Friday, April 22, 2011

Articles in Danbury News-Times and Hudson Valley Times-Herald Record

A little fact-checking in order but some kind words from the Times-Herald Record:

This Kingston folk collective led by Jay Erickson and Nat Zilkha combines multiple styles using a big band to create a thrilling, naturally American sonic template. Red Rooster's album "Walk" is available online through a pay-what-you-may method.

Some history and insight into our process from The News-Times:


Never mind if roosters actually make a cock-a-doodle-doo sound. I have no idea. What's really important is the refreshingly original sound Red Rooster makes when it performs. Pawling resident Jay Erickson, 35, the group's co-lead singer and guitar player, said the band plays a style of music they call "eclectic Americana."

"We pull from bluegrass, folk, blues traditions and add an urban twist. We have had 12 people on stage at times, including a horn section and a DJ," Erickson said. "One reviewer dubbed one of our albums `hick hop' -- which I thought was a fun term."

The earliest incarnation of the group formed in the late '90s.

"It started after college in 1999 in the West Village living room of a friend of mine. We would get together and play old folk and blues songs. I was bartending at a place in Chelsea at the time, so I booked us in for our first gig. People have come and gone from the band, but it has always been comprised of friends or friends of friends," Erickson said.

The group's name is taken from the title of an old blues song by Willie Dixon. In addition to Erickson, the group's members are Susannah Hornsby on vocals and accordion, Andrew Green on banjo, sax player Dave Gould, drummer Lucas Ives, Guy Engelman on electric guitar, and Daniel Engelman on bass.

Erickson said Red Rooster creates original music through a highly collaborative process.
"One of us comes to rehearsal with a song that is somewhat complete and we arrange as a group. Personally I usually start with an image or an emotion, then write the chords and then start on the lyrics. 

Like any creative process I think so much of it is in the editing and revision stage." He added that sometimes the hardest part is taking the first step, "you just can't be afraid to get something out to start with."

full article

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

... like butter on a warm biscuit...

Review of WALK from Ink 19:

Red Rooster's sound typically gets put into the alt-country category, but that just provides the foundation. They incorporate virtually every other genre into their third and best album, Walk.

"Bluebird" has a slower hip-hop feel complete with record scratching and synth bass lines, but lead singer Jay Erickson's voice and guitar solo add a heavy dose of blues. Then, just to spice it up, they add a jazz sax solo. The mash-up sounds completely random, but making these odd combinations flow is what Red Rooster is so good at.

"Black Point Road" is a beautiful pop song that they Rooster-fied with harmonies and banjo pickin', turning a really good song into a great one.

Background and harmonizing vocalist Susannah Hornsby takes the lead on "Borrowed Money" and her voice is like butter on a warm biscuit. It just melts you, especially on this 6/8 time gem which sprinkles electronic blips and a little sax over a melancholy rhythm and a deceptively sorrowful chorus: "Borrowed money buys her diamonds/ Borrowed money keeps her happy."

This album as a whole is fantastic for a variety of reasons. Red Rooster puts multiple genres into a big pot and stirs it around making a musical concoction that is truly unique. With each listen, there is a different instrument that comes out, or a blip that you didn't notice before. If that's not enough reason to listen to Walk repeatedly, then do it because the songs are just that friggin' great.

see review on Ink 19

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review from The Freight Train Boogie!

This CD by Red Rooster showed up in the pile of CD's a month ago and I was intrigued by the image of a tractor in front of a city skyline. The music is an infectious reflection of the cover, urban pop melodies played by mostly country instruments. The New York-based band calls themselves a folk collective, centered around lead vocalist Jay Erickson and guitarist Nat Zilkha, who also share the songwriting. The other band members play fiddle, steel and banjo that blend amazingly with a small horn section and your standard keys, bass and drums.

Hints of gospel, blues and even a few samples can't keep the twang from shining through. The album closes with the only cover, Porter Wagoner's "Satisfied Mind, " sung passionately by "ringer' vocalist Susannah Hornsby. This is Americana music in the broadest sense of the word and that's a good thing. I dare you to not love what these guys in Red Rooster are doing.

see full review here

Friday, November 6, 2009

Article in the Washington Examiner

Just when you think there's nothing new in folk, along comes the New York-based Red Rooster to blow you away.

Red Rooster isn't a new band but you'd never know that by the way they mix electronica with folk, alt-country and some rock to offer a fresh sound.

"I was just continuing to focus the theme, bringing the kind of urban element together with the more rural and traditional," said lead vocalist Jay Erickson, who produced the record. "We started to do some of that with the last album and this took it further and refined it."

It's been a decade since Erickson co-founded the band with Nat Zilkha, who handles lead guitar for the band. Although the music scene has changed dramatically in that time making it increasingly difficult for bands to emerge, the two have steadfastly followed their own artistic vision.

In the recently released album "Walk," that means grabbing some electronica and mixing it with folk. What's great is that the guys do this with just enough finesse to make the sound interesting without overwhelming. And for those that prefer their folk straight, "Walk" provides plenty of that as evidenced on the tracks "Bluebird" and "Leaves in Autumn."

"[We enjoy] mingling the traditional sounds with the new sounds," said Zilkha. "Jay brought a lot of that together on this new album which is what made me happy ... [but] from a production standpoint we never felt the underlying story being told was sacrificed in trying to create a new sound."

Still, the idea of a new sound was something appealing from an artistic standpoint to everyone in the band. And why not?

As arguably one of folks' most unsung jam bands -- they currently have eight members and various guests during any given concert -- they certainly have the wealth of instrumentation -- horn, trumpet, accordion, pedal steel guitar -- to create some richly textured sounds. What makes the band standout is the elements fit naturally together. Add a sifting of both male and female vocals and you have a sound that is both rare and comfortable.

"The arrangements are organic," said Zilkha. "Some of what you hear on the stage is different than what you hear on the album. The sound is almost modular in that way. ...That's one of the things I find most exciting and fun about this music."

read full article here

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WALK on water!

New review from Americana-UK:

New York-based Red Rooster are the basically the duo Jay Erickson (lead vocals) and Nat Zilkha (lead guitar) who have been playing together for many years. Jay & Nat formed Red Rooster in NY ten years ago and on this record they have brought together a diverse group of musicians and instruments to compliment some stellar song writing. The core group for this outing consists of Susannah Hornsby (vocals & accordion – and yes her uncle is Bruce), Andrew Green (banjo), Dave Gould (saxophone), Brandon Doyle (French horn), Lucas Ives (drums), David Engelman (bass) and Pete Nilsson (keys).

All but two tracks come from the pen of Zilkha and Erickson, Susannah Hornsby contributes one song and there is cover of ‘Satisfied Mind’ by Hayes/Rhodes. Red Rooster are firmly linked to country and probably 'alt-country' (whatever that is) as the band strives to create numerous colours and themes on this excellent record.

Exploring familiar themes there are several stand out songs ‘Leaves in Autumn’, ‘Five Tiny Fingers’, and the Calexico influenced ‘Let It All Go’ and the tour de force ‘Washington Square’. The band even manage to combine some hip hop with country on ‘The Places In Between’ – clearly a band not happy to tread on water, more like WALK on water.

As always it’s about the songs and here on display is some of the best country/folk songs written and played this year. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reggae Sauce That Caresses the Ears!

just got a new review in from the Netherlands:

here is what our translation team came up with (thanks Will "Ginger Beer" Fadrhonc!):

You can always wake me when a band makes a cd and they realize a sound that mixes folk, country, bluegrass, reggae, and jazz. This is not a traditional sounding band, this is Red Rooster founded in 1998 in New York. On their new CD "Walk" they do not shy away from such diversities, and for the listener it is pure enjoyment to hear the outstanding songwriting of singer Jay Erickson and the other band members: Susannah Hornsby (niece of Bruce with a similar voice to Alison Krauss), Andrew Green (banjo), Dave Gould (sax), Brandon Doyle (french horn), Lucas Ives (drums), Daniel Engelman (bass), Jeremy Randol (drums), and Pete Nilson (keyboard). Their third CD,"Walk," was recorded at Soft Landing studio in New York and produced by front-man Jay Erickson. Red Rooster knows how to produce a mighty band sound without once sounding too dominant.

From a production point of view this cd is rock solid and has guts. With the opening semi up-tempo number Bluebird we are immediately immersed. Folk/country augmented with a Reggae beat. Traditional folk/country songs combined with bluegrass like
Chasing You, Leaves in Autumn, Time to Go, and Raining in Los Angeles let you listen to a band that knows what they are doing: entertaining the listener with pleasant, powerful and truly delightful songs and a perfectly blended sound between Jay and Susannah and the other band members with "ear blinding" harmonies.

The surprise of Red Rooster lies in the mix of folk/country with a reggae sauce as in
Washington Square, The Place In Between, and Black Point Road. When the bluegrass/gospel Satisfied Mind, simple and intimate with a banjo, finishes with the angel of the band Susannah Hornsby, then "Walk" has totally made it. The entire CD is perfectly put together and caresses the ears.

The album is available for download here complete with reggae sauce and bluegrass spices (pay what you want!):

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Review - "Don't wait for the hype; get in on the ground floor"

Red Rooster is a New York City-based Folk/Country collective that can dazzle you in many ways. Whether it's the blend of Country, Gospel, Bluegrass and Folk styles, the modern electronic elements, or good old fashioned music and lyrics, Red Rooster brings quality to all aspects of their music. Red Rooster’s third album, Walk, will be released digitally on their website on September 22, 2009. Walk promises a lot and delivers on every count.

Red Rooster is an interesting mix of Country, Folk, Bluegrass and even some pop sensibility at times. The debate could be endless about whether Jay Erickson or Susannah Hornsby is the better vocalist, but there's no doubt that as a duo they're incredible. Red Rooster is incredibly tight as a band, and Walk is a playground where they show off their best work. Don't be surprised if Walk shows up on a host of end-of-year "Best" lists. Don't wait for the hype; get in on the ground floor.

read the full review...