Elia Goat and the Natural Horns
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Elia Goat and the Natural Horns

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Folk Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Elia Goat and the Natural Horns - Studio Concert"

Elia Goat and the Natural Horns stopped by the recording studio on a sunday afternoon. They were here in Asheville to play at Jack of the Wood in downtown, which is the birthplace of Green Man Brewery, on of my favorite beers. Our goal for the afternoon was to record a in-studio concert and produce a video that could be used for promotion.

I had called on Elia to do this because I saw a unique combination of instruments. It was a step beyond the typical guitar/mandolin/banjo set up for folk music. I liked that, so I wanted to work with them.
For recording the Euphonium, I decided to place a CAD m179 at the bell. I was looking for more than just the low end here. I wanted to breath of the instrument to come through. I wanted listeners to feel like they were sitting in an intimate studio concert.

For clarinet, I miced the instrument out front so that I could get an even tone across all the registers of the instrument. I would have prefered a little more separation, but overall I was satisfied that the microphone would achieve what we needed.

For acoustic guitar, I decided on using a Neumann KM 184 to pick up the high register of the instrument. I was aiming for an "over the shoulder" approach, although this didn't work as well and I had hoped with natural movement during singing/playing. In the end, it did it's job, which was to add clarity to the acoustic, and bring it to the front of the vix.

For vocal, I used an 414B-ULS in Figure 8 mode. The goal was to try to add proximity effect to the microphone so that at a distance of 6 to 8 inches, there would still be a full sound. Proximity effect occurs because sound is measured from two sides of the diaphragm (in figure 8 mode) instead of just one. As a source gets closer closer, the pressure difference in sound between the two sides of the diaphragm begins to change at an exponential rate.

The figure 8 mode also gave me the advantage of keeping the acoustic guitar out of the vocal mic. Ideally, the vocal mic could be pointed straight at the vocal while it's null (angle at which it doesn't pick up sound) could be pointed straight at the guitar. Overall this worked fairly well, affording me the option of adding high frequencies to the vocal if needed.

Finally, for the room, I used an AEA R88 stereo ribbon mic. I set this up about 8 feet from the musicians and used this as a natural stereo image. I had the players move around to make sure that they were positioned in way that created a balanced stereo image. From this mic, I took out some of the lows, and added in the close microphones for each of the instruments. This room mic was key in the listeners experience. Without it, this recording would sound flat and boring. You could almost say amateur. For me the room is the glue that helps the music make sense. Music needs air. - Lumen Audio blog, Canton NC

"Music Tonight: Jamaican Queens, Elia Goat and More"

The January edition of Mayday's "Unsung" showcase, which features a new local band each month, takes place tonight at the Northside club at 9 p.m. This week's Unsung artist is Elia Goat.

Goat was born in Moscow but moved to Cincinnati with his family when he was a baby. He studied music a bit in high school and started to study Jazz in college when he decided he'd be better served hitchhiking around North America. That period in his life was inspirational, converting Goat from aspiring bass player to eager singer/songwriter and he honed his craft during his travels. In 2011, Goat moved back to Cincinnati with a batch of songs ready to be recorded and performed live with some pals — including a euphonium player and tenor saxophonist (Goat's band, featuring drums, bass guitar, carnet and harmony vocalists, would go on to be dubbed the Natural Horns). With an Americana/Folk sound dusted with traces of Jazz, Pop, Soul, Blues and Rock, Elia Goat fits right in with Cincinnati's varied yet often traditionally rooted music scene.

Check out Elia Goat and the Natural Horns' 2012 release, the half-live/half-studio effort Acorns, below. - Mike Breen, Cincinnati CityBeat

"Elia Goat and the Natural Horns: 'Acorns' (2012)"

"Acorns" by Elia Goat and the Natural Horns is a jazzy Americana album.

Many of the songs play along on a rootsy note, with an acoustic guitar, folk picking, and a lead vocal, sometimes the production even featuring an amazing upright bass. The bass especially plays a huge role in the track "Shelter in the Ground", adding a solid bed for the vocals that are slightly dipped in reverb, a perfect mix all around.

The track "Pacific Coast" starts off with high harmonics playing off the bass, and then kicks into purposefully loose multi-vocals, suddenly, around the chorus they take a turn into noise experimentation, with the vocal suddenly morphing into an echo drenched in verb and delay, taking things into a whole other realm. This trick is repeated throughout the song, and adds more dynamic to an already very dynamic album.

The album is never boring, while some arrangements are acoustic, other of course feature horns, and take things into a more jazzy territory. Also the entire album is split down the middle, half being studio recorded, and half being a live performance.

Altogether Acorns is a very fun, interesting, and rewarding listen. - examiner.com, Cincinnati Music Examiner

"Ear Candy: songs we like (#18 of 67)"

"Well, hot dog, Elia Goat. You got my feet all a’tappin’ and fingers snappin’ within just a few beats. The energy and talent that exudes from this band can be immediately felt, seen and heard—I was taken back to the time I saw Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Southgate House, jaw dropped, unable to keep still. And Elia Goat is ours, Cincinnati. I hear tracks from our music community often, and I love them all, but every once in while one comes through that really catches me off guard, and I can’t stop listening. This was one of those times." - Daniele Cusentino, Cincinnati Metromix

"Unique Instrumentation Propels Local Band"

A mish-mash of folksy Americana bluegrass that wouldn’t sound out of place at your favorite bar, “Acorns” is Cincinnati band Elia Goat and the Natural Horns’ debut album.

Elia Goat and the Natural Horns are the essence of a local band. The lyrics gush with love for this Midwestern area and the inclusion of instruments not typically heard gives the band a unique vibe all their own.

The ensemble’s close bonds of family and friendship make the songs come alive in a unique way every time. The album even includes live versions of some of the songs, which is a wonderful added bonus because their concert form is very good.

There’s nothing wrong with typical instrumentation — guitar, bass and drums — but Elia Goat and the Natural Horns incorporate a clarinet and euphonium.

Annie Brant plays a wonderful blues clarinet solo in the live version of “My Ohio”, where the inclusion of every SpongeBob fan’s favorite woodwind pulls the song together. The lyrics drip with the essence of an Ohio lover as Elia Goat’s rough and rugged voice sings of our unique accents, beautiful orchards and icy winters.

“Pacific Coast” glorifies the west but even still, Goat has way more to say about his favorite state and favorite highway, 32 East.
“32 East” is driving song whether the destination is 32 East or 50 West. Listen close enough and you’ll hear the shaking of an empty spice jar filled with dry kernels of corn. This makeshift maraca makes an appearance in a few other songs, adding to the Midwestern charm.

Looking for the euphonium? Look no further than “Thank You”, where Liz Burkhart makes the tenor-voiced brass instrument her own.

The most notable tracks, “Strangers”, “Never Die” and “Shelter in the Ground”, contain a fury of great lyrical imagery.

“Shelter in the Ground” hosts a booming bass line reminiscent of a shelter being built. The opening song “Strangers” reminds that no matter what species someone is, they’ve always got one thing in common — singing.

Keep on singing Elia, keep on horning Liz and Annie, and keep on being as natural as it gets. - University of Cincinnati News-Record

"Feature: Elia Goat and the Natural Horns (March 21, 2012)"

Over the past couple of days, I’ve become quite enamored with the music of Elia Goat and his Natural Horns. I have our lost writer Zohair to thank for this, as he got me to join him a car to a sequestered countryside a few miles outside from the heart of Cincinnati to see them record in an anachronistic farmhouse that seemed to survive the city becoming, well, a city. It was a night unlike most for me and I have to admit I took it all in with a silent, wondrous appreciation.

We spent half an hour trying to find the mysterious little commune where the recording was to take place, stopping at one point in the parking lot of a high school while the sun’s set seemed to tell of an impeding time crunch. We weren’t late, but we had taken a wrong turn. No one knew the address or where, exactly, this place was. The only clue we had was the street name. It was, as they say, off the beaten path.

When we finally found the road we were searching for, we drove rambling over a gravel road–itself barely worth of the name we had tapped into our phones to find it–unsure of whether this was the right place. There was a wide expanse of field, some burnt-out buildings, and a latent feeling of being much farther out from Cincinnati than we actually were. When we saw all the cars parked it was, admittedly, a relief. We would later joke that we’d stumbled across Narnia or, perhaps, Brigadoon.

