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  • Writer's pictureMatt Fogelson


The Suitcase Junket is a one-man band from Amherst, Mass., starring Matt Lorenz.  To say Lorenz has a penchant for minimalism would itself be unduly minimalist.  He plays an acoustic guitar he found in a dumpster and uses various detritus picked up along the way as percussion instruments, including an old accordion case that he employs as a bass drum and a baby shoe that he tapes to a pedal and strikes against a gas can.

At a recent concert deep in a redwood grove at the University of California’s Botanical Garden in Berkeley, Lorenz’ s introduction of the baby shoe drew a few gasps. But he then explained the shoe had been worn by both himself and his sister. “That just went from a creepy ‘ooh!’ to a sweet “ahh!’”, he remarked.

It's all pretty humble stuff, but the music Lorenz creates from his personal junkyard is engaging and unique.  It's equal parts folk, blues, bluegrass, and when he kicks up the distortion, punk.  “Earth Apple,” from the Junket’s first album, Make Time (2015), is all of the above.  Check it out.

“Twisted Fate,” also from Make Time, takes things down a notch and features a type of harmonic yodel Lorenz creates, he explained in the redwood grove, by placing his tongue in some kind of weird relation to his teeth and the bridge of his mouth. It's a skill he says he honed driving for hours down lonely byways from gig to gig.

The Junket recently released a new album, Pile Driver, the title of which derives, Lorenz says, from his real job description: driving his pile of garbage around. One of the standout tracks is the hard rocking “Evangeline” about a woman not to be messed with.

One final shout out for “Busted Gut,” also from Pile Driver. It'll soothe you after the adrenaline of “Evangeline” wears off.

Although The Suitcase Junket’s shtick has a decidedly carnival barker feel to it, the music is the thing and it's the real deal.


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