Southside American / Demos Papadimas & His Band
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Southside American is the solo project of Pittsburgh-based singer-songwriter Benjamin Sweet. A lifelong music appreciater, Sweet was inspired to teach himself guitar and harmonica in the wake of his diagnosis with Type I diabetes. He quickly progressed to writing and performing in recent years. On his stellar debut, In Our Keystone State, Sweet offers tightly-crafted original compositions that touch upon subjects ranging from frustration with the state of American civic life to the joy of fatherhood. Sweets unique style is equal parts folk, lo-fi, Americana and indie rock, producing a sound that has drawn comparisons to Ryan Adams, Amos Lee, Deer Tick, The Tallest Man on Earth and pre-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco.
"In Our Keystone State" was recorded at Orange Whip Studios in Santa Barbara, California and on location in McCall, Idaho. It was engineered by Angus Cooke and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New York.
Demos Papadimas and His Band
Recently hailed by Cleveland's Scene Magazine as #2 on their "13 Bands to Watch in 2013," Demos Papadimas intertwines American roots music with Mediterranean influences. Papadimas (resonator guitar/vocals/harmonica/bouzouki) comes to Club Cafe with his three-piece live band consisting of Andre Ptichkin (upright bass), Sandi Quotson (violin), and Ralph Rich (drums) to promote his debut full length solo album, Wandering Through the Wilderness.
Often compared to Bob Dylan, Papadimas himself cites string bands such as Old Crow Medicine Show and The Hackensaw Boys as major inspirations for their rock and roll approach to traditional music. He also has been inspired by Leonard Cohen's marriage of American folk and Mediterranean-based World music evident in Cohen's most recent touring ensembles.
Papadimas considers American roots music to be aesthetically in line with Greek Rembetiko music--the "Greek Blues." Challenging prevailing attitudes that label such music as archaic or irrelevant, Papadimas argues that both are rebellious expressions of our search for meaning, relevant and vital today. He's found a kinship with modern twisters of American sounds like Old Crow Medicine Show, who blend foot-stompin' bluegrass with a rock 'n' roll attitude. "They're expressing what I'm feeling, the whole idea of being young and jumping back into the roots and making something new out of that."
Discussing his new album, Papadimas states that "[a]lthough the album explores varied musical territory, including back porch Americana, Bob Dylan-esque ballads, Gypsy Tango, and Greek Rembetiko, it is still very much a songwriter's album. The lyrics certainly take the spotlight, even though there are rich musical arrangements and diverse stylistic twists from track to track. I think this is the best I can summarize my style and the approach."
Lyrically, this self-described "cynical optimist" infuses glimmers of hope in his often world-weary lyrics. When Papadimas sings, "Somehow I've dodged so many evil eyes, that I ain't got religion is really just a surprise" he shares his sense of bemused wonder. His meditative travelogues are often Guthrie-esque ramblings translated from the Dust Bowl to the Euro-Zone, from freight trains to bullet trains, and are perceptive companions to his rootsy musical approach.