John Hasbrouck and Matt Gandurski are The Northside Southpaws: an all-left-handed, all-resonator mandolin/guitar duo specializing in ragtime, waltzes, tangos, fiddle tunes and other arcane stringband music. Gandurski plays guitar. Hasbrouck plays mandolin. The duo has played 1,500 shows since 2007.
reviewed by Tom Druckenmiller
for Sing Out! Spring, 2011
The Northside Southpaws describe themselves as "an all-left-handed , all-resophonic mandolin/guitar duo based in Chicago who perform obsolete ragtime, archaic country, proto-grass, turn-of-the-century waltzes and other obscure stringband music on lefty resonator instruments." That about says it all. John Hasbrouck plays resonator mandolin; Matt Gandurski plays resophonic guitar, and No Bread is their second CD.
The CD leads off with Toots, a tune written by Felix Arndt who is perhaps best known for the classic "Nola." Their arrangement comes from a 1914 recording by Dr. Clarence Penny of the Victor label. The lively tune includes a few cheap tricks in the accompaniment and is just wonderful. Let me mention from the outset that although the notes to the individual selections are scant, they ascribe the label, performer, composer and date of each source recording.
Carolina Glide from the playing of the Scottdale String Band follows. It is a sweet waltz with an early bluegrass sound reminiscent of Bill and Charlie Monroe in one of their quieter moments. The classic Sourwood Mountain is up next. The Southpaws arrangement is from The Two Poor Boys who recorded it in 1931. This short tune is taken at a furious pace.
One of the more curious selections is the classic Waves of the Danube better known as The Blue Danube Waltz recorded by the duo of Lefman and Rosemarin and released on the Starr label in 1929. No Bread concludes with another all-time classic, the lovely Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore.
In the old days if you wanted to be a professional musician, you needed variety in your repertoire. The Northside Southpaws would have been very successful.
Stomp Glide Wobble
reviewed in Sing Out! September, 2008
This much anticipated CD by The Northside Southpaws was well worth the wait. (It) features the pair on a fascinating mixture of archaic ragtime and hillbilly, early jazz and blues, proto-grass and other string band material played with an unspoiled, back-porch fluency that skips the pyrotechnics and possesses an enthusiasm that's bound to perk a listener's ears.
Stomp Glide Wobble
reviewed by David McCarty
for Mandolin Magazine, Spring, 2008
How is it possible not to love a CD of resophonic mandolin and guitar that instructs the record shop to file it under "Obsolete Ragtime and Sentimental Song"? When it comes to the brilliant Northside Southpaws, the answer is that it's simply impossible. Consisting of two lefties, John Hasbrouck on resonator mandolin and Matt Gandurski on resonator guitar, the Southpaws hail from the fertile feilds of Chicagoland, where blues, ragtime, jazz, swing and old-time country intermingle insatiably and musicians find influences from Old Town to Evanston to the South Side. The result sounds a bit like Mike Compton and David Long doing their ruthlessly beautiful and authentic country blues duets, only featuring more urban roots sounds than Delta blues and deep hollow country (although the Southpaws have plenty of that in their bag of tricks, as well). Mandolinist John Hasbrouck is a true master of the exotic resophonic style of mandolin. If you still harbor delusions that the mechanically amplified version of the acoustic mandolin can sound only hard-edged and ragged to the bone, listen here with fresh ears. Hasbrouck's wonderful touch and deft technique often left me thinking he'd switched a more conventional mandolin in on some of the cuts. Nope, it's all done on a National Reso-Phonic Guitars Inc. eight-string mandolin, and I'm here to say it sounds just great on the material presented. The same goes for guitarist Matt Gandurski, who is so tasteful and understated he always seems to play just the right chord, lick or rhythm chop that Hasbrouck's mandolin line was calling out for. The material is an amazing mix of familiar tunes like Blackberry Rag to a wealth of classic ragtime-era material like Tanner's Rag. No cut is longer than 3:25, so everything here glides by like a midnight freight highballing through the northern Illinois prairieland. Stomp Glide Wobble is to my ears one of the best mandolin CDs of the year, filled with an unspoiled sound and infectious enthusiasm that will win over fans from bluegrass, jazz and swing, blues and other styles. Highly recommended.