DRIFTWOOD'S FoxFire Weekend w/ Swampcandy
When most people think of upstate New York, they either imagine bucolic landscapes or working-class towns. As natives of Binghamton, the members of Driftwood hail from a working town, but play music rooted in the land, leaning alternately into folk, old-time, country, punk, and rock, depending on their personal moods and their songs' needs.
"It's sometimes tough to keep any sort of focus on style or sound when you have three different songwriters," guitarist Dan Forsyth concedes. "But it also allows us to branch out and explore in ways other bands don't. Also, I think it's important, as a band, to ask ourselves 'Is this a good next step?' I think everyone is very excited to know that it is." Describing the Driftwood sound, banjo player Joe Kollar offers, "I consider our sound to be more of an attitude and an approach - the result of all of our influences in a completely open musical forum where the only stipulation is to use bluegrass instruments and create it from the heart."
That's as close to being pinned down as Driftwood ever gets. Such has always been the case for artists blurring and blending genre lines in order to innovate. Yes, they wield old-time instruments, but they do so with a punk-rock ethos. "I do not know much about punk music, but I do know that it gives me a feeling of tearing into something without inhibition," violinist Claire Byrne says, adding, "Old-time music has the same feeling for me. The music was a release for people living extremely hard lives in harsh conditions. In this way, the two styles of music are very similar: It's digging in and making a statement. It's rocking out and feeling totally reborn through the song."
Swampcandy is an internationally touring, primitive blues influenced Americana duo. Ruben Dobbs' aggressive finger-picking and rhythmic style (which often adds up to sounding like more than one guitar) combined with Joey Mitchell's bass playing, pounding kick drum and percussive bass throttling (representing the presence of a full drum kit) easily fill up the sonic space normally created by a trio or even a four-piece. Dobbs' soulful, passionate vocals are the glue that holds it all together and makes the band tick.
The band was founded by Dobbs in 2007 and functioned with various lineups until he teamed up with Joey Mitchell in 2010 and the permanent die was cast. After only a few months together, the duo began to tour aggressively and have not slowed down since. Whether its a 20-minute opening slot or a three-hour headlining gig they give 110% in every performance, leaving the stage exhausted and crowd satisfied.