by Carmela Lewis
They’re not just any old band! Called “musician’s musicians” by many in the industry; Subdudes’ Steve Amedée & John Magnie join with IBC Colorado Blues Champion Cary Morin – three world class musicians bringing together their collective talents to form Young Ancients.
This trio of musicians first met in the late 80’s after Magnie and Amedée relocated from New Orleans to Fort Collins. Morin was working with his band The Atoll and the three were part of a vibrant Fort Collins music scene. Magnie made a guest appearance on Morin’s first recording with The Atoll titled Dream Marquee in 1994.
More recently, Magnie contacted Morin to see if he would collaborate on songwriting for other musicians. Morin agreed and with Steve Amedée on drums, the two began recording songs and trading song ideas. After a few weeks of prolific work, it was obvious that there was potential for a new band.
Young Ancients formed in the fall of 2013, working around dates with other band projects and Morin’s solo tours. In keeping with the tradition of past Magnie projects, the band’s instrumentation is atypical. Morin’s style consists of fingerstyle blues played in open tunings on a hollow body electric guitar with acoustic pickups.
Amedée has incorporated several percussion techniques into Young Ancients’ tunes. He sometimes plays a small kit with maracas instead of drumsticks, or he takes his familiar tambourine sound one step further by placing it on top of the snare drum.
When he’s not playing accordion, Magnie’s keyboard setup has changed to include a keyboard dedicated to bass sounds that he plays with his left hand. The result is a new sound created by seasoned pros.
The songs range from blues to rhythmic, acoustic based rock. The combination of Magnie’s New Orleans influenced piano lines with Morin’s fingerstyle guitar is an interesting combination. Throw in innovative percussion by one of the best guys in the business, and you have Young Ancients.
Where did these guys come from? Magnie has been playing music across the globe since 1970, when he started his first band in Denver. With influences that include Ray Charles, Professor Longhair, and his longtime friend, New Orleans piano legend James Booker, John’s years of performing are evident. From Little Queenie and the Percolators in 1970’s New Orleans, to The Subdudes through the 90’s, Magnie and Amedée performed at festivals and large venues coast to coast.
The Subdudes performed on the Late Show with David Letterman twice in the same month. Even with a busy touring schedule Magnie continued to be a driving force in the Fort Collins music scene. In 1994, John organized The Parlor Sessions at his home in Old Town featuring several local musicians. The result was live recordings made with musicians playing in the living room, kitchen, and wherever space could be found. The Parlor Sessions served to keep local musicians in touch and collaborating with each other.
Steve Amedée has a long history of playing in bands with Magnie including New Orleans band Little Queenie and the Percolators, with Magnie on keys in 1987. Easily the most identifiable aspect of The Subdudes’ sound has been Steve Amedée’s tambourine.
Indeed, just saying that the band relies on a tambourine instead of a drum kit doesn’t remotely begin to describe the fat, aggressively percussive sound that Amedée coaxes from a simple mylar-covered wooden shell. His time playing with New Orleans bands eventually ran its course. “We played four or five months around (New Orleans) and then decided we needed to move out of town before we burned ourselves out – before we lost the little bit of magic we had created. So we moved up here (to Fort Collins),” he says.
Steve grew up in a family of drummers and musicians in tiny Edgard, Louisiana. He has been a mainstay drummer/percussionist on the Colorado music scene for decades. He has traveled extensively over the years as a studio musician, playing with many world-renowned artists.
Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America and beyond like no other, from the rocking, electrified world groove band The Atoll, to the solo acoustic blues, which showcases Morin’s deft fingerstyle guitar. Cary is the 2013 International Blues Challenge Solo Champion for Colorado. With The Atoll and The Pura Fé Trio, and also as a solo artist, Morin has played
celebrated venues across the globe. He has been playing guitar since the early 1970’s and lends his vocals, songwriting, and pedal steel sound to this trio.
This power trio is an automatic classic. The instrumentation and songwriting is a unique blend of familiar sounds folks have been listening to for decades.
As one local fan stated, “If you could have a dream band created from any group of musicians, this would be it.”