club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
Lillie Mae with Special Guest T. Mitchell Bell

Lillie Mae has been singing and playing on stages across the country since she could stand on her own two feet. FOREVER AND THEN SOME, her much anticipated Third Man Records debut, sees the Nashville-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist weaving her own extraordinary experiences with the myriad strains of Americana to create a breathtaking song cycle of romance and struggle, solitude and adventure. Songs like "Wash Me Clean" and the plaintive first single, "Over The Hill and Through The Woods," stand out as snapshots of intimacies, encounters, and moments that matter, reverberating with earnest emotion and restless creative energy. Produced by multiple GRAMMY® Award-winner Jack White III at Third Man Studio in Nashville, FOREVER AND THEN SOME affirms Lillie Mae as a remarkably gifted musical storyteller, a bright new star that's been here all along.

Born in Illinois but raised on the road, Lillie Mae first started singing when she was but three years old, picking up the fiddle at the age of seven. Her dad, Forrest Carter Rische, taught all five of his children to sing and play alongside him in his Forrest Carter Family Band. The family traveled America in an old motor home, busking country, gospel, and bluegrass from the Branson Mall to RV parks in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Though they spent most of their time among other well-traveled musicians, the Risches led a cloistered life, intensely religious with boundaries against anything deemed "too worldly."

With few friends and limited access to the outside world, Lillie Mae and her siblings forged a special bond that remains to this day, a deeply ingrained familial link that fueled their own original musical approach. In 2000, the family was invited by country music legend Cowboy Jack Clement to visit Nashville for an audition. Clement saw tremendous potential in the young musicians, especially the pre-teen Lillie Mae, who he declared "a major voice" at the tender age of nine.

"Cowboy was closer to me than any grandparent I ever had," she says. "His influence on me is still strong. He always pushed me to play different instruments; he saw how I would pick up everything in the studio. He was a good friend to me and we remained close until he passed away."

By now all in their teens and beyond, Lillie Mae, brother Frank, and sisters Scarlett, Amber-Dawn, and McKenna Grace, next formed their own group, known around Nashville as simply The Risches. The band's extraordinary live sets at the famed Lower
Broadway honky tonk, Layla's Bluegrass Inn, made them into local heroes, acclaimed for
their electrifying musicianship and groundbreaking bluegrass/country/pop fusion.

Eventually dubbed Jypsi, Lillie Mae and her siblings signed to a major label and in 2008, released their self-titled debut album. The group scored a top 40 country hit with "I Don't Love You Like That" but their multi-hued Americana proved to be a bit more "far out" than the country world was yet ready to handle.

Lillie Mae continued on, writing original songs inspired by her own uncommon worldview and experience. In 2012, she joined Jack White's crack touring and recording combo, The Peacocks, playing fiddle and mandolin while also lending vocals to such tracks as "Temporary Ground," from 2014's LAZARETTO. The two musicians formed an immediate kinship, both being the youngest children of large families and instrumental polymaths. White was similarly appreciative of Lillie Mae's songwriting, producing her
2014 Third Man debut single, "Nobody's" b/w "The Same Eyes."

Lillie Mae officially set to work recording FOREVER AND THEN SOME at Third Man Studios in March 2016, with White producing and GRAMMY® Award-nominated engineer Joshua V. Smith behind the board. Initially planned as "a trial run" for the album, it quickly became plain that Lillie Mae had come fully armed with chops, ambition, and songs to spare.

"We went in there thinking we would start with three songs," Lillie Mae says, "see how they turned out. We finished the third song and Jack said, ‘You got another?' It just became this steady flow from then on. We just kept churning them out."

Her unique upbringing and lifelong immersion in music has led Lillie Mae to create an authentically original sound all her own. With FOREVER AND THEN SOME, she has forged a kind of Pop Americana, born and raised on country, bluegrass, folk, and blues but imbued with modernist energy and a willingness to push her songs into new shapes and directions. "Honest and True" begins as a heartland heartbreaker but eventually veers into baroque pop terrain while the quirky "Dance To The Beat Of My Own Drum" is as fiercely self-possessed and rhythmic as its title suggests.

"This has been going on my whole life," Lillie Mae says. "People are always asking me, what kind of music is it? I hear my bluegrass influence and my country influence but there's some stuff on it, I don't know where it comes from. It's probably all my love of melody, of melodies changing, that has to do with where the songs go."

What binds FOREVER AND THEN SOME is Lillie Mae's distinctive songcraft, a frank and utterly direct lyrical voice as warm and intuitive as her honeyed vocals themselves. The album's songs – all penned by Lillie Mae, with arrangement advice and assistance on select tracks by her older sister Scarlett – span much of Lillie Mae's adult life, exploring "the choices one makes" and what she calls "a string of similar events."

"There's not one song on there that's not true," she says. "I just jot it down the way I see it. If it didn't happen, I'm not writing about it. It just doesn't work like that for me. When a song pushes through, it's coming through from somewhere and I've got to write it down. That's my obligation. I appreciate it too."

FOREVER AND THEN SOME features backing throughout by the core combo of Frank Carter Rische on electric and acoustic guitars, Scarlett Rische on mandolin, and the veteran rhythm section of bassist Brian Zonn and drummer Tanner Jacobson, both longtime collaborators with the Risches. Other notables appearing include keyboardist Dean Fertita (The Dead Weather, Queens of the Stone Age), banjo player Ian Craft (The Howlin' Brothers), and Old Crow Medicine Show pianist Cory Younts, with harmony vocals from McKenna Grace Rische and singer-songwriter Carey Kotsonis. Though all involved make vital contributions, make no mistake, this is very much Lillie Mae's album.

"I had the luxury of making the record with people I've played with most of my life," she says, "I brought them in because there aren't any better musicians around that I would rather have play on my record. I was able to really rely on those guys."

The Third Man sessions continued through October, thanks to Lillie Mae's abundant songbook as well as her own and her producer's ever-busy schedules. Lillie Mae admits she would have been perfectly happy to continue, "but Jack finally said, we have a lot of songs to choose from, let's put a cap on it and call it a day."

FOREVER AND THEN SOME stands simultaneously as both grounded and adventurous, an indelibly special collection touched by authenticity, resourcefulness, and passion – a passion that shines through in the music itself and Lillie Mae's live performances. Though she gave her all to craft this remarkable album, Lillie Mae's greatest pleasure remains performing live alongside her beloved siblings and fellow musicians.


"I've been writing these songs my whole life," Lillie Mae says, "I was blessed with someone that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to record them. Now I'll get on the road. That's all I want, I long for it. Touring is where I feel most comfortable in the world. The happiest I could ever be would be to have a gig every day."

Lillie Mae has been singing and playing on stages across the country since she could stand on her own two feet. FOREVER AND THEN SOME, her much anticipated Third Man Records debut, sees the Nashville-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist weaving her own extraordinary experiences with the myriad strains of Americana to create a breathtaking song cycle of romance and struggle, solitude and adventure. Songs like "Wash Me Clean" and the plaintive first single, "Over The Hill and Through The Woods," stand out as snapshots of intimacies, encounters, and moments that matter, reverberating with earnest emotion and restless creative energy. Produced by multiple GRAMMY® Award-winner Jack White III at Third Man Studio in Nashville, FOREVER AND THEN SOME affirms Lillie Mae as a remarkably gifted musical storyteller, a bright new star that's been here all along.

Born in Illinois but raised on the road, Lillie Mae first started singing when she was but three years old, picking up the fiddle at the age of seven. Her dad, Forrest Carter Rische, taught all five of his children to sing and play alongside him in his Forrest Carter Family Band. The family traveled America in an old motor home, busking country, gospel, and bluegrass from the Branson Mall to RV parks in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Though they spent most of their time among other well-traveled musicians, the Risches led a cloistered life, intensely religious with boundaries against anything deemed "too worldly."

With few friends and limited access to the outside world, Lillie Mae and her siblings forged a special bond that remains to this day, a deeply ingrained familial link that fueled their own original musical approach. In 2000, the family was invited by country music legend Cowboy Jack Clement to visit Nashville for an audition. Clement saw tremendous potential in the young musicians, especially the pre-teen Lillie Mae, who he declared "a major voice" at the tender age of nine.

"Cowboy was closer to me than any grandparent I ever had," she says. "His influence on me is still strong. He always pushed me to play different instruments; he saw how I would pick up everything in the studio. He was a good friend to me and we remained close until he passed away."

By now all in their teens and beyond, Lillie Mae, brother Frank, and sisters Scarlett, Amber-Dawn, and McKenna Grace, next formed their own group, known around Nashville as simply The Risches. The band's extraordinary live sets at the famed Lower
Broadway honky tonk, Layla's Bluegrass Inn, made them into local heroes, acclaimed for
their electrifying musicianship and groundbreaking bluegrass/country/pop fusion.

Eventually dubbed Jypsi, Lillie Mae and her siblings signed to a major label and in 2008, released their self-titled debut album. The group scored a top 40 country hit with "I Don't Love You Like That" but their multi-hued Americana proved to be a bit more "far out" than the country world was yet ready to handle.

Lillie Mae continued on, writing original songs inspired by her own uncommon worldview and experience. In 2012, she joined Jack White's crack touring and recording combo, The Peacocks, playing fiddle and mandolin while also lending vocals to such tracks as "Temporary Ground," from 2014's LAZARETTO. The two musicians formed an immediate kinship, both being the youngest children of large families and instrumental polymaths. White was similarly appreciative of Lillie Mae's songwriting, producing her
2014 Third Man debut single, "Nobody's" b/w "The Same Eyes."

Lillie Mae officially set to work recording FOREVER AND THEN SOME at Third Man Studios in March 2016, with White producing and GRAMMY® Award-nominated engineer Joshua V. Smith behind the board. Initially planned as "a trial run" for the album, it quickly became plain that Lillie Mae had come fully armed with chops, ambition, and songs to spare.

"We went in there thinking we would start with three songs," Lillie Mae says, "see how they turned out. We finished the third song and Jack said, ‘You got another?' It just became this steady flow from then on. We just kept churning them out."

Her unique upbringing and lifelong immersion in music has led Lillie Mae to create an authentically original sound all her own. With FOREVER AND THEN SOME, she has forged a kind of Pop Americana, born and raised on country, bluegrass, folk, and blues but imbued with modernist energy and a willingness to push her songs into new shapes and directions. "Honest and True" begins as a heartland heartbreaker but eventually veers into baroque pop terrain while the quirky "Dance To The Beat Of My Own Drum" is as fiercely self-possessed and rhythmic as its title suggests.

"This has been going on my whole life," Lillie Mae says. "People are always asking me, what kind of music is it? I hear my bluegrass influence and my country influence but there's some stuff on it, I don't know where it comes from. It's probably all my love of melody, of melodies changing, that has to do with where the songs go."

What binds FOREVER AND THEN SOME is Lillie Mae's distinctive songcraft, a frank and utterly direct lyrical voice as warm and intuitive as her honeyed vocals themselves. The album's songs – all penned by Lillie Mae, with arrangement advice and assistance on select tracks by her older sister Scarlett – span much of Lillie Mae's adult life, exploring "the choices one makes" and what she calls "a string of similar events."

"There's not one song on there that's not true," she says. "I just jot it down the way I see it. If it didn't happen, I'm not writing about it. It just doesn't work like that for me. When a song pushes through, it's coming through from somewhere and I've got to write it down. That's my obligation. I appreciate it too."

FOREVER AND THEN SOME features backing throughout by the core combo of Frank Carter Rische on electric and acoustic guitars, Scarlett Rische on mandolin, and the veteran rhythm section of bassist Brian Zonn and drummer Tanner Jacobson, both longtime collaborators with the Risches. Other notables appearing include keyboardist Dean Fertita (The Dead Weather, Queens of the Stone Age), banjo player Ian Craft (The Howlin' Brothers), and Old Crow Medicine Show pianist Cory Younts, with harmony vocals from McKenna Grace Rische and singer-songwriter Carey Kotsonis. Though all involved make vital contributions, make no mistake, this is very much Lillie Mae's album.

"I had the luxury of making the record with people I've played with most of my life," she says, "I brought them in because there aren't any better musicians around that I would rather have play on my record. I was able to really rely on those guys."

The Third Man sessions continued through October, thanks to Lillie Mae's abundant songbook as well as her own and her producer's ever-busy schedules. Lillie Mae admits she would have been perfectly happy to continue, "but Jack finally said, we have a lot of songs to choose from, let's put a cap on it and call it a day."

FOREVER AND THEN SOME stands simultaneously as both grounded and adventurous, an indelibly special collection touched by authenticity, resourcefulness, and passion – a passion that shines through in the music itself and Lillie Mae's live performances. Though she gave her all to craft this remarkable album, Lillie Mae's greatest pleasure remains performing live alongside her beloved siblings and fellow musicians.


"I've been writing these songs my whole life," Lillie Mae says, "I was blessed with someone that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to record them. Now I'll get on the road. That's all I want, I long for it. Touring is where I feel most comfortable in the world. The happiest I could ever be would be to have a gig every day."

Stand up for CF - A Comedy Show Benefit for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Featuring Matt Light and Ray Zawodni. Hosted by Adam Jumblat. Presented by Opus One Comedy

(Early Show) A-Money & the Downtown City (Album Release Show) with Special Guest Clara Kent

A-$ & the Downtown City is an original rock and roll band helmed by songwriter Adam Merulli which incorporates elements of soul, hip-hop, jazz, and pop. Their debut EP "NIght/Vision" is set for release this spring focusing on themes of hope, justice, love and redemption

A-$ & the Downtown City is an original rock and roll band helmed by songwriter Adam Merulli which incorporates elements of soul, hip-hop, jazz, and pop. Their debut EP "NIght/Vision" is set for release this spring focusing on themes of hope, justice, love and redemption

(Late Show) Garage Space & Tilted Shadows (No Cover!)

Garage Space is a collection of friends that have been together since childhood. Zac Burd and Chris Grenade have been in schooling together since pre-school,upon reconvening after college Zac and Chris decided to start something. The sound came naturally and before long the vibe was undeniably there.
We are a group of musicians from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, USA, part of the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The sound is a mixture of rockabilly, surf, folk, with punk and hardcore undertones.

Garage Space is a collection of friends that have been together since childhood. Zac Burd and Chris Grenade have been in schooling together since pre-school,upon reconvening after college Zac and Chris decided to start something. The sound came naturally and before long the vibe was undeniably there.
We are a group of musicians from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, USA, part of the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The sound is a mixture of rockabilly, surf, folk, with punk and hardcore undertones.

(Early Show) Parker McKay with Johnny Walylko

Parker McKay is a soul-bearing, country pop artist. Her wide range of influences spans from Sheryl Crow to Shania Twain to HAIM and John Mayer. This combination has lent to her unique blend of sultry, powerhouse vocals and stirring melodies.

As both an artist and songwriter, Parker‘s name has already made a notable impact on the industry’s community. Her debut music video premiered exclusively with Rolling Stone. Her lyrics bring a fresh perspective to the table and show that it’s a powerful thing to be a vulnerable, confident and honest woman in country music.

Parker McKay is a soul-bearing, country pop artist. Her wide range of influences spans from Sheryl Crow to Shania Twain to HAIM and John Mayer. This combination has lent to her unique blend of sultry, powerhouse vocals and stirring melodies.

As both an artist and songwriter, Parker‘s name has already made a notable impact on the industry’s community. Her debut music video premiered exclusively with Rolling Stone. Her lyrics bring a fresh perspective to the table and show that it’s a powerful thing to be a vulnerable, confident and honest woman in country music.

(Late Show) Race to the Coffin and Opus One Comedy presents Comedy Roulette: The Roast of Harry Potter Featuring Severus Snape, Rubeus Hagrid, Dolores Umbridge, and many more. Hosted by Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

Race to the Coffin Comedy presents Comedy Roulette: Comedy with a Catch - a monthly stand up show that will feature everything from fictional character roasts to drunk comedy. With a new theme every month, each night is guaranteed to be different, entertaining and hilarious.

This month's theme: The Roast of Harry Potter. Hosted by John Dick Winters.

Race to the Coffin Comedy presents Comedy Roulette: Comedy with a Catch - a monthly stand up show that will feature everything from fictional character roasts to drunk comedy. With a new theme every month, each night is guaranteed to be different, entertaining and hilarious.

This month's theme: The Roast of Harry Potter. Hosted by John Dick Winters.

An Evening With Jill Sobule

Doors will open an hour early at 6pm for extended kitchen service. Come have dinner with us before the show!


Jill Sobule is a Denver-born singer, songwriter, storyteller, guitarist and gypsy. Over seven albums and nearly two decades of recording, Jill has mused on topics such as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence and the Christian right.

Her recording career began in 1990 with her debut album Things Here are Different, recorded by Todd Rundgren. Her 1995 self-titled album, Jill Sobule, yielded the hit songs I Kissed A Girl (the original) and Supermodel. Since then, she has continued to record, produce and tour with an ever-growing loyal fan base. Jill is considered a pioneer in crowd sourcing, with her 2009 fan-funded record, California Years. She continues to be at the forefront of exploring and creating new models for artists in an ever-changing changing music industry.

She’s performed with Neil Young, Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Morello and Warren Zevon and inducted Neil Diamond into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. She can be seen live as a solo performer as well as the co-star of the Jill & Julia Show, an unusual and mesmerizing combination of song and storytelling in collaboration with comedian/actress Julia Sweeney. She also served as songwriter/composer for the hit Nickelodeon network show Unfabulous during that show's three-season run. She composed the music for the off-Broadway show Prozak and Platypus and her songs have appeared in a multitude of films including Mind the Gap, in which Jill herself co-starred. She has been a political troubadour for NPR stations across America and most recently performed original music at the keynote session for Netroots Nation. Jill is a longtime participant as well as musical contributor at TED.
A veritable gypsy, Jill divides her time between a busy touring schedule and a variety of other projects. The recently released A Day at the Pass finally captures an ongoing collaboration between Jill and John Doe (from the iconic punk band X) and was recorded live at The Pass studio on one fine day in Los Angeles. She is currently recording her next record, Dottie’s Charm’s - a collaboration between her and 11 of her favorite authors, including: Rick Moody, David Hajdu and Jonathon Lathem, Jill is also working with Steve Cossin (The Civillians), Jim Lewis (FELA) and Robin Eaton (a longtime collaborator) on the musical, Times Square.

In the words of New York Times pop music critic Jon Pareles, “Jill Sobule can claim her place among the stellar New York singer-songwriters of the last decade. Topical, funny and more than a little poignant...grown-up music for an adolescent age.”

She’s an American original.

Doors will open an hour early at 6pm for extended kitchen service. Come have dinner with us before the show!


Jill Sobule is a Denver-born singer, songwriter, storyteller, guitarist and gypsy. Over seven albums and nearly two decades of recording, Jill has mused on topics such as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence and the Christian right.

Her recording career began in 1990 with her debut album Things Here are Different, recorded by Todd Rundgren. Her 1995 self-titled album, Jill Sobule, yielded the hit songs I Kissed A Girl (the original) and Supermodel. Since then, she has continued to record, produce and tour with an ever-growing loyal fan base. Jill is considered a pioneer in crowd sourcing, with her 2009 fan-funded record, California Years. She continues to be at the forefront of exploring and creating new models for artists in an ever-changing changing music industry.

She’s performed with Neil Young, Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Morello and Warren Zevon and inducted Neil Diamond into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. She can be seen live as a solo performer as well as the co-star of the Jill & Julia Show, an unusual and mesmerizing combination of song and storytelling in collaboration with comedian/actress Julia Sweeney. She also served as songwriter/composer for the hit Nickelodeon network show Unfabulous during that show's three-season run. She composed the music for the off-Broadway show Prozak and Platypus and her songs have appeared in a multitude of films including Mind the Gap, in which Jill herself co-starred. She has been a political troubadour for NPR stations across America and most recently performed original music at the keynote session for Netroots Nation. Jill is a longtime participant as well as musical contributor at TED.
A veritable gypsy, Jill divides her time between a busy touring schedule and a variety of other projects. The recently released A Day at the Pass finally captures an ongoing collaboration between Jill and John Doe (from the iconic punk band X) and was recorded live at The Pass studio on one fine day in Los Angeles. She is currently recording her next record, Dottie’s Charm’s - a collaboration between her and 11 of her favorite authors, including: Rick Moody, David Hajdu and Jonathon Lathem, Jill is also working with Steve Cossin (The Civillians), Jim Lewis (FELA) and Robin Eaton (a longtime collaborator) on the musical, Times Square.

In the words of New York Times pop music critic Jon Pareles, “Jill Sobule can claim her place among the stellar New York singer-songwriters of the last decade. Topical, funny and more than a little poignant...grown-up music for an adolescent age.”

She’s an American original.

Bruno Major with Special Guest Eloise

There's nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Last year, Bruno Major set himself a task: to record and release one song a month for 12 months. Four weeks to take a song from an idea in his head to a finished product and have it out there for people to listen to and enjoy, every month, for a year. People had made albums in less time, he reasoned, how hard could it be?

"When I first said that I was going to do it most people said, ‘Nice one…that's never going to happen.'" Major recalls with a laugh. "A lot of people thought it was overly aspirational: it probably was."

What's impressive is not so much that he managed to pull it off, more that the challenge produced such a remarkable collection of songs. That within the time frame of a month, Major could produce such fully-realised, beautiful and inventive songs and then repeat the trick the following month, twelve times over.

"With a traditional album, there exists the concept of an album track...I haven't had that luxury because once a month I have to release a song and every song has to be a single. There's no room for a piano interlude. Each one had to be something that I could stand behind and say: ‘Hey, this is my next single, it's coming out, I've worked on it all month, I hope you like it.' It forced me to make sure the standard was at a certain level."

Not only did every song hit its mark, but listening to the fruits of Major's labour in the order he created them, you're given an experience that doesn't really have a precedent in music. Tracing a line from the blissful future soul and skittering beats of Wouldn't Mean A Thing through Home's delicate folk to Cold Blood's pulsating electronica, you're treated to a dozen snapshots of an artist at a specific moment in time. You can hear him grow, develop and move through the different emotional states of a year in a way that a traditional album simply wouldn't be able to offer. You can hear how he moved from the minimalism and sub bass warmth of There's Little Left to the jazz-flecked finger picking and layered harmonies of Second Time in just a few weeks and how the latter's dreamlike infatuation slowly faded into the bittersweet kiss-off of Fair-Weather Friend like the changing of the seasons.

"Albums are generally recorded within a smaller time frame and that helps lend them an identity as a whole and gives the tracks a feeling that they're siblings sonically," Major notes. "The big challenge for me has been to make sure there's a link through all of these songs because I've changed as a musician over the year. Listening to 'Wouldn't Mean A Thing' now, I think the sound I have developed with my co producer Phairo has become more developed. If I were to redo the whole thing now, there are elements of every song I would change, but that's part of the charm of them. I like that there's a little journey."

Having initially worked as a session guitarist, Major moved down from Northampton to London and, inspired by the energy of the city, became obsessed with songwriting. Honing his craft writing for other artists while all the time formulating his own musical style; an impossible to pigeonhole blend of sounds that can draw upon anything from James Blake and D'Angelo to Chet Baker and Nick Drake to create its own, uniquely intoxicating aura. It wasn't until a chance psychoactive revelation last year, however, that he struck upon the idea that would give him the perfect means to realise it.

"Whilst I was in Los Angeles I smoked DMT and had this mad epiphany where I saw how the universe works in perfect geometric patterns and synchronised cycles. I wanted to release a song every month, because that's the length of cycle of the moon," he recalls.

By his own admission, Major may have underestimated the task. A song like the Just The Same's touchingly devoted piano pop may have fallen into place one evening in all of 20 minutes, recorded the following day and then sent off to be mastered, but elsewhere there were weeks of fraught panic, scrapped ideas, stumbling blocks, pressure and looming deadlines where having a life outside of the challenge he'd set himself was a distant memory.

"It's definitely been tough, but it's also been wonderful," he reflects. "My life has been Groundhog Day for a year. I'd finish each month with a show and have a couple of nights of partying and then I'd start the next tune, work towards that, release it, over and over. It's been kind of comforting. In a way, I'm not looking forward to that ending."

He's probably earned a few days off to be fair. While he does, the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the music the last year of Bruno Major's life has produced.

There's nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Last year, Bruno Major set himself a task: to record and release one song a month for 12 months. Four weeks to take a song from an idea in his head to a finished product and have it out there for people to listen to and enjoy, every month, for a year. People had made albums in less time, he reasoned, how hard could it be?

"When I first said that I was going to do it most people said, ‘Nice one…that's never going to happen.'" Major recalls with a laugh. "A lot of people thought it was overly aspirational: it probably was."

What's impressive is not so much that he managed to pull it off, more that the challenge produced such a remarkable collection of songs. That within the time frame of a month, Major could produce such fully-realised, beautiful and inventive songs and then repeat the trick the following month, twelve times over.

"With a traditional album, there exists the concept of an album track...I haven't had that luxury because once a month I have to release a song and every song has to be a single. There's no room for a piano interlude. Each one had to be something that I could stand behind and say: ‘Hey, this is my next single, it's coming out, I've worked on it all month, I hope you like it.' It forced me to make sure the standard was at a certain level."

Not only did every song hit its mark, but listening to the fruits of Major's labour in the order he created them, you're given an experience that doesn't really have a precedent in music. Tracing a line from the blissful future soul and skittering beats of Wouldn't Mean A Thing through Home's delicate folk to Cold Blood's pulsating electronica, you're treated to a dozen snapshots of an artist at a specific moment in time. You can hear him grow, develop and move through the different emotional states of a year in a way that a traditional album simply wouldn't be able to offer. You can hear how he moved from the minimalism and sub bass warmth of There's Little Left to the jazz-flecked finger picking and layered harmonies of Second Time in just a few weeks and how the latter's dreamlike infatuation slowly faded into the bittersweet kiss-off of Fair-Weather Friend like the changing of the seasons.

"Albums are generally recorded within a smaller time frame and that helps lend them an identity as a whole and gives the tracks a feeling that they're siblings sonically," Major notes. "The big challenge for me has been to make sure there's a link through all of these songs because I've changed as a musician over the year. Listening to 'Wouldn't Mean A Thing' now, I think the sound I have developed with my co producer Phairo has become more developed. If I were to redo the whole thing now, there are elements of every song I would change, but that's part of the charm of them. I like that there's a little journey."

Having initially worked as a session guitarist, Major moved down from Northampton to London and, inspired by the energy of the city, became obsessed with songwriting. Honing his craft writing for other artists while all the time formulating his own musical style; an impossible to pigeonhole blend of sounds that can draw upon anything from James Blake and D'Angelo to Chet Baker and Nick Drake to create its own, uniquely intoxicating aura. It wasn't until a chance psychoactive revelation last year, however, that he struck upon the idea that would give him the perfect means to realise it.

"Whilst I was in Los Angeles I smoked DMT and had this mad epiphany where I saw how the universe works in perfect geometric patterns and synchronised cycles. I wanted to release a song every month, because that's the length of cycle of the moon," he recalls.

By his own admission, Major may have underestimated the task. A song like the Just The Same's touchingly devoted piano pop may have fallen into place one evening in all of 20 minutes, recorded the following day and then sent off to be mastered, but elsewhere there were weeks of fraught panic, scrapped ideas, stumbling blocks, pressure and looming deadlines where having a life outside of the challenge he'd set himself was a distant memory.

"It's definitely been tough, but it's also been wonderful," he reflects. "My life has been Groundhog Day for a year. I'd finish each month with a show and have a couple of nights of partying and then I'd start the next tune, work towards that, release it, over and over. It's been kind of comforting. In a way, I'm not looking forward to that ending."

He's probably earned a few days off to be fair. While he does, the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the music the last year of Bruno Major's life has produced.

Calliope Songwriters Meeting

Meet fellow musicians, collaborate on songs with others and refine your songwriting techniques with the help of a group environment. Open to all interested in attending even if you do not wish to participate, and open to all skill levels.

Meet fellow musicians, collaborate on songs with others and refine your songwriting techniques with the help of a group environment. Open to all interested in attending even if you do not wish to participate, and open to all skill levels.

Bombadil with Special Guests Aaron Lefebvre and William Sparks

Two years ago, Bombadil lost a longtime bandmate and breaking up seemed inevitable. But after a period of exploration that forced them to step out of their comfort zone, Bombadil has returned as a band reborn. Their new album ‘Fences,’ released 3/3/17 via Ramseur Records and produced by John Vanderslice (Spoon, The Mountain Goats), is their most remarkable work to date: meticulously crafted, yet accessible and unadorned. Pure, simple, beautiful.

“It’s more than just an album,” says Bombadil drummer and vocalist James Phillips. “It is a new path, a reset after several challenging years.”

‘Fences’ features eleven new, original songs composed by the Durham, NC-based trio – Phillips (drums, vox), Daniel Michalak (bass, vox) and Stacey Harden (guitar, vox). Recorded at Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, CA, the album is influenced by early Paul Simon and steeped in shades of Cat Stevens and The Incredible String Band.

“Sometimes you 'produce' the hell out of a record because the material needs to be lifted and transformed,” says Vanderslice. “These songs and performances were so strong I mostly just put up a Neumann U67 and stood out of the way."

Bombadil has made fans at NPR, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, who called them "astonishing." Time Out New York said their music is “bursting with irresistible melodies, unexpected lyrical gems, and moments of profound honesty, all anchored by expert songwriting skills." They've toured extensively in the past with Dr. Dog, Kishi Bashi and Carolina Chocolate Drops and will hit the road again in 2018 in support of the new album.

Two years ago, Bombadil lost a longtime bandmate and breaking up seemed inevitable. But after a period of exploration that forced them to step out of their comfort zone, Bombadil has returned as a band reborn. Their new album ‘Fences,’ released 3/3/17 via Ramseur Records and produced by John Vanderslice (Spoon, The Mountain Goats), is their most remarkable work to date: meticulously crafted, yet accessible and unadorned. Pure, simple, beautiful.

“It’s more than just an album,” says Bombadil drummer and vocalist James Phillips. “It is a new path, a reset after several challenging years.”

‘Fences’ features eleven new, original songs composed by the Durham, NC-based trio – Phillips (drums, vox), Daniel Michalak (bass, vox) and Stacey Harden (guitar, vox). Recorded at Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, CA, the album is influenced by early Paul Simon and steeped in shades of Cat Stevens and The Incredible String Band.

“Sometimes you 'produce' the hell out of a record because the material needs to be lifted and transformed,” says Vanderslice. “These songs and performances were so strong I mostly just put up a Neumann U67 and stood out of the way."

Bombadil has made fans at NPR, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, who called them "astonishing." Time Out New York said their music is “bursting with irresistible melodies, unexpected lyrical gems, and moments of profound honesty, all anchored by expert songwriting skills." They've toured extensively in the past with Dr. Dog, Kishi Bashi and Carolina Chocolate Drops and will hit the road again in 2018 in support of the new album.

@clubcafelive

56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (In Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side)