This show has been rescheduled from October 24, 2020, April 24, 2021, and July 24, 2021 - all tickets honored
âBill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!â - Will Kimbrough/
While itâs hard to put a finger on any one sound that defines âAmerican music,â the compositions of Bill Toms are as close a template as any. The Pittsburgh native, along with his band Hard Rain, delivers a sound that takes the greatest of Americaâs most beloved genres and melds them into a poetic representation of the best the country has to offer.
With his ninth full-length studio release, Good For My Soul (street date October 27), Toms channels a foot-stomping, wall-shaking blend of soul, blues, gospel, and rock vibes, all brought together with his lyrical specialty -- stories of everyday men and women doing their best to stay ahead while still managing to keep a dream or two in their heads.
Soaring horns, gritty licks, toe-tapping rhythms, and Tomsâ own rough-hewn vocals will draw listeners in, as well as well-deserved comparisons to the greats such as Dr. John, Little Feat, Springsteen, Joe Tex, The Blasters, Otis Redding, and Rufus Thomas.
âThe idea of a horn section behind my songs has been something Iâve thought about for a while,â explains Toms. âAlbert King, and all the Stax artists come to mind when I think of what true rhythm and blues can do. I wanted a piece of that; creating dynamics, and drama within the song; and fostering the deep emotion that a great horn section can give. The words also needed this place-- in order to be fully interpreted as the representation of âmy America,â and the people who make up my small part of this world.â
Good For My Soul was recorded in February 2017 by Oscar-winning composer Rick Witkowski, who also co-produced the set with Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Todd Snider). Both artists have collaborated with Toms frequently on parts of his earlier catalog.
Toms launched his musical career in 1987 as lead guitarist of Pittsburghâs legendary band Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, During that period, he opened for and played with such legendary names as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. While playing guitar, co-writing, and adding backup vocals for the Houserockers, Toms and the band recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, The Houserockers released American Babylon, which was recorded and produced by Springsteen himself.
As a solo artist, Toms has opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kennedys, Steve Forbert, and Ellis Paul. Heâs plotting a string of regional east coast dates to support Good For My Soul, as well as a full European tour in 2018.
(Rescheduled from April 18 and August 20, 2020) - Kim Richey - Glimmer Tour with Special Guest Bill Deasy
This show has been rescheduled from April 18 and August 20, 2020- all tickets honored
A Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer
"I started off that record scared to death," Kim Richey recalls of making Glimmer with producer Hugh Padgham back in 1999 in New York and London. A disastrous haircut, unfamiliar musicians, and oversized budgets didn't help matters. âIt wasnât the way I was used to making records.â
The way Richey was used to making records was with friends in a vibed-out, low-key setting. That's how she made her debut album with Richard Bennett, and it's how she made her new album, A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, with Doug Lancio. So Glimmer was different, and not just on the production side.
Then, as now, the compositions that comprise Glimmer, which was named one of the best records of the year by TIME magazine, were the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter's first collection of true confessionals. Prior to that she'd been a staff writer at Blue Water Music writing from a more arm's-length vantage point for her first two releases, 1995's Kim Richey and 1997's Bitter Sweet. But Glimmer was all her.
Revisiting that history for A Long Way Back was both emotional and edifying for her. âI was pretty broken-hearted when I wrote and recorded most of those songs and I remembered feeling that way,â she says. âAt the time, I needed to really get out of my head and out of Nashville. I think that was what appealed to me so much about making a record somewhere that wasnât home and with new people. Recording these songs again was a good way to look back and remember I made it through those times.â
The 20 years of distance between then and now provided another benefit, as well: Richey is more comfortable with her voice, both literally and metaphorically. As a result, A Long Way Back sounds like it has nothing to prove and nothing to hide. It's more spacious, but not less spirited, with Richey's voice, in particular, feeling more relaxed and rounded than on the original. Starting with âCome Around,â the 14 new renderings take their time to make their points, meandering casually around, much like their maker.
An Ohio native, Richey's passion for music was sparked early on in her great aunt's record shop where sheâd scour the bins and soak it all in. She took up the guitar in high school and, while studying environmental education and sociology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, she played in a band with Bill Lloyd. But it didn't stick... not right away.
After Kentucky, Richey worked in nature centers in Colorado and Ohio and traveled to Sweden and South America. She eventually landed in Bellingham, Washington, where she worked as a cook while her boyfriend went to grad school. Their deal was, she got to decide where they went after he graduated. One night in 1988, some old friends â Bill Lloyd and Radney Foster â rolled through town. She sold T-shirts at their gig, and they talked up Nashville. To drive the point home, Lloyd sent her a tape with Steve Earle and others on it. So taken by the songwriting, Richey and her partner loaded up their Ford F150 and headed to Music City.
What she wanted was to work with her friend, producer Richard Bennett. So she did. For Bitter Sweet, she put Angelo Petraglia at the helm, before turning to Padgham for Glimmer. âBitter Sweet was recorded in Nashville with my road band and friends,â Richey says. âThat record was as if the kids had taken over the recording studio while the adults were away. Glimmer was more pro and less messing around having fun. The musicians were all super-talented and gave the songs a voice I never would have thought to give them. Hugh was up for trying anything and really encouraged me to add all those vocal arrangements that ended up on the recordâ.
For 2002's Rise, Richey took another left turn, signed to Lost Highway Records, and hired Bill Bottrell as producer. Though it was her first time writing in a studio with a band, the players' talent and Bottrell's whimsy proved to be great complements to Richey's own rule-breaking style. The resulting record was quirky, confessional, mesmerizing, and masterful. And it officially set her outside contemporary country's bounds, which was fine by Richey, whose music had always broken barriers.
A greatest hits collection dropped in 2004, buying her some time to tour, write, and make 2007's Chinese Boxes with Giles Martin in the UK, followed by 2010's Wreck Your Wheels and 2013's Thorn in My Heart, both produced by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville. The latter landed her at Yep Roc Records, where she also released 2018's Edgeland, made with producer Brad Jones in what she has described as the easiest recording process she's ever had, despite working with three different tracking bands in the studio.
Through it all, Richey has worn her heart on her lyrical sleeve, revealing herself time and again. âI started writing songs because of Joni Mitchell, probably like most women songwriters of a certain age,â Richey confesses. âI loved being able to write songs because I was really super-shy. I couldn't say things to people that I wanted to say. If I put it in a song, there was the deniability. If I ever got called on it, I could say, 'Oh, heavens no, that's just a song! I made that up.'â
Though she could fall back on plausible deniability, with Richey, what you hear is actually what you get. âI don't have a lot of character songs because I'm not that good at making things up out of thin air.â Even when it comes to the main narrator of a song like Edgeland's âYour Dear John,â Richey demurs with a laugh, âI do think that song is probably just another song about me and I'm pretending to be a barge worker.â
On A Long Way Back... The Songs of Glimmer, though, she's not pretending to be anything or anyone she's not, and neither are the songs. Richey and Lancio set out to make a guitar/vocal record, but the songs had something else in mind, and that something included drums by Lancio's legendary neighbor, Aaron âthe A-Trainâ Smith, among other things. âOnce we stopped making rules about what could and could not be on the record, the songs spoke for themselves,â Richey says. âI knew all along I wanted Dan Mitchell to play flugelhorn, and the two tracks he played on are two of my favorites. In the end, the songs decided.â
From her move to Nashville to her making this record, for Kim Richey, the songs have always decided.
Julien Baker with Special Guests Thao, Katie Malco
Sometimes, a mystical, life-changing connection can be closer than you think.
In 2017, Grammy Award-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada had recorded some instrumentals in his Austin studio, and he started looking around for a vocalist -- he knew a lot of singers, but he wanted something different. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles, in London, but nothing seemed right.
