Get to know The New Familiars
June 22, 2010
Their sound may bring on waves of ’60s rock nostalgia, but there’s nothing predictable about The New Familiars. The four-man band from North Carolina deftly combines classic rock with elements of acoustic folk, bluegrass and Appalachian roots music.
The troupe is touring the U.S. in support of its new live album and will kick off the free Thursday night concert series at Newpark Town Center on June 24 from 6 to 8 p.m.
It’s tough to confine the band’s music to just one category. "Rock ‘n’ roll is the simplest thing to call it, but it draws from all kinds of different genres," explains vocalist-guitarist Josh Daniel.
On the tour bus, Daniel and his fellow band members vocalist-guitarist-mandolinist Justin Fedor, bassist Pat Maholland, drummer Daniel Flynn and banjo player H.L. Ruth, an occasional fifth member listen to everything from Jay-Z to Willie Nelson.
"It’s four people listening to tons of different music and everybody brings something to the table. We all love a lot of different kinds of music, and I think that comes out in what we do," he says.
The band’s name reflects a common reaction from early fans. The songs have a familiar feel, but the style is fresh and innovative. "Rock ‘n’ roll is a familiar thing, but we want to try to do something new with it and breathe some new life into it," Daniels says.
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The group has been touring vigorously since forming in Charlotte, N.C., about two years ago. Instead of sticking to local gigs when they started, they jumped right to regional and national touring circuits. They performed 160 shows in 2009 and are on course to top that number this year.
"We’re lucky to have people in the band that have the same vision and want to get out and play gigs. That’s what it’s all about. The more you play, the better you get," Daniel says.
Traveling to locales near and far has led to playing concerts in some unusual venues, from public libraries to an Elks Lodge.
"We do all kinds of stuff, from festivals with thousands of people to bar scenes with a hundred people," Daniel says. "We’ve done some crazy gigs."
The New Familiars have recorded a studio EP and a live CD. Their debut full-length studio album is complete and they are shopping it to record labels. Meanwhile, they’re promoting their music via social media outlets such as MySpace and Facebook.
Daniel says he’s constantly uploading photos and videos from the tour to the group’s Facebook page.
"We take advantage of all those things," he says. "It’s huge. It’s really awesome what’s available to bands now. It’s all about networking and spreading the word."
Word spreads fast among those who catch a New Familiars show. The band delivers an eclectic sound created by a combination of drums, upright bass, electric guitar, electric bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar and banjo. Rather than sticking to one role, all members sing and everyone plays more than one instrument.
The goal is to get to the crowd "vibing," Daniel says. "We like to switch it up a lot. We play a lot of different instruments and there are a lot of different things going on."
The show at Newpark will be the band’s first in Utah. Park City is the furthest West they’ll venture on the current tour, but Daniel says they’ll continue to push their boundaries, eventually crossing overseas.
"We never stop, we just keep going and keep doing what we’re doing," he says.
Newpark summer concerts:
Thursdays at 6 p.m.
June 24: The New Familiars
July 1: Abraxas
July 8: Stonefed
July 22: Hoots & Hellmouth
July 29: Fat Soul
Aug. 5: The Speedbumps
Aug. 12: Joshua James
Aug. 19: Uncle Luscious
Aug. 26: Bonepony