Bluegrass Among the Damn Tall Buildings

Bluegrass grows among the Damn Tall Buildings in Brooklyn. Music discovery is quite an expedition; you never know what you’re going to find. Brooklyn is a melting pot, with its cacophony of beautiful genre influences, which can be heard moment by moment as you walk down its litered city streets. Discovering the band, Damn Tall Buildings is an absolute joy. 

Assembled now as a trio, this Americana-Bluegrass band hails from various points around America, from Montana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Max Capistran is the main lyricist, playing guitar and banjo while contributing vocals. Avery Ballotta, plays the fiddle and banjo and vocal harmonies. Sasha Dubyk completes the vocal trifecta with her beautiful voice while playing the Upright Bass. 

damn tall buildings

On September ninth, they released their latest album, Sleeping Dogs. Playing their album and getting to know the band, I interviewed two members on the The Long Island Sound podcast. Max Capistran, and Avery Ballotta recounted their beginnings and their decade -long relationship which resulted in a friendship that is clearly exposed in their newly released album. Starting out as buskers on Newbury Street in Boston, they began touring nationally, and then moved the band to Brooklyn in 2017. They connect in the day to day interactions and hope their music brings joy to be spread around.

“Our innate desire is to connect with people on a level that’s beyond day-to-day interaction. Our hope is that the joy that making this music brings us will somehow get passed along to the people listening, which they can then take with them to pass along to someone else. It’s a shared celebration of positive energy, and that’s what keeps us cooking.”

Damn Tall Buildings

Popping their album, Sleeping Dogs into my car CD player, yes I still have a CD player, I was able to digest the essence of their music into my subconscious. The result brought a smile to my face and a hop in my step.It may do the same for you. 

The curiosity lies in wondering why three people from diverse parts of our country would decide to settle Brooklyn? I have been to Montana. Fearing an extended stay would keep me in that heavenly place, my vacation soon ended and I was back to the  familiarity of taxes and traffic on Long Island. Why anyone, with roots in paradise, would transplant themselves to Brooklyn is still a mystery. No disrespect to the “forgetta-bout-it” borough, but I wonder why?   Maybe this new resignation from a rural existence is a lesson on how to immerse yourself into a metropolitan culture to get your creative juices flowing.

A Band Built on a Solid Foundation

New Album “Sleeping dogs”

Damn Tall Buildings has been around as a group for the past ten years,  Max, Avery (a.k.a. Montana) and Sasha  met in college at the Berkelee School of Music in Massachusetts. They honed their craft by literally playing on the street.  What a great incubator for this Bluegrass-Americana band to grow. You’ll find that the album, Sleeping Dogs, is much more than a toe-tapping exercise in Bluegrass-Swing style music.The band invites us into their living room to experience their music. Their style is stripped down to the essentials, a standup bass plucked by Sasha, Banjo, a guitar fenesed by Max  and Montana’s fiddle bringing it all together. Add some select harmonies, the twang of Max’s voice and you’ve got something special.

Their sound fits like an old coat, that’s weather worn, yet comfortable. A cloth that carries you through the seasons of your musical journey. The band makes you feel at home, warmed by the fires of a hearth, alongside your sleeping dog.   

Discovering a well-spring of talent in New York is a worthwhile endeavor. The streams of creativity in Brooklyn and the rest of Long Island may have many flavors and are drawn from distant sources, but the satisfaction comes from drinking it all in. 

Until next time, be generous with your joy, and let the music take you on a journey!

The Long Island Sound Podcast can be found at or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We feature original singer/songwriters and showcase some of their songs, as you get to know the artist behind the music.

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