Dec
22
Electirc Love Machine

all good news

 
Big Something & Too Many Zooz
Electirc Love Machine | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
22

Big Something & Too Many Zooz

Electirc Love Machine


Saturday Dec 22|doors 7:00 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.

Recently, 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.

On The Otherside, Big Something continues to build upon the post-apocalyptic peyote trip imagery from Tumbleweed, concluding the story of a nomad who has made it to the other side of his journey wandering through the night towards a desert sunrise. The album also showcases a different musical side of the band with a heavier, more focused and soulful collection of 8 songs including "Smoke Signal," and "Wildfire."

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


Too Many Zooz

official band site »

At the 2016 CMA Awards one sound burst from the stage like a thunderquake. As Beyoncé performed "Daddy Lessons" accompanied by Dixie Chicks and Too Many Zooz -- the New York City trio which originally recorded the song on the star's Lemonadealbum -- TMZ brought the sound of the street to Beyoncé's glittering musical declaration. Glued to their smart phones, tablets, and TVs, America beheld Too Many Zooz' innovative polyglot style.

Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks sashayed the song's verses in a rollicking country vibe, but as the performance neared midpoint, a tall, burly baritone saxophonist with a luminous white pompadour took the stage like a bar-walking gladiator. TMZ's Leo P danced, shimmied, and shaked, matching Beyoncé move for move, while blowing growling saxophone notes that infused urban funk to "Daddy Lessons"' two-beat country jig. TMZ trumpeter Matt Doe and drummer King of Sludge performed on the stage's backline as a blaring brass line raised "Daddy Lessons"' intensity, followed by Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks slamming song's political theme home.

Too Many Zooz's saxophonist Pellegrino, trumpeter Matt Doe, and drummer King of Sludge held Nashville's Bridgestone Arena stage for mere minutes, but the same talent that moved Beyoncé to have the group record both "Daddy Lessons" and "Formation" on Lemonade has seen TMZ sell thousands of CDs and downloads, and inspired viral videos.

Too Many Zooz's manic music, dubbed "BrassHouse" by drummer King of Sludge, is an irresistible rocket that combines styles more diverse and far-flung than any international space station. As heard on the group's EPs -- F NOTE, Fanimals, Brasshouse Volume 1: Survival of the Flyest, The Internet, and the LP, Subway Gawdz -- Too Many Zooz creates a visceral smack-to-the-senses. TMZ's BrassHouse summons EDM, house, techno, and glitch, paired to the indigenous punch of Cuban, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Brazilian Carnival rhythms. TMZ's music is further heightened by the dancing and saxophone soloing prowess of Pellegrino, virtually a bionic Pepper Adams. Like Nortec Collective mashed with Daft Punk by way of a mad sonic scientist, Too Many Zooz has conquered New York City -- your headset's resistance is futile.

"We pride ourselves that nearly every person of every color, creed and background and upbringing can find something in our music to relate to," Matt Doe says. "Someone from Cuba can say 'I hear Cuban music in the cowbells.' Someone into death metal will enjoy it next to a grandmother who hears it as old swing music. Others hear Klezmer. Whatever people want to hear in our music they can seemingly find it."

Many New Yorkers discovered Too Many Zooz at the Union Square subway station, where the trio began busking in 2014. After one of TMZ's videos went viral on Reddit, creating almost a million fans, sales of the band's digital downloads and CD sales skyrocketed.

If TMZ's music wasn't already electrifying, Leo Pellegrino's dance moves, which spin like a Zoot-suit wearing swinger, add visual thrills to the band's musical mastery. A classically trained musician, Pellegrino began dancing as both expression and rebellion. What Beyoncé loved is now available to all.

"Horn players, especially baritone saxophone players, look so lame on stage!" Pellegrino notes. "I just watched an NBA half-time show and this band's horn players were killing my eyes. I wondered 'why does the horn have to be such a lame instrument visually?' I began dancing in the subway and people loved it. I realized that I had been brainwashed, all my teachers telling me not to move. I'd been told that was improper technique, but that became my key to success."

Too Many Zooz's songs are marvels of simplicity born of musical complexity. Pellegrino, Doe, and King of Sludge condense multiple -- what might be considered clashing styles -- into a riveting jackhammer brew. King of Sludge's staccato eighth-note rhythms performed on a unique bass drum/cowbell/jamblock/cymbal setup forms the music's gritty rhythmic bed. Matt Doe's trumpet provides melody and harmony, while Leo Pelligrino's saxophone follows rhythm directions and solo revelry.

"I don't like using standardized terms when describing our music," Matt explains. "We're all doing things that are out of the ordinary. I provide the synth sound you would hear in a dance track. Leo plays saxophone but he's also providing the bass sound you would hear in electronic music. When Leo solos, it's like a breakdown when the bass is the featured element of the band. I don't solo per se, but I am playing nearly the entire show. It doesn't make sense for me to play more!"

TMZ's seeds were formed when Indiana native King of Sludge, and Boston-born Pellegrino played in subway busking band, Drumadics. Fellow Manhattan School of Music classmate and Pittsburgh native Doe played in various ensembles with Pellegrino, the threesome eventually busking together by chance -- their chemistry sparking an instant bond.

"From the start, we were all bouncing off each other, listening to each other and not thinking too much," Doe says.

TMZ have collaborated with Galatic, Kreayshawn, Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, and, of course, Beyoncé.

"Knowing that Beyoncé enjoys our music on her own time?" ponders King of Sludge. "That's a great thing."

What's next for TMZ? The trio's upcoming EP will feature a rawer sound, the group returning to their original roots, and most likely, their original 14th Street subway station.

"When we began, it was just trumpet, saxophone and drums," Leo says. "Our first EP was pretty straight up, then we added production and guests and vocalists on SubwayGawdz. This next EP is back to our roots."

Does TMZ recommend the subway path to stardom?

"The subway, then videos and Beyoncé helped propel our popularity," Matt says. "The subway is a great promotional vehicle. There's nowhere else that you can reach such a wide demographic. If you want to get out and be seen and up your numbers, go to the subway. That's always part of our business plan."


Electirc Love Machine

official band site »

Electric Love Machine is a Future Wave/Space Disco quartet from Baltimore MD. Their style was born out of the Livetronica/Jam Band scene, and since it's inception has morphed into a musical powerhouse with masterful songwriting and roller coaster jams. Over the past five years their sound has evolved considerably while touching on the entire spectrum of human emotion; mixing the dark with the light, the pop with the jam, the disco with the metal, all while sprinkling retro, funky overtones throughout.

The band has gone through a few lineup changes but has stayed mainly comprised of Jon Wood on guitar and vocals, Jon Brady on keys and vocals, and Alex Lang on bass. The band has consistently played close to or more than 100 shows a year and has had a considerable amount of time to hone their craft. Their high energy performances are often accompanied by mind bending visuals by the incomparable Jack Thomas that complement the music and it’s driving improvisational nature.

"Love Deluxe", Electric Love Machine's second album, was released in April of 2017 to overwhelmingly positive reviews and is a culmination of the past few years of the band’s writing. "Xenofonex", the band's first studio effort was released in 2013 and contains many of the band’s classics. A live album titled "Res Hits Vol. 1" is being finalized and will be available for digital download in the near future as well as the first EP in a duology titled "Future Creatures Pt.1".


 
Kendall Street Company & The Vegabonds
@Union Stage | view more info »
Dec
28

Kendall Street Company & The Vegabonds



Friday Dec 28|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Kendall Street Company

official band site »

From late night jam sessions at the University of Virginia to the main stages of venues throughout the East Coast, the Company has broken out of the college bubble and into a world that loves to groove to a great live show. The band was founded in the early months of 2013 by guitarist/vocalist Louis Smith and saxophonist Andrew Drehoff. The duo had been playing together for some time in the greater Virginia Beach area, joined by a rotation of talented musicians who performed behind Louis as the Louis Smith Band. After moving to Charlottesville in late 2012 to attend the University of Virginia, the pair began putting together a group of student musicians, adding Brian Roy on bass/vocals and Ryan Wood on drums/percussion in early 2013. Since then, the band has added Andrew King on keyboards, Ben Laderberg on the electric guitar, and Jake Vanaman on saxophone.

Kendall Street Company performs regularly along the East Coast, maintaining a central presence around the state of Virginia. While the Company's music is influenced by a variety of musicians and styles, the group has been described as "psychedelic," "alternative," "jammy," "rock," "indie," and "ska". Their recent performance at the 2017 Lockn Music Festival was praised by Relix magazine as having "[raised] the crowd's energy with frontman Louis Smith and guitarist Ben Laderberg's acoustic/electric interplay and lively, technical breakdowns". It is not uncommon for guest performers to join the group on stage for extended jams.


The Vegabonds

official band site »

Following three European tours, four full-length albums, and a tour schedule packed with more festivals and venues than ever before, The Vegabonds are forging into their second decade spreading the gospel of pure New South Rock.

The quintet joins LA-based Blue Elan Records with the first album deal of their career. The new record, “V”, symbolizing their fifth release, will debut worldwide in January. Produced by Tom Tapley in Atlanta, The Vegabonds’ highly-anticipated release audibly illustrates their unconventional yet contagious self-titled genre of rock. With Americana, Country, and Rock influences, The Vegabonds’ sound is one that cannot be duplicated, manipulated, or pigeon-holed. After his work producing the band’s critically-acclaimed album “What We’re Made Of” and the “Long Haired Country Boy” single, Tapley’s execution of albums for Blackberry Smoke to Sugarland, Tyler Farr to Mastodon, highlights the best of The Vegabonds’ unique musicianship, vocals, lyrics and sound.

The Vegabonds give their fans a sensational performance with powerhouse guitar riffs and impactful songwriting night after night. Their hard work and unbridled talents have not gone unnoticed; the group has opened for such notable acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the late Gregg Allman, among others. Rousing performances at festivals like Peach Festival, Sweetwater 420, and Taste of Randolph, grew their notoriety nationwide. It’s no wonder that Live for Live Music has compared them to musical legends like My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes, calling them “a force to be reckoned with,” complete with “gorgeous harmonies and impressive instrumental skills making for a perfect combination.” The band got their start in 2009 by playing the college circuit across the Southeastern United States. Fronted by lead vocalist and songwriter Daniel Allen - with Richard Forehand (lead guitar/vocals), Paul Bruens (bass), Beau Cooper (keys/vocals), and Bryan Harris (drums) rounding out the quintet - their popularity quickly burgeoned to the point that they found their fans singing along word-for-word to their first hits like “Georgia Fire” and “American Eyes.” Through pure word of mouth, the group’s fan base grew rapidly, and the guys learned they had something distinctive with their eclectic mix of roots music and earnest songwriting.

