Chris Cubeta
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Chris Cubeta

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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(from "The Daily Vault", 7/28/06)

The application of writerly talents -- impressionistic descriptions, telling details, passionately told tales that resonate with some primal emotional truth -- to rock and roll has been attempted by many, and mastered by a precious few. The list of the masters is rich with familiar names like Springsteen, Young, Hiatt and Duritz.

And maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future you’ll see the name Cubeta on that list.

Last year I discovered Chris Cubeta’s superb 2003 release Sugar Sky. His brand-new disc only increases my sense that this gifted singer-songwriter is not just for real, but quickly earning a place among the more prodigious talents of the decade. Faithful is the kind of mature artistic statement you expect from a big name, and do a double-take hearing from a guy hawking his wares on CD Baby.

Cubeta, a 27-year-old New Yorker, weaves his richly textured songs with compelling characters, revealing stories, urgent melodies and memorable arrangements. From the opening notes of kick-off “Me & The Radio,” his warm, lived-in voice captures your imagination, ever the centerpiece of this steady-building number about starry-eyed young lovers growing into complicated adults.

The richness of Cubeta’s work lies in the genuineness of the emotional truths he tells, both musically -- the trilling, propulsive banjo on “Main Street,” the wide open piano-based arrangement on “Much Too Cold In Winter” -- and lyrical -- “You can say whatever you wanna say / But you can never tell that I was putting on a face for you / Even after all the years I’ve known you.” And the raw honesty of his vocals on the remarkable “Clementine” -- “Don’t make this hard / This is hard enough / Leaving you” -- is simply devastating.

The richness also comes from Cubeta’s nuanced exploration of a variety of different moods. “Radio” feels hard-nosed but essentially optimistic; “Main Street” shimmers with a similar sense of muddy-cheeked resilience. But harder realities intrude in the dark fury of “Right Away” and the bitter brilliance of “Better Alone.” The latter is a merciless self-examination set to a bulldozing rock and roll beat, undeniably potent and devastatingly true.

Multiinstrumentalist Cubeta employs a full band this time out in his Liars Club of Jeff Berner on guitars, John Passineau on bass and Marc Capaldo on drums. They power the heavy numbers and ease into the softer ones with equal aplomb, while Cubeta both drives and fills out the arrangements, employing acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica as the song demands.

Faithful feels like just the right title for an album that keeps faith with both the characters that inhabit it and the musical storytelling traditions it emulates. It’s literate roots-rock of the first order, full of sharply-drawn characters, powerful arrangements and raw revelations, sung in a voice passionate enough to dare any cynic to believe.

[For more information, visit]

Rating: A - The Daily Vault (


There was an illustration many years ago depicting a classroom with Bob Dylan in the front row and behind him sat a young Bruce Springsteen looking over his shoulder as if copying Dylan’s test answers. Behind Springsteen sat a spry John Mellencamp doing the same thing to Bruce. The illustration did much to explain the notion that a singer songwriter can be popular and sing of substance. Dylan begat many others, such as Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams. Brooklyn’s Chris Cubeta could be drawn into that classroom illustration if it were done today.

Cubeta sings about life won and lost and the hearty day to day existence of it all on his second release, Faithful. Lyrics remark on common living much as Springsteen and Mellencamp did without slipping into the jaded regions of pop or corny choruses. Writing from the gut, and the heart, is something left to the singer songwriters at the moment, a way of making music that’s been lost to the backyard of popular music. One has to search for this type of clarity, this soulfulness.

Eschewing stereotypes is not an easy thing to do these days. But Cubeta delivers a genuine record with passionate vocals that ache and sooth without overselling it. Faithful is an album rich in American heart and substance, dripping with working man earnestness and heartfelt vitality. It’s at once romantic and honest while pleasantly rugged. Cubeta sings of fondness for substance such as the best way to hear a song is on the radio (‘Me and the Radio’) that is a close cousin to ‘Summer of ‘69’. Lyrically he paints pictures of waitresses and talking heads that force many to seek solitude (‘Better Alone’) and broken souls that still want to mend only to shine again. The minor details drive the lyrics, building something even more resonant. For example, the smell of coffee and that hardwood shine, on ‘Clementine,’ a beautiful and sad lament about leaving someone behind after so many years together.

