BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
The Good Morning Nags are a Queens- and Brooklyn-based band who stand out in “a world of pop-chaos,” as they put it, with stomping American roots music that is steeped in history and knowledge of the genre.
Band members Britt Reagan, Tim Hassler, Titus Tompkins, Mark Spitznagel and Ben Quinn hail from Astoria and Sunnyside, as well as Brooklyn. The Good Morning Nags met at Indiana’s University of Evansville, first writing and performing together for a play set in the Appalachian Mountains. According to Reagan, about half of their repertoire is covers, half is written in a collaborative process.
“A song is never finished until we’ve all added our own ingredients,” Reagan said.
Much of the band’s work involves arranging traditional folks or Irish fiddle tunes, and the band likes to mix in standards for fans.
“We like our audiences to feel like they are a part of the show,” Reagan said. “And when they recognize a song, it’s like an inside joke between them and us.”
“What draws us to roots music is just that – it’s our roots, our heritage,” he added. “There’s such a remarkable history to folk and bluegrass music. These are songs that gave comfort and enjoyment to soldiers during the civil war, and the fact that they are still relevant and accessible to folks today is really special.”
“There’s a humility and connection to it that is so refreshing in a world of pop-chaos,” Reagan continued. “The music has such wonderful stories behind it, and people like to be a part of that.”
The Nags’ technical skill creates a sound that is clear, bright and bouncing, while also multi-layered. Their instrumentation includes guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle, as well as kazoo, spoons and washboard.
“Above all, we want audiences to enjoy our music and have fun with us while they listen,” Reagan said. “We want them to hear the stories and feel that connection like we do. And if they don’t, then they should still be stomping their feet and clapping their hands!”
The Good Morning Nags regularly perform at Astoria’s Queens Kickshaw. Music fans can learn more about the band and upcoming performances at facebook.com/thegoodmorningnags.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.