world

Del McCoury and Preservation Hall Release Joint Album Today!

Fans who have been streaming American Legacies, the unprecedented collaboration between bluegrass music’s legendary Del McCoury Band and New Orleans music giants, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, can finally snag a copy of the album for themselves today, April 12th, as the set is released in multiple configurations designed to appeal to casual listeners and dedicated followers alike.  The musical partners are also celebrating the event with the release of a new video that gives a sneak peek at the cross-genre blend on both a musical and personal level, with comments from Del McCoury, the PHJB’s Ben Jaffe and more, available at http://www.mccourymusic.com/americanlegacies.cfm, where the curious can still stream the project in its entirety as well as order it directly from the source.

The set—and the joint tour organized to bring its music to venues around the country—have already gotten plenty of attention for its remarkable blend of traditions. The twin legacies of bluegrass and jazz are combined in ways that underline their points of contact while preserving their distinctive characteristics, as horns blend with string band instruments to produce something at once refreshingly new and yet profoundly familiar, from the opening, tradition-based “The Band’s In Town” through the closing “One More ‘Fore I Die.”  And whether they’re tackling a decades-old standard or a new composition, the two groups bring fierce musicianship, deep respect and a rollicking good humor to the musical table in a way that makes the joy of the encounter unmistakable.

Known as one of the premiere ambassadors of bluegrass, the Del McCoury Band is fronted by veteran Del McCoury, who apprenticed in the honkytonks of Baltimore and with Bill Monroe before starting his own band more than 40 years ago.  A hero to east coast bluegrass audiences through the 1970s and 1980s, he stepped onto the national stage with a move to Nashville in the early 1990s that started the Del McCoury Band on an unprecedented streak of International Bluegrass Music Association awards and international acclaim.  Today, McCoury, along with a band that includes his sons Ron and Rob, are admired by hard-core bluegrass traditionalists and eclectic music fans and stars alike as they make appearances everywhere from the Bonnaroo Music Festival to late night network TV shows to their own popular Delfest.  For millions of fans across the US and around the world, the Del McCoury Band is simply the face of bluegrass.

Founded just a few years before McCoury joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been carrying the distinctive sound of New Orleans jazz around the world on behalf of Preservation Hall, a unique venue that embodies the city’s musical legacy.  With a cast of musicians schooled through first-hand experience and apprenticeship into the music’s historic traditions, the PHJB has served as an irreplaceable, vital link to the earliest days of one of America’s most beloved forms of popular music, evoking the spirits of times past in an ever-evolving modern context that has found them traveling around the world.

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Del McCoury/Preservation Hall Tour Dates:

April 13 - St. Charles, MO @ Family Arena
April 14 - Lawrence, KS @ University of Kansas- Leid Center
April 15 - Appleton, WI @ Fox Cities PAC
April 16 - Naperville, IL @ Pfeiffer Hall
April 17 - Fayetteville, AR @ Baum Walker Hall at Walton Arts Center
April 19 - Wilmington, NC @ The Sarah Graham Kenan Memorial
May 12 - Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA- Royce Hall
May 27 - DelFest, Cumberland, MD
June 10 - Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
July 7 - Winnipeg Folk Fest
August 6 - Edmonton Folk Fest

The Wailers & Duane Stephenson Tour Starts this Week!

The Wailers, the world’s most celebrated reggae group in the world, are getting back to their roots with their new 3-singer line-up when they embark on their 2011 U.S. Tour.  The new line-up includes Yvad, Koolant and Danglin as well as original member and the band’s musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett. The band will be using the tour to bring attention to their new single “A Step For Mankind“ which was written by Duane Stephenson specifically for the World Food Programme.  They will be donating unused funds from the band’s hospitality riders directly to the United Nations’ World Food Program to help stop world hunger.

“A Step for Mankind,” recorded in Jamaica specifically for Oniric Records’ Solution for Dreamers: Season 3 is the band’s first studio song in more than 16 years. The band have been supporting the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) efforts to eradicate hunger throughout the world.  The new song calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant,a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers are one of the most successful reggae bands of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. Wailers’ bass player Aston “Familyman” Barrett  is recognized throughout the world as the architect of reggae.  A revered innovator, he joined The Wailers in 1969, quickly becoming singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s right-hand man and musical director. On record and on stage, his inimitable style became an essential part of the Wailers’ sound. Following Marley’s death in 1981, “Fams” took the reins as the band’s leader, spearheading performances to adoring crowds the world over, as well as the band’s involvement with the fight against global hunger.

