broke

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.

Jake Shimabukuro's "Go For Broke" pays tribute to soldiers' legacy

On 'Peace Love Ukulele' (out January 4th from Hitchhike Records), Jake Shimabukuro displays his customary "brilliance and brio" (NPR) on the ukulele with "Go For Broke," a Shimabukuro original that pays heartfelt tribute to the courageous American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought and sacrificed their lives in World War II.

The motto of the second-generation (Nisei) Japanese-American soldiers from Shimabukuro's native Hawaii, the most highly decorated U.S. unit in military history, was "Go For Broke," meaning "to risk everything on one great effort to win big." That's also a good description of the way Shimabukuro plays, with "stunning chops" and "a deep and sensitive musicality" (Guitar Player).

The Nisei veterans' determination has been a source of inspiration for Shimabukuro, himself of Japanese ancestry, since he was a young boy.  “Whenever I am faced with a problem, I always ask myself, 'How can I handle this situation in a way that would make a Nisei veteran proud?'" he says of the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, the 1399th Engineering Construction Battalion, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), who fought for the U.S. against their ancestral land at a time when those of Japanese heritage were often viewed with suspicion. “I think anyone who hears their story will be inspired to be a better person.”

Shimabukuro knows a peaceful way to express that inspiration. "If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place," he says.

Listen to Jake Shimabukuro's "Go For Broke"