Find smart music with Rag and Bone Shop

ellen leahy 08/07/08More articles
The Rag and Bone Shop delivers a great night out to the true listener:

Time is what we make of it. And in the 21st century, humans so desperately need to understand quickly. Sort and categorize. Ask any musician today what it is they do, and if they can’t fit into a recognizable genre in five seconds or less, they aren’t going to sell very well.

This is where the Rag and Bone Shop doesn’t come to play. Two guys named Carl and Karl with two guitars and a bag of musical tricks are really having fun with the art form known as music. Karl Sperber (of Jamesville), a psychologist, photographer, percussionist, flutist, vocalist, guitarist and sound designer – has hooked up with Carl Lovell (of Liverpool), a wondrous guitarist, as well as guitar teacher. The two men are The Rag-and-Bone Shop.

From Sperber’s web site: Carl Lovell and Karl Sperber perform fresh music, with jazz and world-music influences, presented in original arrangements and performed on acoustic and electric guitars, flutes, saxophones, percussion and vocals. Their music ranges from soothing an contemplative, to passionate, to playful; Music by composers as diverse as Paul Simon, Miles Davis, Sting, and Pat Metheney. The result is a repertoire that is varied in mood, texture and impact. --

At a recent performance at the Creekside Books and Coffee in Skaneateles, add Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison to The Rag and Bone Shop’s songwriters they interpret list. As great a song as Morrison’s “Moon Dance” is, it is also pretty stale. This isn’t the case with The Rag and Bone Shop’s interpretation. The two men have an ability to break a song down and arrange it so it is at the same time fresh and familiar. Songs you may have heard a hundred times before, become new again. It’s like falling in love all over again, with a first love. There is a new understanding, but also the familiar.

The two play in and around CNY at the more contemplative venues. Yes, they can perform background music, but really it would be a waste of their talents.

A lady joins in
Also at the Creekside, Tamaralee Schutt (of Liverpool), a ballsy, female vocalist, performed at the end of each set with the two Karl-Carls. Schutt, who just started rehearsing with the guys, was a little hesitant until she opened her mouth. Her voice was a fusion of stage and jazz. It was also handsome, and she could carry a tune with intense phrasing, and knew how to scat. Her interpretation of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s song about the harsh reality of ending a love affair, “How insensitive,” knocked the audience out. One bachelor was heard to mutter, “Remind me not to ask her out, ouch.”

She said, the guys went tango on a bossa nova beat, and she followed along, happily.

Schutt also plays the trumpet – a silver one.

The Rag and Bone Shop isn’t all polished and shiny. Instead it is as the name implies, back to basics, raw and pure and elemental. It will be fun to watch how the duo, now potential trio, evolves.

The Rag and Bone Shop offer an unusual night out – where one can venture back into some beautiful music that is in essence very thought provoking, sophisticated and charming.

They often perform at Walter’s Restaurant and Canal Café at 7076 Cedar Bay Road, Fayettville or the Creekside in Skaneateles, plus more. Go to for more information or call 762-8188 or e-mail

Why Rag and Bone Shop?
It’s from the William Butler Yeats’ poem, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion.” Which loosely translated comes down to the basics. Breaking life down to start fresh, one ends up with but the rags and bones. As dismal as this might seem, it can also be thought of as the beginning of rising again with nothing left to lose.

TAGS: Rag and Bond Shop,jazz fusion,Sperber,Lovell,Yeats,Tamaralee Schutt ,creekside,skaneateles
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 2.7/5 (20 votes cast)

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