The Betweeners - Matador Karma
The Betweeners are aptly named, describing themselves as “blues, bluegrass … and everything in between.” The indie trio’s first CD, Matador Karma, creates a rootsy blend, infusing bluegrass and blues with folk and straight-up country. The result is a hum-worthy Americana mix that's been likened to the Flatlanders and The Band.
The first two songs “No New Tales” and “360 Degrees” immediately induce toe-tapping as the Kentucky musicians combine swing and soul with plenty of pickin’. Frontman Stephen Couch’s classic-country baritone has a warm, thick resonance, and the melodies he sings rise smoothly to the top like cream in a butter churn. But rural stereotypes be damned—this band isn’t just comprised of tea-sipping crooners ‘down in the holler.’
The Betweeners take old forms and tackle the issues—everything from the Grateful Dead to environmentalism and religion. They keep things surprisingly light, delivering solid punch lines and clever word play. In “Beanstalk in My Bed,” the band recalls a Deadhead’s wild past using nursery rhymes, singing, “was it the parties or the stories / that destroyed my mind / they both had a lot of lines.”
The group calls attention to athletic teams’ exploitation of Native Americans in “Chief Seattle’s Blues,” noting, “It’s the land of the free, where the mascots can be red in the home of the blues.” The Betweeners’ lyrics—while playful at times—have depth and, like the band’s sound, are layered and satisfying.
If you’re looking for progressive subject matter from traditional musical genres, your craving will be satisfied somewhere amidst Matador Karma's 13 tracks. The Betweeners would fit right in at a local bluegrass festival or even at other festivals… where grass of another sort is preferred.
To purchase a copy of Matador Karma, visit The Betweeners' website.