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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.

Mayan Holidaze returns in 2012, @ the Mayan Riviera

Cloud 9 Adventures today announces the Mayan Holidaze 2012 – an unparalleled four-night destination music event featuring Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and STS9, with additional performers still to be announced. Set for January 26-30, 2012 at the Now Sapphire Resort & Spa in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, Mayan Holidaze is the newest event in the Cloud 9 Family, who also produces Jam Cruise and Caribbean Holidaze.

Praised by fans and media alike for the intimate performances and plethora of activities, the beautiful Mayan Riviera location, and the top-notch resort amenities, Relix Magazine reviewed of Mayan Holidaze’s inaugural year:

“Could 9 Adventures has created an unparalleled experience that seems to transcend anything else like it. The reason for this is simple: there actually is nothing else like it.”

The beautiful locale and luxurious accommodations at the Now Sapphire Resort & Spa certainly help to complete the Mayan Holidaze experience. Located in the small fishing town of Puerto Morelos, 15 minutes south of Cancun in the Mayan Riviera, the Now Sapphire is a first-class, all-inclusive resort that boasts spacious suites, an incredible on-site spa, gourmet restaurants, beachfront palapas, poolfront Bali beds, and of course, stunning ocean views. Mayan Holidaze offers music fans a genuine luxury vacation featuring days relaxing on the beach with friends and nights listening to their favorite bands perform in paradise.

Event details are as follows:

As a courtesy, Holidaze guests from past events will be eligible for an exclusive presale to be held on March 15 and 16. All remaining rooms will go on sale to the general public on March 17th at 12pm Eastern at www.mayanholidaze.com.

Only 400 rooms total will be available. Tropical View rooms start at $999 per person and Oceanfront rooms start at $1399 per person. A limited number of rooms are available for families who wish to bring their children, with a complete Kid’s program offered by the resort.

Look for announcements coming soon including special guests, poolside sets, artist hosted activities and more!

Mayan Holidaze is presented by Cloud 9 Adventures

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.

Disco Biscuits Announce 2011 Bisco Inferno

The Disco Biscuits are pleased to announce that the Biscuits will be returning to Red Rocks Amphitheater for the third installment of BISCO INFERNO on Saturday May 28th! This year, we will lead up to the main event with two kickoff shows at the Ogden Theatre in Denver on Thursday and Friday May 26-27 - tickets for these dates will only be available as part of a three-night package.

The supporting cast at Red Rocks is in place as well! In addition to our two long Biscuits sets, we are excited to be joined first and foremost by killer dubstep DJ/producer Rusko. For fans of hip-hop, we've got Big Boi, famous for being half of the legendary ATL group Outkast. And warming up the show will be two more incredible acts Emancipator and BoomBox.

Three-day passes for all three nights of Inferno will be available exclusively at discobiscuits.com next Tuesday 2/22 at Noon MT, at the low price of $100! We will also be providing details on travel packages from CID Entertainment early next week.

Check out Grateful Web's coverage of the 2009 Bisco Inferno here, and the 2010 Bisco Inferno here.

Pretty Lights Announces 2011 Spring Tour

Pretty Lights, never one to stay quiet for too long, is following up a massively successful year- he fulfilled the promise he made to his fans at the beginning of 2010 by delivering three new EP's, and followed that up by touring the world over, and launching Pretty Lights Music, his digital record label at the beginning of 2011.

Now he’d like to share the news of a Spring tour, taking place from late March through April, and he’s taking his production to the next level. The tour sees him taking his visually stunning live show all over the East Coast and Midwest (all dates below), and they’re going to be bigger and brighter than ever. If you haven’t caught his live show yet, don’t miss out!

On top of all this, he also found time to launch a new YouTube channel last week, featuring unreleased Pretty Lights tracks, remixes and mashups that he debuted live over the course of the past year. Head over there to check out new remixes of Pink Floyd, Jay Z, Steve Miller Band and more!

