3FriOctober 3, 20148:00pm $20.00Chris Wood had a scrap of a song -- seemed like a chorus -- scribbled in a notebook. He played it for his older brother, Oliver, who'd had a verse lying around he didn't know what to do with. The two pieces, composed months apart, one in urban Atlanta and the other deep in the Catskills, dovetailed musically and lyrically: the verse about a man regretting chasing unattainable women, the high-lonesome, harmony-driven refrain of "When I die, I wanna be sent back to try, try again."
"Neon Tombstone" wasn't the first song that Chris, a founding member of jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood, and Oliver, formerly Tinsley Ellis's guitarist, had written -- since 2006, they'd released three studio albums of Americana as The Wood Brothers. But it was the first one they'd written like this. "This is how a song is supposed to come together," Oliver remembers thinking. "There was some chance, some randomness, to it."
The experience marked a deeper level of collaboration for The Wood Brothers, a newfound fraternal synchronicity that's captured on their latest album, 'The Muse.' Within the first few bars of opener "Wastin' My Mind,"which could pass for a lost cut from "The Last Waltz," it's clear the brothers are operating on a different plane than when we last heard them, on 2011's 'Smoke Ring Halo.' The components are similar: the dialed-in vocal harmonies, Oliver's gritty acoustic guitar, Chris's virtuosic upright bass, the warrior poet lyrics. But here there's a glue -- a yellowy carpenter's glue, one imagines -- holding it all together. The cohesion comes from the brothers having spent the last two years on the road with new full-time member Jano Rix, a drummer and ace-in-the-hole multi-instrumentalist, whereas they relied on session musician-friends to fill out previous albums. Jano's additional harmonies give credence to the old trope that while two family members often harmonize preternaturally, it takes a third, non- related singer for the sound to really shine. And then there's Jano's work on his literally patented percussion instrument, the "shuitar," a shitty acoustic guitar rigged up with tuna cans and other noisemakers, which, in his hands, becomes a veritable drum kit.
Starting with debut 'Ways Not To Lose,' which NPR described as a collection of "gracious little songs [that] sound like they were born on a front porch during a beautiful sunset," The Wood Brothers have made albums like you're not supposed to anymore -- recording mostly live, warts and all. But on 'The Muse,' they double down on the production values of a purer time. Whereas 'Smoke Ring Halo' was tracked with the musicians playing in separate rooms, here Chris, Oliver and Jano often circled around a tree of microphones, a couple feet apart from one another, and simply played the songs, with even the lead vocals being recorded on the spot. The arrangement is a producer's nightmare -- the different sounds bleed into the various mics, limiting mixing options and ruling out the possibility of fixing mistakes -- but the band had two willing accomplices: legendary country musician Buddy Miller, who produced the album, and Nashville studio vet Mike Poole, who engineered.
"I just love how Mike and Buddy really embraced that idea," Oliver says. Miller, an award-winning producer, guitarist and solo artist, has performed and recorded with icons such as Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Oliver continues, "I hear little things that are out of tune or imperfect, and I love it. That's what I like about old recordings -- they just did it, and that's what happened."
From early in their childhood in Boulder, CO., Chris and Oliver were steeped in American roots music. Their father, a molecular biologist, would perform classic songs at campfires and family gatherings, while their mother, a poet, instilled a passion for storytelling and turn of phrase. The brothers bonded over bluesmen like Jimmy Reed and Lightnin' Hopkins, but their paths, musical and otherwise, would diverge. Oliver moved to Atlanta, where he played guitar in cover bands before earning a spot in Tinsley Ellis's touring act. At Ellis's behest, Oliver began to sing and then founded King Johnson, a hard-touring group that would release six albums of blues-inflected R&B, funk and country over the next 12 years. Chris, meanwhile, studied jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music, moved to New York City and, in the early '90s, formed Medeski Martin & Wood, which over the next two decades would become a cornerstone of contemporary jazz and abstract music.
After pursuing separate musical careers for some 15 years, the brothers performed together at a show in North Carolina: Oliver sat in with MM&W following King Johnson's opening set. "I realized we should be playing music together," Chris recalls. Soon after, the pair recorded a batch of Oliver's songs, channeling the shared musical heroes of their youth while seizing on their own individual strengths -- Oliver's classic songwriting, Chris's forward-thinking musicianship. A demo landed them a record deal with Blue Note, who released 'Ways Not To Lose' in 2006. Follow-up 'Loaded' came in 2008; after covers EP 'Up Above My Head' the next year, the band moved to Zac Brown's Southern Ground Artists for 'Smoke Ring Halo' and then 2012's 'Live, Volume One: Sky High' and 'Live, Volume Two: Nail and Tooth.'
On 'The Muse,' following the opening one-two of "Wastin' My Mind" and "Neon Tombstone," the album shuffles between bluesy, classic country and swampy funk, mining the brothers' timeless influences (Robert Johnson, Willie Nelson, Charles Mingus) while sounding fresh enough to win over fans of today's mainstream roots-music acts (The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons). The title track shows Oliver's songwriting at its most tender and autobiographical to date, as he sings of his "finest work yet" -- his newborn child -- in his endearingly offbeat voice, which The New York Times calls "gripping." Chris takes the vocal lead on "Sweet Maria" and "Losin'," and capably so, while on his standup bass, he's often playful, even rascally, imbuing the songs with humor with his warm, unpredictable notes. Jano, when not banging on his shuitar, adds refreshing flourishes of piano and melodica.
'The Muse' marks another milestone for The Wood Brothers: it's the first full-length they've recorded at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. In the way that Manhattan becomes its own character in an old Woody Allen movie, the live room at Southern Ground plays a key role on the album, making its warm presence felt throughout. (There's even a little hiss from the analog tape machine.) The choice of location was practical, given Nashville's rich history and network of musicians, but also symbolic: The Wood Brothers are now officially a Nashville-based band, with Oliver having relocated in 2012, and Chris recently following. It's the first time the brothers have lived in the same city since they left their parents' nest; both are eager, along with Nashville local Jano, to plumb the sense of collaboration they tapped into during the fateful "Neon Tombstone" writing session. As Oliver says of 'The Muse,'"This is the first record that really feels like a band record. It's taken years for us to really feel like we can collaborate, and I think this is the pinnacle of it so far."
Chris Kasper is an American songwriter with a style rooted in folk, rock and blues. His music has been compared to everything from Paul Simon to Beck, and draws on inspiration from musical greats such as Bill Withers and Levon Helm. With 25 years of playing under his belt, Chris's unique storytelling and lush arrangements, combined with his studio artistry, set him apart as a standout artist of this generation.
Based in Philadelphia but a true road warrior at heart, the past 12 years have found Chris sharing the stage with the likes of Amos Lee, The Avett Brothers, Tristan Prettyman, Good Old War and The Wood Brothers. A solo performer to be reckoned with, Chris's collaborative spirit also lends him great strength as a bandleader. He can often be found performing with Philadelphia staples Phil D'Agostino (bass), Kiley Ryan (fiddle) and Daniel "Scrappy" Bower (percussion).
Chris Kasper stepped into the role of producer and arranger for his 4th album, Bagabones, released October 1, 2013. The result is an album of rare depth and true originality that stands up on its own to be recognized. Bagabones was written in a small cabin owned by Chris's late uncle in West Hurley, NY, just outside the town of Woodstock. The energy of Woodstock danced its way into these songs, along with the calm of Byrdcliffe Mountain and a generous homage to Chris's musical heroes. Engineered by Matt Muir of Kawari Studios and mastered by Philly soul producer Jim Salamone (Teddy Pendergrass), this record captures a sound rarely found from a self-produced, independent artist. Kelsey Butterworth of The 9:30 Club in DC warns listeners, "...make room in your heart for this record and this artist. This music hits you like a train."
4SatOctober 4, 2014
After a series of high school dance bands, he hit the Country dance club circuit full time while still in his teens. This continued for decades all over the United States and many excursions abroad.
After settling in Austin, Texas, with his wife and rhythm guitarist-singer, Tanya Rae, he began his weekly tenure at the legendary Continental Club where the band successfully honed their craft leading ultimately to a major label signing (Curb), a Country Music Association Award (CMA), three Grammy nods, a Bluegrass Music Association Award (IBMA) with legend, Ralph Stanley, duets on record and video appearances with everyone from Hank Thompson and George Jones to The Beach Boys and Stone Temple Pilots.
Then came movies (Me Myself and Irene, Trespass, Still Breathing, The Dukes of Hazard, Blue Collar Comedy Tourl and II), TV shows (X Files, Chris Issac, Austin City Limits), multiple appearances on Letterman, Conan, Saturday Night Live, and even a cameo appearance in SpongeBob Squarepants. And there were the national ad campaigns, like The Gap, Lee Jeans and Lipton Tea.
Lately Junior has been concentrating just as hard as always on his songwriting skills with his more recent material, which still references dry wit, serious sentiment and instrumental prowess.
Some of these new songs show a previously uncharted direction into modern technical jargon. Just one listen to selections like "Hang Up and Drive" or "Apathy Waltz" and you will have no doubt that there is more here than just simple Retro-Billy. These songs are about today and Junior is still performing them "Junior style".
So what more does one say in an attempt to describe a truly one-of-a-kind music legend, who is doing what he does better now than ever before? How does someone describe the indescribable to one who hasn't seen or heard?
What comes to mind for me is the title to one of Junior's early albums which refers cleverly to his creation, the "Guit-Steel", the instrument consolidating standard and steel guitars allowing him to switch mid-song between the two while singing. The title of the album simply states the best advice that can be offered: GUIT WITH IT!
"What the hell's a Twang Dragon? What kind of music do ya play?" If we had a gold record for every time we've heard those questions... Actually, it's easier to describe what we aren't. We're not exactly country. Not exactly rock. And definitely not country rock. But we're enough of all those things to fit most any venue, from honky tonk saloon to rock festival to the hot and sweaty beer joint down the street. We write and play our own material (we've recorded 3 CDs and are working on a 4th). We also do covers -- our way. And we get equal crowd response from both. How many bands can say that? Now, don't mistake us for one of those self-important bands who are so full of themselves it makes us puke. But, here's the thing -- no matter what size the stage, we always give it a good ass-whuppin'. Whether we're on our annual European pub tour. Playing the big summer festivals. Opening for a national band. Performing on TV. Or squeezing into the corner next to the pool table and Big Buck Hunter game. Hell, we just love to play and have a big ole time.
5SunOctober 5, 20142:00pm $10.00Look forward to a great comedy show featuring award winning Dobie Maxwell from the Dented Can! There'll be drinks, appetizers, a raffle, silent auction, and you'll even get to meet "spokes pet" Sadie in person and view a video montage of many other beautiful pets in need! Don't miss out on the fun!! It promises to be a memorable afternoon event to benefit iPAW!
9ThuOctober 9, 2014
Or maybe you know Wynn from his groundbreaking work with The Dream Syndicate, a band that--along with REM and the Replacements--practically invented the American indie rock scene of the 1980s. Perhaps you know Wynn from his critically acclaimed solo albums of the 1990s which were fixtures on many Modern Rock radio stations across the country. Or it could be from his highly touted side-project Gutterball which by its fifth gig found itself signed to Mute/Elektra and on a national tour with The Black Crowes. Or maybe from his recent "Desert Trilogy" and the near-legendary shows with his current backing band The Miracle 3. Or maybe you tuned in for the first time when he played on the Late Show With David Letterman as part of The Baseball Project earlier this year.
"What he took from punk had more to do with attitude, noisy energy, abyss-skirting emotions and musical riskiness--qualities, of course, present in the best rock and roll of any scene, era or sub-genre" - Trouser Press Music Guide
Steve Wynn was born in Santa Monica, California in 1960 and got his first guitar (a nylon-string acoustic) when he was nine, shortly after which he wrote his first song "Sing My Blues". He formed his first band "The Light Bulbs" that same year and the band made the circuit of parties and school functions; the band's oldest member was ten years old. By the time he was 13, Wynn had played in bands with such colorful names as Purple Passion and Sudden Death Overtime, alternating between his own early originals and songs by Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and The Who.
In the years that followed, Wynn found himself sidetracked by a strong desire to become a sportswriter. Abandoning his electric guitar for a notepad, pen and typewriter Wynn found himself on the other side of the interview, speaking to football, basketball and baseball players and dreaming of one day seeing his name on the masthead of Sports Illustrated.
During his high school years, Wynn entertained notions of becoming a sportswriter but the excitement and immediacy of the punk rock explosion of 1977 brought him back into the world of songwriting and performing. He found himself writing and playing guitar for UC Davis (near Sacramento) New Wave pioneers "Suspects", a band for whom Wynn wrote over 100 songs, none of which he has performed since. A move back to Los Angeles with Suspects lead singer Kendra Smith was the first step towards the formation of The Dream Syndicate, the band with whom Wynn would gain national and eventually international acclaim.
The Dream Syndicate played together for the first time in December 1981 and within three weeks had recorded its self-titled first EP. The record was released in April 1982 and followed six months later by the band's debut album "The Days of Wine and Roses," an album which fans and critics alike still consider one of the best and most important rock albums of all time. Those early years are represented here by "When You Smile" and "That's What You Always Say," songs which have been covered, respectively, by Concrete Blonde and Luna. The band was almost immediately signed by A&M Records for whom it recorded the landmark "Medicine Show" (the title song opens this compilation), a record that was recently named one of the 40 best rock albums of all time by the London Guardian and whose songs have been covered by REM and The Black Crowes among many others.
Several years of worldwide touring (including several trips to Europe and Japan and Australia) followed before the band broke up at the end of 1988. Wynn has said "As proud as I was of The Dream Syndicate, our music and our accomplishments, I felt we had reached our peak and everything that followed would have been a disappointment. I wanted to be a band that broke up while we were still doing our best work."
In 1990 Wynn came back with his first solo offering "Kerosene Man," an album of incredible diversity that showed Wynn's enormous growth as a songwriter and record-maker. The songs "Carolyn" and "Tears Won't Help" were among the most-played songs that year on Modern Rock radio stations and his video for "Carolyn" was in regular rotation on MTV for six weeks. The follow-up "Dazzling Display" was Wynn's most elaborate production to date, a dizzying synthesis of the best rock music of the previous 30 years featuring the talents of, among others, REM's Peter Buck, Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano and members of The Bangles, The Turtles and the touring bands of Lou Reed and Tracy Chapman.
A four-day writing vacation in Richmond, Virginia with the House of Freaks' Bryan Harvey turned into the side-project supergroup Gutterball who released two albums, garnered overwhelming press response and built a frenetic cult following; the Black Crowes took the band out as its opening act even before the first Gutterball record was released. Not one to stand still, Wynn followed the success of Gutterball with the more introspective "Fluorescent," an album whose single "Carelessly" picked up heavy radio play throughout the US and Europe.
In 1994, Wynn moved to New York City. He harnessed the excitement and energy of his new home in his record "Melting in the Dark". The two albums that followed, "Sweetness and Light" and "My Midnight", found Wynn settling into the sound that would define the next phase of his solo career.
In 2001, Steve went to Tucson and recorded the double album "Here Come the Miracles" which was released to overwhelming critical acclaim. The album was seen as a stunning comeback and appeared on many year-end critics' surveys along with winning Best Alternative Rock Album by the American Federation of Independent Music. The album was followed by "Static Transmission" and "...tick...tick...tick", both also recorded in Tucson with his new backing unit "The Miracle 3" and which were viewed as part of a "Desert Trilogy" that is seen by many as the best work of his career.
But Wynn has never been one to settle into an easy or predictable groove. Since the last of the desert trilogy he has recorded "Cast Iron Soul", a new Danny & Dusty album with Green On Red's Dan Stuart, joined forces with his wife and drummer Linda Pitmon and legendary Spanish producer Paco Loco to concoct the twisted pop side project "Smack Dab", and collaborated with the Walkabouts' Chris Eckman in Slovenia on the lush and lavish "Crossing Dragon Bridge", a record that made up a tandem of new releases in 2008 with The Baseball Project, a baseball song cycle collaboration with Pitmon and also Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck of REM and the Minus 5.
In the midst of such a prolific recording career, Wynn has still found time to average over 100 shows a year all over the world. He has found himself as welcome in Rome, Oslo, Athens, Brussels, London and Madrid as he has in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. And for the devoted fans he has made in these and many other cities, his extensive discography of music reflects the consensus among fans: that Steve Wynn is one of the most adventurous, accomplished and exciting songwriters of the last few decades. If all of this is still news to you, just put on this cd and get ready to join the legions of people who have enjoyed Wynn's dazzling display of songs over the last 25 years.
Mike Benign is a Milwaukee songwriter best known for his bands Blue in The Face (90s), Arms & Legs & Feet (80s) and currently, The Mike Benign Compulsion. Says OnMilwaukee, "Benign's sharp, sardonic, intelligent pop songs have made him a beloved -- and more importantly, respected -- part of the local scene."
