Presenting the bourbon soaked brain-child of multi-instrumentalist Kris Bauman and guitarist Luca Benedetti; The Dang-it Bobbys. Formed in 2004, the two Brooklyn based musicians distill classic Country and Bluegrass music, ferment it with modern indie sounds and age it with the intricate harmonies from the Golden Era of Jazz. The result is strikingly original, at once both playful and poignant. Bauman and Benedetti have created a blend of American music that is sometimes quick picking, sometimes blue, and always entertaining.
Featuring musicians from the New York City bluegrass, jazz, rock, and country music scene, The Dang-it Bobbys are a true melting pot of American music, showcasing the talents of jazz/classical violinist Alan Grubner (Henry Threadgill, Howard Levy), bluegrass mandolinist Dan Marcus (Norah Jones), jazz bassist Chris Higgins (Pat Metheny), and the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro champion, Todd Livingston (Earl Scruggs).
The Dang-it Bobbys garner influence from all facets of American music, from bluegrass and country to jazz and blues. It is this collection of styles, coupled with the artistry of the adroit musicians that give The Dang-it Bobbys a true Americana sound.
Kris Bauman is a multi-instrumentalist who has been performing professionally since he was sixteen. He studied jazz performance and composition at The New School’s jazz and contemporary music program, where he learned from such masters as Reggie Workman and George Garzone. Kris has performed extensively in and around New York City since his arrival there in 1996, and has toured Europe several times. He was awarded a full scholarship to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy in 2002. His performances can be heard on many albums, and he was featured with bassist Alexis Cuadrado on NPR’s Studio 360. Bauman has also worked in collaboration with multi-media artists and choreographers, and in 2008, he won a New York Dance and Performance Award for his compositions in the piece “Vanishing Point”. Bauman works in a variety of musical genres including Country/Bluegrass with his group “The Dang-it Bobbys”; Jazz as a leader and sideman, including performances or collaborations with vocalist Bobby Short, saxophonists Seamus Blake and Loren Schoenberg, composer/arranger Jason Lindner, and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel; Rock/Pop with engineer Mike Barnard (Christina Aguilera, The Strokes) and Ilhan Ersahin (Nublu records); R&B/Soul with recording artist Bilal (Interscope).
Guitarist Luca Benedetti hails from Rome, Italy and moved to the U.S. upon completing high school. In 1991 he attended the Jazz Composition program at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and moved to New York City in 1996 where he completed a M.A. in Jazz Studies from The City College of New York under the guidance of legendary Jazz bassist, Ron Carter. Luca would later be asked to perform professionally with Mr. Carter on several occasions, including ASCAP’s Hall of Fame honoring Milt Hinton and Artie Shaw. A multifaceted guitarist, Luca performs regularly in NY with a variety of bands and in many genres. He has toured the U.S., Europe and Japan with acclaimed Soul/R&B artists, Cooly’s Hot Box and Angela Johnson, the Jazz/Funk outfit, ULU, and established Cuban Surf Rock Band, The Cuban Cowboys. Luca has also performed on nationally aired TV commercials, Off-Broadway musicals and scored the music to KPI TV’s feature film, “Lucha Libre: Life Behind The Mask”. Currently, Luca is busy pickin’ and grinnin’ with alt-bluegrass/folk band, The Dang-it Bobbys.
Kris Bauman - Banjo, Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Harmonica
Luca Benedetti - Vocals, Guitar
Chris Higgins - Bass
Dave Burnett - Drums
Dan Marcus - Mandolin
Alan Grubner - Violin
Todd Livingston - resonator guitar
"Big Trouble", our sophomore LP, September 2011
"Something in the Air", our self released debut LP, also distributed digitally by The Orchard, March 2009
The single "Say Goodbye" is featured on "CrystalTop Presents", a compilation disc showcasing musicians in and around Brooklyn, NY, 2008
The Dang It Bobbys Big Trouble
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Around the middle of The Dang It Bobby’s newest release, Big Trouble, roughly around the time the ti...Around the middle of The Dang It Bobby’s newest release, Big Trouble, roughly around the time the title track breezes by, you begin to realize that something is amiss and there are subtle forces at play on their second album that might have passed over your head on the first run through. The lineup and musical foundation of the band leans bluegrass, and plucky banjos, rhythmic mandolin, well placed grace notes from acoustic guitars, and the odd dobro lick sliding up the fretboard adorn the albums thirteen tracks. But something is amiss in the best of possible ways. When you look at the Dang It Bobby’s foundation there’s an expectation that you might be in store for an album by yet another band delivering their take on some iteration of American roots music, and usually those attempts come of as very contrived and overly earnest. Big Trouble bucks that trend in every way, delivering song after well crafted song without pretense.
