Strong Water
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Strong Water

Harrisonburg, VA | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Harrisonburg, VA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Americana Folk




"Folk music for these foggy fall mornings"

When I woke up today there was a nice layer of fog across the back yard. The trees were tucked in, looking like they didn’t want to be awake any more than I did. It had a crisp chill in the air that made the hot cup of coffee cut through all the better. Here’s a soundtrack I put together for that moment.

Strong Water – “If I Was”
-This type of folk music is rare but welcome. There’s a punctuated joy to the way the lines fit together. I love the hand clapping that make it feel like you’re together with a group of friends. It’s tailor made to sing in a round with your friends. All I can ask is what color flannel are you wearing when you listen to this? - EartotheGround Music

"Strong Water “Bearfoot” (Independent, 2018)"

Strong Water are a folk/americana group coming out of Harrisonburg, VA and their second full length ‘Bearfoot’ is a self funded, released and recorded effort put together after a fantastic reception to their previous release, the self-titled ‘Strong Water’ released in 2016. Since then, the group have performed together a lot more and which has seemingly allowed them to hone their skills at both playing and songwriting to allow them to really flourish as a band.

The record opens with the 4 minute track ‘Tuscarora’ which is a musical journey in itself and a fantastic opener to ‘Bearfoot’. The first half of the track consists of an instrumental which builds up gradually, showcasing the impressive level of musicianship and composition ability straight off the bat, into a very brief vocal line, a short crescendo and then building even further into a huge climax and from the off, it is clear that Strong Water mean business with this record.

‘If I Was’ is the polar opposite to the frantic and dynamic track which precedes it, beginning with the vocals of Greg Brennan, finger-picked acoustic guitar and percussion predominantly provided by the groups hands, before introducing some strings and some more traditional percussion work. The song itself, never really picks up the pace like the opener and focuses largely on the lyrics with Greg Brennan’s vocals at the forefront for the most part, with some harmonies in the latter half. The inclusion of some studio chatter in the background is a nice touch and an indication that the group had a lot of fun in the studio which has translated into the upbeat sound of the record.

Album namesake ‘Bearfoot’ leans towards a more blues sound vocally and as a whole is more of a traditional full band number, again allowing the band to play in harmony with each other and as a unit, they seem to bounce off each other well with each person allowing others to have their moment whilst maintaining a solid cohesion in the composition. ‘Firefly’ see’s fiddle player and second vocalist, JJ Hostetter, take lead vocal duties with her voice perfectly suited to the folk sound of the track, ‘Poison Drips’ is one of the album highlights allowing Brennan to explore different vocal techniques with a layered full band whilst another highlight ‘In Gold’ adopts a minimalist approach to production and sounds like it could have potentially been recorded in a live room as it has a really great vibe highlighting how well Strong Water work as a group. As the album was self-recorded and produced (it sounds great, by the way) it is not difficult to imagine the time the group allowed themselves to get their sound exactly how they wanted it to be digested and by all accounts, they have succeeded as the result is a dynamic, coherent and well composed record.

As previously mentioned, the record is an excellent listen from start to finish. The track listing is well thought out, allowing breathing room where it is required and for the band to really let loose to showcase their skill and this makes for both a wholesome record due to the change in dynamics but also for a great record as no two songs are alike but every track is Strong Water. The group are currently releasing their music independently, however, off the back of this LP, I doubt they’ll stay that way for very long – this is a group that deserves to be heard. - AmericanaUK - David Stevenson


Still working on that hot first release.



In 2013, Strong Water lead singer and guitarist Greg Brennan finished his American Literature course with something better than an A: the perfect name, borrowed from the Puritans, for his whiskey drinking, Americana/Folk band. 

And like a good shot of its namesake, Strong Water is smooth with a raw, inexplicable bite, garnering inspiration from artists such as Noah Gundersen, Mumford and Sons, and The Lone Bellow, yet remaining unafraid to break the conventions of its genre with a pulsing drum beat or a reggae breakdown. Metaphor-laden lyrics are inspired by the intersection of seeming opposites: love and loss, anticipation and nostalgia, courage and fear, and by the surrounding beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. Their textured sound is, “Complete with howling banjos, two-part vocal harmonies and driving drums” as described by The Burg, a Lynchburg outlet that named Strong Water as one of five acts to watch at music festival Lynchstock 2017.

Originally formed as a duo in Harrisonburg, Virginia’s vibrant college town, Strong Water swelled to a six piece before dropping off to its original founder, Brennan, as band mates graduated and moved away from the “Friendly City.” What could have easily died a nostalgic college memory was reborn with the addition of classically trained fiddle player JJ Hostetter, drummer Evan Hunsberger, and banjo player Tim Cannon. 

Strong Water graduated from the term college band after releasing an EP in 2014 that received overwhelming support from Harrisonburg’s thriving underground music community. In 2016, Strong Water responded with a 14 track self-titled album and began touring the Mid Atlantic on the weekends, gaining attention from larger venues and artists, all while holding down full-time jobs. 

 Most notably, in September 2017, they opened for Grammy-Award winner, The Steel Drivers, at a sold-out show at The Hamilton in Washington, DC . 

Shortly after, in October they released their single “Bearfoot,” the title track in their upcoming album (out Sept. 22, 2018), before taking a brief hiatus from touring as three band members get married and the album is finalized.

Band Members