Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Blind Tellers

Locals, we meet again. I hope you all have been jamming out to the bands from the Radar as of late, and judging by the awesome feedback you’ve been sending, you are! My playlist as of late has been so incredibly diverse that, if I lost my iPod, no one would ever be able to trace it back to me. On the contrary, that may be a good thing so they don’t know I’m secretly a ‘90s pop junkie. From indie to rock/metal, there are so many local acts out there with noteworthy new releases. Not a day goes by where I am not trying to sample a new sound, or at least experience what the so-called “music styles” have to offer. The genres that have really been hitting me hard lately are folk and blues. More on the rock side, I find myself getting lost in the movement, yearning for something to grab my attention. The folk/indie movement has been somewhat of a quiet revolution until recently. I hear more and more music that is different and becoming somewhat the “coolest” style around. Well, in this case, it’s a band from Port Monmouth, NJ that goes by the name of The Blind Tellers.

You could easily say that The Blind Tellers are very established here in the New Jersey scene, yet sometimes things can be considered “the best kept secret.” Many members compile this group, all adding many key elements. Part of me thinks that each member of the band has a love for different styles of music and is influenced by artists we would never think of, as I hear so many elements of different styles within. I first saw their name on the lineup for the Jersey Shore Music Festival at FirstEnergy Park along with tons of other locals. This inspired me to do some research, Maria Mar style.

The first track that initially caught my ear was “St. Louis Blues.” I immediately needed to hear more from the group, which led me to their ReverbNation page. Then I started embellishing in the glory that is “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” and it all became official. With tons of sweet melodies and great lyrics, I was a super fan. Of course, like any human would, I started asking some of my friends who are active in the music scene if they have heard of them, all answering with a “hell yes.” The feedback was the same, including that I had to see their dynamic live set. I was also told that their “energy is like no other,” which may be an arguable point, but I look forward to finding out for myself. I can picture a whole lot of hand clapping and feet stomping, hopefully making young ones want to put down their Instagram apps and pick up a flute or guitar. In their most recent bio, the band notes that they are currently working on their debut full-length, which is set for release in December. This seems so far away, though I am sure it will be worth the wait. I have a taste for well-crafted songwriting, so I am sure I will not be disappointed.

While modern music has unfortunately been moving toward a more synthesized, computerized brand of sound, there has been somewhat of an increase in acts that focus on somewhat more traditional “folksy” songwriting. I think this is a great thing because it’s a genre that hasn’t quite had its movement yet. However, it can be very difficult to strictly define folk, for there are many elements within. This also applies to many other genres of music as well. I like to think of it as “spontaneous.” Bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons are having their day, and I am not comparing by any means, but this is a good example. In fact, bands like them were some of the top-selling artists of the past year, so they must be doing something right. Many of these groups still maintain that rock style and infectious energy while still having enjoyable music at the same time. I may have been somewhat suckered into the genre by being told it’s the cool thing these days, but I actually agree. Compared to many bands you hear on active radio, The Blind Tellers stick out. With such a large lineup, it truly makes their sound as full as it could possibly be. I’m not saying it’s something that has never been done before, but it’s definitely worth a listen, even if you are new to the genre.

I think The Blind Tellers are on a path to success, and are making their music not only for the love of it, but for fans to experience a different style. There is something very refreshing about them. Perhaps it’s their intimate and honest sound, or perhaps it’s the fact that they can barely fit on stage, I don’t really know. Their raw sound evokes emotion within me, which at times can be hard to do. For having such an affect after only having access to three of their tracks, I am sure I will be a staple in their fanbase for many more to come. The image they portray is that they purposely set out to make tracks that are enjoyable. There’s nothing complicated about their songs, and half of them sound like they could have been recorded during a live show at a small venue like The Saint or an old Irish tavern. That’s the charm of it though. It’s real and right here at your fingertips, waiting to be discovered. Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to find out more of their history, like where the name came from, how they met, and whether or not they enjoy long walks on the beach.

I will be back next week with some more local bands that are getting my mojo flowing. Who knows what style or sound may take charge? In the meantime, get out to some shows, for you never know which next big thing you are going to encounter at your local club. After all, everyone starts somewhere. Keep your ears and eyes open local family, for we’re on a musical mission. Rock and roll!