"The future of original string music..." Keith Harrelson, Moonlight on the Mountain
"Intense lyrics, powerful vocals and enough edge to continue cutting their own path." Dan Holland, FolkWords
HARPETH RISING’S music is the convergence of a classical education and a passion for folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass and all things acoustic. Named for the small but powerful river in Tennessee, they create original songs that layer rich instrumental arrangements with four part harmonies and lyrics that depict wanderlust, eternal curiosity, class struggle and extraordinary love. The result is a sound that defies category. The four members met while earning performance degrees at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and despite their diverse beginnings (hailing from vastly different cultures and geographic areas,) found in each other a unified musical idea – and a brand new one at that.
Beginning in the mind of Canadian-born Kentuckiana-transplant Jordana Greenberg (violin), Harpeth Rising crawled out of the river when California-native Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo), joined Greenberg in a youthful cross-country spiritual quest. Their adventures through the desert and on to Hawaii via the Telluride Bluegrass Festival convinced them that folk music was their path, and Harpeth Rising was truly born when Chris Burgess (percussion), and Maria Di Meglio (cello), came aboard. Burgess’s Kentucky roots and Di Meglio’s ethnic Brooklyn background added new dimensions to their sound, allowing them to both honor and expand musical traditions. Despite the presence of only four instruments on stage, Harpeth Rising produces a profusion of sound generally created by a much larger ensemble. Di Meglio transitions fluidly between providing the bass line and taking the melodic lead, while Burgess constructs a matrix of percussive elements that blend seamlessly into the musical texture. Reed-Lunn’s highly original style of claw hammer banjo–learned mainly by watching YouTube–is both surprisingly lyrical and intensely driving. Greenberg takes on the role of concert violinist and accompanist with equal facility, and ensures that a lead guitar is never missed. Their harmonies, two, three and four-part, run the gamut from traditional Bluegrass to full on Gregorian organum.
Their live performances are high-energy, kinetic events in which both their ability and their love of music are obvious. Harpeth Rising can create a listening room from a rowdy bar crowd, and inspire rowdiness in even the weariest of audiences. After only a few months as a band, they embarked on a self-booked tour of England, which included a performance with The Bath Philharmonia. They were invited to perform at The Cambridge Folk Festival the following summer, and have since played folk festivals across England and the United States. Building their fan base in the tradition of all wandering minstrels, passionately and by word-of-mouth, they now perform to sold-out audiences internationally. They have released three albums in as many years – Harpeth Rising (2010), Dead Man’s Hand (2011) and The End of the World (2012), a collaboration with master wordsmith David Greenberg, father of Jordana Greenberg. They are currently working on their fourth album, which will be released later in
Jordana Greenberg - Violin / Vocals
Rebecca Reed-Lunn - Banjo/Vocals
Chris Burgess - Vocals, Percussion, Percussion/Vocals
Maria Di Meglio - Cello/Vocals
Tales From Jackson Bridge, 2013, #6 Folk DJ Charts October 2013, #37 Roots Music Report, TOP 5 Most Added AMA Charts, Amazon.com's 'Hot New Relases' in Roots-Rock
The End of the World, 2012
Named #2 Album of the Year 2012 by No Surf Music
'Truck Stop Mama' named Song of the Year by No Surf Music
Debuted in Top Ten of International Folk Charts, August 2012
Tales From Jackson Bridge, 2013
The End of the World, 2012
Dead Man's Hand, 2011
On multiple 'Best of 2011' lists!
Harpeth Rising, 2010
On multiple 'Best of 2010' lists!
#1 at WUSC 90.5, June 2010
02 Day After Day
Burn Away Your Troubles
You Won't Hear It From Me
07 Four Days More
It Don't Really Matter
Goin' My Way
‘Tales from Jackson Bridge’ from Harpeth Rising - continue cutting their own path
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There’s constant freshness to music from Harpeth Rising – an American four-piece band that brings a ...There’s constant freshness to music from Harpeth Rising – an American four-piece band that brings a sharp cutting edge to their distinct brand of folk music. Their latest album ‘Tales from Jackson Bridge’ still retains the familiar mix of bluegrass influenced, jazzy folk-rock riffs, punchy lyrics and engaging melodic hooks but also takes the band along their journey through folk. This album is so charismatic it would take considerable effort not to engage with Harpeth Rising.
The title track ‘Wheelhouse’ is a classic Harpeth Rising tune with powerful vocals and dynamic energy and although its message is a little softer ‘Day After Day’ continues the drive with its entrancing banjo and fiddle mix. Following them on their journey across three of their albums it’s fair to say that the band has reached a new high with ‘Tales from Jackson Bridge’ – they have always been pretty assured in their music, now they have a presence that establishes their position beyond doubt.