10FriOctober 10, 2014
11SatClosed for private partyOctober 11, 2014Closed for private party
15WedOctober 15, 2014
16ThuOctober 16, 2014
Phillips was born in 1943 in Fort Worth, TX, the son of best-selling spy novelist Philip Atlee, who moved the family around the world at various times, including the South Pacific. After hearing "Malaguena" at the piano, he took up the guitar at age seven, and by the time he was 12, he was playing the chords to Carl Perkins songs. Phillips' musical experience transcended rock & roll, however. In the course of his family's travels, he got to live in almost every corner of the globe, including Tahiti, and absorbed the music that surrounded him wherever he was living. He returned to Texas in his teens, with some training in classical music but a love for performers like Jimmy Reed and Ike & Tina Turner, among other blues and R&B performers. He did a hitch in the Navy, and then went back to Texas before retreating to California, where he played around the early-'60s folk circuit.
Phillips made his first record, an over-produced single of Bob Gibson's version of "Frankie and Johnnie" for Columbia, which he followed with two albums, I'm a Loner and Shawn, neither of which was successful. Phillips went to England, where he performed and wrote songs with Donovan, in a professional relationship somewhat clouded in controversy. (Phillips claimed in interviews during the 1970s that he co-wrote "Season of the Witch," as well as a major portion of the songs that finally surfaced on the album Sunshine Superman, but only ever received one co-author credit for "Little Tin Soldier" on the Fairytale album.) While staying in England, the range of his work vastly expanded, partly with the help of various controlled substances.
He was ejected from England for playing without a work permit, and tried living in Paris for before he headed for Italy. He settled in Positano, a tiny fishing village. By the late '60s, Phillips' musical expertise had broadened to include not only different kinds of guitars, but also the Indian sitar. After a few years of trying, he recognized that he'd started too late and would never master the sitar in the traditional manner, and instead began learning to make his own music on the instrument.
In 1968, he went to London with the idea for a trilogy of albums and recorded a major portion of it in collaboration with Traffic members Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi. No record company was willing to commit to such an ambitious body of work by an unknown artist, and the material languished for more than two years, until Phillips came to A&M Records. Producer Jonathon Weston listened to his work and decided to try and release an edited version of the music.
This became his A&M debut album, Contribution, which ranged freely between uptempo folk-rock ("Man Hole Covered Wagon") to introspective quasi-classical guitar pieces ("L Ballade"), and works mixing sitar and acoustic guitar ("Withered Roses"). The album got positive reviews, but it was when Phillips embarked on his first U.S. tour, in conjunction with his next album, Second Contribution, late in 1971, that he was discovered by much of the press. Critics in the New York Times and other publications displayed unbridled awe at Phillips' prowess on a range of instruments, including electric and acoustic six- and 12-string guitars and the sitar, and his singing range, a full three octaves from baritone to counter-tenor, as well as his songwriting. He was one of the few singer/songwriters to play double-necked six- and 12-string guitars (a standard feature of progressive and metal bands) on-stage, in intimate locales such as New York's Bottom Line, and to test the full range of the hybrid instrument.
Writers lavished praise on Phillips for his unusual lyrics, haunting melodies, daunting musicianship, and the ambition of his records. He was a complete enigma, American-born but raised internationally, with a foreigner's keen appreciation for all of the music of his homeland and a seasoned traveler's love of the world's music, with none of the usual limits on his thinking about music. He slid between jazz, folk, pop, and classical sounds -- it was nothing for Phillips to segue from a progressive-style mood piece with a 50-piece orchestra into an R&B-based number driven by his electric guitar, and back again. "The Ballad of Casey Deiss," from Second Contribution, was a case in point, a song about a friend who died when he was struck by lightning, scored for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, vibraphone, and the horn section of a full orchestra, as well as multi-layered vocals.
A third album, Collaboration, followed, along with another tour, and then Faces, Bright White, and Furthermore. His collaborator was conductor/arranger Paul Buckmaster, the man responsible for the choral accompaniment on the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and several other rock-meets-classical touchstones. On tour, he was booked into clubs with artists such as comedian Albert Brooks, singer/songwriter Wendy Waldman, and Seals & Crofts, and usually worked solo, surrounded by a half-dozen guitars, or sometimes with a single accompanist, Peter Robinson, on keyboards.
Phillips never achieved major stardom, despite his critical accolades. He never courted an obvious commercial sound, preferring to write songs that, as he put it, "make you feel different from the way you felt before you started listening," primarily love songs and sonic landscapes. He made nine albums for A&M before moving on to RCA in 1978 for Transcendance, which mixed his guitars with a 60-piece symphony orchestra and members of Herbie Hancock's band, produced in collaboration with arranger/conductor Michael Kamen. He also contributed to movie music by Manos Hadjidakis, and appeared in the movie Run with the Wind.
With close to 20 albums behind him since the mid-'60s, Phillips has a following in America, Europe, and Japan, and he has performed at different world music festivals. A cult figure whose peers include Van Dyke Parks and, perhaps, Leonard Cohen (though Cohen's public profile is enhanced by his following, as an established poet and author, in the literary community), he remains an enigmatic figure on the music landscape. His work remained sufficiently in demand in the 1990s, however, to justify a best-of compilation from A&M in 1992 that included notes by Phillips and one new song. In 1998, eight of his LPs were re-released via the Wounded Bird label.
17FriOctober 17, 20148:00pm $15.00Eric Gales grew up in a musical family with four brothers, two of them who learned to play the guitar upside down and left handed in the same fashion that Eric does. Eric's brother Eugene Gales who played bass in the Eric Gales Band and his brother Little Jimmy King who had a thriving career as a blues artist before his untimely death. Eric released his first record at Age 16 for Elektra records to an amazing response from the media and music fans around the globe. Guitar World Magazine's Reader's Poll named Eric as "Best New Talent," in 1991. After recording a second record for Elektra, all three brothers teamed up for The Gales Bros. "Left Hand Brand" which was recorded for the House of Blues label in 1996. Through the years, it would not be unusual to look out in the audience and see artists like Carlos Santana, Eric Johnson, Keith Richards, B. B. King, and Eric Clapton, looking on with interest as Eric took his God-given talent and worked crowd after crowd into a frenzy. The new Millennium presented new opportunities for Eric and he was signed to a deal with Nightbird Records which was affiliated with the Hendrix family and distributed through MCA/Universal. Under this deal, Eric recorded the critically acclaimed record "That's What I Am" in 2001 and hit the road, mesmerizing fans around the world with his uncanny connection to his guitar. In 2006 Eric recorded the critically acclaimed CD "Crystal Vision" for Shrapnel Records and set the stage for his incredible Blues Bureau Division follow-up, "The Psychedelic Underground." in 2007. In 2010 Eric hit a new stride altogether with the incredibly successful album "Relentless". In 2013 Eric, dUg Pinnick (King's X) and Thomas Pridgen (formerly of the Mars Volta) released the first critically acclaimed record "PGP" on Magna Carta Records. The same year Eric released his first instrumental album "Ghost Notes" under the new banner "The Eric Gales Trio".
As both an African-American left-handed guitarist of extraordinary ability and an expressive vocalist, it is natural for people to compare Eric to Hendrix but Eric has developed a unique hybrid blues/rock sound that also draws upon influences as diverse as Albert King and Eric Johnson. A unique amalgam of styles, Eric Gales stands head and shoulders among other guitarists in his genre.
As the founding father of the "Northern Sound", Mojo Perry is no stranger to the guitar. Beginning at age five, he quickly graduated to performing in taverns. Standing out among other guitarists in the area, he released his first recording at age 16. The material had Mojo's distinct fingerprints, a signature sound, and showed exceptional potential. He was virtually always, and still can be, found in a recording studio laying down tracks and developing his craft.
Mojo's first official label release came when he was 23. His brainchild, the "Wandering Gypsies", realized modest success with their record, "The Man". Having authored hits that are still engaging an ever- expanding audience, "The Man" provided Mojo a foundation for inspiration. Setting off on his own path, Mojo resolved to discover the true identity of his music. As a session guitarist in Chicago, he thrust himself into the Blues and often found himself backing well-known artists. All the while he worked aggressively to refine his Art and experiment with Psychedelic music in the studio and at live performances.
Identifying his style as the "Northern Sound", Mojo Perry's first solo recording, aptly titled "Bookmaker", was released in 2000.The album proved to be a workhorse for Mojo and landed him in broader markets. Although he came from the blues, Mojo fused Psychedelic Rock with extreme acid overtones in live performances. His new recording proved that his vision of Psychedelic Blues Rock could be caught on tape. Several songs on "Bookmaker" are highly requested at shows and receive continued radio airplay.
Mojo then graduated from taverns and clubs to the festival circuit, once again sharing stages with artists previously out of his reach. He's considered a favorite on the circuit for his wildly aggressive Psychedelic guitar playing and unerring passion. Yet, Mojo still remained true to his chosen creative path. His 2003 release, "Closer To The Far Away", made clear to new audiences and long time fans alike that he was distinct and cultivating something very different.
Blending Art, Blues, and Psychedelic Rock, and his unique style of guitar playing, Mojo Perry hit pay dirt. National and international attention progressed and his audience grew considerably. He performed his "Northern Sound" nationally and eventually caught the attention of guitar legend Chris Duarte, (Shrapnel Records). A friendship ensued, and they partnered to produce "Echoing Endlessly Inside My Head". While it incorporated his typical fingerprint, the record once again demonstrated Mojo Perry's unique ability to reinvent. Before fans could even ask, "What's next?" Mojo released "Two Equals One"; a stripped down acoustic album that contained an unexpected, raw, sensitive, and brutally honest side of Mojo.
In 2011 Mojo Perry published "Absinthe Journeys", and the album hit a home run! The release generated and intensified international recognition for its refined creativity, songwriting, and the distinct vibe that the album offered.
Between 2010 and 2012, Mojo Perry performed in bars, theatres, and concert halls in Thailand, Japan, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and more than 27 states in the USA; doing all the shows with his now world famous Cigar box Guitar, "Rosie". His outlook for future record releases is at an all- time high. Fans can expect three releases in 2012. The first, titled "Milwaukee", features collaboration with Chris Duarte, (Shrapnel Records), and Victor DeLorenzo, (Violent Femmes). The second in line, "Wonderland"; an Avant- Gard Psychedelic fusion album that will also include Chris Duarte and Victor DeLorenzo but will feature Dove Dewey, (Right From Rona) as well. The third, yet untitled, will drop late in 2012 or early 2013. With Mojo Perry's history of reinvention from song to song and record to record, a huge explosion of Art and Creativity can be expected!
However, Mojo still considers his music to be "underground." Quoted in a 2008 interview in the "Underground Times" he stated, "I come from the underground and I will always be a part of the underground." Many call him a revolutionary in the evolution of Blues... a 21st century blues man.
18SatOctober 18, 2014Carbon Leaf
The band's autonomous spirit in returning to their roots of recording and producing independently -- from their own studio -- and releasing their music directly to fans, has rekindled their creative output and inspired them to release more music and with greater frequency. Since 2010 the band has released 5 independent albums -- why wait two years for an album cycle?
This year kicked off with GHOST DRAGON ATTACKS CASTLE, a 12-song collection of Celtic-inspired, original tunes, and is already a fan favorite, debuting at #15 on the Billboard Top New Artist Album (2/24/13) and #2 on the iTunes Rock Chart (2/24/13)].
Sixth months later, Carbon Leaf's 11th album CONSTELLATION PRIZE, explores American roots and folk, with 10 tracks ranging in tone from bluegrass and Appalachia, to country, rock and some more languid, extended jams. It is an eloquent and sweet musing on the threads that keep our hearts intact as we wisen and grow with age, and ponder what is waiting in the unknown beyond our friends, family and community. Ultimately it is a call to live well, to love, and to lean in and trust. Constellation Prize also marks the first time working with PledgeMusic, a fan-funding platform akin to Kickstarter, but created exclusively for musicians that allows a more interactive connection between the band and it's fans. [Check out the funny PledgeMusic video the band produced!]
Carbon Leaf has been blending Folk, Celtic, Bluegrass, Americana, Rock and Pop traditions into their own sound for 12 albums now, and perhaps their music can be summed up best by the title of one of their earliest releases: "Ether-Electrified Porch Music" -a sound that conveys an aura of warmth, punctuated by diverse instruments including mandolin, upright bass, fiddle, penny whistle, banjo, cello, peddle steel, accordion, acoustic and electric guitars, bodhrán and bagpipes.
Now in their 20th year of award-winning recording, this Virginia quintet is consistently traversing America with their nonstop touring schedule, bringing with them an impressive portfolio of achievements, as they continue to produce a steady stream of new music coupled with energetic live-shows throughout North America.
Carbon Leaf debuted as an independent college band in 1993, eventually leading to a recording contract with Vanguard Records in 2004, resulting in three albums during their six years with the label. Along the way, Carbon Leaf has scored hit singles at AAA and Hot AC Radio with "Life Less Ordinary" and "The Boxer"; placed first in the International Songwriting Competition for "The War Was In Color"; was the first independent band to ever win an American Music Award; and in 2010, recorded the music for Universal Pictures Curious George 2 soundtrack. Since then, the band has released a wonderfully received original holiday/winter concept album, Christmas Child, as well the EP How the West was One and a live concert DVD Live, Acoustic...and in Cinemascope!
In celebration of 20 rich years together -- and with 12 original records already under their belt -- the band has an ever-ambitious slate ahead for new singles and full-album releases going forward.
19SunOctober 19, 2014
When Luther Dickinson was growing up in rural Mississippi -- just 40 miles south of Memphis, but deep in the hill country -- his favorite band was Black Flag, the caustic L.A. punk band that defined the hardcore movement in the 1980s. That may surprise listeners who have been following his career as a folk-blues-rock innovator. With his brother Cody, Luther is a charter member of the North Mississippi Allstars and has recorded with an amazing array of musicians over the years: Beck, Patty Griffin, Mavis Staples, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, RL Burnside, Lucero, Jon Spencer, and Robert Plant. He's also produced albums by Jim Lauderdale, Amy LaVere, and Otha Turner, whose Everybody's Hollerin' Goat was named one of the top 10 blues records of the '90s by Rolling Stone.
Part of Black Flag's appeal, of course, was that Luther's parents just didn't get it. That's a good enough reason for a rowdy teenage boy to connect with any band, but it's especially significant given that Luther's dad is Memphis maverick Jim Dickinson, who had played with the Stones and Aretha Franklin and had produced landmark albums for Big Star, the Replacements, and Ry Cooder. In 1987, Jim even recruited his 14-year-old son to play guitar on the Mats' album Pleased to Meet Me. "He didn't understand Black Flag musically," recalls Luther with a sharp laugh. "I had found my own music that alienated my rock 'n roll parents!"
The downside, of course, was that Black Flag rarely played around North Mississippi, and when they did, they never played all-ages shows. It wasn't until Luther was in seventh grade that he finally saw his heroes play live -- at an in-store at Peaches Records in Memphis. It was an amazing experience for the adolescent. And for his dad, too. "When he saw them, he was like, 'I get it now. It's like Captain Beefheart and Ornette Coleman meet the Sex Pistols.' Okay, Dad. Whatever it takes."
That instance of father-son bonding via abrasive SoCal punk rock informs Luther's latest album, which is actually his third solo album following recent collections of primitive folk guitar and acoustic gospel. Rock 'n Roll Blues is not punk like Black Flag, but it does maintain a similarly hardcore DIY ethos. On opener "Vandalize," he recounts that formative show in the third verse:
There were no all age shows in my day
For free and instrumental was how they played
In a record store, free for the kids...
I got so excited, had to vandalize
"Vandalize" serves as a prologue to an album that is, in essence, an autobiography set to music, tracing Luther's journey from excitable teen to tour-van vet. He may have innovated blues and boogie rock, but Luther started out as a confused teenager -- just like the rest of us. With its rambunctious acoustic strut and barbed chorus hook, "Bar Band" relives his dues-paying youth playing battles of the band and plastering Memphis with concert flyers, while "Blood 'n Guts" chronicles the transience of a life spent in a van driving from one gig to the next, the steady drums marking the miles along some deserted highway.
Recorded in just a few days at Zebra Ranch, the Dickinson family home studio, these songs evoke constant struggle: to find the right chords and the right words, to balance van life with home life, to provide for his family financially as well as emotionally. Not that Luther is complaining. No woe-is-me gripe session, Rock 'n Roll Blues sounds like a celebration of music's regenerative effects on the human soul. As he sings on closer "Karmic Debt":
Every night lost in the sound
Sailing my way back, homeward bound
If this ol' world is surely round
Eventually I'll hit solid ground
Rock 'n Roll Blues reveals Luther to be not simply a superb guitar player, but also an acutely observant songwriter. Songs like the bittersweet reminiscence "Some Ol' Day" and the tragicomic "Goin' Country"portray an artist striving to honor the musical traditions of his family and his home city while struggling to find and develop his own voice. "These songs didn't fit onto my past records," Luther says, "but they all fit together. When I realized they told the story of a guy growing into a life in music, it really did make sense as a song cycle and as a solo record."
Luther has been living with some of these songs for half his life. "Vandalize" was written before he could legally drink and recorded several times. "When I was a kid, that song was an atonal punk-rock track with a hip-hop break," he admits. Other songs he recorded with a full band and electric guitars, but they all sounded either overblown or undercooked. To get them right, Luther had to unplug and pare down--way, way down. "I tried to get everything down to the barest essentials--acoustic guitar, stand-up bass, drums, vocals--and let the songs speak for themselves."
More in line with the South Memphis String Band records or his two Grammy-nominated solo albums than with the North Mississippi Allstars, Rock 'n Roll Blues is "folk music with juke-joint drums and lots of harmonies," which means the rhythm section has to be both propulsive and supple, confident yet restrained. According to Luther, these songs finally came alive when he brought in bass player Amy LaVere and drummer Sharde Thomas. LaVere is a celebrated Memphis actress/singer-songwriter with three excellent albums under her name, two of which were produced by Jim Dickinson. Her upcoming fourth album was produced by Luther.
Thomas is the granddaughter of the late great blues fife player Otha Turner (that's his cane fife she's playing on "Mojo, Mojo"). "Sharde and I have been playing together at Otha's picnics for years, since she was a little girl," Luther says. "Her groove is so earthy, and Amy can play one note and groove so hard on that," says Luther. "They create such a lovely bed of rhythm for these songs."Even though he lived with some of these songs for years, there was a sense of urgency to getting them on tape and out to listeners. "I was 39 when I was making this record, and it dawned on me that there's a difference between the records you make in your thirties and the records you make in your forties," says Luther. "I felt like I definitely had to make this record before I turned 40." The folksily austere sound of Rock 'n Roll Blues is, in other words, a product of age, experience, and the relative wisdom that each brings. "The older I've become, the more primal I try to make everything, until I'm beating on a twostring coffee-can diddley bow with a drumstick," he says. "There's freedom in limitations. I wish I'd known that when I was a kid."
One last word about "Vandalize": It's Luther's four-year-old daughter's favorite song. "That's why it's first on the record, because she makes us listen to it over and over. She says, 'It just makes me go crazy in my car seat!' And she laughs hysterically. That's how I knew I'd succeeded in capturing that youthful feeling of music and life making you feel crazy."
21TueOctober 21, 2014
From winning the band contest at Pickin' In The Pines (mere weeks after forming in 2009) and a special appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2012, to two appearances on National Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion, Run Boy Run have been making friends and fans alike with their open-ended musical approach and wonderful stage presence. A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor was impressed enough that he penned the liner notes to the band's debut CD.
Run Boy Run come from Tucson, Arizona, and were tagged by Paste magazine as "One of the top 10 Arizona bands to hear now." The band is brother and sister Matt Rolland (fiddle, guitar) and Grace Rolland (cello, vocals), sisters Bekah Sandoval Rolland (fiddle, vocals) and Jen Sandoval (mandolin, vocals) and bass player Jesse Allen. With three strong female voices, singing separately or in harmony, and deeply rooted familial connection to traditional American music, Run Boy Run didn't come lately to their sound; it's in their collective blood.
22WedOctober 22, 2014
The one and only Q hits the road in June to bring the music to the people. What to expect besides the unexpected? "Ability to groove like no other band on the planet." -- popmatters. "Spontaneity, humor, breadth, and musical know-how..." --No Depression. "Music no one can make anymore." --Detroit Metro-Times. "NRBQ is still liable to play anything. Roaring rockabilly, transcendent pop-rock, roadhouse blues, avant jazz -- you name it." --Minneapolis Tribune. "Honest about inspiration wherever it is found, fearless, searching for possibilities, taking chances." --Daily Hampshire Gazette. "Inventing music right before our ears." --Blurt
When Semi-Twang reunited in 2009 to play the twentieth anniversary of Shank Hall, the premier showcase club in their home-town of Milwaukee, they showed up to help celebrate a venue they'd played on the club's opening night. Expectations were modest - do a couple of rehearsals, show up, have fun & go home. However, the gig turned out to be an incredible experience for both band and fans and the band decided it was too much fun to stop.
Back in 1988, Semi-Twang thought they'd taken their best shot with Salty Tears, their Warner Brothers debut. That record generated tons of critical acclaim but little in the way of sales. Soon after its release, other opportunities beckoned and the band members went their separate ways. Friendships survived, but the band was history. For John Sieger, the songwriter and main vocalist, Nashville, TN seemed like a good idea. Dwight Yoakam was one of many artists who found Sieger's songs and producers like Pete Anderson and Jerry Harrison were finding slots for his tunes. Mike Hoffmann stayed busy producing other artists and the other fellows in the band, all great players, were soon scooped up by other groups around town.
After the '09 Shank reunion, the band decided a new recording was in order...the one they should have made first. Unlike their debut, (a major label project with a budget just this side of a NASA launch) the band recorded on the sly, mostly at Hoffmann's House Studio and Sieger's Room w/a VU -- both Pro Tools equipped, comfy and cozy. The pace was relaxed with sessions every few weeks for most of 2010. The atmosphere was loose but unwavering in its vision - get in, make the best record you've ever made, get out -- what's so hard about that?
In March of 2011, Wages Of Sin, their first album in 23 years, was released to overwhelmingly positive response - glowing critical reviews, over-the-top fan praise and lots of local airplay. Semi-Twang had always harkened back to classic artists like Dylan, The Beatles and The Band. This approach paid off handsomely on Wages, an album that dares you to to put a time-stamp on it. Songs like the title cut Wages of Sin and When The Wind Kicks Up sound like the kind of country music Nashville might be making if producers and record companies weren't trying to own the middle of the road. Nervous Energy and Move It Or Lose It recall iconoclasts like Dave Edmonds and Nick Lowe in full-tilt mode. Then, there are songs like Just A Train and It's That Time Again that harbor a very distinctly Semi-Twangian Thang... You can imagine, somewhere down the road, some young band trying to reproduce that unique feel.
Which brings us to 2013: On March 23 of this year, the band has released their third project, The Why & The What For, a recording that ups the stakes in a very entertaining way. It is topical and personal with a bit more R&B soul influence that includes a few throwbacks to the duckwalk days of Chuck Berry. Oh, and you'll also be rewarded with one or two of those unclassifiable yet familiar songs you've come to expect from Semi-Twang. The Why & The What For will be getting heavily promoted to the press and radio here in the states and in the UK by Pavement Media.
23ThuOctober 23, 2014
A freewheelin', trashgrassin', folk tornado, the Whiskey Shivers take traditional instrumentation, soak it in gasoline and send it into outer space. Breakneck speeds, killer grooves and impeccable musicianship: it's enough to make Bill Monroe himself do a double-take as he spins in his grave.
With upright bass, fiddle, washboard, banjo, guitar, and reasonably priced merchandise, Whiskey Shivers adds a fine layer of grit on top of the hard-driving rhythms of traditional bluegrass. They've been called everything from "trashgrass" to "hardcore roots" to "crazy-assed redneck music" -- whatever the words, the meaning is the same: Whiskey Shivers brings the house down.
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, twisted with thorough classical guitar training, vibrant lyricism and accompaniment from operatic soprano/pianist Emma Volz, bring a very contemporary angle to the duo's sound. Standing together they give off a certain chemistry on stage, combining winding harmonies with accordion and finger-picked guitar.
24FriOctober 24, 2014The Steepwater Band
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.
25SatOctober 25, 20148:00pm $8.00The Lovin' Kind is a Milwaukee group who have re-emerged as a 60s rock band with Beatle and Rolling Stones roots. This group of seven musicians has dedicated themselves to entertaining those folks who truly love a song with a hook and a beat. The music is designed to produce songs that never leave your head.
We play all of our songs with the crowd in mind! We are a "fun" band playing songs that have a great beat for a full night of dancing. The songs are popular classic rock played with great musical talent. The Lovin Kind has been playing together for 7 years and the songs are really "tight". Great lead singing, great harmonies and full sound will make for the best night of music in years! The band consists of lead, rythm and bass guitars, keyboard, drums, degembe, and percussion. Band members sing with great lead and harmonies. The Lovin Kind is truly a classic rock icon in Milwaukee and will be for years to come!
Failure To Launch is a hot Milwaukee cover band will keep you on your feet dancing and singing along the entire show. You'll hear hits ranging form the 70s all the way to the current top 40. Classic Rock, Pop, and even a little Hip Hop are blended seamlessly. Keep an eye out for them in the Milwaukee bar scene as they've played venues such as the BBC, Whiskey Bar, and other Milwaukee area hot spots.
Jim Liban: 50 years of Harmonica
2:00pm $10 advance / $12 door
show detailsOctober 26, 2014SOLD OUT
Jim Liban: 50 years of Harmonica2:00pm $10 advance / $12 doorJim Liban's friends and former bandmates will gather in a celebration of Liban's 50th year playing harmonica.
"This will be special show for everyone who has enjoyed Jim's music over the years. It will be a rare opportunity to see and hear Jim play with bandmates from all of his bands from the 1960s through his just-released record. Performers will include Jr. Brantley, Jim Solberg and other members of Short Stuff; Denny Geyer from The New Blues and ABSkhy; Jeff Dagenhardt and PT Pedersen from The Avantis and The Unit; and many others including Joel Paterson, Greg Koch, Steve Cohen, Matt Skoller, and Jimi Schutte -- and of course Jim's son Matt. We have commitments from about 30 musicians." said Kurt Koenig, Liban's bass player for the past 8 years and impresario for Milwaukee's 3rd Coast Blues Collection, which is helping organize the event.
Liban's first CD in ten years, I Say What I Mean, recorded with Chicago's Joel Paterson Trio, was recently released to critical and popular acclaim on Paterson's Ventrella Records label. Jim Bessman of Examiner.com calls it "one of the year's most exciting and rewarding blues albums." Chicagoblues.com says "I Say What I Mean is an album that could have been made in the '50s, and yet, it sounds fresh, alive, and moving. Best of all though, this is brilliant music that is at once elegant, stirring, and just a damn good time!"
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele are both issuing proclamations declaring October 26 to be Jim Liban Day in the City and County of Milwaukee.
When recently asked about Liban, internationally known harp player Rod Piazza said, "Jim is one of the great harp players of all time. He was doing it before it was a fad - he scared me."
27MonOctober 27, 2014
Stick Men is a rock trio like no other. Playing instruments not seen or heard every day, and writing captivating and challenging music, they embody the tradition of forward-looking rock music.
Levin and Mastelotto, the powerhouse rhythm section of King Crimson for over 20 years, bring that tradition to all their playing. Levin plays the Chapman Stick, from which the band takes its name. Having bass and guitar strings, the Chapman Stick functions at times like two instruments. Markus Reuter plays his own self-designed touch guitar - again covering much more ground than a guitar or a bass. And Mastelotto's drumming encompasses not just the acoustic kit, but a unique electronic setup too, allowing him to add loops, samples, percussion, and more.
The result; audiences are fascinated by watching just three musicians onstage perform pieces like Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, King Crimson's Red and Lark's Tongues, as well as wild improvs and their own catalog of unique music.
Stick Men have released 5 CDs; Soup, Absalom, OPEN, DEEP, and the most recent Power Play (2014), a live album. They have toured extensively, now spanning 5 continents.
28TueOctober 28, 20148:00pm $6.00Pundamonium is a slam-style pun contest. One by one, 15 contestants make puns based on prompts. Then they do it again.
Each contestant is immediately judged by five members of the audience, who have been selected before the show to be judges. They rank each punner on a scale of 1 to 10, often with hilariously long decimals and other commentary.
The top four contestants go head to head in a final pun-off.
Want to compete? Just show up! It's first come, first served.
31FriOctober 31, 2014
Employing jazz harmonic sensibility and a deep-seated love of diverse cultures, De La Buena explores the textures and rhythms of Latin musics of the Americas with roots planted firmly in African Diasporic traditions.
Growing from a trio into a powerful 10-piece over the last six years, De La Buena has been electrifying audiences with their own brand of Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz. De La Buena, ever conscious of the influence and necessary respect for tradition... yet, a band willing to inject sophisticated, psychedelic sensibilities into an aggressive, expansive framework...