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If Rock and Roll is anything specific, it is an energy. Unabashed and profoundly reflective. It’s love, it’s defiance, it’s human. It’s Folk Art. One of the most prominent national acts to come out of the Binghamton, New York music scene, Driftwood, is at heart a Rock band. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to the Americana/Roots scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely. “We started off playing Rock in high school. Then Jazz and Classical music in college. Then we dove head first into Folk and Bluegrass. At some point I guess we kind of met in the middle”, says guitarist/songwriter Dan Forsyth. Drawing on aspects of everything from Old-time to 1960’s R&B, the music is crafted to serve the songs. With fast growing audiences singing along at live shows, it’s easy to tell the primary focus is on song. “We recognized early on that one of our strongest points was songwriting. The greatest songs transcend genre and time and this was one of the motivating ideas behind the band at the start”, says banjo player/songwriter Joe Kollar. Trading lead vocals between Forsyth, Kollar and violinist/songwriter Claire Byrne, the group’s stage dynamics are as captivating as the songs. “I give so much of myself when I play because I deem it necessary in order to do the music justice”, says Byrne, who’s violin shredding performances are legendary among fans. Songs or shredding, “There’s a reason people won’t let them off the stage”, says Jess Novak from The Syracuse New Times.
Formed in 2005, the band spent four years playing just about anywhere they could. “We just wanted to be able to play for any crowd and turn heads”, says banjo player Joe Kollar. “We played everywhere. Coffee houses, bars, churches, rock clubs, Bluegrass festivals and the streets…a lot on the streets. We didn’t make any money, but what we learned was invaluable”. After the release of their Debut CD “Rally Day” in 2009, the band has spent most of the last 3 years on the road. With club and festival appearances alongside of artists such as Bela Fleck, Rusted Root, Del McCoury, Brett Dennen, The Wailers, Railroad Earth, Rubblebucket and Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood is making serious waves on the East Coast scene. In the last year they played over 170 shows. With the release of their newest CD “A Rock & Roll Heart” in 2011, the band landed spins on a slew of great radio shows and stations such as WFUV’s Sunday Breakfast with John Platt; KZSU, Stanford, CA; WCBE, Columbus, OH; and WDVX, Knoxville, TN. In the summer of 2012, the band was afforded their own summer tour blog on the website of the local Binghamton paper, The Press and Sun Bulletin.
“Today these old-time sounds are being fused with more modern influences of rock & roll; and bands like Binghamton-based Driftwood are moving right along pace with today’s most popular Electronica acts, breaking ground, strings, and expectations by drawing on our roots to create a sound that speaks to us all.”
- Kayla MacLachlan, Upstate Live Magazine
“This is a fantastic discovery, there is something great here.”
–Record Producer Eric Paul (Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, etc.)