The CharFlies
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The CharFlies

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Folk




"Americana: Meet the 2015 RFT Music Award Nominees"

The 2015 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is set to be the biggest local music festival in St. Louis history. On June 20, nearly 100 local bands will play across ten venues in the Grove Neighborhood, including just about every genre possible, sans polka. From now until the showcase, we will supply you with the lowdown on every act nominated for an RFT Music Award, so you can be in the know with regards to your vote. Read on and get familiar with your local scene. And don't forget to mark your calendar for June 20! ... - Riverfront Times: June 3, 2015

"KDHX Local Artist Spotlight: The CharFlies"

This “Local Artist Spotlight” radio interview with Richard Newman and Shanie Latham was recorded and produced by Nathaniel Farrell for 88.1 KDHX in St. Louis. It ran on air multiple times throughout June 2015. - 88.1 KDHX: June 2015

"CharFlies, Linoleum Angel (CD mini-review)"

‘Harmony-based Appalachian bluegrass folk-pop’ group with an appealing, multi-layered sound and some intelligent, witty lyricism. Faint echoes of ‘Imagine’ and ‘James Bond Theme’ among the chord changes merely disclose an admirable allegiance to classic melodic forms. - fRoots Magazine: Issue 382, April 2015

"CharFlies (with the Defeated County and Cree Rider Family Band) get buzzy at Off Broadway, Friday, February 6"

CharFlies opened up to a large, enthusiastic crowd at Off Broadway, in celebration of the release of their new album, "Linoleum Angel."

This is the band's first, official full-length, after their previous seven-song EP "Blowfish Rodeo." The new album takes a similar inspiration shape as the first -- a fun blend of americana and folk rhythms. The band has been busy putting more shows together and is hoping to appear at SXSW this year. Spearheaded by long-time River Styx editor Richard Newman on guitar and vocals, the band is self-described as "junk-folk" and is a rousing good time on stage.

You might have expected the crowd to be thinned-out due to the wildly popular bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles playing the Pageant. But the classic venue was packed to the brim with friends, family and adoring fans.

Fellow local acts the Defeated County and Cree Rider Family Band bookended the show, both taking turns showing massive love and support for CharFlies. Fronted by vocalist and acoustic songwriter Langen Neubacher, the quartet performed slowed-down, acoustic pleas of the heart. Keyboardist Irene Allen played lackadaisically, sipping from an iced drink while plucking out lines from her Casio, while Glenn Burleigh drew bends and twangs from his pedal-steel guitar. Most of the crowd stayed to see Cree Rider Family Band end the show with their straight-ahead alt-country rock. With Cree Rider himself leading on rhythm Telecaster and his wife doing the lion's share of the singing, their show was a great way to end an impressive collection of St. Louis americana talent.

Richard Newman and company took the stage in the middle slot, with Newman donning his trademark fedora and plaid shirt and boots. He kicked off the set with "Another Angel," a spirited acoustic romp, followed by fan-favorite, "My Baby Cries When I Don't Come Home," a darkly-tinged sing-along set in a minor key. Back-up vocalist Shanie Latham sang perpetual harmony and dabbled in the musical toys the band is fond of, including banging a cast-iron pan with a wooden spoon and hitting single notes from a toy piano.

Multi-instrumentalist Nick Nihira played banjo for most of the set, switching to guitar to play and sing lead on the Cash-inspired "Mary." Most of his performance brought new colors and textures to the band's live performance, helping the group stand apart from the rest of the evening's acts. Upright bassist Dave Melson picked his lines and stomped his feet, even adding backup vocals to songs like "Whip-Poor-Will Holler." In "Song for the Dead of Winter," one of the album's best tracks, the band seemed to have some trouble getting the sound together at first, but quickly got it under control.

The stage was packed full, almost as much as the floor at Off Broadway, and throughout the set, the group shared the stage with other musician friends to help out on some signature tracks, including pedal-steel guitarist Scott Swartz from Prairie Rehab, even bringing-up a baritone sax player for "Trickle of Blood." You can tell the group has the most fun playing one of their most intriguing songs, "Five Bags of Poison," a little tongue-in-cheek ditty about chemotherapy. This song, among others, showcases Newman's lyrical strengths fueled by his poetic skills as an editor and writer.

The band played through every song from the new album and ended its set with an older tune, "Love Songs, Road Songs, Etc.," that CharFlies "only play for fun." They invited all of the guest musicians of the evening back on stage to help them finish things off. Newman joked, "We are now nine-fifths of Charflies." But it wasn't enough to satiate the crowd, as they cried out for an encore. Looks like CharFlies know how to keep fans wanting more. - February 7, 2015

"The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: February 6 to 8 (2015)"


CharFlies Album Release Show
w/ Cree Rider Family Band, the Defeated County
Friday, February 6
Off Broadway
8 p.m. | $8
Be sure to check out our review of the CharFlies' new album, wherein RFT Music writer Christian Schaffer says, "The band playfully calls its music 'junk-folk,' and while there are some loose moments and purposefully rudimentary percussion, the instrumentalists craft more than passable strains of bluegrass and folk." (DH)

