Winter Park / Live Music: Motorhome and Woodbox Gang ‘the hottest thing around these parts’ |

Winter Park / Live Music: Motorhome and Woodbox Gang ‘the hottest thing around these parts’

by Cyndi McCoy
Winter Park, Colorado

Motorhome and Woodbox Gang fans: “Prepare for a rockin’ good time.”

“Rebel Country” band Motorhome once again pulls into Winter Park with its hard country edge. Meanwhile, The Woodbox Gang, southern Illinois’ “original trashcan Americana band” also returns to perform in the Fraser Valley. Both are excited to play, especially with new local fans in tow.

Matt Thornton and Matt Mahern a.k.a. “P-Mann” (guitars/vocals), Darren Radach (vocals/mandolin (and possibly a new electric mandolin)), Ben Prytherch (bass), and John Motley (drums) are the drivers of Motorhome. While playing 120 shows this year, they have been working on writing new songs and expanding their repertoire. Some songs are political, some about food, and there’s one about death with a side-bar love story, said Thornton, who writes most of the songs with Mahern.

Their sophomore album is set for release early next year.

“We have very high expectations and a feeling they’ll be surpassed,” said Jeff “The Candleman” Schitter, band manager.

Motorhome plays almost all originals in a style similar to musicians like Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen and Johnny Cash, “only with electric guitar and more rock influence,” he said.

“Motorhome is one of the hottest things going on around these parts,” Schitter said. “It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life at the moment, whether things are good or bad, their shows give people a place to get away.”

And on Sunday

The Woodbox Gang of Illinois calls its music “trashcan Americana,” intertwining Americana, bluegrass, Delta blues, outlaw and traditional country, rockabilly and a little punk.

“We don’t fit in anyplace, anytime. We are outsiders. We are trailblazers. And we are pretty much on our own musically,” said Alex Kirt (vocals, dobro, slide guitar, mandolin, banjo, guitar, harmonica, washboard, suitcase kick drum, didgeridoo and kazoo). “We borrow ideas from many, many genres of American music, and we’re raw and aggressive musically, so it’s sort of like we’re a big trashcan full of American music styles, all shook up.”

The band name stems from the early days of Hugh DeNeal, chief lyricist, vocals and acoustic guitar. His dad started calling him and his brother the woodbox gang because they liked to play inside a large wooden firewood box. Like the band name, DeNeal’s lyrics also have a story to tell and are found to be somewhat dark yet humorous.

He, Kirt and members Greg Edwards (bass), and Dan Goett (vocals, banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar and slide guitar) have played music most of their lives. Their music is as diverse as influences like Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Ramones, Pogues, Dead Kennedys, Clash, Muddy Waters, Black Sabbath, and jug and old-timey string bands.

“We are influenced by everything we’ve heard, whether it’s a symphony orchestra or a push rock knockin’ in an old 350 engine,” Kirt said. “Just about anything that makes a sound can be used to enhance the mood of a tune.”

Their material is 100 percent original and their work combines the traditional tools of roots music with “unconventional” instruments like the didgeridoo, sawblade, gutbuckets, crowbars, ashtrays and rusty gasoline cans for a “more desolate, outlaw twist.”

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