Green Bar hosts Marvin and the Cloud WallBy Alex Cohen | 04/03/2012 11:09pm
Once in a while, a musician passing through town leaves an impression, turning an audience member’s one night of listening into a following, potentially spanning months or even years. An artist new to Tuscaloosa hopes to leave such an impression this Thursday.
Tomorrow night at 10 p.m., Marvin and the Cloud Wall — a solo project of musician Joe Novelli — will play at the Green Bar. While this is Novelli’s first trip to Tuscaloosa, he has high hopes for the southern college town.
“I’ve played in Birmingham, Mobile and New Orleans, and I always have a good time playing the southeast,” Novelli said. “That region tends to be the most fun.”
Novelli’s Marvin and the Cloud Wall has been gaining momentum. In fact, the Charisma Artist Agency, which represents renowned musicians from many different genres, recently added Novelli to their roster.
Although Novelli’s act is solo, he’s not alone on stage. Marvin has his 1972 analog drum machine to keep him company. While Marvin dishes out some beats, Novelli enjoys some creative freedom with his slide guitar and lyrics. The product is a sound blending garage rock, stompy blues rock and indie folk.
“My guitar and my weird old drum machine get jammed together,” Novelli said. “It pulls from a lot of different musical forms. Hopefully, it all comes out coherently.”
During his youth in Ithaca, N.Y., Novelli was introduced to an eclectic mix of musical genres. Trumpet was his first instrument, catalyzing his passion for the blues. Nowadays, the Mynabirds, Black Keys and White Stripes are adding to his inspiration. He’s also drawing from other instruments, like the steel guitar, to help fuel his audience’s imagination.
“I like that spooky steel sound,” Novelli said. “It’s a texture and a mood.”
His desire to experiment mirrors his desire to travel. In addition to the southeast, Novelli has played everywhere from Mexico to South Dakota. After meeting Abraham Smith in Tucson, Ariz., Novelli solidified his plans to stop by Tuscaloosa.
“He’s a genuine rambler,” said Smith, a poet and instructor of English at the University. “He’s looking into the world, and he’s got a lot of courage to be on the road bringing the noise.”
Smith believes Novelli’s curious and gregarious personality comes out in his music.
“He’s entirely alive,” Smith said. “And that vivacity translates to his live performance — he’s kind of freaking out up there.”
Marvin and the Great Cloud’s animated performances have earned praise from Allmusic.com and HARP magazine. Smith thinks the fascination will continue in Tuscaloosa.
“You go with him on an emotive journey,” Smith said. “I think he’s a rare bird.”
More information and free music downloads are available at http://www.marvinandthecloudwall.com. At Green Bar, Novelli will be promoting two albums, “The Loaded Gun Demos” and “Live at Autumn Ridge,” as well as his newest EP, “Sweet Heartache.”