beauty

Sugar Hill Records Releases Wood and Stone from Tara Nevins

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins releases an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise, in Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999.  Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory.

Fans of Nevins from her 21-year tenure with Donna the Buffalo are familiar with her versatile talents; she shares the vocal and songwriting responsibilities for the band and is a stellar musician on fiddle, guitar, and accordion.  (She plays a mean scrubboard too.) Prior to DTB, Nevins was a founding member of the all-female, old time/Cajun band The Heartbeats. (They join her on two tracks here as well.) Wood and Stone delivers the musical expertise fans have come to expect and surprises with new perspectives.

“This album is personal and sort of revelatory,” Nevins says.  “It’s an expression of recent emotional discovery within relationships lost and found, and how knowing the core of who we are is the real deal. There were so many elements I wanted to explore—to combine all the pieces of my personal musical puzzle--and then have it come together in a cohesive whole. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Larry Campbell.  I am honored to have had him both produce and play on my record.  He's an amazingly talented and soulful musician.  He has a very natural, down-to-earth approach and an instinctual insightfulness that I really appreciate; he really got what I was after. The whole experience was inspiring and challenging in a very positive way.”

Campbell is a much-sought-after musician/producer renowned for his work with Bob Dylan and still rolling from the success of Levon Helm’s two Grammy- winners, Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, which he produced.  He found Nevins’s project immediately compelling.  “I liked the feel of the project-- her combination of old-time mountain music and original songwriting—and I was taken with Tara’s unique talent; she’s got a distinctive voice—there’s a kind of honesty that shines through.”
Ten of the thirteen tracks are originals, and Nevins’s complexity gets a broad stage. She dispenses wit and wisdom with an atypical take on love and relationships through gritty songs such as “You’ve Got It All” and “You’re Still Driving That Truck,” then turns to wrenching hearts with songs like “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale), a beautiful metaphorical ballad about the pain of loving someone unable to truly give back, and “Tennessee River,” a haunting, gripping song about the stranglehold love can have over a person’s whole existence.  “Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.
The record kicks off with the title cut “Wood and Stone,” and that “honest” element is readily apparent in this touching tribute to home and family. Old-timey acoustics are quickly joined by drums and steel guitars as Nevins sings about “the better part of me” regarding her upbringing and early influences.  “It’s got that magical blend of music and lyrics,” Campbell says of it, “and it really paints a picture of where she comes from.”
The record is “framed” by another nostalgic piece, “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” (by Van Morrison), bringing the record full-circle and serving as a sort of catharsis for the dark tone of “Tennessee River”.  “I wanted to end the record with it,” Nevins explains, “because I love the sentiment of the song and it’s kind of like ‘the sun always comes back out’ kind of thing. We grow and learn and take our relationships with us for better and for worse and that’s life in all its beauty and glory.”

Nevins’s rare blend of enormous talent coupled with genuine down-home humbleness has won the hearts of fans and colleagues alike.  “Tara has this worldly awareness combined with a fragile innocence,” Larry Campbell notes, “which makes her songwriting and music very accessible…very appealing.”  Wood and Stone is sure to add to that appeal.

Sugar Hill Records to Release Wood and Stone from Tara Nevins

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins releases an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise, in Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999.  Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory.

Fans of Nevins from her 21-year tenure with Donna the Buffalo are familiar with her versatile talents; she shares the vocal and songwriting responsibilities for the band and is a stellar musician on fiddle, guitar, and accordion.  (She plays a mean scrubboard too.) Prior to DTB, Nevins was a founding member of the all-female, old time/Cajun band The Heartbeats. (They join her on two tracks here as well.) Wood and Stone delivers the musical expertise fans have come to expect and surprises with new perspectives.

“This album is personal and sort of revelatory,” Nevins says. “It’s an expression of recent emotional discovery within relationships lost and found, and how knowing the core of who we are is the real deal. There were so many elements I wanted to explore—to combine all the pieces of my personal musical puzzle--and then have it come together in a cohesive whole. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Larry Campbell.  I am honored to have had him both produce and play on my record.  He's an amazingly talented and soulful musician.  He has a very natural, down-to-earth approach and an instinctual insightfulness that I really appreciate; he really got what I was after. The whole experience was inspiring and challenging in a very positive way.”

