Gig Seeker Pro


Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States
Band Rock Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cedarwell Invites You to “Sing Out!”"

Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a change of scenery. And for the Sheboygan, WI based acoustic/indie-rock band Cedarwell, that change of scenery took shape during a European tour in support of their latest release, Sing Out!
Erik Neave, the singer/guitarist/driving force of Cedarwell, was invited by friend Susanna Brandin, a singer/songwriter from Sweden, to play a few shows in Sweden last April. It was then Erik met Brandin’s friend, fellow musician Bjorn Kleinhenz. From there, the three took on an interesting approach to performing on stage.
“We decided to play a show together and since none of us had a band available, we took turns playing the backing instruments and rotated the lead singer/songwriter,” said Neave.
The trio had so much fun during their April stint they decided to set up a European tour that began in January of 2008. The tour featured 20 shows in a matter of 20 days, with appearances in Switzerland, France, Sweden, and an extended stay in Germany, which Neave described as one the most memorable stops.
“We played a show in Tubingen, in a theater that had been converted from a 15th century wine cellar. There was this beautiful eerie feeling to the place…and the audience was so interested and involved in the show. We all got a boost from that and played our best show,” said Neave.
The trio also recorded a compilation album with the tour in mind, entitled Sing Out! The album features three songs from each musician, though all three musicians play the backing instruments for each other, much like on the tour.
Cedarwell’s section of Sing Out! is a healthy departure from the pop-infused acoustic melodies found on previous releases the Cedarwell EP and the deliciously infectious Gamboge. Instead, Neave crafted delicate folk songs that are sometimes dark, but always filled with life, while still maintaining the pop mentality that has helped keep Cedarwell afloat the last three years.
“Sing Out! is the first chance I’ve had to show that new direction. Touring so much has also played a huge role in developing my music both from watching so many great bands play and the inspiration of travel and experience,” said Neave. As for the pop influences in his music, Neave said, “there is a soft spot in my heart for a great chorus or hook you can’t help but sing along with.”
Cedarwell’s opening track, “Separate Lives,” nods at African folk music, with a pounding rhythmic section and call and response singing, but also holds strong rock roots with subtle electric guitar interludes. This is by far Cedarwell’s most diverse song to date, tucking pretty melodies underneath a strong percussive backbone. The song is an overall upbeat romp that calls to mind the camaraderie that takes place when on the road.
“Black Lung,” a brittle folk tune held together by an acoustic guitar, banjo, violin, piano, flute, and a barely-present drum kit, promises to become Cedarwell’s shining star. The song brilliantly showcases Neave’s ability to create a world that is both daunting and shimmering. Neave’s road experiences shine through here, as his soft yet confident voice suggests, “Our children are the same though language denies it.” Cedarwell’s reputation for using simple yet effective choruses comes to life; as Neave proclaims, “there is a hole in the sky,” his shaky falsetto blends with the accompanying violin, and by the song’s end, when he exclaims, “we are all rising,” it seems as if a light just may be at the end of the tunnel after all.
Cedarwell’s final track, the solemnly titled “Don’t Die,” is a downbeat tune featuring a more conventional instrumental outfit of electric guitar, bass, and drums. The song gradually builds from a warbled guitar to a full band effort, threatening to explode into a wall of noise, but never releasing from its tense landscape. The song has a sense of urgency not previously heard in Cedarwell’s work, and it fits quite well. Neave’s voice is uneven and shaken throughout the song, ranging from a strong reflective tone to a crackling plea. The lines “what is a breath through tubing and wires? Lately I’m thinking what I’ve always thought: it ain’t nothing at all,” and the chorus of “don’t die on me now, stay with it somehow,” delivers instant goose bumps. There’s no shimmering ray of hope here, folks, but Neave’s shadows still affix themselves with an enjoyable listening experience.
Once the Sing Out! tour concludes Neave plans on keeping himself busy by recording a new full length album, which he hopes to release in the fall. He will also embark on another Cedarwell tour in May, and will most likely invite Brandin and Kleinhenz on a Sing Out! tour of the United States in November.
Before heading back out on tour, Neave says he wants to check out some local shows first. “One of my biggest regrets of being on the road so much is that it is hard for me to be as involved in the local scene as I would like to be, it is actually really fun, ” said Neave. “Europe has been a perfect example for me. People are so attentive and involved that it makes me want to make the best music I can.”
Cedarwell will be back in Wisconsin on April 19 at the Osthelder in Sheboygan Falls (9:30 PM) and May 9 at the Paradigm in Sheboygan (8:00 PM).
Please visit Cedarwell on the Internet at www. cedarwell. com or www. myspace. com/cedarwell - Ricky Spenner

"Peer Validated Blurb"

Cedarwell’s Erik Neave well embodies his northern heritage. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, should be proud of such a wonderfully full beard, such tough flannel shirts and darkly twisted, acoustic-pop songs that seem to ride nature’s very rhythm. Crisp clarity and addicting genuineness hibernate Neave’s voice somewhere in the back of your memory, somewhere where it can stay for a long, long time, constantly reminding you that this is Wisconsin, and winter never really ends.

How ironic then, to watch him playing for a music-variety show on a balcony overlooking the hustle and bustling of a European town. The program, Balcony.tv, is up for two Webby Awards, which is thought to be something like the internet’s version of an Oscar. The talking between the show’s host and Neave is worth the admission price alone here, full of miscued sarcasm and a slight imbalance of enthusiasm. “Thank you very much for being here at the balcony,” our host says. “It was really worth flying over here…I think…from Wisconsin to play the song…” Neave smiles and nods.
- www.peervalidated.com (andy)


”Mature pop that emotes beautifully, sticks in your head, and is thankfully cliché-free.”

--"The Watch List" (October)
- Stephen Carradini

"Three Song EP (May 06)"

Cedarwell is an acoustic pop rock duo whose album It Snows In April is best described as being naturally magical. Cedarwell makes use of references to the natural world of clouds and seasons and stars and oceans in a way which reminds listeners of the magic existing all around us. Then they go on to link grandiose human emotions of love and fear to the magic swirling in this world, creating a space in which the everyday and commonplace are felt thoroughly and wholeheartedly. In Better Get Busy, they sing that “most of my days are half lived” but it’s hard to believe when they shortly follow it up with the emotional, “if I had a dying rosebush I would plant it in your room/ Because if you smiled I am sure it would bloom”. Love is at the root of the band’s lyrics. In Love’s Song, Cedarwell laments the loss of love with, “now that you’re married you bury a past full of summer and ponies and me”. Cedarwell suggests that despite the difficulties, love can salvage life, crooning in Breathe Underwater, “I tried to breathe into your lips because I thought that you were running out of air”. The magical romance of Cedarwell’s hopes and dreams is complimented by the band’s warm vocals and their combination of rock and pop melodies.

- Sure Shot Magazine

"Three Song EP (Febuary 06)"

"There's something to be said for heartfelt pop which is well done. Cedarwell fits this bill like a glove, with their carefully crafted pop songs gliding along in the air without effort.
These three songs effervese and seem to fade into the light as soon as they leave the stereo speakers, leaving behind a pleasant yet melancholy feeling. That's not to say that these guys are lightweight, quite the contrary. They know what they're doing, and they do it well. What they do is acoustic guitar pop with a heart on its sleeve.

So pop this one in the car CD player or the iPod, take a long ride, and wish really hard for spring while you're remembering lost love."

MISH MASH Mandate: Rivers Of Suggestion

- Mish Mash Music

"Shut Eye Records"

"The term "acoustic duo" can be a scary label, ranging in depth from amature coffeehouse gigs to the brillant, but simple pop of groups like Tegan and Sara or Guster. Cedarwell definitely fits into the latter category, crafting solid, simple pop songs with a natural ability to charm. "Better Get Busy" and "Breathe Underwater" are two perfect examples of fun, radio friendly gems. This is definitely the type of music that could be appreciated by everyone from the eccentric indie rockers to the accesible waves of commercial radio."
- Ryan Hoffer

"Review of "Breathe Underwater""

“You have a really good sense of how to write a song. The simplicity of the verse into the more full choruses is nice. Lyrically you managed to avoid a lot of clichés. Your effortless vocal is pleasant and seems very natural. Overall, thumbs up on this!” - Taxi

"Lakeland College Mirror (Gamboge review)"

Sheboygan has rarely been known for new indie music. In the middle of a vast cornfield where old-fashioned 80's heavy metal is still played an awful lot, the acoustic duo, Cedarwell, is now trying to break the ice. They bring fresh and creative sounds for every bored youth.

Cedarwell is an indie band consisting of vocalist and acoustic guitarist, Erik Neave, and drummer and harmonica player, Joel Phillip Stokdyk. They formed Cedarwell after they came back from Boston as a former band called Amalgam.

Since Cedarwell was formed in 2004, they have released an album called Gamboge, and they have been touring the country with lively sounds and magnetic performances.

In each city, according to another reviewer, Cedarwell surprises audiences "with a dynamic performance based around Erik's songwriting and vocals, augmented by Joel's amalgam of subtle percussion, harmonica and vocals."

If you want to categorize their sound, I would agree with what one reviewer said. "[They are] less than rock, more than pop." In this sense, you could call them alternative pop/rock.

Though their acoustic sounds are soft on CD, they play more aggressive than rock when they are on stage. Their stage sounds are more dynamic than you could imagine of their simple vocals, acoustic guitar, and drums.

