Out of Portland, Oregon comes The Heritage with a fresh new bluegrass sound. Their sound, with rich layers of acoustic instrumentation is topped off with a heartfelt female lead vocal, and dynamic harmonies. The band's original style falls within the bluegrass and alt-country genres. With their all-inclusive feel and memorable melodies, The Heritage caters to a wide audience of listeners. The Heritage has an EP out with 5 wonderful tracks of bluegrass and alt-country music.
Jenn Dashney, the female vocalist in the group tells Cybergrass how it all began...
"It all started more years ago than I care to admit... I was about 8 years old when my Mom sat on the board of directors for the Oregon Bluegrass Association. She played and sang with a band called Sidekicks at the time which took us to many Bluegrass Festivals around the Pacific Northwest and gave me my first taste of singing for a large crowd. At one such festival, I met a man named Chick Rose. He asked me what instrument I played. I replied "I'm a singer". As a bluegrass musician, this was highly unacceptable to Chick and he quickly put a mandolin in my hands. I was just one of the hundreds of children that Chick inspired and mentored throughout his lifetime. My life would not have been the same without him, may he rest in peace.
"That same summer, I heard Laurie Lewis sing for the first time. It's the first time I can remember being moved to tears by a singer. Hearing her honestly and moved by her gift of storytelling, I decided then and there that I wanted to sing for the rest of my life. By the next winter, I was singing and playing with a band of kids my own age called New Generation. That's where I met Scott Stevens (Mandolin/Fiddle) and started a lifelong friendship. We played at fairs and festivals off an on throughout our formative years.
"At 15, I was ready to branch out and learn some new musical tricks. I met a jazz guitarist who rehearsed outside of the little coffee shop I worked at that summer. We had a successful 8 year run with a blues/jazz/funk band with a big-band element. Playing in jazz clubs and festivals I focused on my chops as a songwriter and performer.
"By the time I moved out of the NW to Los Angeles in 2007, I was ready to rediscover my musicianship again. I recorded and released a couple of solo singer/songwriter records. I married my high-school sweetheart in 2010 (Eric Longbine - Guitar/Dobro) and we soon learned that we were expecting twin boys! We moved home to Portland, OR to raise our boys near the family. Being back here and becoming a mother gave me great perspective. Remembering my wonderful childhood growing up in Bluegrass, I knew that's the life I wanted for my twins.
"One evening, I was telling my story to our dear friend, Michael Herrman. He was really excited at the thought of delving into a new genre and we decided to sit down and see if we made a productive songwriting duo. Less than two hours later, we'd penned and recorded the first track on our self-titled EP - I'm Goin' Home. We both picked up the phone, me calling my old pal Scott Stevens, and Michael calling Will Amend (Bass/Cello) and Ben Landsverk (Viola). The rest is history! Our band name sums us up. Most of us come from musical families and we're playing the music I was raised on. The Heritage band name was passed on to me by my Uncle. It was his country band in the 70s in North Dakota. It truly is our heritage.
"Though my heart and my roots are Bluegrass, I picked up a lot in my years as a jazz singer that will always be a part of my sound. The Heritage is rooted firmly in bluegrass with an almost pop sensibility to our songwriting. We cross over into the alt-country genre. I think this makes our music really approachable. We want to include a wide array of listeners. I'm a storyteller and am so proud to have this great group talented musicians to help deliver these stories."
The band lineup includes Jenn Dashney - Vocalist
Jenn comes from a long line of musicians. She got her start touring with her Mother’s bluegrass band at age 9. With influences from folk, country, R&B, jazz, and rock, she infuses an eclectic presence into The Heritage. A celebrated songwriter, her lyrics are both prolific and familiar. She writes to a wide audience. Also a multi-instrumentalist, Jenn is an all around musician. She hopes that her twin boys will follow in the family’s musical footsteps.
Michael Herrman - Guitar/Harmony Vocals
A self-taught guitarist, Michael began playing at the age of 12. Today, this renowned singer/songwriter/composer makes his living teaching others. With an eclectic taste, Michael is known locally for his composition work at Opera Theater Oregon, his groundbreaking chamber rock group, Buoy LaRue, and his electronica collaboration, Oracle. Michael also danced with the professional touring Appalachian Mountain style clog dancing troupe, Clog Wild.
Eric Longbine - Guitar/Dobro/Harmony Vocals
Eric picked up his first instrument at age 8 and soon realized that he had a gift. As a multiinstrumentalist, he can pick up almost anything and be playing in a matter of minutes. Over the years, Eric has played in a multitude of bands encompassing rock, punk, and Americana including a 4 year run with the acclaimed NW band, The Dolomites. Eric specializes in bass and guitar and adds a unique rhythmic backbone to The Heritage.
Scott Stevens - Mandolin/Fiddle/Banjitar/Harmony Vocals
Scott grew-up in a musical family. Starting on the piano at the age of 6, he was destined to be a prodigy. An award winning multi-instrumentalist, Scott won both the Western Open mandolin and fiddle championships and was Washington’s youngest Open Division fiddle champion at 15. Spending his summers attending bluegrass festivals and traveling, Scott was able to hone and develop his talent with some of the genre’s most notable mentors including Mark O’Conner.
Ben Landsverk - Viola/Harmony Vocals
Ben is a composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist. His works have been featured on NPR, and critically acclaimed by such publications as Paste Magazine, Time Out New York, NPR Music, and Downbeat Magazine. A graduate of Yale University, Landsverk is active as a music educator, serving as director of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral's newly formed Trinity Youth Orchestra, and of Voices Unlimited, which is a 45-voice choir composed of adults with developmental disabilities.
Will Amend - Bass/Cello/Harmony Vocals
Upon discovering his passion for Double-Bass at age 9 he never looked back. Will spent 2 years at Mt. Hood CC and 3 at PSU as a classical performance major while simultaneously playing in 7 bands of varying styles including jazz, classical, rock, country, and bluegrass. Since 2005 he has worked as a free-lance bassist and cellist with a variety of groups and studios and is also a teacher. Will has spent the last two years touring with Christian Kane.
Visit The Heritage at TheHeritage.co (.co, not .com).p