If you missed the news last week, Pretty Lights Music released two new EP’s for free downloads; Break Science’s Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s debut EP, Levitate. The purpose of the label and its innovative model is to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with the freshest music from the hottest new underground artists.

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Upcoming Pretty Lights Tour Dates

March 4 – Avon, CO – Snow Ball Music Experience
March 24 – Miami Beach, FL – The Fillmore Miami Beach
March 25 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
March 26 – Columbia, SC – Township Auditorium
April 12 – Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room
April 13 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Orbit Room
April 15 – Carlisle, PA – Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium (Dickinson College)
April 16 – Syracuse, NY – The Oncenter
April 19 – Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Amphitheater
April 20 – Gainesville, FL – Stephen C. O’Connell Center (University of Florida)
April 22 – Fayetteville, AR – The Arkansas Music Pavilion
April 23 – Kansas City, MO – Midland Theatre

The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band Release Joint Album

American music fans have an unprecedented opportunity to hear two masterful groups explore the common ground where bluegrass and jazz meet when the Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band release their collaborative American Legacies project on April 12th via McCoury Music and Preservation Hall Recordings.  Inspired by the success of the Del McCoury’s participation on 2010’s PRESERVATION, a PHJB project made with multiple artists to benefit New Orleans’ unique Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program, the set offers a dozen songs filled with deep respect and joyful virtuosity.  Complementing the release, the two groups have announced a joint tour that will feature them performing on their own and together in a groundbreaking concert experience.

With common roots in the rich musical gumbo of the American south in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bluegrass and jazz have sat alongside one another with a myriad of common influences and musical vocabularies that have nevertheless remained largely unexplored until now. American Legaciesis a no-holds-barred tour of songs and sounds that sum up the simultaneous (and often intersecting) histories of two distinctively American musical forms—the jazz that has drawn music lovers from around the world to New Orleans for more than a century, and the “hillbilly jazz” of bluegrass, created more than 60 years ago by Del McCoury’s one-time employer, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

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

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

Pretty Lights Launches New YouTube Channel!

As a thank you to his fans for the ongoing support, Pretty Lights is releasing a free MP3 remix of Kanye West’s new track, “All Of The Lights,” which he debuted on New Year’s Eve at the Congress Theatre in West’s hometown of Chicago. The remix is featured in a New Year’s Eve video on Pretty Lights’ new YouTube Channel. Also found on the new YouTube channel are Pretty Lights remixes of Pink Floyd’s classic “Time,” Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” and several more.

If you missed the news last week, Pretty Lights Music, Derek Vincent Smiths’ new digital record label, released two new EP’s for free downloads; Break Science’s Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s debut EP, Levitate. The purpose of the label and its innovative model is to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with the freshest music from the hottest new underground artists.

Check Out The New Pretty Lights YouTube Channel, Featuring Unreleased PL Tracks, Remixes and Mashups!

Download the Pretty Lights Remix of Kanye West’s “All Of The Lights” HERE!

Nathan Moore | West Coast Tour + New Releases

Nathan Moore will support ALO on ten West Coast dates during their 5th annual Tour d’Amour in February. The tour will begin on February 9 in San Luis Obispo, include a headline appearance on February 16 in Arcata, CA and conclude on February 20 in Crystal Bay, NV. Moore has also left a week open on his West Coast schedule for a spontaneous Hippy Fiasco Rides Again run. Moore envisioned the concept last summer where he takes requests from fans to play living rooms, backyards, parks or "anywhere interesting," as word spreads about the unannounced performances through social media. Fans can request shows at Moore's website (nathanmoore.org) or by calling the Hippy Fiasco hotline (805.443.2423).

The Staunton, VA-based singer-songwriter's latest album, Dear Puppeteer, was released today by Brooklyn-based indie label, Royal Potato Family.

