DiCristina label mates cult legend Vashti Bunyan and avante/pastoral pop exemplars Vetiver will be undertaking a joint East Coast tour this coming February. The tour kicks off with a special showcase at Carnegie Hall being hosted by David Byrne February 2 that will also feature their mutual close friend Devendra Banahart as well as Coco Rosie. This will be Vashti’s second-ever U.S. tour and Vetiver’s fifth since the Spring ’06 release of their second full length CD To Find Me Gone.
A full 35 years on from the release of her debut album Just Another Diamond Day (her only previous album), Vashti wrote, recorded and released the long-overdue follow-up in 2005, the breathtakingly beautiful Lookaftering to overwhelmingly ecstatic response from a whole generation of younger musicians, journalists and music lovers. After a few exploratory festival dates in the U.K. and Europe late in the year, Vashti mounted her first ever extensive touring starting in the Europe, then continuing in North America being enthusiastically received by fans and critics alike. She’ll be accompanied on her ’07 dates by Jo Mango (piano, flute, kalimba, concertina), Gareth Dickson (guitar) from Scotland, Kevin Barker (of Currituck County on guitar) from Brooklyn and Helena Espvall (ESPers) on cello and Kat Hernadez will be playing violin.
Vashti Bunyan had been discovered by The Rolling Stones' guru, Andrew Loog Oldham in the 60’s. Becoming disillusioned with the music business, she bought a horse and cart and set off for the creative colony that Donovan was setting up on the Isle of Skye. By the time they arrived, Donovan had left, but the experience formed the songs for Just Another Diamond Day, the album recorded by Joe Boyd (featuring members of The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention) in November '69. Rather than promote the record, Vashti left to live with the ISB in Scotland, and then (with horses, wagons, dogs and children) on to Ireland and anonymity. In the late '90s, typing her own name into an Internet search engine, Vashti became aware of the cult JADD had accrued over the years and arranged for it’s re-release - to huge critical acclaim. A host of young, new admirers emerged citing her influence, and Vashti has since recorded with Piano Magic, The Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde, Devendra Banhart, and Animal Collective. The positive response then encouraged her to make her first new music in over three decades, Lookaftering, a startlingly powerful return to artistic activity.
Meanwhile her labelmates Vetiver released To Find Me Gone in 2006, two years after Vetiver’s eponymous debut. In that time band primum mobile, Andy Cabic has toured the world repeatedly as a member of his chum Devendra Banhart's live band, as well as with Vetiver (occasionally with Banhart in tow) and released Between, an EP of live and demo recordings in 2005. Most basic tracks on To Find Me Gone were recorded by Cabic with guitarist Kevin Barker (Currituck County) and percussionist Otto Hauser (ESPers) who he then toured with extensively backing Banhart, road-testing and adjusting some of this repertoire during those shows. Finishing touches were added and additional songs recorded throughout the year by an intriguing cast of characters including Devendra, Noah Georgeson (producer of Joanna Newsom and another member of Banhart’s band), Vetiver’s resident cellist Alissa Anderson and Brightblack Morning among many others. Vetiver’s touring line-up is Cabic (vocals, guitar), Alissa (cello), Otto Hauser (of ESPers, on drums), Sanders Tripp (guitar, vocals), and Brent Dunn (bass).
Andy Cabic grew up in northern Virginia and spent a few years in Greensboro, North Carolina, playing guitar, writing music and recording as a member of the Raymond Brake. After moving to San Francisco, Cabic joined the rock band Tussle, simultaneously recruiting other local musicians including cellist Alissa Anderson, troubadour Devendra Banhart, along with special guests Colm O'Ciosoig (My Bloody Valentine), Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and the then-unknown Joanna Newsom among others to record Vetiver. And then began two years of touring and recording with his best friends, creating some of the loveliest, most subtley powerful music made this century.
Vetiver + Vashti Bunyan U.S. Tour dates
Wed 1/31/07 Eclectic Society/Wesleyan College Middleton, CT (VETIVER ONLY)
Fri 2/2/07 Carnegie Hall New York, NY
Sat 2/3/07 Johnny Brendas Philadelphia, PA
Sun 2/4/07 Satellite Ballroom Charlottesville, VA
Mon 2/5/07 The Arts Center Carrboro, NC
Tue 2/6/07 40 Watt Club Athens, GA
Wed 2/7/07 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN
Fri 2/9/07 Rock & Roll Hotel Washington, DC
Sat 2/10/07 Southpaw Brooklyn, NY
VASHTI BUNYAN PRESS:
Thirty-six years ago, a willowy young British singer-songwriter named Vashti Bunyan, above, hung her guitar up in sadness, considering her one album, “Just Another Diamond Day,” to be an artistic and personal failure. Despite her association with the fashionable folk scene that included the Incredible String Band and the producer Joe Boyd, Ms. Bunyan’s enchanting songs of wandering and pastoral domesticity, sung in a tremulous, impossibly delicate voice, failed to attract any attention, even, she has said, among her friends. (“I just couldn’t think why anybody would want to listen to something that was so very personal to me,” she said in a recent radio interview.) Three decades and three children later, after the belated reissue of “Just Another Diamond Day,” she was sought out by Devendra Banhart, the shaggy prince of the psychedelic folk revival. Amazed to find herself beloved by a new, young audience, Ms. Bunyan broke her silence to sing on records by Mr. Banhart, Animal Collective and others, and last year finally made her second album, “Lookaftering”. At first glance, its similarity to “Diamond Day” is astonishing: the same tender guitar, the same mousy voice, the same uncorrupted sunniness. Look closer, though, and a contemplative wisdom emerges, as Ms. Bunyan sings knowingly about childrearing, the search for a home and the endless study of a lifetime. (“I wanted to be the one with road dust on my boots,” she sings, “and a single silver earring and a suitcase full of notes.”) BEN SISARIO/New York Times
…Thirty-five years later, the fingerpicking songstress retains every bit of the innocent hippiedom she displayed on her lost-and-found 1970 debut Just Another Diamond Day (shaped by the same mope scientists who masterminded Nick Drake’s three albums, producer Joe Boyd and arranger Robert Kirby). Devotee Devendra Banhart co-arranges with producer Max Richter, setting Bunyan’s airy compositions in a drifting cloud of stereo-panned acoustic guitars, the returning Kirby’s strings and Joanna Newsom’s harp. Bunyan glides breathily through odes to winter nights and wordless lullabies almost certain to show up in future Wes Anderson pictures. A preciously solemn soundtrack for blustery days, Lookaftering is a sleepy report from Brigadoon. Jesse Jarnow/Paste
… Bunyan's is wonder inspired by something or someone calling her out of herself and into a mutual indwelling that illuminates what binds and separates all things. Hers is wonder, as she puts it in one sublime track, born of the realization that everything is "the same, but different."
Emanating from the enchanting likes of dulcimer, harp, Mellotron, and glockenspiel, the music that envelopes Bunyan's pastoral musings doesn't so much produce sounds as channel and shape those that are already coursing through the flora and fauna. The same is true of the album's twilit closer, "Wayward Hum," in which Bunyan's wordless murmuring testifies to how no human pronouncement can adequately convey wonder.
Bill Friskics-Warren/No Depression
… Bunyan emerges 35 years after her debut album, with a disc that sounds as if it could have been recorded in the same era as Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking, Shirley Collins’ No Roses and Nick Drake’s Bryter Later. Lookaftering – even the title has that trippy, Anglo vibe – is a stunner from start to finish, exquisitely produced and arranged by Max Richter and Bunyan and featuring freak-folkers Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart and Adem. The instruments are warm; the vocals chilling. And when Bunyan sings “Once I had a childe,” she brings to bear all the power of a single word – “once” to evoke loss. How good it is that she’s been found again. Pamela Murray Winters/Harp
The rustic and the hypnotic meet on Vetiver's "To Find Me Gone", the second album from the San Francisco band led by Andy Cabic. Acoustic guitar picking and drone harmonies are the underpinnings of the folksy songs, which are full of tentative thoughts of love. When a song tells a story, like "I Know No Pardon," Mr. Cabic shows worthy Bay Area roots in the Grateful Dead, and his quivery voice also makes him a kindred spirit to Devendra Banhart, who sits in on a few tracks. But Vetiver's most distinctive songs, like "Been So Long," diffuse the focus from the singer. They let lyrics turn into mantras and send instrumental phrases echoing through the mix, like ripples from a pebble tossed into a pond. Jon Pareles/ Sunday New York Times
Of all the groups lumped into the “freak folk” movement, Vetiver are probably the least deserving of the tag…and easily the most noteworthy. The San Francisco group helmed by Devendra Banhart pal Andy Cabic has profoundly matured since its self-titled 2004 debut. Cabic’s dreamy West Coast acoustica has shed most of its outsized ethereality and become more focused on well–crafted and evocative songs. That’s not to say that this discs is any less ambitious (or dreamy – sounding) than Vetiver’s debut, but To Find Me Gone is definitely a more cohesive and accessible work. Rootsy cuts like “I Know No Pardon” – with its rich organ work and delicately twanging guitars - come close to sounding straightforward, and the rollicking groove of “Won’t Be Me” makes it clear that Cabic is anything but a shoegazer with a 12-string. That’s not to say that To Find Me Gone is an attempt at simplified normalcy: there are still a half-dozen guest musicians (from Medicine’s Brad Laner to improv violinist Irene Sazer) all putting their individual marks on these works, as well as a loose, smoky, after-midnight vibe that permeates the entire affair. Jason Ferguson Harp
Andy Cabic, the San Franciscan who is the main creative force behind folk-rockers Vetiver, wouldn't seem to be much of a VH1 fan. But by the end of his group's set Sunday night at the Warehouse Next Door, it was clear that Cabic and the cable channel had one thing very much in common: They both really love the '70s.
Cabic is also a member of freak-folk kingpin Devendra Banhart's band, so Vetiver has been lumped into that scene, along with just about every other group that has a large, rotating cast of members and shows an appreciation for Marc Bolan when he was in the band still going by Tyrannosaurus Rex. But on Vetiver's recent album, "To Find Me Gone," which provided much of the evening's material, Cabic has shifted from composing gentle, acoustic fare to a more pleasing, polished country-rock sound that is heavily indebted to Neil Young and Gram Parsons… songs such as "I Know No Pardon" and "Won't Be Me" were rollicking, if not quite rocking, ditties that were versatile enough to feature both memorable melodies and a bit of modest jamming…David Malitz/Washington Post
Named after an aromatic East Indian grass increasingly employed to solve soil-erosion problems, Vetiver evokes serene fields on its mellowed-out sophomore effort "To Find Me Gone" (DiChristina Stairbuilders). Anchored by the mystically voiced Andy Cabic, who also plays in Devendra Banhart's band, the collective gently stirs hypnotic folk undercurrents, out-west pedal-steel accents, quivering organ chords and rustic cello notes into a melting pot that brims with a rapt mix of devotion and solitude. Vetiver's gorgeous solemnity gives off whiffs of psychedelic textures, country-garden blues and chamber-pop drones, adding to a dreamy atmospheric that should prevail onstage. (Don't Miss It) By Bob Gendron Chicago Tribune
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