club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
The Steel Wheels with Special Guest Twain

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they've been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here.

"I think we've always been able to write new songs with different landscapes. However it was really enjoyable for us, creatively and artistically, to depart from the straight-up acoustic sound that we've been known for," says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of the material. "I'm excited to see what happens. There are fans out there who are ready for this and who have been waiting for us to do this."

While on tour supporting Josh Ritter, the band forged a friendship with Sam Kassirer, who plays keyboards for Ritter on tour and has produced a number of his albums. While The Steel Wheels had been considering other producers and maybe recording in Nashville, they chose to follow their instincts all the way to rural Maine, where Kassirer owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members - Wagler, Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) - hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.

"It's a gorgeous set-up," Wagler says. "I didn't grow up in a big city and I never made a record in a big city. It's much more my style, and our style as a band, to completely hole up - probably more than we ever have - for 10 full days in Maine. I left the house for a couple of bike rides but I never went to a restaurant or a store the whole time I was there. We ate on site, we slept on site, and we recorded. It was a very immersive experience, top to bottom."

Afternoon hikes amid the fall foliage helped them clear their heads, ensuring that everyone could stay focused on the task at hand - which in retrospect was quite daunting. The Steel Wheels had about 40 original songs stowed away before the sessions. Only two or three had ever been played live and the band had not arranged any of them.

"One of my favorite parts of the process was taking the first couple of days to rehearse and arrange the songs all in one room, with Sam offering his insights," Brubaker says. "We had enough time to really build the songs from the ground up, examining each one to see what elements would best highlight the mood we were trying to capture."

Wild As We Came Here is a significant leap for the band, which started its journey in 2004. Wagler, Dickel, and Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville. (All four members of the band grew up in Mennonite families.) Wagler and Dickel were in a punk/alternative band until acoustic music lured them in.

Wagler soon started crafting songs and learned flat-picking. Dickel took classes on building guitars. They briefly played as a duo before Brubaker joined on fiddle. Lapp eventually came on board after getting to know the band from the local folk circuit. In 2010, following a variety of EPs and LPs, the ensemble officially branded itself as The Steel Wheels, a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress, and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage.

Lapp says, "We found we really enjoyed singing and playing music together and it happened so naturally. To make it even better, everyone listens very well to what the other is playing, making it a total group experience. I've never worked with such a collected and well-spoken group of men, and it makes the experience of touring and performing a pure joy."

Then as now, The Steel Wheels' style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.

The album begins with "To the Wild," which explores the fascinating and unusual relationship that modern society has with the great outdoors, from exploitation to preservation. Wagler wrote the title track after reading a news story about a desperate man who starts bidding at a land auction - even though he had no way of paying for it - in order to prevent oil and gas companies from destroying the natural beauty of the area.

Meanwhile, the idea behind "Broken Mandolin" was inspired by a few lines from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, which takes place during World War II. Wagler describes "Take Me to the Ending" as essentially a bluegrass apocalypse - "like a sense of coming out from the bunker and there are still a few people playing fiddle tunes."

Of course, exquisite harmonies remain a strength of the band, shining through on "Sing Me Like a Folk Song." By making a social statement in uncertain times, listeners will want to lend their voices too. More than a decade into The Steel Wheels' career, the simple act of singing together - something that carries them back to their Mennonite heritage - is still incredibly special. The stunning closing track, "Till No One Is Free," provides an elegant ending to the band's most satisfying album yet.

"It was my favorite studio experience from start to finish, by far, of any project we've ever done," Dickel says. "A super-relaxed and experimental vibe coupled with some genre-stretching sounds really did it for me. I think we pushed ourselves much further than previous albums and I think we will push our fans a little too. Both of those are exciting to me."

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they've been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here.

"I think we've always been able to write new songs with different landscapes. However it was really enjoyable for us, creatively and artistically, to depart from the straight-up acoustic sound that we've been known for," says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of the material. "I'm excited to see what happens. There are fans out there who are ready for this and who have been waiting for us to do this."

While on tour supporting Josh Ritter, the band forged a friendship with Sam Kassirer, who plays keyboards for Ritter on tour and has produced a number of his albums. While The Steel Wheels had been considering other producers and maybe recording in Nashville, they chose to follow their instincts all the way to rural Maine, where Kassirer owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members - Wagler, Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) - hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.

