New Jersey's Black Potatoe Records has spearheaded a grassroots movement in the rock industry since incorporating in 1997 by spotlighting the best local talent in Hunterdon County, NJ. (The misspelled "Potatoe" is intentional, inspired by Dan Qualye's infamous gaffe.) The label's founding group, Angus, performs folk-rock in the vein of the Band, Guster, and the Grateful Dead. The group's lineup consists of founder and bandleader Matthew Angus of Clinton, NJ, on rhythm guitar and vocals, Kim Williams (piano, Hammond B3 organ, flute, violin, vocals), John Davies (bass), Jamie Coan (violin, lead guitar, mandolin), Megan Ernakovich (piano, vocals), and Dave Becker (drums). The group's 2000 CD, Face the Day, offers organ-drenched mid-tempo folk-rock songs alongside slow, introspective country-rock ballads. Levon Helm of the Band appeared on the funky tune "That Night."
The idea for the group first came in 1988 during the bandleader's student days at the University of Southern California. He worked as an intern at TicketMaster and A&M Records before returning to New Jersey in 1993. Back home, he played in a cover band, Tip in the Cow, which featured some early members of Angus, and performed songs by the Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and the Grateful Dead. Gradually, Matt Angus met bandmembers who were serious about performing full-time in the folk-rock group Angus, which opened for Rick Danko of the Band at Atomic Productions in Clinton, NJ, in 1996. That led to a long-term association with other members of the Band, including Garth Hudson, who performed on accordion on the group's 1997 debut CD on the track "Where Are We Now?" and at the group's CD release party in 1997 at the Black Potatoe Music Festival.
The group followed up with its second CD, Outstanding in Their Field, in 1999. Angus has also released two EPs: Angus EP and Fall Out. Angus launched a website at www.angusmusic.com in 2000. Face the Day received national distribution through Borders Books and Music Cafe. Angus' October 15, 2000 concert at House of Blues in Cambridge, MA, was webcast live on www.hob.com on January 30, 2001, and then entered the site's archive on February 1, 2001. ~ Robert Hicks, Rovi
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