From floor-shaking shows at JJ’s Bohemia to imaginative music videos, popular Chattanooga band Strung Like A Horse goes all in on every endeavor. On Aug. 3 fans can expect the group’s biggest spectacle yet when the band headlines the Nightfall concert series, then leads a parade down Market Street to cap the night with an EP-release show at Rhythm & Brews.
“We’ve got a troupe of belly dancers and people eating fire,” explains lead singer and guitarist Clay Maselle excitedly. “Street performers TomFoolery and MaxZine will be riding six-foot-tall unicycles and juggling knives. We’ve lined up stilt walkers with bullhorns and marching drums. Plus, we bought 200 kazoos to pass out to the crowd. It’s going to be a full blown circus.”
City officials have agreed to close Market Street for the Strut Like A Horse parade and police officers will be directing traffic at the red lights.
Only a year ago, the band was pleased to secure a coveted opening slot on the Nightfall lineup. This year, Strung Like A Horse won the McKay’s Road to Nightfall competition and will headline, with support from Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit. Following Nightfall at Miller Plaza, the parade will march to Rhythm & Brews for the release party featuring guests Another Roadside Attraction.
With influences ranging from blues to bluegrass, it’s hard to pin down the sound that comes together when Maselle takes the stage with banjo player Ben Crawford, bassist BJ Hightower, Mark the Fiddler and percussionist/drummer Sloth.
“Everybody wants to know what kind of music we are playing, and it’s kind of hard to describe, except to say it’s Strung Like A Horse Music. It’s our music,” Maselle muses as he watches the rain from his front porch in North Chattanooga during a recent interview. “Some people have coined it ‘garage grass,’ which fits really well because it is bluegrass instruments, but we’re like a garage band because the sound is a little trashy and dirty. And other people say our music is like metal with bluegrass instrumentation.”
Maselle notes that the new EP’s title track, “Glad,” zooms into metal territory, clocking in at 185 beats per minute. It is Maselle’s favorite track on the project, recorded with producer Charles Allison at Spanner Sound studio. Allison also helmed the group’s full-length debut, Live at Lindsey Street, recorded inside the former church near MLK.
Elsewhere, the new five-song set includes fan favorites “Byrd Dog” and “Gypsy Jane.” The video for “Gypsy Jane” will get a big-screen premiere at the Aug. 3 Rhythm & Brews concert. New York based director Tomas Donoso, who worked on the “Byrd Dog” video, returned to Chattanooga for the 12-day shoot.
“For the ‘Gypsy Jane’ video, we put together a story board, including a twist at the end,” says Maselle. “We used lots of different locations and did the whole thing with one camera and two lights, which is really hard. Lacy Dickerson from Zanzibar studio does belly dancing in the video and plays a heartbreaker who leaves her fiancé to run off with my character. Then her fiancé transforms into a horse-man beast and chases us.”
Enthusiastic fan response inspires the band to keep the new music and videos coming.
“We have the absolute best fans on earth,” continues Maselle, adding that another video will be shot in September. “Our fans always show up, and anytime we want people to interact or be involved they are gung-ho about it. We love it. We’re putting out material as fast as we can make it because everybody has been accepting it so well. It started with the ‘Byrd Dog’ video, which scored 1,000 unique views in the first 24 hours. We were blown away, and from then on the response has been so good that it keeps us going. It keeps me motivated.”