When Cris Jacobs began dreaming about a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Dust to Gold, he realized early on he'd have to do things differently this time around. His life had changed drastically since writing those songs: he'd toured extensively and attracted a legion of new, devoted fans; he'd come off the road into a world, with its divisive rhetoric and troubling headlines, he no longer recognized; and, most importantly, he'd gotten married and had his first child. Things had changed, and Jacobs had, too.
Color Where You Are is the work of an artist at an exciting new stage in his life and career, ready to use his talents to share a little beauty with the loved ones and fans who have already given so much to him. The title nods to Jacobs' experience writing the album, which, as he puts it, he had to do "between tours, coming home, changing diapers, fixing things around the house.... You name it." He no longer had the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike, so he colored where he was.
"It was a new discipline for me and a new level of focus that I think brought out the best work," he explains. "I feel like I grew up a little bit. There are people in my life who I truly care about and things in the world I feel deeply about. That really pushed me in a stronger direction and forced me to feel things on an honest level."
Opening track "Painted Roads," with its soulful groove and clever arrangement, is the perfect encapsulation of just how far Jacobs has come since releasing Dust to Gold. Jacobs is self-assured and confident in his soulful, infectious vocal, while his lyrical craftsmanship shows Jacobs to be a thoughtful songwriter who continuously strives to grow and evolve.
"It's about choosing to live in the present, and see the everyday details of the world, rather than postponing living or paying attention in hopes of some distant prize or destination," Jacobs says of "Painted Roads." "We get so caught up in 'success' and ambition, and are so goal-oriented, that we sometimes lose sight of the beauty in the everyday. 'Color where you are' is the notion of creating beauty now, no matter the circumstance."
"Painted Roads" was one of the first songs Jacobs and the band (who co-produced the album together) recorded for Color Where You Are, with his band mates taking Jacobs' original Tom Petty-inspired arrangement and giving it an off-kilter, syncopated groove. For the first time, Jacobs wrote the bulk of the album's songs in the studio, camping out at Richmond's Montrose Studios to flesh out "germs and ideas that had been floating around" with band members Todd Herrington (bass), Dusty Ray Simmons (drums/percussion) and Jonathan Sloane (guitar).
"I booked the studio time and put a gun to my head and that sometimes works," Jacobs says. "In this case it did. It feels like a specific time period and specific vibe and emotional space that came through in all of these songs. It was a really organic process."
While life as a family man changed Jacobs' perspective (and schedule), current events also had a profound impact on Jacobs' songwriting, with commentary on social and political issues finding its way into tracks like "Afterglow" and "Under the Big Top." Color Where You Are is a hopeful affair, though, with Jacobs employing thoughtful criticism and messages of empowerment instead of wallowing or ruminating.
"The political climate is causing a different sort of energy and angst in me thatâs never been there before," he explains. "Itâs not a political album by any means, but those forces out there certainly dictated a lot of the writing on this record."
On "Afterglow," Jacobs searches for optimism and healing in trying times. His emotional vocal is buoyed by a passionate, swelling performance from the band, making the track one of Color Where You Are's most poignant moments. "It's about the hope that after the storm we are currently trying to survive in, we will see true light like never before," Jacobs says. "That the constant threats to our foundations will cause us to examine and strengthen them, and come out the other side with stronger hearts and clearer vision. 'There will come horses, there will come voices' -- that we will be forced to show our true hand like never before because of our dire need to defend it."
Elsewhere, on "Under the Big Top," Jacobs channels swampy, gritty rock influences to shine a light on narrow-mindedness and lazy thinking. Crunchy riffs and a fat bass groove make the track, despite its heady message, one of the album's many songs you can't help but move to.
