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Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase

Ekstein Collaborates with All-star Musicians Stuart Duncan, Jeff Autry, Mark Schatz & more

Released October 5, 2018 on Foxfire Recording

New single “Spikebuck”out now to stream and purchase → https://rudiekstein.hearnow.com
The album is also available to pre-order → http://smarturl.it/2pryj6   

Asheville, NC – Rudi Ekstein has been in the music business for many years as a performer, producer, and studio owner. Now, on his album Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase, to be independently released October 5, Ekstein showcases his mandolin prowess on 12 original instrumental tunes featuring an all-star cast of world-class talent. Some of the artists brought into the studio for this project include multi-GRAMMY Award Winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and renowned guitarist Jeff Autry for the entire album, two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz performs on all but one tune, long-time collaborator John Plotnik plays banjo on the majority of the album and steps in on Dobro on four tracks while GRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist, Patrick Sauber takes the lead on banjo. Bluegrass Today premiered the first single off the album, “Spikebuck.”

Throughout bluegrass music’s 70-plus year history, albums of all-instrumental tunes have been recorded and released, showcasing the amazing level of artistry found in the genre. While singers tend to write songs that require lyrics brought to life by vocalists, instrumentalists of all stripes are prone to write tunes and melodies that let them cut loose and have some fun.

That is the case with Carolina Chimes as Ekstein has put together an upbeat collection of bluegrass barn burners performed with great pickers who help to bring these unique cuts to life. Unselfish and smart, Ekstein lets his collaborators do what they do best here. The result is a fast-paced recording that will remind you of the power of bluegrass music.

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Rudi Ekstein. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

“The most obvious parts of everyone’s life have been depicted in a bluegrass song,” says Ekstein. “The bluegrass tunes I’ve written for my records over the past 30 or so years are mostly named after people, events, or something important that happened in my life. That’s just part of my love for bluegrass.”

As the son of an Austrian immigrant to America his surname, Ekstein, translates, literally, to “Cornerstone,” which is the aptly titled opening track to the album, symbolizing his heritage and love of the genre. Another song on Carolina Chimes that reflects that philosophy is “Jessy’s Fancy,” named for Ekstein’s daughter who finally noticed his mandolin playing in a different way. “My daughter Jessy heard me working out this tune in my backyard one day,” says Ekstein. “She said, ‘What’s that Dad? It’s beautiful.’ It was the first time I ever got my daughter’s attention while playing the mandolin, so this one is dedicated to her. She still loves to hear it.”

Many of the tunes on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s travels in this world, from his early years living in California and exploring the American West, to settling down in the western North Carolina mountain town of Asheville.

“Hoot Owl Hop” was written from his days of living in California when the warm summer nights brought hoot owls to the eucalyptus trees every year, which he often heard and occasionally saw. The perfect title for a wild ride of a tune, ‘Spikebuck,’ refers to the name of some rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado where his family, barely hanging on, took a fast-moving whitewater rafting trip one year. “Back Drag” was named after an insane stunt Ekstein once attempted for the first and last time. He says,”I was an accomplished trick rider in my youth and I tried a crazy stunt with my ankles strapped to the back of the saddle while dangling behind a galloping horse. I was nervous at first as I coaxed my horse to a full gallop. I threw myself back, with rocks flying, the wind in my ears and my head and hands now dragging within reach of the ground. After rounding the corner of the arena at full speed, my horse abruptly stopped, throwing me off to fall flat on my face in the mud.”

About a decade ago, Ekstein relocated to Asheville, where he continues to run the Foxfire Recording Studio (started in 1990), so he could play more bluegrass with western North Carolina roots musician, Billy Constable, for whom this album is dedicated. Constable, who passed away in 2015 of cancer, was best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads. A couple of songs on this project were written in his memory.

