Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Driftwood’s Striking Sound
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Driftwood’s Striking Sound

Kristi Kates - March 31st, 2014  

A great little band you’ve probably never heard is making its way to northern Michigan, stopping at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, and Sleder’s Tavern in Traverse City.

They’re called Driftwood, and the alt-folk world is starting to pay attention.

FINDING A SOUND

Influenced in part by fellow upstate New Yorker bands such as Old Crow Medicine Show and The Horseflies, Driftwood is an unusual combo of traditional American folk plus jazz, prog-rock, bluegrass, and a collective love of harmonies.

Violinist Claire Byrne’s aggressive fiddle playing helps define the band’s striking sound.

“The sound stems from a few different things,” said Byrne, who also leads and backs up on vocals. “We have all studied classically, and I think that, combined with our various musical influences, anything from Hendrix to Doc Watson, gives us the sound we have. Since we don’t have a drummer, we also try to utilize dynamics as much as possible.”

Those dynamics – and some solid songwriting – are on full display in the band’s eponymous album. It features eleven songs in all, and was produced by Grammy winner Robby Hunter.

“Driftwood,” recorded in an Ithaca, N.Y. church with questionable heat and a noisy fire station next door, covers everything from youthful pursuits to politics to romance. It almost captures the band’s energetic, noholds-barred, difficult-to-cage stage sound, which is bringing them solid sales.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

The band formed when guitarist Dan Forsyth and banjo player Joe Kollar met in a Binghamton, NY high school and began playing together.

When Forsyth temporarily moved to Colorado, he discovered bluegrass, and brought those sounds back home with him.

After adding Joey Arcuri on bass, the group later picked up Byrne on the side of the road – literally – when she needed a ride to a distant gig. On that car ride, the conversation turned to music, and Byrne was folded in to Driftwood.

“The dream was to travel around the country playing music,” Byrne said. “That has always sounded appealing to me and to Joey as well, so it was a good fit.”

FOLLOWING THE ROAD

In the past three years, the band has played more than 475 shows.

“People seem to really like the album, which is encouraging to us as artists,” Byrne said. “It’s doing quite well, and we’re also working with a radio promoter and publicist this time around. We’ve noticed that we are getting airplay in markets that we haven’t toured through yet, so it is exciting to be bringing the music to new cities.”

And that, of course, brings us back to Driftwood’s upcoming Michigan shows, a follow up to their 2013 appearance at Blissfest.

They’ll be taking the stage at the newly renovated Ramsdell Theater in Manistee on April 4; performing as part of the Blissfest Music Series at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey on April 5; and jamming at Sleder’s Tavern in Traverse City on April 6.

“We’ll be playing mostly original sets of music, with high points and softer spots as well,” Byrne said. “It’s nice to play in settings where we feel like we can play ballads and fiddle tunes in the same show. We like to focus on the songs, but also have the opportunity to stretch out and jam.”

And fans of this particular trio of shows might also get an extra treat - namely a sneak listen to some of Driftwood’s newest songs.

“We are writing new material, although none of it is recorded yet,” Byrne said. “It’s always fun to play developing tunes at shows, so Michigan fans can definitely look forward to that.”

Byrne said Driftwood is ready to come back, both as musicians and as tourists – sun or snow.

“It feels good to be returning and hopefully getting to know the area a little better,” Byrne said. “And being from upstate New York, the weather doesn’t concern us, either.”

For more info on Driftwood, visit driftwoodtheband.com or the group’s Facebook page. Visit crookedtree.org, ramsdelltheatre.org, or sleders.com for ticket information and show times.

 
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