After nearly a decade of making music as The Faux Paws, the eclectic bi-coastal trio are making it official with the release of their debut album The Faux Paws, releasing via Great Bear Records (distribution by Free Dirt Service Co.) The trio’s contagious groove and feel-good melting pot folk music has been honed over ten years of playing together, and is the sound of three close friends—two of which happen to be brothers—who feel a musical kinship that transcends any stylistic limitations. Are there raging fiddle tunes? Saxophone solos? Unrequited love songs? Yes to all of the above, and so much more. One would be hard pressed to find a group of musicians with such interesting backgrounds as The Faux Paws’. Brothers Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand grew up playing contra dance music with their musician mother in the band Great Bear and Chris Miller grew up in Florida where he was enamored with bluegrass and studied jazz before going on to play with GRAMMY nominated Cajun-country band The Revelers. The ultimate result of their alchemy is a free-wheeling sense of musical exploration on The Faux Paws, out August 27th. Fans can preorder the album here.
Since meeting in 2012, the trio have toured across North America several times, sometimes under the name The Faux Paws, sometimes as part of other larger ensembles. But due to their commitments to other bands and musical projects, the timing was never right to focus on making The Faux Paws a priority until now. Instead, they took their time learning about different styles of music from one another, and finding where their interests and skills could create unexpected and exciting new sounds. “I love super glossy pop music, and Chris is always pushing more of a jazz influence,” says Noah. “But we all have a strong background in dance music, so almost everything we do has rhythm and groove, and is based around hook and feel.” The Faux Paws flows effortlessly between genres and moods. An upbeat lyrical song like “She’s Not Looking For You” is followed by a technical instrumental, “Guacmaster.” At times, both sides of the coin present; the driving bluegrass-folk “Montauk” is a fine example of that.
It may have taken The Faux Paws ten years to make their debut album, but those years have clearly not gone to waste. Now, with an experimental but cohesive vision, the trio brings together seemingly unrelated musical elements into one joyful and distinctive collection, deeply rooted in the raw humanity of folk dance and music traditions.
Catch The Faux Paws live—on June 20th, in Chimacum, WA, at Finnriver Farm & Cidery and on October 30th at the Blackpot Festival in Lafayette, LA.
The Faux Paws Tracklist:
1. Fourth Decade
2. She’s Not Looking For You
4. Child Of The Great Lakes
7. Dirt Nap
8. The Road From Winchester
10. Racing The Sun
11. Katy Hill (Live)
More About The Faux Paws: Brothers Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand grew up playing contra dance music with their musician mother in the band Great Bear. Based in upstate New York, Great Bear gained a strong reputation in the niche world of folk-dance music, touring the country for eighteen years, releasing numerous albums and starting their own dance festival called The Groove. The two VanNorstrand brothers met Chris Miller at a music camp in New York called Ashokan. “I had never heard of contra dance music before,” says Miller, who’s primary instrument is saxophone, “But as soon as we began casually jamming together, there was this incredible musical synergy.” Miller grew up in Florida and moved to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in Jazz, but found himself pulled more into the burgeoning roots music scene there, before settling into Port Townsend, WA. “The most important part of my musical background is that it’s all about fitting in and complementing other music. How can I uplift the melody, how can I get different sounds out of whatever instrument I’m playing?” explains Miller, who also plays banjo, dobro, and clarinet, among other instruments. For the VanNorstrand brothers, who had developed an intense musical “mind-meld” over nearly two decades of playing together, the addition of Miller brought a welcome interruption of old habits, while simultaneously tying together the big picture sounds that they were attempting to reach.