Bluegrass

MOUNTAIN HEART STRUTS 'LIVE' CHOPS, NEW SINGER

- for the Grateful Web

Mountain Heart, one of the most talented, versatile and explosive sextets in the acoustic firmament, will offer a special treat to fans new and old this October 23rd with the release of Road That Never Ends (The Live Album) on Rural Rhythm Records.  Building on the group's already recognized strengths, Road That Never Ends ups the ante by bringing new elements of rock, blues and even jazz to its signature blend of bluegrass, gospel and jamgrass, underlining the sextet's unique role in the world of acoustic music.

Recorded on May 26th of this year in the intimacy of Ann Arbor, Michigan's 400-seat venue, The Ark, The Road... represents Mountain Heart's first live recording, and as their faithful listeners (from cozy clubs to such fabled festivals as Telluride, MerleFest and RockyGrass) well know, it is in front of a live audience that this award-winning combo is truly in its exuberant, celebratory element.

Presenting nearly an hour's worth of tried-and-true fan favorites along with some choice new additions destined to lock-in even upon first hearing, the recording also showcases the band's newest addition, guitarist and primary lead singer Josh Shilling.

Just 23 years old but with a wealth of pan-genre experience (and already a gifted songwriter), Shilling's elastic, expressive tenor handles the traditional high lonesome sound with uncanny flair even as his way with ballads (as on his own seductive, heartbreaking "Who's the Fool Now?") and soulful, gut-bucket blues (the low-down original "It Works Both Ways" and a scintillating interpretation of the Allman Brothers' eternal "Whipping Post") further expand Mountain Heart's already-enviable stylistic range and command.

Of course, to hold his own in this vaunted company, he HAS to be good. Formed in 1998 with a core group of veterans from Alison Krauss's multi-platinum and highly-awarded, Union Station, and Doyle Lawson's hallowed Quicksilver juggernaut, Mountain Heart cadged its first annual International Bluegrass Music Association award ('Emerging Artist of the Year') in 1999, and they've been racking up group and individual awards and nominations ever since.

Mandolinist Adam Steffy has garnered six consecutive IBMA nominations as best in his field (winning FIVE!), fiddler, founding member and Road... producer Jim Van Cleve earned a 2006 GRAMMY nomination for 'Best Country Instrumental' with his solo disc No Apologies, (on Rural Rhythm Records) and the rest of the gang (co-founder/banjo wizard Barry Abernathy, bassist Jason Moore and guitarist Clay Jones) routinely dazzle crowds with their individual prowess, intuitive, extra-sensory group interplay and - always - an uncommon knack for crowd-pleasing showmanship.

The disc features scintillating live versions of fan favorites such as Steve Gulley's "I'm Just Here to Ride the Train," a showboating workout on the beloved "Heart Like a Road Sign," Barry Abernathy's stellar reading of Pat McLaughlin's soaring "God and Everybody," and rollicking, kinetic instrumentals "Devil's Courthouse" (from Van Cleve's solo disc) and the lights-out closer "#6 Barn Dance" (which somehow falls just short of setting the Michigan woodlands ablaze).

An extra-special treat is the welcome return of "The Gospel Train." Mountain Heart's awe-inspiring rendition of the well-traveled traditional roof-raiser helped them earn an IBMA award for 'Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year' in 2002 with the album The Journey, but their then-label has since folded, leaving this inspirational evergreen out-of-print until now.

Change - as we all know - can be taxing, particularly when it involves the personnel of a much-loved touring band. But with Road That Never Ends, Mountain Heart memorably meets the challenge, keeping the home fires burning even as it strikes out for - and conquers - new musical territory.  Their hearts may lie in the mountains, but wherever the road that never ends takes them, these acoustic music masters will always make it feel like a natural home

Elana James Inks New Deal, Plays Fuji Rock Fest & Keeps Swingin' For Fences

Photo by Richard Dowdy, 2007- for the Grateful Web

The North Carolina-based music mavens at Redeye will be handling North American distribution of the eponymous solo debut disc by singer, violinist and songwriter Elana James beginning Tuesday, July 24. The move will make the ebullient, eclectic collection of town 'n' country swing available at most major nationwide chains-including Borders as well as in hundreds of discerning, independently-owned stores.