A couple more groups showed up until the total came to about 25 people. A few tacit introductions were shared, but most everybody knew everyone else. This was an intimate affair of friends and I knew at once that I had lucked into something special. Everyone was excited about where we were, this little oasis of nature. Someone told us there was a fire going and we immediately went over to sit around it. There everyone would switch from relaxing contemplation to excited conversation until the sun was gone and only the fire lit our faces. This was all while the dog that zcampered about the property tried to hump whoever was closest–exhibiting a bit too much enthusiasm towards me. I have to admit that I still wasn’t sure why I was there at that point. Zohair had been excited, talking of an impending night to be remembered but where Zohair is enthusiastic I am usually cautious. I had known that we were seeing a band but not who or what they sounded like.

I liked meeting Zohair’s friends and hearing their conversations, and I sure couldn’t complain about relaxing in front of a fire in so beautiful a place as we’d found hidden here, but I was waiting for something. Zohair had built expectations that wallowed just under the surface while the dog tried once again to hump me.

There were small hints, of course. Someone talked of recording equipment, a missing wire, and a slight change of plans. “Elia, could you go on second? We need to wait until we have that wire.” It was, of course, no problem at all. What this ultimately meant was that we’d all pile into the gorgeous wood house packed with knick-knacks to hear Lil’ KK, or Krystal, the owner of that quaint little house play her own songs into the array of microphones. Fittingly, half of her songs were sweet children’s songs, sprightly and sunny and even quite funny, worthy of the rustic, rural environment that was so quietly enchanting. Here, Elia played back-up on a big old double bass giving a thumping pop to the songs. We all sat around on the floor cross-legged and Indian-style like Kindergarteners and we were told to be quiet, if we could, since this was a recording and the microphones would pick up any little chatter. When the songs were turned from the children’s to the adult’s, any children present were asked to leave. Someone did.

After the enjoyable little show we were moved again outside, where night had fallen firmly and the fire still sat burning orange in the dark. The band would need to soundcheck, so again everyone sat around the flame and talked and smoked. The only hint of the oncoming proceedings was a saxophone crooning out from the house through the air, just like an old noir film we joked. Gradually more sounds came from the house until it sounded like a full band was playing. Worried we might have missed the big show, we all left the fire to hear what the commotion was all about.

It turns out they were still soundchecking, but we’d showed up just in time to hear the beginning of the set. It was going to be a one take shot, recorded for the group’s upcoming album.

Packed into the house’s small little living room was the band, surrounded by microphone equipment and their own instruments. Elia stood in front of a rack of DVDs and a big-screen TV with a black acoustic guitar. The rhythm section, consisting of a saxophone, a euphonium, and a clarinet–the Natural Horns, as it were–sat wrapped around the living room couch, breaking into the area between it and the kitchen, where the audience sat cross-legged once again. Somehow, I got the best seat in the house, sitting smack in the middle of the band on the living room couch, with the band sprawled all around me.

Now, it’s worth mentioning Elia (pronounced like The Iliad without a ‘d’) himself at this point, as he stood right in front of me. He wore a simple grey wifebeater and some rolled up grey pants. He wore glasses that your dad probably wore in the ’70's. I hadn’t seen him wear shoes the entire day and his heavy beard and mass of hair seemed to suggest that he’d taken to the hobbit ideal strongly. His teeth shone through every time he grinned his happy grin and he did seem to always be happy. Maybe I caught him on a good night, but I like to imagine that there isn’t really much that can keep this guy down for very long. I wasn’t terribly surprised when Zohair told me he had hitchhiked all over the west coast. I imagine he did that barefoot, too.

But then the set started. And this, friends, is where I can tell you why I’m writing all of this. Elia Goat and the Natural Horns are really good. I sat on that couch in the middle of them, while Elia wailed, and lamented the fact that the camera I had brought didn’t have enough memory to capture even a single full song. And, truth be told, even what I was able to set to tape didn’t capture what was so encapsulating abound this performance. (And surely, these words will fail just as much.) I have since sent those videos on to Elia in the hopes that they may be synced to the sound that was recorded that night. Maybe that will be enough to capture it. More likely, though, this is a group that microphones, lenses, and words just can’t pin down.

