In the summer of 2004, Raise up Roof Beams (an allusion to the novella by J.D. Salinger) was born out of Nathan Robinson's (guitars, ukulele, harmonica, vocals) interest in songwriting and quickly growing catalogue of original folk songs. Through practice and mutual innovation, Harrison Gordner (drums, percussion, marimba) reined in Nathan's raw energy to create a mixture of folk and indie rock that sounded fresh and poignant. They played local shows, put together a rough recording, The Ezekiel Demo, and added organ to the mix during that spring.
The addition of good friend and fellow local musician Justin Arawjo (mandolin, banjo, lap steel, accordion, melodica, guitars) in the fall of 2005 was just the change necessary to fill out their sound as they moved toward a more folk-influenced and intricate sound and Nathan's lyrics delved deeper into his personal experience. Justin had been making music for years with folk and punk bands on a local and national scale. The band expanded again in 2006 with Alan Carroll [digital piano] and Kelly Musser [upright bass, vocals] rounding out the five-piece. Kelly's trained bass and gorgeous vocals layered with Nathan's inspired and erratic vocal and guitar performance dance over Alan's deep and rhythmic piano chords to give the Roof Beams more life and body than ever before. The most obvious influences to their eventual collective sound are Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, the Decemberists and Bright Eyes, with more discerning listeners detecting the subtle presence of Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, The Avett Brothers and mewithoutYou.
The band's song repertoire is deep and fertile, with raw emotive indie rock mixing in with delicate and ambient folk-inspired journeys into Nathan's literary and philosophically challenging words. Their growing list of songs was brought to fruition with their first full-length record, Fingers and Photons, which was self-released in March 2006 after the band's first self-supported US tour. The record was well-received by critics and loyal fans alike.
Raise up Roof Beams has an organic and pure energy that communicates thought and beauty in a way that any fan of music can appreciate. Their compelling live show is dynamic and raw, and the audience finds itself surrounded by the powerfully intricate instrumentation and unexpectedly honest lyrics communicated with passion, conviction, and human understanding beyond the band members' years.
"Plenty of appealing and varied instruments on each track provide backing for Robinson’s philosophical articulations...[the] musicianship is controlled and accomplished...I’d certainly like to hear some more."
"From the first time you listen to Fingers and Photons you get the impression that something amazing and unique, yet oddly comforting and familiar, is happening in your ears."
"If you’re an indie rock fan looking for something rootsier, then this is your band... ...It sounds like they’re having a freakin' good time recording this so join in dammit."