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Tertian Harmony Meets Appalachia: Bad Keys Of The Mountain

The Bad Keys of the Mountain blend their rock, blues and alternative music influences

Joey Lafferty, Joey Reese and David McGuire

to create a unique soul-filled sound. That passion screams from the songs on their latest album. After talking to David and listening to their new music, my first thought was, “There’s A LOT of life in this.” The pandemic changed things for artists, especially musicians. As David would say, “Some good, some bad.” But the beautiful music and writing that came out of the process and journey The Bad Keys travelled on together produced a collection of songs - with not one bad key in the whole lot.

Folklore Music Exchange in Charleston, WV, hosted the listening party for the new album, which was said to be weird but cool. With the way things are shifting in the world around us, we’ve all had to find alternative ways to put art out into the world. The Bad Keys of the Mountain thought outside the box for this album, and it’s very evident. I asked David, “What’s Different about this album?” He quickly responded, “A lot more texture with vocally expanded harmonies. It’s the next level of what we can do. The main thing for me was concentrating on vocal harmonies getting that lush Beatles/Beachboys kind of sound.”

Formed by David McGuire, songwriter/singer/guitarist, the band also features Joey Lafferty on bass guitar and Joey Reese on drums. Their latest album, “As It Is”, features 12 original songs and is currently available on all streaming platforms. David told me that the “unofficial” album release party will be when they jam with Huntington Blues Society on April 16, 2022, at Black Sheep Burritos & Brews in Huntington, WV.

“The album title and song “As It Is” comes from the Bhagavad Gita,” David told me.

“But I never read it. The front cover was inspiring.” I laughed and explained, “I have a copy. I’ve never read the whole thing either.” But, what I do know is that the Bhagavad of Gita has five fundamental truths, told throughout the scriptures, in the themes of knowledge, action and love. Love is what is meant to be the “take away” from this book. Fitting for The Bad Keys of the Mountain because “As It Is” floods the listener with intense feelings of passion and love-filled music.

Talking to David honestly reminds me of an interview I once saw with Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. She’s being interviewed after a live performance, and she says in this very raw, husky Sharon Jones voice, “Don’t tell us we’re retro. There’s nothing retro about Charles, and there’s nothing retro about me. We are soul.” As a musician myself, this is what I love about the entire album “As It Is.” When you hear the instruments and voices on all of these tracks - soul comes out. You might be reminded of songs or music from the past because there’s a lot of genuine nostalgia in this album.

When I asked, “What’s next?” He never skipped a beat, “Another album. I’ve got so much material. I don’t feel like chasing down gigs. The recording process is so much more fulfilling right now than being on the road. I write so much, and I have enough for at least eight more songs.” Being a recovering addict, David quit playing music when he got clean, “It was a process of getting back into it without the drugs. Having quit playing music, there was still something inside me gnawing to get out. In 2012, I met a drummer Al Folk who helped me figure out how to navigate music without drugs.”

As I talked to David, I realized what a genuinely poignant person he is when talking about music. He told me of a quote he read in Galladrielle Allman’s Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman, “Time is short, and death is real, but so is art…and it defies them both.” He went on to tell me, “It’s really poignant for me. I make art, and it will be here after me, even if it’s for your kids or your family. For me, I don’t have to force it - it just pours out of me.”

You can watch their latest music video, a Terri Gilliam style, cut-up animation video on YouTube.



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