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Return Of The Fire-Eating Balladeer

August 01, 2005



Jonathan Fire*Eater hit the world a couple years too early for the garagesplosion, dooming the band (and their great debut LP) to undeserved hype-n-flameout status back in ‘97. The DC boys went on to form the Walkmen, but lead singer Stewart Lupton was left out.

For years, “Where is Stewart?” posts have collected digital dust on JF*E and Walkmen message boards because no one’s had an answer. But those posts have sprung to life with news of Lupton’s new band, the Child Ballads, who are playing in NY at the Knitting Factory this Thursday at 9pm.




Peeps will remember Lupton as a real frontman: out-of-control and literary and generally charming-as-fuck. Thankfully, time hasn’t dulled the man. Although the Child Ballads don’t have a website, we did find this email from Lupton to a fan floating around on one of those aforementioned messageboards.

thank you to everyone who remembers. your generosity is heartening indeed. i would like to tell you about a band called the childballads that i play in. we are a three piece, myself , ms. betsy wright and mr hugh macintosh. i sing alot and play a very old acoustic guitar on some of the numbers. ms. betsy wright, whose beauty is rivaled only by her talent, is a vibe polyglot. she speaks so many vibes, plays the wurlitzer, farfisa (yes i know but i was there too) and the viola. in addition, she sings. beautifully. our voices / bodies are particularly well suited to eachother. sometimes we weave it together and sometimes we let it unravel (the singing). someguy at this show once said we had a art folk royal trux vibe at times and , although that was probably my favourite description (head still swelling) betsy's voice is a silver dagger like joan baez when she wants it that way, and i do what i do with the pipes moses gave me. as for our drummer, a childhood friend and current schoolmate (he is lapping me several times at george washington university, i am studying poetry while hugh is getting a p.h.d. in 19th century literature, has to read 200 pages of dickens a night which is slowly driving him insane and poisoning his worldview but that is beside the point (for now). what is not beside the point is his gift for rythms that are warm, hustling, wooden healthy rickety trailblazing that serves the songs in a completly unexpected, generous, humble and stately mannner. he played w/ the recoys and the french kicks but saved his best for us . hugh is really great. you all would like him alot.okay. so, we made a record this summer and are crossing the t's and taking out the dirty words and someone/company actually seems inclined to help us, give us money to put it out. i don't want to hex it but i really hope it works out because i am so very proud of what we did this summer, the drum tones, betsy's multiple offerings, all bearing the seal of savant warmth. so this is to thank her for taking time off from chopin and to thank hugh for taking leave of dickens and to thank all those that have the tiniest spore of interest in what we are doing and i hope that interest will germinate and cross pollinate with the forthcoming record and live shows.

This is gonna be a show. If you’ve never heard Jonathan Fire*Eater's Wolf Songs For Lambs, surf your sleeping ass over on to eBay and snag a cut-out.

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Return Of The Fire-Eating Balladeer