Think of: The Carter Family for the millennial generation. Old Crow Medicine Show meets Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros meets Flatt & Scruggs meets Nickel Creek, with a dash of Avett Brothers and a sprinkle of Johnny Cash. The band coined the term “guerrilla roots” to describe its sound, which draws on early-20th-century Americana/bluegrass music, “repurposed for a modern audience.”
The band was made up of four quintessential roots instruments: the banjo, double bass, acoustic guitar, and fiddle. The familiar sounds melded together in a way most would recognize, but in a way few would admit to enjoy. DTB were the exception...The technical skills of each performer were unmistakable. The fiery banjo sped through melodic and intricate solos, the double bass pounded incessantly and unwaveringly, the guitar barked sloppily but passionately, and the fiddle percussed and sang with keen timing...DTB celebrated themes of rural, poor America with sharp musicianship, creativity, and humor.
Their instrumentation has a bluegrass resume, though scaling Damn Tall Buildings down to a string band size is limiting. Fiddle, guitar, banjo and upright bass are at the instrumental heart of the music from Damn Tall Buildings though beyond their ability to place notes in all the right spots, emotion plays a large part of tunes make on the album. Words are the fuse that sparks the stories on Cure-All, the latest release from Damn Tall Buildings. The Boston-based quartet rambles from ‘Portland to Richmond’ as they try to leave the “Wichita Blues” back in the hotel room and a Celtic air offers a foundation for the flying notes that rise like the oncoming water in the “Ballad of Nigel Williams”... Damn Tall Buildings have a way of making old songs feel modern as they color band originals with sepia tones and early, back alley jazz textures.
Opening for Gangstagrass was Damn Tall Buildings, a bluegrass band from Boston. They were a great opener, getting the crowd pumped up. Damn Tall Buildings is a fairly traditional bluegrass and old-timey band, playing music that makes one want to move...I would like to see more of them.
If you think you don’t like Bluegrass, Damn Tall Buildings can probably change your mind. A room full of ambling event attendees were instantly energized by the barnstorming quartet who combined the virtuoso playing of Jordan Alleman (Banjo), Avery ‘Montana’ Ballotta (Fiddle), Max Capistran (Guitar), and Sasha Dubyk (Upright Bass) with three-part vocal harmonies. Songs started and ended in a wallop of notes with a hint of the furious-but-fun energy of punk, accompanied by the spontaneous stomping of the audience’s feet...their musical synergy was unmistakable and the music was performed with a playfulness that requires both competence and confidence.