The use of the accordion as a primary instrument in a band these days is truly a rarity. Sometimes you’ll hear a band using it to add a significant dimension to a song, but the accordion’s place in modern music is an odd one. You can count the bands that use it on a regular basis on one hand — and locally in Rhode Island, the are only a couple. Straight out of Newport, however, there’s a folk duo forming a rhythmic sound that stands apart from their contemporaries.
Warbler Roost consists of Bessie Bee on accordion and Greg Burgess on guitar, both accomplished musicians in their own right. Bee made a name for herself from her time fronting the shanty rock act Castle and collaborating with Haunt The House’s Will Houlihan. Burgess has built up a reputation as one of the best guitarists in The Ocean State from ripping it up with The Amazing Royal Crowns, The Throttles, Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons and currently with The Z-Boys. Together these two join their energetic talents together to make music that touches on the shanty, gypsy and jazz styles. They show it perfectly with their debut EP Sancta Malleo. Preview it below via their Bandcamp in our latest Vanyaland premiere.
“Corners” has a certain elegance about it that exudes a waltzing structure, Bee’s accordion is hugely present while Burgess’ strumming smoothes the song out in the background. “I Get Excited” resonates an infectious amount of pizzaz with the chorus crooned by Burgess bound to stick in your head, before you know it you’ll be singing along. The rhythmic tightness going on between Bee and Burgess in the bluesy ballad “All Is Lost” shows immaculate syncopation that’s incredibly impressive. These are only a few tracks off of the new EP, but it’s well worth a listen all the way through.
Warbler Roost will be celebrating the release of Sancta Malleo at a house show in Newport tomorrow night, (Friday, January 29) with Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter Ian Fitzgerald and Aquidneck Island’s very own Bob Kendall for what should be an intimate and wonderful experience. Ahead of the show, give the new EP a listen below: