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Brightblack Morning Light

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Brightblack Morning Light
OriginNorthern California, United States
GenresFreak folk[1][2]
InstrumentsFender Rhodes, Silvertone guitar[3]
Years active2005–2012
MembersRachael Hughes
Nathan Shineywater

Brightblack Morning Light is a musical group formed in Northern California by guitarist Nathan Shineywater and pianist Rachael Hughes, both of whom are from Alabama. The band has been "linked to a spirit of folky 1960's revivalism,"[6] and they were called one of the leaders of the "freak folk" scene.[7] Praised for their recordings, the band also organized a number of small folk festivals in Northern California.[8]

The band eschewed commercial exposure, having chosen a relatively quiet and luxury-free life—they have lived in cars, tents, converted chicken-coops, and cabins,[1] and have recorded music using solar power.[9] They were described as "back-to-the-land idealists and activists" who are influenced by such writers and activists as Edward Abbey, Leonard Peltier, Henry David Thoreau, Allen Ginsberg, and Carlos Castaneda.[2] Shineywater also cites Ram Dass, Rachel Grimes, and Hamza El Din.[1]


In 2002, while called Brightblack, the band recorded an album named Ala.Cali.Tucky of songs they had performed while called Rainywood,[2] on Galaxia Records.[10] The album was well-received, and praised for its vocal harmonies.[2]

The current band was founded in 2004. In 2005 BrightBlack Morning Light played at All Tomorrow's Parties, a music festival in England, at the invitation of the Kentucky band Slint.[2] That same year the band signed with Matador Records and released their eponymous debut album, sold in Europe as well as America.[11] In Belgium, the album received a positive review as well, in the weekly HUMO.[12] The New York Times called it "extraordinary" and praised it for its "mesmerizing, hollowed-out grooves."[6]

In 2008, Matador released BBML's Motion to Rejoin. The album was recorded in New Mexico, electricity for the recording sessions was generated by four solar power panels.[13] Motion to Rejoin received attention in the United States[14][15][16] as well as in Europe, "Top 5 Alternative Albums of 2008" UK GUARDIAN, with reviews and press coverage in Belgium[3][17] and Germany.[18] In the year of 2009 BBML headlined/toured extensively multiple times across the USA and Europe, including Transmusicales France & ATP curation by My Bloody Valentine.[18] In 2012 the band had a digital release entitled "LIVE JOURNAL ONE Instrumentals (2006 & 2008)". Naybob Shineywater has a project with My Bloody Valentine co-Founder entitled Library Of Sands.

Quiet Quiet music festivals[edit]

The "Quiet Quiet" festivals were first started by Shineywater in 2003 in Bolinas, California, and have been organized in various locations in the area, including Big Sur.[1] Bands and artists invited to play have included harpist Joanna Newsom, Women & Children, Lavender Diamond, Sunroof!, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Will Oldham, and Devendra Banhart. In 2006, the line-up included Greenwich Village folk veteran Michael Hurley, members of the post-hardcore band Lungfish, Vetiver, and the debut of Northern California folk singer Mariee Sioux, who BBML also took on national and European tours as main support.

At an early Quiet Quiet gig in Bolinas, signs appeared at road junctions directing those interested where to go. At the gig itself, held at Smiley's Saloon in Bolinas and the Bolinas Community Center, locals mixed uneasily with hipsters there for the gig, and Shineywater could be heard repeatedly hushing the crowd so that the unamplified bands could be heard above the saloon din. However, the Community Center show was extremely profitable for the musicians and audience. The City Of Bolinas banned camping on the beach just weeks after the festival, because so many tents appeared on the local beach. Shineywater encouraged the beach as a place to camp for "all those too wasted to drive back to San Francisco."


Supporting musicians[edit]


  • Ala.Cali.Tucky (2003, Galaxia)
  • Pebbles and Ripples (2004, Split 7" with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Self-released)
  • Brightblack Morning Light (2006, Matador Records)
  • Motion to Rejoin (2008, Matador Records)
  • Lungfish/Brightblack Morning Light (2009, Split 7", Harvest Recordings)
  • 2012 "LIVE JOURNAL ONE Instrumentals (2006 & 2008) digital iTunes release

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Richardson, Derk (27 July 2006). "Brightblack Morning Light's back-to-the-land activists talk about the roots and evolution of their mystical, dreamy electric folk songs". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kamps, Garrett (12 January 2005). "Bohemian Rhapsody: If Brightblack weren't a trio of big, lovable hippies, it'd probably be huge by now". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Rev. of Brightblack Morning Light, Motion to Rejoin". HUMO (in Dutch). 29 November 2008. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Up & Coming This Week's Notable Shows and Parties". The Stranger. 6 January 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  5. ^ Richardson, Derk (13 July 2006). "With its dazzling new CD, SF's Vetiver secures its place in the freak-folk vanguard -- with a little help from its friends". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 March 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b Sanneh, Kelefa (23 June 2006). "Brightblack Morning Light: A Mellow Vibe With an Exacting Groove". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  7. ^ Crain, William (15 October 2008). "Brightblack Morning Light". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  8. ^ a b Thornton, Stuart (19 January 2006). "Quiet Quiet Mellow Folk Trip: Ocean Spell debuts at Fernwood this weekend". Montery County Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2010.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b Gilmartin, Wendy (28 May 2009). "Rock Picks: Fol Chen, Moonrats, Brightblack Morning Light, Bachelorette". LA Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  10. ^ "New releases". Music Week. 10 July 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Rev. of Brightblack Morning Light, Brightblack Morning Light" (in French). November 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Rev. of Brightblack Morning Light, Brightblack Morning Light". HUMO (in Dutch). 2 December 2006. Archived from the original on May 6, 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  13. ^ Topping, Monica (9 October 2008). "Brightblack Morning Light: Southwestern solar-power album inspiration comes from Arcata". Times-Standard. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  14. ^ Parker, Chris (30 October 2008). "Brightblack Morning Light's Nathan Shineywater Smokes Some Pot and Answers Some Questions". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on 26 November 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  15. ^ Leonard, Joel (23 September 2008). "The nomadic stylings of Brightblack Morning Light". The Carolinian Online. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  16. ^ Varine, Patrick (30 September 2008). "Album review: Motion to Rejoin, by Brightblack Morning Light". Taunton Daily Gazette. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  17. ^ Smolders, Kevin (26 November 2008). "Rev. of Brightblack Morning Light, Motion To Rejoin" (in Dutch). Cutting Edge. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Eintauchen in die US-Neo-Hippie-Szene" (in German). Südwest Presse. 16 November 2009. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  19. ^ a b c d Stosuy, Brandon (23 June 2006). "Rev. of Brightblack Morning Light, Brightblack Morning Light". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 25 March 2010.

External links[edit]