3FriFebruary 3, 20179:00pm $6.00Pat McCurdy is a singer/song writer from Wisconsin. He tours the mid-western part of the USA, his shows usually consisting of just him and his guitar. While the majority of his audience is made up of a college-age crowd, McCurdy manages to appeal to a large number of people of all ages with his interactive shows. Performing well over 300 shows a year, his large catalog of original songs (nearly 600 and growing) covers a variety of topics such as lost loves, politics, family vacations, the joys of Asian cuisine, and the sex organs of long-dead French Emperors.
Classifying McCurdy's style has long been a problem since he tends to follow wherever his muse takes him. Many of his songs could be classified as rock/pop, though he's been known to wander into folk, jazz, country and even Gilbert and Sullivan. Whatever style he chooses, his songs often include memorable lyrics.
4SatFebruary 4, 2017
On From The Attic, his 12th release overall as a leader and third for Germany's ZYX/Peppercake label, the veteran guitar virtuoso joins bassist Tom Good and drummer Del Bennett for an eclectic, hard-hitting program full of incendiary licks and audacious fretboard tricks. Recorded remarkably quickly ("We did the ten tracks in roughly 11 hours," Koch explains) in the attic of guitarist-engineer Chris Hanson's Victorian home on Milwaukee's East Side, these rockin', bluesy originals are imbued with Koch's trademark searing licks and typically clever lyrics. From the blistering, Magic Sam-inspired boogie "Leg Up Foot Out" to the urgent blues inflected "Nova Scotia Cold," from the elegant fingerstyle instrumental ballad "Sleep Tight" to the wild chicken-picking romp "Picked On," Koch and his crew wail with uncanny tightness and authority. "Trouble" is a growling funk-blues number written about Koch's first encounter with his wife-to-be ("Her middle name was trouble, her last name is mine") while "Agree To Disagree" addresses the guitarist's ongoing conflict with the staunch point's of view of loved ones. "Here We Go Again" is a rich, r&b flavored ballad featuring some lyrical, legato guitar work by Koch and the aggressively funky "Happy Versus Right" recalls classic Red Hot Chili Peppers slamming down a thick groove. Koch flaunts some wicked wahwah-inflected slide guitar licks on the mellow "Twice the Man" and they close out the collection with the anthemic, classic rock jam "You'll Rock and Like It," which sounds like an encounter between Jeff Beck and AC/DC."
"The whole gist of this record is kind of where I started from in my career," says Koch of From The Attic. "It's basically tunes with cool guitar things. And I fi nd that if you can have nice little blasts within the confi nes of a short tune, it's much more digestible." And though Koch may be consciously trying to simplify his six-string onslaught on this trio recording, his natural fretboard fusillades ultimately come to the fore. In its 2001 feature story, Guitar Player magazine described Koch's inherently pyrotechnic approach this way: "An impossible stream of riffs jumps off of Koch's fretboard like clowns spilling out of a VW bug -- and when you're convinced that there can be no more, out pops another one."
Born in Milwaukee in 1966, Koch got his earliest musical infl uences from his older brother and later became infatuated with Jimi Hendrix, who remains a profound infl uence to this day. After studying jazz guitar for four years at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Koch won 1st Prize in the 1989 Bluesbreaker Guitar Showdown judged by legendary bluesman Buddy Guy. Shortly after, he formed Greg Koch and the Tone Controls, which became one of the more popular acts of the region. The band went on to win fi ve Wisconsin Area Music Awards for Blues Artist of the Year ('93, '95 through '98), and Koch personally took in seven WAMA awards as Guitarist of the Year ('92, '94 through '99).
Koch soon found himself as a clinician for Fender, the world's largest and most prestigious guitar and amplifi er manufacturer. Bringing together world-class chops and a humorous ability to articulate sounds and techniques with a genuine devotion to all things guitar, Koch has developed an exceptionally effective approach to conducting guitar clinics. Greg's relationship with music publishing giant, the Hal Leonard Corporation, has also resulted in a string of top-selling guitar method books, including "Guitar Clues: Operation Pentatonic," "Lead Licks," "Rhythm Riffs" and Koch's popular Hal Leonard instructional DVDs -- two on the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan (approved by Jimmie Vaughan), one on Lynyrd Skynyrd, another celebrating revered blues stylists like Albert King, Albert Collins, Elmore James and Guitar Slim and one on his own twisted take on guitar called "Guitar Gristle" -- have revolutionized video guitar instruction with a combination of humor, effective instruction and inspiring musical performances into a package that can only be described as "edu-tainment."
In his self-penned liner notes to his 2001 recording, The Grip, Koch described his guitaristic approach as "Chet Hendrix meeting the Kings (BB, Albert and Freddie) at the first annual Zeppelin-Holdsworth Coffee Guzzlers Hoedown." He would subsequently showcase his over-the-top chops and wicked sense of humor on 2003's Radio Free Gristle, 2004's 13 x 12, 2005's 4 Days In the South and 2007's Live on WMSE, which showcases his fiery fretboard work in the company of bassist Roscoe Beck (longtime sideman to guitarists Robben Ford and Eric Johnson), drummer Tom Brechtlein (a former member of Ford's Blueline band and a frequent collaborator with Chick Corea) and the charismatic Austin-based soul singer Malford Milligan (formerly the frontman for Storyville and Double Trouble). Last year's Nation Sack had Koch teaming with Milligan and his current rhythm tandem of Good and Bennett for a collection of Koch originals (including some co-penned with Milligan) along with a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy."
Koch continues to channel all the right people on his most recent collection of blues, funk and R&B, including Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Albert Collins, Jeff Beck and Roy Buchanan with touches of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Danny Gatton and Richie Blackmore thrown in for good measure. And he fi lters all those killer infl uences through his own slightly bent prism that is tinted with grunge, gristle and good clean fun.
7TueFebruary 7, 2017
Geoff is regarded as one of the most skilled vocalists in the rock genre with hundreds of modern, popular artists citing him as a major influence. Geoff is the original singer for the band Queensryche, which he fronted for over 30 years.
Geoff Tate will present his upcoming all acoustic show with himself, backed by a 7-piece acoustic band of musicians from the United States and Ireland and will feature three guitar players, mandolin, cello, saxophone, violin and multiple percussion instruments to produce a high energy acoustic version of some of the heavy metal genres most recognized songs that include Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman, Empire, I Don’t Believe In Love and Eyes Of A Stranger.
10FriFebruary 10, 2017Catie Curtis
Catie's newest album speaks in that familiar, frank and reassuring voice about life events everyone encounters: love, loss, and the search for redemption. "While We're Here" rides the wave of tumultuous life transitions (divorce, death and falling in love) with clear-eyed courage and soulfulness. As the title cut says "we could all die tomorrow, I'm not gonna live in fear, don't ever stop giving living a shot, while we're here."
Around the country, people tell Curtis that her songs are like companions, soundtracks for their lives. In her '90s gay-rights classic, "Radical," she sings, "I'm not being radical when I kiss you/ and I don't love you to make a point." The intimacy with which she has expressed her gay identity has helped others through their own difficult journey to authenticity, whether related to sexuality or simply accepting oneself whole-heartedly. "To me, a song is like a conversation with a friend," she says. "There's always a lot of 'Yeah, yeah, me, too.' There's a kind of voice you use when you talk to someone you're comfortable with. That's the voice I look for in my songs."
For "While We're Here", Curtis recorded the basic tracks live in the studio with Julie Wolf (Ani Difranco, Bruce Cockburn) on piano, Jon Evans (Sarah McLachlin, Tori Amos) on bass and drummer Matthew Bossi in Jamaica Plain, MA. "There's nothing better than getting in the zone with some great players and discovering what can happen," says Curtis who also invited Jimmy Ryan (mandolin), Duke Levine (guitar), Jefferson Hammer (guitar), Jaime Edwards (keys), Elana Arian (fiddle) and singers Ben Demerath and Rose Polenzani to round out the sound.
Catie looks forward to hitting the road with this new recording. She has announced that this will be her last tour, dubbing it "The Final Outing". She will take one last road trip across the USA and beyond in 2017. While the concert stage has sustained her long career, Catie is finally giving in to her nesting instinct, saying "The themes of 'While We're Here' involve endings and beginnings, change and resilience. After 25 years on the road I am ready for my own new beginning."
"While We're Here" is about living in the present", says Catie. "While recording the album, the theme of life choices kept coming up. That life is short is something that resonates deeply with me, and I started to take notice of the things I truly loved." Connecting with people one-on-one has always been the most meaningful aspect of touring, and Catie intends to continue that part of her work. "While I won't be traveling to everyone out there, I am inviting everyone out there to come to me! I will be producing creativity retreats where all are welcome. I will also perform shows online and connect by posting and blogging."Catie will also continue to record new music and play private events and benefit concerts.
To reassure everyone, "I'm healthy and happy!" says Catie. After a long and full touring career, and now with so many innovative ways to reach an audience, it is a great time to keep her feet on the ground and work at some of these new approaches. The thought has become liberating, that "I don't have to tour in order to live a creative life. I realized as I was singing about choices on "While We're Here", I also have a choice."
11SatFebruary 11, 20178:30pm $12.00U2Zoo is a four piece concert caliber band that celebrates the full U2 Concert Experience. Founded in 2003, U2Zoo has built its fan base by playing the biggest festivals and headlining concert venues throughout the Midwest region. This band of U2 fans continues to pay tribute to the music and soul of U2 with their powerful vocals and well studied sounds. They bring with them all the vintage equipment and top notch touring crew to bring the concert experience alive.
Close your eyes and it's the music you've come to love. Open your eyes and live the full Concert Experience of U2Zoo.
14TueFebruary 14, 2017Doyle Bramhall II
As the son of the late Texas music legend Doyle Bramhall, he was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock 'n' roll styles indigenous to Texas. The elder Bramhall played drums and was also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, not to mention a lifelong collaborator with childhood friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, who composed such SRV signature tunes as "Change It" and "Life by the Drop."
But the younger Bramhall--a rare and distinctive guitarist who plays left-handed, but with his instrument strung for a right-hander and flipped backwards--had his own connections with the Vaughan brothers: Early in his career he was befriended and supported by Stevie. When he was 18, Bramhall was recruited by Jimmie to play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After Stevie's tragic death in 1990, Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton formed the Arc Angels with Stevie Ray's fabled Double Trouble rhythm section of drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon.
The Arc Angels' self-titled debut album yielded such widely popular songs as "Living in a Dream" and "Sent by Angels" before disbanding. Introducing himself as a solo artist in 1996 with Doyle Bramhall II, he followed with a pair of critically acclaimed albums, Jellycream (1999) and Welcome (2001). It was then that Bramhall's unparalleled guitar mastery won the attention not only of Clapton but Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, who showcased him on his 1999, 2000 and 2002 In the Flesh concert tours and companion CD and DVD.
Clapton, meanwhile, came next. He featured Bramhall songs and guitar as part of his Grammy-winning Riding with the King album with B.B. King, also of 2000. He then recruited him full-time, and they toured together worldwide, thrilling fans with their dramatic guitar interplay and drawing comparisons to past Clapton triumphs such as Derek & the Dominoes. Clapton's ensuing 2004 albums Me and Mr. Johnson and Sessions for Robert J both showcased stirring Clapton-Bramhall guitar duets recorded in the same Dallas room where Robert Johnson recorded his classic blues songs in 1937. Bramhall's own songwriting talent was highlighted in Clapton's Reptile (2001), Back Home (2005) and The Road to Escondido(2006) albums, and he later co-produced Clapton (2010) and Old Sock (2013). In 2013 he again joined Clapton on his 50th anniversary tour and played on his 2014 album The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale.
In addition to his work with Clapton, Bramhall became an in demand composer, guitarist and producer. He enjoyed high profile collaborations producer, with a broad range of other major artists, including T-Bone Burnett, Elton John, Gary Clark, Jr., Gregg Allman, Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Erykah Badu, Questlove, Meshell Ndegeocello and Sheryl Crow, for whom he contributed songs and produced 100 Miles from Memphis (2011) and performed on her tour supporting it. In 2015 he teamed with ace Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks (with whom he was proclaimed "The New Guitar Gods" by Guitar Worldwhen both served in Clapton's band in the late 2000s) in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, also starring Trucks' wife Susan Tedeschi. Bramhall's songs and guitar playing have graced each of the three, critically acclaimed Tedeschi Trucks Band albums issued to date.
With all this outside activity, Bramhall hadn't made a solo album since Welcome. But besides honing his skills as a producer, he had stockpiled for himself songs apart from those written for others, and when they were selected and sequenced for his fourth solo album, Rich Man, (scheduled for release on September 30, 2016 via Concord Records), they documented an intensive spiritual and musical journey that took him to the other side of the world in search of new sounds, and an inner peace sought following the death of his father in 2011.
In the four years following his father's death he had extensively explored India and Northern Africa, these trips being manifest on Rich Man's inclusion of the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi--played by virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh--and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, played by Bramhall's own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger.
Also appearing on Rich Man is Norah Jones, with whom Bramhall had been performing with every six months or so in a concert series. The duet "New Faith" was emblematic of the entire album in its hope that people can look beyond all that divides them and find a new way of thinking that enables peaceful progress through mutual respect and understanding.
Rich Man, then, is a watershed achievement for Bramhall, both in terms of the many music styles in the tracks--which begin and end with his fundamental American blues influences and in between follow his global music explorations and arrangements--and the inner examinations resulting in the spiritual growth expressed in the lyrics.
"I read a quote from Charles Mingus," Bramhall stated upon the completion of Rich Man. "He felt like he was not playing his music as much as creating the sound of his life and experiences through the medium of his music. I looked at his life and related to that, and tried to capture the same thing on the album."
17FriFebruary 17, 2017
It's a kind of simplified version of something Doughty saw John Zorn doing with avant-garde jazz in the 1990s, but adapted to be more along the lines of a dance music or hip-hop producer mixing tracks--bringing in the drums, dropping them out, juggling the musicians like samples.
Doughty's newest record, The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns, is his third collaboration with Queens, NY hip-hop producer Good Goose. The elegant, charming album swerves between lonesome country influences, and trap beats. The title is from an off-the-cuff remark Marc Maron made on his podcast WTF.
Wheatus have been touring the world & making records since their year 2000 hit "Teenage Dirtbag." When asked about the story of the band, during sessions for their 7th album, singer/songwriter Brendan B. Brown responded nervously, "well, it involves 1980's Satan worship, in my hometown...hope that's not too weird?"
18SatFebruary 18, 2017
23ThuFebruary 23, 2017Ana Popovic
24FriFebruary 24, 2017
Brooks is a monster guitarist with an ample supply of technique and passion that wows crowds of all ages. Brooks' unique twist takes blues rock and deep soul and shakes it up with modern hip-hop vocals and funk rhythms. Working with Minneapolis producer Jellybean Johnson, a veteran collaborator of Prince and Janet Jackson, Brooks takes blues-roots to new depths.
"I like to think of how Muddy Waters took the Mississippi blues he heard in his youth and modernized it for his times by making it electric and harder," Brooks says. "That's what I'm trying to do for my generation."
Brooks' personal touch shines through in the concise, colorful songs for The Torch album he wrote. He draws on the choppy, hip-shaking rhythms of funk, the emotional truth of soul and the forcefulness of rock to bring a distinctive dimension to his groundbreaking sound.
"I wanted to do something that would bring young people to the blues, and then give them the real hardcore thing at the same time," Brooks says. "When I grew up, all my friends listened to rap and funk, and I listened to the blues...we saw some connection among them. It's a hip-hop world right now, but I want to bring a little blues to the party."
25SatFebruary 25, 2017Split Lip Rayfield CD Release
the piss poor players
It's completely fair to call these guys legends. It's been more than two decades since they first mashed up their aggressive stew of acoustic bluegrass instrumentation, tight country vocals, fierce metal shred and in-your-face punk sensibilities. One observer said we all "owe them a huge debt for not only defining a sound, but stretching the possibilities of the acoustic music world. Fans of Flatt & Scruggs and Metallica could find a common tent to party under."
So yeah, they virtually invented "thrashgrass." But then they kept right on moving as their chops, songs and selves grew stronger from hard-won experience. Following the 2007 death of their beloved bandmate and founder Kirk Rundstrom, SLR reinvented itself by simple staying the course and continuing to play hundreds of shows -- and there are hundreds more to go.
Their new material highlights the powerful songwriting talents of banjo innovator Eric Mardis and mandolin renegade Wayne Gottstine, while bassist Jeff Eaton holds it all down with his hand-built one-string Stitchgiver.
All of that old-school invention and energy is intact, and they still stomp the living hell out of a stage. But their songs keep getting better, and their sound is sneakier and smarter than ever. "Split Lip Rayfield is still the same band with the same ideals that we've had for years," said Gottstine. "But we're more diverse, sound-wise, than we have ever been before."
Their fans know this: Split Lip Rayfield truly delivers. Every record is a revelation, and every concert is an unforgettable experience. Don't miss these guys.