Sunday, June 9, 2013, 5:15-6:00pm
Lead Belly Stage - Room #333
American Nomad is a new acoustic group in the widely eclectic Bay Area music scene. Rooted in Americana and folk/swing traditions, their carefully crafted original music maintains a modern relevance. Smart songwriting, catchy lyrics, tight rhythms, rich harmonies, and strong musicianship have already begun to earn American Nomad a reputation as a band that intrigues listeners from a wide variety of musical tastes and backgrounds. Keeping in line with the ancient troubadour tradition, American Nomad draws from the spirit of travel and authentic life experience.
The group's originator, Hassan El-Tayyab, is a descendant of traditional Arabic Bedouins and European immigrants, making him pretty American, we'd say. He developed an interest early on in writing music and performing at local coffee houses and bars around the South Shore of Massachusetts. He later moved to Boston where he quickly immersed himself in the music scene of Cambridge, with its richly talented artists and dynamic roots. He continued to write and perform original music, simultaneously supporting various Boston singer/songwriters and bands on stage with his guitar and mandolin. Things were rolling along until 2009, which ended up being a pretty tough year for various reasons. Hassan felt it would be a good idea to get out of town for a while and process it all. He jumped in his Chevy Malibu and spent the next few months driving around America.
In traveling around the country, Hassan found many interesting people and places, but things took an unexpected twist when he randomly stumbled upon a peculiar metal shop in Berkeley, California, called the Shipyard. There he met a bunch of metal artists working on a gigantic fire-breathing art project called the Fishbug. Two weeks later, he found himself at Burning Man helping out with fire safety for the art piece. Out on the playa, Hassan made some profound realizations about his life and decided maybe it was time to try something new. Once the festival was over, he moved back to Berkeley to give "something new" a try.
Over the course of the next few years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hassan searched the city for fellow collaborators. In 2011 he attended a local music jam session and stumbled across Ameircan Nomad's second core member. Both Shiloh Parkerson and Hassan now front the group, making what each of them regard as the best music they have ever created.
Shiloh brings so much to the band, including amazing songs and a powerful voice that has been likened to creamy molasses. With her soulful, angelic, and unflinching vocals, Shiloh creates a vast array of colors and moods.
Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Shiloh discovered her passion for music as a young girl while trying out every wind instrument she could get her hands on. She trained as a flutist from the age of 10, but her mom loves to tell to the story of her opera singing at five in the morning while getting ready for school. As a teenager she fell in love with harmony singing in the choirs at Fine Arts Camp where her vocal coach planted a little seed in her heart; she said, "If you don't play the flute, please sing." Shiloh will never forgot those words, and more every day they motivate her to follow her dreams.
Shiloh is inspired and influenced by Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin, Martha Scanlan, Chris Stapleton, Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynn, Norah jones, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday, among so many others.
In 2007, she worked up the courage to sing at an open-mic night for the first time and later that year helped form the band Fiddlehead Red with several friends in Fairbanks. Shiloh was one of two songwriters and lead vocalist for the acoustic collaboration that showcased innovative takes on old roots. The band was based in folk with notes of bluegrass, jazz, rockabilly, pop, blues, country, classical, old time, and swing.
In 2009, Shiloh relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. She decided to focus on creating her life as a musician and began to learn to play guitar. In 2011, fate brought Shiloh to Hassan, a kindred spirit in his talent, and dedication to music. She joined his existing music project, American Nomad, and found herself at home with the opportunity to create rich harmonies and tell meaningful stories. It is a perfect pairing where both musical partners thrive from challenging each other to dig deeper while celebrating their journey.