Fifteen ago The Balsa Gliders stopped listening to indie rock and started playing it.

The Gliders are a loose collective of North Carolinians who formed friendships in Chapel Hill during the 1990s. Their spirited live shows recall some of the anthemic indie rock from the ‘90s that made the Triangle famous. The melodies echo local bands from Let’s Active to Portastatic to even Archers of Loaf.

Now based in Raleigh, Charlotte, D.C. and various other places The Balsa Gliders write and perform alongside an assortment of decidedly “non-indie” day jobs. Bassist Greg Jones is an Episcopal rector with fondness for Motown and Zeppelin. Ben Davis and Charles Marshall are media lawyers who trade Guided By Voices tabs over lunch. Mike Ferguson is a surgeon who loves Propellerhead tools. Chuck Price works at a big bank and admits to liking Better than Ezra. Russ Tisinger has some sort of PhD. They tour in a mini-van.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The River Kings debut with The Balsa Gliders

In a chance encounter in the fall of 2009 sitting atop Buzzard's Rock in Asheville, North Carolina, a band was born.   The River Kings play a brand of original Americana music that relies on three men with very different musical backgrounds.  Led by front-man Stephen Shealy on rhythm guitar and vocals, Eric Johnson on drums, and Josh Gibbs on Lap Steel and lead guitar, this trio truly incorporates Americana roots music with the idea of straight forward song writing and a tight give-and-take between the three band mates.  

Stephen Shealy, an Asheville native, plays and writes a brand of Americana music that bears his past with musical bands that have shaped his way of thinking.   The acoustic guitar caught his eye at any early age and the lyrical styles of Bob Dylan, John Prine, Robert Hunter, and others caught his ear, soul, and imagination at a later age. 

Eric Johnson, another Asheville native, embarked on a musical career that has come full circle.  To the early beginnings as a bedroom Jimmy Page inspired guitar god to the critically acclaimed indie rock band "Archers of Loaf,” Eric's knowledge and passion for music is the foundation on which The River Kings build and cultivate their sound.  Serving double duty in the band by playing drums and producing the music that appears in their first album, Person of Interest, his deepest darkest desire of producing music shines through.  Eric's ability to hear and produce has elevated him to new heights and captures the true sound of the band's intent. 

Josh Gibbs, also an Asheville native and local music scene giant, plays a style of lap steel guitar that only a few in America can.  His lap steel and Gibson Les Paul have taken him across the world performing with various artists along the way with the most recent being a 13-show tour in the UK in the summer of 2010 with Asheville singer-songwriter Dave Desmelik. Josh's musical style and ability to adapt to the artist is what sets him apart from others and is the reason why so many artists seek him out for recording sessions and tours. 
The River Kings debut album, Person Of Interest, will be released in the Spring of 2011.