Overall, their first album, Gamboge, is simply a great album. There is no dull moment in every song on the album. The songs are full of variety from alternative country to sing-along to ballad type songs.

Along with their catchy melodies, Cedarwell's music is not something that has gotten demographic of listeners. Cedarwell could be a perfect choice of alternative to mainstream music.

It might be hard to imagine how cool the indie band is when it plays, considering they are a Sheboygan band. I suggest you imagine the Bright Eyes or some other indie bands and singer/songwriters out of the music scene in Omaha, Nebraska.

For all of you who do not understand why I am mentioning the Omaha music scene, you have to open your Internet browser and type Cedarwell in a search engine, I guarantee you will put Cedarwell in your playlist.
- Kazuya Hisanaga

"Cedarwell: Gamboge @ Hybrid Magazine"

For the past few years Cedarwell, comprised of singer/guitarist Erik Neave and percussionist Joel Stokdy (with occasional appearances by Aching Wings front man Zach Vinson) have offered solid, stripped-down folk-rock akin to Johnny Cash and Mason Jennings. Though small in number, the two continue to bring their electrifying passion to stage. Such charisma has fueled their constant touring over the past couple years, gaining loyal followers everywhere from their hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin to colleges across Michigan and in popular venues throughout Boston, Massachusetts. Now on their full length release Gamboge, Cedarwell's trademark minimalism is re-invented with a fuller, edgier sound that brews together blues, hard rock, and even a little punk. The result is a stellar, infectious album.

"Wake Up!" is, hands down, Gamboge's standout track. It's a foot-stomping, confident rocker fueled by Neave's soaring, earthy melodies, clever lyrics, and Stokdy's tight rhythms. A good old fashioned road trip tune, with its narrator traveling "from Carolina to California," searching "every stone for some soft place" to lay his head. And the whole time he's moving or resting, he's also "dreaming of her face" and "spilling poems on a napkin to try and save some space." "Wake Up!" is perfect from beginning to end and possibly one of the year's best.

Another solid track is the somber, broken hearted "Wisconsin Skies." As it begins, "I learned to fall in love under Wisconsin skies/She knocked me on my feet and plucked out both my eyes/Now I could never see anything but her face and that was alright." What strengthens this song is its unique structure. Instead of a basic verse-chorus-verse-chorus framework, the track uses a repetitive lyric technique. Each verse paints a different picture of Wisconsin skies, sometimes illustrating "clean Wisconsin skies", other times "stale Wisconsin skies". The result makes for a colorful, vivid depiction of how much love (or its loss) changes how one sees their surroundings, positively and negatively.

Though Cedarwell typically goes for a mellow folk sound, the robust, power-chord driven "Lacerations" allows the band to experiment with their style. Like "Wisconsin Skies," "Lacerations" creates vivid scenes that root the song in an actual place, turning it into an experience. Neave's vocals are strongest here, as he belts "button up your collar babe because Boston is getting cold/ something like Sheboygan wind when October unfolds/this time of year the leaves will fall and fill your hands with gold/then turn into lacerations." This song manifests Cedarwell's greatest strength: an ability to blend the poetic with place. Their work is never too abstract, but rather sets listeners in certain towns and cities, thus making the songs realistic and beautiful. This is a rare talent that countless songwriters have difficulty pulling off.

One of the most inventive tracks on Gamboge is the quirky "Spider." Shifting from basic rock to upbeat jazz, "Spider" shows off a more experimental change in Cedarwell's style. "I will not dance in your parade, I will not sing" Neave proclaims in one of the songs many unexpected shifts.

Cedarwell is certainly a band on the move. Not only will their busy touring schedules certainly keep them moving, but this fantastic album is sure to keep their audience expanding. And though their previous EP's are solid efforts, Gamboge is a stellar full-length debut, crafted with a songsmith's touch and a passion for authentic rock n' roll.

-Justin Stover
www.hybridmagazine.com - Justin Stover

"Live Show Review"

Ok, so I've always been in love with Sheboygan. Nonsense, you say, you've never even been there. I know...but all my life, it's been Sheboygan this and Sheboygan that...from my Sheboygan lunchbox in the second grade to the Sheboygan ink I got at seventeen. Finally, the reason for my obsession has become so clear. The story goes something like this...

I randomly wandered into TT's on what should have been a very uneventful Monday night. As the smoke cleared, my dreams of Sheboygan bliss blossomed into fruition in the ultra-amazing forms of Erik G. Neave and Joel Philip Stokdyk.

In what can only be described as magic...indefinable presence came at me tangled up with a divinely textured voice, imaginative lyrics, and lovely, ear-hugging sounds. Pardon my gushing (and overabundance of adjectives, of course) but sometimes complete strangers will just speak to you in the weirdest way.

I call them all of this, but they answer to Cedarwell instead.

Besides giving good live action, their recent album Gamboge will knock your socks off and leave your heart writhing on the floor. And there you'll be…sockless and heartless, yet so damn warm inside. I already test-drove this one for you for like seven hours straight. Now you must go forth and get your own.
- Christy Leigh


Smoky Mountain Bear-Cedarwell (2008)
Gamboge by Cedarwell (2006)
Cedarwell-EP (2005)
Cedarwell as "amalgam"-Play the Man(2002) and Of All the Latest Trends(2004)
Cedarwell as Erik G. Neave-Self Titled(2003)



A man and his dog. They go for a hike. Holy Smokes! It's a bear!!!!

Cedarwell’s Erik Neave well embodies his northern heritage. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, should be proud of such a wonderfully full beard, such tough flannel shirts and darkly twisted, acoustic-pop songs that seem to ride nature’s very rhythm. Crisp clarity and addicting genuineness hibernate Neave’s voice somewhere in the back of your memory, somewhere where it can stay for a long, long time, constantly reminding you that this is Wisconsin, and winter never really ends.

Weaving richly textured layers of sound, yet remaining undeniably sparse, Cedarwell's "Smoky Mountain Bear" is a meditative self-confrontation that is raw with mournful honesty and rife with expansive landscape imagery.

Old biography:
Just before the morning, while the nervous sun hesitates beyond the horizon, Cedarwell wakes up at the bottom of the ocean. Slowly gasping for a breath and swimming towards the surface Joel Philip Stokdyk (drums, percussion, harmonica) realizes they are far away from home. Erik G. Neave (acoustic guitar, voice) gets sucked up behind him and grabs a glossy tuft of seaweed peeking out from a slit of darkness and screams up to his shrinking partner “I will never let go. I can never let go.”
Sheboygan WI is not necessarily known as a hotbed for new music but it does border the great Lake Michigan. In the spring of 2000, rolling waves bruised the shore and spread to meet the toes of four young shaky dreamers as if they stood somehow closer through shivering at the same cool water. Naturally, they picked up instruments and began to write and record music under the name amalgam. (www.purevolume.com/amalgam) During the 4 years of learning and maturing as musicians in amalgam, they recorded two full length CDs of original material, played hundreds of shows, and built a loyal Midwest fan base. Lake Michigan could probably swallow Sheboygan, but they longed for a swirling pool of unknown to explore and fill. In 2004, they packed up a van and drove to the edge of America to live and play music in Boston for one year. Amalgam was starting to develop a moderate but equally loyal fan base on the east coast when a tragic afternoon pulled the four to the border of the beach. They stood for a moment or two teetering between options and tracing out possibilities. Joel and Erik dove in one wave too soon and never saw the rest of amalgam again.
Infinite depth sucked and spit them back and forth through the openings in this the mother of their own Lake Michigan. “Water creates! Water will destroy!” They screamed again and again and again as though fear breeds repetition. Finally, after a struggle against the inevitable, they spun through the darkness and the current laid them softly on the ocean floor and named them Cedarwell. Soaked in weight and blackness, they slept for a summer and dreamt of colored glass, dry land walking, crimson leaves, Wisconsin skies, and lighthouses that point to heaven but are rooted in hell. Here on the mossy sand Erik first muttered out the opening lines to Cedarwell’s first single “Breathe Underwater” in the state where dreams and open eyes collide to create an un-nameable. “Walk until we fall and you see bruises. I saw submarines but could not speak. And we both saw angels blooming into another week where we breathe underwater.”

Joel spiraled up the same way he had come and heard the faint cry of stubbornness from far below. “I can never let go.” Flipping his direction and struggling against the gas building in his lungs, he finally reached Erik and saw that he had mistaken the tuft of seaweed for a wandering thread of all reality. Thinking that the daylight was just beyond this slit of immeasurable darkness, he fought with equal parts courage and futility to clench the tangled seaweed in his shaking fists and stuttered a weak melody of false hope; “Wait until tomorrow comes. Wait until tomorrow.” Joel attempted to pry his fingers and forced his own phrase through the density of deep sea black and blue; “Look up my friend, look up. The daylight is breaking.” At that moment a snap echoed across the fallen ocean as the slit of darkness lost its grip on illusions and sent Cedarwell tumbling up towards the ever growing light to penetrate the glassy surface and whisper; “Good morning sun. We are called Cedarwell.”

In the fall of 2005, Cedarwell released a three song EP and began touring extensively between their two homes, Sheboygan, WI and Boston, MA. Cedarwell pleasantly surprises audiences in each city with a dynamic performance based around Erik’s songwriting and vocals and augmented by Joel’s amalgam of subtle percussion, energetic drumming, and backing harmonica and vocals. Their music draws on influences from early rock and roll, modern pop-rock, and singer songwriter sensibility with thought provoking lyrics on observations from time at the bottom of darkness and th