roots

Angelique Kidjo @ Boulder Theater

Angelique Kidjo digs into her roots with her new Razor & Tie release, Oyo. Roots that reach far beyond her West African homeland of Benin, because Grammy Award winning singer,dancer and songwriter Kidjo is a definitive 21st century world artist. Her art roves across boundaries, genres and ethnicities, finding the connections that link musical forms from every part of the world,while still bonding closely with her own traditions.

The songs on Oyo, embrace rhythm & blues, soul music, jazz,and Beniese melodies,as well as four of her own original works. Featuring her unique interpretations of songs from artists as diverse as James Brown, Otis Redding, Miriam Makeba, and Santana and including guests John Legend, Bono, Roy Hargrove and Dianne Reeves. Oyo is a truly diverse collection reflecting the music that inspired Angelique growing up.

Born in Benin (West Africa), Angelique Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning music recording artist deemed "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine. Kidjo's internationally acclaimed repertoire includes collaborations with various recording artists such as Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Branford Marsalis, Joss Stone, and many more. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, she has translated her distinctive work in the arts to that of philanthropy; by promoting education for girls in Africa through her foundation, Batonga and as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador Kidjo travels the world to inspire and empower.

Like Miriam Makeba was before her, Kidjo is the continent's most internationally celebrated female musical exponent. And yet, the GRAMMY-winning artist has lived outside Africa for more than two decades. She currently resides in New York City, where she is an exceptionally active member of the music scene, and she reaches people around the world with her recordings, tours and philanthropic work.

Friday June 18

97.3 KBCO presents:

On Sale Saturday May 1

GA / All Ages / $31.50

Tickets will be on sale through the Boulder Theater box office  | Internet 24-7 at www.bouldertheater.com | Phone: During box office hours 303-786-7030

Root Hog Announces East Coast Dates

After playing in the Midwest throughout 2009, Root Hog is making their first trip to the East Coast in support of their debut album, Root Hog. The band’s sets at festivals such Wuhnurth Music Festival, the 14th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival, and Melon Kamp have earned them a growing fan base of committed followers.

The band intends to bring their enthusiasm for live music and soulful Americana roots-rock to the East this spring.  The band’s spring tour dates are as follows:

April 10  Lafayette Brewing Company  Lafayette, IN
April 13  Cosmic Charlie’s  Lexington, KY
April 16  Muncie Springfest  Muncie, IN
April 17  Von’s Records  West Lafayette, IN
April 20  Lafayette Theater  Lafayette, IN
April 23  Donovan’s Pub  Detroit, MI
May 1  Wilbert’s  Cleveland, OH
May 2  Boulder Coffee Company  Rochester, NY
May 5  Sullivan Hall  New York City, NY
May 6  Hank’s Saloon  Brooklyn, NY
May 7  The Hungry Tiger  Manchester, CT
May 8  National Underground  New York City, NY

Fans will be able pick up Root Hog and sample some new original material at all of Root Hog’s shows.

Root Hog's sound can best be defined as 'Cosmic Americana', a term coined to represent key elements of American roots music forms and psychedelic rock & roll twisted together and packaged in a no-frills and honest manner. The band is dedicated to reviving live original music that can give their audiences that “feel-good” vibe that tingles from your head to your toes and brings a smile to your face.

Root Hog is: Pat McClimans (guitar, vocals), Dru Alkire (guitar, vocals), Ryan Smith (bass, vocals), Taylor Dunlap (drums), and Dan Pullins (keyboards).

The Morning Pages Cover Lady Gaga

Brooklyn’s six-piece root-rockers The Morning Pages have just recorded an alt-country take on Lady Gaga’s "Telephone" along with a grainy lo-fi stock photography-esque video complete with slide guitars, cowboy hats and tin cans on strings, answering the question "How would "Telephone" play out in the 1850s?".  The ubiquitous song caught the attention of lead singer Grant Maxwell who decided to cover the song because "a great song is a great song and indie music doesn't have to be all dissonant and obscure and depressing all the time and on the other hand pop music could stand to sound a lot more organic and musical. My thought was they maybe we could combine the depth of roots music with the visceral enjoyment and popular appeal of mainstream music and get the next revolution started....also, I just couldn't get that song out of my head!" You can watch the new video HERE on YouTube.

With their 2007 EP The Company You Keep, The Morning Pages immediately stood out from other Brooklyn acts by tracing their roots back to country and folk influences such as Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, and The Band. It was this EP that caught the attention of Russell Simins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion who went on to produce their upcoming debut full length Rising Rain.

The album’s standouts include joyous foot-stompers like “With The Lord,” “Move To The Country” and “This City Keeps Me Down,” as well as plaintive ballads like the album’s first single “My Name Is Lion.”

The Morning Pages New York Dates:
April 9th – Brooklyn, NY @ Spike Hill
May 6th – Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo
May 20th – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
May 27th – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (Dylan Fest 2010)

BoomBox Announces March Colorado Tour

Featuring Producer Russ Randolph and Vocalist/Guitarist Zion Rock Godchaux, BoomBox draws their inspiration from their hometown roots in Muscle Shoals, AL – an area known for inspiring the worlds most legendary recordings of the 60’s, 70’s 80’s and into the present. The powerhouse duo draws their inspiration from their hometown roots and is recognized for infusing elements of Motown, Folk, and Rock into an electronic music blender with heavy bass undertones and ethereal vocals for a dance party vibe that has fans coming out in drones.

Using only word of mouth buzz, BoomBox has built a strong national following with a history of packed performances around the country. Locally, the band boasts two sold out shows in Denver last November, as part of their annual urban electronic festival RE:Convergence, which took place at Cervantes.

BoomBox will be performing with special opening guests BLVD along the western slopes this spring in support of their latest release, downriverelectric, which is expected to hit the streets in advance of the Colorado tour.

COLORADO TOUR:
3/9 - Three20South, Breckenridge, CO
3/10 - Belly Up, Aspen, CO
3/11 - Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO
3/12 - Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
3/13 - Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
3/14 - Abbey Theatre, Durango, CO

Anne McCue's new CD, 'Broken Promise Land,' returns to raw sound

Anne McCue describes her new album, Broken Promise Land, due out on May 18, 2010 on Flying Machine Records Records, as “a bit dirty, a bit rockin’, a bit swampy and a bit bluesy, with a touch of mysteriousness to it.”

What isn’t mysterious is McCue’s musical talent and range. She was voted the Roots Music Association’s Folk Artist of the Year in 2008, performed in a Jimi Hendrix tribute at the 2007 International Guitar Festival and was included in the Four Decades of Folk Rock box set alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Wilco. Heart’s Nancy Wilson has described her as “my Aussie clone,” while Americana icon Lucinda Williams had this to say: “Initially, her stunning voice hooked me in. Then I got inside the songs. The first chance I got, I went to see her perform . . . I was floored! The combination of her tomboyish beauty mixed with the precision and assertiveness with which she approached the guitar, her surrounding languid and earthy vocals created an intoxicating blend.”

The new, self-produced album is one that she has long wanted to make. Combining heartfelt songwriting with gritty guitar playing, the record harkens back to McCue’s breakout Roll release, although she says that the new disc’s sound is even more raw than its predecessor. While earlier albums covered a range of roots-rock styles, Broken Promise Land focuses on McCue’s hard-charging “cosmic biker rock” sound.

The new disc lets McCue showcase her rockin’ ways and six-string virtuosity. The title track cuts loose with a blistering Hendrix-like bluesy guitar solo. The first single, “Don’t Go To Texas (Without Me),” boasts the dirty guitar sound of late ’60s English bands like the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, while “The Old Man Talkin’” exudes a slinky J.J. Cale vibe.

The music’s strong, visceral energy results from a strategy to record as much as possible live. “I didn’t want to have a lot of layers. I wanted it to be pretty much what I can do on stage,” McCue asserts. She sought to capture the vibe of the old Albert King albums that she loves, which were recorded in only a few days, and she included a brass section in the sessions. By recording to tape, McCue also created the textures and dimension that she admires in T-Bone Burnett’s work.

