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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:
www.dehlialow.com
twitter.com/dehlialow
www.reverbnation.com/dehlialow
www.facebook.com/pages/Dehlia-Low

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The Mast perform their debut piece ‘Figure Eights’ at The Magnetic Field on March 27. ‘Figure Eights’ explores one woman’s quest to steer the cavalry of her own imagination through songs, electronic soundscapes & monologues


“Haale’s warm, supple voice unfurled like a curlicue of smoke”-New York Times
“Brilliantly produced rhythms”- Popmatters
www.TheMastMusic.com

Asheville, NC- The Mast is the latest project by the Brooklyn-based vocalist/poet Haale and percussionist/producer Matt Kilmer. Described as, “One of the most expansive duos out there, The Mast has to be experienced live,” by the BeaconPass.com. They are set to debut their performance piece Figure Eights at the Magnetic Field in Asheville, NC on Sunday, March 27, 2011. The performance is $15 and starts at 8pm.

“An extraordinarily powerful vocalist. The emotions expressed in Haale’s songs are as warm and inviting as the sounds…” exclaims Jim Derogatis with the Chicago Sun Times. Through songs, electronic soundscapes, and monologues, Figure Eights explores one woman’s quest to steer the cavalry of her own imagination from a preoccupation with doom and disaster, to something brighter, the golden nectar, tucked inside the crimson bell of a flower, for instance. Existence and the spectrum of possibility! Where are we putting our attention? Within a world soaked with images of violence, there still exists the hummingbird, flapping its wings 80 times per second in the shape of figure eights, hovering at the mouth of a flower to energize itself off the sweet elixir. Master attendant to and perpetuator of beauty–a creature, she decides, worth emulating. The piece is a series of snapshots, starting with her childhood spent swimming in seas of anxiety, and following her through a fascinating transformation. A celebration of alchemy and the mind’s triumphant malleability.

Before they launched The Mast in 2010, Haale and Matt Kilmer were writing, performing, and touring together for 3 years under Haale’s name. Starting in 2007, upon the release of the EPs, ‘Paratrooper’ and ‘Morning,’ they toured across the country, in Canada, and Europe playing such venues as the Bonnaroo festival, the David Byrne-curated series at Carnegie Hall, the Hillside Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, Mimi Festival in France, and Preservation Hall in New Orleans. In March 2008, they released the full-length album ‘No Ceiling’ which the Boston Globe called ‘one of the year’s most memorable releases.’

The Mast will release their debut album, Wild Poppies, in the spring of 2011. Music can be heard on www.TheMastMusic.com and  www.haale.com.

Recording ‘Wild Poppies’ from upcoming album to be released spring 2011:

In Persian, Mast means “intoxicated with existence, in a blissful state of wonder and awe,” which is exactly how Figure Eights will leave you feeling in this not-to-be-missed performance.

Show Details at a Glance:

The Mast perform their debut piece “Figure Eights”
Magnetic Field Theater

Sunday, March 27, 2011

8pm, $15
(828) 257-4003
372 Depot St., Suite 50
Asheville, NC 28801
www.themagneticfield.com
Tickets available: www.eventbrite.com/event/1392327489

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Keller and the Keels “THIEF” has been getting lot of great attention this year! There are a couple of popular voting contests running now with it on the list: check out WNCW’s top 100 list here & Leeways Homegrown Music Network voting here. THIEF will make a great stocking stuffer too (Please just do not steal it, or it will turn into a lump of coal overnight…)!

Here is a fun review of Thief in the WV Rock Scene Blog and below is one from Bluegrass Unlimited. Click here for the full post.

If  Keller Williams is reading this, we just want to come out and admit that we didn’t pay for Thief. But we didn’t illegally download it or anything like that. Judging from Williams’ liner notes, we don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. [When you buy a copy of the CD; you will see the “Karma Warning”… I’m not going to spoil it for ya though 😉 ]*

But let’s set up exactly how much we wanted to hear the CD first.

