Nov
18
Squaring The Circle

all good news

 
Tea Leaf Green
Squaring The Circle | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Nov
18

Tea Leaf Green

Squaring The Circle


Sunday Nov 18|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Tea Leaf Green

official band site »

San Francisco's Tea Leaf Green are newfangled Lost Boys, a traveling gang dedicated to seeking wisdom and experience in places both glorious and seedy. In many ways, this quartet is the essence of rock's adventurous, playfully outlaw spirit, all of which ultimately fuels songs that resonate with classic vibrations, open-ended possibilities and radio-ready charm. TLG are bruised romantics with heavy minds and a lighthearted way with experimentation, as likely to jam out a number as they are to nail a primo verse-verse-chorus pop gem.


Squaring The Circle

official band site »

Squaring The Circle, hailing from Baltimore, MD, is an original Zappa-esque fusion/rock quartet with a strong taste for the experimental jam. Featuring some of Baltimore’s finest musicians, Squaring The Circle has taken lessons from countless miles on the road and formed a formidable musical amalgamation of all musical influences, along with the master of jazz, funk and blues. Seeing Squaring The Circle in person is like a feel-good, free-spirited, danceable time with old friends. Their live performances are high-energy dance parties blended with technically proficient and purpose-laden musical statements, and their sound is a “perfect combination of heavy guitar, soaring organ and grooves.” (The Jamwich, 2018)


 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
lespecial | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Nov
23

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

lespecial


Friday Nov 23|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

official band site »

“We pour every ounce of ourselves into every note when we perform live,” says Pigeons Playing Ping Pong singer/guitarist Greg Ormont. “When we’re recording in the studio, we try to maintain that euphoria while finding a way to pack it into a tight, focused vessel. Each song becomes like a spring-loaded can of worms: there’s all this energy boxed up in a neat little package, and then when you come see us live, the cap comes off and the contents fly out in every direction like fireworks.”

It’s a whimsically apt metaphor for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a band whose very existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. Blending infectious funk grooves, psychedelic jams, and experimental electronics, the Baltimore four-piece’s new album, ‘Pizazz,’ is a buoyant, blissful reminder of just how much fun music can be. Eschewing the traditional funk band lineup that typically includes keyboards, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong constructs effervescent soundscapes with just two guitars, bass, and drums, crafting their music with a sophisticated ear for both open space and dense layering.

While ‘Pizazz’ is, in many ways, a familiar continuation of the journey that’s earned the band its rapidly expanding and rabidly devoted following (known as The Flock), it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. The album’s eleven tracks are the group’s first recorded with new drummer Alex Petropulos, whose airtight grooves and explosive power push the band’s sound to new heights.

“We’ve had some of these songs in our live catalog for a while,” says Ormont, “but playing them with Alex has breathed new life into everything. His style and energy have revealed nooks and crannies that we didn’t even realize existed in the tracks. All music boils down to having a good drummer, especially in our dance-oriented jam world, and we’ve got the best drummer I’ve ever heard right now.”

It’s a bold claim, but Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has the live show to back it up. Glide Magazine called them “a band that melts faces and pulls no punches,” while C-Ville Weekly praised the growing “cult around [their] high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes,” and JamBase raved that guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Schon is “destined to become one of our generation’s finest guitarists.” Since the group’s inception nearly a decade ago at the University of Maryland (where the band’s name came to Ormont and Schon during a moment of transcendence in Psych 100), they’ve built up a reputation as one of the most engaging and life-affirming acts on the road, maintaining a relentless tour schedule that has them performing up to 200 shows a year and hitting festivals from coast to coast. The band even founded their own gathering, Domefest, which recently celebrated its eighth year and attracted nearly 2,000 members of The Flock for an immersive weekend of love, music, and community.

“It’s really important that our live show puts out as much energy as possible and promotes lightheartedness and positivity,” says Schon. “All that matters in the moment at a concert is what’s going on onstage and in the room around you, and we try to put on a show where people can really lose themselves in those moments and use our music as an outlet to feel good.”

The band chased those same ideals when they headed into producer Steve Wright’s WrightWay Studios in Baltimore to record ‘Pizazz,’ the follow-up to their 2016 fan-favorite ‘Pleasure.’ Tracking live on the floor, the foursome channeled all the rapture of their live shows into tight, crisp packages. Songs that may unfold onstage over the course of 20 minutes were reimagined for the studio, where they’d need to reach the same frenzied, emotional heights, in less than half that time.

“I think this album really shows attention to detail when it comes to choosing our moments and the way we’ve been able to make parts more concise without losing their natural feel,” says Ormont. “Having a strong drummer is a big part of that. Alex is able to convey so much feeling and bring us to those peaks and valleys really quickly and efficiently when we need him to.”

‘Pizazz’ opens up with the bouncing, carefree “Fun In Funk,” which finds the band proclaiming, “We put the fun in funk” over wah-wah guitars and an infectious rhythm section driven both by Petropulos’s drums and Ben Carrey’s fat, slinky bass lines.

“Funk is very fun, upbeat, happy music to begin with,” says Ormont. “It’s our mission to put that fun into everything we do."

It’s a mission that Pigeons Playing Ping Pong was born for. The visceral sense of joy in their music acts as a sort of glue here, binding the band’s wildly versatile sounds into a cohesive and distinctive whole on the album. On “Somethin For Ya,” they channel 70’s disco and pair it with a wicked prog-rock solo, while tracks like “Offshoot” and “Too Long” embrace the group’s darker, more bass-and-electronics-influenced dance side. “Poseidon” and frequent show-closer “Ocean Flows,” on the other hand, showcase Pigeons’ bright, sparkling, melodic soul, as ‘Pizazz’ rises and falls with the same inimitable mix of precision and frenzy that defines the band’s one-of-a-kind live show.

Each Pigeon is a virtuosic musician and improviser in his own right, and the band’s songs are frequently born out of impromptu grooves and riffs. The swirling, trippy “Porcupine,” which clocks in at nearly eight minutes in all its jamming glory, taps into the uninhibited, open-ended nature of the band’s rehearsal sessions, while the driving “Henrietta” grew out of one of Schon’s soundcheck guitar loops. The island vibes of “Fox and Toad” are pure stream of consciousness written in the car after band practice, and “Doc” is a gritty, horn-fueled sing-along inspired by a Baltimore legend.

“There’s a homeless man named Doc who would always spend his time outside of the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, where we learned to push our limits as a band,” says Ormont. “Doc always supported us. Even though he was sleeping under a bridge, he’d always ask you how you were doing. We really wanted to commemorate his toughness and positivity.”

It’s difficult to think of a more fitting match for a band like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who radiate positivity wherever they go. Whether it’s Doc or The Flock, the band wants to elevate each and every member of their audience to the kind of blissful place that only the most ecstatic live music can take you. It’s a place filled with beauty and light, joy and power, love and community, all delivered with a heaping dose of pizazz.


lespecial

official band site »

lespecial carves their own path in contemporary rock music with the release of their second album, cheen, on October 31, 2017. Pole vaulting over traditional genres, cheen is a snapshot of a band finding a remarkable creative stride, fearless in their pursuit of a synthesis of the diverse musical idioms that have inspired them as listeners and artists.


 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Nov
24

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers


Saturday Nov 24|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

official band site »

“We pour every ounce of ourselves into every note when we perform live,” says Pigeons Playing Ping Pong singer/guitarist Greg Ormont. “When we’re recording in the studio, we try to maintain that euphoria while finding a way to pack it into a tight, focused vessel. Each song becomes like a spring-loaded can of worms: there’s all this energy boxed up in a neat little package, and then when you come see us live, the cap comes off and the contents fly out in every direction like fireworks.”

It’s a whimsically apt metaphor for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a band whose very existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. Blending infectious funk grooves, psychedelic jams, and experimental electronics, the Baltimore four-piece’s new album, ‘Pizazz,’ is a buoyant, blissful reminder of just how much fun music can be. Eschewing the traditional funk band lineup that typically includes keyboards, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong constructs effervescent soundscapes with just two guitars, bass, and drums, crafting their music with a sophisticated ear for both open space and dense layering.

While ‘Pizazz’ is, in many ways, a familiar continuation of the journey that’s earned the band its rapidly expanding and rabidly devoted following (known as The Flock), it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. The album’s eleven tracks are the group’s first recorded with new drummer Alex Petropulos, whose airtight grooves and explosive power push the band’s sound to new heights.

“We’ve had some of these songs in our live catalog for a while,” says Ormont, “but playing them with Alex has breathed new life into everything. His style and energy have revealed nooks and crannies that we didn’t even realize existed in the tracks. All music boils down to having a good drummer, especially in our dance-oriented jam world, and we’ve got the best drummer I’ve ever heard right now.”

It’s a bold claim, but Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has the live show to back it up. Glide Magazine called them “a band that melts faces and pulls no punches,” while C-Ville Weekly praised the growing “cult around [their] high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes,” and JamBase raved that guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Schon is “destined to become one of our generation’s finest guitarists.” Since the group’s inception nearly a decade ago at the University of Maryland (where the band’s name came to Ormont and Schon during a moment of transcendence in Psych 100), they’ve built up a reputation as one of the most engaging and life-affirming acts on the road, maintaining a relentless tour schedule that has them performing up to 200 shows a year and hitting festivals from coast to coast. The band even founded their own gathering, Domefest, which recently celebrated its eighth year and attracted nearly 2,000 members of The Flock for an immersive weekend of love, music, and community.

“It’s really important that our live show puts out as much energy as possible and promotes lightheartedness and positivity,” says Schon. “All that matters in the moment at a concert is what’s going on onstage and in the room around you, and we try to put on a show where people can really lose themselves in those moments and use our music as an outlet to feel good.”

The band chased those same ideals when they headed into producer Steve Wright’s WrightWay Studios in Baltimore to record ‘Pizazz,’ the follow-up to their 2016 fan-favorite ‘Pleasure.’ Tracking live on the floor, the foursome channeled all the rapture of their live shows into tight, crisp packages. Songs that may unfold onstage over the course of 20 minutes were reimagined for the studio, where they’d need to reach the same frenzied, emotional heights, in less than half that time.

“I think this album really shows attention to detail when it comes to choosing our moments and the way we’ve been able to make parts more concise without losing their natural feel,” says Ormont. “Having a strong drummer is a big part of that. Alex is able to convey so much feeling and bring us to those peaks and valleys really quickly and efficiently when we need him to.”

‘Pizazz’ opens up with the bouncing, carefree “Fun In Funk,” which finds the band proclaiming, “We put the fun in funk” over wah-wah guitars and an infectious rhythm section driven both by Petropulos’s drums and Ben Carrey’s fat, slinky bass lines.

“Funk is very fun, upbeat, happy music to begin with,” says Ormont. “It’s our mission to put that fun into everything we do."

It’s a mission that Pigeons Playing Ping Pong was born for. The visceral sense of joy in their music acts as a sort of glue here, binding the band’s wildly versatile sounds into a cohesive and distinctive whole on the album. On “Somethin For Ya,” they channel 70’s disco and pair it with a wicked prog-rock solo, while tracks like “Offshoot” and “Too Long” embrace the group’s darker, more bass-and-electronics-influenced dance side. “Poseidon” and frequent show-closer “Ocean Flows,” on the other hand, showcase Pigeons’ bright, sparkling, melodic soul, as ‘Pizazz’ rises and falls with the same inimitable mix of precision and frenzy that defines the band’s one-of-a-kind live show.

Each Pigeon is a virtuosic musician and improviser in his own right, and the band’s songs are frequently born out of impromptu grooves and riffs. The swirling, trippy “Porcupine,” which clocks in at nearly eight minutes in all its jamming glory, taps into the uninhibited, open-ended nature of the band’s rehearsal sessions, while the driving “Henrietta” grew out of one of Schon’s soundcheck guitar loops. The island vibes of “Fox and Toad” are pure stream of consciousness written in the car after band practice, and “Doc” is a gritty, horn-fueled sing-along inspired by a Baltimore legend.

“There’s a homeless man named Doc who would always spend his time outside of the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, where we learned to push our limits as a band,” says Ormont. “Doc always supported us. Even though he was sleeping under a bridge, he’d always ask you how you were doing. We really wanted to commemorate his toughness and positivity.”

It’s difficult to think of a more fitting match for a band like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who radiate positivity wherever they go. Whether it’s Doc or The Flock, the band wants to elevate each and every member of their audience to the kind of blissful place that only the most ecstatic live music can take you. It’s a place filled with beauty and light, joy and power, love and community, all delivered with a heaping dose of pizazz.


Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

official band site »

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and—at last—into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.


 
Ghost Light
Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang | @The Hamilton | view more info »
Nov
24

Ghost Light

Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang


Saturday Nov 24|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Ghost Light


Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang

official band site »

Ghost Light is a true musical collaboration; five personalities, five perspectives, and five unique approaches towards one common sound.

Foregoing current traditions, rather than initially focusing on live shows, the band played together for the first time in a recording studio in Philadelphia. This decision gave the band’s members - Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Steve Lyons, Raina Mullen and Scotty Zwang - the ability to come to the project with fresh ears and no pre-conceived notions. They developed the songs as they developed their musical communication which led to trust, creativity and an adventurous take on the process. Scotty Zwang explained it thusly, “It’s a unique and interesting approach we get to take...” “we are being patient with each other and figuring out what the song needs”

While the recording project has been the beginning point for Ghost Light, the live experience is what will define this band. “In the parts of the sessions where we have had a little more room to just let things go, there have been these little glimmers of what the improvisation will feel like live. That’s a whole other thing and it’s very exciting,” notes Holly Bowling. Tom Hamilton adds, “with this new band, we felt super comfortable going in any direction, knowing that with our new bandmates, the songs will get to where they needs to go. And in the live setting, that confidence is just as strong.”

The first half of 2018 will see the band playing major venues in major markets coast to coast, followed by heavy rotation on the festival circuit. The debut record will be released in the second half of the year and will be supported by an extensive tour. In 2018 you will get to know Ghost Light, and the future could not be brighter.


 
Toubab Krewe
Two Ton Twig | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Nov
28

Toubab Krewe

Two Ton Twig


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


Toubab Krewe

official band site »

Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.

Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own. The fruits of this hard work can be heard on their latest release, STYLO, (March 2nd, 2018). What Justin Perkins (Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Terrence Houston (drumset), Drew Heller (guitar, organ), Justin Kimmel (bass, keys), and Luke Quaranta (Djembe, Congas, Dundun, Sangban, Kinkini) have wrought on STYLO reflects the many miles and musical journeys that have transpired since their last studio album, TK2.

This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they've exhibited in their decade and a half of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as the Festival In The Desert in Essakane, Mali. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets' Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl's Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.

Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group's travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they've learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.


Two Ton Twig

official band site »

Founded in 2013 by two roommates in their Alexandria, VA basement, Two Ton Twig has evolved from its punk roots to incorporate traditional influences from Appalachia, Red Dirt, Eastern European folk, Bluegrass, and other forms of American Roots music to create their own unique sound. Two Ton Twig is Brandon Boling (banjo, vocals), Donnie Riggs (guitar, dobro, vocals), Alexandra Touzinsky (fiddle, keys, vocals), and Ryan Thomas (bass, mandolin, vocals).


 
Toubab Krewe
Jordan August Band | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Nov
29

Toubab Krewe

Jordan August Band


Thursday Nov 29|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Toubab Krewe

official band site »

Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.

Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own. The fruits of this hard work can be heard on their latest release, STYLO, (March 2nd, 2018). What Justin Perkins (Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Terrence Houston (drumset), Drew Heller (guitar, organ), Justin Kimmel (bass, keys), and Luke Quaranta (Djembe, Congas, Dundun, Sangban, Kinkini) have wrought on STYLO reflects the many miles and musical journeys that have transpired since their last studio album, TK2.

This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they've exhibited in their decade and a half of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as the Festival In The Desert in Essakane, Mali. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets' Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl's Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.

Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group's travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they've learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.


Jordan August Band

official band site »

From the moment you hear Jordan August’s music, one thing is certain…it speaks. From his heart and his soul. No matter the stage, venue or crowd size, Jordan always delivers the same deeply rooted passion and energy.


