Many of the characters in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged thought that the John Galt Line, a railroad that was never supposed to hold trains, would surely collapse and fail.
Brooklyn duo The Galt Line is bringing fiction to life; not many people believed the duo would amount to anything musically, but their songs are turning heads. Inspired by their favorite book, Blythe Crawford (ukulele and vocals) and Willie Gammell (guitar), are making a name for themselves.
While the duo only started playing together in April 2008, their respective musical histories have been extensive and impressive. They met in high school and began playing on and off during those years, reunited years later and formed The Galt Line.
The self-described “rootsy, swinging duo” has a different kind of spunk to their music that is difficult to compare to anything else.
Gammell, who began playing guitar at age fifteen, has performed with other bands, and has written and taught music throughout his life. Similarly, Crawford was involved in music as a child, and has most recently served on the costume crew of Uke Jackson’s “Sex! Drugs! And Ukuleles!” Together, their histories and styles mesh incredibly into an unworldly manner that is easy to lose oneself.
Their music is an incorporation of bits and pieces of R&B, Swing, Blues, and Jazz, their authentic sound is cheerful and genuine. Citing Devil Makes Three, Johnny Cash, The Little Willies, and other “storytelling bands and songs” as influences, they have maintained a genuine feel and respect towards their own style of music. Says Crawford, “We really like to play music that we both enjoy. Whatever sounds good to us goes into the music.”
They don’t try and be a group that they’re not; Crawford and Gammell realize that their music is real and authentic, and thus write their songs wholeheartedly and meaningfully.
“Sprouting songs faster than a Chia Pet, she wrote tune after tune after tune,” reads the biography on their MySpace page. “From blithely satirical Honky-Tonk ballads to Southern Blues romps and Swing-styled burners, she turned out songs in many styles that lyrically reflect her playful and critical perspective.”
Crawford’s critical perspective is really what stimulates the band. While they have opportunities to sing and write about virtually anything in today’s society and culture, Crawford is fueled by what her vision of their music should be about. Their highlighted songs are undoubtedly “The Price,” and “Barfly Betty,” both of which can be heard online.
“The Price,” which incorporates a combination of jazzy-blues and southern-comfort, is easy on the ears and incredibly relaxing. Crawford’s angelic voice is the perfect complement to her ukulele and Gammell’s smooth guitar skills. Meanwhile, “Barfly Betty” really showcases their diversity in what and how they are able to play. While the song features electric guitar, Crawford really showcases her ability to hit all notes of the spectrum and again their easy listening is rooted within their music.
To be honest, their music is really addictive. I have already listened to “The Price” about five times within the past hour, and each time I listen to it, I appreciate their style more and more. While their songs are definitely different than anything I normally listen to, I can definitely tell that music is their lives. This trait is very refreshing to see in independent musicians who are playing for their own sake.
“Besides working ‘real people jobs,’ music is our absolute life,” says Crawford. “Every free minute is devoted to trying to improve our music and our sound.”
Though a music deal is one of their goals, the music itself is what really fuels their desire to continue and succeed in the ever-growing and competitive music field. Probably one of their greatest attributes as a duo, though, is that they’re real people. While music obviously takes up much of their time, they also have regular jobs at a restaurant and Lenscrafters, and their genuine personalities are a fresh reminder that their music really parallels that of their character.
Though they have only been together for about eight months, they are steadily progressing and are gaining some popularity. With upcoming shows throughout New York City, The Galt Line has a bright future ahead of them. Says Crawford, “Though we haven’t been signed so far, we relatively just got started writing and recording. So far, though, we have made tremendous progress and we’re excited about the future.”