"Power Folk." No, really.
Just listen to the rumbling bass lines or the pounding tribal hand percussion. Listen to lyrics born of experience; some light, some dark, all fascinating. So where does the 'folk' part fit in? Listen to the fluid guitar lines, to the gorgeous vocal harmonies. Power Folk. Melody and meaning, beauty and strength. You were looking for something different, right? Well, here we are.
Revel Moon began as a few songs penned in early 2001 by John, the rhythm guitarist. Those early pieces expressed some of John's social and political outlook as well as a few life experiences. His individual efforts reflected his extensive musical history of blues, folk and rock. John's talent with the 12-string guitar painted a rich tapestry behind his new songs. The result was so intriguing that John wanted to share his experiments with his daughter.
Irene, vocalist for Revel Moon, was serving in the military in Okinawa, Japan. Irene practically grew up on stage and performed in many choirs over the years. Her voice is a curious blend of husky blues and classical training. John sent Irene the lyrics to his music and when Irene and Jay, the drummer, returned from Japan in August of 2001, Revel Moon was born. Jay gave the music its throbbing heartbeat and helped arrange songs written by both John and Irene. Irene added her touch to John's existing pieces and penned a few of her own for the trio to play.
The newly formed band knew they had something special. Irene invited Kristin, her best friend, to join up. Kristins dulcet vocals highlighted the new sound. The next year was spent writing and arranging music. Revel Moon played their first gig in Missouri in February of 2002 with only drums, rhythm guitar and vocals. At that point in time, the band's sound was very folky and mellow.
In the spring of 2003, Rick brought the deep voice of his bass to the band, providing a distinctive pulse. The sudden presence of bass caused the band to change direction in a huge musical growth spurt and incorporate more of a rock sound. What was folk music swiftly became Alt Folk.
Revel Moon continued as Alt Folk for some time, incorporating more rock sound as time progressed. The new sound gained a sudden enhancement with the addition of two new members in late 2003. Ryan, a member of the Grastorf family and accomplished hand drummer, joined up with Revel Moon shortly after returning from Germany and helped fill out the band's percussion section. A new, more tribal rhythm began to take over.
BJ added his talents as a lead guitarist to the band at roughly the same time, also after a stint overseas. BJ's connection with Revel Moon began when he agreed to help with sound in the band's early days. His job at the time included long sojourns abroad, so he would have had a hard time making all the practices and shows. When BJ switched jobs earlier this year, he was able to participate fully in the band. His crunchy, contemporary lead guitar lines combined with the new percussion section to drive the band in an even more exciting direction--Alt Folk mutated into Power Folk.
Revel Moon's growth is a constant thing and new ideas continuously emerge to enhance the music. The seven band members can't wait to see where their muse leads them next.
We do play live, actually. We hit most of Virginia and Maryland and do occasional sojourns to more distant points on the east coast. And we love it--there's nothing like playing in front of a crowd. I think one of our better moments was at an outdoor festival in Massachusetts. There was a drum workshop scheduled at the same time as our show. We were kind of upset about that (our hand percussion is something we're very proud of and it usually speaks to the other percussionists in the audience). However, about 15 minutes into our set, the entire percussion class came wandering into the performance area. Apparently they'd heard our music and decided they'd rather come watch us than have the workshop. The best part? They started playing along. Talk about a powerful percussion section. By the time the set was over, there were a good 800 to a thousand people in the clearing. It was a great show :)
We tend to get compared to Fleetwood Mac (for our harmonies and classic rock flavored sound), the Indigo Girls (for the harmonies of our two lead vocalists, Irene and Kristin) and Rusted Root (for our all-hand-drums percussion section).
We are different, and that difference of sound can be both a help and a hindrance. I've done my best to select categories close to our sound, but quite frankly we have yet to find a category to fit Revel Moon. You'll just have to listen for yourself....