The High Water Trio
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The High Water Trio

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"CiN Weekly's ARTIST of the Week sponsored by Budweiser True Music"

November 24-30, 2004

The High Water Trio

What Inspires your music?

Everything. Music, art, nature and life. It all contributes in one way or another. We play a variety of styles because the inspiration comes from all over.

Describe you sound.

An eclectic mix of styles including blues, jazz, swing, bluegrass, classical and contemporary.

What is the best part of playing live?

Of course its the audience. We love the crowd, but it's also about sharing something different. We are an instrumental group that draws from rock, classical, jazz, and everything in between. To be able to share that with an audience that responds to it is the very reason we do this.

What does "True Music" mean to you?

Creating music for music's sake. Loving the process of creating original music.

To learn more about The High Water Trio, visit www.highwatertrio.com - CiN Weekly


"Short Takes"

The High Water Trio - Acoustic Instrumentals (self-release)

Finally, in this season of "greatest hits" packages being released by artists without one great note to speak of, here's some truth in advertising. The debut from Cincinnati's The High Water Trio is, indeed, loaded with acoustic instrumentals, but that generic descriptor/ album title doesn't hint at the globetrotting adventures this threesome of first-class musicians (they met while attending the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music) navigates. With two acoustic guitars and a violin, the trio concocts a full-bodied sound of mystery and elegance, incorporating elements of Latin, Jazz, Classical, Celtic and other music into their organically textural, meticulously arranged compositions. Some of the Instumentals is ambient and flowery, the kind of material that dominates the playlist of public radio's Echoes program. But the HWT have a broad enough spectrum of influence and musical knowledge to keep things from becoming too snoozy or "New Age". The musicianship on Instrumentals is flawless, the writing instinctive and the interplay between the players is as telepathic as any Jazz combo. Boldy effervescent and evocative, the musicans of the HWT say more without words than whole choirs, conjuring Mini-sound movies with each different cut. (Mike Breen) Grade A- - CityBeat Magazine


"Pick of the Litter. The 25 Best Local CD's of 2004"

The High Water Trio-Acoustic Intrumentals

The debut from Cincinnati's The High Water Trio is, indeed, loaded with acoustic instrumentals, but that generic descriptor/album title doesn't hint at the globetrotting adventures this threesome of first-class musicians (who met at UC's College Conservatory of Music) navigates. With two acoustic guitars and a violin, the trio concocts a full-bodied sound full of nystery and elegance, incorporating elements of Latin, Jazz, Classical, Celtic and other music into their organically textural, meticulously arranged compositions. Boldly effervescent and evocative, the musicians of the HWT say more without words than whole choirs, conjuring mini-sound movies with each cut. (MB) - CityBeat Magazine


"Spill It by Mike Breen"

Excellent acoustic instrumental group, The High Water Trio, has announced it will donate a portion of its CD sales until at least February 28th, 2005 to the victims of the recent tsunami disaster. The band performs Saturday at the Kenwood Barnes & Noble starting at 7 pm. Discs can be ordered through the band's Web site: highwatertrio.com. - CityBeat Magazine


"Acoustic band with local roots debuts CD"

Acoustic band with local roots debuts CD
Guitars and violin create unique mix of Celtic, bluegrass

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Todd Nelson has always been a local boy. He grew up in West Chester Twp., worked at a local pizza joint and graduated from Lakota High School.

Now, teamed up with some college friends and the support of his high school sweetheart, Nelson’s band, The High Water Trio, is on the heels of a new CD release and the opportunity to live their dream.

As with most bands, the trio had fated beginnings. Nelson worked at a local pizzeria during high school. While there, he met his wife, Meredith, who worked next door. The two began dating and by 1989, they were married. That Christmas, Meredith bought Todd his first guitar, a gift that would continue to shape his life to this day.

