Members: (L-R) Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky and
Jocie Adams (not pictured, Cyrus Scofield)
Album: Oh My God, Charlie
For Fans Of: Nick Drake, Joe Henry, Gary Jules
Tinker and Evers. Reese and Robinson. Trammel and ?Whitaker. All of baseball’s great double-play duos moved in a way that was almost musical. Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky extended those harmonies from the baseball diamond to an actual band.
hear The Low Anthem’s latest LP, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. “From that first double play," Prystowsky jokes, we knew that it would be magic.”
Chance; likewise, The Low Anthem wasn’t complete until the addition of
fellow Providence resident and classically trained clarinetist Jocie
Adams, who joined the band when their second album, What the Crow Brings, came out last year. The three members combine to play 27 different instruments on Charlie Darwin,
including zither, trumpet, pump organ and a ?Tibetan singing bowl. Each
of them also took turns behind the drum kit before the recent addition
of drummer Cyrus ?Scofield. They even hand-painted the covers of the
album’s first 2,000 copies.
“We spend a lot of time just playing musical chairs with all of our
instruments set up in our apartment,” Miller says, “and just wait until
the frequencies start buzzing and you say, ‘this is the arrangement.’ A
lot of the textures could be played different ways, sometimes even
different genres. We’ll play the same song with a punk feel and then
we’ll play it as a folk ballad.”
Charlie DarwinI’ll Never Be,” a Tom Waits adaptation of a Jack Kerouac poem. They’re
constantly mixing up tempo, volume and instrumentation, but always in
lock-stop harmony, like a beautifully turned double play.