... 'the most satisfying release to come out of the Twin Ports in a long time. They have all the advantages of being a jam band while they rise above the genre, breezing through styles ranging from calypso to soaring interludes to your grandparents' cocktail hour' ... ~Duluth Reader Weekly, November 20, 2003. ... 'high-energy instrumental jams and boisterous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants charisma' ... 'Audiences both new and old will also hear something different' ... ~Duluth News Tribune, October 31, 2003. ...'There's also no faking this band's talent.'... ~Ripsaw News, October 29, 2003. The Dukes of Hubbard, which originated in Hubbard County, Minnesota, is a 5-member jam band based in Duluth, MN. The Dukes are constantly touring their home state, as well as neighboring states Wisconsin and North Dakota. A current listing of scheduled appearances can be found at JamBase.com, and the list of venues where they perform is continually growing. The Dukes' of Hubbard distinctive sound is inspired by many musical styles, including rock, bluegrass, ska, classic rock, country, blues, alternative rock, roots reggae, and jazz. However, despite these many influences, the music never becomes mushy, watered down, or cliché. It focuses on the most energetic and challenging aspects of each style, juxtaposing seemingly incompatible genres, seamlessly and cleverly changing gears in unexpected and innovative ways. Somehow, it just works. Onstage, the Dukes of Hubbard are a force to be reckoned with. Throw away any pre-conceived notions of drugged out, endless noodling -- though the live shows do tend to feature extended improvisational jams. The instrumental breaks are intelligent, stimulating, and very much in the moment, but the music is almost always heading somewhere new, often when you're least suspecting it. If you think it takes skill for a DJ to spin a few records, mixing one song into the next, you should experience the Dukes live. Often, in the course of a song, a new tune is hinted at, grows to fruition, and then instantaneously materializes in a climactic rush of energy. The band members are on the same wavelength, not afraid to take chances, and brilliant at taking the music to unexpected places. And despite the genre-hopping and song-switching, the music does not lack coherence or sound disjointed in any way. There is a stereotype that this type of band can put on a phenomenal live performance, yet lack the ability to capture the energy and intensity of their shows in a studio recording. However, the Dukes lean toward the opposite extreme. They recorded much of 'Planet Reid' live at Sacred Heart Music Studios, which was converted from a spacious cathedral in the heart of Duluth. There is very little multitracking or overdubbing on the album -- listen to a sample of 'Anne Marie' and you may find it hard to believe that this song was recorded in just one take! The Dukes found Sacred Heart to be a truly energizing location (with it's amazing 4-second natural reverb) to capture the essence of their sound. After years of touring together and collaborating on these songs, the Dukes were in the right mindset to lay down visceral and defining versions of each track on 'Planet Reid.' The main songwriters in the band are drummer and lead vocalist Eric Pollard, lead guitarist Jim Cooper, and rhythm guitarist / lead vocalist Ben Wizik. Rounding out the band are Tim Saxhaug on bass and Russ Sackett on organ and piano, who contribute to the fullness of each song through creative and masterful musicianship. All 5 members are very competent singers and add tasteful backing vocals to the mix. Often guest musicians participate in the Dukes' live show, on varied instruments such as Mandolin, Banjo, Turntables, Pedal Steel, and various percussion instruments. Many of these talented individuals have put down tracks on 'Planet Reid' as well. The prolific originality of the Dukes of Hubbard is astounding; they are continually in the process of re-defining themselves and creating new music. As of the date of the initial pressing of their debut CD, they had already worked up enough new material to fill another entire album. And if they win the extensive, multiple week Battle of the Bands sponsored by Grandma's Saloon in Duluth, they will win enough recording time to do this -- if so, you will see this release appear on CDBaby as well. For now, enjoy Planet Reid, and try to catch the Dukes live if you can. The Dukes of Hubbard comprises a group of fearless, innovative, and intimidatingly talented members deeply in tune with one another and their audience. Their many strengths are exemplified on 'Planet Reid' and in their live shows. This is the epitome of what a 'Jam Band' should be. ~Brian Cooper 11/15/03.
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