Lewis & Clarke is the nom de plume of Lou Rogai and current collaborators Eve Miller, Russell Higbee (also of contemporary groups Rachel’s and Man Man, respectively), and Dave Ulrich. The moniker has been described as metaphor for journey on many levels, including musical, spiritual, and physical. The name is also a reference to the fellowship and correspondence between C.S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke., not the 19th century explorers. Rogai is credited as composer/musician/songwriter as well as founder of La Société Expéditionnaire, an artist-based cooperative record label dedicated to exposing the wild and/or fragile music of colleagues. Rogai also regularly collaborates with Strand of Oaks and Moon & Moon.
The most recent musical styling of Lewis & Clarke can be described as avant chamber folk, or neo-baroque, while the first 2003 self-release Bright Light EP represents a reflective, dusty Americana sound. In 2003, MAGNET magazine declared Rogai as “a gifted newcomer”. Xavier Benoit, owner of the Belgian Delboy Records, discovered the early incarnation of Lewis & Clarke while on tour in the US, prompting Delboy to release Lewis & Clarke’s debut full length Bare Bones and Branches in Europe. This was supported by a short tour of the Benelux, and the album was met with critical acclaim. A live Lewis & Clarke track surfaced on a compilation issued by PIAS entitled Duyster, a “best of” compilation from Belgian National Radio’s program of the same name. Also featured were contemporaries Joanna Newsom, Mogwai, and Cat Power.
Rogai returned to Delaware Water Gap, PA, a mountain town steeped in rich musical history. A second full length, Blasts of Holy Birth, was initiated with Dave Ulrich, Miller and Higbee, also a native of Delaware Water Gap. During this process, The US version of Bare Bones and Branches (alternate takes, mixes, tracks and artwork) was released in 2005 by Summersteps, a micro-label most noted for their Jandek tribute albums. (Jandek himself expressed gratitude in a handwritten letter for particular tracks on Down in a Mirror Vol. II, including Lewis & Clarke’s cover of “Nancy Sings”)
La Société Expéditionnaire released Live on WPRB as live vinyl-only 12″ EP in the Fall of 2006. This recording captures the chemistry of Rogai, Ulrich and Higbee live on Princeton Radio, (without Miller, who was healing from an injury) and prepared listeners for Blasts of Holy Birth. It sets an ambiance including various chimes, vocals, new humans, eastern drones, harp, guitar, banjo, piano, percussion, and other whims, including the Expeditionary Grace Singers.
Bare Bones and Branches, originally released in the fall was called “The perfect Autumnal album” by the Associated Press. One can begin to detect clues and identify patterns of Lewis & Clarke as an organic, ever changing life’s work, with Blasts of Holy Birth being a major cornerstone defining the current Lewis & Clarke sound. Released in May 2007, it dovetails the symbolic nature of spring and birth, and represents themes found in a Taoist text called “Secret of the Golden Flower” (also the opening title track). Pitchfork calls it “Eight tracks of delicate Beauty” and notes Rogai as a “guitar connoisseur.”
LEWIS & CLARKE
03/26/08 – Pittsburgh, PA – Garfield Artworks
03/27/08 – Columbus, OH – Surly Girl w/ The Black Swans
03/28/08 – Chicago, IL – AV-aerie
03/29/08 – Madison, WI – The Annex w/ A Catapult Western, Matt Jennings, Patchwork
03/31/08 – Bloomington, IN – Art Hospital w/ Resting Rooster
04/02/08 – State College, PA – Roustabout! @ Bar Bleu
04/03/08 – Wilkes Barre, PA – Fixture @ Fuse w/ Illinois
04/04/08 – Philadelphia, PA – Circle of Hope w/Caroline Weeks + Mary Hampton
04/05/08 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool w/Caroline Weeks + Mary Hampton
04/06/08 – Cambridge, MA – The Lily Pad – w/Caroline Weeks + Mary Hampton
04/07/08 – New Britain, CT – The Art League of New Britain w/Caroline Weeks, Mary Hampton, + Mandrake
Band Page: www.lewisandclarkemusic.com
Press Materials: www.la-soc.com/blastspreview.html
Label Page: www.la-soc.com/lewis&clarke.html