Mellow Melodies Match

Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.

While many shows in New Paltz lean toward the loud, crowd-moshing atmosphere, Team Love RavenHouse Gallery hosted a much quieter, attentive night of music on Tuesday, March 4.

Warm lighting, the indie-record label’s records on the wall and a sweet burning candle swirling its scent around the space filled with older small-talking adults could not have set the mood any better. Musicians Chris Garneau, Michael Truckpile and My Gay Banjo mingled with the crowd as show-goers slowly trickled into the venue.

Meanwhile, gallery owners Nate and Nelly helped the musicians set up their merchandise for sale.

Brooklyn-turned-Hudson-based Chris Garneau opened the night softly singing tender, wintery tunes while playing the keyboard.

Garneau took his listeners through  the seasons, singing lyrics like “but wait until summer and this love will be alright” in his song “October, October.”

His baroque/indie folk/pop style rang similar to the style of Regina Spektor with his narrative lyrics and beautiful vibrato.

Although Garneau was the first to play and only performed five songs, his music reminded me of the power that listening to live music can have.

Admittedly, sitting on the gallery hardwood floor wasn’t the most comfortable way of viewing the show but I was too busy connecting to Garneau’s vaguely-familiar lyrics to care.

“I’ll be in the snow when the sun comes home,” Garneau sang in one song. “We don’t have our dogs and we don’t make a sound, we live on an island in the middle of town,” he sang another.

Michael Truckpile performed afterward, presenting a more energetic sound to the crowd.

While Alan Macaluso played the lap steel guitar, Truckpile played the acoustic guitar as he sang songs true to the narrative-storytelling most songs in the country genre do.

Truckpile’s baseball cap and long plaid shirt adorned with an “Al’s Sport Store” iron-on patch really added to the duo’s country/ indie-folk aura.

“We are a book I can’t put down and we are a tree hugging the ground…we are a train stuck in this town and we are a most beautiful sound,” Truckpile sang as he emphatically struck chords on his guitar. “We’re better together than rambling alone,” he sang in another song.

Although I don’t regularly listen to country music, Truckpile’s poetic and sentimental lyrics were memorable and heartfelt.

Last to perform was My Gay Banjo, a duo based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, who stopped in New Paltz as their first city in the Northeast of 21 in total on their tour.

The singer-performers of the band, Julia Steele Allen and Owen Taylor, began their set with an original song mixed with the chorus of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.” The two brought out the acoustic guitars, banjos, ukuleles and their soft harmonies.

It was as though My Gay Banjo mixed Garneau’s and Truckpile’s indie/folk vibes and added a self-proclaimed “queer country” sound.

The two would switch harmonies but nonetheless smoothly hit their notes.

They sang stories of distance in relationships, hopping freight trains as a rite of passage and unexpected love.

Allen and Taylor got soul-searchy when they asked the crowd, “How great is it to not be one person? The greatness of walking away from each other and being able to walk back..that’s a great feeling.”

Continuing on with more of their romantic lyrics, “I swear I knew you before I knew you, I never thought I’d get to have you,” were lyrics that reached my soul.

My Gay Banjo and Michael Truckpile ended the night with a cover of country artist Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene” and got the crowd to sing along.

The musicians stuck around for a while after the show to speak with showgoers and the night closed as sweetly as the crowd that trickled in.