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Von Ehrics: Two Foot Stomp

Von Ehrics newest CD, Two Foot Stomp, is an up and down ride filled with Punkabilly drive and an authentically Texas flavor. Songs like the first single, "Lord I Pray" are new, refreshing, and fun while other like "Rock and Roll" fall a little flat in energy and creativity. The album is an overall success in authenticity, with a real feeling that you could stumble across the Von Ehrics playing around town in Denton, the funky college town music hub of North Texas where Two Foot Stomp was recorded. The album is also successful in screaming "if you think this is good, our live shows are 100 times better".  I am convinced, and definitely will be buying a ticket next time these boys roll through Colorado.

The Highlights:

"Lord I Pray", the album’s first single, is also it’s height of creativity, combining gospel, thrashy rock guitar, and a hyperactive drum set. “Lord I Pray” is soulful and cynical at the same time. The single is a satirical reflection on consumerism, but avoids a “preachy” feel for a rather funny one as lead singer Robert Jason Vandergrift prays for material good while being back up by a full gospel choir.

"Down the Road Tonight" also shines on the album. The song is reminiscent of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It". That is, if the whole world existed in Texas. You could probably take the lyrics and make them into a scavenger hunt in downtown Austin. Overall it’s super fun.

"Goodbye/The Ride" is a fun, biting little break up song. Vandergrift sings in sweet and slow ballad voice, which we soon learn is totally ironic:

"It's a beautiful night,
the stars are all bright
I've got the moon on my left
and my girl on my right
things are changing tonight
she can kiss my ass goodbye"

then the speedy drummer kicks and one gets a feel of how the guys really feel. I always love a fun break up song.

The guitar lines are a great highlight throughout the album. Just listening to the things Gabe Aguilar (drums) and Clayton Mills (guitar) make up is one of the best parts of the album.

The Not-so-Great:

"Rock and Roll" is a halfhearted cry for what else, rock and roll. I'm not really that convinced, based on this song that the band believes in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. The Von Ehrics take lyrics that belong in a song like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” and play them with the enthusiasm of Neil Young's “Hey Hey, My My”.

It sounds like the guys wanted a Beastie Boys' "You Got to Fight for Your Right to Party”, but were just kind of tired or hung over or something that day.

"Downtown" is another one of the tunes that is missing the party soul. Maybe the song is much better live, at the actual party. Though the song is low energy, guitarist Clayton Mills picks it up with an exciting solo.

"Texas" (When I Die) is the albums only successful anthem, but it really gets the job done.  It's not a call to rock out or party hard, as the boys attempted in other songs, but an anthem for Texas; the state that encompasses of both of the previous. "Texas" succeeds where some of the other attempts on the album failed in my opinion because Texas is very unique to the Von Ehrics. You can hear conviction in their voice as they sing "when I die, let me go to Texas".

“Texas” is the true call of Two Foot Stomp , and really ties the album together as its last track. Two Foot Stomp is a call to this: party, rebel, dance around, stomp your feet, and do it all in Texas.  I am totally in support of it!

Mocean Worker | 'Candygram For Mowo!'

It’s been four years since we last heard from our favorite fast-talking, electro-funk, party-jams beat-maker Adam Dorn a.k.a. Mocean Worker. Since then tough economics have turned tougher, smug indie bands have become smugger and raving mad religious fanatics have grown, well, raving madder. What the world could use in these troubling times is some good ol' fashioned, happy days are here again, get up on the good foot grooves. Mocean Worker--who has built a reputation for exactly that over a ten-year plus career as a recording artist, songwriter, remixer, DJ, bassist and more--returns made to order with his sixth studio album, Candygram For Mowo!

From the opening salvo of the record’s first track "Shooby Shooby Do Yah!" in which 1930s big band horns are met by the syncopated rattle of a tambourine, it's apparent that the Mocean Worker feel-good brand is intact.  Joined by a divers cast of special guests, including Lyrics Born, Mindy Abair, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, John Ellis, Hal Willner and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Mowo! brings the funk in all manner of delectable shapes and sizes. Whether crossing swing era rave-ups with ‘70s rare groove ("Do Like Ya Like"), Les McCann meets Marvin Gaye-flavored house party, soul jazz ("Sistas & Bruthas"), North Cali hip-hop with ‘50s hard bop ("My Own Little World") or injecting deep house with Nuyorican rhythms ("Out There In The Random"), the beats are infectious, the hooks irresistible and the attitude always cheeky.