On Broken Promise Land, McCue utilized the veteran rhythm section of Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil) and drummer Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo/Wilco). “Bones and Ken are very developed as musicians,” she says. “It’s great to have that type of depth to the musicianship.” This powerful trio demonstrates their musical breadth throughout this disc, whether it’s building “The Lonely One” into a surging rock ballad, conjuring a spooky atmosphere in Amelia White’s “Motorcycle Dream” or roaring through a cover of Rose Tattoo’s “Rock ’n’ Roll Outlaw.”

McCue’s love for music was nurtured in Sydney, Australia, where she grew up in a house filled with music. Her father, while not a professional musician, played a variety of instruments and her mother sang in the church choir. All of her seven older siblings were heavily into music too, and sounds ranging from Billie Holiday to Led Zeppelin filled the McCue home. “Every type of music except hardcore blues,” the blues-loving McCue admits, “so I definitely didn’t get burned out on it as a child.”

Although McCue played guitar growing up, she wasn’t encouraged to be a musician. A longtime film buff, she got a degree in film studies at Sydney’s University of Technology. Her cinema studies are an influence. “To me, my songs are like short films,” she reveals, “I try to be very visual and cinematic with my music and now I am making videos for the songs too.”

After college, McCue joined an all-female band, Girl Monstar, which was very popular in the Australian indie rock scene. She later became a part of the folk-rock trio Eden AKA that performed on the Lilith Fair tour and recorded a never-released album for Columbia Records. Her ill-fated Columbia experience landed her in America, where she set up shop in Los Angeles and became a vital part of the city’s roots music scene. During her time in Southern California, she recorded two attention-grabbing albums — 2004’s Roll and 2006’s Koala Motel.
Both releases accumulated a bevy of critical accolades. Entertainment Weekly exclaimed that McCue “represents a new generation of hard-bitten, country-inflected singer-songsmiths,” while Billboard heralded her as  “the virtual definition of ‘triple threat.’ A potent singer, thoughtful songwriter and tough guitarist.” Austin Chronicle critic Jim Caligiuri noted that “these days, there are very few women working the same territory as McCue, who can combine tough and vulnerable. That she does it with poise and a self-deprecating sense of humor makes her an artist worth seeing again.”
A few years ago, McCue moved to Nashville, a place she finds quite fertile for making music. “There’s more room to think, more creative space,” she explains, “but there are so many great musicians that it really raises the bar and makes you want to get better.” Last year, she self-produced a limited-distribution acoustic album, East of Electric, on which she played a variety of instruments. A terrific example of her folkier side, it stands as a quiet side-trip to the full-bodied rock ferocity that Broken Promise Land delivers.
“This is the kind of music I love playing,” says McCue talking enthusiastically about her Broken Promise Land songs. “There’s nothing I could look more forward to than playing a whole set of bluesy, rocky, swampy music.”
See the video for McCue’s “Don’t Go to Texas (Without Me)” right here.

BoomBox Announces Spring Tour

Featuring Producer/Engineer Russ Randolph and Producer/Vocalist/Guitarist Zion Rock Godchaux, BoomBox draws their inspiration from their hometown roots in Muscle Shoals, AL – an area known for inspiring the worlds most legendary recordings of the 60’s, 70’s 80’s and into the present. The powerhouse duo draws their inspiration from their hometown roots and is recognized for infusing elements of Motown, Folk, and Rock into an electronic music blender with heavy bass undertones and ethereal vocals for a dance party vibe that has fans coming out in drones.

Using only word of mouth buzz, BoomBox has built a strong national following with a history of packed performances around the country. Locally, the band boasts two sold out shows in Denver last November, as part of their annual urban electronic festival RE:Convergence, which took place at Cervantes.

BoomBox will be performing with special opening guests BLVD along the western slopes this spring in support of their latest release, downriverelectric, which is expected to hit the streets in advance of the Colorado tour.

COLORADO TOUR:
3/9 - Three20South, Breckenridge, CO
3/10 - Belly Up, Aspen, CO
3/11 - Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO
3/12 - Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
3/13 - Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
3/14 - Abbey Theatre, Durango, CO

Mama’s Cookin’ Return to Their Colorado Roots

mamaMama’s Cookin’ returns to their Colorado roots in March for a 10-day trek through the mountain west. The formerly Colorado-based project is well known in the area for their trademark blend of hip-hop beats and soul-driven rock. Kicking off the tour in Fort Collins, CO - the band will zigzag across the state, playing shows in Denver, Boulder and a handful of mountain towns.

Since forming in Gunnison, CO, in 2001, Mama’s Cookin’ has garnered a reputation as being a pioneer of a new sound with a knack for precise timing and fluidity. The rootsy ensemble is driven by gritty guitars and an impeccable rhythm section that dares audiences not to dance. Zebuel Early’s sincere lyricism and vocal delivery incorporates spoken word and soulful singing. Their huge rock sound has Led Zeppelin painted all over it, yet their soul seems to come straight from the Mississippi Delta, with a dusting of New Orleans funk.

With more than seven successful years under their belt, the quartet features the right proportions of harmonica and slide guitar with a tight rhythm section carrying the sound. The tightened arrangement now features Zebuel Early (guitar, vocals), Eric Matlock (keys), Mike Adamo (drums) and Steve LaBella's (bass) – allowing the music to breathe more freely. One only need look at the quartet’s influences – R.L. Burnside, Hound Dog Taylor, Johnnie Taylor, Digable Planets – to realize the variety in their musical ambition.

On tour in support of their self-titled album, which was named by Jambands.com as the 12th best of 2008, Mama’s Cookin’ packs a powerful punch both live and recorded. Their trek through Colorado will include stops in Boulder, Breckenridge, Denver and Vail, before heading back to where it all began for the band, Crested Butte. Two shows follow in Telluride with a Colorado finale in Grand Junction, before the band heads west for select coastal performances.

Expect added dates and keep up with the tour at:  www.myspace.com/mamascookin and www.mamascookinmusic.com

Tour Dates:

3/04 – Moe’s Alley – Santa Cruz, CA
3/06 – TBA – Salt Lake City, UT
3/07 – The Canyons (daytime performance) – Park City, UT
3/07 – The Star Bar (nighttime performance) – Park City, UT
3/11 – Hodi’s Halfnote – Fort Collins, CO
3/12 – Boulder Theatre – Boulder, CO
3/13 – three20south – Breckenridge, CO
3/14 – Quixote’s – Denver, CO
3/17 – Sandbar Sports Grill, St. Patty’s Day – Vail, CO
3/18 – Eldo – Crested Butte, CO
3/19 – Fly Me to the Moon, Live in Telluride – Telluride, CO
3/20 – Sheridan Opera House (Private Event) – Telluride, CO
3/21 – Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
4/02 – The Mint – Los Angeles, CA
4/03 – SoHo – Santa Barbara, CA
4/10 – Mission Rock Cafe – San Francisco, CA
4/17 – TBA – Vancouver, BC
4/18 – TBA – Vancouver, BC
4/19 – Telus MTV World Ski & Snowboard Festival – Whistler, BC

Eddie Floyd Mines R&B Roots on New Album of Southern Soul

Eddie Floyd- for the Grateful Web

Soul man Eddie Floyd's first new album in six years, titled Eddie Loves You So, marks his return to the Stax Records logo. The singer who scored a monster soul classic with "Knock on Wood" in 1967 has returned to his Southern roots for the new CD. Included are 10 original songs written for fellow soul artists in the '50s and '60s. Some date back to Floyd's years with the seminal proto-soul group The Falcons; others are some previously unheard gems. The new CD hits the streets on July 29, 2008 on Stax Records through the Concord Music Group.
 
Eddie Loves You So was produced by the Boston team of Michael Dinallo (known for his work with the Radio Kings and Barrence Whitfield) and Ducky Carlisle (who's worked with Susan Tedeschi, Buddy Guy and Graham Parker).
 
