Get to know alt-country rockers Larabee

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Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Matt Maguire’s new recording project is Larabee. He recently released a four-song EP called Expose A Little Wire; the EP was produced by Ken Buono, a veteran of the Philly scene who has played drums with Flight Of Mavis, Buzz Zeemer, and his band The Tell-Alls. (The Tell-Alls contributed to this past year’s 12 Days Of Local Christmas with the song “Bright Lights Of Christmas.”)

Reaching a little further back, Maguire was also the lead singer of The Bensons back in the late ’80s—a band that broke up after only a couple of years together. As for his decade-and-a-half absence from music in between The Bensons and his most recent work, Maguire had this to say in an e-mail:

“The Bensons wrapped up in 1991 following the departure of Joe Miralles, original founding member and drummer. Playing clubs in Philadelphia had run its course and I ended the band and went to law school (not particularly rock and roll, but true), got married and started a family. The guitars collected dust for almost 15 years. In 2007, I was asked by my former bandmate Joe Miralles if I had any interest in playing an acoustic coffee house show.  Joe continued playing since the end of The Bensons as a solo artist.  I played a show with Joe in early 2007. Towards the end of 2007, the phone rang again from Joe with another show opportunity that was in a bar setting and would involve a full band. I put together a band called The Miners for that show and we ended up playing a handful of shows through 2009.

At that time I realized that keeping a live performing band together and working to play clubs seemed to feel more like work and less like fun. I decided to turn my attention to writing and recording my songs with a broader set of instruments than a two guitar, bass and drum band could do. I contacted Ken Buono, whom I had known since the early days of Ken’s first band Flight of Mavis, to see if he had any interest in helping me record some songs. I was originally looking for Ken to just play drums. It turned out that Ken ran his own home recording studio and that his playing capabilities extended far beyond drums and included bass guitar, guitar, and piano. With Ken producing the tracks and playing multiple instruments, we recorded our EP throughout 2010 and called upon several guest musicians to fill out the sound including former Go To Blazes bassist Topher Horner on upright bass; his sister Becky Horner on cello; Isaac Standford of Philadelphia’s garage country band Gas Money on pedal steel guitar and former Bensons’ drummer Joe Miralles to help out on background vocals.”

Larabee’s EP is a terrific collection of alternative-country rock and roll dosed with a power-pop sensibilities. The guitars shimmer (“Little Liar”), the songs are super melodic, and the arrangements are well crafted (“Forever’s Ending”). There is a timelessness to the sound of these songs that makes them comfortable and refreshing at the same time.

Below, check out the song “Cold Dark Night” and the video for “Little Liar.”

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