1ThuOctober 1, 2015
Fruition have become arduous road warriors traveling the country and showcasing their adventures and experiences through song. In 2011, Fruition recorded the EP It Won't Be Long. Soon after, the group's three prominent songwriters, Jay Cobb Anderson, Kellen Asebroek and Mimi Naja, discovered they had penned over forty tunes. The band knew it was time for the next level of their journey - to create a top-notch album recorded in a professional recording studio and capturing their foot-stomping, high-energy string-infused songs. The only hitch... where was a nomadic group of independent musicians going to find the funds to create this high caliber album? The answer came in the form of a successful Kickstarter campaign in which Fruition surpassed their goal of $20,000 through the help of diehard fans, friends, and family.
Though Just One of Them Nights captures a breadth of musical styles, it debuted at #11 on Soundscan's Bluegrass chart. The album was recorded at Old School Studios in Casper, CA on Highway 1 and features eleven original songs. The first single from the album, "Mountain Annie," has become an Americana classic and garnered steady airplay at SiriusXM's JamOn. The song's steady gait and memorable melody hook audiences on first listen while Jay Cobb's lyrics address longing for a lover who is no longer present. On Kellen's "Blue Light," the band ventures into electric Rock 'n Roll territory and quickly transitions into a traditional country rhythm without missing a beat. "Blue Light" features exuberant solos from Jay on guitar and Mimi on mandolin offering fans a taste of what's in store for fans at the band's live shows. "The Wanter," penned by Mimi, the band erupts into a classic bluegrass inferno of fast and furious string picking showcasing their skill as well as some of their influences. And on "Get In" the band slow it down a notch capture the mood of swimming in a languid ocean. The track sounds both fresh and familiar peppered with three-part harmonies and Mimi on mandolin.
Over the years, Fruition have toured with or collaborated with members of Railroad Earth, ALO, Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Elephant Revival and The Head and The Heart. They've thrilled audiences at festivals including Jamcruise, High Sierra Music Festival, Northwest String Summit and All Good Music Festival, and played for packed rooms at Portland, OR's Crystal Ballroom, Boulder, CO's Fox Theater, San Francisco's Fillmore as well as the Great American Music Hall, Boston, MA's Brighton Music Hall and more. With no signs of slowing down, the band takes each day as it comes. From broken down vans and whiskey shots, to the lovers and loved-ones who check-in through the miles, at the end of the day it's Just One of Them Nights for this talented bunch who are experiencing a radiant present and looking towards an even brighter future. The band released an EP recorded with their friends in Colorado's Grant Farm in August and are wrapping up a new full length for 2015.
2FriAre You Loose? - 40th Anniversary of Springsteen's Infamous Uptown Theater Concert
show detailsOctober 2, 2015Are You Loose? - 40th Anniversary of Springsteen's Infamous Uptown Theater Concert8:00pm FreeMILWAUKEE -- Are you loose?
That question became part of Bruce Springsteen's legacy and Milwaukee rock and roll history on Oct. 2, 1975. That was the night Springsteen's show at the Uptown Theater was interrupted by a bomb threat. While authorities searched the hall for a non-existent threat, Springsteen and the E Street Band went to the Pfister Hotel bar, where a bartender famously asked, "Are you loose?"
The band returned to the Uptown and performed a spirited set that lasted into the wee hours. It is one of the legendary shows in Springsteen's long career and one of the big shows in Milwaukee rock history.
On Friday night -- the 40th anniversary of the infamous show -- Shank Hall will host "Are You Loose?" a celebration of Springsteen and his music. Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger, founding member of Semi-Twang, will headline a lineup that features Kevin "KB" Brandt of WKLH (96.5 FM), Mary Karlzen, Eric Zyla, Mike Plaisted, Dan Kolesari, Justin Jagler and others.
Local disc jockey Bob Reitman, who was the emcee for the show that night, will be on hand along with Terry Cullen, who was director of security that night at the Uptown, will be on hand along with photographer Bob Cavallo, who photographed that fateful show.
Everyone in attendance will receive an 18 x 24 poster of Bob Cavallo's photos from the event.
Scheduled to appear
John Sieger -- Semi-Twang
Kevin "KB" Brandt -- WKLH
Special guest to be announced
3SatOctober 3, 2015
The band's wildly energetic and seriously soulful new CD Jump Start is jam-packed with Lil' Ed's incendiary slide playing and rough, passionate singing, as the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cook like mad alongside him. Produced by Williams and Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, it is a tour-de-force of untamed slide guitar, rock solid rhythms, heartrending ballads and authentic deep blues vocals. Williams wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album's 14 songs, ranging from the non-stop boogie blast of 'If You Were Mine' to the heart-on-his-sleeve honesty of 'Life Is A Journey' to the bouncing and jazzy 'Jump Right In' to the swaggering, autobiographical 'Musical Mechanical Electrical Man'. The album overflows with the band's full throttle drive and is fueled by Lil' Ed's love of both serious blues and good time fun. Jump Start reveals a band firing on all cylinders and ready to spread the genuine houserockin' fever to their biggest audience yet. "It's all blues, really," says Lil' Ed. "Some of it will make you dance, some will ease your soul Through my music, I want people to feel what I feel."
Blues history runs deep through Lil' Ed's blood -- his uncle and musical mentor (to both Ed and his younger half-brother Pookie) was the great Chicago slide guitarist, songwriter and recording artist J.B. Hutto (author of the only non-original on Jump Start, If You Change Your Mind). According to The Chicago Tribune, "Williams represents one of the few remaining authentic links to pure Chicago blues." The Associated Press agrees, stating, "Williams fills Chicago's biggest shoes with more life and heat than anyone on stage today."
Born in Chicago on April 8, 1955, Ed grew up surrounded by music. He was playing guitar, then drums and bass, by the time he was 12. Ed and Pookie received lessons and support from Hutto. "J.B. taught me everything I know," says Ed. "I wouldn't be where I am today without him." Ed and Pookie spent their teen years making music together, and in 1975 formed the first incarnation of The Blues Imperials. They played their first gig at a West Side club called Big Duke's Blue Flame, splitting the $6 take four ways. Over the next few years, the group played every club in the neighborhood. On one occasion, Hutto brought Ed and Pookie on the road to accompany him. The two teenagers had to paint fake mustaches on just to get into the club. But once in, they both got an advanced lesson in putting on a show and delivering the goods. As young men they kept gigging, but they still needed day jobs to pay the bills. Ed worked ten hours a day as a buffer at the car wash. Pookie drove a school bus. Night after night they played their roaring brand of blues in tiny clubs, and eventually the word reached Alligator president Bruce Iglauer.
At the time, Iglauer was looking for local talent for The New Bluebloods, an anthology of some of Chicago's younger blues musicians. "Ed and his band had a good reputation," recalls Iglauer. "I had only seen them live once or twice. I knew Ed was a hot slide player, but I had no idea what he and the band were really capable of. I just knew that their music reminded me of Hound Dog Taylor and J.B. Hutto, two of my favorite musicians. It seemed like having a band this rough and ready would be a nice change of pace for the anthology, so I asked them to come down to the studio and cut a couple of songs. I never expected what happened."
The band-never having been in a recording studio before-treated the studio like a club, playing live to Iglauer, the engineer, and all the people on the other side of the control room glass. After Ed recorded just two songs, the Alligator staffers were on their feet begging for more. Two songs later, with Ed doing his toe-walks and backbends, even the engineer was dancing. Iglauer offered the band a full album contract on the spot. The end result of the session was 30 songs cut in three hours with no overdubs and only one second take. Twelve of those songs became the band's debut album, Roughhousin', released in September of 1986.
The national press reacted with amazement to the blues world's new discovery. Feature stories ran in Spin, Musician, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune and dozens of other publications. The Village Voice declared, "Roughhousin' just may be the blues album of the year." The New York Times raved, "Raw-boned, old-fashioned Chicago blues has a new young master -- Lil' Ed Williams." "They blow down the walls," said Guitar Player. "Dim the lights, turn up the stereo, and let the house party begin."
But it wasn't until 1987, when guitarist Mike Garrett joined the band, and a year later, when Garrett recruited his Detroit hometown friend Kelly Littleton to play drums, that things really began to take off. Garrett's risk-taking rhythm guitar work and Littleton's conversational, old school drumming were the perfect complement to Lil' Ed's and Pookie's rambunctious playing. With their 1989 album Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits, doors opened and audiences poured in. Through relentless touring, the group crystallized, becoming tighter with each performance, more telepathic in their abilities to read each other's musical moves. Their spontaneous and unpredictable live show became legendary among blues fans worldwide. Spurred on by the band's rowdy performances, a legion of fanatical fans, proudly calling themselves "Ed Heads," eagerly spread the word.
Quickly, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials went from playing local bars to clubs, concert stages and festivals coast to coast, giving national audiences their first taste of the band's propulsive boogie blues and wild stage show. They have played The Long Beach Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Doheny Blues Festival, The Sacramento Heritage Festival, The Thunder Bay Blues Festival, The Mid-Atlantic Blues Festival, The Pocono Blues Festival, The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Rawa Blues Festival in Poland, as well as touring Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan.
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials released six Alligator albums between 1989 and 2008. With each one, the band's stature grew as their fan base continued to expand. With 2006′s Rattleshake, Ed and company reached a whole new audience. Die-hard "Ed Head" Conan O'Brien brought the band before millions of television viewers on two separate occasions. Then, in June 2008, celebrating the release of Full Tilt, Ed hit the main stage at The Chicago Blues Festival, performing in front of 100,000 screaming fans, as he whipped the overflowing crowd into a blues-induced frenzy. The band won the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year in both 2007 and 2009 and also took home the Best Live Band Award in the 2011 Living Blues Critics' Poll. Blues Revue said, "Listen and hear how a great blues player can make a guitar weep...Lil' Ed is a blues master at the top of his game."
Now, with Jump Start, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials will continue bringing their seriously inspired and wildly fun Chicago blues to "Ed Heads" new and old, wherever they may be. After almost a quarter century together, Lil' Ed, Pookie, Mike and Kelly have played thousands of gigs, logged tens of thousands of miles and have no plans to slow down anytime soon. According to Littleton, "The journey has been amazing. We melded right away and have kept growing." Garrett agrees, saying, "It's a perfect fit. And we keep getting better." Young adds, "We are way stronger now, and we're still having fun. My dreams have all come true."
"Long ago," recalls Lil' Ed, "Uncle J.B. told me, 'When you get the right guys in your band, you'll know.' When Mike and then Kelly joined up with me and Pookie, we just clicked. I knew. We are a family," says Lil' Ed, summing it all up. "And families stay together.
8ThuOctober 8, 2015
A buzzard sits atop it. The grass brown and parched below. It's dusty, faded, chipped at the edges, graffiti filling the empty white spaces, a bullet hole or two visible in the large, black letters that read:
Welcome to Faded Gloryville. Leave your dreams behind.
In the eyes and imagination of acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega it's a place we've all been, we're all familiar with or will one day know all to well.
Some visit. Some stay. Some escape. Some leave only to return again.
And for Lindi, it was also the source of inspiration -- in title and in spirit -- for her stunning new collection of country-kissed songs that make up her fourth full-length release set to come out on new Last Gang Record imprint, The Grand Tour.
It is an album that is filled with the sights and sounds and souls of those who've found themselves in Faded Gloryville, brought to its saloons, flophouses and cheap motels by drink, by debt, by vanity, heartbreak, failure, fear or misfortune.
Her first glimpse of the place, oddly enough, was in another artistic vision, that of the Jeff Bridges film Crazy Heart, which depicts a fellow musician exiled in a similar metaphorical town, down-and-out, drunk and debasing himself and his talents for those who could care less.
"I had a moment where I thought, 'Could this be me? Could I wind up like this?' " says Lindi. "That was a very honest question to myself."
That fact, the idea that she would question that shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with the subject matter of her past work, specifically 2013's Juno Award-nominated Tin Star, considering much of it was powered by Lindi's experiences as a young, struggling artist in the equally as fabled and dream-dashing place of Nashville, where she now makes her home.
Just as it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with her incredible gifts that the feisty, fiery and fierce force of nature had no intention of taking up permanent residency in Faded Gloryville.
It was a pitstop. She took what she needed, saw the sights, hung with the locals, and high-tailed it out of there, hitting the road to capture its essence in three very different recording sessions.
The first two were with producers familiar to her work, Dave Cobb who was behind the boards for Tin Star, and fellow Canadian castaway Colin Linden, who helped her realize her vision for 2012's Polaris Prize nominated Cigarettes & Truckstops.
The results of those, Lindi says, should be pleasing to those many fans who've discovered her over the years, fallen hard for her own unique take on the torch and twang of her country influences such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn that has taken her around the world to enthusiastic audiences everywhere.
The final session, though, was one that took her in a somewhat different direction, towards a more Muscle Shoals sound utilized by those that came before her such as Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke -- artists she expresses an affinity and fondness for.
Helping her navigate the new terrain were John Paul White from The Civil Wars and Ben Tanner from the Alabama Shakes, who co-produced in their studio in the deep south what Lindi describes as three of the album's more "soulful tunes."
"I feel like country music, itself, is all encompassing. There are different facets of it," Lindi explains."And I love all of it, and I've always wanted to explore all sounds country-wise. I've explored bluegrass, I've explored outlaw country, I've explored classic country. And now I'm exploring this vibe. Maybe it isn't necessarily country but it's connected to the south. So I feel that it makes sense."
And despite the three different directions Lindi took in the recording process, together, the nine originals and a heartfelt cover of the Bee Gees' classic "To Love Somebody", do all make sense, delivering what is the singer-songwriter's most assured, varied and engaging release to date.
It features everything from barnburner songs and the good ol' foot-stomping, toe-tapping numbers to the ballads that Lindi has made her calling card, all delivered with an energy and emotional investment that makes them utterly her own.
And, of course, wrapped up in those fashionably tattered yet toney musical threads are the tales of those long-time denizens of Faded Gloryville, delivered with a remarkable amount of smarts, heart and humour.
"There ain't no stars in Faded Gloryville," she croons on the title cut. "We've chased our dreams into the ground/If disillusion has some hope to kill/Here nobody wears a crown."And here's where you'll find the downtrodden and forgotten, the sinners and saintless, the jaded and jaundiced.
There's Cheech & Chong-esque enabler couple in "Run Down Neighborhood", whose derelict dates are down to the local convenience store.
There's the victim of addiction in "Run Amuck", who learns the hard way that, "When you run with the Devil you burn everything you touch/Bridges and money and everyone you love."
And here, too, is the very Lindi-like subject of affection in the song "I Ain't That Girl", who warns her would-be suitor that his money, status and Mercedes convertible aren't going to get the job done: "Ain't gonna tell you any lies/I've got a thing for long-haired guys/You're too clean-cut with polished shoes/I like 'em rugged with tattoos."
These are just some of those that find themselves in that town where dreams are left behind and all but forgotten. They may be those we know. They may be us. They may one day be.
But lest you think that the album is one with no hope, an obituary for those who find themselves at the outskirts and on their way into a life from which there is no return, Lindi points to the opening song "Ashes", which speaks of rising, Phoenix-like, out of that heartbreak and despair and finding oneself, evolving into something more. Ultimately this story, her story, everyone's story can and should be one of redemption.
"I always look at it like in order to get to Paradise you have to travel through Faded Gloryville," she says.
And Welcome to Faded Gloryville.
9FriBenefit Concert for Canine Cupids Rescue, Shirley Green Band, Tom Robinson
8:00pm Suggested Donation $10
show detailsOctober 9, 20158:00pm Suggested Donation $10Canine Cupids' mission is to protect and improve the lives of Milwaukee's homeless, neglected, and exceptional needs dogs and to place them in permanent, loving homes. We are a volunteer-run, foster-based 501c3 rescue organization, where each of our adoptable dogs receives care from generous volunteers who open their homes and hearts. With your support, we will continue to save and place homeless animals for years to come. For more information about our organization, to volunteer, or to learn more about our adoptable dogs please visit www.caninecupids.org.
