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POOR OLD SHINEMarch 19, 2014
Fresh from composing original music and performing as part of the American Repertory Theater’s Production of The Heart of Robin Hood, Poor Old Shine brings their fantastic sound to OBERON for one night only! Poor Old Shine is a roots band with a grassroots ethos. The Connecticut quintet prizes the human element that underpins their music, from songwriting to recording to album design and even choice of record label: Poor Old Shine released its self-titled debut studio LP, recorded with Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Joy Kills Sorrow), Nov. 5, 2013 on Signature Sounds.
Formed at the University of Connecticut, where singer and banjo player Chris Freeman met banjo and mandolin player Antonio Alcorn in a folk music club on campus, anearly version of Poor Old Shine landed its first gig — opening for a friend’s band at the legendary New Haven club Toad’s Place — before the musicians had even decided what to call themselves.
“We came up with our name a few hours before the show,” Freeman says. “It was a lot of fun and we figured, we might as well get another gig, and it went on like that for another year or so.”
With the addition Max Shakun on guitar and pump organ and Harrison Goodale on bass, the band began writing songs influenced by Pete Seeger, vintage bluegrass and bands like the Avett Brothers; recording a pair of self- released EPs and spending time on the road. Poor Old Shine played live shows before increasingly appreciative audiences in renowned venues, including the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C., Music City Roots in Nashville where they shared the evening with the Wood Brothers, Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass., The Mercury Lounge in New York City, World Café Live in Philadelphia, and Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Conn., where the musicians recorded a live album in 2012.
After capturing the band’s onstage sound on the live LP, the group wanted to push themselves into new territory on Poor Old Shine. They found a ready collaborator in Kassirer, whose Great North Sound Society studio in Maine lends itself to focused creativity. Further collaboration came from drummer Erik Hischmann, who officially joined the band after he was recommended by Kassirer to play on the album.
“We wouldn’t have been able to make the album that we made without exploring that traditional bluegrass sound, but we were really excited to also experiment,” Freeman said.
It paid off: Poor Old Shine is one of the most exciting roots albums of the year, from aself- assured young band that’s just now hitting its stride — and worked hard to get there.
“The last two years feel very surreal and it's hard to imagine what will come next,” Freeman says. “We're just really excited by the opportunities we’ve had and the artists we’ve gotten to meet. We just want to keep living this dream.”
For more info visit www.pooroldshine.com