Two years after releasing Weight of the World, the sophomore recording which earned them attention from NPR: All Songs Considered, a #3 slot on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts, and took them on tour all over the US, UK and Australia, 10 String Symphony felt the desire to expand their acoustic, stripped down sound. Named for their unique instrumentation of two five string fiddles alternated with a five string banjo, 10 String Symphony is the collaboration between GRAMMY nominated fiddle player Christian Sedelmyer (The Jerry Douglas Band), and acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman. Since their inception in 2012, the duo has gained the attention of NPR’s Jewly Hight, who listed them among “The Newest and Best Voices in Americana” for their unique and compelling vocal and string arrangements, which are at once traditionally informed yet completely avant garde. Their new album, “Generation Frustration”, produced by Scotland’s Kris Drever, digs even deeper into the potential for experimentation with stringed instruments while highlighting new depths in the pair’s original songwriting. Unafraid of pushing boundaries, the resulting songs are as challenging as they are beautiful.
It’s been an exciting couple years for Baiman and Sedelmyer, both individually and collaboratively. Having gained a reputation for string arrangements in Nashville, 10 String Symphony’s unique sound has been enlisted for albums by Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence, Special Consensus, and Missy Raines, as well for live strings with Kacey Musgraves at the Ryman Auditorium. Their tour schedule has included stops in Hong Kong and Australia as well as opening slots for Sarah Jarosz and Sierra Hull. Sedelmyer spent the better part of 2017 touring with Jerry Douglas and recording on his new album “What If”, which culminated in a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album this past February. Baiman released a politically charged solo album, “Shame”, which was featured on Noisey and NPR’s “Song’s We Love”, and took her on tour around the country, including a stop at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and numerous shows opening for Mandolin Orange. Time spent working together and apart influenced the direction of the duo’s new recording, which reaches new heights of maturity in sound and depth.
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Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno play old-soul roots music, fluidly melding a backbone of Appalachian traditional music with fresh iconic melodies and the tightly wound vocal harmonies of indie folk. Both Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, now just out of college, grew up steeped in old-time music, Leva in Lexington, Virginia and Calcagno in Seattle, Washington. After meeting in 2016 they soon collaborated on Leva’s debut record Time is Everything which Rolling Stone wrote “shone a light on the past without giving up its place in the present.” In support of the record, they embarked on an extensive tour that stretched to the most northern reaches of Canada and overseas to Europe. Over the course of these varied and occasionally lonesome shows and travels, the pair developed their collaboration into a distinct sound that led to the imagination and writing of their new eponymous record Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno, out now on Free Dirt Records.
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