Vinegar Creek Constituency w/Dan Blakeslee
7pm no Cover 21+ Vinegar Creek Constituency American songs are full of deranged old ghosts howling at the moon. Vinegar Creek Constituency, an eclectic, incendiary string band out of the PA Dutch Country, channels these venerable old ghosts of the American folk tradition through imaginative, emotive original songs delivered with rock n roll intensity. Full […]
August 5, 2014 · 7:00pm
Vinegar Creek Constituency
American songs are full of deranged old ghosts howling at the moon. Vinegar Creek Constituency, an eclectic, incendiary string band out of the PA Dutch Country, channels these venerable old ghosts of the American folk tradition through imaginative, emotive original songs delivered with rock n roll intensity. Full of shouting, floorboard-stomping soul, their live performances are uplifting, high-energy events with fans dancing in the aisles and clapping, stomping, and singing along.
Like their folksong forerunners that took root around campfires and on back porches across America, the songs call out from the crossroads of light and darkness. They are dreams of Heaven alongside visions of Hell; songs in praise of love alongside tales of murder and the madness of lovers betrayed; songs that ride the rails, wander the countryside, rise from the grave, and cackle in the face of impending doom.
The musicians of Vinegar Creek Constituency come from diverse musical backgrounds that range from formal Classical performance to experimental garage Rock to traditional Old Time Appalachian string band music to Gypsy Jazz. Consequently, the band’s sound encompasses elements of many styles, including super-charged bluegrass, early Sun Records-era rock’n’roll, swing, vaudeville, outlaw country, and ragtime.
The Vinegar Creek Constituency was first conceived in 2005 by DiSanto, a Lancaster Pennsylvania singer/songwriter then fronting an experimental garage rock band. The group’s first (and for a long time only) show was at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club opening for Appalachian guitar legend Larry Keel (who sat in with VCC for a Bill Monroe tune). All of the band members were with other groups at the time, and the Constituency played only a few sporadic shows in the Lancaster area in their first few years. But by the Spring of 2008, the musicians of VCC had begun to approach the project with increased focus and commitment.
In May of 2008 VCC traveled to Cumberland, MD performing in and winning the first annual Delfest band competition, an event that became a catalyst for the band’s already-growing creative energy. Their eponymous debut album was released in October 2008. The follow up album, Angel of the Last Waltz, was released in May 2010. Both albums were engineered, produced, and released by the band members themselves and feature all original material;Don’t Go Back In Time, the band’s 3rd full-length, all-original studio album, was released in January 2013 and entered the Top 40 in the Folk Radio Airplay chart in October of that year.
The Vinegar Creek Constituency currently performs in clubs, theaters, and festivals in an ever-expanding range throughout the US- as the full 5-piece band or as the powerful, hard-traveling Vinegar Creek Constituency Duo- headlining, opening for, or sharing festival stages with legends, luminaries, and notables of numerous genres of American music, from rock to bluegrass to country. Some of these include: Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Larry Keel, Railroad Earth, Richard Thompson, Sara Evans, Langhorne Slim, Todd Rundgren, David Bromberg, Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek), John Cowan (of Newgrass Revival), The Carolina Chocolate Drops, David Grier, The Hackensaw Boys, and Hoots and Hellmouth.
While attending art school in Baltimore, Maryland, Dan Blakeslee, a Maine native discovered that he had an equal and deeply rooted connection to music. He would sneak into the galleries to play his guitar through the late hours of the evening surrounded by easels and oil paintings. After four years in “Charm City” he returned to his childhood home in the Tatnic Woods of South Berwick, ME. That summer he played street corners in New Hampshire and Maine while working at a lobster restaurant. His employer urged him to sever ties to manual labor for one of a more musical nature. A phone call from a friend offering him a room in Somerville, MA, began his journey south in 1995. While settling into this artful community he began to practice his craft in the smoke laden subways of Boston. He now has been making music and art in the New England region ever since, leading him to tour the U.S. and abroad. He has performed with The Low Anthem, David Wax Museum, The Lumineers, Deer Tick, Liam Finn, Brown Bird, Joe Fletcher, Jonah Tolchin, Pearl and the Beard, Will Dailey, Death Vessel and Kimya Dawson to name a few.
Blakeslee has five albums under his belt. The last two recorded by long time art school friend Ron Harrity (Peapod Recordings). The first of the two Lincoln Street Roughs was recorded in a warehouse called The Map Room in Portland, Maine in 2007. The most recent album Tatnic Tales was released on May 10, 2011. It is a collection of Blakeslee’s country folk songs most stemming from real life experiences. This album features his band The Calabash Club who formed in a Dover, NH basement in October of 2008. The members: Mike Effenberger – piano, Nick Phaneuf – bass, and Jim Rudolf – drums; are the essential ingredients in this acoustic folk outfit. Tatnic Tales was recorded in Dean Ludingtons barn in North Berwick, ME by the railroad as the friendship between the members of the band bloomed. Tatnic is the first full length album the band has recorded together to date. Blakeslee’s next album Owed To The Tanglin’ Wind being recorded at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI will surface in the late spring of 2013 with tours of the U.S and Europe to follow it’s release.
The hills and highways are made for wandering, this has been deep rooted in Dan Blakeslee who performs an average of 200 shows per year. In a gymnasium at Laconia Prison (NH) in 2005, a crowd of 150 inmates became hushed after hearing Blakeslee’s songs of hardship, hope and true grit. Late winter of 2006 brought a string of 27 shows with Tiger Saw (Dylan Metrano, Alan Bull, Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors)) to the southern US and straight up the Mississippi River igniting his passion to continue on this path. Upon returning from the 110 mile journey by foot on the Massachusetts Walking Tour in June of 2012 Blakeslee mapped out a tour of a different shape slated for the fall of that year. This venture spanned 7 states, with Blakeslee performing 31 shows in 25 days as his alter ego “Doctor Gasp” making a connect the dots Jack-O-Lantern face on a map of New England. 2013 will bring him to Austin, TX in March for SXSW followed by a tour with his band “The Calabash Club” in late June. In early September will be making his way overseas for the first time doing a European Tour with Jenee Halstead.
A prolific artist, Dan Blakeslee has made over 600 rock posters in his career some of which are featured in the book “Art of Modern Rock” published by Chronicle Books. He has done album covers for dozens of bands including Assembly of Dust, Slaid Cleaves, The Tan Vampires, Jonah Tolchin and many more. After seeing his posters, The Portsmouth Brewery (NH) asked Blakeslee to draft 8 beer label designs and the Northampton Brewery (MA) followed soon after commissioning him to make a label six pack design. His beer label art has garnered national recognition with the Alchemist Brewery’s (VT) “Heady Topper” in 2012. His silk screened posters will be traveling the USA in the “National Poster Retrospecticus” in 2013 curated by the LAP Gallery.