuted a new audience-participation number, a parody of "Take this Job and Shove It", Take This Beer and Shove It.
We're working on one of those woman-leaves-man-at-the-train-station songs, only it's a light rail train on a short track so the man doesn't have a lot of time to straighten things out.
Give a listen to "Light Rail, Short Track". That's Jim Perry, periodic Esoteric Rambler, on guitar, and Chris Jones on harp and vocals.
Where are we playing next?
Saturday, April 9, 2016, from 1:40 PM until 2:10 PM, at WHRO's Out Of The Box Festival, in the parking lot at WHRO's facility in Norfolk, VA.
May 1, 2016, between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM at the Mariner's Museum's Craft Beer Festival in Newport News, VA.
If you have a brewery or a beer festival, we have the music for you.
Where have we played?
February 2014 and 2016, at Cogan's in Norfolk, at an "after parties" following the Veer Local Music Awards events.
January 2014, in the "Veer" Garden, the craft beer garden, in Norfolk's historic Attucks Theater during the Luke Hartman and Restless Passengers show, presented by Tidewater Arts Outreach.
In September 2013, Chris Jones, Esoteric Rambler harp dude, play stripped-down-to-bare-bones beer songs with his brother, Denver-based singer/songwriter Marty Jones
at a backyard house concert at North Shore Point in Norfolk, opening for Steve Forbert!
In May 2013, 2014 and May 2015 at the Mariner's Museum's Craft Beer Festival.
Multiple times since 2013 at O'Connor Brewing Company.
Multiple times since 2013 at Smartmouth Brewing Company.
In May 2013 at the Thirsty Camel in Norfolk's Ocean View neighborhood, with Gina Dalmas and the Cow Tipping Playboys.
In January 2013 at Cure Coffeehouse in Norfolk.
We've also played the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival and the Hermitage Foundation Museum, both in Norfolk, VA, and at East Beach in Norfolk's Ocean View neighborhood.
Having a hard time determining the difference between a parody and a derived work? So did Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, and it cost him some green.
The music law biz ain't for the unlearned.
You need an attorney that specializes in music law, and the Esoteric Ramblers' attorney is Cassandra Spangler, Esq. She rocks!
A word to the wise - a musician, no matter the genre, who self-defends in court will soon be singing the blues.
Roots of the Esoteric Ramblers
Before the Esoteric Ramblers came to be, Chris Jones was the washtub bassist for about 10 years in Fat Tony, a blues/swing band,
and before that was the washtub bassist/harp dude for about 10 years in C.J. and the Ph.Ds, a satirical music band.
Here's a Ph.Ds' track written in 1985 about the John, Arthur and Michael Walker spy family, titled "Work For Your Daddy";
it's John Walker's message to his son Michael to join the family business, selling out the USA for green; give it a listen.
More "roots" to follow!
You can send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can see tre artistic, out-of-the-box and off-of-the-iPhone avant garde videos of us on YouTube.
And you can find us on Facebook, a site updated more often than this one (it's easier to work with).
Chris Jones, Songwriter/Singer, Harmonica Dude and Lead Rambler, 2016.