Band of the Week: Bowery Boy Blue

Music Features Bowery Boy Blue
Share Tweet Submit Pin

Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Fun Fact: Bowery Boy Blue principal Zeb Gould’s father provided dobro and banjo on the group’s new debut album, Stalk That Myth.

Why It's Worth Watching: Bowery Boy Blue’s first record is full of string-laced Americana that’s as stirringly beautiful as the city and stories that inspired it.

For Fans Of:Magnolia Electric Co., Will Oldham 

It’s nothing new or original to say that New York City is a bustling hotbed of emerging talent. On any given day, the coffee houses, poetry clubs, small-music venues, street corners and subways are alive with aspiring artists peddling their musical wares to anyone within earshot.

Their ultimate goals and intentions vary, though all share a common desire to stand out amongst the crowds and have their music heard. One such act currently circulating the in the Big Apple is Zeb Gould and his band Bowery Boy Blue, who recently stepped out with their debut full-length, Stalk That Myth.

The project initially started out as a solo outfit for Gould, who also makes music as Stereofan with his wife, Megan. “A couple years ago I did an EP under the moniker Bowery Boy Blue and I played some shows around the city with it,” he says of the act’s origins. “[The project] was a little dormant for a while, and then I had this batch of songs last year and I went ahead and booked time at [Steve Albini’s studio] Electrical Audio in Chicago.”

The nine songs that make up Myth resemble Neil Young-style Americana supplemented by layers of strings courtesy of Gould’s wife. Edith Frost’s drummer Jason Toth provided drums for the sessions, and Gould’s longtime cohort from his college days at Indiana University, Sam Crawford, engineered and mixed the set.

Gould says the bulk of material was inspired by the Jean-Paul Sartre play The Flies. “There are some references in the play to the Furies, who are sort of ringing around the protagonist,” he explains, noting that the songs “Come Closer, Sisters” and “Take Heart, Sisters” come from lines in the play. “It’s a real loose association… I don’t think anyone listening to the record needs to know anything about the play to get anything out of it.”

The lyrical association might be loose, but the presence of the Furies is felt with each sting passage that swoops in and out, creating a sense that these songs carry a life of their own beyond the record. So far, Bowery Boy Blue’s music has garnered attention from the likes of Frost and Magnolia Electric Co., and Gould hopes that more will follow suit with the album’s release.

Alongside Gould, multi-instrumentalist Crawford, bassist Michael Trepagnier and drummer Christian Rutledge round out the current incarnation of the band, and a fall tour and follow-up album are both currently in the works.

And the obviously-New-York-inspired name? “I actually worked in New York City on the Bowery,” Gould says, “so I guess it just kind of grew out of that.” Not only on the name, but, like many artists, the city has its influence on Gould’s music, as well. “There’s a certain creative energy that just sort of pulses out of that place,” he says. “It’s hard not to be affected by it.”

Also in Music