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Union Street Preservation Society
blugrass in the city
by: Christina Morelli - October 11, 2011


It’s not often you see the words “Brooklyn” and “Americana string band” used in the same sentence, but Union Street Preservation Society brings the two together seamlessly. Comprised of five members from all parts of the country, the jazz-infused string quintet introduces upbeat rhythms, perfect instrument pairings, and musicality that sings without words. Their EP Spring to Rust, brings back the American roots tradition, full of life and bluegrass bounce that can lift you up and mellow you out all in one album. Fronted by guitarist David Leiberman and rounded out with Alex Borsody, Sara Bouchard, Jason Bertone, and Harrison Hollingsworth, Union Street Preservation Society is the ultimate hybrid of solid musicians, genuine roots feel, and that old country sound that brings you back to the lazy days of summer in the heart of America.

Do you all come from different parts of the country? †How did the†five of you meet?

We're an ambi-coastal mix with some Deep South thrown in there. Dave, Alex, and Jason all hail from the greater New York area Sara is originally from Northern California and came to NYC to pursue visual art and music Harrison came up four years ago from birthplace Houston with a bassoon, a fiddle, and a dream. We met through a combination of mutual friends, favorite jam sessions, and a little serendipity.

What drew you to more traditional Americana blues/jazz music?

Being acoustic instrumentalists, old-school American music sits at the bedrock of our repertoire. We all came to the music in our own way – from Jason’s study of ethnomusicology to Alex and Dave's less academic discovery of bluegrass and early folk tunes growing up. This is music that is equal parts accessible and obscure, straightforward and multifaceted, deep seeded and evolving. Just like life in the great city of Brooklyn!

What has been your most memorable performance experience so far?

Performing for a crowd of new and old friends, collaborators, and family at The Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn when we launched our “Spring to Rust” EP this past July.

Describe the dynamic between band members.

We've got that family string-band feel – though at times the classical influences kick in and it feels like more of an ambitious family camping trip or some other organized adventure. With songwriting and arranging, we work in a round table sort of way -- anyone is free to bring a new song into the mix. Sara and Dave authored the original tunes on our EP, though all of our songs go through a strongly collaborative evolution before they are brought to the stage. Jason's and Alex's respective backgrounds in jazz and bluegrass foster an improvisational spirit Sara's artistic training contributes progressiveness Harrison's classical roots lend shades of polish and virtuosity, while Dave's curatorial ear is the glue that ties it all together.

What's the most obscure place you've ever played?

Hands-down winner would be aboard the Mary A. Whalen retired oil tanker, where we were invited to do a special concert for PortSide New York while the ship was docked in Red Hook last year. There's little that is more special or surreal than playing a set of old-time music aboard a historic maritime vessel, under a bright moon with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop!

" This is music that is equal parts accessible and obscure, straightforward and multifaceted, deep seeded and evolving. Just like life in the great city of Brooklyn! "

Union Street Preservation Society
"Spring to Rust"

what it is

Solid musicians, genuine roots feel, and jazz-infused old country sound.