 
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
The Rad Trads | @9:30 club | view more info »
Nov
29

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

The Rad Trads


Thursday Nov 29|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

official band site »

For nearly two decades, the Catskill Mountains hid rock ‘n’ roll’s best kept secret. Then one day, singer and songwriter Arleigh Kincheloe said goodbye to her hometown hideaway and moved to New York City to start the hard soul collective, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.
“Our music is loud, fun, and it’s supposed to make you feel good,” she declares. “That’s the goal.”

In the years since, the group has performed more than 700 shows and made their national TV debut on NBC’s Today Show. They’ve released three full-length studio albums, including their most recent studio pass, the acclaimed The Weather Below.

“They may be from Brooklyn, but the fiery brass- and gospel-infused funk emanating from Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is rooted in Memphis soul,” writes the LA Times. “Their rhythmic wheelhouse combines big-city grit and down-home sweetness with a little bit of Americana twang.”

The band has shared the stage with Gov’t Mule, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, The Avett Brothers, and Galactic and has turned audiences into believers through appearances on the festival circuit at Bonnaroo, Firefly, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Bottle Rock, Forecastle and others.

Ultimately, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds stand poised to shake up rock ‘n’ roll all around the world. “This all stems back to why I loved performing and singing to begin with,” Arleigh leaves off. “I want to make crowds happy and see them smile and dance. Singing brings me so much joy. I hope our music does the same for everyone.”


The Rad Trads

official band site »

Currently touring in anticipation of their second full-length album “On Tap,” New York City’s The Rad Trads are winning over audiences, gaining loyal fans, and defying classification. They’ve been described as “Wilco at the Circus,”“The Band meets Miles Davis, and “the greatest band you’ve never heard of.” Few can pin down their unique blend of Indie Rock, Americana, and Soul, but everyone agrees, “it’s a damn good time!”

Most commonly fans observe that they have never seen a band with five distinct lead vocalists. But it wasn’t long ago that many members of The Rad Trads hadn’t sung a note. As dedicated instrumentalists they moved to New York City from Portland, Chicago, and Maryland to go to conservatory and cut their teeth with the best musicians in the city. When they met in Greenwich Village it was their love of a good party, not the confines of a practice room that connected them—naturally, the party would soon move from the dorm room to the stage. With each show the music grew, the repertoire evolved, and each member decided it was their time to step up to the microphone and sing. Soon they developed a sound that was uniquely their own: a driving horn section, five lead vocalists, and an infectious punk rock energy that quickly made them one of the city’s most buzzed-about live acts.

With their first EP Self Help the Rad Trads explored the traditional blues forms of their beerhall roots and penned their first original songs. Following up with the full-length album Must We Call Them Rad Trads?, the band came into their own as songwriters and incorporated elements of folk rock into their brass-heavy sound.

Their newest release, On Tap explodes into a completely new territory. Walls of horns and psychedelic guitars meld with lush acoustic arrangements laying an intricate foundation for songs that are funny, challenging, and well-crafted. The album’s lead single, “Good Luck Unto Ya” is a soaring anthem of the bittersweet, exploring the pain and relief of cutting ties with a toxic person. Drummer John Fatum sings “Hallelujah, good luck unto ya, no need to shake my hand, no need to cry.” The emotional catharsis of the text is mirrored in the production of the song with a wall of sound of over 60 overdubbed tracks.

On Tap showcases a singular sound that reveals an exciting possibility: this band is ready to etch their names into a lineage that starts somewhere with Little Richard and Elvis Presley, passes through the Stones, Dylan, Lou Reed and the Boss and ends up in the present day grasping for tomorrow.

The Rad Trads have toured across 4 Continents, 15 countries, and 41 states, including opening for artists such as Lake Street Dive, Tom Jones, Charles Bradley, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, the Lone Bellow, and Margaret Glaspy. When not playing with The Rad Trads, members of the band have performed or recorded with artists such as St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Deer Tick, Sarah Jarosz, Buck Meek & Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief, Lee Fields & the Expressions, David Duchovony, and Christopher Paul Stelling.


 
Agents of Good Roots
Under New Ownership | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Nov
30

Agents of Good Roots

Under New Ownership


Friday Nov 30|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Agents of Good Roots

official band site »

Founded in 1993 in Richmond, Virginia, Agents of Good Roots toured the United States from 1995 through 2001. Since then, band members have found success in music performance, the recording industry, academia, and medicine. In October 2017, they reunited for a memorial show for their tour manager and spiritual advisor, Jeff Peskin. Several dates are planned for 2018 including a return to cities last played in the 1990s.


Under New Ownership

official band site »

Under New Ownership, aka UNO, was founded by singer/songwriter/piano/sax player Gregg Jordan in 2002. Jordan performed solo concerts early on, but soon opted to bring his music to life with full-band arrangements. Over the years, UNO has featured various talented musicians affectionately refered to as The UNO-Crew. UNO has put out 3 official studio releases, 2004’s Preface, 2005’s concept album, across the sky..., and The Good Times & Bittersweet Memories EP in 2010.

The band has shared the stage with Gavin Degraw, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, moe., and Umphrey’s McGee, among many others.

After a brief hiatus, UNO returns to the music scene in 2018 with plans for multiple EP releases in 2019.