Duane Stephenson recognized one of reggae’s most talented sons, is promoting the release of his latest album, “Black Gold”, and is joining the tour as special guest. This is Stephenson’s sophomore album, following the top-selling “August Town”.  He is also the writer behind “A Step for Mankind” which he will be performing on tour with the Wailers at each performance.  His new 15-track studio album with 14 original songs and is riding high in the charts sees Stephenson working with legendary reggae producer, Dean Fraser, the mastermind behind the majority of production on Black Gold.

Black Gold encompasses Stephenson's growth mentally, emotionally, and musically. From ballads to roots reggae, his musical skills and heartfelt sentiments on this album will resonate with reggae fans and be sure to gain him new ones. Such is the quality of Black Gold , Steve 'Flash' Juon of Rapreviews.com raves that “...so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Caribbean music...”

“For more than forty years, The Wailers have been about spreading a positive message to our audiences,” says Fams. “With the World Food Programme’ campaign, we want to get the word out beyond the audience – so even if these people can’t feel it musically, they can feel it spiritually. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for forty years in the Wailers than giving back to the people.”

The Wailers continue their relentless touring schedule bringing their message of peace and “one love” to their audiences worldwide.  They will be spreading their message throughout the U.S. in 2011.

“A Step for Mankind” is available at iTunes with ALL proceeds from the song going towards the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to help stop world hunger.

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2011 Tour Dates

04 April – Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL

05 April – Tipitina’s – New Orleans, LA

06 April – Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX

08 April – Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM

09 April – Spring Break Breckenridge – Breckenridge, CO

09 April – Belly Up – Aspen, CO

10 April – Steamboat Springs Ski Area – Steamboat Springs, CO

11 May – The Windjammer – Isle of Palms, SC

12 May – Cox Capital Theatre – Macon, GA

13 May – House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL

14 May – House of Blues – N. Myrtle Beach, SC

17 May – Kelly’s – Nags Head, NC

18 May – Innsbrook After Hours – Glen Allen, VA

19 May – Penn’s Peak – Jim Thorpe, PA

20 May – Chesapeake Jubilee Festival – Chesapeake, VA

21 May – Recher Theatre – Towson, MD

25 May – World Café @ The Queen – Wilmington, DE

26 May – Oneonta Theatre – Oneonta, NY

27 May – Seneca Niagara Casino – Niagara Falls, NY

29 May – Freedom Weekend Aloft – Simpsonville, SC

03 June – Surf Club – Ortley Beach, NJ

01 July – Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Biloxi, MS

05 July – Milwaukee Summerfest – Milwaukee, WI

22 July – Sessions Music and Food Fest – Salem, OR

23-24 July – Alyeska Resort – Girdwood, AK

28 July – Wanderlust Festival – Lake Tahoe, CA

06 August – Gaia Festival – Laytonville, CA

13 August – Pacific Ampitheatre – Costa Mesa, CA

The Wailers and Duane Stephenson: Two Reggae Powerhouses in Aspen

The Wailers, the world’s most celebrated reggae group in the world, are getting back to their roots with their new 3-singer line-up when they embark on their 2011 U.S. Tour.  The new line-up includes Yvad, Koolant and Danglin as well as original member and the band’s musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett. The band will be using the tour to bring attention to their new single “A Step For Mankind“ which was written by Duane Stephenson specifically for the World Food Programme.  They will be donating unused funds from the band’s hospitality riders directly to the United Nations’ World Food Program to help stop world hunger.

“A Step for Mankind,” recorded in Jamaica specifically for Oniric Records’ Solution for Dreamers: Season 3 is the band’s first studio song in more than 16 years. The band has been supporting the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) efforts to eradicate hunger throughout the world.  The new song calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers are one of the most successful reggae bands of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. Wailers’ bass player Aston “Familyman” Barrett is recognized throughout the world as the architect of reggae.  A revered innovator, he joined The Wailers in 1969, quickly becoming singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s right-hand man and musical director. On record and on stage, his inimitable style became an essential part of the Wailers’ sound. Following Marley’s death in 1981, “Fams” took the reins as the band’s leader, spearheading performances to adoring crowds the world over, as well as the band’s involvement with the fight against global hunger.

