CBGB Festival Folk Alliance Night

Rebecca Loebe

Since quitting her job as a full-time audio engineer, self-described "post-brontosaurus indie folk/crunk" sinner/songwriter Rebecca Loebe has played an average of 150 shows per year in almost 40 states of the US and in Europe. An invitation to audition for NBC's new hit singing competition "The Voice," in 2011 led to her performance of an original arrangement of Nirvana's 'Come As You Are' on the premiere episode of the program. Her performance caught the attention of celebrity coaches Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera, and her version of the song landed in the iTunes Top 100 in the US, Europe and South America, peaking at #7 on the iTunes Alternative Chart in the US. Although appearing on a television show seen by 12 million people in the first of its many international airings gave her career an undeniable boost, Loebe had already been supporting herself as a fulltime touring indie/roots singer/songwriter for 4 years. In the May of 2009 she was honored as a winner of the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Award, and the next year her full-length album 'Mystery Prize' spent over 2 months on both the US and European Americana Charts and was named by the AMA as one of the Top 100 Albums of the Year.

David Massengill

The city of Bristol lies on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, and the state line runs down Main Street. That means that when Bristol holds a parade-if you're lucky-you can march down the street with one foot in each state. When David Massengill was growing up on the Tennessee side, he thought that was about as exciting as things could get. But today, when David looks back, he remembers many other stories, some scary, such as the time he chased a bobcat, and the bobcat chased him back; some funny, such as the time he first heard Aunt Gladys cuss. Other stories he has learned since growing up by listening to friends and reading family letters and newspaper articles. They all add up to a personal history that David shares with his listeners.

"Basically, I tell true stories about friends and family," he says. "Basically true . . . or," he adds after a pause and a smile, "stories I made up about friends and family."

As distinctive a performer as he is a writer, David Massengill accompanies himself mainly on the Appalachian dulcimer, which he slings over his shoulder like an electric guitar. The sound of the dulcimer has an intimate, detailed quality that complements the easy graciousness of Massengill's stage presence. He has achieved a virtuousity on the traditional instrument that enables him to wring from its few strings music of a complexity and richness far beyond anything it was ever meant to produce, drawing the listener in to his lyrical imagery and the close-up focus on human foibles and experience that is the substance of his best songs.
Jesus escapes from a mental hospital, history's greatest villains gather for a dinner party, a New York restaurant kitchen crew saves an illegal alien cook from the immigration man, a young woman and a bandit fall in love as he robs her … these are just some of the vividly imagined scenes and characters with which David Massengill captivates audiences wherever he performs. Massengill's songs are rich with insight and poetic imagery, they're upbeat and engaging but full of subtle complexities; this Appalachian dulcimer player with the soft-edged vocal style and offhand stage presence is acknowledged to be one of America's finest songwriters.

Even when Massengill tackles large-scale social and political themes, he approaches them through stories about people, in the best folk tradition. In "My Name Joe," for instance, Massengill conveys some complex feelings about the plight of illegal immigrants through his empathetic portrait of Joe the Thai cook, a hopeless outsider in an alien culture; at the same time, he paints a picture of the kitchen worker's milieu-and tells a good tale too-with an arresting, brief appearance by an incidental character or two for extra spice.

In the mesmerizing eight-minute-long ballad, "Number One in America," Massengill tells the epic story of the struggle for racial equality through a series of anecdotal first-person vignettes spanning three decades; the central incident is a 1986 march by the Klan in Bristol, Tennessee, Massengill's home town. The story gains dramatic power as, in the refrain and elsewhere, the same words recur in different people's mouths, expressing dramatically different-even opposite-sentiments, a device that imbues the song with powerful irony and a touch of ambiguity that deepens its ultimate impact.

Deering & Down

Deering & Down is an independent duo living in Memphis and playing music worldwide. Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, the band has lived and played music in Alaska, Los Angeles, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada and Memphis. Called "the best one-two punch in the city" by Memphis' Commercial Appeal, the duo describes their style as defiantly unorthodox with a smokey Memphis flavor cast in a glow of shimmering Northern lights. DEFIANTLY UNORTHODOX As fate would have it, Canadian born chanteuse Lahna Deering found her way up North to Alaska, where she met and befriended rock and roll journeyman Rev Neil Down. The merging of Deering's strong belt-it-out voice, and Down's "left of center" guitar playing was just the beginning of their creative kinship. The last few years have found Deering and Down immersed in the muddy browns and Blues of Memphis and the Mighty Mississippi River.

Harper's Fellow

“I just want to make it perfectly clear. We are a rock n roll band.”

After being told to 'turn it down' at a Nashville club on their recent summer tour, Harper's Fellow wants to make it abundantly clear that despite the acoustic guitar, honest lyricism and the occasional ballad, they are here to breathe renewed life and energy into a genre that has seemingly lost its edge.

After honing their craft through countless shows in and around the Asbury Park, NJ music scene, the group retreated to their home studio in Rumson, NJ to record their debut album. Recorded and produced entirely on their own, Harper's Fellow debut record Thanks for Tonight was released on Saturday, July 27th, 2013 to a packed house at The Saint in Asbury Park. The album title was originally conceived around the idea of thanking each band member for the time, money and effort that they put into everything they do. Whether it be a practice, show or an entire album, everyone puts their heart and soul into Harper's Fellow and they want the world to be a part if it. It has evolved to be much more than that though. They have seen how supportive people were and realized they could not do this without each and everyone of their fans. So while they still thank each other continually they believe in thanking fans and supporters above all else.

Following the release of Thanks for Tonight, the band hit the road for a 10-day tour to support the record. Highlights included great shows in Newark, DE and Washington, DC as well as stops in Asheville, Louisville and Nashville before a sold out homecoming show at The Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park. Harper's Fellow has garnered much attention after playing with such acts as Griffin House (Nashville) and Kings X.

The future is bright for these rising folk rockers as they head into Eightsixteen Music Studio to track a new song with Pat Noon (River City Extension, Brick + Mortar) before sharing the stage with River City Extension, Kevin Devine and Those Mockingbirds at the legendary Stone Pony in November.



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