"'Under the Big Top' is commentary on societyâs evolution into gullible, easily distracted, lazy-mindedness," Jacobs says. â'Pretty lights junkie like a moth to candle,' always distracted by the brightest, loudest, biggest, rather than remembering how to seek for ourselves and find truth and love. We instead over-consume and are given every opportunity to do so. What we end up with is a circus of sorts, with tricksters and hucksters and loud mouths with no real value taking up all of our attention and ruling us, because we are too easily manipulated."
Grooves abound on Color Where You Are, as on standout track "Rooster Coop," which finds Jacobs and the band sniffing around the henhouse over greasy slide guitar, a deep, deep pocket and a truly funky bass line. "All I knew was that I wanted to write a song that merged country and funk," Jacobs says of "Roostr Coop." "We started out with the main groove of the tune and the first line that popped into my head was, 'Thereâs something funky in the barnyard.' So naturally, I wrote a song about a scandalous love tryst amongst farm animals."
Spanning rock, folk, soul and funk and drawing from inspiration that runs the gamut from the henhouse to the White House, Color Where You Are is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Cris Jacobs as a songwriter, musician and bandleader. It's the work of a devoted father and an empathetic member of the human race. More than that, it's a reminder that there's beauty to be found everywhere, if you just take a moment to color where you are.
"What am I trying to do with my music?" Jacobs muses. "The simple answer is this: Iâm trying to connect with people. To express real-life human emotions and make people feel things. To connect my love of music with my love of writing and conjure up all of the joy and emotions that those things bring to me. To hopefully have people walk away feeling lighter or happier or more inspired to go do something after listening... I want to create a body of work that my family will be proud of one day, and to show that I had compassion to the human condition and wasnât just a self-indulgent show off."
CANCELED - The Decibel Magazine Tour ft Mayhem, Abbath, Gatecreeper, Idle Hands
The Decibel Magazine Tour celebrates its ninth annual run with the ambitious pairing of legendary Norwegian black metal progenitors Mayhem with their countrymates of black ânâ roll heroes Abbath. Two more support acts, very much in the spirit of the adventurously curated Decibel Magazine Tourâs nearly decade-long history, will be announced in December.
Mayhem will return to North America for the first time in support of Daemon, their new record, which has been universally hailed as their greatest since the bandâs genre-defining debut, while the former Immortal frontman Abbath crabwalks back to the States and Canada in support of his bandâs stunning new Outstrider album.
Presented by Century Media Records, and sponsored by Relapse Records, Holy Mountain Printing and Season of Mist, the Decibel Magazine Tour is once again poised to be grimmest and most frostbitten heavy metal tour of the entire winter.
CANCELED - Big Gigantic - 3D Tour with Special Guest Ookay - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Originally from New Orleans, Sean Patton is a comedian, writer, storyteller, and performer based in New York. As a standup, he has appeared at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney International Comedy Festival, JFL Chicago, JFL Toronto, JFL Montreal (2008, 2010, 2012,
2016), Moontower Comedy Festival, RIOT LA, High Plains, SXSW, Outsidelands, Dublin Comedy Festival, NYCF, Bonnaroo, Nashville Comedy Festival and premiered his show NUMBER ONE at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017.
He has appeared on Comedy Centralâs Live at Gotham, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan (2011, 2013) and his Comedy Central Half Hour and album was released in 2013. Additionally, he can be seen on @midnight (2014, 2015), The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, This Is Not Happening (2015,2016,2017, 2019), Whatâs Your F@#king Deal?! and Vicelandâs Flophouse and Party Legends. On screen, he can be seen on IFC's Maron, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer and TruTV's Those Who Can't.
In 2019 he and co-host Caitlin Cook launched their podcast 5 Words on the All Things Comedy network.
