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Appleseed Collective plans first visit to Jonesborough

For Andrew Brown, it may have been that trip to New Orleans at age 19 that locked in his destiny.
Son of a former musician and from a musical family, Brown had recently decided to seriously consider a career in music, but had yet to figure out the particulars.
“I learned to play when I was younger, but I didn’t know that much,” Brown admitted.
Then he heard street musicians making their magic in the French Quarter and beyond. He was intrigued with the old, and challenged by how to merge it with the new.
“There was almost a schizophrenic quality and a raw sweaty grit,” he recalled.
And in that moment, in a way, Appleseed Collective was born.
A relatively new band based in Michigan with a label of “progressive swing,” Appleseed Collective will perform at Music on the Square Friday, Sept. 4, for the first time. And while Brown believes the label somewhat fits, he sees the group as so much more.
“Each of our songwriting styles come from a different place,” Brown said. “People keep guessing as to what kind of music we actually play.”
The band’s current members include Brown on vocals and guitar; Brandon Smith, a violinist and mandolinist who grew up playing old time fiddle music; Vince Russo, a multi-percussionist who blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n’ roll on the washboard; and Eric Dawe, who plays bass and comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical.
Once this is all filtered through the band’s musicality, according to Brown, it becomes something very much “Appleseed Collective.”
“The thing is, we’re not a traditional band,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to be a traditional band.”
As a “non-traditional band,” the Appleseed Collective finds it has a broad appeal.
“We appeal to a wide demographic,” he said. Staunch fans include older audience members who welcome the nostalgic elements, as well as millennials who are drawn to what they see as a new sound.
Babies and toddlers, Brown said, seem to especially embrace the joyful vibrance of the sound.
“It’s totally a unique project that’s really nothing like what you normally hear,” he said, characterizing Appleseed Collective as a combination of gypsy, psychedelic folk, bluegrass and more.
“We try to keep the audience guessing and really try to make it fun,” Brown added. “We work really hard at it, and these guys want nothing more than to get up and play music. We’re hoping to connect to the people and take them on our journey with us.”
Brown is also looking forward to the band’s first visit to Jonesborough, the Storytelling Capital of the World, because telling stories is, in essence, what they do.
“There is a group of stories that I had actually written when I was 14 that I called the ‘Appleseed Collective,’” Brown said. When time came to name their new collaboration, the title of his stories seemed the perfect title for the band.
“All songs and songwriter are fragments of stories,” he added. Appleseed Collective will perform at the MOTS concert series on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in downtown Jonesborough. The concert series runs every Friday night through September. For more information, call 753-1010 or visit www.musiconthesquare.com.