Daisycutter is a simmering culmination of New York's musical melting pot in action. Based in Beacon, NY, this "downtown/upstate" band combines a wide-screen city view with a bracing dose of rural realism, creating a searing mix of indie roots-rock with an alt-country barbed wire edge. Fronted by singer/fiddler Sara Milonovich, and featuring inventive multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling (of Railroad Earth) on mandolin, banjo, and dobro, Greg Anderson on guitar, Leo Traversa on bass, and Ben Wittman on drums, Daisycutter blazes a unique musical trail with their "mix of bluegrass and a twinge of political-punk attitude and lyrics." (Jeff Sweatman, The Corner)
The members of Daisycutter harbor a deep respect for their musical roots while not shying away from modern sounds and statements. Their 2009 self-titled debut was acclaimed as "what Nashville would sound like if it was just a bit smarter" (David Malachowski, Daily Freeman). The much-anticipated follow up, Waiting For The Stars, was released in late 2016. Spearheaded by Sara's original songs, including Scarecrow (a 2010 John Lennon Songwriting Contest finalist), the album paints windswept images of a modern ruralism yet to make peace with its past while confronting an uncertain future. The disaster ballad West of Eden (featuring Leigh Gibson on harmony vocals) pays tribute to flood-ravaged farmlands, while High Tension Wire calls for an uprising of the downtrodden and dispossessed. Earthy dobro lines provide grounding to swirling fiddles and soaring vocals in Leave a Light On and Newsprint, lending a timeless air to modern subjects. While digging deep lyrically, Waiting for the Stars still leaves plenty of room to showcase the band's formidable instrumental abilities: a wealth of diverse influences allows them to take on 'folk' songs of all stripes, from the high-octane bluegrass version of Neko Case's Mood to Burn Bridges, the worldbeat stringband feel of the Joe Strummer's Johnny Appleseed, to the rocking jam-grass medley from the Led Zeppelin canon of Friends and Celebration Day. With crystalline vocals supported by scorching instrumental firepower, Daisycutter forges "a deft mix of literate folk and plenty of modern-day ass-kicking" (Robert Burke Warren, Chronogram).
Frontwoman/singer/songwriter/fiddler Sara Milonovich cut her teeth as a highly sought-after side person in the bluegrass, folk, rock, americana, and celtic music worlds, and has performed and recorded throughout North and South America, Europe and beyond. She was among the last generations to learn traditional music as it was passed down firsthand, from the grange halls and lumber camps of the North Country to the pubs of NYC. Growing up on a working farm in rural upstate New York, she began playing when she was four, and by nine was leading her own band (around the same time she learned to drive a tractor.) After a collection of awards for fiddling, singing, and composing, she left school at sixteen to hit the road with bluegrass band The McKrells. A diverse trajectory led her from there through a busy career as an accompanist and collaborator with such artists as Richard Shindell, Pete Seeger (including on his Grammy-winning At 89 album), Eliza Gilkyson, Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, and NY stringband Mountain Quickstep, among others. In 2011, Sara toured Kosovo, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Turkey as part of The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad, a cultural diplomatic program administered by Jazz At Lincoln Center and the US State Department. In 2016 she founded Rootstock (www.rootstockfest.org), a nonprofit music festival dedicated to supporting the next generation of farmers in the Northeast. In partnership with American Farmland Trust and the National Young Farmers Coalition, the inaugural Rootstock concert raised over $1000 for farmland preservation and young farmers’ advocacy efforts.