Megan Jean and the KFB
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Megan Jean and the KFB

North Charleston, South Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

North Charleston, South Carolina, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Alternative Americana




"Blur genres and hit the dance floor with Megan Jean and the KFB"

The first time you see Megan Jean and the KFB can be a disorienting experience.

Megan Jean is fervently strumming her washboard, playing her jury-rigged drum set and theatrically delivering her lyrics like a Broadway performer while a black-bearded Byrne Klay, the other half of the band, stares down the audience accompanying Jean on a banjo that sounds more like a lute for the apocalypse than an instrument from 1800's Appalachia.

But you'll soon start dancing as your body reacts before your mind can find a box to put the husband-wife duo into. It's a reaction that the band is deliberately ... - The Leaf Chronicle

"Megan Jean and the KFB The Devil Herself/Independent"

Ever since migrating from New York to the Lowcountry a few years back, Megan Jean and her husband, Byrne Klay, have slowly built a fan base not just here in Charleston, but up and down the Eastern Seaboard and beyond.

They are seasoned road warriors, traveling most of the year playing their music anywhere they can to whoever will listen.

After a project that exceeded even their expectations (they set out to raise $8,000 and ended up with almost $11,000), the duo, better known as Megan Jean and the KFB, has released its latest studio album. The money they raised to record the album was well-spent.

The music on “The Devil Herself” begs to be heard through headphones, so that the listener can hear every sound, from Klay’s bowed bass and clawhammer-style banjo to Megan Jean’s washboard and bells and the creepy wail of a theremin on one track. There is a lot going on in the songs, and the duo has retained its love of the macabre that was exhibited on its last album, “Dead Woman Walking.”

For the uninitiated, the music of Megan Jean and the KFB sounds like the soundtrack for some long-forgotten carnival. Jack Skellington, the ghoulish hero of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” would likely have this album on repeat on his iPod.

The entire album works as a cohesive collection of songs, but some of the better moments include Megan Jean’s hypnotic vocals on “Mr. Bone Man,” the otherworldly beauty of “Martians” and what is probably my favorite track on the album, “These Bones.”

Megan Jean and the KFB are already back out on the road supporting the new CD, and will be back in town for a show at the Tin Roof in West Ashley on March 1.

Key Tracks: “Mr. Bone Man,” “Martians,” “These Bones” - Charleston Scene

"FloydFest 12: Music, Mud and Memories"

Later on the Dreaming Creek stage, Megan Jean and the KFB continued the upbeat soul with an early afternoon set packed with energy to the appreciative crowd. From Charleston, South Carolina, Megan Jean and Byrne Klay are a husband and wife Gypsy Americana duo currently touring the country supporting their third album The Devil Herself.
- American Songwriter

"Megan Jean and the KFB-Live in Chattanooga"

Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band take the stage well after midnight. She’s wearing striped pants that make her look like a pirate—and I have no option other than to believe she is actually a pirate—and Byrne (the one man Klay Family Band) has sharpened his beard to a point that makes him look like a younger, happier, Rasputin. “Our first song is dedicated to an old friend, a hobo,” says Megan Jean. “He died falling off a train. He was probably high as hell.”

They start playing “The Dead Show,” strumming and stomping and wailing wildly. The two produce more quality sound than any act that’s played before them. The stage is flooded in red light and everything glows like a portal to hell. Megan Jean’s voice is dark, sultry and powerful, full and unmatched, a perfect instrument that she plays without fault. She sticks her tongue out and I’m surprised it isn’t forked.

They’re a married couple from the Carolinas, though they met while working in New York. She worked at an antique store and Byrne, her husband, delivered instruments. “We’ve been playing together for, what? Seven years?” We stood outside chatting before the show, I was smoking a cigarette and trying to act “not too drunk.”

