club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
Kate Davis

Trophy: (tro·phy /ˈtrōfē/) noun. a cup or other decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success.

Kate Davis picked up a violin at age five, a bass at age thirteen. She entered the Portland Youth Philharmonic before puberty, the Grammy Jazz Ensemble before adolescence. By the time she graduated high school, Kate won the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Award and a full ride to the Manhattan School of Music. By the time she graduated college, ASCAP's Robert Allen Award and slots at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a young adult, the virtuoso claimed enthusiastic endorsements from NPR, MTV, PBS and BBC as well as coveted invitations to the stage from Herbie Hancock, Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, Jeff Goldblum and the like. Most recently, she co-wrote Sharon Van Etten’s hit single “Seventeen” and contributed to the soundtrack for blockbuster ‘Five Feet Apart.’

Yet, Kate Davis considers her debut indie rock album her hardest-earned accolade to date.

Kate grew up as a jazz darling, but she grew into something significantly more dynamic. Days spent practicing and performing became nights spent writing -- cathartic indie rock -- music simultaneously informed by and rebutting of her training. Forbidden chord progressions emerged like diary entries, documents of an internal reaction to routine. Time intended for technique slipped into secret listening sessions of Beach House, Elliot Smith and TV on the Radio. In the same bright, arresting croon that ignited her youthful stardom, Davis created confessionals.

Now 28 and audibly matured, Kate is prepared to properly share the artifacts from her late-night craft, a full-length reaction to ritual required of perfection, an outburst from the pedestal. Throughout twelve tumultuous tracks, she poetically reflects upon the intricacies of what it is to live, ruminating on topics too close to her heart -- identity, self-worth, loss. Trophy will be released November 8, 2019 on Solitaire Recordings.

Trophy: (tro·phy /ˈtrōfē/) noun. a cup or other decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success.

Kate Davis picked up a violin at age five, a bass at age thirteen. She entered the Portland Youth Philharmonic before puberty, the Grammy Jazz Ensemble before adolescence. By the time she graduated high school, Kate won the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Award and a full ride to the Manhattan School of Music. By the time she graduated college, ASCAP's Robert Allen Award and slots at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a young adult, the virtuoso claimed enthusiastic endorsements from NPR, MTV, PBS and BBC as well as coveted invitations to the stage from Herbie Hancock, Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, Jeff Goldblum and the like. Most recently, she co-wrote Sharon Van Etten’s hit single “Seventeen” and contributed to the soundtrack for blockbuster ‘Five Feet Apart.’

Yet, Kate Davis considers her debut indie rock album her hardest-earned accolade to date.

Kate grew up as a jazz darling, but she grew into something significantly more dynamic. Days spent practicing and performing became nights spent writing -- cathartic indie rock -- music simultaneously informed by and rebutting of her training. Forbidden chord progressions emerged like diary entries, documents of an internal reaction to routine. Time intended for technique slipped into secret listening sessions of Beach House, Elliot Smith and TV on the Radio. In the same bright, arresting croon that ignited her youthful stardom, Davis created confessionals.

Now 28 and audibly matured, Kate is prepared to properly share the artifacts from her late-night craft, a full-length reaction to ritual required of perfection, an outburst from the pedestal. Throughout twelve tumultuous tracks, she poetically reflects upon the intricacies of what it is to live, ruminating on topics too close to her heart -- identity, self-worth, loss. Trophy will be released November 8, 2019 on Solitaire Recordings.

(Late Show) Opus One Comedy Presents Joe Bartnick

Joe Bartnick was born and raised in Pittsburgh PA where he learned to eat, drink and be funny. He moved to San Francisco and began his career as a standup comic working his way up from performing in coffee shops and laundry mats to play prestigious venues around the world such as The Chicago Theater, The Ryman Auditorium, The Forum and Madison Square Garden.

Joe moved to Los Angeles and jumped into writing and acting. In LA Joe has written on many television projects including the ESPYS, The NFL on FOX, ‘Snoop After Dark’ and Eddie Griffin’s ‘Going for Broke’. As an actor Joe starred in ‘Dirty Jokes’ the Movie. Joe created and starred (fully clothed) in the Playboy TV series ‘King of Clubs’.
Joe performed a closing set on AXS-TV’s Live at Gotham. For many years Joe wrote and opened for the Queen of Mean Lisa Lampanelli. He can now be seen opening for Bill Burr or headlining on his own.

One of Joe’s biggest thrills was roasting Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee his cable show ‘Battleground Earth’. Joe wrote the best- selling book “You Might Be a Douchebag” and collaborated with Don Jamieson on “You Might Be A Metal Head”.
Joe has parlayed his love of hockey into the highly successful podcast ‘Puck Off’ and writes a column for Pro Hockey News.

Joe Bartnick was born and raised in Pittsburgh PA where he learned to eat, drink and be funny. He moved to San Francisco and began his career as a standup comic working his way up from performing in coffee shops and laundry mats to play prestigious venues around the world such as The Chicago Theater, The Ryman Auditorium, The Forum and Madison Square Garden.

Joe moved to Los Angeles and jumped into writing and acting. In LA Joe has written on many television projects including the ESPYS, The NFL on FOX, ‘Snoop After Dark’ and Eddie Griffin’s ‘Going for Broke’. As an actor Joe starred in ‘Dirty Jokes’ the Movie. Joe created and starred (fully clothed) in the Playboy TV series ‘King of Clubs’.
Joe performed a closing set on AXS-TV’s Live at Gotham. For many years Joe wrote and opened for the Queen of Mean Lisa Lampanelli. He can now be seen opening for Bill Burr or headlining on his own.

One of Joe’s biggest thrills was roasting Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee his cable show ‘Battleground Earth’. Joe wrote the best- selling book “You Might Be a Douchebag” and collaborated with Don Jamieson on “You Might Be A Metal Head”.
Joe has parlayed his love of hockey into the highly successful podcast ‘Puck Off’ and writes a column for Pro Hockey News.

(Early Show) An Evening With The Small Glories

Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s venerable West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories could almost make you believe in fate.

With a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink, and audiences feel as they are right there on the stage with the band — writing the songs, living the songs, performing the songs. It’s not uncommon for listeners to find themselves laughing, dancing, crying, or caught up in a good ol’ fashioned sing-along. “We’re folk singers, we try to write stuff that people can relate to,” says the multi-instrumentalist Edwards, whose looming stage presence and penetrating eyes find him the yin to Luft’s petite, snort-laughing yang. The material of a Small Glories concert is welcoming in terms of subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss, and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. However, a Small Glories performance is really about what happens in-between the songs. “The feedback we get from a lot of audiences is that it’s not just about the music for them,” Luft says. “It’s the whole package.”

On record, The Small Glories take the musical synergy honed from hundreds of shows together, and expand it into a new soundscape amplified by pounding drums and other textural embellishments which only reinforce the magic of Luft and Edwards’ innate chemistry — a chemistry labeled the “Lennon-McCartney syndrome,” by Americana UK, writing, “Some things just work together… to witness a performance by The Small Glories is a rare opportunity to experience that indefinable quality that creates perfection.” But don’t just take a European reviewer’s word for it — the band’s debut album, 2016’s Wondrous Traveler was also praised in Pitchfork by legendary American rock critic Greil Marcus, who wrote, “…in moments (The Small Glories) find the darkening chord change the best bluegrass — from the Stanley Brothers to Be Good Tanyas — has always hidden in the sweet slide of the rhythm, the tiny shift where the person telling the story suddenly understands it.”

It’s this yearning for understanding which finds the band often taking more time to introduce a song than it actually takes to play it. Luft, an original member of harmony sweethearts The Wailin' Jennys and whose parents were folksingers influenced by the great activist Pete Seeger, knows that sometimes a song is all you need to bring people together. But often, it is more. “(Seeger) was the king of uniting people through singing,” Luft says. “There’s so much animosity and divisiveness in our world these days… as artists, part of our job is to somehow create unity.”

The Small Glories duplicate and reinforce each others’ many strengths and yet allow their distinct personalities to shine through, resulting in a live show that is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, as finger-picking proficient as it is relatable, and as Canadian as, well… it’s very Canadian. But that hasn’t stopped them from winning over audiences from Nashville to the Australian outback. Their highly anticipated sophomore album “Assiniboine & the Red” comes out June 28 on Compass/Red House Records.

Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s venerable West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories could almost make you believe in fate.

With a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink, and audiences feel as they are right there on the stage with the band — writing the songs, living the songs, performing the songs. It’s not uncommon for listeners to find themselves laughing, dancing, crying, or caught up in a good ol’ fashioned sing-along. “We’re folk singers, we try to write stuff that people can relate to,” says the multi-instrumentalist Edwards, whose looming stage presence and penetrating eyes find him the yin to Luft’s petite, snort-laughing yang. The material of a Small Glories concert is welcoming in terms of subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss, and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. However, a Small Glories performance is really about what happens in-between the songs. “The feedback we get from a lot of audiences is that it’s not just about the music for them,” Luft says. “It’s the whole package.”

On record, The Small Glories take the musical synergy honed from hundreds of shows together, and expand it into a new soundscape amplified by pounding drums and other textural embellishments which only reinforce the magic of Luft and Edwards’ innate chemistry — a chemistry labeled the “Lennon-McCartney syndrome,” by Americana UK, writing, “Some things just work together… to witness a performance by The Small Glories is a rare opportunity to experience that indefinable quality that creates perfection.” But don’t just take a European reviewer’s word for it — the band’s debut album, 2016’s Wondrous Traveler was also praised in Pitchfork by legendary American rock critic Greil Marcus, who wrote, “…in moments (The Small Glories) find the darkening chord change the best bluegrass — from the Stanley Brothers to Be Good Tanyas — has always hidden in the sweet slide of the rhythm, the tiny shift where the person telling the story suddenly understands it.”

It’s this yearning for understanding which finds the band often taking more time to introduce a song than it actually takes to play it. Luft, an original member of harmony sweethearts The Wailin' Jennys and whose parents were folksingers influenced by the great activist Pete Seeger, knows that sometimes a song is all you need to bring people together. But often, it is more. “(Seeger) was the king of uniting people through singing,” Luft says. “There’s so much animosity and divisiveness in our world these days… as artists, part of our job is to somehow create unity.”

The Small Glories duplicate and reinforce each others’ many strengths and yet allow their distinct personalities to shine through, resulting in a live show that is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, as finger-picking proficient as it is relatable, and as Canadian as, well… it’s very Canadian. But that hasn’t stopped them from winning over audiences from Nashville to the Australian outback. Their highly anticipated sophomore album “Assiniboine & the Red” comes out June 28 on Compass/Red House Records.

An Evening With Livingston Taylor

Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of 13, which began a 50-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting, and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate, and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at the age of 18 and has continued to create well crafted, introspective, and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.

From top-40 hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman,” the last two recorded by his brother James, Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling and touching ballads to full orchestra performances.

Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, shared the stage with major artists such as Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule, touring internationally. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin or something from the best of Broadway.

Livingston is a full professor at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught a Stage Performance course since 1989. He teaches young artists invaluable lessons learned over the course of an extensive career on the road; the course is consistently voted the most popular at the College. His high-selling book, Stage Performance, released in 2011 offers those lessons to anyone who is interested in elevating their presentation standards to professional standards.

Livingston's 50th year of making music was celebrated by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, both declaring January 18, 2017 "Livingston Taylor Day".

Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of 13, which began a 50-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting, and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate, and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at the age of 18 and has continued to create well crafted, introspective, and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.

From top-40 hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman,” the last two recorded by his brother James, Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling and touching ballads to full orchestra performances.

Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, shared the stage with major artists such as Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule, touring internationally. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin or something from the best of Broadway.

Livingston is a full professor at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught a Stage Performance course since 1989. He teaches young artists invaluable lessons learned over the course of an extensive career on the road; the course is consistently voted the most popular at the College. His high-selling book, Stage Performance, released in 2011 offers those lessons to anyone who is interested in elevating their presentation standards to professional standards.

Livingston's 50th year of making music was celebrated by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, both declaring January 18, 2017 "Livingston Taylor Day".

(Early Show) Sun King Warriors

Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors sound can be best described as can be best described as a mix of American roots rock, with a strong dose of big barreling drums.

The Washington Times calls their music “One of the most eclectic and exciting bands to come out in some time...”
while Relix magazine says: “Sun King Warriors channel unabashed enthusiasm into a series of songs that are both rowdy and rejuvenating...”.

The band's music has garnered radio airplay throughout the US and Canada, and has charted on Billboard’s Americana chart multiple times. Their song Hey! Let It Be is currently being featured on AT&T Sportsnet during Pittsburgh Pirate home games.

The band plays regionally at festivals and clubs throughout PA, Ohio, NY and have opened for 10,000 Maniacs, Donovan's former band Rusted Root and many others.

Donovan brings almost three decades of experience to the Sun King Warriors. As a member of the popular Pittsburgh band Rusted Root, the drummer/percussionist helped shaped the group’s sound and toured with artists including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and the Allman Brothers.

He co-authored the band’s biggest hit, “Send Me on My Way,” which has been played 160 million times on Spotify and used as the wakeup music for NASA’s Mars rover.

Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors sound can be best described as can be best described as a mix of American roots rock, with a strong dose of big barreling drums.

The Washington Times calls their music “One of the most eclectic and exciting bands to come out in some time...”
while Relix magazine says: “Sun King Warriors channel unabashed enthusiasm into a series of songs that are both rowdy and rejuvenating...”.

The band's music has garnered radio airplay throughout the US and Canada, and has charted on Billboard’s Americana chart multiple times. Their song Hey! Let It Be is currently being featured on AT&T Sportsnet during Pittsburgh Pirate home games.

The band plays regionally at festivals and clubs throughout PA, Ohio, NY and have opened for 10,000 Maniacs, Donovan's former band Rusted Root and many others.

Donovan brings almost three decades of experience to the Sun King Warriors. As a member of the popular Pittsburgh band Rusted Root, the drummer/percussionist helped shaped the group’s sound and toured with artists including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and the Allman Brothers.

He co-authored the band’s biggest hit, “Send Me on My Way,” which has been played 160 million times on Spotify and used as the wakeup music for NASA’s Mars rover.

(Early Show) Christopher Mark Jones & The Roots Ensemble with Special Guest Guy Russo

Christopher Mark Jones & The Roots Ensemble return to Club Café for their annual visit, with lots of new lyric and groove- driven songs.

The Roots Ensemble is Christopher’s performance group in Southwestern Pennsylvania and does originals from his five albums. Christopher has busked in Paris, toured Europe and the U.S. as a songwriter, and led bands in London, Boston and Pittsburgh. Members of the Roots Ensemble include Vince Camut (electric and pedal steel guitars), Eric Kurtzrock (drums and vocals) and Jim Spears (bass).

Guy Russo (formerly half of Broken Fences) will bring his intricate guitar work, spiritual take on existence and his high lonesome voice to start the evening.

Christopher Mark Jones & The Roots Ensemble return to Club Café for their annual visit, with lots of new lyric and groove- driven songs.

The Roots Ensemble is Christopher’s performance group in Southwestern Pennsylvania and does originals from his five albums. Christopher has busked in Paris, toured Europe and the U.S. as a songwriter, and led bands in London, Boston and Pittsburgh. Members of the Roots Ensemble include Vince Camut (electric and pedal steel guitars), Eric Kurtzrock (drums and vocals) and Jim Spears (bass).

Guy Russo (formerly half of Broken Fences) will bring his intricate guitar work, spiritual take on existence and his high lonesome voice to start the evening.

Barnes Gordy Walsh Trio

In the world of bluegrass and folk, where the collaborative possibilities are endless, what draws some musicians together in formal collaborations is hard to pinpoint. For Joe K. Walsh, Grant Gordy, and Danny Barnes, a newly formed bi-coastal trio, curiosity is the rule, and tunes are just a starting point. “We approach every tune with an open attitude everyday. There’s a sort of tacit undiscussed flexibility that we all honor when we play together”, explains Walsh. For three musicians who have vibrant solo careers, as well as multifaceted musical collaborations under their belts, the trio has sparked a new level of creative inspiration, a venue to push and pull, learning and speaking with one another through improvisation. “We are in some ways three very different musical pieces, but the thing that unites us is a deep respect and affinity for anybody who is improvising,” says Walsh. The trio is anchored by banjo player and singer/songwriter Danny Barnes. Barnes is best known as the frontman of the Bad Livers, for his collaborations with Dave Matthews and Bill Frisell, and as the 2015 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. He is an innovative banjo player and songwriter originally from Texas whose solo album “Pizza Boz”, garnered him a sort of cult following, and led Sam Bush to describe him as “The Great American Un-Sung Hero”. The elder of the group, Barnes brings an element of fierce individuality to the trio, with wisdom-infused vocals and straightforward, no nonsense banjo picking.

Gordy and Walsh come from a more jazz and swing influenced background, having first bonded over their mutual obsession with learning David Grisman solos. For Walsh, hearing some of the earl Dawg records was his first impetus to learn the mandolin. However, he is now equally renowned for his bluegrass and old-time sensibilities. Growing up in Illinois and later Minnesota, Walsh first established himself on the East Coast as the co-founder of progressive bluegrass band Joy Kills Sorrow, and as a long time member of The Gibson Brothers. He went on to become a faculty member at The Berklee College of Music, and launch a solo career with his albums Sweet Loam and Borderland.
Gordy, who is originally from Colorado and now lives in Brooklyn, went from being a fan of David Grisman, to playing in his band. Having spent six years in the David Grisman Quintet, Gordy released a self titled solo album to in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, Tiny Desk Concerts, and All Things Considered as well as The Fretboard Journal, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. Darol Anger, with whom Gordy has collaborated frequently, describes his playing as containing “Kaleidoscopic excellence, startling emotion, and personal revelation”.

The three friends first crossed paths at a music camp in Grand Targhee, Wyoming, where there were each employed separately to teach and perform. But rather than sitting down to play together, they first bonded during a game of disc golf, which became a venue for philosophical musing and discussion. A desire for intellectual growth and challenge became a theme for the three, and their tours often involve car discussions on everything from French Literature to meditation. Perhaps because of this, their music feels like an infinitely extending plane. “When we play, everybody is leading with their ears, and everything is possible, it’s hugely omnivorous”, says Walsh.

In the world of bluegrass and folk, where the collaborative possibilities are endless, what draws some musicians together in formal collaborations is hard to pinpoint. For Joe K. Walsh, Grant Gordy, and Danny Barnes, a newly formed bi-coastal trio, curiosity is the rule, and tunes are just a starting point. “We approach every tune with an open attitude everyday. There’s a sort of tacit undiscussed flexibility that we all honor when we play together”, explains Walsh. For three musicians who have vibrant solo careers, as well as multifaceted musical collaborations under their belts, the trio has sparked a new level of creative inspiration, a venue to push and pull, learning and speaking with one another through improvisation. “We are in some ways three very different musical pieces, but the thing that unites us is a deep respect and affinity for anybody who is improvising,” says Walsh. The trio is anchored by banjo player and singer/songwriter Danny Barnes. Barnes is best known as the frontman of the Bad Livers, for his collaborations with Dave Matthews and Bill Frisell, and as the 2015 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. He is an innovative banjo player and songwriter originally from Texas whose solo album “Pizza Boz”, garnered him a sort of cult following, and led Sam Bush to describe him as “The Great American Un-Sung Hero”. The elder of the group, Barnes brings an element of fierce individuality to the trio, with wisdom-infused vocals and straightforward, no nonsense banjo picking.

Gordy and Walsh come from a more jazz and swing influenced background, having first bonded over their mutual obsession with learning David Grisman solos. For Walsh, hearing some of the earl Dawg records was his first impetus to learn the mandolin. However, he is now equally renowned for his bluegrass and old-time sensibilities. Growing up in Illinois and later Minnesota, Walsh first established himself on the East Coast as the co-founder of progressive bluegrass band Joy Kills Sorrow, and as a long time member of The Gibson Brothers. He went on to become a faculty member at The Berklee College of Music, and launch a solo career with his albums Sweet Loam and Borderland.
Gordy, who is originally from Colorado and now lives in Brooklyn, went from being a fan of David Grisman, to playing in his band. Having spent six years in the David Grisman Quintet, Gordy released a self titled solo album to in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, Tiny Desk Concerts, and All Things Considered as well as The Fretboard Journal, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. Darol Anger, with whom Gordy has collaborated frequently, describes his playing as containing “Kaleidoscopic excellence, startling emotion, and personal revelation”.

The three friends first crossed paths at a music camp in Grand Targhee, Wyoming, where there were each employed separately to teach and perform. But rather than sitting down to play together, they first bonded during a game of disc golf, which became a venue for philosophical musing and discussion. A desire for intellectual growth and challenge became a theme for the three, and their tours often involve car discussions on everything from French Literature to meditation. Perhaps because of this, their music feels like an infinitely extending plane. “When we play, everybody is leading with their ears, and everything is possible, it’s hugely omnivorous”, says Walsh.

Bailen with Special Guest Hailey Knox - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

BAILEN’s gorgeous harmonies, striking arrangements and evocative songwriting springs from a very deep well. Growing up in NYC, the siblings, David, Daniel (twins!) and Julia Bailen were raised by their professional orchestral musician parents, and the young trio immersed themselves in a record collection that included Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and The Band. Their amazing three-part harmonies have been compared to The Staves and Fleet Foxes, however, on their debut album, Thrilled To Be Here, BAILEN have created something all their own. Produced by GRAMMY-Award winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Manchester Orchestra, The War on Drugs), BAILEN’s shiny gleam and meticulous songcraft combine with the group’s unusual self-awareness, musicality and bite.

Named one of Sofar Sounds’ Artists to Watch in 2018, BAILEN has toured or collaborated with The Lone Bellow, Amos Lee and Joseph, among many others. Modern, melodic and soulful, BAILEN is twisting pop music in new directions, an undeniable, and welcome new arrival.

BAILEN’s gorgeous harmonies, striking arrangements and evocative songwriting springs from a very deep well. Growing up in NYC, the siblings, David, Daniel (twins!) and Julia Bailen were raised by their professional orchestral musician parents, and the young trio immersed themselves in a record collection that included Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and The Band. Their amazing three-part harmonies have been compared to The Staves and Fleet Foxes, however, on their debut album, Thrilled To Be Here, BAILEN have created something all their own. Produced by GRAMMY-Award winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Manchester Orchestra, The War on Drugs), BAILEN’s shiny gleam and meticulous songcraft combine with the group’s unusual self-awareness, musicality and bite.

Named one of Sofar Sounds’ Artists to Watch in 2018, BAILEN has toured or collaborated with The Lone Bellow, Amos Lee and Joseph, among many others. Modern, melodic and soulful, BAILEN is twisting pop music in new directions, an undeniable, and welcome new arrival.

Common Holly

Holding fast to the emotional honesty of Playing House (2017), Common Holly’s sophomore record, When I say to you Black Lightning is a look outward; an exploration of the ways in which we all experience pain, fear and self-delusion, and how we can learn to confront those feelings with boldness. A swift change of course, WISTYBL couples a submergence into the dark and dissonant with its consolation in harmony, and a dose of dry humour.

The record is more experimental than Brigitte Naggar’s debut. It is rougher, looser, louder and more atonal. It feels edgy, but still kind. WISTYBL ditches fear without losing vulnerability, and trades in sadness for the healing powers of anger, and the strength of observing, recognizing and confronting. Through its 9 labyrinthian yet catchy tracks, shaped sonically by the seriously unique visions of Devon Bate, Hamish Mitchell, and Naggar herself, the album observes the complexities of mental health, the precarity of life, and the challenges of finding strength in the face of grave misunderstanding.

On its own, When I Say to you Black Lightning is a phrase which holds authority-- it does not apologize for itself, it stands boldly where it is, and yet it also laughs at itself for daring to take up that space. The title phrase is directive—it suggests a thought without completing it, engaging you to contemplate what comes next and pointing the finger away from itself to somewhere undefined. If Playing House was about personal turmoil, WISTYBL is about humanity’s emotional challenges and how we each approach them as individuals. The former centered around one person and one heartbreak, while the latter circles different characters that Naggar has observed or interacted with—romantically or otherwise, whose stories cumulate in a whimsically entertaining tale of struggle, and the resulting emotional growth.

“This record isn’t one singular statement, it documents a period of growth. The songs were written mainly over two years and they all reflect potent moments from that time. While it’s obviously personal and based off of my own experience, I want this album to feel familiar— life gets complicated as we grow, people form relationships to each other, they lose things, they discover pain, fear, self-delusion; sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s weird, often it sucks—and we have to navigate our way through all of that.”

This narration of experience is first introduced on the orchestral opener “Central Booking,” (slang for jail), where Naggar illustrates the story of someone whose troubled past forces them to pick up and start over in Canada. Whispering the hook I’m sorry New York broke you, she coyly pairs empathy with aloofness—suggesting perhaps that for once, someone else’s concerns might not need to be hers as well—while also playing on the stereotype that Canadians can’t help themselves for apologizing wherever they go.

This playfulness is also demonstrated in “Joshua Snakes,” using sounds composed of quirky materials like bouncy balls, fidget spinners, and accidental recordings of roommates— an area where electroacoustic producer Devon Bate (Jean-Michel Blais, Jeremy Dutcher) thrives. Joshua Snakes works through the themes of restlessness, jealousy, even mild obsession, and paints a picture of the damsel in distress tied to the tracks, but this time without the need to be rescued.

“Measured” feels more sober, a tone not unfamiliar to the album. It’s what Naggar calls her “thesis statement on love + pain,” where she documents a new cynicism, the disillusionment in discovering that romance belongs to a strict formula of loving = losing = hurting = healing = loving again, in perpetuity. The track is sparse and confrontational, and despite its progression always returns to the same verse form, the same quiet moments, and the same last line: I think we’ve been measured out for pain since birth.

In a self-deprecating and painfully catchy final statement, Naggar sings Don’t leave me, I’m crazy, ok. “Crazy Ok” is voiced in the first person, but Naggar explains that the line wasn’t actually her own when she first took her inspiration from it, bringing home the idea that most of the record could be as much about her as about anyone else.
WISTBYL feels like Naggar’s conversation with herself, meticulously penned to work through challenges as they unfold. It’s cool, and more than that, it feels important. It’s about finding the seeds of strength to navigate adult life, and about the ways in which we all find ourselves in that place of struggle when life starts to show you its cards and you begin to understand, in the artist’s words, “just how real shit can get.”

Holding fast to the emotional honesty of Playing House (2017), Common Holly’s sophomore record, When I say to you Black Lightning is a look outward; an exploration of the ways in which we all experience pain, fear and self-delusion, and how we can learn to confront those feelings with boldness. A swift change of course, WISTYBL couples a submergence into the dark and dissonant with its consolation in harmony, and a dose of dry humour.

The record is more experimental than Brigitte Naggar’s debut. It is rougher, looser, louder and more atonal. It feels edgy, but still kind. WISTYBL ditches fear without losing vulnerability, and trades in sadness for the healing powers of anger, and the strength of observing, recognizing and confronting. Through its 9 labyrinthian yet catchy tracks, shaped sonically by the seriously unique visions of Devon Bate, Hamish Mitchell, and Naggar herself, the album observes the complexities of mental health, the precarity of life, and the challenges of finding strength in the face of grave misunderstanding.

On its own, When I Say to you Black Lightning is a phrase which holds authority-- it does not apologize for itself, it stands boldly where it is, and yet it also laughs at itself for daring to take up that space. The title phrase is directive—it suggests a thought without completing it, engaging you to contemplate what comes next and pointing the finger away from itself to somewhere undefined. If Playing House was about personal turmoil, WISTYBL is about humanity’s emotional challenges and how we each approach them as individuals. The former centered around one person and one heartbreak, while the latter circles different characters that Naggar has observed or interacted with—romantically or otherwise, whose stories cumulate in a whimsically entertaining tale of struggle, and the resulting emotional growth.

“This record isn’t one singular statement, it documents a period of growth. The songs were written mainly over two years and they all reflect potent moments from that time. While it’s obviously personal and based off of my own experience, I want this album to feel familiar— life gets complicated as we grow, people form relationships to each other, they lose things, they discover pain, fear, self-delusion; sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s weird, often it sucks—and we have to navigate our way through all of that.”

This narration of experience is first introduced on the orchestral opener “Central Booking,” (slang for jail), where Naggar illustrates the story of someone whose troubled past forces them to pick up and start over in Canada. Whispering the hook I’m sorry New York broke you, she coyly pairs empathy with aloofness—suggesting perhaps that for once, someone else’s concerns might not need to be hers as well—while also playing on the stereotype that Canadians can’t help themselves for apologizing wherever they go.

This playfulness is also demonstrated in “Joshua Snakes,” using sounds composed of quirky materials like bouncy balls, fidget spinners, and accidental recordings of roommates— an area where electroacoustic producer Devon Bate (Jean-Michel Blais, Jeremy Dutcher) thrives. Joshua Snakes works through the themes of restlessness, jealousy, even mild obsession, and paints a picture of the damsel in distress tied to the tracks, but this time without the need to be rescued.

“Measured” feels more sober, a tone not unfamiliar to the album. It’s what Naggar calls her “thesis statement on love + pain,” where she documents a new cynicism, the disillusionment in discovering that romance belongs to a strict formula of loving = losing = hurting = healing = loving again, in perpetuity. The track is sparse and confrontational, and despite its progression always returns to the same verse form, the same quiet moments, and the same last line: I think we’ve been measured out for pain since birth.

In a self-deprecating and painfully catchy final statement, Naggar sings Don’t leave me, I’m crazy, ok. “Crazy Ok” is voiced in the first person, but Naggar explains that the line wasn’t actually her own when she first took her inspiration from it, bringing home the idea that most of the record could be as much about her as about anyone else.
WISTBYL feels like Naggar’s conversation with herself, meticulously penned to work through challenges as they unfold. It’s cool, and more than that, it feels important. It’s about finding the seeds of strength to navigate adult life, and about the ways in which we all find ourselves in that place of struggle when life starts to show you its cards and you begin to understand, in the artist’s words, “just how real shit can get.”

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