Whether they’re tilling a field or digging deeper into their unique blend of rock and bluegrass, the members of Acoustic Syndicate have a distinct way of reaching back in order to move forward. The quintet takes a giant leap into the next chapter of their 20-year-plus history of making unforgettable music, working the family farm and advocating for the environment. If there was ever a band that could capture the universal truths of life from the roots up, it’s Acoustic Syndicate.
While McMurray has long been Acoustic Syndicate’s charismatic lead singer their newest album, “Rooftop Garden”, captures the rise of another distinctive voice in the band, cousin Bryon McMurray. On this disc Bryon’s familiar, funky banjo often takes a backseat to his Fender electric guitar that along with his warm and even vocals create a sound somewhere between Bruce Hornsby and The Samples.
“I could sing harmonies all day long but I never felt the confidence to sing lead so much until this record,” said Bryon. “My head has always been full of melodies but this time the lyrics just came so naturally. I knew these were songs that needed to be sung.”
In addition to Steve and Bryon, drummer Fitz McMurray (Bryon’s brother) and bassist Jay Sanders create the core of Acoustic Syndicate, with the deeply accomplished dobro playing of Billy Cardine now rounding out their sound.
A favorite of dobro heavyweight Jerry Douglas, Cardine’s music gives the Syndicate a bigger, richer feel. “What Acoustic Syndicate does is so honest and homey it allows me to be this ribbon tying it all together and adding spice at the same time,” said Cardine. “They have such a down to earth quality to their music that in their own way what they do is virtuosic.”
Raised in a valley of the world’s oldest mountains, brothers Bryon and Fitz, along with cousin Steve, still farm the land in Cleveland County, N.C. that has been in their family since the 1700s. The impact of the years spent with their hands in the soil, growing wheat, soybeans, tomatoes and sorghum, has informed their music as much as the hours spent with their hands on their instruments.