An unforgettable double bill features the Earl Brothers exploring the dark recesses of bluegrass, and a one-time-only cinematic retrospective performance, with former Crooked Jades members back in the lineup, for the latest of their rare, always mysterious, moving and unpredictable shows.
The Crooked Jades, called “the finest string band in America” by The Boston Herald, continue their mission to re-imagine old-time music for a modern age, pushing boundaries and blurring categories with their fiery, soulful performances. Innovative and fearless, constantly evolving and passionate, they’ve brought their driving dance tunes and haunting ballads to rock clubs, festivals, traditional folk venues and concert halls all over the world. Known for their rare and obscure repertoire, beautiful original compositions, inspired arrangements and eclectic, often vintage instrumentation, The Crooked Jades began with band leader/founder Jeff Kazor’s vision to revive the dark and hypnotic sounds of pre-radio music. With this old-time foundation, the band has created the unique Crooked Jades sound by exploring the roots of Americana and interweaving the diverse musical influences of Europe and Africa. Filtering these old-world sounds with universal and ancient themes through a post-9/11 lens, they seek to make sense of the future, reaffirming the importance of connecting to our roots in a time of intense digital connection.
Joining founders Jeff Kazor and Lisa Berman and long-time member Erik Pearson (composer of the Crooked Jades tune featured by Sean Penn in his 2007 film Into The Wild) are former band members and collaborators, bassist Megan Adie, mandolinist Bill Foss, and banjo master Tom Lucas. In addition to their work on the Into the Wild soundtrack, the Jades have won awards for their PBS documentary soundtrack for Seven Sisters, a Kentucky Portrait and their score for choreographer Kate Weare’s piece “A Bright Land”.
“Chords in unexpected places, out-of- this- world harmonies, and some of the most powerfully-arranged material I’ve ever encountered.” –Bluegrass Unlimited
The Earl Brothers, led by banjo master Robert Earl Davis, have been delving into the dark side of bluegrass for more than a decade now, and their fifth and latest album, Outlaw Hillbilly, takes them further down that rough road. They’re not a good time bluegrass band – they’re more interested in exploring the really bad times – but their music, like the blues, has that paradoxical effect of taking you so deep into the mire that you come out feeling a little better than you did before. “These guys are very talented musicians, vocalists, and songwriters, but their sound is raw,” says the website Country Standard Time, which praises their “terrific new album”, Outlaw Hillbilly, as “jarring in its intensity” and “simply the next step in the steady progression of a band that continues to gain ground within the bluegrass community.”
Their raw and ravaged sound brings to mind Ralph Stanley at his bleakest – and that’s a good thing!
“The Earl Brothers have got the soul and the songs and the attitude that brought us all into bluegrass music in the first place,” says Chris Hillman of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. “Their songs cry of the mountains, of the people, and of the traditions down through the ages. Bluegrass music is alive and well.”