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Meet Oren Paisner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oren Paisner. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Ghost Town Drifters started from humble beginnings in 2018 as friends who have played in other bands together and wanted to form a bluegrass band that showcased everyone’s songwriting and playing skills. Since then the band has been through some lineup changes but the current band is made of Alex Tocco on fiddle, Erik Hill on guitar, Brannon Barret on Banjo, Miles Ridnell on upright bass, and me (Oren Paisner) on Mandolin.

Throughout our career, we have shared the stage with notable acts such as Jeff Austin (formerly Yonder Mountain String Band) Bill Nershi ( String Cheese Incident), Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters), and The Kitchen Dwellers. Our last album “Grass Time Continuum” was recorded in 2020 at Mountain Star Studio in Blackhawk Colorado and was produced by Andrew Lundsford. It is available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple, and anywhere else music is streamed.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The biggest struggle in this band has been keeping a consistent lineup of musicians. Around 2019 our Banjo player Joey Purmort left the band to focus more on his teaching job. He was a very good banjo player and it was hard finding his replacement. We are still very good friends to this day and he sometimes gets the call to sub in. So we instead decided to add Dobro and Fiddle to the band.

But then our upright bass player had to step back to focus on his career as well so we got a new upright bass player. The pandemic proved to be very challenging and our bass player after one year had to step back for personal reasons. So now we are on bass player number 3 Miles Ridnell who is still in the band and has proven to be a great fit and amazing player.

And then at the beginning of this year, our guitar player decided to step back to also focus on his career and fiance. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a video on Facebook of our current guitar player Erik Hill and now he is currently helping take the bands to new heights with his guitar playing.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I would say what noticeably makes us stand out from other similar bands is our songwriting style. We take bluegrass and orchestrate it to make it have more parts than a normal bluegrass song. We also play around with different sounding effects pedals to create a kind of psychedelic vibe where it’s necessary.

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking.
Risk-taking is a big part of our music. We try to incorporate a lot of ideas into the sound that doesn’t typically fall into the realm of bluegrass and hope that it becomes well received. A good example of this would be the recording of our last album Grass Time Continuum.

We went into the studio with our bluegrass instruments and pedal boards and set out to make a bluegrass album different from the rest. We really put extra effort into trying to get weird sounds into some of the songs. One track has double native American flutes, another track has the didjeridoo, and we even have a synth on the title track. Did it go over well? You be the judge!

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Image Credits
Jason DeRamo

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