It was a frigid cold evening outside The Space Ballroom in Hamden, Connecticut but the music certainly warmed those inside. Those who ventured out were treated to some fantastic music, which blended gospel, blues, soul, Dixieland, and a bit of rock & roll. The band Roanoke was opening for The Dustbowl Revival but both bands were equally well received.
The Dustbowl Revival members were fortunate enough to get to the venue early but openers, Roanoke, had to struggle through a heavy snow squall that moved across the state with blizzard-like conditions. Those who made it to the show early were happy they arrived safe and sound. Beginning as a band in 2014, they released their first album, the self-titled “Roanoke” to the delight of fans and critics alike. Their music has a soulful folk sound with a down-home welcoming feel that envelopes the listener with a feeling of comfort. One gets lost in their lush harmonies and old school country instrumentation that harken to an earlier and simpler time in music and social history. Their song, “Don’t Let Me Leave The Road” is a perfect anthem for this hard working, much traveled band. The lyrics, “Navigate the backroads, singing songs about the old days” gives the listener insight to the core feelings of this acclaimed band whose music should not be pigeonholed into a specific genre.
What do you get when you assemble eight like-minded musicians who can electrify a crowd? You get The Dustbowl Revival! Founded in 2007, the band started out with a more old-time depression-era sound that Tom Joad would have listened to had his family had a radio in their truck as they headed West to the promised land in “The Grapes of Wrath”. Their sound morphed into a more upbeat blend of soul and New Orleans jazz, with a touch of roots rock, blues, and rock & roll which, from the reaction of the crowd, is wildly popular amongst their fans.
The New Orleans influence is clearly evident by the instrumentation consisting of horns and a fiddle much like you would see in any one of the jumping venues in the French Quarter. The succulent voices of singers Liz Bebee and Zach Lupetin maneuvered through the changes of music styles throughout their set with ease. From the classic gospel song “John the Revelator” to The Band’s “Rag Mama Rag” vocals were spot on and powerful. Together, these eight musicians put out a sound that will make you want to dance during the lively songs and sway along with the slow impassioned ones. Just when the audience thought the evening was over, the band came out and finished their show acoustically amongst the audience to the delight of all!
If either one of these bands visits your area, do yourself a favor and see them. You will NOT be sorry you did!
Website – http://www.roanokeband.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/roanoketheband/
Instagram – @roanoke_music
The Dustbowl Revival
Website – http://www.dustbowlrevival.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dustbowlrevival/
Instagram – @dustbowlrevival
Photos and Review by Rich Russo