Cleveland’s Swap Meet Opens for Lillie Mae at Grog Shop

Cleveland’s Swap Meet is a very unique musical ensemble when comparing it to the rest of the music scene in the area. While much of the musical atmosphere within Cleveland is made up of Rock and Roll of many sorts or Heavy Metal, Swap Meet sets itself apart from the crowd by creating a rather different sound and style. The band of Swap Meet consists of: Kari Rutushin on vocals, rub board, flute ukulele; Michelle Reyna on vocals, washboard; Hoseff Garcia on bass; Stuart Abrams on lead guitar; Walter Genutis on vocals; and Peter Nario-Redmond on vocals and guitar. Together, this ensemble is currently making the Greater Cleveland area a lot more musical with their style that takes Folk, Jazz, Swing, and Bluegrass music and blends the styles together to create a sound unlike anything else in the city. The band currently has one CD of all original material out. That CD is entitled Trailer Hitch.

Trailer Hitch from Swap Meet begins with the track “Gypsy Desire”. One of the more creative tracks on the six-song EP, “Gypsy Desire” finds the ensemble following in the footsteps of the band The Squirrel Nut Zippers. In fact, “Gypsy Desire” sounds so much like something that that band would have created that you can almost imagine the track on one of that band’s albums. While The Squirrel Nut Zippers create their Swing sound with an entire band, Swap Meet creates a very similar sound on the track using only two guitars. Stuart Abrams and Peter Nario-Redmond create the Swing style on the track while Nario-Redmond is joined on vocals by Kari Rutushin and Michelle Reyna as all three vocalists take turns adding one verse of lyrics each to the track. The simple yet captivating track is one of the strongest songs on the Trailer Hitch release.

The band changes the direction of their music on the next track called “Waters Blue”. With this track, Swap Meet creates a track with a definite Bluegrass feel to it. Just like with “Gypsy Desire” before it, “Waters Blue” once again contains only the two guitars from Stuart Abrams and Peter Nario-Redmond. But unlike the Swing influence that was found on the EP’s first track, the guitars found on “Waters Blue” contains that Bluegrass twang that lovers of that style are always looking for. The combination of vocals from Peter Nario-Redmond, Kari Rutushin and Michelle Reyna help to create the harmonies that also help give the track that undeniable Bluegrass feel. Throw in a few religious references about being baptized in the “waters blue” and the track ends up being one of the best Bluegrass songs created in a long time.

With the track “Drunk This Morning Again,” Swap Meet create a track that makes use of the band’s Folk tendencies. The trio of guitarists Stuart Abrams, Peter Nario-Redmond with Hoseff Garcia on bass create a gentle Folk melody while Nario-Redmond sings the lyrics about the morning after. Along with the instrumentation that adds that Folk feel to the track, the four-part harmonizing by Nario-Redmond, Rutushin, Reyna and Walter Genutis adds a lot of texture to the track. The lyrics contained within the song have a slightly dark sense of humor to them. “Drunk This Morning Again” is another track on the Trailer Hitch release from Swap Meet that stands out.

Swap Meet’s current release of Trailer Hitch continues with the song “Moon Beams Fall”. On this track, the music changes directions yet again as the band creates a song that contains an acoustic Blues feel that is very reminiscent of the band Fleetwood Mac when that group contained Blues guitarist Peter Green. The bluesy feel of the Swap Meet on “Moon Beams Fall” is helped along with the help of the flute from lead vocalist Kari Rutushin. While being an acoustic track, “Moon Beams Fall” makes good use of the Blues influence found in the musicianship in the band. That Blues influence creates quite a different feel to the song when compared to the rest of the release.

The sixth and final track on the Trailer Hitch release is the song “What’s So Good about Being Happy”. As the band returns to more of a Folk-like sound, the band gives the spotlight over to multi-talented vocalist Kari Rutushin. While the title of the track may suggest a rather somber idea, the vocals from Rutushin come with plenty of energy and an upbeat delivery. Even though there are plenty of things that can drag you down, “What’s So Good about Being Happy” from Swap Meet can add a bright spot to your day. No matter what the title may say.

The Trailer Hitch EP from Swap Meet may only contain six songs, but those six songs come with a lot of variety. They give the listener a wide variety of sounds from the band in a short amount of time. The release indicates a good starting point for a band that’s only been together for a short amount of time. The band definitely sets itself apart from the rest of the music scene in Cleveland with this release. And with a city so full of Rock and Roll and other heavy sounds, it’s good to have something lighter to listen to once in a while. Trailer Hitch from Swap Meet is a great album for those times when you’re looking for a change of pace.

To check out the music from Swap Meet, click the link for the video to the band’s song “Gypsy Desire”.

Swap Meet will be in concert on August 23rd, 2017 when they open for Lillie Mae at the Grog Shop.

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