Despite the tribulations of being a musician during the pandemic, an upside was having more time to write, record and release new music. The Toledo area has had an abundance of new material released by local artists recently. Among them, Perrysburg-based Minglewood Labor Camp just debuted their latest album “Michigan Cadillac”.
An Americana string band performing and recording since 2009, Minglewood formed in bandmate Paul Matthew’s kitchen as a honky tonk/Harry Smith Anthology cover band, Bandmates quickly realized they wanted to write songs, not cover songs. The group consists of Zack Kunkle (bass and vocals), Kevin Haberkamp (banjo and vocals), “The Reverend” Mike Peters (dobro and steel guitar), “GROK” Greg Darr (lead guitar) and Paul Matthews (harmonica, rhythm guitar and kazoo– yes, kazoo). Although the influences of the band vary, they all harken back to recordings of American folk music. The love and respect for that music brought Minglewood Labor Camp together, and keeps them together.
“Michigan Cadillac” is the follow-up to the band’s self-titled 2016 release. While they kept it simple with their first album — no budget, just play and record — the band members took their time and crafted the songs and sounds more meticulously for “Michigan Cadillac.”
According to Matthews, it took several years to write all the material and flesh it out at live shows. Minglewood Labor Camp spent almost two years at Stone Soup Recording Studio recording twenty-two songs, enough material to make up two records. Eleven of the tracks ended up on “Michigan Cadillac,” while the rest of the tracks will be released on the group’s next album— “Guiltless Days,” scheduled for September.
of the Human Condition
“Michigan Cadillac” captures themes of historical and personal perspectives while dealing with death, love and struggle, consisting of the hardships of the human condition, toxic relationships, and hard living. As band member Zach Kunkle relates, “The songs we write may or may not be true accounts. Only we will ever know.”
The album kicks off with the somber track “What Would You Do,” showcasing the group’s range of dynamics and instrumental layers. The title track offers some rock-flavor to Minglewood’s heavy Americana roots. The album closes with the toe-tapping, spoken-word track “Shakespeare and Frenchy” in a story telling-style.
2021 is shaping up to be a good year for the group. In addition to the release of “Guiltless Days” in September, the band has a full schedule of shows supporting both new releases. Visit facebook.com/MinglewoodLC for updates on performances.
“Michigan Cadillac” is available
on most streaming services.