XPN Welcomes David Wax Museum w/Dietrich Strause
Traditional Mexican folk fused with American roots to create a Mexo-Americana aesthetic.
April 16, 2014 · 8:00pm
Join us, along with the good folks at WXPN in welcoming David Wax Museum with opener Dietrich Strause!
David Wax Museum
When future music historians look back at the strong currents circulating between the Americas in the 21st century, they will find Los Lobos, Calexico, and a charismatic, lanky Missourian singing tight harmony with a Southern belle rattling the jawbone of a donkey. David Wax and Suz Slezak form the artistic core of the David Wax Museum, and together with multi-instrumentalist Greg Glassman, fuse traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create a Mexo-Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, infectious melodies, and call-and-response hollering, DWM was hailed by TIME for its “virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies” and has built a reputation among concertgoers all over the U.S, Canada, Europe and China for “kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility” (The New Yorker). With the release of Knock Knock Get Up (September 2012), David Wax Museum has reached a level of cross-cultural integration and musical fluency that allows them to speak electrifying and heartfelt poetry with a tongue that is wholly their own.
Knock Knock Get Up is a fiercely original, rhythmically undeniable love letter to the Museum’s growing global audience. It’s peppered with field recordings and natural sounds from the city of Santiago, Tuxtla in the Mexican state of Veracruz. From deep in sun-drenched southern Mexico where most of the album’s songs were conceived, the earliest version of Knock Knock Get Up traveled all the way to the frozen winter landscape of the Great North Sound Society in southern Maine. The album is the band’s second made in collaboration with producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter), and was recorded in a month-long marathon at Kassirer’s rustic farmhouse studio in January 2012. The Wax Museum’s fourth LP is a mature and playful evolution of the band’s sound: classical Mexican strumming patterns are translated onto electric guitars sporting halos of fuzz; the leona, a deep-voiced traditional Mexican guitar plays licks like an old-time, stand-up bass; and the track “Vivian” was first written as a bluegrass hoedown before it grew a Caribbean inspired accordion hook and a Brazilian drum part in the studio. With an expanded musical palate of autoharps, organs and mariachi trumpet loops, Knock Knock Get Up is gritty, intoxicating and vibrantly lush.
David Wax Museum’s eclectic sound has deep roots in Mexican and American soil. On several trips south of the border, including a yearlong Harvard fellowship, David Wax has immersed himself in the country’s rich traditional music culture, son mexicano, learning from the form’s living masters. Suz Slezak was homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, and reared on music – old time, Irish, classical, and folk. The two met in 2007 and began blending their unique musical perspectives to form the band.
The bonfire of success David Wax Museum has kindled with its innovative, grass-roots approach is currently roaring. After years busking at house concerts and touring with The Avett Brothers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Old 97s, DWM picked up the 2010 Boston Music Awards Americana Artist of the Year. In 2011 they released their second album, the acclaimed Everything Is Saved. The album’s single “Born with a Broken Heart” won the BMA’s Song of the Year. But critical mass came with the band’s breakout performance at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival, an opportunity won by DWM fans in an online competition. NPR called their concert at Newport a highlight of the entire weekend, Bob Boilen of All Songs Considered filed their sound under “pure, irresistible joy”, and the Museum was invited back to Newport to play the 2011 main stage. With an illustration in The New Yorker, #8 on Paste Magazine’s list of the Best Live Acts of 2011, and a nod from TIME magazine as one of the top ten acts of 2011’s South by Southwest, David Wax Museum has become one of the hottest new indie bands around.
Boston-based touring songwriter and performer Dietrich Strause released his third full length album on October 22nd, 2013.
The new album Little Stones to Break the Giant’s Heart stands tall, supported by a backbone of melodies and lyrics diligently crafted by Strause. The songs are a comfortable and careful mix of journeys, clever literary references, and striking imagery. Strause’s songs are versatile — personal, but universal enough to hook the masses. If the songs are the backbone, then the musicians Strause assembled are the blood that brings it to life. To record Little Stones to Break the Giant’s Heart, Dietrich teamed up with producer and guitarist Austin Nevins (Aoife O’Donovan, Josh Ritter) and a group of his longtime collaborators, an outfit of New England’s finest Americana and folk musicians.
The album features Nevins on guitars, Billy Beard on drums (Patty Griffin, Session Americana), Jim Larkin on electric bass (Jesse Dee), Laurence Scudder on viola, Laura Cortese on fiddle, Sam Kassirer on piano and organ (Josh Ritter), and Zachariah Hickman on upright bass, bass clarinet, horns, and pump organ (Josh Ritter, Ray LaMontagne). The backup singers include folk luminaries such as Rose Cousins, Amy Correia, and Anais Mitchell.
Little Stones to Break the Giant’s Heart was recorded by Matt Malikowski at Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, MA and Great North Sound Society in Parsonfield, ME. Grammy nominated album-artist, and Austin’s brother, Peter Nevins contributed the artwork.
Since moving to Boston in 2008, Dietrich has been touring the East Coast, the West, and Ireland, honing his craft as a songwriter and performer. He has also been fortunate to share the stage and the road with Aoife O’Donovan, The David Wax Museum, and Ben Sollee, among many others. He moved to Boston after attending Oberlin College because there was extra room in the van when he was helping his friend move into law school. He’s worked as a dog-walker, a subject in medical research studies, a construction worker, and recorded music for Chinese textbooks. All of this comes out in his own music. Strause grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in a family of Lutheran preachers, school teachers, and tree-enthusiasts.