Day 288: Banshee Murmurs

The Awesome Mitten - Alex Reynolds
Alex Reynolds, creator of the one-man band, Banshee Murmurs.

Banshee Murmurs, a one-man band based out of Ferndale, is opening Michiganders’ eyes to a new genre rising in popularity known as Folkulele. Alex Reynolds, who serves as the brains and the talent behind the music, recently released his debut album, Mind Alters, on CD and as a digital download online.

According to Irish folklore, a banshee is a fairy who wails when someone is about to die. The question is, what happens when a banshee murmurs?  Although the name would suggest it might produce a dark, almost spooky sound, the actual effect of the album is quite different. The album boasts ambient, haunting vocal melodies, but those lines are laid over rhythmic ukulele and guitar tunes that add a folky drive to each song. Reynolds has only been plucking the ukulele strings for three years but has a long history of playing the guitar. For years he played the same original guitar riffs over and over until they became full fledged songs. Eventually, Reynolds recorded them all and made them into an album.

As far as inspiration goes, Reynolds looks to some well-known and independent bands like Fleet Foxes and Of Montreal, but he also attributes some of the credit to local Detroit bands.

“There’s nothing quite like the Detroit music scene. Granted, I’ve never seen any other music scenes…Michigan’s all I’ve ever known. But growing up in the metro-Detroit area I’ve met a lot of local Detroit musicians–even work with some–and have been influenced by all of them,” Reynolds says.

One of his greatest joys comes from experiencing performances by talented musicians for a fraction of the price of big name performers, and being just as satisfied. As he puts it: “Michigan has done a really good job of making music easy and accessible.”

The Awesome Mitten - Banshee MurmursAlong with writing and performing his own music, Reynolds dreams of creating a label called Mitten Records. Still in the creation stages, Reynolds, along with his good friend and fellow musician John Spencer, hope to establish a musical version of the Criterion Film Collection that focuses specifically on Michigan bands. Both are extremely passionate about the Michigan music scene and want to expose to a wider audience just what kind of talent we grow here in the mitten!
If you want to listen to Mind Alters, and discover the wonder that is Folkulele music, and if you find yourself craving more, as Reynolds puts it, “mysterious folk noises,” check out his website and Facebook page.

Jessie Elliott, Music Director

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Enter for the chance to win a copy of the latest Banshee Murmurs album, Mind Alters![/box]