Reflections On Yourself And More

Bruce Von Stiers

For those who follow the King Arthur legend, he had a nephew named Gawain. Headstrong, and constantly reckless, Gawain takes the place of Arthur in a battle with the Green Knight. That is just one version of the tales that are told in poems and stories that featured Gawain and the mystical Green Knight.

In these modern times, the 2020's, there is a completely different version of Gawain and the Green Knight. This new version comes in the form a musical duo. This duo call themselves Gawain and the Green Knight. In this duo, Alexia Antoniou is Gawain and Mike O'Malley is the Green Knight. Their music is folk with some other stylings mixed in.

Alexia and Mike are a couple in real life. They, like many other couples, had planned to get married in 2020. But with the pandemic, that wasn't going to happen. Instead they worked on their music. The result of that work is an EP titled A Sleeping Place.

Alexa plays guitar and does vocals. Mike plays the keys, does vocals and plays the Irish Bouzouki. Besides being half of the duo, Mike also has a band called Besties.

Helping out on A Sleeping Place are Sam Weber, Derek Swink and Michael Sachs. Besides working as a jazz sideman on a lot of projects, Sam lectures internationally. Derek plays gigs with a lot of New York City jazz groups and records with bands like Dizzy Bats and Drown Your Boots. Michael has recorded with several top names and has played with the Cleveland Orchestra. On the EP, Sam plays bass, Derek is on drums and Michael plays the flute, clarinet and bass clarinet.

A Sleeping Place has six songs and a play time of eighteen minutes. It was produced and arranged by Mike and recorded at Grand Street Recordings in Brooklyn.

The Dressmaker is a tale of a woman whose man has left her. The neighbors are talking and she finds out she never really knew him. And that she really doesn't know who she is. The song has fluid vocals and an almost Irish folksong styling for some of the music in it.

Dionysus has some nice guitar and vocals.

Bridget is melodic with nice vocals and some interesting piano and backing vocals.

In My Dreams, A Perfect Chair is a lyrical song of self-reflection. Not being very skilled or seemingly so in her mind, but in her dreams, a different story.

Birds & Wine has a nice toe tapping sound. Terrific clarinet and duet vocals make this a very cool song. In a recent interview, Mike stated that sounds from bands Lake Street Dive and Vulfpeck influenced the music for this song.

Fingers closes the EP. It reflects on them as a couple and that the hope is that their “rips and bones lace like fingers” It is a soft, melodic song with sort of an alt folk sound to it.

Thematic musical groups and albums sometimes work. Other times they don't. It takes a strong sense of story and solid music in songs from these groups to make it work well. Gawain and the Green Knight definitely have the right mixture of story, lyrics and music. The songs evoke happiness, sadness, love, loss and reflection. A Sleeping Place is a nice way to introduce listeners to the music of Gawain and the Green Knight. And a nice addition for the legion of fans that the duo already has.

A Sleeping Place is available now.

If you'd like to know more about Gawain and the Green Knight, visit

They also have a Facebook band page at

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© 2021 Bruce E Von Stiers