We here at the BGS love the twangy stuff plenty, but American roots music stretches far, far beyond banjos and fiddles. This week's Song of the Week is a part of that stretch, coming from New York-based act Sammy Miller and the Congregation. Their "Mahogany Hall Stomp" is a wonderful new tune that sounds like it came straight out of New Orleans with its hot and fast, classic big band jazz sound.
A saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet flurry among each other over a quick rhythm section and big, round tuba parts. Behind it all, you can hear plenty of hooting and hollering — and you'll want to holler along yourself. Later in the song, ragtime piano riffs yield to a blurry drum solo that gives way to a swinging, trumpet-led reprise. The song never stops moving at full-tilt and, though it sounds like it could fly off the rails at any minute, the tilt-a-whirl feel of the tune is nothing short of delightful.
Though "Mahogany Hall Stomp" sounds like what most people might call jazz, frontman Sammy Miller says the band pulls from a wide range of influences to inform its distinct performance style. "Whether it be Delta blues, Appalachian bluegrass, or New Orleans traditional jazz, we embrace it all. These various influences have helped shape our style of playing: joyful jazz music that feels good."
It may have been inspired by the blues somewhere down the line, but "Mahogany Hall Stomp" is indeed a bright and brilliant tune that will clear away any and all bad vibes. It's loose, celebratory, and mostly just great fun. And we could all use more of that, right?