Above is the band, The Duhks, a quintet that manages to form a unique sound ala Nickel Creek by taking their backgrounds in Celtic, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, and rock. They're highly regarded and rising in the indie circuit (Paste Magazine has them in the top five in both their indie and americana roots charts in the past two issues), and I had the neat opportunity to catch the band in the smallest of venues, the intimate Espresso Garden Cafe in San Jose that holds just about a hundred people.
Live, the band is very energetic and pass off some of that charming "we're just so glad to be here and that you're digging our music and actually know the words..." that I've come to love from live Nickel Creek shows and, of late, Blue Merle shows. Leonard and the Jessee, the lead singer (third and second from the left on the picture) both take leadership roles in the band and both come off as really charismatic people, especially Jessee who at first might remind you of your favorite punk rocker because of her tattoos. On stage, the band's sound (fiddle, guitar, drums, banjo, and vocal) is fairly tight, performing extremely in sync with each other, though I wish they would invite more improvisation (i just assumed so thinking they were straight on bluegrass), but they are at their best performing the Celtic tunes.
Some sidenotes from this fun show- Going solo, I sat down next to this well-aged but experienced and full of road stories man who introduced me to, at the time i had no idea, Leonard, the founding member of the band! We chatted, had a few beers, and talked about whether or not the Duhks should encourage taping of their shows! (They should, it wouldn't hurt!) Also, during the intermission, I ran into two young women, one of which was wearing the exact same Nickel Creek shirt I had on that night! I nearly flipped, so happy to talk to others about Nickel Creek related music, and eventually got a contact number to which I hope will lead to some fun concert and music buddies, if not anything else.
Long story short, give the Duhks a listen and catch'em now if they come by your city. They're still doing small venues and folk festivals, but as with Nickel Creek, that may change soon!
The Sea Inside
By Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas