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pittsburgh, pa
Carrie Elkin - The Penny Collector CD Release Tour with Special Guest Danny Schmidt

With her Red House Records debut release, Call It My Garden, Carrie Elkin has emerged as one of the defining new voices in the world of Texas singer-songwriters, being celebrated by Texas Music Magazine as one of their artists of the year. She's an artist full of contrast and contradiction. With a voice that's somehow both gritty and pristine, the Austin Chronicle calls it "an earthy combination of strength and compassion . . . reminiscent of the winsome beauty created by a young Nanci Griffith" while Bob Harris of the BBC throws in comparisons to Patty Griffin and Iris DeMent, and calls her voice "spellbinding from the opening track."

That contrast is reflected in her writing, as well, which is at once devastatingly intimate and embracingly universal. It's this ability to make greater connection from the minutia of life that makes Elkin's songwriting so compelling. Or, as Flying Shoes UK puts it, her songwriting creates "the sense of vivid connection to her vision of the world."

The voice, the stories, the images, the grace and infectious enthusiasm, it's a complete package. But it's the power of her live performances that really have been creating an incredible buzz around this young artist. Maverick Magazine said it best, after a recent festival performance: "I have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. That's the gospel truth, and from what I've subsequently learned, I'm not the only one to believe or state that. Onstage Elkin was simply a force of nature." A force of nature. On stage, Elkin can turn a delicate trickle of a note into a tidal wave of ten emotions at once. Like life at it's most alive. Don't miss this opportunity to see this exciting artist in concert, and in full force.

With her Red House Records debut release, Call It My Garden, Carrie Elkin has emerged as one of the defining new voices in the world of Texas singer-songwriters, being celebrated by Texas Music Magazine as one of their artists of the year. She's an artist full of contrast and contradiction. With a voice that's somehow both gritty and pristine, the Austin Chronicle calls it "an earthy combination of strength and compassion . . . reminiscent of the winsome beauty created by a young Nanci Griffith" while Bob Harris of the BBC throws in comparisons to Patty Griffin and Iris DeMent, and calls her voice "spellbinding from the opening track."

That contrast is reflected in her writing, as well, which is at once devastatingly intimate and embracingly universal. It's this ability to make greater connection from the minutia of life that makes Elkin's songwriting so compelling. Or, as Flying Shoes UK puts it, her songwriting creates "the sense of vivid connection to her vision of the world."

The voice, the stories, the images, the grace and infectious enthusiasm, it's a complete package. But it's the power of her live performances that really have been creating an incredible buzz around this young artist. Maverick Magazine said it best, after a recent festival performance: "I have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. That's the gospel truth, and from what I've subsequently learned, I'm not the only one to believe or state that. Onstage Elkin was simply a force of nature." A force of nature. On stage, Elkin can turn a delicate trickle of a note into a tidal wave of ten emotions at once. Like life at it's most alive. Don't miss this opportunity to see this exciting artist in concert, and in full force.

Pairdown ('Reach To Ring' Album Release) with Special Guests James Hart and Devon Niall Flaherty

Pairdown is a folk-rock quartet from Pittsburgh. Their songs reflect the interweaving of two fingerpicked acoustic guitars, played by founding members Raymond Morin and David Leicht, as well as the banjo and drums of Sue Powers and Jeff Berman, respectively. The group draws from a deep well of influences, starting from the early 60s folk and rock scenes on both sides of the Atlantic (echoes of Pentangle, The Incredible String Band and even The Grateful Dead can be heard) all the way up through the American Primitive and "Private Press" guitar movements of the 70s and 80s, to what most would recognize as the modern independent rock era of the 80s to the present day.

In early 2016, Pairdown went into Pittsburgh's Audible Images Studios to record their second proper full-length record and emerged with "Reach To Ring," nine cuts of artful, rambling guitar and banjo driven music that, while finding some spiritual kinship with a few of today’s cosmic folk artists (Steve Gunn and Ryley Walker come to mind) really has a sound all its own. An expanded version of the group that includes Matt Goulet on electric bass will release and perform selections from "Reach To Ring" at Club Café on April 18th.

Pairdown is a folk-rock quartet from Pittsburgh. Their songs reflect the interweaving of two fingerpicked acoustic guitars, played by founding members Raymond Morin and David Leicht, as well as the banjo and drums of Sue Powers and Jeff Berman, respectively. The group draws from a deep well of influences, starting from the early 60s folk and rock scenes on both sides of the Atlantic (echoes of Pentangle, The Incredible String Band and even The Grateful Dead can be heard) all the way up through the American Primitive and "Private Press" guitar movements of the 70s and 80s, to what most would recognize as the modern independent rock era of the 80s to the present day.

In early 2016, Pairdown went into Pittsburgh's Audible Images Studios to record their second proper full-length record and emerged with "Reach To Ring," nine cuts of artful, rambling guitar and banjo driven music that, while finding some spiritual kinship with a few of today’s cosmic folk artists (Steve Gunn and Ryley Walker come to mind) really has a sound all its own. An expanded version of the group that includes Matt Goulet on electric bass will release and perform selections from "Reach To Ring" at Club Café on April 18th.

Hackensaw Boys / The Tillers

Hackensaw Boys
Charismo is the Hackensaw Boys record you’ve been waiting to hear. The 11-track album feels like the zenith release of the band’s 17 years, gathering their diverse life experiences and myriad of roots influences, and crystallizing them into a magnum opus on the Hackensaw way of being. Traditional Appalachian and Delta music lay the groundwork, but it’s injected with a heavy dose of the contemporary, good-times-roll kind of spit and vinegar the band has become known for over the years.

Produced by Larry Campbell – who has lent his talents to Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, and countless others – Charismo sees the band reeled in and slightly refined, though still as spirited as ever. The songs (all written by longtime Hackensaws David Sickmen and Ferd Moyse) are tinged with an attitude of scrappy resilience, spinning tales and metaphors of everyday, working class struggles and triumphs. With Campbell’s production, the Hackensaw’s somewhat casual, porch-front aesthetic is sharpened around the edges, focusing in on the simple beauty of their melodies and the earnestness in their delivery.

Transcendent of the parts that make up its whole, the record has a collective feel that reflects the band’s rambling history; the Hackensaws have been a home for dozens of musicians over the years, but have steadfastly endured through life’s many changes. With Charismo, the Boys don’t let down on providing their signature ever-present, feel-good energy. It’s the kind of intangible presence that reminds us of our connection to other people and to our history, to the idea that we are a part of something much larger than ourselves.

The name of the album is the same as the percussive instrument invented by Justin Neuhardt (who played with the band in its early days) that has been employed nightly since the band’s maiden tour 16 years ago. The charismo is made of recycled wood and scrap – tin cans, hubcaps, and so on – and is constantly broken down and re-assembled as the parts wear out and new ones are found. Much like the fluid, ever-changing nature of the instrument, Charismo shows us that The Hackensaw Boys are always moving forward like a mighty wheel turning, continuing to spread the (not quite) bygone spirit of down-home music to old and new audiences alike.

The Tillers
The Tillers got their start in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos and guitars and a big wooden bass. Their earliest gigs were for coins and burritos on the city’s famous Ludlow Street in the district of Clifton. The songs they picked were mostly older than their grandparents. Some came from Woody Guthrie, some were southern blues laments, and many were anonymous relics of Appalachian woods, churches, riverboats, railroads, prairies, and coal mines.
Their look didn’t fit the stereotype. They were clearly recovering punk rockers with roots in city’s west side punk rock and hardcore scene. The punk influence gave their sound a distinctive bite, setting them apart from most other folk acts- a hard-driving percussive strum and stomp that brought new pulse and vinegar to some very old songs. But their musical range soon proved itself as they floated from hard-tackle thumping to tender graceful melody, all the while topped by Oberst and Geil’s clear tenor harmonies.

They began picking up weekly gigs around the city’s bar scene. It didn’t take long before their signature treatment of classic folk songs became the preferred versions of Cincinnati locals. Their audiences swelled, growing into an assortment of grey-haired mechanics, neo-hippies, farmers, punkers, professors, and random strays all stomping, clapping, singing, and belting outbursts of “John Henry!” “Darlin’ Corey!” Ever since, the band has come to each show with the same energy. They are magnetic showmen, mature musicians, and colorful storytellers.

The Tillers have since won over Cincinnati’s bar and festival scene, and launching tours with tireless momentum. They were awarded CityBeat Magazine’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Folk and Americana act in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 & 2015. Their relentless gigging has taken them throughout the East coast, the Midwest and West, the Appalachian south and to the UK and Ireland opening for the St.Louis crooner, Pokey LaFarge. In the summer of 2009, veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw featured the Tillers on a documentary about US Route 50. Brokaw showcased the group’s song “There is Road (Route 50)” as a testimony to the highway’s role as a connective tissue of the nation.

Musically, the band wears many hats. Their sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles- traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock and anything else they might run into. They have shared the stage with a broad swath of national touring acts, ranging from renowned folk legends such as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Douglas, Iris Dement, Pokey LaFarge and The Carolina Chocolate Drops to rambunctious rock daredevils like the Legendary Shack Shakers.

Always moving, the Tillers continue to enter new territory. Their musical growth can be heard through the scape of their many releases, 2008′s debut record Ludlow Street Rag, 2010′s By The Signs, 2011′s Wild Hog in the Woods, 2012′s Live from the Historic Southgate House, 2013′s Hand On The Plow and many more bootleg releases. The band’s lineup has also taken new shape. In February 2010, long-time bassist Jason Soudrette fondly parted ways with the group, being replaced by Aaron Geil, brother of guitarist Sean. In 2015 the band added fiddler Joe Macheret (Joe’s Truck Stop/Urban Pioneers) to the ranks. Recalibrating has not slowed their pace.

They continue to plot their travels around the map, electrifying new places and making new friends wherever they go. From place to place, they carry with them more instruments, new songs, and funnier stories. They are Cincinnati’s traveling minstrels. Expect to hear from them soon.

Hackensaw Boys
Charismo is the Hackensaw Boys record you’ve been waiting to hear. The 11-track album feels like the zenith release of the band’s 17 years, gathering their diverse life experiences and myriad of roots influences, and crystallizing them into a magnum opus on the Hackensaw way of being. Traditional Appalachian and Delta music lay the groundwork, but it’s injected with a heavy dose of the contemporary, good-times-roll kind of spit and vinegar the band has become known for over the years.

Produced by Larry Campbell – who has lent his talents to Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, and countless others – Charismo sees the band reeled in and slightly refined, though still as spirited as ever. The songs (all written by longtime Hackensaws David Sickmen and Ferd Moyse) are tinged with an attitude of scrappy resilience, spinning tales and metaphors of everyday, working class struggles and triumphs. With Campbell’s production, the Hackensaw’s somewhat casual, porch-front aesthetic is sharpened around the edges, focusing in on the simple beauty of their melodies and the earnestness in their delivery.

Transcendent of the parts that make up its whole, the record has a collective feel that reflects the band’s rambling history; the Hackensaws have been a home for dozens of musicians over the years, but have steadfastly endured through life’s many changes. With Charismo, the Boys don’t let down on providing their signature ever-present, feel-good energy. It’s the kind of intangible presence that reminds us of our connection to other people and to our history, to the idea that we are a part of something much larger than ourselves.

The name of the album is the same as the percussive instrument invented by Justin Neuhardt (who played with the band in its early days) that has been employed nightly since the band’s maiden tour 16 years ago. The charismo is made of recycled wood and scrap – tin cans, hubcaps, and so on – and is constantly broken down and re-assembled as the parts wear out and new ones are found. Much like the fluid, ever-changing nature of the instrument, Charismo shows us that The Hackensaw Boys are always moving forward like a mighty wheel turning, continuing to spread the (not quite) bygone spirit of down-home music to old and new audiences alike.

The Tillers
The Tillers got their start in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos and guitars and a big wooden bass. Their earliest gigs were for coins and burritos on the city’s famous Ludlow Street in the district of Clifton. The songs they picked were mostly older than their grandparents. Some came from Woody Guthrie, some were southern blues laments, and many were anonymous relics of Appalachian woods, churches, riverboats, railroads, prairies, and coal mines.
Their look didn’t fit the stereotype. They were clearly recovering punk rockers with roots in city’s west side punk rock and hardcore scene. The punk influence gave their sound a distinctive bite, setting them apart from most other folk acts- a hard-driving percussive strum and stomp that brought new pulse and vinegar to some very old songs. But their musical range soon proved itself as they floated from hard-tackle thumping to tender graceful melody, all the while topped by Oberst and Geil’s clear tenor harmonies.

They began picking up weekly gigs around the city’s bar scene. It didn’t take long before their signature treatment of classic folk songs became the preferred versions of Cincinnati locals. Their audiences swelled, growing into an assortment of grey-haired mechanics, neo-hippies, farmers, punkers, professors, and random strays all stomping, clapping, singing, and belting outbursts of “John Henry!” “Darlin’ Corey!” Ever since, the band has come to each show with the same energy. They are magnetic showmen, mature musicians, and colorful storytellers.

The Tillers have since won over Cincinnati’s bar and festival scene, and launching tours with tireless momentum. They were awarded CityBeat Magazine’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Folk and Americana act in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 & 2015. Their relentless gigging has taken them throughout the East coast, the Midwest and West, the Appalachian south and to the UK and Ireland opening for the St.Louis crooner, Pokey LaFarge. In the summer of 2009, veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw featured the Tillers on a documentary about US Route 50. Brokaw showcased the group’s song “There is Road (Route 50)” as a testimony to the highway’s role as a connective tissue of the nation.

Musically, the band wears many hats. Their sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles- traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock and anything else they might run into. They have shared the stage with a broad swath of national touring acts, ranging from renowned folk legends such as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Douglas, Iris Dement, Pokey LaFarge and The Carolina Chocolate Drops to rambunctious rock daredevils like the Legendary Shack Shakers.

Always moving, the Tillers continue to enter new territory. Their musical growth can be heard through the scape of their many releases, 2008′s debut record Ludlow Street Rag, 2010′s By The Signs, 2011′s Wild Hog in the Woods, 2012′s Live from the Historic Southgate House, 2013′s Hand On The Plow and many more bootleg releases. The band’s lineup has also taken new shape. In February 2010, long-time bassist Jason Soudrette fondly parted ways with the group, being replaced by Aaron Geil, brother of guitarist Sean. In 2015 the band added fiddler Joe Macheret (Joe’s Truck Stop/Urban Pioneers) to the ranks. Recalibrating has not slowed their pace.

They continue to plot their travels around the map, electrifying new places and making new friends wherever they go. From place to place, they carry with them more instruments, new songs, and funnier stories. They are Cincinnati’s traveling minstrels. Expect to hear from them soon.

(Early Show) Eilen Jewell with Special Guest Miss Tess and the Talkbacks

Crafting a unique style that mixes poetic ballads with swinging rockers, Eilen Jewell ranks among the best in the Americana genre today. As the reigning Queen of the Minor Key, Jewell leads a tight quartet who blend influences of surf noir, early blues, rockabilly, and 1960s era rock and roll.

Over the course of a decade, Eilen and her band have toured relentlessly. They have performed for legions of fans from Boston to Boise and Madrid to Melbourne at festivals, theaters, rock clubs and coffeehouses. Eilen’s fans marvel at her warmth, unique wit, and onstage humor alongside her beautiful songs and fiery performances. Jewell’s fifth studio album, Sundown Over Ghost Town was released in May of 2015(Signature Sounds). The album was recorded with Eilen’s longtime road band in her hometown of Boise, and is composed of twelve stunning, original compositions that feature some of her most personal stories yet.

Crafting a unique style that mixes poetic ballads with swinging rockers, Eilen Jewell ranks among the best in the Americana genre today. As the reigning Queen of the Minor Key, Jewell leads a tight quartet who blend influences of surf noir, early blues, rockabilly, and 1960s era rock and roll.

Over the course of a decade, Eilen and her band have toured relentlessly. They have performed for legions of fans from Boston to Boise and Madrid to Melbourne at festivals, theaters, rock clubs and coffeehouses. Eilen’s fans marvel at her warmth, unique wit, and onstage humor alongside her beautiful songs and fiery performances. Jewell’s fifth studio album, Sundown Over Ghost Town was released in May of 2015(Signature Sounds). The album was recorded with Eilen’s longtime road band in her hometown of Boise, and is composed of twelve stunning, original compositions that feature some of her most personal stories yet.

DVE Presents The Loaded Show - Hosted by Sean Collier Featuring Jeff Konkle, T-Robe, Tim Ross, Day Bracey, Felicia Fillespie, Chuck Krieger, Shannon Norman

Sean Collier from the DVE Morning Show takes the stage at Club Cafe to host a bi-monthly standup showcase featuring six of the best comedians in Pittsburgh. Come see the city's best standup comics in an intimate, all-star showcase for only $10!

Sean Collier from the DVE Morning Show takes the stage at Club Cafe to host a bi-monthly standup showcase featuring six of the best comedians in Pittsburgh. Come see the city's best standup comics in an intimate, all-star showcase for only $10!

David Berkeley

Santa Fe-based singer, songwriter, author David Berkeley has been a guest on This American Life, Mountain Stage, World Cafe, CNN, XM Radio's Loft Sessions, WFUV, NPR's Acoustic Cafe and many more. He won the 2015 Kerrville New Folk competition and ASCAP's Johnny Mercer Songwriting Award. Called "a musical poet" by the San Francisco Chronicle, "sensational" by the Philadelphia Inquirer and "spellbinding" by Blurt, critics praise Berkeley's carefully crafted philosophic lyrics and soulful baritone, which at one moment resonates richly only to swoop into a fragile falsetto in the next. Berkeley has shared the stage with Adele, Mumford and Sons, Nickel Creek, Ray Lamontagne, Dido, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright and many more. His latest release is a novel one. He's penned a set of interwoven stories offered in his second book, The Free Brontosaurus, and a batch of accompanying songs on his sixth studio album, Cardboard Boat. The songs are sung from the perspective of each story's main character. His live shows often feature Berkeley reading excerpts from the book and singing the accompanying songs. Fans of Nick Drake, Ryan Adams, Cat Stevens or authors like Miranda July are in for a rare treat.

Santa Fe-based singer, songwriter, author David Berkeley has been a guest on This American Life, Mountain Stage, World Cafe, CNN, XM Radio's Loft Sessions, WFUV, NPR's Acoustic Cafe and many more. He won the 2015 Kerrville New Folk competition and ASCAP's Johnny Mercer Songwriting Award. Called "a musical poet" by the San Francisco Chronicle, "sensational" by the Philadelphia Inquirer and "spellbinding" by Blurt, critics praise Berkeley's carefully crafted philosophic lyrics and soulful baritone, which at one moment resonates richly only to swoop into a fragile falsetto in the next. Berkeley has shared the stage with Adele, Mumford and Sons, Nickel Creek, Ray Lamontagne, Dido, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright and many more. His latest release is a novel one. He's penned a set of interwoven stories offered in his second book, The Free Brontosaurus, and a batch of accompanying songs on his sixth studio album, Cardboard Boat. The songs are sung from the perspective of each story's main character. His live shows often feature Berkeley reading excerpts from the book and singing the accompanying songs. Fans of Nick Drake, Ryan Adams, Cat Stevens or authors like Miranda July are in for a rare treat.

Tommy Keene with Ivan Julian

After nearly 30 years in the music business, you might expect someone like Tommy Keene to start slowing down. If you did, you'd be wrong. Produced by Tommy in his home studio, with able assistance again from R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn), Tommy's new Behind The Parade (Second Motion) continues his career-long run of premier, melodic guitar-based rock, following up 2009's stellar In The Late Bright with yet another batch of winning tunes.

Ranging from the proto-Keene jangle of "Already Made Up Your Mind" and the edgy, power pop (no, he doesn't mind that description – much) storytelling of "Running For Your Life" and "His Mother's Son" to the moody, ambient instrumental "La Castana" and the horn-infused opener "Deep Six Saturday", Behind The Parade finds Tommy ably taking a few risks while managing to play to his considerable strengths. Behind The Parade, along with his recent output, shows Tommy is akin to an athlete rediscovering his prime-only in his case, he never left it.

The History

In 1984, a six-song platter of pop perfection titled Places That Are Gone (Dolphin) put Tommy Keene onto the CMJ charts and atop the Village Voice EP of the Year poll. Blatantly romantic, unapologetically melodic, bittersweet but absolutely invigorating, it was the sort of record that you could put on before you went out on a Saturday night, or sit around and mope to if you didn't feel like facing the world. It still stands as a powerful statement, not only establishing Tommy as a unique singer-songwriter, but also as a guitarist with a sound as distinctive as Pete Townshend or Johnny Marr.

Tommy made enough noise in the early '80s to get the majors involved, and in 1986 he released Songs From the Film on Geffen. Produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, the album featured two MTV videos, "Listen To Me" and a re-recording of Places That Are Gone's title track, and spent 12 weeks on Billboard's Top 200. The 1998 CD reissue of Songs also includes one of the all-time great Keene rockers, "Run Now," with inspired rhythm section work from drummer Doug Tull and bassist Ted Niceley, plus a terrific extended guitar solo. The singer as well as the song appeared in the Anthony Michael Hall movie Out of Bounds. Rent it today and catch Tommy's 15 seconds of celluloid glory.

After releasing the Run Now EP in 1986, the original Tommy Keene group, which also included guitarist Billy Connelly, disbanded. Without a group, Keene headed down to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record with producers John Hampton and Joe Hardy. The result was Based on Happy Times (Geffen, 1989).

As suggested by the bittersweet title, Happy Times is the darkest album in the Keene catalog. Although his best material has always been infused with melancholia, Happy Times' tracks like "The Biggest Conflict" and "A Way Out" reveal a more fatalistic outlook. The guitars are heavier, there is less jangle, and there aren't as many hooky vocal harmonies. Unlike much of his earlier work, Based on Happy Times by no means can be tagged with the dread title of power pop. It is a beautifully crafted, if sometimes brooding, arty rock record.

Based on Happy Times would also be the first time and, so far, last time Keene would work with another songwriter on an album. "When Our Vows Break," written with Jules Shear, has long been a live favorite and is one of the record's standout tracks. The album's leadoff track, "Nothing Can Change You," can be heard as a cover version by the Goo Goo Dolls on the B-side of the Australian version of their single, "Slide." And while we're name dropping, R.E.M fans should note that Peter Buck appears on two tracks, lending some Marc Bolan-style guitar on the Beach Boys cover, "Our Car Club," and mandolin on "A Way Out." In support of Based on Happy Times, Keene put together a new rhythm section, John Richardson on drums and Brad Quinn on bass, and hit the road for a month-long tour with the Replacements. The tour found the Keene group playing for receptive audiences and would eventually lead to Tommy joining Replacements leader Paul Westerberg as a sideman on Westerberg's 1996 solo tour.

In 1996, Keene released Ten Years After (Matador), his first full-length album of all-new material in seven years. Produced by Keene and recorded by pop music wunderkind Adam Schmitt, the album contains classic pop hooks and the loudest guitars to date. The album probably comes closest to the sound of a live Tommy Keene show, which, if you've never seen one, can be a pretty thunderous affair.

While Ten Years After revealed that Keene had stored up a lot of creative energy in the years between full length LPs, his next effort, Isolation Party (Matador), showed that he could do just as well if not better on much shorter notice. Released in 1998, Isolation Party is more focused than its predecessor (Perhaps due to its being recorded over a few months as opposed to a few years). For the album, Tommy recruited an all-star cast, getting some fine instrumental and vocal performances from former Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela and Wilco's Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy. The album's opener, "Long Time Missing," ranks among the best songs he's ever written, and that's saying a lot when put in the company of "Back To Zero," "My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe," "Highwire Days," and "Silent Town," all of which, coincidentally, can be heard in sizzling versions on Keene's next effort, a live disc called Showtunes (Parasol), released in 2000.

Tommy followed up his live album in 2001 with The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down for the SpinArt label. Produced by Keene and recorded primarily in Tempe, Arizona, at the Gin Blossoms outpost, the album leads off with the rousing rocker "Begin Where We End" before branching out into some new terrain with the roadhouse boogie of "Man With Out a Soul" and the 16-minute opus, "The Final Hour."

Tommy used his next release, Drowning: A Tommy Keene Miscellany (Not Lame), to clean out his closets of 20 years' worth of rarities, demos and unreleased sessions. One of the best hodgepodge records you'll ever hear, more than one critic felt Tommy's spring-cleaning LP bested many greatest hits packages.

Back on the road in 2004, Keene and band joined Guided By Voices on the East and West Coast legs of their farewell tour. Apart from some great gigs, the shows also led to Keene joining Pollard as a member of his post GBV band, The Ascended Masters, for their 2006 U.S. Tour and a limited edition live LP, Moon (Merge).

The year also saw the release of Crashing the Ether (Eleven Thirty), which was performed and recorded primarily by Tommy himself at home with drums by John Richardson and contributions from regular Keene band members and friends. Sonically, the album is dazzling, with big drums and open, ringing guitars. Lyrically it was arguably Tommy's great leap forward, with subject matter ranging from a nostalgic, black and white snapshot of New York to Warren Beatty to mixed signals via "Texas Tower #4."

Tommy quickly followed up Crashing the Ether with Blues and Boogie Shoes. an LP with Robert Pollard under the Keene Brothers moniker. Although side projects can sometimes be less than wholehearted efforts, tracks such as "The Naked Wall" or "Death of the Party"—as good a song as Keene or Pollard have written together or separately—show that neither artist was holding anything back. Among the LPs many rave reviews, The Big Takeover magazine called the album a magical "balancing act" between Keene's straightforward songwriting and Pollard's more outré moments.

In October 2008, Tommy joined Pollard again as a member of Boston Spaceships, touring in support of the album Brown Submarine.

2009's In the Late Bright displayed the full range of Tommy's songcraft over 11 tracks. The album kicked into high gear with "Late Bright," a minor-key rocker that gets its tense and dramatic work done in two minutes flat. From there on out, the album delivered a fan-friendly collection of melodic hooks, vocal harmonies, inventive chord progressions and great guitar playing.

Though by no means nearing the end, Tommy summed up his solo output with Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009 (Second Motion), a two-CD collection holding over 40 of his best tunes (including an unreleased acoustic take of Crashing The Ether's "Black And White New York"). Even then, fans debated what he included vs. what he left off – further proof of the man's enduring songwriting prowess.

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After nearly 30 years in the music business, you might expect someone like Tommy Keene to start slowing down. If you did, you'd be wrong. Produced by Tommy in his home studio, with able assistance again from R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn), Tommy's new Behind The Parade (Second Motion) continues his career-long run of premier, melodic guitar-based rock, following up 2009's stellar In The Late Bright with yet another batch of winning tunes.

Ranging from the proto-Keene jangle of "Already Made Up Your Mind" and the edgy, power pop (no, he doesn't mind that description – much) storytelling of "Running For Your Life" and "His Mother's Son" to the moody, ambient instrumental "La Castana" and the horn-infused opener "Deep Six Saturday", Behind The Parade finds Tommy ably taking a few risks while managing to play to his considerable strengths. Behind The Parade, along with his recent output, shows Tommy is akin to an athlete rediscovering his prime-only in his case, he never left it.

The History

In 1984, a six-song platter of pop perfection titled Places That Are Gone (Dolphin) put Tommy Keene onto the CMJ charts and atop the Village Voice EP of the Year poll. Blatantly romantic, unapologetically melodic, bittersweet but absolutely invigorating, it was the sort of record that you could put on before you went out on a Saturday night, or sit around and mope to if you didn't feel like facing the world. It still stands as a powerful statement, not only establishing Tommy as a unique singer-songwriter, but also as a guitarist with a sound as distinctive as Pete Townshend or Johnny Marr.

Tommy made enough noise in the early '80s to get the majors involved, and in 1986 he released Songs From the Film on Geffen. Produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, the album featured two MTV videos, "Listen To Me" and a re-recording of Places That Are Gone's title track, and spent 12 weeks on Billboard's Top 200. The 1998 CD reissue of Songs also includes one of the all-time great Keene rockers, "Run Now," with inspired rhythm section work from drummer Doug Tull and bassist Ted Niceley, plus a terrific extended guitar solo. The singer as well as the song appeared in the Anthony Michael Hall movie Out of Bounds. Rent it today and catch Tommy's 15 seconds of celluloid glory.

After releasing the Run Now EP in 1986, the original Tommy Keene group, which also included guitarist Billy Connelly, disbanded. Without a group, Keene headed down to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record with producers John Hampton and Joe Hardy. The result was Based on Happy Times (Geffen, 1989).

As suggested by the bittersweet title, Happy Times is the darkest album in the Keene catalog. Although his best material has always been infused with melancholia, Happy Times' tracks like "The Biggest Conflict" and "A Way Out" reveal a more fatalistic outlook. The guitars are heavier, there is less jangle, and there aren't as many hooky vocal harmonies. Unlike much of his earlier work, Based on Happy Times by no means can be tagged with the dread title of power pop. It is a beautifully crafted, if sometimes brooding, arty rock record.

Based on Happy Times would also be the first time and, so far, last time Keene would work with another songwriter on an album. "When Our Vows Break," written with Jules Shear, has long been a live favorite and is one of the record's standout tracks. The album's leadoff track, "Nothing Can Change You," can be heard as a cover version by the Goo Goo Dolls on the B-side of the Australian version of their single, "Slide." And while we're name dropping, R.E.M fans should note that Peter Buck appears on two tracks, lending some Marc Bolan-style guitar on the Beach Boys cover, "Our Car Club," and mandolin on "A Way Out." In support of Based on Happy Times, Keene put together a new rhythm section, John Richardson on drums and Brad Quinn on bass, and hit the road for a month-long tour with the Replacements. The tour found the Keene group playing for receptive audiences and would eventually lead to Tommy joining Replacements leader Paul Westerberg as a sideman on Westerberg's 1996 solo tour.

In 1996, Keene released Ten Years After (Matador), his first full-length album of all-new material in seven years. Produced by Keene and recorded by pop music wunderkind Adam Schmitt, the album contains classic pop hooks and the loudest guitars to date. The album probably comes closest to the sound of a live Tommy Keene show, which, if you've never seen one, can be a pretty thunderous affair.

While Ten Years After revealed that Keene had stored up a lot of creative energy in the years between full length LPs, his next effort, Isolation Party (Matador), showed that he could do just as well if not better on much shorter notice. Released in 1998, Isolation Party is more focused than its predecessor (Perhaps due to its being recorded over a few months as opposed to a few years). For the album, Tommy recruited an all-star cast, getting some fine instrumental and vocal performances from former Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela and Wilco's Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy. The album's opener, "Long Time Missing," ranks among the best songs he's ever written, and that's saying a lot when put in the company of "Back To Zero," "My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe," "Highwire Days," and "Silent Town," all of which, coincidentally, can be heard in sizzling versions on Keene's next effort, a live disc called Showtunes (Parasol), released in 2000.

Tommy followed up his live album in 2001 with The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down for the SpinArt label. Produced by Keene and recorded primarily in Tempe, Arizona, at the Gin Blossoms outpost, the album leads off with the rousing rocker "Begin Where We End" before branching out into some new terrain with the roadhouse boogie of "Man With Out a Soul" and the 16-minute opus, "The Final Hour."

Tommy used his next release, Drowning: A Tommy Keene Miscellany (Not Lame), to clean out his closets of 20 years' worth of rarities, demos and unreleased sessions. One of the best hodgepodge records you'll ever hear, more than one critic felt Tommy's spring-cleaning LP bested many greatest hits packages.

Back on the road in 2004, Keene and band joined Guided By Voices on the East and West Coast legs of their farewell tour. Apart from some great gigs, the shows also led to Keene joining Pollard as a member of his post GBV band, The Ascended Masters, for their 2006 U.S. Tour and a limited edition live LP, Moon (Merge).

The year also saw the release of Crashing the Ether (Eleven Thirty), which was performed and recorded primarily by Tommy himself at home with drums by John Richardson and contributions from regular Keene band members and friends. Sonically, the album is dazzling, with big drums and open, ringing guitars. Lyrically it was arguably Tommy's great leap forward, with subject matter ranging from a nostalgic, black and white snapshot of New York to Warren Beatty to mixed signals via "Texas Tower #4."

Tommy quickly followed up Crashing the Ether with Blues and Boogie Shoes. an LP with Robert Pollard under the Keene Brothers moniker. Although side projects can sometimes be less than wholehearted efforts, tracks such as "The Naked Wall" or "Death of the Party"—as good a song as Keene or Pollard have written together or separately—show that neither artist was holding anything back. Among the LPs many rave reviews, The Big Takeover magazine called the album a magical "balancing act" between Keene's straightforward songwriting and Pollard's more outré moments.

In October 2008, Tommy joined Pollard again as a member of Boston Spaceships, touring in support of the album Brown Submarine.

2009's In the Late Bright displayed the full range of Tommy's songcraft over 11 tracks. The album kicked into high gear with "Late Bright," a minor-key rocker that gets its tense and dramatic work done in two minutes flat. From there on out, the album delivered a fan-friendly collection of melodic hooks, vocal harmonies, inventive chord progressions and great guitar playing.

Though by no means nearing the end, Tommy summed up his solo output with Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009 (Second Motion), a two-CD collection holding over 40 of his best tunes (including an unreleased acoustic take of Crashing The Ether's "Black And White New York"). Even then, fans debated what he included vs. what he left off – further proof of the man's enduring songwriting prowess.

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Christopher Mark Jones - 'Incantations' CD Release with Special Guest Mark Williams

Christopher Mark Jones brings The Roots Ensemble (Vince Camut, guitar & pedal steel, Mark Perna, bass and Eric Kurtzrock, drums and vocals) and 13 new songs from his fourth release since 2010—Incantations—back to Club Cafe. Some early returns:

“From the simple country storytelling of “Field of Dreams” to the brooding, bluesy “Fire So Soon,” Christopher uses the palate of American roots music to weave his tales of families, lovers, workers, travel and hope.” Robin Greenstein, songwriter.

“… captivating lyrics, wide-ranging textures and exquisite instrumentation. The tracks incorporate talented accompanists that, like the mix itself, add layers and depth to the recording while still allowing Christopher's voice, lyrics and intricate guitar-playing to shine through.” Larry Berger, Saturday Light Brigade.

“Christopher’s new CD Incantations is filled with the things that make him a Pittsburgh pleasure – comfortable song settings in tight arrangements, brought to life by the Roots Ensemble (Jones and Vince Camut on guitars, pedal steel and banjo, Mark Perna on bass and Mark Weakland on drums and percussion) and several other contributors, all supporting Jones’ voice as husky and warm as carded wool.” Brian Junker, SongSpace

“Christopher Mark Jones is a bonafide storyteller in the mold of the classic folk troubadour. With Greg Brown's pacing and a Lyle Lovett attitude Jones revels in catchy choruses and solid song structure. Case in point is "Lordstown," which deftly follows a rustbelt family through several generations ending in job losses, college debt, and economic insecurity. With "Incantations" Jones lays out a west coast funk inspired groove to underscore a pointed, dark, and self deprecating autobiography of his genealogical and spiritual coming of age as a white male folksinger. With lines such as, "My mother kept her Christmas cards and the titles to our slaves, wrote Pentecostal histories in which we all were saved," Jones both indicts his privilege and bears it like a curse which has him singing "these incantations, revelations to no one," where his "only hope of happiness is to step right off this earth." There is a hopeful romantic streak on this album as well, highlighted by the tender "Field of Dreams." You'd need to have a heart as cold as a January night on Lake Erie to not feel the warmth of these two lovers.” Ben Shannon, songwriter.

Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Mark Williams will bring his passion and rhythm for an opening set.

Christopher Mark Jones brings The Roots Ensemble (Vince Camut, guitar & pedal steel, Mark Perna, bass and Eric Kurtzrock, drums and vocals) and 13 new songs from his fourth release since 2010—Incantations—back to Club Cafe. Some early returns:

“From the simple country storytelling of “Field of Dreams” to the brooding, bluesy “Fire So Soon,” Christopher uses the palate of American roots music to weave his tales of families, lovers, workers, travel and hope.” Robin Greenstein, songwriter.

“… captivating lyrics, wide-ranging textures and exquisite instrumentation. The tracks incorporate talented accompanists that, like the mix itself, add layers and depth to the recording while still allowing Christopher's voice, lyrics and intricate guitar-playing to shine through.” Larry Berger, Saturday Light Brigade.

“Christopher’s new CD Incantations is filled with the things that make him a Pittsburgh pleasure – comfortable song settings in tight arrangements, brought to life by the Roots Ensemble (Jones and Vince Camut on guitars, pedal steel and banjo, Mark Perna on bass and Mark Weakland on drums and percussion) and several other contributors, all supporting Jones’ voice as husky and warm as carded wool.” Brian Junker, SongSpace

“Christopher Mark Jones is a bonafide storyteller in the mold of the classic folk troubadour. With Greg Brown's pacing and a Lyle Lovett attitude Jones revels in catchy choruses and solid song structure. Case in point is "Lordstown," which deftly follows a rustbelt family through several generations ending in job losses, college debt, and economic insecurity. With "Incantations" Jones lays out a west coast funk inspired groove to underscore a pointed, dark, and self deprecating autobiography of his genealogical and spiritual coming of age as a white male folksinger. With lines such as, "My mother kept her Christmas cards and the titles to our slaves, wrote Pentecostal histories in which we all were saved," Jones both indicts his privilege and bears it like a curse which has him singing "these incantations, revelations to no one," where his "only hope of happiness is to step right off this earth." There is a hopeful romantic streak on this album as well, highlighted by the tender "Field of Dreams." You'd need to have a heart as cold as a January night on Lake Erie to not feel the warmth of these two lovers.” Ben Shannon, songwriter.

Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Mark Williams will bring his passion and rhythm for an opening set.

(Early Show) Kinky Friedman's Resurrected Tour

KINKY FRIEDMAN: RESURRECTED
Public Demands More Of Governor Of The Heart Of Texas

Kerrville, Texas - Yep, renowned raconteur and Governor Of The Heart Of Texas Kinky Friedman has been resurrected.  And he's hitting the road to prove it.  The legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, novelist and Texas Jewboy's latest cd, The Loneliest Man I Ever Met (Avenue A Records/Thirty Tigers), mixing originals with interpretations of the music of his greatest contemporaries, is a hit.  It has received rave reviews across the board, making it Kinky's best and most popular release ever.  Yes, the Kinkster has been resurrected.

The Resurrected Tour tour starts in mid-April and will continue to the middle of May.  Kinky will be performing with his uber sideman, Joe Cirotti.  Kinky's cd producer, Brian Molnar will be opening the show.  Kinkster's long time pal, Brian Kanof, will be auctioning off bottles (first half of the tour only) of Man In Black Tequila (which is co-owned by Brian, Kinky and a third party) to benefit Kinky's award-winning animal rescue group Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.

Nobody could invent a character quite like Kinky Friedman, the stogie-waving, black-hat-wearing Texas Jewboy singer, storyteller, tequila purveyor, animal rescuer and full-time iconoclast.

But what he hadn't done in 39 years was write brand new songs and record a new studio album around them. Friedman's The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, has to have been one of the longest-awaited follow-ups in recent memory. Not that fans have complained; the continued popularity of tunes such as Sold American, Nashville Casualty and Life and Ride 'Em Jewboy (the Holocaust-referencing song that soothed Nelson Mandela in prison) prove Kinky is that rare talent whose work withstands the test of time. Friedman still delivers those songs - interspersed with his inimitable blend of politically incorrect quips, jokes and tales both tall and true - to appreciative audiences around the world.

And new chapters of Kinky's fable life are just around the corner - literally.  Coming soon from Backbeat Books will be Mary Lou Sullivan's comprehensive Kinky bio (holy cow: 450+ pages!) and a brand new book by Kinky about Bob Dylan, which is not so much a biography as a group of "tales from the Bob."  To top it off, Kinky has nearly a dozen more brand new tunes for a follow up cd.  There are simply more sentiments he needs to express - his own and those of what country music was all about, according to Kinky, before it came "homogenized and trivialized and sanitized."
Railing against such perceived evils - whether cultural, political, social or in any other realm of human experience - is one of Friedman's favorite pastimes, which is why he calls Warren Zevon's My Shit's Fucked Up possibly that album's most important song. The late Zevon wrote it as a commentary on his own failing health, but Friedman finds it a perfect allegory for the current state of world affairs. As a man who has traveled much of the planet, quotes Winston Churchill, and calls two presidents pals, he's in a position to know.

And on tour Kinky will be, traveling from village to village, perhaps proving the truth of resurrection itself, definitely railing against evil.  Upon his return from the road, Kinky will dive into that next cd recording project.  To be titled Zoey, it should be available in late 2017.  "Maybe I'll just have to stick with songwriting," he says, stifling a sigh.

KINKY FRIEDMAN: RESURRECTED
Public Demands More Of Governor Of The Heart Of Texas

Kerrville, Texas - Yep, renowned raconteur and Governor Of The Heart Of Texas Kinky Friedman has been resurrected.  And he's hitting the road to prove it.  The legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, novelist and Texas Jewboy's latest cd, The Loneliest Man I Ever Met (Avenue A Records/Thirty Tigers), mixing originals with interpretations of the music of his greatest contemporaries, is a hit.  It has received rave reviews across the board, making it Kinky's best and most popular release ever.  Yes, the Kinkster has been resurrected.

The Resurrected Tour tour starts in mid-April and will continue to the middle of May.  Kinky will be performing with his uber sideman, Joe Cirotti.  Kinky's cd producer, Brian Molnar will be opening the show.  Kinkster's long time pal, Brian Kanof, will be auctioning off bottles (first half of the tour only) of Man In Black Tequila (which is co-owned by Brian, Kinky and a third party) to benefit Kinky's award-winning animal rescue group Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.

Nobody could invent a character quite like Kinky Friedman, the stogie-waving, black-hat-wearing Texas Jewboy singer, storyteller, tequila purveyor, animal rescuer and full-time iconoclast.

But what he hadn't done in 39 years was write brand new songs and record a new studio album around them. Friedman's The Loneliest Man I Ever Met, has to have been one of the longest-awaited follow-ups in recent memory. Not that fans have complained; the continued popularity of tunes such as Sold American, Nashville Casualty and Life and Ride 'Em Jewboy (the Holocaust-referencing song that soothed Nelson Mandela in prison) prove Kinky is that rare talent whose work withstands the test of time. Friedman still delivers those songs - interspersed with his inimitable blend of politically incorrect quips, jokes and tales both tall and true - to appreciative audiences around the world.

And new chapters of Kinky's fable life are just around the corner - literally.  Coming soon from Backbeat Books will be Mary Lou Sullivan's comprehensive Kinky bio (holy cow: 450+ pages!) and a brand new book by Kinky about Bob Dylan, which is not so much a biography as a group of "tales from the Bob."  To top it off, Kinky has nearly a dozen more brand new tunes for a follow up cd.  There are simply more sentiments he needs to express - his own and those of what country music was all about, according to Kinky, before it came "homogenized and trivialized and sanitized."
Railing against such perceived evils - whether cultural, political, social or in any other realm of human experience - is one of Friedman's favorite pastimes, which is why he calls Warren Zevon's My Shit's Fucked Up possibly that album's most important song. The late Zevon wrote it as a commentary on his own failing health, but Friedman finds it a perfect allegory for the current state of world affairs. As a man who has traveled much of the planet, quotes Winston Churchill, and calls two presidents pals, he's in a position to know.

And on tour Kinky will be, traveling from village to village, perhaps proving the truth of resurrection itself, definitely railing against evil.  Upon his return from the road, Kinky will dive into that next cd recording project.  To be titled Zoey, it should be available in late 2017.  "Maybe I'll just have to stick with songwriting," he says, stifling a sigh.

(Late Show) Steeltown Horns with Special Guest Gene Stovall

"The Steeltown Horns band is Pittsburgh's premier instrumental funk band playing powerful original and classic funky instrumentals, and featuring a truly all star lineup. The eight piece band is fronted by the three man international touring horn section The Steeltown Horns: Reggie Watkins - trombone, Rick Matt - saxophone, and JD Chaisson - trumpet. The group also features many of the areas most talented musicians including iconic drummer Poogie Bell. The other members are Anton Defade - bass, Anthony Ambroso - guitar, Justin Bechak - Keys, and David Glover - percussion. The band made a big splash on the Pittsburgh scene when they formed in 2016 and played the official Feastival afterparty, several well attended shows at The Rex Theater, and finishing off the year at First Night Pittsburgh in Downtown Pittsburgh. The group has recently hit the studio and is currently producing their first studio EP."

"The Steeltown Horns band is Pittsburgh's premier instrumental funk band playing powerful original and classic funky instrumentals, and featuring a truly all star lineup. The eight piece band is fronted by the three man international touring horn section The Steeltown Horns: Reggie Watkins - trombone, Rick Matt - saxophone, and JD Chaisson - trumpet. The group also features many of the areas most talented musicians including iconic drummer Poogie Bell. The other members are Anton Defade - bass, Anthony Ambroso - guitar, Justin Bechak - Keys, and David Glover - percussion. The band made a big splash on the Pittsburgh scene when they formed in 2016 and played the official Feastival afterparty, several well attended shows at The Rex Theater, and finishing off the year at First Night Pittsburgh in Downtown Pittsburgh. The group has recently hit the studio and is currently producing their first studio EP."

@clubcafelive

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