What is an IGE Music and Art Immersion?
Unlike any traditional music festival, intimate IGE Music and Art Immersions dissolve boundaries among superstar musicians and fans, performers and spectators, participants and environments. Participants experience multiple historic, one of a kind collaborations of curated supergroups as they day in and day out live, encounter art and create community with their favorite musical icons. Immersion concerts and jams integrate the finest of European improvisational players into every performance, exclusively for the handful of participants and local charities.
IGE Immersions are seminal era defining musical moments, each a unique, essential event in musical history. Participants emerge with myriad “yes I was there stories” to be told forever. It is one thing to witness profound historical events. Participants in IGE Immersions create them.
IGE Immersion 2019 will plunge you into the heart of vibrant Lisbon’s cultural scene!
Lisbon is the latest stop on IGE’s global Music and Art Immersion tour, drawing together a dynamic multi-genre assemblage of internationally eminent musicians, music fans and arts patrons. We’ve scoured Lisbon to secure a magical diversity of venues across the city and identify the finest of local musical talent. As with Venice and Barcelona, we curate musical and artistic experiences with a mind to overarching synergistic impact.
In Lisbon, participants will witness once in a lifetime musical collaborations of IGE Musical Ambassadors with a broad range of multi-genre European All Stars. Conceived as a cohesive multi-dimensional installation and crafted with our local friends and nonprofit partners, we’ll move from club to cathedral, palace to museum, quaint theater to scientific society.
Expect a celebration of local artistic and musical culture and a deep musical ambassador lineup with multi-genre European All Stars similar to past IGE events. As with other IGE Immersions, expect a limited capacity in Lisbon to retain the intimacy of the Immersive environment.
The freshly refurbished Hotel Convento do Salvador, our historical hotel headquarters, is ideally situated in the heart of medieval Alfama. Convento do Salvador is owned by our nonprofit partner the APCC (Association for the Cultural Promotion of Children)* and the Lisbon Immersion directly funds their operations.
With IGE’s Portuguese partners, European All Stars in residence, and local friends, Immersion participants bring direct benefit to Lisbon non-profits, artist communities and people. Unlike most travelers who take what they wish and move on, IGE Music and Art Immersion participants give, of course all while having the times of their lives and earning a substantial tax deduction.
*Hotel Convento do Salvador is an innovative socio-economic project which sets out to support the cultural activities of the Centro Convento do Salvador, geared towards children and youths, The Associação para a Promoção Cultural da Criança (Association for the Cultural Promotion of Children) is a national, non-governmental, non-profit Portuguese organization which develops leisure activities of a socio-cultural and educational nature for youths and children.
The activities of this Association are grounded on the guiding principles of solidarity, equality, cooperation, defence of the environment and experience acquired over more than 30 years, during which priority has always been placed upon combining education and leisure. We set out to contribute to the global development of children in their various dimensions, promoting their sense of justice, responsibility and respect for difference, and motivating them towards a more active and constructive approach to society from an inter-cultural perspective.
We are currently working in a number of areas, namely holiday camps, programmes for schools and institutions, youth exchange programmes, basic and complementary training for youth leaders, cooperation projects with countries of Portuguese expression, exhibitions, seminars, the publication of books and development of educational games. Such activities rely on the regular support of the Secretary of State for Sport and Youth – Portuguese Sport and Youth – and on other public and private entities.
IGE Musical Ambassadors
Musical Ambassadors are the essence of IGE Music and Art Immersions. IGE honors Ambassadors for unusual commitment over careers to musical, educational and broader communities. These eminent master musicians embrace cross-cultural, multi-genre collaboration as they contribute to the dynamic synergism at the core of the Immersion experience. It is around Musical Ambassadors, against the backdrops of historic Venice, Italy and now, magical Barcelona, Spain that Immersions coalesce and unfold. Ambassadors orchestrate Immersions as they perform in rehearsed and spontaneous ensembles.
Lisbon Immersion Packages Include:
10 days and 9 nights single, double, triple or quadruple accommodations and daily breakfast at the Convento do Salvador, IGE Lisbon headquarters. IGE occupies the entire property for the duration of the Immersion with few limitations on hours of operations or musical stylings. At the Convento, we will host ‘round the clock scheduled and impromptu performances throughout the Immersion. From the pull-out-the-stops catered first night concert to our final evening musical extravaganza with tapas, Convento is the epicenter for the musical collaborations unique to IGE Immersions.
DINNERS, COCKTAILS, MUSIC AND ART
- Daily buffet breakfast.
- Arrival drinks at Hotel Convento Do Salvador with live fado and a Musical Ambassador performance.
- Welcome dinner and Musical Ambassador performance at the ethereal rooftop Rio Maravilha in the artsy LX Factory.
- Concert at the otherworldy Sociedade de Geografia de Geografia de Lisboa.
- Concert at Casa Independente, Lisbon’s underground community performance space.
- Concert at A Baracca Theater, an intimate out of time experience.
- Afternoon Concert at Santa Caterina Church featuring IGE Musical Ambassadors and pipe organ Performance.
- Gala Concert and Dinner/Benefit for APCC featuring an Alentejo Choir and Musical Ambassador performance at Casa de Alentejo, a fantastical moorish palace.
- Concert at the nonprofit Fabrica Braco de Prata, an IGE partner, arts community center and ground zero for artists across the spectrum of disciplines.
- Afternoon concert in the Cloisters of Mosteiro Sao Vicente de fora.
- Regular Daily and nightly performances at Convento do Salvador featuring a range of Ambassador sets and multi genre European All Star performances.
- Final Evening Party, catered tapas and multi set concert extravaganza at the Convento.
– Airfare is not included in package price –
– Partial listing of programming –
– Specific programming is subject to change –
— All included meals carefully cater to dietary preferences and restrictions—
The Hotel Convento do Salvador
10 days and 9 nights single, double, triple or quadruple accommodations and daily breakfast at the Hotel Convento do Salvador, IGE Lisbon headquarters. IGE occupies the entire property for the duration of the Immersion. The freshly refurbished Convento is perfectly situated in the heart of medieval Alfama, Lisbon’s ancient core and pedestrian zone. The Convento will be converted into an atmospheric event venue with a performance stage, cozy living room space and bar. Convento’s spectacular outdoors cloister patio is ideal for celebration and the intercultural collaborations at the heart of the immersive experience.
IGE 2019 Lisbon Music and Art Immersion Ambassadors will be announced soon.
2019 Lisbon Music and Art Immersion Packages
|Room Type||Cost Per Person|
|Quad Two level Suite w/Twins or King + Double Sofa Bed||$2,950.00|
|Triple Two level Suite w/Twins or King + Double Sofa Bed||$3,650.00|
|Standard Double w/Queen||$3,950.00|
|Superior Double w/Twins or King||$4,250.00|
|Standard Double w/Queen with River View||$4,500.00|
|Standard Double w/Queen with River View + larger room||$4,750.00|
|Superior Double Two level Suite w/Twins or King + Double Sofa Bed||$5,500.00|
|Single w/Full Size||$6,500.00|
**Rooms specially adapted for wheelchair access are available.
Innovative Giving Enhancement (IGE) 501(c)(3) Immersion Guests may claim a substantial charitable contribution deduction for the excess of the purchase price paid over its fair market value (FMV). IGE will provide documentation to Guests indicating your tax deductible donation to IGE.
Our standard payment schedule :
1. 50% of trip cost at time of booking
2. 75% of trip cost by June 3, 2019
3. 100% of trip cost July 3, 2019
Cancellation, Substitution, and Alteration Policies.
1. On or before April 5th, 2019 – 100% payment return – $250 service fee /reservation.
2. On or before May 6th, 2019 – 75% of Trip Price Returned
3. On or before June 5th, 2018 – 50% of Trip Price Returned
4. On or before July 5th, 2019 – 25% of Trip Price Returned
5. On or after July 6th, 2018 – No refunds of 100% of Immersion payment
“An IGE immersion is like no musical excursion you will participate in. It’s incomparable to any vacation – becoming a community in a foreign land to appreciate culture, art and music is the way to get to know a city like you never can sightseeing alone. On Immersions you are simultaneously a traveller and at home with a group of common minded people.” – Paul Hoffman, Greensky Bluegrass
“For me, the IGE immersion is truly unique. It’s not a gig, it’s not a vacation, it’s an opportunity to be who we are, among friends. Lovers of culture, of language, of food, of lifestyle. Its about special musical collaborations in sublime settings. It’s about sharing laughter and wonder and song in enchanting European locations. It’s about tuning in to the local vibe and rhythms and soaking them up. It’s less about performing music, and more about playing it out of joy, inspiration and gratitude fueled by the immersive experience.” – Keith Moseley, String Cheese Incident
“The opportunity to see disparate artists join together in multiple formats, to watch their musical language at work, creating new harmonious wholes, was awe-inspiring.” – Zak Gordon
“I had a fantastic time. I wasn’t sure what to expect but felt truly immersed–no other word truly applies–with my favorite music. I loved the venues you found and how the music was seamlessly integrated with the art and architecture around us. Some of the experiences (the Holly Bowling concert at MEAM comes to mind) were truly stunning. I also liked the ratio of group activities to free time for exploring.” – Wendy Gordon
“Just as there was “Nothing like a Grateful Dead show”, there is nothing like the IGE experience. I’m still high from it and there will be lifelong memories and, I expect, ongoing relationships. Extremely well organized, seamlessly designed, thoughtful artists. A very classy operation. Folks were smiling even when it was rainy. Help was always nearby. AND THE MUSIC WAS TOPS!. – Barry Elkin
“At first I was hesitant to attend this event as a solo. I’m forever grateful I made the leap and signed up. Less than 24 hours in – the experience had more than paid for itself. The warmth of the group, talent and graciousness of the musicians, and attentiveness of the staff combined to make for one of the best vacations I have ever taken.” – Reed Lewis
“Thank you so much for the memories! May the Universe return to you the blessings you shared with us tenfold!” – Brenda Hann
“I have been on more than my share of wonderful travels and adventures in my lifetime, but the trip to Barcelona was super duper extra Special! What a special experience to be a part of a living breathing music troupe coming together! The music and the people helped me reset myself vibrationally, and emotionally! – Alessandra Schwartz
“Music, travel, friends. No other festival captures the intimacy and creativity of an Immersion. There’s just nothing else like it. This year’s immersion was equally mind-blowing as last year’s.” -Susi Bouse
“Mind-blowing is an understatement for what we experienced in Barcelona, on many levels. From the music, the architecture, the food, the people, the IGE staff & production crew who worked so hard to make it all happen & run smoothly….Barcelona was an exhilarating adventure that we’ll be talking about for a long time to come.” – Joel Tarantal
“An absolutely fabulous experience… We have been around the block a few times and I can say that in almost 50 years of listening to this music and being a part of this community, this was our finest experience ever.” – Ron and Lili Zweibaum
“Unforgettable. The City of Venice – its people, history and culture – was beyond my wildest imagination. Our IGE hosts and fellow travelers were kind and wondrous. The musicians were bellissimo – in performance and in spirit. Living in the villa along the canal, I felt like a Venetian.” – Michael Jon Samuels, Qello Concerts
“Hands down the best musical experience I’ve ever had. If there’s a heaven, it’s pretty close to being immersed for 10 days with great musicians in a beautiful setting, surrounded by friends old and new.” – Dave F.
“We had an amazing experience with IGE in Venice. The performances and friendliness of the unbelievably talented musicians and outstanding hospitality of the hosts exceeded our expectation. It was truly a memorable experience which we will always cherish.” – Jason Eig Partner at Blank Rome LLP & his AWESOME wife Heather Eig
“Nothing beats immersing yourself in a beautiful city like Venice, surrounded by live music and kind folks – truly a unique travel experience!” – Melissa Herman
“Our trip was an incredible experience that approached was almost surreal with the level of camaraderie that we enjoyed with the artists and our fellow travelers. Friendships that will last our lifetime!” – Peter H.
“I just want to tell you that our time together in Venice was one of the best times of my life. I feel that I understand the concepts around immersion and flow as I never have before. I loved everything you did to make our time here transformative and engaging and crazy fun. And full of heart.” – Vanessa
“Great Music, Great Venues, a well thought out program that blends music, local culture and a truly unique intimate experience with like minded music freaks- you won’t find this elsewhere.” – Todd Z.
“We had the time of our lives and became so fully immersed in music and art that our hearts were exuberant! This experience is like no other with musical talent and fellowship beyond compare.” – Emily S.
“After augmenting our Venetian Immersion with subsequent expeditions to Florence and Rome, we have finally safely, albeit somewhat sadly, arrived back home in Philadelphia. The abrupt difference in the view from our bedroom window this morning from weeks past was a rude awakening, to be sure, but we are indeed most grateful for the abundance of joyful memories from this excursion which replay so vividly in our nightly dreams, and which will no doubt continue to titillate our souls for time eternal.Our deepest and most humble thanks to everyone who participated in and made possible this most extraordinary and magical event.” – Tanto amore, Stu and Maria
“Venice washed over me like a wave, and touched all the senses. We saw amazing art & were treated to fantastic music everyday we got to be with friends old & new, and what more could you ask for? Yes, Yes, Yes!” – Joel
“What a special way to explore a new place! I really loved settling in and getting to know my surroundings as well as spending time with new and old friends. The music was icing on the cake and a pleasure to be a part of!” – Jilian
“One of the peak experiences of my life, and I’ve had (more than) a few!” – Greg
Ross James Continued...
Born in New York, Ross James is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been living and breathing music since he picked up his first guitar as a 9 year old living in the frozen tundra of Fargo, North Dakota. Ross was a founding member of the band American Jubilee, and has shared the stage with many greats including Phil Lesh, John Scofield, Chris Robinson, Warren Haynes, Stanley Jordan, John Mayer, and more.
He currently plays regularly with Scott Law & Ross James’ Cosmic Twang & Communion ft. Phil Lesh. He can usually be found a few nights a week performing at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA. Aside from being a regular on stage at Terrapin, Ross is also the musical director for the venue.
emotionally rich style.
Holly Bowling continued
Holly Bowling is a classically trained pianist who began playing piano at the age of five. There’s one major distinction, however, that separates her from other similarly studied musicians. That is Holly’s devotion to the legendary rock band Phish. Having attended over 300 shows by the Burlington-based quartet, she became obsessed by their famous rendition of “Tweezer” from Lake Tahoe on July 31, 2013. It led Holly to transcribe this 37-minute improvisational masterpiece note-for-note and arrange it for solo piano. The process, both painstaking and fulfilling, inspired her to transform other Phish songs and well-known live jams into solo piano interpretations. Holly expanded her repertoire into the realm of the Grateful Dead, including an “Eyes of the World” based on the band’s spectacular exploratory June 18, 1974 performance at Freedom Hall. Using classical piano technique to reinterpret these jamband luminaries, Holly’s live performances infuse new with old, tradition with surreal, and creates a concert experience like nothing else in the music world.
In addition to her solo performances Holly has become an a list ensemble player and has been invited to perform with the likes of Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes, and other luminaries. 22018 also marks the beginning of her new band, Ghost Light, who she formed with Tom Hamilton from Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.
Nicki Bluhm Continued...
California native Nicki Bluhm is a singer, songwriter and performer. In 2008 Bluhm released her first album, Toby’s Song and with its release put together her band The Gramblers. Nicki went on to release her second effort Driftwood (2012) establishing her and the band as a nationally touring act. While playing shows around the country she and the band decided to pass the time and long drives filming what became their viral “Van Sessions” covering nostalgic songs of their past. In the aftermath, Bluhm and The Gramblers became headliners, touring constantly throughout North America, including festivals like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Newport Folk and Telluride Bluegrass.
The band continued to record and put out two albums including their self titled Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers (2013) and their most recent effort Loved Wild Lost (2015), launching them on an extended US tour and their debut European tour. The Chicago Tribune wrote “Nicki has filled a void in music with her brand of vintage-tinged rocking country soul – music that’s like an enchanting friend you’ve known for a short while, but feels like you’ve known forever.”
At the completion of their 2016 Loved Wild Lost tour, Nicki was asked to join the The Infamous Stringdusters in support of their album Ladies and Gentlemen. That project led to a collaboration with Ryan Adams at Telluride Bluegrass, Newport Folk and on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Nicki has also had the honor of singing with musicians including Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule, Karl Denson, Boz Scaggs, Anders Osborne, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Lesh, Jackie Green, and many others.
In early 2017, inspired by the current US political climate, Nicki wrote a song called “Remember Love Wins”. She recorded and released it, with an accompanying video, in a seven-day burst of creative energy. It received a nod from Rolling Stone saying: “‘Remember Love Wins’, like Pete Seeger singing ‘We Shall Overcome,’ hits not just on the struggle ahead, but our ability to eventually come out on the right side of history.” Most recently, Nicki was the voice of Sarah on the tender duet “No Wrong Way Home” in the short animated film Pearl, which was nominated for an Oscar.
Nicki’s future holds new songs, recordings and many more performances as a solo performer, as a guest vocalist and with The Gramblers. Both on record and in her live performances, she will continue to explore new directions, touching her listeners with her smoky vocals and dynamic stage presence.