After several years in the military during Desert Storm, Nelson returned to Cincinnati, and in 1995, began studying at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. It was there he met Ike Wilhelm, a fellow classical guitar student from Columbus. Though the two were friends, it was not until after graduation that they entertained the notion of a band.

Nelson was in Italy playing in operas with another Conservatory student, violinist Tom Sobieski.

“It was strange,” Nelson said. “We saw each other in the hallways at school, but the first time we actually talked to each other was in Italy.”

Upon returning from Italy, the three met up with a good deal of free time and began making music. Nelson said things just clicked.

“We were sitting around in the living room jammin’ together, and we said, ‘Hey, this sounds pretty good. Why don’t we play it for somebody and see what they think?’ ” Nelson said.

So they did with a small catch.

“In the beginning there weren’t any sort of rules,” Nelson laughed. “So we always challenged ourselves to play in places where we didn’t think people would like it.”

What the three musicians soon found out was that there wasn’t really any place were people didn’t like it. So they moved on to a bigger challenge: Cincinnati’s Battle of the Bands, foreign territory for strictly acoustic instrumentalists.

“We were sure that people would hate it because we were playing with rap bands, rock’n’roll bands, heavy metal bands,” Nelson said, “and a heavy metal band did beat us, but we came in second place and that’s when we really discovered that a lot of different types of people really like this music.”

So what kind of music is it? Even for the band, it’s tough to say. Their sound ranges from bluegrass to Celtic, though with the training and background of each member, that’s not too surprising. Nelson noted that the band was even approached by a rapper who wanted to try throwing some beats on top, although that project has yet to be attempted. What was attempted was a debut CD, and though it has been a labor-intensive venture, the band will tell you it was well worth the effort.

“It took about two years to find the right studio and space to record acoustic instruments in, but eventually we found Group Effort Studios in Kentucky and they really understood what we were all about,” Nelson said.

The studio discovery was followed by weeks of long recording, one session at a time.

“We could afford to go in maybe once a week for awhile, then once a month, it just depended on how much everybody could chip in at the time,” Nelson said. So the group pulled together, drained their savings and held tight to a dream that was becoming more real by the day. The CD, Acoustic Instrumentals, was released in late September to a slowly growing fan base. Although the group still has a way to go to make the profit they would like, they are in many ways content with the result. For Nelson, one song in particular has special meaning.

“We did a contemporary arrangement of Johnny Comes Marching Home and it’s absolutely dedicated to the people that are fighting this war right now and what they’re going through,” he said. “A lot of those guys, they join the military because they want to get an education, or they want to get a good job, and now they’re going to fight this war so they’re postponing chasing their dreams in a way. I just wanted to give something back to them.”

Nelson noted that the bluegrass and swing sounds prevalent on the CD are a result of the group’s desire to do something genuinely American after 9/11. This sound has led to much of their success, especially in live performance.

Meredith Nelson, now acting as the group’s business manager, said the trio is one of the few bands that has a better live than recorded sound. Todd Nelson says live energy really pushes the band to perform.

“I still think people just like to come out and see somebody do something really well,” he said. “With us, they can see everybody’s hands moving; they can see that we’re all paying attention to each other — that we’re really playing music together.”

So what’s next for this talented group of three? They hope an opening act for someone in the mainstream. Until then, the group will be playing at local bookstores and coffeehouses, selling CDs, and expanding their fan base.

- The Pulse Journal


Discography

Acoustic Instrumentals - self release fall of '04.

Various tracks are scheduled for "drop-in" air time and used as "lead-in" music for NPR News on WNKU 89.7 FM.

Featured on Saturday, Feb 5th 2005 on WCUE's The Electric Crowd by George Maida.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

All of the members of the Trio are graduates of The University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. After graduating and finding more time jam, they began writing and performing their own compositions. Their major influences can clearly be heard in their songs, although they listen to many types of music. The biggest thing that sets the Trio apart is that each song is very different from another, and the fact that they are made up of two guitars and a violin.