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Gypsies bring earthy sound down the mountain to Sparks
by Cortney Maddock
Apr 09, 2008 | 999 views | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo
Bourgeois Gypsies will play at Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks on Friday night.
Courtesy photo Bourgeois Gypsies will play at Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks on Friday night.
Despite the nomadic implications of the band’s name, the music of the Bourgeois Gypsies has been kept in check by the fortress of nature that is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When the band caravans down from Sierraville Calif., on Friday to play at the Great Basin Brewing Co., Mother Nature will be unveiling a great


“(Our sound) kind of falls between the cracks,” said vocalist and guitarist Arnold Mitchem. “It’s not straightforward folk rock.”

Mitchem describes the four-piece, sometimes five-piece, band as an eclectic mix of sounds and when reading the individual band member’s musical rap sheets, it is no wonder that the Bourgeois Gypsies have such a refined sound. They are a group of musical know-it-alls.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Mitchem said of his musical career. “I’ve played with Jeff Buckley and Chris Whitley.”

Complimenting Mitchem’s playing experience is vocalist, bassist, harmonica and mandolin player Taylor Williams; guitar player Kieth Rutherford; drummer Peter Miller and lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player Kaisa MacDonald.

Mitchem met MacDonald on a whim and after playing open mic nights together for nearly two years they decided to add members to develop a band. Even though Mitchem has experience in the music industry, the group is still evolving and has come together with a sound that is crisp and clean.

“We’ve been playing seriously for about a year,” Mitchem said.

Bourgeois Gypsies are now releasing the band’s second studio album, “Faulty Fairytales,” the follow up to its debut, “Blue Morning.” The band’s instrumentation mixed with MacDonald’s hauntingly smooth voice gives the songs a personality, and beautifully written lyrics seem to spill out of MacDonald.

“When we’re writing, it’s just how it comes out,” Mitchem said of the creative process. “Kaisa writes some pretty good lyrics.”

MacDonald’s voice melodically growls out “Bright” with lyrics that are deep and personal in a voice reminiscent of a young Stevi Nicks: “I was sitting in my car / You were breaking apart a star/ Teardrops of light coming falling down…As tempting as you are/ Slinging arrows from afar/ You send them raining down…”

But to experience the Bourgeois Gypsies means mixing in a little bit of bluegrass, a little bit of rock and a little bit of blues.

“We’ve been called swamp-pop,” Mitchem said. “But we’re not from the south. I’ve also heard (us called) urban barn dancing.”

Admitting that he isn’t sure of either classification, but is himself unsure of how to classify the band’s feel-good sound, Mitchem said he’s OK with the contradictory word play — similar to the contradiction posed by the band’s name.

“We were just tossing around words that we liked,” Mitchem explained. “It’s kind of a contradictory term. Sometimes we have to explain it.”

But there is nothing uppity about these gypsies. They’re just happy to be playing music.

“We’re really indie,” Mitchem said. “We got really strong college air play with our first album.”

Time to expand the band’s fans base, the Bourgeois Gypsies are happy to play in Sparks Friday night.

“We’re just trying to reach out more and play,” Mitchem said. “In the winter time we play at the ski resorts and the pubs.”

Don’t miss a chance to see the Bourgeois Gypsies play an exciting mix of songs ranging from slow and moody to energetic and poppy.

The Bourgeois Gypsies will take the stage at the Great Basin Brewing Co. located at 846 Victorian Ave. at 9 p.m. There is no cover for the show, so there is no excuse to miss this show.

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April 09, 2008
These guys rock!!! I can't wait for Friday!
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