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Columns > Mike Gruenberg - In My Life

Published: 2009/10/27
by Mike Gruenberg

Warblefly

In My Life

One of the perks of writing this column for the last 9+ years is that I get a chance to hear unique and new music on a daily basis that normally I would not have the opportunity to hear. Music arrives at my doorstep in many different ways. Publicists send me CD’s of the latest artists they are touting. Reading music publications helps me to keep up with the latest and greatest. Of course the best information comes from my daughter and stepson who tell me of the music they listen to and usually they are good barometers of cool and new music.

Another source of information that regularly comes my way, although not as reliable as my kids input, comes from my co-workers and friends. Usually, the young people I work with are quite reliable since the ones I speak to about music are pretty much the same age as my kids and just as knowledgeable. Where I sometimes find a less than fulfilling listening experience is when a friend or colleague will implore me to listen to his nephews’ new band or proclaim that his cousin is the next Springsteen. The most difficult moment however, comes when a good friend will tell me about a band that contains one of his/her kids and that I will undoubtedly love hearing the band. Yikes! Don’t want to kill the friendship, but it’s hard to find words to describe a musical act that you don’t like.

Over the years, I have been fortunate in following up to hear friend-recommended bands since most of my close friends who have relatives and kids in music are, in fact related to quite talented musicians. I think back to one of my dear friends who told me of his sons’ musical talents. My friend and business colleague, Arnie at one time worked in the White House, later became a successful banker in England and was somewhat older than me. I was a bit reluctant to take his advice and hear his son. When I heard Dave Nachmanoff and interviewed him for one my columns, it was one of the best listening experiences in my Jambands career for me to hear and speak to this unique talent. Dave continues to perform today and he is currently touring the U.S. with Al Stewart.

So when a very dear and close friend of mine spoke to me about his son who was in a band in England, I listened politely and attentively. After all, this guys’ son was a professor in the U.K. Not only that, but the band consists of seven other members, he told me. OK, an eight piece band and what kinds of music do they play? This friend of mine, who is usually quite verbose, hesitated and named folk, ska, rock, punk as some of the themes to describe the sound of the band called Warblefly. He then told me that in addition to his son, the other members of the band were PhD’s and during the school year they worked at leading Universities in England. I then asked what label they were signed to and he said they have their own label and through “Internet word-of-mouth” have developed a loyal following that buy their CD’s online and consistently attend gigs in England wherever they play. By the way, the description of what a Warblefly is and what it does is not particularly pleasant, but what’s in a name?

I contacted the band and received three of their albums. I began to listen to their latest, “Tenerife to Dover” album which is a collection of fourteen original songs. Two events prepared me for what would become one of the most entertaining and enjoyable 56 minutes of recorded music that I have heard in quite some time.

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