Nashville-based Acoustic String Trio ChessBoxer Prep 'Apollo EP'

ChessBoxer have announced the release of their debut, Apollo EP, due September 25.

The collection's opening track "Calon Lan" is premiered today by The Bluegrass Situation. Listen here.

Produced by Charlie Peacock (Civil Wars, Switchfoot), Apollo EP serves as a preview to the Nashville-based, string trio's forthcoming full-length album due in early 2016.

ChessBoxer completed the EP in anticipation of an upcoming tour with Warren Haynes. They'll join Haynes for 19 shows on his Ashes & Dust tour this Fall, both performing as his backing band and opening each evening with a set of their own music.

"The Apollo EP is a collection of four pieces from our upcoming debut album we've recorded with Charlie Peacock,” says ChessBoxer's Ross Holmes. "We're excited to share a few of these new songs. Each one is its own journey and hopefully means something special and different with each listen."

Watch ChessBoxer perform “Mokey Likes A Wet Foot” below:

ChessBoxer is comprised of Matt Menefee on banjo, Ross Holmes on violin and the recent addition of Royal Masat on upright bass. Menefee and Holmes were founding members of the progressive acoustic band Cadillac Sky, while collectively the three musicians have performed with Mumford & Sons, Dan Auerbach, Bruce Hornsby, Alison Krauss and Old Crow Medicine Show among many others.

It was through their work with Bela Fleck that they first came to the attention of Warren Haynes. The legendary guitarist asked Fleck if he had any musicians to suggest when assembling a touring ensemble to perform the songs on his new acoustic-based album, Ashes & Dust. Fleck told him to look no further than ChessBoxer.

“Warren Haynes is the Supreme Godfather of jam/exploration bands around the world and to have the opportunity to join him on tour is truly an honor,” continues Holmes. “We can hardly wait to start performing his new material, this is new territory for all of us to create and converse in!”

Although rooted in a time-honored string band sound, ChessBoxer subtly push musical boundaries. Their interest in symphonic music can be heard on tracks like "Calon Lan" and "I Can’t Tell My Secret Weapon" where they’ve condensed orchestrated musical ideas down to three instruments. On more traditional leaning material like "The Devil and Sally Jones" and "Bacon," they achieve elegance, but retain a spirited bluegrass earthiness. Their technical form and knowledge of melodic structure results in beautiful instrumental compositions. The band describes them as "stories that evolve with each performance." From inspired original pieces, to traditional tunes of the American vernacular, ChessBoxer is poised to have a major impact on one of the most important renaissance periods of American music.

Upcoming tour dates with Warren Haynes are:

  • Sep. 22 - Uptown Theatre - Kansas City, MO
  • Sep. 23 - Murat Theatre - Indianapolis, IN
  • Sep. 25 - The Pageant - St. Louis, MO
  • Sep. 24 - LC Pavilion - Columbus, OH
  • Sep. 26 - Riviera Theatre - Chicago, IL
  • Sep. 29 - Fillmore - Detroit, MI ++
  • Sep. 30 - Stage AE - Pittsburgh, PA ++
  • Oct. 1 - Capitol Theatre - Port Chester, NY ++
  • Oct. 2 - Tower Theatre - Philadelphia, PA ++
  • Oct. 3 - State Theatre - Portland, ME
  • Oct. 6 - Orpheum Theatre - Boston, MA
  • Oct. 7 - The Space - Westbury, NY
  • Oct. 8 - Warner Theatre - Washington, DC
  • Oct. 10 - Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA
  • Oct. 13 - Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, TN
  • Oct. 20 - Charleston Music Hall - Charleston, SC
  • Oct. 22 - Fillmore - Miami, FL
  • Oct. 23 - Jannus Live - St. Petersburg, FL
  • Oct. 24 - Plaza Live - Orlando, FL

++ w/ Chris Stapleton direct support

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Acoustic Nation

Acoustic Nation is written by Laura B. Whitmore, a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, who has contributed to, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.