POSTPONED - Bad Religion & Alkaline Trio with Special Guest War On Women - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Produced by longtime collaborator Dan Horne (Circles Around The Sun, Allah-Las),
Mapacheâs new album, From Liberty Street, captures the Los Angeles duo at their
finest, with Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch weaving airtight harmonies around stripped-
down, organic arrangements that blur the lines between traditional folk and modern
cosmic country. The songs here reckon with longing, desire, and change, and the
arrangements draw on everything from Hawaiian-steeped surf and Mexican boleros
(Blasucci spent two years living South of the border) to Bakersfield twang and
lonesome cowboy campfire tunes, all delivered with the kind of easygoing charm and
natural intuition usually reserved for blood brothers or married couples. Itâs an
instantly engaging chemistry the two share, a captivating musical bond that mirrors
the comfort, closeness, and camaraderie of the albumâs homespun roots.
âThis record is about as close to the sound of home as you can get,â says Blasucci.
âWe recorded it with a bunch of our friends in the house where we were living in a
neighborhood that we loved. The studio was right downstairs, so we had the freedom
to try all kinds of new ideas without any pressure or limitations. All the other folks
who lived in the house were musicians, too, so it made for this communal atmosphere
where everyone was always collaborating and creating together.â
The freedom of living where they recorded meant that Mapache could take their time
experimenting with sounds and textures in the studio, a far cry from the way the pair
captured their self-titled debut, which was cut live and raw around a single
microphone. Praised by Aquarium Drunkard as sounding like âa blazed up Everly
Brothersâ and given a six-star review by UK magazine Shindig, that record helped the
band earn festival appearances from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Pickathon, where
Rolling Stone named their set one of the weekendâs top highlights, as well as tour
dates with Chris Robinson, Beachwood Sparks, and Mandolin Orange among others. The
Boston Globe hailed the duoâs âintricate, intertwined acoustic guitar and close
harmonies wedded to simple, plainspoken lyrics,â while No Depression fell for their
âlilting melodies,â and Saving Country Music declared that the pair âcan fill up a room
with more soul soaring harmony than most symphonic assemblies.â The music also
caught the attention of veteran indie label Yep Roc Records, which recently reissued
the groupâs debut album in advance of From Liberty Streetâs arrival.
POSTPONED - Overcoats: The Fight Tour 2020 - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Shaving their heads, grabbing guitars, and pulling no punches, Overcoats etched a ten-song battle-cry on their second full-length album, The Fight [Loma Vista Recordings]. Their vision is not about picking up arms, but rather about picking oneself up. Itâs the kind of record that might inspire you to quit your job, run a marathon, divorce your husband, change your life in the way you always wanted to, but needed an extra push for. This is the pushâ¦
As New York-natives Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell wrapped up touring behind their critically acclaimed 2017 debut YOUNG, it seemed as though the world was collapsing around them. There was no choice but to fight. âWe lost friends to addiction and to gun violence, we were battling an extremely tough political climate, and feeling the weight of existential loneliness,â admits Hana, âWe had to learn how to take care of ourselves and each other in a different way.â âThere was a realization that we couldnât wait for life to get easier,â adds JJ. âThe idea you have to fight for who you are, what you want, and what you hope to see in the world became poignant for us. We realized the thing to do is not to wait for life to get easier, but to start fighting harder.â
So, they donned guitars in a shared New York city apartment and wrote the soundtrack to their fight. Hana and JJ personally assembled a team around themselves to help support their vision. Within a self-contained environment and under the watch of one London-based creative director, two LA-based producers, and, of course the two creators, the album came to life. They even self-produced a music video in which they shaved each otherâs heads. Yes, thatâs right. They shaved each otherâs heads. They agree, âWe decided it was time to take matters into our own hands and shock some people. We needed to become warriors to fight for the future we wish to see in the world.â
