Why do we need museums? They show us something familiar and traditional, while at the same time documenting our innovation, showing us possible directions for the future. This is the same reason we need David Wax Museum â€“ to give us music that is somehow familiar, as if it has always existed somewhere in our cultural ether, but is at the same time undeniably fresh.
Recently anointed as Boston's Americana Artist of the Year (2010 Boston Music Awards), the David Wax Museum has been called "pure, irresistible joy" (Bob Boilen, NPR) and hailed by TIME.com for its "virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies." It is no surprise that its acclaimed performance at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival was hailed as one of highlights of the entire weekend by NPR. The Museum fuses traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create an utterly unique Mexo-Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering, and donkey jawbone rattling, they have electrified audiences across the country and are "kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility" (The New Yorker).
The band's new album, Everything Is Saved, produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter), has been drawing rave reviews from all corners and has propelled the band into the national spotlight. With an illustration in The New Yorker, a feature in Paste Magazine, a Daytrotter session, a nod from TIME magazine as one of the top ten acts of this year's South by Southwest, and an appearance on NPR's World CafÃ©, the band has quickly become "one of the hottest new indie bands around" (Better TV).
David Wax's circuitous journey from mid-Missouri to the back roads of Mexico inspires the Museum's blend of traditional Mexican and American folk music. While attending Deep Springs College, an unconventional school that doubles as a cattle ranch, David spent his summers working in rural Mexico with the American Friends Service Committee. He finished his degree at Harvard University before heading back to the Mexican countryside to study its rich folk music tradition on a year-long fellowship. It was there that he first began blending Midwestern folk with the instruments, rhythms, lyrical themes and song structures of son mexicano.
Homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, Suz Slezak was reared on music -- traditional Irish, classical, old time and folk. She graduated from Wellesley College, traveled around the world on a Watson Fellowship to study textiles, and then found herself back in Boston where she met David Wax, recently returned from his Mexican travels. He convinced her to track down a donkey jawbone, a traditional percussion instrument from Veracruz, and join his band. Suz is the Museum's anchor to American roots music and helps fashion its distinctive sound with her fiddling and harmony vocals. Since 2007, David and Suz have formed the core of the Museum.
The Museum is closely associated with many of the most innovative Americana bands active today, having toured nationally with The Avett Brothers and the Old 97's and having shared bills with such acts as Carolina Chocolate Drops, Langhorne Slim, Ben Kweller, The Low Anthem, and Nathaniel Rateliff. Though the band is now packing clubs and theatres across the country and touring with national acts, David Wax Museum cut their teeth playing in living rooms and backyards throughout the country. In these unique settings, the band's fiery and heart-wrenching shows created an undeniable buzz and a devoted following.