“A spiritual cousin to Paul Simon’s Graceland” –Seven Days
From the front-lines at Standing Rock to the archaic streets of Jerusalem, the Sahel Desert to Carnegie Hall, music has been the source of strength for Billy Wylder. The band features Avi Salloway (Bombino/Hey Mama/Avi & Celia) joined by an inspired cast of singular artists who have performed in the Middle East, China, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, North America and the Caribbean, including concerts at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Fest, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. From 2013-16, Salloway toured the globe with Bombino (Nonesuch Records), the Tuareg guitar hero from Niger, Africa. While on the journey and since returning, Salloway wrote a collection of new material that will be released on the band’s forthcoming album in 2018.
Salloway has been bringing these songs to life with a group of dear friends and musical kindred spirits. In between shows, the band spent ten days recording at Eyeland Studio in the Columbus Theatre, home of The Low Anthem. The band includes Rob Flax (fiddle, synthesizer, vocals), Krista Speroni (bass, vocals), Zamar Odongo (drums, vocals), and Avi Salloway (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica). The music weaves together American folk and rock with sensibilities from the Sahara Desert: think Andrew Bird meets Ali Farka Toure, Pete Seeger and Talking Heads. Mother Earth is at its center, surrounded by stories of love, conflict, change and dreams.
Salloway shares, “This album is a reflection of the world we’ve been born into, one filled with supernatural beauty and incomprehensible struggle. My social and environmental activism work has taken me to territories that have been colonized and occupied in the Middle East, North and West Africa, the South Pacific and Standing Rock, here at home. I have experienced beauty and creative spirit rise up in the face of darkness and adversity and it is the most life-affirming feeling I have witnessed. This record has become the artifact at the intersection of these moving events in my life.”
The members of Billy Wylder are all charismatic artists and educators who have taught and performed across 25 countries, collaborating with renowned artists including Jack Johnson, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Pete Seeger, Bombino, Mike Gordon (Phish), Mark O’Connor, Aaron and Bryce Dessner (The National), and The Low Anthem.
“[Salloway’s] traveled the globe, teaching in the Middle East and absorbing myriad worldly musical influences. All of which inform his new project, Billy Wylder, which fuses disparate styles, from worldbeat to art rock, with his Americana roots.” –Seven Days