Elonzo
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Elonzo

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF
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"Rock Hill based Elonzo releases sophomore effort"

ere is what Charlotte’s Jeff Hahne had to say about our new album:

THE DEAL: Rock Hill-based Elonzo releases sophomore effort.

THE GOOD: The band quickly establishes its brand of Americana within the first few bars of the rolling and rollicking lead track, “Chosen One.” Hints of slide guitar and an Allman Brothers-like ending scale set the tone for what’s to follow. Singer Jeremy Davis uses a smooth singing tone that matches the acoustic feel of the band. His vocals show strength without being overpowering and emotion without being emo, situated nicely over the instrumental curtain behind him. “Living Will” takes on a bit of a country tone with hints of female harmonies from Davis’ sister Maggie Bourdeau. The band has as much talent to keep things mellow, see “Don’t Be Downhearted,” as they do to speed it up and build energy, see “Fight Fight Fight.” They can lean toward country on “Cold Cold Heart” and rock things right out on “I Think I Thought.”

THE BAD: I would have liked the harmonies to be mixed a bit stronger and used more often — the vocals from Davis and Bordeau compliment each other nicely, as is often found in families.

THE VERDICT: The band’s 10 tracks show that Charlotte’s Southern neighbor is a damn fine part of the overall area music scene. Elonzo’s second album shows a growth from the debut and a glimpse of a promising future. - Creative Loafing Charlotte


"Southern rockers Elonzo bring welcome change with A Letter to a Friend"

As a Seattle native, new Southern music has never come across my radar. My iTunes library mostly features older bands who have since moved on from the crossroads. Now don’t get me wrong, a Southern band with a good country sound is something to look forward to especially when I?m in need of a change of pace from the variety that the Emerald City has to offer.

Take the band Elonzo, for example. Elonzo is a family band that hails from South Carolina. They consist of singer/songwriter Jeremy Davis and his sister Maggie Bourdeaux, along with her husband Dan Bourdeaux and friends Stephen Narron and Dennis Contreras. The band was named after Jeremy and Maggie’s father, Elonzo, who passed away from cancer back in 1992. These Southern natives have released A Letter to a Friend, their sophomore album. According to the band, the album was developed organically live before ever being recorded, and the idea for the album stems from the title: Davis penned songs to, for and about the people that have meant or will mean something to him.

Here they provide a lyrical letter for fans new and old, resonating the sweet heartfelt sounds in juxtaposition to America’s heartland and a deeper appreciation for the home and family life. This is a refreshing change of scenery that new music lovers will want to devour.

The bulk of the album alternates between rock and country, experimenting with the unique sound from both to create this letter for fans to hear. The album starts off with an arousing tempo in “Chosen One.” Jeremy Davis’s vocals blare in equality to that of This Coast favorite M. Ward. Maggie adds great flare not only with her key striking skills while on the piano, but also with adding her vocals to accompany that of Davis’s. This song kicks out a great rock intro. A few tracks forward, you then hear the anthem-like wonder in “Fight Fight Fight”. Dan provides a roll-licking drum solo that then heavily compliments the lead vocals. Some other favorite rock tunes include “Dearhunter” and “Don’t Be Downhearted.”

The band then drifts into some country fare. One favorite tune that strikes to the core is “Living Will.” This track illustrates a man’s request to his son and daughter to begin living life to the fullest extent because in this world “there is always a beginning to an end.” Here they dive into the alt-country scene that makes you perk up and listen. Davis sounds like an old pro at the Grand Ole Opry, bringing back the quieter sounds and emotional depth of country that is currently missing in the mainstream today. This is where the band truly shines. Every member is thrust into the spotlight of each country ballad, providing the family dynamic of talent you cannot find anywhere else. Be sure to enjoy tracks “El Rio”, “Almost Home”, and “Cold Cold Heart.”

