MUSIC PROFILE: Crooked Still

My guy and I have tons in common—films, literature, museums, theatre—but one thing: music. He’s a little bit country and I’m a little bit alternative. I’m a lot alternative. When I played my guy Crooked Still he said: “They’re good pickers.” I had no idea what that means but it’s a great compliment.

Though Crooked Still has been kicking around Boston for nearly a decade in what I just found out is a bustling bluegrass scene, I just heard the band on NPR recently. I also labeled the band alt-country. The eclectic sound and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan’s lush, stunning voice attracted me.

“The bluegrass scene in Boston is pretty huge,” O’Donovan told me yesterday. “There are a lot of bands coming out of Boston and there are a lot of great bands moving to Boston from all over the country, especially really young people. It is the place to be. It’s not necessarily bluegrass but new acoustic music. I don’t even consider Crooked Still to be bluegrass. We’re definitely a more progressive band. I think the music schools have a lot to do with [the popularity of new acoustic music in Boston]—Berkeley, NEC. There are some great teachers in Boston. There are a lot of supportive venues.”

Crooked still is: O’Donovan, bassist Corey DiMario, banjo player Greg Liszt, cellist Tristan Clarridge and fiddler Brittany Haas. Original members Aoife, Corey and Greg met while in college in Boston. Aoife and Corey went to New England Conservatory and Greg completed his PhD at MIT. Crooked Still’s fourth release, Some Strange Country, contains four original tracks and new arrangements of classic folk songs.

“What Crooked Still has always done is rearrangement of classic American folk songs and that’s where the songs come from, the American song book,” O’Donovan explained. “If something jumps out with a beautiful melody and great lyrics, then we go with it.”

Some Strange Country will be released on June 1.

Crooked Still is in the midst of a tour. Here are the remaining dates:

May 20—The Grand Auditorium—Ellsworth, ME
May 21—Stone Mountain Arts Center—Brownfield, ME
May 22—Sanders Theatre—Cambridge, MA
May 30—Strawberry Music Festival—Sonora, CA
June 1—AMSD Concerts—San Diego, CA
June 2—Largo at the Coronet—Los Angeles, CA
June 4—Kuumbwa Jazz Center—Santa Cruz, CA
June 5—Bluegrass for the Greenbelt—Oakland, CA
June 15–Snow Goose Theater–Anchorage, AK
June 16–Vagabond Blues–Palmer, AK
June 18–Midnight Sun Folk Festival–Nome, AK

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