From their handpainted cereal box cd cases to their thoughtful arrangements, Poor Old Shine, a Roots/Americana band from Storrs, CT is about honesty and hand crafted creativity. It's foot stomping, mind racing, dirty bluegrass like you've never heard it before! They travel with an assortment of instruments including guitars, banjos, pump organ, string bass, cello, a swarm of harmonicas, and a yard-sale-scrap-metal drum set. It’s old songs with a new feel, banjos with paint peeled, shoes with holes and treadless soles, and music that is real.
POS' music is rooted in the folk and Appalachian mountain music tradition and fits in well at bluegrass festivals and sticky rock clubs alike. They have been compared to The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Langhorne Slim, and The Low Anthem because of the changing instrumentation and harmonies. Each set mixes the band's modern songwriting with traditional folk ballads, prison work songs, and front porch style jamming.
Poor Old Shine features Chris Freeman (banjo), Max Shakun (guitar, pump organ), Antonio Alcorn (Mandolin, guitar), Harrison Goodale (Bass), Benedict Gagliardi (concertina, tin whistle), and Brian Conlon (drums). All are students at the University of Connecticut. The new band has had the opportunity to play around Connecticut at Toads Place in New Haven, The Space in Hamden, and Sully's in Hartford. They have opened for The Steel Wheels and Monroeville at Bridge Street Live and appeared on WWUH's Caterwaul with Ed Mckeon and The Sunday Night Folk Festival on WHUS with Susan Forbes Hansen.
Chris Freeman - Banjo, Drums, Guitar, Etc., pump organ, Singing Saw
Antonio Alcorn - Vocals, Guitar, mandolin, Etc.
Max Shakun - Vocals, Guitar, pump organ
Harrison Goodale - Bass, pump organ
Brian Conlon - Percussion
Treadless Soles (2012)
Sweet Virginia Lee
Punching The Air
Long Road To Redemption
Tear Down The Stage
Poor Old Shine - EP (2011)
Ain't No More Cane
Punching The Air
Home I'll Never Be
Ghosts Next Door
Poor Old Shine to Open for The Steel Wheels at Bridge Street Live Thursday
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It was just a year ago that Christopher Freeman began playing banjo and his band has been around les...It was just a year ago that Christopher Freeman began playing banjo and his band has been around less than six months.
But in just a short time Poor Old Shine has brought its energy to places like the Space in Hamden and Toad’s Place in New Haven. And Thursday night, the Farmington native and his bandmates will open for well-respected bluegrass group The Steel Wheels at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville.
Audiences can expect a high-energy show as Poor Old Shine builds on a recent surge of bands that are putting new energy into the old time string band format.
“We are streaming elements of rock music into folk traditions,” said Freeman, a 2008 Kingswood-Oxford graduate. “We try to catch the ear of people who are not folk music fans necessarily,”
Last semester, Freeman, a junior English student at the University of Connecticut called his friend Will, another UConn student he sang with in a capella groups, to play some music together.
The two began playing together with Freeman on banjo and Leet on guitar. Playing original songs and putting a unique spin on traditional ones, the band has quickly landed gigs at places like Sully’s in Hartford and the UCONNAROO 2011 festival.
“We really try to make them our own,” Freeman said about the traditional songs the band plays.
Freeman and Leet are the core of the band and often play with fellow UConn students Scott Thomas McColl, David Norman and Antonio Alcorn of West Hartford.
The Collinsville gig will feature Freeman on banjo, Leet on guitar, Alcorn on mandolin and friend Malachai Madden on cello. The band will also utilize its antique pump organ and drum kit made from scrap metal found at yard sales.
Freeman grew up hearing folk music as his parents listened to many singer songwriters. After joining a folk music club at UConn last fall, he was introduced to many of the traditional Irish and Bluegrass standards as musicians sat in a circle and shared songs.
As members played the songs, Freeman soaked up first hand how musicians carried forward traditional music while putting their own stamp on the songs.
“It’s such a good way of learning the songs,” he said.
Freeman said the band has also been heavily influenced by many of the new "old time" bands – like the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons – groups that add a rock ‘n roll energy to the old time string genre.
Freeman thinks the success of those bands – with performances at the Grammys and slots at high profile festivals - has certainly helped push a folk music revival of sorts.
