Dharmasoul will be joined by Emily Keener, Danny Golden, and Pittsburgh's own Evan Isaac and Jordan Kaye for a stop in Pittsburgh on their "Lightning Kid" release tour!
Drums, guitar, and vocals are the backbone and energy behind the new album LIGHTNING KID, the debut record of New Jersey based power-duo Dharmasoul. With Jonah Tolchin on guitar, Kevin Clifford on drums, and the two singing both lead and backup vocals, this duo brings their songwriting and production chops to their new band Dharmasoul. Audiences who’ve heard the two in concert look around to see who else is playing up on stage due to the fullness of the sound and the sheer energy of these musicians as they pour every bit of creativity and originality into their compositions, improvisatory performance, and expert musicianship.
Although Dharmasoul is difficult to narrow down into one genre, they can best be described through their noted influences of contemporary artists such as Medeski Martin Wood & Scofield, Vulfpeck, D’Angelo, Soulive, Snarky Puppy, and Lettuce as well as throwback influences including The Meters, Staple Singers, Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers Band, and Stevie Wonder.
Jonah and Kevin have been on contrasting yet complementary musical journeys since childhood, but each time their paths converged, they discovered an inspirational energy that they now bring to the music of Dharmasoul. Although they both grew up in Princeton, NJ, they met for the first time when they were fifteen at the 2008 National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut, a multi-instrumental camp. Their cohort had only one drummer (Kevin) and many guitar players, but Jonah and Kevin found themselves playing together on the one night out in a real club— where suddenly the audience got really quiet and listened--and later that summer they got together to jam in Kevin’s basement.
When Jonah arrived at the camp he was already a passionate blues guitar player. At the age of 15 he met and jammed with blues legend Ronnie Earl in a music shop in Keene, New Hampshire, and had the first big thrill of his musical life when Earl invited him to sit in at Tupelo Music Hall (Londonderry, NH) a few months later. After graduating from high school Jonah hit the road and started a solo performance and recording career. The first year out of high school he had released one EP (Eldawise) and a full-length record (Criminal Man) and was performing at
the Newport Folk Festival (summer 2012). A year later he was signed to Yep Roc Records and the company released his next two records, Clover Lane (2014) and Thousand Mile Night (2016). Since 2014 he has had success in the streaming world, racking up over 10 million plays on Spotify. He has also collaborated and worked in the studio with notable list of musicians including Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), John McCauley (Deer Tick), Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson), Scarlett Rivera (Bob Dylan), Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) Anderson East, Sam Amidon, Greg Leisz, James Gadson, Eric Heywood, and many more.
Jonah has shared stages throughout the United States and Europe with artists including Greg Allman, Tony Joe White, Dave & Phil Alvin, Chris Smither, Justin Townes Earle, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Paxton, Burton Cummings, Chuck Prophet, Mandolin Orange, to name a few. He has produced albums for Julie Rhodes and Bill Scorzari.
When Kevin met Jonah at National Guitar Workshop, he was already an accomplished musician. At five he started studying piano with his mother, a classically trained pianist, and he began playing drums at ten. In high school he entered the jazz band and pit orchestra, joined a Youth Orchestra, and took marimba and concert percussion under the tutelage of Peter Saleh.
Kevin graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans, where he was inspired by Brian Blade and Stanton Moore, jazz and funk drummers who had attended Loyola. Experiencing music in New Orleans opened him to worlds of hip-hop, neo-soul, traditional/modern jazz, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban styles. At Loyola, he was featured in masterclass sessions with trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonist Miguel Zenon, drummer Henry Cole, and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. At 19 he performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with the Loyola Jazz Band and later with Mikayla Braun. He became an in-demand multi-stylist drummer playing with gypsy jazz groups, electronic/hip-hop, indie-folk, and singer/songwriter acts. In addition to songwriting and playing with Dharmasoul, Kevin currently teaches private percussion lessons to all ages in Princeton, NJ.
It was Jonah’s album Clover Lane that brought Jonah and Kevin back together again in 2014. During Kevin’s senior year in college, he received a Facebook message from Jonah asking if
Kevin could accompany him at the SXSW festival to support Jonah’s solo release Clover Lane. The synergy between them that they had experienced years before at that Hartford bar was reignited. By 2017 the two musicians had formed a true musical brotherhood and were touring throughout the country backing up other artists as well as playing Tolchin’s original solo work.
July 1st, the duo Dharmasoul was formed and in August 2017 they recorded their debut album, LIGHTNING KID at Verdant Studios (Pete Weiss) in Athens, VT, with friends Brendan Moore (keys), Matt Murphy (bass), and Laurence Scudder (viola). The crew recorded the full record live, with minimal overdubs. Following the session at Verdant Studios, they added overdubs with Cindy Walker and Marie Lewey (who Jonah had worked with when he produced both “Bound to Meet the Devil” by Julie Rhodes, and “Through These Waves”, for Bill Scorzari). who recorded background vocals at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; engineered by John Gifford III (who engineered Jonah’s “Thousand Mile Night”). The album will be released in Spring 2018. When it comes to what Dharmasoul means for them, Jonah and Kevin both reference not only their great respect for one another’s talents but also their friendship.
