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Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

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Edie Brickell & New Bohemians is a jam band that originated in Texas in the mid-1980s. The band is best known for their 1988 hit, ďWhat I AmĒ, from the album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. Combining elements of rock and folk, their sound has been compared to R.E.M., another Southern college radio band of the same era. After their 1990 second album, Ghost of a Dog, lead singer Edie Brickell married singer-songwriter Paul Simon after leaving the band. In 2006 they launched a new web site and released a new album, Stranger Things.

Drummer Brandon Aly, guitarist Kenny Withrow, and percussionist John Bush went to the same arts magnet high school as singer Brickell in Dallas, Texas, but didnít really know her then. Brad Houser attended Hillcrest High School (Dallas) and lived in the same neighborhood as the others. He played in various neighborhood bands like The Knobs, which included Kenny, and was also a Munch Puppy.

The New Bohemians started as a three-piece Ska-style band in the early eighties, cutting their teeth in the new Deep Ellum neighborhood in downtown Dallas. The original line-up featured Brad Houser on bass, Eric Presswood on guitar, and Brandon Aly on drums.

The future core members joined in 1985. Edie became the singer after being encouraged to join the band onstage during a show. It was soon after that first show that local agent Deanna Mercer, who was at the time booking bands at Rickís Casablanca, was brought to hear the band. The band signed a six-month management contract with Mercer which brought with it better paying gigs at Rickís. When the six months ended, the band wanted something more and hired Lon Bixby as the manager. When Presswood left, Kenny Withrow took up the guitar duties, playing his first show in July, 1985 at the Starck Club in Dallas. John Bush joined on percussion in September of that year. His first show with the band was September 12, 1985 at Poor Davidís Pub in Dallas, when the band was backing Bo Diddley.

The New Bos were always a local favorite, packing in the fans at now infamous Deep Ellum venues such as Theater Gallery, 500 Cafe, and Club Dada. The Bohemians were also regular performers at the annual Fry Street Fair on the University of North Texas campus in Denton, Texas. During this period of the bandís history, Edieís name was not used in the bandís name. This was a strategy used by Geffen Records in the event the band didnít remain the same. They would always have Edie.

In recent years, the New Bohemians have released compilations and a live album and have recorded some new material, notably as a short-lived band named The Slip that included Brickell, but most former members have moved on to other projects.

The bandís ability to roll out the catchy hooks is laudable on their first recording in 16 years, Stranger Things (2006). Brickellís singing is capable of putting across everything from playfully dynamic playground melodies to dream-infused reveries. New Bohemians present themselves as honest, unadulterated and utterly charming as a longtime band just being itself. Brickell states, ďItís as close to the comboís live sound as a studio recording can get.Ē

Note:  Jeffrey Carter Albrecht (front right of band image), who had been playing keyboards for the band since 1999, was shot and killed when mistaken for an intruder on September 3, 2007.


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