The Great Whiskey Rebellion
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The Great Whiskey Rebellion

Worcester, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Worcester, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Americana Celtic

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If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to mix Celtic electric fiddle, pounding tribal drums, Middle Eastern guitar riffs, and ad a lot of rocking attitude, look no further. And if you’ve ever seen them play live, you know just what to expect from On the Whiskey Trail. The Great W hiskey Rebellion is about to knock your socks off.

The opening track, “Elzic’s Farewell” is short, sweet, and to the point, giving you a perfect instrumental introduction to the foursome’s powerful combo of styles and talent.

“Greasy Coat” is classic Whiskey sound. They’ve got some twang and some traditional aspects with blues-inspired lyrics about ladies, love, and vices, but as a band, they never get their feet too wet into one genre, making them a good mixture for fans of various styles. “Stay All Night/Policeman” is another one that’s a little more country-like, harkening to the bar scene with a chorus of backing vocals cheering on the whiskey soaked lyrics.

Songs like the instrumental “Cooley’s Reel” and “O’Rourke’s Sandwich” lean more to their Celtic mood, but travel out to some up-tempo, rock progressions, too. The band definitely keeps you on your toes. At times it’s all too easy to image the fiddle as shredding electric guitar riffs.

The trail then takes you to some more exotic places, incorporating Flamenco and Middle Eastern guitar as the tom-toms drive the beat home. “March of the Plowing Elephants” is probably my personal favorite on the EP. The Great Whiskey Rebellion does an excellent job of fully incorporating the versatility of their instruments and playing delving into many different styles while doing so.

The band finishes on a good note, making me wish there was another track.

My only real negative comment about On the Whiskey Trail is that like with any other studio recording, it’s impossible to fully capture the true essence of the band. It’s difficult to do a band real justice by cramming them into a box with no audience, and after seeing The Great Whiskey Rebellion various times in person, the prerecorded material left we wanting to see the powerful dynamics I heard. This only speaks to the band’s awesome stage presence, though. That being said, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of On the Whiskey Trail to tide you over between shows because this band is a must see, no matter your taste in music. - The Scarlet


If you like your whiskey strong, smooth and stinging, look no further than the Great Whiskey Rebellion, a Clark University band dedicated to bringing the sounds of eclectic folk-rock-funk to Worcester.
The band of guitarist Nick Checchio, drummer Emma Hyatt, bass player Geo Poor and electric fiddler Amy Levine has been in existence for less than a year, but has already developed a loyal following.
“We’ve been playing formally as a band since August of 2009, though we had all played music with one another in various settings before,” says Levine. “We got a gig offer to play Irish music before we were really a band, so I asked Geo, Nick and Emma if they wanted to be a part of this project and learn Irish music. And our sound has grown more eclectic and influenced the more that we play together.”
Levine describes the band’s sound as neo-traditional, a very percussive, melody-driven interpretation of roots music.
“We love to throw in elements of blues, funk or jazz in our songs,” she says. “While we do a lot of instrumentals, we also throw in fun vocals, including a little bit of rap.”
While having performed at many bars in the Boston area, The Great Whiskey Rebellion is looking to make Worcester its main stage.
“Worcester has a more relaxed feel,” says Hyatt. “I usually have more fun because we have more people there who we know. We’re such a crowd band that when we have a group of people dancing and getting into it, we get more into it and it’s more exciting for us.”
“Worcester people act like they have more of a stake in the band,” says Poor. “They take pride in us being one of their own.”
Currently working on their first full-length album, band members say that they are excited to release a cohesive collection of songs.
“Working on a CD has been a blast,” says Checchio. “It’s my first time doing anything like this, so it’s really been exciting to see how the whole process works. We’re lucky enough to be working with an amazing producer, Jon Bettinger. He’s a Clark student who, aside from being very good and passionate about producing, loves music, and really understands our music and how to make it sound great.”
The band’s next gig will be at Lucky Dog Music Hall on Feb. 26.
“It will be our first show at the Lucky Dog, and we will be sharing the stage with some amazing other bands,” says Checchio.
“Boston was great when we played on big nights, but I feel like our Worcester shows will be a lot more personal, where we can really let loose,” adds Levine.
The members say performing together is a great experience because they are all good friends.
“We’re really goofy as a group,” says Hyatt. “Amy, Geo and I live together so we’re really used to each other, and I think as band we have great chemistry. Every time we hit the stage or the practice room we just click.”
Learn more at thegreatwhiskeyrebellion.com. - Worcester Magazine


One of the cooler trends in contemporary Western pop is to take the bare bones of traditional forms and sounds, and to reinterpret them for a contemporary audience. OK. Maybe it’s not that new a trick — the Beatles and the Stones started out reinterpreting old blues and R&B sounds, after all. But in a time when the entire world seems so accessible, when it seems you can simply reach out through your keyboard and touch the culture of almost anywhere on Earth, it’s hard to imagine a more fertile time to explore the world’s sounds and influences.

