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Best folk friends forever • Brooklyn Paper

Best folk friends forever

Things are looking up: Bryan Rahija, James Phillips, Stuart Robinson, and Daniel Michalak are Bombadil, a pop-folk group.
Courtesy of Bombadil

Formed in the youthful days of college, Bombadil is a North Carolina pop-folk quartet that has survived the years by sticking to what matters — the music.

Lyrical sincerity, plucky folk guitar riffs, and the interweaving, mellifluous vocals of every band member characterize Bombadil’s music, which goes for intimate live shows based on subtlety rather than decibels.

“We work a lot at singing,” said drummer James Phillips. “We all have the opinion that music can be too loud at times. It’s harder to get quiet and sing well together.”

Keeping their focus as a band was difficult, too, having left the care-free days of dormitory jam sessions.

The band had to go on an extended hiatus in 2009 due to a wrist injury to guitarist, Daniel Michalak. While Michalak took care of himself, the band spread out across the country and spent time writing music. However, this close-knit unit remained in contact. Their new record, scheduled for a spring release, was an internet collaboration paired with cross-country visits.

But they got together in the end.

“It never stopped being a thing. We knew we were going to come back,” said Phillips.

The blending of the vocals of every band member reflects the shared experiences that the band calls upon for the content of its songs. As the new record took shape, Phillips noticed that there was a shared theme of leaving the carefree sentiments of college and early professionalism as the friends approach a new time in life, filled with responsibilities and consequence.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about the words that we’re singing and the stories we share,” said Phillips. “All of us are at the end of our twenties and getting older and thinking about what life is going to look like.”

Bombadil with Hurrah a Bolt of Light and Baby States at Union Hall [702 Union St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638–4400, www.unionhallny.com]. Nov. 28, 7:30 doors, $8.

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