There’s a lot of distance on this record, between individuals and between the self. ‘Downtime Dead’ is an achingly tender number that is short but exhibits self imposed loneliness.

Cubeta is a soulful and modern interpretation of the aforementioned singer songwriters. He is rugged and truthful without having to go the route of making a record that has to suffer the fate of being merely a critic’s darling. To label Cubeta’s music pop-rock is frankly a disservice given the moniker denotes something disposable and synthetic. Faithful’s tracks are anything but sugar morsels for the cheap ear. It’s rock and roll in the singer songwriter vein.

Cubeta’s vocals are strong, recalling Kyf Brewer from early nineties rock band Company of Wolves and the undertones of Springsteen. Cubeta delivers middle American rock and roll without being overly cliché or territorial. Faithful is a record that will find its way into your foot, making it stomp and the insides that make you want to dance. –Brian Tucker - Bootleg Magazine (Wilmington, NC)


A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a very intimate showcase of music at Foil Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The event was a teaming up of Galuminum Foil Productions and Local Correspondents, and was called P.S. 318: Warehouse Songs, Vol.1. The night brought together some of Brooklyn’s best up-and-coming young songwriters, each performing a short set of their best material in front of a small audience. The 2-night event saw 8 artists play for about a half-hour each, and was recorded using the studio’s state of the art equipment. The plan is to eventually pare the recordings down to 16 songs (2 per artist) for a compilation to be released this summer.

That night I met Chris Cubeta, the owner of the studio and a fine recording artist in his own right. He gave me a copy of his 2006 album Faithful, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t been hooked on it now for a few weeks. I guess owning and operating your own studio allows you the luxury of having the best quality production on your records, and Faithful has it in spades. Featuring Cubeta’s ace backing band The Liars Club, the album contains 13 songs of the highest fidelity. At times reminiscent of the best of Counting Crows and John Hiatt, Faithful is a strong collection of radio-ready, passionate roots rock and roll. Cubeta has the unique ability catch that restless feeling of watching your youth fade away out the rearview mirror. His songs long for the good old days gone by, but make the best of dealing with the difficulties of adulthood. They are layered in varied instrumentation and sweet melodies, but are spacious enough to invite multiple listens. At their best, as on “Clementine” and “Don’t Worry”, the characters and stories are so sharply written you almost feel like he’s singing about folks you know. And he probably is…

- Pop Headwound (

(from "The Chronogram", 10/3/03)

by Sharon Nichols

Nothing’s more satisfying to a music columnist than unearthing a gifted, young unknown and giving him some ink (aside from getting a groovy cd to spin long after going to press). Here’s the latest and tastiest: 24-year-old Chris Cubeta. And what’s ultimately so attractive about this self-taught local is that he’s so real we need a new word for real.

Despite his years, Cubeta has walked a long road. He’s engineered/co-produced for Golden Earring, engineered for blues legend John Hammond, played with the late Rick Danko and Joey Ramone, and merged with The Migrants. A few months back, he opened for Suzanne Vega at The Chance. Now he’s scraped some solo work together and recorded Sugar Sky at Foil Studios in Poughkeepsie. On this debut, Cubeta is joined by bassist Karl Allweier, guitarist Frank Carillo, and vocalists John Passineau and Danny Lanzetta. (Lanzetta wrote some of the lyrics, but the rest is unfettered Cubeta.)

Sugar Sky sounds hauntingly familiar. Perhaps that’s because Cubeta’s songs emerged from some great musical womb in the ether from which all hit songs emanate and one day return to be re-born. This guy’s tapped into that melodic mind machine and snagged 13 champs. The album has a kicked-back, alt/rock feel—both catchy and casual—featuring Cubeta on guitar, piano, and drums. Cubeta’s vocals are reminiscent of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Glen Phillips—that sort of unpolished, laid back lull, vibrato-free and completely devoid of pretense. The guy next door sings his soul.

Juxtaposed to his cordial melodies, Cubeta’s lyrics are encrusted with a shocking melancholy; there’s much knife-to-the-head misery expressed by that effortless voice. Cubeta’s downed more than a few gins, smoked more than a few cigarettes, and bedded more than a few lovers in his dance-with-the-devil-man trip around the sun. He doesn’t get overly political or philosophical—just down, dirty, and brutally honest. We can all relate, and that’s the plan.

