Pinebox Serenade
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Pinebox Serenade

Denton, Texas, United States | INDIE

Denton, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Rock

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"What if Leonard Cohen fronted a bluegrass ensemble?"

What if Leonard Cohen fronted a bluegrass ensemble? Denton's Pinebox Serenade can give you a pretty good answer, somewhere in the middle of their seven-piece medley featuring, among other things, mandolin, fiddle and cello. Serenade has become a ubiquitous favorite in area dives over the past year or two, their fare ranging from dark, smoky minor-chord numbers to old-timey, piston-driven whiplash romps, to Slobberbone-ish whiskey narratives about the other side of the tracks. Not surprisingly, Slobberbone's Brent Best recorded last year's debut and is working with them on this one as well.

Michael Chamy - Dallas Observer
- Dallas Observer


"Album Review from Milesofmusic.com"

Album Review from Milesofmusic.com


Texas collective known as Pinebox Serenade present their self-titled debut of gothic Americana. It`s a loose array of dirgey mountain folk, dark ballads and gypsy tales, all graced with bluegrass elements and bedeviled with the irreverence of alt. country. The seven members, four of whom sing, fill out their rough-hewn rural arrangements with mandolin, fiddle, cello, lap-steel, banjo, guitar, bass and drums. Their songs speak of such notable members of society such as the town drunk, the local gravedigger, the marginally insane, the lovelorn and the doomed. Recorded and produced by Slobberbone`s Brent Best, in his Denton home studio. The 11 songs on this acoustic hootenanny with its dark lyrics but sprightly music reveal a band who understands the power of contrast.

MILES OF MUSIC


- Milesofmusic.com


"New Album Review"

The prospect of hell and the potential for redemption provide the tension for Pinebox Serenade's excellent "Let The River Take Them Home." Call it Gothic-roots-country or Gothic-rock-grass. Touchstones for Pinebox Serenade might be a harrowed Johnny Cash, The Pogues but replace the Irish with American, and Richard Buckner at his most morose. There is a dreamy dark energy to the band's music that presents something pleasant on the surface only to discover that discontent lurks below. Pinebox Serenade take you on a dark, glorious journey. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (Devil's Ruin)
Jeff Weiss - Milesofmusic.com
- Milesofmusic.com


"Album Review from Whatzup Magazine"

Pinebox Serenade are seven Texans who are somehow connected to Devil's Ruin Records, a musical label operating in Leo, Indiana. I think there's an underground railroad for wayward musicians, but my sources haven't been able to bring me any concrete proof. Yet. Anyway, Pinebox are showering the world with love in their second full-length album, Let The River Take Them Home, hereafter referred to as LTRTTH, or LeatherTooth for short. Contained within the microscopic pits of the silvery platter are 12 old-timey songs that are dark and organic. "Gothic Americana" they call it.



To make their own special "Gothic Americana" moonshine Pinebox Serenade start with traditional folk instruments like an acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, accordion, lap-steel and ciddle (a cello in the field-roughened hands of a folk musician). Then they play original mountain music and bluegrassy dirges and smoky campfire songs, music that is formed from the dirt of despair, songs of love and rejection, life and death, daily pleasures and hourly pains.

The songs are surprisingly sophisticated without betraying their rural origins. The instrumental "Sons of Soil" begins with a mournful accordion that weeps into a dark lamentation that will leave a hollow ache in your chest. "The Plains" is hypnotic shoegazer folk full of eerie sounds and droning woodwinds and is driven painfully home by a perfect and passionate performance. If it's a mandolin solo you want, look no further than "The Faithful", an uncharacteristically upbeat song where the upright bass and fiddle form an unbeatable alliance. "Isabelle" soberly finds that "Midnight is a mask that covers me" leading to the rowdy Celtic romp "The Lash", where angry and aggressive vocals pelt the listener with missives of "Who wants to live to a ripe old age?" I can't help but thinking that our own Lee Miles would enjoy this band.

Folks, you just don't get music like that created by Pinebox Serenade from the radio. You can't churn it out according to a computer-generated formula. No, you've got to live a rough life (or at least read a lot about people living rough lives) and then use your music to work through the pain. But for such a sorrowful album, Let The River Take Them Home, er, LeatherTooth is a joy for the ears and the soul. (Jason Hoffman)
Jason Hoffman - WhatzUp Magazine
- WhatzUp Magazine


"Album Review from SepiaChord.com"

"Let the River Take Them Home" is the second long-player from Texas septet Pinebox Serenade. Fans of alt-country should probably own this already. If they don't they should pick it up right now.

'Serenade mix indie rock (provided you consider a style that can trace its roots back to The Band indie) with real bluegrass/roots music. Overall they remind me of early (and *very* late, think "Rainy Day Music" era) Jayhawks. But only if the Jayhawks had truly immersed themselves into americana instead of just sitting at the shores of roots music.

All of the elements of good roots music are here: instrumentation (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, accordion), arrangement (clever but not pointlessly complex), themes (alcohol, god, love, death). There is a somber (occasionally morbid) view-point here that typifies contemporary gothic-americana/blackgrass music. I enjoy this but I was raised on 1940s & 50s country music (which fell into two camps: good time dance music and white/dark blues). As such where others hear Leonard Cohen or the Pogues I hear Hank Williams. And that couldn't be a better thing.

True the vocals are gruffer than the old country greats, think Mark Lanegan with bits of Eddie Vedder. But not only does the style work perfectly for the music it's acts as a nice sign post that this isn't the bland, safe contemporary pop music that's been masquerading as country music.

When it comes to the songs my personal preferences lead me prefer the circus swirl of "Darkness Falls" and the rough wildness of "The Lash". Though "Bottle and Rusty Blade", "Sons of Soil" and "Witch on the Mountain" all hold their own.

PS: I LOVE this album cover.
- SepiaChord.com - SepiaChord.com


Discography

Pinebox Serenade (s/t) 2005 Hot Link Records
Pinebox Serenade - Let the River Take Them Home 2008 Devil's Ruin Records

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Bio

Pinebox Serenade continue to spread their dark, snake-oil concoction of folk, country, and rock with their sophomore release on Devil’s Ruin Records.
Pinebox Serenade draws influence from the general demeanor of Texas along with Texan music influences including Slobberbone and Centromatic. Add a traditional touch in the vein of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, or Richard Buckner, with the depth and instrumentation of The Pogues and you have the formula for the unique goth-grass/ Americana sound of Pinebox Serenade.

With a fusion of musical inspiration that ranges from country swing to death metal to the heart and organs of dark folk and old bluegrass, a listen to “Let The River Take Them Home” evokes the dreamscape of leading a steel breeze into an Old West gunfight, knowing you’re probably going to die but flirting with the ruse of hope without redemption’s promise; maybe even the idea that an eternal hell of heartfelt music might warrant the compromise of not sitting on a cloud forever playing trite pop songs on a three string lyre. Feel the burn of whiskey, the glow of mortality at the tip of each cigarette as life’s soundless winds abandon the heart and tease the mind insane. Spend an afternoon with a spurned companion, the memory of falling apart. Dissipate the burden. Realize that the temptations surrendered to will inevitably grant freedom to every wretched soul…

© 2008 Pinebox Serenade