Todd May & Co.
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Todd May & Co.

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NO DEPRESSION: Shorter Artist Feature from Issue #26 March-April 2000
Lilybandits Storybook beginning COLUMBUS, OH
By Brian Manke
In the inside sleeve of the Lilybandits’ new album, @ 33 1/3, there is a fictional story about how the band formed. It portrays them as an oddball foursome sucking the lime out of life in a tequila-soaked Mexico. When slipping down to Columbus to interview the band at the Blue Danube, one of the more infamous haunts that dots High Street’s campus backdrop, such stories continue to flow.
And flow. They remember the time that Todd May (vocals, guitar) wrote a song about Randall Adams, the Ohio native wrongfully committed for murder of a Dallas police officer and the subject behind Errol Morris’ 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line. “They did a story on Adams on ‘Current Affair’ and they ended up using our song during the piece,” Jose Gonzales (guitars, vocals) interjects. “Adams, went to school with my father, and he heard the song. So, when they were doing the ‘Current Affair’ thing, he told them he wanted it in the piece. He made us 500 bucks,” May happily recalls.
Whatever the subject, the Lilybandits will unravel a story about it — and make it interesting. The tales range from Trent Arnold (bass, vocals) expounding upon the drinking adventures of Ned ‘Hoaky’ Hickel, the Dash Rip Rock bass player known to cause a wicked hangover, to band members sharing parental secrets to keep up on the latest children’s craze.
This characteristic carries over to their music: The Lilybandits play a song the way they would tell you a story. It will draw you in and make you feel at home, whether it’s the floating pop of “Past Few Days”, the slow-waltzing twang of “Beautiful”, or the rollicking punch of “Fire In The Hole”. These songs vibrate a certain warmth through their simplistic messages and homespun feel.
Which is not necessarily the feel you would imagine from co-producer Tony Maserati, a producer and mixer known for his work with hip-hop and R&B artists such as Puff Daddy, Notorious B.I.G. and Mariah Carey. Working in the Brooklyn studio name-checked by the album’s title, the Lilybandits had to hand over some degree of trust. “Sometimes, I got the feeling Tony didn’t know what was going on, but we guessed he’d figure it out,” Gonzales says.
“He has to. That’s how he pays bills,” May states.
Arnold adds, “Not with us. We cause bills.”
Perhaps, but whatever intriguing or compelling follies may follow that opening, you can be assured it’s going to be a story you’ll want to hear.
- No Depression

THE COLU8MBUS ALIVE Thursday, July 9, 2009 6:00 AM

Erika Carey and the Calamities
"Erika Carey and the Calamities"
More so than guitars, the accordion seems like an instrument that'd create something of a barrier between frontperson and audience. I can't speak for the ComFest set by singer-accordionist Erika Carey and the Calamities, but at a previous gig at Victorian's Midnight Cafe, there was definitely something coming between the players and those watching.
It could've just been the squeeze box or maybe a case of veteran players - like former Lilybandits frontman Todd May, former Greenhorn drummer Mark Spurgeon and Megan Palmer fiddler Betty Blockinger - still getting used to playing out together. It could also be a matter of earnest musicianship winning out over showmanship.
Regardless, the six tracks on their self-titled debut are unquestionably inviting. Carey's accordion and Blockinger's violin wash smoothly over a sound that pays homage to bluegrass and the best alt-country, with her vocals suggesting a lower-key Neko Case, in both octave and attitude. She and May make especially beautiful harmonies together on "Five Years."
Here's hoping the barrier breaks for their 10 p.m. show on Saturday, July 11, with Matthew Hoover and the Supersaints at the perfectly intimate Rumba Cafe. If not, try closing your eyes. -Melissa Starker
- Columbus Alive


Todd May released two records (Shifty's Tavern 1997, "@33 & 1/3" 2000) in the 1990s with the band he fronted, the Lilybandits on Shelterhouse. In 2009 he released an EP with the Band The Calamities on Peloton Records. Todd May also contributed to a compilation CD for Peloton records ("City Sampler") as a solo artist. Currently Todd May is recording for an early 2010 release with May & Co. Tood's music may be found on midwestern college radio, last FM, Itunes, ouTube,, and



There are times in our lives when we know what we are doing is right. we know that when the good lord made us, it was for this very reason. because everything clicks and the square pegs fits in the proper holes. The sun shines brighter during these moments and the fresh cut grass is more aromatic. The heart swells with life, and we become content. knowing that it's not all for naught. Todd May was built to write and sing songs, for all of us. Listen once and you will immediately feel connected to the voice, and wonder how you ever got along without his music in your life. Todd instills the classics in his craft. His influences range from the Stooges and Husker Du to the Replcements, to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, the soulful voice of Al Green and the smokin rhythm of David Hood and the Muscle Shoals Band. He is as relevant as Iron and Wine, and just as intimate and heartbreaking. Todd May is is true american treasure.