river

Suzy Bogguss Revives Folk Favorites with American Folk Songbook

Suzy Bogguss had a revelation on stage with Garrison Keillor in 2008. Everyone loves to sing along on “Red River Valley” – except the children who somehow don't know the song. Folk songs are the scrapbook of the American experience, but as music education fades from our public schools, she worried; these beautiful melodies are in danger of being overlooked. She resolved to record these timeless songs in an updated but reverent way – so that everyone can sing along on “Red River Valley.”

And who better than the golden throated Suzy? The platinum selling songstress already has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA awards and now with the release of American Folk Songbook she can put her own book up there too. After an initial release with Cracker Barrel, The CD and companion Songbook are available everywhere today.

As Suzy writes in the introduction to the book: “Music has always been my purest joy even as a child. One of my favorite memories is my grade-school music teacher pounding on the piano and leading the class in rousing renditions of folk songs from all around the world. In the summer of 2008 I toured with the brilliant and engaging Garrison Keillor. The energy that passed between the audience and Garrison was overwhelming at times. Several thousand people standing and singing together—old songs, hymns, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. People of all ages, sharing music. Ahhh, pure joy."

But Bogguss was not content to present the songs as dusty museum pieces, instead she chose to breath new life into them with contemporary arrangements and a crack squad of Nashville's acoustic A-Listers. Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson, Charlie Chadwick and Jeff Taylor all join the band for Suzy's self-produced project. Ultimately though it's the voice that lovingly weaves through the guitars and mandolins to find the new in these old songs. As John Lomax III writes in the forward to the book, 'Prepare yourself for enchantment! ...This work is, in a word, delightful!"

Suzy says she modeled the songbook after her "good old 5th grade songbook." The hardcover, 96-page book is filled with illustrations, fascinating historical stories about the songs, easy to read sheet music arrangements for piano, voice and guitar as well as personal insights and anecdotes from Bogguss. Her intent from the beginning was to make the book attractive to music lovers and musicians at every level. Again from her introduction: "that way, younger generations could share these slowly fading gems with their families and tell their stories of how they learned a few chords on the guitar or a couple of favorites to play at family gatherings.”

Cracker Barrel, with its devotion to families and appreciation for authentic Americana was the obvious choice for the initial release.

American Folk Songbook is the natural progression of an artist who has demonstrated skill and passion for all types of music in her career. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and "Letting Go" took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and peers including winning a GRAMMY in 2005 for Traditional Folk Album, the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994.

2007’s Billboard Jazz Chart topping Sweet Danger, the universally praised album, Swing recorded in 2003 with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel and Simpatico, her beloved collaboration with Chet Atkins showed the world Bogguss was willing to both embrace tradition while continuing to grow and challenge herself as an artist. However, it is an appreciation for tradition that really shines through on American Folk Songbook.  The album is filled with songs that are the very fabric of American musical history and Bogguss reclaims this history and revives it with a fresh and beautiful take on classics like “Shenandoah,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Ol’ Dan Tucker,”  “Beautiful Dreamer” and of course, "Red River Valley." Everybody sing along!

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Tour Dates

08/13/2011 - Logan, UT - Cache County Fair

08/20/2011 - Dubois, WY - Dubois High Country Cowboy Gathering

08/25/2011 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage

08/26/2011 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark

09/02/2011 - Highlands, NC - Highlands Performing Arts Center

09/03/2011 - Clinton, AR - World Champion Chuck Wagon Races

09/22/2011 - New Hope, PA - New Hope Winery

09/23/2011 - Annapolis, MD - Ram's Head Tavern

09/24/2011 - Staunton, VA - Fortune Williams Festival

Jim Lauderdale's Reason and Rhyme: Out TODAY

Can there be too much of a good thing?  If the question’s about collaboration between American roots music hero Jim Lauderdale and legendary lyricist Robert Hunter, the answer’s an emphatic “no!”  Marking the former’s debut on the respected Sugar Hill records label, Reason And Rhyme makes a compelling case for the continued vitality of the Lauderdale—Hunter partnership—and for Lauderdale’s unique and deeply satisfying approach to bluegrass.

“This one’s back to total bluegrass,” Lauderdale says of the collaborative follow-up to 2010’s electric Patchwork River, and so it’s no surprise that it features many of the musicians involved in previous bluegrass efforts like Could We Get Any Closer (2009) and 2007’s Grammy-winning The Bluegrass Diaries.  The close-knit crew, headed up by producer and resonator guitarist Randy Kohrs, is perfectly in tune with Lauderdale’s ‘grass-with-a-twist sensibilities, and whether it’s a return buddy like bassist Jay Weaver or new colleague Mike Compton (mandolin), each player delivers mightily with the genre’s characteristic virtuosity and emotional fire.

“We started on this one last August,” Lauderdale notes, “right after I finished touring with Elvis Costello.  Robert and I have worked just about every way you can think of—writing in the same room, adding lyrics to music and music to lyrics—but whichever way we go, he’s the lyrics guy and I’m the music guy.  This time around, we wanted to keep the momentum from Patchwork River going; I started sending him melodies, and ten days later we had 18 songs to choose from.”
The collaboration began over a decade ago, when Lauderdale was preparing for his first joint project with bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley, and quickly bore fruit, with more than 30 songs written before the first all-collaborative album, Headed For The Hills (2004).  “I’m not surprised, but I’m always blown away how creative he is lyrically,” says the singer/songwriter, who’s busy enough that finding time to record has always been among his greatest challenges.
With 11 fresh takes on the bluegrass sound that he’s loved since he was a teenager, this latest effort presents Jim Lauderdale at his most relaxed and rooted—and with the help of one of American music’s greatest lyricists, it’s a set that offers not only deep musicality, but deep meaning and vision.  Reason And Rhyme—it’s just the right name for just the right music.
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Jim Lauderdale 2011 Tour Dates

2011-06-22           Nashville, TN - Music City Roots
2011-06-24           Nashville, TN - Station Inn
2011-06-27           New York, NY - The Living Room
2011-07-22           Trumansburg, NY - Grassroots Festival
2011-07-24           Washington, DC - Hill Country
2011-07-26           Abindgon, VA - Virginia Highlands Community College
2011-08-06           Casper, WY - Beartrap Summer Festival
2011-08-08           Helena, MT - Myrna Loy Center
2011-08-10           Boise, ID - Alive After Five
2011-08-11           Snowmass Village, CO - Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Series
2011-08-13           Alta, WY - Targhee Music Festival
2011-09-06           The Woodlands, TX - Real Life - Real Music @ Dosey Doe
2011-09-17           Bristol, TN - Bristol's Rhythm and Roots Reunion
2011-10-06           Richmond, VA - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
2011-10-07           Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel - with the Blind Boys of Alabama
2011-10-13           Nashville, TN - Americana Music Conference

2011-10-21           North Bethesda, MD - Strathmore

Suzy Bogguss Revives Folk Favorites with New Release

Suzy Bogguss had a revelation on stage with Garrison Keillor in 2008. Everyone loves to sing along on “Red River Valley” – except the children who somehow don't know the song. Folk songs are the scrapbook of the American experience, but as music education fades from our public schools, she worried; these beautiful melodies are in danger of being overlooked. She resolved to record these timeless songs in an updated but reverent way – so that everyone can sing along on “Red River Valley.”

And who better than the golden throated Suzy? The platinum selling songstress already has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA awards and now with the release of American Folk Songbook she can put her own book up there too. The CD and companion Songbook will be released on July 18, 2011 at all Cracker Barrel Country Stores followed by a wide release to other fine retail and digital outlets on August 2, 2011.

As Suzy writes in the introduction to the book: “Music has always been my purest joy even as a child. One of my favorite memories is my grade-school music teacher pounding on the piano and leading the class in rousing renditions of folk songs from all around the world. In the summer of 2008 I toured with the brilliant and engaging Garrison Keillor. The energy that passed between the audience and Garrison was overwhelming at times. Several thousand people standing and singing together—old songs, hymns, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. People of all ages, sharing music. Ahhh, pure joy."

But Bogguss was not content to present the songs as dusty museum pieces, instead she chose to breath new life into them with contemporary arrangements and a crack squad of Nashville's acoustic A-Listers. Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson, Charlie Chadwick and Jeff Taylor all join the band for Suzy's self-produced project. Ultimately though it's the voice that lovingly weaves through the guitars and mandolins to find the new in these old songs. As John Lomax III writes in the forward to the book, 'Prepare yourself for enchantment! ...This work is, in a word, delightful!"

Suzy says she modeled the songbook after her "good old 5th grade songbook." The hardcover, 96-page book is filled with illustrations, fascinating historical stories about the songs, easy to read sheet music arrangements for piano, voice and guitar as well as personal insights and anecdotes from Bogguss. Her intent from the beginning was to make the book attractive to music lovers and musicians at every level. Again from her introduction: "that way, younger generations could share these slowly fading gems with their families and tell their stories of how they learned a few chords on the guitar or a couple of favorites to play at family gatherings.”

Cracker Barrel, with its devotion to families and appreciation for authentic Americana was the obvious choice for the initial release.

American Folk Songbook is the natural progression of an artist who has demonstrated skill and passion for all types of music in her career. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and "Letting Go" took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and peers including winning a GRAMMY in 2005 for Traditional Folk Album, the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994.

2007’s Billboard Jazz Chart topping Sweet Danger, the universally praised album, Swing recorded in 2003 with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel and Simpatico, her beloved collaboration with Chet Atkins showed the world Bogguss was willing to both embrace tradition while continuing to grow and challenge herself as an artist. However, it is an appreciation for tradition that really shines through on American Folk Songbook.  The album is filled with songs that are the very fabric of American musical history and Bogguss reclaims this history and revives it with a fresh and beautiful take on classics like “Shenandoah,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Ol’ Dan Tucker,”  “Beautiful Dreamer” and of course, "Red River Valley." Everybody sing along!

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Upcoming Appearances:
Suzy is currently on tour in the UK with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg as part of Wine, Women & Song 2011. When you put these three critically acclaimed, award winning singer-songwriters with years of friendship on stage together you can expect an evening of laughter and exceptional music. For more on the tour visit www.suzyboggus.com. The ladies will be appearing on BBC 1 Breakfast on June 7 and they will make a special appearance on BBC Radio 2 on June 22 when the network turns its schedule upside down for 2DAY – a 12 hour on air celebration of everything the station has to offer.
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US Tour Dates:
07/06/2011 - Boothbay Harbor, ME - Opera House at Boothbay Harbor

07/07/2011 - Ogunquit, ME - Jonathan's

07/08/2011 - White River Junction, VT - Tupelo Music Hall

07/09/2011 - Londonderry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall

07/10/2011 - South Hiram, ME - Ossipee Valley Fair

07/19/2011 - Lake City, CO - Sportsman's BBQ Station & Backyark

07/22/2011 - Moses Lake, WA  - Moses Lake Summer Series

07/29/2011 - Toronto, ON - Hugh's Room

07/30/2011 - New York, NY - City Winery

07/31/2011 - Norfolk, CT - Infinity Hall

08/13/2011 - Logan, UT - Cache County Fair

08/20/2011 - Dubois, WY - Dubois High Country Cowboy Gathering

08/25/2011 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage

08/26/2011 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark

09/02/2011 - Highlands, NC - Highlands Performing Arts Center

09/03/2011 - Clinton, AR - World Champion Chuck Wagon Races

09/22/2011 - New Hope, PA - New Hope Winery

09/23/2011 - Annapolis, MD - Ram's Head Tavern

09/24/2011 - Staunton, VA - Fortune Williams Festival

Leftover Salmon Announces 2011 Festivals

Leftover Salmon is pleased to announce our participation in the first ever Eco Music Festival (EMU) in Aspen, CO June 30th- July 3rd. We are honored to be part of this fantastic festival that is geared towards making a difference in the sustainability of festivals around the country. Salmon co-headlines on Saturday July 2nd!

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Other Acts Include:

RJD2, Perpetual Groove, Tea Leaf Green, Stokeswood

Many More to be Announced!

For more information please visit EMU  |  You can purchase your tickets here

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We are also pleased to announce that we are taking part in the River City Roots festival in beautiful Missoula, Montana on Saturday August 27th! This festival is free to public and sure to be a great time!

For more information please visit RCRF website

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"River Run" June 10-12 2011

On June 10th & 11th, Leftover Salmon performs a two night run in the Poudre Canyon at the newly owned and operated Mishawaka Amphitheater in Bellvue, CO. On June 12th the festivities travel to the new  State Bridge Amphitheater in Bond, CO to honor & revisit a celebrated tradition. 

