Papa String Band
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Papa String Band

Columbia, South Carolina, United States | SELF

Columbia, South Carolina, United States | SELF
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Papa String Band (Album Review)"

I like the Papa String Band. They take bluegrass, Americana, some reggae rhythms and a love of the Grateful Dead, and make music for post-teen hipsters, aging heads and the lovers of wood and wire. They’re a jam band of course, taking inspiration from the Californian sound of a generation ago, but always mixing it up to keep it interesting. Founding members Daron LaBruyere and Brett Mello have brought together a like-minded group of talented musicians who are equally comfortable raising the rafters as they are laying down some chilled grooves. Standouts are plentiful and generally raise a smile. First track “Not Too Cold (Around The Appalachian Bend)” provides a perfect launch-pad, with its emphasis on getting feet moving. “The Other Side” is reminiscent of “Hotel California” but with a shuffling Caribbean beat. Whether the Papa String Band are to UK tastes, I’ve no idea, though like I said earlier, they work for me. If you’re interested, their MySpace page provides a smattering of songs (including the beautifully laid back “Darkstar Jam”), and the whole album can be streamed on their website. - Leicester Bangs (United Kingdom)

"Newgrass Honk"

The Papa String Band may sound like the name of a traditional bluegrass band, but the group’s sound will surprise you. Since 2003, the Papa String Band has been riding their self-proclaimed “funky newgrass honk” current down from the Saluda River. It’s taken them all over South Carolina and many places in between, delivering the sextet from local bars to music festivals year after year.

Last year they visited Augusta at the Stillwater Tap Room and, if you’re starting to curse yourself because you missed them, don’t worry; they’re coming back.

Brett Mello and Daron LaBruyere started the Papa String Band as a duo.

Over time, the band grew and added members who brought unique accents to the sound. Presently utilizing Mike Fore on harmonica, Gary Bishop on bass, Jackson Wools on percussion and Matt Fenech on drums, they recently gained a new mandolin player, LJ Errante, replacing co-founder Daron LaBruyere.

In the past year, since the band has visited Stillwater Tap Room, they profess that they’ve continued to grow and progress.

“We feel we’ve gotten a lot tighter,” says Mello. “Band members are writing more and singing more. They’re really stepping up.”

As far as the music evolving, Mello says they use the audience reaction to gauge the songs and figure out what works and what doesn’t work.

“When we write music we never really say it’s complete,” says Mello. “It’s always open to change… We try to make it fresh every time. I never try to write a song and say ‘OK, it’s done.’”

Last November, the band came out with their first full-length, self-titled EP, a huge accomplishment for them, among many others.

“We try to maintain the freshness of everything,” Mello admits. “We’re getting into a new era of Papa. We set our goals high, just not too high.”

With six members all trying to record and add the sound that makes it the Papa String Band, Mello says that it’s hard to get everyone together at one time, even for a regular practice.

“Practice is hard to set up. It’s hard working with everybody’s schedules,” says Mello. “We try to get one practice in a week, and, if we’re lucky, maybe one on the weekend, too.”

With so many music festivals and shows under their belts, Mello says one of the most memorable of those is always Stillwater.

“It’s always worth the trip,” says Mello.

Taking influences from blues, bluegrass, jazz, psychedelic, jam and funk, they’ve continually described their ensemble under the genre of “funky newgrass honk.”

The band also enjoys the art of live performances, always using the opportunity to work on their songs. They record each live show and figure out what things are working and what things aren’t. The band members resort to improvisation to devise new cadences to add to their ever-growing songs.

The band came up with its name after the group found it had a consistent problem with “popping” too many strings during practice or live shows.

But since they’ve been growing and adding members to lighten the load on each one’sinstrument, Mello says that the dilemma has significantly diminished.

“We don’t pop as many strings anymore,” Mello says, “but we still have just as much fun.”

Papa String Band
Stillwater Tap Room
Friday, October 22
10 p.m.
706-826-9857 - Metro Spirit (Augusta, GA)

"Free-Times Music Crawl 2005 Performers"

The term "newgrass" ‹ used to describe bands that test the limits of the traditional bluegrass sound through innovation and unconventional instrumentation ‹ is thrown around a lot in the bluegrass scene today, but it could not be truer of local newgrass purveyors Papa String Band. With influences such as Yonder Mountain String Band and the String Cheese incident, and an unconventional lineup which includes Daron LaBruyere on mandolin, Bret Mello on guitar and Will Smith manning the keyboard, Papa String Band is sure to please the most discriminating of newgrass fans.
E. Renedo - Free-Times

"The Papa String Band (New Years)"

Starting out as nothing more a pair of friends jamming on local riverbanks, The Papa String Band has evolved into a seven-piece, acoustic-electric jam-grass machine, not to mention one of the more popular outfits in town. The septet describes itself as "funky newgrass honk," and we think that fits just fine - it's funky in the way Medeski, Martin and Wood are funky, steeped in Yonder Mountain String Band newgrass honky-tonk, and loose and jammy in the way you'd expect it to be from admitted Deadheads. The Papa String Band has made the Rosewood hangout Utopia a second home, so where else would it go to ring in the new year? Fireworks follow the band's performance. P. Wall
Utopia: 8pm - Free-Times

"Free-Times Music Crawl 2008"

Get past the silly pun for a name, and the Papa String Band - get it? - is a pretty serious contender in the local jam-rock scene, which could use a shot in the arm or two. Columbia, once home to a plethora of jam-friendly bands the likes of Sourwood Honey, Mountain Express, King Hippo and others, needs a headliner-capable jam band to step up.
Enter the Papa String Band. Singer/mandolinist Daron LaBruyere and guitarist Brett Mello formed the group as an acoustic act after playing on local riverbanks for friends, and last year they expanded Papa String to a full band with the addition of keyboard, drums, and bass - the latter spot filled by former Mountain Express bassist Gary Bishop.
The result is still heavily acoustic, but the additional instrumentation allows the musicians to stretch out and improvise even more, which fits well with the semi-Dead kind of songs they write. The inevitable Grateful Dead comparison was made even more obvious last month as the band performed an entire set of Dead tunes as part of Art Bar's Spirit of ‘68 Festival. - K. Oliver - Free-Times


Self Titled - 2009



Starting in the summer of 2003, Papa String Band member Brett Mello,and friends started playing music on the rocks of the Saluda River. Many would gather 'round to listen to their new take on ol' time bluegrass. In May of 2004, he decided to take the act to local bars and restaurants. The Papa String Band was born and has been performing ever since.
The band's lineup has expanded to include: LJ Errante, on maondolin and vocals; bass player, Gary Bishop; percussionist, Jackson Wools; harmonica player and vocalist, Mike Fore; and Matt Fenech on drum kit and vocals.. This combination of unconventional instrumentation allowed the band to push beyond bluegrass, opening the doors for new experimentation and endless musical possibilities. The Papa String Band's "signature blend" of music is infused with the influences of blues, bluegrass, jazz, psychedelic, jam and funk.

Their music has been described as "Americana," "Jam," and even "Southern fried Grateful Dead." Papa String just calls it, "Funky Newgrass Honk." This is music that captures all ages and leaves fans with a smile on their face.
The Papa String Band has evolved into an ever-changing, spontaneous, and unpredictable sensory experience, so "kick off your shoes, and hold on to your booze" cause the Papa String Band's coming to town!