Friday, July 30, 2010

The Evangenitals

Imagine if Johnny Cash, Bob Marley and Joan of Arc were one woman. Now, imagine that woman gathering a band of eclectic musicians on a crusade to expand the bounds of Country music.

Described as "Cosmic Square Dance" and "Hillbilly Jazz", Juli Crockett and The Evangenitals are opening people's minds and ears to a new style of Southern music. Though based in the roots of Country, the band incorporates a wide variety of influences, instrumentation and styles. The result is a genre-hopping bull ride that has music fans and critics buzzing in Los Angeles.

Founded by playwright/director Juli Crockett and opera/jazz singer Lisa Dee, the band features Henry Bermudez on lead guitar, fiddler Andrea Baker, Ari DeSano on accordion, drummer Kristy McInnis, and Nathan Phelps on the upright bass.

The Evangenitals are an alt-country hillbilly love punk rock revolution of the freak folk/Americana variety made flesh for your listening pleasure. On a quixotic crusade in the key of life hell-bent on breaking all the world’s hearts open, they are coming soon to a sound wave near you.

Born in Enterprise, Alabama, Crockett's roots are in the soulful country music of the South. After receiving a BFA in theater from NYU’s Tisch School and an MFA in Directing from CalArts (and currently pursuing a PhD in philosophy from the European Graduate School) Crockett has drawn the eclectic blueprints for entirely new genres. In an age of hybrid technology the Evangenitals follow suit with songs ranging from Klezmer-punk-jazz to cow-town truck-stop lullabies, citing influences from the new-wave intelligentsia of the Talking Heads to the archetypal fire of Johnny Cash welded together with the mutant masterminds of Ween. The jukebox at the Mad Hatter’s tea party is the Evangenitals.

Vegan warrior Crockett combines her pioneer lineage with her love of performing arts, to push not only the frontiers of art, but to foster a renaissance of compassion, love, and gratitude as the platform to engage in global collaboration, activism, and community building.

By her side from the genesis of the Evangenitals is vocalist Lisa Dee, formally trained in the art of glass shattering, gospel singing, and spiritual counseling. Her harmonies and operatic solos are devastating and wonderful in the context of art school country punk… and she plays a ferocious tambourine.

The squadron also includes guitarist Henry Bermudez (a combination of Prince and Genghis Kahn with a streak of Stevie Ray Vaughn and the heart of Hendrix), fiddler Andrea Baker (gypsy pirate bellydancer of soaring strings), drummer Kristy McInnis (armpit fart champion and non-stop comedy), bassist Laurie Es (aka "Dirty Red" stoner rock diva deluxe), and accordionist Ari DeSano (Saint Squeeze Box the Merciful).

Filled with an insatiable desire to explore new forms of musical instrumentation and arrangements, the Evangenitals take listeners on a journey of passion and creative freedom, embracing all of life as source material, from the mundane to the sublime.

The Evangenitals were midwifed in a defunct bowling alley in the gritty Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, where they gave their first performance for a small mixed group of rehab refugees and listless drunks from an adjoining bar.

Since then, the band has recorded three albums, toured the U.S. in a bus of dubious reliability with The 1 Second Film, appearing at scores of clubs from Los Angeles to Georgia, New Orleans to New York. Wherever the band has appeared, a cult following has sprouted like mushrooms after a soft but persistent rain.

Despite a dynamic range of material that veers from quirky anthems to gently persuasive melody, The Evangenitals shows tend oddly toward the rowdy, inspiring boisterous reactions and a physical response that isn't quite dancing, certainly not pogo, but a vigorous bobbing response that is currently being researched by a team of neuro-behaviorists from UCLA.

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