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With a name appropriated from a coin minted in 1946, it comes as no surprise that historical reference points underscore the music of the East Coast based quartet Roosevelt Dime. This engaging brotherhood of musicians traces the rich tributaries of Americana – Blues, Bluegrass, and New Orleans juke joint Rhythm & Blues, enduring genres newly electrified with a modern charge.
The hard-touring band gathers no moss. Featuring Eben Pariser on electric guitar, harmonica and lead vocals; Andrew Green on five string banjo and backup vocals; Tony Montalbano on drums and backup vocals, and upright bassist Craig Akin, Roosevelt Dime travels from New York City’s Union Square to the California coast. Whether heading north to Canada or south to Virginia, at festivals, listening rooms, clubs, whiskey bars or church basements an embracing sense of community and sterling musical interplay engages, connects and entertains audiences across a broad spectrum of ages and demographics.
Roosevelt Dime co-founders Andrew Green and Eben Pariser met at Oberlin College in Ohio where they balanced academics at one of the country’s finest musical conservatories with playing in folk and blues bands. Relocating to Brooklyn, New York and adding Tony Montalbano and later Craig Akin to the mix, the band followed a time-honored tradition of busking in the streets, parks, and subways. As all walks of life assembled to watch, listen and contribute, the musicians honed in their lively mix of jug band irreverence and Dixieland exuberance for a fast-paced audience of transient New Yorkers seeking to share a moment of positivity and spontaneity.
The sound of the street translated to the studio. Roosevelt Dime’s 2009 debut Crooked Roots was followed by Steamboat Soul, revealing the band’s evolution from a pedal steel-influenced sound to a lively horn intensive aggregation. With Full Head of Steam peaking near the top of the National Folk Charts in 2014, the band created “a full charged lesson on how to unearth some vital roots,” as lauded by The Bluegrass Situation. Press outlets including Relix Magazine, CMT Edge, Performer Magazine and the Alternate Root Magazine have also added to the prominent press kudos.
Now preparing for their 2016 release Red Shoes, the band distills a vital essence of lively camaraderie onto a rich collection of new tracks that they describe as “…a further reflection on our diverse American heritage through critical optimism that honors our very real struggles and the joy necessary to overcome.” They note their ongoing legacy as “music with a strong cultural component to it. It is like going deep into a river. You contribute to a transcendent history of art that inspires and moves people.”
“You don’t make roots music to get rich,” the band observes. Maybe not: But with a growing audience of advocates, a rich collection of self-penned songs and an authentic embrace of connection and kinship, the joyous music of Roosevelt Dime shines as increasingly valuable currency.