The Rooftrees
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The Rooftrees


Band Americana Punk


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This band hasn't logged any past gigs



"Deborah McDowell"

If there is a Hudson-Valley sound emerging in the region, then The Rooftrees are solidly in the midst of the forerunners. This is brawny County-Folk of the finest kind delivered by four burly gents with an affection for guitar picking, gorgeous vocal harmony and lyrical song writing. Although the sound is packed with a genuine sort of countryside honesty that befits both the beauty and the concerns of the Hudson Valley, the music is hard-hitting and often political, confronting the social concerns of the area and the times we live in.

This new incarnation shows a more melodic and sensitive artist in a great new band barreling swiftly toward the top of their game. This is not a typical "hipster sound" but something new and as stirringly familiar as the Hudson Valley roots they sing of. - Owner, Club Helsinki

"Sean Whelan"

Chris's new band is absolutely brilliant! I have been fortunate to hear the new recordings, and it is easily the best thing I have heard in many years. Hats off to Chris and the band for a job well done! - The Bad Genes / Anti Flag


Introducing the Rooftrees - 8 song EP - release date 10/4/2012



The Rooftrees are a four-piece band from Columbia County in New York’s Hudson Valley region. They play what they describe as “country-folk-punk-rock.” The lineup is Chris Neumann, Ki Light, Ian Solomon and Ray Longstar.

Chris Neumann sang in his first punk band when he was 14 and recorded with his second band by 16. His best-known punk band, 2.5 Children Inc., formed when he was 18, and eventually recorded 2 albums and one 7" record. In the early 2000s Chris released a solo album of protest songs called American Songs of Hope and Distress. In 2009 he teamed up with two original members of 2.5 Children, Gabe Schaftlein and Rob Williams, as well as Josh Meismer (founder and creative force behind regional ska favorites Mother Fletcher), to form Citizen Band, who recorded an 18-song album and performed around the area rather successfully. Chris explains that since he started composing songs on the acoustic guitar at the age of 17, he has been writing songs “by almost a force of compulsion for the past 23 years.”

In the fall of 2010, Chris joined forces with singer/guitarist/songwriter Ki Light and two members of Ki’s band Simple Machines - drummer Ian Solomon and bassist Ray Longstar - playing songs in a loose format during a regular Thursday-night residency at the Main Street Public House in Philmont NY. After several months working through the songs in public, they began to put in serious work refining the sound and the songs, playing throughout the Northeast as The Rooftrees and eventually recording an 8-song debut EP, Introducing The Rooftrees, releasing October 2nd 2012.

Although they are amplified and adjust their sound to the size of the room, the band plays in essentially an acoustic setup. Ian plays brushes on a stripped down kit, augmenting with accessories. Ki plays an old parlor style acoustic guitar and lap steel, and with his strong voice and ability to compose complex melodies, is the leading force in harmonies and vocal arrangements. Ray plays a steady bass and rounds out the high end of the harmonies with great vocal support. Chris Neumann plays a dreadnaught acoustic guitar and does the main singing, ranging from, as he says, “a sweet gravel to a scream, to a talking rambling style.”

Chris talks about the band, their influences and the music:

“Through all of this I have been composing a slew of songs, songs about war and love and beauty, hope and despair. I write also of the events of the day and of the area where I live. So even when it’s a song I write about women and men, it doesn’t just take place in my imagination but in the area, geography, topography I and the listeners inhabit.”
Illustrating the focus on storytelling through the incorporation of local themes, one of the songs on the album, “Philly Rotgut Whiskey”, recorded live at Club Helsinki, uses the simple story of a lost and found cell phone to provide a snapshot, with vivid images and landmarks, of the band’s home city of Hudson, New York.

“I have always had strong sense of social issues and have sought to weave in my viewpoint into the story of the song. One of the things I really loved about punk was that it was unapologetic, and while we are different and older now, we still like to just let it rip on stage - to be taken by the rhythm, the force, the grace, to be in the spirit of the songs. One of the special things about this band is our vocal approach, which seeks to put out more rather than less - big strong male harmonies, not just pretty.”

The band’s musical influences are varied but include Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Joe Strummer, The Cars, The Band, Tom Waits, and even Van Halen.

“This band is not the new breed, we aren't the popular upstarts. My fluorescent cap is for hunting, so people with guns can see me in the woods. We aren't from the "nothing means anything" generation; we are from the generation that straddled the changeover from hard copy. When we were children and even teens, phones had busy signals and the answering machine was a new invention. The world wasn't so geared toward teaching consumption. Our music comes from experience. We are an amalgam: four musicians with four sets of influences teaming up to create something bigger. Let’s GO!!!”