New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Instrumental duo Small Town Therapy? thrives on spontaneous creative moments, where artists' ingenuity aligns and inspired music results. In their work, Dreams and Circumstances, available now from Organic Records, the duo places themselves at the forefront of a new generation of artists redefining acoustic music with modern, avant-garde movements.
Featuring Leif Karlstrom and Adam Roszkiewicz, two members of the award-winning progressive roots band Front Country, Small TownTherapy creates genre-bending music that's a blend of complex acoustic jazz and classical-influenced original compositions.
"We often combine through-composed bits with structured or free improvisation, and that's definitely happening in this recording," says Karlstrom. "There is a musical arc and story but also the chance for something unexpected to happen - a chance for spontaneous musical moments, which pretty well sums up what Small Town Therapy? is about."
Dreams and Circumstances is a 13-track journey of emotion and spontaneity featuring Karlstrom on violin and Roszkiewicz on mandolin and guitar, as well as fellow accomplished musicians: the Jon Stickley Trio's Lyndsay Pruett and accomplished multi-instrumentalist John Mailander on violin; noted west coast recording artist Eli West on guitar and octave mandolin; and sought-after ensemble player Ethan Jodziewicz on prepared bass.
With these collaborations, Small Town Therapy? created unique moments in the studio where the musicians could improvise off of each other, creating inspired tracks like "Circumstances," featuring Pruett, "Dreams On a Pillow Bed," featuring Mailander, "Tune For Eli," featuring West, and "Hotel Kilauea" featuring Mailander, West and Jodziewicz.
"Hotel Kilauea" sees the duo entering a new musical landscape, with an experiment of blending music with an unexpected natural sound. Karlstrom, also an Earth Scientist at the University of Oregon explains, "'Hotel Kilauea' is a free improvisation based around volcanic data - specifically ground deformation from GPS sensors and tilt meters as well as SO2 gas emissions collected at Kilaueavolcano by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - that was 'sonified' (i.e., turned into sound) by our friend Ben Holtzman and Columbia University. Ben took the data and applied different sonification algorithms to each data stream, resulting in three voices that can be heard in the mix of the track. Adam and I, joined by John Mailander on violin and Ethan Jodziewicz on upright bass, all gathered in a bedroom in Nashville around a stereo pair of microphones. We all listened to the track simultaneously and improvised based on each others' playing and the sped-up sonified data. Both Adam and Ethan employed a 'prepared' technique, by stuffing erasers or crumpled paper or paper clips to their strings to produce weird noises."
Dreams and Circumstances also includes a three-track, multi-movement work for mandolin and violin. It begins with Small Town Therapy's initial single release, "Cimarrón," followed by "The Square
and Compass" ?and concluding with "You Can't Blame the Eighties?." Meant to be listened to in sequence, these selections journey through a dynamic atmosphere that is both visceral and cerebral.
Karlstrom says, "There are several musical and structural elements that they all have in common, but the main goal is that they be emotionally relatable and not too cerebral. In Spanish, Cimarrón means wild and untamed and is often used to refer to a fugitive or runaway. El Cimarrón is also the name given to Marcos Xiorro who orchestrated a slave revolt in Puerto Rico in 1821. Adam was trying to reflect some of that energy and thinking about how a person's life and identity can be transformed by their circumstances and the world around them. Energy
The duo's ability to unfold and evolve mood in this way is at the heart of their work. Dreams and Circumstances creates emotion that springs from the performances and is communicated to its listener.
Small Town Therapy is a collaboration between multi-instrumentalists Adam Roszkiewicz and Leif Karlstrom. The duo plays instrumental string music that emphasizes compelling, thoughtful compositions and virtuosic improvisation. SmallTown Therapy? is inspired by the New Acoustic Music
made popular in California by Mike Marshall, Darol Anger and groups like Montreux. Adam and Leif are also members of Front Country, the Grammy nominated Modern
Mandolin Quartet, and the Ger Mandolin Orchestra led by Mike Marshall. Adam and Leif are both highly accomplished musicians and educators and have performed at festivals around the world including: Merlefest, Grey Fox, Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Rockygrass, Telluride, the La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France, Didmarton Bluegrass Festival in England, the Blue Highways festival in Utrecht, Holland, the Singer Festival in Warsaw, Poland and the Hardly-Strictly-Bluegrass festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.