PERT NEAR SANDSTONE'S WINTER STRING BAND GATHERING with Fruition

The Cedar Presents

PERT NEAR SANDSTONE'S WINTER STRING BAND GATHERING with Fruition

Sat, February 18, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Cedar Cultural Center

Minneapolis, MN

$17 Advance / $20 Day of show

This event is all ages

This is a standing show with an open floor.

Tickets are available online, by phone, ​and at Depth of Field, Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.

Pert Near Sandstone
Pert Near Sandstone
It was roughly a decade ago that Pert Near Sandstone first gathered around a microphone in a Minneapolis basement to record their debut album, 'Up And Down The River.' So much has happened since then: highs and lows, personal struggles and artistic triumphs, new faces and new sounds. The winding road they've traveled over the years makes it all the more meaningful for the band to come full circle on their dazzling new release, 'Discovery Of Honey,' which finds them once again recording in a basement and reuniting with founding member Ryan Young, who's spent the past seven years touring the world playing fiddle with bluegrass stars Trampled By Turtles.

"Besides playing with us, Ryan was also our first recording engineer back when we were just starting out," says mandolin/fiddle player Nate Sipe. "Working with him again on the new album, we were able to recapture that feeling of lightning in a bottle from the early days."

"We all learned how to do this together," adds banjo player Kevin Kniebel. "We have more tools in our kit now and we've evolved as musicians and songwriters, but what hasn't changed is the chemistry between us."

That chemistry has been abundantly clear from the very first days of Pert Near Sandstone, when the band—whose current lineup features Sipe and Kniebel, founding guitarist J Lenz, bassist Justin Bruhn, and clog & fiddle player Matt Cartier—burst onto the American roots music scene in a flurry of fiddling, picking, and stomping. They followed their debut record with a string of four critically acclaimed albums that had No Depression hailing them as "stellar" and The Minneapolis Star Tribune praising their songs as "masterfully and jubilantly plucked." NPR's Mountain Stage celebrated the band's "Midwestern stamp on Appalachian [sounds]," while The Current described their live performances as "a frenzied string shredding spree that takes audiences under its spell."

The band earned performances everywhere from the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival to A Prairie Home Companion, and shared bills on the road with the likes of Trampled By Turtles, Del McCoury, and Yonder Mountain String Band. As their reputation grew, they cemented their status as linchpins of the Midwestern scene by founding their very own festival, Blue Ox, which has featured performances by Bela Fleck, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Shovels & Rope, Justin Townes Earle, Blitzen Trapper, and more.

"People get really wrapped up in genre and labeling," explains Kniebel, "but Blue Ox allows us to showcase all these different aspects of roots and American music that are really important to us and to the fabric of folk music today."

"Whether you have drums and an electric guitar or a jug and a fiddle, it's all part of the same voice," adds Sipe. "It's a blessing to be able to present a festival that can incorporate all of those elements."

That same voracious musical appetite and disregard for the strictures of genre and tradition fuel much the music on 'Discovery Of Honey,' which finds the band setting their sights higher than ever before and pushing the complexity of their songwriting and the sheer energy of their performances to remarkable new peaks. With Young back in the fold recording and co-producing, the band gathered just outside of Minneapolis at their old friend's new home—which had originally been constructed by an end-times prepper to withstand a nuclear apocalypse—for the recording sessions.

"There's a huge ham radio tower in the back and catacombs of rooms with storage for cans and everything," explains Sipe. "The two-foot-thick concrete walls of the bomb shelter had a 1-inch iron plate in the middle, and when they were wiring up the house, the electrician couldn't even get through it at first."

It proved to be the perfect mix of seclusion and comfort, with the basement serving as both a familiar setting and an ideal place for Pert Near Sandstone to unleash their explosion of string band energy and excitement. Sitting in a circle and performing live together, they knocked out basic tracking for the album in just two-and-a-half days. Over the following weeks, they'd revisit the songs individually, cutting vocals and solos and experimenting with layering up additional sounds to flesh out the rich, acoustic orchestration.

