Jakethehawk / God Hates Unicorns / Skye Light.
Jakethehawk / God Hates Unicorns / Skye Light.
"Sounding like no other singer of her generation" (Allmusic.com), Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC-based chamber-pop group OCTOBER PROJECT. The hallmark of their sound was Mary Fahl's awe-inspiring power vocals over gorgeous melodies played with passion and sophistication. As a solo artist, Mary has released several compelling albums, including the fantastic re-working of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" for V2 Records; her wonderful, original studio album "The Other Side of Time" on Sony Odyssey; and her acclaimed album "Love and Gravity". She has also written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song ("Going Home") for the Civil War epic Gods and Generals. Now Mary returns with her album "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House", a collection of twenty-three tracks recorded live at one of America's oldest vaudeville theaters and winner of the Indie Acoustic Award for multi-genre "Album of the Year". The show was filmed for PBS and is currently airing around the country. Fahl's elegant, cinematic songs draw on classical and world music sources, American art song, as well as thinking man's folk-pop which she performs with an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that Boston Globe critic Steve Morse calls "a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms". Her upcoming performance will include "Exiles", a song written for Anne Rice's new audiobook "The Wolves of Midwinter", a stunning cover of the Joni Mitchell classic "Both Sides Now", and many October Project favorites.
I've managed to make a career doing what I damn well please, musically," she says.
It should go without saying. Anyone who has ever heard Magness sing live or on any the baker's dozen of releases she has put out since coming on the scene 26 years ago can immediately divine that this is a strong, resilient, commanding woman in masterful control of her voice and her destiny if not always her heart. In the space between the notes you can hear a performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone's measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation, only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the Blues Music Awards' coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award.
That defiant attitude drives Blue Again, Magness' new record being released on Blue Élan/Fathead Records on May 12. A succinct artistic statement, Blue Again collects Magness' interpretations of a half dozen classics from the blues canon and beyond, including numbers made famous by Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Etta James, and Nina Simone.
"The whole record is about getting back to my taproot," says Magness. "The process was just digging through a large pile of some of my favorite material, my favorite classic blues songs, to come up with these, my absolute favorites."
A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father's blues and country record collection.
Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush. She started down the path of a music career, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona.
Since then Magness' life has not been without its downs, including the deaths of many close to her and the dissolution of a long term marriage. But she has persevered. Recently remarried to English bluesman T.J. Norton, she has continued her steady progression up the career ladder.
Blue Again comes hot on the heels of Magness' 2016 album Love Wins Again, which became the biggest commercial and critical success of her career. The record, Magness' Blue Élan debut, reached the top of the blues radio charts and remained in the Top 10 for seven months and also crossed over into the Americana chart. Love Wins Again also earned the singer her first Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year. The record's success was made all the sweeter because it marked the continuing flowering of Magness as a songwriter.
Having hit a new career high, Magness felt it was important to connect where she was going as an artist to where she has been.
"There's definitely been an evolution, an arc over the course of time of the kinds of songs that I've elected to do and the kinds of songs I now write," she says. "I wanted to bring that arc full circle. I wanted to make a record of what and where I come from. It was important to me emotionally and spiritually."
To help her make this spiritual journey, Magness turned once more to Dave Darling, the producer of six Grammy nominated albums. With Blue Again, Darling has now produced six records for Magness and also serves as her chief songwriting partner.
"I just love working with that guy," says Magness. "We've been friends for a very, very long time, and I really trust implicitly. I trust his creative sense. I trust his musicality. He's incredibly talented. Nobody's been the boss of me for a long time, but I do trust him and I'm willing to let him lead me and I find that very critical to the relationship between a producer and an artist."
Trust also played a part in the tracking of the record at Burbank, California's Clear Lake Recording, with Magness and Darling employing Magness' longtime road band, including drummer Matt Tecu, bassist Gary "Scruff" Davenport, guitarists Zach Zunis and Garrett Deloian. They are joined by Arlan Schierbaum on Hammond B3, guest artists Kid Ramos, Sugaray Rayford, and Magness' husband, English bluesman and singer-songwriter T.J. Norton.
The title track, a rip-roaring floor filler best associated with Bo Diddley, kicks off Blue Again, with Ramos, an associate of Magness' since she provided guest vocals on his 1999 self-titled sophomore album, providing the down-and-dirty guitar.
"It's very raw. It's very animal," says Magness of the track. "And I really dig that."
It's followed by Al Cooper's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," a devastating, slow burner made famous by the great soul balladeer Donny Hathaway. It's a song Magness says gets to the heart of the blues' enduring appeal.
