Campfire Caravan  featuring The Lil Smokies, Mipso & The Brothers Comatose

11:11 Presents

Campfire Caravan featuring The Lil Smokies, Mipso & The Brothers Comatose

Tue, September 26, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Pub Station Ballroom

Billings, MT

$17.00 - $20.00

This event is all ages

Lil Smokies
Lil Smokies
Coming To A Local Music Venue Near You, U.S. – Monday, July 31, 2017 – “Campfire Caravan” featuring The Brothers Comatose, Mipso, and The Lil Smokies hosts three of today’s foremost emerging indie Americana bands as they trek across the United States – stopping in more than 30 cities from Sept. 26 through Nov. 18, 2017. “Campfire Caravan” swings through Nashville for a sneak peak of the 15-musician road show at the 18th Annual AMERICANAFEST 2017 (Sept. 13) prior to kicking off the tour at the Pub Station in Billings, MT. Fueled by Lagunitas, “Campfire Caravan” travels to the West Coast, The Rockies, Midwest, East Coast and South before concluding the tour at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. A comprehensive list of tour dates is below, and interviews and hi-res photos are available upon request.

Americana, bluegrass and country music genres are in-the-midst of a renaissance. In all corners of the country, artists are making a name for themselves with remarkably refreshing takes on traditional genres; efforts that are redefining the music beyond simple categorizations. The Brothers Comatose, Mipso, and The Lil Smokies are of this ilk. Each reside in different parts of America – The Brothers Comatose from the West Coast, Mipso from North Carolina’s Triangle region, and The Lil Smokies from the Rocky Mountains. Bringing their own unique interpretations of, and inspired contributions to, the evolution of traditional American music, each act sets a new bar with their compelling live performances. Together on one stage – music fans will be treated to charismatic singers, virtuosic string-slingers, complex and nuanced songwriting and compositions, and more.

With each band quickly rising the ranks, “Campfire Caravan” is a nod to the musicians’ early days playing music, when they’d perform for friends and family in basements, living rooms, and around campfires. “Campfire Caravan” celebrates the American tradition of gathering communities around music. In an untraditional format, all three bands rotate in the lineup with no single ensemble acting as the tour headliner. A completely different show will be presented in each city with spontaneous collaborations amongst the groups taking place between sets.

“Campfire Caravan” hosts a raucous party with a wholesome spirit at premier venues across the country, including Bowery Ballroom (NYC), Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR), Ogden Theater (Denver, CO), and 9:30 Club (Washington, DC). The Brothers Comatose tour in support of a brand-new single, “Don’t Make Me Get Up And Go” - produced by indie-rock legend John Vanderslice, in advance of AMERICANAFEST 2017 (Sept. 8, 2017). Mipso showcases their recent #3 Billboard Bluegrass Chart-ranking, Coming Down The Mountain (April 2017). The Lil Smokies release their sophomore studio album, Changing Shades, in Sept. 2017.

Artist Fan Club Tickets on sale now at General Public ticket on sale begins Friday, August 4 at 1pm EDT at

The Brothers Comatose
Whether traveling to gigs on horseback or by tour bus, San Francisco Americana mavens The Brothers Comatose bring their a-game to every show. The five-piece string band is anything but a traditional acoustic outfit with their fierce pickin’ and rowdy live concerts reminiscent of rock shows performed by artists they love to cover: The Rolling Stones, The Violent Femmes, Ryan Adams, Huey Lewis and The News, among others. With three full-length studio albums to their name (Songs From The Stoop, Respect The Van, City Painted Gold), The Brothers Comatose release a new single “Don’t Make Me Get Up And Go” produced by indie-rock legend John Vanderslice in advance of AMERICANAFEST 2017. Channeling harmony vanguards The Beach Boys, “Don’t Make Me Get Up And Go” is a portrait of desire to stay by the side of your closest companion set amid a West Coast sonic backdrop.

