Volume doesn’t scare those who aren’t faint of heart. Every acoustic singer probably has the urge to plug in and rock every now and then. A great example is The Coterie led by chief singer/songwriter Matthew Coman and the band was a needed outlet for him. Coman is a second generation songwriter with an undeniable talent for putting a song together. He put in his time trying solo acoustic shows without much of a splash, which isn’t uncommon for a guy with a guitar because it’s hard not to be lumped into that “one in a million” category.
So Coman put together The Coterie, this enabled him to rock out on his electric instead of strumming the night away on his acoustic. He recruited heavy hitting drummer Christgen “Binky” Solomon to be a refreshing live drum sound to his shows and Andy Blumer on bass who has a great feel for music that he inherited from his amazingly talented family which includes current Money For Nothin’ frontman Aaron Blumer. Former Grindstone Creek multi-instrumentalist and singer Tanner Ferguson was also added to the fold on keyboards and guitar. This backing band provided Coman the comfort he needed to really bring out songs he had played for years the way he always wanted them to sound. Suddenly he could play songs like “The Host and the Parasite” and the yearning “Fix On You” off his great 2013 album “No Other Animal” the way they should sound.
The Coterie performing live at Cafe Acoustic on 7/16/15. From left: Tanner Ferguson, Matthew Coman, Christgen Solomon and Andy Blumer.
The Coterie’s show at Cafe Acoustic on a hot Thursday in July just reaffirmed all of this and much more. The smokey bar will punish your eardrums but is still the finest spot to see live music in town. The Coterie is far from just Coman’s backing band though, they are truly a group effort. Coman can jam out as the excellent guitar player he is and still belts out songs just over the sonic noise in his raspy style that isn’t at the front of his vocal class but still gives him a distinct sound. His true secret weapon is Andy Blumer on bass who is great with backing harmonies to songs and has a very loose bass playing style not unlike his late father Tim from the band Remedy and his uncle Sam most know for playing in Pompous Pilot. Tanner Ferguson and Blumer are even contributing to the songwriting of The Coterie now as well making the band gel even more.
Coman’s ear for country isn’t getting satisfied as much by the group but the alternative rock edge more than makes up for it. Some newer songs like “Love To Call My Own” and a re-worked “Cold Dead Stare” show the direction they are going for their first full album as a band. Their live shows are coming together now and while they may not have the distinctiveness of Cupcake or be riding the wave of a popular trend like The Souveneers they are still a major player in St. Joseph’s music scene.