Late 2017, we at Boston Hassle had the honor of covering the solo work of Jeffrey Gallagher, which you can find here. There his effect on the local music scene as a visionary and experimental musician is well covered, but what happens when someone wants to go beyond that? More often than not, the “less is more” rule becomes an exploratory freedom that gives any musician, performer, or artist the permission to continue the reinvention that keeps the craft fresh. This freshness can be found in the live sound of a new band called Bridge of Flowers, consisting of members scattered throughout the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
Gallagher spent years performing as a solo project called Alto Jeffro, and from that grew a collaboration with lead guitarist Jonathan Hanson in 2015. For a full year it stayed that way, just the two bouncing ideas off of each other. Gallagher wanted to start a band and make simple rock music, with just 2 or 3 chords, and let the focus be more lyrical in nature than his past work, citing Velvet Underground and Modern Lovers as major influences. However, it became much more than that. The band was rounded out by Shane Bruno on bass and Chris Wojtkowski on drums, all musicians who were interconnected to the project in some way. They got together and frequently improvised different parts in songs, making the band more about fun and creating a sound they could all enjoy, while keeping lyrics in an important place at the heart of a tune. This creative energy can be found on the Ticked Off Tapes bandcamp, released in a variety of live recordings in October.
First off, these folks can play. Although they claim the music is simple, I would contest it is anything but. There is a difference between “simple” and “familiar” when it comes to songwriting, and although I think this band of performers could not go a song without pushing the boundaries of what we can love about rhythm, they still keep it all in check so that it can remain somewhat accessible to a listener. The live show must be amazing, and keep people coming back for more, because you never know what is going to happen. The guitars stay relatively cleaner, which is a fresh of breath air in this world of distortion chugs many band tend to use.
Find them on bandcamp and keep an eye out for a forthcoming vinyl, which will be pressed by Feeding Tube Records out of Northampton!