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Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.17.07

You're Always Welcome in Ragland

Trio's CD release a mystery

BY AMANDA BURHOP

My first experience with the Inkwell Rhythm Makers was during last year's holiday season. Despite my dislike of crowded spaces, Christmas music and all things "merry and bright," I summoned the courage to attend the Holiday Market at the Fairgrounds with the hopes of finding my beloved mother a present (soaps and bath salts, in case you're wondering).

Inkwell Rhythm Makers, Walker T. Ryan, Conjugal Visitors. 9 pm Saturday, May 19. WOW Hall, $6 adv., $7 door.

I was nervous about going. I didn't know what lay beyond those slick glass doors. But instead of tie-dyed Santa hats and aprons, I found a huddle of Eugeneans sitting on the floor, fixated on three men — and some random saxophone player who unfortunately wanted to jam with them — playing the washboard bass, resophonic guitar and banjo. A lovely, upbeat tempo filled the space. Children and adults stood to dance with the rhythm. But it was the grizzly vocals that captured my attention. The singer brought emotion to each line, even each word: "Oh, these blues, they got a grip just like a man." I instantly snagged their first album, En' Rag-O-Phonic.

Kit "Stymee" Stovepipe and Washrag Joe have been playing music for many years now. In the summer of 2004, the two met a "mysterious hobo fiddler" who introduced them to some people who then introduced them to the Sourmash Hug Band. From there, it gets even more complicated. The now trio, with the addition of Will Shady on washboard, is a beloved Eugene staple about to release a second album. But according to the WOW Hall Notes, the boys won't reveal any information about it.

So now I have to be critical. We have few guidelines here at the EW about music coverage. Just a couple of simple suggestions for getting music love: Supply bios, pictures and, most importantly, your music, especially when you have a CD release. Then we can write about you.

Dear Rhythm Makers, please don't take this the wrong way. I love your music. I just wish I had something to say about the new stuff. Some mystery is fine, but all mystery and no substance makes a concert preview a dull read.