club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
The Roomsounds with Special guests The Black Six and Cape Cod

There’s a reason legions of young rock fans fall in love with their parents’ records. It’s the same reason so many radio stations still play classic rock: Great music never gets old. And it's what prompted singer and guitarist Ryan Michael to reinvent his sound, leaving behind his teenage past in a Warped Tour band signed to a Warner Bros. subsidiary and relocating from Connecticut to Texas.

"We wanted to immerse ourselves in the South," explains Michael. "To be around the best blues and country players. It all just seemed so much more authentic than the shit going on around me."

The entire band embraced those influences — Beatles, Stones, Petty, Big Star, Faces and Oasis to new a few. Along with guitarist/vocalist Sam Janik, bassist/vocalist Red Coker and drummer Dan Malone, The Roomsounds make their own sound, initially from a run down industrial space with no heating, cooling or plumbing. They’re now living in a proper house in East Dallas, but not much else has changed. There’s always someone over– beautiful women, musicians and what the band calls ‘permanent guests," all decked out with long hair and bell-bottoms. They’ve created their own Exile in Dallas and the music shows it.

The Dallas Observer thought the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album was "consistent with their Keith Richards and Tom Petty worship, an unpretentious album of purist rock ‘n’ roll riffs." Rodney Hall, owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, heard the band through a friend and dug their sound so much he invited the band to FAME Studios to record their sophomore album, "Elm St."

"It really inspired us to bring our A game," admits Ryan. "Even in the control room, you see Duane Allman outtakes on tape and it’s really hitting home. 'OK, some really great people came out of here.' I think it really inspired us to be the best we could be." And like their heroes, The Roomsounds craft songs durable enough to become tomorrow’s classics.

"Musically we think of ourselves as a modern day Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers," continues Michael. "We admire the way everyone in the band plays for the song. I'm lucky to have a band that understands that, because a lot of good players just want to get off on what they're playing as opposed to making the best song possible."

Much of this spirit can be found in the title in the title track. "We played our first show in Dallas on Elm St.," says Michael. "It's the arty place where musicians, artists, and weirdos alike hang out and it's maintained that vibe for many years. It's said that blues greats like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, and Robert Johnson often walked the streets and played the night clubs."

There’s a reason legions of young rock fans fall in love with their parents’ records. It’s the same reason so many radio stations still play classic rock: Great music never gets old. And it's what prompted singer and guitarist Ryan Michael to reinvent his sound, leaving behind his teenage past in a Warped Tour band signed to a Warner Bros. subsidiary and relocating from Connecticut to Texas.

"We wanted to immerse ourselves in the South," explains Michael. "To be around the best blues and country players. It all just seemed so much more authentic than the shit going on around me."

The entire band embraced those influences — Beatles, Stones, Petty, Big Star, Faces and Oasis to new a few. Along with guitarist/vocalist Sam Janik, bassist/vocalist Red Coker and drummer Dan Malone, The Roomsounds make their own sound, initially from a run down industrial space with no heating, cooling or plumbing. They’re now living in a proper house in East Dallas, but not much else has changed. There’s always someone over– beautiful women, musicians and what the band calls ‘permanent guests," all decked out with long hair and bell-bottoms. They’ve created their own Exile in Dallas and the music shows it.

The Dallas Observer thought the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album was "consistent with their Keith Richards and Tom Petty worship, an unpretentious album of purist rock ‘n’ roll riffs." Rodney Hall, owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, heard the band through a friend and dug their sound so much he invited the band to FAME Studios to record their sophomore album, "Elm St."

"It really inspired us to bring our A game," admits Ryan. "Even in the control room, you see Duane Allman outtakes on tape and it’s really hitting home. 'OK, some really great people came out of here.' I think it really inspired us to be the best we could be." And like their heroes, The Roomsounds craft songs durable enough to become tomorrow’s classics.

"Musically we think of ourselves as a modern day Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers," continues Michael. "We admire the way everyone in the band plays for the song. I'm lucky to have a band that understands that, because a lot of good players just want to get off on what they're playing as opposed to making the best song possible."

Much of this spirit can be found in the title in the title track. "We played our first show in Dallas on Elm St.," says Michael. "It's the arty place where musicians, artists, and weirdos alike hang out and it's maintained that vibe for many years. It's said that blues greats like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, and Robert Johnson often walked the streets and played the night clubs."

Paper Bird with Special Guests The Hills And The Rivers and Ryan Hoffman

For Paper Bird, their new album marks a milestone. More importantly, it provides them with a new beginning, a new chapter in their trajectory that sees them redefining their direction, a change in their musical sensibility while maintaining their trademark upbeat attitude.

The band's self titled album, available September 9th on Thirty Tigers Records/ Sons of Thunder Records, introduces vocalist Carleigh Aikins to the line­up, whose previous credits include extended stints with the critically acclaimed bands Bahamas and Fox Jaws. Her addition to the band adds an extra edge, highlighting a clear sonic evolution. A shift in the band's line­up has opened up new possibilities, swapping electric guitars and amped up instrumentation for the laid back, folk­flavored sound they favored in the past.

"In truth this is an entirely new band," bassist Caleb Summeril explains. "With Carleigh coming on board, we've literally made a fresh start."

Guitarist Paul DeHaven first met Aikins at a concert on Willie Nelson's ranch during South by Southwest in 2012. The two hit it off, and before long Aikins and the rest of the band began collaborating long distance via email. "It was serendipitous that we could join forces so seamlessly," says Aikins. "We created an instant bond and a new sound we can all stand proudly behind; which merges our respective influences from the Canadian and American music we were raised with. Everyone's input is welcome here and everyone has their moment to shine, in the true democratic sense and tradition of a band."

Paper Bird has always made a point of encouraging each of its members to share the spotlight. The group boasts three lead vocalists ­­ singer Sarah Anderson, singer and keyboard player Genevieve Patterson, and Aikins herself ­­ all of whom blend their voices in seamless three part harmonies. The instrumental duties are shared by Summeril, DeHaven, and drummer Mark Anderson.

Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Paper Bird first emerged from the same environs that launched such outfits as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and the Lumineers. The group has toured extensively throughout the U.S., sharing bills with the aforementioned bands, as well as Daryl Hall & John Oates, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Shakey Graves.

On Paper Bird, the band collaborates with world­renowned musician, singer and songwriter John Oates, who co­produced the album with Aikins' fellow Canadian David Kalmusky. The album was recorded and mixed at Addiction Sound Studios in Nashville, and for his part, Oates couldn't be more delighted.

"Paper Bird is a band that possesses a sound that's more than the sum of its parts," Oates effuses. "It's the coming together of two perfect trinities. It has three distinctly unique female lead singers whose harmonies blend together as one...united with an inventive, cohesive rhythm section trio. I loved their sound from the first time I heard them and they just keep getting better. They are a true musical family united by a unique and pure artistic vision...a rare quality in this day and age of so much disposable and less than original music."

Paper Bird has a sound that blends the engaging vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes and The Lone Bellow with the classic ‘70s stylings of bands like Heart and Fleetwood Mac without imitating or emulating any one of them in particular. Indeed, the new music is rugged, resilient and flush with enthusiasm. It conveys the essence of inspired Americana, while still staying true to its riveting rock regimen.

The album starts with the soulful strut of "To The Light," and heads into desire and yearning with the single "Don't Want Half." With its playful harmonies and rhythms, "I Don't Mind" captures the ephemeral feelings of love, as "it's not easy to be a dreamer, when you're sleeping with the wind." Paper Bird merge the musical past with the present on "Sunday," conjuring up doo-wop, rock and groove sounds.

"This is definitely the start of something exciting," Summeril suggests. "We're at a point in our career where we feel we're ready to take on the world."

For Paper Bird, their new album marks a milestone. More importantly, it provides them with a new beginning, a new chapter in their trajectory that sees them redefining their direction, a change in their musical sensibility while maintaining their trademark upbeat attitude.

The band's self titled album, available September 9th on Thirty Tigers Records/ Sons of Thunder Records, introduces vocalist Carleigh Aikins to the line­up, whose previous credits include extended stints with the critically acclaimed bands Bahamas and Fox Jaws. Her addition to the band adds an extra edge, highlighting a clear sonic evolution. A shift in the band's line­up has opened up new possibilities, swapping electric guitars and amped up instrumentation for the laid back, folk­flavored sound they favored in the past.

"In truth this is an entirely new band," bassist Caleb Summeril explains. "With Carleigh coming on board, we've literally made a fresh start."

Guitarist Paul DeHaven first met Aikins at a concert on Willie Nelson's ranch during South by Southwest in 2012. The two hit it off, and before long Aikins and the rest of the band began collaborating long distance via email. "It was serendipitous that we could join forces so seamlessly," says Aikins. "We created an instant bond and a new sound we can all stand proudly behind; which merges our respective influences from the Canadian and American music we were raised with. Everyone's input is welcome here and everyone has their moment to shine, in the true democratic sense and tradition of a band."

Paper Bird has always made a point of encouraging each of its members to share the spotlight. The group boasts three lead vocalists ­­ singer Sarah Anderson, singer and keyboard player Genevieve Patterson, and Aikins herself ­­ all of whom blend their voices in seamless three part harmonies. The instrumental duties are shared by Summeril, DeHaven, and drummer Mark Anderson.

Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Paper Bird first emerged from the same environs that launched such outfits as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and the Lumineers. The group has toured extensively throughout the U.S., sharing bills with the aforementioned bands, as well as Daryl Hall & John Oates, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Shakey Graves.

On Paper Bird, the band collaborates with world­renowned musician, singer and songwriter John Oates, who co­produced the album with Aikins' fellow Canadian David Kalmusky. The album was recorded and mixed at Addiction Sound Studios in Nashville, and for his part, Oates couldn't be more delighted.

"Paper Bird is a band that possesses a sound that's more than the sum of its parts," Oates effuses. "It's the coming together of two perfect trinities. It has three distinctly unique female lead singers whose harmonies blend together as one...united with an inventive, cohesive rhythm section trio. I loved their sound from the first time I heard them and they just keep getting better. They are a true musical family united by a unique and pure artistic vision...a rare quality in this day and age of so much disposable and less than original music."

Paper Bird has a sound that blends the engaging vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes and The Lone Bellow with the classic ‘70s stylings of bands like Heart and Fleetwood Mac without imitating or emulating any one of them in particular. Indeed, the new music is rugged, resilient and flush with enthusiasm. It conveys the essence of inspired Americana, while still staying true to its riveting rock regimen.

The album starts with the soulful strut of "To The Light," and heads into desire and yearning with the single "Don't Want Half." With its playful harmonies and rhythms, "I Don't Mind" captures the ephemeral feelings of love, as "it's not easy to be a dreamer, when you're sleeping with the wind." Paper Bird merge the musical past with the present on "Sunday," conjuring up doo-wop, rock and groove sounds.

"This is definitely the start of something exciting," Summeril suggests. "We're at a point in our career where we feel we're ready to take on the world."

Ava Luna with Special Guest Honey

The roots of Brooklyn-based indie art funk septet Ava Luna began in frontman Carlos Hernandez's high-school bedroom, where he would write and record songs under the name Ava. In college he met Julian Fader and Nathan Tompkins, and the three of them changed the band name to Ava Luna, figuring "Ava" was probably already taken by a more prominent act somewhere. Hernandez spent time as an engineer and working on various small-scale noise and punk projects after college, with Ava Luna coming in and out of focus as the years went on. With 2009's 3rd Avenue Island, a homemade CD-R release, the band congealed yet again, this time featuring Hernandez on vocals with a host of various singers and a minimal musical backdrop of drums and synthesizers. The band followed in 2010 with the Services EP, featuring a different lineup and a sound that continued toward the heavy vocal harmonies of bands like Dirty Projectors with increasingly obtuse neo-soul-inspired musical backdrops. A proper debut surfaced in 2012 with the release of Ice Level. By this point the band was more or less in a stable lineup, featuring Hernandez on vocals and guitar, Fader on drums, Tompkins on synths, Ethan Bassford on bass, and a trio of female singers, Felicia Douglass, Becca Kauffman, and Anna Sian. The group toured in support of Ice Level, opening some larger shows for Twin Sister. They returned with the less chaotic follow-up Electric Balloon in 2014. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi

The roots of Brooklyn-based indie art funk septet Ava Luna began in frontman Carlos Hernandez's high-school bedroom, where he would write and record songs under the name Ava. In college he met Julian Fader and Nathan Tompkins, and the three of them changed the band name to Ava Luna, figuring "Ava" was probably already taken by a more prominent act somewhere. Hernandez spent time as an engineer and working on various small-scale noise and punk projects after college, with Ava Luna coming in and out of focus as the years went on. With 2009's 3rd Avenue Island, a homemade CD-R release, the band congealed yet again, this time featuring Hernandez on vocals with a host of various singers and a minimal musical backdrop of drums and synthesizers. The band followed in 2010 with the Services EP, featuring a different lineup and a sound that continued toward the heavy vocal harmonies of bands like Dirty Projectors with increasingly obtuse neo-soul-inspired musical backdrops. A proper debut surfaced in 2012 with the release of Ice Level. By this point the band was more or less in a stable lineup, featuring Hernandez on vocals and guitar, Fader on drums, Tompkins on synths, Ethan Bassford on bass, and a trio of female singers, Felicia Douglass, Becca Kauffman, and Anna Sian. The group toured in support of Ice Level, opening some larger shows for Twin Sister. They returned with the less chaotic follow-up Electric Balloon in 2014. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi

High and Mighty Brass Band

The High and Mighty Brass Band (HMBB) is a party already in progress. Their performances are both fiercely entertaining and refreshingly inspiring. The group's sincere enthusiasm and dynamic energy connects with every audience member who is willing to get involved. Their sound is a mix of classic New Orleans Funk, R&B and more modern influences of Afro-Beat and Hip Hop.

Beginning with a heavily percussive and tribal groove, the horns weave through solos, building and stretching the energy to its limits. Just catch one of their upcoming performances in the New York City area and see for yourself!

The High and Mighty Brass Band (HMBB) is a party already in progress. Their performances are both fiercely entertaining and refreshingly inspiring. The group's sincere enthusiasm and dynamic energy connects with every audience member who is willing to get involved. Their sound is a mix of classic New Orleans Funk, R&B and more modern influences of Afro-Beat and Hip Hop.

Beginning with a heavily percussive and tribal groove, the horns weave through solos, building and stretching the energy to its limits. Just catch one of their upcoming performances in the New York City area and see for yourself!

(Early Show) Nick Hakim with Special Guest Jake Sherman

For singer-songwriter Nick Hakim, it all started in a house in Jamaica Plains, MA with collaborators Naima and Solo Woods. There, he put the finishing touches on his breakthrough EPs, Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II, which would later release through his Earseed Records and earn critical praise from NPR and The New York Times. But it was where the sessions for the two-part project ended and the ideas began to materialize for what would become his full-length debut, Green Twins (releasing via ATO Records in 2017), an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since.


The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit at solo shows including Palisades and NYXO, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse and Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that "for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in."


"I put a lot of thought to the things I'd say, but a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs," he says of Green Twins, "many of them are like self-portraits". The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to Portishead and My Bloody Valentine. "I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs", he continues. "We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green's Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins."

"Bet She Looks Like You," recorded mostly in his home bedroom, was one of the first songs that "started this fire for exploring this experiment through song." Each track peels back a particular aspect of his life: on the title song, he gets deeply personal, reflecting on a recurring dream. "All these things reflect how I feel, how I write," he says. "I sometimes have trouble articulating myself verbally. This is a place I can talk and be myself, with music, this intangible space I create."

Hakim's debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household-his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción-while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn't take an interest in learning an instrument until later in high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he's brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year, and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he'd written. "I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I'm writing about common things that people feel," he says. "I'm very grateful for anybody that's listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I've created through song."

For singer-songwriter Nick Hakim, it all started in a house in Jamaica Plains, MA with collaborators Naima and Solo Woods. There, he put the finishing touches on his breakthrough EPs, Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II, which would later release through his Earseed Records and earn critical praise from NPR and The New York Times. But it was where the sessions for the two-part project ended and the ideas began to materialize for what would become his full-length debut, Green Twins (releasing via ATO Records in 2017), an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since.


The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit at solo shows including Palisades and NYXO, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse and Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that "for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in."


"I put a lot of thought to the things I'd say, but a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs," he says of Green Twins, "many of them are like self-portraits". The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to Portishead and My Bloody Valentine. "I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs", he continues. "We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green's Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins."

"Bet She Looks Like You," recorded mostly in his home bedroom, was one of the first songs that "started this fire for exploring this experiment through song." Each track peels back a particular aspect of his life: on the title song, he gets deeply personal, reflecting on a recurring dream. "All these things reflect how I feel, how I write," he says. "I sometimes have trouble articulating myself verbally. This is a place I can talk and be myself, with music, this intangible space I create."

Hakim's debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household-his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción-while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn't take an interest in learning an instrument until later in high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he's brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year, and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he'd written. "I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I'm writing about common things that people feel," he says. "I'm very grateful for anybody that's listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I've created through song."

(Late Show) Opus One and Burning Bridges Festival Presents Aparna Nancherla. Hosted by John Dick Winters

Aparna Nancherla is delighted you are here. She's a comedian of the stand-up variety, but can often be seen sitting. She recently wrote for Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC. You can also see her on the current season of Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central and on the upcoming season of Love on Netflix. In addition, she currently hosts the long-running popular underground New York comedy show, Whiplash at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Monday nights at 11 p.m.

Her artistic journey took off in Washington D.C. (it's all about the Washingtons), but she now resides in the biggest apple in the gosh darn world.

Aparna's sense of humor tends toward the dry, observational variety, but do be warned, her act runs rampant with absurdism and unregulated whimsy.

Other credits include writer and performer on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and appearances on Conan on TBS, Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, @midnight, and Adam Devine's House Party on Comedy Central, NBC's Last Comic Standing, Seeso's Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and Rooftop Comedy's Live From the Barrel House, VH1's "I Love the 2000s", TruTV's How to Be a Grown Up and Friends of the People, and Fuse's White Guy Talk Show. She has also done videos for Above Average, Refinery29, Funny or Die, Slate V, and MTV Other.

In addition to being a 2013 New Face at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, she has also been on numerous lists such as Vulture‘s "50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015", Marie Claire‘s Funniest Women of 2015, Time Magazine‘s 140 Top Tweeters of 2014, Jezebel's Comedy Queens of 2014, Time Out NY's "10 Funniest Women in New York", Flavorpill's "11 Essential Young Comedians in New York City", LA Weekly‘s "12 Comedy Acts to Watch", Serial Optimist's "10 Comics You Must Know", and Splitsider's "10 Up-and-Coming Comedians on Each Coast". She has also been featured in in Laughspin, BUST Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Elle India, Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post Magazine.

You may have heard Aparna on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, the Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, NPR's "Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me!", Radio Q on CBC, or seen her at countless festivals such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia, SXSW, SF Sketchfest, OutsideLands, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the Great American Comedy Festival.

Comics Aparna has been humbly delighted to open for include John Oliver, Tig Notaro, Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Mirman, Maria Bamford, Kurt Braunohler & Kristen Schaal, Dave Attell, Rob Delaney, Christian Finnegan, Tom Green, Eddie Brill, Hari Kondabolu, Myq Kaplan, and Chris D'Elia.

Notable venues and shows she has played include Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, Comedy Bang Bang at the Upright Citizen's Brigade (LA), the Hollywood Improv, Gotham Comedy Club, Caroline's on Broadway, Stand Up NY, the Punchline Comedy Club (SF), the Comedy Bar (Toronto), the DC Improv, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, the Lincoln Lodge (Chicago), and Mottley's Comedy Club (Boston), as well as a downright upstanding gaggle of colleges.

Aparna is also an experienced improviser, having studied at Washington Improv Theater, the Upright Citizen's Brigade in both NY and LA, and the Groundlings, as well as Lesly Kahn's school of acting. She may yet perform with latent-but-powerful independent improv group Mythical Newsroom. She has also acted in various sketches, web videos and series, pilots, and short films.

Aparna Nancherla is delighted you are here. She's a comedian of the stand-up variety, but can often be seen sitting. She recently wrote for Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC. You can also see her on the current season of Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central and on the upcoming season of Love on Netflix. In addition, she currently hosts the long-running popular underground New York comedy show, Whiplash at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Monday nights at 11 p.m.

Her artistic journey took off in Washington D.C. (it's all about the Washingtons), but she now resides in the biggest apple in the gosh darn world.

Aparna's sense of humor tends toward the dry, observational variety, but do be warned, her act runs rampant with absurdism and unregulated whimsy.

Other credits include writer and performer on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and appearances on Conan on TBS, Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, @midnight, and Adam Devine's House Party on Comedy Central, NBC's Last Comic Standing, Seeso's Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and Rooftop Comedy's Live From the Barrel House, VH1's "I Love the 2000s", TruTV's How to Be a Grown Up and Friends of the People, and Fuse's White Guy Talk Show. She has also done videos for Above Average, Refinery29, Funny or Die, Slate V, and MTV Other.

In addition to being a 2013 New Face at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, she has also been on numerous lists such as Vulture‘s "50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015", Marie Claire‘s Funniest Women of 2015, Time Magazine‘s 140 Top Tweeters of 2014, Jezebel's Comedy Queens of 2014, Time Out NY's "10 Funniest Women in New York", Flavorpill's "11 Essential Young Comedians in New York City", LA Weekly‘s "12 Comedy Acts to Watch", Serial Optimist's "10 Comics You Must Know", and Splitsider's "10 Up-and-Coming Comedians on Each Coast". She has also been featured in in Laughspin, BUST Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Elle India, Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post Magazine.

You may have heard Aparna on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, the Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, NPR's "Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me!", Radio Q on CBC, or seen her at countless festivals such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia, SXSW, SF Sketchfest, OutsideLands, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the Great American Comedy Festival.

Comics Aparna has been humbly delighted to open for include John Oliver, Tig Notaro, Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Mirman, Maria Bamford, Kurt Braunohler & Kristen Schaal, Dave Attell, Rob Delaney, Christian Finnegan, Tom Green, Eddie Brill, Hari Kondabolu, Myq Kaplan, and Chris D'Elia.

Notable venues and shows she has played include Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, Comedy Bang Bang at the Upright Citizen's Brigade (LA), the Hollywood Improv, Gotham Comedy Club, Caroline's on Broadway, Stand Up NY, the Punchline Comedy Club (SF), the Comedy Bar (Toronto), the DC Improv, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, the Lincoln Lodge (Chicago), and Mottley's Comedy Club (Boston), as well as a downright upstanding gaggle of colleges.

Aparna is also an experienced improviser, having studied at Washington Improv Theater, the Upright Citizen's Brigade in both NY and LA, and the Groundlings, as well as Lesly Kahn's school of acting. She may yet perform with latent-but-powerful independent improv group Mythical Newsroom. She has also acted in various sketches, web videos and series, pilots, and short films.

Opus One and Burning Bridges Festival Presents Reformed Whores with Special Guest The Wreckids

If Tenacious D and Dolly Parton got drunk and had a baby, you'd get the delightfully twangy & hilariously filthy musical comedy duo Reformed Whores! Southern bred, but NYC based, Katy Frame & Marie Cecile Anderson have been featured on IFC, PBS, CBS, and many other three-letter networks. Also, they've opened for "Weird Al" Yankovic! Their sophomore album "Don't Beat Around the Bush" debuted in March 2016 on the top 20 iTunes comedy chart and their YouTube channel just hit over a million views! For more information,

If Tenacious D and Dolly Parton got drunk and had a baby, you'd get the delightfully twangy & hilariously filthy musical comedy duo Reformed Whores! Southern bred, but NYC based, Katy Frame & Marie Cecile Anderson have been featured on IFC, PBS, CBS, and many other three-letter networks. Also, they've opened for "Weird Al" Yankovic! Their sophomore album "Don't Beat Around the Bush" debuted in March 2016 on the top 20 iTunes comedy chart and their YouTube channel just hit over a million views! For more information,

Carter Hulsey / American Opera with Special Guest Vit DeBacco

Carter Hulsey
Carter Hulsey (born June 28, 1988) is an American alt-country singer songwriter from Joplin, Missouri. Being raised by his mother and father gave him daily musical exposure to the likes of Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Jerry Jeff Walker — all on vinyl, of course. At age 13, Hulsey found his father’s acoustic Guild guitar, and his long love for music finally came to a head. He started writing songs. Hulsey’s sound and talent was developed with four bands prior to his breakaway as a solo artist in 2008. Hulsey blends honest lyrics, catchy melodies, undeniable hooks, folk and rock.



Three albums and five years later, Hulsey released his newest album, Drive Out, on February 4, 2014. This album that takes a modern twist on “country” with raw emotion, a deep groove and clever storytelling. The strength of the material and performance suggest Hulsey has curated his personal sound and his music is all the better for it. The low-key folk-rock blends with an ambient sound to create a haunting and unique vibe bound to keep the listener coming back for more. Hulsey has a talent for continuing the deep felt conversation with listeners with an intentional voice for love, loss, travel and the grit of southern culture with ease. Hulsey harnesses the story, channels, and delivers to the listener.



Hulsey is known for his captivating live performance delivered with intensity and purpose. It is often lamented that this sound that cannot be captured in the studio. Hulsey’s writing style is that of the un-reliable narrator, assuming the character of others with a talent in telling their story. His concepts and narratives are inspired by great storytellers such as Steven King, Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Hit and David Sedaris with musical influence by Todd Snider, Ryan Adams, John Prine, Guy Clark, and Gillian Welch

American Opera
"If there is any hope for the future of acoustic folk music, it lies within the chest (or brain) of John Bee."
-MIDWESTAXN

"American Opera folk rock singer/songwriter may give the likes of Joe Cocker a run for his money. His songs are gritty and moody with just the right amount of edge."
-TOPIAT

"John Bee has already displayed the kind of musical chops veterans of his genre hope to possess."
-UNDER THE GUN REVIEW

"Bee's realistic songwriting tendencies come to life in waves and on a live scale, the rich storytelling is almost more astounding than anything else in recent memory."
-BLARE MAGAZINE

"It only takes one listen to be captivated by the honesty and compelling nature of his songs."
-PUPFRESH

Carter Hulsey
Carter Hulsey (born June 28, 1988) is an American alt-country singer songwriter from Joplin, Missouri. Being raised by his mother and father gave him daily musical exposure to the likes of Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Jerry Jeff Walker — all on vinyl, of course. At age 13, Hulsey found his father’s acoustic Guild guitar, and his long love for music finally came to a head. He started writing songs. Hulsey’s sound and talent was developed with four bands prior to his breakaway as a solo artist in 2008. Hulsey blends honest lyrics, catchy melodies, undeniable hooks, folk and rock.



Three albums and five years later, Hulsey released his newest album, Drive Out, on February 4, 2014. This album that takes a modern twist on “country” with raw emotion, a deep groove and clever storytelling. The strength of the material and performance suggest Hulsey has curated his personal sound and his music is all the better for it. The low-key folk-rock blends with an ambient sound to create a haunting and unique vibe bound to keep the listener coming back for more. Hulsey has a talent for continuing the deep felt conversation with listeners with an intentional voice for love, loss, travel and the grit of southern culture with ease. Hulsey harnesses the story, channels, and delivers to the listener.



Hulsey is known for his captivating live performance delivered with intensity and purpose. It is often lamented that this sound that cannot be captured in the studio. Hulsey’s writing style is that of the un-reliable narrator, assuming the character of others with a talent in telling their story. His concepts and narratives are inspired by great storytellers such as Steven King, Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Hit and David Sedaris with musical influence by Todd Snider, Ryan Adams, John Prine, Guy Clark, and Gillian Welch

American Opera
"If there is any hope for the future of acoustic folk music, it lies within the chest (or brain) of John Bee."
-MIDWESTAXN

"American Opera folk rock singer/songwriter may give the likes of Joe Cocker a run for his money. His songs are gritty and moody with just the right amount of edge."
-TOPIAT

"John Bee has already displayed the kind of musical chops veterans of his genre hope to possess."
-UNDER THE GUN REVIEW

"Bee's realistic songwriting tendencies come to life in waves and on a live scale, the rich storytelling is almost more astounding than anything else in recent memory."
-BLARE MAGAZINE

"It only takes one listen to be captivated by the honesty and compelling nature of his songs."
-PUPFRESH

91.3fm WYEP Members Only Show Featuring Tift Merrit and Special Guest Dan Getkin

For more information please visit www.wyep.org

For more information please visit www.wyep.org

Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts with Special Guests Ferdinand the Bull and Blvd Shakedown

Rockford, IL-based Miles Nielsen has spent nearly a decade enthralling audiences with music that draws force from the prime years of Western-influenced rock music and classic ‘60s soul. Claiming influences as diverse as Otis Redding’s classic soul and Jellyfish’s cult power pop recordings.

Rockford, IL-based Miles Nielsen has spent nearly a decade enthralling audiences with music that draws force from the prime years of Western-influenced rock music and classic ‘60s soul. Claiming influences as diverse as Otis Redding’s classic soul and Jellyfish’s cult power pop recordings.

Six Organs of Admittance with Special Guest Expires

In preparing for the first album of non-Hexadic Six Organs of Admittance music since 2012's Ascent, Ben Chasny had a think about what he'd be saying in his own tongue for the first time in a half-decade. As ever, a head-full of ideas were driving him to think and speak music as a spirituality superimposed onto a reality, with the ghosts of both whispering at each other. In the end, what sits in our listening ears is the sound of communion. Burning the Threshold brings a wealth of Six Organs-styled lightness into one of his sweetest musical meditations yet.
 
With a spacious acoustic soundstage, Burning the Threshold may actually more resemble 2011's Asleep on the Floodplain. Or it may more resemble Compathia, or School of the Flower. All of this is speculative, comparative, unverifyable – but our sense of what is true tells us that nobody plays acoustic music quite like Six Organs of Admittance, and that furthermore, nothing sounds so much like Burning the Threshold as Burning the Threshold.
 
Ben is in a particularly expansive mood this time around, singing and playing while thinking of Wallace Stevens, birds in the morning, anarchy, Third Ear Band, Gaston Bachelard, The Gnostics, Ronnie Lane and/or The Faces, Deleuze, Aaron Cheak, Odysseus, This Heat, Takoma Records, St Eustace, Dark Noontide and a HELL of a lot more than that, with all the thoughts affixed to a quiver of potent melodies launching forth and arcing out through dimensions, seeking infinite space.
 
The space radiates out from the album's first moment, with "Things As They Are", a song examining the life of poet Wallace Stevens. Ben's currently working on music for a theatrical work about Stevens' life set to debut in Cleveland later in 2017. The empathetic waves generated by this song resonate throughout the album, giving a new dimension to the music of Six Organs of Admittance.  
 
Like so many other Six Organs records, Burning the Threshold was created mostly solo, but features the singing talents of Alex Nielsen, Haley Fohr and Damon and Naomi; the drumming of Chris Corsano; a guitar duet with Ryley Walker, and keys and mixing from Cooper Crain. With this new music, Ben Chasny has created a potent tonic for our times. The gentleness found here, balanced on top of his classical asceticism, provides much of what we need in 2017 and beyond: love, forgiveness, reality and an ever-wider view, with the understanding of our circular path in this lifetime. Looking at the world through clear eyes beneath a knitted brow, but with a laugh rising up from its heart, Burning the Threshold brings us a powerful draught of essence.

In preparing for the first album of non-Hexadic Six Organs of Admittance music since 2012's Ascent, Ben Chasny had a think about what he'd be saying in his own tongue for the first time in a half-decade. As ever, a head-full of ideas were driving him to think and speak music as a spirituality superimposed onto a reality, with the ghosts of both whispering at each other. In the end, what sits in our listening ears is the sound of communion. Burning the Threshold brings a wealth of Six Organs-styled lightness into one of his sweetest musical meditations yet.
 
With a spacious acoustic soundstage, Burning the Threshold may actually more resemble 2011's Asleep on the Floodplain. Or it may more resemble Compathia, or School of the Flower. All of this is speculative, comparative, unverifyable – but our sense of what is true tells us that nobody plays acoustic music quite like Six Organs of Admittance, and that furthermore, nothing sounds so much like Burning the Threshold as Burning the Threshold.
 
Ben is in a particularly expansive mood this time around, singing and playing while thinking of Wallace Stevens, birds in the morning, anarchy, Third Ear Band, Gaston Bachelard, The Gnostics, Ronnie Lane and/or The Faces, Deleuze, Aaron Cheak, Odysseus, This Heat, Takoma Records, St Eustace, Dark Noontide and a HELL of a lot more than that, with all the thoughts affixed to a quiver of potent melodies launching forth and arcing out through dimensions, seeking infinite space.
 
The space radiates out from the album's first moment, with "Things As They Are", a song examining the life of poet Wallace Stevens. Ben's currently working on music for a theatrical work about Stevens' life set to debut in Cleveland later in 2017. The empathetic waves generated by this song resonate throughout the album, giving a new dimension to the music of Six Organs of Admittance.  
 
Like so many other Six Organs records, Burning the Threshold was created mostly solo, but features the singing talents of Alex Nielsen, Haley Fohr and Damon and Naomi; the drumming of Chris Corsano; a guitar duet with Ryley Walker, and keys and mixing from Cooper Crain. With this new music, Ben Chasny has created a potent tonic for our times. The gentleness found here, balanced on top of his classical asceticism, provides much of what we need in 2017 and beyond: love, forgiveness, reality and an ever-wider view, with the understanding of our circular path in this lifetime. Looking at the world through clear eyes beneath a knitted brow, but with a laugh rising up from its heart, Burning the Threshold brings us a powerful draught of essence.

Operators with Special Guest Charly Bliss

Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) has announced the debut album for his band Operators, titled Blue Wave, out worldwide April 1st on Last Gang Records. Formed in 2013, the band features Boeckner on vocals, guitar, and synths and is joined by New Bomb Turks and Divine Fits drummer Sam Brown and electro-wiz Devojka. Produced by Graham Walsh (METZ, Alvvays, Viet Cong), much of Blue Wave was recorded in a middle of nowhere 1850s-vintage barn in southern Ontario.

Blue Wave follows the release of EP1, an upbeat, aggressively melodic collection of synth driven pop songs featuring the single “True” and gave us a taste of what was to come with the band. After a length of time on the road with the likes of Future Islands, New Pornographers and more, the band’s sound evolved from an analog post-punk project to a more live, punked out sound, with Boeckner finding himself often strapped back into his guitar. The first single “Cold Light” demonstrates the beautiful melding of both worlds. The single wil be out January 29th via all digital platforms. Listen to via Pitchfork.

Dan Boeckner has shown his diverse musical taste over the years; consequently, his decision to focus his attention on a new, electronic dance project shouldn’t be surprising as it feels like nothing more than a natural progression from the first synth he bought for the debut Wolf Parade EP, to the primarily stark, digital sounds of Handsome Furs, and now the organic, melted, deeply dance driven Operators.
Operators will be on the road this Spring, having just announced a North American tour in March and April.

Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) has announced the debut album for his band Operators, titled Blue Wave, out worldwide April 1st on Last Gang Records. Formed in 2013, the band features Boeckner on vocals, guitar, and synths and is joined by New Bomb Turks and Divine Fits drummer Sam Brown and electro-wiz Devojka. Produced by Graham Walsh (METZ, Alvvays, Viet Cong), much of Blue Wave was recorded in a middle of nowhere 1850s-vintage barn in southern Ontario.

Blue Wave follows the release of EP1, an upbeat, aggressively melodic collection of synth driven pop songs featuring the single “True” and gave us a taste of what was to come with the band. After a length of time on the road with the likes of Future Islands, New Pornographers and more, the band’s sound evolved from an analog post-punk project to a more live, punked out sound, with Boeckner finding himself often strapped back into his guitar. The first single “Cold Light” demonstrates the beautiful melding of both worlds. The single wil be out January 29th via all digital platforms. Listen to via Pitchfork.

Dan Boeckner has shown his diverse musical taste over the years; consequently, his decision to focus his attention on a new, electronic dance project shouldn’t be surprising as it feels like nothing more than a natural progression from the first synth he bought for the debut Wolf Parade EP, to the primarily stark, digital sounds of Handsome Furs, and now the organic, melted, deeply dance driven Operators.
Operators will be on the road this Spring, having just announced a North American tour in March and April.

Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Featuring the Soulville Horns) with Special Guest The Big Bend

"Bill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!" - Will Kimbrough

The creative compulsion to write songs that stir emotion, challenge the mind, and move the tail feathers of the audience is undeniably unique in music today. His performances have become legendary in sheer power and passion. Rock and roll, soul, blues, and gospel so deep the earth moves, and the walls begin shakin’ as Bill Toms and his band start the train rollin. American music never sounded so good.

He joined Pittsburgh’s legendary band, Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, as lead guitarist in 1987. The band’s meteoric rise into the professional music scene enabled Bill to tour the United States and Europe repeatedly. While with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers he opened for and played with a long and impressive list of notables, such as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat and Stevie Ray Vaughn. During his 20 years of playing guitar, co-writing, and singing back-up vocals for the Houserockers, Toms recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, the acclaimed CD, "American Babylon," was recorded and produced by Bruce Springsteen.

Bill Toms' solo performances have taken him all over the United States and Europe. In addition to his previous six studio CD's, one "Live" CD, and single EP, his latest record, the Will Kimbrough produced, "Memphis" was released to international critical acclaim in 2011

"Bill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!" - Will Kimbrough

The creative compulsion to write songs that stir emotion, challenge the mind, and move the tail feathers of the audience is undeniably unique in music today. His performances have become legendary in sheer power and passion. Rock and roll, soul, blues, and gospel so deep the earth moves, and the walls begin shakin’ as Bill Toms and his band start the train rollin. American music never sounded so good.

He joined Pittsburgh’s legendary band, Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, as lead guitarist in 1987. The band’s meteoric rise into the professional music scene enabled Bill to tour the United States and Europe repeatedly. While with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers he opened for and played with a long and impressive list of notables, such as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat and Stevie Ray Vaughn. During his 20 years of playing guitar, co-writing, and singing back-up vocals for the Houserockers, Toms recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, the acclaimed CD, "American Babylon," was recorded and produced by Bruce Springsteen.

Bill Toms' solo performances have taken him all over the United States and Europe. In addition to his previous six studio CD's, one "Live" CD, and single EP, his latest record, the Will Kimbrough produced, "Memphis" was released to international critical acclaim in 2011

The Weeks with Special Guest The Lonely Biscuits

High-energy, back-to-basics rock & roll.

That's the sound of Easy, The Week's long-awaited followup to their breakthrough album, Dear Bo Jackson. Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis - a place filled with the ghosts (and gear) of the Replacements, ZZ Top, and Big Star, all of whom traveled to Ardent to create their own landmark albums - Easy finds The Weeks doubling down on a mix of groove, grit, and guitars. It's swaggering and sharply-focused, shining new light on a band of brothers who, although still in their mid-20s, have already logged a decade's worth of sweaty gigs together.

If Easy bears resemblance to the raw, rowdy attitude of the The Weeks' live show, it's because the album was written at the end of a busy, five-year period that found the group rarely leaving the road.

"We moved to Nashville in 2010," remembers frontman Cyle Barnes, who formed the band in Jackson, Mississippi, with his three longtime bandmates: drummer (and twin brother) Cain Barnes, guitarist Sam Williams, and bass player Damien Bone. "We spent 2011 to 2015 touring. November 2015 was the first time we ever spent an entire month in Nashville."

Those years on the road were eye-opening for The Weeks, all of whom were just teenagers when they began playing together in 2006. By their early 20s, the guys were touring Europe with Kings of Leon, promoting the newly-released Dear Bo Jackson in front of 20,000 people each night. Back in America, The Weeks continued playing their own club shows, too. The experience taught them how to bridge the gap between arena shows and smaller gigs. In short, it taught them how to be themselves, no matter the audience.

Appropriately, Easy consolidates the band's strengths. While the songs on 2013's Dear Bo Jackson were thick with horn arrangements, strings, and guest appearances, Easy is a leaner, louder beast. The Weeks began working on its 11 tracks after returning home from a long tour and taking some time to rest, reflect, and regroup. Newly energized, they began writing songs at Sam and Damien's home in Nashville, with Cyle and Williams splitting the bulk of the songwriting duties. The whole process relied on collaboration, with the full band fleshing out the newer songs.

"Everyone would come to the house, make food, hang out, and play music 'til four in the morning," Williams remembers. "We wrote 25 songs, then picked our favorites for the final tracklist.

Easy is driving and direct, captured in punchy sound by producer Paul Ebersold. The goal was to clear out any unnecessary clutter, focusing instead on The Weeks' biggest strengths: the elastic power of Cyle's voice, capable of a crooning drawl one minute and a roof-raising howl the next; the range of Sam's guitar playing, from Motown-influenced chord stabs to garage-rock blasts of sound; and the interlocking rhythms of Damien and Cain. They threw some curveballs into the mix, too, riding a lovely, lazy, organ-heavy groove on the southern soul song "Hands on the Radio" and punctuating songs like "Ike" with a small horn section. Along the way, they made good use the studio's vintage gear, finding room on a handful of songs for Elvis Presley's microphone, Big Star's snare drum, the "Green Onions" organ from Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

"We said, 'If we can do this song in five chords, let's do it,'" says Sam. "That way, whenever the curveballs do happen, they mean a lot. We focused on the songs first, and then we added stuff, as long as it didn't harm the energy or the groove. We wanted to pick our moments better."

Inspired by the real-life characters, places, and stories The Weeks encountered on tour, Easy is a record about where the band has been, as well as a sign of where they're going. "I wanted the stories to be real - a little dark, maybe - but I wanted them to be redeeming, too," says Cyle, who began turning the stories into proper songs once the tour ended. He tossed some personal tales into the mix, too, with songs like the autobiographical "Gold Doesn't Rust" focusing on the joy of plugging in, tuning up and rocking out.

"We just wanted to make a rock record," adds Damien, shrugging his shoulders at the simplicity of it all. The Weeks earned their road warrior credentials years ago, but they've never defined their ambition - or the wide range of their abilities - this clearly before.

And speaking of simple…what's the deal with that album title?

"We called it Easy because every time I make music with these guys, it's easy," says Cain, who has spent more than a third of his life as a member of The Weeks. "It feels good. But the other side of it is, there's nothing easy about being in a band. There's nothing easy about staying together for 10 years and still wanting to make music. We have the hardest and easiest job on the planet. But it works for us."

High-energy, back-to-basics rock & roll.

That's the sound of Easy, The Week's long-awaited followup to their breakthrough album, Dear Bo Jackson. Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis - a place filled with the ghosts (and gear) of the Replacements, ZZ Top, and Big Star, all of whom traveled to Ardent to create their own landmark albums - Easy finds The Weeks doubling down on a mix of groove, grit, and guitars. It's swaggering and sharply-focused, shining new light on a band of brothers who, although still in their mid-20s, have already logged a decade's worth of sweaty gigs together.

If Easy bears resemblance to the raw, rowdy attitude of the The Weeks' live show, it's because the album was written at the end of a busy, five-year period that found the group rarely leaving the road.

"We moved to Nashville in 2010," remembers frontman Cyle Barnes, who formed the band in Jackson, Mississippi, with his three longtime bandmates: drummer (and twin brother) Cain Barnes, guitarist Sam Williams, and bass player Damien Bone. "We spent 2011 to 2015 touring. November 2015 was the first time we ever spent an entire month in Nashville."

Those years on the road were eye-opening for The Weeks, all of whom were just teenagers when they began playing together in 2006. By their early 20s, the guys were touring Europe with Kings of Leon, promoting the newly-released Dear Bo Jackson in front of 20,000 people each night. Back in America, The Weeks continued playing their own club shows, too. The experience taught them how to bridge the gap between arena shows and smaller gigs. In short, it taught them how to be themselves, no matter the audience.

Appropriately, Easy consolidates the band's strengths. While the songs on 2013's Dear Bo Jackson were thick with horn arrangements, strings, and guest appearances, Easy is a leaner, louder beast. The Weeks began working on its 11 tracks after returning home from a long tour and taking some time to rest, reflect, and regroup. Newly energized, they began writing songs at Sam and Damien's home in Nashville, with Cyle and Williams splitting the bulk of the songwriting duties. The whole process relied on collaboration, with the full band fleshing out the newer songs.

"Everyone would come to the house, make food, hang out, and play music 'til four in the morning," Williams remembers. "We wrote 25 songs, then picked our favorites for the final tracklist.

Easy is driving and direct, captured in punchy sound by producer Paul Ebersold. The goal was to clear out any unnecessary clutter, focusing instead on The Weeks' biggest strengths: the elastic power of Cyle's voice, capable of a crooning drawl one minute and a roof-raising howl the next; the range of Sam's guitar playing, from Motown-influenced chord stabs to garage-rock blasts of sound; and the interlocking rhythms of Damien and Cain. They threw some curveballs into the mix, too, riding a lovely, lazy, organ-heavy groove on the southern soul song "Hands on the Radio" and punctuating songs like "Ike" with a small horn section. Along the way, they made good use the studio's vintage gear, finding room on a handful of songs for Elvis Presley's microphone, Big Star's snare drum, the "Green Onions" organ from Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

"We said, 'If we can do this song in five chords, let's do it,'" says Sam. "That way, whenever the curveballs do happen, they mean a lot. We focused on the songs first, and then we added stuff, as long as it didn't harm the energy or the groove. We wanted to pick our moments better."

Inspired by the real-life characters, places, and stories The Weeks encountered on tour, Easy is a record about where the band has been, as well as a sign of where they're going. "I wanted the stories to be real - a little dark, maybe - but I wanted them to be redeeming, too," says Cyle, who began turning the stories into proper songs once the tour ended. He tossed some personal tales into the mix, too, with songs like the autobiographical "Gold Doesn't Rust" focusing on the joy of plugging in, tuning up and rocking out.

"We just wanted to make a rock record," adds Damien, shrugging his shoulders at the simplicity of it all. The Weeks earned their road warrior credentials years ago, but they've never defined their ambition - or the wide range of their abilities - this clearly before.

And speaking of simple…what's the deal with that album title?

"We called it Easy because every time I make music with these guys, it's easy," says Cain, who has spent more than a third of his life as a member of The Weeks. "It feels good. But the other side of it is, there's nothing easy about being in a band. There's nothing easy about staying together for 10 years and still wanting to make music. We have the hardest and easiest job on the planet. But it works for us."

Delicate Steve with Grand Piano and Andre Costello and the Cool Minors

When the world first met Delicate Steve in 2011, Steve Marion and the band he principled were an artfully crafted fiction. Tasked with introducing Wondervisions, Delicate Steve's beguiling debut record of highly evocative and emotionally concise guitar-driven songs, Luaka Bop, the seminal David Byrne-owned New York indie label, balked. There was the music to get to; itself essentially reference-less and unqualifiedly unique. But what of the guy who created it? The guitarist who wrote the whole thing, who played every instrument. An enormous unknown talent without an attendant backstory to match the spectral and boundless qualities of his music. Enter Chuck Klosterman. The celebrated writer was brought on to completely fabricate a biography based on a band and album he was asked not to listen to. While the record racked up high praise from outlets including The New York Times and NPR, nearly everything music fans read about Delicate Steve was a fiction. Listeners were left to the music alone to determine who Steve was. As is often the case, some of the first people to recognize Delicate Steve's music were fellow artists who became vocal supporters, as the young guy from upstate New Jersey began to develop a growing fanbase in small New York clubs like Glasslands, Union Pool, and Mercury Lounge. Following the 2012 release of Positive Force, Delicate Steve had cornered the status of 'your favorite band's favorite band', as Steve himself became a fixture in and an on-demand collaborator among disparate scenes, players, and bands, making some of the most celebrated and forward thinking music today: Co-signs and work with David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, tUnE-yArDs, Mac DeMarco, Dr. Dog, and elder statesmen like Lee Ranaldo and Built to Spill. Likely the only guitarist alive who will cut records with Sondre Lerche and Death Grip's Zach Hill. Handpicked to open a sold out North American tour for Tame Impala. And most recently, providing guitar on Paul Simon's new record. These wild artistic relationships came to be because Steve happens to be one of the most talented songwriters and guitarists currently working. But they are also a direct reflection of the person, the soul of a guy any artist or fan who's met him will identify immediately. It's the same soul that fills his songs. This is Steve, Delicate Steve's first new record in 4 years, and first for the ANTI- imprint, is an articulation of this spirit. Joy. Love. Positivity. Perseverance. Meditation. A general communion with the people and world around him. Easy to call such things hackneyed in this cynical time, but in Steve's case, it’s very hard to separate the person from the art. It's real. It's pure. This, is Steve. Melody begins with the needle drop on This is Steve, and it's this hallmark as a songwriter on display in tune after tune that has defined all of Delicate Steve's work. It's his incredible capacity to write wordless songs that are impossible not to sing along to. He works in no genre, there are no words, but there is never a question as to what he is saying. Tunes like "Animals," "Help," and "Nightlife," establish their hooks immediately, and drop you with Steve as he runs alongside leopards, scales a Western peak, nurses a boozy Kingston come-down, before clocking out at under three minutes and depositing you somewhere else on
a technicolor continuum. Throughout the set, Steve's guitar melodies rise and crest, unguarded expressions of wonderment and positivity. Steve produced and played all the instruments on this record. He created it as an introduction from himself to you, and named it appropriately. If there is a question as to who This is Steve’s creator is, you'll find it imbued in these ten songs. As he has done from the start, Steve lets the music speak for itself. Without a word.

When the world first met Delicate Steve in 2011, Steve Marion and the band he principled were an artfully crafted fiction. Tasked with introducing Wondervisions, Delicate Steve's beguiling debut record of highly evocative and emotionally concise guitar-driven songs, Luaka Bop, the seminal David Byrne-owned New York indie label, balked. There was the music to get to; itself essentially reference-less and unqualifiedly unique. But what of the guy who created it? The guitarist who wrote the whole thing, who played every instrument. An enormous unknown talent without an attendant backstory to match the spectral and boundless qualities of his music. Enter Chuck Klosterman. The celebrated writer was brought on to completely fabricate a biography based on a band and album he was asked not to listen to. While the record racked up high praise from outlets including The New York Times and NPR, nearly everything music fans read about Delicate Steve was a fiction. Listeners were left to the music alone to determine who Steve was. As is often the case, some of the first people to recognize Delicate Steve's music were fellow artists who became vocal supporters, as the young guy from upstate New Jersey began to develop a growing fanbase in small New York clubs like Glasslands, Union Pool, and Mercury Lounge. Following the 2012 release of Positive Force, Delicate Steve had cornered the status of 'your favorite band's favorite band', as Steve himself became a fixture in and an on-demand collaborator among disparate scenes, players, and bands, making some of the most celebrated and forward thinking music today: Co-signs and work with David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, tUnE-yArDs, Mac DeMarco, Dr. Dog, and elder statesmen like Lee Ranaldo and Built to Spill. Likely the only guitarist alive who will cut records with Sondre Lerche and Death Grip's Zach Hill. Handpicked to open a sold out North American tour for Tame Impala. And most recently, providing guitar on Paul Simon's new record. These wild artistic relationships came to be because Steve happens to be one of the most talented songwriters and guitarists currently working. But they are also a direct reflection of the person, the soul of a guy any artist or fan who's met him will identify immediately. It's the same soul that fills his songs. This is Steve, Delicate Steve's first new record in 4 years, and first for the ANTI- imprint, is an articulation of this spirit. Joy. Love. Positivity. Perseverance. Meditation. A general communion with the people and world around him. Easy to call such things hackneyed in this cynical time, but in Steve's case, it’s very hard to separate the person from the art. It's real. It's pure. This, is Steve. Melody begins with the needle drop on This is Steve, and it's this hallmark as a songwriter on display in tune after tune that has defined all of Delicate Steve's work. It's his incredible capacity to write wordless songs that are impossible not to sing along to. He works in no genre, there are no words, but there is never a question as to what he is saying. Tunes like "Animals," "Help," and "Nightlife," establish their hooks immediately, and drop you with Steve as he runs alongside leopards, scales a Western peak, nurses a boozy Kingston come-down, before clocking out at under three minutes and depositing you somewhere else on
a technicolor continuum. Throughout the set, Steve's guitar melodies rise and crest, unguarded expressions of wonderment and positivity. Steve produced and played all the instruments on this record. He created it as an introduction from himself to you, and named it appropriately. If there is a question as to who This is Steve’s creator is, you'll find it imbued in these ten songs. As he has done from the start, Steve lets the music speak for itself. Without a word.

Vieux Farka Toure with Special Guest Last Good Tooth

Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara", Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father dissaproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali's Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux's debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son's talent as a musician.

In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux's manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux's self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré's work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba's "Fight Malaria" campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali's musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, 'Courage', is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).

On his second record, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father's music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father's shadow.

By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).

In 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret, so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father. With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Touré has clearly established himself as one of the world's rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.

Vieux released The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha) in April 2012, a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel dubbed 'The Touré-Raichel Collective' that has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a masterpiece and one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, drawing comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder's legendary Talking Timbuktu album.

In 2013, Vieux Farka Touré's beautiful and critically acclaimed latest album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. Being that his native Mali had recently been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali. Translated as 'My Country,' this predominantly acoustic undertaking transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation. Two songs on the project -Future' and 'Peace' feature Sidiki Diabate's kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré's spectacular guitar work. Both tracks represent an important generational "passing of the torch" as Sidiki's father, Toumani is considered one of the greatest living kora masters and was a close friend of Vieux's father Ali. Mon Pays has been widely hailed as the most mature and lovely record yet from one of this generation's most exciting artists to come out of Mali and one of world music's true rising stars.

Vieux reunited with Idan Raichel in Paris to record, release and subsequently tour their 2nd collaborative album as The Touré-Raichel Collective in 2014. The result was yet another musical and critical triumph, titled 'The Paris Session' (Cumbancha) revered by many as not just a musical gem for the ages but a powerful testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides. In 2015, Vieux released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled 'Touristes'. The album shot to the top of the iTunes World chart and earned critical acclaim, including that of John Schaefer (NPR) who called it "brilliant." With each new project, Vieux expands his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world's most talented and innovative musicians.

Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara", Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father dissaproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali's Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux's debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son's talent as a musician.

In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux's manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux's self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré's work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba's "Fight Malaria" campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali's musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, 'Courage', is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).

On his second record, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father's music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father's shadow.

By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).

In 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret, so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father. With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Touré has clearly established himself as one of the world's rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.

Vieux released The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha) in April 2012, a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel dubbed 'The Touré-Raichel Collective' that has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a masterpiece and one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, drawing comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder's legendary Talking Timbuktu album.

In 2013, Vieux Farka Touré's beautiful and critically acclaimed latest album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. Being that his native Mali had recently been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali. Translated as 'My Country,' this predominantly acoustic undertaking transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation. Two songs on the project -Future' and 'Peace' feature Sidiki Diabate's kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré's spectacular guitar work. Both tracks represent an important generational "passing of the torch" as Sidiki's father, Toumani is considered one of the greatest living kora masters and was a close friend of Vieux's father Ali. Mon Pays has been widely hailed as the most mature and lovely record yet from one of this generation's most exciting artists to come out of Mali and one of world music's true rising stars.

Vieux reunited with Idan Raichel in Paris to record, release and subsequently tour their 2nd collaborative album as The Touré-Raichel Collective in 2014. The result was yet another musical and critical triumph, titled 'The Paris Session' (Cumbancha) revered by many as not just a musical gem for the ages but a powerful testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides. In 2015, Vieux released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled 'Touristes'. The album shot to the top of the iTunes World chart and earned critical acclaim, including that of John Schaefer (NPR) who called it "brilliant." With each new project, Vieux expands his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world's most talented and innovative musicians.

Opus One & 91.3 WYEP Present Great Lake Swimmers with Special Guest Emily Rodgers

Great Lake Swimmers are thrilled to announce new tour dates on the heels of a very busy 2016 and their latest EP, Swimming Away. After successful tours in Europe and Western Canada last year as a trio, the band will be taking their 'Floating Through The Forest' show to the East Coast of Canada and the Midwestern US. The band in this formation will be revisiting the quiet side of their fourteen-year, seven-album catalogue, and have shows planned in Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The US leg of the tour takes them through Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Supporting the Canadian dates will be acclaimed Toronto singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell.

In the press:
"For those of you craving an album that carries a sensitive storyline by someone consistent in their craft, look no further than Canadian folk treasures Great Lake Swimmers" – Beatroute

"... (a) cherished blend of folk and orchestral indie pop" – Exclaim!

"Ambient Zen Americana" – Mojo

Great Lake Swimmers are thrilled to announce new tour dates on the heels of a very busy 2016 and their latest EP, Swimming Away. After successful tours in Europe and Western Canada last year as a trio, the band will be taking their 'Floating Through The Forest' show to the East Coast of Canada and the Midwestern US. The band in this formation will be revisiting the quiet side of their fourteen-year, seven-album catalogue, and have shows planned in Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The US leg of the tour takes them through Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Supporting the Canadian dates will be acclaimed Toronto singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell.

In the press:
"For those of you craving an album that carries a sensitive storyline by someone consistent in their craft, look no further than Canadian folk treasures Great Lake Swimmers" – Beatroute

"... (a) cherished blend of folk and orchestral indie pop" – Exclaim!

"Ambient Zen Americana" – Mojo

Opus One & 91.3 WYEP Present Bridget Kearney with Special Guest Fit Club

In the 12 years she has toured the world as a member of the soul-pop sensation Lake Street Dive, Bridget Kearney has gotten good at a lot of things: adjusting to jet lag, sleeping in moving vehicles, hauling her acoustic bass up and down stairs, keeping her cool in front of cameras, thousands of people and personal heroes. But the skill she has honed most obsessively is songwriting. "For me it's the best part of music," says Kearney. "That's the best feeling: after those few hours that you spend working on the song, and you have this thing that you've made, and you're like, ‘Wow. This didn't exist before. I'm so excited about what just happened.'" Now, at long last, Kearney steps into the spotlight with her first solo effort, a wry, big-hearted pop album entitled Won't Let You Down. The record, like its title, promises not to disappoint. 

Kearney grew up in Iowa City and went to college in Boston, where she double-majored in jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music and English at Tufts University. While still a student, she won the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a harbinger of things to come. It was during this time, too, that Kearney and three of her fellow conservatory students founded Lake Street Dive. But Kearney has always been voraciously collaborative, dabbling in chamber pop with the Brooklyn group Cuddle Magic, bluegrass with the now-defunct Boston outfit Joy Kills Sorrow, and Ghanian music as part of a duo with fellow songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis.

The recording process for Won't Let You Down began when drummer/engineer/producer Robin MacMillan invited Kearney to record a few songs at his Brooklyn studio. The sessions, which took place over the course of three years, were leisurely and experimental, free of a label-imposed deadline or a rental fee. "The answer to everything was 'Yes. Let's try it,'" Kearney remembers. 

"One of the things I like about Robin as a producer is he seems to be able to disassociate an instrument with its stylistic history and just kind of hear it for the sound it's creating," says Kearney, who played electric bass, piano, synthesizers, organ, electric guitar and acoustic guitar on Won't Let You Down. The album abounds with peculiar noises: an unidentifiable yelp, something distinctly kazoo-like, the distant whistle of a steaming kettle. Shades of The Beatles, Wilco, Fleetwood Mac and even Nick Cave can be detected, as the album swerves from ‘60s pop to ‘80s soft rock to Gothic Americana.

Won't Let You Down is the first project in which Kearney has appeared as the primary vocalist. "I've always had this affinity for singers and songs that are kind of vulnerable-sounding and flawed," she says. "I'm not a trained singer or a really powerful singer, so that's something that you can kind of use as an advantage in your writing. You can say some things that are vulnerable and personal, and I think it can come across more powerfully with a voice that's imperfect."

Kearney's lyrical talent stems from her ability to unlock the profundity in details both small and strange. She jokingly describes the song "Daniel" as being "about when you have a sexy dream about someone, and how weird that is." But in Kearney's hands the concept transforms into something at once aching and exquisite, an earnest pop concoction with a conflicted soul.

Tasked with naming her favorite song, Kearney chooses "Wash Up," a dreamy soft rock jam about running into an old lover. "It's one of my favorite kinds of songs," she says. "These crying on-the-dance-floor kinds of things, where the track is kind of bumpin', but when you listen to the lyrics you realize it's actually a sad song." "Wash Up" is classic Kearney: a light touch undergirded by dark self-awareness, and endlessly hummable.

On Won't Let You Down, buoyancy is always tempered by melancholy. But just as often, wistfulness is undercut by a twinkle in the eye.  It's "this cross section of sadness and humor," says Kearney. "When you're getting over crying, and you just start to laugh."

In the 12 years she has toured the world as a member of the soul-pop sensation Lake Street Dive, Bridget Kearney has gotten good at a lot of things: adjusting to jet lag, sleeping in moving vehicles, hauling her acoustic bass up and down stairs, keeping her cool in front of cameras, thousands of people and personal heroes. But the skill she has honed most obsessively is songwriting. "For me it's the best part of music," says Kearney. "That's the best feeling: after those few hours that you spend working on the song, and you have this thing that you've made, and you're like, ‘Wow. This didn't exist before. I'm so excited about what just happened.'" Now, at long last, Kearney steps into the spotlight with her first solo effort, a wry, big-hearted pop album entitled Won't Let You Down. The record, like its title, promises not to disappoint. 

Kearney grew up in Iowa City and went to college in Boston, where she double-majored in jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music and English at Tufts University. While still a student, she won the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a harbinger of things to come. It was during this time, too, that Kearney and three of her fellow conservatory students founded Lake Street Dive. But Kearney has always been voraciously collaborative, dabbling in chamber pop with the Brooklyn group Cuddle Magic, bluegrass with the now-defunct Boston outfit Joy Kills Sorrow, and Ghanian music as part of a duo with fellow songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis.

The recording process for Won't Let You Down began when drummer/engineer/producer Robin MacMillan invited Kearney to record a few songs at his Brooklyn studio. The sessions, which took place over the course of three years, were leisurely and experimental, free of a label-imposed deadline or a rental fee. "The answer to everything was 'Yes. Let's try it,'" Kearney remembers. 

"One of the things I like about Robin as a producer is he seems to be able to disassociate an instrument with its stylistic history and just kind of hear it for the sound it's creating," says Kearney, who played electric bass, piano, synthesizers, organ, electric guitar and acoustic guitar on Won't Let You Down. The album abounds with peculiar noises: an unidentifiable yelp, something distinctly kazoo-like, the distant whistle of a steaming kettle. Shades of The Beatles, Wilco, Fleetwood Mac and even Nick Cave can be detected, as the album swerves from ‘60s pop to ‘80s soft rock to Gothic Americana.

Won't Let You Down is the first project in which Kearney has appeared as the primary vocalist. "I've always had this affinity for singers and songs that are kind of vulnerable-sounding and flawed," she says. "I'm not a trained singer or a really powerful singer, so that's something that you can kind of use as an advantage in your writing. You can say some things that are vulnerable and personal, and I think it can come across more powerfully with a voice that's imperfect."

Kearney's lyrical talent stems from her ability to unlock the profundity in details both small and strange. She jokingly describes the song "Daniel" as being "about when you have a sexy dream about someone, and how weird that is." But in Kearney's hands the concept transforms into something at once aching and exquisite, an earnest pop concoction with a conflicted soul.

Tasked with naming her favorite song, Kearney chooses "Wash Up," a dreamy soft rock jam about running into an old lover. "It's one of my favorite kinds of songs," she says. "These crying on-the-dance-floor kinds of things, where the track is kind of bumpin', but when you listen to the lyrics you realize it's actually a sad song." "Wash Up" is classic Kearney: a light touch undergirded by dark self-awareness, and endlessly hummable.

On Won't Let You Down, buoyancy is always tempered by melancholy. But just as often, wistfulness is undercut by a twinkle in the eye.  It's "this cross section of sadness and humor," says Kearney. "When you're getting over crying, and you just start to laugh."

(Early Show) An Acoustic Evening With Martin Barre Band

Martin Barre has been the guitarist of Jethro Tull for 43 years, his sound and playing having been a major factor in their success. Album sales have exceeded 60 million units and they continue to be played worldwide, representing an important part of classic rock history.

Martin's guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition; he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on 'Aqualung'. His playing on the album 'Crest of a Knave' earned him a Grammy award in 1988.

As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Jo Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

As Jethro Tull are taking a long break from touring, Martin has put together a band to play the "classic" music from the Tull catalogue. His band is a total commitment to give the Tull fans and a broader audience the chance to hear tracks not performed for many years. The band includes top musicians from a similar background.

Martin Barre has been the guitarist of Jethro Tull for 43 years, his sound and playing having been a major factor in their success. Album sales have exceeded 60 million units and they continue to be played worldwide, representing an important part of classic rock history.

Martin's guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition; he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on 'Aqualung'. His playing on the album 'Crest of a Knave' earned him a Grammy award in 1988.

As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Jo Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

As Jethro Tull are taking a long break from touring, Martin has put together a band to play the "classic" music from the Tull catalogue. His band is a total commitment to give the Tull fans and a broader audience the chance to hear tracks not performed for many years. The band includes top musicians from a similar background.

(Late Show) Blackbird Bullet with Special Guest Ugly Blondes

Join Club Cafe for an evening of lock rock with Blackbird Bullet and Ugly Blondes. Tickets only $7.

Join Club Cafe for an evening of lock rock with Blackbird Bullet and Ugly Blondes. Tickets only $7.

An Evening With Charlie Hunter Trio

'Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth', the title of which refers to a quote once uttered by heavyweight boxing champion Iron Mike Tyson, was recorded 100% live in a studio in Hudson, New York, Charlie Hunter returns to his quartet to perform 10 all new Blues, Rock, Jazz and Latin flavored songs alongside bandmates Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Bobby Previte (drums), and Curtis Fowlkes (trombone). 'Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth' was released July 22 on GroundUP Music.

'Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth', the title of which refers to a quote once uttered by heavyweight boxing champion Iron Mike Tyson, was recorded 100% live in a studio in Hudson, New York, Charlie Hunter returns to his quartet to perform 10 all new Blues, Rock, Jazz and Latin flavored songs alongside bandmates Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Bobby Previte (drums), and Curtis Fowlkes (trombone). 'Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth' was released July 22 on GroundUP Music.

Carrie Elkin - The Penny Collector CD Release Tour with Special Guests Danny Schmidt and Aaron Lefebvre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sebadoh with Special Guest The Long Knives

In 1986, Lou Barlow split off from Dinosaur Jr. & eventually teamed-up with Jason Loewenstein to pursue a strain of musical ideas & aspirations that didn't fit in with Dino's sound. The project he started working on came to be known as Sebadoh, named after a string of nonsense lyrical filler syllables Barlow would frequently murmur into the microphone. Along with Pavement and Guided By Voices, Sebadoh is credited as the deathless ‘primal father’ of the lo-fi aesthetic.

In 1986, Lou Barlow split off from Dinosaur Jr. & eventually teamed-up with Jason Loewenstein to pursue a strain of musical ideas & aspirations that didn't fit in with Dino's sound. The project he started working on came to be known as Sebadoh, named after a string of nonsense lyrical filler syllables Barlow would frequently murmur into the microphone. Along with Pavement and Guided By Voices, Sebadoh is credited as the deathless ‘primal father’ of the lo-fi aesthetic.

Hackensaw Boys / The Tillers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Late Show) A Little Less Human with Special Guests Horus Maze

A Little Less Human are an American rock duo based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Comprised of Michael Show, guitar and vocals, and David Keber, drums and vocals; the tandem met while playing for another Steel City based rock group, and immediately found chemistry. They soon left to start their own project in late 2015. Their massive sound is harsh yet melodic, and at the very least, an aggressive punch and feel that will keep you moving from the first song to the last with influences ranging from pop to punk and funk to classic rock.

They recently participated in the Winter Rock Showcase at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square and placed 3rd in their Pittsburgh debut. Their first single release "Warchild" features the multi-layered harmonies and bouncy riffs that A Little Less Human is known for and is a great opener to what they have to offer musically.

A Little Less Human are an American rock duo based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Comprised of Michael Show, guitar and vocals, and David Keber, drums and vocals; the tandem met while playing for another Steel City based rock group, and immediately found chemistry. They soon left to start their own project in late 2015. Their massive sound is harsh yet melodic, and at the very least, an aggressive punch and feel that will keep you moving from the first song to the last with influences ranging from pop to punk and funk to classic rock.

They recently participated in the Winter Rock Showcase at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square and placed 3rd in their Pittsburgh debut. Their first single release "Warchild" features the multi-layered harmonies and bouncy riffs that A Little Less Human is known for and is a great opener to what they have to offer musically.

(Early Show) Heather Kropf (Celebrating the 17th Anniversary of Her Debut Album 'Sky') with Special Guest Keith Hershberger

Heather Kropf has been a musician in Pittsburgh for almost two decades, earning acclaim for her evocative singing and songwriting. Trained in classical piano she has charmed audiences with her lush, literate blend of Americana and jazz-influenced pop songs that capture the complexity of modern life and romance. Her honeyed vocals are reminiscent of early influences Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell. 

Kropf released her self-produced debut album Sky at Club Cafe in the spring of 2000, earning praise from WYEP 91.3 FM, which listed it as a runner-up for the top 50 albums of the year in their annual Year in Review. Pittsburgh Magazine called her debut effort "a welcome change of pace in these days of uptempo-whiny-middle-class-white-boy-tirades. The tempos are mellow but not maudlin and, as a piano player, Kropf is melodic and delicate but powerful…great stuff."

Since then, Kropf has self-produced three additional full-length albums and is on the verge of releasing her fifth album "Lights" recorded in Nashville with producer/multi-instrumentalist Lex Price and an all-star cast of musicians that have worked with Sufjan Stevens, Fiona Apple, k.d. lang, Neko Case, and Kacey Musgraves.

Over the years the songs from Sky have made increasingly rare appearances in Kropf's concerts, even as the album remains a strong fan favorite. Tonight's 17th Anniversary concert will celebrate Sky in its entirety, reuniting some of the original band members with Kropf's current line-up. Don't miss this little slice of Pittsburgh pop music history and enjoy songs you haven't heard in years!

Heather Kropf has been a musician in Pittsburgh for almost two decades, earning acclaim for her evocative singing and songwriting. Trained in classical piano she has charmed audiences with her lush, literate blend of Americana and jazz-influenced pop songs that capture the complexity of modern life and romance. Her honeyed vocals are reminiscent of early influences Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell. 

Kropf released her self-produced debut album Sky at Club Cafe in the spring of 2000, earning praise from WYEP 91.3 FM, which listed it as a runner-up for the top 50 albums of the year in their annual Year in Review. Pittsburgh Magazine called her debut effort "a welcome change of pace in these days of uptempo-whiny-middle-class-white-boy-tirades. The tempos are mellow but not maudlin and, as a piano player, Kropf is melodic and delicate but powerful…great stuff."

Since then, Kropf has self-produced three additional full-length albums and is on the verge of releasing her fifth album "Lights" recorded in Nashville with producer/multi-instrumentalist Lex Price and an all-star cast of musicians that have worked with Sufjan Stevens, Fiona Apple, k.d. lang, Neko Case, and Kacey Musgraves.

Over the years the songs from Sky have made increasingly rare appearances in Kropf's concerts, even as the album remains a strong fan favorite. Tonight's 17th Anniversary concert will celebrate Sky in its entirety, reuniting some of the original band members with Kropf's current line-up. Don't miss this little slice of Pittsburgh pop music history and enjoy songs you haven't heard in years!

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

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

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

David Berkeley with Special Guest Michael Dawson

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

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

Club Cafe's Monthly Open Stage with Host Bob Banerjee

A free monthly open mic night for all performers. Signup for Performers begins at 7pm. Starving Artist Special from 7pm-8pm featuring half off food, $2 Yuengling Drafts, Free Coffee & Tea. Ages: +21

Club Cafe's open stage is one of Pittsburgh's longest running and most revered open mic events for performers of all genres. Fashioned after some of the high profile and wildly successful open stages in Nashville, New York and LA, Club Cafe's open stage provides artists with the chance to perform on a world renowned stage while fostering a friendly and supportive environment enabling performers to network with their peers, attract new audiences and extend their reach.

This month's host is Bob Banerjee

A free monthly open mic night for all performers. Signup for Performers begins at 7pm. Starving Artist Special from 7pm-8pm featuring half off food, $2 Yuengling Drafts, Free Coffee & Tea. Ages: +21

Club Cafe's open stage is one of Pittsburgh's longest running and most revered open mic events for performers of all genres. Fashioned after some of the high profile and wildly successful open stages in Nashville, New York and LA, Club Cafe's open stage provides artists with the chance to perform on a world renowned stage while fostering a friendly and supportive environment enabling performers to network with their peers, attract new audiences and extend their reach.

This month's host is Bob Banerjee

Tommy Keene with Ivan Julian with Special Guest Steve Morrison and John Young of the Optimists

After a false start four decades ago, Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian are joining forces.

Rock 'n' roll aficionados need no introduction to pop songwriter Tommy Keene and pioneer punk guitarist Ivan Julian. However, what even the most dedicated listener might not know is these two Washington D.C.-area natives need no introduction to each other. In fact, the two were briefly in a band together in New York in 1980. While that partnership was not destined to last, Tommy and Ivan are now about to embark on a dynamite double-bill acoustic tour, playing solo and together.

To get to the roots of this relationship, we have to go all the way back to 1978. Ivan was playing guitar with the seminal New York punk outfit Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Tommy was working in D.C. with the Razz, a legendary local rock ’n’ rock outfit. One night, along with Razz bassist Ted Niceley, Tommy drove up to NYC to see Cheap Trick at the Bottom Line. Arriving to find out that the show had been cancelled, the two headed to Max’s Kansas City, where Ted introduced Tommy to his friend Ivan.

The two hit it off. A couple years later, Tommy was invited to come to New York to join Ivan’s new group, ultimately called the Outsets. Tommy rehearsed and hung out with Ivan in the early part of 1980, taking in the whole New York East Village scene, including such historic haunts as CBGB’s and the Mudd Club.

Tommy, however, was not destined to remain an Outset. Instead, he formed his own group and in the ensuing decades has released acclaimed albums on the Dolphin, Geffen and Matador labels, while occasionally playing sideman for Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard. Ivan continued the Outsets for a few years, worked with the Clash and Shriekback, and later played extensively with Matthew Sweet before releasing his own solo album in 2011.

Having headed their separate ways at the dawn of the '80s, this current Keene-Julian pairing is, to say the least, an unexpected surprise. But when you also consider that only a short time ago, Ivan fought his way back to good health after nearly succumbing to cancer, then this 10-city tour is nothing short of miraculous.

After a false start four decades ago, Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian are joining forces.

Rock 'n' roll aficionados need no introduction to pop songwriter Tommy Keene and pioneer punk guitarist Ivan Julian. However, what even the most dedicated listener might not know is these two Washington D.C.-area natives need no introduction to each other. In fact, the two were briefly in a band together in New York in 1980. While that partnership was not destined to last, Tommy and Ivan are now about to embark on a dynamite double-bill acoustic tour, playing solo and together.

To get to the roots of this relationship, we have to go all the way back to 1978. Ivan was playing guitar with the seminal New York punk outfit Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Tommy was working in D.C. with the Razz, a legendary local rock ’n’ rock outfit. One night, along with Razz bassist Ted Niceley, Tommy drove up to NYC to see Cheap Trick at the Bottom Line. Arriving to find out that the show had been cancelled, the two headed to Max’s Kansas City, where Ted introduced Tommy to his friend Ivan.

The two hit it off. A couple years later, Tommy was invited to come to New York to join Ivan’s new group, ultimately called the Outsets. Tommy rehearsed and hung out with Ivan in the early part of 1980, taking in the whole New York East Village scene, including such historic haunts as CBGB’s and the Mudd Club.

Tommy, however, was not destined to remain an Outset. Instead, he formed his own group and in the ensuing decades has released acclaimed albums on the Dolphin, Geffen and Matador labels, while occasionally playing sideman for Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard. Ivan continued the Outsets for a few years, worked with the Clash and Shriekback, and later played extensively with Matthew Sweet before releasing his own solo album in 2011.

Having headed their separate ways at the dawn of the '80s, this current Keene-Julian pairing is, to say the least, an unexpected surprise. But when you also consider that only a short time ago, Ivan fought his way back to good health after nearly succumbing to cancer, then this 10-city tour is nothing short of miraculous.

Vita and the Woolf with Special Guest Anthony Heubel

Vita and the Woolf is the sound of operatic vocals meeting neo-soul synth pop. Driven by the anthemic voice of front woman, Jennifer Pague and supported by the dynamic drumming of Adam Shumski, Vita and the Woolf has been melding cross-genre influences in their powerhouse electronic style since their first EP Fang Song came out in 2014.

The band’s head-turning live show has since grown to reflect both the range of Pague’s vocals and the music’s shape shifting energy.

Originally inspired by the love relationship between novelists Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, the name “Vita and the Woolf” was chosen while Pague was studying abroad in Europe in 2012. Upon returning to the states and going through a variety of line-up changes, the band has since solidified as a collaboration between Pague and Shumski. In the past year this configuration of Vita and the Woolf has been featured on the Urban Outfitters Music Blog, NYLON Magazine, and other regional and national media outlets as the band gears up for their upcoming album release in 2017.
Stay tuned for more info about “TUNNELS”, the band’s new full length record.

Vita and the Woolf recently toured as direct support for Rasputina on a 17-date cross country tour. In addition they have performed at XPoNential Music Festival in 2015 on the same lineup as St. Vincent, My Morning Jacket, and Courtney Barnett. And have opened up for Milk & Bone, Christine Perri & Colbie Caillat, Hamilton Leithauser, and The Parlour Tricks.

Vita and the Woolf is the sound of operatic vocals meeting neo-soul synth pop. Driven by the anthemic voice of front woman, Jennifer Pague and supported by the dynamic drumming of Adam Shumski, Vita and the Woolf has been melding cross-genre influences in their powerhouse electronic style since their first EP Fang Song came out in 2014.

The band’s head-turning live show has since grown to reflect both the range of Pague’s vocals and the music’s shape shifting energy.

Originally inspired by the love relationship between novelists Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, the name “Vita and the Woolf” was chosen while Pague was studying abroad in Europe in 2012. Upon returning to the states and going through a variety of line-up changes, the band has since solidified as a collaboration between Pague and Shumski. In the past year this configuration of Vita and the Woolf has been featured on the Urban Outfitters Music Blog, NYLON Magazine, and other regional and national media outlets as the band gears up for their upcoming album release in 2017.
Stay tuned for more info about “TUNNELS”, the band’s new full length record.

Vita and the Woolf recently toured as direct support for Rasputina on a 17-date cross country tour. In addition they have performed at XPoNential Music Festival in 2015 on the same lineup as St. Vincent, My Morning Jacket, and Courtney Barnett. And have opened up for Milk & Bone, Christine Perri & Colbie Caillat, Hamilton Leithauser, and The Parlour Tricks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Early Show) Kinky Friedman's Resurrected Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Late Show) Steeltown Horns with Special Guest Gene Stovall

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

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

Acid Mothers Temple with Special Guests BABYLON

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
Formed in 1995 by Makoto Kawabata at the same time as the Acid Mothers Temple Soul Collective. The group released its debut album in 1997 on PSF Records (Japan), and it was selected as one of the year's best albums in the The Wire magazine (UK). In 1998 the group played their first tours of the US and Europe. Since then the group has released a huge number of albums on labels from many different countries. As of 2017, the group has released around 80 albums. Every year since 1998, they have toured extensively in the US and Europe, and more recently have started performing around Asia and in Japan too.
The group has performed in collaboration with many musicians including psychedelic originators Gong and Guru Guru, Simeon (Silver Apples), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), and the Occitanian trad sinder Rosina de Peira. Japanese collaborators have included Afrirampo, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), Maso Yamazaki (Masonna), Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms), Jun Kuriyama (The Ox), and many others.
To begin with the group had a floating line-up with contributions from many members of the AMT Soul Collective. But as tours became more frequent, the group began to coalesce around a core touring line-up. Other bands were created with Acid Mothers Temple as part of their name (AMT & The Cosmic Inferno, AMT SWR, AMT & The Space Paranoid, Acid Mothers Gong, Acid Mothers Guru Guru, etc.), but AMT & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. has continued to function as the mothership and main lineage for all our activities.
In 2016, 21 years since the group's founding, there was a major shift in the line-up and "Next Generation" was added to the name. We now view the first 20 years as chapter one in our story, and we are now turning the page to start chapter two. The current touring line-up is: Makoto Kawabata (the sole original member), Hiroshi Higashi, Mitsuko☆Tabata, Nani Satoshima, and S/T.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
Formed in 1995 by Makoto Kawabata at the same time as the Acid Mothers Temple Soul Collective. The group released its debut album in 1997 on PSF Records (Japan), and it was selected as one of the year's best albums in the The Wire magazine (UK). In 1998 the group played their first tours of the US and Europe. Since then the group has released a huge number of albums on labels from many different countries. As of 2017, the group has released around 80 albums. Every year since 1998, they have toured extensively in the US and Europe, and more recently have started performing around Asia and in Japan too.
The group has performed in collaboration with many musicians including psychedelic originators Gong and Guru Guru, Simeon (Silver Apples), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), and the Occitanian trad sinder Rosina de Peira. Japanese collaborators have included Afrirampo, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), Maso Yamazaki (Masonna), Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms), Jun Kuriyama (The Ox), and many others.
To begin with the group had a floating line-up with contributions from many members of the AMT Soul Collective. But as tours became more frequent, the group began to coalesce around a core touring line-up. Other bands were created with Acid Mothers Temple as part of their name (AMT & The Cosmic Inferno, AMT SWR, AMT & The Space Paranoid, Acid Mothers Gong, Acid Mothers Guru Guru, etc.), but AMT & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. has continued to function as the mothership and main lineage for all our activities.
In 2016, 21 years since the group's founding, there was a major shift in the line-up and "Next Generation" was added to the name. We now view the first 20 years as chapter one in our story, and we are now turning the page to start chapter two. The current touring line-up is: Makoto Kawabata (the sole original member), Hiroshi Higashi, Mitsuko☆Tabata, Nani Satoshima, and S/T.

Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones

Dave Alvin, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and self-described “barroom guitarist," is widely considered to be one of the pivotal founders of the current Americana music scene. A fourth generation Californian, Dave Alvin grew up in Downey, California as the local landscape quickly evolved from orange groves and dairy farms to tract homes and freeways.

Since forming the highly influential roots rock/R+B band The Blasters, with his brother Phil in 1979, and throughout his long and critically acclaimed solo career, Dave Alvin has mixed his varied musical and literary influences into his own unique, updated version of traditional American music. Combining elements of blues, folk, R+B, rockabilly, Bakersfield country and garage rock and roll with lyrical inspiration from local writers and poets like Raymond Chandler, Gerald Locklin and Charles Bukowski, Alvin says that his songs are "just like California. A big, messy melting pot."

Dave Alvin's songs have been recorded by a who's who of contemporary roots artists from Los Lobos, Little Milton, Robert Earl Keen, Marshal Crenshaw and Joe Ely to Dwight Yoakam, James McMurtry, Buckwheat Zydeco, Alejandro Escovedo and X. His songs have also been featured in many movies and television shows including Justified, The Sopranos, True Blood, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Crybaby, Miss Congeniality and From Dusk To Dawn.

Dave Alvin, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and self-described “barroom guitarist," is widely considered to be one of the pivotal founders of the current Americana music scene. A fourth generation Californian, Dave Alvin grew up in Downey, California as the local landscape quickly evolved from orange groves and dairy farms to tract homes and freeways.

Since forming the highly influential roots rock/R+B band The Blasters, with his brother Phil in 1979, and throughout his long and critically acclaimed solo career, Dave Alvin has mixed his varied musical and literary influences into his own unique, updated version of traditional American music. Combining elements of blues, folk, R+B, rockabilly, Bakersfield country and garage rock and roll with lyrical inspiration from local writers and poets like Raymond Chandler, Gerald Locklin and Charles Bukowski, Alvin says that his songs are "just like California. A big, messy melting pot."

Dave Alvin's songs have been recorded by a who's who of contemporary roots artists from Los Lobos, Little Milton, Robert Earl Keen, Marshal Crenshaw and Joe Ely to Dwight Yoakam, James McMurtry, Buckwheat Zydeco, Alejandro Escovedo and X. His songs have also been featured in many movies and television shows including Justified, The Sopranos, True Blood, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Crybaby, Miss Congeniality and From Dusk To Dawn.

Maybird with Shana Falana and Zeve

Maybird was born in the summer of 2013 when singer/songwriter Josh Netsky performed at a small concert in the woods of upstate New York called the Stone Mill gathering. It was there that serendipity brought Netsky and his brother (drummer) Adam Netsky together with long-time guitarist Sam Snyder and new addition Kurt Johnson – and things clicked.

Mostly recorded in the basement studio at the Stone Mill, as well as various apartments in the Rochester area, their debut ‘Turning Into Water’ EP paints a picture of the sonic array that resulted from that night. The track ‘Big Sun Explosion’ was discovered by Danger Mouse and released on his label 30th Century Record’s first compilation in late 2015. The EP’s release followed shortly after. Currently, the band is recording a follow up LP and exploring some new sounds.

Maybird was born in the summer of 2013 when singer/songwriter Josh Netsky performed at a small concert in the woods of upstate New York called the Stone Mill gathering. It was there that serendipity brought Netsky and his brother (drummer) Adam Netsky together with long-time guitarist Sam Snyder and new addition Kurt Johnson – and things clicked.

Mostly recorded in the basement studio at the Stone Mill, as well as various apartments in the Rochester area, their debut ‘Turning Into Water’ EP paints a picture of the sonic array that resulted from that night. The track ‘Big Sun Explosion’ was discovered by Danger Mouse and released on his label 30th Century Record’s first compilation in late 2015. The EP’s release followed shortly after. Currently, the band is recording a follow up LP and exploring some new sounds.

The Whistles & The Bells with Special Guests The Whistles and the Bells, Ryan Hoffman, Bindley Hardware Co.

"I wanted to make a record that sounded like some great cosmic dinner party," explains Bryan Simpson (aka The Whistles & the Bells) of his sophomore LP fittingly dubbed Modern Plagues. "Not a gross, homogenized one where people bludgeon their intellect with one-sided conversation but more of a 'if you could invite four people from history over for dinner who would it be?' kind of shindig. Where some strange collection of human heavyweights sit around discussing the odd pilgrimage that is life. I wanted to sonically interpret what a cosmic intersection of such varied DNA might sound like. Except fast forward the evening past the pretense and the niceties of the appetizer course and push record as the party polishes off the last drop of an encore bottle of wine."

Modern Plagues' 11 expansive tracks find singer / songwriter / producer / multi-instrumentalist Simpson delivering eye-opening lyrical insights and audacious verbal imagery, while displaying a freewheeling sonic sensibility that draws inspiration from a bottomless well of genres and textures. Collaborations with The Raconteurs' Brendan Benson resulted in such out-of-the-box tunes as "Harry Potter," "Small Time Criminals," and "Zombie Heartz," where Simpson's revealing lyrics and richly compelling soundscapes mix to create a singular, personally-charged vision of organized chaos. This extends to remarkably candid tracks like "Year of the Freakout" and "Playing God" when Simpson's satirical observations call into question how we all cope with the turbulent times in which we live; and, more introspectively, to songs such as "Good Drugs" and "Highlight Reel" that sonically grasp, and for that matter, celebrate the fragility and ferocity of man. As the album culminates with the funky, almost playful, apocalyptic closer "40 Years," Modern Plagues leaves no deadly sin untouched, no false idol unexposed.

"I wanted to make an immediate record, one that people would get from the first listen," asserts the Nashville-based Fort Worth native. "I was dead set on not making some kind of 'ninja' record, where the enjoyable bloodletting doesn't begin until the fourth listen when it sneaks up out of nowhere and cuts your throat. I wanted to make something more forthright, more honest. I've made records that are slower to blossom, and some of my favorite records are like that. But I wanted this one to jump out and make its point. I want listeners to be able to imagine and feel the spirit of a night where the air is thick with cigar smoke and opinions, brazen jokes and deep truths. With the whimsical, the mundane, and the transcendent all sharing the same bed of nails."

Simpson's route to Modern Plagues has been an unconventional one. Prior to launching The Whistles & the Bells, he had already won substantial success as a bluegrass mandolinist, serving a seven-year, three-album stint with the acclaimed progressive-bluegrass quartet Cadillac Sky. That group was broad-minded enough to collaborate with both bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, which eventually led to an in-demand spot on Mumford and Sons' 2010 North American Tour. Meanwhile, Simpson also carved out a lucrative sideline as a mainstream country songwriter, composing hit tunes for the likes of Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and George Strait.

With those achievements under his belt, a long-gestating musical and spiritual awakening pushed Simpson in a more iconoclastic direction, resulting in The Whistles & the Bells' independently released self-titled 2014 debut. That album chronicled the artist's bold reassessment of his personal and creative choices, and struck a responsive chord with those fortunate enough to hear it, winning acclaim from such notable outlets as Rolling Stone and American Songwriter.

"I don't necessarily feel like this is me, but it's a portion of me that I'm willing to unveil and explore, "Simpson notes. "I could say, 'Go listen to that Bryan Simpson record,' but that idea is just confusing to me. I don't know what Bryan Simpson sounds like, but I'm starting to understand what The Whistles & the Bells sounds like. It's more of an idea than an identity, and I had to get to a certain point in my life where I had the keys to unlock that vault."

The Whistles & The Bells' debut effort won an impressive amount of attention for an indie release, leading to Simpson's current deal with New West Records, which gave the first album a national release and set the stage for Modern Plagues.

"The first record was about spiritual transformation, and about me coming to a place of recognition of my own humanity and a better understanding of my place in the universe," Simpson says. "And as much as it has liberated me elsewhere in my life, perhaps the greatest tangible increase has been creatively. I know the record that I probably should have made. The sophomore record that would have been a much easier transition for everybody involved. But we kept asking ourselves: what record CAN we make?! If there's a sound or an idea we hear, why not chase it? I want to continue to stir up conversations within myself, and within the people who listen to the music."

For Modern Plagues, Simpson collaborated with co-producer/engineer Eddie Spear (Judah & the Lion, Lake Street Dive, Rival Sons), and a crew of like-minded players, including his longtime cohort and former Cadillac Sky member Matt Menefee. In addition to co-writing "Year of the Freakout," Menefee plays banjo, electric guitar, synthesizer, piano and mandocello on the album. Also contributing to the sessions are rising singer/songwriters Brooke Waggoner and Phoebe Cryar, who trade co-lead vocals with Simpson on "Supadope." Many of the album's players will join Simpson when he takes Modern Plagues on the road.

"My cosmic dinner party might have ultimately turned out a little more like a muggy Saturday night in Coney Island with Soren Kierkegaard and Malcolm Muggeridge eating hot dogs and nervously climbing in for a second ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl only to exit 40 minutes later the best kind of woozy." Simpson divulges while reflecting upon the finished work. "But this record is where I openly embrace the weirdness of my existence. Eleven songs, till death do us part. Hope it does something to ya."

"I wanted to make a record that sounded like some great cosmic dinner party," explains Bryan Simpson (aka The Whistles & the Bells) of his sophomore LP fittingly dubbed Modern Plagues. "Not a gross, homogenized one where people bludgeon their intellect with one-sided conversation but more of a 'if you could invite four people from history over for dinner who would it be?' kind of shindig. Where some strange collection of human heavyweights sit around discussing the odd pilgrimage that is life. I wanted to sonically interpret what a cosmic intersection of such varied DNA might sound like. Except fast forward the evening past the pretense and the niceties of the appetizer course and push record as the party polishes off the last drop of an encore bottle of wine."

Modern Plagues' 11 expansive tracks find singer / songwriter / producer / multi-instrumentalist Simpson delivering eye-opening lyrical insights and audacious verbal imagery, while displaying a freewheeling sonic sensibility that draws inspiration from a bottomless well of genres and textures. Collaborations with The Raconteurs' Brendan Benson resulted in such out-of-the-box tunes as "Harry Potter," "Small Time Criminals," and "Zombie Heartz," where Simpson's revealing lyrics and richly compelling soundscapes mix to create a singular, personally-charged vision of organized chaos. This extends to remarkably candid tracks like "Year of the Freakout" and "Playing God" when Simpson's satirical observations call into question how we all cope with the turbulent times in which we live; and, more introspectively, to songs such as "Good Drugs" and "Highlight Reel" that sonically grasp, and for that matter, celebrate the fragility and ferocity of man. As the album culminates with the funky, almost playful, apocalyptic closer "40 Years," Modern Plagues leaves no deadly sin untouched, no false idol unexposed.

"I wanted to make an immediate record, one that people would get from the first listen," asserts the Nashville-based Fort Worth native. "I was dead set on not making some kind of 'ninja' record, where the enjoyable bloodletting doesn't begin until the fourth listen when it sneaks up out of nowhere and cuts your throat. I wanted to make something more forthright, more honest. I've made records that are slower to blossom, and some of my favorite records are like that. But I wanted this one to jump out and make its point. I want listeners to be able to imagine and feel the spirit of a night where the air is thick with cigar smoke and opinions, brazen jokes and deep truths. With the whimsical, the mundane, and the transcendent all sharing the same bed of nails."

Simpson's route to Modern Plagues has been an unconventional one. Prior to launching The Whistles & the Bells, he had already won substantial success as a bluegrass mandolinist, serving a seven-year, three-album stint with the acclaimed progressive-bluegrass quartet Cadillac Sky. That group was broad-minded enough to collaborate with both bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, which eventually led to an in-demand spot on Mumford and Sons' 2010 North American Tour. Meanwhile, Simpson also carved out a lucrative sideline as a mainstream country songwriter, composing hit tunes for the likes of Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and George Strait.

With those achievements under his belt, a long-gestating musical and spiritual awakening pushed Simpson in a more iconoclastic direction, resulting in The Whistles & the Bells' independently released self-titled 2014 debut. That album chronicled the artist's bold reassessment of his personal and creative choices, and struck a responsive chord with those fortunate enough to hear it, winning acclaim from such notable outlets as Rolling Stone and American Songwriter.

"I don't necessarily feel like this is me, but it's a portion of me that I'm willing to unveil and explore, "Simpson notes. "I could say, 'Go listen to that Bryan Simpson record,' but that idea is just confusing to me. I don't know what Bryan Simpson sounds like, but I'm starting to understand what The Whistles & the Bells sounds like. It's more of an idea than an identity, and I had to get to a certain point in my life where I had the keys to unlock that vault."

The Whistles & The Bells' debut effort won an impressive amount of attention for an indie release, leading to Simpson's current deal with New West Records, which gave the first album a national release and set the stage for Modern Plagues.

"The first record was about spiritual transformation, and about me coming to a place of recognition of my own humanity and a better understanding of my place in the universe," Simpson says. "And as much as it has liberated me elsewhere in my life, perhaps the greatest tangible increase has been creatively. I know the record that I probably should have made. The sophomore record that would have been a much easier transition for everybody involved. But we kept asking ourselves: what record CAN we make?! If there's a sound or an idea we hear, why not chase it? I want to continue to stir up conversations within myself, and within the people who listen to the music."

For Modern Plagues, Simpson collaborated with co-producer/engineer Eddie Spear (Judah & the Lion, Lake Street Dive, Rival Sons), and a crew of like-minded players, including his longtime cohort and former Cadillac Sky member Matt Menefee. In addition to co-writing "Year of the Freakout," Menefee plays banjo, electric guitar, synthesizer, piano and mandocello on the album. Also contributing to the sessions are rising singer/songwriters Brooke Waggoner and Phoebe Cryar, who trade co-lead vocals with Simpson on "Supadope." Many of the album's players will join Simpson when he takes Modern Plagues on the road.

"My cosmic dinner party might have ultimately turned out a little more like a muggy Saturday night in Coney Island with Soren Kierkegaard and Malcolm Muggeridge eating hot dogs and nervously climbing in for a second ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl only to exit 40 minutes later the best kind of woozy." Simpson divulges while reflecting upon the finished work. "But this record is where I openly embrace the weirdness of my existence. Eleven songs, till death do us part. Hope it does something to ya."

The Pittsburgh Air Sex Championships

The Air Sex Championships is an event that routinely sells out shows all over the country. It's a comedy show that appeals to the voyeur in all of us. It's a competition where the audience is invested in the outcome. It's a safe, respectful, and thought-provoking show about how awesome sex is.

Air Sex was born in 2008 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Once comedian Chris Trew (Comedy Central, America’s Got Talent) discovered Air Sex, he immediately transformed from a casual competitor to the show's host/producer, giving the show a unique format, flavor, and creating a cheap, spectacular touring live experience.

The show itself is simple - roughly a dozen competitors pretend to make love onstage with a partner who isn't there while a panel of comedians/sex experts/celebrities judge their performances. The judges choose three people (sometimes four in the case of a tie) to move on to the final round. Then all three must perform to mystery songs and a winner is chosen by the audience’s cheers. No nudity, no physical contact with another person onstage.

A non-traditional concept for any live-performance or music venue, the Air Sex World Championships quickly became one of the hottest tickets in whatever town it rolled through. People of all ages (over 21 of course), genders, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations signed up, cobbled together embarrassing or hilarious routines, and people's minds were blown.

As the brand built and spread, more and more fans started taking the competition seriously, crafting elaborate costumes and choreographed routines – some are silly and bizarre and others feel like you're watching an extremely intimate, private moment that you shouldn't be seeing. Yet, because anyone can compete (karaoke-style), sometimes a drunk, rowdy onlooker hops up onstage and blows all of the well-practiced competition out of the water. And that's what makes Air Sex so fun, enigmatic, and unpredictable.

The Air Sex Championships is an event that routinely sells out shows all over the country. It's a comedy show that appeals to the voyeur in all of us. It's a competition where the audience is invested in the outcome. It's a safe, respectful, and thought-provoking show about how awesome sex is.

Air Sex was born in 2008 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Once comedian Chris Trew (Comedy Central, America’s Got Talent) discovered Air Sex, he immediately transformed from a casual competitor to the show's host/producer, giving the show a unique format, flavor, and creating a cheap, spectacular touring live experience.

The show itself is simple - roughly a dozen competitors pretend to make love onstage with a partner who isn't there while a panel of comedians/sex experts/celebrities judge their performances. The judges choose three people (sometimes four in the case of a tie) to move on to the final round. Then all three must perform to mystery songs and a winner is chosen by the audience’s cheers. No nudity, no physical contact with another person onstage.

A non-traditional concept for any live-performance or music venue, the Air Sex World Championships quickly became one of the hottest tickets in whatever town it rolled through. People of all ages (over 21 of course), genders, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations signed up, cobbled together embarrassing or hilarious routines, and people's minds were blown.

As the brand built and spread, more and more fans started taking the competition seriously, crafting elaborate costumes and choreographed routines – some are silly and bizarre and others feel like you're watching an extremely intimate, private moment that you shouldn't be seeing. Yet, because anyone can compete (karaoke-style), sometimes a drunk, rowdy onlooker hops up onstage and blows all of the well-practiced competition out of the water. And that's what makes Air Sex so fun, enigmatic, and unpredictable.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah With Special Guest Laura Gibson

Like previous Clap Your Hands Say Yeah records, The Tourist nods to Ounsworth's musical heroes-a group that includes artists such as John Cale, Robert Wyatt, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. However, this album also shows a natural progression from previous records. "Better Off" and "The Vanity Of Trying" are lush, keyboard-augmented songs, while "A Chance To Cure" and "Ambulance Chaser" are rhythmically askew, and the sighing "Loose Ends" is delicate, acoustic-based folk-rock.

The Tourist emerged from a period where Ounsworth was doing a lot of intense soul-searching, and processing personal events that irrevocably shaped his life and future. But although most of these songs came together during this time of reflection, he considers the record to be cathartic-an exhale of sorts, rather than a collection of songs where he was indulging in self-pity or letting things stagnate or fester.

Appropriately, The Tourist's lyrics reflect how complex upheaval can be ("We can beat around this bush together/Sometimes it's all I think of/Other times I can forget") and explore the imperfect nature of blame ("The car left the road and was found without its mirrors/You play the victim/And I'll play the blind man"). Other songs try to make sense of the present time ("Now that the past is on fire/How can I look around and find I can't remember who I was") or employ clever wordplay- "Black cat let's not split hairs/I'm tethered to the weather/I assure I don't care about no lucky streak"-for effect.

Ounsworth spent about a week recording The Tourist at Dr. Dog's Philadelphia-based studio with a drummer and bassist. After that, he and engineer Nick Krill spent a few months "tidying things up" and recording additional embellishments: backup vocals, keyboards, guitars and more percussion. That gives The Tourist more of a band feel than the last album, and contributes to why the record possesses a musical lightness. The dreamy opening track "The Pilot" especially has a lilting edge, courtesy of Smiths-reminiscent acoustic guitars strums and Ounsworth's hiccupping, conspiratorial vocals.

The Tourist was then mixed by Dave Fridmann, who also worked on two previous Clap Your Hands Say Yeah albums, 2007's Some Loud Thunder and 2014's Only Run. Ounsworth says he and Fridmann are on the same musical wavelength, which makes their long-time working relationship an anchor of sorts. "Dave and I don't necessarily stick with what's easiest which is fine and anxiety-inducing, in a good way," he says. "He challenges me to do something a little bit different."

"I am a relatively solitary person and seem to work best alone," he says. "I do count on others to help the project as the process of making and releasing an album moves forward, but if it doesn't match what I have in mind, it's hard for me to really be there for it. I guess this is one reason why the project has been independent all this time. Trust me, I understand that thinking this way is both an asset and a liability."

However, this stubborn independence also reflects Ounsworth's commitment to musical integrity. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's career arc is all about building on previous successes while staying true to a core artistic vision. And although The Tourist may have emerged from challenging times, it reflects Ounsworth's uncanny ability to move forward, no matter what the circumstances.

"I'd rather not say that it was a dark time, but it was a difficult time in my life-among the most difficult," he says. "But I needed and need to try to let it go. And this is how I let things go. Though it's the same for any album-this one probably more than the others.

"But I have to try to do something each time that's new and engaging for me," he adds. "I mean, I could very well just write songs the way they were early on. But I don't think that people would appreciate listening to someone just going through the motions. We have to build something to last, rather than just build it because it looks good at the moment."

– Annie Zeleski

Like previous Clap Your Hands Say Yeah records, The Tourist nods to Ounsworth's musical heroes-a group that includes artists such as John Cale, Robert Wyatt, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. However, this album also shows a natural progression from previous records. "Better Off" and "The Vanity Of Trying" are lush, keyboard-augmented songs, while "A Chance To Cure" and "Ambulance Chaser" are rhythmically askew, and the sighing "Loose Ends" is delicate, acoustic-based folk-rock.

The Tourist emerged from a period where Ounsworth was doing a lot of intense soul-searching, and processing personal events that irrevocably shaped his life and future. But although most of these songs came together during this time of reflection, he considers the record to be cathartic-an exhale of sorts, rather than a collection of songs where he was indulging in self-pity or letting things stagnate or fester.

Appropriately, The Tourist's lyrics reflect how complex upheaval can be ("We can beat around this bush together/Sometimes it's all I think of/Other times I can forget") and explore the imperfect nature of blame ("The car left the road and was found without its mirrors/You play the victim/And I'll play the blind man"). Other songs try to make sense of the present time ("Now that the past is on fire/How can I look around and find I can't remember who I was") or employ clever wordplay- "Black cat let's not split hairs/I'm tethered to the weather/I assure I don't care about no lucky streak"-for effect.

Ounsworth spent about a week recording The Tourist at Dr. Dog's Philadelphia-based studio with a drummer and bassist. After that, he and engineer Nick Krill spent a few months "tidying things up" and recording additional embellishments: backup vocals, keyboards, guitars and more percussion. That gives The Tourist more of a band feel than the last album, and contributes to why the record possesses a musical lightness. The dreamy opening track "The Pilot" especially has a lilting edge, courtesy of Smiths-reminiscent acoustic guitars strums and Ounsworth's hiccupping, conspiratorial vocals.

The Tourist was then mixed by Dave Fridmann, who also worked on two previous Clap Your Hands Say Yeah albums, 2007's Some Loud Thunder and 2014's Only Run. Ounsworth says he and Fridmann are on the same musical wavelength, which makes their long-time working relationship an anchor of sorts. "Dave and I don't necessarily stick with what's easiest which is fine and anxiety-inducing, in a good way," he says. "He challenges me to do something a little bit different."

"I am a relatively solitary person and seem to work best alone," he says. "I do count on others to help the project as the process of making and releasing an album moves forward, but if it doesn't match what I have in mind, it's hard for me to really be there for it. I guess this is one reason why the project has been independent all this time. Trust me, I understand that thinking this way is both an asset and a liability."

However, this stubborn independence also reflects Ounsworth's commitment to musical integrity. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's career arc is all about building on previous successes while staying true to a core artistic vision. And although The Tourist may have emerged from challenging times, it reflects Ounsworth's uncanny ability to move forward, no matter what the circumstances.

"I'd rather not say that it was a dark time, but it was a difficult time in my life-among the most difficult," he says. "But I needed and need to try to let it go. And this is how I let things go. Though it's the same for any album-this one probably more than the others.

"But I have to try to do something each time that's new and engaging for me," he adds. "I mean, I could very well just write songs the way they were early on. But I don't think that people would appreciate listening to someone just going through the motions. We have to build something to last, rather than just build it because it looks good at the moment."

– Annie Zeleski

(Early Show) Nick Barilla with Special Guest Hannah Jenkins

Blending a soulful sound with bright pop-piano sty lings, Nick Barilla brings an inspiring and uplifting experience to every stage he performs on. His passion shines through his outgoing personality, and his genuine likeability connects with audiences of all ages. Barilla sings about love, life, and heartbreak, often stemming from personal experiences, and aims to stay true to himself. Uniquely marketable and relatable, Nick Barilla seeks to influence the future of live music one song at a time.

Blending a soulful sound with bright pop-piano sty lings, Nick Barilla brings an inspiring and uplifting experience to every stage he performs on. His passion shines through his outgoing personality, and his genuine likeability connects with audiences of all ages. Barilla sings about love, life, and heartbreak, often stemming from personal experiences, and aims to stay true to himself. Uniquely marketable and relatable, Nick Barilla seeks to influence the future of live music one song at a time.

Rocki Boulis - Release Party/Performance with Special Guest Harrison Wayne

Rocki Boulis is a singer/songwriter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been singing since the age of three and started realizing around eleven that she wanted to use her talents to seek a career in the music business. Her sound is a R&B/Pop type of vibe and her inspirations musically include Tori Kelly, Christina Aguleria, Jazmine Sullivan, Beyonce, and Jess Glynne. Rocki also enjoys acting, and has been in multiple musicals and commercials. She planned to major in musical theater after graduating in 2013, but decided to take time off school to pursue her music career. She has played in multiple venues around her home town and competed in a few singing competitions.

Rocki Boulis is a singer/songwriter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been singing since the age of three and started realizing around eleven that she wanted to use her talents to seek a career in the music business. Her sound is a R&B/Pop type of vibe and her inspirations musically include Tori Kelly, Christina Aguleria, Jazmine Sullivan, Beyonce, and Jess Glynne. Rocki also enjoys acting, and has been in multiple musicals and commercials. She planned to major in musical theater after graduating in 2013, but decided to take time off school to pursue her music career. She has played in multiple venues around her home town and competed in a few singing competitions.

Shawn James with Special Guest Douglas Lowell Blevins

Born in 1986 in the south side of Chicago, Shawn James had a hardworking, kind mother and a gambling, abusive, drunk father. He grew up singing in church and was drawn to the emotional and ethereal power that music could have over people. It was there that he found his escape and learned how to harness his unique, soulful voice.

Shawn now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas and plays a mix of haunting folk and hard-hitting soulful blues. You might catch him playing on the street in the rain some night, with his band the Shapeshifters, or just find him performing an intimate set for friends at a house show. No matter where you see him, just make sure you have your eyes and ears open, his performance will be one you won't forget.

All of Shawn's recordings, solo and with his band can be found on Bandcamp.

Born in 1986 in the south side of Chicago, Shawn James had a hardworking, kind mother and a gambling, abusive, drunk father. He grew up singing in church and was drawn to the emotional and ethereal power that music could have over people. It was there that he found his escape and learned how to harness his unique, soulful voice.

Shawn now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas and plays a mix of haunting folk and hard-hitting soulful blues. You might catch him playing on the street in the rain some night, with his band the Shapeshifters, or just find him performing an intimate set for friends at a house show. No matter where you see him, just make sure you have your eyes and ears open, his performance will be one you won't forget.

All of Shawn's recordings, solo and with his band can be found on Bandcamp.

Seth Walker

Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.

Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He's released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.

In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he's been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

Seth Walker is currently splitting his time between New Orleans and New York City after previously residing in Austin and Nashville. He's used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a bluesman's respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for-and successful melding of-contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: "If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country-just might be your poster boy."

Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.

Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He's released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.

In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he's been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

Seth Walker is currently splitting his time between New Orleans and New York City after previously residing in Austin and Nashville. He's used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a bluesman's respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for-and successful melding of-contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: "If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country-just might be your poster boy."

An Evening With Ellis Paul

"Despite his success and sense of history, Mr. Paul remains an artist with his eye on the future and an interest in discovering the transformative potential in his music." - The New York Times

Some artists document their lives through their music. Others chronicle their times. It’s a rare artist who can do both, telling their own story through songs that also encapsulate the essence of people and places who have helped define their era overall. Woody Guthrie comes to mind, and so does Bob Dylan. Bruce Springsteen certainly as well. Yet few others, for whatever genius they may possess, can relate their own history to the history experienced by those who find that common bond, be it in a coming of age, living through the same realities or sharing similar experiences.

Ellis Paul is one of those gifted singer/songwriters.Though some may refer to him as a folksinger, he is more, for lack of a better word, a singular storyteller, a musician whose words reach out from inside and yet also express the feelings, thoughts and sensibilities that most people can relate to in one way or another, regardless of age or upbringing. The exhilaration of the open road. A ​celebration of heroes.​ ​The hope for redemption. Descriptions of those things that are both near and dear. The sharing of love..., intimate, passionate and enduring.

These are the scenarios that emerge from Ellis Paul’s new album, Chasing Beauty, a set of songs which detail, in typical Paul fashion, stories of people and places that reflect larger truths about us all. “Kick Out the Lights (Johnny Cash)” pays tribute to that fearless American icon name-checked in its title. “Plastic Soldier” offers homage to a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan. A real-life barnstorming pilot takes the spotlight in “Jimmie Angel’s Flying Circus,” while iconic Boston blue collar musician Dennis Brennan takes the focus in “Waiting on a Break.” Even the Empire State Building and the Boston Red Sox get their due, via “Empire State” and “UK Girl (Boston Calling),” respectively.

In reality, these stories are a continuation of tales Paul has told for more than a quarter century, over the expanse of nineteen albums, numerous critical kudos (15 Boston Music Awards alone), inclusion in several movie soundtracks, and stages he’s headlined both near and far. “I’ve got a car with over 4​75​,000 miles on it, and it's my third road vehicle,​” Paul declares. “I’ve been doing 200 shows a year for over twenty years. There isn’t a town in the country where I won’t find a friend. I’m a nomad. And I’m gonna write and play until I’m gone.”

No doubt he will. Still, it’s somewhat ironic that Paul gravitated towards this bigger world of intent and expression given that the place Paul considers his hometown these days isn’t New York or Nashville, or Boston or Austin or ​Charlottesville, VA. where he lives, but rather Presque Isle, Maine, a tiny enclave surrounded by three rivers. Not surprisingly, the name translates to “almost an island.” Presque Isle shares a vanishing tradition with many small towns these days, where family farms are giving way to industrializ​ation​ ​and giant corporations, and earning a livelihood from the land is no longer the simple option it once was. Nevertheless, it’s still a haven for traditional values and for people as real and authentic as the soil they once tilled. If there’s one grace left to cling to, it’s the grace of nature’s beauty, sealed off by the surrounding mountains and fields.

Likewise, his geographical origins also couldn’t have been further from the world at large. He was born in the dead of winter in the small town of Fort Kent, Maine, a place nestled right up next to the Canadian border. He came from humble origins, a family of potato farmers who could count among their forebears a veteran of the battle of Gettysburg, whose heroism on that field of honor earned him the 140 acres of Maine farmland that his descendants would continue to sow. It was the place that taught Paul the meaning of hard work and self-reliance, and the values that accompany as much drive and determination any individual could muster.

As a boy, Paul found his escape in athletics, working out as a runner and testing his mettle in the open spaces near his home. He became a star competitor, and enjoyed the advantage of traveling throughout the nation after being given opportunities to compete. Along the way, he saw more of the country than most people do in a lifetime. “I was lucky to be able to travel for competitions all over the U.S. and to see places I once could only dream of,” he recalls. “The Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles, the endless plains of Texas, the Kansas prairie, the Rocky Mountain in Wyoming. Every trip was funded by a hat the town passed around on my behalf, and it never came back empty.” When Paul finished second in a nationwide track competition, he was met at the airport by the high school marching band and a fire engine with spinning lights that drove him in triumph through town. In an expression of hometown pride, the mayor handed him the key to the city.

​No one ever told Paul he had to follow in his family’s tradition. He was a dreamer after all, and he had seen enough of America to know there was more out there than his little town could ever offer. Consequently, his ambitions were never destined to stay bottled up for long. He would write, paint, play trumpet and sing in the school choir. “I never had anyone tell me I had to be a farmer,” Paul insists. “I had plenty of people telling me how my hard work and talent ​c​ould take me places​. T​hat’s enough to get you dreaming, And enough to make you believe those dreams are within reach.”

Indeed, Paul found those dreams were within his reach, at least in terms of his imagination. However​ their pursuit would take him far from home. His first destination was Boston College, courtesy of a ​​track​ scholarship. Yet as Paul describes it, his athletic endeavors, combined with his academic responsibilities, served to rob him of his creativity. It was only after he suffered a knee injury which forced him to take a year off that he rebounded with a new form of expression, made possible when his girlfriend’s sister gave him a secondhand guitar. “A mysterious, lustful partnership with the instrument followed,” Paul concedes. “It became a marriage, a friendship, a lifelong bond that only comes when you find that one thing that becomes an extension of yourself. I played for hours, choosing to write ​my own original ​​songs and sing instead of studying, socializing or exploring what the Boston streets could offer after hours.”

After graduation, Paul did find time to explore those paths, while taking opportunities to indulge his creative ambitions. Working as a teacher and social worker with inner city children by day and pursuing the possibilities offered by Boston’s fertile music scene at night, he gained prominence in local coffeehouses and open mic nights. It was the same circuit that opened the door for other like-minded artists of the day, and in turn, gave Paul exposure to such creative contemporaries as Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, Patty Larkin, John Gorka, Catie Curtis, and Bill Morrissey. It also helped him win a Boston Underground Songwriting competition and placement on a Windham Hill Records singer/songwriter compilation, bringing him his first hint of national exposure at the same time.

The major tipping point in his career came with the opportunity to open for Bill Morrissey, one of New England’s most prominent folk artists. Paul would repeatedly ask Morrissey about his own influences and seek his advice on who he ought to listen to. “You know, that’s a very smart thing to do,” Morrissey muses. “It helped set him apart. A lot of young singers I meet are not curious about what went on before; they just say, ‘I want to sing another song about my life.’ Paul has a sense of roots, of connectedness to the whole history of folk music; he sees the thread that runs through all the generations of this music.”

It was mutual admiration that caused Paul to ask Morrissey to produce his first full album, 1993‘s Say ​Something. It was released on Black Wolf Records, the label he founded with ​Ralph​ Jaccodine, the man who would become his manager. “​Ralph was fulfilling a dream to get into the music business,” Paul recalls. “Starting with a folk singer isn’t a rocket​ launch, but we got off the ground. We started a label and began a lifelong​, DIY​ ​partnership and have been​ ​in the trenches​ for over 20 years.​”

Paul also became infatuated with the music of Woody Guthrie, drawn to Woody’s social consciousness and the humanitarian streak that ran through his work. He even had a tattoo of Guthrie imprinted on his right shoulder, referring to it as “a badge of who he ​was.” His commitment to Guthrie’s legacy eventually led to his inclusion in a ten day celebration of Woody’s work held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September 1996, an event that included such notables as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco and which was presided over by Guthrie’s daughter Nora. Later, when Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma hosted the first Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in July, 1998, Paul was tapped as one of the headliners. He has since made this an annual part of his touring schedule,​ garnering the honor of being named an honorary citizen of Okemah in the process. The connection with Guthrie continued into the new millennium when Nora Guthrie invited him to put music to a set of her father’s lyrics. He later participated in the “Ribbon of Highway” tour, a communal salute featuring such luminaries as Arlo Guthrie, Marty Stuart, Ramblin’ Jack Ellott, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark and Janis Ian, among others. ​

There’s likely no greater evidence of how Guthrie’s insights and humanity have rubbed off on Paul than in this particularly telling tribute from Nora Guthrie. "A singer songwriter is only as good as the times he reflects,”she said in praising Paul. “In times like these, when so many nuts are running the show, it's comforting to know that Ellis Paul is actually holding our sanity on his own stage! Wise, tender, brilliant and biting, Ellis is one of our best human compasses, marking in melodies and poems where we've been and where we might go if we so choose to. Personally Ellis, I'm goin' where you're goin'!​"​

Where Paul is “goin’” is to practically every place a microphone beckons and a crowd of the folk faithful awaits. He’s become a staple at the Newport Folk Festival, ​played Carnegie hall, and venues from Alaska to Miami, Paris and London. In addition to his 19 albums released on the Rounder and Black Wolf record labels, his music has appeared on dozens of distinguished compilations. A ​Film/​DVD entitled ​3000 Miles​​ -- part concert film, part documentary, part instructional video -- provides a further prospective on both the man and his music. He’s also released a pair of children’s albums, earning him honors from the Parent’s Choice Foundation ​for both.​ ​H​is latest, ​"​The Hero In You​" has been turned into a​ picture book, detailing the lives of great American heroes​.​ Ellis' literate, evocative and insightful writings are further showcased in a book of poetry and short stories entitled “Notes from the Road,​" already in it's third pressing. ​

It’s no wonder then that recently Paul received ​a ​prestigious​ honor: an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Maine, which also asked him to ​write the school's ​a​lma ​mater a​s well as ​deliver its commencement address in May 2014.

Happily, his music has been shared with a wider audience as well, through commercials, documentaries, TV shows and in the soundtracks of several blockbuster films, among them three by the Farrelly Brothers -- “Hall Pass” (starring Owen Wilson and Alyssa Milano), “Me, Myself, & Irene” (starring Jim Carrey) and “Shallow Hal” (starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow). Peter Farrelly summed up the sentiments of all those who have come to know and appreciate Paul’s music by referring to him as “a national treasure.”

Not surprisingly, Paul’s consistently been heralded by others as well. ​O​ne writer noted “that it reminds you how much we need storytellers back in pop music -- storytellers with empathy, fine eyes and an understanding that even though we live in a soulless, indifferent would, out music doesn’t have to reflect our culture." ​Another reviewer was even more pointed. “Ellis Paul is one of the best singer/songwriters of his generation,” she commented. “And for many of us he is the face of contemporary folk music. Few are as smart, as literate, as poetic as Paul. I cannot think of another artist on the acoustic music scene is better loved by fans, or more respected by his contemporaries.”

Indeed, he is all that, and in a very real sense, even more. He’s an observer, a philosopher, and an astute storyteller who shares with his listeners the life lessons he’s learned, and in turn, life lessons they ought to heed as well. By affirming and defining who he is, Ellis Paul affirms and uncovers the essence of us all.

-- Lee Zimmerman (writer/reviewer for American Songwriter, No Depression, New Times, Country Standard Time, Blurt, Relix, and M Music and Musicians​)​

"Despite his success and sense of history, Mr. Paul remains an artist with his eye on the future and an interest in discovering the transformative potential in his music." - The New York Times

Some artists document their lives through their music. Others chronicle their times. It’s a rare artist who can do both, telling their own story through songs that also encapsulate the essence of people and places who have helped define their era overall. Woody Guthrie comes to mind, and so does Bob Dylan. Bruce Springsteen certainly as well. Yet few others, for whatever genius they may possess, can relate their own history to the history experienced by those who find that common bond, be it in a coming of age, living through the same realities or sharing similar experiences.

Ellis Paul is one of those gifted singer/songwriters.Though some may refer to him as a folksinger, he is more, for lack of a better word, a singular storyteller, a musician whose words reach out from inside and yet also express the feelings, thoughts and sensibilities that most people can relate to in one way or another, regardless of age or upbringing. The exhilaration of the open road. A ​celebration of heroes.​ ​The hope for redemption. Descriptions of those things that are both near and dear. The sharing of love..., intimate, passionate and enduring.

These are the scenarios that emerge from Ellis Paul’s new album, Chasing Beauty, a set of songs which detail, in typical Paul fashion, stories of people and places that reflect larger truths about us all. “Kick Out the Lights (Johnny Cash)” pays tribute to that fearless American icon name-checked in its title. “Plastic Soldier” offers homage to a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan. A real-life barnstorming pilot takes the spotlight in “Jimmie Angel’s Flying Circus,” while iconic Boston blue collar musician Dennis Brennan takes the focus in “Waiting on a Break.” Even the Empire State Building and the Boston Red Sox get their due, via “Empire State” and “UK Girl (Boston Calling),” respectively.

In reality, these stories are a continuation of tales Paul has told for more than a quarter century, over the expanse of nineteen albums, numerous critical kudos (15 Boston Music Awards alone), inclusion in several movie soundtracks, and stages he’s headlined both near and far. “I’ve got a car with over 4​75​,000 miles on it, and it's my third road vehicle,​” Paul declares. “I’ve been doing 200 shows a year for over twenty years. There isn’t a town in the country where I won’t find a friend. I’m a nomad. And I’m gonna write and play until I’m gone.”

No doubt he will. Still, it’s somewhat ironic that Paul gravitated towards this bigger world of intent and expression given that the place Paul considers his hometown these days isn’t New York or Nashville, or Boston or Austin or ​Charlottesville, VA. where he lives, but rather Presque Isle, Maine, a tiny enclave surrounded by three rivers. Not surprisingly, the name translates to “almost an island.” Presque Isle shares a vanishing tradition with many small towns these days, where family farms are giving way to industrializ​ation​ ​and giant corporations, and earning a livelihood from the land is no longer the simple option it once was. Nevertheless, it’s still a haven for traditional values and for people as real and authentic as the soil they once tilled. If there’s one grace left to cling to, it’s the grace of nature’s beauty, sealed off by the surrounding mountains and fields.

Likewise, his geographical origins also couldn’t have been further from the world at large. He was born in the dead of winter in the small town of Fort Kent, Maine, a place nestled right up next to the Canadian border. He came from humble origins, a family of potato farmers who could count among their forebears a veteran of the battle of Gettysburg, whose heroism on that field of honor earned him the 140 acres of Maine farmland that his descendants would continue to sow. It was the place that taught Paul the meaning of hard work and self-reliance, and the values that accompany as much drive and determination any individual could muster.

As a boy, Paul found his escape in athletics, working out as a runner and testing his mettle in the open spaces near his home. He became a star competitor, and enjoyed the advantage of traveling throughout the nation after being given opportunities to compete. Along the way, he saw more of the country than most people do in a lifetime. “I was lucky to be able to travel for competitions all over the U.S. and to see places I once could only dream of,” he recalls. “The Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles, the endless plains of Texas, the Kansas prairie, the Rocky Mountain in Wyoming. Every trip was funded by a hat the town passed around on my behalf, and it never came back empty.” When Paul finished second in a nationwide track competition, he was met at the airport by the high school marching band and a fire engine with spinning lights that drove him in triumph through town. In an expression of hometown pride, the mayor handed him the key to the city.

​No one ever told Paul he had to follow in his family’s tradition. He was a dreamer after all, and he had seen enough of America to know there was more out there than his little town could ever offer. Consequently, his ambitions were never destined to stay bottled up for long. He would write, paint, play trumpet and sing in the school choir. “I never had anyone tell me I had to be a farmer,” Paul insists. “I had plenty of people telling me how my hard work and talent ​c​ould take me places​. T​hat’s enough to get you dreaming, And enough to make you believe those dreams are within reach.”

Indeed, Paul found those dreams were within his reach, at least in terms of his imagination. However​ their pursuit would take him far from home. His first destination was Boston College, courtesy of a ​​track​ scholarship. Yet as Paul describes it, his athletic endeavors, combined with his academic responsibilities, served to rob him of his creativity. It was only after he suffered a knee injury which forced him to take a year off that he rebounded with a new form of expression, made possible when his girlfriend’s sister gave him a secondhand guitar. “A mysterious, lustful partnership with the instrument followed,” Paul concedes. “It became a marriage, a friendship, a lifelong bond that only comes when you find that one thing that becomes an extension of yourself. I played for hours, choosing to write ​my own original ​​songs and sing instead of studying, socializing or exploring what the Boston streets could offer after hours.”

After graduation, Paul did find time to explore those paths, while taking opportunities to indulge his creative ambitions. Working as a teacher and social worker with inner city children by day and pursuing the possibilities offered by Boston’s fertile music scene at night, he gained prominence in local coffeehouses and open mic nights. It was the same circuit that opened the door for other like-minded artists of the day, and in turn, gave Paul exposure to such creative contemporaries as Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, Patty Larkin, John Gorka, Catie Curtis, and Bill Morrissey. It also helped him win a Boston Underground Songwriting competition and placement on a Windham Hill Records singer/songwriter compilation, bringing him his first hint of national exposure at the same time.

The major tipping point in his career came with the opportunity to open for Bill Morrissey, one of New England’s most prominent folk artists. Paul would repeatedly ask Morrissey about his own influences and seek his advice on who he ought to listen to. “You know, that’s a very smart thing to do,” Morrissey muses. “It helped set him apart. A lot of young singers I meet are not curious about what went on before; they just say, ‘I want to sing another song about my life.’ Paul has a sense of roots, of connectedness to the whole history of folk music; he sees the thread that runs through all the generations of this music.”

It was mutual admiration that caused Paul to ask Morrissey to produce his first full album, 1993‘s Say ​Something. It was released on Black Wolf Records, the label he founded with ​Ralph​ Jaccodine, the man who would become his manager. “​Ralph was fulfilling a dream to get into the music business,” Paul recalls. “Starting with a folk singer isn’t a rocket​ launch, but we got off the ground. We started a label and began a lifelong​, DIY​ ​partnership and have been​ ​in the trenches​ for over 20 years.​”

Paul also became infatuated with the music of Woody Guthrie, drawn to Woody’s social consciousness and the humanitarian streak that ran through his work. He even had a tattoo of Guthrie imprinted on his right shoulder, referring to it as “a badge of who he ​was.” His commitment to Guthrie’s legacy eventually led to his inclusion in a ten day celebration of Woody’s work held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September 1996, an event that included such notables as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco and which was presided over by Guthrie’s daughter Nora. Later, when Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma hosted the first Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in July, 1998, Paul was tapped as one of the headliners. He has since made this an annual part of his touring schedule,​ garnering the honor of being named an honorary citizen of Okemah in the process. The connection with Guthrie continued into the new millennium when Nora Guthrie invited him to put music to a set of her father’s lyrics. He later participated in the “Ribbon of Highway” tour, a communal salute featuring such luminaries as Arlo Guthrie, Marty Stuart, Ramblin’ Jack Ellott, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark and Janis Ian, among others. ​

There’s likely no greater evidence of how Guthrie’s insights and humanity have rubbed off on Paul than in this particularly telling tribute from Nora Guthrie. "A singer songwriter is only as good as the times he reflects,”she said in praising Paul. “In times like these, when so many nuts are running the show, it's comforting to know that Ellis Paul is actually holding our sanity on his own stage! Wise, tender, brilliant and biting, Ellis is one of our best human compasses, marking in melodies and poems where we've been and where we might go if we so choose to. Personally Ellis, I'm goin' where you're goin'!​"​

Where Paul is “goin’” is to practically every place a microphone beckons and a crowd of the folk faithful awaits. He’s become a staple at the Newport Folk Festival, ​played Carnegie hall, and venues from Alaska to Miami, Paris and London. In addition to his 19 albums released on the Rounder and Black Wolf record labels, his music has appeared on dozens of distinguished compilations. A ​Film/​DVD entitled ​3000 Miles​​ -- part concert film, part documentary, part instructional video -- provides a further prospective on both the man and his music. He’s also released a pair of children’s albums, earning him honors from the Parent’s Choice Foundation ​for both.​ ​H​is latest, ​"​The Hero In You​" has been turned into a​ picture book, detailing the lives of great American heroes​.​ Ellis' literate, evocative and insightful writings are further showcased in a book of poetry and short stories entitled “Notes from the Road,​" already in it's third pressing. ​

It’s no wonder then that recently Paul received ​a ​prestigious​ honor: an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Maine, which also asked him to ​write the school's ​a​lma ​mater a​s well as ​deliver its commencement address in May 2014.

Happily, his music has been shared with a wider audience as well, through commercials, documentaries, TV shows and in the soundtracks of several blockbuster films, among them three by the Farrelly Brothers -- “Hall Pass” (starring Owen Wilson and Alyssa Milano), “Me, Myself, & Irene” (starring Jim Carrey) and “Shallow Hal” (starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow). Peter Farrelly summed up the sentiments of all those who have come to know and appreciate Paul’s music by referring to him as “a national treasure.”

Not surprisingly, Paul’s consistently been heralded by others as well. ​O​ne writer noted “that it reminds you how much we need storytellers back in pop music -- storytellers with empathy, fine eyes and an understanding that even though we live in a soulless, indifferent would, out music doesn’t have to reflect our culture." ​Another reviewer was even more pointed. “Ellis Paul is one of the best singer/songwriters of his generation,” she commented. “And for many of us he is the face of contemporary folk music. Few are as smart, as literate, as poetic as Paul. I cannot think of another artist on the acoustic music scene is better loved by fans, or more respected by his contemporaries.”

Indeed, he is all that, and in a very real sense, even more. He’s an observer, a philosopher, and an astute storyteller who shares with his listeners the life lessons he’s learned, and in turn, life lessons they ought to heed as well. By affirming and defining who he is, Ellis Paul affirms and uncovers the essence of us all.

-- Lee Zimmerman (writer/reviewer for American Songwriter, No Depression, New Times, Country Standard Time, Blurt, Relix, and M Music and Musicians​)​

(Early Show) Charlie Parr with Special Guest Chicago Farmer

An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota

An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota

(Late Show) Jackson Howard with Aris Paul

Distinguished by interesting and intricate acoustic guitar and floating vocals with a touch of blue-eyed soul, Jackson Howard’s songs grab your ears and your soul in captivating ways. In an age when lyrics are losing their importance, Jackson puts the poetry back into songwriting while remaining universally relatable.
In April of 2014, Jackson released his first EP A Place to Cross to a packed house at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis a few days after making his first television appearance on Fox2 News. Over the next year he gained momentum locally performing several times a week throughout the greater St. Louis area. That July, Jackson went back to the studio to begin work on his first full length album “About Life”, released on January 2nd 2015 at Off Broadway in St. Louis as well as at an East Coast release at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center in Pennsylvania.
In the summer of 2015, a song from About Life caught the attention of Grammy-nominated producer Billy Smiley. By September the two were recording a new album at Dark Horse Studios in Franklin, TN. The album (set to be released in the spring of 2017) boasts the talents of Johnathan Crone, Daniel O’Lannerghty, Andre DiMuzio, Jared Kneale (drums – Kacey Musgraves, Ben Rector); sound engineering by Billy Whittington (Amy Grant), Ritchie Biggs (Civil Wars, Lone Below), and Billy Smiley (White Heart, Newsboys), and production by Billy Smiley.

Distinguished by interesting and intricate acoustic guitar and floating vocals with a touch of blue-eyed soul, Jackson Howard’s songs grab your ears and your soul in captivating ways. In an age when lyrics are losing their importance, Jackson puts the poetry back into songwriting while remaining universally relatable.
In April of 2014, Jackson released his first EP A Place to Cross to a packed house at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis a few days after making his first television appearance on Fox2 News. Over the next year he gained momentum locally performing several times a week throughout the greater St. Louis area. That July, Jackson went back to the studio to begin work on his first full length album “About Life”, released on January 2nd 2015 at Off Broadway in St. Louis as well as at an East Coast release at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center in Pennsylvania.
In the summer of 2015, a song from About Life caught the attention of Grammy-nominated producer Billy Smiley. By September the two were recording a new album at Dark Horse Studios in Franklin, TN. The album (set to be released in the spring of 2017) boasts the talents of Johnathan Crone, Daniel O’Lannerghty, Andre DiMuzio, Jared Kneale (drums – Kacey Musgraves, Ben Rector); sound engineering by Billy Whittington (Amy Grant), Ritchie Biggs (Civil Wars, Lone Below), and Billy Smiley (White Heart, Newsboys), and production by Billy Smiley.

(Early Show) Overcoats with Special Guest Yoke Lore

Overcoats is the New York-based female duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell. Their debut album YOUNG captures a sound rich in minimalism and melody: songs of connection and tension, on the depths of love and challenges of family. 

Overcoats' music draws strength from vulnerability, finding light through darkness, and the catharsis of simple, honest songwriting. YOUNG is about a transformation: the passage into womanhood, sung through the shared experience of two best friends.

On their first single "Hold Me Close," Hana and JJ's melodies are purity in unison, providing two distinct but entwined perspectives on the complexity of love. In their words, "the song is about finding solace in the present when the future and past seem impossible to understand. It's about loneliness and disillusionment that we can feel in relationships, and how we must persevere anyway in hopes of finding the beauty in love."

Elion and Mitchell were drawn to each other when they first met in 2011, finding connection in their diverse love of music and an immediate closeness that verges on sisterhood. Their meeting was transformative emotionally as well as creatively. Both halves of Overcoats describe the first time hearing each other sing as an epiphany: the harmony of their voices leading to personal, individual discovery. This bond forms the foundation of Overcoats, and it fills the ecosystem of YOUNG with its stunning sound and sentiment.

Album opener "Father" unfurls in clouds of three-dimensional sound: a cathedral of echo over waves of delay and the din of incidental noise. There is a rare resonance in Overcoats evident from these opening tones: between their separate (but inseparable) voices, flawlessly intuitive performance, and sublime musical production. Their harmonies slide from brassy to silken with elegant ease, floating over muted rhythms wrapped in lush swells of synthesizers.

YOUNG was written by Overcoats and co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and experimental R&B artist Autre Ne Veut, with additional production from Myles Avery and mixing by Ben Baptie (Lapsley, Lianne La Havas, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson).

Their palette is stealth and simple electronics, with traces of folk, pop, and bluegrass embedded within. Like a spectrum from Sylvan Esso to Simon & Garfunkel, Overcoats creates music deeply rooted in emotion, and guided by the search for its innate expression through voice and electronics. Songs that began as bedroom creations flourished into rich but restrained productions, with careful craft illuminating the nuance of Overcoats' unique songwriting.

On YOUNG, Overcoats creates music of mutual empowerment, at once synthetic and organic, wistful and uplifting, triumphant and subdued.

"The Fog" is a bay of lonesome, oscillating synth chords: its boundaries defined by the reflection of echoic finger snaps. Elion and Mitchell find clarity through a lovers' haze, their stoic verses liberated by resounding chorus: Freedom is when I'm without you / When the fog lifts I'm the only one I see.

"Leave The Light On" layers looped and transposed vocals over thumping two-step 808 and punctuations of club-ready brass. Showing the true breadth of influence, songs like "Little Memory" and "Smaller Than My Mother" are laced with gospel and jazz, strands woven in with Vernhes' and Autre Ne Veut's natural touch.

YOUNG has a clear, vertical ambience that lets the topical vibration of the music shine through. This is the arrival of a magical collaboration: a rare unification of two hearts under one imagination. Elion and Mitchell are bound by absolute belief in one another, and the confidence that every creation is compelled by shared purpose.

Like its arc of transformation, from "Father" to album closer "Mother," Overcoats captures the notion that we are the intersections of our parents' greatest fantasies and biggest follies. YOUNG is a startlingly wise portrayal of these complexities: of love, on inspiration, and the legacy of family.

Overcoats is the New York-based female duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell. Their debut album YOUNG captures a sound rich in minimalism and melody: songs of connection and tension, on the depths of love and challenges of family. 

Overcoats' music draws strength from vulnerability, finding light through darkness, and the catharsis of simple, honest songwriting. YOUNG is about a transformation: the passage into womanhood, sung through the shared experience of two best friends.

On their first single "Hold Me Close," Hana and JJ's melodies are purity in unison, providing two distinct but entwined perspectives on the complexity of love. In their words, "the song is about finding solace in the present when the future and past seem impossible to understand. It's about loneliness and disillusionment that we can feel in relationships, and how we must persevere anyway in hopes of finding the beauty in love."

Elion and Mitchell were drawn to each other when they first met in 2011, finding connection in their diverse love of music and an immediate closeness that verges on sisterhood. Their meeting was transformative emotionally as well as creatively. Both halves of Overcoats describe the first time hearing each other sing as an epiphany: the harmony of their voices leading to personal, individual discovery. This bond forms the foundation of Overcoats, and it fills the ecosystem of YOUNG with its stunning sound and sentiment.

Album opener "Father" unfurls in clouds of three-dimensional sound: a cathedral of echo over waves of delay and the din of incidental noise. There is a rare resonance in Overcoats evident from these opening tones: between their separate (but inseparable) voices, flawlessly intuitive performance, and sublime musical production. Their harmonies slide from brassy to silken with elegant ease, floating over muted rhythms wrapped in lush swells of synthesizers.

YOUNG was written by Overcoats and co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and experimental R&B artist Autre Ne Veut, with additional production from Myles Avery and mixing by Ben Baptie (Lapsley, Lianne La Havas, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson).

Their palette is stealth and simple electronics, with traces of folk, pop, and bluegrass embedded within. Like a spectrum from Sylvan Esso to Simon & Garfunkel, Overcoats creates music deeply rooted in emotion, and guided by the search for its innate expression through voice and electronics. Songs that began as bedroom creations flourished into rich but restrained productions, with careful craft illuminating the nuance of Overcoats' unique songwriting.

On YOUNG, Overcoats creates music of mutual empowerment, at once synthetic and organic, wistful and uplifting, triumphant and subdued.

"The Fog" is a bay of lonesome, oscillating synth chords: its boundaries defined by the reflection of echoic finger snaps. Elion and Mitchell find clarity through a lovers' haze, their stoic verses liberated by resounding chorus: Freedom is when I'm without you / When the fog lifts I'm the only one I see.

"Leave The Light On" layers looped and transposed vocals over thumping two-step 808 and punctuations of club-ready brass. Showing the true breadth of influence, songs like "Little Memory" and "Smaller Than My Mother" are laced with gospel and jazz, strands woven in with Vernhes' and Autre Ne Veut's natural touch.

YOUNG has a clear, vertical ambience that lets the topical vibration of the music shine through. This is the arrival of a magical collaboration: a rare unification of two hearts under one imagination. Elion and Mitchell are bound by absolute belief in one another, and the confidence that every creation is compelled by shared purpose.

Like its arc of transformation, from "Father" to album closer "Mother," Overcoats captures the notion that we are the intersections of our parents' greatest fantasies and biggest follies. YOUNG is a startlingly wise portrayal of these complexities: of love, on inspiration, and the legacy of family.

(Late Show) The Lovely Cur / Cape Cod / Gary Smith

Join Club Cafe for an evening of local music featuring The Lovely Cur, Cape Cod and Gary Smith. Tickets only $7.

Join Club Cafe for an evening of local music featuring The Lovely Cur, Cape Cod and Gary Smith. Tickets only $7.

The Family Crest

From the onset, Liam McCormick, the mastermind behind The Family Crest, knew that Beneath the Brine was an audacious project. But so is The Family Crest itself.

The brainchild of McCormick, The Family Crest was started as a recording project in 2009 with co-founder John Seeterlin (bass). "We were in another band and had become disillusioned about what that band had become about," explains McCormick. "Everyone wanted to be rock stars at the expense of the music. John and I were actually planning on leaving music at that point because we wanted something that in ten years we could be proud of."

Instead of leaving music, they set out to reinvent how it could be created, starting The Family Crest. "We always liked making music with people -- getting a bunch of people together and singing. So we put ads everywhere," says McCormick. "We posted on Craigslist and emailed old friends from school." The outcome was greater than the original duo imagined, with 80 people credited on the first recording the band produced. From that a band emerged, at the urging of the guest musicians, who wanted to hear the songs performed live. "We've worked with a lot of conservatory students as well as people who just sing in the shower," McCormick adds. "It became a lot about giving these people a chance to express themselves without being locked into a commitment."

Now a seven-piece core band, boasting over 400 "Extended Family" members, The Family Crest will release Beneath the Brine in February 2014 on Tender Loving Empire. Just with its previous recordings, the San Francisco band set out to capture a plethora of instruments -- including bassoon, vibraphone and French horn -- in unique places, such as living rooms, churches and cafes across the West Coast.

Following on the heels of last summer's The Headwinds EP (which earned fans in WXPN and Paste), Beneath the Brine shows that McCormick's ambition was well placed. The expansive breadth of arrangements - from dark, classical romanticism ("Beneath the Brine") to horn-laden sounds akin to the Roaring 20s ("Howl") -- are complemented by the incredible range of McCormick's voice. Beneath the Brine also showcases The Family Crest's ability to infuse pop into complex arrangements, with songs like "Love Don't Go" and "The World." The album is a sweeping soundscape befitting the oceanic theme of the title and what SPIN notes as "ambition wide enough to swallow you whole."

It has also proven The Family Crest's belief that anyone can be musical when given the opportunity. "We live in a very disconnected age," notes Laura Bergmann (flute/keys), "so it's a really special experience to have a recording session in a cafe that's open to the public and to sing next to people you've never met before, doing something together that's tangible and very meaningful."

"When I listen to the record," adds McCormick, "it's like listening to the last two years of my life. All of my best friends that I've met are in one place, together."

From the onset, Liam McCormick, the mastermind behind The Family Crest, knew that Beneath the Brine was an audacious project. But so is The Family Crest itself.

The brainchild of McCormick, The Family Crest was started as a recording project in 2009 with co-founder John Seeterlin (bass). "We were in another band and had become disillusioned about what that band had become about," explains McCormick. "Everyone wanted to be rock stars at the expense of the music. John and I were actually planning on leaving music at that point because we wanted something that in ten years we could be proud of."

Instead of leaving music, they set out to reinvent how it could be created, starting The Family Crest. "We always liked making music with people -- getting a bunch of people together and singing. So we put ads everywhere," says McCormick. "We posted on Craigslist and emailed old friends from school." The outcome was greater than the original duo imagined, with 80 people credited on the first recording the band produced. From that a band emerged, at the urging of the guest musicians, who wanted to hear the songs performed live. "We've worked with a lot of conservatory students as well as people who just sing in the shower," McCormick adds. "It became a lot about giving these people a chance to express themselves without being locked into a commitment."

Now a seven-piece core band, boasting over 400 "Extended Family" members, The Family Crest will release Beneath the Brine in February 2014 on Tender Loving Empire. Just with its previous recordings, the San Francisco band set out to capture a plethora of instruments -- including bassoon, vibraphone and French horn -- in unique places, such as living rooms, churches and cafes across the West Coast.

Following on the heels of last summer's The Headwinds EP (which earned fans in WXPN and Paste), Beneath the Brine shows that McCormick's ambition was well placed. The expansive breadth of arrangements - from dark, classical romanticism ("Beneath the Brine") to horn-laden sounds akin to the Roaring 20s ("Howl") -- are complemented by the incredible range of McCormick's voice. Beneath the Brine also showcases The Family Crest's ability to infuse pop into complex arrangements, with songs like "Love Don't Go" and "The World." The album is a sweeping soundscape befitting the oceanic theme of the title and what SPIN notes as "ambition wide enough to swallow you whole."

It has also proven The Family Crest's belief that anyone can be musical when given the opportunity. "We live in a very disconnected age," notes Laura Bergmann (flute/keys), "so it's a really special experience to have a recording session in a cafe that's open to the public and to sing next to people you've never met before, doing something together that's tangible and very meaningful."

"When I listen to the record," adds McCormick, "it's like listening to the last two years of my life. All of my best friends that I've met are in one place, together."

Andy Shauf with Special Guest Julia Jacklin

Andy Shauf is a storyteller, a singer of heartbreak and regrets, isolation and loneliness, reflecting his prairie surroundings in Regina, Canada. Meticulously written over four years, Shauf’s The Bearer of Bad News is a warm and welcoming album, bathed in weathered piano, dampened drums, softly-strummed guitars and clarinet, which lends its unique timbre to frequently brighten – or hauntingly underscore – the songs’ darker undercurrents. Fans of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and Harry Nilsson, take note.

Andy Shauf is a storyteller, a singer of heartbreak and regrets, isolation and loneliness, reflecting his prairie surroundings in Regina, Canada. Meticulously written over four years, Shauf’s The Bearer of Bad News is a warm and welcoming album, bathed in weathered piano, dampened drums, softly-strummed guitars and clarinet, which lends its unique timbre to frequently brighten – or hauntingly underscore – the songs’ darker undercurrents. Fans of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and Harry Nilsson, take note.

Leif Vollebekk

"A friend told me it was Saturn returns and that may be true. I was about to turn thirty and I knew that if I didn’t change direction I was going to end up exactly where I was headed."

At the end of Leif Vollebekk’s twenties, his own songs didn’t sound right. He had spent an entire year on the road, playing almost 100 shows, but every night his favourite moment came only right at the end, covering a song by Ray Charles or Townes Van Zandt. Every time he got home from tour he took a hot shower and lay still under a window, listening to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, feeling saved, wondering why his own music didn’t give him that. Why the songs he had written himself always felt like so much work.

He booked himself a secret show. One night only at a Montreal dive bar – not to play his own songs but other people’s. Leif found a rhythm section and they rehearsed once. Then midnight unspooled. Leif called it the most fun he had ever had playing music: Ray Charles and Tom Waits over a locked groove; Bob Dylan and Kendrick Lamar over a slow pulse. The light was dark blue and purple.

It was time, Leif understood, to make a dark blue and purple record. An album of locked groove and slow pulse, heavy as a fever. And the lesson he learned from singing all those other people’s songs was that none of those other artists seemed worried about anything except laying down their own souls, flat out. “I used to think, ‘This will be kinda like a Neil Young song,’ ‘This will be kinda like a Bob Dylan song,’” he recalled. “I kinda ran out of people to imitate. And then there was just me.”

His first new song came to him on his bicycle. He wasn’t thinking, wasn’t trying, but the rhythm, the chords, the melody – it all just fluttered up. He tried at first to let it go: the song was wasn’t meticulous enough, it wasn’t studied or conceived. The next morning it still came back to him, incontestable. “I told myself, ‘You’re never saying ‘no’ to a song ever again,’” Leif said. “I realized I had been saying ‘no’ to a lot of songs, over the years.” Twin Solitude is what happened when Leif stopped saying no. The songs started coming so fast: fully formed, impossible. “Vancouver Time” took 15 minutes; “Telluride” took less. It was as if the songs were waiting for him. Instead of obsessing about the details of recording, “I just showed up to the studio and went, ‘Let’s see what happens.’”

What happened was, they got it: “Big Sky Country” and its patient, coasting tranquility, “Into the Ether”, which rides to reverie with the Brooklyn string duo Chargaux. There’s “East of Eden”, an interpolation of Gillian Welch, which doesn’t seem like it ever ought to end. For a beautiful album, Twin Solitude is deceptively brave, filled with unexpected refrains. “When the cards get stuck together / so hard to pull them apart,” Leif sings, “I think your face is showing.” Then: “Ain’t the first time that it’s snowing.”

Yet in its heart, above all, Twin Solitude is a gesture back to Leif’s long nights under a pink moon, when a record was the only thing that could keep him company. Besides a wink to Hugh MacLennan’s novel Two Solitudes, this is the unlonely loneliness of the album’s title. “It isn’t a record I made for other people – it’s the one I made for myself,” Leif said. “It’s the album I wish I could have put on.”

Listen to it in a rental car in cold weather, with the windows all rolled up. Listen to it laying by an open window. Listen to it all the way through, alone. “By the time the last notes die away, all that’s left should be you,” Leif told me. “And I’ll be somewhere else. And that’s Twin Solitude.”

"A friend told me it was Saturn returns and that may be true. I was about to turn thirty and I knew that if I didn’t change direction I was going to end up exactly where I was headed."

At the end of Leif Vollebekk’s twenties, his own songs didn’t sound right. He had spent an entire year on the road, playing almost 100 shows, but every night his favourite moment came only right at the end, covering a song by Ray Charles or Townes Van Zandt. Every time he got home from tour he took a hot shower and lay still under a window, listening to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, feeling saved, wondering why his own music didn’t give him that. Why the songs he had written himself always felt like so much work.

He booked himself a secret show. One night only at a Montreal dive bar – not to play his own songs but other people’s. Leif found a rhythm section and they rehearsed once. Then midnight unspooled. Leif called it the most fun he had ever had playing music: Ray Charles and Tom Waits over a locked groove; Bob Dylan and Kendrick Lamar over a slow pulse. The light was dark blue and purple.

It was time, Leif understood, to make a dark blue and purple record. An album of locked groove and slow pulse, heavy as a fever. And the lesson he learned from singing all those other people’s songs was that none of those other artists seemed worried about anything except laying down their own souls, flat out. “I used to think, ‘This will be kinda like a Neil Young song,’ ‘This will be kinda like a Bob Dylan song,’” he recalled. “I kinda ran out of people to imitate. And then there was just me.”

His first new song came to him on his bicycle. He wasn’t thinking, wasn’t trying, but the rhythm, the chords, the melody – it all just fluttered up. He tried at first to let it go: the song was wasn’t meticulous enough, it wasn’t studied or conceived. The next morning it still came back to him, incontestable. “I told myself, ‘You’re never saying ‘no’ to a song ever again,’” Leif said. “I realized I had been saying ‘no’ to a lot of songs, over the years.” Twin Solitude is what happened when Leif stopped saying no. The songs started coming so fast: fully formed, impossible. “Vancouver Time” took 15 minutes; “Telluride” took less. It was as if the songs were waiting for him. Instead of obsessing about the details of recording, “I just showed up to the studio and went, ‘Let’s see what happens.’”

What happened was, they got it: “Big Sky Country” and its patient, coasting tranquility, “Into the Ether”, which rides to reverie with the Brooklyn string duo Chargaux. There’s “East of Eden”, an interpolation of Gillian Welch, which doesn’t seem like it ever ought to end. For a beautiful album, Twin Solitude is deceptively brave, filled with unexpected refrains. “When the cards get stuck together / so hard to pull them apart,” Leif sings, “I think your face is showing.” Then: “Ain’t the first time that it’s snowing.”

Yet in its heart, above all, Twin Solitude is a gesture back to Leif’s long nights under a pink moon, when a record was the only thing that could keep him company. Besides a wink to Hugh MacLennan’s novel Two Solitudes, this is the unlonely loneliness of the album’s title. “It isn’t a record I made for other people – it’s the one I made for myself,” Leif said. “It’s the album I wish I could have put on.”

Listen to it in a rental car in cold weather, with the windows all rolled up. Listen to it laying by an open window. Listen to it all the way through, alone. “By the time the last notes die away, all that’s left should be you,” Leif told me. “And I’ll be somewhere else. And that’s Twin Solitude.”

Angaleena Presley

Wrangled
 
If "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"/"Butterfield 8"-era Elizabeth Taylor and David Lynch had a baby, and Wanda Jackson was her babysitter, the result would be Angaleena Presley. Strong as jalapeno juice, capable of standing down a twister and a drunk redneck on a tilt, she maintains a reverence for songs, unvarnished truth, be who you are dignity and a brazen sense of "oh, yeah."
           
With Wrangled, the ebony haired songwriter from Beauty, Kentucky ups the bar on her critically acclaimed American Middle Class by sharpening her focus, widening her range and finding metaphors and doppelgangers for feminism, the music business and the unseen underclass who's just trying to get by. But as thrilling as that is, Wrangled also opens a portal into a new kind of country: textural, trippy, frozen in time, urgent, tranquil, but then raw punk and rural.
           
"You have three minutes to change someone's mood or life," begins the woman who co-produced this record with multi-instrumentalist Oran Thornton, pragmatically. "You really only have so many words, and you have to make them count. My heart is open all the time, and I have a sensory disorder: I see things, hear things, feel things most people miss - and it all goes in there.
 
"When I make my work tapes, I'm trying to capture those moods. I'll come up with percussion parts banging on a skillet, just to give it a vibe, I shook a pill bottle on a track, built a loop that's a cigarette lighter. You start there, and then hire geniuses and tell ‘em there are no rules? It's like unicorns pooping rainbows everywhere - and guzzling beer!"

Certainly plugging in Keith Gattis ("those guitar parts are like the devil coming out of the bowels of Hell; he plays wrong notes on purpose"), Mark Knopfler vet Glenn Whorf on bass, steel player Russ Pahl (deemed "a sonic innovator" by Premiere Guitar), Eric Church drummer Craig Wright, with help from bluegrass stalwart Shawn Camp, featured vocalist Morgane Stapleton, John Prine bassist David Jacques and former Wallflower drummer Fred Eltringham is a good place to start.

For while Presley's lyrics are carefully turned narratives of tiny movies, she knows her words are only as potent as the musicians supporting her songs.
 
Laughing, she admits, "I'm 40. I've got nothing to lose. I've been in every nook and cranny of this business, and I want to be in this business the way that I am. There's a vision and a sound that I have in my head, and that's what I'm going to get… When we started mixing, I said, ‘I want this mixed like a Tom Petty record.' When the mixes came in, there was a guitar way over here (on the left) and there was steel over there (the other side of the sonicscape)."
           
It makes perfect sense. With a sultry, sulky sensuousness, Presley conjures an unsentimental vision of how one becomes warped by the expectations fed to youngsters in the record business with  "Dreams Don't Come True," written and sung with her fellow Pistol Annies Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe; the loping yearn to fit in "Outlaw," or the cocktail elegance satiny stroll of preacher seduction "Only Blood" that turns into a classic Scotts-Irish death ballad.  For Presley, it's not just about shining a light on inconvenient truths, it's also about music that's as sophisticated as the nuances in the stories she tells.
           
Whether it's putting a fake mean girl on notice in the sugary acoustic shuffle "Bless My Heart," with the greatest Dollyism - "I know you ain't that blonde, so don't you play dumb with me" - this side of Parton, confessing "I'd rather eat dirt than bake another prize-winning cherry pie" in "Wrangled" or reminding herself things are often less dire than they seem on the Guy Clark co-written and recitated "Cheer Up Little Darling:" with the admonition "It feels like a tight spot, but it's just a loose end," Presley exudes a grace that matches every situation. Even the blaring wawa inflected snarl of "Country," with a solid free rap by Yelawolf, rings with clarity and truth.
           
"What I do is open doors and make it okay to start conversations about hard things," offers the woman who loves Etta James, Nina Simone and Loretta Lynn. "My son is in jail, or on pills… My daughter's a meth whore… Because it happens, and it's a shame, but it's not a shame. It's life."
           
Raised in a town with one stop light, where coal put food on the table and clothes on the backs of the locals, the girl "groomed to be popular" by her teacher mother watched opportunity fade, work dry up and people recede. She understands how things can go wrong for good people - and she brings it
           
With the young knocked up girl realizing nobody wants "the mother to be" in the sleek take on "High School," or the feathery drift that captures weightlessness of chasing the dream at the margins of "Groundswell," Wrangled looks at tight places with kindness and brutal clarity. Even the high pressure "marry up" mother in the lurching, serrated guitar stomp "Mama I Tried" is given brutality and hilarity as Presley confesses, "I painted up my face like some rodeo clown/I choked on cheap perfume as I spread myself around/ I strutted my stuff at every juke joint in town."
           
"I try not to pigeonhole myself: I want this (record) to be music someone at Berklee would listen to, or my father sitting on the front porch, eating squirrel gravy. And no, I didn't set out to be this edgy, renegade person, but I don't know how to do it the other way. And I've spent hours rotting away in writers' appointments getting at nothing - that's not for me."
           
Taking her cues from firebrands Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton who co-wrote "Only Blood," Jason Isbell and even Brandy Clark, Presley would rather protect the music and write songs that genuinely matter. Maybe in part from her standing Wednesday writing appointment with Guy Clark - "He made me a better person, a person who didn't tolerate bullshit" - or maybe it's just that she's lived life without a safety net and understands.
           
"I've been divorced, broke and didn't know what to do. I've stared that down, thought, ‘Well, I could just knock that iron over, burn it all down and catch the house on fire.' But songs save my life all the time, both hearing and writing them - and so I wrote, ‘Housewife's Prayer,' and I just kept going."
           
Keeping going is a key for Presley, who co-wrote the resiliency kiss-off and anthem that swings like the Rat Pack in full rut "Good Girl Down" with Wanda Jackson. Somewhere between early Peggy Lee and sultry Keely Smith, it's equal parts distilling Jackson's experience, honoring her own struggles and admitting that the love of the music is bigger than boys or business or anything else.
           
"It's interesting to hear her perspective of when she came up, and what stands out is nothing's really changed that much about being fair. But here's a woman who changed everything, who dated Elvis Presley, and she's still going!  When we wrote, she was all done up; she apologized for being late, saying ‘I took a little tumble coming off the plane…' And up close, you could see she'd really had a fall. When I suggested maybe we postpone, she said, ‘You can't keep a good girl down…' and I knew we had to write that."
           
Real life. In songs … with players who want to explore the possibilities. For the woman who identifies as a feminist, it's a pretty simple equation. "I'm a feminist who fights with love, a kill ‘em with kindness person - but also a kill ‘em with honesty. The most powerful weapon we have is honesty and vulnerability: showing your weakness and your truth is the greatest weapon we have."
           
For Wrangled, a dark record buoyed by great levity, Presley has done just that. All of the women are smart and savvy, real about their emotions and willing to lay it out there. After being told by several Music Row business types they "love what you do," but her songs were "unpitchable" for today's country, the feisty Betty Page evoker doubled down.
           
"This isn't about girl power, but everyone having a fair chance," she decries. "I want a world where some little girl can wake up and still be Loretta Lynn. There are dudes in my hometown and (what's on country radio) those are their anthems. I wouldn't take that away from them for anything. But there are those girls in those town who need anthems, truth, songs they can live in - and where are they going to get them?"
           
Presley pauses for a moment, leans in, then conspiratorially winks. "You know, women're only getting better and stronger. And all of this? It's only making us grow."
           
Like her songs, with a smile, Angaleena Presley has laid it all down. Nothing more needs to be said. All we have to do is listen.

Wrangled
 
If "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"/"Butterfield 8"-era Elizabeth Taylor and David Lynch had a baby, and Wanda Jackson was her babysitter, the result would be Angaleena Presley. Strong as jalapeno juice, capable of standing down a twister and a drunk redneck on a tilt, she maintains a reverence for songs, unvarnished truth, be who you are dignity and a brazen sense of "oh, yeah."
           
With Wrangled, the ebony haired songwriter from Beauty, Kentucky ups the bar on her critically acclaimed American Middle Class by sharpening her focus, widening her range and finding metaphors and doppelgangers for feminism, the music business and the unseen underclass who's just trying to get by. But as thrilling as that is, Wrangled also opens a portal into a new kind of country: textural, trippy, frozen in time, urgent, tranquil, but then raw punk and rural.
           
"You have three minutes to change someone's mood or life," begins the woman who co-produced this record with multi-instrumentalist Oran Thornton, pragmatically. "You really only have so many words, and you have to make them count. My heart is open all the time, and I have a sensory disorder: I see things, hear things, feel things most people miss - and it all goes in there.
 
"When I make my work tapes, I'm trying to capture those moods. I'll come up with percussion parts banging on a skillet, just to give it a vibe, I shook a pill bottle on a track, built a loop that's a cigarette lighter. You start there, and then hire geniuses and tell ‘em there are no rules? It's like unicorns pooping rainbows everywhere - and guzzling beer!"

Certainly plugging in Keith Gattis ("those guitar parts are like the devil coming out of the bowels of Hell; he plays wrong notes on purpose"), Mark Knopfler vet Glenn Whorf on bass, steel player Russ Pahl (deemed "a sonic innovator" by Premiere Guitar), Eric Church drummer Craig Wright, with help from bluegrass stalwart Shawn Camp, featured vocalist Morgane Stapleton, John Prine bassist David Jacques and former Wallflower drummer Fred Eltringham is a good place to start.

For while Presley's lyrics are carefully turned narratives of tiny movies, she knows her words are only as potent as the musicians supporting her songs.
 
Laughing, she admits, "I'm 40. I've got nothing to lose. I've been in every nook and cranny of this business, and I want to be in this business the way that I am. There's a vision and a sound that I have in my head, and that's what I'm going to get… When we started mixing, I said, ‘I want this mixed like a Tom Petty record.' When the mixes came in, there was a guitar way over here (on the left) and there was steel over there (the other side of the sonicscape)."
           
It makes perfect sense. With a sultry, sulky sensuousness, Presley conjures an unsentimental vision of how one becomes warped by the expectations fed to youngsters in the record business with  "Dreams Don't Come True," written and sung with her fellow Pistol Annies Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe; the loping yearn to fit in "Outlaw," or the cocktail elegance satiny stroll of preacher seduction "Only Blood" that turns into a classic Scotts-Irish death ballad.  For Presley, it's not just about shining a light on inconvenient truths, it's also about music that's as sophisticated as the nuances in the stories she tells.
           
Whether it's putting a fake mean girl on notice in the sugary acoustic shuffle "Bless My Heart," with the greatest Dollyism - "I know you ain't that blonde, so don't you play dumb with me" - this side of Parton, confessing "I'd rather eat dirt than bake another prize-winning cherry pie" in "Wrangled" or reminding herself things are often less dire than they seem on the Guy Clark co-written and recitated "Cheer Up Little Darling:" with the admonition "It feels like a tight spot, but it's just a loose end," Presley exudes a grace that matches every situation. Even the blaring wawa inflected snarl of "Country," with a solid free rap by Yelawolf, rings with clarity and truth.
           
"What I do is open doors and make it okay to start conversations about hard things," offers the woman who loves Etta James, Nina Simone and Loretta Lynn. "My son is in jail, or on pills… My daughter's a meth whore… Because it happens, and it's a shame, but it's not a shame. It's life."
           
Raised in a town with one stop light, where coal put food on the table and clothes on the backs of the locals, the girl "groomed to be popular" by her teacher mother watched opportunity fade, work dry up and people recede. She understands how things can go wrong for good people - and she brings it
           
With the young knocked up girl realizing nobody wants "the mother to be" in the sleek take on "High School," or the feathery drift that captures weightlessness of chasing the dream at the margins of "Groundswell," Wrangled looks at tight places with kindness and brutal clarity. Even the high pressure "marry up" mother in the lurching, serrated guitar stomp "Mama I Tried" is given brutality and hilarity as Presley confesses, "I painted up my face like some rodeo clown/I choked on cheap perfume as I spread myself around/ I strutted my stuff at every juke joint in town."
           
"I try not to pigeonhole myself: I want this (record) to be music someone at Berklee would listen to, or my father sitting on the front porch, eating squirrel gravy. And no, I didn't set out to be this edgy, renegade person, but I don't know how to do it the other way. And I've spent hours rotting away in writers' appointments getting at nothing - that's not for me."
           
Taking her cues from firebrands Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton who co-wrote "Only Blood," Jason Isbell and even Brandy Clark, Presley would rather protect the music and write songs that genuinely matter. Maybe in part from her standing Wednesday writing appointment with Guy Clark - "He made me a better person, a person who didn't tolerate bullshit" - or maybe it's just that she's lived life without a safety net and understands.
           
"I've been divorced, broke and didn't know what to do. I've stared that down, thought, ‘Well, I could just knock that iron over, burn it all down and catch the house on fire.' But songs save my life all the time, both hearing and writing them - and so I wrote, ‘Housewife's Prayer,' and I just kept going."
           
Keeping going is a key for Presley, who co-wrote the resiliency kiss-off and anthem that swings like the Rat Pack in full rut "Good Girl Down" with Wanda Jackson. Somewhere between early Peggy Lee and sultry Keely Smith, it's equal parts distilling Jackson's experience, honoring her own struggles and admitting that the love of the music is bigger than boys or business or anything else.
           
"It's interesting to hear her perspective of when she came up, and what stands out is nothing's really changed that much about being fair. But here's a woman who changed everything, who dated Elvis Presley, and she's still going!  When we wrote, she was all done up; she apologized for being late, saying ‘I took a little tumble coming off the plane…' And up close, you could see she'd really had a fall. When I suggested maybe we postpone, she said, ‘You can't keep a good girl down…' and I knew we had to write that."
           
Real life. In songs … with players who want to explore the possibilities. For the woman who identifies as a feminist, it's a pretty simple equation. "I'm a feminist who fights with love, a kill ‘em with kindness person - but also a kill ‘em with honesty. The most powerful weapon we have is honesty and vulnerability: showing your weakness and your truth is the greatest weapon we have."
           
For Wrangled, a dark record buoyed by great levity, Presley has done just that. All of the women are smart and savvy, real about their emotions and willing to lay it out there. After being told by several Music Row business types they "love what you do," but her songs were "unpitchable" for today's country, the feisty Betty Page evoker doubled down.
           
"This isn't about girl power, but everyone having a fair chance," she decries. "I want a world where some little girl can wake up and still be Loretta Lynn. There are dudes in my hometown and (what's on country radio) those are their anthems. I wouldn't take that away from them for anything. But there are those girls in those town who need anthems, truth, songs they can live in - and where are they going to get them?"
           
Presley pauses for a moment, leans in, then conspiratorially winks. "You know, women're only getting better and stronger. And all of this? It's only making us grow."
           
Like her songs, with a smile, Angaleena Presley has laid it all down. Nothing more needs to be said. All we have to do is listen.

(Early Show) Avi Diamond with Morgan Erina

Avi Diamond is a singer-songwriter based in Pittsburgh, PA. Although her musical foundation was in jazz voice at Duquesne University, Avi is inspired by a wide variety of musical styles and draws inspiration from artists ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Radiohead and more recently Brandi Carlile and Gillian Welch.

Avi has performed at venues all over Pittsburgh and has been featured on WYEP’s Local 91.3 segment. She released the Wolfmother EP on February 3. This project takes inspiration from acoustic folk, samba, rock, and jazz. The change in styles and themes in her music were influenced by an 8 month Music Therapy internship that Avi completed in the Catskill mountains of New York.

Avi Diamond is a singer-songwriter based in Pittsburgh, PA. Although her musical foundation was in jazz voice at Duquesne University, Avi is inspired by a wide variety of musical styles and draws inspiration from artists ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Radiohead and more recently Brandi Carlile and Gillian Welch.

Avi has performed at venues all over Pittsburgh and has been featured on WYEP’s Local 91.3 segment. She released the Wolfmother EP on February 3. This project takes inspiration from acoustic folk, samba, rock, and jazz. The change in styles and themes in her music were influenced by an 8 month Music Therapy internship that Avi completed in the Catskill mountains of New York.

(Early Show) Matt Aquiline & the Dead End Streets

Singer/songwriter Matt Aquiline lived and performed in Washington, DC for nearly two decades, but he has always been of Pittsburgh first and recently returned to his hometown to raise his family and perform his music in the town where it was formed.

Aquiline began performing in Pittsburgh in the early '90s and recorded his cd, Dice Roll, at Dave Granati’s Maplewood Studio in Ambridge, PA, backed by some of Pittsburgh's best musicians including Whitey Cooper and Sam Klingensmith of Norman Nardini and the Tigers, Joe Marini of Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors and at least 1 Granati brother.

He moved to DC to further other career pursuits, where he formed the band, Kid Goat, which performed in the DC area for ten years and recorded the 2009 cd, These People Aren’t You. Kid Goat disbanded in 2013 and Aquiline returned to Pittsburgh to continue writing and performing his music there.

To help bring his sound home, Aquiline enlisted veterans of the local scene Stefan Rodriguez on Bass, Neil Carr on Lead Guitar and Vocals and Bill Maruca on Keys, and the youthful talents of Evan Cvejkus on Drums and Heather Catley on Vocals and Guitar. Catley and other band members have also begun contributing their own stellar original material to Aquiline's, adding even more dimension to a sound that already married folk, rock, blues, country and a little blue-eyed soul into an Americana sound that is pure Pittsburgh, with skill, authenticity and the kind of depth you develop surviving a few cold Winters.

Singer/songwriter Matt Aquiline lived and performed in Washington, DC for nearly two decades, but he has always been of Pittsburgh first and recently returned to his hometown to raise his family and perform his music in the town where it was formed.

Aquiline began performing in Pittsburgh in the early '90s and recorded his cd, Dice Roll, at Dave Granati’s Maplewood Studio in Ambridge, PA, backed by some of Pittsburgh's best musicians including Whitey Cooper and Sam Klingensmith of Norman Nardini and the Tigers, Joe Marini of Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors and at least 1 Granati brother.

He moved to DC to further other career pursuits, where he formed the band, Kid Goat, which performed in the DC area for ten years and recorded the 2009 cd, These People Aren’t You. Kid Goat disbanded in 2013 and Aquiline returned to Pittsburgh to continue writing and performing his music there.

To help bring his sound home, Aquiline enlisted veterans of the local scene Stefan Rodriguez on Bass, Neil Carr on Lead Guitar and Vocals and Bill Maruca on Keys, and the youthful talents of Evan Cvejkus on Drums and Heather Catley on Vocals and Guitar. Catley and other band members have also begun contributing their own stellar original material to Aquiline's, adding even more dimension to a sound that already married folk, rock, blues, country and a little blue-eyed soul into an Americana sound that is pure Pittsburgh, with skill, authenticity and the kind of depth you develop surviving a few cold Winters.

(Late Show) Marc Reisman and the Strong Way Band Album Release Show Featuring The Steeltown Horns with Tony Resch

Marc first established an international reputation as a fiery, high energy harmonica player and performer in Pittsburgh's legendary Iron City Houserockers. Post-Houserockers, he's gone on to play and record with musicians of many different musical styles. Now comes STRONG WAY - his first album of original songs, most of them co-written with another Pittsburgh music legend, Kurt Resch, and it features Marc on lead vocals, as well as harmonica. The album is an eclectic sendup of the many different styles of music Marc's played over the years - rock, pop, reggae, blues and R&B. As always, Marc brings the emotional depth and intensity for which he's known to his songwriting and singing. Marc called on some of the PIttsburgh area's best musicians to playl ont he album and several will be playing the album release show including Kurt Resch, Rick Witkowski and the Steeltown Horns.

Marc first established an international reputation as a fiery, high energy harmonica player and performer in Pittsburgh's legendary Iron City Houserockers. Post-Houserockers, he's gone on to play and record with musicians of many different musical styles. Now comes STRONG WAY - his first album of original songs, most of them co-written with another Pittsburgh music legend, Kurt Resch, and it features Marc on lead vocals, as well as harmonica. The album is an eclectic sendup of the many different styles of music Marc's played over the years - rock, pop, reggae, blues and R&B. As always, Marc brings the emotional depth and intensity for which he's known to his songwriting and singing. Marc called on some of the PIttsburgh area's best musicians to playl ont he album and several will be playing the album release show including Kurt Resch, Rick Witkowski and the Steeltown Horns.

Chastity Brown

Now based in Minnesota but with roots in the Deep South, Chastity has the "ability to distill Southern blues and plaintive North Country prairie influences into expansive, alluring folk songs" (The Current). She is a powerful new voice with the ability to warm, comfort and challenge. She's been hailed by NPR, CMT, American Songwriter, The London Times, and Paste Magazine as a songwriter to watch and has appeared on UK television on Later... with Jools Holland.

Chastity, whose mother grew up in a large Irish family in Boston and whose father was an African-American jazz/blues musician, was born in the north-easterly state of New Hampshire, and moved down to Union City in Tennessee when she was seven years old. Growing up near Memphis, she became transfixed by roots music from an early age. When she first began writing music, she struggled with this influence as she was not exposed to many soul musicians writing "folk" music.

Growing up in a full Gospel church was where Chastity found her voice and passion, but after being kicked out of seminary college for having a same-sex relationship -- she was studying to be a worship leader -- she found her voice as a songwriter.

As a woman of color, she's as influenced by authors as musicians. she says, "I have always memorialized the civil rights movement, the heroines and heroes that arose to sing the songs, write the rousing speeches, sit at the counters, mobilize in the streets. That with their actions and simply just the way they lived they would declare that black lives are sacred, are beautiful, that they matter."

"It's because of these reasons that I write for and from the marginalized experience," Chastity says. "For the truly triumphant spirit that's been through some shit, and has fought her/his way through it to maintain a sense of dignity and peace of mind. I write from the cultural influence and the perspective of being a bi-racial woman; of being just as much one thing as I am the other. I write from the feeling of being within yet apart."

Now based in Minnesota but with roots in the Deep South, Chastity has the "ability to distill Southern blues and plaintive North Country prairie influences into expansive, alluring folk songs" (The Current). She is a powerful new voice with the ability to warm, comfort and challenge. She's been hailed by NPR, CMT, American Songwriter, The London Times, and Paste Magazine as a songwriter to watch and has appeared on UK television on Later... with Jools Holland.

Chastity, whose mother grew up in a large Irish family in Boston and whose father was an African-American jazz/blues musician, was born in the north-easterly state of New Hampshire, and moved down to Union City in Tennessee when she was seven years old. Growing up near Memphis, she became transfixed by roots music from an early age. When she first began writing music, she struggled with this influence as she was not exposed to many soul musicians writing "folk" music.

Growing up in a full Gospel church was where Chastity found her voice and passion, but after being kicked out of seminary college for having a same-sex relationship -- she was studying to be a worship leader -- she found her voice as a songwriter.

As a woman of color, she's as influenced by authors as musicians. she says, "I have always memorialized the civil rights movement, the heroines and heroes that arose to sing the songs, write the rousing speeches, sit at the counters, mobilize in the streets. That with their actions and simply just the way they lived they would declare that black lives are sacred, are beautiful, that they matter."

"It's because of these reasons that I write for and from the marginalized experience," Chastity says. "For the truly triumphant spirit that's been through some shit, and has fought her/his way through it to maintain a sense of dignity and peace of mind. I write from the cultural influence and the perspective of being a bi-racial woman; of being just as much one thing as I am the other. I write from the feeling of being within yet apart."

(Early Show) Army Of Optimism

A New Project In The Works :
Brian Stanny - Drums - Vocals
Danielle Dawgiello - Keyboards, Oboe - Vocals
Alphonso Price - Guitar - Vocals
Joe Matucheski - Guitar - Vocals
Barb Winters - Percussion - Vocals
Larry Dawgiello - Bass - Vocals

A New Project In The Works :
Brian Stanny - Drums - Vocals
Danielle Dawgiello - Keyboards, Oboe - Vocals
Alphonso Price - Guitar - Vocals
Joe Matucheski - Guitar - Vocals
Barb Winters - Percussion - Vocals
Larry Dawgiello - Bass - Vocals

(Late Show) Da Funny Team Presents Lillian Cannon, David 'The Frog' Bey, Will Quivers, Darnell 'Nu Skool' Anderson & Hosted By One Eye. Music By DJ Cue.

Join Club Cafe for an evening of comedy.

Da Funny Team Presents Lillian Cannon, David 'The Frog' Bey, Will Quivers, Darnell 'Nu Skool' Anderson & Hosted By One Eye. Music By DJ Cue.

Join Club Cafe for an evening of comedy.

Da Funny Team Presents Lillian Cannon, David 'The Frog' Bey, Will Quivers, Darnell 'Nu Skool' Anderson & Hosted By One Eye. Music By DJ Cue.

Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and-at last-into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.

The Rainbow Seekers began their quest beneath the fingertips of songwriter Joe Hertler. Bassist and producer Kevin Pritchard, recently thawed from an extremely rare prehistoric groove glacier, discovered the forlorn Hertler in a twinkling, mysteriously fortuitous place called The Quilted Attic. Alongside legendary glacier-hunter Rick Hale-who would later spend decades forging a drum set from pure, white-hot, ancient stardust to mark the occasion-Pritchard changed the world: He wrangled Hertler into musical collaboration. And the lonely little songsmith, it turned out, was not quite as alone as he seemed: With him came the irresistibly sexy blues guitar prodigy who is now known to the world as Ryan Hoger.

The core of the Rainbow was thereby established, and it didn’t take long for the Rainbow Seekers to continue their expansion. Multi-instrumentalist and notable auxiliary percussion maestro Micah Bracken journeyed from the bowels of Atlantis when he heard tell of the Rainbow, and the earth trembled as saxophonist and all-around bad ass Aaron Stinson descended from Olympus on a golden rainbow of his own. Then came Stinson's little-known winged companion from the Far East, the debonair violist Joshua Barber Holcomb-When he saw the pure, unadulterated joy the Rainbow Seekers sprinkled on every crowd they happened upon, he had no choice but to join them on their quest.

As you'll know if you've seen the band, seeking the proverbial Rainbow is all about the live performance. "The live show is the purpose of the band. This is why we make music. Playing music is a symbiotic process, and without a crowd it is just a bunch of guys jamming," says Hertler. "We believe that performance is not a High Art operation, and that you should do anything you can to ensure that the crowd is having a good time. From piñatas to confetti, to fog, to flowers, to drum solos, to strobe lights, to Thor, to sword battles-literally anything goes."

If you're still reading this, at least one thing is true: The Rainbow Seekers have been waiting for you. If you'll only let them, they will shake the dust from your wildest expectations. They will roar into your life with rapturous frequencies, exuberant tone, and a joyfulness of purpose that has truly become a rare sight on stage. Join them in their celebration, and they will take you on a never-ending journey to a place you'll never be able to describe in words.

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and-at last-into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.

The Rainbow Seekers began their quest beneath the fingertips of songwriter Joe Hertler. Bassist and producer Kevin Pritchard, recently thawed from an extremely rare prehistoric groove glacier, discovered the forlorn Hertler in a twinkling, mysteriously fortuitous place called The Quilted Attic. Alongside legendary glacier-hunter Rick Hale-who would later spend decades forging a drum set from pure, white-hot, ancient stardust to mark the occasion-Pritchard changed the world: He wrangled Hertler into musical collaboration. And the lonely little songsmith, it turned out, was not quite as alone as he seemed: With him came the irresistibly sexy blues guitar prodigy who is now known to the world as Ryan Hoger.

The core of the Rainbow was thereby established, and it didn’t take long for the Rainbow Seekers to continue their expansion. Multi-instrumentalist and notable auxiliary percussion maestro Micah Bracken journeyed from the bowels of Atlantis when he heard tell of the Rainbow, and the earth trembled as saxophonist and all-around bad ass Aaron Stinson descended from Olympus on a golden rainbow of his own. Then came Stinson's little-known winged companion from the Far East, the debonair violist Joshua Barber Holcomb-When he saw the pure, unadulterated joy the Rainbow Seekers sprinkled on every crowd they happened upon, he had no choice but to join them on their quest.

As you'll know if you've seen the band, seeking the proverbial Rainbow is all about the live performance. "The live show is the purpose of the band. This is why we make music. Playing music is a symbiotic process, and without a crowd it is just a bunch of guys jamming," says Hertler. "We believe that performance is not a High Art operation, and that you should do anything you can to ensure that the crowd is having a good time. From piñatas to confetti, to fog, to flowers, to drum solos, to strobe lights, to Thor, to sword battles-literally anything goes."

If you're still reading this, at least one thing is true: The Rainbow Seekers have been waiting for you. If you'll only let them, they will shake the dust from your wildest expectations. They will roar into your life with rapturous frequencies, exuberant tone, and a joyfulness of purpose that has truly become a rare sight on stage. Join them in their celebration, and they will take you on a never-ending journey to a place you'll never be able to describe in words.

The Main Squeeze

Instruments:

Ben "Smiley" Silverstein (keys), Maximillian Newman (guitar), Corey Frye (vocals), Rob Walker (bass), and Reuben Gringrich (drums)

Bio:

The Main Squeeze, with deep musical roots sprouted in the Midwest, have scored their lives at each twist and curve. While starting out as a party band at Indiana University, their forthcoming April 28th release "Without a Sound" illustrates their increasing musical maturity and creativity inspired by their new home in Los Angeles.

If maturity comes with experience, "Without a Sound" reflects this. The Main Squeeze has spent several years building their foundation since being championed by producer Randy Jackson: they have played Red Rocks; shared the stage with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Janes Addiction, Umphrey’s McGee, and Trombone Shorty; and performed at music festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, and High Sierra.

The Main Squeeze is a blend of soul and hip-hop, funk with rock. They know their sound is "soulful, powerful, and unique" (Newman). Rolling Stone agrees in their recent critique of a live show: "Lead singer Corey Frye’s powerfully soulful vocals forms the foundation of an energetic set."

These underpinnings are important yet The Main Squeeze’s true focus will always be to "strive to reach people" through their beat loving heart in their music. "We are devoted to making great music for people to get lost in and to feel real emotion and love, and also to dance and enjoy life. And it's only just the beginning" (Newman). Billboard believes they have touched on this goal: "Funk runs deep in their DNA. Dare you not to two-step."


The beats on "Without A Sound" are plentiful and it is balanced with emotion, a mix of vocals, and instrumentation of the band. Their vibe is simultaneously timeless and futuristic as they are inspired by the greats, yet have found a way to infuse their own genius into the mix.

The Main Squeeze appeals to your head, heart and body.

Instruments:

Ben "Smiley" Silverstein (keys), Maximillian Newman (guitar), Corey Frye (vocals), Rob Walker (bass), and Reuben Gringrich (drums)

Bio:

The Main Squeeze, with deep musical roots sprouted in the Midwest, have scored their lives at each twist and curve. While starting out as a party band at Indiana University, their forthcoming April 28th release "Without a Sound" illustrates their increasing musical maturity and creativity inspired by their new home in Los Angeles.

If maturity comes with experience, "Without a Sound" reflects this. The Main Squeeze has spent several years building their foundation since being championed by producer Randy Jackson: they have played Red Rocks; shared the stage with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Janes Addiction, Umphrey’s McGee, and Trombone Shorty; and performed at music festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, and High Sierra.

The Main Squeeze is a blend of soul and hip-hop, funk with rock. They know their sound is "soulful, powerful, and unique" (Newman). Rolling Stone agrees in their recent critique of a live show: "Lead singer Corey Frye’s powerfully soulful vocals forms the foundation of an energetic set."

These underpinnings are important yet The Main Squeeze’s true focus will always be to "strive to reach people" through their beat loving heart in their music. "We are devoted to making great music for people to get lost in and to feel real emotion and love, and also to dance and enjoy life. And it's only just the beginning" (Newman). Billboard believes they have touched on this goal: "Funk runs deep in their DNA. Dare you not to two-step."


The beats on "Without A Sound" are plentiful and it is balanced with emotion, a mix of vocals, and instrumentation of the band. Their vibe is simultaneously timeless and futuristic as they are inspired by the greats, yet have found a way to infuse their own genius into the mix.

The Main Squeeze appeals to your head, heart and body.

(Late Show) Easy Roscoe with Jon Worthy and Brahctopus

Easy Roscoe is in your face fun with the affection for replacing the day’s worries with good vibes. Late in November of 2016 they headed into the studio to record a groovy little number, with an arrangement that has a little something for everyone. On the other end of those sessions came Empty Handed. A song that lures you in, pops you into the groove, and keeps you strapped in for the rest of the ride. Empty Handed follows up their EP, Piñata and LP, Keep the Dancin' Dancin' with a more honed and matured over all sound. From the beginning, in the depths of a dingy Nashville apartment complex to present day, the five piece continues to architect their brand of indie pop rock n roll with one goal, make you lose yourself.

The EP, Piñata, was a conduit to Easy Roscoe’s fun atmosphere and catchy story telling lyrics. Their affection for replacing the day’s worries with good vibes shows up throughout the EP on songs like “Green Leather Jacket” and “Roll Baby Roll”. “If you can’t bob your head to this, then you don’t have a head.” This being the whimsical phrase uttered in the control room during the recording of Piñata and a motto that pretty much sums up this second record from Easy Roscoe.

Seemingly by fate, Easy Roscoe formed in a dingy, Nashville apartment complex by chance in 2014. Originally conceived as a singer and two guitar players, they played their good-vibes brand of rock around town acoustically. Gaining a bassist and drummer within their first six months, the band continued to trudge forward, playing as many shows as they could pack in. After a year or so, Easy Roscoe entered the studio to create their first record, Keep the Dancin’ Dancin’ (KDD). In January 2015, the light-hearted, summery, storytelling record was released and set out to spread its good vibes. The Deli Magazine said, “Keep the Dancin' Dancin' is a solid first effort that is going to get some heavy play as we inch towards summer.” and Capsule Reviews said, “The songs all have that feel-good, infectious quality that can brighten up any day and get you…well, you see the CD title!”

The single off KDD, Alright; Regina, received radio play from Lightning 100 and Radio Free Nashville, creating a launching pad that catapulted the band through the summer of 2015, landing them in No Country For New Nashville’s Local Harvest contest. Vying for a spot on the Sound Harvest Music Festival line up, Easy Roscoe won the contest thanks to their increasingly fun energetic show and performed at the Festival in October 2015. Rounding out the year was the conception of their next record, Piñata, where again, their good vibes and good times shine through in a matured, solaced sound, primed to hit the airwaves in June of 2016.

Easy Roscoe is in your face fun with the affection for replacing the day’s worries with good vibes. Late in November of 2016 they headed into the studio to record a groovy little number, with an arrangement that has a little something for everyone. On the other end of those sessions came Empty Handed. A song that lures you in, pops you into the groove, and keeps you strapped in for the rest of the ride. Empty Handed follows up their EP, Piñata and LP, Keep the Dancin' Dancin' with a more honed and matured over all sound. From the beginning, in the depths of a dingy Nashville apartment complex to present day, the five piece continues to architect their brand of indie pop rock n roll with one goal, make you lose yourself.

The EP, Piñata, was a conduit to Easy Roscoe’s fun atmosphere and catchy story telling lyrics. Their affection for replacing the day’s worries with good vibes shows up throughout the EP on songs like “Green Leather Jacket” and “Roll Baby Roll”. “If you can’t bob your head to this, then you don’t have a head.” This being the whimsical phrase uttered in the control room during the recording of Piñata and a motto that pretty much sums up this second record from Easy Roscoe.

Seemingly by fate, Easy Roscoe formed in a dingy, Nashville apartment complex by chance in 2014. Originally conceived as a singer and two guitar players, they played their good-vibes brand of rock around town acoustically. Gaining a bassist and drummer within their first six months, the band continued to trudge forward, playing as many shows as they could pack in. After a year or so, Easy Roscoe entered the studio to create their first record, Keep the Dancin’ Dancin’ (KDD). In January 2015, the light-hearted, summery, storytelling record was released and set out to spread its good vibes. The Deli Magazine said, “Keep the Dancin' Dancin' is a solid first effort that is going to get some heavy play as we inch towards summer.” and Capsule Reviews said, “The songs all have that feel-good, infectious quality that can brighten up any day and get you…well, you see the CD title!”

The single off KDD, Alright; Regina, received radio play from Lightning 100 and Radio Free Nashville, creating a launching pad that catapulted the band through the summer of 2015, landing them in No Country For New Nashville’s Local Harvest contest. Vying for a spot on the Sound Harvest Music Festival line up, Easy Roscoe won the contest thanks to their increasingly fun energetic show and performed at the Festival in October 2015. Rounding out the year was the conception of their next record, Piñata, where again, their good vibes and good times shine through in a matured, solaced sound, primed to hit the airwaves in June of 2016.

Opus One & 91.3 WYEP Present Margaret Glaspy

"Emotions and Math" is not simply the name of Margaret Glaspy's new debut album. That expression drills right to the heart of the New York singer-songwriter's proper introduction, a mission statement both artistic and personal.
On its surface, the title track talks about being a touring musician and figuring out how to see your partner, looking at the calendar and calculating how you're going to spend time together. But "Emotions and Math," which ATO Records will release on June 17, also sums up an epiphany she had while making the record.
"In a lot of ways, it's kind of how I operate," says Glaspy. "I've always considered myself a free spirit, someone who goes with the flow, but actually I'm not exactly like that. This record really taught me that I'm super analytical and process-driven. I think they really do go together, emotions and math. Nobody is just one thing."
As introductions go, these 12 songs waste no time in cutting close to the bone. This is a young artist with something to say, one who has found her voice, as both singer and songwriter, after years venturing down a crooked path.
After cutting her teeth in New York and Boston, where she was a touring musician and played in other people's bands, "Emotions and Math" signals an assured new direction for Glaspy.
Glaspy, who's 27 and grew up in Red Bluff, California, self-produced the album, which frames her revealing ruminations in shards of jagged guitar rock. Building on its early buzz - Rolling Stone hailed first single "You and I" for its "hot barbs of electric guitar," and BrooklynVegan declared it a "stomping rocker with a DGAF attitude" - Glaspy prepares for a big year in 2016.
She's a fierce believer in the power of specifics to tell universal truths, to capture emotions we've all felt but don't necessarily hear reflected in pop music. Some truths are uglier than others, but Glaspy never backs down.
Take "You and I," which opens with a sentiment so gripping that Glaspy initially worried it would send the wrong message. "Tonight I'm too turned on to talk about us/ And tomorrow I'll be too turned off/ And won't give a fuck/ About you and I," she sings with a punk sneer that turns up often throughout her debut.
"A lot of the songs are so specific but also feel like they apply to so much of my life," says Glaspy. "I realize more and more on a daily basis that if you're given a microphone to share what you have to say, then I hope to God that I don't encourage some fantasy of what we're supposed to be or how we should live our lives."
Glaspy would rather tell you the truth of the matter. On "Memory Street," she envisions her past as a small town dotted with old relationships and memories both fond and painful: "Why remember all the times I took forever to forget?" She salutes her self-reliance on "Somebody to Anybody," reminding both the listener and herself that, "I don't want to be somebody to anybody// No, I'm good at no one."
The album also showcases Glaspy's finely tuned ear for production. Throughout "Emotions and Math," she keeps the recordings clean and urgent, without an ounce of fat on them. She had plenty of practice; having recorded demos of the album twice at home before eventually ironing out the wrinkles at Sear Sound studios in New York. Glaspy auditioned her players and kept the sessions brisk and loose, running through songs a few times with musicians still reading the charts she had written out. "Everyone was on their toes, waiting for the right moment," she says.
That freewheeling vibe ended up imbuing the songs with the same brittle energy and warm intimacy Glaspy brings to her live performances. In a bit of comic relief, "You Don't Want Me" is a duet with herself, an imagined conversation between an insecure woman and a man who has to reassure her. "You don't want me," Glaspy sings dismissively, countered by her own voice, slightly distorted and pitched lower: "I do/ You are on my mind/ Every night of the week/ Stop being so nave," Glaspy sings.
Told from the perspective of a parent to a child, "Parental Guidance" plumbs the fragile psyche of adolescents. "I think a lot of times kids are pigeonholed as being kids, but at the same time it's the most important years of their lives," Glaspy says. "Our view of ourselves is so paramount, and when it gets messed with at a young age, it's lethal."
The closing "Black Is Blue" is a poetic ode to accepting a reality you never knew. The least autobiographical song on the record, it's the story of a couple who were in love, had a kid, and then broke up. "But from far away, Black Is Blue' is about things you thought were one way but aren't really like that at all," Glaspy says.
"It's taken a minute," she admits, "but I'm so glad that I waited to record my debut. I went through so many different phases before I got to where I am now. It feels like it took 26 years to make this album."

"Emotions and Math" is not simply the name of Margaret Glaspy's new debut album. That expression drills right to the heart of the New York singer-songwriter's proper introduction, a mission statement both artistic and personal.
On its surface, the title track talks about being a touring musician and figuring out how to see your partner, looking at the calendar and calculating how you're going to spend time together. But "Emotions and Math," which ATO Records will release on June 17, also sums up an epiphany she had while making the record.
"In a lot of ways, it's kind of how I operate," says Glaspy. "I've always considered myself a free spirit, someone who goes with the flow, but actually I'm not exactly like that. This record really taught me that I'm super analytical and process-driven. I think they really do go together, emotions and math. Nobody is just one thing."
As introductions go, these 12 songs waste no time in cutting close to the bone. This is a young artist with something to say, one who has found her voice, as both singer and songwriter, after years venturing down a crooked path.
After cutting her teeth in New York and Boston, where she was a touring musician and played in other people's bands, "Emotions and Math" signals an assured new direction for Glaspy.
Glaspy, who's 27 and grew up in Red Bluff, California, self-produced the album, which frames her revealing ruminations in shards of jagged guitar rock. Building on its early buzz - Rolling Stone hailed first single "You and I" for its "hot barbs of electric guitar," and BrooklynVegan declared it a "stomping rocker with a DGAF attitude" - Glaspy prepares for a big year in 2016.
She's a fierce believer in the power of specifics to tell universal truths, to capture emotions we've all felt but don't necessarily hear reflected in pop music. Some truths are uglier than others, but Glaspy never backs down.
Take "You and I," which opens with a sentiment so gripping that Glaspy initially worried it would send the wrong message. "Tonight I'm too turned on to talk about us/ And tomorrow I'll be too turned off/ And won't give a fuck/ About you and I," she sings with a punk sneer that turns up often throughout her debut.
"A lot of the songs are so specific but also feel like they apply to so much of my life," says Glaspy. "I realize more and more on a daily basis that if you're given a microphone to share what you have to say, then I hope to God that I don't encourage some fantasy of what we're supposed to be or how we should live our lives."
Glaspy would rather tell you the truth of the matter. On "Memory Street," she envisions her past as a small town dotted with old relationships and memories both fond and painful: "Why remember all the times I took forever to forget?" She salutes her self-reliance on "Somebody to Anybody," reminding both the listener and herself that, "I don't want to be somebody to anybody// No, I'm good at no one."
The album also showcases Glaspy's finely tuned ear for production. Throughout "Emotions and Math," she keeps the recordings clean and urgent, without an ounce of fat on them. She had plenty of practice; having recorded demos of the album twice at home before eventually ironing out the wrinkles at Sear Sound studios in New York. Glaspy auditioned her players and kept the sessions brisk and loose, running through songs a few times with musicians still reading the charts she had written out. "Everyone was on their toes, waiting for the right moment," she says.
That freewheeling vibe ended up imbuing the songs with the same brittle energy and warm intimacy Glaspy brings to her live performances. In a bit of comic relief, "You Don't Want Me" is a duet with herself, an imagined conversation between an insecure woman and a man who has to reassure her. "You don't want me," Glaspy sings dismissively, countered by her own voice, slightly distorted and pitched lower: "I do/ You are on my mind/ Every night of the week/ Stop being so nave," Glaspy sings.
Told from the perspective of a parent to a child, "Parental Guidance" plumbs the fragile psyche of adolescents. "I think a lot of times kids are pigeonholed as being kids, but at the same time it's the most important years of their lives," Glaspy says. "Our view of ourselves is so paramount, and when it gets messed with at a young age, it's lethal."
The closing "Black Is Blue" is a poetic ode to accepting a reality you never knew. The least autobiographical song on the record, it's the story of a couple who were in love, had a kid, and then broke up. "But from far away, Black Is Blue' is about things you thought were one way but aren't really like that at all," Glaspy says.
"It's taken a minute," she admits, "but I'm so glad that I waited to record my debut. I went through so many different phases before I got to where I am now. It feels like it took 26 years to make this album."

The Steel Wheels

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they've been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here.

"I think we've always been able to write new songs with different landscapes. However it was really enjoyable for us, creatively and artistically, to depart from the straight-up acoustic sound that we've been known for," says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of the material. "I'm excited to see what happens. There are fans out there who are ready for this and who have been waiting for us to do this."

While on tour supporting Josh Ritter, the band forged a friendship with Sam Kassirer, who plays keyboards for Ritter on tour and has produced a number of his albums. While The Steel Wheels had been considering other producers and maybe recording in Nashville, they chose to follow their instincts all the way to rural Maine, where Kassirer owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members - Wagler, Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) - hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.

"It's a gorgeous set-up," Wagler says. "I didn't grow up in a big city and I never made a record in a big city. It's much more my style, and our style as a band, to completely hole up - probably more than we ever have - for 10 full days in Maine. I left the house for a couple of bike rides but I never went to a restaurant or a store the whole time I was there. We ate on site, we slept on site, and we recorded. It was a very immersive experience, top to bottom."

Afternoon hikes amid the fall foliage helped them clear their heads, ensuring that everyone could stay focused on the task at hand - which in retrospect was quite daunting. The Steel Wheels had about 40 original songs stowed away before the sessions. Only two or three had ever been played live and the band had not arranged any of them.

"One of my favorite parts of the process was taking the first couple of days to rehearse and arrange the songs all in one room, with Sam offering his insights," Brubaker says. "We had enough time to really build the songs from the ground up, examining each one to see what elements would best highlight the mood we were trying to capture."

Wild As We Came Here is a significant leap for the band, which started its journey in 2004. Wagler, Dickel, and Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville. (All four members of the band grew up in Mennonite families.) Wagler and Dickel were in a punk/alternative band until acoustic music lured them in.

Wagler soon started crafting songs and learned flat-picking. Dickel took classes on building guitars. They briefly played as a duo before Brubaker joined on fiddle. Lapp eventually came on board after getting to know the band from the local folk circuit. In 2010, following a variety of EPs and LPs, the ensemble officially branded itself as The Steel Wheels, a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress, and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage.

Lapp says, "We found we really enjoyed singing and playing music together and it happened so naturally. To make it even better, everyone listens very well to what the other is playing, making it a total group experience. I've never worked with such a collected and well-spoken group of men, and it makes the experience of touring and performing a pure joy."

Then as now, The Steel Wheels' style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.

The album begins with "To the Wild," which explores the fascinating and unusual relationship that modern society has with the great outdoors, from exploitation to preservation. Wagler wrote the title track after reading a news story about a desperate man who starts bidding at a land auction - even though he had no way of paying for it - in order to prevent oil and gas companies from destroying the natural beauty of the area.

Meanwhile, the idea behind "Broken Mandolin" was inspired by a few lines from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, which takes place during World War II. Wagler describes "Take Me to the Ending" as essentially a bluegrass apocalypse - "like a sense of coming out from the bunker and there are still a few people playing fiddle tunes."

Of course, exquisite harmonies remain a strength of the band, shining through on "Sing Me Like a Folk Song." By making a social statement in uncertain times, listeners will want to lend their voices too. More than a decade into The Steel Wheels' career, the simple act of singing together - something that carries them back to their Mennonite heritage - is still incredibly special. The stunning closing track, "Till No One Is Free," provides an elegant ending to the band's most satisfying album yet.

"It was my favorite studio experience from start to finish, by far, of any project we've ever done," Dickel says. "A super-relaxed and experimental vibe coupled with some genre-stretching sounds really did it for me. I think we pushed ourselves much further than previous albums and I think we will push our fans a little too. Both of those are exciting to me."

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound. In fact, they've been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. Yet their name also evokes a sense of forward motion, which is clearly reflected in their latest album, Wild As We Came Here.

"I think we've always been able to write new songs with different landscapes. However it was really enjoyable for us, creatively and artistically, to depart from the straight-up acoustic sound that we've been known for," says Trent Wagler, who plays guitar and banjo in the band and writes most of the material. "I'm excited to see what happens. There are fans out there who are ready for this and who have been waiting for us to do this."

While on tour supporting Josh Ritter, the band forged a friendship with Sam Kassirer, who plays keyboards for Ritter on tour and has produced a number of his albums. While The Steel Wheels had been considering other producers and maybe recording in Nashville, they chose to follow their instincts all the way to rural Maine, where Kassirer owns a recording studio inside a renovated farmhouse from the 18th century. All four band members - Wagler, Eric Brubaker (fiddle), Brian Dickel (upright bass), and Jay Lapp (mandolin) - hunkered down for a week and a half to create Wild As We Came Here.

"It's a gorgeous set-up," Wagler says. "I didn't grow up in a big city and I never made a record in a big city. It's much more my style, and our style as a band, to completely hole up - probably more than we ever have - for 10 full days in Maine. I left the house for a couple of bike rides but I never went to a restaurant or a store the whole time I was there. We ate on site, we slept on site, and we recorded. It was a very immersive experience, top to bottom."

Afternoon hikes amid the fall foliage helped them clear their heads, ensuring that everyone could stay focused on the task at hand - which in retrospect was quite daunting. The Steel Wheels had about 40 original songs stowed away before the sessions. Only two or three had ever been played live and the band had not arranged any of them.

"One of my favorite parts of the process was taking the first couple of days to rehearse and arrange the songs all in one room, with Sam offering his insights," Brubaker says. "We had enough time to really build the songs from the ground up, examining each one to see what elements would best highlight the mood we were trying to capture."

Wild As We Came Here is a significant leap for the band, which started its journey in 2004. Wagler, Dickel, and Brubaker studied at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about an hour from Charlottesville. (All four members of the band grew up in Mennonite families.) Wagler and Dickel were in a punk/alternative band until acoustic music lured them in.

Wagler soon started crafting songs and learned flat-picking. Dickel took classes on building guitars. They briefly played as a duo before Brubaker joined on fiddle. Lapp eventually came on board after getting to know the band from the local folk circuit. In 2010, following a variety of EPs and LPs, the ensemble officially branded itself as The Steel Wheels, a tip of the hat to steam-powered trains, industrial progress, and the buggies of their Mennonite lineage.

Lapp says, "We found we really enjoyed singing and playing music together and it happened so naturally. To make it even better, everyone listens very well to what the other is playing, making it a total group experience. I've never worked with such a collected and well-spoken group of men, and it makes the experience of touring and performing a pure joy."

Then as now, The Steel Wheels' style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old-time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. By incorporating percussion and keyboards into the sessions for the first time, Wild As We Came Here adds new textures to their catalog, as themes of discovery and perseverance run throughout the collection.

The album begins with "To the Wild," which explores the fascinating and unusual relationship that modern society has with the great outdoors, from exploitation to preservation. Wagler wrote the title track after reading a news story about a desperate man who starts bidding at a land auction - even though he had no way of paying for it - in order to prevent oil and gas companies from destroying the natural beauty of the area.

Meanwhile, the idea behind "Broken Mandolin" was inspired by a few lines from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, which takes place during World War II. Wagler describes "Take Me to the Ending" as essentially a bluegrass apocalypse - "like a sense of coming out from the bunker and there are still a few people playing fiddle tunes."

Of course, exquisite harmonies remain a strength of the band, shining through on "Sing Me Like a Folk Song." By making a social statement in uncertain times, listeners will want to lend their voices too. More than a decade into The Steel Wheels' career, the simple act of singing together - something that carries them back to their Mennonite heritage - is still incredibly special. The stunning closing track, "Till No One Is Free," provides an elegant ending to the band's most satisfying album yet.

"It was my favorite studio experience from start to finish, by far, of any project we've ever done," Dickel says. "A super-relaxed and experimental vibe coupled with some genre-stretching sounds really did it for me. I think we pushed ourselves much further than previous albums and I think we will push our fans a little too. Both of those are exciting to me."

An Evening With Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers

"In a better world, Joe Grushecky would live in a mansion down the road from Springsteen's. Instead, this enormous talent spends his days teaching some of western Pennsylvania's most troubled children...Who do you know who has made back-to-back great albums more than 20 years ago, and is doing the same thing now. There's Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Springsteen, maybe a few more. He's on that level." - Jimmy Guterman, Runaway American Dream: Listening to Bruce Springsteen

Joe Grushecky's music has stood the test of time. For 30 years publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, No Depression, and countless others have hailed him as one of rock & roll's most talented singer-songwriters.

Joe's first band, the Iron City Houserockers, were signed to Cleveland International by A&R legend Steve Popovich also responsible for signing Meatloaf and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. ICH released their debut album, "Love's So Tough" in 1979 and began to garner critical acclaim:

In Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus wrote "their debut album is strong, passionate and a little desperate. This is hard rock with force.... I hope they're around for a long, long time."

Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, and Steve Van Zandt handled the

"In a better world, Joe Grushecky would live in a mansion down the road from Springsteen's. Instead, this enormous talent spends his days teaching some of western Pennsylvania's most troubled children...Who do you know who has made back-to-back great albums more than 20 years ago, and is doing the same thing now. There's Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Springsteen, maybe a few more. He's on that level." - Jimmy Guterman, Runaway American Dream: Listening to Bruce Springsteen

Joe Grushecky's music has stood the test of time. For 30 years publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, No Depression, and countless others have hailed him as one of rock & roll's most talented singer-songwriters.

Joe's first band, the Iron City Houserockers, were signed to Cleveland International by A&R legend Steve Popovich also responsible for signing Meatloaf and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. ICH released their debut album, "Love's So Tough" in 1979 and began to garner critical acclaim:

In Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus wrote "their debut album is strong, passionate and a little desperate. This is hard rock with force.... I hope they're around for a long, long time."

Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, and Steve Van Zandt handled the

Mephiskapheles

Mephiskapheles is back in red and black. The band that helped define third-wave ska, then defied critics by exploring even greater possibilities with its darkly original ska fusion, forges ahead with amazing shows and new music now available.

Formed in the East Village of New York City in 1991 by a group of punk rockers/artists/ad guys/jazz musicians, Mephiskapheles played its first show on Long Island. From day one, the band began attracting a diverse, dedicated fan base.

Sold-out NYC gigs led to tours with the Buzzcocks and GWAR, and hits on the Hawaiian Islands Chart with three singles from the band's first album, 1994's God Bless Satan, produced by Bill Laswell.

While touring relentlessly, Mephiskapheles followed-up in 1997 with Maximum Perversion, a jazz-influenced work that didn't take long to be hailed as a classic. A deal in 1999 with Koch Records resulted in the band's hard-hitting, exploratory third album, Might-Ay White-Ay.

Fronted by lead singer Invidious aka the Nubian Nightmare, along with the hottest rhythm section in New York, and the Horns of Hell, Mephiskapheles spreads its evil seed with an ongoing reissue program, epic shows, and new music out now.

See you in Hell.

Mephiskapheles is back in red and black. The band that helped define third-wave ska, then defied critics by exploring even greater possibilities with its darkly original ska fusion, forges ahead with amazing shows and new music now available.

Formed in the East Village of New York City in 1991 by a group of punk rockers/artists/ad guys/jazz musicians, Mephiskapheles played its first show on Long Island. From day one, the band began attracting a diverse, dedicated fan base.

Sold-out NYC gigs led to tours with the Buzzcocks and GWAR, and hits on the Hawaiian Islands Chart with three singles from the band's first album, 1994's God Bless Satan, produced by Bill Laswell.

While touring relentlessly, Mephiskapheles followed-up in 1997 with Maximum Perversion, a jazz-influenced work that didn't take long to be hailed as a classic. A deal in 1999 with Koch Records resulted in the band's hard-hitting, exploratory third album, Might-Ay White-Ay.

Fronted by lead singer Invidious aka the Nubian Nightmare, along with the hottest rhythm section in New York, and the Horns of Hell, Mephiskapheles spreads its evil seed with an ongoing reissue program, epic shows, and new music out now.

See you in Hell.

All Them Witches (Night 1)

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

All Them Witches (Night 2)

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

"Sleeping through the war - this is what we're doing. There are so many terrible things going on in the world and we're just staring at our phones, and we don't see it so we don't care." Having just come in from practicing in the desert, Charles Michael Parks, singer/bassist for All Them Witches, elaborates on the very heavy times in which we all live. Parks and his bandmates - Ben McLeod, Allan Van Cleave and Robby Staebler - are enjoying a brief respite from the endless tour that saw them visit Europe three times in 2016. We've been talking for nearly ten minutes about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, among other things, before we cut through the cosmic fog that surrounds their new album Sleeping Through The War.

"It's tough to get past all the cat videos."

From their earliest days, there has a been a current in All Them Witches' music that has come from outside the continuum of our collective perceptions. On 2013's Lightning at the Door they drew a bigger chalk circle in the center of the crossroads and conjured a haunting occult- blues. On 2015's New West Records debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker they dove the depths of oceanic canyons and surfaced with a shining psychedelia. Sleeping Through The War is the next step in that progression.

"We write in every way possible," says Parks. "There's no limitations on it, no I'm going to come to it with this song and this is how it's going to go. It's more like stretching your arms out and seeing who can grab what and seeing what fits together from there.

"This is the most I've ever sang on a record, so my writing process was a little bit different than on the other ones. We weren't relying on long, drawn out jam sections we were putting more of a storyline into the songs.

"The songs are catchier, they're faster and there's more singing. Or talking. Or whatever I'm doing."
The result is evidence of the adventure, beauty, and excitement that lies on the other side of the galaxy. The fundamental laws that govern Sleeping Through The War are the same fundamentals that have made ATW a cult favorite - big fuzz, deep grooves, cosmic vision - but the journey through the wormhole has brought something else.

"It's more brain than body," says Parks. "Everybody kind of knows where they are going even if nobody knows where the song is going. We're good at juggling the torch around, making sure everyone gets to play...

"Allan has this really unique approach to playing Rhodes. Robby's drums sound weird in soundcheck he has all of these weird tones but he knows where he's putting them in the mix himself. I have a weird bass tone, but somehow it clicks. We didn't come into it trying to blend our sounds together. That comes from relying on something you already have, relying on something that has its own unique personality."

Years of jamming their way across the country have elevated their performance. Years of interacting with audiences has made their songcraft more responsive. Years of psychic interactions between band members has lead them into a sonic-space headier, more dynamic than any equation could have predicted. In the five years since their formation, over hundreds of performances and thousands of miles travelled, All Them Witches have expanded their corporeality, absorbing ideas both audible and philosophical that push at the thin veil of existence. With three albums that each gained more heft than the one before, All Them Witches has accrued such an immense heaviness that when producer Dave Cobb entered their orbit the very nature of their reality was warped beyond recognition.

"We wrote it in about six days," says guitarist Ben McLeod. "Wherein the past we would have just gone ahead and recorded and written in the studio, we were like nah we're going to do it with Dave, let's be prepared."

"And Eddie Spear, the engineer, he loves doing 8 track records. We obviously didn't make an 8 track record [laughs] but in the back of our minds we were like this guy is gonna think we're a joke if we're doing all of this overdubbing shit. We wanted a record that you could crank. And we wanted girl backup singers."

It might seem like an odd detail - Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen add a classic rock flourish, at odds with their earlier catalogs - but it makes sense within the context of the songs and within the context of their career. All Them Witches are at their Ummagumma moment, their Tres Hombres, their Bare Trees. They brought in a mellotron. Their sense of sonic experimentation is so finely honed that even the oddest, toughest moments are warm and relatable.

"We're trying to get to something better - not necessarily just as musicians - but as people," Parks explains. "I've always said that as we change as people, our music changes, that's why we can never make the same records. I can't be in one of those bands. I hope you'll never hear about ‘another predictable album from All Them Witches.' There's no art in that."

Their sound has become so expansive you can her echoes of Dr. John's Gris-Gris and the glacial expanses of Sigur Ros, the fire and brimstone of Appalachian snake charmers and the meditative om of the East. It's the same balance of preparation and improvisation that helped drummer Robby Staebler conjure Sleeping Through The War's vibrant and foreboding cover.

"I'm really into weird, film cameras and that was the original direction of the cover," says Staebler. "Then Ben told me - after working on this for weeks straight, doing all of these layouts, scanning things, looking for old negatives digging things up - he told me ‘Eh, this is kinda boring, dude'. And for 30 seconds I was really fucking pissed.

"But I knew he was right. I knew it wasn't what the record needed and so I just channeled some crazy Chi and the record cover came out. I just stopped thinking about stuff and got out film-negative dyes - for retouching films, it works really great on watercolor paper too - and the rest of it just came together. I found the channel."

Their musicianship is so dialed in, so fluid and adaptable that the most technically complex and sonically detailed passages are fun and fulfilling. All Them Witches are progressing but they have no intention of leaving anyone behind. In a world where so many are distracted and disengaged All Them Witches are seeking to connect on a more visceral, more human level.

"The hardest part was the song "Bruce Lee" - originally the song had this long introduction and not a lot of singing, just a long instrumental," McLeod explains. "And Dave stopped us, had us come into the control room and said, ‘Guys, this is the kind of song that when people hear this they are going to want to listen to the rest of the record. You want people to hear the record and this song is your opportunity.'

"It was weird at first, we were like, but but this is how the song goes with the long intro and stuff. We played with some splices and it ended up being what it is now and I think it is groo-oovy."

Lead single "Bruce Lee" is a perfect distillation of the All Them Witches aesthetic - whirlwind guitars, way out vocals and propulsive rhythms that recall Springsteen's late-night power drives as much as they do Kyuss riding into the blood-red sunset. "Don't Bring Me Coffee" is an aggro blast of anthemic, 120 Minutes-grade powerfuzz, that toys with the power dynamic between the beautiful and the ugly.

"Alabaster" feels like William S. Burroughs intoning to South Bronx breakdancers while the album closer "Internet" sees the band slip so far behind the beat it feels like they've slipped from the grasp of space-time itself. These tracks make the case that the gravity of All Them Witches is warping the space-time in which we all exist and that Sleeping Through The War is the sort of heaviness these weird times demand.

"If everybody would look out for everybody we wouldn't have any problems," says Parks. "If everybody had enough space to breath we wouldn't have any problems...the hardest part is that everybody wants to be happy but nobody knows how to get there."

Pitch Talks - Behind The Scenes Stories From Sports Media

Pitch Talks is a casual baseball conference for real fans.

Pitch Talks is a casual baseball conference for real fans.

Marshall Crenshaw y Los Straitjackets.

Marshall Crenshaw y Los Straitjackets combines the shared sensibilities of a pop-rock maestro & a band of guitar-wielding masked marauders.

Marshall Crenshaw learned to tune a guitar at age ten and has been making music ever since. His first big break came in 1978 playing the role of John Lennon in "Beatlemania" on Broadway. Over the course of a career that's spanned nearly four decades, 13 albums, Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, film and TV appearances (Buddy Holly in "La Bamba") and thousands of performances, Crenshaw's musical output has maintained a consistent fidelity to the qualities of artfulness, craftsmanship and passion, and his efforts have been rewarded with the devotion of a broad and remarkably loyal fan base.

"Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself." - Trouser Press

Los Straitjackets are the leading practitioners of the lost art of the guitar instrumental. Using the music of The Ventures, The Shadows, Link Wray and Dick Dale as a jumping off point, the band has taken their unique, high energy brand of original rock & roll around the world. Clad in their trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks, the "Jackets" have delivered their trademark guitar licks to 16 albums, thousands of concerts and dozens of films and TV shows.

"...novelty is a key ingredient, but it’s elevated by the band's good-natured sincerity and skill." -NPR World Cafe

Marshall Crenshaw y Los Straitjackets combines the shared sensibilities of a pop-rock maestro & a band of guitar-wielding masked marauders.

Marshall Crenshaw learned to tune a guitar at age ten and has been making music ever since. His first big break came in 1978 playing the role of John Lennon in "Beatlemania" on Broadway. Over the course of a career that's spanned nearly four decades, 13 albums, Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, film and TV appearances (Buddy Holly in "La Bamba") and thousands of performances, Crenshaw's musical output has maintained a consistent fidelity to the qualities of artfulness, craftsmanship and passion, and his efforts have been rewarded with the devotion of a broad and remarkably loyal fan base.

"Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself." - Trouser Press

Los Straitjackets are the leading practitioners of the lost art of the guitar instrumental. Using the music of The Ventures, The Shadows, Link Wray and Dick Dale as a jumping off point, the band has taken their unique, high energy brand of original rock & roll around the world. Clad in their trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks, the "Jackets" have delivered their trademark guitar licks to 16 albums, thousands of concerts and dozens of films and TV shows.

"...novelty is a key ingredient, but it’s elevated by the band's good-natured sincerity and skill." -NPR World Cafe

BJ Barham - The Great 48 Tour

B.J. Barham was a long way from home when the tragedy happened.

On November 13, 2015, the singer-songwriter-raised in a small North Carolina town called Reidsville-was in the middle of his fourth European tour with American Aquarium, the rising alt-country act he'd led for nearly a decade. They were in Belgium, less than two hours from Paris, when bad news began to arrive: a series of terrorist attacks, including one in a rock club, had left more than 100 dead. Family members, friends, and the fans American Aquarium had amassed from so many years on the road immediately reached out, making sure the band had been far away.

"The onslaught of text messages, voicemails and everything that came in the next day sparked something in me," Barham remembers. "In the next two days, the entire record was written."

The record he's talking about is Rockingham, Barham's remarkable and intensely personal solo debut. Not long after the wave of well wishes had passed, Barham found himself piecing together composites of people he'd known since childhood, of those folks and places who had impacted his life in fundamental ways. He sang into his cell phone and scribbled in notebooks, stealing away for quiet moments in order to put the melodies and characters floating through his mind into song.

The shock of the moment and the distance from home seemed to give Barham a crucial perspective on the moments and circumstances that had helped shape him. Wolves, American Aquarium's much-lauded 2015 breakthrough, had contained Barham's most honest, vulnerable statements to date. But these songs took the next step, allowing Barham to share stories about those around him. In "O'Lover," he portrays a hard-working farmer forced to make some desperate decisions to support the ones he loves. In "Reidsville," named for the place he'd called his home until relocating to North Carolina's capital, he immortalized beautiful, sweet, doomed souls, stuck in love in the sort of small towns that are disintegrating all across America. You needn't have been to Reidsville to recognize these elegantly written, expertly realized protagonists.

"This is the first record I've ever made that's not autobiographical-it's fictional narrative in a very real place," Barham says. "These songs are human condition stories set in my hometown, Reidsville."

Barham made these songs his new priority. Not long after he returned stateside, he asked Bradley Cook, the musician and mentor who had co-produced Wolves, to hear them. By afternoon's end, they had hatched the plan to make Rockingham. Two months later, on January 31, Barham returned from another American Aquarium tour.

On Monday, he and the band he'd built to record Rockingham-himself, Cook, Cook's brother and multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook, drummer Kyle Keegan, American Aquarium standbys Ryan Johnson and Whit Wright-met for the first time. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they rehearsed. And on Thursday and Friday, they cut all eight songs at Durham's Overdub Lane. They mixed the results over the weekend, between the sold-out hometown shows and various festivities of American Aquarium's annual pilgrimage, Roadtrip to Raleigh. Cialis The whirlwind kept the songs simple and the recordings human, reflecting a reality much bigger and less perfect than the vacuum of a recording studio.

These tunes, after all, didn't need much tampering. Rockingham puts its scenes and scenarios front and center, the beautiful grain and twang of Barham's voice bringing it all to life. He limns lifelong romance and instantaneous tragedy during the paradoxically heartbreaking, heart-mending "Unfortunate Kind" and details the disappointments and dreams of the blue-collar laborer with "American Tobacco Company." With its acoustic guitars and pealing organs, ragged vocals and rugged characters, Rockingham is a stunning, personal portrait of small-town America, easily identifiable and familiar.

For the album's sole autobiographical moment, Barham, now happily married and sober, penned a letter of sound advice and Southern attitude to his daughter-to-be, "Madeline." It's too personal to fall under a roots-rock purview, too singular to be swallowed by a larger situation. Like all of Rockingham, it's not the sound of Barham stepping away from American Aquarium but instead stepping confidently into the thoughts, stories, and feelings of his own thirty years.

"This is just an outlet for a songwriter. It's me being able to do something different. This is like people who love their jobs, picking up hobbies," says Barham, "This is an exercise for myself."

B.J. Barham was a long way from home when the tragedy happened.

On November 13, 2015, the singer-songwriter-raised in a small North Carolina town called Reidsville-was in the middle of his fourth European tour with American Aquarium, the rising alt-country act he'd led for nearly a decade. They were in Belgium, less than two hours from Paris, when bad news began to arrive: a series of terrorist attacks, including one in a rock club, had left more than 100 dead. Family members, friends, and the fans American Aquarium had amassed from so many years on the road immediately reached out, making sure the band had been far away.

"The onslaught of text messages, voicemails and everything that came in the next day sparked something in me," Barham remembers. "In the next two days, the entire record was written."

The record he's talking about is Rockingham, Barham's remarkable and intensely personal solo debut. Not long after the wave of well wishes had passed, Barham found himself piecing together composites of people he'd known since childhood, of those folks and places who had impacted his life in fundamental ways. He sang into his cell phone and scribbled in notebooks, stealing away for quiet moments in order to put the melodies and characters floating through his mind into song.

The shock of the moment and the distance from home seemed to give Barham a crucial perspective on the moments and circumstances that had helped shape him. Wolves, American Aquarium's much-lauded 2015 breakthrough, had contained Barham's most honest, vulnerable statements to date. But these songs took the next step, allowing Barham to share stories about those around him. In "O'Lover," he portrays a hard-working farmer forced to make some desperate decisions to support the ones he loves. In "Reidsville," named for the place he'd called his home until relocating to North Carolina's capital, he immortalized beautiful, sweet, doomed souls, stuck in love in the sort of small towns that are disintegrating all across America. You needn't have been to Reidsville to recognize these elegantly written, expertly realized protagonists.

"This is the first record I've ever made that's not autobiographical-it's fictional narrative in a very real place," Barham says. "These songs are human condition stories set in my hometown, Reidsville."

Barham made these songs his new priority. Not long after he returned stateside, he asked Bradley Cook, the musician and mentor who had co-produced Wolves, to hear them. By afternoon's end, they had hatched the plan to make Rockingham. Two months later, on January 31, Barham returned from another American Aquarium tour.

On Monday, he and the band he'd built to record Rockingham-himself, Cook, Cook's brother and multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook, drummer Kyle Keegan, American Aquarium standbys Ryan Johnson and Whit Wright-met for the first time. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they rehearsed. And on Thursday and Friday, they cut all eight songs at Durham's Overdub Lane. They mixed the results over the weekend, between the sold-out hometown shows and various festivities of American Aquarium's annual pilgrimage, Roadtrip to Raleigh. Cialis The whirlwind kept the songs simple and the recordings human, reflecting a reality much bigger and less perfect than the vacuum of a recording studio.

These tunes, after all, didn't need much tampering. Rockingham puts its scenes and scenarios front and center, the beautiful grain and twang of Barham's voice bringing it all to life. He limns lifelong romance and instantaneous tragedy during the paradoxically heartbreaking, heart-mending "Unfortunate Kind" and details the disappointments and dreams of the blue-collar laborer with "American Tobacco Company." With its acoustic guitars and pealing organs, ragged vocals and rugged characters, Rockingham is a stunning, personal portrait of small-town America, easily identifiable and familiar.

For the album's sole autobiographical moment, Barham, now happily married and sober, penned a letter of sound advice and Southern attitude to his daughter-to-be, "Madeline." It's too personal to fall under a roots-rock purview, too singular to be swallowed by a larger situation. Like all of Rockingham, it's not the sound of Barham stepping away from American Aquarium but instead stepping confidently into the thoughts, stories, and feelings of his own thirty years.

"This is just an outlet for a songwriter. It's me being able to do something different. This is like people who love their jobs, picking up hobbies," says Barham, "This is an exercise for myself."

(Early Show) Mutlu

Mutlu is a soulful, singer-songwriter. A Philadelphia native and first-generation American of Turkish descent, Mutlu has already built a substantial fan base in his hometown, while winning widespread praise for his prior releases.

He's collaborated and toured extensively as a support act with legendary duo Daryl Hall & John Oates and holds the distinction of having made the most guest appearances on Daryl Hall's acclaimed, award-winning TV/Internet show "Live From Daryl's House". He's also gained considerable attention for his work with noted singer-songwriter Amos Lee, with whom he's toured extensively as a support act and backup vocalist. He was the support act on the North American leg of Joe Jackson's acclaimed "Rain" tour and has shared stages with the likes of Adele, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis & many more.

Born Mutlu Onaral, he grew up steeped in Philadelphia's deep R&B traditions, eagerly absorbing the fundamentals of old-school soul music and incorporating it into his own musical persona. His local success led to a recording deal with Manhattan/EMI Records, which released his acclaimed 2008 debut album Livin' It, produced by the late, great T-Bone Wolk, and featuring guest appearances by Daryl Hall, Amos Lee, G. Love and Raheem DeVaughn. His latest release is the Hypnotize EP which he co-produced with songwriter/producer Darius Amendolia.

Mutlu is a soulful, singer-songwriter. A Philadelphia native and first-generation American of Turkish descent, Mutlu has already built a substantial fan base in his hometown, while winning widespread praise for his prior releases.

He's collaborated and toured extensively as a support act with legendary duo Daryl Hall & John Oates and holds the distinction of having made the most guest appearances on Daryl Hall's acclaimed, award-winning TV/Internet show "Live From Daryl's House". He's also gained considerable attention for his work with noted singer-songwriter Amos Lee, with whom he's toured extensively as a support act and backup vocalist. He was the support act on the North American leg of Joe Jackson's acclaimed "Rain" tour and has shared stages with the likes of Adele, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis & many more.

Born Mutlu Onaral, he grew up steeped in Philadelphia's deep R&B traditions, eagerly absorbing the fundamentals of old-school soul music and incorporating it into his own musical persona. His local success led to a recording deal with Manhattan/EMI Records, which released his acclaimed 2008 debut album Livin' It, produced by the late, great T-Bone Wolk, and featuring guest appearances by Daryl Hall, Amos Lee, G. Love and Raheem DeVaughn. His latest release is the Hypnotize EP which he co-produced with songwriter/producer Darius Amendolia.

Missy Raines & The New Hip

At first listen to New Frontier, you’d sooner peg Missy Raines as an Americana bandleader, rather than one of the most highly decorated bass players in bluegrass music. For the first time, Raines explores her dusky, emotive alto on each track, layered among the cool grooves and expansive soundscapes provided by her band, The New Hip: guitarist/co-producer Ethan Ballinger, mandolinist/acoustic guitarist Jarrod Walker and drummer/percussionist Josh Fox. These 10 tracks draw from songs written by Pierce Pettis, Sarah Siskind, Ed Snodderly and even Raines herself, and are driven home with the help of several genre-bending friends, including Sam Bush, Zach Bevill of the Farewell Drifters, and former New Hip drummer Robert Crawford.

For Raines, the album was a journey to find her voice, figuratively as well as literally. It cuts to the quick, opening with the subtle rock and sweeping reverb of Ballinger’s guitar on “I Learn,” while Raines’ lyrics resound the album’s empowering message: Follow your heart. It will not be easy and it will not be painless, but if you do it, it is absolutely worth it. “A lot of these songs share a common theme about renewal, pushing yourself out there, taking the past and letting it be the support underneath you, but continuing to go forward. Some days it’s painful, sometimes growth hurts a lot,” says Raines.

Raines’ journey and consequential growing pains permeate the album. “Where You Found Me,” plays like a diary entry to the singer’s former self, the folky Pierce Pettis-penned “Long Way Back Home” searches for perspective, and the title track teeters on the verge of epiphany and self-discovery: “I’m scared of going/but I know I can’t stay here/I see the light of the morning/the first day of a new frontier.” Sam Bush lends his mighty mandolin and vocals to the rockin’ “What’s the Callin’ For” and the sparse mandolin on “American Crow” features Raines, Ballinger, and Walker’s sweet harmonies that close the album in a reverential moment of reflection.

Though why the change for the bluegrass bass virtuoso who now so comfortably transposes to the Folk-Americana genre? “I don’t see it as a change as much as I see it as natural evolution…my bluegrass roots are strong and deep but I’ve tried to expand my horizons and see what else I can do. Exploration is a great way to put it – Inside Out was that for sure, but this is way more focused. I am very open about everything, all the possibilities, and it is a great new place to be.”

The sonic landscape is impressive and polished as well – Raines and co-producer Ethan Ballinger wanted to fully utilize their bluegrass instrumentation in a way that resonated with the album’s somewhat heavier subject matter: “Obviously this was going to be about songs and not about hot picking. At the same time the instrumentation was like, ‘how do we make this not sound like some kind of novelty.’ This is the sound we’ve been arriving at over the last few years, it’s the sound of the band,” says Ballinger.

New Frontier’s inspiring message of exploration and growth resonates with the listener, imploring them to listen again and take the message to heart. Raines shares that, “at many levels, you keep doing what you need to do because you have to. Because there’s just no other option. The good news is that if you keep doing it, you will prevail.”

Some background on Missy
Missy Raines is a 7-time recipient of the Bass Player of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association and a former member of the Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch Band and the acclaimed duo Jim Hurst & Missy Raines.
She is one of the most respected, popular, and trailblazing figures in bluegrass.

Her rich pedigree reaches from legends such as Mac Wiseman, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves, and Eddie & Martha Adcock, to contemporary artists such as Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Dudley Connell, Don Rigsby, and the Brother Boys.

At first listen to New Frontier, you’d sooner peg Missy Raines as an Americana bandleader, rather than one of the most highly decorated bass players in bluegrass music. For the first time, Raines explores her dusky, emotive alto on each track, layered among the cool grooves and expansive soundscapes provided by her band, The New Hip: guitarist/co-producer Ethan Ballinger, mandolinist/acoustic guitarist Jarrod Walker and drummer/percussionist Josh Fox. These 10 tracks draw from songs written by Pierce Pettis, Sarah Siskind, Ed Snodderly and even Raines herself, and are driven home with the help of several genre-bending friends, including Sam Bush, Zach Bevill of the Farewell Drifters, and former New Hip drummer Robert Crawford.

For Raines, the album was a journey to find her voice, figuratively as well as literally. It cuts to the quick, opening with the subtle rock and sweeping reverb of Ballinger’s guitar on “I Learn,” while Raines’ lyrics resound the album’s empowering message: Follow your heart. It will not be easy and it will not be painless, but if you do it, it is absolutely worth it. “A lot of these songs share a common theme about renewal, pushing yourself out there, taking the past and letting it be the support underneath you, but continuing to go forward. Some days it’s painful, sometimes growth hurts a lot,” says Raines.

Raines’ journey and consequential growing pains permeate the album. “Where You Found Me,” plays like a diary entry to the singer’s former self, the folky Pierce Pettis-penned “Long Way Back Home” searches for perspective, and the title track teeters on the verge of epiphany and self-discovery: “I’m scared of going/but I know I can’t stay here/I see the light of the morning/the first day of a new frontier.” Sam Bush lends his mighty mandolin and vocals to the rockin’ “What’s the Callin’ For” and the sparse mandolin on “American Crow” features Raines, Ballinger, and Walker’s sweet harmonies that close the album in a reverential moment of reflection.

Though why the change for the bluegrass bass virtuoso who now so comfortably transposes to the Folk-Americana genre? “I don’t see it as a change as much as I see it as natural evolution…my bluegrass roots are strong and deep but I’ve tried to expand my horizons and see what else I can do. Exploration is a great way to put it – Inside Out was that for sure, but this is way more focused. I am very open about everything, all the possibilities, and it is a great new place to be.”

The sonic landscape is impressive and polished as well – Raines and co-producer Ethan Ballinger wanted to fully utilize their bluegrass instrumentation in a way that resonated with the album’s somewhat heavier subject matter: “Obviously this was going to be about songs and not about hot picking. At the same time the instrumentation was like, ‘how do we make this not sound like some kind of novelty.’ This is the sound we’ve been arriving at over the last few years, it’s the sound of the band,” says Ballinger.

New Frontier’s inspiring message of exploration and growth resonates with the listener, imploring them to listen again and take the message to heart. Raines shares that, “at many levels, you keep doing what you need to do because you have to. Because there’s just no other option. The good news is that if you keep doing it, you will prevail.”

Some background on Missy
Missy Raines is a 7-time recipient of the Bass Player of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association and a former member of the Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch Band and the acclaimed duo Jim Hurst & Missy Raines.
She is one of the most respected, popular, and trailblazing figures in bluegrass.

Her rich pedigree reaches from legends such as Mac Wiseman, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves, and Eddie & Martha Adcock, to contemporary artists such as Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Dudley Connell, Don Rigsby, and the Brother Boys.

Slaid Cleaves

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Pigpen Theatre Co.

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

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

Pigpen Theatre Co.

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

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

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