In a recent piece in the Village Voice, the headline said it all: “Country music grows in Brooklyn.”
With a plethora of homegrown country acts, the “outer-borough country scene is alive,” the article claimed, from Park Slope jams to Red Hook hoedowns.
Need to hear it for yourself? Check out Barbes on June 27, when the Park Slope venue will be home to some of the borough's finest country acts: The Pre-War Ponies, Kings County Queens and C. Gibbs.
Kicking off the night, The Pre-War Ponies specialize in 1920s and 1930s gems and are regulars at Manhattan's scene for country music, Rodeo Bar.
The gang is comprised of Daria Grace on vocals and baritone ukulele, Jon Dryden on piano and Tim Luntzel on bass. Special guests are also promised to join the trio on Barbes' small stage. Some highlights of theirs include “Pettin' In The Park,” “(Give Me The) Moon Over Brooklyn,” “Pardon My Southern Accent” and “The Gentleman Just Wouldn't Say Goodnight.”
Grace keeps her uke in hand when Kings County Queens takes to the stage. A main fixture on the city's country scene with their authentic sound and rich harmonies, KCQ will be comprised of Grace, as well as Chris Bowers on guitar and vocals, Eric Eble on upright bass, Johnny Rock on drums and Elena Belan on piano.
The band got its start playing at the opening day for Coney Island back in 2000 and since then have been regulars at New York City venues, including the now-defunct CBGBs and Williamsburg's Northsix.
“It was a refreshing idea, the idea of going out and playing music and not having to scream over loud guitars,” says Bowers, whose previous venture was the rock band Jerkwater.
In 2002, KCQ band saw the release of their LP “Big Ideas,” and is currently in the process of tracking some songs, which they'll pull from for their upcoming show, as well as new material they've recorded that fans may not have heard before.
“There will be a couple of surprises. I'm not going to show my cards,” says Bowers, a South Williamsburg resident who writes most of the group's material.
Having never played at Barbes before, Bowers is looking forward to including the venue's piano, as opposed to a tinny keyboard, in the group's act – “You can get a real nice acoustic sound” – as well as seeing follower C. Gibbs (nee Christian Gibbs). A Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill-based musician spends most of his time now on stage as the guitarist for the Broadway musical “Passing Strange,” though when he gets out after the shows, he can be found playings gigs late at night around the city as just himself or with his band.
At Barbes, Gibbs performs solo with his guitar and porchboard, with some special guests promised as well, including Grace for her third appearance on the bill. The musician will break out some new songs, as well as old favorites from his past fours albums, the latest being the critically acclaimed “Parade of Small Horses,” as well as material from his other project, Lucinda Black Bear.
“I like being able to perform songs in a different context,” says Gibbs. “New members, less instrumentation – it keeps it fresh.”
While in Lucinda Black Bear, Gibbs plays more moody, folky material, his solo work is more bluesy, rowdy and has more of a country edge to it.
A third project Gibbs is involved in, The Droves, leans more towards rock, reminiscent of the guitarists previous band, The Morning Glories.
While warding off tendonitis from playing in three acts and on Broadway six days a week, Gibbs relishes the freedom to explore various genres.
“I get frustrated having to do one type of music,” says Gibbs, who went the way of D.H. Lawrence and E.L. Doctorow back when he was in The Morning Glories and the first name initial stuck ever since. “Instead of doing one that has one type of music, I'm in three bands that has all those types of music.”
For the musician's rootsy country sound a la Harvest-era Neil Young and Bob Dylan, though, that's when C. Gibbs is on the bill.
“I want to leave the country to C. Gibbs,” says the musician.
The Pre-War Ponies, Kings County Queens and C. Gibbs play Barbes (376 Ninth Street) on June 27 starting at 8 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation. For more information, go to www.barbes