“I think it’s kind of coming back in a new way,” Freeman said. “It’s opened doors and influenced our sound so much.”
He’s also looking forward to playing with such a highly regarded group.
“I’m just as excited about hearing them as I am for playing,” Freeman said.
Pat Ryan, entertainment director at Bridge Street Live, said Poor Old Shine contacted him and he felt their music was unique for the area and would fit together nicely with The Steel Wheels.
“I thought it would be a nice pairing,” Ryan said.
And coming off a Nora Jane Struthers show Sunday, Ryan said the Americana and bluegrass music fits in well at the venue.
“I think the room likes that kind of music too,” he said.
To hear some of Poor Old Shine’s music, log on to their facebook or myspace page.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21. Tickets are $12 and $22. For more information, log on the Bridge Street Live’s Web site.
Rock Until the Break of Day
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This past Saturday saw the first annual UConnaroo music festival, sponsored by Husky Records, UCTV, ...This past Saturday saw the first annual UConnaroo music festival, sponsored by Husky Records, UCTV, WHUS and the South Area Council. The nine-hour event began at noon and was held on the South Quad. A main stage was set up, as well as a smaller "rave tent" run by Team'd Up Entertainment, for techno and other dance music. Also organized about the quad were a number of other attractions, including a rock climbing wall, a mechanical bull and a bouncy boxing ring. Different organizations set up tables as well, such as Husky Records and WHUS, and food was available from tents by Sergeant Pepperoni's and DP Dough. Other groups such as Maia's Every Body Hoops, Shizzlr and GYTnow.org were present, too.
A wide range of music was scheduled for the day. There were more laid-back, classic rock sounds such as the Ray and Jeff Experience, the first group of the day. Campus celebrity and musician Joey Homza had a slot later in the day, along with fellow musician Mike Falzone. Homza also unveiled some new songs at that performance.
A number of alternative rock bands played that day, including Damopes and Colorz, fresh off of their performances at the recent SUBOG Battle of the Bands, as well as other experienced bands such as Quicklip and Offhand. Damopes had an infectious, Devo-like ‘80s dance rock sound, and Colorz' maintained a contemporary radio rock sound. Others, such as Quicklip, incorporated electronica, pop punk and rock into their music. Offhand's songs ranged from straight-up rock to dub/reggae, with a bit of blues as well.
A standout band of the festival was Poor Old Shine, a trio comprised of guitar, banjo/drums and organ. They stood out from the rest of the bands of the day by focusing their style on folk and bluegrass. Poor Old Shine's songs were characterized by heavy use of vocal harmonies, as well as call and response on the verses, both expertly done. On songs when both the banjo and the drums were needed, the banjo player controlled the bass drum and hi-hat with his feet while he played and sang.
A number of hip-hop and rap acts also played over the several-hour festival, such as Greg Knight, the Blend and Blacastan. Each was characterized by their own signature style, such as the one-man show of Greg Knight, who had previously had experience working with famous figures within his genre of music, and the three-person trio of Blacastan, whose socially conscious and aggressive lyrics caught and held the audience's attention despite the near-freezing temperatures when they took to the stage just before 7 p.m.
Between each act, DJ Manni spun the beats, playing lots of techno music, as well as a large array of house, electronica and dubstep remixes that kept the crowd pleased in between acts on the main stage.
Around 7:30 p.m., Kevin Yuliawan treated the crowd of nearly 100 to his original Kemba Walker remix, with a backing track based off of Kemba's name and rapped verses extolling the achievements of the UConn men's basketball team in anticipation of that night's upcoming game. Soon after, Bayside, the headliner of the event, took to the stage. Bayside's energetic hour-long set consisted of many of their classic songs that led to lots of audience participation and singing along, as well as many new songs, such as "Mona Lisa," which, as a moderate tempo rocker set in a ballad time signature and featuring delicate vocal harmonies, was a change in pace for the set. Bayside also announced they would be started a new tour in two or three weeks and that the audience was hearing all of these new songs for the first time ever live.
Near the end of the festival, Matt Trivigno, the president of Husky Records – the main organizing force behind this event – announced from the stage how he felt the day had gone wonderfully and how he hoped that UConnaroo could become an annual campus fixture.
A mix of traditional and original tunes. Best set for 45 minutes but can play for up to three hours.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.