BY DAVE STEINFELD
“I’m a firefighter — and I like your music!” That was one fan’s response after seeing the Atlanta-based band folk-pop foursome Girlyman perform. Despite the potentially controversial name and the fact that all four of its members are openly queer, Girlyman has a way of winning even the skeptics over. That could be because their music is easy on the ears and rooted in traditional forms. Or maybe it’s because the band members themselves are just so likable.
Girlyman features three members — Doris Muramatsu, Ty Greenstein and Nate Borofsky — who all sing, write and play various instruments as well as JJ Jones, who joined the band in 2010, becoming not only their first full-time drummer but also Muramatsu’s partner. But that wasn’t the only significant change between the release of their fourth studio album, 2009’s “Everything’s Easy,” and the recent follow-up, “Supernova.” In the fall of 2010, Muramatsu was diagnosed with leukemia. “We had done a U.K. tour, our first, in September,” she recalls. “I didn’t feel right on that tour and I just thought that I was really jet-lagged. But after three weeks of feeling jet-lagged, we came back to the States [for] another tour. I started dropping all this weight and was sleeping all the time in the van. I had this low-grade fever and bruises all over my body. And I kept craving anything that was flavored with mint. Like, I [wanted to] eat the toothpaste! So JJ looked it up ‘person craving mint all the time’ online and they were saying that people who are anemic sometimes crave [it]. So I was like, I’ll just take some iron and I’ll feel better.”
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Girlyman band photo by Jeff Steinmetz.