Willie Sugarcapps with Brigitte DeMeyer

Friday • Southgate House Revival

Feb 19, 2014 at 10:01 am
click to enlarge Willie Sugarcapps
Willie Sugarcapps

For the past couple of years, the Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, Ala., has hosted a musical genre stew dubbed The Frog Pond, a house concert comprised of whoever happens to be in the house at any given moment. Luminaries like Mary Gauthier, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Malcolm Holcombe and Randall Bramblett have all dropped in, but a group of Frog Pond regulars — acclaimed singer/songwriters Will Kimbrough and Grayson Capps, journeyman guitarist Corky Hughes and husband-and-wife folk duo Anthony Crawford and Savanna Lee (aka Sugarcane Jane) — felt a particular creative kinship at their very first impromptu gig, which morphed into a separate collaboration and eventually an actual band, their moniker Frankensteined from the names of the participants.

Recorded on a porch and produced by the band along with Grammy winner Trina Shoemaker, Willie Sugarcapps’ eponymous 2013 debut sounds every bit as natural and unforced as its origin. Given their ramshackle evolution and individual schedules, the band eschewed collaborative songwriting in favor of each member bringing songs to the session. The group’s identity is largely defined by the efforts of Kimbrough (five songs, two being outside co-writes), Capps (three songs) and Crawford (two songs), but the magic of the aggregation is in the seamless way that all five members complement and inspire each other in a truly organic manner.

Kimbrough’s “Gypsy Train” and “Trouble,” Capps’ “Poison” and Crawford’s “Energy” all stand as highlights, but Willie Sugarcapps is an album packed to the rafters with scuffed brilliance, a result made all the more surprising by the fact that the band’s songs weren’t tempered in the grueling forge of constant rehearsal and relentless touring but by casual jamming and an almost supernatural level of musical chemistry.

Against all odds, the members have cleared their frenetic schedules and booked a fairly extensive tour — the Southgate House Revival date is their northernmost and only area appearance — so don’t miss a rare opportunity to witness the organic goodness and realer-than-reality essence of Willie Sugarcapps.

WILLIE SUGARCAPPS performs Friday, Feb. 21 at Southgate House Revival. Click here for show details .