While the instrumentation might be somewhat traditional the content has nothing on Bill Monroe. Lyrically, Big Trouble is firmly rooted in “now” problems that aren’t exactly high and lonesome. Take the protagonist from “Sad Sack,” self loathingly gobbling anti-depressants because his scientologist love interest wants nothing to do with him. Surely this is the best Planet Zenu reference to grace an album this year. Whatever the story is behind the caper involving the Spanish speaking police and the culprit on “Big Trouble”, I’d like to know it. The tune, its alternating time signatures and English verse, Spanish chorus format is positively infectious and leaves you wanting more. Plenty of songs have been sung in the name of moderation, hindsight being 20/20, but how many are as fun as the albums opener “Middle Ground?” The sentiment is universal, we’ve all coddled that blackout drunk before, or maybe you’ve been the coddle-ee. Anyway you cut, that dancing drunk on the bar is easily identified with, and it’s that relatability that gives the Dang It Bobby’s music such a broad appeal.
It’s not only relatable for those with a penchant for popping mood elevators or for getting pinched by the Mexican police. Kris Bauman, the de facto leader of the Bobby’s, knows his way around a love song in a way that isn’t cheesy or contrived, which is pleasantly refreshing in a musical era where both qualities are available in abundance. How many songwriters can write a song simply titled “I Love You” and get away with? Its gentle melody lilts behind Bauman’s longing vocals, listen to it and you might feel a tinge of heartfelt sentimentality creeping through your snark filled outer shell.
It all works, all the love songs and tales of road trip high jinks, because the attention to detail placed on the melody of each track and pacing of the entire album is impeccable. The wacky, aforementioned “Sad Sack” could only follow the heart melting “I Love You.” The mournful “Heading Out,” a minor key pean to the promise of the highway, is smartly followed up by the instrumental “Whiskey Strut,” the most traditional and aptly named of Big Trouble’s thirteen tracks. Knowing where to place an instrumental on an album like this is as difficult as pulling off the actual track, the Bobby’s pass that test with flying colors. Ditto for “Roadkill Jerky” in which Bauman proves he’s no slouch in the banjo picking department either. Indeed, the whole band holds to a standard of playing that equals the considerable song craft on the offing. If you remember Luca Benedetti from his days with Ulu or his more recent Thermionics project, his playing might be unrecognizable to you, but his tasteful work on the acoustic guitar bulks up the foundation on most of the tracks. The rest of the core band is formed by Chris Higgins on bass, Alan Grubner on fiddle, Dave Burnett on drums, Dan Marcus on mandolin and Anna Small Billman on backing vocals. Not to be confused with some schmoes who walked into the studio off the street, their collective c.v. includes work as sidemen for Howard Levy, Norah Jones and Pat Metheny to name a few.
And therein it comes all together: the smart songwriting, the crisp melodies, players who can execute and then some, and the subtle touch of a leader who knows how to tie it all together. It’s not the kind of album that hits you over the head but give it a few listens and it won’t let go. Big Trouble is far and away the least cynical album I have had the pleasure of listening to in a long time, a much needed palate cleanser for all of indie self-loathing and jamband exercises in over think that tend to clog up the ol’ I Pod.
The Dang-it Bobbys - Big Trouble
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WWDCFCD. What Would Death Cab For Cutie Do (or some other indie favorite) if they recorded an album...WWDCFCD. What Would Death Cab For Cutie Do (or some other indie favorite) if they recorded an album with just bluegrass instruments? The answer to that question is maybe the latest release from The Dang-It Bobbys, Big Trouble. It doesn’t have a radio-friendly thumping bass, but the idea of a pop song with intelligent lyrics and an appealing sound that’s not quite mainstream is all there. There’s also a healthy dose of Americana, so the album manages to straddle a couple of genres.
First, there are the indie parts of the record. The beginning cut, Middle Ground, seems to take the perspective of a no-longer-teenager confronting the idea of growing up and life requiring some compromises. Heading Out covers the angst and desire to just leave while Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is about the long trip home. Hey Guess What speaks to the pain and confusion of learning you’re adopted. These are all tunes that would be right at home on a college radio playlist.
The other side, figuratively, of the album is its bluegrass roots. Whiskey Strut and Roadkill Jerky are excellent bluegrass instrumentals with catchy hooks and finger snapping rhythms that bring to mind a sunny summer day. Eighteen Years is a fun/sad song about getting laid off that’s just as easily a James McMurtry anthem. But my favorite of the album is the title cut. It’s a story that you just know has to be more truth than fiction about being pulled over by the cops in Mexico. It’s got a Marty Robbins feel and just kind of leaves you happy you’re not *that* guy.
Big Trouble is a fun album with a lot of different angles you can listen from. In many ways it’s bluegrass for people who don’t like bluegrass. It has none of the high lonesome sound that’s just a bridge too far for some folks. But it also has enough instrumental highlights to remind you the band has deep roots in all varieties of American music. This is a ground that was very successfully tilled last year by Mumford and Sons, and I for one would be happy to hear more bands exploring that tact.
Download these tracks first: Big Trouble, Middle Ground, Whiskey Strut
The Dang It Bobbys
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Besides having an endearing moniker, the Dang-it Bobbys make mighty fine music; imagine regular ol' ...Besides having an endearing moniker, the Dang-it Bobbys make mighty fine music; imagine regular ol' twangy bluegrass imbued with the melancholic sweetness of a Paul Simon ditty, and you're getting there. What's more, it's sure to sound twice as nice in the cozy confines of Pete's Candy Store.
The Dang-it Bobbys Review
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by Aly Petteruti To say that The Dang-it Bobbys is a “country group” is a gross understatement—Kr...by Aly Petteruti
To say that The Dang-it Bobbys is a “country group” is a gross understatement—Kris Bauman and Luca Benedetti infuse their music with sounds ranging from indie rock to jazz to folk. The one inescapable mark of bluegrass on the pair is the banjo—an instrument that unfailingly evokes toe tapping, hootin’ and hollerin’ from the audience. Throw in some flannel and a washboard and you could easily forget you’re in New York City.
It is impossible not to get caught up in the banjo frenzy of The Dang-it Bobbys upbeat songs, but the group isn’t just a soundtrack band to a square dance. The two musicians obviously have a cache of musical experience in different genres that they feel free to draw on when creating their songs; Bauman’s vocals are similar to those of a jazz singer, and the pair’s smooth harmonies add unexpected depth to their ballads. Inspiration is the name of the game in songwriting, and the variety in their sound makes is clear that The Dang-it Bobbys suffer no dearth of sources.
Benedetti and Bauman’s clear voices sing out songs of bad times as well as the good, but, in the true fashion of Appalachian Folk, you will find no self-pity or melodrama in their music. The lyrics tell stories of mistakes with a smirk oppose to a grimace, adding gladly welcomed playfulness to the stage. Musical traditions are acknowledged in The Dang-it Bobbys style, but, with the exception of the band’s bluegrass roots, not one is adhered to exclusively. It’s Americana music in the best sense of the words: a melting pot of tender and jubilant styles resulting in a final product that can be recognized by many different genres but not truly claimed by any.
This Ruminative Funeral Moves to a Country Beat
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By ROSLYN SULCAS Published: July 1, 2008 Performances presented by Danspace Project take place i...By ROSLYN SULCAS
Published: July 1, 2008
Performances presented by Danspace Project take place in St. Mark’s Church: the tombstones in the entryway, with their poignantly terse testaments to brief lives, are reminder enough. But once inside, both audiences and artists tend to regard the church as a neutral, if atmospheric, theatrical space.
Not Tom Pearson and Zach Morris, who have made several well-regarded site-specific works. Their new “Vanishing Point” might be considered another, since it is loosely centered on the idea of a funeral, with the audience, like a church congregation, facing a draped coffin on a bier.
Despite this somber framework the piece is charmingly relaxed from the opening moments, when Jennine Willett dances alone, with quick, earthy movements to the country music sounds of the Dang-It Bobbys, a three-member band to the right of the stage.
Mr. Pearson and Mr. Morris don’t make a big play of doing Serious Experimental Work. “Vanishing Point,” seen on Friday night, is the dance equivalent of a peaceful, ruminative discussion with a few close friends, drinks in hand. But that’s not to say that it is not serious. Big themes — fate, how relationships evolve, whether sex remains important, how the past is woven into our personal narrative, how we remember the dead — are tackled lightly and deftly, woven into monologues by Mr. Morris (one in the form of an unconventional eulogy) and the quietly mesmerizing Donna Ahmadi.
Those ideas also live through the movement, which varies wildly from dancer to dancer. The Dang-It Bobbys — particularly Kris Bauman, who plays both guitar and banjo, and often wanders into the piece — offer lovely riffs on bluegrass, country and folk music, one form merging into the other, and the choreographers respond as eclectically.
