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Harmonizing Heritage: The Timeless Music of The Old Part of Town


Photos courtesy of: Dorret Oosterhoff


The Old Part of Town is a captivating Roots/Americana band with a rich history and a unique sound. Formed a decade ago by Sam Nitzberg and Matt Douglass, this group has evolved over the years and consists of the following members:


Sam Nitzberg

Matt Douglass

Brian Whaley

David Frieman

Steve Raskin



Sam and Matt, who have been friends since the early 1980s, initially started performing together as a duo. Their collaboration led to the creation of an EP titled "Grayest Hits" in 2012. In pursuit of enhancing their performances, they enlisted the talents of Davis Shingleton and Pat Sheridan, who contributed with mandolin, bass, and vocals. After a year, both Davis and Pat ventured into other musical endeavors but left their mark by recording tracks for The Old Part of Town's self-titled debut CD in 2015.



Steve Raskin, a longtime musical friend of Matt and Sam, joined the band as the drummer. John Seay played bass, with Marc Wexler on mandolin part-time. Kurt Hammond brought his electric guitar skills to the group for a year. Finally, fiddle/mandolin player Brian Whaley became a member in 2016. In December 2018, "Upright" Dave Frieman took John Seay's place.



Matt Douglass: Matt, before co-founding The Old Part of Town, released two roots rock/Americana albums, "No Stone Unturned" (2002) and "Big Lucky" (2008). His musical journey spans various genres, including country-rock, British Invasion, reggae rock, and American rock 'n' soul. Matt's guitar style is influenced by folk masters, Ry Cooder, and Anders Osborne.


Sam Nitzberg: Sam's musical journey began with busking across the United States and Europe, playing folk and bluegrass. He was the founder of The Charm City Reactors, a fixture in Baltimore's alternative music scene. Sam's musical roots lie in acoustic folk and melodic songwriting.


Brian Whaley: Brian has had music in his life from a young age, harmonizing with his family and later joining the Southern Rock group the Lost Cowboy Band. He has a versatile musical background, including progressive rock, folk, and solo work, releasing two solo CDs.


Dave Frieman: David Frieman joined the band in December 2018, replacing John Seay. He has been a part of the progressive bluegrass outfit Smooth Kentucky and is well-known in the jam band scene in central Maryland.


Steve Raskin: Steve discovered his love for drums and music at an early age and played professionally for several years. He played with many successful Baltimore-based bands before reuniting with Matt and Sam, his former bandmates from The Charm City Reactors.



The Old Part of Town's musical style is collaborative, communicative, and expressive, characterized by an ever-evolving sound that stays rooted in the Americana tradition. They draw inspiration from legendary artists like Bob Dylan, John Prine, Peter Case, and Rodney Crowell.


While not every song conveys a specific message, The Old Part of Town often explores themes of self-awareness, inclusion, and empowerment through their music.


The band recently released their fourth album, "Inside Out," on September 28th. This project is unique as it was recorded mostly live-to-digital with minimal overdubs.


What sets The Old Part of Town's live shows apart is their improvisational style, camaraderie, and humor. They have several upcoming shows in their schedule, including performances at Morsberger's Tavern in Catonsville, MD, Farmacy Brewing in Reisterstown, MD, GearHouse Brewing in Chambersburg, PA, and Manor Mill in Monkton, MD.


You can pick up tickets to the Manor Mill performance here and tickets for the Morsberger Tavern show here!


The band's advice to emerging artists is simple but powerful: "Keep going. Record your practices and listen back objectively." As for future projects, The Old Part of Town looks forward to continuing their musical journey and sharing their unique blend of Americana with audiences far and wide.


Enjoy!

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