posted May 20th, 2024

Arriving July 26 on Drag City, Are Possible is a spark-throwing, undulating fusion of styles spiraling from the Nathan Bowles Trio. Played (mainly) on banjo, upright bass and drums, these are songs made possible by the individual perspectives of virtuosic banjo player Nathan, double-bassist Casey Toll (Jake Xerxes Fussell, Mt. Moriah) and drummer Rex McMurry (CAVE) — working together in an easy-rolling manner, but one that contains an expansive, ass-shaking confabulation of ideas. Hear the first single off Are Possible today: “The Ternions”.

Nathan Bowles's solo music-making explorations with the banjo are evidence of a staggering range of possibilities: clawhammer boogie, strummed, bowed and percussive techniques, original compositions and traditional tunes, all cutting a path between old-time Appalachian music and its long-lost cousin, ecstatic minimal drone. Now in conversation with Rex and Casey’s own conceptions — guitar, bass, mellowtone, keyboards, drums and percussion aboard — the three ride toward new vistas on Are Possible. It’s been a long six years since these three players first appeared on Nathan’s 2018 album, Plainly Mistaken; the time since, experienced as individuals and as a band, informs everything about Are Possible’s multitudinous group sound. Here’s a record with earthly details from all over the place: Rex brought a rhythm to the table after drumming on buckets at work, Casey provided a bassline that redirected a previous jam, Nathan brought in a song he’d been fucking with forever and they figured it out together. Their diversity of sources moves easily within the arrangements, rendering a far-ranging set of feels, from transcendental to new country funk to good ol’ jazz and the folk-rock, even. All of it was drawn out exquisitely when they mixed at Electrical Audio in Chicago with the delicate hands of Cooper Crain upon the faders.

On “The Ternions”, Nathan, Casey and Rex let forth with a song of themselves — ternions being trios, doncha know! It’s a folkish air, strummed and picked, though soon moving unexpectedly through passages of power chords, a gamelaning octave-up on the bass neck, and a slow-swarming drone build, with piano and handclaps making it into the mix. Thus transcending their sources without losing an easy sense of time and melody, like all the best trios we know.

The Nathan Bowles Trio have done their due diligence, passing their music through time and space on their way to now. On July 26, 2024, the real trip begins, as Are Possible travels on, through you.

Nathan Bowles Trio 2024 Tour Dates:

6/26 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506*
6/27 - Asheville, NC @ Eulogy*
6/28 - Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall*
7/10 - Charlotte, NC @ Thirsty Beaver Saloon
7/11 - Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
7/12 - Nashville, TN @ Soft Junk
7/13 - Chicago, IL @ Hungry Brain
7/16 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Acoustic Music Works
7/17 - Baltimore, MD @ Zissimos Bar

*w/ Grails

Artists in this story: Nathan Bowles Trio