The Crooked North is an acoustic, Americana stringband that features some of the top bluegrass players in Western New York. They capture the high energy of new a generation of modern bluegrass, the gritty soul of great American songwriting, and the Rust Belt ethos of their hometown. The music maintains a deep commitment to the bluegrass tradition while infusing a modern twist and a dark edge. Their compelling sound features haunting harmonies, vivid storytelling, and unexpected arrangements.
Following paths through big cities, bands of all kinds, road gigs, odd jobs, and breaks both good and bad, nationally recognized songwriter Jon Itkin and award-winning instrumentalist Ben Proctor landed in Rochester around the same time. Circumstance had them throwing together a last-minute gig in January of 2014, with Jon on guitar, Ben on banjo and dobro, Rita Proctor on vocals, and Jordan Kleiman on bass. With no name and one rehearsal under their belt, the band ventured out into three-degree weather to play at a club with a less-than-stellar sound system. An inauspicious start, to be sure, but the sparse audience agreed: it was the beginning of something special. Over the next few years, the band gradually honed its distinctive sound and collaborated with local greats including Perry Cleaveland and fiddle barn-burner Tahlia Cott.
The band has played clubs and festivals across New York state, including Brantling Bluegrass Festival, The Rochester Fringe Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2016, the band recorded a full-length debut album with veteran producer and Grammy Nominee Mike Brown. The band has an EP scheduled to be released in October 2017.
To inquire about bookings (or anything else), drop a line.
Ben Proctor: banjo, dobro, vocals
Jon Itkin: guitar, vocals
Rita Proctor: vocals, rhythm mandolin
Jordan Kleiman: bass