(21 July 2005) Antigone Rising is one of independent music's sweetest success stories. The five woman band toured the country practically non-stop for five years making a living of their passion. They rocked every night with such varied artists as The Push Stars, Living Colour, and the Lilith Fair festival. And they were doing just fine.
The band surprisingly landed a deal in 2003 with Lava Records (also home to bands like Kid Rock, Cold, Smile Empty Soul, and Embrace) and then their was silence. After much anticipation and a long wait, the band has finally released their Lava Records debut, From the Ground Up (Lava (USA) 93805-2, 2005), an acoustic/coffee house style record recorded live at the famed Sony Music Studios.
The band has never sounded better than they do on this record, absolutely enthralling you with their emotional and raw performance. Since its arrival From the Ground Up has become a staple in our rotation and it will remain there indefinitely. We caught up with guitarist Kristen Henderson to find out more about the record and the circumstances that led to its release in this interview.
How many bands can you name that have gotten the nod of approval from artists like Sheryl Crow, Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), and Little Steven (The E-Street Band) before they were even signed to a record label? Greenwich Village’s Antigone Rising are making their mainstream debut with From the Ground Up. Antigone Rising is fronted by stunning lead singer Cassidy. The lineup is completed by four additional beautiful womeh: Kristen Henderson (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Cathy Henderson (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dena Tauriello (drums) and Jen Zielenbach (bass).
From the Ground Up not only mark's the bands first album for Lava Records and Antigone Rising are the first artists to be featured on Starbuck's own Hear Music label, who partnered with Lava Records for this release. The album soars with the same kind of heart that U2 has in their most reflective moments. This is rock and roll stripped down to its soul and it sounds great. Causing outlets like Starbuck's and VH1 to declare that Antigone Rising is band that "just won't let go" when you hear them.
The album opens with an intro song called "Hello." Normally this would be completely ignored but the power of sisters Cathy and Kristen Henderson's guitar work combined with the passionate and welcoming vocals of the singer known simply as Cassidy is to great to be ignored, even when all they do is sing "Hello, It's good to see you my friend." Cassidy's voice rolls through the studio with a flare heard very little these days.
The album's first single "Don’t Look Back" has the all the grace of a Bruce Springsteen song and all the power of a Janis Joplin or Carole King song roiled into one tight package. The bluesy "She Lived Here" and "You’re The Reason" come back to back and provide a bit of diversity on the album. While bluesy, they are still catchy as all get out and highlight the fact that this is not your average band. The album's best moment though comes in the form of "She’s Not Beautiful." The song brings forth equal doses of beautiful and bold in its musical and lyrical explorations. Lead vocalist Cassidy says the song is about what it's like to love someone who "doesn’t need anyone. A survivor."
This is an excellent album from a band that is bursting with passion and talent. The appeal of From the Ground Up is almost universal. There are influences from Sarah McClaughlin to Lynyrd Skynyrd to U2 to Tom Petty to Bruce Springsteen to Janis Joplin. While this album sounds great and represents the artists well, they never completely let go like they do when they are full-on electric. The band is great live; it is truly an experience to see Cassidy let go.
From The Ground Up is clearly one of the best albums we have heard this year.--Mark Fisher in West virginia