‘Bacon in the Pan’ is my version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style,” says Ekstein. “It is named after my beloved friend of a lifetime and band mate Billy Constable. He often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast. ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy, who was an instrumental wizard. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

Rock ‘n’ roll music and bluegrass music from the Appalachian Mountains have had a big influence in Ekstein’s musical life. Within weeks of arriving in the area, Constable introduced Ekstein to many players in the WNC pickin’ scene. Both were in the band Blue Wheel Drive, along with bassist Rob Parks, and all three went on to perform for two years with The Bobby Hicks Band. Parks makes an appearance on Carolina Chimes playing “Rockalachia,” a tune BWD performed live that is reminiscent of the boogie-woogie style of bluegrass played on the mandolin in the 1940’s by the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Another bluegrass buddy from those days, Seth Rhinehart, also steps in on banjo on that ditty as well as “Dixie Sunset,” of which Ekstein says, “I wanted to see how close I could write a ¾-time tune within the style of bluegrass, but still make it unique in its own way. Playing music on the deck of my North Carolina mountain home while overlooking the woods and watching the sunset inspired me to write this twisty waltz.”


Other cuts on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s many musical influences. “I always thought ‘Indian Rain’ would be a good song for an old fashioned western movie. Too bad it was 60 years too late. Turned out to be a better bluegrass fiddle tune, especially with Stuart Duncan at the Helm. In the late 1980’s, I recorded my song ‘Flapjack’ while playing Dobro for a band project,” says Ekstein. “I originally wrote it on the Dobro as a tune for the mandolin. I finally made it a reality here on this album. And, that brings me to the album’s title cut, ‘Carolina Chimes.’ I’ve always loved the classic banjo tunes that featured the sound of arpeggio chimes created by banjo and mandolin duets. It reminds me of bells ringing at an old Carolina country church house.”

As producer of his own album, Ekstein had the pleasure of deciding who he would bring in to play on the project. Fortunately, he chose to collaborate with some of the best pickers in the business.

When it comes to musicians respected by music fans and professional peers alike, few receive the accolades that are routinely given to fiddler Stuart Duncan. From his work in the Nashville Bluegrass Band to his contribution to the 8-million copy selling “O Brother, Where Art Thou” movie soundtrack album, from his annual run in the all-star Telluride Bluegrass Festival House Band to his playing on countless recording sessions, and with multiple IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year Awards and also nominated for 2018, Duncan is considered one of the best fiddlers on the planet.

Guitarist Jeff Autry is also widely appreciated as a solid axe man who has played with everyone from the Ricky Skaggs to Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, and others. He also held down the guitar chair for a decade-and-a-half with the John Cowan Band. His latest gig finds him as a member of The Edgar Loudermilk Band featuring Jeff Autry.

Mark Schatz has played the bass with living legends for most of his career, anchoring historical jams with folks like Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, and so many more. Currently he is the bassist for the Claire Lynch Band and is one of the best in the business and is a two time winner of IBMA Bass Player of the Year and is currently nominated 2018.

The same can be said for Patrick Sauber, a GRAMMY nominated banjo picker, who is currently kicking up the five-string for many well known national acts like Tim O’Brien, the Peter Rowan Band, John Reishmann and the Jaybirds, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and others.

Rudi has owned and operated his own commercial recording studio business Foxfire Recording since 1990, and since then has played for, or produced and/or engineered numerous albums for CMH, Rounder, Sugar Hill Records, as well as artists like Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman, Josh Graves, David Grisman, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, David Grier, Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and other notables. His array of recording and live performance credits include many internationally known bluegrass musicians like fiddle players Byron Berline and Gabe Witcher; banjo hotshots John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, and Craig Smith; gifted Dobro player, Rob Ickes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s GRAMMY award winning bass player, Gene Libbea; an original Bluegrass Cardinal bass player Bill Bryson; as well as three members of the Country Boys (later the Kentucky Colonels), bass man Eric White, banjo player, Billy Ray Lathum, and Dobro player, Leroy Mack among many others.

Kind Words:

“Rudi Ekstein has written a great collection of new bluegrass instrumentals and as writer, producer, engineer and musician, recorded this album and maintained a very high degree of quality at every step of the production process! The mix is wonderful and Rudi’s cast of musicians is stellar!” —Gene Libbea (Nashville Bluegrass Band)

“Rudi’s original tunes are sure to become classics. The musicians on this project are fantastic – every tune is a gem.” –Dennis Caplinger

“Rudi has put together a nice mixture of tunes that take us from up tempo fiddle numbers to sad mountain laments with a gypsy jazz feel thrown in for good measure. I am honored to be included in this stellar lineup of world class acoustic players from around the country. This project is superbly crafted using the finest instruments, played through the finest microphones by virtuoso musicians. Great job Rudi!” —Jeff Autry

“I have known Rudi for a long time. Having lived in California for several years we used to cross paths alot. Rudi, like me, as we have grown older, seems to have a calling to write tunes. Bill Monroe did the same thing. The 12 tunes that Rudi has put together are winners. These musicians that Rudi picked to play on his project are top notch. Surrounding yourself with good musicians is the key, and Rudi, you found the right key.”  —Byron Berline

Carolina Chimes Track Listing
1. Cornerstone   (2:41)
2. Indian Rain   (3:21)
3. All Night in Kentucky  (2:48)
4. Hoot Owl Hop   (2:52)
5. Jessy’s Fancy   (3:54)
6. Spikebuck   (2:04)
7. Flapjack   (3:31)
8. Bacon in the Pan   (2:28)
9. Rockalachia   (2:35)
10. Carolina Chimes   (2:26)
11. Dixie Sunset   (2:39 )
12. Back Drag   (1:50)

The Musicians on Carolina Chimes include:
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle (all tracks)
Jeff Autry – Guitar (all tracks)
Mark Schatz – Upright Bass (all tracks except 9)
Rob Parks – Upright Bass (9)
John Plotnik – Banjo (1,2,3,7,10,12), Dobro (4,5,6,8)
Patrick Sauber – Banjo (4,5,6,8)
Seth Rhinehart – Banjo (9,11)
Rudi Ekstein – Mandolin (all tracks)

All tunes written by Rudi Ekstein, BMI, Carolina Chimes Music, P & C 2018
Produced by Rudi Ekstein.  Recorded and Mixed by Rudi Ekstein

 

For more information, please visit the album website: www.carolinachimes.com and www.facebook.com/rudieksteinbluegrass.

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Asheville’s Tellico Debuts with Relics and Roses, Due Out June 2nd

Tellico takes you on a journey through the modern Appalachian soundscape, with masterful storytelling and memorable instrumental and vocal performances that wed tradition with a contemporary Americana sensibility

ASHEVILLE, NC — Tellico independently releases their debut album Relics and Roses on June 2, 2015. The album features the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle) and Stig Stiglets (bass), and showcases Aaron Ballance on dobro and pedal and lap steel and Jed Willis on mandolin and clawhammer banjo. Guitar virtuoso Jon Stickley (Jon Stickley Trio) produced the album and makes a few guest appearances with drums and guitar.

The album is available now for pre-order at Tellicoband.com and includes an immediate download of the leading track, “Backstep Blues,” which is also available to stream now at the band’s website. Firmly planted in Asheville NC’s thriving roots music scene, Tellico is well schooled in bluegrass but with an unbridled organic “Appalachiacana” sound, combining some of the finest voices, songs and instrumental prowess in western North Carolina and beyond. Anya and Stig’s committed, authentic vocals are alloyed with Aaron’s flowing and soaring dobro and Jed’s textured and expressive mandolin, rooted in the mountain music they grew up with while pushing tradition into a modern Americana sound aesthetic.

Tellico. Photo by Jennifer Calllahan

Tellico. Photo by Jennifer Calllahan

Storytelling is at the helm of Tellico’s music. All of the songs on Relics and Roses were penned by Hinkle and Stiglets with the exception “White Line-River of Pride,” a Neil Young and Crazy Horse medley of two dirty electric rock tunes buttoned up bluegrass-style. The leading track, “Backstep Blues” [Hinkle] has a “backstep”, a rhythmic hiccup that is typical of old time music, telling the story of a man’s successive retreat from his wife (with the refrain “hey where did your daddy go wrong?”), leaving her with the “backstep blues.” “Calamity”, written by Stiglets, is a tale of disaster sparked by a combination of Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s 2011 tsunami, and the destructive and terrifying images of those events.