Meantime, Eric Burton had recently made his way to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. He started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars a day and developed his performance skills. Burton traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin -- setting up his busking spot on a downtown street corner, at 6th Street and Congress, for maximum exposure.
A mutual friend mentioned Burton to Quesada, saying that he was the best singer he had ever heard. The two musicians connected, but Burton took a while to respond (âMy friends were like âDude, youâre a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!ââ) Finally, he called Quesada, and started singing to one of the tracks over the phone. âI loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,â he says. âFrom the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.â
The results of that inauspicious beginning can now be heard on the self-titled debut album from Black Pumas, the group that Quesada and Burton assembled, which has become one of the yearâs most anticipated projects. Described as âWu-Tang Clan meets James Brownâ by KCRW, Black Pumas were the winner of Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards.
Quesada has a storied reputation from playing in bands like Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, accompanying artists from Prince to Daniel Johnston, and producing such acclaimed projects as 2018âs Look at My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul. For the tracks that kicked off this project, though, he had a different direction in mind. âI was looking for somebody with their own identity,â says Quesada, âwho liked Neil Young as much as Sam Cooke.â
Burtonâs taste, range, and experience proved to be exactly what Quesada was seeking. âWe just take to the same kind of music,â he says. âI listen to East Coast hip-hop, old soul music, folk music. When Adrian sent me the songs, it was like I had already heard them before. We were on the same wavelength from the get-go.â
The first day they got together in the studio, they recorded the dusty funk that would become the Black Pumasâ first two singles, âBlack Moon Risingâ and âFire.â Quesada had written the music for âBlack Moon Risingâ on the day of the 2017 solar eclipse, and Burton took that concept and ran with it. âRight away, the hair stood up on the back of my neck,â says Quesada. âI knew, âThis is it -- this is the guy.ââ
Burton sensed the potential, as well. âWhen I saw that Adrian played with Prince and had a Grammy,â he says, âthat he was a serious, respected artist, I knew that I would do my best not to squander that. If you can do it on the street, for a long time, without making yourself crazy, you can do it with a guy whoâs won a Grammy.â
The duo also knew that they didnât want their sound to be too retro or imitative. âWe didnât want to just do throwback soul and pretend that hip-hop never happened,â says Quesada, noting that it was listening to Ghostface Killah that initially triggered him to start writing this material. âIt had to feel sincere coming from us. I have a certain aesthetic in the studio, Eric has a voice that evokes a certain era, but I donât think we reference that too directly.â
âAdrian has had the time and the interest to really dive into a specific sound, to recreate something he heard on a Motown record,â adds Burton. âAnd because of that specific knowledge, he provides an interesting sandbox for me, whose background is in theater, to do something super-unorthodox -- to be an art student and play with all the colors I have, but to put it on something thatâs more familiar to listenersâ ears.â
With Black Pumas having evolved from an idea to a session to an album, they decided to put a band together and see how this music sounded live. They booked a residency at C Boys (a sister venue to Austinâs famed Continental Club), initially playing every Thursday for a month. âWe only rehearsed twice, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,â says Quesada. âBut with the first show, we knew it was unique, special -- the chemistry and fire were there immediately. And what Eric could do as a frontman was like nothing Iâd ever seen.â
As word got out, the C Boys shows turned into a local phenomenon (âthe hottest party in town,â according to the Austin American-Statesman), with lines around the block despite the fact that the band had only released one song. The reaction to the groupâs recent South by Southwest appearance helps explain the mania -- the Chicago Tribune called Burtonâs performance âa whirlwind of movement and gesture,â while Rolling Stone, in naming Black Pumas âOne Of The 30 Best Bands We Saw In Austin,â wrote that âthe hometown six-pieceâs grooves were funky in a thick, viscous way, oozing out in ambitious jams that wandered into heady territory without meanderingâ and praising Burtonâs âtireless, charismatic energy.â
The other, unexpected result of the C Boys residency was that Burton presented more of his own songs to help fill out the set, which led Black Pumas into new territory. âEric had all these other songs based on other styles, going back into what he was doing when he was busking,â says Quesada. âIt was a real spark that we could huddle around him and his songs, too, and get a real sense of what our sound was.â
In fact, the final song recorded for Black Pumas was âOctober 33,â a tense, pleading ballad by Burton. âI didnât feel like we had the right last song,â says Quesada, âwe needed something with more of Eric on guitar. I said âI want to put down one more, do you have anything?â and he texted me back exactly what I was imagining -- it was almost unspoken.â
Quesada and Burton both return, over and over, to this almost mystical connection they felt from the beginning. Itâs this sense of common purpose, of shared vision, that gives Black Pumas its focus and power -- and that points to great things ahead.
âItâs so seamless, itâs like weâre musical brothers to some degree,â says Burton. âIt feels so easy to meld together that whatâs most important for us now is to continue to look for new sounds -- to make sure weâre feeding ourselves the knowledge to continue to evolve. Every time we get together, itâs better than the last time.â
Lucero - When You Found Me Fall Tour 2021 with Special Guest Morgan Wade
This show has been rescheduled from July 7, 2020 and July 8, 2021. All tickets honored.
American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as one of America's most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices. The Boise, Idaho songwriter is one of a kind.
That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy (August, 2019 Signature Sounds Recordings). By turns personal and political, pissed off and blissed out, Jewell's first album of original material since 2015 expands brief moments of joy into lifetimes, and distills epic sentiments and persistent doubts into succinct songs.
Jewell seamlessly blends heavy electric guitars and dirty fiddles on the rollicking country rocker Crawl with the sweet and understated horn section of the tender Witness. 79 Cents (The Meow Song) skewers sexism and discrimination with pointed humor over a circus bed of musical saw and horns.
Longtime fans who love Eilen Jewell in classic country mode will delight in the pedal steel driven These Blues and the sole cover on Gypsy, You Cared Enough To Lie, written by fellow Idahoan and country legend Pinto Bennett.
Rather than pulling artist and listener this way and that, the tensions within and between these twelve tracks propel Eilen Jewell's eighth studio album forward as a remarkably cohesive full length.
Armor for Sleep with Special Guests Never Loved, Cold Seas
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.
Nada Surf - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP (rescheduled from May 29, 2020, April 21, 2021)
With their ninth studio album, Nada Surf -- Matthew Caws, Daniel Lorca, Ira Elliot, and their longtime friend and collaborator Louie Lino -- continue pursuing their humanistic vision of the world through hooky, catchy rock songs with sharply drawn, yet tenderly felt lyrics. Never Not Together, out on TK DATE, is a wide-ranging collection of songs that revel in the group's ability to evoke and reflect grand and intricately wrought emotions, whether through sweeping guitar solos or hushed-whisper vocals.
"Empathy is good, lack of empathy is bad, holy math says we're never not together," Caws declares at the end of "Something I Should Do," a crashing power-pop track with an insistent melody that adds urgency to his thoughts about 21st-century life. The concept of "holy math" which informs that line -- and the album's title -- was inspired by a Justin Vernon appearance on the Song Exploder podcast, where the Bon Iver leader talked about the interconnectedness of humans. "We're all together, and that's just the way it is, and the way it always will be," says Caws. "That's the sacred truth of it."
That idea of being linked and searching for connection is a common theme of the album's lyrics, which depict people hunting down answers by peering within and reaching outward. "Looking For You," which opens with a spectral choir and blossoms into a rock spectacle with crashing strings and two guitar solos -- one played by Caws, the other by frequent Nada Surf collaborator Doug Gillard -- seeks solace in doctor's visits and grand metaphors. "So Much Love," which Caws wrote as part of Hits president Karen Glauber's annual SXSW session, is a driving, yet kind-hearted reminder that love and connection are in the air -- even if, in the immediate, it's lurking in the mists of one's sent-messages mailbox. "Mathilda," meanwhile, shifts time signatures as it switches perspectives on a childhood spent apart from the crowd, mulling over what "masculinity" meant even at a young age.