 
Dark Star Orchestra
RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW | @The Anthem | view more info »
Dec
1

Dark Star Orchestra

RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW


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


Dark Star Orchestra


RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW

official band site »

Performing to critical acclaim celebrating their 20th anniversary year in 2017 and over 2600 shows, Dark Star Orchestra continues the Grateful Dead concert experience. Their shows are built off the Dead’s extensive catalog and the talent of these seven fine musicians. On any given night, the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Grateful Dead's 30 years of extensive touring or use their catalog to program a unique set list for the show. This allows fans both young and old to share in the experience. By recreating set lists from the past, and by developing their own sets of Dead songs, Dark Star Orchestra offers a continually evolving artistic outlet within this musical canon. Honoring both the band and the fans, Dark Star Orchestra’s members seek out the unique style and sound of each era while simultaneously offering their own informed improvisations.

Dark Star Orchestra offers much more than the sound of the Grateful Dead, they truly encapsulate the energy and the experience. It's about a sense of familiarity. It's about a feeling that grabs listeners and takes over. It's about that contagious energy... in short, it's about the complete experience and consistent quality show that the fan receives when attending a Dark Star Orchestra show.

Dark Star Orchestra has performed throughout the entire United States, plus Europe & the Caribbean touching down in seven different countries. DSO continues to grow its fan base by playing at larger venues for two and even three night stands as well as performing at major music festivals including Bonnaroo, Milwaukee’s SummerFest, The Peach Music Festival, All Good Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, Mountain Jam, and many more.

In addition to appearing at some of the nation’s top festival, Dark Star Orchestra hosts its own annual music festival and campaign gathering, titled the ‘Dark Star Jubilee’, currently in its sixth year where DSO headline all three nights and are joined by a mix of established and up and coming national touring acts. Beyond the shores of the United States, DSO has taken its internationally-acclaimed Grateful Dead tribute to the beaches of Jamaica in the dead of winter for the past five years, with their event appropriately titled ‘Jam in the Sand’. Featuring an ocean-side stage, DSO sets up camp to perform shows for four nights along the tropical sands of an all-inclusive resort, selling out the event each year for hundreds of lucky attendees.

Fans and critics haven’t been the only people caught up in the spirit of a Dark Star show. The band has featured guest performances from six original Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Jean Godchaux- MacKay, Vince Welnick, Tom Constanten and even toured with longtime Dead soundman, Dan Healy. Other notable guests have included Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman of Phish, Keller Williams, Warren Haynes, Steve Kimock, Peter Rowan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and many more.

"For us it's a chance to recreate some of the magic that was created for us over the years," rhythm guitarist and vocalist Rob Eaton explains. "We offer a sort of a historical perspective at what it might have been like to go to a show in 1985, 1978 or whenever. Even for Deadheads who can say they've been to a hundred shows in the 90s, we offer something they never got to see live."


 
Jeff Austin Band
Jon Stickley Trio | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Dec
5

Jeff Austin Band

Jon Stickley Trio


Wednesday Dec 5|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Jeff Austin Band

official band site »

The work continues...

These words have never rung more true for Jeff Austin.

After almost twenty years of live creation and endless joy seeking Jeff has returned to the scene with a new found sense of passion. Sharing the stage each night with a band of like-minded adventurers he attacks each performance with a fire and desire to move and shake everyone in sight.

Each show stands as a statement.

A statement of music...

A statement of connection...

A statement of just how joyful each moment can be.

From note to note…song to song…these musical warriors set out to turn each ear in a way never heard before. The path is set.

The energy is undeniable.

Because with each new step The Jeff Austin Band takes...

The work continues.


Jon Stickley Trio

official band site »

Jon Stickley Trio is a genre-defying and cinematic instrumental trio, whose deep grooves, innovative flatpicking, and sultry-spacy violin moves the listener’s head, heart, and feet. “It’s not your father’s acoustic-guitar music—although Stickley’s pop showed him his first chords when he was 12 years old. Instead, Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge, and assorted other genres—all thoroughly integrated into a personal style,” writes Guitar Player Magazine.

Premier Guitar says, “Stickley’s trio… is not a traditional bluegrass group by any means… they are just nimble and ambitious enough to navigate EDM-style breakbeats as effortlessly as the old timey standard ‘Blackberry Blossom.’”

“Stickley is a super-resourceful acoustic guitarist who uses the instrument in many surprising ways and whose timing is just flawless. Fiddler Lyndsay Pruettputs deep thought into her flowing solos, plus she adds little flourishes and sudden stops that elevate the music,” proclaims Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst.

Jon Stickley Trio announces a change in lineup beginning in January 2018 with new drummer, Hunter Deacon, who is both classically trained and boasts heavy jazz influences. Hailing from the ever-hip Knoxville, Tennessee, Hunter studied with drummer Keith Brown and received a BM in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Tennessee. Deacon then went on to complete a six month residency at a jazz club in Hangzhou, China where he performed seven nights a week. Since his return, he’s played with Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, toured the country with Sam Lewis, and performs with guitarist Mike Baggetta.

Stickley says about the seemingly sudden lineup change, “we’re really excited to add Hunter’s vibe to the mix, his creativity and willingness to experiment were two things that drew us to him, and Lyndsay and I were quickly surprised and inspired by what he’ll bring to the table.”

With inspiration ranging from from Green Day to Duran Duran to Tony Rice to Nirvana, Grateful Dead, David Grisman and beyond, the Trio is making waves with their unique sound. Along with releasing two full length albums and one EP in the past few years, the Trio has zig-zagged the nation, playing over 120 dates in 2017 alone. They are road tested and band geek approved!

Dave King (of The Bad Plus) joined forces with Jon Stickley Trio to produce 2017’s Maybe Believe and 2015’s Lost At Last (which The New York Times called “both respectful and free”) in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the esteemed Echo Mountain Recording Studio. The Trio slipped a self-produced 5-track EP, Triangular, into the mix in December of 2016.

“In a time when a lot of instrumental music feels more like math than art, Jon Stickley Trio reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through music,” says Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.

Stickley says, “The Trio feels fresher and hotter than ever, we’ve hit our stride in terms of creating tunes that are uniquely us and that’s a really exciting place to be musically. Not to mention we are so stoked to get back to many of our favorite festivals and clubs, and even more excited to play some the ones we’ve always dreamed of. 2018 will, without a doubt, be our best year yet!”


 
Marcus King Band
Ida Mae | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
6

Marcus King Band

Ida Mae


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


Marcus King Band

official band site »

Songwriter. Guitarist. Singer. Bandleader. At only 20 years of age, Marcus King’s dazzling musical ability is evident throughout The Marcus King Band, the young phenom’s 2 nd full-length LP and first for Fantasy Records. Operating within the fiery brand of American roots music that King calls "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock," the album highlights King’s gorgeous, rough-hewn vocals, soaring guitar work and heartfelt songwriting all amidst a group of masterful musicians who, together, are quickly becoming one of the country’s most sought after live acts.

Raised in Greenville, South Carolina, King was brought up on the blues, playing shows as a pre-teen sideman with his father—bluesman Marvin King, who himself was the son of a regionally-known guitarist—before striking out on his own. Going beyond the sonic textures of his acclaimed 2015 debut album, Soul Insight; The Marcus King Band broadens his sound, touching upon everything from funky R&B to Southern soul and Americana in the process. His band gets in on the action too, stacking the songs with blasts of swampy brass, a lock-step rhythm section and swirling organ. Ever the multi-tasker, King bounces between several instruments, handling electric and acoustic guitar — as well as pedal and lap steel — while driving each track home with his soulful, incendiary voice.

Having spent the past year tirelessly playing ever-larger venues and festivals to a burgeoning fan base, The Marcus King Band was written on the road and recorded during a series of live takes at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, CT. The album captures the energy of the band's blazing live show, as well as the talent of a rising young songwriter reaching well beyond his years.

"The majority of our songs are specific to situations I've lived," King explains. "I write as a form of therapy, to release my emotions into a musical expression. I want people to know they're not the only ones going through that pain. Music is the true healer. And when we perform, we want the audience to leave feeling as tired and as emotionally freed as we do. It's all about getting the stress of the day off your chest. It's like therapy."

The Marcus King Band features Jack Ryan on drums and percussion, Stephen Campbell on bass, Matt Jennings on keys and organ, Dean Mitchell on saxophone, and Justin Johnson on trumpet, trombone and backing vocals. Joining the band on the new album are a number of mentors and collaborators, including Derek Trucks (who plays guitar on "Self-Hatred").

No guest plays a bigger role than Warren Haynes, though. A longtime champion of King's songwriting and guitar prowess, Haynes produced every track on The Marcus King Band (and contributed his trademark slide guitar on "Virginia"), expertly capturing the group's live sound for a cohesive collection reflecting the band's expansive explorations.

"Marcus is the first player I’ve heard since Derek Trucks to play with the maturity of a musician well beyond his age," Haynes says. "He’s very much influenced by the blues, but also by jazz, rock, soul music, and any timeless genres of music. You can hear the influences, but it all comes through him in his own unique way. He has one of those voices that instantly draws you in, and his guitar playing is an extension of his voice and vice versa.”

A childhood introvert who leaned heavily on music as a way of expressing himself, King fills The Marcus King Band with a mix of biographical tunes and fictional story songs. "At the time I wrote 'Self-Hatred' says King, "the girl I was seeing really hurt me. Broke my heart, took all of my insecurities and used them against me…she told me she hated herself for what she had said and done to me. I told her I knew exactly how it feels to hate yourself. 'Self-Hatred' is within you and me."

"Devil's Land" is loosely based on his grandfather, who worked on a farm during his younger years, while the story behind the track "Rita Is Gone" was inspired by the television show Dexter. Meanwhile, songs like "Guitar In My Hands" peek into King's personal life — a life filled with highway mile markers, truck stops, and a nightly rotation of stages, all waiting to be filled with the sound of a genre-bending band on the rise.

"This album is a big melting pot of different kinds of music," says King. "It's the sound of everyone taking their own influences and collectively coming together as a group. We're all really hungry to play, and we're so passionate about this music. I want people to feel the same thing we feel — to leave the show feeling some sense of release. It's almost like the show ends, and everyone can take a deep breath together."


Ida Mae

official band site »

It’s quite some transformation from their grunge-blues band Kill It Kid, but former members, and now husband and wife, Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean are opening up a whole new musical world. The duo is now emerging from a period of self-discovery and mutual creative power to create the rawboned and stripped back musical romance that is, Ida Mae.

Ida Mae’s magic lies in the sensuous dovetailing of two voices and the intimacy of their songs. Their chemistry on stage isn’t just a dramatic pose and is a truly captivating sight to behold. Chris' vocals are reminiscent of a Face’s era Rod Stewart or Steve Marriott, while Stephanie combines the delicacy of Patty Griffin with the effortless rock-chic of Alison Mosshart. Singing together, the couple have an unusual ‘which-is- which’ dynamic.

After finding critical acclaim with Kill It Kid, spending years touring various parts of the world, and working closely with legendary A&R man Seymour Stein, Chris and Stephanie felt drawn to a more honest sound, a simpler expression of song where all you need is a guitar and a voice to accompany it. They have just finished recording their debut album with acclaimed producer and friend Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams / Ray Lamontagne / Kings Of Leon / Laura Marling).