There’s much evidence across their songs, from the moving sincerity of ‘The Sparrow’ with its gently picked strings, strong percussion and delicious vocals, through the compelling originality of the instrumental ‘Eris’ and the sprightly eagerness of ‘Four Days More’ to their moody jazz-inspired rendition of ‘House of the Rising Sun’. And you can't help but feel that all of what went before conspires to come together within the stunning 'Ghost Factory' - powerful stuff indeed.
Harpeth Rising deliver an exceptional blend of multi-influenced American folk with inspired lyrics, intense vocals and enough edge to continue cutting their own path.
Reviewer: Dan Holland
David Greenberg and Harpeth Rising - The End of the World
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There are both good and bad points to this whole music reviewing gig, especially when, like No Surf,...There are both good and bad points to this whole music reviewing gig, especially when, like No Surf, you focus on independent and lesser-known artists. It’s great to have the opportunity to check out so many promising newcomers and masters who have slogged it out for decades never getting the recognition they deserve. But with technology making it much easier to produce an album and even eliminating much of the cost for all-digital releases, that often means we have to slog through piles of don’t-quit-your-day-job players to find the few gems buried within. And with outlets for quality reviews so hard to come by, we get far more requests than you’d imagine. But when one of those diamonds does make its way to the top, it makes it all more than worthwhile.
That was definitely the case with the album The End of the World by David Greenberg and Harpeth Rising. After the first track, I was impressed. After the second track I was sure there was something special here. By the end of the first listen through the whole album, I was absolutely blown away. Quite simply, The End of the World is one of the best albums you or I will ever hear.
When analyzing music, there are two main spheres into which one can divide any piece: music and lyrics. Many groups have strength in one area or the other, but rarely both equally. More rare still is an album where both are at the absolute pinnacle of achievement. Most rare of all is a blending of the two so complete and insightful that they seem to fuse into one. Yet that’s the case with this album. The music and lyrics complement each other so perfectly that it’s hard to imagine them existing separate from one another.
As suggested by the double billing, the workload on this album is roughly split between David Greenberg—described in the album notes as “a crazed doomer, a radical farmer, and an occasional optimist” who provides guitar, vocals and all the lyrics—and Harpeth Rising—a classically trained string quartet that eschews Beethoven in favor of their own brand of not-quite-bluegrass, not-quite-folk, not-quite-like-anything-you’ve-ever-heard roots music, who were responsible for the arrangements. They are related by blood—David is the father of violinist Jordana Greenberg—but the decision to meld the two forces into one was pure genius.
Anyone who regularly reads this website knows that as a writer myself, I am far more interested in lyrical quality than many reviewers, and that made this album a particular delight. I’m not going to pull my punches: as evidenced by these songs, David Greenberg is one of the greatest lyricists alive on the planet today. His writing is alternately reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, James McMurtry, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt. Yeah, this guy is that good.
Just as impressive is the accompaniment by Harpeth Rising. It’s unlike anything else out there. There are touches of bluegrass in the fiddle and banjo, but the cello adds whole new layers and a slightly mournful quality unexpected in the genre. There are also touches of folk in both the instrumentation and lyrics, but the musical talent and precision of the players is so great that they far surpass anything in the folk tradition. Ok, maybe music school is worth something.
Take, for instance, “Truck Stop Mama,” not only the most impressive song on the album, but the winner of the No Surf Music Shiny Silver Surfboard Award for 2012’s Song of the Year. At its heart it's a blue-collar trucker song following the thoughts of a man driving his rig on to the next destination, but its spirit is purely political as those thoughts turn to the sights he sees along the road, the people he's known, and how the little guys like himself always seem to get screwed. Yet it's done with such grace and candor that one almost doesn't notice just how poignant the societal critique is as it slowly pours out among the beautiful, expressive bowing and plucking of the music. It's easily the best political song since James McMurtry's “God Bless America,” so sharp that it’s almost impossible to pick out just one segment of lyrics to highlight. But as an example, take this particularly pointed stab at warmongers:
The cars were lined up two miles back
With the headlights blazin’ and the flags half-mast.
It’s another young boy home at last,
That’s not the way they wanted him back.
And the big man shoutin’ ‘Bring it on!’
From a bomb shelter underneath the White House lawn
They’re having a laugh. They’re all drinkin’ champagne.
They’re all getting paid. Guess who pays.
Why, oh why? It makes you sick inside.
I just keep rollin’ to that big Montana sky.
