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Great Lakes began in Athens, Georgia in 1996, released an eponymous debut in 2000, and relocated to Brooklyn in 2002. The Distance Between appeared that year, and with 2006 came the release of Diamond Times. A new record, Ways of Escape, came out in October of 2010. 

Over the years Great Lakes' sound has gradually moved away from the psychedelia of their debut, and toward more folk and country influences. With Ben Crum on guitar and vocals, the new record features Kevin Shea (drums), David Lerner (bass), Jay Israelson (piano), Phillip Sterk (pedal steel), Joe McGinty (electric piano and organ), Jon Natchez (bass clarinet and baritone sax), Heather McIntosh (cello), and Suzanne Nienaber (backing vocals).

(Pictured / Austin, TX)
When the band Frank Smith collectively pulled up their Boston stakes and landed in Austin back in 2007, the group fit right in. Their first local release, Heavy Handed Peace And Love, boasted a number of Texas sensibilities: loping rhythms, pedal steel guitar, and the twangy voice of lead singer Aaron Sinclair-in other words, not bad for Northeastern transplants. But since then, the group has looked to break out of that easy fit, and each subsequent record has remade the Frank Smith formula. They've hit a sweet spot with the upcoming release of their eighth album, Before You Were Born.

Part of the band's chameleon-like nature is due to its shifting lineup. While Sinclair has remained as the central constant, other members come and go, prompting new ideas based on new musical sensibilities. Even from the start, though, Sinclair's folksier leanings were balanced by muscular rock arrangements, like on the title track from 2010's Nineteen. Harmonicas and textured guitars can live side-by-side in the Frank Smith universe.

But Before You Were Born is a different animal all together. Those rustic touches are largely submerged in favor of a bigger sound that suits the band well. - Austinist.com

Since there chance meeting on the New York subway two years ago, Alex Nahas and Nick Smeraski have conjured up an intriguing body of work which became their critically acclaimed debut LP, "No Matter How Faint There's Light In Everything", and wowed audiences with explosive duo performances. Alex accompanies his darkly optimistic voice with The Chapman Stick, a seldom seen ten string electric instrument covering a sonic range from deep earthy bass to shimmering highs, while Nick Smeraski drums viscerally textural pulses of restrain that choose moments to lash out violently.


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