Hailing from Greenville, SC, Stereo Reform is a fusion of the creative talents of Neil Turner on bass, keys, and lead vocals, and Will Evans on guitar, keys, and backup vocals. With the 2008 release of their first album, Robots of Evolution, Stereo Reform introduced the world to their signature sound, “Dance-a-Funk-a-Rock-a-Tronic.” A true synthesis of genres, Dance-a-Funk-a-Rock-a-Tronic takes the loosely definable “rock” sound and blends dance, funk, and pop into the mix. In addition to Robots of Evolution, Stereo Reform has also recorded two demos, The Whitestone Session and Party Light 25. In April of 2012, Stereo Reform teamed up with Bravo Ocean and Triangle Sound Studios (owned by acclaimed producer Tricky Stewart) to record their newest album, The Future Started Yesterday, which is set to release on May 13, 2013. Stereo Reform is currently playing clubs and music halls throughout the southeast, and is also looking to make an impact on the festival circuit.
T Bird and the Breaks are a big, funky, band.
Female singers that swing-it-while-they-sing-it? Check.
Fire-in-the-hole rhythm-section of drums, bass, guitar, and keys? Check.
Gravel-voiced front-man who always leaves it on stage? Check.
Hailing from Austin, TX, T Bird And The Breaks play a style of dance music that has it's most basic and obvious roots in the Funk and Soul music of the late 1960's and early 1970's. It'll get you dancing. It'll make you sweat. It'll make you smile.
But...it can't be classified as strictly throw-back, retro, Funk/Soul. The original songs belie lyrical influences such as Beck. Or Bob Dylan. And the contemporary swagger of The Breaks' live show especially pays homage to the creativity and positivity of early and golden-age Hip-Hop. The band's “kitchen-sink-style” of music is evident on their cover of Shirley Ellis' 1965 R&B hit “The Clapping Song” in which they include verses from Tom Waits' “Clap Hands”.
It's a melting-pot of funk but one that people of all ages, and across musical genres, can dig. In the last few years they've been invited to play shows with artists as eclectic as The Flaming Lips, The Funky Meters, Sting, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Galactic.
2014 will see T Bird and the Breaks releasing their third studio album, “What It Is (Harmonism)”, and bringing their electric, tear-a-hole-in-it, funk-bomb of a live show to a stage near you.
"A traveling band must be able to channel their hometown and aura into a space. It's sometimes difficult to conjure the backroads and nature so often sung about in Americana music. The Giving Tree Band has mastered this quintessential aspect of performing live. They are able to accomplish what great writers have long proven; it is possible, with the right story, to transport whole audiences to new worlds." -Appoet.org
It is said that in any endeavor, the journey is the true reward. For this band, the outlook matters more than the outcome. Yet, even with this policy, The Giving Tree Band has been steadily making their way towards the head of a classy class of young American songwriters and performers and consistently winning over each scene in the school. It seems that people everywhere are discovering The Giving Tree Band and when they do, a bond is established.
"These rockers cultivate a sound that mirrors their namesake, with soulful vocals and heartfelt musicianship that hearkens back to classic American Folk. In a genre where honesty is key, The Giving Tree Band gives their audiences their all," writes CityBeat Cincinnati. The Giving Tree Band is not reinventing but simply reuniting rock and roll. With their down-home style, they emphasize the virtue in virtuosity - playing each note with integrity, each part with humility, each song with honesty, and each show with gratitude. The most common word among all who share the experience is "undeniable" in regards to the chemistry on stage, the energy in the room, and the feeling that something special is happening. With a rare combination of stirring musicianship and exemplary songwriting, the GTB wheel is in full spin, and like their heroes before them, it's also on fire.
--------------BOBBY BARE JR'S QUICK FACTS--------------------- Nominated for a grammy at the age of 6 years old for a duet with his dad called "daddy what if"-written by Shel Silverstein - has a degree in psychology from the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE - is VERY afraid of elves - made 2 albums for Immortal Records with his band BARE JR. one for sony records in 1998 and one for virgin records in 2001- born in Nashville, TN june 28, 1966- has 2 children -- believes that blue is a flavor and not a color nor a feeling--- has made 3 albums and 1 ep for BLOODSHOT RECORDS since 2003- co-produced his dad's last record THE MOON WAS BLUE in 2006- grew up in HENDERSONVILLE, TN with George Jones and Tammy Wynette as his next door neighbors- is only making music in the hopes of getting one step closer to his ultimate dream of being STEVEN PATRICK MORRISSEY'S personal bicycle mechanic- has toured with- DR. DOG, THE WALKMEN, THE DECEMBERISTS, THE BLACK CROWES, BOB DYLAN, AREOSMITH, MY MORNING JACKET, CENTRO-MATIC, THE BOTTEL ROCKETS, THE DRIVE BY TRUCKERS, ANDREW BIRD, and THE OLD 97's has been romantically linked to the BOB'S BIG BOY boy- in June of 2007 Bobby was asked by a casting company to audition for the role of "Shrek" for "Shrek the Musical" on Broadway- is on HOUSTON PARTY RECORDS in spain and HAZELWOOD RECORDS in germany- did a family album of all SHEL SILVERSTEIN songs called "SINGIN' IN THE KITCHEN" in 1975- can NOT speak mandrin chinese- had all his songs critiqued by SHEL SILVERSTEIN till shel died in may of 1999- sang on the song "getting back into you" on THE SILVER JEWS album "TANGLEWOOD NUMBERS"- sang on the song "horses" on WILL OLDHAMS' album "bonnie prince billie sings Greatest Palace Music"-------------------------------
On his new release Another Day (Eusonia Records, 2011), Zach Deputy demonstrates his extraordinary ability to perform and record in multiple contexts and conveys the sensibilities of a mature singer/songwriter. Another Day offers another look at Zach Deputy and seeks to help him cross over into other audiences. Rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs, the music on this recording is best described as soulful rhythm and blues, with flavors of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder emerging in the swells, changes and modulations of the music, in the voice and even in the lyrical content. The record will appeal to fans of contemporary artists like Jack Johnson and Amos Lee, but the origins of the style and feel remain classic. Another Day is an appropriately titled album, and it is truly an album in the classic sense—a collection of songs that come from the same time and place, inspired by the same muse. Reflective and introspective, it provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. Full of hope and anticipation of the promise of another day, a new day, it is a pivotal point in the career of a touring musician. Whereas it is a departure for Zach Deputy, it is one that he feels confident his fans can relate to, but it isn’t the end in itself. Deputy’s multi-faceted diamond gets one side polished in this offering, and it is a side that will shine brightly for a new audience.
Since the dawn of recorded sound, music can be seen as a giant tapestry to which all musicians lend their creative influence. One band focused on the explosive evolution of this musical ecosystem is Groundation. Rooted in the reggae one-drop sound of Jamaica, Groundation seamlessly incorporates the harmonic, polyrhythmic, and improvisational elements of jazz, breathing new life into both genres. As one critic described it, Groundation begins at the crossroads where Burning Spear meets John Coltrane.
Groundation's unique reggae fusion can be heard from villages in Thailand, to the favelas of Brazil, from the mountains of New Zealand, to Moroccan cafes and college dorm rooms in the United States. Since 1998 they've performed in more than thirty countries on six continents, sharing the stage with such diverse artists as Jimmy Cliff, Sly and the Family Stone, The Roots, Kanye West, and Sonic Youth.
Jazz music at Northern California's Sonoma State University brought together the original members of Groundation: keyboardist Marcus Urani, bassist Ryan Newman, and Harrison Stafford, guitarist and reggae singer, around whom the original sound formed. Stafford, then both a teacher of reggae history and a student of jazz, wrote songs from seeds sown in the ground of California, where antiwar, civil rights, and ecology have always thrived. Seven evolutionary recordings saw the arrival of singers Kim Pommell and Sherida Sharpe from Kingston, Jamaica, as well as American jazz musicians Dave Chachere (trumpet), Te Kanawa Haereiti (drums), and Daniel Whitegold (trombone).
Continuing the band's long history of collaboration with Jamaican roots reggae legends like Don Carlos, IJahman Levi and The Congos, Groundation's 8th full-length studio album, to be released in October 2014, evokes the lasting and eternal influence of Bob Marley, "A Miracle" will features Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, founding members of Marley's legendary backing vocal trio the I-Threes. The picture is completed by the pen of Neville Garrick, Marley's art director from the time of the "Rastaman Vibration" album (1976). Following this long-awaited release, Groundation will be hitting the road as always with tours throughout Europe, South America, Oceania, the Caribbean, and North America.
Moon Hooch captured the imaginations of thousands with its infamous stints busking on subway platforms and elsewhere in New York City: two sax players and a drummer whipping up furious, impromptu raves. This happened with such regularity at the Bedford Ave station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that the band was banned from playing there by the NYPD. The trio's subsequent tours with They Might Be Giants, Lotus, and Galactic as well as on their own have only broadened the band's appeal. Wherever Moon Hooch plays, a dance party soon follows.
Hornblow Recordings and Palmetto Records are now proud to release Moon Hooch's second album, This Is Cave Music, on Sept 16, 2014. The title refers to the term Moon Hooch coined to describe their unique sound: like house music, but more primitive and jagged and raw. Horn players Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen do this by utilizing unique tonguing methods, or adding objects -- cardboard or PVC tubes, traffic cones, whatever's handy -- to the bells of their horns to alter their sound. Not to be outdone, drummer James Muschler gets swelling, shimmering sounds from his cymbals, and covers the head of his snare with a stack of splash cymbals to emulate the sound of a Roland TR-808 drum machine's clap.
Wilbur was raised in Massachusetts, and Muschler in Ohio; McGowen grew up in several different European countries. The three met while students at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, and they found in each other a common work ethic and holistic philosophy. Moon Hooch are committed to environmental and agricultural sustainability, and they're such fans of Michael Pollan's groundbreaking The Omnivore's Dilemma that they visited the farm that Pollan profiled in the book, Polyface Farms, in rural Virginia while on tour in 2013. Moon Hooch literally caused a stampede when they set up and played their song "Tubes" in the pasture as cattle swirled in the background. (The trio lived to tell the tale, and the "Cattle Dance Party" video has been viewed nearly 200,000 times and counting on YouTube.) Muschler also maintains a blog called Cooking in the Cave (cookinginthecave.net) where he chronicles the band's vegan tour-van culinary endeavors -- it's amazing what these guys can do with a hot plate.
While their self-titled first album, which cracked the top 10 of Billboard's Jazz Albums chart, approximated the band's acoustic approach to dance music, This Is Cave Music takes their cave music hybrid further into electronic and pop music realms with synthesizers, post-production work, and even singing added to the mix. "We aren't trying to do it for the sake of reaching a wider audience," McGowen points out. "We are doing it because it's where our passion has evolved to. This album is a culmination of that."
The source material was, like the first album, mostly recorded at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn by Jacob Bergson, with McGowen on contrabass clarinet and baritone saxophone, Wilbur on tenor saxophone and vocals, and Muschler anchoring things on percussion. Everyone was involved in the digital additions. "We spent a lot of time on tour producing the set, running all the live sound through Ableton software, and manipulating the studio sound on our computer while in the car," Wilbur explains. "We could just pass the computer around and work on it for hours."
The album opens with the old school "No. 6" where Wilbur wails on digitally modified tenor saxophone as McGowen anchors the low end with contrabass clarinet, providing those shifting acid house bass sounds. As always, Muschler provides tasty, precise beats and fills.
Things turn to straight up new wave on "Mountain Song" with Wilbur's dreamy vocals alongside icy synthesizers and machine-like drumbeats with contrabass clarinet filling the backdrop. Celebrating the band's love of Depeche Mode, "Rainy Day" is a classic synth-pop love song where Wilbur actually recorded his vocals in the van after a gig in North Carolina while on tour with Mike Doughty.
The circular sounding "St. Louis" is the final of three synth-pop road tunes written by the horn players. (The tour stop that gave the song its name was also memorable because Muschler cut his hand wide open while making dinner backstage. The drummer played that show in St. Louis and many that followed with one hand.) This is the band at its most anthemic with Wilbur on vocals and sax, McGowen on contrabass clarinet and a now-healed Muschler on drums.
"5-Sax Piece" uses multiple sax overdubs from Wilbur to create a polytonal, synthesizer-like backdrop, while elsewhere, McGowen's Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) synthesizer can be heard at various times, most notably on the track that bears its name.
The album closes with a suite of songs that fit together so well that they are usually a closing sequence of the band's live set. Written by Muschler, the first chord of "Bari 3" features the lowest note of both the baritone and tenor saxophone and moves on from there to more traditional Moon Hooch fare. Sliding in behind it is the trance music-like "Why Not," which was written by Wilbur. The idea here was to write a two-note melody and see how far the band could take it, which is quite far into minimalist house music. "Contra Dubstep" follows with Wilbur singing, rapping even playing slide whistle.
The finale is one of the band's most popular and infamous songs. A live YouTube video for "Milk and Waffles," finds the band playing in the middle of a freeway bridge; while no cars ever pass, Muschler was so overwhelmed by the moment that he closed the song by taking off his clothes, trashing his drum kit and walking away.
Listening to this music, it's easy to become emotionally invested. It may not always prompt you to strip off your clothes, but the emotional impact on both the musicians and their fans is visceral and undeniable.
A really great band MAKES a spectacular party. Emerald Empire Band believe that every great party deserves truly spectacular music - a real, full-time professional band - not a tired old "in-house" band or DJ.
People's Blues of Richmond brings a carnival-like mayhem to their dark, blues-infused psychedelia. Their new album, Good Time Suicide, is a study in excess, brimming with ballads of drugs, vice and murder that sonically recall early Led Zeppelin, only weirder and with a modern sheen. Word is starting to spread about the manic intensity of the band’s live performances as they burn up the road in support of Good Time Suicide, sharing bills with a diverse collection of bands—from Ghostland Observatory and Black Joe Lewis to Galactic and Flogging Molly.
People’s Blues co-founders and lifelong friends Tim Beavers (lead guitar/vox) and Matt Volkes (bass, vox) began playing music together in college as a way to grieve the loss of a mutual friend. Those bleak, drug-fueled days pushed the two into a maelstrom of songwriting and camaraderie that led to their debut LP, Hard-On Blues. Recorded in just two days, the record teems with urgency, transcendence and raw, primal emotion. The band wasted no time in hitting the road behind the release, galloping off on a year-and-a-half-long endurance test of live dates. During this tour, original drummer Raphael Katchinoff introduced the band to Tommy Booker, who left behind his more subdued life in NYC to play keys with People’s Blues on the road, and write and record with them back home in Richmond.
The band's sophomore release, Good Time Suicide, came together in a time of flux. Busy with new side projects and tired of the constant touring, Booker and Katchinoff decided to leave People's Blues as soon as the record was finished. Undaunted, Beavers and Volkes pressed on, paring down to a three-piece and bringing on local hotshot Neko Williams (son of Drummie Zeb of legendary reggae band The Wailers) as their new drummer.
“It was a wild time," Volkes says, "because we were simultaneously practicing with Neko and recording with our old drummer, sometimes on the same day.”
Good Time Suicide was recorded and produced by Adrian Olsen (Futurebirds, Steve Wynn) at Montrose Recording in Richmond on the exact same handmade ’68 Flickinger board used to record T. Rex’s Futuristic Dragon.
“There was definitely a vibe to the sessions,” Beavers says. “We had the songs down so well that we could’ve easily nailed them all in one take, but instead we took the time try new things—space-echo on the drums, layering multiple amps to get just the right sound. And if you got frustrated you could just walk out behind the studio and chop some wood.”
Good Time Suicide is a debauched album wrapped in an ecstatic, celebratory delivery, lead track “Cocaine” spilling forth with a raw, rootsy gypsy/klezmer feel. “I'd been off of drugs for six months,” Beavers says, “and I wanted to write a tongue-in-cheek song about being strung out. For percussion we pounded a steel chain on the bass drum and banged on some pottery we found outside.”
“Black Cat” sets pulsing mad-scientist organ to the narrative of two addicts slowly tearing each other apart, while on “Free Will” and “Nihilist,” the band wrestles with the ideas of destiny and futility. “I just screamed at my ceiling with my acoustic guitar while writing ‘Free Will,’” Volkes says, “and in that same vein, ‘Nihilist’ came out like a temper tantrum.”
People’s Blues is currently on the road touring behind Good Time Suicide and has been busy crafting a whole new set of eclectic, blues-infused psychrockers. “It’s working out really well because we all have the same dream,” Neko says. “ We’re hungry for it."
“It’s more than that even,” Volkes adds. “This band—we look out for each other. If I have a sandwich, Tim and Neko get a bite. It’s like we’re brothers.”
“The whole concept behind People’s Blues of Richmond," Beavers says, "is that we all struggle, we all experience pain. Life is full of highs and lows, and we all work hard to survive. So we do the only thing we know how—we get out on the road, and we keep moving forward. We become a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
"The Defibulators (not defibrillators) hail from Brooklyn, New York’s thriving indie scene and they’ve developed a funky, rootsy, out-of-control sound that’s all their own. The six-man, one-woman band blends bluegrass, country, honky tonk, rockabilly, Dixieland jazz, punk, and maybe a touch of anti-folk into an intoxicating, good-time mélange that’s guaranteed to slap a smile on your face. Roots-heavy, post-punk music that reinvents the conventions of country music with a CBGB-meets-Grand Ole Opry feel."
Since their start in 2007, Yarn’s original Americana sound has developed into music that seekers of the unique see as the soundtrack to their lives. Yarn’s albums were recognized by the AMA’s and R&R radio charts, spending time in the top 5 at their highest point. Yarn has become one of the hardest-working and harder-touring bands for this generation’s digital natives and new music folllowers.
2013 brings this grammy-nominated roots band into the music revolution, inspired by today’s music devotee’s hunger for artists to believe in and follow, they are giving it to the fans everyday in everyway possible. Yarn’s devotion to their fans is realized in online and social sharing of their music, whether it’s daily video posts, premiering fresh songs on local radio, or performing live in small town venues across the country. They are bringing songs to American music lovers, and the music lovers are responding.
Yarn’s devoted followers, affectionately called the “Yarmy”, answered the band’s request for aid when they funded their new record through Kickstarter. Raising in excess of $5000 of the $15,000 needed, the “Yarmy” proved their allegiance to Yarn and their music being heard in 2012.
The fans have spoken, and on Sept 10th, Yarn released their new album, Shine the Light On, that featured tracks co-written with John Oates of Hall and Oates fame. “I really wanted to make another acoustic record, focus on the songs and revisit the early days of Yarn,” says lead singer Blake Christiana. “Some of the best songs we’ve written live on this record. It’s a pretty dark collection, but we are confident you can find the light shining through.”
They were recently featured on CNN’s Out Front, CMT’s series “Concrete Country” and CMT Pure, Zuus Country’s Americana takeover, Roughstock.com and were featured as Rolling Stone’s “Download of the Day”.
Yarn is led by singer/songwriter, Blake Christiana, who carries the torch for the fan-following that will transport Yarn into the promised land. “Our fans are like family. We are so grateful to people that love music and will help support us in creating it. It’s just remarkable,” Christiana says. “That’s half of my love of the road; we’ve got what feels like family in tons of cities across America.”
Yarn’s devoted “family” has them following in the fine tradition of The Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic, whose fans will go to any length to see them live, and this year Yarn’s fans will see them plenty. Their rigorous tour schedule has them out on the road for more than 170 dates per year since 2007 and they are not slowing down.
For Yarn, discussion of life on the road goes right back to the audience and the fan’s benevolence. “They want us to survive and to keep creating music, so they will bring us into their homes, let us sleep in their beds, cook for us...the level of generosity is unbelievable,” says Christiana. The Yarn sextet doesn’t hold back when it comes to rewarding their followers for their loyalty. “We are so exposed to our fans...we don’t sit on the bus or hide in the green room, we are hanging out, drinking beer with them, going out after the show...if anyone wants to get to know us on a more personal level, it’s very easy,” admits Christiana. They also make sure that all their live shows are recorded and online for fans freely. “We have been doing that for a few years, and the fans love it,” says Christiana, “whatever it takes, we want to do for anybody that comes out to our shows.”
Is there a mark of success for Yarn? Christiana states it well, “To live comfortably and make music for our fans. I just want to be able to do what I love and eat...so maybe I’m already there,” he laughs, “we want to make good music and hopefully that makes someone else’s life better.”
Stay tuned, Yarn may unravel the American dream.
With a sound dancing between gutbucket soul, N'awlins grit-down funk and horn fueled Motown pop, Mingo Fishtrap is an anomaly in the contemporary music scene. With each album, the group gravitates closer to the classic sounds that inspired them to learn their craft. What's old is new again; with young audiences flocking to see a live show that lays its musical roots more in 1969 than 2012. And that's just fine with bandleader Roger Blevins, Jr.
"Blues, soul and R&B is the common denominator of pop music. People around the world know that sound- Chess, Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals - as part of the soundtrack to their lives. I grew up listening to Pops (Blevins' father and Mingo's bassist, Roger, Sr.) play those tunes to every age, race, color and creed. And from what we see, at least, people still need it."
Mingo Fishtrap traces its beginnings to the mid 90s when Blevins and another five of the group's members were attending the University of North Texas' Jazz Studies program. Originally derived as a loose, after-class jam, Mingo covered songs from Otis Redding, Tower of Power, the Neville Brothers and other soul and funk masters with no particular professional ambition.
"Obviously, there wasn't a lot of classic soul being played around campus," says Blevins. "People around the dorms just took to it and the ball started rolling. We were good friends playing music we loved; that's a good recipe."
More than a decade, thousands of shows and countless miles later it's that same delicious soul food that Mingo cooks up. With an inspired, high-energy live show, they engage the audience - persuade them to, sometimes literally, join the band inside the music. With a new 11 song EP, In The Meantime, featuring music from a recent show in Austin, TX as well as some new studio tracks, adding to their catalog of CD releases, Mingo captures a musical conversation, which speaks with reverence about the past and with hope about the future.
Through their time together on the road, Mingo Fishtrap has performed on bills with a wide range of artists: Sting, Blues Traveler, Ozomatli, Galactic, Delbert McClinton, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Little Feat, George Clinton & P-Funk, MOFRO and Jonny Lang among others.
BYOG, originally conceived in the basement of a Folly Beach vacation home nearly two years ago, has reunited to their 2.0 status with a new and improved lineup of members. Led by original members, JP Treadaway and Philip Pasquini, the band has hit the ground running with new additions, Blake Zahnd, David Buck, and John Wienand. While Zahnd spent two years studying vocal performace at Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts, Treadaway, Buck, Wienand and Pasquini all attend/attended the College of Charleston. After meeting Blake at a split bill benefit show put on by local music frequent, Dale Tanner, and the arrival of Wienand from Atlanta, the five players decided to team up and take the BYOG name to the next level. With over 200 shows played as BYOG, the name must live on and the band is extremely motivated for whats to come!
Jahson and the Natty Vibez are a group of musicians who come from many musical backgrounds, united by their common love and respect of reggae music. Founder ,Jahson Wildes, lead vocalist and guitarist in the band, was a guitarist and backing vocalist in several reggae groups for over 15 years. Jahson started his solo recording career in 2007 with his debut album entitled 'Rootsman Rebel'. The album consists of authentic and conscious roots reggae tracks. Songs such as: Jah See And Know, Learn, Ital Queen, and last but not least the title track 'Rootsman Rebel',with it's soaring melody and Irie feel, have gotten a good response from the Carolina reggae scene and strong support on a grassroots level!
After the release of Jahsons' follow up album, 'Here I Come Again' in April 2011, he united with some well seasoned musicians from his region,who were also apart of the album project, and they formed the Natty Vibez Band. What resulted was a serious chemistry from the start! Playing both the popular original tracks off Jashons two album releases, as well as, countless classic and modern reggae covers. Their music has been described as "traditional roots reggae with a new school attitude", which highlights the bands youthful modern roots reggae feel!
Their music is more than just party music; it's music with positive messages for MIND; with upbeat riddims for BODY! It's authentic ROOTS reggae music from an artiste who has lived the messages in the music for over 20 years now! Jahsons lyrical voice fits in naturally and effortlessly with the reggae genre. So if what you look for in reggae is bouncing drum and basslines combined with tight riddims, classic reggae horns, and conscious uplifting messages by an authentic voice, then look no further. This band can move any party, any crowd, any time! Available for booking clubs and festivals in the southeast in 2013 and beyond! -Iley Wildes, band manager.
On the eve of the release of his third solo album, Rich Robinson, best known as the guitarist, songwriter, and founder of The Black Crowes, stands ready to complete the solo artist evolution that he began ten years earlier. The Ceaseless Sight, due out in June 2014, is an album that represents the full maturation of Rich as a songwriter, a vocalist, and a solo artist.
Robinson was born in 1969 and formed the The Black Crowes with his older brother Chris in Atlanta in the 1980’s. At the age of 17, Robinson began writing the music for the songs that would land on the band’s 1990 debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, which sold 7 million copies. Over the next 10 years, Rich’s songwriting evolved into the musical engine that powered the band to sales of more than 25 million albums. Before taking a hiatus in 2001, the Crowes catalog included classics like The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, Amorica, By Your Side, and Live at the Greek: Excess All Areas, a double album that captured the teaming of Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes for performances of Led Zeppelin, Crowes and blues and rock standards.
The Crowes went on hiatus in 2001 and in 2004 Rich began his solo journey with the release of his first album, Paper. The record was largely an extension of Rich’s musicianship as a Black Crowe showcasing his stellar and under-rated guitar playing and, for the first time, Rich took on the role of lyricist and lead vocalist. Paste Magazine: “Rich Robinson brings back not only roots-rock accessibility, but the complexity and originality that transformed the Black Crowes into a band that mattered. Paper is filled with beautiful melodies and harmonies, creative guitar work, fitting instrumentation and, most of all, excellent songwriting.”
It would be seven years before his second solo album, Through A Crooked Sun, and an accompanying EP, Llama Blues, were released as the Crowes reunited in 2005 and were actively recording and touring until their second hiatus in 2010. Crooked Sun, a far more personal album than his first, was a collection of 12 songs that expressed the increasing spiritual and political awareness that Rich’s life had taken. Recorded in Woodstock in 2011, the album featured Joe Magistro, Steve Molitz and guest performances by Warren Haynes, Larry Campbell, Karl Berger, John Lindberg, and John Medeski. PopMatters: “A solo artist worth taking seriously…It’s why this is such a significant solo album—even at their most melodic, the Crowes are simply too brash and energetic to ever be this delicate. By stepping out of the Crowes’ comfort zone, Robinson proves that he’s more than a gifted instrumentalist. Robinson has developed a writing style that is indeed reminiscent of the Crowes but also encompasses levels of emotional intricacy that the Crowes, for all their power, are sometimes incapable of reaching.
A worldwide Black Crowes tour kept Robinson busy in 2013, but he found the time to return to Woodstock to record The Ceaseless Sight. The album finds Robinson stepping solidly into his own as a solo artist as he adds confident vocalist and lyricist to his accomplished musical resume. The Ceaseless Sight will be released on June 3rd 2014 and the Rich Robinson Band will tour through the year in support of its release.
Nashville songwriter Jonny Fritz’s work ethic and boldness have paid off in spades. It’s been a big year for Jonny, with opening stints for Alabama
Shakes, Deer Tick, Dawes, Shooter Jennings and rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson and kudos from CMT and Rolling Stone, among many others. He’s signed a deal with indie label ATO Records (he actually signed the deal with gravy at Nashville landmark Arnold's Country Kitchen) and Loose Records in Europe, and his third full-length album, Dad Country, is set for release on April 16, 2013 (April 15 in Europe).
Produced by Jonny and Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, recorded at Jackson Browne’s Los Angeles studio and finished up in Music City, USA, this is a breakthrough album, balancing Fritz’s earthy trademark humor and unfiltered worldview with some of his darkest material to date. The album has a Nashville sound kept aloft on a sure Southern Californian wind, no doubt from the influence of his backing band: Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Tay Strathairn and Wylie Gelber of Dawes, Jackson Browne, and his Nashville band of Spencer Cullum Jr, Joshua Hedley, Taylor Zachry and Jerry Pentecost.
Dad Country is also his first release under his real name, Fritz, with
Jonny ditching the “Corndawg” moniker he’d carried since his early teens.
Now a music veteran with a decade of touring under his belt, he’s grown into an accomplished, mature voice in country music. Says co-producer Goldsmith, "Funny as they can be at moments, his songs access realities and experiences that we’re all familiar with but sometimes fail to consider the depths of. I was really honored to work on the record. We tracked for two days and arranged the songs on the spot. Everyone really responded to each other's ideas and the whole experience was really inspiring and easy. I chalk it up to the quality of Jonny's songs on this record."
After nearly a decade spent on the road (since his late teens), it was well-earned luck that brought Jonny together with dream team that would bring Dad Country to life – including none other than Jackson Browne. Originally scheduled to record at another Los Angeles studio, Jonny and co-producer Taylor Goldsmith were left scrambling for a backup plan when their original producer flaked. As it happened, they were playing a show in Hollywood that week and Browne was in attendance. After the show, Browne approached Jonny and, learning of their troubles, generously offered up his studio. Just three weeks later, they were all holed up at Browne’s, recording the new record.
Fritz and Goldsmith had rehearsed most the songs together, but the rest of the band had to learn them run-and-gun style in the studio, nailing many of the songs on the first time ever playing them together. In just four days, they pounded out 14 tracks in one long, inspired rush and this excitement pervades the results. “It was really spontaneous,” Fritz says.
“We just pulled it out of our proverbial asses as we went along.” Fritz later re-recorded two of the songs that had evolved significantly on the road since the studio session – the Red Simpson-esque “Fever Dreams” and down-home lament “Ain’t It Your Birthday” – using his own band back in Nashville. With these, the record was ready and dead-on with Jonny’s vision of Dad Country.
Like his songwriting heroes Tom T. Hall, Michael Hurley, Roger Miller and Clint Black, Jonny can turn phrases 'til you’re dizzy, all while plucking your heartstrings or capturing a sharp, lonesome vulnerability that never seems lost or brooding. For Jonny Fritz is no tear-in-the-beer sap moaning over his lost love and troubles. He’d rather cry running marathons than sitting on a barstool. Rather than Outlaw Country, he prefers we think of him as “someone’s weird Dad” and a musician of his own bent. He writes his every song with that deep country-music impulse to turn real experience into lyrical form.
Born in Montana and raised in Virginia, Jonny grew up in the middle of mountains and weirdos of every allegiance, developing a blind man’s ear for the slightest turn in a tale or human voice. He dropped out of school and left home early, totally undaunted, and toured the country on his motorcycle, selling just enough music to keep his freedom and stay ahead of bitterness. “If I could sell three CDs a night, I would have enough for gas and to make it to the next town.”
Cramming six lifetimes into six years and collecting triumphs and heartaches every corner of the globe, he eventually wound his way toward Tennessee. "Not because I wanted to break in over on Music Row and 'make it,' because I knew I didn't really belong there," he says. "I wanted to learn the ways of country music ... to get my education in this cool old world that exists only in Nashville."
While immersing himself in the music world, Jonny began running marathons from Philadelphia to Barcelona and pounding out his signature leather works- the dog collars and guitar straps- seen all over Nashville and half the musical universe. He found himself in NYC for year trying to save a relationship, and its slow, painful unraveling (and demise) inspired Dad Country's bleakest, heartrending tracks, including "All We Do Is Complain" and "Have You Ever Wanted to Die."
These days, life has never been better for Jonny Fritz. He's back in
Nashville again and putting down roots- and has even gone and bought himself a house. "It just keeps getting better. Now, the band is getting paid, I'm getting paid, everybody's happy, and we're packing 'em in when we play."
"This is the dream life. I couldn't really ask for anything else."