The album kicks off with the stately "Bloom Again," a Kniebel-penned track about the fragility and beauty of love. Propelled by clawhammer banjo and tremolo mandolin, the track features rich, triumphant harmonies and rides on a wave of ethereal organ swells, showing off the folkier side of the band's personality. They follow it up with a trip to the opposite end of the spectrum on the rollicking, rag-time, jugband-inspired "Nothing I Can Do," from which the album draws its title.

"'Discovery Of Honey' really encapsulated the overall theme of the record," says Sipe. "A lot of the songs are about finding a new fertile ground, about approaching love for the first time again."

Indeed, several of the tracks (including Kniebel's "Uncover Me" and Sipe's "Again And Again") look at old love in new ways, but the album covers a broad spectrum, both musically and thematically. "Rattlesnake" is a breakneck fiddle-tune inspired by Sipe's relocation to southern California and his forays into the desert, while the toe-tapping "Bay Road" came to him during a solo retreat to a family cabin in central Minnesota, and "Don't Need You" is a fingerstyle blues written by Lenz in the tradition of Charlie Parr or Spider John Koerner. In addition, Bruhn contributed his first writing credits on the album with "Animal Instinct" and "Biting My Nails," an unplanned recording that found the band pushing themselves to experiment with detuning their instruments and layering on unexpected sounds like pedal steel guitar.

That musical fearlessness is part of what makes the group so difficult to pin down and also such perfect stewards for string band music in the 21st century. The sweetest honey awaits those brave enough to risk being stung, and the band reaps the rewards of their musical courage here in spades. 'Discovery Of Honey' is Pert Near Sandstone's finest work to date, and that's buzz you can believe in.
Fruition
Fruition
Jay Cobb Anderson (vocals, lead guitar, harmonica) / Kellen Asebroek (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano) / Mimi Naja (vocals, mandolin, electric & acoustic guitar) / Jeff Leonard (bass) / Tyler Thompson (drums, banjo)

The first time they ever made music together, Fruition's three lead singer/songwriters discovered that their voices naturally blended into stunning three-part harmony. Eight years after that impromptu busking session, the Portland, Oregon-based quintet has grown from a rootsy, string-centric outfit to a full-fledged rock band with an easy but powerful grasp of soul, blues, and British Invasion era pop. On their new album Labor of Love, Fruition shows the complete force of their newly expanded and electrified sound, matching their more daring musicality with sophisticated, melody-minded songcraft. With Anderson, Asebroek, and Naja trading vocal duties and offering up their own singular brand of gutsy yet graceful songwriting, Fruition infuse each track on Labor of Love with timeless urgency and three-part harmonies that never fail to enthrall.

The follow-up to their 2013 album Just One of Them Nights, Labor of Love came to life over the course of a year-long process of exploring new sonic terrain that included everything from Phil Spector-esque pop to dreamy psychedelia to Motown-inspired soul. "In the past our approach was always to just get in the studio and get it done, but for this one we decided we were going to take all the time in the world to make the album great," says Anderson. Teaming up with engineer Justin Phelps (Amanda Palmer, Jolie Holland, Chuck Prophet), Fruition self-produced Labor of Love and mined major inspiration from the inventive precision of longtime Beatles producer George Martin. "This is the first album where we made a point of bringing out the character of each song to the fullest," says Thompson, who helmed the mixing of the album. "With our previous albums we tended to treat each song the same, but this time we really went all the way with whatever sound we were going for."

Despite pushing into so many disparate directions, Labor of Love emerges as a wholly unified album that subtly imparts the sense of being swept along on a journey. That unity's got much to do with an open-hearted spirit that sets in from the first notes of the dobro, mandolin and electric guitar driven title track, carries on to the sleepy soul of "Santa Fe," then unfolds into the beautifully epic balladry of "The Meaning." Another key factor in the album's journey-like feel: Fruition's ingenious use of between-song transitions, such as the Brazilian-style percussion that lifts Labor of Love from the breezy R&B of "Above the Line" to the joyful worldbeat-folk of "The Way That I Do." "We brought in a local band called Tapwater one night and enlisted their samba line," recalls Asebroek. "They taught us all the drum parts and about ten of us formed a whole drumline, which was just a really fun and unique experience for the band."

Though Anderson, Asebroek, and Naja each bring a distinct sensibility and boldly nuanced lyricism to their respective songs, a mood of warm melancholy instills much of Labor of Love. "A common theme for all three songwriters is trying to embrace being out on the road all the time, but also feeling like you're missing out on the everyday lifestyle that most people get to have," says Leonard. Embedded within that tension is a wistful romanticism that imbues many of the album's songs. "Most of the love songs are very much about those rare moments of getting to be with the people you love," says Anderson. "And then other songs are about coming back to the people you love, and trying to deal with the strange ways things change because of being apart." The band chose Labor of Love's title to reflect that balance of sacrifice and satisfaction, Naja points out. "We don't sleep nearly enough and we're away all the time and we do work really hard," she says, "but that's our job, and it's pretty much the best job in the world."

All near-lifelong musicians, the members of Fruition came to Portland from varied corners of the country and gradually crossed paths by way of their adopted hometown's music scene. "Mimi and Kellen were going to busk one day and I went along with them, 'cause that's what we always did to pay for that night's dinner and drinks," says Anderson. "So we started playing and just instantly nailed these three-part harmonies, to the point where we'd get done with a song and burst out laughing at how good it sounded." The magic of those harmonies ended up proving instrumental in rounding out the rest of the band. "The first time I ever played with them, we were jamming in a friend's attic and the harmonies surrounded me," says Thompson, who joined Fruition in 2011. "I had goosebumps for an hour afterward, and I decided right then I was quitting my other band and moving to Portland." Releasing their debut EP Hawthorne Hoedown in 2008, Fruition devoted the coming years to relentlessly writing and performing, The band moved from busking on the street, to scraping their way onto the lower levels of festival lineups, to opening tours for bands like ALO and Greensky Bluegrass and onward to being invited to play bigger festivals with ever bigger billing on those lineups. Last year saw them appear at Bonnaroo, Northwest String Summit and Telluride Bluegrass where Rolling Stone cited their artful choice of covers and "raucous originals filled with heartfelt lyrics and stadium-worthy energy." This year will see them share a Red Rocks bill with JJ Grey and Mofro and The Infamous Stringdusters, along with a full headline tour of the United States.

That breadth of touring experience has steadily reshaped the band and ultimately allowed them to achieve a sound they've long aspired toward. "A few of the songs on the new album actually came from years ago, in an era when we were much more of a string band," says Thompson. "We'd imagined the songs in a particular way but didn't have the ability or experience to get them where we wanted to be—we didn't even own the right instruments." But despite broadening their repertoire, a certain spirited simplicity still forms the heart of Fruition. "We all tend to write on acoustic guitar and let things start in the same stripped-down, folky sort of way that we always did," says Naja. "So where the songs come from hasn't really changed much at all. What's different is where we let them go from there."
Venue Information:
Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN, 55454
http://www.thecedar.org/

ticinfo

Ticket options and info

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are not always available at Depth of Field, Electric Fetus & The Cedar.

Check the top of this page under the “Buy Tickets” button for up-to-date ticket information.

  • Phone: 612-338-2674 ext 0 between 12 noon and 4pm M-F ($2 fee per ticket)
  • In person: Tickets can be purchased at The Cedar when we are open for shows. Check our calendar for show dates and door times  (no fee; cash, check, credit card). Our other ticket outlets are Depth of Field (no fee; cash or check only), and Electric Fetus (approximately $2 fee).
  • Online: (typically $2–$3 fee/ticket) until 2 hours before door time on day of show
  • The Cedar is an all ages venue
  • Discounts: Students with ID, seniors over 65, and children under 12 may purchase tickets at a discount at the door (subject to ticket availability).
  • Access: The Cedar strives to make our facilities and programming available to as many community members as possible and will accommodate special requests to the best of our ability. To request special accommodations or seating at an upcoming Cedar show, please contact our box office at 612-338-2674 or info@thecedar.org.