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King Wilkie goes with new label, CD coming in April

Thursday, February 19, 2009 – King Wilkie will release their third disc in late April on a new label. "King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers" streets April 28 on Casa Nueva. David Bromberg, Robyn Hitchcock, John McEuen, Sam Parton (Be Good Tanyas), Peter Rowan and Abigail Washburn help out.

The CD is set against the backdrop of the fictitious Wilkie Family: a household containing the six Wilkie children, their shipping magnate father and matriarchal mother, a pair of house pets, a distant cousin, two family friends and a music therapist. The CD contains no plot, dialog or storyline. "You aren't supposed to know that much about these characters," says King Wilkie founder and principal songwriter Reid Burgess, "and you shouldn't need to in order to listen to the album."

Born in Charlottesville, Va. in 2003, King Wilkie debuted with "Broke" the following year as a hard driving bluegrass band. They won Emerging Artist of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association. They followed that with 2007's "Low Country Suite."

Now relocated to New York City, "This is still dusty, hand-made music," Burgess said. While brass and drums enliven some of the songs, the core sound of the band is still expressed through acoustic instruments, through guitars and fiddles.

"This album," Burgess said, "is not as cerebral or menacing as 'Low Country Suite.' It's a lot more fun. We tried to shake things up with more whimsical numbers - the Muppets were a persistent influence. If it runs the gauntlet a little bit stylistically, that's because I was thinking of things more cinematically, and thought there should be almost separate scenes or separate auras coming from different characters' perspectives."

This is the first release on Casa Nueva, a new label based in Watertown, Mass., founded by writer, musician and music industry veteran Brad San Martin. He has worked at Rounder Records and Compass Records.

CD reviews for King Wilkie

King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers CD review - King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers
It's either genius or the craziest thing you've ever heard. The remaining members of bluegrass band King Wilkie join forces with other well known (and some not so well known) names like Peter Rowan and John McEuen to make a recording that, most of the time, seems to channel '60s rock bands. Once you get past the group endeavor opening blurb you get an Association-like Videotape, you segue to Delta blues and then on to Ricky Nelson (Sweet Dream). Orange Creme Houses kicks off, and »»»
Low Country Suite CD review - Low Country Suite
How do you follow up a well-received CD and an International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artist Award? For King Wilkie, the answer is with a change in direction. But, while many young bluegrass bands move on to jazzier fare where they can show off their instrumental chops, this band opts for more textured, alt.-country sound. What hasn't changed is their ability to create a mood. They wisely emphasize groove over flash. "Wrecking Ball" is propelled by a tight guitar »»»
Broke
The members of King Wilkie are all in their early twenties, but you'd never know it from the album they have produced here. Taking their name from Bill Monroe's horse, the boys have taken Monroe's combination of reverence for tradition and knack for innovation as well. "Broke" features a clutch of songs from the back catalog of bluegrass and country standards, like Ralph Lewis' "40 West," Gov. Jimmie Davis' "Where the Old Red River Flows" and traditional songs like "Little Birdie. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
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