turbine

Turbine Releases Third Studio Effort

Blue Light City-- the third full length studio recording from psychedelic rock band Turbine debuted at #3 in the Relix / Homegrown Music radio charts and has raised the bar for the band and—possibly, in terms of studio recordings, for the broader jam rock community as a whole.

Turbine and Mason Jar Records team up for live release Sounds in the Hall

Breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene proves no easy feat for young bands. Burgeoning musicians lumped in the dare we say it, jamband realm, need to successfully marry a deep high-quality catalog of material, whimsical stage presence, diverse writing chops, virtuoso instrumentation, and a calendar containing upwards of 200 shows per year. Correction, breaking through the glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene is damn near impossible.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and Brooklyn’s Turbine would like to submit their CV. On their first official live release, Sounds in the Hall, as they have over the course of 8 songs checked off every single one of the preceding prerequisites. Comprised of carefully hand-picked selections of both Turbine classics and newer material, Sounds in the Hall covers all the bases, but the clear differentiating factor that sets Turbine far above the masses is their amazing penchant for writing memorable and distinctive songs across a variety of sounds and genres.

Just running through the eight song track list, Turbine touches on a bonafide hit-single in waiting “Blackout Song,” the slow summer groove akin to the Grateful Dead “Eddy From the Sea,” a thick extended funk jam on “Behind These Walls” that stretches all way to cow funk-era 1997, blazing bluegrass chops on Maritime Rag, and a handful of tunes that highlight the remarkable vocals and smoking harmonica leads.

Having played a seemingly infinite number of shows over the past couple of years, the Turbine boys took a lot of time in selecting their finest renditions of the material on Sound from the Halls, as described by guitarist and harmonica player Ryan Rightmire.

“There were so many factors in selecting the songs. Being that this is our first official live album, we wanted to include songs from our two studio albums as well as feature some unreleased ones. In the end, half the album is made up of unreleased tracks. Listening back to the performances, it was hard to ignore the energy of the big shows. Bonnaroo and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival brought out some great moments, so they are well represented. As for a specific memory, at one point during “Stand Down” I played the harmonica with a balloon, and you can hear the crowd erupt mid-song. It’s those mid-song responses that always tell us things are going well.”

It bears highlighting that Turbine’s Ryan Rightmire incorporates the harmonica like it’s never been used in a rock context. Not only does he employ some trickery like playing with a balloon, but it’s not uncommon to hear him layer on some effects and turn his harp into a synth-laden rhythm instrument. Alternatively, he possesses to chops to play it clean and go toe-to-toe with John Popper and perhaps remain the last man standing. While it’s probably not wise for the bands’ publicity to start entering them into fights, these guys are pretty scrappy so keep your guard up, Popper.

Turbine is by no means any one trick pony either, guitarist Jeremy Hilliard plays law-running lead guitar and cranks out definitive melodies throughout  his lead playing as well as helping shape Turbine’s wide reaching sound with his song-writing talents. Bassist Justin Kimmel and drummer Octavio Salman hold down the low post like Abdul-Jabar, as both are trained musicians with the ability to run the offense and take over the game at any moment.

Sometimes these things just feel meant to be; when Turbine showed up to perform their show at Bonnaroo, from which three of these tracks were taken, they found a bit of encouraging irony. “There was a giant wind turbine spinning next to the stage. As of matter of fact, it powered our entire show including all of the recording equipment. We made the announcement that this was the first turbine-powered Turbine concert. I kept expecting the songs to speed up every time a gust of wind made it spin faster.”

Taking the name from the lyrics of one the album’s highlight tracks, “Behind These Walls,” Sounds in the Hall evokes a sense of the live experience the overall feel for this tour, which included some big venues. We can only hope that with the help of a successfully release, that the halls will keep growing and the sounds will just keep getting better.

In support of the album, Turbine will host a record release party on May 22nd at the Mercury Lounge in New York City (with the Brew).

Listen to Turbine sing "Blackout Song"

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Sounds in the Hall Tracklist:

Eddy the Sea – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

War of 9161 (The Pledge) – Breckenridge, CO

Invited – Bonnaroo, TN

Behind These Walls – Boulder, CO

Doing to Me – Bonnaroo, TN

Stand Down – Bonnaroo, TN

Maritime Rag – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

Blackout Song – Breckenridge, CO

Turbine Announces US Winter Tour

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

The versatile four-piece band Turbine have jam-packed their calendars with coast-to-coast US tour dates, spanning December through February. True to their native New York City, the quadraphonic barrage is a genre splitting melting pot of rock, funk, bluegrass, and Americana. Hitting the road for nearly two straight months, Turbine is creating a marked buzz on the music scene with their infectious songwriting skills and high-octane live performances.

Having already been declared an "On the Verge" artist by Relix magazine, Turbine is making noise on all levels. The group has also been featured on the Relix CD and has garnered press from Hittin' The Note magazine. Their new album, Reward, showcases a band unafraid to write or play in any style possible. With an invigorating blend of trans-genre music, Turbine weaves their way through improvisational instrumental arrangements and contagious lyrical passages. Melodic guitar runs, wailing harmonicas and danceable rhythms add to the Turbine experience.

Kicking off the tour in Cleveland, OH on December 18th, Turbine will wind their way through the Midwest. The December 19th show at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago pairs Turbine with fellow Relix "On The Verge" artist Lubriphonic. They will then make stops in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, before a special six night run to end the year in Colorado. January will find the group in Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada before they work their way up the west coast with a run of shows in California, Oregon, and Washington. For a complete list of dates visit www.myspace.com/turbine.

TOUR DATES:

02/16 - Belly Up w/ GALACTIC - Aspen, Colorado
02/18 - The Bubble Lounge - Telluride, Colorado
02/19 - Steamworks Brewery - Gunnison, Colorado
02/21 - Three20South - Breckenridge, Colorado
02/24 - Hastings College - Hastings, Nebraska
02/25 - The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS
03/06 - Goody's (Phish After Show) - Hampton, VA
03/07 - Goody's (Phish After Show) - Hampton, VA
04/10 - Donegal - Kearney, New Jersey
04/11 - Cameo (Brolik opens) - Brooklyn, New York

Turbine Rumbles in the Red Fish

With one of the biggest food and family holidays only a few days behind us, and the always-rowdy student population on hiatus until early January, Downtown Boulder was a quiet place to be on December 28.  The scene was atypical, and I felt out of place as one of only about three people on the town.  The music scene, however, never sleeps, and those of us fortunate enough to be out and about were in for a special treat.  Turbine was set to tear up the Red Fish

Turbine Announces US Winter Tour

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

The versatile four-piece band Turbine have jam-packed their calendars with coast-to-coast US tour dates, spanning December through February. True to their native New York City, the quadraphonic barrage is a genre splitting melting pot of rock, funk, bluegrass, and Americana. Hitting the road for nearly two straight months, Turbine is creating a marked buzz on the music scene with their infectious songwriting skills and high-octane live performances.

Having already been declared an "On the Verge" artist by Relix magazine, Turbine is making noise on all levels. The group has also been featured on the Relix CD and has garnered press from Hittin' The Note magazine. Their new album, Reward, showcases a band unafraid to write or play in any style possible. With an invigorating blend of trans-genre music, Turbine weaves their way through improvisational instrumental arrangements and contagious lyrical passages. Melodic guitar runs, wailing harmonicas and danceable rhythms add to the Turbine experience.

Kicking off the tour in Cleveland, OH on December 18th, Turbine will wind their way through the Midwest. The December 19th show at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago pairs Turbine with fellow Relix "On The Verge" artist Lubriphonic. They will then make stops in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, before a special six night run to end the year in Colorado. January will find the group in Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada before they work their way up the west coast with a run of shows in California, Oregon, and Washington. For a complete list of dates visit www.myspace.com/turbine.