The Brothers Comatose is comprised of brothers Ben Morrison (guitar, vocals) and Alex Morrison (banjo, vocals), Gio Benedetti (bass, vocals), Philip Brezina (violin), and Ryan Avellone (mandolin). When they’re not headlining The Fillmore for a sold-out show or performing at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the band is cutting recordings with the likes of Nicki Bluhm (“Morning Time”), the T Sisters (“City Painted Gold”), or writing enticing songs such as “Pie For Breakfast.”

Chapel Hill’s indie Americana quartet Mipso – Jacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals) – is influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes. Touring in support of its fourth album, Coming Down The Mountain (April 2017), Mipso ventures further than ever from its string-band pedigree to discover a broader Americana where classic folk-rock and modern alt-country sounds mingle easily with Appalachian tradition. Adding pedal steel, drums, banjo, and keyboards to their spellbinding four-part harmonies – look for the band touring with a drummer for “Campfire Caravan” dates – Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving, with lyrics that sear and salve in turn.

Hailed as “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular” (Acoustic Guitar) and recently recognized by Rolling Stone as a favorite 2016 festival performance, Mipso harnesses a distinct sound full of wistful beauty, hopeful undercurrents, and panoramic soundscapes. Coming Down The Mountain debuted at #3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, #49 on The AMA Americana Radio Chart, and spent weeks at #1 on The Roots Music Report Top 50 Americana Country Album and Top 50 Country Album Charts. Mipso’s 2015 release, Old Time Reverie, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and the band went on to perform at the nationally televised 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Lil Smokies
With their roots submerged in the thick buttery mud of traditional bluegrass, The Lil Smokies have sonically blossomed into a leading player in the progressive acoustic sphere. Based in Missoula, MT, the quintet has garnered high accolades at the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards by winning the “Momentum Award for Best Band” and the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition. In 2013, The Lil Smokies also won Northwest String Summit’s band competition.

The Lil Smokies’ sheer raw energy and exquisite musicianship that courses through their sophomore album, Changing Shades, exhibits the band’s adept ability to seamlessly weave through genres, leaving behind melodies fans will be singing for days. The five-piece bluegrass ensemble features Andy Dunnigan (dobro, vocals), Scott Parker (upright bass), Matt Cornette (banjo), Jake Simpson (fiddle) and Matt Rieger (guitar).
When Mipso's 2013 debut, Dark Holler Pop, rose to #8 on Billboard's Bluegrass charts, the success surprised a lot of people ­­ Mipso's four members included. "Well, we didn't know so many people would buy it," laughs mandolin player Jacob Sharp, "and we definitely didn't know we were a bluegrass band."

Since then, Mipso has performed over 300 concerts, added frequent collaborator Libby Rodenbough's voice and fiddle to the band full­time, and continued to grow as songwriters and hone their North Carolina sound. Their new release, Old Time Reverie, is a reflection of that musical and personal growth, a dark and mature sophomore release that shows them broadening their musical palate while doubling down on their experimentation with string band tradition.

Dark Holler Pop embraced North Carolina's bluegrass heritage head­on. Most tracks were recorded strictly with guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, and banjo, featuring guests from Chatham County Line, Town Mountain, and Mandolin Orange. The positive reviews piled up. No Depression praised their "strong streak of youthful independence" as they "handle the balance between indie pop and progressive bluegrass." Los Angeles' The Bluegrass Situation called their album "excellent," adding that "their sound and live performance [are] even more unique than their name." And in 2015 the Huffington Post applauded their ability to carry on Doc Watson's "traditional­plus" spirit, calling them one of the top new "musical discoveries" of Merlefest.

Old Time Reverie shows the group shifting their focus away from bluegrass, featuring new instruments and textures to create a distinctly different sound. Here they combine the clawhammer banjo of 1920s old time music with the distinctive electric organ of 1970s pop. Throw into the mix imaginative songwriting and a cohesion gained from two years of near­constant touring: the result is powerfully rhythmic, lyrically intelligent, and punctuated by beautiful four­part harmonies.

