published Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Critic's Pick: Bombadil, prepare to be wowed by multi-instrumentalist trio

  • photo
    Stuart Robinson, James Philips and Daniel Michalak, from left, arre Bombadil.
    Photo by Photo by Harry Taylor


What: Bombadil.

When: 9:15 p.m. tonight.

Where: TVFCU Stage.

June 6-14 • 21st Century Waterfront, Chattanooga, TN

If you'd seen them six or seven years ago, eccentric North Carolinian band Bombadil would have knocked you for a loop with an infectiously raucous approach to folk-pop that saw them catapulting off the stage and brandishing so many exotic instruments you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd raided a World Market before sound check.

Now? They'll still wow you, make no mistake, but with an approach that is decidedly more subtle, if just as likely to stick between your ears.

They keep good company, too. Bombadil has spent years on Ramseur Records, a Tar Heel label that has supported some of my favorite artists, including Paleface, the everybodyfields and The Avett Brothers.

Formerly a quartet, the band reduced its membership by one in 2012, but the remaining trio of multi-instrumentalists took that change as an opportunity to retool themselves. Forget the guitar. They don't need it. Instead, they'll woo you with a stripped-down sound that is a blend of traditional folk with hints of electronic and hip-hop.

I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it works. If you doubt my expertise -- first of all, what are you doing here? -- then do yourself a favor and check out Bombadil's 2013 release "Metrics of Affection." Two of its songs have been in near-constant rotation on my not-for-work-just-for-personal-enjoyment Spotify playlist. That's a rare achievement for a band that doesn't feature a synthesizer or two.

Without a doubt, Bombadil is my first-pick alternate tonight for those who aren't in the mood to see Buddy Guy tear it up on Coke Stage. If that's you, take a trip under the bridge to the TVFCU stage and thank me later.

Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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