The eight-piece "American roots orchestra", "string band with horns", "horn band with strings" The Dustbowl Revival clustered together in the WUMB air studio on July 17th for an in-studio performance and interview with Dave. Breaking immediately into "Ballad of The Bellhop" from their fourth and latest record, With A Lampshade On, the close proximity made it even easier for the eight of them to feed off of each other's energy.
The band began when guitar and vocalist Zach Lupetin first moved to Los Angeles from Chicago. He put out a Craigslist ad for other musicians and "accidental evolution" occurred. Many musicians came out, some stuck around including trombone player Ulf Bjorlin who joked, "I'm one of the original members," dropping his voice down for effect, "just want to get that out there." He and trumpet player, Matt Rubin, play without charts. "I used to chart everything," Bjorlin said, "but then I left them at home on the way to a gig and realized I didn't need them. Now we play everything by heart." A theme running through the band members is that for the most part they were classically trained in their instruments and then learned and picked up other styles along the way. Fiddler Connor Vance, for example, has recently been learning how to play in a mariachi style and Daniel Mark started as a classically trained violinist before picking up the mandolin.
Liz Beebe who plays the ukulele and the washboard, took the lead on vocals for "Never Had To Go" also from With A Lampshade On. Most of the album was recorded live, which is also how they like to put the final touches when writing songs. Lupetin writes most of the song and then the band tests them out at "shows where no one is listening, so they're ready for the shows where lots of people are listening," he said as a perfect lead-up to "Bright Lights".
The Dustbowl Revival are playing at Regattabar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge tonight. More information can be found on their website DustbowlRevival.com.