Friday, July 27, 2018

Burlap to Cashmere

Chasing Ebenezer

White Eagle Saloon & Hotel - White Eagle Saloon

9 p.m.

$25 in advance, $25 day of show

21 and over

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About Burlap to Cashmere

Burlap to Cashmere

Burlap to Cashmere is back.

Burlap to Cashmere redefined folk rock in the 90s through its unique melding of flamenco and Mediterranean influences crossed with poetically introspective lyrics, yet the band bowed out in 2001 after years of nonstop touring alongside some of the biggest acts in the business took its toll. A decade after its split, the band that paved the way for other folk bands - singer /guitarist/songwriter Steven Delopoulos, guitarist John Philippidis and drummer Theodore Pagano - have reunited, returning with a beautiful, stripped-down new sound.

Native New Yorkers Delopoulos, and his cousin Philippidis have been playing music together their entire lives; Burlap to Cashmere was born out of a theater project Delopoulos wrote and performed in college. Pagano joined the group shortly after the cousins began gigging in coffee houses in the mid-'90s, and Burlap to Cashmere started to do what it did best - electrify live audiences. The band grew to a seven-piece ensemble and released a live EP, followed by an album called Anybody Out There? on A&M that showcased its unique blend of classic acoustic music and rollicking Greek rhythms.

When the record label changed hands, Burlap to Cashmere was nearly a casualty of industry politics. The band kept playing to rapturous audiences, but after six years at the top of its game, Burlap to Cashmere called it quits out of exhaustion. Delopoulos recorded two solo albums and Philippidis carried on with session work, while Pagano worked as an interior designer (he's the guy who made sure Ikea showrooms and Apple stores look so appealing). All three thought about getting the band back together, but it took a traumatic event - Philippidis surviving a near-fatal car accident and doctors reconstructing his entire face - to kick-start the reunion.

When the cousins played Pagano some of the newer tunes, he was blown away: "It was Burlap again, but without all the '90s grandeur," he says. Jive Records agreed, giving the band a rare second shot. Earlier this year, the trio hit the studio in California with producer Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow) with a few simple rules: "There would be no nudging, no Auto-Tuning, we're going into this for everything that's organic about the band," Philippidis says. The result, the eleven-track self-titled album, releasing on July 19 on Jive and Essential Records.

"When I got out of the hospital, Steven and I just accidentally stumbled into the song ‘Orchestrated Love Song,'" Philippidis says."It's really circusy, old-school, what we used to do in the band," Delopoulos explains. But under the watchful eye of Froom, Burlap to Cashmere learned and employed restraint. "Mitchell's idea was to approach it in an orchestral way, so we're not playing a drum beat that sounds like Rush. It keeps the drama and strips back the dense instrumentation," says Pagano. The song still boasts rapidly changing time signatures that baffle even the most seasoned session player. But Burlap to Cashmere's ability to make the difficult sound simple has always been part of its magic.

"Divinity shines through dark places," Delopoulos says. "Glancing at that divinity, to me is romantic." "Tonight" - the oldest song on the disc - dates back ten years. The joyous "Santorini" will transport you to the streets of Greece as Delopoulos sings about the pleasures of his ethnic homeland.

The centerpiece of the record is the gorgeous, Simon and Garfunkel-esque "Love Reclaims the Atmosphere." "It's about a dying patient," Delopoulos explains. "I feel like we have an idea of what it's like to die, and we talk about peace and divinity and bliss, but what about the person actually going through that process? In darkness, there's light, and I think a lot of these songs go to those dark places so there can be an eruption of light." It's a heavy topic, but on record, Burlap to Cashmere handles it with a delicate beauty, recalling its primary influences: Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and Van Morrison. In the years between Burlap records, Philippidis became especially infatuated with Paul Simon's One Trick Pony.

"Steven sang this whole record, live," Philippidis says. "There was not room for error. He had to get it or we threw the whole take away." It's that incredible musical skill and the band's gift for mind-blowing live shows that promise to deliver Burlap to Cashmere back to its fans - and introduce them to a world of new ones.




About Chasing Ebenezer

Chasing Ebenezer

Tribal folk rock band Chasing Ebenezer is based in Portland, Oregon and released their first album Outcasts & Refugees in March 2017. The project is a culmination of two years of recording. Through a fusion of folk, rock, blues, and world music percussion and progressions, this record explores the figurative way we are all displaced people and challenges listeners to care for the literal outcasts and refugees of society.

Benjamin and Heidi Beth Sadler met in college in Virginia and matured their sound after moving to Portland in 2007. After playing under another name for a few years, they relaunched as Chasing Ebenezer in 2013. In May 2016, they released "Slavery," a song written from the perspective of an enslaved sex worker. They released a new music video and single called "Say" in April 2018.The band has played at White Eagle Saloon, Mississippi Pizza Pub, Northwest Folklife, Operation Overcoat, Taste of Parkrose, and Gresham Farmers' Market. They have been covered by Oregon Music News and The Gresham Outlook. They have also played in support of many non-profit organizations and partner with people and groups blessing the community. Their songs have been featured by Portland Radio Project 99.1 FM, Local Roots Music NW 100.7 FM in Salem, Portland Metro Records' Fire Mondays, and the Indie Music Lives Here Podcast

The band plays with a full-on rock sound and a folk sensibility borrowing from traditions all around the world. Heidi learned to play classical violin in Romania before honing her folk singing and bohemian violin style. Ben utilizes four different guitars, Dobro, and ukulele to give each song its own sound. He finger picks melodies and draws from Spanish and Irish guitar playing and Eddie Vedderesque vocals. Ryan Souders (drum kit) and David Skones (guitar, bass, cello) crank the rock 'n roll to the next level while Bryan Atkinson adds spice on djembe, congas, and bongos.