The talented Mr. Organist does his thing [video by Rod J. Eckrich]


Sound Check No. 2

This installment in our Sound Check series takes a look at The Lonesome Organist.

My friend Pat Herrera spoke enthusiastically about catching a very entertaining performer at the Flat Rock Tap in Hammond. Mr. Leather and Jolene also spoke highly of the one-man band after experiencing his music at a birthday event for artist Mark Anderson.

We at the Rambler caught up with The Lonesome Organist at his practice space in his home as he prepared to record a new album. With albums released through the Chicago label Thrill Jockey Records, The Lonesome Organist offers a diverse sound while deftly handling multiple instruments. Juggling an accordion, drums, organ and guitar, along with many other musical tools, The Lonesome Organist defies definition by any single genre.

In addition to demonstrating what he can do with just two hands and feet, The Lonesome Organist spoke about his musical background and his influences. He got into music through his parents: His father was a jazz trumpet player. The first instrument he learned to play was the piano. When “Star Wars” came out in theaters back in the late 1970s, he fell in love with the John Williams score and pounded out the main theme over and over on the piano keys. The composer Kurt Weill also left an impression on him along with early 20th century opera.

What emerges from The Lonesome Organist’s songs is a rich aesthetic that captures the sound of dark musicals or film scores. He listens to 78s a lot, and his stylings hearken back to the days of vaudeville. There also is an Eastern European flair to his music.

"Every time people ask me to play, it is like an incredible gift," he said.

We thank The Lonesome Organist for allowing us to feature him in our latest Sound Check.