American songs are full of deranged old ghosts howling at the moon. Vinegar Creek Constituency, an eclectic, incendiary string band out of the PA Dutch Country, channels these venerable old ghosts of the American folk tradition through imaginative, emotive original songs delivered with rock n roll intensity. Full of shouting, floorboard-stomping soul, their live performances are uplifting, high-energy events with fans dancing in the aisles and clapping, stomping, and singing along.
Like their folksong forerunners that took root around campfires and on back porches across America, the songs call out from the crossroads of light and darkness. They are dreams of Heaven alongside visions of Hell; songs in praise of love alongside tales of murder and the madness of lovers betrayed; songs that ride the rails, wander the countryside, rise from the grave, and cackle in the face of impending doom.
The musicians of Vinegar Creek Constituency come from diverse musical backgrounds that range from formal Classical performance to experimental garage Rock to traditional Old Time Appalachian string band music to Gypsy Jazz. Consequently, the band’s sound encompasses elements of many styles, including super-charged bluegrass, early rockabilly, swing, vaudeville, and ragtime. Singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Leonardo DiSanto says of the band's style, "I really hear our music as a form of primitive rock n roll played with a bluegrass instrumentation. From the age of 9 I've been a huge Elvis fan. If you listen to Elvis' legendary earliest recordings on the Sun label, it was really just a 3-man string band lineup: acoustic guitar for rhythm, double bass on the bottom, and electric guitar phrases for embellishment. Elvis was recording Bill Monroe songs back then, Bluegrass songs like "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and charging them up with the energy that would come to characterize rock n roll music. I think those records are ancestors of what our group does."
The Vinegar Creek Constituency was first conceived in 2005 as a side project by DiSanto, a Lancaster Pennsylvania singer/songwriter then fronting an experimental garage rock band. The group's first (and for a long time only) show was at Lancaster's Chameleon Club opening for Appalachian guitar legend Larry Keel (who sat in with VCC for a Bill Monroe tune). All of the band members were with other groups at the time, and the Constituency played only a few sporadic shows in the Lancaster area in their first few years. But by the Spring of 2008, the musicians of VCC had begun to approach the project with increased focus and commitment.
In May of 2008 VCC traveled to Cumberland, MD performing in and winning the first annual Delfest band competition, an event that became a catalyst for the band's already-growing creative energy. Their eponymous debut album was released in October 2008. The follow up album, Angel of the Last Waltz, was released in May 2010. Both albums were engineered, produced, and released by the band members themselves and feature all original material. The Vinegar Creek Constituency currently performs in clubs, theaters, and festivals in an ever-expanding range throughout the East from New England to the Appalachian South, headlining or sharing the stage with legends, luminaries, and notables of numerous genres of American music, from rock to bluegrass to country. Some of these include: Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Larry Keel, Railroad Earth, Sara Evans, Langhorne Slim, David Bromberg, Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek), and John Cowan (of Newgrass Revival), The Hackensaw Boys, and Hoots and Hellmouth.