Reviewers will surely spill ink with genre inventions. Songwriter bluegrass, lyrical folk­pop, indie­Americana. But maybe Mipso's music makes more sense as a time machine thought experiment.* What if Doc Watson had been born in 1990 and raised on Third Eye Blind as well as old timey ballads? What if Townes Van Zandt had grown up with Paul Simon ­­ deep in the Appalachian mountains? Whatever you call their music, to hear the record is to understand the point: it's either unlike anything you've heard before or exactly how you hoped the American canon of traditional music would expand. Old Time Reverie captures this feeling of backward and forward growth. Mipso has dug deeper while expanding further, making their own dark and dreamy mixture of Southern American music in the process.

Before Mipso, when its members were just classmates at UNC­Chapel Hill, it was the experience of singing together in harmony that first drew them together. The sound of four blended voices remains one of the band's hallmarks. In the same way that their music merges sounds from divergent influences, their creative process centers on the integration of these four distinct voices, instruments, and perspectives. Their commitment to collaboration and an old­fashioned concept­­harmony­­has served as a platform for entirely new avenues of sound.

In the years since those college singing sessions, the four have entered a new phase of life, one where the work of making music—and the work of living—has become a more complicated affair. Many of the songs on Old Time Reverie deal with the kind of moral ambiguity that's an unavoidable part of keeping hope in a difficult world. The songs are a dance between sun and shadow, offering "a light on the porch when it's cold out," as the group sings on "Father's House." The production and instrumentation embrace a darker sound to match the lyrical weight. "I think the sound has matured, both technically and thematically." said fiddle player Libby Rodenbough, "Of course, we're 25 instead of 21, and we've been learning to make music while we're also attempting to make peace with ourselves and with the world around us."

At times, the task seems doomed: "Emperor's Clothes" reckons with a world that is essentially "cold and dark"; "Mama" explores the enduring scars of loss; "Marianne" follows an interracial couple's struggle to love one another against their community's disapproval. Guitarist Joseph Terrell explains the genesis of the song.

"Right around the time North Carolina was voting to constitutionally ban same­sex marriage, I was reading a book called "The Warmth Of Other Suns," about The Great Migration, when so many black families were forced over decades to escape hateful communities in the South. It all made my stomach turn. I wanted to tell a story ­­ based in North Carolina in the 1960s, but still relevant ­­ of a couple trying to love each other against the odds."

Love against the odds ­­ that's in there, too. If Old Time Reverie conjures a dark vision of the world, it also meditates on points of radiance. Even the woeful voice in "Emperor's Clothes" professes to "believe in sparks." Album closer "Four Train," too, is a crinkled smile at the end of a weary day, describing love as "like a stain that won't come out" or "like a flame that won't burn out" ­­ or maybe, you guessed it, as both.

Everywhere, in both theme and temperament, the album finds an interplay between the sunrise and the twilight ­­ a tug­of­war that's itself an old­time tradition. From "Eliza," a lively waltz­time romp, to "Bad Penny," a surrealist dream sequence with an Abe Lincoln cameo, the album revels in the seesaw spectrum of experience and memory, where technicolor carnival hues blend with grown up sadness and the whispers of ghosts. Mipso's palette, like its soundscape, is radically inclusive.

This license to include, and include widely, is something the four musicians discovered in the example of their musical idols. "People sometimes seem to think of folk traditions as pristine things that need defending," says fiddle player Libby Rodenbough, "but the history tells a really different story. These almost mythical figures in North Carolina music like Tommy Jarrell, you rarely hear about them being offended by new sounds and ideas. So we feel like open­mindedness, having an ear for all kinds of things, is a tribute to them."

Rodenbough grew up taking classical violin lessons in the Suzuki method, and has only come to explore old­time, bluegrass, Celtic, and other fiddle styles in recent years. "I still think of my playing style as evolving," she says. "For much of this album, I got interested in what you could call a more old­time mentality about the fiddle's role in a song ­­ playing melodies almost constantly throughout, rather than bursting in momentarily for wailing licks and flashy solos." As she's experimented with old ways of playing, each member has mined their musical education for responses, each of them honing in on sounds that suit the unit as a whole.

