Pioneers of the old-time Americana resurgence The Wiyos are bringing their unique musical blend to Stornoway next week.
Playing together now for over a decade, the three-piece have toured their folk/swing/blues concoction through Europe and the US, and stop off in an Lanntair on November 12th on their UK tour.
This will be the Wiyos second trip to Stornoway. Bassist Seth Travins said: “Scotland is a must visit destination for the Wiyos!
“We are big fans of ferry rides, Harris Tweed and Black Pudding. We had a great reception the first time that we came to Stornoway. I am always impressed at how much Scottish Islanders appreciate 20th century American popular music, and often know all the words to songs.
“I have relatives in Stornoway through marriage and they know every lyric to every Kris Kristoferson song.”
The Wiyos, from Brooklyn, New York, take their name from notorious gang the Whyos who roamed New York in the 1890s.
In addition to Seth, the band is made complete by Michael Farkas and Teddy Weber, all of them being self-taught musicians with undeniable technical proficiency. Seth continued: “Michael has been playing Harmonica since he was given one from his Uncle Herschel when he was still a toddler.
“Ted was given a trumpet that was his grandfather’s when he was a middle school student. He later picked up and mastered the Steel Guitar and Spanish Guitar.”
Seth has been playing the Upright bass since 1997, prior to which he played the guitar and harmonica.
The band have been said to play Old Time Country, Appalachian Jugband, Old-Timey American, Vaudevillian Ragtime Blues, Early Swing, and just about everything in between. They showcase the crafts of 1920s and 30s musical entertainment with a modern twist that has attracted fans of all ages.
Seth said: “There has been a huge change in young people’s interest in old American Folk, Swing, and Blues. There are many reasons why young people are enjoying and playing this old music. Part of it is accessibility; the internet allows for kids to find and listen to a large percentage of every record ever recorded. It took much more searching for records in the 1980’s (when I was discovering older American Music) to find, for example, a washboard tune from the thirties. Even instrument companies are making great archtop and parlor guitars, old time style banjos of pretty great quality for reasonable prices. This was not the case in the 1980s.”
The shows also come with a splash of theatricality and a comedic turn, sticking to the old American storytelling song culture.
Seth continued: “Storytelling in songs is as old as Homer if not older. American folk songs which tell a story are very related to older Scottish songs and poems. People love stories and music often enhances these stories. With a memorable tune stories are better remembered.”
So what can be expected from the show in an Lanntair? Seth said: “You can expect a high energy show with fantastic vocal harmonies, lots of humour, and even a song that is an advert for sauerkraut.”
And with the UK tour came speculation of a new album. Seth continued: “A new album, alas just a rumour.”
The Wiyos play an Lanntair on Wednesday, November 12th, at 8pm. For information visit http://www.lanntair.com/
The Wiyos are Michael Farkas, Teddy Webber and Seth Travins.