The Janglin' Duo have been around about a year, and they're knocking out local dates. There's two this weekend -- at Poorhouse and Propaganda -- and more planned for next month. With their diverse sound, it's easy to see why they're in high demand.
Chuck (Jangle Leg) Callaway is the main voice and songwriter of the two. He played washboard and some guitar and accordion with Everymen for about two years, performed with the Darling Sweets, Askultura, and other area groups for 10, and was a one man band for 6 months before adding banjo player, Felix (El Gato) Maldonado. This is NY-bred Maldonado's his first musical project. Callaway says, "He's always been jumping all over the place in concerts before, but this is the first time he's actually plugged in an instrument and played with a band." But you'd never know it.
The duo is planning a tour with possible North Carolina dates and recording the last track on their eponymous EP called "Paper Airplanes." It even features local Lake Worth rapper Croosh. We spoke with Callaway about the Lake Worth music scene ("the coolest"), the band's sound and beginnings.
New Times: How's the chemistry between you two?
Chuck Callaway: The chemistry is great. He and I really mesh well with each other. I actually met him while I was playing washboard in Everymen. Him and his brother used to come to all of our shows when we'd play down south in the Fort Lauderdale or Miami area. Then he and I became good friends.
When Everymen toured up to New York about in, I believe, the summer of 2011, and Felix and his brother that same week had made a trip up there to visit one of their friends. And while we were loading in for one of our sets with Everymen, we turned the corner we saw Felix and his brother there, and it blew our minds because they were from where we are.
After that, we hung out with them the whole day and Everymen went on to the next show. And I was riding back early, I think three days early to go back home, and I rode back with the Darling Sweets. That night, Felix, myself, a couple of the Darling Sweets, and Felix's brother, we all explored New York from about midnight to 9 a.m., and that's when him and I really started meshing together. I went out with my guitar, and we busked on New York streets, and he brought a banjo along, and we just started playing music a lot more together and eventually forming a group together.
You've been part of this scene in the Lake Worth area. What do you think about the bands there that play a bluegrass-punk-folk style of music?
As far as the scene goes, this is by far the coolest scene I've ever been part of. The love that the people have for the music here, especially, the bluegrass, punky, swampgrass and psychobilly scene that we have, it's the coolest scene I've ever been a part of.
I've been in bands for 10 to 11 years from all over Florida, toured the country a few times, I'm proud of the Lake Worth scene and what we have down here. The bands are awesome. Every show we play, we get to play with either another band we've never heard of, or someone we've heard of but we've been dying to play with. We love what we do, we love who we play with.
A lot of the bands here are a lot more humble than you'd think they are, with how popular they are. Like I said, I was with Everymen for two years, those guys are still some of the most humble guys you'll ever meet. I've been in bands before where once you're around even for a year and you're playing shows every weekend, the attitude within the band just changes so much. And it's not like that around here. Everyone still sees you and they still love you from the first time they saw you to knowing you three years later. They still want to see what you're up to and the fans of Everymen have been really supportive of us and come out to shows.
And how are you guys different?
The thing that makes us different is we don't keep one genre of style. Mostly, if you're a folk band, you play funk music, if you're a punk band, you play punk music. We get up there and our opening song is as bluesy as it gets. And then we jump from that to like a '50s, Chuck Berry kind of rock and roll style music, then we go very folk, and we have a lot of punk influences in our music. The thing that people like about it is each song is different from the last. It's not like you're hearing one continuous sound that lasts our whole set. If you hear something, and you think, "eh, these guys are OK." Listen to two more songs, you're going to hear one that's in your genre and you're going to love it.
Where did you record the EP?
We've recorded it in basements, attics, living rooms, and recording studios here and there. The last song we're recording now we're doing in Absent Art Studios, that's in West Palm and it's a beautiful studio. The guy that's recording us is an old friend Nick Yeste. He's doing a great job, he knows everything there is to know about making you sound good. A lot of it is DIY, we haven't done a lot of studio time. We've done maybe, like I said, one song, and another guy in a makeshift studio in his house, so it's still in a living room.
I should also name the people who helped record our other songs or at least their studios. One of which is a very, very old friend of mine name Vince Peters at "Leafless Studios." He recorded two of the six songs on our EP.
When you guys go out into the world with these bands, where do you find the most fans of the genre?
Michigan and Tennessee have been the coolest places I've toured. And Portland, OR. Portland changed my life. I went there back in 2009 with another band, and being there with that band, I was actually in a different band with Nick Yeste, and it was like a dancecore kind of music. We went out there and found a whole new world of music.
We were there about a month recording an album in a very nice studio and I played bass for the band. And as soon as my bass tracks were done, I slept on the streets of Portland and just absorbed all that was there. People were busking, there was so much folk music there, it inspired me to do a different kind of music that I never had before. When I came home to Lake Worth, maybe six months later, I found myself at my first Everymen show. After that, it all kind of started falling in place there.
The Janglin' Duo, with Sinners & Saints, March 28 at Poorhouse, 110 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale, March 29, with Sinners & Saints, Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy at Propaganda, 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. Entrance is $5. Visit Speakeasy on Facebook. They'll be playing again April 5 at Inkwell Pub, 238 Florida 7, Margate, and April 26 with Birthday Candles at Dada, 52 N Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.