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Member - Happy Balky and the Good Livin' (Band who writes own material)

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02 May 2009
04 May 2009


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Happy Balky and the Good Livin'

iZMO: Folk
Sub iZMO: Progressive Folk


*a slick fusion of bluegrass and acoustic-pop
*brother/sister fronted
*1 0 0 % P U R E M O U N T A I N - P O P

Zac Kissinger: Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Brittny Kissinger: Vocals
Glenn Bacon: Banjo/Harmonica/Backing Vocals
Chris Ronk: Mandolin/Harmonica/Melodica
Nikolaas Strock: Bass/Backing Vocals

On a fateful afternoon in the summer of '05, four strapping lads and a lass, each from different walks of life, found themselves on the same "pickin' porch" in Ballston Spa, New York. They gathered there to breathe new life into a musical vision...a mutation beyond bluegrass...a sound that was equal parts "pop" and "hillbilly"...a show that would provoke foot stompin', knee slappin', and elbow bangin' ... a gool ol' time. They struck a chord... Happy balky and the Good Livin' was born.

Pooling the vocal talents of his internationally known sister, Brittny, with his own knack for eclectic songwriting, Berklee College of Music graduate/Happy Balky front-man, Zac Kissinger, has set out to build an audience for the budding cross-genre known as "Mountain-Pop." He brings to Balky a tasteful blend of rootsy acoustic guitar chops and infectious melodic hooks. With songs ranging from absurd tall-tales to heartfelt confessions of longing, Zac covers a lot of ground lyrically, and aims to keep his listeners guessing.

Happy Balky's signature "twang" is brought to you courtesy of the quick-fingered Glenn Bacon. Having gigged as a lead guitarist in numerous metal bands, John brings an unexpected edge to both the band and the claw-hammer banjo. Specializing in harmonica and mandolin is the diversley talented Chris Ronk, who's been studying classical piano since age three. He finds a melodic in his classical roots, while providing mandolin lines that are as intricate as they are essential to each song. Roundindg out the bands sound is Nikolaas Strock on bass guitar. Fresh off his world travels, Nick has returned home with an insatiable desire to pursue his musical goals. His jazz background is the cherry on top of this backwoods string band's unique sound.

Brittny Kissinger might be the baby the bunch, but she's been performing professionally since 1996 when her talent was recognized by Broadway director Martin Charnin. NY's Capital District was awed by Britt's sudden rise to fame when she was cast in the leading role of Annie performing with stars Nell Carter, John Schuck, and then Sally Struthers both on the Broadway stage and in the subsequent national tour. During that time she performed on national television shows such as The Tony Awards, The Today Show, Rosie O'Donnall, and CBS This Morning. Even now Brittny continues to be a source of interest. Since her return home she has been visited by a Japanese film crew as well as people magazine. She performed for over 20,000 people at 107.7 WGNA's Countryfest 2003, the largest country music event in the Northeast. In 2005, her progressive folk project, Tentacles Heavenward, garnered the attention of Fox News Channel culminating in an interview in her brother's recording studio.

This exhuberant young "mountain pop" band from Ballston Spa made their Caffe Lena debut last spring. They won us over right quick and we decided to bring them back for a weekend evening. Why we like them: strong chops, rootsy yet contemporary, sparkling melodies, inventive and often comical lyrics, positive energy. Give them a try! You just might discover a new favorite.
-CAFFE LENA, July 2006

Happy Balky makes some mighty fine music, too. Mountain pop, they call it, describing it as "a left-of-the-dial approach to bluegrass music" or "high-energy folk music heavily influenced by bluegrass." Happy Balky and the Good Livin' eschews the usual songbag of bluegrass standards, and in fact their repertoire features almost all original material. When they do pull out a cover tune or two...Balky and the boys are more likely to serve up an acoustic newgrass version of Bright Eyes' "A Perfect Sonnet," Silverchair's "Tomorrow" or maybe Faith No More's "Epic."

Happy Balky and the Good Livin' , as the name arguably suggests, plays an acoustic brand of roots music that nods towards bluegrass...Other than the catchy melodies, the songs are characterized by quirky, witty, sometimes outlandish lyrics that center on a cast of revolving characters.


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