The Fall Risk

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The Fall Risk
The Fall Risk
Jeff Pehrson, Phil Savell, and Mark Abbott from The Fall Risk at "A Bear's Picnic" in Hughesville, PA on August 2, 2013
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California
Genres Folk rock, Americana
Years active 2009-present
Associated acts Furthur (2009-present)
Box Set (1991-2006)
Box Set Duo (1991-present)
Members Jeff Pehrson
Matt Twain
Mark Abbott
Sammy Johnston
Mike Sugar
Rich Goldstein
Phil Savell
Past members Dave Moffat
"Fiddle" Dave Muhlethaler
Jeff Ballard
Eddie Berljafa

The Fall Risk is an American folk rock band founded by Furthur vocalist Jeff Pehrson in 2009.[1]


Box Set (1991-2006)[edit]

Jeff Pehrson, currently a backup vocalist for Furthur, began playing guitar and writing original songs in 1985 while matriculating at San Francisco State University. In 1987, along with keyboardist/vocalist friend Matt Twain, the Twain & Pehrson Duo began playing regular gigs at San Francisco's The Owl and the Monkey Cafe. In 1991, singer-songwriter Jim Brunberg joined the duo, forming the folk rock band, Box Set, that began performing locally, and after establishing a growing loyal fan base, regionally. Twain, who was unable to travel due to his day job, left the band, leaving the Box Set Duo, which still continues to perform on occasion in the Bay Area and Portland.[2][3] The increasingly popular duo, whose expressive songwriting and resonant harmonies have prompted comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel,[4] decided to broaden their sound by adding drummer Matt Abbott and bass player Chad Heise in 1993 and keyboardist/harmonicist/accordionist Sam Johnston in 1994.[5][6] Box Set toured continuously until 2004, when their touring pace slowed, in part due to Brunberg's relocating to Portland and matriculating in law school, and performed its last show in 2006. During its career, Box Set released a total of 12 recordings,[7][8][9] was recognized by Billboard on their "Honor Roll of Unsigned Talent" in 1994,[10][11][12] was named "Group of the Year" by the National Academy of Songwriters in 1995,[13] and won two Bay Area Music Awards ("Bammies") for "Best Club Band" and "Outstanding Americana/Roots Band" in 1997.[14][15]

The Fall Risk (2009-present)[edit]

While working in a merger and acquisitions firm in San Francisco, Pehrson became inspired to start another band. In February 2009, he recruited former Box Set members Matt Twain (keyboards, vocals) and Mark Abbott (drums) as well as former college friends Eddie Berljafa (bass) and Jeff Ballard (harmonica, percussion) to form The Fall Risk, which debuted on June 20, 2009 at the San Gregorio General Store. Following the band's debut, Berljafa left to pursue playing blues in San Jose, and was replaced by Dave Moffat. In early 2010, while developing his band, Pehrson became one of two backup vocalists for Furthur, a jam band formed in 2009 by former Grateful Dead members, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, with whom he still performs.[16] Shortly thereafter in 2010, The Fall Risk added former Box Set member Sam Johnston (organ, accordion, pedal steel) and Rich Goldstein (rhythm/lead/slide guitar) (who performs with drummer Mark Abbott in his band Little Muddy)[17] and added "Fiddle" Dave Muhlethaler (fiddle, mandolin) and Phil Savell (lead guitar) in 2011;[18] Eddie Berljafa returned to the band, replacing Dave Moffat at that time, as well. Muhlethaler left the band in 2012, followed by Ballard and Berljafa in 2013, at which time Mike Sugar (bass) began. Although the band has performed primarily in the Bay Area, they embarked on a Mid-Atlantic mini-tour in early August, 2013, coinciding with the release of their debut CD.[19][1][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Musical style[edit]

The Fall Risk performs original songs written by Jeff Pehrson, both during his time with Box Set and with The Fall Risk, as well as occasional covers of bands such as Grateful Dead, The Beatles, The Who, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison. Their songs, which embody a combination of evocative, poetic lyrics and infectious, uplifting melodies, are performed in an Americana/roots/folk rock style.[23][24][22][19]

The Fall Risk
The Fall Risk performing at A Bear's Picnic in Hughesville, PA on August 2, 2013.