Campbell is a much-sought-after musician/producer renowned for his work with Bob Dylan and still rolling from the success of Levon Helm’s two Grammy- winners, Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, which he produced.  He found Nevins’s project immediately compelling.  “I liked the feel of the project-- her combination of old-time mountain music and original songwriting—and I was taken with Tara’s unique talent; she’s got a distinctive voice—there’s a kind of honesty that shines through.”

The record kicks off with the title cut “Wood and Stone,” and that “honest” element is readily apparent in this touching tribute to home and family. Old-timey acoustics are quickly joined by drums and steel guitars as Nevins sings about “the better part of me” regarding her upbringing and early influences.  “It’s got that magical blend of music and lyrics,” Campbell says of it, “and it really paints a picture of where she comes from.”

Ten of the thirteen tracks are originals, and Nevins’s complexity gets a broad stage. She dispenses wit and wisdom with an atypical take on love and relationships through gritty songs such as “You’ve Got It All” and “You’re Still Driving That Truck,” then turns to wrenching hearts with songs like “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale), a beautiful metaphorical ballad about the pain of loving someone unable to truly give back, and “Tennessee River,” a haunting, gripping song about the stranglehold love can have over a person’s whole existence.  “Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.

The record is “framed” by another nostalgic piece, “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” (by Van Morrison), bringing the record full-circle and serving as a sort of catharsis for the dark tone of “Tennessee River”.  “I wanted to end the record with it,” Nevins explains, “because I love the sentiment of the song and it’s kind of like ‘the sun always comes back out’ kind of thing. We grow and learn and take our relationships with us for better and for worse and that’s life in all its beauty and glory.”

Nevins’ rare blend of enormous talent coupled with genuine down-home humbleness has won the hearts of fans and colleagues alike.  “Tara has this worldly awareness combined with a fragile innocence,” Larry Campbell notes, “which makes her songwriting and music very accessible…very appealing.”  Wood and Stone is sure to add to that appeal.

Check out Grateful Web's webcast of Donna the Buffalo from the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO.

Sidi Touré Releases New Album, 'Sahel Folk'

Sidi Touré, born in 1959 in the ancient town of Gao, Mali, made his first guitar as a child, constructing it from his wooden writing slate. Growing up, Sidi Touré faced a conflict between the inexorable pull of music and the expectations of family and society, plus the significance and onus of a past that came with being born into a noble family. The Touré family had been sung about, and sung to, by traditional griots for centuries, but until Sidi Touré challenged the rules as a small boy, the Touré’s did not sing. Despite his family’s disapproval, Sidi became the lead singer of his school’s band, and then became the youngest member of Gao’s regional orchestra, the Songhaï Stars, who played bi-annual festivals like the Bamako Biennale and toured both regionally and nationally. After winning the award for best singer twice, he took the band to the northern regions of Mali and to Niger, and toured much of the western Sahel region. Throughout his time making music, Sidi’s sound has both captured and challenged his roots. His music moves from the translucent swaying takamba to the trance inducing Holley, while the lyrics often address many non-traditional issues. Sidi has a critical mind and his songs have a purpose.

At its heart, Sahel Folk, Thrill Jockey’s debut release with Sidi Touré, is an album of friends reuniting around a glass of tea. It’s Sidi Touré’s second album, but the first time most of his collaborators have been documented. Chronicled in a live “field-recording” style at Sidi’s sister’s house, the simplicity of the takes highlight the beauty of the songs and the skill of the players. Each track on the album is a duet recording of Sidi and one friend, a product of a very specific two-day process. On the first day, the friends would meet, play, and choose a song over a glass of tea. On the second day they would record the song, allowing themselves just two takes to retain the spontaneity of the recording and reunion. It was the original intent of Covalesky, the album’s producer, to create an historical document about the traditions of Gao, and to mix the audio of Sidi and his friends’ songs with street recordings and interviews. However, once the recording started, everything changed. Covalesky puts it best when he says “In the face of such beauty and power delivered so simply by Sidi Touré and his friends, there was nothing to add. Everything was there.”

Thrill Jockey Records is honored to be releasing Sidi Touré’s second album, Sahel Folk, due out January 25, 2011.

