Weekender

One-man band stops in Millheim

Matt Lorenz will perform as The Suitcase Junket on Sunday at Elk Creek Café + Aleworks.
Matt Lorenz will perform as The Suitcase Junket on Sunday at Elk Creek Café + Aleworks. Photo provided

Musician, visual artist and tinkerer Matt Lorenz will return to the area as The Suitcase Junket on Sunday at Elk Creek Café + Aleworks in Millheim.

The Suitcase Junket’s artistic vision is one of salvaged and repurposed objects, images and emotions. Lorenz’s self-taught throat-singing adds an edge to the overall sound.

Lorenz tours The Suitcase Junket nationally playing on festival stages and city street corners, in concert halls and dive bars, and in living rooms and listening rooms. He now lives in western Massachusetts, but grew up in rural Vermont, where he and his sister were home-schooled for a time and both took to music at an early age.

“I think there’s probably a VHS buried in some attic that has a couple of severely awkward Lorenz kids playing flute and violin duets,” Lorenz said. “My first major musical influence was listening to our parents’ record collection — lots of great rock ’n’ roll from the ’60s and ’70s.

“What inspires me continues to change through the years, but having that solid bedrock of the blues is what keeps it all together.”

But one instrument sparked his curiosity of all the different sounds he could make.

“Once there was a piano in the house — it couldn’t be helped,” Lorenz said. “From there it was just a downhill slide — violin, saxophone, guitar, flute, accordion — whatever I could get my hands on.”

The Suitcase Junket spun out of the roots-rock junk-folk trio Rusty Belle, which includes Lorenz’s sister, Kate Lorenz, and Zak Trojano.

“In a lot of ways, the inspiration for this project is the guitar itself,” he said. “Another driving force is the ongoing challenge to make lots and lots of strange beautiful sounds at the same time with my hands, feet, face and fingers.”

Lorenz has released three albums as The Suitcase Junket: “Sever and Lift” (2009), “Knock It Down” (2011) and “Make Time” (2015). Lorenz released the EP “Dying Star” in 2015, and his full-length garage rock/Americana label debut “Pile Driver” comes out next week on Signature Sounds.

“On the EP ‘Dying Star,’ I did add some violin and saxophone which was fun,” he said. “As for different styles, I suppose I try to vary the rhythms and tempos of the tunes that I’m writing so they all don’t sound the same. But overall, I’d say I mostly play Swamp Yankee music.”

Lorenz said he is excited to return to Elk Creek, but he wants to surprise his audience with the tunes he has planned for the evening.

“As for the set list, a gentleman never tells,” he said. “Suffice to say, it’ll be songs I’ve probably recorded recently or not so recently.”

The reception Lorenz has had from his shows varies in each venue and town he performs in, but one common reaction is that people generally like it, which couldn’t please him more.

“The reaction varies depending on what the room is like and how the people in it are feeling,” he said. “Sometimes there’s dancing and hooting like bears, and other times folks sit with their thoughts and reflective emotions. It’s fun knowing it’ll be different almost every night.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: The Suitcase Junket
  • When: 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks, 100 W. Main St., Millheim
  • Info: www.elkcreekcafe.com
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