For Marty O’Reilly and his band, The Old Soul Orchestra, there is nothing like playing live shows. “This is a very live-oriented band,” O’Reilly says. “We tend to have a lot of energy that we experience when we’re playing for a crowd, and that really makes us play our best.” The interplay between the band and the audience is evident on their 2012 self-titled live EP.
The crowd goes wild on finger-picking stompers like “Samson and Delilah,” and at the climax of the bluesy “American Rye,” O’Reilly’s already-soaring vocals reach new heights when the crowd voices its approval. Not a bad response for a band that was newly formed at the time the album was recorded. “That was a year ago and we’d only been together for a couple months,” says O’Reilly. “We’ve come a long way since then, but people have responded well to the album because it captures what we do best.” The band is part of this year’s Black Friday American Roots Music Festival lineup at Moe’s Alley, and O’Reilly can’t wait to take the stage. “One thing I love about this community is all the people in these bands are great musicians and great people,” he says. “The other thing is their fans are awesome.” O’Reilly says his deep love of music is best described in Rainer Maria Rilke’s book, “Letters to a Young Poet.” “I’m paraphrasing, but at one point Rilke says, ‘Whether or not you are [a poet] has nothing to do with what other people think of your work, but rather, do you feel compelled within yourself? Ask yourself: Must I write?’” recalls O’Reilly. “When I read that I was almost brought to tears because that was exactly how I felt. I knew music was something I have to be doing.”
INFO: The Black Friday American Roots Music Festival kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.