HAWLEY -The Gold Magnolias returned to the Boiler Room of the Hawley Silk Mill recently, pleasing many in attendance with their tunes and talents yet again. It was also Harmony Presents’ final show at this location; a new venue is being planned less than a mile away.


Established in 2009, the group of performers come from Texas, Louisiana and Kansas, but currently resides in Brooklyn. Hudson Mueller who plays guitar and sings, grew up playing music with Dan Foose who plays bass, later meeting Evan Felts who plays keyboard and vocals. Once in New York City the musicians joined forces with Ryan Anselmi who plays tenor sax and Jeff Barton who plays the drums.
It was Mueller who said let’s be a band, when he and Felts “were jamming” during an open mic he tells. Early on, Foose said their talents weren’t recognized with much more than wings and tequila. When playing at a Jamaican restaurant often, that was when Anselmi joined the group, having met Foose at another venue. When he met everyone, Anselmi described his bandmates as “warm” and the music was good. From the start, Anselmi believes the group has been “built on friendship and the love of music.” That, his bandmates agreed with. The Gold Magnolais’ drummer, Barton met everyone as they performed in a venue on the lower East Side. 


Through the years, while the musicians have performed with others, Anselmi said the group is special as they are a “band of brothers” who he prefers to play with because they are “like a family.” 


The name, Gold Magnolias, stems from the members’ southern ties and when coming north, they wanted to add some “pizzazz” explained Foose, so “gold” was added to their title.  

As musicians, Mueller said the performers are on a “mission” to bring their music to people. From their biography, their tunes are described as a “fragrance” which Barton explained comes from the members’ “diverse background” that includes the music they prefer, as they offer people a “very real sound” that he feels many other performers don’t give to listeners.

The group’s music is described as a “funky fragrance,” which Anselmi said is a “good mix of city and country” as they are now in New York City, but are staying true to their backgrounds while playing “moving and engaging” music. By having experiences with different music, together the group is taking their knowledge and “being earnest on stage.”

Realizing their futures were in performing, Barton said he was never interested in anything more than music and so; he earned a degree in music. Getting to New York was no easy ride however, but today being a musician is “great.” 


The quietest member of the group, Felts grew up with “musician mentors” he said, that included family and members of the community that included a railroad conductor and doctor because their “day gig,” were a part of their lives, but it was their “musicianship” that made them influential. It was their “vibe” that Felts appreciated and aspired to one day be like.

Music, Foose said has always been the best thing he enjoys. Friends since childhood, when Mueller started playing guitar, Foose wanted to play along and so, he started playing the bass. Foose’s dad however, was an influence as he is a musician and a producer in Austin, which Foose recalled seeing the perks his father had when performing early on.

Music, Mueller feels is a “powerful” language that can “bring people together” when circumstances may be rough he said. For Barton, music has offered him the chance to travel and play with his “sticks,” which he feels is “pretty profound” he explained.  

As up and rising artists, The Gold Magnolias have two records complete, which Felts said the band is proud of. The plan is to continue making music and touring, as they are “comfortable as a unit” Mueller said. Someday, one member would like to travel to Europe and play, while Anselmi’s dream is to perform on Saturday Night Live. When he played his tenor Friday, he received wild applause.  


After their show Friday, Felts described the feeling as if he were “floating” because playing is like a therapy, as there is an “exertion of energy.” Foose said knowing all the work they put into preparing for the show and then once they play, the feeling is “monumental.” The Hawley crowd was “amazing” as they are the most attentive audience they have ever played for, which is appreciated, as some of their songs are quiet, and the people continue to listen. 


The response he received from the Hawley crowd, Anselmi said was awesome as they rejoiced when he played and that charged him all the more. Barton described the after feeling as “euphoric” because there is a “crazy adrenaline” released.  


Seeing Harmony Presents evolve, Mueller said has been “cool” because when they first played in the Boiler Room it wasn’t set, as it was recently. The people though, listen and remember the band, which “means a lot.” The audience’s attentiveness, Anselmi said makes their show “electric.” 


Friday, July 21, 2017, marked the end of one chapter for Harmony Presents, as The Gold Magnolias were the last they were to host in the Boiler Room of the Hawley Silk Mill because of the plans for a venue to be created less than a mile away, not far from The Dime Bank Lake Region Center on Rt. 6. But for now, there will be shows at The Cooperage in Honesdale.


At the end of Friday’s show, the Managing Director of Harmony Presents Jill Carletti told the audience that the years in the Boiler Room were “amazing” and a lot of great things happened there, even though there were few people in attendance at times. She thanked the public for their commitment to attending and listening.

[Harmony Presents has been hosting concerts at the Hawley Silk Mill since around October 2011, and in the Boiler Room since February 10, 2013. More than 500 shows have been held at the Silk Mill.]

For more information about Harmony Presents visit https://harmonypresents.com/.
For more information about The Gold Magnolias visit http://www.thegoldmagnolias.com/ or check them out on Facebook.