Founded in 2006 by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, The Low Anthem are an indie-folk band from Providence, RI who use an amazing collection of traditional instruments (clarinet, saw (my personal favorite), and dulcimer) in combination with a rock setup to achieve a truly stirring sound. The band – which now includes one-time NASA tech Jocie Adams and multi-instrumentalist Mat Davidson – also use multi-part harmonies that attest to their shared interest in gospel, blues, and folk. The result is a sound that is simultaneously engages both our shared sense of Americana and our desire to hear something fresh.
Here, then, are some videos which showcase The Low Anthem in their various guises. First up, is “Matter of Time,” which features the saw and dulcimer. If you’re like me, this excellent video from Live and Breathing should be enough to have you hooked:
Next up, you can find a full concert to listen to over at NPR’s Mountain Stage. The set features a number of the tracks from their most recent album – Smart Flesh – and is well worth the time!
But if it’s more video you’re after, then check out this one from The Voice Project: It’s The Low Anthem covering Phosphorescent’s “The Mermaid Parade:”
I’m constantly amazed at the ways in which musicians find uses for technology that is otherwise unmusical. One of the highlights of the night I saw the band came via the telephone. One of the band members asked the audience to take their phones out and have them ready to call the person they came to the show with. At the right moment, people would do this, hit speakerphone, and hold them high in the air. The result was a cascading chorus of delay and echo. Absolutely awesome. For a small taste of that, you can see this clip from their Tiny Desk Concert (also well worth a look). The song is “This God Damn House:”
Finally, a clip from the night I saw them in Boston. It’s a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire,” and while the video is a bit dim…the audio is just right: