Downbeat Project is an independent band based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their music is soul-filled and message-driven providing a sweet balance between powerful, heart-felt singing and an intense groove. Singer-songwriter, Clarence Green, is a wellspring of improvisational hooks and melodies, as well as thought-provoking lyrics. Zack Blatter (mandocello), Gerald Soriano (bass and harmony vocals), Landon Fishburne (guitar), and Rob Hubbard (drums and harmony vocals) bring with them a diversity of musical inspirations — from jazz to funk, reggae, folk and bluegrass — that deepen and enrich Green’s melodic ideas. The combination of these influences yields a genre-busting sound, difficult to characterize but hard to ignore.
On “Rise”, Downbeat Project’s debut CD recorded in an off-the-grid green studio, Green’s soulful voice and imaginative guitar hooks are supported by a bed of vocal harmonies and the unique instrumentation of mandocello, upright bass, slide guitar, and drums. The album was engineered, mixed, and produced by Billy Cardine, who produced The Biscuit Burners’ A Mountain Apart, winner of The Indie Acoustic Music Project’s “Roots Album of the Year” award.
For their second release, “Day By Day,” Downbeat Project joined forces with some of the area’s best musicians including Bobby Read (Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers), Mark Maynard (Baaba Seth), John D’earth, Billy Cardine, Jay Starling (The Transmitters), and percussionist, Robert Jospe. With the addition of horn lines and textured keyboard melodies, the Downbeat Project’s sound adopted an extra vibrance and soulful depth. In addition, “Day By Day” features Downbeat Project’s newest full-time member, Landon Fishburne, on electric guitar. Released in January of 2012, the five-song EP has already received significant radio airplay.
Downbeat Project regularly performs throughout Virginia as well as throughout much of the East Coast. Performance highlights include appearances at The Jefferson Theater performing alongside DJ Logic, Charlottesville’s Friday’s After Five music series, Kekoka Music Festival, Catawba Music Festival, Wintergreen International Music Festival, Mountain Sports Festival, Beaufort Music Festival, The Southern Cafe and Music Hall, and Charlottesville’s First Night Virginia event series.
Downbeat Project continues to draw from a wealth a musical inspiration in order to create fresh, inspiring music and have plans to begin recording a new album in 2013.
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“This is fun, smart music. The Downbeat Project asks questions, leaves the door wide open for hope, offers and listens for answers, and makes you dance. With this debut CD, I have a feeling the adventure has just begun.”
— Aer Stephen
WTJU, Charlottesville, VA
“The Downbeat Project is an up and coming band that plays with knockout enthusiasm and style. Clarence Green… [has] an uncanny knack for writing catchy tunes that get everybody in the room smiling. The expressive nature and positive energy of this band are infectious.”
— Jason Collier
“Billy Cardine is an amazing Dobro player, and has within his scope the makings, as in he could be the next big thing. I couldn’t have picked a better example… of where the Dobro is now or what the possibilities are with the instrument.”
— Jerry Douglas
Grammy Award Winning Dobro Player
“[The Downbeat Project] instantly defied expectation. With their unassuming presence, chill, yet interesting melodies and constantly changing styles… there was something charming and comforting in their style and grace that flowed throughout the set no matter the genre of music they tackled at the time.”
— Jessica Novak
Beyond Race Magazine