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Press



Fly Magazine

Story: Jeff Royer

Published: November 2008

 

   Great Big House is less a band than a gigantic, fraternal organization of freewheeling, instrument-swapping musicians whose loose-limbed, jam-centric tunes are more eclectic than the brotherhood of Lambda Lambda Lambda.

 

   At last count, the band included a whopping eight members, making it quite literally the biggest band in Lancaster – and arguably the biggest logistical nightmare in music since The Polyphonic Spree. “We rely on Yahoo mail a ton,” says saxophonist/guitarist Keith Kehr. “We try to be as democratic as possible. Everyone gets a vote and everyone’s ideas are valued.  “Also, having eight members means that we can be very adaptive with our lineup,” he adds. “If one member can’t make it to a show, there’s usually someone else in the band who can cover that part for a night.”

 

   Comprised of Millersville University music department alumnae, Great Big House has been phishing for phans since 2002. Influenced by the likes of Dave Matthews Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Grateful Dead, the band serves up funk-heavy originals and covers (Beatles, Bob Marley, DMB) that, more akin to jazz than rock, develop and deviate from musical themes, rather than plod along in a verse-chorus-bridge format.  “Those are the bands that have set the standards for our musical philosophies, especially when performing live,” Kehr says of GBH’s forefathers, “different sets each night, different jams, spontaneous ideas, all of the things we hold true to.”

 

   But while GBH places an emphasis on jamming and musical exploration, it does not, guitarist Chris Hurdle explains, come at the expense of the song – or the listener, for that matter.  “We try to have a direction for any of the improvising that we do so that there’s still a chance for all of us to experiment and try new things, but it’s also still enjoyable for the listener,” he explains.

 

   While there are several live bootlegs floating around the Internet, Great Big House has no official studio recording, although a debut album is slated for a spring/summer ’09 release. To this point, the band has been able to float along on the strength of its live show and the GBH phaithful, who continue to multiply, as jam fans usually do.

 

   “We’ve always tried to build a following from the ground up and it’s nice to know that every fan we have we got through playing live music,” says saxophonist/guitarist Pat Dougherty.

 

   “The secret behind our band is that we all really love playing music and it’s very obvious to the crowd that we’re having a great time,” adds drummer Fred Warner. “It’s infectious.”

From: Gene Pelland

VP: Clair Brothers Systems Owner - McCleary's Pub, Marietta, PA

February 2007

"Great Big House came to McCleary’s recently and not only packed the house but the brought the house down with their hard driving horn band jam style of R&B-Funk to esoteric sounds akin to Pink Floyd and Yes. Before they begin you can feel their youthful enthusiasm and once they start to play is immediately apparent that this well rehearsed group it is there for business in the most professional way. They have a loyal following and attract newcomers. Great Big House is without a doubt the most diverse band we have had at McClearys and look forward to their return in a few weeks."

 

 



By Julie Cherry and Melissa Streeter

Published: Thursday, March 4, 2004

The Snapper


Watch out Dave Matthews, Great Big House is coming to town! Think mix between OAR, Phish, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Bela Fleck and that is what was heard coming from the Club de Ville on Saturday, Feb. 28.


The opening group Keith Kehr and the High School Reunion played a few original and cover songs to warm-up the crowd. While they were jamming, members from Great Big House came out from the crowd one at a time to jam with them. This was a unique way to start their performance. The energy in the room was great because they were playing to a packed club.


After the joint jam song "F Blues Jam" Great Big House had the stage to themselves for a while. This self-proclaimed "funk" group varies in styles of music and they play originals as well as covers. Although some may consider them a "jam" band, they play many styles and are influenced by many different artists.


During their first set they played "Shakira" and "Rhythm in your Step," two original songs. They also played Dave Matthews "Grey Street" and "Two Step" and "Tribute," a Tenacious D cover. Dr. Wiley of the music department sat in on "Two Step" and "Tribute" and their last song of the set, "All along the Watchtower."   During this last song, Dr. Wiley started a scat/drum fight with drummer, Fred Warner. This means Dr. Wiley did scat for four measures by himself with no accompaniment, then Warner took four measures on the set. This took the band members by surprise because this was not rehearsed; however, much of their show is improvisation and will never be exactly the same so this, although unexpected, should be expected.


...They keep the tempo fast by going straight from one song to the next without even giving the audience time to applaud. The audience does not even realize the song is over because the next song is already started. They have an awesome stage presence and astounding communication on stage to decide improv solos and features.





Students in Search of a Thrill

By Katie Ostrom

Published: Thursday, April 8, 2004

The Snapper


  ... Finally, at 1:00 a.m. it was about time for The Great Big House to show their stuff. This band consisted of one drummer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, two trumpet players and three saxophone players. They were slick and wel- dressed, reflecting the style of their jazzy songs. They woke up the crowd with a big drum solo in their first song. They played a rendition of the theme from The Simpsons on guitar with a neat beat behind it. They also played a funky version of the theme from Inspector Gadget. Some songs had some really great saxophone and trumpet solos with fast and piercing notes. One dude even played two saxophones at the same time! The band's vocalist sang loud and clear against the strong brass parts. During one song, the bass line sounded like the theme from Seinfeld. Last, they did "The Greatest Song in the World" by Jack Black.


Overall, The Great Big House was awesome! It was the perfect conclusion to a great night of Thrilla at the Villa.





Musicians perform to raise money for charity

By: Jason Gauz

Published: February 16, 2006

The Snapper


...last on the stage for the night was the local jam group, Great Big House. Members Doug Malora on vocals, Chris Hurdle on guitar, Andy Stienman on bass, JP Meyer on keyboards, Pat Dougherty on saxophone and guitar, Marc Campolongo on trumpet, and Fred Warner on drums filled the Club de 'Ville stage and the now somewhat large and diverse crowd that had slowly gathered throughout the concert seemed pleased to hear their blend of jazz and rock music.


Whether it was jazz, emo, rock or rap, everyone at the Club de 'Ville on Wednesday night was there for a good cause. The bands volunteered their time, sweat and energy for Stay Warm, Pennsylvania. The PRSSA succeeded in raising money for needy Pennsylvanians and no matter their musical taste, the diverse audience members were all treated to a full night of music for a good cause.

 
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