The album, while newly recorded, takes the listener back to the R&B origins of the Montgomery, Ala.-born Floyd. He was a member of The Falcons in the late '50s, which also featured Joe Stubbs, later of the Contours and 100 Proof Aged in Soul. From that era, Floyd has re-recorded "You're So Fine," the group's breakthrough 1959 hit, plus "Never Get Enough of Your Love," which he recorded on Al Bell's Safice Records between his Falcons and Stax years. There's also a previously unreleased Falcons song, "Since You've Been Gone," which was demoed but never recorded until now.
 
The album contains songs that Floyd wrote for other Stax artists but never recorded himself: "'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone," a hit for William Bell and later cut by Esther Phillips; "I Will Always Have Faith In You," a #11 hit for Carla Thomas; and "You Don't Know What You Mean To Me," a co-write with Steve Cropper that label mates Sam & Dave who took to #20 on the R&B chart. All have been recorded by Floyd for the album, as was "I Don't Want to Be With Nobody But You," a Floyd song that Malaco artist Dorothy Moore recorded on her 1976 Misty Blue album.
 
The new album also contains "Consider Me," a classic Stax Eddie Floyd ballad that was an album track but never a single, plus two newer compositions: "Close to You" and "Head to Toe."

"Working with Eddie and getting to know him by making this record has been a complete joy," says co-producer Dinallo. "Eddie's energy and enthusiasm has been and continues to be incredibly inspiring. Ducky and I were floored when he started singing. The sound of his voice coming back over the speakers gave us chills and made us howl with delight. In choosing the songs for this record, it hit me that I was surveying the history of soul music by digging through Eddie's catalog of the past 50 years. With current neo-soul movement, it is only appropriate that one of the genre's most important and influential songwriter and performer steps to the front with this record."

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

David Grisman- for the Grateful Web

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GB Leighton: A Roots Rock Band to Watch

photos by Sheila Ryan- for the Grateful Web

It's been said that fine, delicate wines need to mature slowly. For bands, sometimes that's true. In GB Leighton's case, it has taken almost two decades of songwriting and serious performing to develop into a force that is poised to take on the musical world.  That maturing is grounded in Brian Leighton's songwriting, his powerful vocal delivery, and the backing of a phenomenally talented band.

There is nothing delicate about GB Leighton. However, there is a rootedness in Minnesota "nice" that pervades the songs and the band's performances. Even when Leighton sings about bad boys, there is still the urge to forgive the young pup, no matter what he did.

That is one reason why GB Leighton has been a big draw to Minnesota clubs.  Brian and his band seem to generate a good time wherever they play, whipping up audiences, not into frenzied crowds, screaming for his body or into drunken music fanatics, but  into warm friendly places where people dance till they drop and sing along with Leighton standards. The band creates a Cheers type of atmosphere, where everyone knows your name–or soon will–while  couched in musical refrains.

Leighton's love of music began in his Shoreview, Minnesota home, listening to the country outlaws of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and eventually being turned on to Bruce Springsteen who offered a vocal delivery full of energy that profoundly influenced Leighton's own singing style. He began playing guitar at 14, and started GB Leighton at 18, his first and only band.  The band recorded its first studio album a few years later in 1991, when Leighton could legally play in bars. Then in 1994, the band produced One Time...One Life, an album of songs, some of which Leighton still pulls out at every show.  Other studio albums, live cuts, and a DVD followed, with nearly a dozen recordings to the band's credit.

In the early days, GB Leighton burned a path through the US, playing such clubs as Tramps in New York, Howlin' Wolf in New Orleans, Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, and Bohager's in Baltimore.  The band even sold out in 800 to 1200 seat venues, while continuing to draw eager fans to regional clubs, becoming overwhelmingly one of  Minnesota's top-drawing bar bands.  Leighton has also opened for the BoDeans, bluesman Jonny Lang, and Joe Cocker. He and his band appeared in a cameo and on the soundtrack for the independent film, The Marksman, which was viewed at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

Though Leighton has stayed close to home for a number of years, only slipping down to Acapulco in the winter for a week of non-stop music, he and the latest incarnation of his band are ready for wider touring. And, with good reason. His current band lineup is strong enough to stand against Leighton's powerhouse vocals.  Now, he has to reason to hold back and doesn't, allowing him to give everything he can during performances without fear that he'll blow a band member (or the audience) out of the venue. He has a big sound that comes from deep inside, but there is a clear, understandable quality to his singing without distortion or screaming. His audiences want to catch not only the words but the vocal nuances that he uses and his choice of phrasing. That is further enhanced by strong vocal backup by band members Luke Kramer, James Patrick Carey, and Jason Perri.

Though Leighton is definitely in charge on stage, he is also generous. Long time bandmate, Kramer complements Leighton's songs with intricate guitar riffs and, on the new album, Shake Them Ghosts, lap steel, and takes several solos during shows. Carey on keyboards and Perri on sax and fiddle (yes, fiddle, in a rock band!) add color and energy throughout the songs. Perri shines as he struts on his part of the stage, adding those high note solos, and Carey rocks, swinging his keyboard layout to the side so that the audience can see his fingers dance among the keys. Nick Salisbury on bass and Ryan Inselman on drums, the anchors of the band, keep the musical organism moving and always danceable, and sometimes take a solo themselves.

Though the band is tight and has great vocals, GB Leighton could remain a bar band for another twenty years if it weren't for the songs that Leighton has been writing. And, the latest batch on the new album, Shake Them Ghosts, have shifted the band into brand new territory.  As Leighton evolved over the years, the energy and pureness that was present in his Live From Pickle Park album (1998) was lost as Leighton moved into more pop sounding arenas that culminated in his This Life album in 2003. Though the songs themselves were good, there was something missing. When Leighton and his band entered Winterland Studios in Minneapolis last December to record Shake Them Ghosts, Leighton not only was reclaiming something of himself but also moving out into a gutsy, rootsy genre that had a much broader appeal and spoke to a wider audience than the cute babe in the bar.

The groundwork for Shake Them Ghosts was laid months earlier when Leighton journeyed to Nashville to work with Nashville songwriters at Still Working Music, the publishing company owned by Barbara Orbison, Roy Orbison's widow and manager.  There he connected with writers like Clay Mills whose work has been recorded by Reba McIntire, Trisha Yearwood, Danielle Peck, and Diamond Rio.  Mills lent his skills to two of the most infectious songs on the album, "Twisted" and "Wings Workin' Overtime."  Leighton worked with other writers: Rachel Thibodeau, a Minnesota native, who has written for Marina McBride and Lila McCann; Jay Knowles whose songs have been cut by George Strait and Montgomery Gentry; and Liz Rose who has a song on Bonnie Raitt's latest studio album, Souls Alike.

Though you'd expect collaborative work coming from writers like these to be the stuff of pickup trucks and honkey tonks, what happened was a matchup of closeted rockers who really wanted to help Leighton shape his ideas.   "We're not in there to just write a great country hit or anything like that," Leighton says. "We're there to write something just a little more rocking and something that will use words that I'm going to say live."

Leighton has always been able to capture more than a smooth pick-up song. His "Man in the Moon," a song from one of his older CDs, tells about faithfulness and standing with someone no matter where they are, and "One Foot Over" is about having the determination to follow your dream. However, the songwriting experience of throwing songwriters in a room and expecting something to come out that often is daunting to so many was actually the necessary stimulus that Leighton needed.  "I did definitely learn a lot about writing songs from people who do it every day and who live in a city that expects great stuff to come out of them," he says.

Then as Leighton and his band came into the studio to produce these songs, the album was further shaped by producer Don Dixon who had produced The Smithereens and R.E.M. Dixon also brought in rock drummer Kenny Aronoff to assist the album since Leighton had just hired Ryan Inselman who was very new to the band.  Aronoff, named #1 Studio Drummer for five consecutive years by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine, had previously kept time for  Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Elton John, John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, and Willie Nelson. Inselman, however, didn't just sit on the sidelines. He observed Aronoff and even added hand percussion to a few tracks. "After he was in the studio watching Kenny Aronoff play," says Leighton. "I just saw a different drummer."

The resulting album is strong and intense. The good times are still there, but there's a maturity and a personalization in the details of the songs and in the whole band's efforts, vocally and instrumentally, that takes this CD to another level. "Wings Workin'' Overtime," a collaboration with Clay Mills about the transformative power of a woman's love, is more than worth the price of the album–or five albums for that matter.  However, "Twisted" and "Favorite" are lighter cuts that attract audiences but offer more. "Twisted," for example, co-authored with Clay Mills and Stephanie Lewis, is twisted. It begins like Primus rising up through the floorboards of a backwater honkytonk and morphing into a crap-kicking rock anthem. It is pure Leighton, delivered with guts and warmth.

GB Leighton is a band to experience. Find them and the party at a venue near you or in their latest recording,  Shake Them Ghosts. Check out tourdates and CD info at www.gbleighton.com.

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Other Janie Reviews:

1. The White Iron Band (6/16/2006 6:44:38 PM - http://www.whiteironband.com)
Their hard-hitting tunes make the Kentucky Headhunters seem like lite rock, and they can sweet talk you out of a band mood with the strike of a chord or the honeyed blend of multiple-part harmonies.
2. Phil Lesh Legacy (7/14/2006 5:00:43 AM - http://www.gratefulweb.net/photos/photoInterface/photos.aspx?direct=Band...)
But it is Lesh himself who is venturing out to major jam festivals this summer in search of the vibe and some answers. He's looking to explore why the jam scene keeps going and what it all means. As part of a long-term oral history project, Lesh has started formally dialoging with people of his generation and young people today about the 60s, what some have thought was a Golden Age of enlightenment and music or a time of unachievable idealism and unrest.
3. Enchanted Ape: An Enchanted Experience (7/16/2006 6:17:05 AM - http://www.enchantedape.com/ )
Enchanted Ape takes their name from Thomas Carlyle's (1843) written comment about non-conformists, where he states, "...and thou art as an Enchanted Ape under God's sky, where thou mightest have been a man, had proper schoolmasters and conquerors, and constables with cat o'nine tails, been vouchsafed thee...."
4. Umphrey's McGee: Layers of the Unexpected (7/16/2006 4:45:30 AM - http://www.umphreys.com/ )
An Umphrey's McGee show is a musical extravaganza as the band members trip in and out of musical genres. This band is unique even in the jam scene because of the musical diversity, not only within each set, but within each song. Audiences can hear jazz, rock, ambient space music, Primus-edged metal, and even country wedged up against each other.
5. Blues on the Prairie: Backyard Barbeque and Blues Fest (1/1/2007 2:44:03 PM - )
Blues legend Buddy Guy showed up in a striped shirt and overhalls. When I had seen him before, he wore polka dots and changed guitars like a fashion statement, including a white one with black polka dots on it. There was another change, too. Guy had only a four piece band. Back in 2005, he had a very talented saxophone player with him. The current configuration, however, is top-notch. They are master musicians in their own right, and hold up well in Guy's nightly game of dueling instruments.
6. The Bands of 10,000 Lakes, Part 1 (3/15/2007 10:49:07 AM - )
With warmer temperatures, jamfans are already looking toward summer festivals. To tempt you further, we're going to take a look back at last year's 10,000 Lakes Festival in Minnesota, the new kid on the festival circuit that is drawing fans to its musical honey and its truly sweet location.
7. Unity the band: Bringing the Love (3/16/2007 8:17:47 PM - )
Though reggae, like American hip-hop now, is found all over the world, roots reggae differs depending on where is it nurtured and grown. "The difference with reggae we have in the island," Pita says, "is we have a little bit more of an African flavor, our African heritage and Indian nature. It's old style. It's almost a little faster than reggae, but it has a little pop to it."
8. Turbine: Always Turning Out The Good Stuff (3/17/2007 5:38:42 AM - )
In 2005, jammers at the 10,000 Lakes Festival were floored by the power duo from New York City, Turbine. Ryan Rightmire (harmonica, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Jeremy Hilliard (electric guitar, vocals) had audiences awe-struck when they launched into their set. "There was a moment after the first long jam of the set, and no one was making any noise during the song, " recalls Hilliard. "We finished and for a second, we were wondering what was going to happen. Then everyone sort of exploded."