Jeff & Vida Band

Jeff & Vida Band

BandAmericanaBluegrass

"A powerhouse Americana duo, Jeff Burke and Vida Wakeman have a knack for penning originals...they create heartbreaking Americana songs." -Jim Reed, Savannah Connect

Biography

“they not only ‘fit in the Americana category’ but I believe they define its roots”. -Michael Johnson (Dallas Rockzilla World)

At Jeff & Vida’s New Orleans Jazzfest performance this year people filled every seat and spilled into the aisles of the Lagniappe Stage to see the band which is quickly emerging as New Orleans’ top Americana act. Maybe it’s the fast pickin’, loud singing and drive that gets folks to connect, maybe it’s their songs. Maybe it’s that you feel like they probably turned the radio off a long time ago.

After moving to New Orleans from New York City in 1999 they went from playing open mics to touring over 175 dates a year, both nationally and internationally in just a few years. They’ve  recorded three albums, to critical acclaim. Their latest, “Loaded”, has been voted on of the top cds of 2004 by Offbeat Magazine, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, and The Gambit weekly. They recently won the coveted Big Easy Award in the folk/country category. They continue to win fans worldwide with their humor, good music and unforgettable songs.

An intimate band, they are never small where musicality or volume is concerned. Blending traditional bluegrass with alternative country sounds of today, the groups original songs have a modern sensibility about them while maintaining the feeling that they were created on somebody’s front porch way back in the day.

With an unmistakable voice distinctly her own, Vida has been compared to plenty of female singers ranging from Loretta Lynn to Gillian Welch. This said, it doesn’t quite capture the uniqueness of her singing.  It is a homegrown, rootsy style with just enough twang and just enough toughness. She can growl, moan, twang, break that voice up, and do anything else it takes to get a song through to you. “I sing the way I should, that’s all I can say.” is what she says when asked.

Jeff jumps between mandolin, banjo and guitar throughout their shows often evoking the comment  “Your hands were just a blur. I couldn’t see what you were doing but I sure could hear it!” Jeff Burke is not only an amazingly unique banjo, mandolin, and flat top guitar player, he started his musical career in a high school garage band, but also plays with a deep appreciation for the unique sounds each of his instruments has to offer. “I play an instrument always keeping in mind the special sounds that it is capable of making, that helps define my playing.” In addition, Burke adds his voice to almost every song finding its way in, out, above and around Vida’s, yet another tool in their sonic arsenal.

Together, the two combine these multiple elements to showcase their greatest strength-their original songs, while creating a sound both strong and wistful and maintaining that hard-livin’ edge crucial to roots music. Their style never tires and their live shows never disappoint.

Discography

Loaded (Binky Records, 2004)
The Simplest Plans( Binky Records, 2002)
One Horse Town (Independent, 2000)

Set List

Set length 2-3 hours of original upbeat material
Festival sets vary, up to three (45min) sets a day or two longer sets
Concerts, preferably two 45-50 minute sets
Bar gigs, four hours