“Playing for seven, professional for five, good for three,” says Megan. “We’ve played over a 1,000 shows together, more than 200 a year.” The couple has been living on the road since 2011. They’re DIY—almost to a fault—making music because they want to. It’s a pure act of passion, they don’t even play with a set list. When they’re on stage, they’re completely in that moment.

Megan Jean and the KFB play above their level. The venue is packed, but they create a sound that deserves a much larger audience. They’re a perfect example of how the music industry is changing, especially as more acts adopt a DIY aesthetic. I ask her what music inspires her, I bring up acts like Jenny Lewis and Amanda Palmer and The Avett Brothers.

Megan Jean waves them off like a puff of smoke. “Lyrics are too important to me. I listen to the lyrics first. A lot of acts have to water their persona down to appeal to a greater audience, and that’s not something we’ve ever been able to do. We make the music we want to make and play it the best we can.” She puts a hand on Byrne. “You know, we want to start a family and pay our bills, and we want to do it without getting day jobs. Right now this thing is a morning, afternoon, and night job, and that’s OK. I have to accept that I might be playing in bars for the rest of my life, and that’s OK.”

“What about a label?” I ask. “Is that something you guys would ever be interested in?”

“I’ve got over $20,000 worth of merchandise in my van. If I sell it all I’ll make $18,000 in profit. If we were on a label then we’d only see $1,000 of that.”

“It’s hard to make art for money without making art for money.”

The set continues on like a dark prayer. Megan Jean starts singing “Hegemon,” a song about an aging hippie who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. She salutes nothingness and belts “I have fallen deep in love with the once and future America. And I believe in inherent truth, and I believe in the good in you.”

It’s probably the best lyric in the entire set. It’s smart, it’s short, it’s perfect. There’s so much to think about, the allusion to Terence Hanbury White, the philosophical implications of inherent truth, and the ultimate hopefulness that’s implied. It’s a brilliant lyric among brilliant lyrics. It’s a moment—not uncommon during a Megan Jean set—when you are taken back. She glares at you maniacally while her husband destroys the banjo, and you feel like something special just happened.

And, as a note on the way she looks into the audience: it’s horrifying. If we stop dancing, will she come down from the stage and hit us? There’s a dark-biblical presence when Megan Jean and the KFB are on stage, like something from the Necrenomicon. Are they time travelers? Are they immortal? Now that I think of it, I’ve never seen them in the sunlight.

A highlight of the evening was a version of “Thriller,” played so perfectly you’d think Michael Jackson stole it. I put down my notes and dance like a zombie. ”This is the best show we’ve had in months,” Megan Jean says from the stage. “I’m playing with the love of my life, my husband, and my best friend.” She nods to Byrne and I swear I see him smile under his beard.

I don’t know if Megan Jean and the KFB will ever be famous, if they’ll make it. They could toil forever in obscurity and, if they do, we’re to blame. It was one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long while. Buy their albums, see them live, support what it is they’re doing because what it is they’re doing is special and rare and important. - Wordkrapht

"Press Release For "The Devil Herself""

Contact: Megan Jean Klay (646) 345-9869

Megan Jean and the KFB release The Devil Herself March 1, 2013

35-date tour to support a new self-released album. Cities include Atlanta, Charleston, and Washington D.C.

(Charleston, South Carolina) March 1st, 2013

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Avant-Americana duo Megan Jean and the KFB is self-releasing it’s second full-length album, The Devil Herself, March 1, 2013 at the in Charleston, South Carolina on their label Guts and Know How Records. This will be vocalist/instrumentalist Megan Jean Klay and multi-instrumentalist Byrne Klay's third studio release following 2010's full-length Dead Woman Walkin’ and their 2007 debut EP Autumn which was released under the name The Klay Family Band.

The Devil Herself is comprised of eleven new tracks written by the duo over the course of a 22-month, 450-date American tour, focusing on the vibrant music scene of the Southeast. The album was recorded in four days by Zac Thomas at the Jam Room in Columbia, S.C. and funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign.