Limited tickets are still available

Mishawaka Amphitheater - Tickets /  State Bridge - Tickets

Jim Lauderdale to Release Reason & Rhyme

Can there be too much of a good thing?  If the question’s about collaboration between American roots music hero Jim Lauderdale and legendary lyricist Robert Hunter, the answer’s an emphatic “no!”  Marking the former’s debut on the respected Sugar Hill records label, Reason And Rhyme makes a compelling case for the continued vitality of the Lauderdale—Hunter partnership—and for Lauderdale’s unique and deeply satisfying approach to bluegrass.

“This one’s back to total bluegrass,” Lauderdale says of the collaborative follow-up to 2010’s electric Patchwork River, and so it’s no surprise that it features many of the musicians involved in previous bluegrass efforts like Could We Get Any Closer (2009) and 2007’s Grammy-winning The Bluegrass Diaries.  The close-knit crew, headed up by producer and resonator guitarist Randy Kohrs, is perfectly in tune with Lauderdale’s ‘grass-with-a-twist' sensibilities, and whether it’s a return buddy like bassist Jay Weaver or new colleague Mike Compton (mandolin), each player delivers mightily with the genre’s characteristic virtuosity and emotional fire.

“We started on this one last August,” Lauderdale notes, “right after I finished touring with Elvis Costello.  Robert and I have worked just about every way you can think of—writing in the same room, adding lyrics to music and music to lyrics—but whichever way we go, he’s the lyrics guy and I’m the music guy.  This time around, we wanted to keep the momentum from Patchwork River going; I started sending him melodies, and ten days later we had 18 songs to choose from.”
The collaboration began over a decade ago, when Lauderdale was preparing for his first joint project with bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley, and quickly bore fruit, with more than 30 songs written before the first all-collaborative album, Headed For The Hills (2004).  “I’m not surprised, but I’m always blown away how creative he is lyrically,” says the singer/songwriter, who’s busy enough that finding time to record has always been among his greatest challenges.
With 11 fresh takes on the bluegrass sound that he’s loved since he was a teenager, this latest effort presents Jim Lauderdale at his most relaxed and rooted—and with the help of one of American music’s greatest lyricists, it’s a set that offers not only deep musicality, but deep meaning and vision.  Reason And Rhyme—it’s just the right name for just the right music.

Help protect Arctic wildlife

The Western Arctic Reserve may be less well-known than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but its wildlife populations are every bit as unique, spectacular and endangered.

Please take a minute to ask the Obama Administration to grant the strongest possible protection to the Western Arctic Reserve.

Nearly a century ago, the Western Arctic Reserve was set aside as a “National Petroleum Reserve”, but it remains one of our continent’s last, largely untouched tracts of wilderness and wildlife habitat.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a new area-wide plan for the Reserve, providing an ideal opportunity to safeguard its greatest natural treasures -- so-called “Special Areas” -- from destructive oil and gas development.

These Special Areas -- some established at the direction of Congress in the late 1970’s and others proposed by conservationists -- include the Colville River, Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands, Kasegaluk Lagoon, Dease Inlet, Peard Bay, Ikpikpuk River and the DeLong Mountains and Foothills Special Areas.

The vast network of coastal lagoons, deep lakes, sedge grass meadows and streams that make up the prized Teshekpuk Lake region provide the critical calving grounds for one of the largest caribou herds in Alaska, as well as summer habitat for polar bears. A staggering variety of birds also take refuge in these wetlands, some migrating from as far south as Antarctica.

Along the northwestern coast of the Western Arctic Reserve, up to 3,500 beluga whales gather in the Kasegaluk Lagoon every year to feed and bear their young.

The vast wilderness of the Reserve supports more than just Arctic wildlife. Inupiat Eskimos have subsisted here for thousands of years by following the caribou herds.

Many of these areas have not yet been disturbed, and this may be our last best chance to preserve them for the future. Please tell the BLM that it’s time to grant the Western Arctic Reserve the protection it deserves.

Thank you for taking action to protect our last Arctic wildlands and wildlife.

Greensky Bluegrass Featured on CNN, Announces Nationwide Fall Tour

Greensky Bluegrass has had an incredible summer so far.  The Kalamazoo, MI-based ‘newgrass’ quintet tours nationally and were recently featured at the Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, CO, on the main stage at the legendary Grey Fox Festival in upstate New York and performed in front of an audience of thousands at the All Good Festival in West Virginia. The quintet delighted campers at the All Good Festival by performing a surprise midnight to sunrise ‘Guerilla Grass’ jam session that was captured by CNN and featured here.

