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Prayers of an Outlaw

Arriving May 2020

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The Duo

Jen Reilly / Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin
Eddie Bluma / Vocals, Electric Guitar

      Bio

 

Since meeting as singer-songwriters at a Chicago open mic in 2011, The New Zeitgeist has been steadily building a reputation for their tempting harmonies and lonesome spirituals, which have been said to “harbor the spirits that dwell in the hidden hollows of Appalachia”(Country Standard Time).  Jen Reilly’s country gospel roots and southern swing deeply welcome the black leather electric and pop sensibility of Eddie Bluma.  “There was immediate chemistry,” Jen states in No Depression, “yet as we explored between his twangy-blusterous grit and my tailored velvet, our songwriting together wandered untested roads and our sound became more intimately entwined.” 

 On their new album, Myths and Mortals, the duo explores the origins of oral folk tradition touching upon outlaw and rock ballads, drawing heavily from suspenseful and captivating stories of fairies, earth, and work that call into our current socio-political times.  Featuring Austin City Limits Hall of Fame steel musician Lloyd Maines, Myths and Mortals calls from the deep to weary worn trails of spirits lingering.  The New Zeitgeist shares: “Our sense of what it is to be presently human not only involves our mortal stories but also our roots from beyond.”  Steven Wine of Associated Press calls it "music that connects Dublin and Austin...like nothing else being heard in roadhouses or pubs." 

 
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Aug 2019

 

Jul 2019 


News

Catch a summary of our latest updates below. To read the full story, please join our monthly newsletter!

Catch a summary of our latest updates below. To read the full story, please join our monthly newsletter!

Our 7/12 return to The Fallout Shelter was one of the happiest band gigs we’ve had yet with collaboration of renowned percussionist Dave Mattacks & Bassist Richard Gates!!! notable, longtime WMVY DJ Barnes Newberry called our concert “sublime” and “elevated right over the top.” You can find and listen to the follow-up on the show WMVY “My Back Pages” #336 in the Archives, forever!!!   You can watch the entire unedited live broadcast of our 7/12 concert on the Extended Play Sessions pinned at the top of our FB page!


Friday July 12 7pm we return to the glamorous Fallout Shelter outside of Boston and will be joined with legendary musicians Dave Mattacks and Richard Gates!

Richard Gates is a well-respected stalwart of New England music community playing with the likes of Suzanne Vega, Patty Larkin, Ellis Paul, Dennis Brennan, as well as the band Nantucket.  Known as D.M., Dave Mattacks has been the long time drummer for Fairport Convetion, but also has recorded/toured with an incredible list of notable artists: Paul McCartney (5 CD’s), George Harrison, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Jimmy Page, Joan Armatrading, and Cat Stevens to name some.

For our local friends and folk everywhere else: this is a live broadcast. For tickets and live stream info click here: https://grcpac.yapsody.com/event/index/419756/the-new-zeitgeist


May 2019


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Feb 2019


 

Jan 2019

Due to a family tragedy, we've cancelled our performance 5/31 at the Montrose Saloon Dave Ashdown EP Release, and are postponing the release of our 2 newest songs, "Love Me on the Frontline," and "Heaven in the Eyes of Peace," along with our studio concert at WDCB scheduled on June 2, until tentatively 2020.  YOU are deeply cherished and as our audience should know how important devoted art appreciators and music enjoyers are to us in making music, so when we do anticipate a release date, you will be the first to know.


Thanks to the local supporters of Silvies’ at the Acoustic Explosion last month!  Here’s a live performance of our new song, “Heaven in the Eyes of Peace.” https://youtu.be/3UJdGpZzBAY

I hope you enjoy!   


We just finished rough mixes last weekend for our newly written songs, “Heaven in the Eyes of Peace” and “Love on the Frontline.”  Not only are we thrilled to work with tried and true engineers Mike Hagler and John Abbey of Chicago’s King size Sound Labs, but also collaborate with Boston engineer Mike Barry as we work remotely with one of the most legendary percussionists, Dave Mattacks.  We’re excited to see these tracks take shape and hope to share them with you in the next few months! 


I hope that at the beginning of this year, you are overwhelmed by the great bounty of what is possible.  During our 2018 tour on stage at The Fallout Shelter, outside of Boston, Bill Hurley formerly of Atlantic Records said to us in the interview portion of the Extended Play Sessions, “How are artists like you going to respond to times of increasing separation?”

 As many artists continue to respond to the times, we will begin the process of creating a new album in 2019, capturing the critical juncture of protest, prayers, and peace.  We are entering the studio this weekend, January 5, at Kingsize Sound Labs in Chicago with a few new tunes in the works that we’d first like to share with you!  Our newly formed country ballad, “Love on the Front Line,” is a dedicated commitment to those “others” in society and a refusal of enemy fire in the form of a love song.” 

