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Bison’s mountain-top chamber music combines elements of alternative indie-folk with classical sensibilities, bringing a fresh inspiring sound to the folk genre. The music of this seven member band grew organically in the family living room and around backyard bonfires giving it a rootsy quality and yet the complex arrangements and refined strings seem just as appropriate in the symphony hall. With recent airplay on WROX (Norfolk, VA), the popularity of the band is expanding rapidly. According to the stations program manager, “Switzerland”, the first single from their Debut album has prompted the biggest audience response of any tune in his five years at the station.
Ben Hardesty’s (vocals and guitar) songwriting bears sonic resemblance to groups such as Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and The Decemberists. Folkhive stated stated “Dare I say that Bison is to folk what Arcade Fire is to indie rock? Boasting 7 members and a sound seemingly born on the tree covered mountain tops of Virginia Bison lays down expansive and yet imminently listenable folk with an original feel I’ve not experienced in quite some time”. Incorporating traditional folk instruments with a reed organ, percussion and classical strings creates a unique hybrid sound that defies pigeon-holing the band. The blog “Independent Clauses” stated “Bison’s debut album Quill uses the seriousness of Fleet Foxes’ grounded sound as a framework, layering strings, bells and more on top. “Iscariot” and “The Woodcutter’s Son” have a darkly pastoral bent that recalls pre-The King is Dead Decemberists.” Bison has had the opportunity to headline the Norva (Norfolk, VA) as well as perform with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
The Daily Press (Newport News VA) said of Bison’s live performance, “The stars of [the] show did not disappoint. Bison skillfully performed complex arrangements and delivered songs with passion and sensitivity. The crowd sang along with the group’s local hit “Switzerland” and gave a warm reception to many other tunes. Bison is a unique musical outfit that creates an unusual energy on stage. The fact that so many local fans are embracing its sound is good news indeed.”