ChessBoxer have announced the release of their debut, Apollo EP, due September 25. Produced by Charlie Peacock (Civil Wars, Switchfoot), Apollo EP serves as a preview to the Nashville-based, string trio’s forthcoming full-length album due in early 2016. ChessBoxer completed the EP in anticipation of an upcoming tour with Warren Haynes. They’ll join the legendary guitarist for 31 shows on his Ashes & Dust tour this Fall, both performing as his backing band and opening each evening with a set of their own music.

ChessBoxer is comprised of Matt Menefee on banjo, Ross Holmes on violin and the recent addition of Royal Masat on upright bass. Menefee and Holmes were founding members of the progressive acoustic band Cadillac Sky, while collectively the three musicians have performed with Mumford & Sons, Dan Auerbach, Bruce Hornsby, Alison Krauss and Old Crow Medicine Show among many others. It was through their work with Bela Fleck that they first came to the attention of Warren Haynes. The legendary guitarist asked Fleck if he had any musicians to suggest when assembling a touring ensemble to perform the songs on his new acoustic-based album, Ashes & Dust. Fleck told him to look no further than ChessBoxer.

“Warren Haynes is the Supreme Godfather of jam/exploration bands around the world and to have the opportunity to join him on tour is truly an honor,” continues Holmes. “We can hardly wait to start performing his new material, this is new territory for all of us to create and converse in!”

Although rooted in a time-honored string band sound, ChessBoxer subtly push musical boundaries. Their interest in symphonic music can be heard on tracks from the Apollo EP like “Calon Lan” and “I Cant Tell My Secret Weapon” where they’ve condensed orchestrated musical ideas down to three instruments. On more traditional leaning material like “The Devil and Sally Jones” and “Bacon,” they achieve elegance, but retain a spirited bluegrass earthiness. Their technical form and knowledge of melodic structure results in beautiful instrumental compositions. The band describes them as “stories that evolve with each performance.” From inspired original pieces, to traditional tunes of the American vernacular, ChessBoxer is poised to have a major impact on one of the most important renaissance periods of American music.

“Creating this new record has given us the opportunity to explore our material and musicality to a deeper level than ever, with the guidance of Charlie Peacock. We’re sharing a big tasty bite of that journey with the Apollo EP,” explains Royal Masat. “The four songs we’ve chosen are an example of the wide spectrum of sound that the full album will contain, and we’re so stoked to release this to the world.”

Photography © ChessBoxer 2015. All Rights Reserved.


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Kevin Calabro | 917-838-4613 |