Acoustic Syndicate is a rock/folk/bluegrass band from North Carolina formed in 1992. They have toured nationally in the US, including appearances at Farm Aid and the Bonnaroo festival. Their sound is characterized by three-part vocal harmony and complex polyrhythmic banjo playing. Lyrically, the group often discusses themes relating to subsistence, sustainability and quality of life.
The McMurry family comes from a small family farm in Cleveland County, North Carolina, near Shelby, North Carolina. They have been farming the same region that their ancestors settled over 200 years ago.
Acoustic Syndicate also has roots in Asheville, NC, where Jay Sanders is an active member of the local music scene.
Acoustic Syndicate’s sound has always been characterized by growth and evolution. Since the band officially formed in the early 1990s, they have continued to challenge themselves to grow as a band with the same earnest intensity that permeates their music. This evolution is never more strikingly apparent than on Long Way Round, their second release for roots label Sugar Hill and their first foray into injecting a studio project with the drive and passion that typifies their live shows.
The band did a lot of things different this time around&Perhaps it was the addition of Texas music legend and producer Lloyd Maines into Acoustic Syndicate’s mix that propelled the band to create what they consider their best project ever. Or perhaps it had something to do with saxophonist Jeremy Saunders joining the band, after having been long thought of by the other members as their unofficial fifth member. Front man Steve McMurry would venture to say that the change of the band’s sound from gentle and melodic to bold and live was a natural progression.
Over the last three or four years, the live material seemed to be adopting a bigger, bolder attitude& The trend continued on until the new material started to sound more like live songs than studio stuff. This evolution was of its own doing. We’ve always tried not to impede any obvious, eventual metamorphosis of the band or of the music. Whatever the reason, the result is a powerful and fluid record that seamlessly blends the group’s past melodic, pretty recording style with the power and driving rhythm of their live show. One of the main shifts of focus involved bringing their strong vocals and dead-on harmonies to the forefront.