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Strung Like a Horse


February 09, 2016

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    Strung Like a Horse has the kind of name that makes you do a double-take to catch the wordplay, and the genre-juggling label they have given themselves gives you a similar pause. According to lead vocalist Clay Maselle, the band’s sound is best described as “gypsy punk garage grass.”
    “As far as instruments go, it’s clearly a bluegrass instrumentation, except for adding a drum kit,” Maselle explained, adding, “It’s got an edgier (feel) to it, and sort of an outlaw feel that definitely leans more toward punk,” with a “gypsy swing style” weaving in and out. With an acoustic guitar, mandolin, upright bass, fiddle and various light percussion, Maselle said the band’s sound has evolved into “exactly what we wanted, which was nothing traditional anymore.”
    You can say that again.
    A band has to have a kind of brazenness to pull off a sly pun like Strung Like a Horse, and the Chattanooga-based ensemble has no shortage of bravado to match their music. There is a certain jubilance and devil-may-care delight in their unusual sound, such as in the song “Free” off their recently released album of the same name.
    But that lightheartedness is balanced on other tracks with an eerie undercurrent. That element is a deliberate addition by “Spooky” Fiddler, the stage name of the band’s violinist, whose bandmates gave him the name because of his downright creepy style.
    “He does a lot of strange, crazy stuff, and it’s really spooky,” Maselle said. “A lot of our music is dark, and in minor key, and lends itself to a dark, spooky sound. He’s pretty amazing at making all that come together. ... (but) he is kind of a ghostly character, for sure. Especially when you’re loading equipment in and out (of the tour van), and he disappears completely!”
    In the midst of touring throughout the Southeast and as far west as Colorado, SLaH (as they sometimes call themselves) is in the midst of building songs for a new album. But despite their creative efforts off the stage, they pour themselves into their live shows. 
    “It’s super high energy, lots of crowd involvement," Maselle said. "It’s a fun show. I enjoy it, and I do it over and over again.”
    Catch Strung Like a Horse at Gnat's Landing on Thursday, Feb. 18.

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