Old Salt Union and MohaviSoul

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 9:30pm
Cover: 
$8 Pre-Sale / $10 Day of Show
Door Time: 
9:30

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.

MOHAVISOUL

Encouraged by the resurgence of acoustic music, Randy Hanson and Mark Miller formed MohaviSoul in 2012 to create a new sound of contemporary bluegrass and Americana. As members of the San Diego Songwriters Meetup Group, a chance collaboration on two compositions (both of which can be heard on MohaviSoul's first EP, Every Second) resulted in a musical kinship between Hanson and Miller. The duo joined forces to create soulful, folksy, Americana music with a contemporary bluegrass slant.

MohaviSoul has released two recordings with Mannequin Vanity Records which have received local and national accolades (Every Second [2013] and Blue Diesel [2014]). The group is currently in the creative phase for their third record which features the instrumental and vocal prowess of six individually talented musicians who, when joining forces, create the bands’ soulful sound. Mark Miller (guitar, lead vocals), Randy Hanson (mandolin, lead vocals), Jason Weiss (banjo, vocals), Orion Boucher (bass, vocals), Will Jaffe (Dobro, vocals) and Dan Sankey (fiddle, vocals) are MohaviSoul. 

During MohaviSoul’s recent visit on KSON’s Bluegrass Special, Wayne Rice proclaimed that what he loves about this band ”is not only the way they sound, but they’re just as comfortable playing at a bluegrass festival as they are in a rock club.” The group’s excitement toward live performances is what sets the band apart. "The thing I most value is the performance aspect of music. If I couldn't play in front of people I'd probably quit writing songs altogether," says Miller. While the band performs traditional material as well as cover songs, their focus is on original material that blends Mark’s West Virginia roots with Randy's fifth-generation California musical heritage. 

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.

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.

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