Hailing from Mankato, Minnesota, and now based in Minneapolis, the band is comprised of Lee Henke and Ryan Acker – both on banjo and guitar – and Vincenzio Donatelle with the fiddle and bass. All three contribute vocals, resulting in heart-melting harmonies and an energetic, unforgettable stage presence. The three friends met while going to school in Mankato; Henke and Acker had been playing together for some time when they met Donatelle and developed a friendship over a mutual love of cheap wine and Tom Waits. Donatelle met Acker through Henke, and the three began to playing together at open mics, before moving on to dive bars and later travelling coast to coast as full-time musicians.
Self-described as a blend of “Folk, Rockabilly, Old Time String-Band and Rock”, The Last Revel embraces the timeless textures of American folk music with their own twists. Their first full-length album, Uprooted, found the band hauling a studio’s worth of equipment to a remote cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where an escape from the city allowed for the synthesis of an album true to the band’s developing identity. Integral to the recording of Uprooted was the decision to veer away from transposing folk tunes into rock songs, and to play the songs as they were. Prior to Uprooted, and following the release of their debut EP The Mason Jar, the group – at the time known as the Bitterroot Band – endured significant hardship including the theft of over $15,000 in instruments and gear as well as the threat of legal action from another band with the same name (prompting the switch to “The Last Revel”). Uprooted chronicles these challenges, turning adversity acoustic and showing their resiliency both as individuals and as a musical entity.
April 2015 saw the release of the trio’s eponymous album The Last Revel, a masterpiece and a testament to the band’s strength and ability to stand out in the folk and americana scene. Through the driving, lively “Unbound” and the more haunting, ebbing “Seeds to Sow”, the band demonstrates an inherent evasion of labels, giving them a unique and notable presence in what some have called a renaissance of folk and bluegrass emerging in the Midwest. Despite their singularity, however, The Last Revel stays true to the movement’s central values, prioritizing “community over celebrity” and embracing folk music’s emphasis on storytelling.
Two years later, in April of 2017, came Hazard & Fate, the most recent of The Last Revel’s records.
In the words of Ryan Acker, “Hazard & Fate, it is one in the same. The songs that comprise our latest album were created in a time of very intense personal and professional growth. […] Our goal with songwriting has always been to find a common ground that we all share, that the experiences we have are not dissimilar to others. Fleeting moments of joy and hardship — and the decisions we make that follow — can define and shape the course of our lives. Recognizing and accepting all of these moments for what they are as part of the patchwork of our story has been a source of inspiration for us.”
Madison last saw The Last Revel in October at the High Noon Saloon, and this time around, they will be filling the Majestic with harmonies and heart alongside the talented Dead Horses. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this one!
Check it out!& don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook.