Seeing their musical path
Having grown out of jam sessions, Blind Crow aims to boost musical presence
Albany’s Blind Crow is a top-notch bluegrass and folk ensemble. In the three years since forming and settling into its current lineup, the drummerless quartet has kept busy, releasing the 12-track “Forgo the Balance” and playing shows.
The band is looking to make this year its busiest yet.
“We are looking forward to a productive 2019,” the band collectively stated in an email compiled by guitarist Jeff Wasbes. “We have a lot of irons in the fire. Look for new music videos and new original material that we hope to record at the end of the winter and spring. We hope to jump on board with the traditional/bluegrass festival
circuit perhaps this summer and definitely next summer.”
Blind Crow started as a weekly jam at a friend’s house. After some stylistic and personnel tweaks and modifications, the guys decided to give it a go as a real band. The current roster includes Wasbes, violinist Ryan Delany, mandolin player Tim Sweeney and Eric Margan on bass.
The members of Blind Crow credit Sweeney for moving them toward a blend of progressive bluegrass and traditional roots music. But their style is also a natural consequence of the different skills of each member.
“The band’s sound has developed over time incorporating elements of classic bluegrass (think Bill Monroe), progressive newgrass (think Dave Grisman or Chris Thile), and jazz,” the band explained. “The sound we formed is unique to us and what we each bring to the table.
“Ryan comes from a classical violin background, holding two degrees in music education and one in violin performance. He was in a Django Reinhardt-style swing group back in college and then over the last 4-5 years refined his playing in traditional and progressive bluegrass,” their email continued. “Tim played some classical guitar in his early days and is a late mandolin bloomer. Jeff came to acoustic music about seven years ago after playing for many years as an electric rock and funk player. Bluegrass was new for Eric but has really adapted and provides a great bass line, and harmony vocals.”
The different dynamics inspire Blind Crow in terms of creation. When it comes to writing new tunes, “Everyone has creative input on their own instrument or offers new ideas for arrangements.”
That collaborative spirit carries over into the live show as well. On Saturday, Blind Crow will be playing a set at Wolf Hollow Brewing in Glenville. Margan is out of the country, so the rest of the band will be playing as a three-piece combo. Despite his absence, the band members are looking forward to cutting loose live. They see every show as a chance to further their cohesiveness as a unit and to expand their audience.
“We enjoy — love — playing shows. We find the more we are actively playing shows the tighter we become as a group,” they penned. “The intensity of the show is highest when the audience is really digging in, listening and giving back. Then, we really communicate well on stage together. Reaching an audience on an emotional level and giving them the opportunity to have a good connection with what we are doing — that is the goal for the group. That’s a successful show.”
“Acoustic string music is pure, it’s raw, and it’s downright beautiful when done right. The combination of a fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and bass provides for endless musical possibilities,” Wasbes added. “I think one of our goals is to continue the evolution of acoustic string music that is unique to us and to hopefully reach other people in this area. We believe our music is very accessible and that string music in general can be accessible to a much larger population of people.”
“We enjoy — love — playing shows. We find the more we are actively playing shows the tighter we become as a group.” —Blind Crow
Blind Crow (From left) Jeff Wasbes, Tim Sweeney, Eric Margin and Ryan Delany.