“21st century hobos are coming to town” – There are acoustic-guitar- picking folk groups, there are accordion-pounding Gypsy troupes, there are harmonica-blowing blues combos and gourd-banjo-trailing world-music troubadours; there are even, probably, musicians who carry six-foot-high percussion sticks around with them.
But there is surely no musical partnership that brings all of the above together as bracingly as the Groanbox boys.
Groanbox, the US / Canadian trio of Paul Clifford (vocals, weird percussion), Cory Seznec (vocals, guitars), and Michael Ward-Bergeman (vocals, accordion), are a musical hybrid.
A roots band steeped in the traditions of American music, they play with all the guts of rock and roll and all the soul of the wandering troubadour. But somewhere along the way, that troubadour turned off the road and, setting sail from the melting pot of New Orleans, began a journey that would take their sound to new, unchartered territories with global influences.
Michael and Cory and Paul are skilled multi-instrumentalists who search out “forgotten” instruments that were once mainstays of the hobos and other poor people – one such is The Freedom Boot, a walking stick cum rattle that used to be a musical mainstay of the railroad camps and chain gangs of early-20th Century America.
Both on record and in concert Groanbox play antique banjos, guitars and accordions, loving the resonating sound you get from these old time instruments. They have a raw style all their own, with a breezy vitality that blows the dust off – it’s an utterly enthralling show.
Suffolk based promoters Peppery bring Groanbox to the Manor Ballroom Ipswich on Saturday 29th October, doors 8m. Tickets are on sale at The New Wolsey box office tel 01473 295900