After ‘an eventful year,’ the Port Huron-bred, Detroit-based rock and roots band plays Local Spins’ new Michigan Mondays series in Grand Rapids next week, with new music set for release in 2020.
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For The Gasoline Gypsies, the musical journey is all about their dedicated “vagabundos.”
That’s the term the band lovingly uses to describe its most devoted fans — a troop that helps promote shows, assist with events and even participate in video shoots for the Port Huron-bred, Detroit-based rock and roots outfit.
“The biggest change we’ve had over the years would definitely be the role our fans have come to play in what we do,” said bassist Steve Briere.
“This group of people have helped to promote us, they’ve crowd-funded for us, they’ve helped with events, and have even helped us with decisions about what directions to move in sometimes. This 500-plus group of people have helped to bolster us not only around the state, but around the country as well. They’ve helped to us to gain a lot of momentum over the past couple years.”
After what Briere called a very “eventful year,” The Gasoline Gypsies return to Grand Rapids on Monday to play Local Spins’ second “Michigan Mondays” concert at the new downtown Listening Room. It will be the group’s first all-acoustic show and will include a brief on-stage interview conducted by Local Spins to provide further insights into the band and its music.
Tickets are just $5 and available online here or at the door. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m.
“This show is going to be very different for us,” Briere conceded. “It is the first all-acoustic show I think we’ve ever done as the full Gypsies lineup. We’re a little nervous, but also very excited to be able to share this kind of show at such a cool new venue.”
For The Gasoline Gypsies, it’s just another step in what’s already been an adventurous ride.
WINNING AWARDS, TOURING THE COUNTRY
In 2017, after releasing their sophomore album, “Killin’ Time”), they were named among three finalists for JBL’s 2017 ‘Best American Band’ contest, eventually losing out to their friends in Grand Rapids’ The Crane Wives. The next year, they won two Detroit Music Awards for “Killin’ Time” and were named best original rock band in a Detroit TV station viewers’ poll.
The band – Briere, lead singer and guitarist Caleb Malooley, drummer Joe Makowski and guitarist Neal Love – has since released its third recording, “Vagabundos,” and toured the country, cultivating a growing fan base for their “genre-transcending blue water Michigan rock ‘n’ roll,” as they describe it.
It’s a musical approach epitomized on the band’s official video for “Freaks and Non-Believers” – which features some vagabundos fans as extras – which was released last New Year’s Eve and has garnered more than 22,000 views on YouTube.
VIDEO: The Gasoline Gypsies, “Freaks and Nonbelievers”
“We’re all kind of classic rock junkies, so we pull a lot of influence from that area kind of with our own spin on it obviously,” Malooley said.
Briere noted the band started in Port Huron “as more of a folk, country rock” trio and filled out its sound with help from Love, who’s “really helped us round out our sound. We book ourselves as a rock band, but I think people have trouble placing us. We get described as everything from folk-rock to heavy rock.”
A LISTENING ROOM DEBUT FOLLOWED BY A BUSY 2020
Said Makowski: “I feel we’ve just gotten heavier without losing the folk base of it with harmonies and the soul behind it and the deeper meaning in the songs. You can really see the progression through our three albums.”
The band’s songwriting also has gotten more collaborative in recent years and “fits together really, really well,” noted Malooley.
And The Gasoline Gypsies continue to set their sights on new adventures after a busy 2019.
“We’ve played shows in and out of state, produced our own event, shot a new music video — soon to be released — and recorded new music,” Briere said.
“As of right now, we’re set to release that new music and new video in 2020. We’ve also booking for shows and fests for this summer. We’ll have a couple big ones to announce soon.”
Before that, however, they play that intimate, acoustic Listening Room show for Michigan Mondays — a monthly series that Local Spins created to showcase Michigan bands and solo artists from outside the Grand Rapids area, giving these Great Lakes artists a chance to share their music with a new audience.
The January Michigan Mondays concert will feature celebrated Kalamazoo hip hop cellist Jordan Hamilton, with special guest Samuel Nalangira, a West African musician currently based in Kalamazoo. Tickets for the Jan. 27 show are $5 and available online here.
Check out a review and photos of the first Michigan Mondays concert in November, featuring members of The Accidentals as well as Megan Slankard and Stephie James: Local Spins’ Michigan Mondays launch with packed house; stirring, funny songwriter charm
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