I remember the first time I hooked up my violin to an amp when I was in high-school. I played Kashmir about a thousand times, toyed with some Kansas, and that was about it. I’d never play professionally as a classical musician, and it seemed there was no place for a violinist in modern music apart from Bluegrass.
Not that I don’t love the bluegrass. It’s just that I can’t play that fast.
So this month when I discovered the Asheville-based River Whyless, I started wondering where that old amp pickup was. Like my other favorite orchestral-progressive band Little Tybee (with whom River Whyless will be touring this spring), these guys share my love for great classically-trained violin, loudly amplified.
Their debut DIY album A Stone, A Leaf, an Unfound Door is available for whatever-you-feel-like-paying on Bandcamp (I paid $15 I think, a bargain). I’m hearing a little Death Cab in here (Track 4 Cedar Dream Part 1, some Decemberists (Track 8 Widows Walk)… Its just awesome, trust me. Listen to Cedar Dream Part II (Track 8). fuckyeah! It’s all just what my violin wanted out of me years ago but never got.
There’s this trend of putting a lot of craft and effort into album art in this digital day and age, and I’m loving it. Painter Brendan O’Keefe spent 4 months on the art for this one. Day-um!
I love all this amazing hand-crafted modern music coming from the basements and bathroom recording studios of the South. There is a lot of kinship here with Little Tybee (Colin Agnew of Little Tybee played on their record), though maybe a little more on the dark-folk 16 Horsepower end of the spectrum. . It should be an fantastic combination and their tour starts March 1. Follow them on Twitter. I plan to be there.
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