Big Slyde

Big Slyde

 Saranac Lake, New York, USA
BandAmericanaAcoustic

Big Slyde is a boisterous blend of wild rootstock American music grafted with ever evolving sonic explorations. The result? Harmonic soul-bluegrass, dissonant Americana-rock, and raucous funk-folk.

Band Press

Featured CD, Big Slyde – Brooklyncountry.com

Fire up Big Slyde’s album Slythia and there are a few things you know right away: 1) That guitar picker has some kind of Latin in him (He’s Portuguese to the hilt, in fact). 2) That’s a cello, not a bass, you hear way down there. 3) The banjo player and dobro player are really, really good. Wait, they’re the same guy? Oh. Well, now you know that too. 4) In a world of whiners and wailers, the lead vocalist sings with strength, honesty and just a glimpse of vulnerability. While her bandmates groove, pluck and slide and around her, Hannah Doan is as sure-footed and responsive as a wrangler’s horse.

This is a band full of virtuosic playing. Guitarist Mikey Portal is lightning quick and a stranger to no part of the guitar neck. Lucinda Williams has a song in which she sings about a guitar player and “the worn down places in the wood, the ones that made you feel so good.” Portal plays as if every fret on that board makes him feel good. If there’s a happier player out there, I haven’t heard him.

John Doan plays banjo and dobro with casual precision. There’s whimsy and curiosity in his fingers and ears, but he never ventures so far afield as to confuse the listener. You’ll spot shades of everyone’s favorite far-out banjo and dobro players, Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas, respectively, in his playing, but Doan’s not standing in his their long shadows. He’s his own man. Listen to his restraint on “’Do Tell’ Bagatelle.” With the whole band churning and surging, his banjo is calm and balanced, like the coolest log-roller you ever saw. And when he sings, which he does on occasion on this album, it’s with a refreshing twang that seems to say, “Despite all the grooves, this band knows country, too.”

Slythia has a healthy dose of unbridled, all-out playing. It’s lousy with riffs (in a good way) and rank with funk (also in a good way). At times it feels it could all spin out of control. That it doesn’t is, I reckon, largely thanks to Hannah Doan’s rhythm guitar and bouzouki playing—which is assertive and robust—and Chris Grant and her cello. Grant doesn’t play with a lot of flash; she plays with presence. One of my favorite tracks is the album’s last: “The Old Forest.” It’s Grant’s part I find myself humming. And in the title track, which brings to mind a recent visit to the squirrel monkey pen at the Bronx Zoo—everything jumping and flipping and flying in all directions—it’s the cello and rhythm guitar that provide the bounce.

With this album (and their live shows) Big Slyde has sprung free from standard notions of what mountain string band can be. They are a mountain string band to be sure—New York’s Adirondack Mountains are their base—but if they’re bound to anything, it isn’t to the way things have always been done.

BY NED P. RAUCH, FRANKENPINE

Pete and Ned's Ten Dollar Radio Show – Peter Crowley and Ned P. Rauch

"Banjo, guitar, bouzouki, and cello - if Slyde and the Family Doan don't push your buttons, you'd better check your buttons!"

Tony Trischka – of the Double Bluegrass Extravaganza

"Big Slyde has a fresh, good natured approach to acoustic music. Their textures are delicious and their compositions are inviting. Speaking of which, I invite you to check them out."

Tony Trischka – of the Double Bluegrass Extravaganza

"Big Slyde has a fresh, good natured approach to acoustic music. Their textures are delicious and their compositions are inviting. Speaking of which, I invite you to check them out."