artists

Sketchy Black Dog at Birdland | NYC | 8/26/11

Experience the daring, explosive mix of classic rock and originals; sonic temptations that are both seductive and unpredictable. This piano trio with string quartet plays unique spins of Bowie, Zeppelin, Hendrix, and more. Sketchy Black Dog takes timeless rock songs and originals to places both irreverent and fragile. Sketchy Black Dog is the brainchild of pianist Misha Piatigorsky and drummer Chris Wabich – both internationally recognized musicians.

The virtuosic and super-creative Jazz pianist, Misha Piatigorsky, is no stranger to Jazz audiences, but you’ve never seen – or heard – him quite like this! The Russian born Piatigorsky fled from behind the Cold War-era Iron Curtain and moved with his family to New York. It didn’t take long for this Classical pianist to morph into one of the most innovative Jazz artists on the international scene, taking first place in the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition, and playing everything from Brazilian music to straight-up Jazz with Mark Murphy, Joe Lovano and Jon Faddis. Sketchy Black Dog is his current obsession - cranking out his original arrangements of Classic Rock tunes alongside his own award-winning compositions. Piatigorsky’s fiery performances leave audiences screaming for more.

Chris Wabich has collaborated with the leading authorities in Jazz, World, and Rock music, including the Zappa family, Leonard Cohen, Sting, Nenette Evans (pianist Bill Evans' widow) and Omar Faruk Tekbilek. This three-time Grammy nominated artist is known for his dynamic extremities, clarity, melodicism and power. Wabich’s understanding and cross-pollination of genres is evident in his original voice, sought after by the likes of Ludacris to Stanley Jordan. Aside from being the rudder for Sketchy, Chris frequents as music director/producer for LA based artists and full-scale theater productions. His soundtrack credits include "Malcolm in the Middle", "American Idol", and work with film legend Lalo Shifrin.

Together Piatigorsky and Wabich have toured in Japan, Russia and throughout the USA, taking Sketchy Black Dog to Jazz and Rock clubs, Philharmonic halls, Opera houses, and even won over the crowd in one mistakenly booked lumberjack bar.

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BIRDLAND Jazz Club
315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 581-3080

Kristy Lee is coming to NYC to Send off August with a Big Bang!

Kristy Lee will be opening for Dickey Betts, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, for ALL 3 of his performances at City Winery on Sunday, August 23rd thru Tuesday, August 30th.

Kristy Lee is a soul singer/songwriter from Alabama whose raw music
is connecting with hearts around the country. She is a songwriter for ASCAP  Nashville,
one of the many music artists on The Agency Group’s roster,
and has caught the ears of the recording industry’s heavyweights and executives
as well as Grammy Award winning artists Zac Brown & John Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band.

Currently, Kristy Lee and The Dirt Road Band are in pre-production with
Zac Brown & John Hopkins who will be producing several new songs for her new album.

On August 15th, Kristy Lee hit the road with a multi-city tour that will bring her powerful fan-base out to party while captivating new fans with a voice that is taking the music industry by storm.

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Tour Dates:

8/28-8/30 8pm City Winery w/ Dickey Betts- New York, NY

8/31 8pm Club Helsinki - Hudson, NY

9/2 8pm The L Word- Cayce, SC
9/3 1pm SC Pride Festival: Finlay Park - Columbia, SC
9/4 7:30pm 31st Stage @ American Music Festival - Virginia Beach, VA
9/28 8pm Ybor City - Tampa, FL
9/29-10/3 Rombello Cruise
10/15 8pm WorkPlay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
10/16 8pm 3rd and Lindsley - Nashville, TN
10/20 9pm Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
10/22 7pm Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN
10/29 8pm Soul Kitchen - Mobile, AL
11/4 8pm Hartigan's Irish Pub - Charlotte, NC
* Tour Dates Added Regularly.

