David Wax Museum
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David Wax Museum

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Albums that blend the difference between a smaller staffed Calexico and the Bowerbirds." - Daytrotter"

David Wax of the David Wax Museum has already done well to convince us that he's a tremendous fellow. We've heard from old friends from Missouri that he literally has a day named after him, though we've not been able to verify this information at press time. Proof of his goodness was witnessed firsthand when he and Suz Slezak visited the Horseshack just as the autumn was turning chilly and moving right into wintertime. He pulled out of his bag, at the conclusion of the taping, a knitted stocking cap that was still connected to a roll of yarn. He had a gift for us and he wanted to make sure that it fit before he snipped the string hanging on to its edge. It fit, snugly, just the way you'd like your winter hat to fit, and he handed it over with a grin after clipping the yarn off and stuffing the leftover yarn back into his bag. Now, that's a gesture, even if a gesture wasn't needed. A week later, in the mail, came a nice, custom-made thank you note with Suz's signature at the bottom. These are the kinds of people we're dealing with here: generous and caring folks. They sound as such on their records as well, albums that blend the difference between a smaller staffed Calexico and the Bowerbirds, cutting into souls (made up and very real) and extracting heartache that sounds like rejoicing and vice versa. Wax sings something like, "Dry your heart out like venison and hang it on a clothesline," and it sounds much less gruesome than it reads. It kind of sounds like a lovely thing to have done, some form of cleansing, a ringing out of the problems and the stains, a new beginning, or a death to it. That's always what it could mean as well, a drying and a salting and seasoning, though all of the effort would be for an inedible or unwanted piece of jerky. There is a concern for the heart in the songs of the David Wax Museum, a great concern. It seems as if there's nothing more important to protect than that beating rock inside. If Wax could knit a bulletproof stocking hat to guard every heart from evil, he might take that challenge and make his fingers bleed with those needles. There are jalopy hearts that are spoken of, and others, many of which - no matter how they're referred to - carry all kinds of baggage and tend to have weary, weary rings under their eyes. They droop and they sag. They feel the weight of much, being as dinged up as they are. We're given a chance to hear them as the slightly sunken tombs, though their tales are sung with fondness. It's not sad that they've come to be what they've become. Most of it was inevitable and justified, we get the feeling. It's what hearts are meant to be exposed to and some take it better than others. As Wax sings on "Born With A Broken Heart, "Some of us come with new hearts/Most of us come with used hearts/Baby, why do you look so sad?" - Sean Moeller, Daytrotter
- Daytrotter

""Kicks up a cloud of excitement" - The New Yorker"

The David Wax Museum, an indie-folk band out of Boston, kicks up a cloud of excitement with its high-energy border-crossing sensibility—the group’s front man was born in Missouri, and he’s lived in Mexico. - The New Yorker - The New Yorker

""The breakout act at the Newport Folk Festival" - Paste Magazine"

A Missouri native, David Wax’s love affair with Mexican music took root during the summers he spent South of the Border working with the American Friends Service Committee during college. After graduating from Harvard, he returned to rural Mexico in a year-long fellowship where he began mixing the folk of his Midwest upbringing with traditional Mexican music. Along with fiddler Suz Slezak, Wax has toured as David Wax Museum with The Avett Brothers and the Old 97’s and was the breakout act at The Newport Folk Fest last year.

One of the Son jarocho songs off the band’s upcoming album Everything is Saved (due out Feb. 8), was banned by the Catholic Church centuries ago for suggestive lyrics that were lost until they were rediscovered in an archive 25 years ago.

“Fortunately, the Catholic Church wrote down the words as part of prohibiting the song and proving how licentious it was,” Wax says. “It has now become part of the son jarocho canon.”

“Chuchumbe” is a Senegalese word meaning “bellybutton-to-bellybutton”—the Son jarocho style of Veracruz, Mexico, incorporates the music of African slaves who worked the sugar plantations.

“I love to imagine how this song has traveled from Senegal to Mexico to the Catholic Church’s inquisition archive to the son jarocho canon and now to some Mexo-Americana band in Boston,” says Wax. - Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine - Paste Magazine

""Pure, irresistible joy" - Bob Boilen"

I first saw the fun and frenetic David Wax Museum at the Newport Folk Festival this past summer — the band had won a contest that got it to Newport. Its blend of American and Mexican folk music was infectious, and by the show's end I was already a fan. But when the festival was over, and the Newport crew and musicians had gathered on a nearby roof to share some smiles and beer, there they were again: David Wax with his pint-sized Mexican jarocha guitar and Suz Slezak with her percussive donkey jawbone, making pure, irresistible joy.

Wax and Slezak recently came to the Tiny Desk with friends Sam D'Agostino on saxophone and percussion and Mike Roberts on guitar and upright bass. (That popping sound around a minute into "Yes, Marie, Yes" is the sound of his bass bridge collapsing.) Not since Gogol Bordello's visit has it been so hard to keep a band in frame, on mic and within the roughly six-square-foot area that functions as our performance space.

David Wax Museum's album Everything Is Saved comes out on Feb. 8, and when the band returns to D.C., I'll definitely see it again. This kind of acoustic exuberance doesn't happen often enough. - Bob Boilen, NPR - NPR

""Joyfully captures and preserves the heart of Americana music" - David Dye"

A band that joyfully celebrates and preserves the heart of Americana music, The David Wax Museum (David Wax and Suz Slezak) bridges Mexican folk with country, folk and rock. The release of its sophomore album, Carpenter Bird, placed the Boston group on everyone's radar and earned it Americana Artist of the Year at the 2010 Boston Music Awards. - David Dye, NPR - NPR's World Cafe


Everything Is Saved - LP, 2011

Carpenter Bird - LP, 2009

I Turned Off Thinking About - LP, 2008



Recently anointed as Boston’s Americana Artist of the Year (2010 Boston Music Awards), the "David Wax Museum has been kicking up a cloud of excitement" (The New Yorker). It is no surprise that their "breakout performance" (Paste Magazine) at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival was hailed as one of NPR’s All Songs Considered Highlights of the entire weekend. The Museum’s ability to fuse traditional Mexican folk with country, folk and rock, creating an utterly unique Mexo-Americana aesthetic, is what generates its contemporary sound and its broad appeal. Combining Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering, accordion pumping and donkey jawbone rattling, they have electrified audiences across the country. And they’ve just gotten started.

David Wax's circuitous journey from mid-Missouri to the back roads of Mexico inspires the Museum’s blend of traditional Mexican and American folk music. While attending Deep Springs College, an unconventional school that doubles as a cattle ranch, David spent his summers working in rural Mexico with the American Friends Service Committee. He finished his degree at Harvard University before heading back to the Mexican countryside to study its rich folk music tradition on a year-long fellowship. It was there that he first began blending Midwestern folk with the instruments, rhythms, lyrical themes and song structures of son mexicano.

Homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, Suz Slezak was reared on music -- traditional Irish, classical, old-time folk. She graduated from Wellesley College, traveled around the world on a Watson Fellowship to study textiles, and then found herself back in Boston where she met David Wax, recently returned from his Mexican travels. He convinced her to track down a donkey jawbone, a traditional percussion instrument from Veracruz, and join his band. Suz is the Museum’s anchor to American roots music and helps fashion its distinctive sound with her fiddling and harmony vocals. Since 2007, David and Suz have formed the core of the Museum.

David Wax Museum’s ascent has been a steady one. The band now consistently sells out historic venues such as Boston's Club Passim, often performing two shows in a single night due to heightened demand. The Museum is closely associated with many of the most innovative Americana bands active today, having toured nationally with the Avett Brothers and the Old 97’s and having shared bills with such acts as Andrew Bird, Josh Ritter, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Langhorne Slim, Ben Kweller, The Low Anthem, and Nathaniel Rateliff.

Official music video debuted on All Songs Considered:

NPR's Tiny Desk Concert:

Video of "Unfruitful" live at the Newport Folk Festival 2010:

Audio of entire performance at the Newport Folk Festival 2010:

Interview on NPR's Here & Now (scroll down to "Mexico-Centric Indie Rock):

Video of "Yes, Maria, Yes" from Ice Cream Man at the Newport Folk Festival 2010:

Music video for "The Persimmon Tree"