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MUSIC BOX: Maw Band meets its fate
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – When singer-songwriter Brian Maw decided to stop playing wide receiver for the Idaho State Bengals and put down the football, he picked up a guitar. When a downswing in the economy led to his unemployment as an energy modeler for homes, he decided to not only write more songs and get better at the guitar, but to get out and perform at Wildlife Brewery’s open mic night in Victor. That’s where he eventually met drummer Eli Preston. Now, he hosts the open mic when he is not on the road with The Maw Band.
The current lineup for The Maw Band has been together since February – Maw on vocals/acoustic guitar, Preston on drums, Jaremy Jess on electric bass, and the latest addition, percussionist Abbott Frank. About the same time the group came together, the quartet entered the IE Productions studio in Idaho Falls to cut a five-song EP, Sunshine Screaming.
“Our first gig as a band this year was opening for The Romantics down in Fort Hall Event Center and it just kind of went crazy from there,” Maw explained. “The guys there were all about booking us for the biggest show in Idaho with Micky and the Motorcars and Reckless Kelly, who have really helped us out, too. It’s flooring me what we are doing now.”
The Maw Band’s summer schedule is dense, with 40 dates planned for the northwest region, including the Knitting Factory in Boise this week. Singing emotively over a percussive acoustic guitar, Maw’s music brings to mind Dave Matthews’ darker, later albums with an even harder rock edge, at times. He also gives props to Jack White, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Modest Mouse for inspiration and entertainment. As a writer, Maw may draw from personal experience and living in Teton Valley for nine years, but ultimately, his material is written for the masses.
“I write with emotion based on my experiences, but it’s not geared towards me. It’s for everyone, and I try to focus on what everyone may go through at some point,” Maw said of his lyrical approach. “Not everyone gets to sit down and stare at beauty in every direction when they try to relax, or write a song. I love living here, the people are fantastic and my experiences have definitely contributed to the music.”
Sunshine Screaming, which is in the final stages of mixing and mastering, will be released at the end of June. The tunes range from the Neil Young-inspired “Devil’s Way,” to a heavy, drop-d tuned love song “Ride,” to “Moonbeams and Dust,” written after spending time in a Teton Valley log cabin that had stories written on the inside walls about what you see on the outside.
The band also likes to show its roots by covering a song or two during a set. Some of Maw’s favorites are Men at Work’s “Down Under,” Jack White’s “7 Nation Army,” “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons, and “Stay” by Dave Matthews Band.
To get a sneak peek at the EP, and to check out some of Maw’s other material, surf to ReverbNation.com/BrianMaw.
The Maw Band, 9:30 p.m., Thursday, at Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-3886.