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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 Infamous Stringdusters Reach New Heights w/ Things That Fly

About the most important question a young bluegrass band faces right out of the gate is whether they can play. The Infamous Stringdusters wasted no time in providing their answer—an emphatic “yes”—winning IBMA Album, Song and Emerging Artist of the Year the very same year they released their debut, Fork In the Road. On Things That Fly, their third album, due out April 20, 2010 on Sugar Hill, they venture into virtually uncharted territory for an acoustic group: a sonically and thematically expansive album that lends itself to absorbed listening from start to finish, much like the great rock albums do.

Holed up in the Charlottesville, Virginia studio Haunted Hollow, with significant preproduction under their belts and Gary Paczosa (Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, Tim O’Brien) on board as engineer and co-producer, the ‘Dusters did things they’d never done before: guitarist Andy Falco put his hidden keyboard talents to use on smoldering organ parts; voices and instruments alike were splashed with reverb; and, though the band has no shortage of quality lead singers in fiddler Jeremy Garrett, dobro player Andy Hall and upright bassist Travis Book, a few fine-singing friends—country standout Dierks Bentley, Americana songwriter-chanteuse Sarah Siskind and Crooked Still frontwoman Aoife O’Donovan added novel tones.  All this—and more, much more—makes for a lush, new ‘Dusters experience.

Says Book, “I think string bands have a tendency to feel like when they go to record, doing anything that they can’t necessarily replicate 100 percent live is off-limits. Instead of saying ‘This is how it sounds when the six of us play it standing around in a circle, so we’re just going to put mics up and capture it and that’s going to be it,’ we really got deeper in the production aspect.”

Factor in that every member of the band—rounded out by de facto tour videographer Chris Pandolfi (banjo) and Jesse Cobb (mandolin)—is a stylish, consummate picker with a hardly strictly bluegrass background, as well as a skilled songwriter, and you see that this band is genuinely built for breadth. “We wanted to make sure everyone had writing input on the record,” Hall relates. “We’d never done that before, and it’s a lot of why we started the band.”

Speaking of formidable rock albums, the 'Dusters drew the second track on Things That Fly from U2's Joshua Tree. Not only did they transform "In God's Country" into their own propulsive, virtuosic vehicle, they wrote transcendent anthems in a similar spirit: "Taking a Chance on the Truth" and "Love One Another." Surprising covers, unusual arrangements and other departures from the expected make Things That Fly something different - namely a sign that they've elevated their sound and set their sights higher than ever before.

Upcoming Tour Dates:


2/4 - Lexington, KY 
2/5 - Granville, OH
2/6 - Cleveland, OH 
2/8 - Ames, IA 
2/10 - Billings, MT
2/12+13 - Big Sky, MT
2/16+17 - Steamboat Springs, CO 
2/19 - Logan, UT
2/20 - Salt Lake City, UT
2/21 - Park City, UT
2/25 - Eugene, OR
2/26+27 - Tacoma, WA
3/17 - Tuolumne, CA
3/18 - Crystal Bay, NV
3/19 - Grass Valley, CA
3/20 - Felton, CA
3/21 - Berkeley, CA
3/22 - West Hollywood, CA
3/24 - Albuquerque, NM
3/25 - Durango, CO
3/26 - Telluride, CO
3/27 - Glenwood Springs, CO
3/28 - Denver, CO