Thursday, February 6, 2014
The Moonshine debut release “And Now…”
Portland Oregon based The Moonshine is an idea on the rise. An incandescent blend of guitar, autoharp, fiddle, banjo and upright bass. A rhythmic network of folks and songs from everywhere and nowhere. This is roots music born of the endless wonder of the open countryside, just as it is music meant to be heard blaring from brightly lit dancehalls on crowded city streets. During a given performance one is as likely to hear a modernist take on a Carter Family song from the 20's, as an anti-‐GMO song written in the new millennia with a distinctly old-‐time feel.
Started in the winter of 2012, The Moonshine began crafting a style all their own based on applying traditional stringband techniques to the unconventional, yet instantly familiar writing of Michael Gerard
Levasseur (formerly performing as “Michael The Blind”). As “Michael The Blind,” Levasseur put out two solo records and the 2012 acclaimed Alder Street Records release “Are’s and Els.”
The impetus for The Moonshine was a conscious genre shift away from the rock pop infused “Ares and Els “and a return to Levasseur's previous folk obsessions with John Fahey and the hybrid fingerpicking/clawhammer style of banjo players Uncle Dave Macon and Charley Poole. Afresh with new material, Levasseur didn’t have to look too far to revivify his song ideas. Michael (Vocals, Guitar, Pen, Paper) Rachael Renee' (Vocals, Autoharp, Keys) and Elwood Johncox (Upright Bass) formed the core of the previous Michael The Blind incarnation. Susanna Low-‐Beer (Fiddle, Violin) and Sara Wolf (Clawhammer Banjo) fell into step with their mix of traditional, gypsy and old-‐timey inspired sounds. Thus The Moonshine was born.
For “And Now…” The Moonshine’s debut release on Alder Street Records, the band elicited recording engineer Collin Hegna (The Shivas, The Shaky Hands, Brian Jonestown Massacre) and his Portland based Revolver Studio. Levasseur penned seven of the eight songs on “And Now…” with the exception of the Carter family tune “Solid Gone.” The lead off track “Never Know” is a palpable upbeat optimistic handclapping anthemesque folk sing-‐a-‐long, contrasting sharply with the disquieting bluesy edged “Hard Times.” On “Flood” the lyrics take a turn toward a more spiritual climb to higher ground, with a roots based gospel feel driving the song. Throughout “And Now…” The Moonshine traverse a musical landscape where the traditional and modern intersect, mixing old folk, traditional, and blues styles with indie rock and Americana. The fervor of a new generation crafting songs with an eye towards the past and a gaze towards the future.
1. Never Know
2. Hang Me Out
3. Hard Times
5. Shadow Song
7. Solid Gone
Recorded in a mere two days in September at Revolver Studios, with Collin Hegna manning the mixing board and microphones. "And Now" was mostly recorded live in the studio in order to retain the energy of a concert performance. The album will have its Portland debut on January 18th at Alberta Street Pub, and will be supported by a full West Coast tour beginning in California in February 2014. credits releases 28 January 2014 Michael Gerard - Vocals, guitar, mandolin, clavinette Rachael Renee' - Autoharp, vocals, marxophone Elwood Johncox - Upright Bass, backing vocals Susanna Low-Beer - Fiddle, backing vocals Sara Wolf - Banjo, backing vocals.