As that final couplet suggests, the song’s narrator feels that even though he sees injustice after injustice in his travels, he’s too small to do anything about it. This is expressed perfectly in David’s vocals as he almost blithely recounts each offense. Only at the most intense moments does his voice crack just slightly with rage. The music, too, seems to perfectly mirror the teamster’s state of mind, with cello and banjo signifying the rolling roar of a truck burning miles and a thump-thump-thumping drum that seems to mirror an anxious heartbeat. But it’s Jordana’s violin that’s the true musical star here, rising and falling with forlorn grace along with the ebb and flow of the man’s thoughts. Only when the trucker thinks of those few memories that give him the strength to keep moving down the road does the music pick up its pace in time with his mood.
Don't let their lackadaisical wall-leanin' ways fool you, these kids know how to PLAY.
Another highlight is “Evil Eye.” The pulse-pounding romp through a dystopian wonderland is brought to life by the distinctive vocal growl of Jordana, whose wailing violin somehow simultaneously manifests the inherent beauty of pain as each successive dark metaphor spills forth from her lips. The elder Greenberg’s use of both consonance and assonance is so prevalent in this song that it would seem heavy handed if it not so perfectly crafted:
The priest from pulpit hatred strikes the broken bells of sin.
There’s one who knows it’s been foretold but you don’t speak for him.
And Noah takes the slaughter knife and Lot just slams the door.
And Goliath in Golgotha feasts; King Judas shouts for more.
And down along the roadside the fool tries to divine
If the world has turned invisible or if he’s just gone blind.
The Spanish-inflected “Señorita,” is reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” but… well, you know… good and stuff. The lyrics have a hint of Townes Van Zandt to them and recount the story of a spiritually—if not geographically—adrift man drinking away his time and trying to lose himself completely in bottles of cheap tequila and the welcoming arms of chicas bonitas:
I left my rig in the pilot last night;
Drove the grey ghost across to the other side.
Here in the Casa Felicidad everyone smiles.
The girls are sweet and you feel so sad
When they take all your money and you know you’ve been had.
The dust of the Mexican twilight shines in their eyes.
Señorita, every lie holds a promise,
It’s on the edge of your eyes and your black hair, too.
Señorita, you know I come by it honest.
There are men like me because there are women like you.
See, they're even dressed for a ball. It's obvious these guys know their way around high-class music halls just as well as the seedy honky tonks No Surf favors.
The final and title track, “The End of the World,” also has to be counted among the album’s greats. A discordant waltz for the still-living-and-always-soon-to-be-dead, it would make a perfect closing number for Lucifer’s Annual Masked Cotillion. David’s voice sounds particularly devilish as he relishes each dripping syllable of the verses, then picks up to match the plucked strings of the chorus:
The planets are circling, slave to the sun god
Whose voice is a breath of atomic red wind.
And the poor constellations claim your expectations,
Imprisoned us all in this fight to the end.
You try to return then and looking behind
You can see what you came to believe is the reason.
All you can do now is drink and be merry
And know that your prayers are not lost to the winds.
Drink and be merry; tomorrow’s your birthday.
You have to keep going though you know how it ends.
No matter how holy or artful the reasons, around and around you must do it again.
The Mayans would appreciate Greenberg’s cyclical notion of time, if not his predictions of ever-impending apocalypse. Particularly engaging from a musical standpoints are the positively desolate cello part and the feisty handclap percussion that seems to stand at odds with the other more operatic aspects of the arrangement.
Even though these songs are particular standouts, many of the other tracks would easily be the best on nearly any other release. “Goin’ Goin’ Gone,” for instance, a lively, foot stomping father-daughter duet and the closest thing to a true bluegrass-style hoedown on this album, is absolutely infectious and peppered with great zinger lines like:
Preacher tells me Satan’s got my number.
Can’t get to heaven that way, doncha know?
I say preacher put your money where your mouth is.
One man’s beef is another man’s rodeo.
“Outlaw” is an uptempo ballad for a nonconformist, shunned by society for his refusal to accept its rules. Again, the lyrics are strong, but never more so than when Jordana’s voice strains to hit the heights of the lines:
It’s all right; you may never dig it.
He comes from a time now far away.
Didn’t get those badges in some dime store.
He earned them in a valley with no name.
He’s not bound for gold or glory
And he worries some about gettin’ old.
Just runs free like God intended him to be
And I know that’s what they hate the most.
“Goin’ My Way,” the sprightly opener, is a particularly good showcase of all the players’ talents as it trades back and forth between featuring the banjo, violin and cello with the acoustic guitar and drums providing substance. “Nowhereland” is a complex allegory filled with allusions to key points in Judeo-Christian mythology made especially empathetic by Jordana’s clarion voice accompanied by a comfortless cello opening that gradually builds into a many-layered climax, only to collapse again into a disconsolate denouement. “You Can Only Follow” is another trucker-inspired song that’s about far more than just hauling loads, while “Out of Sight” is a particularly Cohenesque piece filled with vivid imagery and sweeping string parts.
