Born of the stark beauty and bittersweet desolation of the high desert, California trio Heavy Gus blurs the lines between grungy garage band fare, hazy surf, and dreamy indie rock on their captivating full-length debut, Notions. Bristling with live-wire electricity, the collection is lean and spare, fueled by distorted guitars and a driving rhythm section, and the performances are loose and organic to match, captured spontaneously in the moment with little room for overthinking or second-guessing. While all three bandmates come to Heavy Gus from very different worlds—Ulvang from The Lumineers, drummer Ryan Dobrowski from Blind Pilot, and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Dorota Szuta from an unlikely combination of marine science and music—they fit together like puzzle pieces here, bound by the kind of love and trust that can only grow from years of deep kinship. The result is a record all about distance and connection from a band built on intimacy and personal chemistry, a mesmerizing debut that calls to mind everything from Meat Puppets and The Breeders to Yo La Tengo and Acetone in its artful balance of hope and fatalism, loneliness and desire, strength and vulnerability.
Originally hailing from the rugged shores of Lake Superior, Sasha Mercedes writes image-provoking songs and delivers them with passion and conviction. Her powerful voice turns heads, as she beats on her guitar, brow furrowed and snarling! Mercedes has released five Americana solo albums, and though there will always be a soft spot in her heart for singer-songwriter stylings, Mercedes hasn’t been tethered to any genre. She was the front-woman for Twin Cities-based rock band, Hot Pink Hangover, as well as the hook writer and fellow performer in Minneapolis hip hop trio, Channeling Grey. She has traveled the world making music and drawing inspiration out of every experience, which is evident in the lyrics of her brilliantly crafted compositions. She has shared the stage with TLC, Badflower, Dar Williams, Don Mclean, Tracy Bonham, Guy Davis, Pete Seeger, and others. She may seem hard on the outside, but Mercedes has always believed that rugged shores can polish even the roughest of stones.
This episode features recordings from both artists 2022 performances at Big Top Chautauqua.
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