Up on The Farm: Joey Mutis sows seeds of album in creative fields of The Electric Farm rock band
Joey Mutis III is best-known as lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the rock band, The Electric Farm, and has rarely done solo gigs, even though his performance and original songs sound great in that format.
Mutis will perform at 7 p.m., Sept. 1 in the “Virtual Ice House Tonight” series in a previously-taped concert.
When Mutis sings and plays his acoustic guitar, you can concentrate on his sublime melodies and lyrics. His gentle presence and high, wavering voice makes him sound fragile at times, while at other times, his fluid guitar work gives him a power-pop sound. He reaches the goals he sets for his Electric Farm albums: “lots of atmosphere, beautiful and mysterious, that takes you on a journey.”
Mutis has been compared to everyone from Neil Young and Nick Drake to Pink Floyd in their more melodic moments. One producer said he sounded like “Donovan backed by the Alan Parsons Project.”
“I have some folk leanings but I’m not a folk artist,” Mutis says in a phone interview from his Germansville home. “I do what I do naturally. I follow my own path. I’m not trying to sound like somebody. I do what I do to make myself happy.
“Ray Davies of the Kinks is my songwriting hero, my greatest teacher,” says Mutis. “Before that, writing was like a diary about myself. I never liked my songs. I had an epiphany when I heard [The Kinks’] ‘Waterloo Sunset.’ Ray writes songs about characters and people.”
Last year, Mutis released the fourth Electric Farm album, “Unglued.”
“It covers the soft pop part of the musical landscape. It has a lot of spacey elements and spookiness, mixed on an analog board without special effects. It was the opposite of the usual recording method, since I played and sang at the same time instead of doing the vocals separately.”
Mutis draws his songwriting ideas from a variety of sources. “Ninety percent of what I do is waiting for inspiration. I take what I am given and follow it. I accept that. There is a mysterious thing that flows through you. But not by choice.”
From “Unglued,” “The Wayward Wind” is a “folky, country song.”
“Down” is about a UFO sighting Mutis says he had when he was 11-years-old.
“Counting Stars” is “about a little boy finding a telescope who spends the night counting stars in the sky.”
For “On A Summer’s Day,” he says, “I was driving down the road when I had an overwhelming feeling of some sort of presence watching over me concerning people in my family.”
Mutis describes The Electric Farm, which might be considered as another name for the Joey Mutis Band. as “taking soft pop into a folky space rock situation.”
Mutis has worked with keyboardist Mike Frank for a number of years. As a former professor at Temple University, Frank brought in a rotating selection of “cream of the crop” Temple grads on bass and drums.
The “Virtual IceHouse” solo show might be the first of several for Mutis.
“I was prepared for this. I have wanted to play out more and do more solo gigs, a reason to play by myself,” Mutis says.
Mutis does all originals in the IceHouse concert. “Some are from ‘Unglued,’ and some are songs I haven’t played in over a decade.”
Listeners can get a different take on his Electric Farm material and see how it developed.
“People who know the songs can see their genesis and hear them coming from a different angle. The songs sound ready and don’t necessarily need accompaniment, which I like.”
Information: The Joey Mutis-The Electric Farm: https://theelectricfarm.wixsite.com/theelectricfarm. Electric Farm CDs can be purchased on the website, which also has links for digital sales. Suggested donations for the Charles A Brown Ice House concert can be made at: http://paypal.me/theelectricfarm or www.venmo.com/Susan-Hartman-17