Upcoming Nathan Moore Tour Dates:

2/09 | SLO Brewing Co | San Luis Obispo, CA (w/ ALO)
2/10 | Belly Up | Solana Beach, CA (w/ ALO)
2/11 | Troubadour | West Hollywood, CA (w/ ALO)
2/12 | Saint Rocke | Hermosa Beach, CA (w/ ALO)
2/13 | SOhO | Santa Barbara, CA (w/ ALO)
2/16 | Humboldt Brews | Arcata, CA
2/17 | Moe's Alley | Santa Cruz, CA (w/ ALO)
2/18 | Hopmonk | Sebastopol, CA (w/ ALO)
2/19 | Harlow’s | Sacramento, CA (w/ ALO)
2/20 | Crystal Bay Casino | Crystal Bay, NV (w/ ALO)
3/19 | SXSW | Austin, TX
3/23 | The Bell House | Brooklyn, NY (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
3/25 & 3/26 | Suwannee Springfest | Live Oak, FL (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
6/2-6/5 | Mountain Jam | Hunter, NY

Pretty Lights Music Drops Two FREE EPs

Pretty Lights Music, the digital label from Pretty Lights’ Derek Vincent Smith, is launching a new website, and dropping two new EPs today. The purpose of the label and its innovative model is to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with the dopest beats from the freshest producers. The EPs are offered as free downloads with the option to donate for exactly that reason- releasing good music to as many listeners as possible is our priority for PLM.

Break Science’s new EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s debut EP Levitate both went up today. Also available on the site is the debut record from Michal Menert, Dreaming Of A Bigger Life, which went up in May 2010.

The new Break Science EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, consists of thought-provoking, highly-textured bass-pumping songs that include verses from some of today's most conscious artists: Brooklyn's Talib Kweli and Jahdan Blakkamoore, Sierra Leone's Bajah and India's Falu.

The new Paper Diamond EP, Levitate, has a raw energy and the kind of dramatic anticipation only a seasoned producer can incite. Driving beats and bass grab on tight while deep, rich tones rumble under layers of spacey synthesizers, sweet melodies, and catchy vocals.

For more information on Pretty Lights Music, and the artists mentioned above, please visit the official site!

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Download Break Science’s Free MP3 of “Zion Station” HERE

Download Paper Diamond’s Remix of Kanye West’s “Power” HERE

Band of Heathens new CD is 'Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster's Son'

2010 was a year of making noise and news for the Band of Heathens. With 200-plus show dates, a fifth anniversary celebration, appearances at Lollapalooza and other top national festivals and a taping of Austin City Limits with Elvis Costello, it is remarkable that the Heathens even found time to write and record a new studio album, but they did.

The result is Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son, a surprising, multi-faceted gem of a disc. Their third studio album and the fifth release overall, Top Hat Crown displays the wide range of classic influences fans and critics have come to admire in the band, yet they’ve added, built and grown. Producer George Reiff, celebrated for his work with the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, the Courtyard Hounds (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks) and Ray Wylie Hubbard, tended to the album’s vibe and spirit, which is reaching, rocking, bluesy, funky and enjoyable as hell, from its rocking opening to its serene acoustic conclusion.

The Band of Heathens is constantly being compared to The Band because of the musical finesse that overlays their timeless, rootsy core. And the three founding members are all skilled multi-instrumentalists who can play almost any position in the field. But TBoH has reached so many fans so fast because of the echoes of and subtle homage to so many different artists at the core of the Americana canon, including Tom Petty, Tony Joe White, the Grateful Dead, Leon Russell, George Harrison, and other rarified stylists. You can hear a little of all that at a Heathens show or on disc, and Top Hat Crown feels like the most coherent and mature encapsulation of those elements so far.

Given the timelessness of their sound, one gets the sense that Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks would have gravitated toward the same essential feel had they met in 1975 or 2045. As it happens, it was in 2006 after each songwriter had established residency gigs on the same night of the week at Momo’s, an eclectic-minded club on Austin’s famous Sixth Street. Friendship, semi-regular sit-ins and harmony jags gelled into something quite rare: a band with three frontmen, each with enough humility and passion to invest in the larger project. The sum transcended the parts. Bassist Seth Whitney was a member from the get-go. Drummer John Chipman joined in 2007 as their road calendar got heavier.

