Neshama's original sound reflects the beauty of the mountains where these boys grew up singing and playing. Best characterized as progressive bluegrass/country (with Celtic overtones), their stunning melodies and high-energy instrumentals have captivated audiences of all ages.
Travis and Isaac Bartow were homeschooled without TV or a cell phone. When Travis picked up several instruments at a young age, there was little influence from cookie-cutter culture. The uniquely beautiful music he began to create was as fresh as the air he grew up breathing.
Travis was welcomed as a student of the violin by Albany Symphony concertmaster, Jill Levy. He began regularly writing original music and leading faith-based worship for youth groups and churches, eventually doing the same for Cru at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY), where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering. Johnny Newell (who claims his spirit-instrument is the banjo) joined Travis when they were young teenagers, writing music with him and adding even richer complexity to Travis's sound. Johnny has a B.A. Degree in music composition from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY), where he also sang with an a capella group. Travis' brother Isaac joined them with his skill on the keyboard (and as a tenor). He also studied under accomplished country pedal-steel musician, Randy Rollman. Bryan Bartow, father of the Bartow brothers, has a long history of music. He has traveled Europe with choirs, led regional worship conferences, and now serves the band on the djembe, guitar, and also as their mentor.
Neshama was a finalist at Creationfest Northeast Music Festival (PA) competition in 2016, and was featured at Big Ticket Festival (MI) on the main stage in 2017 after being named "Surprise Band of 2016." They have two albums, "Indescribable (2014)" and "The Journey (2018)." They regularly play at pubs, weddings, churches, youth camps, and on the street, and are well-received by both religious and secular audiences.
Neshama recently returned from a "tour" in Haiti where they were able to bring joy and encouragement through their music, where they worked to rebuild, both spiritually and physically, following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew.
"Neshama," the Hebrew word for "soul" is derived from the Genesis account of creation, when God breathed "neshama" into man, giving him life. These guys are certainly a breath of fresh air!