Burlap to Cashmere
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Burlap to Cashmere

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Burlap to Cashmere"

Over a decade ago Burlap to Cashmere had an industry buzz going, winning a Dove award for its Anybody Out There? major label debut, where front man and principal songwriter Steven Delopoulos made it clear that he believed Jesus was The Man. The band (which included Delopoulos’ guitarist cousin John Philippidis and drummer Theodore Pagano) held the promise of an act that was going to take music into the 21st century, with an album that was equal parts Graceland and Fields Of Gold and a songwriter who was being compared to everybody from Bob Dylan to Cat Stevens to, well, just about anyone who had ever written great stuff on an acoustic guitar.

Then the band broke up. But now Burlap to Cashmere is back, featuring the three aforementioned core members. Hopefully the people who thought Delopoulos’ diverse musical influences and sometimes cryptic lyrics were the biggest thing since U2 haven’t forgotten about this band. But if they have, that’s okay. Because, unless the music business is really as unfair as those rejected by it complain it is, those people are about to have their memories jogged.

On Burlap to Cashmere’s new self-titled CD, Delopoulos doesn’t talk about Jesus, but is still a wonderful poet. Unlike the band’s first album, this one is more stripped down and acoustic, showing how good Delopoulos’ songs are on their own. Lines like “Oh the dizziness of traffic as her garden starts to wither/She opens up her violin so the darkness can forgive her” from “Love Reclaims the Atmosphere” only need simple guitar accompaniment and a harmony vocal ala Simon and Garfunkel to sound great; when Delopoulos sings “I want to live on a boat/And sail away with my children/Where the ocean hits the sky,” on “Orchestrated Love Song,” to a frantic flamenco guitar and creative percussion, nothing else is necessary. We all want to be on the boat with him.

Like Dylan, Delopoulos will have his detractors saying, “I don’t understand the words, what do they mean?” It’s indeed sometimes hard to figure out what Delopoulos is talking about, if he even completely knows himself as opposed to just finding words that rhyme. But no matter. The words he finds are the right words again and again, and he matches them with multicultural melodies and unexpected changes that go way beyond the predictable. The production by veteran Mitchell Froom (Los Lobos, Sheryl Crow) is on the money, as Froom is an artist’s producer who knows how to get out of the way and let his acts be the best they can be.

Brian Wilson, Chris Whitley, Ray LaMontagne – they’re all likely to be mentioned by other pundits in describing the work of this one guy who is just being himself, a guy who should someday be listed as an influence of others. If this band stays together, and Delopoulos is allowed to grow and not become a victim of the corporate machine, he could go down as music’s first truly great writer of this century. It’s a shame that he’s labored in obscurity into his 30s, but there’s still time. Burlap To Cashmere is one of the best records of 2011. - AMERICAN SONGWRITER

"Burlap to Cashmere"

The inspired, 11-track effort marks a departure from the band's first album. The grandiose textures that emphasized style over substance have been replaced with a more stripped-down sound and focused lyrics, reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel and Cat Stevens. Their blend of Mediterranean rhythms and tight knit harmonies helps them stand out among popular folk-rock acts including Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers and Fleet Foxes. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

"Burlap to Cashmere Returns"

The New York band that all but vanished after 1998 debut Anybody Out There? makes a triumphant return with core players in place and a largely acoustic album of sumptuous and exotic melodies, tight harmonies and poetic lyrics. Producer Mitchell Froom sweeps away the clutter, allowing chief songwriter Steven Delopoulos to carve a niche with graceful, vivid global-folk. – Edna Gunderson (Download: “Love Reclaims the Atmosphere,” “Build A Wall.”) - USA TODAY


Still working on that hot first release.



Burlap to Cashmere redefined folk rock in the 90s through their unique melding of flamenco and Mediterranean influences crossed with poetically introspective lyrics. Yet the band bowed out in 2001 after years of nonstop touring alongside some of the biggest acts in the business took its toll. But a decade after their split, the band that paved the way for The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons: singer/guitarist Steven Delopoulos, guitarist John Philippidis, and drummer Theodore Pagano — have reunited, returning with a beautiful, stripped-down new sound. "We still have the energy, the focus, the drive," says Delopoulos.

Native New Yorkers Delopoulos and his cousin Philippidis have been playing music together their entire lives, and Burlap to Cashmere was born out of a theater project Delopoulos performed in college. Pagano joined the group shortly after the cousins began gigging in coffee houses in the mid-'90s, and Burlap to Cashmere started to do what they did best — electrify live audiences. The band grew to a seven-piece ensemble and released a live EP, then an album called Anybody Out There on A&M that showcased their unique blend of classic acoustic music, rollicking Greek rhythms, and flourishes of flamenco guitar.

When the record label changed hands, Burlap to Cashmere was nearly a casualty of industry politics. The band kept playing to rapturous audiences, but after six years at the top of their game, they called it quits out of exhaustion. Delopoulos recorded two solo albums and Philippidis carried on with session work, while Pagano worked as an interior designer (he's the guy who made sure Ikea showrooms and Apple stores look so appealing). All three thought about getting the band back together, but it took a traumatic event — Philippidis survived a near-fatal car accident and doctors had to reconstruct his entire face — to kick-start the reunion.

When the cousins played Pagano some of their newer tunes, he was blown away: "It was Burlap again, but without all the '90s grandeur," he says. Jive Records agreed, giving the band a rare second shot. Earlier this year, the trio hit the studio in California with producer Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow) with a few simple rules: "There would be no nudging, no Auto-Tuning, we're going into this for everything that's organic about the band," Philippidis says. The result, the eleven-track self-titled album, will be released on Jive and Essential Records.

"When I got out of the hospital, Steven and I just accidentally stumbled into the song ‘Orchestrated Love Song,’” Philippidis says."It's really circusy, old-school, what we used to do in the band," Delopoulos explains. But under the watchful eye of Froom, Burlap to Cashmere learned and employed restraint. "Mitchell's idea was to approach it in an orchestral way, so we're not playing a drum beat that sounds like Rush. It keeps the drama and strips back the dense instrumentation," says Pagano. The song still boasts rapidly changing time signatures that baffle even the most seasoned session player. But Burlap to Cashmere's ability to make the difficult sound simple has always been part of their magic.

The centerpiece of the record is the gorgeous, Simon & Garfunkel-esque "Love Reclaims the Atmosphere." "It's about a dying patient," Delopoulos explains. "I feel like we have an idea of what it's like to die, and we talk about peace and divinity and bliss, but what about the person actually going through that process? In darkness, there's light, and I think a lot of these songs go to those dark places so there can be an eruption of light." It's a heavy topic, but on record, Burlap to Cashmere handles it with a delicate beauty, recalling their primary influences: Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison. In the years between Burlap records, Philippidis became especially infatuated with Paul Simon's One Trick Pony.

"Steven sang this whole record, live," Philippidis says. "There was not room for error. He had to get it or we threw the whole take away." It's that incredible musical skill and the band's gift for mind-blowing live shows that promise to deliver Burlap to Cashmere back to their fans — and introduce them to a ton of new ones.