Duane Stephenson recognized one of reggae’s most talented sons, is promoting the release of his latest album, “Black Gold”, and is joining the tour as special guest. This is Stephenson’s sophomore album, following the top-selling “August Town”.  He is also the writer behind “A Step for Mankind” which he will be performing on tour with the Wailers at each performance.  His new 15-track studio album with 14 original songs and is riding high in the charts sees Stephenson working with legendary reggae producer, Dean Fraser, the mastermind behind the majority of production on Black Gold.

Black Gold encompasses Stephenson's growth mentally, emotionally, and musically. From ballads to roots reggae, his musical skills and heartfelt sentiments on this album will resonate with reggae fans and be sure to gain him new ones. Such is the quality of Black Gold , Steve 'Flash' Juon of Rapreviews.com raves that “...so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Caribbean music...”

“A Step for Mankind” calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers have gone on to become the most successful reggae band of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. The Wailers’ leader and musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett, helped forge the template for reggae with his booming, thunderous bass patterns. But more than just a bass player, Family Man was also the right-hand man of former band leader Bob Marley. He also played a large part in arranging Marley’s songs and co-produced a number of the late icon’s albums and even taught Marley how to play guitar. This year celebrates Familyman’s fortieth year with The Wailers.

“For more than forty years, The Wailers have been about spreading a positive message to our audiences,” says Fams. “With the World Food Programme’ campaign, we want to get the word out beyond the audience – so even if these people can’t feel it musically, they can feel it spiritually. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for forty years in the Wailers than giving back to the people.”

The Wailers continue their relentless touring schedule bringing their message of peace and “one love” to their audiences worldwide.  They will be spreading their message throughout the U.S. in 2011.

“A Step for Mankind” is available at iTunes with ALL proceeds from the song going towards the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to help stop world hunger.

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Tour Dates:

29 March-New Earth Music Hall, Athens, GA

30 March-Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, TN

31 March-Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

1 April-The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA

2 April-Lake Worth Reggae Fest, Lake Worth, FL

4 April-Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, FL

5 April-Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

6 April-Granada Theater, Dallas, TX

8 April-Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM

9 April-Belly Up, Aspen, CO

10 April-Steamboat Springs Ski Area, Steamboat Springs, CO

12 May-Cox Capital Theatre, Macon, GA

13 May-House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL

14 May-House of Blues, N. Myrtle Beach, SC

17 May-Kelly’s, Nags Head, NC

19 May-Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe, PA

20 May-Chesapeake Jubilee Festival, Chesapeake, VA

21 May-Recher Theatre, Towson, MD

28 May-World Café @ The Queen, Wilmington, DE

22 July-Sessions Music & Food Fest, Salem, OR

24 July-Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, AK

28 July-Wanderlust Festival, Lake Tahoe, CA

6 August-Gaia Festival, Laytonville, CA

Afrobeta Shares First Track, Debut EP This Summer

Miami’s avant-dance duo Afrobeta have been tearing up dancefloors their hometown since 2006, with the Miami New Times even naming them Best Band in 2010. After the success of their debut EP, Do You Party?, which came out last July, the band is ready to announce the details of their full-length debut- Under The Streets will see a release in Summer 2011 via Do IT Music Group (details coming soon)! Check out the first free track from the album, “Nighttime,” for a taste of what Under The Streets has in store for the world!

Cuci Amador and Smurphio formed Afrobeta in 2006 as a means to attain an ultimate form of artistic self-expression. Their mutual love of classic songwriting, Cuban pastries and dancing till 5AM inspired them to make music together. The thirteen tracks that make up their debut album will undoubtedly ignite dance-floors around the world- the band has a sound that is universally irresistible.

Afrobeta’s unique (and diverse) sound transcends genre classifications. Cuci’s rapid-fire delivery, combined with Smurphio’s funky synths and head-bopping basslines, will keep you moving from start to finish on Under The Streets.

Afrobeta is taking their joyous beats and dazzling live shows across the nation and abroad! 2010 included high profile performances at the 40th Anniversary Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, the 12th annual Ultra Music Festival, Burning Man, Ultra Brazil and Space Ibiza.

Download the FREE MP3 “Nighttime” HERE!

Rebirth Brass Band Announce 'Rebirth of New Orleans'

Rebirth Brass Band is proud to announce the release of their new album, Rebirth of New Orleans, out April 12 via Basin Street Records. The new album was produced by GRAMMY® Award winner Tracey Freeman (Harry Connick, Jr., Kermit Ruffins). For a sample of what to expect, listen to “Do It Again.”

Hailed by the New York Times as “a New Orleans institution,” the Rebirth Brass Band have been at the forefront of the brass band revival that they helped kick off almost 30 years ago. Formed by the Frazier brothers, Phil and Keith, along with Basin Street labelmate Kermit Ruffins in 1983, the Rebirth Brass Band has gone from playing on corners in the French Quarter to selling out concert halls across the world and appearing in David Simon’s HBO hit “Tremé.” It’s been a long road, but the Rebirth Brass Band has become one of the most beloved brass bands in New Orleans and around the world.

Since their founding, they’ve developed a signature brand of heavy funk that they expand upon on their latest effort, Rebirth of New Orleans. Opener “Exactly Like You” starts the album off with a rollicking, Mardi Gras stomp. “The Dilemma” and “Do It Again” find the group locking in to a down-tempo, Latin-influenced grooves, anchored by Phil Frazier’s tuba. And “Shrimp and Gumbo” and “Feelin’ Fine” find the band effortlessly perfecting the New Orleans-style brass lines that put the city on the map.

Rebirth Brass Band were featured in the opening scene of David Simon’s hit HBO show “Tremé” as well as on the GRAMMY® nominated soundtrack. No band exemplifies the essence and soul of New Orleans like Rebirth Brass Band.

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Rebirth Brass Band Upcoming Tour Dates:
03/05: New Orleans, LA @  Howlin’ Wolf
03/13: Perth, Western Australia @ Perth Concert Hall
03/14: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia @ Dallas Brooks Centre
03/16: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia @ The Barton Theatre
03/19: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @ QPAC Concert Hall
03/21: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia @ State Theatre
04/01: Baton Rouge, LA @ Chelsea's Cafe
04/02: Lafayette, LA @ Grant Street Dance Hall
04/06: Wilmington, DE @ World Café Live at the Queen
04/07: Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl
04/08: Portsmouth, NH @ Portsmouth Music Hall
04/09: Providence, RI @ Spot Underground
04/10: Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's
04/13: Austin, TX @ Antone's
04/14: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
04/15: Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater
04/23: Lake Charles, LA @ Luna Bar
05/27: Chicago, IL @ Space
05/28: Chilicothe, IL @ Summer Camp
06/10: San Francisco, CA @ San Francisco Jazz Festival
06/11: Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
06/12: Chicago, IL @ Chicago Orchestra Hall
06/13: Washington, DC @  DC Jazzfest

Non-Traditional Reggae Artist Finding Increasingly Diverse Audience

As MC Zulu continues to establish his non-traditional Reggae/Dancehall style, radio stations and sponsors alike are falling into place. His “Crowd Control” EP made an impressive debut at #24 on CMJs Hip-Hop charts, and is now being added to the World and RPM categories.

MC Zulu’s sound has proved most attractive to music supervisors as well. His song “Higher Velocity” with producer BIONIK can be heard as part of Puma’s Faas Lab campaign. The commercial features a verse from Hip-Hop luminary Aceyalone, and a cameo by Fastest Man in the World, Usain Bolt.

Zulu also recently licensed the acappella version of his song “No Lies” for a remix competition with world-renowned producer Dub Gabriel. The competition was sponsored by Akai, Ableton and Dubspot. Another track, “Lose Control” with Kush Arora has been licensed by Tapulous for the popular Riddim Ribbon iPhone app.

When questioned about his unusually high profile ventures, Zulu explains that as rejections from record labels piled up, his resolve increased. He has headlined tours and amassed his fan base one by one, in such contrasting regions of the world as Israel, Slovakia and Australia. The “Crowd Control” full length entitled “Electro Track Therapy” is due in stores later this year.

Jake Hertzog Trio Live At Miles Cafe This Friday!

Jake Hertzog, one of the most original and exciting young guitarists on the of the modern jazz guitar and fusion. Drawing from extensive experience in the jazz world and indie rock scene, Hertzog has developed a truly original sound.  At only 24 years old, Jake has already released two critically acclaimed fusion albums, Chromatosphere (2009, Thats Out) and Patterns (2010, Buckyball).  A distinguished graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Jake performed with jazz greats Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, Michael Wolff, Mike Clark, and Greg Osby. In 2006 He was also the youngest ever winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival Jazz Guitar Competition and was invited to open for John Scofield at the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival.

As a result of touring the US as bandleader for Nickelodeon pop-stars Nat and Alex Wolff, performing in arenas, and playing with dozens of indie rock bands in the New York scene most notably "Wakey Wakey",  Jake developed a ferocious performance style, uncommon in the jazz world.  In addition to an aggressive performance schedule, Jake is an active jazz educator and has done workshops all over the world.  He currently writes a jazz column for Guitar Player Magazine (US) entitled “Hey Jazz Guy”, and has been coined "The jazz ambassador to the non-jazz world".  2011 will be an exciting year for Jake Hertzog, as a new album is set to be released late spring, as well as Jake's singer-songwriter project "The Young Presidents" will also be releasing a new album.

The Jake Hertzog Trio, featuring jazz legends Harvie S and Victor Jones is one of the most dramatic and exciting 'force of nature' acts in the instrumental world.  The unforgettable live experience is somewhere between, Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer, Pat Metheny and U2, Keith Richards and John Scofield.  The only way to find out is to experience it yourself.

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The band:

-Harvie S-  (bass)

The legendary Harvie S has performed and recorded with masters in music including Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Jim Hall, Michael Brecker, Gil Evans, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Art Farmer, Toots Thielemans, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Chick Corea, Erik Friedlander, Danilo Perez, Paquito D'Rivera, Pat Martino among many others and hailed by Jazz Improv as “one of the preeminent bass voices in jazz today.”

-Victor Jones-  (drums)

Victor Jones got his start in Stan Getz’s band and has since performed and recorded with Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Michel Pettruciani, Dizzy Gillespie, Chaka Khan among others. One of the pioneers of “acid jazz”, Jones continues to lead his own group “Culturversey”, the current incarnation of which includes Jake Hertzog on guitar.

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Jake Hertzog Trio with Harvie S (bass) and Victor Jones (drums)

Friday  March 4th,

7:30pm - 9:30pm

The Miles Café Jazz Club

212 E. 52nd St. 3Fl.

(b/t 2nd & 3rd Ave.) New York, NY 10022

Evan Caminiti Announces New Solo Album

"When California Falls into The Sea", the product of more than a year's work, finds Caminiti shifting away from the evocation of the land elements and towards the urban - the coarseness of blood on the streets and people living in squalor juxtaposed with beautiful, fleeting moments like sun reflecting off of glass buildings into dingy puddles - to produce a dialogue where guitars float through the air weightlessly, weaving around each other like butterflies and other moments that are more solitary, monolithic excursions into the night.

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"When California Falls Into The Sea" Track List:

1. Heavy Whisper
2. For Now The Streets Are Nearly Silent
3. Trembling Moon
4. Reflections in Puddles
5. World Goes Dark
6. Rising
7. A Single Flame
8. Woven Into The Moon
9. Burning A Hole Through The Sky
10. With Fog As My Blanket
11. The Obsidian Curtain

* Pre-order of the new album is available now at HandmadeBirds.com (500 first edition LP's in 400 black, 100 white).

Sarah Jarosz To Release "Follow Me Down" on May 17th

What Sarah Jarosz’s acclaimed debut, Song Up In Her Head, suggests, Follow Me Down—due out May 17, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records—confirms: she is constitutionally incapable of getting stuck in a rut. Her approach to acoustic music is expansive and vital; she sees no need to choose between old-timey and modern material; between picking, singing and writing; between experimenting and reviving tradition. She does all of it, and pushes it all further, on her new album.

“I definitely could have just made a record that was similar to the last one—pretty rootsy,” reflects Jarosz. “That would have been a representation of a side of me. But I have all these new sounds and ideas and I just didn’t want to hold back on this one.”

