From the collegetown of Ithaca, NY, Boy with a Fish is Jeff Claus (guitars, vocals), Judy Hyman (electric violin, vocals), Rick Hansen (moog, organ, accordion), Jay Olsa (bass), and Ryan Cady (drums). "Claus' voice sounds like the product of a masterful combination of the best parts of Neil Young and Michael Stipe, and there is an eerie ambience created chiefly by the electric violin and the accordion. ...addictively groovable the quirkiness is endearing ...
"Claus' voice sounds like the product of a masterful combination of the best parts of Neil Young and Michael Stipe, and there is an eerie ambience created chiefly by the electric violin and the accordion. ...addictively groovable the quirkiness is endearing ...and the end result is signature, edgy, and big-time hip. Aspects of Boy bring to mind bands like Talking Heads, The Pixies, X, and PJ Harvey, but they can't be pigeon-holed. Very intelligent, very original material, made possible by hot players with a unique vision and perspective. This CD is cooler than the other side of the pillow." -- Overground Magazine
"...a dustily expansive soundtrack of melodic melancholy, airily suggesting the electric pop texture of Talking Heads and the authentic crackle of 16 Horsepower." -- Amplifier Magazine
Claus and Hyman are founding members of The Horse Flies, about whom Rolling Stone has said, "A band that's earned a buzz. They churn out swirling, addictive songs, blending tradition with invention." Hansen and Olsa are members of The Horse Flies now, too. The Flies have recorded 7 CD's, two on a major label. They've been featured on MTV, All Things Considered, World Cafe, Prairie Home Companion, and Mountain Stage, and they've been written about in Rolling Stone, Musician Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, of London, and many other major publications. They've also played many major festivals, including Central Park Summerstage, Berlin, Telluride, Vancouver, Toronto, Vienna, Brooklyn Academy of Music's New Music America, and more.
Hyman has toured and recorded with Natalie Merchant and Mary Lorson & Saint Low. One of Claus and Hyman's songs, Sally Ann, is the opening track on Merchant's CD, The House Carpenter's Daughter, and this song is included in Merchant's "retrospective" compilation. Merchant and band (including Hyman) performed this song on the David Letterman Show. Hyman is also the subject of the cover article in the August 2004 issue of Fiddler Magazine.
Claus and Hyman have toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe and have composed music for four feature films, starring such actors as Kris Kristofferson, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, Rip Torn, Genevieve Bujold, Martin Mull, and Ernie Hudson. Critics and fans have referred to Counting Crows, Talking Heads/David Byrne, Neil Young, REM, and Freedy Johnston to describe Claus' songs and singing. Claus' music has been used by Rock the Vote on MTV, and Oliver Stone, in his film, Any Given Sunday. The band Fiery Furnaces has covered a Claus adaptation of the traditional song, Rub Alcohol Blues. Claus has also been featured in an article in Acoustic Guitar magazine, October 2000.
Hansen and Olsa are also members of Plastic Nebraska, a notable Ithaca band reviewers have described as "exotic, entrancing, hypnotic, and inventive," and Cady has played in Hubcap, another excellent Ithaca band.
The CD, Birds Fly Backwards, on Left Ear Records, was recorded before Cady joined the band. Drums and percussion on the CD are played by Ben Wittman, a longtime friend who has played with Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon, Paula Cole, Don Byron, Solas, The Story, Tribe, and many others. Additional musicians on the CD are: Erik Della Penna (guitar) and Elizabeth Steen (organ and Wurlitzer) of Natalie Merchant's band; Robbie Aceto (guitar) formerly of Tom Tom Club; and Billy Cot? (guitar) of Madder Rose and Saint Low.
Birds Fly Backwards has been played on over 250 radio stations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. Layout