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Influenced by artists such as Fugazi, John Lee Hooker, Django Reinhardt and The Pixies, Muddy Ruckus roars through road-sick harmonies and dirty guitar riffs, touching on the sacred, hinting at the profane and encapsulating everything in between, all to the sound of an infectiously toe-tapping backbeat. Vocalist/guitarist Ryan Flaherty sounds a little like Dr. John crossed with early Tom Waits. There’s a dash of Leon Redbone in there too, but with Dylan’s razor-sharp wit. Erika Stahl, equal parts June Carter Cash, Emmylou Harris and bluesy Bonnie Raitt, is a subtle vocal chameleon. Depending on the song, she can sound sassy, heartbroken, wickedly seductive, innocently angelic, tender and comforting, or any combination thereof, making her the perfect vocal foil for Flaherty. They shroud each track in versatile guitar and edgy percussion from the outset. Flaherty is throaty, raw and confessional on main vocals during songs like “Restless Ryder” and title track “Bellows To Mend”. Flaherty and Stahl’s work is distinctive in that the two never overshadow, but rather consistently compliment one another. Listeners can’t help but note the steady, nuanced heartbeat of Stahl’s suitcase drumkit that is the backbone of all Muddy Ruckus’ songs. Her spit fire tempos on “Everlasting Buzz” to her tribal beats on instrumental “Wreck of the Hesperus” grab you by the collar and send a jolt through your bloodstream. It is steadfast, fierce and unswerving.