The Looneys are a super band of Minnesota musicians know for honky-tonk, county, jazz, Americana. They play separately and together in various other bands; The Looneys are the pandemic arrangement of James Gould, Chris Holm, Ben Miller, Jay Scabich, and Mark Larson.
They have recorded and released two songs – one by John Prine and a newer song, Days Crawl By, which as the name might imply is inspired by the pandemic. The song starts with a train beat. It’s delightfully peppy and country and features Jillian Rae. They have several more songs on deck in various states of completion. I’m looking forward to more because I was intrigued by their process.
They collaborate one at a time. One person starts a song and hands it off to the next randomly-selected person. He does his part and passes it on in the same way. There are few rules. You can engage as you choose – with any instrument, production or lyrics. The only rules boil down to accepting and do not leading the engagement of your bandmates. A song rotates through the band twice and then they check in to see if it’s done.
It’s been an opportunity to try new things. They’ve dusted off unused instruments, they’ve investigated new uses of tried and true instruments and everyone has been amping up their home studios. It’s been an opportunity to try to make your band mates laugh. And it’s been an opportunity to take songs to new places. It is a pandemic silver lining and an approach to song writing that they plan to continue moving forward – even after the world opens up.
We did notice some common themes – whiskey and more whiskey. It was fun to hear about how they work and clear to see the high level of trust they share. The proof of the process is in the music!