Born in Alabama. Bred in Nashville. Seasoned by the Road. Celebrated the world over. Come let your hair down with The Vegabonds.



 
The Werks
Moogatu | @Union Stage | view more info »
Dec
29

The Werks

Moogatu


Saturday Dec 29|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


The Werks

official band site »

On their latest LP Magic, melodic visionaries The Werks transcend their funk rock roots while never losing their identity. Poignant songwriting and engaging improvisation come together on a record that showcases their maturation as a multidimensional group of uniquely creative musicians.

The virtuosic rhythm junkies of The Werks have released four highly acclaimed studio albums over the past ten years - Synapse (2009), The Werks (2012), Mr. Smalls Sessions EP (2014), and Inside a Dream (2015) - performed well over one thousand shows (including launching their own multi-day music festival The Werk Out), and released countless live recordings including last year’s Live at The Werk Out live album. In that time they’ve earned a devoted fan base across the world and reputation as one of the most energetic, compelling, and downright entertaining live acts in the business. They’ve developed a hard won confidence, and a willingness to fearlessly chart new sonic territory on Magic.

“This is our first truly multi-genre album” says Chris Houser. “Each track has its own unique vibe and sound. We didn’t write these songs to please people, we wrote them because this is what we hear when we turn off the outside and let the creativity flow.”

The songs on Magic started as sketches the band members crafted independently. Coming together in their sonic dojo The Werkspace, those seeds of groove were nurtured by the group, growing into fully wrought songs. “Our writing is collaborative,” explains Dan Shaw, “but starting with demos written individually gives each band member a chance to leave their fingerprint on a tune.”

The songwriting finished, the band decamped to Sonic Lounge in Grove City, Ohio. There lead engineer and producer Joe Viers (Blues Traveler, Twenty One Pilots) settled down to work with the studio’s legendary Amek/Neve 9098i mixing console. One of only thirteen in the world, Sonic Lounge’s was originally installed in Olympic Studios in London, England, where it served to document the unique creative mojo of Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and more.

Joining Viers were assistant engineers and producers Aaron Oakley and B.J. Davis, and the unstoppable horns of Columbus’ own Hoodoo Soul Band - Chris Young (trumpet), Kevin O’Neil (tenor), and Phil Clark (Baritone) – while Kenny Holmes, tour manager and right hand man, was the gaff tape that held it all together. Finally Columbus native and current Los Angeles, CA resident Brian Lucey (Train, Dr. Dog) mastered the record.

From those sessions emerged a rare jewel of a record; Magic is muse put to tape, a direct download of the creative spark. “This is a recording of the music that’s in our souls” explains Rob Chafin. “In a way, the past decade has been leading to this moment. We play and write together so seamlessly now, we’re able to channel the inspiration in our hearts out into our instruments, and come at this from a pure place.” Together, they have crafted a record where melodies take flight, dancing and twisting around the sonorous main of the tune itself. By fusing their spirited inventiveness to a core of immediately engaging songwriting, The Werks have truly performed a feat of modern musical Magic.


Moogatu

official band site »

In late 2010, Moogatu planted the first seeds for its unique blend of funky, wompy prog rock just outside of the nation's capital in bucolic northern Virginia. Soaring dual lead guitars and a pulsing rhythm section bring the quintet's inviting songcraft and creative improvisations to an audience that grows at every club and festival. Moogatu is carving its niche with high energy sets that keep people grooving long into the night.


 
TAUK
The Fritz | @Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Dec
31

TAUK

The Fritz


Monday Dec 31|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


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).

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 Fritz

official band site »

The Fritz is a soul-driven dance rock band hailing from Asheville, NC.

The group’s aggressive approach to funk, soul, and rock creates a sound that is uniquely their own. Their high-energy, danceable songs provide a platform for each member to shine. With powerful vocals, climactic solos, and tight grooves, The Fritz has built a devoted following and is captivating audiences everywhere.

Originally formed in the rehearsal spaces of University of North Florida’s School of Music, The Fritz discovered an immediate chemistry. Drawing on influences such as Prince, Talking Heads and Jimi Hendrix, the quintet integrated their diverse musical tastes and began writing music together.

With their college days behind them, the Fritz soon set their eyes on the mountains of Western North Carolina, eventually settling in Asheville in July 2011. After the release of their 2012 debut album, Bootstrap, the band launched into a near-constant touring schedule. With appearances at festivals such as Hulaween, Wakarusa, and Catskill Chill, the band quickly gained a reputation as a live act not to be missed.

The band’s 2017 release, Natural Mind, captures a sound that has been years in the making. “We intentionally waited to go back into the studio so that we could really work on the music and figure out what makes this band special,” vocalist and keyboardist Jamar Woods said.

For the new album, The Fritz headed north to More Sound Studios in Syracuse, NY and enlisted the help of producer Dave Brandwein (Turkuaz, Galaxy Smith Studios) and engineers Jason “Jocko” Randall and Jose Varona to assist with the recording process.

“We wanted to work with a producer whose work we respected and who we trusted to add a different perspective,” percussionist Mikey “Spice” Evans said. “Dave played an invaluable role in producing our album.” While most of the songs were written in the months leading up to recording, the studio environment allowed for some last minute additions and musical breakthroughs.

“We really wanted to arrange these songs specifically for the studio, which was both challenging and fun for us” guitarist Jamie Hendrickson said. “Now we’re very excited to get on the road and have these songs take on a life of their own.” The band is now taking the album and their unforgettable live performances around the country with the Natural Mind tour.


 
Steel Pulse: Big Up New Years Eve
Nkula | Zedicus & Abyssinia Roots | @Lincoln Theatre | view more info »
Dec
31

Steel Pulse: Big Up New Years Eve

Nkula
Zedicus & Abyssinia Roots

Monday Dec 31|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
Lincoln Theatre|get directions »
1215 U St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 888-0050


Steel Pulse: Big Up New Years Eve

official band site »

"STEEL PULSE may have explored various styles of music since they started out in 1975, but when it comes to the message, the UK’s Grammy – Winning reggae band has remained close to their roots. The Group have continued their commitment to fighting injustice, educating the masses, and promoting positive messages through spiritually uplifting music.

“We just can’t ignore the politics, because every life and soul that’s born on this earth is a political manoeuvre for someone, at some stage”, Hinds explains. “From a spiritual aspect, it’s really an upliftment through facing reality – what’s out there. We deal with positive spirits. It means putting aside the guns, the drugs and all of the things that are ailments of society – especially the black communities right now”.

STEEL PULSE have always taken their causes to heart, filing a $1 million class action lawsuit against New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission. The group charged that cabbies refused to pick up blacks and Rastafarians throughout the streets of New York."


Nkula

official band site »

A heartical drumbeat combined with deep bass grooves and a sweet skank guide Nkula’s listeners to that special place that only reggae lovers know and adore. However, it is the bands lyrical message of peace, love, and unity that brings true meaning to Nkula’s music and the common reggae adage “Word, Sound, & Power.” Formed in early 2017, Nkula is quickly gaining steam in the Washington, D.C. area. The band is led by “Ras Abel” Mekonnen, who hails from Ethiopia and brings more than 20 years of professional music experience to the group.

Zedicus & Abyssinia Roots

official band site »

Zedicus and Abyssinia Roots is a DMV based group that has been active in the area for the past 15 years. The members hail from Ethiopia, the Caribbean and Europe, making for a truly international sound comprising elements of reggae, jazz, rock, and Ethiopian music.

The group has performed across the United States in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Dallas, and in a number of countries abroad. They have opened for numerous major artists such as Steel Pulse, Third World, Israel Vibration and Stephen Marley. In addition, Zedicus has backed up Maxi Priest and HR in concert, and recorded with SOJA.


 
Lake Street Dive
Mikaela Davis | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Jan
3

Lake Street Dive

Mikaela Davis


Thursday Jan 3|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Lake Street Dive

official band site »

The title of Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up is both an exhortation to listeners and a statement of purpose for the band. The songs have an infectious swagger, even when dealing with awkward breakups or the unsettled state of our world. Free Yourself Up is Lake Street Dive’s most confident album yet, seriously soulful and exuberantly rocking. And, in many ways, it is Lake Street Dive’s most intimate and collaborative, with the band itself taking over the production reins and working as a tightly knit unit to craft these ten songs. In addition, the quartet drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio, literally freeing the band up to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build stacks of lively background harmonies.

On Free Yourself Up, the sound is influenced by late sixties-early seventies R&B, AM pop, and FM rock while the lyrics are informed more by contemporary events. The album opens with “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts,” which envisions a lover acting as a “human shield” against the anxiety of our Twitter-ravaged age. It’s funny, sweet, a little angry, and definitely right up-to-the-minute in its sentiment. Singer Rachael Price says, “I thought about that song as the thesis of this record. It’s a disco-dance fun song but it’s also a person talking about needing comfort from another person, and it has a reference to the political climate.”

The lyrics to the guitar-driven “Shame, Shame, Shame,” which feels like undiscovered, transistor-radio-ready AM gold, bravely speak to an unnamed person: “No I’m not getting caught in your little spider web/Won’t let an angry dog get me down/Don’t you think it’s time we put this dog out of his misery?/Change is coming, oh yeah…” Bassist Bridget Kearney explains, “This album is based in the realities in our time, which have inevitably become part of everyone’s daily life. It’s something you think about and obsess over—and write songs about. Free Yourself Up is about empowering yourself, emboldening yourself, no matter what’s going wrong.”

Adds drummer Mike Calabrese, “This time around, we were changing so many things anyway, we felt freer to go deep into various subjects, to explore a multitude of emotions to a background of music that is a different direction in and of itself. It’s a juxtaposition of new subject matter and new musical developments. We’re not just this happy go lucky band anymore.”

The band clearly enjoyed itself in the studio as the rhythmically propulsive “Dude” indicates. As the singer complains about a lover who is always out with the guys, a steady beat builds to a big, defiant chorus and then the song veers to the left, culminating in a kind of psychedelic duel between trumpet and guitar, its conclusion marked by echoes of the band’s laughter. The percolating “Red Light Kisses” is highlighted by call-and-response vocals between Price and her band mates (doing their best falsettos) and a classic percussion-and-handclaps breakdown towards the end. “Musta Been Something” is a more stripped-down slow-dance ballad, a showcase for Price’s voice and Mike “McDuck” Olson’s guitar.

“I Can Change” is an even more pensive ballad. “We were watching the news in the summer of 2017 and seeing people trapped in these cycles of hate that humanity can’t seem to find its way out of,” Kearney explains. “And it’s easy enough to look at that from the outside and criticize, but the really hard part is striving to understand your own weaknesses and biases and prejudices and learning to do better. ‘I Can Change’ is us summoning the courage to do that.”