A lot has changed in the two years since the world outside the festival-going bluegrass and old-time music communities—home to many longtime Jarosz fans—was introduced to the young singer/songwriter/instrumentalist. Her music caught on quickly with audiences across the age spectrum. There have been GRAMMY and Americana Music Award nominations, a trio of Austin Music Awards, invitations to perform on “Austin City Limits” and “A Prairie Home Companion” and appearances at Bonnaroo, Newport and Telluride—and lots of digital downloading, a rarity for a roots act.

The most important difference is that Jarosz cannot be called a kid anymore. She’ll turn twenty within a week of Follow’s release. Instead of going straight to work as a full-time musician, as many before her have done, she left her hometown of Wimberley, TX—30 miles outside of Austin—and headed to Boston’s New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation on an elite scholarship.

“I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone,” Jarosz says. “I wanted to be playing things that I might not normally play.” And she has had plenty of opportunities to do just that, from Jewish and world music ensembles at school to wildly unpredictable live jams with Punch Brothers and Mumford & Sons. That keen, open-minded attitude speaks volumes about her maturity.

Like her first album, Jarosz co-produced Follow Me Down with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, John Prine, Chris Thile). Only this time, they had a college course schedule and high profile gigs to work around. They did a session with Punch Brothers in New York, another in Boston with her talented young trio mates Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith and several in Nashville with some of the acoustic world’s finest pickers and singers, including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Shawn Colvin and Darrell Scott.

Jarosz’s growth can be felt throughout the resulting eleven tracks. The grooves are more adventurous, for starters on the first single “Come Around”.  She comments, “I know for some purists out there, it’s like, ‘Why do you have to have drums?’ For me, it’s like, ‘Why not?’” And she has explored alternative ways of using her already-strong voice (see her Radiohead cover “The Tourist” and Radiohead-inspired original “My Muse”; Bob Dylan’s folk hymn “Ring Them Bells” is the album’s other cover).

There’s no missing the breadth in Jarosz’s songwriting. She is just as comfortable penning the tragic old-timey “Annabelle Lee” - an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s final poem, or a modernized Appalachian ode to secret love like “Run Away” as she is cultivating contemporary singer-songwriter introspection in a song like “Here Nor There”. But her playing—be it on mandolin, octave mandolin, clawhammer banjo or acoustic guitar—never takes a back seat. She started “Peace”—one of two instrumentals on the new album—when she was twelve, and finished it at college. And it is that hunger to let her music keep growing—along with her formidable abilities—that make Jarosz so exciting to watch.

Michael Franti Receives the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award

The Rex Foundation is pleased to award the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award to Michael Franti. The $10,000 award is in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s, including his being a long-time contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, a founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival.   Mr. Gleason's openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.

A Bay Area native, Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years, from the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to the deeply political rap he made with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead.

As Rosalie Howarth, Rex Board member and KFOG Show Host and Director of Special Programming, explains, "The Ralph J. Gleason award honors people who strive to bring fresh cultural ideas and music to the mainstream public. Through his positive, inclusive lyrics, and his personal visits to strife-ridden areas such as Iraq, Palestine and Israel, Michael has seen first-hand the effects of war. He has taken his music to the people on the street, and absorbed their cultural influences in return, bringing them back to share at his annual free 'Power to the Peaceful' festival in Golden Gate Park, and on the silver screen with his powerful documentary 'I Know I'm Not Alone'.  Michael's unfailing optimism toward the human spirit and his tireless effort to spread peace and multiculturalism make him a world citizen and highly deserving recipient of the Rex Foundation Ralph Gleason Award."

Learn more about Michael Franti and his contributions from the following links:

Michael Franti CARE Soles4Souls Power to the Peaceful Stay Human

Franti states, "It's a huge honor to be recognized by the Rex Foundation for this award.  Being a fan of the Grateful Dead I know the diversity of its community and share the vision of creating togetherness and acceptance through music.  My musical message is much the same: If we can bring people together through the one-ness of music, it gives a starting point to address the larger needs of our communities and the world.  I am excited that music plays a greater role in the lives of all of us than ever before and the encouragement of this award reaffirms my faith that my journey has been worth every precious step!"

Furthering what the Grateful Dead started 27 years ago, the Rex Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities, and educating children and adults.  The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 programs across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out fundraising initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections.  Visit www.rexfoundation.org for a complete list of grantees and information about current initiatives.