club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
CANCELLED - (Rescheduled from May 20, 2020) - Slim Cessna's Auto Club / The BellRays

This show has been CANCELLED

For tickets purchased through Ticketweb, refunds will be automatically processed.
For tickets purchased on site at Club Cafe or Dave's Music Mine, please email feedback@clubcafelive.com

This show has been CANCELLED

For tickets purchased through Ticketweb, refunds will be automatically processed.
For tickets purchased on site at Club Cafe or Dave's Music Mine, please email feedback@clubcafelive.com

POSTPONED TO SEPT 25 - Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Rescheduled from October 24, 2020 and April 24 and July 24, 2021)

This show is postponed to July 24, 2021 - all tickets honored

This show is postponed to July 24, 2021 - all tickets honored

POSTPONED TO MARCH 3, 2022 - David Archuleta - OK, All Right Tour

This show has been postponed to March 3, 2022. All tickets purchased for the original dates of April 21, 2020; August 8, 2020; and May 25, 2021 will be honored.

This show has been postponed to March 3, 2022. All tickets purchased for the original dates of April 21, 2020; August 8, 2020; and May 25, 2021 will be honored.

POSTPONED TO SEPT 11, 2021 - An Evening With Steve Forbert

This show has been postponed to Sept 11, 2021 - all tickets honored.

This show has been postponed to Sept 11, 2021 - all tickets honored.

POSTPONED TO NOV 12, 2021 - An Evening With Charlie Hunter

This show has been rescheduled from July 22, 2020 and June 9, 2021. All tickets honored.

This show has been rescheduled from July 22, 2020 and June 9, 2021. All tickets honored.

POSTPONED - NEW DATE TBA (Rescheduled from April 27 & December 6, 2020) - An Evening With Griffin House

This show has been rescheduled from April 27 and December 6, 2020 - all tickets honored

The title of Griffin House’s upcoming release,”Rising Star,” references the first track on the album, which tells the story of a character who moves to Music City, like so many do, with a guitar and a dream. Although not intended to be auto-biographical, the listener gets the sense that this comical and fictitious tale could hardly have been woven by someone without a similar life experience to the protagonist in “Rising Star.”

Indeed, House’s story began in much the same way. He moved to Nashville in 2003, as a young man, with not much more than a guitar, and a handful of songs. He took a part-time job downtown on Broadway at Legend’s Gifts, biding his time before he caught his big break. That big break came, after just a few months, in the form of a phone call from Island Def Jam records that jumpstarted his career and led to him signing with CAA and Nettwerk Records.

After that, things happened quickly for House. His 2004 debut album “Lost and Found” was lauded by music critics such as Bill Flanagan (Executive VP MTV/VH1 Networks) who featured House on the CBS Sunday Morning show as one of the “best emerging songwriters.” House began touring, opening for acts like John Mellencamp and the Cranberries, and found himself meeting people like Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson. House seemed poised to be more of an “overnight success” rather than a ”rising star,” but that’s not exactly how things turned out. “I’ve been a “rising star” for the past 15 years” House jokes, “it’s a slow rise.”

Although House has enjoyed plenty of success as national headliner for over a decade and has earned a great deal of respect as a well-known performer and singer-songwriter, he seems to not take himself or his career in the music industry too seriously. Now married, sober, and a father, House has learned to balance his career by making his family and his sobriety his first priority.

He pays tribute to his wife and children (with) “When the Kids are Gone,” a song about watching his daughters grow up and imagining he and his wife as empty-nesters.

There’s a lightness in his new record that comes across especially in the first fews songs, such as “Mighty Good Friend,” where you can hear his kids on the recording, as well as the sense of humor in “15 Minutes of Fame.”

House acknowledges that his new album is a collaborative effort. “I teamed up with my old buddies Paul Moak and Ian Fitchuk who helped me make my very first record Lost and Found. It was so good to reunite with them and work together again. It’s amazing that these guys I started out with in the very beginning are now world class musicians and producers being nominated and winning Grammys. This album seemed to come together with a little more grace and ease than records I’ve made in the past, and I think so much of that is attributed to how good the people I got worth with on this record are, they all just happen to be really good friends too.”

Several songs on House’s album are also co-writes with friends and fellow Nashville musicians, including Brian Elmquist (The Lone Bellow) and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars).

“I usually lock myself in a room for 8 hours at a time until I have enough songs done,” House says, “But with touring part time and being a dad part time, that adds up to full time job, so I decided to call in a little help from my friends to write some of these songs. Some songs come easier than others,” says House. “I wrote Mighty Good Friend with Brian (Elmquist) and it’s a song about how I’d been fighting through writer’s block, and then there are songs like Change that I wrote with Joy (Williams). We sat on her couch one morning and I remember showing her the idea for the verse. We worked on the words for an hour or two, and then out of nowhere she sang this beautiful chorus. We broke for lunch and came back and finished it that afternoon. It was one of those songs that took years to live and only one short day to write.”

“I love making music with friends,” says House. “Hindsight was another one with my friend Brian (Elmquist). We share some similarities including our journey into sobriety together. There’s a line in the song “I’ve been thinking lately, of a boy young and on the run” that always makes me imagine Brian as a little boy with a dream, both running away from a hard past and on toward a brighter future. We’ve formed a bond and friendship through music and sobriety, and I think you can feel that in the songs we wrote together.”

Just when you think you have House’s album pegged, there seems to be a surprise around every corner. Each song is distinct in its own own way. The heavy guitar on “Hung Up On You,” a song that House says is a break up letter addressed to alcohol, gives way to the intro of “Cup of Fulfillment” which starts with a bag pipe solo and leads the listener on an epic journey that crescendos into one of the record's most moving moments.

We catch a glimpse of a much more rock n’ roll side of House than we’ve heard before from the Pink Floyd-esque “Crash and Burn” to the rowdy punk influenced “Natural Man.”

House’s new album “Rising Star” is set for release on June 28th 2019. Also set for release in 2019, is a full length film called “Rising Star,” in which House stars and co-produces with music video director and film-maker Shane Drake. The film features music from House’s new album as well as his previous catalogue and chronicles his life as a musician.

This show has been rescheduled from April 27 and December 6, 2020 - all tickets honored

The title of Griffin House’s upcoming release,”Rising Star,” references the first track on the album, which tells the story of a character who moves to Music City, like so many do, with a guitar and a dream. Although not intended to be auto-biographical, the listener gets the sense that this comical and fictitious tale could hardly have been woven by someone without a similar life experience to the protagonist in “Rising Star.”

Indeed, House’s story began in much the same way. He moved to Nashville in 2003, as a young man, with not much more than a guitar, and a handful of songs. He took a part-time job downtown on Broadway at Legend’s Gifts, biding his time before he caught his big break. That big break came, after just a few months, in the form of a phone call from Island Def Jam records that jumpstarted his career and led to him signing with CAA and Nettwerk Records.

After that, things happened quickly for House. His 2004 debut album “Lost and Found” was lauded by music critics such as Bill Flanagan (Executive VP MTV/VH1 Networks) who featured House on the CBS Sunday Morning show as one of the “best emerging songwriters.” House began touring, opening for acts like John Mellencamp and the Cranberries, and found himself meeting people like Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson. House seemed poised to be more of an “overnight success” rather than a ”rising star,” but that’s not exactly how things turned out. “I’ve been a “rising star” for the past 15 years” House jokes, “it’s a slow rise.”

Although House has enjoyed plenty of success as national headliner for over a decade and has earned a great deal of respect as a well-known performer and singer-songwriter, he seems to not take himself or his career in the music industry too seriously. Now married, sober, and a father, House has learned to balance his career by making his family and his sobriety his first priority.

He pays tribute to his wife and children (with) “When the Kids are Gone,” a song about watching his daughters grow up and imagining he and his wife as empty-nesters.

There’s a lightness in his new record that comes across especially in the first fews songs, such as “Mighty Good Friend,” where you can hear his kids on the recording, as well as the sense of humor in “15 Minutes of Fame.”

House acknowledges that his new album is a collaborative effort. “I teamed up with my old buddies Paul Moak and Ian Fitchuk who helped me make my very first record Lost and Found. It was so good to reunite with them and work together again. It’s amazing that these guys I started out with in the very beginning are now world class musicians and producers being nominated and winning Grammys. This album seemed to come together with a little more grace and ease than records I’ve made in the past, and I think so much of that is attributed to how good the people I got worth with on this record are, they all just happen to be really good friends too.”

