The following is written by the fabulous Imade Borha and it will appear in this week’s edition of 72 Hours. If you dig, you can follow her on Twitter here. Enjoy!
On Second Street in downtown Frederick, Fuzzy Match band members walked down crumbling cellar steps into an unfinished basement. They came there to rehearse their fluid style of soul, rock and blues before their Alive@Five show on Sept. 14.
Saxophonist Brian Wilson and bass guitarist Jon Sandman weren’t able to make rehearsal, but lead singer Phil Adams, guitarist Smith Yewell, keyboardist Kevin Zarcone and drummer Dillon Bard, who newly joined Fuzzy Match, soldiered on as a pared down crew.
The band includes members from vastly different walks of life. Bard has a diverse musical background that includes death metal. Zarcone came from the music theater world. “We can go from Elvis to Bruno Mars,” Yewell said.
During an act of serendipity, three of the group members converged at a Welocalize company karaoke in 2012, and Fuzzy Match was born.
Yewell is founder and CEO of Welocalize, a translation and marketing company where Adams and Zarcone also work. The company is responsible for the group’s name, since Yewell crowdsourced ideas to arrive at Fuzzy Match, a technical term when two database entries aren’t exactly the same.
“He rocked the company karaoke,” Yewell remembered of Adams’ full-throttle performance.
Adams is known to sing on a barstand and occasionally block traffic when the feeling strikes. Even at rehearsal, Adams doesn’t hold back. But his reckless abandon style of singing is relatively new.
Other than at his dad’s church, the karaoke performance was the first time he sang in front of people, he said. The Boston native, raised by a Jamaican father and a Honduran mother, couldn’t even watch “Smurfs” because his household was so strict. The exasperation was still apparent in his voice when he said his hip-hop tapes, recorded from the radio, were thrown out by his father.
Adams rarely wanted to sing in his father’s church, but performing for Fuzzy Match has unleashed a flood of creativity. He’s tasked with providing not only high-energy vocals but lyrics for original material. Adams typically improvises lyrics on the spot during recording sessions. Their yet-to-be-titled project is slated for a late fall release.
“I don’t write songs for people; I write songs about people,” Adams warned. “It’s either a good thing or a really bad thing.”
Adams cited the lyrics in the deceptively upbeat “Movin’ On” as an example. “You used to give me butterflies but now your a— makes me sick and I’m moving on,” he said. “When you break it down, it’s a nice little un-love letter.”
At the recent rehearsal, they played “Ooowee,” a bluesy song about Adams in ironically better times after his marriage ended. Adams was newly single at 35 for the first time in his adult life. He planned a “single summer” until he met the woman who would become his current wife.
Fuzzy Match often performs songs about the highs and lows of love, but the group’s main focus is simply adding some joy to weddings, private parties and charity events, and in the case of this week’s Alive@Five, to the crowd at Carroll Creek.