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Mountain Man | Larimer Lounge | 7.16.2011

I am a sucker for old-time music, the older the better. Slices of history that echo the times and evoke images of gone eras. The three young ladies of Mountain Man sing some amazing covers of old-school songs mixed in with their originals, which are at least as good.

Panther Style "¡Emergencia!" + June 11th Chicago Record Release Show!

May 31, 2011 brings the highly anticipated debut release from Chicago rock band, Panther Style. The "¡Emergencia!" LP will be available on 180 gram vinyl, digital and CD formats, all including a cover of "Blind Eyes Open" by The Posies.

This project of heavy tasty pop was started by Chicago rock veterans Jeanne McClure, Al Rodis, Dan Lutger, & Melissa Koehl (Mary Tyler Morphine, Siderunners, Dyslexic Apaches, Reptoids) out of a mutual desire to make some beautifully catchy songs that rocked. Drawing influences from The Posies, Big Star, New Order, and U2, along with the seductive feel of in-your- face screaming tube amps and chest pounding bass from The Cult, Fugazi and Failure, their sound brings a refreshing blend of sweet melodies and thick distorted guitars all held together with an air-tight driving rhythm.

"¡Emergencia!" was recorded at B-Side Audio in Chicago with Neal Ostrovsky on a 16-track analog tape machine to capture the warm tones and genuine feel of the band's live sound. All of the music was recorded live with everyone in the same room. It was mastered with Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. "Blind Eyes Open" was also released on the "Beautiful Escape" Posies cover compilation, by Burning Sky Records.

Soon after the formation of Panther Style, Dan and Melissa got hitched. Soon afterwards Dan and Jeanne jumped in to complete the rhythm section of Melissa's other established project, Reptoids. They brought a commanding presence to match Reptoids progression to a heavier sound and will be releasing the "Invasion" EP in the Summer of 2011.

You can learn more about Panther Style by visiting their website.

Paul Brady's 'Hooba Dooba' Streets 5/24

The career of Paul Brady — whose 12th solo album, the exuberantly titled Hooba Dooba, gets its U.S. release on May 24, 2011 via Proper American — is not that of your usual singer/songwriter. And the new record is the most wildly eclectic this man for all seasons has yet recorded. “I’m a marketing department’s nightmare,” he jokes, before discussing the confusion that has surrounded him for so long.

“I don’t really fit any of the recognized models for artists,” he acknowledges. “That has to do with my musical background, the variety of my tastes and the fact that I’ve jumped from place to place in my career. But at the same time, I’ve never found a compelling reason to narrow my perspective on the music I love by making a record that is only a small bit of what I am. I love big, romantic ballads, screamin’ blues songs, folk songs, country tunes. All these things have been hard to put into one box and say what it is, and I suppose I’ve suffered from that to a degree. But that’s what I am, and my fans are into me because of that — they’re the kind of people who resist marketing strategies, who like to discover things themselves. They respond to the sound of a voice, which says something to them on a subliminal level emotionally, rather than falling for some image.”
In 1963, five years after picking up his first guitar at age 11 and playing along with Shadows and Ventures records, the young Irishman snagged his first paying gig tinkling the ivories in a Donegal hotel, marking the beginning of 48 uninterrupted years of making music — all kinds of music. Like so many of his contemporaries on that side of the pond, he spent a chunk of the ’60s cranking up the volume in R&B bands before making a radical shift into Irish folk music, working with the Johnstons and Planxty, in collaboration with Andy Irvine and on his own, interpreting traditional songs. In the late ’70s, now married and with two kids on the way, he dedicated himself to writing his own material, inspired in part by the music of Gerry Rafferty, another folk artist who’d remade himself as an eloquent singer/songwriter. Hard Station, Brady’s 1981 solo debut album, containing the first fruit of his labors, returned him to the realm of rock and pop, and he scored his first big cover a year later when Hard Station’s “Night Hunting Time” wound up on Santana’s million-selling Shango, to its author’s surprise and delight.
Brady spent the next two decades leading a double life as a recording artist making a sustained effort to get on the radar and a much-covered songwriter, a number of his songs made famous by singers far better known than himself. These included such high-profile covers as Bonnie Raitt’s memorable, multiple-Grammy-winning rendition of “Luck of the Draw” (1991) and Brooks & Dunn’s chart-topping country single “The Long Goodbye” (2001). Around the turn of the century, the multitalented veteran once again reinvented himself, this time as a self-contained, truly independent artist. Since this latest metamorphosis, he’s been touring constantly in small-group settings on both sides of the Atlantic and making records whenever he felt inspired to do so. Which brings us back full circle to Hooba Dooba, its multiple facets glinting like an uncut diamond nestled in a field of shamrocks.
Brady describes “The Winners’ Ball,” propelled by a springy, soulful groove, as “a tongue-and-cheek look at the excesses of the modern end of music,” while “Rainbow” is a lush, widescreen ballad that begs for a country cover, though Brady insists that it’s closer to Memphis than Nashville. “The Price of Fame” builds to a string-laden crescendo in the grand manner of vintage Elton John, and the following “One More Today” sounds like some just-discovered Tin Pan Alley standard.
The album’s most dramatic segue takes the listener from the earthy, rollicking “Follow That Star” to the heart-wrenching “Mother and Son.” “I do like slapping people in the face, figuratively, with an emotional change,” Brady explains. “‘Follow That Star’ comes out of a genre that I have always loved, raw, acoustic blues — anything from Lead Belly to Mississippi John Hurt to ’60s British blues of Winwood, Beck and Clapton. ‘Mother and Son’ is a song about my relationship with my mother. It’s a song that I was trying to write for many years, but only managed to finish it after she passed on.”
The album also contains his first-ever recording of “Luck of the Draw,” the only song here not of recent vintage — apart, that is, from its lone non-original, a sublime, irresistible rendering of “You Won’t See Me” from Rubber Soul. “I wrote ‘Luck of the Draw’ when I was making the Trick or Treat album in L.A. back in 1990, and that’s when Bonnie Raitt picked up on it. I’d always wanted to record it because I had a very different take from the way Bonnie did it, but I decided to leave it alone for a respectable amount of time after hers was current. That was a long time ago, obviously, and it seemed like the right time to do it.” Good move — Brady’s take is so unlike Raitt’s familiar one as to be virtually unrecognizable, providing the song with an edgy, vital second life.
When asked why he decided to title the album Hooba Dooba, Brady replies, “It’s a phrase I’ve used many times in situations when something takes me by surprise that’s pleasurable. In this case, I was in the art department with the designer who was working on the cover looking through various ideas, and when he showed me the image that eventually became the cover, I looked at it and went, “Hooba dooba.” He said, ‘Is that the album title?’ and when I told him no, he said, ‘Well it should be.’ And I decided he was right. Nothing more profound than that.”
Given Brady’s back story, it’s hard to say whether Hooba Dooba — which features guests Jerry Douglas on lap steel and Sarah Siskind on backing vocals — will clear up the confusion about just who this multifaceted guy is or add to it, but one thing’s for sure: this record is a dead-honest picture of a one-of-a-kind artist who has always been absolutely true to himself.

“I’ve been in this business over 40 years, and I’m a survivor,” says Brady with unconcealed pride. “I’ve been through plenty of ups and downs, and I know what the business is. I have a broad enough base in terms of my activities to have survived for this long and to still be enjoying what I’m doing. Anything above and beyond that is icing on the cake.” He pauses for a moment, his face lighting up in a smile. “And the cake is okay.”

Rolling Stone Heralds Virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro as Ukulele Hero

Ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro has received unanimous acclaim from New York Times, NPR, Time Magazine & NY Post. Next up is the current Rolling Stone “Best of Rock” issue that praises Shimabukuro as an “Ukulele Hero,” saying “one of the hottest axmen of the past few years doesn’t actually play guitar.” Writer Patrick Doyle called Shimabukuro’s cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” “jaw-dropping.”

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Check out the Rolling Stone article here.

Watch Shimabukuro’s rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” here.

More info on Jake Shimabukuro.

The Band of Heathens | Oriental Theater | 3/29/11

The Band of Heathens kicked off their West Coast tour on Tuesday at the Oriental Theater in Denver. The show also marked the release of the Americana rock band’s new LP Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son.

UK Sensation Israel Nash Gripka Releases Sophomore Album Today

Singer/songwriter Israel Nash Gripka releases his sophomore album entitled Barn Doors & Concrete Floors TODAY, March 29, 2011. Building on the success of his debut release, New York Town (2009), Gripka is poised to increase his fan base both stateside and abroad. In fact, strong buzz for the upcoming release in the UK, lead UNCUT Magazine to include a track from the new album on their March cover mount.

In addition to a new record, the Ozark native has been passionately supporting Food for Thought a program created by his mother. Across 29 counties in southwest Missouri, children often go home to an empty dinner plate. Many of these children rely on school meals alone for their daily nutrition. In the Pierce City school system where Gripka grew up, 71% of children qualify for free or reduced lunches. Food for Thought was established to help by providing the most at-risk children with backpacks filled with healthy, easy open foods to eat over the weekends. “It is such a great program,” says Gripka. “I’m honored to help give back to my hometown and help kids in need.” In addition to working with his mother to obtain donations, Gripka is working on a music festival this summer to raise money for the program.

Multiple tours in the US and Europe, growing recognition as a songwriter and new philanthropic endeavors, the last two years left Gripka with renewed passion. He set out to write new songs, with new sounds and new ideas from these experiences. The nostalgic and uplifting record starts off with the reflective, harmonica infused, “Fools Gold.” It then slips into the bittersweet ache of “Goodbye Ghost” and UNCUT’s March cover mount “Baltimore” before settling into the flirty “Red Dress.”

Harkening back to the days of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Gripka’s vision was to record in a studio that was, in fact, not a studio at all. In the heart of a dusty, old barn nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains, Gripka, along with co-producer/drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and a merry band of musicians, created the highly anticipated follow up. “I really wanted to capture sounds that no other place could create,” says Gripka. “I wanted to throw away clocks, avoid set hours, eat around a big table for dinner and sit around a warm fire at night. The idea was to create an environment where nothing else really mattered except making music.”

Gripka presents a musical experience that is both old and new. In an almost conflicting manner, Gripka uses his upbringing as the son of a southern Baptist minister to contrast the realities of his life through music. From drinking to praying, from churches to county jails and from sorrow to revival, his songs are stories and reflections that kick like classic Rock N’ Roll all while pining with the heart of Americana roots, complete with undertones of soul trampled country, and gospel choirs.

The 11 track record plays like a vinyl relic you might find in your parent’s basement. “When artists make records that are unencumbered by regimented schedules,” says Gripka. “And you turn off contact from the outside world and really reflect, you can hear that in the recording.” Listeners will hear it loud and clear on Barn Doors & Concrete Floors.

For more information about Israel Nash Gripka, to purchase the album or donate to Food for Thought visit www.israelgripka.com.

Sarah Jarosz To Release "Follow Me Down" on May 17th

What Sarah Jarosz’s acclaimed debut, Song Up In Her Head, suggests, Follow Me Down—due out May 17, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records—confirms: she is constitutionally incapable of getting stuck in a rut. Her approach to acoustic music is expansive and vital; she sees no need to choose between old-timey and modern material; between picking, singing and writing; between experimenting and reviving tradition. She does all of it, and pushes it all further, on her new album.

“I definitely could have just made a record that was similar to the last one—pretty rootsy,” reflects Jarosz. “That would have been a representation of a side of me. But I have all these new sounds and ideas and I just didn’t want to hold back on this one.”

A lot has changed in the two years since the world outside the festival-going bluegrass and old-time music communities—home to many longtime Jarosz fans—was introduced to the young singer/songwriter/instrumentalist. Her music caught on quickly with audiences across the age spectrum. There have been GRAMMY and Americana Music Award nominations, a trio of Austin Music Awards, invitations to perform on “Austin City Limits” and “A Prairie Home Companion” and appearances at Bonnaroo, Newport and Telluride—and lots of digital downloading, a rarity for a roots act.

The most important difference is that Jarosz cannot be called a kid anymore. She’ll turn twenty within a week of Follow’s release. Instead of going straight to work as a full-time musician, as many before her have done, she left her hometown of Wimberley, TX—30 miles outside of Austin—and headed to Boston’s New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation on an elite scholarship.

“I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone,” Jarosz says. “I wanted to be playing things that I might not normally play.” And she has had plenty of opportunities to do just that, from Jewish and world music ensembles at school to wildly unpredictable live jams with Punch Brothers and Mumford & Sons. That keen, open-minded attitude speaks volumes about her maturity.

Like her first album, Jarosz co-produced Follow Me Down with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, John Prine, Chris Thile). Only this time, they had a college course schedule and high profile gigs to work around. They did a session with Punch Brothers in New York, another in Boston with her talented young trio mates Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith and several in Nashville with some of the acoustic world’s finest pickers and singers, including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Shawn Colvin and Darrell Scott.

Jarosz’s growth can be felt throughout the resulting eleven tracks. The grooves are more adventurous, for starters on the first single “Come Around”.  She comments, “I know for some purists out there, it’s like, ‘Why do you have to have drums?’ For me, it’s like, ‘Why not?’” And she has explored alternative ways of using her already-strong voice (see her Radiohead cover “The Tourist” and Radiohead-inspired original “My Muse”; Bob Dylan’s folk hymn “Ring Them Bells” is the album’s other cover).

There’s no missing the breadth in Jarosz’s songwriting. She is just as comfortable penning the tragic old-timey “Annabelle Lee” - an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s final poem, or a modernized Appalachian ode to secret love like “Run Away” as she is cultivating contemporary singer-songwriter introspection in a song like “Here Nor There”. But her playing—be it on mandolin, octave mandolin, clawhammer banjo or acoustic guitar—never takes a back seat. She started “Peace”—one of two instrumentals on the new album—when she was twelve, and finished it at college. And it is that hunger to let her music keep growing—along with her formidable abilities—that make Jarosz so exciting to watch.

Danielle Ate the Sandwich | Gothic Theater

Before attending Danielle Ate the Sandwich at the Gothic Theater on October 8th I was unsure as to what kind of sandwich exactly she may have eaten. However, after speaking to Danielle before her show and watching her exuberant performance I was certain said sandwich must be chock full of wit, talent and brilliance.

CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ OCTOBER MUSIC

Here is a list of all upcoming Cornelia Street Cafe upcoming shows for the month of October 2010.  The Cornelia Street Cafe is located between West 4th and Bleecker Sts, Greenwich Village
1 Subway to Sheridan Square; A, C, E, B, D, V, F to West 4th St.

OCTOBER Music Schedule:

Fri  Oct 01
9:00PM & 10:30PM     MIKE BAGGETTA QUARTET
(Mike Baggetta, guitar; Jason Rigby, tenor saxophone; Eivind Opsvik, bass; George Schuller, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.mikebaggetta.com

Sat  Oct 02
6:00PM     VINCE BELL
$15 "cover" includes a drink
http://www.vincebell.com/

Sat  Oct 02
9:00PM & 10:30PM  MICHAEL ADKINS QUINTET
(Michael Adkins, tenor saxophone; Russ Lossing, piano; Todd Neufeld, guitar; John Hébert, bass; Billy Mintz, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.myspace.com/infotation

Sun  Oct 03
8:30PM     BILL WARE'S VIBE QUARTET
(Bill Ware, electric vibraphone; Matt King, piano; Carlo De Rosa, bass; Jaime Aff, drums)
Cover $10

Mon  Oct 04
8:30PM     AMRAM & CO
(David Amram, piano, french horn, flutes, composition & surprises; Kevin Twigg, drums, glockenspiel; John de Witt, bass; Adam Amram, percussion; John Ventimiglia, actor)
Cover $10   http://www.davidamram.com

Tue  Oct 05
6:00PM     SHAKESPEARE HIP HOP
(Devon Glover)
The Sonnet Man Band is an exciting new New York City band fusing Shakespeare's Sonnet's to Hip Hop. You'll hear Shakespeare like you never heard him before as sensational young rap artist, Devon Glover, brings you to your feet. Not to be missed.
Robin Hirsch, Minister of Culture.  Cover $10

Tue  Oct 05
8:30PM     BLUE TUESDAYS:DOUG WAMBLE
(Doug Wamble, guitar, vocals)
Julie Hardy, Host.  Cover $10   http://www.dougwamble.com

Wed  Oct 06
8:30PM   ARUN RAMAMURTHY WITH AKSHAY ANANTAPADMANABHAN
(ARUN RAMAMURTHY, violin; AKSHAY ANANTAPADMANABHAN, mridangam; ROOPA MAHADEVAN, vocals; MITHUN RADHAKRISHNA, mandolin)
Cover $10   http://www.arunramamurthy.com

Thu  Oct 07
8:30PM     JESSE STACKEN TRIO
(Jesse Stacken, piano; Eivind Opsvik, bass; Jeff Davis, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.jessestacken.com

Fri  Oct 08
9:00PM & 10:30PM     REZ ABBASI ACOUSTIC QUARTET (RAAQ) CD RELEASE
(Rez Abbasi, acoustic guitar; Bill Ware, vibraphone; Stephan Crump, bass; Eric McPherson, drums)
Cover $10   http:// www.reztone.com

Sat  Oct 09
9:00PM & 10:30PM     REZ ABBASI ACOUSTIC QUARTET (RAAQ) CD RELEASE
(Rez Abbasi, acoustic guitar; Bill Ware, vibraphone; Stephan Crump, bass; Eric McPherson, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.reztone.com

Sun  Oct 10
8:30PM    ANDREW RATHBUN CD RELEASE EVENT FOR THE IDEA OF NORTH
(Andrew Rathbun, saxophones; Taylor Haskins, trumpet; Nate Radley, guitar; Frank Carlberg, piano, electric piano; Jay Anderson, bass; Ted Poor, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.andrewrathbun.com

Tue  Oct 12
8:30PM     LOREN STILLMAN AND BAD TOUCH
(Loren Stillman, alto saxophone, composition; Nate Radley, guitar; Gary Versace, organ; Ted Poor, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.lorenstillman.com

Wed  Oct 13
8:30PM     BECCA STEVENS PRESENTS:ALAN HAMPTON'S PARTS AND PIECES
(Alan Hampton, vocals; Jason Moran, piano; Gretchen Parlato, vocals; Dana Stephens, saxophone)
Cover $10   http://www.alanhampton.com

Thu  Oct 14
6:00PM     GHOSTS IN THE OCEAN
(Carol Lipnik; Matt Kanelos; Frank Tedesso, singer/ songwriter/ poet)
Songs To Celebrate The End Of The World
With special guest Frank Tedesso
Carol Lipnik (of Spookarama) and Matt Kanelos (of The Smooth Maria), each accomplished singer/ songwriters in their own right, have formed an exciting side project called Ghosts In The Ocean.
$10 charge includes a drink
Cover $10   http://www.myspace.com/ghostsintheocean

Thu  Oct 14
8:30PM     JOHN O'GALLAGHER TRIO FEATURING BEN MONDER AND DAN WEISS
(John O'Gallagher, alto saxophone, compositions; Ben Monder, guitar; Dan Weiss, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.johnogallagher.com

Fri  Oct 15
9:00PM & 10:30PM     JUERGEN FRIEDRICH, JOHN HÉBERT, TONY MORENO, WITH SPECIAL GUEST:BEN MONDER
(Juergen Friedrich, piano; John Hébert, bass; Tony Moreno, drums; Ben Monder, guitar)
Cover $10   http://www.pirouetrecords.com

Sat  Oct 16
9:00PM & 10:30PM     JUERGEN FRIEDRICH, JOHN HÉBERT, TONY MORENO, WITH SPECIAL GUEST:LOREN STILLMAN
(Juergen Friedrich, piano; John Hébert, bass; Tony Moreno, drums; Loren Stillman, alto saxophone)
Cover $10   http://www.pirouetrecords.com

Sun  Oct 17
8:30PM     JANE IRA BLOOM TRIO
(Jane Ira Bloom, soprano sax & live electronics; Mark Helias, bass; Bobby Previte, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.janeirabloom.com

Tue  Oct 19
8:30PM     BLUE TUESDAYS:AMANDA BAISINGER
(Amanda Baisinger, vocals; John Shannon, guitar; Pete Rende, piano, accordion; Garth Stevenson, bass; Dan Mintzer, drums)
Julie Hardy, Host.  Cover $10   http://www.myspace.com/amandabaisinger

Wed  Oct 20
8:30PM     RIBS AND BRISKET REVUE
(Paul Shapiro, sax, clarinet, vocals; Cilla Owens, vocals; Glenn Turner, vocals; Dan Rosengard, piano; Booker King, bass; Mo Roberts, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.paulshapiromusic.com

Thu  Oct 21
8:30PM     MARK HELIAS TRIO
(Mark Helias, bass; Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone; Ches Smith, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.markhelias.com

Fri  Oct 22
9:00PM & 10:30PM     BEN WALTZER QUINTET
(Ben Waltzer, piano; Bill McHenry, tenor saxophone; Robin Eubanks, trumpet; tba, bass; tba, drums)
Cover $10 http://benwaltzer.com/

Sat  Oct 23
9:00PM & 10:30PM     BEN WALTZER QUINTET
(Ben Waltzer, piano; Bill McHenry, tenor saxophone; Robin Eubanks, trumpet; tba, bass; tba, drums)
Cover $10 http://benwaltzer.com/

Sun  Oct 24
8:30PM     JACOB GARCHIK TRIO
(Jacob Garchik, trombone, compositions; Jacob Sacks, piano; Dan Weiss, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.jacobgarchik.com

Mon  Oct 25
8:30PM     21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MUSIC PRESENTS:THE BATTERIES DUO
Gareth Flowers, trumpeter of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) presents two sets this evening. The first is for a trumpet and piano duo, featuring the pianist Steve Beck and the cornet solos of Herbert L. Clarke, a turn of the (20th) century composer, the second set is with The Batteries Duo, an electro-acoustic trumpet and laptop duo with Josh Frank.
Cover $10   http://www.thegflo.com

Tue  Oct 26
8:30PM     TRIO PBD
(Ratzo B. Harris, bass; Denman Maroney, piano; Bob Meyer, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.ratzobharris.com

Wed  Oct 27
8:30PM     MIKE + RUTHY'S FOLK CITY, (JAY UNGAR & MOLLY MASON FAMILY BAND)
(Jay Ungar, violin, mandolin; Molly Mason, guitar, piano; Ruthy Ungar, violin, guitar; Mike Merenda, banjo, percussion)
Cover $20   http://www.jayandmolly.com

Thu  Oct 28
8:30PM     BOB STEWART QUARTET
(Bob Stewart, tuba; Jerome Harris, guitar; Matt Wilson, drums; Curtis Stewart, violin)
Cover $10   http://www.bobstewartuba.com

Fri  Oct 29
9:00PM & 10:30PM     BOB STEWART QUARTET
(Bob Stewart, tuba; Jerome Harris, guitar; Matt Wilson, drums; Curtis Stewart, viola)
Cover $10   http://www.bobstewartuba.com

Sat  Oct 30
9:00PM & 10:30PM     BILL MCHENRY QUARTET
(Bill McHenry, tenor saxophone; Andrew D Angelo, alto saxophone; Ben Street, bass; RJ Miller, drums)
Cover $10 http://www.billmchenry.com/

Sun  Oct 31
8:30PM     SAM SADIGURSKY/JEREMY UDDEN
(Sam Sadigursky, saxophone; Jeremy Udden, saxophone; Linda Oh, bass; Jeff Hirshfield, drums)
Cover $10   http://www.samsadigursky.com

Elizabeth & the Catapult return with a new album "The Other Side of Zero" & Fall Tour Dates

“If I had to compare our albums,” says Elizabeth Ziman, the singer/songwriter/keyboardist behind Elizabeth & the Catapult, “I’d say Taller Children has the sarcastic lightness of a Woody Allen film, and the new record’s more like Kubrick or Lynch—a little darker, a little more tongue-in-cheek.”
Not that any of these shifts are a surprise. After all, Elizabeth learned how to manipulate moods through music at an early age, whether that meant performing a wildly-expressive piano piece or belting out bizarre harmonies in New York’s world-renowned Young People’s Chorus.
And now this: The Other Side of Zero, an Elizabeth & the Catapult album that started with a Lincoln Center song cycle—performed last spring after a commission from NPR’s John Schaefer—and a cover-to-cover study of Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing collection. As the latter’s pages sunk in, Elizabeth couldn’t help but draw parallels between Cohen’s failure to meet Buddhist goals in a monastery and her own coming-of-age struggles in the big city. (The New York native grew up in the heart of Greenwich Village.)
She also wrote Elizabeth & the Catapult’s rawest set of recordings yet, including the clanging chords and galloping groove of “The Horse and the Missing Cart,” the sputtering, string-grazed percussion of “You and Me,” “We All Fall Down, the Buddhist twist on a classic love song, “Julian Darling,” a wake up call to a friend and the hopeful but heartbroken contrasts of “Thank You For Nothing.” And then there’s the title track. Led by a lean, winding piano line, it builds to a spine-tingling crescendo alongside the honey-dipped harmonies of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings—a collaboration that was completely unplanned. Not that you’d notice, considering how seamless it sounds.
Unlike their thoroughly-demoed debut—an album that took two years to complete—the Zero sessions boiled down to a month of recording with producer Tony Berg (Peter Gabriel, Phantom Planet, Jesca Hoop) and such respected sidemen as guitarist Blake Mills and Tom Waits’ longtime touring keyboardist, Patrick Warren. The result was rough but refined, bruised but beautiful, as if Berg had placed a mic in a room and walked away, letting Elizabeth and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Danny Molad do their thing.
As Molad puts it, “The record is more blatantly honest, even rude at times..." Elizabeth continues, "Even the happiest sounding pop songs on this record have a tinge of regret and darkness to them…And thank goodness for that. Ultimately that’s the only way I’d feel comfortable singing them. I’m drawn to the ambiguity like a menacing smile.”
Elizabeth & the Catapult Fall Tour Dates
Sept 25 - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA #
Oct 2 - Rusty Rudder - Dewey Beach, DE    
Oct 7 - Bates College - Benjamin Mays Center - Lewiston, ME    
Oct 11 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN *
Oct 12 - Cactus Club - Milwaukee, WI *   
Oct 13 - Schubas - Chicago, IL *   
Oct 14 - Radio Radio - Indianapolis, IN *  
Oct 15 - The Brillobox - Pittsburgh, PA *   
Oct 16 - Black Cat - Washington, DC *
Oct 22 - Cornell University, Just About Music Residence Hall - Ithaca, NY    
Oct 23 - Rockwood Music Hall - NY, NY    CMJ
Oct 28 - The Red Room @ Cafe 939 - Boston, MA    
Nov 4 - NightCat - Easton, MD
# w/ Aimee Mann
* w/ Jukebox the Ghost