“I write from experience,” explains Cubeta. “The lyrics are simple, straightforward. I don’t write to be incredibly heady or intellectual, just to be understood.” Cubeta admits that his biggest influences lyrically are Vedder, Dylan, and early Springsteen. “I aspire to be as real as possible. I speak about things that everybody goes through.”

Easy on music, heavy on lyrics, light-hearted in persona, Cubeta is not too uptight on life. He laughs often and is painfully true amidst the woe. “I don’t judge anyone for anything, whether it’s experimenting with drugs, sexuality, the arts, or whatever. To me, it’s all OK. Branching out and experiencing different aspects of life makes for a better society, ultimately. There’s a lot of stigma attached to things that are completely circumstantial; I try to break some of that down through music.”

The album title is Cubeta’s fantasy view of the way he wishes the world could be. “Unfortunately, it’s just not that way, but it’s a pleasant thought that amidst the bullshit, there’s still a sugar sky above us.” The recording opens with “Billy Elliot,” a track inspired by the film about a boy whose art sets him free. “He grew up in a mining town in this masculine, testosterone-driven family, but he had tremendous artistic ability. He ended up a ballet dancer, dancing through the streets of his hometown, which I found incredibly inspiring. It was a total freedom that his art form gave him.... ‘I want my legs to dance like fall afternoons....’ The rest of the song is about things I’ve been through. I haven’t been in the greatest mindset; just coping.”

“Broken Heart”—a hit if discovered—is rhythmic and melodic, with cheerful chord changes à la Gin Blossoms or Better Than Ezra. Lyrically, the song begins with a drink and a failed relationship. “Me with a broken heart again / I wind up in someone else’s head / I’d like to think I’m going down / Can’t put your faith in rainy things / Wind up in someone else’s bed / and I can’t shake this pain from me.”

“There are definitely a lot of songs about drinking on the album,” Cubeta admits. “Booze, loneliness, and sadness. In the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time in bars late at night with friends, meeting people I never would’ve expected. There are different types of people out at four in the morning than at 11am. I found a lot of beauty in it, to be honest. I’ve met some amazing people who’ve really touched me. In these circumstances, there was alcohol involved, and it loosened people up to the point where they could express themselves.” Cubeta laughs. “I’m not condoning drinking or drugs to anyone, but I do to a certain extent. I can’t preach to the choir.”

In “Athena,” Cubeta’s theme is more salient, expressing his disdain for the government. (“Today will mark another year of discontent and atmosphere / let’s celebrate this useless holiday / where soldiers march in Pleasantville and celebrate the right to kill / one more lie and I’ll be on my way.”) “I’m not a big supporter of foreign policy over the last few years, so there’s some stuff pointed toward the nonsensical American rhetoric that’s been going on and the general acceptance that it’s OK to be gung-ho about blowing up the rest of Iraq,” he explains. “I’m bitter about certain actions, so that song’s a bit more angry.” And yet the music is quickly paced, exuberant, and unrestrained.

“I’m an incredibly left wing–minded person, and I hate politics in general,” he says. “I don’t see myself ever being really involved, because when you get to that level, it’s all bullshit. That’s why I make music. It transcends boundaries, whereas politics and organized religion don’t. However, I’m not a huge fan of the left party either. If I had to pick a political view, it would be socialism.”

Interestingly, that’s how Cubeta, his friends, and artistic compatriots are set up at GaluminumFoil, the small company which produced Sugar Sky. It’s a socialist society in which local independent musicians, writers, and photographers band together and share everything; money from cd/book sales gets divided up to whoever needs it. “We stand by that very seriously,” explains Cubeta. “If any of us do make a lot of money or become successful, we plan to keep it that way. It’s the way I wish the world was sometimes.”