Shirley Green is not a band of misfits. Shirley Green is not a woman - but was a 1935 Cadillac paint color and inspiration for the band name. Formed in 2013, this four-member group from the Midwest might describe their union and music more easily by what they are not. They aren't brash nor demure. Their music isn't trendy, nor commonplace. The expression of the songs is not superficial yet there isn't a need for the music be so damn serious either. Rather, however, that is often just what it is.
The band describes their music as "experimental, atmospheric modern rock" and jokingly characterize it as having "emotionally-unstable undertones." Electronic elements and beats are present in many of the songs and punctuate classic instrumentation from guitar, piano, bass, drums, and sax over Alixe Rheeve's lead vocals. Very different life and musical histories are expressed in the collective piecing together of this 'patchwork quilt' of group members' individual contributions: Shirley Green songs are vivid, quirky and held together by a common thread of strong melodies.
The band is often at a loss when asked to describe their eclectic sound. It's been suggested that, "If you like Peter Gabriel, The Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Yes - they sound nothing like them, but you'll probably like Shirley Green.""There are hints of classical music patterns and layers in the music," explains Alixe. "The songs are all pretty different, yet similar in that many of them were written in minor keys."
Drawing from a multifarious stew of music/guitar styles, Milwaukee-area musician Tom Robinson presents an eclectic mosaic of original, arranged, and improvised music through both instrumental and vocally-driven performances. Tom has been active as a performer, composer, recording artist and music educator in the Milwaukee-metropolitan area for more than 25 years. He currently performs regularly as a solo artist, as the guitarist/bassist of the Shirley Green Band, and as a supporting musician for various local artists and ensembles.
10SatOctober 10, 2015
For over a decade, this 5-piece juggernaut has been rocking and rolling their unique and original sound. Bowser consists of John Selak (bass/vocals), Owen Mooney (keys/vocals), Charles Ehlenbeck (drums), Jon Prigge (harmonica/vocals) and Luke Abler (guitar/vocals). Described by some as "jam rock", Bowser's musical style is strongly rooted in rock n' roll and blues with a love for jamming. Bowser is primarily a live performance band, with a healthy repertoire of original music, several covers and a passion for improvisation, you will never see the same show twice.
11SunOctober 11, 2015
Ben Caplan is supported by upright bass, drums, Eastern European inspired strings, and occasionally horns. Ben himself moves between guitar and piano, marking his place in the world's music landscape with an outrageous musicality and a growling spirit.
Besides writing and recording, Ben Caplan is almost perpetually on tour, having played more than 1000 shows since the release of his debut album in late 2011. His songs, his voice, his humour, and his charm collude to create a rhapsodically energetic live show -- an elegant cacophony drawing fans in ever widening circles.
On the strength of his debut album, In The Time of the Great Remembering, Ben Caplan won numerous Canadian awards, including Nova Scotia's 2012 Entertainer of the Year and the East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year for 2013. He's shared stages with acts ranging from Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors to The Staves and Blondie. In addition to his 1000+ club shows, He's played major festivals around the world including the UK's Glastonbury in 2013.
In 2015, Ben Caplan will continue to break new ground with dates planned across North America and around the world. His highly anticipated second album, Birds with Broken Wings, is prospected to be released internationally in late spring/early summer of 2015.
13TueOctober 13, 2015
Formed in late 2010, Tweed Funk's national ascent has been driven by their horn-fueled, Memphis flavored blues, roots, and soul. This Milwaukee, Wisconsin 6 piece soul-blues revue is fronted by Joseph "Smokey" Holman, who recorded under Curtis Mayfield in the early 70's. Tweed Funk boasts 5 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Wins in the last 4 years for the band and it's members. Tweed Funk has been on the cover of Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine and Smokey has been featured in Living Blues Magazine and on the cover of the Blues Blast Magazine. Tweed Funk's 3rd CD "First Name Lucky" (March 2014) helped launch the band to new heights. "First Name Lucky" was nominated for a 2014 Blues Blast Music Award in the Soul Blues Album category; nominated for a 2015 WAMI for Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Blues In My Soul"; debuted on the Living Blues Charts at #11 (April 2014) and the RMR Top 50 Blues Album Chart at #10 (4/11/14); has been featured as Dan Aykroyd's (aka Elwood) "blues breaker" on The BluesMobile.com syndicated radio program; and has received airplay on BB King's Bluesville on SiriusXM as well as over 150+ stations worldwide. Tweed Funk won the WAMI for R&B/Soul Artist of the Year in both 2015 and 2012. In 2014 trumpet player Kevin Klemme took home the WAMI for Brass/Reeds Player of the Year; in 2013 frontman Smokey took home the WAMI for Male Vocalist of the Year and Bassist Eric Madunic for Bass Player of the Year. The song "Dancemaker" won Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine's Coolest Blues Song of the Year for 2013.
15ThuOctober 15, 2015
For this outing, Lund hunkered down in the remote cabin he built with his girlfriend and former bronc rider/favorite uncle Lynn Jensen, an hour outside Edmonton. After the hand-crafted spruce and poplar building was finished, Lund's thirteen-year relationship crumbled and his uncle passed away. Woodshedding -- literally -- came next: "I ended up spending time up there alone for weeks at a time, in the winter, with three feet of snow,"says Lund. "Cabin fever is what they call it when you get a little nuts from being isolated..."
In addition to chopping wood to keep warm, Lund did a lot of thinking and writing. Taking breaks from the cabin, he spent monthsin such hotspots as Las Vegas, Austin, and New York City, where song ideas continued to flow. When he and his band -- guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Grant Siemens, upright bassist Kurt Ciesla, and drummer Brady Valgardson -- reconvened at the cabin, they demoed a slew of new songs: the regretful ballad "The One I Left in the Chamber," the twangy paean to survival "(You Ain't a Cowboy) If You Don't Get Bucked Off," and the yearning "September," among them. When the whiskey bottle got passed around, things got raucous: "Drink It Like You Mean It" ('nuff said); the apocalyptic "Gettin' Down on the Mountain" (a roadhouse favorite), the blues-rockin' "Dig Gravedigger Dig" (a tribute to the occupation of Grant Siemens' brother), and the Sun Records-by-way of Betty Page-inspired "The Gothest Girl I Can."
Cutting the tracks in an Edmonton studio, the boys decided to keep things loose and live, with no overdubs, resulting in "way more inner mesh," says Lund. "It feels more real, like a band. The whole thing was organic sounding, and we like that." They were joined by running buddy Hayes Carll, Texas raconteur and songsmith, who co-wrote and duetted on the wily road tale, "Bible on the Dash." Such vivid story songs are Lund's forte, as are the former history major's odes to his favorite things: "Cows Around" (where he namechecks every breed you can -- or can't -- think of), "Mein Deutsche Motorrad" (he loves those fast-moving vintage BMW bikes), and "Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Startled Owner" (hey, have you shot an 1896 Smith & Wesson lately?). Cabin Fever's finale is a narrative number straight out of a dime novel, the gripping "Pour 'em Kinda Strong."
With a dozen ass-kicking songs under his belt, Corb plans to take the show on the road, just as he's done for the past two decades; he cut his teeth in the '90s as a member of Canadian speed-metal band, the Smalls. The DIY spirit lives with Lund, who traded his ax for an acoustic and has done everything from printing his band's T-shirts to booking gigs to writing press releases. Though it may look like a quartet onstage, the Hurtin'Albertans are really "a seven-piece band," according to Lund, "because Grant plays a bunch of stuff," including mandolin, banjo, Dobro, and baritone guitar. "Grant and I have a complex system of hand signals because I don't use a set list," says Lund. "We've got seven records' worth of material now, so every show is different. I find it more interesting that way.
"Road dogs, Lund and the band headline Canadian country and folk festivals, as well as gigging at New York City nightspots and America's finest honky-tonks. "We're able to straddle the line between songwriter folk and straight country, which is cool," says Lund. "We do funky clubs and we do folk rooms, along with festivals." In July there's a residency at the legendary Calgary Stampede's Centennial celebration, which is only natural, since Lund is a fourth-generation cowboy himself. He started rodeo-ing as a youngster and won his first trophy (for steer riding) at age 11. "My grandpas, parents, cousins, uncles, everybody competed in the Stampede," says Lund. "The Calgary Stampede is a big part of family tradition."
Just as Lund mixes up styles on his recordings and the types of venues he plays, a special edition of Cabin Fever will feature an extra disc with an acoustic version of the tracks. "The electric one's done live, but the acoustic one's even more live," says Lund. "We were all sitting right beside each other and are in each other's mikes. We kept it as unpolished as possible."
Listening to the acoustic disc's banjo, guitar, and handclaps, as well as Lund's Westerninspired songwriting, one can't help but think the pared-down approach is yet another aspect of the Lund family tradition: After all, Lund learned to sing as a nipper when his grandfather taught him the campfire standard "Strawberry Roan," which Grandpa Lund picked up via oral tradition from fellow trailhands. "I've got one foot in old-fashioned cowboy music," says Lund, "but I treat it with some abandon and irreverence. The reality is we don't live in that world anymore -- yet the cowboys were kind of punk rockers in their day."
As for Corb Lund, his Western heritage stays with him, no matter where he roams. "My whole life is sort of a dichotomy between being a cowboy kid and living in a city," says Lund. "I guess that informs my music too." On Cabin Fever, that split personality burns bright.
WheelHouse is a nationally touring Americana and Bluegrass band hailing from Madison, Wisconsin. As a full-time working band they perform over 220 shows per year and have garnered attention from national labels. Featuring three and four part harmonies, fiddle and guitar leads, and driving rhythm of the upright bass WheelHouse brings an energy seldom seen from string bands.
WheelHouse also owns their own brand of whiskey appropriately named WheelHouse Whiskey, which can be found throughout southwestern Wisconsin.
16FriOctober 16, 2015
The challenging title is a reality check, but delivered with a smile from singer Stefanie Berecz. "It's just a representation of the stories in the songs. Nearly every track has a cheating character, or someone who's had enough of their lover. It's a mixed bag of empowerment and regret." Gets Over You continues the "it's complicated" theme of 2010′s Carry Me Home, although this outing shows Berecz in a darker, seedier role.
Recorded in a cathartic, week-long session in Los Angeles with producer Sergio Rios (Orgone), Gets Over You takes the Chicago septet's soulful sound to the warm, crackling world of analog tape and vintage instruments. Berecz's voice, often compared to those of Chaka Kahn and Joss Stone, takes center stage. The band shines with raw, gritty performances and elegant arrangements that are the result of countless hours of performing, rehearsing, and traveling together.
Berecz's emotionally-charged vocal performance has been the band's calling card at over 200 shows in the past two years. The Right Now's electrifying live show has earned them a reputation as "dynamic, complex, hip and just downright fun" (Gapers Block).
The past two years saw immense growth for The Right Now, including a sold-out release party at Chicago's Lincoln Hall; tour dates throughout the Midwest, East, and South; festival appearances at SXSW, North Coast Festival, and Summerfest; and opening stints for George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, John Legend, Fitz & The Tantrums, Bettye Lavette, Otis Clay, Orgone, Kings Go Forth, The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, The Jayhawks, Soulive, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Ryan Shaw, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Escort, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, The Bo Keys, Tortured Soul, Bernie Worrell Orchestra, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Dan Dyer, and Jamie Lidell. USA Today, MP3.com, MySpace Music, and eMusic.com have featured the band as a favorite, and live TV appearances (WGN) put the Chicago act on the national stage. Placements in 90210 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and promos for Gilly Hicks and other national retailers also broadened the band's appeal. In 2014 their song "He Used To Be" was placed in the multi-million selling video game Watch Dogs.
"It takes a man to admit that it's over," Berecz confidently croons on "Half As Much." "But if you can't, I can do it for sure." While Stefanie Berecz may have gotten over the man in this song, audiences won't be getting over her any time soon.
17SatOctober 17, 2015Carbon Leaf
For 2014, the band is taking a quick breath to look back at their 2004 album, Indian Summer, by celebrating it's 10-year anniversary with a complete re-recording and a 50 city tour this fall.
Lead vocalist Barry Privett:
"The timing was perfect since we had just come off of 5 album releases back-to-back since leaving the label in 2010. We were ruminating on what the next batch of songs would look like when we realized Indian Summer was going to be 10 years old this fall! We gained a lot of new exposure with "Life Less Ordinary", making it to #5 at AAA and #28 at Hot AC radio, so we wanted to acknowledge the album's anniversary, as it was a fan-favorite and a very seminal album for us. There was only one problem -- our former label owned the master recording, so we were pretty limited as to what we could do. However, we owned the songs, and after doing a little digging through the contract, we found a work-around that opened up an opportunity for us to simply re-record the album anew, so that's what we did. Now, we have a great way of celebrating an album that helped us widen our audience, while putting Indian Summer back under the band's wing again.
"We left our label in 2010, partly so that we could adopt a more rigorous release schedule and not wait to release an album every 2 years. We wanted to see how far we could push ourselves musically so we set about a rigorous agenda for writing, recording, releasing and touring. With 5 projects released since 2010, plus the Curious George II soundtrack for Universal and U.S. tours behind them all, it's been an intense time to say the least, so looking back at some of the music that shaped our career earlier on, while trying to crawl into that creative space you were in back then but with fresh eyes and ears, is very gratifying. We think fans are going to really enjoy Indian Summer Revisited."
20TueOctober 20, 2015Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line
You are my bright shining star you guide the way . .
Wake. The evocative one-word title speaks volumes about what's happening on Nora Jane Struthers' latest album. For the thirty-year old singer-songwriter, it's "wake" in several senses of the word. There's the trail of a life and career behind her, the slipstream of lessons learned. There's the quiet observance and letting go of who she has been up until now as both an artist and a person. And most of all, there's the stirring of something new, an opening of a door and wide-eyed rush forward into a place of discovery and dizzying possibilities. And it's all set to a soundtrack that resonates with the warm uplift of the first day of spring.
In short, Nora Jane Struthers has fallen in love.
"The whole album is about strength through vulnerability," she says. "That's what I've come to as an artist, and a human being, and I think it's the most powerful force in my life. I feel so much more like my childhood self now than I did over the past five years, than I have in my whole adult life. In my twenties, I had a tendency to compartmentalize pieces of my musical identity. For instance, how could I reconcile my love of both bluegrass and Pearl Jam? I did the same thing in my personal life, where I had this sort of idea of who I wanted to be, and ignored all these other pieces of myself, because I didn't think they fit into some imagined big picture.
"But this experience of falling in love blew that whole thing apart," she continues. "Looking back, my previous two albums feel so safe. They had literary merit, contributing to the traditional canon in a way that I was proud of. But it all felt masked by these narratives that were not directly my own. These new songs are autobiographical. I'm looking inward, allowing that to be what my art is. To take away the narrative safety net and then the sonic safety net and just give myself over to my own story and my own feelings, was scary but exhilarating."
That exhilaration courses through the whole album, with an unmoored feeling that reminds us that the gravitational direction of finding love is as much about rising as it is falling. Opener "The Same Road" percolates along with percussive banjo and side-stick then lifts into a panoramic chorus, while "Dreamin,'" soaked in classic Bakersfield good vibes, threads its infectious charm through with chugging train rhythms, twangy guitar and pedal steel. "When I Wake" is pure harmony bliss, with Struthers and Joe Overton echoing early '70s Gram & Emmylou. "The Wire" shimmers with poetic reflection ("The truth is I didn't see the wire until I saw the bird") and the radio-ready "Lovin' You" pulls off the three-and-a-half minute miracle, with Struthers' warm, engaging alto finding fresh imagery like, "If I was a crocus lovin' you would be the spring / If I was an eagle lovin' you would be my wings . ." Other highlights include the fiery slide-guitar powered "I Ain't Holdin' Back," the call-and-response, southern-fried "Don't Care" and the hushed, split-rail tenderness of "The South." The whole record, a 53-minute celebration of that heart-to-heart, flesh-to-flesh connection that reminds us we're alive, also feels like a major artistic arrival.
Struthers' ascent to this new plateau has been a steady one. Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, she began playing as a pre-teen. attending festivals and fiddlers' conventions around the south with her banjo-playing father. "These were pretty much just a group of musicians camping in a muddy field for a week, playing tunes and singing songs," she recalls. "But these traditional music communities greatly influenced me and informed my decision later to move to Nashville and try to become a professional musician." After graduating from NYU with an education degree, she taught high school English in Brooklyn and put her music career on the back burner. But a visit to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early 2000s changed that. Watching one of her heroes, Tim O'Brien, she stood in front of the stage, glanced back at the crowd and the mountains and thought, "This is what I want to do." There followed that move to Nashville, much woodshedding as a writer and touring, with Bearfoot, and her first solo-fronted group, the Bootleggers (who won the 2008 Telluride band competition). Along the way, she worked with bluegrass stars like O'Brien, Stuart Duncan and Bryan Sutton, and released two critically-acclaimed albums. But it was in 2012, when Struthers formed the Party Line, that everything started to come into sharper focus.
She says, "With the Party Line, I found the people I want to be with. And what instruments they play are what my band became. So I didn't find a fiddle player. I found a great electric guitar player who I love hanging around with, and who wants to commit to my music. What I love about our instrumentation is the balance between rock 'n' roll vibe and old time acoustic feeling. Those two specifically are the balance between my guitarist Josh Vana and Joe Overton. Josh plays with more of a rock feeling. Joe runs what I call the roots utility. He plays open backed banjo, resonator banjo, fiddle and pedal steel guitar. It's a really interesting balance between roots and rock. I don't know a lot of other female-fronted bands that are doing quite what we're doing, so I feel like maybe we have something unique, which is always a good thing."
Having the right band also led Struthers to realize that she wanted to change her approach to record-making. "My last album Carnival took a step away from certain aspects of the digital, highly-produced approach. There's no auto-tuning. I made it with the band, not session players. But the songs weren't road-tested, so we put the arrangements together in the studio. After touring that record and seeing how the songs evolved as a result of playing them for audiences, I just knew that I wanted to make the next record after road-testing the material and allowing it to grow."
Inspired by what she calls the "grit and vibe" of recent favorite albums by Hayes Carll and Jason Isbell, she and the band hunkered down in the Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville, with Struthers taking on the daunting first-time challenge of self-producing.
"Oh my gosh, it was exhausting, and I'm never doing it again" she says with a laugh. "I've made several albums so I have a basic knowledge of how to work with people in the studio. I really wanted to capture performances. And the biggest challenge as producer was getting everybody, including myself, to step out from their individual parts and listen to the whole. And say, "Maybe you didn't play that drum fill the way you wanted to play it. But listen to the whole song, and isn't it great?" That's what we kept coming back to. We could zoom in as much as we want, but when you really zoom out, isn't this great?' That being said, it ending up being harder than I imagined to be the artist and producer at the same time. If only because when you're trying to save your voice for singing, talking to your band members can just be vocally taxing."
The end result was worth it. And the Party Line comes across as a classic example of the model supporting band, a la the Heartbreakers or the Cardinals. Nobody overplays. The pieces always fit. Overton, Vana and bassist Brian Duncan Miller and drummer Drew Lawhorn all get their moments to shine, but their tasteful parts are first and foremost in service of the song.
Struthers affirms, "When I got the test pressing and listened to it, I just cried and laughed my way through the record. It was the most beautiful experience to see that black vinyl spinning and think, 'Wow, so much went into the making of this record, and we did it!' That's a beautiful place to be living before a record comes out."
As she looks ahead to a busy 2015 of touring and promoting Wake, Struthers says she's "ready to go for it." With a strong team around her, both business and street (she's been very successful with Kickstarter fan-funding), she pauses to reflect on what she hopes this record might mean to her listeners. "I try to put myself out there and be vulnerable and trust that what people give me back is loving. I hope that people listen to these songs and are given some courage to take a risk, be vulnerable and brave, allow themselves to embrace imperfection. And I hope that that has a positive influence on the way that they are able to lead their lives and interact with people that they love."
21WedOctober 21, 2015The Sheepdogs
"The Sheepdogs," the self-titled album produced by The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Austin Scaggs released in 2012, introduced the band to the U.S. and beyond. The album earned the band three more JUNO nominations for Best Album, Best Single, and Best Group and was certified gold in Canada in 2013.
Hailing from the small Canadian town of Saskatoon, SK, The Sheepdogs won an international competition in 2011 securing them the cover of Rolling Stone, making the group the first unsigned band to appear on its front page. The win, decided by 1.5 million public votes, also scored them a record deal with Atlantic, which offered up a new EP from the band, Five Easy Pieces, in August 2011.
After the band was introduced to Carney at Petty Fest in New York following the contest, he immediately began offering ideas for The Sheepdogs next album ("He seemed strangely passionate about it," Currie notes). The hope was that Carney could actually produce the album. In January 2012, Carney invited the band to the studio, where they culled together old material and quickly began laying down new ideas.
"I think different albums have processes and this was a different experience for us, but that's part of what makes it interesting," Currie said. "We wanted to just go with the flow and make the album that represented where we are now. We were rushed into the studio, but you can let that pressure destroy you or you can let that pressure galvanize you, and I think it was a positive force. Having that tight time structure, buckling down and doing music all day every day was great."
Although the band had only spent those two and a half weeks with Carney, Scaggs and studio engineer Roger Moutenot in Nashville's Haptown Studios, the sessions proved fruitful. From "The Way It Is," a thumping, blues-tinged track, to rollicking stomper "Feeling Good," the album embraces a vast range of influences, pulling in various styles and genres to create a collection of raucous, unabashed rock and roll numbers. Both "The Way It Is" and "Feeling Good" took the top slot on Canada's Overall Rock Chart. A pensive reflection is threaded throughout the album, whether on mid-tempo acoustic track "Laid Back" or on pounding rocker "While We're Young."
"I think Patrick has a good sense of no bullshit," Currie says. "A lot of making rock and roll is about cutting the fat and being a good filter. In the studio, he helped us refine the songs and found the best representation of each one possible. Plus, we wanted to be able to incorporate all different styles and I think our albums run the gamut."
After touring steadily since 2006 and spending the last year entirely on the road with bands like Kings of Leon, John Fogerty and Robert Randolph & the Family Band, The Sheepdogs hoped to create songs that would lend themselves to their impassioned performances. The band, which has also performed at numerous festivals, including Coachella, Bonnaroo and SXSW, enlisted a keyboard player as the new album features a heavy dose of Hammond organ and Rhodes piano.
In the end it all ties back to the group's goals, which essentially involve making really good rock songs, and you don't need a crazy origin story to do that.
"Our goal is two-fold," Currie says. "We want to make killer albums that people really want to listen to, but we also want to have a really reputable live show. When we come through town we want to be the hottest ticket there. Those two elements are what make a truly great rock and roll band. Really, though, we just want to play to anyone who is willing to give us a shot and who wants to have a good time."
22ThuOctober 22, 2015
Formed in Dallas, TX in 2006, the band has continuously grown both in it's popularity and it's repertoire. All the while, they have meticulously bridged the gap between creating the sound and feel of the Grateful Dead experience and finding the balanced, tasteful space to express their own personal identities as musicians. Their clear penchant for fearless improvisation coupled with their appreciation of the story telling component of the Grateful Dead's material subsequently results in shows teeming with amazed and appreciative audiences.
Staying true to form, the instrumentation of two guitars, bass, keyboards, two drummers, and strong three and four part vocal harmonies creates an incredibly accurate representation of the real enchilada. Add to that a willingness to explore arrangements from all eras of the Dead's body of work (1965-1995), and you end up with an all out, explosive mixture of good vibes, endless dance party, and deep space musical exploration which engages Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike.
23FriOctober 23, 2015
The band's infectious energy is equally evident in their live performances, as critics and fans hail their shows as forceful and intoxicating. It is their humble devotion to music, and a commitment to achieving their musical goals without compromising the integrity of their musical vision that make The Steepwater Band such a refreshing find. In 2010, the band released the highly lauded live record entitled "Live at the Double Door" which contained tracks from their previous two LPs, "Revelation Sunday (2006)" and "Grace and Melody (2008)."
The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last 10 years, averaging about 125 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov't Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart. In 2005, the band made its European debut, performing at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. In the following years, the band has returned to the United Kingdom and Europe for multiple club and festival tours, increasing their loyal overseas fan-base.
24SatOctober 24, 20157:30pm $8.00Prepare a five-minute story about having the nerve. Going boldly where nobody has gone before. Standing up for what you believe in and facing your fears and challengers. Tell us about the time that you let your inner lion roar!
The Moth StorySLAMs are steadily spreading all over the map, gathering people and stories from all over the country. The Moth is open to anyone with a five-minute story to share on the night's posted theme. The brave of heart, or those with stories they're aching to tell, prepare personal, true tales. When the doors open, storyteller hopefuls put their names in The Moth Hat. A half hour later, names are picked, and one by one, storytellers take the stage. Each person has just five minutes! The ten featured stories are scored by teams of judges selected from the audience. Each StorySLAM generates a StorySLAM winner. After ten SLAMs, the winners face off in our GrandSLAM Championships. Come sign up to tell a story, or just enjoy the show!
28WedOctober 28, 2015
Raw Oyster Cult was put together by Malone to provide an outlet to continue performing the classic Rads tunes that so many fans miss hearing. They also plan to write originals, put a different spin on favorite older songs and work up brand new tunes written or co-written by Ed Volker, the Rads' prolific songwriter.
"It's great rethinking Rads songs," says Malone, "tweaking arrangements and even adding vocal harmonies, something the Rads were not really known for. We're all really enjoying playing together and can't wait to see what new tunes emerge."
One thing is for sure: A Raw Oyster Cult show makes a joyful noise!
29ThuOctober 29, 2015
30FriOctober 30, 2015
So much more than just a blues act, DATV's shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina's voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don't suffice: Sowers is a true original.
Something unique to this "blues" project is the instrumentation. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers' keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group's focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at blues festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Sighisoara, Romania, Sierre, Switzerland, Kemi, Finland, and 2012's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Davina and band made their debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival this September. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!
31SatOctober 31, 2015
Southbound is a Milwaukee-based band, which specializes in performing faithful tributes of the best that Classic Rock music has to offer. With a twenty-year history of producing authentic renditions of the best rock music in history, Southbound maintains the integrity of music they cover.
Their annual "Tribute To The Allman Bros. Band" concert held at Shank Hall has become an eagerly anticipated event in Milwaukee.
Southbound has enjoyed much success in the Midwest performing in front of diverse audiences with performances at Summerfest, Harley-Davidson sponsored events, Country USA, the Wisconsin State Fair as well as major festivals and music venues in the SE Wis. area. Southbound has built a loyal following that appeals to music lovers of all ages who appreciate timeless rock and roll.