I'm guessing that's the Harpeth River in the background, but either way, that waterway’s namesake band is going to be making memorable music for a long time to come.
The End of the World could easily be considered a concept album tied together by the truck-driving character most prevalent in “Truck Stop Mama” and his observations as he moves through a solitary life with plenty of time to analyze the world around him. It is not necessary to know whether this was intentional in order to appreciate the inherent quality of both the individual tracks and this album as a whole, and so I simply didn’t ask. What’s clear is that David Greenberg himself has a particularly sharp eye for observation and an impressive ability to express himself poetically. Amazingly enough, these talents are matched by the musical ability of Harpeth Rising. Combined, they have produced what is easily one of the most impressive albums of this or any year, and one that deserves to be remembered for years to come. There’s no doubt that it merits only the second-ever perfect “Hang Ten” rating from the No Surf Review, and my only regret is that it’s taken so long to get this review completed. If you’re looking for a powerful, poetic and musically striking album (and really, who’s not?), then look no further than David Greenberg and Harpeth Rising’s The End of the World.
You can call Harpeth Rising's music Americana but they are so very much more than that.
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Review by Lauren Steen You can call Harpeth Rising’s music Americana but they are so very much mo...Review by Lauren Steen
You can call Harpeth Rising’s music Americana but they are so very much more than that. You see, in their remarkable music you can clearly hear Spanish, Gypsy and Celtic influences intermixed with bluegrass, folk, classical and more. You simply have to love how the multitude of sounds, stringed instruments and eclectic percussion entangle so gorgeously. As if all this wasn’t enough, the members of Harpeth Rising are creative and innovative songwriters that are sincere storytellers at heart. Harpeth Rising is an inventive and impassioned unique and fresh sound in the worlds of Americana and stringed music today.
On Harpeth Rising and David Greenberg’s new CD ‘The End of the World’, you can’t help but be stunned by the sheer synergy of stringed instruments. You get flawless guitar, stunning violin, impassioned banjo and compelling cello plus an incredibly eclectic variety of percussion instruments that fuse together and accent each other impeccably. All this combined with compelling heartfelt vocals that deliver moving and honest tales makes Harpeth Rising truly stand out from the rest. And with the addition of David Greenberg on this album, they have added a whole new layer of depth, complexity and beauty to their original sound.
Harpeth Rising is an astounding unification of incredibly talented and skilled musicians. On ‘The End of the World’, all of these musicians fuse together beautifully yet they all also stand out solidly on their own. Jordana Greenberg delivers soulfully soaring and searing violin that cuts straight through you. Plus this lady sings with such passion and strength to perfectly convey each song’s message. David Greenberg serves up heartfelt and seasoned vocals and gorgeous guitar that you truly feel. Maria Di Meglio’s gorgeous, rich and haunting cello is so moving and a wonder to behold and she adds such depth to all of their music. Rebecca Reed-Lynn’s passionate and precise banjo skills are the perfect accent to all of Harpeth Rising’s songs. And Chris Burgess just plain stuns on a variety of diverse percussion instruments that truly makes their music unique. And if that’s not enough, they all provide amazing vocals that round out Harpeth Rising’s brilliant sound.
Out of all the superb original music on Harpeth Rising’s new CD ‘The End of the World’, one of my definite favorites has to be the Americana-bluegrass track ‘Goin’ Goin’ Gone’. I love how this song delivers genuine bluegrass breakdown straight out of the gate. Rebecca will simply blow you away with her zealous and precise banjo skills that at times seem virtually impossible. You have to love how Jordana converts that violin into a fierce fiddle and delivers intense searing runs that stun. Plus Maria delivers stunning cello throughout, but her clever and remarkable cello picking solo stopped me cold. All this blended with strong dueling lead vocals forms one original beautiful bluegrass creation.
Another true testament to the compelling and impassioned storytelling and musicianship of Harpeth Rising and David Greenberg has to be the brilliant Americana-folk tune ‘Evil Eye’. Jordana delivers sultry smooth vocals full of conviction that call out shrouded evils of all kinds. I love her haunting and intense violin that infuses a cool Gypsy vibe into this song. Rebecca’s expert banjo, Maria’s deep resonant cello, David’s seasoned guitar and Chris’ light precise percussion fuse together flawlessly to form this song’s gorgeous Americana rhythm. What these musicians can do with stringed instruments is simply stunning and ingenious. And they do it all while delivering one powerful and potent message.
