Los Brujo – Alchemy
Format: Digital EP – Download – Stream
Label: Inseam Records
Release Date: November 6, 2020
Los Brujos (feat. Chuck Melchin (Bean Pickers Union) & Michael Spaly (Green Monroe)
Michael Spaly and Chuck Melchin have been playing music together on and off for most of the last decade, having met through the vibrant Cambridge, Massachusetts roots rock scene, and immediately finding musical common ground.
They’ve shared dozens of gigs, large and small, and played on each other’s band’s records. Both musicians are the main songwriter and front person for their respective bands. Chuck fronts the alt-country collective the Bean Pickers Union and Michael is head honcho of his own project, the folk–bluegrass-psychedelic jam band Green Monroe.
With Michael now living in Michigan, Chuck in the woods of New Hampshire and the COVID 19 pandemic putting the kibosh on travel, collaboration could only be done remotely. They decided to record a few new songs remotely in their home studios, and to put them out under a new band name, Los Brujos. Their new EP Alchemy is a testament to their musical chemistry, with both contributing individually penned songs as well as a co-write, the powerful ‘Reckoning’.
Both are multi-instrumentalists, and together play most of the instruments on the record, with help from a few friends. Chris Coughlin (Cropduster, Bow Thayer) contributes backing vocals and keyboards on ‘High Times’, Jim Larkin (Jesse Dee) plays drums on ‘Everything I Can’, and Carla Ryder (Miriam, the Mudhens) sings beautiful backing vocals on ‘Bronco’ and ‘Everything I Can’. The songs were mixed and mastered by the maestro of the soundboard, Dave Westner at Sidehill Studio.
The record begins with ‘Reckoning’, a song originally written by Chuck but completely deconstructed and reconstructed by Michael. The harmony vocals and guitar / mandolin interplay recall Woodstock era CSNY. Chuck’s tunes ‘Bronco’ and ‘Everything I Can’ are like two wistful sisters, with the backing vocals of Carla Ryder highlighting the sadness of failing relationships. Michael’s poignant ‘High Times’ is a conversation between friends about the difficulty of adjusting to life in a new town, featuring a rolling banjo and buoyant harmonies in juxtaposition with the sombre lyrics. The EP closes with ‘Bitter Blue’, a beautiful song about a young man who can’t seem to change no matter how often he fails. A searing fiddle / mandolin theme creates both hope and tension throughout and, eventually, resolution to end the record.
01. Reckoning (2:45)
02. Bronco (3:56)
03. Everything I Can (3:23)
04. High Times (4:39)
05. Bitter Blue (2:48)
words by Chuck Melchin, music by Michael Spaly
words and music by Michael Spaly
‘Bronco’, ‘Everything I Can’ and ‘Bitter Blue’
words and music by Chuck Melchin
Chris Coughlin – backing vocals and keyboards on ‘High Times’
Carla Ryder – backing vocals on ‘Bronco’ and ‘Everything I Can’
Jim Larkin – drums on ‘Everything I Can’
All other instruments by Michael and Chuck
Mixed and mastered by Dave Westner at Side Hill Studio, Plymouth MA
Website: Chuck Melchin