builders

The Builders & The Butchers: 'Lullaby' Song Premiere

Today The Builders and the Butchers premiered "Lullaby," the first song off their upcoming third album Dead Reckoning, on My Old Kentucky Blog. The urgent, ominous track can now be heard and downloaded here. Dead Reckoning will be released February 22nd, 2011 on Badman Recording Co.

The Builders will also head out on tour in support of friends Murder By Death early next month. The month-long string of dates begins February 1st at Cosmic Charlie's in Lexington, KY, and wraps up February 20th at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE, and includes a hometown album release show February 15th at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR.

Dead Reckoning is a bold and dynamic set of 12 tracks, a raucous musical blend that culls from folk, back porch bluegrass, and unplugged blues. Led by Ryan Sollee's fervent vocals and the big drum sound of the deconstructed kit split between Brandon Hafer and Ray Rude, the album ranges from pounding anti-anthems to more subdued, haunting tracks to gospel-tinged laments. Sollee, writing against the backdrop of the recent downturn, found himself relating to and drawing inspiration from American music of the 1930s. The timeless songs on Dead Reckoning follow suit, weaving gothic stories with common threads like absolute good and evil, addiction, religion, and the father and the son. The album was recorded predominantly live over eight days in Portland with the help of Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, M. Ward, She & Him) and engineer Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Starfucker, Thao Nguyen), in effort to finally capture the unbridled energy of The Builders' renowned live show.

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The Builders and the Butchers tour dates (all in support of Murder By Death):

FEB. 1 LEXINGTON, KY COSMIC CHARLIE'S

FEB. 2 MEMPHIS, TN HI-TONE CAFÉ

FEB. 3 NEW ORLEANS, LA THE PARISH

FEB. 4 DENTON, TX RUBBER GLOVES

FEB. 5 AUSTIN, TX RED 7

FEB. 7 ALBUQUERQUE, NM LOW SPIRITS BAR & STAGE

FEB. 8 TUSCON, AZ PLUSH

FEB. 9 SAN DIEGO, CA THE CASBAH

FEB. 10 COSTA MESA, CA DETROIT BAR

FEB. 11 LOS ANGELES, CA ECHOPLEX

FEB. 12 SAN FRANCISCO, CA BOTTOM OF THE HILL

FEB. 13 SACRAMENTO, CA HARLOW'S NIGHT CLUB

FEB. 15 PORTLAND, OR WONDER BALLROOM

FEB. 16 SEATTLE, WA TRACTOR TAVERN

FEB. 17 GARDEN CITY, ID VISUAL COLLECTIVE ARTS

FEB. 18 SALT LAKE CITY, UT BAR DELUXE

FEB. 19 DENVER, CO BLUEBIRD THEATER

FEB. 20 OMAHA, NE THE WAITING ROOM

The Builders and the Butchers: Dead Reckoning

Portland, OR's The Builders and the Butchers have signed with Badman Recording Co. and will release their third album, Dead Reckoning, on February 22nd, 2011.

Dead Reckoning is a bold, kinetic collection of songs that mine from folk, back porch bluegrass, and raucous unplugged blues, lead by Ryan Sollee's fervent vocals and the big drum sound of the deconstructed kit split between Brandon Hafer and Ray Rude. Dynamic epic opener "I Broke The Vein" sets the album's tone, in many ways encompassing all elements of The Builders' sound: tempos both delicate and charging, an abundance of wisely parsed instrumentation, and heavy percussion, all cut with an ominous undercurrent and grounded in Sollee's stellar storytelling. Songs like the pounding anti-anthem "Rotten To The Core" and the urgent, ominous "Lullaby" sit seamlessly alongside the swaying gentle stomp of "Moon On The March" and the beautifully subdued haunt of "All Away." Traces of traditional gospel music emerge throughout; strikingly so on the stark and stirring "Blood For You" and the call-and-response lament "Family Tree." Writing against the backdrop of the recent downturn, Sollee found himself relating to and drawing inspiration from American music of the 1930s. The timeless songs on Dead Reckoning follow suit, weaving gothic stories with common threads like absolute good and evil, addiction, religion, and the father and the son.


The Builders recorded Dead Reckoning predominantly live in effort to finally capture the unbridled energy of their renowned live show, one that often breaks down the wall between band and audience, and turns performances into animated, cathartic sing-alongs. Over eight days, the band tracked and mixed the entire album with the help of Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, M. Ward, She & Him), who worked on their sophomore album Salvation is a Deep Dark Well (GTC, 2009), and engineer Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Starfucker, Thao Nguyen). Minimal overdubs were added and The Builders played every instrument on Dead Reckoning - which includes banjo, mandolin, organ, piano, melodica, and acoustic bass and guitar - save for two guest violin parts laid down by friends Amanda Lawrence and Zy Orange Lynn.

