event

Pressing Strings, Stick & Bindle
Thu September 19, 2024 7:30 pm (Doors: 7:00 pm )
The Southgate House Revival - Revival Room
Ages 18 and Up
$15 adv/$20 dos

When music is given the benefit of instinct, imagination and inspiration, the results areguaranteed to be good. So it ought to come as no surprise that the critically-acclaimed AnnapolisMaryland-based trio, appropriately dubbed Pressing Strings, has infused those elements withintheir musical mantra from the beginning. The band —Jordan Sokel (Guitar/Vocals),Nick Welker(Bass, Vocals), and Justin Kruger (Drums, Vocals) can trace its origins to Sokel’s initialfascination with some iconic influences, among them, the usual suspects — Dylan, Marley,Simon, Withers, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, etc., as well as some more under theradar artists like Taj Mahal, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Nick Drake.

 
Pressing Strings
When music is given the benefit of instinct, imagination and inspiration, the results areguaranteed to be good. So it ought to come as no surprise that the critically-acclaimed AnnapolisMaryland-based trio, appropriately dubbed Pressing Strings, has infused those elements withintheir musical mantra from the beginning. The band —Jordan Sokel (Guitar/Vocals),Nick Welker(Bass, Vocals), and Justin Kruger (Drums, Vocals) can trace its origins to Sokel’s initialfascination with some iconic influences, among them, the usual suspects — Dylan, Marley,Simon, Withers, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, etc., as well as some more under theradar artists like Taj Mahal, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Nick Drake.
 
Fascination became fulfillment once he picked up the guitar and started writing songs. That’swhen his course became clear. After growing up in New Jersey and Arizona, he eventuallymoved to Arnold, Maryland to attend high school and eventually university at SalisburyUniversity. However once there, he found he began having doubts about his career choice. That’swhen he made it his mission to pursue his musical muse. Still in college, he formed PressingStrings with one of his buddies. Those early efforts, beginningin 2006, found Sokel’s desire anddetermination taking hold, eventually coalescing into a career that now spans six albums —Where We Are(2008),Episodes(2010),Pressing Strings(2012),Life of a Tree(2013),Owe theSource(2015),Settle In(2020) — and two EPs —Most of Us(2016) andMorning Takes(2021).“This band has had a lot of different parts and personalities over the years and if you listenclosely, you can hear that in the music,” Sokel reflects. “It’s never been static; the chemistry andcreativity has morphed and evolved and it’s still doing so now. However it has changed, onething has stayed constant. Music has moved and motivated me ever since the first time I realizedI could write songs and share them with an audience. That’s been my motivation ever since I was20 years old and had my first opportunity to perform in front of a live audience. And after Ilearned how to record and shape songs in the studio, that was it, I was hooked

Kruger was similarly inspired. He grew up in the Bay Area of California, the offspring of twoworking musicians and spent much of his youth behind soundboards and in green rooms. LikeSokel, college felt unsatisfactory so he beganjumping into tour vans and onto festival stages inthe western U.S. Giving him years in Jazz, Rock, Reggae, World, Country, Americana/Songwriter and even Comedy shows. After a decade plus, he moved to Maryland where he would begin again. First with the Annapolis scene. Then Baltimore city, Philadelphia, NewYork. Always knowing of Sokel and Welker's forward motion and staying in closecommunication. JK was tapped to join full time in 2021. A singing drummer, adding 3 partharmonies and a new life to older tunes. Welker is a local boy who was raised in Annapolis. He first picked up the bass in 6th grade, andeventually started performing in his school’s orchestra before going on to form a band with some high school friends. He joined Pressing Strings in 2013 and has been with the group ever since.Not surprisingly then, Pressing Strings’ upcoming album. And I ForYou, is the group’s most fully realized set of songs yet, one that touches on timeless themes thatresonate and find meaning at a time when turmoil and tenacity seem so predominant within aweary world. They remind us that gratitude, devotion, and the wisdom, to recognize that even inthe midst of uncertainty, there are virtues that are important to cling to and which, in turn, canultimately lead to true satisfaction.The melodies reflect that upbeat optimism, from the easy, affable designs of “Down for You” and“We Will Be Alright” to the instantly engaging sound of “Weather the Storm,” the playful yetpersistent “No One Else” and the emotive and expressive “Home To You.”So too, the infectious first single, “Your Love,” immediately sums up their stance. Propelled by acatchy rhythm, soothing sentiment and absolute joy and desire. It’s an ideal introduction to thealbum, and like each of the songs that surround it, it immediately takes hold, and resonates wellafter the final notes fade away. Somewhat surprisingly then, the new project came together on the heels of a shift in the band’smusical ranks. Sokel says that when Kruger came on board, it brought them added impetus whenit was needed the most.“We regained our focus,” he notes in retrospect. “It found us digging deeper than we ever hadbefore, rehearsing and woodshedding the songs in order to come up with a varied approach. Our producer, Steve Wright, was a big part of the process as well. On the other hand, this is the firstrecord we’ve made that has everyone sharing the singing and helping with the harmonies. It waschallenging at first, but it was also fun and fulfilling.”Sokel had spent a considerable amount of his down time during the pandemic demoing thematerial, and as a result, the band found it easy to make critical decisions when it came to theirapproach to the material and the direction the album would take overall. Once they resumedtouring, the band took the opportunity to road-test the songs in front of live audiences, givingthem the feedback needed to ensure their recordings reflected the energy of their stage shows. Indeed, it’s a far cry from Pressing Strings’ formative years. The members found themselveswaiting tables and stocking shelves in order to pay the bills. It also meant taking whatever gigswere offered and selling CDs they burned themselves out of an old Samsonite suitcase.Fortunately though, their efforts paid off, and they not only were able to pay their bills, but alsopay their dues as well, leading to headliner status at home in Annapolis, as well as in Baltimore,Washington DC, and Maryland's eastern shore. Their fame eventually spread to the entire EasternSeaboard, leading them to make frequent festival appearances at Peachfest, Firefly, Sweetwater420 Fest, Floydfest, Cavefest, and WTMD’s First Thursdays. It also found them opening for thelikes of The Beach Boys, Government Mule, Toad the Wet Sprocket, JJ Grey & Mofro, Rachael Yamagata, Neil Francis, The Toadies, Jerry Douglas, the Sam Roberts Band, Rayland BaxterMichael Glabicki (Rusted Root), Rayland Baxter, and Junior Marvin of the Wailers.Soon, radio began taking notice, with national AAA and public broadcasters across the U.S.eagerly embracing the band and taking them to the top of their charts. As a result, they’ve beenfeatured on WTMD’s“Top 89 Songs of the Year” five times and WRNR’s“Top 103” four times.WRNR Program Director Bo Waugh declared “[Band frontman] Jordan Sokel’s voice is insanelyunique and compelling. One day, the world is going to wake up and wonder why it’s taken toolong for Pressing Strings to receive the national recognition they so richly deserve.”These days, Sokel himself finds reflecting on all that Pressing Strings has accomplished thus farand how it’s impacted his life overall. "Music is an extension of who I am, what I'm goingthrough, what I'm feeling, and the people who are meaningful in my life,” he maintains. “It offersme an avenue to share my feelings and, in doing so, connect with people. It's never failed to giveme comfort, in both the best and worst of times.”That’s what great music is all about. It’s comforting to have Pressing Strings providing thatcomfort and concern.
Stick & Bindle