12TueJuly 12, 2016
It's not just here at home that the bands profile has been building -- with over 150,000 Facebook fans, and with a whopping 20 million views and counting on YouTube, the band have toured across North America under the invite of City And Colour (aka Dallas Green), plus enjoyed a string of sold out international headline dates of their own. Their Australian tours have seen the band play venues such as Sydney's Enmore Theatre and Melbourne's Forum and Athenaeum Theatre.
Now, the Melbourne band -- Sam Bentley, Christina Lacy, David Powys, Josh Bentley and Sam Rasmussen -- are back, with an effortless, sprawling listen that explores new terrain to unveil their best work yet.
"The album is a concept record, based around a theory that an artist's creative peak is between the hours of midnight and 4am," explains front man Sam Bentley, who'd been searching for a theme to shape album #2. A passing comment from a friend back in August 2014 delivered the spark. "That idea turned into the heart of the project, so every night I'd sit down when the clock ticked over to midnight and just start writing."
For two sleepless months Sam worked, reversing his sleep patterns and penning 30 songs in his home studio. "I got to the end and thought, I'm never doing that again," Sam laughs. Lyrically, twelvefour isn't about some sort of somnambulist or insomniac blues, however. "You're always more melancholy during those hours," Sam points out, "but if I could sum up the album it's about what happens when selfishness and love collide."
Take the title refrain of the golden, harmonica-laden "I'm Lying To You 'Cause I'm Lost," or album opener and first single "Electric Indigo," with its plea for redemption: "But you've been waiting long enough to let it go / I'll do you right / 'Cause time is just a remedy / Covered in disguise". (Be sure to check out the video for 'Electric Indigo', starring actress Laura Brent -- The Chronicles Of Narnia, A Few Best Men.)
"Neon Crimson" is one of Sam's favourites, embodying the album's spirit. "Late-night isolation, a confession, an apology... The album as a whole is an open letter. Words and melodies written very late at night to attempt to understand the heaviest of choices, which is choosing someone else or yourself," says Sam.
Determined to capture a bigger, bolder sound, the group travelled to Seattle to record in February 2015 with Grammy-nominated producer Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Manchester Orchestra, Fleet Foxes, The Shins). twelvefour is lush and intimate: think drum machines, dirtier guitars ("very much an '80s twinge,"Sam insists) mixed with soulful, smooth synth moments -- see closer "Too Late. Plentiful late-night vibes.
Recording in the Pacific Northwest was a joy. The band took up camp in the hip suburb of Ballad for six weeks, while Ek encouraged them to push themselves."Phil was someone we'd always wanted to work with, but I know he turns a lot of bands down," says Sam. "We thought it wasn't necessarily worth asking."
"The great thing about working with Phil was that you couldn't fake it -- he wanted to hear the real thing,"Sam continues, recalling a day the producer chided him after a vocal take. "He was really honest with us, sometimes brutally, but all in the interest of making a better record. He made a real point about letting things be how they sounded like they wanted to be."
A visit to the studio of Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) was like being let loose in a gear candy shop, while blood and sweat literally made its way onto the record when bassist/keyboardist Rasmussen cut his hand while laying down "Turns Within Me, Turns Without Me." "He cut his hand open playing these weird keys that were attached to cymbals he was slamming together... all which ended up on take we used."Track "Revelator Eyes" shows off Lacy's harmonies, in what Sam describes as "kind of fast, still very lush, kind of sexy" vibe. "She really loved that song, we were both pushing for it to be on the record."
Returning home in April, the record was finally done. Fans can also look forward to a special documentary about the making of twelvefour, filmmaker Matthew Cox capturing the entire recording process in all its glory, warts and all: "it's not all sunshine and rainbows".
The resulting album is a startling document to a band truly growing into their own: surefooted and focussed. "As always I hope that the people who listen to our music continue to go along with us. We're really excited to be taking these songs on the road, and bringing everyone up to speed with where we've been."
13WedJuly 13, 2016Swans
15FriJuly 15, 2016SOLD OUT
Dylan Pratt8:00pm $20.00As a visual artist, Broken Arrow, Okla., native JD McPherson is well versed in the process of working within clearly defined formal parameters, and he employs a similarly rigorous discipline with his music. On Signs & Signifiers (Rounder, April 17), McPherson's seductively kickass debut album, produced by JD's musical partner, Jimmy Sutton, this renaissance man/hepcat seamlessly meshes the old and the new, the primal and the sophisticated, on a work that will satisfy traditional American rock 'n' roll and R&B purists while also exhibiting McPherson's rarefied gift for mixing and matching disparate stylistic shapes and textures.
"There are little subcultures within the roots scene, where people are really into rockabilly, traditional hillbilly stuff or old-timey music," JD points out, "but there aren't a whole lot of folks making hard-core rhythm & blues hearkening back to Specialty, Vee-Jay or labels like that. That's what Jimmy and I really like, and our only intention going in was just to make a solid rhythm & blues/rock 'n' roll record. But I didn't want to make a time-machine record, so we tried to make something relevant but with all the things we love about rock 'n' roll and rhythm & blues and mesh it all together. We both have eclectic tastes; Jimmy likes the Clash as much as he likes Little Richard, and I like the Pixies, T.Rex, hip-hop and all kinds of stuff. So we came up with a couple of weird songs and put them on the record, hoping that it wouldn't scare off any of our ultra-selective fanbase."
JD needn't have worried. It's highly unlikely that even the most discerning listeners would guess that the arrangement on his cover of Tiny Kennedy's R&B chestnut "Country Boy" incorporates not only the tambourine beat of Ruth Brown's 1955 Atlantic single "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean," but also Raekwon and RZA's "abstract, out-of-tune piano loops" on Wu-Tang Clan's innovative '93 LP Enter the Wu-Tang; or that the mesmerizing churner "Signs & Signifiers" is powered by an unchanging tremolo guitar figure modeled on Johnny Marr's part on the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now." Then there's "Firebug," which JD "wanted to sound as if Stiff Little Fingers had recorded at Del-Fi Records." And while it may not have been specifically what McPherson and Sutton were going for, the haunting dreamscape "A Gentle Awakening" seems to chart a course from "Heartbreak Hotel" through Terence Trent D'Arby to Amy Winehouse.
Never has an album of so-called "retro" music been laced with such a rich payload of postmodern nuance. But that was precisely the intent of what JD describes, only half-facetiously, as "an art project disguised as an R&B record."
"It's weird," says Sutton, "when you grow up being a fan of 'older' music and all of a sudden you're making a record, you're thinking, are we just recreating something--a museum piece--or are we actually bringing it forward? It's interesting, because if you make something today and it moves you today, in that sense it's contemporary. I like that juxtaposition of classic and fresh, something old yet new that can actually take you somewhere now."
Of course, pushing the genre envelope doesn't work unless the artist has the chops and feel to capture the form in its pure state to begin with. Check out, for example, "Dimes for Nickels," McPherson's vital evocation of the very moment when R&B and hillbilly music had a baby and they called it rock 'n' roll, or the Jackie Wilson-meets-Elvis exuberance of "Scratching Circles," or the lascivious ecstasy of the Little Richard doppelganger "Scandalous," (although the "gold-capped tooth" reference in the first line is lifted from the Leiber-Stoller Coasters classic "Love Potion #9"). But for all we know, these tracks, too, may have been secretly embedded with elements from far afield, their stylistic twists hiding in plain sight. This cat is wicked-clever--and man, can he ever deliver this righteous shit.
McPherson took a circuitous path to get to this point. Broken Arrow butts up against Tulsa, a cultural oasis in the Heartland that has long been not only a musical hotbed but also a bustling center of the contemporary arts. "Tulsa's got a lot of resources for people who are into weirdo art," JD points out. And he gravitated toward it. "I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma in experimental film," he says. "I wanted to paint, do installation, make video art, performance stuff, sculpture. I'll bet I'm the only person to have received graduate credit hours in card magic." He wound up with an M.F.A. from the University of Tulsa in open media, a discipline designed specifically for his interests and ambitions.
But all along the way, music was an integral part of McPherson's life. His dad introduced him to Delta blues and jazz as a kid, and after getting into Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and punk rock during high school, he picked up a Buddy Holly box set. "Something about that scratched an itch," he says. "Then I started getting into the black side of rock 'n' roll: Larry Williams, Little Richard, Art Neville's stuff on Specialty, then soul and Jamaican rocksteady." While studying visual arts, he also played in bands, doing everything from punk to western swing. JD was still scratching that itch when he recorded some originals with his previous band and took a shot in the dark. Well aware of Sutton's status as a heavy hitter on the roots scene and the leader of R&B group the Four Charms, he fired off a MySpace friend request and asked if the producer/bassist would listen to his demos.
"I get sent stuff all the time, and it's always the same," says Sutton, "but I checked JD out and there was definitely something there. He wowed me--his voice, his songwriting. So we started talking, and we were always on the same page about the music we dig and where we wanted to take it. He had great ideas but he was still an open book. I was just trying to push him to stay true to himself. So the idea became to create a record that was honest and live."
Six months into their budding partnership, JD arrived at Sutton's newly completed home studio in Chicago--a sort of working shrine to all-tube recording as it was practiced a half-century ago, right down to Jimmy's collection of vintage mics and his early-'60s Berlant/Concertone quarter-inch tape machine. Also on hand was Sutton's go-to guy Alex Hall, "a Brian Eno type" according to JD, who multitasks as engineer, drummer and keyboard player.
"I showed up and I said, 'I got this song 'Dimes for Nickels,' and I want it to be like a Chess Chuck Berry thing, slowed down, with a flat-tire beat,'" JD remembers. "Jimmy and Alex are from Chicago--they know that stuff backwards and forwards--and we nailed it in two takes." Within a week, they'd banged out a dozen tracks, recording during the day and writing at night with a guitar and a laptop.
In order to make sure the album got heard by JD's potential core audience, Sutton threw some chum in the water, pressing up a limited run on his brand-new Hi-Style label and directing it at the roots community. JD and Jimmy, who's also a visual artist, then applied those skills to the making of a striking video for opening track "North Side Girl," which has now registered well over 350,000 YouTube views.
"When the album came out, we immediately got a really strong response from that crowd," JD recalls. "Then we put that video out, and it went all over the place within a week. Not too long after that, we started getting calls from managers, prospective booking agents, and it turned into this weird journey. By early last year, we were talking to some major labels and the folks at Rounder, who found out about us from the video. What made it the perfect storm was, as all that was happening, I lost my job--I was a middle school art teacher. I loved that job but, sign of the times, they started laying off the art department and I was part of the fallout. So I collected my paycheck through the summer and toured." After which he signed with Rounder.
Having finally decided on his artistic direction, JD isn't looking back. "Although I grew up wanting to be a visual artist, I'll tell you what: the most satisfaction I've ever had as an artist is right now," he says. "Because as much as I love artists like Joseph Beuys, I love David Bowie and Little Richard more. I was doin' OK, I had some things going, but I'd rather do this, make music the priority. There's more instant gratification--you play a show and right away you feel like it's something worthwhile, and a lot of people are in on it. So I'm definitely into continuing to explore all this stuff. It's really exciting--knock on wood."
JD has no doubts about the viability of the choice he's made. "Working within a genre has been done in all kinds of mediums--look at Alfred Hitchcock," he points out. "It's been established that rock 'n' roll is a viable form--it's hard-wired into American brains to understand swinging blues stuff. So it's not surprising to me that kids are into the Black Keys and Adele. It just had to be presented to them."
So now it's JD McPherson's turn to step up to the plate and give it a good whack. Go get 'em, tiger.
21ThuJuly 21, 2016David Wax Museum
Those stakes are what lie at the heart of David Wax Museum's fourth and boldest studio album to date, Guesthouse (to be released October 16 on Thirty Tigers). It's the sound of a band reconciling the accountability of marriage and parenthood with the uncertainty and challenges of life on the road; of coming to terms with the limitations of the "folk" tag that launched their career and pushing past it into uncharted musical territory; of reimagining their entire approach in the studio to capture the magic and the bliss of their live show. In typical David Wax Museum fashion, the songs on Guesthouse are simplistic and sophisticated, elegant and plainspoken all at once. Rather than succumbing to the weight of the newfound responsibilities that landed on their doorstep, the band has leaned into the challenges to capture a brilliant portrait of the messy beauty of it all.
The roots of David Wax Museum stretch back nearly a decade, and all the way from New England to Mexico. As a student at Harvard, Wax began traveling south of the border to study and immerse himself in the country's traditional music and culture. Back in Boston, he met fiddler/singer Suz Slezak, whose love of traditional American and Irish folk music fused with Wax's Mexo-Americana into a singular, energetic blend that captivated audiences and critics alike. Their 2010 breakout performance at the Newport Folk Festival made them the most talked-about band of the weekend, with NPR hailing them as "pure, irresistible joy." They released a trio of albums that earned escalating raves everywhere from SPIN and Entertainment Weekly (who described them as sounding "like Andrew Bird with a Mexican folk bent") to the New York Times and The Guardian (which dubbed the music "global crossover at its best"). They earned an invitation to return to Newport, this time on the main stage, as well as dates supporting The Avett Brothers, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Buena Vista Social Club, and more.
It was on the road over these past few years as the band and audiences grew, though, that Wax could feel their exuberant live show evolving beyond its formative roots.
"I felt empowered to start the band because of my time in Mexico studying folk music," Wax explains. "In Boston, the term 'Americana' or 'folk' was just this catchall to describe what everyone was doing. It was helpful to use that to talk about our music at first, but we've found that our hearts feel most shaken, and the band fires on all cylinders, when we're putting on a rock show. What we've tried to retain about our folk origins is the warm sound of people playing acoustic instruments together in a room. But, by embracing more of an indie rock approach, we've colored this record with synthesizers, layers of percussion, and adventurous sonic processing. The mental shift of it helped us feel like we could do anything we wanted. There were no rules that we had to follow in terms of what was 'authentic.'"
Part of the inspiration for the shift was the presence of guitarist and producer Josh Kaufman, who sat in with the band on tour and added new sounds and textures that the they'd never experimented with before. When it came time to record Guesthouse, the band knew he had to helm it in the studio.
"The songs entered this Technicolor, 3D world with Josh," explains Wax. "Aside from his contributions to the arrangements, he really wanted us all to be in a room playing the music together live so that the groove would be central. We brought in two other drummers, and there was a real focus on having as much percussion happening at the same time as possible. We gravitate towards that naturally because of the Mexican influences, all of the syncopations and 6/8 dance rhythms and the energy that that gives us, but we really embraced it this time around."
That emphasis on groove sucks you in from the opening seconds of the kickoff track, "Every Time Katie," a whispered come-on that roils and pulses like an anxious heartbeat and features gorgeous call and response vocals from David and Suz. It's followed by "Dark Night Of The Heart," which pushes the sonic envelope further than any previous David Wax Museum track, blending chamber strings, psychedelic vocal filters, explosive drums, and swirling synthesizers.
Written partially in Mexico and partially in western Massachusetts, the lyrics on Guesthouse find Wax writing with more direct, personal honesty than ever before.
"I had felt really reluctant to talk about personal stuff in the past," says Wax. "I was writing personally, but there were lots of things I was obfuscating or filtering through a character to protect myself from putting too much out there. But it got to a point where it was taking a lot more energy than it was worth to maintain that privacy. When we had our daughter, Calliope, it felt like this sudden release because talking and singing about our lives was becoming more and more integral to what we were doing as artists and who we were as people."
The title track, which draws on several traditional Mexican songs for musical inspiration, is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on the life of a traveling musician hunting for a free place to crash, while "Lose Touch With The World" faces down the reality of living a life far removed from that of your friends and family, and "Young Man" is an earnest musing on growing older.
"It's about being a parent and coming to terms with what your ambition is," explains Wax. "What part of that is essential to who you are, and what part can you let go of? We have to check in with ourselves and ask what we're doing and why we're doing it more often now because we're not just us putting ourselves through the mental and physical sacrifices of touring anymore," he continues. "Now Calliope is going through it with us, and Suz's dad and my cousin Jordan are going through it with us on the road. And because we're constantly checking and making sure we're doing this for the right reasons, that we feel honest in our hearts about it, I think that's brought new life to what we're doing and a new energy and a new level of commitment."
It's a sentiment brought beautifully to life on "Everything Changes," as Wax and Slezak sing, "Everything changes / when two becomes three." The song was written in response to all of the good-natured warnings about what having a child would mean for the couple, the freedom and sleep and sanity they might lose out on. Instead, they choose to focus on everything they've gained: a beautiful daughter, a stronger bond with their families and fans than ever before, and without a doubt, the most exciting album of their career. For David Wax Museum, the stakes may be higher, but that just means the rewards are even bigger.
23SatJuly 23, 2016
Singer and guitarist Marty Lloyd characterizes the sessions for Never Change--which features the hit songs "Those Diamonds" and the project's title track--as euphoric. "Looking back, our approach to making Never Change was very similar to the historic days down at Muscle Shoals." he says. "The essence of our sound and songwriting was supported by Justin's 'A Team' cast, and the room soared from the first down beat. As recording artists we chase that feeling. It was incredibly uplifting and joyful!"
Niebank, a three-time Grammy winning producer/engineer, adds of the album, "Never Change is the best record I have worked on in years!" The present FJB lineup is led by original singer and guitarist Marty Lloyd, who is presently joined by bassist Rich Ross (Josh Gracin, Phil Vassar, The Samples), guitarist Dave Preston (Matt Morris, Justin Timberlake), and former Matchbox 20 Drummer Ryan MacMillan, to round off this All-Star lineup. With a great new record, relentless touring and legendary live performances, the Freddy Jones Band is back--and entering its finest hour!
24SunJuly 24, 2016Gary Hoey
Hoey's first break came in 1987 when Ozzy Osbourne liked Hoey's tape enough to fly him to LA for an audition. Although the went to Zakk Wylde Ozzy recommended Hoey moved to LA and fely he would get noticed. "I remember Ozzy mumbling in this British accent but did not understand a word" "Sharon said you did not get the gig but move to LA" So I did, Thanks Ozzy. In 1992 Hoey released "Heavy Bones" on Waner Bros. a rock vocal album with Frankie Banali on drums from Quiet Riot. In 1993 Hoey recorded his first solo album for Warner/Reprise the successful "Animal Instinct" album. His cover of "Hocus Pocus" rocketed into the Billboard's Top 5 Rock Tracks. With a collection of 19 albums it's no wonder Gary Hoey is listed as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.
1994 Hoey scored the successful "Endless Summer II" soundtrack for New Line Cinema. Other clients have included Walt Disney, ESPN, scoring the music to "California Screaming" (Disney Roller Coaster), and songs in movies "Office Space," "Deck the Halls" (Danny Devito), and Beethoven III.
In 2012, Hoey produced and co-wrote The Queen Of Metal, Lita Ford's latest release "Living Like Runaway" for SPV records to rave reviews. "It was a thrill to work with Lita... She is a true rocker and a pioneer for woman in rock. And lastly, she's a kick ass
To this day the guitar aficionado continues to tour extensively, endorsing Fender guitars and amps, Monster Cable, GHS Strings, Rocktron to name a few. As Music Director for Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp, he's worked with legends like Joe Perry, Roger Daltrey, Yes, blues icon Johnny Winter, Robben Ford, Leslie West, and KISS drummer, Peter Criss. Hoey has toured and traded licks with the likes of Jeff Beck, Brian May of Queen, Ted Nugent, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Peter Frampton, and Dick Dale.
26TueJuly 26, 2016Jeremy Enigk
Into It. Over It. (solo acoustic)
2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of Jeremy's debut solo album Return of the Frog Queen.
27WedJuly 27, 2016Whitford/St. Holmes
Xeno8:00pm $25.00After selling tens of millions of records around the world with Aerosmith and Ted Nugent, Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes have reunited for their second record and world tour. Whitford/St.Holmes self titled debut received strong radio play and as well as critical reviews followed by a very successful run of US dates. However, shortly after its release their respective camps reunited and those schedules simply did not allow for a follow up...until now!
The newly reunited line up also features drummer Troy Luccketta from Tesla and Nashville A-lister, bassist Chopper Anderson. The bands second release is slated for early 2016 with a new single arriving this Fall.
As Brad and Derek put it, " We are so excited for this record and we absolutely cannot wait to get out there and share it with all of our fans....check that, "FRIENDS!"
29FriJuly 29, 2016
But for John Nemeth, it's where his love for the genre began--and the starting point for a journey that's taken him from his first gigs fronting a teenage blues band to five Blues Music Award nominations in 2013 alone.
It's where this preternaturally talented son of a Hungarian immigrant gained his early chops on the harmonica, building on the style of blues heroes like Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Nemeth's first paid performance came in 1991, when he was hired to perform drinking songs for a pinochle luncheon held by the Catholic Daughters of America. The following summer, his first band, Fat John and the Three Slims, landed a steady gig performing outlaw country and Chicago blues covers at the Grubstake Saloon in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho--but the group was 86'ed from the town after their soon-to-be ex-drummer was caught mouthing off to drunken, angry loggers during the annual Loggers Day Festival. Unchastened, Nemeth and his band set their sights on the Boise club scene, where, for nearly a decade, they played seven nights a week at local pubs, taverns, joints, and parties.
After opening a show for Junior Watson, Nemeth was tapped as tour opener for the jump blues guitarist, a gig that took him across the United States, to Scandinavia, and into the recording studio for his 2004 solo debut, Come And Get It, featuring Watson. When Nemeth's girlfriend decided to relocate to California, he knew he couldn't lose her, so he packed up the house and traveled west. It was an astute move: shortly after arriving in San Francisco, Nemeth was performing at Biscuit and Blues when Blind Pig Records signed him to a three-album deal.
Opportunities abounded, from the phone call Nemeth got from Anson Funderburgh, who was looking for a frontman to fill in for ailing blues legend Sam Myers, to a gig opening for Elvin Bishop, which led to Nemeth's role as featured vocalist on Bishop's Grammy nominated album The Blues Rolls.
"I learned a lot living in Oakland and San Francisco," Nemeth says, "from recording and performing with Elvin Bishop to hearing Freddie Hughes perform. Record shops like Amoeba Records and Down Home Music provided a wealth of material that did not exist back home in Idaho, like the records of Lowell Folsom, Jimmy McCracklin, Roger Collins and the songbook of Bob Geddins. Oakland is like a truly southern city, only it's on the west coast. It wasn't until after I arrived that I discovered that so many great songs I love actually originated there."
After logging over 1000 concerts between 2007 and 2011, Nemeth released a pair of live solo albums showcasing his 25 most popular songs. Those discs, titled Blues Live and Soul Live, received five Blues Music Award nominations--the most ever for any live release. They also earned critical acclaim that places Nemeth in, as Nick Cristiano of the Philadelphia Inquirer put it, "a cadre of young and relatively young artists such as James Hunter, Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, and Sharon Jones."
In early 2013, Nemeth traded his life on the west coast to settle down in Memphis, Tennessee. He and Jaki, that girlfriend he followed to California, had married and started a family, and Memphis made sense for multiple reasons: It's centrally located for touring, the cost of living is inexpensive, and the river town is the historical ground zero for blues, soul, and rock-and-roll.
"I moved to Memphis because it is the epicenter for soul and blues," Nemeth confirms. "The wealth of knowledge runs deep in the instincts of its musicians and its studios. Memphis is also the home of the Blues Foundation, the Blues Hall Of Fame, and many fine venues and radio stations dedicated to local music."
The 2000-mile trek south was wild. Nemeth's 26-foot Budget rental truck broke down in the middle of the night in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he had to unload the entire truck and reload a new one on the side of the road. A scant two days after that, he was in Memphis and, as improbably as it sounds, in the recording studio.
Nemeth landed in the perfect place: Electraphonic Studio, home of producer and musician Scott Bomar, who composed the film scores for Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan and produced Cyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues. Backed by the Bo-Keys, Bomar's group of veteran Memphis performers who made their names playing with the likes of Al Green, O.V. Wright, Rufus Thomas, and the Bar-Kays. Nemeth quickly laid down thirteen tracks that, as he describes it, "live in the style like I live in the style." The tapes from that session caught the ear of music industry veteran Charles Driebe, who took the album to Denby Auble of Blue Corn Music. The Americana/roots music label quickly signed Nemeth, adding him to a roster that boasts the likes of Ruthie Foster, Gurf Morlix, and Steve Forbert.
Memphis Grease embodies everything that sets this artist apart from the soul-blues revivalist pack: it's innovative and unique while epitomizing the absolute best of the genre. It's a deeply forged amalgamation of scorching harmonica-driven blues and sweet blue-eyed soul ala the Box Tops or Roy Head, delivered via two fistfuls of originals and a trio of carefully chosen covers: Otis Rush's hard-driving "Three Times a Fool," which opens the album; an electrifying take on Howard Tate's Northern Soul favorite "Stop;" and Roy Orbison's "Crying," reinvented here as a slow-burning soul number that matches anything that came out of late-1960s Muscle Shoals.
The album title itself is evocative of Nemeth's journey to Memphis. The soul-blues scene he fell into in the Bay Area is historically referred to as "Oakland Grease," and two of Oakland's "greasiest" artists, blues guitarist Lowell Fulson and jump blues pianist Jimmy McCracklin, journeyed south to record two of their best, if often overlooked albums: Fulson's funky psych-blues In A Heavy Bag was cut at Muscle Shoals' FAME Studio in 1969, while McCracklin's soulful 1971 album, High on the Blues, was recorded at Memphis' Hi Records with none other than Howard Grimes (now with the BO-Keys) on drums. For Nemeth, Memphis Grease is a natural concept that marries the techniques he honed in the Bay Area with the intuitiveness that flows between him and the Bo-Keys.
"When it comes to more traditional styles of music, people expect to hear a tribute record. But you can get into a real rut if you're just doing rewrites," Nemeth says. "We're creating fresh music here. Our arrangements sound just like they would back then, but what we're doing is so much more innovative."
Nemeth is right. While the arrangements of these songs might be based in the tradition of, say, B.B. King or Junior Wells, the delivery is wholly his own. You can really hear the confidence he has in the Bo-Keys, such a phenomenal set of musicians that he knew they could handle everything he threw at them during the sessions. With the inter-generational combination of drummer Howard Grimes, guitarist Joe Restivo, Al Gamble on keyboards, producer Scott Bomar on bass, venerable soul vocalist Percy Wiggins singing background, and a killer horn section featuring Marc Franklin, Kirk Smothers, and Art Edmaisten, it's a collaboration that sounds completely effortless. Together, Nemeth and the Bo-Keys take soul-blues from a simmer to a full boil.
31SunJuly 31, 2016
Hank Williams passion, Carter family harmonies, with a little Hee Haw mixed in for good measure. The WhiskeyBelles are an all-female traditional country and Americana trio based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Belles are widely known for captivating shows featuring their own take on classic and obscure vintage-country, Americana, folk-revival and roots-country tunes, with their witty originals sprinkled in. They've been compared with the Pistol Annies, Dixie Chicks and The Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris & Linda Ronstadt).The WhiskeyBelles have personalities as big as the Texan skyline - they have a great time on stage, and love to share the fun with their audience.
The 'Belles started their musical shenanigans in May of 2011 and by July of the following year they released their independent debut album, "Whiskey Woman," which was named one of the 10 best local albums of 2012 by Milwaukee Magazine.
They released their second album on November 30th, 2013. This release is a raucous Christmas album aptly titled, "Nothin' Says Christmas Like Whiskey".
Both of their studio albums have received wide-spread radio play across the U.S. and as far away as France and The Netherlands. The title track from their debut album, Whiskey Woman, recently climbed to #8 on the monthly Freeform American Roots Chart (FAR). The chart is assembled of reports from 130 radio stations world wide. FAR is compiled by John Conquest for 3rd Coast Music Magazine, the essential eNewspaper for American Roots music.
Then in June, 2015 they released their third CD, a live album titled Tales from the Bootleggers' Ball. A fun-filled, larger than life album that gives the listener a taste of what it's like to hear the WhiskeyBelles in their element, performing live.
Besides starting a new studio album, the WhiskeyBelles have kept a busy schedule performing over 65+ shows a year.
They have also won the WAMI award for Americana/Bluegrass Artist of the Year as well as the coveted People's Choice Award and have opened for country stars such as Montgomery Gentry, The Lost Trailers, The Kentucky Headhunters and Cadillac Three.