Foam Benefit Show
w/ Golden Curls, Whiskey Ginger, John Krane, Eric Hall, Hands and Feet, The Fog Lights, Zak M, Kid Scientist
Friday, February 6
Foam Coffee & Beer
5 p.m. | $5
Local musician Mic Boshans never dreamed of owning a coffee shop, much less a music venue. But when Foam's former owner Mike Glodeck decided to close up shop Boshans swooped in to save the burgeoning venue. In only two months, Foam has become one of the busiest bars on Cherokee Street, hosting comedy nights, open-mics and, most frequently, live music. When the spot's P.A. was swiped last month, the music scene responded in kind by pulling together a quick benefit show to not only replace the stolen gear, but to supply the stage with an even better sound system than before. The line-up ranges from ambient acts like Eric Hall and Golden Curls to the colorful indie rock of Kid Scientist. Of special note on this show is Hands and Feet, a veritable one man band who just released one of our favorite records in recent memory. (JH)

Leo Kottke
Friday, February 6
The Sheldon
8 p.m. | $40/$45
The world's greatest living partially deaf guitarist, Leo Kottke, hears what he needs to hear and plays what he needs to play. His second album, simply called 6- and 12-String Guitar, was released in 1969 and recorded in less than four hours. The album changed guitar playing forever. (RK)

Rusted Skin Reunion Show
w/ Sine Nomine, As Earth Shatters, Wings of the Morning
Friday, February 6
The Firebird
7:30 p.m. | $8-$10
Prog-metal tends to be a sub-class of sound reserved for the snootiest sect of metal fans, but Rusted Skin pushes pretense aside for its own primal style. Sure, the band brings more riffs in a single song than most bands do through entire albums, but every note counts. Sine Nomine, on the other hand, takes on metalcore with a fearless use of sparse and minimal riffs. The band makes use of contrast to stark effect, crafting a dark but deeply heavy set of songs. This night is your last chance to see either band -- a bittersweet footnote to an otherwise stellar show. (JH)

Trampled By Turtles
w/ Charlie Parr and the Lowest Pair
Friday, February 6
The Pageant
8 p.m. | $20-$25
Trampled by Turtles harkens back to a time where traveling troupes plucked strings with some air of mystery -- musical gypsies that planted the roots of true Americana across the country. Now over than a decade old, Trampled by Turtles just hit its stride with last year's Wild Animals, a record that pays respect to tradition but is never held back by it. (JH)


w/ Call of the Void, Everything Went Black, Path of Might
Saturday, February 7
The Demo
8:30 p.m. | $10-$13
It would be a huge mistake to write off Enabler as "that band that the drummer of Fall Out Boy was in a while ago." One, because you aren't going to find a more proficient hybrid of Converge and Tragedy in the Midwest, and two, because Andy Hurley hasn't been involved with the band for a long time. Yes, two or three years is an eternity in band/tour years. (JE)

Jim Lauderdale
Saturday, February 7
Off Broadway
8 p.m. | $20/$25
As often happens in Music City, USA, you can be Nashville-famous but a relative unknown outside of the 615 area code. Singer and songwriter Jim Lauderdale has been a revered talent among country music fans throughout much of his 30-year career, working with country, bluegrass and rock & roll circles but retaining his dignified, twangy charms regardless of the medium. (CS)

Zak Marmalefsky Tape Release Show
w/ Jack Toft, Little Cake, Demonlover
Saturday, February 7
9:30 p.m. | free
The music of Zak Marmalefsky is simultaneously of this age and not of this world. With a finger-plucked guitar and a clutch of heartbroken but witty songs, Marmalefsky conjures Depression-era street corners and speakeasys, where his rich, sincere baritone crooning might have once made him king of the minstrels for a day. For now, he'll settle for an air of folk-troubadour mystery. Following in the footsteps of Leadbelly and Dave Van Ronk isn't for the faint of skill or heart; Marmalefsky has both. His music - sometimes poignant, sometimes off-color, often both at the same time - is never a throwback put-on. (RK)


Blues Traveler
Sunday, February 8
Soulard Neighborhood
2 p.m. | free
Before you try to argue with me that Blues Traveler is some kind of novelty or flash-in-the-pan, consider this: John Hopper is a harmonica virtuoso -- the Hendrix of the instrument, if you will. Harmonica manufacturer Hohner even has listed him as a "featured artist" -- a distinction reserved only for the finest. And remember that song "Hook"? That song trolled you so hard and so brilliantly, you didn't even know you were being trolled. If that's not enough, remember that time he modified his truck so that he could carry shitloads and shitloads of guns in its secret compartments? Show some respect, or it's YOUR ass. (DH)

Riff Raff
Sunday, February 8
The Ready Room
8 p.m. | $25-$30
After a short stint on Soulja Boy's label SODMG, Riff Raff signed a ridiculous eight-album deal with Diplo's Mad Decent label in 2012, releasing Neon Icon in 2014. Riff Raff is largely recognized for his crazy facial hair, outlandish style and colorful braids --a luminous, shining hip-hop icon, indeed. (TM) - Riverfront Times: February 6, 2015

"The CharFlies to Release Linoleum Angel This Friday at Off Broadway"

It took about fifteen years and a few hard knocks to get Richard Newman back to writing and performing original music.

