MAYHEMINGWAYS
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MAYHEMINGWAYS

Peterborough, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Folk

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

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Mayhemingways Wrap Up Extensive Atlantic Tour In Moncton Tonight"

Built upon a solid foundation of classic country music and bolstered by accordion, banjo and more, Peterborough folk duo the Mayhemingways makes a mighty amount of noise for only numbering two in the group. The duo is currently in the midst of an extensive Atlantic Canadian tour. They perform at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge tonight as the final date of their East Coast jaunt, which began on July 9 in St. Andrews.

Atlantic Canada has become a veritable second home for the group, hence the impressive amount of shows they have been able to perform over the course of the last month.

Mayhemingways vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Benj Rowland cites the group’s recent excursion to Newfoundland, which proved to be their best tour of the province yet.

“We have always felt it important to expand our horizons and play in places that might not always see traveling acts,” Benj says. “The great thing about Newfoundland is that we have toured there often, which has allowed us to make some really great friends while also building a rapport with our audience.”

Formed approximately two years ago with drummer Josh Fewings, Benj says that he and Josh never expressly set out to become a duo but more-less fell into the situation.

“When we started, the idea was to have what people would consider to be a ‘normal’ band with drums, a lead guitar player, etc. Slowly but surely, the lineup just got whittled down until it was only Josh and I remaining.”

Of course, being a duo doesn’t come without its share of potential challenges. On record, the band is able to beef up their sound almost infinitely but in the live setting, they face the obvious restrictions of each only being able to play one instrument at a time.

Benj insists that the lack of other players to fall back upon simply make him and Josh try that much harder:

“Only being two forces us to try harder to make every part of the music happen when we are playing live. On one hand, it makes for harder work for both Josh and I, but I actually really enjoy working as a duo.”

The Mayhemingways self-titled debut EP is available online at mayhemingways.bandcamp.com.

What: The Mayhemingways
When: Friday July 25, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton - THE MUSICNERD CHRONICLES


"THE MAYHEMMINGWAYS ARE COMING: A CHAT WITH THE PETERBOROUGH DUO ABOUT THEIR TOUR OF THE ISLAND"

If you like rock-leaning country and alt-bluegrass with a side of Cajun spice, then you’ll love The Mayhemmingways. They’ve lifted the best elements of many genres to craft the kind of gruff-voiced, stomp-and-holler songs that’ll have you singing along without knowing the words.

They’re the kind of band that doesn’t need much of a convincing introduction, because their music speaks for itself. Their songs are immediately engaging, and the duo sounds seasoned and sincere (perhaps because this is not the first band they’ve played in together). To quote a press release, they “drift between timelessly traditional and tastefully new.”

Here’s their streamble debut, produced by James Mckenty (Blue Rodeo, The Sadies, and Cuff The Duke). - The Overcast


"Album Review: Mayhemingways’ Debut EP"

Local alt-country duo Mayhemingways only came together near the end of 2012, but they’ve already established a strong following, locally and as far away as the East Coast. They have a confident, distinctive sound and a stable of original songs that mix bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, and rock influences into songs that are rooted in a traditional country style. In December 2013, the band released their first-ever EP, a self-titled five song collection that showcases the songwriting talent and accomplished musicianship of frontman Benj Rowland.

In a way, it’s no surprise that Mayhemingways sound so good, so early on. Both members have a considerable musical pedigree: drummer Josh Fewings has appeared in Occam’s Blazer, Grainne & The Sons Of Birches, and Slim Picket & The Union Card; and Benj Rowland is from The Kindness Killers and The Express And Company. And the two together were part of another well-loved local alt-country group, the dearly departed The Avenues.

Mayhemingways is similar in many ways to The Avenues, though with a simpler sound and a leaner line-up, with only Josh and Benj – though, if we’re being fair, it should probably be Josh, Benj, Benj, and Benj. In addition to being the group’s lead vocalist and sole songwriter, Benj Rowland covers a dizzying array of instruments: guitar, banjo, accordion, bass pedals, percussion, and mountain dulcimer. Too often, multi-instrumentalists sacrifice depth of talent for the ability to pick up any instrument and muddle through, but this’s not the case with Benj. He’s particularly adept with a banjo, as evidenced on the band’s breezy, dreamy take on traditional bluegrass track “Bowling Green.” This version is almost all banjo, but played with an unusually light touch. I’ve rarely heard the instrument sound so soft and sweet.

On stage, Rowland often sings and plays two instruments at once. At some points on the album, he seems to be accompanied by two or three of himself on different instruments. (Rowland does draft some other local music veterans for assistance: Sean Conway on back-up vocals, Dave Russell on bass, and Matt Fines adding the plaintive whine of a slide guitar for that real classic country melancholy.)

But perhaps more than anything, Mayhemingways is a showcase for Benj Rowland the songwriter. Over the album’s five tracks (four originals), we get story songs of love, loss, and contemplation, story songs and a goofy, high-energy barn burner, too (“Drama Queen”). Rowland’s lyrics are sparse, direct and honest with little embellishment, but simple can be powerful. In “Sad, Single and Sorry,” a song about a failed relationship, he sings the evocative words, “I had a woman and we had some plans / till we both found out what kind of man that I am.”

Rowland’s also got a talent for capturing essential small town moments – those ideas and feelings that will ring true to anyone, like Rowland, familiar with life in the slow city. Take the album’s final track, “Small Town Crush,” which is about the strange, seductive pull of the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ “I’ve got a dirty crush on you, a dirty small town crush on you” – and who hasn’t at one point or another?

Unfortunately, some of this skill, musical and lyrical, gets a bit lost on this recording. It’s an independently produced (and financed) album, so it’s tough to complain too much about production quality. However, the whole thing sometimes sounds a bit muddy and indistinct. (The album was recorded by the talented James McKenty at The Narrows, but mixed independently.) Individual instruments can be difficult to pick out, and Rowland’s vocals, which are naturally soft and low, can be a bit hard to understand.

And yet, as the album so eloquently reminds me on “Cd’s I Didn’t Sell,” maybe that doesn’t matter all that much. The track is a darkly humorous take on what it means to be a working musician in a small town – or indeed, any artist anywhere in any discipline who may never make it big, but won’t ever stop just the same. “When I’m dead and I’m burning down in hell,” Rowland sings, “You can make my coffin out of Cd’s I didn’t sell.” Self-releasing albums and playing Saturday night at the Pig’s Ear may not be the most glamorous life in the world – but it’s a life doing what you love and producing artistic works you can be proud of, and that’s not nothing. Not by a long shot. - Electric City Live


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy