Cambrian Explosion in Boston?

cambrianHere’s word of another new EP coming from the burgeoning Boston contemporary bluegrass scene. This time it’s guitarist Andy Cambria putting together a solo project with several of his friends.

But Andy says that it’s really more of a band project, recorded with a group that has performed together sporadically in the area, made up of pickers that will be familiar to many of our readers.

The record isn’t expected until next year, and isn’t officially titled though Andy has threatened to call it Cambrian Explosion. What a perfect title!

Andy studied film at Holy Cross and has shot music videos for a number of the groups in the Boston area, but he’s also a fine bluegrass musician and singer. I’ll let him explain how this album came to be…

Andy Cambria -  Erin Prawoko“I’ve been insanely busy the last couple years with other things (had two children, started doing a lot more freelance photo/video work, and got busier at my ‘day job’ selling instruments at The Music Emporium). The band on this EP had played a handful of gigs; and we’d always get the question ‘why don’t you have a record?’

I decided I’d just grab the first two available studio days when everyone was in town, and we’d get together and record some songs very informally. We decided on the material a day before cutting the tracks, and everything on the EP was recorded live except a few phrases of solos that were cleaned up afterwards. I felt it was important to not overthink the recording, since we were really going for a bluegrassy sound and most of what makes that work (for me anyway) is the rawness and power of a great group of people playing together in the same room.

A lot of people in the stringband scene these days do the ‘well, we play bluegrass instruments but we don’t play bluegrass’ thing, and I wanted to go in a more straight-ahead bluegrass direction. We play the bluegrass instruments, and I hope it sounds like bluegrass!

The material is sourced from singer/songwriters I love in the country/Americana world, people like Martha Scanlan and Jonathan Byrd. The players on the EP are yours truly (vocals, guitar), Brittany Haas (fiddle, harmony vocals), Wes Corbett (banjo, harmony vocals), Joe Walsh (mandolin, mandola) and Charlie Rose (bass, harmony vocals). Not only are these folks close friends of mine, but they are the exact group of people I’d choose to play with any day of the week, so we’ll concentrate on only doing gigs when this group is around.

The EP was recorded by Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sound in Jamaica Plain, MA, and mastered by Dave Sinko. It will be released in the early part of 2015.”

Bluegrass music on bluegrass instruments? Who’d a thunk it?

There are a couple of audio samples on Cambria’s web site for those who want to check it out in advance of the release.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.