This project feels like something that’s been waiting for ten years," comments Tolchin. "Yet it couldn’t have happened any sooner than it did. LIGHTNING KID represents a culmination of our collective influences throughout our years as music appreciators and players, ranging from folk and world music to funk, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and gospel. Adds Clifford, "We don’t think about fitting into specific genres. That’s what makes our partnership so special. We have an openness and a clarity that respects and honors freedom of musical expression."
Emily Keener is an eighteen-year-old singer/songwriter from Wakeman, OH. Since her exciting journey into the Top 12 on NBC’s The Voice, Emily has been writing and recording diligently in an effort to capture the energy of this most transformative year.
Emily started playing the guitar when she was 11 years old and began writing songs when she was almost 12. A natural curiosity and passion for music quickly got her performing frequently and writing constantly. Almost 6 years later, she has written over 100 original songs and released three EPs and two LPs. Her songs are distinctly original, and the ideas she manages to express in them belie a soul that seems to be much older than seventeen. Before training with renowned vocal coach Joan Ellison and master guitarist Tony Schaffer, Emily was entirely self-taught and thrived on the time she spent locked away with a guitar and a notebook.
With the guidance and support of her family and friends, fellow musicians, and many zealous music-lovers, she continued to grow in and experiment with her artistry. At 15, she recorded “East of the Sun”; an original EP backed by the amazing musicians of Norwalk, OH that once made up “The Womacks”. A year later, she suddenly found herself in front of millions of people on national television with her astonishingly well-received debut on Season 10 of The Voice. She had the honor of performing the songs of some of her greatest inspirations, including “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John, “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell, “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon, and “Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley. After advancing to the Top 12, Emily arrived home with a newfound sense of self as she walked directly from the plane into the studio at Waveburner Recording. Now, a few months later, she is ready to unveil her latest work and prove that this year is just the beginning.
Danny Golden writes about what he knows, and what he knows is this: We all share one story, we just tell it differently. Golden’s artistry lies in feeling. Listening to his songs, his words become yours, his stories are hazy memories of a shared human experience. He developed his sense of songwriting by immersing himself in the music of the greats: Dylan, Cohen, Young, and Van Zandt, or, as he calls them, ‘The Mt. Rushmore of songwriters.’ Golden spent his childhood in Pittsburgh listening to Jackson Browne and Van Morrison, followed by the psychedelic drench of jam bands in high school. Those days of Phish and the Dead lent him his chops—followed by college years in Colorado of classical music studies by day and playing in bluegrass and rock bar bands by night—creating a musician who can play more than he does. It’s all in the details.
Golden’s always been a musician, but it wasn’t until moving to Austin, with its history and style, sweltering heat and musical culture, that Danny Golden the songwriter was born. Golden’s music is rooted in tradition but not stuck to a time or place. It’s simply here, it’s simply now. The new cats lend a hand, too. We get Sturgill’s country twang and Father John’s cultural skepticism. It’s a distillation of influences stomped to the ground and guzzled down as a new cocktail.
His first record, Uptown Islands, Downtown Ghosts, is catchy and smart, funny without relying on a wink and a nod. His songs are deeply felt, music written from experience: love and hate, anger and fear, joy and solitude, certainty and confusion. This music aims to dig at experience and unearth whatever may be lying there, good or bad. It takes a bravery to allow this vulnerability, to write with purpose and show the results, whatever they may be. These are songs he cares about, because they are him. They’re rooted in realness, which is what Golden’s music is hell-bent on exploring. These are songs of action—why we do the things we do and who we do them for. Songs about push and pull, gut feelings and pensive actions. The perspectives may vary, but Golden knows we’re all looking for the same things. His music is the story of the search, and no one tells it quite like Danny Golden.
Evan Isaac and Jordan Kaye
Evan Isaac has been playing in bands since he was 15 years old. First tackling the Pittsburgh area with his band Crossing Boundaries. They were built around tight harmonies and catchy melodies that were reminiscent of 60's pop/rock. He then took his musical knowledge to the next level when he attended the renowned USC Thornton School of Music. There he met and learned from many talented musicians who are all over the country making an impact on modern music. His band GoodKids worked with Grammy award winning producer JJ Blair and released a set of singles and played around the LA area for almost three years. They described themselves as Neapolitan psych-rock and brought immense energy and wacky chord progressions with an alt-rock edge. They even have more music that is on hold maybe to be released sometime in the future. Evan has now returned to Pittsburgh and has teamed up with funky, accomplished bassist Jordan Kaye.
Evan Isaac and Jordan Kaye are here to bring a funky freshness to pop tunes with the rough edge of classic rock n roll. Hailing from Pittsburgh, they have been playing shows together since June 2017 and hope to be remembered by you for their sincerity and fun!