The spotlight on Nashville, with its musical values and timeless traditions, is currently bright. And no band embodies what’s right about 21st century Nashville more completely than the quintet known as Humming House. It’s the way they weave together threads of Music City’s folk, soul, and bluegrass legacies. It’s in the inspirational and revealing songwriting. It’s in their acoustic instrumentation, presenting mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar and bass in fresh roles. It’s in the pleasant tension between rousing energy and nuanced arrangements. And it’s in the voices, with two complimentary stylists up front and backed by the full band’s rapturous harmonies. Revelries, due out March 24, 2015 on Nashville label Rock Ridge Music, is the third recording bearing the Humming House name, yet it’s something of a debut. Version one of the band came together in 2011 when songwriter Justin Wade Tam called on some friends from a local Celtic music jam to flesh out recordings of songs he’d written. The sessions, assisted by Tam’s star producer colleagues Mitch Dane and Vance Powell, mixed strains of bluegrass and Irish braided with vintage swing and open-throated early 60s hootenanny folk music. Humming House earned some quick attention for videos of its infectious songs “Cold Chicago” and “Gypsy Django.” They landed performance slots with tastemakers such as Lightning 100, Daytrotter and the Americana Music Association festival. They had chops, respect, and trajectory. After that, two personnel additions galvanized the band. Leslie Rodriguez brought a lustrous female vocal to mesh with Tam’s hearty singing. And fiddler Bobby Chase brought classical training and down-home fire. That rounded out a band of highly skilled instrumentalists, including Josh Wolak on mandolin and Ben Jones on acoustic bass. Between the five of them, there’s scarcely a genre or period that somebody in the band hasn’t spent time learning or embracing, from Leslie’s early love of show tunes to Josh’s time playing bluegrass to Bobby’s occasional beat boxing. They’re the picture of East Nashville’s melting pot musical culture, and Revelries is the first album these musicians have written, arranged and recorded together. As complete as they are in the studio and on record, Humming House is fundamentally and emphatically a live band. With scarcely a tube’s worth of amplification or electricity and a drum kit’s worth of percussion distributed among the band members, they emit force on stage and demand attention. They’ve rocked rooms of all sizes and played Forecastle Festival, Bristol’s Rhythm & Roots Festival, and the Cayamo Cruise with the elite of Americana. They opened the new Music City Roots hall in The Factory in 2014, sharing the bill with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Vocals are the emotional core and lure of Humming House. They are five voices deep, with a galvanizing male/female twin attack over the top. Tam and Rodriguez sing as soloists or a duet, depending on the song. Humming House works out careful hand-offs and big harmonies, including frequent passages that are just vocalizing, chanting beautiful music on top of their robust instrumental attack. The title of Revelries comes from a lyric in the tenth track on the album, “Carry On,” a feisty and ambitious song in which delicate charango plays counterpoint to a muted guitar. The rhythm is jagged and intoxicating. By the time we get there we’ve heard the striding opener “Run With Me,” the quick-stepping waltz “Fly On” and Leslie’s showcase song, the smoldering and bluesy “Nuts, Bolts and Screws.” The album’s first single, “Great Divide,” is a fervent ode to travel, motion, and new frontiers—a recurring theme that’s also touched on in the fiddle and accordion-driven “Hitch Hike” and the rapturously romantic “Freight Train.” A classic jazz ribbon of smoke drifts through the magic “I’m A Bird.” And then, after “Carry On,” Revelries concludes on the drifting “Atlantic”—a throwback folk song that evokes old sea shanties. If the new Nashville means anything, it’s about musicianship and authenticity. Quite often that results in sounds that are fascinating and appealing to critics and fellow musicians. Occasionally, artistry emerges that’s both profound and widely appealing. And when it does, as with Humming House, it’s cause for revelry. “Put Humming House on your list of Must-See Acts of 2015.” -Huffington Post. “Party-worthy roots music.” -Mic.com. “…infectious and grin-inducing.” -American Songwriter Magazine. “…they have a sense of fearlessness that allows them make the kinds of musical choices that lift their music far above the average.” -Roughstock. “…a solid Americana band with Irish folk influences and a tight live show.” -Consequence Of Sound. “A new Nashville band with a throwback sound.” -All Things Considered – NPR: Blake Farmer.
"Cereus Bright is not for the flimsy folk enthusiast. The depth and purity of what the duo delivers stands out in a superficial sea of melodic trends and gimmicks. Such a rich set of songs has proved them worthy of numerous film-synchs and hours of recreational listening on repeat." -The Music BedCereus Bright finds its muse—and its name—from the Cereus flower: a white desert flower that blooms only at night. Just as this flower grows in the most desolate of settings, so does art draw its beauty from brokenness and heartache. In their lyrics and melodies, Cereus Bright aims to embrace life as both messy and beautiful.The band is Tyler Anthony and Evan Ford, two young folk musicians from Knoxville, TN. Their songs showcase strong, passionate harmonies singing stories of real life—hope and heartbreak, adventure and stillness. Tyler plays guitar, piano, and sings, Evan sings backup while playing lead guitar and mandolin. They frequently play with bassist Matt Nelson and drummer Luke Bowers.Ideologically, Cereus Bright makes a strong case for folk music. Recently the genre of folk music has come to mean “acoustic pop”, and all seems to blend together in a post-Mumford and Sons mush. Real folk, though, is meant to communicate; to use simple, melodic music to communicate stories of success and heartbreak. This is the goal of Cereus Bright—to draw you in with beautiful composition and keep you interested and moved with poetic yet direct lyrics. Comparisons with bands such as the Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, and the Head and the Heart are inevitable, and are major compliments.
Anna Vogelzang has been making songs since 2000, playing them in public since 2003, and driving them around the country since 2007. Her melody-driven, multi-instrumental folk-pop ballads have been met with warm reviews (9/10, PopMatters) & landed her at festivals, conferences, and on bills with some of her heroes, including Sara Bareilles, Gillian Welch, Mirah, Anais Mitchell, Laura Gibson, Wye Oak, Steve Poltz, Amanda Palmer, & many more. Anna is currently touring in support of the Driftless EP, a home-spun, steadfast collection of gritty new-folk songs, many of which were written in 2014 as part of the song-a-week projectRealWomenRealSongs. In 2015, she will return to the studio to work with producer Todd Sickafoose on her fifth LP. Vogelzang plays the banjo, ukuleles, guitar, and kalimba on stage, but has always been a singer who loves words and feelings first and foremost. “It’s tempting to describe her voice in terms typically reserved to describe forces of nature.” – The Capital Times.