We were introduced to Black Prairie in 2013 at the Newport folk festival in Newport, RI. Almost a year later we were able to catch them at the beginning of their tour promoting their latest album Fortune. Black Prairie was kind enough to play some songs from Fortune for us behind the venue.
Fortune proves the band has outgrown its roots as a casual side-project of indie folk band The Decemberists, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members—a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. “Making this record was the most collaborative and magical thing,” says founder Chris Funk. “I’m excited to play these songs live.”
Black Prairie may look like a bluegrass or folk band, but their tastes and repertoire are much more expansive. There is a fierce emphasis on musicianship, Powell says, but otherwise: “They’re genre-less. They’re not afraid of anything.
The band’s story started in 2007, when Chris Funk gathered local musicians he admired for a chance to write music and play instruments he wasn’t utilizing in his role as guitarist in The Decemberists. He pulled in fellow Decemberists Nate Query and Jenny Conlee, on bass and accordion, Annalissa Tornfelt on fiddle and vocals and Jon Neufeld (Jackstraw, Doloreon) on guitar, followed later by Decemberists’ John Moen on drums. Their only ambition was to have fun, but ideas started sparking immediately—they were pushing their own musicianship.
Tiburones was a hidden gem for us! After our session with Black Prairie Chris Funk said “ You’ve got to get this band Tiburones out here and do one of these.” When Chris Funk tells you a band is awesome then you don’t second guess it! Tiburones (Shark) is one of those bands that you hear and you immediately know they have something that most bands don’t. They have a sweet and soulful sound with a charming Latin element to the vocal stylings of Luz Elena Mendoza. Tiburones is on my list of the top bands to look out for in the very near future.