Current members
  • Jeff Pehrson—rhythm guitar, vocals (2009–present)
  • Matt Twain—keyboard, vocals (2009–present)
  • Mark Abbott—drums (2009–present)
  • Sammy Johnston—organ, accordion, pedal steel, harmonica (2010–present)
  • Mike Sugar—bass (2013–present)
  • Rich Goldstein—slide/rhythm/lead guitar (2010–present)
  • Phil Savell—lead guitar (2011–present)

Former members
  • Dave Moffat—bass (2009-2011)
  • "Fiddle" Dave Muhlthaler—fiddle, mandolin, guitar (2011-2012)
  • Jeff Ballard—harmonica, percussion (2009-2013)
  • Eddie Berljafa—bass (2009, 2011-2013)




  1. ^ a b "Furthur: About The Band". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  2. ^ Linehan, Gary (March 31, 1995). "Dance package: Box Set and Sushi". The Union Democrat. Sonora, CA. p. 7.
  3. ^ Poet, J. (January 18, 1998). "Out of the Box: Indie folk-rock band Box Set aims at the big time with major-label debut". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  4. ^ Elwood, Philip (January 14, 1995). "Box Set's go the whole package: Local band displays good singing, playing and writing". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. Box Set biography at AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  6. ^ Budnick, Dean (1998). Jam Bands: North America's hottest live groups plus how to tape and trade their shows. Toronto, ON: ECW Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 1-55022-353-4.
  7. ^ Freedman, Richard (July 22, 2005). "Dynamic duo juiced about playing Jamba stage". TImes-Herald. Vallejo, CA.
  8. ^ "Box Set Discography of CDs". cdUniverse. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  9. ^ Box Set discography at AllMusic. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  10. ^ Robinson, Bruce (January 4, 1996). "Box Set". The Sonoma County Independent. Santa Rosa, CA. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  11. ^ Newman, Melinda (December 24, 1994). "Bands to Bank On: An Honor Roll of America's Unsigned Talent". Billboard. pp. 5, 97–98. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  12. ^ Newman, Melinda (March 9, 1996). "An Update On 'Bands to Bank On': From Verve Pipe To The Box Set". Billboard. pp. 16, 19. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  13. ^ Iwasaki, Scott (July 25, 1997). "Former schoolteacher now roams club scene in Box Set". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT. p. W8.
  14. ^ Elwood, Philip; Marine, Craig (March 16, 1997). "Honors for Jazz Great: Box Set, Tommy Castro Band among Bay Area standouts". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Graham, Travis (March 17, 1997). "Band Managers Rise To The Occasion At Bammies". VH1. Retrieved December 12, 1997. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ "Furthur Tests New Lineup in San Rafael". 25 May 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "About Little Muddy". 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  18. ^ "Philip Savell page on Sublime Wiki". March 2, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c Budnick, Dean (August 1, 2013). "Jeff Pehrson: Furthur's Vocalist Embraces The Fall Risk". Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  20. ^ Markovitz, Brian (2011). "Jeff Pehrson and The Fall Risk, August 7, 2011". Retrieved November 4, 2011. Jeff Pehrson's - other band - The Fall Risk performs at Jerry Day in San Francisco
  21. ^ "The Fall Risk Facebook page: Comments re: starting EP recording work". March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  22. ^ a b Grabien, Deborah (January 11, 2013). "The Fall Risk: a big band with a nice nineties throwback sound". Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Crane, Victoria (January 29, 2013). "The Fall Risk Rocks The Bay Area". Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Grabien, Deborah (March 16, 2013). "One Great Band, One Great Studio, Two Great Days: Hanging With The Fall Risk at TRI Studios". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "The Fall Risk Facebook page: Comments re: East Coast run". May 31, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  26. ^ a b "Furthur's Jeff Pehrson and The Fall Risk Share "Angeline"". July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  27. ^ a b Liberatore, Paul (August 23, 2013). "Press Play: Jeff Pehrson's dynamic debut with Fall Risk". Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  28. ^ Grabien, Deborah (July 30, 2013). "The Fall Risk, Volume 1: Perfect Americana". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  29. ^ Tulett, Linda (August 16, 2013). "CD Review: The Fall Risk – Volume No. 1…Nine Songs That Invoke Heart and Soul into Your Daily Groove". Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  30. ^ Sheckter, Alan (October 3, 2013). "The Fall Risk: Volume No. 1". Retrieved January 26, 2014.