BOB MONTELONE: guitar & vocals
MITCH PURDY: cajon, percussion & mandolin
JORIAN OLK-SZOST: upright bass
The inspiration for Acoustic Madness was born on one of the many trips Mitch Purdy & Bob Monteleone took to Jamaica with their band Black Market during the late '80's & '90's.
Sitting in an outdoor cafe, they witnessed 2 local musicians put on a delightful unplugged show with simply an acoustic guitar and a cajon. With merely the 2 instruments and their voices, they created a splendid sound, with the Cajon (simply a hollow wooden box with a sound hole that the musician sits on and strikes like a drum) covering a lot of the low frequencies associated with the bass.
The duo borrowed this template from the two Jamaicans and started playing gigs regularly in southeast Michigan. Soon after, Mitch took up the mandolin.
A life long violinist, switching to mandolin (which has the same fingerings & notes as violin) was a smooth transition.
Missing the fullness of a normal band, they enlisted the upright bass talents of Ken Pesick in 2010. They have been playing steadily with this line-up ever since, occasionally using the vocal talents of Bob's wife, April.
Acoustic Madness released the CD Volume 1 in 2011 on Bob's indie label Hanzie Records (CD HR-011). It was basically an introduction to the group, with live performances recorded in the studio of some of the popular covers they play on a nightly basis, including "Wichita Lineman", "Everybody's Talkin'", "Friend of the Devil" and "Tangled Up In BLue". A standout on the album is the original "Stay (For One More Drink)" which is reminiscent of an old vocal standard such as "Cry Me A River" or "Misty".
The band's 2nd release, simply titled Acoustic Madness(CD HR-016), was released in 2014. The guys started work on it at Bob's Tree Farms Studio in 2012 and finished recording at the beginning of 2014 at Bob's new locale, Sterritt Sound.
Acoustic Madness is a labor of love and many nights after some of their gigs the guys would toil in the studio into the wee hours. With 6 brand new originals and 6 very interesting covers, the album spans many different styles and moods. From Americana ("Midday Swoon") and Tex-Mex ("Padre & the Senorita") to psychedelia ("Kathy) and bluegrass ("The Way It Goes"). The covers on the album represent a survey of the guys' musical heros: such as Phish's "Back On The Train" & Bob Dylan & The Band's "When I Paint My Masterpiece". Radiohead's "I Might Be Wrong" is the leadoff music video from this project - check it out on YouTube.
The CD is rounded out with 3 stirring instrumentals on the album, including a majestic version of "Theme From The Midnight Cowboy".
Surrounded In Big Town, released in September 2016 (HR-022), features 9 new original songs and welcomes the addition of bassist Jorian Olk-Szost, who replaced Ken Pesick in late 2014. Handsomely produced by Bob Monteleone, the album runs through many styles: Americana (the title cut & "Over Reacted");British Invasion (the rockin' "Half the Loving" & "Why Did They Kill the Radio?"); surf (the pedal steel based "Day Dream", featuring Nashville session legend Bob Wilson on piano) and even some jazz fusion (the instrumental "24/Seven" featuring saxophonist Pete Kahn).
COVID-19 affected the members of Acoustic Madness just like the rest of the world and live performance was non-existant from March-June 2020 and November 2020-March 2021 due to COVID related restrictions in the state of Michigan. The band did participate virtually in the annual ArtsBeats&Eats festival to a wide audience live from Bob's backyard in Utica, Michigan during the Labor Day weekend 2020. The band also used the downtime in 2020 and 2021 to craft an upcoming new release, tentatively titled Tiffany, to released in early summer 2021.
Bassist Jorian and Bob were both nominated for Outstanding Instrumentalist in the Americana category in 2021's Detroit Music Awards. Jorian and Bob play in the CSNY tribute band Carry On, which was nominated for Outstanding Tribute Band in the DMAs and Bob was nominated Outstanding Songwriter in the Americana category. Bob and his wife April (Bob & April) were nominated for Outstanding Group in the Americana category and Bob and his son (Bob & Coltrane) WON(!) for Outstanding Family/Children's Act.