Bart Budwig is a prolific songwriter and renown audio producer/engineer from Enterprise, OR. “He sounds like John Prine, plays like Hoyt Axton, and looks like, well..Bart Budwig. He’s a cosmic country lawn gnome. He’s cherubic, cheery, and an old soul. Songs spring from the dreams of his noonday naps, and punch the keys of his typewriter above the OK Theater in Enterprise, Oregon.” – Sean Jewell, American Standard Time (2018)
Mr. Budwig has performed alongside or in support of artists such as Mason Jennings, Justin Townes Earle, John Craigie, California Honeydrops, Damien Jurado, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Fruition among others, and has produced or engineered records for Gregory Alan Isakov, Joseph, Horse Feathers, Blind Pilot, and the Shook Twins.
Honeysuckle is a progressive folk act that blends older influences and traditional instrumentation with modern effects and inspiration. Comprised of Holly McGarry, Benjamin Burns, and Chris Bloniarz, this Boston based trio can frequently be found performing across the country, and playing alongside bands like Del and Dawg, The David Grisman Sextet, The Ballroom Thieves, Boy & Bear, Kitchen Dwellers, John Craigie and others. Honeysuckle was chosen as a Converse Rubber Tracks artist, has recorded an Audiotree session, and performed at Lollapalooza, Mountain Jam, and Newport Folk Festival. They were named by NPR as one of the Top 10 bands of 2016 So Far, and in 2018 they received the honor of Best Folk Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards.
Honeysuckle’s new single “Fire Starter” was released in April by AntiFragile Music. Their previous releases “Catacombs” (2017 LP), “Honeysuckle” (2016 LP) and “Arrows” (2015 EP ), will be followed with a 3rd full-length album slated for a June 21 release on AntiFragile Music.
Nick Delffs grew up in Mendocino County, a lawless stretch of coastline that’s hard to get to and, for many, hard to escape. Nick did — emerging in the early aughts as the frontman for Portland band The Shaky Hands, whose sharp, jittery rock was anchored by Nick’s quavering vocals and questing lyrics. The Shaky Hands were mainstays of Portland on the verge of a major shift, and they rode that shift a while, signing to Kill Rock Stars and touring internationally with some of the bigger names in indie rock. But a hiatus in 2011 became indefinite and Nick Delffs was once again cast into the world: working as a sideman, releasing solo records, doing manual labor, going deeper into his spiritual practices, and, crucially, becoming a father.
Becoming a parent can affect different artists in different ways. Nick rode that change with surpassing grace and maturity. 2017’s Redesign, his first full-length under his own name, reflected the transition. In “Song for Aja”, Nick touched on other concerns familiar to those who follow his work: love of the natural world; longing for spiritual and physical connection; the desire to suffer with meaning and exult with abandon, to embrace somehow the world in its maddening contradictions and find the unity at the core.
Childhood Pastimes, his second release on Mama Bird Recording Co., is both more focused and, despite being technically an EP, more ambitious. It’s a four-song cycle — one song with many movements or four songs that bleed into one another, depending on how you hear it — that can be viewed either as a personal journey or an archetypal passage of a human being through four discrete stages: roughly, the movement from childhood innocence into adolescent adventure (The Escape); the sudden immersion into a life of discovery and excitement (The Dream); the first experience of romantic love, followed by the onset of heartbreak, dissolution, breakdown of self (The Affair); the emergence into a new way of thinking, a fresh perspective that encompasses all the suffering and joy into a balanced whole (The Outside).
Nick plays nearly all of the instruments here and the result is a unified aesthetic, born ultimately of his deep-seated love of rhythm: the thrum and throb of the acoustic guitars, the percussive melodic bang of the elegantly-crafted piano lines, and always, always the insistent, driving drums, propelling the record, and the listener, on this journey as the four tracks bleed into one another, one body, one blood, one beating heart. The concept of four songs that are really one suite of music requires a sure hand, and Nick’s never shakes: the way the songs blend together while retaining their distinctiveness — from the poppy exaltation of “The Escape” to the cold intensity, almost like an acoustic Kraftwerk, of “The Affair” — shows a songwriter and musician who has fully grown into his powers.
Those who have followed Nick’s career may see this as a culmination of years and years of honing and fine-tuning his bountiful gifts, and wonder with delight what might come next. For those who haven’t listened to Nick before, Childhood Pastimes is the perfect entry point, a distillation of what’s come before and the promise of a new beginning.