“an album that can sit comfortably and confidently next to any of the current crop of Mumfords and Avetts” – Emmet Smith, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
After great gigs at Bonaroo and SXSW, and having already conquered their northeast Ohio home base, indie folksters Bethesda are ready to bring their current yet old timey sound to a larger audience with their third release The Reunion, available April 9 through InKind Music/Sony RED. Sounding like Mumford & Sons with Florence Welch singing lead, a high-stepping video, and touring plans throughout the year, the group are sure to pick up many new fans in 2013.
Named after the ancient sacred healing waters in Jerusalem, Bethesda delivers an uplifting experience through consciously crafted songs, stirring live shows and the desire to create a community from the new believers that they meet.
The Reunion’s ten tracks feature Shanna Delaney’s crystal clear vocals joined with Eric Ling’s warm vocal harmonies and rhythm guitar, energetic lead guitar and banjo by Jesse Scaggs, richly interwoven fiddle from Christopher Black, knee-slapping rhythms from Justin Rife on drums, and Dan Corby laying down the bottom on bass which, as an ensemble, crescendo into a indie-approved, Americana hipster-hootenanny. Bethesda traveled to Denver, Colorado to work with Tim Gerak at Mammoth Cave Studios, tapping into the local folk scene.
Using songs infused with inspiring messages on their new album The Reunion, Bethesda drew inspiration from family and friends. “We wanted to focus on what we do well: embrace our storytelling side”, says founding member and guitarist/vocalist Eric Ling. “This is the most thematic of our releases. The concept of reunion ties these songs together. This album is an evolution for us – I feel we captured the energy of the live shows in a whole new way on this release. It’s an album for our fans to re-experience seeing us in concert.”
Eric describes the challenge to compose a song at the request of his grandfather. “It was hard – nothing I wrote captured the richness of his life. Then he died… I had a breakthrough while at his funeral, meeting all these people from his past, men he had worked with in the coal mine – it was a reunion around his life. It made me think of a Civil War story, how widows went to the battlefields to search for the belongings of their lost husbands, sons, brothers. It was believed that if the articles were found, they’d be able to move on. Seeing my grandfather’s history on that day helped me find the words.”
A married couple, Eric and Shanna formed the band after they met while studying at Kent State. “Our first date was a road trip to Cleveland for a Badly Drawn Boy concert. We got completely lost, missed the show and ended up at Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner…and she still wanted to see me after that!” remembers Eric. They did have to work out their musical differences – Shanna was in music theater, with roots in bluegrass music; Eric was into angsty singer-songwriters including Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes. “I gave up my desire to be dissonant, she started to open up to a more indie approach.” remembers Eric.
It was in the healing waters of the Caribbean that they further committed to making beautiful music together. “I remember talking with Eric while we were swimming one day on our honeymoon, telling him that playing music needed to always be a part of my life.” said Shanna. “Eric promised we would figure out a way for us to always be making music.”
When they met their rhythm section, Justin and Dan, at a progressive, artsy community church, a casual collaboration soon turned out to be an epiphany, and they became a real band. As Bethesda grew, Jesse was added for an even bigger dynamic with melodic electric guitar, and violinist and keyboardist Christopher joined to enhance a more traditional folk flavor.
Bethesda released their debut full length album Love In The Time Of Tra La La in 2010, and the EP Dream Tiger And Other Tails in 2012. They’re a prolific live band, having played Bonnaroo, South x Southwest, and The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame festivals in 2012 along with dozens of other gigs. “Bethesda is all about building relationships to connect with our audience,” says Eric. “We don’t have to come up with schtick – we strive to be honest and original.” In the tradition of their name, Bethesda will move you in many ways, brightly immersing their listeners in authentic, high-spirited good times.
Bethesda will be touring throughout 2013. Currently confirmed dates include:
April 12 Southpark Tavern Dayton, OH
April 13 Adelphia Music Hall Marietta, OH
April 19 Arnold’s Cincinnati, OH
April 20 Willie’s Locally Known Lexington, KY
May 4 Inside Out Gallery Traverse City, MI
May 10 Bullfrog Brewery Williamsport, PA
May 11 Fontana’s New York, NY
May 17 Abilene Rochester, NY
May 24 Bier Baron Washington, DC
July 5 Cleveland Museum of Art Cleveland, OH
July 14 Bunbury Music Festival Cincinnati, OH
July 27 Burning River Festival Cleveland, OH