Nov
26
Cara Kelly & The Tell Tale

all good news

 
The Bridge
Cara Kelly & The Tell Tale | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Nov
26

The Bridge

Cara Kelly & The Tell Tale


Wednesday Nov 26|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


The Bridge

official band site »

The fearless leaders of The Bridge have traveled an enormous distance to get where they are; all the way from living off-the-grid on a remote Hawaiian farm—in Kenny Liner’s case—and chafing in the buttoned-down corporate world—in Cris Jacobs’—to making a formidable album that’s fed by hometown roots and laced with wanderlust. It’s called National Bohemian, a nod to both the Baltimore-based sextet’s beloved local brew and their creatively rewarding but often unglamorous hard-touring lifestyle. It’s also the work of a dexterous band of players to be reckoned with.


Cara Kelly & The Tell Tale

official band site »

Cara Kelly & The Tell Tale’s soulful, rootsy, rock and roll crosses genre lines and captivates the crowd with their energetic live performances. Led with the fierce intensity of Kelly’s vocals and rounded out with Tim Nodar’s soaring harmonies, together they craft a sound that is wholly their own. They joined forces with Michele Castellano (lead guitar), Cara’s brother Tony Kelly (organ, piano), Josh Dunevant (bass, vox), and Rob Parrish (drums). Local independent radio station WTMD took notice and CKTT quickly found their niche in the growing Baltimore music scene and beyond, playing the main stages at regional festivals such as Hot August Blues, Lunar Bay, and Camp Barefoot Music & Arts Festivals. They released their second EP “Puncture” in early 2014.


 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (2 Sets!)
Litz | Horizon Wireless | @The Howard Theatre | view more info »
Nov
28

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (2 Sets!)

Litz
Horizon Wireless

Friday Nov 28|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
The Howard Theatre|get directions »
620 T Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 803-2899


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (2 Sets!)

official band site »

Funk, Rock, Electric ENERGY: These four Pigeons bring it every night. Based out of Baltimore, MD, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has an undeniably unique and versatile live sound that ascends peaks of musical ecstasy. Their evolving arrangement of original compositions, psychedelic improvisational jams, and contagious smiles have ‘The Flock’– their self-identifying fanbase that stretches from coast-to-coast– coming back for more. One of the fastest growing emerging artists in the jam and festival scene these days, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is here to bring the party with their danceable electro-funk grooves and infectious ability to bring positive energy to any environment.

Having launched their East Coast buzz from very successful weekly residencies at The 8×10 in Baltimore, high profile festival spots including Catskill Chill, The Werk Out, Camp Barefoot, Wormtown Music Festival and others have put the memorable band name on the lips of music lovers and groove nuts. As a result, the grass roots response to the more than 200 shows the band played in 2013 was remarkable, with significant audiences showing up for first time plays in new markets from Colorado to Florida.

As Pigeons continue to expand their touring they continue to grow their Flock and expand people’s minds (musically…). Whether it be at a major festival or your local rock club, Pigeons will show you a good time. Get ready for some fun…


Litz

official band site »

LITZ brings together a wide array of musical influences ranging from funk, jam, reggae, soul, to electronica to amalgamate a new sound for the ears of the world. Their sound strides to sonically transport its listeners to another planet free of the stress, struggles, and tribulations of modern day life through the use of funky horn riffs, wah-wah keys, pounding bass, driving/progressive rhythms and melt your face guitar.

Horizon Wireless

official band site »

Horizon Wireless is a DJ (Harrison Waxenberg) and Drummer (Sol Montoya) duo from NYC that blends psychedelic break-beat music with a variety of other styles including trip-hop, minimal tech house, and electro/trance to create high energy dance sets. Seamlessly using elements from all across the sound spectrum, they weave together unique mixes for each show and create a storm of soul smashing beats, titillating harmonies, and wet melodies. This sonic tsunami can easily induce multiple crowdgasms, so bringing a towel to shows is not only recommended, but encouraged as well.


 
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
@9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
4

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood



Thursday Dec 4|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

official band site »

The ever-­evolving, genre-­defying collaboration between influential trio Medeski Martin & Wood and maverick guitarist John Scofield continues to flourish. Since first convening nearly 17 years ago, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood's kinship both onstage and off has fostered an escalating degree of musical interplay, exquisitely captured on Juice – their third studio effort and fourth album overall, available September 16, 2014, via MMW's Indirecto Records imprint.

With four multi-­faceted musicians participating as equals, anything and everything is possible. The band’s first collaboration together, the now classic 1997 release, A Go Go, featured Scofield compositions exclusively, while 2006's Out Louder was an experiment in spontaneous, collective co-­composition. To give shape to what eventually became Juice, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood sought common ground and inspiration in the intersection of improvisation and rhythms from the Afro-­Latin diaspora. More specifically, the blueprint was found in a compilation of these sounds put together by drummer Billy Martin and shared among the ensemble.



 
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville
Fly Golden Eagle | @9:30 club | view more info »
sold out
Dec
6

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

Fly Golden Eagle


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


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

official band site »

New Orleans native Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of six, toured internationally at age 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He is currently the front man for his own ensemble Orleans Avenue, a funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band. Together, Trombone Shorty and the band have toured across the U.S., Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil. In 2010, Trombone Shorty released his debut album, the Grammy®-nominated "Backatown," followed by "For True" in 2011, which topped Billboard magazine's Contemporary Jazz Chart for 12 weeks. His newest album, "Say That to This," was released in 2013 and features funk/jazz elements of New Orleans. Trombone Shorty appeared in several episodes of HBO's "Treme," and has recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Conan." In 2012, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History Month with music royalty such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Booker T. Jones. At this year's Grammy Awards, he performed alongside Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. In 2012, he received the President's Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. In collaboration with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Trombone Shorty Foundation donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans.


Fly Golden Eagle

official band site »

Ben Trimble’s musical awakening began in a basement. No, that simplifies it too much. Ben Trimble’s musical awakening began at birth — raised in Detroit with Kentucky roots, music was always a part of his life, as natural as breathing. His was a religious family, steeped in gospel choirs, honky-tonk keys, and the to-the-rafters twang of the faithful. But it was in a Nashville basement that Trimble lost himself in rock ‘n’ roll. He found himself working for a music supervisor with a 60,000-strong record collection, and dove headfirst down the rabbit hole. Motown. Blues. Glam rock. Psychedelia. And soon, all of the disparate sources of his inspiration — his lineage, his Detroit roots, his need for expression, the newfound discovery of a musical community in Nashville — slowly began to weave together into the musical tapestry that would become Fly Golden Eagle.


 
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville
The Funk Ark | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
7

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

The Funk Ark


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


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

official band site »

New Orleans native Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of six, toured internationally at age 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He is currently the front man for his own ensemble Orleans Avenue, a funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band. Together, Trombone Shorty and the band have toured across the U.S., Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil. In 2010, Trombone Shorty released his debut album, the Grammy®-nominated "Backatown," followed by "For True" in 2011, which topped Billboard magazine's Contemporary Jazz Chart for 12 weeks. His newest album, "Say That to This," was released in 2013 and features funk/jazz elements of New Orleans. Trombone Shorty appeared in several episodes of HBO's "Treme," and has recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Conan." In 2012, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History Month with music royalty such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Booker T. Jones. At this year's Grammy Awards, he performed alongside Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. In 2012, he received the President's Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. In collaboration with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Trombone Shorty Foundation donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans.


The Funk Ark

official band site »

The Funk Ark is a Funk/Afrobeat ensemble founded by Will Rast (Antibalas, Thievery Corporation, Ocote Soul Sounds) and comprised of the best jazz musicians from the Washington, D.C. area. Drawing from a love of the Latin Funk/Dance music scenes of the 1960s and 70s, The Funk Ark creates music that is gritty, soulful, and invigorating.


 
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville
Kung Fu | A portion of the proceeds to support Believe In Music | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Dec
8

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

Kung Fu
A portion of the proceeds to support Believe In Music

Monday Dec 8|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
with special guest Ivan Neville

official band site »

New Orleans native Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of six, toured internationally at age 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He is currently the front man for his own ensemble Orleans Avenue, a funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band. Together, Trombone Shorty and the band have toured across the U.S., Europe, Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil. In 2010, Trombone Shorty released his debut album, the Grammy®-nominated "Backatown," followed by "For True" in 2011, which topped Billboard magazine's Contemporary Jazz Chart for 12 weeks. His newest album, "Say That to This," was released in 2013 and features funk/jazz elements of New Orleans. Trombone Shorty appeared in several episodes of HBO's "Treme," and has recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Conan." In 2012, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History Month with music royalty such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Booker T. Jones. At this year's Grammy Awards, he performed alongside Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. In 2012, he received the President's Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. In collaboration with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Trombone Shorty Foundation donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans.


Kung Fu

official band site »

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party! Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals, all within the past 18 months.

A portion of the proceeds to support Believe In Music

official band site »


 
Scythian
Driftwood | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
13

Scythian

Driftwood


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


Scythian

official band site »

Named after Ukrainian nomads, Scythian (sith-ee-yin) plays immigrant rock with thunderous energy, technical prowess, and storytelling songwriting, beckoning crowds into a barn-dance rock concert experience. Celebrating 10 years of getting people dancing all night, Scythian released their new album, Jump at the Sun, this summer, with new songs debuting at album release shows across the country. Ed Helms's The Bluegrass Situation has chimed in with praise, calling "Paint This Tow"' a 'shine-fueled, fiddle-flying hoedown' and "Built These Walls" a 'blue-collar ballad we can all get behind.' Nashville's Music City Roots says Scythian is 'what happens when rock star charisma meets Celtic dervish fiddling.' Scythian's "Immigrant Road Show" consists of Alexander Fedoryka, Josef Crosby, Danylo Fedoryka, Ben-David Warner, and Tim Hepburn and Larissa Fedoryka.


Driftwood

official band site »

The energy of rock n’ roll is impossible to categorize – mercurial, specific to its beholder and profoundly reflective. From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to the Americana/roots music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely. “We started off playing rock in high school. Then studying jazz and classical music in college. Then we dove headfirst into folk and bluegrass. At some point I guess we kind of met in the middle”, says guitarist/songwriter Dan Forsyth. Drawing on aspects of everything from 0ld-time recordings to 1960’s R&B, the music is crafted to serve the songs. With fast-growing audiences singing along at live shows, it’s easy to tell the primary focus is on song.


 
Turkuaz
Jonathan Scales Fourchestra | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Dec
20

Turkuaz

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra


Saturday Dec 20|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Turkuaz

official band site »

Credible bios are supposed to be objective and not full of superlatives and hyperbole, but it’s hard to avoid gushing when the subject is a funk army of multi-instrumentals and singers that is part freight train and part tyrannosaurus rex, who—even on an off night—can blow away a room on the basis of sheer physics alone. That’s one way to describe Turkuaz, but it doesn’t address the music. In this regard, as with any band, influences are everything. One cannot escape them as one seeks to carve out a unique sound for themselves. Still, there are so many benefits to having Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James, Parliament and Bohannon in your record collection. With this as the basis for a recipe, Turkuaz adds healthy doses of jittery, world-pop-power groove—reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads—and a passion for Motown and R&B, resulting in a refreshing twist on the funk idiom.

Turkuaz certainly does have sheer size in their favor, but when broken down into the basic components, each stands out on their own. Founders Dave Brandwein and Taylor Shell had the cream of the crop to choose from at Berklee, but making it happen as a large touring ensemble takes more than chops: it takes the right blend of personalities. When Turkuaz takes the stage the chemistry is clear. The special combination of elements—singers in sequined dresses, guys in tails (or sometimes all of them in jumpsuits or other complimentary outfits) horns, keys, guitars, amps and drums and smiles all around… well, it’s easy to get caught up in the explosive auditory and visual circus and find oneself dancing. Despite all of the gear and people on stage, it is becomes clear that it is not the size that matters here: it is performance.

Through constant touring and great festival performances, Turkuaz has built a solid, passionate coast-to-coast fan base that grows with every mile driven and each night on stage. They are currently criss-crossing North America in support of their third independent release, Future 86, and have plans to conquer the world… or at least shake the walls and all the booties in every room they play…


Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

official band site »

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra is an example of musical sincerity. Weaving together collective and individual influences without compromise, they are as much themselves as they are a unit—a crucial trait of landmark instrumental ensembles. Steel pannist and founder Jonathan Scales’ compositional skill mixes with tasteful, avant-garde improvisations to form a totally unique approach to an instrument often associated with cruise ships and tropical music. Driftwood Magazine says “Scales is to steel pans ….what Béla Fleck is to the banjo—an über innovator.”


 
Dopapod
Consider The Source | @Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Dec
29

Dopapod

Consider The Source


Monday Dec 29|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


Dopapod

official band site »

With no regard towards towards stylistic boundaries, the sound that emerges from Dopapod both live and in the studio is as varied and diverse as the many influences that they adapt from. Their approach and commitment to complementing a distinct genre bending sound to top-notch musicianship has set them apart from many of their contemporaries and keeps music lovers eagerly returning to shows.

Dopapod has been touring nationally playing 150+ shows a year for the last three years. Their rigorous tour schedule has seen the young, yet seasoned group make appearances at numerous festivals including Gathering of the Vibes, Camp Bisco, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, Peach Fest, Burning Man, Bear Creek, Catskill Chill, and more. Their electric live showcase has been cultivating a fast growing and loyal fan base.

Their third studio effort ‘Redivider’ was release on December 21st 2012. Having been recorded and released less than a year after the band’s last record Drawn Onward came out, recording was done at Tyrone Farm, a scenic and completely solar powered farm in the small town of Pomfret, CT. Opting to take a different route than recording in a studio, the band brought their own to the barn of the farm and produced it by themselves. Redivider displays a drastic evolution in the band’s songwriting skills as well as marking the first time ever that the band has added vocals into songs. The added texture serves as yet another dimension in what allows the band to look in multiple directions at one time while remaining focused on a cohesive blend of sound.


Consider The Source

official band site »

NYC trio Consider the Source defy easy description. If intergalactic beings of pure energy, after initiation into an order of whirling dervishes, built some kind of pan-dimensional booty-shaking engine, powered by psychedelics and abstract math, it’d probably just sound like a CTS tribute band. Drawing from progressive rock, fusion and jazz, with alien sounds soaked in Indian and Middle Eastern styles, CTS blends disparate parts into a striking, utterly original whole. Dubbed “Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion”, the band’s music strikes a rare balance between cerebral and emotional, intellectual and primal. A relentless touring schedule has won the band a fervent following from California to Israel, with fans ranging from jam-band hippies and jazz cats to corpse-painted headbangers and prog geeks.


 
Papadosio
ELM | Proper Playground: A Living Gallery Experience | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Dec
31

Papadosio

ELM
Proper Playground: A Living Gallery Experience

Wednesday Dec 31|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Papadosio

official band site »

The information age has a sound. Revolutionary technology meets an evolutionary message in Papadosio. Melding progressive rock with psychedelia, folk with electronica, and dance music with jam, the quintet has amassed a dedicated following of thousands of likeminded individuals sowing the seeds of unity and spreading the sounds of exaltation. Singer-songwriter Anthony Thogmartin’s visionary lyrics, eclectic production, and signature guitar work are anchored by the rock solid battery of drummer Mike Healy and bassist Rob McConnell. The quintet is rounded out by brothers Billy and Sam Brouse, whose virtuosic two-headed keyboard, synth, and programming attack give the band its unmistakable complexity and intensity.

Born in the burgeoning, artistic city of Athens, OH, the quintet now calls another creative community, Asheville, NC its home. Little time is spent nestled up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, though, as Papadosio spends much of the year on the road, crisscrossing the United States ceaselessly. In addition to headlining shows in every region of the country, their high-energy, technologically perplexing, and utterly engaging stage show has made the five-piece a staple on the festival circuit, with scene-stealing sets at All Good, Wakarusa, Sonic Bloom, Electric Forest, Envision Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and more.

