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Band & Musician News - The Eastern 'Hope and Wire'

The Eastern 'Hope and Wire'

24 February 2012 - 0 Comments

The Eastern are a string band that roars like a punk band, that swings like a gospel band, that drinks like a country band, that works like a bar band, that hopes like folk singers, and sings love songs like union songs, and writes union songs like love songs, and wants to slow dance and stand on tables, all at the same time. Whether roaring as their big six piece string band or swinging the loud lonesome sound as a two piece and averaging over 200 shows a year, The Eastern can hold it down in all settings for all comers.

Constantly on tour The Eastern have played in every nook and corner of the good isles of New Zealand, and have broken strings and dented floors in parts beyond. From Papanui to Portland, Shirley to Sydney they’ve seen more than their share of barrooms and street corners, but treat any opportunity to hold it down and play as a gift and one they’d be fools to waste. They play like they mean it, like its all they know how do… because they do and it is.
 
They’ve toured with Steve Earle, the Old Crow Medicine Show (twice) and the Lil Band of Gold as well as opening for everyone from Fleetwood Mac to the Jayhawks to Jimmy Barnes to Justin Townes Earle as well as Jim White, Victoria Williams and Vic Chestnut.
 
Over the past five years having delivered up two albums (‘The Eastern’ and ‘Arrows’), three e.p.’s and near on 1000 shows, The Eastern have garnered a reputation as NZ’s hardest working band. They gather converts and friends wherever they or their records land.
 
Thrillingly the rolling, rambling, shambling, family hoedown atmospheres they project in their live shows have endeared them to the hearts of many. It’s obvious they care about the audience as much as the songs. They make friendships and family wherever their songs and stories ring out. The trust they’ve built between themselves and the folks who come and hear them is something they’re rightly proud of and they remain thrilled and amazed it’s that relationship that has been able to keep their wheels on the road and their bellies fed, not least the fact that as the years pass the threat of their former day jobs coming back to capture them fades back into the ether.
 
Due to start recording their third album in February 2011 plans were waylaid by the chch earthquake, instead they gathered up friends and singers alike in their home town of Lyttelton (chchs port) and begin work on the charity record “The Harbour Union”, the album debuted in the top 20 of the NZ Charts and has proved to be a wonderful vehicle through which The Eastern and their friends can trade music for donations to the chch earthquake fund.
 
This March sees the release across New Zealand and Australia of their third and most realised record yet ‘Hope and Wire’… a double album loaded with stories, heart and harmony as well as the grand barroom philosophising and old time fury the band are known for.
 
Recorded in the home of the gracious Harris family of Dallington, who being forced to move out of the house they’d called home for over thirty years (down the road their parents lost their house they’d had for fifty) offered their broken little house to the band to record in before the insurance company knocked it down. So there they were in the mostly abandoned suburb of Dallington/Avonside desperately wanting to honor the space and the people who’ve lost their homes around it and make something bigger than usual and hopefully meaningful to them all… the more cynical amongst ya are probably playing finger violins right now… The Eastern ain’t bothered by that but just so you know there is a bunch of fiddle on the record, and the Woolston Brass Band!
 
It’s called ‘Hope and Wire’. It’s released on the small but mighty ‘Rough Peel Records’ and distributed by the always kind Rhthymethod in NZ and Newmarket music in Australia.
It has twenty songs on it.
It was produced/recorded/mixed/mastered by the ever industrious and generous Ben Edwards in Dallington, Christchurch New Zealand.
It’ll be available in all good community record stores and online anywhere you can buy music. It’ll be available on double vinyl late March.
And it’s dedicated to all The Eastern's friends, loved ones, neighbours and strangers in the city of Christchurch, specially on the eastside…
 
“…you can smell the whiskey and dust on every song…true to the spirits of Bob Dylan, Springsteen, Patti smith and Townes van Zandt” – Sunday Star Times
 
“Stunning”- Rip it Up
 
“the first New Zealand band in a long time to do things the good old-fashioned way.” - Dominion Post
 
“The Eastern are possessed of a sound which is heartfelt, authentic and infinitely listenable…"- NZ Musician Magazine


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