Resonant Rogues to play this weekend

SARANAC LAKE – The Resonant Rogues’ music resonates with sounds from the past.

It reeks of smokey railside campfire singalongs and draws energy from the streets of New Orleans. It’s the kind of rhythms that make swing dancers move, the kind of songs that howl through cobbled Eastern European streets.

The Resonant Rogues prefer it that way, and they will bring their diverse songs to the Left Bank Cafe in Saranac Lake for the first time this Saturday for a performance that promises to be as entertaining as it is eclectic.

“It’s just what we love,” said vocalist and accordion and banjo player Sparrow Pants. “We kind of like a lot of old-fashioned things.”

Pants said the music comes from a variety of sources, like friends who have traveled Europe, old recordings and sheet music.

The music also draws inspiration from vocalist, guitarist and percussionist Keith Smith’s four years hopping trains in the United States.

“I always had a destination, but it was a way to really see the country from a different perspective,” Smith said. “On a highway, you really don’t get to see much of the country. It’s that weird highway universe of gas stations and billboards. When you’re on a train, you’re away from that, and you really get to see a lot of beautiful things.”

While traveling, Smith heard sounds of American folk and punk rock coming together underneath bridges and near railyards around the country. They lent themselves to the sense of community felt between the travelers, something Smith said came through in the stories people shared.

“Sometimes I would travel alone; sometimes I would travel with a friend,” Smith said. “Sometimes you meet people that are also hopping out. That’s always a good experience, to meet other folks and share your journey around a campfire, or wherever you’re at.”

Smith now travels by car, but his music still carries the aesthetics of his life on the rails. Pants said that sound is evolving, and if all goes well, it will accompany a tour with a vaudeville show within the next year.

“It seems like a natural progression for me, because it’s also where I’m coming from,” Pants said. “I have a lot of my background is in musical theater, I’ve traveled with the circus, I’ve always loved vaudeville, and I’ve always loved variety shows.”

This weekend, however, things will be a little more stripped down. Pants and Smith will be accompanied by bassist and fiddle player Abram Racin, a multi-versed musician who has performed with the band Rising Appalachia.

The Resonant Rogues will also perform at this year’s Hobofest with their original four-piece ensemble. The show this weekend is to raise money to support that event.

The band just recorded two EPs, one with old-time jazz and swing tunes, and the other with traditional Eastern Eupropean music.