The Decemberists Offshoot Black Prairie Set Debut Album Release
Decemberists guitarist Funk and bassist Nate Query hatched the plan to start a primarily instrumental string band while on the road. Funk began to spend time playing the square-necked Dobro guitar, and the pair recruited fellow Decemberist Jenny Conlee to play accordion. Portland musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld then filled out the ranks on violin and guitar, respectively.
Black Prairie's songs consist mostly of instrumentals; their arrangements draw from bluegrass and old-time string band traditions, while Conlee's accordion and Tornfelt's violin instill klezmer and gypsy elements to the band's unique and vibrant sound. The quintet sometimes takes an almost-classical approach to composition, with songs containing multiple movements that ebb and flow in a way that differs greatly from traditional pop or bluegrass structure. The band decided it would be a shame not to make use of Tornfelt's vocal ability, so she sings on a handful of tracks.
The thirteen album tracks include mostly original compositions by the five band members, with a smattering of traditional material intertwined throughout. "All my weird songs have finally found a home in this group," laughs guitarist Neufeld. Sugar Hill Records will release Feast of the Hunters' Moon on April 6, 2010. The band will play select club dates and festivals through the fall of 2010, including:
February 27 - Noise Pop Festival San Francisco, CA
April 1 - The Woods, Portland, OR
April 2 - Sam Bonds Garage, Eugene, OR
April 3 - Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA