9WedJuly 9, 2014
"My mother once said that I must have a death wish, always going to what she called 'those awful places,'" laughs Cockburn. "I don't think of it that way. I make these trips partly because I want to see things for myself and partly out of my own sense of adventure."
Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn's 31st album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockburn's characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.
"Each One Lost" and "Comets of Kandahar," one of five instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac "Each One Lost" was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose coffins were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, "one of the saddest and most moving scenes I've been privileged to witness."
"Here come the dead boys, moving slowly past the pipes and prayers and strained commanding voices," Cockburn sings solemnly on "Each One Lost." Over a mournful accordion, the simple chorus sums up the gravity of the hymn-like song: "each one lost is a vital part of you and me."
In contrast, one light-hearted number reflects Cockburn's frequently underappreciated sense of humour. "Called Me Back" is a comic reflection on the frustrations of waiting for a return phone call that never comes. Meanwhile, listeners are bound to be intrigued by "Call Me Rose," written from the point of view of disgraced former U.S. president Richard Nixon, who receives a chance at redemption after being reincarnated as a single mother living in a housing project with two children.
Brooklyn-based violinist Jenny Scheinman is one of Bruce's two female collaborators on Small Source of Comfort. Scheinman, best known for her work with Bill Frisell and Norah Jones, provides some thrilling flourishes to instrumentals like "Lois on the Autobahn" and the bluesy, gypsy-like swing of "Comets of Kandahar," a track that Cockburn describes as "Django meets John Lee Hooker."
Produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective "Driving Away" and the driving, freewheeling "Boundless." In addition to newcomers Scheinman and Chvostek, Small Source of Comfort includes such regular Cockburn accompanists as bassist Jon Dymond, drummer Gary Craig and producer Linden, who also plays guitar.
As always, there's a spiritual side to Cockburn's latest collection, best reflected on the closing "Gifts," a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and "The Iris of the World," which opens the album. The latter includes the humorously rueful line, "I'm good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout."
That admission serves as a useful metaphor for Cockburn's approach to songwriting. "As you go through life, it's like taking a hike alongside a river," he explains. "Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and flotsam. I'm a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs."
Those songs, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockburn a long list of honours, including 13 Juno Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Governor General's Performing Arts Award and several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 2002. Last year, the Luminato festival honoured Cockburn's extensive songbook with a tribute concert featuring such varied guests as jazz guitarist Michael Occhipinti, folk-rapper Buck 65, country rockers Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, country-folk singers Sylvia Tyson and Amelia Curran, pop artists the Barenaked Ladies and Hawksley Workman, and folk-pop trio The Wailin' Jennys.
Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. "I'd rather think about what I'm going to do next," he once said. "My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings." Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn's ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.
10ThuJuly 10, 2014
Drummer Clementine is the founding member of ZEPPARELLA. From the beginning of her musical career, her goal has been to be onstage every night. The pursuit of that goal has led Clementine to constantly tour the US and Europe in projects as diverse as Bottom, AC/DShe, The House Of More, The Solid, Francis Bakin, and Stars Turn Me On. She tackles the best rock drumming ever written with her own emotionally powerful style, bringing the Motown influence of the Bonham groove to the forefront. The profound musical connection established with Gretchen Menn (guitar), Angeline Saris (bass), and Noelle Doughty (vocals) creates the bond required to do this great music justice.
It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip DeFremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that guitarist Gretchen Menn began her path on the instrument. Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, her projects are often unconventional, genre-bending expressions combining elements of classical, rock, progressive, jazz, and metal. On influences, Gretchen has never tired of her initial inspirations--Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck. But she has loved Jimmy Page's guitar playing longer than she has played the guitar. It was through the music of Led Zeppelin that she found a gateway into music that resonated deeply with her, creating a love for guitar-oriented music, and, ultimately, the guitar.
Bassist Angeline Saris has musical passions that span jazz to speed metal, R&B to rock, Cuban to hip-hop, and flamenco to rockabilly. Angeline has done it all - and does it extremely well. It is this versatility, her rock-solid time, tastefully crafted bass lines, and unequivocal skills that give her the ability to bring cohesion to the eclectic Zeppelin catalog. Angeline credits John Paul Jones as a main influence, so it is no surprise that she shines as she interprets his thunder.
Finally, singer Noelle Doughty has found her way back to where she started, with a passion for Led Zeppelin's music that was developed from as far back as she can remember, as the little sister in the room with the rocking older brothers. The kid who knew every word to every song has worked in classic rock cover bands, jazz bands, funk bands, and yet never lost her true love for Zeppelin. After moving to the West Coast from New York State, her fortuitous meeting with Gretchen Menn backstage at a Robert Plant concert brought the final puzzle piece to the Zepparella family. Noelle's clear and powerful style and deep understanding of the emotional content of these great songs make the picture complete.
Now more than ever, Zepparella explores their own improvised magic within the framework of Zeppelin's mighty songs!
11FriJuly 11, 2014
There have been quite a few milestones along the way for Lucca, and it all began for him as a Mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club. Lucca's rise to fame also included a brief stint on an Aaron Spelling prime time drama coupled with a rather public relationship with actress Keri Russell. Fast forward a few years and find Lucca working with fellow former Mouse Club co-star Justin Timberlake, starring in a commercial directed by Timberlake for his own 901 Tequila. Lucca then played himself in an episode of NBC's hit show "Parenthood". In 2012, Lucca returned to Hollywood, this time as a finalist on Team Adam (Levine) of the hit show The Voice on NBC. All the while honing a craft that somehow managed to remain the primary focus of his heart, soul and passion -- songwriting.
A master of observation, Lucca seems to have stored away every last experience and anecdote as a stepping off point, a palette and canvas with which to turn his impressions of life and relationships into beautiful, thoughtful and often emotionally painful songs that tend to find their way deep into the cracks and crevices of his listeners' hearts. With almost 20 years of industry experience, Lucca has taken great pride in maintaining a thorough connection with his fans at his dynamic live shows, and by always attempting to stay out in front of the endless barrage of changes, the ups and downs that have left so many in the music business in their own wake. Lucca had the foresight to establish www.tonylucca.com long before the proliferation of social media, yet he has also successfully embraced the ever-changing tech landscape, garnering over half a million followers on twitter (@luccadoes). Lucca truly has embodied the notion that independent doesn't mean alone: he remains dedicated, determined and nothing if not eternally grateful for what has been an unimaginable ride, with an entirely original soundtrack.
12SatJuly 12, 2014
Known for making instant fans of the uninitiated with one of the most engaging and passionate live shows on the road today, Red Wanting Blue found even bigger audiences after the release of its 2012 From The Vanishing Point album, which landed in the Top 10 of Billboard's Heatseekers chart and at #1 for the band's home region.
Appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live, and NPR's Mountain Stage followed, and while the band continues to reach new and bigger career milestones, Red Wanting Blue is also staying true to its roots. This is evident on the upcoming new album Little America, the band's most personal and promising recording to date.
Little America celebrates a community spirit Red Wanting Blue shares with its audience that goes beyond fans who simply give back the passion that comes off the stage. Red Wanting Blue's hard work is matched by fans who work hard, too. It's not unexpected for members of this growing legion to take days off of work and cross state lines to follow the band, to learn just-written tunes from wobbly YouTube videos, and to sing every word at every concert.
Just prior to recording Little America, Red Wanting Blue wrapped up over two years of touring that brought to the rest of the nation what the band's long-time followers in the middle of the country already knew about. Packed rooms and sold-out performances throughout the U.S. and Canada proved that Red Wanting Blue wasn't just a regional phenomenon. It also gave band leader Terry some newfound perspective on his art and his profession.
"There are several reasons why this album is called Little America," he explains.
On a white-knuckle drive from Salt Lake City to Denver through a Wyoming snowstorm in the early winter of 2013, the band's converted mobile home nearly hit a jackknifed tractor-trailer.
"The truck came to a halt just before getting to us," Terry remembers. "There was debris everywhere and we sat in awe for a moment before we maneuvered around the wreckage and slowly made our way down the mountain. We pulled off at the first truck stop we saw -- it happened to be named 'Little America.'"
Little America also represents an ideology that stems from Terry's childhood.
"As a child, America was the most enormous thing I knew, and as I got older, it became an epic and unconquerable wilderness that I thought I would spend my whole life discovering. My relationship with America has gotten so much more intimate than I ever could have dreamed. It's 'Little America,' like the nickname you can only give to someone after you've really gotten to know them."
Terry also acknowledges the influence of Simon & Garfunkel's classic song "America" on the album, and his life in general.
"I started playing music to get to see this country through the eyes of a rock n' roll band," he says. "'And we walked off to look for America' is one of my favorite lyrical images ever. 'We walked off to look for America?' But, aren't we already here? I suppose so, if it's just a name of a place. But it's so much more than that."
Terry continues, "I'm trying to experience the America I romanticized from the lyrics of rock n' roll songs. I wanted to know what it felt like to 'pull into Nazareth' like The Band's 'The Weight' described. 'On the road again, like a band of gypsies, we go down the highway,' 'Baby, we were born to run,' and on and on and on."
Terry sums up his connection with these songs and his connection with Red Wanting Blue's fans this way: "These songs are the soundtrack of my life, and it's my calling to give that back with the hope of having our songs be the soundtrack of someone else's."
The new Red Wanting Blue album Little America arrives this summer on July 1st, 2014
The Alternate Routes' name suits them well. They're a band that's never really fit in -- in a good way. Without a definitive genre to reference or an established scene to rally behind them, they've been something of a rogue wave in an ocean of bands. They built a fan base the old fashioned way, by driving around the country in a big, white Ford Econoline van, winning crowds over one-person-at-a-time with solid, catchy songs and an explosive live show. Since their genesis in 2004, co-founders Tim Warren (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Eric Donnelly (lead guitar) have taken their group through the dizzying heights and frustrating lows of the modern music industry, and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.
16WedJuly 16, 2014
Accordingly, Cleaves' earthy narratives stand oak strong. "Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons," he sings on the album's title track. "Some you can keep at bay for a while/Some will pin you to the floor/You've been home for a couple of years now, buddy/But you're still fighting the war." Few writers frame bruised souls as clearly. Fewer still deliver a punch with such striking immediacy.
"I started 'Still Fighting the War' four years ago and originally each verse was a separate character," Cleaves explains. "Each verse was about getting swindled. One was about the economy, one was about a returning veteran, one was about a broken-up couple. It was too cumbersome, so I focused in on the soldier. The key that made it all work came as I was talking to my friend and occasional co-writer, Ron Coy. A troubled Vietnam vet buddy of his had recently passed away. Ron said, 'All this time, it was like he was still fighting the war.' I knew instantly that was the perfect way to summarize the song."
Cleaves delivers equal measures of hope and resignation throughout this 2013 release as life lessons slide subtly through side doors. "Normally when I start writing a new batch, a theme starts to emerge after three or four songs," says Cleaves, who built an unlikely success story from scratch after moving to Austin, Texas, from Maine two decades ago. "This time around I thought, I'm just gonna write where the muse takes me and each song will be its own thing. So I ended up with a CD that has a bit more variety on it compared to my previous releases. Half the songs are about struggle and perseverance and half are all over the place, some tongue-in-cheek stuff, a gospel song, a Texas pride song."
Witness deft wordplay on the latter: "Your wit's as sharp as a prickly pear/The sun shines in your golden hair/Your smile hits me right in the solar plexus," Cleaves sings with a wink in "Texas Love Song." "Skin as soft as early morning rain/Temper like a Gulf Coast hurricane/I love you even more than I love Texas." "Originally, the phrase was 'I love you almost as much as I love Texas,'" Cleaves says, "because that's about as far as a true proud Texan will go. Then I realized that if I committed the sin of saying 'I love you even more than I love Texas,' it trips off the tongue better. It was a fun little challenge to come up with so many rhymes for 'Texas.'"
Of course, Cleaves conquered the task. Longtime fans expect nothing less. After all, Still Fighting the War follows the razor sharp songwriter's undeniable hat trick -- Broke Down (2000), Wishbones (2004) and Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (2009) -- that established him as a singular storyteller. His golden key: effortlessly shading dark with light. Cue Cleaves' excellent double-disc Sorrow & Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge for inarguable evidence ("Drinkin' Days," "Wishbones," "Horseshoe Lounge").
"You get a lot of the man behind the lyrics," Hendrix says. "What you see with Slaid is what you get: He doesn't have the eyes of a cynic. He has optimism about him through a realistic gaze and writes with a wise voice." The Kerrville Folk Festival recognized those intangible qualities long ago when Cleaves won its hallowed New Folk award in 1992. He's doubled down ever since with literate story songs exponentially more mature and meaningful.