The Heathens took their time getting their first studio album out, but when that eponymous debut was released in 2008, they proved they could write and record a coherent statement that measured up to their show. They followed relatively quickly with One Foot in the Ether toward the end of 2009. Both shot to the top of the Americana chart and remained there for months, evincing a longevity rare in any format of music. Each added songs to the band’s set lists that have become staples and favorites: “Jackson Station,” “Cornbread,” frequent set closer “Don’t Call on Me” and the rocking, cathartic “L.A. County Blues.”

Other kinds of recognition and respect rolled in. TBoH was honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards and nominated as Best Duo or Group by the Americana Music Awards. The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli called theirs the best set he saw during South by Southwest 2009. And the rest of the press has been equally effusive: The Dallas Morning News calls them “a must-see show.” Maverick magazine says they’re “magnificent.”

One can anticipate similar praise for Top Hat Crown, as it stretches without breaking faith with the feel and integrity that got the Band of Heathens this far. Opener “Medicine Man” sets a hoodoo tone with slappy upright piano and a swaggering lyric sung by Gordy Quist.

Another early Quist lead is “Polaroid,” which the guys say was influenced by the Jayhawks and mid-career Beatles. It coasts along on a robust acoustic strum decorated by jangly chiming electric guitar — a pluperfect fusion of pop and roots. Ed Jurdi gets his first lead vocal licks in with “Should Have Known,” a deeply bluesy slow shake that bolsters the regret of the song. Colin Brooks evokes current events and the craziness of modernity with “Enough,” whose mantra-like lyric and mid-tempo groove will have people nodding along in time. Brooks also shines with his lead on “Gravity,” a tour-de-force of forward motion and organ-generated psychedelic colors. Then some bone-rattle percussion ushers in a glowing, single-chord jam ride and a three-part chorus that swells with love.

Fans of the band will note one familiar song here. “Free Again” was written, recorded and released as a single in a blast of energy in the summer of 2010, inspired by the mind-boggling Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It’s sincere and sarcastic, playful and chastising. And it’s part of a Louisiana theme that closes out the album and ties the whole project together. “Hurricane,” the album’s lone cover, a Nashville-written tune from an old Levon Helm album, is a poignant portrait of an aging Gulf Coast salt reflecting on storms and eerily anticipating Katrina. And “Gris Gris Satchel,” the final cut, is a gorgeous and soothing acoustic tune that evokes old New Orleans and memories of great Crosby, Stills & Nash tracks.

Like that historic group, the Band of Heathens is distinguished by collaboration and load-sharing. And while songwriting and vocal duties are chiefly handled by the three guys across the front of the stage, they are decidedly a five-man band, benefitting from the equal input of all. This can lead to a lot of deliberation and creative tension. But it also means the music that emerges has been through five filters and enjoyed the collaborative creative power of five music-loving minds. “When I write a song with Ed or Colin, I usually hear it a certain way in my head,” says Quist about the power of the process. “When we bring it in to the band, the song almost always comes out turned on its head, leaning in another direction from where it started.” Music fans nationwide will hear that distilled quality upon the release of Top Hat Crown.

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TOUR DATES:

Thurs., March 3  ANN ARBOR, MI
Fri., March 4  CHAMPAIGN, IL
Sat., March 5  ST LOUIS, MO
Fri., March  11  SAN ANTONIO, TX
Sat., March 12  DALLAS, TX
Tues., March 15  AUSTIN, TX (SXSW)
Sat., March 19  HOUSTON, TX
Tues., March 29   DENVER, CO
Wed., March 30   ASPEN, CO
Thurs., March 31   PARK CITY, UT
Fri., April 1  BOISE, ID
Sat., April 9  SANTA CRUZ, CA
Sun., April 10  SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Mon., April 11  FOLSOM, CA
Tues., April 12   BAKERSFIELD, CA
Wed., April 13   LOS ANGELES, CA
Thurs., April 14  PHOENIX, AZ
Sun., April 17  DRIFTWOOD, TX