This is a Music For MS 2016 Roots Music Festival preview show!
A joint presentation by New Hazlett Theater and Music Night on Jupiter! We are very happy to be able to bring our friends from two of our favorite bands back to Pittsburgh on the same night in the same room. This event is entirely made possible by the willingness of NHT to open up their beautiful venue to new sounds and new programming. Let’s prove that they made the right choice by filling up the space. Supporting this event is easy when the music is so good and the venue is so cool. This is going to be a great night.
More about Driftwood:
The energy of rock n’ roll is impossible to categorize – mercurial, specific to its beholder and profoundly reflective. From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to the Americana/roots music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely. “We started off playing rock in high school. Then studying jazz and classical music in college. Then we dove headfirst into folk and bluegrass. At some point I guess we kind of met in the middle”, says guitarist/songwriter Dan Forsyth. Drawing on aspects of everything from 0ld-time recordings to 1960’s R&B, the music is crafted to serve the songs. With fast-growing audiences singing along at live shows, it’s easy to tell the primary focus is on song. “We recognized early on that one of our strongest points was songwriting. The greatest songs transcend genre and time and this was one of the motivating ideas behind the band at the start”, says banjo player/songwriter Joe Kollar. Trading lead vocals between Forsyth, Kollar and violinist Claire Byrne, the group’s stage dynamics are as captivating as the songs. “I give so much of myself when I play because I deem it necessary in order to do the music justice”, says Byrne, whose violin-shredding performances galvanize fans. Songs or shredding, “There’s a reason people won’t let them off the stage”, says Jess Novak from The Syracuse New Times.
More about River Whyless:
Asheville, North Carolina’s River Whyless is a band much like that titular body of water – a mingling of currents, a flow of time and physical space, all brought together in a murmuring sense of purpose. It is the expression of a group of musicians, three of which are songwriters, who have played together in various forms since their college days in the North Carolina mountains.
Composed of Ryan O’Keefe (guitars, vocals), Halli Anderson (violin, vocals), Alex McWalters (drums, percussion) and Daniel Shearin (bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo), the band found themselves at a bit of a crossroads when preparing music for thier most recent release, an eponymously titled EP. “Sometimes each songwriter really differs quite a bit from the other,” said O’Keefe. “We had to figure out how to incorporate everyone’s writing style into a cohesive idea. These were the five songs where we could find that common thread.”
They clearly figured it out:
“Sometimes it can be hard to stand out in the crowd when you’re producing experimental folk rock. Plenty of groups are capable of harmonizing well and turning simplistic rhythms into infectious anthems, but it’s rare to find artists who can evoke as much emotion as River Whyless.” – Paste Magazine
“Throughout all five tracks on River Whyless though, I’m reminded of the difference between a hand-knit hat and one run off an endless conveyor belt, between baking cookies from scratch or just cutting into a big Nestle log of pre-made dough. We lose a closeness to things when they come to us processed through machines, and the way this music from River Whyless comes to us feels hand-wrought. There’s something valuable about that process, even as we look to the future.” – Caitlin White, The Bluegrass Situation.