Alabaster Brown
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Alabaster Brown

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The best kept secret in music



*Break out the toast:* 'Cause here comes the jam — the third-annual Blue
Moon Jamfest in the Street, that is. Celebrate Hill Day (i.e. Saturday,
July 29) at Pop's Blue Moon (5249 Pattison, 314-776-4200) with local
talent including experimental groovemeisters Big Thumb, the
considerately self-descriptive FolknBluesGrass Trio, indie
singer-songwriter Kevin Bilchik, the trademarked "Mississippi Mud Stomp"
of Alabaster Brown, Joe Stickley and Sean Canan from Columbia's
godfathers of groove, Bockman, and more. The festivities are free and
run from two p.m. to midnight. - RiverFront Times

"played on Honest Tunes Radio"

Honest Tunes
“May The Four Winds Blow You Home Again: November Weather”

SET ONE: Franklin’s Tower, Whispering Waters > A Wonderful Day (Reprise) > Hope, One By One > Blue Moon Dancer, Chevrolet, The Gallis Pole > Shake It and Brake It > Ginseng Sullivan, All About You > Shanti > Water

SET TWO: Count Chocula, Still Raining Still Dreaming > Fight for Your Mind > Shmagnum P.I., Like a Buddha, Black Diamond Bay, Buckets Of Rain

ENCORE: Folsom Prison Blues > I Walk The Line > Ring Of Fire > The Rebel Johnny Yuma > Folsom Prison Blues

The Grateful Dead [LINK] - Dead Set
Leftover Salmon [LINK] - Leftover Salmon
Brothers Past [LINK] - A Wonderful Day
Disco Biscuits [LINK] - Rocket 3 (New CD!)
Wilco [LINK] - Kicking Television: Live In Chicago
Weakness For Blondes - Longshot (New CD!)
The Derek Trucks [LINK] Band - Songlines
Leadbelly - The Best Of Leadbelly
Canned Heat - Best Of
The Tony Rice Unit - Manzanita
Cindy Woolf - Simple And Few
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - Left Of Cool
The Beautiful Girls - Water (New CD!)

Netwerk:Electric - 3-29-2002 Whitefish, MT
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Ben Harper - Fight for Your Mind
Cookout - Ear Fashion
Railroad Earth - Elko (CD Give-Away, Railroad Earth, Derek Trucks Band)
Bob Dylan - Desire
Alabaster Brown featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon 6-21-2006 STL, MO

Happy Birthday Phoreal at Midnight
Johnny Cash - At San Quentin Legacy Edition (New CD/DVD Release!)

We had fun last week with special guest DJ Phoreal from Santa Cruz, California. Check out the podcast on

I’m still working on the podcast mp3 recording of our Halloween show (all cover songs and musical costumes). Check back soon. - Honest Tunes radio show


War: Tonight I want to talk to you about a subject of deep concern to all St. Louisans, and to many people in all parts of the state — the musical war between Alabaster Brown (a gritty, glottal, earthy jam band) and Metatron (sexy, gothy prog-metaldustrial). I believe that one of the reasons for the deep division in our city is that many St. Louisans have lost confidence in the diversity of our local music scene. Therefore, on Tuesday, January 31, the aforementioned bands (along with the Dave Black Band, the Local Gents and Big Thumb USA) go to war to prove their abilities with a battle of the bands, nicknamed Battlerusa (, at the Broadway Oyster Bar (736 South Broadway; 314-621-8811) at 7 p.m., with a $6 cover. - Riverfront Times

"Vince Herman w/ Alabaster Brown"

In 1990, two average groups from the Boulder, Colo., area joined forces, and ended up creating one of the most popular jam bands to fill the void left by the decomposition of the Grateful Dead. That band, Leftover Salmon, last year gave six shows at Boulder’s Fox Theatre, then went on hiatus — perhaps permanently.

During the heady years of touring, Leftover Salmon played many of the nation’s biggest festivals and best venues (they were at Sangamon Auditorium in November 2000) and worked with some of music’s most storied acts — their third album, The Nashville Sessions, features a veritable who’s-who of guests, including Taj Mahal, Waylon Jennings, Sam Bush, Lucinda Williams, and Earl Scruggs.

Today, the band’s Web site,, is mostly a marker of the group’s past glory. Even though the band’s members no longer play together, no one in this bunch has retired from the business. Multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Drew Emmitt has visited Springfield twice in support of his solo record while traveling all over the country on a nonstop tour, and keyboardist Bill McKay came to town as a member of brother John McKay’s band and continues to work with an assortment of musicians and bands.

Now former Springfield resident Nate Parienti is set to bring lead vocalist and frontman Vince Herman to the capital city.

“I used to live in Fort Collins, Colo., and a friend of mine ended up being tour manager for Leftover,” Parienti says. “We got to know Vince, and he said he’d do some shows with us.”

Alabaster Brown, Parienti’s St. Louis-based group, has been together for about two years, doing Americana classics and original music. They played the Underground City Tavern in April with the McKay Brothers and are elated at getting a chance to do some shows with Herman.

“He definitely has this larger-than-life presence and is one of my personal music heroes,” Parienti says. “It’s a very special thing for all of us.”

A local singer/songwriter and childhood friend of Parienti’s, John Brillhart, is also on the bill. “We go way back. Nate’s dad was my soccer coach, and I went to his bar mitzvah,” Brillhart says. “We both started playing guitar around the same time, learning Grateful Dead songs, mostly.” Brillhart dabbles in the Americana classics as well, but his forte lies in crafting portraits of everyday life into brilliant songs. He’s equally sharp in explaining a lover’s ability to touch his heart and creating a tribute to his sweetheart’s fascination with thrift-store shopping.

In his life after Leftover Salmon, Herman is employing the freedom of movement offered to a musical icon unencumbered by a hectic touring schedule. “I’m enjoying connecting with all the people we met while on the road,” he says. “I’ve been emceeing festivals, playing solo shows, doing duos with Rob [Wasserman] — he’s so melodic, it’s like playing with a human voice.” He spends time at his home in Nederland, Colo., hanging out as much as possible with his family.

“My 11-year-old is in a band with the neighbor’s kid,” he says. “We heard ’em practicing and were high-fiving each other: ‘Yeah, our kids are in a band!’ ”

Last weekend, the boisterous singer was celebrating the life and music of Woody Guthrie at Guthrie Fest in Okemah, Okla., hometown of the legendary folksinger. It’s only fitting, considering that Herman’s first project away from Leftover Salmon was called the Spirit of Guthrie Tour with bassist Wasserman, singer/songwriter Jim Page, and sometime member New Orleans fiddler/songwriter Theresa Andersson.

“I just got the CDs back from the recording we did at the Tree House in Atlanta,” Herman says. “We did it in one day in the studio — half a day with the band alone and half with a crowd.”

The record contains songs written by the group and some penned by Guthrie, plus never-before-published lyrics from the Guthrie Foundation set to music by Herman and friends. “They’re all done in the spirit of Woody Guthrie,” Herman says. “You know, songs that make you strong.” The CD will be available at Herman’s live shows and through his Web site ( “It seemed an appropriate way to market a Woody Guthrie record rather than through a record company,” he says.

His other current band in progress started out as a favor for a fan in Boulder. “A friend asked me to do a benefit, and I put together a dream band for it,” he says. “We had a ball and just wanted it to keep going.” The group, which became Great American Taxi, includes members of other bands on the Colorado jam-band scene, including Reed Foehl of Acoustic Junction and Chad Staehly. It’s just a small piece of the Herman puzzle.

