club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
Animal Years - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

Mike McFadden: Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Saladino: Bass
Anthony Spinnato: Drums

"We borrowed the name from a Josh Ritter album," Animal Years singer-songwriter-guitarist Mike McFadden says of his band's moniker. "Originally, we just liked the way the phrase sounded. But the more we thought about it, the more it meant to us, and we started saying things like 'Live your life in animal years.' If you knew that you'd only be around for a few years, you'd do things differently. That's how we try to operate as a band; we try to go for it every day, like we're gonna die tomorrow."

That level of urgency resonates throughout Far From Home, Animal Years' first eOne release. The five-song EP -- produced by Ryan Hadlock, renowned for his work with the Lumineers, Brandi Carlile and Vance Joy -- offers a consistently compelling distillation of the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore trio's irresistibly anthemic, unfailingly uplifting songcraft, which ranges from the fist-pumping infectiousness of "Caroline" to the introspective warmth of "Friends" to the bittersweet buoyancy of "Home (I Was Born)." McFadden's catchy, emotionally direct songwriting is matched by the band's exuberant performances, which combine McFadden's openhearted vocals and surging acoustic guitars with the punchy rhythmic kick of bassist Anthony Saladino and drummer Anthony Spinnato.

"Someone once described us in a review as 'singer-songwriter music with the amps turned up,'" McFadden notes. "The emphasis is on the songs and the songwriting, but we're definitely a rock band. Even if I'm playing an acoustic guitar, I'm playing it through an amp with the distortion on. We're always gonna be louder than the other bands on the bill."

Far From Home's memorable compositions and high-energy performances make it clear why Animal Years has already earned a fiercely loyal grass-roots fan base. Without the benefit of a mainstream record label, the band has built its audience the old-fashioned way: through dogged roadwork, winning over one fan at a time.

"When we moved to New York, we hit the city really hard, and things just grew organically," McFadden explains. "We naturally evolved from small clubs to bigger ones, and from small tours to bigger tours, with more people coming out each time. Everything has happened really organically, through us just being ourselves and trying to be as honest as we can."

The thee bandmates and producer Hadlock recorded Far From Home in the remote environs of Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY, far from the band's normal urban surroundings.

"We really wanted to isolate ourselves in a place with no distractions other than making the record," McFadden explains. "So we all went up to Woodstock and worked in this great studio in a rebuilt barn. We've been demoing stuff for years, but this is the first time the three of us had made a record together. Ryan was really great to work with, and I think that he really brought out the best in us. It was great recording out there in the middle of nowhere; we'd record 12 hours a day, and then all hang out at night."

Far From Home showcases McFadden's knack for writing forthright songs that cut to the chase, lyrically and melodically. "On this EP, I wanted to write things that everyone can relate to," he asserts. "Sometimes lyrics can be open to interpretation, but for the most part I want people to know exactly what I'm talking about. All of these songs were written on the road, so a lot of the themes are about being away from home and missing people, and not taking people for granted.

"We had four songs that we really liked for the EP, but we knew that we needed one more that would really grab people's attention," he continues. "I was driving back from North Carolina, right at the end of a tour, and I wrote 'Caroline' in the car. Within ten minutes, I had pulled over to the side of the road and recorded the whole thing into my phone. A couple of days later, we made a rough demo, and everybody who heard it said 'Yeah, that's the one.' It's the song that got the attention of our record label, and now it's the first single from the EP."

The unpretentious attitude and hard-driving work ethic that define Animal Years were established early on, when Mike McFadden first began writing and performing his own songs in his mid-teens, releasing his first studio CD under his own name while still in high school in Baltimore. That inaugural effort won a good deal of attention, and even gained some local radio play. A second CD, released when McFadden was 18, was even better received by fans and local radio programmers, and soon his songs were being picked up for use in commercials from such advertisers as Coca-Cola and Pennzoil.

"That was the driver for me to think about quitting my job in Baltimore and going to New York to start Animal Years," McFadden recalls. "Before I moved to New York, I did another solo album, The Sun Will Rise. At that point, Anthony the bass player suggested that we find a drummer and make it into a band, so we rebranded the CD as an Animal Years release.

"It became a real band really quickly," McFadden reports. "When we started the band, we were all working jobs to raise money to make it happen, so we could afford to go on the road and into the studio. The guys started taking an equal part of the work, and everybody started contributing. It took some getting used to, but it was good not being alone and not having to do everything myself. The songwriting is still the same, because that's still me, but everyone's invested in this partnership and we're all getting something out of it."

Animal Years' timely relocation to New York proved to be a crucial turning point for the band. "The music scene in Baltimore is really big and varied, but I never felt like we ever really fit in there," says McFadden. "When we got to New York, we felt a lot more at home and got a much better reception. In New York, there're more people, there're more opportunities, there're more venues. You can play a few nights a week and still never run out of places to play."

Having already established themselves in their adopted hometown and having won a legion of new friends and fans on the road, Animal Years plan to continue doing what they do best: making music and touching people.

"We're planning on hitting the road super-hard," McFadden affirms. "We're definitely willing to put in the work, and make it happen by any means necessary. That's the only way you can do it these days. There are so many other people who are working as hard as you are, so you just have to work twice as hard."

Mike McFadden: Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Saladino: Bass
Anthony Spinnato: Drums

"We borrowed the name from a Josh Ritter album," Animal Years singer-songwriter-guitarist Mike McFadden says of his band's moniker. "Originally, we just liked the way the phrase sounded. But the more we thought about it, the more it meant to us, and we started saying things like 'Live your life in animal years.' If you knew that you'd only be around for a few years, you'd do things differently. That's how we try to operate as a band; we try to go for it every day, like we're gonna die tomorrow."

