With over 260 shows performed since their inception in 2014, Runaway Gin is the World's Most Active Phish Tribute Band. On July 4th, 2015, after the second show of the Grateful Dead GD50 run, Runaway Gin sold out the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago and catapulting them from a Southeastern regional act onto the National scene.
Andy Greenberg - guitar, vocals
Originally from Florence, SC, Andy began playing piano at the age of 5, receiving classical instruction and earning top ratings in the National Piano Guild. At the age of 12 he learned his first chord on the guitar and taught himself to play by ear. Andy started listening to Phish in 1992 while at summer camp. The first song he heard was "Sparkle" and it reminded him of one of his favorite bands at that time: They Might Be Giants. He proceeded to dive head first into the album Rift and soon Phish's whole catalog often stopping to figure out songs on both piano and guitar to satisfy his vehement musical curiosity. Eventually Phish would ride to the top of Andy's list of favorite bands a spot reserved for the likes of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
His first Phish show was a gift from his parents for his 15th Birthday- 7 days before his birthday:
North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SC
Set 1: Dinner and a Movie > Bouncing Around the Room > Reba, Lawn Boy, Punch You In the Eye > Slave to the Traffic Light, I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome, Sample in a Jar
Set 2: AC/DC Bag > Sparkle > Free, I'm So Tired, You Enjoy Myself, Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Acoustic Army, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Cavern
Encore: Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?
 Dr. Jack McConnell on vocals.
· Brick House jam in You Enjoy Myself
Since 1995 Andy has been to well over 100 shows. What Andy has learned from playing Phish : always listen first and foremost - relax and surrender to the flow. There's always a bigger Phish!
Bobby Hogg - bass, vocals
Bobby first discovered Phish as a tween in the early 90's when he stumbled across a tape of 4/16/92 Anaconda Theatre in his big sisters music collection. This exotic music was rather foreign to his underdeveloped ear, and seemed absurdly quirky at first taste. Upon playing the tape for his little brother, the two decided that they did in fact enjoy the sounds emanating from their tape deck, and were eager to keep listening. It is safe to say that over the next few years Bobby suffered irreversible ear damage whilst donning his headphones and cranking his Sony Walkman to full volume, rocking out to the music of Phish late into the night.
Bobby's first show was:
FleetCenter, Boston, MA
Set 1: Ya Mar, The Sloth, Llama, Gumbo, Reba, Talk, Funky B%@#$, Theme From the Bottom > Good Times Bad Times
Set 2: Timber (Jerry) > Uncle Pen, AC/DC Bag, Guyute, Tweezer -> Lifeboy > Scent of a Mule, Slave to the Traffic Light
 No whistling.
 Trey on acoustic guitar.
 P.A. cut out.
 Page/Mike Mule Duel and Steven Wright ringing a desk bell three times.
Since that show Bobby has seen Phish around 50 times, and is eagerly anticipating many more shows to come!
John Fitzgerald - keyboards, vocals
John began his musical career at the age of fifteen playing shows in local Jersey Shore venues as a solo artist and with a variety of musical acts. He went on to earn his Bachelor's of Music from James Madison University. John moved to Charleston SC and found himself a part of the nationally known and highly respected Charleston music community. “I started working with a number of touring bands and recording projects. I played everything from Grateful Dead tributes (Cosmic Charlie), Funk (The Secrets), and even some Bluegrass (Acoustic Syndicate).
John focuses on the continual development of the craft and pursuit of his musical vision. “Creating music is the catalyst for conjuring emotion. It is paramount. Music has the ability to tweak emotions and take a listener to other realms. Connecting emotionally via music is what it is all about.”
John got a Harpua his first show!
Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ
Set 1: Simple > Chalk Dust Torture, Prince Caspian, Reba, Ginseng Sullivan > Free > Taste, You Enjoy Myself
Set 2: Runaway Jim -> The Lizards, The Wedge, Run Like an Antelope, Harpua -> Jam -> Llama, Good Times Bad Times
Encore: A Day in the Life
 No whistling.
 Unfinished; with verse of Abba's Waterloo.
 John Popper on harmonica.
· Waterloo verse in Harpua
John Pope - drums, vocals
John Pope is an American drummer from Charleston, South Carolina. He began playing drums at age 9, taking lessons from a local music shop and listening to drummers like Dave Grohl and Chad Smith for inspiration. Around the age of 13, he became interested in improvisational music and was drawn to the likes of Phish, John Scofield, and Medeski Martin & Wood, among others. John attended his first Phish show at age 14 in Greensboro, NC, where phish closed with an epic First Tube > YEM:
Greensboro Colosseum, Greensboro, NC
Set 1: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance, Foam, Lawn Boy, Character Zero > Divided Sky, Mountains in the Mist, Waves > Sample in a Jar
Set 2: Rock and Roll > Wilson > Piper > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Wolfman's Brother -> Boogie On Reggae Woman, Wading in the Velvet Sea > Run Like an Antelope, Carolina
Encore: First Tube > You Enjoy Myself -> Proud Mary
 a cappella.
· Oye Como Va and Another One Bites the Dust teases in Piper
· Oye Como Va and Daniel Saw the Stone teases in You Enjoy Myself
Throughout high school and college, Pope studied jazz on his own time, largely self-taught. At age 19, he started playing in bars in Charleston, SC. By age 22, Pope was playing in multiple touring bands, most notably Old You, a Charleston-based psychedelic rock / jazz group. He joined Runaway Gin in 2015 and has been instrumental in guiding the band's progress over the past year.
Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.
Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own. The fruits of this hard work can be heard on their latest release, STYLO, (March 2nd, 2018). What Justin Perkins (Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, percussion), Terrence Houston (drumset), Drew Heller (guitar, organ), Justin Kimmel (bass, keys), and Luke Quaranta (Djembe, Congas, Dundun, Sangban, Kinkini) have wrought on STYLO reflects the many miles and musical journeys that have transpired since their last studio album, TK2.
This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they've exhibited in their decade and a half of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Rothbury and Wakarusa, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as the Festival In The Desert in Essakane, Mali. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets' Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl's Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.
Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group's travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they've learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary.
"Toubab Krewe has such a visceral, ear-yanking quality that in the band's capable hands you just might find your definitions of what is/is not rock n' roll and worldbeat being completely rewritten. This is the sound of liberation." - Blurt
"a futuristic, psychedelic, neo-griot frenzy." - Village Voice
"a new standard for fusions of rock n' roll and West African music." - Afropop Worldwide
"one of the most innovative voices in music today." - Honest Tune
"Their music avoids cliché with authentic extrapolations of traditional Manding beats, percussion, and jam-band flare." - The New Yorker
"...expertly meshed surf guitar with Malian rhythmic patterns, a Dick Dale moves-to-Timbuktu experiment in Afro-California fusion." - The Boston Herald
TICKETS AVAILABLE FRIDAY 11/16
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, highly regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet, gets back on the road showcasing material from their long-awaited forthcoming studio album, as well as previous acclaimed KDTU recordings like 'New Ammo' and 'The Bridge.' The current KDTU touring lineup is comprised of Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, former drummer of The Greyboy Allstars, Zak Najor and current bassist Chris Stillwell also of The Greyboy Allstars, Crush Effects’ keyboardist David Veith, Seattle trumpeter Chris Littlefield and ace slide and lap steel guitarist Seth Freeman. Karl Denson is known as a founding member of seminal funk outfit The Greyboy Allstars and sideman of Lenny Kravitz, Slightly Stoopid and his current role touring a part of The Rolling Stones touring band.
TICKETS ON-SALE FRIDAY NOVEMBER 16th
On their new album Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, New York-bred band TAUK offer an unsettling
but ultimately exhilarating look at artificial intelligence and its potential to upend our world.
With its dynamic sense of tension and cinematic mastery of mood, TAUK’s all-instrumental
blend of progressive rock, hip-hop, and jazz proves to be the perfect backdrop for such
explorations, giving way to an album that’s both powerfully hypnotic and intensely thought-
“We’re all very much interested in A.I., and this idea of machines getting out of the hands of the
people trying to control them,” notes TAUK guitarist Matt Jalbert, whose bandmates include
bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel. “This album
felt like a good setting to tell that kind of story, but in a way where we could have fun with it and
let the listener escape into a whole other world.”
Equally inspired by classic sci-fi like Blade Runner and more recent films like Ex Machina,
Shapeshifter II: Outbreak embeds that narrative into TAUK’s most sonically adventurous,
emotionally expansive work to date. A continuation of their early-2018 EP Shapeshifter I:
Construct, the new album picks up its predecessor’s narrative thread with “Prelude”: a
fantastically unsettling intro track whose frenetic keyboard work and chilling vocal samples set
the tone for what’s to come. “The idea is that in the EP you’re seeing the construction of this
being, and in the album you’re seeing it break out and become something that you can’t ignore
anymore,” Carter explains.
From there, TAUK charge forward with the driving rhythms of “Recreational Outrage” (a track
laced with the ominous throb of a robotic heartbeat), the futuristic soundscape and heady grooves
of “CMF 9000,” the gauzy reverie and glorious chaos of “Checkmate,” and the bright melodies
and soulful guitar sprawl of “Convoy.” One of the album’s most mesmerizing moments, “Let It
Ride” builds a brilliant tapestry from its luminous keyboard tones, kinetic guitar work, and
kaleidoscopic rhythms. And on “Upside Down,” TAUK close out Shapeshifter II: Outbreak with
a thrillingly epic burst of unfettered experimentalism.
J.WAIL Live Band ft Vince Herman [Leftover Salmon] + Kito Bovernshulte [Particle]
*Vince Herman will play a solo set and then join J.WAIL Live Band*
The Colorado based electronic music producer and performer, J.WAIL, has announced his upcoming fall tour. On the bulk of this much anticipated run he is joined by an all-star band featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon and Kito Bovenschulte of Particle, as well as bassist Kyle Hale of Spyscraper. J.WAIL has built a strong, loyal fanbase over the years, through ceaseless touring and curating a live experience that is distinct, empowering, and entirely unforgettable. Combining the thump and kick of dance rhythms rooted in multiple realms of EDM, and infusing it with live instrumentation and improvisation, J.WAIL's sound is an amalgamation of electronic and organic instrumentation that never strays too far from its core mission; owning the dance floor! He has logged countless hours touring every corner of North America and has collaborated and performed with members of Ween, String Cheese Incident, STS9, Lotus and Perpetual Groove, to name a short few. The forthcoming tour includes stops in Baltimore, MD, Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, Asheville, NC, Winston-Salem, NC and Raleigh, NC, respectively. Vince Herman will also be opening the shows with a solo set. Preceding the run with Herman and Bovenschulte, J.WAIL will be starting the fall tour off with a hometown show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO, on October 20th. He will be accompanied by his Live Band including Nic Thornsberry (Dynohunter) on drums and a very special musical guest to be announced before the show. The show is being billed as an Alien & Robots party and also features VibeSquaD, Eliot Lipp, and Ken Carl Project doing a Daft Punk Tribute. For all show / ticket information or for more information on J.WAIL and all upcoming tour dates, please visit:
*VINCE HERMAN of Leftover Salmon*
Vince Herman is a guitarist and singer and songwriter best known for being one of the founding members of Leftover Salmon. Leftover Salmon started in 1989 as somewhat of a melding of the Left Hand String Band and the Salmonheads, and became more and more popular over the sixteen years that followed. The band decided to go their separate ways in 2005, but still play together (billed as Leftover Salmon) on occasion. Since the hiatus, Herman formed a new band named Great American Taxi, who released their debut album in 2007. GAT toured extensively and garnered a following, with hijinx such as joining Peter Rowan on stage, playing a Ficus tree for Moonalice. Often when finishing the first jam of the night he tells the crowd "I feel a hell of a lot more like I do now than I did a few minutes ago". Vince toured with GAT until the Leftover Salmon tours called Vince away in 2013. Great American Taxi is an ever evolving band with the likes of Todd Snider and Tim Carbone taking the stage since Vince's departure.
Tour Announcement Video:
J.WAIL ft. Vince Herman & Chuck from Lotus: Live from Colorado
Calling all artists, makers and musicians, we still have space available for your craft on November 10th, 2018! The Claxton Crafty is a vibrant and lively marketplace featuring inspired makers from our Claxton community and surrounding area. The Claxton Crafty is a fantastic event for showcasing your wares and talents in a beautiful river-side setting at Asheville’s Salvage Station on Riverside Drive. Click here to apply as a vendor today! Please share this link with family and friends; all artists are welcome!
Vendor booth fees go directly to Claxton Elementary, our local magnet School of the Arts and Humanities. Vendors pay a registration fee but then keep all of their profits made at the event. The event will be held on Saturday, November 10- Rain or Shine!
Formed in Athens, GA in 2012, JGBCB has been filling a hole in the Grateful Dead scene by offering up spirited covers of classic songs pulled exclusively from the repertoire of the Jerry Garcia Band, Garcia's long-running side-project. JGBCB has played shows from Key West to Colorado, exciting audiences with performances of beloved Garcia tunes not found within the traditional Grateful Dead catalog.
The Jerry Garcia Band (famously known to Dead Heads as "JGB") was as much a songwriting outlet for Garcia as it was a chance for him to cover the music he loved. With Jerry and bassist John Kahn as the band's staples (playing together as far back as 1970), a varied set of keyboardists, drummers, and backup singers filled out the lineup over the years, each bringing their own unique character to the band. Over the course of it's existence, JGB played a number of diverse musical styles, covering artists such as The Beatles, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The Band, Jimmy Cliff, Smoky Robinson, The Rolling Stones, the Wailers, J.J. Cale, and Ray Charles. The list goes on and on, recalling the names of rock, soul, and folk royalty.
It is with a deep love of Jerry Garcia's music and the music that he loved that the members of JGBCB approach this project. The band came together for a single show in December 2012, which led to a local weekly residency in Athens. The positive response they received ultimately led JGBCB to tour around the country, giving fans all over a taste of the music of the Jerry Garcia Band. Count on hearing different material from night to night, consisting of JGB staples and deep cuts. How sweet it is!
Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender, was not easy for blues singer Charley Crockett. Hitchhiking across the country exposed Crockett to the street life at a young age, following in the footsteps of his relative, American folk hero Davy Crockett, who also lived a wild life on the American frontier. After train hopping across the country, singing on the streets for change in New Orleans French Quarter, playing in New York City subway cars and performing across Texas, California, and everywhere in between, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for a year before wandering in Spain, Morocco, and Northern Africa.
The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for "Best Blues Act". A record "rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz," Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Hank Williams, and Gary Clark Jr.
He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, in 2016 and played over 125 shows that year. “In the Night” and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing" and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called it "an impressive calling card, full of Crockett's plaintive soulfulness and swinging tempos" and others noted the artist as having "the well-rounded songwriting capabilities of Van Morrison and a vocal approach that finds common ground between Bill Withers and early Dr. John." Crockett graced the cover of Buddy Magazine in May 2016, who called him "the archetype of the new American vagabond."
In 2017, he spent the year building a devoted fan base across the country with his much talked about live show while selling out theaters in his native Texas and across the US. He remained on the road most of the year appearing at major festivals and venues.
