I don’t know how many of you listened to my occasional bits Bethan Elfyn’s Amazing Radio show last year, but those of you who did may recall the one and only time I featured two tracks by the same band, The Happy Maladies. Now, I’ve featured the Happy Maladies here before, several years ago, after seeing them at a house show here in Columbus. The band reinvented themselves since then, the lineup has changed, and they’ve re-emerged with all new material that focuses much more on jazz harmonies and contemporary chamber music through a filter of traditionally folk instruments.
I know that sounds like a far cry from the progressive bluegrass description I saddled them with way back in the early days. And, to an extent, it is. But you can’t pin these guys down and hold them to one genre. They’re in a constant state of evolution (like all the great bands are) and are some of the most adventurous musicians I know. To that end, they have launched a call for compositions under the moniker Must Love Cats.
To put it simply, the band are looking for composers to write something for them. In the end, five compositions will be selected to be recorded, receive their premiere in Cincinnati, and then toured. (And, yes, the winning composers will receive a share of the profits.) Further details (including instrumentation options) can be found on the Happy Maladies’ website, but I will say, it looks like a very exciting competition. It’s too bad I was never much of a composer, because, I’ll tell you, these guys can read! And they want to be challenged. And what composer doesn’t love that in a musician? If you’re a composer and you’ve ever wanted to try some crazy stuff with folk instruments, this is a golden opportunity. The deadline is January 1, 2014.
So, while I may not be a composer, you can bet I’ll be at the premiere next spring.
Here’s the band to tell you more.
P.S. Let me know if any of you guys enter.