That level of urgency resonates throughout Far From Home, Animal Years' first eOne release. The five-song EP -- produced by Ryan Hadlock, renowned for his work with the Lumineers, Brandi Carlile and Vance Joy -- offers a consistently compelling distillation of the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore trio's irresistibly anthemic, unfailingly uplifting songcraft, which ranges from the fist-pumping infectiousness of "Caroline" to the introspective warmth of "Friends" to the bittersweet buoyancy of "Home (I Was Born)." McFadden's catchy, emotionally direct songwriting is matched by the band's exuberant performances, which combine McFadden's openhearted vocals and surging acoustic guitars with the punchy rhythmic kick of bassist Anthony Saladino and drummer Anthony Spinnato.

"Someone once described us in a review as 'singer-songwriter music with the amps turned up,'" McFadden notes. "The emphasis is on the songs and the songwriting, but we're definitely a rock band. Even if I'm playing an acoustic guitar, I'm playing it through an amp with the distortion on. We're always gonna be louder than the other bands on the bill."

Far From Home's memorable compositions and high-energy performances make it clear why Animal Years has already earned a fiercely loyal grass-roots fan base. Without the benefit of a mainstream record label, the band has built its audience the old-fashioned way: through dogged roadwork, winning over one fan at a time.

"When we moved to New York, we hit the city really hard, and things just grew organically," McFadden explains. "We naturally evolved from small clubs to bigger ones, and from small tours to bigger tours, with more people coming out each time. Everything has happened really organically, through us just being ourselves and trying to be as honest as we can."

The thee bandmates and producer Hadlock recorded Far From Home in the remote environs of Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY, far from the band's normal urban surroundings.

"We really wanted to isolate ourselves in a place with no distractions other than making the record," McFadden explains. "So we all went up to Woodstock and worked in this great studio in a rebuilt barn. We've been demoing stuff for years, but this is the first time the three of us had made a record together. Ryan was really great to work with, and I think that he really brought out the best in us. It was great recording out there in the middle of nowhere; we'd record 12 hours a day, and then all hang out at night."

Far From Home showcases McFadden's knack for writing forthright songs that cut to the chase, lyrically and melodically. "On this EP, I wanted to write things that everyone can relate to," he asserts. "Sometimes lyrics can be open to interpretation, but for the most part I want people to know exactly what I'm talking about. All of these songs were written on the road, so a lot of the themes are about being away from home and missing people, and not taking people for granted.

"We had four songs that we really liked for the EP, but we knew that we needed one more that would really grab people's attention," he continues. "I was driving back from North Carolina, right at the end of a tour, and I wrote 'Caroline' in the car. Within ten minutes, I had pulled over to the side of the road and recorded the whole thing into my phone. A couple of days later, we made a rough demo, and everybody who heard it said 'Yeah, that's the one.' It's the song that got the attention of our record label, and now it's the first single from the EP."

The unpretentious attitude and hard-driving work ethic that define Animal Years were established early on, when Mike McFadden first began writing and performing his own songs in his mid-teens, releasing his first studio CD under his own name while still in high school in Baltimore. That inaugural effort won a good deal of attention, and even gained some local radio play. A second CD, released when McFadden was 18, was even better received by fans and local radio programmers, and soon his songs were being picked up for use in commercials from such advertisers as Coca-Cola and Pennzoil.

"That was the driver for me to think about quitting my job in Baltimore and going to New York to start Animal Years," McFadden recalls. "Before I moved to New York, I did another solo album, The Sun Will Rise. At that point, Anthony the bass player suggested that we find a drummer and make it into a band, so we rebranded the CD as an Animal Years release.

"It became a real band really quickly," McFadden reports. "When we started the band, we were all working jobs to raise money to make it happen, so we could afford to go on the road and into the studio. The guys started taking an equal part of the work, and everybody started contributing. It took some getting used to, but it was good not being alone and not having to do everything myself. The songwriting is still the same, because that's still me, but everyone's invested in this partnership and we're all getting something out of it."

Animal Years' timely relocation to New York proved to be a crucial turning point for the band. "The music scene in Baltimore is really big and varied, but I never felt like we ever really fit in there," says McFadden. "When we got to New York, we felt a lot more at home and got a much better reception. In New York, there're more people, there're more opportunities, there're more venues. You can play a few nights a week and still never run out of places to play."

Having already established themselves in their adopted hometown and having won a legion of new friends and fans on the road, Animal Years plan to continue doing what they do best: making music and touching people.

"We're planning on hitting the road super-hard," McFadden affirms. "We're definitely willing to put in the work, and make it happen by any means necessary. That's the only way you can do it these days. There are so many other people who are working as hard as you are, so you just have to work twice as hard."

Supermonkey Recording Company & Opus One Presents Byzantine with Special Guests Stone Wicked Souls and Wretched Hive

Supermonkey Recording Company & Opus One Presents Byzantine with Special Guests Stone Wicked Souls

Supermonkey Recording Company & Opus One Presents Byzantine with Special Guests Stone Wicked Souls

(Early Show) David Ramirez: Bootleg Tour (Live Album Recording) with Special Guest Matt Wright

We’re Not Going Anywhere: At a historical moment of immense political, social, and ecological uncertainty, those four simple words comprise both a promise and a protest, a comforting reassurance of inclusion as well as a hearty cry of defiance. It’s a statement that offers no small sense of hope, in that sense matching the music contained on the album.

On these vividly imagined and passionately performed songs David Ramirez takes in the world from his unique perspective: “Being half white and half Mexican has made this current political climate especially interesting. So many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family have raised children here, created successful businesses here, and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I've seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiraling out control.”