The Warner Brothers Studio Albums + Dead.net exclusive

What a long, strange trip it's been! In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, we proudly present THE WARNER BROS. STUDIO ALBUMS, a five-LP boxed set commemorating those tremendous and transformative early years. Due September 21st, the collection contains The Grateful Dead (1967), Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty (1970), plus the original mixes for Anthem Of The Sun (1968) and Aoxomoxoa (1969), available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 40 years!

This stunning set also features detailed replicas of the original albums housed in a hard-shell case with an accompanying 12" x 12" book containing unpublished photos and new liner notes by our friend Blair Jackson. And as always, we've ensured the highest degree of quality - these albums were pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI using lacquers cut from the original analog masters. Now all you've got to do is gently place the needle on the record and slip into auditory bliss!

Order from Dead.net and receive an exclusive reproduction of a rare 1968 7" single (in a picture sleeve) that features the studio version of "Dark Star" (b/w "Born Cross-Eyed"), clocking in at a concise 2:38. You'll also receive a reproduction of a rare 1967 promotional poster from the Warner Bros. Records archive. The 7" and poster are yours only when you place your order at Dead.net.

THE AMERICAN BEAUTY PROJECT

- for the Grateful Web

Two of the Grateful Dead's greatest albums, American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, both recorded in 1970, will each be honored with its own evening when Arts>World Financial Center presents The American Beauty Project free in the World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street.

Workingman's Dead, which was recorded in March 1970 & will be honored Saturday, January 20, at 8:00pm by a distinctive roster of singer-songwriters, bands and instrumentalists when each perform one of the tracks on the classic album. The next night, Sunday, January 21, at 8:00pm, another group of singers and musicians will perform cuts from American Beauty which was recorded in August and September 1970.

Performing their own arrangements of the Workingman's Dead and American Beauty songs are Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane), Ollabelle, Toshi Reagon, The Holmes Brothers, Jen Chapin, Dar Williams, The Klezmatics, Tim O'Reagan (The Jayhawks), Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Larry Campbell, Catherine Russell, Jim Lauderdale, Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, and more names to be announced in the months ahead.

Putting together The American Beauty Project to celebrate 35th anniversary of these two landmark Grateful Dead albums is Artistic Director and Producer David Spelman, who was responsible for similar tributes to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. At last year's Nebraska Project honoring Springsteen, The Boss himself spent the evening standing unnoticed with the crowd before jumping on stage for the finale.

"Both Workingman's Dead and American Beauty were ranked on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, 258 and 262, respectively," said Mr. Spelman. "Each was extremely innovative at the time for their fusion of bluegrass, rock, folk and country music." Workingman's Dead, the band's fourth studio album, was recorded in March 1970, and was voted by readers of Rolling Stone as the best album of 1970, in front of Crosby, Stills and Nash's Déjà Vu and Van Morrison's Moondance.

American Beauty was recorded between August and September of 1970 and was released in November of the same year. It included instant radio favorites such as "Truckin'" "Sugar Magnolia" and "Friend of the Devil."

"The acoustic sound and folk/country tunes of Workingman's Dead would come as quite a shock to many fans, and to the critics as a harbinger of some sort of conscious movement (along with The Band, Dylan and the Byrds) toward country," wrote Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally in his program notes for the event. Mr. McNally went on to add that: "as usual with the Grateful Dead, the album's origins were serendipitous and synchronistic, involving no plan or program. Instead, their swerve to include country songs in their work began quite accidentally when their lyricist Robert Hunter moved in with the Garcia family in January 1969 ... In March 1970, they went into the studio to record Workingman's Dead. Hugely in debt to their record company, they were forced to be simple and economize, thinking consciously of Buck Owens' Bakersfield sound. The simplicity served the music perfectly, and the result was a classic, although not the departure many thought it was. They'd enlarged their vision, not changed it."

Arts>World Financial Center serves as the leading showcase in Lower Manhattan for visual and performing arts - from the intimate to the spectacular - by artists either emerging or established. Since 1988, year-round and free to the public, it has presented interdisciplinary arts programming with an emphasis on commissioned works, site-specific installations and premieres.

All events are free! No tickets required. Seating is first come, first served. For information, call (212) 945-0505 or click www.worldfinancialcenter.com.