For mandolin player Jacob Sharp, tradition doesn't necessarily mean a hard gaze backwards. "I don't think of 'tradition' as something to dig up from the grave," he said. "We come from a place where traditional music is alive and well. For us, I think playing with these old influences feels really natural." Sharp won his first mandolin off a childhood fishing bet with his dad. He sank into tradition backwards chronologically, starting with Nickel Creek, finding Sam Bush, and only then working his way back to Bill Monroe.

Bassist Wood Robinson has a different path through his state's musical tradition. "i grew up with my dad playing jazz" he said, "so guys like Coltrane and Thelonious Monk seeped into my bones a bit. I started playing upright bass to join some jazz big bands, and only in college did Joe and Jake start getting me interested in bluegrass and old time." Robinson's jazz knowledge influenced his bandmates, as well, adding groove and complex harmony to their acoustic fundamentals.

As their personal paths attest, it isn't a struggle for the members of Mipso to fuse traditional elements with modern influences, or even a conscious project. All four of them, after all, grew up in a state well known for cultural, political, and musical contrasts. "North Carolina has definitely changed a lot in recent years, but I think it's history feels very present," said Terrell. "Our progressive college town shares a county with miles and miles of farms filled with cattle and tobacco barns, next to two hundred year­old churches. My grandma was one of the first female doctors in the state," he added, "and she taught me to play Doc Watson songs on her old Martin. I think that's a pretty badass legacy."

After making the bluegrass­flavored Dark Holler Pop in North Carolina at The Rubber Room studio, then spending two years touring the country, you might've expected the band to decamp to hip Brooklyn or enlist a polished Nashville team to record their sophomore follow­up. But you'd be wrong. Instead they headed back to Chapel Hill, opting to double down on their exploration of string band territory. In a way, for Old Time Reverie, they returned to their comfort zone in order to leave it. "We went back to the Rubber Room where we're really comfortable, and we brought in two of our closest and most talented musical friends, Josh Oliver of The Everybodyfields, on piano and electric organ, and Andrew Marlin, of Mandolin Orange, who we really trust, as producer," said bassist Wood Robinson. "We wanted to tweak the formula, I guess, to go a little deeper. We wanted to take the cohesion we'd earned from two years of touring and make something way more groovy and dark, pushing the 'string band' instrumentation as far as we could." Add to the mix Jerry Brown's engineering expertise, which helped start the careers of other Carolina luminaries The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Jonathan Byrd, and they had a homegrown team firing on all cylinders.

Old Time Reverie shows a maturity of sound and focus rare for a group of musicians their age. Growing a little older has made the world more complicated, often tinged with darkness. But in their words, when it's "cold and dark," we can still find the "light on the porch", a symbol of hope for the long journey home.
The Brothers Comatose
The Brothers Comatose
The Short Bio:

Literal brothers, Alex (banjo and vocals) and Ben Morrison (guitar and vocals) of The Brothers Comatose grew up in a house that was known for its music parties. “The Morrison house was a gathering place for local musicians – everyone would bring an instrument, call out tunes, call out changes, and just play for hours” says Brothers Comatose bassist and Morrison music party goer, Gio Benedetti. “I learned more in that living room than in any class I ever took.” The brothers took this generous, inclusive and rowdy attitude and brought it to stages all over San Francisco. With the addition of members Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) the string quintet brings their original string music and the feel of an intimate music party to audiences all across the United States.

The environment the band creates with their music and their live shows isn't the exclusive band vs. crowd world of rock and pop, but rather the sing-along, stomp-along, inclusive world that gave birth to string band music. The band – while playing festivals like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry, High Sierra, Outside Lands, Kate Wolf, and SXSW, - has not lost sight of their roots, their fans and the relationships that have brought them where they are.

Despite their name, the band is anything but Comatose. They toss alligators (inflatable) into the crowd, they hand out chopsticks for audience-percussion-participation, and are known to jump down and play acoustic encores in the middle of the crowd at the end of a set. It's just one, big, extended Morrison music party. Only now, the living room travels via Chevy G20 Conversion Van from state to state.

