Full of energy and surprise, wit and subtlety, Twisted Pine has quickly become one of the most acclaimed young string bands in the Northeast. Audiences across the US and UK have been drawn to their forthright songwriting, lush harmonies, musical daring, and “charismatic appeal,” to quote Grammy-winner Alison Brown.
In its early days, Twisted Pine hewed pretty close to its bluegrass origins, but over time the quartet has developed a unique, infectious style without limits. Moving beyond the standard verse-chorus-solo structure of traditional string bands, Twisted Pine is a multilayered ensemble that brings the enveloping sound and pop hooks of indie music to an acoustic instrumental setting.
Guitarist Rachel Sumner and fiddler Kathleen Parks share the vocal mic, forming a combination as charming as it is gutsy. Whether switching off leads or blending and bending their voices into unexpected harmonies, these front-women are a commanding presence. On her instrument, Parks is an insatiable risk-taker, seeking out exciting new improvisational territories. Mandolinist Dan Bui is a master of melody and drive, celebrated widely for his dexterous, tasteful picking. And bassist Chris Sartori holds down the low end and a lot more, introducing creative, jazz-inflected cadences that never overwhelm the beat.
But while it’s easy to celebrate each of the band members individually, Twisted Pine isn’t just a collection of talented musicians. It’s a unit that grooves together. Intricate arrangements of swelling, syncopated rhythm and precise instrumental interplay generate something big and vital: a thick landscape of sound built on an organic acoustic foundation. It’s a fitting context for original songs written with equal parts passion and intelligence, adding up to music that lies at the intersection of heartrending and heart-racing.
You’ll find Twisted Pine on stages large and small, entertaining festivals of thousands and intimate rooms alike. Winners of the 2014 Freshgrass band competition and finalists at the 2015 Rockygrass contest, Twisted Pine has played major events from Greyfox to Green River to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and beyond. “Their live show is already legendary for the band’s unbridled spirit and contagious energy,” says Jim Olsen, president of the innovative folk label Signature Sounds (Lake Street Dive, Crooked Still, Joy Kills Sorrow). It’s no wonder the International Bluegrass Music Association nominated Twisted Pine for its 2015 Momentum Award, which recognizes exceptional up-and-coming acts.