Main gig preview – Day of the Deadbeats Festival – Nightshift Magazine – May 19
A gentle but high-quality introduction to festival season as local country-soul stars The Deadbeat Apostles host their second annual all-dayer on the banks of the Thames at the historic Isis Farmhouse. While there’s no set stylistic theme the music tends towards the rootsier end of the spectrum for the most part, with the hosts’ energetic mix of Grand Ole’ Oprey and Harlem Apollo as good a climax to a day of music as you could hope for, the band led by two great vocal talents in Mike Ginger and Michelle Mayes. They’re joined across the day by local alt.country and folk-rock heroes The Epstein, back in action after a bit of a hiatus; haunting and powerful folk-drone stars The August List; rock’n’roll and rockabilly maestros The Long Insiders, channelling the spirits of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Jody Reynolds through The Cramps’ gothic mud slick; expansive bluegrass and folk ensemble The Knights of Mentis; blues rockers The Ragged Charms; atmospheric, spaced-out gloom rockers Flights of Helios, coming in where Radiohead meets Neu!; Delta and Chicago blues duo Beard of Destiny, and veteran local guitarist Johnny Hinkes’ traditional country crew The Prairie Clams. As well as the music, beer and all that necessary stuff, there’ll be kid-friendly activities and sideshows. Summer’s here folks, here’s the entry gate.
The Deadbeat Apostles support Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind – The Bullingdon – Nightshift Magazine May 19
The Deadbeat Apostles provide a typically gutsy and uplifting warm-up to tonight’s Stand Up To Racism show. The local six-piece take classic country rock traditions and lovingly update them for the modern age, particularly strong on vocal arrangements. They represent the lighter side of Oxford’s roots and Americana scene, the emphasis firmly on belting out a tune and having a dance, and their Day of the Deadbeats festival at the Isis on May 4th should be unmissable.
It’s nearly thirty years since I last encountered JimJones in his (now revived) band Thee Hypnotics, at the Treworgey Tree Fayre near Liskeard. That notorious festival was so royally fucked-up that it ended with the official security going around in gangs mugging people, even taking the watches off their wrists. But the band played a dynamite set, nearly blowing their friends and headliners Loop offstage. Never one to opt for a quiet life Jones has soldiered on, forming The Righteous Mind in 2014 after the breakup of The Jim Jones Revue. Tonight they all look fantastic: pointed quiffs, sharp clothes and enough black hair dye to sink
a navy. Two keyboard players face each other across the stage while the upright musicians pose
unashamedly in their all black attire. The backbone and real star is the drummer: tight, expressive and hard-hitting in every sense. Jones himself spends much of the set shaking a pair of maracas, his deep, throaty voice bearing all the hallmarks of a life consumed in and by rock‘n’roll. There’s plenty of material from new album ‘CollectiV’, with its industrial guitar sound right at the edge of distortion, Jones playing Keith Richards’ 1964 Gibson Hummingbird throughout the LP. Taken as a whole everything works together perfectly, wild abandon matched with solid songwriting and blazingly proficient playing. The
Bully is the perfect size for the experience, and even legendary record producer John Leckie has
found his way to Cowley Road to see what the fuss is about. With an ear to bands like The Cramps and
even a nod to Roy Orbison, Jim Jones continues his own rock‘n’roll journey, and everyone here is very
happy to be along for the ride.
‘Bigger Man’ – Single review – Nightshift Magazine – April 2019
From The August List’s drone-laden country gothic, through The Epstein’s cinematic prairie pop, to Ags Connolly’s outlaw ballads, country music has a firm grip on the local scene, and The Deadbeat Apostles offer another angle on the scene: bold, earthy and maybe a little more showy than some of their counterparts. That probably comes from the vocal interaction between Mike Ginger and Michelle Mayes: he rough hewn and roustabout; her richly soulful, all Stetsons and leopard print, together uplifting even while singing the blues. Backed by traditional steel twang and scraping fiddle ‘Bigger Man’ marks The Deadbeats out as Oxford’s most unabashedly Nashville friendly country act, no little hint of Kenny Rogers
and Tammy Wynette about this rousingly hangdog anthem. Two more fingers of gulping whiskey please barman, we’re gonna be here all night.