Youth is also a topic on "Just Wait," a shimmering midtempo song tethered to earth by a fluid bassline. "I wrote 'Just Wait' on a writing trip to Nashville," recalls Caws. During a session with songwriter Gavin Slate, the two got to talking about the current state of youth culture. "I remember how being an adolescent was so scary -- just as it would be for everybody," he says. "You're starting to feel like an adult, but you kind of don't want to be; you're kind of not ready, but you kind of can't wait. It's that kind of fright-delight, like September at school." The end result is empathic and warm, its chiming guitars and background "ooh-oohs" offering a refuge from the pressure to keep up appearances in "love and work and where you live," as Caws sings on the song's bridge.
In 2017, Nada Surf celebrated the 15th anniversary of their 2002 breakthrough Let Go, an experience that energized the early planning of Never Not Together. "I made pretty elaborate demos for the songs -- something I've never done before," says Caws. "I think [the Let Go tour] really boosted my work ethic and made me feel like I really had to go for it."
Never Not Together was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, where artists like Echo & the Bunnymen, the Flamin' Groovies, Iggy Pop and Oasis recorded albums. "I've been seeing the name on albums for so long," says Caws. "It's a working farm, and the founder/owner, Kingsley Ward, would come in and tell us stories when he wasn't farming. I'd walk into town every morning and listen to the sheep talking as I walked by them."
That openness to listening -- to their fans, to each other, to the world -- has helped inform Nada Surf's legacy as down-to-earth rock stars -- musicians who can command festival stages around the world while connecting to audience members on a personal level, conscious of the shared humanity every step of the way.
(Rescheduled from April 17, 2020) - King Buffalo with Special Guest Oregon Space Trail of Doom
Rescheduled from April 17, 2020 - all tickets honored.
From Rochester, New York, King Buffalo is the trio of vocalist/guitarist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds, and drummer Scott Donaldson. Since forming in 2013, the self-proclaimed âheavy bluesâ band has made its name via 3 EPs, 2 Full-lengths, and tours with the likes of The Sword, All Them Witches, and Elder.
(Rescheduled from 2020 and June 9, 2021) - An Evening With Charlie Hunter
This show has been rescheduled from May 6, 2020 and July 22, 2020 and June 9, 2021 - all tickets honored
With a career spanning 16 years and almost 20 albums, Charlie Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with the likes of Norah Jones , Mos Def, John Mayer, DâAngelo and countless others. He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight - string guitar, and continues to stun audiences with his ability to simultaneously bust out tasty bass parts, melodic leads and swinging rhythms.
Hunter has previously recorded for the venerable Blue Note label, Concord, Ropeadope, GroundUP and others. His recent independent venture is steered by his motivation to release music that most inspires him. Critics have touted his genius technique, but it's his profound artistic sensibility that propels his original music. Hunter's signature style of writing and performing has secured his place as one of today's great guitarists.
(Rescheduled from April 29, 2020 & October 28, 2020) - Willie Watson
This show has been postponed to 2021 - more info coming soon
For nearly two decades, Willie Watson has made modern folk music rooted in older traditions. Heâs a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveler, with a catalog of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. On Folksinger Vol. 2, he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own version of the music that came long before him.
Southern gospel. Railroad songs. Delta blues. Irish fiddle tunes. Appalachian music. Folksinger Vol. 2 makes room for it all. Produced by David Rawlings, the album carries on a rich tradition in folk music: the sharing and swapping of old songs. Long ago, the 11 compositions that appear on Folksinger Vol. 2 were popularized by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The songs donât actually belong to those artists, though. They donât belong to anyone. Instead, theyâre part of the folk canon, passed from generation to generation by singers like Watson.
And what a singer he is. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he breathes new life into classic songs like âSamson and Delilah,â one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel quartet the Fairfield Four. Heâs a balladeer on âGallows Pole,â whose melancholy melodies are echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on âWhen My Baby Left Me,â accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar. âDry Bonesâ finds him crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while âTake This Hammerâ closes the album on a penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning soul singers.
