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House & garden > Motor City Cribs and Rides

Motor City Cribs

Scott and Laurie Sellwood's Ann Arbor pied-a-terre

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Published 2/17/2010

Former Saturday Looks Good to Me keyboard player Scott Sellwood and his wife, Laurie, now live in New York City. But they return to Ann Arbor frequently — it's where Laurie works for the University of Michigan's School of Education, and where Scott's veritable supergroup Drunken Barn Dance is based. They own a condo a couple of miles from U-M — too bad they can't stay there. When Scott (a lawyer by day) took a job last year with New York-based music licensing company Rightsflow, they decided to rent their condo to brothers (and Quite Scientific label heads) Brian and Jeremy Peters, as well as Drunken Barn Dance/City Center drummer Ryan Howard. Because of Laurie's frequent trips to Ann Arbor, and the accompanying hotel stays, the couple decided to rent an apartment in the heart of Ann Arbor's student ghetto that'd be small even by New York City standards. Conveniently, it's only a couple of blocks from U-M's School of Education and, like any good touring musician, all the lawyerly keysman really needs is a floor and a bathroom to get ready for his next gig.

Drunken Barn Dance evolved from a solo folk project of Scott's into an epic multi-guitar attack band reminiscent of Television, Wilco and the Grateful Dead. Scott (who plays guitar and sings) enlisted fellow SLGTM bandmates Ryan Howard on drums and Scott DeRoche on lead guitar, as well as Great Lakes Myth Society's Greg McIntosh on lead guitar (who had insisted Scott put a band together) and producer-songwriter Jim Roll on bass.

Not only is Scott a great Tweedyesque songwriter, but he's a worthy bandleader as well. Granted, much of the bandleading is Scott having the smarts to allow the musicians the space and the bourbon to cut loose. Most songs start quietly, with Scott's vocals and acoustic guitar, and work their way into an ecstatic, electric free-for-all by the end. Appropriately, the album was recorded completely live over the course of two whiskey-sodden days at Roll's studio. Drunken Barn Dance "is a crew of friends playing my songs as best we can," Scott says. "I just try to step back and give them room to shine."

You can find out more about Drunken Barn Dance at myspace.com/drunkendance. Their album hits in May on Quite Scientific Records.

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