Genre Archives: Bluegrass

Them Coulee Boys x Fireside Collective

Please note that Majestic Theatre, High Noon Saloon, Orpheum Theater, and The Sylvee are requiring all fans to provide PRINTED proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours OR full vaccination for entry to all events at the venue moving forward. In accordance with current Dane County Public Health guidelines, this performance will also require masks regardless of vaccination status. Additional policies may apply on a show-by-show basis. More details available here.

Them Coulee Boys
“from pure and genuine ballads to a leaping, countrified take on rock and roll”

Eau Claire, WI – The story is true. Soren Staff and Beau Janke—co-founders of folk/rock/Americana outfit Them Coulee Boys—met as counselors at a bible camp in northern Wisconsin in 2011. Having both grown up amidst a stretch of glacial melt-carved river valleys in the upper Midwest, otherwise known by French fur trappers as coulees, they became fast friends. Camp counselors actually coined the name “them coulee boys” as a way to refer to the constant companions, more often than not with instruments in hand. Soren’s little brother Jens joined the crew on mandolin at camp in 2012, and since, both Neil Krause on bass and Staš Hable on drums have helped to grow the band into the rollicking outfit it is today. 2021 marks the release of their fourth record, Namesake, a ten-song collection that spans from pure and genuine ballads to a leaping, countrified take on rock and roll. Singles from the recording have premiered via The Bluegrass Situation, Ditty TV, and Live for Live. Twangville readers dubbed the record “Best New Release”.

Namesake was recorded at The Hive in the band’s hometown of Eau Claire, WI. The album was produced by Grammy-winner Brian Joseph who has worked with the likes of Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Ani Difranco, and The Indigo Girls, and earned his Grammy producing and engineering Bon Iver’s Bon Iver. Taking inspiration from the intimate nature of The Hive after a long period of quarantine, Namesake feels familial—like old friends with no need for small talk. There are moments of power and punch, balanced with intimacy only felt between the ones we love. Namesake finds Them Coulee Boys following a new trajectory, combining their signature take on folk-grass and Americana with comfort on electric instruments and playing rock and roll. The
record lives and breathes. It’s both intimate and bombastic. It’s the sweet aunt who makes delicious pies and the wiley uncle who’s not afraid to hit a bit of the hooch. At the bottom is the acceptance that comes with family and old friends; none of us are perfect, but there’s enough love out there to make up for it. For all things Them Coulee Boys, please visit themcouleeboys.com.

Fireside Collective

Quickly blazing a name for themselves with their progressive approach to American folk music, Fireside Collective delights listeners with memorable melodies and contemporary songwriting. Formed in the mountain city of Asheville North Carolina, the band plays original songs on stringed instruments, intended for a modern audience. Following the release of their debut album “Shadows and Dreams”, the band hit the road seeking to engage audiences with their energetic live show built on instrumental proficiency, colorful harmonies, and innovative musical arrangements.

Well what do you call it?

“Bluegrass, Newgrass, perhaps Progressive folk…” These are some descriptions mandolinist and songwriter Jesse Iaquinto chooses to identify with. “Depending on where you come from and your experience with folk music, you may think we’re very traditional, or on the other hand, consider us a progressive act. We appreciate both ends of the spectrum and may lie on a different end on any given night.” While roots music lies at the core of the Collective’s songs, a willingness to explore the boundaries and present relevant new material remains fundamental.

The band burst onto the scene in early 2014 following the release of “Shadows and Dreams.” The album weaves bluegrass, funk, rock, and blues influences into a refreshing representation of modern folk music. From the opening track “Poor Soul” with it’s energetic bluegrass overtones to the closer “Shine the Way Home”, the album takes listeners on a journey through simple love songs to complex themes such as metaphysics and coexistence. The album, recorded in Asheville at Sound Temple Studios, features guest musicians from Asheville’s rich acoustic music scene alongside members of the Fireside Collective.

 

Armchair Boogie

Please note that Majestic Theatre, High Noon Saloon, Orpheum Theater, and The Sylvee are requiring all fans to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours OR full vaccination for entry to all events at the venue moving forward. In accordance with current Dane County Public Health guidelines, this performance will also require masks regardless of vaccination status. Additional policies may apply on a show-by-show basis. More details available here.
Armchair Boogie

Starting in 2015 from a front porch in the college town of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Armchair Boogie can be defined by their pickin’ skills and infectious grooves. Augie Dougherty (banjo, vocals) and Ben Majeska (guitar, vocals) began playing under the name before becoming complete with the addition of Eli Frieders (bass) and solidification of Denzel Connor (drums) as the driving rhythm section behind a bluegrass, up-tempo, jammin-funkgrass outfit.

In the spring of 2018 Armchair Boogie moved to Madison, WI and released their first album. During this time they began touring around Wisconsin, the Midwest, and across America. Their journeys on the road have led them to stages such as Blue Ox, Northwest String Summit, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Summer Camp, and Live on King Street. They’ve had the honor to share the stage with The Infamous Stringdusters, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, The Dead South, Kitchen Dwellers, Pert Near Sandstone, Trout Steak Revival, and have jammed with many more.

With the help of a loving and dedicated following, the group was able to successfully crowdfund their album, “What Does Time Care?”, which was released on October 11, 2019.

Be warned: if you’re looking to listen to the Boogie Boys, drink some water, eat a banana, do some stretches, and be ready to boogie the night away.

steez
Funky as f*ck.
Categorization be damned, the Madison-based five piece, STEEZ, consisting of Matt Williams (keyboards/synthesizers/talk box), Steve Neary (guitar and vocals), Alex Roberts (drums), Chris Sell (bass), and Andrzej Benkowski (saxophone, keyboards, vocals) is—in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions —a funk band, a jamband, a fusion band, a disco-fanged multi-beast, and a basket case.Churning out their self-described Creepfunk, a high energy, danceable variety of funk uniquely laced with electronic and improvisational sensibilities, STEEZ has garnered a loyal following throughout the Midwest performing at music festivals and to capacity crowds at rapidly growing venues. STEEZ repeatedly receives acclaim for their live performances, which typically include a seamless weaving of thoughtfully composed originals and crowd pleasing covers spanning from Madonna to clever obscurities like Genialistid (Estonia).Well established in the Midwestern jamband community, what really sets STEEZ apart is the camaraderie and endearing sense of humor. The band’s humble beginnings include getting banned for life from a venue after their first ever live performance, maneuvering a moped accident involving a parked car, and cruising the Midwest in the inspired 35 foot band bus, “Big Brown.” (RIP) While it’s the original songs and taut musicianship that initially grab both fans’ and critics’ attention, the band’s personality keeps it.STEEZ continues their musical endeavors by balancing extensive touring with studio time. STEEZ continues to rage major festivals such as Summer Set Music & Camping Festival, Wakarusa, Summer Camp Music Festival, Camp Bisco, Electric Forest, 10KLF and Rootwire, while grinding it out on the road throughout the midwest and beyond. The band’s 5th studio album, Little World, was released November 2019 and can be found on bandcamp.

The Infamous Stringdusters

For fans of Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled By Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Punch Brothers
Unlike rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass music’s boundaries are often defined in very narrow terms and that has caused some bands to carefully consider their place within the genre. But, in order to survive, everything must evolve… even bluegrass. Enter the Infamous Stringdusters, the very model of a major modern bluegrass band.
“At a certain point in our career, there was hesitation in calling us a bluegrass band,” guitarist Andy Falco admits. “These days, we’re much more comfortable with that label.” Banjo man Chris Pandolfi echoes the point: “We love bluegrass, but we have been influenced by other genres as much, if not more. When it comes to making music, we always try to be a blank slate and give new songs whatever they need to come to life. We just try to make something good, something that is true to who we are.”
On Laws of Gravity, that’s exactly what the Infamous Stringdusters — Andy Hall (dobro), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (double bass), in addition to Falco and Pandolfi — have done. Their seventh studio set further proves that the band’s collective whole is far greater than the sum of its individual parts, as the song selection and pitch-perfect performances weighs the Stringdusters’ appeal to traditional fans against their musical quest to attract new listeners. It’s a balance that comes naturally to the band.
Here, trad-leaning tunes like “Freedom,” “A Hard Life Makes a Good Song,” “Maxwell,” and “1901: A Canyon Odyssey” pick hard and soar high, letting trade-off solos and layered vocal harmonies work their magic. As it continues on, Gravity reaches its roots deep and wide, but never sacrifices the wings of the band, as exemplified in tracks like “Back Home” and “This Ol’ Building” which pull from the blues and R&B strands of the Stringdusters’ musical DNA.
“The specific feelings in those songs lend themselves to a soulful sound,” Hall explains. “The longing of ‘Back Home,’ the passion of ‘This Ol’ Building.’ Slowing things down a bit, but still having a real edge and passion is the essence of that. And probably a bit of maturity on our part brings out a more authentic soulful sound.”
Indeed, the Stringdusters have worked hard to become the band they are or, perhaps, the band they wanted and knew themselves to be — a self-discovery process to which Laws of Gravity bears witness. “Once you start to move out of that, a lot of good things happen,” Pandolfi says. “You know who you are, and how to do your thing with confidence and experience. This colors the songwriting process as much as anything. We work so hard on the music, but it’s not hard work. It’s really the payoff, and it comes more naturally with time.”
Letting the past inform and the present propel, the Stringdusters’ style and substance are uniquely Infamous. Since 2007, the band’s ever-evolving artistry and boldly creative collaborations — including Ryan Adams, Joss Stone, Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, and Lee Ann Womack — have pushed them past the edges of traditional acoustic music and carved out a musical niche all their own in the hearts of fans and critics, alike. Over the past couple of years, they released 2015’s Undercover, a covers EP, followed by 2016’s Ladies & Gentlemen, an album featuring multiple female guest vocalists. Those projects may have seemed like artistic tangents, but they actually proved to be a pretty direct route from there to Gravity.
“Being singers and songwriters, we were really ready to put some of our own songs out with us singing them,” Falco says. “In the same way solo projects can take you away to be able to come back and feel refreshed, the last two records have done that and we were ready to hit the studio with our songs sung by us.”
“We had much more of a vision for how we wanted this album to come together than we did with past projects,” Pandolfi adds. “We got the music, including all our individual parts, to a place where we knew we could go into the studio and just let it happen live. We are a band. We play live together and, more than any one song or achievement, this is what we do. Now we have an album that captures that.”
Part of Gravity‘s vision involved not road-testing and adapting the songs before taking them into the studio. That’s a new step in the Stringdusters’ process which starts with filtering through and whittling down a wealth of material to the best of the batch. “We take those 20 or so songs and take them to the next level as a band,” Pandolfi explains. “So much gets accomplished in this writing/arranging stage. It’s where songs become Stringduster songs. In the end, we share the songwriting credit because of all the collective work that goes into this (and every other) aspect of being in a band.”
“We may try the song in a number of different feels before landing on something that works for the sound of the band. If a song is good, it usually comes together fairly quickly,” Halls says, adding, “But we’re writing more diverse stuff these days, so some experimentation is always welcome.”
While the new record boasts a single instrumental track, “Sirens,” where the five fellas really cut loose on their respective strings, the vocals across the other dozen tracks tie this music to the bluegrass tradition in an even more profound way. “Singing is a big part of bluegrass music,” Falco says. “It’s an important part of the sound and I think that part of music gets overlooked a lot. The singing should convey the emotion of the song. That’s what we aim to do. One could argue that it’s more important than the playing.”
Out beyond Laws of Gravity, the Infamous Stringdusters have an even broader vision. “We just want to keep making original music, keep evolving as people and musicians, and continue to help our amazing community of fans grow and enjoy this experience together,” Pandolfi says. “When we hear from people that our music or the community around our music has helped them find joy in life, it makes everything seem very worthwhile.”
Falco adds, “We love playing together and that’s the reason we’ve been doing it for as long as we have. We want to able to do this until we’re old and grey. That’s really it — making music together and continuing to evolve our brand of bluegrass music.”

