B-sides: Calliope Musicals

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I’ve been in Austin, Texas for the past week, and the highlight of my hectic live show calendar has been Calliope Musicals, a young, up-and-coming country/folk band started by Carrie Fussell and Matt Roth less than a year ago. This is exactly the kind of thing indie fans swoon over: the chance to say we knew them back BEFORE they went mainstream and got picked up by the radio (patooie). So fall in love with them, quick!

It’s appropriate that the Musicals started after seeing an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros concert at SXSW last year; the two groups share an unbridled glee in playing homey, organic, DIY-style music that feels like it was written in someone’s cluttered bohemian studio apartment (because it was). Carrie and Matt started writing together long before the band existed; only in the last six months have they picked up their drummer, bassist, and vibraphone (!!!) player (Jason Martin, Ben Aiken, and Craig Finkelstein, respectively). If you’ve been listening to bands that don’t include a vibraphone, stop that right now. The revolution is nigh.

Start your future-love of this band here, with a live performance filmed here in Austin of “I’m Through.” It’s rough around all the right edges. Plus, look at that fringey shirt! And SUSPENDERS! Let’s not pretend those things don’t matter. They do.

In case you needed a few more reasons to be in love with Carrie, here is her response to where the band is currently drawing their inspiration from:

Right now, in writing, Matt and I are pulling a lot of inspiration from older music; think Bob Wills, Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas, and various Motown bands. One of my friends recently introduced me to Little Feat, and that is currently blowing my mind. Matt has recently been listening to David Gray and Ani DiFranco. My go-to sources of inspiration (that are responsible for my wanting to be a musician) are Poe, Jewel and Alanis Morrisette’s first albums. My sisters (10 and 12 years older than me) used to play these CDs when they took me to school as a kid, and I would always sing along with them.

Maybe I have a soft spot for musicians that grew up on “Jagged Little Pill.” Fine. I’m willing to admit that. But Carrie’s warm vocals and the band’s obviously ecstatic backing won me over all on their own. Did I mention she’s a full-time student, and the music video above is part of a school project she’s doing? Because she is, and it is. AND she name-dropped the Baby-sitter’s Club in our interview, comparing herself to Claudia Kishi (the artsy, quirky one, duh).

In other words, y’all, girls starting bands for the love of the music are alive and well. AND they read BSC books, AND they’re studying at the same time. Bestill our beating hearts!

by Katie Presley
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Katie Presley is a writer and editor currently based on the East Coast (help, how did this happen??). She's been with Bitch in one form or another since 2010, when she started as a New Media Intern, and most recently served as Bitch's first and only Music Editor, from 2016-2017. Past resume lines include Assistant Producer for All Songs Considered at NPR Music, panelist on Pop Culture Happy Hour, and bylines at NPR and Ms. Katie is also a doula and herbalist, and writes a blog on herbal medicine, "The Herbal Apprentice." She also co-founded the first full-spectrum doula organization in Texas, The Bridge Collective. She is also a late-comer to being a Dog Person, but currently lives with four cats. 

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3 Comments Have Been Posted


I saw Calliope play at Saxon Pub several months ago and it was AMAZING!!! I'm so happy they are getting the respect they deserve.

Just heard these guys last

Just heard these guys last Friday night...LOVE! Can't wait to see them again!!

love the song, love the babysitters' club

totally going to check them out at scoot inn this wkend!

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