Old Salt Union, The Stray Birds

Old Salt Union

The Stray Birds

Wed · September 6, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Southgate House Revival-Revival Room

$12.00 - $15.00

This event is 18 and over

Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union
Old Salt Union is known for playing music by their own set of rules. While the men who make up the group are not complete rebels, they are certainly focused on exposing people to a purer, more exciting, and more original form of music. Drawing influence from Bill Monroe, Sam Bush and Del McCoury, to jazz great Bill Evans and Composer Danny Elfman, it’s obvious the group has a unique and broad genetic make-up. What makes Old Salt Union special is their ability to further explore the jazz and blues roots of bluegrass in a mature and refreshing manner. With in-depth musical compositions, a catchy hook, and a high- energy metaphorical punch to the gut, they are truly front runners in the new generation of string music.

Established in 2012, Old Salt Union recorded their debut album “Western Skies” just a few months after inception. With the album independently released in March of 2013, and a tour schedule consisting of nearly 200 shows in the coming calendar year, it was clear the boys were on the move. Old Salt Union stretched from coast to coast, exposing both traditional and progressive grass fans to a new, complex, high-energy, St. Louis style string music.

Traveling consistently in 2014-15’ shined light on new inspiration and new subject matter for OSU. The long months on the road provided a new perspective on writing that showed its weary eyes on their second full length release entitled “Bridge.” Released in August of 2014, Bridge acted as both a figurative and literal path home. The album revealed Old Salt Union morphing into the band they were always meant to be. Dramatic chord progressions, thoughtful arrangements, and the constant longing of a familiar bed and a warm home resonated with people all across the nation. Winning both “Best Bluegrass Band” and “Best Country Band” in the Riverfront Times ‘Best of St. Louis’ edition, proved they were still peddling in the right direction. This year of expansion found the boys on grand stages near and far. From appearing at the Bluegrass Underground, Music City Roots, John Hartford Memorial Festival, ROMP, Stagecoach, Freshgrass, and Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Festival, to sharing the stage with Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Travelin’ McCourys, Jeff Austin Band, and Ricky Skaggs, Old Salt Union still felt they had much more to prove.

Their new EP entitled “Cut & Run” was released in March of 2016. A brief, 6-song, glimpse into the new, polished, and well-executed style of Old Salt Union. Finally finding their bearings and learning to weave the genre crossing compositions and heartache infused songwriting in a complete and wrapped package, they are ready to expose the people to what Old Salt Union was always meant to sound and feel like. With 30+ songs on the backburner, a new single produced by Alison Brown, and a full length to be recorded in the winter of 2016, the men of OSU will be touring full time until they settle down to record. The ever-evolving sound of Old Salt Union has always been based on the idea of forward progression. Individually, and as a unit, the music must continue to inspire and move them to a new destination. With the release of the new EP, they have 30+ dates on the calendar and intend on continuing to unveil their sound and energy to any and everyone who will listen. Always confident in their live performances, you certainly mustn’t miss an opportunity to see them live.
The Stray Birds
The Stray Birds
BAND BIO

All originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, The Stray Birds started as a duo of acoustic buskers in early 2010 when Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven met with their instruments, their voices, and their songs. It didn't take much convincing to get bassist Charlie Muench on board, and with the addition of a third unique and powerful voice, the group began to define its captivating sound. Seven years, three original records, and some six hundred performances later, the band is best known today for its songwriting, its tight and forthcoming vocal harmony blend and its commitment to an impassioned delivery of original material, both on stage and in the studio. They've been seen from LA to London, sung songs from Dallas to Denmark, and played tunes from New York to New Orleans. Their 2016 Yep Roc Records release Magic Fire was produced by Grammy-winner Larry Campbell and earned much praise, including being named by NPR as one of Folk Alley's Top Ten Records of 2016. With time, their sound has evolved to a palate broader than what it first was on the street corners and in the markets, but this much remains true: The Stray Birds is a band of musicians as subtle and nuanced as they are energetic, a band of writers as blatant and bold as they are coy, and perhaps most importantly, a band of people as friendly and compassionate as they are talented. It's safe to imagine that most who hear their music come back for another listen, time and again.


MAGIC FIRE BIO

Magic Fire is an album of firsts for The Stray Birds: their first with an outside producer, their first with venerable guest musicians, and their first truly collaborative songwriting effort. More importantly, perhaps, it's an album of mosts: the most exciting and engaging music they've ever composed paired with their most outspoken and insightful lyrics yet.

Magic Fire builds on the success of The Stray Birds' 2014 Yep Roc debut, Best Medicine, which was hailed by NPR's World Café for its "strong harmonies and sharp songwriting" and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Guitar World praised their "heartfelt creativity," while the Philadelphia City Paper called the band "stunning," and Mountain Stage applauded their singular ability to "successfully draw on the rich traditions of American folk music while still sounding modern." It was that unique formula that first brought them national attention and fueled their breakout in 2012, when their self-titled/self-released debut landed amongst NPR's Top Ten Folk/Americana Albums of the Year and earned them major festival performances everywhere from MerleFest to Scotland's Celtic Connections.

When it came time to record Magic Fire, The Stray Birds knew they were ready to take an ambitious step. They retreated to Milan Hill, New York, a small town outside of Woodstock in the Hudson River Valley, and teamed up with Larry Campbell. The three-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer (best known for his work with luminaries like Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, and Willie Nelson) enlisted his preferred engineer, Justin Guip (another three-time GRAMMY Award-winner who worked closely with the late Helm), and the group spent ten days together joyously exploring and creating the music that would become Magic Fire.

“Though a few of the new songs had been on stage in the past year, we granted most of these songs the opportunity to come to life right there in the studio,” says Maya de Vitry, who splits her time between fiddle, guitar, and banjo in addition to singing. “It was intoxicating to go to this place of focus with songs that still felt so fresh and free.”

"We'd never worked with anyone other than just an engineer in the studio before," adds Charles Muench, who plays banjo and bass in addition to contributing to the group's lush three-part vocal harmonies. "Larry was on our short list of people who we wanted to work with, and it was clear after a few conversations with him that nothing was off limits for this record. He offered up not only his production and direction, but also his playing to any and all of the music.”

"We wanted some direction this time," continues Oliver Craven, who plays fiddle, guitar, and mandolin in addition to singing. "We wanted somebody outside of the music with great taste and vibe who could lend a critically unbiased and impartial ear to what we were doing. Larry is very relaxed and works on feel. I don’t think I saw him write down one word the whole time.”

Before the band settled into the studio, they headed back to their roots, returning to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There they spent two intensive days of pre-production with another new collaborator, drummer Shane Leonard.

"We started out as a trio of people who all grew up together in Lancaster County and had known each other for a very long time," says de Vitry. "But it was a slow and deliberate musical courtship, and it took years and a lot of patience for us to actually come together and get into a car and start touring and recording as a trio. When we met Shane, I can't even say that we played music together for more than a song or two before we asked him to join us to make a record. We all instinctually knew he was right for us."

That kind of chemistry can't be bought, and it's readily apparent on tracks like "Third Day In A Row," a laid-back slice of infectious Americana that showcases the band's rich harmonies, and "Fossil," which they performed at Leonard's wedding before they'd ever even recorded it. In addition to the newest Bird's contributions (which stretch beyond percussion throughout the record), the album demonstrates the group's remarkable growth as songwriters and performers, with countless nights on the road across the US and Europe sharpening their senses and honing their keen understanding of each other's strengths.

"There's more collaboration than ever before in the band," says Craven. "This record is unlike any of our previous releases in that it has songs written by the two or three or four of us together. I think we've realized that in this band, we're surrounded by people we trust and who inspire us, so if we want something to be as good as it can be, it's in all of our interests to share in that collaboration."

The fruits of their teamwork come to full blossom on highlights like the toe-tapping, fiddle-led "Sabrina," penned on-the-spot, as a trio in the presence of the titular subject, and "Hands Of Man," a dark, Appalachian-influenced tune completed during the recording sessions in Milan Hill. "Where You Come From" marks Muench's first complete songwriting contribution to an album, while "Shining In The Distance" is a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lindsay Lou that grew out of Maya and Oliver's move to Nashville, and "When I Die" features a verse written by Leonard (live versions of the song have included a variety of additional verses contributed by peers and tourmates like Mandolin Orange, Miss Tess, Jordie Lane, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West).

Despite the new, more open approach to writing, the songs are as focused and incisive as ever. "All The News" is a reminder of just how lucky so many of us are to live in relative comfort and safety, while the groovy "Sunday Morning" is a call to action, as Craven sings, "You can shout for change and worry about the state of the world / But it's gonna take a little more than praying on a Sunday morning."

"I don’t think that this record is overtly politicized," says Craven, "but there is an agreed perspective within the band, and I think that turns up throughout the album. It's not only our opportunity but our obligation to do what we can to help the people around us as best we can.”

“This collection of songs honors what connects us as humans," Maya adds. "Being human can be a fast-paced, detached experience at times. I feel like part of what we do as musicians is rewire our connections to each other, and perhaps our connections to our collective memory or dream."

For The Stray Birds, those connections come from filling hearts with love and joy and light each night onstage, setting a Magic Fire and watching it spread everywhere they go. The most exciting thing about an album of firsts? It means The Stray Birds are just getting started.
Venue Information:
The Southgate House Revival-Revival Room
111 East 6th Street
Newport, KY, 41071
http://www.southgatehouse.com/