Bluegrass

Jake Shimabukuro to Perform with Bette Midler for Queen of England

Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele virtuoso from Hawaii, will perform his arrangement of the Beatles’ tune “In My Life” with Bette Midler for The Royal Variety Performance 2009 in Blackpool, England.

The Performance is presented annually in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund (the EABF), whose patron is Her Majesty The Queen.  Acts lined up to appear include: Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Canadian singer and Grammy Award winner Michael Buble, teen superstar Miley Cyrus, and many more.

Midler, a multi-award winning performer also from Hawaii, has followed her fellow islander’s career and loves Jake’s arrangement of “In My Life,” a Beatles cover that appeared on Jake’s 2008 release, My Life.

“I was shocked to hear that Bette Midler knew my music.  I’ve been a huge fan of hers for many years,” said Jake.  “She’s like a queen of entertainment.  And to be performing with her for the Queen of England… it’s a bit too much for me.  I’m just so honored.”

The performance will be Jake’s first time to England and second time to Europe after touring earlier this year in Stockholm, Sweden, Pori, Finland, Nice & Paris, France, and San Sebastian, Spain.

Blackpool’s legendary Opera House is the largest theatre in the UK outside of London with a seating capacity of 3000.  The star-studded spectacle will take place on Monday, December 7 and be screened on ITV1, in the UK, later that month.  It will be produced by ITV Studios, the makers of the 2007 Royal Variety Performance, which attracted an impressive 9 million viewers.

The money raised from this event will help to maintain Brinsworth House in Twickenham, Middlesex – the entertainers’ retirement and nursing home which is run by the EABF.

Post Turkey Day Clusterpluck!

The banjo stirs a feeling of timelessness with its old time/bluegrass/folk associations. Danny Barnes builds with these base molecules of the instrument's heritage, sculpting a sound with one foot in contemporary technological landscapes, another in deep running traditions, and arms waving free in outer space. Found audio samples merge and crash as the instrument's high picking peaks and valleys of bassy depths loop in a journey through the American heart of darkness and back towards the light. Add the free form jazz of Ornette Coleman to the legacy of Dock Boggs, remix it with DJ Shadow, and view it through a DIY punk aesthetic and you have some idea of Folktronics. Live, on studio or homemade records, and through the countless concert recordings that circulate in the taper scene as word-of-mouth gems, Barnes is a sonic pioneer, hacking through the underbrush with his musical weapons of choice, banjo as compass.

Spring Creek from Lyons, Colorado, are quickly gaining a reputation as the hottest young band in the Rocky Mountains. The quartet play a mix of bluegrass standards and compelling originals, and all four musicians are also accomplished vocalists. Spring Creek builds their foundation on the fundamentals of classic bluegrass, yet they create their own energetic contemporary style.Though they clearly appeal to traditional bluegrass fans, the Spring Creek musicians mix in a little something for everyone at their live shows. Expect to hear an Elton John or Gillian Welch cover squeezed in between a blazing fast Carter Stanley instrumental and a rip roarin' Bill Monroe tune.


Honey Don’t plays American Stringband Music from the heart of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. The music ranges from Americana to Folk, Country, Old-time, Bluegrass and good old Rock-n-Roll.

KGNU & Boulder Weekly present
DANNY BARNES TRIO & SPRING CREEK
w/ Honey Don't
Friday, November 27
doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm

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Boulder Theater
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303.786.7030
www.bouldertheater.com

Sam Bush Launches SBTV Video Series

October 20, 2009, marked numerous milestones for the multi-instrumentalist, three-time GRAMMY(TM) winner and affable, animated personality Sam Bush. Not only Bush's 25th wedding anniversary, October 20th also saw the release of Circles Around Me, his eighth solo release, and the launch of SBTV (Sam Bush TV), which continues Bush's foray in the realm of series video.

Bush, a founding member and mandolinist of the genre-defining act New Grass Revival and constant duet partner of Emmylou Harris in her Nash Ramblers outfit, has recently witnessed a surge in fan response thanks to his self-produced "Ask Sam Anything" videos. This series of personal, off-the-cuff short films features the artist fielding questions directly from his fans such as, "Do you still practice?" "What inspires you?" and "What have you been listening to lately?"