Mini-record label/publishing company GaluminumFoil was parented by Cubeta and pal Danny Lanzetta, a novelist and Broadway actor from “Les Miserables,” “Lost in Yonkers,” and TV’s “Brooklyn Bridge.” The goal of gf is to promote independent artists, reinvigorating long-forgotten artistic ideals. Capital is limited at this juncture, so they promote projects one at a time. Last year they released a music/poetry/spoken word collection, GaluminumFoil Presents Live, featuring rocker John Passineau (From Hell to Breakfast); veteran Frank Carillo, who’s currently touring with John Hammond; Cubeta; and spoken word artists Matthew Cavellier (Five Dollars Worth of Ten Cent Pigs, 2002) and Lanzetta (Drunken Angel, 2002). gf’s current focus is Cubeta’s album; up next is Lanzetta’s 2004 spoken word/music release, which listeners can get a nibble of on Sugar Sky. On the track “Sideshow,” Cubeta willingly passed Lanzetta the mike for an unusually passionate, poetic piece with a musical intensity that stands alone on the album.

Cubeta’s recently hooked up with manager Phil Lorito (Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton) for one reason only: a bigger record deal will potentially earn more duckage to help out the GaluminumFoil society. They’re remixing a bit of Sugar Sky and writing new tracks before they toss Cubeta out to the Atlantic, Warner Bros. vultures.

“It’s not like we want to sell a million records so we can ride around in fancy cars,” laughs Cubeta. “We want to sell enough so we have a chance to do it again and make more music that ultimately matters to people.” - The Chronogram (


John W. Barry

The chord changes that Chris Cubeta plays on his guitar would likely please any fan of acoustic music and Bob Dylan.

And his love of all things music is contagious.

But any die-hard Dylan freak might raise an eyebrow when Cubeta, a Poughkeepsie resident, defends one of his favorite recording artists — Eminem.

‘‘There is nothing I don’t like about him,’’ Cubeta said. ‘‘I love his writing and his musicality.”

Cubeta also enjoys Pearl Jam, but the sound he’ll coax from his guitar on Sunday night at the Towne Crier will be more acoustic troubadour than inner-city rapper. Cubeta will be performing music from his new CD, “Sugar Sky,” as part of An Evening of Poets and Songwriters Presented by GaluminumFoil, a collective of musicians and writers who publish their own books and release their own CDs.

Cubeta’s music never grows tired and can echo Simon and Garfunkel, Wilco and the Gin Blossoms within the confines of one song.
The Dutchess County-based GaluminumFoil will feature spoken word and music on Sunday night. In addition to Cubeta, guitarist Frank Carillo of Union Vale, who for years has played with blues favorite John Hammond, is scheduled to perform.
‘‘We’re looking to do this for the long haul,’’ Cubeta said of GaluminumFoil. ‘‘And if one of us breaks, then we believe the rest of us will follow.’’

For now, Cubeta is building on a love of music that started while recording music in his basement as a child.

When he was 20, the band he was performing in traveled to Millbrook Sound Studios to capture some of the songs they had written. The band couldn’t afford to record all the songs at the studio, so Cubeta recorded some at home on an analog 8-track machine.

The recordings so impressed studio owner Paul Orofino that Cubeta was offered a job. Years later, he has many recording credits, including having worked on a record by Hammond that was produced by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. Cubeta has also worked with the band Golden Earring.

‘‘I love recording,’’ Cubeta said. ‘‘The records in my life have moved me more than anything. It was always more than just the song. It was always the excitement of getting an album by the artist you like. It’s kind of an event for me. I love to get a record the day it comes out.’’
As Cubeta loves Eminem, he loves hip-hop. But you won’t hear any of it on “Sugar Sky.”

‘‘Hip-hop has been a huge part of my musical development over the last four years,’’ Cubeta said. ‘‘I got frustrated by some of the rock music that’s been out on the radio over the last few years.’’

Hip-hop, Cubeta continued, ‘‘Is relevant to pop culture. It’s relevant to the lifestyle of the inner city. Whenever music speaks from a place of necessity where it has to be said, where it’s not just being said for the sake of art, that’s when I find it to be most relevant and most effective and most emotional.’’
- Poughkeepsie Journal (


Jason Warburg

Unlike cats, independent releases usually get about three lives with me. If I haven't found something to react to -- positively or negatively -- by the third listen, I'm probably not going to, and that means it's time to move on.

