The Parish Festival: “Palomino”

When you think Iowa, you probably don’t necessarily think pop music. But a folk-and-jazz-tinged quintet called The Parish Festival are here to change that for you.

The core of the group–guitarist, banjoist and singer Jamey Cummins, singer Sarah Ulloa and bassist Andy Rappel–hails from Davenport, Iowa, and that’s where the first version of The Parish Festival formed back in 2005. In 2007, one of their tunes, “Well I Never,” ended up on the MTV show “Skins.” They gigged all over the Midwest, but a recent move to our little musical Mecca on the Colorado saw the band add some local talent to the mix. Joining Cummins, Ulloa and Rappel are Austin music vets Jim Foster (guitars, banjo and vocals) and Kurt Lammers (drums).

On May 28 The Parish Festival release a brand new EP, and one of the record’s stand-outs is “Palomino.” It’s an interesting tune. It begins life as a nice, earnest neo-folk number, but somewhere along the way, the song shifts. It’s still heartfelt to be sure, but they twist genres from neo-folk into something more akin to speakeasy jazz. The switch itself is really subtle, and it’s a testament to their chops as musicians that they can turn a song on its head so well without disturbing its natural anima. When they shift back, it’s just as dextrous. The Parish Festival may be part-transplants to Austin, but they’re a welcome addition to our musical fold.

If you want to see The Parish Festival live, they’re celebrating the release of their new EP Sunday, June 2 at the Spider House Ballroom.

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