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Scattered Trees Announce Sympathy

On April 5th, Chicago’s Scattered Trees will release their full-length record, Sympathy, via Roll Call Records/EMI. In honor of the album’s release, the band is making their track "A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve" available for free download. Download the track here. The band will also be performing in Chicago on January 21 at Schubas.

For Scattered Trees, Sympathy is a labor of love that almost didn’t happen. The band grew up together in the outskirts of Chicago, playing music together in various groups over the years. They became a family in more ways than one, with some of the members sharing last names — albeit for different reasons. Scattered Trees became a staple of Chicago clubs, but as time passed, the band’s members were drawn to various parts of the country. Scattered Trees as a band looked all but over. And then, tragedy struck. Lead singer Nate Eiesland’s father passed away, and while mourning, Nate picked up his guitar again and started penning a record dedicated to his memory. Those songs became Sympathy.

The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Opening with “Bury the Floors,” Nate sings “It’s the house that I built you to fall / We started to walk then we stood up to crawl / So bury the floors and burn down the walls / to find ourselves by morning.” Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

Emmitt-Nershi Band Announces New Bassist

With Tyler Grant recently announcing his departure from the Emmitt-Nershi Band fans have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new bass player for the band.  Today the Emmitt-Nershi Band website and facebook will be making the announcement that Johnny Grubb of Railroad Earth will be filling the spot.  Throughout Johnny's 7 years with Railroad Earth he had played with Billy Nershi on many occasions opening up the doors for this opportunity.  The bands lineup change is effective as of now and all upcoming dates will be played with Drew Emmitt (mandolin/vocals), Billy Nershi (guitar/vocals), Andy Torn (banjo) and Johnny Grubb (bass).  Below is the official announcement that will be posted on the webpage and facebook from Johnny.

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Hello, World!  Rather than make someone else come up with an announcement for who the new bassist will be, I thought I'd try to follow in Tyler's gracious footsteps and do it myself.

My name is Johnny Grubb.  I went to school at Appalachian State University and saw Leftover Salmon many, many times my first couple of years there.  After ASU, I spent a good year rolling burritos, washing dishes and playing bluegrass in my hometown of Atlanta before serendipitously running into John Skehan of Railroad Earth one night at a gig of ours.  They just happened to be on the lookout for a new bassist and long story short, I spent 7 years in that band, playing several metric tons of great music and meeting lots of great folks all over the country.

One of the folks I met and had the good fortune of playing with on many occasions was Mr. Billy Nershi.  RRE was signed to SCI Fidelity Records for a number of years and we got to be friends with a bunch of the SCI/Mad House folks in time.  RRE always was and still is a full-time commitment. I just couldn't keep it up with the birth of my second boy last January, so I bowed out a year ago and spent this past year getting a web development consultancy off the ground, getting to know the virtues and vices of the various open source software scenes out there and being home with my wife and boys for the first time ever.  The itch to play some bass didn't come back until just a few months ago after getting into the most recent Larry Keel and Stringduster's CDs.

In any event, I cruised by this website last month to see what they were working with from a technical standpoint.  The meaning of Tyler's announcement that he was leaving didn't really hit me until the next day, at least not the part where I should give Billy a call and see who they have lined up.  I wasn't looking for another full-time gig, nor to be in another rock band per se, so after speaking with Billy and Drew it seemed like the parameters were pretty well lined up for everybody and here I am!

Just to put a bow on top of everything, I met Andy years ago when he was with Larry Keel and didn't find out until the last few weeks that he was a member of the Broke Mountain Bluegrass band with Travis from the Infamous Stringdusters and my good friend Anders from Greensky Bluegrass.  It's nice to be a part of this small world and I want to thank my new bandmates for having me aboard.  I will see you all soon.