The overwhelming fan response to the series led Bush to continue exploring the concept of series videos. The result of that exploration is a multi-part video progression where candid descriptions of each song from his new release, Circles Around Me, are presented with personal and behind-the scenes footage of the artist. Sure to be a fan and critical favorite, Bush launched SBTV with his thoughts on the title track, a song co-written by Bush and Nashville-based performer and songwriter Jeff Black. The series continues with eagerly awaited episodes of Bush discussing all Circles Around Me tracks, which include collaborations with bluegrass legends Del McCoury, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas and, thanks to the discovery of an old demo, New Grass Revival co-founder Courtney Johnson (posthumously) - as well as the vast contributions of his group of world-renowned musicians, the Sam Bush Band.

Celebrate the Holidays with Cascadia Yulegrass

Looking for an alternative to traditional holiday entertainment this season? Acoustic holiday bluegrass visits the Pacific Northwest December 16-20 with the inaugural Cascadia Yulegrass celebration. Featuring world-renowned musicians and regional favorites including Darol Anger, Sharon Gilchrist, Bill Nershi and others, Cascadia Yulegrass is a contemporary, family-friendly, and affordable holiday alternative that doesn't involve cracked nuts or ballerinas.

World-renowned fiddle master Darol Anger will direct and perform. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has driven the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous path-breaking ensembles such as the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, and his Republic of Strings. Today Darol can be heard on NPR's "Car Talk" theme song along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice, and is a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks. For Cascadia Yulegrass, Anger is joined by Rowan/Rice, mandolin-player Sharon Gilchrist, regional guitar hero Scott Law, flat-picking master and String Cheese Incident guitarist Bill Nershi, and SCI bassist Keith Moseley. Nershi is coming off a diverse and successful 2009, including a performance at folk music icon Pete Seeger's 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden. The event was recorded by PBS and is currently being broadcast nationally.

Cascadia Yulegrass also features special guest appearances by Hot Buttered Rum drummer/Everyone Orchestra founder Matt Butler and vocalist Jilian Nershi. Opening the event is feel-good artist Big Water, who will be bringing his message of love, truth & grooving rhythms.

Cascadia Yulegrass hits the following locations this season:

12/16/2009 - River City Saloon, Hood River, OR

12/17/2009 - Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA

12/18/2009 - Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA

12/19/2009 - Historic McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR

12/20/2009 - Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR

Tickets priced from $10 - $22. A variety of VIP and seating packages are available.

Tickets for all markets go on sale Tuesday, November 3rd at www.CascadiaYulegrass.com and venue box offices.

Don't Forget the Food Drive!

In a year when the need for emergency food boxes throughout the Oregon and Washington foodbank networks skyrocketed to historic highs, Cascadia and The Conscious Alliance are proud to announce food drives at each concert - with 100% of donations going to benefit local area food banks. Each patron who donates 10 non-perishable food items will receive a free limited edition Cascadia Yulegrass poster! The Conscious Alliance always encourages food donations to be low-sodium health food oriented products.

Danny Barnes Trio & Spring Creek @ Boulder Theater

The banjo stirs a feeling of timelessness with its old time/bluegrass/folk associations. Danny Barnes builds with these base molecules of the instrument's heritage, sculpting a sound with one foot in contemporary technological landscapes, another in deep running traditions, and arms waving free in outer space. Found audio samples merge and crash as the instrument's high picking peaks and valleys of bassy depths loop in a journey through the American heart of darkness and back towards the light. Add the free form jazz of Ornette Coleman to the legacy of Dock Boggs, remix it with DJ Shadow, and view it through a DIY punk aesthetic and you have some idea of Folktronics. Live, on studio or homemade records, and through the countless concert recordings that circulate in the taper scene as word-of-mouth gems, Barnes is a sonic pioneer, hacking through the underbrush with his musical weapons of choice, banjo as compass.

