The best compliment the duo making up the Vaudeville-era band Paper Moon Shiners received was this: “If you all are going for different, you overshot it.”
While its members, Frank Meyer and Elena Antinelli, make the argument that they’re not doing anything truly original, they realize the combination of jazz, cracker blues and folk is a sound from a different time.
“I just feel like it’s really fresh, even though it’s really old. People are not used to hearing it. You don’t hear it much on the radio,” Meyer, a multi-instrumentalist in the band, said.
The band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Magoon’s, 632 S. Eighth St.
The music of Paper Moon Shiners is a diverse combination of influences that singer Antinelli describes as akin to the genre-hopping sibling filmmakers, the Coen Brothers.
“The short pitch I usually give to people is that we do vintage jazz and blues with Vaudeville undertones. It’s loosely interpretive. If you like the Coen Brothers movies, you’ll like our show,” she said.
Much like each Coen Brothers movie is a different experience with varying tones and structure, so is each individual Paper Moon Shiners show.
“I like to think that our shows, each has a unique experience based upon the audience and the venue, the energy of the day, the energy of the tour. They all have their own personalities,” Antinelli said.
While Meyer is a Maryville, Missouri, native, the duo hails from Austin, Texas, a thriving music city where the sound is a bit more prominent.
“The bands in Austin duplicate it. A whole band can play a Louis Armstrong recording from 1926 or something. We don’t do that. It’s an interpretation thing, but the vibe is there,” Meyer said.
The band’s vibe is a mixture of vintage sounds and a level of theatricality often missing from live shows.
“(We’re) taking something that usually took 10 or more to communicate the original idea or the composer’s rendition and then distilling that down to just two people,” Antinelli said.
Performing at Magoon’s, which is celebrating its 101st anniversary, the band is excited to be in a venue that matches its sound.
“It’s pretty cool to walk into a place and play some tunes from a certain time period or influenced by a certain time period that could possibly been played in that place when it originally came out,” Antinelli said.
So why does this music continue to bring people out and why build a band around? The members said it’s a sound for people who want to engage with a different type of energy than they’re used to.
“If folks they want something different and they want to be transported through an emotional landscape, over the period of a performance than our show is for them,” she said.
But they won’t take credit for the sound. It’s simply a tribute to a different time.
“It’s all recycled. We’re just bringing back to where it was, where we think it was,” Meyer said.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live