Monday, June 20, 2011

The Twilite Broadcasters

One could easily imagine the Twilite Broadcasters performing in Depression-era southern parlors, sipping sweaty glasses of sweet tea while full-skirted ladies swoon over the gorgeous brother harmonies and understated solos that find just the right notes.  The Twilite Broadcasters create traditional American early country and bluegrass music directly inspired by the likes of the Louvin Brothers and Bill Monroe. Close brother harmonies and deft switching between mandolin, fiddle, and guitars draw the listener backwards in time.  

The pairing of the Adam Tanner and Mark Jackson takes on an east meets west vibe.  Adam Tanner grew up in the middle of the bustling California Bay Area scene-- spending his childhood in the audiences of greats like David Grisman.  Mark Jackson, meanwhile, was gaining his fledgling musical ears in the east in an area of Virginia branded by The Carter Family, his own family listening to Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, and other standards of traditional American music.  

Together they create traditional Americana that is played with conviction.  It is refined, but also has fiery energy present throughout their range of songs, be it a spirited fiddle tune, a fast picking bluegrass number, or a ballad of loves lost.  So what's the genre? Their music could be called bluegrass. Maybe early country. Even blues-tinged country.  Their sound is at once familiar to modern ears (Think Old Crow Medicine Show) and somehow a bit foreign in its strict adherence to traditional sounds.  Their true-to-the-past sound sticks out in a sea of Americana bands bent on pushing boundaries. It's not often you hear such care taken to recreate country music history, especially by such a young band. 

And these guys have serious chops--real-deal instrumental know-how.  Their live performances exude panache and showmanship; and their vision can be compared to the Chris Thile/Michael Daves brother duet project (the buzz around whom may just point to the serious resurgence of the genre). The Twilite Broadcasters' live show leaves you hanging on every note.   

Tanner and Jackson have both made a few stops along the way from their traditional-music steeped childhoods to becoming The Twilite Broadcasters. Both have done stints in rock bands and Tanner was even part of a seminal electro-fusion band that toured with Korn in the 90s.  Meanwhile, Jackson has done work for Appalshop, an organization dedicated to the preserving and recording Appalachian culture.  And as a widely-respected multi-instrumentalist, Tanner has joined the Hunger Mountain Boys on tours of Europe and North America. 

The Twilite Broadcasters draw comparisons to BR549 and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. They exhibit the same instrumental virtuosity and high energy of The Steel Wheels.  And yet, The Twilite Broadcasters hearken back to a different era, even more so than many of today's Americana bands who may just hint at it. With so many young bands pushing the envelope, The Twilite Broadcasters have taken a stand to be traditional, to live in a sonic world where brother harmonies are king, where a rollicking fiddle lick sets your feet to dancing, and stories of letters to sweethearts find their way into your heart and stay there.

The Twilite Broadcasters from Adam Tanner/ The Twilite Broadca on Vimeo.

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