The album that bears that title marks a departure for Ramirez, who builds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new, something bold, something anchored in the here and now. Scouting out unexplored music territory, these songs bounce around energetically, toying with new ideas and experimenting with new sounds, as barbed-wire guitars and retro-futuristic synths grind against his anguished vocals and evocative lyrics.

“We flipped script a little bit and went in with a pretty specific vision: lots of keyboards and some out-of-the-box guitar sounds. I took a lot of notes from the indie bands I’ve been listening to and from the bands I loved growing up in the ‘80s, like the Cars and Journey. Let’s just live in this spacy world for a while and see what comes out of it.”

What came out of it isn’t just Ramirez’s most adventurous album to date, but a record that captures the mood of the country in its music as well as in its lyrics. While he does tackle some new subjects, Ramirez grounds these songs in his own perspective, which means every song remains both human and humane, outraged and generous. There are some break-up songs on here, sober and self-castigating: first single “Watching from a Distance” thrums with iridescent synths and a tight backbeat that sounds like lines on the highway measuring the widening rift between lovers. “People Call Who They Wanna Talk To” is Ramirez at his catchiest, marrying a playful earworm hook to a somber realization about romantic irreconcilability: “Don’t blame it on the distance, don’t blame it on the booze… people call who they wanna talk to.” A simple line, but completely devastating.

“This is the first album I’ve had properly produced,” says Ramirez, who either produced or co-produced all of his previous efforts. For We’re Not Going Anywhere, he hired Sam Kassirer, who has helmed albums by Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi Bhiman, and many other artists. “I needed to evolve and change things up a bit, which is why I chose Sam. He pushed me in a way I hadn’t been pushed before.” Kassirer challenged Ramirez to simultaneously simplify and complicate his songwriting, to find new ways to tell his stories. “He said, I want you to try to tell a story but use fewer words and more space. In other words, let’s not make a singer-songwriter record. Let’s make a band record. Once he said that, my mind just opened up in a way it never had before. It was fun to just be more straightforward lyrically. It left a lot of space for the music.”

In January 2017 Ramirez and his band decamped to the Great North Sound Society, an eighteenth-century farmhouse in rural Maine that serves as Kassirer’s studio. Especially in the winter, when the trees are bare and snow blankets the ground, the setting proved inspiring. “It’s very secluded, which was part of the appeal. We were able to get out of our touring headspace and stay completely involved with the record and what we were doing.” That allowed the band to concentrate on the music, to pursue ideas without distractions and misgivings, but it also removed them from the world during a momentous event.

We’re Not Going Anywhere turns that distance into a big-picture perspective— engaged and informed, compassionately political but not necessarily partisan. “We’d take breaks during the day and watch the news and see all the rallies and marches and the disruption and the out-of-control feeling that was everywhere then—and, frankly, still is now. We were looking around and no one was around us. The closest house was a mile away, so it was just us. We were grateful just to retreat from that social tornado for a while and create something that we hoped would be very beautiful.”

Looming over every song is the ghost of Ramirez’s great-grandmother, who inspired “Eliza Jane,” a deeply poignant and personal tune near the album’s conclusion. In gracefully plainspoken lyrics, Ramirez describes how she and her brothers left Oklahoma during the Great Depression, heading northwest to Oregon, where she played piano in a country band. “My mom was telling me this story and the song was writing itself. I wish I had known her, because I’m curious what drove her. I know what drives a lot of my musician friends, but I really want to ask a family member: Why did you do this? Was it just for fun? Was it a passion so deep-rooted that you couldn’t not do it?”

While he may describe the creative process as fun, Ramirez obviously has inherited a deep-rooted passion—one that will continue to drive him well into the future. “I’m not going to be so afraid to take risks in the future, like I have been in the past. I’ve been so stressed and concerned with every detail, but I learned to let that go. Let’s just have fun. Let’s get weird. I’ve never felt that way about my work. I still respect my older stuff, but I just didn’t want to be afraid anymore. That’s what I learned on this one.”

We’re Not Going Anywhere: At a historical moment of immense political, social, and ecological uncertainty, those four simple words comprise both a promise and a protest, a comforting reassurance of inclusion as well as a hearty cry of defiance. It’s a statement that offers no small sense of hope, in that sense matching the music contained on the album.

On these vividly imagined and passionately performed songs David Ramirez takes in the world from his unique perspective: “Being half white and half Mexican has made this current political climate especially interesting. So many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family have raised children here, created successful businesses here, and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I've seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiraling out control.”

The album that bears that title marks a departure for Ramirez, who builds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new, something bold, something anchored in the here and now. Scouting out unexplored music territory, these songs bounce around energetically, toying with new ideas and experimenting with new sounds, as barbed-wire guitars and retro-futuristic synths grind against his anguished vocals and evocative lyrics.

“We flipped script a little bit and went in with a pretty specific vision: lots of keyboards and some out-of-the-box guitar sounds. I took a lot of notes from the indie bands I’ve been listening to and from the bands I loved growing up in the ‘80s, like the Cars and Journey. Let’s just live in this spacy world for a while and see what comes out of it.”

What came out of it isn’t just Ramirez’s most adventurous album to date, but a record that captures the mood of the country in its music as well as in its lyrics. While he does tackle some new subjects, Ramirez grounds these songs in his own perspective, which means every song remains both human and humane, outraged and generous. There are some break-up songs on here, sober and self-castigating: first single “Watching from a Distance” thrums with iridescent synths and a tight backbeat that sounds like lines on the highway measuring the widening rift between lovers. “People Call Who They Wanna Talk To” is Ramirez at his catchiest, marrying a playful earworm hook to a somber realization about romantic irreconcilability: “Don’t blame it on the distance, don’t blame it on the booze… people call who they wanna talk to.” A simple line, but completely devastating.

