The Northside Southpaws
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The Northside Southpaws

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Bluegrass

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STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE
The Northside Southpaws

This much anticipated, particularly among mandolin lovers, all-instrumental debut CD by the Northside Southpaws was well worth the wait. The nimble fingered, Chicago-based duo are both left-handed and totally resophonic, with John Hasbrouck on National eight-string mandolin and Matt Gandurski on guitar. Their debut, mostly covers, self-produced effort (only a close-to-the vest, brief version of Tom Waits' nostalgic "Johnsburg, Illinois" is credited, however) features the pair on a fascinating mixture of archaic ragtime and hillbilly, early jazz and blues, proto-grass and other string band material played with an unspoiled, back-porch fluency that skips the pyrotechnics and possesses an enthusiasm that's bound to perk a listener's ears.

The Mississippi Mud Steppers, with famed mandolinist Charlie McCoy and guitarist Walter Vinson, were a 1930s recording off-shoot of the legendary Mississippi Sheiks and seem to be particular favorites of the team as they smartly revive, with some exceedingly intricate finger-picking e1an, two of the Steppers classic stomps (dedicated, individually, to the southern cities of Jackson and Vicksburg) as well as their more languid, finesse filled "Morning Glory Waltz," where the pace is slowed considerably.

Other old-timey bands the duo borrow from include Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers (with the kinetic "Tanner's Rag"), the Three Stripped Gears (their marvelously astringent "Blackberry Rag") and the Scottsdale String Band with their popular, animated "Carbolic Rag." They also dip into waltz time for the charmingly restless "Rainbow Waltz," accelerate affairs nicely for the bluesy, up-tempo "Havana River Glide," conjure the tropics on a David Grisman-like "Kohala March" and head down Argentina way with a strings swinging redo of Angel Villoldo's signature tango "El Choclo" among others. Hot tip: if you're ever in the Windy City on a Friday night, you can catch the pair performing their magic in person at the Honky Tonk BBQ on 18th Street. - Sing Out! (Sept. 2008)


STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE
The Northside Southpaws

How is it possible not to love a CD of resophonic mandolin and guitar that instructs the record shop to file it under "Obsolete Ragtime and Sentimental Song"? When it comes to the brilliant Northside Southpaws, the answer is that it's simply impossible.

Consisting of two lefties, John Hasbrouck on resonator mandolin and Matt Gandurski on resonator guitar, the Southpaws hail from the fertile fields of Chicagoland, where blues, ragtime, jazz, swing and old-time country intermingle insatiably and musicians find influences from Old Town to Evanston to the South Side.

The result sounds a bit like Mike Compton and David Long doing their ruthlessly beautiful and authentic country blues duets, only featuring more urban roots sounds than Delta blues and deep hollow country (although the Southpaws have plenty of that in their bag of tricks, as well).

Mandolinist John Hasbrouck is a true master of the exotic resophonic style of mandolin. If you still harbor delusions that the mechanically amplified version of the acoustic mandolin can sound only hard-edged and ragged to the bone, listen here with fresh ears.

Hasbrouck's wonderful touch and deft technique often left me thinking he'd switched a more conventional mandolin in on some of the cuts. Nope, it's all done on a National Reso-Phonic Guitars Inc. eight-string mandolin, and I'm here to say it sounds just great on the material presented.

The same goes for guitarist Matt Gandurski, who is so tasteful and understated he always seems to play just the right chord, lick or rhythm chop that Hasbrouck's mandolin line was calling out for.

The material is an amazing mix of familiar tunes like "Blackberry Rag" to a wealth of classic ragtime-era material like "Tanner's Rag". No cut is longer than 3:25, so everything here glides by like a midnight freight highballing through the northern Illinois prairieland.

"Stomp Glide Wobble" is to my ears one of the best mandolin CDs of the year, filled with an unspoiled sound and infectious enthusiasm that will win over fans from bluegrass, jazz and swing, blues and other styles. Highly recommended. - Mandolin Magazine (Spring, 2008)


Discography

Full-length debut cd: STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE (2008)

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Bio

Based in Chicago, The Northside Southpaws are an entirely unique, all-left-handed mandolin/guitar duo who perform high-energy string ragtime, old-time country, "proto-grass", and turn-of-the-century waltzes on left-handed resonator instruments.

On their debut cd, STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE (2008), duo partners John Hasbrouck (mandolin) and Matt Gandurski (guitar) crank out their interpretations of classic string band tunes from the 1920s and '30s by such acts as The Mississippi Mud Steppers, The Scottdale String Band, Gid Tanner & The Skillet Lickers, and The Three Stripped Gears.

Mandolin Magazine called STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE "...brilliant...one of the best mandolin CDs of the year, filled with an unspoiled sound and infectious enthusiasm that will win over fans from bluegrass, jazz and swing, blues and other styles." (Spring, 2008).

Sing Out! magazine said "This much anticipated CD by the Northside Southpaws was well worth the wait. (STOMP GLIDE WOBBLE) features the pair on a fascinating mixture of archaic ragtime and hillbilly, early jazz and blues, proto-grass and other string band material played with an unspoiled, back-porch fluency that skips the pyrotechnics and possesses an enthusiasm that's bound to perk a listener's ears." (September, 2008).

John Hasbrouck's debut solo fingerstyle guitar CD, ICE CREAM, was cited by ACOUSTIC GUITAR as one of the "Top CDs of 2002". John teaches guitar and mandolin privately and is on staff at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Matt Gandurski is an accomplished songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist with several solo releases to his credit. He teaches guitar at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago's south side and is an in-demand lead player on Chicago's country music scene.