I don’t always fuck with spiders, but when I do, it’s because these Little Spiders Have Big Dreams in the music business. I was hanging around the Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville, PA and got caught up in a groovy web of talented musicians, playing their dreams on stage. The “webmaster” and spinner of musical dreams is none other than Ernie Tokay of the local folk rock band The Turnips, also the owner, producer, and engineer of Little Spiders Have Big Dreams Studio in Kimberton, PA. Ernie has just released an album (available on CDBaby) with samples from the various artists that are recording at his studio. One of the artists featured on this sample set with their song “Runaway” is thundergrass band, HogMaw, whose album Wake was released last summer.
Other featured artists include Bill Hangley, Psych-A-Billy, Teri Rambo, Tin Bird Choir, The Wounded Healers, Sarah Napolitan, Matthew Gordon, Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner, The Turnips and others, all of whom performed live at Steel City.
The songs display a vivid range of country, folk, and americana influences, with a healthy dose of female talent—something I personally like to see these days in a historically male-dominated industry. Standouts like Jenkintown’s Teri Rambo, whose silky voice can romance your soul in “You Should Know This”, to Sarah Napolitan of The Turnips, who got her start at the open mic at Steel City and now sings about “Friday Night In”, to Jess McDowell’s fresh and airy vocals of The Wounded Healers, who starts off the record with “You Know How”—all will give your ears a much needed tune-up.
Bill Hangley’s “Yesterday’s Still Gone” features a powerful voice and vivid memories, and Matthew Gordon’s “If I Stumble If I Fall” reminds me of a Paul Simon tune. There’s nothing but fun times with The Turnips “Gemini” and Psych-A-Billy’s “It’s Too Late”—a few of my favorites.
For local indie musicians and bands, Ernie’s Little Spiders studio can be the perfect place to meet new talent, collaborate and test new ideas, and create your first, middle, or final work with help from a dynamic environment. Every artist at the show was so enthusiastic about the experience of recording and about Ernie’s unique skill set and approach. Whether it was Bill Hangley naming Ernie as his rock-and-roll hero, to stories from Tin Bird Choir’s Eric Hurlock, whose invitation to crash one of Ernie’s annual house parties led to some recorded music played on WXPN—the consensus seems to point to Ernie’s joint.
Treat yourself to a sneak peak of the Wounded Healers set, below, and check out the sample CD, Little Spiders Have Big Dreams. Who knows? Maybe your dream is also waiting in a web. For more details, check out the facebook page and send a message.