Horseshoes Halloween – Night 1

For fans of Pert Near Sandstone, Keller Williams & The Travelin’ McCoys, Fruition, Greensky Bluegrass, Dead Horses

In 2010, the five Wisconsinites that make up Horseshoes & Hand Grenades found themselves in a living room in the college town of Stevens Point, WI, holding acoustic instruments and enjoying a hodgepodge of fermented beverages. Music and revelry ensued that evening and, while many of the party guests eventually bid their goodbye well into the morning hours, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades wasn’t ready to let the get-together fade. Many years later, the music still hasn’t stopped and the party is still going strong, from the mountain west to the river towns of the Midwest that the quintet calls home, and all across America.

While strongly rooted in bluegrass, old-time, and folk music, the band produces a sound that draws on the vaults of music collectively and individually enjoyed throughout the course of their lives thus far. The music doesn’t lend itself well to categories or boundaries. One could possibly be formed, but the boys seem to generally prefer fishing a river, or enjoying the company of friends and barley beers.

With their music well-defined or not, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades has begun to form a place in the American music scene, gaining recognition on both a regional and national scale. The band took 3rd place at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Band Competition in 2012 and has since shared the stage with Trampled By Turtles, The Travelin’ McCourys, Railroad Earth, Merle Haggard, The Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Marty Stuart, and many more. The group’s third full-length Middle Western was released in March of 2015 and another record is expected in 2017. Being mostly inspired by rivers, valleys, good friends, and good drink, this five-piece is as sturdy as any Midwest riverbed and will make your toes tap from sundown to sunrise.

 

Horseshoes Halloween – Night 2

For fans of Pert Near Sandstone, Keller Williams & The Travelin’ McCoys, Fruition, Greensky Bluegrass, Dead Horses

In 2010, the five Wisconsinites that make up Horseshoes & Hand Grenades found themselves in a living room in the college town of Stevens Point, WI, holding acoustic instruments and enjoying a hodgepodge of fermented beverages. Music and revelry ensued that evening and, while many of the party guests eventually bid their goodbye well into the morning hours, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades wasn’t ready to let the get-together fade. Many years later, the music still hasn’t stopped and the party is still going strong, from the mountain west to the river towns of the Midwest that the quintet calls home, and all across America.

While strongly rooted in bluegrass, old-time, and folk music, the band produces a sound that draws on the vaults of music collectively and individually enjoyed throughout the course of their lives thus far. The music doesn’t lend itself well to categories or boundaries. One could possibly be formed, but the boys seem to generally prefer fishing a river, or enjoying the company of friends and barley beers.

With their music well-defined or not, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades has begun to form a place in the American music scene, gaining recognition on both a regional and national scale. The band took 3rd place at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Band Competition in 2012 and has since shared the stage with Trampled By Turtles, The Travelin’ McCourys, Railroad Earth, Merle Haggard, The Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Marty Stuart, and many more. The group’s third full-length Middle Western was released in March of 2015 and another record is expected in 2017. Being mostly inspired by rivers, valleys, good friends, and good drink, this five-piece is as sturdy as any Midwest riverbed and will make your toes tap from sundown to sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lone Bellow

For fans of The New Basement Tapes, Mandolin Orange, Dawes, Rayland Baxter, The Avett Brothers 
It’s been six years since The Lone Bellow was first formed by Zach Williams, multi-instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin and guitarist Brian Elmquist. But one only needs to get the lead singer and guitarist speaking to their songwriting process to witness firsthand just how passionate he remains about its teeming creativity. “It’s a beautiful process,” the effusive singer says of the almost epiphany-like manner in which the band typically translates its vivid ideas to melodies and lyrics. “You’re trying to figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to say. And then, ‘Bam! Lightning strikes, everybody’s in the room, and it’s like the heavens open. Suddenly you’re able to write a song.”
 