A Letter to a Friend is indeed much richer in sound. Elonzo has certainly progressed from their first album, All My Life. They are still able to infuse the same family-like atmosphere in this record which truly makes them a band to watch out for. If you are in the area locally or live in the Carolinas, be sure to catch them during the next few months. For exact dates, check out their website and purchase their album, available now through iTunes and Bandcamp. - This Coast Magazine


"Family Matters"

by Patrick Wall

Jeremy Davis and Maggie Bourdeau, the brother-sister beating heart of Rock Hill, S.C., quartet Elonzo, don’t look related. Davis is a gentle giant of a man, tall and thickly built, boasting brown hair and a lumberjack beard; Bourdeau is redheaded and petite - elfin, even.

There’s a line in “Living Will,” the slow-burning second track on Elonzo’s superb sophomore release A letter to a Friend, in which Davis references his “long-lost family.” But Elonzo is a decidedly familial affair. The band gelled in 2008 with siblings on guitar (Jeremy) and piano (Maggie), and drummer Dan Bourdeau, Maggie’s husband.

But, despite their physical differences, when they sing, it becomes clear that Davis and Bourdeau shook loose from the same branch of the family tree. Their voices form seamless harmonies at the center of Elonzo’s widescreen Amereicana, and do so i ways impossible without the gift of genetics.

Jeremy and Maggie grew up in Summerville, S.C., near Charleston, in a musical household. “We didn’t really play together, but we both always played music,” Davis says. he’s siting in a lawn chair in the backyard of his girlfriend’s suburban home in Columbia on a hot but breezy Easter Sunday. “And there was always music being played, or just records playing.”

Their mother played piano and guitar; the acoustic guitar Davis plays belonged to her. The band is even named after the siblings father, who died in 1992. The name was Dan’s idea - Davis says using his father’s name never crossed his mind.

Dan and Maggie moved to Rock Hill and settled into a home on East White Street. Davis moved up from Atlanta - and in with the newlyweds -to start the band. After starting off as a trio, Elonzo picked up bassist Stephen Narron on, of all places, Craigslist. It was in that house that the trio recorded both Elonzo’s first record, All My Life, and A Letter to a Friend.

While All My Life was a haphazard, derivative debut, Letter is a confident, assured folk-rock affair that posits the still-young band as one of the Carolinas’ next great rural-flavored acts. With hints of Sam Beam’s bush-bearded folk-rock and John Darnielle’s novelist tendencies among its Sticky Fingers-ish rock ‘n’ shuffle, Letter is all cinematic Americana filtered through an indie rock lens. And those sibling harmonies sit front and center. For a home-recorded album, Letter is surprisingly high-fidelity, eschewing lo-fi graininess for relaxed production and lush textures. It’s an economical record that’s rich in sing-along choruses and emotional depth, giving heft to its front-porch Southernisms.

”I think the Southern-ness is just, you know, we’re from here,” Davis shrugs. “Thats my life experience. I write about my own life.”

That’s where the idea A Letter to a Friend came from, too. The loose concept for the record is that the songs are letters to or about friends, loved ones and people who mean something to Davis. That includes the band, too of course. “I can’t imagine, really, what it would be like [ to be in another band ],” Davis says. “I think it’d be a lot more difficult. I don’t have to communicate with [Dan and Maggie] in the same way I that I have to with other people who don’t know me like that.”

He takes a long draught from a perspiring can of Budweiser and laughs. “And because they’re my family, they’re willing to, because I’m kind of obsessive, put up with me more than most people would.” - Shuffle Magazine


"Southeast Performer"

Simple and sweet, Elonzo’s debut album is on that fully reflects the band’s
South Carolina surroundings. With brush strokes of bluegrass, folk and
hard-working Americana, the trio’s music paints pictures of the Blue Ridge
Mountains and lush forest hiking trails. The quiet nature of their songs is
felt through quick, rootsy guitar picking, as found in“About Last Night,”
or in the slow swing tempo of songs like “Fool’s Gold.”

Still, Elonzo’s take on folk tunes are not dated
or tired rehashings of the past. Like Band of
Horses, or even the later works of Conor
Oberst, the band bottles the soul of its
musical inspiration, yet still manages to build
on it in a relevant way. This is seen greatly in
the lyrics written by quitarist Jeremy Davis.
All My Life is an album that tackles the same
issues that have always plagued songwriters,
only this time the working man has insurance
to worry about and the religious man
acknowledges his sin but does not always try
to correct his wrong doings. Most of their
tracks surround a type of journey that has no
real end point, the suspensions that are felt
as we move through life.

