NEW YORKERS AND WASHINGTONIANS: SFR PLAYING IN YOUR TOWN IN MAY
Spirit Family Reunion – the six-piece Brooklyn band which is set to play at Newport Folk Festival and is "best of what's next" according to Paste Magazine – will release its debut full-length album 'No Separation' June 15.
All six members of Spirit Family Reunion sing and the harmonies, which are unplanned, are simply stunning, led by the soulful voices of guitarist Nick Panken, fiddler Mat Davidson, and banjo player Maggie Carson. The band's repertoire, chemistry, harmonies, and instrumentation came to fruition with a weekly residency at the Lovin' Cup Café in Williamsburg, playing without a PA. The band has since expanded its fanbase by opening for the late Levon Helm, The Alabama Shakes, and David Wax Museum; playing Gowanus and Bushwick parties; busking in Union Square; and touring extensively, at one point in a former Navy van, all without a booking agent.
Spirit Family Reunion makes high-energy original, contemporary American music with the spirit of an old-time church revival but with a universal, secular spirit. Singer Panken says, "I write simple songs that anyone could pick up on. I want to take the church feeling and make it more universal." Audience members dance, holler, stomp, shout, and chant along until the line between performer and fan is blurred and a community is created by the act of the concert.
In addition to their own songs, Spirit Family Reunion recorded a stunning version of "Green Green Rocky Road," featuring undeniably soulful vocals from Mat Davidson. The song comes from the repertoire of Dave Van Ronk (about whom the Coen Brothers are presently making a film); and "Give Me Wings," which they learned from an undated acetate that drummer Peter Pezzimenti found at a Salvation Army by the mysteriously named King Cunningham.
Other high points on the album include the banjo-led "I Want To Be Relieved," the song of gratitude "To All My Friends And Relations," and the hallelujah-inducing "I Am Following the Sound."
'No Separation' was recorded in Brooklyn and Richmond, VA with the help of bike shop mechanic and recording engineer Andrew Gerhan.
Spirit Family Reunion will perform in New York at Mercury Lounge May 12 and near Washington, D.C. at Jammin' Java May 21. Other tour dates are posted here.
Spirit Family Reunion is Carson (banjo and vocals), Davidson (fiddle and vocals), Panken (guitar and vocals), Pezzimenti (drums and vocals), Stephen Weinheimer (washboard, drums, and vocals), and Ken Woodward (upright bass and vocals).