"The devil is wherever we seek it out. We tend to see those lifestyles we can't or won't understand as a kind of possession, the devil's hand upon their heart, guiding and claiming them," says Megan Jean. "If we look too hard, that moral standard becomes too much for anyone. They end up the devil themselves."

Featuring her undeniable vocals and bassist/banjoist Byrne's Klay's unmistakable visual art, The Devil Herself is at heart a tribute to the love that Jean and Klay have for each other and the music they make.

The married couple live and operate on the road full-time, playing 20 shows a month from the East Coast to the Midwest. "These Bones" off The Devil Herself is featured on an episode of Music Voyager after its live performance attracted the attention of PBS.  This year it will be one of the headliner's of Floydfest alongside the Lumineers and Trampled By Turtles after winning the 2012 Under The Radar Competition.

Track Listing:
1. The Dead Show
2. Mr. Bone Man
3. No Good Girl
4. Skeletons
5. These Bones
6. Little Miss Fortune
7. Martians featuring Philip Cope
8. Hometown Hero
9. Tobias
10. Idle Hands
11. Last Days

P.O Box 60421
North Charleston, SC 29419
Private Links to Album Download

### - Megan Jean & the KFB

"Megan Jean and the KFB release music video"

Road warrior musical duo Megan Jean and the KFB have toured heavily through the Southeast this year, but somehow they found time to film and edit a new music video, their first-ever.

c/o Megan Jean and the KFB
One of the scenes from the video or "These Bones"

Singer/guitarist/percussionist Megan Jean and her bandmate/husband, bassist/banjo player Byrne Klay, shot the clip for a new track titled “These Bones” in April while in Bristol, Tenn., where they were interviewed and filmed for an upcoming episode of PBS’s Music Voyager. Pix and PR/A Ryno Production edited the video for “These Bones” for the duo. "Them Bones" is one of the songs featured on a forthcoming studio album titled The Devil Herself. - Charleston City Paper

"Megan Jean and the KFB wins FloydFest Under the Radar Contest — Lizzy Ross Band finishes second, and Spirit Family Reunion takes third | Tad Dickens' cutNscratch:"

This year, the buzz around the fest was for Megan Jean and the KFB (Klay Family Band), a remarkable duo from Charleston, S.C. Though it is just two people — husband/wife team Megan Jean and Byrne Klay — the act puts up a mighty ruckus of sound with guitar, stompbox, washboard, upright bass and banjo, with Megan Jean Klay’s vocals and lyrics giving a ton of depth. -

"Megan Jean and the KFB and How They Saved the Coffeehouse"

