The Venice, Calif.-based Dustbowl Revival will literally be swinging through Centre County this weekend when they perform at the Elk Creek Café in Millheim.
For the past couple of years. the self-described roots and jazz collective has boasted an enviable amount of good reviews and is on the verge of breaking through as a major national act. In anticipation of the band’s June 22 show, founder and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Zach Lupetin took some time to give the CDT his thoughts on an array of subject ranging from why the group’s genre of music has become hip again, their 2013 record “Carry Me Home” and why experiencing their live show is an absolute must.
On the rise of popularity of music inspired by the 1930s: “In my mind, there are certain types of music that never go out of style; they may come in waves with regards to popular consciousness, but with these past couple of years, I think that it all goes back to ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ which brought traditional roots music to a mass audience. I think that soundtrack had people saying ‘Oh, this is music that I really like, I just sort of forgot about it.’ We reference a lot of different American genres, everything from gospel to blues to swing and it’s all part of this sort of American kitchen sink of folk music. You have to come to terms with the idea that this music isn’t for everyone, but there’s a strong foundation of people who love traditional American music and the modern interpretation of that.”
On “Carry Me Home,” their well-received album released in April: “This album definitely is a bigger picture of bringing old songs into a new era. Songs like ‘Swing Low,’ ‘John the Revelator’ and ‘New River Train’ are all songs that have been around for over 100 years and have been interpreted through a ton of traditions like gospel, bluegrass and even the big band swing tradition, and we really wanted to take those traditional songs and rock them up a little bit and make them our own in a way that people could understand and get into now, hopefully inspiring them to go back and look at that older music.”
On seeing Dustbowl Revival in concert: “Our live show is what really sets us apart. A couple of us come from the theater world as well, so there’s a theatricality and showmanship mentality where we’re putting on an experience. We want people to let loose and sing along with us and dance. A lot of times, people expect traditional American music to be kind of stoic and stone-faced, but really, this stuff is kind of like the original rock ’n’ roll. We’re bringing older music that hasn’t been unearthed in a while to modern audiences. People who come to see us can expect a full tour through American music; it’s a journey through different time periods. It’s really fun and high-energy with a lot of funny stories being told through songs that we like to bring to new audiences. The best part about playing new places is being able to share your stories for the first time and I think that’s what’s going to happen on this tour.”