Portland, Oregon based The Moonshine is an idea on the rise. An incandescent blend of guitar, autoharp, fiddle, banjo and upright bass. This is music born of the endless wonder of the open countryside and snow-capped peaks of the Cascades. Taking the magic of the five piece string band as their foundation and journeying through the wilds of all music that has shaped them, The Moonshine is original and dynamic. With deep roots into Folk, Indie Rock, Oldtime, Gypsy and Cajun traditions, this music is an adventure!
Starting in the winter of 2012, The Moonshine began crafting a style all their own, applying traditional string band techniques to an eclectic palette of influences and the unconventional songwriting of Michael Gerard Levasseur. As Michael the Blind, Levasseur put out four records, including the 2012 acclaimed release “Are’s and Els.” “His songs have acquired a texture that’s more British post-punk than Americana...with melodies that seem to take shape on the fly, guided by Levasseur’s trembly, angsty vocals.”--Noel Murray, Onion AV Club.
The genesis of The Moonshine was a serendipitous meeting of old and new friends, who instantly became a family. With Michael on guitar, Rachael Renee’ on autoharp, Elwood Johncox on upright bass, Susanna Low-Beer on fiddle, and Sara Wolf on banjo The Moonshine was born.
Formed in 2008, Sweetwater String Band has spent it's fair share of time packing the small neighborhood bars scattered along the flank of Eastern Sierra of California, developing a local reputation for putting on the funnest show in town. Alternating between thought provoking lyrical ballads and deep improvised jams, they bring something new and authentic to the bluegrass scene. Recently their mandolin player and primary songwriter, Scott Roberts moved to Durango, Colorado, forcing the band to confront the seriousness of continuing their endeavor. Instead of letting it go, or sliding into repetitive monotony, the band did quite the opposite, booking four successful tours around the Desert Southwest and Colorado, and releasing a brand new album of original material titled "River of Rhymes" that is gaining acclaim from critics and fans alike. Gideon Thomas of No Depression writes "The band have created a work of both intimacy and wide-scale, cinematic vistas. A work which juxtaposes serious insight and commentary with bright, often jaunty, almost athletic arrangements... River Of Rhymes is one of those records which are instantly likable, a truly worthy listen. The songs are great, their playing immaculate, and their approach and subject matters fascinating. The band have an interesting sound, diverse and different."
The band gains their unique sound also in part from cellist David Huebner, who has passed through the Portland area a couple of times with his nationally touring duo The Littlest Birds, and has played alongside the likes of the legendary Rushad Eggleston. His distinctive style of playing echoes old time fiddle sawing and straight up rock 'n roll, and the original songwriting that he and Scott bring to the band really defines their sound.
This is Sweetwater String Band's first visit to Portland and the Pacific Northwest.