Bum Wealthy
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Bum Wealthy

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Columbus, Ohio, United States
Band Rock Jazz

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"This Bum's For You"

By Chris DeVille


Joe Maiorana photoI can be kind of a snob sometimes, so I approached Bum Wealthy with a healthy amount of skepticism. As someone who subsists on a diet of mostly indie rock and Top-40 pop, I'm wary of anything that reeks of jam music. And like most acts on the Ohio outdoor festival circuit, this seven-man crew is known to embark on extended expressions of instrumental prowess.

Don't expect me to smash my Pavement albums anytime soon, but Bum Wealthy is helping to expand my Pitchfork-tainted mind.

The group's first full-length, Bumper Crop, is solid, and not in an "I'll-be-polite-for-the-purposes- of-this-article-but-really- it's-not-that-memorable" way. Recorded in just two days at Central City Recording, it pares a six-year career of more than 100 songs down to the best 46 minutes of blues-funk-jazz-reggae-rock party music you're likely to hear this year.

Bum Wealthy succeeds where many similar acts fail: They build on the foundation of solid songwriting, and they show some restraint.

"It was a reigning-it-in process," saxophonist Gregg Cook said. "The reason we did it so well in two days is because we had the songs locked down."

These guys have skills, but they understand being a great band means more than just mastering your instrument, or even getting on the same wavelength as the other players. They prize their ability to craft airtight arrangements, memorable melodies and thoughtful lyrics - not qualities I would expect from a group that once released a CD-R called Clusterfunkasaurus Rex.

"It's important to get your point across with as little words as possible. That's the goal. And the same applies with music," singer-guitarist Steven Roumeliote said. "We had enough material to release an album after the first year ... We wanted to wait until the timing was right and the chemistry was perfect. I liken it to [cooking with] a Crock Pot as opposed to microwaving your food."

The economical approach extends to the stage. At Friday's album release show, Bum Wealthy intends to fit 13 songs into an hour, preferring to show off their impressive catalog rather than engage in endless noodling.

The concert, which also features Ekoostik Hookah and The Ark Band, is a benefit for global recycling program the G.R.O.W. Project (thegrowproject.org). Bum Wealthy gravitates toward such events. Given how tough it is to make a living as a seven-piece band, they figure they might as well make money for a good cause. Even their name is a nod to the idea that just getting a few free beers on the night can sometimes be payment enough.

With that in mind, they're giving away 100 copies of Bumper Crop Friday. After another show Saturday at Skully's, the group is only playing sporadically for the rest of the fall, so catch them while you can. Maybe you'll be converted, too.

- Columbus Alive


Discography

Bumpercrop-debut Album 2008
Curbside Creations
Central City Recording
Available on http://www.last.fm/music/Bum+Wealthy

Photos

Bio

Bum Wealthy are a group of seven guys from Columbus, Ohio interested in living life to the fullest with what they’ve got and spreading good times and great tunes along the way! From rogue guitar riff heavies and articulate mandolin sprinkles written by Steven Roumeliote through the organ screamers penned by Seth Lockard, Bum Wealthy’s first album, Bumpercrop (September 2008) incorporates elements from blues, funk, jazz, reggae and rock genres. Bum Wealthy’s upcoming album, Kicks from the Curb (Summer 2010) promises to excite listeners with an enormous sound, funky beats, and intentional use of the band’s diverse instrumentation.

The band draws influence from a wide variety of musicians, preferring to juggle genres and cater to all audiences: Funk, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Metal, Bluegrass, Afrobeat, Psychedelia, Hiphop, and even Middle-Eastern. Bum Wealthy has shared shows with such notable acts as Keller Williams, Ekoostik Hookah, Badfish (a tribute to Sublime), Assembly of Dust, and many of the prominent central Ohio bands, performing outside at festivals like Ohio’s Shamy Bash, Something Fantastic, Peace Through Music, Comfest, Nelson’s Ledges, and Hempfest and inside in intimate coffee houses and bars and larger venues like Columbus’ Newport Music Hall.

Bum Wealthy's sound is entirely its own: a sonic melting pot of seven distinct personalities’ musical upbringing, influences, and experimental ideas. The energy and the spontaneity Bum Wealthy brings to live performances has fans of all types of music scrambling back to hear more.