Art Vandalay was formed the way everyone puts on their pants, one leg at a time. What started out as a solo endeavor in 2007 for Twin Cities singer/songwriter Brandon Henry has morphed into a full-fledged musical outfit with Calvin Plocher-Kiesling on drums, Ben Cook-Feltz (Ben Cook-Feltz, Mother Banjo Band) on keys & harmonies, Drew Stevenson (Matt Inkala & the Hostages) on bass and Colin Monette on lead guitar. Whether solo or a full band, Art Vandalay delivers their own brand of roots-rock Americana with a laid back vibe that is a breath of fresh air to the Minnesota Americana/roots-rock scene. Drawing from influences like Tom Petty, Wilco, John Prine and Neil Young, their repertoire varies from swooning heart-breakers to breezy bossa beats to the gritty groove of Americana songs that are “impossibly catchy” (Duluth News-Tribune).
In 2009, Art Vandalay released their debut EP, Dancin’ With Your Demons to critical acclaim. The album featured seven originals that rode a fine line between “dusty roads and hipster pads” (Duluth News-Tribune) and drew comparisons to everyone from Neil Young to The Byrds and The Lovin’ Spoonful. With its infectious Americana rocker “If You Love Me,” penned as a tribute to Rockmount pearl snap shirts and the groovy bossa nova number “Way It Goes” Dancin’ With Your Demons was a solid break-out debut.
Art Vandalay delivered a richer sound on 2012’s full-length Heaven’s Operahouse. The straight ahead roots rock album highlighted Henry’s penchant for finely crafted songs with “Out to Sea,” “Poison Wine” and the contemplative title track. Back at the helm was the original trio of Henry on lead vocals and guitar, Ben Cook-Feltz on keys and harmonies as well as Calvin Plocher-Kiesling on drums. This album enlisted the lead guitar player Colin Monette whose reverb soaked guitars added a whole new flavor to Art Vandalay’s distinctive sound and was a solid full-length follow up to Demons.
In 2014 Drew Stevenson (Matt Inkala & The Hostages) joined as the group’s bass player to add some low-end groove to their music. Today Art Vandalay continues to evolve with new songs and unique covers performing primarily around Minnesota and the upper-Midwest. As a full band or solo, each show puts Art Vandalay’s distinctive stamp on Americana roots/rock they continue to gain fans.