3TueNovember 3, 2015
Blur The Line is a first-rate album of powerful tracks that mingle heavy rhythms and distorted Neil Young guitars with ear-candy harmonies and a slew of captivating lyrics. The band called on Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, John Cale, JEFF the Brotherhood) to produce Blur The Line, and it turned out to be a revelation, a chance to stretch and give shape to their work with his supportive, laid back demeanor and experienced hands at the helm.
Chicago folksinger P.M. Buys stands as any building from his city’s skyline would, stretched high and slender. With a harmonica slung from his neck and a well-aged guitar in his hands, he appears to compartmentally fit his Midwest predecessors like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. One can certainly detect heavy influence from the Ghosts of Folk Music’s Past tucked within the works of P.M. Buys. Those elements, when twisted with thorough classical guitar training, surprising chordal accompaniment and intense lyricism, combine to give P.M. Buys a sound entirely his own.
His lastest release, a batch of six songs entitled Atop the Salt, was released in May of 2015. The EP is currently available for download, free of charge, at www.pmbuys.com.
6FriNovember 6, 2015
Of course, that's not to say that the years between then and now have been fallow for Micky & the Motorcars, who have spent the last decade and change establishing themselves as one of the exciting young roots-rock bands in the "Live Music Capital of the World" and growing their fanbase through constant touring and a fistful of increasingly confident releases. But Hearts From Above finds founding members Micky (lead vocals and guitar) and Gary (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals) invigorated and supercharged by a transfusion of new blood from fresh recruits Dustin Schaefer (lead guitar), Joe Fladger (bass), and Bobby Paugh (drums).
"I think that with the last record we were struggling a little bit just trying to keep the band afloat,"says Micky of 2011's mature but rather ironically titled Raise My Glass, a compelling document of the band at its most ruminative and brooding. "We loved the songs and we loved that record, but everyone was in kind of a tough spot with the same-old/same-old, and I had just gone through a breakup, so it was definitely the harder, darker side of the Micky & the Motorcars. Hearts From Above is more about all of us being in a much better place now. Having the new guys with us now has just brought a lot higher energy level, both onstage and in the studio. It's kind of like when we first got started 13 years ago. All of us are just having a blast."
You can hear that born-again "blast" right from the start of Hearts From Above with the soaring title track, a song Micky started working on in the afterglow of a particularly inspiring show he caught by one of his biggest Austin heroes, Alejandro Escovedo. "Alejandro's one of those guys who makes me want to be better," Micky enthuses, "and all I wanted to do was go right home and write."
He ended up co-writing "Hearts From Above" with Willy Braun, who, along with another older brother, Cody, actually moved to Austin a few years ahead of Micky and Gary with their own wildly popular Americana rock band, Reckless Kelly. But from the moment the Motorcars hit town and released their 2003 debut, Which Way From Here -- followed by subsequent releases like 2004's Ain't In It For the Money,2007's Careless, 2008's Naïve, 2009's Live at Billy Bob's Texas, and Raise My Glass -- Micky and Gary have proven time and again that while they may not have been the first band of Brauns to take Texas by storm, they can more than hold their own. They've made quite a name for themselves out on the road, too, touring on average 12 months out of the year across the United States and beyond. (Micky & the Motorcars have toured Europe three times and even recorded a live album over there, set for release when they return overseas early next year.)
Friendly competition aside, though, the four Braun brothers remain as supportive of each other today as they were as kids, when they all played together in their father Muzzie Braun's country band throughout the Western United States and in front of millions of TV viewers on the Tonight Show (twice!) To wit: In addition to co-writing half of the songs on the album, Willy also produced Hearts From Above. And of course Cody (who's produced Motorcars albums in the past) is a VIP guest on the record, too. As Gary proudly points out, all four Braun brothers can be heard singing on the song "Hearts From Above" -- something that he says "hasn't happened in the studio since we were teenagers."
"Cody came into the studio when we were tracking and coached us pretty hard," Gary continues. "He has a great ear for harmony and really helped us pick the right parts for the songs. And of course I have always liked working with Willy, and I don't care if we are writing a song or building a doghouse. He's a fun guy to be around, but he also knows when to be serious. He was really good at talking to the band getting the best takes we could."
Recorded in early 2014 at Austin's 12th Street Sound and funded by the Motorcars' first-ever Kickstarter campaign, Hearts From Above is packed with assertive songs destined to become crowd favorites; indeed, some of the songs already are road-tested keepers -- most notably the epic album closer, "Tonight We Ride," which Micky describes as an "anthem for soldiers and cowboys and cowgirls and bikers -- really, anybody that sticks together as a team."
"We've been doing that song live for probably almost a year now, and it's starting to get to the point where the crowd is shouting out for it," says Micky, who co-wrote the tune with Willy and Brian Keane. "That's a really great sign when you haven't even recorded a song yet and people are already requesting it!"
One of Micky's other personal favorites on Hearts From Above is the swaggering "Hurt Again,"which he co-wrote with Jason Eady. "That one's the wild card," he says with a laugh, "because Jason is best known for his country stuff, but that's probably the most rocking song on the whole record. I really love the opening line, 'The taxi's running waiting right outside/There's a look of shame girl that you can't hide,' because I feel like it just reaches out and grabs people right out of the gate, and then it's just rock 'n' roll from then on out and it never lets up.
"We actually started out a lot more country," he continues. "Before the Motorcars, I came straight out of a country band and then playing in a bluegrass band after that for a couple of summers on and off. But as we all got older, we started playing more and more rock 'n' roll, and for me, 'Hurt Again' really expresses our ability to do that."
