When you think of the music of Appalachia and the recent uptick of folk/punk bands onto this scene, one doesn’t really think of the Pacific Northwest, but with its secular environment, cache of grunge and punk music history, the Northwest must have molded Bridge City Sinners into the amalgamation they are today; after all, they hadn’t a chance to do anything else, its claws had already taken hold, this group was destined to perform and create music/art together.
From their humble beginnings to an army of YouTube vids (some pushing into the 100K views range), their biography reads like a movie script or at least a new Netflix series. Early tales of this cast include busking, drifting, hoboing, and the accidental death of a close friend in a train accident, not to mention a genuine love for Americana, its sounds, and its folklore.
Of course, there are other great acts in this genre, but none visually impact the field like Bridge City Sinners; their music must be seen and heard for full effect.
They leave nothing up to the imagination, they’ve imagined it for you, they’ve set the table you’re about to feast at. Their latest single, Witches’ Wrath is a hotbed of folksy, punky, blueish-grass, roots music, complete with whining fiddle lines, washboards, and resonator guitars. You name it, they’ve recorded it.
The new single shuffles along through roots music goodness, while in the center, sits storyteller, Libby Lux. She’s sexy, intriguing, mysterious, coquettish, and has a voice that teeters between Broadway and barroom, Bernadette Peters and Janis Joplin. Lux is a performance artist though, a character study of herself. Think Fairuza Balk, but with this amazing instrument at her beckon. Her voice commands your attention; she will whisper sweet lyrics in your ear, then scream them in your other ear, and then probably bite it off, if you’re lucky.
She’s passionate about her craft, she’s often seen coddling, cuddling or contorting herself around whatever instrument she is squeezing the ever-loving-life out of. Her pushy, upper mid-range vocal tone sits perfectly in a special place that the band’s expert instrumentation has left for it – they’re scared of her too.
Bridge City Sinners need to be seen and heard for maximum impact, they’re worth a peruse on YouTube as you’re discovering them on streaming platforms. Ashes is another standout song for me, quite a story being recounted.
I hope to catch this band against the backdrop of Virginia/North Carolina one day, motherland of the genre.
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Chris Ambrosino hails from the Catskill region of New York and has been a performer and songwriter since 1987. He also has worked as an art director and graphic artist for several organizations. Chris currently plays and writes for indie band, Blue Ribbon and is a contributing writer for the Alt. Daily blog and For The Love Of Bands website. He has resided in Hampton Roads, VA since 1994.