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For Immediate Release: Album Reviews
50 Sticks of Dynamite - Press MEDIA CONTACT
(805) 701-0559
July 1, 2013


October 31st 2015

by Julia Matulionis

Jensen Communications Inc

50 Sticks of Dynamite

Electric roots rock band 50 Sticks of Dynamite exploded onto the Ventura County music scene in 2010 and have been packing a healthy repertoire of banjo driven rock and blues ever since. The quartet just released their third full-length album, Carry Me Down to My Grave on October 31, 2015 which offers 9 original tracks and 1 cover, for a total of 10 hip-shaking, foot-stomping tunes.

Lead by singer Ian McFadyen on electric banjo, the band is comprised of Whitey Wingland on guitar and harmonica, bassist Michael Dominguez and Chris Jensen on drums. McFadyen writes and sings the bands 40+ song repertoire and his lyrics are straight from the heart, some will make you cry, others laugh, and most will make it impossible for you not to dance.

With an energetic tall drink of water like McFadyen front and center, Wingland's red hot flourishes and a rock solid rhythm section to make it all move, the band routinely accomplishes the impossible: coaxing people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor.

The banjo isn't widely regarded as a sexy instrument, but much the way Jake Shimabakuro has redefined the ukelele, Ian McFadyen has managed to expose the humble 5-string's naughty side, awakening fans to pleasures previously unknown. Weaned on bluegrass, McFadyen and has been plucking strings with passion and precision since he was 9 years old.

The songs on this album cover a wide range of musical stylings. ”Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, sung originally by Earl Scruggs, is intended as an homage to the band’s roots, the Scruggs tune would be a shout out to the bluegrass end of the spectrum. While “Better Man” is as blues as the blues is blues. There is a funky number “I’m in Love With You” and “Walking Tall Blues” rock-a-billy's in there as well.

There is some meat to this album too, the very introspective and personal “Part of Me” is a song Ian sings and picks all by his lonesome about his two children and coming to terms with separation. “Virginia” is an imagined conversation between Ian’s grandparents, working out feelings from never meeting his grandfather. This sweet lullaby crescendos to greatness with the addition of Sarah O’Brien’s Cello work. O’Brien is known for her work with Yanni, ELO and others, she also had a hand in adding her magic to some parts of another track, “Little Girl.”


This band continues to make big and blasting first impressions. 50 Sticks rocks Ventura’s top music venue Bombay Bar and Grill every other month or so (purposefully not over saturating) They have sold out Ventura locations such as Zoey's and have enjoyed regular full houses at W20 Watermark, The Tavern and many other 805 venues. The House of Blues on the Sunset Strip thoroughly enjoyed their set as did The Canyon Club in Agoura when the band opened for Young Dubliners just this year. Other Agoura/TO venues include The Boarderline, The Lab and several Bogies Summer Concert Series. They have played rooms in LA Including The Kibitz, Viva Cantina, The Good Hurt, and Others. Santa Barbara Rooms include The Creekside, Whiskey Richards and are soon to join the Figeuroa Brewing Company circuit.  The have become veterans at festivals having played Roadside Revival twice 2012 and 2015, Indie West Festival 2011 and others, they have ventured into San Diego for the infamous Over The Line XXXtravaganza, and they played to a slightly more sedate wild crowd at San Diego’s Seven Grand Whiskey Bar as well.

50 Sticks of Dynamite have done in-studio radio shows thrice at Static Beach Radio, Hermosa, Roadtunes Sessions KCSB, for Lyn Fairly KVTA and have recorded a pilot for CAPS ch6 TV in Ventura.
Performers of the year 2014 VC Music Awards and ReverbNation’s #1 locally #172 nationally for Americana




Quotes: One Liners:

"Though the group’s signature sound feels comfortably familiar on the surface, further listens reveal subtler, wider-ranging influences."

Mark Suppanz - Big Take Over


"This ain’t no bluegrass band, and it ain’t no country jam band. This is straight-forward rock and roll."

Pam Baumgardner - VenturaRocks.com


"Though the group’s signature sound feels comfortably familiar on the surface, further listens reveal subtler, wider-ranging influences."

Mark Suppanz - Big Take Over


"...life experiences that hit harder than any amount of TNT available."

David Cotner - VC Reporter


"This is first and foremost, a rock 'n' roll album"

Bill Locey - VC Star


"...erupts with speaker-threatening intensity."