James began enchanting listeners in 1998 as co-leader (with Whit Smith) of the Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown, a refreshing, nimble-fingered combo that merged the sophisticated, high-stepping sizzle of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli's Quintet of the Hot Club of France with the driving energy of Western swing.

Buoyed by five critically-acclaimed discs and live shows imbued with an almost punk-rock energy, the Hot Club was on the verge of a popular breakthrough when, just after opening all of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson's ground breaking 2004 summer tour of American minor league ballparks, the group disbanded.

Still reeling from the breakup, the young musician had only begun weighing future options when the two musical godfathers whose very tour ushered the demise of the Hot Club stepped in with offers that could not be refused.

First, veteran producer Fred Foster called James with an invitation to play twin fiddle parts with the legendary Texas Playboy Johnny Gimble on Willie Nelson's next record. Almost immediately after that call came an invitation to play in Dylan's touring band.

"When I got that call," Elana remembers, "It was so incredible - I felt like God had reached down out of heaven and anointed me with a golden wand."

The Dylan slot ended up expanding to two full tours (one as the fiddle player for Dylan himself complete with prominent positioning in the shows), but James experienced a real revelation before the first tour was even complete:  Oddly enough, performing with arguably the greatest, most-revered songwriter of the last 50 years gave her the confidence to pursue a similar path leading her own band.

". . .He's peerless at what he does, and yet he's still doing exactly the same thing as everyone else," she notes. "And it made me realize that if I started my own thing, there's a lot of dignity in just doing it; you don't have to worry about who you're playing for, you don't have to worry about how it's received, you just have to do it."

Elana James began recording her self-titled debut album in 2005, but a second Dylan tour delayed completion of the recording until the summer of 2006, with assorted finishing details further setting back the release.

But by any measure, the elegant Elana James is more than worth the wait, presenting an artist brimming with talent, self-assurance and a strong musical vision that encompasses string-jazz and country roots as well as displaying - through a half-dozen artfully-drawn original tunes, Elana's rare gift for truly integrating lyrical content with melody and tone.

Through it all, James' clearwater, emotionally - transparent vocal delivery is the ideal vehicle for her uniquely personal world view, and her violin playing slips with a natural grace from bold, charismatic leads to empathetic ensemble playing and back again.

The legendary swing fiddler Johnny Gimble illuminates a pair of traditional Western Swing fiddle tunes, pairing his inimitable style with Elana's on his own arrangement of "Silver Bells" and using electric mandolin to spar with James' violin on an immaculate, up-to-date rendition of "Goodbye Liza Jane."

With knowing, soulful nods to Duke Ellington ("I Got It Band (And That Ain't Good)" and "I Don't Mind") and Eubie Blake (a luscious "Memories of You" ), Elana James - with and her fine, hand-picked cohorts - further extends her impressive musical palette and wide-ranging love-and command - of American music.

Willie Nelson lauds James as "a beautiful voice, a fantastic musician with the heart and soul of an angel."  He neglected to mention that she's smart and beautiful, too, but it's a sure bet he noticed.   

(Elana James is currently available through such online outlets as Amazon.com, CDBaby, Miles of Music, etc.).

 

ELANA JAMES AUGUST 2007 TOUR DATES

August 7 Starlight Concert Series, Evanston, IL

August 10 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI

August 11 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI

August 12 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI  

August 15 Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX

August 18 Performing Arts Center Simsbury, CT

August 22 The Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX      

August 29 The Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX

STARS ALIGN IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR DOCUMENTARY FILM DEBUT AND CONCERT CELEBRATING ROOTS AND INFLUENCE OF JUG BAND MUSIC

David Grisman- for the Grateful Web

John Sebastian, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur and More Come Together for the Debut of Chasin' Gus' Ghost on August 25, and "Extravaganza" Concert on August 26.

As part of this year's San Francisco Jug Band Festival, Ezzie Films will debut its documentary on the roots and influence of jug band music.  Chasin' Gus' Ghost, which features performances and commentary by many popular musicians including John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful and the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, will premiere on August 25.  The "Chasin' Gus' Ghost Jug Band Extravaganza" concert will include many of the featured artists and take place on August 26.

What:  Chasin' Gus' Ghost documentary film debut and concert celebrating the history and influence of jug band music.  From 1920s genre innovators Gus Cannon and Cannon's Jug Stompers to the modern Jim Kweskin Jug Band, the film explores every aspect of this influential roots music. The film trailer is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsELhdJohkA

Who: Hosted by filmmaker Todd Kwait, the concert will showcase popular musicians featured in the film, including John Sebastian, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, David Grisman, Fritz Richmond's Barbecue Orchestra and special guests.

When and Where:
Screenings: There will be two screenings of Chasin' Gus' Ghost, at 7:00pm and 9:00pm, on Saturday, August 25 at the Roxie New College Film Center.  Tickets for the screening are $9 each.

The Roxie New College Film Center
3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
http://www.roxie.com

Concert: The Chasin' Gus' Ghost Jug Band Extravaganza takes place at 8:00pm on Sunday, August 26 at the Great American Music Hall.  Tickets are $28 and are available in advance.

The Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
http://www.gamh.com/artist_pages/jug_band_extravaganza_082607.htm

Doyle Lawson Gears Up for Busy Touring Season

Doyle Lawson- for the Grateful Web

Some men celebrate their 63rd birthday by starting a countdown to retirement, but for bluegrass legend - and road warrior - Doyle Lawson, April 20th was a milepost on the way to one of his busiest and most successful seasons yet.

Fresh off taping an episode of GAC's Edge Of Country with Kylie Harris (air dates June 23rd & June 25th) that focuses on his newest release, More Behind the Picture than the Wall (Rounder), Lawson paused to break some big news before heading back on the road.

"I'm happy to announce that the new member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will be Ron Spears," he said.  "Ron will be playing bass and handling lead and harmony vocals.  Ron is a longtime student and fan of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and he understands the style - when we got together, the vocal blend with the trio and quartet was extremely pleasing to my ear.  I'm looking forward to his vocal input as well as having another songwriter in the band."  Spears, who penned "Ocean Of Teardrops" on Lawson's latest release, will start his new duties with Quicksilver on a yet-to-be-determined date.

In the meantime, the veteran bandleader is gearing up for a dizzying round of coast-to-coast performances and honors including stops at California's gigantic Stage Coach country music festival (5/6); Lawson's own bluegrass festival in Denton, NC (5/10-13) and Brooklyn, NY's Southpaw for a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts performance on June 1st.  Tucked into the busy itinerary is a May 5th stop at Bristol, TN's King College, where Lawson will deliver this year's commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Offsetting the rigors of road life is More Behind The Picture Than The Wall, which is bidding to take its place among Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's most successful releases.  The disc debuted at #2 on Billboard's Bluegrass Album chart week of release (March 27), with first week scans up more than 30% from the group's previous album.  Critics are raving about its "timeless message" (Barnes & Noble) and the quintet's "expert harmonizers" (L.A. Daily News).  "Quicksilver hears as clearly as ever the sound of traditions reborn," says No Depression of More Behind The Picture Than The Wall, and when they catch Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver in concert, this summer's fans will hear it, too.

2007 UPCOMING TOUR DATES 

5/12    Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival   Denton, NC

5/13    Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival   Denton, NC

5/18    Bloomin' BBQ & Bluegrass    Sevierville, TN

5/19    Community Theatre    McKee, KY

5/25    Twitchell Auditorium    Spartanburg, SC

5/26    Zellwood Corn Festival    Zellwood, FL

6/01    Southpaw    Brooklyn, NY

6/02    Graves Mountain Festival of Music    Syria, VA

6/03    Ram's Head On Stage    Annapolis, MD

6/08    McDukin Civic Center    Cullman, AL

6/09    GA Mountain Fair    Hiawassee, GA

6/16    NC State Bluegrass Festival    Cherokee, NC

6/20    Chatuaqua Festival    Wytheville, VA

6/21    River of Music    Owensboro, KY

6/22    Music in the Mountains    Summersville, WV

6/23    Renfro Valley Entertainment Center    Renfro Valley, KY

7/06    Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival    Conway, MO

7/07    Shadow Valley Gospel Music Fest     Fayetteville, TN

7/12    Ryman Auditorium    Nashville, TN

7/13    N Georgia Bluegrass Festival    Cleveland, GA

7/14    Watermelon Park     Berryville, VA

7/19    Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival    Ancramdale, NY

7/21    Walton Park     Mineral, VA

7/25    MACC Festival    Columbus, OH

7/26    Porter Center for Performing Arts   Brevard, NC

7/28    Rocky Grass Festival    Lyons, CO

7/29    Rocky Grass Festival    Lyons, CA

8/04    Podunk Bluegrass Festival    East Hartford, CT

8/10    Stonehedge Bluegrass Festival    Gray, ME

8/11    Windmill Bay Farms    Alburg, VT

8/17    Cherokee Bluegrass Festival    Cherokee, NC

8/24    Grand Ole Gospel Theatre    Chocowinity, NC

8/25    Andy Griffith Playhouse    Mt. Airy, NC

Furtado's New Album 'Thirteen' Available Now!

