17 April 2012

LONE WOLF OMB- The Slayer of old-timey Music

“This is the best clawhammer banjo music
I have heard in the modern era.” -Triggerman

Lone Wolf OMB (that's One-man band to you) aka Bruno Esposito, is a fascinating guy. One of those people you just love talking to because they've been around, they've seen some things. He's the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Peru and raised in Florida. He used to own a pizza joint in Costa Rica. His speaking voice is straight-up deep NYC. He tells me that his grandfather had a hell of a whistle and his mother, "the voice of an angel" but otherwise he's come to music on his own. By day he's mild-mannered Bruno the banjo guy at Gold-Tone banjos. By night he's Lone Wolf OMB- The Slayer of old-timey/bluegrass music. It's hardcore whateveryouwannacallit with different instrumentation. 

Asked about influences Bruno lists many of the folks one might expect for a blues-infected banjo player: Roscoe Holcomb, Buell Kazee, Dock Boggs, Clarence Ashley on the Appalachian-side and Ishmon Bracey, Son House, Charlie Patton, Booker White and Tommy Johnson on the blues-side. It's all filtered through the punk rock of the 'Pistols, Exploited, Minor Threat, Jerry's Kids, and Gang Green. I greatly appreciate that, in spite of the instrument, he does not wear those influences on his sleeve.

Lone Wolf OMB's music is lightning fast and hard driving, so damn fast that at first I thought the album was playing at the wrong speed!  How the hell does he do that? That speed is well-tempered by a deep rasp that sounds scraped from the souls of Waits, Wolf, Biram and James Leg. The result of that combination is that Lone Wolf OMB achieves a musical balance that makes for an exciting and fresh punkgrass sound.  

He recently returned from successful gigs at SXSW and XSXSW (The Hillgrass-Bluebilly/Saving Country Music/Muddy Roots/Cracker Swamp event) and his tight new collection of songs, A Walk In My Pause is now available from the usual virtual spots:

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