 As a result of meeting longtime Boston Globe writer and reviewer of our last album, Steve Morse at our show at The Fallout Shelter, we have the thrilling lifetime opportunity to work with legendary drummer of Fairport Convention, Dave Mattacks on these tracks. View the live debut of “Love on the Front Line” on 10/6 at The OuttaSpace’s Back to Berwyn 1968, here! [LINK]:  

We hope our song resonates with you in some way.


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Jan 2017

Some International Happenings!!! Myths and Mortals has recently gotten radio play on Americana stations in France (ISA Radio), The Netherlands, and (aha!) Germany!  Our favorite new review is also just featured in Dutch Internet Magazine, The Next Gig, in a beautifully written review by Richard Wagnaar here: http://thenextgig.nl/the-new-zeitgeist-myths-and-mortals/ Take a second and paste it into your online translator; it’s a gift to get a description of music particular to its unique language, and it makes the music fancier! 


 

Exciting news!! After exactly one year since our album release, Myths and Mortals broke into #48 on the NACC DJ Folk charts in July, along with The Milk Carton Kids!  This month, you can now find us streaming on Bandcamp

 

Friends, you can now watch our entire unedited live concert and interview with Bill Hurley 7/20/18 on Extended Play Sessions at The Fallout Shelter, outside of Boston, HERE! :) 


 

Ghost Trails and Fairy Tales Tour!

This duo shall commence This Month, hither high time for a 21 day—3 state mobile living experience!  The Northeastern Ghost Trail and Fairy Tail tour will take us through NY, MA, and ME (as in Maine, not the personal noun), and a whole lotta travel strategically disguised among seafood ports. 

Some Venues Include: Abilene Bar and Lounge on 7/10, a live interview and in-studio performance that morning on WRUR’s Open Tunings with Scott Regan at 11am EST while we discuss how the ancient oral tradition of poetry through folk music continues to linger into our current sociopolitical times.


ONE YEAR Anniversary of 2017’s Myths and Mortals! 

Physical CD's and Eco T-Shirts are now on special sale through our website store and the Ghost Trails and Fairy Tales Tour preparation is underway, including our new promo photos on the site.  Take a look around!


The New Zeitgeist Continues Popular Live-Music Series!

Thanks to The Highland Park Landmark Newspaper for including their review of our duo's performance featured in this year's Highland Park Public Library Note-to-Note Series.  Click here for the Article! 


Our Interview by Chicago N' Beyond has just been featured in roots Journal No Depression! You can read all the nitty gritty here!


 

Surprised and delighted to learn we were in the top 20 albums of 2017 on Tampa's Community station, #WMNF! Thank you to any folks up for #TheWakingHours. :) http://www.wmnf.org/events/the-waking-hours/


 

Thanks to public and community radio, we made December's #195 in the Top 200 Folk radio charts! Our album Myths and Mortals also got a mention from Goldmine Magazine: The Collectors Record And Compact Disc Marketplace (Click here).  Here's a snippet:"Hmm. It’s been a good year for Americana and roots music. Let’s look back on some worthy discs – some by big stars, some by barely known people. (That would be us? :))


Thanks to Music Critic Tom Wilk for closing out our year with a dazzle!  To our surprise and delight, our album made the last month of the year's music column in Icon Magazine!  You can read the full review (click here), in which we are the only self-released album!

 

In reflection of October, some exciting news from The New Zeitgeist is that Myths and Mortals ranked #5 in the top airplay playlist at WERU-FM Community Radio 89.9 in Blue Hill, Maine!  A Northeast tour is in the works for the summer of 2018.  

 

Wgn-Live from Studio 435!

The Download with Justin Kaufmann

Click on the link above to hear our live interview with WGN host Justin Kaufmann.  We talk about the genre of roots, contemplate the meaning and power of folk, how stories shaped the record, & working with the great Lloyd Maines on our latest record, "Myths and Mortals." Watch our liveStudio 435 performances of "Looking Glass Man," "The Ghost Trail," and "Desert Rose."


Thanks so much to Lee Zimmerman for his review of our album!!! Here’s a snippet, and for the full review, click the link HERE:

Country Standard Time

The New Zeitgeist, Myths and Mortals (Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

“Like the Handsome Family and forlorn folksters of an earlier era, Reilly and Bluma harbor the spirits that dwell in the hidden hollows of Appalachia and the dust blown stretches of far western prairies. There's a mournful sadness that seeps through these songs like the wind through a creaky screen door…”


No Depression/ The Morton Report!

Reviewed by Jeff Burger

The New Zeitgeist-Myths and Mortals (Click here for link)

Good luck guessing which three of the 11 tracks here date from the 1800s; they sound no more or less timeless than the originals on this album, which features vocals and poetic lyrics by a Chicago-based duo: Jen Reilly, who sounds redolent of Judy Collins, and Eddy Bluma. If you like the work of such artists as Fairport Convention, Renaissance,and Richard and Linda Thompson, give this well-honed collection a listen.


