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The Daily Tar Heel

Trailer Bride Marries Twangy Blues, Saw Blades

"I need to eat more bananas. They say they keep your muscles from cramping."

This piece of advice comes from Trailer Bride's lead vocalist, a nervous Melissa Swingle. But there was no need for foul nerves, as Trailer Bride put on an impressive show, particularly for a local group.

Swingle -- a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter -- was the gem of the group. The songwriting was nothing short of spectacular, and the slow bluegrass and southern blues music fit perfectly with the lyrics.

Swingle's vast musical skill became more and more apparent over the course of the evening, through the playing of two different guitars, the harmonica, keyboard, banjo and a large saw. Her vocal skills were perfect for the music, being rough and throaty, yet still feminine.

The rest of the band consisted of a guitarist, an upright bassist and a drummer. They were well-practiced and communicated nicely with each other, keeping the music together and expressive.

The show was the first for the electric guitarist. Despite this, he was given plenty of room to be heard. His solos were unique and interesting, and listeners would never have known he was a newcomer to the band without its announcement.

The songs fit the sound of the band perfectly. Most of the songs were quite short, but they were all well-written and well-arranged for the band. A number of the songs were about heartbreak and loss, and the audience was able to connect with this theme throughout the show.

Many of the audience members were obviously longtime fans of Trailer Bride, and their energy and familiarity was felt by all, including the band. Uncommon for performances in small venues, the band had the audience support to have an encore. This night and this band were clearly an exception.

The encore may have been the highlight of the evening. When the band came back on stage, Swingle took out a rather large saw and borrowed a bow from the bassist. Managing to get a beautiful sound out of that saw, the audience responded enthusiastically by clapping loudly for more.

This marked the end of the show, but the audience was happy with what they heard. In the hour and a half that the band members played, they managed to perform 18 songs, many from their most recent album, High Seas. The energy of the band and the audience persisted, even after the music had stopped, showing promise for this band's future.

So Swingle must have had her daily allowance of bananas on Friday -- her hand never cramped up, and the show went on without a hitch. If she ever was at any point nervous, her music would have been the last thing to give that away.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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