Stay tuned for the next chapter…
Paul Hoffman Continued...
Greensky Bluegrass first got together and started playing music in 2000, and the band has spent the better part of the years since on the stage playing dive bars, living rooms, festivals, or, more recently, sold-out crowds at well-loved venues like Red Rocks and Ryman Auditorium. The Kalamazoo, Michigan, band — which is made up of members Anders Beck on dobro, Michael Arlen Bont on banjo, Dave Bruzza on guitar, Mike Devol on upright bass, and Paul Hoffman on mandolin — has done its part to welcome new fans into the bluegrass fold, too, thanks to funky covers, relentless touring, and an approachable jam band vibe in and out of the studio.
Anders Beck continued...
Grahame Lesh Continued...
A mainstay in the scene centered around Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, Grahame has joined such luminaries as Chris Robinson, Twiddle, Amy Helm, Jackie Greene, Eric Krasno, ALO, The Mother Hips, and many more in singing, playing, and interpreting the American songbook.
As a founder and co-front person (with Elliott Peck) for Midnight North, Grahame has played hundreds of concerts around the country and released 3 studio albums, a live album, and a digital EP of original music since the band’s inception in 2012. In 2017 the band released “Under The Lights”, their most successful studio album to date, and toured throughout the country in support. As a member of Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Family Band, he has traveled the world, performing the TFB’s updated version of the Grateful Dead’s sound everywhere from the famed Fuji Rock Festival in Japan to London to New York city. Always focused on the song and the groove, whether it be his or another’s, Grahame’s music stays rooted in the present while touching on all aspects of rock, folk, blues, soul, and more.
Scott Law Continued...
Multifaceted artist Scott Law is an accomplished guitar master, songwriter, vocalist and solo recording artist operating at the very highest level of his craft. A not so secret weapon sought after for his distinctive ability to elevate the potency of any stage collaboration, Law is a fearless improviser circulating with legendary Bluegrass, American Roots, Rock and Jamband luminaries including Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), The String Cheese Incident, Peter Rowan, Darol Anger, The Travelin’ McCoury’s and many others. Scott’s original music and guitar style comes straight from the heart of psychedelic Americana, granting him the creative latitude to constantly push the envelope and help create singular, unforgettable musical experiences for audiences worldwide.
Discover more at: http://www.scottlawmusic.com/
Elliott Peck Continued...
Elliott Peck is a singer, songwriter and musician originally from the Midwest, who currently resides in San Francisco, California. Growing up near Chicago, IL, the Chicago style blues have always had an influence on her writing, playing and singing. After moving to California, she fell in love with the California country sound which now is a presence in much of her songwriting. She plays keyboards, guitar, sings and writes for the band Midnight North, which include guitarist/songwriter Grahame Lesh. Elliott has been singing semi regularly with Phil Lesh & Friends since 2012. She has performed with many notable musicians in the Bay Area and recently completed a successful European tour. She has signed with Blue Rose Music and will go into the studio in January 2018 to record her first full length solo record to be released later this year.
Matt Butler Continued...
Natalie Cressman Continued...
Deeply versed in Latin jazz, post-bop, pop, and Brazilian music, she has released 3 albums under her own name as well 2016’s Etchings in Amber, a gorgeous duo album with guitarist Mike Bono that introduced Cressman as a formidable musical force without her horn. Her vocal work in increasingly intimate and rhythmically insinuating settings has revealed an artist who can thrive in any setting, from raucous, reverberant halls to packed and pulsing lofts and nightclubs.
When she’s not performing her own music, Cressman can be found collaborating with some of the most illustrious figures in rock, funk, jazz and beyond which have included Carlos Santana, Aaron Neville, Dave Matthews, Phish, Big Gigantic, Escort, The Motet, and Umphrey’s McGee. A prodigiously talented New York City-based trombonist, she’s spent the past eight years touring the jam band circuit as a horn player and vocalist with Phish’s Trey Anastasio, while also performing around NYC with jazz greats Wycliffe Gordon, Nicholas Payton, Anat Cohen, and Peter Apfelbaum. In an epoch marked by infinite musical possibilities, Natalie Cressman is a singular force who draws from an improbable breadth of sonic realms.
Natalie’s recent collaboration work with Ian Faquini has resulted in original material featuring songs in three different languages and encompassing a vast spectrum of musical ground. With the warm instrumentation of acoustic guitar and trombone and two-part vocal harmonies hugging the Brazilian accented Portuguese, Cressman & Faquini weave their musical voices together to create a fully orchestrated sound befitting a much larger ensemble.