TOUR DATES:

11/26 - Fatty J's - Fredericksburg, Virginia
11/28 - Cary Street Cafe - Richmond, Virginia
11/29 - The Lantern - Blacksburg, Virginia
12/04 - Oasis Cafe - New Paltz, New York
12/05 - Donegal Saloon - Kearny, New Jersey
12/06 - Velvet Lounge - Setauket, New York
12/13 - The Fire w/ Buzz Universe - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12/18 - Wilbert's - Cleveland, Ohio
12/19 - Beat Kitchen w/Lubriphonic - Chicago, Illinois
12/21 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, Iowa
12/26 - Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill - Steamboat Springs, Colorado
12/27 - Sandbar Sports Grill - Vail, Colorado
12/28 - Red Fish - Boulder, Colorado
12/29 - Quixotes True Blue - Denver, Colorado
12/31 - Three 20 South - Breckenridge, Colorado
01/02 - Alma's Only Bistro - Alma, Colorado
01/03 - The Eldo - Crested Butte, Colorado
01/07 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, Utah
01/08 - Mangy Moose - Teton Village, Wyoming
01/09 - Mangy Moose - Teton Village, Wyoming
01/10 - Knotty Pine - Victor, Idaho
01/14 - Thunderbird Lounge @ The Aruba - Las Vegas, Nevada
01/15 - Winston's - San Diego, California
01/16 - Gypsy Lounge - Lake Forest, California
01/20 - Mojito's - San Francisco, California
01/22 - Moe's Alley - Santa Cruz, California
01/23 - Divided Sky - South Lake Tahoe, California
01/27 - Ace-in-the-Hole Cider Pub - Sebastopol, California
01/28 - Blue Lamp - Sacremento, California
01/30 - The Laytonville Inn - Laytonville, California
01/31 - Humboldt Brews - Arcata, California
02/03 - Johnny B's - Medford, Oregon
02/04 - Sam Bond's Garage - Eugene, Oregon
02/05 - Goodfoot Pub and Lounge - Portland, Oregon
02/06 - The Red Room - Kennewick, Washington
02/07 - Silver Moon Brewery - Bend, Oregon
02/10 - John's Alley - Moscow, Idaho
02/11 - John's Alley - Moscow, Idaho
02/18 - El Bait Shop - Des Moines, Iowa

Turbine Picking Up Speed In Colorado

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

Turbine has been building a following the past few years around their dynamic live performances and constant touring schedule. Exploring various styles of music from rock to bluegrass to sci-fi, they use their vast catalog of songs as launching pads for improvisation. Recently chosen by Relix Magazine as artists "On the Verge", they have now released their second studio album Reward to critical praise. Ryan Rightmire, playing the harmonica and acoustic guitar at the same time, brings this classic combo into the 21st century as he manipulates effects that can turn his harmonica into an electric guitar, organ, and even a turntable. Jeremy Hilliard, in addition to being a prolific songwriter, brings an explosive electric guitar style steeped in the blues and roots traditions of the south. This one two punch of intertwining soloists, backed by Eric Johnson on drums and Justin Kimmel on bass, sound like nothing you've heard before. Their ability to switch styles has allowed them to play in any situation, from performing Led Zeppelin songs with Marco Benevento of The Duo to sitting in with bluegrass legends the Del McCoury Band.

Based out of New York City, they have appeared twice at the Wakarusa Festival, twice at the 10,000 Lakes Festival, Strange Creek Campout, Camp Creek, The Gathering of the Vibes, The Sunshine Daydream Festival, and three years at the Bele Chere Festival. They have also appeared at such renowned venues as the B.B. King Blues Club, State Theatre in VA, the Knitting Factory, Lion's Den, Paradise Rock Club, Iron Horse, North Star Bar, the Haunt, Starr Hill, and Nectar's. They have shared the bill with countless talented bands including Bob Weir and Ratdog, Trey Anastasio, The Black Crowes, Derek Trucks, Phil Lesh and Friends, Les Claypool, Jimmy Herring, The Benevento/Russo Duo, The Del McCoury Band, The String Cheese Incident, Gov't Mule, Drive-By Truckers, and Widespread Panic.

Turbine's new album Reward, released in 2007, brings their songwriting and musicianship to the next level. In it you can hear the many influences that have made them who they are today, from the songwriting of Bob Dylan to the futuristic sounds of Radiohead. But who are Turbine…

Jeremy Hilliard moved from Virginia to Manhattan to study jazz guitar. He attended the Mannes School of Music and soon began playing around the city. As his songwriting progressed he found himself identifying more along those lines than as a jazz musician. Ryan Rightmire actually started out playing the French Horn. He spent 15 years of intense studying in classical music and jazz, all the while experimenting with electronics and effects. Soon after moving to Manhattan he made a discovery: "the French Horn is a civilized instrument and I'm not a civilized man." It was then that he switched over to the harmonica and guitar. When Jeremy moved into the apartment next door to Ryan, they began a songwriting partnership. Eric Johnson, the newest member of the band, has added another dimension to this sound. Bringing an exploratory approach to the music, his intensity and drive to push the boundaries of improvisation take the band into unexpected places on a nightly basis. Justin Kimmel provides the final piece to the puzzle with his bass guitar and vocal harmonies. Originally from Colorado, he has the ability to seamlessly switch from one style to the next, anchoring the sound at every turn. To hear music and check Turbine's tour schedule, go to www.turbinemusic.com

Turbine Steams Out a New CD: Reward

Turbine- for the Grateful Web

Those New Yorkers, Turbine, have a new inventive CD, Reward. It's their first studio album as a foursome. It is a mix of upbeat pop, roots ballads, rock tunes, and lyric-driven jams. When the duo of Jermey Hilliard and Ryan Rightmire expanded their band with the addition of Justin Kimmel on bass and Jason Nazary on drums, it allowed more creativity to develop.

Prior to 2005, Hilliard and Rightmire attempted to play all the parts of a full band on two guitars and a harmonica. They had arranged music so those three instruments played bass parts and even percussion. Yet, what was always a hallmark of Turbine material was the variety and quality of the original songs they brought. The new band members took on those tasks and completely altered the way the band writes and arranges. Hilliard and Rightmire now could add more guitar flourishes, more complex harmonies, and that extraordinary harmonica work that Rightmire is known for.

And, of course, the new band members add their own touches. All of the band members have jazz and/or classical roots. Hilliard studied jazz guitar. Rightmire studied piano and French Horn, then moved to acoustic guitar and harmonica. Kimmel and Nazary are also jazz trained but are extremely versatile, even filling in on a reggae song or a country tune.

Though Hilliard has historically written most of the songs for the group, the band has begun to add to that song pool. Reward, the first album for the full band, complements the work of the duo in their first studio album, Don't Mind If I Should, that was released in 2004.

I had the opportunity of previewing a lot of the cuts on this new album during the 2006 10,000 Lakes Festival when the band played not only an opening night set on the Saloon Stage, but spend the rest of the weekend, playing during lunch in the VIP hospitality tent. The band spent two hours or more entertaining the other musicians, the staff, members of the press, and those fortunate enough to buy VIP tickets. It was a treat to hear their full original repertoire. They did jam rock songs, sea chanties, Irish drinking songs, folk tunes, ballads, spacey jams, Afro beat, and everything in between. Many of the tunes on Reward were introduced there. I also was privileged to get preview cuts before the final pressing of this CD.

Reward like Don't Mind If I Should is enhanced by Rightmire's harmonica work, which he puts through a microphone with pedals that he crafted with Frank Sternot, a Chicagoan who developed the traditional microphone most harpists buy. Though this set up, Rightmire adds not only John Popper type straight harmonica, but he can make synthesizer sounds, Hammond organ chords, and even spacey electronic sounds or the sounds of a DJ turntablist.

But Reward has used these effects carefully so that the result showcases the merits of each song. The guitar work is strong, but, again, not over the top, and the vocals are pure with often Phish-like harmonies. Though the nine songs on this album in no way represent the wide breadth of this band, they do give the listener a taste of what Turbine can do. All of these songs are also radio friendly. In fact one of my favorites, the folky, harmonic tune, "Cranberry Creek," is being played on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 17—Jam On.

The first cut out off the album, "Don't Take Money From Strangers," is an upbeat pop piece that is a good introduction to the band. "Blackout Song" and "Stand Down" are classic Turbine songs, with early Phish-type harmonies. "Roll On" steps it up with an odd mix of styles (Phish, the New Grass Revival, the Allman Brothers, and Primus), and it works! "Invited" has a New Orleans bass and drum beat with country/rock lyrics. It's a bright twist on what Poco and Pure Prairie League used to produce, and what radio hasn't heard in a long time. "Seven Years of Bad Luck" is a bluesy, funk tune, and the title cut, "Reward," is pure roadhouse. The final cut, "Rosehill Promenade," is my all time favorite. It has the innocence of Bill Staines' "Roseville Fair," but has something more that only Hilliard and Turbine could evoke.

So, check out Turbine's new CD, Reward. It's good music.

