Greg Klaus, singer/songwriter/leader for Tulsa World SPOT Music Award winner and SXSW 2006 showcasing artist, The Mudville Project, is now performing solo-acoustic. New recordings are in the works.
With the release of their first disc, Portico, The Mudville Project serves up a big helping of twangy roots-rock. Hints of Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy and even some Tom Petty shine through, as well as the ragged growl of Black Crowes, Sticky Fingers-era Stones and Faces. These influences make it apparent the band is connected to rock-n-roll's past, not just the current Americana and alt-country trends.
Greg Klaus is the mastermind behind this little musical experiment as the primary songwriter and voice of The Mudville Project. As the original guitarist for Fanzine, Klaus has seen his share of success on the Tulsa music scene. When Fanzine won an Artist of the Year award in 2001 he realized something just wasn't right.
For Klaus, winning the award was anticlimactic. "I didn’t feel like an artist or that I was being true to myself," he shares. That epiphany was the point at which he decided he needed to get out. For all of the successes, the band and the process had become formulaic and old for him.
Joining the band Simon Starbuck helped Klaus get out of the rut he had worked himself into. When Greg was ready to work on the material that would end up as The Mudville Project, he called on Simon Starbuck guitarist Randy Patton, drummer Matt Brantley, and bassist Chuck Martin, who played bass on a number of tracks before stepping away when he re-located to Oklahoma City. Completing the musical equation is Grant Vespasian, whose ties to Klaus go back to being the original bass player for Fanzine.
Considering the histories of the players involved, this band might seem like a fairly radical departure from their previous endeavors. If you sit down to discuss the music with them, though, it’s obvious that its a matter of circling back to their roots and the basis of the music they love.
So where is this mysterious Mudville? As Greg explains it, "I grew up in Miami (OK), and we fondly referred to it as 'Mudville.'" The name just seemed to fit the band. "Were going back to where we came from, musically. You can change a lot about yourself, but not where you’re from."
Greg Klaus... vocal & guitar
"Portico" (c) 2005 (Self-released)... featuring The Tea, Kinda Man, Rice Check, Home Again, Love Song, and Hector the Protector.
Hybrid Music Reviews
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The Mudville Project Portico (self-released) Portico is the freshman effort by The Mudville Pro...The Mudville Project
Portico is the freshman effort by The Mudville Project, a collection of veterans on the Tulsa scene, who have managed to put together a great roots rock album... a lot of influence from alt. country and good old fashioned rock and roll... combining the worlds of John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly with an indie/roots spin.
Great hooks... this reminds me of some of the great bands I saw as a kid at county fairs and local festivals who still had originality, and were in it for the music, unlike many bands out there.
Overall, this is a very strong recording with many unique tracks that overflows with promise. This album does not disappoint, and is well worth a listen for any fan of rockabilly or roots rock. These guys have a lot of talent and I am excited to see what comes of their next album.--Liger Woods
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The Mudville Project – Portico (Independent Release) ... the best Americana/roots rock album I’v...The Mudville Project – Portico
... the best Americana/roots rock album I’ve seen locally since the demise of Marshallcity.
"Portico" is a stack of solid country-rock tunes with some excellent guitar work... solid front to back, without any distinct weak spots. The songs shift in style and sound throughout, so as to never fall into a rut or start to sound like more of the same, drawing on influences ranging from classic and southern rock to modern alt-country and Americana.
... it flat rocks--with a cool, stripped down, rootsy vibe. Americana fan or not, this disc is too good to be denied.–- Gary Hizer
Recommended for: fans of Wilco, Son Volt, Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty.
The Mudville Project
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Recently showcasing at Austin's SXSW Festival, The Mudville Project blends tasteful alt-country elem...Recently showcasing at Austin's SXSW Festival, The Mudville Project blends tasteful alt-country elements (see banjo, pedal steel, and theremin--yes, we said theremin) with Iron-and-Wine-like vocals, forming sounds fitted for a late-night drive or a post-break-up lament. Ask the group about their sound, and they'll tell you to think of Uncle Tupelo and Lou Reed, whereas Label Worthy will add Pink Floyd, Doves, and Califone to that finely simmering stew of twanged-up rock.
The first minute alone of "Home Again" is worth a listen, as lap steel gives the track a solemn and gravely impressive beginning. Greg Klaus' vocals provide hope in this otherwise gloomy ballad and in the end, whether or not you're a fan of anything country, you can't deny that this music is memorable and well-crafted.
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The Mudville Project PORTICO Self-released The Mudville Project is quite clearly Tulsa resident...The Mudville Project
The Mudville Project is quite clearly Tulsa resident Greg Klaus' baby--as the group's lyricist, arranger, vocalist, guitarist and occasional lap steel player, Klaus is the driving force behind this collection of starkly rendered, tumbleweed-studded rock. "Portico," Mudville's freshman effort, was recorded in Nashville and Tulsa, bleeding dark country soul along the way.
From the feedback-laced majesty of "The Tea" to the winning ramble of "Home Again," Mudville evokes images of a close-knit band plowing through rehearsals in some windswept ramshackle house, stranded on a high, lonely stretch of prairie.
Suffuse with atmosphere and re-listenable in an almost addictive way, "Portico" marks another Okie band to watch.--Preston Jones
Spreading The Word
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Mudville singer/guitarist Greg Klaus left Fanzine to sip his own cup of tea The Mudville Project'...Mudville singer/guitarist Greg Klaus left Fanzine to sip his own cup of tea
The Mudville Project's lead singer/guitarist Greg Klaus doesn't change the subject anymore when it comes to religion. You see, when someone used to ask the local singer why he seemed to beam with happiness, instead of acknowledging his rekindled spirituality, Klaus would blame it on, perhaps, the great tea he was drinking.
Klaus sings about those conversational slights of hand on the opening track to Mudville's debut CD, "Portico," which is appropriately-titled "The Tea." The tune finds the alt-country singer, whose band's sound is reminiscent of Son Volt and singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, telling himself "Won't you spread the word around/Won't you just be honest and stop kidding yourself."
While the CD isn't a Christian music release, the 36-year-old singer praises God and his wife of 14 years when he blurs the line between secular and Christian music on "Love Song." Klaus said, "that's my dual-purpose love song. Every word of it can ring true for both my wife and my god."
Beyond those religion-tinged songs, Klaus sings other tunes inspired by his own life. On the upbeat ditty "Rice Check," the father of two boys sings a tune he came up with on Father's Day. On it, Klaus sings about wanting to be the kind of dad who teaches his sons how to be men by teaching them the proper ways to treat a woman and instilling the fact that they can be anyone they want to be, that is, as long as they don't turn out like him.
The pace of "Portico" slows considerably on the following, melancholy track "Home Again," which features Randy Patton's atmospheric lap steel. There's a line in the song -- "mountains bleed a ribbon of rust" -- that refers to the infamous Tar Creek, not far from Miami, OK.
Other tunes on the disc deal with the Eleanor Rigby's of the world ("Long Road"), the pared-down excitement of fatherhood the second time around ("Twice"), passiveness ("Kinda Man"), how he doesn't lament leaving the local Brit-rock act Fanzine ("No Regrets") and an ode to his wife, Shannon ("Perfect Girl").
Mudville closes out "Portico" with the satirical tune "Hector the Protector," which pokes fun at President Bush. Klaus casts Bush in the song as the swaggering Hector, who is described as "a defender of big industry, guardian of nobility" and the dude who is "goin' to save you from the enemy."
Klaus gets serious, though, when he alludes to the war in Iraq and how "the price for arrogance is paid with lives."
Needless to say, Klaus isn't a fan of Bush. "It's like (the song) says, 'Watch out, y'all. He's going to wreck ya.' " --Matt Gleason
Typical performances consist of one, two, or three 45-minute sets. Shorter shows are typically all original while longer ones include a few select covers.
Hector the Protector
Thirty Feet High
Swallow Your Sword
Lost in Austin
Shake the Tree
Select covers by...
Woody Guthrie, Leon Russell, Steve Earle, Tom Petty, Glen Phillips, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Wilco... and others.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.