A few phrases we’ve coined here include: “The best things come to those who wait,” and “Better late than never.” Both describe our feelings on landing a copy of this 13-song cover CD.

Getting hooked up with the second installment of Keller Williams’ collaboration with Larry and Jenny Keel seems like some sort of cosmic convergence of the most awesome kind.

And in case you didn’t know yet, Keel, the critically acclaimed, much loved flatpicking master, shreds. It would be great to hear him play some metal. Jenny rocks the upright bass and, together, Williams (a star in his own right) and the Keels take songs — maybe not even their favorites, exactly — and, kind of like The Ramones did with songs from rock and roll’s past, put their own unique countrified bluegrass stamp on them.

Remember when you first heard about a bluegrass cover CD of AC/DC songs, and your mind kind of reeled? Hearing Williams and the Keels cover Butthole Surfers, Cracker, Presidents of the United States of America, The Raconteurs, and yes, Amy Winehouse, might seem like a stretch, but they nail it.

They even cover “Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground. Remember that friggin song? This might make getting that Marcy Playground tattoo seem like a good idea, which, maybe not so much.

More obvious songs for the trio to steal may include “Cold Roses” by Ryan Adams, “Wind’s on Fire” by Yonder Mountain String Band, and“Mountains of the Moon” by the Grateful Dead. Bookended by a pair of Kris Kristofferson songs — he stands to make the most money offThief royalties, as Williams points out in the liner notes — this is a great CD to play on a sunny day aimless drive around town, doing chores, or anything else you wanna do.

The most awesome song for us to hear was “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers. Like over a decade ago, we wore out that Electriclarrylandcassette we had. Williams even does a good Gibby Haynes voice.

But the title of the CD is a slight dig on the whole stealing other people’s songs to make a record, and the tendency of you people to download music for free, and not supporting the artists.

Even though we were late getting this, we are so glad to have got hooked up with it. Apparently there was a Keller and the Keels Play Your Couch type contest. Hopefully that person cleaned off their couch.

But for us, we’re gonna go burn a Grass/Thief compilation CD. And of course, we won’t let anyone steal it off of us.

READ THE FULL POST HERE: http://wvrockscene.blogspot.com/2010/11/cd-review-thief.html *Dreamspider’s addition

Bluegrass Unlimited just released a review today. Click the link for the full review, here is an excerpt:

When I first received Thief, the second set of cover songs recorded by Keller Williams and Larry and Jenny Keel, I fully expected my review to end up in the “On The Edge” section of this magazine. Williams’ music floats on the quirky yet inventive side of the jam band scene, and The Keels have always had an open mind about their Virginia ’grass. … Thief, on the other hand, flows wonderfully throughout with great arrangements and expanded musicality.

The unusual cover-song choices here will seem odd at first glance. But, the positive approach and upbeat grooves makes this CD fit in the “regular” review category just fine. Williams handles most of the lead vocals, while all three keep their acoustic instruments humming throughout. Larry Keel’s leads are excellent, especially in the case of rollicking and infectious versions of Patterson Hood’s “Uncle Disney” and Ryan Adams’ “Cold Roses.” Both Keels sing harmony and Jenny’s bass playing is as solid as ever. Other covers include “Switch And The Spur” by The Raconteurs, “Get It While You Can” by Danny Barnes, Cracker’s “Teen Angst,” “Bath Of Fire” by Presidents Of The United States Of America, the Grateful Dead’s “Mountains Of The Moon,” and Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Wind’s On Fire.” Even when the trio takes on the Amy Winehouse song “Rehab,” it isn’t done in a gimmicky way, but instead rocks right along.

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Positive Friction: A Q&A with Jeb Puryear of Donna the Buffalo
By Geoff Gehman

This material first appeared on the web-site of the Sellersville Theater 1894 at www.st94.com.

