The Last Bison

RVA Shows and The Broadberry Present

The Last Bison

Sat, December 1, 2018

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

Richmond Music Hall (at Capital Ale House)

Richmond, VA

$12 ADV, $15 DOS

This event is all ages

The Last Bison
The Last Bison
The Last Bison has descended from the mountaintop and landed in the badlands, inhabiting world rhythms, ambient oases and echoing crystalline cathedrals, with their voices spread out beneath the stars. After recording sessions in 2014 that polished their pastoral-folk arrangements into larger Americana visions on their last full-length (an homage to their home state) VA, and its subsequent follow-up Dorado EP, The Last Bison has seen an overhaul in their lineup and a broadening of their sonic landscape into something more grand and immediate, a setting that they’ve long felt their arrangements deserved.

Their forthcoming fourth album SÜDA was tracked at Collector Studios in their native Norfolk, VA in the summer of 2016 with a singular vision: to expand their songs into creations that more closely match the sounds that curate their everyday experience. SÜDA is a continuance of the spirit that birthed their breakout album Inheritance and VA, mixing and adding colors to their sonic pallet. The band now consists of founding members Ben Hardesty (vocals, guitar, percussion), Amos Housworth (cello, bass), and Andrew Benfante (keys, organ, guitar), the latter two having relocated to Nashville after recording.

After three years mostly spent on the road away from family, friends, and passions-put-on-hold, founding members Dan Hardesty and Annah Housworth decided to step down. While Annah officially made her intentions known prior to recording, she worked side by side with the band in the studio and tracked on the new record. With the help of producer Jake Hull and collaborators Jon Smalt (drums, arrangements), Hayden Heard (engineering), Ryan Meadows (engineering), and Carson Cody (synths, arrangements) SÜDA was completed in Norfolk and sent to mix with long-time friend and mixing engineer Ryan Swinehart in Nashville, at Sick Island Studios, before being mastered by the great Kevin Reeves.

At its emotional core, SÜDA circles predominately around the time Ben Hardesty spent living in Bolivia as a child with his parents, at the time on mission from the United States. In South America, Hardesty experienced life between the canyon city of La Paz, at the feet of the Bolivian Andes, and the evergreen and cloud forests of The Yungas jungle above. His contrasting environs offered countless adventures: wandering through valleys and mountain spires, getting lost in the lush and endless rainforest, trekking to Incan ruins with his father, and discovering history left by one of the great South American cultures. Hardesty left Bolivia with new eyes for a world much bigger and untamed than he had anticipated. The songs of SÜDA reflect on that period of gained knowledge and experience, with themes of longing, times remembered, times to come, and the desire for spiritual fulfillment.

In the same vein as Ben’s widened vision, SÜDA is not so much a departure from The Last Bison’s previous vision of stark and lush chamber folk, but merely a wider stroke made from the same brush. What originally drew people to the band's music and members remains: the passion, energy, and spiritual exploration of prior recordings is amplified within a new sound. The band’s mission for their music, which was originally to paint a picture of the American ethos (notably its ability to both heal and destroy the human spirit), has now evolved to encompass the grandeur and unknowable nature of the world at large.

In much the same way, SÜDA grows the circle of instruments around the band’s arrangements. Congas and drum machines stand alongside distorted guitars, and organs bathe in clear pools of synthesized wash, matching the drama and bombast that Hardesty’s vocal has always carried with it. The mountaintop chamber of before still lives within the songs as Housworth’s cello soars and cries throughout. The potential to create music that speaks to the universality of the human experience thrives in an expanded aural landscape as The Last Bison calls out through the jungle and into the night.
Venue Information:
Richmond Music Hall (at Capital Ale House)
623 E Main Street
Richmond, VA, 23219