Austin Music Pick
by Sam Sumpter
To label Calliope Musicals a band might be selling them short, because while the group’s primary medium is music, their live show is an auditory, visual, and genuinely transportive experience.
The group’s roots date back to 2009, when frontwoman Carrie Fussell and guitarist Matt Roth began playing head shops around town. Soon after, Fussell’s boyfriend, now husband, Josh Bickley joined the band on drums (a choice they made hesitantly, for fear of “Fleetwood Mac drama”). With the additions of Craig Finkelstein, Andrew Vizzone, and Chris Webb, the trio transformed into a six-person musical tribe.
While the band describes their style as psychedelic party folk, the actual sound — a harmonious blend of drums, guitar, bass, a hybrid instrument known as a xylosynth, and Fussell’s powerful voice — is hard to define and varies substantially by song. What is consistent, however, is the element of storytelling that courses through every track in the Calliope catalogue.
“Our music centers around a certain energy more than a certain style,” the perpetually barefoot Fussell says. “We’ll do rock, then dance-y disco, then some slow [songs]. At the end of the day, it feels like the music revolves around imagination and adventure more than it does a specific type of music.