Rabbit in the Rye Comes Home From NYC

Leah Robinson

Rabbit in the Rye – a local favorite – performed last Saturday night to a packed audience at the Barge Canal. The atmosphere was warm and the aroma of coffee and fresh-baked desserts lingered over a crowd of students and Hamilton residents. A self-proclaimed progressive folk rock, the Rabbit in the Rye has three members, Joseph Mettler, Alexander Lavon and Brendan O’Connor, who all hail from Hamilton, NY. They are a power team, with Lavon playing bass, O’Connor on percussion and mandolin and Mettler playing guitar and harmonica – usually simultaneously. The band has created its own unique and beloved image, captured by their self-created, poetic description, “Rabbit in the Rye is an old beaten leather pair of work boots. Today’s wood fire and the yearning of yesterday’s, still hot. The vacant and forgotten American image. The portrait of a young man. The lore of the land. Finding home at the end of the long walk. Leaving and coming back. Sweat and sleep. Guilty and vulnerable love.”

 The band may have humble beginnings, but they have travelled far. The threesome recently returned from a trip to New York City where they performed at the Brooklyn venue Basement Theatre Company. Their live music was a successful backdrop to “The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo,” which opened October 31 and showed until November 30, 2013.

“It’s good to be back – it was strange to live around so many people when you come from a place where you can recognize everyone,” Lavon said.

 And it was clear that most attendees were recognized by the band – either as friends or loyal fans of the trio. The concert was relaxed, with jokes and stories being told onstage and song requests from audience members. When a song entitled “Polar Vortex Blaze” was a bit too loud for a five-year-old boy in the first row, he was offered a free CD.

Indeed, the band is good to its fans. One new song was prefaced as having been written by the band only yesterday. When someone from the audience asked what the song was about, Lavon replied, “you’ll find out soon.”

 The band’s second CD, “Tabled Fables,” was released in April 2013 and features a five track recording of their most popular songs. The line-up includes, “Oh Brother, I Love You,” “Scarlet,” “Rapturous Rays,” “The Bear & the Beekeeper Blues” and “I Met My Love,” which can be purchased online. Rabbit in the Rye also announced that they will soon be releasing a few cuts from their live SubRosa session, which was hosted by Amanda Rogers at Subcat studios in Syracuse a few weeks back. According to their Facebook page, “the recording features some unreleased material from us, so make sure you keep an ear out.”

 The Band’s East Coast Tour Dates from this past August were especially exciting and broad-reaching, a testament to Rabbit in the Rye’s growing popularity. Featuring impressive locations like New York City’s Bowery Electric, Washington D.C.’s Wonderland Ballroom and a variety of other hotspots in North Carolina, Tenessee and Ohio, Rabbit in the Rye is clearly headed for greatness.

Contact Leah Robinson at [email protected]