The Rainbow Ends current line-up formed in October 2016 in Greensburg, PA.
Joshua and Kyle began performing together in January 2016, and formed The Rainbow Ends. Their first performance was at California University of PA followed by Pittsburgh area jazz clubs, wineries and breweries like James Street and Press Bistro.
In October 2016, Justin Banks joined the group, and the trio began writing music. One year later they recorded their debut album âThe Rainbow Endsâ at Schoolhouse Studios in Youngwood, PA. The album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Daniel Blake.
The album was released independently on June 29, 2018 and was well reviewed by local media drawing comparisons to Jazz Fusion groups like Medeski Martin and Wood, Return to Forever, and Weather Report.
The group is currently working with various producers on âThe Rainbow Ends: Remixedâ and arranging the music for a big band presentation to be recorded live.
Death Cab For Cutie with Special Guests Lala Lala - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band is composed of Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Dave Depper, and Zac Rae. Death Cab for Cutie rose from being a side project to becoming one of the most exciting groups emerge from the indie rock scene of the â00s. They have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Album for their 2015 release, Kintsugi. Their ninth studio album Thank You for Today was released on August 17, 2018.
âFor a band in its third decadeâ¦ Death Cab hasn't lost its gift for pairing Gibbard's soft ruminations with propulsive arrangements that know just when to sparkle and sway. But even more importantly, Gibbard himself still sings with a sense of purpose, keenly articulating a distinct swirl of nostalgia, loss and hope for new beginnings.â â NPR Music
Danny Gochnour and his band have a unique style firmly rooted in Americana with heartfelt songs about small town America, Unemployment, Restlessness and Mortality. With the wide ranging talents of his band they seamlessly touch on various genres including Rock, Bluegrass and Country to the Smooth Jazz take on the Eagles cover "I Can't Tell You Why". Danny's writing is most often compared to that of Tom Petty with the vocal musings of Joe Walsh.
Danny Gochnour-Guitar, Vocals. As lead guitarist for Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers since 2006, Danny has recorded 5 CDs including the critically acclaimed 2018 Release "More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows" which features Bruce Springsteen on the politically charged song "Love Conquers Hate". In 2018 Danny stepped out front and released his first solo recording the Despair of Summer. Bob Leggett, the LA Music Critic stated, "we haven't been this excited about a new release since the first time we heard Tom Petty."
Joe Munroe- Keyboards, Vocals. Joe Produced, Engineered, played Keyboards, Bass, Drums, and did the background vocals on The Despair of Summer. Joe has been a staple on the Pittsburgh Music Scene for over 20 years and has performed with Patti LaBelle, Rick Derringer, Roger McQuinn, Davy Jones and countless others as a session keyboardist for the WQED Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop Series. Joe is proprietor of Studio Joe, a studio he runs out of his home in Monaca, PA.
Mark Pollera- Drums, Percussion. Since making his way here from Atlanta, Georgia where he worked as studio and gigging drummer playing and recording with artists such as the Steve Winwood Band, members of Widespread Panic, Sea Level and the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Mark quickly made a name for himself on the local music scene working with Danny and Joe in the Shari Richards Band and most recently as a member of Dan Bubian and the Delta Struts.
Dave Molter-Bass, Vocals. Dave came on the scene in 1970 playing bass with BlueByrd and released "I Hear You Knocking" on Buddah Records. In 1973 while in a favorite local band Pyewhacket, he released "Boogie Boogie Boogie" on Western World Records. He keeps busy playing with several local acts including Bill Toms and Hard Rain, Johnny Halo and The Angels, and Paul Martino's Allstar Band.
Steve Weiss-Violin. Steve has an extensive career playing Viola and Violin through the US and Europe. He has collaborated with musicians from the Dallas, Charleston and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and international artists Sarah Brightman, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Idina Menzel,
Evanescence, Michael W. Smith, the Trans Siberian Orchestra and many others. He is a founding member of the
nationally recognized Ferrum String Quartet which performs throughout the country. Currently he is Violinist
for the Wheeling Symphony Orcherstra, the Butler County Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera and the CLO, Resonance Works Pittsbugh, the South Florida Symphony, and the Opera Project Columbus.
(Late Show) Hunty Lytes with Special Guest William Sparks
For almost a decade, Hunty Lytes has been writing music that is easily relatable to the listeners. He uses music and the art of songwriting to try and understand the current times, the future, and the past.
Hunty's biggest influences in music are the Grateful Dead, Paul Simon, Elton John, Jackson Browne, and Tom Petty just to name a few. He uses those influences in his own works and also tries to build off of them to invent some sort of new sound.
Hunty Lytes has released five total projects, all of which are very unique in their own right. He writes about his own personal live and the lives of the people he views in his community and around the world.
The Talbott Brothers with Special Guests Luke Zacherl and Soccershoe
Blood is thicker than water and thereâs nothing like family creating music together to prove it. With contrasting blood-harmonies and left-handed/right-handed guitar playing, singer-songwriter duo The Talbott Brothers combine rock, blues and pop with honest storytelling.
Nick and Tyler were born and raised in Imperial, a small town in Southwestern Nebraska, just a stoneâs throw from the Colorado border. They began writing and performing together before relocating to their motherâs birthplace of Portland, Oregon. Tyler, the youngest (lead vocals, baritone guitar, harmonica) and Nick, the oldest (backing vocals, lead guitar) discovered their love of music after digging their dadâs old dreadnaught guitar out of the basement and teaching themselves to play along to Johnny Cash, Bob Seger and the Beatles on vinyl.
Following the release of 2017âs GRAY, they found themselves in front of sold out crowds in the US and sharing the stage with ZZ Ward, Johnnyswim and AJR. Ear to the Ground Music dubbed the record as one of the âTop 5 Albums of the Yearâ stating it as, âequal parts optimistic and captivating, inspiring and hopeful.â Through rigorous touring and over half a million streams on Spotify, they continue to build a strong and loyal fanbase wherever they go.
Coheed and Cambria/Mastodon - The Unheavenly Sky Tour with Special Guest Every Time I Die - Presented by 105.9 The X, Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Ask anyone about the new generation of social justice music-makers and they'll mention either Heather Mae or Crys Matthews. Mae, a powerhouse performer and earthshaking vocalist, has turned her personal struggle with mental health and body image into an empowering message of self-love, a universal light force that shines for every audience member. Matthews is a powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls "the poster-child for intersectionality". These two singer-songwriters have joined forces with JJ Jones (Girlyman) and Joe Stevens (Coyote Grace) for The Singing OUT Tour.
Ibeyi with Special Guest Sudan Archives - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Kind music for kind people. Kind Country is a Minneapolis based band that plays American standards as well as their own brand of Cosmic American music. Since their formation in 2012, the band has focused on creating live performances with high levels of improvisation and energy gathering with a goal of creating a moment of musical bliss that can be shared by audience members and band alike.
Kind Country released their debut self titled album âKind Countryâ in the fall of 2013. Since then they have been bringing their music on the road playing live performances at theaters, bars, auditoriums, festivals, and everywhere in between all throughout the United States. The band released their second independently released full length album, Hwy 7, in the fall of 2015. Produced by Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles, Hwy 7, thrust the band further into a regional spotlight. The guys quickly followed up with a 5 track studio EP, Mountains, which was released in the spring of 2017. The band has no plans of stopping and will be releasing new material on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.
"Snagging the last spot and rounding out our not-very-extensive list is Kind Country, the Minneapolis-based jamgrass band forged in 2012. Originally started as a four-piece string band, the band expanded into six-member ensemble featuring Mitch Johnson (guitar), Brandon Johnson (guitar), Max Graham (mandolin), Joe Sheehan (bass), Chris Forsberg (violin), and Chris Wittrock (drums). These guys have something special going on, with the addition of drums allowing the group to go deeper in exploring how bluegrass can morph and intersect with other genres and giving them the freedom to create a sound that is truly their own. However, they still stay true to their string-band origins and bluegrass roots, with their energetic playing and the talent among the six players more-or-less guaranteeing a foot-stompinâ good time."- Ming Lee Newcomb, Live for Live Music. From article Five Up and Coming Bluegrass Bands Poised to Take Over the Scene.
The Lemonheads with Special Guest Tommy Stinson - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Since they were formed in Boston, Mass, in 1986 by Evan Dando, the family tree of The Lemonheads has many twisted tentacles and tangential branches, and a host of one-liners etched into its bark. Anyone could be a Lemonhead but for how long who knows? Leastways they'll be shoulder-to-shoulder with Evan throwing discordant chords against alt-country-tinged melodies, playing that light and dark card. Through their ranks passed Descendents, Blakes Babies, Dinosour Jrs and members of Fuzzy.
Three raucous albums on local label Taang! in the late '80s led to a deal with Atlantic Records and their "grown up" fourth: 'Lovey'. The times were a-changing. Touring that platter Evan hooked up with songwriter Tom Morgan and future bassist Nic Dalton in Australia. The seed was sewn, there was a nod to Gram and Evan's vocals matured for some much more mellow moments; the mix was massaged. Radio-friendly singles followed, it was pop forged out of punk angst, a beautiful mix made by beautiful people - Evan was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people by People magazine in 1993.
Subsequent albums, 'It's A Shame About Ray' and 'Come On Feel The Lemonheads' focussed on that Evan vocal; his turn of phrase, the curl of his lip, the couplet that became a lifestyle... and the hits followed, the radio hummed to the gorgeous 'Into Your Arms'; national TV beckoned; Evan and his 'heads were on Leno and Lettermen. The attention multiplied, the touring magnified, the anecdotes of self-destruction, road weariness and all too necessary poor behaviour increased and by '97 Evan was announcing the demise of his beloved Lemonheads on stage at Reading Festival.
His magnificent solo album 'Baby, I'm Bored' was released in 2003 - sounding even more laid back. So, to be truly unpredictable, a mere year later he was fronting The MC5 before returning as The Lemonheads with a head-on collision of wordy '70s punk and cosmic country for 2006's self-titled album as a new line up was bedded in.
Inspired by long time buddy Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers' mix topes their next project was 2008's 'Varshons' a collection of much-travelled covers that neatly placed Leonard Cohen next to GG Allin, Townes Van Zandt and obscure early Lemmy from his daze as part of psyche icons Sam Gopal. It also featured a cameo from Kate Moss.
Now, a decade on, 'Varshons 2' sees The Lemonheads return for their tenth studio album. Evan is at the helm with producer Matthew Cullen also on guitar and siren, Come and Codeine's Chris Brakow supplying guitar and Willy Mason and Nino Violet sitting in. It's another mixtape in a different kitchen placing the oddball and the unsung next to The Eagles and Nick Cave. Where else could you hear the music of Tom Morgan's short-lived Givegoods, English curmudgeons The Bevis Frond and Lucinda Williams so seamlessly joined at the hip?
Varshons 2 Â·The new album, out 8th February 2019 on Fire Records
The name Tony MacAlpine is synonymous with modern musical virtuosity. Whether performing as a solo artist, band member, session player, touring hired-gun, or as a producer, Tony MacAlpine continues to prove that he truly is one of rockâs most amazing and versatile musicians. He incorporates classical, jazz and fusion influences into the hard rock/metal genre on both guitar and keyboards.
In his 28 year career he has produced, written and arranged eleven solo instrumental studio albums. Tony has also released four albums with his jazz-fusion band CAB, three albums with his progressive rock band Planet X, and a number of other band projects. In addition, MacAlpine has contributed both guitar and keyboards to a long list of records by other artists.
Tony was born and raised in Springfield Massachusetts, and in his early years was a classically trained pianist and violinist. He began his musical education at age 5 as a piano major at the Springfield Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the direction of Marion Jensen for twelve years. Tony furthered his studies at HARTT College under the tutelage of Professor Raymond Hanson at the University of Hartford, Connecticut.
At age 12, Tony picked up the guitar. He was later âdiscoveredâ in the pages of Guitar Player magazine by Mike Varney in 1984, and soon became a leading figure in the neoclassical guitar virtuoso movement of the mid to late 80s. MacAlpine was possibly the first new rock guitar instrumental artist of the 80s to break 100,000 units in the USA. His debut album Edge Of Insanity (1986) and sophomore release Maximum Security (1987) are cited by countless guitarists as major influences. Tony performed guitar and keyboards on Edge Of Insanity (with Billy Sheehan on bass and Steve Smith on drums), and all instruments (with the exception of drums by Deen Castronovo and Atma Anur) on Maximum Security, highlighting his musical dexterity.
MacAlpine continued his extraordinary output into the 90s, with critically acclaimed releases Freedom to Fly (1992), Madness (1993), Premonition (1994) and Evolution (1995), which all remain among his discographyâs best sellers.
In the late 90s, Tony joined forces with Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Billy Idol) and Virgil Donati (Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth) to form progressive rock band Planet X, regularly touring
Europe and South America. In 1999, bassist Bunny Brunel (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock) tapped MacAlpine to join his jazz-fusion band CAB, along with drummer Dennis Chambers (John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana) and keyboardists Brian Auger (Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix) and Patrice Rushen (GRAMMY-Awards Musical Director). This lead to the release of their self-titled album in 2000, and their GRAMMY-nominated CAB2 album in 2001. Two further CAB albums followed and the band toured the world, particularly Europe, Asia and Russia.
Shortly after, Tony was invited to join the band of fellow guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (along with Billy Sheehan on bass) where he played both guitar and keyboards, often doubling Vaiâs formidable leads on both instruments. Tony performed and toured the world with Vai for seven years, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, and appearing on the certified double-platinum DVD Live At The Astoria, London, along with the G3â03 Live In Denver and G3 Live In Tokyo DVDs.
In 2006, Shrapnel Records celebrated Tonyâs 20 year career with Collection â The Shrapnel Years â an album containing some of his hottest musical moments â comprised of aggressive rock and fusion compositions which highlight Tonyâs incredible technique and melodic flair. These tracks contain standout performances by some of the greatest musicians in progressive music, including drummers Steve Smith and Deen Castronovo as well as bassists Billy Sheehan and Tony Franklin and other world class players.
In 2007, Tony was the featured guitarist for French pop legend Michel Polnareffâs highly successful comeback tour in France, playing to over half a million people during the tourâs three month run. A special performance of this event was televised across France. He also appeared in the 2008 award-winning motion picture Crazy: The Hank Garland Story making a cameo as Wes Montgomery.
In 2011, Tony made a highly anticipated return to solo work, with his self-titled album Tony MacAlpine released in the USA and Europe on June 21. It features 12 blistering tracks of MacAlpine on 7 and 8-stringed guitars, keyboards, bass and programming, along with appearances from drum legends Virgil Donati and Marco Minnemann. The album garnered widespread critical acclaim â Premier Guitar magazine calling it one of the best instrumental records of 2011.
In 2012, Tony joined forces with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs), Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and Derek Sherinian (Billy Idol, Joe Bonamassa) to form the super group PSMS. The band toured Europe and Asia and released the live CD, Blu-ray/DVD Live In Tokyo.
In 2015, Tony released Concrete Gardens, featuring Brazilian drum icon Aquiles Priester (Primal Fear, Hangar, Angra), bassist Pete Griffin (Zappa Plays Zappa, Dethklok, Shining) and a guest appearance by Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Conquering Dystopia, Nevermore). The album included an accompanying DVD and EMGtv web series featuring Tony and band (Aquiles Priester, Pete Griffin, and guitarist Nili Brosh) performing the album live in the studio.
Unfortunately, shortly after the subsequent US tour, Tony was diagnosed with colon cancer, and was forced to cancel tours of Europe, Asia and Australia, and immediately undergo treatment. In a double blow, Tonyâs wife was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time. In December 2015, his fellow musicians banded together for âA Benefit for Tony MacAlpineâ at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, featuring performances from Steve Vai, Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, John 5, Zakk Wylde, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Tom Morello, Richie Kotzen, and hosted by Eddie Trunk. The show also combined with an auction featuring items donated from a whoâs who of rock royalty.
In the later stages of Tonyâs recovery in 2016, he supported Steve Vai on the west coast run of the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour; and performed dates in France as the guitarist in Michel Polnareffâs band.
On September 1, Tony released his 12th solo album Death of Roses. The 7-track album is the first of a 2-part release, and features Hungarian drum sensation Gergo Borlai, and Pete Griffin returns on bass. His North American tour in support of the album kicks off on September 1. Innovative Venezuelan 14 & 16-string guitarist Felix Martin will be supporting on all dates.
Tony endorses Ibanez guitars, Hughes & Kettner amplifiers, EMG pickups, Ernie Ball strings, Source Audio pedal, and Roland keyboards.
Can something be wry, aching, hysterical, evocative, provocative, fun, beautifully sung, and consummately played all at once? Can it?
Thatâd be Vance Gilbert and his transcendent new album âBaD Dog Buffetâ.
With the generous assistance from a varied list of super-respected guestsâincluding Celtic harpist/singer Aine Minogue, bluegrass boys Darol Anger and Joe Walsh Jr., jazz sax player Grace Kelly, country rock hero Roy Sludge, and guitar mainstay Kevin Barryâthis talented manâs musical truth plays out shamelessly on BaD Dog Buffet.
Fully funded by his fans, the record has so far received raves reviews based solely on the material folks knew would be on it Those who know and love Vance have already enjoyed the life-loving capitulation of âGod Bless Everyone,â the seething rocker âNothing from You,â and the tonguein-cheek, happy break-up song, âOut the Way We Came In. âFirst Ringâ is a Vance classic, a banjo love story rooted in folk whimsy, while âKiss the Bad Boysâ sounds like what would happen if Bootsy Collins and Bruce Springsteen were trapped in an elevator and ended up writing a song together. âUnfamiliar Moon,â which some may know as Vanceâs signature songâa tune that landed him in the second round of auditions of TVâs âAmericaâs Got Talentââis revisited here in a pared down version with Anger on fiddle.
Like all great artists, Vance truly happens live. In fact he developed his reputation with his jawdropping, diverse, funny, devastating, and gorgeous live performances. Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, the late George Carlin have all requested Vance to be added to their bills.
Vance exploded onto the scene in the early 90âs, with buzz spreading quickly. Who was this multicultural arts teacher knocking them dead at open mics? After opening Shawn Colvinâs 1992 Fat City tour, he took much of America by storm and by surprise. âWith the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener,â wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from the Colvin tour.
Vance followed with three acclaimed albums for the Rounder/Philo labelâEdgewise (1994), Fugitives (1995), and Shaking Off Gravity (1998). Then, Somerville Live (2000), was lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc âyoung songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams,â and New Yorkâs Town and Village called One Thru Fourteen (2002), âlively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending.â
Gilbert then released a duo album with his friend Ellis Paul, entitled Side Of The Road (2003). The Boston Globe described it as âthe songwriterâs most compelling work; literate, heartfelt, ripplingâ¦emotionally resonant.â The Globe placed the album on its Top 10 list that year.
Gilbert only continued on with three more albums, Angels, Castles, Covers (2006) displaying his vocal virtuosity, with sounds of Motown, the R&B of Al Green, and classic Joni Mitchell. Up On Rockfield (2008) just after a year and a half as support for George Carlin, and Old White Men.
Which brings us full circle to BaD Dog Buffet, the latest in a growing, glowing oeuvre and an evocative catalog created by a cornerstone acoustic artist.
(Late Show) Da Funny Team Presents One Eye, Tracy Williamson, Shaun da real Parker, Izzy Rhue, with Host Samantha B
Mystic Braves might be rooted in the psychedelic scene of the 1960s, but the bandâs moment is happening right now.
Based in Echo Park, Los Angelesâhome of a white-hot garage band revival of which the Braves are at the forefrontâthis five-piece musical sensation started out as a hobby, but for the musicians involved has become much more.
And while the groupâmade up ofJulian Ducatenzeiler on guitar and vocals,Tony Malacaraon bass and vocals, Shane Stotsenbergon guitar and vocals, Cameron Gartungon drums and Ignacio Gonzalezon organ and tambourineâisnât straying far from what Ducatenzeiler describes as a âa blend of influence and sound that is unprecedented in contemporary music,â there are certainly some changes afoot.
Since theearly days, Mystic Braves have gone on to release two full-length recordsâboth recorded at Lolipopâand a single and have played extensively to ever-increasing crowds in Southern California and beyond. And thegoodwill that their first songs garnered has never gone away.
Lucy Spraggan is in a good place and wants to share it with you. She is happy in love, life and music: three things that are reflected in the anthemic, upbeat, and infectious sound of her new album. The past few years have been the best of times for the singer-songwriter and Today Was a Good Day sings that message loud. The UK has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world and an ever-growing incidence of mental health difficulties across our population: Spragganâs personal experience of dark days compels her to pass on the message of hope that forms the backbone of this album.
Itâs been seven years since Spraggan appeared on the X Factor in 2012 and sheâs open about the difficult times when she felt suicidal. âI was a young person with fame and money in my pocket. I was dragged from club to club to play and given free booze,â says Spraggan. âIâm not sure where I would be without it the experience, but it was just too much for my brain. I was drinking and partying and in a terrible place.â
She reached her lowest moment driving down a motorway 2013. With her foot on the accelerator at 120mph, she closed her eyes. âI was about to turn my wheel into the central reservation when my dog (her Boston Terrier, Steve) sneezed. I knew I couldnât do it to him and he saved me. I came straight home and started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my recovery started from there. It opened the door to hope.â
Spraggan wants use her experiences to help others. Last year, she released âStick The Kettle Onâ â the first track on this the Today Was a Good Day album - in support of CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably. The track was written with Roy Stride (Scouting For Girls), and Stride and Spraggan decided work with CALM to help people who suffer with mental health issues.
Today Was a Good Day marks a new chapter for Spraggan musically. She signed a new record and publishing deal with Cooking Vinyl in 2018. The new album, produced by Jon Maquire showcases Spragganâs voice in the structure of the songs. Overall she sounds at her most confident and accomplished, and ready to build on her 50 million views on YouTube and 25 million streams on Spotify. The most Googled musician of 2012, Spraggan was the first X Factor artist to play Glastonbury and will perform there again this year on the Avalon Stage after filling the Acoustic Tent in 2017.
Spragganâs invitation to support Melissa Etheridge on tour across Europe and the UK will surely be one of the highlights of 2019, despite coming so early in the year.
As Spraggan announces headline shows across the UK, Europe, and the US in 2019 her thoughts are never far from juggling home life with that one on the road. âThe past few years have been the most important in my life. Settling down, getting married and planning a family - I just want to share my story and get out there and play.â
Bombadil with Special Guests OHM Project and Sam Stucky (Solo)
Bombadil is a long-running folk-pop band from Durham, NC. The band has made fans at NPR, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, who called them "astonishing." Time Out New York said their music is âbursting with irresistible melodies, unexpected lyrical gems, and moments of profound honesty, all anchored by expert songwriting skills."
The Milk Carton Kids with Special Guest Twain - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Waltzing into disaster and its aftermath, The Milk Carton Kids' "All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn't Do" arrived from ANTI- Records on June 29.
The new project marks the first time that acoustic duo Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale have brought a band into the studio with them. "We wanted to do something new," Pattengale says. "We had been going around the country yet another time to do the duo show, going to the places we'd been before. There arose some sort of need for change."
"Musically we knew we were going to make the record with a bigger sonic palette," says Ryan. "It was liberating to know we wouldnât have to be able to carry every song with just our two guitars."
Since their last studio album, "Monterey" (ANTI- 2015), life has changed dramatically for The Milk Carton Kids. Pattengale has moved to, and is now producing records in Nashville. Ryan is now the father of two children and works as a producer on "Live from Here with Chris Thile," the reboot of "A Prairie Home Companion." A break from years of non-stop touring, Ryan says, has yielded "space outside of the band that gives us perspective on what the band is."
But it's not just the addition of the band here that creates something new. National politics left Ryan feeling disoriented and mournful. Pattengaleâs relationship of seven years ended, and he found himself unexpectedly needing surgery for cancer. (He is cancer-free now, and accidentally broke his cigarette habit in the process.)
Though they didn't approach the new album conceptually, a theme of shattered realities began to emerge out of the songs that sparked to life. Recent events provided a bruising background for the record, yet the project is somehow bigger than any personal grief. Two-part harmonies ride acoustic guitars high above the haunting landscape created by the presence of the band, as if Americana went searching for a lost America.
Produced by Joe Henry and engineered by Ryan Freeland, "All the Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn't Do" was recorded in October 2017 in the Sun Room at House of Blues Studio in Nashville. Musicians who joined them there included Brittany Haas on violin and mandolin, Paul Kowert and Dennis Crouch on bass, Jay Bellerose on drums, Levon Henry on clarinet and saxophone, Nat Smith on cello, Pat Sansone on piano, mellotron, and Hammond organ, Russ Pahl on pedal steel and other guitars and Lindsay Lou and Logan Ledger as additional singers. Mixed by Pattengale, the album was mastered by Kim Rosen.
If previous Milk Carton Kids productions recall plaintive missives from a faraway hometown, these songs sound more intimate, like a tragic midnight knock at your front door.
The album ricochets between familiar styles and experimental songs. "Just Look at Us Now" rejects easy sentiment, suggesting that hindsight only reveals how badly things have turned out. "It's a terrifying place to be," says Ryan, "when everything seemed to be going fine." The stunned "Mourning in America" holds up an atmospheric Polaroid from the Midwestâas Ryan explains it, "what it feels like to live in a country you thought you knew."
In one of their biggest departures, "Nothing Is Real," neither of The Milk Carton Kids plays guitar. Describing the recording session for it, Pattengale says, "That was one of the days we had maybe ten people in studio. The way that I connected to the song was by playing it on the piano. When we were in studio and having trouble figuring out the angle, I thought, 'Why don't we use the piano, and assign each person a part of what I'm playing?' That song used my piano part almost as if we were writing an arrangement."
Inside the theme of shattered realities that wires the album together, even elliptical songs somehow become direct. The lyrics for "Blindness," when set to music, acquired an unnerving undertone. A subdued rhythm section and extended guitar solo turns "One More for the Road" from a wistful late-night last call into an astounding ten-and-a half-minute elegy.
Western influences on "Younger Years" gallop over a snaking clarinet and under vocals looking for something to salvage from sorrow ("Love inside our hearts / is the only kind of savior we've been sent"). "You Break My Heart" features Pattengale's solo vocals. Harmony turns "I've Been Loving You" into visceral grief. "For much of my life I've avoided that kind of intimacy and immediacy in my own writing," says Pattengale, "but you have to leave your blood on the page. It's wonderful, but it can also be a terrifying thing."
"Big Time" brings the energy of their live performances into the studio. "The goal was actually to record this one with a string band," Ryan says. "So everybody was in the room together. Lyrically, this one deals in the most hopeful way with some of the themes of the record."
The atmosphere on much of the album is both lush and spare, like waking up at night to find yourself on an ice floe that has drifted far from shore. "A Sea of Roses" traces its narrator's burial wishes, while "Unwinnable War" went through a metamorphosis as it developed. "If these are the sides we're staking out, no one side or the other can win," says Ryan. "We lose sight of the damage the battle does."
The title track, "All the Thingsâ¦" presents a ledger of the countless tiny moments in a relationship from the vantage point of its passage into memory. ("The story of how the end came to be. How you became you. How I became me.")
Listening to the Milk Carton Kids talk about their creative process, it's easy to imagine them running in opposite directions even while yoked together. "Joey and I famously have an adversarial relationship, and that did not abate when it came to choosing songs," Pattengale says.
They dig at each other in interviews and on stage, where Ryan plays his own straight man, while Pattengale tunes his guitar. The songs emerge somewhere in the silences and the struggle between their sensibilities.
They have been known to argue over song choices. They have been known to argue about everything from wardrobe to geography to grammar. But their singing is the place where they make room for each other and the shared identity that rises out of their combined voices.
Pattengale recalls hearing a story from Del Byrant, the son of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote so many of the Everly Brothers' biggest hits. The tale goes that when it came time to teach them a new song, the couple would separate the brothers, with each one going into a different room to learn his part. In the process, they would tell each brother that he was singing the melody, while his brother was singing harmony.
Defying the conventions of melody and harmony is a strategy the Milk Carton Kids have consciously embraced. "Sometimes, we'll switch parts for a beat or a bar or a note," Ryan says. "And that starts to obfuscate what is the melody and what is the supporting part. Because we think of both of them being strong enough to stand alone."
"There are only so many things you can do alone in life that allow you to transcend your sense of self for even a short period," Pattengale says. "I'm the lucky recipient of a life in which for hundreds of times, day after day, I get to spend an hour that is like speaking a language only two people know and doing it in a space with others who want to hear it.
By extending that language to a band and reimagining the boundaries around what acoustic-centered two-part harmony can sound like, "All The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn't Do" carries listeners down a river and out into the open sea.
As a teenager, Scott picked up the bass guitar on a whim. Natural talent and the lure of a challenge drove him to be the best musician he could and discover his love for singing, songwriting and the upright bass. With the encouragement of his teacher, he went on to study music in college.
Scott moved to Nashville after school, and he would meet American music icon Ricky Skaggs and join his Grammy winning band, Kentucky Thunder. He toured with Ricky for five years, and in that time, first started writing songs on his upright bass.
He has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists of modern music, such as: Alison Krauss, Barry Gibb of the BeeGees, Bruce Hornsby, Brad Paisley, Peter Frampton, Steven Curtis Chapman, Emmylou Harris, Dave Barnes, Ben Rector, and many more.
Scottâs songs have received honors or been featured in NPRâS Tiny Desk Contest, the International Songwriting Competition, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and American Songwriter Magazineâs 30th Anniversary Contest, and he has had numerous cuts on other artistsâ albums.
Heâs currently touring in support of his September release, Top Of The Stairs(EP), which was produced by himself, Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow) Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Sarah Jarosz), and Shani Ghandi (Sarah Jarosz).
Dylan LeBlanc - The Renegade Tour with Special Guest Erin Rae - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Dylan LeBlanc knows second chances donât come around often. But, neither do voices like his.
Overwhelmed by the speed his gift would take him, from Applebeeâs server to âthe new Neil Youngâ in a matter of months, he walked away from an unlikely major label deal after releasing two critically acclaimed albums. He slipped into a blur of booze and self-doubt. Exhausted and damaged at just 23-years-old, Dylan came home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to write a new life for himself.
In between the moments of clarity and a few familiar falls, he also wrote a new album, Cautionary Tale: a collection of shimmering, arresting songs with the same haunting vocals that caught the attention of Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen, now with a sharpened edge honed by hastened maturity.
âThis record is about me getting honest with myself,â says Dylan. âI had to let the guilt about the past go and find a new truth within myself. This time, I felt like I really had something to say.â
To help him say it, he sought out long-time friend Ben Tanner, the same guy who had secretly helped Dylan record his first songs after hours while working at fabled FAME Studios. (He also introduced a 16-year-old Dylan to Wilco, George Harrison, and Ryan Adams by way of an external hard drive). In between touring with Alabama Shakes, Ben was beginning to engineer records again at the label he started with another friend of Dylanâs, Grammy Award-winning musician John Paul White, formerly of the Civil Wars. The two both produced and played on Cautionary Tale.
âThey prevented me from burying my words,â says Dylan. âDoubt can often be my first instinct, and Iâll try to cover things up with more elements to hide my voice, but I made up my mind to trust them. I heard Merle Haggard say once that the singer is secondary to the song, and they both helped me build a strong foundation for the emotions I was feeling.â
The stripped down aesthetic that John Paul and Ben have made their labelâs calling card sets Dylanâs voice in a light bright enough to see the patina the last few years has left behind.
âI spent a lot of time writing about programming and conditioning and the idea of ego,â says Dylan. âI donât want to rely on my circumstances or the past to say why I am the way I am anymore. A lot of my songs like âCautionary Taleâ and âLook How Far Weâve Comeâ are about trying to break out of a vicious cycle. I was wondering if I could find my solutions from withinâif I could believe in something beyond the present.â
If Dylan was wandering through a cemetery with his first album Paupers Field (âSongs are like headstones to me,â he told The Guardian), Cautionary Tale is an abandoned desert town. He reflects on what once was, and if anything could be again. At times, he wonders if the signs of life he sees on the horizon are real or just a mirage. Phantasmic, warbling voices in the background rise to meet his own and fade into the ether; ghostly guitar riffs echo in the emptiness around him.
Finding the right arrangement and words was a more deliberate effort for Dylan this time. After feeling lost in the âmaniaâ of recording his first two albums, he relied on Ben and John Paul to help him collect the pieces of his vision.
âIâve definitely become more disciplined. I donât count on things like inspiration anymore,â says Dylan. âI learned so much from putting songs together with John Paul. Anything he does, itâs always going to be well-thought-out and well-placed. Iâm naturally an improv guy, but now I see how that can be more limiting than planning your next move.â
That new-found discipline shows. Never one to write out parts, Dylan methodically scored the stunning string sections with violinist Kimi Samson and cellist Caleb Elliot. To form the polished rhythm section he wanted to drive songs like âThe Easy Way Outâ and âBeyond the Veil,â he paired drummer Jeremy Gibson with Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell (âI wanted it to feel like a Bill Withers record or Al Greenâsoulful, but tight.â)
While Dylan will be the first to admit he wasnât ready to stand on the stages he played early in his career, thereâs no doubting he is now. With a recalibrated compass, heâs back on the road opening sold-out shows for British singer-songwriter George Ezra, another artist praised for a wizened voice beyond his years.
Dylan will continue to support George through September 2015, including a show at Nashvilleâs legendary Ryman Auditorium. Next, heâll embark on his solo tour with dates throughout the South, Midwest, and New England.
âAfter everything Iâve gone through, I still love putting records out and singing for people, no matter how big or small the crowd,â says Dylan. âItâs the only thing I want to do, and now I get to keep doing it as a more well-rounded person. I guess Iâm blessed or whatever the hell you want to call it.â