Bill Locey - VC Star


"The sound is big….arena rock big."

Danny McCloskey - The Alternate Root








Oct 31st 2015

Carry Me Down To My Grave

The 3rd self release from 50 Sticks of Dynamite; “Carry Me Down To My Grave” includes 10 songs…9 of Ian’s originals and one cover…”Foggy Mountain Breakdown” (4.) (Earl Scruggs) The album is intended as an homage to our roots….the Scruggs tune would be a shout out to the Blue Grass end of the Spectrum, Ian’s composition “Better Man” (9.) is as blues as the blues is blues. There is a funky number “I’m In Love With You” (8.), a straight ahead 4 on the floor rock number – “Just Lookin’ To Be Your Man” (3.), a speedy lil’ blues/rock-a-billy diddy – “Walking Tall Blues” (5.), a darker thinker – “Little Girl” (2.), the peppy fun – “Madeline” (6.) The title track “Carry Me Down” (1.) straddles gospel roots. The very introspective and personal “Part Of Me” (7.) is a song Ian sings and picks all by his lonesome about his two children and coming to terms with separation. The last song on the disc “Virginia” (10.) might just be the band’s Stairway to Heaven clocking in at 7:48. Ian wrote this as an imagined conversation between his grandparents (he never met his grandfather.) This sweet lullaby crescendos to greatness featuring a beautifully melodic Cello part c/o Sarah O’Brien (Yanni, ELO and others) Sarah also added a Cello part in “Little Girl.”
The album was recorded over  8 weeks at Castaway 7 studio in Ventura. Owner engineer JP Hesser recently recorded Neal Casal (Bryan Adam’s, Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood) and friend’s to produce 5 hours of intermission music for The Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” Shows in Santa Clara and Chicago. JP adds his Hammond B3 to The songs “Carry Me Down” and I’m in love with you.

Review: “Carry Me Down To My Grave’’ is the latest from 50 Sticks Of Dynamite, clearly making their claim as one of the best bands in the 805 – and as to the title, they’re not even sick. No one hit wonders – this is their third album as they continue to expand their (and our) horizons – and is pretty much a straight rock `n’ roll album except all the guitar solos by Whitey Wingland are either equaled or embellished by Ian McFadyen raging on banjo. This ain’t no Kingston Trio banjo, either. They rage on Buford Pusser’s should’ve been theme song, “Walking Tall Blues,’’ or they can be mellow as on “Part Of Me,’’ or they can do the folkie country rock thing like a Grateful Dead song as on “Madeline,’’ and even rage on some down and dirty blues as on “Better Man.’’ Pretty much, 50 Sticks can do it all and do it well. Their CD release party slash Halloween party at the Bombay in Ventura Saturday night is the place to be as this band is as explosive as their name would indicate.

Bill Locey - Ventura County Star




Nov 3rd 2013

Love Dream Truth Love

On this follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut, this snappily dressed Ventura, CA foursome serves up another round of raucous, swampy country/blues-inspired rock. Though the group’s signature sound feels comfortably familiar on the surface, further listens reveal subtler, wider-ranging influences. Unusually, frontman Ian McFadyen wields an electric banjo as his primary instrument, going toe-to-toe with guitarist Whitey Wingland to produce thick, stinging leads. The driving Chuck Berry/Little Richard rhythms (fueled by bassist Michael Dominguez and drummer Chris Jensen) on opener “More Than You Can Handle” channel ‘50s/60s R&B, as do the Isley Brothers/Human Beinz “Nobody But Me”-isms on the chugging, harmonica-drenched “Get Wit it Now.”

Elsewhere, “For You” marries a Kinks “You Really Got Me” riff with McFadyen’s Iggy Pop-like, New Values-era vocalizing, while the title track’s low, rumbling bassline recalls The Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat” and “#1 Stunner” whips up some New York Dolls-inspired trashy glam. And on the aptly-titled “Nile River Delta Blues,” the band blends a muted, boomy tribal drum with the oft-pilfered Ali Baba/snake charmer melody from “The Streets of Cairo” (or, more familiarly, “King Tut” and Looney Tunes cartoons!), topping it off with McFadyen’s bluesy Little Walter-like drawl.

