Player of Stringy Things
(If you are here about the kids’ music, click on “DELTASILLY” above (or right over there <–) !!! Or read the below first — it’s your choice!)
I am Jeremy Lyons, player of many stringy-things — resonator guitars, acoustic and electric guitars and a bunch of guitar-ish instruments: ukulele; six-string banjo; five-string banjo (mostly at home); two-string slide bass (a la Mark Sandman); four-string bass (rather feebly); banjo-ukulele; eight-string electric bouzouki; diddley-bows of various string numbers. And Jew’s harp. (It’s a show-stopper — trust me.)
Oh, and I sing, too.
I like singing. In fact, to begin with I mostly played the stringy things so I could sing, because I’m miserable on piano. I started getting better with the strings because I found that I could not sing all day long, six days a week without losing my voice. (I think I’m getting a bit better at the singing thing, too.)
This “official” website rather clumsily touches on all facets of what I have previously called “my career,” a pretty clumsy affair in and of itself. Up until now (and since deltabilly.com was launched, maybe in 1999?) I’ve tried to use this domain as a false face. To the world, deltabilly.com and Five Eighths Music should appear to keep a busy cadre of interns, managers, booking agents, and publicists. We had a store and everything. Surely we seem professional? (In reality it was me getting the gigs, myself sending out press releases, and I, writing the copy. DIY is supposedly “in” nowadays, when in reality it is a last resort of a beleaguered and confused industry, but it’s what I’ve always done, pretty much, with a few exceptions: Did — Or Didn’t Do — It Myself.)
Slowly over the years it dawned on my vacuous skull that my site consistently failed to give the desired impression of a world-class touring artist. (Playing the same three bars every week might have been a clue.) But despite that, I have remained busy: performing, recording, and eating. So perhaps it would be in everyone’s best interest if from now on I were to write honest and direct copy for the esteemed member of the listening public (and the odd, soon to click-away talent buyer or record executive) who somehow managed to get his or her browser directed here, accidentally or otherwise.
So WHAT I DO is a bunch of stuff (and yes, I’m getting to the point):
1. I play music for adults and for KIDS– sometimes for all ages. I LOVE playing music for kids. It is one of the things that BROUGHT ME BACK from a dark place. It is the one truly GOOD WORK I do regularly. I work as a music teacher at a couple of pre-schools in the Boston area, perform at libraries, toy stores, fairs, farmers markets, and so on. I get to play OLD SONGS for NEW PEOPLE!
(ONCE AGAIN, IF YOU ARE HERE FOR THE KIDS MUSIC, CLICK “DELTASILLY.”)
2. I play in the band VAPORS OF MORPHINE, with a couple guys I met when I first moved to Massachusetts in 2005. They had this cool band back in the 90s called Morphine and to be honest, I knew the name but was not familiar with the music till I moved up here. The late Mark Sandman was a very creative musician and writer and I am privileged to help bring his music back to the live stage with a couple of the cats he played with — Dana Colley and Jerome Deupree (and sometimes Billy Conway but more often my buddy Jeff Allison fills in for Jerome). This band, which also plays a bunch of stuff like psychedelic rock and African Blues, among other things, has helped OPEN MY EARS. It is a cool organization.
3. I play in The BUSTED JUG BAND with Mark Earley, Kevin Byrne, Rob Rudin and Robbie Phillips. It’s a five-piece all-acoustic ensemble that performs hokum, jive, hillbilly, hootenanny, swing, stomp, rag, blues and jug band music. I first brought this group together to have a group for my pal “Washtub” Robbie Phillips to play with, but the band has taken on a life of it’s own! This band reminds me of some of the groups I played with on the street in New Orleans; a whole lot of fun!
4. I teach guitar (and a little ukulele — ok, all ukuleles are little). I’ve started doing it on and off as early as 1993. My expertise is in fingerstyle guitar a la Mississippi John Hurt, as well as slide and open tunings. You can contact me directly or check out Mass Ave Music. <– CLICK THERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT GUITAR LESSONS!!!! (<– or there!)
5. I perform SOLO.
Solo shows are always fun and challenging for me. I’ve always hoped to find a way to tour regularly on my own. Hard to make it work, but maybe I’ll figure it out. My folk CD “MAKE IT BETTER” came out last year. (It actually got some airplay on “folk radio.” I honestly didn’t know folk radio is still a thing. Apparently it is, albeit a little one.) “Make It Better” WILL BE OUT ON VINYL THIS FALL! Holy cow, its true. Last year I wanted to raise some money to pay a “folk radio publicist” (yes, they exist, and so I got airplay the old fashioned way: I paid for it) and instead I got talked into releasing a vinyl record. I hear the kids love vinyl. Go figure. The process has been a comedy of errors, but it’s in production.
6. I sometimes still play WITH A BAND.
Since moving to New England ten years ago, my Deltabilly Boys have only performed a few times a year, generally in New Orleans. I have worked with a a couple dozen great musicians up here in Massachusetts, but never struck upon a consistent lineup. Robbie Phillips played his homemade basses with me for several years, but he is currently out of action. Lately I’ve taken to hiring a tuba player for my band gigs.
6. I like to write. (What, you hadn’t figured that out yet?) Maybe I’ll start posting excerpts from my memoirs!