Run Boy Run and Ventucky String Band
Bell's Eccentric Café, Kalamazoo
July 11, 9 p.m.
bellsbeer.com, (269) 382-2332
Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids
July 12, 9:30 p.m.
foundersbrewing.com, (616) 776-2182
In 2009, two pairs of siblings and a street busker at the University of Arizona got together and formed a string band. Two years later, they found themselves winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest in Colorado, joining the ranks of past winners like Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks and even Kalamazoo's own Greensky Bluegrass.
At heart, Run Boy Run is a bluegrass and old-time band armed with beautiful three-part vocal harmonies with somewhat less-than-conventional arrangements consisting of multiple-bowed instruments in lieu of guitar and banjo. And while this wasn't really an initial consideration of the group's, it's since become something they've embraced.
"We are a band that loves a good melody, and having [a] fiddle at the center of our sound plays a major part in what kind of music we latch onto as a band," said Grace Rolland, cellist and vocalist for the group.
"We try to create different textures as a group using these techniques to add color [and] variety to songs," added Matt Rolland, fiddle player for the band.
The band's first full length album, So Sang the Whippoorwill, was a self-funded endeavor through a Kickstarter campaign, something the band found useful not only for the monetary aspect of album production, but for the promotional side as well.
"We've used Kickstarter to fund our last two albums," said Bekah Sandoval Rolland, fiddle player and vocalist. "It's a phenomenal tool for creating hype for the project in the months before its release, as well as for connecting with fans, old and new, in the process and making them feel that they're a part of it."
But the band's new record, Something to Someone, will be released in September on Sky Island Records, a label the band created not only for its own music, but for other artists in the Southwest as well.
"We've worked hard to build up a network of really skilled people doing publicity, distribution and booking support here in Arizona, so we're excited to see that community keep developing," Matt said. "We'd love to see our music get onto a national label at some point, but for us as touring, independent artists, the DIY-oriented, regional label feels like a good fit."