The band has a unique sound. Elia can wail as hard as any frontman should be able to, pouring out a torrent of emotion in every song, and while it’s true that he could likely be an excellent solo performer, by adding in such a unique rhythm section every one of his songs has a multitude of gripping components that, well, click. Hearing the songs as they stand now, you may expect that a live show would be a fairly straightforward singer-songwriter affair, but every other musician there, at one point or another, was able to show off their unique talents. The swinging clarinet solos from Annie Brant would fit well in a New Orleans jazz band and Jason Swann’s saxophone, which we’d joked about earlier, made for an easy reminder of why the instrument has so many well-known greats. Even Adam Nurre’s drums felt spicy and unique with the inclusion of bongos.

To be truthful, the band’s unique arrangement most reminded me of the Beatles. That’s something of a lofty comparison, but what I mean by it is simply that hearing them is novel in the way that hearing that piccolo trumpet on “Penny Lane” is novel. It just doesn’t sound like anything else and its newness makes it a joy to hear on just a surface level. It’s the kind of sound a band comes up with when they’re four albums deep and need a hook around which to reinvent themselves. Indeed, I would feel bad about the Beatles comparison if the arrangements themselves weren’t so strong–at times, it’s hard not to think of the fifth Beatle, George Martin. Certainly, the group doesn’t really sound like the Beatles. Their brand of Americana is a lively, warm one; the kind that sets the heart at ease.

It’s hard to pin down Elia’s songwriting though, which is deceptively expressive. They’re songs that read as well as they’re sung. It may very well be that Elia could have just as easily been a poet (I’ve heard that he has, from time to time, read his lyrics at a few open mics). Each of his songs all grounded fairly strongly in the expression of the human spirit through location. “My Ohio” is, perhaps, the only song to ever exist that besmirches the grand ideal of California in lieu of our fair Midwestern state, expressing a longing that runs throughout many of his songs. “Stars in California” follows a similar approach, grappling with the all-encompassing and overwhelming feeling of being small in the grand expanse of nature. And, of course, there’s the indelible “Strangers,” wearing its meaning on its sleeve. It’s a simple song, but it’s elegant and serves well as a starting point for the group. Its catchy, distinctive hook helps, too of course.

The set wasn’t a long one, coming in at only eight songs. But, as the best sets do, this was one that ended all too soon. We all chatted afterwards, everyone rightly complimenting the small little show and its performers while humming that last little horn part that was stuck in their head. It was a fitting sojourn. The getting lost, the converted farmhouse, the bonfire, the friendliness of everyone, even the humping dog, it all felt like something in one of Elia Goat’s songs. True, it may be that I simply stumbled into a part of his inspiration, but I prefer to think that for that one night we all were transported to his little world of melody, with his Natural Horns serving as our complimentary guides.

Thankfully, this was one show that had been set to tape meaning that soon enough you’ll be able to hear it as well. Maybe the recordings won’t capture Elia’s bare feet, stepping up and down with the beat, but the songs will be there and so will the manic energy behind them. This is truly a band to watch.

(Hell, they’ve even got a great song about Ohio. And I mean, c’mon, we need more of those.)

You can listen to a snippet of “My Ohio” being recorded (featuring a boss clarinet solo and a boss sax solo) I was able to video {here}.
The sound’s not great, but it’s the best excerpt I’ve got to show you why I was so infatuated with this little session.

Most of the pictures here came from Adam Birkan. You can see more of his work from that night at his photo blog. - Middle Class White Noise blog, Columbus, Ohio

"Elia Goat and the Natural Horns & Wild Honey Pie / February 4, 2012 / Donkey Coffee"

You can learn a lot from a hike--especially one that lasts five months and spans from the Mexican border to Oregon. What Elia Burkhart learned from the Pacific Crest Trail has played a huge role in his career as a musician.

“Last summer, I hiked about 2,000 miles. The time on the trail gives you a lot of time to reflect on that life that you left behind and see if that’s something you want to go back to. That time to think was probably the thing that kick-started me to where I am now.”

A former solo artist, Burkhart now performs as Elia Goat and the Natural Horns. The folk-Americana group will be venturing from Cincinnati to Athens this Saturday to perform at Donkey.

This isn’t Burkhart’s first time in Athens, however. “I lived there from 2009 to 2010 and played Donkey’s open mic night, like, every week,” he said. “Athens is amazing. There’s a student population, so there’s young people that are intellectually oriented and cultured. But then there’s all these hill people. This mix of totally wacky culture has created this little oasis that’s really a beautiful place to be.”