Johnson City, Tennessee is a walking kind of city. This may at first sound a little vague and akin to something your grandparents might have said, but it's very plainly the truth. It's laid out in a way that's perfectly conducive to walking almost anywhere you need to go. My friends and I have turned into avid walkers since we came to ETSU and started hunting the downtown area at night for good bands at the small plethora of venues in town. It was on one of these very unassuming walks that we first encountered Megan Jean and the KFB at the Acoustic Coffeehouse on a cold November night last year. It was a night that I might just remember always.
When I first came to Johnson City back in '06, the Acoustic Coffeehouse seemed like a really magical little spot. It had this friendly atmosphere that other places in town lacked. The sheer amount of drunk people looking to screw and/or fight all concentrated into one small room made places like Capone's and Poor Richard's uncomfortable for someone sane like me. The tone of the place was warm and mellow, the beer and coffee were excellent, the people were nice, drunk or not, and the music was usually interesting. Many nights of my freshman and sophomore years of college were spent alone or with friends on the comfy old couches that line its walls under old concert adverts and a giant poster of the Beatles from the cover of the 'Hey Jude' single.
But, as time went on I had fallen a little out of love with the place. The nightly bills were being filled with solo guys singing in high and trembling timbres over barely audible chords – clearly playing up the I'm-indie-and-inherently-better-than-you chic. In time the place became overrun with pretentious hipsters, faux-hemians, and trust-fund rebels, and I had started to grow disillusioned with the scene there. Bands of old blues playing dads, Celtic groups from the bluegrass program at the college, and various other small-time groups from out-of-state were present less and less on the weeknights that I came over. Knowing full well the mediocrity we might be in store for, a few of my friends and I headed out to the coffeehouse one night anyway.
What we walked in on when we got there was uncommon and entirely welcomed, even if we didn't understand what we were looking at, at first. There stood a woman - tall, thick, and robust - strumming on an acoustic-electric guitar that looked to have come from a very different time. Her voice was like an angel's trumpet forged in the fires of hell. Her backing band consisted merely of one man with a stand-up bass that seemed a little too large for him. The sound was thunderous and terse, it shook with an old-world charm that seemed oddly fresh at the same time.
The band we were watching that night formed as Megan Jean and the KFB around the year 2006 in Charleston, South Carolina. Consisting only of Megan Jean Glemboski and Byrne Klay, the duo had to that point been on a short touring circuit that stretched from their native Charleston up to New York City with only a few regular stops in-between. Earlier in 2010, they had recorded their first album “Dead Woman Walking” on the own label, Guts and Know How Records. Jean made this known to everyone in the house as she proudly pointed to their modest merchandise table with albums, posters, and shirts spilling out of an antique miniature trunk they seemed to be using to transport it.
The set went on with songs that melded from a fusion of gypsy/carnival/folk/blues that sweated sex appeal and rock and roll as a weird sort of by-product. Her cover of Iggy Pop's “I Wanna Be Your Dog” proved it to anyone in the audience still doubting if this group could rock. With a minimal amount of amplification they raised as much hell as your average teenage quasi-punks around these days. Their indelible charisma alone could have floated this band through a set, or an album, as I would later come to find out, even without the immense musical talent abounding.
Megan Jean was something special; that was clear from the get-go. She was all woman in none of the traditional female artist ways. She didn't come dolled-up to make friends and charm people. She came to make noise with the boys, and she played extra hard to show us she was worth her salt. Her guitar playing was mechanical and forceful, but extremely tasteful and tuneful. Her voice rang up as if coming from the bottom of an unfathomable well. She had a range like only a diva could possess, but she used it with none of the same delicacy and control. This, no doubt, is what made her so incredibly entertaining and her music so passionate and captivating.
Not only did she play the guitar, she made rhythm with a twisted assortment of regular household items. Her cowboy boot-clad feet stomped on a plywood board that was amplified and cranked up to the point that it sounded like a bass drum. A small washboard that - ETSU, Johnson City TN

"Megan Jean and Byrne Klay conjure joyful sounds The dark beauty of Dead Woman Walkin'"

They've survived the harsh routines of a nomadic existence. They've traveled the country on a barely-existent budget. They've touched down in a string of strange towns and cities, performing everything from sidewalk protest gatherings to chicken wing joints. Now, settled happily in North Chucktown, songwriters Megan Jean Glemboski and Bryne Klay are ready to release a collection of ditties that just might anchor them as one of the more exotic acts in the Lowcountry.

"We go from playing Latin clavés to straight-up gypsy waltzes," says Megan Jean. "It's important to have all those colors in your crayon box. We take all this stuff that we like — from norteño and crazy world music — and we just synthesize it."

Unlike so many newcomers who initially hit the downtown scene with all their might, Megan Jean and Byrne made their first splash in the Park Circle neighborhood of North Charleston.

"Park Circle is such a nice place, but it's also kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys, too, so we fit right in," says Megan Jean, who grew up near Seattle during the grunge-rock phenomenon. "I was blown away by Charleston when we first came here — not just by it's natural beauty, but by the fact that we could make a living doing this here."

Megan Jean met string player Byrne Klay (pronounced "Burn Kligh"), a New Englander, in 2004 while she was attending N.Y.U. She was already working as a solo singer/guitarist when they decided to perform around the Big Apple as an acoustic folk/blues duo.