Turbine: Always Turning Out The Good Stuff

photo(s) by Kent Anderson- for the Grateful Web

In 2005, jammers at the 10,000 Lakes Festival were floored by the power duo from New York City, Turbine. Ryan Rightmire (harmonica, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Jeremy Hilliard (electric guitar, vocals) had audiences awe-struck when they launched into their set. "There was a moment after the first long jam of the set, and no one was making any noise during the song, " recalls Hilliard. "We finished and for a second, we were wondering what was going to happen. Then everyone sort of exploded."

"Everyone was such careful listeners," adds Rightmire. "A lot of times when you're playing at a bar, people are talking. But at a festival like this, everyone is so attentive, and it's just a pleasure to play in that environment."

The comment most people made, including myself, was: How can two people have such a full sound with only two guitars and a harmonica?!  There were bass parts and percussion parts that surprised everyone. But what drew me and others mostly was the variety and quality of the original songs they brought with them.

It was no surprise then that they were invited back last year. By this time, however, Turbine had expanded into a full four-piece band, adding Justin Kimmel on bass and Jason Nazary on drums.  Kimmel also fills in vocally for some really tight three-part harmonies and necessary vocal backup when Rightmire is playing harmonica.  Though the band had only been together a matter of months, they were right on. "They bring their personalities as well as just playing the songs we already had," says Hilliard. "The drummer, Jason Nazary, drives the improvisations a lot to new places. It's much more communicative than people just backing us."  And, Rightmire adds, "We just didn't want to find a couple of guys to back us. We were really looking for people to push us as well. I think we found that."

turbineThe addition of new band members has completely altered the way the band writes and arranges.  Though they had hammered bass and percussion into their duo arrangements, writing became even more creative.  "It's interesting that the more people you add, you think there's less space to work with because there are more instruments," says Rightmire. "We're kind of getting freed up to do other things because you don't need to worry about holding it down so to speak or trying to cover the drums and bass that aren't there. When they are there, you are kind of freed up to explore."

Hilliard adds, "With the new band, everyone wants to see where we're going to be in a year and what that's going to sound like." That's true. And, the proof is in the new album that will be coming out late this spring, just before festival season. The new album will be the first for the full band and will complement Turbine's duo album, Don't Mind If I Should.

This new album will be an opportunity to see the versatility of what Turbine can do. During the 2006 10,000 Lakes Festival, Turbine not only did a stint on opening night up in the Saloon Stage, but spend the rest of the weekend, playing during lunch in the VIP hospitality tent. The band spent two hours or more entertaining the other musicians, the staff, members of the press, and those fortunate enough to buy VIP tickets. It was a treat to hear their full original repertoire. They did jam rock songs, sea chanties, Irish drinking songs, folk tunes, ballads, spacey jams, Afro beat, and everything in between.

Most impressive was Rightmire's harmonica work.  Using wooden Horner Blues Harps that don't have that plastic sound, he puts them through a microphone with pedals that he helped develop with Frank Sternot, a Chicagoan who developed the traditional microphone most harpists buy.  "It was too bluesy for me," says Rightmire. "So, I sought him out and worked with him to create one that's more like my own sound. You can always add, but you can't take away. At the beginning, you kind of need like a pure tone."

With that pure tone, Rightmire is able to do blues, straight harp, and special effects like spacey electronic sounds. He is even able to make the harmonica sound like a Hammond organ and that a DJ turntablist.

turbineBut this isn't the only kind of versatility the band is able to produce. Hilliard and Rightmire recently surprised a bluegrass audience when they were asked to join the Del McCoury Band on stage. When Hilliard brought up his electric, everyone inwardly winced and he was even challenged by a band member. Hilliard then charmed the audience by producing a slick electric fiddle sound coming from his guitar, while Rightmire offered banjo sounds from his harmonica.

Musical skills like these, however, aren't limited to just the original duo. All of the band members have jazz and/or classical roots. Hilliard studied jazz guitar. Rightmire studied piano and French Horn, then moved to acoustic guitar and harmonica. Kimmel and Nazary are also jazz trained but are extremely versatile, even filling in on a reggae song or a country tune.

This year, Turbine will have a new album out, and will begin touring with a new drummer, Eric Johnson. They also will open festival season with a slot at Wakarusa in Kansas in June. Check out some song samples at www.myspace.com/turbine.