THE BRAIN CLOUD
Tamar Korn - vocals
Dennis Lichtman - mandolin/fiddle/clarinet/bandleader
Raphael McGregor - lap steel guitar
Skip Krevens - guitar
Andrew Hall - upright bass
Kevin Dorn - drums
“My brain is cloudy, my soul is upside-down... When I get that low-down feeling, I know the blues must be someplace around.”
(Bob Wills – the King of Western Swing)
Born in 2010, the Brain Cloud is the brain-child of multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman and vocalist Tamar Korn. Regarding the diverse influences in their sound, which could loosely be described as western swing, says Lichtman, “Western swing is a quintessentially American music – a meeting point of all American musics that had come before it – jazz (from ragtime through swing), bluegrass, Appalachian old-time fiddling, Tin Pan Alley, country, Mississippi Delta blues, western cowboy songs... By embracing the shared elements and emotions in those styles, rather than compartmentalizing them by genre, the great western swing musicians of the late 1930’s and 1940’s formed something new and thrilling, and which happened to reach an absurd level of commercial success.”
The Brain Cloud draws its inspiration from this fearless smashing-together of genres. Live shows are where the band excels. Tamar’s voice is reminiscent of an old 78 rpm record, and she brings lively spirit and improvisational freedom to each song – not to mention her jaw-dropping “muted trumpet” and “violin” vocal solos. And Lichtman, equally at home on mandolin, fiddle, and clarinet, leads the band’s arrangements in a way that keeps the audience (and the band) excited to see what’s coming next. That is, if the audience hasn’t already left their seats to crowd the dance floor.
The band’s self-titled 2011 debut album captures their remarkable sound in ten cover songs from a diverse range of influential musicians from the early- to mid-20th century. Their follow-up CD, Outside Looking In (release date: 4/26/13), includes more of the band’s original material, from Tamar’s gospel-inflected “In the Beginning” to Lichtman’s dirge-like “Trigger Blues.”
In early 2010, Lichtman joined forces with Tamar Korn, whom he had known for two years as bandmates in the now-defunct, old-timey jazz outfit the Cangelosi Cards. Their mutual love of a wide variety of American roots music led them to form The Brain Cloud initially as a side project to the Cangelosi Cards. Since then, the Brain Cloud has performed at Lincoln Center and festivals throughout the Northeast, and has found success among the swing dance scene in New York and elsewhere. The Brain Cloud performs every Monday at Barbés, in Brooklyn, and the first Wednesday of every month at Manhattan’s Rodeo Bar, in addition to concerts, festivals, and swing dances.