"It's a gorgeous set-up," Wagler says. "I didn't grow up in a big city and I never made a record in a big city. It's much more my style, and our style as a band, to completely hole up - probably more than we ever have - for 10 full days in Maine. I left the house for a couple of bike rides but I never went to a restaurant or a store the whole time I was there. We ate on site, we slept on site, and we recorded. It was a very immersive experience, top to bottom."

Afternoon hikes amid the fall foliage helped them clear their heads, ensuring that everyone could stay focused on the task at hand - which in retrospect was quite daunting. The Steel Wheels had about 40 original songs stowed away before the sessions. Only two or three had ever been played live and the band had not arranged any of them.

"One of my favorite parts of the process was taking the first couple of days to rehearse and arrange the songs all in one room, with Sam offering his insights," Brubaker says. "We had enough time to really build the songs from the ground up, examining each one to see what elements would best highlight the mood we were trying to capture."

Wild As We Came Here is a significant leap for the band, which started its journey in 2004. Wagler, Dickel, and Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville. (All four members of the band grew up in Mennonite families.) Wagler and Dickel were in a punk/alternative band until acoustic music lured them in.

Wagler soon started crafting songs and learned flat-picking. Dickel took classes on building guitars. They briefly played as a duo before Brubaker joined on fiddle. Lapp eventually came on board after getting to know the band from the local folk circuit. In 2010, following a variety of EPs and LPs, the ensemble officially branded itself as The Steel Wheels, a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress, and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage.

Lapp says, "We found we really enjoyed singing and playing music together and it happened so naturally. To make it even better, everyone listens very well to what the other is playing, making it a total group experience. I've never worked with such a collected and well-spoken group of men, and it makes the experience of touring and performing a pure joy."

Then as now, The Steel Wheels' style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.

The album begins with "To the Wild," which explores the fascinating and unusual relationship that modern society has with the great outdoors, from exploitation to preservation. Wagler wrote the title track after reading a news story about a desperate man who starts bidding at a land auction - even though he had no way of paying for it - in order to prevent oil and gas companies from destroying the natural beauty of the area.

Meanwhile, the idea behind "Broken Mandolin" was inspired by a few lines from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, which takes place during World War II. Wagler describes "Take Me to the Ending" as essentially a bluegrass apocalypse - "like a sense of coming out from the bunker and there are still a few people playing fiddle tunes."

Of course, exquisite harmonies remain a strength of the band, shining through on "Sing Me Like a Folk Song." By making a social statement in uncertain times, listeners will want to lend their voices too. More than a decade into The Steel Wheels' career, the simple act of singing together - something that carries them back to their Mennonite heritage - is still incredibly special. The stunning closing track, "Till No One Is Free," provides an elegant ending to the band's most satisfying album yet.

"It was my favorite studio experience from start to finish, by far, of any project we've ever done," Dickel says. "A super-relaxed and experimental vibe coupled with some genre-stretching sounds really did it for me. I think we pushed ourselves much further than previous albums and I think we will push our fans a little too. Both of those are exciting to me."

Blossoms with Special Guest Wilderado

Blossoms are - Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock - a five-piece
band from Stockport. Their eponymous debut album spent two weeks at No.1 in the UK when it was
released in August - the first time a debut album has spent more than one week at No.1 from launch
since 2014. The record, now available in a deluxe format with ten extra tracks, has amassed sales of
almost 100 000 copies.
In testament to the huge success in 2016, Blossoms have been nominated for both 'Best Breakthrough
Act' at the BRIT Awards and 'Best New Act' at the VO5 NME Awards this year. The band will also be
embarking on the 'NME Awards Tour' in March 2017 following sold out tours last September, October
and December. Blossoms will then head to North America for a tour this April as well as appearances at
this year's Coachella Festival in California, Firefly in Delaware and Governor's Ball in New York City.
The band recently announced their biggest headline show to date at Manchester's Castlefield Bowl on
July 8th and will be joined by very special guests The Coral.
"This year's biggest guitar-pop shooting stars…looking like snake-hipped garage rockers from the wrong
side of Scarysex Central… Blossoms leap from their chart-bound Trojan horse as modernist rock heroes"
- NME

Blossoms are - Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock - a five-piece
band from Stockport. Their eponymous debut album spent two weeks at No.1 in the UK when it was
released in August - the first time a debut album has spent more than one week at No.1 from launch
since 2014. The record, now available in a deluxe format with ten extra tracks, has amassed sales of
almost 100 000 copies.
In testament to the huge success in 2016, Blossoms have been nominated for both 'Best Breakthrough
Act' at the BRIT Awards and 'Best New Act' at the VO5 NME Awards this year. The band will also be
embarking on the 'NME Awards Tour' in March 2017 following sold out tours last September, October
and December. Blossoms will then head to North America for a tour this April as well as appearances at
this year's Coachella Festival in California, Firefly in Delaware and Governor's Ball in New York City.
The band recently announced their biggest headline show to date at Manchester's Castlefield Bowl on
July 8th and will be joined by very special guests The Coral.
"This year's biggest guitar-pop shooting stars…looking like snake-hipped garage rockers from the wrong
side of Scarysex Central… Blossoms leap from their chart-bound Trojan horse as modernist rock heroes"
- NME

Kolars with Special Guests Amoeba Knievel and Luxury Machine

When it became clear that glam folk act He's My Brother She's My Sister was heading towards a hiatus, band members Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown decided to go off and find their own beat. What they learned from their previous outfit was that even folk fans want to find music that makes them move. That's the dictum that's guided the duo into the creation of KOLARS. As KOLARS, the pair create a kinetic brand of disco-inspired rockabilly they loving dub glam-a-billy. Kolar provides the soaring, fuzzy guitars while Brown pounds and literally stomps the percussion - she actually stands and tap-dances on a bass drum. Far from a gimmicky trick, the clacking feet add familiar moments one might expect from a hi-hat or the clapping of hands. Even without Brown's unique method of performing, the band's sound remains uniquely driving. Take their latest single "One More Thrill". Crafted like a grooving '70s country song carved out of the gleaming vibrations of modern rock, the track pulsates right into your chest. It takes your heart by the hand and leads you to the dance floor, daring you to not feel motivated to dance, shimmy, just escape the mundane. "'One More Thrill' is about someone who wants to break free from the monotony in their life to pursue their dreams," the band tells Consequence of Sound. "The video uses imagery and creatures to symbolize that struggle and the excitement of taking that chance."

When it became clear that glam folk act He's My Brother She's My Sister was heading towards a hiatus, band members Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown decided to go off and find their own beat. What they learned from their previous outfit was that even folk fans want to find music that makes them move. That's the dictum that's guided the duo into the creation of KOLARS. As KOLARS, the pair create a kinetic brand of disco-inspired rockabilly they loving dub glam-a-billy. Kolar provides the soaring, fuzzy guitars while Brown pounds and literally stomps the percussion - she actually stands and tap-dances on a bass drum. Far from a gimmicky trick, the clacking feet add familiar moments one might expect from a hi-hat or the clapping of hands. Even without Brown's unique method of performing, the band's sound remains uniquely driving. Take their latest single "One More Thrill". Crafted like a grooving '70s country song carved out of the gleaming vibrations of modern rock, the track pulsates right into your chest. It takes your heart by the hand and leads you to the dance floor, daring you to not feel motivated to dance, shimmy, just escape the mundane. "'One More Thrill' is about someone who wants to break free from the monotony in their life to pursue their dreams," the band tells Consequence of Sound. "The video uses imagery and creatures to symbolize that struggle and the excitement of taking that chance."

Chillent Album Release Party with Special Guests Manic Soul

Formed as a weekly jam session in the winter of 2015, CHILLENT has quickly established a growing fanbase in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA that includes lovers of funk, jazz, blues, and world music.

Offering up a hot plate of original compositions, spicy jazz & blues covers, and funky interpretations of Jewish favorites, CHILLENT's unique sound has been described by fans as "klezmer Phish," and "Maceo Parker at a bar mitzvah."

Artist's they've performed with include: Flux Capacitor, G-nome Project, The Clock Reads, Brian Fitzy, Lazer Lloyd, Eig8th Day, Rogers Park, and Simply Tzfat.

Formed as a weekly jam session in the winter of 2015, CHILLENT has quickly established a growing fanbase in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA that includes lovers of funk, jazz, blues, and world music.

Offering up a hot plate of original compositions, spicy jazz & blues covers, and funky interpretations of Jewish favorites, CHILLENT's unique sound has been described by fans as "klezmer Phish," and "Maceo Parker at a bar mitzvah."

Artist's they've performed with include: Flux Capacitor, G-nome Project, The Clock Reads, Brian Fitzy, Lazer Lloyd, Eig8th Day, Rogers Park, and Simply Tzfat.

(Early Show) L.O.S. with Special Guests Pretty Krissy, LL Mari, Chris Mitchell and Hubbs

Hip-Hop artist L.O.S is currently shaking up the lyrical scene with his clever wordplay, explosive sound, and charismatic style. It doesn’t take much to tell that L.O.S is sticking to his east coast roots and bearing hip-hop on his back. His aim at every moment is to fuse the gap between musicality and lyrical wordplay. With an unstoppable desire to carve a niche for himself within the hip hop community, L.O.S has journeyed across the country as guest performer for acts such as Cassidy, Fabulous, Maino, Jadakiss and more as part of the accomplished rap duo Folkland. Now he’s back focusing on a solo effort with the release of his new single "Phresh Li".

Hip-Hop artist L.O.S is currently shaking up the lyrical scene with his clever wordplay, explosive sound, and charismatic style. It doesn’t take much to tell that L.O.S is sticking to his east coast roots and bearing hip-hop on his back. His aim at every moment is to fuse the gap between musicality and lyrical wordplay. With an unstoppable desire to carve a niche for himself within the hip hop community, L.O.S has journeyed across the country as guest performer for acts such as Cassidy, Fabulous, Maino, Jadakiss and more as part of the accomplished rap duo Folkland. Now he’s back focusing on a solo effort with the release of his new single "Phresh Li".

(Late Show) Funkle Aaron Project with Special Guest Anja Wade

At the start the duo collaboration born from the depths of Pittsburgh open stages, developed a hunger for bigger performances. Following a brief winter break the drum-guitar duo enlisted musicians to collaborate larger themed performances.

The first show featured a two drum set plus percussion, bass, saxophone, guitar lineup. Followed by the band's second show, Funkle Aaron Project presents Bob Marley Night! The reggae music is a large part of the groove and rhythmn, rearranging new standards in the reggae format.
Future Bob Marley Nights will now be monthly.

Currently Funkle Aaron is in the process of recording the first album for the group, collaborating with all original material, and musicians in Pittsburgh, PA.

At the start the duo collaboration born from the depths of Pittsburgh open stages, developed a hunger for bigger performances. Following a brief winter break the drum-guitar duo enlisted musicians to collaborate larger themed performances.

The first show featured a two drum set plus percussion, bass, saxophone, guitar lineup. Followed by the band's second show, Funkle Aaron Project presents Bob Marley Night! The reggae music is a large part of the groove and rhythmn, rearranging new standards in the reggae format.
Future Bob Marley Nights will now be monthly.

Currently Funkle Aaron is in the process of recording the first album for the group, collaborating with all original material, and musicians in Pittsburgh, PA.

An Evening With Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers

"In a better world, Joe Grushecky would live in a mansion down the road from Springsteen's. Instead, this enormous talent spends his days teaching some of western Pennsylvania's most troubled children...Who do you know who has made back-to-back great albums more than 20 years ago, and is doing the same thing now. There's Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Springsteen, maybe a few more. He's on that level." - Jimmy Guterman, Runaway American Dream: Listening to Bruce Springsteen

Joe Grushecky's music has stood the test of time. For 30 years publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, No Depression, and countless others have hailed him as one of rock & roll's most talented singer-songwriters.

Joe's first band, the Iron City Houserockers, were signed to Cleveland International by A&R legend Steve Popovich also responsible for signing Meatloaf and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. ICH released their debut album, "Love's So Tough" in 1979 and began to garner critical acclaim:

In Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus wrote "their debut album is strong, passionate and a little desperate. This is hard rock with force.... I hope they're around for a long, long time."

Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, and Steve Van Zandt handled the

"In a better world, Joe Grushecky would live in a mansion down the road from Springsteen's. Instead, this enormous talent spends his days teaching some of western Pennsylvania's most troubled children...Who do you know who has made back-to-back great albums more than 20 years ago, and is doing the same thing now. There's Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Springsteen, maybe a few more. He's on that level." - Jimmy Guterman, Runaway American Dream: Listening to Bruce Springsteen

Joe Grushecky's music has stood the test of time. For 30 years publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, No Depression, and countless others have hailed him as one of rock & roll's most talented singer-songwriters.

Joe's first band, the Iron City Houserockers, were signed to Cleveland International by A&R legend Steve Popovich also responsible for signing Meatloaf and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. ICH released their debut album, "Love's So Tough" in 1979 and began to garner critical acclaim:

In Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus wrote "their debut album is strong, passionate and a little desperate. This is hard rock with force.... I hope they're around for a long, long time."

Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, and Steve Van Zandt handled the

Mephiskapheles with Special Guests INCO FIdO and Latecomer

Mephiskapheles is back in red and black. The band that helped define third-wave ska, then defied critics by exploring even greater possibilities with its darkly original ska fusion, forges ahead with amazing shows and new music now available.

Formed in the East Village of New York City in 1991 by a group of punk rockers/artists/ad guys/jazz musicians, Mephiskapheles played its first show on Long Island. From day one, the band began attracting a diverse, dedicated fan base.

Sold-out NYC gigs led to tours with the Buzzcocks and GWAR, and hits on the Hawaiian Islands Chart with three singles from the band's first album, 1994's God Bless Satan, produced by Bill Laswell.

While touring relentlessly, Mephiskapheles followed-up in 1997 with Maximum Perversion, a jazz-influenced work that didn't take long to be hailed as a classic. A deal in 1999 with Koch Records resulted in the band's hard-hitting, exploratory third album, Might-Ay White-Ay.

Fronted by lead singer Invidious aka the Nubian Nightmare, along with the hottest rhythm section in New York, and the Horns of Hell, Mephiskapheles spreads its evil seed with an ongoing reissue program, epic shows, and new music out now.

See you in Hell.

Mephiskapheles is back in red and black. The band that helped define third-wave ska, then defied critics by exploring even greater possibilities with its darkly original ska fusion, forges ahead with amazing shows and new music now available.

Formed in the East Village of New York City in 1991 by a group of punk rockers/artists/ad guys/jazz musicians, Mephiskapheles played its first show on Long Island. From day one, the band began attracting a diverse, dedicated fan base.

Sold-out NYC gigs led to tours with the Buzzcocks and GWAR, and hits on the Hawaiian Islands Chart with three singles from the band's first album, 1994's God Bless Satan, produced by Bill Laswell.

While touring relentlessly, Mephiskapheles followed-up in 1997 with Maximum Perversion, a jazz-influenced work that didn't take long to be hailed as a classic. A deal in 1999 with Koch Records resulted in the band's hard-hitting, exploratory third album, Might-Ay White-Ay.

Fronted by lead singer Invidious aka the Nubian Nightmare, along with the hottest rhythm section in New York, and the Horns of Hell, Mephiskapheles spreads its evil seed with an ongoing reissue program, epic shows, and new music out now.

See you in Hell.

Bruce Robison with Special Guest Elise Davis

AUSTIN, TEXAS - In regard to the Lone Star State's finest tunesmiths, Bruce Robison lands at the top of the heap. His songwriting turned the heads of some of the industry's biggest artists and took them to the top of the charts (Dixie Chicks' No. 1 version of "Travelin' Soldier," George Strait's recording of "Wrapped" and the beautiful Tim McGraw/Faith Hill rendition of "Angry All The Time," to name a few). While those achievements might be considered the pinnacle of a song writing career to some, Robison has never been one to rest on his laurels. He is always creating.

The last two releases from Robison were as a duo project with wife and acclaimed singer/songwriter, Kelly Willis. Cheaters Game and Our Year were released just over a year apart in 2013 and 2014, respectively, to rave reviews.

After touring extensively to support the duo's releases, Bruce turned his focus toward his other passion project, The Next Waltz, a "virtual social house" of music, videos and interviews spotlighting the artists and songs that make up the pedigree of this generation's cream of the crop. In his studio located just outside of Austin, Robison hosts and records an evolving array of artists who share in his commitment to continue the tradition of collaborative creativity. Everything in Bruce's studio is recorded on analog tape "with no digital shenanigans – just like back when music was good."

From Robison's perspective, that difference - between digital and analog – makes all the difference. In fact it's so important to him, that tag line appears on the liner notes of Bruce's brand new album, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band, to be released on April 28. While immersed in the process of capturing some of his favorite songs and artists for The Next Waltz, Robison was inspired to round up his own band and lay down a collection of originals, co-writes and covers to put his personal stamp on. With a list of musician credits that could easily be mistaken for a hall-of-fame roll call, Robison delivers a truly organic listening experience that includes "happy accidents and all kinds of things that just feel real."

Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band is a "real" nine-track album made up of good-time, light hearted romps ("Rock n' Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin' Man") and wistful, sometimes bittersweet ballads ("Long Time Coming"; "Still Doin' Time"). Even The Who's "Squeezebox" – which Robison calls a "a great country song by some English dudes" - fits perfectly in the mix. Long-time friend, Jack Ingram, appears with Robison on "Paid My Dues," (written by Jason Eady and Micky Braun of Micky and the Motorcars) for a rowdy honky-tonker version. Robison marvels, "The song that I cut with Jack, there's not even one overdub on it. That sounds like a simple thing, but I've never done that in my entire career, where we don't even go in and fix anything."

"Recording the way we do really allows the players to bring their own voices, their own styles, into the music," says Robison. "That's the kind of vibe I'm trying to get back to. I want to let people see how cool this process is and how much it has to do with country music, and how the kind of music that we make is tied to those traditions."

AUSTIN, TEXAS - In regard to the Lone Star State's finest tunesmiths, Bruce Robison lands at the top of the heap. His songwriting turned the heads of some of the industry's biggest artists and took them to the top of the charts (Dixie Chicks' No. 1 version of "Travelin' Soldier," George Strait's recording of "Wrapped" and the beautiful Tim McGraw/Faith Hill rendition of "Angry All The Time," to name a few). While those achievements might be considered the pinnacle of a song writing career to some, Robison has never been one to rest on his laurels. He is always creating.

The last two releases from Robison were as a duo project with wife and acclaimed singer/songwriter, Kelly Willis. Cheaters Game and Our Year were released just over a year apart in 2013 and 2014, respectively, to rave reviews.

After touring extensively to support the duo's releases, Bruce turned his focus toward his other passion project, The Next Waltz, a "virtual social house" of music, videos and interviews spotlighting the artists and songs that make up the pedigree of this generation's cream of the crop. In his studio located just outside of Austin, Robison hosts and records an evolving array of artists who share in his commitment to continue the tradition of collaborative creativity. Everything in Bruce's studio is recorded on analog tape "with no digital shenanigans – just like back when music was good."

From Robison's perspective, that difference - between digital and analog – makes all the difference. In fact it's so important to him, that tag line appears on the liner notes of Bruce's brand new album, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band, to be released on April 28. While immersed in the process of capturing some of his favorite songs and artists for The Next Waltz, Robison was inspired to round up his own band and lay down a collection of originals, co-writes and covers to put his personal stamp on. With a list of musician credits that could easily be mistaken for a hall-of-fame roll call, Robison delivers a truly organic listening experience that includes "happy accidents and all kinds of things that just feel real."

Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band is a "real" nine-track album made up of good-time, light hearted romps ("Rock n' Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin' Man") and wistful, sometimes bittersweet ballads ("Long Time Coming"; "Still Doin' Time"). Even The Who's "Squeezebox" – which Robison calls a "a great country song by some English dudes" - fits perfectly in the mix. Long-time friend, Jack Ingram, appears with Robison on "Paid My Dues," (written by Jason Eady and Micky Braun of Micky and the Motorcars) for a rowdy honky-tonker version. Robison marvels, "The song that I cut with Jack, there's not even one overdub on it. That sounds like a simple thing, but I've never done that in my entire career, where we don't even go in and fix anything."

"Recording the way we do really allows the players to bring their own voices, their own styles, into the music," says Robison. "That's the kind of vibe I'm trying to get back to. I want to let people see how cool this process is and how much it has to do with country music, and how the kind of music that we make is tied to those traditions."

All Them Witches (Night 1) with Special Guest Handsome Jack - Presented by Opus One & WPTS Radio

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

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