Kitchen Sink adds musicians from time to time (they are looking for a drummer and bass player), but the heart and soul are a Father Daughter Friend trio: Aaron McNeely, Moriah (aka Rye) McNeely, and Noah Pieprzyza. They cover an upbeat mix of standards ranging from Noah's gravelly-voiced version of Muddy Waters' "Blow Wind Blow" to Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's "Blue on Black" in a memorable Aaron/Rye duet, along with postmodern gospel like "Even When The Rain Falls" (NeedToBreathe).
This time we also got to hear an original song: in true old bluesman tradition, Noah took us along on one strange fishing trip with the humorous and toe-tapping "Nuclear Chicken". I look forward to more as they increase their exploration of original music and lyrics.
Band leader Aaron McNeely sets the tone with his good, strong voice ("Ain't Much Left of Me") and solid guitar. He switches instruments even more frequently than Noah changes harmonicas, and plays them all with abandon. Loved the great covers of "Big Yellow Moon" (especially good timing too), "Layla", and interesting "Tulsa Time/I Walk The Line" medley.
His song choices show off the band's versatility and he gives each artist continual opportunities to shine at their best.
A gifted vocalist with a truly good voice and a strong range, Rye McNeely can belt out a song like nobody's business. When she sings the Elvis-inspired "Black Velvet", she hits notes that give me chills. I love to hear her sing. Her harmonies with dad Aaron are lovely and melodious, and their voices balance each other well.
Plus the camera loves her - her face lights up any picture she is in. You've heard the saying about taking all the air out of a room? Well, Rye draws all the light in the photograph. Look through the band's Facebook page and you will see what I mean. Agents (and modeling agencies) take note.
Noah Pieprzyza (that is pronounced "Pieprzyza") usually hides - expertly - behind a hand-held harmonica or two. Or three. As they set up to play "Bell Bottom Blues", he commented "There's a reason nobody plays harmonica on Eric Clapton songs..." and he proceeded to juggle two French harps through the key changes as though it's not unusual to play like that every day.
In true washtub tradition, you never know what kinds of instruments these guys are going to drag out of the "magic Mary Poppins Guitar Case" (as Aaron referred to it during set up). This time, both the ridiculous and the sublime sounded... sublime.
While the new star might have been Noah's beautiful & haunting steel dobro slide guitar (gotta hear that porch swing on "Summertime"), the "novelty act" proved, in capable hands, to hold its own with the best: an eBay seller's homemade electric guitar made out of a wooden cigar box. Aaron about played the strings off of it and it sounded good!
Kitchen Sink is a local band and that gives lots of heart to their music. Here's a little taste, a cell phone recording from last year.
The tip jar is out there, and they all have genuine talent, but their big edge at this moment in time is that they are alive and real when not much else is. They are singing live, for fun, in venues you can take the kids to.
They are people who have work-a-day jobs and local lives and families that fill up their venues with cousins and babies and old ladies...everyone goes to Kitchen Sink shows.
That's worth a Hallelujah.