Fronted and formed by veteran singer-songwriter Joe Carey, the Chinwaggers specialize in back-to-basics blues rock, influenced by old-school country and folk and sprinkled with classic bar song melodies. The Chinwaggers’ latest, Wayward Son, rings with the energy and swagger of a band of sailors in a crowded Irish pub. The group’s seaworthy rock and folk instrumentals collide with Carey’s raspy, bombastic vocals and heartfelt lyrics, all to an intriguing and subtly debaucherous effect. Wayward Son is stylistically diverse, but big and bold from start to finish.

This week, a last minute cancelation of scheduled band La Madness could have spelled disaster for the show, but luckily a great set allowed for another great episode. Those listening to “Live From Studio Five!” got the chance to listen to a solid solo acoustic performance by Joe Carey of the band the Chinwaggers. We're all looking forward to La Madness being able to reschedule their performance, but in the meantime, Carey did a great job carrying the show on his shoulders. He hung out and chatted with the usual cast of characters: Cher Dial, Dewglass, and, of course, Doug the Thug.  

Carey played tunes that sounded great on just an acoustic guitar, despite the fact that he’s usually part of his “gritty rock” four-piece band. He played and sang songs off the band’s new CD, Wayward Son, as well as its older album Sunflower Soul, tunes like “Burned” and “My Love, My Best Friend,” the latter of which he accompanied himself on the harmonica. He also played a song called “I Got Your Back,” an anthem to his kids, and a pair of songs called “Beautiful Stranger” and “The Redemption,” inspired by a trip he took to a supposedly haunted hotel.

The night’s performance also included music from the Chinwaggers’ new album, so even though the other members of the band weren’t actually in studio, they certainly were present in spirit.



St. Paul rock ’n’ roll singer-songwriter Joe Carey has got his own thing going on. A self-proclaimed “soulful roots rock” performer, Carey plays vocal-driven, guitar-heavy stuff reminiscent of what would happen if The Black Crowes played a friend’s barbecue. It’s upbeat, driving rock for the kind of folks who say the Foo Fighters are the best thing Dave Grohl has ever done, and the kind of folks who mean it. That’s the thing to take away from Carey: He knows what he likes, and that’s what he plays. And he’s not alone; there’s a good portion of America represented by this guy—that’s both Steve Perry’s America and REO Speedwagons’. Does that America belong to all of us? Maybe a little, if we’re kind of drunk.

Brothers James and Joe Carey will each release new albums this month, and the Rochester Lourdes graduates will celebrate the new music with a CD release party on Saturday in the Twin Cities.

Joe Carey, who graduated from Lourdes in 1993, is the lead singer of the band, The Chinwaggers. The group's latest CD is "Wayward Son."

James Patrick Carey, 1991 Lourdes graduate, has toured with Brad Paisley, Johnny Lang and Martin Zellar. This winter, 12 years after his solo debut, Carey released, "Scoundrels and Saints."

At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the brothers will play music off the new albums at the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis. Tickets are $8; seating is limited.

In the past, the brothers were part of several Rochester-area bands, including Loft, a "power pop" band, from 1999 to 2001, and hosted open jams at Rookies and the North Star Bar.

But since James moved to southern California, the brothers don't get to play many shows together, though Joe did travel to California to produce his older brother's album.

"We haven't talked about doing a collaboration together but it was nice working together on his record because we really put our heads together," Joe said. "We worked on the CD together and formed the songs into what we both could agree on. We thought it would make a complete, well-rounded record."

As far as his own new material, Joe said, in the age of digitally downloaded gems sung by auto-tuned pop idols, The Chinwaggers wanted to make a statement. So in late 2012, he and guitarist Blair Krivanek, bassist Nick Salisbury and drummer Jordan Carlson began laying down tracks for "Wayward Son."

"It was sort of like a guerrilla operation," Carey said. "We kind of recorded it wherever we could, whenever we could."

Carlson, Casey and Krivanek all recorded their parts in their homes while Salisbury recorded bass tracks in Okaboji, Iowa. Last year, the band members took the files to a professional mixer and engineer to finish the project. The result, Joe says, doesn't fit any single musical style.

"The new record is a concept album," he said, having written all 10 songs for "Wayward Son."

"It doesn't really stick to one genre because it's telling a story, so the songs cover a lot of different genres," he said. "Whatever is needed to tell the story. A couple of the songs are straightforward rock, some have an Irish folk feel, and some have a classic country vibe."

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