Widespread Panic27 years ago this week, a singer everyone called J.B., a bass-playing future journalism school dropout and a guitarist nicknamed Panic for his bouts with anxiety went looking for a drummer for their next gig. After striking out with the usual suspects around Athens, Georgia, the three friends made an eleventh-hour call to a high-school band mate of the guitar player living in Atlanta, thinking he might still have his kit handy. A few days later, Todd Nance rolled up to the house at 320 King Avenue shared by John Bell, Michael Houser and David Schools in an old, beat-up white Maverick, his drums crammed into the back. After a night o . . .f rehearsing, the new quartet hopped onstage together for the first time the next day at the old Mad Hatter Ballroom to play a short set that opened with the Buffalo Springfield classic “For What It’s Worth.” Widespread Panic was born. Within the year, Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz, a drummer new in town from Austin, Texas, began turning up at their regular Monday night gigs at the Uptown Lounge and never left. As weekly gigs morphed into regional tours, the band began to forge a sound unto themselves, a combination of Houser’s unorthodox guitar playing, Bell’s coarse growl, Nance’s rock-steady drumming, Schools’ lead bass playing, Ortiz’s multi-textured percussion coupled with a collective commitment to playing original songs from the outset and a willingness to walk the improvisational high wire night after night. Landslide Records came calling and Space Wrangler, Widespread Panic’s debut album, dropped in September 1988, the first copies of which, were hand-delivered to the band by Col. Bruce Hampton, an area shaman, bandleader and early mentor. Former Dixie Dreg T Lavitz manned the keyboards for the band’s self-titled follow- up released on Capricorn Records in July 1991, but it really wasn’t until John “Jojo” Hermann – a native New Yorker-turned-Mississippian equally snapped by the likes of Professor Longhair and Terry Adams - claimed the chair the following spring that the band felt like a true ensemble. With a new songwriter, vocalist and worthy onstage foil in Hermann in the fold, the band’s lineup was set. Over the next two decades, Widespread Panic released nine more studio albums and sold more than three million records, building a loyal following on the road beginning in dingy dive bars across the South and eventually headlining nearly every major U.S. music festival and selling out some of the world’s most prestigious venues. No artist has more sold-out concerts at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, and their headlining appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival set the single-day attendance record. The celebration for their first live album, Light Fuse, Get Away, drew more than 100,000 fans for a free show in downtown Athens and is still considered one of the largest CD-release parties in music history.
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By 2002, the band was one of America’s best and most sought-after rock acts, but rock ‘n roll fairytales inevitably take a tragic turn. Michael Houser, Panic’s founding guitarist and inscrutable core, developed pancreatic cancer. The guitarist remained rooted at stage right until a few weeks before his death, delivering a spine-tingling, tear-jerking performance for the band’s headlining spot at the inaugural Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival. Eight weeks after leaving the road, Houser was gone, taking with him a unique musical signature that fans affectionately dubbed The Lingering Lead. An era was over. At the behest of their late guitarist, the remaining band members returned to the road, enlisting several friends to share the stage and help heal the void left by the irreplaceable Houser. It wasn’t until the summer of 2006 - when John Bell placed a call to an old friend to see if he might be interested in joining the band - that the wheels were put in motion for a new chapter in Widespread Panic’s history to begin. Jimmy Herring was no stranger to Widespread Panic when he got the call inviting him to join the band. A veteran of the Atlanta music scene, Jimmy first crossed paths with the band in the late ‘80s as the lead guitarist for Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. From the first flurry of notes at his very first show with the band – the opening night of a four-show run at Radio City Music Hall that kicked off the band’s 2006 fall tour – Herring has re-energized Widespread Panic in the best way possible: by restoring a signature guitar sound to their music, returning a sense of balance to their ensemble and enabling the band to continue to incite, amaze and move people closer to joy. Nothing gold can stay, and no band understands that lesson better than Widespread Panic, but with Herring now in his seventh year in the fold and the band fresh off a ten-month hiatus and ready to roll, there’s a palpable sense of renewed purpose and commitment and a rejuvenated enthusiasm within the band. That vibe – the feeling that anything can and may happen – is back with Widespread Panic. And it feels good.
John FogertyBefore John Fogerty wrote a song for everyone -- and the man has written many of popular music’s most timeless standards like "Proud Mary," "Fortunate Son," "Born On The Bayou” and “Who’ll Stop The Rain” to name just a few -- he first wrote songs for himself. “Every now and then, I did try and write a song for everyone, but it would all start because I would feel something deeply and personally that would mean a lot to me," Fogerty explains today. "Something in the world would strike me as being bad or tragic or unfair like in `Fortunate Son’ and so I would get pissed off in a way that was very personal. Then as I was . . .in the writing process, I would try to make the statement larger than just myself, and so in some small way, some songs became universal. But it wasn’t ever calculating. I couldn’t write commercials and jingles. I just began to think of ways to make the songs larger than myself, and the songs just kept growing." Wrote a Song For Everyone is a testament to the fact that the songs written by John Fogerty over the past forty-five years continue to speak in a powerful way to generations of music makers and music lovers. The stellar result is a heartfelt celebration of the impact Fogerty's iconic songbook that find Fogerty working together with some of the most acclaimed and popular artists in music today. As Fogerty explains, "Writing songs can be very private, but making music is best made with other people. And on this album, I’ve had the honor of making music with many of my favorite people in music now."
The Disco Biscuits featuring Mickey Hart & Bill KreutzmannThis year Vibes is proud to be bringing a one-of-a-kind pairing of legendary musicians to the stage. With nearly twenty years of history together as a band, The Disco Biscuits are innovators of the “trancefusion” movement in modern rock. That said, they’re not the same band they were when they began in 1995 at the University of Pennsylvania. They still remain rock pioneers whose soul belongs as much to marathon dance parties as it does to live improvisational journeys. They still employ emerging technologies to help them create music that is 100 percent human although, perhaps, not entirely of this earth. Bill Kreutzmann & Mic . . .key Hart are known to Vibes fans as the beating heart of The Grateful Dead. Besides performing as The Rhythm Devils, Kreutzmann – the steady hand behind the kit - has also performed with his own trio, The BK3, as well as with another band called 7 walkers. Hart has toured with The Mickey Hart Band or The Rhythm Devils on and off since 1996. Together, they’ve been the foundation of rhythm and percussions, rising above and beyond most rock drum stereotypes with various excursions of percussion and rhythm. With only select shows scheduled for 2014, when The Disco Biscuits take the stage, it is not to be missed. Add in this amalgamation of beat and you have a sweet blend of trance heavy dance rock and globe spanning, tribal rhythms and funk! We couldn’t be happier to present this line up to the VibeTribe. This is one performance you’ll not want to pass up!
moe.moe. is the preeminent progressive rock band on the music scene today—a quintet of world class musicians, whose creative output equals that of their longevity. In a remarkable career that has touched three decades and produced a discography of 24 albums, the Sugar Hill Records recording artist of Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey on guitars and vocals, Rob Derhak on bass and vocals, Jim Loughlin on percussion and vibes, and Vinnie Amico on drums, continue to push the standard for performance art higher and further. Whether touring around the globe, headlining music festivals, or sharing the stage with such diverse acts as the Allman Bro . . .thers, Dave Matthews Band, The Who, Robert Plant, Gov’t Mule, or Blues Traveler, among many others, what keeps moe. at the forefront of the music scene is not only the energy and vitality of their music and songwriting, but the showmanship in which it is delivered. Their music is clever, melodic, refined, filled with “ferocious guitar riffs” and “intricate rhythms” (Relix); their performances are entertaining, mesmerizing, and epic. From their humble, inconspicuous beginnings as a local bar band in Buffalo, NY, to headlining Radio City Music Hall on New Year's Eve, moe.'s journey has been one of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Critical acclaim and a solid national and international fan base has resulted in a dedicated following that grows each year. Rolling Stone magazine named Chuck and Al among the top twenty new "guitar gods," The pair have been featured in Guitar World and Modern Guitar, Jim and Vinnie in Drum!, and Rob in Bass Player. The renowned guitar play between Al and Chuck has become the stuff of legend. The exceptional vibe and percussion work by Jim is brilliant. The understated bass play by Rob is masterful. The seamless, efficiency of Vinnie's drumming is extraordinary. Together, the five create a musical synergy greater than the sum of their parts.
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The news about moe. keeps getting better, too, in the studio and on tour. A new album, their second on Sugar Hill Records, is set for a 2014 release. It follows the critically acclaimed 2012 release, What Happened To The LA LAs, and the 2010 Smash Hits, Volume One—a rerecording of some of moe.’s most endearing classics. The band’s tour schedule is extensive, playing in venues, intimate and grand, from NYC to LA, San Fran to Atlanta, Chi Town to Bean Town, from Tokyo to Toronto, and across the Atlantic to Paris, Amsterdam, London, Hamburg, and Milano. Long a featured act at music festivals, they’ve performed and headlined at the likes of Bonnaroo, All Good, and High Sierra, in the US, and Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, and Burg Herzberg in Germany, to name a few; yet made time to promote and perform at their own festivals—Summer Camp, Snoe.down, and moe.down. By all accounts, for this "legendary jam band," as Rolling Stone described them, moe. represents rock and roll at its best. Welcome news for the moe. faithful and the band's ever-expanding fan base. Even better news for the world of rock and roll, for moe. is just hitting their creative stride.
Umphrey's McGeeFans who have followed Umphrey’s McGee for any period of time know that there are only two guarantees: you never know what you are going to get, and Umphrey’s always delivers. Umphrey’s McGee has been relentlessly innovative in both music AND fan relations for 16 years and counting. Whereas the band’s stellar reputation is based on marathon concerts that mix original, technically demanding tunes with complex epics and playful covers (ranging from Toto to Metallica), it has chosen the same kind of attention to melody, songcraft, and musicianship. This is the care that make artists stand apart. Umphrey’s chemistry, however, . . .is something all its own, built upon a relentless live schedule of 100-plus shows a year, a solid base of musical training, and friendships that go back to when they walked in the shadows of the Golden Dome at the University of Notre Dame. These days, the band plays for crowds from all over the United States and beyond. Incorporating a sophisticated mix of cutting-edge technology -- including a state of the art light show -- with meticulous attention to sonic detail, the band and crew intends to drop jaws and melt faces at each and every concert. Monthly podcasts, an extremely active presence on Facebook and Twitter, and digital “Easter Egg” hunts have led to a strong following even outside of the US, leading to successful international tours of Europe, Australia, and Japan, where fans screamed out song titles -- in English.
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When it comes to experiencing Umphrey’s McGe to the fullest, the live concert experience is unparalleled. Special fan interactive events like the Stew Art series have redefined live music as we know it -- with fans texting to choose the direction of the band’s set -- while the four-quarter UMBowls (each quarter has a different interactive theme) have quickly become landmark events not to be missed. Another initiative unique to Umphrey’s McGee is the “Headphones & Snowcones” program, where fans are given the unique opportunity to experience UM’s pristine sound up close and personal. Attendees can have the soundboard mix piped wirelessly to their ears via high-end personal monitor systems and headphones. It’s an entirely new way to experience live music and another innovation from a band that is constantly finding new ways to put fans first. As Umphrey’s McGee continues to evolve and the band-to-fan relationship is constantly reinvented, the band stays ahead of the curve as they create events that no other band can offer, unique to an organization that is not afraid of anything except stagnation. To date, Umphrey’s has sold over 3.3 million tracks online as every live show since 2006 is available via their live music portal UMLive.net. With a catalogue of seven studio albums and counting, and a series of yearly best-of compilations entitled Hall of Fame, Umphrey’s McGee continues to create new music through a writing process that never halts. The last studio release Death By Stereo (2011, ATO Records) was produced by sonic wizards Manny Sanchez (Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy) and Kevin Browning, whose deep knowledge of analog and digital gear has helped the band craft its sound for years. The next release slated for Spring 2014 will offer fans an array of original music, some tracks familiar to fans who have heard them in the live arena, while others are unreleased and never heard before. This eighth studio offering from a band that never rests will once again prove that Umphrey’s McGee is here to stay.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic ZerosEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros formed in 2007 after singer Alex Ebert met fellow singer Jade Castrinos outside of a cafe in downtown Los Angeles. In 2009 the 10 member troupe released their debut album Up From Below which featured the universally appealing hit “Home” as well as fan favorite’s “40 Day Dream” and “Janglin”. The past few years have been spent constantly touring the world while winning over audiences at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Leeds, Austin City Limits and more. With their follow up album Here featuring “Man On Fire” and “That’s What’s Up” recently being released . . ., the band will tour Europe, North America and Australia this year while a third album is expected in early 2013.
Slightly StoopidWhile it’s a rare commodity for a band to tour as consistently as Slightly Stoopid, the group’s diligent commitment to live music provides some insight into why it’s been a few years since the release of their last studio album. But on August 14, 2012, the Ocean Beach, California-based group—led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald—will drop their latest studio effort, Top of the World. As heard throughout the disc, the layoff between albums has not affected the group’s penchant for cooking up the tasty fusion and massive groove that permeates Stoopid’s trademark sound. “We’re a . . . touring act, and we’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop over the last decade,” explains Doughty. “It really came into play on the release of the new record. Our last studio record [Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid] was about three and a half years ago. But with the band, we were starting families, we’d been on the road so much, we really didn’t have time to sit down and focus on actually recording it.” Doughty also admits that the creation of the band’s own recording studio and rehearsal clubhouse, within the warehouse district of Mission Valley (just inland of Ocean Beach), certainly aided the creation of Top of the World.
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“In the past two years, we started our own studio, which really enabled us to make the record at our own pace, and to make the right record for us at this time in our career,” Doughty continues. “What’s nice about it is having our own environment to record in and analyze the music, and it really lets you keep an organic feel. For us, I feel like it’s a step into the next level, as far as understanding the process of recording, understanding the process of songwriting. We took everything that we’ve learned over the years and really put it into this record.” Another key ingredient to what makes Top of the World so special is the inclusion of several musical guests. “It really kept that ‘family atmosphere’ for us,” says Doughty. “I think it really shows in the music—it flows. It’s like one of those records that feels like it’s one giant song. It keeps building and building. For us, we couldn’t be happier. Top of the World speaks volumes as to where the band is today; just lyrically and musically, we’re really happy with the direction.” “We had G. Love, Angelo Moore from Fishbone, Don Carlos, Barrington Levy, Ian Neville from Dumpstaphunk, Tory Ruffin from Morris Day and the Time and Fishbone, and singer/songwriter Angela Hunte. We’ve been friends with G. Love for over 15 years, and we’ve been able to work together quite a few different times in the studio. It seems like second nature. Whenever you’re recording with G., it’s almost like you’re really just hanging out with your bro, and you happen to hit record. We’ve done so many shows together and so many studio sessions, it becomes second nature. Angelo Moore to me is one of the greatest frontmen to ever step foot on a stage. As a fan and out of respect, I try to do something with Angelo every time we have a record, really. If you listen to his lyrics, his vocal performance—I don’t know who could keep up with Angelo on stage. Don Carlos from Black Uhuru is one of the legendary reggae singers of all time, and we’ve had the pleasure of working with him the last few years.” Riffing on some of the album’s highlights, Doughty says “I really love ‘Hiphoppablues,’ the song G. Love did. I love the song ‘Way You Move,’ Ian Neville did a great guitar line throughout the whole song. We worked with Barrington Levy on ‘Ur Love,’ he is a true architect of the dance hall! Definitely ‘Ska Diddy’ with Angelo—it’s a fun rant and shout out to a lot of the nooks and crannies we play across the country.” Besides recording at their own studio, Slightly Stoopid has always been extremely hands on when it comes to their career, going back more than a decade to when they founded their own record label, Stoopid Records. “We started Stoopid Records around 2000,” Doughty clarifies. “At that time, we were in transition as far as what we were doing with our records, and we thought it would be good to have our own independent label—like Sublime showed us back in the day with Skunk Records. What’s nice is we’ve had a following with the fans, where people understand that Stoopid Records is Slightly Stoopid and other bands we want to help break out.” “For us, it was a big turning point, as far as having complete creative control over everything we do. That’s something big for this band—we want to make the music for ourselves and for our fans. We don’t really make music for someone in an office that tells us something needs to be there. We’ve always had a very organic, do-it-yourself attitude. I think it’s paid off in dividends.” In addition to the arrival of Top of the World, Slightly Stoopid should be very busy for the rest of 2012. “This summer, we’re doing The Unity Tour with 311. That was really cool—those guys approached us about doing a tour with them. For the last five years, we’ve been headlining all the amphitheater tours, so it’s kind of nice that we’re going to co-headline with them. It’s a good chance to not only play for our fans, but to play for 311 fans and show them the new direction of the new record. After the summer tour, we’re going to do a fall tour and a winter tour, stay on the road as much as possible, promote the record, and keep making more music.” Slightly Stoopid’s current line-up, featured on the Unity Tour 2012, consists of Doughty (guitar, bass, vocals) and McDonald (guitar, bass, vocals), along with Ryan “Rymo” Moran (drums), Oguer “OG” Ocon (congas, percussion, harp, vocals), C-Money (trumpet), Dela (saxophone) and Paul Wolstencroft (keyboards). Additionally, “unofficial 8th member” Karl Denson of Greyboy Allstars also lent his talents throughout Top of the World, and is joining the band on tour this summer. Nearly two decades into their ongoing metamorphosis, Slightly Stoopid continues to progress into new musical territory, defining their signature sound even further and creating a contagious feel-good vibe. An entire subculture has grown around the social statements the band makes with their music—and it’s been done entirely on their own terms. No wonder they feel like they’re on Top of the World.
Maceo ParkerMaceo Parker: his name is synonymous with Funky Music, his pedigree impeccable; his band: the tightest little funk orchestra on earth. It's fairly common knowledge that Maceo has played with each and every leader of funk, his start with James Brown, which Maceo describes as "like being at University"; jumping aboard the Mothership with George Clinton; and his ongoing part in Prince's tours. He's the living, breathing pulse which connects the history of Funk in one golden thread. The cipher which unravels dance music down to its core. "Everything's coming up Maceo," concluded DownBeat Magazine in a 1991 article at the beginning of Ma . . .ceo Parker's solo career. At the time Maceo was a remembered by aficionados of funk music as sideman; appreciated mainly by those in the know. For the last two decades Maceo Parker has been enjoying a blistering solo career, building a new funk empire; one that is both fresh and stylistically diverse. He navigates deftly between James Brown's 1960's soul and George Clinton's 1970's freaky funk while exploring mellower jazz and the grooves of hip-hop. His collaborations over the years have included Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. His timeless sound has garnered him a fresh young fan base. It is almost impossible to separate which came first, Maceo or the funk. The amazing P-funk Parker has been at it with his legendary sound for time that dates back to the 1960's. That's when Maceo and his drummer brother Melvin climbed on board the James Brown funky soul funk train. It wasn't long before James coined the solo summoning signature, "Maceo, I want you to Blow!". To most musicologists it's the musically fertile group of men from this period of James Brown's band who are recognized as the early pioneers of the modern funk and hip-hop whose sounds we still jump to in the present day.
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Maceo grew to become the lynch-pin of the James Brown enclave for the best part of two decades. - his signature style helped define James' brand of funk, and the phrase: "Maceo, I want you to Blow!" passed into the language. He's still the most sampled musician around simply because of the unique quality of his sound. There would be other projects and short hiatuses during his on-off time with The Godfather, including a brief spell overseas when he was drafted, and in 1970 when he left to form Maceo and All the Kings Men with some fellow James Brown band members (the two albums from this period are on a constant reissue cycle even some thirty years later.) It was Maceo's Uncle the front man for a local band; the Blue Notes, who was Maceo's first musical mentor. The three Parker brothers (Maceo, Melvin and trombonist Kellis- later to become Professor of Entertainment law at Columbia University) who formed the "Junior Blue Notes.". When Maceo reached the sixth grade the Junior Blue Notes were brought by their Uncle perform in between sets at his nightclub engagements. It was Maceo's first experience of the stage and one that started his love affair with performing an love which has increased rather than diminished with time. Maceo grew up admiring saxophonists such as David "Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, Cannonball Adderley and King Curtis. "I was crazy about Ray Charles and all his band, and of course particularly the horn players". By the age of 15, Maceo had forged his own style on the tenor sax. "I thought about 'Maceo Parker plays Charlie Parker', and then I thought how about 'Maceo Parker plays Maceo Parker', what would it be like to have young sax players listening to me and emulating my style of playing". Thus the "Maceo sound" we know so well was born. In the mid '70's Maceo hooked up with George Clinton, and the various incarnations of Funkadelic, Parliament and Bootsy Collins. He now had worked with the figure heads of Funk music at the height of their success. From the breathtaking shows of James Brown to the landing of the Mothership, Maceo has been there: as close as it gets to some of the most exciting moments in musical history, delivering his sound as a constant point of reference. In 1990 the opportunity came for Maceo to concentrate on his own projects. He released two successful solo albums: Roots Revisited (which spent 10 weeks at the top of Billboard's Jazz Charts in 1990) and Mo' Roots (1991. But it was his third solo album, Maceo's ground breaking CD Life on Planet Groove, recorded live in 1992 which soon became a funk fan favorite. Planet Groove also served as a calling card, boosting Maceo's contemporary career as a solo artist for a college aged audience, and bringing into being his catch phrase "2% Jazz, 98% Funky Stuff." And so began Maceo's relentless headlining touring. Bringing his top notch, road-tight band and superlong shows to people all over the world. "I feel it's my duty as an artist to go as many places as I can, especially if the people want it." says soft spoken North Carolina native. He doesn't come out on stage in a diaper or a velvet swirling cape, no giant spaceships or 50 person entourages, nothing except the core of his musical soul which he lays open every time he blows his horn. In 2003, after several years as Band Leader for the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards Maceo received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation for his contribution as a sideman to the genre of R & B. Since 1999 Maceo has participated in some of Prince's groundbreaking tours when not on the road with his own group, and continues to do so as a special guest when his own schedule allows. Maceo's albums Funk Overload, Dial M-A-C-E-O and Made by Maceo entered the top 40 in the European charts upon release. Dial M-A-C-E-O features guest spots from the Mistress of folk music Ani DiFranco, Prince, and a quite different James from the one we have come to associate with Maceo: James Taylor, while School's In from 2005 is about as Funky as a studio album can be. At the beginning of 2007 Maceo had a chance to fulfill one of his dreams: working with a Big Band. With Grammy Award Winners the WDR Big Band from Cologne Germany, he broadcast and performed a live series of shows paying tribute to Ray Charles and released the album Roots and Grooves, a live recording taken from these shows which also features Dennis Chambers and Rodney "Skeet" Curtis. The album received huge critical acclaim, and Maceo has followed up with a recording to be released in 2012: Soul Classics. Along with WDR Big Band the album features drummer Cora Dunham Coleman and bassist Christian Mcbride. In July of 2012 Maceo was presentedwith Les Victoires du Jazz in Paris: a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to music. The same weekend he was presented with an Icon Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, with the following inscription "Maceo Parker, a music-maker and world-class performer for almost fifty years, distinguishes himself through exceptional musicality and craftsmanship. The inspired and indefatigable saxophonist has made an indelible mark on soul, funk and jazz. The unique sound of James Brown owes a sizable debt to the talent and inspiration of Maceo Parker, and Brown recognized it openly. Parker's name found its way into Brown's lyrics: "Maceo, blow your horn!" Prince also tips his hat to Parker referring to him as 'The Teacher'. Maceo Parker has not only made an incredible amount of music, he has put his signature on a huge variety of musical genres. Through his partnership with soul and jazz artists like James Brown, George Clinton en Bootsy Collins as well as pop formations like Living Colour, Bryan Ferry, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Dave Matthews Band, Maceo Parker has entertained a wide audience with his unique saxophone sound. Parker's music is a major source of inspiration in the hip hop world. He is one of the most sampled musicians in the world. Maceo Parker's music integrates a range of genres from soul, funk and jazz to rhythm and blues while maintaining respect for tradition. As saxophonist, singer, composer and band leader, Maceo Parker has distinguished himself through a wide array of projects, CDs, concerts and international festivals. Parker regularly performs with Prince, often accompanied by Candy Dulfer. He is at his best on stage, where he shows his boundless energy and passion and his ability to captivate audiences with his sound. All the qualities of an icon unite in Maceo Parker, and the jury is proud to present him with the 2012 Radio 6 Icon Award." "Given Parker's sense of groove invention and the evergreen emotional power of Charles' chestnuts like "Busted" and "Hit the Road Jack," anyone might have expected this to be a dream match. But it's more than that because Parker also sings with a gravelly, Charles-like perfection on these two songs, and even more poignantly on "You Don't Know Me," "Margie," and a magically moody "Georgia on My Mind." Charles may have been declared deceased in body in 2004, but he lives again through Parker in haunting yet wonderful ways" - All Music Guide "Maceo put a complex funk spin to the famous Parker name playing his horn more like a drum than a melodic instrument. The result is an insanely percussive style, which forces everyone within ear shot to dance like a giddy geek. For sure no one plays the alto saxophone like Maceo Parker, and most likely no one ever will again. Never ignoring melody Parker woos us sweetly on one tune, only to make us jump out of our skin the next with Funkalicious ferocity. The bottom line...if you want to dance with members of the opposite sex without asking them too, go to a Maceo Parker show. Once there, you suddenly realize this is one of the reasons why you're alive on this planet...to be taken to a place where your mind stops thinking as you listen, move, and experience pure joy". - Dave Todoroff "He's no bebopper, reborn or otherwise. His roots are the church and the blues... his sound is joyful, cutting ribbon of light and heat burnished by grit and soul. His riff-based attack is melodic, unraveling and re-weaving themes rather than running chords, and primarily rhythmic, relying on finely-shaped nuances of timing and displacement to communicate - kinda like his longtime boss' vocals, amazingly enough." There's no doubt about it, "There's only one Maceo."- Gene Santoro Downbeat Magazine "When people talk about legends they mean 'they're done, but boy did they do good' when I think of Maceo Parker I think of legendary funk master and horn player, but not 'legend' in the term that he's done. He's still doing it. And that to me makes a really legendary person." - Ani DiFranco
Rodrigo y GabrielaInternationally acclaimed Mexican acoustic rock guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are back on the road again in 2013, bringing their unique instrumental blend of metal, jazz and world music to audiences all over the US. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have been playing together for more than fifteen years. First as young thrash metal fans in their native Mexico City, then as innocents abroad and street musicians in Dublin, Ireland at the turn of the millennium, and finally as the globe-straddling, film-scoring, record-breaking artists they are today. Known for exhilarating live shows, Rodrigo y Gabriela have won the hearts of musi . . .c lovers from the haciendas of Cuba to the Hollywood Bowl and festival fields of Europe, as they continue to weave their unique six-string magic. The extraordinary interplay between Sanchez's fiery lead lines and Quintero's phenomenal rhythmic battery is truly universal. Having recently released their most ambitious album to date, 2012's "Area 52," which was recorded in Havana with a thirteen-piece Cuban orchestra, as well the 2011 soundtracks to "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," and "Puss In Boots," Rodrigo y Gabriela are getting ready to rewrite the script again. With career sales in excess of 1.2 million albums, blockbuster movie scores, and sold out tours worldwide, Rodrigo y Gabriela have certainly made their mark. Their appeal is boundless, their scope limitless, and the music timeless; clearly, we have only begun to see what this duo is capable of.
Dark Star OrchestraThis band’s Thursday night tribute performances at Vibes have become one of the most talked about sets of the entire festival over the last six years. As campers and fans set-up camp and find friends old and new on Thursday, it’s certainly one of the most asked questions around the park; “What set do you think DSO will perform tonight?” Dark Star Orchestras shows are built off the extensive catalog of the Grateful Dead. 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 the catalog of original songs and often played covers to create a unique set l . . .ist for the show. This allows music fans both young and old to share in the experience. Dark Star Orchestra presents its critically acclaimed live show at esteemed venues from coast to coast and internationally. Grateful Dead classics are performed in the same way that an orchestra interprets music of classical composers. The composer spirit is derived and channeled as the players capture the excitement and innovation of the original performances and compositions.
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Touring nationwide for over 15 years to the tune of nearly 2200 shows since forming, the band's determined commitment to "raising the Dead" has drawn national media attention. 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 the catalog of original songs and often played covers to create a unique set list for the show. This allows music fans both young and old to share in the experience. Grateful Dead classics are performed in the same way that an orchestra interprets music of classical composers. The composer spirit is derived and channeled as the players capture the excitement and innovation of the original performances and compositions. Following each performance the band announces the date and venue of the original performance. The current incarnation of DSO includes lead guitarist Jeff Mattson and rhythm guitarist Rob Eaton, drummers Dino English and Rob Koritz, bassist Kevin Rosen, Keyboardist Rob Barraco and harmony vocalist Lisa Mackey, Once again, we’re proud to welcome back DSO for a performance dedicated to the forbearers of the jam scene and the inspiration for this festival, The Grateful Dead.
Joe Russo's Almost DeadJoe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo. "Not only does this quintet play tight and vicious versions of some of the most complex songs in the Grateful Dead's repertoire, but they play them with a rawness & energy absent from the stage since the "Live" Dead era. More importantly, all of the jams are wild and incredibly adventurous. Russo's a beast behind the kit who's in the peak of his career. Metzger is a criminally underrated guitarist who has a chameleon-like ability to alter his sound to compliment any situation. Dreiwitz's intensity is unmatched by anyone, while Benev . . .ento spouts these crazy tones and layers of sound that mix the best of what each keyboardist in GD history brought to the band. Finally, add Hamilton, whose voice and biting leads help push this ensemble over the top." - Scott Bernstein, Jambase 9.12.13
Ryan Montbleau & FriendsSongs for Ryan Montbleau typically need to simmer. In his 10-year career this gifted singer and his limber band have built their catalog the old-fashioned way, by introducing new songs to their live set, then bending and shaping them over dozens of performances before committing a definitive version to the hard drive. For that and many other reasons, Montbleau's latest album, For Higher, is quite literally a departure. Well-established out of his home base in the Northeast, the singer threw himself into New Orleans, where everything is slow-cooked, for a few fast-moving days — and whipped up an instant delicacy. A few of the cuts . . .on the new album — the playful stomp of “Deadset” or “Head Above Water,” freshly peppered with horns — were already part of the Ryan Montbleau Band's ever-growing repertoire. But the majority, including four handpicked cover tunes — stone soul nuggets from Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, the late Muscle Shoals guitarist Eddie Hinton and more — came together spontaneously, with little prepwork. It was a feel thing, with Montbleau putting heads together with fellow music head Ben Ellman of New Orleans flag-bearers Galactic. The singer and songwriter first eased his way into the city when he was invited to contribute songs to Backatown, the breakthrough album of favorite son Trombone Shorty. That went so well, Montbleau co-wrote two more songs for Shorty's recent follow-up, “For True.”
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When Montbleau sent videos of himself performing the songs, Ellman, who produced “Backatown,” was impressed. Why not come down and do a record of your own? he asked. Almost before he got an answer, Ellman had assembled a band of ringers – keyboard/B3 player Ivan Neville, French Quarter mainstay Anders Osborne on guitar, drummer Simon Lott, and the estimable George Porter, Jr. of the Meters and countless funky sessions on bass. Though Montbleau has released several solo records and three albums credited to his full band, he felt like this was an all-new hurdle he'd have to clear. “My main issue was, what would I bring in for material?” he recalls, sitting in the kitchen of the spacious home he and several bandmates share in an industrial city north of Boston. “I'd never done a session like that. “Our band will 'shed songs on the road for years and then record them, and there's strength in that. But there's also strength in putting together these other badasses for a few days.” And his New Orleans band proved, in fact, to be most badass. If Montbleau was initially a bit apprehensive that the sessions might represent just another paycheck for his sidemen, he quickly learned otherwise. “Every single person, kind of to my amazement, got into it,” he says. “They listened to every playback, and they were high-fiving each other. They were great.” Staying at Ellman's house while recording the new album, Montbleau spent his downtime cruising the streets of New Orleans on a borrowed vintage bike. “There's clearly no American city like it, at all,” he says. “It's deep, dark and beautiful.” Unlike Montbleau's previous recordings, which showcase his own maturing songcraft, the new album draws a lot of its depth and beauty from its cover songs. Perfectly titled is the beatific “Sweet, Nice and High,” originally recorded by the forgotten soul supergroup Rhinoceros. On the other end of the moodswing, Mayfield's “Here But I'm Gone,” written and recorded for the great singer's last album, after the accident that left him paralyzed, is a shimmering testament to human frailty. “Sometimes I feel like there are so many songs — who the hell needs another song?” Montbleau asks. But then he'll discover another new inspiration — sitting at the kitchen table sipping tea, there's a vinyl copy of an old Billy Preston album propped on the windowsill behind him — and another lyric or melody will come to him like a visitation. And when the song becomes a reality, and the crowds begin to sing it back to him, well, that's what it's all about. At 34, he's a late-bloomer who's right on time. Montbleau didn't start singing and playing guitar in earnest until he was in college, at Villanova. Later, working at the House of Blues in Boston, he began playing solo sets there as a warmup act. His band — there's now six of them — came together naturally, over time, planting strong roots in coffeeshops, folk venues and rock clubs before converting audiences on an outdoor festival circuit that now stretches across the country. Through word of mouth and repeat visits, the band has built a devoted following from the Northeast to Chicago, Seattle and Austin. “It's like watching the grass grow,” says the easygoing Montbleau. Far from feeling left out of the New Orleans sessions, his band is already feeding hungrily on the arrangements from the new album in their live sets. “We've done a good job staying in one direction, just moving forward,” says the singer. “We all just really want to get better. I try to instill it in the guys — if we just keep it together, good stuff is gonna continue to happen.” When the crowds are dancing, the band digs deeper in the pocket. But Montbleau, who still performs solo, is constantly looking to strike a balance between the contagious energy of moving bodies and making a closer connection. “You can still dance and have a good time,” he says of his fast-spreading fan base, “but I love when you listen.”
Keller WilliamsKeller's Grateful Grass delivers anything-but-traditional bluegrass versions of Grateful Dead favorites. The project's lineup is always rotating, and Vibes is no exception. Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band) and Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) join Keller this summer on the Grateful Grass at Seaside Park. Keller Williams has been called guitars mad-scientist, a one-man-band for the new millennium and dozens of other clever sobriquets dreamed up by fans and music journalists trying to get a handle on his uplifting and ever-shifting style of music. Williams is considered by some but not by himself, to be a master of the acoustic g . . .uitar, known for his ability to solo over layers of spontaneously created loops. He is a generous performer who plays down to earth acoustic music that defies any effort to find a convenient pigeonhole. If pressed for a definition, Williams, as adept with language as he is with a guitar pick, calls it solo, acoustic jazzfunk reggae technograss - or simply - solo acoustic dance music.
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On stage, Williams exudes a restless yet mellow energy. Barefoot he dances in place, alternately spinning out long solo lines and bouncing chord clusters that draw listeners and dancers into his own private world of rhythm and melody. The songs flow like rivers, full of flickering, kaleidoscopic images revealing new shapes, colors and meanings with every listen. On the stage behind him is a forest of stringed instruments as well as a keyboard and various drums and percussion toys. Williams jumps between instruments seeking out the perfect sound, the perfect note, the perfect beat that will transport him and his audience. Much has been made of Williams impressive array of stage gear. Hes willing to go on at length about each instrument and the complexities of creating loops and samples in real time, with nothing being pre-recorded. But isnt into technology for its own sake. Williams explains, My style evolved organically out of hours and hours of being on stage with one guitar and one mic. I wanted to create more of a dance vibe and make it more interesting for myself, and hopefully more interesting for the audience, too. Williams is also a prolific recording artist, with ten albums and a DVD in his discography each of which carry one word titles. The latest CD in Williams growing catalogue is GRASS - credited to Keller & the Keels. The self-released album is a delightfully bizarre collection of anything-but-traditional bluegrass songs. Like most recordings from Keller, GRASS is self indulgent and possibly offensive to those who lack a sense of humor, but Keller had a damn good time recording it. For the project, Keller teamed up with old buddy and award-winning flat picker Larry Keel on guitar, and Larrys beautiful rock-solid in-the-pocket acoustic bass playing wife, Jenny Keel. The result is an organic and airy acoustic record featuring 10 songs, originals and unexpected covers tunes, that yield to a pure love of music. Williams farcical humor and the stellar picking of the ensemble is evident on the albums original tunes. Goofballs is a late night driving song, Williams says. You're trying to stay awake to avoid a wreck and start thinking the weirdest things to stay alert. Local (Outdoor Organic) is a ballad about supporting local organic farmers. Crater in the Backyard showcases the trios instrumental prowess and talks about the wide-open spaces that get turned into strip malls and subdivisions. Williams was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia. My mom and dad sang in church and my mom played some piano, but their main instrument was the stereo, Williams quipped. I had a guitar at age three, but didnt learn any chords until I was 13, when a friend showed me three primary chords. I started copying songs off of classic rock radio. A few years later I started performing. Williams played in cover bands in high school and college, but he was also playing solo in non-music venues. I hit up restaurant owners and played while people were eating. The people weren't there for music, so between songs there would be awkward silences. I started stringing songs together, so there wouldnt be any silence. William's college band got good enough to build a regional following and open for national acts that came through town. When the band broke up, Williams went back to his day, or late afternoon - early evening job, of playing in restaurants. In 1995 Williams moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for two years, then from 1997 to 2000 he had no address at all, living in campgrounds, truck stops and cheap ass motel rooms, playing constantly, sometime seven gigs a week, and barely making ends meet. But it honed his guitar playing and stage show to a fine edge. "I saw The String Cheese Incident on my first stop in Colorado. They were playing a basement bar after the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1995. They were bouncing from reggae, to bluegrass, to rock, to salsa. I approached them as a fan and told them Id be happy to open for them for free. They took me up on that offer and I jumped onto their West Coast tour in spring of 1997. They were just starting to build their grassroots following, and I had so much fun opening and then going into the audience and dancing. Williams was already experimenting with looping, using a delay unit to so he could play along with himself. Then he opened a few shows for Victor Wooten, who had made an art out of creating loops on stage. Victor opened my ears and eyes to how you can use live phrase sampling (looping) on stage. Once I saw what he was doing, I incorporated it into my style and came up with my own recipes. As more young people started coming to my shows, I added bass guitar and realized I could fill up a venue with the whole spectrum of sound. The loops push me musically and open up different avenues for me to go down. My songs are deeply rooted in guitar and vocals. Looping is used to create a jam section, though there are some exceptions, where I set up a loop and sing over the top of it." Williams started recording albums in 1993 and cut three albums on his own dime FREEK, BUZZ and SPUN - before signing up with SCI Fidelity Records. Since he started recording, Williams has turned out almost one album a year, including three of his most successful releases: LAUGH (2002), HOME (2003) and his double live release STAGE (2004). I like one word titles because they sum up the process with the least amount of syllables. Williams is currently finishing work on his next studio project YOUTH. "I've been at it for two and a half years and hope to have it out in fall of 2006. Its a collaborative process. I've flown all over the country to do sessions with my heroes and there are still more tracks to be done with more heroes at press time. To name drop a few: Bob Weir, Victor Wooten, Charlie Hunter, Derrek Phillips, Steve Kimock, John Molo, Martin Sexton, The String Cheese Incident, Sanjay Mishra and Fareed Haque to name just a few."
Leftover Salmon Featuring Bill Payne of Little FeatLooking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers were one of the first bluegrass bands to add drums and tour rock & roll bars, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jam grass genre. Though the lineup would change through the years, the foundation of Leftover Salmon was built on the relationship between co-founders Drew Emmitt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin), Vince Herman (vocals, guitar,washboard) and Mark Vann (electric banjo). Following a deca . . .de of constant growth and constant touring, on March 4, 2002, Mark Vann lost his battle with cancer. Vann insisted that the band carry on and Salmon did so for several years leading up to an indefinite hiatus in 2005. If Leftover Salmon had never played another note after leaving the stage in 2005, the legacy would have been secure; the members’ names etched in the books of history. But today, more than two decades after Salmon first took shape, the band has a new album, Aquatic Hitchhiker, due May 22 on LoS Records, a new banjo phenom named Andy Thorn, and a new lease on an old agreement. Leftover Salmon is officially back.
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The 29-year-old Thorn grew up a Salmon fan in North Carolina and says the band helped him realize “this is what I want to do with my life.” Ironically, it’s his presence in the group that has given Leftover Salmon new life. “Andy’s a real young guy with a lot of great energy who plays in a way that definitely relates to Mark’s [Vann] playing and he’s a lot of fun to be around, it’s led to a real revival that just clicks on some hard to describe level” says Herman. “We’ve played with some great banjo players over the past few years, and not to say anything about them being less than great musicians, but there’s just something intangible about playing with Andy that kind of makes Drew and I look at each other and grin. This is what we’ve been missing as far as that feeling between Drew, Mark and I that used to be there.” Produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, Aquatic Hitchhiker is Leftover Salmon’s first record in eight years and first ever of all original material. “Steve [Berlin] understood where this album needed to go and how we all needed to work together as a band to make it happen” explains Emmitt. Set for release on May 22, the recording process solidified the new Salmon, cauterizing old wounds and allowing fresh ideas to grow over past scars. “The time is right for this band to come back on a lot of levels” says Emmitt. “It’s taken us a little while, but I think we’re finally there.”
Rusted RootMulti-instrumentalist group Rusted Root integrate the Grateful Dead's jam-heavy rock with percussion influences based on the music of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The six-piece formed in Pittsburgh in 1990 with Michael Glabicki (vocals, guitar), Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion), Patrick Norman (bass, vocals), and Jim Donovan (drums, percussion) as the initial lineup, though John Buynak (percussion, winds) and Jim DiSpirito (percussion) joined later that year. In 1992, Rusted Root released its debut independent album Cruel Sun. However, it was the band's 1994 sophomore album, When I Woke, that garnered the band national . . . attention. Having collaborated with one another for two decades, Rusted Root, has honed the perfect combination of musical intuition, freedom and virtuosity, which has allowed them to organically shape shift their music into their own distinct and undeniable vision. With eight albums under their belt, over three million records sold worldwide and countless nights on the road, Rusted Root, transcends age, generations, cultures and musical styles. The powerhouse ensemble’s sweat-inducing and hypnotic live performances have allowed them to tour alongside everyone from Santana, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s reunion tour and countless others. Rusted Root’s Shanachie debut, The Movement (10/30/12), is an energized and poetic collection of originals that capture the Pittsburgh based unit at their best.
American BabiesSince 2007, American Babies has been the mouthpiece for Philadelphia based musician Tom Hamilton. After spending the early 2000s building a national fan base fronting the electro-rock band Brothers Past, releasing two critically acclaimed albums, and averaging 150 shows a year, a change was in order. “Musically, I wanted to get back to the basics” he explains, “Get the song right, first. Then worry about the live show and how the music opens up from there.” Hamilton went back to his roots, rediscovering the Outlaw Country, Motown, and Grateful Dead records he grew up with, and assembled a pool of musicians to pull from for r . . .ecording sessions and live performances. After two full-length LPs, an EP, and three years of touring, the American Babies are hitting their stride. The live band has been solidified with David Butler (Lee “Scratch” Perry) on drums, Adam Flicker (The Brakes) on keys, and Marc Friedman (The Slip) on bass. The band has shared the bill with numerous like minded acts such as Derek Trucks, Sheryl Crow, Umphrey’s McGee, Railroad Earth, and The National to name a few. Hamilton entered a Philadelphia studio in January of 2013 to start work on what has become the Babies’ third long-player "Knives and Teeth" (via The Royal Potato Family). When asked to describe his new record, his answer is short and compact but, like his lyrics, is loaded with deeper meaning: “It’s a 40-minute existential meltdown.” "When you’re in your 20’s," he says, "you worry or focus on things that don’t seem to maintain their importance as you get older. Chicks, partying, finding a place. Shit, all of my albums back then were about girls, in one way or another. Then you grow up and you realize none of it actually matters, so you dig deeper. I spent a lot of time with some activist friends and the Occupy movement. That pushed some buttons but, I kept digging. Then I had a couple of close friends pass away within a few months of each other and that made me really dig in. I started to think about my own mortality. Reconsidering what was really important to me." Throughout the course of the album, from the Lou Reed-inspired “This Thing Ain’t Going Nowheres” to the inspired punk energy of “Bullseye Blues” to the head-shaking acceptance of “Goddamn,” Knives & Teeth speaks of fragility, cruelty, frustration, and the search for what makes a life worth living. Be sure and catch American Babies’ re-energized live show on the road throughout 2014!
DumpstaphunkA decade evolved from their debut at 2003's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Dumpstaphunk offers fans an unforgettable live experience steeped in the Big Easy tradition of a good time. The quintet features Ivan Neville on vocals, B3 and Clav, the double bass attack and soulful voices of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, Ian Neville on guitar, and the monster addition of Nikki Glaspie on drums and vocals. From annual performances at New Orleans' Jazz Fest -- "The colossal low end and filthy grooves they threw down from the Gentilly Stage must have set a Jazz Fest record for baddest bass jams ever." (Bass Player Magazine, 2012) -- . . .to music rooms and festivals across the nation (Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, All Good, High Sierra, Hangout, Jam Cruise and Outside Lands to name a few), Dumpstaphunk continues to spread an unmistakably New Orleans groove with hard-hitting performances that dare listeners not to move. "We always keep the spontaneity going, that's something I love about this band," says Ivan. "We can funk it out with the best of them, but we also like to showcase how all sorts of music can come together and push the boundaries of what funk music is." Dumpstaphunk's summer 2013 release, Dirty Word, re-imagines their genre, holding true to the opinionated, vintage funk of Sly & the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, but with a modern edge that forays into gospel, blues, second-line, R&B and straight-up rock n' roll. True to New Orleans tradition, Dumpsta's friends and family Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Rebirth Brass Band, Skerik, the Grooveline Horns, Art Neville, Ani DiFranco and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers kick the Dirty Word sessions up a notch.
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Ivan continues, "The whole record speaks to the righteousness of music. We're not necessarily telling a specific story, but expressing how music makes things right for everyone in their own way. Our fans can feel that vibe and let it take them wherever they need to." "We just hope to spread the good word through funk," adds Nikki Glaspie. "If we can create an escape, give people a reason to get down and forget their problems, then we're doing what we set out to do."
Donna The BuffaloLook 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 bluegrass jamboree. 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 wi . . .thout equal. To merely call this “roots music” does it disservice, for the roots nurtured by songwriter-vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins run wild, deep and strong—a tribute to how much Donna the Buffalo marries musical trailblazing and tradition. What other group can tackle reggae, zydeco and jam-band stylings with such abandon? Yet even the most robust roots get tested by the seasons. And as work began on a new Sugar Hill Records release, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, Donna the Buffalo took an astounding leap of faith where other veteran groups would gladly phone it in. Puryear and Nevins—joined by band members David McCracken (Hammond organ, Honer Clavinet & piano), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums)—convened in a rustic church in Enfield, New York. The building lacked running water, but overflowed with vibe enough to serve as a makeshift studio. Likewise the music poured out as the group recorded take after live take to old-school analog tape, with as few overdubs as possible. What’s more, they worked without an outside producer—and suspended work on Sundays for obvious reasons: “The church had to have their services around the mess we were making,” Puryear recalls. Judging by the finished results, all messes should spin out such beautiful results.
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In an age of computerized this and Auto-Tuned that, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday sounds and feels organic. Authentic. Honest. Its 14 songs serve alluring rhythms alongside thought-provoking messages; undeniable hooks infused with Nevins’ distinctive fiddle and accordion work, and Puryear’s rock-solid guitar locomotion. You don’t have to be a longtime Herd member, or even a roots music aficionado, to embrace a record this tuneful, true and soulful. “Sitting in a circle in the studio, you get to see everybody's insecurities,” Nevins says. “Making this record was a very personal process and it was fun. On stage, the note is gone as soon as you play it. But in the studio, everything is very pristine and preserved. You've got to set your ego aside for the good of the song.” It also helps to forget any expectations fans or industry heavies might have. Donna the Buffalo had a tough act to follow in its acclaimed 2008 release Silverlined, which rose to No. 8 on the Americana Music Chart. The disc’s tight production and radio-ready sound exposed the band to an even wider audience—so it took ample courage to strip things back for the long-awaited follow up. “A record either has a vibe or it doesn't, and people can tell when they listen; it's the most obvious thing to them,” Puryear says. “But in the middle of it, when you're battling your insecurities, it's hard to tell whether you have that vibe, and difficult to appreciate why people like your band.” Puryear need not have worried; one listen to the inviting album opener “All Aboard,” and you can tell the gamble was well worth it. The track comes chooglin’ into the station, an infectious groove train that carries with it echoes of the Grateful Dead, Los Lobos and The Band, yet dishes a self-styled joy all its own. Puryear’s message brings listeners right back to the old-time wisdom of the Golden Rule: “Before it’s too late we must fix what is not right. Do unto others what you would like … what you would like done unto you.” That song forms an apt foil for Nevins’ “Don’t Know What We’ve Got,” which approaches the living-out-love message from a breezier vantage point. Understated organ pads and Nevin's tender vocal, crowned with a gossamer harmony, gild the song beautifully. As for the lyric, she leaves room enough for the listener to make it their own anthem: “It could refer to the whole grand scheme of the world, or it could be between two people,” she says. Nevins also delivers an equally memorable melody with “I Love My Tribe,” a sweet-strumming song that tips its hat to the Herd, but also salutes “the love of a friend” with a chorus that’s undeniable, simply made for singing along with the car windows rolled down. The record’s bright feel—musically and lyrically—owes much to how Nevins and Puryear determined which tracks would make the cut. “From start to finish, we were trying to make more decisions on the positive side,” Puryear says, “to get a pile of stuff where you say, ‘That's gotta be on the record.’” So if a song had a few superficial blemishes, as was true of the title track, it didn’t matter nearly as much as the magic it conveyed. “It's loosey goosey and not exactly what you'd call completely, succinctly recorded,” Puryear says of the infectious, pot-boiling country rocker. “The guitar is a little out of tune. But it had a character to it; I had this feeling about it.” So did Nevins, who adds: “We played it one time through in the studio, and no one knew it. What you're hearing is the take after the one run-through to learn the chords. It had this cool jangle thing going for it and everyone got really excited. But it was the hardest song to mix.” And that’s how it goes when you decide to take the road less traveled in the studio. Capturing and preserving the sound of five musicians jelling isn’t a question of hitting “copy and paste;” if it’s any sort of science, it’s borne of trial and error, and ultimately as mysterious as alchemy. So the final album contains six songs whose finished versions were completed in the final moments of recording. As Puryear recalls, “We recorded the whole record and there were just three days left. And one of those days, we were just in this mood where nothing sounded peppy enough. So we kept stepping it up—but when we listened back, everything was way too fast. So everybody went through their mini emotional freak-outs, and that might take 10 minutes. But we knew that we just had to get over it and do things super quick.” He adds with a laugh: “That day had a ‘mayhemic’ feel to it.” Still an experienced band willing to dive into deep mayhem also stands a chance of finding a pearl of great price—especially when the musicians trust each other and form a circle of unending give and take. “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. It was fun to just sort of do it, go for it.” “You have to do just what you want to do, and every one 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.” In the end, the result stays true to everything Donna the Buffalo represents. You don’t have to ask Puryear or Nevins before they explain to you how 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.”
EOTOAs electronic influences continue to penetrate the live rock, jazz, and jam ethos, one band consistently rises to the top, bringing together fans from across the musical spectrum. EOTO crisscrosses the country blowing out basement dives, packed theaters, and stages under the stars. Check your festival schedules: this 100% improvised dubstep/breakbeat/house/drum & bass/trip-hop duo is the premier late-night party in the country. Throbbing bass and thudding beats are the signatures of this project from drummers Michael Travis and Jason Hann. Born out of their shared love of electronic dance music, EOTO's M.O. is to take the free-wheel . . .ing party vibe of a DJ set to the next level by using organic instruments, innovative performance technology, and uncharted musical exploration. Live drums, guitars, and keys, and vocals are mixed, remixed, and sampled on the fly using cutting-edge programs. This is all done without a script, and without a net. Hann plays a hyper EQ'd drumkit, chock full of multi-touch screens and MIDI controllers, and throws a number of effects on his otherworldly vocal styles. Travis takes on subsonic frequencies, generating the band's crushing low end with analog, digital, and software synthesizers, occasionally picking up guitar or a bass guitar and showing off his proficiency with instruments of all shapes and sizes. Hann, has been playing percussion professionally since the age of 12. Years of collaborating, touring, and recording with the likes of Youssou N'Dour, Isaac Hayes, Dr. Dre, Loreena McKinnett, SCI, and a slew of other established artists running the gamut from Latin jazz to R 'n' B and soul allows him to move fluidly between styles. Adding to this is his depth in African and Latin drumming traditions, allowing the futuristic EOTO sound to keep itself rooted in the past. For the last 16 years, Travis has been the drumming octopus in SCI. He morphs roles to melodic multi-instrumentalist in EOTO, providing the raw basslines and harmonic tapestry that fill out the soundscape of the duo. Both Hann and Travis have the chops and stamina for physically demanding, EOTO improvised sets, which have been known to go upwards of 4 straight hours. "When we're playing live for 3 hours a night, it's like playing tribal drums in a ceremony," Hann explains. "I'm looking at one person at a time out there, and thinking 'what can I do to make you dance?'"
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An EOTO set is a nebulous beast. Setlists are only broken up into tracks for the sake of posterity. In reality, changes in mood, energy, and inspiration are reflected-in real-time-by rhythmic and melodic shifts. The duo moves effortlessly from choppy dubstep to whip-smart, four-on-the-floor house to psychedelic trip-hop. It's a dance marathon, but everyone's in it together. The EOTO set is dependent on crowd energy and activity, effectively breaking down the wall between artist and audience. Because EOTO starts fresh every night, the band's evolutionary progress has been thrust into hyperspeed, eclipsing standard acts who return to their dusty catalog for every performance. This is apparent when following the musical evolution of their live performances, which are recorded every night and made available to their fans. On EOTO's first 2 studio releases--2006's Elephants Only Talk Occasionally, and the 2008 release Razed, EOTO bounced playfully between house, trance, and breakbeat. A huge change in their sound came when Travis and Hann first saw, felt, and heard the cathartic vibes that dubstep could produce at DJ Skream's set at Shambhala during the Summer of 2008. This influence saw the duo become the first National, live, dubstep act in the US. The wobbly, buzz-saw bass and heavy backbeat style has become a signature of their sets, as heard on their live recordings and on the 2009 studio release, Fire the Lazers!!! Newer material has the duo co-opting sounds from outside the realm of electronic music with scratchy punk riffs and fuzzy sludge metal bass. While the recording of each album is no different than the live performance-completely improvised in one take-the records are an appetizer to the live performance. Hann and Travis are consummate road dogs, playing almost 200 shows a year. EOTO has played more than seven hundred unique showcases in 48 different states in the five years since the project's inception. Each set is recorded and released (www.livedownloads.com ) so fans can capture their unique EOTO dance throwdown, reliving the experience again and again.
Nahko and Medicine for the PeopleOregon-native Nahko, born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino cultures and adopted into an American family, suffered an identity crisis from an early age. But the unifying power of music entered his life as a healing remedy, when he took up the piano at age six. Armed with his newfound talent, he set out to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche and began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and communal healing. From his hometown of Portland to the shores of Hawaii or Bali, wherever he has traveled, Nahko is joined by a tribe of culturally alienated truth seekers for whom . . .Nahko’s story resonates with their own, and who find redemption in his voice, guitar, flute, and drum. Whether solo or with the dynamic group of musical troubadours known as “Medicine for the People,” Nahko delivers a soulful dose of curative vibrations that moves audiences to dance, laugh, and cry. His ‘spirited redemption music’ lays bear the scars of cultural wounds, environmental wrongs, and social injustices. His lyrics bear the burden of heavy messages, but the load is lightened by agile melodies and driving rhythms that coerce all who bear witness into spirited, purifying, movement. His humor disarms, and his lyrical stories open listeners to the power of “Real Talk Music”—songs that reveal an honesty and depth so raw, it inspires an internal revival that echoes out into the world. Sometimes exuberant, sometimes savage, but always transformational, Nahko makes the movement move.
White Denim"It has taken five records to make one that sounds the way we do onstage," says White Denim frontman James Petralli, explaining the band's new full-length "Corsicana Lemonade." Set for release October 2013 via Downtown Records, "Corsicana Lemonade" puts White Denim's freewheeling stage ethos to wax and cements their position as a quintessential, unique American rock band. Featuring production on two songs and a full mix from iconic songwriter Jeff Tweedy, it's a revelation, merging the group's manic live virtuosity into a rollicking ten-song mission statement. The Austin, TX four-piece is no stranger to mixing crunchy punk energy, s . . .corched psychedelia, Southern rock and knotty funk, but "Corsicana Lemonade," the group's fifth studio album, naturally covers so many bases that it plays like the greatest lost mixtape you could find on your dashboard during a hot summer afternoon. Since its formation in 2005 and first string of EPs in 2007, White Denim has steadily expanded its sound. From the rootsy classicism of "Last Day Of Summer" (2010) and noisy sun-soaked sizzle of "Fits" (2009) to the soft-edged riffage of "D" (2011), the group's commitment to fiery live performance, textured exploration and blissful interludes has never wavered. It peaks on "Corsicana Lemonade." Album sessions started in Chicago at fabled Wilco compound The Loft with Jeff Tweedy (and frequent production partner Tom Schick) manning the boards and providing motivation. The record was almost entirely recorded live with full-band takes, ensuring a lived-in live feel. "Before, we had kind of leaned on the ability to give the impression of a full live band on our recordings. That Protools Rock is way more common than people know," says Petralli. "On 'Corsicana Lemonade,' it was actually the band playing together and doing takes as a whole. Whatever sounded best was what we stuck with."
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After the Chicago sessions, White Denim returned to their native Austin, holing-up in a house overlooking Lake Travis from a 100-foot cliff. There, with the help of local producer Jim Vollentine, the band designed a makeshift studio, wheeled in a bunch of crazy '50s gear and solidified the mixture of hard and classic rock elements that they began exploring on their fourth album "D." The record's songs feel at home with the skuzzy rawness of contemporaries like The Black Keys or Jack White and the Americana experimentalism of Wilco, while the band cites the classic rock shuffles of Thin Lizzy and The Allman Brothers' instrumental ecstasy as primary influences. And now, with the support of leading publications like the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Relix, as well as adoring crowds from Bonnaroo to their sold-out headlining tours, White Denim has fully arrived with a record to claim their own spot in America's great rock lineage. "Corsicana Lemonade" is available in October 29, 2013 via Downtown Records. Catch the band at Austin City Limits this October and on tour with Tame Impala this fall.
Bronze Radio ReturnBronze Radio Return know what it takes to get to the heart of American roots music. You have to go to America’s roots. When it came time for the band to record their latest full-length album Up, On & Over, they found themselves in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on a farm in the tiny town of Louisa, Virginia. In their journey as a band, recording in different parts of the United States has opened up their ears and minds. “We find it’s easier to get into a creative zone when we’re outside of our element,” lead singer and guitarist Chris Henderson explains, "we were surrounded by goats, chickens, and farmland." Th . . .e trek south this year was just the latest venture for Bronze Radio Return (Henderson, drummer Rob Griffith, lead guitarist Patrick Fetkowitz, keys player Matthew Warner, bassist Bob Tannen, and harmonica/banjoist extraordinaire Craig Struble) who are no strangers to recording in new – and sometimes remote – places. Their story starts in Hartford, where members orbited each other at The Hartt School, one of the country’s top music conservatories. After finding each other and solidifying their line-up in 2008, they began writing music and found that their surroundings played a huge part in their creative energies. While writing their debut album Old Time Speaker, they bounced between the buzzing urban community in Hartford, where Henderson says melodies and chord progressions come naturally, and a remote Maine town, where they holed up to focus on lyrics. When they went into the studio in 2009, they went, as Henderson says, to “a place we’d never been before with a producer we’d never met to play a bunch of songs we’d never played before.” The producer was Chad Copelin (Ivan & Alyosha, Ben Rector), who would go on to form a solid and lasting partnership with the band.
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Two years later, Copelin brought the band to his home turf in Norman, Oklahoma to record their follow-up album Shake! Shake! Shake! The small community lived and breathed music. The Midwestern neighborliness and kindness shined through on the album – drenched in harmony, warmth, and soul, the songs were made to make people come together. Sing-alongs, foot stomps, hand claps, and all. It was during this time that the band began to get picked up for numerous TV spots and ads. Shake! Shake! Shake! produced over 50 syncs in the past year-and-a-half when all was tolled. Highlights include a worldwide Nissan Leaf commercial and a national Behr Paint/Home Depot ad. In addition, HBO, ESPN, NBC, MTV, the CW, American Idol, ABC Family, USA, and more licensed their music for shows, promos and bumpers. Instead of waiting for the syncs to break them out, Bronze Radio Return threw themselves into a rigorous touring schedule. “We’ve been really fortunate to have our music used in a lot of TV and film, and also made some real traction at radio. But this band is first and foremost a live band,” says Henderson. The band has spent the better part of the last two years playing every corner of the US and winning fans over with their packed-with-energy live show. Cut back to 2013 and find Bronze Radio Return back in Virginia with Copelin at their side recording Up, On & Over, the band’s most ambitious release to date. “You can hear there’s an obvious progression with this batch of songs. It’s very much still a Bronze Radio Return record but we really found ourselves getting into a groove during the recording process which allowed us as a band to dig deeper into the material than ever before,” says Warner. The album is a collection of songs defined by the band’s ability to step out of their comfort zone and push forward. Leading the way is first single “Further On,” an optimistic anthem steeped in summertime brightness. “Further On” started making waves months before the album’s anticipated release, when it was tapped as the soundtrack to the PGA Tour’s national ad campaign featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The rest of the record follows suit with strong hooks, twangy guitars, and driving percussion. While we can’t be sure where Bronze Radio Return’s story will take them next, Up, On & Over is an exciting new chapter in their journey. Keep an eye out as their story unfolds, taking us all for a ride moving... well… Further On.
Love CanonWhat do you get when you cross conservatory-trained musicians with raucous bluegrass and the mega-hits of the 80s? LOVE CANON (intentionally spelled with one “N”) Think Rocky IV, Cyndi Lauper, ZZ Top, Aha and Dire Straits played with banjo, mandolin and high lonesome vocals. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you dance, it’ll “blind you with science!” “Love Canon doesn’t cover the music of the ’80s as much as kidnap it and take it on a bluegrass-tinged joyride. It’s a general rule of American culture that it takes 20-40 years for a decade to shed its stale stench and get its groove back. There’s no shortage of . . .clever musical re-enactors giving the first generation of MTV an ironic makeover: a fool’s errand, given that the music already was soaked in postmodern irony. By contrast, Love Canon refreshes and extends the originals with affectionate humor and effortless virtuosity. The players — including Old School Freight Train’s Jesse Harper, Nate Leath, Darrell Muller, Virginia Commonwealth University guitar and banjo master Adam Larrabee, and Mandolin Virtuoso Andy Thacker — add layers of depth to the still-appealing pop hooks. They romp on throwaway classics such as ZZ Top’s “Legs” and “She Blinded Me With Science.” On their excellent version of “The Boys of Summer,” the folk instrumentation adds a traditional context to the time-capsule lyrics. After blazing through other up-tempo material, they shift to a slow burn on the closing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” It’s an unlikely choice for an all-male band, but they strip the song down to its bittersweet, feminist heart.” — Peter McElhinney – Style Weekly
The Main SqueezeThe Main Squeeze is a raging funk rock experience born in late 2009 from the thriving live music scene of Bloomington, Indiana. Currently residing in Chicago, IL, The Squeeze boasts a unique sound and identity, seemlessly blending funk, rock, electro, and jazz with intricate jams, tight grooves, and ripping solos to create a live experience that audience members routinely describe as unparalleled. Their exceptional ability to tackle and funkify such a wide variety of music makes each show an original experience in its own right. Infuse the musical tappestry with the soulful and powerful vocal stylings of formiddable lead singer Cor . . .ey Frye and it is no surprise that at such an early stage in its development, the band has amassed a dedicated and rapidly growing national fan base. Since its birth, The Main Squeeze has already graced the stages of festivals such as Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Macau International Jazz and Blues Festival (China), and Summer Camp among many others. If you’ve ever wondered whether the juice is worth the squeeze, wonder no more - The Main Squeeze is sure to be hitting a city near you sometime soon, leaving their crowd funkified and freshly squozen.
Ziggy MarleyFor Ziggy Marley, his latest vehicle of expression the album Fly Rasta, represented a galactic sonic journey. The trip began in early 2013 with a handwritten note by the six-time Grammy Award winner (with his most recent being the 2014 Best Reggae Album Grammy for Ziggy Marley In Concert). He sat in his home recording studio, took out a scrap of paper, and began to think about what would become his fifth solo studio album. The concept was simple: make a record that was true to himself, and expanded the territories of the traditional reggae sound by exploring new musical spaces. He had brought strands of other genres into his prev . . .ious albums, but now he was looking further into the musical universe, like the deep-space eye of the Hubble telescope. Ziggy began work in Spring 2013 and enlisted producer Dave Cooley to join him on the adventure. Recording began shortly thereafter with the help of friends old and new, including The Melody Makers (sisters Cedella Marley and Sharon Marley, and singer Rica Newell); drummers Stephen Ferrone (Tom Petty), Brian MacLeod (Sheryl Crow), Rock Deadrick (Ben Harper) and Motown’s legendary James Gadson; guitarists Lyle Workman (Sara Bareilles), Takeshi Akimoto (Taj Mahal) and Ian “Beezy” Coleman (Burning Spear); bassists Dave Wilder (Norah Jones), Guy Erez (Karmina), Abraham Laboriel (Paul Simon) and Pablo Stennett (Willie Nelson); and keyboardists Zac Rae (Lana Del Ray), David Palmer (Goo Goo Dolls), George Hughes (Sarah Vaughan), Mike Hyde (Burning Spear) and Brian LeBarton (Beck).
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Fly Rasta, scheduled for release April 14, fulfills Ziggy’s mission by marrying his own distinctive reggae sound with elements of psychedelica, rock, funk, soul and pop, exploring further musical zones with the addition of sitar, tabla and taiko drums. “I’m looking to push the envelope, to challenge myself,” Ziggy explains. “ I have always wanted to travel far beyond the realms of expectations.” Equally ambitious in its lyrical themes taken from Ziggy’s own life experiences and emotions Fly Rasta is a call to empowerment, enlightenment, freedom and, as with many of Ziggy’s songs, the higher power of love. It’s also a call to action for the planet Earth. A packet of wildflowers is included in every CD, encouraging fans to connect with nature and grow something beautiful. Ziggy is also partnering with several environmental organizations, including COTAP (Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty), which will assist in offsetting the “carbon footprint” of his upcoming world tour. The album opens with “I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars,” which sets the tone both musically and thematically as a love song to his “woman” Earth. From its Mission Control countdown it breaks into an infectious reggae beat amped up by power chords, immediately distinguishing the album as a fresh musical amalgam. The album’s title track “Fly Rasta” offers an uplifting reggae anthem featuring reggae innovator and legend U-Roy, the strong backing vocals of The Melody Makers and an infectious horn section. A celebration of Rastafarian culture and a tribute to reggae’s musical roots, “this is a song I’ve been holding on to for nearly 20 years,” says Ziggy. In the emotional ballad “Lighthouse,” Ziggy offers strength as a beacon to loved ones. The tone brightens on the sitar-laced “Sunshine,” a reminder of hope even in adversity “Moving Forward” weaves a similar message of conquering pain and hurt, yet in a progressive rock-flavored vehicle propelled by Takeshi Akimoto and Ian” Beezy “Coleman’s angular guitar work. While the introspective “You” utilizes the second-person to convey what is a song about finding your true self, “So Many Rising” speaks of common causes, stripping it down to acoustic guitar and hand drum in a reproach of greed, corruption, climate change and eroding freedoms. The mid-tempo “I Get Up,” a call for feeling good and perseverance, finds Ziggy singing with his sister Cedella, who arranged background vocals on the entire album. With a rock cadence, a nod to John Lennon and a slide-guitar break worthy of George Harrison, “You’re My Yoko” is the album’s direct praise for Ziggy’s wife Orly Marley (“oh your sweet inspiration”). The theme of love culminates Fly Rasta in “Give It Away,” echoing the legacy of Ziggy’s previous love songs, including “Forward to Love” and “Love Is My Religion” with the words “ Only if we give it away can love be love .“ Beyond the recording studio and live stage, Ziggy Marley remains a vibrant, multimedia force. On radio he continues to host a monthly “Legends of Reggae” program on SiriusXM’s The Joint (Channel 42), featuring some of the best reggae tracks from the last five decades. Following his comic book project Marijuanaman, he published a children’s book, I Love You Too, and narrated an interactive app, based on the song from his album Family Time. He also continues to expand his new venture, Ziggy Marley Organics, a line of organic, non-GMO products, from Coconut Oil to Roasted Hemp Seeds, currently available in over 1,000 stores nationwide. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ziggy Marley and his siblings first sat in on recording sessions with his father’s band, the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers, when he was ten years old. Later, Ziggy joined with brother Stephen and sisters Sharon and Cedella to become The Melody Makers, allowing him to craft his own soulful sound which blends blues, R&B, hip-hop and roots reggae. The Melody Makers earned their first Grammy (Best Reggae Recording) for Conscious Party (1988), their third album, produced by Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, which included the hit songs “Tomorrow People” and “Tumbling Down.” Their subsequent albums include the Grammy-winning One Bright Day (1989), Jamekya (1991), Joy and Blues (1993), Free Like We Want 2 B (1995), Grammy winner Fallen is Babylon (1997), Spirit of Music (1999) and Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1 (2000), featuring some of their biggest hits, as well as a cover of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” While selling millions of records and selling out numerous concerts, Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers never lost sight of their foundations in faith, fellowship and family. After two decades as the driving creative force behind The Melody Makers, Ziggy’s first solo tour came in Summer 2002, on the 23-city Jeep World Outside Festival, joining such artists as Sheryl Crow, Train and O.A.R. The following year saw the release of his debut solo album, Dragonfly, followed by 2006’s Love Is My Religion, a Grammy winner that further explored personal, social and political themes amid a fragrant mix of roots reggae, traditional rock, African percussion and other varied musical elements. He won his fifth Grammy Award, this one for Best Musical Album for Children, for Family Time, a 2009 collection of reggae-inflected, family-oriented songs. His last studio album, Wild and Free, with it’s pro Hemp and Marijuana title track soared to the top of the Billboard Album Chart in 2011 to become one of the year’s #1-ranked reggae albums. Ziggy recently added an Emmy Award to his mantle for the 2013 children’s song “I Love You Too,” heard in the Disney Channel series “3rd & Bird!” along with his sixth Grammy, in 2014, for Ziggy Marley In Concert. Involved with a breadth of charities, Ziggy leads his own, U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a non-profit organization that benefits efforts in Jamaica, Ethiopia and other developing nations. The charity’s missions range from building new schools to operating health clinics to supporting charities like Mary’s Child, a center for abused and neglected girls.
Digital Tape MachineDigital Tape Machine is a Chicago-based band featuring Kris Myers, Joel Cummins, Joe Hettinga, Bryan Doherty, David Arredondo, Marcus Rezak, and Dan Rucinski. The digital, yet analog force behind Digital Tape Machine produces a very modern, electronic sound. Often compared to video game music, elements of electronic dance, tech house, dance house, deep house, post-industrial, drum 'n bass and hip-hop are all woven into a live show. This edgy, danceable music has been met by enthusiastic crowds who are thirsty for more. The band is rapidly gaining momentum from late night festival sets and sold out shows.
Langhorne Slim & The LawThere is nothing like the challenges and camaraderie of the road to inspire a songwriter who thrives upon the emotional energy and exhilaration only travel can deliver. Some singers are devoted to the pursuit of perpetual motion, and Langhorne Slim releases his wild soul in ways that come out of the discipline of live performance. The 13 songs that compose Langhorne Slim & The Law’s new The Way We Move are road-tested, rollicking and very rock ‘n’ rolling tunes that the songwriter perfected with his loyal band, and come out of the kind of good times and bad experiences that songwriters of Langhorne’s lofty stature can turn i . . .nto life-affirming rock ‘n’ roll. You could also call what Langhorne Slim does folk music, but then there’s his sly, charming and open-hearted feel for pop music—those summertime melodies that nudge you into a grin even when the song is about something bad. For Langhorne Slim—Pennsylvania-born self-taught guitarist who moves to Brooklyn at 18, begins feeling out his place in a burgeoning punk-folk scene, wends his way to the West Coast, and finds himself celebrated from Newport to Portland as one of today’s most original singers and songwriters—The Way We Move represents the sound of a band devoted to living in the moment. Riding the success of his 2009 full-length Be Set Free, Langhorne went through some changes over the last three years—he lost his beloved grandfather, who is the subject of the new record’s moving “Song for Sid,” and moved on from a relationship that had lasted five years. And there was the physical moving—the literal side of the record’s title. Pulling up stakes from his home of two years, Portland, Ore., Langhorne also has been touring non-stop with The Law. As he says, “I’m in a bit of a transitional period—currently, the road will be home. That’s just kind of my spirit, to be slightly restless.” Perfecting their rangy sound out on the endless grey ribbon, Langhorne and The Law— bassist Jeff Ratner, drummer Malachi DeLorenzo and banjo player and keyboardist David Moore—went down to rural Texas in the summer of 2011 to work on new material. With some 30 tunes to consider, the quartet soaked up the Lone Star sunshine and developed arrangements and approaches for Langhorne’s latest batch of songs.
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Jeff Ratner had joined the group at the time of Be Set Free, and brought on multi-instrumentalist David Moore not long after. Moore and Ratner go way back, having moved to New York around the same time, and they’ve played together in what Jeff estimates are 15 bands. Langhorne’s association with Malachi is equally deep. As the group played together through tours with the Drive-By Truckers and the Avett Brothers, and made appearances at the Newport Folk Festival and Bonnaroo, their bond became ever stronger, their music more confident. This is what you hear on The Way We Move—forward motion meeting deep cohesion, all in the service of Langhorne’s amazing songs and compelling vocals. “We wanted Langhorne’s songs to shine, and be as raw as the creatures that we are,” Jeff says of the recording process. The band set up in the Catskill, N.Y. Old Soul Studio, a 100-year-old Greek Revival house retooled for recording. With studio owner Kenny Siegal co-producing, Langhorne & The Law fearlessly ran through an astounding 26 songs in four days, with Langhorne putting finishing touches on new tunes as they recorded. Langhorne says it was an intimate affair in Old Soul, with Moore’s “banjo room” in a coatroom and the piano in the living room. It comes through on The Way We Move—the live feel of the sessions, which found Langhorne singing along with the band on every track. “Singing with the band that way, it’s almost like I was performing on stage,” he says. Cutting everything live to tape gave the band exactly what they’d been looking for: a super-charged evocation of their raucous, friendly stage performances. Langhorne and Jeff value in music for its rawness, and it doesn’t matter whether that rawness—the insurgent spirit that unites the Clash and Charlie Poole—comes from in punk, country, soul or folk. Langhorne is a fan of Porter Wagoner, Jimmie Rodgers, Waylon Jennings, and early rock ‘n’ roll in general. But there’s nothing referential or detached about the music Langhorne & The Law make. Langhorne writes songs that are yearning, sad, happy, defeated and optimistic, with hints of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll balladry. “We all love Wu-Tang Clan as much as we love Bowie, or Brazilian psychedelic pop,” Langhorne says. On The Way We Move, David’s probing piano often provides focus for Langhorne’s tales of love and loss. “On the Attack” begins with a delicate, watercolor section that turns into an ingenious variation on a classic soul ballad—Solomon Burke meets punk blues in a smoky folk club. Langhorne addresses it to a current or past love. Similarly, “Past Lives” sports a piano introduction that gives way to a melancholy 6/8 ballad that perfectly supports lyrics about possible past lives and their interaction with the present. It’s a spirited, inspired slice of real rock ‘n’ roll—exuberance meets hard-won experience in an explosive combination. David’s banjo and Malachi’s walloping drums add up to a new kind of folk music. The music drives, but there’s no loss of subtlety. And when the group lays into the garage-rocking “Fire,” with its funky electric piano and supremely callow lyrics about first kisses and the hot-burning passions of adolescence, it’s clear Langhorne is one of the great rock ‘n’ rollers of our or any time. Road-tested as the band is, the new music also shows just how far Langhorne Slim has come as a singer. He croons, exults and sings the blues throughout The Way We Move. And there are his lyrics, which are about strange dreams featuring women who want him dead even as he desires them, the pressures of small-town life, ambition, and how much he appreciates his mother’s love and support. That’s all Langhorne and his life—his mother, he says, really was amazingly supportive of his ambitions to become a musician, as was the rest of his family. It comes through as you listen to his virtuoso demonstration of a singing style that seems alive to every fleeting emotional shade of meaning. Langhorne puts you in mind of John Lennon’s singing from time to time—it’s nothing exact, and Slim doesn’t do much music that is very Lennon- or Beatle-esque, but it’s something in the timbre, and the openness of his vocals. It’s worth repeating here that Langhorne learned Nirvana songs as he began to explore the guitar and songwriting, and Kurt Cobain’s intense singing is another reference point. But these guys don’t play the reference game, and like to keep it raw. The new record moves in ways that are fresh for Langhorne Slim & The Law, and demonstrates all the ways we can go forward while keeping an eye on the mirror. They’re laying down the law. It’s very American, and when Langhorne Slim contemplates whether or not he fits in to any narrow-cast definition of this country’s music, he replies with a perfect, laconic joke: “I think we fit in most places that would take us.”