New album and tour dates!! Plus, a conversation with the People Like You front man on his first solo release.
by Katherine Murray
My first “solo” effort since being a “grown-up” is what I’ve been calling a ‘Nonsemble’ of a few musician friends from around New Hampshire. Thus, the EP is titled just that, Nonsemble. It is a compilation of folk songs written during my travels on the never-ending TroubaTour around the states and in various short-lived living situations around New England over the past few years. The songs were written and performed under a few archetypes of characters I’ve been developing – each an amalgamation of folks I’ve met in my travels around the United Circus of America.
The songs were inspired by (and poke fun at) the lifestyle and aesthetic of elder troubadours I once idolized. A sort of eccentric and satirical take on stuff to like tobacco and places like the infamous Wall Drug (which any a traveler who’s been through South Dakota has most certainly at least seen a billboard for). There’s more made up words than ever and plenty of abstract word play for those who dabble in semantics. It is a new concoction to me that, for lack of a one word qualifier, I’ve been calling vaudevillian inlaw country hobo wingnut freak folk children’s music for adults… with a twist, of course.
The Nonsemble recordings feature the musical nonsense of Lukas Labrie on upright bass, Jake Davis on lap steel, and Bob Kordas on dobro and banjo. I recorded and mixed the 5 songs myself under the name Rubber Tramp Records within the parameters of an old Tascam 4-track tape recorder. There are only four tracks tops on each song and all but a couple tracks held the integrity of a single take without “punch-ins” to make for complete and utter honest nonsense.
The instrumental tracks of Nonsemble were recorded in the New England homes of the musicians who appear on the album. The vocals were tracked in my short bus while on “TroubaTour,” specifically while camped in Fredericksburg, TX and Slab City, CA and the cough percussion track for “Because Tobacco” in the woods of Arkansas.
I thought I was going mad in Slab City when I went to finish recording vocals and there they were, all done and ready to go! I later discovered it was a lyme flare up that was causing my confusion and short term memory loss. Fortunately, I listened to the tape before pressing the red button as there’s no safety net of digital recall on reel. I imagine it’s possible I recorded them a few times over by then and just plain forgot.
The cover art features a few photos from a shoot I did with Lily Eye of Luna Tree Photography during our time in New Orleans in December of 2018.
The characters heard in the Nonsemble sessions are depicted here as “No King,” “No Kin,” “No Time,” and “Any Time.” The wall is on N. Peters Street just outside the French Quarter where I (and many other rubber tramps) park their rigs to stay for days to months on end.
What started as a nonsensical recording project with fellow Root Tootin’ Acoustic Hoot Night pickers (an open acoustic jam I host at the Stone Church Music Club in Newmarket, NH on Tuesday nights) slowly came into its own as the namesake to a new musical outfit with a rotating cast of musicians – Eli Elkus Nonsemble.
Intended for listening with your grandmother.
Eli currently has seventeen shows on tap, supporting his solo release. Check out the dates here: Eli Elkus TroubaTour Dates and definitely try to make it out to a show. You won’t be disappointed.
APR13 Big Kahunas Cafe & Grill
Sat 12 PM · Merrimack, NH
APR27 True Brew Barista and Café
Sat 9 PM Concord, NH
MAR30 The ReFresh Lounge
Sat 1 PM Rochester, NH
MAR30 White Heron Tea
Sat 2 PM · Portsmouth, NH
APR12 41 Axholme Road, York, ME
Fri 6 PM ·
APR15 Earth Eagle Brewings
Mon 6 PM · Portsmouth, NH
APR20 The ReFresh Lounge
Sat 4:20 PM · Rochester, NH
MAY15 Charlie-O’s World Famous
Wed 6 PM · Montpelier, VT
MAY16 Tumbledown Cafe
Thu 6:30 PM · Sanbornville, NH
Sat 9 PM · Ellsworth, ME
MAY19 Tributary Brewing Company
Sun 3 PM · Kittery, ME
MAY25 Bad Lab Beer Co.
Sat 8 PM · Somersworth, NH
JUN16 Bad Lab Beer Co.
Sun 1 PM · Somersworth, NH
JUL21 Radio Bean
Sun 7 PM · Burlington, VT
Kathy Murray will be coming out of winter hibernation to attend this exclusive Release Party in York, ME and to bring you literary and photographic coverage of this epic event for Live Music News and Review!