New Voices, Laurie Lewis hosts
American Nomad, Garrin Benfield, Wendy Burch Steel
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA, 94704
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
New Voices hosted by Laurie Lewis
Laurie Lewis, longtime Freight favorite and host of New Voices, is so excited about these talented musicians that she wants to give the Freight audience an opportunity to hear them perform – and at last century’s admission prices, you owe it to yourself to take a chance on getting blown away!
American Nomad features Hassan El-Tayyab and Shiloh Parkerson on guitar and lead vocals, Matt Crimp on fiddle, Ryan Lukas on stand-up bass and vocals, Mikiya Matsuto on pedal steel, and Jim Chakya on banjo. The band plays catchy originals in the wide open territory bordered by bluegrass, folk, and Western swing. Hassan hales from Massachusetts, Shiloh from Alaska, and along with the rest of the band, they found each other here in the Bay Area – a meeting of kindred musical spirits who cook up an irresistible brew together.
Garrin Benfield recently released his fifth album, The Wave Organ Song, which he calls a “chillingly intimate emotional travelogue.” The website jambase describes him as “a killer improviser” and “one of the best singer-songwriters to emerge from the Bay Area in recent years. He’s also a wicked guitarist and an awful nice human being.” Garrin has worked with such musicians as Boz Scaggs, Dan Bern, David Gans, and the group Friends of the Devil. In his live shows, he uses a loop station to add layers of beats and bass lines to his searing lead guitar and compelling vocals.
Wendy Burch Steel
Wendy Burch Steel recently released her first album, Open Wings, and it’s a doozy. Bluegrass Breakdown calls it “a soaring debut album from a talent who will continue to fascinate!” Americana Gazette says, “Keep ‘em coming, Wendy, we’ll be listening!” Wendy grew up in upstate New York and learned to sing harmony from her father and her four brothers and sisters. She performed in bands in the 1980s, published two books of poetry in the 90s, and circled back to music in the Bay Area, seeking out Laurie for songwriting and vocal coaching. Laurie liked what she heard and decided to produce Wendy’s album. “Her voice is a joy to listen to,” Laurie says, “and her songs speak from the heart. She has been one of the Bay Area’s hidden gems for too long.” The Northern California Bluegrass Society agrees. They recently nominated Wendy for Best Female Vocalist.
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