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Monday Muse: Cletus Romp

January 28, 2013

I’ve been lucky,  for someone with a complete lack of musical talent and admittedly quirky musical tastes,  to have made some good friends in the Cincinnati music scene.  Local bluegrass legend Katie Laur, played at my wedding, and was joined at one point by Scotty Wood of Jackass (I took a good number of the shots on their photos page)  for a rendition of Folsom Prison Blues. Jake Speed lives just around the corner in Northside.

This is not a very good picture... ;(

And then there are these guys.  Cletus Romp, like Jethro Tull, is NOT IN THE BAND.  He is just the twisted spirit that animates this collection of musical misfit toys.

How to describe Cletus Romp?  I can’t sum it up in a sentence. Backwoods? Junkyard? Garbage Can Blues? Who are they like? The Drive by Truckers? Tom Waits?  Hard Rockers or Hillbillys? Maybe all that tossed in a blender and set on Muddle?

Whatever it is, I like it.  Derek Stinson leads on vocals, growling out his lyrics like every line is being dragged unwillingly from a deep dark hole into the too bright light.  Tim Golliher on guitar and banjo provides harmony and an ounce of sanity.  Mark Karapondo on bass and Adam Brokamp on drums keep the the beat from wandering off into the woods. And Ryan Moore provides percussive counterpoint with his collection of junkyard drums and improvised noisemakers.

Snake Oil: Half Truths, Outright Lies, and The Gospel is available on Amazon.  It’s a rollicking good listen. If you can, toss these guys ten bucks. They are great guys and they work hard for it.

Here’s their latest video.

It is very strange.

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