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Megafaun wants to earn your trust 

The rootsy band returns to Atlanta with tricks and treats

If Durham, N.C.'s Megafaun plays what typically is categorized as bluegrass or Americana, then its take on roots music certainly has sprouted gorgeous branches. The trio, which formed after the collapse of its previous band DeYarmond Edison (with Justin Vernon, currently of Bon Iver) in 2006, employs a brand of experimentalism that turns what would otherwise be a competent rehashing of traditional folk styles into something riskier. After two full-length albums (2008's Bury the Square and 2009's Gather, Form and Fly), Megafaun will release a six-song EP this summer titled Heretofore, a project they wrote, recorded and wrapped up, all within the space of about six weeks. "We just worked fast and had to make decisions from our gut," says multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook. "I think in retrospect that we did a really honest record."

Besides putting it together so quickly, it was also the band's first release recorded wholly in a studio and not at home or in the field. Having a more controlled recording process, however, doesn't imply that the music is safer. Growing up as "jazz kids," according to Cook, in Eau Claire, Wis., experimentation and improvisation have been the buttered bread of Megafaun's collective musical experience. Heretofore stands as a snapshot of that philosophy, featuring three songs written by individual band members as well as three collaborative compositions – one of which is the nearly 13-minute saga "Comprovisation for Connor Pass."

"It's just about trust," Cook says regarding the songwriting process. "I think that's a strength of ours from playing together for so long; we do anticipate each other well enough that things that we improvise sound composed sometimes."

Though they perform in Atlanta every few months, Cook warns that "the show will be different every time" now that they're embarking on their first national headlining tour. What will each new show bring? Perhaps Megafaun's fans will have to exercise some trust of their own.

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