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Norfolk & Western

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Norfolk and Western are from Portland, Oregon and play folk music that includes, as part of its stage set-up and sound ensemble, a turn-of the-century Victrola Grammaphone. The band consists of core members and couple Adam Selzer (band founder, guitar, lead vocals) and Rachel Blumberg (drums, keyboards, backing vocals) with rotating cast members Tony Moreno (guitar, banjo, accordion, found sounds), Amanda Lawrence (viola), Dave Depper (bass, vocals, piano), Cory Gray (trumpet, piano), and Peter Broderick (violin, banjo, saw, mandolin, theramin, and accordion). Norfolk and Western began as the recording project of Adam with friends playing various instruments, and evolved over time to become the fully orchestrated band it is today. In the early days Norfolk and Western’s sound was whispery, intimate, elegant folk music laced with creaky old instruments and atmospheric sound collages. The band still retains glimmers of this original form, but with their latest release, A Gilded Age, they defy their usual descriptors and comparisons. The songs on A Gilded Age cascade dynamically and unrelentingly, beginning with the Victrola and string swell opening of “Porch Destruction” to the overdriven guitar and banjo attack of the title track. Each song serves the whole, adding layers of depth, drama, and subtlety to an undeniable tapestry of music. The interplay between light and dark, loud and soft—is expertly realized by Norfolk and Western both on this record and during their enthralling live show, which features band members frequently switching instruments and film accompaniment.

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