"I hear it as a tale of one love speaking to another about their level of commitment and passion," she says. "If a song is really well crafted, it's going to be a snapshot and it's going to speak to basic human truth. I have always found that to be the case with the blues: It speaks to basic human truth, which is why it's still here as a genre."
On the record's third track, Magness faces the daunting task of living up to one of every blues singer's idols, Etta James. A duet with Harvey Fuqua, "If I Can't Have You" is one of the Chess Records great's best known songs and likely the most recognizable on Blue Again. For her rendition, Magness recruits as her foil fast-rising blues singer Rayford, whom she first met when she was a judge and he was an unknown contestant at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.
"If you don't know him, you're about to," Magness says of Rayford, who is nominated for two awards, including male contemporary blues artist and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at this year's Blues Music Awards. "He's coming up real fast and strong in the ranks. I'm so grateful he was able to do the session because his voice was perfect."
Up next is "Tired of Walking," a tribute to one of Magness' favorite singers, Joe Hinton, a contemporary of B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland who died tragically young.
"I think his work needs more recognition," Magness says. "My version is an ode to him and an acknowledgement of the idea we've all had that you've worked a really, really, really long time really, really hard and you're a little bit tired and you'd like to have a ride."
Credited to her husband/manager Andy Stroud, Nina Simone's "Buck" is the most unconventional choice on Blue Again. Magness says she included it because it is "straight up sexy," reflecting the tempestuous relationship of the two people behind it.
"I have loved that song forever, and I love Nina Simone," says Magness of the song, which features harmonica by Norton. "She didn't have any damn left to give. That woman was fearless. She was a very strong woman at a time when it wasn't popular to be a strong woman. I don't know when it was ever popular to be a strong woman, frankly, but it certainly wasn't back then."
The record is rounded out with Magness' version of the oft-covered "Pack It Up," a song she best knows from Freddie King. Her take features a distinctive acoustic guitar riff that gives the track an unexpected country flavor.
Despite this record's looping back around to her beginnings, Magness says Blue Again should not be seen as a coda. She still has a lot more songs to sing and write, and she is finding all new audiences for her music, including her recent first trip to India where she sang for 5,000 fans despite never been there before.
"There's a lot more to this story," she says. "And if you're interested in the book, I hope to go to publishing this year."
William Wild is the moniker of 24-year-old Alternative singer-songwriter Garrett Sale. Born and raised at the foothill of the Appalachian Mountains in Knoxville, TN, Sale began to pursue music while attending The University of Tennessee.
It was there that Sale worked on his first collection of recordings with Knoxville friends and fellow musicians, eventually releasing a self-titled LP under the name William Wild. Sale then embarked on a solo journey through Europe, where he wrote four of the six songs on his new EP, Steady Now. Continuing with the layered vocals, lush strings, dark tones of the debut album, Steady Now explores Sales search for peace while wrestling with self-pity, guilt and materialism.
Hazy guitars, dusty keys, and blurry pedal steel illuminate the recordings of weighty songs immersed in loss, fear of failure, and the worthiness of human existence. With plush nostalgic pop sensibilities, Steady Now radiates tranquility. In an atmosphere of warmth, the listener is invited to delve into psyche of kindred spirits. It is there that unfaltering refuge is found.
One of the most versatile, skilled, and curious musicians in Chicago, guitarist Goran Ivanovic has built a career built upon exploration. Born and raised in Croatia, he was in the midst of studying at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria with masters like Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch when his parents (his father is a Serb, his mother a Bosnian Croat) were expelled in the late 90s; the family was granted asylum in the US and they settled in Chicago. Since his arrival he's displayed a deep interest in collaboration, steadily expanding his stylistic range well beyond the European classical music and Balkan sounds he was fluently versed in when he arrived. These days his repertoire not only incorporates those disciplines, but jazz and flamenco as well. He's recorded duet albums with the great Pakistani-Chilean jazz guitarist Fareed Haque as well as Greek-American musician Andreas Kapsalis. He's a key member of the quartet Eastern Blok with Matt Ulery, Doug Rosenberg, and Michael Caskey, a combo that deftly surveys the folk music of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia in a distinctly jazz-oriented context, embroidering timeless Balkan melodies and rhythms with sophisticated improvisational gambits. Most recently, Ivanovic released an eponymous trio album with bassist Ulery and percussionist Pete Tashjian where he's achieved a stunning assimilation of his many influences, creating a hybrid all his own. Reviewing the new album for All About Jazz, Budd Kopman wrote, "It is easy to get lost in Ivanovic's technique, especially if one plays (or attempts to play) Classical style guitar, in a jazz style or not." The trio's agility has also been noted. As Jeff Elbel wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, "The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages."
Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century. His new album Everybody Wants A Piece cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the blues. Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, "I'd like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I've learned more from my failures, than from my success . But that's made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style . I'd like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, That's Joe Louis Walker.'"
Always an artist deeply expressive lyrically, Walker continues to write and sing about themes that are universal. On "Black & Blue" he talks about a love affair that's falling apart, but there's an effort to keep it going. He offers, "The lyric Let's find a quiet place, A place out of town We Need to talk this thru, Be honest & True' says it all in trying to save the relationship." He cites the title track as a composition that might not have a deep meaning, but in presenting the thought, "Everybody wants a piece of your love," offers a double entendre that speaks for itself. With a deep history and background in gospel, Walker looks towards Wade in the Water" as an instant all time favorite. He reveals, "The inspirational lyric The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL" is expressing my belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can't."
This time out Joe has brought on Paul Nelson to produce his album which was recorded at his famed Chop Shop studio on the east coast. Nelson is a Grammy winning guitarist/producer who was rock/blues legend Johnny Winter's guitarist, and who also appears as guest guitarist on two tracks on Everybody Wants A Piece.
A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world's most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker's 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.
Born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues sensibilities on recordings released by Polydor/Polygram. These albums feature Walker's collaborations with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Walker has steadily released recordings since the turn of the millennium, and recently signed to Provogue / Mascot Label Group.
NPR Music has called Walker "a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues," and he is already being referred to within the blues world as a living legend. However, at this stage of his life, Walker profoundly shares, "I'd really like to inspire younger musicians to carry on the legacy of blues/roots music. But play, and do it your way. Don't be afraid to mix it up. There's no right, or wrong way. Just the way you wanna express yourself. And above all, ENJOY YOURSELF."
Join Club Cafe for an evening featuring local singer songwriters Vit Debacco, Jeremy Caywood, Kevin Finn, and Spencer Allan Patrick
Conceived in New Jersey from its emerging DIY scene from the late 90s, cult hip-hop trio DÄLEK were known as pioneers over the last fifteen years for their intriguing sound which fuses a blend of progressive hip-hop artistry supported by a rhythmic backdrop consisting of sonic experimentation through noise music and dark ambient gaze. Their singularity would be highlighted in five groundbreaking full-length albums: Gutter Tactics (2009), Abandoned Language (2007), Absence (2005),
From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots (2002) - all released on Ipecac Recordings - as well as Negro Necro Nekros (1998) on Gern Blandsten. DÄLEK supported those albums on tour for over a decade and have shared stages with influential artists such as KRS One, Tomahawk, The Melvins, TOOL, Grandmaster Flash, Jesu, Dillinger Escape Plan, Pharcyde, RJD2, DeLa Soul, Prince Paul, Lovage, ZU, Black Heart Procession, Gaslamp Killer, Earth, Flying Lotus, The Bug, Mastodon, Fantomas and more. In 2011, DÄLEK quietly went on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time, as the members needed a break from the rigorous schedule on the road.
Fast forward to Spring 2015, mastermind and producer MC Dälek (a.k.a. Will Brooks, with the blessing of ex-member/co-producer Oktopus) revived DÄLEK with a new lineup which now includes DJ rEk on turntables and co-producer Mike Manteca on samplers and effects. The trio have returned with their signature mind numbing, genre bending blend of beats, noise and lyricism and are preparing to release the highly anticipated first official DÄLEK release since their last full-length, 2009s Gutter Tactics. Titled Asphalt For Eden, this new album sees a new creative peak for DÄLEK and will bring a new awareness for this cult hip-hop entity now resurrected and ready to show a formidable display of true hip hop artistry and experimentation. Asphalt For Eden also marks DÄLEK's first collaboration with progressive music label PROFOUND LORE who will release the album on April 22nd.
Following Asphalt For Eden's release, DÄLEK will hit the road in support of it. Their live performances are known as intense events that often end in a shoved mic stand and sonically assaultive layers of sound. Witnessing DÄLEK live is like coming face to face with the bastard child of Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine; an amalgamation of the heaviest noise that the Velvet Underground or Merzbow ever unleashed and the knowledge spit by the likes of Rakim. The trio leaves you in a trance, sends shivers down your spine from the haunting beats intertwined with ambient textures and noise scales, and hits you with a powerful raw flow from one of the most charismatic MC's of his, or any, era.
Cold Roses plays The Music of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. With Special Guest Caleb Pogyor.
Join Club Cafe for a local show with Inflatable Space Station, Hedonism Bots and The Struggle Bus.
56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (In Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side)