Thursday, July 2, 2009

Something about the Mystix

There’s something about the Mystix. Authenticity, of course. That goes without saying. Fronted by Jo Lily, the former Sam Deluxe of Duke and the Drivers, the original Boston party band (and a Newburyport resident), and lit up by Bobby Keyes, an in-demand session player with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything roots, the Mystix are the real deal. You get that right away, on the first listen. The band — which also features keyboardist Tom West and a powerhouse rhythm section of Martys (bassist Marty Ballou and drummer Marty Richards), local aces steeped in the scene — seemed to come out of nowhere, emerging fully formed and hitting the musical ground running. They have released three albums in as many years — each one a revelation, an excursion into an interesting and often forgotten and dusty corner of roots history.

But, no, that’s not it. It’s something more: Right band, right time, right place (that place being a vast sea of American Idol puffery) giving the the Mystix a, well, mystical aura of inevitability. You listen to them play and find yourself smiling to yourself, pondering the inexplicable connection and thinking, “I don’t know what they call it, but that’s what you do to me,” to steal a line from “Down by the Shore,” their latest album. Which they will be giving away — no, seriously — to ticketholders at their show at the Firehouse this week. Yeah, that's right — giving it away. Why? Because they’re such nice guys? Nah. Not that they’re not nice guys. But also because they figure once you get a taste, you’ll come back for more. “Seeing — and hearing — are believing” says Lily.

So, you needed an excuse to check out these guys? Well, there is is. They take the Arakelian Theater stage at 8 p.m. July 3. Tickets are $18, $15 for Firehouse members. Log onto or call 978-462-7336 to reserve a ticket. If you you don't know the music and want to dip your toes in the water, check out

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