Blackberry Smoke to Shoot Live DVD at Re-opening of Georgia Theatre

Critically acclaimed band Blackberry Smoke will perform August 5, 2011 during the 14 day Grand Re-opening of the famous Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA . The Southern rock group will film the concert for fans that have not yet experienced the thrill of Blackberry Smoke live. The eighteen and up show will be a ninety minute full throttle ride with Nic Cowan opening and appearances by other special guests . This monumental performance is one stop on the group's rigorous summer tour schedule where they not only open for the Zac Brown Band but recently signed to Zac’s new label, Southern Ground Artists.  To purchase tickets for this event please visit: www.georgiatheatre.com/calendar1.html

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About Blackberry Smoke:

Atlanta-based Blackberry Smoke continues to grow into the premiere Southern Rock band of America. Over the last two years the band has shared the stage with kindred spirits ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shooter Jennings, Cross Canadian Ragweed and continue tour as the opening act on the Zac Brown Band’s summer tour. The band is currently recording their highly anticipated third studio album under Southern Ground Artists where they will bring their signature sound forward with tracks reminiscent of Marshall Tucker Band and Allman Brothers. For more information about Blackberry Smoke please visit www.blackberrysmoke.com

About Georgia Theatre

While Orvold and Greene worked to preserve the setup and overall feel of the original Theatre, they also welcomed the opportunity to make numerous improvements including building a larger stage, adding a third viewing level, bigger dressing rooms and bathrooms, and upping its capacity to hold over 1000 guests. Patrons will be greeted by the original marquee and brick walls and may also spot an impressive support beam that withstood the fire. The enhanced venue also features reclaimed wood from the original venue that will be used for the bars and as decorative pieces throughout the building. Old breaker boxes that no longer work and part of a historic underground coal tunnel will be in public view in the basement. The new building was also designed in a way that the duo coined, industrial deco, creating a modern feel with industrial elements and sweeping curves.

TUPAC AMARU SHAKUR FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES “2PAC 40TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION”

Afeni Shakur and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation announce details for the 2PAC 40th Birthday Celebration Concert, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall in Atlanta, GA, June 16, 2011. Hosted by comedian/actor Mike Epps, this star-studded event will feature a headlining appearance by GRAMMY® award-winning artist Erykah Badu, as well as performances by legendary soul artists Roy Ayers and Eric Roberson, and hip-hop heavyweights Too $hort, Bun B, and 8 Ball and MJG. Proceeds from the event benefit the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

“I am deeply honored to have been invited by Afeni Shakur to celebrate her son’s remarkable life,” says Badu. “I don’t take this distinction for granted.”

Since 2009, presenters, Mike Epps and Afeni Shakur have drawn thousands of 2Pac fans from around the globe to Atlanta for an annual day of music, art and culture in recognition of the icon’s lasting impact and influence. The event aims to not only revive Tupac’s spirit through art, but offer a prophetic representation of the late artist at age 40 – complete  with a musical soundtrack that spans the soulful jazz sounds of Roy Ayers and to West Coast rap contemporaries such as Too $hort.

“With this event, we help keep Tupac’s legacy alive,” says Epps, “not only by bringing together the fans that know and love his music, but also by supporting his organization, and the causes he worked so hard for during his lifetime.”

Past celebrations have included performances by Rick Ross, Wacka Flocka, Lil’ Scrappy, M1 of Dead Prez and more. At last year’s concert, Dekalb County officials presented Afeni Shakur and Mike Epps with a proclamation officially naming June 16th as “Tupac Day.”

This June 16 will mark the 40th birthday of Tupac Shakur, a man whose impact on culture worldwide through his art, activism and passion is felt to this day. This year, fans, family, artists and performers alike will gather at the Atlanta Symphony Hall to both celebrate the life and further the cause of this remarkable individual.

Tickets are priced at $45-150.00, and are available exclusively at www.16thofjune.com.

Luther Russell Announces New Double LP

Luther Russell is set to release his fifth LP, a double-length entitled The Invisible Audience, on July 12th on Ungawa Records. It's a wildly ambitious record from the multi-talented singer-songwriter/producer, which he calls "a glimpse into the jukebox of my psyche." The twenty-five tracks on this epic record were culled from months and months of recording "whenever I could get into my eight-track studio or on a four-track cassette to get an idea down." The album's narrative flow seems to run the gamut of emotions from regret, betrayal and loss to humor, nostalgia and hope. His last release, 2007's Repair (produced by Ethan Johns) was a ragged, rootsy pop record full of rich, sometimes bouncy melodies which belied their darker subject matter, namely that of his then-fresh divorce. The album won him quite a bit of acclaim but nonetheless failed to break him to a wider audience. Since then he concentrated on the production side of things, working with a wide array of artists, including Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling, Sarabeth Tucek, Holly Miranda, Richmond Fontaine, Sean Lennon and Fernando, to name a few.

