Take a ride with Memphis Train Union

Memphis Train Union
By Julie Garisto, tbt* columnist
In print: Friday, August 8, 2008

From left: Mike Warmath, Dave Korman and Jason Angelo.
[Handout photo]

All aboard: Dave Korman, guitar and vocals; Jason Angelo, bass; and Mike Warmath on drums.

Stops all over: “We all groove with traditional instruments,” Korman says. “People see Jason’s upright bass and think we’re a rockabilly band. They want to call us roots rock or Americana. It’s just rock ‘n’ roll to me.”

Formed: Spring 2007 in Dunedin.

Only member from Memphis: Warmath

Borderline Canadian: Angelo is from Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Before the bubble burst: Korman, 38, has played in Mustard, Hangtown, Pagan Saints and the Leonard Croon Band. He saved himself in the nick of time both creatively and financially when he took a break to write a “s—load of songs” and purchase a bungalow on Douglas Avenue before home prices rose above 100 grand. Improvements include a giant tile mosaic of an acoustic guitar on the front porch and installing a wooden deck and fire pit out back. “It’s a party house,” he says proudly.

CD: Out on the Road, recorded with Steve Rosicky, who helps out on piano, percussion and toy piano, and Michael Hoag, on electric bass.

A twist on blues guitar: “I mix a lot of influences together,” Korman says. “I took lessons from a really good guitarist, Jimmy Griswold, a blues player. He taught me so much stuff about Blue Note jazz that doesn’t sound like the blues, but it is. … I will do a straight pentatonic scale — that’s common in the blues — but instead I’ll play fragments of the chord. … I’ll play notes based on horn players — it’s all in the phrasing — and I mix country, too.”

Far-flung influences: Korman’s favorite band in high school was British punk band Crass. He also digs 1960s-era country, Drive-By Truckers, Todd Snyder and Brazilian bossa nova.

Painterly influences: Korman creates musical and visual pastiches. He’s a painter and graphic designer and comes from a family of artists. A painting by his great uncle Tanasko Milovich hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Stage axes: Guitars played live include a Gretsch 6120 and a Memphis-made Gibson ES 335. Korman will also bust out a harmonica, too.

Love ’em and laugh at ’em: Having received a break-up letter recently, Korman became inspired to write his latest song, Dear John Blues. Unlike sad tunes he’d written in the past, he decided to play it upbeat. “I said, ‘Screw this s—! I’m going to write a sing-along Bob Dylan song!”

Hear ’em: Korman and Angelo perform an acoustic set at 6 p.m. on Sunday with Rebekah Pulley and Rob Pastore, Experimental Pilot, Dean Johanesen and Russ Van Cleave Some for the premiere Beer Garden unplugged showcase at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $3. (813) 241-8600. myspace.com/memphis trainunion


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