soul

Martin Sexton in Boulder for Valentines Day

On the heels of his critically-acclaimed release Sugarcoating, blue-eyed soul singer Martin Sexton has announced dates for his 2011 winter tour.

Sugarcoating is an album that doesn’t necessarily protest, but questions. “The last couple of years have been an awakening for me about how the world seems to work and not work,” reflects Sexton. “You can’t rely on mainstream media for the truth, I’ve discovered that you’ve gotta dig if you want a real answer about what’s going on.”  He explains, “My music has always been more about inspiration and entertainment, but this time I felt the need to toss some awareness into the mix.”

Martin continues this message in his live performances.  His songs are intricate and spirited inspired by the American musical landscape of soul, gospel, R&B, country and blues.  "Martin Sexton's extraordinary voice howls, growls and purrs in the best tradition of blue-eyed soul," says the Chicago Sun Times.  "It is raw and expressive and can move in an instant from a glorious falsetto to an edgy rock plea or a simple folk lament."

A Martin Sexton show is truly unlike any other concert experience.  His performances are dynamic and bursting with depth earning him a devoted following among fans, peers and critics alike.  "A high vocal range and a sense of normal-dude humility usually don't go together, but they are the two most convincing things about … Sexton," said The Onion's A.V. Club in a recent review.

On November 12th, Martin performed at the 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert at the Beacon Theater alongside Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, Patti Smith, Taj Mahal and other musical icons. Martin's riveting interpretation of "Working Class Hero" received one of the only standing ovations of the evening.

Recently, Martin sat down with Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly News, to record a feature session for BriTunes. The session will be available later this month on the MSNBC website.

You can catch Martin Sexton at the Boulder Theater on Valentine's Day.

Jon Hardy & the Public to release 'A Hard Year'

Acclaimed purveyors of resonating Americana, Jon Hardy & the Public prepare for the January 25 release of a new stand-out EPA Hard Year - continuing their tradition of being St. Louis' "best kept secret" and announce a very special hometown show to celebrate!

Jon Hardy’s voice is deep and true, expressing yearning, pain, and triumph all at the same time. The St. Louis singer/songwriter and his band, The Public, make music that has bowled over critics at outlets like NPR, No Depression and hometown weekly Riverfront Times. “I asked fellow music writer Roy Kasten to name a better song than Hardy’s ‘Cassius Clay’ to come out of St. Louis since Uncle Tupelo’s ‘Gun,’” wrote that paper’s Christian Schaefer. “He couldn’t.”

Indeed, the group’s Americana-rooted sound often draws comparisons to Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar’s early work, though it also incorporates horn-driven soul and stomping, anthemic rock a la Bruce Springsteen. Also featuring Glenn Labarre on lead guitar, Johnny Kidd on keyboards, Greg Shadwick on bass and Mike Schurk on drums, The Public are also influenced by Randy Newman, and released a four song cover EP of his tracks called Little Criminals. “There’s something in his voice that gives me the impression that he’s on the outside looking in, that he’s not invited to the party,” says Hardy. “His songs are comforting and troubling all at the same time.”

This uneasy combination was recently featured as NPR’s Song of the Day with the single “Worst I Ever Had”. “Brilliantly capturing that desperate feeling lying somewhere between lust and fear,” wrote NPR’s Ben Westhoff, “the group shows why they probably won’t be simply regional favorites for much longer.”

The two EPs followed the group’s 2005 debut Make Me Like Gold, which No Depression writer Ed Ward said was “about as original as any grass-roots recording by a guitar-based band is going to get at this late date” and their 2007 disc Working In Love. That album featured the show-stopping “Cassius Clay” and songs concerning Hardy’s recent divorce; in many ways the album was a letter to his ex-wife. “That was the best way I knew to tell her what I was thinking and feeling,” he says.
In recent years, Jon Hardy & The Public have performed with acclaimed acts including Okkervil River, The Avett Brothers, White Denim, John Vanderslice, Pernice Brothers and White Rabbits and drawn comparisons to Spoon. Their music has been played on college and community radio stations from coast to coast.
Hardy was raised in Webster Groves, just outside of St. Louis, by a Presbyterian preacher father and a mother whose work included substitute teaching. “It was a strange mix of liberal and conservative,” Hardy says. “My dad would always spend time reading to us about the civil rights movement. At the same time, TV was not smiled upon and music was carefully reviewed.” Having grown up on his parents’ classic rock and pop records, he taught himself guitar largely from listening to blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and B.B. King on local radio.
His first band was a power pop outfit called Shelby. “I remember I was very afraid of being in front of people and performing,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve completely gotten over it.” An odd thing to say, as Jon Hardy & The Public’s shows have the inspirational quality of a revival meeting worthy of his father. Often featuring a full horns section and a faithful cover of Springsteen’s “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” they are largely responsible for the band’s considerable grassroots following in the Midwest.
Shadwick joined the group not long before he and Hardy were laid off from their jobs. He joined Labarre (a former fan of the band who came aboard shortly after Make Me Like Gold), Kidd (who brought a soul and pop aesthetic to the group) and Schurk, who answered a craigslist ad and bested other potential stickmen in a try-out. All five members collaborate on their albums’ stunning production, which highlights each member’s considerable musicianship without sacrificing their raw power.
Hardy makes it clear that he and The Public are dedicated to making quality tracks that stand the test of time. “We all still have to work other jobs to pay the bills, and in the meantime we’re trying to create good music,” he says. He’s also firmly rooted in his community, penning songs largely for himself and his friends. It just so happens that these tunes -- in all their rumbling power -- resonate with folks he’s never met. A sound as big as theirs, it turns out, has a hard time being contained.

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

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

Musicians include-.

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

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

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

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

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

More Info / Buy Tickets

Kristy Lee New Years Eve + New Tour!

Earlier this month, Kristy Lee showed New York City her folk-soul spunk. Now after spending time in Atlanta recording her NEW ALBUM with John Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band, she is preparing to UNLEASH the New Year & hit the road again.
Kristy Lee is proud to announce she will be performing at the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, AL this New Year's Eve for Unleashed Events’ Black & White Affair.
Check out Grateful Web's coverage from Kristy's recent NYC appearance.
Upcoming Kristy Lee tour dates:

12/17/10 – Bellissima – Atlanta, GA

12/31/10 - Unleashed Event’s Black & White Affair @ The Soul Kitchen – Mobile, AL

1/21/11 - PLAY Ybor – Tampa, FL

2/24/11 – Bacchus – Mobile, AL

3/3/11 – Bacchus – Mobile, AL

3/6/11 – B-Bob’s – Mobile, AL

Bobby Long Announces 2011 Tour Dates

British singer-songwriter Bobby Long will begin 2011 by embarking on the first leg of a North American concert tour in support of his long-awaited recording debut, A WINTER TALE, from New York-based independent label ATO Records. The collection of 11 original songs, produced by Grammy®-winner Liam Watson, will be released on February 1, 2011.


Long, who now makes his home in New York City and perhaps is best-known as the songwriter behind "Let Me Sign" featured in the blockbuster film Twilight, has cultivated a devoted fan base through non-stop touring in the United States, Canada and Europe.  Known for a repertoire deeply rooted in American folk, blues and country music, he will return to the road with a band of crack musicians to fully bring his gritty, powerful material to life on stage. As the San Diego Entertainer described it: "All his songs are like a well-orchestrated ballet of chord progressions and vocals that pluck at the deepest confined thoughts of your soul."

The special edition 5-song vinyl EP called STRANGER SONGS that was released in November as a preview of the forthcoming CD has already sold out of its initial pressing. Comprising three tracks from A WINTER TALE plus two bonus tracks, it reached #1 on both the CIMS Vinyl debut chart and AIMS debut chart compiled by independent record stores nationally. A second pressing will be available for the holiday season.

Confirmed BOBBY LONG tour dates are as follows:

January 28-Media Club, Vancouver, BC; 29-Tractor Tavern, Seattle; 31-Doug Fir, Portland; February 2-Café DuNord, San Francisco; 3-Troubadour, Los Angeles; 4-Anthology, San Diego; 5-Club Congress, Tucson; 8-Kilby Court, Salt Lake City; 10-Bluebird, Denver; 11-Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS; 12-Old Rock House, St. Louis; 14-High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI; 15-Triple Rock, Minneapolis; 16-Turner Ballroom, Milwaukee; 17-Radio Radio, Indianapolis; 18-Schuba's, Chicago; 19-The Basement, Columbus; 21-The Ark, Ann Arbor; 22-Revival Bar, Toronto; 23-Divan, Montreal; 24-Higher Ground, Burlington, VT; 25-Portland City Music Hall, Portland, ME; 26-Brighton Music Hall, Boston; 28-Iron Horse, Northampton, MA; March 1-Otto Bar, Baltimore; 3-Bowery Ballroom, New York City; 4-World Café, Philadelphia; and 5-Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA.  Long will also return to the SxSW Music Conference in Austin, March 16-20.

The second leg of the tour will follow with planned dates in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic to include cities such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati and Atlanta.  Additional dates will be announced shortly.

Hot Sugar Reveals Unique Beatmaking Process

Dame Dash’s Creative Control recently caught up with producer Nick Koenig, a.k.a. Hot Sugar, to document his unique process of making beats and capture his charmingly awkward sense of humor.  If you haven’t checked out the premiere over at Prefix, click HERE to watch Koenig in action (and note that all the sounds used in this video were recorded live at this session.)  Hot Sugar is also releasing a new free mp3 for the song “F**kable” (Feat. Baghdaddy) off his forthcoming EP, Muscle Milk.  Stream or download it HERE and feel free to post and share both.

For the past several decades numerous musicians have created recordings using found audio.  It is usually done in a manner that highlights the unusual nature of the source. Koenig, on the other hand, manipulates his samples until they’re tweaked beyond recognition.  For example, if one of his kick drums sounds like it came from a drum set, it’s more likely to be the sound of a car running over a juicebox, if not a fire cracker pitched down and chopped up, etc.

Having mastered this experimental technique, Koenig has a nearly unlimited palette of sounds to work with and his beats cover a massive array of genres.  New track “F**kable” is a slice of oddball digital funk featuring the blue-eyed soul, come-hither vocals of Baghdaddy.  If you haven’t heard Hot Sugar’s previously released mp3’s, “The Seagull” is a whimsical indie-pop nugget anchored by a music box melody and “Color Wars” pairs a mellow, head-nodding groove with the gritty crooning of The Roots/RJD2 collaborator Aaron Livingston.

All three tracks will appear on the Muscle Milk EP, which will be released for free online later this year.  Hot Sugar’s debut full-length will be out next year and will feature some top secret surprise guests.  Stay tuned for more info!

Legendary Soul Singer Bonnie Bramlett Joins Lubriphonic On Stage

A cosmic meet up of musical powers joined forces in Macon, Georgia Wednesday night. Legendary soul singer Bonnie Bramlett (of Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills), in town to record with Little Richard, stopped by the Cox Capitol Theatre joining the Chicago funk and soul outfit Lubriphonic on stage for a scorching version of “Whatever You Do Don’t Stop.” Bonnie offered her trademark vocal howls and scat singing while encouraging the Lube horn and rhythm section to take it higher.

Lubriphonic’s weekend of sit-ins continues with two shows at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Northern Florida where confirmed guests for their Friday night set include JB Horn alums Fred Wesley and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis along with funk sax master Sam Kininger.  The band continues its Fall Tour throughout the Southeast in support of their new CD “The Gig Is On”; additionally, to give folks a taster spoon of the new disc, Lubriphonic is currently offering a free download from the new disc: the scorching Curtis Mayfield track “If There’s A Hell Below (We’re All Gonna Go)” here.

Complete Lubriphonic information can be found at www.lubriphonic.com.

Check out some previous Lubriphonic coverage on The Grateful Web.

Kristy Lee will perform at 5th Annual Woofstock

Alabama Firecracker Kristy Lee announces a performance at the 5th Annual Woofstock Concert Fundraiser and adds more dates to her current tour.

Dozens of dogs and their owners will be treated with a howling good time at the 5th Annual Woofstock Concert Fundraiser in Mobile, AL on Sunday, 10/24/10. This concert will raise money for the Animal Rescue Foundation.
Listen to a few tracks of her new album Live At The Soul Kitchen HERE!
For a preview, check out the video of Kristy Lee performing her single “Hey Crazy” at Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama HERE & Add "Hey Crazy" and "Late At Night" to your playlist NOW!
SEE KRISTY LEE LIVE
Oct 20: Blues Gills - Spanish Fort, AL
Oct 21: Bacchus - Mobile, AL
Oct 24: The 5th Annual Woofstock Concert - Mobile, AL
Oct 24: Boo Radley's [Woofstock After-Party] - Mobile, AL
Nov 4: Bacchus - Mobile, AL
Nov 12: AJ's Bar & Grill - Jacksonville, FL
Nov 13: PLAY Ybor - Tampa, FL
Nov 18: Club Tribute - New Orlean, LA
Nov 19: Sue Ellen’s - Dallas, TX
Nov 20: Sadie's Nightclub - Lafayette, LA


WHO IS KRISTY LEE?
That mighty rumble you hear coming out of Alabama is none other than Kristy Lee. Her voice like thunder, rolling in before a sweet southern rain, instantly washes the world away. Kristy Lee's unique rhythms are absolutely nourishing, clean, pure, and unapologetic. This woman means it when she takes her voice out to play! This Alabama girl can pack a house in any state. Tough luck sticking her in a category, because when it comes to writing songs, she has no limits!

THE BAND OF HEATHENS at Austin City Limits

The guys in the Band of Heathens are fond of saying they became a unit by accident. But that’s like saying the Big Bang was an accident. Unplanned, maybe, but hardly random. One might even argue that a kind of destiny was involved. The merger of singer/songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks, with bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman, from their respective solo careers and bands may not be akin to a cosmic explosion, but their current album, One Foot in the Ether, offers irrefutable evidence that they were meant to be together — and have evolved into a solid entity worthy of the comparisons they receive to the Black Crowes, The Band and Little Feat.

One Foot in the Ether, released in September 2009, is the Band of Heathens’ strongest work so far. That’s saying something, considering their last three releases (two live and one studio) brought the band out from relative obscurity to playing 250-plus shows a year for their rabid fan base, as well as a coveted taping for the 35th Anniversary season of the Austin City Limits television program. Both their last album and One Foot in the Ether reached No. 1 on the Americana Music Association Radio chart. The last (eponymous) album earned the band an Americana Music Association Honors & Awards nomination for 2009 New Emerging Artist of the Year, with One Foot in the Ether clinching a 2010 Americana nomination for Best Duo or Group. The group took Best New Band honors at the 2007 Austin Music Awards, shortly after their current lineup came into place as the band morphed from a side-project to a cohesive tight unit. And the band significantly expanded its reach with recent appearances at Lollapalooza, Wakarusa and the Austin City Limits festival.

One listen to One Foot in the Ether makes apparent that the Heathens’ three-front-man approach to writing and performing over the past three years has paid off in the studio. Aside from the confidence necessary to pull off releasing two live albums before releasing a studio album, it’s evident that their unorthodox career strategy suits them well.

“The band doesn’t like to do things safely,” Quist explains about their aversion to using set lists, planned programming, or, for that matter, a planned career path. “Random and Chance might actually be named as extra band members in the liner notes somewhere.”

One Foot in the Ether was unplanned. The Heathens started booking short bursts of studio time in Austin while they were in town, with no producer and no expectations. They would just set up live in one room and push “record.” They weren’t intending to make a full-length album, but the muses felt otherwise.  As more and more songs started coming together, the band would layer other textures over the live performances to add depth to the sound. The guys say they were going for a specific sound, but letting things be loose and spontaneous was essential to capturing the group’s essence. As they went deeper into the sessions, the project went from the originally planned (or unplanned) three or four songs to 16 completed songs. “It became apparent that we had a full-length album on our hands and we started honing things down to make a cohesive album,” said Jurdi.

Not given to overly detailed explanations, the Band of Heathens loosely define the sound they’ve achieved on One Foot in the Ether simply as rock ’n’ roll. While the last Heathens album may have been slightly more acoustic and swampier, this album is heavier, both thematically and sonically. It’s muscular with electric guitars, Hammond organs, vintage electric pianos and pill-bottle slides, all fine ingredients for rock ’n’ roll in its purest form.

And rock ’n’ roll is all over this album, in tracks like the Gram-Parsons-meets-Neil-Young stomp “L.A. County Blues” (which pays tribute to the great writer Hunter S. Thompson), the New Orleans/Motown-influenced “Say,” and the Saturday-night gospel-meetin’ showstopper “Shine a Light.” Then there’s the back-alley sounds of “Golden Calf,” which, with a nod to Tom Waits, addresses the darker side of humanity; the hot-off-the-floor funk of “You’re Gonna Miss Me”; and four-on-the-floor six-minute-plus jam “Somebody Tell the Truth.” The hypnotic-sounding closing hymn, “Hey Rider,” is “a call for peace, within and without,” according to Brooks. The album contains one cover, the Gillian Welch/David Rawlings tune “Look at Miss Ohio.”  The record echoes the greats from Dylan to Waits and Townes Van Zandt to Otis Redding, but the band is drawing from the wellspring that is American music to forge something present and immediate and new.

With a five-album record deal offer from one of the major-independent record labels on the table, the Band of Heathens opted to remain indie, releasing One Foot in the Ether on their own BOH Records, just as they released their last self-titled studio album. Brooks explains, “In the current ‘climate change’ of the music business, nobody knows how it is going to work so we are not averse to trying things our own way and experimenting.”

The press has appreciated the Heathens’ approach. Maverick called One Foot in the Ether a “quality album from a quality group.” Blurt said: “An album that echoes their down-home resolve, One Foot in the Ether finds them putting their best foot forward.” The jam band ’zine Honest Tune declared: “One Foot in the Ether is an ever-evolving masterwork that gets better with every replay.” And according to hometown Austin Chronicle, “One Foot in the Ether is sure to reinforce the band's place in the Austin music scene . . . ready-made for sitting on the back porch with a cold beer, a rock ’n’ soul affair evocative of Little Feat, The Band and The Black Crowes.”

Notes Brooks, “We have three distinct writers/singers who share the front but make a unified sound, not unlike some bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when the music was what drove the wheel, not the tabloid pop-star personality with a great rack. Don’t get me wrong: everybody loves boobs,” he adds, exhibiting a bit of the band’s characteristic deadpan humor. “The problem is, you can fake tits, but you can’t fake soul.”

No, you can’t fake soul. You just know it when you hear it.

Check out the Band of Heathens at Austin City Limits on October 8th @ 4:45 PM

Soulive Pays Tribute to The Beatles on 'Rubber Soulive'

New York City's preeminent soul jazz trio, Soulive, bring the funk to The Beatles' iconic repertoire with the release of Rubber Soulive due September 14 on the band's own Royal Family Records. Featuring renditions of 11 classics by The Fab Four, including "Come Together," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Revolution," Rubber Soulive takes its place in a lineage of classic instrumental albums by the likes of Booker T. & The M.G.'s, George Benson and Count Basie that have paid tribute to The Beatles.  Soulive will announce an extended U.S. Fall tour to support the release in the coming weeks.

"We've always been big Beatles' fans. They're consistently in heavy rotation in all of our lives. And then for Halloween last year we had a great show in D.C. by trying out an all-Beatles set. The material was so much fun to play that we decided it had to be put to wax," explains Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. "At first we thought about doing all of Rubber Soul, but with so many amazing songs to choose from we expanded the scope and picked the ones that lent themselves to our sound, and where we could  best add a Soulive flavor."

Recorded over four days at drummer Alan Evans' own Playonbrother Studios in upstate New York, Rubber Soulive presents the band back in its original trio format. After a handful of albums experimenting with different vocalists and horn sections, it's apparent from the album's opening track, a greasy rendition of "Drive My Car," that a return to form was in order. For the next 40 minutes, Soulive add their inimitable stamp to one classic after the next from The Beatles’ adored catalog. A stately bounce informs "In My Life" punctuated by a majestic organ break courtesy of Neal Evans. "Eleanor Rigby" finds Alan pushing insistent syncopation into the backbeat and Neal covering a full string section with his two hands. A gorgeous rendition of "Something" makes clear that while Krasno can get down with the best of them, he can also dig deep into the heart of a ballad as he rings every last drop of emotion from the classic George Harrison melody. The trio rounds out the set with a three-dimensional version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The performance concisely encapsulates the definitive Soulive sound built upon the trio's shimmering, wah-drenched guitar licks, soaring Hammond organ lines and relentlessly propulsive swing.

Over a decade into their career, Soulive are having more fun than ever recording and performing together. This past March the band set up shop at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg for a two-week residency dubbed Bowlive that featured special guests ranging from Talib Kweli to Susan Tedeschi to Raul Midon. The event will be documented on a forthcoming DVD release this winter. They operate their own state-of-the-art recording studio, as well as, their own record label Royal Family Records that alongside recent Soulive projects is preparing to offer up albums by Eric Krasno, Lettuce and Break Science. In early 2011, the fledgling indie will release the highly anticipated debut album from the acclaimed, young R&B vocalist Nigel Hall. In the coming months, however, the focus is clearly on the lineup that put them on the forefront of the soul jazz revival. With a fall tour on the horizon and a delectable new album filled with red hot renditions of classics by The Beatles, things are starting to "Come Together" for the original three, right now, all over again.

www.royalfamilyrecords.com/soulive
www.facebook.com/soulive

Rubber Soulive is available September 14 on vinyl, CD and mp3.