Ellis Dyson & the Shambles make bright, breezy, sweetly meandering music that sounds like it was plucked from the heyday of ragtime. On their forthcoming album, Greetings from Shambylvania, which the band will self-release on April 5, that bygone feeling takes the shape of an intricate, theatrical, Faulkner-esque fictional universe—that’s Shambylvania, not to be confused with Transylvania—populated by colorful characters, including a shilly-shallying traveler and a “maligned salesmen.” But just because there are no vampires, it doesn’t mean this is a world without blood: One track, “A Dinner Party in a Cave,” is the ballad of a dinner party with bears gone predictably awry. 

Ellis Dyson & the Shambles began as a duo in 2013 and has since expanded into a five-piece band consisting of Dyson (banjo, vocals), Eli Wittmann (acoustic guitar), Butler Knowles (upright bass), Danny Abrams (soprano/alto/baritone saxophones, clarinet, vocals), and Danny Grewen (trombone, vocals). Greetings from Shambylvania, the band’s third full-length album, will be celebrated with a release party at Cat’s Cradle on April 5; their fellow local ampersand bands The Tan & Sober Gentlemen and Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands open.

Watch “Candy in the Cupboard,” a folksy tune about a boring bridegroom, below. 

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