A tender duet for Mr. Morris and Ms. Ahmadi; a wonderfully sensuous off-kilter solo for Tara O’Con; Ms. Willett’s warmth and maternal embrace of the other dancers even as she remains essentially alone: all these present images and associations of family, love, solitude and community, even as death (in the form of Mr. Pearson, who crawls out from under the bier) is ever present.
At the end the coffin is revealed to be a terrarium, containing earth and plants. That seems just right for this gentle piece: death may be the vanishing point, but irrepressible life is its theme.
CrystalTop Music Presents
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"Say Goodbye," by The Dang-It Bobby's, features a couple guitars, a banjo that's not afraid to sail ..."Say Goodbye," by The Dang-It Bobby's, features a couple guitars, a banjo that's not afraid to sail out, laid back percussion and soaring vocal harmonies the whole way through. It's a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. The Allman Brothers comparison fits them well.
The Dang-it Bobbys
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"The Dang-it Bobbys do airtight yet still luminous roots rock; their slower numbers are cool, but we..."The Dang-it Bobbys do airtight yet still luminous roots rock; their slower numbers are cool, but we like their breakneck rockabilly tunes best."
July 19th, 2007
02.16.09 My Top Ten RIGHT NOW
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By Jeremy Kotin February 16, 2009 The Dang-It Bobbys and Lücius at Bar 4 Tucked into a small Pa...By Jeremy Kotin
February 16, 2009
The Dang-It Bobbys and Lücius at Bar 4
Tucked into a small Park Slope bar (at least that’s where I think I was, I don’t understand Brooklyn) came the sweet sounds of two new-ish bands. The Dang-It Bobbys mixed sweet guitar melodies with bluegrass, country and hints of jazz to excellent effect. The plucking of Luca Benedetti on a guitar is mightily impressive and Kris Bauman’s voice is well suited, clear and soaring. Lücius took the stage next, two girls with beautiful voices (it’s the Indigo Girls setup but sounds more like Ingrid Michaelson duplicated) backed by a great band. The songwriting is impressive as are the clever arrangements, moving seamlessly from folkier harmonies to catchy pop to alt-rock and jazz. I would definitely say these are two bands worth seeing live and worth watching as they inevitably gain notoriety.
Goings on About Town
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“Vanishing Point” uses the white columns of St. Mark’s Church to stage a funeral, and the participat...“Vanishing Point” uses the white columns of St. Mark’s Church to stage a funeral, and the participation of the bluegrass band the Dang-It Bobbys and plentiful whiskey help to suggest the South. Musings on mortality and heritage, inappropriate revelations, repeated runs smack into the altar wall, and dance segments that are touching and deep in some parts and very thin in others add up to a vague sense of Faulknerian doom, set to good music. (Danspace Project, St. Mark’s In-the-Bowery, Second Ave. at 10th St. 212-674-8194. June 25-27 at 8:30.)
The Dang It Bobbys: Big Trouble
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by Chris Conaton, October 21st 2011 The Dang-It Bobbys’ second album begins with a classic Americ...by Chris Conaton, October 21st 2011
The Dang-It Bobbys’ second album begins with a classic Americana intro of a fiddle and banjo melody with bass and cymbal backing, but then Kris Bauman’s clear tenor voice starts singing and it’s evident that he brings more to the table than just a love of old-timey music. Bauman runs the show here. Not only is he a great lead singer, he also writes all of the songs and plays more then 10 different instruments on Big Trouble. It’s a lot to handle in this genre, but he has a knack for finding a catchy melody. He’s also an effective bandleader and arranger, knowing just when to employ backing harmonies, when to let lead guitarist Luca Benedetti take center stage, and when to stretch the instrumentation and use piano or even flute.
A song like “I Love You” could easily be cloying, but the constant motion of the several guitars keep the song musically interesting while the lyrics temper the statement of love with a healthy amount of self-deprecation. The uptempo, instantly memorable “Sad Sack” finds Bauman admonishing a friend to stop fixating on a woman who isn’t interested in him. The song’s sly reference to Scientology (“You’re taking Prozac / She’s reading up on Xenu / That’s not the way to begin” ) works all the better because it’s so unexpected. The title track’s mariachi-style music is the perfect accompaniment to a story of a group of Americans getting pulled over by la policia in Mexico and trying, poorly, to use their mediocre Spanish to get out of the situation. The Dang-It Bobbys try a little bit of everything on this album, and nearly all of it, even the pair of bluegrass instrumentals, works out for the band. Big Trouble is one of the best Americana albums I’ve heard in 2011.
Hold Me Close
Something In The Air
Not So Bad
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Hey Guess What
Go To Hell
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