Tony Furtado- for the Grateful Web

From the very first moments of "Used," which opens Tony Furtado's new album, Thirteen (available now on Funzalo Records), it's clear that the prodigious instrumentalist turned singer/songwriter is a man on a mission. This bracing rocker, with its galloping ZZ Top groove and restless Tom Petty vibe, establishes the album's interlocked themes of "good luck/bad luck/no luck" (as Furtado puts it) on both the personal and political levels, while a phalanx of fretted instruments provides a thrillingly visceral reminder of Furtado's prowess as an ax wielder of the first order.
 
On Thirteen, this rapidly maturing artist fulfills the immense promise of his 2004 breakthrough These Chains, his initial foray into songwriting and singing. While Furtado's 2005 outing, the literally solo Bare Bones, pushed the technical envelope as he recorded his own one-man tour, the expansive Thirteen reveals an artist with a great deal on his mind and a full arsenal of skills with which to express his thoughts and feelings in a captivating way. "These Chains was my first serious attempt at songwriting," says Furtado, "so it was a trial by fire, with a bit of experimentation. This time I had the chance to go deeper."
 
Recorded to 16-track, two-inch analog tape during the summer of 2006 at Tucson's Wavelab Studios (a favorite venue for Calexico, Neko Case, M. Ward, Iron & Wine and other cult heroes), the album features an all-star cast including keyboardists Sean Slade (whose production credits include Uncle Tupelo and Radiohead) and Jim Dickinson (producer of the seminal Ry Cooder albums that inspired Furtado to take up the slide guitar), bassist Dusty Wakeman (whose resume includes three previous Furtado LPs, Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams), drummer Winston Watson (who has played with Dylan and Giant Sand) and Wavelab's own Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Case, Iron & Wine), who produced and engineered.
 
Furtado admits the gathering of heavyweights gave him pause going in. "At first I was worried that it might be a clash of the titans," he admits. "But after we got together and started talking about the material, hanging out and playing, my fears quickly dissipated. Plus, that studio is packed with old instruments, and all the guitars hanging on the walls create a sonic aura. There are some bizarre instruments there that I threw on the tracks."
 
On this project, Furtado's playing and the considerable acumen of his all-star studio band was fully focused on the 10 Furtado originals and three well-chosen covers that comprise Thirteen. The dreamlike "California Flood," which is "wrapped around old memories of weekends on a boat in the Sacramento Delta," deals in vividly metaphorical detail with a child's struggles to understand the mysterious workings of the adult world. For "Another Man," a bitter breakup song he confesses was based on personal experience, Furtado references the blues epic "When the Levee Breaks" (famously rendered by Led Zeppelin), in effect splitting the distance between emotional tumult and self-mocking irony.

Furtado started the faux-confessional "The Alcohol" while living in L.A. and reading a lot of Charles Bukowski. "It's like a love song to drinking, almost," he jokes. "I noticed I was drinking more when I was reading Bukowski. And one night, after I came home from a drinking session on Ventura Blvd., I wrote a couple verses and a chorus. Months late, after I moved to Portland, I hammered out the rest of it with [acclaimed Nashville-based singer/songwriter] Amelia White."
 
The album's title song and centerpiece is far more solemn. "Thirteen Below" recounts the January 2006 Sago mine disaster, which trapped 13 men, only one of whom survived. "I've heard so many mining songs in my folk history, and I've sung so many topical songs in the past, that writing and singing it felt natural to me," Furtado notes. By giving the song the textures, cadence and language of Appalachian traditional music, the artist places the Sago disaster in its proper historical context while also giving it the universal resonance of tragedy. Similarly, "Hurtin' My Right Side" is a modern-day take on another roots idiom with which Furtado is thoroughly familiar – prison work songs and field hollers. He adapted the traditional piece, which he describes as "spellbinding," expanding it with a bridge and chorus.
 
Embracing female harmonies further enrich the overarching humanity in Furtado's understated, quintessentially Californian singing. The blended voices bring an intriguing new dimension to Furtado's renditions of the thematically apt "Won't Get Fooled Again" from the Who and "Fortunate Son" from Creedence Clearwater Revival. Further, given Furtado's thematic focus on luck in both the personal and political realms, these songs, which he'd discovered as a boy while working through his parents' record collection, lock right into place. A third cover, Furtado's whimsical take on Elton John's "Take Me to the Pilot," allows this musically and conceptually dense song cycle to catch its breath before soldiering on.
 
Most of the songs took shape during an intensive period of reflection and creative outpourings in Furtado's present home in Portland. "The past year has been an interesting time of growth for me," he explains. "When I first moved back, I knew I wasn't going to be hitting the road for a while, so I set up a couple of local weekly gigs to try out new songs and keep my chops up, and I also got some watercolors and taught myself to paint. I used to be a sculptor, so I got a bunch of clay, set up a little shop in my basement and started working that side of my brain. At the same time I was reading poetry and fiction, and I got an iPod and filled it up with music from the Kinks, the Who, Tom Waits, the Band and Elliott Smith, whose music had a big influence on me – the abstract quality of his lyrics but also the catchy, Beatlesque melodies. And every day I'd pick up the guitar to see what would come out. I ended up having a lot of songs to choose from." He chose them wisely.
 
Furtado, who grew up in Pleasanton, Calif., in the East Bay, took up the banjo at 12 and was hailed as a prodigy at age 19. As he was cementing his reputation as a banjoist extraordinaire, Furtado was also developing himself into an equally virtuosic slide guitarist. And now, with Thirteen, this restless artist makes an exponential leap into the wide-open spaces of mythopoetic America, a terrain inhabited by such personal heroes as Cooder, the Band, Creedence, Petty and Waits. No two ways about it – this heartfelt, multileveled work completes Tony Furtado's ascent from the folk circuit to the big leagues.

DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver- for the Grateful Web

Once again displaying the vocal magic that has earned them the IBMA's (International Bluegrass Music Association) "Vocal Group of the Year" award for the past six years, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver release More Behind the Picture Than the Wall for Rounder Records.

Out today, More Behind the Picture... is the secular follow-up to the group's critically-acclaimed You Gotta Dig A Little Deeper (Rounder Records, 2005), and shows - once again - that while these boys have no peers when it comes to raising the roof on Sundays, they've also got the muscle, finesse and know-how to take care of and elevate the more day-to-day concerns that fill the long week between Sabbaths.

Lawson, whose near-mythic path includes career-shaping stints with such legends as Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, J.D. Crowe & the Kentucky Mountain Boys and - most notably - ten sterling albums in eight years with the Country Gentlemen, formed Quicksilver in 1979.

The group's unfailing instrumental prowess and pristine harmonies have merged fireball bluegrass, classic country and jubilee gospel for almost 30 years. Lawson & Quicksilver have long since cemented their place among bluegrass's enduring elite.

In September of 2006 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Lawson was presented with a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship award (which recognizes artistic excellence in cultural authenticity and contributions to one's field), joining an extremely select group of bluegrass artists - Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley and Jerry Douglas - who have also been honored.

doyleAs with previous albums, More Behind the Picture Than the Wall shows off Quicksilver's dependable balance between sweet, in-the-tradition originals and exemplary covers that seem tailor-made for the group's exquisite vocal interplay - and for the otherworldly high-lonesome sound of principal lead singer Jamie Dailey in particular.

Lawson and Dailey share writing credits on three of the album's tunes - the kinetic, early-DL&Q styled "Mississippi River Let Your Water Flow," the buoyant, self-explanatory "Just Lovin' You" and the vintage, in-the-tradition chestnut "When The Blues Are Movin' In" - and Lawson's nimble digits whittled a brand-new instrumental showpiece for the band (the sparkling "Tulsa Turn-A-Round") on his mandolin.

Lawson contributes a memorable pair of lead vocals, tenderly exploring the wrenching heartaches that a father/son relationship can foster, on Harley Allen's "The Phone Call," and bringing a kind of spiritual mystery to the Buddy Cannon/Bill Anderson/Don Miller penned title track.

