Gabe Epstein Releases "Washington Express"

Article Contributed by Rainwater Poster Co. | Published on Friday, January 19, 2024

Multi-instrumentalist Gabe Epstein announces the release of his debut solo album, Washington Express. A graduate of the East Tennessee State University bluegrass program and a member of progressive bluegrass supergroup Songs From the Road Band, Gabe is known for his hard-driving, innovative banjo style. On Washington Express, Gabe’s talents as a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter are also highlighted.

Gabe Epstein grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and discovered the banjo at the age of fourteen. In the following years, he immersed himself in bluegrass, Celtic, and other related styles. This passion eventually led him to attend college at East Tennessee State University, where he obtained a degree in Bluegrass, Old-Time, Country, and Celtic Music Studies. After graduating in 2019, Gabe moved to Asheville where he has been based since. In 2020, Gabe became the banjo player for the Asheville-based Songs from the Road Band, with whom he tours locally and nationally.

His time in the ETSU program left an indelible impact on Gabe, and after graduating, he found that it was important to him to stay connected to the college and community. “Moving to Asheville after graduating from East Tennessee State University, I began to feel disconnected from what I had accomplished as a musician during my time there and how much it meant to me,” Gabe explains. “As a result, I felt that making a solo album at the ETSU campus studio would be the right thing to do. In addition, being able to tour with Songs from the Road Band helped give me the confidence to do so.”

Gabe gathered an all-star cast of ETSU alumni in the college’s recording lab, and the songs that would become Washington Express were born. The album features the talents of Troy Boone (Sideline, Amanda Cook Band) on mandolin and vocals, alongside Carter Giegerich (Ol’ Dirty Bathtub, Caleb Caudle) on dobro and Layla Cantafio (Dave Adkins Band) on fiddle and vocals. Joe Cicero (Fireside Collective) handles guitar duties along with harmony vocals, and Tyler Griffith (Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper) provides vocals and holds down the low end on bass. The engineer, Ben Bateson, teaches sound reinforcement and live sound at ETSU, as well as being a banjo player himself.

The album’s material features several original compositions by Gabe (“Washington Express,” “Difficult Run,” “Crossing Alabama,” and “The Departure”), alongside tasteful covers from folks he admires (Gordon Lightfoot’s “Long Way Back Home,” Don Reno’s “Follow the Leader,” Paul Kelly’s “Dumb Things,” and others).

Gabe says the album, and its tracklist, is a natural next step in his musical career. “Like so many other artists, I decided I was ready to put out an album featuring my own original music - as well as covers that I felt would pay tribute to my musical heroes. Getting to make this album with my friends at ETSU was an amazing experience, and I hope folks enjoy listening to the final product!”

Washington Express is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever music is streamed and sold. Interested radio programmers can download the album from AirPlay Direct.