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Old Salt Union with Special Guest Nameless In August

Old Salt Union is known for playing music by their own set of rules. While the men who make up the group are not complete rebels, they are certainly focused on exposing people to a purer, more exciting, and more original form of music. Drawing influence from Bill Monroe, Sam Bush and Del McCoury, to jazz great Bill Evans and Composer Danny Elfman, it’s obvious the group has a unique and broad genetic make-up. What makes Old Salt Union special is their ability to further explore the jazz and blues roots of bluegrass in a mature and refreshing manner. With in-depth musical compositions, a catchy hook, and a high- energy metaphorical punch to the gut, they are truly front runners in the new generation of string music.

Established in 2012, Old Salt Union recorded their debut album “Western Skies” just a few months after inception. With the album independently released in March of 2013, and a tour schedule consisting of nearly 200 shows in the coming calendar year, it was clear the boys were on the move. Old Salt Union stretched from coast to coast, exposing both traditional and progressive grass fans to a new, complex, high-energy, St. Louis style string music.

Traveling consistently in 2014-15’ shined light on new inspiration and new subject matter for OSU. The long months on the road provided a new perspective on writing that showed its weary eyes on their second full length release entitled “Bridge.” Released in August of 2014, Bridge acted as both a figurative and literal path home. The album revealed Old Salt Union morphing into the band they were always meant to be. Dramatic chord progressions, thoughtful arrangements, and the constant longing of a familiar bed and a warm home resonated with people all across the nation. Winning both “Best Bluegrass Band” and “Best Country Band” in the Riverfront Times ‘Best of St. Louis’ edition, proved they were still peddling in the right direction. This year of expansion found the boys on grand stages near and far. From appearing at the Bluegrass Underground, Music City Roots, John Hartford Memorial Festival, ROMP, Stagecoach, Freshgrass, and Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Festival, to sharing the stage with Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Travelin’ McCourys, Jeff Austin Band, and Ricky Skaggs, Old Salt Union still felt they had much more to prove.

Their new EP entitled “Cut & Run” was released in March of 2016. A brief, 6-song, glimpse into the new, polished, and well-executed style of Old Salt Union. Finally finding their bearings and learning to weave the genre crossing compositions and heartache infused songwriting in a complete and wrapped package, they are ready to expose the people to what Old Salt Union was always meant to sound and feel like. With 30+ songs on the backburner, a new single produced by Alison Brown, and a full length to be recorded in the winter of 2016, the men of OSU will be touring full time until they settle down to record. The ever-evolving sound of Old Salt Union has always been based on the idea of forward progression. Individually, and as a unit, the music must continue to inspire and move them to a new destination. With the release of the new EP, they have 30+ dates on the calendar and intend on continuing to unveil their sound and energy to any and everyone who will listen. Always confident in their live performances, you certainly mustn’t miss an opportunity to see them live.

Old Salt Union is known for playing music by their own set of rules. While the men who make up the group are not complete rebels, they are certainly focused on exposing people to a purer, more exciting, and more original form of music. Drawing influence from Bill Monroe, Sam Bush and Del McCoury, to jazz great Bill Evans and Composer Danny Elfman, it’s obvious the group has a unique and broad genetic make-up. What makes Old Salt Union special is their ability to further explore the jazz and blues roots of bluegrass in a mature and refreshing manner. With in-depth musical compositions, a catchy hook, and a high- energy metaphorical punch to the gut, they are truly front runners in the new generation of string music.

Established in 2012, Old Salt Union recorded their debut album “Western Skies” just a few months after inception. With the album independently released in March of 2013, and a tour schedule consisting of nearly 200 shows in the coming calendar year, it was clear the boys were on the move. Old Salt Union stretched from coast to coast, exposing both traditional and progressive grass fans to a new, complex, high-energy, St. Louis style string music.

Traveling consistently in 2014-15’ shined light on new inspiration and new subject matter for OSU. The long months on the road provided a new perspective on writing that showed its weary eyes on their second full length release entitled “Bridge.” Released in August of 2014, Bridge acted as both a figurative and literal path home. The album revealed Old Salt Union morphing into the band they were always meant to be. Dramatic chord progressions, thoughtful arrangements, and the constant longing of a familiar bed and a warm home resonated with people all across the nation. Winning both “Best Bluegrass Band” and “Best Country Band” in the Riverfront Times ‘Best of St. Louis’ edition, proved they were still peddling in the right direction. This year of expansion found the boys on grand stages near and far. From appearing at the Bluegrass Underground, Music City Roots, John Hartford Memorial Festival, ROMP, Stagecoach, Freshgrass, and Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Festival, to sharing the stage with Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Travelin’ McCourys, Jeff Austin Band, and Ricky Skaggs, Old Salt Union still felt they had much more to prove.

Their new EP entitled “Cut & Run” was released in March of 2016. A brief, 6-song, glimpse into the new, polished, and well-executed style of Old Salt Union. Finally finding their bearings and learning to weave the genre crossing compositions and heartache infused songwriting in a complete and wrapped package, they are ready to expose the people to what Old Salt Union was always meant to sound and feel like. With 30+ songs on the backburner, a new single produced by Alison Brown, and a full length to be recorded in the winter of 2016, the men of OSU will be touring full time until they settle down to record. The ever-evolving sound of Old Salt Union has always been based on the idea of forward progression. Individually, and as a unit, the music must continue to inspire and move them to a new destination. With the release of the new EP, they have 30+ dates on the calendar and intend on continuing to unveil their sound and energy to any and everyone who will listen. Always confident in their live performances, you certainly mustn’t miss an opportunity to see them live.

Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves spins stories with a novelist's eye and a poet's heart. Twenty years into his career, the celebrated songwriter's Still Fighting the War spotlights an artist in peak form. Cleaves' seamless new collection delivers vivid snapshots as wildly cinematic as they are carefully chiseled. Dress William Faulkner with faded jeans and a worn six-string for a good idea. "Slaid's a craftsman," says Terri Hendrix, who sings harmony on "Texas Love Song." "He goes about his songs like a woodworker."

Accordingly, Cleaves' earthy narratives stand oak strong. "Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons," he sings on the album's title track. "Some you can keep at bay for a while/Some will pin you to the floor/You've been home for a couple of years now, buddy/But you're still fighting the war." Few writers frame bruised souls as clearly. Fewer still deliver a punch with such striking immediacy.

"I started ‘Still Fighting the War' four years ago and originally each verse was a separate character," Cleaves explains. "Each verse was about getting swindled. One was about the economy, one was about a returning veteran, one was about a broken-up couple. It was too cumbersome, so I focused in on the soldier. The key that made it all work came as I was talking to my friend and occasional co-writer, Ron Coy. A troubled Vietnam vet buddy of his had recently passed away. Ron said, ‘All this time, it was like he was still fighting the war.' I knew instantly that was the perfect way to summarize the song."

Cleaves delivers equal measures of hope and resignation throughout this 2013 release as life lessons slide subtly through side doors. "Normally when I start writing a new batch, a theme starts to emerge after three or four songs," says Cleaves, who built an unlikely success story from scratch after moving to Austin, Texas, from Maine two decades ago. "This time around I thought, I'm just gonna write where the muse takes me and each song will be its own thing. So I ended up with a CD that has a bit more variety on it compared to my previous releases. Half the songs are about struggle and perseverance and half are all over the place, some tongue-in-cheek stuff, a gospel song, a Texas pride song."

Witness deft wordplay on the latter: "Your wit's as sharp as a prickly pear/The sun shines in your golden hair/Your smile hits me right in the solar plexus," Cleaves sings with a wink in "Texas Love Song." "Skin as soft as early morning rain/Temper like a Gulf Coast hurricane/I love you even more than I love Texas." "Originally, the phrase was ‘I love you almost as much as I love Texas,'" Cleaves says, "because that's about as far as a true proud Texan will go. Then I realized that if I committed the sin of saying ‘I love you even more than I love Texas,' it trips off the tongue better. It was a fun little challenge to come up with so many rhymes for ‘Texas.'"


Of course, Cleaves conquered the task. Longtime fans expect nothing less. After all, Still Fighting the War follows the razor sharp songwriter's undeniable hat trick – Broke Down (2000), Wishbones (2004) and Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (2009) – that established him as a singular storyteller. His golden key: effortlessly shading dark with light. Cue Cleaves' excellent double-disc Sorrow & Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge for inarguable evidence ("Drinkin' Days," "Wishbones," "Horseshoe Lounge").

"You get a lot of the man behind the lyrics," Hendrix says. "What you see with Slaid is what you get: He doesn't have the eyes of a cynic. He has optimism about him through a realistic gaze and writes with a wise voice." The Kerrville Folk Festival recognized those intangible qualities long ago when Cleaves won its hallowed New Folk award in 1992. He's doubled down ever since with literate story songs exponentially more mature and meaningful.

Consider one other new high water mark. "But they figured it out/And shipped the elbow grease/Down to Mexico/And off to the Chinese," Cleaves sings on the haunting meditation "Rust Belt Fields." "And I learned a little something 'bout how things are/No one remembers your name just for working hard." Childhood friend Rod Picott co-wrote those potent lines - the duo has split pages on several indelible blue-collar vignettes over the years ("Broke Down," "Sinner's Prayer," "Bring It On," "Black T-shirt").

"Slaid is my favorite co-writer," says Picott, who also co-wrote the new album's standout "Welding Burns." "He's a smart writer with a gift for wringing the most out of a melody. Slaid understands that the song has to rule. He's patient and unwavering in his pursuit of the best." Cleaves humbly accepts the praise. "Despite the odds, through persistence and good fortune I've carved out a niche for myself," he says. "You could say I have a ‘Whim of Iron.'"

Slaid Cleaves spins stories with a novelist's eye and a poet's heart. Twenty years into his career, the celebrated songwriter's Still Fighting the War spotlights an artist in peak form. Cleaves' seamless new collection delivers vivid snapshots as wildly cinematic as they are carefully chiseled. Dress William Faulkner with faded jeans and a worn six-string for a good idea. "Slaid's a craftsman," says Terri Hendrix, who sings harmony on "Texas Love Song." "He goes about his songs like a woodworker."

Accordingly, Cleaves' earthy narratives stand oak strong. "Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons," he sings on the album's title track. "Some you can keep at bay for a while/Some will pin you to the floor/You've been home for a couple of years now, buddy/But you're still fighting the war." Few writers frame bruised souls as clearly. Fewer still deliver a punch with such striking immediacy.

"I started ‘Still Fighting the War' four years ago and originally each verse was a separate character," Cleaves explains. "Each verse was about getting swindled. One was about the economy, one was about a returning veteran, one was about a broken-up couple. It was too cumbersome, so I focused in on the soldier. The key that made it all work came as I was talking to my friend and occasional co-writer, Ron Coy. A troubled Vietnam vet buddy of his had recently passed away. Ron said, ‘All this time, it was like he was still fighting the war.' I knew instantly that was the perfect way to summarize the song."

Cleaves delivers equal measures of hope and resignation throughout this 2013 release as life lessons slide subtly through side doors. "Normally when I start writing a new batch, a theme starts to emerge after three or four songs," says Cleaves, who built an unlikely success story from scratch after moving to Austin, Texas, from Maine two decades ago. "This time around I thought, I'm just gonna write where the muse takes me and each song will be its own thing. So I ended up with a CD that has a bit more variety on it compared to my previous releases. Half the songs are about struggle and perseverance and half are all over the place, some tongue-in-cheek stuff, a gospel song, a Texas pride song."

Witness deft wordplay on the latter: "Your wit's as sharp as a prickly pear/The sun shines in your golden hair/Your smile hits me right in the solar plexus," Cleaves sings with a wink in "Texas Love Song." "Skin as soft as early morning rain/Temper like a Gulf Coast hurricane/I love you even more than I love Texas." "Originally, the phrase was ‘I love you almost as much as I love Texas,'" Cleaves says, "because that's about as far as a true proud Texan will go. Then I realized that if I committed the sin of saying ‘I love you even more than I love Texas,' it trips off the tongue better. It was a fun little challenge to come up with so many rhymes for ‘Texas.'"


Of course, Cleaves conquered the task. Longtime fans expect nothing less. After all, Still Fighting the War follows the razor sharp songwriter's undeniable hat trick – Broke Down (2000), Wishbones (2004) and Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (2009) – that established him as a singular storyteller. His golden key: effortlessly shading dark with light. Cue Cleaves' excellent double-disc Sorrow & Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge for inarguable evidence ("Drinkin' Days," "Wishbones," "Horseshoe Lounge").

"You get a lot of the man behind the lyrics," Hendrix says. "What you see with Slaid is what you get: He doesn't have the eyes of a cynic. He has optimism about him through a realistic gaze and writes with a wise voice." The Kerrville Folk Festival recognized those intangible qualities long ago when Cleaves won its hallowed New Folk award in 1992. He's doubled down ever since with literate story songs exponentially more mature and meaningful.

Consider one other new high water mark. "But they figured it out/And shipped the elbow grease/Down to Mexico/And off to the Chinese," Cleaves sings on the haunting meditation "Rust Belt Fields." "And I learned a little something 'bout how things are/No one remembers your name just for working hard." Childhood friend Rod Picott co-wrote those potent lines - the duo has split pages on several indelible blue-collar vignettes over the years ("Broke Down," "Sinner's Prayer," "Bring It On," "Black T-shirt").

"Slaid is my favorite co-writer," says Picott, who also co-wrote the new album's standout "Welding Burns." "He's a smart writer with a gift for wringing the most out of a melody. Slaid understands that the song has to rule. He's patient and unwavering in his pursuit of the best." Cleaves humbly accepts the praise. "Despite the odds, through persistence and good fortune I've carved out a niche for myself," he says. "You could say I have a ‘Whim of Iron.'"

Pigpen Theatre Co.

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. Their debut album, "Bremen", was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post's 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, "The Way I'm Running", in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. In 2015 PigPen released their sophomore album, "Whole Sun", performed at Mumford & Sons' return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme's "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep. They are currently writing their debut children's novel and performing Shakespeare's Pericles directed by Sir Trevor Nunn at Theatre For A New Audience in Brooklyn, NY.

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. Their debut album, "Bremen", was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post's 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, "The Way I'm Running", in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. In 2015 PigPen released their sophomore album, "Whole Sun", performed at Mumford & Sons' return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme's "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep. They are currently writing their debut children's novel and performing Shakespeare's Pericles directed by Sir Trevor Nunn at Theatre For A New Audience in Brooklyn, NY.

Pigpen Theatre Co.

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. Their debut album, "Bremen", was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post's 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, "The Way I'm Running", in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. In 2015 PigPen released their sophomore album, "Whole Sun", performed at Mumford & Sons' return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme's "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep. They are currently writing their debut children's novel and performing Shakespeare's Pericles directed by Sir Trevor Nunn at Theatre For A New Audience in Brooklyn, NY.

PigPen Theatre Co. began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. Their debut album, "Bremen", was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post's 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, "The Way I'm Running", in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. In 2015 PigPen released their sophomore album, "Whole Sun", performed at Mumford & Sons' return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme's "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep. They are currently writing their debut children's novel and performing Shakespeare's Pericles directed by Sir Trevor Nunn at Theatre For A New Audience in Brooklyn, NY.

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