Inspired by everything from Young Marble Giants to The Violent Femmes to Iggy Pop, Overcoats rooted this next chapter in electric guitar and punk energy culled from nearly two years on the road. At the same time, they tempered the energy with a vulnerable vitality and irresistible catchiness. JJ explains, âThe new music is a bit grittier and more rock-leaning, but there has always been and will always be a through-line of our voices singing in harmony.â âThis album is going to break your heart, but also try to put it back together,â states Hana. âAllowing the guitar to dictate the sound, we tried to represent all of the stages of what this realization was. Itâs not just depression, anger, and sadness; itâs the motivational stage too. Itâs the pop song that helps to distract you from your sadness. Itâs a call-to-arms to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and fight to stay alive.â
In early 2019, they committed this vision to tape alongside producer Justin Raisen [Angel Olson, Charli XCX, Santigold] and Yves Rothman [Courtney Love, Yves Tumor, Miya Folick]. âWeâre always very D.I.Y.,â comments JJ. âWe werenât going to wait for some fancy producers and pop writers to pen us a record. We wrote it ourselves. We needed the right partners to record it. Thatâs Justin and his secret weapon, collaborator, Yves. Theyâre both as crazy as we are. They understood our vision: future-classic bangers.â
Finding a kindred creative spirit, Overcoats cranked out sticky sweet pop subversion tightened up to Swedish standards under a Seattle grunge haze â all initially born out garage band demos of guitar and voice, made in those apartments. Overcoats introduced this body of work with âThe Fool.â Neon synths, disco beats, and a hummable bass bop glimmer between catchy confessions such as âSomedays, Iâm a warrior. Somedays, Iâm out of my mind.â It culminates on an immediately irresistible gang vocal chant upheld by glitchy distortion.
âWe wrote it based on âThe Foolâ tarot card,â says JJ. âIt signifies taking a leap of faith and jumping into the unknown. Conceptually, it felt like the beginning of the project. We wiped the slate clean and decided to jump. Thatâs why the video includes the footage of us shaving our heads. Weâre âThe Foolâ; weâre making our leap.â âItâs an empowering message,â continues Hana. âI donât need to be defined by the opinions of others or go with the status quo; I can be myself.â
Rattling percussion and resounding keys underscore âLeave If You Wanna,â which builds towards a melancholically danceable bridge. JJ states, âItâs about stubbornness and ego that will get you in a lot of trouble in fights with your partner, family, or anyone. Perhaps, itâs the doubt that creeps in after you jump.â
âKeep The Faithâ hinges on fuzzed-out nineties guitars and a hunkering drum roll as it transmits a stark valentine between the battle. âItâs a straight-up love song,â Hana goes on. âWe decide to let our armor down, because youâve got to keep the faith.â
âFire & Furyâ encapsulates many of the themes. JJ writes, âItâs a battle-cry against climate change and the myopic vision of those in power. Itâs also an intimate look at a perpetual fight with your partner.â Hana responds, âThrough the darkness, there is light. We have to have hope even as the world around us appears to crumble or go up in flames.â The track remains dark and brooding as well as hopeful and anthemic. An understatedly pop pre-chorus mounts in the background. Soon, a thunderous kick drops into a wall of guitars and synth bass as the duo scream, âThereâs a fire, thereâs a fury. Sky is falling, but weâll get through it.â
At some point, all ten songs incorporate the word âFight.â The title track sums up the vision as a whole. âItâs representative of what the story is,â explains Hana. âThe word manifested itself in every lyric, but it goes back to our first call about the theme. Late one night, JJ called me and said, âI wrote something, I think itâs called âThe Fightâ. It applied to everything we felt. The more the shit hit the fan, the more it became so relevant.â When Hana heard the song she said, ââThe Fight,â â thatâs what this story is called.â And then, they both cried.
â Each song on this record draws on the concept of fighting - whether itâs a fight with a significant other, a fight for rights and representation in politics, or a fight against inner demons,â says Hana.
Overcoats draw the same unfettered emotion from listeners. Since forming out of a Wesleyan dorm room in 2015, Hana and JJ quietly molded provocative pop into power. YOUNG stood out as âone of the Top 5 bestselling albums from a debut artist on an independent label in 2017,â bowed at #4 on the Alternative New Albums Chart, and landed at #12 on the Heatseekers Chart. Billboard touted YOUNG among âThe Best Albums of 2017 â Critics Pick,â and NPR Music named it the â#4 Album of 2017â in addition to praise from New York Times, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and more. Additionally, they toured alongside Mitski, Tennis, Rhye, Matt Corby, The Japanese House, and Joseph.
By crafting and recording The Fight, they continue their journey, encouraging listeners to fight alongside them. âI want people to feel revved up,â Hana leaves off. âI want them to feel like things they thought were futile are possible. I want them to feel excited for the future. We have to keep trying. In trying, I want people to feel powerful in who they are.â
POSTPONED - Dan Deacon with Special Guests Ed Schrader's Music Beat - Presented by Opus One & WPTS Radio
How do you make something solid, beautiful, and built to last in a time of cultural chaos and personal doubt? With Mystic Familiar, Dan Deacon gives us the stunning result of years of obsessive work, play, and self-discovery. Itâs at once his most emotionally open record and his most transcendent, 11 kaleidoscopic tracks of majestic synth-pop that exponentially expand his sound with unfettered imagination and newfound vulnerability.
Since 2015âs Gliss Riffer, Deacon has branched out from his core body of work as a popular recording artist into a dizzying array of collaborative projects: scoring eight films, including the feature documentaries Rat Film and Time Trial (both released as LPs on Domino Soundtracks) and HBOâs Well Groomed; collaborating with the New York City Balletâs resident choreographer Justin Peck on the dance piece The Times Are Racing; performing expanded arrangements of his music with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and for the first time producing and co-writing an album by another artist, Ed Schraderâs Music Beatâs alt-rock dynamo Riddles.
But as varied and fulfilling as these projects were, they all lacked one thing: Deaconâs voice. And in the midst of that whirlwind of activity, he returned whenever he could to a personal oasis -- the songs that would become Mystic Familiar, informed by all these collaborations but built from within. Propelled by the unprecedented response to Gliss Riffer highlight âWhen I Was Done Dyingâ and the exquisite-corpse animated video that vividly amplified that songâs narrative odyssey of multiverse-traveling post-life energy, Deaconâs writing took an exploratory new direction. He further developed this new material with daily prompts from Brian Enoâs deck of Oblique Strategies and the use of meditation to access that inner well of creativity David Lynch describes in Catching the Big Fish. These techniques, in tandem with his newly adopted therapeutic practices of self-compassion and mindfulness, produced Dan Deacon songs that go places far beyond those his music has traveled before -- songs that wield the profundity of a philosopher and the absurdity of a court jester as they paint life as a psychedelic journey brimming with bliss and disruption, darkness and light.
Mystic Familiarâs opening track âBecome a Mountainâ immediately announces itself as something new, for the first time ever on record presenting Danâs natural singing voice, unprocessed and with only minimal accompaniment. When Deacon proclaims âI rose upâ here, it is Dan Deacon singing in the first person as Dan Deacon -- a startlingly vulnerable shift in a songbook abundant with characters, metaphors, and distorted vocals. As other ornate voices answer this unadorned I, weâre introduced to the albumâs central concept and titular character: the Mystic Familiar, that supernatural other being that we carry with us everywhere in our head, which only we can hear and with whom we live our lives in eternal conversation. âHypnagogicâ takes us deeper into Deaconâs mind, a synth swirl similar to those which have begun his recent performances, absorbing the pulse of the room and extending that abstract moment in which a journey begins.
From there, Mystic Familiar takes a propulsive leap with the robotic drums and soaring melodies of âSat By a Tree,â lyrically conjuring both a campfire gathering of friends reflecting on key memories with the hard-won clarity of time ("It may only last a moment, but a moment can last a lifetime in your mindâ) and a dialogue with an anthropomorphic tree that asks âWhat would you cast into existence if you contained the persistence to unwind?â Deaconâs personal, freeing answer comes by the songâs end, in the cathartic acts of declaring a creative work finished and sharing it with others -- even while knowing âIt is out of my control what this world wants there to be told of me in time.â
The four-part âArpâ suite offers a dialectic view of life and aging. Opening chapters âArp I: Wide Eyedâ and âArp II: Float Awayâ envelope us in the joyful life-embrace of invincible youth -- a bliss suddenly punctured by the abrupt Pharoah Sanders-esque saxophone squall of Andrew Bernstein in âArp III: Far From Shore,â which hits the ears like a car crashing into a brick wall. Gradually, the song reconstitutes itself and swells again; the lyrics of the first movements repeat, but their tone has changed. This is life disrupted by unexpected tragedies and traumas, causing damage and self-doubt but also renewal and growth. âArp IV: Any Momentâ brings us face to face with death -- an end point perhaps different than any we ever imagined, but one that we nonetheless not only try to accept, but even embrace. These themes are revisited in standout track âFell Into the Ocean,â in which the water cycle consumes the body and reconstitutes it, post-life transforming into pre-life once again -- a process our Mystic Familiar eases us into with mantra-like refrains of âyou must relax before transcend.â
More than just a complete, polished, and satisfying record in an era of sound bites and disposability, Mystic Familiar is Dan Deaconâs first record in which each song was built around one thematic throughline, a meticulously realized landmark in a discography already marked by rich imagination and layered perfectionism. Mystic Familiar captures an established artist mindfully evolving his music from its playful beginnings to encompass a prismatic cosmos of quantum dimensionality. Itâs as addictive to listen to as it was for Deacon to work on -- a Mystic Familiar transmitted directly from Deaconâs mind to ours, a conversion of self-doubt into an enduring creative work which we can now carry with us in our ears wherever life takes us.
POSTPONED - King Buffalo - Dead Star Tour with Special Guests Cruces and Oregon Space Trail of Doom
King Buffalo will release their fourth EP, Dead Star, on March 20th. The widely-hailed progressive heavy rock trio from Western New York will have preorders starting on Jan. 24 via kingbuffalo.bigcartel.com. Preorders include an immediate download of the title track from the six- song, 36-minute release. Extensive tour dates will follow.
Their most brazenly experimental offering to-date, Dead Star will self-release throughout North America and see European issue via Stickman Records.
Self-recorded in late 2019 and early 2020 by guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson, Dead Star continues to push King Buffaloâs psychedelic aspects deep into the cosmic ether, and basks in elements of ambient drone, space rock, prog, mantra-style heavy and synthesizer soundtracking, as well as the bluesy, classic riffing and creative urgency that has underscored their particular style since their 2013 demo and 2016 debut album, Orion. A depth of mix comes courtesy of Grant Husselman, while Bernie Matthews mastered.
âIn the early stages of Dead Star, we made the decision to make a strong commitment to experimentation,â explains guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay. âFrom exploring different time signatures, tunings and textures, to tweaking the song writing processes themselves. Weâre extremely proud of these recordings, and feel itâs some of our most ambitious work yet.â
King Buffaloâs discography includes two full-length albums, Orion (2016) and Longing to Be the Mountain (2018), as well as three prior EPs â 2013âs Demo, a 12â split with Le Bétre in 2015, and 2018âs Repeater.
Dead Star continues the risk-taking that fueled Repeater, honoring the core dynamic of King Buffalo as a band while boldly introducing new ideas and sides of their sound to their audience.
Recent years have found King Buffalo touring throughout North America and Europe, with highlight festival performances, support slots and headlining shows, and they bring that experience to the songwriting of Dead Starâs six tracks, be it the sprawling two-part leadoff âRed Star Pt. 1 & 2â or the John Carpenter-esque instrumental âEclipticâ ahead of the chug-and-crash-prone âEta Carinae.â All the while King Buffalo maintain a flow and atmosphere that has served as a hallmark of their approach.
âThese six songs deviate and expand on horizons that we as King Buffalo havenât yet reached,â says drummer Scott Donaldson, who also handled the graphic layout of Dead Star with Ryan T. Hancockâs striking cover art. âItâs extremely exciting to make something familiar, but unlike anything weâve previously done. I canât wait for everyone to hear it.â
POSTPONED TO AUGUST 20- Glimmer Tour with Special Guest Bill Deasy
After the impressive success of her previous band Houndmouth, Katie Toupinâs career as a solo artist is beaming. Co-writer and key performer on #1 song, âSedonaâ with over 100,000,000 streams on Spotify, Katie Toupin is proving she has only just begun. âFreed from the gingham-checked restraints of Houndmouth, Toupin displays more range and greater depth on her solo debut, Magnetic Movesâ - Paste Magazine.
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Katie ventured to Austin, Texas to create an eclectic, yet cohesive record. âMagnetic Movesâ (written, arranged, and produced by Katie Toupin) is a mixture of throwback odes and modern sonics brought to life by the thoughtful arrangements of multi-instrumentalist Scott Davis (Hayes Carl, Band of Heathens). George Harrison-esk rifs never feel out of place over the tastefully placed synthesizers on songs like âReal Loveâ and âBack In Timeâ. Angela Miller and Lauren Marie (Black Pumas) offer soulful backup parts on album highlight, âSomeone To youâ as well as âLost Sometimesâ and âIn Your Dreamsâ. The title track, âMagnetic Movesâ received extensive radio play across the United States. Katie brings the album to life with vivacious and interactive live performances.
American Songwriter said, âbased on this evidence, (Toupin) is clearly ready for her shot in the spotlight.â
POSTPONED - Los Lobos with Special Guests Dan Bubien & the Delta Struts - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Los Lobos is unlike any other band, so itâs not surprising that the groupâs first-ever Christmas album â LlegÃ³ Navidad â would break the holiday-album mold too.
Instead of relying on over-played seasonal standards for its latest album, the band, along with some friends, started out by researching and collecting nearly 150 different traditional (and not-so-traditional) Christmas songs from North, Central and South America. After narrowing down the list to 11 songs â and then adding their own original to the mix â David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin recorded them on their home turf in East Los Angeles.
The band set out to sing new life into these old songs and make the kind of fresh and vital holiday album that only Los Lobos could make. Youâve probably never heard 10 of the songs (âArbolito de Navidadâ and âRegalo de Reyesâ); one youâve absolutely heard (âFeliz Navidadâ); and one youâve definitely never heard (âChristmas And Youâ) â which was written especially for the album.
LlegÃ³ Navidad opens with Rosas singing âLa Ramaâ (the branch), a lively song played in the regional folk style known as son jarocho, which is popular in the Veracruz region of Mexico. La Rama is also the name of the traditional Mexican holiday custom where the community adorns branches from a tree and displays them in a nightly procession through the neighborhood.
Hidalgo sings lead on âChristmas Time In Texas,â a track made popular by Tex-Mex legend Freddy Fender. Lozanoâs distorted upright bass keeps time with his son Jason Lozano on drums, who makes special guest appearance on the song.
âDÃ³nde EstÃ¡ Santa Clausâ fires on all cylinders like a lowered Chevy Impala cruising Whittier Boulevard on the weekend. Berlinâs warm Vox Continental organ and Perezâs potent drumming create a head-nodding groove thatâs miles away from the 1958 original, which was a novelty hit for 12-year-old singer Augie Rios. His version featured a full orchestra and poppy background vocals.
One of the interesting things about LlegÃ³ Navidad is that the rancheras, salsas and son jarochos on the album would sound right at home on the groupâs 1978 debut, Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. Itâs a rare full-circle moment for the GrammyÂ®-winning band, which has prided itself on never covering the same ground twice while making music for nearly 50 years.
