Grand Ole Echo with The Far West (record release)

Grand Ole Echo

Lee Briante of The Far West

"Technically pure, slightly jaded, no-nonsense and honest with stellar storytelling for the every-man." The Far West came together in early 2010, each member having left other bands to pursue a unique sound they weren't getting elsewhere. Robert Black, hailing from Texas has played in dozens of bands from the plains all the way to the coasts (in both directions). In his Texas days he backed a number of bands in all day BBQ hoedowns and late night jam sessions. He even had a band share a bill with Townes Van Zandt. In Los Angeles, after working as a session bassist for several LA bands like Leslie & The Badgers, West of Texas & many others, he met singer Lee Briante. Briante comes from the fertile Hudson Valley of NY, by way of the rolling hills of Western Mass. His parents instilled a deep love of music in him from a very early age, taking him to see a wide variety of music like Arlo, Pete Seegar, Charlie Daniels and many others. Memories of rowdy irish bands burning through bow rosin in low ceiling riverside taverns stand out in his mind. Lee has been playing in bands since he was 15 or so, among others he played in the Northampton, MA ambient band paris., the Boston band 1986 and the LA based Queen Victoria. Ready to start a project of his own he made contact with Robert Black by posting a simple craigslist ad that consisted of nothing more then a Waylon Jennings video. James Williams is the bands lone CA native. He brings his unique style to the band, playing organ, piano and keys,
He has played in Biirdie, the breakups, and SpongeBob SquarePants and the Hi-Seas. and performed live on KTLA Morning News, KXLU, and KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic with Nick Harcourt. On top of all this, he was the recipient of his high school's Louis Armstrong Jazz Award Virgina born guitarist Brian Bachman had been playing in several bands in LA, but after sharing a bill with The Far West, he wanted in. TFW wanted him too and once the timing worked out Brian joined up and added a depth and excitement to the sound that was greatly needed. After seeing Alabama native Alan F. Rogers drum in a downtown LA bar The Far West knew they had to have him. It turned out Alan was looking for something just like The Far West, and after some mutual appreciation smoke blowing, the lineup was solidified.

Once The Far West came together they got right to work, gigging all across Southern California in places like The Echo, Pappy & Harriets, Hotel Cafe, Cowboy Palace Saloon, Taix, Silverlake Lounge & many more. The American Legion Post 416 in encinitas had become a familiar venue to them and it was here that over 3 days in December 2010 The Far West recorded an album of original songs with he help of Engineer/ Producer Colin Mclean. Done live-to-tape with minimal overdubs this record captures the live energy and beautiful tone of the Legion Post. The boys have been gigging ever since, making stops at the 2011 & 2012 SXSW festival in Austin & countless jukejoints across the southwest. They're proud to share stages with their contemporaries like Mike Stinson, Brennan Leigh, Broken Numbers Band, David Serby, The Americans, Tony Gilkyson, JD McPherson and many more.


Bright Light, Gwendolyn's fourth CD, is her most linear work yet. Already known in the psych-folk world for her organic deconstructions, she now tackles country music with that same dedication to discovery. The results are disarming and guileless. Thanks to a pure clear voice resembling Dolly Parton at times, Bright Light never slides permanently into weirdness even though the heart of total artistic freedom beats throughout this collection.

"With beautiful lyrics, stellar production and catchy songs, Gwendolyn's 'Bright Light' is one of the best (and most original) Americana albums of 2011."

Amelia White

Raised In Virginia, and based in Nashville, Amelia White cut her musical teeth in the New England area, in the same scene that produced Mary Gauthier, Lori McKenna, and Aimee Mann. Her music has been described as hard rocking -folkin -alt-art country… Her Albums BLUE SOUVENIRS and BLACK DOVES (funzalo Records 2006) put her on the map with critical acclaims nationwide, steady non-com radio play, appearances on E-Town and NPR’s All Songs Considered and various TV placements. ... the most current being a spot on FX JUSTIFIED episode which features Dave Alvin.....Amelia's latest album release, BEAUTIFUL and WILD ( Produced by Marco Giovino) is available now.
"The songs come out of me hard and heavy-- regularly. They walk the line between Neo Folk, raw well made rock, and rootsy pop. They have a lot of heart, and a good dose of intellect, and every few songs have a political and social consciousness....sometimes you have to listen twice to get em, though some can easily grab hold of you like an old hank williams. Some call them Indie Country, some Americana, Some Folk Rock. To me they are the stories of my life and love and what I see in my friends eyes, strangers stories. they are miniature 3-3and1/2 minute films. Writing to music comes to me like breathing and or eating, and its as pleasurable upon completion as great sex."

Modal Tease String Band

Modal Tease String Band has been playing old tunes for new times since 2009. We grew out of the Los Angeles old time music scene, where folks meet regularly to jam and share tunes “around the campfire.” Our penchant for modal tunes brought us together, and our fascination with obscure, crooked fiddle and banjo tunes sealed the deal. While rooted in and respectful of old time traditions, we’re flexible, adventurous, and versatile. If it feels old, is foot-tappingly addictive, musically interesting, or begs for tight vocal harmonies, odds are we want to perform it. And so our motto is Music From Appalachia and Beyond.

Modal Tease is made up of Belinda Thom on the Devil’s Box (fiddle), Cliff Latimer on mandolin, Jim Hamilton on clawhammer banjo, Lawrence Ullman on standup bass, and various old-time stalwarts sitting in on guitar. Recently, they won awards at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Competition and the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. In December 2011, they released their first CD, Aggravatin’ Beauty.

Belinda Thom has played her grandpa’s violin most of her life. In college, it became her fiddle — “a violin with attitude” — returning full-circle to her grandpa’s heritage. The Bubba George String Band gave her a taste, but it was 20 years of dabbling in blues, jazz, folk, and computer music before she met folks in L.A.who named the old time sound and shared its traditions with her. Belinda is raising her family, teaching fiddle, transcribing old recordings, and performing.

Cliff Latimer grew up in Detroit and was playing guitar in rock bands by age 13. Always a fan of the mandolin in country music, he picked one up around 15 years ago and never looked back. Cliff played bluegrass with L.A. bands The Spikedrivers and The Homebillies before being swept away by the archaic, modal sound of old time music. Cliff teaches Motion Picture Sound Design at the Cinema Schools of both USC and Loyola Marymount.

Jim Hamilton grew up with folk and bluegrass music in Texas. He first heard old time in 1999 while on a pilgrimage in West Virginia, where he fell in love with this music and promptly moved over to “the dark side.” He bought an open back banjo, gave up bluegrass, and has ever since immersed himself in this tradition. Jim goes back annually to attend his favorite workshop, Allegheny Echoes, in West Virginia, where he always brings back new gems for the band to play.

Having misspent his youth performing Renaissance and Baroque music on period brass and woodwind instruments, Lawrence Ullman underwent a wicked mid-life crisis and took up clawhammer banjo after his brother gave him “O Brother Where Art Thou”. Although he still manages to frail some banjo at old-time jams, he gravitated to the upright bass after an instrument originally purchased for his teen daughter to play in middle school became available.

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