"We've had people tell us that we'll never get signed to a major label doing what we're doing," remembers Megan Jean. "But that's not our goal."

Based in Brooklyn, they played a few times a week for a while before frustration with the New York scene set in. In 2007, they initially booked 12 shows in the Southeast, just to get away from things back home. That short tour soon extended into a 200-show trek covering a span of 50,000 miles.

"Before we even went on the road, we spent a year and a half planning it and working it out, because we went completely transient for a year," says Byrne.

"We never expect anything," adds Megan Jean. "You have to know that nine out of 10 shows you ain't shit — you're there because they're letting you be there, and it's up to you get up there and make it happen. Our goal is to make as much noise as possible for a duo — in a tasteful manner, without it being hokey. And there's a razor-thin line we walk on, doing what we're doing. It could be really cheesy if we let it get there."

Their first local first gig was a brief set at Sesame Burgers, followed by a slot around the corner at the Mill's open mic night.

"We found an open mic gig at the Mill in North Charleston, and they welcomed us with open arms," says Megan Jean.

Byrne adds, "Our whole attitude is always, 'Just get us up in front of people and let us do what we do.' We know that we can at least get people's attention."

The twosome officially moved to North Charleston on Election Day 2008. Driven by a determined desire to express themselves artistically, the duo focused their efforts on writing, performing, and recording that fall and winter. After failed attempts in three other studios, they finally completed the studio work on first full length album at WhyLago Studios in Marietta, Ga., with their friend BJ Richardson (of the Shathouse Rats). The 11-song collection is titled Dead Woman Walkin'.

"Recording an album four times in a row is a terrible way to document your songs," laughs Byrne. "Also, it was really hard for us to learn how to record what we do."

The songs on Dead Woman Walkin' produce powerful imagery — some which are creepier than a small-town carnival. Megan Jean's lyrics mostly touch on strength and weakness, desire and deception.

The scratchy shuffle rhythm of macabre lead-off track "Cemetery Man" contrasts with the creepy verses about a grave-digging lover lurking from headstone to headstone. Byrne's prickly banjo work propels the upbeat wine-soaked two-step anthem "Red Red" and the swingin' cowboy tune "Hoka Hey." Splashy cymbals and brushy drum kit work accent the slower "Enfant Terrible."

The most straightforward folk ballad of the bunch is "Northern Winter" an elegant and sparse song with a slow-waltz pace and some of Megan Jean's highest-soaring notes (think Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Edelweiss" crossed with a Lucinda Williams). The peppiest is the fiendishly upbeat "Demons," replete with a polka rhythm, a thumping bassline, and Megan Jean's most pronounced yodel of the collection.

"Our stuff is very theatrical, and every song is telling a story," says Megan Jean. "I think the number one lesson [of the album] is that lying is bad. Another thing is that I'm really fascinated by epic falls-from-grace. In America, there are so many of them — and they're all loved by the public."

At times skeletal and spare, Dead Woman Walkin' has its moments of bleakness — some of which are emotiona - Charleston City Paper

"Columbia Free Times Review"

"There’s a touch of old, weird America in all of us, I think, and Megan Jean’s voice betrays a marked familiarity with the odd side of life in these United States. Like The Handsome Family, Jean and the Klay Family Band can get down to some serious, rootsy Americana sounds while still channeling a little of the off-the-midway, creepy sideshow mentality on songs such as “Big Bad Wolf.” Jean’s great big, sultry voice is the star of the show, with a smoky, burnt timbre befitting a much more well-traveled soul than she. K. Oliver, Columbia Free Times" June 12, 2009 - Columbia Free Times

"Songstress Megan Jean Lands in Charleston"

Normally, one doesn't hear much mention of grunge bands when speaking with folk singers, but, true to her unorthodox spirit, Megan Jean Glemboski crosses that line. "I grew up in Seattle during the whole grunge thing, and for me, Nirvana is as traditionally American as Hank Williams," she says.

