Andrew & Noah Band
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Andrew & Noah Band

Manlius, New York, United States

Manlius, New York, United States
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""All The Good Summers" album review"

This week we have another fine recording that strongly implies the sound of traditional music in places, and also creates an interesting stylistic mix, from old-time Appalachian to rock to country. It's from a pair of still-young brothers from Syracuse, NY, Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand. Their new CD is called All the Good Summers.

The VanNorstrand brothers were immersed in music from an early age. They were home-schooled by their mother who is a full-time classical piano teacher. There was a violin around the house, so the boys took an interest in it and in traditional folk music. Andrew, when he was eight, began taking lessons from a traditional fiddler. Both brothers immersed themselves in the music, and eventually began to try their hand at composing. In 1999, Andrew, the older brother, won a scholarship to attend the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, founded by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. There he was exposed to a further range of music including French Canadian and Scandinavian fiddle styles, and both brothers immersed themselves in as many traditional styles as they could. In 2000, the brothers began performing with their mother Kim as the Great Bear Trio, a group that still occasionally tours. The Great Bear Trio released a CD in 2003. Andrew and Noah began working on their own music and released their debut album in 2004. Around that time, the brothers appeared on a Prairie Home Companion on Public Radio in one of the show's periodic talent competitions, in this case, "talent from twelve to twenty."

Their following album in 2005 saw the brothers adding more wide-ranging instrumentation from a Swedish nykelharpa to an Australian digeridoo. They were just finishing up high school when they released "A Certain Tree" in 2007, which featured a mix of original and traditional music.

Now they are out with All the Good Summers, with members of their regular touring band, including Noah's wife Kailyn Wright. This time, it's all original music, though several songs sound as if they are very old traditional tunes. With the brothers still spending a lot of time absorbing as many different influences as possible, that eclecticism is apparent on the CD. There's that traditional sound, but there's also a bit of country twang, songs that would work well with an introspective singer-songwriter, some bits of Celtic, and some moments of acoustic jam-band music. While there are those traditional-sounding songs, their material can also run toward art-rock-style complexity with their mostly acoustic instrumentation. The result is a outstanding album that features some worthy acoustic playing but has a lot of musical twists and turns, and variety enough to keep it from settling into any one groove for long. They also include three interesting instrumental pieces. The VanNorstrand Brothers are fine players of almost everything they pick up, including fiddles, acoustic guitars and mandolins. Andrew also plays some electric guitar and banjo, Noah also plays a tenor guitar and does some percussion. The rest of the group on the CD includes Pete Sutherland on keyboards, Kevin Dorsey on acoustic and electric bass, Rachel Bell on accordion, Dana Billings on drums, and Noah's wife Kailyn Wright on additional vocals.

Leading off is a piece that summarizes the range of influences on the CD. Jetstream, by Noah, starts out in a kind of atmospheric folk mode. But builds into a mix of a bluegrass sound with an electric guitar playing country twang. One of the original compositions that resembles a traditional song is Samuel Mason, written by Andrew. There's another interesting mix of old-time clawhammer-style banjo to which is added some electric guitar resembling the style of Richard Thompson. They get into a kind of singer-songwriter style on the track called Faded to a Dream, co written by Noah and his wife Kailyn Wright. The first of the instrumentals is called The Wasp's Goggles. It's a fun mix with a funky beat that can jump into a kind of Philip Glass inspired minimalist section with the brother's dual fiddles. One of the more musically interesting tracks is called Love and Winter, written by Andrew. With its elaborate arrangement with distinct sections, one might be tempted to call it semi-acoustic art rock. Ms. Wright does the lead vocals on the song Elinor, written by Andrew. It's another of the original songs with a traditional sound, and in this case also with its lyrics set in England. The brothers do a nice acoustic old-timey duet performance on fiddle and banjo on a composition by Andrew called A Song for Reverend P.D. Midgett III. The CD ends with a song by Noah called Where Should I Go, which sounds like an old country-bluegrass tune. It's an energetic piece that's nicely done.

All the Good Summers the new release from Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand is an engaging and thoroughly worthwhile recording that's another example of cont - The Graham Weekly Album Review


""All The Good Summers" album review"

This week we have another fine recording that strongly implies the sound of traditional music in places, and also creates an interesting stylistic mix, from old-time Appalachian to rock to country. It's from a pair of still-young brothers from Syracuse, NY, Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand. Their new CD is called All the Good Summers.

The VanNorstrand brothers were immersed in music from an early age. They were home-schooled by their mother who is a full-time classical piano teacher. There was a violin around the house, so the boys took an interest in it and in traditional folk music. Andrew, when he was eight, began taking lessons from a traditional fiddler. Both brothers immersed themselves in the music, and eventually began to try their hand at composing. In 1999, Andrew, the older brother, won a scholarship to attend the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, founded by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. There he was exposed to a further range of music including French Canadian and Scandinavian fiddle styles, and both brothers immersed themselves in as many traditional styles as they could. In 2000, the brothers began performing with their mother Kim as the Great Bear Trio, a group that still occasionally tours. The Great Bear Trio released a CD in 2003. Andrew and Noah began working on their own music and released their debut album in 2004. Around that time, the brothers appeared on a Prairie Home Companion on Public Radio in one of the show's periodic talent competitions, in this case, "talent from twelve to twenty."

Their following album in 2005 saw the brothers adding more wide-ranging instrumentation from a Swedish nykelharpa to an Australian digeridoo. They were just finishing up high school when they released "A Certain Tree" in 2007, which featured a mix of original and traditional music.

Now they are out with All the Good Summers, with members of their regular touring band, including Noah's wife Kailyn Wright. This time, it's all original music, though several songs sound as if they are very old traditional tunes. With the brothers still spending a lot of time absorbing as many different influences as possible, that eclecticism is apparent on the CD. There's that traditional sound, but there's also a bit of country twang, songs that would work well with an introspective singer-songwriter, some bits of Celtic, and some moments of acoustic jam-band music. While there are those traditional-sounding songs, their material can also run toward art-rock-style complexity with their mostly acoustic instrumentation. The result is a outstanding album that features some worthy acoustic playing but has a lot of musical twists and turns, and variety enough to keep it from settling into any one groove for long. They also include three interesting instrumental pieces. The VanNorstrand Brothers are fine players of almost everything they pick up, including fiddles, acoustic guitars and mandolins. Andrew also plays some electric guitar and banjo, Noah also plays a tenor guitar and does some percussion. The rest of the group on the CD includes Pete Sutherland on keyboards, Kevin Dorsey on acoustic and electric bass, Rachel Bell on accordion, Dana Billings on drums, and Noah's wife Kailyn Wright on additional vocals.

Leading off is a piece that summarizes the range of influences on the CD. Jetstream, by Noah, starts out in a kind of atmospheric folk mode. But builds into a mix of a bluegrass sound with an electric guitar playing country twang. One of the original compositions that resembles a traditional song is Samuel Mason, written by Andrew. There's another interesting mix of old-time clawhammer-style banjo to which is added some electric guitar resembling the style of Richard Thompson. They get into a kind of singer-songwriter style on the track called Faded to a Dream, co written by Noah and his wife Kailyn Wright. The first of the instrumentals is called The Wasp's Goggles. It's a fun mix with a funky beat that can jump into a kind of Philip Glass inspired minimalist section with the brother's dual fiddles. One of the more musically interesting tracks is called Love and Winter, written by Andrew. With its elaborate arrangement with distinct sections, one might be tempted to call it semi-acoustic art rock. Ms. Wright does the lead vocals on the song Elinor, written by Andrew. It's another of the original songs with a traditional sound, and in this case also with its lyrics set in England. The brothers do a nice acoustic old-timey duet performance on fiddle and banjo on a composition by Andrew called A Song for Reverend P.D. Midgett III. The CD ends with a song by Noah called Where Should I Go, which sounds like an old country-bluegrass tune. It's an energetic piece that's nicely done.

All the Good Summers the new release from Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand is an engaging and thoroughly worthwhile recording that's another example of cont - The Graham Weekly Album Review


""A Certain Tree" album review"


ANDREW & NOAH VanNORSTRAND - A CERTAIN TREE
Great Bear Records - GBR CD004

This is a lot of music for a couple of young fellows to have created. Between the two of them, Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand wrote all 13 tracks on "A Certain Tree" and played more than a dozen instruments. It may sound overly ambitious, but it all comes together with a lovely maturity and sophistication that seamlessly blends elements of jazz, whispers of Scandinavia, breezy Irish melodies, spunky Cajun rhythms, and, yes, even some plaintive bluegrass. This is an album that requires more than a casual listen. The more familiar you become with the artistry of this quietly powerful duo, the more layers you'll discover within the complexities of their music.

With only five tracks having lyrics, the emphasis is on instrumentals, and it's the fiddles that most often set the mood, drawing sustenance from multiple genres. Listen to "Mr. Jarvis Lorry's"/"Little Joey" and be swept away by the charming opening guitar work. The bouncy fiddles of "Elusive Goose" will have you step-dancing right along with the percussive "feet" listed in the liner notes. The closing track, "Waiting On The Dawn," is a slow tune that brings about elements of a quiet Norwegian fjord or perhaps the predawn coast of Ireland. As the droning fiddles slowly increase in intensity, the sky grows lighter as the still-hidden sun approaches the horizon. It's simply stunning.

Vocally, the brothers' voices blend well. Lyrically, the songs range from the complex metaphors of the title track to the fun and Cajunesque "Keep You By My Side." The lengthy story told in "The Murder Of Mary White" counterbalances the simple yet expressive words of "None So Lovely." Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the acoustic music world.
JK [Bluegrass Unlimited – November 2007 Issue] - Bluegrass Unlimited


"Faultless..."

It’s always exciting to come across a genuinely new sound, and although the Andrew And Noah Band are operating in recognised genre, namely Americana, their whole approach to their oeuvre is refreshing and original. So what do they do that’s so different? Well, it’s a combination of things. Brothers Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand write the core of the material, and apply a myriad of interesting influences, from Cajun and Celtic, to jazz and swing, together with the usual country comforts. A quick perusal of the list of instrumentation they employ adds to the draw, and a trio of vocalists all contribute to the fun.

Of course, none of this would matter if they didn’t make a great noise, and they do. The group has evolved since their 2010 debut, and the addition of Chris Miller on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones and Dana Billings newfound predilection for various keyboards – organ, Wurlitzer, Rhodes – raises the bar. Indeed, the band as a whole all seem on top form, hitting their groove instantly on opening number “Buy for Me the Rain”, with saxophone, accordion, mandolin and guitar trading licks. It’s a perfect start, and one they’re reluctant to relinquish, as the following track “I Got It Bad for You” is just as intensely good, though cut from a completely different cloth. “Pilgrim” was the single and it moves like a classic rocker, dragged through a country back road, and “Fields a Burning” uncoils itself over nearly nine minutes, telling its tale of wrongdoing and redemption, while strings, reeds and keys keep the tension at boiling point. Faultless. Leicester Bangs (UK Music & Arts Blog) - Leicester Bangs - UK Music & Arts Blog


"Faultless..."

It’s always exciting to come across a genuinely new sound, and although the Andrew And Noah Band are operating in recognised genre, namely Americana, their whole approach to their oeuvre is refreshing and original. So what do they do that’s so different? Well, it’s a combination of things. Brothers Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand write the core of the material, and apply a myriad of interesting influences, from Cajun and Celtic, to jazz and swing, together with the usual country comforts. A quick perusal of the list of instrumentation they employ adds to the draw, and a trio of vocalists all contribute to the fun.

Of course, none of this would matter if they didn’t make a great noise, and they do. The group has evolved since their 2010 debut, and the addition of Chris Miller on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones and Dana Billings newfound predilection for various keyboards – organ, Wurlitzer, Rhodes – raises the bar. Indeed, the band as a whole all seem on top form, hitting their groove instantly on opening number “Buy for Me the Rain”, with saxophone, accordion, mandolin and guitar trading licks. It’s a perfect start, and one they’re reluctant to relinquish, as the following track “I Got It Bad for You” is just as intensely good, though cut from a completely different cloth. “Pilgrim” was the single and it moves like a classic rocker, dragged through a country back road, and “Fields a Burning” uncoils itself over nearly nine minutes, telling its tale of wrongdoing and redemption, while strings, reeds and keys keep the tension at boiling point. Faultless. Leicester Bangs (UK Music & Arts Blog) - Leicester Bangs - UK Music & Arts Blog


"Indie folk-pop / world music jam band"

The Andrew & Noah Band [is] a unique group consisting of mandolin, fiddle, banjo, accordion, sax, electric guitar, bass and drums. The band’s mixology isn’t as direct as [other acts]… the A&N Band doesn’t limit themselves to just a few genres to blend. On the ensemble’s self-titled long-player from earlier this year, they sound alternately like an Indie Folk Pop group and a World music-inspired Jam band, tastefully adding Cajun spices, a pinch of Celtic, a dollop of Newgrass, a teaspoon of trad Country and numerous other ingredients along the way. Such eclectic efforts often result in either a complete mess or something rather corny and musical-touristy but the A&N Band manages to make it work seamlessly, as if the so-called “Americana Groove” genre had a century-long history, instead of just being created by the band members themselves. CityBeat (Cincinnati, OH) - CityBeat - Cincinnati, OH


"Indie folk-pop / world music jam band"

The Andrew & Noah Band [is] a unique group consisting of mandolin, fiddle, banjo, accordion, sax, electric guitar, bass and drums. The band’s mixology isn’t as direct as [other acts]… the A&N Band doesn’t limit themselves to just a few genres to blend. On the ensemble’s self-titled long-player from earlier this year, they sound alternately like an Indie Folk Pop group and a World music-inspired Jam band, tastefully adding Cajun spices, a pinch of Celtic, a dollop of Newgrass, a teaspoon of trad Country and numerous other ingredients along the way. Such eclectic efforts often result in either a complete mess or something rather corny and musical-touristy but the A&N Band manages to make it work seamlessly, as if the so-called “Americana Groove” genre had a century-long history, instead of just being created by the band members themselves. CityBeat (Cincinnati, OH) - CityBeat - Cincinnati, OH


Discography

ANDREW & NOAH BAND (GBR CD007)
Released in 2012. The Andrew & Noah Band's brand new self-titled album both explores and defines the Americana-Groove genre; a seamless blend of indie roots rock, alt folk, bluegrass, celtic, zydeco, jazz and world music. Produced by Dana Billings.

ALL THE GOOD SUMMERS (GBR CD005)
Released in 2010. Features all original material and a full seven piece band; twin fiddles, mandolins, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, accordion, piano and keyboards, bass, drums and tight, three-part harmony vocals. Has received some decent airplay on folk/roots music radio programs across the country.

Andrew and Noah have also recorded two previous duo albums; A Certain Tree (GBR CD004) and Driftage (GBR CD002), as well as three albums of dance music as The Great Bear Trio with their mom Kim on piano. They are available on our website.

Photos

Bio

Powerful songwriting, explosive improvisation, deep dance grooves and a unique vision for the future of American roots music. That's what the Andrew & Noah Band is bringing to festival stages, concert halls, living rooms and dance floors all over North America. Their core material, written by brothers Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand, might best be described as Americana Groove: a mix of indie roots rock, alt-folk, bluegrass, celtic, jazz, zydeco and world music. The full seven-piece band features fiddle, accordion, mandolin, saxophone, guitars, bass, drums and three-part harmony vocals. Music that captures the memory of what we had, the urgency of where we are and the beat to keep you moving all night long.

Andrew & Noah are DIY musicians with some hard-earned credentials. They've been featured performers at the Lake Eden Arts Festival in NC, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in NY, KVMR Celtic Festival in CA, Suwannee Springfest in FL, Midpoint Music Festival in OH and many others. They've toured extensively, often playing for contra dances as The Great Bear Trio with their mom Kim on piano. They've taught at various music camps including Ashokan Fiddle & Dance, CDSS Pinewoods and the Augusta Heritage Center. Andrew is also the program coordinator for the annual Ashokan Guitar Camp. They performed live on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" when they were in their teens. They maintain their own independent label (Great Bear Records) and produce an annual music and dance festival in Oswego, NY called The Groove.