In all this, he still found time to get back to Austin, Texas to record a collection of his favorite honky tonk songs called Charley Crockett presents Lil G.L.'s Honky Tonk Jubilee . The album features songs originally performed by Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce, and other great heroes of honky tonk. "Playing on the streets of New Orleans I heard traditional music all day long. Young folks were playing it everywhere. Old Time, Jug bands, Brass bands, Spirituals, drinkin ' songs, you name it. All you have to do to learn these songs is stand out in the street all day, but mind the whiskey” Crockett said. “I love this music. It’s the blues and it feels good to sing. A lot of folks are drawn to this sound even if they don't know why. It's the American struggle. It's got the kind of soul that's hard to find nowadays and all I know is you gotta get a lot of mud on you before you can make folks believe you when you sing these songs. There just ain't no fakin' it. I've lived these songs. I want to walk alongside and pay my respects to the artists and songwriters who went through so much to give us this music."
Now in 2018, Crockett releases Lonesome As A Shadow, an album of all original material recorded in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillip's Recording Service with Producer/Engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Backed by his band of Blue Drifters, this album was recorded live to tape in the middle of a long year of touring. It's a musical gumbo of influences that showcases the various depths of Crockett's sound.
Charley wrote about the album "The idea of making an album in Memphis has been with me a long time so when I got a chance to record at Sam Phillips with Matt Ross-Spang I jumped on it. Memphis has a habit of getting good, soulful music out of folks time and again and Matt came up in that tradition so it was just natural from the jump. I’ve said it before but my influences stretch from Hank Williams to Bill Withers and my first couple a records were really a mix of the sounds that make up Texas & Louisiana music for me. Blues, Country, Soul, Cajun, Tejano and Zydeco. I wanted to keep all that together. Something with that Gulf Coast sound that’s both urban and rural. Turns out, Sam Phillips was just the place to make it happen. Besides, all those amazing Sun and Stax artists were country folks cutting records in the city anyway so it was just natural for me. We were gonna hire a studio band for the session but Matt watched a few videos of my road band “The Blue Drifters” and decided I should bring them with me. Those boys are all so dang good in the studio and on the stage and since we were already really tight, cutting the record was easy and we did it live to tape in 4 days with a handful of overdubs. I feel lucky to be playing with such fine musicians."
"Lonesome As A Shadow is really important for me. I’d been in the shadows and playing out on the streets for years. That kind of living gave people the impression that I was rough around the edges. Just a gentleman Hobo. I learned a million songs standing out in the street but I’ve also written a million too. This record is me laying all that out there. I’ve got more songs than years in this life to cut ‘em all so I’ve got to get busy! It’s a Texas & Louisiana record through and through but it’s a Memphis Soul record too and I really like that."
He's set to tour the US and internationally this year. He's shared the stage with Turnpike Troubadours, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, John Paul White, Justin Townes Earl, Lee Ann Womack, JD McPherson, and many others.
Join us for this exclusive engagement with the all-new 2019 3-row Subaru Ascent and 2019 Subaru Forester!
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Compass Records is excited to announce the release of renowned singer/songwriter Nicki Bluhm's new album, TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL out June 1. To celebrate the announcement, Rolling Stonepremiered the tle track yesterday, hailing the song as "a blast of Memphis soul." TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL as recorded in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording studio and features two co-writes with Ryan Adams and a Dan Penn cover. For these live band analog sessions, Bluhm brought in producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell), and the studio band included Will Sexton (guitar), Ross-Spang (guitars), Ken Coomer (drums and percussion), Al Gamble(Hammond B3), Rick Steff (piano) and Dave Smith (bass), with Reba Russell and Susan Marshall (background singers), Sam Shoup (string arrangements) and various special guests.
"It was the very first song we tracked," Bluhm told Rolling Stone, "and Ken just started playing the groove and the band slowly started to drift in. Ken is such a present musician, and he's listening to the words and reading the room and the vibe...There's a line in the song that says, 'I went looking for some perspective, so I knocked on my mama's door,' and he just hit the drum -- the rim -- like a knock, which brought a playfulness and lightness to the song. I love Will's guitar playing, too. It's so understated, but he makes himself known. It's like the old saying goes: 'The young bull charges down the hill, but the old bull takes his time.' These musicians were tasteful; they're all old bulls full of experience and class. Having a string section arranged by Sam Shoup was the icing on the cake. Memphis had melted into my California soul."
After six years with her band the Gramblers, and recent high-profile collaborations (Phil Lesh, Infamous Stringdusters, Ryan Adams), Bluhm wrote the life-chronicling songs for TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALLover a two-year period, during which she got divorced and moved to Nashville, TN. The album is a chronicle of her state of mind following these deep and fundamental life changes.
"These songs are quite personal," Bluhm says. "They are the conversations I never got to have, the words I never had the chance to say, and the catharsis I wouldn't have survived without."
Bluhm's divorce, along with the need to challenge herself, inspired the West Coast na ve to make her spur-of-the moment, cross-country move to Nashville in 2017.
"Nashville was inspiring because of all the songwriting going on here," Bluhm says. "When I would come to Nashville on writing trips it was just percolating... it was intoxicating. So I very hastily, in a matter of days, decided to move. I just had this gut feeling."
Ross-Spang happened to be mixing a record in Nashville at the time and they met up and hit it off immediately.
"I really needed someone who was going to take the reins and have a vision for the album and he really did," Bluhm says of meeting Ross-Spang. "My ex-husband had been my musical director, co-writer, and producer on all my records except one and I was looking for someone to step into that leadership roll, which Matt did very gracefully. I was looking for a clean slate; the only baggage I wanted to bring into the studio were the words to the songs I was singing. I wanted it to be a fresh experience; I didn't want to even have history with anyone in the room that would pull me into old habits or ways of thinking. So we agreed we'd record in Memphis."
Once settled in Sam Phillips Recording, the sessions revolved around tracking live with an ace band assembled by Ross-Spang.
"We really just recorded live and we didn't do that many takes of each song," Bluhm says. "The final versions we ended up with were all one take. It was really refreshing to go analog. It minimized over thinking and second guessing, forced us all to stay in the moment and play from the heart. Sam Shoup did all the string arrangements and when he walked in the room I thought he was a housepainter; he was the most understated, unlikely suspect. That was the thing about Memphis that was cool... not a lot of egos, just people making music for music's sake. Throughout the session there was a lot of listening and trusting. Matt really spends me curating his sessions and who he decides to bring in; he knows how to keep the vibe right. What you are hearing is, as Jerry Phillips would say, 'not perfection but captured moments in time.'
"I had lost my partner in so many ways," Bluhm continues, "my musical partner, my life partner, my creative partner, and all of a sudden I was left on my own, to start my own engine. It was really intimidating and scary," she says "but I had support from my management, my agent, my friends and family, and ultimately I just had this guttural drive that I didn't even know I had in me. I was on autopilot, ready to move forward and take the steps I had to take to keep moving forward. When the album finally comes out it's going to be like setting a caged bird free."
Bluhm will be touring this year and beyond in support of TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL. The confirmed tour dates are below with more to be announced soon.
The Polish Ambassador
Support: Mikey Pauker
After a cornucopia of albums and countless gigs around the world, The Polish Ambassador has docked the mothership outside the embassy: A fitting stop for a Diplomatic Scandal to unfold. An amalgamation of funky beats, retro synths, and live instrumentation make up the bulk of this controversial saga. David Sugalski aka The Polish Ambassador first happened across special agent Ryan Herr (guitar, percussion) in 2015 while traveling the high terrain of Colorado. After a few years of scheming, planning and interstellar travels the 2 comrades chanced upon special agents Tyson Leonard (Violin) and Jesse James (Sax & Flute). Before long, the 4 intergalactic men of mystery had synthesized their scandalous affairs into musical form. Pulling from over a decade of musical styles and nuances explored by TPA, combined with the lush instrumentation of 3 seasoned instrumentalists, Polish & The Diplomatic Scandal are closing the gaps between live and electronic music.
Futexture is intricate electronic music for interesting people, written in homage to the boundless majesty of nature, the complexity and strangeness of being human, and the ineffable nature of individual experience. It is the merger of tradition and the incalculable future, dancing together on the razor thin edge of now. Its the result when David Krantz, a North Carolina native and multi instrumentalist, titrates his experience into sound.
David's style incorporates skillful synthetic sound design, reprocessed acoustic sound sources, and crisp hard-hitting production. Spanning the range between heavy bass music and contemplative jazzy downtempo, his versatility, depth of expression, and command over detail has earned him accolades from some of the most respected minds in forward thinking electronic music.
Futexture has released music through Gravitas Recordings, Aquatic Collective, Bluetech’s Critical Beats, Afro Monk Records, Circuitree Records, LessThanThree, Forward Thinking Sounds, and Kalya Scintilla’s Merkaba records. He lives currently in Asheville, NC.
To borrow a phrase from heaven’s new poet laureate, Leonard Cohen, Nicole Atkins was “born with the gift of a golden voice.” But somewhere along the way she misplaced it. Goodnight Rhonda Lee is the story of Nicole finding her voice, and how, in doing so, she went a little crazy.
Great Art is born of struggle and Nicole was struggling. The problem was that she felt nothing. Her fans responded to her performances with the same fervor they always had, but Nicole felt nothing. Her new husband loved her and doted on her, but she felt nothing. She traced it back to her drinking and decided to try to learn to live without booze. But that first day of sobriety brought with it an unexpected additional test — Nicole’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. This Jersey girl, whose big voice was tethered to a big heart, and whose reaction to the mundane setbacks of everyday life had always been equally overblown, suddenly faced a real problem. “It toughened me up,” she says.
And the songs started to come. Little bursts of therapeutic creativity. Thorny feelings transubstantiated into melodies. Beginning with “Listen Up,” a wake-up call to a lucky girl who hadn’t realized how lucky she’d been, Nicole started to find her redemption in these songs. They rang true in a way no songs ever had before. They came from a deep, vulnerable place. If Nicole had been living an unexamined life, she wasn’t anymore.
She needed her newfound toughness though, as in the midst of all this turmoil, she prepared to move from her native Asbury Park to Nashville. Having spent more than a decade as the de facto queen of Asbury, Nicole was finally leaving the warm, but often stifling confines of her hometown. During one of her final nights before the exodus, a song came to her in a dream. “I Love Living Here Even When I Don’t” summed up the complicated feelings she experienced as she said goodbye to the only real home she’d ever known.
In Nashville, Nicole’s once hectic life was very different. Left home alone as her tour manager husband plied his trade out on the road, Nicole found herself writing songs that examined “feelings of separation and being scared of new surroundings.” In particular, the songs “Sleepwalking” and “Darkness Falls” echo like ghosts through an empty house.
Unsurprisingly, her sobriety faltered. She drifted in and out of it. Nicole knew the wagon was good for her, but she had a hard time staying focused on what was good for her. As it went on however, the clarity of those sober days started to shine through. And she was able to string them together in longer stretches. For the first time, she was able to offer a shoulder for others to lean on, rather than always being the one in need of a shoulder. It helped that she had to be strong for herself in order to be strong for her dad. Much of what she was feeling was painful, but it beat the hell out of feeling nothing.
She reconnected with her old friend Chris Isaak who encouraged her, in the midst of all the soul-searching and soul-baring, to write songs that emphasized the one trait that most sets her apart from the mere mortals of the industry, telling her, “Atkins, you have a very special thing in your voice that a lot of people can’t or don’t do. You need to stop shying away from that thing and let people hear it.” To that end, the two of them collaborated on Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s standout track, the instant classic, “A Little Crazy.”
Great Art is a journey — and Nicole Atkins traveled quite a distance to bring us Goodnight Rhonda Lee. As Nicole explains it, “This record came to me at a time of deep transition. Some days were good, some not so good. What I did gain, though, from starting to make some changes and going inward, and putting it out on the table, was a joy in what I do again. Joy in the process and a newfound confidence that I don’t think I’ve ever had until now. The album title, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, also came from those feelings. Rhonda Lee was kind of my alias for bad behavior, and it was time to put that persona to bed.“
The direction in which these songs were headed was obvious. Nicole’s voice had always recalled a classic vinyl collection. She is the heir to the legacy of “Roy Orbison, Lee Hazelwood, Sinatra, Aretha, Carole King, Candi Staton.” She is untethered to decade or movement or the whim of the hipster elite.
In order to capture the timelessness she sought, Nicole enlisted a modern day Wrecking Crew: Niles City Sound in Fort Worth, TX, who had just risen to national acclaim as Leon Bridges‘ secret weapon. “We spoke the same language. We wanted to make something classic, something that had an atmosphere and a mood of romance and triumph and strength and soul.” The album was recorded in five days, live to tape. The album that Nicole and the boys came up with in those five days, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, is nothing less than Great Art and a quantum leap forward for Nicole Atkins who, no matter how much she grows up, will always be a little crazy.
Ever wanted some extra funk in your life? What about some warm syrupy bass sauce to compliment your daily adventure? Well now you can have all that and more within the perfectly crafted sonic soundscape that is Opiuo. A Kiwi who now calls Australia home, Opiuo is a chief sufferer of intense musical addiction, spending every spare second creating audible treats and selling out venues throughout the entire world.
He's performed alongside the likes of MC Hammer and Bassnectar, reached #1 chart positions on Beatport, Addictech, and iTunes. His latest full length release, "Slurp And Giggle" was nominated for Best Dance / Electronic Release at the Australian Independent Music Awards and was the most downloaded album for 2010 on addictech.com. In turn, inspiring and captivating people all over with his highly original and uncontrollably addictive take on fun fueled electronic music.
His remix credits span world renown artistic icons like Infected Mushroom and Kaya Project. Music from the Opiuo Lab can be found on television, in documentaries, on radio (BBC Radio One + JJJ) and specifically selected for compilations by artists such as BT (Black Hole Recordings).
Live, Opiuo is an ever evolving feast for the ears. From a one man show equipped with drum machines and synths, all the way to The Opiuo Band, amassing a collection of the worlds best musician's to perform his music 100% live. The last Live National Australian tour showcased his ability to translate these electronic manipulations into a live form, showing the true musicality of Opiuo and his creative endeavors.
The story of UB40, and how this group of young friends from Birmingham transcended their working-class origins to become the world’s most successful reggae band is not the stuff of fairytales as might be imagined. The group’s led a charmed life in many respects it’s true, but it’s been a long haul since the days they’d meet up in the bars and clubs around Moseley, and some of them had to scrape by on less than £8 a week unemployment benefit. The choice was simple if you’d left school early. You could either work in one of the local factories, like Robin Campbell did, or scuffle along aimlessly whilst waiting for something else to happen.
By the summer of 1978, something else did happen, and the nucleus of UB40 began rehearsing in a local basement. Robin’s younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers and James Brown all knew each other from Moseley School of Art, whilst Norman Hassan had been a friend of Ali’s since school. Initially, they thought of themselves as a "jazz-dub-reggae" band, but by the time Robin was persuaded to join and they’d recruited Michael Virtue and Astro – who’d learnt his craft with Birmingham sound-system Duke Alloy – the group had already aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals and forged their own identity, separate from the many punk and Two Tone outfits around at that time. The group had nailed their colours to the mast by naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. Their political convictions hadn’t been gleaned second hand either, but cemented in place whilst attending marches protesting against the National Front, or rallies organised by Rock Against Racism.
By the time Chrissie Hynde invited them to tour with the Pretenders during the summer of 1980 and their debut single "King b/w Food For Thought" had sailed into the UK Top 5, all the essential elements of UB40 were already in place. Their line-up will remain unchanged for almost thirty years, and they will continue playing a mix of original material and inspired choice of reggae covers in a style that’s instantly accessible with its bright melodies and sweeping horn arrangements – one that’s allied to a formidable rhythm section, capable of holding its own with anything from Jamaica.
UB40’s first album was released the following September, on Graduate Records. Their deal allowed them more creative freedom than if they had signed with a major label. The cover artwork memorably duplicated an unemployment benefit card, with the title "Signing Off" rubber-stamped in red, but it was the music that quickly worked its way into the affections of a young, mainly student crowd with its knowing lyrics, solid reggae rhythms and dubby, instrumental passages, offset by warm horn solos and Jamaican style scatting. There was nothing else like it at the time. As a multi-cultural band from Birmingham, UB40 weren’t drawn into trying to sound "authentic," and there was considerably more depth to their music than that of many punk and 2Tone bands. "I’m a British subject, not proud of it, whilst I carry the burden of shame," they sang on one of the tracks. Accepting the truth of their own situation amidst a sea of other reggae songs proclaiming black heritage gave us a valuable insight into where UB40 were coming from. They were unafraid to stand up and be counted, and British audiences instinctively loved them for it. "Signing Off" duly went to No. 2 in the UK and stayed on the nation’s album charts for 72 weeks.
At the end of 1980, the contract with Graduate expired and UB40 formed their own record company, DEP International, with all eight members owning an equal share. They also signed a licensing deal with CBS, which ensured them far better distribution. "Signing Off" was still in the charts when they released their second album "Present Arms" in the summer of 1981. The sound was immediately brighter, harder and more professional, yet the spirit and commitment underpinning the band’s songs remained resolutely unchanged, as heard on "One In Ten," written about the UK’s record number of unemployed. With lyrics like "Nobody knows me, but I’m always there. A statistical reminder of a world that doesn’t care," "One In Ten" became an anthem of the British protest movement, and a genuine counterpart to the equally motivated songs being written by the likes of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in the Caribbean. "One In Ten" will earn the rare distinction of being "versioned" by Jamaican reggae acts in future. Back in 1981, it formed part of the soundtrack accompanying the race riots erupting in places like Brixton, Handsworth and St. Paul’s in Bristol – hard pressed, inner city areas with large immigrant communities that had found themselves on the frontline in resisting the right wing policies of Margaret Thatcher’s government.
Four months later, and "Present Arms In Dub" became the first-ever dub album to enter the UK Top 40 – this during a period when dub music was the exclusive preserve of grassroots reggae fans, accustomed to buying Jamaican imports. UB40’s stature among British audiences was now assured. They possessed credibility, even whilst racking up hit records, and practiced true democracy by insisting that each member had an equal say in the band’s affairs.
Their next album, 1982's "UB44," was recorded in Dublin and featured innovative use of holograms on the ‘limited edition’ sleeve. Trips to Australia and Zimbabwe coincided with further hits in the shape of "I Won’t Close My Eyes," "Love Is All Alright," "So Here I Am" and "I Got Mine," but none breached the Top 20. "UB44" did get to No. 4 in the album charts, but then CBS ended their association with the band, leaving them to negotiate a new deal with Richard Branson’s Virgin Records.
Soon afterwards, they opened a studio in Birmingham called The Abattoir. Now masters of their own destiny (and with legendary JA keyboard player Jackie Mittoo in tow), they decided to pay tribute to the reggae pioneers who’d first inspired them back in the blues parties and clubs of Birmingham, and from hanging out at places like Don Christie’s record store. The band became evangelists of a kind, introducing classic reggae songs and artists to new audiences from around the world as they embarked on three best-selling installments of "Labour Of Love."
The first was released in the summer of 1983, and contrary to past record labels’ expectations, the change of direction worked magnificently. Labour Of Love became the band’s first No. 1 album in the UK, and would remain in the British charts for eighteen months. Lead single "Red Red Wine" also went straight to No. 1. In fact it stayed in the British charts for two years, thereby giving UB40 their first truly worldwide hit and, eventually, their first American No.1.
UB40 were now recast as Britain’s foremost reggae ambassadors. They have arguably fostered a love of reggae music in more people than any other artist, including Bob Marley, and it started just as soon as they’d introduced timeless Jamaican classics to contemporary audiences on "Labour Of Love." "Please Don’t Make Me Cry," "Many Rivers To Cross" and "Cherry Oh Baby" were the other hits from that seminal first edition, which went on to sell more than ten million copies worldwide.
UB40’s next single, "If It Happens Again," went to No. 9 but the album it was taken from, "Geffery Morgan," wasn’t a success by previous standards, despite a return to hard-hitting, reality topics on tracks like "Riddle Me," "As Always You Were Wrong Again," "You’re Not An Army," "The Pillow" and "I’m Not Fooled So Easily." Recorded at The Abattoir, "Geffery Morgan" whilst not selling in the same numbers as "Labour Of Love" like "Baggariddim" – a collection of tracks recorded with leading British reggae MCs – awaits urgent, critical reappraisal. In the summer of 1985 UB40 joined forces with Chrissie Hynde for a cover of Sonny & Cher’s "I Got You Babe" that promptly flew to No. 1 in the UK. "Don’t Break My Heart" also went Top 3 shortly afterwards, confirming UB40 as Britain’s most successful reggae band. Before long, they were again breaking new ground by becoming one of the first western groups to tour the Soviet Union. Their watershed concert in Moscow was recorded and released the following year as "UB40 CCCP." It was UB40’s second live album – the first, "UB40 Live," had been released in February 1983.
In August 1986, "Rat In The Kitchen" became UB40’s sixth Top 10 album in the UK. The title track became the first hit off the album, whilst "Sing Our Own Song" had been written in support of black artists in South Africa – this during an era when South Africa was still an apartheid regime, and Nelson Mandela regarded as a terrorist by Britain’s Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
The following November, "The Best Of UB40 - Volume One" began its two and a half year tenure on the UK charts, peaking at No. 3. The group were now a national institution, and yet still full of surprises. "Maybe Tomorrow," a Jackson Five cover, went Top 20, and previewed an unlikely collaboration with hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and the Family called "Reckless." UB40’s next venture would prove a little more predictable. By early 1988 – still recovering from the death of engineer Ray Falconer, who was Earl’s brother, and had been highly influential in determining the band’s sound – UB40 again teamed up with Chrissie Hynde, who joined them on "Breakfast In Bed." The result was another Top 10 hit, taken from the 1988 album "UB40."
By 1988 the band was now embarking on lengthy world tours, taking in places like Australia, Japan and South America. In July the same year, they played the Free Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley Stadium in London – an event that was beamed around the world to millions of television viewers, and prompted renewed appreciation of "Red Red Wine" in America. The song had already topped the charts in many other countries, but UB40’s first US No. 1 was certainly special, and especially since they received the good news whilst headlining at Madison Square Gardens in New York! Its success reignited interest in "Labour Of Love," which entered the Billboard’s Top 20, and led to a second helping of "Labour Of Love." This album – recorded between extensive touring commitments – would yield three Top 10 hits in America alone, including "Kingston Town" and "Homely Girl," both of which went Top 10 in the UK and throughout Europe, closely followed by "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)" and "The Way You Do The Things You Do."
At the onset of the nineties, Robert Palmer duetted with them on their next UK Top 10 hit, "I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight," and 808 State charted with a remix of "One In Ten." Highlights such as these, whilst welcome, were then dwarfed by the release of "Promises and Lies" which became the group's biggest selling album, selling in excess of nine million copies worldwide. The biggest hit from "Promises And Lies" was "Can't Help Falling In Love", which brought the band their third UK No. 1 and would remain a favourite on American radio stations for years – especially after its inclusion on the soundtrack of the 1993 Sharon Stone film "Sliver."
By 1994, the constant touring had taken its toll and the band was ready for a well-earned rest – this after playing to record crowds around the world, including South Africa, where they performed to over 250,000 people in total. Virgin would fill the gap by releasing "The Best Of UB40 – Volume Two," containing hits like "Kingston Town," "Here I Am" and more recent efforts such as "Bring Me Your Cup," "Reggae Music" and "Until My Dying Day." During their sabbatical from UB40, several of the members worked on their own musical projects. Robin and Ali made a guest appearance on Pato Banton’s No. 1 hit "Baby Come Back," whilst Earl would have success producing house and drum & bass tracks. Ali Campbell also released his debut solo album "Big Love," which he’d recorded in Jamaica. Their adventures in Jamaica will result in several, celebrated encounters with various reggae legends. The first, UB40’s "UB40 Present The Dancehall Album," featuring Jamaican acts like Beenie Man, Mad Cobra and Lady Saw, appeared in 1998, and "UB40 Present The Fathers Of Reggae" in 2002. Robin has described the latter as one of the highlights of their career, since it featured many of the artists who’d inspired UB40 (among them Toots Hibbert, John Holt, Alton Ellis and the Mighty Diamonds), singing the group’s own material. Were it needed, the "Fathers" set offered proof of the respect UB40 have always been accorded in Jamaica, and especially among the island’s artists and musicians.
The "Fathers" album had taken three years to record, and the follow-up UB40 set, "Guns In The Ghetto," would also take longer than expected to reach fruition. The group had reconvened in 1996, when they appeared in the film "Speed 2," starring Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock. UB40 perform "Tell Me Is It True" in the movie, which duly became the lead single (and a Top 20 hit) from "Guns In the Ghetto", released the following year. Ali described "Guns In The Ghetto" as sounding like "a reggae record, made in Jamaica proper." It peaked at No. 9 on the UK album charts, and yielded just one further single, "Always There." "Guns In The Ghetto" eventually sold over a million copies, but suffered from the band’s unwillingness to tour.
Such imperatives were soon realised with the release of "Labour Of Love III," which became the band’s twelfth Top 10 album in the UK during late 1998. "Come Back Darling," "Holly Holy" and "The Train Is Coming" were the hit singles from "Labour Of Love III." The following year they played before estimated television audiences of one billion in India, and then celebrated with yet another UK Top 10 album, the definitive "The Very Best Of UB40 1980-2000."
Other landmark shows would soon follow, including concerts in South Africa, and at a peace concert in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. One of them, in Switzerland, was later released as "Live In at Montreux." In 2003, they received an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement and secured another Top 10 album with the "Platinum Collection", a triple box set comprised of the entire "Labour of Love" series. By now, UB40 had been favourites of the British public for well over two decades. It was therefore fitting they should provide the official anthem for the England rugby team's triumphant 2003 World Cup campaign in Australia. "Swing Low," taken from the "Homegrown" set, will become the group's 49th UK chart single. UB40 have now had 51 chart successes, the only bands to have notched up more hits are Status Quo and Queen, but for UB40 to achieve this distinction by playing reggae music is nothing short of miraculous.
Two years later, on the 25th anniversary of their recording debut, the band released "Who You Fighting For." Acclaimed not only as a return to form, but also an artistic triumph," Who You Fighting For" was distinguished by UB40’s decision to record once more as "a live" band – i.e., playing all together in the studio. Its success was aided by a clutch of powerful message songs that wouldn’t have sounded at all out of place on their first few albums. The questioning of authority (including Britain and America’s decision to invade Iraq) and steadfast allegiance to working-class values was there for all to see, and yet the Grammy nominated "Who You Fighting For" also contained its fair share of love songs, such as "One Woman Man," "Kiss And Say Goodbye" and a winning cover of Matumbi’s "After Tonight."
At the beginning of 2008, Ali Campbell decided to leave the band in order to pursue a solo career. With a minimum of fuss, he was replaced by another Campbell brother, Duncan, who has a voice that’s virtually indistinguishable from Ali’s. Duncan had been invited to join the band at their inception, but declined. However, some thirty years later alongside the other UB40 vocalists he has made his presence count on the latest album "TwentyFourSeven," which received widespread acclaim on its release during the summer of 2008.
Following on from "Who You Fighting For", "TwentyFourSeven" was again recorded "live" in the studio, and thus showcases UB40 at their best. Not for the first time, the choice of material was dominated by the kind of searching, political messages they’d long been famous for. Songs like "Rainbow Nation," "End Of War," "Oh America" and "Securing The Peace" rank alongside their best-ever reality tracks, except with guest singer Maxi Priest taking over lead vocals on "Dance Until The Morning Light" and a cover of Bob Marley’s "I Shot The Sheriff", the mood is celebratory as well. Freed of the need for hit singles (if not hit albums), UB40 sounded rejuvenated, as if they’ve rediscovered the creative spark that inspired them in the first place. The results make essential listening, reaffirming their reputation as the world’s most successful reggae band as they continue to reach out to audiences that are impossible to categorise by race, age or nationality.
2009 saw the release of the compilation ‘Love Songs’, which made #3 in the UK album charts, before the band played a series of live dates in North America, Italy, Germany, Spain and Slovakia, to name a few.
2010 was another busy year for the group; in February UB40 released "Labour of Love IV", the band’s first full album with Duncan Campbell on lead vocals, which reached #24 in the UK album charts, before celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album, ‘Signing Off’, by releasing a Special Edition of the album. To coincide with the release, UB40 embarked on a sell-out tour of the UK where they played the album live in its entirely. This tour was preceded by a warm-up date at The Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, the venue where the band made their live debut on February 9th, 1979.
On September 2nd, 2013, UB40 will release their new album ‘Getting Over The Storm’ on Universal/Virgin Records, and will play a string of UK tour dates in support of the release.
Family Friendly until Dark!
The Salvage Station, Asheville’s favorite riverfront event space presents: Rebuild the Village Music Festival. Final exhibition of Marc Pierre LeMauvial’s photography series “Faces of Homelessness”.
FREE admission with suggested donation. All proceeds go to support Transformation Village, ABCCM’s solution to housing Buncombe County’s homeless women & children.
"You can tell when something's real," says the man known simply as Big Smo. "You can tell when it's true. And I think what's made us successful and gotten us this far is that we're just real people, down-home country folk who really love to make music, and people see that."
That success has been as hard won as it is impressive. What began as two friends—Smo and Orig the DJ—experimenting with samples, beats and lyrics in a makeshift home studio has turned into four independent CDs and hundreds of tour stops before over-the-top crowds from mud parks in Florida to night clubs in Vegas. He and his band—Orig, vocalists Alexander King and Haden Carpenter, guitarist Travis Tidwell, bassist Eric Flores and drummer Ryan Peel—have opened for Brantley Gilbert, appeared at 2012's Bamajam on a bill with Kid Rock and Jamey Johnson, and rocked the crowd at 2013's CMA Music Fest in Nashville. Perhaps most impressive, though, has been the phenomenal success of their breakthrough indy hit, "Kickin' It In Tennessee." Its video, a slice of real life shot on a shoestring at Big Smo's 32-acre Middle Tennessee farm, has earned well over five million YouTube hits.
Now, with the release of his major-label debut, Kuntry Livin’, the man known as the Boss of the Sticks is poised to take it all up a very big notch.
It was that homegrown video, "Kickin' It," that turned the tide, bringing Big Smo to the attention of Warner Bros. senior vice president and head of radio promotion Chris Stacey.
"The moment I saw Big Smo on YouTube," says Stacey, "I knew he was something special. I grew up loving rap music and loving country music, and Big Smo is the first artist that I have ever seen that seamlessly combines the two. Big Smo is for the kids with the jacked-up trucks and camo hats that love Jason Aldean and Brantley Glibert—but also bump Lil Wayne."
Big Smo’s growing legion of fans would agree. His is the story of a country boy catching fire in a digital age, where musical cross-pollination is everywhere, where Nelly teams up with Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, and Ludacris joins forces with Jason Aldean, who’s "Dirt Road Anthem" was the best-selling country song of the year. Big Smo's rise has been fueled by high energy and relatable lyrics, a band with the ability to rock a crowd, and the studio savvy to capture that lightning in a bottle. Big Smo owns that place where country, Southern rock and hip hop come together, where the beat rocks the story and the story rocks the beat. An early review put it this way: "If Kid Rock and Run D.M.C. had a love child, he would be named Big Smo."
The added reach and clout of the label deal comes with something Big Smo values even more—freedom to do it his way.
"The most important thing," he says, "is that when we went from being independent artists to being on a label, we didn't want to lose control of who we are. That's why the label called us—because of who we are, not because of what somebody made us. They said, 'We'll let you drive. We like the way you steer.' I was like, 'Cool. I won't let you down.'"
Produced by Jon Conner and Orig, Kuntry Livin’ sums up everything that has brought Big Smo to the forefront. The beats are pulse-pounding, the vocals passionate, the guitars electrifying, and the subject matter—well, that's pure back-country reality. It includes the boots-on blue-collar anthem "Workin'," the country-as-cornbread celebration of roots, "Who I'll Be," the work-hard-play-hard life sketch, "Down in the Backwoods," and the love-gone-wrong tale, "Cover My Eyes."
Working with Big Smo on individual tracks are producer extraordinaire Michael Knox (Jason Aldean), songwriters Casey Beathard, Rhett Akins and Jim Beavers, singers Josh Thompson and Shelly Fairchild, and musicians including Charlie Worsham, Jimmy Stewart, David Yudkin and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Peter Keys.
Big Smo's story begins on the farm he grew up on—the farm that is still home. His first memory, in fact, is "sitting on the tractor with my father. I can still remember the smell of the fresh cut hay and how blue the sky was. I had a great life as a child and as a teenager. I had hard-working grandparents and even harder-working parents that had great family values. My father taught me everything it was to be a man and he became not only the best father to have but my best friend."
He played drums and keyboards as a boy, took up trumpet in middle school and was part of the drum line in high school.
"I was always into music," he says, "and on the side I was always writing, whether it was a short story or these crazy movie ideas."
He began writing poetry in high school, "expressing the side of me I didn't really want to share with everyone else. It was where I could put down how I felt inside. My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, they would explode onto the paper."
As with so many of his generation, he heard music from both sides of the fence, rural and urban, country ("with an outlaw vibe") and hip-hop, and both stirred his soul, as did the Southern and classic rock he heard as a teenager.
"When I listen to the music we make today," he says, "I see all those things in everything we make. The elements are all there and it's working. People love it because they can relate to it."
Not long after he got out of high school he met Ray Riddle, who was just learning to be a DJ and who would become Orig the DJ.
"He had this Technics turntable." says Smo, "and he was learning how to sample pieces out of a record. I thought, 'That's so cool.' I really dug this kid, his enthusiasm and where his heart was when it came to music. It was like watching an artist paint a picture."
Soon, they were writing together, learning every aspect of the process from the ground up. They played an early song for some friends, who loved it, then started the long process of gathering and mastering equipment and writing and performing original songs.
"To this day," he says, "Orig and I are in the studio working late all the time and we're still as tight as ever. Our moms look at both of us as sons."
The two began making the one-hour journey north to Nashville, paying for the chance to play in tiny clubs--Kung Fu Coffee was the first--and giving away CDs they made at home and labeled with Sharpies.
"People got into what we were doing and before long we had our first paid gig," he says. "I'll never forget it. We piled our equipment in the car and drove to Georgia and we got there and they gave us three hundred bucks and a case of water. We were like, 'What? All we did was show up and they haven't even seen us yet!"
Soon they were taking what they'd learned and the contacts they'd made and putting on shows of their own, with Orig as DJ and Big Smo as host. They learned Photoshop and other programs and designed their own flyers. They began producing their own CDs, which got increasingly sophisticated, and began touring all over the southern U.S., booking their own shows and traveling in a converted church bus.
They learned everything they could about the possibilities inherent in the Internet, and were off and running.
"YouTube became the place for seeing what was happening," he says. "That opened the window for independent artists to share with the same amount of people that you had to wait on MTV or CMT or BET for in the past. This was your 'reach out and touch somebody' opportunity."
They took full advantage, and that road, of course, led to Warner Music Nashville, where the back woods met the power of full-scale national promotion. At bottom, though, is the same wide-ranging love of music and the same bootstrap mentality.
“We were raised on Waylon and Willie, Johnny Cash and Jerry Reed,” he says, “and we were raised on the Beastie Boys and Dirty South, so it’s not a surprise that’s who we’ve become. And that’s the place a whole lot of fans are, loving not just country but hip-hop as well. They’re country people who love to party and have a good time, and love that hip-hop beat and that country story telling. I’ve always followed my heart about the music, and it’s connecting to a lot of people.
“I wouldn’t trade away anything about the way we did it, because we learned it from the bottom up,” he says. “We paid our dues. I enjoy knowing that’s where we started and here’s where we are today.”
All of it comes together on stage, which is where Big Smo says he is most at home.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve come across in my life,” he says. “When you’re on stage and your fans are in the crowd and they’re singing along and they know the songs and you’re there to give them the best you are, it’s an exchange of love and enjoyment you just can’t beat. No matter how chill I am backstage, when I hear ‘Dueling Banjos,’ it’s like a light switch. I’m like, ‘It’s time.’ I just go out there and unleash whatever that week held for me, taking all my emotions and fueling them into my show.”
It’s an approach that has thrilled countless fans who have followed Big Smo from the Internet to some of the music world’s most exciting live shows, creating back-and-forth energy he is as excited about taking forward as his fans are.
“I could play a show every night for the rest of my life,” he says, “and I’d be the happiest man on earth.”
The Garcia Project
Performing full, classic Jerry Garcia Band set lists from 1976-1995.
The Garcia Project’s performances are based on actual set lists performed by The Jerry Garcia Band. All of their shows are classic recreations of a Jerry Garcia Band set list from the 1976 to 1995. For anyone that never had a chance to experience the Jerry Garcia Band or for fans that want to relive a classic show, The Garcia Project delivers.
The Garcia Project has received rave reviews from the press and from fans. Touring nationally, The Garcia Project has made many Jerry Garcia fans extremely happy.
With precise arrangements and the proper instrumentation and feel for any and all given eras, The Garcia Project faithfully channels and projects the feelings, emotions and music that propelled the Jerry Garcia Band and the fans through many years of musical bliss. It’s about family, soul searching, rejoicing, contemplating, celebrating, seeking truth and loving one another.
"I spent a lot of nights in a lot of places with the Jerry Garcia Band, and I’m here to say that I really enjoy what The Garcia Project does with those memories. Mik’s guitar and his and Kat’s vocals stir up some very sweet vibes…some times they almost make me feel like I’m back in, say, 1992 at the Warfield. Check ‘em out."
— Dennis McNally, former publicist for the Jerry Garcia Band
“For those of us who crave late 70’s (and through the 80's and 90’s) Jerry Garcia Band, The Garcia Project scratches that itch for hearing live renditions of Jerry Garcia Band shows from that period.”
— Bob Minkin, legendary Grateful Dead and Jerry Band rock photographer
“If you close your eyes, you’ll swear you are at a Jerry Garcia Band show.”
– ecoLocal Magazine, Albany, NY
“…it was hard to tell that it wasn’t Jerry signing on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down….The Garcia Project’s attention to detail on intonation and performance structure does set them apart as an authority on Jerry Garcia.”
– NYS Music
“In order for a tribute band to be successful, fans need to look at them as the authority on the artist they are emulating. The Garcia Project pulls it off effortlessly. Go see them live …The Garcia Project is the whole package.”
– Jim Gilbert, Upstate Live
“The Garcia Project was on point with the whole experience and it didn’t seem like a cover band more like a mirrored band…they are just as real as the Jerry Garcia Band. “
– Buffalo FM Review
“”Deadicated“ to carrying on the music and vibe of Jerry that so many still carry in their hearts.”
– Albany Times Union
Jerry Garcia Family & Brooklyn Bowl presents The Garcia Project performing ‘77 style Who Was John:
The Garcia Project performing 90's style "Think" by the Jerry Garcia Band:
On 4/20/18 at Wall Street Theater, Norwalk, CT, The Garcia Project recreated The Jerry Garcia Band's 5/29/83 Bushnell Auditorium, Hartford, CT show set list. The video picks up in the middle of "Tore Up" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD6fnXRs_c4
The Garcia Project, After Midnight ‘77 style, Weed CA, Jerry Garcia Band tribute:
Full Show Audio Links:
At a sold out show at The Cohoes Music Hall, The Garcia Project performed the 1976 Jerry Band Set List from Ithaca, NY:
On March 2, 2018 in Eugene, OR at W.O.W. Hall, The Garcia Project performed The Jerry Garcia Band's 3/1/91 Warfield Theater, San Francisco, CA Show:
On February 27 in Seattle, WA at Tractor Tavern, The Garcia Project performed The Jerry Garcia Band's 3/10/84 Keystone show from Berkeley, CA:
You asked for a taco competition and we are going to deliver! All American Food Fights presents the inaugural Asheville Taco Takeover coming to the Salvage Station on October 14.
Sample tacos from all over the area while sipping on house made palomas, ice cold beer and listening live music by the riverside.
Only 150 VIP tickets will be offered and they include a taco from each of the vendors, unlimited beer and samplings of Mexican inspired cocktails. The cost is $45 per ticket
General admission will be limited to just 500 tickets, so get them while they are still available. They will go fast. General Admisison is $8 in advance and $12 at the door.
Live music by: Sol Rhythms and April B. & The Cool
Asheville Tacos & Taps
Belly Up Truck
Brinehaus Meat + Provisions
Jack of the Wood
Laughing Seed Cafe
UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Harrah's Cherokee Resort
Zack of All Trades
Usted pidío una competencia de tacos. ¡Vamos a entregar! All American Food Fights presenta el primero Asheville Taco Takeover que llega a la Salvage Station en 14 de octubre.
Pruebe tacos de toda la zona mientras saborea palomas caseras, cerveza helada y escucha música en vivo junto al río.
Solo se ofrecerán 150 boletos VIP e incluyen un taco de cada uno de los vendedores, cerveza ilimitada y degustaciones de cócteles inspirados en México. El costo es de $45 por boleto.
La entrada general estará limitada a solo 500 boletos, así que consíguelos mientras estén disponibles. Ellos irán rápido. Admisión general es de $8 por adelantado y $12 en la puerta.
The Fritz is a soul-driven dance rock band hailing from Asheville, NC. The group’s aggressive approach to funk, soul, and rock creates a sound that is uniquely their own. Their high-energy, danceable songs provide a platform for each member to shine. With powerful vocals, climactic solos, and tight grooves, The Fritz has built a devoted following and is captivating audiences everywhere.
Originally formed in the rehearsal spaces of University of North Florida's School of Music, The Fritz discovered an immediate chemistry. Drawing on influences such as Prince, Talking Heads and Jimi Hendrix, the quintet integrated their diverse musical tastes and began writing music together.
With their college days behind them, the Fritz soon set their eyes on the mountains of Western North Carolina, eventually settling in Asheville in July 2011. After the release of their 2012 debut album, Bootstrap, the band launched into a near-constant touring schedule. With appearances at festivals such as Hulaween, Wakarusa, and Catskill Chill, the band quickly gained a reputation as a live act not to be missed.
The band’s 2017 release, Natural Mind, captures a sound that has been years in the making.
“We intentionally waited to go back into the studio so that we could really work on the music and figure out what makes this band special,” vocalist and keyboardist Jamar Woods said.
For the new album, The Fritz headed north to More Sound Studios in Syracuse, NY and enlisted the help of producer Dave Brandwein (Turkuaz, Galaxy Smith Studios) and engineers Jason "Jocko" Randall and Jose Varona to assist with the recording process.
“We wanted to work with a producer whose work we respected and who we trusted to add a different perspective,” percussionist Mikey “Spice” Evans said. “Dave played an invaluable role in producing our album.”
While most of the songs were written in the months leading up to recording, the studio environment allowed for some last minute additions and musical breakthroughs.
“We really wanted to arrange these songs specifically for the studio, which was both challenging and fun for us” guitarist Jamie Hendrickson said. “Now we’re very excited to get on the road and have these songs take on a life of their own.”
The band is now taking the album and their unforgettable live performances around the country with the Natural Mind tour.
Check out www.thefritzmusic.com for local tour dates near you.
In 1980 Melvin Seals joined the Jerry Garcia Band and remained a member until Jerry Garcia's untimely death in 1995. After Garcia's death Seals took charge. Under his leadership, the slightly renamed 'Melvin Seals and JGB' pays tribute to Garcia by performing his songs and remaining faithful to his style.
We are the Keepers of the Flame!
Dedicated song crafting has always been the cornerstone of The Freeway Revival. A group forged on the road, they continue to use their lyrics as a window into the life of a traveling band. The Freeway Revival's explosive blend of southern rock, funk, and psychedelic soul encapsulates a sound that feels strangely familiar yet remains entirely unique to itself.
Performing live, The Freeway balances organized, well-crafted tunes with a jam ethos that lends a raw and explorative power to the music. The blend of tasteful guitar harmonies, vibrant four-part vocal harmonies, and a unique assortment of piano and organ melodies creates a soundscape that is both intricate and energetic. Rest that on the groove of a solid rhythm section, and you are sure to feel the magnetic force of this band! Each member plays a vital role in making the live experience unforgettable.
The band has toured relentlessly behind their self-titled EP as well as their full length 2017 release 'Revolution Road', continually growing a dedicated grassroots fan base. The process of writing, recording and touring is ongoing and exponential as they allow the livelihood of what they do to shape their sound and experience.
Doors at 5
The Lil Smokies at 6
Greensky at 7
Opening Set By: The Lil Smokies
For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.
Like the band's own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It's wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nedarland, Colorado — that comprise the band's longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that's still eager to explore.
"You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band," says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album's writing duties. "All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There's a flow to this album, just like there's a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It's a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape."
Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.
"We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production," notes Bruzza, adding that, "the goal isn't just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside."
Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country's most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They've become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014's If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.
Released on the band's label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with "Miss September," a song that splits its focus between Hoffman's mid-tempo melodies and the band's instrumental solos. Most of the album's tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on "Living Over" — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that's already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with "While Waiting," a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. "Room Without a Roof" features some of the group's most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while "More of Me" cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.
"We tend to have a darker sense to ours songs than most acoustic bands," Bruzza adds, "but we still have light moments, too. We're trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren't many rules. We'll run a dobro though an amp on a song like 'Past My Prime.' We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it's a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next."
Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.