Spring Creek from Lyons, Colorado, are quickly gaining a reputation as the hottest young band in the Rocky Mountains. The quartet play a mix of bluegrass standards and compelling originals, and all four musicians are also accomplished vocalists. Spring Creek builds their foundation on the fundamentals of classic bluegrass, yet they create their own energetic contemporary style.Though they clearly appeal to traditional bluegrass fans, the Spring Creek musicians mix in a little something for everyone at their live shows. Expect to hear an Elton John or Gillian Welch cover squeezed in between a blazing fast Carter Stanley instrumental and a rip roarin' Bill Monroe tune.

Honey Don’t plays American Stringband Music from the heart of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. The music ranges from Americana to Folk, Country, Old-time, Bluegrass and good old Rock-n-Roll.

DANNY BARNES TRIO & SPRING CREEK
w/ Honey Don't
Friday, November 27
doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm

Sam Bush Honors First Loves on "Circles Around Me"

Sam Bush doesn't seem old enough to be a musical legend. And he's not. But he is. In September, the Americana Music Association with its Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist award will honor Bush, who is alternately known as the King of Telluride and the King of Newgrass. "It's overwhelming and humbling," says Bush of the honor. "It goes along with the title cut of my new album, Circles Around Me, which basically says, how in the hell did we get this far? In my brain I'm still 17, but I look in the mirror and I'm 57."

sam-bushCircles Around Me, Bush's seventh solo album and sixth with Sugar Hill, will be released Oct. 20. The album is an aurally inspiring mix of bluegrass favorites and complementary new songs. "I don't know why, but it felt right at this moment in my life to go back and revisit some things that I've loved all my life, which is bluegrass and, unapologetically, newgrass," says Bush. "After all these years of experimenting --and there's experimentation on this record too --I've come full circle."

Produced by three-time Grammy winner Bush, the 14-song set includes appearances by Del McCoury, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas and New Grass Revival co-founder Courtney Johnson (posthumously). The album also employs the phenomenal talent of Bush's band: Scott Vestal, Stephen Mougin, Byron House and Chris Brown.

The title cut, which Bush co-wrote with Jeff Black, "is about being thankful that you're still here, that you're still alive walking around," Bush explains. "Why are we the ones still here when we've had fallen comrades and loved ones?"

"The Ballad of Stringbean and Estelle," which Bush co-wrote with Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson, is the haunting real-life story of the 1973 murder of Grand Ole Opry star David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife.

Courtney Johnson, who passed in 1996, was reunited with Bush on the album thanks to New Grass Revival producer Garth Fundis, who found a previously unreleased recording with Bush and Johnson's fiddle and banjo recording of  "Apple Blossom" from 1976. The tape was restored and new parts were added. "It's pretty special and it means a lot to me," Bush says. "It reminds me how much I loved Courtney's playing."

Meanwhile, "Souvenir Bottles" and "Whisper My Name" are fine updates of songs Bush first recorded in his New Grass Revival days. "I guess I'm proud that I can still sing it in the key that we first cut it in," Bush says of "Whisper," which was on New Grass Revival's 1972 debut album.

McCoury, whom Bush has known since the mid-60s, guests on two Bill Monroe songs, "Roll On Buddy, Roll On" and "Midnight On The Stormy Deep." "Del always encouraged me to sing," Bush says. "So I wanted to do these songs with him. 'Roll On' is one of the few songs Del ever recorded with Bill."

Songs such as "Diamond Joe" and "You Left Me Alone" have roots in Bush's youth. The latter was on an album by the Country Gentlemen that Bush bought in the '60s. "It's a great 6/8 fast waltz tune and I am almost quoting John Duffey's mandolin playing note for note," he says. "It's a great tune and I never heard anyone else do it."

The Bush-penned "Old North Woods" is a "Bill Monroe-sounding waltz," according to Bush, that features Meyer, his wife, Cornelia Heard of the Blair String Quartet, and their 16 year old son, George, in his recording debut.

There's plenty more of course and Bush fans new and old will find plenty to love. "It's crazy to think about," Bush says of his influence on today's crop of mandolin players. "I'm proud to be part of a natural progression in music. But I hope to still be playing 30 years from now."

The Band of Heathens: One Foot in the Ether

The Band of Heathens’ self-titled studio debut album brought the band from relative obscurity to playing 250-plus shows a year for their rabid fan base, as well as a coveted taping for this year’s 35th Anniversary season of Austin City Limits. The album hit No. 1 on the Americana Music Association Radio chart, spending two weeks in the top spot against formidable competition. It charted a total of 34 weeks in the U.S., held No. 1 for two months on the Euro-Americana chart, and was No. 8 on the AMA’s Top 100 albums of 2008 list. The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli wrote, “The Band of Heathens, an Austin-based group, played the best set I came across during my five nights in town (at SXSW 2009).”

band-of-heathensHow does a band follow a year like that? Indeed the bar has been set high. But one listen to the new album, One Foot in the Ether, due out September 15 on BOH Records through Redeye Distribution, makes apparent that the Heathens’ three-frontman approach to writing and performing over the past three years has paid off in the studio. Apart from the confidence necessary to pull off releasing two live albums before releasing 2008’s debut studio record, it’s evident that their unorthodox career strategy suits them well.

“The band doesn’t do things safely,” explains Gordy Quist, one of the group's three frontmen. “Random and Chance might actually be named as extra band members in the liner notes somewhere.”

The guys in the band are fond of saying they became a unit by accident. But that’s like saying the Big Bang was an accident: unplanned, maybe, but hardly random. The merger of three singers/songwriters/multi-instrumentalists — Quist, Ed Jurdi and Colin Brooks — resulted in a solid entity worthy of the comparisons the band receives to the Black Crowes, The Band and Little Feat.

One Foot in the Ether wasn't initially conceived as a full-length album, but the muses felt otherwise.  The band started booking short bursts of studio time in Austin while they were in town, with no producer and no expectations. As they continued deeper into the sessions, the project went from the originally planned (or un-planned) three to four songs to 16 completed songs. “It became apparent that we had a full-length album on our hands and started honing things down to make a cohesive album,” Jurdi said.

Not given to labeling their music, The Band of Heathens loosely define the sound they’ve achieved on One Foot in the Ether simply as rock ‘n’ roll. While the last Heathens album might have been more acoustic and swampier, this album is heavier — both thematically and sonically. It’s muscular with guitars, Hammond organs, vintage electric pianos and pill-bottle slides — all fine ingredients for rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form.

With a five-album record deal offer from one of the major-independent record labels on the table, The Band of Heathens opted to release the new album on their own BOH Records, just as they did their last self-titled studio album that won the accolades. Brooks explains, “In the current ‘climate change’ of the music business, nobody knows how it is going to work so we are not averse to trying things our own way and experimenting.”

The year ahead holds much promise, starting with the worldwide September 15 release of One Foot in the Ether. In July, the band taped Austin City Limits, an opportunity that came to them when the program’s producer, Terry Lickona, first saw the group at the Americana Music Conference last September. He was amused that he’d traveled 1,200 miles to discover a band that lived in his backyard. The ACL episode also features Elvis Costello and will air November 7. The band will tour Europe in fall, following a Ryman Auditorium appearance the American Music Awards on September 17. And then it’s time to log miles on the odometer as they cross America for the rest of the year and into next.

Adam Steffey: ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

He's one of the most widely admired mandolin players around, and the most influential in a generation or more, but when Adam Steffey finally got around to making his second solo album in eight years, he knew just what he did--and didn't--want.  "I wanted to go in and make a record, and have all these people that I work with be on it," he says, "but I didn't want to make an instrumental album, because I think those can get monotonous.  I know I'm known primarily as a player, but I wanted to have just enough picking on there to where everybody could turn loose, and then mostly have some good solid vocal things.  If people listen to this album and take it as a reflection of the way I look at everything about music, and not just as a showcase for how I play, then that would be the highest compliment that could be paid."

adamIt's hard to imagine listeners not getting that--and a whole lot more--from One More For The Road, Steffey's Sugar Hill Records debut that hits the streets on September 22nd. Balancing instrumentals with vocal numbers and carefully chosen classics with strong originals served up by Steffey and a brilliantly chosen supporting cast, including former bandmates from Alison Krauss & Union Station and Mountain Heart alongside current colleagues in the Dan Tyminski Band, it's a stunning portrait of a musician who's not only a master player and convincing singer but perhaps most importantly, a team player who knows exactly when to lead and when to lay back.

