Unofficial After Party featuring
Psycho Killers" /> Unofficial After Party featuring
Psycho Killers" />

all good news

 
The Wood Brothers
Kat Wright | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Jan
29

The Wood Brothers

Kat Wright


Wednesday Jan 29|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


The Wood Brothers

official band site »

“It’s the freest album we’ve done, the most independent album we’ve done, and was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record,” says Oliver Wood. “And most importantly, this is the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.”

Indeed, The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of the album’s opening track “River Takes The Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The wistful ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of stream of consciousness, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with turmoil, yet “Sparking Wine” is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

“Often, when you’re making an album in the traditional way, there will be a unifying concept, whether that be in the approach to the music stylistically or lyrically in terms over the overall narrative. And even though there are some themes that revealed themselves later, this one is all over the place,” explains Oliver Wood. “What I really love about this record is that each one of these songs has its own little world. There are diver-se sounds and vibes from one track to the next.”

Building off the success of their previous studio album, 2015’s ‘Paradise,’ which was dubbed “the warmest, most sublime and occasionally rowdiest Wood Brothers release yet,” by American Songwriter, the band found themselves at a fortuitous crossroads. Following a tour with Tedeschi Trucks Ba­­­­­nd, high profile festival dates and sold out headline shows, the band felt free from the cyclical album release, tour, write, record and do-it-all-over-again pressures of the traditional music business. With all three members living in Nashville affording easy access to each other and a wealth of local independent studios at their disposal, they started work in January of 2017 with a new approach.

“Instead of going into one studio and recording it all at the same time, we picked a couple studios, and started to experiment,” says Chris Wood. “Sometimes we’d just make demos of songs to see if we got anything we liked. There was no pressure, and that really freed us up. We just did one or two songs a day, put it aside, let the songs simmer, and then we’d have a fresh perspective on what was working or not working. You need time to go by to gain objectivity.”

The band extended this approach to the mixing process, sending tracks to four different mixing engineers, each selected based on what the song demanded. Scotty Hard (who’s worked extensively with Medeski Martin & Wood, among others) was recruited for the “edgier, funkier tunes,” “Sky High” and “Happiness Jones.” Mike Poole (who worked on The Wood Brothers album ‘The Muse’) mixed “Sparkling Wine” and “Strange As It Seems.” Their old friend Brandon Belle from Zac Brown’s studio Southern Ground took on “Laughin’ Or Crying.” The remainder of the album was mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Trina Shoemaker, especially sought after by The Wood Brothers for her work with Brandi Carlile.

While the songs on ‘One Drop of Truth’ achieve the goal of standing on their own, a few common themes did, inevitably, emerge. Water—whether in a teardrop, a storm, a river or a libation—was being used as a metaphor in the search for truth and happiness. Chris Wood’s “Seasick Emotion,” one of two songs he sings on the collection serves as a prime example: “All the blue sky is gone / How can I get out of bed / This hurricane in my head / I’m just a boat in a storm / How can I know where to go / When everything that I know / Is already lost in the wind.”

“That one was written last fall during a hurricane, while at the same time the election was coming up, and there was all this crazy energy in the world,” Chris reveals. “I definitely got swept away emotionally by everything that was going on.”

Album opener, “River Takes the Town,” takes on both figurative and literal meaning. It was completed just as a series of hurricanes were decimating parts of the U.S.: “It's been a few days since I heard any word from you / and I don't sleep easy, I don't sleep easy / and the rain keeps comin’, the rain keeps comin’ / nothin's ever for certain / 'til the levee breaks down / the water comes in and the river / the river takes the town.”

“I remember hearing a news story about a flood in Shreveport, and I wrote the line ‘I hope the levee in Shreveport does what it's supposed to do,’” explains Oliver. “I was writing literally, at first, about how scary it must be when people lose power and communication with those they love. But then the lyrics became a metaphor for something more interpersonal. And by the end of this summer, it seemed to take on new meaning yet again.”

Though emotional struggle is a recurring thread, so is the comforting truth of how much wisdom comes from the hard times. The song “Happiness Jones”, was based on a news article Oliver read about how our society is addicted to happiness, antidepressants, and the distorted “happy” reality social media can depict. As a result, people feel like it’s unnatural to be sad, yet. sadness can be a gift: “All of my wisdom came from all the toughest days / I never learned a thing bein’ happy / all of my sufferin’ came / I didn’t appreciate it / I never learned a thing being happy.”

While the majority of ‘One Drop of Truth’ was written and recorded as a group, the standout track “Strange As It Seems,” described by Chris as, “a classic Oliver song,” was an exception.

“I had recorded it a couple months before Chris and Jano added their parts, so I was excited to see what they would do with it. We talked a lot about it having a dreamlike quality to it. Chris has all these cool sound effects that he can make with the bowed bass, and then Jano played the melodica and the piano on it, and they added exactly the atmosphere that it needed,” explains Oliver. “Conceptually, I almost think of it like a Tim Burton movie, where you go to sleep, and you go into this dream world, to meet your lover, but you do so with purpose. You bring your wallet, you get dressed up, you’re going on a date. The idea being, that you rendezvous in the dream. One of my favorite things about any song is ambiguity, leaving it open to interpretation. Maybe the man and woman in this song are already married, and they’re on separate sides of the bed, and they’re disconnected, so they’re hoping to find a better version of a partner in their dreams. Or, maybe they are two lonely people, in separate places, finding each other in this dreamworld. But at the end of the song, the guy wakes up, and he goes down to the kitchen, and he’s with his wife and it’s a beautiful thing, and they dance in the light. So perhaps there’s also an element of hope, whether they’re lonely, or they’re disconnected, there’s still a connection there, sometimes you have to go to that other level to realize it.”

Fittingly titled, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ the latest entry in The Wood Brothers evolution finds three musicians being true to themselves. At a point in their career where most artists would be looking to strategically position themselves for even greater commercial success, they instead turned to artistic expression in service of the muse. In chaotic times when honesty is in short supply and ulterior motives seem to always be at play, The Wood Brothers put faith in themselves and ultimately their audience by writing and recording a collection of songs that is honest and pure. As they sing on the album’s title track: “Rather die hungry / than feasting on lies / Give me one drop of truth / I cannot deny.”


Kat Wright

official band site »

Kat Wright, whose voice is both sultry and dynamic, delicate yet powerful; gritty but highly emotive and nuanced, has been described as “a young Bonnie Raitt meets Amy Winehouse”. Add to that voice enough stage presence to tame lions, and the combination of feline femininity proves immediately enchanting. There’s soul flowing in and out of her rock ‘n’ roll with a serpentine seduction. Some of soul music’s sweet, grand dames belt, shout, seethe, and succumb, while Wright sings gently like a heartache’s apology. It’s funky in spots and beautiful all over. And it hurts a little … like it should.


 
Greensky Bluegrass
Cris Jacobs Band | @The Anthem | view more info »
Jan
31

Greensky Bluegrass

Cris Jacobs Band


Friday Jan 31|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Greensky Bluegrass

official band site »

After 18 years together, up to 175 shows per year, nearly 1,000 different setlists, six studio albums, and a litany of live releases, Greensky Bluegrass embodies more than just music for members Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [Mandolin]. Truthfully, it embodies an ironclad creative bond, familial brotherhood, and a lifelong commitment to fans. At this point, it goes without saying the band means everything (and more) to the Kalamazoo, MI bluegrass mavericks.

So, with a wink and a smile, they offer up a cleverly titled seventh full-length, All For Money, in 2019.

Hoffman dispels the obvious first: “Clearly, we aren’t a band all for money. We did it for romantic reasons such as love, catharsis, and because it mattered to us and the listeners. We wanted to have fun with the paradox of the title though. We’re truly blessed and humbled to have our dreams come true and do what we do. However, it would be easy to make decisions based on our needs to eat or the desires of others, but that’s not doing it for love. We love what we do, and we’re grateful for the love we receive in return from the people listening.”

As time goes on, the guys continue to do things for the “right reasons,” and that mindset resonates louder and louder amongst a growing fan base. A live force of nature renowned for bringing rock ‘n’ roll showmanship to high-energy bluegrass, the group has sold out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the legendary Ryman Auditorium in addition to igniting stages everywhere from Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz Festival to Austin City Limits and Outside Lands. Their unpredictable performances remain the stuff of legend attracting diehard devotees who typically travel far and wide to experience multiple gigs. In 2014, If Sorrows Swim bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart, while the 2016 follow-up Shouted, Written Down & Quoted cracked the Top 3. Along the way, they have also earned praise from Billboard, AXS, Westword, and more.

On All For Money, Greensky once again aimed to progress. This time around, the musicians kept the show top of mind as they composed the music.

“We have a motto where we want every show to be harder, better, longer, and faster,” admits Hoffman. “With All For Money, I felt like we were serving the performance more by writing and arranging material in a way we would intend to play it on stage. We tried to incorporate a lot of what we already do live, which is different for us in the studio.”

They recorded March-May at Echo Mountain Sound in Asheville, NC. In the studio, they worked with longtime friend Dominic John Davis as producer. According to Hoffman, Davis offered a fresh perspective on “how to balance the studio and concerts.” Amplifying the sonic palette, signatures such as dobro tone, bass grooves, and banjo took the spotlight. The first single “Do It Alone” feels equally at home on a festival stage as it does blaring through your soundsystem. Backed by a robust groove, the song transforms traditional bluegrass instrumentation into a rich sonic backdrop highlighted by a mandolin awash in a trio of effects as well as rich echoed vocals and emotive lyrics.

“I’d been trying to write a windows-down rock ‘n’ roll tune for a while,” explains Hoffman. “I got out an old guitar of mine, re-strung it, and immediately spit the song out. It’s meant to be an anthem. I ask myself, ‘Why do I do it alone?’ It’s because I’ve got a whole room of thousands singing at the top of their lungs with me. Whenever I write something emotional that might be difficult to sing, I’m reminded of the fact the crowd is there. Hopefully, it’s a reminder for other people as well and we all have something to chant together.”

Hot on its heels, the intriguing and irresistible “Murder of Crows” takes flight on kinetic performances as it delivers an emotionally charged message and provocative narrative. “This is a song that Aaron and I wrote about disconnection, drifting apart, loss, and remorse,” Dave Bruzza reveals. “It also touches on a cry for help and how it was not heard in time. A friend told me crows had funerals. He explained that farmers used to nail a crow to the fence or barn door to get rid of them eating the crops. Thee birds would gather, pay their respects, and fly off never to return. It was interesting. I began to think why people disappear in our lives. It came together with the mysterious letter someone received, and it all made sense to turn this into a story.”

Also originally penned by Bruzza, “It’s Not Mine Anymore”’ illustrates the group’s virtuosity with a “metal” spirit. Elsewhere, “Wish I Didn’t Know” hinges on a trance-y Mandolin passage that proves instantly hypnotic, and “Do Harm” taps into an upbeat bounce by way of an an off-kilter rhythm. Meanwhile, the title track spirals into psychedelic territory during a head-spinning two-minute midsection before culminating on an important statement.

“It feels liberating to be honest about it,” he remarks. “With the title track, we were asking more of the listeners than we ever have, but the line ‘If you need a voice, I’m yours friend’ is meant for them.”

In the end, all the right reasons continue to drive Greensky Bluegrass.

“As songwriters and musicians, we have a need for people to be on board, and we’re not just regurgitating the same shit,” he leaves off. “We’re pushing ourselves every time. I hope they want to listen to the record and hear the songs live. I hope they know we’re doing this for us and them.”


Cris Jacobs Band

official band site »

When Cris Jacobs began dreaming about a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Dust to Gold, he realized early on he'd have to do things differently this time around. His life had changed drastically since writing those songs: he'd toured extensively and attracted a legion of new, devoted fans; he'd come off the road into a world, with its divisive rhetoric and troubling headlines, he no longer recognized; and, most importantly, he'd gotten married and had his first child. Things had changed, and Jacobs had, too.

Color Where You Are is the work of an artist at an exciting new stage in his life and career, ready to use his talents to share a little beauty with the loved ones and fans who have already given so much to him. The title nods to Jacobs' experience writing the album, which, as he puts it, he had to do "between tours, coming home, changing diapers, fixing things around the house.... You name it." He no longer had the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike, so he colored where he was.

"It was a new discipline for me and a new level of focus that I think brought out the best work," he explains. "I feel like I grew up a little bit. There are people in my life who I truly care about and things in the world I feel deeply about. That really pushed me in a stronger direction and forced me to feel things on an honest level."

Opening track "Painted Roads," with its soulful groove and clever arrangement, is the perfect encapsulation of just how far Jacobs has come since releasing Dust to Gold. Jacobs is self-assured and confident in his soulful, infectious vocal, while his lyrical craftsmanship shows Jacobs to be a thoughtful songwriter who continuously strives to grow and evolve.

"It's about choosing to live in the present, and see the everyday details of the world, rather than postponing living or paying attention in hopes of some distant prize or destination," Jacobs says of "Painted Roads." "We get so caught up in 'success' and ambition, and are so goal-oriented, that we sometimes lose sight of the beauty in the everyday. 'Color where you are' is the notion of creating beauty now, no matter the circumstance."

"Painted Roads" was one of the first songs Jacobs and the band (who co-produced the album together) recorded for Color Where You Are, with his band mates taking Jacobs' original Tom Petty-inspired arrangement and giving it an off-kilter, syncopated groove. For the first time, Jacobs wrote the bulk of the album's songs in the studio, camping out at Richmond's Montrose Studios to flesh out "germs and ideas that had been floating around" with band members Todd Herrington (bass), Dusty Ray Simmons (drums/percussion) and Jonathan Sloane (guitar).

"I booked the studio time and put a gun to my head and that sometimes works," Jacobs says. "In this case it did. It feels like a specific time period and specific vibe and emotional space that came through in all of these songs. It was a really organic process."

While life as a family man changed Jacobs' perspective (and schedule), current events also had a profound impact on Jacobs' songwriting, with commentary on social and political issues finding its way into tracks like "Afterglow" and "Under the Big Top." Color Where You Are is a hopeful affair, though, with Jacobs employing thoughtful criticism and messages of empowerment instead of wallowing or ruminating.

"The political climate is causing a different sort of energy and angst in me that’s never been there before," he explains. "It’s not a political album by any means, but those forces out there certainly dictated a lot of the writing on this record."

On "Afterglow," Jacobs searches for optimism and healing in trying times. His emotional vocal is buoyed by a passionate, swelling performance from the band, making the track one of Color Where You Are's most poignant moments. "It's about the hope that after the storm we are currently trying to survive in, we will see true light like never before," Jacobs says. "That the constant threats to our foundations will cause us to examine and strengthen them, and come out the other side with stronger hearts and clearer vision. 'There will come horses, there will come voices' -- that we will be forced to show our true hand like never before because of our dire need to defend it."

Elsewhere, on "Under the Big Top," Jacobs channels swampy, gritty rock influences to shine a light on narrow-mindedness and lazy thinking. Crunchy riffs and a fat bass groove make the track, despite its heady message, one of the album's many songs you can't help but move to.

"'Under the Big Top' is commentary on society’s evolution into gullible, easily distracted, lazy-mindedness," Jacobs says. “'Pretty lights junkie like a moth to candle,' always distracted by the brightest, loudest, biggest, rather than remembering how to seek for ourselves and find truth and love. We instead over-consume and are given every opportunity to do so. What we end up with is a circus of sorts, with tricksters and hucksters and loud mouths with no real value taking up all of our attention and ruling us, because we are too easily manipulated."

Grooves abound on Color Where You Are, as on standout track "Rooster Coop," which finds Jacobs and the band sniffing around the henhouse over greasy slide guitar, a deep, deep pocket and a truly funky bass line. "All I knew was that I wanted to write a song that merged country and funk," Jacobs says of "Roostr Coop." "We started out with the main groove of the tune and the first line that popped into my head was, 'There’s something funky in the barnyard.' So naturally, I wrote a song about a scandalous love tryst amongst farm animals."

Spanning rock, folk, soul and funk and drawing from inspiration that runs the gamut from the henhouse to the White House, Color Where You Are is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Cris Jacobs as a songwriter, musician and bandleader. It's the work of a devoted father and an empathetic member of the human race. More than that, it's a reminder that there's beauty to be found everywhere, if you just take a moment to color where you are.

"What am I trying to do with my music?" Jacobs muses. "The simple answer is this: I’m trying to connect with people. To express real-life human emotions and make people feel things. To connect my love of music with my love of writing and conjure up all of the joy and emotions that those things bring to me. To hopefully have people walk away feeling lighter or happier or more inspired to go do something after listening... I want to create a body of work that my family will be proud of one day, and to show that I had compassion to the human condition and wasn’t just a self-indulgent show off."


 
Greensky Bluegrass
Ghost Light | @The Anthem | view more info »
Feb
1

Greensky Bluegrass

Ghost Light


Saturday Feb 1|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Greensky Bluegrass

official band site »

After 18 years together, up to 175 shows per year, nearly 1,000 different setlists, six studio albums, and a litany of live releases, Greensky Bluegrass embodies more than just music for members Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [Mandolin]. Truthfully, it embodies an ironclad creative bond, familial brotherhood, and a lifelong commitment to fans. At this point, it goes without saying the band means everything (and more) to the Kalamazoo, MI bluegrass mavericks.

So, with a wink and a smile, they offer up a cleverly titled seventh full-length, All For Money, in 2019.

Hoffman dispels the obvious first: “Clearly, we aren’t a band all for money. We did it for romantic reasons such as love, catharsis, and because it mattered to us and the listeners. We wanted to have fun with the paradox of the title though. We’re truly blessed and humbled to have our dreams come true and do what we do. However, it would be easy to make decisions based on our needs to eat or the desires of others, but that’s not doing it for love. We love what we do, and we’re grateful for the love we receive in return from the people listening.”

As time goes on, the guys continue to do things for the “right reasons,” and that mindset resonates louder and louder amongst a growing fan base. A live force of nature renowned for bringing rock ‘n’ roll showmanship to high-energy bluegrass, the group has sold out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the legendary Ryman Auditorium in addition to igniting stages everywhere from Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz Festival to Austin City Limits and Outside Lands. Their unpredictable performances remain the stuff of legend attracting diehard devotees who typically travel far and wide to experience multiple gigs. In 2014, If Sorrows Swim bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart, while the 2016 follow-up Shouted, Written Down & Quoted cracked the Top 3. Along the way, they have also earned praise from Billboard, AXS, Westword, and more.

On All For Money, Greensky once again aimed to progress. This time around, the musicians kept the show top of mind as they composed the music.

“We have a motto where we want every show to be harder, better, longer, and faster,” admits Hoffman. “With All For Money, I felt like we were serving the performance more by writing and arranging material in a way we would intend to play it on stage. We tried to incorporate a lot of what we already do live, which is different for us in the studio.”

They recorded March-May at Echo Mountain Sound in Asheville, NC. In the studio, they worked with longtime friend Dominic John Davis as producer. According to Hoffman, Davis offered a fresh perspective on “how to balance the studio and concerts.” Amplifying the sonic palette, signatures such as dobro tone, bass grooves, and banjo took the spotlight. The first single “Do It Alone” feels equally at home on a festival stage as it does blaring through your soundsystem. Backed by a robust groove, the song transforms traditional bluegrass instrumentation into a rich sonic backdrop highlighted by a mandolin awash in a trio of effects as well as rich echoed vocals and emotive lyrics.

“I’d been trying to write a windows-down rock ‘n’ roll tune for a while,” explains Hoffman. “I got out an old guitar of mine, re-strung it, and immediately spit the song out. It’s meant to be an anthem. I ask myself, ‘Why do I do it alone?’ It’s because I’ve got a whole room of thousands singing at the top of their lungs with me. Whenever I write something emotional that might be difficult to sing, I’m reminded of the fact the crowd is there. Hopefully, it’s a reminder for other people as well and we all have something to chant together.”

Hot on its heels, the intriguing and irresistible “Murder of Crows” takes flight on kinetic performances as it delivers an emotionally charged message and provocative narrative. “This is a song that Aaron and I wrote about disconnection, drifting apart, loss, and remorse,” Dave Bruzza reveals. “It also touches on a cry for help and how it was not heard in time. A friend told me crows had funerals. He explained that farmers used to nail a crow to the fence or barn door to get rid of them eating the crops. Thee birds would gather, pay their respects, and fly off never to return. It was interesting. I began to think why people disappear in our lives. It came together with the mysterious letter someone received, and it all made sense to turn this into a story.”

Also originally penned by Bruzza, “It’s Not Mine Anymore”’ illustrates the group’s virtuosity with a “metal” spirit. Elsewhere, “Wish I Didn’t Know” hinges on a trance-y Mandolin passage that proves instantly hypnotic, and “Do Harm” taps into an upbeat bounce by way of an an off-kilter rhythm. Meanwhile, the title track spirals into psychedelic territory during a head-spinning two-minute midsection before culminating on an important statement.

“It feels liberating to be honest about it,” he remarks. “With the title track, we were asking more of the listeners than we ever have, but the line ‘If you need a voice, I’m yours friend’ is meant for them.”

In the end, all the right reasons continue to drive Greensky Bluegrass.

“As songwriters and musicians, we have a need for people to be on board, and we’re not just regurgitating the same shit,” he leaves off. “We’re pushing ourselves every time. I hope they want to listen to the record and hear the songs live. I hope they know we’re doing this for us and them.”


Ghost Light

official band site »

“I think of this album like a bunch of abstract paintings,” says Ghost Light’s Tom Hamilton. “We present the songs as a series meant to be experienced in a certain order, but at the end of the day, whatever that series makes you feel is totally up to you.”

In that sense, Ghost Light’s brilliant debut album, ‘Best Kept Secrets,’ functions much like the band itself, drawing beauty and strength from both its complementary pairings and its unexpected juxtapositions. Formed in 2017, the group brings together five consummately talented artists from across the musical spectrum—guitarists/singers Tom Hamilton and Raina Mullen, pianist Holly Bowling, and drummer Scotty Zwang—and thrusts them into a wholly new context. The result is a record that transcends the sonic contributions and background of any single member, a collection that’s at once gritty and refined, sprawling and restrained, straightforward and psychedelic.

“When we started this band, all I wanted to do was make the most original sounding music we could possibly come up with,” says Mullen. “Everyone’s tastes and histories were so different from each other that I was really excited to see where the five of us could go as a group.”

Hamilton and Mullen began writing the core of the album in the spring of 2017, focusing solely on instrumental arrangements at first as they chased new sounds and experiences with a little bit of chemical assistance.

“We wanted to see what would happen if we opened up some new creative doors, so we got a whole bunch of LSD,” remembers Hamilton with a laugh. “Twice a week for a few months, Raina and I would eat acid and just work in the studio all night.”

The songs they wrote during those sessions were epic and immersive, influenced by a broad array of stimuli from the tense American political atmosphere to classic cinema. They drew on seemingly incongruous influences ("What would it sound like if Sufjan Stevens made a Soundgarden album?") and composed with a filmmakers’ eye, scoring the dynamic scenes in their heads with vivid detail and deep emotion. While many of the tracks would ultimately end up being fleshed out with lyrics, several tunes remained fixed as instrumentals even on the finished album.

“I wanted to approach creating our own world the way a director would,” explains Hamilton. “Most of the songs have lyrics and those are sort of like the dialogue in a film, but in between those moments, you have these instrumental tracks, which are like long, lingering landscape shots. Those are just as important to telling the story because they’re all about context and understanding your surroundings.”

One at a time, the rest of the band began visiting Hamilton and Mullen to delve into the process of fleshing out those early demos. Lyons and Zwang developed bass and drum parts, respectively, and Bowling brought some of her own compositions to the table in addition to contributing keyboard arrangements. The process of artistic cross-pollination proved to be a rich one, and it helped break new ground for all involved.

“It was kind of like working with a new medium or a new palette of paints and starting to figure out how the medium works and what it can do,” explains Bowling. “Our understanding of each other as musicians and what we each bring to the band was falling into place at the same time each of these songs were taking shape.”

With a vision for the album coming into focus, the band headed into the studio in the fall to begin official recording sessions, working out of a 4,000 square foot former Chrysler factory in Philadelphia. The sessions marked the first time all five members had ever been in the same room together, and they leaned into the spontaneity of it, setting up in a large circle to record everything live.

“We were chasing something perfectly imperfect,” explains Mullen. “I’ve always believed that the imperfections in any recording are what make it real.”

“You look at the classic recordings that stand the test of time, and they’re all about the band,” adds Hamilton, who produced ‘Best Kept Secrets.’ “It’s that human element that makes you feel what you feel when you’re listening. There’s a vibe and a mojo you can only get from musicians being present in the moment, creating together and reacting to each other.”

The record opens with the eerie “Elegy,” a scene-setting instrumental tune that experiments with classical guitars and orchestral production underneath a haunting, wordless melody. It’s a bold way to begin an album in this oversaturated age of digital streaming and diminished attention spans, but that’s what makes it such an ideal introduction into the ambitious world of Ghost Light. The music commands your concentration and swallows you whole. The rousing “Don’t Come Apart Just Yet, My Dear” twists and turns through unexpected changes as it flirts with arena-ready classic rock before giving way to Allman Brothers guitarmonies, while the stirring “Diamond Eyes” hints at Fleetwod Mac with its infectious chorus, and the intricate blend of traditional and progressive on “Isosceles” traffics in shades of Fairport Convention. Songs often find Hamilton and Mullen trading off verses only to come together on the chorus, offering up multiple perspectives within the same track.

“We wanted to embrace that duality,” explains Hamilton. “We’d cut our vocal takes at the same time in the same room so we could feed off of each other’s energy.”

That devotion to reading each other’s energy is central to the band’s identity. While much of their album is laser focused and airtight, the group’s live shows are a far looser affair, with songs frequently blossoming into extended improvisational journeys dictated by the emotional temperature of the room on any given night. Performances turn into wordless conversations between all five members, a tide-like give-and-take that makes each show wholly engrossing and utterly unique.

“An album is…a document and snapshot of a particular moment in time,” Hamilton told Live For Live Music in a recent interview, “but when it comes to taking that album and bringing it into the live arena, that’s when we turn ourselves back into the improvisers that we all are. We get to really see what these songs can do and where they can go and how they can change and grow…We just want to get out there and try to do something beautiful and interesting every night.”


 
Unofficial After Party featuring
Psycho Killers
@Union Stage | view more info »
Feb
1

Unofficial After Party featuring
Psycho Killers



Saturday Feb 1|doors 11:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Unofficial After Party featuring
Psycho Killers

official band site »

Same as it ever was? Not exactly, but pretty close! Psycho Killers, Talking Heads tribute band, will take you on a musical journey through the expansive catalog of one of the most diverse bands in rock and roll history! Known for their high energy, always changing live shows, Psycho Killers deliver a Once In A Lifetime experience that must be seen to be believed!



 
Spafford
Eggy | @9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
5

Spafford

Eggy


Wednesday Feb 5|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Spafford

official band site »

On New Year’s Eve in 2009, guitarist Brian Moss and bassist Jordan Fairless joined up to play a show in their home state of Arizona and ring in a new decade. Moss and Fairless had been playing the same open mic nights and after their first successful joint effort decided to team up and officially form a band: Spafford. After playing shows in their home state, the pair found themselves on the hunt for a new partner to help them round out their group. They found keyboard player Andrew “Red” Johnson and asked him to voyage out to Las Vegas in the run up to their 2011 New Year’s show in Prescott. Johnson agreed, and has been with the band ever since. Now, with drummer Nick Tkachyk, the band brings their vibrant, dynamic music to the world at large and pushes the boundaries of what a jam band can be.

Spafford is known for their astonishing improvisational ability, which they’ll use to play live off the cuff extended jams. Each song is a blank canvas, and Spafford paints a picture in real time each night with a musical palette known only to each other. It’s a private language comprised of their talent as musicians, and of their formidable catalog of influences - ranging from Steely Dan, electronic acts like The Crystal Method, to 90’s alt rock radio hits. Every show is a sonic pilgrimage – the journey of a team of musicians so in tune with each other that a single note communicates intent and purpose.

Even though the band thrives off the electric pulse of live shows, the same energy also translates into their studio efforts. Their 2018 release “For Amusement Only” hits to the heart of Spafford – tight, inventive, and dexterous musicianship coupled with clever retro-pop inspired songwriting. Songs like “Leave The Light On” highlight their influences – from the melodic styles of Alanis Morissette to the rhythmic bounce of Bob Marley. Other tracks like “Ain’t That Wrong” and “Slip and Squander” are rich with other signature Spafford signs: vibrant vocal harmonies, complex and catchy arrangements, and sparkling, powerful performances.

Since forming, Spafford has achieved what some groups only dream of. The group is in high demand at music festivals like Bonnaroo and Firefly and consistently play sold out shows across the United States. After the successful release of “For Amusement Only” in 2018, they are eager to play new songs and evolve their sound on the road.


Eggy

official band site »

Eggy is the group that brings balance to your musical diet. The band offers timeless songwriting both lyrically and in composition creating works worthy of repeated consumption. Drawing influences from classics like Bruce Hornsby, CSNY, Herbie Hancock, & the like; Eggy is the fresh but familiar music you’ve been craving. Their debut album “Watercolor Days” (released March 2019) reflects the band’s fine palate & musical breadth.

Michael Goodman (bass/vocals), Jake Brownstein (guitar/vocals), Dani Battat (keys/vocals) and Alex Bailey (drums/vocals) work in tandem, sending sizzling musical ideas across the stage from years of sharpening their craft together. The result is an original & organic musical blend inspired by their heroes of the past and present.

In a live setting moving lyrics & four piece harmonies coupled with eclectic improvisations create performances that take on a life of their own. Eggy’s music offers the full pallet of emotion & style and invites you to share in the experience!


 
Fruition
Lindsay Lou | @Union Stage | view more info »
Feb
6

Fruition

Lindsay Lou


Thursday Feb 6|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Fruition

official band site »

Fruition’s newest album, Wild as the Night, conveys the emotions of our darkest, and sometimes weakest, moments. Influenced equally by acoustic music as well as rock ‘n’ roll, the eclectic, after-hours vibe comes naturally to the Portland, Oregon-based band, composed of Jay Cobb Anderson (electric guitar, vocals), Kellen Asebroek (piano, acoustic guitar vocals), Jeff Leonard (bass), Mimi Naja (mandolin, electric guitar, vocals) and Tyler Thompson (drums). Their unmistakable vocal blend first revealed itself in 2008 when Anderson tagged along with Asebroek and Naja for an afternoon of busking in Portland. Since that time, they have opened shows for the Wood Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, and Jack Johnson, and at appeared at festivals like Telluride Bluegrass, Bonnaroo, and DelFest. Wild as the Night follows the band’s acclaimed Tucker Martine-produced 2018 album, Watching It All Fall Apart.


Lindsay Lou

official band site »

Lindsay Lou has been making soulful, poignant music for the last decade. An undeniable powerhouse, Lou’s remarkable gifts as a singer, songwriter, musician and performer demand the listener’s attention. Her singing floats over the masterful playing and deep groove of her band with both a fierce intensity and a tender intimacy.

Lindsay Lou’s fourth album, Southland (released April 2018), is a transformative and heart-wrenching ten-song stunner. Lou’s voice—and its unique ability to create an expansive, almost physically tangible soundscape—carries each song on Southland forward, made even more recognizable and potent by bandmates Josh Rilko (mandolin, vocals) and PJ George (bass, vocals) and special guests.

The beauty with which the sounds on Southland slip into the ether is the product of an emotionally difficult time for Lindsay and her band—who, as musicians often do, entered the studio to “hash it out.” The process, demonstrated by the music on Southland, was sincere and stirring and introspective.

Southland kicks off with “Roll With Me,” an expansive anthem with Lou’s robust vocals on full display. “Go There Alone” was written during an “Immersion Composition Society” experiment that Lou does from time to time, and the sound fully developed with the band a little later on. The lazy, beautiful harmonies pull at your heartstrings in a way that feels like home, despite the lonely and bittersweet message. And though songs like “The Voice” and “Southland” were spurred on by more abstract ideas and words, they transformed as collaborators started freestyling with their instruments and Lou simply sang what came to mind. Impressively enough, Lou plays electric bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar on the album’s title track. “Southland” is about the natural beauty of the South, which to Lou, adds a sense of calm and connectedness to a region known too often for its divisiveness. Having recently left her home state of Michigan to put down roots in Nashville with the band, the influence of this change is felt throughout the themes and ideas expressed on Southland.

Born the daughter of a coal miner in middle Missouri, Lindsay Lou’s family moved to Michigan shortly after Lindsay was born. She describes her family as close knit and musical, their lives influenced heavily by her maternal grandmother’s radical ideals and zest for life. In fact, if you ask Lindsay, her grandmother—a woman who was once put in jail during the Civil Rights Movement for teaching a lesson on the “f” word as a high school literature teacher—is one of her greatest influences to this day. Armed with her activist spirit, Lou’s grandmother set up a Christian commune in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for her growing family of twelve, as well as some stragglers. There in a big farmhouse, Lou’s dad was their neighbor.

Raised with this sense of community, Lou recalls always being surrounded by music. So when the time came for her to join a band, for Lou, it felt like finding a home away from home. Her career, like her life, have been full of great moments of kismet. As a youth, Lou built her repertoire by practicing her vocals, and she picked up the guitar so she could play with her Uncle Stuckey, perhaps most musically influential on her of her mother’s siblings. The skills she honed during the days of learning to sing and play with her family led to a wide variety of musical opportunities, singing in choir in high school, attending an elite summer program at Interlochen on scholarship, and winning awards for her talents.

Today, touring nationally and internationally year round, Lindsay Lou and her band continue to collect a mass of friends and fans along the way. Notable U.S. festival plays include Telluride Bluegrass festival, Merlefest, Stagecoach, Redwing, ROMP, GreyFox, and a slew of others. Abroad, they have appeared at Scotland’s Shetland Island Folk Fest and the Celtic Connections tour, Australia’s National Folk Festival, and others. The Boot, who featured Lindsay Lou Band as a “Can’t Miss Act at AmericanaFest 2018, says “...Lou brings introspection and masterful vocal work to her live show.”

In the words of famed bluegrass musician David Grier, who caught Lindsay Lou Band at a recent festival, “Lindsay...sings the way you would want to if'n you could. Phrasing, tone, emotion, it's all there. Effortless seemingly. Simply mesmerizing. Riveting! Don't miss the musical force that is Lindsay Lou.”


 
Emily Wolfe
Pressing Strings | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Feb
7

Emily Wolfe

Pressing Strings


Friday Feb 7|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Emily Wolfe

official band site »

Austin, TX’s resident rocker, Emily Wolfe transcends the ranks of ordinary musicians. Her creative songwriting keeps her fans aglow thanks to her strong, powerful lead vocals and dominating guitar style. Wolfe has shared stages with the likes of Heart, The Pretenders and Gary Clark Jr.

Emily Wolfe, a self-taught guitar player starting at the age of 5, has honed her craft over the past 22 years and continues to take her playing to the next level. After self-releasing her EP “Roulette” in 2014 followed by single “Atta Blues” in 2016, Emily used 2017 and 2018 to strategize and write new music. She released a debut self-titled, full-length album in February 2019, produced by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes.

Wolfe has been described as a sonic merging of PJ Harvey and Jack White and is guaranteed to not disappoint early fans who are already along for the ride to greatness. Featured by the Wall Street Journal, MTV, NPR, and American Songwriter, Emily Wolfe is definitely one to watch.


Pressing Strings

official band site »

Folky, soulful, bluesy, funky, catchy, smooth, organic. These are all proper adjectives that describe the Maryland based group Pressing Strings. Whether they are playing in a backyard, local brewery, or rocking a festival stage, the melodic quality of the music stands out among the crowd. Robust rhythms guide heartfelt songwriting that is familiar yet fresh and innovative. The three piece has been steadily creating and performing for the better half of a decade now. Members Jordan Sokel, Nick Welker, and Brandon Bartlett all grew up with a close bond to their instruments and eventually formed out of the bustling and notoriously musically rich state capital of Annapolis, Maryland.


 
Dustbowl Revival
Birds Of Chicago | @9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
7

Dustbowl Revival

Birds Of Chicago


Friday Feb 7|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Dustbowl Revival

official band site »

Dustbowl Revival has always been about pushing the boundaries of what American roots music can be. In many ways, they could have continued creating joyful, booty-shaking songs and cut-to-heart folk-rock ballads that lift up their transcendent live shows - and mining new energetic material from the place where folk music, funk and soul meet.

But the band’s newest album, Is It You, Is It Me, coming January 31 via their own Medium Expectations label and Nashville’s Thirty Tigers, is something different entirely. Produced by Sam Kassirer [Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter] and engineered by Brian Joseph [Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens], it represents the latest stage in a band that never stops evolving and refuses to stand still.

After celebrating over a decade of sonic adventuring, playing thousands of shows together in ten countries and counting, and collecting a devoted and growing fanbase coast-to-coast, the six core members -- founder Z. Lupetin, Liz Beebe, Josh Heffernan, Matt Rubin, Ulf Bjorlin and Connor Vance -- knew they had to create something bigger.

The scary novelty of this creative process exposed doubt and tension - but also brought out a new courage in the band to dig deeper than ever. The result is a sonic revelation and a reckoning. Maybe it captures a conversation that hasn’t happened yet: between people on both sides of a divide that simply don’t know how to talk to each other. Many of the songs are like plays unfolding verse by verse. It’s the yin-yang conversational harmony that is the true specialty of Z. Lupetin and co-lead singing dynamo Liz Beebe, who both grew up performing and writing in the theater. With a big brass-and-strings band building the sets around them, Is It You, Is It Me isn’t afraid to explore the personal and political tension that the group may have shied away from facing before.

The album tackles uneasy topics -- often where the political feels personal, especially in the defiant “Get Rid of You,” which was inspired by the student activists who emerged from the tragic Parkland High School shooting in Florida. The ominous driving brass groove of “Enemy,” sung powerfully by Beebe, hones in on a painful generational split between a daughter and her parents who may have voted in a tyrant, and have become strangers to her. This yearning search for common ground pervades the record as a whole.

The group’s signature intertwined vocal leads star on the opening track “Dreaming” which tackles the deep vulnerability of revealing your secrets and your soul every night in front of an audience. But where the band really sets on a new course is on lushly cinematic, orchestrated set pieces like “Mirror,” “Runaway” and, most notably, the current fan favorite and live showstopper “Sonic Boom,” about the struggle to reveal who you really are in the hidden, rose-colored world of social media. There’s a new widescreen expansiveness to these songs that wouldn’t be out of place in a packed arena or orchestra hall with a full neon light show. Acting like a nimble rock orchestra, each member played multiple instruments, and the group brought in new musicians on symphonic brass, and local friends to sing as a spur-of-the-moment choir.

Where does it all lead? If one thing is clear, Is It You, Is It Me represents another large leap forward for Dustbowl Revival, coming after their acclaimed self-titled 2017 album. Produced by Grammy-winner Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Drop Kick Murphy’s), It transitioned the group from a “roots dance party band” that continues to thrive on the festival circuit, to a nuanced ensemble embracing more soulful territory. That self-titled record was a direct bridge to the newest work, rising number to one on the Amazon Americana chart and featuring a funky favorite “Honey I Love You” where the band joyfully teaming up with blues master Keb Mo’. Their heartache folk number “Got Over”, surprised the band by racking up nearly seven million streams and counting online.

Dustbowl Revival’s story started humbly. Nearly 12 years ago Z. Lupetin - a Chicago native who attended college in Michigan came to L.A. to be a playwright and screenwriter, grew disillusioned with his job in advertising, and placed a hopeful ad on Craigslist. He sought to find fellow musicians who shared his roving love of Louis Armstrong, Bob Wills, Old Crow Medicine Show, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and the brass bands of New Orleans, but also wanted to write songs like Americana pioneers Wilco, Lucinda Williams and even Bruce Springsteen. There are still players in the group who responded to that initial odd quest.

“Maybe we don’t know where this journey will take us or how long it will last,” acknowledges Lupetin, “That’s my take on the importance of what we try to do. Music elevates us, lifts us up, makes us change our minds, takes us out of our comfort zones. If just one person can be moved by just one song, that’s enough.”


Birds Of Chicago

official band site »

Birds of Chicago have been riding a swell of good mojo in the Americana scene since their inception in late 2012. With their new album, Love in Wartime, they are set to both confirm that roots world buzz, and break on through to a much wider audience.

Recorded in Chicago against a backdrop of bewilderment, deep divide and dread, Love in Wartime is a rock and roll suite with a cinematic sweep. Co-produced with Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), it evokes epic efforts of the 60’s and 70’s, with love as the undeniable through-line.

Built around the chemistry and fire between Allison Russell and JT Nero, and their rock-steady band, BOC tours hard. Russell and Nero played with different bands in the mid-aughts (Po’ Girl and JT and the Clouds) before finding their way to each other. Nero, who writes the bulk of the songs, found himself a transcendent vocal muse in Russell (a powerful writer herself) and the band honed its chops on the road, playing 200 shows a year between 2013-17. All that shaping and sharpening, over so many miles, led them back to Chicago’s Electrical Audio in January of 2017, to begin recording Love in Wartime. "Any act of love is an act of bravery," says Russell.. We want to give people some good news. And we want them to be able to dance when they hear it."

Their most recent releases include 2016's Joe Henry-produced Real Midnight and 2017's EP American Flowers, BOC's debut from the label Signature Sounds Recordings. Critics have searched for the right words to describe Real Midnight’s deep lyricism, gut-punch singing and musicality…. “Secular gospel” was one phrase that caught some traction. That fervor is evident in Love and Wartime as well:

“Roll Away the heavy stone/roll away the heavy hours/roll on in the summer moon/who’s alive who’s alive who’s alive?” The invitation is joyous, but urgent. There’s another phrase that they used to describe poetry intoned over roots music mash-ups: Rock n Roll. The Birds consider themselves a rock and roll band first and foremost, and Love in Wartime doesn’t leave any doubt about that.

Birds’ shows attract a mix of indy rockers, jam-kids and Americana/roots lovers, mixing moments of hushed attention with wild, rock and soul abandon. Says Nero, “a good show can send you back out into the night feeling -- for at least a little while - that everything isn’t broken.”

These days, that’s no small thing.


 
Big Something & Andy Frasco & The U.N.
Kyle Ayers | @9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
13

Big Something & Andy Frasco & The U.N.

Kyle Ayers


Thursday Feb 13|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Big Something

official band site »

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, Big Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, EWI (electronic wind instrument), synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered stalwarts as Umphrey's McGee, Moon Taxi, Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s, who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.

The band released their 5th studio album The Otherside on April 20th, 2018 as a follow up to their 2017 album Tumbleweed. The Otherside was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC with the help of Grammy-nominated producer and Carolina Music Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient - John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity) who has produced all 5 of the bands albums.

Big Something is Nick MacDaniels (vocals, guitar), Casey Cranford (sax, EWI), Jesse Hensley (lead guitar), Ben Vinograd (drums), Doug Marshall (bass), and Josh Kagel (keys, trumpet).


Andy Frasco & The U.N.

official band site »

It felt like time to switch gears.

In 2017, Andy Frasco reached a fork in the road. Renowned for a jubilant jambalaya of rule-breaking rock ‘n’ roll his career kept rolling ahead at full steam. To date, he had released three independent albums, chronicled a German gig in front of 15,000 screaming fans on the recent live opus Songs from the Road, made jaws drop at festivals such as Grandoozy, Firefly, Mountain Jam, Summer Camp, Rock Am Ring, Rock Im Park and Electric Forest, generated millions of streams, launched Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast, and performed at festivals alongside icons such as Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., The Revivalists, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dog, Joe Walsh, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. After a string of wild shows (and wilder nights) on tour somewhere in the heart of America, one morning sounded a very loud wake-up call for the singer, songwriter, performer, and namesake of Andy Frasco & The U.N.

“I woke up after a five-day bender on cocaine,” he recalls. “This relationship I was in didn’t work out. I bought a house in the Midwest to be close to a girl, but she didn’t trust me. I wouldn’t trust me either, because I was fucking chicks and doing drugs every night on the road. I would take ecstasy just to get out of bed. I was sleep deprived, losing all of my friendships, and fucking overworked. I decided to make a change in my life. I realized that I’m getting older; I couldn’t only be the party guy. I wanted to chronicle my life. I wanted to capture my feelings. I wanted substance in my life and music. I decided to take a step back from this wild life for a second and reevaluate, so I could genuinely enjoy the ride I’m on for the long haul.”

The ride ramps up on his third full-length album, the aptly titled Change of Pace. Andy approached recording from a new vantage point encouraged by iconic Widespread Panic bassist and producer Dave Schools.

At sessions in a remote Sonoma County mountain studio in a converted chicken coop of all places, Schools challenged him as a songwriter and lyricist.

“Dave sat me down and asked, ‘Who do you want to be? What do you want to be remembered by?’,” recalls Andy. “I never really thought of it that way. He dialed things back for me. He’s become a huge inspiration to me as a musician and a friend. The album began there.”

Cutting six songs with Dave, he embarked on something of a “studio tour” to finish Change of Pace. He tapped the talents of Ben Ellman in New Orleans, Charles Goodan in Los Angeles, and Caleb Hawley in New York at Lady Gaga’s Atomic Studios.

As a result, the songs reflect the respective regions.

“There’s a grungy Bourbon street feel, hard-working and moody New York energy, and that indie California vibe,” he goes on. “I’m a traveler at the end of the day. I became a musician to travel and give people therapy through music. As part of this revelation, I realized I don’t need to stay at home when I’m off tour. I decided since I’m most comfortable on the road, so I might as well make this record on the road.”

The first single “Up/Down” slips from a simmering beat and bass line into a horn-driven swoon. Produced by Goodan, its undeniable refrain proves immediately irresistible as he sings, “Your love is up and down.”

“I was just getting through my relationship with that girl from Arkansas,” Andy goes on. “One day, she was happy. The next day, she wasn’t. I speak on the bipolar nature of a relationship. This was the first time I felt that. Normally, I’d be in the next town before things got any further. The song came from an outside point-of-view by a guy who never had a real relationship before this in his life!”

Meanwhile, the boisterous “Waiting Game” features Schools’ touch and thrives on delightful proclamations such as “I wanna be the man you can tell your momma about!” The theatrical piano chords, cinematic accordion, and barroom chant delivery on “Don’t let the Haters get you down” takes dead aim at “online trolls talking shit from their parents’ basements.”

The title track “Change of Pace” gallops ahead on tambourine and organ as Andy’s voice stretches to the heavens and back on the admission, “I’m looking for change of pace. Then, I’ll be on my way.”

“Everyone has an idea of how you should live your life,” he states. “If you’re dealing with something that you’re not into, try something the complete opposite. Instead of always pondering what you could do tomorrow, do it today.” In the end, this change elevates Andy to a new level.

“I’d love for people to connect to the songs in addition to the live show,” he leaves off. “I’m a philosopher and a musician at the end of the day. I want to emulate those aspects in my work. I’m also just a guy trying to find happiness like everyone else is. It’s about being okay with the lows, not getting too high with the highs, and being comfortable in your own skin.”


Kyle Ayers

official band site »

Kyle Ayers is a comedian writer, actor, and producer. He is the creator of Boast Rattle, a Compliment Contest, the head-to-head comedic compliment show, which is now the television series Nice One on Quibi (which Kyle also created and is the Executive Producer on). Boast Rattle is also its own show on SiriusXM, running regularly.

He has appeared on Fuse, Comedy Central, VH1, and more, as well as in the film Box Elder, as Phil Ryerson. He’s been heard on Comedy Central Radio, SiriusXM, Bob & Tom, and more.

He has performed multiple times at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, where Time Out New York heralded him as a “breakout star.” He’s headlined all over the world, including Bonnaroo, The New York Comedy Festival, RIOT LA, The World Comedy Summit in Copenhagen, High Plains Comedy in Denver, and more.

His live show Never Seen It, where comedians rewrite famous movies and TV shows they’ve never seen, is now a top iTunes charting podcast on Starburns Audio, featuring Dan Harmon, Henry Zebrowski, and more, and has been featured at festivals around the US and Canada.

He also founded, constructed and runs the heralded underground sketch-acting-theater production-weirdness comedy show, "First Comes Love," where comedians and actors act out anonymously written adult film scripts from actual aspiring adult film writers, solicited via Craigslist. The show was optioned by MTV for a pilot that Kyle will gladly show you because it should be on TV.

Kyle has written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, contributed to Roasts, as well as Huffington Post, CNN, The New York Times, Wired, the weekly sports-comedy show Sports Balls, and more.

He was the tweeter behind the internet sensation #roofbreakup, where he stumbled upon a couple breaking up on his roof in Brooklyn, and the entire world joined in. #roofbreakup was viewed over 10 MILLION times worldwide, appeared on NPR, BBC, Yahoo, Buzzfeed (2+ million views), and was even reenacted by Jerry Springer. The viral sensation haunts Kyle to this day.

If you’re still reading, now we’re into the fun stuff. Kyle created/hosted the viral podcast Faking A Murderer, where he talked with eight comedians for eight hours about the show Making a Murderer, but did not tell his guests that he’d never seen the show. He also wrote and put on the satirical play Glengarry Glenn Beck, which is pretty much what you think it is. He has a dozen more ideas that he wants to sell you, and would be extremely excited to talk to you about.


 
Psycho Killers
An Evening Of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs | @Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
Feb
14

Psycho Killers

An Evening Of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs


Friday Feb 14|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Union Craft Brewing|get directions »
1700 West 41st Street
Baltimore, MD


Psycho Killers


An Evening Of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs

official band site »

Same as it ever was? Not exactly, but pretty close! Psycho Killers, Talking Heads tribute band, will take you on a musical journey through the expansive catalog of one of the most diverse bands in rock and roll history! Known for their high energy, always changing live shows, Psycho Killers deliver a Once In A Lifetime experience that must be seen to be believed!


 
Moon Hooch
@U Street Music Hall | view more info »
Feb
22

Moon Hooch



Saturday Feb 22|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
U Street Music Hall|get directions »
1115 U Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 588-1880


Moon Hooch

official band site »

I’m realizing more and more every day that you can make anything happen for yourself if you really want to,” says Moon Hooch horn player Mike Wilbur. “You can change your existence by just going out and doing it, by taking simple actions every day.”

If any band is a poster child for turning the power of positive thoughts and intention into reality, it’s the explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch. In just a few short years, the group—Wilbur, fellow horn player Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler—has gone from playing on New York City subway platforms to touring with the likes of Beats Antique, They Might Be Giants, and Lotus, as well as selling out their own headline shows in major venues around the country. On ‘Red Sky,’ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music.

“I think ‘Red Sky’ is more focused than any of our past albums,” reflects McGowen. “We practice meditation and yoga, and I think that we’re more evolved as people than we’ve ever been right now. That evolution expresses itself as focus, and through focus comes our energy.”

It was two years ago that the band released ‘This Is Cave Music,’ an exhilarating thrill ride that earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. NPR hailed it as “unhinged” and “irresistible,” praising each musician’s “remarkable abilities” and naming their Tiny Desk Concert one of the best in the prestigious series’ history. The album followed their 2013 debut, which had Relix swooning for their “deep bass lines, catchy melodies and pounding rhythms,” while the Wall Street Journal celebrated their “electronic house music mixed with brawny saxophone riffs.” Though the band—whose members initially met as students at the New School—turned heads in the music industry as relative unknowns with a charismatic, unconventional sound (they play with unique tonguing techniques and utilize found objects like traffic cones attached to the bells of their horns to manipulate tone, for instance), they were already a familiar and beloved sight to straphangers in New York, who would react with such joy and fervor to their impromptu subway platform sets that the NYPD had to ban them from locations that couldn’t handle the crowds. NY Mag once referred to their sound as “Jay Gatsby on ecstasy,” while the NY Post fell for their “catchy melodic hooks and funky rhythms,” saying they had “the power to make you secretly wish that the short [subway] wait becomes an indefinite delay.”

While the band’s busking days are behind them now, the lessons they learned from all those platform parties helped guide their approach to recording ‘Red Sky.’

“What we discovered playing in the subway,” McGowen explains, “is that the more focus and the more energy you put into the music, and the more you listen to everything around you and integrate everything around you into your expression, the more the music becomes this captivating force for people.” Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, ‘Red Sky’ is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between your ass and the dance floor. On ‘Shot,’ Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while “Psychotubes” channels the apocalyptic fire and brimstone of death metal, and the staccato intro of “That’s What They Say” gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that’s far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be. Though the band is heavily inspired by electronic music, they made a conscious effort to use as little in the way of “studio tricks” as possible on ‘Red Sky,’ aiming instead to capture the sound of their live show, which has evolved significantly from their days underground. “When we were playing in the subways, we were playing entirely acoustic,” explains Wilbur. “It was just two saxes and a drum set. Then Wenzl acquired a baritone sax and we all started getting into music production and incorporating electronic music into our live shows.” At their performances, the band now plays through what they call a Reverse DJ setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through Ableton software on their laptops to process recorded effects onto the output. In addition, to flesh out their sound on the road, the band began utilizing Moog synthesizers, an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch), and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire on some tracks (something the subway never allowed him to do), and Muschler, meanwhile, traveled halfway around the world to expand his percussion skills. “I went to India, and the first morning I woke up, it was like 5am, and I followed this music along the banks of the Ganges,” he remembers. “I eventually ended up finding this amazing tabla player, and after his performance, I asked him for lessons. He agreed, and I went for daily lessons with him and another guy for the next two weeks. After that, I took a train to Calcutta, where I met with the guru that I’d studied with in New York, and I did morning lessons with him and practiced throughout the day. It was an incredible musical immersion experience.” The band members all speak reverently of meditation and consciousness and the role it plays in their music (McGowen believes his introduction to it, spurred on in part by Wilbur and Muschler, saved his life), but equally close to their hearts are the environmental causes they champion. Moon Hooch tries to live up to their green ideals while traveling as much as possible, playing benefit shows, supporting local farmers and co-ops, participating in river cleanups, filming informative videos for their fans, and more. The band even runs a food blog, Cooking In The Cave, in which they highlight the healthy, sustainable, organic recipes they utilize with their mobile kitchen setup on tour. For the members of Moon Hooch, commitments to consciousness and environmentalism and veganism and philosophy and peace aren’t separate from their commitment to music, but actually integral parts of it. It’s all tied into that same core approach that led to their discovery on the subway platform: try, even if it’s just a little bit every day, even if it’s just with the power of your mind, to make the world less like it is and more like you wish it could be. “I’d say all of our songs express the essence of that kind of energy,” concludes McGowen, “because before you can even think any thoughts, there exists the energy that drives those thoughts, and that energy is intention. I feel like we’re putting the intention of positive change constantly into our music. While we’re playing, I often see the future emerging: skyscrapers getting covered in plants, frowns turning into smiles, fistfights into hugs. I can see the energy of love and collaboration and trust replace the energy of fear, hatred and violence.” It’s an ambitious vision, to be sure, but considering the band’s track record at turning their thoughts and dreams into action and reality, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.



 
Circles Around The Sun
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Feb
27

Circles Around The Sun



Thursday Feb 27|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Circles Around The Sun

official band site »

Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup Circles Around the Sun returns with the release of their self-titled, third full-length studio album, Circles Around the Sun. The seven-track collection marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs. It’s an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even DANCIER version of themselves – a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars. The thing is, their sound isn’t the only thing that’s evolved. Since their last LP, Circles has undergone a transformation internally. It’s a tale of life, death and rebirth, of love and loss, of shedded skin and new beginnings. But let’s start with the new album, shall we?

Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with…a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks™ from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members—guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy—were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks™. “The built-in beats on it are actually pretty janky,” says Horne. “But we knew we wanted to make more of a dancey, groove-driven album that would translate live, to give our shows a more high-energy feel.” Drawing inspiration from P-Funk, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, and Beastie Boys’ slinky instrumentals, the band used the Drumtraks™ driving rhythms as the foundation for each song.

Album opener “Babyman” makes it clear the Circles Around The Sun ride is headed in a new direction, closer to Air’s Moon Safari than the psych-jazz odyssey of their previous LPs, Interludes for the Dead (2015) or Let It Wander (2018).

An origin story, for context: in 2015 Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill, invited Casal to compose the intermission music for the Dead’s Fare Thee Well concerts, a victory lap celebrating their final shows. Neal assembled the guys, recorded five hours of jams, and was surprised to find an eager audience and label support from Rhino Records. And Circles Around the Sun was born.

On epic disco jammers “Detroit Dos” and “Land Line Memories,” MacDougall’s sizzling analog keyboards (like the Minimoog Model D and phaser-soaked Clavinet) echo vintage library music and 1978’s crate digger fave Black Devil Disco Club by Bernard Fevre. “This band was never something I thought would get done to a click,” says MacDougall. “But we all talked about it being more of a fun record, so we hung some mirror balls and played a bunch of dance music!”

As it happens, Circles’ new sound was created partly by design, but also partly by tragic circumstance. On August 26, 2019, a week after laying down his tracks for Circles Around the Sun, founder Neal Casal committed suicide. He left behind a note for the group, asking for them to continue in his absence—to continue recording, touring, and playing together. They’ve chosen to honor his wishes. “Our mission is to extend Neal’s musical legacy,” says drummer Levy. “He was a classy dude and had a regal vibe about him. The other side of it is the mental health legacy. Maybe there are people out there in the same sort of darkness Neal was in, who can hear us and say we can work positively on multiple fronts in his memory.”

In this metamorphosis, Circles Around the Sun spans both heartbreak and hope. Doors close; windows open; new directions extend themselves in mysterious ways. But sometimes you know it’s real from the first beat. It just clicks. We’ll see you on the dancefloor, at the festival, at the next jam session, where everyone comes together and all is forgiven. It’s just how Neal would want it. It’s Circles Around The Sun.



 
The Revivalists
Tank and The Bangas | @The Anthem | view more info »
Feb
29

The Revivalists

Tank and The Bangas


Saturday Feb 29|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


The Revivalists

official band site »

Some people say luck is the intersection of hard work and opportunity. On Take Good Care - their fourth full-length album and first for Loma Vista Recordings - The Revivalists chronicle, catalog, and capture an unbelievable ride where ten years of tireless hard work would be unexpectedly revved up by the wrongly dubbed “overnight success” of the gold-selling number one single “Wish I Knew You.” Like any enduring band worth its salt, they reacted the best way possible to newfound popularity - by buckling down and turning up with an album chock full of tunes worthy of even greater success. It’s the result of a trip that unassumingly commenced in 2008 with hundreds of underground shows yearly and culminated 10 years later with not only “Wish I Knew You,” but three years of back-to-back sold out headline tours in their biggest venues to date. In life, like rock ‘n’ roll, some questions get answered while others stay unanswered. Our personal backroads tuck, twist, and turn through ups, downs, and everything in between at light speed, sometimes without explanation or a moment for reflection. Mirroring the push-and-pull of the past few years, the boys -- David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion] -- deliver a bevy of anthems marked by moments of sonic complexity, celebration, and catharsis.

“As far as the music goes, sometimes I just have a feeling, and it comes through in a song,” says David. “I don’t know what it is, but it makes me feel something. I wanted this album to be simply about that. Making the new music has been a bit of a cathartic process for me -- just to get some of these feelings out, lose myself in the art, and become someone else. Songwriting is the great escape. It’s where I can be who I want to be. It’s been three years of touring our asses off, writing in between, and honing our craft. Then, Wish I Knew You happened. Everything got even crazier. This album basically came together the way we always make records though. It’s simply a collection of songs from where we were at that point in our lives. We didn’t want to divert too much from what we’ve always been, but we wanted to take it to the next level and continue that trajectory of our artistry and creativity.”

Simultaneously, life was rapidly changing around the band, and the music spoke to that.

“Everything going on these past few years certainly informed the direction,” David continues. “I don’t know if I was ready for some of what transpired emotionally. I got personal on some of the songs. I said some things I might not have otherwise. Thankfully, I have a good family network and an amazing girlfriend to balance all of the changes.”

“We were fortunate enough to have this ‘hit’ on the last record, and things have changed,” adds Andrew. “We had to keep pushing forward.”

For the first time, The Revivalists recorded and co-wrote with multiple producers and writers, enlisting the talents of Dave Cobb [Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton], Andrew Dawson [Kanye West, Fun., Sleigh Bells], and Dave Bassett [Elle King, Vance Joy] for sessions in New Orleans and Nashville, which became a hub for the band. They spent three weeks recording at the iconic RCA Studio B, soaking up the aura of one of the most storied studios in music and the city’s great musical history. Additionally, it would be the first record with drummer/percussionist PJ joining the band in the studio.

Bringing sixty songs to the table, the guys whittled the batch down to the best fourteen of the bunch.

Andrew continues, “On the first few records, we were figuring out what our identity is, so we were really involved in the minutia of recording. After all this time, we have an identity, and it’s more based in our songs. We were able to let go and allow these producers to take us into a direction that we wouldn’t go on our own. We got to explore a little more. Being ten years in empowered us to do that.”

“We had the opportunity to work with more people, which was amazing,” David goes on. “The main difference was having this team and the chance to co-write. It really elevated our craft in a way that I don’t think we ever thought about previously. We were all working together in the studio, while keeping the true heart and soul of the band intact through the whole process.”

The first single “All My Friends” – which became an instant #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative radio hit and landed the band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as well as numerous key Spotify and Apple Music playlists - speaks to that spirit. Driven by swaggering piano, boisterous horns, and bluesy leads, the track swings towards an unshakable chant, “All my friends take good care of me.” Striking, sharp, and soulful, it introduces this chapter with confidence and charisma.

“I actually wrote those verses when I was 27,” says David. “I met up with Dave Bassett in Malibu, where I did some writing sessions, and I brought the lyrics to the table. It’s a bit of a retrospective look back. You’re in your twenties, staying out for three days, not contacting your significant other, and getting into some bad shit. Looking back, I realized, I had an amazing group of friends who stuck by my side.”

“Musically, it bridges the gap between what we’ve been doing and what you’re about to hear,” explains Andrew.

Illuminating their effortless chemistry, the opener “Otherside of Paradise” came to life in just one vocal take with “no trickery or anything” bolstered by fingerpicked clean guitars and cathedral-size harmonies. Elsewhere, the guttural grooves of “Oh No” spiral towards a fret-burning solo as wild and gritty as David’s delivery. “Hate To Love You” hinges on the kind of confessions typically reserved for holy counsel, and current single, the #1 Triple A and Top 15 Alternative hit “Change,” which the band performed on TODAY, climaxes on a raw howl. Written by Andrew, “You Said It All” illuminates the dynamics at the heart of the record.

“I was going through a point in my life where I was thinking about situations with significant others,” Andrew elaborates. “To me, it was the idea that when you’ve come to the end of something and put it all out there, there’s nothing left to say. You’re in that reflective state of being alone.”

On the anti-gun violence anthem “Shoot You Down,” The Revivalists speak out against the overwhelming gun violence problem in our society. Deeply affected by the frequent mass shootings, the band felt compelled to put pen to paper and address this issue. The result is a powerful song that serves as both an emotional balm and, more importantly, a call to action.

"‘Shoot You Down’ is a song that was written straight from the heart earlier this year,” shares David. “It’s an anti-gun violence song meant to bring awareness to a very serious and increasing issue that we currently have in this country. We believe that music has the power to change minds and lives. This is our pledge to survivors and victims. We love you and we are with you. Together we will make a change. Let’s show each other love, compassion and understanding. Hate has no place in our world.”

Representing a vast swath of the country and defying regional pigeonholes, David’s roots are in the Rust Belt, while Zack, Ed, and George hail from the Tri-States and Michael and Rob from the Southwest. Andrew cut his teeth bashing the drums in the DC scene and newcomer PJ made his bones in Chicago. However, the Crescent City would ultimately bring them together. Since forming in New Orleans, the group quietly grinded towards international ubiquity one gig, song, and album at a time. Seven years in, 2015’s Men Amongst Mountains represented a high watermark. Its lead single “Wish I Knew You” became a slow-burning hit, racking up more than 200 million streams and ascending to #1 on Adult Alternative and Alternative radio. On the latter, it clocked a record for “most single-week spins ever at the format” before eventually receiving a gold certification from the RIAA. A mainstream phenomenon, the song found traction at Hot AC and Top 40 and bubbled up on to the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks.

The Revivalists have garnered more than 300 million total streams, have drawn praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Salon, USA Today, Forbes, Huff Post, Alternative Press, Uproxx, Flaunt, Nylon, Interview, Paste and more, and have performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, TODAY and Conan, with an upcoming appearance on Austin City Limits. They were nominated for a Billboard Music Award and two iHeartRadio Music Awards and were named Billboard’s Top New Rock Artist of 2017. Between countless gigs, the musicians also ignited festival stages at Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Outside Lands, and Pilgrimage, to name a few.

Looking back, David smiles, “It’s been quite the ride.”

In the end, The Revivalists welcome listeners on this journey with them as they set out with a newfound depth and ambition.

“As we went along, we found there are more questions than answers, and we’re all sort of figuring it out,” concludes Andrew. “We’re all doing the same thing. We hope people listen to the record and maybe can go out and keep making connections. That’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s the human experience.”

“We’re in this together,” David leaves off. “We love to take people on an emotional rollercoaster with us. That’s what this record is. It’s who we are. There’s some real magic in that.”


Tank and The Bangas

official band site »

Tank and The Bangas were formed in 2011 at an open mic set in New Orleans, centered at a shot gun house, Jerk Chicken Sam'iches and a drum set. Instantaneously this group knew that they had something that stirred crowds that cried out for original music from them. If you're from New Orleans, you know all the ingredients to make a good gumbo. Your seasonings have to mix well, your roux has to be thick, and your meat has to be cut to perfection. Tank and The Bangas are what you call a great gumbo! Originating in New Orleans, Tank and The Bangas have all the qualities that relates them, to the city that birth them but a flair that separates them as well. Their performances range from being "One of the most energetic shows you'll ever see" to "A gospel tent in Mississippi." Rummaging through their sound like a thrift store hippie, you'll find the Bangas to provoke a musical reference of Rhythmic Soul and Spoken word among other genres such as Rock, Gospel, Funk, and Folk. Combining the various musical technique among the Bangas, coupled with the instilling play on lyrics from the lead vocalist; Tank and The Bangas have quilted a unique sound that singles them as one of the most distinctive groups to come out of New Orleans.

Group members include Tank/ Lead vocalist/Norman Spence on Bass/keyboard, Joshua Johnson/Drums, Merell Burkett/keys/ Nita Bailey/Percussion; and various other Bangas.


 
Circles Around The Sun
@Union Stage | view more info »
Mar
5

Circles Around The Sun



Thursday Mar 5|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Circles Around The Sun

official band site »

Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup Circles Around the Sun returns with the release of their self-titled, third full-length studio album, Circles Around the Sun. The seven-track collection marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs. It’s an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even DANCIER version of themselves – a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars. The thing is, their sound isn’t the only thing that’s evolved. Since their last LP, Circles has undergone a transformation internally. It’s a tale of life, death and rebirth, of love and loss, of shedded skin and new beginnings. But let’s start with the new album, shall we?

Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with…a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks™ from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members—guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy—were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks™. “The built-in beats on it are actually pretty janky,” says Horne. “But we knew we wanted to make more of a dancey, groove-driven album that would translate live, to give our shows a more high-energy feel.” Drawing inspiration from P-Funk, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, and Beastie Boys’ slinky instrumentals, the band used the Drumtraks™ driving rhythms as the foundation for each song.

Album opener “Babyman” makes it clear the Circles Around The Sun ride is headed in a new direction, closer to Air’s Moon Safari than the psych-jazz odyssey of their previous LPs, Interludes for the Dead (2015) or Let It Wander (2018).

An origin story, for context: in 2015 Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill, invited Casal to compose the intermission music for the Dead’s Fare Thee Well concerts, a victory lap celebrating their final shows. Neal assembled the guys, recorded five hours of jams, and was surprised to find an eager audience and label support from Rhino Records. And Circles Around the Sun was born.

On epic disco jammers “Detroit Dos” and “Land Line Memories,” MacDougall’s sizzling analog keyboards (like the Minimoog Model D and phaser-soaked Clavinet) echo vintage library music and 1978’s crate digger fave Black Devil Disco Club by Bernard Fevre. “This band was never something I thought would get done to a click,” says MacDougall. “But we all talked about it being more of a fun record, so we hung some mirror balls and played a bunch of dance music!”

As it happens, Circles’ new sound was created partly by design, but also partly by tragic circumstance. On August 26, 2019, a week after laying down his tracks for Circles Around the Sun, founder Neal Casal committed suicide. He left behind a note for the group, asking for them to continue in his absence—to continue recording, touring, and playing together. They’ve chosen to honor his wishes. “Our mission is to extend Neal’s musical legacy,” says drummer Levy. “He was a classy dude and had a regal vibe about him. The other side of it is the mental health legacy. Maybe there are people out there in the same sort of darkness Neal was in, who can hear us and say we can work positively on multiple fronts in his memory.”

In this metamorphosis, Circles Around the Sun spans both heartbreak and hope. Doors close; windows open; new directions extend themselves in mysterious ways. But sometimes you know it’s real from the first beat. It just clicks. We’ll see you on the dancefloor, at the festival, at the next jam session, where everyone comes together and all is forgiven. It’s just how Neal would want it. It’s Circles Around The Sun.



 
The Soul Rebels
@U Street Music Hall | view more info »
Mar
6

The Soul Rebels



Friday Mar 6|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
U Street Music Hall|get directions »
1115 U Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 588-1880


The Soul Rebels

official band site »

The Soul Rebels are riding high in 2019, receiving national attention with recent performances with Katy Perry and DMX, and featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk series, a debut late night TV appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and a headlining set at the TED Conference. The band continues to expand its international reach touring four continents including Europe, Australia, China, South Korea and Japan. Their explosive stage presence has led to live collaborations with the likes of: Nas, G-Eazy, Robin Thicke, Macy Gray, Portugal. The Man, Robert Glasper, Pretty Lights, Curren$y, Joey Bada$$, Talib Kweli, GZA, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mobb Deep, Raekwon, Metallica, and Marilyn Manson among many others, and opening forLauryn Hill and Nile Rodgers.

The Soul Rebels started with an idea – to expand upon the pop music they loved on the radio and the New Orleans brass tradition they grew up on. They took that tradition and blended funk and soul with elements of hip hop, jazz and rock all within a brass band context. The band has built a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in a deep pocket funk party-like atmosphere. The Soul Rebels continue to chart new territory as they feature in major films, tour globally, and combine topnotch musicianship with songs that celebrate dancing, life, funk and soul.

Most recently The Soul Rebels wrapped up recording for their upcoming fall 2019 album, Poetry in Motion. The album will put the band front and center and showcase the wide breadth of musical genres and special collaborations that have come to identify the musically chameleon-like band.

“The Soul Rebels, New Orleans’ finest brass ensemble…” – VICE

“The Soul Rebels are the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong.” -VILLAGE VOICE

“New Orleans’ top-shelf brass ensemble The Soul Rebels…wind-wielding wizardry of New Orleans’ finest.” – OKAYPLAYER

“Brace yourselves folks, these men are quickly solidifying themselves amongst NOLA’s proud big brass elite… and seem intent to sublimate the homogenoustones of the contemporary urban music landscape with the lush instrumentation of our culture’s root.” – OKAYPLAYER

“The Soul Rebels are rebelling against one, albeit detestable thing: starchy paint-bynumbers music.” – VIBE



 
The Lil Smokies & Joe Pug
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
7

The Lil Smokies & Joe Pug



Saturday Mar 7|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


The Lil Smokies

official band site »

Drawing on the energy of a rock band and the Laurel Canyon songwriting of the ‘70s, The Lil Smokies are reimagining their approach to roots music on Tornillo, named for the remote Texas town where the album was recorded. Produced by Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses), Tornillo is the band’s third studio album. Formed in Missoula, Montana, The Lil Smokies have built a national following through constant touring, they have performed at Red Rocks, LOCKN’, High Sierra, Telluride, Bourbon & Beyond and more.


Joe Pug

official band site »

Joe Pug’s new record “The Flood In Color” is nearly four years in the making. But that betrays the fact that the making of the album was one of the most natural and rewarding processes of his career. Produced by Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids and engineered by Matt Ross-Spang, the album started with the goal of focusing on the simplicity of musicians playing together, live, in the same room. Recently relocating back to his childhood home in Prince Georges County, Maryland after many years spent in Chicago and Austin, Pug wanted to take a new approach. The partnership with Pattengale proved to be an irresistible opportunity to do just that.

“The past couple of albums haven’t always been the most enjoyable to record. The process can really bring on all sorts of pressures about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it, both internally and externally. Lots of ‘Songs need to be 3 and half minutes long’ and ‘You need something that will work on AAA radio’. And the end result is this strange gravity that just weighs you down.” Pattengale, a fan of Pug’s music since the days so of his 2010 EP “Nation of Heat”, was eager to try a back-to-basics approach.

“So Kenneth and I sort of had the idea to strip all that away. I was just going to write songs. And I was going to do it in a way that came naturally to me, and that I enjoyed. Get rid of all the external bullshit. Look….music isn’t my entire life. Sometimes I want to write songs. But other times I want to read books. I want to play with my kid. I want to cook. A couple years ago I started a podcast. So that’s sort of how I approached this one. I’ll write songs the way I write songs. And when Kenneth and I had a few that we felt good about, we got together and dialed them in a bit further and worked on arrangements. Almost as friends as much as anything. And when we got them to a place we were happy with, we went to Nashville and recorded them. But through the whole affair there was really no timetable I imposed on it.”

In the studio, the relaxed mood continued. “In the past I’ve been guilty of being a bit too intoxicated with the process of recording, and it sometimes took away from the pure joy of making music. This time we didn’t spend weeks hold up in the studio obsessing over minute details. Kenneth put together an A+ group of musicians. And then we sat around a table, talked about the song for a bit, ran through it, and then pressed record. It was a revelation, and all the credit in the world to Kenneth for recognizing how important that would be. As a musician there are so many things that can get in the way of actually making music. What Kenneth did was to methodically strip those things away. “

In 2015 Pug also launched the aforementioned podcast, which has gone on to enjoy tremendous success. “The Working Songwriter” is a monthly hour-long conversation with some of today’s best songwriters. Recent guests have included Josh Ritter, Amanda Palmer, Steve Earle, Brandon Flowers, Craig Finn, Ian MacKaye, Shakey Graves, Anais Mitchell and John Paul White. While its audience has grown, it’s always been more of a labor of love for Pug. “I didn’t hear the podcast I wanted to listen to, so I went ahead and just created it. From the very beginning I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted it to be. From there it was just a matter of convincing anyone to be on it! This was 2015, so it was still pretty early days for podcasting, so you’d get a lot of confused replies. ‘Wait, you want to interview me for an HOUR???’

“It’s made me reach out to the small community of people that do this for a living and given me a real sense of community. It started out with lots of friends and colleagues that I already knew, but since then I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to lots of artists I hadn’t met prior. And it has been this absolutely incredible avenue to learning more about artists across genres. And in the process also learning about these very subtle but undeniable common threads that we all share because of our line of work.”



 
The Motet & TAUK
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
13

The Motet & TAUK



Friday Mar 13|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


The Motet

official band site »

Throughout history, unity starts on the dancefloor. From ancient tribal cultures to neon night clubs, beats bring bodies together. Once grinding and grooving in unison, the movement generates friction, sparks, and light. That might just be the purest form of energy on the planet. The Motet harness such energy on their ninth full-length, Death or Devotion. In fact, the Denver septet—Dave Watts [drums], Joey Porter [keys], Garrett Sayers [bass], Ryan Jalbert [guitar], Lyle Divinsky [vocals], Drew Sayers [sax], and Parris Fleming [trumpet]—encode a message in their energetic mélange of boisterous badass funk, swaggering soul, and thought-provoking pop.

In the process, they challenge convention and arrive with a dynamic, diverse, and definitive statement.

“The essence is always going to be the groove, but we wanted to expand the idea of what a funk album could be,” says Lyle. “Of course, you want a driving backbeat. However, with the division that’s going on in this country and the world, I think it’s every artist’s responsibility to create a conversation. That conversation doesn’t have to be political either. It can be about love or an introspective journey. I think the commentary should be on what it’s like to be alive today. By drawing on funk, we create a fun, palatable musical vehicle for the message to go down. Our goal is for you to recognize we’re all dancing on the same dance floor—even though our steps may look a little different.”

Death or Devotion earmarks an important point in the band’s own journey. Since emerging in 1998, the boys have cooked up eight full-length albums and entranced countless crowds. 2016’s Totem saw them welcome Lyle behind the mic and Drew on sax. Shortly after, they kicked off what has become an annual tradition by selling out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater for the first time. “It was my six-month anniversary and first show for a hometown crowd,” recalls Lyle. “I’ve got 10,000 people looking at me like, ‘Who the hell is that?’,” he laughs.

That night would be chronicled on the fan favorite Live at Red Rocks. In the meantime, the group maintained a prolific pace of 100 shows per year in support of Totem. Along the way, The Motet started recording Death or Devotion during intermittent sessions at Scanhope Sound in 2017.

For the first time, Lyle, Drew, and Parris (who joined in 2018) worked on a Motet record together from start-to-finish.

“On Totem, the train was already moving, and I was just a train hopper,” says Lyle. “Drew, Parris, and I came onboard within the same year. Now, we’re all bringing our pieces to the puzzle. For me, I brought that R&B style. Funk is the common ground, but the music is a result of different inspirations: namely Drew’s hip-hop and reggae knowledge, Ryan’s psychedelic jamming, Dave with the worldbeat, Joey with his encyclopedic understanding of punk, and Garrett being the best bass player to exist. We found a really cool balance between the funkiness and songs that challenge your emotional headspace more than typical pop.”

The first single “That Dream” showcases the myriad of musical flavors from all seven members. Clean palm-muted guitars bristle against a swaggering beat as the horns enliven each verse, while a vocal call-and-response relays a head-spinning tale.

“I took a nap, and I had the craziest dream I’ve ever had,” he recalls. “In the dream, I’m heartbroken from a nonexistent relationship, so I go out to a bar. I get seduced by this beautiful woman who serves me a glass of wine with poison. I wake up handcuffed and she’s stealing from me and torturing me. It was so dark, but I woke up and thought, ‘That would be a crazy subject to write a party song about!’”

Elsewhere, “Highly Compatible” hinges on an unshakable riff and raucous refrain upheld by sizzling sax. “It’s like that beautiful moment of falling in love where you recognize something as supremely real-life magic,” Lyle goes. “Harry Potter couldn’t conjure a better spell. It’s the magnetic nature of the chemistry. We captured that chemical recognition.”

From the infectious hooks of “Contagious” to the instrumental fireworks on “Speed of Light,” The Motet ultimately propose an important question at the heart of Death Or Devotion.

“What are you going to bring to yourself and the world?”, Lyle leaves off. “Are you going to bring death, or are you going to bring devotion? The choice is yours. When you listen to this record, I’d love for you to walk away feeling a little bit more connected, whether it be to yourself, to your friends, or to your community. Being able to drop all of the vision for a minute, be present, smile, and dance reminds us we’re all going through this together.”


TAUK

official band site »

On their new album Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, New York-bred band TAUK offer an unsettling but ultimately exhilarating look at artificial intelligence and its potential to upend our world. With its dynamic sense of tension and cinematic mastery of mood, TAUK’s all-instrumental blend of progressive rock, hip-hop, and jazz proves to be the perfect backdrop for such explorations, giving way to an album that’s both powerfully hypnotic and intensely thought-provoking.“We’re all very much interested in A.I., and this idea of machines getting out of the hands of the people trying to control them,” notes TAUK guitarist Matt Jalbert, whose bandmates include bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel. “This album felt like a good setting to tell that kind of story, but in a way where we could have fun with it and let the listener escape into a whole other world.”Equally inspired by classic sci-fi like Blade Runner and more recent films like Ex Machina, Shapeshifter II: Outbreak embeds that narrative into TAUK’s most sonically adventurous, emotionally expansive work to date. A continuation of their early-2018 EP Shapeshifter I: Construct, the new album picks up its predecessor’s narrative thread with “Prelude”: a fantastically unsettling intro track whose frenetic keyboard work and chilling vocal samples set the tone for what’s to come. “The idea is that in the EP you’re seeing the construction of this being, and in the album you’re seeing it break out and become something that you can’t ignore anymore,” Carter explains.

From there, TAUK charge forward with the driving rhythms of “Recreational Outrage” (a track laced with the ominous throb of a robotic heartbeat), the futuristic soundscape and heady grooves of “CMF 9000,” the gauzy reverie and glorious chaos of “Checkmate,” and the bright melodies and soulful guitar sprawl of “Convoy.” One of the album’s most mesmerizing moments, “Let It Ride” builds a brilliant tapestry from its luminous keyboard tones, kinetic guitar work, and kaleidoscopic rhythms. And on “Upside Down,” TAUK close out Shapeshifter II: Outbreak with a thrillingly epic burst of unfettered experimentalism.

Free-flowing yet elaborately composed, Shapeshifter II: Outbreak came to life in collaboration with TAUK’s longtime cohort Robert Carranza—a Grammy Award-winning producer/mixer/engineer also known for his work The Mars Volta, Ozomatli, Marilyn Manson, and Taj Mahal. In a departure from their previous releases (including 2016’s Sir Nebula), the band shunned the typical studio environment and holed up for weeks in a long-abandoned, century-old home that Teel describes as “the Jumanji house meets Addams Family meets Amityville Horror.” Located in their homeland of Long Island, the house turned out to be the ideal spot for their makeshift studio, allowing for a creativity-enhancing seclusion. “Overall the whole process was incredibly organic—there were no constrictions as far as time or space, nothing ever felt forced,” says Dolan. “There was a greater feeling of possibility, and it ended up being a really liberating experience for all of us.” Jalbert adds: “The location definitely added to the vibe of everything we were going for. It was like we set up a laboratory in the middle of nowhere and shut off the rest of the world, which really helped get us into a specific headspace.”

True to its thematic terrain, Shapeshifter II: Outbreak endlessly blurs the boundaries between organic and electronic, with TAUK broadening their sonic palette to include a vast spectrum of synth sounds and programmed effects (such as those exquisitely eerie vocal samples heard in “Prelude”). And in sculpting the album’s intricate arrangements, TAUK called on such esteemed musicians as The Naughty Horns, Ghost-Note’s Nate Werth (a percussionist who’s also played with David Crosby, Q-Tip, and Snarky Puppy), and Juan Alderete (longtime bassist for Racer X and The Mars Volta). v Throughout Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, TAUK reveal the potent chemistry they discovered in childhood, when longtime friends Dolan, Jalbert, and Carter formed their first band in seventh grade. After playing together in various projects, the trio brought Teel into the fold in 2012, cementing the final lineup. Since then, TAUK have shared stages with acts like Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, and Lettuce, appeared at festivals like Electric Forest and Bonnaroo, and earned acclaim from major outlets like the Washington Post (who praised TAUK for “creating a hard-charging, often melodic fusion that—thanks to a penchant for improv—offers limitless possibilities”). As Teel points out, the band’s incessant touring over the years has significantly strengthened their musical connection. “The four of us as individuals are all very animated souls in our own right,” he says. “We each have our ideas and our perspectives, and when it all comes together, it creates this collective statement that takes on a life of its own.”

In creating Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, TAUK made that statement more deliberate and impactful than ever before. But while several upcoming videos and the vibrant artwork of illustrator Raul Urias add a new dimension to the album’s concept, the band purposely maintained a certain open-endedness in its execution. “People tell us all kinds of stories about what our songs mean to them, and it’s always cool to see how wide the gamut of those stories is,” says Carter. “What the song means to me might not be the same as what it means to you, but that’s one of the great things about this whole experience. There’s room for everyone to develop whatever narrative they want.”



 
The Floozies & SunSquabi
Defunk | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Mar
14

The Floozies & SunSquabi

Defunk


Saturday Mar 14|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


The Floozies

official band site »

Just outside the jazz mecca of Kansas City springs liberal oasis Lawrence, Kansas—separated only by the waves of wheat from the epicenter of the electronic music revolution in Colorado. From Lawrence, it would logically follow that an act could rise to prominence fueled by the swing of Basie, the birth of Charlie Parker’s bebop, and the wild frontier of electronica. Born in funk and bred in the digital age, live electronic duo The Floozies have burst onto the scene at a time when the industry needed them the most.

Brothers Matt and Mark Hill share the stage just as easily as they share a musical brain. Without a setlist, and without a word between them, Matt’s guitar is in lockstep with the thud of Mark’s kick. Endless looping and production builds the raw scenery upon which palm muted chugs, searing solos, and wobbling bass paint their dazzling array of colors.

Well versed in everything from Chris Cornell to Kavinsky, the sonic vision shared by the brothers eschews contemporary electronic influences in favor of broader, deeper tastes including Zapp & Roger, Lettuce, and Amon Tobin. That wide-angle view of a century of popular music allows the Hills to remix Toto and The Dead—in the music you can hear reverence for the giants of the past, all the while producing wildly futuristic tunes for the masses to dig now.

When the pendulum swung as far as it could away from live instrumentation to laptops, The Floozies rose up to the challenge, swinging as hard as they could in the other direction with neck-snapping, knee-breaking funk so dirty that the gatekeepers stood up, wiped themselves off, and took notice. A bold live show full of sonic exploration and unbreakably deep pocket grooves has landed the brothers on stage with luminaries of the jam world Umphrey’s McGee as readily as electronic elites STS9 and Big Gigantic. Sold out shows across the Country, huge festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, High Sierra, Summercamp, Wakarusa, Camp Bisco, Summerset, Bumbershoot, and headlining Red Rocks shows have continued to cement the duo’s ascent.

The Floozies are bringing the funk back, and they’re right on time.


SunSquabi

official band site »

There’s a place, deep in the cosmos, where jam bands and electronic dance music intersect with rhythm-driven funk. You’ll feel like you’re floating here but not lost completely to the atmospheric elements. Instead, you’re tethered to an avant-garde spaceship with Colorado-based SunSquabi on the frequency. This cosmic wonderland is a melting pot of a variety of musical genres and it represents the future of music.

A three-piece suit - SunSquabi has been catching the eyes and ears of music fans around the world with their ever-evolving sound in the studio and on the live stage. SunSquabi has gained national attention for their unique way of producing music. The band’s live show can be described as an ‘Electronic Hydro Funk Experience’ that is different every single time out. SunSquabi continues to break down and analyze the expectations of what a “Live-Electronic” band should be. The band unveiled their newest album ‘Instinct’ in January of 2019. The 10 track LP finds the band at their highest peak as they have been dedicated to the metamorphosis of capturing elements in their live performances in the studio as improvisational jams have been fleshed out into full-blown songs and staples in their repertoire.

Combining the talents of Kevin Donohue (guitars/keys/production) Josh Fairman (bassist/synth) and Chris Anderson (drums). This project is a disciplined and structured group. It takes a seasoned musician to stay in the pocket for the sake of building well-developed lines and climaxes. To do that seamlessly requires patience and skill. “It’s kinda like breathing, honestly. We can communicate directly with each other both verbally and non-verbally, onstage and off.” That connection will take the music collectively where we all want to go.” – Kevin Donohue


Defunk

official band site »

Hailing from Calgary, Canada, Defunk has taken bass music to a whole new level. Most popularly known for his attention of bringing elements of funk, jazz and blues into heavy bass music, he constantly strives to develop sounds within dance music. Armed with a keyboard and drumkit, he brings live instruments into his performance, ensuring every show is a beautiful blend of well orchestrated track selection and improvisation.


 
Melvin Seals & JGB
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Mar
18

Melvin Seals & JGB



Wednesday Mar 18|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Melvin Seals & JGB

official band site »

Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. Melvin is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Melvin spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become "Jam Band Music". From blues to funk to rock to jazz, Melvin Seals serves up a tasty mix with a little R&B and gospel thrown in to spice things up.

Melvin and JGB bring an intuitive, expressive style, soul, spontaneity and remarkable chops to the table. John Kadlecik on lead guitar and vocal duties, John-Paul McLean's savory bass, Pete Lavezzoli’s hearty drums and, of course, a heapin' helpin' of the wizard's magic on Hammond B-3 Organ and keyboards. Along with Lady Chi & Mary-eL on back-up vocals, the result is a most satisfying blend of natural organic grooves that challenges genre boundaries. Their chemistry is the focus from which they create a spontaneous and high art where the sky is the limit musically. They offer an exciting, often psychedelic musical journey that changes nightly and keeps the audience dancing and smiling (and some staring in amazement) for hours.

Adding his rock-gospel-soul-rhythm and blues touch with his funky style of playing, no wonder Jerry nicknamed him "Master of the Universe". Melvin continues to treat music lovers to his unique brand of melodic flavor with JGB. Come see and hear for yourself! MELVIN SEALS & JGB:
Melvin Seals - Hammond B3 Organ, Keyboards & Vocals
John Kadlecik - Electric Guitar & Lead Vocals
John-Paul McLean - Bass
Pete Lavezzoli - Drums
Lady Chi & Mary-eL - Backup Vocals



 
Railroad Earth
Kyle Tuttle Band | @9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
20

Railroad Earth

Kyle Tuttle Band


Friday Mar 20|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Railroad Earth

official band site »


CLICK HERE FOR 2-NIGHT PASSES


There’s a great scene in The Last Waltz – the documentary about The Band’s final concert – where director Martin Scorsese is discussing music with drummer/singer/mandolin player Levon Helm. Helm says, “If it mixes with rhythm, and if it dances, then you’ve got a great combination of all those different kinds of music: country, bluegrass, blues music, show music…”

To which Scorsese, the inquisitive interviewer, asks, “What’s it called, then?”

“Rock & roll!”

Clearly looking for a more specific answer, but realizing that he isn’t going to get one, Marty laughs. “Rock & roll…” Well, that’s the way it is sometimes: musicians play music, and don’t necessarily worry about where it gets filed. It’s the writers, record labels, managers, etc., who tend to fret about what “kind” of music it is.

And like The Band, the members of Railroad Earth aren’t losing sleep about what “kind” of music they play – they just play it. When they started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. As Railroad Earth violin/vocalist Tim Carbone recalls, “All of us had been playing in various projects for years, and many of us had played together in different projects. But this time, we found ourselves all available at the same time.”

Songwriter/lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer continues, “When we started, we only loosely had the idea of getting together and playing some music. It started that informally; just getting together and doing some picking and playing. Over a couple of month period, we started working on some original songs, as well as playing some covers that we thought would be fun to play.”

Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and – to the band’s surprise – they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they’d even played their first gig. This prompted them to quickly go in and record five more songs; the ten combined tracks of which made up their debut album, “The Black Bear Sessions.”

That was the beginning of Railroad Earth’s journey: since those early days, they’ve gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live one called, “Elko.” They’ve also amassed a huge and loyal fanbase who turn up to support them in every corner of the country, and often take advantage of the band’s liberal taping and photo policy. But Railroad Earth bristle at the notion of being lumped into any one “scene.” Not out of animosity for any other artists: it’s just that they don’t find the labels very useful. As Carbone points out, “We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we’re definitely not a bluegrass or country band, which sometimes leaves music writers confused as to how to categorize us. We’re essentially playing rock on acoustic instruments.”

Ultimately, Railroad Earth’s music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. As mandolin/bouzouki player John Skehan points out, “Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the song. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them.” Sheaffer continues: “The songs are our focus, our focal point; it all starts right there. Anything else just comments on the songs and gives them color. Some songs are more open than others. They ‘want’ to be approached that way – where we can explore and trade musical ideas and open them up to different territories. But sometimes it is what the song is about.”

So: they can jam with the best of them and they have some bluegrass influences, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). What kind of music is it then? Mandolin/vocalist John Skehan offers this semi-descriptive term: “I always describe it as a string band, but an amplified string band with drums.” Tim Carbone takes a swing: “We’re a Country & Eastern band! ” Todd Sheaffer offers “A souped-up string band? I don’t know. I’m not good at this.” Or, as a great drummer/singer/mandolin player with an appreciation for Americana once said: “Rock & roll!”


Kyle Tuttle Band

official band site »

International Banjo Champion Kyle Tuttle is shredding his way through the jamgrass scene. Since moving to Nashville in 2012 Kyle has shared the stage with many epic performers, most notably as a member of the Jeff Austin Band for 3 years. Kyle has also worked closely with Jamgrass legends Larry Keel, Travelin’ McCourys, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Billy Strings, and Railroad Earth. In addition to being seen around the jamgrass circuit, Kyle is a studio musician in Nashville, and recently produced the Chain Station album ‘Backroads’.


 
Railroad Earth
Kyle Tuttle Band | @9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
21

Railroad Earth

Kyle Tuttle Band


Saturday Mar 21|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Railroad Earth

official band site »


CLICK HERE FOR 2-NIGHT PASSES


There’s a great scene in The Last Waltz – the documentary about The Band’s final concert – where director Martin Scorsese is discussing music with drummer/singer/mandolin player Levon Helm. Helm says, “If it mixes with rhythm, and if it dances, then you’ve got a great combination of all those different kinds of music: country, bluegrass, blues music, show music…”

To which Scorsese, the inquisitive interviewer, asks, “What’s it called, then?”

“Rock & roll!”

Clearly looking for a more specific answer, but realizing that he isn’t going to get one, Marty laughs. “Rock & roll…” Well, that’s the way it is sometimes: musicians play music, and don’t necessarily worry about where it gets filed. It’s the writers, record labels, managers, etc., who tend to fret about what “kind” of music it is.

And like The Band, the members of Railroad Earth aren’t losing sleep about what “kind” of music they play – they just play it. When they started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. As Railroad Earth violin/vocalist Tim Carbone recalls, “All of us had been playing in various projects for years, and many of us had played together in different projects. But this time, we found ourselves all available at the same time.”

Songwriter/lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer continues, “When we started, we only loosely had the idea of getting together and playing some music. It started that informally; just getting together and doing some picking and playing. Over a couple of month period, we started working on some original songs, as well as playing some covers that we thought would be fun to play.”

Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and – to the band’s surprise – they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they’d even played their first gig. This prompted them to quickly go in and record five more songs; the ten combined tracks of which made up their debut album, “The Black Bear Sessions.”

That was the beginning of Railroad Earth’s journey: since those early days, they’ve gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live one called, “Elko.” They’ve also amassed a huge and loyal fanbase who turn up to support them in every corner of the country, and often take advantage of the band’s liberal taping and photo policy. But Railroad Earth bristle at the notion of being lumped into any one “scene.” Not out of animosity for any other artists: it’s just that they don’t find the labels very useful. As Carbone points out, “We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we’re definitely not a bluegrass or country band, which sometimes leaves music writers confused as to how to categorize us. We’re essentially playing rock on acoustic instruments.”

Ultimately, Railroad Earth’s music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. As mandolin/bouzouki player John Skehan points out, “Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the song. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them.” Sheaffer continues: “The songs are our focus, our focal point; it all starts right there. Anything else just comments on the songs and gives them color. Some songs are more open than others. They ‘want’ to be approached that way – where we can explore and trade musical ideas and open them up to different territories. But sometimes it is what the song is about.”

So: they can jam with the best of them and they have some bluegrass influences, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). What kind of music is it then? Mandolin/vocalist John Skehan offers this semi-descriptive term: “I always describe it as a string band, but an amplified string band with drums.” Tim Carbone takes a swing: “We’re a Country & Eastern band! ” Todd Sheaffer offers “A souped-up string band? I don’t know. I’m not good at this.” Or, as a great drummer/singer/mandolin player with an appreciation for Americana once said: “Rock & roll!”


Kyle Tuttle Band

official band site »

International Banjo Champion Kyle Tuttle is shredding his way through the jamgrass scene. Since moving to Nashville in 2012 Kyle has shared the stage with many epic performers, most notably as a member of the Jeff Austin Band for 3 years. Kyle has also worked closely with Jamgrass legends Larry Keel, Travelin’ McCourys, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Billy Strings, and Railroad Earth. In addition to being seen around the jamgrass circuit, Kyle is a studio musician in Nashville, and recently produced the Chain Station album ‘Backroads’.


 
ALO
Ben Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose) | @Union Stage | view more info »
Apr
1

ALO

Ben Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose)


Wednesday Apr 1|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


ALO

official band site »

California’s ALO will be releasing their second EP of a series, Creatures, Vol. 2: Weave, on January 10th, 2020. The first EP, Creatures, Vol. 1: Spark, was released earlier this Summer on Brushfire Records. As a sneak preview, the first track from Weave, “Baby Blind Spot”, is available on all digital services.

Weave features four new tracks by founding members Zach Gill (keys, vocals), Dan "Lebo" Lebowitz (guitars, vocals) and Steve Adams (bass, vocals), as well as the band's newest member, Ezra Lipp on drums.

As with the first EP, the new release was engineered and mixed by long-time ALO collaborators Dave Simon-Baker and Mike Cresswell, with additional recording done by the band at home studios. The ongoing series tracks the development of the new lineup with Lipp, while still maintaining that familiar ALO sound. Old school listeners have been raving about the band’s live sets at recent festivals (High Sierra Music Festival, Camp Deep End), and Weave has bottled that energy well. The band can’t wait for fans to hear the new songs. Gill explains, “There are a whole lot of blind spots in our collective sphere of human awareness. Sometimes we crash right into them. Sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it’s comedic… hopefully it’s at least educational.“

ALO is also excited to announce their 14th annual Tour D’Amour. The first leg will include headlining shows in California, as well as 2 co-headlining nights with Twiddle in the Pacific Northwest. These dates have been added to a tour schedule that includes a previously announced co-headlining show with Leftover Salmon at the Warfield in San Francisco on March 7th, as well as 2 sets at Winter Wondergrass in Steamboat Springs, CO. Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose will support on the newly announced headline dates.


Ben Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose)

official band site »

Northern California native Ben Morrison has been compared to a young Kris Kristofferson, a male counterpoint to Amy Winehouse, and Chunky Spicy Peanut Butter. He has spent the last ten years touring the world with The Brothers Comatose, San Francisco’s beloved folk/bluegrass band formed by Ben and his brother Alex Morrison.

His band The Brothers Comatose have performed at such venerated festivals as High Sierra, Merlefest, Mountain Stage, Winnipeg Folk Fest (Canada), Port Fairy Folk Fest (Australia), Outside Lands & Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and has traveled through China with the State Department’s American Music Abroad program.

Currently, Morrison is touring as a solo artist while working on his debut LP. He is employing musical friends of all sorts to create a full band representation of his songs. Morrison will continue to work with his bandmates in The Brothers Comatose as he simultaneously carves a path all his own.


 
Dumpstaphunk
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Apr
1

Dumpstaphunk



Wednesday Apr 1|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Dumpstaphunk

official band site »

Dumpstaphunk stands out among New Orleans' best as one of the funkiest bands to ever arise from the Crescent City. Born on the Jazz & Heritage Festival stage, and descended from Neville family bloodlines, these soldiers of funk ignite a deep, gritty groove that dares listeners not to move. Their performances combine ingenious musicianship and complex funk and jazz arrangements with soulful melodies that are simple enough for anyone to enjoy. In Big Easy tradition, dueling baselines from Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III set off one of the dirtiest rhythm sections on the planet, while Ivan Neville lights up the Hammond B3 keys and cousin Ian Neville's funky guitar riffs send the groove into overdrive. The band recently welcomed their newest member, Alvin Ford Jr. to the quintet, a New Orleans born and raised powerhouse drummer. Dumpstaphunk tosses around lead vocals and four-part harmonies the way Sly & the Family Stone did, but with three studio albums under their belt, Dumpstaphunk stands on the merit of their own material. Songs like "Dancin' To The Truth" off their latest record, Dirty Word (July 30, 2013, Louisiana Red Hot Records), offer an escape into the funky sublime, sharing the true spirit of New Orleans with every note.



 
Cris Jacobs Band
@Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
Apr
3

Cris Jacobs Band



Friday Apr 3|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Union Craft Brewing|get directions »
1700 West 41st Street
Baltimore, MD


Cris Jacobs Band

official band site »

When Cris Jacobs began dreaming about a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Dust to Gold, he realized early on he'd have to do things differently this time around. His life had changed drastically since writing those songs: he'd toured extensively and attracted a legion of new, devoted fans; he'd come off the road into a world, with its divisive rhetoric and troubling headlines, he no longer recognized; and, most importantly, he'd gotten married and had his first child. Things had changed, and Jacobs had, too.

Color Where You Are is the work of an artist at an exciting new stage in his life and career, ready to use his talents to share a little beauty with the loved ones and fans who have already given so much to him. The title nods to Jacobs' experience writing the album, which, as he puts it, he had to do "between tours, coming home, changing diapers, fixing things around the house.... You name it." He no longer had the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike, so he colored where he was.

"It was a new discipline for me and a new level of focus that I think brought out the best work," he explains. "I feel like I grew up a little bit. There are people in my life who I truly care about and things in the world I feel deeply about. That really pushed me in a stronger direction and forced me to feel things on an honest level."

Opening track "Painted Roads," with its soulful groove and clever arrangement, is the perfect encapsulation of just how far Jacobs has come since releasing Dust to Gold. Jacobs is self-assured and confident in his soulful, infectious vocal, while his lyrical craftsmanship shows Jacobs to be a thoughtful songwriter who continuously strives to grow and evolve.

"It's about choosing to live in the present, and see the everyday details of the world, rather than postponing living or paying attention in hopes of some distant prize or destination," Jacobs says of "Painted Roads." "We get so caught up in 'success' and ambition, and are so goal-oriented, that we sometimes lose sight of the beauty in the everyday. 'Color where you are' is the notion of creating beauty now, no matter the circumstance."

"Painted Roads" was one of the first songs Jacobs and the band (who co-produced the album together) recorded for Color Where You Are, with his band mates taking Jacobs' original Tom Petty-inspired arrangement and giving it an off-kilter, syncopated groove. For the first time, Jacobs wrote the bulk of the album's songs in the studio, camping out at Richmond's Montrose Studios to flesh out "germs and ideas that had been floating around" with band members Todd Herrington (bass), Dusty Ray Simmons (drums/percussion) and Jonathan Sloane (guitar).

"I booked the studio time and put a gun to my head and that sometimes works," Jacobs says. "In this case it did. It feels like a specific time period and specific vibe and emotional space that came through in all of these songs. It was a really organic process."

While life as a family man changed Jacobs' perspective (and schedule), current events also had a profound impact on Jacobs' songwriting, with commentary on social and political issues finding its way into tracks like "Afterglow" and "Under the Big Top." Color Where You Are is a hopeful affair, though, with Jacobs employing thoughtful criticism and messages of empowerment instead of wallowing or ruminating.

"The political climate is causing a different sort of energy and angst in me that’s never been there before," he explains. "It’s not a political album by any means, but those forces out there certainly dictated a lot of the writing on this record."

On "Afterglow," Jacobs searches for optimism and healing in trying times. His emotional vocal is buoyed by a passionate, swelling performance from the band, making the track one of Color Where You Are's most poignant moments. "It's about the hope that after the storm we are currently trying to survive in, we will see true light like never before," Jacobs says. "That the constant threats to our foundations will cause us to examine and strengthen them, and come out the other side with stronger hearts and clearer vision. 'There will come horses, there will come voices' -- that we will be forced to show our true hand like never before because of our dire need to defend it."

Elsewhere, on "Under the Big Top," Jacobs channels swampy, gritty rock influences to shine a light on narrow-mindedness and lazy thinking. Crunchy riffs and a fat bass groove make the track, despite its heady message, one of the album's many songs you can't help but move to.

"'Under the Big Top' is commentary on society’s evolution into gullible, easily distracted, lazy-mindedness," Jacobs says. “'Pretty lights junkie like a moth to candle,' always distracted by the brightest, loudest, biggest, rather than remembering how to seek for ourselves and find truth and love. We instead over-consume and are given every opportunity to do so. What we end up with is a circus of sorts, with tricksters and hucksters and loud mouths with no real value taking up all of our attention and ruling us, because we are too easily manipulated."

Grooves abound on Color Where You Are, as on standout track "Rooster Coop," which finds Jacobs and the band sniffing around the henhouse over greasy slide guitar, a deep, deep pocket and a truly funky bass line. "All I knew was that I wanted to write a song that merged country and funk," Jacobs says of "Roostr Coop." "We started out with the main groove of the tune and the first line that popped into my head was, 'There’s something funky in the barnyard.' So naturally, I wrote a song about a scandalous love tryst amongst farm animals."

Spanning rock, folk, soul and funk and drawing from inspiration that runs the gamut from the henhouse to the White House, Color Where You Are is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Cris Jacobs as a songwriter, musician and bandleader. It's the work of a devoted father and an empathetic member of the human race. More than that, it's a reminder that there's beauty to be found everywhere, if you just take a moment to color where you are.

"What am I trying to do with my music?" Jacobs muses. "The simple answer is this: I’m trying to connect with people. To express real-life human emotions and make people feel things. To connect my love of music with my love of writing and conjure up all of the joy and emotions that those things bring to me. To hopefully have people walk away feeling lighter or happier or more inspired to go do something after listening... I want to create a body of work that my family will be proud of one day, and to show that I had compassion to the human condition and wasn’t just a self-indulgent show off."



 
Papadosio
@Union Stage | view more info »
Apr
3

Papadosio



Friday Apr 3|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Papadosio

official band site »

Falling somewhere between rock, jazz, and electronic mayhem we find Papadosio striving to create music that is strangely familiar, and calls all walks of humanity to bask in a unique experience celebrating the one constant in an ever-changing world: music.

Papadosio has packed out Red Rocks Amphitheater for headlining shows the past two years running and now they bring their music to smaller stages on a tour of more intimate performances. Characterized as a dynamic progressive rock band, Papadosio creates the sound of new-age technology merging with mesmerizing instrumentation. Between the unfamiliar melodic sound and the element of production, their live show will leave you wanting more.



 
Papadosio
@Union Stage | view more info »
Apr
4

Papadosio



Saturday Apr 4|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Papadosio

official band site »

Falling somewhere between rock, jazz, and electronic mayhem we find Papadosio striving to create music that is strangely familiar, and calls all walks of humanity to bask in a unique experience celebrating the one constant in an ever-changing world: music.

Papadosio has packed out Red Rocks Amphitheater for headlining shows the past two years running and now they bring their music to smaller stages on a tour of more intimate performances. Characterized as a dynamic progressive rock band, Papadosio creates the sound of new-age technology merging with mesmerizing instrumentation. Between the unfamiliar melodic sound and the element of production, their live show will leave you wanting more.



 
Pimps Of Joytime
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Apr
10

Pimps Of Joytime



Friday Apr 10|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Pimps Of Joytime

official band site »

Pimps of Joytime puts the needle in the groove with its fresh collection of 10 funk anthems ready to put a smile on faces across the globe. An intersection of Brooklyn’s indie music scene, New Orleans funk and San Francisco soul, the Pimps’ new studio release Third Wall Chronicles (Sugar Road Records: March 24, 2017) unites us around a common bond of Peace, Love and Music. The apex of positivity and a solace from the daily grind shines bright as the Pimps of Joytime throw the dance party of the year on Third Wall Chronicles and everyone is invited!

Brian Jay, Pimps of Joytime band leader, is no stranger to working with A-List talent in the studio as he’s produced albums for a “who’s who” of New Orleans heavyweights, including such stars as Cyril Neville (The Neville Brothers), James Andrews, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (The World’s Most Recorded Drummer), and Corey Henry (Galactic). He’s shared the stage with Art Neville, George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters), Eddie Bo, and he’s currently working on an album with GRAMMY Award-nominated blues artist Cedric Burnside (grandson of legendary blues musician R.L. Burnside). Brian Jay co-produces Third Wall Chronicles with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Co-writers on the album also include Anthony Cole (JJ Grey & Mofro), Nappy G (Turntables on the Hudson), DJ Black Pearl, and Chancey Yearwood.

Third Wall Chronicles is the Pimps Of Joytime’s fourth full-length studio album and features standout performances by fellow Pimps band members Mayteana Morales (vocals/percussion), Kimberly Dawson (vocals), David Bailis (bass/sampler) and John Staten (drums). Pimps of Joytime will headline venerable West Coast venues in February and March 2017 before heading to the East Coast for their national album release event at The Bowery Ballroom on March 25, 2017.



 
Goose
@The 8x10 | view more info »
sold out
Apr
19

Goose



Sunday Apr 19|doors 7:30 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000
Sold Out


Goose

official band site »

The atmosphere Goose radiates could be likened to a keg party in the woods on a summer night with all of your closest friends. While behind this bonfire-lit gathering, further into the forest, there is a deeper mystery awaiting those looking for it.

The quartet, based in Norwalk, CT, is comprised of Rick Mitarotonda (vocals, guitar), Peter Anspach (vocals, keyboards/guitar), Trevor Weeks (bass), and Ben Atkind (drums). Goose’s music is the culmination of a rich history between friends of differing ages and experiences from the same small town in Connecticut, drawn together through a deep love of music and storytelling.

The band returned to the studio in 2019 for the first time since the 2016 debut LP, Moon Cabin, releasing three new singles, “All I Need”, “Time to Flee”, and “Butter Rum”. Mastered by Grammy Award winner, Emily Lazar, the singles exhibit a developed live band showcasing their studio voice. Following breakout performances at Resonance Music & Arts Festival, Domefest, Summer Camp Music Festival and The Peach Music Festival; the Goose is loose.



 
Ghost Of Paul Revere
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
May
2

Ghost Of Paul Revere



Saturday May 2|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Ghost Of Paul Revere

official band site »

"We grew up listening to Radiohead and the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd," says Griffin Sherry, guitarist/singer in The Ghost Of Paul Revere. "Everyone assumed we were a bluegrass band because we were playing these traditional instruments, but we weren’t writing traditional music. We were just writing songs with the instruments we had."

The result is a sound that the Portland, Maine-based band describes as "holler folk," not because it involves a lot of hollering, per se, but because it invokes the rich communal tradition of field hollers, with their call-and-response melodies, sing-along hooks, and densely layered harmonies. That sense of musical camaraderie is essential to everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, and nowhere is it more evident than their sophomore album, ''Monarch.'

The album builds on the success of the band's 2014 debut full-length, 'Believe,' and their 2015 EP, 'Field Notes Vol. 1,' which was recorded primarily in a single day at Converse's Rubber Tracks studio in Boston. The session was part of a prize package presented by the iconic Newport Folk Festival, which had invited the band to perform at the storied Rhode Island musical gathering earlier that year as part of a lineup featuring everyone from James Taylor and Jason Isbell to The Lone Bellow and Bela Fleck.

"The Monday before Newport we got a message saying to pack our bags and come on down," remembers Sherry. "We hadn't played much outside of Maine or started opening for any big acts yet at that point, and it was a hugely inspiring moment."

Word began to spread about the rowdy pickers from the north. The Boston Globe raved that they "create the type of music for which festivals are made," while No Depression said they "prove that superior roots music can come from anywhere," and Dispatch Magazine wrote that they possess not only "the chops, but the heart to reach their audience and leave an undeniable impression." Hitting listeners straight in the feelings has been the band's M.O. since its inception in 2011, and they've used their powerful stage show to convert the masses at every stop along their long and winding journey, which has included shared stages with artists like The Avett Brothers, The Travelin' McCourys, Brown Bird, The Revivalists, the Infamous Stringdusters, and more. The band sold out Port City Music Hall, Stone Mountain Arts Center, and the Strand Theater multiple times, won Best In Maine at the New England Music Awards, and capped off 2015 with an electrifying headline performance on New Year's Eve at Portland's State Theatre in front of 1,600 enraptured fans.

When it came time to record, 'Monarch,' though, the band knew they wanted to push the sonic envelope beyond the live-in-the-studio setup that had guided their previous efforts.

"Every other record has just been the three of us in a room with microphones until we got a take we liked," explains Sherry. "We approached this one differently. It was the first time we did a lot of arranging and writing in the studio. We decided we'd worry about learning how to present the songs live after we'd recorded everything instead of the other way around."

"It enabled us to get a lot more adventurous with our ideas," adds bassist/singer Sean McCarthy. "We wanted to do something new and explore where we could take the sound while still staying true to who we are."

The album opens with "Little Bird," a playful, infectious foot -stomper that blends blues and soul and roots and perfectly reflects the communal, inviting nature of the band's music.

Banjo player Max Davis takes over the songwriting and lead vocal duties for "Avalanche," an emotional anthem featuring one of the album's most lush arrangements along with driving drums from special guest Tony McNaboe (Ray LaMontagne, Rustic Overtones), while "King's Road" finds the band expanding their sonic palette to include strings and electric guitar, and "Honey Please" channels 60's R&B and Motown through old-school folk instrumentation. At the core of everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, though, are their powerful, stop-you-dead-in -your-tracks harmonies. On songs like "Wild Child," "Welcome Home," and "Need Somebody," the band conjures up whole worlds of shimmering sonic beauty in the blending of their voices.

"The album follows this arc where it starts very bright-eyed and optimistic and then hits a turning point where it gets really dark," says Sherry, "like a relationship that starts beautifully and then grows sour. As we started to build the record and expand the sound, it had a place sonically and emotionally.”

By the end of the record, the song cycle reveals that traveling through the darkness is in fact a necessary step for positive growth. 'Monarch' closer "Chrysalides" evokes the imagery of metamorphosis, a transformation that represents rebirth and new beginnings.

"It's about what happens in that moment of metamorphosis and change," says Davis. "I was interested in combining different words into a new term that could capture that feeling, so 'Chrysalides' is a play on chrysalis. This was one of the first times that I allowed myself to bite into and really take advantage of that space in the writing."

If there's one takeaway from 'Monarch,' it's that change is inevitable. Lovers, families, friends, instruments, sounds; they all transform with time. The key to thriving and surviving in a challenging world is to embrace those transformations, to accept them not as endings but as fresh starts. What comes next? Only time can tell. One thing's for sure, though: by opening their hearts and souls with such artistic grace and humility, The Ghost of Paul Revere have created a rich, rewarding, passionate community, one that they can count on to join them for every step of the remarkable journey that lies ahead.



 
Liz Cooper & The Stampede
@The 8x10 | view more info »
May
15

Liz Cooper & The Stampede



Friday May 15|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Liz Cooper & The Stampede

official band site »

There is a collective energy in Nashville, one that Liz Cooper has poured herself into for the past six years. Liz remarks that the energy in Nashville today is akin to that of Greenwich Village in 1960s New York or the Laurel Canyon days in the 1960s and 1970s and is a product of a collaborative approach to music and art. This community has allowed Liz to be a part of many magically haphazard nights, where the movers and shakers of the Nashville music world, such as Okey Dokey, Becca Mancari, Rayland Baxter, Desert Noises, Morning Teleportation, Erin Rae, Brittany Howard, Cage the Elephant, Michael Nau and many more converge to make music and art and lose track of time. Her latest album is a product of that pulsating energy in Nashville that has had some of the greatest influence in her work.

Window Flowers is the culmination of a year where Liz made a purposeful effort to do something creative every day. Whether it was directly related to music or not, this creative process challenged and inspired her to continually put herself in new situations and pushed her to become a better songwriter and guitar player. The tentative newcomer that is present in her early recordings was all but gone in the making of the album. Her absorption into the collaborative community is evidenced by guest appearances on Window Flowers including Will Brown (Michael Nau) on the keys, Michael and Ben Ford (Airpark) bgv’s/ guitar and songwriting, Gianni Gibson (Future Thieves) percussion, Leah Blevins on BGV’s, Emily Kohavi (Kacey Musgraves, Eminem etc.) on violin and Steve Dawson on pedal steel. Liz Cooper & The Stampede and their guests spent five days tracking Window Flowers at Welcome to 1979 in Nashville, Tennessee. TJ Elias, who co-produced the album with the band, sparked the relationship by approaching Liz one night backstage at The Ryman Auditorium after hearing her songs through a mutual friend and musician, Cody Huggins.

Window Flowers is a collection of music that deals with the weight of mundanity, and politely tells it to fuck off. When listening to “Sleepyhead” you hear remembrances of her early Nashville recordings, mixed with the powerful assertion that this is Liz Cooper, a force that will continue to shape and mold her own course of creating music. Whether you see Liz Cooper & The Stampede in a dive bar or a theater venue, you feel like you are being transported to another time and place. People often remark that her music takes them back to the 60s and 70s, when rock-n-roll felt alive, and bigger than oneself. The album will be released on Sleepyhead Records via Thirty Tigers (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) August 10, 2018.

Coming off their busiest year to-date, including playing Austin City Limits Festival for the first time in 2017, Liz Cooper & The Stampede have spent the first few months of 2018 touring with Lord Huron, Deer Tick, Rayland Baxter, Ron Gallo and Blitzen Trapper. The band will continue touring this year with Houndmouth, Tyler Childers and will play Firefly Festival and LouFest.

As Liz shakes her tambourine, hair falling in her face, donning a floral jumpsuit, it is hard to believe she identifies as a shy person. “I wanted to grow as a human and a musician so I had to quickly get over being painfully shy. I moved to Nashville as a scared and unconfident 19 year-old so I had to continually challenge myself and put myself out there. Now, as a 25 year-old I feel like I’ve grown so much confidence. Of course I will always be awkward, but I’m learning to love that. What a journey it’s been and will continue to be; definitely a hot puzzle. As I grow, my music will grow. Music is helping me figure out who I am and what the hell my life is all about and at the end of the day it just makes me happy. Isn’t that what everyone is trying to figure out how to be?”



 
Satsang
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
May
16

Satsang



Saturday May 16|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Satsang

official band site »

A Sanskrit word meaning “in the company of truth.”

It’s a beautiful moment when music from the heart and poetry from the soul truly connects with its intended audience. For Satsang lead singer and songwriter Drew McManus, that moment occurred on a 2018 tour through the Midwest, Northeast and Pacific Coast in which two-thirds of the band’s dates sold out. That’s when the truth hits home for McManus that his soulful, reggae-infused blend of folk-rock and melodic hip hop and its message of strength, growth and resilience is his testimony to the world – and the world is finally listening.

Satsang, in its few short years, has headlined or shared the stage with the likes of Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall, Wookiefoot and many more. The quartet is currently enjoying the success of its 2019 release, Kulture, a collection of songs representing the culmination of all the band’s influences.

“In Kulture, you can hear influences from Motown to 90’s hip hop to Tom Petty, but none of it was really intentional,” McManus says. “It was just me finally finding my sound. It’s authentic. It’s the first thing we’ve made that feels 100 percent like us.”

McManus spent most of his life trying to distance himself from his troubled upbringing in Des Moines and Chicago and its cycle of violence, abuse and addiction. McManus, though, would find his peace amid family in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, an oasis that allows him a warm hearth to recharge from the rigors of the road and practice his other passions – painting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and social activism.

“Home is my heart,” McManus says. “When I’m not on tour, I’m a stay-at-home dad with four kids – one of them a baby. My music is the self-reflection of that and the touring is the mirror.”

During a month-long backpacking trip in the Himalaya Mountains in 2015, McManus realizes that as part of his recovery from addiction, he must share his life journey in poetry and song to help other lost souls. Songs of surrender, vulnerability and perseverance pour out of him, forming the foundation of Satsang’s 2016 debut, The Story of You, highlighted by "I Am", a fan-favorite hymn of self-love that has surpassed two million listens on Spotify.

“I almost wrote those songs accidentally, not immediately understanding their connection with each other,” McManus says. “Writing I Am was when it all clicked for me – that regardless of my childhood, I was meant to do this.”

Satsang’s follow up, 2017’s Pyramid(s), quickly hit #1 on the Billboard reggae charts and #2 on the iTunes charts, while In Between Another Blink, a six-song EP released in late 2017, also cracked the iTune Top 20 chart. Much of the music on both were written as Satsang toured non-stop in 2016, sometimes before sparse audiences. The songs became a testament to the struggle of sticking to a purpose and believing in the result.

“Pyramid(s) is about building a foundation and not rushing through the difficult parts of growth, accepting that you must learn from all the lessons between the start and finish of the race,” McManus says. “It helped that a lot of my friends who were doing well-playing music during this time kept saying, ‘You got this, man, you got this.’ ”

And then, all those shows sold out …



 
Anders Osborne
@The Hamilton | view more info »
May
30

Anders Osborne



Saturday May 30|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Anders Osborne

official band site »

At one point on his 2019 album, Buddha and The Blues, Anders Osborne sings, “Oh, it’s a miracle we still care. Oh, it’s so wonderful we’re still here. We’re still here!”

He’s not going anywhere either…

Osborne’s six-string virtuosity, inventive musicality, and poetic songcraft underpin an ever-expanding three-decade catalog celebrated by fans and critics alike. As a sought-after studio talent, his writing resounds through Keb Mo’s GRAMMY® Award-winning Slow Down, Tim McGraw’s number one “Watch The Wind Blow By,” and covers by Brad Paisley, Jonny Lang, Edwin McCain, Aaron Neville, and more. His output live and in the studio spans working with everyone from Eric Church, Toots and the Maytals, and John Scofield to The Meters, North Mississippi Allstars, and Galactic. His extensive touring history encompasses gigs, collaborations, and performances alongside everyone from Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, and Stanton Moore to The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Jackie Greene. Not to mention, he lights up the screen on an episode of the HBO hit Treme. Plus, he has garnered acclaim from USA Today, Guitar Player, Relix, Offbeat, and more.

He also gives back whenever possible via the “Send Me A Friend” foundation and through writing music for New Orleans Children’s Museum. A pair of 2016 albums—Spacedust & Ocean Views and Flowerbox—maintained his prolific output at a record pace. Now, 2019’s Buddha and the Blues references the full scope of the creative and personal duality at the heart of everything this maverick does.

“I came up with the title early on, so I knew what the vibe of the record should be,” he explains. “Buddha and the Blues means the duality of our existence.”

As Osborne crafted the music, he pondered an existential struggle we all face. On the one hand, humans do good, but it’s under the expectation of personal gratification. On the other hand, they desire success and wealth, but they attempt to maintain an appearance of humility. This constant push-and-pull led him to write about “not getting lost in a sunken path or idolizing an intangible future, but instead to be present in this moment and to be fully alive.” These thoughts filtered into the words, especially.

He goes on, “The lyrics are supposed to be true, conversational, and uplifting with clean, classic, and thumpin’ sounds. That’s what I set out to accomplish.”

In order to do so, he joined forces with “a world-class ensemble” of Waddy Wachtel [guitar], Bob Glaub [bass], Benmont Tench [keys], Windy Wagner-Cromwell [background vocals], and Chad Cromwell [guitar]. Chad also assumed the role of producer. Like “a big brother” to Osborne, the producer and artist leveraged years of friendship, trust, and creative kinship to “make a record [they] wanted to do for many years.”

“I didn’t have to push,” admits Chad. “It was his idea to let me ‘drive the bus,’ so to speak. That allowed him to focus on songs and his performances. The freer he is to write, play, and sing; the better the record. He really trusted me. To trust someone to help you make a record is an act of faith. It’s a big responsibility to make sure that happens. That’s a mighty thing Anders did, and I appreciate his trust. All signs pointed to this team, this time, and this music.”

The setting proved to be as instrumental as the players did. From the beginning, Osborne envisioned making the album in California, but not the big screen vision of Hollywood. It made perfect sense to zero in on a location just far enough from the city. Ojai felt perfect to siphon the soul of SoCal into wistful sun-soaked soundscapes. You can practically hear Ojai in the aural fabric of the album.

“The Southern California vibe was essential to the record,” Osborne continues. “Early on, Chad and I agreed it had to be tracked out there. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and we needed to go out there. You can hear the influence. It’s played with a gentle breeze and tight precision. Cutting it in Ojai was crucial to achieving the right atmosphere. I usually write with a location in mind, so it helps me stay focused and guides me to craft a body of tunes rather than individual songs.”

That “body of tunes” kicks off with the dusty dynamics of “Alone.” In the pocket of a steady beat, the twang of clean guitar offsets his gruff delivery as the track unfurls towards a discordant guitar lead highlighted by organ.

“‘Alone’ was a meditative prose I wrote in my backyard,” he says. “It had a circular vibe to it, When I added the music, I wanted it to match the poem: a small word with an epic impression.” Elsewhere, “Escape” captures the tension prior to his California trip with its off-kilter groove and roots-y shuffle. A wail of slide guitar cuts through sunny strumming as an idyllic narrative unfolds on “Traveling with Friends.”

He adds, “I wrote ‘Traveling with Friends’ on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands while on vacation with my family. We had an amazing spot on top of a mountain overlooking a big part of the island, and I felt inspired and really grateful. I had a moment of relief from all of my searching and dissonance. I saw us all for what we are—beautiful, fragile, and in this tumultuous space trip all together.”

He crafted the perfect soundtrack to the trip with Buddha and The Blues, illuminating his own duality like never before. The message ultimately becomes clear in the music.

“Learn to choose,” he leaves off. “Be happy or continue suffering.”