Middle America
Gig Seeker Pro

Middle America


Band Rock Funk


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



"Local bands make waves in global musical battle"

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Local bands make waves in global musical battle

By John W. Barry
Poughkeepsie Journal

I was enjoying a private, pre-wedding wedding party in June in Poughkeepsie when I got to talking about a recent story I had written.

I must have told this person I was talking to what I did for a living because he asked if I had written the story that had appeared in the Journal about LuLu's Ascent, a local band. Lulu's was performing in the regional round of Emergenza, an international battle of the bands.

The contest had passed and this person, in a very nice manner, told me his band had not only won that round, but was local as well. So went my introduction to MO Kelly and the band he plays in: Middle America.

That's M-O, in all caps, mind you. And that's a good register of this MO Kelly fella. He's got a certain energy that really bleeds off him when you speak with him. Even the photos this guy has sent for use in the paper exude a self-flattering consciousness that somehow manages to avoid ego and underscore self-certainty.

Convincing sound

Now that's a quality I look for in a musician, no matter how bad or good they are. Look at U2, one of my favorite bands. Their songs aren't terribly complicated, the sound of their instruments can be quite minimalist at times and their lyrics are occasionally contrived. But these guys, in my opinion, believe so strongly in what they are doing and the music they are making that they are convincing beyond belief.

That's how I felt about MO Kelly even before I listened to his band. Then, I listened to his band.

I would say Middle America is Stevie Ray Vaughan meets Phish meets Ryan Adams. You can see for yourself what Middle America looks like this weekend when the band performs at Cabaloosa in New Paltz Saturday night.

"Songwriting and playing music in general, I feel, is a positive thing," Kelly said. "With the music we're playing, we want people to have an outlet ... and come out and see a live show and have a good time."

If someone "does something good" because they saw a good show, Kelly said, then he and his bandmates "can affect someone's life."

Kelly is a local boy - he grew up in Red Hook and Dover and now resides in Germantown. Middle America is a three-piece ensemble, with Jay Iacurto from Dover Plains on drums and Guthrie Lord of Kingston on bass.

Ask Kelly to describe his band and he will say, "rock 'n' roll."

"When you consider how, nowadays, these genres are so specific, to come out and say you're rock 'n' roll is something. So - we are rock 'n' roll."

So, you have to imagine it was pretty weird for me to have written about one band performing in the Emergenza contest and just plain out of nowhere bumping into the guy whose band beat that band.

It gets weirder. Not long ago, I spoke to the drummer of the band that was named best unsigned band on the planet and took the whole tomato at Emergenza. They are the Fire Flies and their drummer is from Stormville.

For now, you can check out my main man MO at www.myspace.com/middleamericatheband.

Contact John W. Barry at jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com or call 845-437-4822. - Poughkeepsie Journal


2001 Feedback (Self-Released)
2007 Middle America (Self-Released)



Middle America was voted the Capital Region's best band of 2007 through the Emergenza Competition and they ain't stoppin' there! The guys are busy turning fans and innocent spectators into a solid following while writing new songs as well. It seems that Middle America is finally getting some of the attention that these young but veteran players deserve. In early 2007 they recorded a 14 song album with original bass player Brian Buckley in just 2 short days. Now with new member Guthrie Lord they have reinvented their old songs and are adding more songs that empower the live shows and display maturing musical abilities and song writing.