Monday, August 18, 2008

The Snake Charmers (and Marie Angell)

In addition to using Myspace, I've been getting to know Facebook. If you put them together is that MyFace? Oh, well, I'm making lots of great friends, because on Facebook, you tend to have to connect a bit more closely and so the wholesale inviting is slowed down a bit.

In the process, I've made a connection that impressed me. Marie Angell has a band in Houston called "The Snake Charmers." It caught my attention because I seem to hanging out with a lot of Blues/Rock musicians these days, like my buddy Michael "The Mudcat" Reames, and his friends Bron Buick and Wayne Folse. The Snake Charmers would fit right in.

Marie is a singer/songwriter/keyboardist, and the band is a 4-piece configuration. Her bass player/technical guy husband Will Blumentritt partners with her to keep them on course, and the band is filled out by her my stepson/drummer Eric Blumentritt and guitarist/chemist Larry Meeker. As Marie says, Larry is only related through the "brotherhood of man" and is like their crazy cousin.

Currently, The Snake Charmers are working on their first 10-song CD, tentatively entitled, Been Gone Too Long, which they expect to released in early fall. They're hoping to pre-release several songs by, uh, about now actually. It's a collection of songs that loosely fit under the overarching heading of "blues," and includes an eclectic mix, from a traditional 12-bar blues ("Move On Blues"), to a rock-tinged roots ballad ("Can't Trust a Heart"), to a Southern blues rocker ("No Mercy"), a soulful Fifties-blues-style tale of woe ("Ain't Nothin' But the Blues") and even a Dusty Springfield-drenched seducer ("Half a Cup").

The Snake Charmers see themselves as a little bit different for a blues act, in that they really are a band and not just a bunch of musicians that sit in or back up the singer. Yes, Marie wrote and sings all the songs on this album (and does the booking, etc.), but the band is definitely a collaborative effort—everybody brings something unique to the table.

Marie says, "Most blues/blues rock bands affiliated with women either serve essentially as backup for the front woman or 'feature' the female lead vocalist. Although I've made solo/duo/trio efforts, I always gravitate back to bands. I like the special contributions of each member and little else kicks ass the way I like."

Their next booked show is August 30 at Mojo Risin' Coffee House in Houston. This is a GoGirls showcase also featuring the bands Spare Parts and my pals 3 Kisses. They're also entered in the Houston Regional International Blues Challenge, sometime in late August or early September.

Marie adds, "We always like to do the GoGirls festivals and showcases. GoGirls is a great organization and I would have gladly killed to have a group like this 30 years ago."

Currently, they aren't gigging much so they can concentrate on the album, but they intend to pick up steam upon completion of the project. This past year has been the first time they've made a full-out assault playing original music. "It's a lot of fun and I don't know if I can ever go back," says Marie.

Their Myspace pages are and

Ryan Michael