Featuring Upstarts & Rogues at Fermental and Ironhead at Reggie's 42nd St Tavern
May 14, 2014
Upstarts & Rogues consists of Jeff Sanchez (of local jam band The Clams) on guitar and Jude Eden on cello, with both members contributing vocals. Their voices complement each other nicely, and the beautiful guitar/cello combination is something that isn’t seen everyday in the Wilmington music scene. Their live performances are an even balance of original songs and covers. Eden is known to launch into loop pedal cello improvisation, sometimes accompanied by her own style of spoken word poetry. One of the great things about this duo is that they don’t hesitate to do their own thing. They improvise, they jam, they banter, and it somehow all makes sense.
Upstarts & Rogues released their studio debut “Twain Shall Meet” in 2012, with both members showing off their own style of songwriting. The recording is a good representation of what they sound like live, with a few additional instruments and studio effects thrown in.
One of the songs on the album that U&R performed live was “Micha’s Song,” a bluesy ode to friendship that transcends the sentimental and ruminates on the global effects of love: “I’m gonna write a song that sounds like what you mean to me…Cause if everyone had a little bit of what we have, there would be no war (and I’ve been to war), there would be no strife. I’m tellin you.” Eden’s soft and soulful voice delivers the lines in an understated way that exemplifies the meaning without forcing it.
We weren’t able to stay for the whole set, but we’re sure a few more of our favorite originals were in there. “Thought We Had a Deal” is a tune more in the classic rock vein in which Sanchez bemoans the failed promises and implicit understandings of a relationship and “Rebuttal in Blue” is Eden’s take on relentlessly trying to make a relationship work when it’s not meant to be.
Eden and Sanchez are both busy with other projects; Sanchez is in the middle of a busy season with The Clams and Eden is finishing up her first solo cello album, tentatively scheduled for release this fall. Catch one of Upstarts & Rogues’ rare live performances if you can, but in the meantime you can pick up a copy of “Twain Shall Meet” atupstartsandrogues.com.
September 20, 2012
Rich and mellow is a great combination for many music lovers and “Twain Shall Meet,” the freshman studio effort of cello-guitar duo “Upstarts & Rogues” delivers it with style, originality and no shortage of dynamism. With Jeff Sanchez on guitar, Jude Eden on cello and combining their buttery voices, they describe their folk-blues mixture as “like wine and chocolate.” Jude’s lush vocal timbre, reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto, infuses blues throughout while Jeff’s guitar fingering and heady strumming round out a plush sound complemented by flourishes of cello.
The two musicians got to know each other in 2008 when they were part of another local band. Jeff has been an active musician for more than twenty years and has produced four previous cd projects, both locally and in New Jersey. Jude started out as a classical cellist over twenty years ago and has been writing original compositions, rhyme and song for the last ten. She composed the melodies and lyrics to the songs she sings, while Jeff fleshed out many of the musical arrangements and supervised the mixing.
The songs run the gamut in their emotional content from love and conflict to exploration and life’s sometimes comic twists. There is the cathartic “Rebuttal in Blue” declaring, “We can pretend you won’t do it again/ but we both know that’s a lie,” and the give and take of relationships in “Thought We Had a Deal.” “She’s Not in the Band,” co-written by Jeff Sanchez and Tucker Hill, is a truly original musical accomplishment, bearing repeated listening.
“The Roads” is an inquiry into the paths we choose and “Jude’s Blues” is a tome on the love of solitude. “Micha’s Song,” which Jude wrote about a close friendship affectionately suggests, “If everyone had a little bit of what we have/There would be no war, there would be no strife.” U&R throw in a bit of sass with “Bang-Bang” and humor with “Country Song,” their cheeky cover of “Makin Whoopee,” and their spoken-word version of the Phish classic, “Fee.”
The range of musical artists from which Upstarts & Rogues take inspiration are infused into their live sets, with covers of artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, The Moody Blues, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac. Upstarts & Rogues are doing a series of CD release shows starting September 29th at Projekte Gallery & Lounge. “Twain Shall Meet” will be available on cdbaby.com, and
September 29th 7pm: Projekte Gallery & Lounge
September 30th 11:30am: Brunch at Korner Stone Bistro
September 30th 4pm: Old Books on Front Street
October 7th 1pm: Art in the Arboretum
October 19th 8pm: Ted’s Fun on the River
October 27th 9pm: Bottega Wine & Art
Bethany Turner, Encore Magazine
September 26, 2012
Modern America’s political climate is rocky to say the least. The “sanctity” of marriage is challenged by couples of the same sex. Jobs are on the fall; national debt is on the rise. Healthcare is confusing—the social gaffes of politicians are even more so.
