Craig Myers, percussionist and kamel n’goni player, has had an extremely full plate the last several years. However, touring and performing as a member of both Mike Gordon’s band and Rubblebucket left less time to devote to his own two bands, Barika and N’goni Trio.
2013 brings a bit of a change as Myers left Rubblebucket in September to focus on Barika. The band fuses West African influences with a poly-rhythmic, funk laden sound that has doses of psychedelia and R&B with complex rhythms and infectious grooves. The band is getting ready to release their second album, Rise, and has asked fans to contribute to the process. We recently spoke with Myers to ask about the new album and his plans for 2013.
Parker Harrington: Great to talk to you today, Craig. Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule. We talked to you a couple years ago on the heels of the release of Barika’s debut album, Remember. Now, you are getting ready to release another album, Rise. Can you tell us a little bit about the evolution of the band’s sound and what might have changed since Remember as well as give us a little background on this new album?
Craig Myers: Remember was our first album of course and we had been a band together at that point for two-plus years. Rise I feel is both a deepening and a continuation. But also there’s lots of evolution that happens the more any musicians play together. The more shows you do, the deeper you connect with each other and the deeper the music can get. So at this point, there are some things that are similar to Remember but there’s a lot more richness and more deep harmonies in the music, especially with the horns. There’s also a lot surprises that I want to keep from people and let them hear it for themselves.
HT faves Barika, the Vermont-based band who blend Craig Myers’ Kamel N’Goni work with Western influences, are currently working on their second album. The group has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the rest of the recording process, mixing and mastering. Funders who back the project can receive t-shirts, albums and even a N’Goni lesson from Myers depending on how much they contribute. Barika hopes to release the album in early May.
Here’s six links to help you get over the hump this work week…
Finally, Eric Clapton has revealed details of new album, entitled “Old Sock,” which is due out March 12th. Old Sock features two new originals and a collection of covers that Clapton loves such as Further On Down The Road, Goodnight Irene and Peter Tosh’s Till Your Well Runs Dry. Special guests include Paul McCartney, J.J. Cale, Chaka Khan and Steve Winwood. CoS has more details.
It’s late in the year for lineup changes, but that hasn’t stopped two musicians from leaving the bands for which they’re best known. Percussionist Craig Myers has left Rubblebucket, while multi-instrumentalist John Neff has unexpectedly quit the Drive-By Truckers.
[Photo by Jeremy Gordon]
Myers has left the employ of HT faves Rubblebucket to focus on his own band – Barika, according to a report by Brent Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free-Press. After more than five years in Rubblebucket, when on the road “Myers missed the band that he leads back home in Burlington, the West African-inspired Barika.” According to Hallenbeck, Myers’ last gig with Rubblebucket took place on September 6th. Rubblebucket begins a two-night stand at Higher Ground on Sunday while Barika plays Nectar’s on Saturday.
In a surprise move, pedal steel/guitarist John Neff announced his departure from Drive-By Truckers in a terse statement on his Facebook page, “Today I quit the Drive-by Truckers. Thanks for all the friendships. Let’s keep in touch” as reported by Jambands.com. The Truckers kick off a three-night New Year’s run at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club in just two days.
Some musicians have a hard enough time balancing the demands that come from being a member of a band that it’s incredibly impressive that Vermont native Craig Myers has juggled three different projects over the last few years. The percussionist/Kamel N’Goni player is a member of Mike Gordon’s five-piece band, tours with Brooklyn indie-dance band Rubblebucket and fronts his own group called Barika.
All three acts had banner years in 2011, with Mike Gordon winning raves at every stop, Rubblebucket blowing up beyond the Northeast and Barika putting out their first album, Remember. Barika features a song so incredibly different from anything else making the rounds these days thanks in part of the blending of Myers’ Kamel N’Goni work with Western influences. We recently spoke with Myers about how Barika came together, what went into the making of Remember and how he balances all three groups.
Scott Bernstein: Barika’s first album, Remember, has been years in the making. Can you give a little background on history of group and how the album came together?
Craig Myers: The album was slow-going because all of us have different projects. I’m involved with Mike Gordon’s band and also in a band called Rubblebucket, both of those take up a lot of time. Unfortunately, as it goes right now, it’s everyone’s second or third project. The whole recording process we weren’t able to lock down a nice full week session or two-week session to go into the studio to record and then take another week so we could master it all at once. So our drummer Caleb has a home studio and we were just gonna piece it together as people’s schedules allowed.
Craig Myers’s name has appeared in the pages of Hidden Track for the native Vermonter’s work with both Rubblebucket and Mike Gordon, but today we’ll look at a seven-piece band he fronts that you need to hear – Barika. Remember, Barika’s long-in-the-making debut album, shows off the group’s signature blend of West African melodies, dynamic poly-rhythmic soundscapes and hard-nosed, psychedelic funk. From the first few bars of Remember’s opening title track, it’s clear you’re listening to something incredibly different as Myers lays down a psychedelic-tinged riff on a West African harp called the Kamel N’goni and then BAM! the horns and hard-hitting drums come in. Next thing you know your neck hurts from your head bobbing up and down uncontrollably.
Over the course of Remember’s ten tracks Barika shows off their versatility. There’s a shred-heavy guitar solo in Blues For Segu, synth-swirls a plenty on Grounded and the more groove-heavy Eh Baba. Yet, in most cases it all starts with a dynamic Kamel N’goni riff from Myers and builds outwards. For an example of Barika’s West-Meets-West African sound, we’re sharing Remember’s second track – Baga…