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Mighty Music: The Fine and Dandy Trio

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An Interview with the Fine and Dandy Trio

Fine and Dandy Trio, NorthamptonLast Friday, I had the good fortune to cavort with a local band by the name of The Fine and Dandy Trio. Don’t let the name fool you, folks: while these gents are fine and dandy, they are five musicians, not three. “Why not change the name?” I inquired. “Because they never see us coming,” lead vocalist Tom Wraight quipped.

Wraight plays guitar and sings lead for the old timey Americana Fine and Dandy Trio—a numerically anomalous name that’s endured since he teamed up as a two-man band in 2007 with then fellow student Nick Brown, at the University of Massachusetts. Brown, who plays mandolin, emphatically agrees that the name should remain unchanged, as do the other band members. “You know?” Amato Zinno chimed in, “It’s like Monty Python: 1, 2, 5!” Zinno plays upright bass, while Ben Truboff picks a mean banjo, and Louis Freilicher finagles the fiddle. Together, these five produce satisfying tunes with an infectious backbeat: firm foot tapping to grandiose do-si-doing ensued when they played Friday at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall. 

Their music is both timely and timeless: from the Carolina Chocolate drops to Ray LaMontagne, old school blues, and what I refer to as “whiskey folk rock”, is experiencing a full-on revival. The Fine and Dandy fellows fit into this folksy renaissance: they incorporate influence by Southern pioneers like Mississippi Jon Hurt and Doc Boggs, with contemporary artists such as Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and the dynamic Esperanza Spaulding. They play occasional covers, like the ballad “John Henry”, but their sound is all their own when they riff on originals like the funky “Monkey Time Band.” 

Fine and Dandy TrioOld-time Americana is undeniably and delightfully a community music genre. Not only does the crowd support the music beats with clappin’ and knee splappin’, but they are invited to sing as well, as with the song “Whiskey Rain.” “From the Sky!” the band sings, and the audience echoes, “From the Sky!” and then altogether: “This whiskey will be raining from the sky!” And on it feverishly goes. 

While Brown and Wraight share songwriting and lead the singing, the band’s sound results from a holistic effort, with each man lending their voice and musical bravado. Backstage, the set list is finalized in about two minutes after a read through, and a few nods, as each tuned their instrument, and sang a few verses. This tune-up reflects the attitude of the band: “We’ve never had an audition,” Wraight explains, the group is “just friends getting together to play good music,” and drink whiskey. In fact, their website describes their general presence as “whiskey-drinkin’ foot-stompin’ tomfoolery,” and it is highly enjoyable. However, all this talk of whiskey may be misleading, as these fine fellows drink beer too. 

Finally, I asked what their band would be if it was a movie: the answers varied from Stand by Me to Truboff’s choice of The Princess Bride. Yet Freilicher’s response reveals the band’s deeper intent: “The Blues Brothers, because, I mean, we’re on a mission from God.” There you have it, from two to five, this holy trio is triumphant. 

The Fine and Dandy Trio’s next show is on Friday, March 11th at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls at 8pm. You can also catch them on Saturday, March 18th at the Yellow Sofa in Northampton at 8:30pm. Their first album, unnamed as of yet, is due out in late April.
Want to hear their tunes? Want a Fine and Dandy Trio hat? Visit their home site:

–Audrey Kallenberger is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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