Where You Have Been
2008 Top Ten Bands in Buffalo - WBFO 88.7 FM's Alison Zero 2007 Best Solo Artist- Best of Western New York; Buffalo Spree Magazine 2007 Nominated Best Acoustic Artist- Artvoice In casual conversation, Brian Wheat is a man who pauses occasionally, carefully pondering each exchanged word before responding. Similarly, his songwriting demonstrates fascinating detail that surpasses simple storytelling, and delves into patient studies of the emotional context surrounding a moment. It is clear that the strong sense of community that exists in Buffalo, NY, his current roost, has manifested itself in the themes of home and human connection that pervade his work. In his youngest years Wheat spent his childhood in a small Upstate New York town where he yearned for a broader scope and greater diversity, but also developed a deep admiration for the tradition and intimacy of a close-knit community. However, despite learning the virtue of being rooted, Brian has not been one to stand still. Somewhere in between he has performed at Moroccan festivals, busked in Spain, played for room and board at Australian hostels, shared folk songs with Fijian natives, earned degrees in biology and education, and perfected the art of the falafel as a short-order cook. Wheat's desire to combine mobility and exploration, versus a need for intimate connection, rings clear throughout his current and continually growing body of work. Fortified with a dynamic, evocative voice and songs that float with both a secular religion of home and the architecture of ghostly pasts, Wheat blends the immediately tangible with an elusive sense of the enduring. Being influenced by the distinctive songwriting of groups like Cake, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron and Wine, and Neil Young, there is a refreshing reality to Wheat's music; revealing layered continuums of experience, rather than clean, simplified absolutes. You can expect to be carefully ushered through a place suspended somewhere between modernity and bygone eras, without the risk of being trapped in either of the two. Wheat has also developed an extraordinary ability to combine his impressive guitar, banjo, and harmonica chops with a keen knowledge of how and when (and when not) to employ them in service of a song. Accompanying this subtle phrasing is his band Groggy Darlin', an all-star cast of Western New York music veterans. Bassist Peter Williams, multi-instrumentalist Peter Gerace, and drummer Mark Longolucco map out the peaks and valleys that define the music's weathered landscapes and consistently complement Wheat's rare ability to bring a crowded room to an attentive silence. Together, they create music that is at once earthy, refined, organic, melodic, and perfectly suited for the time-honored format and progressive delivery that is characteristic of Wheat's songwriting. The band's moving live performances, as well as Wheat's solo works, have garnered him a diverse and expansive fan base, as well as support positions for some of today's most exciting national and international acoustic artists, including Band of Horses, Mark Kozelek, Hamell on Trial, David Dondero, Oakley Hall, Olde Tyme Relijun, Rachel Ries, and Robert Blake. REVIEWS: 'Brian Wheat and Groggy Darlin' are an upstate New York state band that has somehow befriended Chicagoan Rachel Ries. Rachel sings backup on the groups new disc. I'd like to say her involvement makes this a must have but the fact is it's a must have on it's very own merits.' --Craig Bonnell (Songs: Illinois) 'There's plenty of that wistful, near-stoic acceptance of sadness in the grooves of 'Where You Have Been', ...' 'Sparse in instrumentation, earthy in production, the record boasts much of the breathy intimacy displayed by the new vanguard in acoustic alternative music--Iron & Wine comes immediately to mind as a reference point. But in it's detailed, subtly ornate arrangements, it avoids the sleepy, aloof, occasionally flat-out boring tendencies of some of the 'nu-acoustic' artists.' 'Wheat's lyric-writing [...]is provocative and poetic without being too precious about it. Balancing such detailed, well-honed lyrics against musical arrangements that both support and elevate their sentiments is one of the great battles of record-making. Many a good record has one or the other. Only the great ones manage both.' --Jeff Miers (The Buffalo News 'Gusto') 'Where You Have Been, the debut full-length album from Buffalo's Brian Wheat & Groggy Darlin', is not just the finest album released so far in 2007 by a local artist. It's a geat album, period, and will likely find it's way on my personal end-of-the-year best-of.' 'I couldn't help but think of heralded-about Irishman Damien Rice. Wheat's style is a bit different from Rice's, showcasing more of a country-rock bent. Both artists rely on sublimely pretty musical textures, but Where You Have Been blows Rice's latest release, 9, out of the water.' --Christopher Schobert (Buffalo Spree) 'Brian's work is thoughtful and heartfelt, sweet and understated. Listeners can catch shades of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Randy Newman, with just-slightly detuned pianos and a beautifully blended female harmonic provided by (Rachel)Ries.' 'I caught the last half of Brian and Groggy Darlin's in-store performance at New World Records today. What was striking at the live show was that the packed house became quiet enough to hear a pin drop at the first strum of the guitar. Brian's talent is truly apparent in a voice that whispers louder than many others shout. The band was absolutely tight, a sweetheart of an Americana group that will be delivering an authentic performance experience for many years to come.' --Gabrielle Bouliane (Buffalo Rising)
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