Consider one other new high water mark. "But they figured it out/And shipped the elbow grease/Down to Mexico/And off to the Chinese," Cleaves sings on the haunting meditation "Rust Belt Fields." "And I learned a little something 'bout how things are/No one remembers your name just for working hard." Childhood friend Rod Picott co-wrote those potent lines - the duo has split pages on several indelible blue-collar vignettes over the years ("Broke Down," "Sinner's Prayer," "Bring It On," "Black T-shirt").
"Slaid is my favorite co-writer," says Picott, who also co-wrote the new album's standout "Welding Burns." "He's a smart writer with a gift for wringing the most out of a melody. Slaid understands that the song has to rule. He's patient and unwavering in his pursuit of the best." Cleaves humbly accepts the praise. "Despite the odds, through persistence and good fortune I've carved out a niche for myself," he says. "You could say I have a 'Whim of Iron.'"
19SatJuly 19, 20147:00pmRelive the time in Milwaukee when we had radio stations WZMF, WQFM, WLPX and WTOS that played non-scripted music by people that loved music. Actual record stores where people could hear new releases and talk to people that also had a passion for music. We are inviting everyone that worked at these stations and record stores: Mainstream, Peaches, 1812 Overture, JRS Music, Radio Doctors as well as fans and friends of the 1960-1990 rock era of Milwaukee to come hang out and catch up with friends. We will have music played on turntables as well as open mic for people to relive stories from the era.
23WedJuly 23, 2014
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.
25FriJuly 25, 20149:00pm $7.00Fringe Character is a producer | writer | danger | arranger of nuelectrosoulhop music.
In the flesh, Fringe Character plays these original productions combining the moving parts of soul, hip-hop, dub and electronica with the magnetic and original presentation of a 10-piece band.
Fringe Character is out, exciting and uniting. Let good things influence you.
With the release of its sophomore album, Leaves, Sidewalk Chalk continues to lead the contemporary evolution of hip-hop, soul, and jazz. The band's roots are firmly planted in Chicago where all eight members bring their respective talents together to update a sound first heralded in the Native Tongues era but never so musically diverse. The group's unique arrangement allows them to incorporate numerous styles seamlessly: an MC and female vocalist; a trio of keys, bass, and drums; a horn section with trombone and trumpet; and a tap-dancer.
In contrast to the 2012 debut release, Corner Store, this new album finds the group venturing into a grittier space and capitalizing on a subtle approach that is at times hauntingly beautiful. Leaves represents change, both the loss of something dear and the excitement of exploring something new. "The album is about growth, growing pains, and letting go of the past if need be," states MC Rico Sisney. Vocalist Maggie Vagle adds, "It's also about unfolding into a new color. Shedding to shine brighter."
Sidewalk Chalk has created a live show that captivates a variety of audiences. The group has already shared stages with ?uestlove, De La Soul, Action Bronson, Jean Grae, Hiatus Kaiyote and other notables. Individually, band members have acted as musical director(s) for Brother Ali, toured with Jazzanova and played behind Buddy Guy and Talib Kweli. Sidewalk Chalk was named "Most Outstanding Group" at the 2012 Chicago Music Awards, and its MC represented Chicago at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
Sidewalk Chalk is: Rico Sisney (MC), Maggie Vagle (Vocals), Charlie Coffeen (Keys), Garrett McGinn (Bass), Tyler Berg (Drums), Jumaane Taylor (Taps), Sam Trump (Trumpet), and David Ben-Porat (Trombone).
29TueJuly 29, 20148:00pm $10 advance / $15 doorKevin Hayden Band is an American instrumental music group formed in the likes of jazz, r&b, pop and hip-hop. Based in Milwaukee, the band is lead by drummer Kevin Hayden and accompanied by keyboardist Terry Harris Jr., bassist Alan Harris and guitarist Kenny Reichert.
Kevin Hayden is an American drummer/producer/composer, born in 1980, in Fort Wayne, IN. At the early age of 2, he was musically influenced by his father, Tracey, who also played drums. Kevin comes from a long line of family drummers and was brought up in church where he was afforded the opportunity to play for various community choirs. When he was 13, he was noticed at his church by a well known choir director, Chris Ford, which led to his involvement in hundreds of local performances, a live recording with the Fort Wayne Youth Ensemble and tours in Georgia and Texas.
In 1994 Kevin continued to grow and mature on the gospel scene but was inadvertently introduced to the music of jazz drummer Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets) which changed his entire approach to drums. A year later, his uncle David Perkins introduced him to the cassette tape "Masterplan" by fusion drummer Dave Weckl. Studying day and night, Kevin was determined to gain these new concepts of jazz and fusion. His combination of gospel, fusion and jazz led to a distinct and unique style which captivated his listeners. In 1998 Kevin entered into the US Marines but his musical journey did not stop. In 1999 while stationed in Camp Lejeune NC, Kevin was fortunate to meet drummer Lamont Sydnor (Christina Milian, Wayne Brady) who was also in the Marines and at that time playing for the Mike Corrado Band. After hearing Kevin's skills, Lamont saw his potential and quickly embraced him as a friend and began to broaden and shape his skills on the drum set.
After completing the Marines in 2002, Kevin moved to his mother's home town of Milwaukee Wisconsin. It wasn't too long before he drew the attention of other great musicians at various jam sessions and auditions. Since then, Kevin has worked with well known Milwaukee acts such as Christopher's Project, De La Buena, Street Life, Growing Nation, the Terry Sims Band, the Evan Christian Quartet, Choir Fight, Isaiah Joshua Group, the Adventures of the Static Chicken, SLM, Ethan Keller and a host of other musicians and singers. In 2007, Kevin enrolled in the music program of Milwaukee Area Technical College where he studied music under one of Milwaukee's premiere jazz drummers Ben Hans.
By 2008 Kevin had released a series of youtube videos which caught the attention of Gospel Chops CEO Gerald Forrest. This connection led to a spot on the 2009 Gospel Chops' bass performance DVD "Bass Sessionzs Vol 1". Here he had the privilege and honor to work on the same set as drumming legend Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Michael Brecker) and veteran pianist John Beasley (Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard).
Soon after the Gospel Chops recording and through the mentorship and guidance of Gerald, Kevin then recorded and released his debut album "Delegations And Assignments" which featured keyboardist Terry Harris Jr., bassist Damian Erskine (Peter Erskine Trio) and bassist/producer Lance Tolbert (Mariah Carey.) The success of the project then sparked Kevin to fulfill his music career by starting his own jazz fusion band, the "Kevin Hayden Band. This band featured keyboardist Theo Merriweather, bassist Dwayne Williams and saxophonist Tobias Cainion which debuted their live performance at the world famous Jazz Estate in Milwaukee.
In 2010, Kevin released his hit single "Distant" which featured his friends Joel Wade on keys, Christopher Marcellus on bass and Isaiah Joshua on alto sax. He also earned the Kevin Hayden Band a spot at the Milwaukee World Festival "Summerfest" and continued to perform regularly on the area's premier jazz scene to include jazz clubs and festivals.
2011 proved to be a busy year as well with the release of the gospel/fusion performance track "Awaken", which features the music of Phillip Smedley II who also produced Kevin Hayden's "Skyline" on the Delegations And Assignments album. Soon afterwards came the Kevin Hayden Trio and the debut release of the trio's "The Winter Project" which features Evan Paydon on bass and Terry Harris Jr. on keys. Guest appearances include Isaiah Joshua on alto sax and vocalist Camille Hunt.
In early 2012 the trio acquired bassist Alan Harris and released their latest album "Paris". This album features tenor saxophonist Eric Schoor, alto saxophonist Isaiah Joshua, guitarist Darrien Williams and vocalist Camille Hunt. Also included is a very notable guest appearance by narrator Harrison D. Kern. By the middle of the year, Kevin, recruited a 4th member to the band, keytarist, Quintin Gulledge. Quintin adds an experimental and fusion touch to the band which allows them to explore new terrains in music.
2013 marked the release of the trio's third studio album entitled "Illegal Playlist". The album boasts co-production by nationally recognized jazz pianist, Greg Spero of the Buddy Rich Big Band. Guest appearances by Quintin Gulledge and guitarist Shonn Hinton (John Legend) are frequent throughout, and to add to the cross genre effort, hip-hop artist Klassik is featured on the last two songs.
Kevin is much of a family man and enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Natalie and precious daughters Kayla and Rylee.