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The Possum Trot Orchestra: Good Folk

By Sean Smith

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-06-05


The folks who make up the Possum Trot Orchestra are well versed at their instruments and play some of the best Americana music being recorded these days, they also happen to be some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. The Possums have just secured a series of shows at the Starbucks on East State that will take place on the fourth Friday of every month until September. The shows will last from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. and there is no cover. The Legendary Trainhoppers have asked them to share the stage on June 16th as part of the Wayne Calhoun series. The show will get underway around 7 p.m.

The Possums consist of John Minton along with Susie and Rob Suraci (sir-RAH-chee) on record. When they perform live it also consists of Dave Kartholl and Charlie Gilbert (both of Gilbert & Co.).

Minton had already released one solo album, “Life and Times,” when he was preparing his second and met up with Susie and Rob, who are originally from the Chesapeake Bay area, and invited them to record what became “Going Back to Vicksburg.” Rob began playing along with John, Dave, and Charlie when it was decided that Susie would join in and help to recreate the vocal harmonies during the live shows. It was during these shows, in 2005, that the band began covering songs that Susie had written. This is what led to the self-titled debut of the Possum Trot Orchestra in 2005.

“John has been a great friend and invaluable champion of my songs and for that I am so grateful. He loves to record – and so do I – and so when it came time for him to do his annual CD in 2005 he very generously offered to split the songwriting down the middle with me and we wound up with a wonderful collection of songs that has gotten us great reviews around the world,” recalls Susie.

“Susie is my third favorite songwriter, behind Bob Dylan and Neil Young.” beams John, “I felt that adding her songs to the album gave the album a different type of variety that was missing from the previous album. It’s really just a coincidence that the albums have been released around Halloween. It’s easiest for me to record over the summer break so it’s just that they’re usually ready to release around then.”
When choosing who she considers her favorite songwriters or music artists, Susie has a soft spot for underdogs. “I prefer NRBQ over Aerosmith, Aimee Mann over Jewel, and Richard Thompson over John Mayer,” says Susie.

Then there are the Legendary Trainhoppers and the relationship that has developed between the two bands.

“We’re completely psyched about doing the Wayne Calhoun show, especially with the ‘Hoppers. That’s really the only bill I could imagine. I like to think of the Possums as the Trainhoppers’ evil twin. The Yin & Yang of trailer park tunes,’ continues Minton, “No kidding – there’s definitely some sort of karmic inbreeding at work here. I’ve known and hung out with most of the ‘Hoppers for years. The Possums had been around for awhile making some noise, but the first gig the REAL Possums played – meaning after Susie joined – was the Johnny Cash tribute at Columbia Street with the Trainhoppers. Plus Matt Kelley has been so involved with our CDs – his designs have really played such a big part in the vibe we’re after – that there’s that too. Yeah, we’re definitely up for this!”

Make sure that you are too.

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