In Mocean Worker's own words, "These ain't good times, so why not have something that makes us feel good?"

Candygram For Mowo! is indeed what our collective sweet tooth craves.

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Candygram For Mowo! track listing:

1. Shooby Shooby Do Yah! (featuring Steven Bernstein)
2. Swagger
3. My Own Little World (featuring Lyrics Born & Mindi Abair)
4. Hoot & Hollah
5. Sistas & Bruthas (featuring Mindi Abair)
6. It Still Don’t Mean A Thing (featuring Steven Bernstein)
7. Mel’s Torment (featuring Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
8. Out There In The Random
9. Do Like Ya Like
10. Ya Damn Right
11. Say Yeah Yeah Yeah
12. Jive, Jive, Jive
13. Sho Nuff (featuring Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter & Hal Willner)
14. JD

Sam Llanas of the BoDeans readies solo album '4 a.m.'

Sam Llanas (pronounced yanas), lead singer-guitarist for the acclaimed Milwaukee band the BoDeans, takes listeners deep into the night on his new release, 4 A.M., arriving Oct. 25 on Inner Knot Records. The intimate, mostly acoustic collection, produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin, features 10 new Llanas originals and a dazzling cover of Cyndi Lauper’s hit “All Through the Night.”

Llanas says of his latest work, “I do a lot of work late at night. It’s a night record, a nocturnal record, thematically about things that happen in the night. That covers a lot of ground. It could be the simple things — being in love, being with somebody — or about the loneliness that the night can bring.”

The album, an understated complement to the BoDeans’ just-released 10th studio album Indigo Dreams, is markedly different from Llanas’ 1998 solo bow A Good Day to Die, which was a powerful eulogy for Llanas’s brother recorded under the group rubric Absinthe.

“The Absinthe record was kind of bombastic and very intense,” Llanas says. “I wanted to do something that was lighter, as light as I can get. I wanted it to be completely different. That’s why 4 A.M. is pretty much an acoustic record.”

Work on 4 A.M. began nearly four years ago, when Llanas’ band the BoDeans, which he has led since 1983, was between projects.

He recalls, “I had time on my hands, and I had some songs I wanted to record. I started working with Terry Vittone — I just said, ‘Hey, let’s make some recordings.’ There was no real thought that it was going to be an album or anything like that. It just sort of escalated from there.”

Sessions for the embryonic project commenced at guitarist Vittone’s house. “I would record the songs in the afternoon,” Llanas says, “and get them to a point where I liked them. Then the next day I’d go back, and Terry would say, ‘Sam, I want you to hear some ideas I threw down on the track.’ And Terry was willing to take really strong direction from me, because I didn’t want a guitar player who was playing all over the song. Terry was really good at putting in the nuances that were needed. He played very little, and that seemed to work very well.”

With the majority of the material in the can, a protracted layoff from recording ensued. After almost two years, Llanas began completing 4 A.M. at Daystorm Music in Milwaukee with producer-musician Tanin, who had also worked on A Good Day To Die and supplied the strings on the new recording.

Llanas decided to preserve the original recording’s spare quality, and added a couple of new tracks that were left untouched. “I wanted to keep it simple. ‘The Way Home’ and ‘Janey’ seemed to work really well just the way they were.”

However, he adds, “I thought the other songs needed a bit more dressing up. Some I thought would work better if we put a little bit more on them.” Thus, BoDeans keyboardist Bukka Allen was called in to play accordion, while Milwaukee musicians Matt Turner and Ryan Schiedermayer contributed bass and percussion, respectively.

Some of the compositions on 4 A.M. began life as prospective material for the BoDeans, Llanas says: “‘Nobody Luvs Me’ was actually recorded with the BoDeans, but it’s quite a different version — you wouldn’t really know it’s the same song. ‘Shyne’ was on our album Mr. Sad Clown. I thought that would work really well there, so I brought it into that project. The first song on 4 A.M., ‘Oh, Celia,’ was demoed with the BoDeans years and years ago. That’s quite an old song.”

Nestling seamlessly with Llanas’ own cycle of before-dawn melodies is his hushed cover of Lauper’s 1983 perennial “All Through the Night,” penned by Jules Shear. “It’s a beautiful song,” Llanas says, “but when they recorded it, in the early ’80s, the sound that they got on it was so harsh . The keyboards always ruined the song for me. I really wanted a version of that song that was just beautiful. That’s what I tried to do — honor that song, and give it what it deserved.”