Several songs on House’s album are also co-writes with friends and fellow Nashville musicians, including Brian Elmquist (The Lone Bellow) and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars).

“I usually lock myself in a room for 8 hours at a time until I have enough songs done,” House says, “But with touring part time and being a dad part time, that adds up to full time job, so I decided to call in a little help from my friends to write some of these songs. Some songs come easier than others,” says House. “I wrote Mighty Good Friend with Brian (Elmquist) and it’s a song about how I’d been fighting through writer’s block, and then there are songs like Change that I wrote with Joy (Williams). We sat on her couch one morning and I remember showing her the idea for the verse. We worked on the words for an hour or two, and then out of nowhere she sang this beautiful chorus. We broke for lunch and came back and finished it that afternoon. It was one of those songs that took years to live and only one short day to write.”

“I love making music with friends,” says House. “Hindsight was another one with my friend Brian (Elmquist). We share some similarities including our journey into sobriety together. There’s a line in the song “I’ve been thinking lately, of a boy young and on the run” that always makes me imagine Brian as a little boy with a dream, both running away from a hard past and on toward a brighter future. We’ve formed a bond and friendship through music and sobriety, and I think you can feel that in the songs we wrote together.”

Just when you think you have House’s album pegged, there seems to be a surprise around every corner. Each song is distinct in its own own way. The heavy guitar on “Hung Up On You,” a song that House says is a break up letter addressed to alcohol, gives way to the intro of “Cup of Fulfillment” which starts with a bag pipe solo and leads the listener on an epic journey that crescendos into one of the record's most moving moments.

We catch a glimpse of a much more rock n’ roll side of House than we’ve heard before from the Pink Floyd-esque “Crash and Burn” to the rowdy punk influenced “Natural Man.”

House’s new album “Rising Star” is set for release on June 28th 2019. Also set for release in 2019, is a full length film called “Rising Star,” in which House stars and co-produces with music video director and film-maker Shane Drake. The film features music from House’s new album as well as his previous catalogue and chronicles his life as a musician.

(Rescheduled from 2020 and June 4, 2021) - (Early Show) An Evening With Steve Forbert

This show has been rescheduled from May 2 and Oct 3, 2020 and June 4, 2021 - all tickets honored

Steve Forbert's folk-rock career has spanned four decades and counting. In June 1976, the twenty-one year old boarded a train in Meridian, Mississippi bound for New York City, then the epicenter of folk music. His combination of musicianship and authenticity demanded notice. In less than two years, he went from being a street performer and living at the YMCA to filling historic Greenwich Village clubs and signing a major label record contract with Nemperor Records.

From 1978 to 1982, Forbert released four acclaimed albums. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild wrote that "now or then, you would be hard-pressed to find a debut effort that was simultaneously as fresh and accomplished as Alive on Arrival . . . it was like a great first novel by a young author who somehow managed to split the difference between Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger.'

Forbert's second studio release, Jackrabbit Slim went RIAA Gold Certified with its Billboard #11 hit "Romeo's Tune". Recording success vaulted Steve onto a broader musical stage, touring the U.S. and Europe many times over. Forbert even appeared opposite Cyndi Lauper in her music video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' His early accomplishments would be a career for most artists, but he continues to write, record, and perform to this day. His artistic pursuit has resulted in twenty studio albums and numerous live releases, compilations, and accolades. His songs have been recorded by Keith Urban, Rosanne Cash and Marty Stuart.

Any Old Time, a retrospective of the music of Meridian's Jimmie Rodgers, received a 2003 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album. As Rodgers' music has inspired Forbert, so has Forbert's music influenced a new generation of artists.

In 2017, twenty-one artists paid tribute to Steve by recording a compilation titled: An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert, further validating his artistic legacy. Forbert's 2018 memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock serves as a primer for young musicians setting out on their own journeys.

...His perspective on what life was like for a 20-something recently arrived in NYC is sharp. Forbert offers a sparkling observation about the pull of music as excellent as any I have seen,' said Entertainment Today.

Forbert's latest studio album release The Magic Tree serves as sound track to his memoir. The album rings with the verve and vitality that Forbert's fans have always come to expect. The Magic Tree underscores what revered critic the late Paul Nelson wrote about Forbert in Rolling Stone almost 40 years ago 'Nothing, nothing in this world, is going to stop Steve Forbert, and on that I'll bet anything you'd care to wager.'

Anyone who reviews Steve's catalogue of music can see the writer in the musician. His songs are as literary as they are musically vibrant. Brutally honest lyrics delivered with sensitivity create an uncommon trust with his listeners. Excelling in every decade of his career, Forbert exemplifies the best of the troubadour tradition.

This show has been rescheduled from May 2 and Oct 3, 2020 and June 4, 2021 - all tickets honored

Steve Forbert's folk-rock career has spanned four decades and counting. In June 1976, the twenty-one year old boarded a train in Meridian, Mississippi bound for New York City, then the epicenter of folk music. His combination of musicianship and authenticity demanded notice. In less than two years, he went from being a street performer and living at the YMCA to filling historic Greenwich Village clubs and signing a major label record contract with Nemperor Records.

From 1978 to 1982, Forbert released four acclaimed albums. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild wrote that "now or then, you would be hard-pressed to find a debut effort that was simultaneously as fresh and accomplished as Alive on Arrival . . . it was like a great first novel by a young author who somehow managed to split the difference between Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger.'

Forbert's second studio release, Jackrabbit Slim went RIAA Gold Certified with its Billboard #11 hit "Romeo's Tune". Recording success vaulted Steve onto a broader musical stage, touring the U.S. and Europe many times over. Forbert even appeared opposite Cyndi Lauper in her music video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' His early accomplishments would be a career for most artists, but he continues to write, record, and perform to this day. His artistic pursuit has resulted in twenty studio albums and numerous live releases, compilations, and accolades. His songs have been recorded by Keith Urban, Rosanne Cash and Marty Stuart.

Any Old Time, a retrospective of the music of Meridian's Jimmie Rodgers, received a 2003 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album. As Rodgers' music has inspired Forbert, so has Forbert's music influenced a new generation of artists.

In 2017, twenty-one artists paid tribute to Steve by recording a compilation titled: An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert, further validating his artistic legacy. Forbert's 2018 memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock serves as a primer for young musicians setting out on their own journeys.

...His perspective on what life was like for a 20-something recently arrived in NYC is sharp. Forbert offers a sparkling observation about the pull of music as excellent as any I have seen,' said Entertainment Today.

Forbert's latest studio album release The Magic Tree serves as sound track to his memoir. The album rings with the verve and vitality that Forbert's fans have always come to expect. The Magic Tree underscores what revered critic the late Paul Nelson wrote about Forbert in Rolling Stone almost 40 years ago 'Nothing, nothing in this world, is going to stop Steve Forbert, and on that I'll bet anything you'd care to wager.'

Anyone who reviews Steve's catalogue of music can see the writer in the musician. His songs are as literary as they are musically vibrant. Brutally honest lyrics delivered with sensitivity create an uncommon trust with his listeners. Excelling in every decade of his career, Forbert exemplifies the best of the troubadour tradition.

(Rescheduled from August 3, 2020 and March 22, 2021) - Crystal Bowersox with Special Guest David Luning

This show has been rescheduled from April 20, 2020 and August 3, 2020 - All tickets honored

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal’s love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, “my guitar was an appendage. I couldn’t live without it.”

Dead set on a career in music, Crystal moved to Chicago as a teenager, where she spent her days busking on subway platforms in between working odd jobs. While in the big city, she broadened her musical horizons and shared her talents with a variety of venues, ultimately auditioning for the ninth season of American Idol. Crystal’s time on the show proved to be well spent, as she immediately left the the soundstage for the recording studio. Since her introduction to the world through television, Crystal has released 3 LP’s, two EPs, several singles, and is currently developing an autobiographical, theatrical rock concert titled, "Trauma Queen". Additionally, she has used her talents to benefit several causes close to her heart, and has become an advocate and inspiration for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Similar to her beginnings, Crystal intends to make music that has healing power, but at this point, she sees far beyond her own troubles. Her live show is a safe space for concertgoers. Attend a Crystal Bowersox show, and you just might see a grown man cry and a child dance simultaneously. You’ll also likely get the chance to meet her personally; Crystal is typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the venue. Meeting with the fans and hearing their personal stories is something Crystal considers a blessing in her life.

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend that pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of “A Broken Wing” she sings, “I know there’s beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine.”

This show has been rescheduled from April 20, 2020 and August 3, 2020 - All tickets honored

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal’s love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, “my guitar was an appendage. I couldn’t live without it.”

Dead set on a career in music, Crystal moved to Chicago as a teenager, where she spent her days busking on subway platforms in between working odd jobs. While in the big city, she broadened her musical horizons and shared her talents with a variety of venues, ultimately auditioning for the ninth season of American Idol. Crystal’s time on the show proved to be well spent, as she immediately left the the soundstage for the recording studio. Since her introduction to the world through television, Crystal has released 3 LP’s, two EPs, several singles, and is currently developing an autobiographical, theatrical rock concert titled, "Trauma Queen". Additionally, she has used her talents to benefit several causes close to her heart, and has become an advocate and inspiration for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Similar to her beginnings, Crystal intends to make music that has healing power, but at this point, she sees far beyond her own troubles. Her live show is a safe space for concertgoers. Attend a Crystal Bowersox show, and you just might see a grown man cry and a child dance simultaneously. You’ll also likely get the chance to meet her personally; Crystal is typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the venue. Meeting with the fans and hearing their personal stories is something Crystal considers a blessing in her life.

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend that pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of “A Broken Wing” she sings, “I know there’s beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine.”

(Rescheduled from October 24, 2020, April 24, 2021 and July 24, 2021) - Bill Toms and Hard Rain - I Keep Moving On Album Release Party with Special Guest Pierce Dipner and the Shades of Blue

This show has been rescheduled from October 24, 2020, April 24, 2021, and July 24, 2021 - all tickets honored

“Bill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!” - Will Kimbrough/

While it’s hard to put a finger on any one sound that defines “American music,” the compositions of Bill Toms are as close a template as any. The Pittsburgh native, along with his band Hard Rain, delivers a sound that takes the greatest of America’s most beloved genres and melds them into a poetic representation of the best the country has to offer.

With his ninth full-length studio release, Good For My Soul (street date October 27), Toms channels a foot-stomping, wall-shaking blend of soul, blues, gospel, and rock vibes, all brought together with his lyrical specialty -- stories of everyday men and women doing their best to stay ahead while still managing to keep a dream or two in their heads.

Soaring horns, gritty licks, toe-tapping rhythms, and Toms’ own rough-hewn vocals will draw listeners in, as well as well-deserved comparisons to the greats such as Dr. John, Little Feat, Springsteen, Joe Tex, The Blasters, Otis Redding, and Rufus Thomas.

“The idea of a horn section behind my songs has been something I’ve thought about for a while,” explains Toms. “Albert King, and all the Stax artists come to mind when I think of what true rhythm and blues can do. I wanted a piece of that; creating dynamics, and drama within the song; and fostering the deep emotion that a great horn section can give. The words also needed this place-- in order to be fully interpreted as the representation of ‘my America,’ and the people who make up my small part of this world.”

Good For My Soul was recorded in February 2017 by Oscar-winning composer Rick Witkowski, who also co-produced the set with Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Todd Snider). Both artists have collaborated with Toms frequently on parts of his earlier catalog.

Toms launched his musical career in 1987 as lead guitarist of Pittsburgh’s legendary band Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, During that period, he opened for and played with such legendary names as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. While playing guitar, co-writing, and adding backup vocals for the Houserockers, Toms and the band recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, The Houserockers released American Babylon, which was recorded and produced by Springsteen himself.

As a solo artist, Toms has opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kennedys, Steve Forbert, and Ellis Paul. He’s plotting a string of regional east coast dates to support Good For My Soul, as well as a full European tour in 2018.

This show has been rescheduled from October 24, 2020, April 24, 2021, and July 24, 2021 - all tickets honored

“Bill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!” - Will Kimbrough/

While it’s hard to put a finger on any one sound that defines “American music,” the compositions of Bill Toms are as close a template as any. The Pittsburgh native, along with his band Hard Rain, delivers a sound that takes the greatest of America’s most beloved genres and melds them into a poetic representation of the best the country has to offer.

With his ninth full-length studio release, Good For My Soul (street date October 27), Toms channels a foot-stomping, wall-shaking blend of soul, blues, gospel, and rock vibes, all brought together with his lyrical specialty -- stories of everyday men and women doing their best to stay ahead while still managing to keep a dream or two in their heads.

Soaring horns, gritty licks, toe-tapping rhythms, and Toms’ own rough-hewn vocals will draw listeners in, as well as well-deserved comparisons to the greats such as Dr. John, Little Feat, Springsteen, Joe Tex, The Blasters, Otis Redding, and Rufus Thomas.

“The idea of a horn section behind my songs has been something I’ve thought about for a while,” explains Toms. “Albert King, and all the Stax artists come to mind when I think of what true rhythm and blues can do. I wanted a piece of that; creating dynamics, and drama within the song; and fostering the deep emotion that a great horn section can give. The words also needed this place-- in order to be fully interpreted as the representation of ‘my America,’ and the people who make up my small part of this world.”

Good For My Soul was recorded in February 2017 by Oscar-winning composer Rick Witkowski, who also co-produced the set with Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Todd Snider). Both artists have collaborated with Toms frequently on parts of his earlier catalog.

Toms launched his musical career in 1987 as lead guitarist of Pittsburgh’s legendary band Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, During that period, he opened for and played with such legendary names as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. While playing guitar, co-writing, and adding backup vocals for the Houserockers, Toms and the band recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, The Houserockers released American Babylon, which was recorded and produced by Springsteen himself.

As a solo artist, Toms has opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kennedys, Steve Forbert, and Ellis Paul. He’s plotting a string of regional east coast dates to support Good For My Soul, as well as a full European tour in 2018.

(Rescheduled from April 18 and August 20, 2020) - Kim Richey - Glimmer Tour with Special Guest Bill Deasy

This show has been rescheduled from April 18 and August 20, 2020- all tickets honored

Kim Richey
A Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer

"I started off that record scared to death," Kim Richey recalls of making Glimmer with producer Hugh Padgham back in 1999 in New York and London. A disastrous haircut, unfamiliar musicians, and oversized budgets didn't help matters. “It wasn’t the way I was used to making records.”

The way Richey was used to making records was with friends in a vibed-out, low-key setting. That's how she made her debut album with Richard Bennett, and it's how she made her new album, A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, with Doug Lancio. So Glimmer was different, and not just on the production side.

Then, as now, the compositions that comprise Glimmer, which was named one of the best records of the year by TIME magazine, were the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter's first collection of true confessionals. Prior to that she'd been a staff writer at Blue Water Music writing from a more arm's-length vantage point for her first two releases, 1995's Kim Richey and 1997's Bitter Sweet. But Glimmer was all her.

Revisiting that history for A Long Way Back was both emotional and edifying for her. “I was pretty broken-hearted when I wrote and recorded most of those songs and I remembered feeling that way,” she says. “At the time, I needed to really get out of my head and out of Nashville. I think that was what appealed to me so much about making a record somewhere that wasn’t home and with new people. Recording these songs again was a good way to look back and remember I made it through those times.”

The 20 years of distance between then and now provided another benefit, as well: Richey is more comfortable with her voice, both literally and metaphorically. As a result, A Long Way Back sounds like it has nothing to prove and nothing to hide. It's more spacious, but not less spirited, with Richey's voice, in particular, feeling more relaxed and rounded than on the original. Starting with “Come Around,” the 14 new renderings take their time to make their points, meandering casually around, much like their maker.

An Ohio native, Richey's passion for music was sparked early on in her great aunt's record shop where she’d scour the bins and soak it all in. She took up the guitar in high school and, while studying environmental education and sociology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, she played in a band with Bill Lloyd. But it didn't stick... not right away.

After Kentucky, Richey worked in nature centers in Colorado and Ohio and traveled to Sweden and South America. She eventually landed in Bellingham, Washington, where she worked as a cook while her boyfriend went to grad school. Their deal was, she got to decide where they went after he graduated. One night in 1988, some old friends — Bill Lloyd and Radney Foster — rolled through town. She sold T-shirts at their gig, and they talked up Nashville. To drive the point home, Lloyd sent her a tape with Steve Earle and others on it. So taken by the songwriting, Richey and her partner loaded up their Ford F150 and headed to Music City.

In Nashville, Richey cooked at the famed Bluebird Café and gigged around town at writers’ nights. At a show one night at 12th & Porter, Mercury Records' Luke Lewis approached her. In classic Richey fashion, she didn't know who he was. Still, she went to a meeting with him and Keith Stegall, played one song, talked a lot, and got a record deal at the musical home of Billy Ray Cyrus and Shania Twain. Remembering the glory days of major labels in the '90s, Richey says, “They gave me way more than enough rope to hang myself with. I could do whatever I wanted.”

What she wanted was to work with her friend, producer Richard Bennett. So she did. For Bitter Sweet, she put Angelo Petraglia at the helm, before turning to Padgham for Glimmer. “Bitter Sweet was recorded in Nashville with my road band and friends,” Richey says. “That record was as if the kids had taken over the recording studio while the adults were away. Glimmer was more pro and less messing around having fun. The musicians were all super-talented and gave the songs a voice I never would have thought to give them. Hugh was up for trying anything and really encouraged me to add all those vocal arrangements that ended up on the record”.

For 2002's Rise, Richey took another left turn, signed to Lost Highway Records, and hired Bill Bottrell as producer. Though it was her first time writing in a studio with a band, the players' talent and Bottrell's whimsy proved to be great complements to Richey's own rule-breaking style. The resulting record was quirky, confessional, mesmerizing, and masterful. And it officially set her outside contemporary country's bounds, which was fine by Richey, whose music had always broken barriers.

A greatest hits collection dropped in 2004, buying her some time to tour, write, and make 2007's Chinese Boxes with Giles Martin in the UK, followed by 2010's Wreck Your Wheels and 2013's Thorn in My Heart, both produced by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville. The latter landed her at Yep Roc Records, where she also released 2018's Edgeland, made with producer Brad Jones in what she has described as the easiest recording process she's ever had, despite working with three different tracking bands in the studio.

Through it all, Richey has worn her heart on her lyrical sleeve, revealing herself time and again. “I started writing songs because of Joni Mitchell, probably like most women songwriters of a certain age,” Richey confesses. “I loved being able to write songs because I was really super-shy. I couldn't say things to people that I wanted to say. If I put it in a song, there was the deniability. If I ever got called on it, I could say, 'Oh, heavens no, that's just a song! I made that up.'”

Though she could fall back on plausible deniability, with Richey, what you hear is actually what you get. “I don't have a lot of character songs because I'm not that good at making things up out of thin air.” Even when it comes to the main narrator of a song like Edgeland's “Your Dear John,” Richey demurs with a laugh, “I do think that song is probably just another song about me and I'm pretending to be a barge worker.”

On A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, though, she's not pretending to be anything or anyone she's not, and neither are the songs. Richey and Lancio set out to make a guitar/vocal record, but the songs had something else in mind, and that something included drums by Lancio's legendary neighbor, Aaron “the A-Train” Smith, among other things. “Once we stopped making rules about what could and could not be on the record, the songs spoke for themselves,” Richey says. “I knew all along I wanted Dan Mitchell to play flugelhorn, and the two tracks he played on are two of my favorites. In the end, the songs decided.”

From her move to Nashville to her making this record, for Kim Richey, the songs have always decided.


This show has been rescheduled from April 18 and August 20, 2020- all tickets honored

Kim Richey
A Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer

"I started off that record scared to death," Kim Richey recalls of making Glimmer with producer Hugh Padgham back in 1999 in New York and London. A disastrous haircut, unfamiliar musicians, and oversized budgets didn't help matters. “It wasn’t the way I was used to making records.”

The way Richey was used to making records was with friends in a vibed-out, low-key setting. That's how she made her debut album with Richard Bennett, and it's how she made her new album, A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, with Doug Lancio. So Glimmer was different, and not just on the production side.

Then, as now, the compositions that comprise Glimmer, which was named one of the best records of the year by TIME magazine, were the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter's first collection of true confessionals. Prior to that she'd been a staff writer at Blue Water Music writing from a more arm's-length vantage point for her first two releases, 1995's Kim Richey and 1997's Bitter Sweet. But Glimmer was all her.

Revisiting that history for A Long Way Back was both emotional and edifying for her. “I was pretty broken-hearted when I wrote and recorded most of those songs and I remembered feeling that way,” she says. “At the time, I needed to really get out of my head and out of Nashville. I think that was what appealed to me so much about making a record somewhere that wasn’t home and with new people. Recording these songs again was a good way to look back and remember I made it through those times.”

The 20 years of distance between then and now provided another benefit, as well: Richey is more comfortable with her voice, both literally and metaphorically. As a result, A Long Way Back sounds like it has nothing to prove and nothing to hide. It's more spacious, but not less spirited, with Richey's voice, in particular, feeling more relaxed and rounded than on the original. Starting with “Come Around,” the 14 new renderings take their time to make their points, meandering casually around, much like their maker.

An Ohio native, Richey's passion for music was sparked early on in her great aunt's record shop where she’d scour the bins and soak it all in. She took up the guitar in high school and, while studying environmental education and sociology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, she played in a band with Bill Lloyd. But it didn't stick... not right away.

After Kentucky, Richey worked in nature centers in Colorado and Ohio and traveled to Sweden and South America. She eventually landed in Bellingham, Washington, where she worked as a cook while her boyfriend went to grad school. Their deal was, she got to decide where they went after he graduated. One night in 1988, some old friends — Bill Lloyd and Radney Foster — rolled through town. She sold T-shirts at their gig, and they talked up Nashville. To drive the point home, Lloyd sent her a tape with Steve Earle and others on it. So taken by the songwriting, Richey and her partner loaded up their Ford F150 and headed to Music City.

In Nashville, Richey cooked at the famed Bluebird Café and gigged around town at writers’ nights. At a show one night at 12th & Porter, Mercury Records' Luke Lewis approached her. In classic Richey fashion, she didn't know who he was. Still, she went to a meeting with him and Keith Stegall, played one song, talked a lot, and got a record deal at the musical home of Billy Ray Cyrus and Shania Twain. Remembering the glory days of major labels in the '90s, Richey says, “They gave me way more than enough rope to hang myself with. I could do whatever I wanted.”

What she wanted was to work with her friend, producer Richard Bennett. So she did. For Bitter Sweet, she put Angelo Petraglia at the helm, before turning to Padgham for Glimmer. “Bitter Sweet was recorded in Nashville with my road band and friends,” Richey says. “That record was as if the kids had taken over the recording studio while the adults were away. Glimmer was more pro and less messing around having fun. The musicians were all super-talented and gave the songs a voice I never would have thought to give them. Hugh was up for trying anything and really encouraged me to add all those vocal arrangements that ended up on the record”.

For 2002's Rise, Richey took another left turn, signed to Lost Highway Records, and hired Bill Bottrell as producer. Though it was her first time writing in a studio with a band, the players' talent and Bottrell's whimsy proved to be great complements to Richey's own rule-breaking style. The resulting record was quirky, confessional, mesmerizing, and masterful. And it officially set her outside contemporary country's bounds, which was fine by Richey, whose music had always broken barriers.

A greatest hits collection dropped in 2004, buying her some time to tour, write, and make 2007's Chinese Boxes with Giles Martin in the UK, followed by 2010's Wreck Your Wheels and 2013's Thorn in My Heart, both produced by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville. The latter landed her at Yep Roc Records, where she also released 2018's Edgeland, made with producer Brad Jones in what she has described as the easiest recording process she's ever had, despite working with three different tracking bands in the studio.

Through it all, Richey has worn her heart on her lyrical sleeve, revealing herself time and again. “I started writing songs because of Joni Mitchell, probably like most women songwriters of a certain age,” Richey confesses. “I loved being able to write songs because I was really super-shy. I couldn't say things to people that I wanted to say. If I put it in a song, there was the deniability. If I ever got called on it, I could say, 'Oh, heavens no, that's just a song! I made that up.'”

Though she could fall back on plausible deniability, with Richey, what you hear is actually what you get. “I don't have a lot of character songs because I'm not that good at making things up out of thin air.” Even when it comes to the main narrator of a song like Edgeland's “Your Dear John,” Richey demurs with a laugh, “I do think that song is probably just another song about me and I'm pretending to be a barge worker.”

On A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, though, she's not pretending to be anything or anyone she's not, and neither are the songs. Richey and Lancio set out to make a guitar/vocal record, but the songs had something else in mind, and that something included drums by Lancio's legendary neighbor, Aaron “the A-Train” Smith, among other things. “Once we stopped making rules about what could and could not be on the record, the songs spoke for themselves,” Richey says. “I knew all along I wanted Dan Mitchell to play flugelhorn, and the two tracks he played on are two of my favorites. In the end, the songs decided.”

From her move to Nashville to her making this record, for Kim Richey, the songs have always decided.


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