We are proud to announce that Tongue in Cheek will be performing at our first Pop Up Art Show on Saturday, May 21st from 6 to 10 at The Mt Vernon Marketplace!
Though the current sextet began in earnest at the close of 2014, you’d have to go back before that to find the true genesis of the band. Founder and banjo player Zach Serleth, who conceived the idea, was born with the musicologist gene. As such, his ear and heart are drawn to the distant strains of a bygone era; he haunts the dusty shop of musical curiosities where he seeks to resurrect odd songs and highlight old forgotten performers. These songs are from the early ages of radio and recording, when Americans gathered in their living rooms to share and make music together. This homespun feel is what he conceived as the sound of Tongue in Cheek.
Enter the voice of the project, Bridget Cimino, who is also devotee of American music. Her sound, her look, and her demeanor are so well suited to this style, a spiritualist might conjecture that the grateful ghosts of those old performers had a hand in bringing them together. She approaches these tunes with the pure voice and unaffected delivery that gives them a ring of authenticity. Together, Bridget and Zach stand on their own as a formidable duo, but more so, they formed a fertile nucleus for the remaining parts.
Tongue in Cheek began rehearsing in North Baltimore soon afterward. In keeping with his vision of using the New Orleans model to create a palette for these tunes, he reached out to Robert Schroll to supply the round deep tuba sound that is characteristic of the genre. The smaller B flat tuba he employs give the band a snappy and supple bass sound to motor them along.
Reaching into his past stable of musical associates, he further fleshed out the rhythm section with the drummer Randy “Deeno” Jordan. Though often working with the simplicity of snare and a cymbal true to the style, Randy is a percussionist with a broad pallete and “makes a sandwich into a banquet” as they say.
Rounding out the rhythm section on guitar is multi-instrumentalist and Baltimore composer Thimble Wit. One can easily imagine Thimble as being a composer of that bygone era who surely would have penned a tune about Prohibition with the same aplomb he pens current songs about health care. In recognizing this, Tongue in Cheek is always adding his gems to their book.
Finally, since they needed someone who was actually alive when World War One vets who knew these tunes were still roaming the earth, Zach tapped Brannock Reilly to play various saxophones with the band. Brannock also has a musicologist’s bent and the old dog has been learning a lot of new/old tricks.