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Pittsboro, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Pittsboro, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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"Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe / Tea with Leo"

The heir apparent to the legacy of John Fahey teams up with an inspired violinist on this gorgeously rustic, fluid album of pastoral acoustic instrumentals. Like Fahey, Breadfoot blends 19th century folk, old-time country and delta blues influences but resists any impulse to be bound by the traditional constraints of any of those idioms. What results is equal parts great Sunday afternoon album and passout record: it’ll get you going as well as it gets you down for the night.

The opening track, A Hard Day in Manhattan wanders along with an understatement that would do Fahey proud, an exercise in subtlety and dynamics. It’s all melody, no garish flourishes or ostentation. The album’s second track, the wistful, 6/8 lament Hilary Rose is over too soon, barely into its sad, thoughtful testimonial. By contrast, the following cut, Polly Loved Me (I Know) is a rousing Appalachian dance, sparks flying from the frets of the six string banjo and the strings of the fiddle.

Of the other tracks on the album, the next one, International Esther is probably the most overtly Fahey-esque number and wouldn’t be out of place on Blind Joe Death. That’s high praise. Very nice hesitation step time at the end of the tune. Kecha is a brightly bouncing open-tuned Piedmont blues melody a la Pink Anderson. The album’s best single cut may be the thoughtful, gently pensive Smoking on the Stoop. The cd concludes with the 6/8 ballad On the Day that I Go, which would make a great soundtrack to that Twilight Zone episode – I think it was called Willoughby. You know the one, the guy takes Metro North from Manhattan, think’s he’s on the way home but he winds up back in the 1800s, watching the kids take hayrides through the dusty, unpaved streets of his town. There’s also rousing bonus track that kicks in after what seems eternity.

Clocking in at under half an hour, this cd’s greatest flaw is its brevity: it leaves you wanting twice as much. And not that the violin isn’t a welcome accompaniment here, but for anyone who’s heard him live, Breadfoot’s idiosyncratic vision and brilliant melodicism come through clearest when he plays solo. See him when you can. When’s the last time you danced to a guy playing acoustic guitar, all by himself, and not even singing?
- TrifectaGram

"Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe / Tea with Leo"

Stephan Meyers - aka Breadfoot - is one of my favourite characters in the world of roots music. Emerging from the New York City anti-folk scene around four years ago, he has consistently delighted with his no-frills, DIY approach to recording and live performance. He books his own seemingly endless tours, issuing music largely available only from his website and at shows - á la King Creosote and his under-the-radar ilk. A charming blend of backwoods hickiness, big city suss and genuine sweetness, Breadfoot ploughs his own furrow, hoping he can pick up a few quid here or there by playing his tunes, meet some new folk, and have a coupla beers. His twig-thin frame rattling around inside baggy dungarees; the shadow of his baseball cap peak cast on his tubular beard, he strums happily away on dobro or acoustic guitar - rarely singing – stitching his sets of swampy country-blues grooves together by rambling on a bit about nothing in particular. It can be utterly compelling, and as moving as it can be chucklesome. We last heard of Breadfoot in a slightly-more-available scenario via his role in Just About To Burn alongside fellow NYC anti-folkers Paleface and Monica ‘Lil’ Mo’ Samalot. The eponymous offering (Art Monkey Records – of joyous indie-country that reached the eagle-eyed and bat-eared amongst us last year looks as if it may be a one-off, which is a great shame. But in direct sonic contrast with that comes Tea With Leo, recorded with London-based violinist Anna Phoebe. Where JATB was more or less a party record, this is a gentle, pretty (and, at 7 tracks over 22 minutes, brief) collection. The sleevenotes invite the listener (in vintage Breadfoot parlance) to let him know what sort of album it is, as he’s not altogether sure. Well, let me tell him, Anna and you: very simply, this is an instrumental folk record. Softly strummed, late-summer acoustic guitar, melancholy rinky-dink banjo on two songs, and the silkiest violin lilt imaginable – and that’s it. Another way of describing it is ‘extremely lovely’. Tea With Leo is one of those records you reach for to ease you into or out of a day, as it brings with it great calm and untroubled prettiness of sound that can’t help but induce wistful sighs and fond memories. It couldn’t be simpler. Why not contact the creators and let them know what you think it is. I’m fairly confident we’ll all be in musical and critical agreement." - Comes with a Smile

"Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe / Tea with Leo"

NYC / London acoustic work-out of unspeakable gorgeousness. Comes With A Smile’s Tom Sherriff has described this record as “extremely lovely” and that man from Brighton is right as usual- this EP has little more to offer than seven acoustic and purely instrumental moments featuring the man himself (Breadfoot- aka Stephan Meyers) on guitar and banjo with some expert and truly heavenly fiddle playing by London-based Anna Phoebe. Yet, despite it’s apparent slightness, it’s a record to treasure- Brooklyn indie Jeeziepeezie have treated us all by getting it out into the market, despite the fact that it’s unlikely to make them thousands of dollars. The whole thing was knocked together on this side of the Atlantic in the course of two days, and it has that fresh, spontaneous feel that is so valued yet so infrequently achieved; production is reminiscent of Elliott Brood’s marvellous “Tin Type”- it’s clear and warm and you really get the brilliant end of those high notes and metallic clang of the five-string. “A Hard Day In Manhattan” opens the set with a dreamy, waltz-like meander suggesting elegant 20’s afternoon tea-dances rather than the noise and confusion of urban life, though you can quite see how the music that Meyers and Phoebe make could be a refuge; it contains a yearning for some peace- or is it simply a mellow, melancholic reaction to the city? “Smoking on the Stoop” is more guitar lead, rhythmic and here the violin work suggests something akin to gypsy jazz or maybe a hint of Hebrew; “On the Day That I Go”, the final tune, pretty much takes us out the way we came in, but is perhaps even more softly spoken, and comes in at only two minutes. There’s such a strong sense of artistic identity and confidence in who they are and what they’re doing that the brevity and simplicity of the whole session suggests a level of intent that perhaps only Bloc Party have exhibited this year.
- Americana UK


The Funhouse Recordings
I'm Ok Yer UK, Breadfoot Live in the UK
Just About to Burn with Paleface and Lil'Mo
Tea with Leo, featuring Anna Phoebe



Early 2001 Breadfoot landed hisself in Brooklyn, NY. He started kicking around Manhattan's East Village music scene. Couple of self released recordings and several trips to the UK later he got tangled up with NYC's Paleface and formed Just About to Burn.

JATB recorded a full length that was released on ArtMonkey Records Kicked some shows in the UK and then after returning from two weeks on the road in the states with JATB, well Breadfoot decided it was time to move on.

It was right around then Breadfoot got word that the good folks at Holden Records had gotten an earful. Result was the release of the Funhouse Recordings Jan. 05 in both the UK and Europe.

That same spring right on the heels of the Funhouse release Breadfoot returned to London to record Tea with Leo. The new record got worked up at Café Music in London. It was produced by Leo Abrahams, (Ed Hardcourt, David Holmes, Brian Eno), and features London based violinist Anna Phoebe, (String Master and Lead Soloist For the double platinum selling TSO).

Tea with Leo was released on Jeeziepeezie Records in October of that year and got great reviews. Music from the release has been featured on NPR and in the documentary 10MPH.

There was a short UK Tour and some dates in the states to support Tea with Leo. And then after that Breadfoot got to working up some new tunes. His time writing songs with Paleface in Just About to Burn got him feeling like he was keen to get to putting some words on the songs he was working up for the new recordings.

While still in NYC Breadfoot starting on some demos for the tunes and in 2007 was set to go in the studio. Thing is he didn’t. Reason is he became super sound sensitive. The sound of the trains screeching and horns honking on the streets was like being hit with a big stick. So he had to high tail it to a place where it was greener and quieter.

So in between then and now he’s done only a few live performances and just a wee bit of recording. Most recently he was contacted by a fella that had bought his Funhouse disc one day when he was buskin’ in Soho. Five years later he told Breadfoot that he’d always dug the tunes and wanted to use some for a video piece about the Farmer’s Market in Woodstock, NY.

Hoping soon, to get back to working on the new record that will be called Salvatella. Keep yer fingers crossed cause I think it’ll be a good’un.