Juneteenth
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Juneteenth

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Band Rock Blues

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"New Releases by Graham Clark"


Juneteenth is a Brooklyn-based blues band that you may not be familiar with, but that may change soon. Their debut disc, self-titled and self-released, is an appealing mix of styles, with a taste of blues, roots rock, and even some alternative rock in their sound. The band consists of Puge Ruhe (singer/songwriter/guitar), Jamal Rhue (lead guitar), Matt Murphy (drums), John O’Reilly (bass), and Darryl Baker (percussion). Though somewhat short at just under 35 minutes, it’s a pretty exciting disc, with some great instrumental work including some solid acoustic and electric guitar and a pretty snazzy rhythm section, along with some offbeat lyrics and vocals. In other words, this ain’t your daddy’s blues disc. Highlights include the funky opening track, “After Work,” “TV Screens & Magazines,” which sounds like a ’60s outtake with its backup vocals and handclaps, and the sultry “Dirty Sweet,” which I could easily see on a future Buddy Guy album. The next-to-last track (the final track is an unlisted instrumental and a good one) is a definite keeper, a world-weary blues ballad, titled “Well Run Dry.” The production (also by the band) gives the disc a warm, intimate sound, like you’re in the room with the band while they’re kicking things around. While it may not be what you would find on your basic Elmore James disc, it is the blues nonetheless, featuring first-rate musicianship and some impressive songs, all with a modern twist that will probably appeal to a wider audience. Go to the band’s website, www.juneteenthmusic.com, for more information about the band and for ordering information.
- Blues Bytes March 2004


Discography

Juneteenth - Demo EP 2003

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Puge Ruhe (the Puge, Mr. Puge) shares the blood and creativity of his brother Jamal. A self proclaimed “Evil Genius”, the Puge takes his general disdain for societal norms and all things inhumane and ugly and turns them into music that is at once beautiful and gut wrenchingly direct. Having made his way through several bands, including Arizona powerhouse punk trio Muppets Don’t Bleed, upstate New York goth-instumental band Overture, and the indie-folk project Donahue he feels he has found a home in Juneteenth.

Lead guitarist Jamal Ruhe (Littlehat, Uncle Chocolate, the Judge) was born and raised to play music. His mother, a music teacher, played him two hours of music every day in her womb. His father founded the recording studio now known as 100 Grand in Nashville, TN. He was given years of violin, and piano lessons, but as a teenager turned to the guitar his mother left around the house. At the age of 22, Jamal was a central figure as guitarist and songwriter for the Mercury/Polygram recording artist One. A group that editor Timothy White named “Billboard Magazine’s best Unreleased Album of 1999,” One fell prey to a corporate ‘restructuring’ and their album never saw the light of day. In addition to co-writing and arranging Juneteenth’s music, Jamal spends his spare time writing, recording, producing and engineering many kinds of music, making coffee, ranting about the state of popular music and politics while rearranging the furniture.

Matt Murphy (North Carolina) began playing drums in Little Rock, Arkansas at age 11, following one year of guitar study and two years of piano study. He played his first paying gig at age 13 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and began touring the Southeast professionally at 15. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in Percussion Performance, working with the Symphonic Band and the Percussion Ensemble. During this time he continued recording and touring with such acts as Zen Frisbee and Jasper (both produced by Ben Folds Five producer Caleb Southern). In May of 1998 he attended the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, Arizona, where he met Puge Ruhe. After moving to New York City later that year, Matt began working at Soundtrack NY as an assistant engineer with such artists as Mobb Deep,The Lost Boys, Nas, and Busta Rhymes. He also began doing sound editing for films, including The Curse and the Coen Brother’s O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Bass player John O’Reilly Jr. (Junior, Sweet Tone Johnny, Slim Pluckins) developed his affinity for rhythm at the age of 5. He first picked up a pair of drumsticks in the odd decade we now look back on as the 1970’s. Having played drums most of his life, he couldn’t wait to reach into his hip pocket and explore the bass guitar. Formally trained as a violinist at Arizona State University, he brings a diverse musical knowledge to the table. He has been known to shuffle his large feet and shake his small ass, chicken dance fashion, between dishing out Love-Style® Hugs. Junior has nostalgic feelings every time he crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.

Percussionist Darryl Baker (Damian Bronco, Picture Face), first crossed paths with John and Jamal circa 1996 while attending Arizona State University, in Tempe, AZ. Darryl’s background in music includes numerous projects, including sit-ins with the Goshorn Brothers in Cincinnati, HUE, The Noodles, and The Dark Knights in Tempe, AZ. Now relocated to New York City he can be seen in weekly showcases at American Trash and the new musical The Killer News. He started playing drums at the age of 14 and has never stopped hitting things.

Together these men make music, blues music. Welcome to the Juneteenth experience.