Old Salt Union w/ Izabel Crane at Gas Lamp
Friday September 28th 2018
Old Salt Union (Belleville, Illinois)
Americana, Progressive String Music, Folk
A great band is more than the proverbial sum of its parts, and in the pursuit of becoming something that can cut through the clutter of YouTube stars and contest show runner-ups, a great roots music band must become a way of life. Less likely to rely on production or image, they’ve got to connect with their audience only through the craftsmanship of their songs, the energy they channel on the stage and the story that brings them together.
Old Salt Union is a string band founded by a horticulturist, cultivated by classically trained musicians, and fueled by a vocalist/bass player who is also a hip-hop producer with a fondness for the Four Freshmen. It is this collision of styles and musical vocabularies that informs their fresh approach to bluegrass and gives them an electric live performance vibe that seems to pull more from Vaudeville than the front porch.
In 2015 they won the FreshGrass Band contest and found the perfect collaborator in Compass Records co-founder and GRAMMY winning banjoist and composer, Alison Brown, whose attention to detail and high standards pushed the group to develop their influences from beyond a vocabulary to pull from during improvisation and into the foundation of something truly compelling in the roots music landscape.
Violinist John Brighton mentions some names familiar to the Compass roster as key influences, musicians like Darol Anger, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and Mark O’Connor, all of whom have collaborated with Brown in the past. Primary vocalist and bassist, Jesse Farrar (for the indie rock heads - yes, he’s related – Son Volt front man Jay Farrar is Jesse’s uncle) brings an alternative rock spirit as well as his unique formative experiences as a hip hop producer and bass player for a national tour of The Four Freshmen. The band’s self-titled Compass debut combines these instrumental proclivities with pop melodies and harmonies into a coherent piece of work that carves out a road-less-travelled for the band in the now crowded roots music genre.
Izabel Crane (Springfield, Missouri)
Bella Donna is influenced by the Ozarks, the creak of tree limbs in the winter, and the summer sounds of cicadas. The traditional music that flows through the hills and hollows of the area the group was raised in helped them form their sound called Ozark Jazz.
Bella Donna has been busy playing shows throughout the midwest and parts of the east and west coast for the past six years. They are currently recording their second full length album that will be available in early 2017.
“As one may expect from the namesake, Bella Donna comes to your ears with a mysteriously intriguing and seductive sound. Rooted in jazz, the ensemble plays with a beauty and darkness that melodically winds itself around your eardrums and sensually sways you into submission” -Feedbands.com