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Deli Best of NYC 2011 - Submissions Results for ALT FOLK: Big Wilson River, Food Will Win the War, The Due Diligence, Firehorse, Futurist

Deli Best of NYC 2011 - Submissions Results for ALT FOLK: Big Wilson River, Food Will Win the War, The Due Diligence, Firehorse, Futurist

Here at The Deli we call "Alt Folk" all those bands who reference traditional American music but graft some less traditional elements onto it. These are the results of the top bands from this genre who submitted to be considered for our Year End Best of NYC Poll for Emerging Artists.

Jurors: Kate Shepherd (Deli Seattle), Annamarya Scaccia (Deli Philly), Erin D'Souza (Deli NYC)

The artists in this list qualify for the next phase of the poll, and will be added to the bands nominated by our jury of local scenemakers.


Big Wilson River plays my favorite kind of trashiness: Here you'll find songs written about badass literary figures the way other bands discuss a wild night out. In 'Hemingway Had a Cat' for instance, you get your hard truths served up right alongside beer anthem-ready singalongs. Singers Darrin Bradbury and April Acerno sing in the kind of flannel only Jersey musicians can wear right, with big brawling songs like 'Noah Goldstein,' together with downhome front porch sentiment like 'Twenty Little Soldiers.' You won't have to get dressed up to appreciate this band, but you will have to get down.



If you're looking for a pithy descriptor to file Food Will Win the War under, you're bound to be disappointed. Singer/songwriter Rob Ward and company have been routinely re-inventing themselves from their dreams of extra-marital astronaut affairs to their latest full-length, "A False Sense of Warmth." This abstract folk ensemble constantly challenges expectations by inserting dreamy lyrics through Ward's steady baritone and allowing his raucous band to burn the barn down in intensive sets of acoustic string shredding.



Like any self-respecting Brooklynite, there's nothing I'd like to see more than The Band make a return and show all these alt-folk cats how its done. Fortunately, now I can finally put that sentiment to rest. The Due Diligence picks up right where Robbie Robertson left off, carving a unique line extending from roots rock preservation to loud and brawling bar jams. Lead singer Sir Isaac Diligence sports a nautical disposition with one of the best beards I've seen yet in an otherwise crowded city of beards. Plenty of bands can jam, but few have this much to say while doing it.



An active performer in Citizens Band and Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout, Leah Siegel has written a number of albums under her own name before she founded Firehorse. In this new project's debut album "And So They Ran Faster..." she boasts a range of roles in diverse compositions that explore pop, rock, jazz, funk and soul with electronic flourishes. The genre-leaping tracks showcase Siegel’s versatile, intense vocals that lead her band into challenging sonic landscapes.



Futurist have some very big ideas. As much a multimedia project as 5-piece experimental folk outfit led by singer Curtis Peel. This group doesn't just write songs, as much as they construct whole movements like a folk-rock symphony. Listen to just a couple measures into "Slackjaw Pilgrims" or "Wingspan" and you'll find yourself getting pulled into their unique way of hearing the world. Like their name implies, there's nothing old about this group. Good thing foot-stomping dance grooves never go out of style.

These artists had outstanding ratings from our jurors (almost 8 out of 10!) but won't qualify to the next round of our year end poll.

Folk music, meet hip-hop. Hip-hop, meet folk. Country singer Rench has been singing his mind for years now over some solid downhome beats, but with his band Gangstagrass, he's something else entirely. He's teamed up with rapper T.O.N.E.Z. to come up with a unique blend of these styles you probably haven't heard before. This is a group that doesn't bother with distinctions between hip-hop and folk styles, these come together with the same attitude both Hank Williams and Chuck D have in common: A hard-hitting beat placed under an outlaw sentiment.


This is what it would sound like if Lou Reed or Bob dylan played summer jams. Telling downtown stories of lost romance and strange motivations in songs like Damager and The Main Vine, singer Michael Daves takes rootsy tradition and gives it a distinctly New York feel, placing our town's music in the middle of the heartland.


The competition in this category was really, really tight. 20 artists received an average rating of 7 of more points out of 10, here are the 4 one that with 7.5: Ben Lear, Lucius, Shenandoah & the Night, We Are The Woods.

Published: January 09, 2012 |

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