Although Micky fronts the band, Gary's brotherly harmonies and back-up vocals (not to mention his myriad instrumental chops) have been a key element of the Motorcars' sound from day one. He also steps forward to sing a song or two of his own on every album, and his two tracks on Hearts From Above are among the album's highlights: the hooky, up-tempo "Led Me the Wrong Way" and the haunting "Sun Now Stands," a powerful account of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians of the Pacific Northwest.
"I had the idea to write about the Nez Perce and how they were kicked off their land and instead of staying on the reservation that the government had put them on, they decided to make a break for it and try to escape to Canada," says Gary. "After awhile I realized it was going to be pretty hard to cram that whole story into a four-minute song, so that's when I called Willy and as luck would have it, he had just finished a book on the topic and was also planning on writing a song about it. We got together the next day and got to work, and I think it took us about four hours to write the whole thing from start to finish."
The poignancy of "Sun Now Stands" is matched elsewhere on Hearts From Above by the album's one cover, "Sister Lost Soul" -- a song that the aforementioned Alejandro Escovedo wrote for his acclaimed 2008 album Real Animal as a tribute to fallen brothers in musical arms.
"That song is very sentimental to me, and the whole band, really," Micky explains. "We kind of do that one as a tribute to our good friend Mark McCoy, who was with us forever. We lost him last year in a boating accident." McCoy, the Motorcars' original bassist, died a year after leaving the band to move back home to Idaho. Micky also sings "Sister Lost Soul" in memory of another late friend who helped teach him guitar and introduced him to the music of Van Morrison and a lot of other great songwriters and rock acts.
"As we get older, we all start to lose friends, and whether they're really close friends or even acquaintances you just kind of knew, it's always a sad thing to see people have to go through things like that," Micky explains. "And that song is just kind of a tip of the hat to all those guys. It's an anthem for them and for the people that miss them."
Bittersweet though it may be, the song fits Hearts From Above's spirit like a glove. For Micky and Gary Braun, who've driven the Motorcars together now for more than a dozen years, as well as for the newer members helping them steer the band further on down the highway, it's a celebration of where they've been, where they're headed, and most of all, where they are right now.
"Apart from how we're all much happier now in regards to our relationships and personal lives, I think I was really able to just write about how grateful we are to get to do what we do," says Micky. "I think all of us in general are in a pretty good spot right now. We're happy to be on the road and to be putting out music, and we're grateful to our fans for helping out on the Kickstarter project and for showing up at shows. We just seem to be in a very positive place, and I feel like this record really represents that."
7SatNovember 7, 2015
The Polyphonic Spree has ranged in size from 13 to 27 members. It has never been about the size but about the sound. The band currently has 21 active members.
The Polyphonic Spree have released five full length studio albums up to this point: "The Beginning Stages of...", "Together We're Heavy", "The Fragile Army", "Holidaydream" and "Yes, It's True". They recently released "Psychphonic" a remix/reimagination album of the complete "Yes, It's True" full length.
Tim DeLaughter has also scored the motion pictures "Thumbsucker" and "Visioneers". He also wrote and performed the Emmy nominated theme song for the Showtime series "The United States of Tara."
The band will be celebrating its 15th year by performing "The Beginning Stages of..." in its entirety as well as some deep cuts, choice covers, and some other surprises thrown in for good measure. The UK/Europe portion of the tour runs the majority of September. The US/North America leg of the tour is mid October to mid November.
Often imitated but never duplicated the psychphonic ensemble The Polyphonic Spree moves forward on its path.
11WedNovember 11, 2015
We Were Promised Jetpacks debut album "These Four Walls" (2009) was released to critical acclaim. Thus began the bands busy touring schedule, playing high profile festival slots around the UK and USA supporting label mates Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad.
2010 saw the release of the follow up album "The Last Place You'll Look", an EP comprising of unreleased tracks and swelling, orchestrally inspired rewrites of songs from their debut album "These Four Walls".
The bands sophomore release followed in 2011 and was recorded at Sigur Ros's Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland. "In the Pit of the Stomach" was testament to the poise, control and vigor the band had learned to command. The extensive touring schedule continued and the release received support and high praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine. The band also continued to build on their high profile live performances with sets at Coachella, Fashions Big Night Out at New York's Rockerfeller Centre and on Last Call with Carson Daly
During the 2012 US Tour the band recorded and captured footage from their live set at Union Transfer, Philadelphia. Early 2014 saw the release of "E Rey: Live in Philadelphia", in ode to Esteban Rey the bands' friend and then tour manager. The album captures the explosive energy and drama fans have come to expect from a We Were Promised Jetpacks show, with behind the scenes footage allowing fans a unique insight to life on the road with the band.
Early 2014 saw the band working tirelessly on "UNRAVELLING" which will be the bands most confident and accomplished record to date. Recorded in Glasgow at the infamous Chem19 Studios with Paul Savage who has previously worked with numerous established and diverse Scottish acts such as Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote, The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai.
Lead vocalist Adam Thompson says, "It was a fairly straightforward decision to work with Paul. He has done plenty of brilliant work and we had worked with him for a few days before recording our first album and always remembered enjoying recording with him. I'm really chuffed with that decision. I think Paul has done a great job and its the first time we've ever been present to mix the album with the same person who has recorded it, which has been an enjoyable and much more relaxing experience for us."
The impending album release also sees the addition of a new member to the band in the form of multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan. Thompson's explains, "Stuart is an accomplished keys, piano and guitar player as well as having a lovely little singing voice and with him we have tried to do something a little different with this selection of songs. We've known him for ages and played music with him before so we were pretty sure it would work out. It has just been the 4 of us since about April 2004 so having someone new with us has been an enjoyable part of the process."
12ThuNovember 12, 2015Pokey LaFarge
Indeed, the dozen-song set marks a new landmark in a career that's already filled with musical highlights. The St. Louis-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist draws from a deep well of American musical traditions to create distinctively personal music that's timeless rather than retro, transcending the confines of genre in a manner that reflects the artist's openhearted attitude.
Incorporating elements of early jazz, ragtime, country blues, Western swing, and beyond, LaFarge has created a vibrant, deeply expressive body of work that embodies an expansive musical vision and vivid storytelling sensibility that are wholly his own. He's also earned a reputation as a tireless, uniquely charismatic live performer, winning a loyal international fan base that regularly packs his rousing, celebratory live shows.
Since he began recording in 2006, Pokey has maintained an indefatigable work ethic that's yielded a wealth of compelling music. After making a grass-roots splash with his self-released debut album Marmalade and moonlighting as mandolinist with the Hackensaw Boys, he continued to gain notoriety with his widely acclaimed longplayers Beat, Move, and Shake, Riverboat Soul and Middle of Everywhere (the latter two were both named Best Americana Album by the Independent Music Awards) and the concert set Live In Holland.
Longstanding admirer Jack White added LaFarge to the roster of White's Third Man label for the 2011 EP Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County (which White produced) and the 2013 album Pokey LaFarge, as well as enlisting Pokey as opening act on the North American tour in support of White's Blunderbuss album. Also in 2013, Pokey was featured on the soundtrack of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, performing the jazz standard "Lovesick Blues" with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. 2014 was LaFarge's busiest year yet, with the hard-working artist performing on five continents, including tours in India, Australia and New Zealand as well as extensive roadwork in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands.
Something in the Water finds the artist doubling down on his established creative strengths, expanding and deepening his musical reach on such new originals as the wry, rollicking title track, the swaggering ragtime workout "Wanna Be Your Man," the infectiously jazzy "Underground," the evocative crooner "Cairo, Illinois," the exotic ballad "Barcelona" and the swinging album-closer "Knocking the Dust off the Rust Belt Tonight," whose witty lyrics underline the album's proudly Midwestern sensibility. Also featured are fresh, buoyant takes on popular blues standards "When Did You Leave Heaven" and "All Night Long."
"The Midwest is at the heart of this record," LaFarge asserts. "The people playing on these songs are from Wisconsin and Illinois and Chicago and St. Louis, and there's a certain attitude that comes across in the songs and the way that they're performed. I'm born and raised in the Midwest, and my family's been here for generations. This is where I'm from and how I think, and that's reflected in the music I make.
"Americans love to reinvent themselves, but you can never really get away from the place that you come from," he continues. "And in a globalized world, I think that there are some parts of our regional identity that we should hang onto and cherish. I do buy into that old idea of the Midwestern work ethic, and it's definitely something that's been passed down through my family and something that I feel connected to, and it influences the way I approach making music."
LaFarge teamed with kindred-spirit producer Jimmy Sutton to record Something in the Water at Chicago's Hi-Style Studio. For the occasion, he recruited a diverse cast of talented players, including his own longstanding touring combo as well as members of such notable outfits as NRBQ, the Fat Babies, the Modern Sounds, and the Western Elstons. He designed the sessions' communal recording approach to push himself creatively, while bringing several new musical elements--including the more prominent use of drums and vocal harmonies--to the table.
"I knew that I really had to challenge myself on this one, and to create a slightly different take on my music," LaFarge notes. "The Third Man album put me on the map for a lot of people, so I was conscious that I wanted to take things to the next level. One thing that I really wanted to do this time was to emphasize the groove, and I was also thinking a lot about space and about juxtaposition. The ability to work with some different people took me out of my comfort zone, and Jimmy really challenged me and pushed me into some new places. And as I felt the spirit and the camaraderie that we all had in the studio, the whole thing took on a life of its own."
The resulting album is the most powerful showcase to date for Pokey LaFarge's peerless gifts as a songwriter, performer and entertainer.
"You try to make something that's cool, something that's sexy," he observes. "But when you come down to it, you can really only make music for yourself, and I feel like this album is the first time that I was really able to do that. I'm 31 and I've been doing this for awhile, but I feel like I'm only starting to make the music that I've always wanted to make. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself when I was younger, because guys like Hank Williams and Bob Dylan and Otis Redding made so much great music when they were in their 20s. But now I feel like I no longer have that pressure, so I can just be myself."
The R&B Cadets, The Mosleys
show detailsNovember 13, 2015SOLD OUT
The R&B Cadets
The Mosleys8:00pm $20.00The R&B Cadets played their first gig shortly after New Year's in 1980 and their last in the summer of 1986. In that time they got a lot of folks out on the dance floor, playing a distinctive mix of of deep soul cuts from Paul Cebar's massive record collection and some sparkling originals, written by John Sieger, often in tandem with Michael Feldman, a friend and now longtime host of Public Radio's Whad'ya Know?
Splitting lead duties with Sieger and Cebar was the lovely chanteuse, Robin Pluer. Owner of one the lovelier voice heard in the midwest, Ms. Pluer was a dollop of sweetness at the top of the band's deep range. Rounding out the lineup was Mike Sieger, John's brother and vocal doppelganger, who played bass. Original drummer Cy Costabile, was later replaced by Bobby Schneider and the saxophonist Juli Wood was replaced by keyboard/sax man Bob Jennings.
In it's prime, the band had a large following in Milwaukee, where they were pretty much the house band at the late, lamented Century Hall. They travelled well too, with fans in the Twin Cities, Chicago, Madison and even New York where they played legendary clubs like CBGB's, The Knitting Factory and The Lone Star. Their only record, Top Happy, came out in 198-. It featured a song produced by Nick Lowe, a fan who had stumbled across them after playing a show in Milwaukee. The record got great reviews and could have been the start of even bigger things, but like many bands, people were pulling, and being pulled, in different directions.
The positive result of their breakup was two, then three very vital and entertaining acts. There was Semi-Twang, which concentrated on John's songs and did a record, Salty Tears for Warner Brothers that gathered more love than sales. John later moved to nashville and had many of his songs recorded by artist like Dwight Yoakam, Flaco Jimenez and The Bodeans.
Paul and Robin continued with the beefed up and ever-popular Milwaukeeans, releasing a record in the 1990s on Shenachie that got radio play around the country. That lineup stayed around until Robin bid adieu. Tired of touring and now married, she headed to New York for a while, before returning. She has carved out a special niche between soul, swing, standards and the French chanson that she loves, and is still performing today.
In 2009 Semi-Twang reunited and have released two CDs, both of which garnered raves. Paul has continued non-stop, his latest was out last year with his most recent moniker, Tomorrow Sound. The three headed beast has been in rehearsal, tightening up songs old and new. The crowd at their first reunion gig in many years was up and dancing at the first down beat, you probably will be too.
Power-pop trio with amazing musical talent. Hand-crafted songs with rip-your-heart-out melodies and harmonies to make the birds stop singing.
Prior to forming the Mosleys, Mike Fredrickson (bass, songwritter) and Dave Braun (drums) were with the Spanic Boys and appeared on "Saturday Night Live." They left the Spanics & teamed up with monster guitarist Royce Hall Jr. and began on a journey that lead to ABC's "World News Now" sending a crew from New York to Milwaukee to shoot a video! They have been featured on the "World Cafe" national radio show and in other national media.
14SatNovember 14, 2015
You can tell a lot about a person from the company he keeps. When that company has included Bob Dylan, The Beastie Boys, George Harrison, Emmylou Harris, Doc Watson, John Hiatt, Jerry Garcia, Reverend Gary Davis, Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Phoebe Snow, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Mississippi John Hurt, you realize you're dealing with a very special case.
Bromberg was born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, NY. "As a kid I listened to rock 'n' roll and whatever else was on the radio," says Bromberg. "I discovered Pete Seeger and The Weavers and, through them, Reverend Gary Davis. I then discovered Big Bill Broonzy, who led me to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues. This was more or less the same time I discovered Flatt and Scruggs, which led to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson."
David began studying guitar at age thirteen and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-'60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the Reverend Gary Davis.
Bromberg's sensitive and versatile approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village "basket houses" for tips, the occasional paying gig, and employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, "hired gun" guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon.
An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot for 600,000 concert goers at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut included "The Holdup," a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison, who also played slide guitar on the track. David also met the Grateful Dead and wound up with four of their members playing on his next two albums.
Bromberg's material, based in the folk and blues idioms, continually expanded with each new album to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country and ethnic music, and his touring band grew apace. By the mid-'70s, the David Bromberg Big Band included horn players, a violinist, and several multi-instrumentalists, including David himself.
Despite sold-out concerts and a string of acclaimed albums on the Fantasy label, Bromberg found himself exhausted by the logistics of the music business. "I decided to change the direction of my life," he explains. So David dissolved his band in 1980, and he and his artist/musician wife, Nancy Josephson, moved from Northern California to Chicago, where David attended the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. Though he still toured periodically, the recordings slowed to a trickle and then stopped.
After "too many Chicago winters," in 2002 David and Nancy were lured to Wilmington, Del., where they became part of the city's artist-in-residence program and where David could establish David Bromberg Fine Violins, a retail store and repair shop for high quality instruments. Frequent participation in the city's weekly jam sessions helped rekindle Bromberg's desire to make music again, as did the encouragement of fellow musicians Chris Hillman (The Byrds, Desert Rose Band, Flying Burrito Brothers) and bluegrass wizard Herb Pedersen.
With the release of the Grammy-nominated 'Try Me One More Time,' his 2007 solo return to the studio, David continued his musical revitalization, playing shows on his own, with the David Bromberg Quartet, and reunions of the David Bromberg Big Band. In 2009, spurred by a suggestion from John Hiatt that he come to Hiatt's Nashville studio to "mess around," David came up with the idea for 'Use Me' - an album featuring David with Hiatt and other friends like Levon Helm, Los Lobos, Tim O'Brien, Vince Gill, Widespread Panic, Dr. John, Keb' Mo' and Linda Ronstadt. Each guest artist either wrote or selected a song and then produced David's interpretation of their suggested tune, thereby fulfilling David's request to 'Use Me'. Partially detailing the proceedings, filmmaker Beth Kruvant directed a compelling film documentary David Bromberg; Unsung Treasure, which is currently circulating at US and Canadian film festivals.
In 2013, content with the balance of both his violin business and performing career, David was ready to record again with his live band. Enlisting old friend Larry Campbell (three-time Grammy-winning producer for Levon Helm and multi-instrumentalist with Bob Dylan) and engineer Justin Guip, David and his group entered Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY, in March 2013. Enlisting some of Helm's former recording and touring musicians for added instrumentation, the David Bromberg Band emerged twelve days later with 'Only Slightly Mad,' a return to his genre-bending albums of the Seventies and Eighties. Bromberg fans will find blues, bluegrass, gospel, folk, Irish fiddle tunes, pop and English drinking songs happily coexisting as they can only on a Bromberg album. For newcomers, Only Slightly Mad will be an introduction to an astonishing performer whose range and musical depth have delighted devoted audiences for over forty years and will for many years hence.
Dana Erlandson has been making his homegrown "Americana" music for more than 30 years. He has opened for and in many cases played with..... America, Brewer and Shipley, Jackson Browne, Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, Steve Forbert, Richie Furay, Nanci Griffith, John Hartford, John Hiatt, Lucy Kaplansky, Leo Kottke, David Lindley, Pat MacDonald, Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys, Kevin Montgomery, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Todd Snider, Al Stewart, Greg Trooper, and Jerry Jeff Walker . Dana celebrates a new decade with a brand new CD release called "Coming Home".
15SunJC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
7:00pm $18 advance / $20 door
show detailsNovember 15, 2015
JC Brooks was born the son of a Jersey funk diva, his voice erupts with heart and heartache over the ferocious rhythm and star-time charisma of guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, keyboardist Andy Rosenstein, and bassist Ben Taylor. With a take-no-prisoners live attack and lyrics speaking of the torment and triumph of these tumultuous times, it's no wonder that the Chicago Tribune called JC Brooks "the real deal". This is a soul band rallying against our disaffected and disengaged era, connecting with people the old-fashioned way, by whipping them into a frenzy with honest appeal and unbridled enthusiasm.
The Uptown Sound has attracted a true-blue grassroots following, with MOJO Magazine identifying them as "one of the hottest US soul acts". Since unleashing their Bloodshot Records debut "Want More" ("A lively set of gritty old- school soul and funk injected with raw garage-rock aggression" - KEXP), they've barnstormed North America and Europe relentlessly, while burning up NPR and AAA radio with their stomping cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"(which they performed with the song's composer, Jeff Tweedy, at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival).
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have toured, warred, scored, and they're not to be ignored. Bear witness, for these young men are on the move and they know what post-punk soul looks like. It looks like the future.
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers are musical beacons of the Southwest. Over the last fifteen years, the Arizona-based quartet has delivered vivid lyrics, addictive guitar riffs, and a full-bodied rhythm section on more than a dozen studio and live albums. The Independent marks the group's newest release and seventh studio effort, which raises a metaphorical glass to the road less traveled and champions the courageous.
After landing in the top ten of Billboard's Internet Sales Chart for six consecutive albums--all on independent labels and twice at number one--RCPM is poised to lead the charge for a Spanish-infused, roots rock revolution. The band's annual music festival in Rocky Point, Mexico, known as Circus Mexicus, is a testament to their growing fan base. What began as a rooftop show thrown together with extension cords and wooden pallets has blossomed into a pilgrimage that draws thousands of "Peacemakers" to the beach town every June. "There's something about our music that celebrates what's uniting versus what's dividing," says Clyne.
Irony played an integral role in the creation of The Independent, whose first track emerged from a stifling case of writers block. Armed with his guitar and battling creative blockades, Clyne unleashed the phrase "I ain't got the words for this" and as a result the first lyrics for the album were realized. "Ain't Got The Words" leads The Independent, exposing hearty vocal grit and liberating honesty.
The album features guitarist Jim Dalton, bassist Nick Scropos, drummer P.H. Naffah, and Clyne on vocals and rhythm guitar. While Clyne pens the bulk of the Peacemaker's tunes, a long stretch of Northern California highway set the stage for Dalton's lyrical debut. Traveling along the Causeway between Sacramento and San Francisco, RCPM's tour bus came to a screeching halt. "The bus driver screamed back at us and said, 'Guys I got nothing!'" recalls Dalton. "I grabbed my guitar and started strumming. The words 'Just another California breakdown' came tumbling out."
The inspiration behind Dalton's guitar-laden, hard luck tune "California Breakdown" remains one of the band's favorite memories to date. After alerting fans via Facebook to their sidelined 40 ft tour bus, The Peacemakers received more offers for a ride than they could accept. Devout fans piled RCPM's gear onto a landscape trailer, loaded the musicians into their cars, and headed into the sunset for the San Francisco show.
The title track off The Independent is a representation of the group's Southwest influences, delivering an instrumental collaboration that evokes desperado imagery and draws inspiration from old west greats like Sons of The Pioneers. Inversely, the track "Geronimo" is a radio-ready anthem that begins with dark undertones and mariachi roots before building into an uplifting call to arms that chides, "Time to sing a new battle cry, get up out of limbo, step into the blue sky, geronimo!"
The reoccurring themes of independence and chance arguably stem from RCPM's decision to record the album in Naffah's Somos Studios, which also found the drummer in the role of producer. Clyne is no stranger to Naffah's talents, as the pair originally began playing together in the celebrated 90's alt-rock act The Refreshments. Clyne credits Naffah for being a solid component in his 100+ song repertoire.
Riding into the music industry on their own terms has been a longstanding philosophy for the band, and in this case created a sense of freedom that allowed Clyne & company to make an unapologetic album that's pleasingly rough around the edges. Rich with commanding vocals, melodic bass lines, tambourine, and a hint of keys, The Independent embodies the spirit of RCPM.
"The Independent is a double entendre," says Clyne. "It represents the solo sojourner, but it also frames the idea of moving forward as a collective group in the name of independence."
Traveling off the beaten path works to the advantage of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. Clyne has successfully spearheaded the production of his own ultra-premium sipping tequila called Mexican Moonshine Tequila, orchestrated an out of country music festival, and guided a band whose fan base has grown exponentially over the last decade. Clyne notes that the lyrics off the track "Right Where We Want 'Em" sums up the sentiment of The Independent. The song speaks of encouragement and unlikely victory, stating, "Out numbered, out flanked, out muscled, out ranked and out gunned." Clyne sings, "Take another long trip off a short plank, at a dead run. We got 'em."
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers "got 'em right where we want 'em now."
18WedNovember 18, 2015Nik Turner's Hawkwind
Nik Turner (born Nicholas Turner, 26 August 1940, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England) is a British musician, best known as a founding member of space rock pioneers Hawkwind. Turner plays saxophones, flute, sings and is a composer. While with Hawkwind, Turner was known for his experimental free jazz stylisations and outrageous stage presence, often donning full makeup and Ancient Egypt-inspired costumes.
FECK were mainstays in Milwaukee’s underground music scene in the early to mid nineties.
The band’s musical journey was of ‘head music’, an exploration, and conglomerate of many musical styles. Hard rock, psychedelic music, and experimental soundscapes fused together to form one expression. FECK regrouped earlier this year (after a near twenty year hiatus!) for the third installment of Milwaukee Psych Fest.
19ThuNovember 19, 2015
But in 1999 McLaughlin vanished from sight as his career crumbled due to a little-known neuro- muscular disorder called Focal Dystonia. After suffering several years without a cure or even a diagnosis, this right-handed guitarist embarked on an unlikely attempt to regain his career by re- learning his instrument....left-handed! His remarkable comeback is captured in the independent documentary film Changing Keys (seen on PBS stations in 2010) and a concert film called Coming Back Alive featuring McLaughlin with string orchestra and a reunion of his longtime rock band. KPBS (San Diego) produced the 2013 Emmy Award winning live concert program called Starry Night -- Billy McLaughlin with Orchestra Nova highlighting McLaughlin's extraordinary talent as both guitarist and inspirational speaker.
Now serving as Ambassador for Awareness for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, McLaughlin is the winner of the 2010 Public Leadership in Neurology Award whose previous winners include Paul Allen, Julie Andrews, Leon Fleischer, and Michael J. Fox.
McLaughlin has resumed an international schedule of concert appearances and keynote speaking. He resides in his home state of Minnesota where he is proudly raising two boys.
Jeff Arundel is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in the city in a curvy, tree-lined neighborhood called "tangletown". His room was in the back of the third floor, high up among the branches--the perfect place for reflection and melancholia, which ran unheeded until he got a little guitar for his 13th birthday. He began recording his music in 1988 with Dale Goulett, lead singer of the famed Minneapolis pop ensemble "Limited Warranty"--JA flung himself over the ramparts and into the realm of sounds and songs. seven studio albums, various awards including a Minnesota Music Award, The NAIRD album of the year finalist award, two prestigious Cities97 samplers, national and international radio play, and then an evolution into music producing and direction.
In a career spanning 25 years, JA has worked alongside memorable players and execs including Arif Mardin, Ian Ralfini, Bruce Lundvall, Tim Hatfield, Rob Genadek, Niko Bolas, Rob Arthur, Charley Drayton, Rich Mercurio, Jeff Victor, Tommy Barbella, Jon Herchert, Matt Novachis, Joel Sayles, Ken Abdo, Miki Mulvihill Van Tyn, Keri Noble, Billy Mclaughlin, Tom Peterson, Nathan Wilson, Steven C, The Conte Brothers, Jeff Allen, Bobby Z, Noah Levy, Billy Oerhlein, Pat Frederick, Kale Reed, Ben Peterson, Ashleigh Still, and many more in a career that has taken him around the world. JA has released seven nationally-distributed records, produced top-ten hits in foreign countries, and been on all the big and little stages. He is working on his eighth studio recording and has any number of production projects going.
20FriNovember 20, 2015
South Broadway Athletic Club is an album full of new experiences for the band. Although they again worked with longtime producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, The Del-Lords, The Yayhoos) it was the first time the group recorded a full album in their hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Working at Sawhorse Studios, it was also the first time they scheduled sessions in batches over several months, allowing the songs - and the whole album - to fully breathe and unfold. The extended songwriting process not only allowed a gestation period for the music, but also created the opportunity for a new musical collaboration with the Nashville hit-songwriting family The Henningsens, resulting in the song "Something Good." These fresh directions helped focus the band's creativity and energy throughout the recording sessions, adding further dimension to the album.
Singer/guitarist Brian Henneman meticulously crafts lyric-chapters straight from his well-worn journal. The album's sharp-as-shit songwriting kicks off with "Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)," and the tough but tender "Big Lotsa Love." The latter is built on engaging wordplay that takes the listener through the ups and downs of working through the world with someone you care about. In "Dog," a jangly, Byrds-infused, unaffected but never cloying, tribute (with Henneman's new weapon of choice: a chimey, 12-string Rickenbacker) to a favorite canine, he sings, "I love my dog, he's my dog/ If you don't love my dog, that's OK/ I don't want you to, he's my dog." The zen-like wisdom transcends merely a song about a pet and, rather, packs the message and life philosophy that, "Sometimes life is just this simple."
Sonically, The Bottle Rockets still find the quickest two-lane highway into the bloodstream. There are pulses through the rhythm section of Mark Ortmann's made for FM radio, wall-of-sound drumming and bassist Keith Voegele's deep and shapely lines. They are Missouri's answer to Muscle Shoals' The Swampers -- Swiss Army knife players, distinctive and in the pocket. It's honed further with John Horton's classic rock guitar snarl on "I Don't Wanna Know," a song that could otherwise be a Tom Jones classic about a relationship lie. On the speaker-rattling "Building Chryslers," Horton and Henneman ignite a crunchy guitar duel that'd fit nicely on the LP shelf between Dinosaur Jr and Thin Lizzy. The song is a compelling character study told only as The Bottle Rockets can.
Shimmering, fresh coats of paint are applied in "Ship It On the Frisco," a Southern soul-influenced song about childhood train hopping, and "XOYOU," which showcases the band's cosmopolitan touches through a Rockpile/Nick Lowe-inflected pop gem mixing in shuffling drums, handclaps and harmonies. Elsewhere, "Big Fat Nuthin'" is an earwormworthy "ode" to exhaustion with a Black Flag "TV Party" vibe.
Throughout their entire career, The Bottle Rockets have managed to stay true to the rabid music heads as well as casual dial-turning everybodies. After 20+ years, they've come out on the other side stronger and more energized than ever before, proactively writing their own creative arc. Against the odds, the Bottle Rockets are a true American success story. Consequently, South Broadway Athletic Club is an album as relevant as their formative early work; political by not being political, re-affirming our greatest aspirations by focusing on the tiniest of truths.
Sam Llanas (formerly of the BoDeans) is an iconic American singer, acoustic guitarist, and songwriter. Best known for his unique and distinctively soulful voice, Sam's fiery vocals fueled many of his former band's finest songs including their biggest hit "Closer To Free." It was Llanas' voice that supplied the trademark vocal on Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down the Crazy River."
In 1997 Llanas founded the band Absinthe. As Absinthe Sam released one album, 1998's critically acclaimed A Good Day To Die. In 2011 Sam Llanas left the BoDeans and released 4 A.M. (The Way Home) on Inner Knot Records. In 2013 he released the live retrospective 4/5 Live - Vol I.
In 2012 the music from 1998's A Good Day To Die was incorporated into a collaboration with playwright Doug Vincent and producer Gary Tanin in the production "A Day for Grace." By 2013 the play had evolved to include multi-city tours and multi-week runs in New York City.
On November 18th, 2014 Llanas is set to release The Whole Night Thru an all new studio record produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin. It features 9 new Llanas originals. The Whole Night Thru is Llanas' first studio outing after parting ways with the band he co- fronted for over a quarter century. Shedding new light on a multi-decade career Sam returns to his roots adding a refined rock sound complimented by a full band, all veterans of both studio and live performance. Behind his lone-wolf image and tuffness, Llanas continues to hone his skills. A master craftsman that feels most at home in the city he's always called home, Llanas has set the stage for fans to embrace his new identity.
21SatTommy Castro and the Painkillers "Method To My Madness" Record Release Party
show detailsNovember 21, 2015
Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of fans, packing dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. He has released 14 albums filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each one standing alone. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (currently featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown), play music that is guaranteed to fire up fans and leave critics searching for new words of praise. Billboard says the band plays "irresistible contemporary blues-rock" with "street-level grit and soul." Now, with Method To My Madness, the group turns the intensity up another notch.
"My main objective when making a new album," says Castro, "is to do something different from before. I've always been a blues guy; it's what I'm meant to do. But I'm always listening and reacting to what's going on in the outside world, experimenting with my guitar tone and my songwriting approach to constantly keep my music fresh. In the end, though, my brand is on every song." Method To My Madness finds Tommy Castro And The Painkillers at their very best. It is instantly a career-defining highlight in a lifetime full of them. The album was recorded at Laughing Tiger Studio in San Rafael, California and produced by Castro (his first time at the helm) using no recording studio wizardry, just the unadulterated sound of the band. Castro's songs--he wrote or co-wrote 10 of 12 tracks--are raw, raucous and rocking. From the opening one-two punch of everyman anthems Common Ground and Shine A Light to the full-tilt energy of the title track to the searing, deep soul ballad Died And Gone To Heaven, Tommy and the band are firing on all cylinders. From the bayou rock of Got A Lot and the atmospheric, autobiographical Ride to the reinvented version of the Clarence Carter hit I'm Qualified and the emotional cover of B.B. King's Bad Luck, Tommy Castro And The Painkillers continue to break new ground while simultaneously having an incredible amount of fun.
Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He fell under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and other blues rock players. As he got older, Castro discovered the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and the deep-rooted soul of singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his 20s he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands.
Castro joined Warner Brothers' artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s before forming The Tommy Castro Band in 1991. He released his debut album in 1996 on Blind Pig and hit the road hard, picking up new fans everywhere he went. In the mid-1990s The Tommy Castro Band served as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television's Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live), bringing him in front of millions of viewers every week. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, Castro released a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street Records, as well as one on his own Heart And Soul label.
Castro joined Alligator Records in 2009, releasing Hard Believer to massive acclaim. He won four of his six career Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive). His song Hard Believer took first place in the blues category of the International Songwriting Competition. His next release, 2011's Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue--Live! was a fiery collection of the highlights from a series of live performances anchored by Castro and an all-star collection of nationally recognized blues musicians, including Rick Estrin, Michael "Iron Man"Burks and Joe Louis Walker. His road-dog approach--gig after gig--has won him loyal fans everywhere he plays. Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup and leaving his tight horn section behind. Fueled by Tommy's voice and guitar plus bass, drums and keyboards, the band released The Devil You Know in 2014, winning over hordes of new fans. Castro stripped his music down to its raw essence with the band hammering their point home on the bandstand. Jambands declared, "Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are a crackling, stripped-down band with plenty of grit and a rocking soul."
Now, with Method To My Madness, Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are ready to unleash their new songs on music fans everywhere. "With the new album," Castro says, "I was trying to get back to my basic ingredients: blues and soul. I went for the energy of connecting with my band. We kept everything raw, capturing the feeling of playing live. I'm not about being perfect," he says, summing up. "I'm about being real." Clearly that is the method to his madness.
25WedNovember 25, 2015
Best described as the "new vintage," WiFEE and the HUZz BAND is sure to rock your socks off! Vocalists Ruby James and Stephen Cooper front this ten piece powerhouse, leading the listener through their emotional love story with the reinforcement of a full horn section and a smokin' rhythm section that will take you back to the glory days of Motown while being on the forefront of today's cutting edge.
The story of this group begins with the chance meeting of Ruby and Coopy in the summer of 2012, and revolves around the whirlwind love that the two immediately had for each other. The combination of these two incredible performers has created an unlikely marriage of musical styles that not only captivates the senses but steals your heart away!
Pulling from their combined influences of Rock and Roll, Jazz, Americana, R&B, Rockabilly, and Soul, Ruby and Coop have assembled a band consisting of rock-n-rollers, jazz musicians, punk rockers, college trained craftsmen, and self taught savants to orchestrate a sound that has all the subtlety of a stick of dynamite!
This formidable collection includes Ruby James on lead vocals, guitar, and percussion; Stephen Cooper on lead vocals and tenor saxophone; Greg Roteik on bass; Kipp Wilde on keyboards and backing vocals; Zach Vogel on guitar and backing vocals; Chris Scheer and Michael Underwood on drums; Kurt Shipe, Greg Garcia, and Quentin Volk on trumpet; Tom VandenAvond and Tyler Jennings Henderson on trombone; and Julio Reyes and Jerod Kaszinski on baritone saxophone.
Tender, heartfelt, and explosive vocals overlay the powerful, driving locomotive rhythm of the band... virtuosic soloists echoing tales of bitter sweet romances and true love stories... a horn section with militant precision conjuring ghosts of a bygone era...and the unbelievably immediate love story of two people fused together so swiftly and with such intensity it is as if they have always been together, WiFEE and the HUZz BAND will grab you in an instant and have you dancing and singing along from the very first note!!
27FriNovember 27, 20158:00pm $10.00U2Zoo is a four piece concert caliber band that celebrates the full U2 Concert Experience. Founded in 2003, U2Zoo has built its fan base by playing the biggest festivals and headlining concert venues throughout the Midwest region. This band of U2 fans continues to pay tribute to the music and soul of U2 with their powerful vocals and well studied sounds. They bring with them all the vintage equipment and top notch touring crew to bring the concert experience alive.
Close your eyes and it's the music you've come to love. Open your eyes and live the full Concert Experience of U2Zoo.
War Piper features Milwaukee Irish music veterans Jimmy Kiley, Bill Reid, and Tom Hansen, with a rich pedigree including popular bands Reilly, Finn MacCools, and Celtic Keep, joined by the skilled and talented John Baumgartner, Rick Crouse, and Rory Modlinksi.
28SatNovember 28, 20158:00pm $10.00Enigmatic frontman and part time tambourinist Eddie Sauer leads the Heavyheads back to the stage to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Following a successful run from 2005-2008 with popular live shows in Milwaukee and Chicago, the band members went their separate ways to pursue other artistic endeavors from black metal to the avant garde and slam poetry. Back together for the first time in seven years, the band is returning to their rock 'n roll roots to perform songs from their self-titled EP along with 2008's full-length album, Down At The Heels. Backing up Sauer are guitarists Chris Anderson and Tom Joy, bassist Scott Oakes and drummer Tim Schulz.
29SunNovember 29, 2015Joseph Arthur
Sean Williamson and Kyle Feerick
It was amid this abundance of riches that the Brooklyn-by way of Ohio-native began molding a collection of music under a single narrative thread: The Ballad of Boogie Christ, described by Arthur as "a fictionalized character loosely based on my own journey."
At first, it was a song here or there, or a set of lyrics with no accompanying music. Then, those songs would get recorded and set aside. They'd get re-recorded and revised. They'd start to make sense in relation to their brothers and sisters, and then they wouldn't. And pretty soon, more than half-a-decade had flown by and Boogie Christ was no closer to coherency.
"For some reason, I've been avoiding finishing this record for a long time," Arthur says with a laugh. "It's been an albatross around my neck. I don't know why, but it has."
Yet despite its labored birth, The Ballad of Boogie Christ has defied the odds to become another essential cornerstone of Arthur's robust discography. Encompassing sessions put to tape in upstate New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Arthur's own Brooklyn studio, the 11-song album showcases the artist's signature rich storytelling set to a diverse range of rock'n'roll.
"I don't know that there's a beginning, middle and end to the story, but there are definitely experiences, situations and perspectives that point in those directions," says Arthur. "I wanted to let the listener fill in some of the blanks without telling the whole story in a straight-ahead way."
The album begins with the surprising orchestral pop of "Currency of Love", on which Arthur unveils a passionate croon unlike any vocal performance he's ever given. From there, Boogie Christ offers epic affirmations on overcoming addiction (the seven-minute closer "All the Old Heroes"), anthems of open-hearted solidarity ("Wait for Your Lights", "It's OK To Be Young/Gone") and the kinds of slow-burning narratives ("Famous Friends Along the Coast", "I Used To Know How to Walk on Water" and a reimagined, hymn-like version of his standout, "I Miss the Zoo") that have won Arthur a legion of fans around the globe.
Songs like "Black Flowers", "I Used To Know How to Walk on Water" and the title cut were recorded several years ago with help from the Band's legendary keyboardist Garth Hudson and bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams, Jack White), while newer additions to the track list such as "Currency of Love" and "Saint of Impossible Causes" were crafted in Los Angeles with assistance from Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Lana Del Rey). Among the other guests on Boogie Christ are Ben Harper (Arthur's bandmate in Fistful of Mercy), session drummer extraordinaire Jim Keltner, Joan As Policewoman leader Joan Wasser and composer Paul Cantelon (Oliver Stone's W., Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell & the Butterfly).
"There are certain moments on the album that are just pop music and sugary," Arthur says. "I didn't want it to be this diatribe of heaviness, and it had been like that sometimes. I definitely wanted moments of relief within it, where you just get a good jam."
At the center of the project is the autobiographical "King of Cleveland," a classic story song that connects Boogie Christ the character with Arthur the flesh-and-blood artist. On it, the narrator apprentices alongside a big fish in a small pond, "playing blues in the back seats, from biker bars to limousines" -- much like Arthur did in his early professional career in Northeast Ohio. Says Arthur, "He's just starting to live the life he's imagined, playing roots boogie in the real America -- Ohio."
"I've heard David Bowie talk about how Ziggy Stardust and some other records were the beginnings of screenplays that he just never finished," he says. "I could really see this becoming something deeper and bigger than just an album.
"Chuck Prophet reminded me that there's always the Great American Novel," he continues. "And that really stuck in my head about Boogie Christ. That's what I've been wanting to achieve with this album. He encouraged me that it was okay to dream big."