Megan Jean is one-half of the Charleston-based Megan Jean & The Klay Family Band (or KFB for short). Together, she and her husband Byrne Klay (rhymes with "learn fly") make up this self-described avant-garde Americana duo that has made a name for itself touring the country, DIY-style.

"It's 'Americana' in the sense that our music draws from the full American music spectrum," Megan Jean says of their original music. "Folk, country, rockabilly, surf music, punk ... all of it. And it's avant-garde in the sense that we seek out unorthodox elements to add to the sound."

Megan Jean and Byrne first met in 2004 in New York City, where she was attending N.Y.U., and he was attending New School University. Based in Brooklyn, they decided to start a serious band together. The duo soon became frustrated, however.

"New York is such a black hole for up-and-coming bands. It's so over-saturated and no one seems to care about anyone's music but their own," Megan Jean says.

So what was the logical next step for this musically motivated duo? Pack up everything and hit the road. They initially booked 12 shows in the Southeast.

"We were playing once or twice a month and felt we weren't getting anywhere," remembers Megan Jean. "It was like screaming into the wind. Then one day, I said to Byrne, 'Let's just get out of here.' We left our jobs, our apartment, and pretty much got rid of everything to play the first 12 shows in the Southeast."

A short tour gradually extended into a 200-gig trek covering a span of 50,000 miles. The two tasted life on the road and they liked it.

Touring around in a red/green Suzuki Sidekick, the trio eventually began to wear down — and spending Thanksgiving at a Hooters wasn't exactly their ideal lifestyle. They soon happened upon Charleston, and fell in love with the city.

"We ended up playing some last-minute gigs, which got us back in the game," says the singer. "After another year on the road and many more trips to Charleston we decided to call it home.

The couple settled down in Chucktown and released their debut album, Autumn.

"We found that Charleston is special musically. The talent level is so high, especially among female musicians," says Megan Jean.

Neither of them had ever been to Charleston before, but it the small clubs and tight-knit scene enticed them.

"We found an open mic gig at The Mill in North Charleston, and they welcomed us with open arms," remembers Megan Jean.

"There are so many places to play here, and it's so central to a lot of good music in the Southeast," she adds. "Trust me, we've been all over this country and when it comes to music, there's no place like the Carolinas. People really listen to music here. They care about how it sounds more than whether it's trendy or cool. It was a breath of fresh air for us. That's why we live here." - Charleston City Paper Feature

"Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band"

"...the intriguing combination of Jean’s literate lyricism (and almost theatrical approach to vocals) and Klay’s highly disciplined composition as the backbone of their sparse, but emotionally satisfying style. Those attributes are front and center on their DIY debut Autumn."

-Jim Reed, Connect Savannah - Connect Savannah


Still working on that hot first release.



Megan Jean and the KFB, or Klay Family Band, arrange a demented blend of americana, punk, dance, and the avant-garde that they've taken to describing as, "a metal band, if it was 1927."

Inventive percussion, electrified banjo, and a voice like the Devil Herself have earned Megan Jean and the KFB a dedicated following all over the East Coast. Calling the road home on a never-ending tour, this transient married duo has taken their nomadic musical lifestyle and transformed it into a kind of Voodoo that unites scenes, fans, and musical styles. This is a band that lives to perform, and is fueled by sheer guts and know how.

In April of 2012, the band was featured on PBS performing their original composition These Bones as part of a music documentary series Music Voyager, which broadcast internationally.  In July of 2012 they were named the winners of the Under The Radar Competition at FloydFest in Floyd VA, which earned them a spot on the main stage in 2013. They have shared the stage with Shovels and Rope, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Rising Appalachia. 

On March 1st of 2013, the duo released their 2nd full-length album, The Devil Herself, recorded at the Jam Room in Columbia, SC, and is currently recording their third album entirely analogue. 

Band Members