club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
Two Birds with Nightbeast, Cynimatics and DJ Emo Face

Two Birds is an American Pop Rock band from Pittsburgh, PA formed in 2015.
Paul Menotiades: Vocals/Guitar
Dan Garrighan: Guitar/Vocals
Mikey O'Toole: Bass/Vocals
Pat Dee: Drums


Two Birds is an American Pop Rock band from Pittsburgh, PA formed in 2015.
Paul Menotiades: Vocals/Guitar
Dan Garrighan: Guitar/Vocals
Mikey O'Toole: Bass/Vocals
Pat Dee: Drums


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.

(Early Show) Jonathan Byrd & the Pickup Cowboy with Special Guest Dan Getkin

Jonathan Byrd is a preacher's son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd "one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years."

Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. On stage and after hours, he jammed with members of Bon Jovi and the legendary Steve Cropper. At the age of 24, Waken left music to pursue primitive skills and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000 with an eleven-pound pack. Returning to music years later Johnny joined theatre troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention, contributing to scores for nine shows and winning 4 Indy Awards for best original music.

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboy are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. Between heartbreaking ballads and hell-raising sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show.

Jonathan Byrd is a preacher's son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd "one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years."

Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. On stage and after hours, he jammed with members of Bon Jovi and the legendary Steve Cropper. At the age of 24, Waken left music to pursue primitive skills and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000 with an eleven-pound pack. Returning to music years later Johnny joined theatre troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention, contributing to scores for nine shows and winning 4 Indy Awards for best original music.

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboy are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. Between heartbreaking ballads and hell-raising sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show.

(Late Show) Action Camp (CD Release Show) with Silence and Hearken

After spending 10 years touring and performing heavily as a duo, Action Camp's Maura Jacob and Bengt Alexsander
dramatically shift the band's core with the addition of seasoned multi-instrumentalist Joe T (Park Plan, St. Dude) on drums. This EP marks his first official output under the Action Camp banner and a notable shift for the trio toward a minimal post punk sound at the root of their "doom and harmony" approach.

After spending 10 years touring and performing heavily as a duo, Action Camp's Maura Jacob and Bengt Alexsander
dramatically shift the band's core with the addition of seasoned multi-instrumentalist Joe T (Park Plan, St. Dude) on drums. This EP marks his first official output under the Action Camp banner and a notable shift for the trio toward a minimal post punk sound at the root of their "doom and harmony" approach.

The Tillers with Special Guest The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers

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.

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.

Whiskerman with Special Guests The Me Toos and Cape Cod

"Whether entranced in a ballad or clawing out some frenzied rock and roll, Whiskerman is seeking the heart of the matter. Lush instrumentation combined with front man Graham Patzner's profound lyricism and unflinching delivery culminate in a sound that is soulful, mythical, and raw. Patzner’s voice, both smokey and soaring, leads a passionate live show as the band’s classic rock sound seamlessly cascades through realms of bluesy devotion, psychedelic melancholy, and twangy celebration. Whiskerman's shows tend to set spells, either sweeping the audience up in revelation, or dropping them into knee-slapping frenzy. Joining Patzner (vocals, guitar, violin and piano), is Will Lawrence (bass and mandolin), and Charles Lloyd (guitar and sitar), Dan Schwartz (drums), and Trevor Bahnson (guitar).
"When they're revved up, Whiskerman sounds like a gospel and soul band that can make you feel like raising your hands in the air in praise of its talent. In their quieter songs, there's a storytelling vibe with intricate melodies." (SF Chronicle)
Their latest release is Champions, a sprawling double-album masterpiece that takes the listener on a hero’s journey through barroom rock n’ roll, blue eyed soul, pastoral folk, workingman’s blues, and rainy day ragas.
“On Champions Whiskerman present ecstatic psychedelia, sturdily constructed pop-rock, pick-and-grin folk all together as a single picture.” (Flood Magazine)"

"Whether entranced in a ballad or clawing out some frenzied rock and roll, Whiskerman is seeking the heart of the matter. Lush instrumentation combined with front man Graham Patzner's profound lyricism and unflinching delivery culminate in a sound that is soulful, mythical, and raw. Patzner’s voice, both smokey and soaring, leads a passionate live show as the band’s classic rock sound seamlessly cascades through realms of bluesy devotion, psychedelic melancholy, and twangy celebration. Whiskerman's shows tend to set spells, either sweeping the audience up in revelation, or dropping them into knee-slapping frenzy. Joining Patzner (vocals, guitar, violin and piano), is Will Lawrence (bass and mandolin), and Charles Lloyd (guitar and sitar), Dan Schwartz (drums), and Trevor Bahnson (guitar).
"When they're revved up, Whiskerman sounds like a gospel and soul band that can make you feel like raising your hands in the air in praise of its talent. In their quieter songs, there's a storytelling vibe with intricate melodies." (SF Chronicle)
Their latest release is Champions, a sprawling double-album masterpiece that takes the listener on a hero’s journey through barroom rock n’ roll, blue eyed soul, pastoral folk, workingman’s blues, and rainy day ragas.
“On Champions Whiskerman present ecstatic psychedelia, sturdily constructed pop-rock, pick-and-grin folk all together as a single picture.” (Flood Magazine)"

Pasadena with Special Guests Derek Woodz Band and Johnny Wall

Imagine the feeling you get the moment you put on your favorite band and all your problems seem to drift away. That feeling is spreading across the U.S. thanks to Pasadena.
Formed in 2000 by lead singer Joey Harkum in his hometown of Pasadena, Maryland, the band’s popularity has grown as they have gone from playing in small bars in Pasadena to signing with management from One Koast Entertainament and performing for sold out crowds all over the U.S.
Over the past few years Pasadena has provided smooth bass lines, emotional lyrics, intricate rhythms, and beautiful harmonies that have helped create an unbreakable bond with their fans.
Pasadena believes in freedom of expression and by composing and performing their original music they liberate themselves from any struggle or conflicts they may face. Thanks to the heart and soul poured into each and every song, Pasadena’s music has inspired an ever-growing fan base.
You can anticipate great things from Pasadena in the future, and don’t be surprised when you hear their influential music in your town soon.

Pasadena is a singer/songwriter driven rock, reggae and ska band.
They have toured nationally for the last three years including over
700 shows in that time period in 37 states. over the last two years
Pasadena has 15 showcases in Austin during music week. In the last year Pasadena has performed on Rombello 2 with Michael Franti, G-Love, Donovan Frankereiter, Rebelution and many more. The band has opened for other notable national acts such as Cake, Citizen Cope, Sublime w/ Rome, Floggin Mollys, Clutch, Pennywise, Julian Marley, The Supervillians, The Expendables, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and many more great acts. In 2014 they had the pleasure to tour with some of their personal idols Flogging Molly and the Mighty Stef.

Imagine the feeling you get the moment you put on your favorite band and all your problems seem to drift away. That feeling is spreading across the U.S. thanks to Pasadena.
Formed in 2000 by lead singer Joey Harkum in his hometown of Pasadena, Maryland, the band’s popularity has grown as they have gone from playing in small bars in Pasadena to signing with management from One Koast Entertainament and performing for sold out crowds all over the U.S.
Over the past few years Pasadena has provided smooth bass lines, emotional lyrics, intricate rhythms, and beautiful harmonies that have helped create an unbreakable bond with their fans.
Pasadena believes in freedom of expression and by composing and performing their original music they liberate themselves from any struggle or conflicts they may face. Thanks to the heart and soul poured into each and every song, Pasadena’s music has inspired an ever-growing fan base.
You can anticipate great things from Pasadena in the future, and don’t be surprised when you hear their influential music in your town soon.

Pasadena is a singer/songwriter driven rock, reggae and ska band.
They have toured nationally for the last three years including over
700 shows in that time period in 37 states. over the last two years
Pasadena has 15 showcases in Austin during music week. In the last year Pasadena has performed on Rombello 2 with Michael Franti, G-Love, Donovan Frankereiter, Rebelution and many more. The band has opened for other notable national acts such as Cake, Citizen Cope, Sublime w/ Rome, Floggin Mollys, Clutch, Pennywise, Julian Marley, The Supervillians, The Expendables, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and many more great acts. In 2014 they had the pleasure to tour with some of their personal idols Flogging Molly and the Mighty Stef.

Nathan Angelo / Matt Simons

Nathan Angelo
In the ever-changing landscape of modern pop, Nathan Angelo shines as a refreshing alternative, embracing the classic elements of popular music and celebrating the backbeat of American tradition. As the revival of music in the 60's and 70's brought together the heritage of the Great American songbook, the flair of jazz and heartache of the Delta blues, Angelo integrates these forms into his own music with great ease and delight. For the past decade, Angelo has captivated audiences across the country with his high-spirited live show and captured the imagination of a loyal following through prolific songwriting, independently selling over 40,000 albums along the way.

Angelo's latest full-length album A Matter of Time (Aug 2017) reflects his journey through the life-altering experiences of becoming a father and facing his daughter’s rare, life-threatening metabolic disease. His daughter received a liver transplant in Fall 2016, and Angelo’s latest release A Matter of Time wrestles with the aches of adversity and ultimately celebrates the beauty of life and the hope he has for his daughter. A Matter of Time embraces the soul, classic r&b and piano-pop of some of Angelo’s more prominent influences -- Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Elton John -- while fearlessly venturing into new sonic territory to compete with pop contemporaries like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. Alongside his finest songwriting to date, Angelo’s voice resounds as an irrefutable force as he carries listeners to new places unfamiliar to the likes of modern pop music.

Matt Simons
Even though he grew up in Palo Alto, California, the technological center of the universe, singer songwriter Matt Simons isn't necessarily a tech expert. Still, it's somewhat ironic that a slew of Internet ads he posted on Facebook when he was promoting his first album, Pieces, is what led to his biggest success so far.

"I'd just made a record, and as an independent artist, I had no idea how to market it," he said. "So, I turned to the Internet and it ended up working really well overseas." Soon, the 27 year-old musician had a small, dedicated fan base, in of all places, The Netherlands, where he traveled and played a few small shows.

In the audience at one of those shows was a writer for one of the biggest shows on Dutch television, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden. She heard him sing an impassioned version of his song, "With You."

It was then that he learned what the words, "overnight sensation," truly meant. Though he's been studying classical and jazz since his childhood-taking the requisite piano lessons before switching to the saxophone ("the saxophone is just cooler," he cracked), and he'd been gigging in his now hometown of New York to small crowds, he found himself something of a minor celebrity in the Netherlands.

"They don't have to ask your permission to use your song. I didn't even know it was happening," he said. "I just woke up one day and it was a top 10 song in the iTunes charts."

In a flash, Simons went from obscurity to "famous in Europe."

"It's almost like the "I'm big in Europe" cliche," he said. "It's the classic line," he said. "Who would have thought? It's a fun story to tell."

He went from being an independent artist to an artist with major label muscle behind him, Sony Music, who picked him up on the strength of "With You." He appeared as a guest judge on the Dutch version of the X-Factor. His song was a top seller on iTunes, finishing 29th on the top selling songs of 2013 in the Netherlands. "It out-sold The Lumineers' ‘Ho Hey’; it beat Katy Perry’s ‘Roar,’" he said.

The result is a weird dual existence, one where he sells out 1000-seat venues overseas but comes home to New York "and play crowded bars for people" who have no idea who he is, gigging several days a week in New York, playing in cover bands, and performing his own solo music to small audiences.

With his next album 'Catch and Release' out Fall 2014, he hopes to change that. He wrote the bulk of it in three weeks with co-writers in LA and worked with six different producers in Nashville, L.A and The Netherlands."It was this crazy period of creativity after about a year and a half of writer's block."

Music is in Simons’ blood-his grandparents were both opera singers in Los Angeles, and he spent his life studying jazz and classical, learning to play on piano, switching to clarinet, guitar, and saxophone, eventually settling back on piano. When his peers were listening to rock and roll, he was listening to jazz. In the current pop landscape when so many stars don't write their own music, Simons’ extensive musical background gives him a leg up. "I think you take the tools that you have acquired and try to make something meaningful out of it - that's always been my philosophy," he said. "The greater goal is just trying to be able to express yourself."

His style recalls the classic song structures of his musical heroes, the Beatles, with hooked-filled harmonies, and plaintive lyrics that evoke a sort of insightful melancholy. "We can tell each other secrets, and remember how to love," he sings on the title track, "Catch and Release."

"I try to be autobiographical, but not necessarily so it's super-obvious. I like to just draw on common themes that everyone relates to in their daily lives-feelings of unrest, feelings of movement - of new beginnings, wanting to start over," he said.

Then, perhaps, Americans will know what the Dutch have already known about Matt Simons: that he makes beautiful, sometimes sad songs.

"My favorite kind of songs to listen to are the ones that, the lyrics might sound depressing, but at the end of the day, there's some truth in it, and that makes you feel good."

Nathan Angelo
In the ever-changing landscape of modern pop, Nathan Angelo shines as a refreshing alternative, embracing the classic elements of popular music and celebrating the backbeat of American tradition. As the revival of music in the 60's and 70's brought together the heritage of the Great American songbook, the flair of jazz and heartache of the Delta blues, Angelo integrates these forms into his own music with great ease and delight. For the past decade, Angelo has captivated audiences across the country with his high-spirited live show and captured the imagination of a loyal following through prolific songwriting, independently selling over 40,000 albums along the way.

Angelo's latest full-length album A Matter of Time (Aug 2017) reflects his journey through the life-altering experiences of becoming a father and facing his daughter’s rare, life-threatening metabolic disease. His daughter received a liver transplant in Fall 2016, and Angelo’s latest release A Matter of Time wrestles with the aches of adversity and ultimately celebrates the beauty of life and the hope he has for his daughter. A Matter of Time embraces the soul, classic r&b and piano-pop of some of Angelo’s more prominent influences -- Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Elton John -- while fearlessly venturing into new sonic territory to compete with pop contemporaries like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. Alongside his finest songwriting to date, Angelo’s voice resounds as an irrefutable force as he carries listeners to new places unfamiliar to the likes of modern pop music.

Matt Simons
Even though he grew up in Palo Alto, California, the technological center of the universe, singer songwriter Matt Simons isn't necessarily a tech expert. Still, it's somewhat ironic that a slew of Internet ads he posted on Facebook when he was promoting his first album, Pieces, is what led to his biggest success so far.

"I'd just made a record, and as an independent artist, I had no idea how to market it," he said. "So, I turned to the Internet and it ended up working really well overseas." Soon, the 27 year-old musician had a small, dedicated fan base, in of all places, The Netherlands, where he traveled and played a few small shows.

In the audience at one of those shows was a writer for one of the biggest shows on Dutch television, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden. She heard him sing an impassioned version of his song, "With You."

It was then that he learned what the words, "overnight sensation," truly meant. Though he's been studying classical and jazz since his childhood-taking the requisite piano lessons before switching to the saxophone ("the saxophone is just cooler," he cracked), and he'd been gigging in his now hometown of New York to small crowds, he found himself something of a minor celebrity in the Netherlands.

"They don't have to ask your permission to use your song. I didn't even know it was happening," he said. "I just woke up one day and it was a top 10 song in the iTunes charts."

In a flash, Simons went from obscurity to "famous in Europe."

"It's almost like the "I'm big in Europe" cliche," he said. "It's the classic line," he said. "Who would have thought? It's a fun story to tell."

He went from being an independent artist to an artist with major label muscle behind him, Sony Music, who picked him up on the strength of "With You." He appeared as a guest judge on the Dutch version of the X-Factor. His song was a top seller on iTunes, finishing 29th on the top selling songs of 2013 in the Netherlands. "It out-sold The Lumineers' ‘Ho Hey’; it beat Katy Perry’s ‘Roar,’" he said.

The result is a weird dual existence, one where he sells out 1000-seat venues overseas but comes home to New York "and play crowded bars for people" who have no idea who he is, gigging several days a week in New York, playing in cover bands, and performing his own solo music to small audiences.

With his next album 'Catch and Release' out Fall 2014, he hopes to change that. He wrote the bulk of it in three weeks with co-writers in LA and worked with six different producers in Nashville, L.A and The Netherlands."It was this crazy period of creativity after about a year and a half of writer's block."

Music is in Simons’ blood-his grandparents were both opera singers in Los Angeles, and he spent his life studying jazz and classical, learning to play on piano, switching to clarinet, guitar, and saxophone, eventually settling back on piano. When his peers were listening to rock and roll, he was listening to jazz. In the current pop landscape when so many stars don't write their own music, Simons’ extensive musical background gives him a leg up. "I think you take the tools that you have acquired and try to make something meaningful out of it - that's always been my philosophy," he said. "The greater goal is just trying to be able to express yourself."

His style recalls the classic song structures of his musical heroes, the Beatles, with hooked-filled harmonies, and plaintive lyrics that evoke a sort of insightful melancholy. "We can tell each other secrets, and remember how to love," he sings on the title track, "Catch and Release."

"I try to be autobiographical, but not necessarily so it's super-obvious. I like to just draw on common themes that everyone relates to in their daily lives-feelings of unrest, feelings of movement - of new beginnings, wanting to start over," he said.

Then, perhaps, Americans will know what the Dutch have already known about Matt Simons: that he makes beautiful, sometimes sad songs.

"My favorite kind of songs to listen to are the ones that, the lyrics might sound depressing, but at the end of the day, there's some truth in it, and that makes you feel good."

Beauty Slap with Friends At The Falls and Northern Whale

Beauty Slap with Special Guests Friends at the Falls and Northern Whale. Tickets only $10.

Beauty Slap with Special Guests Friends at the Falls and Northern Whale. Tickets only $10.

(Early Show) An Evening With Jennifer Knapp

Jennifer Knapp has experienced enough chaos and turmoil in her life that she could write about it on every album. Instead, she made Love Comes Back Around, a collection of songs that focus on what really matters.

Produced by Viktor Krauss, Knapp's latest features 10 compelling new tunes exploring love - but not the easy kind. These are love songs for grown-ups who have come a few miles. "It's not just sex, it's not just physical relationships," Knapp says. "It's hard work. It's loss, it's forgiveness, it's a lot of things wrapped up in one."

Love Comes Back Around pairs her fearless songwriting and strong, expressive voice with rootsy arrangements: there's growling guitar and a snakey beat on opener "Straight Road," subtle horns layered into the background on "Perfect Pardon" and the mournful interplay of piano and acoustic guitar on "Roll Over Me." Knapp's vocals are the centerpiece of the title track, which she says is "a look at the mundane things in our lives, between who makes the bed and who doesn't, and what

makes you miss your partner when she's gone." In other words, the real stuff.

Knapp knows plenty about that. Love Comes Back Around is her sixth album in a music career with two distinct sections. After releasing three contemporary Christian albums in the late '90s and early 2000s, she took a long break from music and moved to Australia before resuming her career in 2009. The following year, she came out as gay and released Letting Go, her first mainstream album. Set Me Free followed in 2014, in conjunction with a memoir, Facing the Music: My Story on Howard Books/Simon & Schuster.

"At this point in my life, I've been in a relationship for well over a decade, I've had a public controversy and had to weather the storm over my sexual orientation in public, I've had to deal with what my faith does or doesn't mean to my music," Knapp says. After all that, she was ready to focus on something else. "I started thinking about a universal approach to what love is, and not just the sappy part."

Knapp's return to music included moving back to Nashville, where she was based earlier in her career. "I've experienced Nashville in two ways," she says. "At the heart of my stardom, so to speak, when things were really busy and I toured a lot, the irony was that even though I made my home here and worked professionally here, I wasn't home enough to enjoy the camaraderie."

This time around, she's home enough to have become part of a creative community. That's how she connected with Krauss: friends of Knapp's who knew the producer's work recommended him. After Knapp listened, she invited Krauss out for ice cream and asked him to work with her on Love Comes Back Around.

"If you don't deliver music that creates the emotional space to dive into the lyrics, a lot of the subtlety is lost, and Viktor really understands that," Knapp says. "He's seen everything and played with everybody and has all these phone numbers, but he's actually really humble and sincere, and that allows an artist like me to have confidence in my own work."

When she's not occupied with music, or doing advocacy work on behalf of LGBTQ people of faith through her Inside Out Faith organization, Knapp is working on a master's degree in theological studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School. It's not what she thought she'd be doing now when she was a young singer first starting out, but life has a way of carving its own unexpected path - and so does love.

"There's something beautiful in all of that," Knapp says. "That's why we call it love. And if it weren't hard sometimes, we wouldn't appreciate the beauty. And if it weren't beautiful, we wouldn't be willing to keep going through the hard parts."

Jennifer Knapp has experienced enough chaos and turmoil in her life that she could write about it on every album. Instead, she made Love Comes Back Around, a collection of songs that focus on what really matters.

Produced by Viktor Krauss, Knapp's latest features 10 compelling new tunes exploring love - but not the easy kind. These are love songs for grown-ups who have come a few miles. "It's not just sex, it's not just physical relationships," Knapp says. "It's hard work. It's loss, it's forgiveness, it's a lot of things wrapped up in one."

Love Comes Back Around pairs her fearless songwriting and strong, expressive voice with rootsy arrangements: there's growling guitar and a snakey beat on opener "Straight Road," subtle horns layered into the background on "Perfect Pardon" and the mournful interplay of piano and acoustic guitar on "Roll Over Me." Knapp's vocals are the centerpiece of the title track, which she says is "a look at the mundane things in our lives, between who makes the bed and who doesn't, and what

makes you miss your partner when she's gone." In other words, the real stuff.

Knapp knows plenty about that. Love Comes Back Around is her sixth album in a music career with two distinct sections. After releasing three contemporary Christian albums in the late '90s and early 2000s, she took a long break from music and moved to Australia before resuming her career in 2009. The following year, she came out as gay and released Letting Go, her first mainstream album. Set Me Free followed in 2014, in conjunction with a memoir, Facing the Music: My Story on Howard Books/Simon & Schuster.

"At this point in my life, I've been in a relationship for well over a decade, I've had a public controversy and had to weather the storm over my sexual orientation in public, I've had to deal with what my faith does or doesn't mean to my music," Knapp says. After all that, she was ready to focus on something else. "I started thinking about a universal approach to what love is, and not just the sappy part."

Knapp's return to music included moving back to Nashville, where she was based earlier in her career. "I've experienced Nashville in two ways," she says. "At the heart of my stardom, so to speak, when things were really busy and I toured a lot, the irony was that even though I made my home here and worked professionally here, I wasn't home enough to enjoy the camaraderie."

This time around, she's home enough to have become part of a creative community. That's how she connected with Krauss: friends of Knapp's who knew the producer's work recommended him. After Knapp listened, she invited Krauss out for ice cream and asked him to work with her on Love Comes Back Around.

"If you don't deliver music that creates the emotional space to dive into the lyrics, a lot of the subtlety is lost, and Viktor really understands that," Knapp says. "He's seen everything and played with everybody and has all these phone numbers, but he's actually really humble and sincere, and that allows an artist like me to have confidence in my own work."

When she's not occupied with music, or doing advocacy work on behalf of LGBTQ people of faith through her Inside Out Faith organization, Knapp is working on a master's degree in theological studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School. It's not what she thought she'd be doing now when she was a young singer first starting out, but life has a way of carving its own unexpected path - and so does love.

"There's something beautiful in all of that," Knapp says. "That's why we call it love. And if it weren't hard sometimes, we wouldn't appreciate the beauty. And if it weren't beautiful, we wouldn't be willing to keep going through the hard parts."

(Late Show) Jakethehawk / God Hates Unicorns / Skye Light

Jakethehawk / God Hates Unicorns / Skye Light.
Tickets $7

Jakethehawk / God Hates Unicorns / Skye Light.
Tickets $7

An Evening With Mary Fahl - Former Lead Singer of October Project

"Sounding like no other singer of her generation" (Allmusic.com), Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC-based chamber-pop group OCTOBER PROJECT. The hallmark of their sound was Mary Fahl's awe-inspiring power vocals over gorgeous melodies played with passion and sophistication. As a solo artist, Mary has released several compelling albums, including the fantastic re-working of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" for V2 Records; her wonderful, original studio album "The Other Side of Time" on Sony Odyssey; and her acclaimed album "Love and Gravity". She has also written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song ("Going Home") for the Civil War epic Gods and Generals. Now Mary returns with her album "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House", a collection of twenty-three tracks recorded live at one of America's oldest vaudeville theaters and winner of the Indie Acoustic Award for multi-genre "Album of the Year". The show was filmed for PBS and is currently airing around the country. Fahl's elegant, cinematic songs draw on classical and world music sources, American art song, as well as thinking man's folk-pop which she performs with an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that Boston Globe critic Steve Morse calls "a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms". Her upcoming performance will include "Exiles", a song written for Anne Rice's new audiobook "The Wolves of Midwinter", a stunning cover of the Joni Mitchell classic "Both Sides Now", and many October Project favorites.


"Sounding like no other singer of her generation" (Allmusic.com), Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC-based chamber-pop group OCTOBER PROJECT. The hallmark of their sound was Mary Fahl's awe-inspiring power vocals over gorgeous melodies played with passion and sophistication. As a solo artist, Mary has released several compelling albums, including the fantastic re-working of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" for V2 Records; her wonderful, original studio album "The Other Side of Time" on Sony Odyssey; and her acclaimed album "Love and Gravity". She has also written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song ("Going Home") for the Civil War epic Gods and Generals. Now Mary returns with her album "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House", a collection of twenty-three tracks recorded live at one of America's oldest vaudeville theaters and winner of the Indie Acoustic Award for multi-genre "Album of the Year". The show was filmed for PBS and is currently airing around the country. Fahl's elegant, cinematic songs draw on classical and world music sources, American art song, as well as thinking man's folk-pop which she performs with an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that Boston Globe critic Steve Morse calls "a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms". Her upcoming performance will include "Exiles", a song written for Anne Rice's new audiobook "The Wolves of Midwinter", a stunning cover of the Joni Mitchell classic "Both Sides Now", and many October Project favorites.


An Evening With Janiva Magness

I've managed to make a career doing what I damn well please, musically," she says.

It should go without saying. Anyone who has ever heard Magness sing — live or on any the baker's dozen of releases she has put out since coming on the scene 26 years ago — can immediately divine that this is a strong, resilient, commanding woman in masterful control of her voice and her destiny if not always her heart. In the space between the notes you can hear a performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone's measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation, only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the Blues Music Awards' coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award.

That defiant attitude drives Blue Again, Magness' new record being released on Blue Élan/Fathead Records on May 12. A succinct artistic statement, Blue Again collects Magness' interpretations of a half dozen classics from the blues canon and beyond, including numbers made famous by Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Etta James, and Nina Simone.

"The whole record is about getting back to my taproot," says Magness. "The process was just digging through a large pile of some of my favorite material, my favorite classic blues songs, to come up with these, my absolute favorites."

A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father's blues and country record collection.

Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush. She started down the path of a music career, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona.

Since then Magness' life has not been without its downs, including the deaths of many close to her and the dissolution of a long term marriage. But she has persevered. Recently remarried to English bluesman T.J. Norton, she has continued her steady progression up the career ladder.

Blue Again comes hot on the heels of Magness' 2016 album Love Wins Again, which became the biggest commercial and critical success of her career. The record, Magness' Blue Élan debut, reached the top of the blues radio charts and remained in the Top 10 for seven months and also crossed over into the Americana chart. Love Wins Again also earned the singer her first Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year. The record's success was made all the sweeter because it marked the continuing flowering of Magness as a songwriter.

Having hit a new career high, Magness felt it was important to connect where she was going as an artist to where she has been.

"There's definitely been an evolution, an arc over the course of time of the kinds of songs that I've elected to do and the kinds of songs I now write," she says. "I wanted to bring that arc full circle. I wanted to make a record of what and where I come from. It was important to me emotionally and spiritually."

To help her make this spiritual journey, Magness turned once more to Dave Darling, the producer of six Grammy nominated albums. With Blue Again, Darling has now produced six records for Magness and also serves as her chief songwriting partner.

"I just love working with that guy," says Magness. "We've been friends for a very, very long time, and I really trust implicitly. I trust his creative sense. I trust his musicality. He's incredibly talented. Nobody's been the boss of me for a long time, but I do trust him and I'm willing to let him lead me and I find that very critical to the relationship between a producer and an artist."

Trust also played a part in the tracking of the record at Burbank, California's Clear Lake Recording, with Magness and Darling employing Magness' longtime road band, including drummer Matt Tecu, bassist Gary "Scruff" Davenport, guitarists Zach Zunis and Garrett Deloian. They are joined by Arlan Schierbaum on Hammond B3, guest artists Kid Ramos, Sugaray Rayford, and Magness' husband, English bluesman and singer-songwriter T.J. Norton.

The title track, a rip-roaring floor filler best associated with Bo Diddley, kicks off Blue Again, with Ramos, an associate of Magness' since she provided guest vocals on his 1999 self-titled sophomore album, providing the down-and-dirty guitar.

"It's very raw. It's very animal," says Magness of the track. "And I really dig that."

It's followed by Al Cooper's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," a devastating, slow burner made famous by the great soul balladeer Donny Hathaway. It's a song Magness says gets to the heart of the blues' enduring appeal.

"I hear it as a tale of one love speaking to another about their level of commitment and passion," she says. "If a song is really well crafted, it's going to be a snapshot and it's going to speak to basic human truth. I have always found that to be the case with the blues: It speaks to basic human truth, which is why it's still here as a genre."

On the record's third track, Magness faces the daunting task of living up to one of every blues singer's idols, Etta James. A duet with Harvey Fuqua, "If I Can't Have You" is one of the Chess Records great's best known songs and likely the most recognizable on Blue Again. For her rendition, Magness recruits as her foil fast-rising blues singer Rayford, whom she first met when she was a judge and he was an unknown contestant at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.

"If you don't know him, you're about to," Magness says of Rayford, who is nominated for two awards, including male contemporary blues artist and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at this year's Blues Music Awards. "He's coming up real fast and strong in the ranks. I'm so grateful he was able to do the session because his voice was perfect."

Up next is "Tired of Walking," a tribute to one of Magness' favorite singers, Joe Hinton, a contemporary of B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland who died tragically young.

"I think his work needs more recognition," Magness says. "My version is an ode to him and an acknowledgement of the idea we've all had that you've worked a really, really, really long time really, really hard and you're a little bit tired and you'd like to have a ride."

Credited to her husband/manager Andy Stroud, Nina Simone's "Buck" is the most unconventional choice on Blue Again. Magness says she included it because it is "straight up sexy," reflecting the tempestuous relationship of the two people behind it.

"I have loved that song forever, and I love Nina Simone," says Magness of the song, which features harmonica by Norton. "She didn't have any damn left to give. That woman was fearless. She was a very strong woman at a time when it wasn't popular to be a strong woman. I don't know when it was ever popular to be a strong woman, frankly, but it certainly wasn't back then."

The record is rounded out with Magness' version of the oft-covered "Pack It Up," a song she best knows from Freddie King. Her take features a distinctive acoustic guitar riff that gives the track an unexpected country flavor.

Despite this record's looping back around to her beginnings, Magness says Blue Again should not be seen as a coda. She still has a lot more songs to sing and write, and she is finding all new audiences for her music, including her recent first trip to India where she sang for 5,000 fans despite never been there before.

"There's a lot more to this story," she says. "And if you're interested in the book, I hope to go to publishing this year."

I've managed to make a career doing what I damn well please, musically," she says.

It should go without saying. Anyone who has ever heard Magness sing — live or on any the baker's dozen of releases she has put out since coming on the scene 26 years ago — can immediately divine that this is a strong, resilient, commanding woman in masterful control of her voice and her destiny if not always her heart. In the space between the notes you can hear a performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone's measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation, only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the Blues Music Awards' coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award.

That defiant attitude drives Blue Again, Magness' new record being released on Blue Élan/Fathead Records on May 12. A succinct artistic statement, Blue Again collects Magness' interpretations of a half dozen classics from the blues canon and beyond, including numbers made famous by Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Etta James, and Nina Simone.

"The whole record is about getting back to my taproot," says Magness. "The process was just digging through a large pile of some of my favorite material, my favorite classic blues songs, to come up with these, my absolute favorites."

A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father's blues and country record collection.

Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush. She started down the path of a music career, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona.

Since then Magness' life has not been without its downs, including the deaths of many close to her and the dissolution of a long term marriage. But she has persevered. Recently remarried to English bluesman T.J. Norton, she has continued her steady progression up the career ladder.

Blue Again comes hot on the heels of Magness' 2016 album Love Wins Again, which became the biggest commercial and critical success of her career. The record, Magness' Blue Élan debut, reached the top of the blues radio charts and remained in the Top 10 for seven months and also crossed over into the Americana chart. Love Wins Again also earned the singer her first Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year. The record's success was made all the sweeter because it marked the continuing flowering of Magness as a songwriter.

Having hit a new career high, Magness felt it was important to connect where she was going as an artist to where she has been.

"There's definitely been an evolution, an arc over the course of time of the kinds of songs that I've elected to do and the kinds of songs I now write," she says. "I wanted to bring that arc full circle. I wanted to make a record of what and where I come from. It was important to me emotionally and spiritually."

To help her make this spiritual journey, Magness turned once more to Dave Darling, the producer of six Grammy nominated albums. With Blue Again, Darling has now produced six records for Magness and also serves as her chief songwriting partner.

"I just love working with that guy," says Magness. "We've been friends for a very, very long time, and I really trust implicitly. I trust his creative sense. I trust his musicality. He's incredibly talented. Nobody's been the boss of me for a long time, but I do trust him and I'm willing to let him lead me and I find that very critical to the relationship between a producer and an artist."

Trust also played a part in the tracking of the record at Burbank, California's Clear Lake Recording, with Magness and Darling employing Magness' longtime road band, including drummer Matt Tecu, bassist Gary "Scruff" Davenport, guitarists Zach Zunis and Garrett Deloian. They are joined by Arlan Schierbaum on Hammond B3, guest artists Kid Ramos, Sugaray Rayford, and Magness' husband, English bluesman and singer-songwriter T.J. Norton.

The title track, a rip-roaring floor filler best associated with Bo Diddley, kicks off Blue Again, with Ramos, an associate of Magness' since she provided guest vocals on his 1999 self-titled sophomore album, providing the down-and-dirty guitar.

"It's very raw. It's very animal," says Magness of the track. "And I really dig that."

It's followed by Al Cooper's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," a devastating, slow burner made famous by the great soul balladeer Donny Hathaway. It's a song Magness says gets to the heart of the blues' enduring appeal.

"I hear it as a tale of one love speaking to another about their level of commitment and passion," she says. "If a song is really well crafted, it's going to be a snapshot and it's going to speak to basic human truth. I have always found that to be the case with the blues: It speaks to basic human truth, which is why it's still here as a genre."

On the record's third track, Magness faces the daunting task of living up to one of every blues singer's idols, Etta James. A duet with Harvey Fuqua, "If I Can't Have You" is one of the Chess Records great's best known songs and likely the most recognizable on Blue Again. For her rendition, Magness recruits as her foil fast-rising blues singer Rayford, whom she first met when she was a judge and he was an unknown contestant at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.

"If you don't know him, you're about to," Magness says of Rayford, who is nominated for two awards, including male contemporary blues artist and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at this year's Blues Music Awards. "He's coming up real fast and strong in the ranks. I'm so grateful he was able to do the session because his voice was perfect."

Up next is "Tired of Walking," a tribute to one of Magness' favorite singers, Joe Hinton, a contemporary of B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland who died tragically young.

"I think his work needs more recognition," Magness says. "My version is an ode to him and an acknowledgement of the idea we've all had that you've worked a really, really, really long time really, really hard and you're a little bit tired and you'd like to have a ride."

Credited to her husband/manager Andy Stroud, Nina Simone's "Buck" is the most unconventional choice on Blue Again. Magness says she included it because it is "straight up sexy," reflecting the tempestuous relationship of the two people behind it.

"I have loved that song forever, and I love Nina Simone," says Magness of the song, which features harmonica by Norton. "She didn't have any damn left to give. That woman was fearless. She was a very strong woman at a time when it wasn't popular to be a strong woman. I don't know when it was ever popular to be a strong woman, frankly, but it certainly wasn't back then."

The record is rounded out with Magness' version of the oft-covered "Pack It Up," a song she best knows from Freddie King. Her take features a distinctive acoustic guitar riff that gives the track an unexpected country flavor.

Despite this record's looping back around to her beginnings, Magness says Blue Again should not be seen as a coda. She still has a lot more songs to sing and write, and she is finding all new audiences for her music, including her recent first trip to India where she sang for 5,000 fans despite never been there before.

"There's a lot more to this story," she says. "And if you're interested in the book, I hope to go to publishing this year."

William Wild with Special Guest Corey Kligannon

William Wild is the moniker of 24-year-old Alternative singer-songwriter Garrett Sale. Born and raised at the foothill of the Appalachian Mountains in Knoxville, TN, Sale began to pursue music while attending The University of Tennessee.
It was there that Sale worked on his first collection of recordings with Knoxville friends and fellow musicians, eventually releasing a self-titled LP under the name William Wild. Sale then embarked on a solo journey through Europe, where he wrote four of the six songs on his new EP, Steady Now. Continuing with the layered vocals, lush strings, dark tones of the debut album, Steady Now explores Sale’s search for peace while wrestling with self-pity, guilt and materialism.
Hazy guitars, dusty keys, and blurry pedal steel illuminate the recordings of weighty songs immersed in loss, fear of failure, and the worthiness of human existence. With plush nostalgic pop sensibilities, Steady Now radiates tranquility. In an atmosphere of warmth, the listener is invited to delve into psyche of kindred spirits. It is there that unfaltering refuge is found.

William Wild is the moniker of 24-year-old Alternative singer-songwriter Garrett Sale. Born and raised at the foothill of the Appalachian Mountains in Knoxville, TN, Sale began to pursue music while attending The University of Tennessee.
It was there that Sale worked on his first collection of recordings with Knoxville friends and fellow musicians, eventually releasing a self-titled LP under the name William Wild. Sale then embarked on a solo journey through Europe, where he wrote four of the six songs on his new EP, Steady Now. Continuing with the layered vocals, lush strings, dark tones of the debut album, Steady Now explores Sale’s search for peace while wrestling with self-pity, guilt and materialism.
Hazy guitars, dusty keys, and blurry pedal steel illuminate the recordings of weighty songs immersed in loss, fear of failure, and the worthiness of human existence. With plush nostalgic pop sensibilities, Steady Now radiates tranquility. In an atmosphere of warmth, the listener is invited to delve into psyche of kindred spirits. It is there that unfaltering refuge is found.

Goran Ivanovic Trio with Special Guest Josh Masters

One of the most versatile, skilled, and curious musicians in Chicago, guitarist Goran Ivanovic has built a career built upon exploration. Born and raised in Croatia, he was in the midst of studying at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria with masters like Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch when his parents (his father is a Serb, his mother a Bosnian Croat) were expelled in the late 90s; the family was granted asylum in the US and they settled in Chicago. Since his arrival he's displayed a deep interest in collaboration, steadily expanding his stylistic range well beyond the European classical music and Balkan sounds he was fluently versed in when he arrived. These days his repertoire not only incorporates those disciplines, but jazz and flamenco as well. He's recorded duet albums with the great Pakistani-Chilean jazz guitarist Fareed Haque as well as Greek-American musician Andreas Kapsalis. He's a key member of the quartet Eastern Blok with Matt Ulery, Doug Rosenberg, and Michael Caskey, a combo that deftly surveys the folk music of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia in a distinctly jazz-oriented context, embroidering timeless Balkan melodies and rhythms with sophisticated improvisational gambits. Most recently, Ivanovic released an eponymous trio album with bassist Ulery and percussionist Pete Tashjian where he's achieved a stunning assimilation of his many influences, creating a hybrid all his own. Reviewing the new album for All About Jazz, Budd Kopman wrote, "It is easy to get lost in Ivanovic's technique, especially if one plays (or attempts to play) Classical style guitar, in a jazz style or not." The trio's agility has also been noted. As Jeff Elbel wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, "The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages."

One of the most versatile, skilled, and curious musicians in Chicago, guitarist Goran Ivanovic has built a career built upon exploration. Born and raised in Croatia, he was in the midst of studying at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria with masters like Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch when his parents (his father is a Serb, his mother a Bosnian Croat) were expelled in the late 90s; the family was granted asylum in the US and they settled in Chicago. Since his arrival he's displayed a deep interest in collaboration, steadily expanding his stylistic range well beyond the European classical music and Balkan sounds he was fluently versed in when he arrived. These days his repertoire not only incorporates those disciplines, but jazz and flamenco as well. He's recorded duet albums with the great Pakistani-Chilean jazz guitarist Fareed Haque as well as Greek-American musician Andreas Kapsalis. He's a key member of the quartet Eastern Blok with Matt Ulery, Doug Rosenberg, and Michael Caskey, a combo that deftly surveys the folk music of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia in a distinctly jazz-oriented context, embroidering timeless Balkan melodies and rhythms with sophisticated improvisational gambits. Most recently, Ivanovic released an eponymous trio album with bassist Ulery and percussionist Pete Tashjian where he's achieved a stunning assimilation of his many influences, creating a hybrid all his own. Reviewing the new album for All About Jazz, Budd Kopman wrote, "It is easy to get lost in Ivanovic's technique, especially if one plays (or attempts to play) Classical style guitar, in a jazz style or not." The trio's agility has also been noted. As Jeff Elbel wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, "The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages."

Joe Louis Walker with Special Guest Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts

Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century. His new album Everybody Wants A Piece cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the blues. Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, "I'd like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I've learned more from my failures, than from my success . But that's made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style . I'd like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That's Joe Louis Walker.'"

Always an artist deeply expressive lyrically, Walker continues to write and sing about themes that are universal. On "Black & Blue" he talks about a love affair that's falling apart, but there's an effort to keep it going. He offers, "The lyric ‘Let's find a quiet place, A place out of town…We Need to talk this thru, Be honest & True' says it all in trying to save the relationship." He cites the title track as a composition that might not have a deep meaning, but in presenting the thought, "Everybody wants a piece of your love," offers a double entendre that speaks for itself. With a deep history and background in gospel, Walker looks towards Wade in the Water" as an instant all time favorite. He reveals, "The inspirational lyric ‘The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL" is expressing my belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can't."

This time out Joe has brought on Paul Nelson to produce his album which was recorded at his famed Chop Shop studio on the east coast. Nelson is a Grammy winning guitarist/producer who was rock/blues legend Johnny Winter's guitarist, and who also appears as guest guitarist on two tracks on Everybody Wants A Piece.


A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world's most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker's 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.

Born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues sensibilities on recordings released by Polydor/Polygram. These albums feature Walker's collaborations with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Walker has steadily released recordings since the turn of the millennium, and recently signed to Provogue / Mascot Label Group.

NPR Music has called Walker "a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues," and he is already being referred to within the blues world as a living legend. However, at this stage of his life, Walker profoundly shares, "I'd really like to inspire younger musicians to carry on the legacy of blues/roots music. But play, and do it your way. Don't be afraid to mix it up. There's no right, or wrong way. Just the way you wanna express yourself. And above all, ENJOY YOURSELF."

Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century. His new album Everybody Wants A Piece cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the blues. Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, "I'd like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I've learned more from my failures, than from my success . But that's made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style . I'd like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That's Joe Louis Walker.'"

Always an artist deeply expressive lyrically, Walker continues to write and sing about themes that are universal. On "Black & Blue" he talks about a love affair that's falling apart, but there's an effort to keep it going. He offers, "The lyric ‘Let's find a quiet place, A place out of town…We Need to talk this thru, Be honest & True' says it all in trying to save the relationship." He cites the title track as a composition that might not have a deep meaning, but in presenting the thought, "Everybody wants a piece of your love," offers a double entendre that speaks for itself. With a deep history and background in gospel, Walker looks towards Wade in the Water" as an instant all time favorite. He reveals, "The inspirational lyric ‘The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL" is expressing my belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can't."

This time out Joe has brought on Paul Nelson to produce his album which was recorded at his famed Chop Shop studio on the east coast. Nelson is a Grammy winning guitarist/producer who was rock/blues legend Johnny Winter's guitarist, and who also appears as guest guitarist on two tracks on Everybody Wants A Piece.


A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world's most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker's 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.

Born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues sensibilities on recordings released by Polydor/Polygram. These albums feature Walker's collaborations with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Walker has steadily released recordings since the turn of the millennium, and recently signed to Provogue / Mascot Label Group.

NPR Music has called Walker "a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues," and he is already being referred to within the blues world as a living legend. However, at this stage of his life, Walker profoundly shares, "I'd really like to inspire younger musicians to carry on the legacy of blues/roots music. But play, and do it your way. Don't be afraid to mix it up. There's no right, or wrong way. Just the way you wanna express yourself. And above all, ENJOY YOURSELF."

(Early Show) Pittsburgh Singer-Songwriter Showcase Featuring Vit Debacco, Jeremy Caywood, Kevin Finn, and Spencer Allan Patrick

Join Club Cafe for an evening featuring local singer songwriters Vit Debacco, Jeremy Caywood, Kevin Finn, and Spencer Allan Patrick

Join Club Cafe for an evening featuring local singer songwriters Vit Debacco, Jeremy Caywood, Kevin Finn, and Spencer Allan Patrick

(Late Show) Dalek with Special Guests Brown Angel and o heidrun

Conceived in New Jersey from its emerging DIY scene from the late ‘90s, cult hip-hop trio DÄLEK were known as pioneers over the last fifteen years for their intriguing sound which fuses a blend of progressive hip-hop artistry supported by a rhythmic backdrop consisting of sonic experimentation through noise music and dark ambient gaze. Their singularity would be highlighted in five groundbreaking full-length albums: Gutter Tactics (2009), Abandoned Language (2007), Absence (2005), …From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots (2002) - all released on Ipecac Recordings - as well as Negro Necro Nekros (1998) on Gern Blandsten. DÄLEK supported those albums on tour for over a decade and have shared stages with influential artists such as KRS One, Tomahawk, The Melvins, TOOL, Grandmaster Flash, Jesu, Dillinger Escape Plan, Pharcyde, RJD2, DeLa Soul, Prince Paul, Lovage, ZU, Black Heart Procession, Gaslamp Killer, Earth, Flying Lotus, The Bug, Mastodon, Fantomas and more. In 2011, DÄLEK quietly went on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time, as the members needed a break from the rigorous schedule on the road.

Fast forward to Spring 2015, mastermind and producer MC Dälek (a.k.a. Will Brooks, with the blessing of ex-member/co-producer Oktopus) revived DÄLEK with a new lineup which now includes DJ rEk on turntables and co-producer Mike Manteca on samplers and effects. The trio have returned with their signature mind numbing, genre bending blend of beats, noise and lyricism and are preparing to release the highly anticipated first official DÄLEK release since their last full-length, 2009’s Gutter Tactics. Titled Asphalt For Eden, this new album sees a new creative peak for DÄLEK and will bring a new awareness for this cult hip-hop entity now resurrected and ready to show a formidable display of true hip hop artistry and experimentation. Asphalt For Eden also marks DÄLEK's first collaboration with progressive music label PROFOUND LORE who will release the album on April 22nd.

Following Asphalt For Eden's release, DÄLEK will hit the road in support of it. Their live performances are known as intense events that often end in a shoved mic stand and sonically assaultive layers of sound. Witnessing DÄLEK live is like coming face to face with the bastard child of Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine; an amalgamation of the heaviest noise that the Velvet Underground or Merzbow ever unleashed and the knowledge spit by the likes of Rakim. The trio leaves you in a trance, sends shivers down your spine from the haunting beats intertwined with ambient textures and noise scales, and hits you with a powerful raw flow from one of the most charismatic MC's of his, or any, era.

Conceived in New Jersey from its emerging DIY scene from the late ‘90s, cult hip-hop trio DÄLEK were known as pioneers over the last fifteen years for their intriguing sound which fuses a blend of progressive hip-hop artistry supported by a rhythmic backdrop consisting of sonic experimentation through noise music and dark ambient gaze. Their singularity would be highlighted in five groundbreaking full-length albums: Gutter Tactics (2009), Abandoned Language (2007), Absence (2005), …From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots (2002) - all released on Ipecac Recordings - as well as Negro Necro Nekros (1998) on Gern Blandsten. DÄLEK supported those albums on tour for over a decade and have shared stages with influential artists such as KRS One, Tomahawk, The Melvins, TOOL, Grandmaster Flash, Jesu, Dillinger Escape Plan, Pharcyde, RJD2, DeLa Soul, Prince Paul, Lovage, ZU, Black Heart Procession, Gaslamp Killer, Earth, Flying Lotus, The Bug, Mastodon, Fantomas and more. In 2011, DÄLEK quietly went on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time, as the members needed a break from the rigorous schedule on the road.

Fast forward to Spring 2015, mastermind and producer MC Dälek (a.k.a. Will Brooks, with the blessing of ex-member/co-producer Oktopus) revived DÄLEK with a new lineup which now includes DJ rEk on turntables and co-producer Mike Manteca on samplers and effects. The trio have returned with their signature mind numbing, genre bending blend of beats, noise and lyricism and are preparing to release the highly anticipated first official DÄLEK release since their last full-length, 2009’s Gutter Tactics. Titled Asphalt For Eden, this new album sees a new creative peak for DÄLEK and will bring a new awareness for this cult hip-hop entity now resurrected and ready to show a formidable display of true hip hop artistry and experimentation. Asphalt For Eden also marks DÄLEK's first collaboration with progressive music label PROFOUND LORE who will release the album on April 22nd.

Following Asphalt For Eden's release, DÄLEK will hit the road in support of it. Their live performances are known as intense events that often end in a shoved mic stand and sonically assaultive layers of sound. Witnessing DÄLEK live is like coming face to face with the bastard child of Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine; an amalgamation of the heaviest noise that the Velvet Underground or Merzbow ever unleashed and the knowledge spit by the likes of Rakim. The trio leaves you in a trance, sends shivers down your spine from the haunting beats intertwined with ambient textures and noise scales, and hits you with a powerful raw flow from one of the most charismatic MC's of his, or any, era.

(Early Show) Cold Roses - The Music of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals with Special Guest Caleb Pogyor

Cold Roses plays The Music of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. With Special Guest Caleb Pogyor.

Cold Roses plays The Music of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. With Special Guest Caleb Pogyor.

(Late Show) Inflatable Space Station / Hedonism Bots / The Struggle Bus

Join Club Cafe for a local show with Inflatable Space Station, Hedonism Bots and The Struggle Bus.

Join Club Cafe for a local show with Inflatable Space Station, Hedonism Bots and The Struggle Bus.

Cordovas Featuring Joe Firstman with Special Guest Paul Luc - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

The Cordovas are: Joe Firstman, Lucca Soria, Jon Loyd and Graham Spillman. Based in Nashville, TN, Cordovas sound is rooted in harmony, songwriting and musicianship.

Firstman released two albums on Atlantic Records in the early 2000's including the acclaimed War of Women. 24-year-old songsmith, Des Moines' Lucca Soria writes, sings and plays lead guitar. He has several compositions on the forthcoming Cordovas album. Keyboardist Jon Loyd, a native of Macon, GA, sings high notes and possesses a piano style that makes the band’s sound recognizable and unforgettable. Born in Redondo Beach California, Graham Spillman is on drums. The 25-year-old Berkeley College of Music drop-out also sings and pens tunes for the group.

Cordovas will release a new full length album produced by two-time Grammy Nominee Kenneth Pattengale, of Milk Carton Kids, spring 2017.

The Cordovas are: Joe Firstman, Lucca Soria, Jon Loyd and Graham Spillman. Based in Nashville, TN, Cordovas sound is rooted in harmony, songwriting and musicianship.

Firstman released two albums on Atlantic Records in the early 2000's including the acclaimed War of Women. 24-year-old songsmith, Des Moines' Lucca Soria writes, sings and plays lead guitar. He has several compositions on the forthcoming Cordovas album. Keyboardist Jon Loyd, a native of Macon, GA, sings high notes and possesses a piano style that makes the band’s sound recognizable and unforgettable. Born in Redondo Beach California, Graham Spillman is on drums. The 25-year-old Berkeley College of Music drop-out also sings and pens tunes for the group.

Cordovas will release a new full length album produced by two-time Grammy Nominee Kenneth Pattengale, of Milk Carton Kids, spring 2017.

Northern Gold / Minor Moon / Ryan Hoffman

Join Club Cafe for an evening of live local an regional music with Northern Gold, Minor Moon and Ryan Hoffman

Join Club Cafe for an evening of live local an regional music with Northern Gold, Minor Moon and Ryan Hoffman

Danielle Nicole (formerly of Trampled Under Foot) with Special Guest Robin & Bob

A 2014 Blues Music Award winner, there’s not a time in her life that singer/bassist/songwriter Danielle Nicole (born Danielle Nicole Schnebelen) doesn’t remember loving to perform. As a child, she would sing for her family at holidays and took tap, jazz and ballet lessons for many years competing in numerous events. Danielle also took band in middle school, playing the tenor saxophone and enjoying it quite a bit. Unfortunately, she was forced to quit when the family moved to Kansas City and the new school did not offer band.

Danielle comes from generations of singers. Her grandmother, Evelyn Skinner, was a big band singer. Danielle’s mother, Lisa Swedlund, taught her everything she knew while growing up and listening to all different kinds of music from the Everly Brothers to the B-52s.

It wasn’t until she was 12 that Danielle took to the stage for the first time singing, Koko Taylor’s “Never Trust a Man” at a Blues for Schools program that her parents were playing at Englewood Elementary. From then on, she knew music would be her passion for the rest of her life.

Danielle began singing in coffeehouses and at open mic events at age 14, jamming with her parents whenever she could at clubs that would allow minors. At 16, she began singing lead in her father’s band, Little Eva and the Works – until he became too sick to play. In March of 1999, she started her own band, Fresh Brew, with Kansas City music veterans Steve Gronemeyer, Steve Hicks, Chuck Payne and Terry Roney. They performed for four years and even represented Kansas City in the International Blues Challenge.

It was during this time that Danielle and her brothers Nick and Kris began talking about a family band that would eventually become Trampled Under Foot. Not only did she and Kris have to move to Philadelphia (where Nick was living), but she would have to learn the bass guitar to keep it a family band. It took a few years of lessons and saving money before that could become reality.

After several acclaimed self-released albums, Trampled Under Foot released Badlands on July 9, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group. Toughened by years of nonstop roadwork, Badlands revealed a musical sophistication well beyond the band’s years.

On Badlands, the band worked with veteran producer Tony Braunagel at his Ultratone Studios in California. The drummer in the Phantom Blues Band, Braunagel played some percussion on the album and recruited veteran keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James) to play keys. Johnny Lee Schell, who also recorded the album, added acoustic guitar to one track and John Porter mixed the final results at Independent Street Studios in New Orleans.

Badlands debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart and Trampled Under Foot performed live throughout the United States and Europe in support of the album.

As Trampled Under Foot wound down after 13 years, Danielle formed her own band and now makes her Concord Records solo debut with the March 10, 2015 release of a New Orleans-flavored, blues-soul based EP, featuring GRAMMY®-winning producer-guitarist Anders Osborne, Galactic’s co-founding drummer Stanton Moore and her regular keyboardist Mike “Shinetop, Jr.” Sedovic.

The self-titled EP is an introduction to Danielle as a formidable solo artist. A full length album, Wolf Den, is scheduled for release on September 25th, 2015, featuring more music created in New Orleans with Osborne, Moore and Sedovic.

A 2014 Blues Music Award winner, there’s not a time in her life that singer/bassist/songwriter Danielle Nicole (born Danielle Nicole Schnebelen) doesn’t remember loving to perform. As a child, she would sing for her family at holidays and took tap, jazz and ballet lessons for many years competing in numerous events. Danielle also took band in middle school, playing the tenor saxophone and enjoying it quite a bit. Unfortunately, she was forced to quit when the family moved to Kansas City and the new school did not offer band.

Danielle comes from generations of singers. Her grandmother, Evelyn Skinner, was a big band singer. Danielle’s mother, Lisa Swedlund, taught her everything she knew while growing up and listening to all different kinds of music from the Everly Brothers to the B-52s.

It wasn’t until she was 12 that Danielle took to the stage for the first time singing, Koko Taylor’s “Never Trust a Man” at a Blues for Schools program that her parents were playing at Englewood Elementary. From then on, she knew music would be her passion for the rest of her life.

Danielle began singing in coffeehouses and at open mic events at age 14, jamming with her parents whenever she could at clubs that would allow minors. At 16, she began singing lead in her father’s band, Little Eva and the Works – until he became too sick to play. In March of 1999, she started her own band, Fresh Brew, with Kansas City music veterans Steve Gronemeyer, Steve Hicks, Chuck Payne and Terry Roney. They performed for four years and even represented Kansas City in the International Blues Challenge.

It was during this time that Danielle and her brothers Nick and Kris began talking about a family band that would eventually become Trampled Under Foot. Not only did she and Kris have to move to Philadelphia (where Nick was living), but she would have to learn the bass guitar to keep it a family band. It took a few years of lessons and saving money before that could become reality.

After several acclaimed self-released albums, Trampled Under Foot released Badlands on July 9, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group. Toughened by years of nonstop roadwork, Badlands revealed a musical sophistication well beyond the band’s years.

On Badlands, the band worked with veteran producer Tony Braunagel at his Ultratone Studios in California. The drummer in the Phantom Blues Band, Braunagel played some percussion on the album and recruited veteran keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James) to play keys. Johnny Lee Schell, who also recorded the album, added acoustic guitar to one track and John Porter mixed the final results at Independent Street Studios in New Orleans.

Badlands debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart and Trampled Under Foot performed live throughout the United States and Europe in support of the album.

As Trampled Under Foot wound down after 13 years, Danielle formed her own band and now makes her Concord Records solo debut with the March 10, 2015 release of a New Orleans-flavored, blues-soul based EP, featuring GRAMMY®-winning producer-guitarist Anders Osborne, Galactic’s co-founding drummer Stanton Moore and her regular keyboardist Mike “Shinetop, Jr.” Sedovic.

The self-titled EP is an introduction to Danielle as a formidable solo artist. A full length album, Wolf Den, is scheduled for release on September 25th, 2015, featuring more music created in New Orleans with Osborne, Moore and Sedovic.

(Early Show) Kalob Griffin & Friends

Kalob Griffin & Friends in the writers round. Join us for an intimate evening of song and story before Kalob embarks on his first tour of Germany. Special guests TBA.

Kalob Griffin & Friends in the writers round. Join us for an intimate evening of song and story before Kalob embarks on his first tour of Germany. Special guests TBA.

(Late Show) The Long Hunt / Krevisys / Multiverse Theory

The Long Hunt / Krevisys / Multiverse Theory

The Long Hunt / Krevisys / Multiverse Theory

(Early Show) Josh Krajcik

When he was just 16-years-old, Josh Krajcik schemed his way onto the stage of a bar near his hometown of Wooster, Ohio. Earning $100 for his four-hour debut gig, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist decided that night to devote his life to making music. Over the next 14 years, Krajcik fronted a host of musical projects and eventually founded the Josh Krajcik Band, a three-piece blues-rock outfit that toured with the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae and The Fray and appeared on the Bonnaroo Music Festival’s 2006 lineup. But by 2011 Krajcik was fighting to sustain his music career, and ended up taking a job at a burrito joint to make ends meet. On a whim, Krajcik then auditioned for The X Factor USA-and soon found himself wowing audiences with his gravelly-rich voice and stirring delivery on the show’s premiere season. Now, Krajcik is set to release his full-length album Blindly, Lonely, Lovely that pair his powerful vocals with intensely passionate, soul-infused songwriting.

“More than anything, I wanted this music to be honest,” says Krajcik of his debut releases. Instinct has also played a key role in guiding Krajcik through the ups and downs of his early career. “Over the years I definitely had a few of those moments where you’re doubting yourself and you wonder, ‘Should I just give it all up?’” Krajcik admits. “But at the same, I really don’t know what else I could have tried to be.” So while holding to the promise he made himself at sixteen yielded its share of struggle, Krajcik asserts that those tough times have more than paid off. “The day after I finished the sessions for ‘Nothing’ and ‘Don’t Make Me Hopeful,’ I was walking around Hammersmith, just sort smiling to myself and thinking about the songs and my music in general,” he recalls. “After a while I looked up and realized I didn’t know where I was. I’d gotten so caught up in thinking about where I was now-compared to just about a year before, when I was jumping from couch to couch and making burritos to pay rent-that I’d ended up completely lost in the middle of London. It was a great moment.” Still, Krajcik asserts that his ultimate goal is to continue expanding his sound and delving more deeply into his songwriting. “The most important thing for me is to just keep on pushing myself as a singer and songwriter and musician,” says Krajcik, “since I know that this is what I’m going to be doing forever.”


When he was just 16-years-old, Josh Krajcik schemed his way onto the stage of a bar near his hometown of Wooster, Ohio. Earning $100 for his four-hour debut gig, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist decided that night to devote his life to making music. Over the next 14 years, Krajcik fronted a host of musical projects and eventually founded the Josh Krajcik Band, a three-piece blues-rock outfit that toured with the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae and The Fray and appeared on the Bonnaroo Music Festival’s 2006 lineup. But by 2011 Krajcik was fighting to sustain his music career, and ended up taking a job at a burrito joint to make ends meet. On a whim, Krajcik then auditioned for The X Factor USA-and soon found himself wowing audiences with his gravelly-rich voice and stirring delivery on the show’s premiere season. Now, Krajcik is set to release his full-length album Blindly, Lonely, Lovely that pair his powerful vocals with intensely passionate, soul-infused songwriting.

“More than anything, I wanted this music to be honest,” says Krajcik of his debut releases. Instinct has also played a key role in guiding Krajcik through the ups and downs of his early career. “Over the years I definitely had a few of those moments where you’re doubting yourself and you wonder, ‘Should I just give it all up?’” Krajcik admits. “But at the same, I really don’t know what else I could have tried to be.” So while holding to the promise he made himself at sixteen yielded its share of struggle, Krajcik asserts that those tough times have more than paid off. “The day after I finished the sessions for ‘Nothing’ and ‘Don’t Make Me Hopeful,’ I was walking around Hammersmith, just sort smiling to myself and thinking about the songs and my music in general,” he recalls. “After a while I looked up and realized I didn’t know where I was. I’d gotten so caught up in thinking about where I was now-compared to just about a year before, when I was jumping from couch to couch and making burritos to pay rent-that I’d ended up completely lost in the middle of London. It was a great moment.” Still, Krajcik asserts that his ultimate goal is to continue expanding his sound and delving more deeply into his songwriting. “The most important thing for me is to just keep on pushing myself as a singer and songwriter and musician,” says Krajcik, “since I know that this is what I’m going to be doing forever.”


(Late Show) LEXFEST II Featuring Quincy Jones, Eman El Husseini, Ed Bailey, Jess Salomon, Phil Forrence and Hosted by Norlex Belma.

LEXFEST II Featuring Quincy Jones, Eman El Husseini, Ed Bailey, Jess Salomon, Phil Forrence and Hosted by Norlex Belma.

LEXFEST II Featuring Quincy Jones, Eman El Husseini, Ed Bailey, Jess Salomon, Phil Forrence and Hosted by Norlex Belma.

Lilly Hiatt with Special Guest Brian Dunne

Lilly Hiatt is set to return with Trinity Lane on August 25th, 2017. The 12-song set was produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope and engineered by Andy Dixon at Trent’s Studio Bees in John Island, SC. It is the follow up to her acclaimed sophomore album Royal Blue, which Paste Magazine described as “a glorious tumble of influences - surf rock, Smiths vibes, Laurel Canyon twang and jangle, Sonic Youth flatline, Britpop flourishes, Seattle grunge and Joy Division meets Human League synthery.” In addition to her backing band, Trent is featured as a musician throughout, and is joined by his wife and Shovels & Rope partner Cary Ann Hearst for backing vocals on “Everything I Had.” Lilly’s love of the ‘90s alt-rock she was raised on continues to shine through on Trinity Lane in the distressed guitars and urgent backbeats. She cites the Pixies, Breeders, Dinosaur Jr., and her favorite, Pearl Jam as influences, but there is also something distinctly Americana lurking in the songs. Rolling Stone Country has premiered the Michael Carter-directed video for the album’s title track HERE, stating, “The daughter of John Hiatt, she keeps the family tradition alive, mixing Southern influences - Americana, folk and left-of-center country - with a raw approach that’s better suited to the garage than the saloon. The album’s title track is no exception...the song finds Hiatt making peace with her old demons, while guitars crash and pianos chime in the background.” They continued, “‘Trinity Lane’ is an empowerment anthem stocked with details from Hiatt’s everyday life, from the name of her street to the smell of her neighbor’s cooking.” Lilly Hiatt has also announced her initial tour dates in support of the album, kicking off August 24th in Lexington, KY (Please see all dates below). Trinity Lane will be available digitally, on compact disc, as well as LP and can be pre-ordered now via PledgeMusic.

After moving out of an ex’s house, Hiatt settled into a new apartment off of Trinity Lane in her East Nashville neighborhood and went on tour with friend John Moreland to the West Coast and back. The intensely personal, autobiographical album was written largely upon her return, in isolation, facing the issues she escaped while on the road. Every time she wanted a man, she picked up her guitar. Every time she wanted a drink, she picked up her guitar. Hiatt says, “Love will take you to the darkest places but also the most honest places if you let it. Learning how to love myself is something I’ve always been lousy with, and I spent some time on that. I thought about my sobriety, what that means to me, the struggles I’d had throughout the years, since I was a 27-year-old and hung up my toxic drinking habit. I thought about my mother, who took her own life when I was a baby, not far from my age at 30 years old, and I related to her more than ever. As you can see, there was plenty of time spent on my own. I didn’t talk to that many folks, albeit a few close friends, and leaned into my family. I stayed away from men, and danced alone in the evenings, looking out my window observing my humble and lively neighborhood. I found power in being by myself. I found peace in the people I was surrounded with - we didn’t really know one another, but we smiled when passed on the street. One time I almost rear-ended an older woman in her car backing out of my driveway and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m just not used to any cars coming around this bend. She replied, ‘This is our little hideout, baby,’ And it really was.” She continues, “After a while, I had all these songs to play, and wanted to share them. I wanted to get out of town to get some distance from everything, so after an ongoing conversation with Michael Trent, I took my band to Johns Island, SC and we holed up for a few weeks. I poured my heart out, and trusted them with it, and these guys gave it right back. I think we all understood what it’s like to question home, intention, demons, love...I think most people understand that.”

Lilly Hiatt is set to return with Trinity Lane on August 25th, 2017. The 12-song set was produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope and engineered by Andy Dixon at Trent’s Studio Bees in John Island, SC. It is the follow up to her acclaimed sophomore album Royal Blue, which Paste Magazine described as “a glorious tumble of influences - surf rock, Smiths vibes, Laurel Canyon twang and jangle, Sonic Youth flatline, Britpop flourishes, Seattle grunge and Joy Division meets Human League synthery.” In addition to her backing band, Trent is featured as a musician throughout, and is joined by his wife and Shovels & Rope partner Cary Ann Hearst for backing vocals on “Everything I Had.” Lilly’s love of the ‘90s alt-rock she was raised on continues to shine through on Trinity Lane in the distressed guitars and urgent backbeats. She cites the Pixies, Breeders, Dinosaur Jr., and her favorite, Pearl Jam as influences, but there is also something distinctly Americana lurking in the songs. Rolling Stone Country has premiered the Michael Carter-directed video for the album’s title track HERE, stating, “The daughter of John Hiatt, she keeps the family tradition alive, mixing Southern influences - Americana, folk and left-of-center country - with a raw approach that’s better suited to the garage than the saloon. The album’s title track is no exception...the song finds Hiatt making peace with her old demons, while guitars crash and pianos chime in the background.” They continued, “‘Trinity Lane’ is an empowerment anthem stocked with details from Hiatt’s everyday life, from the name of her street to the smell of her neighbor’s cooking.” Lilly Hiatt has also announced her initial tour dates in support of the album, kicking off August 24th in Lexington, KY (Please see all dates below). Trinity Lane will be available digitally, on compact disc, as well as LP and can be pre-ordered now via PledgeMusic.

After moving out of an ex’s house, Hiatt settled into a new apartment off of Trinity Lane in her East Nashville neighborhood and went on tour with friend John Moreland to the West Coast and back. The intensely personal, autobiographical album was written largely upon her return, in isolation, facing the issues she escaped while on the road. Every time she wanted a man, she picked up her guitar. Every time she wanted a drink, she picked up her guitar. Hiatt says, “Love will take you to the darkest places but also the most honest places if you let it. Learning how to love myself is something I’ve always been lousy with, and I spent some time on that. I thought about my sobriety, what that means to me, the struggles I’d had throughout the years, since I was a 27-year-old and hung up my toxic drinking habit. I thought about my mother, who took her own life when I was a baby, not far from my age at 30 years old, and I related to her more than ever. As you can see, there was plenty of time spent on my own. I didn’t talk to that many folks, albeit a few close friends, and leaned into my family. I stayed away from men, and danced alone in the evenings, looking out my window observing my humble and lively neighborhood. I found power in being by myself. I found peace in the people I was surrounded with - we didn’t really know one another, but we smiled when passed on the street. One time I almost rear-ended an older woman in her car backing out of my driveway and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m just not used to any cars coming around this bend. She replied, ‘This is our little hideout, baby,’ And it really was.” She continues, “After a while, I had all these songs to play, and wanted to share them. I wanted to get out of town to get some distance from everything, so after an ongoing conversation with Michael Trent, I took my band to Johns Island, SC and we holed up for a few weeks. I poured my heart out, and trusted them with it, and these guys gave it right back. I think we all understood what it’s like to question home, intention, demons, love...I think most people understand that.”

Adam Torres with Special Guests Emily Rodgers and Wayne Beck

In 2006, 20-year-old Adam Torres released his debut album Nostra Nova. The album's 11 songs are idiosyncratic and varied - as are many great songs - with each existing as its own little world. It's influenced by the works of visual artist Adolf Wolfli and C.G. Jung, and it's the sound of Torres making something beautiful. With many truly breathtaking moments throughout, it feels full of promise, and is simultaneously weathered and young. A DIY self-release, Nostra Nova found deep, long-lasting roots within the small Athens, OH community at the time, but didn't resonate farther until much later.
Following its release, Torres went back to college and turned his focus to other interests. But all the while, he never stopped playing music, writing songs, or performing, even while living in Ecuador on and off for two years, teaching English and volunteering in rural villages in the Ecuadorian Andes, among other things. In 2011, Torres moved to Austin, TX and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Texas, and upon finishing, spent two years working for the state of Texas on a project aimed at cleaning the water quality of the Rio Grande River in South Texas.
Having penned more than 100 songs since 2006, he quietly released his first music since Nostra Nova in 2012 through DC cassette-label DZ Tapes, which featured tape-recorded demos made inside the apartments he lived in during his time in Ecuador.
In 2015, Nostra Nova saw a small reissue. Called a "cult classic" by The A.V. Club, the album finally achieved its due, earning additional praise from Stereogum, VICE, Popmatters, All Music Guide, and Flavorwire, which wrote of Torres as, "someone who was, at an early age, able to connect his own odd experiences to the concept of life itself in an almost innate way."
In many respects, that description is a good start at capturing the magic of Torres' music. There's a persisting theme that threads through his own story as well as his forthcoming new LP, Pearls To Swine. Within the cosmos of the album, characters experience a sort of misadventure and persevere, casting light on the way life can lead you down a path that's far from where you wanted to be. Pearls To Swine maps Torres' complicated history as a songwriter and musician: it's the sound of someone who discovered the value in his own devotion to music, and how writing and songs are extensions of his own journey. He embeds his own folklore within his high-lonesome sounding, deeply felt and moving brand of folk music.
Across the album, Torres crafts uniquely cinematic soundscapes, ranging through a thoughtfully languid waltz "Juniper Arms" (inspired by Edward Abbey's iconic book of nature writing Desert Solitaire), and on the evocative, uneasy "Some Beast Will Find You By Name." It wends through the lush, gently undulating "High Lonesome" to the lonely sweep of the Raymond Carver-signaling "Where I'm Calling From," and travels from the foreboding, sinuous "Outlands" to the deceptively buoyant cascade of "Mountain River."
Nature abounds on Pearls To Swine - which also examines the tension of the natural versus the constructed, and survival - filled with imagery of juniper trees, deserts, blood moons, rivers, plains, and big western skies that gives it a distinctively southwestern feel. His style acknowledges the classic singer-songwriter tradition, allowing the rhythm sounds to support the structure of songs, while his affecting falsetto conjures the spirit of traditional vocalists such as John Jacob Niles and Robbie Basho.
Pearls To Swine was recorded over eight days in January at Austin's Cacophony Recorders, which overlooks the Colorado River valley. Working alongside co-producer and mixer Erik Wofford (Bill Callahan, Black Angels, M. Ward, Okkervil River), Torres chose the analog route, recording and mixing directly to tape to allow for more finality and less overthought. This method in turn lends a natural, warm, and almost magical realism atmosphere to the songs - like a high-stakes live show captured in a fantastical setting. The core rhythm was captured live and augmented by a few overdubs, and Torres is joined on the album by the players in his band: Thor Harris (of Swans; on conga drums, vibraphone, and percussion), Aisha Burns (violin), and Dailey Toliver (bass/piano), with drum kit performances by Matthew Shepherd and Rodolfo Villareal III.

In 2006, 20-year-old Adam Torres released his debut album Nostra Nova. The album's 11 songs are idiosyncratic and varied - as are many great songs - with each existing as its own little world. It's influenced by the works of visual artist Adolf Wolfli and C.G. Jung, and it's the sound of Torres making something beautiful. With many truly breathtaking moments throughout, it feels full of promise, and is simultaneously weathered and young. A DIY self-release, Nostra Nova found deep, long-lasting roots within the small Athens, OH community at the time, but didn't resonate farther until much later.
Following its release, Torres went back to college and turned his focus to other interests. But all the while, he never stopped playing music, writing songs, or performing, even while living in Ecuador on and off for two years, teaching English and volunteering in rural villages in the Ecuadorian Andes, among other things. In 2011, Torres moved to Austin, TX and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Texas, and upon finishing, spent two years working for the state of Texas on a project aimed at cleaning the water quality of the Rio Grande River in South Texas.
Having penned more than 100 songs since 2006, he quietly released his first music since Nostra Nova in 2012 through DC cassette-label DZ Tapes, which featured tape-recorded demos made inside the apartments he lived in during his time in Ecuador.
In 2015, Nostra Nova saw a small reissue. Called a "cult classic" by The A.V. Club, the album finally achieved its due, earning additional praise from Stereogum, VICE, Popmatters, All Music Guide, and Flavorwire, which wrote of Torres as, "someone who was, at an early age, able to connect his own odd experiences to the concept of life itself in an almost innate way."
In many respects, that description is a good start at capturing the magic of Torres' music. There's a persisting theme that threads through his own story as well as his forthcoming new LP, Pearls To Swine. Within the cosmos of the album, characters experience a sort of misadventure and persevere, casting light on the way life can lead you down a path that's far from where you wanted to be. Pearls To Swine maps Torres' complicated history as a songwriter and musician: it's the sound of someone who discovered the value in his own devotion to music, and how writing and songs are extensions of his own journey. He embeds his own folklore within his high-lonesome sounding, deeply felt and moving brand of folk music.
Across the album, Torres crafts uniquely cinematic soundscapes, ranging through a thoughtfully languid waltz "Juniper Arms" (inspired by Edward Abbey's iconic book of nature writing Desert Solitaire), and on the evocative, uneasy "Some Beast Will Find You By Name." It wends through the lush, gently undulating "High Lonesome" to the lonely sweep of the Raymond Carver-signaling "Where I'm Calling From," and travels from the foreboding, sinuous "Outlands" to the deceptively buoyant cascade of "Mountain River."
Nature abounds on Pearls To Swine - which also examines the tension of the natural versus the constructed, and survival - filled with imagery of juniper trees, deserts, blood moons, rivers, plains, and big western skies that gives it a distinctively southwestern feel. His style acknowledges the classic singer-songwriter tradition, allowing the rhythm sounds to support the structure of songs, while his affecting falsetto conjures the spirit of traditional vocalists such as John Jacob Niles and Robbie Basho.
Pearls To Swine was recorded over eight days in January at Austin's Cacophony Recorders, which overlooks the Colorado River valley. Working alongside co-producer and mixer Erik Wofford (Bill Callahan, Black Angels, M. Ward, Okkervil River), Torres chose the analog route, recording and mixing directly to tape to allow for more finality and less overthought. This method in turn lends a natural, warm, and almost magical realism atmosphere to the songs - like a high-stakes live show captured in a fantastical setting. The core rhythm was captured live and augmented by a few overdubs, and Torres is joined on the album by the players in his band: Thor Harris (of Swans; on conga drums, vibraphone, and percussion), Aisha Burns (violin), and Dailey Toliver (bass/piano), with drum kit performances by Matthew Shepherd and Rodolfo Villareal III.

Lee DeWyze with Special Guest Frank Viele

"I am a songwriter. I am a poet. I am a lyricist. I am a singer. I am an American Idol Winner," confesses the handsome, charismatic and introspective Lee DeWyze. "Some people have a hard time understanding how those things can go hand in hand." Collectively all of these gifts have coalesced to garner DeWyze a place as one of the most exciting singer/songwriter’ s to emerge in the past decade. A Millennial troubadour, DeWyze’ s depth as a songwriter along with his earnest ability to drive home a song with a delicate balance of deep emotion and subtlety, call to mind some of his earliest influences like Simon and Garfunkel, Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) and Johnny Cash. DeWyze’ s songs have spent several consecutive weeks in the top forty on the Billboard Hot AC Chart, been featured on the insanely popular gritty drama The Walking Dead, NBC’ s musical drama Nashville, showcased in commercials and topped charts abroad in Ireland and Italy. In the six years since DeWyze has evolved from being crowned an American Idol winner, he has continued to refine his artistry. In numerology six is regarded as one of the most harmonious and stable single digits, representing balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Whether you believe or not, one thing for sure is that DeWyze seems to have arrived at such a place in his journey thus far. "I think for once I am making music that is just me. All the way through,”smiles Lee. February 12, 2016, Shanachie Entertainment will release Oil & Water, Lee DeWyze’ s fifth solo effort and highly anticipated label debut. His resonant, soulful and at times raspy tenor combined with his prodigious guitar playing serve to underscore themes of the heart as ten songs unravel into compelling poetic prose and striking arrangements.Randall Grass, Shanachie Entertainment General Manager states, “Lee DeWyze is a classic singer-songwriter with intensely personal lyrics that he delivers with a resonant, viscerally appealing voice. He communicates in a very direct, earthy way that is all too rare these days."Oil &Water is an alluring evocative mix of songs that reflect the ease and comfort of where DeWyze is in his music and life. Each song is a revealing glimpse into Lee’ s world and quest for truth and meaning. He is a powerful storyteller. “I didn't ‘ know’ I could write music exactly but I knew at a young age I appreciated it. I read my first lyrics on the back of a Cat Stevens record and I recall thinking ‘ wow, he's telling a story. I want to do that’ and I picked up a guitar when I was about 13.” The songs on Oil & Water at times are deceptively simple and they possess a sincerity and authenticity that you cannot manufacture. All of the albums tracks are written, produced and recorded by Lee along with his friend and engineer Nico Grossfeld. "These songs really sum up a very particular part of my life over the past year or so." Describing his compositional process as 'somewhat chaotic,' DeWyze recorded the songs in his own Los Angeles based studio writing playing and recording the music on his terms. “I am grateful for the process which is this record," declares the young musician. Oil & Water is not a reinvention of Lee DeWyze but rather further discovery. "I think whether you have heard my music or not, people will find common ground on this record. Lyrically these songs speak to a wider audience and I am really excited for people to hear it."
“My goal was to simply make an album that speaks to who I am. About a year ago, which would have been six months into the making of this album, my vision kind of started to fall into place,” explains Lee. “I have found my process to be one of writing, recording, sitting on it, then re-recording. Much of that comes from playing the songs live on the road and really letting the songs take on a life of their own.”“Sometimes I want the listener to say, ‘ I wonder what he means?” confides Lee. “That's the one thing that I think that really makes music powerful. It does not matter what you believe or what your religion or politics are. Everyone can sit and enjoy and be moved by a song. As a songwriter, I view it as a responsibility to move my listener.”Born in Mount Prospect, IL, one of four children, Lee DeWyze discovered music and quickly developed a passion at a young age. He cites Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman and Paul Simons’ Graceland as two of the albums that changed his life. As a teen Lee played guitar, piano and the drums and it was not long before he started to write his own songs. “I discovered that I could turn my thoughts and ideas into a clever song or line. I fell in love,” recalls Lee. “I would sit around and write funny or witty songs to make my friends or family laugh.” DeWyze was crowned the winner of American Idol’s Season 9 in 2010, DeWyze had a stint working as both a paint salesman and trading floor clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Before he was 20, he recorded two albums for an independent label in Chicago: So I'm Told and Slumberland. He made his major label debut in 2010 with Live It Up. His critically lauded Frames followed in 2013 and his song “Fight”reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot AC charts for 10 weeks straight. The video, which Lee produced and created, won first place at the Los Angeles Indie Film Festival. 2014 was a banner year for Lee as he made major headway as a songwriter. His song “Blackbird Song” was placed in the show The Walking Dead. The song racked up more then 3 million YouTube views, 2 million Spotify streams and was selected as one of the Top 10 most influential placements in 2014 by the Music Writers Guild of America. The same year Lee landed a #1 song in Ireland with his song “Lullaby” which was covered by Ronan Keating. He also scored a #3 hit in Italy when his “Magnetic Heart” was recorded by Marco Mengioni. Lee DeWyze will embark on an ambitious national tour in 2016 in support Oil & Water. “I love my fans. I truly do. They are the fuel to my engine. I want the audience to feel what I'm saying. To know it’ s real and honest.” With the release of Oil & Water Lee DeWyze takes a no holds barred approach and bares it all and the results are well worth the journey. "I write what I like to hear and how I feel. I am not defining what kind ofcomposer or artist I am. My audience can do that. Because the minute you start to concern yourself with what you're ‘ supposed’ to be doing, you start to second-guess who you are. And that is one thing I am very sure of."

"I am a songwriter. I am a poet. I am a lyricist. I am a singer. I am an American Idol Winner," confesses the handsome, charismatic and introspective Lee DeWyze. "Some people have a hard time understanding how those things can go hand in hand." Collectively all of these gifts have coalesced to garner DeWyze a place as one of the most exciting singer/songwriter’ s to emerge in the past decade. A Millennial troubadour, DeWyze’ s depth as a songwriter along with his earnest ability to drive home a song with a delicate balance of deep emotion and subtlety, call to mind some of his earliest influences like Simon and Garfunkel, Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) and Johnny Cash. DeWyze’ s songs have spent several consecutive weeks in the top forty on the Billboard Hot AC Chart, been featured on the insanely popular gritty drama The Walking Dead, NBC’ s musical drama Nashville, showcased in commercials and topped charts abroad in Ireland and Italy. In the six years since DeWyze has evolved from being crowned an American Idol winner, he has continued to refine his artistry. In numerology six is regarded as one of the most harmonious and stable single digits, representing balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Whether you believe or not, one thing for sure is that DeWyze seems to have arrived at such a place in his journey thus far. "I think for once I am making music that is just me. All the way through,”smiles Lee. February 12, 2016, Shanachie Entertainment will release Oil & Water, Lee DeWyze’ s fifth solo effort and highly anticipated label debut. His resonant, soulful and at times raspy tenor combined with his prodigious guitar playing serve to underscore themes of the heart as ten songs unravel into compelling poetic prose and striking arrangements.Randall Grass, Shanachie Entertainment General Manager states, “Lee DeWyze is a classic singer-songwriter with intensely personal lyrics that he delivers with a resonant, viscerally appealing voice. He communicates in a very direct, earthy way that is all too rare these days."Oil &Water is an alluring evocative mix of songs that reflect the ease and comfort of where DeWyze is in his music and life. Each song is a revealing glimpse into Lee’ s world and quest for truth and meaning. He is a powerful storyteller. “I didn't ‘ know’ I could write music exactly but I knew at a young age I appreciated it. I read my first lyrics on the back of a Cat Stevens record and I recall thinking ‘ wow, he's telling a story. I want to do that’ and I picked up a guitar when I was about 13.” The songs on Oil & Water at times are deceptively simple and they possess a sincerity and authenticity that you cannot manufacture. All of the albums tracks are written, produced and recorded by Lee along with his friend and engineer Nico Grossfeld. "These songs really sum up a very particular part of my life over the past year or so." Describing his compositional process as 'somewhat chaotic,' DeWyze recorded the songs in his own Los Angeles based studio writing playing and recording the music on his terms. “I am grateful for the process which is this record," declares the young musician. Oil & Water is not a reinvention of Lee DeWyze but rather further discovery. "I think whether you have heard my music or not, people will find common ground on this record. Lyrically these songs speak to a wider audience and I am really excited for people to hear it."
“My goal was to simply make an album that speaks to who I am. About a year ago, which would have been six months into the making of this album, my vision kind of started to fall into place,” explains Lee. “I have found my process to be one of writing, recording, sitting on it, then re-recording. Much of that comes from playing the songs live on the road and really letting the songs take on a life of their own.”“Sometimes I want the listener to say, ‘ I wonder what he means?” confides Lee. “That's the one thing that I think that really makes music powerful. It does not matter what you believe or what your religion or politics are. Everyone can sit and enjoy and be moved by a song. As a songwriter, I view it as a responsibility to move my listener.”Born in Mount Prospect, IL, one of four children, Lee DeWyze discovered music and quickly developed a passion at a young age. He cites Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman and Paul Simons’ Graceland as two of the albums that changed his life. As a teen Lee played guitar, piano and the drums and it was not long before he started to write his own songs. “I discovered that I could turn my thoughts and ideas into a clever song or line. I fell in love,” recalls Lee. “I would sit around and write funny or witty songs to make my friends or family laugh.” DeWyze was crowned the winner of American Idol’s Season 9 in 2010, DeWyze had a stint working as both a paint salesman and trading floor clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Before he was 20, he recorded two albums for an independent label in Chicago: So I'm Told and Slumberland. He made his major label debut in 2010 with Live It Up. His critically lauded Frames followed in 2013 and his song “Fight”reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot AC charts for 10 weeks straight. The video, which Lee produced and created, won first place at the Los Angeles Indie Film Festival. 2014 was a banner year for Lee as he made major headway as a songwriter. His song “Blackbird Song” was placed in the show The Walking Dead. The song racked up more then 3 million YouTube views, 2 million Spotify streams and was selected as one of the Top 10 most influential placements in 2014 by the Music Writers Guild of America. The same year Lee landed a #1 song in Ireland with his song “Lullaby” which was covered by Ronan Keating. He also scored a #3 hit in Italy when his “Magnetic Heart” was recorded by Marco Mengioni. Lee DeWyze will embark on an ambitious national tour in 2016 in support Oil & Water. “I love my fans. I truly do. They are the fuel to my engine. I want the audience to feel what I'm saying. To know it’ s real and honest.” With the release of Oil & Water Lee DeWyze takes a no holds barred approach and bares it all and the results are well worth the journey. "I write what I like to hear and how I feel. I am not defining what kind ofcomposer or artist I am. My audience can do that. Because the minute you start to concern yourself with what you're ‘ supposed’ to be doing, you start to second-guess who you are. And that is one thing I am very sure of."

The Stray Birds with Special Guest The Sweaty Already String Band

Magic Fire is an album of firsts for The Stray Birds: their first with an outside producer, their first with venerable guest musicians, and their first truly collaborative songwriting effort. More importantly, perhaps, it's an album of mosts: the most exciting and engaging music they've ever composed paired with their most outspoken and insightful lyrics yet.

Magic Fire builds on the success of The Stray Birds' 2014 Yep Roc debut, Best Medicine, which was hailed by NPR's World Caf? for its "strong harmonies and sharp songwriting" and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Guitar World praised their "heartfelt creativity," while the Philadelphia City Paper called the band "stunning," and Mountain Stage applauded their singular ability to "successfully draw on the rich traditions of American folk music while still sounding modern." It was that unique formula that first brought them national attention and fueled their breakout in 2012, when their self-titled/self-released debut landed amongst NPR's Top Ten Folk/Americana Albums of the Year and earned them major festival performances everywhere from MerleFest to Scotland's Celtic Connections.

When it came time to record Magic Fire, The Stray Birds knew they were ready to take an ambitious step. They retreated to Milan Hill, New York, a small town outside of Woodstock in the Hudson River Valley, and teamed up with Larry Campbell. The three-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer (best known for his work with luminaries like Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, and Willie Nelson) enlisted his preferred engineer, Justin Guip (another three-time GRAMMY Award-winner who worked closely with the late Helm), and the group spent ten days together joyously exploring and creating the music that would become Magic Fire.

"Though a few of the new songs had been on stage in the past year, we granted most of these songs the opportunity to come to life right there in the studio," says Maya de Vitry, who splits her time between fiddle, guitar, and banjo in addition to singing. "It was intoxicating to go to this place of focus with songs that still felt so fresh and free."

"We'd never worked with anyone other than just an engineer in the studio before," adds Charles Muench, who plays banjo and bass in addition to contributing to the group's lush three-part vocal harmonies. "Larry was on our short list of people who we wanted to work with, and it was clear after a few conversations with him that nothing was off limits for this record. He offered up not only his production and direction, but also his playing to any and all of the music."

"We wanted some direction this time," continues Oliver Craven, who plays fiddle, guitar, and mandolin in addition to singing. "We wanted somebody outside of the music with great taste and vibe who could lend a critically unbiased and impartial ear to what we were doing. Larry is very relaxed and works on feel. I don't think I saw him write down one word the whole time."

Before the band settled into the studio, they headed back to their roots, returning to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There they spent two intensive days of pre-production with another new collaborator, drummer Shane Leonard.

"We started out as a trio of people who all grew up together in Lancaster County and had known each other for a very long time," says de Vitry. "But it was a slow and deliberate musical courtship, and it took years and a lot of patience for us to actually come together and get into a car and start touring and recording as a trio. When we met Shane, I can't even say that we played music together for more than a song or two before we asked him to join us to make a record. We all instinctually knew he was right for us."

That kind of chemistry can't be bought, and it's readily apparent on tracks like "Third Day In A Row," a laid-back slice of infectious Americana that showcases the band's rich harmonies, and "Fossil," which they performed at Leonard's wedding before they'd ever even recorded it. In addition to the newest Bird's contributions (which stretch beyond percussion throughout the record), the album demonstrates the group's remarkable growth as songwriters and performers, with countless nights on the road across the US and Europe sharpening their senses and honing their keen understanding of each other's strengths.

"There's more collaboration than ever before in the band," says Craven. "This record is unlike any of our previous releases in that it has songs written by the two or three or four of us together. I think we've realized that in this band, we're surrounded by people we trust and who inspire us, so if we want something to be as good as it can be, it's in all of our interests to share in that collaboration."

The fruits of their teamwork come to full blossom on highlights like the toe-tapping, fiddle-led "Sabrina," penned on-the-spot, as a trio in the presence of the titular subject, and "Hands Of Man," a dark, Appalachian-influenced tune completed during the recording sessions in Milan Hill. "Where You Come From" marks Muench's first complete songwriting contribution to an album, while "Shining In The Distance" is a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lindsay Lou that grew out of Maya and Oliver's move to Nashville, and "When I Die" features a verse written by Leonard (live versions of the song have included a variety of additional verses contributed by peers and tourmates like Mandolin Orange, Miss Tess, Jordie Lane, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West).

Despite the new, more open approach to writing, the songs are as focused and incisive as ever. "All The News" is a reminder of just how lucky so many of us are to live in relative comfort and safety, while the groovy "Sunday Morning" is a call to action, as Craven sings, "You can shout for change and worry about the state of the world / But it's gonna take a little more than praying on a Sunday morning."

"I don't think that this record is overtly politicized," says Craven, "but there is an agreed perspective within the band, and I think that turns up throughout the album. It's not only our opportunity but our obligation to do what we can to help the people around us as best we can."

"This collection of songs honors what connects us as humans," Maya adds. "Being human can be a fast-paced, detached experience at times. I feel like part of what we do as musicians is rewire our connections to each other, and perhaps our connections to our collective memory or dream."

For The Stray Birds, those connections come from filling hearts with love and joy and light each night onstage, setting a Magic Fire and watching it spread everywhere they go. The most exciting thing about an album of firsts? It means The Stray Birds are just getting started.

Magic Fire is an album of firsts for The Stray Birds: their first with an outside producer, their first with venerable guest musicians, and their first truly collaborative songwriting effort. More importantly, perhaps, it's an album of mosts: the most exciting and engaging music they've ever composed paired with their most outspoken and insightful lyrics yet.

Magic Fire builds on the success of The Stray Birds' 2014 Yep Roc debut, Best Medicine, which was hailed by NPR's World Caf? for its "strong harmonies and sharp songwriting" and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Guitar World praised their "heartfelt creativity," while the Philadelphia City Paper called the band "stunning," and Mountain Stage applauded their singular ability to "successfully draw on the rich traditions of American folk music while still sounding modern." It was that unique formula that first brought them national attention and fueled their breakout in 2012, when their self-titled/self-released debut landed amongst NPR's Top Ten Folk/Americana Albums of the Year and earned them major festival performances everywhere from MerleFest to Scotland's Celtic Connections.

When it came time to record Magic Fire, The Stray Birds knew they were ready to take an ambitious step. They retreated to Milan Hill, New York, a small town outside of Woodstock in the Hudson River Valley, and teamed up with Larry Campbell. The three-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer (best known for his work with luminaries like Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, and Willie Nelson) enlisted his preferred engineer, Justin Guip (another three-time GRAMMY Award-winner who worked closely with the late Helm), and the group spent ten days together joyously exploring and creating the music that would become Magic Fire.

"Though a few of the new songs had been on stage in the past year, we granted most of these songs the opportunity to come to life right there in the studio," says Maya de Vitry, who splits her time between fiddle, guitar, and banjo in addition to singing. "It was intoxicating to go to this place of focus with songs that still felt so fresh and free."

"We'd never worked with anyone other than just an engineer in the studio before," adds Charles Muench, who plays banjo and bass in addition to contributing to the group's lush three-part vocal harmonies. "Larry was on our short list of people who we wanted to work with, and it was clear after a few conversations with him that nothing was off limits for this record. He offered up not only his production and direction, but also his playing to any and all of the music."

"We wanted some direction this time," continues Oliver Craven, who plays fiddle, guitar, and mandolin in addition to singing. "We wanted somebody outside of the music with great taste and vibe who could lend a critically unbiased and impartial ear to what we were doing. Larry is very relaxed and works on feel. I don't think I saw him write down one word the whole time."

Before the band settled into the studio, they headed back to their roots, returning to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There they spent two intensive days of pre-production with another new collaborator, drummer Shane Leonard.

"We started out as a trio of people who all grew up together in Lancaster County and had known each other for a very long time," says de Vitry. "But it was a slow and deliberate musical courtship, and it took years and a lot of patience for us to actually come together and get into a car and start touring and recording as a trio. When we met Shane, I can't even say that we played music together for more than a song or two before we asked him to join us to make a record. We all instinctually knew he was right for us."

That kind of chemistry can't be bought, and it's readily apparent on tracks like "Third Day In A Row," a laid-back slice of infectious Americana that showcases the band's rich harmonies, and "Fossil," which they performed at Leonard's wedding before they'd ever even recorded it. In addition to the newest Bird's contributions (which stretch beyond percussion throughout the record), the album demonstrates the group's remarkable growth as songwriters and performers, with countless nights on the road across the US and Europe sharpening their senses and honing their keen understanding of each other's strengths.

"There's more collaboration than ever before in the band," says Craven. "This record is unlike any of our previous releases in that it has songs written by the two or three or four of us together. I think we've realized that in this band, we're surrounded by people we trust and who inspire us, so if we want something to be as good as it can be, it's in all of our interests to share in that collaboration."

The fruits of their teamwork come to full blossom on highlights like the toe-tapping, fiddle-led "Sabrina," penned on-the-spot, as a trio in the presence of the titular subject, and "Hands Of Man," a dark, Appalachian-influenced tune completed during the recording sessions in Milan Hill. "Where You Come From" marks Muench's first complete songwriting contribution to an album, while "Shining In The Distance" is a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lindsay Lou that grew out of Maya and Oliver's move to Nashville, and "When I Die" features a verse written by Leonard (live versions of the song have included a variety of additional verses contributed by peers and tourmates like Mandolin Orange, Miss Tess, Jordie Lane, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West).

Despite the new, more open approach to writing, the songs are as focused and incisive as ever. "All The News" is a reminder of just how lucky so many of us are to live in relative comfort and safety, while the groovy "Sunday Morning" is a call to action, as Craven sings, "You can shout for change and worry about the state of the world / But it's gonna take a little more than praying on a Sunday morning."

"I don't think that this record is overtly politicized," says Craven, "but there is an agreed perspective within the band, and I think that turns up throughout the album. It's not only our opportunity but our obligation to do what we can to help the people around us as best we can."

"This collection of songs honors what connects us as humans," Maya adds. "Being human can be a fast-paced, detached experience at times. I feel like part of what we do as musicians is rewire our connections to each other, and perhaps our connections to our collective memory or dream."

For The Stray Birds, those connections come from filling hearts with love and joy and light each night onstage, setting a Magic Fire and watching it spread everywhere they go. The most exciting thing about an album of firsts? It means The Stray Birds are just getting started.

(Early Show) Bill Deasy - 'Swingers, Scamps & Valiants' Release Show

I recently discovered an old cassette tape (remember those?) buried in a cardboard box. It was titled "Swingers, Scamps & Valiants" and I remembered that I had named it in honor of the beloved 1972 Plymouth Scamp I had inherited from my grandmother. I wasn't sure what was on the tape and had to buy a little device just to hear it. My best guess is that the songs (20 of them) were recorded in 1990 and though obviously the sound quality left something to be desired, I could hear the conviction I was feeling and winced less often than I thought I would. And so, without giving myself a moment to hesitate, I asked my buddy Jake to do what little he could to improve the audio and my buddy Jaimee to see if she could cook up some visuals. The result is a limited time, limited edition 2 disc collection of hissy, warbly, incredibly earnest songs from 27 odd years ago.

I recently discovered an old cassette tape (remember those?) buried in a cardboard box. It was titled "Swingers, Scamps & Valiants" and I remembered that I had named it in honor of the beloved 1972 Plymouth Scamp I had inherited from my grandmother. I wasn't sure what was on the tape and had to buy a little device just to hear it. My best guess is that the songs (20 of them) were recorded in 1990 and though obviously the sound quality left something to be desired, I could hear the conviction I was feeling and winced less often than I thought I would. And so, without giving myself a moment to hesitate, I asked my buddy Jake to do what little he could to improve the audio and my buddy Jaimee to see if she could cook up some visuals. The result is a limited time, limited edition 2 disc collection of hissy, warbly, incredibly earnest songs from 27 odd years ago.

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble with Special Guest Nicholas Krgovich

LAETITIA SADIER

Another New Year, and new shapes are forming - if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us - familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.
From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding Youlocates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn't a surprise - Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab) - but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind's-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.
Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances - instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.
A key to Laetitia's music is her use of vocal arrangements. Throughout Finding Me Finding You, the shifting accompaniment creates space to bring this element gloriously forward. Arranged by Laetitia with Joe Watson and Jeff Parker making string charts that were subsequently transposed to vocal parts for several songs, richly arranged choirs of voices provide depth along with the thrilling presence of extra breath in the sound. Laetitia's community-politic is well-served by the groups of voices lending support to the machining of the song craft, providing additional uplift to her quintessentially for-ward-facing viewpoint - as well as massed voices from three different countries sharing space in harmony!
Working in collaboration is Laetita's traditions, and a key to this album's view on being free together (it is necessary, prefer-able and right!). The designation of Source Collective implies a new togetherness phase; alongside long-time collaborators Emmanuel Mario and Xavi Munoz, keyboard and flutes parts played by David Thayer (Little Tornados) were essential contributions, as well as further keys, synths and electronics from Phil M FU and several intense guitar sequences from Mason le Long. Chris A Cummings (aka Marker Starling, Laetitia's favorite composer) graciously wrote "Deep Background" for her. The duet with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor on "Love Captive" (not to mention Rob Mazurek's distinctive coronet playing!) gives voice to an ideological cornerstone of Find Me Finding You - that, should we be responsible enough to endeavor into a world of basic incomes and open relationships, we would make astonishing strides as a society. These sorts of things can only be done in agreement with others.
Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!

LAETITIA SADIER

Another New Year, and new shapes are forming - if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us - familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.
From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding Youlocates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn't a surprise - Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab) - but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind's-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.
Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances - instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.
A key to Laetitia's music is her use of vocal arrangements. Throughout Finding Me Finding You, the shifting accompaniment creates space to bring this element gloriously forward. Arranged by Laetitia with Joe Watson and Jeff Parker making string charts that were subsequently transposed to vocal parts for several songs, richly arranged choirs of voices provide depth along with the thrilling presence of extra breath in the sound. Laetitia's community-politic is well-served by the groups of voices lending support to the machining of the song craft, providing additional uplift to her quintessentially for-ward-facing viewpoint - as well as massed voices from three different countries sharing space in harmony!
Working in collaboration is Laetita's traditions, and a key to this album's view on being free together (it is necessary, prefer-able and right!). The designation of Source Collective implies a new togetherness phase; alongside long-time collaborators Emmanuel Mario and Xavi Munoz, keyboard and flutes parts played by David Thayer (Little Tornados) were essential contributions, as well as further keys, synths and electronics from Phil M FU and several intense guitar sequences from Mason le Long. Chris A Cummings (aka Marker Starling, Laetitia's favorite composer) graciously wrote "Deep Background" for her. The duet with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor on "Love Captive" (not to mention Rob Mazurek's distinctive coronet playing!) gives voice to an ideological cornerstone of Find Me Finding You - that, should we be responsible enough to endeavor into a world of basic incomes and open relationships, we would make astonishing strides as a society. These sorts of things can only be done in agreement with others.
Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!

Erin McKeown with Special Guest The Cabin Project

Erin McKeown is a musician, writer, and producer known internationally for her prolific disregard of stylistic boundaries. Her brash and clever electric guitar playing is something to see. Her singing voice is truly unique – clear, cool, and collected. Over the course of 11 studio albums and thousands of live performances, Erin has developed and refined a distinct and challenging mix of American musical styles. Her latest album is 2017’s MIRRORS BREAK BACK.

"Her operative mood is effortless grace." - LA Weekly

Erin McKeown is a musician, writer, and producer known internationally for her prolific disregard of stylistic boundaries. Her brash and clever electric guitar playing is something to see. Her singing voice is truly unique – clear, cool, and collected. Over the course of 11 studio albums and thousands of live performances, Erin has developed and refined a distinct and challenging mix of American musical styles. Her latest album is 2017’s MIRRORS BREAK BACK.

"Her operative mood is effortless grace." - LA Weekly

The Suitcase Junket

From the salvaged sounds of American juke joints, back porches, honky tonks and rock clubs, The Suitcase Junket conjures an entirely new sound in this essential rock collection, Pile Driver. The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz: artist, tinkerer, swamp yankee, one man band. His is the road worn voice rising over the grind of a tube amped dumpster guitar, with wild double pitches of throat singing. From The Suitcase Junket's penchant for thrift and ingenuity comes this full length album his debut at Signature Sounds of original rock anthems, mountain ballads, blues manifestos and dance hall festivity, played on instruments built of broken bottles, twisted forks, dried bones, gas cans, shoes, saw blades, a toy keyboard, and an overhead compartment’s worth of luggage.

From the salvaged sounds of American juke joints, back porches, honky tonks and rock clubs, The Suitcase Junket conjures an entirely new sound in this essential rock collection, Pile Driver. The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz: artist, tinkerer, swamp yankee, one man band. His is the road worn voice rising over the grind of a tube amped dumpster guitar, with wild double pitches of throat singing. From The Suitcase Junket's penchant for thrift and ingenuity comes this full length album his debut at Signature Sounds of original rock anthems, mountain ballads, blues manifestos and dance hall festivity, played on instruments built of broken bottles, twisted forks, dried bones, gas cans, shoes, saw blades, a toy keyboard, and an overhead compartment’s worth of luggage.

The Black Lillies with Special Guest Millgroves Crossing

The Black Lillies are a band for the ages: rich, rootsy tunes performed with as much heart as technical virtuosity. If you ask them, they’ll tell you they play "Tennessee music" - combining strains of swampy Memphis soul and blues with Nashville’s classic country and East Tennessee’s traditional Appalachian style - while Rolling Stone describes it as "country music with a soul-rock infusion, supported by bandleader Cruz Contreras' smart songwriting and tight musicianship." Either way, it’s music that stirs your soul, touches your heart and makes you want to dance.

The band's latest album, Hard to Please, was an immediate critical and radio success, hitting #1 on the Roots Music Report and #4 on the Americana radio charts as well as debuting at #12 on Billboard Heatseekers and #30 on Billboard's Top 200 Country Albums. American Songwriter summed it up as "a soulful mix of upbeat Americana and tender ballads," while Vanity Fair noted that "their sound continues to cross generations and musical genres - country, folk, blues and add in a touch of the Dead, for good measure." And the bar had already been set high by their previous releases: 2013’s Runaway Freeway Blues conquered the Billboard Top 200 country charts and was selected for dozens of "Best of" lists, catching the attention of NPR, CMT, Wall Street Journal, Guitar World, Garden & Gun and more for what Entertainment Weekly calls "strong roots-folk songwriting, sweet harmonies, and charismatic indie spirit," while 2011's 100 Miles of Wreckage won the Independent Music Award for Americana Album of the Year.

Their raucous live show has earned them festival slots and enthralled audiences at venues ranging from Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest and Stagecoach to the legendary Grand Ole Opry. The music is breakneck, brazen and beautiful; sultry soul, honky-tonk heartache, winding jams and flat-out rock'n'roll, tied together with soaring harmonies that "bring back echoes of practically every great male/female duo of the past several decades ... [the sound is] one for the ages, and, one suspects, ages yet to come," according to Glide Magazine.

Make no mistake: when you see The Black Lillies live, you definitely won't be hard to please.

The Black Lillies are a band for the ages: rich, rootsy tunes performed with as much heart as technical virtuosity. If you ask them, they’ll tell you they play "Tennessee music" - combining strains of swampy Memphis soul and blues with Nashville’s classic country and East Tennessee’s traditional Appalachian style - while Rolling Stone describes it as "country music with a soul-rock infusion, supported by bandleader Cruz Contreras' smart songwriting and tight musicianship." Either way, it’s music that stirs your soul, touches your heart and makes you want to dance.

The band's latest album, Hard to Please, was an immediate critical and radio success, hitting #1 on the Roots Music Report and #4 on the Americana radio charts as well as debuting at #12 on Billboard Heatseekers and #30 on Billboard's Top 200 Country Albums. American Songwriter summed it up as "a soulful mix of upbeat Americana and tender ballads," while Vanity Fair noted that "their sound continues to cross generations and musical genres - country, folk, blues and add in a touch of the Dead, for good measure." And the bar had already been set high by their previous releases: 2013’s Runaway Freeway Blues conquered the Billboard Top 200 country charts and was selected for dozens of "Best of" lists, catching the attention of NPR, CMT, Wall Street Journal, Guitar World, Garden & Gun and more for what Entertainment Weekly calls "strong roots-folk songwriting, sweet harmonies, and charismatic indie spirit," while 2011's 100 Miles of Wreckage won the Independent Music Award for Americana Album of the Year.

Their raucous live show has earned them festival slots and enthralled audiences at venues ranging from Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest and Stagecoach to the legendary Grand Ole Opry. The music is breakneck, brazen and beautiful; sultry soul, honky-tonk heartache, winding jams and flat-out rock'n'roll, tied together with soaring harmonies that "bring back echoes of practically every great male/female duo of the past several decades ... [the sound is] one for the ages, and, one suspects, ages yet to come," according to Glide Magazine.

Make no mistake: when you see The Black Lillies live, you definitely won't be hard to please.

Geographer

In the summer of 2005, after a series of deaths in the family, Michael Deni left his hometown in New Jersey for San Francisco. He spent the next several months with his guitar and a synthesizer, turning that tragedy into the songs that would soon become the foundation for Geographer. With the additions of cellist Nathan Blaz and drummer Brian Ostreicher, Geographer spent the next year cutting their teeth in the Bay Area, winning over crowds with the heart-pounding epics that make up their debut record, 'Innocent Ghosts.' After being selected one of three 'Undiscovered Bands You Need To Hear Now' by SPIN Magazine and garnering considerable word-of-mouth praise from their energetic live shows, the band signed to San Francisco-based label Tricycle Records, releasing a 7" single for the song 'Kites' in October 2009. 'Animal Shapes' follows up 'Kites,' building on the synth-driven aesthetic of the single, while _irting with darker, more esoteric underpinnings. The record merges Geographer's aptitude for crafting beautiful, haunting melodies with textural sounds and polyrhythmic energy, marking an evolution of their distinct style. With the overwhelming response to the release of 'Kites' and 'Animal Shapes,' punctuated by a dynamic and engaging live set, the band has already begun to make an indelible mark on the ears of music fans worldwide.

In the summer of 2005, after a series of deaths in the family, Michael Deni left his hometown in New Jersey for San Francisco. He spent the next several months with his guitar and a synthesizer, turning that tragedy into the songs that would soon become the foundation for Geographer. With the additions of cellist Nathan Blaz and drummer Brian Ostreicher, Geographer spent the next year cutting their teeth in the Bay Area, winning over crowds with the heart-pounding epics that make up their debut record, 'Innocent Ghosts.' After being selected one of three 'Undiscovered Bands You Need To Hear Now' by SPIN Magazine and garnering considerable word-of-mouth praise from their energetic live shows, the band signed to San Francisco-based label Tricycle Records, releasing a 7" single for the song 'Kites' in October 2009. 'Animal Shapes' follows up 'Kites,' building on the synth-driven aesthetic of the single, while _irting with darker, more esoteric underpinnings. The record merges Geographer's aptitude for crafting beautiful, haunting melodies with textural sounds and polyrhythmic energy, marking an evolution of their distinct style. With the overwhelming response to the release of 'Kites' and 'Animal Shapes,' punctuated by a dynamic and engaging live set, the band has already begun to make an indelible mark on the ears of music fans worldwide.

(Early Show) Chris Trapper (Of The Push Stars) with Special Guest Bea

CHRIS TRAPPER began his career as the front man for late-90's alternative rock band THE PUSH STARS (Capitol Records). With four CD releases and several high profile national tours -- including a run with Matchbox Twenty -- The Push Stars served to establish Chris as an authentic talent.

As a singer /songwriter, Chris is most known for his original song THIS TIME, the #1 selling song on the Grammy nominated soundtrack for AUGUST RUSH (Robin Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers /Warner Bros Pictures). His music can best be described as lyrically driven roots-pop with a knack for telling everyday stories.

The New York Times has called his work “classic pop perfection."

The new CD SYMPHONIES OF DIRT & DUST is a collection of 12 songs written and performed by Chris Trapper and Produced by Jason Meeker at Silver Top Studios, Boston, MA. Guest musicians include Dan McLoughlin of The Push Stars on bass and NYC singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild on harmonies.

"I have to mention Jason, the producer of Symphonies of Dirt & Dust. He is my old friend, who not only worked the clubs in rock bands but also worked for Geffen records in their heyday, so he has a good sense of the music business as a whole. What I love about Jason is that he is absolutely obsessed with his craft and getting songs right.

Every record tells a story. For me, much more than gimmicks, my albums are like diary entries, or truthful accounts of where I'm at in life. I suppose that might be the same for most songwriters, but in the spectrum of the music business, it's still an animal that's nearly extinct." Chris Trapper

Chris has toured North America and the UK with multi platinum songwriter COLIN HAY.

In the Spring of 2013 Chris performed a duet with his songwriting idol JOHN PRINE at the Portsmouth Songwriter Festival.

“It's an incredibly rare musician, particularly in the world of popular music, who is able to forge a career based on quiet dignity and steadfast integrity." The Buffalo News

A prolific songwriter, Chris can boast high profile film placements including There's Something About Mary (Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz), The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep), Say It Isn't So (Heather Graham) Gun Shy (Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson) and most recently, Some Kind of Beautiful *Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek) as well as significant television placements including All My Children, Women's Murder Club, Malcolm In The Middle, a coveted placement in George Clooney's final episode of ER, the theme song for WB Networks dramedy Pepper Dennis and a cameo on-screen appearance with the show's star, Rebecca Romjin.

Chris has written 7 songs with/for Canadian band GREAT BIG SEA, including their #1 single "Sea Of No Cares" from the certified-platinum Sea Of No Cares CD. Great Big Sea covered Trapper's song "Everything Shines" and their version served as the debut single off their certified-gold Road Rage CD album. Chris' songwriting collaborations with Great Big Sea earned him two prestigious SOCAN awards. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and Antigone Rising have performed other notable versions of Trapper's songs.

Trapper's live show is a favorite among fans of alt–acoustic music. His on–stage persona is warm and inclusive, his organic understanding of classic pop melody, infectious. Audience members seem to particularly appreciate the lighthearted moments with the ukulele.

"His humble sense of humility is what makes Trapper's songs so strong... He makes you feel like you are the person he's singing about." Popdose

Chris Trapper music can be purchased from iTunes or CDBaby

You can listen to the full Discography on Spotify

CHRIS TRAPPER began his career as the front man for late-90's alternative rock band THE PUSH STARS (Capitol Records). With four CD releases and several high profile national tours -- including a run with Matchbox Twenty -- The Push Stars served to establish Chris as an authentic talent.

As a singer /songwriter, Chris is most known for his original song THIS TIME, the #1 selling song on the Grammy nominated soundtrack for AUGUST RUSH (Robin Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers /Warner Bros Pictures). His music can best be described as lyrically driven roots-pop with a knack for telling everyday stories.

The New York Times has called his work “classic pop perfection."

The new CD SYMPHONIES OF DIRT & DUST is a collection of 12 songs written and performed by Chris Trapper and Produced by Jason Meeker at Silver Top Studios, Boston, MA. Guest musicians include Dan McLoughlin of The Push Stars on bass and NYC singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild on harmonies.

"I have to mention Jason, the producer of Symphonies of Dirt & Dust. He is my old friend, who not only worked the clubs in rock bands but also worked for Geffen records in their heyday, so he has a good sense of the music business as a whole. What I love about Jason is that he is absolutely obsessed with his craft and getting songs right.

Every record tells a story. For me, much more than gimmicks, my albums are like diary entries, or truthful accounts of where I'm at in life. I suppose that might be the same for most songwriters, but in the spectrum of the music business, it's still an animal that's nearly extinct." Chris Trapper

Chris has toured North America and the UK with multi platinum songwriter COLIN HAY.

In the Spring of 2013 Chris performed a duet with his songwriting idol JOHN PRINE at the Portsmouth Songwriter Festival.

“It's an incredibly rare musician, particularly in the world of popular music, who is able to forge a career based on quiet dignity and steadfast integrity." The Buffalo News

A prolific songwriter, Chris can boast high profile film placements including There's Something About Mary (Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz), The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep), Say It Isn't So (Heather Graham) Gun Shy (Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson) and most recently, Some Kind of Beautiful *Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek) as well as significant television placements including All My Children, Women's Murder Club, Malcolm In The Middle, a coveted placement in George Clooney's final episode of ER, the theme song for WB Networks dramedy Pepper Dennis and a cameo on-screen appearance with the show's star, Rebecca Romjin.

Chris has written 7 songs with/for Canadian band GREAT BIG SEA, including their #1 single "Sea Of No Cares" from the certified-platinum Sea Of No Cares CD. Great Big Sea covered Trapper's song "Everything Shines" and their version served as the debut single off their certified-gold Road Rage CD album. Chris' songwriting collaborations with Great Big Sea earned him two prestigious SOCAN awards. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and Antigone Rising have performed other notable versions of Trapper's songs.

Trapper's live show is a favorite among fans of alt–acoustic music. His on–stage persona is warm and inclusive, his organic understanding of classic pop melody, infectious. Audience members seem to particularly appreciate the lighthearted moments with the ukulele.

"His humble sense of humility is what makes Trapper's songs so strong... He makes you feel like you are the person he's singing about." Popdose

Chris Trapper music can be purchased from iTunes or CDBaby

You can listen to the full Discography on Spotify

(Late Show) DVE Presents The Loaded Show - Hosted By Sean Collier Featuring Norlex Belma, Ed Bailey, Collin Chamberlin, John Dick Winters, Blair Parker, Jesse Irvin, Derek Minto

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

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Over the last three decades, Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys have kept up a constant cycle of traveling back and forth across the lower 48, then hopping across the pond to Europe and beyond. They bring with them a brand of American music that has earned them an induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, several national television appearances, guest spots on The Grand Ole Opry, and a slew of adoring fans.

"I truly love being out on the road, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to sing my songs all over the world," said Sandy. "But when I'm away from the U.S. for too long, it's like I need a recharge... like I need a solid dose of everything Americana. Give me a Chuck Berry song while rolling down the interstate, or a truck stop conversation with a waitress who once danced with Lefty Frizzell, and I'm good for another three thousand miles".

Over the last three decades, Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys have kept up a constant cycle of traveling back and forth across the lower 48, then hopping across the pond to Europe and beyond. They bring with them a brand of American music that has earned them an induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, several national television appearances, guest spots on The Grand Ole Opry, and a slew of adoring fans.

"I truly love being out on the road, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to sing my songs all over the world," said Sandy. "But when I'm away from the U.S. for too long, it's like I need a recharge... like I need a solid dose of everything Americana. Give me a Chuck Berry song while rolling down the interstate, or a truck stop conversation with a waitress who once danced with Lefty Frizzell, and I'm good for another three thousand miles".

David Liebe Hart (From Cartoon Network/Adult Swim/Tim & Eric) with Special Guests The Gothees and Creature People

Known for his roles on Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and extensive tours throughout the US, Canada and Australia, David Liebe Hart is an outsider musician, actor and painter. A true original, he has communicated with extra-terrestrials, owns a large collection of puppets, and is obsessed with trains. While his vast and bizarre catalog of songs about aliens, religion, and failed relationships has yielded cult hits, such as "Salame", "Father & Son" and "Puberty", his recent collaborations with electronic musician Jonah Mociun, AKA Th' Mole, have propelled Liebe Hart into previously unexplored territory.

Throughout the past decade Liebe Hart has garnered a substantial and die-hard fan base, not only from his TV and film appearances but from his stints on the road performing music all across the US, UK, Ireland and Australia. His followers are extremely supportive and loyal, won over by David's obvious goodheartedness, honesty and hilarious idiosyncrasies, as well his fun and engaging stage shows. As the public demands it, David is traveling the globe in 2015 in conjunction with the release of his new album, Astronaut. On the heels of his triumphant return to Australia in March, David will spend the rest of the spring and summer canvasing the US.

With Jonah Mociun as backing musician, Liebe Hart puts on a show certain to please old fans and new ones alike. In addition to creating electronicised versions of David's old favorites, the duo performs their new songs along with puppets, projected video accompaniment, and David's oddly endearing stories of past relationships and paranormal encounters.

Known for his roles on Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and extensive tours throughout the US, Canada and Australia, David Liebe Hart is an outsider musician, actor and painter. A true original, he has communicated with extra-terrestrials, owns a large collection of puppets, and is obsessed with trains. While his vast and bizarre catalog of songs about aliens, religion, and failed relationships has yielded cult hits, such as "Salame", "Father & Son" and "Puberty", his recent collaborations with electronic musician Jonah Mociun, AKA Th' Mole, have propelled Liebe Hart into previously unexplored territory.

Throughout the past decade Liebe Hart has garnered a substantial and die-hard fan base, not only from his TV and film appearances but from his stints on the road performing music all across the US, UK, Ireland and Australia. His followers are extremely supportive and loyal, won over by David's obvious goodheartedness, honesty and hilarious idiosyncrasies, as well his fun and engaging stage shows. As the public demands it, David is traveling the globe in 2015 in conjunction with the release of his new album, Astronaut. On the heels of his triumphant return to Australia in March, David will spend the rest of the spring and summer canvasing the US.

With Jonah Mociun as backing musician, Liebe Hart puts on a show certain to please old fans and new ones alike. In addition to creating electronicised versions of David's old favorites, the duo performs their new songs along with puppets, projected video accompaniment, and David's oddly endearing stories of past relationships and paranormal encounters.

Emma Willmann with Special Guest Norlex Belma. Hosted by Collin Chamberlin.

Maine native and Comedy Cellar regular, Emma is one of the top comedians in New York City. Emma made her late night debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016 and has also performed standup on Fuse’s Uproarious, Seeso’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and The Guest List and AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live. In 2017, Emma had the opportunity to record a set for the CNN series The History of Comedy. Later this year you can catch Emma on the MTV International talking head series, Vidiots, as a cast regular and on the web series Gay Girl Straight Girl, 2 Girls one Show, and Janice Gunter Ghost Hunter (all set for release in 2017).
In addition to television, Emma has her own comedy show, The Check Spot on SiriusXM and is a regular co- host on Wake Up with Taylor! On SiriusXM STARZ.
In 2015, Emma was selected as a New Face at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. She’s also appeared at The Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Houston’s Whatever Fest, San Francisco Sketchfest, the SiriusXM South Beach Comedy Festival, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival in Australia and her own sold out show in the New York Comedy Festival.
Emma has also performed at colleges and clubs all over the country. In addition to touring as a headliner, Emma has opened for distinguished acts such as Louie Anderson, Louis C.K and Carly Aquilino. Emma beat out hundreds of comedians to be named one of the 10 Funniest comics as part of Caroline’s New York’s Funniest competition in 2014. She’s also been named one of the 10 Funniest Woman in NYC by Time Out NY and one of the 100 Woman We Love by GO Magazine. In 2016, Emma was featured in Elle Magazine’s Women in Comedy issue.

Maine native and Comedy Cellar regular, Emma is one of the top comedians in New York City. Emma made her late night debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016 and has also performed standup on Fuse’s Uproarious, Seeso’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and The Guest List and AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live. In 2017, Emma had the opportunity to record a set for the CNN series The History of Comedy. Later this year you can catch Emma on the MTV International talking head series, Vidiots, as a cast regular and on the web series Gay Girl Straight Girl, 2 Girls one Show, and Janice Gunter Ghost Hunter (all set for release in 2017).
In addition to television, Emma has her own comedy show, The Check Spot on SiriusXM and is a regular co- host on Wake Up with Taylor! On SiriusXM STARZ.
In 2015, Emma was selected as a New Face at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. She’s also appeared at The Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Houston’s Whatever Fest, San Francisco Sketchfest, the SiriusXM South Beach Comedy Festival, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival in Australia and her own sold out show in the New York Comedy Festival.
Emma has also performed at colleges and clubs all over the country. In addition to touring as a headliner, Emma has opened for distinguished acts such as Louie Anderson, Louis C.K and Carly Aquilino. Emma beat out hundreds of comedians to be named one of the 10 Funniest comics as part of Caroline’s New York’s Funniest competition in 2014. She’s also been named one of the 10 Funniest Woman in NYC by Time Out NY and one of the 100 Woman We Love by GO Magazine. In 2016, Emma was featured in Elle Magazine’s Women in Comedy issue.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival with Special Guests Cisco Kid and Benefits

9 years, 3 genres, and 4 records into it, Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s sound has emerged as something different than anyone might have expected. The music, now filled with 3 and 4-part harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles in one section and Motown in the next. The drums, bass, and keys, now centered on a Stax-like groove, and the 3 electric guitars now tastefully breathe dynamics into each song. All-the-while, the organic horns don’t dominate but compliment, like the old Memphis soul horns or The Band in “The Last Waltz”.

Forming in a dorm room in 2007, the band chose its name after a picture scrolled across a computer screen – just a simple sign with the words “Holy Ghost Tent Revival” written on it. Someone saw the picture, shouted out those words and there was no going back. Birthed of a banjo-driven fireball of ragtime/swing energy, Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s roots were formed by getting people moving on a dance floor. With their latest EP release, Summer Jelly, HGTR proved to be advancing and adding a new depth to their sound, and the fans were digging it.

Now laced with female vocals, 4 part harmonies, synths, and a second trumpet, HGTR is marrying genres in a way that NPR describes as that of a “soul-rock horn band that recalls 60s and 70s classic-rock influences such as The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers…”. This new sound has inspired amazing acts like Lake Street Dive, Dr. Dog, Shovels and Rope, and Robert Randolph & the Family Band to share their stage with them and in turn has elevated Holy Ghost Tent Revival to a nationally touring, mainstage-ready band.

9 years, 3 genres, and 4 records into it, Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s sound has emerged as something different than anyone might have expected. The music, now filled with 3 and 4-part harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles in one section and Motown in the next. The drums, bass, and keys, now centered on a Stax-like groove, and the 3 electric guitars now tastefully breathe dynamics into each song. All-the-while, the organic horns don’t dominate but compliment, like the old Memphis soul horns or The Band in “The Last Waltz”.

Forming in a dorm room in 2007, the band chose its name after a picture scrolled across a computer screen – just a simple sign with the words “Holy Ghost Tent Revival” written on it. Someone saw the picture, shouted out those words and there was no going back. Birthed of a banjo-driven fireball of ragtime/swing energy, Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s roots were formed by getting people moving on a dance floor. With their latest EP release, Summer Jelly, HGTR proved to be advancing and adding a new depth to their sound, and the fans were digging it.

Now laced with female vocals, 4 part harmonies, synths, and a second trumpet, HGTR is marrying genres in a way that NPR describes as that of a “soul-rock horn band that recalls 60s and 70s classic-rock influences such as The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers…”. This new sound has inspired amazing acts like Lake Street Dive, Dr. Dog, Shovels and Rope, and Robert Randolph & the Family Band to share their stage with them and in turn has elevated Holy Ghost Tent Revival to a nationally touring, mainstage-ready band.

(Early Show) Smokin' Section

Smokin' Section brings you danceable hits from the 60s on -- horn-heavy, soulful, goodtime, party music!

Smokin' Section brings you danceable hits from the 60s on -- horn-heavy, soulful, goodtime, party music!

Joe Purdy with Special Guest Amy Vachal

A few years back, if someone had started giving him some lip in the middle of a gig, Joe Purdy might have left the stage and beat a little sense into the guy. Nowadays, he’s more likely to calm everybody down, assure the loudmouth that he was a welcome and important part of his audience and through words and warmth talk him into sitting back down and join everyone else in enjoying Purdy’s extraordinary music.

What has happened to Joe Purdy? Some might call it growth, although he’s already grown a lot in wandering from his Arkansas home state to Los Angeles, and from there toward and beyond further horizons. Along the way he’s recorded a baker’s dozen worth of albums. His songs have turned up on numerous TV shows and film soundtracks. He even received a special request from Pete Townshend to join him onstage. Purdy said yes.

Even so, in recent years the singer, songwriter and self-described “hillbilly” has come to see the world and his role in it somewhat differently. His new views chart the direction on his latest album, Who Will Be Next? which plants its feet deep in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others while addressing immediate transgressions.

Purdy’s determination to honor the giants of American folk while applying his unique skills as writer and passionate vocalist reveal just how much he has achieved and evolved as an observer and participant in our times. In addition to his recording and touring, Joe recently made his acting debut starring in the new feature film, American Folk, which won a Best New Film award at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It will be released nation-wide in 2018.

A few years back, if someone had started giving him some lip in the middle of a gig, Joe Purdy might have left the stage and beat a little sense into the guy. Nowadays, he’s more likely to calm everybody down, assure the loudmouth that he was a welcome and important part of his audience and through words and warmth talk him into sitting back down and join everyone else in enjoying Purdy’s extraordinary music.

What has happened to Joe Purdy? Some might call it growth, although he’s already grown a lot in wandering from his Arkansas home state to Los Angeles, and from there toward and beyond further horizons. Along the way he’s recorded a baker’s dozen worth of albums. His songs have turned up on numerous TV shows and film soundtracks. He even received a special request from Pete Townshend to join him onstage. Purdy said yes.

Even so, in recent years the singer, songwriter and self-described “hillbilly” has come to see the world and his role in it somewhat differently. His new views chart the direction on his latest album, Who Will Be Next? which plants its feet deep in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others while addressing immediate transgressions.

Purdy’s determination to honor the giants of American folk while applying his unique skills as writer and passionate vocalist reveal just how much he has achieved and evolved as an observer and participant in our times. In addition to his recording and touring, Joe recently made his acting debut starring in the new feature film, American Folk, which won a Best New Film award at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It will be released nation-wide in 2018.

Penny & Sparrow - Wendigo Tour with Special Guests Lowland Hum

There are things that we ought to be afraid of. Things that, rightfully, send cold sweat nightmares. For kids it can be anything from the darkness under a bed, or strangers, or crossing a busy street. For adults it might change face a bit and become things like sickness, job security, or heartbreak. And sometimes, when you point the flashlight right at the thing you're terrified of, you declaw it. You take its mask off and it returns to being an empty, boring closet with nothing inside to harmyou. Or maybe the light shows an unexpected beauty in the place of what you thought was horrific. Other times, though, you aim the beam straight into the pitch black and the thing that you prayed wasn't real, the one with all the teeth, is right there smiling at you. Texas born duo Penny and Sparrow know these things, and in their 2017 release Wendigo they turn the lights off on purpose and hunt for what's really there in the dark. With a musical maturity that has been honed over half a decade and hundreds of live shows, Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter are presenting their most ambitious album yet. Rejoined by Chris Jacobie (producer and engineer of Creature, Tenboom, Struggle Pretty & Christmas Songs) Penny & Sparrow delve into numerous new and diverse sound landscapes throughout Wendigo, without sacrificing the sharp honesty that's accompanied their career thus far. From the quarter kick laden DzSalome and Saint Proculadz, to the pitched-down vibe of DzKindz and all the way to the hypnotically instrumental portion of DzThere's a lot of us in heredz, it's obvious that Wendigo is unafraid to be sonically experimental. Thematically, Baxter's word bank reaches further than on previous albums. From the trilogy of songs humanizing the Grim Reaper (DzVisitingdzDzSmittendzDzMonikerdz) and cascading down to the Urban Legend love song DzWendigodz, the intersection of daily grit and supernatural fable is analyzed in depth. On the back half of the record, Jahnke's melodic leadership extends even deeper into beauty and surprise. With seamless track fusion from DzA kind of HungerdztoDzLet me be Crucialdz, Jahnke has invented a 6 song musical terrain that is both complex in its varied offerings and impressive in its execution. Arriving a year and a half after Let a Lover Drown You, their Muscle Shoals recorded, John Paul White produced last album, Wendigo was born from healing and heat. Having moved to Florence to record in the Single Lock studio, Baxter and Jahnke found themselves with time off in their first boiling Alabama summer. Exhausted from touring and life-weary in general, the duo turned to songwriting for catharsis. A makeshift recording rig was set up in the living room of their shared home and the duo began workshopping song after song. Over the course of that summer, while their wives (and a dog named Gator) bustled around the microphone during sessions, the bones of the record were set. The original plan was to listen to the rough tracks and eventually redo everything cleaner. That desire changed though as they fell in love with the honest sounds of cooking, old door hinges, silverware clinking, and the rest of their Alabama home noise. As affection for the demo's grew, Baxter and Jahnke realized that they wanted to keep as much of them as possible. Thus, listening to Wendigo is hearing the honest soundtrack for a real season in the
life of two families. The footsteps, the creaking and the din of supper prep heard throughout the songs all reinforce the sense of integrity that has long been a staple of the band. Releasing on August 25, 2017, Wendigo will be Penny and Sparrow's 5thfull-length album. Beginning as therapeutic demos in northern Alabama and ending as a fully realized project at Jacobie's home studio in San Antonio,TX, this record leaves the duo smirking and feeling accomplished. The creature with which this album shares its name is a shape shifter. One moment it looks completely normal and the next it's all fangs and gore. In an instant it can slip it's skin and go back and forth from ominous and ugly to hope and lovely. Life can be like that. Hell, we can be like that. Knowing this, Penny and Sparrow offer Wendigo as the flashlight you can arm yourself with. Use it to see what's worth fearing and what was actually beautiful all along. Shine it into whatever patch of darkness scares you. For better or worse, at least you'll know what's there.

There are things that we ought to be afraid of. Things that, rightfully, send cold sweat nightmares. For kids it can be anything from the darkness under a bed, or strangers, or crossing a busy street. For adults it might change face a bit and become things like sickness, job security, or heartbreak. And sometimes, when you point the flashlight right at the thing you're terrified of, you declaw it. You take its mask off and it returns to being an empty, boring closet with nothing inside to harmyou. Or maybe the light shows an unexpected beauty in the place of what you thought was horrific. Other times, though, you aim the beam straight into the pitch black and the thing that you prayed wasn't real, the one with all the teeth, is right there smiling at you. Texas born duo Penny and Sparrow know these things, and in their 2017 release Wendigo they turn the lights off on purpose and hunt for what's really there in the dark. With a musical maturity that has been honed over half a decade and hundreds of live shows, Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter are presenting their most ambitious album yet. Rejoined by Chris Jacobie (producer and engineer of Creature, Tenboom, Struggle Pretty & Christmas Songs) Penny & Sparrow delve into numerous new and diverse sound landscapes throughout Wendigo, without sacrificing the sharp honesty that's accompanied their career thus far. From the quarter kick laden DzSalome and Saint Proculadz, to the pitched-down vibe of DzKindz and all the way to the hypnotically instrumental portion of DzThere's a lot of us in heredz, it's obvious that Wendigo is unafraid to be sonically experimental. Thematically, Baxter's word bank reaches further than on previous albums. From the trilogy of songs humanizing the Grim Reaper (DzVisitingdzDzSmittendzDzMonikerdz) and cascading down to the Urban Legend love song DzWendigodz, the intersection of daily grit and supernatural fable is analyzed in depth. On the back half of the record, Jahnke's melodic leadership extends even deeper into beauty and surprise. With seamless track fusion from DzA kind of HungerdztoDzLet me be Crucialdz, Jahnke has invented a 6 song musical terrain that is both complex in its varied offerings and impressive in its execution. Arriving a year and a half after Let a Lover Drown You, their Muscle Shoals recorded, John Paul White produced last album, Wendigo was born from healing and heat. Having moved to Florence to record in the Single Lock studio, Baxter and Jahnke found themselves with time off in their first boiling Alabama summer. Exhausted from touring and life-weary in general, the duo turned to songwriting for catharsis. A makeshift recording rig was set up in the living room of their shared home and the duo began workshopping song after song. Over the course of that summer, while their wives (and a dog named Gator) bustled around the microphone during sessions, the bones of the record were set. The original plan was to listen to the rough tracks and eventually redo everything cleaner. That desire changed though as they fell in love with the honest sounds of cooking, old door hinges, silverware clinking, and the rest of their Alabama home noise. As affection for the demo's grew, Baxter and Jahnke realized that they wanted to keep as much of them as possible. Thus, listening to Wendigo is hearing the honest soundtrack for a real season in the
life of two families. The footsteps, the creaking and the din of supper prep heard throughout the songs all reinforce the sense of integrity that has long been a staple of the band. Releasing on August 25, 2017, Wendigo will be Penny and Sparrow's 5thfull-length album. Beginning as therapeutic demos in northern Alabama and ending as a fully realized project at Jacobie's home studio in San Antonio,TX, this record leaves the duo smirking and feeling accomplished. The creature with which this album shares its name is a shape shifter. One moment it looks completely normal and the next it's all fangs and gore. In an instant it can slip it's skin and go back and forth from ominous and ugly to hope and lovely. Life can be like that. Hell, we can be like that. Knowing this, Penny and Sparrow offer Wendigo as the flashlight you can arm yourself with. Use it to see what's worth fearing and what was actually beautiful all along. Shine it into whatever patch of darkness scares you. For better or worse, at least you'll know what's there.

That 1 Guy

With an extensive and amazing track record of unique and imaginative performances featuringhis curious instrument and copious amounts of originality, Mike Silverman aka That1Guy has set himself apart as a true one-of-a-kind talent that rivals any other artist currently in the entertainment industry. Averaging 150-200 shows a year all over North America and Canada, he has been a consistent favorite at such festivals as: Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Big Day out, All Good, Bella, High Sierra, Summer Meltdown, Montreal Jazz Festival, and many more. He was also the ʻTap Water Award' winner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for best musical act. His legendary collaboration and multiple tours with Buckethead as The Frankenstein Brothers has further cemented his virtuoso story as a creative visionary as well.
His innovation continues to soar with the announcement of another tour kicking off in January 2015. Along with his pioneering main instrument, The Magic Pipe, a monstrosity of metal, strings, and electronics, facilitates the dynamic live creation of music and magic in ways only That1Guy can conjure, expect to see magic as well now integrated into the already clever performance. With this addition of incorporating magic seamlessly into his live shows, he has legitimately achieved an all inclusive audio/visual performance unlike anything experienced before. "So much of my music has miraculous qualities to it because it's hard to tell what's going on. There are lots of slights of hand and sonic misdirection. It feels like I was meant to do magic".
Silverman's backstory is very similar to many musicians that have come before him. He grew up a self proclaimed music geek, soaked in the influence of his jazz musician father, and enrolled in San Francisco Conservatory of Music before joining the local jazz scene himself as a sought-after percussive bassist. This is where the similarities end, though, and where That1Guy truly began. "In my case, being a bass player, I just felt very restricted by the instrument itself," he says. "I've always wanted to sound different and have my own sound. I was headed that way on the bass, but for me to fully realize what I was hearing in my head sonically I was going to have to do it my way". His influential and innovative double bass style eventually evolved into what we see today as That1Guy and ʻThe Magic Pipe'.
As his story continues to develop, Billboard has famously noted, "In the case of Mike Silverman's slamming, futuristic funk act… the normal rules of biology just don't apply."

With an extensive and amazing track record of unique and imaginative performances featuringhis curious instrument and copious amounts of originality, Mike Silverman aka That1Guy has set himself apart as a true one-of-a-kind talent that rivals any other artist currently in the entertainment industry. Averaging 150-200 shows a year all over North America and Canada, he has been a consistent favorite at such festivals as: Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Big Day out, All Good, Bella, High Sierra, Summer Meltdown, Montreal Jazz Festival, and many more. He was also the ʻTap Water Award' winner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for best musical act. His legendary collaboration and multiple tours with Buckethead as The Frankenstein Brothers has further cemented his virtuoso story as a creative visionary as well.
His innovation continues to soar with the announcement of another tour kicking off in January 2015. Along with his pioneering main instrument, The Magic Pipe, a monstrosity of metal, strings, and electronics, facilitates the dynamic live creation of music and magic in ways only That1Guy can conjure, expect to see magic as well now integrated into the already clever performance. With this addition of incorporating magic seamlessly into his live shows, he has legitimately achieved an all inclusive audio/visual performance unlike anything experienced before. "So much of my music has miraculous qualities to it because it's hard to tell what's going on. There are lots of slights of hand and sonic misdirection. It feels like I was meant to do magic".
Silverman's backstory is very similar to many musicians that have come before him. He grew up a self proclaimed music geek, soaked in the influence of his jazz musician father, and enrolled in San Francisco Conservatory of Music before joining the local jazz scene himself as a sought-after percussive bassist. This is where the similarities end, though, and where That1Guy truly began. "In my case, being a bass player, I just felt very restricted by the instrument itself," he says. "I've always wanted to sound different and have my own sound. I was headed that way on the bass, but for me to fully realize what I was hearing in my head sonically I was going to have to do it my way". His influential and innovative double bass style eventually evolved into what we see today as That1Guy and ʻThe Magic Pipe'.
As his story continues to develop, Billboard has famously noted, "In the case of Mike Silverman's slamming, futuristic funk act… the normal rules of biology just don't apply."

Son Little with Special Guest Doe Paoro - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

What is the new magic of music? If you trace the path of a plan back to its beginnings, what do you find? Is it a tree, growing from seed with deep roots planted in fertile soil, branches arcing out in all directions? Or a spark in the dark, an electrical charge? Is it a waterway, with swirling currents raging to create a river? Or is it a snowflake, falling from on high and dropping down to earth with a singular splash?

For Son Little, the genesis of a musical idea -- the magic -- remains largely a mystery. But his kinetic ability to summon that energy all the same, to command it, hold onto it, and set it in motion, is the stuff of alchemy.

"The magic is this well I can draw from; you can't necessarily see it, you just have to believe that it's there," he says. "If you believe, then you can reach your hand down in there and get it wet. But if you don't feel like it's there, it won't be."

Son Little, the singer and songwriter born Aaron Livingston, is the easygoing musical alchemist of our time. He is a conjurer, and much like those of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, his songs are deconstructions of the diaspora of American R & B. Deftly he weaves different eras of the sound -- blues, soul, gospel, rock and roll -- through his own unique vision, never forced, always smooth, each note a tributary on the flowing river of rhythm and blues. The currents empty into an estuary, and into this well water Son dips his bucket -- trusting innately in the magic's existence. And now, with his second full-length album, New Magic, he has delivered a profound statement, a cohesive creation that captures the diverse spirit of American music in a fresh and modern way.

On the heels of his 2015 self-titled debut and the 5-song EP, Songs I Forgot, that came before it, Son Little found his reach steadily growing. His song "Lay Down" had been played over seven million times on Spotify, he had toured the world with artists as diverse as Leon Bridges, Kelis, Mumford & Sons, and Shakey Graves in addition to his own headlining runs, and also became a Grammy Award winning producer, earning a 2016 Best Roots Performance award for his work on Mavis Staples's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." But in the midst of all this success, so too did he find that the window for writing new songs was shrinking. Where his previous releases had been culled from various eras and scattered sessions early in his career, he now craved an opportunity to sit and write a new album in a distinct, unified direction, one that would establish his place in the world of black music. The only problems were: when, and how?

"I was on the road so much and found myself wanting to write, but I couldn't really find time or space to do it in the way I wanted," Son Little says. "I was playing around with beats or messing with chord changes; I had all these little fragments, thinking I would later piece them together. I kept the wheels turning by doing those exercises, but I knew it would feel really luxurious to be able to sit down by myself and write something from scratch. I was really hungry to get in that space and chisel out something new, without being interrupted by sound checks and rides in vans and radio. All that stuff is cool and I was having a blast touring, but a crucial part for me was missing. I wanted the writing to be broken up as little as possible."

In the meantime, all that motion was filling him with both confidence and inspiration for the next step. The limitations he encountered while performing a debut record with so much studio sorcery via a live band onstage each night were influential in terms of how he began thinking about a followup. "I've often been a guy who was somewhat hiding behind the guitar," he says. "Getting used to being out front and exposing the guitar and my voice, and leaving a lot of space in the material, all really inspired me and got the wheels turning for what I would do with the next group of songs."

Sometimes, in order to see the stars, you have to get far away from the city lights. Finally, in the fall of last year, Son Little found himself in such a place, and it was there at the end of a tour in the remote, tropical Northern Territory of Australia that he looked up in the sky and saw the perfect alignment. Benefitting from several hours free on a string of consecutive days as well as the excitement of alien terrain and the inherent magic in a borrowed instrument, he felt things starting to come together.

"The Northern Territory is a place where things are moving a little slower than anywhere else," he says. "There were these big crocodiles and enormous bats, just wild things I'd never seen. I found myself with a few hours to kill a couple days in a row, and I set up in the hotel and just kinda followed the process: I found a rhythmic idea I liked and then sang and played a little guitar over it. Like a tip jar in a cafe that fills up after the first dollar goes in, you need that first little piece to slide into place and then the whole thing comes together. I ran off five songs all in the same day." (Three of those songs, "Kimberly's Mine," Charging Bull," and "Mad About You," would make the album.)

That process to which he refers stems from an experience he encountered while writing a cornerstone of his early material, the soul-scorching, chanty-like "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches," one of few moments of inspiration he can still visualize. The song came to him while standing in his bedroom; beginning with a couple of words and a tempo, Son Little started to pound his fist on the dresser and made up the song's melody on the spot. "I was banging on the dresser, and then I don't know what happened. There was no melody, no words...and now there is. I know now that if I get part of the melody, a phrase or two, and a tempo, then the rest will follow. So I wanted to follow that pattern for the new songs and let the idea grow from that without worrying about what the production would sound like or which guitar to use. I was more focused on finding the song and the arrangement."

But, as it happened, the guitar seemed to find him, too. "All those songs in Australia were written with one mic and an acoustic left-handed guitar I was playing upside-down," he says. "It was borrowed from the Australian singer Gurrumul, a blind Aboriginal musician with this angelic voice. I needed a guitar and he was nice enough to loan it to me; I took it upstairs and all those songs came out of it. You hear people say guitars have songs in them, and that one certainly did.

Whether or not Son Little was aware at the time of the overt connection to his pair of R & B heroes -- Stevie and Jimi -- that lending presented is unclear. Let's, again, chalk it up to the magic.

"Those two dudes are a little bit alone there; I can't see how there can be a higher level of musical genius after Stevie and Jimi," he says. "I do think of both of them as R & B guys, but neither was trying to contain themselves there in any way. They were letting themselves be influenced by other stuff, be it jazz or Latin music or whatever, but they were just making songs and musically doing what felt good. That's what I wanted to do here. I do see myself that way, in the branches of the R & B river."

(A quick but magical aside: In the winter of 2015, Son found himself invited to a reading a friend was giving at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, the legendary underground recording facility conceived and once owned by Jimi Hendrix himself. After the event he was invited to spin his debut album on the studio's speakers, and while it played an employee asked him if he would like to "see the river" -- a trickling branch of the seldom seen Minetta Creek that runs under parts of Manhattan. "I put my record on -- which was a trip, like I was playing it for Jimi -- and we went back in the corner behind where the amps are set up, and they pulled this panel up, and sure enough, there's running water right under the floor. You can stick your hand in there and get it wet.")

Flowing water is a recurring theme in Son Little's music, in addition to its symbolic inspiration. From his debut's hit "The River" to a lyric in "Mad About You" ("Now you say it's different, baby/ After I took you to the river"), his work tends to be thematically waterlogged. "My well is fed by the different tributaries, the other water sources that pour into it," he says. "When you dip your bucket into it, you're gonna get all kinds of different water. Water behaves that way underground, too; you can dig if you know where it's at, and there are people, like the Aboriginal water diviner, who can find the water. My music has a kind of magic in it, being connected to whatever those forces are."

Having been handed the divining rod in Australia, Son Little was able to connect the dots and finish New Magic by early spring. The trio written Down Under form the heart of the album's vibe, with "Kimberly's Mine" leading the record off with its Old Blues soap-operatic feel, and "Charging Bull"'s funky, fevered groove and the D'Angelo-inspired R & B minimalism of "Mad About You" -- a lovelorn, aching track Son Little claims found itself only when he stripped it down to its barest essentials -- holding anchor in the middle. But the song that serves as the album's true centerpiece is "Blue Magic," a Philly Soul inspired number deconstructed almost like a rap song or the best of production savants like J Dilla, Madlib, and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, complete with chiming glockenspiel bells and old school female backing vocals. With its origins predating the Australia trip, the song has the appeal of an instant classic, a feeling that did not escape its maker, either.

"I knew 'Blue Magic' would be my focal point from the second I made it up," Son Little says. "I was just goofing around before a show -- and I wish I could explain where something like this comes from but I have absolutely no idea -- and I was freestyling with the guitar. The thought occurred to me that people were characterizing my music as this new blues thing, even though I was never exactly trying to heroically 'save the blues' or anything like that, or even put myself in a place where everything had to be bluesy. But suddenly I'm telling you in the song I've got the 'blue magic,' and even though there are things called 'blue magic' I hadn't seen that phrase anywhere or heard anyone say it. But I said it, and then there's a pressure to back it up, to support that claim. I think I'm addicted to that pressure; this thing is hanging in the balance, and the whole thing can go up in smoke if I don't figure this out and put these pieces together in motion. I enjoy the feeling of not knowing what's gonna happen from there; it doesn't always end perfectly but I think you have to resolve that pressure, and not knowing how is really exciting to me. That feeling is somewhat hanging over this whole album: watch me make something out of thin air."

Following that lead are the pair of "Bread and Butter," a playful, modern take on James Brown, and "The Middle," a classic drinking-blues, both deconstructed through a filter of musical Cubism. "ASAP" is Son Little's fiery, direct take on a Hendrix rock and roll song, and "Letter Bound" reminds of a yearning, crooning Bobby Womack joint, with the "little cry" in Son Little's voice, as Mavis Staples calls it, taking the spotlight. The album ends with the ethereal, gospel-tinged number "Demon to the Dark," which serves as the singer's conversation with Washington Phillips, a little known blind musician and church deacon from early in the 20th century whose song "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today" utilized the dulceola, a novelty instrument comprised of two autoharps essentially stuck together. Phillips was a man of strong faith, a deacon in his church, and in his music Son Little found a source of forgiveness as well as an inspiration to carry on. As chiming strains of Omnichord take us out, the electricity in the air is palpable, the belief and trust in the spark at its peak.

What is the new magic? How did that deep well get there in the first place, and what is the source water of all these confluents pouring in? To Son Little, there is an attitude running through his makings and his music, a mighty river of superstition and Spanish castles that runneth over. And despite its murky and mysterious origins, the musician's divination ability is just that -- divine.

"There is this vein of the blues in it, and it can be distilled or boiled down just to the guitar and voice -- or even just the voice," he says. "And that process of me in my bedroom, making 'Your Love' with the dresser as the drum -- I did that same thing as I wrote these songs. It's that same scenario of making something out of nothing. And even if I am capable of doing that, I can't really explain it. That's the gist of the magic. I don't know where it comes from, but it's there, and I can call on it. I can call on it standing by the dresser, walking down the street, driving a car, on a train, a plane, in a hotel room, in the green room, during an interview...it's just there. I'm trying to pay tribute to that fact. It's had a really powerful and in some ways increasingly healing effect on my life. Hopefully other people have that experience with it as well. I'm just happy that it's there, wherever it comes from."

What is the new magic of music? If you trace the path of a plan back to its beginnings, what do you find? Is it a tree, growing from seed with deep roots planted in fertile soil, branches arcing out in all directions? Or a spark in the dark, an electrical charge? Is it a waterway, with swirling currents raging to create a river? Or is it a snowflake, falling from on high and dropping down to earth with a singular splash?

For Son Little, the genesis of a musical idea -- the magic -- remains largely a mystery. But his kinetic ability to summon that energy all the same, to command it, hold onto it, and set it in motion, is the stuff of alchemy.

"The magic is this well I can draw from; you can't necessarily see it, you just have to believe that it's there," he says. "If you believe, then you can reach your hand down in there and get it wet. But if you don't feel like it's there, it won't be."

Son Little, the singer and songwriter born Aaron Livingston, is the easygoing musical alchemist of our time. He is a conjurer, and much like those of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, his songs are deconstructions of the diaspora of American R & B. Deftly he weaves different eras of the sound -- blues, soul, gospel, rock and roll -- through his own unique vision, never forced, always smooth, each note a tributary on the flowing river of rhythm and blues. The currents empty into an estuary, and into this well water Son dips his bucket -- trusting innately in the magic's existence. And now, with his second full-length album, New Magic, he has delivered a profound statement, a cohesive creation that captures the diverse spirit of American music in a fresh and modern way.

On the heels of his 2015 self-titled debut and the 5-song EP, Songs I Forgot, that came before it, Son Little found his reach steadily growing. His song "Lay Down" had been played over seven million times on Spotify, he had toured the world with artists as diverse as Leon Bridges, Kelis, Mumford & Sons, and Shakey Graves in addition to his own headlining runs, and also became a Grammy Award winning producer, earning a 2016 Best Roots Performance award for his work on Mavis Staples's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." But in the midst of all this success, so too did he find that the window for writing new songs was shrinking. Where his previous releases had been culled from various eras and scattered sessions early in his career, he now craved an opportunity to sit and write a new album in a distinct, unified direction, one that would establish his place in the world of black music. The only problems were: when, and how?

"I was on the road so much and found myself wanting to write, but I couldn't really find time or space to do it in the way I wanted," Son Little says. "I was playing around with beats or messing with chord changes; I had all these little fragments, thinking I would later piece them together. I kept the wheels turning by doing those exercises, but I knew it would feel really luxurious to be able to sit down by myself and write something from scratch. I was really hungry to get in that space and chisel out something new, without being interrupted by sound checks and rides in vans and radio. All that stuff is cool and I was having a blast touring, but a crucial part for me was missing. I wanted the writing to be broken up as little as possible."

In the meantime, all that motion was filling him with both confidence and inspiration for the next step. The limitations he encountered while performing a debut record with so much studio sorcery via a live band onstage each night were influential in terms of how he began thinking about a followup. "I've often been a guy who was somewhat hiding behind the guitar," he says. "Getting used to being out front and exposing the guitar and my voice, and leaving a lot of space in the material, all really inspired me and got the wheels turning for what I would do with the next group of songs."

Sometimes, in order to see the stars, you have to get far away from the city lights. Finally, in the fall of last year, Son Little found himself in such a place, and it was there at the end of a tour in the remote, tropical Northern Territory of Australia that he looked up in the sky and saw the perfect alignment. Benefitting from several hours free on a string of consecutive days as well as the excitement of alien terrain and the inherent magic in a borrowed instrument, he felt things starting to come together.

"The Northern Territory is a place where things are moving a little slower than anywhere else," he says. "There were these big crocodiles and enormous bats, just wild things I'd never seen. I found myself with a few hours to kill a couple days in a row, and I set up in the hotel and just kinda followed the process: I found a rhythmic idea I liked and then sang and played a little guitar over it. Like a tip jar in a cafe that fills up after the first dollar goes in, you need that first little piece to slide into place and then the whole thing comes together. I ran off five songs all in the same day." (Three of those songs, "Kimberly's Mine," Charging Bull," and "Mad About You," would make the album.)

That process to which he refers stems from an experience he encountered while writing a cornerstone of his early material, the soul-scorching, chanty-like "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches," one of few moments of inspiration he can still visualize. The song came to him while standing in his bedroom; beginning with a couple of words and a tempo, Son Little started to pound his fist on the dresser and made up the song's melody on the spot. "I was banging on the dresser, and then I don't know what happened. There was no melody, no words...and now there is. I know now that if I get part of the melody, a phrase or two, and a tempo, then the rest will follow. So I wanted to follow that pattern for the new songs and let the idea grow from that without worrying about what the production would sound like or which guitar to use. I was more focused on finding the song and the arrangement."

But, as it happened, the guitar seemed to find him, too. "All those songs in Australia were written with one mic and an acoustic left-handed guitar I was playing upside-down," he says. "It was borrowed from the Australian singer Gurrumul, a blind Aboriginal musician with this angelic voice. I needed a guitar and he was nice enough to loan it to me; I took it upstairs and all those songs came out of it. You hear people say guitars have songs in them, and that one certainly did.

Whether or not Son Little was aware at the time of the overt connection to his pair of R & B heroes -- Stevie and Jimi -- that lending presented is unclear. Let's, again, chalk it up to the magic.

"Those two dudes are a little bit alone there; I can't see how there can be a higher level of musical genius after Stevie and Jimi," he says. "I do think of both of them as R & B guys, but neither was trying to contain themselves there in any way. They were letting themselves be influenced by other stuff, be it jazz or Latin music or whatever, but they were just making songs and musically doing what felt good. That's what I wanted to do here. I do see myself that way, in the branches of the R & B river."

(A quick but magical aside: In the winter of 2015, Son found himself invited to a reading a friend was giving at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, the legendary underground recording facility conceived and once owned by Jimi Hendrix himself. After the event he was invited to spin his debut album on the studio's speakers, and while it played an employee asked him if he would like to "see the river" -- a trickling branch of the seldom seen Minetta Creek that runs under parts of Manhattan. "I put my record on -- which was a trip, like I was playing it for Jimi -- and we went back in the corner behind where the amps are set up, and they pulled this panel up, and sure enough, there's running water right under the floor. You can stick your hand in there and get it wet.")

Flowing water is a recurring theme in Son Little's music, in addition to its symbolic inspiration. From his debut's hit "The River" to a lyric in "Mad About You" ("Now you say it's different, baby/ After I took you to the river"), his work tends to be thematically waterlogged. "My well is fed by the different tributaries, the other water sources that pour into it," he says. "When you dip your bucket into it, you're gonna get all kinds of different water. Water behaves that way underground, too; you can dig if you know where it's at, and there are people, like the Aboriginal water diviner, who can find the water. My music has a kind of magic in it, being connected to whatever those forces are."

Having been handed the divining rod in Australia, Son Little was able to connect the dots and finish New Magic by early spring. The trio written Down Under form the heart of the album's vibe, with "Kimberly's Mine" leading the record off with its Old Blues soap-operatic feel, and "Charging Bull"'s funky, fevered groove and the D'Angelo-inspired R & B minimalism of "Mad About You" -- a lovelorn, aching track Son Little claims found itself only when he stripped it down to its barest essentials -- holding anchor in the middle. But the song that serves as the album's true centerpiece is "Blue Magic," a Philly Soul inspired number deconstructed almost like a rap song or the best of production savants like J Dilla, Madlib, and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, complete with chiming glockenspiel bells and old school female backing vocals. With its origins predating the Australia trip, the song has the appeal of an instant classic, a feeling that did not escape its maker, either.

"I knew 'Blue Magic' would be my focal point from the second I made it up," Son Little says. "I was just goofing around before a show -- and I wish I could explain where something like this comes from but I have absolutely no idea -- and I was freestyling with the guitar. The thought occurred to me that people were characterizing my music as this new blues thing, even though I was never exactly trying to heroically 'save the blues' or anything like that, or even put myself in a place where everything had to be bluesy. But suddenly I'm telling you in the song I've got the 'blue magic,' and even though there are things called 'blue magic' I hadn't seen that phrase anywhere or heard anyone say it. But I said it, and then there's a pressure to back it up, to support that claim. I think I'm addicted to that pressure; this thing is hanging in the balance, and the whole thing can go up in smoke if I don't figure this out and put these pieces together in motion. I enjoy the feeling of not knowing what's gonna happen from there; it doesn't always end perfectly but I think you have to resolve that pressure, and not knowing how is really exciting to me. That feeling is somewhat hanging over this whole album: watch me make something out of thin air."

Following that lead are the pair of "Bread and Butter," a playful, modern take on James Brown, and "The Middle," a classic drinking-blues, both deconstructed through a filter of musical Cubism. "ASAP" is Son Little's fiery, direct take on a Hendrix rock and roll song, and "Letter Bound" reminds of a yearning, crooning Bobby Womack joint, with the "little cry" in Son Little's voice, as Mavis Staples calls it, taking the spotlight. The album ends with the ethereal, gospel-tinged number "Demon to the Dark," which serves as the singer's conversation with Washington Phillips, a little known blind musician and church deacon from early in the 20th century whose song "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today" utilized the dulceola, a novelty instrument comprised of two autoharps essentially stuck together. Phillips was a man of strong faith, a deacon in his church, and in his music Son Little found a source of forgiveness as well as an inspiration to carry on. As chiming strains of Omnichord take us out, the electricity in the air is palpable, the belief and trust in the spark at its peak.

What is the new magic? How did that deep well get there in the first place, and what is the source water of all these confluents pouring in? To Son Little, there is an attitude running through his makings and his music, a mighty river of superstition and Spanish castles that runneth over. And despite its murky and mysterious origins, the musician's divination ability is just that -- divine.

"There is this vein of the blues in it, and it can be distilled or boiled down just to the guitar and voice -- or even just the voice," he says. "And that process of me in my bedroom, making 'Your Love' with the dresser as the drum -- I did that same thing as I wrote these songs. It's that same scenario of making something out of nothing. And even if I am capable of doing that, I can't really explain it. That's the gist of the magic. I don't know where it comes from, but it's there, and I can call on it. I can call on it standing by the dresser, walking down the street, driving a car, on a train, a plane, in a hotel room, in the green room, during an interview...it's just there. I'm trying to pay tribute to that fact. It's had a really powerful and in some ways increasingly healing effect on my life. Hopefully other people have that experience with it as well. I'm just happy that it's there, wherever it comes from."

The Quebe Sisters with Special Guest Dead Elements

When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away.
 
It's partly because the trio's vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana, all the time, respectful of the artists that inspired them the most.
 
And whether the Quebes (rhymes with "maybe") are decked out in denims and boots or fashionably dressed to the nines in makeup, skirts and heels, the fresh-faced, clean-cut sisters, all in their 20s, look as good as they sound.
 
Not surprisingly, the Quebe Sisters win standing ovations at just about every show. It's been that way since 2000, when they started fiddling together as pre-teens.
 
The sisters' past is as colorful and eventful as their future is bright. Growing up in Burleson, a southern suburb of Fort Worth, Hulda, Sophia and Grace were ages 7, 10 and 12 in 1998 when they attended their first local fiddle competition in nearby Denton, and decided fiddling was what they wanted to do.
 
The girls earned solo and group accolades early on, winning state and national championships in their respective age groups in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

The Quebes' evolution from the whiz-kid Western swing fiddlers they were back then to the smokin'-hot young adult Americana band they are today is a remarkable story, by any measure.

Along with headlining their own shows to ever-growing audiences, they've shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky and many others.

Today, after more than a decade of travelling the U.S. and the world, and recording three acclaimed albums, Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe are pros in a variety of genres, and count many famous musicians among their biggest boosters.

The Quebes' unbridled passion for American music, along with their talent, skills and a lot of hard work, has taken them far beyond their wildest early aspirations.
 
"One thing is for sure, you don't see a group like the Quebe Sisters come along every day," famed Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told listeners on his own show on Nashville's WSM. "Give them your undivided attention, and if you're not already, you too, will become a fan."

When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away.
 
It's partly because the trio's vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana, all the time, respectful of the artists that inspired them the most.
 
And whether the Quebes (rhymes with "maybe") are decked out in denims and boots or fashionably dressed to the nines in makeup, skirts and heels, the fresh-faced, clean-cut sisters, all in their 20s, look as good as they sound.
 
Not surprisingly, the Quebe Sisters win standing ovations at just about every show. It's been that way since 2000, when they started fiddling together as pre-teens.
 
The sisters' past is as colorful and eventful as their future is bright. Growing up in Burleson, a southern suburb of Fort Worth, Hulda, Sophia and Grace were ages 7, 10 and 12 in 1998 when they attended their first local fiddle competition in nearby Denton, and decided fiddling was what they wanted to do.
 
The girls earned solo and group accolades early on, winning state and national championships in their respective age groups in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

The Quebes' evolution from the whiz-kid Western swing fiddlers they were back then to the smokin'-hot young adult Americana band they are today is a remarkable story, by any measure.

Along with headlining their own shows to ever-growing audiences, they've shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky and many others.

Today, after more than a decade of travelling the U.S. and the world, and recording three acclaimed albums, Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe are pros in a variety of genres, and count many famous musicians among their biggest boosters.

The Quebes' unbridled passion for American music, along with their talent, skills and a lot of hard work, has taken them far beyond their wildest early aspirations.
 
"One thing is for sure, you don't see a group like the Quebe Sisters come along every day," famed Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told listeners on his own show on Nashville's WSM. "Give them your undivided attention, and if you're not already, you too, will become a fan."

Race to the Coffin Presents Sean Patton. Hosted by John Dick Winters

Sean Patton is a comedian based in Los Angeles and New York, by way of New Orleans. He began doing stand-up in the Crescent City and have since performed in comedy clubs across the US and Canada, as well as The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2011), Just for Laughs Chicago (2013), Just for Laughs Toronto (2013), and Just for Laughs Montreal (2008, 2010, 2012). He's performed on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham (2009), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010), and Conan (2011, 2013). 2013 also marked the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour. More recently, He's been on @midnight (2014, 2015) and will be on the second seasons of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (2015) and This Is Not Happening (2015, 2017), Showtime's Live from SXSW (2017) and TruTv's Comedy Knockout (2016, 2017) As for acting, He's appeared on IFC'S Maron, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer and TruTV's Those who can't.

Those are the things I've done that I'm proud of. For a list of things I've done that I'm not so proud of... yeah right, you ain't never gonna know that! I love what I do, some of you will too (thanks!), and some of you will not (but thanks for coming).

I want to share myself with you, whomever you are.

Sean Patton is a comedian based in Los Angeles and New York, by way of New Orleans. He began doing stand-up in the Crescent City and have since performed in comedy clubs across the US and Canada, as well as The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2011), Just for Laughs Chicago (2013), Just for Laughs Toronto (2013), and Just for Laughs Montreal (2008, 2010, 2012). He's performed on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham (2009), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010), and Conan (2011, 2013). 2013 also marked the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour. More recently, He's been on @midnight (2014, 2015) and will be on the second seasons of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (2015) and This Is Not Happening (2015, 2017), Showtime's Live from SXSW (2017) and TruTv's Comedy Knockout (2016, 2017) As for acting, He's appeared on IFC'S Maron, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer and TruTV's Those who can't.

Those are the things I've done that I'm proud of. For a list of things I've done that I'm not so proud of... yeah right, you ain't never gonna know that! I love what I do, some of you will too (thanks!), and some of you will not (but thanks for coming).

I want to share myself with you, whomever you are.

Girls Guns and Glory with Special Guest Thieves and Lovers

Love and Protest: two concepts that seldom go hand in hand. Until you think about it a while.
That's what singer, guitarist and songwriter Ward Hayden did as he began mapping out plans for Girls Guns & Glory's next album, which happens to be called Love and Protest.
"That title sums up this album and it sums me up very well too," he says. "We've done 10 years of touring, living, learning and growing, maturing and developing a broader world view, a view outside of the small town where I grew up."
That decade began with Hayden and several like-minded musicians getting together. Their love for early rock 'n' roll, true country, raw blues and pretty much any kind of authentic American music branded them quickly as anomalous — and electrifying. Since that time they've barnstormed far beyond their Boston hometown, playing honky-tonks, beer joints and more recently concert venues throughout the U.S. They've amassed a loyal legion of fans along the way. The media have noticed too, including Rolling Stone, which heralds them as a "modern-day Buddy Holly plus Dwight Yoakam divided by the Mavericks."
Now, in this milestone year, with Girls Guns & Glory recording for the first time on its own label, the group has channeled all it's experienced into its most personal and, paradoxically, hardest-rocking release to date.
"Love and Protest is the name of the album because its songs explore the emotion of love," Hayden explains. "And when love is faced with opposition, it's the protest of that emotion. It's alpha and omega — love and protest. There's a lot of ground to cover between those two extremes."
They begin with the album's first single and opening track. "Rock 'n' Roll." With bassist Paul Dilley and drummer Josh Kiggans laying down a no-nonsense, backbeat-driven groove, lead vocalist and guitarist Hayden sings, "I'm a hunter, a collector of things. I keep holding onto bad memories." And yet, when the chorus hits, he proclaims that he's "ready to rock 'n' roll."
Like much of Hayden's work, these lyrics run deeper than they seem at first listen, with a sub current of heartbreak and obsession. "I don't just collect physical trinkets," Hayden notes. "This song is more about experiences and memories, the things you can't see but they stay with you in your head and your heart.
Similar spirits haunt the bitterly self-destructive "Wine Went Bad," the loneliness of "Reno, Nevada" ("I might as well be a world away"), the exquisitely pure honky-tonk lament "Empty Bottles," the painful introspection of "Memories Don't Die" and "Stare at the Darkness," and "Diamondillium," a dystopian meditation shaded by noir guitar and incongruously inspired by an episode of Futurama — really, everything on the album, including its one cover, a resurrection of Gram Parsons' "Hot Burrito No. 1."
"The growth and maturity of Girls Guns & Glory as a band is what led us to take on this song," Hayden says. "Lyrically, I think it's a song that would make Hank Williams proud. Love was, and is, there in the person telling the story, but his love interest has taken the things she's learned from their relationship and moved on to someone else. The storyteller is left to pine over it. It's love and protest exemplified.
To complement the immediacy of Hayden's words, Girls Guns & Glory elected to cut Love and Protest entirely in analog, with Drew Townson, an acknowledged master of that format, recruited to produce with the band.
"There's a nostalgia to working with analog," Hayden says. "There are also limitations — no editing, making sure you don't run out of tape. But those limitations force you to let things go, let things happen. The anxiety begets beauty and makes the band do its best every take, firing on all cylinders and working together as a cohesive unit.
"It's as stripped-down as we've ever been. Even going into it, I didn't imagine it would turn out as pure as it did."
Going back to analog parallels the band's return to its earliest days as an independent act, in control of its career. "This is the first album in eight years where we did everything ourselves," Hayden says. "It's the first album we've co-produced. We don't worry about appeasing a label anymore. We're creating music only for ourselves and our fans."
To illustrate, he points to one track, "Man Wasn't Made," an affirmation that "man wasn't made to just lie down and die," set to a rollicking rockabilly beat and ignited by sparks of steel guitar. "When we were working with a label, they kept telling me that protest songs don't sell so they didn't want to put this kind of cut on a record. Well," he says, smiling, "now we can sneak in a couple of actual protest songs, in a not-so-sly way."
"With this record, we feel almost like a brand new band," he continues. "We take things in a different direction. A lot of that is because a shift has occurred on our tours. We're getting out of the bars and playing more in theaters and listening rooms. Instead of just trying to keep people on the dance floor for three hours, we're crafting songs for people who really like to listen. That's allowed us to dig deeper lyrically, to make more mature music with a higher level of musicianship. We're making the music we want to make. We're not limiting it to any genre in particular. We're willing to do whatever feels right."
"You could say," Hayden concludes, "we're a bigger part of the music itself than we've ever been."
Nothing could be better news for those who have loved Girls Guns & Glory. Nothing can give more hope to all still waiting for their faith in real, honest-to-God American music to be restored.

Love and Protest: two concepts that seldom go hand in hand. Until you think about it a while.
That's what singer, guitarist and songwriter Ward Hayden did as he began mapping out plans for Girls Guns & Glory's next album, which happens to be called Love and Protest.
"That title sums up this album and it sums me up very well too," he says. "We've done 10 years of touring, living, learning and growing, maturing and developing a broader world view, a view outside of the small town where I grew up."
That decade began with Hayden and several like-minded musicians getting together. Their love for early rock 'n' roll, true country, raw blues and pretty much any kind of authentic American music branded them quickly as anomalous — and electrifying. Since that time they've barnstormed far beyond their Boston hometown, playing honky-tonks, beer joints and more recently concert venues throughout the U.S. They've amassed a loyal legion of fans along the way. The media have noticed too, including Rolling Stone, which heralds them as a "modern-day Buddy Holly plus Dwight Yoakam divided by the Mavericks."
Now, in this milestone year, with Girls Guns & Glory recording for the first time on its own label, the group has channeled all it's experienced into its most personal and, paradoxically, hardest-rocking release to date.
"Love and Protest is the name of the album because its songs explore the emotion of love," Hayden explains. "And when love is faced with opposition, it's the protest of that emotion. It's alpha and omega — love and protest. There's a lot of ground to cover between those two extremes."
They begin with the album's first single and opening track. "Rock 'n' Roll." With bassist Paul Dilley and drummer Josh Kiggans laying down a no-nonsense, backbeat-driven groove, lead vocalist and guitarist Hayden sings, "I'm a hunter, a collector of things. I keep holding onto bad memories." And yet, when the chorus hits, he proclaims that he's "ready to rock 'n' roll."
Like much of Hayden's work, these lyrics run deeper than they seem at first listen, with a sub current of heartbreak and obsession. "I don't just collect physical trinkets," Hayden notes. "This song is more about experiences and memories, the things you can't see but they stay with you in your head and your heart.
Similar spirits haunt the bitterly self-destructive "Wine Went Bad," the loneliness of "Reno, Nevada" ("I might as well be a world away"), the exquisitely pure honky-tonk lament "Empty Bottles," the painful introspection of "Memories Don't Die" and "Stare at the Darkness," and "Diamondillium," a dystopian meditation shaded by noir guitar and incongruously inspired by an episode of Futurama — really, everything on the album, including its one cover, a resurrection of Gram Parsons' "Hot Burrito No. 1."
"The growth and maturity of Girls Guns & Glory as a band is what led us to take on this song," Hayden says. "Lyrically, I think it's a song that would make Hank Williams proud. Love was, and is, there in the person telling the story, but his love interest has taken the things she's learned from their relationship and moved on to someone else. The storyteller is left to pine over it. It's love and protest exemplified.
To complement the immediacy of Hayden's words, Girls Guns & Glory elected to cut Love and Protest entirely in analog, with Drew Townson, an acknowledged master of that format, recruited to produce with the band.
"There's a nostalgia to working with analog," Hayden says. "There are also limitations — no editing, making sure you don't run out of tape. But those limitations force you to let things go, let things happen. The anxiety begets beauty and makes the band do its best every take, firing on all cylinders and working together as a cohesive unit.
"It's as stripped-down as we've ever been. Even going into it, I didn't imagine it would turn out as pure as it did."
Going back to analog parallels the band's return to its earliest days as an independent act, in control of its career. "This is the first album in eight years where we did everything ourselves," Hayden says. "It's the first album we've co-produced. We don't worry about appeasing a label anymore. We're creating music only for ourselves and our fans."
To illustrate, he points to one track, "Man Wasn't Made," an affirmation that "man wasn't made to just lie down and die," set to a rollicking rockabilly beat and ignited by sparks of steel guitar. "When we were working with a label, they kept telling me that protest songs don't sell so they didn't want to put this kind of cut on a record. Well," he says, smiling, "now we can sneak in a couple of actual protest songs, in a not-so-sly way."
"With this record, we feel almost like a brand new band," he continues. "We take things in a different direction. A lot of that is because a shift has occurred on our tours. We're getting out of the bars and playing more in theaters and listening rooms. Instead of just trying to keep people on the dance floor for three hours, we're crafting songs for people who really like to listen. That's allowed us to dig deeper lyrically, to make more mature music with a higher level of musicianship. We're making the music we want to make. We're not limiting it to any genre in particular. We're willing to do whatever feels right."
"You could say," Hayden concludes, "we're a bigger part of the music itself than we've ever been."
Nothing could be better news for those who have loved Girls Guns & Glory. Nothing can give more hope to all still waiting for their faith in real, honest-to-God American music to be restored.

