“Live, Skye wears her heart on her sleeve and Reiners plays the hell out of his telecaster.”
—THE VILLAGE VOICE
With a truly memorable and unique collection of songs, Elena Skye and Boo Reiners and their Demolition String Band have steadily built their reputation one gig at a time. They love nothing more than thrilling a sweaty dance floor with dangerous Telecaster work atop a nimble rhythm section, or pickin’ and singing old-school around a single microphone, juggling banjo, mandolin and guitars while weaving rustic, taut harmony vocals with tall tales and truth, joy and heartbreak, despair and redemption.
Elena and Boo have been collaborators for almost two decades, marking their journey with numerous releases and countless miles on the road in the USA and Europe. With the help of a successful 2016 Kickstarter crowd- funding campaign, they’ve finished a new album. “I Wait For The Light” is a tour through the heart that offers new angles and perspectives with each listen. The focus of Elena’s songwriting is supported by Boo’s arranging and production skills, and longtime DSB compadres Kenny Soule, Winston Roye and Mike Santoro proffer their rhythm section magic, all deftly captured in the studio by Scott Anthony, John Siket, Tom Beaujour and Sean Kelly.
Fueled by a shared passion for country, rock ‘n roll, bluegrass and mountain music, Elena Skye (Chicago, IL) and Boo Reiners (Charlotte, N.C.) have led their Hoboken/NYC based Demolition String Band for almost two decades. They both started out as kids, taking lessons, slowing down classic recordings, jamming with anyone and everyone and performing in bluegrass bands. Their paths first crossed at an independent bookstore in Hoboken, N.J. co-owned and managed by Elena. Their after-hours jams at Blackwater Books and nearby pubs led them to form a band.
They soon found themselves part of an emerging bluegrass, country and roots music scene just across the river on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, leading a bluegrass jam on Sundays on Saint Mark’s Place and playing every Monday night as part of The Alphabet City Opry. They appeared regularly on WKCR’s Moonshine Show and Elena made frequent appearances as guest deejay hosting segments such as Women In Bluegrass and The Roots of Country.
Now eight albums into their career together, they’ve toured the USA and Europe and shared bills with an eclectic range of artists including The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Joan Osborne, Patti Smith, Ricky Skaggs, Southern Culture On The Skids, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Roger McGuinn and many others. Playing everything from festivals, pubs, live radio, fairs and in-stores across the US, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland has garnered critical acclaim for the group, and for Elena as a front woman, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. Shows that have featured live performance and interviews from the group include “The Blue Plate Special” (WDVX Knoxville, TN), “Woodsong Old Time Radio Hour” (Lexington, KY) and WFUV’s “Words & Music Live In Studio A with Rita Houston” (NYC) among several others.
Skye and Reiners worked on an episode of The Upright Citizen’s Brigade weekly show on Comedy Central, and went live with Amy Poehler and the rest of the cast to promote the series on The Conan O’Brien show. Their original music has been used in the PBS show “History Detectives” and for the documentary film “Burning The Future: Coal In America” about the disastrous effects of mountaintop removal. Through their connection to the film they have performed at fundraisers for the cause including the “Appalachian Rising” action and conference in Washington, D.C.
Boo has toured and recorded with indie-rockers Dispatch, and his work on the road and in the studio with world music pioneers The Klezmatics helped garner a 2007 Grammy win for their album “Wonder Wheel: Lyrics By Woody Guthrie,” on which he appears as a multi-instrumentalist.
Elena’s co-write with Woody Guthrie “Go Coney Island Roll On The Sand” was included in the 2014 Grammy nominated project “My Name Is New York: Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town”. The multi-disc package features interviews with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Nora Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott along with Woody Guthrie song collaborations by Del McCoury Band, Billy Bragg and Wilco and others.
In 2015 Elena and Boo released a collection of the wax cylinder recordings made at The Thomas Edison Museum where they were invited by the museum staff to record in front of a live audience as part of a celebration of famous inventor Thomas Edison’s birthday.
With Demolition String Band or their acoustic duo, the notoriety and critical acclaim among the roots and Americana music scene around their NYC home base and beyond has been earned the honest way — one gig at a time, and Elena and Boo love connecting with fans old and new, everywhere they go.