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Art Vandalay was formed like everyone puts on their pants, one leg at a time. What started out as an alter ego for songwriter Brandon Henry has become a full-fledged band and breath of fresh air in the Twin Cities’ Americana/roots-rock scene. Combining the crisp jazz rhythms of drummer Calvin Keasling with keyboard wizard Ben Cook-Feltz’s Bentmont Tench-like piano licks and layered harmonies make Art Vandalay’s music “impossibly catchy” (Duluth News-Tribune).
In 2009, Art Vandalay released their debut EP, Dancin’ With Your Demons to critical acclaim. The seven songs on this mini-album rode a fine line between “dusty roads and hipster pads” (Duluth News-Tribune) and drew comparisons to everyone from Neil Young, The Byrds to the Lovin’ Spoonful. Featuring the song “If You Love Me” penned as a tribute to Rockmount pearl snap shirts, Dancin’ With Your Demons was a quiet success.
Now with Heaven’s Operahouse, Art Vandalay delivers a richer sound that sways and swaggers with the understated bravado that these Twin Cities musicians exude. Not only does the core trio lay down their rootsy groove, but adding to the magic is local guitarist Colin Monette whose reverb soaked guitars and Chris Horgan’s sea-shanty accordion brings a whole new flavor to Art Vandalay’s distinctive sound. This patchwork of musicians help Art Vandalay continue to be one of the Twin Cities’ more distinguished sounds in Americana/roots music.