club cafe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tribute Fest VIII - Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, INXS, The Smiths

An annual project where members of local Pittsburgh bands get together to form one-off super groups and perform as their favorite bands, costumes and all. Featuring tribute sets to Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, INXS, The Smiths

An annual project where members of local Pittsburgh bands get together to form one-off super groups and perform as their favorite bands, costumes and all. Featuring tribute sets to Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, INXS, The Smiths

The Quebe Sisters with Special Guest Dead Elements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race to the Coffin Presents Sean Patton. Hosted by Ed Bailey with guests Joey Marchi and John Dick Winters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girls Guns and Glory with Special Guest Thieves and Lovers

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

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

Charlie Parr with Special Guest Dan Petrich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Lucca / Derik Hultquist

Tony Lucca

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

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

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

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

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

His name is Tony Lucca.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tony Lucca

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

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

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

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

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

His name is Tony Lucca.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Melodime with Special Guest Nameless In August and Joe Zelek

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

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

(Early Show) Alex Cameron with Special guest Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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


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



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


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


Sean McConnell with Special Guest Millgroves Crossing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pelican with Special Guest Jaye Jayle

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

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

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

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

The Appleseed Collective / Wild Ponies 'Galax' Release Tour with Special Guest James Fornear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wye Oak with Special Guest Luke Temple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fastball with Special Guest Wine and Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dangermuffin with Special Guests Buffalo Rose and Daryl Shawn

Heritage-it's more than a place on the map. In their sixth and most purposeful album to date, Dangermuffin's Heritage takes listeners on an eight-song exploration to the roots of human knowledge, before spirituality became "organized."

Where are we really from? Through "Ancient Family" to "One Last Swim," we meet the seeker of truth, looking for wisdom from our prediluvian ancestors. Water and the ocean serve as repeated metaphors in a storyline of healing through spiritual awareness.

Recorded, in part, at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, a National Historic Landmark where congregations have sought truth with open hearts and minds since its founding in 1772, the album's inception and creation echo its motives and message. Heritage is about getting to the shared roots of humanity, and following that all the way out to the branches where the forbidden fruit-the muffin, sweet and simple-begs to be plucked and consumed. But don’t take a bite without an open heart.

Heritage-it's more than a place on the map. In their sixth and most purposeful album to date, Dangermuffin's Heritage takes listeners on an eight-song exploration to the roots of human knowledge, before spirituality became "organized."

Where are we really from? Through "Ancient Family" to "One Last Swim," we meet the seeker of truth, looking for wisdom from our prediluvian ancestors. Water and the ocean serve as repeated metaphors in a storyline of healing through spiritual awareness.

Recorded, in part, at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, a National Historic Landmark where congregations have sought truth with open hearts and minds since its founding in 1772, the album's inception and creation echo its motives and message. Heritage is about getting to the shared roots of humanity, and following that all the way out to the branches where the forbidden fruit-the muffin, sweet and simple-begs to be plucked and consumed. But don’t take a bite without an open heart.

(Early Show) Matt Light with Special Guest Ray Zawodni

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

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

(Late Show) Ray Zawodni with special guest Matt Light

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

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

Stephen Kellogg's 2017 Postcard Tour with Special Guest Emily Hearn

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

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

Frankie Rose with Special Guest Suburban Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Electric Six with Special Guest Groves

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

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

Club Cafe's Monthly Open Stage October Edition with Host Singer-Songwriter Rachel Lynne

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 Rachel Lynne

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 Rachel Lynne

Wayne 'The Train' Hancock with Special Guest The Damaged Pies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Early Show) Joshua Davis presents The Way Back Home Tour with Special Guest Aris Paul

A tried and true Michigan musician, Joshua Davis is set to release a new album, The Way Back Home, on September 8, 2017. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, The Way Back Home is Davis' latest full-length studio album and first since his 2015 appearances as a Top 3 finalist on NBC’s "The Voice" (season 8). The 11 original Americana songs featured on The Way Back Homereflect an honest, hardworking family man scribing scenes of the cycle of life through dark, broken, hopeful, and triumphant times.

An upbringing that occupied the urban landscapes of Detroit while spending summers in the wilderness on the southern tip of Lake Superior in Marquette, MI brings into view the backdrop of Davis' latest works. The Way Back Home follows a series of singular recordings (Fool Rooster, Magnolia Belles, A Miracle of Birds) by the prolific songwriter who has shared the stage with a “Who’s Who” of American folk music icons such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Greg Brown, and Abigail Washburn. Recorded in East Lansing, MI by legendary engineer Glenn Brown, The Way Back Home highlights Davis’ longtime collaboration with Jack White’s bassist Dominic John Davis, pianist Mike Lynch (Willie Nelson, Leon Russell), and drummer Mike Shimmin (The Olllam).

Already a heavily touring/recording artist with his previous band Steppin’ In It (who have released five albums) and as a solo act with five albums under his name, getting a call from “The Voice” was completely out of the blue for Davis. Unfamiliar with the show, he initially rejected the inquiry but the producers were persistent. After being convinced by his wife and allowed to skip the auditions, Davis signed up for an incredible six months in the national TV spotlight. He went on to sing high profile duets with Sheryl Crow (Live Finale: “Give It To Me”) and Adam Levine (Live Finale: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shows”), and he helped break the mold of original material being showcased on “The Voice.” Davis was the first artist to sing an original on the show, which spawned the later segment, “This Week of Original Songs.”

Davis entered the recording sessions for The Way Back Home with a well-oiled machine of a voice primed for the collaboration with Steve Berlin. His rough-n-tumble grit mixes with an undeniable Midwesterner’s charm for a soaring vocal performance on The Way Back Home. With his voice taking center stage, Davis’ signature lyricism and deft acoustic guitar work is backed by a trio of Michigan’s finest musicians.

“The Way Back Home is a very personal look at where I’ve been and who I’ve become,” says Davis. “In my 20’s, I felt like a disconnected ghost going town to town performing every night, and it just wasn’t a healthy life. I’ve learned many valuable lessons in how to be a better person, husband and father. Home grows and changes with or without you. If you don’t pull it together, it’ll leave you behind. I feel very reassured to have found stable ground in life and in a career that isn’t necessarily filled with security. The album takes listeners through my own trials and tribulations.”

A tried and true Michigan musician, Joshua Davis is set to release a new album, The Way Back Home, on September 8, 2017. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, The Way Back Home is Davis' latest full-length studio album and first since his 2015 appearances as a Top 3 finalist on NBC’s "The Voice" (season 8). The 11 original Americana songs featured on The Way Back Homereflect an honest, hardworking family man scribing scenes of the cycle of life through dark, broken, hopeful, and triumphant times.

An upbringing that occupied the urban landscapes of Detroit while spending summers in the wilderness on the southern tip of Lake Superior in Marquette, MI brings into view the backdrop of Davis' latest works. The Way Back Home follows a series of singular recordings (Fool Rooster, Magnolia Belles, A Miracle of Birds) by the prolific songwriter who has shared the stage with a “Who’s Who” of American folk music icons such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Greg Brown, and Abigail Washburn. Recorded in East Lansing, MI by legendary engineer Glenn Brown, The Way Back Home highlights Davis’ longtime collaboration with Jack White’s bassist Dominic John Davis, pianist Mike Lynch (Willie Nelson, Leon Russell), and drummer Mike Shimmin (The Olllam).

Already a heavily touring/recording artist with his previous band Steppin’ In It (who have released five albums) and as a solo act with five albums under his name, getting a call from “The Voice” was completely out of the blue for Davis. Unfamiliar with the show, he initially rejected the inquiry but the producers were persistent. After being convinced by his wife and allowed to skip the auditions, Davis signed up for an incredible six months in the national TV spotlight. He went on to sing high profile duets with Sheryl Crow (Live Finale: “Give It To Me”) and Adam Levine (Live Finale: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shows”), and he helped break the mold of original material being showcased on “The Voice.” Davis was the first artist to sing an original on the show, which spawned the later segment, “This Week of Original Songs.”

Davis entered the recording sessions for The Way Back Home with a well-oiled machine of a voice primed for the collaboration with Steve Berlin. His rough-n-tumble grit mixes with an undeniable Midwesterner’s charm for a soaring vocal performance on The Way Back Home. With his voice taking center stage, Davis’ signature lyricism and deft acoustic guitar work is backed by a trio of Michigan’s finest musicians.

“The Way Back Home is a very personal look at where I’ve been and who I’ve become,” says Davis. “In my 20’s, I felt like a disconnected ghost going town to town performing every night, and it just wasn’t a healthy life. I’ve learned many valuable lessons in how to be a better person, husband and father. Home grows and changes with or without you. If you don’t pull it together, it’ll leave you behind. I feel very reassured to have found stable ground in life and in a career that isn’t necessarily filled with security. The album takes listeners through my own trials and tribulations.”

(Late Show) Millvin and the Etnoids with Smoke Wizzzard & Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs!

Jessica Lea Mayfield with Special Guest Mal Blum - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Sorry Is Gone

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

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

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Sorry Is Gone

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

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

Pickwick with Special Guest The Elwins - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

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

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

Whitney Rose with Special Guest Northern Comfort

There are many useful rules to live by, but for Whitney Rose, there's one that stands alone as a guiding principle for life as she knows it: Rule 62. The origin of the rule is best summed up by the poignant, pronoun-adjusted excerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous' Tradition Four cited above, a treatise on how to find harmony between ambition and self-awareness, and how to learn one's lessons with humor and humility. This truism, officially worded as "Don't Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously," is the origin of both the title and ethos of Whitney Rose's forthcoming album, Rule 62.

The album is due out on October 6, 2017 on Six Shooter Records through Thirty Tigers.

Rewind to January 2017. Six months ago, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. (Rolling Stone noted that it "bristles with local flavor.") Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and "country hair" disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks' Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose's sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs. Playful yet uncompromising, Whitney Rose reminds us of popular music's rich history of strong female voices and perspectives, and on Rule 62, she channels her inner Nancy Sinatra, Bobbie Gentry and Françoise Hardy. Rule 62 finds Rose "breaking up with patriarchy," a breakup evidenced by new songs that show verve, swagger and self-assurance in Rose's instinctive sense of tone, broadened scope and attention to detail.

Consider "Can't Stop Shakin'" in the context of the day it was recorded: January 20, 2017. With Malo on harmonies and rhythm guitars, Kenny Vaughan on lead guitar, and saxophones and organ in the mix, "Can't Stop Shakin'" was originally written as an anti-anxiety treatment in Memphis soul dance party form. Against an ominous political backdrop, the song now reverberates with an undercurrent of uncertainty and anger that reframes the self-calming shimmy as an act of protest. "'Can't Stop Shakin' started out as something I would sing to calm myself down." Rose says. "We recorded that song on Inauguration day and you could physically feel the divide between the public and the unrest in the air. I was in the studio that week every day for twelve hours on average, so realized my contribution was going to have to take place within the walls of Blackbird. So the song that started as a personal anthem got a rewrite that day."

Rule 62's "breakup" theme can be felt in songs like "Arizona" and "Time to Cry," two fiery, merciless tunes that show Rose at the end of her rope with the manipulation and discrimination of women in the music business and beyond. "For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, I started writing all these "breakup" songs that were mostly angry. I wasn't sure where all these feelings were coming from until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was penning these songs to society," she observes. These sharp-tongued send-offs come with a good dose of humor, and the result is a reassuring sense that Rose isn't letting anything grind her down.

Rose's rising resilience underpins the message of "Better to My Baby," a standout song that puts into practice the spirit and the letter of the album title. A tuneful take on moving on, the song is a measured spin on the traditional volatility of regret and jealousy that accompanies the end of a relationship. "Better To My Baby" also showcases Rose's adept handling of '60s pop conventions in its proud girl group nods: tinkling piano, buoyant harmonies and rueful romanticism.

Rule 62 is Rose's second release of 2017, and sees the songwriter's increased output matched by increased distinction. With so much touring now under the tires, it's no surprise that Rose's best work yet often explores her journeywoman's experience. "Meet Me in Wyoming" and "Trucker's Funeral" are emblematic of Rose's clever study of the musician-as-trucker analogy. "Trucker's Funeral," a Dolly-caliber yarn with a stranger-than-fiction twist, is in fact a true story: "I had a meeting at Bank of America here in Austin last year and when the meeting was over the teller told me about going to his grandfather's funeral here in Texas," Rose recounts. "He found out he had a full second family on the West Coast. His grandfather was a trucker and always on the road, so neither family had any idea. As he was telling me this story, I was jotting down lyrics on my banking papers because it was just too intriguing an experience not be made into a song."

Rule 62 boasts the first-class musicianship and studio instincts of collaborator and producer Raul Malo. The comfort and familiarity between the two made for a seamless return to the studio, this time with the added ear of Niko Bolas as co-producer. "Niko brought a lot to the table in the studio (when he wasn't sitting at his table at Waffle House). It allowed Raul to step down from the producer role from time to time and be a part of the band. That man can play and sing. One of my favorite parts of the album is the guitar solo on ‘You Never Cross My Mind' - that's all Raul," Rose observes appreciatively. Other musicians in the studio included Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) on drums, Jay Weaver (Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, The Mavericks) on bass; Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow) on piano; Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart) on steel; Aaron Till (Asleep at the Wheel) on the fiddle; and Kenny Vaughn (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams) on lead guitar.

There are many useful rules to live by, but for Whitney Rose, there's one that stands alone as a guiding principle for life as she knows it: Rule 62. The origin of the rule is best summed up by the poignant, pronoun-adjusted excerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous' Tradition Four cited above, a treatise on how to find harmony between ambition and self-awareness, and how to learn one's lessons with humor and humility. This truism, officially worded as "Don't Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously," is the origin of both the title and ethos of Whitney Rose's forthcoming album, Rule 62.

The album is due out on October 6, 2017 on Six Shooter Records through Thirty Tigers.

Rewind to January 2017. Six months ago, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. (Rolling Stone noted that it "bristles with local flavor.") Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and "country hair" disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks' Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose's sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs. Playful yet uncompromising, Whitney Rose reminds us of popular music's rich history of strong female voices and perspectives, and on Rule 62, she channels her inner Nancy Sinatra, Bobbie Gentry and Françoise Hardy. Rule 62 finds Rose "breaking up with patriarchy," a breakup evidenced by new songs that show verve, swagger and self-assurance in Rose's instinctive sense of tone, broadened scope and attention to detail.

Consider "Can't Stop Shakin'" in the context of the day it was recorded: January 20, 2017. With Malo on harmonies and rhythm guitars, Kenny Vaughan on lead guitar, and saxophones and organ in the mix, "Can't Stop Shakin'" was originally written as an anti-anxiety treatment in Memphis soul dance party form. Against an ominous political backdrop, the song now reverberates with an undercurrent of uncertainty and anger that reframes the self-calming shimmy as an act of protest. "'Can't Stop Shakin' started out as something I would sing to calm myself down." Rose says. "We recorded that song on Inauguration day and you could physically feel the divide between the public and the unrest in the air. I was in the studio that week every day for twelve hours on average, so realized my contribution was going to have to take place within the walls of Blackbird. So the song that started as a personal anthem got a rewrite that day."

Rule 62's "breakup" theme can be felt in songs like "Arizona" and "Time to Cry," two fiery, merciless tunes that show Rose at the end of her rope with the manipulation and discrimination of women in the music business and beyond. "For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, I started writing all these "breakup" songs that were mostly angry. I wasn't sure where all these feelings were coming from until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was penning these songs to society," she observes. These sharp-tongued send-offs come with a good dose of humor, and the result is a reassuring sense that Rose isn't letting anything grind her down.

Rose's rising resilience underpins the message of "Better to My Baby," a standout song that puts into practice the spirit and the letter of the album title. A tuneful take on moving on, the song is a measured spin on the traditional volatility of regret and jealousy that accompanies the end of a relationship. "Better To My Baby" also showcases Rose's adept handling of '60s pop conventions in its proud girl group nods: tinkling piano, buoyant harmonies and rueful romanticism.

Rule 62 is Rose's second release of 2017, and sees the songwriter's increased output matched by increased distinction. With so much touring now under the tires, it's no surprise that Rose's best work yet often explores her journeywoman's experience. "Meet Me in Wyoming" and "Trucker's Funeral" are emblematic of Rose's clever study of the musician-as-trucker analogy. "Trucker's Funeral," a Dolly-caliber yarn with a stranger-than-fiction twist, is in fact a true story: "I had a meeting at Bank of America here in Austin last year and when the meeting was over the teller told me about going to his grandfather's funeral here in Texas," Rose recounts. "He found out he had a full second family on the West Coast. His grandfather was a trucker and always on the road, so neither family had any idea. As he was telling me this story, I was jotting down lyrics on my banking papers because it was just too intriguing an experience not be made into a song."

Rule 62 boasts the first-class musicianship and studio instincts of collaborator and producer Raul Malo. The comfort and familiarity between the two made for a seamless return to the studio, this time with the added ear of Niko Bolas as co-producer. "Niko brought a lot to the table in the studio (when he wasn't sitting at his table at Waffle House). It allowed Raul to step down from the producer role from time to time and be a part of the band. That man can play and sing. One of my favorite parts of the album is the guitar solo on ‘You Never Cross My Mind' - that's all Raul," Rose observes appreciatively. Other musicians in the studio included Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) on drums, Jay Weaver (Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, The Mavericks) on bass; Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow) on piano; Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart) on steel; Aaron Till (Asleep at the Wheel) on the fiddle; and Kenny Vaughn (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams) on lead guitar.

Andrew Belle with Special Guest Praytell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Kimbrough (producer) 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gurf Morlix with Special Guest Vireo (Solo)

Visiting planet Gurf has always been an enlightening experience. After all, this Gurf Morlix fellow - Buffalo born, Texas bred - has provided us with countless indelible musical moments in the last 40-plus years: his exemplary guitar and production work with Lucinda Williams; his instrumental accompaniment to artists ranging from Blaze Foley to Warren Zevon; his production of watermark albums for artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen and Mary Gauthier - and, since 2000, a series of eight solo records that have a singular worldview and can be both harrowing and heartening, often at the same time.
Now, prepare yourself for "The Soul And The Heal". Gurf Morlix's ninth album is another chapter in a songbook that pithily relates the human condition. But though Morlix's signatures are still present on this masterstroke - lyrics that don't waste a syllable, instrumentation without a spare note - there is also a hopefulness and vulnerability not always readily evident on his recent releases. The fact that "The Soul And The Heal" is pivotal for Gurf is immediately clear from the striking front cover image of a heart-shaped cherry with its pit exposed, and from the stark title that he says speaks to "the healing of the soul from all the damage we inflict on ourselves".
It would be too easy to attribute Gurf's evolution to the fact that in February 2016 he suffered a heart attack while dead stopped in the fast lane, in a traffic jam, on his way to a gig. In fact these new songs were all written before this episode, from which he has fully recovered. But there's no doubt the emotions stirred by the unexpected December 2014 passing of Gurf's musical mate, rock keyboard legend Ian McLagan, contributed to the career pinnacle that "The Soul And The Heal" is for Morlix.
The album was recorded at his Rootball home studio. Morlix comes by his musical minimalism naturally: "It's the way my brain is wired. I like to hear everything clearly." It's a solitary sound, different from the sonics he brought to his outside productions - but, as always, it's anchored by Morlix's sinewy, expressive guitar. The other constant is drummer Rick Richards - who shares Morlix's straightforward aesthetic (and whose rhythms Gurf echoes with two foot drums during his almost 100 solo gigs a year).
This batch of songs yields the expected Morlix darkness and humor, but woven between are numbers imbued with a warm light. The call to positive action on "Move Someone," the mindfulness of "Right Now" and the sensitive finale "The Best We Can" balance this focused collection, an album that manages to run the gamut of emotions without being cloying or obvious.
With "The Soul And The Heal" Morlix continues to create his own singular musical universe, but the yin and yang of his outlook has never been as in sync as it is now, making it even more inviting to join him on Planet Gurf.

Jody Denberg 2017

Visiting planet Gurf has always been an enlightening experience. After all, this Gurf Morlix fellow - Buffalo born, Texas bred - has provided us with countless indelible musical moments in the last 40-plus years: his exemplary guitar and production work with Lucinda Williams; his instrumental accompaniment to artists ranging from Blaze Foley to Warren Zevon; his production of watermark albums for artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen and Mary Gauthier - and, since 2000, a series of eight solo records that have a singular worldview and can be both harrowing and heartening, often at the same time.
Now, prepare yourself for "The Soul And The Heal". Gurf Morlix's ninth album is another chapter in a songbook that pithily relates the human condition. But though Morlix's signatures are still present on this masterstroke - lyrics that don't waste a syllable, instrumentation without a spare note - there is also a hopefulness and vulnerability not always readily evident on his recent releases. The fact that "The Soul And The Heal" is pivotal for Gurf is immediately clear from the striking front cover image of a heart-shaped cherry with its pit exposed, and from the stark title that he says speaks to "the healing of the soul from all the damage we inflict on ourselves".
It would be too easy to attribute Gurf's evolution to the fact that in February 2016 he suffered a heart attack while dead stopped in the fast lane, in a traffic jam, on his way to a gig. In fact these new songs were all written before this episode, from which he has fully recovered. But there's no doubt the emotions stirred by the unexpected December 2014 passing of Gurf's musical mate, rock keyboard legend Ian McLagan, contributed to the career pinnacle that "The Soul And The Heal" is for Morlix.
The album was recorded at his Rootball home studio. Morlix comes by his musical minimalism naturally: "It's the way my brain is wired. I like to hear everything clearly." It's a solitary sound, different from the sonics he brought to his outside productions - but, as always, it's anchored by Morlix's sinewy, expressive guitar. The other constant is drummer Rick Richards - who shares Morlix's straightforward aesthetic (and whose rhythms Gurf echoes with two foot drums during his almost 100 solo gigs a year).
This batch of songs yields the expected Morlix darkness and humor, but woven between are numbers imbued with a warm light. The call to positive action on "Move Someone," the mindfulness of "Right Now" and the sensitive finale "The Best We Can" balance this focused collection, an album that manages to run the gamut of emotions without being cloying or obvious.
With "The Soul And The Heal" Morlix continues to create his own singular musical universe, but the yin and yang of his outlook has never been as in sync as it is now, making it even more inviting to join him on Planet Gurf.

Jody Denberg 2017

An Evening With 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.'"

An evening of Roots and Blues with Grant Dermody & Frank Fotusky with Special Guests Sutton & Barath

Grant Dermody

There's more than one way to describe a musician's expertise. One angle is how an instrument sounds under their command, yet another is what their playing actually does to you. In the case of harmonica master Grant Dermody, these precious elements are inseparable – and also incomparable. Just one note arrives and you are temporarily transformed, awakened by something wholly original.

In this Seattle native's hands, the harp rumbles like a freight train, sidles up like a soul singer, purrs like an electric cat, rings out in a rhythmic dance. Pair it up with his voice, a strikingly honest vocal approach that resonates in the direct center of your chest, and the intrigue just increases.

The swamps of Louisiana, the wide open skies of Montana - all that's deep and sweet and awe-inspiring about Americana and its musical roots - reside there. There's simply nothing like the growling grace that emanates from Grant Dermody.


Frank Fotusky

Frank Fotusky's handling of the country blues is kinda like a burlap sack made with silk instead of jute. It's that old familiar weave, that old familiar shape. But damn, it sure is smooth. Or to vary my metaphor, the genuine article viewed through a very clean pane of glass." Peter James, Promoter

The release of Frank Fotusky's second CD, 'Meet Me In the Bottom, only confirms what many of us have known for years: that Frank is one of the premier acoustic blues stylists in the nation. Frank has studied the masters-from Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell to Robert Johnson and Bo Carter-but he's no mere imitator. His inventive arrangements, splendid picking and soulful singing make for the complete blues package. - Ian Zack, Author 'Say No To The Devil-The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis.'


Sutton & Barath

Chris Sutton, from Huntington, WV, is the type of songwriter and performer who can transport the listener to a distant time and place through his music, a trait that is not easily attained. With a voice that belies the hardscrabble life of a late night troubadour, he guides you on a journey that you may not have intended to take, but you'll be glad you did!

In addition to being a gifted and engaging performer, Chris has a catalogue of original material, some of which you can find on his solo CD, 'The Sun Studio Recordings', recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, that stands up next to anything available in the Blues/Roots genre. He has toured the Eastern U.S. as well as Italy, India and Nepal, and made friends and fans everywhere he's gone.

Charlie Barath, harmonica player and vocalist from Western Pennsylvania, has made a name for himself in the region and beyond through his traditional style, outgoing stage presence and his affable demeanor on and off the bandstand. He has been in love with traditional music since he can remember and displays that affection through the playing of his instrument of choice, the humble ten-hole diatonic harmonica. Sought after by bands and performers in the region to join them in various musical projects, Charlie manages to please audiences wherever he goes.

Chris and Charlie perform as an acoustic duo in and around the upper Ohio Valley and have toured regionally and throughout the Midwest and the South. They perform original music as well as classic American Roots and Blues, and are available for booking at Festivals, Concerts, Art Centers, Clubs, and House Concerts.

Grant Dermody

There's more than one way to describe a musician's expertise. One angle is how an instrument sounds under their command, yet another is what their playing actually does to you. In the case of harmonica master Grant Dermody, these precious elements are inseparable – and also incomparable. Just one note arrives and you are temporarily transformed, awakened by something wholly original.

In this Seattle native's hands, the harp rumbles like a freight train, sidles up like a soul singer, purrs like an electric cat, rings out in a rhythmic dance. Pair it up with his voice, a strikingly honest vocal approach that resonates in the direct center of your chest, and the intrigue just increases.

The swamps of Louisiana, the wide open skies of Montana - all that's deep and sweet and awe-inspiring about Americana and its musical roots - reside there. There's simply nothing like the growling grace that emanates from Grant Dermody.


Frank Fotusky

Frank Fotusky's handling of the country blues is kinda like a burlap sack made with silk instead of jute. It's that old familiar weave, that old familiar shape. But damn, it sure is smooth. Or to vary my metaphor, the genuine article viewed through a very clean pane of glass." Peter James, Promoter

The release of Frank Fotusky's second CD, 'Meet Me In the Bottom, only confirms what many of us have known for years: that Frank is one of the premier acoustic blues stylists in the nation. Frank has studied the masters-from Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell to Robert Johnson and Bo Carter-but he's no mere imitator. His inventive arrangements, splendid picking and soulful singing make for the complete blues package. - Ian Zack, Author 'Say No To The Devil-The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis.'


Sutton & Barath

Chris Sutton, from Huntington, WV, is the type of songwriter and performer who can transport the listener to a distant time and place through his music, a trait that is not easily attained. With a voice that belies the hardscrabble life of a late night troubadour, he guides you on a journey that you may not have intended to take, but you'll be glad you did!

In addition to being a gifted and engaging performer, Chris has a catalogue of original material, some of which you can find on his solo CD, 'The Sun Studio Recordings', recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, that stands up next to anything available in the Blues/Roots genre. He has toured the Eastern U.S. as well as Italy, India and Nepal, and made friends and fans everywhere he's gone.

Charlie Barath, harmonica player and vocalist from Western Pennsylvania, has made a name for himself in the region and beyond through his traditional style, outgoing stage presence and his affable demeanor on and off the bandstand. He has been in love with traditional music since he can remember and displays that affection through the playing of his instrument of choice, the humble ten-hole diatonic harmonica. Sought after by bands and performers in the region to join them in various musical projects, Charlie manages to please audiences wherever he goes.

Chris and Charlie perform as an acoustic duo in and around the upper Ohio Valley and have toured regionally and throughout the Midwest and the South. They perform original music as well as classic American Roots and Blues, and are available for booking at Festivals, Concerts, Art Centers, Clubs, and House Concerts.

David Archuleta

Platinum-selling pop star David Archuleta doesn't like attention, but he deserves yours.

At 6 years old, Archuleta, who grew up on a steady diet of musicals like Les Misérables and Evita, developed a love for singing as a way to find solace in the comfort of his backyard. Before long, family, friends and neighbors started to notice, and at 9 years old, coaxed by the promise of free quesadillas, he was singing for crowds at a local restaurant. And in 2007, when the
then-16-year-old (now 26), appeared on American Idol, the world started noticing. Receiving 44 percent of nearly 100 million votes, the shy, fresh-faced vocal prodigy was runner-up on the hit show's seventh season, finishing behind David Cook.

"I didn't really want to pursue fame and stardom," Archuleta, a devout Mormon, recalls. "But I felt like it was something I needed to do to fulfill one of the assignments I'd been given in my life."

A record deal with Sony/Jive Records, arena tours, a No. 2 single ("Crush") on the Billboard Hot
100, acclaim from the likes Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna, and international
fame followed. But even after running the gamut from Top 40 pop to holiday music on six
studio albums and 21 singles, released over the past decade, including a two-year break from
music to embark on life-changing missionary work in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, the TV personality, bestselling author and former Star Search Junior Vocal
Champion and one of American Idol's youngest breakout wunderkinds was still just finding his
voice.

"I think American Idol, the whole process, from the momentum on afterwards, I never took time to slow down and think about who I was," the singer says. "People wanted me to work in an adult world without growing up. ... When I went on my mission, it was the first time that I
took time to say, ‘Who am I? What do I want?'

"When I got back, I started doing music again, and that's when I started working on this project."

He's talking about a series of three four-song EPs that, due out over the course of this year (and later as a full-length LP with additional songs), starting with the May 19th release of Orion, combine to make a heartfelt artistic statement. Unburdened by the pressures and
focus-group-think of industry handlers, yet set to pop tones sure to pleasantly surprise old fans and attract new followers to his already robust global fan base, it's the first album the singer's co-written and recorded as an adult.

"The music is all about saying, ‘Wait a second, why am I doing this in the first place?' "
Archuleta says, explaining where his head was at when he relocated to Nashville to start writing
songs with Music City luminaries like Jeremy Bose, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig, producer Jamie
Kenney and others.

"It was therapeutic working with them," Archuleta recalls. "I wrote these stories [my career so far]. ... That was a great experience and I learned a ton, and now I'm here and I'm like, ‘Wow! I get to create music, but this time I have my own reason to do it."

"I connect to my songs more now than I ever have," he goes on to say. "Before, my team had goals to fulfill; they didn't really care about my story, they were just like, ‘Make sure you have enough love songs that we can release, because that's what people want to buy.' I've never been about romance and breakups and high school love and all that. I've always been about life, and self-introspection."

"I think I'll take a second change," Archuleta sings with a familiar bell-clear powerhouse croon on lead-off single "Numb," an airy pop tune with a refreshing calypso feel that shows some of the Utah-by-way-of-Miami native's Latin roots. The track premiered via Billboard last November.


"This is like a new beginning," Archuleta explains excitedly, saying he's never felt so intrinsically fulfilled and electrified by his own music. "It's not just taking another chance with music, it's taking another chance on myself. ... I need to be who I am or else I'll go numb again."

Like with "Numb," the theme of the anthemic "Invincible" turns the phrase its title suggests.

"[It's] about not having to be invincible," Archuleta says. "I've felt too many times that I need to be perfect, I need to be invincible, I can't show any weakness. But really, that's what creates
the battle with myself. ... [Then I have to tell myself], ‘It's OK, you can let go. Let the armor down. Put the sword away.' "

That idea carries on through Orion's "Up All Night." It's a dance-pop gem Archuleta wrote about a rural Tennessee fishing trip he took with a family he befriended. Coming during a rough patch he was having in Nashville, the trip gave the singer some much-needed perspective at a time when he was imposing a paralyzing amount of pressure on himself to prove himself.


"They just cared about each other," Archuleta says of the family. "Whoever I was, they just loved me and accepted me, and made me feel like a was a part of the family. ... I felt whole again, I feel rejuvenated, and I went home and I couldn't sleep that night. And all that
happened was I went fishing with this family. I was like, ‘I have to get this feeling out of me.' So
I went over to the keyboard and ["Up All Night"] is what came out."

"Say Me," a string-section-boasting ballad co-written with Bose and Dabbs, is another rumination on the singer's battle for self-discovery. "I need you to say me," the lyric goes.


"That can be interpreted as a love song," Archuleta admits. "I need you to say you, basically — believe in yourself. ... There's a difference between being prideful and cocky and believing in yourself."

After a decade under the discerning eyes of American Idol judges, TV viewers, record label
know-it-alls and music critics trying to shape and define his identity, Archuleta has discovered he's the only one who can find himself, and, with confidence winning out over self-doubt, that's what he's done on Orion.


"These songs are about the struggle of finding your own voice and how hard it can be sometimes to believe in yourself. ... I'm David. I'm the kid who always sat in his backyard, alone, singing to the cats. I don't have to be cool, I just have to be David."

Platinum-selling pop star David Archuleta doesn't like attention, but he deserves yours.

At 6 years old, Archuleta, who grew up on a steady diet of musicals like Les Misérables and Evita, developed a love for singing as a way to find solace in the comfort of his backyard. Before long, family, friends and neighbors started to notice, and at 9 years old, coaxed by the promise of free quesadillas, he was singing for crowds at a local restaurant. And in 2007, when the
then-16-year-old (now 26), appeared on American Idol, the world started noticing. Receiving 44 percent of nearly 100 million votes, the shy, fresh-faced vocal prodigy was runner-up on the hit show's seventh season, finishing behind David Cook.

"I didn't really want to pursue fame and stardom," Archuleta, a devout Mormon, recalls. "But I felt like it was something I needed to do to fulfill one of the assignments I'd been given in my life."

A record deal with Sony/Jive Records, arena tours, a No. 2 single ("Crush") on the Billboard Hot
100, acclaim from the likes Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna, and international
fame followed. But even after running the gamut from Top 40 pop to holiday music on six
studio albums and 21 singles, released over the past decade, including a two-year break from
music to embark on life-changing missionary work in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, the TV personality, bestselling author and former Star Search Junior Vocal
Champion and one of American Idol's youngest breakout wunderkinds was still just finding his
voice.

"I think American Idol, the whole process, from the momentum on afterwards, I never took time to slow down and think about who I was," the singer says. "People wanted me to work in an adult world without growing up. ... When I went on my mission, it was the first time that I
took time to say, ‘Who am I? What do I want?'

"When I got back, I started doing music again, and that's when I started working on this project."

He's talking about a series of three four-song EPs that, due out over the course of this year (and later as a full-length LP with additional songs), starting with the May 19th release of Orion, combine to make a heartfelt artistic statement. Unburdened by the pressures and
focus-group-think of industry handlers, yet set to pop tones sure to pleasantly surprise old fans and attract new followers to his already robust global fan base, it's the first album the singer's co-written and recorded as an adult.

"The music is all about saying, ‘Wait a second, why am I doing this in the first place?' "
Archuleta says, explaining where his head was at when he relocated to Nashville to start writing
songs with Music City luminaries like Jeremy Bose, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig, producer Jamie
Kenney and others.

"It was therapeutic working with them," Archuleta recalls. "I wrote these stories [my career so far]. ... That was a great experience and I learned a ton, and now I'm here and I'm like, ‘Wow! I get to create music, but this time I have my own reason to do it."

"I connect to my songs more now than I ever have," he goes on to say. "Before, my team had goals to fulfill; they didn't really care about my story, they were just like, ‘Make sure you have enough love songs that we can release, because that's what people want to buy.' I've never been about romance and breakups and high school love and all that. I've always been about life, and self-introspection."

"I think I'll take a second change," Archuleta sings with a familiar bell-clear powerhouse croon on lead-off single "Numb," an airy pop tune with a refreshing calypso feel that shows some of the Utah-by-way-of-Miami native's Latin roots. The track premiered via Billboard last November.


"This is like a new beginning," Archuleta explains excitedly, saying he's never felt so intrinsically fulfilled and electrified by his own music. "It's not just taking another chance with music, it's taking another chance on myself. ... I need to be who I am or else I'll go numb again."

Like with "Numb," the theme of the anthemic "Invincible" turns the phrase its title suggests.

"[It's] about not having to be invincible," Archuleta says. "I've felt too many times that I need to be perfect, I need to be invincible, I can't show any weakness. But really, that's what creates
the battle with myself. ... [Then I have to tell myself], ‘It's OK, you can let go. Let the armor down. Put the sword away.' "

That idea carries on through Orion's "Up All Night." It's a dance-pop gem Archuleta wrote about a rural Tennessee fishing trip he took with a family he befriended. Coming during a rough patch he was having in Nashville, the trip gave the singer some much-needed perspective at a time when he was imposing a paralyzing amount of pressure on himself to prove himself.


"They just cared about each other," Archuleta says of the family. "Whoever I was, they just loved me and accepted me, and made me feel like a was a part of the family. ... I felt whole again, I feel rejuvenated, and I went home and I couldn't sleep that night. And all that
happened was I went fishing with this family. I was like, ‘I have to get this feeling out of me.' So
I went over to the keyboard and ["Up All Night"] is what came out."

"Say Me," a string-section-boasting ballad co-written with Bose and Dabbs, is another rumination on the singer's battle for self-discovery. "I need you to say me," the lyric goes.


"That can be interpreted as a love song," Archuleta admits. "I need you to say you, basically — believe in yourself. ... There's a difference between being prideful and cocky and believing in yourself."

After a decade under the discerning eyes of American Idol judges, TV viewers, record label
know-it-alls and music critics trying to shape and define his identity, Archuleta has discovered he's the only one who can find himself, and, with confidence winning out over self-doubt, that's what he's done on Orion.


"These songs are about the struggle of finding your own voice and how hard it can be sometimes to believe in yourself. ... I'm David. I'm the kid who always sat in his backyard, alone, singing to the cats. I don't have to be cool, I just have to be David."

(Early Show) Daphne Willis with Special Guest Chris Hannigan

Collaborating across multiple genres ranging from Roots-Rock and Pop to Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music, classifying Daphne Willis in musical terms is no easy task. With infectious melodies delivered with lyrical precision and honesty, the songs and performances of Daphne Willis are sincere, compelling and relevant.

Raised in Chicago, Daphne now calls Nashville, TN home and cites influences as varied as Elvis Costello and Michael Jackson, but her musical output cleverly incorporates such inspirations into a style that is refreshing and contemporary in a way that suits her songs best.

With over 1,000 shows under her belt over the past several years, Daphne has been spreading her music to passionate fans across the United States. Her infectious personality combined with her incredible talent caught the eyes and ears of Sony/ATV Music Publishing in early 2016 who quickly signed Daphne to a worldwide publishing agreement. This partnership has resulted in several of her songs being recorded by other artists and used in Commercial, Film and TV productions such as One Tree Hill, Empire and a Microsoft Ad Campaign.

Collaborating across multiple genres ranging from Roots-Rock and Pop to Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music, classifying Daphne Willis in musical terms is no easy task. With infectious melodies delivered with lyrical precision and honesty, the songs and performances of Daphne Willis are sincere, compelling and relevant.

Raised in Chicago, Daphne now calls Nashville, TN home and cites influences as varied as Elvis Costello and Michael Jackson, but her musical output cleverly incorporates such inspirations into a style that is refreshing and contemporary in a way that suits her songs best.

With over 1,000 shows under her belt over the past several years, Daphne has been spreading her music to passionate fans across the United States. Her infectious personality combined with her incredible talent caught the eyes and ears of Sony/ATV Music Publishing in early 2016 who quickly signed Daphne to a worldwide publishing agreement. This partnership has resulted in several of her songs being recorded by other artists and used in Commercial, Film and TV productions such as One Tree Hill, Empire and a Microsoft Ad Campaign.

(Late Show) Gregg Johnson (of Courier) / Scott and Rosanna

Matthew Mayfield

Matthew Mayfield is an unpredictable artist who has spent the past decade releasing material ranging from haunting acoustic ballads to gritty, southern rock and roll. His latest LP, RECOIL, is a sonic and lyrical departure from his previous release, Wild Eyes. Wild Eyes was a collection of songs created over time that reflected different periods in Matthew’s life. RECOIL, by contrast, was born quickly and violently, the fruit of an intense effort by Mayfield to depict the good, the bad, and the ugly in the present world he inhabits. If Wild Eyes was delicately chiseled into being, RECOIL was hewed into existence with hammers and claws. According to Mayfield, “making RECOIL was extremely hard—I had to drag the songs out of me and stick with them until they said exactly what I needed them to say.”

The result of this hard work is Mayfield’s most deeply personal album to date, one defined by brutal honesty and beautiful sound. Songs like "Raw Diamond Ring" and "Merry-Go-Round" speak of true love and hope, while "Indigo" is for anyone who has ever lost a loved one and expects to see them again in the next life. "History" and "God's Fault" ring the bells of betrayal, while "Turncoat" delivers a vicious dose of rage that will blow listeners back like the kick from a fired gun. Mayfield has always said that, “rock and roll isn’t a sound, it’s an attitude”. And that’s exactly what RECOIL provides: pure, unfiltered honesty, no matter the cost.

RECOIL was produced by Paul Moak, who Mayfield counts as, “one of the most gifted producers, players, songwriters, and overall artists I’ve ever met.” This is the third full-length album the two have recorded together, and Moak’s talents played a major role in making RECOIL special. While Moak’s fingerprints are all over the record, two of Mayfield’s favorite contributions are the introduction on “Long Way Down” and the piano and organ tracks on “Warfare On Repeat”. Mayfield and Moak also happen to be great friends, which Mayfield says, “helped us push each other along through the process.”

With each new record, Mayfield has grown in his ability to evoke a broad range of emotions in his listeners. “I want to create melodies and lyrics that move people, that make them feel something. Connection is everything, and music has a unique way of helping people connect to others and to parts of themselves that they might otherwise be unable to access.”

RECOIL is now available on all digital platforms worldwide and physical copies available on matthewmayfield.com

Matthew Mayfield is an unpredictable artist who has spent the past decade releasing material ranging from haunting acoustic ballads to gritty, southern rock and roll. His latest LP, RECOIL, is a sonic and lyrical departure from his previous release, Wild Eyes. Wild Eyes was a collection of songs created over time that reflected different periods in Matthew’s life. RECOIL, by contrast, was born quickly and violently, the fruit of an intense effort by Mayfield to depict the good, the bad, and the ugly in the present world he inhabits. If Wild Eyes was delicately chiseled into being, RECOIL was hewed into existence with hammers and claws. According to Mayfield, “making RECOIL was extremely hard—I had to drag the songs out of me and stick with them until they said exactly what I needed them to say.”

The result of this hard work is Mayfield’s most deeply personal album to date, one defined by brutal honesty and beautiful sound. Songs like "Raw Diamond Ring" and "Merry-Go-Round" speak of true love and hope, while "Indigo" is for anyone who has ever lost a loved one and expects to see them again in the next life. "History" and "God's Fault" ring the bells of betrayal, while "Turncoat" delivers a vicious dose of rage that will blow listeners back like the kick from a fired gun. Mayfield has always said that, “rock and roll isn’t a sound, it’s an attitude”. And that’s exactly what RECOIL provides: pure, unfiltered honesty, no matter the cost.

RECOIL was produced by Paul Moak, who Mayfield counts as, “one of the most gifted producers, players, songwriters, and overall artists I’ve ever met.” This is the third full-length album the two have recorded together, and Moak’s talents played a major role in making RECOIL special. While Moak’s fingerprints are all over the record, two of Mayfield’s favorite contributions are the introduction on “Long Way Down” and the piano and organ tracks on “Warfare On Repeat”. Mayfield and Moak also happen to be great friends, which Mayfield says, “helped us push each other along through the process.”

With each new record, Mayfield has grown in his ability to evoke a broad range of emotions in his listeners. “I want to create melodies and lyrics that move people, that make them feel something. Connection is everything, and music has a unique way of helping people connect to others and to parts of themselves that they might otherwise be unable to access.”

RECOIL is now available on all digital platforms worldwide and physical copies available on matthewmayfield.com

Humming House with Special Guest Becca Mancari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crystal Bowersox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shane Smith & The Saints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Early Show) Wyatt Cenac

Grammy nominated NY-based stand-up comedian Wyatt Cenac is also an Emmy and WGA Award winning performer, writer, and producer. Armed with an "attentive, inquisitive perspective" (AV Club) and an "hilariously understated style" (Paste Magazine), he has become a favorite of audiences and critics alike.

On June 30th, 2016, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac premiered on NBCUniversal's comedy-focused subscription-video service SeeSo. The digital series, based on the popular long-running weekly Brooklyn stage show, is a freewheeling mix of stand-up, music and other surprises, where anything can happen and anything is welcome. Night Train with Wyatt Cenac captures the amazing talent and spontaneity that has made the live show a staple of the New York comedy scene for the past three years. Wyatt hosts and executive produces the show.

On February 26th, 2016, A Special Thing Records released Wyatt’s third comedy album Furry Dumb Fighter. Wyatt's second hour standup special, Brooklyn, which he also directed, premiered on Netflix in October 2014. The special was also released as a limited edition vinyl-only album of the same title on Other Music, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Comedy Album. The TV hour was listed as one of the "11Best Standup Specials of 2014" by Vulture and was praised as "some of his best, funniest insights" by The AV Club. Wyatt's first hour special Comedy Person premiered
on Comedy Central in May 2011, earning him a spot on Paste Magazine's "Best
Comedians" list of that year. The album of the special was named one of the "Best
Comedy Albums of 2011" by Huffington Post.

Wyatt stars in the TBS ensemble alien abduction comedy series, People of Earth, alongside Alice Wetterlund and Ana Gasteyer. People of Earth is directed by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and produced by Conaco in association with Warner Horizon Television.

From 2008 to 2012, Wyatt was a writer and popular correspondent on the hit latenight Comedy Central series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he earned 3 Emmy Awards and one WGA award. He also spent three seasons writing for FOX’s King of the Hill. On the big screen, Wyatt has appeared in the mockumentary Jacqueline (Argentine), which screened at Sundance in early 2016, Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed film Sleepwalk With Me, David Cross' feature Hits, Darren Grodsky's independent film Growing Up (and Other Lies) and Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy, which was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. He also served as Executive Producer alongside Jay-Z on the feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which screened at Sundance in 2012 to rave reviews, with The New York Times describing the film as "a most lovely and meticulously handmade hodgepodge of art and feeling."

Grammy nominated NY-based stand-up comedian Wyatt Cenac is also an Emmy and WGA Award winning performer, writer, and producer. Armed with an "attentive, inquisitive perspective" (AV Club) and an "hilariously understated style" (Paste Magazine), he has become a favorite of audiences and critics alike.

On June 30th, 2016, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac premiered on NBCUniversal's comedy-focused subscription-video service SeeSo. The digital series, based on the popular long-running weekly Brooklyn stage show, is a freewheeling mix of stand-up, music and other surprises, where anything can happen and anything is welcome. Night Train with Wyatt Cenac captures the amazing talent and spontaneity that has made the live show a staple of the New York comedy scene for the past three years. Wyatt hosts and executive produces the show.

On February 26th, 2016, A Special Thing Records released Wyatt’s third comedy album Furry Dumb Fighter. Wyatt's second hour standup special, Brooklyn, which he also directed, premiered on Netflix in October 2014. The special was also released as a limited edition vinyl-only album of the same title on Other Music, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Comedy Album. The TV hour was listed as one of the "11Best Standup Specials of 2014" by Vulture and was praised as "some of his best, funniest insights" by The AV Club. Wyatt's first hour special Comedy Person premiered
on Comedy Central in May 2011, earning him a spot on Paste Magazine's "Best
Comedians" list of that year. The album of the special was named one of the "Best
Comedy Albums of 2011" by Huffington Post.

Wyatt stars in the TBS ensemble alien abduction comedy series, People of Earth, alongside Alice Wetterlund and Ana Gasteyer. People of Earth is directed by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and produced by Conaco in association with Warner Horizon Television.

From 2008 to 2012, Wyatt was a writer and popular correspondent on the hit latenight Comedy Central series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he earned 3 Emmy Awards and one WGA award. He also spent three seasons writing for FOX’s King of the Hill. On the big screen, Wyatt has appeared in the mockumentary Jacqueline (Argentine), which screened at Sundance in early 2016, Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed film Sleepwalk With Me, David Cross' feature Hits, Darren Grodsky's independent film Growing Up (and Other Lies) and Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy, which was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. He also served as Executive Producer alongside Jay-Z on the feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which screened at Sundance in 2012 to rave reviews, with The New York Times describing the film as "a most lovely and meticulously handmade hodgepodge of art and feeling."

(Late Show) Wyatt Cenac

Grammy nominated NY-based stand-up comedian Wyatt Cenac is also an Emmy and WGA Award winning performer, writer, and producer. Armed with an "attentive, inquisitive perspective" (AV Club) and an "hilariously understated style" (Paste Magazine), he has become a favorite of audiences and critics alike.

On June 30th, 2016, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac premiered on NBCUniversal's comedy-focused subscription-video service SeeSo. The digital series, based on the popular long-running weekly Brooklyn stage show, is a freewheeling mix of stand-up, music and other surprises, where anything can happen and anything is welcome. Night Train with Wyatt Cenac captures the amazing talent and spontaneity that has made the live show a staple of the New York comedy scene for the past three years. Wyatt hosts and executive produces the show.

On February 26th, 2016, A Special Thing Records released Wyatt’s third comedy album Furry Dumb Fighter. Wyatt's second hour standup special, Brooklyn, which he also directed, premiered on Netflix in October 2014. The special was also released as a limited edition vinyl-only album of the same title on Other Music, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Comedy Album. The TV hour was listed as one of the "11Best Standup Specials of 2014" by Vulture and was praised as "some of his best, funniest insights" by The AV Club. Wyatt's first hour special Comedy Person premiered
on Comedy Central in May 2011, earning him a spot on Paste Magazine's "Best
Comedians" list of that year. The album of the special was named one of the "Best
Comedy Albums of 2011" by Huffington Post.

Wyatt stars in the TBS ensemble alien abduction comedy series, People of Earth, alongside Alice Wetterlund and Ana Gasteyer. People of Earth is directed by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and produced by Conaco in association with Warner Horizon Television.

From 2008 to 2012, Wyatt was a writer and popular correspondent on the hit latenight Comedy Central series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he earned 3 Emmy Awards and one WGA award. He also spent three seasons writing for FOX’s King of the Hill. On the big screen, Wyatt has appeared in the mockumentary Jacqueline (Argentine), which screened at Sundance in early 2016, Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed film Sleepwalk With Me, David Cross' feature Hits, Darren Grodsky's independent film Growing Up (and Other Lies) and Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy, which was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. He also served as Executive Producer alongside Jay-Z on the feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which screened at Sundance in 2012 to rave reviews, with The New York Times describing the film as "a most lovely and meticulously handmade hodgepodge of art and feeling."

Grammy nominated NY-based stand-up comedian Wyatt Cenac is also an Emmy and WGA Award winning performer, writer, and producer. Armed with an "attentive, inquisitive perspective" (AV Club) and an "hilariously understated style" (Paste Magazine), he has become a favorite of audiences and critics alike.

On June 30th, 2016, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac premiered on NBCUniversal's comedy-focused subscription-video service SeeSo. The digital series, based on the popular long-running weekly Brooklyn stage show, is a freewheeling mix of stand-up, music and other surprises, where anything can happen and anything is welcome. Night Train with Wyatt Cenac captures the amazing talent and spontaneity that has made the live show a staple of the New York comedy scene for the past three years. Wyatt hosts and executive produces the show.

On February 26th, 2016, A Special Thing Records released Wyatt’s third comedy album Furry Dumb Fighter. Wyatt's second hour standup special, Brooklyn, which he also directed, premiered on Netflix in October 2014. The special was also released as a limited edition vinyl-only album of the same title on Other Music, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Comedy Album. The TV hour was listed as one of the "11Best Standup Specials of 2014" by Vulture and was praised as "some of his best, funniest insights" by The AV Club. Wyatt's first hour special Comedy Person premiered
on Comedy Central in May 2011, earning him a spot on Paste Magazine's "Best
Comedians" list of that year. The album of the special was named one of the "Best
Comedy Albums of 2011" by Huffington Post.

Wyatt stars in the TBS ensemble alien abduction comedy series, People of Earth, alongside Alice Wetterlund and Ana Gasteyer. People of Earth is directed by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and produced by Conaco in association with Warner Horizon Television.

From 2008 to 2012, Wyatt was a writer and popular correspondent on the hit latenight Comedy Central series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he earned 3 Emmy Awards and one WGA award. He also spent three seasons writing for FOX’s King of the Hill. On the big screen, Wyatt has appeared in the mockumentary Jacqueline (Argentine), which screened at Sundance in early 2016, Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed film Sleepwalk With Me, David Cross' feature Hits, Darren Grodsky's independent film Growing Up (and Other Lies) and Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy, which was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. He also served as Executive Producer alongside Jay-Z on the feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which screened at Sundance in 2012 to rave reviews, with The New York Times describing the film as "a most lovely and meticulously handmade hodgepodge of art and feeling."

(Early Show) Bonnie Bishop with Special Guests Dan Bubien & Shawn Mazzei of The Delta Struts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Late Show) Good Man with special guest Al Lesutis

Good Man is an original, melody driven, acoustic/electric hard rock band from Pittsburgh, Pa. The band consists of former members of the bands Stache and Stoney Kurtis and was formed in the early part of 2017. Good Man brings a professional edge with top notch musicianship and emphasis on strong vocal harmonies and soaring guitar lines. Their live show brings an energetic and fun atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. They are available for all types of shows including headlining, opening slots, festivals and charity events. Doug, Mike, Jason and Jon have been friends for years, but now together, they are Good Man.

Good Man is an original, melody driven, acoustic/electric hard rock band from Pittsburgh, Pa. The band consists of former members of the bands Stache and Stoney Kurtis and was formed in the early part of 2017. Good Man brings a professional edge with top notch musicianship and emphasis on strong vocal harmonies and soaring guitar lines. Their live show brings an energetic and fun atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. They are available for all types of shows including headlining, opening slots, festivals and charity events. Doug, Mike, Jason and Jon have been friends for years, but now together, they are Good Man.

An Evening with The Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pere Ubu with Special Guest Johnny Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Accidentals with Special Guest Jake Allen

THE ACCIDENTALS
ODYSSEY

With ODYSSEY, their extraordinary Sony Masterworks debut album, The Accidentals affirm their place among contemporary music's most original and adventurous new bands. Multi-instrumentalists Sav Buist and Katie Larson - joined on stage and in the studio by drummer Michael Dause - have crafted a genre all their own, fueled by their uniquely limitless approach to musicality and songcraft. As its title suggests, ODYSSEY is built upon the foundation of real life experience through adversity and finding strength in vulnerability, their five-year journey having brought them to this cusp moment. Lyrically powerful songs like "Earthbound" and the potent title track see the band embracing their choice to lead an unconventional life with all its many surprising twists and turns.

Named among Yahoo Music's "Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2017," The Accidentals' adventure began in their hometown of Traverse City, MI, when Larson, a sophomore cellist, and Buist, a junior violinist, were paired for a high school orchestra event. The gifted young musicians became fast friends and before long, bandmates. Having both grown up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalists for mothers, their shared influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.  

The past five years have seen The Accidentals perform over a thousand live shows, including headline dates, festival sets, and shared stages along such like-minded acts as Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, The Wailers, Joan Baez and others. 2015 saw the band embark on their first full-scale national tour, funded in part by an Indiegogo ‘online garage sale". That year's SXSW debut saw them hailed by Billboard for "displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops."  

Now, at long last, The Accidentals unveil their most compelling and finely honed work to date. From the orchestrated rock of "Memorial Day" to the album-closing "Ballad Tendered Gun" - surprisingly, The Accidentals' first instrumental to be included on an LP - ODYSSEY is a strikingly dynamic work, both layered and unhurried, bittersweet yet life-affirming. Rich with literary references, whispers of nostalgia, and an unstoppable sense of forward motion.

Multi-talented guitarist/keyboardist Jake Allen will join The Accidentals on stage as a special guest, filling in some of the colors and textures of ODYSSEY in live performances. The goal as ever is to experiment and experience, exploring new ideas and approaches while always staying true to their roots. With ODYSSEY, The Accidentals have conjured a truly one of its kind sound and vision, booming with free-thinking musicality, wisdom, and an understanding that growth is a process, not something that happens overnight. The Accidentals are already moving forward on their amazing journey, rolling down the windows on an open road towards someplace that's both true and transcendent.

THE ACCIDENTALS
ODYSSEY

With ODYSSEY, their extraordinary Sony Masterworks debut album, The Accidentals affirm their place among contemporary music's most original and adventurous new bands. Multi-instrumentalists Sav Buist and Katie Larson - joined on stage and in the studio by drummer Michael Dause - have crafted a genre all their own, fueled by their uniquely limitless approach to musicality and songcraft. As its title suggests, ODYSSEY is built upon the foundation of real life experience through adversity and finding strength in vulnerability, their five-year journey having brought them to this cusp moment. Lyrically powerful songs like "Earthbound" and the potent title track see the band embracing their choice to lead an unconventional life with all its many surprising twists and turns.

Named among Yahoo Music's "Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2017," The Accidentals' adventure began in their hometown of Traverse City, MI, when Larson, a sophomore cellist, and Buist, a junior violinist, were paired for a high school orchestra event. The gifted young musicians became fast friends and before long, bandmates. Having both grown up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalists for mothers, their shared influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.  

The past five years have seen The Accidentals perform over a thousand live shows, including headline dates, festival sets, and shared stages along such like-minded acts as Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, The Wailers, Joan Baez and others. 2015 saw the band embark on their first full-scale national tour, funded in part by an Indiegogo ‘online garage sale". That year's SXSW debut saw them hailed by Billboard for "displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops."  

Now, at long last, The Accidentals unveil their most compelling and finely honed work to date. From the orchestrated rock of "Memorial Day" to the album-closing "Ballad Tendered Gun" - surprisingly, The Accidentals' first instrumental to be included on an LP - ODYSSEY is a strikingly dynamic work, both layered and unhurried, bittersweet yet life-affirming. Rich with literary references, whispers of nostalgia, and an unstoppable sense of forward motion.

Multi-talented guitarist/keyboardist Jake Allen will join The Accidentals on stage as a special guest, filling in some of the colors and textures of ODYSSEY in live performances. The goal as ever is to experiment and experience, exploring new ideas and approaches while always staying true to their roots. With ODYSSEY, The Accidentals have conjured a truly one of its kind sound and vision, booming with free-thinking musicality, wisdom, and an understanding that growth is a process, not something that happens overnight. The Accidentals are already moving forward on their amazing journey, rolling down the windows on an open road towards someplace that's both true and transcendent.

(Early Show) townsppl (CD Release Show) with Special Guest Donora

townsppl is Alex Stanton’s performing and recording music project. Alex is a folk pop singer with a nice tone to his voice and imaginative lyrics and song concepts. A keen multi-instrumentalist, Alex works with crap parlor guitars, 60’s 2 knob tube amplifiers, chinese and american ukuleli (ukulelen?), his grandmother’s upright bass, an open piano that he describes as “intune-ish”, found percussion implements (he’s particularly interested in those that go “kssh” or “doonnmm”) and plenty of layered voices.

An entrepreneur and lifelong inventor, Alex builds his songs like little contraptions, tinkering to find the right balances of wood and wires, and of polish and scuff. While the dressings vary from the ornate to the austere, Alex’s north star is melody, especially those that are simple, relatable, memorable. The words are at once earnest and wry with subjects include stargazing existential ponderings, out-of-body vignettes and microscopic love songs to Alex’s sweet one.

Come show time Alex performs with 0-10 other people including backup singers and some tangly and dynamic vocal arrangements. townsppl has performed at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, South Park Amphitheatre and a number of other official and DIY spaces in Alex’s hometown of Pittsburgh. 2013’s care and feeding cracked the top 3 of WYEP 91.3’s top local albums list and was acclaimed for it’s state of the art hand assembled packaging, which could be cut and folded into a 14” venus fly trap sculpture (if you’re willing to cut the CD in half). Alex’s second full length twigs is scheduled to be released November 10th 2017 and rewards it’s listeners with the opportunity to build an open ended interpretive paper tree sculpture.

Alex is also the owner and founder of Sunburst School of Music, which since 2011 has helped thousands of kids and adults in the Pittsburgh area discover their passion for music.

townsppl is Alex Stanton’s performing and recording music project. Alex is a folk pop singer with a nice tone to his voice and imaginative lyrics and song concepts. A keen multi-instrumentalist, Alex works with crap parlor guitars, 60’s 2 knob tube amplifiers, chinese and american ukuleli (ukulelen?), his grandmother’s upright bass, an open piano that he describes as “intune-ish”, found percussion implements (he’s particularly interested in those that go “kssh” or “doonnmm”) and plenty of layered voices.

An entrepreneur and lifelong inventor, Alex builds his songs like little contraptions, tinkering to find the right balances of wood and wires, and of polish and scuff. While the dressings vary from the ornate to the austere, Alex’s north star is melody, especially those that are simple, relatable, memorable. The words are at once earnest and wry with subjects include stargazing existential ponderings, out-of-body vignettes and microscopic love songs to Alex’s sweet one.

Come show time Alex performs with 0-10 other people including backup singers and some tangly and dynamic vocal arrangements. townsppl has performed at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, South Park Amphitheatre and a number of other official and DIY spaces in Alex’s hometown of Pittsburgh. 2013’s care and feeding cracked the top 3 of WYEP 91.3’s top local albums list and was acclaimed for it’s state of the art hand assembled packaging, which could be cut and folded into a 14” venus fly trap sculpture (if you’re willing to cut the CD in half). Alex’s second full length twigs is scheduled to be released November 10th 2017 and rewards it’s listeners with the opportunity to build an open ended interpretive paper tree sculpture.

Alex is also the owner and founder of Sunburst School of Music, which since 2011 has helped thousands of kids and adults in the Pittsburgh area discover their passion for music.

(Late Show) Shane Torres with Special Guest John Dick Winters

Shane Torres is a New York based standup comedian, writer and actor originally from Fort Worth, TX. Having made his late night debut on Conan in 2016, you may have also seen him on Last Comic Standing or on IFC's Comedy Bang Bang. He was featured at the Montreal Just for laugh's festival as a New Faces in 2013 and was one of Comedy Central's Comics to Watch in 2012.

Shane has performed at many festivals all over the country including JFL, Outsidelands, RIOT LA, SF Sketchfest, Moontower, High Plains, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival and many more. Shane has appeared on popular podcast such as Savage Love and Comedy Bang Bang. He tours across the globe at comedy clubs, rock venues and theaters.

Shane's Comedy Central half hour and album will be released in fall 2017.

Shane Torres is a New York based standup comedian, writer and actor originally from Fort Worth, TX. Having made his late night debut on Conan in 2016, you may have also seen him on Last Comic Standing or on IFC's Comedy Bang Bang. He was featured at the Montreal Just for laugh's festival as a New Faces in 2013 and was one of Comedy Central's Comics to Watch in 2012.

Shane has performed at many festivals all over the country including JFL, Outsidelands, RIOT LA, SF Sketchfest, Moontower, High Plains, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival and many more. Shane has appeared on popular podcast such as Savage Love and Comedy Bang Bang. He tours across the globe at comedy clubs, rock venues and theaters.

Shane's Comedy Central half hour and album will be released in fall 2017.

Ian Ethan Case / Aaron Lefebvre

Acoustic double-neck guitarist and Candyrat recording artist Ian Ethan Case is quickly becoming recognized as “one of the most creative and engaging fingerstyle guitarists in the world” (International Center for Creativity.) After a decade of composing and performing around the country largely under the radar, in 2015 a viral facebook video of his song “Butter II” introduced his music to over 6 million listeners around the world in the course of a month. In addition to a record deal and endorsements with companies such as Ovation guitars and Boss pedals, 2016 provided extensive touring opportunities throughout Europe and the United States, including two performances with a full symphony orchestra. Fingerstyle legend Don Ross invited Case to open for him in Ross’ then-hometown of Toronto, later describing his performance as “some of the most massively inventive musicianship I’ve ever heard/seen.” Other listeners have described his music as a cross between Michael Hedges and Pat Metheny.

His latest album, Earth Suite (coming October 2017), features nearly a dozen musicians from all over the globe, including four-time Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen and internationally acclaimed percussionist Jamey Haddad. While the studio album features a large group and dense orchestration, Case brings much of that expansive sound to his 2017-2018 concert performances thanks to live looping and sound specialist Stephanie Case who records, layers, and manipulates Ian’s playing on the spot for a dynamic, truly symphonic effect that defies the typical “solo musician with a loop pedal” stereotype. As one first-time listener in California exclaimed, “Ian’s music is phenomenal - watching him play is not ‘listening to music’; it’s a full mind experience. Transporting.”

Acoustic double-neck guitarist and Candyrat recording artist Ian Ethan Case is quickly becoming recognized as “one of the most creative and engaging fingerstyle guitarists in the world” (International Center for Creativity.) After a decade of composing and performing around the country largely under the radar, in 2015 a viral facebook video of his song “Butter II” introduced his music to over 6 million listeners around the world in the course of a month. In addition to a record deal and endorsements with companies such as Ovation guitars and Boss pedals, 2016 provided extensive touring opportunities throughout Europe and the United States, including two performances with a full symphony orchestra. Fingerstyle legend Don Ross invited Case to open for him in Ross’ then-hometown of Toronto, later describing his performance as “some of the most massively inventive musicianship I’ve ever heard/seen.” Other listeners have described his music as a cross between Michael Hedges and Pat Metheny.

His latest album, Earth Suite (coming October 2017), features nearly a dozen musicians from all over the globe, including four-time Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen and internationally acclaimed percussionist Jamey Haddad. While the studio album features a large group and dense orchestration, Case brings much of that expansive sound to his 2017-2018 concert performances thanks to live looping and sound specialist Stephanie Case who records, layers, and manipulates Ian’s playing on the spot for a dynamic, truly symphonic effect that defies the typical “solo musician with a loop pedal” stereotype. As one first-time listener in California exclaimed, “Ian’s music is phenomenal - watching him play is not ‘listening to music’; it’s a full mind experience. Transporting.”

Dryjacket

Hailing from Marlton, New Jersey, indie rock band Dryjacket draw on emo, punk-pop, and math rock with less weighty results. Formed in 2014 by lead singer/guitarist Joe Junod, who had some songs in hand, guitarists Brad Wyllner and Ian Foley, and drummer Adam Cerdan, the band made an impression quickly. After some rehearsing and a few house shows, they opened multiple shows for Somos, and were contacted by Hopeless Records within months of forming. The label released the quartet's debut EP, Lights, Locks, & Faucets, in 2015. The band did a short headlining tour of the Great Lakes region in early 2016 before hitting the road in support of Yellowcard. Dryjacket's first full-length album, For Posterity, arrived in January 2017. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi

Hailing from Marlton, New Jersey, indie rock band Dryjacket draw on emo, punk-pop, and math rock with less weighty results. Formed in 2014 by lead singer/guitarist Joe Junod, who had some songs in hand, guitarists Brad Wyllner and Ian Foley, and drummer Adam Cerdan, the band made an impression quickly. After some rehearsing and a few house shows, they opened multiple shows for Somos, and were contacted by Hopeless Records within months of forming. The label released the quartet's debut EP, Lights, Locks, & Faucets, in 2015. The band did a short headlining tour of the Great Lakes region in early 2016 before hitting the road in support of Yellowcard. Dryjacket's first full-length album, For Posterity, arrived in January 2017. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi

Will Dailey

Will Dailey is an acclaimed independent recording and performing artist. His sound has been described as having a rich vintage vibe while having a firm appreciation of AM rock, pop and big hooks leading famed Rock journalist Dan Aquilante to call him “the real deal”. Dailey's latest album, National Throat, has been met with stellar reviews, over 8 million spins on Spotify, top 20 on Billboard Heat Seeker chart and won Album of the Year in the Boston Music Awards, New England Music Awards and Improper Bostonian Magazine. Dailey, who is already a three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer/Songwriter also won Artist of the Year in 2014 and best male vocalist in 2015 and 2016. Most recently in 2016 he shared the stage with Eddie Vedder in Chicago this summer, joining him for 5 songs for the Hot Stove Cool Music Benefit and was direct support for G Love’s summer tour. In June of 2013 he was featured on a Stephen King/John Mellencamp project produced by T Bone Burnett called Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County and, in that same year, also released an original song he wrote inspired by Jack Kerouac's Tristessa. In September of 2013 he played his fourth Farm Aid Concert along side Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp. Dailey's music has been featured on over 50 TV programs and films and is now back in the studio recording some exclusive material for fans. Dailey has become an artist to watch not just now but indefinitely. “Dailey’s latest album makes it clear that good songwriting isn’t a matter of hiding behind shiny production or an over-stylized persona. His music doesn’t contain a note of pretense. If anything, it is committed to the beauty of simplicity. National Throat is a statement about the value of creativity and the survival of art. Dailey believes the truth will find its way out, that what is real and beautiful will rise to the top.” - Jon Karr, New York Minute Magazine, May 2015

Will Dailey is an acclaimed independent recording and performing artist. His sound has been described as having a rich vintage vibe while having a firm appreciation of AM rock, pop and big hooks leading famed Rock journalist Dan Aquilante to call him “the real deal”. Dailey's latest album, National Throat, has been met with stellar reviews, over 8 million spins on Spotify, top 20 on Billboard Heat Seeker chart and won Album of the Year in the Boston Music Awards, New England Music Awards and Improper Bostonian Magazine. Dailey, who is already a three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer/Songwriter also won Artist of the Year in 2014 and best male vocalist in 2015 and 2016. Most recently in 2016 he shared the stage with Eddie Vedder in Chicago this summer, joining him for 5 songs for the Hot Stove Cool Music Benefit and was direct support for G Love’s summer tour. In June of 2013 he was featured on a Stephen King/John Mellencamp project produced by T Bone Burnett called Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County and, in that same year, also released an original song he wrote inspired by Jack Kerouac's Tristessa. In September of 2013 he played his fourth Farm Aid Concert along side Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp. Dailey's music has been featured on over 50 TV programs and films and is now back in the studio recording some exclusive material for fans. Dailey has become an artist to watch not just now but indefinitely. “Dailey’s latest album makes it clear that good songwriting isn’t a matter of hiding behind shiny production or an over-stylized persona. His music doesn’t contain a note of pretense. If anything, it is committed to the beauty of simplicity. National Throat is a statement about the value of creativity and the survival of art. Dailey believes the truth will find its way out, that what is real and beautiful will rise to the top.” - Jon Karr, New York Minute Magazine, May 2015

An Evening With California Guitar Trio

The universe of guitar knows no boundaries for The California Guitar Trio. Since 1991, the group has enthralled listeners with a singular sound that fearlessly crisscrosses genres. The trio’s questing spirit drives it to explore the intersections between rock, jazz, classical, and world music. It even throws in the occasional surf or spaghetti Western tune for good measure.

Comprised of Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya and Paul Richards, the group has established a unique, personal connection with audiences. In addition to dazzling musicianship and interplay, The California Guitar Trio's (CGT) shows are full of captivating stories and humor that enable concertgoers to feel like they're part of the music, not just spectators. In fact, the group’s goal is to transcend their instruments, so people focus on the music first, and its considerable technical prowess a distant second.

CGT's 15 albums, streamed over 59 million times on Pandora, offer diverse snapshots of the group’s mercurial muse. The trio’s most recent release Komorebi showcases its acoustic side, with beautiful lush originals and innovative cover arrangements of Beatles, Beach Boys and more. Other highlights include Masterworks and album of classical works, with expansive takes on Bach, Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, and Schubert. Andromeda, which combines their many influences into a visionary album of original material; CG3+2, an exploration of kinetic rock territory in collaboration with bassist Tony Levin and drummer Pat Mastelotto; and Echoes, which reimagines timeless material by artists such as Mike Oldfield, Penguin Café Orchestra, Pink Floyd, and Queen.

The trio’s output has made a major global impact, having served as the soundtrack for Olympics coverage, and programs on CNN, CBS, NBC, and ESPN. They have fans in high places too: Nasa used their music to wake the crew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

CGT's lineup is truly the sum of its distinct parts: A Utah native now residing in Los Angeles, Paul Richards immersed himself in rock, blues, jazz, and folk during his early days and while attending The University of Utah’s jazz guitar program. Bert Lams, originally from Belgium, graduated from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, specializing in classical guitar. Tokyo-born Hideyo Moriya began his guitar journey with surf music and British rock, before relocating to Boston to study at Berklee.

All three felt the call to push themselves to the limit by enrolling in Robert Fripp’s challenging Guitar Craft courses, where they first met in 1987. They went on to tour together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, before forming the California Guitar Trio in Los Angeles four years later.

Recently, the trio expanded its collaborative possibilities by working within a six-guitar format with the Montreal Guitar Trio. During these groundbreaking, highly-entertaining shows, the acts perform inventive arrangements of each other’s repertoire, and new music for guitar sextet.

25 years and 1,800+ gigs later, the CGT remains intensely committed to explore, evolve and communicate a wide-ranging musical worldview.

- By Anil Prasad

The universe of guitar knows no boundaries for The California Guitar Trio. Since 1991, the group has enthralled listeners with a singular sound that fearlessly crisscrosses genres. The trio’s questing spirit drives it to explore the intersections between rock, jazz, classical, and world music. It even throws in the occasional surf or spaghetti Western tune for good measure.

Comprised of Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya and Paul Richards, the group has established a unique, personal connection with audiences. In addition to dazzling musicianship and interplay, The California Guitar Trio's (CGT) shows are full of captivating stories and humor that enable concertgoers to feel like they're part of the music, not just spectators. In fact, the group’s goal is to transcend their instruments, so people focus on the music first, and its considerable technical prowess a distant second.

CGT's 15 albums, streamed over 59 million times on Pandora, offer diverse snapshots of the group’s mercurial muse. The trio’s most recent release Komorebi showcases its acoustic side, with beautiful lush originals and innovative cover arrangements of Beatles, Beach Boys and more. Other highlights include Masterworks and album of classical works, with expansive takes on Bach, Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, and Schubert. Andromeda, which combines their many influences into a visionary album of original material; CG3+2, an exploration of kinetic rock territory in collaboration with bassist Tony Levin and drummer Pat Mastelotto; and Echoes, which reimagines timeless material by artists such as Mike Oldfield, Penguin Café Orchestra, Pink Floyd, and Queen.

The trio’s output has made a major global impact, having served as the soundtrack for Olympics coverage, and programs on CNN, CBS, NBC, and ESPN. They have fans in high places too: Nasa used their music to wake the crew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

CGT's lineup is truly the sum of its distinct parts: A Utah native now residing in Los Angeles, Paul Richards immersed himself in rock, blues, jazz, and folk during his early days and while attending The University of Utah’s jazz guitar program. Bert Lams, originally from Belgium, graduated from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, specializing in classical guitar. Tokyo-born Hideyo Moriya began his guitar journey with surf music and British rock, before relocating to Boston to study at Berklee.

All three felt the call to push themselves to the limit by enrolling in Robert Fripp’s challenging Guitar Craft courses, where they first met in 1987. They went on to tour together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, before forming the California Guitar Trio in Los Angeles four years later.

Recently, the trio expanded its collaborative possibilities by working within a six-guitar format with the Montreal Guitar Trio. During these groundbreaking, highly-entertaining shows, the acts perform inventive arrangements of each other’s repertoire, and new music for guitar sextet.

25 years and 1,800+ gigs later, the CGT remains intensely committed to explore, evolve and communicate a wide-ranging musical worldview.

- By Anil Prasad

(Early Show) An Evening With David Wilcox

Cleveland-born David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, "Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me."

Cleveland-born David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, "Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me."

David Bazan with Special Guest Michael Nau

During transition, there is the urge to look backwards to figure out where we are supposed to go. It can be nostalgic; the golden haze that surrounds our selective memory. Sweet moments that make up our individual narratives, or the stories we tell each other to reinforce our collective identity.
But that glance backwards can distract us from where we are now and what it really means; from the sea change, from the tide that sweeps what we know away and leaves us unencumbered, shivering, and beginning again.
Care is that tide. The one that sneaks up behind us and washes everything away. That strips us of our armor and stops us mid-sentence. That brings us back to where we are.
As much of a follow-up to 2005's synth-heavy "Headphones" album as it is to last year's Blanco, Care also finds Bazan getting back to the calm minimalism of early Pedro The Lion. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Bazan and legendary Oregon-based producer Richard Swift, bare synthesizers dominate the tracks, giving Care an intimate, personal sound. The vocals are close, mirroring the experience from the front seat at a house show. Steady, sparse beats tie the ten tracks together, thrumming a boom-tap, boom-tap like a thread.
Care creates vignettes with characters that are both diverse and intertwined. The title track is the anthem and mission statement for the album; a plea for empathy drawn as much from the state of the political world as the personal one. It reminds us that as we get older we can be more careless, that as we grow we can also retreat into ourselves and forget the simple truth that other people matter. It is a call to the simplest route to fidelity - to care more.
But the road to being present, the call to the task of being ultimately kind, is not easy. Care fights with itself, pulling tracks from Bazan Monthly Vol 1. Religious imagery haunts secular thoughts on "Permanent Record", while "Sparkling Water" mourns the quiet death of distance where there was once intimacy. Later, "Inner Lives" tiptoes past the temptation to settle for comfort instead of closeness.
"Keep Trying" is the clearest call to action. A track you'd be forgiven for reading as an interpersonal story, but would then miss the universal truth within it, the chorus repeats:
Sometimes love isn't all that it's cracked up to be
Keep trying
With humming synthesizers bolstered by Swift's signature warble and fade, "Keep Trying" reiterates the core of Care - that we're too easily distracted from what's real and lasting in favor of what is easy and accessible. That what we do to each other is what we do to the world. That some imperfect things are worth preserving.
As Bazan moves forward with a new chapter as a solo performer and a solo artist, this record is a ballast against what would be so easy to do - to isolate. It is a ringing commitment to see things for what they are and to protect what is left. To love better.
Even if it isn't what it's cracked up to be.

During transition, there is the urge to look backwards to figure out where we are supposed to go. It can be nostalgic; the golden haze that surrounds our selective memory. Sweet moments that make up our individual narratives, or the stories we tell each other to reinforce our collective identity.
But that glance backwards can distract us from where we are now and what it really means; from the sea change, from the tide that sweeps what we know away and leaves us unencumbered, shivering, and beginning again.
Care is that tide. The one that sneaks up behind us and washes everything away. That strips us of our armor and stops us mid-sentence. That brings us back to where we are.
As much of a follow-up to 2005's synth-heavy "Headphones" album as it is to last year's Blanco, Care also finds Bazan getting back to the calm minimalism of early Pedro The Lion. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Bazan and legendary Oregon-based producer Richard Swift, bare synthesizers dominate the tracks, giving Care an intimate, personal sound. The vocals are close, mirroring the experience from the front seat at a house show. Steady, sparse beats tie the ten tracks together, thrumming a boom-tap, boom-tap like a thread.
Care creates vignettes with characters that are both diverse and intertwined. The title track is the anthem and mission statement for the album; a plea for empathy drawn as much from the state of the political world as the personal one. It reminds us that as we get older we can be more careless, that as we grow we can also retreat into ourselves and forget the simple truth that other people matter. It is a call to the simplest route to fidelity - to care more.
But the road to being present, the call to the task of being ultimately kind, is not easy. Care fights with itself, pulling tracks from Bazan Monthly Vol 1. Religious imagery haunts secular thoughts on "Permanent Record", while "Sparkling Water" mourns the quiet death of distance where there was once intimacy. Later, "Inner Lives" tiptoes past the temptation to settle for comfort instead of closeness.
"Keep Trying" is the clearest call to action. A track you'd be forgiven for reading as an interpersonal story, but would then miss the universal truth within it, the chorus repeats:
Sometimes love isn't all that it's cracked up to be
Keep trying
With humming synthesizers bolstered by Swift's signature warble and fade, "Keep Trying" reiterates the core of Care - that we're too easily distracted from what's real and lasting in favor of what is easy and accessible. That what we do to each other is what we do to the world. That some imperfect things are worth preserving.
As Bazan moves forward with a new chapter as a solo performer and a solo artist, this record is a ballast against what would be so easy to do - to isolate. It is a ringing commitment to see things for what they are and to protect what is left. To love better.
Even if it isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Pigpen Theatre Co.

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

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

Billy Price Band

Billy Price has been entertaining audiences in Pittsburgh, Pa., since the early 1970s. In April 2016, he was officially recognized and inducted as a Pittsburgh Rock ’n Roll Legend at an award ceremony sponsored by the Cancer Caring Center of Pittsburgh.

Members of the Billy Price Band are Steve Delach (guitar), Tom Valentine (bass), Dave Dodd (drums), Jimmy Britton (keyboards), and Eric DeFade (tenor sax).

Billy Price first attracted national attention during his three-year association with guitarist Roy Buchanan. Price is the vocalist on two of Buchanan's LPs, That's What I'm Here For and Livestock. Price assembled Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band in 1977. Before their breakup in 1990, the band recorded four critically acclaimed LPs and developed a reputation as one of the most exciting touring bands in the U.S. With the Keystone Rhythm Band, the Billy Price Band, and solo projects, Billy Price has recorded and released a total of 15 albums, CDs, and DVDs.

His album This Time for Real, with recently deceased Chicago soul singer Otis Clay, received a 2016 Blues Music Award by the Blues Foundation of Memphis, Tennessee in the category of Best Soul Blues Album. A live recording of the Billy Price Band, Alive and Strange, was released by Nola Blues/Vizztone Label Group in April 2017.

Billy Price has been entertaining audiences in Pittsburgh, Pa., since the early 1970s. In April 2016, he was officially recognized and inducted as a Pittsburgh Rock ’n Roll Legend at an award ceremony sponsored by the Cancer Caring Center of Pittsburgh.

Members of the Billy Price Band are Steve Delach (guitar), Tom Valentine (bass), Dave Dodd (drums), Jimmy Britton (keyboards), and Eric DeFade (tenor sax).

Billy Price first attracted national attention during his three-year association with guitarist Roy Buchanan. Price is the vocalist on two of Buchanan's LPs, That's What I'm Here For and Livestock. Price assembled Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band in 1977. Before their breakup in 1990, the band recorded four critically acclaimed LPs and developed a reputation as one of the most exciting touring bands in the U.S. With the Keystone Rhythm Band, the Billy Price Band, and solo projects, Billy Price has recorded and released a total of 15 albums, CDs, and DVDs.

His album This Time for Real, with recently deceased Chicago soul singer Otis Clay, received a 2016 Blues Music Award by the Blues Foundation of Memphis, Tennessee in the category of Best Soul Blues Album. A live recording of the Billy Price Band, Alive and Strange, was released by Nola Blues/Vizztone Label Group in April 2017.

(Late Show) The Monday Blues Revue

The Monday Blues Revue is a Pittsburgh-based band that has been performing their high-energy, eclectic mix of classic and modern blues music in all its forms: Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, Jump Blues, Blues Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Southern Rock, since 1997.

Their influences include Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bill Withers, The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy
Waters, and anybody that has created music based on America’s own unique musical form - the blues.


The band was formed by Chris Monday (drums, vocals) and his cousin, Tony Watson (guitar, vocals) with the hope of evangelizing the blues in Western Pennsylvania. Tom Altes (bass guitar, vocals) adds his unique musical background and tastes. Dave Baker (harmonica, keyboard, vocals) provides authentic, soulful harmonica and rich piano and Hammond B3 sounds. Chrissy Reynolds (congas, timbales, bongos, vocals) enhances the rhythmic texture with Latin influence. Jim Stamps (guitar, bass guitar, vocals) brings rich experience and versatility to the band.

The Monday Blues Revue is a Pittsburgh-based band that has been performing their high-energy, eclectic mix of classic and modern blues music in all its forms: Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, Jump Blues, Blues Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Southern Rock, since 1997.

Their influences include Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bill Withers, The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy
Waters, and anybody that has created music based on America’s own unique musical form - the blues.


The band was formed by Chris Monday (drums, vocals) and his cousin, Tony Watson (guitar, vocals) with the hope of evangelizing the blues in Western Pennsylvania. Tom Altes (bass guitar, vocals) adds his unique musical background and tastes. Dave Baker (harmonica, keyboard, vocals) provides authentic, soulful harmonica and rich piano and Hammond B3 sounds. Chrissy Reynolds (congas, timbales, bongos, vocals) enhances the rhythmic texture with Latin influence. Jim Stamps (guitar, bass guitar, vocals) brings rich experience and versatility to the band.

(Early Show) Wine and Spirit with Special Guests Hero Jr., and Vit DeBacco

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.

Chad VanGaalen with Special Guest Un Blonde

"Everyone was like, 'What the F? You're going to change your name to Banana Bread?!'"
Many of us are already making arrangements to relocate to Chad VanGaalen's universe. The world as we know it seems to be disintegrating by the minute, so any hint of a means of escape has serious currency. Over the last ten to fifteen years, CVG has been producing living maps in songs, drawings, modified instruments, animations and performances--shifting forms pointing to another world, infinitely more liveable, maybe hidden just under the surface of our own. But until now, the access point has been fairly unknown.
When I first visited Chad's home in Calgary, Alberta, years ago, he was working on plans to build a giant grinning monster head on his roof, which could be seen from the windows of a children's hospital on the hill overlooking. I also recall two young men at a show near the Banff Center for the Arts, calling him out on stage for an art piece he had made there years before: a literal piece of shit in a hot dog bun. This led to Chad and band improvising a new composition on the spot, with the chorus, "Shit In A Hot Dog Bun, Yeah."
Now, a father of two, the spooky-voiced multi-instrumentalist has several hundred releases to his name(s)*, has produced adventurous records and videos for some of the best bands of our time, is working on a feature-length animated science fiction film with companion book, and plays in two bands with his kids (the improvised hardcore punk duo, Crocodile Teeth & The Snugglers, and the live techno band, Banana Bread). At one point, Chad and his daughters conspired to replace the name, "Chad VanGaalen" with "Banana Bread," as his main performing identity.
CVG's blood flows by unrestrained creative impulses. He has never worked in a commercial recording studio. By his hands alone, one line, sound, shape or word leads organically to the next. In 2011, he wanted to score a science fiction film, so he started making one. The first episode of his animated feature, Translated Log of Inhabitants, should be released this year, with a fully illustrated D&D-esque compendium of 150 associated characters.
"It's like Bob and Doug McKenzie in space."
Shrink Dust, his fifth full-length album under his own name, is partially a score to this film, but it's also-in Chad's view-a country record.
Always a fan of esoteric instruments, Chad recently acquired an aluminum pedal steel guitar, and began trying to figure out how to play it: "It took me a month to set it up, and a year to be comfortable recording myself playing this thing." His experiments with this instrument unify the album, along with themes of death, transformation, fear, benign evil, and the eccentricity of love. A newfound affection for The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the sci-fi mysticism of the 1980s graphic novel The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, were also significant in recent years.
Somehow, with all of its disparate influences and components, Shrink Dust might be one of the most accessible moments in CVG's creative life, simply because it is more apparent than ever how much fun he is having blurring the lines between the vivid worlds of his creation, and the world his audience inhabits. For those who are open to it, Chad's adventures in music and art illuminate a path that is more colorful, playful, and sustainable than those commonly available to us. A path that is, most importantly, always changeable.
You can see and hear his alternate reality through the artifacts he offers up. But as it turns out, the only true access point into Chad VanGaalen's expanding universe is one's own will to create.
Find Chad: He's a monster.
*Gem Clouds, Garbage Island, Black Mold, Dub Tassels, Raw Operator, Inventions of Science
- Bryan Webb

"Everyone was like, 'What the F? You're going to change your name to Banana Bread?!'"
Many of us are already making arrangements to relocate to Chad VanGaalen's universe. The world as we know it seems to be disintegrating by the minute, so any hint of a means of escape has serious currency. Over the last ten to fifteen years, CVG has been producing living maps in songs, drawings, modified instruments, animations and performances--shifting forms pointing to another world, infinitely more liveable, maybe hidden just under the surface of our own. But until now, the access point has been fairly unknown.
When I first visited Chad's home in Calgary, Alberta, years ago, he was working on plans to build a giant grinning monster head on his roof, which could be seen from the windows of a children's hospital on the hill overlooking. I also recall two young men at a show near the Banff Center for the Arts, calling him out on stage for an art piece he had made there years before: a literal piece of shit in a hot dog bun. This led to Chad and band improvising a new composition on the spot, with the chorus, "Shit In A Hot Dog Bun, Yeah."
Now, a father of two, the spooky-voiced multi-instrumentalist has several hundred releases to his name(s)*, has produced adventurous records and videos for some of the best bands of our time, is working on a feature-length animated science fiction film with companion book, and plays in two bands with his kids (the improvised hardcore punk duo, Crocodile Teeth & The Snugglers, and the live techno band, Banana Bread). At one point, Chad and his daughters conspired to replace the name, "Chad VanGaalen" with "Banana Bread," as his main performing identity.
CVG's blood flows by unrestrained creative impulses. He has never worked in a commercial recording studio. By his hands alone, one line, sound, shape or word leads organically to the next. In 2011, he wanted to score a science fiction film, so he started making one. The first episode of his animated feature, Translated Log of Inhabitants, should be released this year, with a fully illustrated D&D-esque compendium of 150 associated characters.
"It's like Bob and Doug McKenzie in space."
Shrink Dust, his fifth full-length album under his own name, is partially a score to this film, but it's also-in Chad's view-a country record.
Always a fan of esoteric instruments, Chad recently acquired an aluminum pedal steel guitar, and began trying to figure out how to play it: "It took me a month to set it up, and a year to be comfortable recording myself playing this thing." His experiments with this instrument unify the album, along with themes of death, transformation, fear, benign evil, and the eccentricity of love. A newfound affection for The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the sci-fi mysticism of the 1980s graphic novel The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, were also significant in recent years.
Somehow, with all of its disparate influences and components, Shrink Dust might be one of the most accessible moments in CVG's creative life, simply because it is more apparent than ever how much fun he is having blurring the lines between the vivid worlds of his creation, and the world his audience inhabits. For those who are open to it, Chad's adventures in music and art illuminate a path that is more colorful, playful, and sustainable than those commonly available to us. A path that is, most importantly, always changeable.
You can see and hear his alternate reality through the artifacts he offers up. But as it turns out, the only true access point into Chad VanGaalen's expanding universe is one's own will to create.
Find Chad: He's a monster.
*Gem Clouds, Garbage Island, Black Mold, Dub Tassels, Raw Operator, Inventions of Science
- Bryan Webb

Kris Allen - Somethin' About Christmas Tour 2017

On New Year's Day in 2013, Kris Allen and his then-­pregnant wife Katy were in a head-­on collision that left the singer/songwriter/guitarist with a career-­threatening shattered wrist. In the two years that followed, he underwent three surgeries, re-­‐learned how to play guitar (despite regaining just 30 percent movement in the damaged wrist), recorded his third album, and toured relentlessly-including a two-­month-­long stint that started just one week after his accident. The American Idol season 8 winner ultimately retreated from the whirlwind and immersed himself in a songwriting spell that yielded more than 70 new tracks. Culled from that collection of songs, Allen's fourth full-­length album Letting You In finds the Nashville-based artist delivering his most intimate and dynamic work to date.

The follow-­up to 2014's Horizons, Letting You In builds off the soulful musicality Allen first showcased with his platinum-­selling 2009 single "Live Like We're Dying." But with its sophisticated songcraft and vulnerable lyrics, Letting You In reaches a new depth of feeling that infuses each track with undeniable emotional power. "Looking back, I think I tried to put off dealing with my feelings around the accident for as long as I could," says Allen. "But in the past year I've realized how much it all affected me, and that definitely came out in the writing of this album."

On New Year's Day in 2013, Kris Allen and his then-­pregnant wife Katy were in a head-­on collision that left the singer/songwriter/guitarist with a career-­threatening shattered wrist. In the two years that followed, he underwent three surgeries, re-­‐learned how to play guitar (despite regaining just 30 percent movement in the damaged wrist), recorded his third album, and toured relentlessly-including a two-­month-­long stint that started just one week after his accident. The American Idol season 8 winner ultimately retreated from the whirlwind and immersed himself in a songwriting spell that yielded more than 70 new tracks. Culled from that collection of songs, Allen's fourth full-­length album Letting You In finds the Nashville-based artist delivering his most intimate and dynamic work to date.

The follow-­up to 2014's Horizons, Letting You In builds off the soulful musicality Allen first showcased with his platinum-­selling 2009 single "Live Like We're Dying." But with its sophisticated songcraft and vulnerable lyrics, Letting You In reaches a new depth of feeling that infuses each track with undeniable emotional power. "Looking back, I think I tried to put off dealing with my feelings around the accident for as long as I could," says Allen. "But in the past year I've realized how much it all affected me, and that definitely came out in the writing of this album."

(Early Show) The Optimists

From the swampy basements of western PA come the roots-pop rumblings of The Optimists, four Pittsburgh music-scene lifers who still carry the torch for guitar-based verse/chorus songwriting, the likes of which hasn't been heard around these parts since radios had dials and phones plugged into the wall. They dig for hooks wherever they can find them and try to verbalize ideas in some kind of way that makes some kind of sense. To them, at least. Too young to be hip but too old to die, the Optimists are waging a war for the soul of rock 'n roll and they won't stop till Dorothy surrenders.

From the swampy basements of western PA come the roots-pop rumblings of The Optimists, four Pittsburgh music-scene lifers who still carry the torch for guitar-based verse/chorus songwriting, the likes of which hasn't been heard around these parts since radios had dials and phones plugged into the wall. They dig for hooks wherever they can find them and try to verbalize ideas in some kind of way that makes some kind of sense. To them, at least. Too young to be hip but too old to die, the Optimists are waging a war for the soul of rock 'n roll and they won't stop till Dorothy surrenders.

(Late Show) Ali Spagnola's Power Hour - Drinking Game Concert with Special Guest The Nerd Herders

Come experience the live Drinking Game Concert! Ali Spagnola will be playing her Power Hour Show. They play 60 of your favorite cover songs. All one minute long. Everyone cheers and drinks in between each song. Awesomeness ensues.

Come experience the live Drinking Game Concert! Ali Spagnola will be playing her Power Hour Show. They play 60 of your favorite cover songs. All one minute long. Everyone cheers and drinks in between each song. Awesomeness ensues.

(Early Show) An Evening With Griffin House

It is a true, and nowadays rare, musician who writes lyrics so vulnerable and authentic that an audience is irrevocably captured by the powerful experience of sharing the journey. An album that is essentially an autobiographical account of personal mistakes, change, and growth, offers listeners a chance to reflect on their own experiences and connect with another’s story.

With Griffin House’s upcoming album, So On And So Forth, it is clear the artist digs deep and offers up his narrative after much reflection. House is now a young family man and artist who is choosing sobriety and celebrating the path to his success, through songs which share his perspective on how people remember the past with rose-colored glasses, how we grow up and realize what we deeply need, and how we must find happiness in ourselves in the present.

“The record has a lot to do with recognizing the ego in one’s self and letting it die. It can feel like your whole identity is being wiped away, and you don’t even know who you are anymore. For the person singing these songs, holding on to one’s own individuality in order to remain special or important in the world has started to became far less important than being content with being a good, decent, and loving person. But old habits die hard,” adds House.

The project was tracked last summer at Lakehouse Recording Studios, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. House’s ties to Asbury Park go all the back to 2004, when he was invited to tour with Patti Scialfa. His first show in the boardwalk town was opening a show for Scialfa at the Paramount Theatre. It was there that Griffin met her husband, Bruce Springsteen, and all the wonderful characters in their crew and band. Those memories and experiences made returning to Asbury Park over a decade later to record So On And So Forth feel like a full circle moment in his career.

House recorded the essentially live project with no click track and very little overdubbing. Lakehouse owner, Jon Leidersdorff, helped assemble the band. Prior to walking into the studio, House had never met the musicians and had no idea how the songs would turn out. He adds, “The experience ended up being one of the most fun and positive of my career. The process was stress-free and freeing.” The resulting album reflects this journey -- a leap of faith with triumphant results.

Recording and performing for over a decade, House has toured with Ron Sexsmith, Patti Scialfa, Josh Ritter, John Mellencamp, Mat Kearney, and The Cranberries. He received early critical acclaim on the CBS Sunday Morning, and his songs have since been featured in countless films and television shows such as One Tree Hill, Army Wives, and Brothers and Sisters. He has also appeared on Late Night with Craig Ferguson. Most recently, CNN Newsroom invited House to perform “Paris Calling,” from So On and So Forth, live on the air, and the song has been picked up by radio prior to being serviced. House has released ten albums and continues to headline his own national tours. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Jane and their two daughters.

It is a true, and nowadays rare, musician who writes lyrics so vulnerable and authentic that an audience is irrevocably captured by the powerful experience of sharing the journey. An album that is essentially an autobiographical account of personal mistakes, change, and growth, offers listeners a chance to reflect on their own experiences and connect with another’s story.

With Griffin House’s upcoming album, So On And So Forth, it is clear the artist digs deep and offers up his narrative after much reflection. House is now a young family man and artist who is choosing sobriety and celebrating the path to his success, through songs which share his perspective on how people remember the past with rose-colored glasses, how we grow up and realize what we deeply need, and how we must find happiness in ourselves in the present.

“The record has a lot to do with recognizing the ego in one’s self and letting it die. It can feel like your whole identity is being wiped away, and you don’t even know who you are anymore. For the person singing these songs, holding on to one’s own individuality in order to remain special or important in the world has started to became far less important than being content with being a good, decent, and loving person. But old habits die hard,” adds House.

The project was tracked last summer at Lakehouse Recording Studios, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. House’s ties to Asbury Park go all the back to 2004, when he was invited to tour with Patti Scialfa. His first show in the boardwalk town was opening a show for Scialfa at the Paramount Theatre. It was there that Griffin met her husband, Bruce Springsteen, and all the wonderful characters in their crew and band. Those memories and experiences made returning to Asbury Park over a decade later to record So On And So Forth feel like a full circle moment in his career.

House recorded the essentially live project with no click track and very little overdubbing. Lakehouse owner, Jon Leidersdorff, helped assemble the band. Prior to walking into the studio, House had never met the musicians and had no idea how the songs would turn out. He adds, “The experience ended up being one of the most fun and positive of my career. The process was stress-free and freeing.” The resulting album reflects this journey -- a leap of faith with triumphant results.

Recording and performing for over a decade, House has toured with Ron Sexsmith, Patti Scialfa, Josh Ritter, John Mellencamp, Mat Kearney, and The Cranberries. He received early critical acclaim on the CBS Sunday Morning, and his songs have since been featured in countless films and television shows such as One Tree Hill, Army Wives, and Brothers and Sisters. He has also appeared on Late Night with Craig Ferguson. Most recently, CNN Newsroom invited House to perform “Paris Calling,” from So On and So Forth, live on the air, and the song has been picked up by radio prior to being serviced. House has released ten albums and continues to headline his own national tours. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Jane and their two daughters.

@clubcafelive

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