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The CharFlies are a junk-folk band from St. Louis, Missouri, made up of members Shanie Latham, Dave Melson, Richard Newman, and Nick Nihira. Their music combines elements of folk, Appalachian bluegrass, 60s psychedelic and power pop, gospel harmonies, classic country, and indie rock. All acoustic, their instruments include guitars, banjo, upright bass, mandolin, kick drum, harmonica, washboard, melodica, dobro, accordion, glockenspiel, rusty pots, and a saw. Junk Folk? Psychedelic bluegrass? Perhaps they are best described as a long road trip in a beat-up truck with Tom Waits, The Mamas and Papas, and Bill Monroe.
The band originally baptized themselves The Jarflies, but a week before their first gig, following a rehearsal fueled with sin, ambition, and pork rinds, the banjo player’s house burned to the ground. Calamity continues to follow in their wake—divorce, back surgery, rehab, busted pipes, and sundry competitive eating mishaps. The CharFlies are still smoldering from their torment and misfortune, most of it brought on by themselves.
Who are these stalwart musicians who keep rising from their own ashes with darkness and demise perpetually looming nigh? Meet the CharFlies:
NICK NIHIRA plays banjo, mandolin, guitar, and anything charred and smoking, especially hot wings.
DAVE MELSON plays upright bass, kick drum, and the band’s perpetual sympathies.
RICHARD NEWMAN plays guitar, mandolin, washboard, and warbles in an endless variety of paisley shirts.
SHANIE LATHAM sings, thwaps a tambourine or cake pan or whatever's handy for percussion, and wrings her hands over the state of everything, especially the universe.
Longtime allies and members of the COWBOY BLOWFISH songwriting cooperative (Hobart McGee, Fletch Olney, Jarvis Jones, Nebs Fellner, Millard Seymore, and Sparky Feebs) have made burnt offerings of original songs for the CharFly mission and cause.