Michael Daves & Jen Larson Concert


This concert is limited to only 70 people and we expect to sell out quickly.

When: Friday, November 20 @ 7:30pm
Where: Christ Church – 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie

Buy Your Tickets Now

One of our board members saw this Kickstarter project and we jumped right in to secure a concert for the Hudson Valley.

This concert is limited to only 70 people and we expect to sell out quickly.

This concert will feature only bluegrass music!

Kickstarter Description:
Two albums, two lineups, same songs. One album is straight-ahead bluegrass, the other is raw and electric.

Hello friends! I’m Michael Daves, a bluegrass singer and guitarist based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to performing solo, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great musicians in the bluegrass world like Tony Trischka (and Steve Martin!), Bryan Sutton, Noam Pikelny, and Chris Eldridge. My most recent record was Sleep With One Eye Open (2011, Nonesuch Records), a duo album with Chris Thile (we were nominated for a Grammy!). I have also played in some pretty out-there rock bands (they were not always well received!).

It’s about time for me to make a solo album. I’m going for two. And here’s the kicker: both albums will have the same track listing. Same songs, in the same order.

One will feature the traditional bluegrass interpretation, recorded live to tape, played by a serious bluegrass band in a seriously resonant space. The idea is to produce it as a “recorded event”, commemorating bluegrass done bluegrass-style, performed to the best of our capacity. The other covers the same material, but could not be more distinct stylistically, as it will include drums and electric bass, and will focus on a raw, experimental take on the bluegrass and old-time songbook. The contrast between the two will be a tribute to the enduring relevance and adaptability of the tradition we all love.

Album #1
The first one is going to be a straight-ahead bluegrass record featuring some of the most talented musicians performing today. Noam Pikelny (banjo) is a member of the Punch Brothers and recently won IBMA’s awards for both Banjo Player of the Year and Album of the Year. And they’re right about that; he’s really good at playing the banjo. Sarah Jarosz (mandolin) is known for her singing and songwriting and has several Grammy nominations to show for it. She also happens to be a great straight-ahead mandolin player. Brittany Haas (fiddle) performs with both Crooked Still and Haas/Kowert/Tice. Uniquely, she is really good with both old-time and bluegrass styles. Mike Bub (bass) came to prominence in the ’90s with the Del McCoury band. He is the bluegrass bass player.

We’ll be recording live to analog tape in an amazing-sounding 19th-century church hall here in Brooklyn. The material we’ll be doing largely draws from old-time and “pre-bluegrass” sources. We will be avoiding digital monkeying and much of the hoo-ha that characterizes most modern recording experiences to preserve the honesty of the performances and the ambience we’re looking to capture. If you’ve got a great space, a primo slate of musicians, and minimal, old-school recording techniques then you’ve got all you need to produce pure, uncut bluegrass.

Album #2
The other album draws from my musical interests outside of bluegrass. I grew up in a bluegrass household but have always had rock bands. After I moved to NYC in 2003 I formed The Buzz Buzz Tabernacle, an electric trio with a rock drummer and banjo/violin played by someone completely unfamiliar with traditional music. I didn’t come away from the Buzz Buzz Tabernacle with a lot of new fans but I did take away a sense of the elasticity and expansiveness of the bluegrass repertoire. The next step was to start accompanying my solo material with drums – kick drum with one foot and a broken hi hat with the other. I wasn’t gunning for a one-man-band gimmick, and trying to avoid that while being literally one man doing the work of a band was unwieldy. Adding electric bass really tied the room together, adding scope to the sound and grounding my voice when I get a little caterwaul-y.

This album will be a sort-of stripped-down version of a rock album that’s not really acoustic but is kind of close to it if you squint. I’ll be playing drums and guitar and there will be electric bass, etc. Here I want to use the bluegrass canon not as a vehicle to carry on the tradition but as a wireframe to hang some new ideas and thoughts upon. I’m viewing these not as bluegrass songs, or as some sort of genre piece, but as musical fodder to be reworked.

Why Two Albums?

Because it’ll be fun to hear it both ways! It’ll be exciting and I’m looking forward to the puzzle of putting together two albums that each stand on their own but have this shared lineage. I love the bluegrass tradition, I work within the bluegrass tradition, I live that tradition. I really like the idea of approaching this material both the way people (including myself) expect to hear it done, as well as trying to clear away all of those expectations and see what happens when you approach that material afresh.

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