DtB photo by Jim Gevenus

Donna the Buffalo is dedicated to groovy grooves. The band’s five members specialize in upbeat idioms—calypso, zydeco, old-time mountain fiddle—and upbeat lyrics about the state of unions and Unions. They promote virtues—loyalty, charity, curiosity—as founding hosts of two grass-roots cultural festivals—a summer extravaganza on their home turf of Trumansburg, N.Y., and a spring/fall lollapalooza in Silk Hope, N.C. They have a phenomenal following known as The Herd, whose supporters raise money for healthy causes while dancing until the bison roost.

DtB, which plays Sellersville on Oct. 28, is led by guitarist Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins (fiddle/accordion/scrubboard), who sing lead on songs they write independently. In a recent phone interview Puryear discussed the ups and downs of everything from not having a set list to a Caribbean cruise that was a little too free at sea.

Jeb Puryear. photo by Jim Gavenus

Q: I hear you don’t sleep much during the GrassRoots Festival up in
Trumansburg. What do you get–eight hours in four days?

A: That may be generous [laughs].

Q: Describe a day in the life of Jeb Puryear during last summer’s festival.

A: Well, I usually start the whole festival off by playing in Bubba George, an old-time string band I was in when I was a kid. And then I played in Donna and after that I went and saw Merle Haggard and then I did a set with Keith Frank and then the Believers wanted me to play bass on their set—and they had two sets. For some reason I stayed up all night every night this year. We’re much more invested than many festival organizers. But, then, it’s very exciting to be able to play all that music with so many different folks. With a job like that, you’d just want to be worked to
death.

Q: Is there anything you miss from the festival’s bygone days?

A: I miss the stress [laughs]. Actually, that’s sort of a joke. A lot of people don’t realize that we had absolutely no money when we decided to start a festival. We borrowed $5,000 from a friend of ours and we basically talked the whole thing up. It was touch-and-go at the beginning. Most of the people who do that sort of thing have some kind of money [laughs]. It was really brave and bold and the right thing to do. In the early years I was involved in the day-to-day activities of the office. Today, the office staff absorbs whatever stress there is. They take care of the thing better than we ever did.

Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. Photo by John D Kurc

Q: You and Tara met through the old-time fiddle circuit. What was the first clue that you and she could work well together.

A: She was about the first person we met who played songs that sounded like songs you might hear on the radio. Working with her, we learned how to play more song-based music than tune based. She was booked into this vegetarian restaurant and we wound up getting booked there. We were lucky enough that the whole thing worked. People danced to the fast stuff and the slow stuff right from the start. I don’t know why people like to move while we’re playing. It might be because we’re moving all the time.

Q: What are some essential differences between you and Tara as songwriters.

A: I tend to be a little more wordy. She tends to have a little more melody. Over our history I’ve probably been more pointedly political. Our songwriting is different the same way men and women are different: you have to respect the differences. It’s a pretty cool thing to get those male-female perspectives one after the other.

Q: Can you point to a recent band breakthrough, a significant point of departure when you really hit your stride?

A: Last year me and Tara started doing duet shows. Me and her have been playing music for a really long time and because we’ve been at it for so long we can change tempos and styles and it always stays together. The rest of the people in the band saw those shows and decided that the five of us should be as tight, as all together, as the two of us. Since then we’ve really been having a lot more fun.

Q: What kind of democracy is Donna the Buffalo? For example, who gets to choose the set lists?

A: We have a very distorted democracy [laughs]. As far as set lists go, we don’t ever write one. When my brother Jordon was in the group he used to write set lists and they were pretty good. When he left, we started writing set lists and they weren’t very good [laughs]. Now either one of us [Puryear or Nevins] will start playing a song and we try to keep it moving best we can. One good thing about not having a set list is that at least one person in the band feels like playing the song we’re playing. Because we don’t do a set list, sometimes we’ll forget about a song for a number of months. [Keyboardist] Dave [McCracken] has recently been trying to get us to do the older songs more often. I was never really big on change throughout my whole life. But now I’m slowly coming around to realizing it’s not only necessary but inevitable. If you’re going to change, you might as well swivel around and make the change a good one.