Associated Press review!!!  

Review: The New Zeitgeist’s music connects Dublin and Austin

By Steven Wine | AP July 6

The New Zeitgeist, “Myths and Mortals” (The New Zeitgeist)

Many of the lyrics on “Myths and Mortals” date back more than a century, which is why the New Zeitgeist is singing of fairies, fables and linnet’s wings. This is real roots music that connects Dublin and Austin.

The Chicago-based duo Jen Reilly and Eddy Bluma pair original material with poems by W.B. Yeats, Carl Sandburg, William Allingham and Sidney Lanier, and they make the words sing. It helps that Reilly could win a Kathy Mattea impersonation contest — her sturdy alto matches the material, whether the setting is dappled grass or a dusty trail. Bluma’s guitar and a supporting cast that includes Lloyd Maines on Dobro and pedal steel deftly straddle musical genres.

There’s a crunchy hint of the blues on “Looking Glass Man,” while “Peter Pan’s Remorse” conjures druids. “Desert Rose” gives a country waltz an Irish lilt, and “Kingdom Highway” is Gaelic gospel. It all makes for an enchanting mix like nothing else being heard in roadhouses or pubs.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


WLUW Razor & Die Interview

We had a gas Jul7 7 at the WLUW studio discussing blue hair, ghost trails, and why fairies are on the new album...Click on the player to listen to the full interview! 


The Alternate Root Review (Click Here for Full Review)!

Danny McCloskey

Here’s a snippet!

“Middle America visits the citizens of middle earth as Chicago, Illinois duo The New Zeitgeist explore the origin of Folk traditions and oral stories involving meetings of Myths and Mortals on their recent release.”


1st album Review! 

Steve Morse           

(Longtime Boston Globe critic; current professor in Rock History at Berklee College of Music)

"Songs evoking a sense of mystery are often missing from today's music scene, but they are the lifeblood of this hauntingly brilliant Chicago act. Anchored by singers Jen Reilly and Eddy Bluma, the group delves into everything from mystical folk tales to adapting timeless poems by Carl Sandburg and William Butler Yeats. The enchanting, electro-acoustic soundscapes move from Celtic folk-rock to soulful country in the vein of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons (the song "Desert Rose" evokes Parsons' legendary "Hickory Wind"), to the more determined rock of Bluma's "The Ghost Trail." Reilly has a supple, emotionally riveting voice that suggests the legendary Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention. She mesmerizes throughout, whether on her self-written "Kingdom Highway" or the public domain "Song of the Wandering Aengus," where her vocal takes a flight into the heavens and leaves you completely in awe.

Hands down, this is one of the best new albums of 2017."


"Myths And

Mortals"

Available Now!

You can purchase the album in either form of a digital download folder or CD directly from the band at our website store!  We also have digital distribution across most online music platforms including iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and Amazon (physical warehouse & digital) if you prefer a certain online store, made possible by our distributor CD Baby where you can find special deals on buying the album in bulk (makes a great gift).  Additionally, our YouTube channel has experienced a complete new summer “do” and is ready for watching! Links Include:


 

Greetings, Friends, City-folk, and Country Dwellers~

Happy New Year to you this January of 2017, and a rousing "Cheers," Salud, skål, Gānbēi, Εβίβα, or Na zdraví from Chicago roots duo The New Zeitgeist! Last New Year, I made a resolution to read a new poem each week. I'd like to share one from the renowned author T.S. Elliot that has inspired our story. He writes in 1919: 

“No poet has meaning alone. His appreciation and significance is the direct relation to the dead poets and artists. If any artist should write, he should do so with all of the generations of literature in his bones!” 

Our band name evolved over the last few years from considering time...the times, critical points in time, and new eras.  We not only hope to revive ageless stories that are especially meaningful today, but cultivate a spirit of connection.  In a growing time of divide, disparity, and doubt, our music, sound, and stories are evolving and our latest recording effort has nearly come to completion!

Friends, we are proud to make the announcement of our 2nd upcoming album, Myths and Mortals, to be released early Spring 2017! It highlights poetry and folktales from nature and beyond while digging even deeper into the edgier roots of rock, folk, and blues. It features hometown heroes Gerald Dowd on drums and John Abbey on bass.  Also featured on steel will be Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame member Lloyd Maines! Look for our new single, "Song of the Chattahoochee" end of January that will be available on our new website!

Our hope is to not only join some small part of renowned literary winds to which we owe everything, but join a new spirit of artists in creating the times ahead. We hope you and yours are renewed, inspired, and whole this coming year of 2017!!! Thanks for your amazing life as artists.  

“Our story is never written in isolation. We do not act in a one-man play. We can do nothing that does not affect other people, no matter how loudly we say, "It's my own business.” ― Madeleine L'Engle

~Jen Reilly and Eddie Bluma, Chicago, IL