Greensky Bluegrass has quickly become one of the most exciting touring acts on the road today performing their trademark sound nationwide at over 160 spirited shows a year to critical acclaim. This energy is captured perfectly on their new double live release, All Access: Volume One, the first in a series of recordings of select shows from the road.  With dates lining up for a fall tour across the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South and Southwest, the future for Greensky Bluegrass is sure to be bright.

Greensky Bluegrass Fall Tour Dates:
August 21 – Hoxeyville Music Festival – Hoxeyville, MI
August 26 - Tres Hombres - Carbondale, IL
August 27 - Lindberg's - Springfield, MO
August 28 - River Jam Festival - Fort Smith, AR
September 1 - three20south - Breckenridge, CO
September 2 - Hodi's Half Note - Fort Collins, CO
September 3 - Ghost Ranch - Steamboat Springs, CO
September 4 - Agave - Avon, CO
September 5 - Electric Avenue Festival - Denver, CO
September 17 - Recipe Family Cookout - Terra Alta, WV
September 18 - RiverGrass - Ironton, OH
September 20 - Clementine Café - Harrisonburg, VA
September 21 - Canal Club - Richmond, VA
September 22 - Double Door Inn - Charlotte, NC
September 23 - Berkeley Cafe - Raleigh, NC
September 24 - Mellow Mushroom - Asheville, NC
September 25 – The Pour House - Charleston, SC
September 26 - Smith’s Olde Bar - Atlanta, GA
October 13 - Fox Theater - Boulder, CO
October 14 - Belly Up - Aspen, CO
October 15 - The Eldo - Crested Butte, CO
October 16 - Abbey Theatre - Durango, CO
October 19 - Orpheum Theater - Flagstaff, AZ
October 20 - The Compound Grill - Phoenix, AZ
October 21 – Winston’s - San Diego, CA
October 23 - Boom Boom Room - San Francisco, CA
October 26 - Red Fox Tavern - Eureka, CA
October 28 - Applegate River Lodge - Applegate, OR
October 29 - Mt. Tabor Theater - Portland, OR
October 30 - Mt. Tabor Theater - Portland, OR
October 31 - The Tractor - Seattle, WA
November 6 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI
January 4 – 9 – Jam Cruise – The Caribbean

theNEWDEAL Announce Additional Autumn Tour

theNEWDEAL are excited to announce additional Autumn Dates in Colorado, the Midwest and Northeast as well as a few special shows with the JOIN and the OMEGA MOOS! Don't miss tND's exciting return to the Rockies as they hit Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collin in October. Shows have also been added in Bloomington, Madison and Ann Arbor as well as Buffalo and tND's first trip back to Cleveland since 2002!

In addition, Tom Hamilton and Clay Parnell (Brother's Past) re-ignite the JOIN as they headline the Muddy River Jam Festival and rocking the River Street Jazz Cafe in August. The OMEGA MOOS will make their jubilant return to Chicago for a special North Coast Festival after-party on September 4th at the Metro. Don't miss an all-new MOOS repertoire of songs as well as many old classics.

Make sure to check out www.thenewdeal.com and our Facebook page for updates and information on pre-sale ticketing for upcoming shows as well as other exciting news!

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Fri 8/13/10 (the JOIN)                  Muddy River Jam Festival, Woodstown, NJ

Sat 8/14/10 (the JOIN)                 River Street Jazz Cafe, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Thu 8/19/10                                Otto's, Dekalb, IL

Fri 8/20/10                                  Hoxeyville Music Festival, Wellston, MI

Sat 9/4/10                                   North Coast Music Festival, Chicago, IL

Sat 9/4/10 (OMEGA MOOS)           The Metro (Late Night), Chicago, IL

Sun 9/5/10                                  Nocturnal Festival, Apache Pass, TX

Wed 9/22/10                               Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH

Thu 9/23/10                                Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY

Fri 9/24/10                                  Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA

Sat 9/25/10                                 Pearl Street, Northampton, MA

Thu 10/7/10                                Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO

Fri 10/8/10                                  Hodi's Halfnote, Ft. Collins, CO

Sat 10/9/10                                 Cervante's Masterpiece, Denver, CO

Tue 10/12/10                               The Bluebird, Bloomington, IN

Thu 10/14/10                               The Majestic, Madison, WI

Fri 10/15/10                                 The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI

Sat 10/16/10                                The Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY

Fri 11/12/10                                 Bear Creek Music Festival, Live Oak, FL

AUSTIN’S STONE RIVER BOYS FLEX THEIR BRAND OF “COUNTRY FUNK”

After tearing it up in the Lone Star State and across the country for nearly two years, Austin’s Stone River Boys will issue their recording bow Love on the Dial on June 1 via Northampton, Mass.-based Cow Island Music.

The Texas-based quintet features the talents of two well-traveled roots music practitioners — guitarist Dave Gonzalez, formerly a driving force in the Hacienda Brothers and the Paladins, and vocalist Mike Barfield, “The Tyrant of Texas Funk” and onetime leader of the Hollisters. Together, Barfield and Gonzalez have fashioned a gutsy crossbreed of country and R&B they’ve labeled “country funk.”

The Stone River Boys’ sound extends the direction of Gonzalez’ previous band, the Hacienda Brothers, who recorded three studio albums with producer and country-soul legend Dan Penn. Gonzalez was partnered in the Haciendas with Southern California-bred singer Chris Gaffney.

After Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer in early 2008, Gonzalez organized a benefit tour for his ailing bandmate, drawing musicians from Austin’s fertile talent pool. One of the principal members of the touring group was Barfield, whom Gonzalez had known since the early ’80s, when he fronted the top Southern California rockabilly band the Paladins and Barfield led the Houston bands the Rounders and the Hollisters.

Gaffney succumbed to cancer in April 2008, but the tour went on. “We went and did it anyway, and sent the money home to his wife Julie,” says Gonzalez. “A buddy of mine had a recording studio up in Nebraska, and while we were out on tour he invited us to come over there. We went in and cut a couple. I said to Barfield, ‘If you want to do a record, I’d love to, man.’ And we just started making a record.”

Barfield says, “We really naturally just started keeping it going. The name of the band came from the first place we rehearsed for that trip, in this little subdivision in deep South Austin, on a street called Stone River.”

Gonzalez recalls, “When I hooked up with Barfield, he had a whole pocket full of tunes. I felt, ‘We need to record these things right away.’ We wrote a couple right on the spot together. He had a few that were unfinished I kind of helped him with. But he wrote the majority of the material on the record.”

Produced by Gonzalez, the album was recorded during several sessions in 2008-09 with a band that included bassists Scott Esbeck (formerly of the way-out instrumental combo Los Straitjackets), Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers) and Kevin Smith (Dwight Yoakam), pedal steel whiz Dave Biller, and drummers Justin Jones and Damien Llanes. It extends the seamless fusion of country and soul influences essayed by both the Hacienda Brothers and Barfield, whose over-the-top funk shows at Austin’s Continental Club have become the stuff of legend.

“Chris Gaffney was a great Western singer,” Gonzalez says, “but he also had a knack for singing R&B and soul tunes, too. When I hooked up with Barfield, it was the same thing. He’s a country bro’, but he’s a funky soul bro’, too. In that sense, it does lean toward the way the Hacienda Brothers were. Dan Penn called our music ‘Western soul.’ Mike is real funky; I was telling everybody it’s more country soul. Lately we’ve been calling it ‘country funk,’ because we’ve got a little more funk and a little more up-tempo material in this new band than we did with the Haciendas.”

Barfield sees a natural connection between the sounds of country and R&B: “There’s a picture of Solomon Burke and Joe Tex, and maybe James Brown, and they all had cowboy hats on. A lot of those soul performers will talk about how they used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Some R&B songs, especially the ballads, are very close to some of the honky-tonk ballads. To me, it’s all very similar.”

Love on the Dial features 10 original songs written or co-written by Gonzalez, Barfield, Esbeck, and Biller, plus four musically diverse covers — the late Stephen Bruton’s “Bluebonnet Blue”; a cover of Tyrone Davis’ 1968 hit “Can I Change My Mind”; Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Take a Giant Step” (recorded by the Monkees, the Rising Sons, and Taj Mahal); and Nashville hitmakers Jerry Foster and Bill Rice’s “Special.”

Gonzalez says of the new unit, “I feel really refreshed. We have a different take on the country side of things. Mike is a Gulf Coast country Texas boy, and at the same time he’s got this funky up-tempo R&B thing going. I’m working a new style of guitar that I’ve always loved, but I’ve never had the opportunity to play it. People are saying they love the new band, and they’re glad to hear me playing a lot of guitar again.”

“This is the first band where I’ve had a full-time steel player,” says Barfield. “That’s something in this band I like — there are so many voicings. It gives you what a horn section might do or an organ might do.”

Gonzalez, Barfield, and Esbeck are joined in the current edition of the Stone River Boys by pedal steel guitarist Gary Newcomb and drummer Mark Patterson, who both played with Esbeck in Austin singer-songwriter Bruce Robison’s group. The band will support the release of Love on the Dial with a summer 2010 tour of the Southwest and the West Coast.

Akron/Family Announce May Tour Dates, Summer Festivals & River Free MP3

Akron/Family's Dead Oceans' debut, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, arrives May 5, but a free download from the band's third proper LP, "River," is available now. Fans who pre-order Set 'Em Wild now will receive immediate access to an MP3 download of the entire album.

Download the mp3 of "River" here: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/do/river.mp3

To order Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free in North America visit Dead Oceans here: http://www.scdistribution.com/cat/scd_catalognew.php?action=set_site_id&site_id=5

Akron/Family will perform an all ages show at The Bowery Ballroom Wednesday, May 6 to celebrate the album release, with additional album release shows in Boston and Burlington.

Akron/Family will follow up their dates in  the Northeast U.S. with performances in the UK, France, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium and a tour of Spain supporting Wilco. The band will then embark on their first headlining tour of Japan in June, which will also include co-headlining shows with Deerhunter. Details of Akron/Family's full North American tour are forthcoming, however, select North American festivals are already in place including All Tomorrow's Parties, Calgary Folk Festival, 10,000 Lakes Music Festival and All Points West Festival.

Akron/Family's Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free album art, plus new and preferred hi-res jpegs featuring the current Akron/Family line-up by Sebastian Mlynarski can be downloaded here: http://deadoceans.com/press/akronfamily/akronfamilypress.php

Akron/Family Tour Dates:
05/05/09 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
05/06/09 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/07/09 - Burlington, VT @ Metronome
05/08/09 - Bennington, VT @ Bennington College
05/16/09 - Brussels, Belgium  Orangerie 'Nuits Botanique'
05/17/09 - Amsterdam, Holland @ Melkweg Old Room
05/18/09 - Nijmegen, Holland @ Doornroosje
05/19/09 - Paris, France @ Nouveau Casino 'Custom'
05/20/09 - London, UK @ ICA
05/22/09 - Glasgow, UK @ Captains Rest
05/23/09 - Machester, UK @ Ruby Lounge
05/24/09 - Bristol, UK @ Fiddlers (with Omar Souleyman and Group Doueh)
05/25/09 - Malaga, Spain @ Teatro Cervantes w/ Wilco
05/26/09 - Madrid, Spain @ Teatro Calderon w/ Wilco
05/27/09 - Granada, Spain @ Congress Palace w/ Wilco
05/29/09 - Seville, Spain @ La Cartuja Monastery, Contemporary Arts Museum w/ Wilco (Territorios Fest)
05/31/09 - Bologna, Italy @ Locomotiv
06/01/09 - Ravenna, Italy @ Hana-bi
06/02/09 - Verona, Italy @ Interzona
06/03/09 - Milan, Italy @ Casa 139
06/04/09 - Torino, Italy @ Spazio 211
06/05/09 - Rome, Italy @ Init
06/08/09 - Shibuya, Tokyo @ O-West w/ Deerhunter
06/09/09 - Osaka, Jyuso @ Fandango w/ Deerhunter
06/10/09 - Nagoya, Aichi @ Apollo Theater
06/11/09 - Kyoto, Kyoto @ Metro
06/12/09 - Shindaita, Tokyo @ Fever
07/23/09 - Detroit Lakes, MN @ 10,000 Lakes Music Festival
07/25/09 - 07/26/09 - Calgary, AB @ Calgary Folk Festival
08/02/09 - Liberty State Park, NJ @ All Points West Festival
09/12/09 - Monticello, NY @ All Tomorrow's Parties Festival