Their journey began in 1973, when Hidalgo (vocals, guitar, and pretty much anything with strings), Perez (drums, vocals, guitar), Rosas (vocals, guitar), and Lozano (bass, vocals, guitarrÃ³n) earned their stripes playing revved-up versions of Mexican folk music in restaurants and at parties. The band evolved in the 1980s as it tapped into L.A.âs burgeoning punk and college rock scenes. They were soon sharing bills with bands like the Circle Jerks, Public Image Ltd. and the Blasters, whose saxophonist, Steve Berlin, would eventually leave the group to join Los Lobos in 1984.
Early on, Los Lobos enjoyed critical success, winning the GrammyÂ® for Best Mexican-American Performance for âAnselmaâ from its 1983 EP â¦And a Time to Dance. A year later, the group released its full-length, major-label debut, How Will the Wolf Survive? Co-produced by Berlin and T Bone Burnett, the album was a college rock sensation that helped Los Lobos tie with Bruce Springsteen as Rolling Stoneâs Artist of the Year.
A major turning point came in 1987 with the release of the Ritchie Valens biopic, La Bamba. The quintetâs cover of Valensâ signature song topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K. Rather than capitalize on that massive commercial success, Los Lobos instead chose to record La Pistola y El CorazÃ³n, a tribute to Tejano and Mariachi music that won the 1989 GrammyÂ® for Best Mexican-American Performance.
That kind of sharp artistic turn has become Los Lobosâ trademark, serving to both fuel the bandâs creativity and keep its fans engaged. In 1992, that willingness to defy expectations led them to record Kiko, an adventurous album produced by Mitchell Froom thatâs considered by many to be one the bandâs very best.
Since then, Los Lobos has continued to deliver daring and diverse albums such as Colossal Head (1996), Good Morning AztlÃ¡n (2002), The Town and the City (2006), Tin Can Trust (2010) and Gates of Gold (2015). On top of that, the bandâs live shows never disappoint, as documented on the recent concert recordings Live at the Fillmore (2005) and Disconnected in New York City (2013). Through the years, theyâve managed to keep things interesting with unexpected side trips like an album of Disney songs in 2009, along with countless contributions to tribute albums and film soundtracks. One of those â âMariachi Suiteâ from the 1995 film Desperado Â¬â earned the band a GrammyÂ® for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Los Lobos has sold millions of records, won prestigious awards and made fans around the world. But perhaps its most lasting impact will be how well its music embodies the idea of America as a cultural melting pot. In it, styles like son jarocho, norteÃ±o, Tejano, folk, country, doo-wop, soul, R&B, rock ânâ roll and punk all come together to create a new sound thatâs greater than the sum of its parts.
This is not your Grandparents' folk music. The Bridge City Sinners take folk songs in the direction of a punk rocker. A rowdy folksy mosaic of banjo, violin, guitar, mandolin, upright bass, & ukulele. The Sinners started their journey as a rotating cast of friends in 2016 who just wanted to play music on the streets âbuskâ in Portland, Oregon. They have transitioned into a powerful force playing festivals in 2018 such as Vans Warped Tour, NW String Summit, the Fest, & Seattle Folklife Festival.
Before the Bridge City Sinners, lead singer Libby Lux and upright bass player Scott Michaud infrequently started playing music together on the streets of Portland, Oregon over eight years ago. Without rehearsal, nor a plan, a few times a year they would meet up with other various street musicians to sing and yell at passer byers. Years before that, on their separate journeys, they traveled, hitch-hiked, and howled at the moon across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In hobo fashion, they earned what theyâd eat and roofs over their heads by the papers and coins tossed into their hat.
Through their years of wandering, they were able to pick up a rich catalog of songs passed through the traveling / busking community. In 2012, their mutual best friend and lead singer of folk-punk band Profane Sass, passed away when he fell off a train in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a way the Bridge City Sinners are a homage to keep his spirit alive and continue passing along the music they all sang together on the streets, hidden in trains, and in living rooms across the continent. They formed the Bridge City Sinners in the Winter of 2016.