Union Street Preservation Society – New EP, Living Room Show

Posted on: July 19th, 2011 at 11:41 am by

There aren’t many bands that do it like Union Street Preservation Society. When we first saw them during their residency at folk/blues spot National Underground last December, they became that trashy bar’s rooftop garden. A reminder of God’s green earth planted in the middle of the Lower East Side’s urban sprawl.

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Sandwiched between sets from the kind of bar rock we usually expect to hear at happy hour, singers Sara Bouchard and David Leiberman, dobro/banjo player Alex Borsody, Harrison Hollingsworth (coolest name ever) on fiddle, and bassist Jason Bertone took us all to a greener place with their excited blend of backwoods, down-home cooking.

Usually we’re skeptical of revival bands. Things usually go in one of two ways with these musicians: either Americana is preserved to the point of fossilization, or styles are re-arranged to the point of bastardization. In Jazz, there is a very strong tradition of reinforcing the classics while treading meekly into new realms. Too often in folk music however, things go the other way, and bands end up trashing the spirit of folk traditions to make way for charting pop anthems.

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Not so with Union Street. They give you your fix of roots jams and find plenty of room in there to show off some solid songwriting chops. In their new EP Spring To Rust (available on iTunes July 24), the four members of this beardless Brooklyn quartet manage to re-introduce us to styles from blues to flapper Jazz, to bluegrass and folk jams in a way that makes you clueless to hear the difference between what they wrote and what’s an old standard. Turns out, four of the five tracks on their record are entirely new, but cut from the same cloth as the songs they’re breathing new life into.

Alone, these members have projects ranging from Sara Bouchard’s conceptual folk, to Harrison Hollingsworth’s classical bassoon playing. But together, they’re something else entirely.

Catch them at the record release party on August 6, 10pm at The Living Room; and check out the barn-burning “Meet Me In Spring” below.

Mike Levine (@goldnuggets)

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