Lake Street Dive was for many years a self-reliant unit. After forming in 2004, while all the members were studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, they assiduously built a following through a series of independent album releases, countless club tours, and a few lucky breaks. In 2013, producer T Bone Burnett invited them to join a star-studded lineup at a New York City concert where they practically stole the show—and wound up with a deal from Nonesuch Records. The band’s label debut, Side Pony, was greeted with raves. Rolling Stone called it “irresistible” and the Boston Globe said, “Side Pony is a confident, expertly played statement from a band that’s been honing its approach for more than a decade, and it clearly shows that Lake Street Dive is ready to make itself known to whatever audiences have yet to succumb to its many charms.”

Lake Street Dive spent eighteen months on the road in support of Side Pony. Despite the hectic pace, the band mates started brainstorming about their next album whenever they found a spare moment. As guitarist McDuck recalls, “We remembered how things worked before we added the crew and the bus and the manager. All of that support is great, but it left us with less time to sit around and listen to music together. So when we had a day off, we made a point to sit on the tour bus and play records for each other, the way we used to when we’d drive ourselves in a van.”

Free Yourself Up is the sound of a democratic party, organized by a band that has bolstered its deep well of talent with a healthy supply of mutual trust. Though the individual band members had traditionally written separately and then delivered meticulously rendered demos to the group, the process began to change while recording Side Pony. This time Lake Street Dive took that idea further, helping each other out on nascent songs and ultimately deciding to produce the album itself, with the ample help of engineer Dan Knobler, a former Brooklynite now based in Nashville.

That wasn’t the original plan. As the Lake Street Dive team was deliberating about which producers to reach out to, they decided to book a demo session on their own at Knobler’s tiny Goosehead Palace studio, a modest but very welcoming garage space. Recounts Price, “We go in the studio every two years for a concentrated period of time and then we go on the road and perfect what we do. But we don’t have that same practice in the studio. So we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s practice what recording feels like.’ We found out that a) we could have so much fun and b) we work very quickly in a specific way and we collaborated perfectly together.” She continues, “I think we were quite scared that without having that fifth neutral voice we would endlessly be in the decision-making process—because we are so democratic. Our fears were assuaged after that session, though.”

They sent the results to Brooklyn-based mixer Joe Visciano and, says Kearney, “he was able to do incredible things, making the record really pop and sound like it was recorded in a multi-million-dollar studio. That seemed like the perfect solution, to do it in a place that was really comfortable.” So they returned to Knobler in Nashville to complete the album, forgoing previous notions about moving to a different studio for the next step.

Kearney continues, “The process felt really natural. We had a good amount of tunes to work with, some of which we had played live, some we’d never played at all, and we kept writing during the recording process. We found tools that were fun and worked well in the studio. For instance, a friend had left a Korg synthesizer in my apartment; we tried it on one song and loved it, so we put it on a couple of other tracks,” she says. “And Akie was a huge part of the sound of the record as well; the way he plays and chooses to voice things elevates the song.”

“There was a fearlessness to the process, an open-mindedness. Collaborating allowed us to feel freer; we were sharing the songwriting burden. Some of these songs almost died in our voice memo apps but were revived—or Frankenstein-ed—in the process of collaborating,” adds Calabrese. “Dan Knobler became more than just an engineer; he was an arbiter. He was very important to the sound of the record and to certain artistic choices that helped to polish things to perfection.”

Kearney summarizes the experience of the band’s collaborative, flexible approach to making Free Yourself Up, explaining the origins of lead album track “Good Kisser”: “I had thought of the chorus or at least the opening, it was a lyrical idea I had plus a little tiny bit of a melody. Then we were on stage in North Carolina playing this cool funky groove we had started using on ‘How It Feels To Be Alone’ and I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s the perfect thing for this song idea I have. It really needs to find a home.’ I got off stage, went to the dressing room, and wrote almost the whole song—in the moment, inspired by the strength of the band that I experienced on stage that night.”

Bringing the process full circle, Price adds, “When we heard Joe’s first mix of that song, I stood up and said, ‘I can’t believe we made this in a garage!’”


Mikaela Davis

official band site »

This record is kind of about writing a record,” Mikaela Davis says. The 26-year-old is home in her native Rochester, New York, reflecting on Delivery, her highly anticipated full-length album, as well as the hard journey the classically trained, defiantly original harpist had to travel to become the writer, performer, and band leader she was meant to be.

A joyride that pulls from folk rock, 70s and 80s pop experimentation, and muscly funk, Delivery manages to be both daring and comfortable, full of not just risks, but hooks.

Produced by Grammy winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, David Byrne, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Delivery is a triumphant next chapter. Longtime collaborators Alex Coté (drums, percussion) and Shane McCarthy (bass) play on the record. Recently, Mikaela’s ensemble became a family affair with the addition of Shane’s older brother Cian McCarthy on guitar.

Mikaela’s unconventional path to working singer-songwriter began before high school. With plans to join a symphony, she studied the harp in college, but halfway through, she decided the traditional harpist’s path wasn’t for her. She longed to perform her own compositions rather than pieces written by others in an orchestral setting. Following graduation, Mikaela moved to Brooklyn, following in the footsteps of indie artists who’ve come before her. But in the city, she could never quite find her footing. She kept busy, toured, and recorded an album that would eventually be shelved. Feeling confused and alone, she retreated back to Rochester, unsure of her next move.

Then, the last place Mikaela wanted to be saved her. Rochester’s artistic community embraced her, and Rochester became Mikaela’s sanctuary.

Delivery benefits from it all.


 
Ozomatli
Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
3

Ozomatli

Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band


Thursday Jan 3|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Ozomatli

official band site »

Since its inception in 1995, innovation and creativity have defined Ozomatli. Hailing from Los Angeles, the group found a way to represent the city's eclectic culture through music that appeals to the local community and the world beyond. Ozomatli's success is exemplified in an impressive variety of genres from classic to modern Latino, urban, hip-hop and other world styles. The "Dioses del Baile," or "Gods of Dance," have created one of the most exciting, captivating and flat-out fun live shows touring today. They continue to harness their musical instincts by conceiving new concepts and forging new sounds that keep fans on their toes and the world dancing.

The latest recording is an album of classic Mexican hits reimagined with a reggae feel. Titled Non-Stop: Los Angeles Mexico Kingston, it pays homage to the band's Latin roots, allowing them to personalize songs that defined their youth and in turn, become part of Latin and Pop music lore. Produced by drum & bass reggae legends, Sly & Robbie (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Madonna, No Doubt) and featuring various high profile guest vocalists, the album recreates the magic of classic Latin hits with a reggae dancehall vibe that only Ozomatli could make feel as natural as waves rolling in the Caribbean sands.

The album was born from the group's desire to pay tribute to the Mexican styles that influenced their youth. Originally conceived as a tribute to mariachi and Norteño, the band decided to expand the concept and include old and new artists and cover more eras all under the umbrella of reggae. Pairing reggae dancehall instrumentals with the already eclectic variety of Mexican music spoke to the band's desire to do something uniquely authentic for its 20th anniversary. The album includes classic Mexican songs such as "Sabor a Mi" and "Besame Mucho," but also songs by contemporary Mexican acts like Cafe Tacuba and Mana, Mexican-American greats like Selena, and classic legends like Santana. Ozomatli has always brought people and cultures together with their music and that is exactly what this album embodies, merging Jamaican influences with Mexican roots to lend an original Ozo sound to songs we all know.

Prior to paying respects to the classic Latin catalogue, Ozomatli was creating its own repertoire adored by fans and critics alike. The band catapulted to the top of the live music scene with its first eponymously titled album. The impact of the then 10-piece band's album was felt throughout the music world, and earned them the opportunity to open for Carlos Santana on his Supernatural tour. Following the success of its first album and touring with Santana and Mana, Ozomatli released its sophomore album, Embrace the Chaos, which garnered a Grammy award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. The follow up album, Street Signs, won both the same award and the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 2005.

Ozomatli takes firm stances on various social justice issues. Their work focuses on giving voice to Latino culture, opportunity to children, fighting for workers' rights, and promoting global unity and peace amongst people, cultures and nations. Ozomatli were named Cultural Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department in 2006, was the first musical group to speak at the TED Conference in San Francisco, and performed for President and First Lady Obama at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 32nd Annual Award Gala.

In addition to politics and social issues, Ozomatli emphasizes the importance of family and children. Ozomatli has strived to make music to be shared through the generations and have even recorded music specifically targeted towards children and families. Their 2012 release, Ozomatli Presents OzoKidz, features all original children's music that captures the innovation and liveliness that Ozo fans have become accustomed to, while educating children on the values of nature and knowledge. The band continues to perform the album at special OzoKidz concerts, where parents and children alike dance and play along on OzoKidz kazoos.

With Non-Stop, Ozomatli continues creating music for entire families and communities. By recreating these classic Latin songs, Ozo redefines their meaning and reimagines their beauty for generations to come. As Ozomatli percussionist and MC, Justin Poree, puts it, "Anyone who is eight or 80 will recognize "Sabor a Mi" or "Besame Mucho." These rhythmically and melodically rich songs bridge the generational gap, captivate all who listen, and beautifully mesh a variety of rich cultures.


Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band

official band site »

Chopteeth is a 12-piece Afrofunk orchestra exploring the common groove between the funkiest, most hip-shakin’ West African and American popular music on the planet.

The core of the Chopteeth sound is Afrobeat: a big-band funk invented by Fela Kuti in 1970’s Nigeria. Afrobeat is a spicy stew of modern jazz, Yoruba tribal music and burning, James Brown-inspired rhythms.

Chopteeth’s sets feature original compositions along with updates of African dance classics, all while remaining true to the spirit of the music and its message. Band members step to the mic to serve up lyrics in a total of seven different languages.

Chopteeth, the "Crazy Fools of Afrobeat", called for rhythmic regime change on the band's award-winnnig 2008 debut CD, with its dynamic original songs. And in 2010, the band's live CD unleashed the power of Africa's Golden Age, featuring choice selections from Ghana, Senegal, Congo, Guinea, and Nigeria.

Since 2007, the members of the Washington Area Music Association have selected Chopteeth for a total of thirteen Wammie Awards, including Artist of the Year, Debut CD of the Year, World Music CD (twice) and World Music Group (for the last nine years in a row).

Chopteeth has performed on shows with a wide range of critically acclaimed world music, soul and jazz-funk groups, including Parliament Funkadelic, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Aaron Neville, Cyril Neville, Derek Trucks Band, Ozomatli, Grupo Fantasma, Konono No. 1, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Gov't Mule, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars, The Iguanas, War, Chuck Brown and many more.

Over the last ten years, Chopteeth has performed all over the country, from the cast party for HBO's "The Wire," to the Congo Square World Music Festival in New Orleans, to colleges and festivals in many different states. The band can be seen regularly at top venues in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Virginia, including The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian, The Music Center at Strathmore, Carter Barron Amphitheatre, The 9:30 Club, The Black Cat, Rock & Roll Hotel, Iota, Blues Alley, The State Theatre, and The 8x10 Club.

The band also performs frequently at major East Coast festivals including Artscape, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, The National Capitol Bar-B-Que Battle, The Silver Spring Jazz Festival, The Adams Morgan Day Festival, and many others.


 
Star Kitchen
featuring Marc Brownstein (of The Disco Biscuits) | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Jan
4

Star Kitchen

featuring Marc Brownstein (of The Disco Biscuits)


Friday Jan 4|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Star Kitchen


featuring Marc Brownstein (of The Disco Biscuits)

official band site »

Philadelphia's brand new funk supergroup, STAR KITCHEN, is making their Baltimore debut this January. Come join Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Danny Mayer (Erik Krasno Band), Rob Marscher (Addison Groove Project) & Philly's funkiest drummer Marlon Lewis (Lauryn Hill & John Legend) on a deep improvisational journey through the far reaches of the funky cosmos.


 
Scythian
Kentucky Avenue | @The Hamilton | view more info »
Jan
5

Scythian

Kentucky Avenue


Saturday Jan 5|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Scythian

official band site »

Named after Ukrainian nomads, Scythian (sith-ee-yin) plays roots music from Celtic, Eastern European and Appalachian traditions with thunderous energy, technical prowess, and storytelling songwriting, beckoning crowds into a barn-dance, rock concert experience. Founded almost a decade ago by two classically trained brothers, Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka, Nashville’s Music City Roots says Scythian is ‘what happens when rock star charisma meets Celtic dervish fiddling’, and the Washington Post dubbed them "DC's most energetic and eclectic band" and said “Scythian’s enthusiasm is contagious, and shows seem to end with everyone dancing, jumping around or hoisting glasses.”


Kentucky Avenue

official band site »

Fifteen years ago, KENTUCKY AVENUE’s Stella Schindler had to move out of the room she had been renting in the DC-metro area when the house was sold to a new owner. Little did Dave Ries, the other founding member of the band, know that when he bought that house on Kentucky Avenue, he was kicking out his future music partner! This funny, fate-filled discovery not only sealed the deal on their band name, but also gave the final nod to their new music project.

Stella and Dave crossed paths when Stella was invited to sit in at a music event in the Fall of 2016 at the high school where she teaches English. A few rehearsals in her classroom soon gave way to writing originals, a process that began with sharing their back catalogs of songs they each had written, but never formally recorded. Spontaneously trying out harmonies, adding a guitar part, quickening up the pace, and moving capos around, they soon found they were not just tweaking old tunes, but sketching and ultimately creating new ones. Practices became sessions of storytelling as well as a time for fine tuning the lyrics, harmonies, and arrangements. Before they knew it, a full-length album, "Nothing Here Is Mine" was ready for the studio!


 
The Revivalists
American Authors | @The Anthem | view more info »
Jan
11

The Revivalists

American Authors


Friday Jan 11|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 »

A remarkable thing happened to The Revivalists as they came upon their tenth anniversary as a band. The New Orleans-based septet scored a game-changing hit with “Wish I Knew You,” a wistful song from their third album, Men Amongst Mountains. Guided by dynamic percussion and punchy horns, the single features a contagious hook and feel-good chorus that has resonated with fans across all different genres. Though the album was released in July of 2015 (debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart), the band's break out single "Wish I Knew You" has a rare and undeniable staying power. The song steadily picked up steam in 2016 spending over 40 weeks on the Billboard Adult Alternative Chart where it peaked at #1 and maintained for multiple weeks. By 2017, the song crossed to Alternative radio rising quickly to #1 and breaking the Billboard chart record for most single-week spins ever at Alternative radio. “Wish I Knew You” then peaked inside the Top 15 at Adult Pop Radio and ultimately spent 9 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100.

The meaning behind “Wish I Knew You” is up for debate and the band could not be happier about it. “Some of the best songs are the ones that don’t have just one meaning,” says vocalist David Shaw. “We love hearing all the different interpretations our fans have. Of course the song talks about the idea of wishing for more time together earlier in life, but we’ve heard all different takes on who that someone is, what the message means, and even what point of view the lyrics are coming from. We hope that people make our songs their own and ‘Wish I Knew You’ is like a canvas that our fans have filled with their imaginations and personal experiences. That is what we want our music to do.”

The success of “Wish I Knew You” has opened many doors for the band, earning them praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Flaunt, Paste and Interview, nabbing them a nod as a ‘YouTube Artist on the Rise,’ and landing them performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (the host called the song his “summer jam”), Conan, The Today Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where Shaw shared a rare and impromptu mid-performance dance with the star. "That was a surreal moment for us," he marvels. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be dancing with Ellen DeGeneres!”

Comprised of acclaimed musicians 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], The Revivalists are recognized as an extraordinary live band. And while “Wish I Knew You” has had a seismic effect on their career, The Revivalists’ relentless touring over the past several years has played a major part in getting them to this point.

The band has sold-out headlining tours in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and performed sets at such marquee festivals as Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits. This past year they were invited to perform on the main stage at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest (after six years playing the second stage) for 40,000 people, attracted 5,000 fans to their show at Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City, and visited cities like Toronto for the first time playing to packed houses.

“We did it by building a live audience and our fans bringing their friends to see us,” says Campanelli. “So when we got a song on the radio, it was tens of thousands of people saying, ‘Our band is on the radio!’ That has allowed it to expand because our fans are excited about it and are telling their friends. When we play the single, the new people who come to see us are not just holding up their phones for a video then leaving. They’re singing every word because they’ve become fans as well.” “Playing live is the life blood of this band,” agrees Shaw. “It’s how we connect. There’s no substitute for getting out there in someone’s face, letting them see the veins popping out in your neck, or sweat dripping off your knuckles as you strum a guitar.”

The four years that The Revivalists spent touring in support of their second album, City of Sound, informed many of the songs on Men Amongst Mountains, which was recorded live in just 21 days with producer Ben Ellman (Galactic, Trombone Shorty). Album opener “Keep Going” serves as an anthem for these road warriors. “Sometimes it was all of us packed into one hotel room,” Shaw recalls of that time. “If we were lucky, we got two or three hotel rooms to split, so there was no personal space. You're eating fast food because you don't have any money. Those were trying times and all of that hardship went into the lyrics.” The album’s title was inspired during the band’s stopover in Colorado where they were awestruck by the majestic grace of the surrounding mountains. “I feel like it’s a metaphor for being small in a vast, expansive universe and knowing you are essentially insignificant, but standing amongst the mountains, you are among the greats, so it kind of elevates you,” says Feinberg. “It's an uplifting title.”

All members of The Revivalists share songwriting duties, with Shaw writing the lion’s share of the lyrics. “I draw inspiration from what is happening in my life and what I’m being influenced by at the time,” he says. “When life is tumultuous, I write more. When I’m in the light, a person like me is almost seeking the dark. But when I’m in the dark, I’m like ‘Get me out of this hole.’ Songwriting is an escape; a way to externalize a lot of internal feelings.”

By making the personal universal, The Revivalists have managed to attract a wide range of listeners who are also no doubt drawn to their eclectic rock sound, which has a bit of swing and a gritty Southern roots vibe. It’s inspired perhaps not sonically — they are not a heritage brass band — but spiritually by their adopted hometown. “The mood we create in a room makes people feel like they’re in New Orleans,” says Campanelli of the band’s free-wheeling show, which is filled with audience interaction and improvisation. “Wherever we go, we bring that vibe, spirit, energy, and looseness to the room that wasn’t there the night before. We played a show in St. Louis and people lost their minds dancing. Afterward they told us, ‘Wow, people don't dance in St. Louis.’ That’s what we bring. We make a Tuesday night in your town feel like New Orleans on a Saturday night.”

The seeds of The Revivalists were planted in 2007 when Feinberg, out riding his bike, came across Shaw sitting on his front porch belting an original song called “Purple Heart” (which wound up on The Revivalists debut album Vital Signs). Shaw had moved to New Orleans two weeks prior for its rich musical history and because he had heard the city was in need of construction workers to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. (He had just graduated from Ohio State with a degree in construction management.) Feinberg had also moved to New Orleans for the music scene and to study psychology at Tulane University. He had only been in the dorms for an hour when everyone was forced to evacuate due to the impending hurricane. That day in August 2007, Feinberg and Shaw struck up a conversation and instantly began to jam and collaborate, establishing an immediate musical connection and friendship. Within weeks they had invited Campanelli, whom Feinberg had met through workshops at New Orleans music venue Tipitina’s, to join them. Rounding out the band’s line-up is Ingraham, Gekas, and Girardot, whom Feinberg and Campanelli knew from Tulane and Loyola respectively, as well as Williams, whom they all knew from the local music scene.

The Revivalists played clubs like Checkpoint Charlie’s in New Orleans and Bamboo Willie’s in Pensacola, which Shaw equates to The Beatles’ “Hamburg Years,” because of the epically long shows. “We played four to five hours a night and didn’t have that much material, so we had to stretch and find ways to engage the crowd,” he says. “We made it our mission to grab every single person’s attention, which is what happened. By the end of the first set, everyone who had been standing at the bar would be standing at the front of the stage. That’s when I started to realize we had something special.”

They called themselves The Revivalists, which felt fitting given what the city was going through two years after the devastation of Katrina. “New Orleans was finally starting to rebound, and seeing it get back on its feet at the same time that this band, which respects older styles of music, was getting together, it just felt right as a name,” says Feinberg. “It’s about the excitement of this great American city, this great musical city, coming back to life.”


American Authors

official band site »

Multi-platinum selling artists, American Authors, are back with a brand new single, “Deep Water.” The anthemic track, which showcases dynamic percussion and emotion-drenched vocals, was released May 18th, via Island Records. When asked about the track, lead singer Zac Barnett states, “Deep Water is about treading through the hardest times with the people that are closest to you. We’ve all experienced loss and struggle, and there’s no way we would have made it through without our loved ones' help.”

Comprised of Zac Barnett (vocals), James Adam Shelley (guitar/banjo), Dave Rublin(bass), and Matt Sanchez (drums), the guys met while attending Berklee College of Music and quickly inked a deal with Island Records in 2012 after relocating to New York. Oh, What a Life, the band's first long-player released in early 2014, gave us "Believer"and their eventual breakthrough hit "Best Day of My Life," which went 6x platinum worldwide, and quickly peaked on the Billboard 200 at number 14. In 2016, their follow-up studio album What We Live For, boasted another Top 20 Hit, "Go Big or Go Home."

Transparent lyricism and a sense of genuine enthusiasm have always set American Authors apart, rendering them one of the most exciting bands of the last few years. Their songwriting process is uniquely collaborative, with band members able and willing to play every instrument. Now back with new inspiration, American Authors kick off the summer with “Deep Water,” which is just the beginning of a parade of new music to come.


 
The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
17

The Wood Brothers

Priscilla Renea


Thursday Jan 17|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


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.”


Priscilla Renea

official band site »

Priscilla Renea is an artist and songwriter born in Florida and based in Los Angeles. Priscilla is best known for penning hit records for pop artists including Kelly Clarkson’s 2018 Grammy Nominated single “Love So Soft,” Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” Kesha’s “Timber,” Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It,” and Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood’s “Something’ Bad.” Priscilla is now embarking on the next leg of her career - releasing her debut album Coloured. Coloured is a genre blending album that incorporates elements of pop, R&B, and country music with soulful undertones. She traveled back and forth between Nashville and Los Angeles to create Coloured, collaborating both with country’s top songwriters (Ashley Gorley, Kevin Kadish) and hip-hop’s top producers (Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Sauce, Theron Feemster). Coloured, which Renea describes as “a big gumbo of everything that’s happening in my life,” showcases her powerhouse voice and engaging story-telling on such classic urban-soul ballads as “Heavenly,” “If I Ever Loved You,” and “Let’s Build A House” (the latter two Renea co-wrote with Nashville A-lister Ashley Gorley), as well as rule-breaking country-inspired tunes like the autobiographical “Family Tree,” “Jonjo,” and “Gentle Hands.”


 
The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
18

The Wood Brothers

Priscilla Renea


Friday Jan 18|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


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.”


Priscilla Renea

official band site »

Priscilla Renea is an artist and songwriter born in Florida and based in Los Angeles. Priscilla is best known for penning hit records for pop artists including Kelly Clarkson’s 2018 Grammy Nominated single “Love So Soft,” Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” Kesha’s “Timber,” Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It,” and Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood’s “Something’ Bad.” Priscilla is now embarking on the next leg of her career - releasing her debut album Coloured. Coloured is a genre blending album that incorporates elements of pop, R&B, and country music with soulful undertones. She traveled back and forth between Nashville and Los Angeles to create Coloured, collaborating both with country’s top songwriters (Ashley Gorley, Kevin Kadish) and hip-hop’s top producers (Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Sauce, Theron Feemster). Coloured, which Renea describes as “a big gumbo of everything that’s happening in my life,” showcases her powerhouse voice and engaging story-telling on such classic urban-soul ballads as “Heavenly,” “If I Ever Loved You,” and “Let’s Build A House” (the latter two Renea co-wrote with Nashville A-lister Ashley Gorley), as well as rule-breaking country-inspired tunes like the autobiographical “Family Tree,” “Jonjo,” and “Gentle Hands.”


 
The Lil Smokies
@Union Stage | view more info »
Jan
25

The Lil Smokies



Friday Jan 25|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


The Lil Smokies

official band site »

When people see The Lil Smokies setting up their acoustic instruments, they’re often unprepared for the electric energy they generate. The band captures that same dynamic presence on their new album, Changing Shades, delivering their exceptional songwriting and bluegrass roots with the punch of a rock band.“We wanted to duplicate the energy of our live shows. It’s a perfect mixture of improvisation and composition. The record shows how fearless we’ve become in the last year,” says Andy Dunnigan, lead songwriter, singer and dobro player. They cut Changing Shades in a lighthearted, week-long session at SnowGhost Music in Whitefish, MT with engineer Brett Allen (The Avett Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Béla Fleck) and co-producer Rob Gordon (Elephant Revival). “It was a breeze,” Dunnigan says. “Rob got us to focus on what makes each song special. We refined and recorded them live, together in one room, just like on stage.”

The first incarnation of The Lil Smokies got together in Missoula, Montana, during the winter of 2009. Through the years, the band transformed and settled into the current lineup – Scott Parker on bass; Jake Simpson on fiddle; Matt Rieger on guitar; Matt Cornette on banjo and Dunnigan on dobro. Previously, the band has won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Band competition and took home the 2016 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year award. They’ve also wowed fans at the High Sierra, FreshGrass, Telluride Bluegrass, Grey Fox, Del Fest, Floyd Fest and String Summit festivals, to name a few.



 
Greensky Bluegrass
Billy Strings | @The Anthem | view more info »
Feb
1

Greensky Bluegrass

Billy Strings


Friday 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 »

Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.

Like the band's own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It's wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nedarland, Colorado — that comprise the band's longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that's still eager to explore.

"You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band," says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album's writing duties. "All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There's a flow to this album, just like there's a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It's a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape."

Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.

"We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production," notes Bruzza, adding that, "the goal isn't just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside."

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.

Released on the band's label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with "Miss September," a song that splits its focus between Hoffman's mid-tempo melodies and the band's instrumental solos. Most of the album's tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on "Living Over" — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that's already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with "While Waiting," a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. "Room Without a Roof" features some of the group's most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while "More of Me" cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.

"We tend to have a darker sense to ours songs than most acoustic bands," Bruzza adds, "but we still have light moments, too. We're trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren't many rules. We'll run a dobro though an amp on a song like 'Past My Prime.' We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it's a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next."

Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.


Billy Strings

official band site »

Billy Strings plays hard and he lives hard, picking so fast and intensely that he’s known to break multiple strings per song, and basing the songs he writes on the hard lives he grew up around in the abandoned rural communities of America. His new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, taps into a deep vein of psychedelia in Americana, referencing everything from the Dead to Sturgill Simpson, but all underlaid by Billy’s undeniable virtuosity and his knowledge of the roots of American music. He’s one of the most beloved young bluegrass guitarists today within the bluegrass community, and his front porch in East Nashville is constantly filled up with Nashville’s best roots musicians just picking up a storm.

The tricky part of making the new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, was translating Billy Strings’ incendiary live show into the studio. Returning to his home state of Michigan, Billy enlisted acoustic roots wizard Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass) as producer, and centered the music around his new band, featuring Drew Matulich on mandolin with banjo prodigy Billy Failing and much-loved Nashville bassist Brad Tucker. Rich with special guests, Turmoil & Tinfoil shows off Billy’s East Nashville community of picking friends, among them Miss Tess, Molly Tuttle, John Mailander, Shad Cobb and Peter Madcat Ruth. Of special note is a virtuosic duet between Billy and bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton on “Salty Sheep” that shows the speed, precision, and creative craftsmanship of bluegrass when it’s done right.

On September 22, 2017 Billy Strings released his first full-length EP "Turmoil & Tinfoil"!


 
Greensky Bluegrass
Billy Strings | @The Anthem | view more info »
Feb
2

Greensky Bluegrass

Billy Strings


Saturday Feb 2|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 »

Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.

Like the band's own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It's wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nedarland, Colorado — that comprise the band's longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that's still eager to explore.

"You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band," says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album's writing duties. "All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There's a flow to this album, just like there's a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It's a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape."

Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.

"We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production," notes Bruzza, adding that, "the goal isn't just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside."

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.

Released on the band's label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with "Miss September," a song that splits its focus between Hoffman's mid-tempo melodies and the band's instrumental solos. Most of the album's tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on "Living Over" — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that's already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with "While Waiting," a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. "Room Without a Roof" features some of the group's most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while "More of Me" cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.

"We tend to have a darker sense to ours songs than most acoustic bands," Bruzza adds, "but we still have light moments, too. We're trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren't many rules. We'll run a dobro though an amp on a song like 'Past My Prime.' We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it's a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next."

Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.


Billy Strings

official band site »

Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.

Like the band's own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It's wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nedarland, Colorado — that comprise the band's longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that's still eager to explore.

"You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band," says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album's writing duties. "All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There's a flow to this album, just like there's a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It's a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape."

Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.

"We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production," notes Bruzza, adding that, "the goal isn't just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside."

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.

Released on the band's label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with "Miss September," a song that splits its focus between Hoffman's mid-tempo melodies and the band's instrumental solos. Most of the album's tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on "Living Over" — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that's already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with "While Waiting," a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. "Room Without a Roof" features some of the group's most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while "More of Me" cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.

"We tend to have a darker sense to ours songs than most acoustic bands," Bruzza adds, "but we still have light moments, too. We're trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren't many rules. We'll run a dobro though an amp on a song like 'Past My Prime.' We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it's a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next."

Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.


 
El Ten Eleven
Joan Of Arc | @Union Stage | view more info »
Feb
2

El Ten Eleven

Joan Of Arc


Saturday Feb 2|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


El Ten Eleven

official band site »

Armed with merely a double-neck bass/guitar, drums and a dizzying array of foot pedals, El Ten Eleven creates complex, deeply felt music, from scratch, onstage, with no help from laptops or additional musicians. Made up of Kristian Dunn (bass, guitar) and Tim Fogarty (Drums), they utilize multiple looping pedals to create songs that sound as though they are being played by at least six people. Most first-timers to an El Ten Eleven show are stunned that the band is a duo. It’s a refreshing site in this age of letting the computers do all the work.

Since the band’s inception in 2002, they have always been just two people who produce their own records. That attitude of self-reliance led to the band launching their own Fake Record Label, where they have self-released 6 full length albums over the past decade plus. For 2018’s Banker’s Hill, the band brought producer Sonny Diperri into the fold and moved up to the beautiful Panoramic House studios in Stinson Beach, CA for a month to create their 7th long-player. The decision to bring another collaborative force onboard has proven well worth the change of process.

“Sonny gave me everything I wanted from a producer. Not only is he a phenomenal engineer, but he helped us arrange and perform our songs in a way that we couldn’t have on our own.” - Dunn

Part of El Ten Eleven’s success has come from tasteful licensing to Film & TV. Their music has been used in everything from Lexus commercials to the MTV Video Music Awards but the most notoriety has come from licensing partnerships with Gary Hustwit’s award-winning design documentary trilogy, “Helvetica,” “Objectified” and “Urbanized.” Featuring both original music from El Ten Eleven and scores from Kristian Dunn, the films' beautiful precision are a perfect marriage for El Ten Eleven’s meticulously-layered sounds.


Joan Of Arc

official band site »

Over their 20-odd year discography, Joan of Arc’s astute, endlessly probing musical experimentation—steadfastly resistant to dogma and genre at every turn—has been chorused by a barrage of voices, mostly from the singular larynx of mainstay Tim Kinsella, who remains endlessly obsessed with (and infuriated by) Orwellian language and it’s dominion over American life. Richard Brautigan, Mark Twain, Elizabeth Taylor, and Assata Shakur might visit his lyrics, but it’s the band itself that contains multitudes. Throughout Joan of Arc, Kinsella and his bandmates have hewn together a true artistic democracy—some two dozen members over the years—to confront the darkening political realities and interpersonal mysteries of our time. Like their namesake—a donee of revelation who became a fierce holy warrior, only to be discarded by a king and burned at the stake as a heretic—Joan of Arc has inspired their share of true believers and dismayed legions of skeptics.