Ian Faquini Continued...
Ian was a member of the renowned Berkeley High School Jazz program before going on to study at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley and, immediately after graduating, joined the faculty there. He is also on the faculty at California Brazil Camp, alongside musical legends including Ivan Lins, Guinga, Chico Pinheiro, and Spok.
He has performed throughout Europe, Japan, Brazil and the United States, including Montreux Jazz Festival, Enjoy Jazz Festival, Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Birdland (NYC), and The A Trane (Berlin) and has shared the stage and recording studio with such names as Guinga, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Spok, Lee Konitz, Fleurine, among many others. In 2014, he released his debut album with flautist Rebecca Kleinmann, entitled Brasiliense, which features all original compositions by Faquini and draws from a wide range of musical sources from the 20th century, from impressionism and jazz to the great Brazilian songwriting tradition. Faquini released his second album, Metal na Madeira, in 2016, this time in collaboration with acclaimed vocalist Paula Santoro, who hails from Minas Gerais.
Recent collaboration work with Natalie Cressman has resulted in original material featuring songs in three different languages and encompassing a vast spectrum of musical ground. With the warm instrumentation of acoustic guitar and trombone and two-part vocal harmonies hugging the Brazilian accented Portuguese, Cressman & Faquini weave their musical voices together to create a fully orchestrated sound befitting a much larger ensemble.
Samson Grisman Continued...
Since his early debut he has played and/or recorded with Darol Anger, Luke Bulla, Noam Pikelny, Tim O’Brien, Bryan Sutton, Martin Taylor, Lee Ann Womack, Sarah Jarosz, and the Milk Carlton Kids among others. He’s a member of David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience and Dawg Trio with Danny Barnes , and has appeared on the Grand Old Opry with Jesse McReynolds and Ricky Skaggs. Sam currently resides in Portland and plays in the Brotet with Alex Hargreaves , Nat Smith and Dominick Leslie. Growing up in a music-rich environment exposed Sam to many players and styles, making him one of the “go to” bassists of his generation.
Mihali Savoulidis Continued...
Most laud Mihali for his dexterity on guitar, but it’s his lyrics and songwriting capabilities which set his solo act apart. It is the soul of what many hope to find in a solo act. His mastery of pedals, specifically the repetitive phenomena known as “looping,” beat boxing, and guitar riffs, all prep a multi-textured canvas for song. Mihali’s words are genuine. Shaped by his journey through grief and redemption, he writes songs that serve as a light to many who find themselves lost in their own darkness.
“I’ve been struggling for way way too long
It’s time for a change I’m ready to move on.
And, yes, I’m scared to right all my wrongs.
But I’ll be ok- I’m stronger than I thought.”
– Lost in the Cold
Inspired by artists including Kurt Cobain, Bradley Nowell and Bob Marley, Mihali’s music carries a passionate intent for good. During his twelve years with Twiddle, Mihali has shared the stage with members of Phish, Blues Traveler, Big Gigantic, Matisyahu, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall and jammed with his all-time favorite guitar player, Jamaican reggae legend, Ernest Ranglin, just to name a few. Mihali currently resides in the green mountains of Vermont, where he’s lived since he met his brothers in Twiddle in 2004. When not on tour he can usually be found writing music in the company of his pride and joy, his wife, daughter, and three golden retrievers.
Vocals, Lead Guitar, Harmonica
Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano
Vocals, Mandolin, Electric & Amp; Acoustic Guitar
On their fifth full-length, Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition transform pain and heartache into something truly glorious. With their songwriting sharper and more nuanced than ever before and their sonic palette more daringly expansive—the Portland, Oregon-based band’s full-hearted intensity ultimately gives the album a transcendent power.
“The songs are mostly breakup songs,” says Asebroek. “There was love and now it’s gone we fucked it up, or some outside circumstance brought it to an end. It’s about dealing with all that but still having hope in your heart, even if you’re feeling a little lost and jaded.”
In a departure from their usual DIY approach, Fruition teamed up with producer/mixer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, First Aid Kit, case/lang/veirs) to adorn their folk- rooted sound with delicately crafted elements of psychedelia and soul. Showcasing the sublime harmonies the band first discovered during an impromptu busking session in 2008, Watching It All Fall Apart also finds Fruition more fully embracing their rock-and-roll sensibilities and bringing a gritty vitality to each track. “We’ve been a band almost ten years now, and we’re at the point of being comfortable in our skin and unafraid to be whatever we want as time goes on,” Anderson notes.