Q: I’m always curious about the afterlife of songs—about their zigzag path after you introduce them to the world. Is there one of your tunes that has had a rich side career at weddings, funerals or some other rite of passage?

A: Well, some people propose onstage during our shows; that’s kind of exciting. And we once played at a very personal engagement. Our friend George wanted to propose to his girlfriend Althea, so we showed up nonchalantly and we started playing while he got down on his knees. The song was “This Goes”: the complete line is “This goes to someone I love.” That was pretty cool.

Tara Nevins. Photo by Matt Dunmore

Q: The Herd is the band’s power base, a fellow charitable institution. What is something about The Herd that most non-members don’t know?

A: The main thing I like to say about The Herd is that you don’t have to do anything to be a member. You just have to like a song. Actually, I don’t know if you have to go that far. The herd is a very amorphous thing. They’ve done a lot of good things. One time we all went down to some resort in Key West to do a Herd fundraiser. They set up a stage on the lawn by the beach and we played there for a week. And someone added up all the money that got spent and it was a lot of money. And I thought we directed that a little bit.

Q: What were the highlights of your Caribbean cruise with The Herd?

A: Actually, we’ve done two cruises. The first one wasn’t a real joke but it was a  lark. You know, there’s a small part of everyone who would like to go on a cruise but not be stuck on the ship. We had like 850 people on this boat, and they were our people. And the feeling was: Okay, well, we can all be stuck together. We did a second cruise a few years later. In the middle we went to St. John and the federales came and expelled maybe 10 people for smoking marijuana. It was a bit of an entrapment because if you’re out in the Caribbean and you’re playing Bob Marley on the deck, what are these poor people to do? But they were doing it blatantly and the security guy got personally offended. So we’re playing in the lounge that night and we’re wondering: Are we supposed to have fun now? I mean, all our friends just got thrown off the boat. It’s like that first moment after someone dies and you’re supposed to carry on with your life and you’re not sure how. And our old drummer Tom [Gilbert]—who is a very funny guy—says: “Man, I’ve felt more awkward vibes watching porno with my parents” [laughs].

Q: What’s up next? A boxed set of rarities? A carnival tent tour? Would you like to do what the White Stripes did: make a documentary about playing cafes, parking lots and other pick-up places?

A: I would like to do all those things. A carnival tent tour we talked about. A boxed set of rarities would be great. Actually, we’re planning a record featuring our greatest guests, including some of the people we’ve invited to play songs with us at the end of grass-roots festivals. And I would love to play very small towns all over New York state, towns with just a few houses and a bar. A tiny town tour—that would be cool.

Q: You know, the Moody Blues once considered buying an English village to headquarter their many operations. Have you guys ever been tempted to make a smaller communal real-estate transaction?

A: No–our way of hippiedom is just post-commune. Utopianism is a beautiful subject but if you don’t take it as a challenge, the endless meetings and shared everything will just drive you insane. Especially when you’re in a band. The whole notion of equality in society is interesting but not very realistic. It just kind of doesn’t happen. If you put any five kids together in a room, one of them will become the leader of the others, and nobody thinks that’s weird. That’s not to say that the people who are smart and strong should ruthlessly take advantage of everybody else. There’s all this fine-line interplay about being a communist or a capitalist, a Republican or a Democrat, when it’s pretty much the same subject. People are just fishing around to find the best way to do things.


Fact File: Donna the Buffalo

o The band’s name is a funkier version of the original proposed name Dawn of the Buffalo.

o Annual attendance at its Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, N.Y., has increased from nearly 1,500 to more than 15,000 over 19 years.

o Keyboardist Dave McCracken once toured with zydeco star C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

o In 2005, Fiddler Tara Nevins prepared a documentary on Carlton Frank, the late, great Creole fiddler.

o DtB songs have been licensed for the cartoon Living Evil, created by Yanni Osmond and Spanky the Woman Tamer.

[Find out more information about DtB’s upcoming show at the Sellerville Theatre on Oct 28th]

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