There is a competence and intensity about Box Set that floods the ears and boggles the mind." San Francisco Examiner
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"Tightly woven, clear harmonies with tangy, intricate acoustic guitar work." Billboard
"Infectious acoustic-fronted, melodic tunes that rock good and hard." Gavin Report
Led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriters Jim Brunberg and Jeff Pehrson, San Francisco's Box Set pursue an unabashedly revealing approach to music. "There's a definite autobiographical element to our songs," admits Pehrson. "In general, we open ourselves in our writing, and the music reflects the feelings and experiences we're going through at any given time."
With their highly personal stance, Box Set is connecting with growing numbers of listeners. After building a strong grass-roots fan base with three indie releases and hundreds of live shows throughout the country, the group members -- Pehrson, Brunberg, keyboardist Sam Johnston, drummer Mark Abbott, and bassist Chad Heise -- now join forces with a major label.
Thread, Box Set's Capricorn Records debut, encompasses all the key elements of roots-based rock: melodies, musicianship, and sharply crafted songwriting. Yet even as they expand their horizons, the group members still brandish the intimacy and honesty which have always defined their music. "This album pares down our sound," nods Brunberg, "and gets more to the core of what we're all about."
Recorded with producer Joe Chiccarelli (Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin, American Music Club), Thread opens with "Back To You," an upbeat expression of devotion driven by chiming guitars and soaring harmonies. Sheer emotion continues to fuel the entire album, from its most energized peaks ("Every Waking Moment," "Falling," "Amsterdam") to its most vulnerable introspection ("A Little Colder," "One Step," "Compound").
The songs -- written individually by either Brunberg or Pehrson, and then fleshed out by the full band -- usually feature the chief songwriter on lead vocals. Both Pehrson and Brunberg enjoy eclectic, varying moods and dynamics: "It seems natural to us to write all different kinds of music," Pehrson explains, "and explore new sounds and instrumentations. In a way, it's influenced by all the traveling we do."
Brunberg and Pehrson come from substantially different backgrounds. Pehrson, of Native American descent, has lived his entire life in San Francisco; Brunberg, born in Iowa, has traveled all over the U.S. "I lived in 14 different states before I landed in California," Brunberg laughs.
After meeting in a San Francisco coffeehouse in 1991, the pair began touring up and down the West Coast as an acoustic duo. They quit their day jobs, and armed with $100 and a suitcase of tapes, took courier flights to Europe. Three months later, Brunberg and Pehrson returned home with cash in their pockets.
Although Brunberg and Pehrson still perform as an acoustic duo, they have expanded the group lineup to broaden their rootsy sound. Performing over 175 live shows a year, Box Set have nurtured a healthy regional following.
The group's three indie albums -- their 1994 self-titled debut, 1995 follow up 27, and 1996's Meantime -- have steadily built upon that fan base while earning critical kudos: in 1994 Box Set was tapped for "Billboard's Bands to Bank On"; the National Academy of Songwriters named them 1995's "Group Of The Year"; and in 1997 Box Set won two Bay Area Music ("BAMMIE") Awards as "Best Club Band" and "Outstanding Roots/Americana Artist." For their Capricorn debut, Box Set unveils brand new material alongside new versions of songs from their three previous indie albums.
All told, the dozen tracks on Thread provide a vivid travelogue of the group's ongoing creative journey � documenting where they're coming from and where they are today. What does the future look like? Just follow the Thread.
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