Finally, a few gentler, reflective tracks – each ruminating on love in both its positive and negative guises – bring to mind ‘70s folk. On the quick-fingered, banjo-strummed “Wishing Well,” McFadyen coolly evokes recently departed Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, while on the closing “Love Is” he resembles Jim Croce, before the song morphs into squealy, psychedelic-tinged boogie rock. It’s easy to see why they were #1 on ReverbNation’s local Americana chart; 50 Sticks of Dynamite prove that when combined with gritty playing and songwriting flair, this ubiquitous style never grows old.

By Mark Suppanz - Big Take Over - NYC- bigtakeover.com


Nov 1st 2013

Love Dream Truth Love

One of the coolest things about Ventura’s music scene is that you really get to know the bands and the more you go out to support their shows, the more you get to know their original songs, so it’s always a treat when one of our local favorites comes out with a CD to enjoy on your own time.

I’m a huge 50 Sticks fan. But here’s the funny thing, there are a handful of instruments I can normally do without, such as the accordion or the bagpipe, and I used to add the banjo in there; I used to equate the banjo with the old school TV show, “Hee Haw”, but then I had seen a number of performances by Steve Martin which just floored me. So I’ve developed a respect for banjo playing over the years, and with a more open mind, I was primed to fully embrace the banjo when I first saw Ian playing it during an early 50 Sticks show back at J’s (now Peirano’s) in early 2011.

This ain’t no bluegrass band, and it ain’t no country jam band. This is straight-forward rock and roll. The band describes their sound as banjo driven roots rock & blues. Regardless, it’s the kind of music that inspires you to get off your ass and dance to their infectious tunes.

50 Sticks released their second album this year called, Love Dream Truth Love. I’m completely jazzed to include in my private
collection of local music songs like “Far Away,” “For You,” and the title track “Love Dream Truth Love."
“Far Away” reminds me of a classic movie or an old relationship which you can count on for getting much needed comfort. It just feels right; I love the line, ”Yes I’m gonna find you baby and make your untamed heart my own” in the song, “For You.” The tune seriously drives me to dance which is always a fun thing when you’re seat belted behind the wheel driving down the 101; The title track, “Love Dream Truth Love” is the quintessential rock anthem; and I love the harp on “What’s Next?”

The band is comprised of local musicians you’ve seen over the years in various projects. It’s extremely cool when you bring four guys together and it just clicks.

By Pam Baumgardner - Ventura Rocks - venturarock.com

Aug 1st, 2013"

Love Dream Truth Love

Love Dream Truth Love (a title reminiscent of Spinal Tap’s “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”) is the second record by 50 Sticks of Dynamite, a band that has for the past three years taken its vision of folk bluegrass to new personal heights. The band — bassist Michael Dominguez, drummer Chris Jensen, singing electric banjoist Ian McFadyen and guitarist/harmonica player Mark Wingland — presents the tender and heartfelt “Far Away” alongside the loping, danceable title track. It’s a capably recorded clutch of songs that includes introspective breakup songs like the standout track “Wishing Well.” It is Americana at its most crystalline and convivial (because this music is meant for everyone). The closing track, “Love Is” (which I thought was about two naked 8-year-olds who are married) stands proudly as a meditative song of heartbreak and healing, life experiences that hit harder than any amount of TNT available.

David Cotner - VC Reporter - Aug 1st 2013

June 6th, 2013"

The second and latest album from 50 Sticks Of Dynamite is "Love Dream Truth Love" and it's a DIY, self-released
rock 'n' roll classic. Frontman Ian McFadyen plays an electric banjo, but the music is closer to Blue Cheer than the Kingston Trio.
This is first and foremost, a rock 'n' roll album - the initial cut, "More Than You Can Handle" should remove any doubt as it
erupts with speaker-threatening intensity. Plenty of hooks, searing solos and foot stomping fun that should have beer sales as
busy as all the feet within earshot. Support local music - like these explosive rockers."

Bill Locey - VC Star - June 6th 2013

June 25, 2013"

"The sound that 50 Sticks of Dynamite make on Love*Dream*Truth*Love is big….arena rock big. The basic guitar, bass, drums is given a roots link with the banjo. For its part, the banjo is electric and ready to claim its spot on stage with instruments known for their power. If sound were scent, the opening bass line for the song “Love Dream Truth Love” is made of pheromones. The drum and crunchy chords join to push the song along as Ian McFadyen waxes philosophical over a rhythm that takes no prisoners."

Danny McCloskey - The Alternate Root - June 25th 2013


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50 Sticks Productions • P.O. Box 7812 • Ventura, CA 93006 • 805.701.0559 • E-mail 50sticks@gmail.com