Oxfordshire Music Scene Winter 2019 – Day of the Deadbeats Review at The Isis Farmhouse
Some of the walls are painted blood red. On others, the wallpaper peels away, betraying decades of neglect. Thick fumes of alcohol hang in the air and, above our heads, a crystal chandelier swings. Here we are again at the Isis Farmhouse, deep in the heart of Oxford’s Country Music world, for the bi-monthly Day of
the Deadbeats. Slumped around a table near the out of tune piano sit our hosts, the six members of The Deadbeat Apostles. For at least an hour they share one packet of crisps between them, and then stride up for their opening set. It’s early in the evening and there are still families finishing their supper in the pub.
Lead guitarist Jake Swinhoe thrashes an E major chord on his Gretsch and children look genuinely terrified. Vocalist Mike “The Mick” Ginger tears into the truck driving classic Six Days on the Road with its daunting vision of “little white pills and eyes open wide.” Kin folks, it’s time to start drinking, heavily.
These regular events are a pure shot of Nashville in the city’s arm. The Deadbeats usually take care of the open and closing sets, joined half way by special guests who have serious nerve to turn up here without at least donning a ten gallon Stetson hat. By the end of the evening people who should know better are up on table dancing. The band’s other lead singer Michelle “Alabama” Mayes spits out a fiery rendition of
Jackson and the group speed through Bigger Man, Run Devil Run and other standouts from their debut LP. Another fine night in a unique riverside venue and all that’s left come closing time is the promise of another Sunday morning coming down. (JB)
Nightshift Magazine – Common People Oxford Review – June 2018
Up against The Jacksons, DEADBEAT APOSTLES play to a smaller crowd than they deserve, particularly since they put on a far more inclusive and uplifting show than their somewhat rambling mainstage counterparts. With not one but two show-stealing singers, their mix of r’n’b bangers and bottom-of-a- glass laments bridge the gap between afterhours blues shack and big stage soul revue and they bring to a close a day that threatened a wash-out but delivered a genuine celebration of what’s best in Oxford music. Dale Kattack
Nightshift Magazine – The Day of the Deadbeats Album Review – May 2018
From a six piece band you could describe as seasoned and gnarly, you’d expect the debut album by The Deadbeat Apostles to be a straightforward, evangelical, hoe-down blues romp: the kind of shit-kicking rowdiness they are adroit at regularly starting across the county. But laid out in the round, their party pieces, given the chance to show their heritage and breadth, take on a higher level of musical wisdom and reverence. This is largely due to being individually fronted by two very special singers: Mike Ginger, whose rampant gusto can swing from a raucous Roger Daltrey on first track ‘Awkward Age’, all the way over to an urbane cowboy Mick Hucknell on ‘Can’t Stop The Rain’ and ‘Man Who Sold His Soul’, and Michelle Mayes, a real soulful belter in the mould of Eddi Reader who totally commands her tracks `Stand Up’ and ‘Gonna Be Different’. Better still, when their alchemy is corralled into a duet on the heavenly country of ‘Lonesome’, their combined qualities ooze out of a real peach of a song. The band’s solid music ranges wildly too, with a clutch of rocking intro riffs that would make Keith Richards fall out of his coconut tree with excitement, notably in ‘Back Lane Blues’, and the eye opening ‘Dutch Rudder’ (a hearty paean to being aided with your own onanism). They are equally at home with spiritual Americana and the deep South, with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? chug-a-lug of ‘Shall Not Repent’ showing huge rhythmic depth, alongside the slow hand National guitar twang of ‘Bigger Man’ . So if you’re one of the breathless crowd, palpitating dangerously at the end of one of The Deadbeat Apostles’ gigs, wondering if buying the album would match and extend the evening’s joy in your front room: it does, and a whole lot more besides.