Newman played in local acts Junkbox and the Neverminds a few musical generations ago, but since then other endeavors -- such as writing poetry and editing the literary magazine River Styx -- took over his interests. But a self-described midlife crisis and his second divorce managed to reawaken his inner songwriter, and with his group the CharFlies, Newman has paired his evocative and thoughtfully rendered songs with hand-hewn, soulful folk music.

The band playfully calls its music "junk-folk," and while there are some loose moments and purposefully rudimentary percussion, the instrumentalists craft more than passable strains of bluegrass and folk. Newman is a fair strummer and is well-versed in the patterns of Americana songcraft, but it's Nick Nihira's work on banjo and mandolin that gives color to these tracks. (He also designed the woodsy, earth-toned album art and takes the lead on the dark-tinted song "Mary.") Shanie Latham's harmony vocals are a crucial element to the band's sound, though when paired with Newman's high tenor, some of the harmonies are less than distinct. Latham's voice sounds almost trepidatious on opening track "Whip-Poor-Will Holler" (one of a few songs here that's a little too by-the-numbers with its rural, rusticated signifiers), but he shows control and range on the gently loping "Place in My Heart" and elsewhere on the disc.

Given his background in poetry, it's hardly surprising that Newman's lyrics are thoughtfully wrought -- though his words are always in service of the songs, and not vice-versa. He can write clever and layered blues songs, such as the Waits-ian "My Baby Cries When I Don't Come Home" and the genuinely funny "Five Bags of Poison," a rootin', tootin' ode to chemotherapy -- though some of those moments sound a little too much like artifice. His words are better when they sneak up on you, and Linoleum Angel is flecked with lines that ring with truth while they show the writer's scalpel-like precision.

"Song for the Dead of Winter" sounds like the title of a Gordon Lightfoot tune -- the music isn't too far off either -- but certain lyrics stand at attention: "Let me muddy the earth with blood from my veins and christen the dirt with spilled wine," Newman sings. In another context that could be some fin de siècle suicide note or a metalhead's creed, but amid cheery and strummy folk music it illuminates Newman's eye for detail and skill at turning a phrase.

Listen to the song "River Will Dream" off of the new album below: - Riverfront Times: February 5, 2015

"CharFlies And Guerrilla Swing Preview"

In an interview with Nick Garcia of 'Arch City Radio Hour,' the CharFlies discuss their origins and name, why they characterize their style as 'junk-folk,' the St. Louis music scene, and the fact that Richard's lyrics don't make Shanie throw up. The broadcast also includes an in-studio performance of five songs. - Arch City Radio Hour: January 6, 2014

"CHARFLIES: Appalachian bluegrass folk ... and some other stuff"

... Those who complain about a shortage of new or original music may want to check out the CharFlies for a pleasant surprise. - West End Word: December 4, 2013


Still working on that hot first release.



It took a bonfire, booze, a second divorce, and the perfect harmony partner to pull Richard Newman from his long hiatus, a fifteen-year musical funk. The poet, playwright, and editor of River Styx magazine had barely picked up his guitar in the years since his bands Junkbox and The Neverminds were staples of the St. Louis music scene. But one night while drinking by a firepit, he and his pal Shanie Latham started singing George Jones, Beatles, and Jimmy Dale Gilmore songs. Their sound triggered an avalanche of dormant songwriting.

A few months later, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Nick Nihira joined them on bass, banjo, and vocals, creating a harmony-based Appalachian bluegrass folk-pop. Initially the trio christened themselves The Jarflies, but the night before their first show, Nick’s house burned to the ground, all his instruments, artwork, and worldly possessions gone to ash and smoke. Thereafter they became The CharFlies. Richard phoned his former Junkbox bandmate Dave Melson, of Melody Den and numerous other bands throughout the years, and Dave joined them on upright bass. The foursome released an EP, Blowfish Rodeo, in July 2013. Percussionist Steve Meyers, formerly of Psychedelic Barnyard with Nick, joined the band in 2014 during production of their first full-length CD and newest release, Linoleum Angel.

Divorces, fires, breakups, surgeries, and highway accidents haven’t
deterred this unlikely band of musicians. They use their humor and misfortunes to cobble together what they call junk-folk—their own brand of Americana that draws on bluegrass, gospel, psychedelic pop, avant garde, country, and blues and keeps evolving. Any given song from Linoleum Angel or their live set could include mandolin, accordion, banjo, slide guitar, washboard, kick-drum, melodica, toy piano, harmonica, fiddle, campfire pots, and three-, four-, and five-part harmony. Psychedelic bluegrass? Hobopop? Junk-folk? Whatever you call it, three years, fifty songs, and a new album after that fateful night by the firepit, The CharFlies keep evolving and growing and singing the joys and sorrows of the world.

Band Members