Elkhorn

Bio

The Storm Sessions is the latest glowing proof that Elkhorn are one of the most durable and adventurous platforms of the new guitar age. Snowed in with their friend Turner Williams (Ramble Tamble, Guardian Alien) on the night of an emotionally important gig, the duo-plus-one turned it into a cathartic blizzard-bound collaboration and rumination — and a new step for Elkhorn.

A powerful turn outside the duo’s comfort zone, The Storm Sessions consists of two side-long improvisations by guitarists Jesse Sheppard (12-string acoustic) and Drew Gardner (6-string electric) along with Turner’s rare and lovely vibrations (electric bouzouki on one side, shahi baaja on the flip). No strangers to improvisation or collaboration, The Storm Sessions is their most spontaneous studio work yet, and perhaps their most beautifully flowing.

Formed by old friends Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner in 2013 and naming themselves “Elkhorn” the following year, it’s the pair’s telepathic bond that has made them so much more than two dudes with guitars. With Sheppard’s rigorous 12-string acting like a meditative rhythm section for Gardner’s textured flights, the duo’s third voice emerges into a space that often borders on soulful cosmic jazz.

Committed collaborators and community organizers in their vibrational corner of the world, both members of the band are deep students of the music. In 2018, Sheppard organized The 1000 Incarnations of the Rose, an already historic three-day festival in Takoma Park, Maryland–John Fahey’s hometown–that showcased generations of wide-eared guitarists. Ambassadors to an often-hidden creative lineage as well as an often-hidden network of modern players, Elkhorn have hewn to the most sage advice Timothy Leary ever proclaimed: Find the others.

Mark Fosson (who played the 1000 Incarnations of the Rose) was one such Other, forming a cross-generational bond with Sheppard. Scheduled to play a New York show with Elkhorn in late 2018, the 68-year-old Fosson fell ill and passed away. A rescheduled performance featuring Williams (another Other) turned into the extended session in Gardner’s home studio in Harlem.

The Storm Sessions is filled with flickering textures that might create warmth on a cold day, or a bubble of human atmosphere inside a dreary dystopian vacuum, no matter the weather outside. Their sixth full-length in five years, Elkhorn are both well into their journey and have only just begun.

Press

“A cosmic, instrumental jam session from the band Elkhorn”

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Early love for The Storm Sessions:

“With this, they’ve proven that even without planning to, they have the ability to outpace many of their peers with a sheer force of will. We’re barely a month into the year, but this already feels like a defining moment for 2020 musically.” Raven Sings The Blues

“…The Storm Sessions is a wintry wonder—and another winner from the ever-expanding Elkhorn consciousness.” Aquarium Drunkard

“a cosmic, instrumental jam session…” NPR

“Strong new jams from the New York duo of Jesse Sheppard/Drew Gardner, extrapolating psychedelia out of twin guitar folk improvisation.” MOJO

“Rarely has a blizzard sounded this good.” PopMatters

“Jesse Sheppard (12-string acoustic) and Drew Gardner (6-string electric) launched Elkhorn in 2013 and have steadily built a national following for their ethereal yet dynamic sonic explorations.” Relix

“Wondering where instrumental guitar music is going in the 21st Century, then pick up a copy of Elkhorn’s The Storm Sessions today to find out.” Americana Highways

“…the band’s carved out a corner of the psych world whose audience seems up for a very specific strain of improvisation.” Downbeat

“As with Live/Dead, Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert or Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz, this is an improv record that will be looked upon and studied by students of the freaky and the free for many years to come.” Record Crates United

“the music is genre-spanning, improvisational and exploratory. the jams are minimal but they have a huge rock’n’roll edge. ’conference of the birds’ is a true mind-bender.” – the modern folk music of america

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2020-02-08T16:03:51+00:00
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