Experience the band Ellis Ashbrook as they hit the stage armed with genre-bending rock that exhibits fiery eclecticism rooted in solid foundations of funk, soul and blues. Though their music defies easy description by critics, audiences in the Northeastern US and beyond are finding clear musical inspiration and excitement from the Ellis Ashbrook live experience. This sense of excitement reverberated in recent shows leading to Ellis Ashbrook being named top winners in the 2007 Emergenza Worldwide Talent Competition. Ellis Ashbrook competed with over 200 bands from the New England area and received first place in the New England regional. From there the outfit went to New York City to perform at the Emergenza Final, one of the largest international festivals and competitions for unsigned bands in the world, and placed third nationally for 2007. Combining old-school jam sensibilities and a brave progressive sound filled with urgency, Ellis Ashbrook both taunt and satisfy listeners with sounds ranging from delicately melodic to elaborately frenetic.
Listeners have described the band as “mesmerizing” and “surreal” while critics appreciate the way an Ellis Ashbrook show stimulates the audience through both sound and visuals. Both agree the band is a compelling force onstage harnessing diverse influences to deliver dynamic and affecting material.
Boston’s The Noise said of a recent show, “The tight rhythm section of bassist Jonathan Granoff and drummer Alex Major reach near Zeppelin-esque heights with their power and inventiveness. In most songs the formula is simple: the rhythm section finds the groove and then the guitars propel the songs into overdrive. Then they start to jam…The bottom line is they get the feet moving and then get the head thinking.” The Noise also says, “It just seems that everyone in this band has serious chops.”
Motif magazine calls them “a super versatile rock/soul/blues/reggae/funk progressive band with fantastic guitar chops.”
The Deli magazine says “The songs are round and intelligent and their presence is tight, not unlike Incubus in their S.C.I.E.N.C.E days. Every player has the prowess, technique, and tenacity to play original music that transcends trend.”
The ferocity and dexterity members bring to their instruments when performing reaches a synergistic crescendo of musical exploration and energy that has left listeners and fans endeared at venues and clubs everywhere they play.
Hailing from Boston as a mainstay of the independent New England music scene, the four members of Ellis Ashbrook have currently moved and reside in Brooklyn. Members include John Barber (lead guitar and vocals), Jonathan Granoff (bass guitar), Natalie Lowe (keyboard and vocals) and Alex Major (drums). Barber, Granoff and Lowe are all recent graduates of the Berklee School of Music and drummer Major is a graduate of Boston University. Though the band has evolved through the years, Barber and Major began collaborating musically when they were both just 10 years old.
Barber is a compelling guitarist who has soaked up diverse influences to wield and command a unique style. Natalie Lowe churns at the organ in non-traditional manner, sometimes wrapped in stage lights, hair and head bouncing to the beat and flickering across the stage like a flame in the open wind. Granoff spreads the glue and lays the foundation with funky lines on the bass and a sly smirk on his face. Finally, drummer Major flails like a madman or an octopus on speed depending on your vantage point.
Band member cite a wide array of rock and roll influences including but not limited to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Tool, Ween, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Talking Heads, Bob Marley, Beck, P-Funk, Hendrix, Zappa, Bowie, James Brown, Phish, Prince, Genesis, The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Yes, The Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Jane's Addiction, Primus, Pavement, and Bjork.
Ellis Ashbrook released its self-titled cd in April 2006 and received strong acclaim. The band is currently on tour in support of their new album Assemblage which came out October 2008.
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