2007 Artist Lineup

Crooked Still

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Rock energy coexists with old-time mountain soul. Spooky backwoods melodies combine with hip hard-hitting beats. Raw, searing blues riffs intermingle with high heavenly vocals. Sound good? Here’s the catch: No electricity. No drums. Meet Crooked Still, the hot young alternative bluegrass group on a mission to bend the boundaries of traditional music. The unlikely combination of banjo, cello, and double-bass drives this low lonesome band, whose captivating vocals and high-wire solos have enraptured audiences all over North America and Ireland since 2001. Four very unique musical personalities merge to form Crooked Still. Aoife O’Donovan’s refined, sultry vocals float over Rushad Eggleston’s rumbling cello riffs, Dr. Gregory Liszt’s futuristic four-finger banjo rolls and Corey DiMario’s pulsing bass lines. The resulting acoustic fusion can warp a traditional American tune to the brink of unrecognizability without sacrificing the authenticity of the original sources. “It’s almost like we’re going back and making imaginary history,” says Eggleston, whose versatile cello style has already sparked a revolution among young cellists. “What if the 1920s Appalachian musicians could’ve heard the music we hear now?” In the spring of 2001, singer O’Donovan and bassist DiMario were classmates at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. Unbeknownst to them at the time, just across the river in the laboratories of MIT a young cellist named Rushad Eggleston from the Berklee College of Music met every night to jam with Greg Liszt, then a graduate student and aspiring banjo player. A serendipitous meeting at a late-night party brought all four of these musicians together for the first time, and Crooked Still was born in the summer of that year. As its members finished school, Crooked Still frequently performed around Boston, collecting rave reviews from the local press, notably the Boston Globe, Northeast Performer, and the Boston Herald. The band’s fan base grew until it became almost impossible to get into the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge when Crooked Still took the stage. A trip to the North American Folk Alliance in 2004 resulted in invitations to perform at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and historic Newport Folk Festival. Hop High, the debut album from Crooked Still, was released at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in July, 2004 and was the top-selling CD at the festival that year. Following the success of this first festival appearance, Crooked Still has appeared at concert halls, nightclubs, coffeehouses, and festivals in twenty-three states and several different countries. This grassroots endeavor frequently lands Hop High among the top ten best-selling CD’s at the online independent megastore CD Baby. Although being an unsigned band has afforded Crooked Still the maximum creative freedom, when the president of Signature Sounds Recordings came knocking, Crooked Still listened. With a roster that includes such diverse acts as indie-rocker Josh Ritter, contemporary songwriter Lori McKenna, and old-timey folk jammers The Mammals, Signature Sounds was a perfect fit, simultaneously progressive and down-to-earth.

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