The Dustbowl Revival is an Americana and soul music band with eight full-time members who mash the sounds of New Orleans funk, bluegrass, soul, prewar blues, and roots music into a genre-hopping, time-bending dance party that coaxes new fire out of familiar coal. The band was founded in 2008 in the bohemian enclave of Venice Beach, California.
Dustbowl just recorded their fourth studio album with Grammy Award–winning producer (Old Crow Medicine Show, Dropkick Murphys) and Flogging Molly founding member Ted Hutt, scheduled for release on Signature Sounds this summer. While the band launched with a deeper bluegrass roots and old-time style (a fateful Craigslist ad got it all started), it recently moved toward a more modern soul sound, still with the mixture of New Orleans swing, Americana, a little blues, and roots-rock. The soul-dipped first single of this new collaboration came out on a 45-rpm record with a music video at the end of 2016 and a premiere on Relix magazine’s website.
Over the last five years, Dustbowl has become known for its free-flowing and joyous live shows, combining its funk rhythm and brass section with a fast-picking string band section. They have opened for groups as diverse as Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, toured China as guests of the State Department, and headlined festivals such as Delfest, Floydfest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and recently Bergenfest (Norway) and Tønder Festival (Denmark). The band received a big wave of attention with its music video that featured veteran comedian/actor Dick Van Dyke for “Never Had to Go,” which garnered over 10 million cumulative views on the Internet.
A new album will be released this summer and Dustbowl is ready to bring its newest sound—the place where funk and folk meet—to a bigger audience.
On their 2017 extended play (EP) record 2, critically acclaimed Idaho-born and Portland-based indie band Shook Twins draw on the inherent power of the group’s namesake duo—identical twin sisters Katelyn Shook (vocals, guitar) and Laurie Shook (banjo, vocals). In early 2017, the pair holed up alone in a room with just two voices and two instruments and cut the seven-song collection live to tape, serving up bare-bones renditions of fan favorites, covers, and one new tune entitled “Safe.”
“Musically, it differs from our other studio albums, because it’s just two twins in a room performing on two instruments,” explains Katelyn. “It’s much more raw emotionally and almost vulnerable. It’s nice to hear our growth as a duo and notice our individual grooves. It showcases these songs in a different way than they had been or will be recorded. It’s just a taste of the simplest core of our band: The Shook Twins.”
“It goes back to the very beginning,” adds Laurie. “When we were 18, we started writing songs together, just the two of us. We practiced how to blend our voices and instruments, trying to make our 2 voices and 2 instruments sound like one thing instead of 4 separate pieces. That’s how we started this whole musical life. We wanted to go back to that for a minute and remember.”
Along the way, the full band, including Niko Slice (electric guitar, mandolin, vocals), Barra Brown (drums, vocals, drum pad), and Josh Simon (bass, vocals, electric guitar, synthesizer), has shared billings with everyone from Ryan Adams to the Indigo Girls. Moreover, they graced the stages of High Sierra, Bumbershoot, Hulaween, Floydfest, Summer Camp Music Festival, Oregon Country Fair, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Northwest String Summit, and many more, in addition to performing at Red Rocks alongside Gregory Alan Isakov and Ani DiFranco. Their artful amalgam of folk heart, indie spirit, and alternative energy has effectively captivated fans internationally.
It was an old-time medicine show featuring the kind of roots music . . . whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day.
A deliriously fun old-time party band
—New York Music Daily