THA LAST BISON
Mountaintop Chamber music from a seven member band from southeastern Virginia. Ben Hardesty doesn't look the part of a rock star as he navigates a rickety tractor through the sprawling ranch where he grew up and fell in love with music. On the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, Hardesty developed his spirit of adventure, and passion for doing things a bit differently. His father, Dan gave him a guitar when he was two, and later told him, "It doesn't matter if you play it right, just make it sound good!" Not the typical teaching method, but then again, The Last Bison is anything but typical.
The seven-member ensemble led by Ben has seemingly risen from the marshes of southeastern Virginia to captivate the national music scene with a rare blend of folk that is poetically steeped in classical influences. Band members describe the sound as "mountain-top chamber."Already the band has drawn flattering though imperfect comparisons to indie rock superstars the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists and Fleet Foxes. Flattering because each of those bands has carried folk rock into the main- stream; imperfect because none of them have a front man that shares the stage with his father and sister, nor uses a 75-year-old chaplain's pump organ and Bolivian goat toenails on stage.
The Last Bison is a tight knit community of family and friends that boasts a sound all its own.
Steph Stewart is haunting, post-Appalachain lull married to sweet and smoky honky-tonk. Her ethereal twang feeds an audience, easing into the gut like honey, accented by hoppy mandolin picking and bright fiddle melodies. Together, Steph and her boyfriends deliver a haunting sound both unique and strangely familiar, fusing old Appalachia and top-shelf Americana.