They draw freely from the old school and the old world, but The Waybacks are no throwback. They are as uninhibited and unpredictable as the eclectic San Francisco Bay Area that claims them, and for over a decade their experiments have always proven sharp-witted and musically dazzling. They're living proof that in music anyway, evolution and intelligent design are entirely compatible.
"The whole spirit of improvisation - that's always been the cornerstone of this band for me," says singer, songwriter and guitarist James Nash. "Through all the stylistic changes and regardless of the instruments we're playing, to me the fun of this band has always been that in some ways I can do whatever I feel like doing at any moment."
A four-piece with a full arsenal of acoustic and electric instruments, the band has been praised by the Chicago Tribune for their "near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline, and originality." The folk and roots underpinnings that have long been a Waybacks hallmark are still there, but after years of playing a huge range of venues and festivals, touring with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, and reconfiguring themselves around the hot guitar of James Nash and the fiddle virtuosity of Warren Hood, The Waybacks are enjoying a refreshed repertoire - one that's touched by Memphis soul, honky-tonk, Parisian swing, classical music, vintage blue pop, jam rock, and beyond. Nash and Hood have stepped forward as songwriters, allowing The Waybacks to find a new collective voice, right before our ears.
Driven by the rhythm section of bassist Joe Kyle Jr. and drummer Chuck Hamilton, the band filters genre through its own sensibilities and ends up transcending it altogether, conjuring up musical landscapes that defy boundaries and find common ground. Add in those spirited flights of improvisation and a healthy dose of jaw-dropping chops and what emerges in the end is decidedly Waybacks. A trip well worth taking.