Which brings me to Chris Cubeta's Sugar Sky, a disc I've been listening to off and on for over two months now, probably ten or twelve spins, and I'm still not entirely sure what to say about it, except for this: it's good. Very good, in fact. Certainly good enough to pop it in again while I sit down to finally write this review.

Cubeta is a singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist whose material arguably falls under the umbrella of Americana/roots-rock, but whose vivid musical and lyrical imagination launches these songs off in a wider range of directions than that easy label could ever hope to capture. His creative approach to lyrics -- these songs read more like poetry than pop -- is augmented by superb acoustic and electric guitar work (not to mention bass and drums, all performed by Cubeta) and impassioned vocals. (Side note: I really don't have time any more at this stage in my life for singers who can't be bothered to sing like they mean it…)

Highlights are abundant. The album opens with the raw, Dylanesque acoustic and harmonica intro to "Billy Elliott" before the song accelerates into a propulsive electric rocker at the close of the first chorus. "Save Yourself" follows, a boozy lament that's quickly counterpointed by the deceptively light-hearted country-folk rhythms of "Athena." The latter's strong dynamics and emotional, mysterious lyrics sum up this disc as effectively as anything here; you may have a hard time interpreting exactly what the song means, but its crisp energy and rich melodies captivate.

Before he's done, Cubeta tosses off several more strong upbeat tunes ("Broken Heart," the Counting Crows-ish "Whiskey Midnight" and the rising-falling title track), as well a pair of terrific ballads in "Careful," and the moving "Fall Down," the latter carrying overtones of early Springsteen. "Blood Rush" provides a brief detour into straight-ahead rock as Cubeta works out dirty riffs and dark thoughts ("you were diggin' my grave with a broken spoon / I thought I told you that I ain't ready to go") to a steady backbeat. Closing strong, Cubeta bookends the album with "Someone Else's Dream," presenting a series of sharp, fleeting ideas and images laid down over a dreamy, repeating piano melody ("a lullabye for the broken down / an argument for the heaven-bound… I can't offer more than this / there's a mystery in every kiss").

Cubeta's artful, oblique approach to lyrics and musical versatility make this disc a consistently intriguing listen that promises more revelations and insights with each repetition. Fine, then. Time to spin it again.

[For more information, visit Chris Cubeta at]

RATING: A- - The Daily Vault (


Singer/songwriter pop-rock is the genre here. Chris’s vocals are rich and deeply entrenched in glorious harmonies. Sure there are about a gazillion likeminded singer/songwriters out in the industry struggling to get noticed, but the reason that you should pay attention to this guy and his outfit is because they pay attention. To every nitpicking detail. Whether it’s the rootsy approach to guitar tone, with twanging notes that sound purely from the Delta blues school of sound or the incredibly lavish production that sounds big budget but was probably accomplished with more elbow grease than million dollar studio time. It doesn’t hurt that his lyrics show his character and give an insider look to his thought process. Tender music this strong is a rare gem, so be sure to polish this rhinestone up nice and shiny.

- J-Sin -

(from Pulse Magazine, 12/04)

by Noah Fleisher

It's a sweet thing - a little holiday treat - to find myself so intrigued by two new recordings floated to me by Pulse Editor John Nelson. The CDs - "Sugar Sky" by Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club and "The Story Of A Minute In America by Danny Lanzetta are both by local artists with a surprising amount of talent between them on a local label called GaluminumFoil.

Another surprising and pleasing aspect to the two CDs is that, despite sharing a single label, and despite the presence of many Lanzetta lyrics on "Sugar Sky", the two offer up completely different listening experiences. The best part, however, is that the two will take the stage this Sunday night, Dec. 19th, at 8 pm at a local landmark, the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, a tiny stage that has seen a steady parade of some of the world's great musicians pass through over the last two-plus decades, including a few shows that rank among the best this writer has seen on any rostrum, in any city, anywhere. Period.

In Cubeta, the Hudson Valley has a unique songwriter and a throroughly natural musician. The 13 cuts on his debut CD, "Sugar Sky," are pleaseing and diverese and played in a manner that shows off Cubeta's voice and much as it does his instrumental talents. Though the name on the CD says it's Cubeta and the Liars Club, and though Cubeta will have the Liars Club on stage with him on Sunday, the liner notes say it all. Minus some guitar on three tracks and some upright bass on another, Cubeta plays all the instruments on the album - and very well, I might add. He's got a wispy sort of voice that growls with latent power, something reminiscent vocally of Ellis Paul, and lyrics that bear the influence of artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Vic Chesnutt, to name a few.

