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Midtown Dickens began as a ragtag, learn-while-you-play duo of best friends Kym Register and Catherine Edgerton. The project was born in the post-industrial blues town of Durham, NC when the pair began collecting orphaned instruments from generous friends and back alley dumpsters. They developed an unrefined brand of punk-folk that drew from old time bluegrass and the anti-folk minimalism of the Pacific Northwest. After an off-the-cuff two-month tour, the duo released Oh Yell! (307 Knox Records), which garnered wide praise and a cult following for its spirited and charming odes to the wonders of everyday life.
Eager to include more friends in the project, the pair rallied a DIT (Do-It-Together) front-porch collective of players who shared instruments such as the banjo, accordion, musical saw, trumpet, trombone, guitar, drums, mandolin, upright bass, harmonica, glockenspiel, spoons, and whatever else was lying around. The band soon solidified into a cohesive quintet, embarking on a darker and more extensive exploration of folk music, while still rooted in the earnest songwriting of Kym and Catherine.
The group entered the studio last spring with acclaimed producer Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, Pattern is Movement, John Vanderslice) to record Lanterns, a record about letting go of the things we think we need.
Lanterns was self-released on September 15th, 2009, in a multi-media package containing a vinyl record, CD, MP3 download code and a 16-page booklet with a full 12"x12" panel dedicated to each song on the record. Created by also-artist Catherine Edgerton, the collages of lyrics, photos and drawings illuminate the themes, memories and philosophies that helped create each song.