The So-So Sailors
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The So-So Sailors

Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Band Rock Soul


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



"Live Review - So-So Sailors/New Pornographers"

I doubt that very many people were at The Waiting Room last night specifically to see The So-So Sailors. In fact, I ran into an old friend who was sitting in the back booths during their set as if no band was playing at all, ignoring them altogether. I can’t say that I blame him as he had no idea who they were or why he should be listening. He was there for the Pornos. Still, he missed out on the most interesting part of the night, to me anyway.

The New Pornographers at The Waiting Room, 4/21/11.

Don’t get me wrong, New Pornographers were pretty special. Presented as a 7-piece with uber-star Neko Case along for the ride looking like she just got back from the Laundromat in her hoodie and wind-blown red witch hair. Even without makeup and with tired, older eyes she still looked good to me. And she sang good, too, even though she didn’t own the spotlight (that was leader Carl Newman’s job). You can’t beat Neko being “only” part of your band, no stronger or weaker then the other six members who reached back for some oldies but played what you expected from Together. They sounded terrific, just like they do on their records, and the sold-out crowd dug it.

So-So Sailors, who played right before them, will never be as big as New Pornographers. Probably not, though I admit to enjoying their short, 30-minute set just as much (or more) than what I saw of NP’s. Frontman Chris Machmuller sat behind a keyboard backed by Dan McCarthy who sat behind another keyboard backed by Ben Brodin who sat behind yet another keyboard. And they were backed by the incomparable Alex McManus on guitar. Standing dead center (and the center of attention, whether he deserved it or not) was bass player / backing vocalist Brendan Greene-Walsh, with Laura Burhenn to his left (just back from touring with Bright Eyes) and Dan Kemp on drums. That’s all of them. And what you got with three keyboards is a very organic, very earthy sound, augmented by Mach’s brassy warble and his occasional alto sax solo. The music really is unlike anything being played around here. It sounds humble. It sounds soulful. It sounds very Sunday afternoon after a long Saturday night. A song like the amazing “Young Hearts,” which was the centerpiece of their set, can’t be compared to anything that I can think of. Mach said that they’ve finished recording their debut album, but he didn’t know when it was coming out. Hopefully sometime soon, and hopefully on Saddle Creek or some other label with its reach, though I’m not holding my breath. -

"Live Review - So-So Sailors/Mynabirds"

"I came to see Jeremy Messersmith, the crowd came to see The Mynabirds, but it was So-So Sailors that everyone was talking about after the show Saturday night at Slowdown Jr.

By the time he was done, the room was near capacity. I have no idea if this show was a sell-out, but it was a crush-mob. Next was the stage debut of So-So Sailors, a local supergroup of sorts, anchored by Chris Machmuller (Ladyfinger) on vocals and piano, Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching) on Wurlitzer, Alex McManus (The Bruces) on guitar, Brendan Greene-Walsh (O’Leaver’s) on bass and the former drummer for Bloodcow (whose name I don’t know (Edit: It’s Dan Kemp)).

With Mach on the front end, I guess I was expecting something harsh, uptempo and loud. Instead we got slow, quiet and pretty. Beautiful at times; edgy and proggy at others. The faster, louder songs fell in line with the slowest moments of Ladyfinger. It was all very moody for the most part and different than anything that any of these guys have done before. Definitely not what I or probably anyone was expecting. One thing’s for certain, with this band — and this laid-back style of music — Mach has absolutely nowhere to hide. His voice is fully exposed for all to hear. It’s a cool (if not unsteady) voice that sounds like a sleepy, Midwestern version of Roger Waters on songs that often start with Mach playing piano one-handed only to gradually build to a pounding finish. Quite a debut, and quite a buzz afterward." - Tim McMahan,

"The So-So Sailors"

So, who are these guys, the So-So Sailors? Formed in August 2009, the recent Omaha endeavor began its infiltration of bars and clubs alike, playing its first show last May. The ship is now at sea and from the looks of it there are smooth waters ahead. Fronted by Ladyfinger(ne)’s Chris Machmuller, and including McCarthy Trenching’s Dan McCarthy, The Bruces’ Alex McManus, Little Brazil manager Brendan Greene-Walsh and Bloodcow’s Dan Kemp, call it the latest local super-group. While one might expect some loud, gritty rock ‘n’ roll, it’s rumored to be quite the opposite (right now, they only have “demos in the works.”) “It’s a far cry from most of the other projects that any of us have been a part of.
Ladyfinger and Bloodcow are heavy rock bands. We are centered around a piano,” Greene-Walsh said. “We’ve had trouble describing these songs. It’s kind of a throwback to ’70s R&B. There’s some classic soul in there and we’re definitely mindful of the melody.
Plus you can never get enough of Alex McManus.” - The Reader


Demo EP - Mixed by Mark Nevers at Beech House, Nashville, TN
Full length release TBA in Spring 2011
7" release TBA in early 2011



The So-So Sailors are five sun-burnt stowaways left adrift upon the high seas. Eagerly awaiting land, they dream of a pristine beach where they can sip coconut milk and shoot pistols without fear of criminal prosecution or possible complaints by the neighbors. Nah, screw that (the coconut part anyway)! It's just Chris Machmuller (Ladyfinger(ne)) on piano and vocal, Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching, The Good Life) on Wurlitzer, Alex McManus (Lambchop, Bright Eyes, Vic Chesnutt) on guitar, Brendan Greene-Walsh on bass and Dan Kemp (Bloodcow) on drums.
Though a clear departure from the individual members previous projects, citing a clear appreciation for 60's - 70's Lounge and R&B esthetics, The So-So Sailors are comfortably out of their element. Setting the wheel to a barely visible point on the horizon, and plotting a course for misadventure, the Sailors find that the farther out to sea they travel, the more it feels like home.