The Dustbowl Revival, Shook Twins

The Wayfarer Presents

The Dustbowl Revival

Shook Twins

Thu, April 12, 2018

8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

The Dustbowl Revival
The Dustbowl Revival
Over the past few years, The Dustbowl Revival has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans' French Quarter” (Los Angeles Times) and their “upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear” (L.A. Weekly). Rob Sheffield, in Rolling Stone, hailed them as a great band “whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day.”

Their new eponymous album, however, finds the Los Angeles-based ensemble evolving and refining its music. Their always-joyous sound now reveals a more soulful, funky side that exudes deeper emotions and taps a more modern vibe.

This exhilarating new sound jumps out on the album’s opening tracks, “Call My Name” and “If You Could See Me Now.” Drummer Joshlyn Heffernan and bassist James Klopfleisch lay down a righteous groove that trumpeter Matt Rubin and trombonist Ulf Bjorlin supercharge with their big blasts of horns. This Stax-style soul builds to a pair of showstoppers: “Good Egg” and “The Story.” The former is a dynamic number that showcases Liz Beebe’s sexy, full-throttled vocals as well as Bjorlin’s dirty trombone solo. On “The Story,” Beebe teams with band founder Zach Lupetin for an emotionally charged love song that features some infectious interplay between the horn players and the string-men (mandolinist Daniel Mark and fiddler Connor Vance).

The album’s first single, “Busted,” also exemplifies the sonic leap taken by the band. Spotlighted by Beebe’s slinky jazz vocals, the song mixes traditional American music styles, like the blast of R&B horns and the in-the-pocket drums, with some inventive touches, such as a mandolin plucked like a hip-hop inspired piano, and the upright bass and fiddle played through wah-pedals. The group has said that recording “Busted” was like a door opening for them to create something familiar yet stylistically fresh.

Even the album’s more acoustic number, like “Debtors’ Prison” and “Got Over,” aren’t as old-timey as they might first appear. “Debtors’ Prison” initially suggests a throwback busker tune, but a closer listen reveals an all-too-contemporary ode with Lupetin singing about the struggles of trying to survive in today’s troubled economic times. Similarly, on “Got Over,” Lupetin delivers another modern-day portrait about a scuffed-up soul battling a whirl of problems who winds up “sitting on the kitchen floor … eating all the ice cream, 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.” Things get a little more optimistic on the sunnier, Bill Withers-inspired “Honey I Love You.” Featuring a guest spot by multi-Grammy-winner and fellow genre-bender Keb’ Mo’, this track serves up a timeless slice of sweet, silky soul music.

The evolution in the band’s sound has been very much an organic one. Since Signature Sounds released their last album, With a Lampshade On, the Dustbowl Revival has been out on the road, winning over audiences with their free-flowing, joyous live performances. After playing more than 200 shows a year during the last four years, the Dustbowl Revival came to realize that they had outgrown the confining label of a retro-minded band playing music from a bygone era and needed to move in new directions.

To help them achieve their adventurous musical vision, the band turned to the Grammy Award-winning producer Ted Hutt, who brought with him a background of working with a musically diverse set of acts. A founding member of Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, Hutt has not only produced punk groups like Dropkick Murphys and The Bouncing Souls, but also the progressive acoustic outfit Old Crow Medicine Show (whose 2014 release Remedy earned Hutt the Grammy), Memphis Americana rockers Lucero and New York City roots troubadour Jesse Malin. With Hutt’s assistance, The Dustbowl Revival created what they have called “the tightest, funkiest thing we’ve ever attempted.”

2017 marks the tenth anniversary of The Dustbowl Revival’s formation. It was back in 2007 when Lupetin, a Midwestern transplant to Los Angeles, posted an ad in Craigslist in hopes of creating a group inspired by brass band and string band traditions. Over the years, the group has been an inclusive outfit that frequently shifted in size before solidifying in its current eight-piece lineup.

In 2008, Zach Lupetin and The Dustbowl Revival released their debut album, The Atomic Mushroom Cloud of Love. They followed up in 2010 with You Can’t Go Back to the Garden of Eden, which included "Dan's Jam,” a song that won the Independent Music Awards’ “Americana Song of the Year.” The next year, the band, now known just as The Dustbowl Revival, put out Holy Ghost EP and their 2013 Carry Me Home CD featured more than 25 Dustbowl Revival-ists. That was also the year the L.A. Weekly crowned them the city’s “Best Live Band.”

The Dustbowl Revival found a bigger audience when Signature Sounds released With a Lampshade On in 2015. The video for “Never Had To Go,” starring band fan Dick Van Dyke, became an Internet sensation. The group went on to open for bands ranging from Lake Street Dive to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, while also appearing at such festivals as Delfest, Floydfest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and, more recently, Norway’s Bergenfest and Tonderfest in Denmark.

This new album reveals the band moving in an exciting new direction. Instead of Dixieland jazz and Depression-era folk songs serving as musical mile markers, this CD mines an energizing vein of soul, funk and roots-infused rock that evokes the work of Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and classic Stax recordings, and fits the band alongside such contemporaries as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and St. Paul & the Broken Bones.
Shook Twins
Shook Twins
“I love the harmonies of the Shook Twins, the dreamlike songs that seem somehow permeated by the American Folk tradition, without actually being part of it. They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.”​ – ​Neil Gaiman, New York Times – Best-Selling Author
“The Shooks will Shake you. These ladies have been keepin’ it real since the day they were born and that was only seconds apart from one another I think. Do yourself a favor and check ’em out. I do declare, ya won’t be sorry.”​ ​– Langhorne Slim
“The Shook Twins put on a heck of a show. Keep your eyes on these folks. I’m excited to hear what they do next.” ​– Tucker Martine
“A unique, personal music that lights up the stage with its joy and enthusiasm.”​ ​– Mason Jennings
Magic revolves around the number two. Opposite halves define our existence. There’s dark and light, black and white, night and day, yin-and-yang, and so on and so forth.
On their 2017 EP ​2​, critically acclaimed Idaho-born and Portland-based indie outfit 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.”
The process​ ​represents something of a full circle moment for Shook Twins. The group emerged in 2008 with their independent debut ​You Can Have The Rest​ followed by ​Window​ and 2014’s What We Do​—which garnered acclaim from ​USA Today​ and more. Organically stirring up a buzz, they engendered fandom in fellow creators such as Langhorne Slim, The Lumineers, Mason Jennings, and iconic best-selling author Neil Gaiman who claimed, ​“They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.”​ 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, synth], has shared bills 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 County 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.
Now, ​2​ comes to life on the strength of the twins’ own musical union. Penned by a friend named Vance Bergeson, the first single “Mad Scientist” shuffles from rustic instrumentation into cinematic storytelling, weaving together its own mythos.
“Vance is a luthier and a mountain man, and this track is truly his essence,” explains Katelyn. “For some reason, we believed we had something to offer the song as well. We believe it needs to be heard by as many people as possible.”
They strip the ​What We Do​ centerpiece “Shake” down to its quaking and quivering acoustic essence. Meanwhile, the 2017 composition “Safe” illuminates their creative strides towards 2018’s forthcoming new full-length, ​Some Good Lives​ (recorded with the full band), bridging the past and present with its delicate songcraft and lovelorn lyricism.
“This is a brand new one that we wrote in a cabin by Mt. Hood recently,” explains Laurie. “It’s been a long year of unsure love in my life, so I resonated with the hook that Katelyn started singing while I was eating breakfast. It grew from there as a collaboration.”
As Shook Twins hit the road in support of ​2​ and ready their next body of work, their bond extends to listeners everywhere.
“I want people to feel like they know us,” concludes Laurie. “I hope it’s like we’re friends, and we’re just hanging out comfortably in our living room together.”
“If you’re a music listener and supporter, you make ALL the different to us,” Katelyn leaves off. “It would be a pretty pointless job, if you weren’t there.”
Venue Information:
The Wayfarer
843 W 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA, 92627