The intense band was born from one hard-rocking daddy, Brand New Sin. Dean, guitarist-singer Kris Wiechmann, lead guitarist Tommy Matkowski and bassist Chuck Kahl added singer-guitarist Heather Jones and headed off in the direction of rootsy Americana.
Dean sent over three rough mixes. “Way Down Low” and “Doctor” are both loaded on hobograffiti.com, where band members are seeking popular opinion. Dean later delivered a true present: “Darling Dear,” not on any site yet, for my ears only.
Hobo Graffiti proves that plenty of energy can be found in a stew of blues, folk, rockabilly and more. Jones’ voice has the rich power to carry “Darling Dear” and “Doctor” to exciting places. Wiechmann’s griitty lead vocals on “Way Down Low” illustrates why one of the labels the band has put on itself is dirty rock. Ready to rumble. And in harmony, the two fit perfectly.
The band started by booking plenty of gigs and employing a standup bass and cocktail drums, the antithesis of Brand New Sin’s big way of rocking hard. They had hours of favorite cover songs to interpret.
Now the move to SubCat Music Studios in Armory Square — where Dean also works as a drum instructor — allows them to show what’s been bouncing around in their own souls.
Wait until you hear “Darling Dear.” Jones’ punky vocals surf over striking beats and cascading guitar work. Then it turns dreamy, a feathery bridge back to emotional declarations. “Stop crying over me,” she demands, love gone hard.
There are three chances to catch Hobo Graffiti this weekend.
The musicians host the Thursday night open mike at Mac’s Bad Art Bar in Mattydale tonight, taking their every-other week turn on the stage to welcome collaborators.
At 6:15 p.m. Friday, Hobo Graffiti plays the main stage at Taste of Syracuse downtown. Be sure to take a minute from food sampling and beverage drinking to eat up this sound.
After that set, they go back to Mac’s to continue the Friday night action.
By the way, if you haven’t been to Taste of Syracuse with an ear to the music, you’re missing a major part of the action. The three stages around Clinton Square are mostly given over to Central New York bands of all styles, way more than a dozen hours worth on Friday and Saturday. It’s a perfect place to dip your toe into the local music scene.
Find the schedule here. Basically, wall-to-wall from noon to 10:30 p.m. both days.