Two of the finest regional acts in a stellar co-bill...
To understand the hype surrounding this self proclaimed “Shanty Rock” quartet out of Binghamton, NY, catch them at a festival or club and you will surely not be disappointed. But to really see why they are catching so much buzz, follow them around for a few shows.
Climbing out of two hatchbacks one by one, they rustle out a Banjo, Guitar, Violin and a Bass and start to warm up before a show in a small café in New Paltz, NY. They play for maybe 75 people and are off to play a rock club in Providence, RI the next night. They play the opening slot for maybe 45 people and are off to New York City for a nighttime show in the village but they start the day in Washington Square playing for tips. From show to show whether there’s three hundred people or five, a stage, lights, or just a sidewalk with some foot traffic there is one constant: there is something so unbelievably contagious and sincere about the music that flows out of them that no matter where they are, people listen.
It is obvious that there is a strong influence from the traditional American Roots/ Rock artists such as, Bob Dylan or The Band or even Hank Williams along with the modern string band music of today like Old Crow Medicine Show or The Avett Brothers. But there is another side to this band that pays homage to the Pop Rock of the 60’s, the simple straight forward lines of the Classical Period and even the more obscure, popular songwriters of today such as Regina Spektor. Whatever the influences or the sounds, from ballads to up tempo rock feels, the songs are beautiful and the energy is off the chart.
Formed in late 2005 the band spent about four years playing just about anywhere they could. “We just wanted to be able to play for any crowd and turn heads” says banjo player Joe Kollar. “We played everywhere. Coffee houses, bars, churches, rock clubs, bluegrass festivals and the streets…a lot on the streets. We didn’t make any money but what we learned was invaluable”.
After building an incredibly loyal local and regional following they spent the last two years reaching out to a bigger audience. With constant trips to New York City and a grueling touring schedule spanning from Providence, RI to Austin, TX to Portland OR to Buffalo NY they have managed to build a fast growing national fan base.
When it comes to the music of Cabinet, the essential bywords are soul, simplicity, and serious musicianship. In concert, the combination of these qualities invariably yields an experience that is so celebratory and moving that the very word Cabinet takes on a new, vivid meaning for anyone in the audience. An inclusive and engaging energy is the uniting through-line as Cabinet weaves bluegrass, country and folk influences to powerful effect. Tight dynamics punctuate gorgeous, soaring harmonies as down-to-earth rhythm and lyrics give way to dreamy jams that are the musical equivalent of the back road scenic route. But this impressive result is no accident. Pappy Biondo [banjo, vocals], J.P. Biondo [mandolin, vocals], Mickey Coviello [acoustic guitar, vocals], Dylan Skursky [electric bass, double bass], Todd Kopec [fiddle, vocals], and Jami Novak [drums, percussion], all love and live music. They each have a nuanced approach and posses broad talents in their own rights. But the passionate, affirming, and joyous musical world that they create together is Cabinet.
Listeners that haven't yet experienced Cabinet in person will no longer be left out, thanks to a trio of live releases. THIS IS CABINET - SET I (released Dec. 2010 on Ropeadope Records) showcases the band's arrangement of traditional country and bluegrass songs as well as extended versions of tracks from their Self-Titled debut. THIS IS CABINET - COVERS (a free album given to fans for the 2011 holiday season), again showcases arrangements of traditional and standard bluegrass and folk numbers plus a couple Paul Simon tracks thrown in for good measure. The most recent effort, ELEVEN (out now on Ropeadope Records), is the band's most ambitious release to date. A live DVD / CD recorded November 11, 2011 at Abbey Bar, a former WWII aircraft parts factory turned brewery, in Harrisburg, PA, ELEVEN captures Cabinet in the heart of their element. Performed in front of a rambunctious sold out crowd this 11 song set features fan favorites "Tower", "Elizabeth", "Old Farmers Mill" and "Coalminers" as well as previously unreleased material. ELEVEN surely lives up to the band's ever growing live show reputation.
Cabinet is a band that has outgrown any "regional favorite" tag and has progressed to a broader fanbase, all while retaining their signature sound. The band has played many great venues and festivals (CMJ 11, SXSW 11 & 12, musikfest 10 & 11, to name a few) across the land and has shared the stage with Infamous String Dusters, Railroad Earth, Rusted Root, Hoots & Hellmouth, Hot Buttered Rum, Cornmeal, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Hackensaw Boys, 7 Walkers, New Riders of the Purple Sage and many more.
Cabinet formed in 2006, bringing together players from various musical and personal backgrounds. Some of the members are barely old enough to drink legally, but their thirst for older music is unquenchable. Whether its rustic "American Beauty"-era Grateful Dead or old-timey bluegrass, Cabinet has digested it all. But that is not to say that Cabinet recreates older styles. No, this is music that might have its roots in the past, but it is current and vibrant, with a sense of celebrating the now. The band self-released a debut album, "Cabinet," before signing with Ropeadope, which took notice and re-released that album digitally.