Members: Dan Ryan (vocals & guitar), Greg Wellham (vocals & guitar), Jon Birkholz (keyboards), Brian Brunsman (bass), Mike Gambone (drums)
Sounds Like: A glorious assault of thundering guitar-driven indie-pop full of catchy hooks and sing-able melodies.
For Fans Of: Wye Oak, Spoon, Surfer Blood, Cloud Nothings
Bio: Super City formed in 2013 around the song-writing duo of Greg Wellham and Dan Ryan while they were attending Towson University. The pair had known each other and jammed occasionally since first meeting in high-school, but had never actually been in a band together until forming Super City. They recruited Jon Birkholz, Brian Brunsman, and former Bridge drummer Mike Gambome to round out the line-up. Due to the the prolific song-writing of Wellham and Ryan – which benefits from the friendly competitiveness between the two which helps fuel the bands’ fast-growing catalog – Super City released its self-titled EP shortly after forming and is working on their full-length debut which will be released early 2015.
Sounds Like: A late-night party in your best-friend’s basement.
For Fans Of: Dave Matthews Band, Dispatch, Slightly Stoopid
Bio: Formed in 2010 in a dilapidated shack near Blacksburg, VA. The band became a touring machine playing over 250 shows a year leading the release of the debut EP Born & Raised 2012. They continued to steadily tour with stops at Floydfest, Domefest, and the Pink Moon Festival before releasing their full-length debut, America, in August 2014.
Members: Jeremy Sachs (Banjo /Vocals), Matt Markwick (Fiddle), Paul Freeman (Guitar), Mark Duddy (Drums), Adam Bowden Smith (Bass), Rich Stillman (Washboard & French Horn), Sarah Mann (Trombone), Rebecca Freeman (Vocals)
Sounds Like: A piss-drunk Tom Waits bashing away on a banjo while his mates from New Orleans provide a boozy, horn-laden atmosphere complete with flourishes of jazzy trombones and clacking washboards.
For Fans Of: Devil Makes Three, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon
Bio: Formed in 2008 by Jeremy Sachs, Matt Merwick, and Paul Freeman who had been playing with a variety bands in London. They slowly filled out their line-up over the years until they settled on the eight-piece version they have today. They released a pair of well-received EPs 2010’s Soaking to the Bone and 2012’s Good Times, before releasing their full-length debut, Rhinoceros, in May 2014.
Albums: Rhinoceros (2014), Good Times EP (2012), Soaking to the Bone EP (2010)
Some of the top bluegrass pickers in the country have come from the Midwest, and Chicagoâ€™s premier tradition-inspired bluegrass band, The Henhouse Prowlers, rates among the finest. Founding members, Ben Wright (banjo) and Jon Goldine (bass) along with recent additions Eric Lambert (guitar) and Grant Ziolkowski (mandolin) have been steadily touring to promote their new album, Verses, Chapters, Rhymes, and their critically acclaimed debut album, Dark Rumor.
Steeped in traditional bluegrass that is saturated with instrumental dexterity and complex chord changes it is easy to see how the quintet has won such prestigious awards as the 2010 Rocky Grass Band Competition and the 2010 Chicago Music Award.
Each member of the Prowlers contributes equally, both musically and vocally. Wrightâ€™s vocal weight lends a unique layer of depth to the vocal harmony, the rich bass resonating within the lower end of the stack. Wrightâ€™s three-finger picking style is reminiscent of Earl Scruggs with rapid and repetitive rolls. Goldineâ€™s vocal timbre fills in the higher end of the stack as his upright bass layers in the bottom end. Lambert, the resident acoustic flat picker whose vocals are akin to Billy Nershi from The String Cheese Incident adds a seasoned flavor to the quintet. Young buck, Grant Ziolkowski, is a wunderkind on the mandolin, his cross picking mimicking senior member Wrightâ€™s banjo roll with a sweet vocal melodic vocal registration.Â The shared talent makes the transition of breakdowns almost flawless as the members rotate through the melodies.
At recent show at the Mousetrap, in Indianapolis, Indiana, they shared these talents to a substantial size crowd, getting everyone moving and dancing.Â â€œUncle Bubba,â€ a tune from Dark Rumor found Goldine on vocals, his smooth tenor provoking a haunting melody about a family in 1961. The harmonics of the chorus provided chills before the breakdown sends the listener reeling with emotion.Â Wrights low tessitura served to complement Goldineâ€™s powerful voice. An older song, â€œSyracuse,â€ found Wright on vocals growling out a story about a self indulgent man traveling with his spoiled pompous wife from Chicago back home to Syracuse and the hardships of those that live life without reflection of what the human soul is about, Lambertâ€™s acoustic melody ripped through the layers and passed it to Ziolkowski to pick away. And so it was throughout the night, the band flawlessly working a single powerhouse unit, swapping lead vocals, while Lambertâ€™s flat picking riffs and Wrightâ€™s banjo seemed to roll on through the melody.Â The bandâ€™s time on stage is a skillful display of their unparalleled musical powers.Â It is a genuine treat and true wonder to be able to witness a bluegrass band perform with such tenacity and jam in the splendor of tradition.
With fall tour slowly coming to a close, the Henhouse Prowlers have announced they will be partnering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository for the Bluegrass Pitch-in at the Mayne Stage in Chicago on Friday, November 25. They also will be embarking after this on a West Coast tour, to be followed by a European tour next year.
Stream: Henhouse Prowlers (5/27/11)
Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos of Henhouse Prowlers by Amber Jennings…
At a small bar in Wilmington, Delaware called Fat Ricks, blues-guitarist Larry Garner, during a show he was playing, approached a 15 year-old kid he had been chatting with in between sets, and asked him, “Can you play an A-minor?”
"This sounds good. How can we fuck it up," remembers Bridge guitarist Cris Jacobs being asked by legendary producer Steve Berlin during the recording of their latest album, National Bohemian, which was helmed by Berlin.
Jacobs’ longtime band mate, mandolinist Kenny Liner elaborates, "Steve’s whole attitude is you have heard everything before, so let’s try something you haven’t heard, and that is such an amazingly cool attitude to have as a band going in to record an album."
“We really latch onto heartfelt, honest songs,” explains Kagey Parrish, one-half of the folk duo The Honey Dewdrops, “We love hard hitting songs. We try to shoot for that kind of thing. Those are the kind of songs that affect us and we hope we can write in that way too.” And with the release of The Honey Dewdrops latest album, These Old Roots, Parrish and musical co-conspirator Laura Wortman have done just that. These Old Roots, the duo’s second album is a stripped down affair, full of sweet harmonies, lush guitar work, and deeply powerful lyrics that are given even more life by the natural chemistry that exists in the pair’s finely meshed voices.
After the release of singer/ songwriter John Huebner’s solo EP, he began playing with a number of musicians in the steadily growing Lancaster music scene. The plan was a simple one, to take some of his new songs, add a couple of new tunes he had started working on and as Huebner said, “play some shows and see how things went.”
Straddling a land that has Bill Monroe and Townes Van Zandt on one side and Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan on the other, Smooth Kentucky’s sound is a trip through the spirit of American music.They have a bluegrass soul, but play with a rock ‘n’ roll heart.
The cross-pollination of music between artists often gives rise to a fresh creation. This fusion can evolve into a musical style and collaboration that is a new and perfect match that all involved seek to achieve.
On one fateful day during the Gem and Jam Festival in Tucson, Arizona such an event took place. A spontaneous collaboration between the trio (drummer Dylan McIntosh, bassist Tripp Bains, and electric guitarist Curtis Sloane) of San Francisco-based BLVD and Colorado-based MC Souleye blended the electro driven beats of the trio and rhythmic rhymes of Souleye seamlessly for the first time. The merging of these two artists birthed a new sound for BLVD that can be heard at concerts and festivals across the US.