Charlie Parr with Special Guest Dan Petrich

Fans who have been following Charlie Parr through his previous 13 full-length albums and decades of nonstop touring already know that the Duluth-based songwriter has a way of carving a path straight to the gut. On his newest record, Dog, however, he seems to be digging deeper and hitting those nerves quicker than ever before.
"I want my son to have this when I'm gone," Charlie sings not 10 seconds into the opening song on Dog, "Hobo." His voice sounds weary but insistent, his accompaniment sparse and sorrowful. By the second line, the listener has no choice but to be transported on a journey through the burrows of his troubled mind, following him through shadowy twists and turns as he searches for a way out.
It turns out Charlie's been grappling with quite a bit over these past few years. As he prepares to release his new album on Red House Records this fall, he's just as candid about discussing his experiences in
person as he is while singing on the heat-rending Dog.
"I had some really, really bad depression problems over the last couple years," Charlie explains. "I've been trying to get fit, trying not to drink so much, trying not to do the rock 'n' roll guy thing. And then I got depressed. Really depressed. And to me, depression feels like there's me, and then there's this kind of hazy fog of rancid jello all around me, that you can't feel your way out of. And then there's this really, really horrible third thing, this impulsive thing, that doesn't feel like it's me or my depression. It feels like it's coming from outside somewhere. And it's the thing that comes on you all of a sudden, and it's the voice of suicide, it's the voice of ‘quit.'"

"These songs have all kind of come out of that. Especially songs like ‘Salt Water' and ‘Dog,' they really came heavily out of just being depressed, and having to say something about it."

Sometimes I'm alright
Other times it's hard to tell
Like finding light in the bottom of the darkest well
- "Sometimes I'm Alright"
In the album's quieter moments, Charlie confronts these issues head-on, using only an acoustic guitar or banjo to light the way. But the incredible thing about Dog is that it digs into dark matter and contemplates serious topics like mental illness and mortality while embracing a pulse of persistence and forward motion; throughout the album, more and more musicians seem to be joining in the fray as the tempo builds, keeping the overall vibe upbeat.
"I was going to do it completely solo," Charlie says. "I was going to go to this barn in Wisconsin, sit there and play my songs. And I was practicing them and I thought, this is devastating. These songs are hard to
hear in this format. I would never be able to listen to them again. And then my friend Tom Herbers, he
saw something was wrong. We talked, booked time at Creation" Audio, and made a plan to flesh out the album with a backing band.

So Charlie called on some longtime friends who he's collaborated with throughout his career: the experimental folk artist Jeff Mitchell, percussionist Mikkel Beckman, harmonica player Dave Hundreiser, and bassist Liz Draper, who traded her typical upright bass in for an electric at Charlie's request. The group found an instant chemistry in the studio, capturing some of the tracks on the first take.
"I wrote all the lyrics on these giant pieces of paper, and I had highlighters, and I assigned them each a color. I was going to be super organized," Charlie remembers. "And then we started playing, and all of a
sudden none of that even mattered. These stupid highlighters, the pieces of paper - I should have just
trusted in the beginning that these friends would know how to take care of my songs."
You claim the bed lifted up off the floor
Well, how do you know I'm not as good as you are? A soul is a soul is a soul is a soul
- "Dog"
In the album's more raucous moments, Charlie turns from contemplating his inner struggles to examining his connection to other living creatures. The album's title track, "Dog," and the blistering "Another Dog" were inspired by some of the lessons he's learned from his own pet, and wondering about the way dogs interact with humans and the outside world.
"I have a dog, her name is Ruby but I call her Ruben, and we go for these long, crazy, chaotic walks," Charlie says. "Because I decided a long time ago that I get along really well with this dog, and I was
taking her for walks, and she wanted to go this way, and I wanted to go that way. And then I thought, why
are we going to go this way and not that way? Maybe I should be the one getting walked. Maybe I'll learn something. So I follow the dog."

Despite the album's darker moments, the listener is left hearing Charlie in a more optimistic and defiant headspace, reflecting on how far he's come - and how content he is to accept that some things are simply unknowable.

Fans who have been following Charlie Parr through his previous 13 full-length albums and decades of nonstop touring already know that the Duluth-based songwriter has a way of carving a path straight to the gut. On his newest record, Dog, however, he seems to be digging deeper and hitting those nerves quicker than ever before.
"I want my son to have this when I'm gone," Charlie sings not 10 seconds into the opening song on Dog, "Hobo." His voice sounds weary but insistent, his accompaniment sparse and sorrowful. By the second line, the listener has no choice but to be transported on a journey through the burrows of his troubled mind, following him through shadowy twists and turns as he searches for a way out.
It turns out Charlie's been grappling with quite a bit over these past few years. As he prepares to release his new album on Red House Records this fall, he's just as candid about discussing his experiences in
person as he is while singing on the heat-rending Dog.
"I had some really, really bad depression problems over the last couple years," Charlie explains. "I've been trying to get fit, trying not to drink so much, trying not to do the rock 'n' roll guy thing. And then I got depressed. Really depressed. And to me, depression feels like there's me, and then there's this kind of hazy fog of rancid jello all around me, that you can't feel your way out of. And then there's this really, really horrible third thing, this impulsive thing, that doesn't feel like it's me or my depression. It feels like it's coming from outside somewhere. And it's the thing that comes on you all of a sudden, and it's the voice of suicide, it's the voice of ‘quit.'"

"These songs have all kind of come out of that. Especially songs like ‘Salt Water' and ‘Dog,' they really came heavily out of just being depressed, and having to say something about it."

Sometimes I'm alright
Other times it's hard to tell
Like finding light in the bottom of the darkest well
- "Sometimes I'm Alright"
In the album's quieter moments, Charlie confronts these issues head-on, using only an acoustic guitar or banjo to light the way. But the incredible thing about Dog is that it digs into dark matter and contemplates serious topics like mental illness and mortality while embracing a pulse of persistence and forward motion; throughout the album, more and more musicians seem to be joining in the fray as the tempo builds, keeping the overall vibe upbeat.
"I was going to do it completely solo," Charlie says. "I was going to go to this barn in Wisconsin, sit there and play my songs. And I was practicing them and I thought, this is devastating. These songs are hard to
hear in this format. I would never be able to listen to them again. And then my friend Tom Herbers, he
saw something was wrong. We talked, booked time at Creation" Audio, and made a plan to flesh out the album with a backing band.

So Charlie called on some longtime friends who he's collaborated with throughout his career: the experimental folk artist Jeff Mitchell, percussionist Mikkel Beckman, harmonica player Dave Hundreiser, and bassist Liz Draper, who traded her typical upright bass in for an electric at Charlie's request. The group found an instant chemistry in the studio, capturing some of the tracks on the first take.
"I wrote all the lyrics on these giant pieces of paper, and I had highlighters, and I assigned them each a color. I was going to be super organized," Charlie remembers. "And then we started playing, and all of a
sudden none of that even mattered. These stupid highlighters, the pieces of paper - I should have just
trusted in the beginning that these friends would know how to take care of my songs."
You claim the bed lifted up off the floor
Well, how do you know I'm not as good as you are? A soul is a soul is a soul is a soul
- "Dog"
In the album's more raucous moments, Charlie turns from contemplating his inner struggles to examining his connection to other living creatures. The album's title track, "Dog," and the blistering "Another Dog" were inspired by some of the lessons he's learned from his own pet, and wondering about the way dogs interact with humans and the outside world.
"I have a dog, her name is Ruby but I call her Ruben, and we go for these long, crazy, chaotic walks," Charlie says. "Because I decided a long time ago that I get along really well with this dog, and I was
taking her for walks, and she wanted to go this way, and I wanted to go that way. And then I thought, why
are we going to go this way and not that way? Maybe I should be the one getting walked. Maybe I'll learn something. So I follow the dog."

Despite the album's darker moments, the listener is left hearing Charlie in a more optimistic and defiant headspace, reflecting on how far he's come - and how content he is to accept that some things are simply unknowable.

Tony Lucca / Derik Hultquist

Tony Lucca

He was cast by Justin Timberlake to play "the cool guy" in Timberlake's directorial debut.

He finished third on The Voice in 2012, won a record deal in the process, and received more press coverage than any contestant on the show that season... or any season, for that matter.

He made a record with Adam Levine, then toured with Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson.

He was cast on the hit show "Parenthood" playing himself as a rock singer, and performed an original song.

He even starred in an Aaron Spelling prime-time drama and dated Keri Russell for years, winding up in countless gossip mags.

His name is Tony Lucca.

So why isn't he a household name? Maybe he simply hadn't made the right record before.

This time, Lucca believes he has. It's his 8th full-length studio album, his first self-titled release, and first entirely self-produced effort.

"We went in with the intention of making a record that was as live-sounding as possible. I wanted to close my eyes and be able to visualize the players in the room or up on the stage, actually playing the songs together. One guitar over here, the other guy over there, bass, drums, some keys? I mean, that's the rock-n-roll I fell in love with when I was a kid." Lucca pulls inspiration from the heroes he heard on the radio growing up, from Tom Petty, Billy Squier to AC/DC's Angus Young, tapping into a sense of timelessness he places somewhere between The Black Crowes and the Black Keys.

Each of the 12 songs on "Tony Lucca" are deeply personal. The record kicks off with "Old Girl," Lucca's rebuff to the music business treadmill. On the upbeat "Imagination", Lucca recalls the evening where he met his wife... to the best of his ability. Lucca's fans will enjoy the diverse sonic quality of four of his trademark ballads -- the epic and sweeping piano-driven "North Star", the optimistic "Smoke 'Em", the push and pull of love lost and found in "Right On Time", and the sweet album closer that bares his daughter's name, "Sparrow."

Funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign (one that hit its $25K funding goal just inside of 30 hours), Lucca feels strongly that his fans stepped up so that he could make the best record he possibly could -- one he could finally feel comfortable releasing with his own name as the title. To that point, Lucca says "this record is pure. And honest. And hopefully completely refreshing to its listeners."

Tony Lucca was born on the outskirts of Detroit on the heels of Motown's heyday, raised within the loving confines of an enormous family of musicians; his mom was the 10th of 12 kids who all sang and played. At the ripe old age of 12, Tony had his first paying gig as a musician at a Jr. High School dance and by the age of 15, he parlayed his childhood rock-n-roll fantasy into a legitimate career, getting cast among an extraordinary group of newcomers on The All New Mickey Mouse Club, along with Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears.

Shortly after graduating high school, Lucca wound up in LA and embarked upon an independent recording career that would span over 20 years. Along the way he's toured with artists as colossal as Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, *NSYNC and Marc Anthony, as well as several of his fellow Hotel Cafe kin including Josh Kelley, Sara Bareilles, Joey Ryan (Milk Carton Kids), Gabe Dixon and Andrew Belle. Lucca won the LA Music Award for best male singer/songwriter in 2001 and appeared numerous times on Last Call with Carson Daly, as well as The Wayne Brady Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Also in 2013, Lucca was the sole entertainment for FOX's NFL Thanksgiving Day telecast for the Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers game.

Derik Hultquist
“I spend a lot of my time waiting,” Derik Hultquist says. “Waiting on life, waiting on a word, waiting on women. Waiting on myself. There is something I want to access­­. I’m trying to find poetry, and the only way I know how to do it is to just be as honest and patient as possible.” He pauses, then adds dryly, “And tell a couple of jokes.”

Biding time and searching for answers often conjure up of images of sparseness––long, barren stretches in between key moments. But on his new album Southern Iron (Carnival Music), Hultquist offers rich portraits of reflection, anticipation, and stillness via lush rock-and-roll that suggest waiting isn’t a mere segue: it’s living.

Hultquist grew up just south of Knoxville in Alcoa, Tennessee, a small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. He taught himself to play guitar on his dad’s old instrument––“It was just the worst guitar,” Hultquist characteristically deadpans in his East Tennessee drawl. “When I first started playing, you could only make a couple of chords on it. So I had to just write my own songs from the get-go.”

The remark is signature Hultquist: part self-deprecating wit, part sincere observation about the power of working with what you’ve got.

Hultquist attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he served as goalie for the men’s soccer team. When he headed to Nashville after graduation almost a decade ago, the move was not spurred by a conscious decision to pursue music professionally. He wasn’t interested in joining the storied ranks of staff writers who create hits for the city’s mainstream country music machine, but he did want to develop the sounds and lyrics that had always busied his mind. “I’ve sung my whole life. I think I wrote my first song when I was in middle school,” he says. “It just seemed like the natural thing to do.”

So Hultquist took flexible jobs ranging from pharmacy tech to valet and focused on finding his voice. He has since released three EPs via Carnival Music and Recording Company, his longtime home. His most recent EP, 2014’s well-received Mockingbird’s Mouth, earned him widespread attention and opening slots for complementary heavy hitters including Sturgill Simpson. Produced by Frank Liddell and Eric Masse, Southern Iron is Hultquist’s first full-length album, and a highly anticipated deeper, longer listen to an artist who, up until now, has primarily offered intriguing snapshots.

“I didn’t find my singing voice until my early 20s,” Hultquist says. “Before that, I would just sing like everybody, whoever I was trying to imitate.” It’s easy to imagine him playing the chameleon, channeling neo-soul singers and post-punk heroes before relaxing into himself. “Now my voice comes out of the songs I write. That’s the best way I know to explain it,” he says. “I just try to find the most earnest way I can to sing.” Honesty sounds good on him: Hultquist’s mellow tenor is easy but plush, forgoing flash in favor of subtlety. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the occasional surprise attack, carried out via moody escalations and gravelly, provocative whispers.

Southern Iron flirts with psychedelic and roots rock without committing, carving out its own robust pop soundscape. Hultquist wrote all but one of the album’s songs alone, and the result captures a songwriter wholly comfortable with his calling, more drawn to evocation than linear narrative. “I’m very interested in what a song can do,” he says. “Often, I think a song hasn’t achieved its full potential. I’m trying to find that balance between creating a song that’s important and compelling to listen to.”

First track “Darkside of Town” sets the bar high, illustrating just how good Hultquist is at balancing substance and a hook. The song combines crunchy guitar with a rumbling meditation on knowledge, faith, and acceptance. “A lot of what we do here on this planet of ours is just like groping through the dark,” Hultquist says. “You’re trying to figure it out and take the good with the bad. And there is not necessarily any balance––people often think there’s got to be good and evil in equal parts. But it’s just life. It doesn’t need to mean anything. It is how it is, and that should be powerful enough.”

The idea that life’s power is derived from its existence instead of our interpretation of it fuels much of the album. While that’s heady stuff, Hultquist proves that life for the sake of life is also a formula for a good time: rollicking “1983” and “Racing to a Red Light”––the second of which is the only co-written song on the album––dare listeners to try not to dance.

The gorgeous “Strangeness of the Vine” contemplates being single again––“being re-released into the wild,” Hultquist jokes. He tackles love honestly, refusing to let anyone––including himself––off the hook. “They say no one ever does, that only fools fall down and get back up / so I made fools of both of us, cause I keep falling out of love,” he sings sadly in “Falling Out of Love,” while in “Back When I was Young,” Hultquist goes toe-to-toe with the memories we’ll never be able to shake.

“One Horse Town” explores the ways in which place defines and even limits us. Hultquist wrote the song with Nashville in mind. “I keep toughing it out,” he says. “I’ve had some thin years, and maybe more to come. But I made up my mind that I was going to do this, and I do feel I have a place here.”

Haunting album closer “American Highway” leaves listeners contemplating awareness and escape routes. “Stuck out on the American highway / with a capo on my vein / Now I think I’m only hiding, right here in the light of day,” Hultquist sings, his voice echoed by a chorus of strings. “You can’t really think out there, driving,” he says. “The movement itself kind of pulls you into thinking you’re being active. It’s like a Cormac McCarthy novel. There is no end to forever––you just keep going and going.” Hultquist reveals that on the road, lulled into numbness masquerading as action, it’s easy to hide not just from others, but also from yourself.

In the end, Hultquist has plenty of questions. But while he is constantly reaching for the wisdom to know when to wait and when to act, he is far from lost. “I know a few things,” he says. “I know that beautiful things are worth noticing. You’ve got to be kind, for the most part. And you never know what’s going to happen.”


Tony Lucca

He was cast by Justin Timberlake to play "the cool guy" in Timberlake's directorial debut.

He finished third on The Voice in 2012, won a record deal in the process, and received more press coverage than any contestant on the show that season... or any season, for that matter.

He made a record with Adam Levine, then toured with Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson.

He was cast on the hit show "Parenthood" playing himself as a rock singer, and performed an original song.

He even starred in an Aaron Spelling prime-time drama and dated Keri Russell for years, winding up in countless gossip mags.

His name is Tony Lucca.

So why isn't he a household name? Maybe he simply hadn't made the right record before.

This time, Lucca believes he has. It's his 8th full-length studio album, his first self-titled release, and first entirely self-produced effort.

"We went in with the intention of making a record that was as live-sounding as possible. I wanted to close my eyes and be able to visualize the players in the room or up on the stage, actually playing the songs together. One guitar over here, the other guy over there, bass, drums, some keys? I mean, that's the rock-n-roll I fell in love with when I was a kid." Lucca pulls inspiration from the heroes he heard on the radio growing up, from Tom Petty, Billy Squier to AC/DC's Angus Young, tapping into a sense of timelessness he places somewhere between The Black Crowes and the Black Keys.

Each of the 12 songs on "Tony Lucca" are deeply personal. The record kicks off with "Old Girl," Lucca's rebuff to the music business treadmill. On the upbeat "Imagination", Lucca recalls the evening where he met his wife... to the best of his ability. Lucca's fans will enjoy the diverse sonic quality of four of his trademark ballads -- the epic and sweeping piano-driven "North Star", the optimistic "Smoke 'Em", the push and pull of love lost and found in "Right On Time", and the sweet album closer that bares his daughter's name, "Sparrow."

Funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign (one that hit its $25K funding goal just inside of 30 hours), Lucca feels strongly that his fans stepped up so that he could make the best record he possibly could -- one he could finally feel comfortable releasing with his own name as the title. To that point, Lucca says "this record is pure. And honest. And hopefully completely refreshing to its listeners."

Tony Lucca was born on the outskirts of Detroit on the heels of Motown's heyday, raised within the loving confines of an enormous family of musicians; his mom was the 10th of 12 kids who all sang and played. At the ripe old age of 12, Tony had his first paying gig as a musician at a Jr. High School dance and by the age of 15, he parlayed his childhood rock-n-roll fantasy into a legitimate career, getting cast among an extraordinary group of newcomers on The All New Mickey Mouse Club, along with Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears.

Shortly after graduating high school, Lucca wound up in LA and embarked upon an independent recording career that would span over 20 years. Along the way he's toured with artists as colossal as Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, *NSYNC and Marc Anthony, as well as several of his fellow Hotel Cafe kin including Josh Kelley, Sara Bareilles, Joey Ryan (Milk Carton Kids), Gabe Dixon and Andrew Belle. Lucca won the LA Music Award for best male singer/songwriter in 2001 and appeared numerous times on Last Call with Carson Daly, as well as The Wayne Brady Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Also in 2013, Lucca was the sole entertainment for FOX's NFL Thanksgiving Day telecast for the Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers game.

Derik Hultquist
“I spend a lot of my time waiting,” Derik Hultquist says. “Waiting on life, waiting on a word, waiting on women. Waiting on myself. There is something I want to access­­. I’m trying to find poetry, and the only way I know how to do it is to just be as honest and patient as possible.” He pauses, then adds dryly, “And tell a couple of jokes.”

Biding time and searching for answers often conjure up of images of sparseness––long, barren stretches in between key moments. But on his new album Southern Iron (Carnival Music), Hultquist offers rich portraits of reflection, anticipation, and stillness via lush rock-and-roll that suggest waiting isn’t a mere segue: it’s living.

Hultquist grew up just south of Knoxville in Alcoa, Tennessee, a small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. He taught himself to play guitar on his dad’s old instrument––“It was just the worst guitar,” Hultquist characteristically deadpans in his East Tennessee drawl. “When I first started playing, you could only make a couple of chords on it. So I had to just write my own songs from the get-go.”

The remark is signature Hultquist: part self-deprecating wit, part sincere observation about the power of working with what you’ve got.

Hultquist attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he served as goalie for the men’s soccer team. When he headed to Nashville after graduation almost a decade ago, the move was not spurred by a conscious decision to pursue music professionally. He wasn’t interested in joining the storied ranks of staff writers who create hits for the city’s mainstream country music machine, but he did want to develop the sounds and lyrics that had always busied his mind. “I’ve sung my whole life. I think I wrote my first song when I was in middle school,” he says. “It just seemed like the natural thing to do.”

So Hultquist took flexible jobs ranging from pharmacy tech to valet and focused on finding his voice. He has since released three EPs via Carnival Music and Recording Company, his longtime home. His most recent EP, 2014’s well-received Mockingbird’s Mouth, earned him widespread attention and opening slots for complementary heavy hitters including Sturgill Simpson. Produced by Frank Liddell and Eric Masse, Southern Iron is Hultquist’s first full-length album, and a highly anticipated deeper, longer listen to an artist who, up until now, has primarily offered intriguing snapshots.

“I didn’t find my singing voice until my early 20s,” Hultquist says. “Before that, I would just sing like everybody, whoever I was trying to imitate.” It’s easy to imagine him playing the chameleon, channeling neo-soul singers and post-punk heroes before relaxing into himself. “Now my voice comes out of the songs I write. That’s the best way I know to explain it,” he says. “I just try to find the most earnest way I can to sing.” Honesty sounds good on him: Hultquist’s mellow tenor is easy but plush, forgoing flash in favor of subtlety. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the occasional surprise attack, carried out via moody escalations and gravelly, provocative whispers.

Southern Iron flirts with psychedelic and roots rock without committing, carving out its own robust pop soundscape. Hultquist wrote all but one of the album’s songs alone, and the result captures a songwriter wholly comfortable with his calling, more drawn to evocation than linear narrative. “I’m very interested in what a song can do,” he says. “Often, I think a song hasn’t achieved its full potential. I’m trying to find that balance between creating a song that’s important and compelling to listen to.”

First track “Darkside of Town” sets the bar high, illustrating just how good Hultquist is at balancing substance and a hook. The song combines crunchy guitar with a rumbling meditation on knowledge, faith, and acceptance. “A lot of what we do here on this planet of ours is just like groping through the dark,” Hultquist says. “You’re trying to figure it out and take the good with the bad. And there is not necessarily any balance––people often think there’s got to be good and evil in equal parts. But it’s just life. It doesn’t need to mean anything. It is how it is, and that should be powerful enough.”

The idea that life’s power is derived from its existence instead of our interpretation of it fuels much of the album. While that’s heady stuff, Hultquist proves that life for the sake of life is also a formula for a good time: rollicking “1983” and “Racing to a Red Light”––the second of which is the only co-written song on the album––dare listeners to try not to dance.

The gorgeous “Strangeness of the Vine” contemplates being single again––“being re-released into the wild,” Hultquist jokes. He tackles love honestly, refusing to let anyone––including himself––off the hook. “They say no one ever does, that only fools fall down and get back up / so I made fools of both of us, cause I keep falling out of love,” he sings sadly in “Falling Out of Love,” while in “Back When I was Young,” Hultquist goes toe-to-toe with the memories we’ll never be able to shake.

“One Horse Town” explores the ways in which place defines and even limits us. Hultquist wrote the song with Nashville in mind. “I keep toughing it out,” he says. “I’ve had some thin years, and maybe more to come. But I made up my mind that I was going to do this, and I do feel I have a place here.”

Haunting album closer “American Highway” leaves listeners contemplating awareness and escape routes. “Stuck out on the American highway / with a capo on my vein / Now I think I’m only hiding, right here in the light of day,” Hultquist sings, his voice echoed by a chorus of strings. “You can’t really think out there, driving,” he says. “The movement itself kind of pulls you into thinking you’re being active. It’s like a Cormac McCarthy novel. There is no end to forever––you just keep going and going.” Hultquist reveals that on the road, lulled into numbness masquerading as action, it’s easy to hide not just from others, but also from yourself.

In the end, Hultquist has plenty of questions. But while he is constantly reaching for the wisdom to know when to wait and when to act, he is far from lost. “I know a few things,” he says. “I know that beautiful things are worth noticing. You’ve got to be kind, for the most part. And you never know what’s going to happen.”


Melodime

Melodime's music merges a slight country twang with rock and roll, successfully blending stunning piano melodies with catchy guitar riffs and sing-along choruses.
Melodime, featuring Brad Rhodes (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Sammy Duis (piano, organ, bass), Tyler Duis (drums), and Jon Wiley (guitar, mandolin, dobro, bg vocals), has performed 125+ shows annually throughout the continental United States, sharing the stage with such well-known acts as Sam Hunt, Jonny Lang, A Thousand Horses, and Sister Hazel. The band has also left its mark internationally with performances in Mexico, Canada, and Europe, all while founding and running a charity, ‘Now I Play Along Too,’ which provides musical instruments and lessons to underprivileged children in the DC area, Florida and Haiti. The band is quickly becoming a fan-favorite in the festival scene, playing four consecutive Rock Boat cruises, as well as Musikfest, Herndon Festival and other events. Around their hometown of Northern Virginia, the group has performed at such popular venues as The Hamilton, The State Theatre, and 9:30 Club.
Melodime's latest single, "Little Thing Called Love,” has received a great response from both fans and critics alike. The Boot describe the track as "catchy, lyrically strong - and perfect to listen to with the windows down during the summertime months," while Tune Collective describes the track as a “fun song bursting with vibrant uplifting energy." Kings of A&R featured the band as a buzzing act, and The Washington Post noted "It doesn’t pay for those who want to say ‘I saw them way back when’ to procrastinate." Melodime’s previous albums were recorded with platinum-selling producers, including Where the Sinners & the Saints Collide with Rick Beato (Parmalee, NeedToBreathe), and 3 Reasons For Fighting with Jim Ebert (Butch Walker, Cowboy Mouth).

Melodime's music merges a slight country twang with rock and roll, successfully blending stunning piano melodies with catchy guitar riffs and sing-along choruses.
Melodime, featuring Brad Rhodes (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Sammy Duis (piano, organ, bass), Tyler Duis (drums), and Jon Wiley (guitar, mandolin, dobro, bg vocals), has performed 125+ shows annually throughout the continental United States, sharing the stage with such well-known acts as Sam Hunt, Jonny Lang, A Thousand Horses, and Sister Hazel. The band has also left its mark internationally with performances in Mexico, Canada, and Europe, all while founding and running a charity, ‘Now I Play Along Too,’ which provides musical instruments and lessons to underprivileged children in the DC area, Florida and Haiti. The band is quickly becoming a fan-favorite in the festival scene, playing four consecutive Rock Boat cruises, as well as Musikfest, Herndon Festival and other events. Around their hometown of Northern Virginia, the group has performed at such popular venues as The Hamilton, The State Theatre, and 9:30 Club.
Melodime's latest single, "Little Thing Called Love,” has received a great response from both fans and critics alike. The Boot describe the track as "catchy, lyrically strong - and perfect to listen to with the windows down during the summertime months," while Tune Collective describes the track as a “fun song bursting with vibrant uplifting energy." Kings of A&R featured the band as a buzzing act, and The Washington Post noted "It doesn’t pay for those who want to say ‘I saw them way back when’ to procrastinate." Melodime’s previous albums were recorded with platinum-selling producers, including Where the Sinners & the Saints Collide with Rick Beato (Parmalee, NeedToBreathe), and 3 Reasons For Fighting with Jim Ebert (Butch Walker, Cowboy Mouth).

(Early Show) Alex Cameron

It's 2016, and it's time for Alex Cameron. Entertainer. Showman. Shaman. Cameron and his business partner / saxophonist, Roy Molloy, hit the road with a live show full of celebration, jubilance and industry know how. Described by Clash Magazine as 'Sydney's most literate song writer', Cameron knows what he is doing, and the creative juggernauts of the international music industry are taking notice. So much so that Jonathan Rado of Foxygen described the first Cameron performance he saw as ‘one of the most memorable, moving concerts I have or will ever witness', and music icon Henry Rollins described Cameron as being ‘right out of a David Lynch hell dream!'

You don't want to miss this. Tune in.

It's 2016, and it's time for Alex Cameron. Entertainer. Showman. Shaman. Cameron and his business partner / saxophonist, Roy Molloy, hit the road with a live show full of celebration, jubilance and industry know how. Described by Clash Magazine as 'Sydney's most literate song writer', Cameron knows what he is doing, and the creative juggernauts of the international music industry are taking notice. So much so that Jonathan Rado of Foxygen described the first Cameron performance he saw as ‘one of the most memorable, moving concerts I have or will ever witness', and music icon Henry Rollins described Cameron as being ‘right out of a David Lynch hell dream!'

You don't want to miss this. Tune in.

(Late Show) Ian Abramson with Special Guest Felicia Gillespie and Hosted by John Dick Winters

Ian Abramson is from Moreno Valley, California, where he learned to walk, read, and drive, but not in that order. He studied theater at California State University Channel Islands, which isn't on an island, but has been converted from an old mental hospital, so it's isolated in its own way. While at school he took as many performance and writing classes as he could and after trying stand-up at a couple of campus open mics, he decided to start writing comedy. When he finished school, he briefly lived in Orange County, doing stand-up, and preparing to move to Chicago, where he felt he'd get the best training to begin his career.



When he moved to Chicago, he began taking improv classes at The Second City and iO Theatre, as well as continuing to do stand-up regularly. He also began co-creating web series for Tom Snyder of Dr. Katz fame, making over 50 weekly episodes total over the course of a year and a half. He flew out to Boston to provide a voice over for an episode of Tom Snyder's "Explosion Bus," featured alongside Daryl Hall of "Hall and Oates." After about eight months in Chicago Ian decided to focus on stand-up over improv as he liked the process of writing and refining live comedy. His stand-up has evolved into a mix of precise wordplay, longer emotionally absurd jokes, and larger conceptual pieces. He is also known for producing events he insists are not comedy shows such as "A Funeral for a Prop Comic," and "A Court Case for a Young Comedian" and is a regular contributor for "the Onion."


In the past year Ian has performed at the Oddball Comedy Festival, UP Comedy Club, Milwaukee's Comedy Cafe, The Lincoln Lodge and even recently brought his show "Seven Minutes in Purgatory" to Atlanta's Laughing Skull. "Seven Minutes in Purgatory" is a show where comedians perform to a camera in one room while the audience watches in another room so that the comedians have no idea how they are doing. Because of shows like this, as well as his approach to stand-up, Ian was recently named the "Best Experimental Comedian" by Chicago magazine, which also listed him as one of the "16 Comedians You Should See This Fall" in a different article. Ian, along with his experimental comedy, will be relocating to Los Angeles this winter.


Ian Abramson is from Moreno Valley, California, where he learned to walk, read, and drive, but not in that order. He studied theater at California State University Channel Islands, which isn't on an island, but has been converted from an old mental hospital, so it's isolated in its own way. While at school he took as many performance and writing classes as he could and after trying stand-up at a couple of campus open mics, he decided to start writing comedy. When he finished school, he briefly lived in Orange County, doing stand-up, and preparing to move to Chicago, where he felt he'd get the best training to begin his career.



When he moved to Chicago, he began taking improv classes at The Second City and iO Theatre, as well as continuing to do stand-up regularly. He also began co-creating web series for Tom Snyder of Dr. Katz fame, making over 50 weekly episodes total over the course of a year and a half. He flew out to Boston to provide a voice over for an episode of Tom Snyder's "Explosion Bus," featured alongside Daryl Hall of "Hall and Oates." After about eight months in Chicago Ian decided to focus on stand-up over improv as he liked the process of writing and refining live comedy. His stand-up has evolved into a mix of precise wordplay, longer emotionally absurd jokes, and larger conceptual pieces. He is also known for producing events he insists are not comedy shows such as "A Funeral for a Prop Comic," and "A Court Case for a Young Comedian" and is a regular contributor for "the Onion."


In the past year Ian has performed at the Oddball Comedy Festival, UP Comedy Club, Milwaukee's Comedy Cafe, The Lincoln Lodge and even recently brought his show "Seven Minutes in Purgatory" to Atlanta's Laughing Skull. "Seven Minutes in Purgatory" is a show where comedians perform to a camera in one room while the audience watches in another room so that the comedians have no idea how they are doing. Because of shows like this, as well as his approach to stand-up, Ian was recently named the "Best Experimental Comedian" by Chicago magazine, which also listed him as one of the "16 Comedians You Should See This Fall" in a different article. Ian, along with his experimental comedy, will be relocating to Los Angeles this winter.


Sean McConnell

"From a very young age, I just knew that I was gonna spend my life making music," Sean McConnell states. "I never really questioned it, so I just forged ahead and didn't let anything stop me."

Although his self-titled new Rounder album will serve as his introduction to many listeners, the personable young artist is actually a seasoned, distinctive songwriter and an experienced performer with a quartet of D.I.Y. indie releases to his credit. Having built a substantial grass-roots fan base through tireless touring and old-fashioned hard work, McConnell is primed for a mainstream breakthrough.

Sean McConnell demonstrates exactly why McConnell has already won such a devoted audience. He writes vivid, forthright, effortlessly catchy songs whose incisive melodic craft is matched by their resonant emotional insight. Such instantly memorable tunes as "Holy Days," "Beautiful Rose," "Bottom of the Sea" and "Best We've Ever Been" are both catchy and personally charged, conveying an unmistakable sense of personal experience while exploring universal truths.

"This record's a bit of a step for me," McConnell asserts. "It's a real storyteller record, and it's pretty autobiographical. I'm learning how to be more honest and understated in my writing, and I wanted to match that sonically and vocally. When I look at this collection of songs, I see a lot of nostalgia, and looking back on sacred moments. I'm kind of nostalgic and reflective by nature."

McConnell recorded the album in his adopted hometown of Nashville with producers Jason Lehning and Ian Fitchuk, who also contributed keyboards and drums, respectively. The recording took place prior to McConnell signing with Rounder, with the artist financing the sessions himself.

"This project started," he explains, "when I went to a cabin by myself for a week, with the intention of writing some songs. In that week, I wrote about half of the songs on the record, and I could see the thread of what this record was gonna be. That was exciting for me, because it normally takes me a year to find an album's worth of songs that belong together. The whole recording process was really fun and liberating, and the energy in the studio was really positive."

Songwriting and music-making have been a part of Sean McConnell's life for as long as he can remember. "My mom was a singer and my dad was a guitar player and songwriter," he notes. "They'd play in coffeehouses and I'd go along and watch them perform, and seeing that lifestyle showed me that music was an option. And seeing my dad painstakingly writing songs had a huge influence on me, and gave me license to feel like I could enter into that world."

By the age of ten, he had become proficient on guitar and was writing his first songs. "I fell in love with the instrument first," McConnell recalls. "Learning guitar gave me a feeling of uncharted territory laid out in front of me. And as I got better on guitar, the songs started to come naturally. At around the same time, we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia, and the first song I wrote was about the feeling of leaving the familiar and feeling lost in a new place. Music gave me a focus and became an emotional outlet for me."

His supportive family background helped to instill the confidence and drive to pursue his muse early on. "I started playing in middle school, doing any gig I could get just to get my chops up," he says. "By high school, I would be doing local gigs and really promoting them, bringing out a couple hundred kids to my shows a few times a month and starting to make a decent living at it. That made me think that maybe I could do this in other towns. So I started traveling around the southeast a little bit, and there was always enough progress to take things to the next level. While I was in college, I did a lot of college touring, just me driving all over the United States in a Toyota Corolla. It was hard work, but it showed me that I could do it."

McConnell was just 15 when he self-released his first album, Faces, in 2000. Followed by 2001's Here In The Lost and Found, 2004's 200 Orange Street, 2006's Cold Black Sky, 2007's Tell The Truth, 2008's The Walk Around EP, 2010's Saints, Thieves and Liars, 2012's Midland and the 2014 EP The B Side Session.

"I had a guitar teacher in Atlanta who had a home studio, and he was the first one to say 'Hey, you should make a record,'" he says. "If I go back and listen to that first record now, the songs are kind of crude, but at the same time there's a directness about them that I like. My writing has evolved since then, but at the same time I've tried to hold on to some of that directness."

"I'm really attracted to songwriters who just put it out there honestly, and I feel like I'm getting back to basics and expressing things in a simple, direct way on the new album," he continues. "I'm just trying to learn how to be a more honest storyteller, trying to get my mind in a place where I'm not actually thinking and the music's just kind of happening naturally. When I read interviews with songwriters that I admire, they always say that the best songs are the ones that just kind of happen, like they're operating from the unconscious. That's a place I want to get to."

Having spent much of his life honing his craft and paying his dues, Sean McConnell is eager to launch the next chapter of his career.

"I kind of feel like I've been in a really long boot camp," he concludes. "I'm really grateful for that, because I feel like I've gained enough experience to know the deal and be prepared for anything. I'm excited to see where the next part of the journey takes me."

"From a very young age, I just knew that I was gonna spend my life making music," Sean McConnell states. "I never really questioned it, so I just forged ahead and didn't let anything stop me."

Although his self-titled new Rounder album will serve as his introduction to many listeners, the personable young artist is actually a seasoned, distinctive songwriter and an experienced performer with a quartet of D.I.Y. indie releases to his credit. Having built a substantial grass-roots fan base through tireless touring and old-fashioned hard work, McConnell is primed for a mainstream breakthrough.

Sean McConnell demonstrates exactly why McConnell has already won such a devoted audience. He writes vivid, forthright, effortlessly catchy songs whose incisive melodic craft is matched by their resonant emotional insight. Such instantly memorable tunes as "Holy Days," "Beautiful Rose," "Bottom of the Sea" and "Best We've Ever Been" are both catchy and personally charged, conveying an unmistakable sense of personal experience while exploring universal truths.

"This record's a bit of a step for me," McConnell asserts. "It's a real storyteller record, and it's pretty autobiographical. I'm learning how to be more honest and understated in my writing, and I wanted to match that sonically and vocally. When I look at this collection of songs, I see a lot of nostalgia, and looking back on sacred moments. I'm kind of nostalgic and reflective by nature."

McConnell recorded the album in his adopted hometown of Nashville with producers Jason Lehning and Ian Fitchuk, who also contributed keyboards and drums, respectively. The recording took place prior to McConnell signing with Rounder, with the artist financing the sessions himself.

"This project started," he explains, "when I went to a cabin by myself for a week, with the intention of writing some songs. In that week, I wrote about half of the songs on the record, and I could see the thread of what this record was gonna be. That was exciting for me, because it normally takes me a year to find an album's worth of songs that belong together. The whole recording process was really fun and liberating, and the energy in the studio was really positive."

Songwriting and music-making have been a part of Sean McConnell's life for as long as he can remember. "My mom was a singer and my dad was a guitar player and songwriter," he notes. "They'd play in coffeehouses and I'd go along and watch them perform, and seeing that lifestyle showed me that music was an option. And seeing my dad painstakingly writing songs had a huge influence on me, and gave me license to feel like I could enter into that world."

By the age of ten, he had become proficient on guitar and was writing his first songs. "I fell in love with the instrument first," McConnell recalls. "Learning guitar gave me a feeling of uncharted territory laid out in front of me. And as I got better on guitar, the songs started to come naturally. At around the same time, we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia, and the first song I wrote was about the feeling of leaving the familiar and feeling lost in a new place. Music gave me a focus and became an emotional outlet for me."

His supportive family background helped to instill the confidence and drive to pursue his muse early on. "I started playing in middle school, doing any gig I could get just to get my chops up," he says. "By high school, I would be doing local gigs and really promoting them, bringing out a couple hundred kids to my shows a few times a month and starting to make a decent living at it. That made me think that maybe I could do this in other towns. So I started traveling around the southeast a little bit, and there was always enough progress to take things to the next level. While I was in college, I did a lot of college touring, just me driving all over the United States in a Toyota Corolla. It was hard work, but it showed me that I could do it."

McConnell was just 15 when he self-released his first album, Faces, in 2000. Followed by 2001's Here In The Lost and Found, 2004's 200 Orange Street, 2006's Cold Black Sky, 2007's Tell The Truth, 2008's The Walk Around EP, 2010's Saints, Thieves and Liars, 2012's Midland and the 2014 EP The B Side Session.

"I had a guitar teacher in Atlanta who had a home studio, and he was the first one to say 'Hey, you should make a record,'" he says. "If I go back and listen to that first record now, the songs are kind of crude, but at the same time there's a directness about them that I like. My writing has evolved since then, but at the same time I've tried to hold on to some of that directness."

"I'm really attracted to songwriters who just put it out there honestly, and I feel like I'm getting back to basics and expressing things in a simple, direct way on the new album," he continues. "I'm just trying to learn how to be a more honest storyteller, trying to get my mind in a place where I'm not actually thinking and the music's just kind of happening naturally. When I read interviews with songwriters that I admire, they always say that the best songs are the ones that just kind of happen, like they're operating from the unconscious. That's a place I want to get to."

Having spent much of his life honing his craft and paying his dues, Sean McConnell is eager to launch the next chapter of his career.

"I kind of feel like I've been in a really long boot camp," he concludes. "I'm really grateful for that, because I feel like I've gained enough experience to know the deal and be prepared for anything. I'm excited to see where the next part of the journey takes me."

Pelican with Special Guest Jaye Jayle

Pelican, the Chicago-based quartet renowned for their instrumental excursions to the outer reaches of caustic heaviness and cathartic melody, have announced a 19-date US tour to commence this August. The dates represent the group’s first major tour since Spring of last year, during which time the band has shifted their focus to working on the long awaited follow up to their acclaimed 2013 album Forever Becoming. The tour, which includes a Southwestern jaunt with VA’s Inter Arma and an east coast run with recent Sargent House signees Jaye Jayle, offer the band an opportunity to preview new material as they work their way toward recording their next full length. The dates commence with an appearance at the highly regarded Psycho Las Vegas festival, concludes with a rare show with experimental rock mainstays Grails as part of celebrated Chicago venue Empty Bottle’s 25th anniversary, and includes a headlining set at the inaugural US edition of Europe’s long-running Dunk!Fest. Pelican’s performance at 2016’s Dunk!Fest was a career highlight, yielding the (previously physical only) 2xLP live album Live at Dunk!Fest, which the band today reissued via streaming and digital services. Full tour dates and artwork below.

Throughout their seventeen year career Pelican have eschewed genre classification, crafting a wholly unique take on heavy music that careens between the bombastic visceral elements of metal and the epic atmospheric expanses of post-rock. Across five full lengths, seven EPs, and hundreds of live shows the quartet have cultivated a chemistry that borders on telepathy, catapulting the band to outlier appearances at international music festivals including Primavera, Roskilde, Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Roadburn, and Maryland Death Fest, and headlining club tours across four continents.

Pelican, the Chicago-based quartet renowned for their instrumental excursions to the outer reaches of caustic heaviness and cathartic melody, have announced a 19-date US tour to commence this August. The dates represent the group’s first major tour since Spring of last year, during which time the band has shifted their focus to working on the long awaited follow up to their acclaimed 2013 album Forever Becoming. The tour, which includes a Southwestern jaunt with VA’s Inter Arma and an east coast run with recent Sargent House signees Jaye Jayle, offer the band an opportunity to preview new material as they work their way toward recording their next full length. The dates commence with an appearance at the highly regarded Psycho Las Vegas festival, concludes with a rare show with experimental rock mainstays Grails as part of celebrated Chicago venue Empty Bottle’s 25th anniversary, and includes a headlining set at the inaugural US edition of Europe’s long-running Dunk!Fest. Pelican’s performance at 2016’s Dunk!Fest was a career highlight, yielding the (previously physical only) 2xLP live album Live at Dunk!Fest, which the band today reissued via streaming and digital services. Full tour dates and artwork below.

Throughout their seventeen year career Pelican have eschewed genre classification, crafting a wholly unique take on heavy music that careens between the bombastic visceral elements of metal and the epic atmospheric expanses of post-rock. Across five full lengths, seven EPs, and hundreds of live shows the quartet have cultivated a chemistry that borders on telepathy, catapulting the band to outlier appearances at international music festivals including Primavera, Roskilde, Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Roadburn, and Maryland Death Fest, and headlining club tours across four continents.

The Appleseed Collective / Wild Ponies 'Galax' Release Tour

The Appleseed Collective is real Americana. I figured out sort of a mathematical equation last night- it's like Satch plus Django plus Joplin plus Bob Wills plus a little Bill Monroe, but the sum is actually greater than the parts." So said Jason Marck of WBEZ Chicago's Morning Shift, introducing the band for a live segment in November 2014.

No Americana sound could ring so true without miles of highway to back it up, and The Appleseed Collective certainly has that- 2014 has seen them travel coast to coast in support of their two studio albums, Baby to Beast (2012) and Young Love (January 2014). According to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune, "Young Love sweeps out the various corners of American music, taking a long look at both the sublime and the strange. The group explores both dark and light in a way that other string-band revivalists haven't touched."

Formed in 2010, The Appleseed Collective has become a force of nature powered by their local community and developed by a strong sense of do-it-yourself drive. In an age of corporations and climate change, the band's commitment to buying & selling local, eating from gardens, and being their own bosses has led to the kind of success that feels simply organic.

Each part of the Collective comes together to form an amalgam of complementary and contrasting elements. With a Motown session musician for a father, guitarist Andrew Brown was exposed to pre-World War II jazz on a trip to New Orleans. Shortly afterwards a chance meeting introduced him to Brandon Smith, violinist, mandolinist and improvisatory magician who grew up playing old time fiddle music. Vince Russo, multi-percussionist and van-packing savant, blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n' roll on the washboard. Eric Dawe comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical music and provides the bottom end on the upright bass. The whole band sings in harmony.

The band's latest release is a live album recorded in one night at world-renowned venue, The Ark in their hometown of Ann Arbor MI. On Live At The Ark (December 2014) the energy is palpable, the crowd ready to receive, and the band primed to deliver. With a mix of new and old material, as well as a few specially requested covers, Appleseed does just that. The album balances barn burners, old soul jazz, and sparse mood pieces, all suspended above a room hungry for more. It's a daring spectacle but it pays off- the album feels at once electric and intimate, glamorous and genuine, or as Joshua Pickard at Beats Per Minute put it, "music best served alongside a roaring campfire but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena."

The Appleseed Collective is not a bluegrass band. It's not The Hot Club of Paris. It's not a ragtime cover band. The Appleseed Collective represents Americana music rooted in traditions from all over the world and from every decade, creating a live experience that welcomes every soul and is impossible to replicate.
Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia - where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised - for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from Galax, Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug's old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots. 

Growing up, a young Doug Williams spent many an hour watching and learning as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends like Snake and Kyle Dean. Although both of his grandparents have now passed away, they would surely be proud to see Doug and Telisha gathered in the shed with Snake, Kyle Dean, Kilby, and a diverse handful of the best musicians from Nashville. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations.  

Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences with songs like "Pretty Bird" - a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original - and the traditional mountain song "Sally Anne." "My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'" Doug says of the latter song, which kicks off the album with gang vocals and fiddle. Even so, don't mistake Galax for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too, building a bridge between past and present. The lyrics reflect a similar mix of old and new, with Doug and Telisha Williams writing songs inspired by family heirlooms (including a wooden-bound, 70 year-old book of poems written by Doug's grandfather, whose lines form the basis of "Here With Me"), the Catawba tree on the farm, the nostalgic pull of one's birthplace, a mother's tough lough, leaving and believing, and the cyclical natures of death and love. Although named after the town in which it was recorded, Galax looks far beyond the southwestern tip of Virginia for its source material. 

"We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an Old-Time record," explains Doug. "We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies. We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world."

Once everyone had arrived at the farm, Neilson Hubbard set up a makeshift studio in the shed.  Just a few nice microphones in a circle. There's no cell phone signal on the mountain. No WiFi. No distractions. Instead, everyone focused on making raw, genuine music, filling Galax's track list with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. They recorded the songs live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions. 

Released on August 25th on Gearbox Records, Galax salutes Wild Ponies' traditional roots while exploring new, progressive territory. It's an album about the pieces of our past that stick with us, informing our present while pushing us toward a future. An album about a town, a country, and a world that's forever spinning toward something new. An album that redefines Wild Ponies' sound, while highlighting influences that have always rested just beneath the surface.

"We'll always be the pinball that bounces between folk, rock & roll and country," says Telisha, "and this Old-Time style will always weave its way through everything we do. It's been there from the start, even on the loudest songs we've made. It only took us a couple of days to record it, but this is the album we've been making our whole lives. We just needed the right people and the right songs to finish it."

The Appleseed Collective is real Americana. I figured out sort of a mathematical equation last night- it's like Satch plus Django plus Joplin plus Bob Wills plus a little Bill Monroe, but the sum is actually greater than the parts." So said Jason Marck of WBEZ Chicago's Morning Shift, introducing the band for a live segment in November 2014.

No Americana sound could ring so true without miles of highway to back it up, and The Appleseed Collective certainly has that- 2014 has seen them travel coast to coast in support of their two studio albums, Baby to Beast (2012) and Young Love (January 2014). According to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune, "Young Love sweeps out the various corners of American music, taking a long look at both the sublime and the strange. The group explores both dark and light in a way that other string-band revivalists haven't touched."

Formed in 2010, The Appleseed Collective has become a force of nature powered by their local community and developed by a strong sense of do-it-yourself drive. In an age of corporations and climate change, the band's commitment to buying & selling local, eating from gardens, and being their own bosses has led to the kind of success that feels simply organic.

Each part of the Collective comes together to form an amalgam of complementary and contrasting elements. With a Motown session musician for a father, guitarist Andrew Brown was exposed to pre-World War II jazz on a trip to New Orleans. Shortly afterwards a chance meeting introduced him to Brandon Smith, violinist, mandolinist and improvisatory magician who grew up playing old time fiddle music. Vince Russo, multi-percussionist and van-packing savant, blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n' roll on the washboard. Eric Dawe comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical music and provides the bottom end on the upright bass. The whole band sings in harmony.

The band's latest release is a live album recorded in one night at world-renowned venue, The Ark in their hometown of Ann Arbor MI. On Live At The Ark (December 2014) the energy is palpable, the crowd ready to receive, and the band primed to deliver. With a mix of new and old material, as well as a few specially requested covers, Appleseed does just that. The album balances barn burners, old soul jazz, and sparse mood pieces, all suspended above a room hungry for more. It's a daring spectacle but it pays off- the album feels at once electric and intimate, glamorous and genuine, or as Joshua Pickard at Beats Per Minute put it, "music best served alongside a roaring campfire but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena."

The Appleseed Collective is not a bluegrass band. It's not The Hot Club of Paris. It's not a ragtime cover band. The Appleseed Collective represents Americana music rooted in traditions from all over the world and from every decade, creating a live experience that welcomes every soul and is impossible to replicate.
Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia - where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised - for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from Galax, Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug's old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots. 

Growing up, a young Doug Williams spent many an hour watching and learning as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends like Snake and Kyle Dean. Although both of his grandparents have now passed away, they would surely be proud to see Doug and Telisha gathered in the shed with Snake, Kyle Dean, Kilby, and a diverse handful of the best musicians from Nashville. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations.  

Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences with songs like "Pretty Bird" - a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original - and the traditional mountain song "Sally Anne." "My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'" Doug says of the latter song, which kicks off the album with gang vocals and fiddle. Even so, don't mistake Galax for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too, building a bridge between past and present. The lyrics reflect a similar mix of old and new, with Doug and Telisha Williams writing songs inspired by family heirlooms (including a wooden-bound, 70 year-old book of poems written by Doug's grandfather, whose lines form the basis of "Here With Me"), the Catawba tree on the farm, the nostalgic pull of one's birthplace, a mother's tough lough, leaving and believing, and the cyclical natures of death and love. Although named after the town in which it was recorded, Galax looks far beyond the southwestern tip of Virginia for its source material. 

"We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an Old-Time record," explains Doug. "We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies. We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world."

Once everyone had arrived at the farm, Neilson Hubbard set up a makeshift studio in the shed.  Just a few nice microphones in a circle. There's no cell phone signal on the mountain. No WiFi. No distractions. Instead, everyone focused on making raw, genuine music, filling Galax's track list with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. They recorded the songs live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions. 

Released on August 25th on Gearbox Records, Galax salutes Wild Ponies' traditional roots while exploring new, progressive territory. It's an album about the pieces of our past that stick with us, informing our present while pushing us toward a future. An album about a town, a country, and a world that's forever spinning toward something new. An album that redefines Wild Ponies' sound, while highlighting influences that have always rested just beneath the surface.

"We'll always be the pinball that bounces between folk, rock & roll and country," says Telisha, "and this Old-Time style will always weave its way through everything we do. It's been there from the start, even on the loudest songs we've made. It only took us a couple of days to record it, but this is the album we've been making our whole lives. We just needed the right people and the right songs to finish it."

Wye Oak with Special Guest Luke Temple

At the end of September, Wye Oak will embark on a special tour. The band describes what the audience can expect at these performances:

We're so excited to set out on a brief run of smaller, more intimate shows this fall, where we'll be trying out a bunch of brand-new material for the first time, taking questions from the audience, and just generally exposing y'all to our legendary brand of TMI-style stage banter. Come for a sneak peek at what's next for us, or just to say hi. 

Also, on September 22, Merge will release "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water”, a limited-edition 7-inch on red vinyl. Pre-order your copy now! Jenn and Andy told us a little about each track, both of which were originally released in partnership with Adult Swim:

"Spiral"popped up around 2012, at a time before we began work on Shriek. We were just starting to experiment with synthetic and more pop-oriented sounds, and also got assistance on the marimba from our friend Rod Hamilton, with whom Jenn was sharing a loft at the Copycat in Baltimore at the time. 

"Wave Is Not the Water"was created in the early months of 2017, without either of us ever setting foot in the same space. Andy was touring as the drummer for Lambchop and volleying the recording back and forth with Jenn via email, as seems to be the current state of things. 

Pre-order "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water"now, and don't miss these very special evenings with Wye Oak!

At the end of September, Wye Oak will embark on a special tour. The band describes what the audience can expect at these performances:

We're so excited to set out on a brief run of smaller, more intimate shows this fall, where we'll be trying out a bunch of brand-new material for the first time, taking questions from the audience, and just generally exposing y'all to our legendary brand of TMI-style stage banter. Come for a sneak peek at what's next for us, or just to say hi. 

Also, on September 22, Merge will release "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water”, a limited-edition 7-inch on red vinyl. Pre-order your copy now! Jenn and Andy told us a little about each track, both of which were originally released in partnership with Adult Swim:

"Spiral"popped up around 2012, at a time before we began work on Shriek. We were just starting to experiment with synthetic and more pop-oriented sounds, and also got assistance on the marimba from our friend Rod Hamilton, with whom Jenn was sharing a loft at the Copycat in Baltimore at the time. 

"Wave Is Not the Water"was created in the early months of 2017, without either of us ever setting foot in the same space. Andy was touring as the drummer for Lambchop and volleying the recording back and forth with Jenn via email, as seems to be the current state of things. 

Pre-order "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water"now, and don't miss these very special evenings with Wye Oak!

Fastball

"It was just circumstance," Tony Scalzo says of the eight-year recording gap that preceded the new Fastball album, Step Into Light. "We've always been active, and we've never really gone a year without doing a bunch of Fastball shows. But things are really picking up now, and things are rolling like crazy."

The 12-song Step Into Light, on the band's own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared Fastball to listeners during the trio's twenty-year-plus career. Such catchy, compelling new tunes as "We're On Our Way," "Behind The Sun," "Best Friend," "Love Comes In Waves" and "I Will Never Let You Down" continue the band's longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga's distinctive songwriting.

"My favorite kind of songs," Zuniga says, "are the ones that have hope in the face of hopelessness. Songs that say 'Life sucks and everything's against me, but I'm gonna smile and survive anyway.' That's the essence of rock 'n' roll music for me, and I think there's a fair amount of that on this album."

Fastball recorded Step Into Light in its hometown of Austin, Texas, with the three bandmates co-producing with longtime friend Chris "Frenchie" Smith (Slayer, Meat Puppets, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) at Smith's studio, The Bubble. The album was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain, who also handled mixing duties on two prior Fastball albums.

"We consciously decided to make this record in a short period of time, so we just went in and knocked it out," Zuniga explains. "I really liked working that way, and I think the fact that we recorded it in under two weeks made it a better record. We didn't have the luxury of getting too precious about things, so we gave ourselves a hard deadline and pretended it was the 1950s-the record light's on, let's do it! It also helped that we've grown a lot as musicians, so we have the ability now to get things right pretty quickly."

"We had a great time making this record," asserts Shuffield. "Working fast was really positive for us, because we had a lot of adrenaline going and there was no wasted time. A lot of the stuff we did was one or two takes of all three of us playing together in the same room. You can't really do that as a new band, but the fact that we've been together so long creates a certain unspoken communication that saves a lot of time."

"It was just circumstance," Tony Scalzo says of the eight-year recording gap that preceded the new Fastball album, Step Into Light. "We've always been active, and we've never really gone a year without doing a bunch of Fastball shows. But things are really picking up now, and things are rolling like crazy."

The 12-song Step Into Light, on the band's own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared Fastball to listeners during the trio's twenty-year-plus career. Such catchy, compelling new tunes as "We're On Our Way," "Behind The Sun," "Best Friend," "Love Comes In Waves" and "I Will Never Let You Down" continue the band's longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga's distinctive songwriting.

"My favorite kind of songs," Zuniga says, "are the ones that have hope in the face of hopelessness. Songs that say 'Life sucks and everything's against me, but I'm gonna smile and survive anyway.' That's the essence of rock 'n' roll music for me, and I think there's a fair amount of that on this album."

Fastball recorded Step Into Light in its hometown of Austin, Texas, with the three bandmates co-producing with longtime friend Chris "Frenchie" Smith (Slayer, Meat Puppets, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) at Smith's studio, The Bubble. The album was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain, who also handled mixing duties on two prior Fastball albums.

"We consciously decided to make this record in a short period of time, so we just went in and knocked it out," Zuniga explains. "I really liked working that way, and I think the fact that we recorded it in under two weeks made it a better record. We didn't have the luxury of getting too precious about things, so we gave ourselves a hard deadline and pretended it was the 1950s-the record light's on, let's do it! It also helped that we've grown a lot as musicians, so we have the ability now to get things right pretty quickly."

"We had a great time making this record," asserts Shuffield. "Working fast was really positive for us, because we had a lot of adrenaline going and there was no wasted time. A lot of the stuff we did was one or two takes of all three of us playing together in the same room. You can't really do that as a new band, but the fact that we've been together so long creates a certain unspoken communication that saves a lot of time."

(Early Show) Matt Light with Special Guest Ray Zawodni

Mine- Matt Light- one of the hottest comedians in the industry today. - takes
every topic in life and twists them on their head with the perfect mix of charm
and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Now in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, his
new outlook to make people laugh at life and death, and enjoy the silly
observations of that comes with it, is contagious when he's on stage - as told on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Matt has his only monthly comedy show case called "Lights out" at the Pittsburgh Improv, he hosts "Man on the street" for WDVE Morning Show and has performed in front of clubs and colleges across the United States. Matt had a viral video from the Pittsburgh Improv that reached over 3 million views, was featured on Good Morning America and he was just recently named Pittsburgh's Best comedian for the third year in a row by Pittsburgh Magazine.

Mine- Matt Light- one of the hottest comedians in the industry today. - takes
every topic in life and twists them on their head with the perfect mix of charm
and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Now in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, his
new outlook to make people laugh at life and death, and enjoy the silly
observations of that comes with it, is contagious when he's on stage - as told on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Matt has his only monthly comedy show case called "Lights out" at the Pittsburgh Improv, he hosts "Man on the street" for WDVE Morning Show and has performed in front of clubs and colleges across the United States. Matt had a viral video from the Pittsburgh Improv that reached over 3 million views, was featured on Good Morning America and he was just recently named Pittsburgh's Best comedian for the third year in a row by Pittsburgh Magazine.

(Late Show) Ray Zawodni with special guest Matt Light

Pittsburgh native, Ray Zawodni has been called a son, a brother, a lover and a loser but he mostly prefers to be called a stand-up comedian. After finishing his fourth year at West Virginia University, the proud Mountaineer returned to the Steel City to pursue a dream that he has had since he was a small child...but when he realized he was too out of shape to be a superhero, he decided to try comedy instead! Over the past 6 years, he has used his devilishly good looks and boyish charm to entertain audiences all over the east coast. Zawodni is a regular performer at the Pittsburgh Improv and the Arcade Comedy Theater.He also performs at colleges across the region including the University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania and his alma mater, WVU.

Pittsburgh native, Ray Zawodni has been called a son, a brother, a lover and a loser but he mostly prefers to be called a stand-up comedian. After finishing his fourth year at West Virginia University, the proud Mountaineer returned to the Steel City to pursue a dream that he has had since he was a small child...but when he realized he was too out of shape to be a superhero, he decided to try comedy instead! Over the past 6 years, he has used his devilishly good looks and boyish charm to entertain audiences all over the east coast. Zawodni is a regular performer at the Pittsburgh Improv and the Arcade Comedy Theater.He also performs at colleges across the region including the University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania and his alma mater, WVU.

Stephen Kellogg's 2017 Postcard Tour

Stephen Kellogg was born on November 28, 1976. He grew up in Southern Connecticut and in 1997 began his musical career in Northampton, MA while interning for a local club. A few years later, he married his high school sweet heart and began a well-publicized affection for his role as husband and later, father to their four daughters. Over the last decade he has performed more than 1500 concerts in more than a dozen countries, both solo and with a band. In 2013 Kellogg gave a TEDx Talk about job satisfaction. Recently on a tour of Europe, SK (as fans often refer to him) made a detour to play the Middle East, Africa and an aircraft carrier for the Armed Forces. Upon returning to the USA, he started his annual lyric writing campaign to raise money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer. At first glance none of this has anything to do with his music, but Stephen Kellogg would argue, "it is the whole story. The music I make is a reflection of how I spend my time and what I care deeply about."
When it comes to performing, CBS Radio has called Stephen, "the best live act you've never seen." Another writer at No Depression magazine gives him the oddly flattering title of "the best songwriter you're not listening to." Interestingly though while Kellogg may not be a household name at present, he has persisted in building a substantial career, which has landed him on stage with some of the biggest touring acts in the country (Train, Sugarland, OAR, Josh Ritter to name a few), in the billboard charts, and with his songs as the backdrop of numerous films and TV shows (One Tree Hill, Men of a Certain Age, Mercy). Perhaps most importantly to Kellogg, he's ingratiated himself into the lives of his listeners. That sort of mentality has garnered him descriptions like this one from Macaroni Kid, "an unassuming manner, self-deprecating humor, a heart for those around him…100% genuine and utterly moving." His Americana-tinged, sometimes folk, often rock, occasionally pop stylings can make Kellogg hard to define, and his most recent four part album "South, West, North, East" embraces the notion of genre splitting to the fullest.
Recorded literally "all over the map", the premise of "South, West, North, East" was to record each section of the album in a different region of the USA, with different co-producers and different groups of musicians. "I've never felt that the genre was as important as the message and making the record this way was a chance to really explore that idea." The end result is a collection of 20 songs that defy categorization. The Southern rock flavor of "South" (recorded in Nashville and Atlanta) slides into the cowboy motif of "West" (recorded on a farm in Boulder, CO); and the more indie rock feel of "North" (recorded in a cabin in Woodstock, NY) gives way to the songwriter pop of "East" (recorded in Washington DC). "You often hear about the importance of ‘picking a lane' and while I completely understand the marketing savvy and focus of that concept, I picked my lane a long time ago; it's called the ‘words that describe what I believe to be true' lane."

Stephen Kellogg was born on November 28, 1976. He grew up in Southern Connecticut and in 1997 began his musical career in Northampton, MA while interning for a local club. A few years later, he married his high school sweet heart and began a well-publicized affection for his role as husband and later, father to their four daughters. Over the last decade he has performed more than 1500 concerts in more than a dozen countries, both solo and with a band. In 2013 Kellogg gave a TEDx Talk about job satisfaction. Recently on a tour of Europe, SK (as fans often refer to him) made a detour to play the Middle East, Africa and an aircraft carrier for the Armed Forces. Upon returning to the USA, he started his annual lyric writing campaign to raise money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer. At first glance none of this has anything to do with his music, but Stephen Kellogg would argue, "it is the whole story. The music I make is a reflection of how I spend my time and what I care deeply about."
When it comes to performing, CBS Radio has called Stephen, "the best live act you've never seen." Another writer at No Depression magazine gives him the oddly flattering title of "the best songwriter you're not listening to." Interestingly though while Kellogg may not be a household name at present, he has persisted in building a substantial career, which has landed him on stage with some of the biggest touring acts in the country (Train, Sugarland, OAR, Josh Ritter to name a few), in the billboard charts, and with his songs as the backdrop of numerous films and TV shows (One Tree Hill, Men of a Certain Age, Mercy). Perhaps most importantly to Kellogg, he's ingratiated himself into the lives of his listeners. That sort of mentality has garnered him descriptions like this one from Macaroni Kid, "an unassuming manner, self-deprecating humor, a heart for those around him…100% genuine and utterly moving." His Americana-tinged, sometimes folk, often rock, occasionally pop stylings can make Kellogg hard to define, and his most recent four part album "South, West, North, East" embraces the notion of genre splitting to the fullest.
Recorded literally "all over the map", the premise of "South, West, North, East" was to record each section of the album in a different region of the USA, with different co-producers and different groups of musicians. "I've never felt that the genre was as important as the message and making the record this way was a chance to really explore that idea." The end result is a collection of 20 songs that defy categorization. The Southern rock flavor of "South" (recorded in Nashville and Atlanta) slides into the cowboy motif of "West" (recorded on a farm in Boulder, CO); and the more indie rock feel of "North" (recorded in a cabin in Woodstock, NY) gives way to the songwriter pop of "East" (recorded in Washington DC). "You often hear about the importance of ‘picking a lane' and while I completely understand the marketing savvy and focus of that concept, I picked my lane a long time ago; it's called the ‘words that describe what I believe to be true' lane."

Frankie Rose with Special Guest TBA

After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Roserelocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism. "I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done."

Through sleepless nights of listening to broadcaster Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives, Frankie’s thoughts had turned to "who am I, I’m not cut out for this business, it’s not for me." She continues, "I was literally in my room in L.A., not knowing how I was going to get out. But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome."

Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own."

The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked. "I got a lot of input from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms."

The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical."It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

"I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."

After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Roserelocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism. "I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done."

Through sleepless nights of listening to broadcaster Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives, Frankie’s thoughts had turned to "who am I, I’m not cut out for this business, it’s not for me." She continues, "I was literally in my room in L.A., not knowing how I was going to get out. But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome."

Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own."

The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked. "I got a lot of input from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms."

The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical."It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

"I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."

Electric Six

Eternal life can seem like an eternity. Ask any vampire. The continuous march of sun ups, sun downs, transformations of form, seductions, cape fittings & exsanguinations. Eventually it all just becomes an endless, tired routine. It all seems so exciting & so sexy to those of us who operate knowing we have limited time. But ask any vampire about the downside of eternal life, & you won't be surprised to hear tales of binge eating garlic bread just to feel the hurt, or of the occasional dangling of a wooden stake just over the center of the rib cage. Electric Six knows all about eternal life. Electric Six has been around forever & it can never die. That's lovely, but it's also very tiring. Fresh Blood For Tired Vampyres is the new release by Electric Six on Metropolis Records. One listen & you will immediately understand that the sexiest vampires are urban vampires. Where E6 has dabbled in dance, hip-hop & R&B in the past, Fresh Blood is the whole enchilada. It's thirteen songs designed to make the listener interested in smooth & nasty fuckin', the way they do it in the city. From the Grandmaster Flash-inspired Number Of The Beast to the super smooth tour of the NYC outer boroughs Mood Is Improving, the listener finds himself immediately deposited into an urban drop zone with hustlas & dickblockas coming from behind every corner. The radio-ready pop hits I'll Be In Touch & Dance With Dark Forces are the tracks that get the listener off the street & into the club. & it would not be an Electric Six album without an epic closer, that being the beautiful & haunting Spacewalkin', the ballad that assures the listener that the vampire has now fed & will live a thousand more years, albeit in outer space. Electric Six changes more frequently than change itself, but ultimately this just means they're never gonna put out the same album twice. Fresh Blood for Tired Vampires is poppy & smooth, nasty & raw...& oh so life affirming, especially if you are undead

Eternal life can seem like an eternity. Ask any vampire. The continuous march of sun ups, sun downs, transformations of form, seductions, cape fittings & exsanguinations. Eventually it all just becomes an endless, tired routine. It all seems so exciting & so sexy to those of us who operate knowing we have limited time. But ask any vampire about the downside of eternal life, & you won't be surprised to hear tales of binge eating garlic bread just to feel the hurt, or of the occasional dangling of a wooden stake just over the center of the rib cage. Electric Six knows all about eternal life. Electric Six has been around forever & it can never die. That's lovely, but it's also very tiring. Fresh Blood For Tired Vampyres is the new release by Electric Six on Metropolis Records. One listen & you will immediately understand that the sexiest vampires are urban vampires. Where E6 has dabbled in dance, hip-hop & R&B in the past, Fresh Blood is the whole enchilada. It's thirteen songs designed to make the listener interested in smooth & nasty fuckin', the way they do it in the city. From the Grandmaster Flash-inspired Number Of The Beast to the super smooth tour of the NYC outer boroughs Mood Is Improving, the listener finds himself immediately deposited into an urban drop zone with hustlas & dickblockas coming from behind every corner. The radio-ready pop hits I'll Be In Touch & Dance With Dark Forces are the tracks that get the listener off the street & into the club. & it would not be an Electric Six album without an epic closer, that being the beautiful & haunting Spacewalkin', the ballad that assures the listener that the vampire has now fed & will live a thousand more years, albeit in outer space. Electric Six changes more frequently than change itself, but ultimately this just means they're never gonna put out the same album twice. Fresh Blood for Tired Vampires is poppy & smooth, nasty & raw...& oh so life affirming, especially if you are undead

Wayne 'The Train' Hancock

"Wayne Hancock has more Hank Sr. in him than either I or Hank Williams Jr. He is the real deal." - Hank III
"Hancock, who tosses out a roots mix of old country, roadhouse blues, western dance swing, boogie bop, and straight-up rockabilly, takes what was once old and makes it seem like it's always been and always will be."---allmusic.com
“The country music scene could do with a lot more characters like Wayne, who push the music’s limits while staying truer to its roots than any well-known names associated with the genre today.” – Slug Magazine
Since his stunning debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs in 1995, Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been the undisputed king of Juke Joint Swing--that alchemist’s dream of honky-tonk, western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band. Always an anomaly among his country music peers, Wayne’s uncompromising interpretation of the music he loves is in fact what defines him: steeped in traditional but never "retro;" bare bones but bone shaking; hardcore but with a swing. Like the comfortable crackle of a Wurlitzer 45 jukebox, Wayne is the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie.

Wayne makes music fit for any road house anywhere. With his unmistakable voice, The Train’s reckless honky-tonk can move the dead. If you see him live (and he is ALWAYS touring), you’ll surely work up some sweat stains on that snazzy Rayon shirt you’re wearing. If you buy his records, you’ll be rolling up your carpets, spreading sawdust on the hardwood, and dancing until the downstairs neighbors are banging their brooms on the ceiling. Call him a throwback if you want, Wayne just wants to ENTERTAIN you, and what's wrong with that?

Wayne's disdain for the slick swill that passes for real deal country is well known. Like he's fond of saying: "Man, I'm like a stab wound in the fabric of country music in Nashville. See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That's me."

Little known fact: Wayne is the only Bloodshot artist to have had their CD taken aboard a space shuttle flight.

"A rare breed of traditionalist, one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passions that his songs never feel like the museum pieces he's trying desperately to preserve." -AllMusic.com

"Wayne Hancock has more Hank Sr. in him than either I or Hank Williams Jr. He is the real deal." - Hank III
"Hancock, who tosses out a roots mix of old country, roadhouse blues, western dance swing, boogie bop, and straight-up rockabilly, takes what was once old and makes it seem like it's always been and always will be."---allmusic.com
“The country music scene could do with a lot more characters like Wayne, who push the music’s limits while staying truer to its roots than any well-known names associated with the genre today.” – Slug Magazine
Since his stunning debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs in 1995, Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been the undisputed king of Juke Joint Swing--that alchemist’s dream of honky-tonk, western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band. Always an anomaly among his country music peers, Wayne’s uncompromising interpretation of the music he loves is in fact what defines him: steeped in traditional but never "retro;" bare bones but bone shaking; hardcore but with a swing. Like the comfortable crackle of a Wurlitzer 45 jukebox, Wayne is the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie.

Wayne makes music fit for any road house anywhere. With his unmistakable voice, The Train’s reckless honky-tonk can move the dead. If you see him live (and he is ALWAYS touring), you’ll surely work up some sweat stains on that snazzy Rayon shirt you’re wearing. If you buy his records, you’ll be rolling up your carpets, spreading sawdust on the hardwood, and dancing until the downstairs neighbors are banging their brooms on the ceiling. Call him a throwback if you want, Wayne just wants to ENTERTAIN you, and what's wrong with that?

Wayne's disdain for the slick swill that passes for real deal country is well known. Like he's fond of saying: "Man, I'm like a stab wound in the fabric of country music in Nashville. See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That's me."

Little known fact: Wayne is the only Bloodshot artist to have had their CD taken aboard a space shuttle flight.

"A rare breed of traditionalist, one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passions that his songs never feel like the museum pieces he's trying desperately to preserve." -AllMusic.com

Jessica Lea Mayfield with Special Guest Mal Blum

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Sorry Is Gone

"The whole record is about me taking my life back, without really realizing it," she says. "I realized I'm the only person that is going to look out for me. I have to be my main person. No one else."
Jessica Lea Mayfield might make some people uncomfortable with the level of honesty she projects on her forthcoming LP, Sorry Is Gone, but she's not going to apologize – for that, or for anything else on her complex, confessional fourth album. Recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent and Dinosaur Jr.), Sorry Is Gone is a raw document of a woman in progress; one weathering cruel storms but finally able to blame the rain itself for the flood. Written as the truth of her own poisonous marriage unfolded before her eyes, Sorry Is Gone is a record of permission. Permission to create freely, to escape what is no longer safe and to stop bearing responsibility for things done to her, not by her. As Mayfield sings on the title track, "the sorry is gone." Indeed, it is; kicked to the curb with every strum of her guitar.
Written in the years since her last solo LP, Make My Head Sing, in 2014, and her 2015 collaboration with Seth Avett, Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, Sorry Is Gone became the soundtrack to a highly personal and traumatic story. The Ohio-born Mayfield was quietly enduring years of domestic abuse, smiling and touring while she hid a brewing tempest – and the bruises, too. But lyrics don't lie even as bruises fade, and they started to tell the tale of her marriage before she was even able to; songs often dark and dangerous and ready to confront and claim her life. Written primarily on an acoustic baritone guitar – out of necessity at first, in her thin-walled apartment - Mayfield started to process the years of hurt and uncertainly through words and melodies that helped her see the light in the darkness.
Though much of Make My Head Sing was written music-first, Sorry Is Gone began with those lyrics, and, so often, a path forward unfolded itself as the songs formed. "The cold hard truth is you love me too much," she sings on "Meadow," a moody, echoey moment about finally realizing someone's true colors. "The cold hard truth is you couldn't love me enough." It's a brutal line from someone who refuses to be victimized. Evoking the pathos of nineties grunge, the folk confessions of her idol, Smith, and the cool blasé of bands like Luscious Jackson, the tracks that comprise Sorry Is Gone aren’t devised to make anyone comfortable but herself – but they are there to help share an emotional journal and a certain kind of healing that can only come through music.
"I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy," says Mayfield, who shaped so many of these songs in the isolation of the small apartment she shared with her husband while their marriage fell apart in her hands – in many ways, those songs pointed to the way out before she could get there herself. "That's what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word."
Recorded with Agnello at Water Music and Electric Lady Studios, Mayfield recruited a stellar group of musicians for Sorry Is Gone, including Avett on backing vocals and keys, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Sun Kil Moon), bassist Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), guitarist Cameron Deyell (Sia, Streets of Laredo) and Patrick Damphier (The Mynabirds, Field Days, who produced and played on "Offa My Hands"). Together, they worked to create an ominous take on love, where hope can exist among heartbreak and the end is only as finite as we make it to be. On songs like the title track and "Bum Me Out," Mayfield bends the angelic notes of her voice over off-kilter orchestration, building an environment of warrior-style triumph; on "Safe 2 Connect 2," she takes stock of the digital world to a haunting, acoustic backdrop that gives a subtle ode to her bluegrass roots.
"Been though hell, there's no telling what might happen in my future," she sings. "All I can do is be thankful for each moment that's my own."
Mayfield has paved an unconventional lifestyle – playing in her family's bluegrass band since the age of eight, she didn't have any traditional schooling and released her first album at the age of fifteen, when she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Influenced by everything from that mountain sound to the modern garage, Mayfield has been able to come at songwriting from a pure perspective, lead more by her heart than any textbook. It's what makes the tracks of Sorry Is Gone so striking and visceral – there is no filter on the emotions, no rulebook and certainly no excuses for anything she's been through or the candor she fires.
"I'm not going to bite my lip on anything," she says. "If there is one thing I am going to do, it's talk and sing about what I want to. No one is going to manipulate me."

The sorry is gone, once and for all – and Sorry Is Gone is a permission slip for anyone who wants to stop apologizing for others, and start living for themselves

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Sorry Is Gone

"The whole record is about me taking my life back, without really realizing it," she says. "I realized I'm the only person that is going to look out for me. I have to be my main person. No one else."
Jessica Lea Mayfield might make some people uncomfortable with the level of honesty she projects on her forthcoming LP, Sorry Is Gone, but she's not going to apologize – for that, or for anything else on her complex, confessional fourth album. Recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent and Dinosaur Jr.), Sorry Is Gone is a raw document of a woman in progress; one weathering cruel storms but finally able to blame the rain itself for the flood. Written as the truth of her own poisonous marriage unfolded before her eyes, Sorry Is Gone is a record of permission. Permission to create freely, to escape what is no longer safe and to stop bearing responsibility for things done to her, not by her. As Mayfield sings on the title track, "the sorry is gone." Indeed, it is; kicked to the curb with every strum of her guitar.
Written in the years since her last solo LP, Make My Head Sing, in 2014, and her 2015 collaboration with Seth Avett, Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, Sorry Is Gone became the soundtrack to a highly personal and traumatic story. The Ohio-born Mayfield was quietly enduring years of domestic abuse, smiling and touring while she hid a brewing tempest – and the bruises, too. But lyrics don't lie even as bruises fade, and they started to tell the tale of her marriage before she was even able to; songs often dark and dangerous and ready to confront and claim her life. Written primarily on an acoustic baritone guitar – out of necessity at first, in her thin-walled apartment - Mayfield started to process the years of hurt and uncertainly through words and melodies that helped her see the light in the darkness.
Though much of Make My Head Sing was written music-first, Sorry Is Gone began with those lyrics, and, so often, a path forward unfolded itself as the songs formed. "The cold hard truth is you love me too much," she sings on "Meadow," a moody, echoey moment about finally realizing someone's true colors. "The cold hard truth is you couldn't love me enough." It's a brutal line from someone who refuses to be victimized. Evoking the pathos of nineties grunge, the folk confessions of her idol, Smith, and the cool blasé of bands like Luscious Jackson, the tracks that comprise Sorry Is Gone aren’t devised to make anyone comfortable but herself – but they are there to help share an emotional journal and a certain kind of healing that can only come through music.
"I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy," says Mayfield, who shaped so many of these songs in the isolation of the small apartment she shared with her husband while their marriage fell apart in her hands – in many ways, those songs pointed to the way out before she could get there herself. "That's what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word."
Recorded with Agnello at Water Music and Electric Lady Studios, Mayfield recruited a stellar group of musicians for Sorry Is Gone, including Avett on backing vocals and keys, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Sun Kil Moon), bassist Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), guitarist Cameron Deyell (Sia, Streets of Laredo) and Patrick Damphier (The Mynabirds, Field Days, who produced and played on "Offa My Hands"). Together, they worked to create an ominous take on love, where hope can exist among heartbreak and the end is only as finite as we make it to be. On songs like the title track and "Bum Me Out," Mayfield bends the angelic notes of her voice over off-kilter orchestration, building an environment of warrior-style triumph; on "Safe 2 Connect 2," she takes stock of the digital world to a haunting, acoustic backdrop that gives a subtle ode to her bluegrass roots.
"Been though hell, there's no telling what might happen in my future," she sings. "All I can do is be thankful for each moment that's my own."
Mayfield has paved an unconventional lifestyle – playing in her family's bluegrass band since the age of eight, she didn't have any traditional schooling and released her first album at the age of fifteen, when she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Influenced by everything from that mountain sound to the modern garage, Mayfield has been able to come at songwriting from a pure perspective, lead more by her heart than any textbook. It's what makes the tracks of Sorry Is Gone so striking and visceral – there is no filter on the emotions, no rulebook and certainly no excuses for anything she's been through or the candor she fires.
"I'm not going to bite my lip on anything," she says. "If there is one thing I am going to do, it's talk and sing about what I want to. No one is going to manipulate me."

The sorry is gone, once and for all – and Sorry Is Gone is a permission slip for anyone who wants to stop apologizing for others, and start living for themselves

Pickwick

Listen to LoveJoys, the sophomore release from Seattle, WA's Pickwick, and you'll hear a band that has pushed aside external pressures and expectations, overcome internal demons, and plugged directly into their own creative center. Slinky, sinewy, and articulate, the record pulses with a palpable confidence. Hypnotically intricate, just-right sonic ornamentation shimmers around a thick, undulating bed of propulsive rhythm. Submit willfully, give yourself over to Pickwick's practiced ministrations, and you'll find yourself exhausted and deeply satisfied, slick with a sheen of glitter and sweat.
Following the breakout success of 2013's self-released Can't Talk Medicine (which WXPN lauded for its "wonderfully engaging lo-fi rock and soul") the band found themselves on national tours with Neko Case and Black Joe Lewis, performing on the main stage of the Sasquatch Music Festival, headlining the Capitol Hill Block Party, and performing alongside with the Seattle Symphony. They holed up to begin work on what was to be the follow up release, and things got complicated.
As the band was forty songs into writing a pop R&B record, they became deeply unsatisfied with the direction the music was taking. Tensions boiled over, and they lost a member in 2016. Walking away from a mountain of music, the group was able to tap into the joy of writing for themselves. "We rediscovered what we do best by not overthinking what we make, and learned to love the process of creating again" relates vocalist Galen Disston. "LoveJoys is a specific type of euphoria," says drummer Alex Westcoat "a liberating feeling of inspiration that can only be achieved through the sacrifice of one's own ambition. It is the shedding of expectations; an uninhibited escape into a world of child-like infatuation and wonder."
After an intense three month writing session the band - Disston, Westcoat, guitarist Michael Parker, bassist Garrett Parker, and keyboardist Cassady Lillstrom - turned to producer Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, Tacocat and Moondoggies) for guidance in putting the music to tape. "We are huge fans of his, and a mutual friend made the introduction" says Disston. "Erik requested we go out to drinks together every couple weeks for a four month period; he wanted to get to know us before we got too deep into working together. The first time he came to a practice I kept my back to him the whole time because I was intimidated, and after we'd played him all our demos, he picked them apart and pushed us into a new and better sound."
LoveJoys was recorded at "Chemical X" and "Black Space" (February - May 2016), Blood's studios in the basement of the old Rainier Brewery building in Seattle. It features performances from: Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces), Sean T. Lane, Marquetta Miller (Breaks and Swells), Taryn Rene Dorsey, and the Black Space's in-house horns and strings - Alina To (Passenger String Quartet) and Jeremy Shaskus (Breaks and Swells).
Written in the midst of personal and political turmoil, lyrically and sonically LoveJoys became an escape somehow, a place for the band to purge all their deepest concerns while somehow also being relieved of them. LoveJoys embodies the relationship between inspired creativity and the use of escapism as a way of getting there. Like little fossilized explorations of his own greatest fears and anxieties, Disston's lyrics bury themselves into the band's bright new sonic landscape, both contradicting their collective fantasy and reminding them of why they chose to construct it in the first place. "This record is an escape toward love and joy in the face of uncertainty" says Westcoat. It's a sonic sanctuary built from unrestrained creativity, and a potent tonic; undiluted joyful creativity, guaranteed to transport the listener to a place of ecstatic release.

Listen to LoveJoys, the sophomore release from Seattle, WA's Pickwick, and you'll hear a band that has pushed aside external pressures and expectations, overcome internal demons, and plugged directly into their own creative center. Slinky, sinewy, and articulate, the record pulses with a palpable confidence. Hypnotically intricate, just-right sonic ornamentation shimmers around a thick, undulating bed of propulsive rhythm. Submit willfully, give yourself over to Pickwick's practiced ministrations, and you'll find yourself exhausted and deeply satisfied, slick with a sheen of glitter and sweat.
Following the breakout success of 2013's self-released Can't Talk Medicine (which WXPN lauded for its "wonderfully engaging lo-fi rock and soul") the band found themselves on national tours with Neko Case and Black Joe Lewis, performing on the main stage of the Sasquatch Music Festival, headlining the Capitol Hill Block Party, and performing alongside with the Seattle Symphony. They holed up to begin work on what was to be the follow up release, and things got complicated.
As the band was forty songs into writing a pop R&B record, they became deeply unsatisfied with the direction the music was taking. Tensions boiled over, and they lost a member in 2016. Walking away from a mountain of music, the group was able to tap into the joy of writing for themselves. "We rediscovered what we do best by not overthinking what we make, and learned to love the process of creating again" relates vocalist Galen Disston. "LoveJoys is a specific type of euphoria," says drummer Alex Westcoat "a liberating feeling of inspiration that can only be achieved through the sacrifice of one's own ambition. It is the shedding of expectations; an uninhibited escape into a world of child-like infatuation and wonder."
After an intense three month writing session the band - Disston, Westcoat, guitarist Michael Parker, bassist Garrett Parker, and keyboardist Cassady Lillstrom - turned to producer Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, Tacocat and Moondoggies) for guidance in putting the music to tape. "We are huge fans of his, and a mutual friend made the introduction" says Disston. "Erik requested we go out to drinks together every couple weeks for a four month period; he wanted to get to know us before we got too deep into working together. The first time he came to a practice I kept my back to him the whole time because I was intimidated, and after we'd played him all our demos, he picked them apart and pushed us into a new and better sound."
LoveJoys was recorded at "Chemical X" and "Black Space" (February - May 2016), Blood's studios in the basement of the old Rainier Brewery building in Seattle. It features performances from: Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces), Sean T. Lane, Marquetta Miller (Breaks and Swells), Taryn Rene Dorsey, and the Black Space's in-house horns and strings - Alina To (Passenger String Quartet) and Jeremy Shaskus (Breaks and Swells).
Written in the midst of personal and political turmoil, lyrically and sonically LoveJoys became an escape somehow, a place for the band to purge all their deepest concerns while somehow also being relieved of them. LoveJoys embodies the relationship between inspired creativity and the use of escapism as a way of getting there. Like little fossilized explorations of his own greatest fears and anxieties, Disston's lyrics bury themselves into the band's bright new sonic landscape, both contradicting their collective fantasy and reminding them of why they chose to construct it in the first place. "This record is an escape toward love and joy in the face of uncertainty" says Westcoat. It's a sonic sanctuary built from unrestrained creativity, and a potent tonic; undiluted joyful creativity, guaranteed to transport the listener to a place of ecstatic release.

Andrew Belle

Chicago-based Andrew Belle has made a name for himself as one of our more compelling songwriters since releasing his debut album The Ladder in 2010. Though that album held strong at number one for several weeks on iTunes's singer-songwriter chart and earned dozens of television and film licenses, Belle boldly followed a new muse on the album's electronic, alternative follow-up, Black Bear. His third and latest album Dive Deep doubles down on the ethereal electronic sound of Black Bear, and sees Belle pushing himself to new depths as a songwriter, a vocalist, and a composer. Soaring choruses and moody arrangements abound on Dive Deep, a thoughtfully crafted and deeply felt album that deserves consideration among peers like James Blake and Bon Iver.

Chicago-based Andrew Belle has made a name for himself as one of our more compelling songwriters since releasing his debut album The Ladder in 2010. Though that album held strong at number one for several weeks on iTunes's singer-songwriter chart and earned dozens of television and film licenses, Belle boldly followed a new muse on the album's electronic, alternative follow-up, Black Bear. His third and latest album Dive Deep doubles down on the ethereal electronic sound of Black Bear, and sees Belle pushing himself to new depths as a songwriter, a vocalist, and a composer. Soaring choruses and moody arrangements abound on Dive Deep, a thoughtfully crafted and deeply felt album that deserves consideration among peers like James Blake and Bon Iver.

Low Cut Connie with Special Guest Yawpers- Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

Low Cut Connie was recently called “the essence of what rock n roll should be” by Greg Kot (Sound Opinions / NPR)..and the New York Times has said “their live show is a phenomenon.” They have been a rolling DIY caravan with an explosive live act bubbling under the surface of the music industry for 5 years, building an obsessive fanbase from all walks of life...white and black, straight and gay, young and old...salty lunatics of every persuasion. Even former President Barack Obama is a fan. He chose their anthem of low-brow American life “Boozophilia” for his Spotify Playlist and met with Weiner at the White House in 2016.

But with Dirty Pictures (part 1), Low Cut Connie moves beyond the drunken bar boogie they have become associated with into a deeper, darker, dirtier American life.

“We’ve been thought of as a great party band by so many people, and we wear that as a badge of honor, but I really wanted to go deeper with this record.” Weiner said recently. “We’ve been travelling this country now for a number of years, meeting people of all stripes, entertaining them in their bars and sleeping on their couches, laughing hard, holding them tight and sweating it out with them...I wrote this record really thinking about how people are feeling and living in this country these days. It’s a wild scene out there.”

And what is it that best brings Americans together in such wild and dirty times? Weiner has a simple answer: “Rock n roll. Nothing moves people more...it’ll make the most unsuspecting citizen hot, horny, angry, weepy and emotional and ultimately open to life like never before. I’ve seen it happen. That’s what we do. We change the molecules in the room.”

Whether they succeed or not, Low Cut Connie always attempts to make us feel something real, something very raw. With Dirty Pictures (part 1), this little rock n roll band from Philadelphia attempts to undress America, laughing and crying real tears with us all night long.

Low Cut Connie was recently called “the essence of what rock n roll should be” by Greg Kot (Sound Opinions / NPR)..and the New York Times has said “their live show is a phenomenon.” They have been a rolling DIY caravan with an explosive live act bubbling under the surface of the music industry for 5 years, building an obsessive fanbase from all walks of life...white and black, straight and gay, young and old...salty lunatics of every persuasion. Even former President Barack Obama is a fan. He chose their anthem of low-brow American life “Boozophilia” for his Spotify Playlist and met with Weiner at the White House in 2016.

But with Dirty Pictures (part 1), Low Cut Connie moves beyond the drunken bar boogie they have become associated with into a deeper, darker, dirtier American life.

“We’ve been thought of as a great party band by so many people, and we wear that as a badge of honor, but I really wanted to go deeper with this record.” Weiner said recently. “We’ve been travelling this country now for a number of years, meeting people of all stripes, entertaining them in their bars and sleeping on their couches, laughing hard, holding them tight and sweating it out with them...I wrote this record really thinking about how people are feeling and living in this country these days. It’s a wild scene out there.”

And what is it that best brings Americans together in such wild and dirty times? Weiner has a simple answer: “Rock n roll. Nothing moves people more...it’ll make the most unsuspecting citizen hot, horny, angry, weepy and emotional and ultimately open to life like never before. I’ve seen it happen. That’s what we do. We change the molecules in the room.”

Whether they succeed or not, Low Cut Connie always attempts to make us feel something real, something very raw. With Dirty Pictures (part 1), this little rock n roll band from Philadelphia attempts to undress America, laughing and crying real tears with us all night long.

Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Featuring The Soulville Horns) - 'Good For My Soul' Record Release Concert (Night 1) with Special Guest Marc Reisman and the Strong Way Band

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

Bill Toms is a hard working, blue collar, blues guitar playing, soul shouting poet.

He's no stranger to the road, nor is he a stranger to a steel mill. No stranger to his heart, his conscience---you can feel it in these songs.

Hard Rain is not just a brilliant, post-Apocalyptic Bob Dylan song. Hard Rain is Bill Toms' guitar slinging, horn blowing, pure soul back-beat band.

No Hard Rain, no Bill Toms. No Bill Toms, No Hard Rain.

For the second time, I was asked to come help produce a Bill Toms and Hard Rain album at Studio L in Weirton, West Virginia---Rick Witkowski's place. Yeah, that Rick Witkowski from Crack the Sky. Creem Magazine. Yes, I am a rock n roll kid who grew up with Creem Magazine.

The poetry of recording this real deal blue collar soul band in Weirton, WV---where Michael Cimino's epic tragedy "The Deer Hunter" was filmed---cannot be overlooked. Not that we took off into the mountains, got loaded and chased ungulates around---nor chased Meryl Streep around. But in that setting, in mid-Winter, in the wake of the election of Donald J Trump as President of the United States of America—it all seemed poetic to say the least.

Bill Toms will sit you down and strategize a soul song with such sincerity and seriousness---soul music is serious business when it comes to Bill's art, his music, his band. His band consists of some of the most talented musicians in the music world. Phil Brontz on sax, Steve Binsberger on piano and organ, Tom Valentine on bass, Tom Breiding on guitar, and Bernie Herr on the drums. Throw in the Soulville Horns (Steve Graham - trombone, JD Chaison - trumpet) and the rhythm and soul is oozing from the studio.

We compared what we were doing to our favorite Stax Records. To the Willie Mitchell produced Hi Records masterpieces---Al Green, Syl Johnson. To the soul gospel of the Staple Singers. To the east coast soul of the O'Jays, Dyke and the Blazers. We wanted to make sure we did not smooth away the edges---not just rough edges---but the edges of the sound itself. If a guitar was kind of raw and wild---keep that. If the drums sounded like a man trying to beat his way out of the trunk of a '73 Lincoln---keep it. If Bill's voice cracked a little because he was singing so hard and in the moment that he rasped like a rusty cog at US Steel---keep it.

Me, I just tagged along, played rhythm guitar, cheered them on, played some slide guitar, sang some harmonies---and had the time of my life.

The very night I arrived home after that long drive from Weirton, WV to Nashville, my wife and I watched "The Deer Hunter"---if you've seen it, you know it's dark and heavy. But all I could think about was jumping up and down with Bill Toms and Rick Witkowski, making the Marvin Gaye-esque party atmosphere on "Going Back To Memphis" in Rick's basement studio, right there in Weirton, by the rusted out mill.

These are desperate times, indeed. But I'm sad no more. The human spirit lives in us all; but the soul shouting spirit is particularly lively up around Pittsburgh these days, in the soul blues poetry of Mister Bill Toms and his real deal band, Hard Rain.

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

Bill Toms is a hard working, blue collar, blues guitar playing, soul shouting poet.

He's no stranger to the road, nor is he a stranger to a steel mill. No stranger to his heart, his conscience---you can feel it in these songs.

Hard Rain is not just a brilliant, post-Apocalyptic Bob Dylan song. Hard Rain is Bill Toms' guitar slinging, horn blowing, pure soul back-beat band.

No Hard Rain, no Bill Toms. No Bill Toms, No Hard Rain.

For the second time, I was asked to come help produce a Bill Toms and Hard Rain album at Studio L in Weirton, West Virginia---Rick Witkowski's place. Yeah, that Rick Witkowski from Crack the Sky. Creem Magazine. Yes, I am a rock n roll kid who grew up with Creem Magazine.

The poetry of recording this real deal blue collar soul band in Weirton, WV---where Michael Cimino's epic tragedy "The Deer Hunter" was filmed---cannot be overlooked. Not that we took off into the mountains, got loaded and chased ungulates around---nor chased Meryl Streep around. But in that setting, in mid-Winter, in the wake of the election of Donald J Trump as President of the United States of America—it all seemed poetic to say the least.

Bill Toms will sit you down and strategize a soul song with such sincerity and seriousness---soul music is serious business when it comes to Bill's art, his music, his band. His band consists of some of the most talented musicians in the music world. Phil Brontz on sax, Steve Binsberger on piano and organ, Tom Valentine on bass, Tom Breiding on guitar, and Bernie Herr on the drums. Throw in the Soulville Horns (Steve Graham - trombone, JD Chaison - trumpet) and the rhythm and soul is oozing from the studio.

We compared what we were doing to our favorite Stax Records. To the Willie Mitchell produced Hi Records masterpieces---Al Green, Syl Johnson. To the soul gospel of the Staple Singers. To the east coast soul of the O'Jays, Dyke and the Blazers. We wanted to make sure we did not smooth away the edges---not just rough edges---but the edges of the sound itself. If a guitar was kind of raw and wild---keep that. If the drums sounded like a man trying to beat his way out of the trunk of a '73 Lincoln---keep it. If Bill's voice cracked a little because he was singing so hard and in the moment that he rasped like a rusty cog at US Steel---keep it.

Me, I just tagged along, played rhythm guitar, cheered them on, played some slide guitar, sang some harmonies---and had the time of my life.

The very night I arrived home after that long drive from Weirton, WV to Nashville, my wife and I watched "The Deer Hunter"---if you've seen it, you know it's dark and heavy. But all I could think about was jumping up and down with Bill Toms and Rick Witkowski, making the Marvin Gaye-esque party atmosphere on "Going Back To Memphis" in Rick's basement studio, right there in Weirton, by the rusted out mill.

These are desperate times, indeed. But I'm sad no more. The human spirit lives in us all; but the soul shouting spirit is particularly lively up around Pittsburgh these days, in the soul blues poetry of Mister Bill Toms and his real deal band, Hard Rain.

Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Featuring The Soulville Horns) - 'Good For My Soul' Record Release Concert (Night 2) with Special Guest Marc Reisman and the Strong Way Band

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

Bill Toms is a hard working, blue collar, blues guitar playing, soul shouting poet.

He's no stranger to the road, nor is he a stranger to a steel mill. No stranger to his heart, his conscience---you can feel it in these songs.

Hard Rain is not just a brilliant, post-Apocalyptic Bob Dylan song. Hard Rain is Bill Toms' guitar slinging, horn blowing, pure soul back-beat band.

No Hard Rain, no Bill Toms. No Bill Toms, No Hard Rain.

For the second time, I was asked to come help produce a Bill Toms and Hard Rain album at Studio L in Weirton, West Virginia---Rick Witkowski's place. Yeah, that Rick Witkowski from Crack the Sky. Creem Magazine. Yes, I am a rock n roll kid who grew up with Creem Magazine.

The poetry of recording this real deal blue collar soul band in Weirton, WV---where Michael Cimino's epic tragedy "The Deer Hunter" was filmed---cannot be overlooked. Not that we took off into the mountains, got loaded and chased ungulates around---nor chased Meryl Streep around. But in that setting, in mid-Winter, in the wake of the election of Donald J Trump as President of the United States of America—it all seemed poetic to say the least.

Bill Toms will sit you down and strategize a soul song with such sincerity and seriousness---soul music is serious business when it comes to Bill's art, his music, his band. His band consists of some of the most talented musicians in the music world. Phil Brontz on sax, Steve Binsberger on piano and organ, Tom Valentine on bass, Tom Breiding on guitar, and Bernie Herr on the drums. Throw in the Soulville Horns (Steve Graham - trombone, JD Chaison - trumpet) and the rhythm and soul is oozing from the studio.

We compared what we were doing to our favorite Stax Records. To the Willie Mitchell produced Hi Records masterpieces---Al Green, Syl Johnson. To the soul gospel of the Staple Singers. To the east coast soul of the O'Jays, Dyke and the Blazers. We wanted to make sure we did not smooth away the edges---not just rough edges---but the edges of the sound itself. If a guitar was kind of raw and wild---keep that. If the drums sounded like a man trying to beat his way out of the trunk of a '73 Lincoln---keep it. If Bill's voice cracked a little because he was singing so hard and in the moment that he rasped like a rusty cog at US Steel---keep it.

Me, I just tagged along, played rhythm guitar, cheered them on, played some slide guitar, sang some harmonies---and had the time of my life.

The very night I arrived home after that long drive from Weirton, WV to Nashville, my wife and I watched "The Deer Hunter"---if you've seen it, you know it's dark and heavy. But all I could think about was jumping up and down with Bill Toms and Rick Witkowski, making the Marvin Gaye-esque party atmosphere on "Going Back To Memphis" in Rick's basement studio, right there in Weirton, by the rusted out mill.

These are desperate times, indeed. But I'm sad no more. The human spirit lives in us all; but the soul shouting spirit is particularly lively up around Pittsburgh these days, in the soul blues poetry of Mister Bill Toms and his real deal band, Hard Rain.

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

Bill Toms is a hard working, blue collar, blues guitar playing, soul shouting poet.

He's no stranger to the road, nor is he a stranger to a steel mill. No stranger to his heart, his conscience---you can feel it in these songs.

Hard Rain is not just a brilliant, post-Apocalyptic Bob Dylan song. Hard Rain is Bill Toms' guitar slinging, horn blowing, pure soul back-beat band.

No Hard Rain, no Bill Toms. No Bill Toms, No Hard Rain.

For the second time, I was asked to come help produce a Bill Toms and Hard Rain album at Studio L in Weirton, West Virginia---Rick Witkowski's place. Yeah, that Rick Witkowski from Crack the Sky. Creem Magazine. Yes, I am a rock n roll kid who grew up with Creem Magazine.

The poetry of recording this real deal blue collar soul band in Weirton, WV---where Michael Cimino's epic tragedy "The Deer Hunter" was filmed---cannot be overlooked. Not that we took off into the mountains, got loaded and chased ungulates around---nor chased Meryl Streep around. But in that setting, in mid-Winter, in the wake of the election of Donald J Trump as President of the United States of America—it all seemed poetic to say the least.

Bill Toms will sit you down and strategize a soul song with such sincerity and seriousness---soul music is serious business when it comes to Bill's art, his music, his band. His band consists of some of the most talented musicians in the music world. Phil Brontz on sax, Steve Binsberger on piano and organ, Tom Valentine on bass, Tom Breiding on guitar, and Bernie Herr on the drums. Throw in the Soulville Horns (Steve Graham - trombone, JD Chaison - trumpet) and the rhythm and soul is oozing from the studio.

We compared what we were doing to our favorite Stax Records. To the Willie Mitchell produced Hi Records masterpieces---Al Green, Syl Johnson. To the soul gospel of the Staple Singers. To the east coast soul of the O'Jays, Dyke and the Blazers. We wanted to make sure we did not smooth away the edges---not just rough edges---but the edges of the sound itself. If a guitar was kind of raw and wild---keep that. If the drums sounded like a man trying to beat his way out of the trunk of a '73 Lincoln---keep it. If Bill's voice cracked a little because he was singing so hard and in the moment that he rasped like a rusty cog at US Steel---keep it.

Me, I just tagged along, played rhythm guitar, cheered them on, played some slide guitar, sang some harmonies---and had the time of my life.

The very night I arrived home after that long drive from Weirton, WV to Nashville, my wife and I watched "The Deer Hunter"---if you've seen it, you know it's dark and heavy. But all I could think about was jumping up and down with Bill Toms and Rick Witkowski, making the Marvin Gaye-esque party atmosphere on "Going Back To Memphis" in Rick's basement studio, right there in Weirton, by the rusted out mill.

These are desperate times, indeed. But I'm sad no more. The human spirit lives in us all; but the soul shouting spirit is particularly lively up around Pittsburgh these days, in the soul blues poetry of Mister Bill Toms and his real deal band, Hard Rain.

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.'"

Humming House with Special Guest Becca Mancari

Turning on the radio, computer, or television can seem like a gamble, at best. Each new tuning offers a deluge of anxieties to greet us. In the face of this 21st century tumult, Humming House is on a quest. They do not want to wish away the pain and fear all too real in our lives, but to put those elements in conversation with the elements that sustain us: hope, partnership, even joy. And so, their newest album begins with Tam's unmistakable voice intoning, "I want to be your companion." It's an appropriate beginning for a band who has built itself on complex musicianship and careful collaboration. They know the value of hard work and compromise. Their music is evidence of the thrill of creativity.

Humming House is Justin Wade Tam, Bobby Chase, Joshua Wolak, and Benjamin Jones. The band formed organically out of jam sessions that Tam held in his living room in East Nashville-evidence that some of the best projects come from spontaneous collaboration and the subsequent seeing it through. Now, three albums and six years later, Humming House continues to embody what is best about the Nashville each transplant chooses to call home.

What Humming House does so well is paint sonic landscapes that are at once compelling and honest, even in the most rollicking of songs. Revelries, Humming House's second full-length album released in 2015, was largely influenced by the band's history of touring. Its songs revealed the power and revelations that come from travel. Companion, to be released by Soundly on the 6th of October 2017, continues to pursue that which transforms. In part, it is still movement, movement that comes easily to the body as well as movement driven by the unease we daily brush up against. What's most powerful about Humming House is their ability to be present with you, to take those moments in life that seem mundane and shift the lens so that they are rendered extraordinary. Theirs is a music of presence.

Humming House maintains that sense of intimacy that derives from making music with friends altogether in the same room. It is fun combined with substance. With Tam's sincerity, Jones' groove, and Chase and Wolak's charm, their live shows extend the invitation to participate. As Dustin Ogdin observes in No Depression, "Humming House exudes restraint and a wily intelligence. They never pander to their crowd, but do respect them. They also seem to understand that the best music comes from an exchange between artist and audience rather than simply one giving and the other receiving."

These essential traits of Humming House are evident in Companion. The story of the album mirrors the story of the band: it's one of collaboration, experimentation, and showing up for each other over and again. There are songs of hope and of desperation so that the prevailing mood is one of exchange and balance. In the spirit of experimentation, the band threw out the constraining rule that they would only write with acoustic instruments. While those sounds still center the creative impulses of the songs, the added electric experimentation and expanded instrumentation imbue the new songs with a dynamism that is irresistible. Tam notes that the "extremes of the record in emotion are wider on this album. There's more desperation, but there's also fun and an upbeat aspect that's more joyous." The first half of the album is infused with Indie Rock, especially in songs such as "Can't Stay Away," "Takin' Over," and "Make it Through." The influence of quirky 90s rock, a la Cake, is there too. "Takin' Over" adheres to the Humming House desire to move you and is emblematic of those moments in our lives where the rhythm of the things that we love: music, friends, family commandeer our bodies until we're compelled to move in joy.

"Sign Me Up" and "Companion" nod to Paul Simon, while "Silver Lining," "Find What Waits," and "London" gesture to Humming House's long engagement with classical composition and songwriter driven melodies so strong in the realm of Americana. The album isn't all hip swinging bravado; halfway through, "Silver Lining" will stop and compel you to attend to the broken things that shape us. "Make it Through" and "Hope in My Head" are prisms to transform difficult days into livable ones. "I Want It All" does justice to the nostalgia and influence of a favorite album, while "Sign Me Up" conveys the increasing distance between our digital, urban lives and the ecosystems that sustain us.

"Wishing Well" is a late album gem. It opens with the observation, "Be patient with the ones you love / because we're not here for long enough / to judge," and so the song is an invitation to come to terms with our collective humanity, a difficult enough feat in the current torrid climate of politics, environmental concerns, and general unease. Thankfully, Humming House is dedicated to honest songwriting, attending to the complex interactions that shape us, and is committed to being present with us in their albums and live shows. What choice do we have but to respond? Theirs is a music that places us.

Turning on the radio, computer, or television can seem like a gamble, at best. Each new tuning offers a deluge of anxieties to greet us. In the face of this 21st century tumult, Humming House is on a quest. They do not want to wish away the pain and fear all too real in our lives, but to put those elements in conversation with the elements that sustain us: hope, partnership, even joy. And so, their newest album begins with Tam's unmistakable voice intoning, "I want to be your companion." It's an appropriate beginning for a band who has built itself on complex musicianship and careful collaboration. They know the value of hard work and compromise. Their music is evidence of the thrill of creativity.

Humming House is Justin Wade Tam, Bobby Chase, Joshua Wolak, and Benjamin Jones. The band formed organically out of jam sessions that Tam held in his living room in East Nashville-evidence that some of the best projects come from spontaneous collaboration and the subsequent seeing it through. Now, three albums and six years later, Humming House continues to embody what is best about the Nashville each transplant chooses to call home.

What Humming House does so well is paint sonic landscapes that are at once compelling and honest, even in the most rollicking of songs. Revelries, Humming House's second full-length album released in 2015, was largely influenced by the band's history of touring. Its songs revealed the power and revelations that come from travel. Companion, to be released by Soundly on the 6th of October 2017, continues to pursue that which transforms. In part, it is still movement, movement that comes easily to the body as well as movement driven by the unease we daily brush up against. What's most powerful about Humming House is their ability to be present with you, to take those moments in life that seem mundane and shift the lens so that they are rendered extraordinary. Theirs is a music of presence.

Humming House maintains that sense of intimacy that derives from making music with friends altogether in the same room. It is fun combined with substance. With Tam's sincerity, Jones' groove, and Chase and Wolak's charm, their live shows extend the invitation to participate. As Dustin Ogdin observes in No Depression, "Humming House exudes restraint and a wily intelligence. They never pander to their crowd, but do respect them. They also seem to understand that the best music comes from an exchange between artist and audience rather than simply one giving and the other receiving."

These essential traits of Humming House are evident in Companion. The story of the album mirrors the story of the band: it's one of collaboration, experimentation, and showing up for each other over and again. There are songs of hope and of desperation so that the prevailing mood is one of exchange and balance. In the spirit of experimentation, the band threw out the constraining rule that they would only write with acoustic instruments. While those sounds still center the creative impulses of the songs, the added electric experimentation and expanded instrumentation imbue the new songs with a dynamism that is irresistible. Tam notes that the "extremes of the record in emotion are wider on this album. There's more desperation, but there's also fun and an upbeat aspect that's more joyous." The first half of the album is infused with Indie Rock, especially in songs such as "Can't Stay Away," "Takin' Over," and "Make it Through." The influence of quirky 90s rock, a la Cake, is there too. "Takin' Over" adheres to the Humming House desire to move you and is emblematic of those moments in our lives where the rhythm of the things that we love: music, friends, family commandeer our bodies until we're compelled to move in joy.

"Sign Me Up" and "Companion" nod to Paul Simon, while "Silver Lining," "Find What Waits," and "London" gesture to Humming House's long engagement with classical composition and songwriter driven melodies so strong in the realm of Americana. The album isn't all hip swinging bravado; halfway through, "Silver Lining" will stop and compel you to attend to the broken things that shape us. "Make it Through" and "Hope in My Head" are prisms to transform difficult days into livable ones. "I Want It All" does justice to the nostalgia and influence of a favorite album, while "Sign Me Up" conveys the increasing distance between our digital, urban lives and the ecosystems that sustain us.

"Wishing Well" is a late album gem. It opens with the observation, "Be patient with the ones you love / because we're not here for long enough / to judge," and so the song is an invitation to come to terms with our collective humanity, a difficult enough feat in the current torrid climate of politics, environmental concerns, and general unease. Thankfully, Humming House is dedicated to honest songwriting, attending to the complex interactions that shape us, and is committed to being present with us in their albums and live shows. What choice do we have but to respond? Theirs is a music that places us.

Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal’s love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, “my guitar was an appendage. I couldn’t live without it.”

Dead set on a career in music, Crystal moved to Chicago as a teenager, where she spent her days performing underground on subway platforms in between working odd jobs. While in the big city, she broadened her musical horizons and shared her talents with a variety of venues, ultimately auditioning for the ninth season of American Idol. Crystal’s time on the show proved to be well spent, as she immediately left the the soundstage for the recording studio. Since her introduction to the world through television, Crystal has released two LP’s, two EPs, and several singles. Additionally, she has used her talents to benefit several causes close to her heart, and has become an advocate and inspiration for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

However, it is what’s in front of her, not what’s behind her, that will define Crystal’s personal and professional evolution. The accomplished singer-songwriter is set to release a new project – a live album, recorded at the Kitchen Sink Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, cleverly titled Alive. Not only is the title a play on words, representing the rawness of the tracks, but it pertains to the place where Crystal currently is in her life. That place is one of joy, fulfillment, and stability for Crystal and her eight year old son, Tony.

To create her newest project, Crystal called on her “chosen family” of musicians. The combination of keeping those she cherishes close to her and taking an honest look at life has resulted in the truest music she has released to date. Crystal has drawn on her various influences — across folk-pop, classic rock, soul, blues and country — to make the kind of music that resonates with her spirit. It is both tender and tough, rough yet polished, and it encompasses many genres without falling neatly into one category. As one of her songwriting partners describes it, Crystal has “a voice like dirt and diamonds.” Her music is intended to bring a positive message of love and light to the world – things that folks will be able to take with them on their own journey, so that they, too, can feel truly alive.

Similar to her beginnings, Crystal intends to make music that has healing power, but at this point, she sees far beyond her own troubles. Her live show is a safe space for concertgoers. Attend a Crystal Bowersox show, and you just might see a grown man cry and a child dance simultaneously. You’ll also likely get the chance to meet her personally; Crystal is typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the venue. Meeting with the fans and hearing their personal stories is something Crystal considers a blessing in her life.

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend that pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of “A Broken Wing” she sings, “I know there’s beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine.” Crystal’s story is one of resilience and perseverance, and it’s evident in every note of her newest release, Alive.

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal’s love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, “my guitar was an appendage. I couldn’t live without it.”

Dead set on a career in music, Crystal moved to Chicago as a teenager, where she spent her days performing underground on subway platforms in between working odd jobs. While in the big city, she broadened her musical horizons and shared her talents with a variety of venues, ultimately auditioning for the ninth season of American Idol. Crystal’s time on the show proved to be well spent, as she immediately left the the soundstage for the recording studio. Since her introduction to the world through television, Crystal has released two LP’s, two EPs, and several singles. Additionally, she has used her talents to benefit several causes close to her heart, and has become an advocate and inspiration for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

However, it is what’s in front of her, not what’s behind her, that will define Crystal’s personal and professional evolution. The accomplished singer-songwriter is set to release a new project – a live album, recorded at the Kitchen Sink Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, cleverly titled Alive. Not only is the title a play on words, representing the rawness of the tracks, but it pertains to the place where Crystal currently is in her life. That place is one of joy, fulfillment, and stability for Crystal and her eight year old son, Tony.

To create her newest project, Crystal called on her “chosen family” of musicians. The combination of keeping those she cherishes close to her and taking an honest look at life has resulted in the truest music she has released to date. Crystal has drawn on her various influences — across folk-pop, classic rock, soul, blues and country — to make the kind of music that resonates with her spirit. It is both tender and tough, rough yet polished, and it encompasses many genres without falling neatly into one category. As one of her songwriting partners describes it, Crystal has “a voice like dirt and diamonds.” Her music is intended to bring a positive message of love and light to the world – things that folks will be able to take with them on their own journey, so that they, too, can feel truly alive.

Similar to her beginnings, Crystal intends to make music that has healing power, but at this point, she sees far beyond her own troubles. Her live show is a safe space for concertgoers. Attend a Crystal Bowersox show, and you just might see a grown man cry and a child dance simultaneously. You’ll also likely get the chance to meet her personally; Crystal is typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the venue. Meeting with the fans and hearing their personal stories is something Crystal considers a blessing in her life.

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend that pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of “A Broken Wing” she sings, “I know there’s beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine.” Crystal’s story is one of resilience and perseverance, and it’s evident in every note of her newest release, Alive.

Shane Smith & The Saints

Play just the first 10 seconds of “The Mountain,” which opens Geronimo, the latest and most ambitious release from Shane Smith & The Saints. Robust a cappella, four-part harmonies set the stage for a saga of family tragedy, a young son’s revenge and a blaze burning eternally in a Pennsylvania mine. The vivid lyrics, powerful vocals and thumping four-beat drums throughout this song are reason enough for lovers of creative roots music to celebrate.

From their home base in Austin through performances across the country (17 states) and abroad (Ireland), these five gentlemen have not just stuck stubbornly to their musical and lyrical convictions. They’ve defied audience expectations by delivering incendiary shows, each one ignited by the band’s ability to unleash, feed from and feed back the energy of the crowd — in spite of the fact that they don’t fit easily into any musical category.

With Geronimo, they’ve dared themselves to exceed their own expectations.

Each song begins with Smith creating its “bones,” in the form of chords and lyrics. He then joins fiddler Bennett Brown, lead guitarist Tim Allen, bassist Chase Satterwhite and drummer Zach Stover to bring those bones to life. Aside from a bit of cello, some horns and a few keyboard parts, the band lays down each note on Geronimo. Their ability to bring songs to life has even earned them opportunities to record instrumental tracks for other artists.

Smith’s ability to draw images from everyday life into poetry goes back to his earliest days in Terrell, Texas, an hour east of Dallas.

“There was an old Catholic church right next to our house,” he recalls. “To this day, I remember those church bells ringing. In fact, I use that reference in a song from Geronimo called ‘Suzannah,’ which is about a guy who’s fighting a war and is thinking of his hometown — and he also remembers being raised with a church bell ringing on the hour every day.”

Before he ever thought of himself as a songwriter, Smith was concerned mainly with tennis. He played for the formidable program at Tyler Junior College before transferring to St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Smith soon began getting into music as well, playing solo gigs in local bars. And he began writing, inspired by looking at life as it played out around him.

“I’d be in a restaurant and overhear someone saying something, and I’ll have to excuse myself, walk outside and write a note to myself about it,” he says. “These days, I make little iPhone recordings. The other day I made one about this homeless guy I saw by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere. He was dirty and worn out but he was picking these gorgeous flowers. I constantly see moments and images and statements, put them in the bank and have them there to reflect on and make into honest lyrics down the road.”

Even when he writes a love song, Smith almost can’t help but turn the mundane into something transcendent. On Geronimo, he does this with “All I See Is You”: “The storm’s running through the Midwest like a bandit on the loose. / All the clouds are black as night and all I see is you. / The rain’s pouring through the window panes and the cracks of this roof. / Tea’s boiling from the spout of the pot, but all I see is you.”

Recorded and self-produced while on the road throughout Austin, Dallas and Nashville, Geronimo weaves these images into story lines, each enhancing the other, together coming alive. “I love trying to tell stories through songs,” Smith observes. “There’s something that fascinates me about echoing old tales in songs to carry them on for years and years, like old folk songs.”

And so we travel with a newly freed slave in the nineteenth century, hearing the music and feeling the exuberance of dancing in Congo Square on “New Orleans.” We feel the rueful reflection from a sinner who “spent time on the wrong side of the church door” on “Right Side of the Ground.” We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Alamo’s doomed heroes as their final seconds near on “Crockett’s Prayer.” And the title track serves a dual purpose, taking us to a heroic time and place while making a broader statement about this project.

“On one end, it is an attempt to pay tribute to the life of Geronimo, the Apache warrior,” says Smith. “I’ve always been fascinated by Geronimo and the principles he stood for. This also presented the perfect opportunity to relate the term ‘Geronimo’ with our intensions of this album and the ‘jumping from a cliff’ idea that it symbolizes. If we are going to attempt a career in music, this album is our commitment to give it everything we’ve got.”

“Our goal with this album was never to put out a bunch of catchy singles and be all over the radio,” explains Smith. “It was to set us apart, with meaningful lyrics, huge harmonies and the sound of a hard-working band that has played some crappy gigs and come out stronger for it. We always had the options to either make a ‘safe’ record or put something out that sounds like us and no one else.”

“We took that second option and named it Geronimo.”

Play just the first 10 seconds of “The Mountain,” which opens Geronimo, the latest and most ambitious release from Shane Smith & The Saints. Robust a cappella, four-part harmonies set the stage for a saga of family tragedy, a young son’s revenge and a blaze burning eternally in a Pennsylvania mine. The vivid lyrics, powerful vocals and thumping four-beat drums throughout this song are reason enough for lovers of creative roots music to celebrate.

From their home base in Austin through performances across the country (17 states) and abroad (Ireland), these five gentlemen have not just stuck stubbornly to their musical and lyrical convictions. They’ve defied audience expectations by delivering incendiary shows, each one ignited by the band’s ability to unleash, feed from and feed back the energy of the crowd — in spite of the fact that they don’t fit easily into any musical category.

With Geronimo, they’ve dared themselves to exceed their own expectations.

Each song begins with Smith creating its “bones,” in the form of chords and lyrics. He then joins fiddler Bennett Brown, lead guitarist Tim Allen, bassist Chase Satterwhite and drummer Zach Stover to bring those bones to life. Aside from a bit of cello, some horns and a few keyboard parts, the band lays down each note on Geronimo. Their ability to bring songs to life has even earned them opportunities to record instrumental tracks for other artists.

Smith’s ability to draw images from everyday life into poetry goes back to his earliest days in Terrell, Texas, an hour east of Dallas.

“There was an old Catholic church right next to our house,” he recalls. “To this day, I remember those church bells ringing. In fact, I use that reference in a song from Geronimo called ‘Suzannah,’ which is about a guy who’s fighting a war and is thinking of his hometown — and he also remembers being raised with a church bell ringing on the hour every day.”

Before he ever thought of himself as a songwriter, Smith was concerned mainly with tennis. He played for the formidable program at Tyler Junior College before transferring to St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Smith soon began getting into music as well, playing solo gigs in local bars. And he began writing, inspired by looking at life as it played out around him.

“I’d be in a restaurant and overhear someone saying something, and I’ll have to excuse myself, walk outside and write a note to myself about it,” he says. “These days, I make little iPhone recordings. The other day I made one about this homeless guy I saw by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere. He was dirty and worn out but he was picking these gorgeous flowers. I constantly see moments and images and statements, put them in the bank and have them there to reflect on and make into honest lyrics down the road.”

Even when he writes a love song, Smith almost can’t help but turn the mundane into something transcendent. On Geronimo, he does this with “All I See Is You”: “The storm’s running through the Midwest like a bandit on the loose. / All the clouds are black as night and all I see is you. / The rain’s pouring through the window panes and the cracks of this roof. / Tea’s boiling from the spout of the pot, but all I see is you.”

Recorded and self-produced while on the road throughout Austin, Dallas and Nashville, Geronimo weaves these images into story lines, each enhancing the other, together coming alive. “I love trying to tell stories through songs,” Smith observes. “There’s something that fascinates me about echoing old tales in songs to carry them on for years and years, like old folk songs.”

And so we travel with a newly freed slave in the nineteenth century, hearing the music and feeling the exuberance of dancing in Congo Square on “New Orleans.” We feel the rueful reflection from a sinner who “spent time on the wrong side of the church door” on “Right Side of the Ground.” We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Alamo’s doomed heroes as their final seconds near on “Crockett’s Prayer.” And the title track serves a dual purpose, taking us to a heroic time and place while making a broader statement about this project.

“On one end, it is an attempt to pay tribute to the life of Geronimo, the Apache warrior,” says Smith. “I’ve always been fascinated by Geronimo and the principles he stood for. This also presented the perfect opportunity to relate the term ‘Geronimo’ with our intensions of this album and the ‘jumping from a cliff’ idea that it symbolizes. If we are going to attempt a career in music, this album is our commitment to give it everything we’ve got.”

“Our goal with this album was never to put out a bunch of catchy singles and be all over the radio,” explains Smith. “It was to set us apart, with meaningful lyrics, huge harmonies and the sound of a hard-working band that has played some crappy gigs and come out stronger for it. We always had the options to either make a ‘safe’ record or put something out that sounds like us and no one else.”

“We took that second option and named it Geronimo.”

(Early Show) Bonnie Bishop

It's only a matter of time until Hollywood snaps up the story of how singer-songwriter Bonnie Bishop connected with Dave Cobb, one of the hottest producers in the business, to unlock her inner soul singer and record the best album of her career: "Ain't Who I Was" (May 27; Thirty Tigers/RED).

Even though Bishop can barely believe it herself, it's a story that will need no dramatic embellishment, because every twist of fate - and faith - is absolutely true.

Before landing with Cobb, whose credits include Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, Bishop had thrown in the towel on her country-leaning career, too frustrated, beat-up and broke to go on after 13 years, five albums and one failed marriage. It landed on the rag pile despite monogramming by her idol, Bonnie Raitt, who recorded a Bishop/Big Al Anderson co-write on her comeback album, "Slipstream." The song, "Not Cause I Wanted To," topped the New York Times' year-end best-of list, then "Slipstream" won 2012's Best Americana Album Grammy. Bishop also popped onto iTunes' country chart in 2013 with a song delivered by Connie Britton, the star of ABC-TV's hit series "Nashville."

But a girl can only live so long on accolades and exposure. After spending 200 nights a year on the road - loading her own gear, running her own sound and sleeping in her van - and still not earning enough to afford Christmas presents for her family, Bishop knew she'd hit a dead end.

"I started to break down mentally and physically from the stress," she confesses. When a panic attack sent her to a Nashville emergency room, she was told to take a rest. So Texas-raised Bishop, who'd moved to Nashville in the hopes of writing Raitt-worthy songs, retreated to her parents' ranch in Wimberley, outside of Austin. Feelings of failure and despair gnawed at her psyche; she went into mourning for the death of her dream.

"I spent three months crying and feeling sorry for myself, then decided I had to figure out what to do," explains Bishop, her voice bright and cheerful. "I had all these amazing stories from the road, and I started writing them down as a way of healing. Then stories from childhood started coming out, and I started seeing these threads in my stories in a way that allowed me to celebrate what I had done, instead of beating myself up for having failed. I thought maybe I could make a career doing that. So I applied to graduate school."

But before leaving Nashville, she called Thirty Tigers co-founder David Macias, whose multi-faceted entertainment company handles Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Simpson and Isbell - whose Cobb-produced release won 2015's Best Americana Album Grammy.

"David always believed in me," Bishop says. "I told him what was going on in my life, and he said, 'I don't think your music career is over. You just need to make a great record with a real producer.'"

He sent Cobb some demos. Cobb invited her to lunch. At the time, he was working with Stapleton, recording what would become 2015's Best Country Album Grammy winner and 2016's ACM Album of the Year.

Bishop flew to Nashville to meet him. Cobb told her she should be singing soul, not country, and that he'd been wanting to record a soul album.

She was thrilled. As a child in Houston, she'd heard her surgeon father, a former musician, playing blues piano, and her cellist mother spinning Motown singles. After they split, her mother married football coach Jackie Sherrill, who took a coaching job at Mississippi State.

"I am from Texas, but there's a lot of Mississippi in me," Bishop offers. "I definitely got my soul from hanging with all the black girls in choir there. That's how I learned to sing."

She credits her late songwriter friend Tim Krekel with helping her rediscover her "bluesy voice." Krekel had also written with Stapleton, and when Cobb mentioned to Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, that he was meeting Bishop, Morgane said, "I love Bonnie Bishop's voice! You have to do this record!"

Bishop didn't even know Stapleton had co-authored her favorite Krekel song, "Be With You," when she added it to her setlist after singing it at his funeral (he passed away from cancer in 2010). It's one of several standout tracks on the album. But before she recorded it - or any others - she had to face another series of panic-inducing challenges.

"It was very scary for me to make the mental space for hope to live again, because I was so afraid of getting my heart broken by music," she admits. "I had doubts about whether or not I could still even sing. I was nervous as hell."

Plus, she had no idea what Cobb actually had in mind. "I just had to trust this person," Bishop notes. "At the same time, I'm having this huge mental battle because I'd worked so hard to kill this dream, and then here I am … it required complete faith that there was a purpose to this."

She also had debt from the semester she'd just completed in the graduate creative writing program at Sewanee University of the South, outside of Nashville. (Bishop earned her undergraduate degree in sociology and musical theater from the University of Texas.) When her album investor bailed at the last minute, her friend and manager, Dave Claassen, had to talk her down from another freak-out, reassuring her that it would somehow work out. (His motto, she says, is "just show up.")

Cobb picked six songs from her list of 36, including six she co-wrote, and they found two more. One is "Done Died," a spiritual he discovered on YouTube, sung by an old Mississippi bluesman named Boyd Rivers. Cobb had been saving it for someone special; when she heard it, she cried.

"That's totally how I feel, like I died and I'm coming back to life," she explains. "I'd already had that spiritual transformation years before, but now I'm having it again musically." In Bishop's version, which slinks like a full-bellied crocodile from gutbucket blues to raw, unfettered soul, her sandstone voice captures the frenzy of a born-again believer as it rises to the heavens.

"[Cobb] knew that I had a deep story that I wanted to tell and he really helped me do that," Bishop says. It's a story of transformation, expressed in lyrics of longing, loss, loneliness and finally, resurrection.

"The record is called 'Ain't Who I Was' because I'm not the same person I was, personally or musically," says Bishop. "I was at a point where I just didn't know anymore. I didn't even have a vision, and this amazing producer came alongside me and believed in me and pulled my voice back out and made me get back up and sing."

She chokes up while describing the experience, but one thing is clear: Her vocal prowess was never an issue. She just hadn't worked with someone who knew how to unleash its full power. On this release, she gets right to it with the funky opener, "Mercy" (recorded as "Have A Little Mercy" by Ann Sexton), answering wah-wah guitar licks with a gritty groove. Then she gets soft and whispery on "Be With You," creating a sound so intimate, its almost as if the listener becomes the lover she's singing to.

On "Not Cause I Wanted To," she confesses to her ex how much pain she carries after leaving him; if the ballad, which takes us to church with a Wurlitzer-filled bridge, somehow sounds even more soulful than Raitt's version, it's because this writer lived it.

Bishop again laments that hurt, but with a completely different approach, on "Too Late," a co-write with Ford Thurston. Here, she conjures Dusty and the Supremes while dancing through a storm of needle-sharp guitar notes.

"It was simple arrangements and cool grooves, and I loved the sounds I was hearing as we recorded," Bishop says. "It's the record I always wanted to make and didn't know how. And Dave did. Without having ever seen me live, just hearing three acoustic demos, he pulled it out of me when I thought was dead. It was such an incredible thing."

But she really gets to the heart of the matter with "Broken," one of three she penned with keyboardist Jimmy Wallace. It's a sweeping, emotion-filled ballad, tailor-made for playing over a movie's closing credits. When Bishop lets loose on the chorus, singing, "I don't wanna be /Broken anymore/Don't wanna see pieces of me/Shattered on the floor," you can hear every tear she spilled while writing those lines. It truly is a knockout performance.

When Macias heard it, along with the other tracks they'd done, he announced Thirty Tigers would pay for the album and help get it heard.

"All these Davids believed in me and brought me back to life," says Bishop. "I feel like I'm truly living a fairy tale. All I do on a daily basis now is get up and say thank-you, Jesus that this is all going on and show me how to show up today. Show me how to show up and not think too hard about it and not beat myself up and not allow what happened in the past to affect what I do today. … That is the gift that Dave Cobb gave me. And I'm so grateful and so excited."

She's also thankful she recorded with Cobb when she did; his work is winning so many awards, he's more in demand than ever.

If Bishop and Cobb should share an award someday, that'll be icing for the movie. But with or without that scene, she knows the message she wants it to convey: That dreams do come true. As long as you keep believing.

"Dreams are lifetime visions," Bishop says wisely. "And life is valleys and mountains. And if you can accept that, you'll be fine."

'Ain't Who I Was' Track Listing:
1. Mercy
2. Be With You
3. Looking For You
4. Done Died
5. Poor Man's Melody
6. Broken
7. Too Late
8. Ain't Who I Was
9. Not Cause I Wanted To
10. You Will Be Loved
Follow Bonnie Bishop here:

It's only a matter of time until Hollywood snaps up the story of how singer-songwriter Bonnie Bishop connected with Dave Cobb, one of the hottest producers in the business, to unlock her inner soul singer and record the best album of her career: "Ain't Who I Was" (May 27; Thirty Tigers/RED).

Even though Bishop can barely believe it herself, it's a story that will need no dramatic embellishment, because every twist of fate - and faith - is absolutely true.

Before landing with Cobb, whose credits include Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, Bishop had thrown in the towel on her country-leaning career, too frustrated, beat-up and broke to go on after 13 years, five albums and one failed marriage. It landed on the rag pile despite monogramming by her idol, Bonnie Raitt, who recorded a Bishop/Big Al Anderson co-write on her comeback album, "Slipstream." The song, "Not Cause I Wanted To," topped the New York Times' year-end best-of list, then "Slipstream" won 2012's Best Americana Album Grammy. Bishop also popped onto iTunes' country chart in 2013 with a song delivered by Connie Britton, the star of ABC-TV's hit series "Nashville."

But a girl can only live so long on accolades and exposure. After spending 200 nights a year on the road - loading her own gear, running her own sound and sleeping in her van - and still not earning enough to afford Christmas presents for her family, Bishop knew she'd hit a dead end.

"I started to break down mentally and physically from the stress," she confesses. When a panic attack sent her to a Nashville emergency room, she was told to take a rest. So Texas-raised Bishop, who'd moved to Nashville in the hopes of writing Raitt-worthy songs, retreated to her parents' ranch in Wimberley, outside of Austin. Feelings of failure and despair gnawed at her psyche; she went into mourning for the death of her dream.

"I spent three months crying and feeling sorry for myself, then decided I had to figure out what to do," explains Bishop, her voice bright and cheerful. "I had all these amazing stories from the road, and I started writing them down as a way of healing. Then stories from childhood started coming out, and I started seeing these threads in my stories in a way that allowed me to celebrate what I had done, instead of beating myself up for having failed. I thought maybe I could make a career doing that. So I applied to graduate school."

But before leaving Nashville, she called Thirty Tigers co-founder David Macias, whose multi-faceted entertainment company handles Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Simpson and Isbell - whose Cobb-produced release won 2015's Best Americana Album Grammy.

"David always believed in me," Bishop says. "I told him what was going on in my life, and he said, 'I don't think your music career is over. You just need to make a great record with a real producer.'"

He sent Cobb some demos. Cobb invited her to lunch. At the time, he was working with Stapleton, recording what would become 2015's Best Country Album Grammy winner and 2016's ACM Album of the Year.

Bishop flew to Nashville to meet him. Cobb told her she should be singing soul, not country, and that he'd been wanting to record a soul album.

She was thrilled. As a child in Houston, she'd heard her surgeon father, a former musician, playing blues piano, and her cellist mother spinning Motown singles. After they split, her mother married football coach Jackie Sherrill, who took a coaching job at Mississippi State.

"I am from Texas, but there's a lot of Mississippi in me," Bishop offers. "I definitely got my soul from hanging with all the black girls in choir there. That's how I learned to sing."

She credits her late songwriter friend Tim Krekel with helping her rediscover her "bluesy voice." Krekel had also written with Stapleton, and when Cobb mentioned to Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, that he was meeting Bishop, Morgane said, "I love Bonnie Bishop's voice! You have to do this record!"

Bishop didn't even know Stapleton had co-authored her favorite Krekel song, "Be With You," when she added it to her setlist after singing it at his funeral (he passed away from cancer in 2010). It's one of several standout tracks on the album. But before she recorded it - or any others - she had to face another series of panic-inducing challenges.

"It was very scary for me to make the mental space for hope to live again, because I was so afraid of getting my heart broken by music," she admits. "I had doubts about whether or not I could still even sing. I was nervous as hell."

Plus, she had no idea what Cobb actually had in mind. "I just had to trust this person," Bishop notes. "At the same time, I'm having this huge mental battle because I'd worked so hard to kill this dream, and then here I am … it required complete faith that there was a purpose to this."

She also had debt from the semester she'd just completed in the graduate creative writing program at Sewanee University of the South, outside of Nashville. (Bishop earned her undergraduate degree in sociology and musical theater from the University of Texas.) When her album investor bailed at the last minute, her friend and manager, Dave Claassen, had to talk her down from another freak-out, reassuring her that it would somehow work out. (His motto, she says, is "just show up.")

Cobb picked six songs from her list of 36, including six she co-wrote, and they found two more. One is "Done Died," a spiritual he discovered on YouTube, sung by an old Mississippi bluesman named Boyd Rivers. Cobb had been saving it for someone special; when she heard it, she cried.

"That's totally how I feel, like I died and I'm coming back to life," she explains. "I'd already had that spiritual transformation years before, but now I'm having it again musically." In Bishop's version, which slinks like a full-bellied crocodile from gutbucket blues to raw, unfettered soul, her sandstone voice captures the frenzy of a born-again believer as it rises to the heavens.

"[Cobb] knew that I had a deep story that I wanted to tell and he really helped me do that," Bishop says. It's a story of transformation, expressed in lyrics of longing, loss, loneliness and finally, resurrection.

"The record is called 'Ain't Who I Was' because I'm not the same person I was, personally or musically," says Bishop. "I was at a point where I just didn't know anymore. I didn't even have a vision, and this amazing producer came alongside me and believed in me and pulled my voice back out and made me get back up and sing."

She chokes up while describing the experience, but one thing is clear: Her vocal prowess was never an issue. She just hadn't worked with someone who knew how to unleash its full power. On this release, she gets right to it with the funky opener, "Mercy" (recorded as "Have A Little Mercy" by Ann Sexton), answering wah-wah guitar licks with a gritty groove. Then she gets soft and whispery on "Be With You," creating a sound so intimate, its almost as if the listener becomes the lover she's singing to.

On "Not Cause I Wanted To," she confesses to her ex how much pain she carries after leaving him; if the ballad, which takes us to church with a Wurlitzer-filled bridge, somehow sounds even more soulful than Raitt's version, it's because this writer lived it.

Bishop again laments that hurt, but with a completely different approach, on "Too Late," a co-write with Ford Thurston. Here, she conjures Dusty and the Supremes while dancing through a storm of needle-sharp guitar notes.

"It was simple arrangements and cool grooves, and I loved the sounds I was hearing as we recorded," Bishop says. "It's the record I always wanted to make and didn't know how. And Dave did. Without having ever seen me live, just hearing three acoustic demos, he pulled it out of me when I thought was dead. It was such an incredible thing."

But she really gets to the heart of the matter with "Broken," one of three she penned with keyboardist Jimmy Wallace. It's a sweeping, emotion-filled ballad, tailor-made for playing over a movie's closing credits. When Bishop lets loose on the chorus, singing, "I don't wanna be /Broken anymore/Don't wanna see pieces of me/Shattered on the floor," you can hear every tear she spilled while writing those lines. It truly is a knockout performance.

When Macias heard it, along with the other tracks they'd done, he announced Thirty Tigers would pay for the album and help get it heard.

"All these Davids believed in me and brought me back to life," says Bishop. "I feel like I'm truly living a fairy tale. All I do on a daily basis now is get up and say thank-you, Jesus that this is all going on and show me how to show up today. Show me how to show up and not think too hard about it and not beat myself up and not allow what happened in the past to affect what I do today. … That is the gift that Dave Cobb gave me. And I'm so grateful and so excited."

She's also thankful she recorded with Cobb when she did; his work is winning so many awards, he's more in demand than ever.

If Bishop and Cobb should share an award someday, that'll be icing for the movie. But with or without that scene, she knows the message she wants it to convey: That dreams do come true. As long as you keep believing.

"Dreams are lifetime visions," Bishop says wisely. "And life is valleys and mountains. And if you can accept that, you'll be fine."

'Ain't Who I Was' Track Listing:
1. Mercy
2. Be With You
3. Looking For You
4. Done Died
5. Poor Man's Melody
6. Broken
7. Too Late
8. Ain't Who I Was
9. Not Cause I Wanted To
10. You Will Be Loved
Follow Bonnie Bishop here:

An Evening with The Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band

Whether seen on HBO's Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they have also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.” In the wake of the sometimes-stringent competition among New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Following the Grammy-winning Rebirth of New Orleans, Rebirth Brass Band is at it again with Move Your Body, an infectious, groove-laden collection of hip-shakers sure to saturate the dance floor.

Rollicking originals like "Who's Rockin, Who's Rollin'"? and "Take 'Em to the Moon" reaffirm the band's position as head of the brass throne while the rasta-esque "On My Way" and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination lyrics of "HBNS" showcase the unit's talent for penning unabashed party starters.

Boasting a mastery of Rebirth's signature "heavy funk" sound, Move Your Body pushes and swings, leaving behind an 11 track thumbprint, approved by the Frazier brothers themselves, of a sultry Tuesday night spent dancing on their home court at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

Whether seen on HBO's Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they have also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.” In the wake of the sometimes-stringent competition among New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Following the Grammy-winning Rebirth of New Orleans, Rebirth Brass Band is at it again with Move Your Body, an infectious, groove-laden collection of hip-shakers sure to saturate the dance floor.

Rollicking originals like "Who's Rockin, Who's Rollin'"? and "Take 'Em to the Moon" reaffirm the band's position as head of the brass throne while the rasta-esque "On My Way" and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination lyrics of "HBNS" showcase the unit's talent for penning unabashed party starters.

Boasting a mastery of Rebirth's signature "heavy funk" sound, Move Your Body pushes and swings, leaving behind an 11 track thumbprint, approved by the Frazier brothers themselves, of a sultry Tuesday night spent dancing on their home court at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

P.O.S with Special Guests Metasota, Transit 22

Doomtree co-founder, punk philosopher and lyrical bomb-thrower Stefon Alexander, aka P.O.S, makes tight, declamatory music that builds on the Minneapolis-bred rapper and producer’s penchant for grinding beats and radical lyrics. Known for welding hip-hop with guitar squalls, screamed vocals, and futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub, P.O.S steps even further into genre-blurring territory with Chill, dummy, his first official release with Doomtree Records since his 2004 debut Ipecac Neat. The album reflects on the past three years since a near-fatal kidney transplant sidelined him from making music and deals with the the difficulties of trying to maintain peace of mind and navigate through a confusing world which is becoming increasingly more alienating. P.O.S’ production fingerprints are all over this one as he maneuvers through a wide range of sprawling beats contributed by himself, usual suspects Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson, and newcomers Cory Grindberg and Makr. Several friends touch down along the way to offer up biting commentary and varying points of view (Allan Kingdom, Astronautalis, Kathleen Hanna, Justin Vernon, Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, and Lady Midnight to name a few), but the album never suffers from an oversaturation of scattered voices, instead using everyone’s individual ethos and strengths to build a unifying call to arms. The result is P.O.S’ most bold, honest, and daring work to date, so Chill, dummy.

Doomtree co-founder, punk philosopher and lyrical bomb-thrower Stefon Alexander, aka P.O.S, makes tight, declamatory music that builds on the Minneapolis-bred rapper and producer’s penchant for grinding beats and radical lyrics. Known for welding hip-hop with guitar squalls, screamed vocals, and futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub, P.O.S steps even further into genre-blurring territory with Chill, dummy, his first official release with Doomtree Records since his 2004 debut Ipecac Neat. The album reflects on the past three years since a near-fatal kidney transplant sidelined him from making music and deals with the the difficulties of trying to maintain peace of mind and navigate through a confusing world which is becoming increasingly more alienating. P.O.S’ production fingerprints are all over this one as he maneuvers through a wide range of sprawling beats contributed by himself, usual suspects Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson, and newcomers Cory Grindberg and Makr. Several friends touch down along the way to offer up biting commentary and varying points of view (Allan Kingdom, Astronautalis, Kathleen Hanna, Justin Vernon, Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, and Lady Midnight to name a few), but the album never suffers from an oversaturation of scattered voices, instead using everyone’s individual ethos and strengths to build a unifying call to arms. The result is P.O.S’ most bold, honest, and daring work to date, so Chill, dummy.

Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu is a rock band that considers itself to be working within the mainstream of the genre.

Pere Ubu make a music that is a disorienting mix of midwestern groove rock, "found" sound, analog synthesizers, falling-apart song structures and careening vocals. It is a mix that has mesmerized critics, musicians and fans for decades.

The Pere Ubu project was supposed to be an end, not a beginning. Assembled in August 1975 to be the Crosby Stills Nash & Young of the Cleveland music underground, the plan was to record one, maybe two singles and exist no more. Within months, however, those first self-produced records were being snapped up in London, Paris, Manchester, New York and Minneapolis. Pere Ubu was changing the face of rock music. Over the next four decades they defined the art of cult; refined the voice of the outsider; and inspired the likes of Joy Division, Pixies, Husker Du, Henry Rollins, REM, Sisters of Mercy, Thomas Dolby, Bauhaus, Julian Cope and countless others.

Singer David Thomas named the band after the protagonist of Ubu Roi, a play by Frenchman Alfred Jarry. The single, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" b/w "Heart of Darkness," released in 1975, was the first of four independent releases on Hearpen Records and, along with Television's "Little Johnny Jewel," signaled the beginning of the New Wave. In the early to mid-70s the musicians who were to form Pere Ubu were part of a fertile rock scene that also produced 15-60-75, The Mirrors, The Electric Eels, Rocket From The Tombs, Tin Huey, and Devo.

The group's first album, The Modern Dance (1978) was a startling work that influenced an entire generation of bands. Its follow-up, Dub Housing (1978), was the masterpiece, "an incomparable work of American genius." Pere Ubu toured Europe extensively in 1978, supported by the likes of The Pop Group, Nico, Human League, The Soft Boys and Red Crayola. Late in 1979 Tom Herman left and was replaced by Mayo Thompson, the guitarist from 60s Texas psychedelic-rock legends The Red Krayola. The Art Of Walking (1980) followed, a challenging stew of inside-out song structures. Anton Fier (The Feelies, Peter Laughner's Friction, The Golden Palominos) replaced Scott Krauss in the middle of 1981 and recorded Song Of The Bailing Man (1982). At the end of an American tour in December 1981, and after months of growing friction between two members of the group, the band ceased to exist as a functioning unit.

In 1981, Thomas recorded the first of two albums with British folk-rock guitarist Richard Thompson. Three more solo albums featured members of the dormant Ubu. The last of these, 1987's Ubu-like Blame The Messenger (by David Thomas and the Wooden Birds), led to the reanimation of the Pere Ubu projex. The line-up had been Thomas, Allen Ravenstine, Tony Maimone, Chris Cutler and Jim Jones. Jones was a stalwart on the Cleveland scene and a member of nearly every good band to come from it, at one time or another. Cutler, drummer in English prog-rock outfits Henry Cow and Art Bears, was an early advocate of Ubu and subsequently became a friend of the band. At a Wooden Birds appearance in Cleveland, Krauss sat in with the band. The two drummers line-up sounded good. Later, at the beginning of a European tour, in the lobby of a hotel in Ijmuiden, Holland, Pere Ubu was reactivated. Krauss was asked to join as a second drummer. The clattering Tenement Year, recorded for a British label (Fontana) headed by Ubu fanatic Dave Bates, followed in March 1988.

Teamed with another Ubu fan, producer Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order, etc.), Ubu shifted gears for 1989's Cloudland, an epic journey across the landscape of America. Tired of touring and the grind of it all, Ravenstine retired to take up a career as an airline pilot for Northwest Airlines. He was replaced by Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger) who appeared on Stereo Review's Record of The Year, Worlds In Collision (1991), produced by Gil Norton (The Pixies). Cutler, unable to juggle all the demands of his many musical projects, had to leave. The Pixies invited Ubu to support them on an extensive tour of America in 1991. Feldman, subsequently, joined The Pixies as a sideman and worked on Frank Black's solo projects. When Feldman was unable to record with Ubu because of these commitments the band decided to record what would be the last Fontana album, Story Of My Life (1993), as a four-piece.

Garo Yellin, playing an electrified cello, and veteran of The Ordinaires and several of Thomas' solo projects, was recruited to fill the "synthesizer" slot. They Might Be Giants invited Ubu to support them on a tour of America in 1993. Subsequently, Maimone left to work in the They Might Be Giants band. He was replaced by Michele Temple who had previously replaced him in the Jones/Krauss 80s side project, Home & Garden.

In January 1994, again without a major label, the band recorded demos for a projected album, Songs From The Lost LP, intended to be a tribute to Smile. Krauss left... again. Yellin, busy with his quartet in NYC, was replaced by Robert Wheeler, organic farmer, Ravenstine-protegé, and president of the Thomas Alva Edison Birthplace Foundation. Thomas announced that he was now ready to become the producer for Pere Ubu and that was what he was going to do. Raygun Suitcase (1995), awarded CD Review's Editors' Choice Award, was recorded to a click track in the hope that Krauss would change his mind. When he didn't, Scott Benedict, the drummer in Temple's group, The Vivians, came in over a weekend, the last weekend of production, and recorded all the drum parts in one of the most magnificent displays of studio-craft the band had ever experienced. The next week he retired to take up landscape gardening. Steve Mehlman, Benedict's replacement in The Vivians, replaced him in Ubu.

In August 1995 Jones retired from the road for health reasons. Herman rejoined the group for the Raygun Suitcase tours, and together with Jim Jones recorded Pennsylvania (1998), a highly acclaimed album nominated by one of America's preeminent rock critics, Greil Marcus, as the best of 1998. In 1999 the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame promoted a special event, "55 Years of Pain," honoring Pere Ubu and the grand-daddies of the Cleveland scene, 15-60-75. The event was repeated at the Royal Festival Hall in London later in the year, and at the "Fall of The Magnetic Empire Festival," curated by Thomas and staged at New York City's Knitting Factory, and during which Wayne Kramer of the MC5 joined the group as guitarist for one show.

The release of St Arkansas (2006) was celebrated by The Mighty Road Tour. A "splinter" group within the band, referred to as The Pere Ubu Film Group, premiered a live underscore to a rare 3-D screening of Ray Bradbury's "It Came From Outer Space" at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in October 2002. A highly successful 6-date tour of the underscore in the United Kingdom followed in November 2004. The group premiered its underscore to Roger Corman's "X, the Man With X-Ray Eyes" at 'Celebrate Brooklyn' (New York City) in 2004.

After a decade of perfecting a "hyper-naturalistic" recording method (junk-o-phonics), Thomas produced Why I Hate Women (2006). It was recorded, for the most part, without the use of 'professional' microphones. Instead an array of 'junk-o-phones' designed by long-time engineer Paul Hamann were used. These included an array of speakers salvaged from broken devices, wooden boxes, metal horns, panes of glass, even doors, wired into specialized electronics.

The band's most ambitious project, which would culminate in the release of "Long Live Père Ubu!" (2009), began in July 2007. It was an adaptation of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, recorded, again, using junk-o-phonics in such a way that the acoustic quality of the sound itself becomes a narrative voice. A theatrical production, Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi, and a radio play of the theatrical production became part of the project. British singer Sarah Jane Morris joined the group for the project. Cult filmmakers, The Brothers Quay, created animations for the theatrical production. On April 24 and 25, 2008, "Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi" premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and was subsequently staged in its full theatrical state at the Animator Festival in Poznan, Poland, July 11 2009, and at the Festival Scènes d'Europe in Reims, France, on Dec. 16 2009. A concert version called "Long Live Père" toured in Europe and the USA.

Lady From Shanghai (2013) marked the fulfillment of a twenty year project working out the Chinese Whispers methodology. A book of the same name, written by David Thomas, accompanied the release. (It was his second book; the first was called The Book of Hieroglyphs.) In July of 2013, an underscore to the 60s cult film 'Carnival of Souls' was premiered at the East End Film Festival in London. Songs and musical pieces written for the underscore were developed over the course of a tour of the United Kingdom, Italy, Croatia and Ireland, in November 2013, undertaken by a 'shock troops' version of the band. Each night ideas were improvised from scratch. The album Carnival of Souls (release date September 8 2014) resulted. Clarinetist Darryl Boon had contributed to a couple songs on 'Lady From Shanghai.' Over the course of the making of 'Carnival of Souls' he was fully integrated into the group.

In 2014, Pere Ubu renounced its 'US citizenship' and applied for creative asylum in Leeds, England, after a cabal of the American Federation of Musicians and a clique of government clerks in a small town in Vermont determined that Pere Ubu was unworthy of being granted permission to perform in America.

In 2015, with the vinyl box set Elitism For The People, Fire Records began a re-release program that will eventually encompass the entire Pere Uu catalog. Architectre Of Language followed in 2016 and 'Drive, He Said' in March 2017.

The Pere Ubu Film Unit, a subset of the band, continued with live underscores to the 1962 cult classic Carnival Of Souls. Another subset of the band, The Pere Ubu Moon Unit, dedicated to improvised performances, made more appearances.

In 2016, Cleveland guitarist Gary Siperko (who also is a member of Rocket From The Tombs) joined the band and toured in America with the Coed Jail! lineup.

As the recording of 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo proceeded through the autumn of 2016, Kristof Hahn, from The Swans, became involved. For a number of years he had been a regular visitor to the Ubu dressing room. After hearing early recordings of the material, he wrote to David, "Gives me goosebumps. I would like to be involved in even a small way." He appears on all tracks playing steel guitar.

In 2016, Pere Ubu signed to Cherry Red Records. The Pere Ubu Moon Unit played some European festivals over the summer.

Pere Ubu is a rock band that considers itself to be working within the mainstream of the genre.

Pere Ubu make a music that is a disorienting mix of midwestern groove rock, "found" sound, analog synthesizers, falling-apart song structures and careening vocals. It is a mix that has mesmerized critics, musicians and fans for decades.

The Pere Ubu project was supposed to be an end, not a beginning. Assembled in August 1975 to be the Crosby Stills Nash & Young of the Cleveland music underground, the plan was to record one, maybe two singles and exist no more. Within months, however, those first self-produced records were being snapped up in London, Paris, Manchester, New York and Minneapolis. Pere Ubu was changing the face of rock music. Over the next four decades they defined the art of cult; refined the voice of the outsider; and inspired the likes of Joy Division, Pixies, Husker Du, Henry Rollins, REM, Sisters of Mercy, Thomas Dolby, Bauhaus, Julian Cope and countless others.

Singer David Thomas named the band after the protagonist of Ubu Roi, a play by Frenchman Alfred Jarry. The single, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" b/w "Heart of Darkness," released in 1975, was the first of four independent releases on Hearpen Records and, along with Television's "Little Johnny Jewel," signaled the beginning of the New Wave. In the early to mid-70s the musicians who were to form Pere Ubu were part of a fertile rock scene that also produced 15-60-75, The Mirrors, The Electric Eels, Rocket From The Tombs, Tin Huey, and Devo.

The group's first album, The Modern Dance (1978) was a startling work that influenced an entire generation of bands. Its follow-up, Dub Housing (1978), was the masterpiece, "an incomparable work of American genius." Pere Ubu toured Europe extensively in 1978, supported by the likes of The Pop Group, Nico, Human League, The Soft Boys and Red Crayola. Late in 1979 Tom Herman left and was replaced by Mayo Thompson, the guitarist from 60s Texas psychedelic-rock legends The Red Krayola. The Art Of Walking (1980) followed, a challenging stew of inside-out song structures. Anton Fier (The Feelies, Peter Laughner's Friction, The Golden Palominos) replaced Scott Krauss in the middle of 1981 and recorded Song Of The Bailing Man (1982). At the end of an American tour in December 1981, and after months of growing friction between two members of the group, the band ceased to exist as a functioning unit.

In 1981, Thomas recorded the first of two albums with British folk-rock guitarist Richard Thompson. Three more solo albums featured members of the dormant Ubu. The last of these, 1987's Ubu-like Blame The Messenger (by David Thomas and the Wooden Birds), led to the reanimation of the Pere Ubu projex. The line-up had been Thomas, Allen Ravenstine, Tony Maimone, Chris Cutler and Jim Jones. Jones was a stalwart on the Cleveland scene and a member of nearly every good band to come from it, at one time or another. Cutler, drummer in English prog-rock outfits Henry Cow and Art Bears, was an early advocate of Ubu and subsequently became a friend of the band. At a Wooden Birds appearance in Cleveland, Krauss sat in with the band. The two drummers line-up sounded good. Later, at the beginning of a European tour, in the lobby of a hotel in Ijmuiden, Holland, Pere Ubu was reactivated. Krauss was asked to join as a second drummer. The clattering Tenement Year, recorded for a British label (Fontana) headed by Ubu fanatic Dave Bates, followed in March 1988.

Teamed with another Ubu fan, producer Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order, etc.), Ubu shifted gears for 1989's Cloudland, an epic journey across the landscape of America. Tired of touring and the grind of it all, Ravenstine retired to take up a career as an airline pilot for Northwest Airlines. He was replaced by Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger) who appeared on Stereo Review's Record of The Year, Worlds In Collision (1991), produced by Gil Norton (The Pixies). Cutler, unable to juggle all the demands of his many musical projects, had to leave. The Pixies invited Ubu to support them on an extensive tour of America in 1991. Feldman, subsequently, joined The Pixies as a sideman and worked on Frank Black's solo projects. When Feldman was unable to record with Ubu because of these commitments the band decided to record what would be the last Fontana album, Story Of My Life (1993), as a four-piece.

Garo Yellin, playing an electrified cello, and veteran of The Ordinaires and several of Thomas' solo projects, was recruited to fill the "synthesizer" slot. They Might Be Giants invited Ubu to support them on a tour of America in 1993. Subsequently, Maimone left to work in the They Might Be Giants band. He was replaced by Michele Temple who had previously replaced him in the Jones/Krauss 80s side project, Home & Garden.

In January 1994, again without a major label, the band recorded demos for a projected album, Songs From The Lost LP, intended to be a tribute to Smile. Krauss left... again. Yellin, busy with his quartet in NYC, was replaced by Robert Wheeler, organic farmer, Ravenstine-protegé, and president of the Thomas Alva Edison Birthplace Foundation. Thomas announced that he was now ready to become the producer for Pere Ubu and that was what he was going to do. Raygun Suitcase (1995), awarded CD Review's Editors' Choice Award, was recorded to a click track in the hope that Krauss would change his mind. When he didn't, Scott Benedict, the drummer in Temple's group, The Vivians, came in over a weekend, the last weekend of production, and recorded all the drum parts in one of the most magnificent displays of studio-craft the band had ever experienced. The next week he retired to take up landscape gardening. Steve Mehlman, Benedict's replacement in The Vivians, replaced him in Ubu.

In August 1995 Jones retired from the road for health reasons. Herman rejoined the group for the Raygun Suitcase tours, and together with Jim Jones recorded Pennsylvania (1998), a highly acclaimed album nominated by one of America's preeminent rock critics, Greil Marcus, as the best of 1998. In 1999 the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame promoted a special event, "55 Years of Pain," honoring Pere Ubu and the grand-daddies of the Cleveland scene, 15-60-75. The event was repeated at the Royal Festival Hall in London later in the year, and at the "Fall of The Magnetic Empire Festival," curated by Thomas and staged at New York City's Knitting Factory, and during which Wayne Kramer of the MC5 joined the group as guitarist for one show.

The release of St Arkansas (2006) was celebrated by The Mighty Road Tour. A "splinter" group within the band, referred to as The Pere Ubu Film Group, premiered a live underscore to a rare 3-D screening of Ray Bradbury's "It Came From Outer Space" at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in October 2002. A highly successful 6-date tour of the underscore in the United Kingdom followed in November 2004. The group premiered its underscore to Roger Corman's "X, the Man With X-Ray Eyes" at 'Celebrate Brooklyn' (New York City) in 2004.

After a decade of perfecting a "hyper-naturalistic" recording method (junk-o-phonics), Thomas produced Why I Hate Women (2006). It was recorded, for the most part, without the use of 'professional' microphones. Instead an array of 'junk-o-phones' designed by long-time engineer Paul Hamann were used. These included an array of speakers salvaged from broken devices, wooden boxes, metal horns, panes of glass, even doors, wired into specialized electronics.

The band's most ambitious project, which would culminate in the release of "Long Live Père Ubu!" (2009), began in July 2007. It was an adaptation of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, recorded, again, using junk-o-phonics in such a way that the acoustic quality of the sound itself becomes a narrative voice. A theatrical production, Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi, and a radio play of the theatrical production became part of the project. British singer Sarah Jane Morris joined the group for the project. Cult filmmakers, The Brothers Quay, created animations for the theatrical production. On April 24 and 25, 2008, "Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi" premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and was subsequently staged in its full theatrical state at the Animator Festival in Poznan, Poland, July 11 2009, and at the Festival Scènes d'Europe in Reims, France, on Dec. 16 2009. A concert version called "Long Live Père" toured in Europe and the USA.

Lady From Shanghai (2013) marked the fulfillment of a twenty year project working out the Chinese Whispers methodology. A book of the same name, written by David Thomas, accompanied the release. (It was his second book; the first was called The Book of Hieroglyphs.) In July of 2013, an underscore to the 60s cult film 'Carnival of Souls' was premiered at the East End Film Festival in London. Songs and musical pieces written for the underscore were developed over the course of a tour of the United Kingdom, Italy, Croatia and Ireland, in November 2013, undertaken by a 'shock troops' version of the band. Each night ideas were improvised from scratch. The album Carnival of Souls (release date September 8 2014) resulted. Clarinetist Darryl Boon had contributed to a couple songs on 'Lady From Shanghai.' Over the course of the making of 'Carnival of Souls' he was fully integrated into the group.

In 2014, Pere Ubu renounced its 'US citizenship' and applied for creative asylum in Leeds, England, after a cabal of the American Federation of Musicians and a clique of government clerks in a small town in Vermont determined that Pere Ubu was unworthy of being granted permission to perform in America.

In 2015, with the vinyl box set Elitism For The People, Fire Records began a re-release program that will eventually encompass the entire Pere Uu catalog. Architectre Of Language followed in 2016 and 'Drive, He Said' in March 2017.

The Pere Ubu Film Unit, a subset of the band, continued with live underscores to the 1962 cult classic Carnival Of Souls. Another subset of the band, The Pere Ubu Moon Unit, dedicated to improvised performances, made more appearances.

In 2016, Cleveland guitarist Gary Siperko (who also is a member of Rocket From The Tombs) joined the band and toured in America with the Coed Jail! lineup.

As the recording of 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo proceeded through the autumn of 2016, Kristof Hahn, from The Swans, became involved. For a number of years he had been a regular visitor to the Ubu dressing room. After hearing early recordings of the material, he wrote to David, "Gives me goosebumps. I would like to be involved in even a small way." He appears on all tracks playing steel guitar.

In 2016, Pere Ubu signed to Cherry Red Records. The Pere Ubu Moon Unit played some European festivals over the summer.

The Accidentals

THE ACCIDENTALS
ODYSSEY

With ODYSSEY, their extraordinary Sony Masterworks debut album, The Accidentals affirm their place among contemporary music's most original and adventurous new bands. Multi-instrumentalists Sav Buist and Katie Larson - joined on stage and in the studio by drummer Michael Dause - have crafted a genre all their own, fueled by their uniquely limitless approach to musicality and songcraft. As its title suggests, ODYSSEY is built upon the foundation of real life experience through adversity and finding strength in vulnerability, their five-year journey having brought them to this cusp moment. Lyrically powerful songs like "Earthbound" and the potent title track see the band embracing their choice to lead an unconventional life with all its many surprising twists and turns.

Named among Yahoo Music's "Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2017," The Accidentals' adventure began in their hometown of Traverse City, MI, when Larson, a sophomore cellist, and Buist, a junior violinist, were paired for a high school orchestra event. The gifted young musicians became fast friends and before long, bandmates. Having both grown up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalists for mothers, their shared influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.  

The past five years have seen The Accidentals perform over a thousand live shows, including headline dates, festival sets, and shared stages along such like-minded acts as Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, The Wailers, Joan Baez and others. 2015 saw the band embark on their first full-scale national tour, funded in part by an Indiegogo ‘online garage sale". That year's SXSW debut saw them hailed by Billboard for "displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops."  

Now, at long last, The Accidentals unveil their most compelling and finely honed work to date. From the orchestrated rock of "Memorial Day" to the album-closing "Ballad Tendered Gun" - surprisingly, The Accidentals' first instrumental to be included on an LP - ODYSSEY is a strikingly dynamic work, both layered and unhurried, bittersweet yet life-affirming. Rich with literary references, whispers of nostalgia, and an unstoppable sense of forward motion.

Multi-talented guitarist/keyboardist Jake Allen will join The Accidentals on stage as a special guest, filling in some of the colors and textures of ODYSSEY in live performances. The goal as ever is to experiment and experience, exploring new ideas and approaches while always staying true to their roots. With ODYSSEY, The Accidentals have conjured a truly one of its kind sound and vision, booming with free-thinking musicality, wisdom, and an understanding that growth is a process, not something that happens overnight. The Accidentals are already moving forward on their amazing journey, rolling down the windows on an open road towards someplace that's both true and transcendent.

THE ACCIDENTALS
ODYSSEY

With ODYSSEY, their extraordinary Sony Masterworks debut album, The Accidentals affirm their place among contemporary music's most original and adventurous new bands. Multi-instrumentalists Sav Buist and Katie Larson - joined on stage and in the studio by drummer Michael Dause - have crafted a genre all their own, fueled by their uniquely limitless approach to musicality and songcraft. As its title suggests, ODYSSEY is built upon the foundation of real life experience through adversity and finding strength in vulnerability, their five-year journey having brought them to this cusp moment. Lyrically powerful songs like "Earthbound" and the potent title track see the band embracing their choice to lead an unconventional life with all its many surprising twists and turns.

Named among Yahoo Music's "Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2017," The Accidentals' adventure began in their hometown of Traverse City, MI, when Larson, a sophomore cellist, and Buist, a junior violinist, were paired for a high school orchestra event. The gifted young musicians became fast friends and before long, bandmates. Having both grown up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalists for mothers, their shared influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.  

The past five years have seen The Accidentals perform over a thousand live shows, including headline dates, festival sets, and shared stages along such like-minded acts as Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, The Wailers, Joan Baez and others. 2015 saw the band embark on their first full-scale national tour, funded in part by an Indiegogo ‘online garage sale". That year's SXSW debut saw them hailed by Billboard for "displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops."  

Now, at long last, The Accidentals unveil their most compelling and finely honed work to date. From the orchestrated rock of "Memorial Day" to the album-closing "Ballad Tendered Gun" - surprisingly, The Accidentals' first instrumental to be included on an LP - ODYSSEY is a strikingly dynamic work, both layered and unhurried, bittersweet yet life-affirming. Rich with literary references, whispers of nostalgia, and an unstoppable sense of forward motion.

Multi-talented guitarist/keyboardist Jake Allen will join The Accidentals on stage as a special guest, filling in some of the colors and textures of ODYSSEY in live performances. The goal as ever is to experiment and experience, exploring new ideas and approaches while always staying true to their roots. With ODYSSEY, The Accidentals have conjured a truly one of its kind sound and vision, booming with free-thinking musicality, wisdom, and an understanding that growth is a process, not something that happens overnight. The Accidentals are already moving forward on their amazing journey, rolling down the windows on an open road towards someplace that's both true and transcendent.

(Early Show) An Evening With David Wilcox

Cleveland-born David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, "Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me."

Cleveland-born David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, "Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me."

David Bazan with Special Guest Michael Nau

During transition, there is the urge to look backwards to figure out where we are supposed to go. It can be nostalgic; the golden haze that surrounds our selective memory. Sweet moments that make up our individual narratives, or the stories we tell each other to reinforce our collective identity.
But that glance backwards can distract us from where we are now and what it really means; from the sea change, from the tide that sweeps what we know away and leaves us unencumbered, shivering, and beginning again.
Care is that tide. The one that sneaks up behind us and washes everything away. That strips us of our armor and stops us mid-sentence. That brings us back to where we are.
As much of a follow-up to 2005's synth-heavy "Headphones" album as it is to last year's Blanco, Care also finds Bazan getting back to the calm minimalism of early Pedro The Lion. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Bazan and legendary Oregon-based producer Richard Swift, bare synthesizers dominate the tracks, giving Care an intimate, personal sound. The vocals are close, mirroring the experience from the front seat at a house show. Steady, sparse beats tie the ten tracks together, thrumming a boom-tap, boom-tap like a thread.
Care creates vignettes with characters that are both diverse and intertwined. The title track is the anthem and mission statement for the album; a plea for empathy drawn as much from the state of the political world as the personal one. It reminds us that as we get older we can be more careless, that as we grow we can also retreat into ourselves and forget the simple truth that other people matter. It is a call to the simplest route to fidelity - to care more.
But the road to being present, the call to the task of being ultimately kind, is not easy. Care fights with itself, pulling tracks from Bazan Monthly Vol 1. Religious imagery haunts secular thoughts on "Permanent Record", while "Sparkling Water" mourns the quiet death of distance where there was once intimacy. Later, "Inner Lives" tiptoes past the temptation to settle for comfort instead of closeness.
"Keep Trying" is the clearest call to action. A track you'd be forgiven for reading as an interpersonal story, but would then miss the universal truth within it, the chorus repeats:
Sometimes love isn't all that it's cracked up to be
Keep trying
With humming synthesizers bolstered by Swift's signature warble and fade, "Keep Trying" reiterates the core of Care - that we're too easily distracted from what's real and lasting in favor of what is easy and accessible. That what we do to each other is what we do to the world. That some imperfect things are worth preserving.
As Bazan moves forward with a new chapter as a solo performer and a solo artist, this record is a ballast against what would be so easy to do - to isolate. It is a ringing commitment to see things for what they are and to protect what is left. To love better.
Even if it isn't what it's cracked up to be.

During transition, there is the urge to look backwards to figure out where we are supposed to go. It can be nostalgic; the golden haze that surrounds our selective memory. Sweet moments that make up our individual narratives, or the stories we tell each other to reinforce our collective identity.
But that glance backwards can distract us from where we are now and what it really means; from the sea change, from the tide that sweeps what we know away and leaves us unencumbered, shivering, and beginning again.
Care is that tide. The one that sneaks up behind us and washes everything away. That strips us of our armor and stops us mid-sentence. That brings us back to where we are.
As much of a follow-up to 2005's synth-heavy "Headphones" album as it is to last year's Blanco, Care also finds Bazan getting back to the calm minimalism of early Pedro The Lion. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Bazan and legendary Oregon-based producer Richard Swift, bare synthesizers dominate the tracks, giving Care an intimate, personal sound. The vocals are close, mirroring the experience from the front seat at a house show. Steady, sparse beats tie the ten tracks together, thrumming a boom-tap, boom-tap like a thread.
Care creates vignettes with characters that are both diverse and intertwined. The title track is the anthem and mission statement for the album; a plea for empathy drawn as much from the state of the political world as the personal one. It reminds us that as we get older we can be more careless, that as we grow we can also retreat into ourselves and forget the simple truth that other people matter. It is a call to the simplest route to fidelity - to care more.
But the road to being present, the call to the task of being ultimately kind, is not easy. Care fights with itself, pulling tracks from Bazan Monthly Vol 1. Religious imagery haunts secular thoughts on "Permanent Record", while "Sparkling Water" mourns the quiet death of distance where there was once intimacy. Later, "Inner Lives" tiptoes past the temptation to settle for comfort instead of closeness.
"Keep Trying" is the clearest call to action. A track you'd be forgiven for reading as an interpersonal story, but would then miss the universal truth within it, the chorus repeats:
Sometimes love isn't all that it's cracked up to be
Keep trying
With humming synthesizers bolstered by Swift's signature warble and fade, "Keep Trying" reiterates the core of Care - that we're too easily distracted from what's real and lasting in favor of what is easy and accessible. That what we do to each other is what we do to the world. That some imperfect things are worth preserving.
As Bazan moves forward with a new chapter as a solo performer and a solo artist, this record is a ballast against what would be so easy to do - to isolate. It is a ringing commitment to see things for what they are and to protect what is left. To love better.
Even if it isn't what it's cracked up to be.

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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