Llanas’ new solo opus offers a new dimension to his music — one that actually dates back to the sunrise of his professional career.

“Before I ever had the BoDeans, I was a solo performer in Waukesha,” he remembers. “I would go and play at these open mic shows, and I learned my craft and honed my stage skills that way. I think this record really reflects that part of my career, that part of my personality. It goes back to before I ever performed with the BoDeans. It was just me — one man and one guitar.”

Esteemed rock critic and author Dave Marsh calls 4 A.M. “A great record. Really the best thing that has come out of their music in a long, long time — closer to classic BoDeans. Sammy’s voice is so much what I love about BoDeans and it has never been showcased any better.”

iClips and All Good Team Up for Free Flashback Web Broadcast Next Weekend

Thousands will gather July 14-17, 2011 atop Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia for the 15th annual All Good Music Festival and Campout, and live broadcast leaders iClips.net will be there to document it.

Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys @ Boulder Theater | 7/10

For over 6 decades he has become one of the most influential artists of all time. In 2002 Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance of the haunting rendition of “Oh Death” that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou”. Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys are still touring a 100 plus dates per year, and enjoying his time at home with his lovely wife “Jimmi” of nearly 50 years. Dr. Ralph Stanley is not only an American treasure but and international Icon.

Sierra Hull: Boundaries—age, genre or otherwise—don’t hamper an artist like Sierra. She’s already earned considerable respect in the bluegrass world, the IBMA’s voting members having nominated her for no fewer than five awards over three years—there’s a good chance she’ll be the first woman to win the mandolin category. Matt Glaser—head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program—put it this way: “She has no limitations as a musician.” Daybreak is certainly a noteworthy arrival; you can’t help but feel it’s also just the beginning.

More Info / Buy Tickets

THE BRIDGE: A Farewell Statement

Dear Family and Friends,

This next Thanksgiving will mark the 10-year anniversary of The Bridge.  It has been an amazing ride that we have shared with you all.  It is therefore with a heavy heart that we announce that this year will mark the end of The Bridge.  After ten years and thousands of miles, the harsh realities of life on the road have led us to a point where we can no longer sustain ourselves as a band.  We fought on to continue for as long as we could, because we truly believed in our music and cherished the deeply special connection that we have built with our audiences throughout the years.  But at the end of the day, the economy won, and we are forced to close up shop.

What started as a show for our friends on one Thanksgiving Eve has led us on a wild, beautiful journey beyond our expectations.  The long van rides, smoky bars, sleepless nights, wicked hangovers, cheap motels, and flat tires were all worth it for the chance to play music for you all and create those special moments that we live for.  It has been the most rewarding experience of our lives.  In true Bridge fashion, we will be giving you everything we have left for the rest of our shows.  We will be playing our final residency at 8x10, the house that built The Bridge, in the coming weeks, as well as our beloved All Good Festival, our favorite day of the year for the last 7 years.  And as if it was meant to be, we will be closing out our run as a band on our 10-year anniversary, Thanksgiving Eve, at Rams Head Live.  We plan on cherishing every last moment we have with you as The Bridge.

As chapters end and new ones begin, we will continue to pursue other musical endeavors, and hope to keep the spirit of this community alive.  We are forever grateful to you all, the people who we have gotten to know so well through the years, as well as those who have worked so hard and given so much of themselves for the band.  And lastly we want to thank each other, the members of the band both past and present, for sweating out the tough times and celebrating the high times together to try and live the dream.  We are truly brothers for life.  As sad as we feel that this experience is ending, we have no regrets. We feel we have achieved what we set out to do, which is to make people happy through our music.  We humbly thank you, from the absolute bottom of our hearts, for your love, support, and inspiration that has given us this opportunity.  It has been an honor and a privilege.

