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Raising a Muddy Ruckus at the Yacht Club


Muddy Ruckus w/ Good Devils and No More Honey

Iowa City Yacht Club — Saturday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m.

Ryan Flaherty and Erika Stahl, who perform together as Muddy Ruckus, play the Yacht Club on Aug. 10. — press photo

Muddy Ruckus, a Maine band comprised of Ryan Flaherty and Erika Stahl, will be returning to the Midwest for the sixth time, on tour with their newest single, “Perfectly Aligned.” Though they have come to the area many times before, this tour will bring the Americana-folk-punk-rock duo to Iowa City for the first time.

“We are total outcasts,” said Flaherty, Muddy Ruckus’s guitairst. We don’t fit into any [genre], and a lot of people like that about us.”

Flaherty was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. This is what initially drew him to performing in the Midwest again once the band began touring — but the enthusiastic artistic communities spread across the region kept them coming back.

“We’ve talked to other bands that are traveling … and they’re always like, ‘Oh yeah, Iowa City is awesome’,” said Flaherty. “The punk scene seems to be really strong between Ohio and Iowa for some reason … the music is really well received out here.”

The band’s list of influences runs long — Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead, along with blues and ’90s grunge — but the pair’s songwriting and composing processes don’t intentionally follow in those footsteps.

“I’m not sure how much these influences come through in the music that I play, because that is not conscious effort on my part. But I’m sure it has some kind of influence on how the music comes out of me,” Stahl, who plays the drums in Muddy Ruckus, said. “And it’s definitely something Ryan and I connect on, which is probably why there’s a bit of a punk-blues vibe in some of our material.”

Muddy Ruckus’ sound has changed organically with time since they first got together in 2014. They started with acoustic sets, with Flaherty on acoustic guitar and Stahl singing with him. When Stahl started playing the drums, Flaherty needed an electric guitar to be heard over it. From then on the two played loudly, but there was still change to come.

“Ryan started playing the banjo a little bit and we threw in some of that,” said Stahl. “And our new songs have been going back to a more optimistic style … It all just happened naturally.

Muddy Ruckus wants to give their listeners hope and replenished sense of comfort with themselves during and after their shows, particularly with the current political climate, said Flaherty.

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“When [the audience] comes to see us, they might be like, ‘whoa, this is a really raw, passionate couple, and they don’t care what anyone thinks, and I connect with that,’” said Flaherty.

Muddy Ruckus will be at the Iowa City Yacht Club on Aug. 10 at 9 p.m.; tickets are $7-10. They’ll also be performing at the Blu Room in Dubuque on Aug. 9 , and at Davenport’s Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Racoon Motel on Aug. 11.


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