STORY

Baleen began in an upstairs apartment in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1997. Mike Vagianos and Brian Wingate, both college students at the time, got together to collaborate on acoustic guitar. Their improvisations convinced them that there was a muse worth following, and Mike recruited drummer Phil Disher to complete their sound. The three began to hone a progressive instrumental approach incorporating live instruments, samples, drum machines, and ambient recordings.

In 1999 Baleen released their debut album Personality Plus, which showcased the band’s brooding soundscapes. Brian Wingate left the band shortly before the release of the album to pursue other interests, but Mike and Phil continued to refine the band’s sound.

They were joined by a trio of musicians from the progressive Charlotte-based band The Xperiment. With Derrick Hines on keyboards and vocals, Tony McCullough on sax and vocals, and Steve McMillan on bass, the band now had access to a virtually unlimited sonic and stylistic palette. Three successive albums showcased their virtuosity and songwriting skills, and a steady touring schedule built a strong following through the Southeast.

In 2006, Baleen took a break as several members pursued other endeavors. But not long afterward, Baleen came full circle.

Mike, living in Atlanta at the time, was only three hours away from Brian in Nashville. So they reunited their acoustic guitars, opened their minds, and the muse returned. The result is Baleen’s new full length album “the same boat”.