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Petaluma, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Petaluma, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Indie




"The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2017: Trebuchet, ‘Volte-Face’"

It was 2am, the night before his wedding, when Elliott Whitehurst woke up his dad.

The ceremony was already set, friends and family in town. But suddenly, Whitehurst realized he was making a mistake. His dad heard him out, about how he’d wanted to make his fiancée happy but lost himself in the process. He knew it. His friends knew it. His bandmates definitely knew it.

Whitehurst’s dad said he understood. Hours before the ceremony, the wedding was called off.

That night and the events surrounding it form the core of Trebuchet’s Volte-Face, a gorgeous, indie-folk song cycle about growing older, trying manhood on for size, aiming to please, failing oneself, watching a love turn sour and corrosive, and ultimately choosing self-preservation. It’s not bitter, or angry, or pessimistic. It contains piano, ukeleles, shimmering guitars, and four-part harmonies galore. I surprised myself by listening to it more than any other album in 2017, each time finding new moments of beauty and calm during this year of constant terror.

Hailing from Petaluma, Trebuchet put out two previous records that were pleasant enough, but felt too by-the-numbers. Whitehurst, generally a quiet person, comes from a family of bold musical personalities. His sister Emily Whitehurst is best known as the distinctive singer of the pop-punk band Tsunami Bomb, and his older brother Logan Whitehurst, who died of cancer in 2006, was a madcap genius whose clever songs captivated Dr. Demento and the nerdier corners of the early internet. But I often wondered while listening to Trebuchet’s early recordings, “When is Elliott going to find his voice?”

Volte-Face is the answer, writ large. With the expert backing of Navid Manoochehri, Lauren Haile, and Paul Haile — whose background with both Fleet Foxes-esque folk forms and majestic, sweeping Explosions In The Sky-type instrumentals is evident here — the songs breathe and pulse dramatically while traversing a relationship that over-ripens and turns into something rotten. By the end, as Whitehurst lets go of all lingering guilt, a giant choir repeats the refrain “She’ll be fine,” as a mantra to washing one’s hands of another’s needs. It’s a perfect ending to the album — a huge release of liberation.

Elliott Whitehurst should not get married more often. Volte-Face is a gift. - KQED Arts

"Holiday Harmonies"

Petaluma indie-folk outfit Trebuchet like to spread musical cheer each winter by performing a special holiday-themed concert that's become a community tradition over the last four years.

Next month, "A Very Trebuchet Christmas" returns for another free and family-friendly soirée on Dec. 15 at the Petaluma Woman's Club.

Drummer Paul Haile, keyboardist Lauren Haile, bassist Navid Manoochehri and guitarist Eliott Whitehurst are known in the North Bay scene for their often somber folk-rock melodies and emotional lyrics on albums like 2017's Volte-Face, though they revel in the merriment of the holidays.

"Most of our songs are super-sad and it's fun to just make the opposite sometimes, and Christmas is a good excuse for that," says Lauren Haile. "For me personally, I feel like people dismiss Christmas as adults, and I like to lean into the spirit of it."

This year, Trebuchet has also put their joy to tape, recording a full-length holiday album, Spend Your Christmas With Us, which finds the band performing eight original tunes and seven covers of classic songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" that the group injects with three- and four-part harmonies to great effect.

"When we first started doing Christmas music, we just did one song for fun," says Whitehurst. "The idea of the Christmas show came about after we would go to Volpi's [Restaurant in Petaluma] and do a sing-along."

After that initial Christmas concert four years ago, the band received resounding joy from the community, and "A Very Trebuchet Christmas" has grown each year. This year's concert also features sets from local favorites like the Timothy O'Neil Band and boasts a massive holiday music sing-along that's been a staple of the show since the beginning.

"People don't have a lot of opportunity to sing Christmas songs in any public capacity other than caroling, so this is a way for a big group of people of all ages to come together and celebrate," says Paul Haile.

"I enjoy that it's truly an all-ages family event," says Manoochehri. "People who have toddlers aren't going to take them to a loud rock show. Well, this is like a quiet rock show about Christmas." - North Bay Bohemian



Trebuchet is an indie rock quartet from Petaluma, CA. Members: Lauren Haile, Paul Haile, Eliott Whitehurst and Navid Manoochehri.  These four met while attaining their music degrees from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, CA. Trebuchet originated in 2010, and have released two EPs and two LPs. Their most recent, Volte-Face, was released in Spring 2017.

Volte-Face was recently named one of KQED's Best Bay Area Albums of 2017.

Band Members