Like the band’s name implies, The Muckrakes are here to help you sift through your problems and, just maybe, provide an anodyne that is necessary to survive the modern world.
The group may have formed in the backwaters of Newport News, VA. in October 2008, but its lineage goes back much further. It started in disparate parts of the country, where, as wide-eyed kids, they slapped their knees listening to everything from Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton to The Dead Milkmen, Medeski, Martin & Wood as well as The Clash.
The soon-to-be band members learned to play various instruments; mandolin, guitar, violin, bass, harmonica, lap steel, drums, piano, banjo and, most importantly, voice. They honed their chops in various bands in basements and garages, and soon found themselves among bluegrass pickers, classical music buffs, snotty punks, bluesmen and shaggy hippies. Their journeys took them from fine concert halls to renowned punk clubs. For various reasons, their journeys also brought them the the backwaters of The Old Dominon.
The group was called together by singer, mandolinist, banjo-picker, guitarist, Jon Owings, drummer Dave "Gravy" Jackson, and guitarist Mike “Spider” Turner. Later came Billy England on bass. England, a veteran of the Hampton Roads music scene saw what apparently no one else did – or at least what noone had the gumption to do anything about. “There are no alligator-wrestlin’, moonshine-drinking, fist-fightin’ Alt-Americana /Bluegrass acts around here, ” he said. With that in mind, the call was put out in September. After some lineup shuffling, the band’s current configuration came together a month later with the addition of Melissa “Jeanne Butterbean” Troutman who joined the fold adding her angelic, strong vocals and song writing skills, Matt “Doc Knuckles” Minguez, who is the band’s “Brian Jones”. Matt handles any instrument tossed his way, but is usually found with a violin strapped to his chin. Roundingout the group is Cory Nealon who puts the pedal to the metal on lap steel, dobro and guitar.
Together, the group has found the right combination of sweet and sinister, of power and weakness, of new and old. In other words, they’re just trying make sense of the world, having a fun time doing it and inspire others to do the same.
Visit The Muckrakes on myspace at http://www.myspace.com/themuckrakes, take a listen to them and drop them a line.