Recorded in ten days at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, Watching It All Fall Apart came to life with the same kinetic urgency found in Fruition’s live sound. “It’s kind of an impossible task, this idea of transmuting the live energy into something you can play on your stereo, but I feel like this record comes close to that,” says Asebroek. At the same time, the band pursued a purposeful inventiveness that resulted in their most intricately textured work to date. “Tucker helped us push ourselves to create something that glistens in subtle little ways that you might not even pick up on at first,” says Asebroek. “We got to play around with all this analog gear and these weird old keyboards we wouldn’t ordinarily use, like a bunch of kids in a toy store where everything is free.”
On lead single “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” that unrestrained creativity manifests in a fuzzed-out, gracefully chaotic track complete with sing-along-ready chorus. Built on brilliantly piercing lyrics (“And all those kisses that you were blowing/Somehow they all got blown right out”), the song echoes the album’s emotional arc by painfully charting the journey from heartache to acceptance. “It’s about going through a breakup, moping around, and then finally getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Okay—I’m done with feeling this way now,’” says Anderson.
Throughout Watching It All Fall Apart, the band’s let-the-bad-times-roll mentality reveals itself in ever-shifting tones and moods. On the stark and sleepy “Northern Town,” Naja’s smoldering vocals channel the ache of longing, the track’s twangy guitar lines blending beautifully with its swirling string arrangement. One of the few album cuts to have already appeared in Fruition’s setlist, “There She Was” sheds the heavy funk influence of its live version and gets reimagined as a shimmering, soulful number documenting Asebroek’s real-life run-in with an ex at a local bar. Meanwhile, “Turn to Dust” emerges as a weary but giddy piece of psych-pop chronicling the end of a failed romance. The song’s opening lyric also lends the album its title, which partly serves as “a commentary on the general state of the world today,” according to Asebroek. “Even if you’re mostly an optimistic person, it’s hard not to feel down when you look at all the insanity happening right now,” he says.
While those unflinchingly intimate breakup songs form the core of Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition infuse an element of social commentary into songs like “FOMO” as well. Written on the Fourth of July, with its references to wasted white girls and cocaine cowboys, the mournful yet strangely reassuring track unfolds as what Anderson calls “an anti-party party song.” “It’s about one of those situations where you said you’d go to party but you really don’t want to go, because you know it’s going to be the same old bullshit,” he says. “The song is a call to defuse that guilt in your brain.” And on the sweetly uplifting “Let’s Take It Too Far,” the band offers one of the album’s most purely romantic moments by paying loving tribute to music as solace and salvation (“But don’t you worry ’bout dyin’/’Cause there’s no better way to go/We’ll sing until we’re out of honey/Then pour the gravel down our throats”).
From song to song, Fruition display the dynamic musicality they’ve shown since making their debut with 2008’s Hawthorne Hoedown LP. Through the years, the band has evolved from a rootsy, string- centric outfit to a full-fledged rock act, eventually taking the stage at such major festivals as Bonnaroo and Telluride Bluegrass (a set that inspired Rolling Stone to praise their “raucous originals filled with heartfelt lyrics and stadium-worthy energy”). Following the release of 2016’s Labor of Love, Fruition again made the rounds at festivals across the U.S., prompting Rolling Stone to feature the band on its “8 Best Things We Saw” at DelFest 2016.
In choosing a closing track for Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition landed on “Eraser”—a slow- building, gently determined epic delivering a quiet message of hope in its final line: “Let it help you heal.” “Because there’s so much heartbreak on this album, we wanted to end on Kellen singing that last line very sweetly,” explains Anderson. “The whole point of having all these sad songs is helping people to let those emotions out—and then hopefully when they get to the end, they feel a little better about everything they’ve gone through along the way.”
James Casey Continued...
A current member of Trey Anastasio Band, James has had the opportunity to perform, record, produce or write with many of the world’s leading and most influential artists. Credits include: The Roots, Phish, Meghan Trainor, DNCE, Maceo Parker, Carly Rae Jepsom, Snarky Puppy, Sabrina Claudio, Chaka Khan, Wu-Tang, John Legend, Roy Hargrove, Soulive, Lettuce, Shawn Mendes, 5th Harmony, and many, many more.