Old 97's @ Boulder Theater | 1/27/11

Since the Old 97's roared out of Dallas more than fifteen years ago, they have blazed a trail through alt-country and power-pop, led by the piercingly observant lyrics of lead singer Rhett Miller. Each new Old 97's record is hotly anticipated, and rightfully so: "Blame It On Gravity," from 2008, contained some of the band's most deeply felt and passionately played songs. But in a career full of high-water marks, "The Grand Theatre Volume 1″ is perhaps the most ambitious and accomplished set of recordings yet.

The album, the band's eighth, began to come together last year, when Miller was on a solo tour of Europe with Steve Earle. "When I started in this band, I wrote on the road constantly," Miller says. "But I was 23 then, so everything was new to me. Over the years, those strange and wonderful things have begun to feel more commonplace. On the familiar highways, in familiar hotels, it's pretty easy to turn into a zombie. But on this tour, I was in England and Ireland and Scandinavia, places where I haven't spent very much time in, and because of that things seemed somehow fresh. I felt recharged."

The result was a set of songs rooted in specific locations. "The title track, which I wrote in Leeds, is like a series of postcards that try to capture the moment of falling in love; it begins in the Grand Theatre, which is a historic venue there, on the elevator. There's another song, "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," that I wrote, or at least started to write, while I was walking around in Soho. And a song like "The Dance Class" wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in Birmingham, trapped in a hotel, looking out at streets that were bleak and gray except for a dance studio across the way. I imagined an agoraphobic who sees a beautiful girl in that studio and fantasizes about being freed by her." Miller's portraits of love and loneliness are paired with some of the sharpest music the band has ever produced, from the propulsive celebration of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" to the manic (and almost panicked) energy of "The Dance Class."

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17th Mountain Sun Funky Good Times feat. Pearl St. All Stars

The Mountain Sun is 17 years old. The Southern Sun is 8 years old. The Vine Street Pub is almost 3 years old. And The Boulder Theater is throwing an anniversary "Funky Good Times" party to celebrate.

Musicians include-.

-George Porter Jr. from The Funky Meters on bass, returning for the 7th year. We all know how legendary George is on the bass.

-Kyle Hollingsworth from String Cheese Incident on keyboards, also returning for the 7th year. If you have not seen Kyle's style you are missing out. One of the greatest keyboardist of our times.

-Karl Denson from the one and only Karl Denson's Tiny Universe on Saxophone. A highly energized funk machine and formally the sax-man for Lenny Kravitz. Karl is a dynamic musician with the soul to follow.

-Alan Evans from Soul Live on drums. Alan helped Soul Live develop a reputation as one of the most sought after instrumental soul-funk trios in the US.

-Davy Knowles on guitar. Prolific. Prodigal. Profound. That is Davy Knowles. Hailing from the Isle of Man, the tiny kingdom in the middle of the Irish Sea, might have posed a challenge to that childhood epiphany for a lesser talent. Instead, Davy just borrowed his father's acoustic guitar and painstakingly learned to play "Sultans of Swing" by ear. A true virtuoso.

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Old 97's w/ Langhorne Slim @ Boulder Theater

Since the Old 97's roared out of Dallas more than fifteen years ago, they have blazed a trail through alt-country and power-pop, led by the piercingly observant lyrics of lead singer Rhett Miller. Each new Old 97's record is hotly anticipated, and rightfully so: "Blame It On Gravity," from 2008, contained some of the band's most deeply felt and passionately played songs. But in a career full of high-water marks, "The Grand Theatre Volume 1″ is perhaps the most ambitious and accomplished set of recordings yet.

The album, the band's eighth, began to come together last year, when Miller was on a solo tour of Europe with Steve Earle. "When I started in this band, I wrote on the road constantly," Miller says. "But I was 23 then, so everything was new to me. Over the years, those strange and wonderful things have begun to feel more commonplace. On the familiar highways, in familiar hotels, it's pretty easy to turn into a zombie. But on this tour, I was in England and Ireland and Scandinavia, places where I haven't spent very much time in, and because of that things seemed somehow fresh. I felt recharged."

The result was a set of songs rooted in specific locations. "The title track, which I wrote in Leeds, is like a series of postcards that try to capture the moment of falling in love; it begins in the Grand Theatre, which is a historic venue there, on the elevator. There's another song, "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," that I wrote, or at least started to write, while I was walking around in Soho. And a song like "The Dance Class" wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in Birmingham, trapped in a hotel, looking out at streets that were bleak and gray except for a dance studio across the way. I imagined an agoraphobic who sees a beautiful girl in that studio and fantasizes about being freed by her." Miller's portraits of love and loneliness are paired with some of the sharpest music the band has ever produced, from the propulsive celebration of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" to the manic (and almost panicked) energy of "The Dance Class."

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B.B. King with Hazel Miller Trio @ Boulder Theater

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. 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."

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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Blix Street Records To Release "Simply Eva" by Eva Cassidy

She left us way too soon, in November of 1996, but Eva Cassidy's voice has continued to resonate with fans around the world since the music she left behind began to be released two years after her passing from melanoma at the age of 33.On January 25, 2011, independent Blix Street Records will release SIMPLY EVA, a collection of 12 acoustic versions of songs with which she has been associated, all previously-unheard guitar and vocal only performances.

This "Eva only" collection showcases Cassidy's extraordinary voice and superb guitar work as well as her unusual arrangements of sometimes familiar material to create a new and different listening experience for even the most devoted fans of her music. Whether it's her spare interpretation of Christine McVie's "Songbird," (which was the title cut of the initial breakthrough 1998 compilation from the Cassidy canon), the bluesy stylings of "People Get Ready" or the folk versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Wade In The Water," it's Cassidy's voice that is front and center, unadorned. The new version of Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song" is extended to include three additional verses that did not appear on the previously released version.

In addition to including Eva's previously unreleased, re-defining version of "San Francisco Bay Blues," SIMPLY EVA is the first album to include the Blues Alley guitar/vocal performance of "Over The Rainbow" from the Rainbow video that triggered Eva Cassidy's rise to the top of the British Pop Charts in March, 2001. Recorded five years after the 1991 version heard on SONGBIRD (which country superstar Martina McBride recently cited among her favorite recordings on the ABC News Nightline "Playlist" feature, saying "I never get tired of it"), the included fully evolved version literally redefined this all-time number one popular song (according to a BBC radio poll). Other songs include "True Colors," "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," "Time After Time," "Autumn Leaves" and Eva's a cappella performance of "I Know You By Heart."

Blix Street President Bill Straw compiled the selections for SIMPLY EVA after initially searching the archives for a possible holiday track. "In doing so," he writes in the liner notes, "I literally heard Eva for the first time, again. That I was hearing the same songs in a different way actually added to my sense of re-discovery."

A special by-product of his quest was the discovery of a Cassidy rendition of "Silent Night," which has just been made available via iTunes and other digital outlets in time for the holiday season. Recorded in 1988, Eva's performance of the traditional Christmas classic is destined to become a holiday staple for years to come. It will be included on the iTunes digital download version of SIMPLY EVA as a bonus track when the album becomes available.

Born in Washington, DC, Eva Cassidy recorded and performed in the area for several years until her untimely death. She left behind a small, but impeccable body of recordings that have been meticulously curated and compiled by Blix Street Records with the support of her parents, Barbara and Hugh Cassidy.

In April, 1998, Blix Street posthumously released SONGBIRD, a collection chosen primarily from two other Cassidy albums, LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART. It featured Eva's unqualified signature performance of "Over the Rainbow" as well as Sting's "Fields of Gold." Later that same year, Blix Street also released LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART, the first national exposure for both albums, followed in May, 2000 by TIME AFTER TIME, a new compilation selected from her unreleased material.

But it was in 2001 that Eva Cassidy became an "overnight sensation" when the SONGBIRD compilation reached No.1 on the British charts. By the end of that year, the album had been certified triple-platinum in England (for sales of more than 900,000 sold) and gold in the U.S. (more than 500,000 units); the album, now six times platinum in England and platinum in the U.S., eventually hit No. 1 on Billboard's Internet Albums chart and topped the publication's Pop Catalog survey for 32 weeks. IMAGINE also hit No. 1 on the British charts in 2002 and commandeered the top slot on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. AMERICAN TUNE, another No. 1 in England in 2003, ultimately made it to No. 4 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. WONDERFUL WORLD, a compilation of tracks from all the previous albums other than SONGBIRD, came out in 2004. SOMEWHERE, a collection that included two songs co-written by Cassidy as well as impressive covers, was released in 2008.

SIMPLY EVA now joins this classic catalogue that has already sold more than eight million CDs around the world.

Legendary Blues Collaboration to Celebrate 100 Years of Robert Johnson

How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you’re Big Head Todd and The Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson (February 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevins and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

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, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Squires and Nevins 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.

100 Years of Robert Johnson Track List:

1. Come On In My Kitchen (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
2. Ramblin' On My Mind
3. When You Got A Good Friend (w. Hubert Sumlin on guitar and Ruthie Foster)
4. Cross Road Blues (w. B.B. King)
5. Preachin' Blues
6. Kind Hearted Woman (w. Ruthie Foster)
7. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
8. Last Fair Deal Gone Done (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
9. All My Love Is Love In Vain (Todd solo vocal and acoustic guitar)
10. Sweet Home Chicago (just Honeyboy and Musselwhite)

Cedric Burnside plays drums on “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and “Preachin Blues,” and acoustic guitar on “Ramblin On My Mind”

Lightin’ Malcolm plays electric guitar on “Ramblin on my Mind,” “Gotta Good Friend,” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and plays acoustic guitar on “Preachin Blues” and “Kind Hearted Woman”

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:

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

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan on PBS

PBS has announced that the Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session program will air as a special on its stations  throughout the month of December (check local listings). Grammy Award winning bluesman Robert Cray will serve as special fundraising host on the public television broadcasts.

In 1983, when legendary blues guitarist Albert King, then age 60, was joined by his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan, then age 29, on a Canadian sound stage for the live music TV series In Session, magic took place.  Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session is not simply a television program: it’s a summit of two master musicians. The only known recording of King and Vaughan performing together, this is the concert that blues fans in general, and Stevie Ray Vaughan fans in particular, have been waiting for.

The audio recording of the performance went on to sell more than 325,000 units from two releases: the first in 1999, the second in 2009. On November 9, 2010, Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group, released In Session as both a DVD and a deluxe DVD/CD combination.

SonicBoomers.com noted: “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.”

"As a document of what was probably the greatest night in the musical life of SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan), this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman.  Musicologist Samuel Charters says in his new liner notes for the package, “it’s also clear, nearly 20 years later, that this was a special moment in the careers of each of the two men.  It was evident from the first choruses that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have.”

An hour and 45 minutes, approximately, was taped of the two. What will thrill viewers who are fans of the blues, players of the blues, and who adore SRV, is that the televised concert includes at least one SRV tune — “Texas Flood” — that was not included on either of the two CD releases of the session.

The innovative Canadian television series was conceived with the intention of pairing musicians who were related stylistically, but seldom had an opportunity to play together. Albert King wasn’t sure whom he’d been booked to jam with on December 6, but he recognized the young Texan immediately — not as fast-rising star Stevie Ray Vaughan, but as Little Stevie, the skinny kid who’d been coming around and eventually sitting in every time Albert passed through Austin.

Stevie idolized Albert, as did many other “modern” electric axe-men. Albert may have been overshadowed by B.B., but Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Mick Taylor, and Joe Walsh — all of them listened to him, listened again and again, and were heavily influenced by his style.

At the time of the taping, the buzz may have been around Stevie, but Albert was clearly in charge of the music.  Earlier in the year, in May, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” featuring Stevie at his blistering Albert King-inspired best, hit the top of the Billboard pop singles chart; in June, SRV’s debut album Texas Flood came out, and MTV put “Pride and Joy” into their rotation. He never looked back.