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Our remaining dates this summer are:

May 28 | Sterling Folk Festival | Sterling, NY tickets
June 1 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 8 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 15 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 22 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 4 | Crawfish Fest | Augusta, NJ
July 4 | TBA | Harrisonburg, VA
July 7 | Bottle & Cork | Dewey Beach, DE
July 10 | Ladew Gardens | Monkton, MD
July 17 | All Good Festival | Mastontown, WV
July 22 | Gathering of the Vibes | Bridgeport, CT
July 29-31 | Black Sheep Family Reunion | Tidewater, OR
August 5 | Elysian Fields Festival | Boyce, VA
August 7 | Flood City Music Festival | Johnstown, PA
August 12 | Hunt Valley Towne Center (acoustic) | Hunt Valley, MD
August 19 | Bella Terra Festival | Stephentown, NY

Sincerely,

Cris, Kenny, Dave, Mike, Patrick, and Mark

The Bridge

Tipper Sound Experience is Unleashed

Commencing this summer British composer and producer, Tipper, is embarking on a sonic pilgrimage, performing at select venues and festivals with the NeXuS Funktion One Dance Stacks originally designed by legendary sound guru Tony Andrews. Tipper will be joined by the highly sought-after lighting impresario Audiopixel to present an exclusive visual experience driven by highly attuned, audio responsive, 3D LED lighting software using intelligent control of light and color. Topped off with tour support from VibeSquaD the performances are intending to blow the minds of all who are lucky enough to encounter the TIPPER SOUND EXPERIENCE.

Tipper (real name DaveTipper) is widely acknowledged as one of Electronic music's pioneering innovators. He was signed to Sony as a teenager when he helped kickstart the Nuskool Breakbeat genre, creating the deepest and baddest basslines heard before, or since. He went on to inspire the Glitch Hop movement, focused on merging hip hop beats with electronic trickery through his seminal Tip Hop and Wobble Factor LP's. During this time he also composed one of the first albums produced and intended for release in the 5.1 surround sound format, and Surrounded was nominated Best Release Intended for Surround Sound. His talents in Sound Design and Digital Mastering have him in great demand with major music making software programs, and accordingly his work is quietly featured in the output of countless releases in various genres. His live performances consist largely of his own unreleased compositions, and he is highly regarded for scratching his own sounds over his music, creating a live element of turntablism stemming from prowess early in his career as a vinyl DJ.

THE TIPPER SOUND EXPERIENCE will feature a 5 way crossover sound system in a Quadraphonic Array with specialized sub woofers dedicated to 45 hertz and below; this configuration achieves incredible clarity and sonic accuracy punctuated by thick and luxurious super-low bass. When positioned this way for Tipper, these dance stacks are known for creating an immersive sound environment that transforms the dance floor into an ethereal field of holographic sound. The purity of the Funktion One design approach completely avoids the usual pitfall of system EQ with its associated phase problems, allowing all of Tipper's production trickery and nuance to be presented in an unfettered manner. This technology has won numerous international awards for Best Sound Product in the club world, and their installations have been behind countless 'Club of The Year' winners.

Audio Pro Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and inaugural PLASA Gottelier Award winner Tony Andrews founded Funktion One with John Newsham in 1992. Whilst often imitated, their designs have been the first choice of many permanent and touring sound applications around the World including luminary clients Pink Floyd, Santana, and the Glastonbury Festival. They are globally known for their pioneering work and ethos, and consistently set the standard for modern audio engineering.

In their own words: We understand sound to be the most important of our senses and in fact, the root of the structure of the entire Universe. As such, we try to pay the amazing acuity of human hearing the respect it deserves by providing products that deliver as much resolution and detail as is possible. We also pay considerable attention to the emotional effect of not just music, but the sound itself, what you might call its 'quality'. In a world where everything is 'dumbing down' and finesse and subtlety are rapidly disappearing, it is a source of pride to us that we are continually going in the opposite direction, expanding the envelope. On a spiritual level, good music and good sound has the effect of opening peoples' minds and deepening their consciousness which can only be good for the planet.

THE TIPPER SOUND EXPERIENCE features a rare matchup of audio and visual talent and will include headline performances at The Big Bounce, Rain Dance, and SONIC BLOOM festivals, followed by a rare show at The Coconut Grove Grand Ballroom on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and culminating with a special presentation at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. For more information about the TIPPER SOUND EXPERIENCE and ticket information, click here.

Agnes Obel Covers Elliot Smith's 'Between the Bars'

Play “Just So” to anyone in Germany and they’ll tell you it’s the music from the Deutsche Telekom television advertisement. Which it is. The kind of exposure many an artist would die for. Well not literally, obviously. Or the kind of publicity an independent spirit might agonize over, venturing into the commercial arena.

