There is nothing better than coming across a new band you instantly fall for. Ravenswalk hail from Buffalo in New York State and while they have just started out they already have out some great sounding demos.
“though the crime rate may be bad and the snowstorms may be inconvenient, the cities friendly locals and beautiful scenery make Buffalo a good place to live.”
Buffalo is a strange city. Between the old steel plant and old industrial areas, yuppie lofts, Irish south Buffalo where street signs are still in Irish Gaelic, it’s a weird mix of blue collar laborers content with “Genny” (a local beer that’s pretty awful) and up and coming twenty-something’s drinking craft beer.
Buffalo Irish Centre mural
I was able to catch up with two friends playing at a local coffee shop on the WASPier north end of the suburbs playing some interesting stuff, outside the normal spectrum Of coffee house music. Ray and
Clare make up “Ravenswalk”, a somewhat Celtic, somewhat protest, I think they threw an obscure Cohen song in there once. Weird stuff to hear in the realms of “Wagon Wheel” and “Hallelujah”, respectively by great artists, but cmon. We need to hear that like I need a hole in my head. Ray, acoustic guitar, some vocals here and there, had been playing Irish music since the get-go. He carried on “The Fighting 69th” for a number of years, he said, before taking a backseat to “weirder projects”. His taste is an enigma. One day he’s going from Gaslight Anthem there to The Dubliners and back to Social D.
Clare, to be fair, is an enigma unto herself. Classically trained, jazz lounge, the works. I’ve heard about 7 people there who said “she sings like an Angel”. All truth told, she does. Killer range, gorgeous but controlled vibrato, and a repertoire different but as random as Ray’s. Not as familiar to me, but hey, I like to think of myself as an aged punk who still listens to “Spirit of 77” sort of stuff.
According to both, Ray did a set on mandolin of “London Calling” (it was weird, just roll with it) and then went into a couple jigs. Clare I didn’t catch that night, but evidently she waved him down asking where he’d learned the jigs. Apparently they had zig zagged around the same Irish session music in Buffalo for a couple years but never met. Which is weird. It’s a damn small town.
They’ve done a few demo quality recording sessions, they said, and have about a dozen tunes at that quality on their Bandcamp site.
Bands, at least in my own experience, are a matter of the stars aligning in just the right way at the right time. I can’t tell you how much in my own experiences playing it’s just a matter of the right people in the same spot at just the right point.
Their demos cover some interesting spans and arrangements. Are they brilliant? Maybe not, but I see some cool potential in these two. We will see what comes out of it, but fingers crossed there will be something new and interesting I’ll pay attention to locally. It’s refreshing, I haven’t been able to say that in a fair while.