The San Francisco Bay Area acoustic trio the Echo Falls was formed in 2003 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Alex Mandel with his childhood friend, drummer/vibraphonist David Brandt, and a college friend from Oberlin, double-bass player David Arend. (Arend also attended Juilliard.) Mandel had been a member of the Fingers, who released three albums, and he maintained a day job scoring short films for the Pixar animated film studio, including Your Friend the Rat, included on the DVD of the full-length feature Ratatouille. The Echo Falls made their live debut at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco in 2006, then turned to recording their self-titled debut album, which was released on their own Vineland Records label on November 17, 2009.
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