Happy spring, Everyone!
I realize I haven’t blogged since January – but winter’s a time for quiet.
Now it’s spring, and life is reborn!
To start things off, here’s a copy of a recent media release, to give some history of the old Gypsy Feet Band and its new revival:
SILVER CITY, NM — “Greg & Charlie” – Greg Renfro and Charlie Alfero – have been performing as a folk-rock duo in and around Silver City since 2002 (13 years!) and have recently been joined by three other musicians. And they’ve revived the name of a band they were part of from 2004 − 2009 – the folk-rock dance quartet known as the “Gypsy Feet Band.”
Shems Nickle (l), Charlie Alfero (in the cowboy hat!), Ed Teja (in the bowler hat!), and Greg Renfro opening the first Pickamania Sunday.
Those who’ve been around Silver City for a while will remember the old Gypsy Feet Band, with Ed Teja on electric lead guitar, Renfro on guitar and bass, Alfero on mandolin, and Shems Nickle on djembe. The band performed some of Renfro’s folk-rock originals along with classic danceable rock favorites and were booked regularly at the Twisted Vine and Isaac’s in Silver City, the Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos, and were selected to open the first-ever Pickamania Sunday.
The quartet eventually disbanded as many bands do, and Teja, returning to his gypsy ways, went to live in Cambodia with his artist wife Dagny Sellorin for a couple of years. Today they’ve returned to Silver City, but Teja has hung up his guitars in favor of writing. Nickles plays today with Sufi musicians, notably singer and guitarist Gayana, most recently at Yankee Creek Coffee House.
Renfro and Alfero first picked instruments together in 2002 when Greg had a regular Friday night gig in the patio of the original Vicki’s Restaurant on Texas and Yankee Streets. Soon they were performing as “Greg and Charlie,” and in 2008, they recorded their first album of original music, Settle On In, and have performed at many local and regional venues, including repeat invitations to the GlenwoodStock Festival, the Tucson Folk Fest, and events in Socorro and Santa Fe.
The duo had no intentions of reviving a band, but as happens, they’ve been joined occasionally by local musicians, and some have clicked and stayed around: Jeff “Santa Rita Slim” Ray on bass, Dale Rucklos on guitar, and Paul DeMarco on flute. The sound is not only bigger and more danceable, but wonderfully complex. Ray has experience in country, roots rock, vintage blues, mountain music, and bluegrass – and has been playing around the area since high school with notable groups such as the Delk Family Band. Rucklos brings a jazz-inspired sensibility with a diverse background in rock, jazz, blues, and country. DeMarco, who has been performing with musicians in the area for thirty years, expands the sound with his collection of flutes.
People began to quip that the still-coalescing group was reminiscent of the old “Gypsy Feet Band.” With the addition of three more names to the mix, promotions got more cumbersome, and one day audience assessment won out, and Renfro and Alfero decided to revive the Gypsy Feet Band name. It was first used for a gig at Diane’s Parlor the night of Friday, March 27, 2015.
Renfro and Alfero plan to record a second album of original music this year, expanding their sound with the new Gypsy Feet musicians and possibly others.
“Greg and Charlie and the Gypsy Feet Band” will perform next at Diane’s Parlor on Friday evening, April 10th, 6-9 pm, and are booked there three more times before the end of May: April 18, May 1, and May 22 – all at Diane’s. And they’re also scheduled to play the Rockhound State Park near the Florida Mountains southeast of Deming on August 15th as a part of the “Music Under the Stars” series.