It shouldn't be any surprise to those who know Cubeta's music via CD, or who have had the pleasure of watching his electric - and loud - live show, that his music is as flowing and unaffected as it is. He's been writing and recording songs since he was a child and has sharpened his pencils alongside the likes of Rick Danko, Joey Ramone, Frank Carillo, jazz luminary Ahmad Jamal, Golden Earring and blues legend John Hammond. All of these influences blend in Cubeta's music, and all will be on display come Sunday night. You could try and pigeonhole the guy as Americana - as much of the foot-stomping, head-bobbing music might lean toward - but he also knows how to turn it up and rock it out with the best of them. I imagine that Sunday night at the Towne Crier will be no different. - Pulse Magazine (


Chris Cubeta - Galuminumfoil Presents Live
Chris Cubeta - Sugar Sky (2003)
Chris Cubeta & The Liars Club - Faithful (2006)
Chris Cubeta - Change (2007)



Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club

Chris Cubeta and The Liars Club is a brash, Americana rock band from Brooklyn led by compelling and charismatic frontman Chris Cubeta. Cubeta is a relentless songwriter whose lyrics combine nuance-soaked imagery with incisive observations. The band’s sound is equally eclectic, combining the wispy, sensitivity of the singer/songwriter with the unbridled thrill of rock and roll. After playing a packed Saturday night show on a Saturday night in July at Mercury Lounge, The Liars Club will usher in the fall of 2008 with its second residency of the year at The Living Room (Wednesdays in October at 10 PM) as well as its first-ever gig at the nationally-renowned Bowery Ballroom on November 21.

In 2007, Cubeta and the band released the Change EP, a stripped-down, 7-song EP highlighted by the reflective title track that ponders the inertia of quiet lives and the struggle to evolve as human beings. The EP came on the heels of 2006’s Faithful, the band’s first New York City-based record. All of Cubeta’s albums - including his inaugural effort Sugar Sky (2003) - are artistic declarations, full of offbeat characters, ecstatic revelations and unfiltered emotion. In Cubeta’s universe, the heroes are the heartbroken vagabonds, the wistful winos and all the other overlooked beauty-seekers of his “crooked candy world.” Both Change and Faithful are the kind of records that unabashedly announce the arrival of a new and necessary young artist whose urgent and desperate approach to songwriting is all too rare in contemporary music. Says Jason Warburg of The Daily Vault, “(Faithful) is literate roots-rock of the first order, full of sharply-drawn characters, powerful arrangements and raw revelations, sung in a voice passionate enough to dare any cynic to believe.” Time Out New York calls The Liars Club “ a sturdy, passionate, local roots-rock quartet.”

The Liars Club’s live show is bolstered by a high-octane band – Jeff Berner on guitars, Marc Capaldo on drums and John Passineau on bass. Each brings his own flair to a show that is a dynamic blend of passionate, guitar-infused energy and down-home, rootsy melancholy. Cubeta presides over every gig with the subtle and sure hand of a seasoned performer, deftly alternating between wowing the crowd with his guitar and telling the silhouetted stories of the unsung.

In addition to being an accomplished and versatile musician, Cubeta is also a skilled solo performer who has opened several times for Chris Trapper (formerly of The Pushstars). A longtime resident of upstate New York, Chris moved to Brooklyn in 2005 and the band has since played prime slots at some of the city's most prestigious rooms – Pianos, The Bitter End, Trash, The Delancey, Crash Mansion and Rockwood Music Hall to name a few. The Liars Club has opened for singer-songwriter Gary Jules (“Mad World,” Donnie Darko soundtrack) as well as platinum-selling artist The Wallflowers. In late 2007, the band embarked on its first-ever East Coast tour, with stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Raleigh, Nashville and others. They continue to play some of the best music rooms on the east coast including Tin Angel, Milkboy Coffee, 8x10, T.T. The Bear’s and Northstar Music Café.

Go to for more information.