It was during this industrious period that Luther would hit the recording studio on his own whenever time permitted "to capture some kind of feeling before it slipped away" or for other projects like "the odd failed soundtrack that never was." Being a multi-instrumentalist (Luther has lent his talents to many other artists on drums, guitar, bass, keys, etc.) helped to get many songs recorded with no time to waste. For instance, "Traces," a track evoking Slim Chance-era Ronnie Lane, was done "pretty much in one day", recalls Russell. Still, he did enlist help from a few close musical allies to help flesh out harmony-laden blasts like "Everything You Do" and "Tomorrow's Papers", as well as the psychedelic trance-rock of "Motorbike". In fact, on the elegiac "In This Time," members of his old band The Freewheelers popped by to help with the feel of the track. "I just had so many different types of songs coming out of me over the past few years that for once I wanted to intertwine as many as I could, regardless of style or genre, to try and paint a more complete picture of who I am as an artist. This would be my chance because I could take my time and do it until it was done--whenever the hell that would be".

Turns out it wouldn't be for roughly five years, as Luther wouldn't finally compile the songs until he was able to listen to many different sequences on the often snail-paced subway rides between Manhattan and Brooklyn where he had relocated after several years in Los Angeles. "I just began to hit upon the fact that all of the instrumental tracks that I had accrued could provide little 'smoke breaks' for the listener, so to speak". Inspired by the sprawling double-albums of his youth, such as Husker Du's Zen Arcade, Game Theory's Lolita Nation and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, he began to see the songs woven together in a longer, more colorful tapestry. "I wanted to make a record that someone could literally get lost in...every time you'd drop the needle you'd be somewhere new. It would be like a friend that was always around, but each time you get together something has changed a little, just like in life". Invariably the album would wind up consisting of some darker pathways, to which Luther attributes more than a few harrowing experiences, such as the sudden passing of two of his "very best friends" and a horrible accident where he nearly lost use of his right hand. "A period of intense darkness seemed to settle over me after the recording of my last record. Moving to New York was definitely an 'escape' of sorts, but the kind of loss I experienced over the past few years one can never quite shake, I think".

It's these more contemplative stretches of musical highway that are found in songs such as "A World Unknown," a stripped-down blues lament concerning "various frightened glimpses into one's own mortality" and "1st & Main," a spidery concoction regarding a certain sojourn through downtown L.A. "which I'd rather not discuss", Russell broods. Livelier tracks include the uproarious "Long Lost Friend," something of a sonic shotgun-wedding between the Faces and Nilsson, juxtaposed with lyrics about "literally having fuck-all", and "Ain't Frightening Me," a dervish of acid words and zig-zag melody influenced by the proto-power-pop of Nick Lowe and Dwight Twilley. The font of mix-and-match songcraft throughout the record can also be attributed to Luther's background, which includes a grandfather and great-uncle, each of whom wrote several Tin Pan Alley standards. It's this family history which he pays tribute to on instrumentals such as the ragtime-y "109th & Madison" (named for the intersection in Harlem where his grandmother grew up) and "Still Life Radio," the old Broadway-style opener which evokes an instant nostalgia even before the expansive record has begun to rev-up (with the grinding Sidekick Reverb).

As to the inevitable head-scratching regarding the sheer length of the record, Luther takes it in stride. "I fully get and understand that many people will ask 'why so long' and generally not have the patience to sit through such an 'endless' listen", he laughs, "but I just had to do it. It just felt right and I thought it would be a true musical experience--that is if you even like what I do in the first place!" This time around, not only has Luther Russell made a record that has many of the hallmarks he is known for (ear-catching melodies, lyrics layered with multiple meanings and adventurous musicianship), but he's managed to make one that contains all of them: the dark folk-blues territory he has covered in past records such as Lowdown World, the bold experimentation found in out-of-nowhere u-turns like Down At Kit's and the melancholy pop of the aforementioned Repair. The Invisible Audience aims to tie up the many loose ends of Luther's recorded output and twist it into something new, yet strangely recognizable. "It's an album made for music fans. People like me. Folks who want to disappear for a while, take a vacation from all the bullshit. All you need is a pair of headphones and an open mind".

Leon Russell @ Boulder Roots & Blues Summit

Leon Russell is a music legend and perhaps the most accomplished and versatile musician in the history of rock 'n roll. In his distinguished and unique 50 year career, he has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music.