With support from producers Gary Paczosa and Union Station/Dan Tyminski Band bassist Barry Bales--a friend and picking partner of Steffey's for close to 30 years--Steffey and friends tackle a well-crafted set list that shows off a rare ability to not only find under-appreciated songs, but to match them perfectly with players and singers.  And while attention will surely fall on vocal contributions from Krauss, who offers a lush reading of a decades-old Bluegrass Cardinals find ("Warm Kentucky Sunshine"), Tyminski and Ronnie Bowman, whose shimmering "Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends" sets a new standard for the Kristofferson classic, it's actually the mandolinist himself who serves as the most frequently featured singer.  "I try to be realistic about my voice," Steffey says, "and I'm not the ballad singer at all," but his evocative baritone is perfectly suited for the originals (including one self-penned entry) and bluegrass ought-to-be-classics like Mark Rader's early 90s favorite, "A Broken Heart Keeps Beating."

On the instrumental side, Steffey drew on a circle of colleagues who have interacted musically and personally for years--and whose playing shows it in every note.  "I wanted everybody to be throwing different things in, and to mix it up some with different combinations," he notes.  "But all the guys that I got to play on this album, they listen as hard as they focus on what they're going to play.  They're sensitive to everything that's going on around them, which makes playing so easy--and they're just so good. I'm ready to jump out of my seat when I hear these guys playing."

Indeed, whether they're going to town on a slinky modern tune like the opening original, "Deep Rough," or a durable but under-recorded standard like "Durang's Hornpipe," the ensembles Steffey, Bales and Paczosa concocted for One More For The Road serve up models of precision, feeling and groove, born out of years of playing together and a more elusive but equally real musical empathy.  Yet despite--or, perhaps, because of--his commitment to the ensemble dynamic, there's no doubt that this is Adam Steffey's album.  His unique taste, along with his melodic gifts and unexcelled feel for rhythm, inform the project from first note to last.

"I know all the guys that are on here, they're thinking, they're listeners, and I want everybody to get that feeling from the record," Steffey says.  "I'll be happy if the people who hear it can tell that I was listening and not getting in the way, that I was just trying to make the song the best it can be."  It's a safe bet that they'll be able to tell that--and a whole lot more besides.

**RESCHEDULED** The Seldom Scene @ Boulder Theater

The Seldom Scene has been rescheduled to Friday, July 10 from it's previous date of Friday, July 17. Tickets purchased to the July 17 date will be honored at the July 10 date. Refunds can be made at Boulder Theater Box Office.

The Seldom Scene are approaching 40 years of service as progressive pickers and beautiful harmonizers.

Since its inception in 1971, the Seldom Scene has thrived on playing bluegrass a little differently than everyone else. If other bands used a fiddler, the Seldom Scene used a Dobro; if others relied on old standards, the Seldom Scene played rock classics like J.J. Cale's "After Midnight." Through skilled musicianship and an urban approach to bluegrass, the Seldom Scene has become one of the most influential -- if not the most influential -- bluegrass band of their time.

Tickets are on sale now at The Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone. Tickets are also available through their website @ www.bouldertheater.com. All tickets are subject to tax and service charge. Reserved=$26.50, GA=$20.00 / 21+

Boulder Theater
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303.786.7030
www.bouldertheater.com

The Seldom Scene @ Boulder Theater

The Seldom Scene are approaching 40 years of service as progressive pickers and beautiful harmonizers.

Since its inception in 1971, the Seldom Scene has thrived on playing bluegrass a little differently than everyone else. If other bands used a fiddler, the Seldom Scene used a Dobro; if others relied on old standards, the Seldom Scene played rock classics like J.J. Cale's "After Midnight." Through skilled musicianship and an urban approach to bluegrass, the Seldom Scene has become one of the most influential -- if not the most influential -- bluegrass band of their time.

THE SELDOM SCENE
w/ Blue Canyon Boys
Friday, July 17
doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm

Tickets are on sale now at The Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone. Tickets are also available through their website @ bouldertheater.com.  All tickets are subject to tax and service charge.