The culmination of all that writing on the road is T.E.T.I.O.S. The follow-up to 2009’s critically acclaimed Observations finally arrived in the fall of 2012. To End the Illusion of Separation is a sprawling double album, signaling not only an evolution of the band’s sound, but a paradigm shift on a far greater scale. The album is a call for people of all stripes to reject artificial barriers of wealth, class, and creed and come together under the flag of humanity. Themes of conservation, tolerance, and mind-expansion delicately weave their way around tribal rhythms, psychedelic excursions, and soaring melodies. The fusion of the earthly, the organic, with technological innovations and progressive sonic structure plants Papadosio’s roots firmly in the past and present with an eye turned towards the horizon.


ELM

official band site »

ELM (Electric Love Machine) is a Baltimore based quartet that combines Electronica, Dance, Rock, Soul, and Funk into an incomparable, high energy live music experience. XenofoneX is the band’s debut album, and it was recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Bentley at The Bunker Studio in Maryland.

Props must go to the band’s stellar management team, who have been infinitely accommodating, supportive, flexible, and good looking. ELM is eternally grateful for all the support they have received from family, friends and fans, and collectively intend to help this community flourish and grow and break down barriers in music, art and life.

Proper Playground: A Living Gallery Experience

official band site »


 
Dark Star Orchestra
@9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
2

Dark Star Orchestra



Friday Jan 2|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Dark Star Orchestra

official band site »

Performing to critical acclaim worldwide for nearly 17 years and over 2200 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 creating a sound that truly encapsulate the energy and the experience.



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

Dark Star Orchestra



Saturday Jan 3|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Dark Star Orchestra

official band site »

Performing to critical acclaim worldwide for nearly 17 years and over 2200 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 creating a sound that truly encapsulate the energy and the experience.



 
That 1 Guy
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Jan
8

That 1 Guy



Thursday Jan 8|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


That 1 Guy

official band site »

With an extensive and amazing track record of unique and imaginative performances featuring his curious instrument and copious amounts of originality, Mike Silverman aka That1Guy has set himself apart as a true one-of-a-kind talent that rivals any other artist currently in the entertainment industry. Averaging 150-200 shows a year all over North America and Canada, he has been a consistent favorite at such festivals as: Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Big Day out, All Good, Bella, High Sierra, Summer Meltdown, Montreal Jazz Festival, and many more. He was also the 'Tap Water Award' winner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for best musical act. His legendary collaboration and multiple tours with Buckethead as The Frankenstein Brothers has further cemented his virtuoso story as a creative visionary as well.

His innovation continues to soar with the announcement of a new tour, That1Guy & The Magic Pipe Present: An Evening of Musical Magical Wonder... The Likes of Which Ye Haven't Yet Seen, kicking off in the early spring of 2013. Along with his pioneering main instrument, The Magic Pipe, a monstrosity of metal, strings, and electronics, facilitates the dynamic live creation of music and magic in ways only That1Guy can conjure, expect to see magic as well now integrated into the already clever performance. With this addition of incorporating magic seamlessly into his live shows, he has legitimately achieved an all inclusive audio/visual performance unlike anything experienced before. “So much of my music has miraculous qualities to it because it's hard to tell what's going on. There are lots of slights of hand and sonic misdirection. It feels like I was meant to do magic”.

Silverman's backstory is very similar to many musicians that have come before him. He grew up a self proclaimed music geek, soaked in the influence of his jazz musician father, and enrolled in San Francisco Conservatory of Music before joining the local jazz scene himself as a sought-after percussive bassist. This is where the similarities end, though, and where That1Guy truly began. “In my case, being a bass player, I just felt very restricted by the instrument itself,” he says. “I've always wanted to sound different and have my own sound. I was headed that way on the bass, but for me to fully realize what I was hearing in my head sonically I was going to have to do it my way”. His influential and innovative double bass style eventually evolved into what we see today as That1Guy and 'The Magic Pipe'.

As his story continues to develop, Billboard has famously noted, “In the case of Mike Silverman's slamming, futuristic funk act... the normal rules of biology just don't apply.” In addition, Silverman also has promised new music and videos for the early part of 2013 that will only further validate his status as an industry trailblazer. “I like being my own person”, he says. “I didn't set out to be a weirdo but I'm starting to embrace it”. Ultimately, his motivation can be encapsulated as this: “Human beings do our best work when we're challenged and pushed up against the wall”. He further explains, “By nature, we're hunters and gathers, spending each day looking for their next meal. It's easy to be lazy when you don't have to come up with something creative right away.”



 
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Jan
15

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds



Thursday Jan 15|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

official band site »

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is a nine-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of eight men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it's clear they're focused on delivering the band's infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band's live show is explosive.

Dynamic singer and front-woman Sister Sparrow first began penning tunes in the alleyways and back roads between New York City and the Catskill Mountains as a teenager. Though already aided and abetted by her harmonica-shredding brother Jackson, it was clear that a large, powerful band was needed to do justice to the songs she was crafting. The brother and sister team called upon their cousin Bram, a California-bred drummer of considerable prowess, to help them assemble a super-band of epic proportions. Bram brought in childhood friends JJ Byars (alto saxophone) and Ryan Snow (trombone), and Ryan called upon baritone saxophonist and close friend Johnny Butler. Later, the addition of trumpeter Phil Rodriguez completed the unstoppable force of the virtuosic Dirty Birds' horns. The rhythm section was filled out by tapping guitarist Sasha Brown and bassist Aidan Carroll, a tandem that proved to be the perfect engineers of the hard-driving, bare-knuckle grooves that propel this ferocious group.

It was evident from the start that the deep friendships among its members translated directly to the music they made together. While Sister Sparrow is the principal songwriter and unifying voice of the band, the Dirty Birds work collaboratively on arrangements. The result is musical creativity and diversity seldom seen in groups of this size and character. By the middle of 2009, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds had packed New York's legendary Rockwood Music Hall every Saturday night, holding down a five-monthlong residency that built them a reputation for being one of the funkiest, tightest groups in the city. Fueled by the band's boundless energy, every show turned into a wild dance party, and the Dirty Birds established a rabid following of fans eager to receive a potent dose of good times, delivered by the band night after night.

Within six months of their November 2010 debut release on Modern Vintage Recordings, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds had opened for the Black Keys, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, the Rebirth Brass Band, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, among others. Through appearances at such festivals as moe.down, Strange Creek, Camp Jam, Sterling Stage, and late-night at New Orleans JazzFest, they continued to gain wider acclaim. In the spring of 2011, they embarked on an extensive national tour that continues through year's end and includes performances at Gathering of the Vibes and Bear Creek.

Sister Sparrow's commanding stage presence alone is more than enough to dazzle audiences, but the magic doesn't end with her: the band's palpable camaraderie, undeniable talent and passion for music makes for a contagious combination that is taking the country by storm. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds' blend of seductive soul and dirty blues-rock reminds audiences why they love live music.



 
Donna The Buffalo
@State Theatre | view more info »
Jan
24

Donna The Buffalo



Saturday Jan 24|doors 7:00 pm|18+
State Theatre|get directions »
220 N. Washington st.
Falls Church, VA|p: (703) 237-0300


Donna The Buffalo

official band site »

Original roots music since 1989, infused with elements of cajun, rock, folk, reggae, and country

“Donna The Buffalo is from central New York state, not Louisiana, but this widely loved quintet has woven that joyful, hip-shaking zydeco pulse into the DNA of its sound, and leaders Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have wrapped that core vibe with hopeful, mellow lyrics.” --Music City Roots, Craig Havighurst

Look around you. Consider the keepsakes you cherish, the relationships you relish, the enduring cornerstones in your life, and ask yourself how many have held steadfast since 1989. Closing in on the quarter-century mark, Donna the Buffalo has proven itself a consistent purveyor of Americana music. What’s the recipe? To be sure, it’s infused with more spices than you’ll find at a Cajun cookout by way of a southern-fried, country old-time jamboree.

Donna the Buffalo is Jeb Puryear (vocals, electric guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, fiddle, accordion, scrubboard) joined by David McCracken (Hammond organ, Honer Clavinet & piano), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums). “It's been really fun with this lineup,” Puryear says. “You get to the point where you're playing on a really high level, things are clicking and it's like turning on the key to a really good car. It just goes.”

“You have to do just what you want to do, and everyone likes different things,” Nevins says. “Both Jeb and I come from this background of old-time fiddle music, which is very natural, very real, very under-produced, and all about coming from the gut—flying by the seat of your pants. So we have that in us, too.”

Donna the Buffalo debuted their first studio album in five years, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, on June 18, 2014 via Sugar Hill Records. All Music Guide says the album, “highlights everything this consistent band does, and it has a warm, live-sounding production… This is what 21st century Americana sounds like, a little bit of this and that from anywhere wrapped up into a poignant, jamming dance reel, a place where the past and history meet easily in the immediate now and everybody feels like dancing.”

The group draws its inspiration from a cherished part of the American heritage: the old-time music festivals of the south that drew entire towns and counties together. “Those festivals were so explosive, and the community and the feeling of people being with each other, that's the feeling we were shooting for in our music,” Puryear says. “Donna the Buffalo is an extension of the joy we've found.”

Put another way, it’s love made audible—and in the most transparent way imaginable on Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday. Puryear sums it up—how else?—from the heart: “We tried to do the record and keep in tact the things people love about us.”

Over the years, the band has also built a following that proudly calls itself The Herd, along with a well-deserved reputation for crafting social narratives and slipstream grooves without equal. To merely call this “roots music” does it disservice, for the roots nurtured by Puryear and Nevins run wild, deep and strong—a tribute to how much Donna the Buffalo marries musical trailblazing and tradition.

"It’s a great feeling to promote such a feeling of community, like you’re really part of something that’s happening, like a movement or a positive force…” Nevins says, “All those people that come and follow you and you recognize them and you become friends with them — you’re all moving along for the same purpose. It is powerful. It’s very powerful, actually.”

As an expansion of this community and the band's own dedication to live roots music, Donna started, and are still the driving force behind, the twenty-five year old Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY, the bi-annual Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in Silk Hope, NC and the Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival in Miami, FL. DtB are regulars at MerleFest (NC), Suwannee Springfest & Magnolia Fest (FL), All Good (WV), FloydFest (VA), The Great Blue Heron Festival (NY), Del Fest (MD), Rhythm & Roots Festival (RI), Targhee Bluegrass Fest (WY) as well as a variety of other venues and festivals across the nation.

Donna the Buffalo has toured the nation for nearly twenty five years with an ever-evolving grassroots sound and plans to keep on doing so for many years to come.



 
Greensky Bluegrass
The Last Bison | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
30

Greensky Bluegrass

The Last Bison


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


Greensky Bluegrass

official band site »

“There’s this great duality to our band,” reflects Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once: we’re a bluegrass band and a rock band, we’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.”

“We play acoustic instruments,” adds dobro player Anders Beck, “but we put on a rock’n’roll show. We play in bigger clubs and theaters, there’s a killer light show, and we’re as loud as your favorite rock band. It’s not easy to make five acoustic instruments sound like this – it’s something we’ve spent years working on.”

From these seemingly irreconcilable elements, the five members of Greensky Bluegrass have forged a defiant, powerful sound that, while rooted in classic stringband Americana, extends outwards with a fearless, exploratory zeal. The tension and release between these components – tradition and innovation, prearranged songs and improvisation, acoustic tones and electric volume – is what makes them so thrillingly dynamic, in concert and on record. “In theory,” Hoffman explains, “greensky is the complete opposite of bluegrass. So, by definition, we are contrasting everything that isn’t bluegrass with everything that is.”

That their sound is so seamless, so organic, is testament to Greensky’s enduring vision and tireless dedication. Since their first rumblings at the start of the millennium, they have emerged as relentless road warriors, creating a captivating live show while at the same time developing a knack for evocative, disarming songcraft.

Their fifth studio album, If Sorrows Swim – available September 9, 2014 and distributed by Thirty Tigers – is their most riveting yet, balancing gripping songs (by Hoffman and guitarist Dave Bruzza) and remarkably thoughtful, tight arrangements with an instrumental fluidity born of countless hours playing together – on stage and off.

From their unlikely base of Kalamazoo, Michigan (home of the original Gibson Mandolin-Guitar factory), Greensky – which also includes banjoist Michael Arlen Bont and bassist Michael Devol – arrived at their unique take on the bluegrass tradition by working from the outside inward. “I found bluegrass through the back door,” Beck says, “through the Jerry Garcia route. That’s how I got to listening to Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. It’s really interesting how many people in our generation got into acoustic music through that channel.”

Approaching their instruments from an open-ended, rock perspective gave them the freedom to create their own rules. “We were always coming at bluegrass backwards,” Hoffman says. “We were better musicians than we were bluegrass musicians. I mean, I didn’t buy a mandolin until I was 18. Dave didn’t start playing acoustic guitar until he was 18. Bont got a banjo when he was 20. We discovered that, when it came to learning these instruments, we preferred to do so by improvising and writing our own songs, instead playing standard material and fiddle tunes.”

The roots of Greensky Bluegrass lay in the friendship of Bruzza and Bont. While nurturing a nascent interest in acoustic music, they were joined by Hoffman. The trio shedded intently, playing informally in living rooms and at open mics for years before setting out as a band. Devol, a classically trained cellist, was added in the fall of 2004, and in 2006 Greensky Bluegrass won the coveted band contest at Colorado’s forward-thinking Telluride Bluegrass Festival. At that point, the members dedicated themselves to Greensky full-time and began widening their touring radius.

In 2007, dobroist Beck came aboard. From the sidelines, he was quick to pinpoint the band’s appeal. “It was all about the songs,” he says. “You can be the best pickers in the world or the most educated musicians, but, all in all, the things that connect with people are songs, lyrics, and melodies. That was the real kicker.”

By playing up to 175 shows a year, mostly in rock clubs and more open-minded festivals like Telluride, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Greensky Bluegrass became a word-of-mouth underground sensation, cultivating a devoted legion of fans entranced both by the band’s improvisational acumen and the quality of their songwriting. Then and now, despite their wide-ranging musical interests, Greensky continues to work within the structure of a classic five-man stringband. “The cool thing about a bluegrass band or, really, any drummerless band,” Hoffman explains, “is that it’s like acoustic chamber music — challenging, exciting, and fun to play.”

“While there are potential limitations because of our instrumentation,” Beck adds, “a really big part of what is Greensky Bluegrass is about is to essentially ignore those limitations.”

The depth and sophistication of the band’s interplay is showcased throughout If Sorrows Swim, across a program of stirring, resonant original songs. Recorded over ten days, the album was tracked to two-inch tape. “The decision to use tape over digital recording is basically the decision to use less,” Hoffman explains. “It’s not about everything being perfect, it’s about capturing a moment in time."

The album mixes previously unrecorded, road-tested concert staples with new material carefully honed with the sort of razor’s edge focus that the recording studio inspires.

If Sorrows Swim opens with “Windshield,” a haunting rumination that slowly builds in emotional and musical intensity around an an insistent pulse from the bass. The desperation in Hoffman’s increasingly anguished vocal is slowly surrounded by churning rhythm guitar and incessant banjo before the tension is dispersed by a plaintive dobro solo. A brooding cello line deep in the mix adds an ominous undercurrent, and underpins the group’s swirling counterpoint as the track fades.

The album’s title derives from “Burn Them,” a minor key reflection set to a more straight-ahead, driving bluegrass rhythm. “There was something on This American Life,” Hoffman recalls. “Someone was talking about just how upset and sad they were. They were drinking a lot, but they just couldn’t drink that pain away. When I heard that, I thought to myself, ‘What if sorrows swim?’ I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind.” Tightly orchestrated, the performance is marked by ingenious touches. The transitions between the guitar and mandolin solos are delineated by a quick unison passage played by both instruments, and Bont contributes an especially nimble, melodic break.

Having two distinct songwriting voices further enriches If Sorrows Swim, with Bruzza contributing a quartet of varied, insightful songs featuring his burnished, soulful vocals. “Worried About the Weather” moves between a swinging half-time feel and a breezier, bluegrass tempo – reinforcing the contrast between relief and uncertainty embodied in the lyric. Bruzza’s brisk “Kerosene” features some of the album’s more daring improvisational passages, and highlights the band’s gift for electrically processing their acoustic instruments to emphasize the emotion behind their playing. Hoffman’s mandolin solo is colored by subtle delay, while Bruzza’s spacious, inquisitive break finds him employing a slightly distorted tone to further escalate the song’s intensity.

“What makes this album different from the last,” Hoffman explains, referring to 2011’s accomplished Handguns, “is that we paid so much more attention to what the song needs. At every juncture, we would ask, ‘Does it serve the song?’ We ask that a lot.” Throughout If Sorrows Swim, Greensky’s playing and arrangements are impressively intricate – and showcased in a rich, spacious sound that lets each note and accent sing and decay as if in slow motion.

The taxing yet rewarding process of recording now behind them, Greensky Bluegrass is anxious to unveil If Sorrows Swim’s unheard material in concert. “The live experience is this springboard,” Beck muses. “You just see what happens. When you’re improvising every night and taking risks, it becomes a very circular thing with the audience — the audience feeds off the energy of the band and the band feeds off the energy of the audience and it becomes a much bigger thing.”

With the release of their first nationally distributed album and a busy touring season ahead of them, Greensky Bluegrass are facing a new level of exposure. It’s a challenge they are up to, that they embrace. As their music and their audience has grown, so have they, and their sites are set ever-higher.

“When we were doing our first shows and making those early records,” Hoffman concludes, “it was stressful because we wanted to hit the right notes. We just wanted it to be good enough. But now, we want it to be great.”


The Last Bison

official band site »

“I feel like our previous music was fall and winter music. I wanted this new album to sound more like summer. I want people to feel like they walked outside on a summer day.” – Ben Hardesty

To capture the new sounds on The Last Bison’s upcoming album titled VA (pronounced Virginia,) the band spent many days and nights in an old A-frame cabin. The cabin, called “the Wigwam” sits on a summer camp on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp near the band’s home in Chesapeake, Virginia. The pine-lined walls and high-lofted beams became home to a temporary studio where front man Ben Hardesty says, “We had freedom to explore and create without the time constraints we lived under on previous projects.” Out of this rustic cabin emerged a collection of music with booming organic drums and energy beyond anything on their previous work.

In 2012 The Last Bison seemingly rose from the marshes of southeastern Virginia to captivate the national music scene with a rare blend of music that NPR dubbed, “Classical influenced southern folk rock.” Commenting on the band’s self-released debut album, Quill, a blogger for the popular music sharing site NoiseTrade remarked: “(The Last) Bison has already crafted a sound that is threaded with their own singular strands of creativity. Songs unfurl in textured, poetic waves that are based far more in inspiration than imitation.” WXPN of Philadelphia noted The Last Bison “has subsequently swept the musical scene with its complex arrangements, refined lyrics and vocal harmonies.”

Having drawn comparisons in the past to indie superstars the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, and Fleet Foxes, their most recent project harvests a more dynamic, and anthemic sound from the soil of their folk roots. The addition of electric bass and keyboards to their extensive collection of acoustic instruments has been compared to Bob Dylan going electric at Newport in 1965. After a performance at Norfolk, Virginia’s Harborfest, the The Daily Press commented on the new musical direction saying, “The result is a more rocking sound, though the band still remains true to its folkie roots.”

Ben Hardesty, who is the primary songwriter and vocalist, recorded the drum tracks on the new album. Andrew Benfante, who has played a 1930s reed organ on previous works, adds piano to the layers, and Amos Housworth has expanded from cello to offering all the bass tracks on the project. Dan Hardesty alternates from banjo to mandolin to guitar, while he and Annah Housworth, who plays bells, provide the lush backing vocals. Teresa Totheroh’s violin is the thread that sows the myriad parts together.

The 11 songs on VA reveal a band relishing in the struggle for and the discovering of freedom. When Hardesty sings, Take me with you, I can’t stay here, from “She Always Waves At The Gate,” and, Into the den of the shadows I’ve come / Far beyond what is shallow I’ve swum, from the dark and atmospheric “Sleep,” he reveals the emotional tension of desperately desiring something beyond, while treading in new territory both thrilling and threatening. In the mysterious piano driven song “By No Means, “ Hardesty proclaims, I’m lost in caves that have no end / Astray in caverns that begin / Yet when explored, disorient / And I have waited patiently / To see such grace and mastery / Personified to this extent, declaring he has found something that satisfies his longing, and finds rest as he rejoices with the words, “All who are weary, come lay your burdens down” in the song “Burdens”.

Following their first independent release, Quill, in 2011, The Last Bison was signed to Universal Republic Records and created the Inheritance album in 2013. The most recent project finds The Last Bison returning to their independent roots, having self-produced the project in collaboration with Media House Music. The Last Bison album, VA, is due for release September 30, 2014 with a tour to follow.


 
Greensky Bluegrass
@9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
31

Greensky Bluegrass



Saturday Jan 31|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Greensky Bluegrass

official band site »

“There’s this great duality to our band,” reflects Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once: we’re a bluegrass band and a rock band, we’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.”

“We play acoustic instruments,” adds dobro player Anders Beck, “but we put on a rock’n’roll show. We play in bigger clubs and theaters, there’s a killer light show, and we’re as loud as your favorite rock band. It’s not easy to make five acoustic instruments sound like this – it’s something we’ve spent years working on.”

From these seemingly irreconcilable elements, the five members of Greensky Bluegrass have forged a defiant, powerful sound that, while rooted in classic stringband Americana, extends outwards with a fearless, exploratory zeal. The tension and release between these components – tradition and innovation, prearranged songs and improvisation, acoustic tones and electric volume – is what makes them so thrillingly dynamic, in concert and on record. “In theory,” Hoffman explains, “greensky is the complete opposite of bluegrass. So, by definition, we are contrasting everything that isn’t bluegrass with everything that is.”

That their sound is so seamless, so organic, is testament to Greensky’s enduring vision and tireless dedication. Since their first rumblings at the start of the millennium, they have emerged as relentless road warriors, creating a captivating live show while at the same time developing a knack for evocative, disarming songcraft.

Their fifth studio album, If Sorrows Swim – available September 9, 2014 and distributed by Thirty Tigers – is their most riveting yet, balancing gripping songs (by Hoffman and guitarist Dave Bruzza) and remarkably thoughtful, tight arrangements with an instrumental fluidity born of countless hours playing together – on stage and off.

From their unlikely base of Kalamazoo, Michigan (home of the original Gibson Mandolin-Guitar factory), Greensky – which also includes banjoist Michael Arlen Bont and bassist Michael Devol – arrived at their unique take on the bluegrass tradition by working from the outside inward. “I found bluegrass through the back door,” Beck says, “through the Jerry Garcia route. That’s how I got to listening to Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. It’s really interesting how many people in our generation got into acoustic music through that channel.”

Approaching their instruments from an open-ended, rock perspective gave them the freedom to create their own rules. “We were always coming at bluegrass backwards,” Hoffman says. “We were better musicians than we were bluegrass musicians. I mean, I didn’t buy a mandolin until I was 18. Dave didn’t start playing acoustic guitar until he was 18. Bont got a banjo when he was 20. We discovered that, when it came to learning these instruments, we preferred to do so by improvising and writing our own songs, instead playing standard material and fiddle tunes.”

The roots of Greensky Bluegrass lay in the friendship of Bruzza and Bont. While nurturing a nascent interest in acoustic music, they were joined by Hoffman. The trio shedded intently, playing informally in living rooms and at open mics for years before setting out as a band. Devol, a classically trained cellist, was added in the fall of 2004, and in 2006 Greensky Bluegrass won the coveted band contest at Colorado’s forward-thinking Telluride Bluegrass Festival. At that point, the members dedicated themselves to Greensky full-time and began widening their touring radius.

In 2007, dobroist Beck came aboard. From the sidelines, he was quick to pinpoint the band’s appeal. “It was all about the songs,” he says. “You can be the best pickers in the world or the most educated musicians, but, all in all, the things that connect with people are songs, lyrics, and melodies. That was the real kicker.”

By playing up to 175 shows a year, mostly in rock clubs and more open-minded festivals like Telluride, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Greensky Bluegrass became a word-of-mouth underground sensation, cultivating a devoted legion of fans entranced both by the band’s improvisational acumen and the quality of their songwriting. Then and now, despite their wide-ranging musical interests, Greensky continues to work within the structure of a classic five-man stringband. “The cool thing about a bluegrass band or, really, any drummerless band,” Hoffman explains, “is that it’s like acoustic chamber music — challenging, exciting, and fun to play.”

“While there are potential limitations because of our instrumentation,” Beck adds, “a really big part of what is Greensky Bluegrass is about is to essentially ignore those limitations.”

The depth and sophistication of the band’s interplay is showcased throughout If Sorrows Swim, across a program of stirring, resonant original songs. Recorded over ten days, the album was tracked to two-inch tape. “The decision to use tape over digital recording is basically the decision to use less,” Hoffman explains. “It’s not about everything being perfect, it’s about capturing a moment in time."

The album mixes previously unrecorded, road-tested concert staples with new material carefully honed with the sort of razor’s edge focus that the recording studio inspires.

If Sorrows Swim opens with “Windshield,” a haunting rumination that slowly builds in emotional and musical intensity around an an insistent pulse from the bass. The desperation in Hoffman’s increasingly anguished vocal is slowly surrounded by churning rhythm guitar and incessant banjo before the tension is dispersed by a plaintive dobro solo. A brooding cello line deep in the mix adds an ominous undercurrent, and underpins the group’s swirling counterpoint as the track fades.

The album’s title derives from “Burn Them,” a minor key reflection set to a more straight-ahead, driving bluegrass rhythm. “There was something on This American Life,” Hoffman recalls. “Someone was talking about just how upset and sad they were. They were drinking a lot, but they just couldn’t drink that pain away. When I heard that, I thought to myself, ‘What if sorrows swim?’ I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind.” Tightly orchestrated, the performance is marked by ingenious touches. The transitions between the guitar and mandolin solos are delineated by a quick unison passage played by both instruments, and Bont contributes an especially nimble, melodic break.

Having two distinct songwriting voices further enriches If Sorrows Swim, with Bruzza contributing a quartet of varied, insightful songs featuring his burnished, soulful vocals. “Worried About the Weather” moves between a swinging half-time feel and a breezier, bluegrass tempo – reinforcing the contrast between relief and uncertainty embodied in the lyric. Bruzza’s brisk “Kerosene” features some of the album’s more daring improvisational passages, and highlights the band’s gift for electrically processing their acoustic instruments to emphasize the emotion behind their playing. Hoffman’s mandolin solo is colored by subtle delay, while Bruzza’s spacious, inquisitive break finds him employing a slightly distorted tone to further escalate the song’s intensity.

“What makes this album different from the last,” Hoffman explains, referring to 2011’s accomplished Handguns, “is that we paid so much more attention to what the song needs. At every juncture, we would ask, ‘Does it serve the song?’ We ask that a lot.” Throughout If Sorrows Swim, Greensky’s playing and arrangements are impressively intricate – and showcased in a rich, spacious sound that lets each note and accent sing and decay as if in slow motion.

The taxing yet rewarding process of recording now behind them, Greensky Bluegrass is anxious to unveil If Sorrows Swim’s unheard material in concert. “The live experience is this springboard,” Beck muses. “You just see what happens. When you’re improvising every night and taking risks, it becomes a very circular thing with the audience — the audience feeds off the energy of the band and the band feeds off the energy of the audience and it becomes a much bigger thing.”

With the release of their first nationally distributed album and a busy touring season ahead of them, Greensky Bluegrass are facing a new level of exposure. It’s a challenge they are up to, that they embrace. As their music and their audience has grown, so have they, and their sites are set ever-higher.

“When we were doing our first shows and making those early records,” Hoffman concludes, “it was stressful because we wanted to hit the right notes. We just wanted it to be good enough. But now, we want it to be great.”



 
Dana Fuchs
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Feb
6

Dana Fuchs



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


Dana Fuchs

official band site »

All Dana Fuchs has to do is sing. All it takes is one note from those celebrated lips and clocks stop, crowds snap to attention, hearts beat like bass drums and neck-hair tingles. It’s often been said that the Florida-born front-woman could sing the phone directory and still hold her listeners spellbound. True enough, but in 2013, when Dana applies that extraordinary voice to the classic songs from her third album Bliss Avenue, you’ll realize that you’re in the presence of once-a-generation greatness.

Released in July 2013 on Ruf Records, Bliss Avenue is the most honest and unflinching studio album in Dana’s back catalogue. Co-written with her long-time wingman and guitarist, Jon Diamond, these songs weren’t simply tracked in box-ticking fashion, but wrenched from the depths and laid down to tape without gloss or polish. “If there’s one line that sounds thrown away or dialed in, it has to be redone,” says Dana. “Every word needs to express the emotion of the song or no one will get it and it leaves me cold.”

The resulting album is a window into the singer’s worldview, drawing on everything from the tragic loss of her beloved brother to the loneliness of life on the road. “I’m excited for people, especially those fans who have stuck so close with me, to hear Bliss Avenue,” says Dana, “because I really purged my soul in a starker, more naked way, both lyrically and musically.



 
JJ Grey & Mofro
The London Souls | @9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
18

JJ Grey & Mofro

The London Souls


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


JJ Grey & Mofro

official band site »

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

Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and the current Mofro lineup (Anthony Cole on drums; Andrew Trube on guitar; Anthony Farrell on organ; Todd Smallie on bass; Dennis Marion on trumpet; Jeff Dazey on saxophone) offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.

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

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

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

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

As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers, including Jerry Reed, and to Otis Redding and the other luminaries of Memphis soul; Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, played on repeat in the parking lot of his high school (note the hip-hop inflections on “A Night to Remember”). Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late '90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton and a lyrical directness that made the group's debut LP Blackwater (2001) a calling-card among roots-rock aficionados. Soon, the group was expanding its tours beyond America and the U.K., playing ever larger clubs and eventually massive festivals, as Mofro's fan base grew from a modest group of loyal initiates into something resembling a national coalition. Grey's manager describes the musician as “a preacher who never found the church.” These concerts, perhaps, are the next best thing.

Grey takes no shortcuts on the homestead, and he certainly takes no shortcuts in his music. While he has a few near-perfect albums under his belt—Country Ghetto and Orange Blossoms are just masterpieces—on his new album, Ol’ Glory, he spent more time than ever working over the new material. A hip-shooting, off-the-cuff performer (often his first vocal takes end up pleasing him best), Grey was able to stretch his legs a bit while constructing the lyrics and vocal lines to Ol’ Glory.

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

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

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

“It can happen to anybody: you sit still and you feel things tingling around you, everything's alive around you, and in that a smile comes on your face involuntarily, and in that I felt no opposite.

It has no part of the play of good and bad or of comedy or tragedy. I know it’s just a play on words but it feels like more than just being happy because you got what you wanted — this is a joy. A joy that doesn’t get involved one way or the next; it just is.”

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

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


The London Souls

official band site »

The London Souls’ unique reinterpretation of classic hard-hitting rock and roll formulae recalls elements of the past with an ever-present boundless energy, fit to cement their place in the future. Tash and Chris have been nothing short of a best-kept secret among New York City concertgoers since the bands formation in 2008, building a fervent and dynamic fan base leveraged by their ever sustained reputation for consistently well-rehearsed and impassioned, explosive live performances. The band’s celebrated sound and spirit draws significant influence from the driving force of British rock pioneers Cream and Led Zeppelin to billowing and bouncing funk and soul, to the layered harmonies and memorable hooks of The Beatles and The Hollies, to the contemporary psychedelia of My Morning Jacket among many more.


 
Railroad Earth
@9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
27

Railroad Earth



Friday Feb 27|doors 8:00 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 »
Feb
28

Railroad Earth



Saturday Feb 28|doors 8:00 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!”



