The talent: The band's line up currently is this; Stacy Webster- guitar/vocal James Robinson- drums Dave Lumberg- bass Natalie Brown- violin/vocal Benj Upchurch- mandolin.
The mayfly, explains guitarist/vocalist Stacy Webster, lives for only a day, and lives only to mate.
“They just have a good time, and then they die.”
It’s a fitting, if somewhat ironic, name for a group that’s been infusing the Midwest with its own brand of bluegrass-tinted rock for the better part of a decade.
The band plays lively, improvisational shows influenced by The Who, Jerry Garcia, Art Blakely and everything in between. And they only ask one thing of their fans: just dance.
“It’s so much easier to feed off that energy, off of people who are engaged,” James says.
The Mayflies got their start in Iowa City when Patrick Bloom – who still writes for the band – called up Stacy and asked him if he’d like to start a band. Stacy jumped at the chance, and James was added soon thereafter. Davewas picked up to play bass about four years ago.
Over the years, and especially with the injection of rocker Dave, the band has moved from arrangement-heavy bluegrass to a more improvisational style of rock, all while retaining their signature mellow storytelling feel.
“If you have an arrangement that you play every night, you make mistakes,” Stacy says. “But if you improvise you can’t make mistakes. We like to let the music breathe.”
That makes laying down an album, like the newly released “A Thousand Small Things,” a creative challenge. Much of the music is created in the studio, with James laying down beats till he’s satisfied with something, and the rest of the group following his lead with their own sound. The result is a studio album that sounds live and off the cuff.
Like the bug that bears the bands name, The Mayflies have no plans to slow down any time soon.
“We’re just playing music, we don’t have any pipe dreams,” said Stacy. “I want to play with these guys the rest of my life.”