I can’t help feeling that Agnes Obel is not going to have her feathers ruffled by something, in the greater scheme of things, as inconsequential as a song placement in an ad. Yet is not intriguing how a few bars of music can seep into our consciousness and set us off wondering where they came from?

This facebookish world of ours offers us the illusion of getting to know people we don’t really know. Who their friends are and what they like. Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel likes Alfred Erik Lesley Satie and Sonic Youth. Debussy and Dylan. Hitchcock and PJ Harvey. But what people like is not necessarily the same as what he or she is like. Clues, perhaps, but as fans of Hitchcock well know, not every clue leads you where you think it might.

So we focus on the facts. Agnes Obel is from Copenhagen but she lives in Berlin. She studied at the University of Roskilde, a town renowned for a Glastonbury style music festival and home to a marvellous viking ship museum. She possesses the rare gift of a songbird’s voice and is about to release her debut album.

Then, like a good detective, we study the photograph. The owl and Agnes. Except their watchful gaze leaves you feeling its they who are looking at us, rather than the other way around. Did you know that an eagle owl’s eyes do not move, instead owls can move their heads almost three quarters around without moving their body? Agnes, meanwhile, seriously beautiful, looks a little like Liv Ullmann in Bergman’s “Persona,” or Tippi Hedren in self-assured Marnie guise rather than the catatonic figure in The Birds. She appears perfectly balanced alongside the eagle owl, both mutually protective of their proud serenity. A clue staring us in the face, yet conjuring up more questions than answers.

Listen to Anges Obel's beautiful cover of Elliot Smith's "Between the Bars"

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Agnes Obel Tour Dates:
6/4: SANTA MONICA, CA @ McCabe's
6/6: HOLLYWOOD, CA @ Hotel Cafe 8pm
6/7: SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Rickshaw
6/9: PORTLAND, OR @ Alberta Rose Theatre
6/10: SEATTLE, WA @ Freemont Abbey Center
6/13: WASHINGTON, DC @ Sixth & I
6/14: NEW YORK, NY @ Joe's Pub
6/15: PHILADELPHIA, PA @ Tin Angel

Marty Stuart Reveals Lineup For 10th Annual Late Night Jam

GRAMMY award winner Marty Stuart will host a special 10th Anniversary Late Night Jam on June 8 beginning at 10:00 PM at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  Country music icons Dolly Parton, Mel Tillis and Connie Smith, along with The Quebe Sisters Band, Doug Kershaw and more surprise guests will be joining Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives for this year’s event.  The Late Night Jam has become the unofficial kick-off of the CMA Music Festival and prior to any lineup information being released, tickets for this year’s event have sold faster than ever before. Proceeds will benefit MusiCares with a portion also going to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“It's hard to believe that the Late Night Jam is ten years old,” said Stuart.  “I can't help but think back on the first one.  I was nervous; pacing and hoping that we'd have enough people show up.  The show ended up being a sell-out and we’ve been going strong ever since.  That first show was over 25,000 people ago, and it was also many good deeds ago from MusiCares, and a lot of really magical performances ago from some of my dearest musical friends. Every year I say, ‘How can I top that show?’  Somehow it happens and good things result from it. This year will be no different.”

Over the past 10 years, Stuart has brought artists such as Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Porter Wagoner, Neko Case, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Lee Lewis and more to the Ryman stage for a one of a kind marathon jam session all in the name of charity and country music.

Stuart, a stalwart of traditional country music, recently received his fifth career GRAMMY award for “Best Country Instrumental” for “Hummingbyrd,” from his critically acclaimed album GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS).  His TV show, The Marty Stuart Show, continues to bring traditional country music into living rooms across the country every Saturday night on RFD-TV.   Upcoming episodes will feature Brad Paisley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Keith Urban, Paul Shaffer and Travis Tritt.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.martystuart.net.

2011 Furthur Summer Tour Dates

Furthur will be heading on the road in the Summer of 2011 for a tour that will bring them up and down the east coast, featuring returns to some of the hottest stops on the Spring Tour of 2011 including Boston, Philadelphia, Georgia and Florida, and loads of other great places. Check out all dates and other information here.

The ticketing information for all shows except All Good and GOTV is below.

Mail-Order: Accepting postmarks from April 9th, 2011 until May 20th, 2011.
Internet Pre-Sale: Noon EST on April 11th, 2011 and end 6:00pm EST on April 14th, 2011.
Public On Sale: View the Tour page.