Callooh! Callay!
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Callooh! Callay!


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"Lakeside series presents Callooh! Callay!"

Local indie-folk band Callooh! Callay! will perform tonight as part of the Lakeside Music Series at 6 p.m. upstairs in Lakeside Dining Hall. Made up of three students from the University and one from Shelton State, the band composes its own original music and lyrics. The songs written by Callooh! Callay! typically have a rock foundation and incorporate bluegrass and folk sounds.

The name Callooh! Callay! comes from Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky.” Adam Morrow, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, said the name is “an exclamation of joy.”

Morrow, a sophomore in New College, began playing acoustically with guitarist Dan Walker while in high school. The band came together in 2007 and now has four members — Morrow, Walker, bassist Natalie Jensen and drummer Bowen Robertson. Callooh! Callay! plans to release an EP in April.

Andrew Bird, The Weepies, Bob Dylan and the Beatles are a few of the many influences Callooh! Callay! has drawn from to develop its own style. The band uses two acoustic guitars and often incorporates less common instruments like the glockenspiel and the melodica. Morrow said the other instruments and a looping pedal help to create a broader, more enriching texture to give the band a sound that is unique from other groups.

“We can play music for a party or at a bar if that’s where the show is, but that’s not all our music is meant for,” he said. “We hope it sounds good in a more traditional throw down rock show environment and when you’re alone driving in your car or sitting at night listening to your iTunes or whatever. You know, stuff that connects to people.”

Tonight’s show may include two or three cover songs, but most of the one hour set will be original compositions. Songwriting is a lengthy process for Callooh! Callay!, though Morrow said the effect of the band’s music on audiences makes it worthwhile.

“We know how powerful a good show can be, and while we don’t claim to blow people’s minds or change their lives or anything, we know that even what lowly folks like us do can affect people, and seeing anyone engage with a piece of music you’ve created or lyrics you’ve written is an amazing feeling,” he said.

The Lakeside Music Series gives students the opportunity to see accomplished bands perform without going to a bar. Everyone is welcome to attend the shows, and all performances are free. Past performers have included The Grenadines from Birmingham, Southpaw Bandits from Tuscaloosa and Blaine Duncan and the Lookers, also from Tuscaloosa.

“If you haven’t already been to one of these shows, they are cool things,” Morrow said. “They have been bringing in some great out of town bands and giving the underage a chance to see some of the local flavor for free. Yes, it’s in a dining hall, but it is far from lame and is worth coming out, definitely.”

Callooh! Callay! has several other shows planned for the rest of the semester, including an acoustic show at Crimson Café on April 4.

Anyone interested in more information about the band can look them up on their Myspace page,, and on Facebook. - Crimson White

"Callooh! Callay!"

Released back during the warmer temperatures of August as a free download, evoking distant memories for Santa Claus resting by the pool in his red and white Speedos, checking his Emails while sipping a margarita. Mind you, it does seem a while since we posted a more acoustic filled agenda. Banjos and mandolins, fresh harmonies with sophistication. Callooh! Callay! provide a nice calming substitute for today`s more fastidious live audiences. - Mojophenia

"Callooh! Callay! New Single"

Hey! They've got a new album coming out! (And by new I mean their first, because apparently an oversized EP does not an album make) They claim it drops in April. We'll see. But their first single "Noskeemos" is up on Myspace (it's not really my space). You should listen and prove to your loved ones that you are, contrary to appearances, good deep down inside.

I've been given (*ahem*) advance listening privileges for this album. And you know what? I love it. It's a real leap from their previous effort, the aforementioned The Bird's Run EP, which can be found here, totally for free:
The Bird's Run was by no means a shoddy effort. There's some great stuff on there, and they really packed in the instrumentation. Listen to, oh, pretty much any track and you'll hear mandolin, guitar, drums, bass, glockenspiel, melodica...
It's a folk album. It feels very pastoral, which is fine (yes. I know my use of that word to define this EP is an offense against the actual definition of the word "pastoral."), evoking a quasi-Wordsworthian feel. You know, nature, hanging out in nature, losing the light, can't see what I used to. That sort of thing. Look up Ode: Intimation of Immortality if you need any further description. And all this is fine, and fun, and it's good. It's definitely good.

Did you listen to "Noskeemos?" Did it sound pastoral? Or did it sound like Radiohead got lost somewhere in the bayou and hooked up with an imagistic Modernist puzzled by the inability of humans to effectively communicate with each other? Really? I thought so, too! Man, it's awesome when we synch up like that.

Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, it just gets better from there. Dare I say... Southern Gothic? In Faulkner-Tennessee Williams- Flannery O'Connor kinda way? I dare!
Did I mention that they pulled out the electrics and decided to rock?
It's all in here. A dirty blues song, a post-rock intro, the most fun you've had with "Come Thou Fount" since church. Seriously. This is the real deal. Callooh! Callay! has figured out who they are. And it sounds great.
(Who are they, you ask? Why, I think they're three people dedicated to an immersive sonic experience and a deep seated interest in the complexities of the human condition. Also, if you go to a show you can dance to their music).
So yeah. The album is Sassprilluh Champagne. April. Be there.
- Vaguely Fishlike

"Southern Folk: Add Rock for Good Measure"

Callooh! Callay! …these nonsense words are used in the Lewis Carroll poem, ‘Jabberwocky’ but here on the UA campus, many will notice it from the blitzkrieg of fliers found everywhere during the last spring semester. What exactly is Callooh! Callay! … For one, it is an exclamation of joy, but it is also proof that not all music on the UA campus is confined within the Moody Music Building. There are a ton of other outlets, and if you can’t find one - simply make your own! It would seem that is what New College junior Adam Morrow did.

This is not to say he did so especially consciously, in fact, he says the band “was a slow starting group.” Actually Callooh! Callay! started in some form almost two years ago when dual-lead guitarists Morrow and Dan Walker, a student from Shelton, began playing acoustic sets together in coffee shops and other like-minded venues.
After a few encounters with bassists and drummers, Natalie Jensen, Morrow's girlfriend and New College senior, stepped in as the next permanent member. According to Morrow, the addition of Jensen’s bass and her ability to add a strong vocal harmony really, ‘filled out the music.’ The only key ingredient left was the rhythm. “Two or three drummers later, we had kind of given up on rhythm folks,” said Morrow.

Bowen Robertson, a rising junior studying elementary education, contacted the group. A member of the UA Million Dollar Band drumline, Robertson moved from performing at Bryant Denny to booking gigs with Callooh! Callay! And Callooh! Callay! got a drummer. Finally, they had a steady lineup.

With the addition of a drummer, Morrow admits the game has changed a little, but is quick to claim that they ‘work in four equal parts.’ The band’s process is described as starting with a concept from either Morrow or Walker, which is then brought to a rehearsal where Jensen and Robertson begin working on their parts to put with it. Lyrically, Morrow jokes, it is all on him, ‘for better or worse.’ He goes on to explain. “Nat screens everything first. She has to approve for it to even be an option, in my book. And so that's kind of how that slowly comes together,” said Morrow.

The sound has been described as a folk-indie vibe, and after listening, that becomes quite obvious. For those interested, a live recording of the group is available from the band’s facebook fan-page. It plays with a slight rock/slight country vibe, much like current indie faves Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) and, more similarly, Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes). Especially on the tracks titled, ‘Dying Doves,’ and ‘Sycamore Tree’ the Oberst influence is felt, drawing many audible parallels to the feel of the critically-acclaimed Bright Eyes release I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning.

All of the other bands’ musical sway never seems to detract from the Callooh! Callay! sound. Even when performing covers (Bright Eyes for example), Callooh! Callay! maintains their sound — not to mention a penchant for interesting construction, shown strongly in the teaser of an opener ‘Antiquity.’ Morrow is quick to establish that Callooh! Callay! is not a jam band—they have a more structured sound, with more forethought than found with most jam bands.

“We don't think that it’s wrong to do a bit of an exchange on stage, or have a song not sound perfectly the same from one show to another,” said Morrow. “These are the times that usually just make me smile and laugh—and usually make a show what it is.”

For them, it is about the energy and love of music. “We love playing together - crowd or no crowd,” said Morrow.

Anyone who wants to check out Callooh! Callay! in action will have to wait for the fall semester to roll in, as there are no set performances as of yet. However, the fall also [hopefully] brings the release of the bands first EP, and hopefully a wide-spread of the shout of, “Callooh! Callay!”

by Colin Whitworth - Missing Ink


"The Bird's Run" (EP, 2009)
"Breeze Like An Antelope"-Single, heavy local radio play.
"Kiter"-Single, heavy local radio play.
"Sassprilluh Champagne" (LP, 2010)
"Noskeemos"-Single, heavy local radio play.



Callooh! Callay! was first formed in 2007, but after spending time in a state of flux, found itself with a steady lineup early in 2009. After releasing what has been described as a folky, pastoral EP ("The Bird's Run"), the group immediately began writing more material to suite their changing interests, and the change in atmosphere that making their way around the Southeast, playing every show they could land, caused.

In December of 2009, Callooh! Callay! entered Old Capitol Studios to begin recording their first LP, "Sassprilluh Champagne," where they worked with engineer Shane Lollar (whose credits include the Dexateens, Dan Sartain, and Taylor Hollingsworth, among others). Recording was completed in January of 2010, and after weeks of mixing by the band, it was sent to West West Side Music, where mastering engineer Alan Douches (Sufjan Stevens, Ben Folds Five, Beach House, etc.) was the final hand in the process. The album will be released in April 2010.

The group has a particular love for the epic, for the Southern gothicism inherent in bent, distorted strings (one reviewer saying "Dare I say... Southern Gothic? In Faulkner-Tennessee Williams- Flannery O'Connor kinda way? I dare!," and "...did it sound like Radiohead got lost somewhere in the bayou and hooked up with an imagistic Modernist puzzled by the inability of humans to effectively communicate with each other?"), and for the power that happens when lyrics and chords and a strong beat and all the floating notes in-between connect. This is a band that loves what they do. A band that spends its weekends in dark, smoky spaces, or staring out the window at the passing countryside as they go to those dark, smoky places. And on the rare off weekend, you can usually find them pacing, ready to go again, ready to take their music to more, and hopefully bigger, venues around the South, and beyond.