Leon has played on pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel, and surf records. As a session musician, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, record company owner, bandleader, and touring musician, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Edgar Winter, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, J.J. Cale, David Gates, Bruce Hornsby, Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, B.B. King, Freddie King, Bill Wyman, Steve Cropper, Carl Radle, Chuck Blackwell, Don Preston, Jesse Ed Davis, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons, Barbra Streisand, Ike & Tina Turner, Ricky Nelson, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Ann-Margret, Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood, and groups such as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, The Monkees, The Astronauts, The Accents, The Fencemen, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Rolling Stones, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Tractors and on and on and on.

Born in southwest Oklahoma in 1942, Leon began piano lessons at age 4. He was playing in Tulsa nightclubs at the age of 14. After graduating from high school, Leon's band, The Starlighters, went on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis. Leon left Tulsa at the age of 17 for Los Angeles where he began playing in the L.A. clubs and eventually became one of the best session musicians in Hollywood. He worked with the best Hollywood producers and top musicians in the business. Leon became part of an elite group of studio musicians called the Wrecking Crew and played on hundreds of hit records in the 1960's. He was part of studio groups such as The Routers and The Super Stocks. The Routers recorded the huge hit "Let's Go" and The Super Stocks recorded surf and hot rod tunes. In 1964, Leon was a member of the the house band on the Shindig! show on ABC television which showcased the top pop acts. Leon built a recording studio in his home in 1967 where he and Marc Benno recorded songs which were released on two critically acclaimed records as the 'Asylum Choir'.

Leon co-produced, arranged, and played piano, organ, and guitar on Joe Cocker's second album, 'Joe Cocker!' in 1969. He also recorded and toured with 'Delaney & Bonnie & Friends'.

Leon founded Shelter Records with partner Denny Cordell and released Leon's first solo album, "Leon Russell" in May, 1970. It included Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and Klaus Voorman. The album contained classic Leon songs, 'A Song For You', along with 'Hummingbird', and 'Delta Lady'.

Shelter Records was home for not only Leon but many other artists such as Freddie King, Don Nix, J.J. Cale, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Gap Band, Dwight Twilley and Phoebe Snow. Leon played on and produced three Shelter albums for blues guitarist Freddie King.

As a songwriter, Leon's songs have hit the charts across all genres and have been covered by a diverse range of artists. Ray Charles recorded 'A Song For You', B.B. King had a hit with 'Hummingbird', The Carpenters with 'Superstar' and Joe Cocker with 'Delta Lady'. The Carpenter's cover of "Superstar", written by Leon and Bonnie Bramlett, went to #2 on the pop music charts. George Benson won the "Record of the Year" Grammy in 1976 for his cover of Leon's song, "This Masquerade", and it became the first song in music history to hit #1 on the jazz, pop and R&B charts.

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More Info / Buy Tickets

Acoustic Africa | Boulder Theater | 3.16.2011

The audience was drenched in motherland soul on Wednesday night at the Boulder Theater as Habib Koite, Oliver Mtukudzi and Afel Bocoum came together on one stage to perf

Umphrey's McGee Collaborates with Patagonia for Environment

Patagonia Inc., the environmentally minded apparel company, and some of music’s most talented artists, including Umphrey’s McGee have come together to form the Patagonia Music Collective. The Patagonia Music Collective will launch Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at www.patagonia.com/music.

The collective brings together musicians, fans and grassroots environmental groups to raise funds for environmental causes. Artists, such as Umphrey’s McGee, have donated unreleased tracks that will be sold for $.99 with net proceeds going directly to the artist’s favorite environmental group. Visit www.patagonia.com/music for details.

Umphrey’s McGee has donated, “Hajimemashite”, a previously unreleased track, to benefit Climate Cycle.

“Patagonia is honored to have Umphrey’s McGee as a part of the Patagonia Music Collective,” notes Rob BonDurant, Patagonia’s VP of Marketing, “We’ve been stunned at the graciousness of artists like Umphrey’s McGee who so readily jumped at the chance to introduce their fans to an enviro cause they support. We’re so hopeful that fans will not only purchase this track, but learn about the work Climate Cycle is doing.”

The tracks will be available at www.patagonia.com/music, through a dedicated iPhone® app and a web widget player on participating artist’s websites. Fulfillment will be handled by iTunes®.