“This is the first album I’ve had properly produced,” says Ramirez, who either produced or co-produced all of his previous efforts. For We’re Not Going Anywhere, he hired Sam Kassirer, who has helmed albums by Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi Bhiman, and many other artists. “I needed to evolve and change things up a bit, which is why I chose Sam. He pushed me in a way I hadn’t been pushed before.” Kassirer challenged Ramirez to simultaneously simplify and complicate his songwriting, to find new ways to tell his stories. “He said, I want you to try to tell a story but use fewer words and more space. In other words, let’s not make a singer-songwriter record. Let’s make a band record. Once he said that, my mind just opened up in a way it never had before. It was fun to just be more straightforward lyrically. It left a lot of space for the music.”

In January 2017 Ramirez and his band decamped to the Great North Sound Society, an eighteenth-century farmhouse in rural Maine that serves as Kassirer’s studio. Especially in the winter, when the trees are bare and snow blankets the ground, the setting proved inspiring. “It’s very secluded, which was part of the appeal. We were able to get out of our touring headspace and stay completely involved with the record and what we were doing.” That allowed the band to concentrate on the music, to pursue ideas without distractions and misgivings, but it also removed them from the world during a momentous event.

We’re Not Going Anywhere turns that distance into a big-picture perspective— engaged and informed, compassionately political but not necessarily partisan. “We’d take breaks during the day and watch the news and see all the rallies and marches and the disruption and the out-of-control feeling that was everywhere then—and, frankly, still is now. We were looking around and no one was around us. The closest house was a mile away, so it was just us. We were grateful just to retreat from that social tornado for a while and create something that we hoped would be very beautiful.”

Looming over every song is the ghost of Ramirez’s great-grandmother, who inspired “Eliza Jane,” a deeply poignant and personal tune near the album’s conclusion. In gracefully plainspoken lyrics, Ramirez describes how she and her brothers left Oklahoma during the Great Depression, heading northwest to Oregon, where she played piano in a country band. “My mom was telling me this story and the song was writing itself. I wish I had known her, because I’m curious what drove her. I know what drives a lot of my musician friends, but I really want to ask a family member: Why did you do this? Was it just for fun? Was it a passion so deep-rooted that you couldn’t not do it?”

While he may describe the creative process as fun, Ramirez obviously has inherited a deep-rooted passion—one that will continue to drive him well into the future. “I’m not going to be so afraid to take risks in the future, like I have been in the past. I’ve been so stressed and concerned with every detail, but I learned to let that go. Let’s just have fun. Let’s get weird. I’ve never felt that way about my work. I still respect my older stuff, but I just didn’t want to be afraid anymore. That’s what I learned on this one.”

Suzanne Santo of HONEYHONEY

Caught halfway between the dark swoon of pop-noir, the raw rasp of soul music, and the honest punch of Americana, Suzanne Santo's Ruby Red tells the story of a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who, more than 10 years into an acclaimed career, is turning a new corner.

Produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker (whose Los Angeles recording studio gives the album its name), Ruby Red marks Santo's first release as a solo artist. For the past decade, she's spent most of her time fronting the Americana duo HONEYHONEY, whittling her banjo, violin, and vocal chops into sharp shape along the way. Here, she takes a break from that longtime gig to explore something different, creating a moody, sexually-charged album filled with organic instruments, distorted fiddle, Walker's powerful electric guitar, and Santo's most stunning vocal performances to date.

"I think I started writing songs for this record long before I realized that I was writing songs for this record,” said Santo. “I’ve identified with a collaboration for so long that the thought of taking a leap into the depths of my own music and having no idea what that would look like, definitely came as a shock. I was getting lazy and not finishing the tasks at hand like I really wanted, deep down, to be able to do. Writing this record was bewitching in a way.”

Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo made multiple appearances on Butch Walker's eighth album, Stay Gold. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration. For years, she'd always been somebody else's bandmate. This was a time to explore her own identity. To write her own music. To ignore genres and defy expectations. To determine what, exactly, she wanted to say. . .and find out the best way to deliver it.

“Once Butch acquiesced to producing the record, I had an ‘oh shit!’ moment where I realized that I needed to really show up,” continued Santo. “I had to have songs that were finished, let alone good enough. I couldn’t stop and I wrote all day every day to finish the songs I’d started years ago as well as the few that presented themselves in the 4th quarter. I took long walks in my neighborhood and listened to demos on my cell phone and worked out lyrics. I would also wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas and would get up and write them down or record them. It felt like the songs were seeping through the cracks of my mind and out of my mouth, without much of my consent. I think art is a channel, connected to something much greater than we are and I feel honored when it picks me from time to time.

Ruby Red is an album about love, life, and lust in the modern world. Moody and melody-driven, its 11 songs range from "Handshake" — the record's epic opening track, equal parts Southern-gothic anthem and slow-burning soul ballad — to the driving "Ghost in my Bed," which pairs an explosive chorus with layers of mandolin, fiddle, and piano. Meanwhile, tracks like "Better Than That" focus on little more than Santo's voice: an electrifying, elastic instrument that's capable of both vulnerability and ferocity.

Santo and Walker recorded Ruby Red quickly, pulling long hours in Walker's bright, sunlit studio in Southern California. The instrumental tracks were captured live, with help from guests like pedal steel player Dr. Stephen Patt — Santo's primary care physician, as well as a former member of the Edgar Winter Group — and drummer Mark Stepro. Santo kept the guest list small, though, splitting the bulk of the instrumental duties with Walker.

"It was incredible to work with Butch. He facilitates a great time and an artistic environment that orbits solely around what’s best for the song, which is so rare in a business full of egos. Butch and this environment liberated and enabled me to work in a way that I never knew I was capable of."

Although Ruby Red marks the start of something new, it doesn't signify the end of Santo's long run with HONEYHONEY. Santo will join bandmate Ben Jaffe in the television series The Guest Book, whose episodes feature the two musicians in acting and musical roles. The show premieres on TBS during the latter half of 2017, adding another bullet point to the acting career Santo launched years before HONEYHONEY's formation.

Santo's story is still unfolding. This is the newest chapter, bringing with it a track list that doubles down on the songwriter's strengths and stretches her limits. There will be more chapters to explore. More colorful stories to tell. But for now, Suzanne Santo's future is looking Ruby Red.

"This record is so fucking sexy, I can't deal,” said Walker. “Proud to have been in the room when these songs were going down. Put it on and turn out the lights."

Caught halfway between the dark swoon of pop-noir, the raw rasp of soul music, and the honest punch of Americana, Suzanne Santo's Ruby Red tells the story of a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who, more than 10 years into an acclaimed career, is turning a new corner.

Produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker (whose Los Angeles recording studio gives the album its name), Ruby Red marks Santo's first release as a solo artist. For the past decade, she's spent most of her time fronting the Americana duo HONEYHONEY, whittling her banjo, violin, and vocal chops into sharp shape along the way. Here, she takes a break from that longtime gig to explore something different, creating a moody, sexually-charged album filled with organic instruments, distorted fiddle, Walker's powerful electric guitar, and Santo's most stunning vocal performances to date.

"I think I started writing songs for this record long before I realized that I was writing songs for this record,” said Santo. “I’ve identified with a collaboration for so long that the thought of taking a leap into the depths of my own music and having no idea what that would look like, definitely came as a shock. I was getting lazy and not finishing the tasks at hand like I really wanted, deep down, to be able to do. Writing this record was bewitching in a way.”

Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo made multiple appearances on Butch Walker's eighth album, Stay Gold. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration. For years, she'd always been somebody else's bandmate. This was a time to explore her own identity. To write her own music. To ignore genres and defy expectations. To determine what, exactly, she wanted to say. . .and find out the best way to deliver it.

“Once Butch acquiesced to producing the record, I had an ‘oh shit!’ moment where I realized that I needed to really show up,” continued Santo. “I had to have songs that were finished, let alone good enough. I couldn’t stop and I wrote all day every day to finish the songs I’d started years ago as well as the few that presented themselves in the 4th quarter. I took long walks in my neighborhood and listened to demos on my cell phone and worked out lyrics. I would also wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas and would get up and write them down or record them. It felt like the songs were seeping through the cracks of my mind and out of my mouth, without much of my consent. I think art is a channel, connected to something much greater than we are and I feel honored when it picks me from time to time.

Ruby Red is an album about love, life, and lust in the modern world. Moody and melody-driven, its 11 songs range from "Handshake" — the record's epic opening track, equal parts Southern-gothic anthem and slow-burning soul ballad — to the driving "Ghost in my Bed," which pairs an explosive chorus with layers of mandolin, fiddle, and piano. Meanwhile, tracks like "Better Than That" focus on little more than Santo's voice: an electrifying, elastic instrument that's capable of both vulnerability and ferocity.

Santo and Walker recorded Ruby Red quickly, pulling long hours in Walker's bright, sunlit studio in Southern California. The instrumental tracks were captured live, with help from guests like pedal steel player Dr. Stephen Patt — Santo's primary care physician, as well as a former member of the Edgar Winter Group — and drummer Mark Stepro. Santo kept the guest list small, though, splitting the bulk of the instrumental duties with Walker.

"It was incredible to work with Butch. He facilitates a great time and an artistic environment that orbits solely around what’s best for the song, which is so rare in a business full of egos. Butch and this environment liberated and enabled me to work in a way that I never knew I was capable of."

Although Ruby Red marks the start of something new, it doesn't signify the end of Santo's long run with HONEYHONEY. Santo will join bandmate Ben Jaffe in the television series The Guest Book, whose episodes feature the two musicians in acting and musical roles. The show premieres on TBS during the latter half of 2017, adding another bullet point to the acting career Santo launched years before HONEYHONEY's formation.

Santo's story is still unfolding. This is the newest chapter, bringing with it a track list that doubles down on the songwriter's strengths and stretches her limits. There will be more chapters to explore. More colorful stories to tell. But for now, Suzanne Santo's future is looking Ruby Red.

"This record is so fucking sexy, I can't deal,” said Walker. “Proud to have been in the room when these songs were going down. Put it on and turn out the lights."

The Posies with Special Guest The Me Toos

It's officially been 30 years since Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow, high school mates from Bellingham WA, USA,recorded and released "Failure", a home recorded, self-released cassette that had the improbable fate of landing the band two commercial radio hits and a record deal w the David Geffen Company, where they became labelmates of Sonic Youth, Nirvana & Teenage Fanclub. Now with a legacy of eight critically lauded albums (their latest, "Solid States" was released in 2016), a loyal population of fans around the globe, and a body of work with such classic alternative/indie anthems as "Dream All Day", "Solar Sister", "Coming Right Along" and many more, the band is still active and looking forward to its fourth decade in music. The band's '90s catalogue is set to be re-released in 2018 by Omnivore Records, and there are plans to start working on a new album soon after. The band has survived thedeaths of two longtime members in the last 3 years: bassist Joe Skyward and drummer Darius Minwalla; despite that, they managed to stage a brilliant comeback in 2016 with drummer Frankie Siragusa and do several sold out toursdoing pop up shows -- self-produced concerts in improvised venues and unlikely spaces; indie rock raves, if you will. For their 30th Anniversary, Omnivore Records will re-release the band's crucial 1990s catalog -- "Dear 23", "Frosting on the Beater", and "Amazing Disgrace", as double CDs replete with an astounding number of previously unreleased bonus cuts, and also as double 45 RPM high fidelity LPs. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign(https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-posies) for pre-ordering the three albums. Radiohead mentioned to Ken one night out in the pub (in Hollywood, tho) that "Frosting on the Beater" was the most played album in the van during the band's first American tour; Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody & Beach Slang's James Alex, two name but two, have each put that album in their personal top ten. "Frosting" encapsulates all the elements that make the band timeless --the two-voices-as-one interplay of Auer and Stringfellow; thoughtful and literate lyrics; broiling guitars married to shimmering melodies. If the band was out of step with its more brutal Seattle compatriots 25 years ago, it has served them well -- the times, at last, have caught up to their vision. To take this celebration around the globe, the Posies, who have had a few lineup changes over the years (alwaysbased around the founding duo of Auer & Stringfellow) will be on tour as the 1992-1994 lineup that made "Frosting on the Beater" -- Jon & Ken will be complemented by drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox. It's been almost a quarter century since this quartet has been on the road, and recent warm up shows have been as explosive as those played by the twentysomethings of yore. Catch the band on tour this spring in North America, and this fall in Europe -- their time is now, again.

It's officially been 30 years since Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow, high school mates from Bellingham WA, USA,recorded and released "Failure", a home recorded, self-released cassette that had the improbable fate of landing the band two commercial radio hits and a record deal w the David Geffen Company, where they became labelmates of Sonic Youth, Nirvana & Teenage Fanclub. Now with a legacy of eight critically lauded albums (their latest, "Solid States" was released in 2016), a loyal population of fans around the globe, and a body of work with such classic alternative/indie anthems as "Dream All Day", "Solar Sister", "Coming Right Along" and many more, the band is still active and looking forward to its fourth decade in music. The band's '90s catalogue is set to be re-released in 2018 by Omnivore Records, and there are plans to start working on a new album soon after. The band has survived thedeaths of two longtime members in the last 3 years: bassist Joe Skyward and drummer Darius Minwalla; despite that, they managed to stage a brilliant comeback in 2016 with drummer Frankie Siragusa and do several sold out toursdoing pop up shows -- self-produced concerts in improvised venues and unlikely spaces; indie rock raves, if you will. For their 30th Anniversary, Omnivore Records will re-release the band's crucial 1990s catalog -- "Dear 23", "Frosting on the Beater", and "Amazing Disgrace", as double CDs replete with an astounding number of previously unreleased bonus cuts, and also as double 45 RPM high fidelity LPs. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign(https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-posies) for pre-ordering the three albums. Radiohead mentioned to Ken one night out in the pub (in Hollywood, tho) that "Frosting on the Beater" was the most played album in the van during the band's first American tour; Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody & Beach Slang's James Alex, two name but two, have each put that album in their personal top ten. "Frosting" encapsulates all the elements that make the band timeless --the two-voices-as-one interplay of Auer and Stringfellow; thoughtful and literate lyrics; broiling guitars married to shimmering melodies. If the band was out of step with its more brutal Seattle compatriots 25 years ago, it has served them well -- the times, at last, have caught up to their vision. To take this celebration around the globe, the Posies, who have had a few lineup changes over the years (alwaysbased around the founding duo of Auer & Stringfellow) will be on tour as the 1992-1994 lineup that made "Frosting on the Beater" -- Jon & Ken will be complemented by drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox. It's been almost a quarter century since this quartet has been on the road, and recent warm up shows have been as explosive as those played by the twentysomethings of yore. Catch the band on tour this spring in North America, and this fall in Europe -- their time is now, again.

The Iguanas

What if Americana actually encompassed ALL of North America? You'd have the Franco Acadian inflections of Canada, as best exemplified by the accordion, blues and jazz, the only truly indigenous music the US has ever produced, and the lilting grace and fiery passion of the music of Mexico. You'd also have New Orleans' premiere distillers of this continental musical melange, The Iguanas, and their new album Juarez.

Taking their cues from all of the above influences and then some, Juarez, the band's first studio album since 2012’s Sin to Sin, redefines the notion of Americana, crossing cultures, styles, eras...and even languages. It's as if Rue Bourbon, Muscle Shoals and Plaza México were all within earshot of each other and The Iguanas were the musical conduit between them. Based out of New Orleans for the past couple of decades save for a short, Katrina imposed exile in Austin the members of the Iguanas have (collectively or individually) played or recorded with everyone from Charlie Rich, Alex Chilton, and Willie DeVille to Emmylou Harris, Allen Toussaint, and Pretty Lights.

Their two decade ride has taken them all over the map musically and geographically, yet the inescapable patina of their hometown infuses every note they play. Through eight studio albums, countless tours and Jazz Fest appearances, and a flood that did its best to take their adopted city with it, it's a testament to the band's endurance that the same four guys that started playing in the early 1990s are still together. Joe Cabral is philosophical about the band's persistence in the face of challenges that would have felled indeed have felled lesser bands. "First of all, this is all we know how to do; we're musicians. But more than that," he continues, "we respect the power of the band as an entity, and each individual in the band steps up to play his part. When it's good, that's really what it's all about."

Rod Hodges agrees. "I don't want to get all heady and mystical about this, but it's not really an outward reward we're looking for. We all enjoy playing music, we all get along, and finding a group of people who can say that after all this time is a rare thing."

What if Americana actually encompassed ALL of North America? You'd have the Franco Acadian inflections of Canada, as best exemplified by the accordion, blues and jazz, the only truly indigenous music the US has ever produced, and the lilting grace and fiery passion of the music of Mexico. You'd also have New Orleans' premiere distillers of this continental musical melange, The Iguanas, and their new album Juarez.

Taking their cues from all of the above influences and then some, Juarez, the band's first studio album since 2012’s Sin to Sin, redefines the notion of Americana, crossing cultures, styles, eras...and even languages. It's as if Rue Bourbon, Muscle Shoals and Plaza México were all within earshot of each other and The Iguanas were the musical conduit between them. Based out of New Orleans for the past couple of decades save for a short, Katrina imposed exile in Austin the members of the Iguanas have (collectively or individually) played or recorded with everyone from Charlie Rich, Alex Chilton, and Willie DeVille to Emmylou Harris, Allen Toussaint, and Pretty Lights.

Their two decade ride has taken them all over the map musically and geographically, yet the inescapable patina of their hometown infuses every note they play. Through eight studio albums, countless tours and Jazz Fest appearances, and a flood that did its best to take their adopted city with it, it's a testament to the band's endurance that the same four guys that started playing in the early 1990s are still together. Joe Cabral is philosophical about the band's persistence in the face of challenges that would have felled indeed have felled lesser bands. "First of all, this is all we know how to do; we're musicians. But more than that," he continues, "we respect the power of the band as an entity, and each individual in the band steps up to play his part. When it's good, that's really what it's all about."

Rod Hodges agrees. "I don't want to get all heady and mystical about this, but it's not really an outward reward we're looking for. We all enjoy playing music, we all get along, and finding a group of people who can say that after all this time is a rare thing."

Motherfolk with Special Guests Caleb Kopta and Jesse Denaro

In a contemporary independent music scene inundated with up and coming bands, it takes a unique outfit to break through that noise. A truly exceptional group must exhibit authenticity, raw talent, and electrifying chemistry. This, of course, means there are very few of them. Motherfolk, formed in 2013, is certainly one of those most unique and dynamic acts.

Motherfolk began as a collaborative effort between Nathan Dickerson and Bobby Paver, two college friends with a penchant for writing songs with one another. In the first year of the project, the two songwriters made frequent trips to Nashville to record their first endeavor. In 2014, their eponymous debut album showcased the duo’s musical prowess through a genre-bending collection of elegantly crafted songs.

Since then, Joel Call, Ethan Wescott, Karlie Dickerson, and Clayton Allender have joined Motherfolk’s ranks, and the band has made a name for themselves touring all across the nation. The outfit’s high-energy live performances have won over audiences from coast to coast, and their infectious musical persona has become one of the most exciting rising success stories in the indie scene.

In 2016, Motherfolk released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Fold. Clocking in with eleven compelling tracks, the album further defines the band as an act that effortlessly melds a slew of influences together to manifest their sound into a splendidly cohesive, original pursuit. From surreal, introspective jaunts to foot-stomping, anthemic rock and roll, Fold stood as tall as one of the most exciting records of 2016 and 2017.
“Motherfolk finds its way through a blend of genres by holding tight to their raw talents.” – Billboard

"[M]emorable, hauntingly gorgeous…the band has never been stronger." - Ghettoblaster

Building on the strength of their radio, press, and touring campaign in 2017, Motherfolk will continue to play dates around the US before hitting the studio to work on what’s to come in 2018!

In a contemporary independent music scene inundated with up and coming bands, it takes a unique outfit to break through that noise. A truly exceptional group must exhibit authenticity, raw talent, and electrifying chemistry. This, of course, means there are very few of them. Motherfolk, formed in 2013, is certainly one of those most unique and dynamic acts.

Motherfolk began as a collaborative effort between Nathan Dickerson and Bobby Paver, two college friends with a penchant for writing songs with one another. In the first year of the project, the two songwriters made frequent trips to Nashville to record their first endeavor. In 2014, their eponymous debut album showcased the duo’s musical prowess through a genre-bending collection of elegantly crafted songs.

Since then, Joel Call, Ethan Wescott, Karlie Dickerson, and Clayton Allender have joined Motherfolk’s ranks, and the band has made a name for themselves touring all across the nation. The outfit’s high-energy live performances have won over audiences from coast to coast, and their infectious musical persona has become one of the most exciting rising success stories in the indie scene.

In 2016, Motherfolk released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Fold. Clocking in with eleven compelling tracks, the album further defines the band as an act that effortlessly melds a slew of influences together to manifest their sound into a splendidly cohesive, original pursuit. From surreal, introspective jaunts to foot-stomping, anthemic rock and roll, Fold stood as tall as one of the most exciting records of 2016 and 2017.
“Motherfolk finds its way through a blend of genres by holding tight to their raw talents.” – Billboard

"[M]emorable, hauntingly gorgeous…the band has never been stronger." - Ghettoblaster

Building on the strength of their radio, press, and touring campaign in 2017, Motherfolk will continue to play dates around the US before hitting the studio to work on what’s to come in 2018!

SOLD OUT - Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore (Backed by The Guilty Ones) with Special Guest Dead Rock West

On Stage Together!

Roots music legends, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before. So in 2017, Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore, decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences.

Though Texas born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same. In these spontaneous shows, audiences enjoyed classic original compositions from the two, and also songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles - from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke to the Young Bloods.

Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave and Jimmie agreed to hit the road again in 2018…this time with a full band and some new stories to share.

On Stage Together!

Roots music legends, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have been friends for 30 years, but only recently realized they had never played music with each other before. So in 2017, Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore, decided to hit the highway to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences.

Though Texas born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same. In these spontaneous shows, audiences enjoyed classic original compositions from the two, and also songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles - from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke to the Young Bloods.

Mutually energized and inspired by these performances, Dave and Jimmie agreed to hit the road again in 2018…this time with a full band and some new stories to share.

Tracyanne & Danny (Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura and Danny Coughlan from Crybaby) with Special Guest Lomelda

Tracyanne & Danny is a new collaborative project between singer-songwriters Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura) and Danny Coughlan (Crybaby).

Tracyanne hails from Glasgow, Scotland. London-born Danny is based in Bristol, England.

Their paths first crossed in 2013 when introduced by mutual music industry pals. Tracyanne dug Danny’s Crybaby album (released on Helium Records) and invited him to open some Camera Obscura shows in the UK.

Mutual artistic respect led to the swapping of song ideas, but tentative plans to work together were set aside while Camera Obscura wrote, recorded, released, and promoted their fifth album Desire Lines.

Following the death of Camera Obscura’s Carey Lander, all band activity stopped. Time passed.

Tracyanne and Danny revisited the idea of collaborating.

A pool of songs were honed and crafted. On the suggestion of their manager (and Teenage Fanclub drummer) Francis Macdonald, they recorded at Clashnarrow, a studio in Helmsdale in the highlands of Scotland owned by the esteemed Edwyn Collins.

Sessions took place throughout 2016 and 2017. Edwyn co-produced along with engineer and multi-instrumentalist Sean Read (Dexys).

They had the use of Edwyn’s vintage gear (including the guitar pedal which features on his global hit “A Girl Like You”) as they invoked a range of shared influences: The Roches, Dion, Lou Reed, The Flamingos, Serge Gainsbourg, Santo & Johnny, and The Style Council.

Edywn pops up with a guest vocal on first single “Alabama,” an intentionally “joyous” tribute to Tracyanne’s late friend and band mate Carey Lander.

Tracyanne & Danny is not a diverting curio or a wee stop on the road to someplace else. It is a shared artistic aesthetic, forged over time. They have figured out how to fit round each other and work together, creating a rewarding musical synergy. There will be more songs.

Meanwhile, they are looking forward to releasing and promoting the first fruits of their labors with live shows throughout UK, Europe, North America, and beyond.

Tracyanne & Danny is a new collaborative project between singer-songwriters Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura) and Danny Coughlan (Crybaby).

Tracyanne hails from Glasgow, Scotland. London-born Danny is based in Bristol, England.

Their paths first crossed in 2013 when introduced by mutual music industry pals. Tracyanne dug Danny’s Crybaby album (released on Helium Records) and invited him to open some Camera Obscura shows in the UK.

Mutual artistic respect led to the swapping of song ideas, but tentative plans to work together were set aside while Camera Obscura wrote, recorded, released, and promoted their fifth album Desire Lines.

Following the death of Camera Obscura’s Carey Lander, all band activity stopped. Time passed.

Tracyanne and Danny revisited the idea of collaborating.

A pool of songs were honed and crafted. On the suggestion of their manager (and Teenage Fanclub drummer) Francis Macdonald, they recorded at Clashnarrow, a studio in Helmsdale in the highlands of Scotland owned by the esteemed Edwyn Collins.

Sessions took place throughout 2016 and 2017. Edwyn co-produced along with engineer and multi-instrumentalist Sean Read (Dexys).

They had the use of Edwyn’s vintage gear (including the guitar pedal which features on his global hit “A Girl Like You”) as they invoked a range of shared influences: The Roches, Dion, Lou Reed, The Flamingos, Serge Gainsbourg, Santo & Johnny, and The Style Council.

Edywn pops up with a guest vocal on first single “Alabama,” an intentionally “joyous” tribute to Tracyanne’s late friend and band mate Carey Lander.

Tracyanne & Danny is not a diverting curio or a wee stop on the road to someplace else. It is a shared artistic aesthetic, forged over time. They have figured out how to fit round each other and work together, creating a rewarding musical synergy. There will be more songs.

Meanwhile, they are looking forward to releasing and promoting the first fruits of their labors with live shows throughout UK, Europe, North America, and beyond.

Davina & The Vagabonds

DAVINA SOWERS AND THE VAGABONDS have created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. In 2011 Davina released her first full length, all original album Black Cloud . It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. Their next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart and led them to landing a performance on the hit BBC2 show, Later with Jools Holland.

DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice: Sowers is a true original.

Bringing you 100 years of American music and Davina’s originals, which lend themselves to the American Songbook, the band brings edgy nostalgia to older generations and fresh new music to younger ears. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Sighisoara, Romania; Sierre, Switzerland; Kemi, Finland; the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival ( in 2014 was asked back to play their main stage in 2014, Vache de Blues in France, and North Sea Jazz Festival. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!

DAVINA SOWERS AND THE VAGABONDS have created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. In 2011 Davina released her first full length, all original album Black Cloud . It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. Their next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart and led them to landing a performance on the hit BBC2 show, Later with Jools Holland.

DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice: Sowers is a true original.

Bringing you 100 years of American music and Davina’s originals, which lend themselves to the American Songbook, the band brings edgy nostalgia to older generations and fresh new music to younger ears. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Sighisoara, Romania; Sierre, Switzerland; Kemi, Finland; the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival ( in 2014 was asked back to play their main stage in 2014, Vache de Blues in France, and North Sea Jazz Festival. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!

@clubcafelive

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