Small Dive Revival

Posted on 09 September 2013 by Dustin Lively


Dustin Lively

UCM Columnist
September 10th 2013

I’m not really sure why songs of heartbreak and deals with the devil are so entertaining, but D’on Darox & The Melody Joy Bakers deliver several tunes that will have your mama crying and praying with her pastor.  With their “Dirty, Gypsy, Blues” style music, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a smokey bar, near a rickety stage surrounded by hotrods, or around a campfire outside your single-wide trailer, The MJB will lift up the fallen and make them dance their asses off.

They officially released their latest album “Tango”, which is their second album after “Agonizing Sad Beauties” from 2012.  With a Spring 2014 tour in the planning process, the independent, DIY, homegrown organic sounds known as The Melody Joy Bakers will be going forth and bringing some off-the-beaten-path music to a venue near you.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign, The MJB are able to go spread the joy, heading up as far north as Seattle, WA, and as far east as New Orleans, with stops along the way in towns where the Kickstarter campaign garnered the most votes.

I first experienced The MJB on board the Queen Mary at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron festival.  They were busking on the landing right outside our hotel room and their old-timey vibe felt right at home in the haunted halls of the long retired sea vessel.  Reminded me a little of the band that played as the Titanic sank into the ocean.  Later that evening inside The Observation Bar aboard ship, right there inside the mix of all the party seekers, all the drunk and happy festival goers, amongst the tables and empty cocktail glasses, D’on and Gilly on the washboard keeping time, had everyone yipping and yelling and left them wanting more.  Rumor has it that performance ended in emergency stitches.

When music invokes the pathos and ethos inside you, it’s not bringing you down, it’s curing you.  It’s soothing your soul, and if musicians are talented enough to bring out that self-loathing (“How do you expect me to give a damn when I can’t even care about myself?”),  bluesy feeling, then they are doing their jobs.  They are doing their jobs well, and they are letting you know that it’s alright.  It’s alright to be alive and alright to hate as well as love.  For The MJB, they translate heartbreak and the thin line between love and hate, “How do you expect me to care about you when I don’t even wish you well?”, as in the song “Careless” from the album “Agonizing Sad Beauties”. 

Busking for The MJB is at times a necessity, but also creates a connection with the audience.  Being on the same level, eye-to-eye so to speak, with performers engulfs ones soul with the music.  It’s not just the sound, the waves of frequencies entering your ears, which you experience as well at a stage show.  But the feeling that you are part of the music, the energy flowing through you, around you, instead of the frontal assault of a plugged in, amp’d-up stage show.  As where the energy is high during a stage show and nearly impossible to keep your feet from tapping, the street performances offers the audience a bit more intimacy, offers an unmasked look into the music.

For their CD release party on August 24, 2013, The MJB performed at Bombay Bar and Grill in Ventura, CA.  As expected, the crowd loved them and the excitement throughout the crowd was invigorating, mixing with the beer, and blending with their sounds to create a night worthy of unleashing “Tango” upon the world.  One of those nights where my feet were tapping to the tunes inside my head for days afterwards, the rhythm reminding me to have my fun, “But save your soul for me.”

Check out D’on Darox & The Melody Joy Bakers (http://www.reverbnation.com/…), pick up their albums, and look for real indigenous American music to be coming to your favorite dive.  So be sure to buy the drummer a beer and pick up some goods from the wares they’re peddling, because like a band of gypsies going town to town, once you become part of their family, you’ll always be Baking the Joy.

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