“We start a Shanti Groove [a string band Herman sits in with] tour in the fall. We’ll be at the CaveFest in Carbondale at the end of September — bringing out Great American Taxi for that,” Herman says. “We just keep up with whatever keeps coming.” - Illinois Times

"Vince Herman/Alabaster Brown at The Shanti"

Vince Herman, The Shanti, St. Louis, MO- 7/22
Review and photos by Craig Warmbold

Vince Herman met fiddle virtuoso Randy Crouch at this years Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and the two immediately hit it off. One week later, they were still playing together and Herman deemed the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based musician his twin brother, Funky Red.

On Friday July 22, the dynamic duo played The Shanti in St. Louis. Their beer garden set included spirited versions of the Herman-penned "Hey Woody Guthrie," the Leftover Salmon standard "Ain't Nobody's Business" and Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain." They closed with a rousing "Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl," into "Girl With the Biggest Hair and the Longest Nails."

The two then migrated inside, joining hometown band Alabaster Brown for a 90-minute closing set. There were nine musicians crammed into a small corner tavern that was hotter than hell and packed to the rafters.

Things started off with a Brown-dominated cover of Johnny Cash's "Big River." When Crouch took his first solo the rolling waters turned to rapids. He shredded through song after song stopping only to swill and change strings.

Herman tread carefully at first, but quickly seized control of the band, tearing through high-energy, slam-grass-versions of "He's Gone," "You Ain't Going Nowhere" and "I'm Feeling All Right," complete with requisite, City of Blues-themed improv.

The evening's highlights were Willie Nelson-inspired, most notably the politically twisted "Mama's Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be @$$holes." Before the hyper-extended, set-closer "Stay All Night, Stay a Little Longer," Herman shrugged off a warning to his band mates: "This one's in E minor... just follow me." His new friends cautiously obliged, ultimately delivering his strongest rhythm section since Tye North-era Salmon. -

"Nershi's new bag"

Nershi's new bag

By Marleen Shepherd, the southern

What: Honkytonk Homeslice with Cornmeal, Defined Perception, Alabaster Brown, Leadfoot, The Mayflies and Shotgun Brothers Band.

When: Gates open at 2 p.m., music from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 19.

Where: Shawnee Natural Amphitheatre, 7 miles south of Murphysboro Illinois on Route 127.

How much: $20 at the gate includes camping and parking; no pets or glass bottles; BYOB.

For more information: (618) 687-9663

Learn more: about Honkytonk Homeslice at or

If The String Cheese Incident is Billy Nershi's public persona, his side project, Honkytonk Homeslice is Billy Nershi's public persona, his side project, Honkytonk Homeslice, represents his personal life., represents his personal life.

Honkytonk takes the music back home - wandering the byways of bluegrass and country roots in intimate three-part harmony woven with wife, Jilian Nershi, and Portland, Oregon-based musician Scott Law.

"It's kind of like an old-timey tradition of music," Billy Nershi explains to the Flipside. "It's the kind of entertainment people used to make for themselves before radio and TV."

The group showcases the musicianship of Nershi (acoustic guitar, dobro, lap steel, electric bass), his wife (acoustic guitar) and Law (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, acoustic mandolin, electric bass.)

But where Honkytonk Homeslice soars is with vocal play, especially when all three lean in to share one mic.

"All the notes meet before they hit the microphone and create their own sound. It's almost like it creates another voice in the room," says Jilian Nershi.

"Like conjuring up another member of the band," agrees Billy Nershi.

The largely acoustic act will headline at the Shawnee Natural Amphitheatre Saturday, Aug. 19.

"I'm now very curious about this venue and excited to go play there," says Mr. Nershi, of the cave in the Shawnee National Forest seven miles south of Murphysboro on Route 127.

On the bill is Carbondale's own Defined Perception (, one of the most innovative indie jam bands on the scene.

St. Louis alt-country outfit Alabaster Brown will have the crowd on their feet with its patented "Mississippi Mud Stomp."

The Shotgun Brothers Band, of Springfield, Mo., brings their hillbilly blasts.

The Mayflies of Iowa City fiddle psychobilly bluegrass to dark comedy lyrics.

Leadfoot, a "hot-pickin', rhythm-driven jam-grass" band from Chicago will mix up bluegrass, funk, rock, jazz and reggae.

Chicago bluegrass favorite Cornmeal also returns to the region, a frequent tour stop for the nationally known Americana group.

Honkytonk Homeslice will cook up a set with Cornmeal for an all-out jam at the end of the cave show.

"It's fun for us to meet and really get to know these people and these bands, and to be able to collaborate with them on stage," Nershi says.

At the cave, Homeslice will also dish out advanced copies of its self-titled CD, which won't be officially released until Sept. 5. The cave stop is part of a Midwestern tour featuring both Cornmeal and Homeslice, of Nederland, Colo.

While The String Cheese Incident has made stops in Carbondale, this will be Honkytonk Homeslice's first visit to beautiful Southern Illinois.

"String Cheese had some great shows there," Nershi says. "We like going to the Midwest. We love the Midwest fans."

(618) 351-5074 - Flipside ONline


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Alabaster Brown has dubbed their own style of music as “Mississippi Mud Stomp”. The band brings a high level of energy to every show that they play and though the live performance is highly improvisational the band honors the song as the most important vehicle for improvisation. In other words, Alabaster Brown writes some great songs and although they stretch them out in the live environment, they approach the actual song as the most important aspect of their playing and they tend to avoid long, meandering jamming.

Alabaster Brown is an original rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. The band's down-home style comes from its members' incorporation of elements of roots rock, funk, latin, alt-country, bluegrass, reggae, midwestern and cajun styles of music into their own unique sound, the Trademarked, “Mississippi Mud Stomp.” As mentioned previously, improvisation plays a key role in every Alabaster Brown concert, found in individual solos or in polyphonic jams. One thing makes Alabaster Brown unique from the many bands on the scene today are the highly evocative and well written songs that are performed tightly and with a high level of vocal dexterity. The bands influences are many and varied, from drummer Dave Clark's music degree from Webster University where he studied Brazilian music almost exlusively, to lead guitar player, Sean Sweeney's, nearly encylopedic knowledge of obscure 60's pyschedelia to guitar player and songwriter, Nate Parienti's,working knowledge of blue-grass, alt-country, and rock tunes and song crafting skills. The band is able to blend these influences into a sound that is uniquely Alabaster Brown.

Alabaster Brown was formed in the fall of 2004 when two local original bands lost some members and then merged together forming the current line-up. After a few months of rehearsals the band hit the ground running and has had a tremendous amount of success over its first year and a half of playing together including playing at such well known venues as Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, Colorado, The Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado, The Mishawaka Amphitheater in Fort Collins, Colorado and twice at The Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, KS. The band has played continuous dates throughout 2005 and 2006 and in addition to the venues already mentioned it has played in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, and Ohio. Alabaster Brown has also been fortunate enough to tour with and feature Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, and to share the stage with such acts as the Drew Emmit Band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Shanti Groove, Shady Deal, Mountain of Venus, Brothers Past, members of Particle, John and Bill McKay, Speakeasy, Madahoochie, 56 Hope Rode, Smokin Bandits, members of The String Cheese Incident and many others. The band maintains a weekly gig on Wednesdays at Cicero�s in St. Louis, one of the premier venues in the St. Louis Metro area and has appeared live on KDHX FM in St. Louis as well KGNU FM in Boulder, CO.

Alabaster Brown is known to consistently provide a high level of professionalism and maintains a very respected status amongst its peers, music promoters, and talent buyers throughout the country. The band continues to grow and evolve into 2007 and beyond and looks forward to playing in new parts of the country and bringing new fans into it's constantly growing fan-base. Its no question that an evening spent with Alabaster Brown is one that people remember and leaves them wanting to come back for more.