When it comes to rock music, there is always space for more female-fronted bands to break through the glitz, glam, and steel-string madness that comes with show business. This is especially true when the lead-singer is a powerhouse like Maddy Walsh and her band creates a sound that bridges the rock legends of our past with the sweet harmonies of today, like the Blind Spots do with every performance.
Hailing from Ithaca, New York, Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots are a five-piece force to be reckoned with and should not be overlooked on this fall’s schedule. They are pioneers of “Moxy Rock,” a self-identified term that they define as being “female-fronted indie pop rock with a punch.” Now entering their tenth year of performing, creating and inspiring, Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots have become a festival staple here on the East Coast. However, their beginnings were a bit more humble, with a slightly unconventional path to a music career.
“I moved back to New York after I finished grad school in California with the intention of pursuing music full-time. College was a very elaborate back-up plan for music, and I was headed down a PhD track when I had a freak-out: time was slipping by and I hadn’t tried to do the thing I knew I was meant to do, so I finished my MA and moved to Ithaca, NY and started the band right away.”
Though Walsh studied English in college with a concentration in creative writing, music was a tie to her roots through all of the classes and deadlines. It became a connection with her family, and a much-needed departure from the daily grind.
“Until that point I always sang, but never professionally. My dad and I had (still have, technically) an acoustic duet together called Madd Daddy – we would play three shows a week when I was home from college on summer breaks, and he’d let me keep all the money. (It wasn’t much!) That was how a got my stage legs, and then I met my now-husband, co-writer, and guitar player when I moved back to NY in 2008.”
Since 2008, Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots have been putting out earth-shaking ballads, beautiful harmonies, and the kind of music that you crank up on the radio as you’re taking a long drive on a beautiful day.
Recently, Maddy Walsh & the Blind Spots have released their third studio album, ‘Talk’. The album knows how to pack that classic pop-punch sound into every lyric, while still feeling like something fresh and new. Each song will carry listeners along to a new adventure, propelled by Walsh’s voice which is as powerful and refreshing as a rolling river. As for what inspired this latest installment in the rocking saga of the Blind Spots;
“Oh, life. Songwriters write songs, and then we record them. The album features five songs that were written on the floor of an AirBnB condo in Bermuda Dunes, just outside Coachella, where the band van broke down for sixteen days. The song “Where are the Monsters?” was actually written about being stranded in the desert. The title track, “Talk,” was written on our second-to-last night of recording in Nashville, and it’s a sort of plea for people on opposite sides of this current cavernous political divide to listen to each other. The catastrophe that is our nation’s current administration pops up in what I’ve been writing, but never overtly.”
The group has also recently celebrated their 10-year “Bandiversary.” The event was a celebration of how far the band has come, and all of the places they still want to go. It was a way to commemorate all of the memories they’ve made, and all of the love that has grown and flourished because of a little band from Ithaca, New York.
“We booked the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca (our hometown), sold out the room, invited all of our former band members to play some songs, had a giant cake, and debuted a documentary short about our time in this band. We also released our new album that night. There was a lot of happy crying and hugging.”
Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots have become something of a festival favorite here at Shakori Hills GrassRoots over the past few years. This will be the band’s fifth performance at Shakori, and they performed their ninth show at our sister-festival, the annual Finger Lakes Festival in Trumansburg, New York, in July.
Maddy says what keeps them coming back is being, “away from the stresses of home life for a few days and showing up for the sake of joy and togetherness and to appreciate art. It’s beautiful.”
“Reuniting with our musician friends and the GrassRoots crew and staff is a highlight. We get to have different friends sit in on our sets and perform with us. The musical community just continues to expand. Shakori specifically is such a great setting, tucked in the woods. I love the family-style meals for performers, the gardens, the pedal operated hand washing stations… So much love has gone into making this festival what it is, and we’re so happy to be returning.”
Make sure to check out Maddy Walsh and the Blind Spots online and on social media and you can stream their latest album, ‘Talk’ on all major streaming services.
You can catch them at the Meadow Stage on Thursday, October 3 at 7:45 p.m., or in Carson’s Grove on Friday, October 4 at 10:00 p.m.