Coal Porters Announces American Shows

03/28/2011
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(conqueroo) Sid Griffin rose to fame in Los Angeles as leader of Island recording artists the Long Ryders, one of the first bands of the alt-rock era to incorporate the influences of Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds.

Yet in recent years, he's made his home in London, where he leads the Coal Porters. The band has played only a limited number of American shows since their formation in the '90s.

This spring, the Coal Porters will return to the scene of the crime Los Angeles and the West Coast where they will play three shows in the L.A. area, one in San Francisco and a coveted spot at the Stagecoach festival on Sunday, May 1.

When the Ryders ended, native Kentuckian Griffin formed the Coal Porters, which initially had a fluid lineup, and relocated from L.A. to London, where he hooked up with Scottish stand-up comedian Neil Robert Herd (sound engineer on Wasp, Best Live Action Short Film winner at the 2004 Academy Awards).

The duo started out playing electric, but quickly tired of hauling around amps and drums. As a result of a dare, the Coal Porters decided to play acoustic bluegrass versions of their material at a charity concert in London. The crowd reaction affirmed that the band had found its true calling and said goodbye to electric instrumentation forever. En route from then to now they picked up Canadian fiddle virtuoso Carly Frey and London's noted local attorney and doghouse bassist Andrew Stafford. In 2010 they were blessed to secure the services of one of Britain's best young banjo players, John Breese. With this impressive lineup, the Coal Porters were ready to take on the world.

With a published author, a professional comedian and a barrister in their ranks they are the only band who can sue themselves over copyright and joke about it.

In April 2009, after traveling halfway across the globe, the Coal Porters arrived outside of Durango, Colorado, played two killer shows at the famous MeltDown Festival (Colorado's answer to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco), and laid down the tracks to their first album in two years. Durango was recorded in two weeks in the Colorado mountains at the Kozy Tone Studio of legendary producer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Mick Jagger, Phil Spector, Smithereens, Belinda Carlisle, Jeff Healey Band, and the Long Ryders).∂ The entire album was cut Basement Tapes style, with the same authenticity of Dylan and The Band. Everyone crowded in one room. Overdubs were few and laughter frequent.

Durango was released in January 2010. It faithfully represents the Coal Porters' hot live act, and creates new moods of its own. This highly anticipated follow-up to 2007's Turn the Water On, Boy! is a clear country-mile step forward, evoking the sounds of a bluegrass Clash, or a Bill Monroe for the 21st century.

Fri., April 29 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Hotel Crescent/Burrit Room Lounge
Sun., May 1 INDIO, CA Stagecoach Festival (3 p.m. stage time)
Mon., May 2 LOS ANGELES/CULVER CITY, CA The Cinema Bar
Tues., May 3 LOS ANGELES/ALTADENA, CA The Coffee Gallery
Wed., May 4 LOS ANGELES/ECHO PARK, CA Taix, 321 Lounge

Preview and Purchase Coal Porters CDs

Coal Porters MP3 Downloads

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