“Recorded live, with no overdubs, during the quartet’s “best moments of 2015…,” these five songs capture that characteristically breathless theatricality inherent to each Appleseed set.”
—Jeff Milo, Current Magazine
The Appleseed Collective is poised to become the new sound of string music. Riding the wave of the bluegrass revival beyond newgrass and into a strange new genre-bending territory, they explore the full range of dark and light, old and new, composition and improvisation in a deeply theatrical stage show that transports audiences through time.
“This is music best served alongside a roaring campfire, but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena.”
—Joshua Pickard, Beats Per Minute
The sounds of The Appleseed Collective are as diverse as the personalities that create them. Violinist/Mandolinist Brandon Worder-Smith grew up steeped in a rich rural Bluegrass and Irish fiddle culture. Driven to explore beyond the boundaries of tradition, he set off on foot to hitchhike around America searching for his musical kin. After a year and a half of wandering he stumbled across Guitarist Andrew Brown back in Ann Arbor MI, where the band now hangs their collective hats when not on the road. Downtown Andrew Brown, fast-talking vintage garb peddler and son of a Motown session musician had just returned from New Orleans with a piece of that dixieland sound. He gifted long-time friend and funk/rock drummer Vince Russo with a washboard, whose penchant for ripping percussion solos and untamed showmanship were only further enhanced, and the first incarnation of the band was born. Later the boys would join forces with bassist Eric O’Daly, whose passion for Indian Classical music and introspective yet fiery Irish nature would complete the Genre-Bending sound of The Appleseed Collective.
“[The Appleseed Collective] sweeps out the various corners of American music, taking a long look at both the sublime and the strange. The group explores both dark and light in a way that other string-band revivalists haven’t touched.”
—Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune
As a triune of songwriters, O’Daly, Brown, and Worder-Smith craft tunes from the sublime to the darkly evocative. In the space of their new 5 song EP, The Tour Tapes they swing from dim club storytelling swagger to rich vocal harmony, from hot club hot licks to spacey ambience, from old Irish reels to modern American indie. Despite the diversity of influences, The Appleseed Collective’s sound is unmistakably it’s own.
“The dictionary defines Americana as, ‘things associated with the culture and history of America, especially the United States.’ Well if that is the case then The Appleseed Collective is real Americana. I figured out sort of a mathematical equation last night: It’s like Satch plus Django plus Joplin plus Bob Wills plus a little Bill Monroe—but the sum is actually greater than the parts.”
—Jason Marck, introducing the band for a live performance on WBEZ Chicago’s Morning Shift in 2014
Full of energy and surprise, wit and subtlety, Twisted Pine has quickly become one of the most acclaimed young string bands in the Northeast. Audiences across the US and UK have been drawn to their forthright songwriting, lush harmonies, musical daring, and “charismatic appeal,” to quote Grammy-winner Alison Brown.
In its early days, Twisted Pine hewed pretty close to its bluegrass origins, but over time the quartet has developed a unique, infectious style without limits. Moving beyond the standard verse-chorus-solo structure of traditional string bands, Twisted Pine is a multilayered ensemble that brings the enveloping sound and pop hooks of indie music to an acoustic instrumental setting.
Guitarist Rachel Sumner and fiddler Kathleen Parks share the vocal mic, forming a combination as charming as it is gutsy. Whether switching off leads or blending and bending their voices into unexpected harmonies, these front-women are a commanding presence. On her instrument, Parks is an insatiable risk-taker, seeking out exciting new improvisational territories. Mandolinist Dan Bui is a master of melody and drive, celebrated widely for his dexterous, tasteful picking. And bassist Chris Sartori holds down the low end and a lot more, introducing creative, jazz-inflected cadences that never overwhelm the beat.
But while it’s easy to celebrate each of the band members individually, Twisted Pine isn’t just a collection of talented musicians. It’s a unit that grooves together. Intricate arrangements of swelling, syncopated rhythm and precise instrumental interplay generate something big and vital: a thick landscape of sound built on an organic acoustic foundation. It’s a fitting context for original songs written with equal parts passion and intelligence, adding up to music that lies at the intersection of heartrending and heart-racing.
You’ll find Twisted Pine on stages large and small, entertaining festivals of thousands and intimate rooms alike. Winners of the 2014 Freshgrass band competition and finalists at the 2015 Rockygrass contest, Twisted Pine has played major events from Greyfox to Green River to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and beyond. “Their live show is already legendary for the band’s unbridled spirit and contagious energy,” says Jim Olsen, president of the innovative folk label Signature Sounds (Lake Street Dive, Crooked Still, Joy Kills Sorrow). It’s no wonder the International Bluegrass Music Association nominated Twisted Pine for its 2015 Momentum Award, which recognizes exceptional up-and-coming acts.
Twisted Pine will be releasing its debut album at Green River Festival, July 14, 2017, and touring through 2017 across the United States. Check out Twisted Pine on tour and see why Olsen calls it “the most exciting new roots band to emerge from the New England scene in quite some time.”