This is especially so in the song “Forty Miles
to Asheville,” which details a sort of never
ending road trip of self-discovery.
All My Life is an album that was literally
produced in-hous by the members of Elonzo.
All the recordings were done at one of the
member’s homes. Because of this there are
occasional stints of background noise, but
they usually prove to be edearing rather than
distracting. The overall sound of the recorded
track could be more robust with more layered
instrumentation, but for a self-made debut
this record is truly something to treasure.
-Nico Stahl
- Southeast Performer Magazine


"Atlanta Music Blog "All My Life" Album Review"

Dan Bourdeau, drummer for South Carolina band
Elonzo, explains that a lot of the inspiration his wife
and brother-in-law received in putting together their
debut album, All My Life, comes from the post-Victorian
home on E. White St. in Rock Hill, S.C., that the
three of themlive in: “It remains beautiful despite
being a bit dilapidated.”

This illusion provides the perfect back drop to
Elonzo’s sound. Despite the fact that their
songs are simple and dripping of sad introspection
of a self proclaimed sinner, they are an honest
representation of a sweet southern town, in
which time seems to stand still.

The album was literally produced inside this
battered house, thus the reason for the
occasional background noise and train horns,
that ironically add to the flavor of this low
country boil Each song seems to be a page
right out of songwriter Jeremy Davis’ journal,
wise beyond his years, yet somewhat
unbelievable. With the background of
bluegrass guitars and banjo picking, Davis
seems to be channeling the spirit of John
Steinbeck.

Like the Old 97’s and Band of Horses, Elonzo
seems to capture the heart of Americana. The
album could easily be the soundtrack to Bob
Dylan, Roy Orbison and Kris Kristofferson
hopping a train, watching the tumbleweeds
roll by, all while talking about their past lives.
All My Life epitomizes the art of Southern
storytelling, exaggerated, yet completely
heartfelt.
- Eileen Tillson
- Eileen Tilson


"Shutter16"

The CD All My Life, was recorded in an old-school
Victorian house in Rock Hill that the band lives in.
There's a cohesiveness in the melodies and strums
that can only come through the family you create
with a band: Elonzo consists of a brother, sister,
husband, and best friend. Some of the songs sound
like something you might find on a dark humid Friday
night in summer with a crowd of friends at a BBQ,
lights strewn across an old falling porch. There is a
longing old-man inside of lead singer Jeremy Davis'
guitar and fingers. His seasoned playing, accompanied
by an open letter to his heart, show through his lyrics
the rawness to this clashing and complicated take
on modern day American life.

One minute you're swaying your head from
side to side, another you want to smile with
the memory on the tip of your tongue. Then
you come back down for a choke in the back
of your throat teary eyed connection with the
song "I am the son". "This is a love song if
there ever was one. I'm speaking to a
million, I'm speaking to one." It's a punch to
the gut opening lyric that makes you stop
whatever you are doing to listen. This song
summed up the entire CD for me, it gels all of
the thoughts and struggles and wins, you
overcome.. into one.

All My Life brings you through all aspects of
life that sometimes is a little hard to believe
in the bands young years have traveled
through all of these circumstances, but also
gives an introspect that you search for in
music that you can love for the ages. There is
realness to this CD that keeps the raw
Southern energy of a gifted band and leaves
you longing for more, while feeling they are
sitting in your living room drinking a beer
and asking for requests.
- Dianna Augustine
- Dianna Augustine


Discography

-"All My Life" (2008) Our debut full length.

-"Extended Play" (2009) A four song EP, limited release.

-"A Letter to a Friend" (2011) Second full length record.

-"Salt in the Wound, Flesh on the Bone" (2013) Third full length record

All albums are available for streaming at http://elonzo.bandcamp.com

Photos

Bio

Elonzo is a four piece family band who is named after two of the members departed father. They write songs to, for, and about the people and places that have or will mean something to them. The band's sound can sound can transform from stripped alt-country to a richer, more expansive vision that reflects the meaningfulness of the ties that bind us together. Mostly, it sounds like rock and roll.