The opening version of Connie Leigh's "Sadie's Got Her New Dress On" is every bit as fresh, bright and frolicsome as the title suggests. The group's three-part harmony on Leon Payne's thought-provoking "The Selfishness of Man" is as delicate and finely-tuned as any you're likely to hear anywhere, and Lawson and Dailey close the disc with not one, but TWO versions of Dixie and Tom T. Hall's haunting, old-timey "Can You Hear Me Now" - the second version gets a roll-back-the-clock, 'retro 1938' sonic treatment that's guaranteed to raise goosebumps on anyone with fond memories of vintage AM radio days.

Expert, sublime and illuminated throughout by a palpable inner-glow, More Behind the Picture... is almost cinematic in its vivid evocations of the unadorned, rustic life - NEVER as simple nor easy as it seems outwardly, but all the more rewarding for the hard work, passion and dedication that were brought to bear to make it all happen.

BOBBY LEE RODGERS & THE CODETALKERS

Bobby Lee- for the Grateful Web

Rock & roll needs fresh blood to thrive, and it's rarely had a more exuberant, beautifully crafted infusion than Bobby Lee Rodgers & The CodeTalkers, a fiery trio that taps into the primal mojo of '50s pioneers embellished with the captivating twists & turns of hard electric blues, Muscle Shoals soul, fleet fingered acoustic picking, and huge scale epic rock. Founded in 1999, they make a joyous, dizzyingly engaged roar anchored to truly lethal musicianship.

Bobby Lee Rodgers & The CodeTalkers hit the road this spring on a run of shows dubbed the "Galaxy Girl Tour." The band's recently recorded new single, "Galaxy Girl," will be included in the band's next studio release, slated to hit streets in Fall 2007.  In the meantime, look for the song to be available on iTunes, and the video to be on www.grouper.com, www.bliptv.com  and www.youtube.com this spring.

The current list of Bobby Lee Rodgers & The CodeTalkers tour dates is as follows:

April 6 Crossroads Huntsville AL
April 7 Locos Savannah GA
April 11 The Nick Birmingham AL
April 12 Martin's Jackson MS
April 13 Rockyard Ft. Worth TX
April 14 Stubbs Indoors Austin TX STS9 after party
April 18 Fox Theater Boulder CO
April 19 Bluebird Denver CO
April 20 Black Sheep Colorado Springs CO
April 26 Winston Beach Club San Diego CA
April 27 Fais Do Do Los Angeles CA
April 28 Galaxies San Francisco CA
April 30 Humbrews Arcata CA
May 1 WOW Hall Eugene OR
May 2 Goodfoot Lounge Portland OR
May 4 Flanagan's Whitefish MT
May 5 The Loft Missoula MT
June 10 Indiefest Pagosa Springs CO
July 28 Dogstock Music Festival Melvem KS
August 4 Jerry Bash Terra Alta WV
August 26 Ashefest Asheville NC
September 21 Mulberry Mountain Harvest Music Festival Ozark AK

Bobby Lee Rodgers & The CodeTalkers' muscular, engaging sound is in full bloom on their latest album, Now , released in summer 2006. Now's  12 tracks, all original songs written by frontman Bobby Lee Rodgers, run a wild gamut, from the chugging blues of "Saved By The Same Thing" to the Zappa-like "Victor The Snakeman." There is incredible balance and nuance to Now that draws deeply from the past but also speaks to a bright future. Loud & soft, direct & elusive, the record flows in an organic, unforced manner that's positively engaging.  It's no longer a secret – the music of Bobby Lee will be heard.

Rodgers is aided & abetted by bassist Ted Pecchio and drummer Tyler Greenwell. The trio has recently been hunkering down in the studio, working on their follow-up to Now . But they've also found the time to headline gigs from coast to coast. Their mountain of positive press includes a recent interview with Rodgers on NPR's "Morning Edition."

The band was recently signed to Japanese record label Grey Dog Records.  Now will be released in Japan on April 25, and will feature three new tracks and new artwork.

Sunny Sweeney Releases Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame

Sunny Sweeney- for the Grateful Web

Keeping things twangy, tangy & tonkin' Sunny Sweeney releases Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame on Big Machine Records.  Catch Austin based Sunny Sweeney and her cracker-jack band at one of her many tour dates (below) or her upcoming SXSW performances!

"Not many debut discs sound this confident, poised, and excited." - Steve Pick, No Depression, 11/2006

"In East Texas honky-tonk queen, she has that brash confident approach that once personified Patsy Cline." - Fred Dellar, Mojo,11/6/2006

"Rarely do beauty, brains and brawn co-exist so organically as they do in Sunny Sweeney. Her brand of tough love might be the long-sought antidote for the vapid excesses that continue to infest mainstream country." - Darryl Smyers, Dallas Observer, 1/24/2007

"This honky-tonker confidently strides down a path that has been traversed by Rosie Flores, Kelly Willis and Miranda Lambert." - Bobby Reed, Chicago Sun Times, 3/4/07

"The girl can wail, and hopefully someone's paying attention . . . 4 stars."  - James Kelly, Creative Loafing (Atlanta), 1/9/2007

"Sweeney doesn't seem to care a flip about what's going on anyplace but right there in the Lone Star State, keeping things twangy, tangy, and tonkin' . . . . It's been a long time since any young female - think Joy Lynn White, maybe - got this deep-dish country."  - Alanna Nash, Amazon.com, 2/7/2007

 " . . . made from equal parts hick cool and industrial-strength Lone Star honky-tonk sawdust and stardust. Hall of Fame, her debut, is an invigorating batch of hard country tunes sung with a gutsy rural twang." - Rachel Swan, East Bay Express, 11/27/2006

"This debut is downright irresistible, with Sweeney's hankering for hooks not disturbing the hayseed charm. . . . Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame is a sweet, drawling mix of wistful, melodic sway and dancefloor precision." - Michael Corcoran, Austin American Statesman, 10/3/2006

SUNNY SWEENEY TOUR DATES 2007

3/14/07    Austin Airport/BMI Stage      SXSW
3/14/07    The Parish/AMA Showcase       SXSW
3/18/07    KHYI TX Music Revolution      Parker, TX
3/23/07    Floores Country Store         Helotes, TX
3/24/07    Muldoon's Saloon              El Campo, TX
3/31/07    Love & War in TX              Plano, TX
4/5/07     The Auslander                 Fredericksburg, TX
4/6/07     Gruene Hall                   New Braunfels, TX
4/7/07     Woody's Tavern                Fort Worth, TX
4/11/07    Hyatt Regency Lost Pines      Lost Pines, TX
4/13/07    All Good Café                 Dallas, TX
4/20/07    The Horseman                  Fort Worth, TX
4/21/07    Barton Creek Resort           Austin, TX
4/21/07    Continental Club              Austin, TX
4/27/07    Floore's Country Store        Helotes, TX
5/16/07    8.0's                         Fort Worth, TX
5/18/07    Red & Jerry's Rocky Mtn.      Sheridan, CO
5/19/07    Rock Springs Civic Ctr        Rock Springs, WY 
10/12/07   Sparks Ranch                  Longview, TX

Adrienne Young's New CD Streets On May 22nd

Adrienne Young- for the Grateful Web

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Adrienne Young is such an ardent supporter of sustainable agriculture that she bundled seed packets into the liner notes of her Grammy-nominated first album. But it's her third release, the forthcoming Room to Grow - due out May 22, 2007 on her own AddieBelle Records and distributed by Ryko Distribution - that she feels will bear the most significant fruits of her labor. Young has integrated a national responsible-farming awareness campaign and fund-raising effort into the release of Room to Grow, a perfect marriage between her convictions and her talent.

 
Recorded in upstate New York at Levon Helm's studio, in Virginia at Sound of Music Studios and mixed by Jason Lenning in Nashville, Room to Grow reveals the maturation and sensitivity that have evolved in Young's songwriting and vocals. The album features guest appearances by legendary bassist Mike Gordon (Phish, Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon), Gordon Stone (Phish, Gordon Stone Trio), long-time collaborator and Nashville heavyweight Will Kimbrough, guest vocals by bluegrass siren Dale Ann Bradley, and co-writes with Mark D. Sanders, one of Music Row's most successful tunesmiths (No. 1 songs for George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson and others).

 
Branching out from the themes that defined her last effort, 2005's The Art of Virtue - a study and exploration of Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues - Room to Grow is more introspective in its focus but wider in its aim. As in the past, Young tackles heady subjects - longing, regret, fear, desire, contentment, purpose - but manages to artfully sidestep the melodrama, extending instead a rational but hopeful approach to the pilgrimage of life.

 
"It's such a rare place to be, where you're reduced to wagering everything on the pertinence of your perspective," Young shares. "Deciding to produce this record on my own forced me to confront many qualities within myself that have served both as hindrances and strengths. It was not necessarily my intent that those struggles be apparent in the songs themselves, but expression that touches people requires the revelation of truth. I feel this album has the potential to both inspire and challenge simultaneously and am so grateful we had the chance to make it."

 
ayYoung, together with the Food Routes Network (www.foodroutes.org), which she has represented nationally since 2004, have formed an alliance with the American Community Garden Association (www.acga.org). Working with these national non-profits based in Philadelphia and Boston, Young will donate a portion of every record sold to a newly established fund. Proceeds will support local farming efforts in a variety of ways, from supplying non-GMO organic seeds to community gardens, to assisting progressive agricultural entrepreneurs.

 
FoodRoutes executive director Tim Schiltzer is excited about the partnership and feels confident that Young continues to be the appropriate national figure for the organization's mission. "We are very fortunate to have the energy and commitment to our cause from someone as special as Adrienne," Schlitzer says. "FoodRoutes' mission is to revitalize local food systems all over the United States. We do this by working to connect family farms and local consumers together in a way that helps each other through our Buy Fresh Buy Local program. Adrienne's music is one way to introduce our mission both to farmers and the public. We could not ask for a better spokesperson who not only helps spread the word but also leads by example in her contributions to community based food systems."

 
In the fall, Young will unveil an inaugural sustainable living tour featuring eco-vendors, educational workshops on self-sufficient living practices, national live music acts as well as local artists and artisans representing the traditions specific to their region. One of Young's goals is to acquaint people with the resources available in their own backyards. "Our intention is for this tour to affirm the power inherent in tightly bound communities, by reinvigorating an awareness of and affection for local neighborhoods, cultures and economies." 

Tommy Ramone's Bluegrass Blitzkrieg Uncle Monk

Tommy Ramone & Claudia Tienan- for the Grateful Web

The New York Times preview said it best: "There is life after the Ramones, but who knew it would be bluegrass?" The write-up referred to Tommy Ramone's new bluegrass duo Uncle Monk, co-fronted by Claudia Tienan. In what seems an improbable second act for the man who wrote "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," Uncle Monk is rooted in the old-timey and bluegrass traditions. The duo's self-titled debut album featuring 14 original songs will be released to brick and mortar retail on the indie Airday Records label, distributed by Burnside Distribution, on May 22.

 
"We are doing what feels natural to us," says Ramone. "We are making use of string-band instrumentation along with alternative rock flavorings. We're drawn to the classic simplicity of string-band music, but at the same time we are deeply involved with the aesthetics of indie  music. There is a similarity between punk and old-time music — both are home-brewed as opposed to schooled. Both have earthy energy. And there is a certain cool in old-time music that is found in the best alternative artists."

 
The songs of Uncle Monk run the gamut of emotions from exhilaration to sorrow, focusing on many aspects of modern existence: small-town life, coming to the big city, urban gentrification, interpersonal relationships and spiritual longings.

 
Tommy Ramone began his musical career as Tommy Erdelyi, an engineer at the Record Plant. Born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y., he co-founded the Ramones with Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee and participated in the birth of punk and indie-rock, working as the band's drummer, producer and manager. He has also produced recordings by the Talking Heads, Redd Kross and the Replacements.

 
Claudia Tienan hails from Minneapolis, where she was part of the local music scene  and came to New York to study philosophy at Hunter College. She was later a member of the Simplistics and then formed Uncle Monk with Ramone — originally as an electric jam band, and later as an acoustic duo. Her penetrating lyrics and haunting vocals add facets and dimensions to the songs. There is a yin and yang sensibility here, a touch of light and dark, of bitter and sweet, as the music of each artist complements the other's.

 
Uncle Monk delivers thoughtful and measured crafting of lyrics and melodies, and is dedicated to music that inspires the heart and tingles the spine.
 

Time Out New York recently wrote of the band: "If we tell you that Uncle Monk is a bluegrass duo with Tommy Ramone in it, you're bound to think of something like punkgrass or bluepunk. But [they] serve it up pretty straight — and solid. There is no doubting that Ramone's protean experience informs Uncle Monk, but he's no dilettante. This stuff is real."