American String Conspiracy / Press

“The members of American String Conspiracy can play. Ernie Vega's mandolin charms, and Suzanne Davenport's bowed string instruments -- violin and cello -- contribute solidly to the arrangements. Her fiddle soars like a eagle over and above the vocals, creating an interesting mix. The various guitars, slide guitars and dobros all push the songs along, and when Ernie Vega doubles on harmonica, he plays the happiest harp you've heard in a long time. Gary Keenan's lead voice suits this material. He growls as much as sings with a tone that is dark and smoky. His isn't a great pop voice but, of course, if Justin Timberlake is your idea of a great singer, then you've got no business listening to the American String Conspiracy anyway. Keenan might not a great voice, but he has a great voice for this band...This is a band that is going to be important when they finish working out their influences and allow themselves to emerge completely.”

“American String Conspiracy is up to the task of letting the heavens speak through their music. They have plenty of observations on the life around them and some excellent ideas on how to make it run a little easier on their recent release, ‘Help The Poor’... "My Guitar” is a letter read over the narrator's shoulder as a promise is handed over to someone special, “Wrong Road” points out that when pride takes the wheel you may not be heading for home and “N.O. Blues” walks the banks of the Ponchatrain and the mighty Mississippi through the nightmare that continues in the Land of Dreams... “Freddy’s King” follows perfectly formed blue guitar notes, violin and harmonica through a tribute to Freddy King while “Maybe” sits between two dead end lovers on a table in a duet with Trailer Radio’s Shannon Brown...What began as an acoustic string band has expanded [with] cello, electric guitar, harmonica, violin and drums to the basic banjo, mando, bass combo. ”

“Fans of alternative country might want to check out the songs of Gary Keenan ...on this album by the American String Conspiracy... Keenan has a wide range of musical influences from the bluegrass of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers to folk rock of Bob Dylan and the alt-country of Jimmie Dale Gilmore... creating more sensual and textural rawness with a slower, bluesy ballad like "Cherry Pie" in which he needs that one additional ingredient to supplement his "half can of Bud, a yard full of weed." The moderate-tempo and harmonica of "Little Hymn" also create a welcome relaxed setting for a way to make it through the night and life's hardships by welcoming and embracing Jesus' love...."Freddy's King" establishes a rawboned danceable groove. Built around Keenan's poetic lyrics, American String Conspiracy's songs demonstrate some unassuming imagination and vision...it has meaning and plenty of revelation”

“American String Conspiracy’s new album Help the Poor has pretty much something for everybody, if you like Americana roots music. Whether they’re playing bluegrass, or oldschool soul music, or blues, or rock, it’s a smartly produced, rich feast of good guitar from frontman Gary Keenan and brilliant, eclectic lead player Shu Nakamura...They mix country, Beatles and Tex-Mex into Maybe, a duet between Keenan and Brown, and echo that vibe more quietly on the slowly swaying ballad that closes the album. It’s yet another excellent, cross-pollinated hybrid to sprout up in the greenhouse of the New York country scene. American String Conspiracy are at 68 Jay St. Bar on Jan 4.”

“Gary Keenan, lead singer and the progenitor of Brooklyn Country Christmas, tapped the toe of his cowboy boot. Dressed in a suit jacket and felt hat with a candy case tucked above the rim, his smoky voice invokes the feeling of listening to Christmas standards on the radio. "I bought my first mandolin at a flea market for thirty bucks and recorded myself playing Christmas songs as a gift for my family," Gary said. "Christmas songs sound so nice played as bluegrass. That's what gave me the idea to start hosting Brooklyn Country Christmas." American String Conspiracy performed a number of Christmas traditionals and non-traditionals. Particularly entertaining was a bluegrass version of "What Child is This" with a graceful fiddle followed by "Run Run Rudolph" featuring a wailing harmonica. ”

“Bobtown’s Harmonies Enchant and Deliver Some Chills "... Whether on dobro, mandolin or banjo, [Gary] Keenan plays with a tersely tuneful fire. There literally isn’t a bad song on the album - without question, this is one of the year’s best." --review on Lucid Culture of Bobtown's debut cd with ASC leader Gary Keenan on various instruments”

“review of "riding the bull" theater for the new city east village 09 may 05 reviewed by brian boyles "...Drifting like smoke throughout the play, the original score by the American String Conspiracy lends an authenticity and density to the developments onstage, fitting seamlessly with the central themes and accentuating their twists." ”

“Get Up and Off The Couch On New Year's Day! New Year's Day is on a Friday this year, so pop some Advil and get back on that horse, because there are at least a few events worth getting off the couch for. What better way to start the year and recover from the previous night's debacle than with margaritas, fried pickles, buffalo burgers and classic country crooning? Spill a tear in your beer at the The Rodeo Bar for their annual Hank Williams tribute concert, Hank-O-Rama. Beginning at 5 p.m., the Lonesome Prairie Dogs, American String Conspiracy and Tammy Faye Starlite among others will be covering Hank's classics in a style all their own. ”

“12 Diverse Bands, All United By Strings ...The 12 bands playing the three-day festival range in all manners of sub-genre – including bluegrass, old time, hokum, country blues, gospel and old-school country – with one uniting bond: they’re all acoustic, string bands. “They’re all bands that reach back to the days of this kind of music, but they’re not all straight and narrow,” says Oscar. “They have their own way of doing it, but it’s all kinds of acoustic music. They don’t need to be amplified. Just wood plus strings. That’s all you need.” Among the offerings are some Hoedown regulars, like Jan Bell on March 5, The American String Conspiracy and Oscar’s own band, The Ambassadors of Love, on March 6, and Blue Harvest (“If you want real traditional bluegrass, that’s your band”) on March 7. Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/diverse_bands_all_united_by_strings_DPCpnoLzjvtFMa9ilpwYbL#ixzz11sgsk224”

“Editor's Pick: Buttermilk and jam Saturday, August 30: The summer’s almost over, so what better way to welcome autumn than the CasHank Hootenanny Jamboree, a country music free for all? Get into the down home spirit with a performance by the American String Conspiracy (pictured). If you’re not content just listening, you can sign up and join in. 8 pm at Buttermilk (577 Fifth Ave. at 16th Street in Park Slope). Free.”

“April 19, 2004 - 3:45 p.m. On Friday we went to Freddy's Backroom and saw American String Conspiracy, the Waylons, and Alex Battles' Whisky Rebellion. Boy did I have a whale of a time. There was lots of singing along even though I had never heard any of the bands before. ”