 
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
The Plate Scrapers | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Dec
6

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

The Plate Scrapers


Thursday Dec 6|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

official band site »

After seven years, three albums, innumerable sold out shows, and countless beers, bluegrass mavericks Horseshoes & Hand Grenades appropriately consider themselves a “family” on a wild, wonderful, and often whacky roller coaster. The bond between the quintet—David C. Lynch [harmonica, accordion, spoons, vocals], Collin Mettelka [fiddle, mandolin, vocals], Russell Pedersen [banjo, fiddle, vocals], Adam Greuel [guitar, dobro, vocals], and Samual Odin [bass]—fuels their creativity and chemistry on stage and in the studio.

“Sometimes, it feels like we’re modern day cowboys on some kind of strange journey,” Adam affirms with a laugh. “We’re five friends who set out to do something we enjoy doing, meet interesting people, see old friends, and make some new buddies along the way. Because of that, everything happens organically.”

That’s been the case since these five musicians first met in Stevens Point, WI at college, joined forces, and hit the road post-graduation in 2013. They have ignited stages alongside everyone from Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Trampled By Turtles to Railroad Earth, Merle Haggard, and Marty Stuart in addition to appearances at festivals such as Delfest, High Sierra Music Festival, Blue Ox Music Festival, Northwest String Summit, John Hartford Memorial Festival, and many more. Their three albums—Another Round [2012], This Old Town [2013], and Middle Western [2015]—have spawned fan favorite hits, including “Get Down To It,” “Stuck On Your Mind,” and “Whiskey.”

In many ways, everything set the stage for the 2018 offering, The Ode.

“It marks a point of growth,” explains Adam. “We’ve got the bluegrass burner type tunes we’re known for on there, but we’re experimenting with other elements. Little pieces of everybody are encapsulated in this record. For the first time, we were really conscious of allowing our respective musical curiosities into the fold. Sam drops in a jazz and classical feel. Dave brings that Zydeco, Cajun, and old school blues vibe. Collin turns up with this kinda pop folk energy, and Russell gives us the old-timey banjo feel. For me, I’m trying to play out my singer-songwriter curiosities. There are five songwriters in the band, and we’ve gotten better at harnessing our individual creativity and bringing it to the collective.”

The boys found the perfect place to bottle those signature spirits. They retreated to Cannon Falls, MN in order to live and record at Pachyderm Studios — where Nirvana recorded In Utero — for just a week. Joined by Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett in the producer’s chair, they tracked the eleven numbers that would comprise The Ode over the course of a marathon session.

“Pachyderm is in the middle of nowhere,” he elaborates. “We’re all outdoorsy people, so the setting was super comfortable. It contributed to the laidback approach. We had this awesome chemistry with Dave. It was by far the easiest recording project we’ve done. The whole experience was super positive and uplifting.”

That feeling courses through the upbeat bluegrass gallop of the first single and title track, “The Ode.” The ebullient and enigmatic anthem serves as something of a mantra for the group, “Sing the ode my friend!”

Elsewhere on the record, bluesy piano resounds through “Eat the Cake,” while rustic banjo reverberates during the anthemic “Foggy Halo.” A clever outlier, “Millennial Girl” veers towards self-aware pop with its sharp lyrics. Meanwhile, “Stay Awhile” redefines the breakup song.

“I was thinking about how you can split up with somebody for various reasons, but still be in love,” he elaborates. “You split up for each other—not because of each other. It’s about the impermanence of relationships and the permanence of love.” Ultimately, the Horseshoes & Hand Grenades family grows stronger by the day. The Ode is proof.

“The best part of this has been building a community,” Adam leaves off. “In this day and age, it’s wise to look for things that bring people together rather than separate them. We’re creating an extended family to get through these times together. That’s the ‘Horseshoe Crew.’ Everything happens because of that bond.”


The Plate Scrapers

official band site »

The Plate Scrapers originated in 2014 in western Maryland the way any good bluegrass band does: from a bunch of fellers pickin’ around in a circle, surrounded by delicious plates of food, strong libations, and good friends. The traditional spirit of The Plate Scrapers is still innately intact nearly half a decade later, though they have evolved into far more than your average bluegrass band. Through diverse backgrounds and influences ranging from jazz, to hard rock, to funk, the band has taken their music to an eclectic new level.

The Plate Scrapers’ songwriting is the identifying characteristic of the band. Complimenting writing styles from multiple members offer a tasteful balance and refreshing diversity to their sound, a diversity which they have become known for. Folksy lyrics of songs like “Shoes” or “Moonlight” call to a time of friendship, nostalgia and adventure, while songs like “Trucker’s Aspirin” or “Easy Way Out” are darker tales, gritty in nature.

Crafted musicianship and creative chemistry on stage guarantees that each performance is a new experience. More recently, the band has been known to take advantage of modern FX to enhance their traditional folk instruments, venturing over the borders of traditional Bluegrass into the rapidly growing genre of Jamgrass. Fans and critics alike agree that things are moving in a promising direction for The Plate Scrapers.

The Plate Scrapers are currently working on their third studio record, with new and different material, and are setting their sites on touring the Western US in the near future. These guys are committed to what they do and have no intentions of slowing down.


 
Mihali
Grubby Bean | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Dec
12

Mihali

Grubby Bean


Wednesday Dec 12|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Mihali

official band site »

Mihali Savoulidis is the lead singer and guitarist for Vermont rock quartet, Twiddle. Barely 30 years old, the Jersey native has already drawn crowds at such notable rock shrines as Red Rocks, The Capitol Theatre and Bonnaroo. Twiddle’s fan base is growing rapidly, and Mihali’s signature vocals and guitar work are more than partly responsible for this undeniable momentum.