Patagonia views the “collective” as a new model for green giving, as well as a way to engage a non-Patagonia demographic in environmental activism. The Patagonia Music Collective will launch with 24 tracks with additional tracks released each subsequent week from established acts and emerging artists. Exclusive compilation records and more will be available at varying intervals at Patagonia stores worldwide.

Other musicians on board thus far include Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt and Jon Cleary, Maroon 5, Philip Glass, Zac Brown Band, moe., the Bad Plus, Blitzen Trapper, Mason Jennings, John Scofield, Piers Faccini, Switchfoot, Brett Dennen, Ky-Mani Marley, Sun Kil Moon, Ben Solee, Ra Ra Riot, Spoek Mathambo, Taj Mahal, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Drive-By Truckers, Bobby Long, The String Cheese Incident, Ki: Theory, Moondoggies, Vusi Mahlesela, Disco Biscuits, O.A.R., Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Dawes, Abigail Washburn, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Brandi Carlile and many more.

The Patagonia MusicTM Collective is not a record label. Artists are simply donating tracks for a sustainable music initiative that benefits the environment. Patagonia is providing a platform for artists to participate in a larger effort to increase awareness of both the enviro groups and causes artists would like to support and the music/artists associated with Patagonia Music.

LATEST BRITISH EXPORT LEE MACDOUGALL TO HIT THE ROAD IN U.S.

British singer-songwriter Lee MacDougall is the latest artist to emerge from open mic night circuit in London that has become a hotbed for new acoustic artists. He is slowly building an international fan base due to his knack for coupling a strong lyrical narrative with a memorable melody, and on the strength of his songwriting, he has earned support slots opening for artists such as Train, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini, The Feeling, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. To capitalize on the growing buzz, he will embark on his first U.S. tour, beginning this week, which will include his SxSW debut. He will appear at the Larimer Lounge in Denver on Thursday, March 24.

MacDougall’s self-produced CD of original material called IF WALLS COULD TALK will be available to coincide with his U.S. dates. Additionally, he has three songs available for download via iTunes, including a version of his tune “She” that was produced by Jim Lowe (Stereophonics, Taylor Swift, Charlatans).

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For his U.S. tour dates, he will be accompanied by Rob Hargreaves on guitar and backing vocals.  His tour dates are as follows:

February 25—Bitter End, New York City; 28—Club Passim, Boston; March 2—North Star Bar, Philadelphia; 5—James Joyce Pub, Durham, NC; 8—“Live at 9,” WREG-TV, Memphis; 9—3rd & Lindsley, Nashville; 10—Zanzabar, Louisville; 11—Cicero’s, St. Louis; 15—Poor David’s Pub, Dallas; 16—Hideaway on Dunvale, Houston; 17-19-SxSW, Austin (specific venues to be announced shortly); 22—Record Bar, Kansas City; 24—Larimer Lounge, Denver; 26—The Beat Coffeehouse & Records, Las Vegas; 29—Dizzy’s, San Diego; 31—Hotel Café, Los Angeles;  April 7—Tonic Lounge, Portland, 8—El Corazon, Seattle; 10—Backstage Lounge, Vancouver; 13—Sauce Spirits and Soundbar, Minneapolis; 14—Double Door, Chicago; 15—House Café, DeKalb, IL; 20—Hard Rock Café, Pittsburgh; 21—Valentines, Albany; 22—Bitter End, New York City; and 23—World Café Live at The Queen, Wilmington, DE.

Brian Setzer Remakes Bluegrass Classic Blue Moon of Kentucky

"Blue Moon of Kentucky," the opening track on Brian Setzer's 'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!" (out April 19 on Surfdog Records), has withstood over 65 years of remakes and covers, but it's never been put to the test quite like it is by Setzer.

Setzer goes jazzy, muscled and completely instrumental on the bluegrass standard -- enshrined in 1989 as the official bluegrass song of Kentucky – turning what Bill Monroe wrote as a "country waltz" into a western swing anthem that finds the rockabilly legend picking his way through a series of lightning quick riffs.

Originally written in 1946 for Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Bluegrass Boys, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" has been covered countless times by a number of esteemed artists. Setzer joins a list that includes John Fogerty, Patsy Cline, Ronnie Hawkins, LeAnn Rhimes, Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Jerry Reed, Jimmy Martin, and Elvis Presley.

Read more about this release on Brian's website.