Bands to Watch 2012: The DewDroppers

  • Photos by Jodi Miller
By Columbus Alive
From the January 26, 2012 edition

Pinning down The DewDroppers’ combustible composite of old-timey genres is no simple task, especially as the band’s approach continues to evolve.

“It kind of like took off on its own,” singer-guitarist Joe Gilliland said. “It’s this untamable beast … It definitely gets loud.”

An offshoot from folk-rock combo Trains Across the Sea, The DewDroppers spent the past year and a half perfecting an untamed mishmash of ragtime, swing, blues, country and whatever else they can wrangle. They play music like the Harlem Globetrotters play basketball, conjuring wild and whimsical displays that inspire mad fits of dancing in town and on tour.

The band — also featuring singer-pianist Counterfeit Madison, drummer Adam Nedrow and bassist Michael Kohn — found the perfect venue for their music last summer when they threw a Sadie Hawkins dance at Franklinton warehouse 400 West Rich to celebrate the release of debut EP “No Good.” That sock hop was such a success that Feb. 10 they’re hosting a Sweetheart Dance at the same location featuring special guests Way Yes.

“It’s kind of like everything that your high school dance should have been if you could have really partied,” Gilliland said.

This latest shindig doubles as a release party for The DewDroppers’ second EP, an online-only set recorded by Joe Camerlengo, the wild-eyed frontman for local rockers This Is My Suitcase.

“He’s a mad scientist,” Nedrow said.

Camerlengo’s recordings aimed to capture the breathless spirit of The DewDroppers’ live show, an aspect missing from their first EP. They’re setting up sessions with numerous other idiosyncratic local talents including Swarming Branch’s Andrew Graham and the Tone Shoppe team of Andy Cook and Eric Cronstein.

The idea is to get a feel for their options before launching into the potentially lengthy process of recording a full-length. They hope to track 14 or 15 songs and pull out all the stops — new arrangements, horn sections, the works.

“We don’t really want to hold back with it,” Nedrow said.

Nor do they want fans to hold back at the big dance.

“If you don’t have a date,” Gilliland said, “you should go and find one.”