On Friday, December 8 Driftwood, an eclectic band from Binghamton, NY, returns to the me&thee. Their lively music successfully merges folk, old-time, country, punk, and rock into one glorious musical jambalaya. Heather Aubrey Lloyd opens the show with her powerhouse voice and brilliant lyrics.
Driftwood has been digging in and rocking out since their 2005 formation, playing an average of 150 shows a year. “In the beginning, we hit the road constantly with an all-or-nothing attitude,” guitarist Dan Forsyth confides. Gigging and traveling that much can’t help but influence and inform the band, individually and collectively. In the past, they used the stage to work out arrangements of new songs. For their latest album, City Lights, they used the studio. The band took some time off to learn more about being in the studio and made a record that they really wanted to make — one from the heart.
Describing the Driftwood sound, banjo player Joe Kollar offers, “I consider our sound to be more of an attitude and an approach — the result of all of our influences in a completely open musical forum where the only stipulation is to use bluegrass instruments and create it from the heart.”
These artists blur and blend genre lines in order to innovate. They wield old-time instruments, but they do so with a punk-rock ethos. “I do not know much about punk music, but I do know that it gives me a feeling of tearing into something without inhibition,” violinist Claire Byrne says, adding, “Old-time music has the same feeling for me. The music was a release for people living extremely hard lives in harsh conditions. In this way, the two styles of music are very similar: It’s digging in and making a statement. It’s rocking out and feeling totally reborn through the song.” Even though they come from different directions, the three founding members — along with bassist Joey Arcuri — end up at the same place and that unity of the band brings joy to every performance.
Heather Aubrey Lloyd has been part of the Baltimore-based band ilyAIMY (I love you and I miss you) for 15 years. Her gifted djembe and guitar playing combined with her expressive voice take the breath away from audience members time and time again. Her newest CD, A Message in the Mess, includes fanciful larger-than-life characters in the songs: hippy tooth faeries, Jackson Pollock reincarnated as a flock of pigeons and would-be animal crackers. Lloyd ties it all together with her emotive singing and creative arrangements. She’s a show-stopper.