Nate Sabat, Airborne Charlie

June 15th, 2022 8:30pm   Stage


Nate Sabat

Nate Sabat is an award-winning bassist, singer-songwriter and arranger based in Brooklyn, NY. Nate has written and arranged music for NPR's Radio Lab, the Young People's Chorus of New York City and the Heifetz International Music Institute. Additionally, a number of his songs are in rotation on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction channel. His songwriting, while narrative-driven, draws from influences far beyond the folk canon. Gaining inspiration from artists as wide-ranging as The Stanley Brothers, Dvořák, Joni Mitchell, XTC and Punch Brothers, he bends the rules of meter and harmony to craft daring, original work.

With upright bass as his sole tool for accompaniment, Nate crafts wildly intricate arrangements, each one inextricably tied to its song. His playing — while rooted in American folk music — goes far beyond any preconceived notions of the instrument's role within the genre. With a relaxed, vocal sound and equal fluency with pizzicato and the bow, Nate takes full advantage of the never-ending variety of sounds and textures the bass has to offer. GRAMMY-winning cellist Eugene Friesen says, "Nate has so much going for him: The ability to propel any groove with chops and subtlety, a sweet bow sound that can vocalize any melody, fiercely great intonation, and, most importantly, a musical intelligence and intuition that operates with a constant smile.”

Airborne Charlie


Like some intricate flying machine, the music of Airborne Charlie is fueled by jazz and birdsong, folk harmony and Bach fugues, all welded to a sturdy frame of Americana. On their eponymous debut, the duo presents a bold, diverse collection of songs that run the gamut of their preoccupations. Recorded in Austin, TX during the winter of 2018, the record is both a glimpse of a moment in time and a sweeping tour through the sensibilities of two musical omnivores.

At turns disarmingly intimate and explosively orchestral, the songs on the record unfold like a collection of musical vignettes, moving fluidly between gossamer confessionals, groovy nocturnal trysts, and existential country waltzes. Hell, there’s even a Baroque invention buried in there somewhere. A narrower scope would feel untrue to the spirit of the duo, which looks for depth in the weird, humor in the grandiose, and oddness in the straight ahead.

Airborne Charlie is headed by NYC natives Hans Bilger and Eli Greenhoe. Lifelong friends and collaborators, Eli and Hans grew up learning music and writing songs side by side before continuing their education separately - Hans in the realm of jazz and evolutionary biology, Eli in classical composition. As a duo, they draw from their eclectic training and diverse interests - crafting a sound that is vivid and far-flung, but still deeply rooted in the folk traditions they grew up in.