Folk found a modern resurgence in bands like Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, but seven-member acoustic outfit The Last Bison proves there's still room for experimentation.
Family and faith inform much of singer Benjamin Hardesty's original songwriting, partly because his sister, Annah Hardesty, plays bells and percussion while the pair's father Dan Hardesty (a former pastor) provides banjo, mandolin and guitar.
Songs like "Switzerland" and "River Rhine" reveal a skilled repertoire on The Last Bison's inaugural 2011 record, Quill. The band's self-described "mountaintop chamber music" evokes comparisons to Southern peers Lost in the Trees, due to shared use of cellos, violins and organ. The band dropped its 2013 full-length album, Inheritance, March 5.
While often ecclesiastical, the group's real draw is its expertise. Violinist Teresa Totheroh, cellist Amos Housworth, drummer Jay Benfante and melodica player Andrew Benfante step in to add the final layers of the band's rich sonic tapestry.