Session 220: Beta Radio // Joseph Huber<- Back
June 19, 2019
Rooted in vocal harmonies, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, banjo and an eclectic range of additional instrumentation and soulful arrangements, Beta Radio’s Americana-folk sound is the result of a decade-long collaboration between Ben Mabry and Brent Holloman.
Mabry and Holloman met at summer camp in the North Carolina mountains while on break from high school and immediately formed a musical kinship, bonding over the sounds of another musical duo, Simon and Garfunkel. Throughout high school and college, they found themselves in multiple hard rock and metal bands, an ironic juxtaposition considering the 60’s folk sound that first brought them together. Later, through a cycle of “on again, off again” writing and demoing during and after college, Mabry and Holloman had a collection of songs ready for a studio, and in the winter of 2009 they sat down to record their debut album, Seven Sisters. Seven Sisters was recorded and distributed without label support and enjoyed a grassroots success built largely on the back of internet music services Pandora and Spotify.
Beta Radio’s most recent studio release, Colony of Bees, is a layered and ethereal offering that treads into new territory while at the same time managing to effortlessly keep one foot firmly rooted in the Americana-folk arena that they have called home for many years. The Huffington Post calls Colony of Bees “sonically lovely” and included it in the top ten roundup of their 40 “Best Albums of 2014.”
Singer/Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist Joseph Huber was a founding member of the .357 String Band--a group that, despite its abrupt break-up, still continues to gain popularity and is known as one of the most influential groups in the recent insurgent underground country and bluegrass movement. Having moved from .357, Huber has honed his songwriting abilities immensely and now continues moving onward and upward captivating folks with his sincere and well-crafted songs under his own name and with his backing band. Whether it's irresistible, fiddle-driven, dancing tunes or honest, heart-wrenching "songwriter" songs, Huber spans the spectrum of 'Roots' music while preferring not to stay within the boundaries of any strict genre classification.
His lyricism and introspective writing style has received high acclaim from many Americana enthusiasts looking for a more substantive substitute to much of today's modern country. Maintaining a solid touring schedule, playing all throughout both the U.S. and all around Europe, Huber continues to gain positive press, including being listed on L.A. Weekly's '10 More Country Artists To Listen To (2014).' Blue Ridge Outdoor writes, “Songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Chris Smither, and John Prine can marvel listeners in the simplest of acoustic settings,...From time to time, I stumble upon a new singer/songwriter whose work warrants comparison to the luminaries on this list. ...Huber’s songwriting has me comparing him to my favorites above.”
Huber's 4th solo release, 'The Suffering Stage' is a shift both in writing style and in it's filled-out production style, which looks beyond his usual minimalist folk recordings. It features many of Milwaukee's best players, such as Ryan Knudson on pedal steel; Dustin Dobernig on keys; Andrew Koenig on electric guitar; as well as his long-time touring band members--Jason Loveall on fiddle; and Eston Bennett on bass. It follows his early self-released material--'Bury Me Where I Fall' (2010) and 'Tongues Of Fire' (2012)--and his 3rd album, 'The Hanging Road,' which was released under Nashville's 'Muddy Roots Recordings' label in Spring 2014.