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Magnificent, dramatic, exciting, mystical, inspiring, magical, sensual ... these are some of the words people use to describe the Madrone Tree, a favorite of the hardwood trees of the Pacific Northwest. But to JD Sutphin, the Madrone signifies so much more. It represents strength, family and legacy... three ideals that have also shaped Sutphin as a musician and a songwriter.
Literally born into music, as the grandson of the late prominent bluegrass and country artist Jim Freeman, Sutphin has always had the desire to create and perform music in his veins. In fact, he wrote his first song on Freeman’s 1961 Martin within one week of receiving it as a gift from his grandmother. Referring to it as his “birth right,” the singer, songwriter and guitarist has made it his life’s journey to perfect his craft and create music that had roots ...establish his own living legacy if you will.
Sutphin’s mission didn’t take long. He met drummer Joseph Coleman when he was just 17 and the two quickly started performing at shows packed with more than 2,000 fans. Bassist Blaine Davis was welcomed into the band after filling in for the existing bassist for a powerhouse performance that not only rocked the thousands of teens at the show but also solidified himself as the official new bassist for the band. Madrone worked on and off as a three piece act until finding Dana Cox in 2012 finally solidifying their lineup.
Much like its namesake, Madrone is ethereal, with a sound that emanates strong melodies that are supported by slamming catchy drum beats and modern, almost industrial bass lines. Their hit single “November” best depicts the band’s range with Sutphin describing it as “everything we do as a band. From the ethereal lead and synth lines, to heavy guitars and subject matter very close to my heart, it's everything I ever wanted in a Madrone song.”
“November” is just one of many of the masterpieces created by Madrone in the past decade. The group has spent nine years writing and recording two full length albums and two EPs and have just released "A Light in the Sky" – an album that Sutphin says is by far their “most melodic, and most expansive collection of songs we've ever recorded, yet unlike our other records, this feels the most cohesive and an example of what "Madrone" sounds like.”
Continuously growing, yet staying true to its roots, Madrone is very much like the magnificent tree of the Pacific Northwest. It is earnest in its journey while grounded to the fundamentals that shape the band. As Sutphin said, “Playing music is not about making a living. It's living in the music.”.