Ever since Joan of Arc's most recent lineup— Kinsella, Theo Katsaounis, Melina Ausikaitis, Bobby Burg, and Jeremy Boyle— congealed and began playing shows locally in 2015, going on to record and release their most recent album ‘He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands’, via Joyful Noise on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated, fans have witnessed an even more radical democracy at work. ‘Your War (I’m One Of You): 20 Years of Joan of Arc’, a full-length documentary from Vice’s Noisey, was an initial window into the band’s generous collaborative spirit and the far-flung, improvised creation of that new LP. Live, old jams and new tracks have often melted and mutated, members jumping from instrument to instrument in between or in the middle of songs, all stasis discarded. And now, a series of nearly a cappella performances from Kinsella’s fellow vocalist Melina Ausikaitis, debuted live by Joan of Arc over the last several years, has become the backbone of their new LP, ‘1984’.

Remarkably, so much of the cluttered sound of earlier Joan of Arc LPs has largely fallen away on ’1984’, as has Kinsella’s voice. At first it’s genuinely shocking. But the songs here are a revelation, as profound and plainspoken as parables. Thoroughly of the band’s lineage, Ausikaitis’ lyrics are equally measured with wit, despair and stubborn perseverance. There is awkward sex at Grandma’s house. There are kids in the snow wearing cop sunglasses and the crumbling psychic defenses of childhood memories. There are A-frame houses and white horses. There are trucks losing their brakes on the hill at the end of the street. There are heaps of thoroughly useful self-help advice (“stop chicken-shittin’ all over your life” has become a personal mantra.). Like the album’s striking hand drawn cover art, the music inside is often spare. Anthemic highs ring from elegiac lows and back again. At times, Ausikaitis sings in an earnestly tangy and lovely flat twang redolent of the midwest, before screwing her voice up into a fearsome roar. Sometimes her voice is electronically distorted, like bells in the sky, into ringing eternity. On “Vermont Girl”, I’m not entirely sure she isn’t purposefully doing an impression of her bandmate just for the hell of it, and it cracks me up every time I hear it.

Long known as a visual and conceptual artist and curator in her home town of Chicago, Ausikaitus brings a painterly eye to these moments of clarity:

There is awkward sex at Grandma’s house. There are kids in the snow wearing cop sunglasses and the crumbling psychic defenses of childhood memories. There are A-frame houses and white horses. There are trucks losing their brakes on the hill at the end of the street. There are heaps of thoroughly useful self-help advice (“stop chicken-shittin’ all over your life” has become a personal mantra.). Like the album’s striking hand drawn cover art, the music inside is often spare. Anthemic highs ring from elegiac lows and back again. At times, Ausikaitis sings in an earnestly tangy and lovely flat twang redolent of the midwest, before screwing her voice up into a fearsome roar. Sometimes her voice is electronically distorted, like bells in the sky, into ringing eternity. On “Vermont Girl”, I’m not entirely sure she isn’t purposefully doing an impression of her bandmate just for the hell of it, and it cracks me up every time I hear it.

Whenever I’ve decided I have this band pegged, they’ve challenged and rewarded me: with a score for a silent film, in a half-hour minimalist cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” pounding through an art museum, by a performative collaboration with a theatre group, and one particularly memorable Empty Bottle show where they uncorked volleys of catastrophic EDM at a crowd that seemed to melt into the walls. More often than not, it seems like the less I’ve expected from them going to a show or tucking into a new album, the more I’ve received. The more I’ve seen others scratch their heads at this band’s steady defiance of expectations, the more Joan of Arc has made me see their artistic wisdom. On ’1984’, they’ve done it again, and I suspect they’ll continue to soundtrack my life beyond these past two confounding decades. These days there are too few bands that make me feel less alone.

You tried to be a person with no problems, but there is still time for you to get on Joan of Arc’s one way train and ride with me to their pyre of righteous, pure democracy. Put on your headphones and fire up ‘1984’ and remember yourself as a child, when your only tattoo was the memory of the first time you saw your mother cry written deep upon your heart. Listen: there’s no need to close your personal hole. It’s a place where only you can go. You got your head shaved cuz of the lice. Your collared shirts have the bottoms tucked inside. All of your life you’ve been eating shit, but look at us now. We’re real punk kids.


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

Spafford



Saturday Feb 9|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930
 
Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)
Another Evening of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs | @Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
Feb
14

Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

Another Evening of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs


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


Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

official band site »

Psycho Killers are a group of die-hard Talking Heads fans from Baltimore, MD that decided to form a tribute band.


Another Evening of Talking Heads and Assorted Love Songs


 
Relix and All Good Presents...
Grateful Shred
Garcia Peoples | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Feb
28

Relix and All Good Presents...
Grateful Shred

Garcia Peoples


Thursday Feb 28|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Relix and All Good Presents...
Grateful Shred

official band site »

Wait -- I know what you're thinking. Another fucking Grateful Dead cover band?

Really?

The thing is, Los Angeles-based Grateful Shred manage to channel that elusive Dead vibe: wide-open guitar tones, effortless three-part vocal harmonies, choogling beats, and yes, plenty of tripped out, Shredded solos. The look, the sound, the atmosphere. It's uncanny. "It's more of a 'take' on the Dead than a tribute band," says bassist Dan Horne. "We end up sounding almost more like the Dead because we approach it in this free-spirited way."

Founded one night in 2016, the band came about almost by accident. Singer/guitarist Austin McCutchen had a residency at The Griffin in Atwater Village; his band was out of town, so he drafted some friends to play a set of Dead covers, and the four founding members (Austin, Sam, Clay, and Dan) have been together ever since. Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch (of country-folk revivalists Mapache) handle vocal and guitar duties, rounded out by bassist Dan Horne (of Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson, and the estimable Circles Around The Sun, who provided the incidental music for 2015's "Fare Thee Well" concerts, the last shows played by the living members of the Dead ). Add a rotating cast of drummers (like Richard Gowen of he Growler) and keyboardists (like Lee Pardini of Dawes and Jerry Borgé of Ziggy Marley), and you've got the essential formula.

Far from being a historical re-enactment, Grateful Shred's laissez faire vibe infuses the band with a gentle spirit, warmth, and (dare we say it) authenticity. From their killer merch game to their eminently watchable YouTube channel, they're clearly having a rad time and spreading the love. Strangely enough, in a world overflowing with wax museum nostalgia and Deadly sentimentalism, we need the Shred, now more than ever.


Garcia Peoples

official band site »

Top down, tunes up and cruising out of the Jersey suburbs into yr heart are Garcia Peoples and their debut LP Cosmic Cash on Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Originally a quartet (Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki on guitars, Cesar Arakaki on drums, Derek Spaldo on bass) but recently beefed up into a five-piece with PG Six (Tower Recordings, Wet Tuna) on keys, Garcia Peoples are just what our little psychedelic corner of the world needs right now…fun.

Cosmic Cash effortlessly heaves joy. The low-key vocal hooks and melodies snag you quickly and don’t let go, not unlike mid-period NRBQ but loaded up on youthful longing and hallucinogens rather than RC Cola and Moon Pies. And then there are the jams, oh the jams! More reined in than recent live action, Cosmic Cashdelivers sparkling twin leads, barreling keys and bubbling rhythms recalling the Dead’s tightest, most simple studio work, the Allmans’ most radio-friendly moments and the Band’s early 70s output.

– Jeff Conklin (WFMU)


 
Kung Fu
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Mar
1

Kung Fu



Friday Mar 1|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Kung Fu

official band site »

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.

The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing". For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!



 
Kung Fu
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Mar
2

Kung Fu



Saturday Mar 2|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Kung Fu

official band site »

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.

The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing". For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!



 
JJ Grey & Mofro
Southern Avenue | @9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
7

JJ Grey & Mofro

Southern Avenue


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


JJ Grey & Mofro

official band site »

From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.

Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.

Despite a redoubtable stage presence, Grey does get performance anxiety—specifically, when he's suspended 50 feet above the soil of his pecan grove, clearing moss from the upper trees.

“The tops of the trees are even worse,” he laughs, “say closer to 70, maybe even 80 feet. I'm not phobic about heights, but I don't think anyone's crazy about getting up in a bucket and swinging all around. I wanted to fertilize this year but didn't get a chance. This February I will, about two tons—to feed the trees.”

When he isn't touring, Grey exerts his prodigious energies on the family land, a former chicken-farm that was run by his maternal grandmother and grandfather. The farm boasts a recording studio, a warehouse that doubles as Grey's gym, an open-air barn, and of course those 50-odd pecan trees that occasionally require Grey to go airborne with his sprayer.

For devoted listeners, there is something fitting, even affirmative in Grey's commitment to the land of his north Florida home. The farms and eddying swamps of his youth are as much a part of Grey's music as the Louisiana swamp-blues tradition, or the singer's collection of old Stax records.

As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers, including Jerry Reed, and to Otis Redding and the other luminaries of Memphis soul; Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, played on repeat in the parking lot of his high school (note the hip-hop inflections on “A Night to Remember”). Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late '90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton and a lyrical directness that made his debut LP Blackwater (2001) a calling-card among roots-rock aficionados. Soon, he was expanding his tours beyond America and the U.K., playing ever-larger clubs and eventually massive festivals, as his fan base grew from a modest group of loyal initiates into something resembling a national coalition.

Grey takes no shortcuts on the homestead, and he certainly takes no shortcuts in his music. While he has metaphorically speaking “drawn blood” making all his albums, his latest effort, Ol’ Glory, found him spending more time than ever working over the new material. A hip-shooting, off-the-cuff performer (often his first vocal takes end up pleasing him best), Grey was able to stretch his legs a bit while constructing the lyrics and vocal lines to Ol’ Glory.

“I would visit it much more often in my mind, visit it more often on the guitar in my house,” Grey says. “I like an album to have a balance, like a novel or like a film. A triumph, a dark brooding moment, or a moment of peace—that's the only thing I consistently try to achieve with a record.”

Grey has been living this balance throughout his career, and Ol’ Glory is a beautifully paced little film. On “The Island,” Grey sounds like Coleridge on a happy day: “All beneath the canopy / of ageless oaks whose secrets keep / Forever in her beauty / This island is my home.” “A Night to Remember” finds the singer in first-rate swagger: “I flipped up my collar ah man / I went ahead and put on my best James Dean / and you'd a thought I was Clark Gable squinting through that smoke.” And “Turn Loose” has Grey in fast-rhyme mode in keeping with the song's title: “You work a stride / curbside thumbing a ride / on Lane Avenue / While your kids be on their knees / praying Jesus please.” From the profane to the sacred, the sly to the sublime, Grey feels out his range as a songwriter with ever-greater assurance.

The mood and drive of Ol’ Glory are testament to this achievement. The album ranks with Grey’s very best work; among other things, the secret spirituality of his music is perhaps more accessible here than ever before. On “Everything Is a Song,” he sings of “the joy with no opposite,” a sacred state that Grey describes to me:

“It can happen to anybody: you sit still and you feel things tingling around you, everything's alive around you, and in that a smile comes on your face involuntarily, and in that I felt no opposite. It has no part of the play of good and bad or of comedy or tragedy. I know it’s just a play on words but it feels like more than just being happy because you got what you wanted — this is a joy. A joy that doesn’t get involved one way or the next; it just is.”

Grey's most treasured albums include Otis Redding's In Person at the Whisky a Go Go and Jerry Reed's greatest hits, and the singer once told me that he grew up “wanting to be Jerry Reed but with less of a country, more of a soul thing.” With Ol’ Glory, Grey does his idols proud. It's a country record where the stories are all part of one great mystery; it's a blues record with one foot in the church; it's a Memphis soul record that takes place in the country.

In short, Ol’ Glory is that most singular thing, a record by JJ Grey—the north Florida sage and soul- bent swamp rocker.


Southern Avenue

official band site »

Southern Avenue is a Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville, the original home of Stax Records. Southern Avenue is also the name of a fiery young Memphis quintet that embodies its home city's soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. “If Memphis is a genre, this is it!” proclaims American Blues Scene and Rock 103FM calls Southern Avenue - “The most talked about band in Memphis.”

Their self-titled debut album is a breath of fresh air with its own unique blend of gospel- tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. And Southern Avenue’s upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo's talent and vision.

Southern Avenue features five young but seasoned musicians who came from diverse musical and personal backgrounds to create music that spans their wide-ranging musical interests, while showcasing the powerful chemistry that the group has honed through stage and studio experience. Southern Avenue encompasses Memphis-born, church-bred sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson, respectively a soulful, charismatic singer and a subtle powerful drummer; guitarist Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues disciple who first came to America as an acclaimed solo artist; versatile jazz-inspired bassist Daniel McKee; and the band's newest addition, keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax's legendary music academy.

The band members' diverse skills come together organically on Southern Avenue, scheduled for release on February 24, 2017 via Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. Produced by Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin), the 10-song album features guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and trumpeter Marc Franklin of the Bo-Keys. But it's Southern Avenue's own potent musical chemistry that drives such sublimely soulful originals as "Don't Give Up," "What Did I Do," "It's Gonna Be Alright," "Love Me Right" and "Wildflower." The band also pays tribute to its roots with an incandescent reading of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul classic "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love."

The seeds for Southern Avenue's birth were planted when Ori Naftaly, who'd grown up in Israel with a deep-rooted passion for American blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led to Naftaly moving permanently to Memphis and successfully touring the United States with his own band.

Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to include a more expansive, collaborative musical vision. That opportunity arrived when he met Memphis native Tierinii Jackson, who'd gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. According to Ori, "When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, 'This is why I came to America.' I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn't care so much about my solo thing."

"I initially clicked with Ori really well, but it was his project," Tierinii remembers. "Then he came to me and said 'I want this band to be a collaboration, I want this to be our vision and our music.' So we started writing together, and that's when I realized that we were really the same musically."

"We started over," Naftaly continues. "We threw out most of the songs I'd been playing in my solo band, and Tierinii and I wrote a whole new set, and we became Southern Avenue. The more we played together, the closer we got, and the more we became a family. We started getting a different kind of crowd, and from there things escalated quickly."

"Ori said, 'My band is done, this is y'all's band,'" Tierinii recalls. "We all quit our other gigs and started focusing on this, working and writing and living together in a way that you don't experience when you're playing somebody else's music. Now we're playing songs that we wrote ourselves and we're playing them from our hearts. That is when I realized that we had something special."

Despite not having a record deal, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band's formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label. "I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility," says Tierinii. "I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it's up to us to live up that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home."

Tierinii views Southern Avenue as "a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We'd all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us. "It's been a real crash course," she continues. "We've haven't been a band for very long, but what we have feels very special, and it's made us a strong unit. I think that we represent something that people need to see right now."

"This band has already made our dreams come true," Ori concludes. "I've waited all my life to be in a band like this, and it's amazing to me that I get to play with these people every night. Our goal is to keep doing this for a long time and leave our mark. We're trying to build a legacy."


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

The Motet



Saturday Mar 9|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 »

Music and escapism go hand-in-hand.

A concert or an album can unlock another world, if you let it. The Motet respect and revere this time-honored phenomenon. Fusing fiery funk, simmering soul, and improvisational inventiveness, the Denver, CO seven-piece—Lyle Divinsky [vocals], Dave Watts [drums], Joey Porter [keyboards], Garrett Sayers [bass], Ryan Jalbert [guitar], Parris Fleming [trumpet], and Drew Sayers [saxophone]—have continually provided an escape for listeners over the course of seven full-length albums since 1998, including their latest release Totem and with an upcoming 2019 release. That extends to countless sold out shows and festivals everywhere from Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, and Summer Camp to All Good Music Festival and High Sierra Music Festival as well as 16 consecutive years of themed Halloween concerts. “When you’re listening to us, I want your mind to be taken away from wherever you are during the day and into some other place,” states Dave. “It’s all about that.”

After quietly building a diehard and devoted following, 2016 represented a watershed year for the musicians. They welcomed Lyle and Drew into the fold and released Totem, which drew acclaim from Relix, AXS, 303 Magazine, and many others. For the first time, The Motet sold out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater—the holy grail venue of their hometown—cataloged on Live at Red Rocks. Sell-outs followed everywhere from The Fillmore (San Francisco) and Tipitina’s (New Orleans) to Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn), Park West (Chicago), and Crystal Ballroom (Portland). The group locked into an unbreakable groove.

“We’ve never been a band that just blew up overnight,” Dave goes on. “We’ve been very tenacious about our movement forward. We’ve been through many different iterations throughout the years. Right now, it feels like we’ve got the lineup that’s making an impression on our scene. Lyle is the perfect match for us. He’s got musicality and this raw energy we all resonate with. He ignited this spark to put work in and write inspiring music.”

That spark lit again in 2017. Following Jam Cruise and a second Red Rocks gig, the band fired up the new single “Supernova.” Strutting between hypnotic horns and swaggering guitars, the track sees The Motet blast off to another galaxy. Quickly racking up over 150k Spotify streams in a month’s time, it instantly excited fans.

“‘Supernova’ is the first song that I was involved with from start to finish,” explains Lyle. “Joey brought in the initial musical idea. We expanded upon it and worked everything out. The word ‘Supernova’ kept jumping out to me. We decided to roll with that and give it an interstellar romantic dance theme.”

“Supernova” has kicked off a series of singles, so far including “Get It Right” and “That Dream”, that leads up to a new album coming in early 2019. However, everything comes back to the escape that The Motet deliver.

“We want to take people on a journey,” Lyle leaves off. “In order to go on a journey, you have to participate. You can’t just simply let it happen around you. You have to give yourself into that journey. Everything is open. You’re free to be yourself. You’re free to go on that adventure and journey. We want to be the catalyst for listeners to understand themselves and the world around them.”

“This is a family,” concludes Dave. “We’ve got each other’s backs. We’re doing this, because we love to be around each other and create together. We’re committed to working together because we appreciate and respect what we have to say and provide the music world and our community.”



 
Trevor Hall
Dirtwire | Will Evans | @9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
12

Trevor Hall

Dirtwire
Will Evans

Tuesday Mar 12|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Trevor Hall

official band site »

Trevor Hall realized at a very young age that music was more than just a passion. As an eleven year old, playing harmonica beside his father in the cradle of the weeping willows of South Carolina, music quickly became his most intimate companion, guide and creative outlet. In his elementary years, he began to write his own songs and perform them locally.

At sixteen he recorded his first record, and the following year he left South Carolina to study classical guitar at Idyllwild Arts Academy, an international boarding school east of Los Angeles. There, Trevor was introduced to yoga and certain spiritual practices found in India, which greatly influenced his music and his life journey. During his senior year, Trevor signed a record deal with Geffen Records and his career as a musician formally began.

Trevor quickly broke through the music scene, with such early accomplishments in his career as having a song recorded on the Shrek the Third soundtrack, as well as joining a series of sold-out tours with artists such as Steel Pulse, The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu, Michael Franti and Colbie Callait. Trevor’s quick rise on the scene, however, was ripe with challenges that conflicted with his spiritual life and devotional practice. In order to parallel his life’s path with the messages in his music, Trevor moved into a traditional Hindu ashram in Southern California in 2008. When not on tour, he lived as a monk and devoted his days to spiritual practice and service. His involvement with the temple affected his music and his music quickly became his practice.

Trevor Hall’s music – an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae and Sanskrit chanting – echo with the names and teachings of divinities, while maintaining an incredibly and refreshingly universal message. While on the road, Trevor sees the stage as his moving temple, a place where he can share in the experience of his spiritual journey with his audience. Trevor’s annual trips to India also continue to serve as a source of creativity and motivation for his music. The precious lessons and experiences that he has harvested from his journeys East have moved Trevor to return a service to those whom have colored his music and his life so beautifully. Trevor uses donations collected at his live shows to help support an ashram in Allahabad, India, the home of his Guru, where underprivileged and orphaned boys and girls are given the chance at a better life and a traditional Vedic education.

Trevor’s self-titled debut album debuted on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart at #7 in 2009. It featured the single “Unity,” written and performed with his longtime friend, Matisyahu. Trevor was named one of the Top 20 New Artists by Music Connection magazine and in 2010 MTV named him one of the twenty emerging artists.

His follow up album, Everything, Everytime, Everywhere, was released in 2011 and debuted on the iTunes Rock Chart at #3, iTunes Top Albums at #12 and #8 on Amazon Movers & Shakers. The featured single, “Brand New Day” was used as the music bed for the CBS This Morning Show.

In 2013 at the age of 26, after touring consistently for ten years, Trevor decided to take a break from the stage and go on an extended pilgrimage to India. There he spent many weeks studying under a classical Baul musician born and trained in the villages of Bengal. Trevor returned from his trip and retreated deep into the green mountains of Vermont and Maine where he spilled all that he had learnt onto the page and into song, resulting in the release of Chapter of the Forest in 2014. It debuted at #3 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart and #17 on the iTunes Top Albums Chart.

His latest album, KALA, written in Hawaii and recorded in LA, was released August 21, 2015. It debuted at #2 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. KALA marks the final chapter in a trilogy that chronicles Trevor’s spiritual and musical journey over the past few years. “It’s a graceful amalgam of styles by a musician who loves to embrace the music of the world.” (Popmatters)


Dirtwire

official band site »

Dirtwire is a traveler’s collage of Earth-borne instruments and electronic sounds foraged from Electric Forest to the mountains of Tuva. From their home on the west coast of the United States to far-flung destinations all over the world, these troubadours are welcomed for speaking the most unifying language there is: music.

Every live set is a magician’s surprise show, an invitation to experience instruments that are usually heard only as samples in electronic music. It is a celebration of the art of the instrument, not just the sound you can record from it. Future revival, swamptronica, spaghetti-step, electro-twang — whatever you call Dirtwire’s music, what matters is that you can dance to it, as sure as a lizard dances in the desert.

Dirtwire, comprised of lifelong friends and musicians Evan Fraser, David Satori, and Mark Reveley, are touring now in support of their new record “Road Goes All Night”. The road goes further yet, friends. Come see where it leads at a show near you.

Will Evans

official band site »

Will Evans has spent the last decade as the primary songwriter, drummer, and front man for the roots rock outfit Barefoot Truth. Will recorded four full length albums and several EP’s of his original music with the band. Their most recent release, “Carry Us On”, debuted at #10 on the iTunes Rock Chart, and as of 2018, the band has surpassed over 20 million plays on Spotify. With Barefoot Truth on an extended hiatus, Will has opened a new chapter in his musical journey.


 
Mike Gordon
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
15

Mike Gordon



Friday Mar 15|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Mike Gordon

official band site »

Mike Gordon (bassist and co-founder of the seminal improvisational rock band Phish) returns with his band in support of new album, OGOGO. The album was produced by GRAMMY Award winning Shawn Everett (producer behind the boards for a slew of critically-lauded releases—this year alone for The War on Drugs, Grizzly Bear, Broken Social Scene, Perfume Genius, among others). Gordon's five-piece band includes Scott Murawski, Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars), John Kimock, and Craig Myers.



 
Andy Frasco Frasco & The U.N.
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Mar
15

Andy Frasco Frasco & The U.N.



Friday Mar 15|doors 8:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Andy Frasco 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 wakeup 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-a-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.”



 
Railroad Earth 2-NIGHT PASS
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
22

Railroad Earth 2-NIGHT PASS



Friday Mar 22|doors 7:30 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Railroad Earth 2-NIGHT PASS

Friday, March 22 & Saturday, March 23 at 9:30 Club



 
Railroad Earth
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
22

Railroad Earth



Friday Mar 22|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 »

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!”



 
Railroad Earth
@9:30 club | view more info »
Mar
23

Railroad Earth



Saturday Mar 23|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 »

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!”



 
Matador! Soul Sounds
@Union Stage | view more info »
Mar
24

Matador! Soul Sounds



Sunday Mar 24|doors 7:30 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Matador! Soul Sounds

official band site »

Matador! Soul Sounds is a band loosely based on the concept of Spanish bullfighting. A common misconception in America is that bullfighting is a feat of one man versus one bull—in reality, bullfighting is largely a team effort by a matador and his cuadrilla.

Born from the vision of Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds) and Alan Evans (Soulive) their fierce cuadrilla consists of keyboardist Chris Spies and bassist Kevin Scott (Jimmy Herring) as the band’s “banderilleros". Adding a feminine energy to the band are Adryon de León and Kimberly Dawson (Pimps of Joytime) on vocals. Combining the dynamism of each band leader, the music they have created is brand new, hard hitting and drenched with their shared musical passions - jazz, funk & soul.

The band made their official World Debut at Live for Live Music’s Brooklyn Comes Alive 2017 and will be touring in the spring of 2018 behind their first full length EP.



 
Beats Antique
@9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
6

Beats Antique



Saturday Apr 6|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Beats Antique

official band site »

It’s impossible to describe Beats Antique using just a single genre. One listen to their forthcoming album, Shadowbox (released on their own Beats Antique Records imprint), and their unique hybrid of sound makes perfect sense; their ability to blend so many different kinds of music in to an incredibly vibrant, distinctive and peerless album is what this band has been doing for the past ten years.

Based in Oakland, California, Sidecar Tommy, David Satori and Zoe Jakes make up Beats Antique, who released their 10th album on October 5th 2016 to commemorate their tenth year as a band. They’ve mounted a larger-than-life cross-country tour that will take their vision to theaters across America. “Shadowbox is both the title of our new album, the theme of our tour, and our new store front in Berkeley CA. We decided to bring it all together on this release.“ Mostly recorded at their studio in Oakland (which has been around since the 50s), the Bay Area band also recorded in Russia and Israel. “We were lucky to record in both Moscow and Tel Aviv, because we had shows there and wanted to connect with the local artists. We had amazing sessions in both locations; In Moscow we recorded on the outskirts of the city in a wild Industrial complex. We ended up going through strange corridors into this plush bamboo-floored-Hare-Krishna-owned recording studio with state of the art gear. When we were in Tel Aviv, we gave a call to a local legend Yossi Fine and he helped us get time at Pluto Studios, which is one of the best in the city. We recorded with Talya Solan and her amazing group of musicians. We used elements of the Tel Aviv session to create our track “Bdna Salam,” which is raising money for Syrian refugees.” Along with Talya other features on Shadowbox include Lafa Taylor, Alam Khan, Tatiana Kalmykova, brasshouse trio Too Many Zooz (who are touring with Beats Antique), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dana Elle, Madoline Tasquin and Medium Troy Orchestra.

Shadowbox is a retrospective of sorts, with Beats Antique pulling from all of their previous work as almost a homage to the first ten years of their career. “This will be our first full album produced in Beats Antique’s recording studio/dance performance space. We feel like Shadowbox touches on all our styles from down-temp Middle Eastern influences to cinematic orchestral arrangements. The songwriting process is also different for every song. Sometimes David will come in with a melody and Sidecar will add the bass and beats, and vise versa. One thing that always makes the songwriting process unique is that Zoe creates and arranges music based around stories she wants to tell though dance, so sometimes the performance aspect influences the creation of the music.”

In June, the group premiered the first single, “Killer Bee,” featuring Lafa Taylor, on Billboard.com. The track is “about standing up to prejudices. Just because someone calls you a killer bee, doesn’t mean you need to kill. We want people to define themselves and not be defined by what people think they should be.” In addition to being a ‘killer’ track, with a compelling music video directed by Kyrian Bobeerian, Beats Antique donated a percentage of the proceeds from their July 1st show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to The Honeybee Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of bees.

An enthusiastic touring band, a new album also means a new tour, and since Beats Antique is all about the ‘concept,’ Shadowbox (the album and the idea) is another opportunity for them to get the creative juices flowing for the live shows. The band plan to use shadows, light, Indonesian shadow puppetry, custom-created lanterns, dance, story telling, crowd participation and more to make sure this is an unforgettable visual spectacle for their audience. Shadowbox, an album that is an amalgamation of the history of Beats Antique, merged with a tour that will both tease and excite the senses, shows off what this band does best – transform, innovate and revolutionize what you think you know about music.



 
The Claypool Lennon Delirium
@9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
17

The Claypool Lennon Delirium



Wednesday Apr 17|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930
 
Lotus
@9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
19

Lotus



Friday Apr 19|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Lotus

official band site »

Lotus has always been difficult to define musically; an instrumental jamband that has favored groove-based improvisation instead of gaudy solos and noodling. Influences of classic electronic dance music, funk, post-rock and dance-rock have all made their way into the Lotus sound. Over the years, their unique musical blend of electronica with jam music has helped forge a new path in the jamband landscape, influencing many younger bands in the scene. Their latest studio effort, Frames Per Second (December 2018), aims to showcase Lotus in a pure, raw form performing live in the studio. Tracked live at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia with cameras rolling, the all-instrumental result is both an audio and video project. Instrumental jazz-funk, Norwegian space-disco and other sounds make their way into the expansive 19-song album and documentary. For Frames Per Second, Lotus aimed to incorporate pyschedelia into the album’s sound by combining hypnotic beats with unexpected harmonic or timbral turns. Approaching two decades together, Lotus has toured actively throughout the US working their way up from dingy basement clubs to world-class venues such as Red Rocks. They've become festival favorites, playing everything from Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Outside Lands to Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest, building a hyper-loyal following along the way. A Lotus live show is an experience, a uniquely crafted and improvised set taking everyone, the crowd and band, on a journey.



 
Lotus
@9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
20

Lotus



Saturday Apr 20|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Lotus

official band site »

Lotus has always been difficult to define musically; an instrumental jamband that has favored groove-based improvisation instead of gaudy solos and noodling. Influences of classic electronic dance music, funk, post-rock and dance-rock have all made their way into the Lotus sound. Over the years, their unique musical blend of electronica with jam music has helped forge a new path in the jamband landscape, influencing many younger bands in the scene. Their latest studio effort, Frames Per Second (December 2018), aims to showcase Lotus in a pure, raw form performing live in the studio. Tracked live at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia with cameras rolling, the all-instrumental result is both an audio and video project. Instrumental jazz-funk, Norwegian space-disco and other sounds make their way into the expansive 19-song album and documentary. For Frames Per Second, Lotus aimed to incorporate pyschedelia into the album’s sound by combining hypnotic beats with unexpected harmonic or timbral turns. Approaching two decades together, Lotus has toured actively throughout the US working their way up from dingy basement clubs to world-class venues such as Red Rocks. They've become festival favorites, playing everything from Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Outside Lands to Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest, building a hyper-loyal following along the way. A Lotus live show is an experience, a uniquely crafted and improvised set taking everyone, the crowd and band, on a journey.



 
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
@The Anthem | view more info »
Sep
28

Joe Russo's Almost Dead



Saturday Sep 28|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Joe Russo's Almost Dead

official band site »

Joe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo.

"Not only does this quintet play tight and vicious versions of some of the most complex songs in the Grateful Dead's repertoire, but they play them with a rawness & energy absent from the stage since the 'Live' Dead era. More importantly, all of the jams are wild and incredibly adventurous. Russo's a beast behind the kit who's in the peak of his career. Metzger is a criminally underrated guitarist who has a chameleon-like ability to alter his sound to compliment any situation. Dreiwitz's intensity is unmatched by anyone, while Benevento spouts these crazy tones and layers of sound that mix the best of what each keyboardist in GD history brought to the band. Finally, add Hamilton, whose voice and biting leads help push this ensemble over the top." - Scott Bernstein, Jambase 9.12.13