Maynard and the Musties
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Maynard and the Musties

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Americana Country


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



"Hand Me A Flag"

Take me to a land that’s free and honest
Hand me a flag I can burn

—from “Lightly Honest,” by Joe Maynard

Maynard and the Musties are a local band, and by local I mean the members all live here in Brooklyn, except for Dikko, the trombone player, who lives across the river in mad Manhattan. It is named in part for Joe Maynard (obviously), the group’s lead singer. The “Musties” part of the name was suggested by lead guitarist Mo Jepson because Maynard is also a rare book dealer trading in musty old books. Jepson, along with fiddle player Na Koshie Mills and the late Drew Glackin, was part of the original nucleus of the band. They have been meeting, jamming, rehearsing, adding new members, and growing stronger since the mid-1990s. I met Joe a few years before that, when he published me in his classic zines Beet and Pink Pages.

Maynard and the Musties. Photo: Rachel Daniell.
However, I’m not writing this because Joe is my longtime friend; I’m writing this because Maynard and the Musties make great, original, toe-tapping music that deserves to be listened to. I’m writing this because, as the lyrics of their song “Marfa”reflect, no one can say for sure what goes on every night, but you can see it just outside of town, past the reach of streetlights.

What makes the Musties so special is the combination of Joe’s thoughtful, metaphorically rich lyrics and the Musties’ unique instrumental sound. Their music is mellow, honky-tonky, like a lazy river that cradles you while it carries you along, except for when it goes round the bend and knocks your socks off. Joe describes the Musties as a “Southern” band because most of its members originally came from below the Mason-Dixon line; he himself was raised in Nashville. Nonetheless, he says the band is not quite country, or rock, or even straight-up country-rock. “Americana” is the term he feels most comfortable with to describe their sound. I like to describe it as molasses with a sweet whiskey kick. This is music that celebrates, elevates, and sends out messages of clemency to hopeless sinners like me. Light up, Light up, your cheap cigar, even if you only smoke it in your car.

Maynard sees his songs in part as reflections of his religious upbringing: His parents were Seventh-Day Adventists. He says he writes what he feels. He describes his lyrics as reflections and projections of “God’s itchy finger,” which he cites as the spirit force beneath the world. Among the musical influences he credits are Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, John Lee Hooker, and Bob Dylan. Of his literary influences he names Richard Brautigan, Andrei Codrescu, and Flannery O’Conner.

I heard the Musties several times at the late, lamented Lakeside Lounge, where members of the audience often got up and danced. I very much enjoyed them twice this summer at Cowgirl Seahorse, a bar-restaurant that is as charming and eccentric as its name, located at the edge of the South Street Seaport under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Every time I hear them, the Musties get better. Their first album, So Many Funerals,is very good, but their second album, Cheap Cigar, which came out last spring, is over the top, up in the stratosphere. Political as well as spiritual, it is a must-have for any music lover. It was produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, who was co-owner of the Lakeside Lounge and has worked with a loooong list of musical artists including Mojo Nixon, Syd Straw, Joan Jett, and Nils Lofgren. I am happy to tell you that the band now plays regular gigs at the Rodeo Bar and Cowgirl Seahorse.

I hope by now you are curious enough to find out what I am talking about when I say Maynard and the Musties are the best thing to hit New York City in many years. You can hear them next at Rodeo Bar on October 29.
- Brooklyn Rail, written by Tsaurah Litzky

"Scripted with a Swagger..."

Like many bands on the Brooklyn Country scene, Maynard and the Musties have grown from a solo singer-songwriter into a well-developed network of friends playing live in the local bars. That network has been named the Musties; a conglomeration of the New York music scene that has joined forced to present Cheap Cigar. With Joe Maynard at the helm, the songs have been scripted with a swagger that he has continued to design. With the Musties honing that style and sound from a small loft deep in Brooklyn and the addition of producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel shaping the music conversation between playing and recording, Cheap Cigar proves once again that Maynard and the Musties have the staying power of the underground country-folk musicians who have come before.

Cheap Cigar
A collection of twelve original tunes all penned by Maynard (with lyric contributions by Jepson on “Paranoid”), Cheap Cigar feels relaxed and conversational. The title track kicks off with a conversation that takes place on a road trip. Uncertainty of the future and the choices we make shape our being. And the sharing of these with a friend may be all we have when the discussion is complete. “Rock This Little Boat” blends the style of a Louisiana jazz funeral dirge with a funk tempo that would get a party dancing. Many of the tracks begin with a simple sparse guitar that has been given a lot of room to breathe during the recording process. That tone is consistent no matter what tempo, instrumentation, or vibe any specific song offers. “Miles of Broadway,” the shortest song on the album, maintains the same easygoing flavour as “Marfa,” which offers a feeling of standing on a barren street of the West Texas namesake. Throughout the album, there is a common tread, and yet something for everyone. A very strong feat for a band still in its genesis in the larger landscape of Americana sounds currently making waves in the stratosphere.

Meet The Musties!
While Joe Maynard is the only member guaranteed to be at every live show, he has been joined consistently by Mo Jepson on lead guitar, Dikko Faust on trombone (yes, trombone!), Naa Koshie Mills on electric fiddle, and Pierre Scoffoni or John McQueeny on drums. In the past few months, appearances by Chet Hartin on bass, Marc Orleans and Gordon Hartin on pedal steel, and Michael Randall on lead guitar have added to the live accompaniment that has continued to define and refine the Musties sound. The recordings were enhanced by bassist’s Kelly Looney (Steve Earl and The Dukes) and Keith Christopher (Georgia Satellites) as well as vocalist Mary Lee Kortes (Mary Lee’s Corvette) and Eric Ambel on vocals and guitar.

Enjoy Cheap Cigar, and pass it on to a friend. Do yourself a solid and catch these guys locally. While their live shows differ from night to night in personnel and
Instrumentation, the essence of great songwriting and performance permeate and will engross you. - Jeph Duarte,

"Loose, Worn and Boozy"

Imagine a band that has had a little too much to drink and has listened to a little too much Felice Brothers and you’d come pretty close to Maynard and the Musties. The music on Maynard and the Musties’ Cheap Cigar is loose and worn and boozy. Every note is a surprise. Every line is sad but true. This is highly recommended as good hanging out and drinking music. - Calvin Powers, Taproot Radio


So Many Funerals. Our first album. 11 songs. 2009.
Cheap Cigar. Produced by Eric Ambel. 12 songs. 2012.
Taproot radio podcasts episode 80. 2012 podcast 10. 2012
WKCR. Outlaws of today, live studio recording. 2012

Fall On In. Produced by Eric Ambel. 13 songs. 2014

Nashville Magic. Recorded at the Bomb Shelter. 9 songs. 2017



We're mostly Southern transplants (one from the South of France) living in New York City. Joe Maynard, the singer-songwriter of the band, moved from Nashville to NYC in the 80s to attend art school. Though we are primarily inspired by country and bluegrass, we are not simply a nostalgia trip through 20th century Appalachia. We've been compared to the Jayhawks, Whiskeytown, Felice Brothers, even the Grateful Dead. Maynard writes a lot of songs, only a few of which we wind up gigging with, and even few that end up on a recording. We just play what we feel, and we hope you like it.