Dead Reckoning track listing:

  1. I Broke The Vein
  2. Rotten To The Core
  3. It Came From The Sea
  4. Lullaby
  5. Moon On The March
  6. All Away
  7. Cradle On Fire
  8. We All Know The Way
  9. Out Of The Mountain
  10. Blood For You
  11. Black Elevator
  12. Family Tree



The Builders formed in Portland in 2005, the five original members all hailing from Alaska. Getting their start playing street corners and eventually local venues, the band released their debut album self-titled album in 2007 on Bladen County Records. The album earned accolades including Willamette Week's 'Best New Band of 2008' and Seattle Sound's 'Best Live Performers 2008,' and was soon followed by 2009's Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well. Recorded by The Decemberists' Chris Funk, this sophomore album lead to even more press, including NPR, Filter, PasteMagazine.com, KEXP, Consequence of Sound, and HearYa, among others. The Builders have toured near-constantly in support of their albums over the past two years, with artists like Heartless Bastards, Portugal. The Man, Amanda Palmer, Brand New, and Murder By Death. The band's 2011 touring plans will be announced soon.

The Builders and the Butchers are: Ryan Sollee (vocals, guitar), Brandon Hafer (drums, vocals, melodica), Willy Kunkle (bass, vocals), Ray Rude (organ, drums, vocals), and Harvey Tumbleson (banjo, mandolin, vocals). Former bassist Alex Ellis performed on the record as well.

The Builders And The Butchers Play DENVER At The Fillmore

It was a typical rainy Portland afternoon at Ray Rude’s house (who plays “drums” in The Builders), hanging with friends when Ryan decided to show them what he was working on.  Something clicked that afternoon and within minutes everyone in attendance found something to play.  Alex Ellis happened to have an old acoustic bass, and Harvey Tumbleson had borrowed a Mandolin, Ray sat down at the piano and they just started playing.  Paul Seely joined the band a week later as a drummer and instrumentalist and The Builders and The Butchers were born.

Starting innocently enough as a fully acoustic rambling bunch, seeking out audiences on street corners and outside of venues, make no mistake this is not another story of busking come good, The Builders were not looking for money nor were they looking for fame, they were just playing the music they wanted to on their own terms. The band didn’t work out parts on these early songs, they were developed playing on the street, and this philosophy carries through today, by choosing to develop songs live or at rehearsal.  Ryan Sollee says “Something special happens when we get in a room and try to work out a song.  If I come in with a developed song it never seems to sound as good or it does not sound like The Builders.” In particular it was at these performances that Ray and Paul worked out their unique “deconstructed” drum style.

They played in the rain and cold of Portland winters until instruments were warped and broken, then one day the Builders sold out and booked a real show, then another, and crowds soon were seeking the Builders out.  At the early shows it was hard to distinguish the band from the audience, nothing was mic'd or amplified, and seemingly everyone in the audience had a shaker, washboard, or were just beating on the wall and singing.  All in attendance saw something special happening, a Portland audience was having fun, singing along and participating, the music demanded a celebration.  Within a year, the Builders would win the Willamette Week’s “Best New Band of 2008” and Seattle Sound’s “Best Live Performers 2008”and completed supporting tours with the Helio Sequence, Brand New, Langhorne Slim, Amanda Palmer, Dax Riggs, Murder By Death and Port O’brien.

The Builders don't pay homage to old America, they channel it.  All of the basic instruments are there, acoustic bass, drum, guitar, banjo, and mandolin.  They mix gospel, blues, and bluegrass and howl desperate story-songs that latch onto your brain and demand immediate attention.

The timeless sound of their songs, harkens back to a time long passed in music, but reflecting the dark times of the present.  Their self-titled debut was released in 2007 and showcases the bands early raw sound. Their latest release titled Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well is a much more complete work showcasing the bands full potential.  On Salvation, the Builders worked with producer Chris Funk from the Decemberists who brought with him a throng of expertise, patience, instruments, and some of the best musicians in Portland.  Salvation record combines the immediacy of the Builders early work with more a developed songwriting, each one with its own personality and story to tell.  In the vein of the Southern Gothic tales Ryan weaves stories of struggle with the usual cast of characters God, the Devil, soldiers, branches, wind, rain and hell fire.  The record starts with a piano chord and an eerie wind escalating into the thunderous “Golden and Green”, stomp and grinds its way through “Devil Town” and “The Short Way Home”, to the Spanish tinged “Barcelona and “Raise Up”, and the soaring chorus of “In The Branches”, ending with a lesson of hope in the gospel homage“The World is a Top”.

The story of Salvation is a Deep Dark Well is that there’s joy and celebration through the darkness, there’s light in the hardest of times, and when you reach the bottom may salvation light your way.

US Tour With Brand New And Manchester Orchestra
10/08 - Fillmore - Denver, CO
10/09 - Salt Palace Convention Center - Salt Lake City, UT
10/13 - Roseland - Portland, OR
10/15 - Rabobank Arena - Bakersfield, CA
10/16 - Event Center at San Jose - San Jose, CA
10/17 - Hollywood Palladium - Los Angeles, CA
10/20 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
10/21 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
10/22 - Mesa Ampetheater - Mesa, AZ