The Long Bio / Respect The Van Press Release:
“The good thing about a string band, is that things tend to culminate with dancing rather than elbows flying in a mosh-pit,” says Gio Benedetti of the Brothers Comatose. The original members of the quintet with brothers Alex and Ben Morrison, bonded at the Morrison family acoustic music parties before taking a youthful foray into punk and rock bands *and ultimately* before circling back to the music they learned in that living room. They credit both beginnings for the attitude of their current music. and As a testament to their skillful energy; they have already played the major festivals including the esteemed Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, The Strawberry Festival and High Sierra.

On the new album, Respect The Van out May 22, their music is not a wavering mélange of assorted styles, but decided and strong bluegrass-influenced folk rock. With the addition of members Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) the band aims “to offer a damn good time, with a no-bullshit style that we found in those original living room parties and our live shows,” says Ben. “We tracked everything for the album live in one big room – treating the studio like a stage,” he explains.

As for the name, only a brother could pick it out by observing his sibling. Guitarist *and vocalist* Ben said when brother Alex Morrison *(banjo and vocals) * goes into a trance-like state while playing his banjo, “his eyes roll back in his head like he’s in a coma.” It’s certainly not indicative of their music, which doesn’t have any of the indulgent noodling breaks characterized by other string based bands – though the musicianship is solidly there, it’s given with a communal and inclusive spirit to sing and dance along to. Now, at live shows, the San Francisco band is known for handing out chopsticks to the audience for participatory percussion on whatever surface is closest.

And while the music is strong and clear, there are some serious themes as in the lead track “Modern Day Sinners,” a Guthrie inspired populist sing-along with shades of 50's R&B and doo-wop in the harmonies and feel. “I wanted to call ‘bullshit’ of the type of politician or fat radio host that’s giving advice while living a terrible and shameful life,” says *bassist and* vocalist and banjoist Gio.

“Scout” was written by Ben as part of “The 52 week club,” a songwriting group that sends out theme a week as a writing prompt. “It my first contribution. I wrote it from an autobiographical perspective of a young boy scout hanging out with his grandpa,” shares Ben. “My grandpa was a nice man some of the time, but could also just be bitter and I always wondered what he was so angry about. This song is about the young scout hanging onto his youth and and hoping to keep that spirit at the end.”

“120 East” is a harmonic ode to the brotherhood of a band, written about The Brothers Comatose's journey to and from The Strawberry Music Festival. “I wanted to capture the sense of being with your best friends, of being willing to trust them and follow them anywhere,” says Gio.

The band wrote a raucous, fiddle tune ode to their 1988 Chevy G20 tour van and called it, fittingly, “The Van Song.” “Phil wrote all the instrumental melodies and it didn't have any official lyrics for a long time,” says Gio. “It saw two rowdy live performances where we all just made up verses on the spot. We finally wrote some real lyrics, and had to record it - we love our van in a way that is border-line obsessive.”

“Morning Time” is Ben’s folk-country duet with breakout artist Nicki Bluhm. “It tells of the ever present struggles between man and woman – the guy wants to maintain his life in the big city with all of its late nights, bustle and craziness and the woman is ready for a mellower life. It’s a compromise and ultimately setting aside some quality time in the morning to spend together,” shares Ben

“Feels Like The Devil” is a drop-tuned, resonator-driven shit-kicker that would be at home on any bluegrass stage, while “Pennies are Money Too” is an old-timey instrumental that well illustrates the band’s musicianship.

Despite their name, the band is anything but Comatose. “It's just one, big, extended Morrison music party,” they say. The Brothers Comatose will be playing all spring and summer including April dates in Boise, Portland, Eugene, Washington State, North Carolina and all thru California, including appearances at the Banjo-B-Cue festival, and the Kate Wolf Festival. More dates and new videos will be announced soon.
Venue Information:
Pub Station Ballroom
2502 1st Ave. N
Billings, MT, 59101