Damn Tall Buildings Premieres GREEN GRASS AND WINE at Bluegrass Today
Brooklyn-based four-piece Damn Tall Buildings unleashed new scorcher "Green Grass and Wine," via Bluegrass Today, which said of the band, "...like so many young groups, they bring influences from outside the Appalachian mountains to their sound, like rootsy rock and American musical theater, but express their original songs with banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bass." The track is from their forthcoming LP, Don't Look Down set for release on June 7, 2019; the album, produced by Dan Cardinal (Darlingside, Lula Wiles, Josh Ritter) is a statement of reconnection. "Green Grass and Wine" follows the release of the album's lead single "Late July" which The Boot described as a "driving, yet lighthearted, meditation on tough times and loss." The 13 gems housed on Don't Look Down are are awash in soaring fiddle licks, fierce banjo rolls, and goosebump-inducing four-part harmony--and as Bluegrass Today points out, Damn Tall Buildings may have a bluegrass configuration, but this band is anything but traditional.
While attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, the four began busking on street corners, which has been a huge and lasting influence on their captivating performance style. After going their separate ways after school and attempting to make things work from their various locations, the group collectively resettled in Brooklyn where they're making waves with their unique brand of music they call "guerilla roots."
LISTEN: Damn Tall Buildings' "Late July"
Whether live or on record, the band still radiates the energy of a ragtag crew of music students playing bluegrass on the street. That energy is anchored by their instrumental chops, their strong songwriting, and their varied influences that stretch beyond bluegrass, even beyond American roots music altogether. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into high-spirited harmony, Damn Tall Buildings are a tight unit that contains more than the sum of its parts.
Primary vocalist and lyricist Max Capistran's singing recalls old blues and The Band-style roots-rock, whereas Sasha Dubyk's time studying musical theater is evident in her rich vocal tone and soulful flair. The interplay between Avery Ballotta's fiddle and Jordan Alleman's banjo brings stratospheric dimension to the churning rhythm section of Capistran's guitar and Dubyk's bass. The band's harmony singing is tight without being too slick--four individual voices joined together in celebration, not a perfectly polished machine. Their choruses are the kind you sing along to with a glass raised into the air. Their lyrics find beauty and glory in the mundane, workaday struggle of everyday life: time keeps passing, you don't like your job, you drink too much, you laugh with your friends, yousearch for a home, and you dream about what else might be out there. You carry on. This is what Damn Tall Buildings sings about, what they seek to share with their audience.