Have you had one of those moments where you know nothing about a musician or a band but catch their name? This just happened to me with The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show, who nearly have as many members as the Wu-Tang Clan.
The Medicine Show is formed of eight musicians from Witchampton, Dorset who make music to the words of local poet James Lynch. Today we’ve been given their latest EP A Snakes A Snake three tracks of variable foot-stomping bluegrass sounds.
Starting with banjos, guitars and violins for EP namesake “A Snakes A Snake” has a sound suited for the TV show Outsiders with foot tapping, hand clapping and Mark Lyons’ vocals aren’t of an Americana or folk twang, he gives it a summery vibe, concocting a mixture of two forms of music. This takes a few listens to encapsulate what The Medicine Show are doing with their crossover.
“Sick and Tired” is softer, with a gentle acoustic sound. Alison Jay’s vocals are melancholic about the end of a relationship. Alison holds a wonderful note with these deep lyrics. The image is of one where the vocalist sits on a high stool in the corner of a cramped country pub, grabbing the attendees with her voice as a guitar is gently strummed and a whisper is heard that stops the darts in mid-air.
“Flood” finishes the three track EP, and is heavier than the predecessors. It’s not heavy like metal, but the instruments are louder without outdoing each other. Each has a voice of how this song continues and they easily complement each other. Mark Lyons’ vocals are of a folk-rock aggression, and the lyrics “After the rain” should get the crowd singing back to the eight of them.
If you like The Felice Brothers, Dylan and Lou Reed then The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show are a band you should keep an ear out for.
A Snake’s A Snake is out now via Music Beat Records.