The Lone Bellow, which also now includes Jason Pipkin on keys/bass, has long nurtured a deep and highly personal connection with their music. But with Walk Into A Storm, their third studio album, due onSeptember 15 via Descendant Records/ Sony Music Masterworks, the band turned inward like never before. “We covered such a broad range of emotion on the album,” Elmquist says of the raw, intimate and undeniably soulful Dave Cobb-produced LP recorded in Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A. The 10-track album, Elmquist says, is centered on “the human condition and how you’re trying to connect with it,” and with stunning tracks including “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy?” and “Long Way To Go,” it features some of the band’s most poignant material to date.
 
When creating the follow-up to 2014’s cherished Then Came The Morning, the band confronted — and ultimately overcame — a host of personal obstacles: not only did all the members and their respective families work through a relocation from New York City to Nashville, but on the day they were to begin recording the album Elmquist entered a rehab facility for issues stemming from alcohol abuse. “There’s a thousand different ways this could have gone down but it’s the way it did,” says Elmquist, says the tumultuous experience helped “put what we’re doing in perspective.” “I got to see the love and friendship we have for each other in action. I’m thankful.”
 
“Our band was the receiver of a lot of grace and kindness from the music community,” Williams adds, citing peers and industry folks offering words of encouragement as well as the non-profit MusicCares greatly aiding in the costs of the guitarist’s treatment.
 
Elmquist’s situation presented a logistical challenge for the band — they now had nine days to record instead of the pre-planned 20. But as Pipkin notes, the sacrifice “paled in comparison to what we have with each other. Without our friendships we don’t have anything,” she says. “That’s the reason we do this. To forge ahead without taking care of each other doesn’t work. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
 
 
Working with the notoriously no-nonsense Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), was a richly rewarding process. It was also one that helped the band kick out the jams in short order. “There’s no real bells and whistles,” Elmquist recalls of Cobb’s no-frills recording process. “You go practice a song, play it, record it and put it on a record.”
 
The results are stunning: from the orchestral, uplifting “May You Be Well,” to “Long Way To Go,” a beatific piano-anchored ballad Elmquist wrote while in rehab; and “Between The Lines,” a harmony-drenched sing-along Williams says acts as both a letter to Elmquist and an exploration of the push-pull of drawing art from pain.
 
“There’s this lie that the only good and worthy art that can be made has to come from tragedy and darkness,” Williams offers. “And I get it. But it doesn’t only have to come from that. It can also come from joy and gratitude.”
 
And that’s exactly what The Lone Bellow is full of as they look to the future. The band kicks off an extensive tour on September 21st with Central Park’s Summerstage supporting The Head and the Heart. And as they crisscross North America they’ll have a new member in tow. “‘How early is too early to teach a child how to tune guitars?’” Pipkin, whose newborn son will be joining them on the road, asks with a laugh. “It’s going to be really exciting and different.”
 
Williams seems nothing short of in awe of where life has taken him and his band. The process that led to Storm, the forthcoming tour, the deepening of bonds with his band mates — it all adds up to The Lone Bellow “becoming even more like family,” he says. “I just love being able to have that opportunity with these friends.
 
The singer pauses, and with a supreme sense of contentment in his voice, notes proudly of his band mates: “They’re pretty good musicians. But they’re truly amazing people.”

 

Powered by Rockhouse Partners, an Etix company.