Arriving three years after Folksinger Vol. 1 â his first release since parting ways with the Old Crow Medicine Show, whose platinum-selling music helped jumpstart the 21st century folk revival â Vol. 2 expands Watsonâs sound while consolidating his strengths. Several singers and sidemen make appearances here, including Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothersâ Paul Kowert, and Old Crow bandmate Morgan Jahnig. Even so, Watson has never sounded more commanding, more confident, more connected to the music that inspires him.
âIâm not trying to prove any point here,â he insists, âand Iâm not trying to be a purist. Thereâs so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires me. I heard Leadbelly singing with the Golden Gate Quartet and it sounded fantastic, and I thought, âI want to do that.â I heard the Grateful Dead doing their version of âOn the Road Again,â and it sounded like a dance party in 1926, and I wanted to do that, too. Thatâs the whole reason I ever played music in the first place â because it looked and sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.â
Nodding to the past without resurrecting it, Willie Watson turns Folksinger Vol. 2 into something much more than an interpretation of older songs. The album carries on the spirit of a time nearly forgotten. It taps into the rich core of roots music. It furthers the legacy of American folk. And perhaps most importantly, it shows the full range of Willie Watsonâs artistry, matching his instrumental and vocal chops with a strong appreciation for the songs that have shaped not only a genre, but an entire country.
Cult-indie band Murder By Death is hitting the road this winter to celebrate 20 years since their first show.
Setlists each night will be curated by fans and the band will be playing songs from all 8 records in their catalog. Every ticket comes with a free zine at the show, looking back at the last 20 years of MBD. Don't miss this chance to sing along, stomp your boots, and sip your favorite libations in celebration.
All Them Witches (rescheduled from April 24 & July 11, 2020, March 25, 2021)
By most fifth LPs, the bandâs sound is pretty set. Parameters established. Refinement dissipated. You get a to-formula execution of whatâs worked in the past. Fair enough. All Them Witches go a harder route.
In 2017, the Nashville four-piece offered what mightâve otherwise become their own template in their fourth album (second for New West), Sleeping Through the War. It brought a larger production value thanks to oversight from producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Shooter Jennings, etc.), found them using choral vocals, expanded arrangements, bigger sounds than anything theyâd done before.
They couldâve easily fallen into a pattern of watered-down clones of that record. Easily.
So naturally in a year theyâve thrown it all to the Appalachian wind, turned the process completely on its head and gone the other way: recording in a cabin in Kingston Springs, about 20 miles outside of Nashville on I-40, with guitarist Ben McLeod at the helm. Self-produced. Take that, expectation.
The result, mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Kurt Vile), is the most intimate, human-sounding album All Them Witches have recorded and another redefinition of who they are as a band. Introducing keyboardist/percussionist Jonathan Draper to the fold with McLeod, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler, All Them Witchesâ ATW isnât self-titled by mistake.
Itâs the band confirming and continuing to develop their approach, in the devilâs boogie of âFishbelly 86 Onions,â the organ-laced groove and masterful flow of âHalf-Tongue,â the build of âHJTCâ and the fluid jam in closer âRobâs Dream.â You can hear it in the mellow patience of that last track, never lost but always wandering, and in â1st vs. 2nd,â where they turn from a frenetic shake to some purposefully metal-ish riffing while still holding onto gut-tightening tension.
And what do they do with that? Some overblown payoff? Hell no. They cut it short, drift into noise and then dig into âHalf-Tongueâ ahead of the moodier âDiamond,â which, true to its name, seems to turn any light that touches it into a prism. This is a band who delight in the exploration, in finding new rules to break, and in continually learning new ways to do so.
