A bearded man with a guitar slung on his back and a hard-drive tucked under his arm ambles along the two lane blacktops of the maple-thick Catskills. He drops in on musician friends, singing songs of love, longing, and full-hearted passion, tunes drawing on folk, funk and the enduring rock ’n’ roll spirit of the region. These friends–-stage and studio vets all–-help craft an album that’s warm as a wood stove, cool as a mountain stream, and rocking as a hailstorm on a tin roof. The man is Burnell Pines, aka singer-songwriter Jeremy Bernstein, and the album is Till the Day I Die, a valentine to life in the land where The Band, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan once made seminal music. Burnell taps directly into that tradition with co-producer/drummer Justin Guip, Levon Helm’s three-time Grammy winning producer and right hand man. Other musical compadres include acclaimed keyboardist Marco Benevento, hitmaker Rachael Yamagata, and drummers Joe Magistro (The Black Crowes) and Robert Burke (Toshi Reagon).
Burnell grew up in these hallowed hills, leading bands and working stages with folks as diverse as P-Funk and John Sebastian and his own band Stoney Clove Lane, moving ever closer to an original musical voice. In the rustic-yet-rocking Burnell Pines persona, he has found that voice. It bursts with civic pride in Till the Day I Die’s barn burning opener, “The Catskills Stole My Heart.” Burnell and co. take us along, skinny-dipping and laughing in the tall grass, name-checking Woodstock streets over a swampy groove. The tour continues with “Blue Skies Shelter Me,” an ode to the sheltering Hudson Valley skies, while “Set Your Mind Free” is a classic, fuzz bass-fueled anthem to letting go of inhibition; “Salutations,” the Bowie-meets-Crazy Horse celebration of friendship, could very well be the theme song for the making of Till the Day I Die: “Salutations and libations,” Burnell sings over a joyful noise, “love is everywhere!”
Sasha Dobson grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. Her father Smith Dobson was one of the Bay Area’s most influential and in-demand pianists, her mom a well-known singer and her brother an accomplished drummer.
By the time she was 12, Sasha was performing with the entire family at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She moved to Brooklyn at 17 and quickly assimilated into the NYC jazz scene, releasing 2005’s The Darkling Thrush, recorded with The Chris Byars Octet, and Modern Romance (2006). The latter, which won praise from TIME Magazine, was produced by Jesse Harris.
Dobson’s album, Aquarius (2013), was recorded with guitarist/producer Joel Hamilton (Black Keys, Tom Waits, Sparklehorse) and hailed by MAGNET as “raw and compelling.” She and her band performed at Farm Aid 2013 and Dobson opened for Willie Nelson on a series of early 2014 dates after which she released her most recent project Into the Trees (2014) which was a continuation of her work with Joel Hamilton featuring both original songs and covers.
After playing together live since 2008, Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, and Catherine Popper formed the group Puss n Boots and took their talents to the studio. Their debut album No Fools, No Fun was released July 2014. Not many artists have successfully transitioned from jazz to country as the three artists who made names for themselves solo continued to combine their trio of musical talent