For Upstate, the last few years have been a time of profound exploration and self-discovery. As the band knocked off milestone after milestone on the road, their sound, their lineup, and even their name all underwent dramatic metamorphoses. Challenging and thrilling all at once, those changes have finally culminated in the septet’s dazzling new self-titled album, a collection that showcases both their remarkable growth and their adventurous blend of folk, R&B, jazz, gospel, and rock and roll.
Recorded primarily over six days at the Clubhouse studio in Rhinebeck, NY, ‘Healing’ is the band’s first release with new members Allison Olender and Christian Joao, their first with four contributing songwriters, and their first since shortening their name from Upstate Rubdown. It’s also their first project to be produced by Wood Brothers percussionist Jano Rix, who helped the group embrace their transformation and lean in to their unique lineup (three female vocalists, upright bass, mandolin, sax, and cajón) without sacrificing any of the gorgeous harmonies, eclectic arrangements, and unforgettable performances that have defined the band since their earliest days.
Upstate first emerged from New York’s Hudson Valley in 2015 with their critically acclaimed debut, ‘A Remedy.’ The Poughkeepsie Journal raved that the group “need[s] nothing more than their voices to channel rhythm and stoke your emotions,” while Chronogram hailed their “infectiously sunny organic stew,” and The Alt called them “toe-tapping, contagious, and fun.” The album earned the band festival performances from Mountain Jam to FreshGrass, as well as a slew of national headline dates and support slots with everyone from The Felice Brothers and Phox to Marco Benevento and Cory Henry.
Party of the Sun is an indie folk band from New Hampshire led by songwriter Ethan McBrien and producer/multi-instrumentalist Rory Hurley. Since 2006, both McBrien and Hurley have recorded and performed with funk/rock fusion outfit The Youngest Sun. Throughout his career, McBrien has had interest in folk music as well, writing many songs influenced by the Americana tradition. In the fall of 2015, McBrien and Hurley began recording this material. These collaborative sessions, at McBrien's home, a small sheep farm in Marlborough NH, where the impetus of what would soon become Party of the Sun. The first recordings from Party of the Sun surfaced in summer of 2017 via three singles released on the LA-based independent label Trailing Twelve Records, followed by the debut Lay Low EP released on October 20th, 2017.
Lay Low EP
Lay Low, the debut EP from Party of the Sun, explores themes of love, family, time in nature, and finding purpose. The results are immediately captivating. The songwriting is timeless and dynamic, harking back to the roots of Appalachian folk while pushing the genre forward. Delicately weaving guitars, mandolin, pedal steel and yearning vocal layers, the band creates soundscapes that are lush, familiar, and fresh. This EP signifies the beginning of a promising journey.