ATW is a reaction to being a âbiggerâ act. To playing bigger shows, bigger tours, etc. From the sustained consonants in Parksâ vocals, to the sleek basslines that play off the canât-sit-still-wonât-sit-still swing in Staeblerâs drums, to McLeodâs commanding slide in âWorkhorseâ and drifting melancholy at the outset of âHarvest Feast,â ATW is their laying claim to the essential facets of their identity.
And most crucial to that identity is its shifting nature. All Them Witches didnât get to this point by resting on laurels, and if anything, the urgency of these tracks â fast pushers and sleepy jams alike â is among their greatest strengths.
Itâs a rawer delivery, as stage-ready as the band itself, and it captures All Them Witches in this moment. Is ATW who theyâll be tomorrow? Who the hell knows? Check back in and weâll find out together. Thatâs the whole idea.
Lost Dog Street Band with Special Guest Matt Heckler - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore (rescheduled from October 12, 2020 & April 6, 2021)
âI wanted to dig under the darkest impulses of humanity for this album, and that is violence, selfishness, and destruction,â says Benjamin Tod, guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter of Americana trio Lost Dog Street Band. The Muhlenberg County, Kentucky-based groupâs latest album, its fifth overall, Weight Of A Trigger, out March 29th, is a potent distillation of its outlaw heartache soul.
The dark impulses Ben sings about are simply the demons that have driven him since he was a teen. At 16, Ben left home to play music on the streets. Since then, heâs lived under bridges, slept in jail cells, sought freedom hopping freight trains, battled addiction, and watched many good friends die from the same rambling disease. Some states, he remains a wanted man with active warrants. Though Ben has been aimless, and destructive, heâs always been prolific through exorcising his demons in song. Even if that meant writing songs at 7:00 AM in dank and dark basements strung out on drugs and drunk.
His companion in life and music, Ashley Mae, is an accomplished fiddle player and harmony singer. The pair met in the Nashville punk scene when Ben was 15, and Ashley was 17. They share in a tumultuous love affair thatâs defied adventures, and misadventures. The couple formed Lost Dog Street Band in the winter of 2010. The duoâs vision was to carry on the tradition of the American troubadour with fine Americana songcraft and starkly real storytelling. Today, Ben and Ashley Mae are joined by bassist Jeff Loops of the beloved roots band, Deep Chatham.
The three-piece groupâs latest, Weight Of A Trigger, is a portal into when Americana was peopled by sensitive outlaws who pleaded for salvation in song. The 10-song collection spans old-time music, Appalachian folk, redemptive country blues, and winsome balladry. Each song is elegantly essential, using teardrop pedal steel guitar, delicate fingerpicked passages, emotive harmony vocals, and stately violin touches as delicate dynamic touches. Itâs an album of hard truths themed around a three-part narrative of Thomas Clancy Russell, and stories of fated love, addiction, tragic deaths, and rising demons. The poetic former collaborator Nicholas Ridout, a uniquely gifted musician who left before his time is always honored on their albums. His presence is made all the more poignant by Lost Street Dog performing his sweetly high lonesome song âLazy Moonshiner.â
(Rescheduled from Sept 28, 2020 and March 15, 2021) - Wishbone Ash 'Late To The Party 50th Tour'
Wishbone Ash celebrates a half-century of live twin-lead guitar power in 2020. Fans can look forward to enjoying repertoire from the band's vast catalog of exactly 101 unique releases with their new (28th) studio album "Coat of Arms" â 24 live albums, 43 compilations and box sets and five live DVDs, along with a DVD rockumentary (âThis is Wishbone Ashâ). Continually pushing their creative process, the band is taking this COVID-19 time of isolation to write their next release! "Music is the great healer and balm for us all," says Andy Powell. "It seems only appropriate, with immediate touring being postponed, for us to join together to reach for what may come in this incredible time."
The first single, âWe Stand As One,â was officially released on Jan. 10. See the video at: https://youtu.be/87_t4ElxEfY.
The U.S. leg of the 50th anniversary tour completed on 13 March in Seattle, a center of the outbreak. The band felt it was important to play on, with all precautions of safety. Now their 2nd Leg of the U.S. Tour in September/October may be their next live concerts. "There will be an important time to come together in body," Powell says. "NOW is the time for us all to come together in Spirit."
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From left to right: Bob Skeat, Andy Powell, Joe Crabtree, Mark Abrahams.
Formed in October 1969 in London, England, Wishbone Ash is one of the most influential guitar bands in the history of rock. Inspired equally by British folk traditions, American jazz and R&B, the group vaulted to public and critical acclaim, touring arenas, stadiums and theaters throughout Europe and the United States. Power and melody have made the Ash a hard act to follow, while they are currently being discovered by new generations of loyal rock fans.
Through the years the band has delved into various musical genres, from folk, blues and jazz to pedal-to-the-metal rock and electronica. Whatever the style, Wishbone Ashâs signature is the distinctive twin-melodic lead guitar interplay that has influenced such bands as Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Iron Maiden and, more recently, Opeth.
âThe blueprint and musical roots that we laid down in the early 1970s must have been really strong to have lasted this long,â says founding member Andy Powell (guitar, vocals). âEvery band needs a plan and most importantly, to find THEIR own sound.â
The 50th-anniversary tour officially kicked off in October 2019 with 31 shows in the UK, followed by January and early-February dates in Europe that included a package tour with Nazareth and Uriah Heep.
True road warriors, each year Wishbone Ash logs around 30,000 road miles, roughly equivalent to circumnavigating the earth.
âThe band basically lives together year-round on the road, so we have a very strong level of communication that translates in our performances and recordings,â says Powell. A key ingredient in the band's recipe for success is a devoted fan base, many who have followed Wishbone Ash from the beginning, and which often includes their children and even grandchildren. âWe value our fan community above all else,â Powell says.
In 2015, Powell released his musical memoir, âEyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior,â co-written with renowned Irish music journalist Colin Harper and available in Kindle and Apple iBook formats.
âIâve seen a lot of changes in the music business and the world in general, as you can imagine,â Powell says. On looking back over the 50 years of the band, he muses, âLike all success stories, a career like this has its downs as well as its ups, and and the true ups can only be measured in this way.â
Circa Survive: Blue Sky Noise Anniversary Tour - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore (rescheduled from April 7, 2020 & March 3, 2021)
This show has been rescheduled from April 21 and August 8, 2020 and May 25, 2021 - all tickets honored
David Archuleta became a star when he was just 16 years old. In 2008, more than 30 million television viewers fell in love with his angelic voice and their 44 million votes made him runner-up in Season 7 of âAmerican Idol.â
Soon after, David had his first single, âCrushâ debut at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of its release. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the track sold 166,000 downloads that first week in the U.S. and subsequently more than 1.92 million digital copies to become double platinum. Three months later, Davidâs self-titled album, âDavid Archuleta,â went gold, selling more than 750,000 copies in the U.S., and more than 900,000 copies worldwide.
With a faithful social media following (3.5 million Facebook followers, 1.3 million on Twitter and over 290K on Instagram), David has toured all over the U.S., Canada, Asia and even performed in the Middle East for the U.S. troops. In 2017, he relocated to Nashville and released his seventh album âPostcards In The Skyâ featuring all original songs that he had a hand in writing. David says it was an album of finding his own voice and what mattered most to him, and would begin shaping the music to come.
After a 2nd Christmas album release in 2018 with âWinter in the Air,â David has started working on his 9th project for 2020. âThere has been a movement with understanding oneself, going to therapy. Iâve been one of those people on that train and been discovering a lot about why I have these battles in my head, and how to separate myself from the negativity that can flood the mind a lot. I wanted to write about those battles, and Iâve been determined to show that we can win when the negativity and anxiety starts telling us weâre not good enough and canât get through it. Iâm determined to walk people through with me to prove we can be the victors of our minds, and that worrying paralyzing thoughts arenât what define us, though I will say they can help us to become stronger by fighting forward.â