 
All Good and Simon Posford Present
Shpongle: The Shpongletron 3.1
Phutureprimitive | @9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
1

All Good and Simon Posford Present
Shpongle: The Shpongletron 3.1

Phutureprimitive


Wednesday Apr 1|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


All Good and Simon Posford Present
Shpongle: The Shpongletron 3.1

official band site »

With over 80 years’ experience collectively, Simon Posford and Raja Ram are more than qualified for the exploration into the unclassifiable music frontiers they have ventured into; ‘SHPONGLE’ is a new world of traditional sounds, acoustic guitars, Moroccan drums, Turkish operatic singing, cello, double bass, backing vocals and silver flute blended together with the computer wizardry of Simon Posford's studio production.

Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen) has long had a reputation as the, 'Hallucinogenius,' a imitable pioneer in sound experimentation, from his seminal first album, 'Twisted' which reached No.28 in the French charts selling over 50,000 copies worldwide, up to his recent Millennium hit, 'Mi-Loony-Um' with its up-to-the minute modem melodies. His international fan base has flowered from country-wide to world-wide in the last ten years, since his humble beginnings at Youth's Butterfly Studios in Brixton. This year alone he has played over 16 sell out gigs around the world, each with a capacity of over 1500 people, in Australia, Israel, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Moscow, Geneva, Montreal, Tokyo to name just a few.

Raja Ram is the innovative sonic co-pilot producing alongside Simon and providing inspirational artwork for the album covers and the website. as well as his unmistakable flute solo's in C Major. A founding member of the band Quintessence in the sixties. Raja has many years of band experience in the music industry. Not only a band member but also the creator of TIP Records along with their infamous party sound and energy, he is not only a brilliant flautist but the inspirational man behind the ‘Shpongle’ concept.


Phutureprimitive

official band site »

Phutureprimitive is the moniker of Bay Area producer and songwriter Rain. Early childhood photos reveal Rain sitting at the piano plinking keys, grinning from ear to ear… a true sign of things to come. Continuing his early fascination, Rain was later drawn to electronic music, inspired by its ability to combine the best of organically played instruments and the synthetic pleasures of sounds more exotic to the human ear. After beginning a DJ career in the 90s, Rain began incorporating the music he was making in his home studio into his DJ sets. That was all it took to trigger a full blown love affair with electronic music and the process of its creation… and Phutureprimitive was born.

Phutureprimitive’s music is best described as dripping wet love drops of nasty mind melting sonic bliss. Lush melodies drift across intricate rhythms, groove heavy beats and warm, fuzzy bass lines. Often exploring a dark and dense palette, there is also a profound sense of tranquility and beauty, engaging the listener into hypnotic movement and often escalating into a full-on kinetic experience. Shimmering with cinematic qualities, his music ultimately speaks to the body, mind and soul.


 
Zappa Plays Zappa
@Rams Head Live | view more info »
May
10

Zappa Plays Zappa



Sunday May 10|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Zappa Plays Zappa

official band site »

Dweezil Zappa was born on September 5, 1969 in Los Angeles—the son of Frank and Gail Zappa. It was inevitable that from the moment of his birth his life would be filled wall-to wall with music (his father having listed his religion as “musician” on Dweezil’s birth certificate). Dweezil’s early years were spent largely away from the spotlight—something of a rarity for the child of a celebrity, but perfect for cultivating a close relationship with his family.

Having watched his father perform concerts from the side of the stage since he was in diapers it was no surprise that he began to show an interest in music early on. At 6 years old he received his first guitar, a Fender Music Master from his dad. It wasn’t until he was 12 that he began to show a serious interest in manipulating the instrument to make music.

Having primarily heard the music his father was working on or listening to at home while growing up, Dweezil soon found himself exposed to some new sounds on the radio. Besides his father’s music he began listening to the Beatles, Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Like many aspiring guitarists of his generation, Dweezil ‘s ear was caught in a stranglehold by the trailblazing guitar styles of Edward Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. He listened to their records for hours on end trying to figure out a way to translate what he was hearing in his head to his fingers at the other end of the guitar. Along the way, he had opportunities to ask his dad for some help. “I remember asking Frank to help me figure out the song ‘Revelation/Mother Earth’ from Blizzard Of Oz. I really didn’t know anything about chords and in that song Randy Rhoads was using classical music elements that were really new to rock guitar at the time. Frank helped me learn the finger picking intro.” To gain more fundamental knowledge of technique and scales Dweezil was fortunate to have some assistance from one of the musicians in his father’s band at that time, Steve Vai. Dweezil became remarkably proficient in a very short amount of time due to his intense practicing sessions.

“Steve made a notebook, which I still have, of scales and exercises and I practiced the stuff from that book at least 5 hours a day.” In 1982, at the age of 12 he made his first onstage appearance with his father’s band at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. “That was a great experience. I was so excited to have been asked to play but I was incredibly nervous. Since I could only really play lead in the key of A, Frank devised a hand signal for the band to modulate the song ‘Stevie’s Spanking’ down to A from it’s original key of B. After I finished my solo he gave the cue for the band to modulate back up. It was so cool how he had so much control over the music, it almost seemed like a magic trick to me. It made a big impression on me and has stuck with me my whole life.”

Later that year he recorded his first single, “My Mother Is A Space Cadet”, released on Frank Zappa’s Barking Pumpkin label. The amazing story behind that recording is that it was produced by Edward Van Halen. (On the sleeve it is credited as being produced by De Vards in order to avoid any contractual issues for Van Halen.)

“There are no words to describe how inspirational it was for me to be able to work with Edward on that recording. I was 12, a novice player and in complete awe of his super human accomplishments. I had a terrible sense of rhythm and he tried really hard to help me with that. I had only been playing for around 9 months and I had never practiced with a metronome. He was funny in the studio. We were all so young, just 12 and 13 and Edward joked that it was time for us kids to have a milk and cookie break. When I played the solo on “Space Cadet” Edward worked on getting the right guitar sound. That was one of my favorite parts of the session. We were using one of Frank’s brown Acoustic combo amps.

He had 5 or 6 of them that he was using on tour and Edward played through all of them to see which one sounded best. At one point he was teaching me about doing punch in over dubs, he explained that I had to play along with the parts that were already recorded so that it would seamlessly blend with the new part I was about to record. I remember it being very difficult to do since the stuff I played for the solo was not worked out ahead of time. I did the whole solo with all of the finger tapping stuff and vibrato bar dives. Edward made up a cool part that he showed me for after the solo that lead back to the vocal but I couldn’t bend the unison notes in tune since my hands weren’t strong enough. So he ended up playing the unison bend melody after the solo. The slide guitar intro came about around then as well. I couldn’t play that in tune either since I had never played slide before and it’s a specialized technique that takes a long time to master. He played that intro as well. Watching him do that stuff was so impressive. I did all of the other guitar stuff that you hear on the record”

In 1984, Dweezil contributed guitar solos to both “Stevie’s Spanking” and “Sharleena” on Frank’s album Them Or Us.

In 1986, Dweezil made his debut in Hollywood as an actor with his role in the classic 80s film “Pretty In Pink.” 1987 saw Dweezil raise his profile further with another film role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mick Fleetwood in “The Running Man.”

In television he worked as a guest MTV VJ. During that same period he recorded and released his first full length album, Havin’ A Bad Day. This album contained the single “Let’s Talk About It” which featured Moon Zappa on vocals and found itself on regular rotation on MTV. The video featured cameo appearances from Frank Zappa, Robert Wagner and Jane Fonda as well.

Around this same time, Dweezil made his own cameo appearances on records for a variety of diverse artists. He played a solo on the Fat Boys “Baby You’re A Rich Man”(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipzj_FvHgT8), as well as on the Grammy Nominated cover of “Wipeout” with Herbie Hancock and Terry Bozzio (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INdKbZB1mBA) from the “Back To The Beach” film soundtrack. He was asked to join Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bonnie Raitt in contributing guitar performances to Miami Vice star Don Johnson’s solo album. While Dweezil actually played on the song “The Last Sound Love Makes” it was his appearance in the video for Don Johnson’s single “Heartbeat” that would most notably link him to the project.