“Forsaken Winds” is poetry unto itself with the ethereal sounds of Ballance’s pedal steel filling in the spirit of the lyrics; while “Hawkeye Pierce and Honeycutt Blues” is a tongue and cheek raggy romp in an Asheville street busker’s shoes. “You Can’t Go Home Again” is inspired by Asheville author Thomas Wolfe’s book of the same name. Anya found the book to be so richly descriptive in Wolfe’s longwinded style, especially when the protagonist DOES go home again, which she said, “reminded me of something that my dad always used to say: ‘you can’t go home again’! Of course you can’t. The comforting idea of home is just that, an idea. You have to face yourself and your life. Running from it, either to home or far away from it, doesn’t alleviate your suffering.”

“Mexico 1995” is a coming-of-age story penned by Hinkle after a solo four month journey, mostly by bus, from Nogales, Arizona through Guatemala and back. It was before the internet, before cell phones, and after a grisly war and genocide in southern Mexico and Guatemala, a real eye opener for a kid, all during the winter after Jerry Garcia died. Hinkle says, “That early morning that I walked back, on foot, into my post-college privileged American life after crossing the border at Nogales was like a dream, I was a ghost in my own shoes, my idea of who I was as porous as the haze that seemed to linger that entire day that I re-emerged.” The song uses samples from iconic songs that set up the general feeling that it’s all been done before. Hinkle reflects, “Where does a kid go with that? What’s ahead that’s worth anything?”

Relics and Roses is the first since Anya, Stig, and Aaron formed Tellico after recording four records with the Asheville-based bluegrass band Dehlia Low, whose final album Ravens and Crows was released on the Rebel Records label in 2011.

“I love how the songs on Relics and Roses sound with these musicians covering all details that I didn’t even realize I was longing to hear. The band’s rich playing overlays absolutely perfectly with the meanings of the songs, whether playful and amusing or searching, haunting and lonely,” says Hinkle.

What Folks are Saying About Relics and Roses:

“With deep warm tones, intimate vocals, vivid lyrics, natural arrangements, and emotional solos Tellico masterfully draws the listener into the center of their original songs. Relics and Roses paints a cinematic picture, continually stirring feelings of nostalgia. Through their wonderful musicianship they never fail to create an atmosphere that perfectly enhances their storytelling.  I love this CD!”
Chad Manning of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience

“….wonderfully original mountain music. Sometimes they sound like what Kate Wolf would sound like had she come from the Southern Appalachians – a beloved image if you ask me.” —Martin Anderson, Music Director & Morning Host WNCW-FM

“The album of mostly original songs is superbly orchestrated and delivered taking the listener on an auditory odyssey that ranges from soulful and deep to upbeat and euphoric. Anya, Aaron, Stig, and Jed have woven a tapestry that is timeless and authentic and deserving of your attention.” —Steve Johnson, Event Producer/Artist Relations Manager, Wilkesboro, NC

“Tellico picks up where Dehlia Low left off, focusing and refining their sound. Relics and Roses is… step forward in songwriting, with Anya Hinkle and Greg ‘Stig’ Stiglets crafting an acoustic soundscape of Appalachian daydreams that stack up to the works of John Hartford, Emmylou Harris and the Avett Brothers. Songs like ‘I Want To Know’ reach out and grab you immediately… a captivating album.”
–Joe Kendrick, WNCW Program Director 88.7 FM

Tellico Tour Dates
Fri 5/8 – LEAF Festival – Black Mountain, NC
Fri 5/22 – Music In The Valle – Valle Crucis Community Park – Valle Crucis, NC
Sun 5/31 – The Rooster’s Wife – Aberdeen, NC
Fri 6/5 – Isis Restaurant and Music Hall – Asheville, NC
Fri 6/12 – Music On The Square – Jonesborough, TN
Sat 6/13 – Granite Falls Brewery- Granite Falls, NC
Fri 6/19 – Groovin’ on the Green Summer Concert Series – Cashiers, NC
Fri 6/26 – Nantahala Outdoor Center – Bryson City, NC
Sat 6/27 – 185 King Street – Brevard, NC
Sat 7/11 – Bluegrass On The Grass, 20th Anniversary – Carlisle, PA
Fri 8/21 – The Jones House-Summer Concert Series – Boone, NC
Sat 8/29 – US National Whitewater Center River Jam – Charlotte, NC
Sat 9/19 – Apple Fest – Winston-Salem, NC
Sat 10/17 – Cowee School Concert Series – Franklin, NC

More shows to be announced!

Find out more about Tellico and Relics and Roses at at Tellicoband.com, facebook.com/Tellico & twitter.com/TellicoBand.

 

 

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Tellico_Rehearsals2014After a Successful Kickstarter Campaign,
Asheville’s Tellico Enters the Studio To Record Their Debut Album
Tellico is Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle & vocals), Stig Stiglets (bass & vocals),
Aaron Ballance (dobro), and Jed Willis (mandolin, clawhammer banjo)

Newly Formed Asheville Band, Tellico, Raises $12,248 For Debut Album
Jon Stickley Will Produce the Album at Sound Temple Studios in Asheville

Tellico is happy to announce their Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded and they will be heading into the studio at the turn of the year to record their debut album. Based in Asheville NC with it’s thriving roots music scene, the quartet combines some of the finest voices, songs and instrumental prowess in western North Carolina and beyond. Tellico features the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle, vocals) and Stig Stiglets (bass, vocals) with Aaron Ballance on dobro and Jed Willis on mandolin and clawhammer banjo.

Late last year, former members of the Asheville bands Dehlia Low (Anya, Aaron, and Stig) and Town Mountain (Jed) decided the combination of their history together and the excitement of a new project was so compelling that they formed Tellico. “This project has rekindled something powerful,” says Ballance. “I’m looking forward to resurging the sounds with Anya and Stig and to working with Jed. As an instrumentalist, I can’t think of better company.”

The band is wowed by all of the support: on top of their Kickstarter totals of $12,248 (surpassing the $7500 goal) they also received a grant from the Toe River Arts Council for $1000.

Rehearsals are now in progress in advance of the recording dates. The album will be recorded at Sound Temple Studios in Asheville over the New Year holiday with Chris Rosser as the engineer. Tellico is proud to announce that fellow Ashevillian, Jon Stickley (Jon Stickley Trio), will produce the album and has been working with the band during their rehearsals. This is really special for the band on a lot of levels; Jon and Jed have known each other and played music together since they were 16! Also, Jon produced Dehlia Low’s album “Tellico” (the namesake album of this new outfit that has newly arisen since Dehlia Low). Jon has also performed with both in Dehlia Low and Tellico over the years.

“I was so excited when I heard about the formation of Tellico! I’ve had the pleasure of producing other projects for these musicians and was happy to re-enter that relationship.” Jon Stickley goes on to say,  “Anya’s lyrics are full of subtle emotion, and the melodies are unshakeable. Stig’s tunes range from bluesy ragtime romps to longing tales of love that just didn’t work out. It is all complimented by the tasteful and diverse accompaniment of Aaron’s Dobro, and Jed’s mandolin and clawhammer banjo. Tellico blends refined songwriting, sweet vocal harmonies, and expert picking to create something that has elements of bluegrass and old-time, but is a sound all its own. I’m really looking forward to helping them make a great record.”

The band is all in unison in singing Stickley praises for the job. Jed expresses, “As long as I have played music, Stickley’s virtuosic presence has pushed and inspired me. For a decade and a half our musical lives have woven in and out of each other’s and I have witnessed his immeasurable influence on musical communities across the country. I am excited and proud to be crossing paths with him on this project.”

“Anyone who has heard Stickley play knows his sense of adventure. He draws from many sources and understands what it is to make something new that derives from the old,” says Aaron. “He is as skilled and creative a player as any of us know. Just the thought of being in the same room with him makes one want to play their absolute best. Top it off with a warm personality, and you’ve got the best kind of friction imaginable. We’re lucky to have him work with us on this album. He’s the real thing!” Stig says “Stickley makes completely original music and we look forward to applying some of that science towards our new record.”

The band feels really good about an Asheville-based project from head to toe. The songs that will be on the album reflect the sights, sounds, and feelings of living in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina capturing the resonating and universal themes of love, disaster, cheatin’, loss, busking, dreams, and change. The blend of Anya and Stig’s committed, authentic vocals with Aaron’s flowing and soaring dobro and Jed’s textured and expressive mandolin bring to the songs their foundation, rooted in the mountain music they grew up with, but taken somewhere unique.

“I love how the songs on the album sound with these musicians playing all things that I didn’t even realize I was longing to hear.  Their playing overlays absolutely perfectly with the meanings of the songs, whether playful and amusing or searching, haunting and lonely,” says Anya Hinkle.

“We carry with us the support of our backers from our Kickstarter campaign, which means the world to us as we begin the process of recording because it’s a daunting process to capture, to freeze, a song at a single given time and place.” says Anya. “Jon’s positive guidance and relaxed confidence helps us to welcome this opportunity to make the best music we possibly can when we get into the studio.”

Tellico looks forward to the new album and will be updating on the progress at tellicoband.com, facebook.com/tellico & twitter.com/TellicoBand.

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Tickets available for each show individually ($8), or purchase the 3-Show Bonus Package & come see all 3 shows, plus get a signed poster and a live recording of one of the shows ($24)!

www.themagneticfield.com

Glen Rock Depot, at 372 Depot Street, in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC.


Dehlia Low formed in late 2007 as part of Asheville, North Carolina’s roots music renaissance. Singers Anya Hinkle (from Blacksburg, VA on fiddle) and Stacy Claude (from Atlanta, GA on guitar) pulled together a group of talented pickers from the region: Aaron Ballance on Dobro (Winston-Salem, NC), Bryan Clendenin on mandolin (Hurricane, WV) and Greg Stiglets on bass (Jackson, MS).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The group has taken off like a skyrocket…and deservedly so: in a musical world that doesn’t always treasure creativity, Dehlia Low has staked out a good piece of ground all its own.” ~ Nashville Scene, Jon Weisberger

“Dehlia Low is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the musical world for some time to come!” ~ Music News Nasheville, Chuck Dauphin

Dehlia Low is a band riding high on a wave of musical accomplishment and heartfelt performance. Fans of Americana, bluegrass, or just good country-tinged music would do well to seek them out” ~ Pop Matters, David Maine

“…relying on the warm tones of acoustic guitar, mandolin, upright bass, slide guitar, and not to mention fiddle thumpin’, strummin’ and pickin’ underneath honeysuckle vocal harmonies — the Asheville, N.C., quintet seems like it has rolled straight off a mountainside and right onto a wraparound wooden porch in some summer-grass valley.” ~ Style Weekly, Mike Hilleary

“Dehlia Low’s “Ravens & Crows” is carefully crafted to lure traditional, country, bluegrass and Americana fans. They are generally appealing to all of these genres without alienating anyone, which is hard to do.” ~ Boone Mountain Times, Ashley Wilson

Dehlia low on the web:
www.dehlialow.com
twitter.com/dehlialow
www.reverbnation.com/dehlialow
www.facebook.com/pages/Dehlia-Low

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Really pumped up about the Acoustic Syndicate show this Friday, May 6th at the NC Music Factory in Charlotte!

Here is a bit about what they’ve been up to from what they told Ryan Snyder in a recent interview with YES! Weekly:

As the Acoustic Syndicate family grows, a new album finally awaits:

There`s maybe no better way to sum up the outlook of Acoustic Syndicate circa 2005 than the words of Bryon McMurry on the Shelby folk-rock oufit’s song “It Was Good While It Lasted.” “Nothing lasts forever and we find out who we are,” he sang on the band’s 2000 album Tributaries, unaware then that it might be the band’s mantra in only a few years time as they entered an indeterminable furlough. The McMurrys — Bryon, Fitz and cousin Steve — knew just who they were: a close-knit group built upon rural values of sustainability and commitment to the family. When the two brothers began to experience growth in their own families, their incessant touring lifestyle of the past decade suddenly became an afterthought.

“Fitz and Brian were both having to be gone during pregnancies and the last thing we wanted to do is have our families suffer on account of what we’re doing,” said Steve. “It’s important for us to stay centered and understand what’s most important. It was the obvious thing to do at that point.”

The group was arguably going out at their peak. They had just released one of their best-received albums in 2004’s Long Way Round (Sugar Hill), and kicked off the album’s supporting tour with a return to the Bonnaroo Music Festival after performing the inaugural festival two years earlier. Steve says that show in particular was instrumental in that tour’s success.

. . .   . . .    . . .

At the urging of their booking agent Hugh Southard, the group started playing more and more shows around 2007, learning how to juggle being a working band and family men at the same time. The days of 180- 200 shows per year may be over for the band, but Steve says that being able to have their families present has engendered a new kind of creative freedom in them.

As of now, they’re not only looking to begin recording their first album in seven years, but their arrangement is growing as well. Bassist Jay Sanders invited a friend, dobro player Billy Cardine, to join the group for a performance at last year’s Asheville Earth Day Celebration, and Steve said they knew almost immediately that he was a perfect fit for the group.

The addition is progressive for the group’s sound, which Steve describes as being edgier than any other era of the band, and for the first time, they’ll be writing songs specifically to feature a certain instrument. They hope to hit Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville with the pool of 15-16 songs later in 2011, many of which Steve describes as being written from a deeper, more personal place than ever before.

“I always tried to keep songwriting away from my personal life, but there’s been a couple of things in my life with living and people dying. Some major influences that really changed my reality,” he said somewhat hesitantly. “I thought about it and thought about it, and sort of avoided writing anything about it, but something kept bugging me to do it.”

He added that the time away has allowed him and his cousins to refocus their creativity after admittedly becoming burnt out in the year before their hiatus. Reenergized as a group, Steve believes that the band is in as good of a creative place as they’ve ever been.

“When you get burnt out and you start to write songs from the gut, it’s just not good,” he said. “It’s better to be creative out of a desire to be creative and not a need to be creative.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.yesweekly.com/triad/article-11650-as-the-acoustic-syndicate-family-grows-a-new-album-finally-awaits.html

Photo by Bright Life Photography

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Dehlia Low pushes bluegrass squarely into the emerging Americana genre, combining their tenacious, authentic vocal style with extraordinary instrumental prowess in original songs that feel at once both old and new. Their upcoming album, to be released this summer, will be their first on the venerable Rebel Records label (Ralph Stanley, Steep Canyon Rangers), and is an eagerly-anticipated follow up to their acclaimed 2009 independent studio release “Tellico.” Since stepping off the stage at Merlefest in 2010, the distinctively Appalachian country/bluegrass sound of Dehlia Low has transcended their native Blue Ridge, bringing the band across the US and Canada on their exciting 2011 tour.

Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Dehlia Low performs in NY, PA & VA this April!

***
Sat, April 16th ~ Bena Country Store Hayes, VA
Sun, April 17th ~ Sellersville Theatre w The Steel WheelsSellersville, PA
Wed, April 20th ~ Sportsman’s TavernBuffalo, NY
Thurs, April 21st ~Abilene’s Rochester, NY
Fri, April 22nd ~ Wellsville Creative Arts CenterWellsville, NY
Sat, April 23rd ~ The MockingbirdStaunton, VA

***

Dehlia Low came together in late 2007 as part of Asheville, North Carolina’s roots music renaissance. Singers Anya Hinkle (from Blacksburg, VA on fiddle) and Stacy Claude (from Atlanta, GA on guitar) pulled together a group of talented pickers from the region: Aaron Ballance on dobro (Winston-Salem, NC), Bryan Clendenin on mandolin (Hurricane, WV) and Greg Stiglets on bass (Jackson, MS). The group’s sound is focused on original music rooted in bluegrass but with a distinctive country/folk feel true to their southern Appalachian roots.

Dehlia Low is pleased to announce their newest project, a studio album to be released in summer 2011 through the oldest and most respected bluegrass record label, Rebel Records. The project will be recorded in Asheville and produced by Travis Book of Grammy-nominated and IBMA emerging artist winners The Infamous Stringdusters. The group is currently planning an exciting international tour around the release, with details available at www.dehlialow.com.

Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Dehlia low on the web:
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Extract 17. Photo by Rob Gardner

Stop. Listen. Dynamic changes happen simultaneously with nuanced timbre shifts, while the notes, chords, and poly-rhythms travel past you. Extract 17 is not a jam band, or math rock or even a hybrid of anything. They are four musicians of remarkable talent, pushing each other and themselves to make something wonderful. Equal parts Mahavishnu Orchestra, Strength In Numbers and original innovation, Extract 17 plays a palate of original electric instrumental compositions focused on both the spirit of adventure and the beauty of arrangement. You can see them live for *FREE* every Tuesday in March at Modaddy’s Bar in Asheville.

In the past year, the four musicians that comprise Extract 17, Jay Sanders, Bill Cardine, Andy Pond and Ian Cunningham, have been composing, arranging, and experimenting with a variety of provocative new sounds. Their repertoire features tunes written by each member of the group and a select list of covers from some of their biggest influences including Bill Frisell, MMW, and Hank Williams.

As a bass player, what characterizes Jay Sanders‘ music is an overwhelming sense of space, time and genre. His compositions tend towards the melodic and sublime while improvisations can go from the most peaceful melody to full-scale free jazz and noise music. Attention to style and unique versatility are the hallmarks of his playing. Sanders is best known for his work with Acoustic Syndicate and Donna The Buffalo.

Bill Cardine brings his innate sense of musicianship, melody and texture with his muse instrument of choice, the slide guitar. Jerry Douglas has said of Cardine “I couldn’t have picked a better example for them of where the Dobro is now or what the possibilities are with the instrument.” His innovative work on the Dobro, Moog Slide Guitar, Chaturangui, Weissenborn and Electric Steel guitars has lead him as both a performer and educator around the world, as well as to some of our country’s most revered venues and major festivals. Internationally, Cardine is known for his work with the Biscuit Burners; he is also the newest member of Acoustic Syndicate.

Andy Pond is one of the most exciting progressive-acoustic banjoists on the scene today: melodic and tasteful with a raw edge of improvisation. His approach to the banjo is all encompassing and includes Middle eastern/Balkan flavours, newgrass and dixieland grooves as well as funky dance beats. For almost two decades, Pond has been the driving force behind the Snake Oil Medicine Show, is half of the Pond Brothers, and the lead of CX1.

Ian Cunningham‘s drumming boldly combines the best parts of rock, jazz, African and things completely different and unknown into a powerful beat that is the perfect landscape for Extract 17. Cunningham is a formidable drummer and presence in the Asheville music scene; and as the pulsating foundation for UNC Asheville’s African Dance and Drumming classes, he excels at bridging the worlds of music.

In September of 2010, Sanders, Cardine and Pond performed a series of shows with the legendary Jeff Sipe on drums including memorable performances at the LAAFF Festival, Pisgah Brewing’s beautiful outdoor stage, the Pour House in Charleston, and Asheville’s juke-joint MoDaddy’s. 2011 finds the quartet breaking ground in new directions with the addition of Ian Cunningham on drums. This new lineup will debut as part of MoDaddy’s monthly residency series, playing every Tuesday in March. The shows are all free and begin around 9:30. Enjoy being carried away into a vast soundscape of innovative instrumental music.

Show details at a Glance:

Extract 17
Sanders-Cardine-Pond-Cunningham
Tuesdays in March
MoDaddys

9:30pm
*FREE SHOWS*
828-258-1550
77-B Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
www.modaddysbar.com

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