Without a doubt my absolute out and out favorite track from Harpeth Rising and David Greenberg’s new CD ‘The End of the World’ is its remarkable title track, ‘The End of the World’. From the very first note, Jordana stuns with her searing and soaring violin that unites seamlessly with Maria’s haunting and moving cello. They seem to pulsate beautifully throughout this song, but I truly love when they echo each other as if they are playing in the round. David delivers striking seasoned and soulful vocals that add a bit of a cool Celtic feel for this track. Plus he provides a gorgeous, powerful and nimble guitar to this track. And Chris’ perfectly light and passionate percussion rounds out this exquisite track flawlessly.
On their new CD ‘The End of the World’, Harpeth Rising has creatively and originally unified Americana, bluegrass, folk, classical and even a touch of Gypsy and Celtic. In doing so, they have forged their own authentic and ingenious sound in stringed music and Americana today. I cannot express how much I love the seamless synergy of stringed instruments in Harpeth Rising. And while this entire album is Americana at its core, each song delivers its own refreshing and unique sound. Harpeth Rising summed up their music perfectly when they labeled it Neograssiclassicana.
So now you too need to discover the unique and gorgeous sounds of Harpeth Rising and David Greenberg and get your own copy of their CD ‘The End of the World’. You can find Harpeth Rising online at their official website at www.harpethrising.com. You can also find Harpeth Rising and their new CD ‘The End of the World’ online at Facebook, ReverbNation, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and Amazon. Plus you can hear Harpeth Rising’s music in rotation on www.WRSP936.com. But no matter what, you need to discover Harpeth Rising and David Greenberg and their wonderful storytelling, music and musicianship now.
If Pentangle were hillbillies that rocked...
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GRIMM RISING HARPETH RISING/Dead Man's Hand: This bunch has their nerve not sending me their debut...GRIMM RISING
HARPETH RISING/Dead Man's Hand: This bunch has their nerve not sending me their debut album. Four classically trained musicians started rocking when they met up in college and somehow found their way to old timey music, but damn if there's no dust on this. If Pentangle were hillbillies that rocked, you might get some idea of what's going on here. A stone cold killer for people who can't get enough of traditional music, but with a wily edge that takes it places you never imagined, the only thing this crew demands of you is that you put the headphones on and enjoy. This sets the bar high for adult music that is proud of residing outside the mainstream. Hot.
CD Review - Dead Man's Hand by Harpeth Rising
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An album with Americana feel, Dead Man’s Hand by Bowling Green based band Harpeth Rising mixes folk ...An album with Americana feel, Dead Man’s Hand by Bowling Green based band Harpeth Rising mixes folk with Bluegrass, and throws in a bit of jazz for kicks. To top it all off, the vocals are as haunting as they are beautiful.
The album is rich in instrumental talent, and the lyrics are nothing to take lightly. Harpeth Rising may be composed of young members, but they are musicians that are deeply talented and classically trained. Dead Man’s Hand will appeal to both traditional Bluegrass fans, as well as those looking for something with a more modern feel. They are, as one radio described a true “American sensation” and they will be a musical force to be reckoned with in the future.
Harpeth Rising - deep, thoughtful and engaging energetic folk - July 13, 2011
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There’s a distinctive sound arrived from America, part folk, part bluegrass with a touch of classica...There’s a distinctive sound arrived from America, part folk, part bluegrass with a touch of classical and it’s wholly wonderful - Harpeth Rising bring a deep, thoughtful and engaging energetic edge to folk music, and their album ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ includes each in equal measure. The deceptively unadorned combination of violin, banjo, cello and hand percussion belies its simplicity to fashion intensely engaging tunes overlaid with penetrating lyrics and potent vocals.
The title track ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ is a fascinating melange of jazzy folk riffs and sparkling vocals rolled round an attractive melody as violin and banjo wander across a landscape of dulcet cello tones. The moving ‘California 1854’ begins with soft vocals picking their way across gently picked strings and builds through the superb soaring melody into a mournful anthem of longing. Were that not sufficient, ‘Time’ majors on the fabulous harmonic vocal interplay between Jordana and Rebecca while violin and banjo duel beneath.
The difference in this album is the way the band demonstrate their total lack of fear in tackling a new and constantly varying approach to folk. ‘Crash Test Dummies’ with its enigmatic title washes more towards a blues feel to create a surreptitiously engaging song – and you’ve got to listen to the lyrics. Then again there’s a step change as ‘Tough as Nails’ marches along with vitality and punch to make its point in no uncertain terms. For my money, the best of the album lies in hypnotic, drum-driven chant-like quality of ’Next Year’s Rain’.
The precocious blending of bluegrass-influenced American folk and flawless intricate vocals with classical education and the desire to move their music down roads un-trod or those less travelled makes this an album worth taking the time to know.
Artist of The Week
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Harpeth Rising are a collective that have chosen a timeless sound as foundation for their music. The...Harpeth Rising are a collective that have chosen a timeless sound as foundation for their music. The quartet mix violin, banjo, cello and hand drum to support the words and the blend of harmonies. Maybe it is the Celtic texture or the airy delivery but the word I keep coming back to in this sound is magic. The music is a soundtrack for both Beltane and a midsummer night’s eve. Though their sound comes from the mists of time as much as from the mists of the forest, Harpeth Rising infuse a modern sense of structure and intuitive arrangement, both musical and vocal. The music offers strength while the delicate vocals bring tenderness.
The group has released its self-titled debut. The songs capture the sound and accomplishments of the classically trained members, Jordana Greenberg (violin), Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo), Ruth Burgess (cello) and husband, Chris Burgess (hand drum). The songs are both unique and familiar. The harmonies on “Last Honest Man” are well crafted. The voices come together for only a word or two throughout the verses and join on the title. The use of voice for emotional purposes is very well done. Breathless harmonies support the hurt and anger of the lead. “Abraham” is a reverent take on the biblical as much as “Train Fare and 50 Cents” deals with a more physical, worldly theme. Harpeth Rising tackle story lines that mirror the surrounding times yet still manage to offer a sidelong glance at the past.
Warm, Honest and True Music
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A few weeks ago this copy of the album by Harpeth Rising landed on my door mat. Sceptical as ever bu...A few weeks ago this copy of the album by Harpeth Rising landed on my door mat. Sceptical as ever but with an open mind I put it in the player and soon found that I shouldn't have worried. From the first notes onward I was fascinated by the enchanting music that was reaching my ears. This is Folk music of the highest order! The songs take you each on their individual journeys thru different styles on to their destinations. Although unmistakenly American there are lots of European influences reminding of sounds from days long gone by. The first song Here I Stand takes you back into the Apalachian Mountains around the time the first settlers put down their roots and is just an apatizer of what's to follow. Sometimes there, intentionally or not, are small hints of Gipsy or even Jiddisch influences to be heard. The two songs that really stand out on this cd are "Last Honest Man" and "Abraham" wich are the most American of them all. They have a more contemporary feel and sound and may well express the direction of future albums. Harpeth Rising, warm, honest and true music by four exquisite musicians.
If there ever was an album wich gives right of existence to stations like Folk Alley, this is it!
Harpeth Rising - Last Honest Man
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"Occasionally I find a new song that is so beautiful, it's my duty to promote it by sharing it with ..."Occasionally I find a new song that is so beautiful, it's my duty to promote it by sharing it with the world via my own little blog. It's WHY I blog. "The Last Honest Man" is that kind of song. Sublime, gentle, yet full of emotion, this song shines in every way: superb harmonies/vocals, and a stunning acoustic arrangement. I can't resist the lightly played banjo in the far background, set against the cello and female harmonies, and the subtle, rising and falling percussion. This is very good songwriting, stuff that turns a simple love story into a compelling listen, full of imagery and excitement. This one is Call it Folk certified."
Another Night of Amazing Music
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The weather man did his job well Friday night! Quoting Ed McKeon: "He intoned to calm while inciting...The weather man did his job well Friday night! Quoting Ed McKeon: "He intoned to calm while inciting panic!" A storm was storming! A storm was coming! Stay home! Stay home! But over twenty hardy New Englander's braved the storm, three - even after sliding down their driveway and nearly crashing, relentlessly persevered to hear a wonderful group of talented musicians! I had never seen the band before, but before the end of the night I understood why these brave souls had come together at The Buttonwood Tree!
Saturday night the quartet, Harpeth Rising, played at The Buttonwood Tree on that snowy winter's night and they grabbed hold of the audience from the very start and didn't let go until the final notes! These classically trained musicians, with a passion for bluegrass, directed their talents on the genre and played it flawlessly! Especially enchanting was the vivacious Jordana Greenburg on violin. she seemed to capture the audience with ease and grace. Her persona was clearly one of the lead entertainer but elements of her considerable classical training and expertise also came shining through! The vibrant harmonies of the group blended softly and smoothly to produce beautiful music! It seemed that they could just as easily move from Bach to Charlie Daniels! There was nothing to dislike about them. From their personas, to their appearance and their minimalistic percussion, they were polished and professional!
Rebecca Reed-Lund, the group's very talented banjo player, who's melodic voice meshed well with Greenburg's and together their duets were at times sad and thought provoking and at other times joyous and even raucous!
Rachel Gawell was just marvelous on cello and brought a depth and clarity to the renditions with her steady, smooth and almost hypnotic vibes!
Chris Burgess affected fast and smooth roles with just with his fingers on percussion. His timing complimented the groups' sound at all times with what looked like minimal effort fused with passion!
Dr. Freddie Carroll, the "TBT House Artist" who was sitting and drawing, commented: "I didn't think I saw them bring in a full drum kit", but what Burgess did was accomplish the same sound with just a bass drum, a "conga" type drum and his own two hands!.
They played effortlessly and were clearly comfortable with each other, which added to the band's overall tone and tempo. We are very pleased to have had Harpeth Rising play The Buttonwood Tree's stage! For more information check out their site:
Harpeth Rising, Changed More Than I Know
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Harpeth Rising is simply a joy to listen to. They were one of the first bands to submit their music ...Harpeth Rising is simply a joy to listen to. They were one of the first bands to submit their music to the Orient Lodge Music Review Page on SonicBids. I listened to their music and decided they were one of the bands that needed to be highlighted.
Perhaps the song that appeals to me most is their song, “Can’t Find the Revolution”. It talks about a woman who “used to be a rambler...now she’s trapped inside a swivel chair”. The final line of the chorus is something like, “Can’t find the revolution, but I’m looking every day”. Another verse talks about a guy who
...used to be a poet and a minstrel by his trade
I strum along beside him when I could
Now he’s pushing the assembly line
and my strummin’ don’t do no good.
Another line that jumped out at me towards the end of the song was when the singer was told that she changed more than she knew.
Another song that particularly appealed to be was “Abraham”
Where you goin' with that knife in your hand?
Why are we lost in this foreign land?
Where we goin now Abraham?
It made me think of the great work by Soren Kierkegaard, “Fear and Trembling” which presents another view of the great story of Abraham.
In looking at their website, I found a link to a very interesting music video that one of their fans had made.
I was glad to see that they we’re highlighting such a creative remix.
Their calendar lists them as having performed at the 8th Annual Niles Bluegrass Festival in Niles Michigan this last weekend. It sounds like it was a rainy weekend there and I hope they got a chance to perform. Over the coming days, they will be performing in Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Then in July, they head off for the United Kingdom. They recently did a tour of the Northeast and hopefully will be coming back soon.
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Arts & Entertainment Spellbinding Tunes The Sisters Grimm by Jessica Armstrong Jordana Green...Arts & Entertainment
The Sisters Grimm
by Jessica Armstrong
Jordana Greenburg furiously plays the fiddle while Rebecca Reed-Lunn's fingers work up and down the neck of her banjo. The Sisters Grimm, as these lovely young ladies call themselves, are playing before an awestruck crowd at swanky Ambrosia in Kihei. As they deftly execute an impossibly fast version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band, I wonder what inspired the duo to bring heartland America music to Maui.
Before coming to Maui, the girls traveled for more than a month across 11 states. Along the way they worked for food and gas money by busking.
Not long ago, Greenberg and Reed-Lunn drove from their Indiana University college town to the Telluride, Colorado Bluegrass Festival, camping through Utah to Nevada where they slept under a streetlight in an RV park on the Las Vegas strip. Then they traveled on to California, sweltering without air conditioning in temperatures of up to 115 degrees, finally saving enough to buy one-way tickets to Maui.
They prefer contemporary music. They do a mean version of "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and an instrumental version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." They've also got a repertoire of traditional bluegrass songs like "House of the Rising Sun" as well as originals and a few songs Greenberg's singer-songwriter father wrote.
"The most fun part is sitting down together for three hours and saying, 'Okay, you do this and I'll do this,' and it evolves," Greenberg said. "We get so excited when we realize it's going to work out."
At the end of lunch, I joked that the Sisters Grimm should make their Westside busking debut in costume on Front Street this Halloween. The idea seemed to spark some interest, so be careful if you see a bluegrass duo raking in the cash--they just might put their spell on you. MTW
Music That is Meant to be Listened To
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One of the great things about Stage on Herr is we get the chance to support up and coming original m...One of the great things about Stage on Herr is we get the chance to support up and coming original music, not only from Central Pa, but the world. A great example is this Thursday. Not really knowing what to expect, Harpeth Rising blew us away when they stopped in for a show last year. One of the most interesting bands in the Bluegrass scene. They cannot be called New Grass, Jam Grass, and definitely not traditional. Their classical training and open minded approach, creates a style of Bluegrass that is uniquely their own. They create music that is meant to be listened to
David Greenberg and Harpeth Rising CD Review
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Harpeth Rising is a group of four musicians - Rebecca Reed-Lunn on banjo, Jordana Greenberg on violi...Harpeth Rising is a group of four musicians - Rebecca Reed-Lunn on banjo, Jordana Greenberg on violin, Maria Di Meglio on cello and and Chris Burgess on percussion (they all provide vocals as well). All of them have been playing and studying music since they were children, and their level of expertise and dedication shows on every track of their new album, The End Of The World. These folks are clearly excellent musicians. Jordana Greenberg is the daughter of singer/songwriter David Greenberg, who joins them on their new release - not just on vocals and guitar, but also as songwriter. He composed all the songs on this album. And the band did the arrangements.
There is a real beauty to a lot of these tracks. (I admit, I've always been a sucker for cello.) These songs have some good stories, and interesting characters, but often it's the violin that really hits me. These songs often feel like they're moving toward a real destination, and that it's somehow important they get there (like in "Outlaw"). I find myself moved by these songs, and immersed in them.
"Goin' My Way"
The End Of The World opens with "Goin' My Way," a good folk tune. David Greenberg has that storytelling folksinger thing nailed down, and he infuses his songs with a sense of humor, apparent in lines like these: "I've been a grifter, I've been drifter/You know I've been a wheel/The only thing I never tried was getting real/I've been around, I've been a square/I've been a tumbleweed/I was washed up in the belly of a whale on the beach/He was goin' my way." There is some interesting stuff on banjo in this song, and I love the violin. I really like the instrumental section toward the end. It's beautiful (listen to the cello), and has a great build.
"Evil Eye" has a really good sound, and there are female lead vocals on this one. It's an interesting combination of angry, disheartened folky lyrics (with images like "crooked grinning cop" and "corporation infestation") with the sweet beauty of violin and cello and the happy tones of banjo. And check out these lyrics: "Now darkness waits outside the gates, collecting on a curse/Here among the refugees, wherever we do meet/Each man now doth hold his tongue, but the time will come to speak."
"Out Of Sight"
With "Out Of Sight," at times it's clear that David Greenberg is going for a Dylan thing in the lyrics (and in their delivery), like "He asked me where I'm going/And I tell you some long story/Of the sailor who is rowing in his lifeboat in your hand/You say you want to come along/You say that's where you belong/I've already stayed too long/And we all must drown alone" and "And you're terrified of what you'll find/Washed up on the shores of your desire." But what I love about this song are the strings - there is a glorious sadness when these instruments raise their voices.
"Goin' Goin' Gone"
"Goin' Goin' Gone" is a fun bluegrass-type tune that is just wonderful. It feels like an old song you might have heard around a fire. And it's so refreshing to know songs like this are still being written. It's kind of a relief, you know? And that instrumental break is fantastic. I love it. I know this is one I'm going to be singing to myself from time to time. And I hope to hear folks singing it around a fire sometime soon. (And the line "One man's beef is another man's rodeo" surprised and delighted me.)
"Nowhereland" reminds me of Sinéad O'Connor. This song comes from that same realm, with the same tones, a similar attitude, and something of her beauty. And this song boasts some excellent lyrics. Here is a taste: "It's a long way back from nowhereland/In blood the world is bound/It's a long way back from nowhereland/It's a long way back until you stand/With just one raindrop in your hand." I love that image. This is a really nice song, one of the strongest on this CD.
"The End Of The World"
The album closes with its title track, which features a gorgeous opening on strings. The vocal line, when it comes in, immediately brings to mind some early work by Leonard Cohen (not exactly the lyrics themselves, but the way they're presented) - "It's the end of the world/And the gypsy is calling you" (though of course the word "gypsy" is one that Leonard Cohen returns to). And I like the lines, "Drink and be merry/Tomorrow's your birthday/You have to keep going, though you know how it ends." The violin and cello have this beautiful dance together. I also really like the percussion on this tune.
CD Track List
Goin' My way
Out Of Sight
Goin' Goin' Gone
Truck Stop Mama
You Can Only Follow
The End Of The World
The End Of The World was released on July 31, 2012. This is the band's third album. The first two are Harpeth Rising (2010) and Dead Man's Hand (2011).
Staff Pic - Louisville Eccentric Observer
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To say Harpeth Rising plays “classical roots music” is not to imply that they sound like the “Late N...To say Harpeth Rising plays “classical roots music” is not to imply that they sound like the “Late Night” house band doing Shostakovich. These mostly Nashville-area residents add banjo, fiddle, cello and hand drums together to fuse bluegrass, folk, classical and chemical X innovating the sometimes-staid Americana genre. Having won fans in England on a recent tour, these young studs (including one Louisville native, percussionist Chris Burgess) could very well become one of those groups who play performing arts venues around the country at $40 a ticket — so now’s a great opportunity to see ’em cheap and say you were there back when. This show has no opening act, because, like Calista Flockhart, they don’t really need any support. —Peter Berkowitz
There are no upcoming dates at this time.