When the Shady Lake Ramblers started making music back in 2011, they never thought they would become household names in the Americana scene. Lead banjo and klavier specialist Mathieu Simon (pronounced SY-monnn) said, “we were just two guys with a stringed instrument, a dream, and years of classical training.” His partner in crime, Gregor Jones (pronounced JO-nezzz) features iconic “slap a-dem” bass and occasional kick drum. The two have forged a unique experimental hardcore bluegrass folk sound for the ages.
In their newest album Pickin’ and Grinnin’ Simon and Jones take on some classic covers like “Achy Breaky Heart” and of course the Lee Greenwood version of “God Bless the USA.” Apparently Jones said “we wouldn’t cover anything by Woody Guthrie if Universal signed us to a seven figure contract and flew us to LA.” The album also includes notable originals, “She ain’t the worst neither” and the political ballad “Not my prime minister.” When asked about the inspiration for their arena rock track, “Mars Hill Shakedown” Simon said, “look if you don’t get our references to 21st century evangelical culture, we’re not exactly going to lay it all out for you, dawg.”
Apparently the primary influences for the band include Bobcat Goldthwait, Macy Gracy, and of course Creed. “We have embraced our careers with arms wide open,” Jones said, grinning, using his oldest and most reliable Creed joke. Simon mentioned a love for bossa nova rhythm and the “evocative, deeply serene lyrics of the Bloodhound Gang.” These two paragons of American music tradition clearly drink from the depths of a well of exceptional music.
When asked about touring plans the two balked for a moment. “Well, we consider our work more of a ‘studio magic’ production,” said Simon. “We don’t really like performing,” Jones clarified, “because then people will steal our style like literally every guitar player tries to play like Ringo Starr these days.”
You can pick up the lead single for Pickin’ and Grinnin‘ from Simon and Jonesfunkel Records, today, APRIL FOOLS DAY 🙂 for only $9.99.
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