During their performance, Albert ruled over the proceedings like a benevolent father, retaining control while allowing his guest loads of solo space in which to display his awesome command of the electric guitar.  The interplay between the two blues masters is uncannily empathetic, and Albert’s fans will find special pleasure in hearing him play rhythm parts at such length.  Aside from SRV’s two vocals — “Pride and Joy” and “Texas Flood” — all the other tunes are from Albert’s repertoire.  Viewers have the ineffable treat of seeing Albert King perform “Born Under a Bad Sign,” his trademark blues hit, as well as “Call It Stormy Monday.”

Sadly, King and Vaughan would not share a stage together ever again. Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, died in a helicopter crash in the fog on the way back from a concert in 1990. King outlived him by two years, dying of a heart attack in 1992. They didn’t meet often, and their careers took different paths. But we can all be grateful for that one long day in a television studio when sparks flew and this timeless performance was forever captured.

The PBS special Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session contains the following songs: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Call It Stormy Monday,” “Texas Flood,” “Pride and Joy,” “Match Box Blues,” and “Don’t Lie to Me.”

Acoustic Africa @ the Boulder Theater | 03.16

Boulder Weekly & Z2 Entertainment are proud to present Acoustic Africa ft. Habib Koite, Oliver Mtukudzi & Afel Bocoum at the Boulder Theater on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011.

The second installment of IMN’s exhilarating musical journey focuses on the richness of the African guitar tradition. The Acoustic Africa tour includes Habib Koité, the Malian superstar whose exciting concerts have endeared him to audiences worldwide, Oliver Mtukudzi, the best-selling artist in his home country of Zimbabwe, and Afel Bocoum, a guitarist, singer, and composer from Mali whose songs evoke the evolution of traditional Malian society.

One of Africa’s most exciting performers, Habib Koite plays music that reflects the diverse musical traditions of his Malian homeland. Accompanied by his band Bamada, Koite has released a number of successful and critically acclaimed albums and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and in major magazines such as People and Rolling Stone. Over the past 10 years, Habib and his band have performed over 600 concerts for adoring audiences in far-flung locations such as Japan, Australia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. With their engaging stage presence and expert musicianship, Habib Koite and Bamada always put on a show to remember.

Lovingly called “Tuku”, Oliver Mtukudzi began recording in the mid-1970s as a member of Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. After Wagon Wheels rolled to fame in Southern Africa, Tuku formed Black Spirits, the band that has backed him throughout his career. Mtukudzi has been heavily influenced by chimurenga, the genre pioneered by Mapfumo that is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His music also incorporates pop influences, South Africa mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style JIT, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan, the Korekore. While Tuku’s music is undeniably contagious, it is his lyrics that have captured the hearts of his people as his songs invariably deal with social and economic issues. One of Tuku’s biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Tuku “a treasure,” but has also used his music as inspiration for the song “One Belief Away” on her album Fundamental.

Afel Bocoum began his music career with his uncle Ali Farka Toure in the group Asco, a collaboration which lasted some thirty years. In the 1980s, he founded his own group named Alkibar, in which he plays the guitar, sings, and composes. Bocoum sings mainly in Sonrai, his mother tongue, but also in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, and in Bambara. In spite of his growing success, Bocoum remains gentle and unassuming, modestly directing the energy this recognition brings him towards the welfare of his people and the inspiration they give to his music. In 2002, Afel collaborated with the lead singer of Blur, Damon Albarn, on the extremely popular album Mali Music. The gigs they played together were well received, especially the concert at the Barbican in London in June 2003. Damon also made a guest appearance beside Afel on a larger stage at Roskilde in Denmark in front of 65,000 people. With remarkable subtlety and a sure talent, Bocoum has proved that he is a true “messenger of the great river,” and it’s certain he will actively contribute to keeping Malian music at the forefront of the international scene.

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 Saturday December 4th!

GA $34.50  /  Reserved $42.25 / All Ages