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Suitcase Junket Brings Indie-Blues to Club Helsinki

April 11, 2019 07:10 am

HUDSON — Matt Lorenz, the Northampton, Mass.-based indie-blues singer-songwriter who performs under the name The Suitcase Junket, bring his box of creative tricks to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, April 13, at 9pm.

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz: a one-man salvage specialist singing into the hollow of a dumpster guitar, railing on a box of twisted forks and bones, and belting out mountain ballads till the house sings back. Artist, tinkerer, swamp Yankee, one-man band - his is the road-worn voice rising over the grind of a tube-amped dumpster guitar, with wild double pitches of throat singing.

The latest album from The Suitcase Junket, “Mean Dog, Trampoline,” is populated by characters in various states of reverie: leaning on jukeboxes, loitering on dance floors, lying on the bottoms of empty swimming pools in the sun. Produced by Steve Berlin (Jackie Greene, Rickie Lee Jones, Leo Kottke) of Los Lobos, “Mean Dog, Trampoline” marks a deliberate departure from the self-recorded, homespun approach of The Suitcase Junket’s previous efforts. In creating the album, Lorenz pulled from a fantastically patchwork sonic palette, shaping his songs with elements of jangly folk, fuzzed-out blues, and oddly textured psych-rock. “Mean Dog, Trampoline” rightly preserves The Suitcase Junket’s unkempt vitality but ultimately emerges as his most powerfully direct album so far.

Lorenz’s previous album, “Pile Driver,” found the Suitcase Junket staking claim to new heavy blues-rock territory, a sort of cross between Led Zeppelin and Tom Waits, on a collection of original rock anthems, mountain ballads, blues manifestos and dance-hall festivities, played on instruments built of broken bottles, twisted forks, dried bones, gas cans, shoes, saw blades, a toy keyboard, and an overhead compartment’s worth of luggage.

Matt Lorenz learned to sing by copying his sister Kate. (The siblings are two-thirds of the touring trio Rusty Belle.) Lorenz graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., in 2004, and on moving day, pulled his guitar, filled with mold and worse for wear, from a dormitory Dumpster. He fixed it up and started pulling songs out of it. That was the beginning.

As NPR said, “With 1950s amps and his guitar salvaged from a Dumpster - plus an old oversize suitcase he plays with his heel as a bass drum, a baby shoe (his baby shoe) hitting a gas can, a cooking pot, a circular saw blade, and a box of bones and silverware for added percussion - Lorenz creates a sound like no other. All that, and he writes clever, memorable songs, too.”

The Suitcase Junket is filling rooms and drawing festival crowds all over his native New England and beyond, from Signal Kitchen near the Canadian border to Wisconsin’s Mile of Music Festival, from Ireland’s pubs to Mountain Jam in the Catskills, from opening nights for Lake Street Dive and Charlie Musselwhite to Mountain Stage in West Virginia. He caught the attention of National Public Radio who chose his video session for “Earth Apple” from his 2015 album “Make Time” as one of the year’s favorite sessions.

For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800. For the most up-to-date concert information, visit