ABOUT THE ACCOMPLICES
Each Accomplices member brings something unique to the band’s sound through their own personal music story. Guitarist and vocalist Matt Eckstine grew up in Ohio, hooked on the stylings of alternative rockers of the 1990s and singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson. Upon moving to Savannah, he was introduced to the wide world of roots music. From alt-country to bluegrass, the local scene inspired Matt to push himself as a songwriter and follow in the footsteps of greats like John Prine and Levon Helm. As a lyricist, Matt strives to craft personal, vulnerable tunes that connect with the listener. "I want to be authentic and keep it positive," the songwriter attests.
In seeking players to join him in creating upbeat acoustic music with deep folk roots, Matt met Savannah native Zach Smith. The son of a radio disc jockey, Zach fell in love with musical performance while performing in his high school's esteemed jazz band (though after school, you could find him rocking out to Led Zeppelin albums with his buddies). His promising high school career earned him a scholarship to pursue classical and jazz performance at Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. After years of intense study and performance, he discovered the world of bluegrass and jam music. A complete through-hike of the Appalachian Trail inspired Zach to dedicate his life to music, join a Nashville-blues brother duo, an Irish-Celtic ensemble, and, at last, The Accomplices.
Colleen Heine was introduced to fiddle while attending her first bluegrass festival in Winfield, Kansas. Inspired by the culture of late-night pickers and the camaraderie of the old-time and bluegrass music community, she picked up the bow and never put it down. In 2003, Colleen helped start the Folk School of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization providing music education opportunities for adults and children, and served as the organization's Executive Director for 7 years. During that time, she was a founding member of the Black-Eyed Susies, an all-female old-time string band, and she played in a premier St. Louis bluegrass band, The Grass Pack, which featured several local bluegrass veterans. Over time, Colleen’s style has evolved into a rhythmic, raw, old-time and bluegrass-inspired sound with rock ‘n’ roll swagger.
Jack-of- all-trades Stan Ray came to The Accomplices armed with drumsticks and a beautifully varied repertoire. A singer-songwriter schooled in Music Business and Audio Engineering, Stan honed his jazz, soul, rock and blues-inspired chops in Nashville, recording with the likes of Ned Van Go, Treml Bigsby, and Mr. Charlie while fronting two 12-piece horn bands: Broadway and What is Hip. Stan moved to Savannah in 2001, where he showcased fresh talent by hosting singer-songwriter nights in the round. The Savannah Songwriters Series, which he co-founded, remains a treasured staple of Savannah’s music culture. After being asked to play with The Accomplices for the release of their first album, Canned Beans, Stan became a permanent member of the band.
An Accomplices show is a thrilling mix of hoedown energy and concert hall-worthy skills, fueled by a pure love of entertainment. A metronome of tapping toes reverberates through the floor while partners spin one another and smiles abound throughout a rapt audience. With The Accomplices, it's a welcoming environment that's unfussy, transfixing, and high-spirited.
The group’s knack for originality goes beyond the music. A multitalented team of creatives, Matt, Zach, Colleen, and Stan are professionals when it comes to throwing an unforgettable, nontraditional, community-centric concert. A Truck, A Train, An Old Dump Pile was released among shining kegs of Southbound Brewing beer in the Savannah brewery's headquarters. For their debut of the 2015 EP Mountain Buzz, the gang filled the gorgeously rustic Georgia Railroad Museum with fans, food, drink, and new tunes. While many musicians pay tribute to their musical heroes with an occasional cover song, The Accomplices have taken creative fandom to the next level by producing a variety of inventive tribute concerts. From Life is a Carnival: A Tribute to The Band to their Tribute to John Prine, the events call upon the Savannah musical community to join in and honor folk's forefathers. Every year, the band spreads joy to their community via the Homegrown Holiday Hoedown, a festive bash complete with food, drink, a Toys For Tots gift drive, a concert, and, naturally, an appearance from Santa.
The band has been selected to perform at a number of noteworthy festivals, including St. Louis Folk & Roots Festival, The John Hartford Memorial Festival, French Broad River Festival, and more. With two LPs, (Canned Beans, 2011, A Truck, A Train, An Old Dump Pile, 2014), two live albums (Live at Isis Music Hall, 2014, Live at The Mars Theatre, 2015), and an EP (Mountain Buzz, 2015), The Accomplices have proven themselves masters of hooky, Southern-steeped songwriting with traditional flair. It’s the
Summer of Love spent in a kayak on a winding river, the feistiness of mountain music set in open water and powered by wind-filled sails. You can look forward to basking in the glow of good times, quality musicianship, and genuine artistic passion as it pours from The Accomplices’ stage.