1988 saw Dweezil sign a deal with Chrysalis Records, releasing his second album My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama. The title track and video, a cover of the Frank Zappa single, found it’s way into the MTV rotation. More TV work followed in 1990 Dweezil and Moon Zappa starred with Laverne And Shirley legend Cindy Williams in a sitcom for CBS titled Normal Life.

With the release of his third album Confessions in 1991, Dweezil began to branch out musically, blending his heavy rock approach with touches of his father’s distinct compositional insignia. Guest appearances on this album pointed the way toward the future for Dweezil, including contributions from Nuno Bettencourt , Gary Cherone and Pat Badger of Extreme and legendary guitarists Warren DeMartini, Steve Lukather and Zakk Wylde as well as Frank Zappa sidemen Mike Keneally and Scott Thunes. Both Moon and Ahmet Zappa also added vocals to the album.

There were a handful of live shows played to support the Confessions album. That tour saw the band develop a unique set of skills and usher in the birth of a remarkable non stop medley that grew to contain 200 songs performed in 20 minutes.

After completing the Confessions tour Dweezil formed a new band and project with Ahmet called Z. The band was primed to make a new album. Just as the band started to solidify the drummer Josh Freese exited.

Armed with a mountain of material and no permanent drummer the band entered the family owned rehearsal space called Joe’s Garage and rehearsed with several different drummers who ended up playing on tracks for the new album. Those drummers included Terry Bozzio, Mark Craney, Toss Panos, and Tal Bergman. Rather than move to a studio they set up for recording rehearsals. The band recorded over 3 dozen tracks at Joe’s Garage. The “Shampoohorn” album was completed in 1992 but awaited it’s release over a year later. It was eventually released with 2 different track listings.

The band featured Mike Keneally and Scott Thunes and initiated it’s new permanent drummer, Berklee School Of Music-trained drummer par excellence Joe Travers before departing for a world tour. Thunes departed later in 1994 and was replaced by Bryan Beller who had attended classes at Berklee alongside Joe Travers. The band toured the US and Europe, and in 1996 released a follow-up album, Music For Pets, which had been pieced together over the previous three years. By the time of the album’s release, both Beller and Keneally had left the band and Z gradually ceased to exist. Dweezil stayed in the public eye however with several projects including composing the theme music for the Emmy Award winning Fox television show “The Ben Stiller Show” and on camera TV appearances including taking the role of Ajax in the Klasky Csupo animated series Duckman and a TV series for the USA network called Happy Hourwhich he starred in alongside Ahmet.

2000 saw Dweezil issue his first solo album since 1991’s Confessions with the release of Automatic. By this time, Dweezil’s musicianship had come full-circle as he showed off his guitar virtuosity with eclectic all guitar orchestrations of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Hawaii 5-0.”

In 2003 More television work came about as Dweezil formed a band for the Warner Brothers unconventional improvisational comedy “On The Spot” and performed live in each episode.http://www.dweezilzappaworld.com/videos/36

He also composed the theme music for the WB series “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” and composed dozens of tracks for the music library Extreme Music. Many of these track are heard on various television shows around the world.

The next several years saw Dweezil preparing to take on an extremely difficult challenge—bringing his father’s legendary music back to the concert stage. In 2006, some indication of what could be expected surfaced with Dweezil’s next solo album Go With What You Know. The album featured Dweezil’s most creative, advanced guitar work to date and he was aided by the propulsive brilliance of Joe Travers as well as keyboardist Aaron Arntz and bassist Pete Griffin, who would soon become mainstays in the live band Dweezil was putting together.

Finally, in the spring of 2006, Dweezil’s new live band ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ hit the road for their first, tour. Playing a long, ambitious set of Frank Zappa favorites and obscure gems to big audiences of crazed Zappa fans, Dweezil proved that he could reach his goal to form a core band of previously unknown expert musicians capable of respectfully executing his father’s music. He was uniquely qualified to bring these compositions back to life with complete authenticity from the page to the stage. Helping to deliver the goods was his absolutely stellar band of first-rate musicians including Joe Travers, Pete Griffin, Aaron Arntz, brass/woodwinds/keyboards/obvious fan favorite Scheila Gonzales, percussionist Billy Hulting and guitarist Jamie Kime.

Without a “cosmik crystal ball” it was impossible to see to how far into the future this project would last. Bearing that in mind Dweezil decided to add some extra frosting to the cake and invite some former FZ band members to join him on the inaugural tour. The earliest ZPZ tour included band alumni Steve Vai on guitar, Napoleon Murphy Brock on tenor sax and lead vocals and Terry Bozzio on drums.

This lineup was captured in the group’s first Zappa Plays Zappa release on CD and DVD in 2008. This project netted Dweezil his first Grammy Award win for Best Instrumental Performance for its version of the Frank Zappa classic “Peaches En Regalia”.

In 2007, the tour continued and new elements were introduced. Ray White joined the tour on vocals. This lineup of the band recorded their next live release Return Of The Son Of… which was issued under Dweezil’s name in 2010. Once again Dweezil found himself up for Grammy contention when the version of Frank’s guitar solo “The Deathless Horsie” was nominated for Best Instrumental Performance.

2009 saw ZPZ undergo its first major personnel changes. Both Aaron Arntz and Ray White left the band and were replaced by keyboardist Chris Norton and Ben Thomas on lead vocals and trumpet. The band continued their run of successful worldwide tours, playing to devoted fans and showcasing a constantly-changing selection of Frank Zappa compositional gems. In October 2009 the band started to become known as Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa, and in 2010 they embarked on a US tour during which the band played one of Frank’s best-loved albums, Apostrophe (‘), in its entirety.

Constantly learning and evolving his guitar art, Dweezil Zappa is both the modern face of Zappa music and the person who can bring it fully-formed into the future. In 2011 he released a double CD album on U.K. label Fantom Records: ‘Dweezil Zappa – Live In The Moment’ which is a compilation of improvised guitar solos taken from various ZPZ shows since 2007. His own music had been sidelined for a while but is currently experiencing a resurgence. 2012 will see new releases of Dweezil’s own music (both classical and rock genres) and the continuation of his music boot camp Dweezilla, as well as another new release from Fantom Records simply titled “F.O.H.” – a live double CD featuring Zappa Plays Zappa performances of Frank Zappa songs.

In 2012 Dweezil redefined Zappa Plays Zappa mission as a band and sculpted it into the current 6 piece configuration he takes on tour. (Dweezil Zappa Lead Guitar Vocals, Scheila Gonzales Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards and Vocals, Kurt Morgan Bass and Vocals, Chris Norton Keyboards and Vocals, Joe Travers Drums and Vocals, Ben Thomas Lead Vocals, Trumpet and Trombone.) When his father toured with smaller ensembles he referred to them as his “Rocking Teenage Combo.” Smaller in size doesn’t mean smaller in sound. Not for Frank or Dweezil. Now able to tour in even more cities and venues because they can fit on stage easier, Dweezil’s rocking teenage combo has been navigating through new geographic and musical territory. This fine assortment of hand picked musicians all have their own unique qualifications but it’s their dedication to preserving and performing the detailed music of Frank Zappa that unites them and thrills audiences across the globe.

Dweezil’s proudest accomplishments are as father to his two daughters Zola Frank Zappa (born 2006) and Ceylon Indira Zappa (born 2008). He lives in Los Angeles.



 
Dweezil Zappa Guitar Master Class
@Rams Head Live | view more info »
May
10

Dweezil Zappa Guitar Master Class



Sunday May 10|doors 3:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Dweezil Zappa Guitar Master Class

official band site »

For The price of a fuzz pedal, learn techniques from the son of Frank Zappa.

Dweezil Zappa's music camp, Dweezilla, has a motto: "Learn And Destroy." It refers to destroying the boundaries that confine music creativity. At camp, students are in total immersion for 4 days of music instruction. While on tour with Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil will be previewing some of the guitar concepts he teaches at camp in a special event prior to each concert.

"I transformed my guitar technique before starting Zappa Plays Zappa out of necessity to play my dad's most sophisticated and challenging melodies. I've found a lot of exciting new approaches to the guitar. I started Dweezilla music camp as a way to share this information with guitarists. I'm excited to present an opportunity to share thoughts on my approach to guitar with students of all levels before each show on tour."