It’s the sort of thing the Great Whiskey Rebellion does with aplomb, borrowing from Americana, Celtic and rock traditions and fusing them together into a flammable diesel concoction. Consequently, it’s not surprising that bassist Geo Poor of Worcester has suitably eclectic tastes ranging from popular faire such as the Dave Matthews Band and Metallica, to more madcap world music offerings such as Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box, both of which blend traditional and contemporary sounds to great effect.

“Gogol combines humor, traditional gypsy music and punk in one perfect package,” says Poor of Gogol Bordello’s blistering “Start Wearing Purple,” and Balkan is “another combo of traditional and modern. BBB is pretty much the only music that makes me want to dance.”

That’s a big thing and seems a fair endorsement. Both of these bands comprise musical mad scientists, and both invested in big, festive sounds and a spirit of punkish joy. Other choices may seem surprising, such Alice in Chains’ “Rotten Apple,” which Poor credits by saying, “The harmonies on this are ridiculous,” and Tears for Fears, which he simply calls, “’80s-tastic!”

Other choices are more personal for Poor, such as Boston project Cell’s “Stop This,” which Poor likens to Nine Inch Nails, and Me and the Kid and Zo Toboi, whom he is quick to champion, adding that Me and the Kid’s “Call Me” is “one of the most poignant songs they ever wrote.”

But if he had to settle on one choice, it seems clear Poor would choose Dear Hunter’s “In Cauda Venenum.”

“This is my favorite band,” says Poor, “and their music is several steps above almost everyone else musically. This is one of their most intense.”

Guilty pleasures: “I’m not embarrassed of anything on my iPhone,” says Poor, “but I did once buy an Audioslave CD … that’s less embarrassing for me and more embarrassing for Chris Cornell.” - Worcester Telegram & Gazette


If you’re looking to dance all night, but not in the mood to go clubbin’ with all those “Jersey Shore” looking people, look no further than Worcester’s own The Great Whiskey Rebellion, a band that is confidently mixing genres and styles to create a sound totally unique.

Bassist Geo Poor describes this sound as “Funky-Celtic-Americana-Gypsy-Roots-Rock.” In other words, a blend of “…Celtic, jazz, Gypsy, flamenco, Middle Eastern, Klezmer, hip hop, and rock.” Picture Irish folk music, but on steroids. It’s quite the fusion. The variety in their style and the mix of various influences makes the band truly one-of-a-kind, and ~ most importantly ~ totally danceable. The songs are made to get the room up and moving. “We’re a very audience focused band ~ we crave interaction while playing. Getting people dancing is our #1 goal,” Poor said. “We love making drunk people dance and be happy… also sober people.”

TGWR’s sound combines guitar, drums, electric bass and electric violin to create a high energy dance attack that was good enough to win the Battle of the Bands at both Clark University and BU Law School, and got them a gig as the house band at a few clubs including Vincent’s right here in Worcester.

With such an eclectic style of music, it’s no surprise that the four members get their influences from every point on the spectrum ~ bands ranging from classic rockers The Who to gypsy punks Luminescent Orchestrii and everyone in between have helped shape their style.

“We love making people happy with our music and hope to continue doing so for a long time,” Poor said. The Great Whiskey Rebellion plans on keeping that attitude and keeping everyone dancing throughout 2011. They currently have an EP available on iTunes, and hope to record a new full length this year. Be sure to catch them live soon. - The Pulse Magazine


Discography

2009 - On the Whiskey Trail, streaming on Grooveshark

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Bio

The Great Whiskey Rebellion is a high-energy band that combines a wide range of eclectic roots music with driving rhythms and rock instrumentation. Musical styles blend between Appalachian roots music, Old Time fiddle tunes, Middle Eastern melodies, foot-stomping Celtic fiddle tunes, jazz, and funk.

With a classically trained fiddle, funk guitar, heavy bass, and driving percussion, The Great Whiskey Rebellion brings a modern interpretation to a wide range of musical influences, making each song their own. The Great Whiskey Rebellion is all about making music that gets everyone in the crowd on their feet.

The band started in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2009 and is currently based out of the Somerville area. North Carolina-raised fiddler and vocalist Amy Levine grew up immersed in the culture of Appalachian roots music that inspired a great deal of the band's early sound. She decided to join forces with local musicians and friends to start a band that combines the styles of Old Time fiddle, Celtic fiddle tunes, and Gypsy folk songs with the jazz, funk, and rock.

In 2011 and 2012, The Great Whiskey Rebellion won “Best Americana Act” at the Pulse Magazine Worcester Music Awards.