OMS – Oxfordshire Music Scene – Album Review May 2018
Oxford had a long wait for the spirit of country music to seize it by the scruff of the neck. Recently we had Frances Pugh and the Whiskey Singers, Great Western Tears and even manic yodelling from the Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band. But it’s taken Deadbeat Apostles – six wayward spirits – to up the game. Day of the Deadbeats chandeliers off of gutsy crescendos and garage band guitars, with early-Nashville dripping from their strings. Backlane Blues and Bigger Man are among standout tracks here, all clanging forward in glorious, clumsy, Exile on Main Street chaos. Vocally, the group sound like Fleetwood Mac being throttled in an Alabama chicken shack by the ghosts of Hank Thompson and Kitty Wells. And believe you me country folk, anyone who throttles Fleetwood Mac is a pal of mine. (JB)
Nightshift Magazine – The Cellar Review – November 2017
If The Shapes are Wigan Casino via The Roxy, The Deadbeat Apostles are the place where The Grand Ol’ Oprey meets Harlem Apollo, steel guitar twang and Mike Ginger’s big, rootsy voice up against the phenomenal Michelle Mayes, a full-on soul belter who should be leading her own revue. Most band struggle to have one decent singer; that Deadbeat Apostles have two seems positively selfish. They’re more than generous with their good vibes though, one minute sounding like Percy Sledge gone rodeo crazy, the next going all cheesy on a song that to all intents and purposes could be The Mavericks doing a mash-up of `Eye of the Tiger’ and `Jean Genie’. By the end they’re knocking out pure goodtime roadhouse r’n’b like bedtime doesn’t exist. It does of course but we wake up Saturday morning to a text from a friend reminding us about our dancing. It takes something to get cynical old Nightshift’s feet moving but even we enjoy the good times when they’re served up so well.
Rhythm and Booze Review – Wychwood Festival
“Oxford based, The Deadbeat Apostles continued the rootsy vein over at the Hobgoblin stage with a set of soulful Americana and stripped back, driving country rock, with the likes of Blood On My Pillow, Man Who Sold His Soul and the Stax Records inspired Can’t Stop The Rain, proving that the UK is producing acts on par with anything from Nashville.”
DailyInfo Review – The Old Fire Station Oxford
“The band were ably supported by local country rock act, The Deadbeat Apostles. As well as having perhaps the two best dressed lead singers this side of the Atlantic, the band brought to the stage an old-fashioned, American-tinged style that is as endearing, as it is familiar.”
Oxfordshire Music Scene Review – Summer 2017
“If the Deadbeat Apostles take their visual cues from Jose Guadaloupe Pasada then their musical nonce might come from The Cramps or Carl Perkins. In fact they could have taken their cues from any group who wield retro guitars, on any stage, anywhere west of NYC where you’d struggle to fit a matchbox, or your 1950s second hand clothes. They are the type of assembly who could make a bastard of an album. However, for now, Oxford must suffice with their new EP on which Male Man and Badfoot are the standout tracks. Their recent support slot with The Long Insiders split middle-aged eardrums. Tinnitus turned up to 11.” (JB)
Nightshift Magazine – Demo of the Month February 2017
“Blimey. Due to the absence of much available online music until now we’d always had The Deadbeat Apostles down as a bluesy country act (what little we could ever find certainly was). This set of songs blows that early impression pretty clean out of the water. There is a distinct country element at play, notably in the slide guitar and twang of sultry opener `I Can’t Stop the Rain’, but it’s way more soulful than we’re expecting, with some rich, gospel-flavoured backing vocals to lift it all up several levels. `Pilgrim’s Dreams’ too is as much Nashville as it is Atlanta, with its loping gait and happyfeeling-sad vibe, but as it builds to a passionate conclusion, you’re starting to get rather more Wilson Pickett or Al Green than Willie Nelson out of it. The real banger, though, is final track `The Man Who Sold His Soul’, which is real old school soul, leading in with a sweet, understated Percy Sledge feel before an epic lead vocal from Mike Ginger, coupled with some seriously heroic backing vocals, make it a night to remember. The arrangement and production are exceptional and while it’s rare to get some genuine soul music in the pile, when it’s this good, it makes the wait more than worthwhile.”
What the press are saying
“They’re having so much fun in a country rockabilly, 60s British blues barrelhouse kinda way. Being different genders helps keep the vocal lines varied”
“Easy country soul from The Deadbeat Apostles”
“Oxford’s answer to the Americana scene”
“An easy country rocking outfit”
“Syrupy soul over the smoothest of the west coast”
“Like a cross between The Byrds, coke bloat era Fleetwood Mac and Dennis Wilson’s solo work”
“The classic sound of sundown”