In a way, this concert marks a reunion of sorts. Burkhart’s longtime friend, Daniel Zimmer, will also be performing as Wild Honey Pie. “He was already in school at the time I moved [to Athens],” he said. “I moved there to be closer to him so we could play music together.”

Since his return from his adventure on the West Coast, Burkhart’s music career has progressed significantly. Since last summer, he’s been working on an album with a horn section. “I wanted to preserve some of those arrangements when playing live, so I started playing with the same horn players on the record. This Saturday, it’ll be me singing and playing guitar, but then there’s a euphonist, a clarinetist and a tenor-sax player. It’s a weird, sort of lopsided arrangement, but it works.”

Burkhart said that the addition of the horns has had a huge impact on the crowds. “When you’re playing by yourself with a guitar, it’s almost very cliche. There’s a difficulty in trying to get people to pay attention to you. Since I’ve been starting to play with a rhythm section, it’s been easier to get people to respond. If you’re rockin’ something fun to dance to, they’re gonna be dancing. That discovery’s been a nice change.”

Along with his sound, Burkhart’s songwriting has definitely evolved. “I’ve been directing my songs away from relationship stuff. It’s not bad, it’s just been picked over a couple of times. I feel like there could be more songs that could be about a spiritual aspect of life,” he said.

The name ‘Elia Goat’ piques some people’s interest, Burkhart said. “I’ve always been a climber and someone that can live on a variety of sustenance. I have good body balance and a big beard... you know, a few goatly aspects. [Goats] are strong on their own, but they’re also herbivores and essentially harmless, unless you piss them off. I feel a connection with that creature.”

Perhaps Burkhart’s music will help you discover your own spirit animal. For some uplifting and upbeat tunes, head to Donkey at 8 p.m. this Saturday. - All-Campus Radio Network, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio


Acorns (debut full length)



Growing up in Cincinnati, OH, a city with a strong and continuing musical heritage, Elia Goat has been singing and writing songs for about 10 years. He is a product of several different musical backgrounds, playing in jazz bands as well as more country-oriented groups, and with experience presenting in the traditional singer-songwriter format as well as in more experimental structures. The members of the Natural Horns bring together a similar variety of musical experience to create a joyful mix of styles that combine into one unique and expressive sound. This ensemble harks back to the days when jazz, country, and the blues were all close kin, but with a modern indie approach and a dance sensibility that are sure to please. They begin with the pure-and-sweet simplicity of a well-written country tune, ground it in the funky swing of a jazz rhythm section, and the three horn players finish it off with a healthy slather of squonk and jive, an upbeat combination that'll put a tap in your toe and a smile on your face.

Born in Moscow in 1987, Elia's family moved to the US the following year, settling in a little ranch house in a rural suburb; he was soon followed by a sister, Elizabeth. After changing districts in middle school, an abundance of spare time led him to begin musical studies in earnest, and he played the tuba in the school band in addition to picking up jazz bass and learning guitar on the side.

Upon graduating high school, an attempt to study jazz in college ended with six months spent hitchhiking and walking in the Iberian Peninsula, and as Elia's interest in a career as a bassist faded, he began to focus on songwriting as a means of expressing some of the new ideas he had found in the time spent living at a walking pace. Stable periods living in one place gave him time to work at his craft, while periodic hitchhiking jaunts continued to provide inspiration and a break from the daily grind. These forays into the flat middle places of America also gave Elia his first glimpses of the stark and sheer beauty that lies in a frozen field, in a flock of birds, in a stack of stones, in a country song. In 2011, Elia returned to Cincinnati from 6 months and 2000 trail miles in California and Oregon to begin recording his first collection of songs; the participation of Liz Burkhart on euphonium and Jason Swann on tenor saxophone in these recording sessions would be the genesis of the Natural Horns.

Elia's songs are grounded in the dichotomy between modern life and the way humans evolved, in the shift between remaining and moving, in the hope for love and life in the face of all that is death and boredom. He sings about the wild life around us and how it sees us, the experiences of living in the modern world versus the heritage of evolution, and the animals we still enjoy to be. Elia sings about birds, trees, getting off work, clouds, hitchhiking and other modes of transportation, rebirth, waiting, sunshine, and maybe even a good old-fashioned love song or two.

Band Members