Just What The Music Doctor Ordered
If music is the cure for what is ailing you then wants to fill that prescription.
The Traverse City based jam band took home “Best All Around Band” honors in this years Best Of balloting. The group will bring their progressive funk stylings to Poppycock’s in Traverse City on Saturday March 24.
“That Progressive Funk/ Dance/Jam on our Facebook page is really just the start of how to describe this band,” said vocalist and guitarist Matt McCalpin. “We try not to be tied down to any specific sound. Everything starts with funk and groove base and build from the ground up. Our sound morphs out each one of our musical interests and those interests are pretty diverse.”
MCCALPIN IS QUICK TO ADD:
“Our sound is all across the spectrum because each guy has his own influences and style. As of late I have been into a lot of jazz,” said McCalpin. “But you can also toss in just about everything else as some of the guys are into blues, hip-hop, world music, classical, swing, reggae and classic rock and roll.”
McCalpin is joined by Chris Burgess on drums along with bass guitarist Jordan Moeggenberg and Jimmy Olson on keyboards and percussionists Spencer Engler.
Medicinal Groove formed last June when the band started jamming together with out McCalpin at first.
“They asked me to join them one night in a pole barn out in Acme,” said McCalpin. “We just started jamming and we never wanted to stop.”
All five members grew up in Traverse City and started playing in bands going back to middle school. Despite knowing each other they never played together in the past.
“But once we started jamming it only took a couple of weeks for us to start writing our own material,” said McCalpin. “We also immediately started booking shows.”
The immediate musical connection the members of Medicinal Groove felt led to an ease when it came down to writing songs as a group. “Our songwriting process is a lot of building and rebuilding. Adding new ideas to an old idea,” said McCalpin. “A lot of times we try to piece together two different ideas that might be months a part but we seem to be able to piece them together quickly.
McCalpin attributes much of their collective song writing ability to “listening to a lot of music” and just jamming.
“I think a lot of times it is a spur of the moment thing when we will be jamming and all of a sudden another section to the song comes into play,” said McCalpin. “It is like we have the start and the end and we just start messing around and then the middle comes and we make it all fit together. That “jamming” technique spills over into their live shows as well.
“Our live shows incorporate a lot of improvisational in it. We know that certain sections of certain songs lend themselves to this, we don’t rehearse it we just let it happen on stage,” said McCalpin.
“When we rehearse we just fly by those sections but on stage when the crowd is right the energy is right and those sections of those songs come up we can go into a 10 minute or longer jam.”
Just a few weeks after forming, Medicinal Groove released a foursong EP and in recent weeks they have been in the studio recording a full length album. The CD will be released on April 14 at the Loading Dock.
“Everything is recorded and the album is ready. We just have two things to figure out,” said McCalpin. “We are tossing some names around for the CD now and we still have not decided on the cover art. So we have less than a month to decide on the title and the artwork.”
Medicinal Groove has been building a grassroots following and it seems to be working. They have been getting bookings all over Michigan.
“We have a do-it-yourself attitude. We have done the whole album on our own,” said McCalpin. “We also have taken charge of booking our shows and we are booked well into the summer. Our focus is on Michigan right now because we know there is a lot to be had here in this state.”
Once the new album is released they plan to launch their website and are looking to take their show on the road and tour the country.
AS FOR THE NAME:
“We messed around with a few names and wanted to be Thelonious Funk but that name was already taken so then we just wanted to come up with something that described our sound,” said McCalpin. “We knew the ‘Groove’ thing fit and we felt that our music was medicinal for us to be able to play, let loose and express ourselves. The more and more we played for other people we felt is was doing the same for them.”
THEIR GOAL AT THE END OF THE NIGHT:
“We really hope that if you are having a bad day when you come out to the show we can get you dancing and put a smile on your face,” said McCalpin. “That is what music is, a huge release and it is kind of like medication.”
Medicinal Groove will jam this Saturday night at Poppycock’s in Traverse City. For more information check out their Facebook page.