While attending college in the early 00’s at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and several years after, brothers Jeff and Keef Debonzo crossed the state of North Carolina playing countless live shows as members of Buzzround, a rootsy, 90’s influenced pop band born out of friendships dating to high school. Bass and lead guitar duties were shared, with Jeff mostly on bass, and Keef sticking to lead guitar. Often these shows would be opening gigs for the quirky and lively Chapel Hill band, Big Pretty and the Red Rockets, of which cellist Joe Kwon would go on to join the Avett Brothers. Buzzround then crossed paths more frequently with Raleigh’s American Aquarium, teaming up for a number of performances from the mountains of their home state to the low country of neighboring South Carolina. The brothers departed Buzzround not long after releasing a self-titled LP in 2008 to slow down and find new direction. Sitting on little original material at the time, friend Ryan Johnson (American Aquarium) suggested to Mississippi’s Come On Go With Us that Jeff and Keef open the show on the band’s next stop through Raleigh. With just weeks to write a sufficient set, the brothers holed up at home, writing many songs that Debonzo Brothers would go on to record. It was a stripped down performance at Slim’s Downtown Distillery of acoustic guitars and upright bass by Bill Corbin (American Aquarium). Following this small success, a second show was booked at Raleigh’s “The Hive”, the raucous on the weekend, dignified on the weeknights bar next to Slim’s. With Bill on tour, Grant Emerson (bass) and Chris Hibbard (drums) joined, solidifying the band, Debonzo Brothers. From here the band quickly made plans to record their first EP entitled Places,
released in 2010. The EP was produced and engineered by Raleigh’s rising recording talent, Mark McKee. Keef, Jeff, Grant, and Chris recorded over several weeks in the winter of 2009/2010, capturing refined renditions of their earliest material. Places
featured an array of relatable themes and sounds hinging on Americana, southern rock, pop and hard driving indie rock. Guest musicians appearing on the EP were cellist Joe Kwon (Avett Brothers) and Grammy nominated Rick Keen on dobro. During this period the band landed billing with southern stalwarts Will Hoge, Chatham County Line, Kenny Roby, Small Ponds, Megan McCormick, Josh Oliver (the Everybodyfields), Leslie, John Howie Jr., and upstate New York’s Yarn. Recording of Debonzo Brothers’ first LP, One Damn Heart
, began in March of 2011 with producer and engineer Sean Roux. Shortly following initial tracking, founding member Grant Emerson left the group to tour and record with Durham, NC’s Delta Rae. Joining the group full time was the highly capable Jay Shirley on organ. Steadfastly filling the bass role was North Elementary’s Jimmy Thompson. Over the next year bassist Bill Corbin, fiddler Phil Lanier, and pedal steel player Whit Wright dropped in to contribute to several of the recordings. The result is a collection of poignant, heartfelt Americana tunes about youth, love, folklore, and the past packaged in photography and sketches by longtime artistic collaborators Leon Godwin and Audrey Cregan respectively. 2012 has brought a torrent of songwriting that Keef, Jeff, Chris, Jimmy, and Jay are eager to share on stage or playlist sooner rather than later. http://www.debonzobrothers.com
Hardly anyone has it easy these days. If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you work too much for much too little, and you wind up holding on to even less. Lovers and family should make things better, but they can take as much as they give. After all you have to deal with, you sure could use a friend. Then again, friends have their own pressures and expectations. What you need is someone understanding but not demanding, who knows the burdens you bear and only wants to lift your spirit because of that bond. That’s not a friend. That’s Amigo. Amigo is here for you because they’ve been where you are. Singer Slade Baird, drummer Adam Phillips, and bassist Craig Lentz have gone through their share of difficulties. They want to help you feel good about things, though, even when things aren’t good. Especially then. To prove it, they’ll dress up heart aching poetry about the failure of a relationship in 50’s style doo wop. They’ll celebrate the shortcomings of God and man with defiant guitar solos. They’ll rockabilly their way around masculine emotions and boogie to disappointment with enthusiasm. Amigo won’t kid you that your troubles will all go away, but they can sure get you to dance in spite of them. At least for the night, Amigo can put a joyous twist on the madness and sadness life brings you. Comfort and assurance, that’s what you get from this band. Even if they deliver those in rowdy fashion. You trust them because their lyrics echo your own feelings and experiences. The music, familiar in a way that takes you back to easier times, provides a certain comfort too. Which is not the same as saying it’s soothing. The Amigo boys know their way around a honky tonk jukebox, that’s for sure, but they’re also proud of their old punk record collections. Raw emotion manifests in the music they play as clear as in the words they sing. This is not a band that holds back. Not on honesty or energy. Amigo has maintained a rugged schedule of live performances in the Carolinas since 2012. On stage, the trio perform with remarkable confidence and fun. Adam, who played in Kimosabe with Slade, drums with delightful efficiency. Craig’s bass lines complete the jubilant rhythm section and provide harmonic texture to the songs. The guitar playing is well-edited but expressive, and Slade is a terrific showman, charming and engaging audiences with apparent ease. The band will embark on a national tour in 2014 in support of their debut LP, Might Could, recorded with Scott Solter (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats). Amigo knows life can be hard. They also know how to laugh, rock and roll, and have a good time. Be encouraged. You have a friend in Amigo.
Engraved as "outlaw folk", "damaged country", "dead mountain music", and "alternative appalachian", Michael Rank's work under his russian roulette collected band, Michael Rank & Stag, has been marked as many things by many folks. His three albums (Kin, In The Weeds, Mermaids) recorded and released in a fifteen month stretch came to roost in numerous Year's Best Lists and global inked posts. An impending 2014 release of his latest work, Deadstock, is next to be placed into his singular dust-fed landscape. http://www.michaelrankmusic.com/
In The Showroom
Doors at 8pm
Show at 9pm
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