Amidst the conflicts and lack of compromise, American citizens somehow trudge through. Some things make the days easier to bear—such as art, writing and music. While not necessarily neutral, the beauty in creativity can overcome the burdens of political antagonism.
Such rings true for Jude Eden and Jeff Sanchez, the duo responsible for Wilmington’s only cello and guitar combination, Upstarts and Rogues. “We’re on opposite ends of the political spectrum,” Sanchez explains. “We have debated before, and sometimes it gets loud. Now, we primarily communicate through music and agree to disagree about politics. I personally embrace the system we have here in the U.S., where both of our opinions can co-exist.”
Eden feels it’s just a simple and unavoidable fact: Not all pairings can agree politically. It doesn’t victimize their music; rather, music is one of the commonalities which solidifies their friendship in spite of their beliefs.
“We’re a microcosm of what exists everywhere,” she tells. “These kinds of differences are as old as time, and we’re both passionate about what we believe. It’s a fine art to discuss these things and maintain relationships. We’re lucky that we’ve been able to do that, and it’s because there are more important things to us than our differences. Music isn’t the only thing that the two of us have in common, but it’s what really brings us together and keeps us together. And when it really comes together, it’s magic and nothing can stop it.”
Founded in July 2009—on Eden’s birthday, actually—Upstarts and Rogues began in the same way many acts do: The artists split from another band to set out on their own. They discovered working as a two-person team fulfilled both their musical needs. Sanchez—though he’s the hardcore guitarist of Wilmington’s rock band The Clams—says he also enjoys quiet, folky music with harmonies, à la Simon and Garfunkel. Coupling with Eden allowed him that outlet, while Eden just needs her bandmate to keep her focused.
“Jeff and I are good complements to one another,” she describes. “I tend to abstract more when I’m playing solo or learning something new, while Jeff really understands formulas and arrangements when it comes to songwriting. The way I think of it is, I’m like a balloon and Jeff is the one holding that balloon. With our musical creativity, it’s great to have both that airy quality pulling you upward and out, but you also need something grounding or you’ll disappear into the ether.”
What they’ve produced in their unlikely melding of cello and guitar is the ability to switch on and off their attitude. Sanchez’s gentle strummings paired with Eden’s buoyant, folk-style vocals—or her humming and jazz-like ad libs—give their songs a jovial introduction.
Yet as heard in “Rebuttal in Blue,” Eden can lay the moxie on thick when given lyrics such as “I can compromise ‘til the end of time / forgive you though you don’t apologize / I can’t pretend you won’t do it again / We both know that’s a lie.”
And when her cello is announced, immediate warmth and depth overcomes the song. It’s an inescapable facet of orchestral instruments: They were built to affect emotions to the core, and Eden is masterful in her medium.
“There’s something so full and mellow when you round out the cello with the guitar, or when the guitar is complemented by the cello,” she says. “It’s like wine and chocolate.”
As their stringed beasts join together regardless of the other’s usual composition, so do the members of Upstarts and Rogues despite their political affiliations. Such was the encompassing theme of their very first album, “Twain Shall Meet.” “[Working in the studio] allows you to expand your parameters with the layers and nuance,” Eden says of the experience.
The two will unveil “Twain Shall Meet” Saturday evening at Projekte Gallery. The celebration continues over a whole series of shows through October, the next on Sunday afternoon at Old Books on Front Street. “We just want to give all our fans a chance to attend [a concert],” Sanchez says. “Not everyone can make every show they’d like to see in Wilmington.”
New and old songs will pepper the series, and the set lists will never actually be “set.” “We can button it up or play it loose,” Eden confirms. “It’s great to have the freedom to do that—to just be comfortable enough with each other that we can feel and respond. It makes it even more dynamic for our listeners, and nothing is ever really done the same way twice.”