The Crux
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The Crux

Band Folk Comedy


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Bright Moments: The Shows that Reaffirmed my Faith"

Gabe Meline, Associate Editor of The Bohemian, wrote an article where he recalls the best live shows of 2008. In this article, he names two Crux shows:

"At the Boogie Room, watching members of the Crux lead a holy-rolling revival in the dead of night, inside a cold barn, rousing classics like "Mary Don't You Weep" by candlelight and baptizing the congregation with water; then, later, watching them shout through bullhorns, rattle large chains and cause the floorboards of the barn to nearly buckle under the weight of the enraptured crowd. Faith in ramshackle theater." - The North Bay Bohemian

"Barn Loyalists: Interdependent Theatrics and The Crux"

The Crux belong in barns, clanging away with armloads of rusted chains, wailing through cheap electric bullhorns, hoisting ancient portable cassette players in the air and pressing play, pressing the buttons half-sewn onto last century's dresses and defrocking the eternal mystery of theater.
For the past two years, The Crux, from Santa Rosa, have perfected their Doc Watson-by-way-of-Joe-Strummer outpourings in all manner of places: pubs, parties, theaters. But the barns where they were born and where they belong most- the barns whose splintery wood grain echoes with countless shanties, cobblestones, murder ballads and bloodied lace- those barns are destined for goodbye.
The Boogie Room, the latest barn soon to bid farewell, hosts the most bittersweet The Crux's CD release shows this weekend for their debut album, Now Ferment. No other band defined the spirit of the Boogie Room quite like The Crux, and it's fitting that their album comes out in the same week the under-the-radar DIY venue closes down. Now Ferment is The Crux's child, just as they are the Boogie Room's child, and grandparent will have one chance to welcome kin into the world before shuffling off.
"I think we grew together, in a big way," says The Crux's Josh Stithem, age 26, sitting on the railroad tracks one recent morning. "Maybe the Boogie Room's the womb, or maybe it's our twin in the womb...Our relationship is pretty deep."
That relationship fostered the Boogie Room's Insect Carnival, where during each annual three-day festival Stithem and 22-year-band mate Tim Dixon presented a holy-rolling barn revival by donning white robes, lighting candles and shouting a crazed sermon of repentance and redemption backed by a 10-member choir. Limber backs would bend backwards toward the roof beams, arms shaking, heads baptized with water. Was it real? Was it a mockery? "We find the sacred in the profane," is all Stithem says.
The Crux began when Stithem and Dixon met working at Sonoma County Conservation Action, and for six months before their first rehearsal they'd discuss creating a traveling vaudevillian troupe of music, theater, and circus performance. "When we started," Dixon says, "we were like, OK, here's a couple of chords, and we'll go up and do whatever the hell on stage."
Now Ferment compiles that rudimentary energy with all of the atmosphere of ancient, creaking buildings. Adam LaBelle's booming bass drum, as if from some other side of a long, abandoned naval base, punches and uppercuts Stithem's story of black picket fences and bronze sculptures in "The Loyalist." Rebels and lovers sound false alarms with Zoe Kessler's haunting, musical saw-like vocals: "I've missed you ever since you left home," she sings like a terrestrial siren, and, again, "I've missed you ever since you left home."
"One weekend," Dixon posits, "we'll play a Pyrate Punx show where there'll be a bunch of drunk punks, and the next weekend we'll be at a know-your-neighborhood community-organizing event with a bunch of middle aged activists, drinking wine and eating cheese." The variety isn't an accident, but rather a result of the band's ideal of artists as connectors, of intersecting paths, of, as it were, a crux. "Being an independent artist doesn't mean you're cut off from the community," says Stithem. "It means you know how to interact with your environment."
The Crux belong in barns, but they sit here this morning on the railroad tracks, talking about what comes next. Evidently, it involves constructing the barn planks into a ship. "And after the pirate ship," Stithem explains, "we settle in a small town that's corrupt, with detectives." Dixon chimes in. They've discussed this. "It's kind of film-noir, '30's jazz-type stuff meets modern, inner-city hip-hop."
"Yeah," offers Stithem, "we know we are gonna crash-land into the harbor of Carnegie eventually, but currently we're going from island to island." - The North Bay Bohemian 4/8/09


Now, Ferment (full length album). Reviewed in The North Bay Bohemian. Check it out under "Press."

Pharmakon (DVD). A documentary of the North Bay music scene in 2007. Focuses on The Crux, with lots of live footage.



The Crux began in 2006 as a musical project that sought to (a) compose new songs that felt old and (b) to produce an entertaining, carnival-like feeling at their shows. They were inspired by the music of Tom Waits, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, the plays of Bertolt Brecht, and folk songs from many cultures. Filling a special musical niche in Sonoma County's underground music scene, the band was soon one of the most sought after acts for house shows, barn shows, and community events. The past few years has seen the group making short tours in Northern California and playing many shows in their home turf of Sonoma County.

An important thing to keep in mind with The Crux is that they have worked very hard to create a community around their music. They have used their performances to benefit many local organizations and to help distribute a community newsletter that they produce themselves. For two years, The Crux have organized a small, three-day music festival called "The Insect Carnival" during Labor Day weekend. Their passion and involvement in their community sets them apart from many bands, and they have been rewarded with a strong following and some very special gigs.

In the Spring of 2007, they opened for John Courage at his CD release party at Petaluma's Phoenix Theater. In the summer of 2007, The Crux were the subject of a documentary called "Pharmakon." In the Winter of 2007, they opened for The Devil Makes Three, also at The Phoenix. In the Fall of 2008, The Crux were honored to play the main stage at The Hand Car Regatta in Railroad Square. Since then, the band has been focused on producing its first full-length album.

While working on the album, The Crux won the Bohemian's 2008 North Bay Music Award for Best Indie Band. In December, they were named one of the "Top 10 Live Shows of 2008" by associate editor of the Bohemian, Gabe Meline ( Now, with the album finished, The Crux are ready to start performing regularly once again!