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NPR Takes Ladysmith Black Mambazo Back Home

For their new album, 'Songs From a Zulu Farm' (out this week on Listen 2 Entertainment Group/Razor & Tie Entertainment), South Africa's a cappella treasure Ladysmith Black Mambazo went back home.

Original band member Albert Mazibuko and 20-year band manager Mitch Goldstein joined NPR Weekend Edition Sunday’s host Liane Hansen to discuss how Ladysmith Black Mambazo collected songs traditionally sung by Zulu parents to their children for the new album.

"There's such a rich, wonderful history. A personal history that comes from the group that's not always found in their CDs," Goldstein said. Mazibuko added, "When my grandmother told me about the songs, she said that their parents were singing the same songs to them."

Listen to the NPR interview here.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was featured earlier this month on AOL’s Spinner blog, where Mazibuko, said, "Most of these songs we sing, even the traditional songs and the songs we wrote as a group, are the songs that always have lessons of encouragement, this kind of instruction."

Read more about 'Songs From a Zulu Farm' and listen to "Uthekwane" and "Leliyafu" here.

Read some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo here.

Arbouretum Announce US Winter Tour With Endless Boogie

Arbouretum are thrilled to announce their 2011 Winter tour with fellow indie rock guitar heros, Endless Boogie. They will start out celebrating the release of their epic new LP The Gathering in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland on February 13th. From there, they will be traveling to the west coast to in support of their highly anticipated new new album. Don't worry east coast, they will be there soon!

The Gathering has garnered early support from Pitchfork, NPR, The Fader, The NME and Stereogum. In November, Arbouretum released new album details and a live video for "When Delivery Comes".  While Pitchfork broke the news of the new LP and premiered the video, both The Fader and NPR picked up the news, posted the new acoustic video, and set the tone for this truly amazing album.
In December, Stereogum premiered their debut single, “Destroying To Save” and raved about its “gorgeous guitar sound and stately vintage psych pacing.” And on the other side of the pond, UK's The NME and premiered the single in their Top 10 Daily Download.
From the truly poetic opener "The White Bird", to the amazing cover of The Highwaymen's "Highwayman", Arbouretum have really delivered a masterpiece of epic proportions. The "Song of the Nile" was a collaboration between Rob Wilson and lead singer/guitarist Dave Heumann; “the song talks about someone on a mythical hero quest who seems to go through all these scenarios quite by accident." The Gathering takes the listener on a journey filled with a plethora of imagery and narrative context lifted from the Gnostic myth of "The Song of The Pearl".


The Gathering, was to a large extent, inspired by The Red Book by Carl Jung, or more specifically, Jung’s pursuit of the inner images that led to the book’s writing. Dave Heumann has long been a fan of experiences that surpass comprehension and describe the numinous. The narrative of “losing one’s way and finding it again” resonated deeply and it was in this context that the songs that comprise The Gathering came to be.  The attention to detail in recording and in writing, in concert with the performance, result in the other-worldly experience of The Gathering.

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US Winter 2011 Tour:

Feb 13  Baltimore, MD   Ottobar Upstairs w/Secret Mountains

Feb 17  San Diego, CA   Tin Can Ale House w/Endless Boogie

Feb 19  Santa Cruz, CA  105 Pioneer w/Endless Boogie

Feb 20  San Francisco, CA Hemlock Tavern w/Endless Boogie

Feb 22  Vancouver, BC Biltmore Cabaret w/Endless Boogie, Nathan Wheeler

Feb 23  Olympia, WA Northern w/Endless Boogie, Eternal Tapestry

Feb 24  Portland, OR Mississippi Studios w/Endless Boogie, Eternal Tapestry

Feb 26  Seattle, WA Comet Tavern w/Endless Boogie, Eternal Tapestry

Feb 28  Oakland, CA  TBA w/Endless Boogie

Mar 1   Los Angeles, CA The Satellite w/Endless Boogie

Mar 5   Baltimore, MD 2640 Space w/Future Islands, Celebration

Amy Speace's new CD 'Land Like a Bird' announced

Amy Speace wrote her new album, Land Like a Bird, with her life in a state of transition. Having spent many years in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey, surrounded by concrete, taxi horns and rushing trains, Speace suddenly found herself in the South. She’d done quite well as a New Yorker: she was signed by Judy Collins — who called Speace “one of the best young songwriters” — to Wildflower Records; she was awarded an NPR “Song of the Day”; and she toured with Collins, Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin. The city’s WFUV-FM named her song “Weight of the World” the #4 Folk Song of the Decade in its 2010 year-end Top 10 list.

“But life takes its twists and turns and as much as I loved Manhattan, I felt the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. Relief and anticipation went hand in hand with the grieving,” she says of the change.

Space began writing Land Like a Bird as she bade farewell her Jersey City apartment with the view of the Statute of Liberty and lower Manhattan (inspiration for the song “Manila Street”). Many of the songs were goodbyes to people and places (“Had to Lose,” “Ghost,” Ron Sexsmith’s beautiful “Galbraith Street”). She brought these songs and unpacked them in her new East Nashville home.

Land Like a Bird follows Speace’s 2006 Songs for Bright Street on Collins’ Wildflower Records and 2009’s The Killer in Me. The latter, her “breakup album” which featured guest vocals by Ian Hunter, earned much critical praise. “Amy Speace is a rising star,” opined USA Today. NPR said, “Her velvety, achy voice recalls an early Lucinda Williams. Sounding grounded but wounded, Speace exudes the vulnerability of someone who’s loved and lost.” The Washington Post advised, “If you bemoan the lack of solid singer-songwriters in the world who can bridge inner turmoil with universal experience, Speace is just what you need to hear.”

The new album was produced by Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey, Matthew Ryan, Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr) at Mr. Lemons studio in Nashville. Hubbard played bass, keyboards and vibes. Speace and Hubbard first met seven years ago while performing on an Arizona TV show and discovered their simpatico musical directions. However, they did not remain in touch. When Speace moved to Nashville last year, they were reintroduced, immediately co-wrote a song, and decided to collaborate on what would become Land Like a Bird. Kim Richey sang background vocals on “Land Like A Bird,” “Half Asleep & Wide Awake” and “Real Love Song.”

“As the fall became winter and the winter became spring, Neilson Hubbard and I would meet and write or record and snippets became songs became demos became a sound we both were chasing,” Speace says of the making of the album. “And by early fall 2010 we were inside the record we both knew we wanted to make together, a full turn of the seasons from my arrival.”

In other news, Speace will be seen on the forthcoming Big Star documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story http://vimeo.com/11881695 which includes her performance of “Try Again” with the surviving Big Star members, the Posies and Evan Dando at the Alex Chilton tribute at SXSW in March 2010. Speace and charter Big Star member Jody Stephens had met at the Folk Alliance a few years back in the band’s home of Memphis. Speace was a huge fan of Big Star and was pleasantly surprised that Stephens, in turn, as a fan of hers.

Jake Shimabukuro & His Ukulele Top Billboard This Week

Jake Shimabukuro has conquered the Billboard music charts this week with his instrument re-defining new album, Peace Love Ukulele. The album debuted at #1 on the "World Albums" chart (the ukulele virtuoso's best showing to date), blazed the "Heatseekers" chart with a Hot Shot debut in the 4th position, and also made it onto the “Independent Albums” chart at #31. Peace Love Ukulele, out on Hitchhike Records, has shattered the first week sales records of all previous Shimabukuro releases.

The Honolulu native and his stalwart ukulele skills were recently featured on NPR'S “Weekend Edition,” where he voiced his conviction that "if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”’

Listen to the full NPR “Weekend Edition” segment HERE!

For more album info and all things Jake Shimabukuro, visit www.JakeShimabukuro.com

Ryan Montbleau Band on All Things Considered

The Ryan Montbleau Band went to NPR's national headquarters in Washington, DC this week to record a live performance and interview for All Things Considered. The show will air on Thanksgiving Day. (Please check your local NPR affiliate's schedule for All Things Considered.)

Also, the band began a run of shows with JJ Grey & Mofro this week that will take us all over the northeast, including a Thanksgiving sandwich on Boston-and-Brooklyn bread. So far the shows have been a blast!

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Upcoming Tour Dates:

Wed. Nov. 24  BOSTON, MA Paradise Rock Club *

Fri.-Sat., Nov. 26-27  BROOKLYN, NY Brooklyn Bowl *

Fri., Dec. 3  SYRACUSE, NY Wescott Theater
Sat., Dec. 4  NORTHAMPTON, MA Pearl Street
Sun., Dec. 5  FAIRFIELD, CT Fairfield Theatre - Stage One
Fri., Dec. 10  SARASOTA SPRINGS, NY Putnam Den
Sat., Dec. 11   UTICA, NY The Electric Company
Sun., Dec. 19  WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT Tupelo Music Hall
Fri., Dec. 31  FOXBOROUGH, MA Showcase Live
Sat., Jan. 1  FRYEBURG, ME Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center
Sat., Jan. 8  NEW YORK, NY City Winery
* denotes dates with JJ Grey & MOFRO

The Walkmen Sign To Fat Possum Records

Esteemed indie rock act, The Walkmen, announce their signing to Fat Possum Records.  The band is currently in the studio with Chris Zane recording the follow-up to 2008's widely-acclaimed LP You & Me.

The band kicks off 2010 with a couple New York City plays including MOMA's Opening Night Armory Show benefit on March 3rd and an intimate engagement at Brooklyn's The Bell House on April 1st where they'll showcase songs from the upcoming album.  A 24-hour pre-sale begins tomorrow (more details below).

The band also travels to Austin, TX to play NPR's South By Southwest Showcase March 17th at Stubbs. For the third year running, NPR Music will present, broadcast, and webcast the opening night showcase which features performances by The Walkmen, Spoon, and soon to be named acts.

The Bell House pre-sale begins at noon EST on Thursday, February 11th.  Public onsale  will take place on Friday, February 12th. More details can be found at http://www.thewalkmen.com.

Adrienne Young on NPR's All Things Considered

Adrienne Young- for the Grateful Web

Adrienne Young will be featured on today's edition of NPR's "All Things Considered".  Check with your local station for broadcast times of Elizabeth Blair's interview with Adrienne.

Adrienne Young recently released Room to Grow on her own AddieBelle label (5.22) with distribution through Ryko.  Recorded in upstate New York at Levon Helm's studio, in Virginia at Sound of Music Studios and mixed by Jason Lehning in Nashville, Room to Grow reveals the maturation and sensitivity that have evolved in Young's songwriting and vocals.

Branching out from the themes that defined her last effort, 2005's The Art of Virtue - a study and exploration of Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues - Room to Grow is more introspective in its focus but wider in its aim.  As in the past, Young tackles heady subjects - longing, regret, fear, desire, contentment, purpose - but manages to artfully sidestep the melodrama, extending instead a rational but hopeful approach to the pilgrimage of life. Young's NPR piece will also focus on her commitment to sustainable food and farming, her involvement with the Food Routes Network and the Community Gardening Association.   Young will be donating a portion of proceeds from Room to Grow to the Community Gardening Association.