On the June 27, Mainely Brews, in Waterville, will be invade by The Galley Rats. Now, before anyone calls the health inspector or a certain Pied Piper, panic not — this is a quartet of talented musicians (Pat Sylvia, guitar and vocals; Caleb Sweet, bass and vocals; Drew Albert, drums and vocals; and founder Colin Graebert, fiddle and vocals) who play folk rock music with sea chanteys, Irish and Canadian drinking songs, bluegrass overtones and some classic rock songs thrown in for good measure. In a recent interview from his Bangor home, Colin Graebert was more than happy to shed some light on his band, their history and what folks can expect at Waterville’s premier club.

Q: I went to your website (www.galleyrats.com) and found some songs that could be streamed. Is that a live album that you recorded?

Graebert: No, not really — it was a recording of a live show we did up at the Brewer Performing Arts Center. Actually it was just about over a year ago. We did it in June of 2013 — and it’s more like out demo because we haven’t really sat down in the studio yet. But that’s one of the things we’re planning on doing. We’re hoping to raise enough money this summer to go into the studio either mid-winter/early-spring and hopefully have an album out for release come summer of next year.

Q: Are you basically a cover band or do you write your own material, as well?

Graebert: We’ve been writing quite a bit and we’re just starting to debut our original tunes, but I’d say we really tackle a lot of traditional material. A lot of those fiddle tunes are old traditional standards — a number of the tunes we do are old sea chanteys and Irish tunes, stuff like that. We’re trying to write in that style to get our originals out.

Q: I’m a huge fan of Great Big Sea and when listening to your material on your website, that band came to mind.

Graebert: We’re huge Great Big Sea fans, as well. I, especially … I had friends in high school who went on to school in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and they brought back all these Great Big Sea CDs and I just tore them apart. I loved it!

Q: I noticed on the website that you wear another hat, musically speaking.

Graebert: I wear a number of different hats. I’m a full-time musician so to make up the hours I do a number of different projects. The backbone of my work is actually piano stuff. I play in a four-piece jazz band, I play keyboards and do vocals in a special function/party R&B band, I do a lot of accompany work for schools and choruses and stuff like that. I used to do a great deal of musical direction for musical theaters. For a while I was doing almost every show at the Penobscot Theatre up in Bangor as a musical director … and I do a little light, easy-listening jazz piano at restaurants and stuff to plug in all the other holes in the schedule. The Galley Rats really hit up the Friday-Saturday parts of my life.

Q: How long have the Galley Rats been around?

Graebert: Well, this particular lineup started rehearsals in either January or February of last year. We did one of our first gigs as a trio in May and then our first time actually performing all together was that Brewer Performing Arts Centre show that we recorded.

Q: Now the lineup that’s listed on the website is the foursome that’s coming to Waterville, right?

Graebert: Yes, that’s the group. The drummer may not be able to make it — he’s supposed to be going to Texas the very next day, and that’s a pretty late night to be flying out to Texas the next morning. But for sure myself, the guitar player and the bass player will be there.

Q: Have you ever played at Mainely Brews before?

Graebert: The Galley Rats have not played at Mainely Brews. I have played there as part of the Aurora Jazz Project, a funk-fusion ensemble, so I’m familiar with the space. I really love it. I was really excited to get a chance to bring The Galley Rats in there because I think we’ll be a really great match for the tavern there.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article — especially seeing this will be your band’s venue debut?

Graebert: Just that we’re really excited to be coming to Waterville. This is our first crack at Waterville — we’ve been mostly playing either up in Bangor or down in Wells and Ogunquit. We’re looking forward to playing for the folks at Mainely Brews and we hope that everybody has a good time!

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


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