Most laud Mihali for his dexterity on guitar, but it’s his lyrics and songwriting capabilities which set his solo act apart. It is the soul of what many hope to find in a solo act. His mastery of pedals, specifically the repetitive phenomena known as “looping,” beat boxing, and guitar riffs, all prep a multi-textured canvas for song. Mihali’s words are genuine. Shaped by his journey through grief and redemption, he writes songs that serve as a light to many who find themselves lost in their own darkness.

Inspired by artists including Kurt Cobain, Bradley Nowell and Bob Marley, Mihali’s music carries a passionate intent for good. During his twelve years with Twiddle, Mihali has shared the stage with members of Phish, Blues Traveler, Big Gigantic, Matisyahu, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall and jammed with his all-time favorite guitar player, Jamaican reggae legend, Ernest Ranglin, just to name a few.


Grubby Bean


 
Neville Jacobs
Gordon Sterling & The People | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Dec
14

Neville Jacobs

Gordon Sterling & The People


Friday Dec 14|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Neville Jacobs

official band site »

Ivan Neville of New Orleans’ first family of funk and Cris Jacobs, the soulful Baltimore-bred bandleader and songwriter, have joined forces to collaborate on their first full length, self-titled, nine song album. Neville Jacobs will release their debut on September 28th via Harmonized Records.

This unlikely duo came together in the most unlikely of ways. One day during the great celebration and intermingling of music and culture known as New Orleans Jazz Fest, Ivan Neville and Cris Jacobs found themselves killing time between gigs, seated next to each other at a poker table. As Jacobs tells it, “I was killing some time one day during my first ever Jazzfest and I sat down to play some poker in Harrah's casino. Coincidentally, there was an empty seat next to me and in walked Ivan and sat down. We recognized each other from having crossed paths with our bands, Dumpstaphunk and The Bridge, but had never really met. We played poker for a few hours and chatted a bunch and left with a casual ‘let's make some music together sometime’ agreement.” About a year and a half later, when the stars finally aligned (with the help of mutual friend, Joe Michaels), Jacobs and Neville got together for a few songwriting sessions in Baltimore.

“In our initial writing sessions in Baltimore, we each had a few songs and snippets of songs in our back pocket and we took a bunch of time to just start from scratch with Ivan at a piano and me sitting next to him with a guitar. We pressed record and just kept it rolling while we just tossed around ideas until something stuck. Then we went back and picked the ones that we felt had promise to develop,” Jacobs explains.

“For a song like "River Behind Me", Ivan knew right away that he wanted to take this particular idea and write a song about his mother. So we both collaborated on the lyrics until we finished it. For others, I went home and took some of the raw melodies without lyrics that that Ivan was singing while we were just messing around, and put some lyrics to them. It was truly an organic and collaborative process. When we finally had some solid tunes together, we added a few that we already each had, and went down to Blade Studios in Shreveport, LA, to make the record.”

To round out their sound, the duo tapped Tony Hall to play bass (who Ivan has played with throughout his career) and Brady Blade for the drums. Hall and Blade played together as the rhythm section for Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews, Jewel and several others over the years. Both musicians are extremely versatile, funky, and soulful - a perfect fit for the music of Neville Jacobs. During the sessions, Cris and Ivan invited Shreveport based singer and violinist, Theresa Andersson, to add some of her flavor to a few of the songs. And Ivan’s father, Aaron, lends his vocal to “Makeup Of A Fool.”

The undeniable synergy between Ivan and Cris created a fresh and timeless sound for their debut - equal parts soulful, funky, sweet, and dirty. This batch of well crafted songs feature their two distinct voices and grooves complementing the other perfectly. This first chapter of Neville Jacobs is the beginning of what is sure to be a long lasting and fruitful collaboration between two truly unique talents.

“I’m really looking forward to this music being available to everyone,” Ivan says. “As we had such an amazing time putting this together. Cris and I, along with Brady Blade and Tony Hall put our hearts and souls into this project. And add to that the contributions of the extremely talented Theresa Anderson and guest appearance by my dad, Aaron Neville makes for one special piece of music.”


Gordon Sterling & The People

official band site »

Gordon Sterling is a DC area based guitarist/singer who has played and toured extensively throughout the country. He has had the priviledge to have played some of the best venues with numerous legends. He is teaming up with a accomplished group of musicians consisting of:

Mary-eL/Singer: Mary has performed with John Kadlecik(John K Band, Further), Melvin Seals(Jerry Garcia Band),and Roger Waters(Pink Floyd)

Adam "Snaxx" Orlando/Drums: Snaxx tours throughout the US and Europe with RDGLDGRN, and has been playing and touring for many years.

TJ Turqman/Bass: TJ has played with too many people to mention but most recently he played in The Funk Arc who's final tour was with George Clinton(Parliment)

Gena Photiadis/Keys: Gena is one of the most sought after session pianist/keyboardist in the DC area.

Together this crew has created an eclectic blend of psychdelia and soul with a touch of bluesrock.


 
Billy Strings
@Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
sold out
Dec
14

Billy Strings



Friday Dec 14|doors 8:00 pm|21+
Union Craft Brewing|get directions »
1700 West 41st Street
Baltimore, MD
Sold Out


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"!



 
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.


 
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
@9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
3

Ozomatli



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.



 
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
@The Anthem | view more info »
Jan
11

The Revivalists



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.”



 
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.


 
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.”



 
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.



 
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.



 
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