The Wiyos: How Can Brand New Be Really Old?

Hmmm. Interesting name… Original and inviting promotional materials, smartly written and amusing descriptions about the band… It worked. Among 50 submissions last week I launched into the “Wiyos.” They were not what I expected. (Of course now I’m wondering what I was expecting…)

The Wiyos are a new band out of New York City specializing in music nearly 100 years old. When’s the last time you heard a group whose expert soloists choose washboard, harmonica, and kazoo? Recently our music has seen its contemporary participants looking back toward an older sound, but not this old.

What’s more, the Wiyos are not a novelty. The songs are well rehearsed, well documented and performed with skill and gusto. Like their traveling vaudeville predecessors, they toured and tightened their act for years before recording everything in one room in one take. In fact, to capture the original sound they even used an old ribbon mike.

You may have read about Fats Waller or the Hoosier Hotshots; now you can see and hear the Wiyos. Joseph Dejarnette, Michael Farkas, and Parrish Ellis have played in country towns, cities, and circuses all over the world. They are fast, funky, and fun. Their songs have been around, but they are just getting started.

They are also a perfect addition to Folk Alley. It’s my aim to spark old memories or to turn your head with something different. Here’s a band that does both. Listen for them in the stream and on Fresh Cuts and let me know what you think.

Jim Blum

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