Balto came into being when Daniel Sheron abandoned his life in Moscow, Russia and went alone into Siberia. Against an ever-shifting backdrop of railways and desolate wastes, he wrote a cycle of songs to tell the story of what had happened in that strange country, why he had exiled himself, and why he thought it mattered. In train cars and crumbling cities he encountered PEOPLE, and they inhabited the songs he was writing and the notes he was taking. In the fall, Daniel brought Balto back to America and called his friends to record an album in one day. On December 15, 2010, six people entered a basement in Brooklyn, New York and emerged that night with an album that no one had expected, October's Road.
The band’s current incarnation formed organically out of that single, marathon recording session, during which the chemistry was so undeniably magical that there was no choice but to keep playing. Originally based in New York City, the band quickly established themselves playing all over town and gained a reputation for tight, powerful live performances. Their dynamic and rich sound ranges from delicate, whispered confessions to hot, foot-stomping bluegrass and soaring folk-rock – all imbued with the honesty borne only of songs felt viscerally by their singers. After completing a 23-date, self booked tour of the United States and Canada, the project is relocating to Portland, Oregon, where the writing of their follow-up LP is getting underway.
As for the album, the months since its early-2011 release have yielded constant critical praise. Produced by Andrew Sheron and Mixed by Jeremy Backofen (the Felice Brothers, Mice Parade, Gregory and the Hawk), the album has drawn a growing, vocal community of listeners from all over the world. Reviewers have been quick to draw comparisons to alt-folk darlings Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes, but the sound the group found together in “Trans-Siberian Americana” has something very unique even as it is familiar. Kyle Rectenwald of the blog Those Who Dig writes “There are heavy bluegrass and Americana influences to Balto's work, but you can never shake the lingering image of dark, snowy landscapes rather than rural, Southern farms.” While the instrumentation – Acoustic Guitar and Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, and Rhodes - lends itself to a unified, traditional sound, for Balto, these instruments are just that: the most honest means of expressing the feelings, the places, the people that live in the songs of October’s Road.