Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Friday’s podcast is dedicated to spotlighting Northwest musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Hey Lazarus!” by Shane Tutmarc & The Traveling Mercies available from Inverness Recordings.
With his boyish good looks and his trademark vintage style, Shane Tutmarc makes a charismatic front-man for The Traveling Mercies. Stylistically diverse throughout his career (Dolour, United States of Electronica), Shane seems to hit closest to home with The Mercies — literally, as the band is made up of Shane, his brother Brandon, and their cousin Ryan. The Tutmarc have an interesting musical background indeed. They descend from a long line of local music legends including their great-grandfather, who invented the first electric bass guitar, though it is often credited to Leo Fender. Both Shane’s great-grandfather and grandfather were famous throughout the Northwest and beyond for their use of Hawaiian steel guitars and gospel music. It’s not always so apparent where artists draw their musical inspirations, but you can hear echos of Paul and Bud Tutmarc in the music of this generation. Shane incorporates roots, blues, gospel, along with good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll infused angst into his music, which often features biblical references and imagery. Today’s song, “Hey Lazarus!,” is no exception and its toe-tapping blues riffs will have you singing along in no time.
You can catch the family Tutmarc this Saturday, December 27, at The High Dive with Seattle music veteran Shawn Smith along with The Hallways. For more dates and info, head over to his website. 2009 looks to be a promising year for Shane and family. He’s working on a new full-length and has already posted some unmastered tracks on his MySpace page. Check out this live performance of “Hey Lazarus!” from the Vera Project earlier this year: