years

Keeping the Show on the Road With Railroad Earth

After 10 successful years on the road, Railroad Earth will mark their 10th anniversary with a special concert this May at the prestegious Wellmont Theater, in Montclair, NJ. The milestone will be one of many key performances throughout the Mid-West and Southern States, marking a turning point for the 6-piece rootsy Americana act who has shown remarkable growth in the last year.

Stillwater, NJ band, Railroad Earth, known in most circles as an Americana / improvisational band, brings the music world the rare blend of feel-good music filled with introspection and story-filled lyrics that shape not only the song, but the perspective of their devoted 'super-fan' listeners. Yet, this is not just another touring band to hit the scene with a large fan base that follows them from show to show. They are a group of deeply grounded musicians sharing a story that has been woven through a living counterculture since the 1960's --- when tuning in and dropping out was part of the daily norm.

Featuring an unusual cast of characters and instruments the Railroad Earth sound is made up of 6 parts, including: Todd Sheaffer (Lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Tim Carbone (Violin, electric guitar, vocals), John Skehan (Mandolin, bouzouki, vocals), Andy Goessling (Acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, dobro, lap steel, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle, saxophones and vocals), Carey Harmon (Drums, hand percussion, vocals) and Andrew Altman (Upright and electric bass). The project features soaring arrangements, touching ballads and the kind of on the spot mid-song improvisation that leaves fans clamoring for more, and steady ticket sales growth in every market they visit!

For more information about Railroad Earth or tickets go to: www.railroadearth.com or check out their Electronic Press Kit

Up until the release of their October 2010 self-titled album (which gained great reviews in publications such as: Vanity Fair, Men's Health, Blurt, New York Time Out and, most recently, the esteemed music review blog, Daytrotter), Railroad Earth has nearly skirted the limelight - favoring the kind of success that connects them directly with their fans in a near instant communal experience. And in turn, the group has grown vastly over the years, primarily on rock solid national ticket sales and word-of-mouth grassroots marketing. And while Railroad Earth has made cameos on the pages of indie and mainstream journals as recently as last month, their dedication to the grit of American life and the road as traveling minstrels prevails.

Marshall Crenshaw celebrates 30th anniversary with special NYC shows

“His intelligence, integrity, and passion for the great song always show up in his music,” wrote Robert Christgau in his Consumer Guide of Marshall Crenshaw. Over a span of 30 years, Crenshaw has released 13 albums, all of which have received the highest marks from critics and have earned him a fiercely local fan base. And now as Crenshaw prepares to transition from releasing physical albums to making his new music available in a subscription series to be announced soon, he will celebrate his first 30 years of recording in a special three-nighter at City Winery, 155 Varick St. in New York on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, which are already sold out, with Sunday, May 1 just added. For information, click here.

Crenshaw will perform his debut single and his self-titled debut album in sequence, adding as many other hits and favorites as time permits. He will be joined by Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan, longtime associate Graham Maby on bass, drummer Josh Dion, and on the 29th by original drummer (and brother) Robert Crenshaw.

According to Crenshaw, “The emphasis in the advertising, etc. has been on my first album but this year actually marks the 30-year anniversary of the release of ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ on Shake Records, my first record, and a really, really darn good one, produced by the late Alan Betrock and myself.  Therefore, this year marks my 30th year as a recording artist . . . amazing. It’s crazy!! Holy @!*&&^%!!!

“In 1978, by chance, not by design, I landed in New York City (with my wife) and the next few years were something like a whirlwind. We still do and always will look back on those days with great fondness; these anniversary shows will give me and everyone else in the room on those nights a chance to celebrate those times.”

“As it stands now we’re planning on mostly focusing on early repertoire, sprinkling in some middle period stuff, even some brand new stuff,” Crenshaw says. “I’m normally not that big on nostalgia and don’t plan to make a habit of it, but sometimes it can be a sweet feeling, harmless fun, etc.”

Rolling Stone, in its review of Crenshaw’s first long-player, called the album “1982's most gorgeous singer-songwriter debut,” adding, “every song here sounds like a classic.” Said Creem: “Marshall’s songs are perfect unto themselves — melodies, jaunty rhythms, super fine love lyrics and an exactly executed production that gives the songs a final and finished veneer when put on vinyl.”

Indeed, it was 1981 when Detroit-area native Crenshaw released his first single, “Something’s Gonna Happen” b/w “She Can’t Dance,” on New York Rocker founder Alan Betrock’s Shake Records label. The collectors’ site Discog calls it “As truly romantic, energetic and catchy as any early Beatles, British Invasion or Buddy Holly top hit record.” From it came the Warner Brothers contract that produced such classics as “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” “Someday Someway,” “Whenever You’re On My Mind” and “Cynical Girl.” The great songs continued with the Life’s Too Short album on MCA (“Fantastic Planet of Love”), three albums for Razor & Tie and the 2009 release Jaggedland (“Someone Told Me,” “Passing Through,” “Never Coming Down”). The Onion’s “A.V. Club” cited Jaggedland’s “sophisticated, warm, and carefully crafted melodies,” while SonicBoomers called it, “as good as anything he’s ever done,” adding, “There is a freshness of spirit to all these songs, like the artist is just starting out instead of being 30 years into a career.”

As The New York Times noted, “Mr. Crenshaw’s songs seem to roll off the guitar in a casual blend of pre-1970s styles — folk-rock, surf-rock, country and above all the Beatles — that put melody first. With his winsome tenor, he delves into the ways love goes right and goes wrong, from distant yearning to the aftermath of infidelity, hiding turmoil within the chiming tunes.”

And the Denver Post, reviewing a show from Crenshaw’s most recent tour, stated, “Crenshaw’s best songs, replete with irresistible hooks and perfect for his voice, are what drew critics and listeners from the beginning. Yet, in live performances, as well as on record, Crenshaw’s noted guitar talents shine through.”

As well as celebrating the first 30 years, the City Winery shows will mark the end of the album era for Crenshaw, who will shortly elaborate on plans to offer a subscription series to a quarterly series of vinyl and digital EPs, which will be available from his web site and other locations.

Further reflecting on his 30-year-old debut 45 RPM recording, Crenshaw notes, “I know that on that night I’ll be thinking of Alan Betrock. We already had some momentum on a couple of fronts: Robert Gordon’s version of ‘Someday Someway’ was causing a big sensation on NY radio, our club gigs were creating a lot of excitement, the press was getting on board, etc., but when Alan stepped into the picture it really put the pedal to the metal. We made a great record, my first, and really, I’d wanted to make a record with my name on it since I was a little kid. Alan put us in touch with another mover and shaker, the great Andy Schwartz, who had taken over New York Rocker magazine from Alan. There were others but that magazine was one of my bibles at the time; in fact I’d met Alan by responding to an ad that he’d run in the magazine announcing the launching of Shake Records.

“These guys had clout and credibility, not just with me but with everybody who was cool and involved with rock music in the city. Pretty soon ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ was on the radio right alongside of Robert Gordon’s ‘Someday Someway’ and we were officially a big deal on the New York rock scene, something I was hugely proud of, and hopefully not too arrogant behind.”

And looking toward the three dates at City Winery, Crenshaw says, “I’m excited to say that joining us on guitar all weekend, all night long, will be the great Ira Kaplan, somebody who really knows how to spice up the proceedings.”

B.B. King's rescheduled date at the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Westword are proud to present the rescheduled date for B.B. King at the Boulder Theater on Saturday, August 20th, 2011.

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don't look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can't get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King - better known as B.B. King - has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.

B.B.'s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. "King's Spot," became so popular, it was expanded and became the "Sepia Swing Club." Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille.

Soon after his number one hit, "Three O'Clock Blues," B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.'s words, "When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."

In 1968, B.B. played at the Newport Folk Festival and at Bill Graham's Fillmore West on bills with the hottest contemporary rock artists of the day who idolized B.B. and helped to introduce him to a young white audience. In ``69, B.B. was chosen by the Rolling Stones to open 18 American concerts for them; Ike and Tina Turner also played on 18 shows.

B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received NARAS' Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987, and has received honorary doctorates from Tougaloo(MS) College in 1973; Yale University in 1977; Berklee College of Music in 1982; Rhodes College of Memphis in 1990; Mississippi Valley State University in 2002 and Brown University in 2007. In 1992, he received the National Award of Distinction from the University of Mississippi.

In 1991, B.B. King's Blues Club opened on Beale Street in Memphis, and in 1994, a second club was launched at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles. A third club in New York City's Times Square opened in June 2000 and most recently two clubs opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in January 2002. In 1996, the CD-Rom On The Road With B.B. King: An Interactive Autobiography was released to rave reviews. Also in 1996, B.B.'s autobiography, "Blues All Around Me" (written with David Ritz for Avon Books) was published. In a similar vein, Doubleday published "The Arrival of B.B. King" by Charles Sawyer, in 1980.

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss," "The Thrill Is Gone," How Blue Can You Get," "Everyday I Have The Blues," and "Why I Sing The Blues" are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951's "Three O'Clock Blues," and 1952's "You Don't Know Me," and four #2 R&B hits, 1953's "Please Love Me," 1954's "You Upset Me Baby," 1960's "Sweet Sixteen, Part I," and 1966's "Don't Answer The Door, Part I." B.B.'s most popular crossover hit, 1970's "The Thrill Is Gone," went to #15 pop.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday March 25!

$69.50 GA / $87.50 Reserved / $115.00 Gold Circle

They Might Be Giants Return To Rock, Advance Tracks Drop April 26!

They Might Be Giants new album, Join Us, is the recordings that their fans have been waiting 20 years for!  Impossibly catchy, sometimes strange and always original the album is a stunning return to form. As the band turns away from the family oriented projects that dominated their output in recent years (and garnered them two GRAMMY nominations and a win) on Join Us we find the band has returned to their singular sensibility that made them an instant phenomenon in the world of alternative rock.  Join Us is an electrifying mix of clever, maddeningly catchy songwriting and studio mastery.  The album was created in the brand new private studio of their long-time collaborator Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Mary J. Blige, Tegan and Sara, Doveman).

The advance track offering opens with “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”--a summer-perfect pop single that will get instantly stuck in your head and make you want to roll down the windows. The electronic ballad “Never Knew Love” puts a new and simple twist on the love song.  The pure folk-pop of “Old Pine Box” showcases the band's signature harmonies, handclaps and the always popular, never anticipated vocoder.

The advance tracks will be released digitally April 26 on iTunes through their “Complete My Album” program on April 26th, with the full album arriving in all digital and physical outlets later this year through Idlewild/Rounder Records. Flansburgh recently talked to AOL Spinner. Read his exclusive interview announcing the arrival of the album.

They Might Be Giants unlikely success story started nearly three decades ago with their Dial-A-Song service. High energy, low budget videos broke them into heavy rotation on MTV and the rest would soon become alternative rock history.  Along the way the band has become the recipients of two GRAMMYs and a platinum record (1990’s Flood). They recorded numerous themes including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, their GRAMMY-winning theme Malcolm In the Middle and many more. John Flansburgh is currently produced Jonathan Coulton’s upcoming studio release "Artificial Heart" which also features TMBG”s Marty Beller on drums.

Notorious for their energized live show, They Might Be Giants will launch the first  international tour in over a decade this Fall, hitting 6 countries and over 50 US cities.  Stay tuned for details!

The Albertans' "New Age" Out Today

The Albertans, a quintet of Joel Bravo, Ian Everall, Curtis McLean, Krystin Monaghan, and Alison Yip, formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, defects from Alberta, Saskatchewan and the U.S. They met as a collective, and piled into a propane-fueled, converted short bus to tour down to San Diego and back. They toured this way for the next two years, unglamorously, crossing the continent to record in New York, playing shows with bands they didn't know, for people that didn't know them. They traveled 50,000 miles, hopped borders, broke down, and slept on the road. In those two years together, The Albertans recorded an EP and full length with Ernest Jenning Records. They played shows at Sled Island, SXSW, and CMJ with bands such as Cuff the Duke, Hard Drugs, and Woods, and were named one of L Magazine's top NYC bands of 2009. Last Fall, The Albertans finally found a home back in Vancouver, and have been playing shows in BC until now, when they'll leave for SXSW and ultimately a full US tour.

The Albertans recorded their new single and forthcoming album New Age, at Chandelier Studios in Brooklyn, NY. Ernest Jenning Record Company (Cuff the Duke, O'Death, Takka Takka, Still Flyin) have released the full-length album today.

Watch the video 'Megan' here.

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The Albertans Live!

March 19th Austin, TX @ FiveOneTwo (SXSW) w/ The Forms, Takka Takka, O'Death

April 1st Bowen Island, BC @ the Bowen Island Pub
w/ Daniel Carter

April 2nd Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
w/ Wizzrds, The Killing Time Quartet and Bear Mountain

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs keep it lo-fi

No Help Coming is the fourth full-length release by Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, and the latest of nearly 30 albums on which the veteran indie icon is featured. But she’s quick to dismiss any suggestion that she’s refined her approach during her 20 years as a recording artist.

“I’m proud to say that I don’t think there’s been much development at all, really,” Golightly asserts. “I still only know the same chords I did when I was 14, and I still write songs about the same things. But I did get a tuner three years ago, which was monumental.”

Indeed, as much as her work has evolved over the years, the London-born, Georgia-based singer/guitarist has maintained a fierce fidelity to the same raw DIY musical principles that first established her as a seminal influence upon multiple generations of garage combos and lo-fi artists. Her current outfit, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, is a stripped-down duo that teams her with Texas-bred multi-instrumentalist and longtime collaborator Lawyer Dave, who contributes guitar, drums and backing vocals.

On No Help Coming, scheduled for release on April 26, 2011 on Transdreamer Records, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs continue to make music that’s spare and earthy yet unfailingly tuneful, drawing upon gritty blues, country and rockabilly influences while maintaining an unmistakable personal resonance. As Playboy.com commented, “Golightly’s songs are so fresh and timeless they could have been recorded yesterday or 40 years ago.”

The new 12-song set, recorded in the twosome’s adopted home state of Georgia, features such notable originals as “The Rest of Your Life,” “You’re Under Arrest,” “Get Out My House” and the swaggering title track, all of which pack as much of a musical and emotional punch as anything they’ve recorded. No Help Coming also continues Golightly’s longstanding tradition of putting her stamp on unexpected cover material, with personalized readings of country legend Bill Anderson’s “The Lord Knows We’re Drinking,” the mysterious Mr. Undertaker’s 1955 rhythm-and-blues cult classic “Here Lies My Love,” and Wendell Austin’s vintage psycho-country epic “L.S.D. Made a Wreck of Me.” The last tune features an appropriately impassioned lead vocal by Lawyer Dave.

Born in Kensington, London, in the same hospital that Jimi Hendrix died in, Holly Golightly grew up in a bohemian household, absorbing a musical diet of psychedelic rock and soul. Her performing debut came via her then-boyfriend Bruce Brand, drummer of the legendary Billy Childish-led combo Thee Headcoats. An impromptu guest spot singing with that band led to a long and productive run as a member of Thee Headcoats’ sister band, Thee Headcoatees, with whom she recorded.

In 1995, while still a member of Thee Headcoatees, Holly branched out into a solo career that quickly revealed a both a distinctive songwriting talent and a commanding stage presence. Her solo work also largely traded Thee Headcoatees’ three-chord girl-group garage rock for a rootsier approach drawing much of its inspiration from rural American styles. She’s been intensely prolific in the years since, releasing 20 solo albums as well as numerous singles and EPs for a variety of labels, including Damaged Goods, Kill Rock Stars, Super Electro and Sympathy for the Record Industry. She’s also recorded collaborations with the likes of the White Stripes, Mudhoney, the Greenhornes and Rocket from the Crypt.

In 2007, Holly teamed with Lawyer Dave to form Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs. They purchased a parcel of rural land near Athens, Georgia, where they raise horses, dogs, chickens, geese and goats. Recording and performing as a duo, with Dave playing guitar with his hands and drums with his feet, they developed a loose, twangy sound that’s perfectly suited to their lyrical explorations of such quintessentially American themes as whiskey, religion and guns.

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs’ 2007 debut album You Can’t Buy a Gun When You’re Crying won considerable attention from critics and fans alike. The pair continued to expand their audience with 2008’s acclaimed Dirt Don’t Hurt, their first release on the Transdreamer label. It was followed by the similarly well-received EP Devil Do and album Medicine County, released in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Now, No Help Coming adds a compelling new chapter to Holly Golightly’s massively influential body of work. “I think I’m still doing exactly what I’ve always done, in that I’ve managed to keep making music I like,” she observes. “Perhaps some people don’t stick at it for as long because they didn’t really like what they were doing in the first place. I think the trick is to just do what you like, and not aim to use every switch in the studio just because it’s there.”

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SPRING 2011 TOUR DATES

Fri., April 29  CHARLOTTE, NC Snug Harbor
Sat., April 30  CHAPEL HILL, NC Local 506
Sun., May 1  ARLINGTON, VA IOTA Club & Café
Tues., May 3  BALTIMORE, MD The Ottobar
Wed., May 4  PHILADELPHIA, PA M Room
Thurs., May 5  NEW YORK, NY The Mercury Lounge
Fri., May 6  BROOKLYN, NY Knitting Factory
Sat., May 7  CAMBRIDGE, MA Middle East Upstairs
Sun., May 8  NEW HAVEN CT Café Nine
Tues., May 10 BUFFALO, NY The Ninth Ward
Wed., May 11 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
Fri., May 13  CHICAGO, IL Beat Kitchen
Sat., May 14  MINNEAPOLIS, MN 7th Street Entry
Sun., May 15  MILWAUKEE, WI Mad Planet
Tues., May 17  ST. LOUIS, MO The Firebird
Thurs., May 19  OKLAHOMA CITY, OK The Conservatory
Fri., May 20  AUSTIN, TX Emo’s Alternative Lounging (Indoor)
Mon., June 20  SEATTLE, WA The Funhouse
Tues., June 21  PORTLAND, OR Doug Fir Lounge
Thurs., June 23  SAN FRANCISCO, CA Bottom of the Hill
Fri., June 24  LOS ANGELES, CA The Hotel Cafe
Sat., June 25 SAN DIEGO, CA Soda Bar

Tower of Power Celebrate 40TH Anniversary

TOWER OF POWER CELEBRATE ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY WITH ALBUM, DVD AND REUNION.   New Collection Features TOP alumni like Lenny Pickett and Chester Thompson; Special Guests Include Soul Legend Sam Moore.

It’s spring! As we celebrate the start of the baseball season, the end of the basketball season and the release of Tower of Power’s 40th Anniversary album, the operative phrase in everyone’s ears is “We Came To Play.” But then, Tower of Power has “come to play,” every single time they take to the stage over the last 42 years.  The horn driven soul and funk machine has toured consistently playing to so(u)ld out crowds around the world.  And after 40 years, four of the original musicians still play with the band.

Similar to sports teams, however, Tower of Power has had numerous players take free agency with other musical prospects. So the 40th Anniversary show gave the band an opportunity to stage their version of “Old Timer’s Day,” bringing 20 former members to work with the ongoing ten player line-up.

“When we were young and we’d lose somebody, it seemed like the end of the world,” TOP founder Emilio Castillo told Gary Graff.  “But it started happening at such an early age in our career, and we always overcame it and always got great people to come in.”

Captured live at the Legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco in 2008, this extraordinary show welcomed such former members as Greg Adams, TOP’s trumpeter and arranger for 20 years and subsequently one of the architects of the “smooth Jazz” sound; Chester Thompson, who moved on to play keys for Santana and Elton John; and chart topping “smooth jazz” sax player and first call session guy Richard Elliott.

At a show recorded on the band’s actual anniversary, former TOP member Lenny Pickett, long time sax player for the Saturday Night Live band, joined in. He’s in the bonus footage and is interviewed.   Legendary vocalist Sam Moore, of Sam and Dave, added to the funkified festivities with “I Thank You,” and Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful.”  The DVD is dedicated to Steve “Skip” Mesquite, long time alto player for TOP, who made the show and passed on shortly afterward.

The CD and DVD package is a slam dunk of soulful funk, with such great Tower of Power hits as “What is Hip?” “You’re Still A Young Man,” the ever timely “Only So Much Oil In The Ground,” and “This Time It’s Real.” After 40 years, this band can clearly still hit it out of the ballpark.

“It was probably the most special night of our entire career,” said Castillo. “Getting together and playing again with those guys we’d spent so much time with on the road. It was magic.”

March 2011 Bluegrass Ball News!

Chances are if you’ve been to a bluegrass festival the memories most prevalent in your mind are not so much that of the “scheduled” performers but more of the impromptu jams and unscheduled collaborations.  It’s with that spirit that the McCoury family decided to embark on a traveling bluegrass festival that they are calling The Bluegrass Ball.

Ask most string musicians young or old and they will mostly likely tell you they either want to play with the McCoury family if they have not already.  The McCourys are known for not only their ability to play with just about anyone but also for actually doing it!  Due to this willingness to play with other musicians, the McCoury family is known as heavy weights on the festival and bluegrass scene, even having their own wildly successful festival “Delfest”.  The McCoury’s decided to not only play in this festival but also promote it themselves making the festival on wheels more accessible to fans by playing more intimate venues that collaborate in giving fans a great value at a reasonable price.

Along for the ride over 4 nights in both Chicago and St. Louis are mandolin extraordinaire Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band), Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon and Emmitt-Nershi Band), and bluegrass up and comers Head for the Hills. This run of shows will be nothing short of epic. With this particular line up there are sure to be some phenomenal collaborations and each show will certainly be unique from the next!

Just added to the already impressive Chicago and St. Louis Bluegrass Ball lineup is Allie Kral fiddler extraordinaire from Cornmeal.  Allie will join already confirmed Travelin McCourys, Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band), Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon and Emmitt-Nershi), and Colorado Heavy hitters Head for the Hills.  This lineup will begin Chicago for a 2 night run at the Abbey Pub on March 10th & 11th and in St. Louis for a 2 night run on March 12th & 13th.

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The Travelin’ McCourys

The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road-and online-entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres.  It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music.

No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music.  As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work-a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful.  But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenated.

Jeff Austin

Jeff Austin is best known for his many years playing mandolin for Colorado heavy hitters, Yonder Mountain String Band. Yonder has always played by their own set of rules bending bluegrass, rock and roll, and countless other influences. While most known for his playing with Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff has played with countless musicians and is sought after by countless musicians and festivals alike.

Drew Emmitt

Revered as one of the most energetic and innovative mandolin players on the jamband/newgrass scene today, Emmitt’s “inestimable talents” (An Honest Tune) don’t end with just the instruments that can be picked.  Holding the wheel steady on acoustic and electric slide mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and mandola Emmitt also showcases on recent solo albums superlative storytelling and versatile vocal abilities. Drew Emmitt is best known for his over 20 years with Leftover Salmon and also the past few years with The Emmitt-Nershi Band

Allie Kral

Allie Kral is quickly becoming a fiddling force to be reckoned with in the jamgrass scene.  Her years with Cornmeal have made her a road warrior spending over 3/4 of the year on the road on the Cornmeal bus.  Allie has shared the stage with just about any band you can think of from festival stages to the jammy stages she is in high demand amonst artists such as Moe, Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth, and Keller Williams just to name a few.  Playing with speed and precision Kral's playing appears effortless and wows crowds time and again.

Head For the Hills

Rooted in the tradition of bluegrass, the music of Head for the Hills is a vibrant mixture of homegrown compositions, traditional harmonies, and an innovative approach to improvisation.  The groups’ lyrical nature and songwriting seems to evoke reminiscent feelings of inspiration. In the live setting, Head for the Hills can venture into the myriad of musical styles and sonic landscapes that caters to a boundless array of listeners.

Zero @ Great American Music Hall | 3/4 & 3/5

For the first time in nearly 20 years, ZERO returns to the Great American Music Hall for a two-night special event: March 4th and 5th. Almost two decades ago, the quintessential Bay Area band recorded 'Chance in a Million' at the historic venue.

The band reunites to commemorate the music and to benefit band mate, Judge Murphy, who is battling liver cancer, awaiting transplant.  Tickets on sale now and selling fast. Thanks for supporting the cause to benefit a brother.

ABSOLUTE ZERO

Recorded at Avatar Studio in Santa Rosa, California in the early eighties, the studio recording Absolute Zero marks the inception of the ZERO instrumental repertoire.

Featuring Steve Kimock on guitar and bass and Greg Anton on drums and keys, this 80's recording is being released for the first time, available exclusively at the upcoming ZERO shows.

Featuring such songs as Tear Tags Off Mattresses, Severe Tire Damage and Theme From Nancy Germany, this 5-song EP will surely delight any ZERO fan. The album will be officially released after the GAMH shows.

KIMOCK'S SPRING NEW YORK CITY RESIDENCY

Steve Kimock has confirmed a three-week spring residency at Sullivan Hall in NYC on Wednesday, March 23th, March 30th and April 6th.

Kimock's NYC residency will have a very different musical feel & flavor each week, with some of the best musicians based in New York City and beyond joining him such as Henry Butler, Adam Deitch, Marco Benevento, Andy Hess, John Molo, Pete Sears, Marc Friedman and more! Expect some legendary collaborations...hope to see you there.

For line-ups and more info visit www.kimock.com

100 Years of Robert Johnson streets Tuesday, March 1

May 8th, 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of blues legend Robert Johnson’s birthday. In celebration of the most influential bluesman that ever lived, the Big Head Blues Club – an ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm – has been touring coast to coast playing the material of Johnson. The tour, which has been garnering rave reviews, wraps up on March 8, just after the studio album, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson, hits the streets (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records).

100 Years of Robert Johnson is a stirring collection featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century. In addition to the above-mentioned artists, 100 Years of Robert Johnson includes performances by blues greats B.B. King and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keeper of the blues flame Ruthie Foster. The album was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Rob Squires (bass) and Brian Nevin (drums) nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.


100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that as a young man Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm is as follows:

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Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre
Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre