News/Thoughts

The Vine Brothers

The Fayetteville, Arkansas trio of Greg Bucking – Guitar, Joe Credit III – Mandolin, and Garrett Jones – Bass, better known as The Vine Brothers have been trekking the country for the past six years from the East Coast to the Rockies, bringing their brand of Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass to captivated audiences everywhere.

They were named Americana Group of the Year in 2016 by The International Music and Entertainment Association’s 4th Annual IMEA Awards. Their third album, No Candy, was nominated for Americana Album of the Year, and the song, “The Well,” received a nomination for Americana Song of the Year. And the song, “East of Albuquerque,” was chosen as a finalist in the 2016 International Songwriting Competition (ISC).

Bassist Garrett Jones tells us how the band first got together; “Joe had moved to Fayetteville, AR briefly around 2008 to start playing Mandolin for a mutual friend of ours, Opal Fly.  I was in school here at the time, and was gigging on and off with her in various musical projects.  Eventually, when Opal moved out of town, Joe returned to Missouri where he and Greg started to shape some of their songs into what became our first CD, Low Rent (2012).  After parting ways for a while, Joe called me asking if I would be interested in playing bass on a few of the tracks with them up in Lee Summit, MO and inSpringfield.” Garrett was wrapping up some classes, as well as touring with a couple of musical theater groups across the country, so he decided to hold off on immediately jumping in full time, but was eager to participate.  “Once I had a little more leeway time wise, I was able to join their tours more frequently, and eventually started producing some of their content,” he said.

A Project In The Making
The group has been around in its current incarnation since early 2012 but the guys all knew each other prior to this project.  Garrett has a broad range of musical influences from classical and jazz, to funk, musical theater, and metal, but says, “folk music is definitely in there as well.  Being a bassist who can double on electric, I have had the good fortune to work with many great performers covering a broad range of musical styles through the years including a three year stint with The Official Blues Brothers Revue under the direction of Paul Schaffer.”

“I love working with Joe and Greg,” Garrett told me, “because they have big ears, and everything is on the table music-wise. For me, this lends us to be more of an acoustic variety show than anything else. The songs and genres may change daily, but the acoustic sound with vocal harmonies is what reigns supreme in this ensemble.  We intentionally blur the lines between alt. Americana, gypsy jazz, folk, blues and many more musical styles.”

“We are also influenced by Jamaican reggae, old time hot jazz mostly associated with Django Rheinhardt, as well as classical themes and all kinds of traditional folk music,” Greg added.

Rather than saying they are fulltime musicians, Greg suggests; “We are musicians who do music as a job, and as a lifestyle.  Any other work we do is either because we personally love to do it, or because we need money to make ends meet at that particular time. None of us has a real job,” he quipped.

Although Arkansas is listed as their home base, Greg offers another perspective. “We are unique as a band in that we are not ‘out of’ anywhere in particular. The three of us have always lived in three separate locations. For the most part, this has served us well in expanding our geographical reach since we have been able to use multiple networks of venues, fans, and friend/family support. We’ve played in over twenty states from Massachusetts to Colorado, with a lot of shows in the Arkansas/Missouri Ozarks region (where Garrett is from) and all over New York State (where I am from).”

Writing The Tunes
Joe and Greg handle most of the songwriting duties while Garrett acts as the producer for the ensemble. “Usually, one or the other will bring a new song to the table either in person or via email,” Garrett said. ”When we have time to meet back up on the road, we each will introduce what we have been hearing on our respective instruments and put it all together.”

Surfing Through The Looking Glass is the latest CD and Greg says it is a much grander version of what they’ve done on the first three albums. “It is sprawling both lyrically and musically,” he said. ”We did our third album, No Candy, during a peak time for the band as a touring unit and made a raw, mostly live in the studio recording, which really captured the band as an acoustic trio.  In retrospect, it looks like a coming to fruition of everything we had been working on for the preceding five years.”

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