The Bluegrass Situation presents:
THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION: “Southern California’s home for everything bluegrass, folk, and Americana” Think Los Angeles is all about pop stars and surf punks? Think again. The bluegrass and Americana spirit is alive and well in LA, and has been for as long as there have been wooden floors to tap your toes on. From Woody Guthrie’s Golden State ramblings to the Kentucky Colonels on The Andy Griffith Show, from the Newgrass and Laurel Canyon sound of California natives Chris Hillman and Herb Peterson to a new generation of musical prodigies in San Diego’s Nickel Creek and Santa Monica’s Gillian Welch, the bluegrass scene is one of Los Angeles’ finest and longest-hidden treasures. But why keep it a secret? We think some light deserves to shine on this situation, on its history and on the wave of burgeoning musicians, fans, and venues blossoming throughout the southland. That’s why Amy Reitnouer’s BLUEGRASS LA blog and Ed Helms’ annual LA BLUEGRASS SITUATION festival at Largo have joined forces to create THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION, your first resource for fans, musicians and venues all over the country to be in the know for what’s happening in the old-time music scene. Showcasing local artists, venues, and upcoming shows, the site also seeks to demonstrate to the world the amazing talent and local fan base that await them in LA. We’re here because we love the music, we love the community and we love our city. And we think you will too. Discover Los Angeles’ best kept secret: THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION.
Son Ark has been filling establishments across Los Angeles with their unmistakably unique brand of folk rock and with lyrics that tell tales of bygone eras and heartbreaking love lost. Son Ark's "unvarnished, heart-on-its-sleeve roots rock sneaks up on you like a speed trap on a two-lane highway" (Buzzbands). Son Ark longingly reminds us of days gone by. The songs are not antiques, though. Influenced by the likes of Andrew Bird, Avett Brothers, the Pixies, and Led Zeppelin, Son Ark tells their tales in a decidedly contemporary way and their live performances will persuade you to "overcome your too-cool-for-folk attitude" (LA Music Blog). In summer 2007, singer Robin Harris, guitarist Sherman Pascoe, and bassist Chris Sousa met by luck or by fate and began playing played at speakeasies, cafe bars, and street corners alike for the next year. Meanwhile, in Boston, banjo player Matt Sousa began hearing of his cousin Chris' escapades and decided to move West and join the band. Pat Butterworth entered the ranks in 2008. Adrian Prohaska joined on mandolin and vocals in 2011, completing the band. From that moment on, Son Ark has made stages such the Echo, the Satellite, and the Bootleg Theater their stomping grounds. In November of 2011, Son Ark released their Much Obliged EP, which is full of "layered harmonies that effortlessly float above bright Americana arrangements" (BuzzbandsLA). That July, Son Ark hit the road and played up and down the west coast from San Diego, CA to Portland, OR. 2012 came to an end with Son Ark's debut music video, Going to the Woods. Son Ark is currently working on their first full-length record, The Land of Smoke, due out in June 2013
Cahalen Morrison & Eli West:
Cahalen Morrison & Eli West are, simply put, two of the most innovative and subtle roots musicians today. Their music draws from old folk sources, but it sounds vibrantly alive. Cahalen Morrison writes songs that sound like a Cormac McCarthy novel: simple, beautifully crafted, and seemingly formed from raw natural elements. Eli West brings jagged, angular arrangements based in bluegrass and old-time, but refracted through a 21st century lens. Like Ansel Adams’ photography, their music is instantly accessible and built from the simplest materials, but at the same time seems to transcend its base fundamentals. Together, Cahalen and Eli tap the root of the old country and bluegrass duets. As the sparse landscapes of Cahalen’s vocals reflect the warm glow of Eli’s voice, it’s clear that this duo was made to sing together.