New Haven's Goodnight Blue Moon is a big group, with many moving parts: cello, violin, mandolin, guitar, banjo, upright bass, trumpet and drums, and all of the players sing.
"There are seven of us," said guitarist and singer Erik Elligers. "We're doing a gig tonight with only four of us, but seven is the magic number."
Elligers does a good amount of the writing; so does mandolin player Matt Crowley. Nancy Matlack Elligers, Erik's wife, plays cello and banjo, brother Sean Elligers the trumpet and percussion. Jazz/experimental musician Carl Testa plays upright bass. Violinist Vicki Wepler and drummer Nick D'Errico were added more recently.
"The cello line was crucial, and that developed into a string section," Elligers said. "We always write with the strings in mind... My brother on trumpet was the icing on the cake." The additional extra three members kinda pushed things over the top. "We are very orchestral," Elligers said. "We try to get that big sound. Hopefully that translates."
Goodnight Blue Moon put out a record called How Long in March of 2012, and soon they'll complete another one. With the extended roster it's tough for everyone to find time to practice, and because they're all professionals by day, touring is pretty tough. But when the whole group gets together, Elligers said, the sparks fly.
"It's actually amazing when we get a full rehearsal together," Elligers said. —Michael Hamad