Towards the end of the 1990-91 academic year a search was undertaken for a new band member, since Rachel was leaving Philadelphia to do her Watson Fellowship. Several people were auditioned, and Melissa Demian was selected on the strength of her vocal talents, her strong interest in traditional (especially Celtic) music and her unusual instrument (the dulcimer).
Melissa's arrival set off a shift in the band's style. The dulcimer became the main rhythm instrument, and Melissa's singing allowed Tom to play much more electric lead guitar. It also opened up the possibility of arrangements built around vocal duets, and the band's vocal arrangements became richer and more complex (for good examples, listen to "Henry Martin" and the ending of "The Six Questions" on Black-edged Visiting Card). Because of this shift, a lot of repertoire was dropped or changed as the band found a new musical identity. It was also during this period that the band began to explore Eastern European music seriously, and klezmer tunes and (later) Balkan dances began to appear in the mix.
In the fall of 1992 Broadside began work on their first album, Black-edged Visiting Card. The recording process took about 3 months and the record was released at the end of January, 1993. Most of the material on the record was already being played live, but a few pieces were developed from scratch for the album. The project was an ambitious one for a band with so little previous recording experience, and the process proved to be very difficult. (Personal note: in my opinion, the album stands on its own merits, but it took a lot more effort to record than it should have. --Tom) Having the new CD under their belt opened some doors for the band, bringing the possibility of airplay and the potential to interest a broader range of venues at which to play.
Through 1993 and into 1994 the band continued to develop new material and the quality of the live shows improved steadily. The band played in an increasing variety of venues and began to perform outside the Philadelphia area. In 1994, with Melissa leaving the band to pursue a Ph.D., it was decided to document the band's live sound and so the "live-in-the-studio" album Amplificata was recorded in August 1994 (it would be released early the following year).
| First Lineup: 1990-1991
| Second Lineup: 1991-1994
| Third Lineup: 1994-1997
| Fourth Lineup: 1997-Present
Biography | News | Personnel | Interview | Links
About the Band | Their Music | Photography | Press Materials
Contents | Help | Site Map