songs

Brian Wright's House On Fire - Out TODAY

Sugar Hill Records is proud to continue its legacy of incredible songwriters with the release of Brian Wright’s House on Fire – out today. While this is the first label release from the Waco, TX native, he has built a firm base of fans within and beyond the music industry with two previous releases and tireless touring in the US and Europe. Unlike previous releases, which were both recorded in the studio with a band, House on Fire approaches the recording process in a much more relaxed and reflective manner, with Wright playing every instrument himself and handpicking his prolifically written songs into a mindful, well-curated collection.

And make no mistake, this album truly is about the songs. Gems like “Mean ol’ Wind” and “Live Again” convey the tenderness of the soul which very few songwriters can capture.  “Striking Matches” and “The Good Dr.” bring the driving sound of a cross-country bound train, bound for heartache or redemption. “Maria Sugarcane” paints with a Southern Gothic brush that would make Flannery O’Connor proud.

“When people ask what I sound like, I usually say I’m somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Velvet Underground,” says Wright. “This album finally allowed me to make the music the exact way it was in my head.”

After spending his early twenties on the Austin/Waco/Dallas bar circuit, playing everything from punk to covers, Wright flipped a coin to decide his future home, either New York City or Los Angeles.  Going West won the day.  Today, when not touring, he resides in Los Angeles where he is a fixture in the LA music scene.  For the last six years he has been the front man and lyricist for his band Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies, a band that has gathered a devoted audience across the country.

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.

Rex Foundation releases The Wheel - A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia

On Tuesday March 29, 2011 the Rex Foundation will release 12 tracks from The Wheel – A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia. Recorded at The Fillmore in San Francisco, this special live album features some of Garcia’s oldest cohorts playing some of his most well-known songs.

Hosted by the Rex Foundation at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium on December 4, 2010, the benefit concert entitled “The Wheel – A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia” was a historic night. Among the evening’s unique music experiences was the bringing together of Jesse McReynolds, Peter Rowan and David Nelson.

McReynolds, Rowan, and Nelson each shared a deep connection with Garcia dating back to the early 1960s. In 1962, when Jerry Garcia began playing the banjo and exploring bluegrass music, he formed a band called the Hart Valley Drifters with David Nelson on guitar. In 1964, as part of his bluegrass pilgrimage through the American South, Jerry sought out the even-then legendary bluegrass musicians “Jim and Jesse” (McReynolds). Garcia held Jesse’s mandolin playing and music in high esteem for many more years to come. In 1969, as the Grateful Dead released Aoxomoxoa, Jerry was also collaborating with other musical friends. He reconnected with David Nelson and John “Marmaduke” Dawson to form New Riders of the Purple Sage. He formed another bluegrass band, Old and in the Way, with David Grisman, John Kahn, Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements. Coming full circle, in October 2010, McReynolds released Songs of the Grateful DeadA Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, collaborating with none other than David Nelson.

At the December 4th benefit event, the featured artists, along with members of their respective bands, which included Garrett McReynolds, Steve Thomas, Jody Stecher, Keith Little, Paul Knight, Barry Sless, Robin Sylvester, John Molo, Mookie Siegel, and special guest Matt Butler of The Everyone Orchestra, had the exceptional opportunity to play Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter and traditional American roots songs together.

Following the show many people noted that this remarkable music should be made available to those who could not attend, as well as to extend the reach of the benefit to provide additional charitable support to the Rex Foundation. On Tuesday March 29, 2011 this will be the case with downloads and CDs available from nugs.net for all to enjoy. As a special bonus, nugs.net is offering a free album listening party during the week of the release exclusively at nugs.net/wheel.

The Wheel – A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia Track List is as follows:

1. Black Muddy River
2. Ripple
3. Deep Elem Blues
4. Peggy-0
5. Friend of the Devil
6. Alabama Getaway
7. Standing on the Moon
8. Franklin’s Tower
9. Casey Jones
10. Dark Hollow
11. The Wheel
12. Cumberland Blues

The compilation will be available beginning March 29, 2011 in the following formats:
·MP3, FLAC, and Apple Lossless downloads at nugs.net/wheel
·iTunes download
·CD only available at nugs.net/wheel

About Rex Foundation:
Furthering what Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead started 27 years ago, the Rex Foundation endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities, and educating children and adults. The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 programs across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out fundraising initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections. Visit www.rexfoundation.org for a complete list of grantees and information about current initiatives.

Eddie Vedder Announces June/July Solo Tour

In support of his forthcoming solo album, Ukulele Songs, Eddie Vedder will embark on a month-long U.S. solo tour in June and July. Vedder's tour kicks off on June 15th at Providence's Performing Arts Center and wraps up on July 15th at Seattle's Benaroya Hall (full tour dates follow).

Special guest Glen Hansard (The Swell Season, The Frames) will join Vedder on the road. Tickets for all shows go on sale Friday, April 1st. A pre-sale for active members of Pearl Jam's Ten Club takes place Tuesday, March 29th and Wednesday, March 30th. (For full details on this pre-sale, visit www.pearljam.com).

Vedder's solo album, Ukulele Songs, will be released on Tuesday, May 31st through Pearl Jam's Monkeywrench Records. Ukulele Songs is a collection of original songs and covers performed by Vedder on ukulele. The first single from the album, "Longing to Belong," is available now digitally.

Also released on May 31st is Water on the Road, a live-concert DVD directed by Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Christoph Green featuring performances from Vedder's August 16th and 17th 2008 solo tour engagements at Washington, D.C.'s Warner Theatre. The DVD features a live performance of "You're True" from Ukulele Songs as well as a mix of Pearl Jam catalog, covers and songs from Vedder's critically acclaimed, award-winning solo record, Into The Wild.

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Eddie Vedder June/July U.S. Tour Dates:

Date            City                            Venue
June 15 Providence, RI          Providence Performing Arts Center (PAC)
June 16 Boston, MA              The Wang Theatre
June 18 Hartford, CT            The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
June 21 New York, NY            Beacon Theatre
June 22 New York, NY            Beacon Theatre
June 25 Philadelphia, PA        Tower Theatre
June 26 Detroit, MI             Fox Theatre
June 28 Chicago, IL             The Chicago Theatre
July 1  St. Louis, MO           Fox Theatre
July 2  Minneapolis, MN      Orpheum Theatre
July 5  San Diego, CA           Copley Symphony Hall
July 6  Long Beach, CA     Terrace Theater
July 8  Los Angeles, CA    The Wiltern
July 9  Santa Barbara, CA       Santa Barbara Bowl
July 11 Oakland, CA             The Paramount Theatre
July 14 Portland, OR            Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
July 15 Seattle, WA             Benaroya Hall

Madeleine Peyroux at the Boulder Theater | 4/13

The compelling vocalist and songwriter Madeleine Peyroux will reveal two tracks from her recently completed new album with digital EP available everywhere on March 29. Helmed by noted producer Craig Street (Norah Jones, k.d. Lang, Cassandra Wilson) and featuring Marc Ribot on guitar/banjo along with Me'shell Ndegeocello on bass, Peyroux's latest sessions signal a new approach for the musician as she carries her jazz sensibilities into rootsier territory.

The EP includes a gorgeously melancholic folk rendition of The Beatles' "Martha, My Dear," and the eerie, intimate new original song "The Things I've Seen Today," which Peyroux co-wrote with vocalist/violinist Jenny Scheinman. In addition to contributions from Ribot and Ndegeocello, the tracks feature drummer Charley Drayton (Neil Young, Johnny Cash) and guitarist Chris Bruce (Seal, John Legend). These core musicians appear throughout Peyroux's forthcoming album, 'Standin' on the Rooftop,' which consists mainly of her newly written songs.

Peyroux will hit the road in April to preview more songs from the anticipated new album 'STANDIN' ON THE ROOFTOP,' due out June 7 on Decca Records. See below for full tour dates.

Peyroux's 2004 album 'Careless Love' was a major breakthrough, reaching Gold status in the US, selling over two million copies worldwide and landing on numerous top-of-the-year lists. Known as a gifted interpreter of material from the jazz canon to Bob Dylan, with her last album, 2009's 'Bare Bones,' Peyroux found her voice as a songwriter. The New York Times noted that Peyroux "has branched out to refine an enigmatic, low-key personal style that is all her own."

More details on the new album will be announced soon.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Now!!

$30 GA / $40 Reserved / $47.50 Gold Circle

Lee MacDougall Gives it to Denver Short & Sweet

Short and sweet can be a good thing, but when it’s good, everybody wants some more. British musician Lee MacDougall certainly showed that he could satisfy, but unfortunately for the very few that showed up for his performance at the Larimer Lounge, it was a moment that lasted not quite long enough.

Sheryl Crow @ Boulder Roots & Blues Summit

For Sheryl Crow, the title of her seventh album isn?t just a location; it's a state of mind. "I grew up in a small town 100 miles from Memphis, and that informed not only my musical taste, but how I look at life," she says. "The drive to Memphis is all farmland, and everyone is community-oriented, God-fearing people, connected to the earth. The music that came out of that part of the world is a part of who I am, and it's the biggest inspiration for what I do and why I do it."

So for the Kennett, Missouri native, calling the disc 100 Miles From Memphis is a statement of purpose, both musical and emotional. It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music.

The results evoke a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax. Sometimes the musical references?Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder?are made apparent, but the album?s eleven songs are characterized more by capturing a classic spirit than by imitating any specific style.

Crow explains that the way 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded is crucial to its slinky grooves and rolling rhythms. Produced by Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley ("I knew they could get that old soul feeling with authenticity," she says), and cut mostly live with a regular crew of musicians, the album presented a new set of challenges for her as a singer and a songwriter.

With the musical direction already established, the album's messages crystallized in one night at Crow's farm, outside of Nashville. "Having a three year old, you don't get too much quiet time," she says, "but I sat up one night, and I worked all night long and came up with the better part of five lyrics."

What emerged was a set of songs that are unusually open and direct for someone often celebrated for the care and craft of her writing. "This music called for emotion, a place of sensuality and sexuality, and that's a little challenging for me," she says. "Sometimes it's easier for me to hide behind more intellectual lyrics. So it was a great stretching experience to show more vulnerability in my writing."

The songs on 100 Miles From Memphis display impressive range, in feeling and performance. First single "Summer Day" is a delightfully breezy slice of glory-days AM radio pop. "I wanted to experiment with writing something simple and positive," says Crow. "The feeling of a great, solid love, not just a new love, but something everlasting."

Crow, of course, first reached the spotlight as a back-up singer with Michael Jackson, and adds that "I Want You Back" was the first single she ever bought. "It wasn't a conscious choice to do an homage, but it wound up being a very bittersweet thing," she says. "Michael's death brought a lot of stuff back for me, so it was nice that we could include this."

For Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis is the right album at the right moment. "My last record (2008's Detours) was pretty political, extremely personal, and more lyric-driven," she says, "so it seemed like a great time to do something soulful and sexy and more driven by the music." It took a lot of years, but with this set of songs, she finally made it back home.

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Eddie Vedder Album "Ukulele Songs" Released 5/31

Eddie Vedder will release a solo album, Ukulele Songs, on Tuesday, May 31st (May 30th internationally) through Pearl Jam's Monkeywrench Records. Ukulele Songs is a collection of original songs and covers performed by Vedder on ukulele. The first single from the album, "Longing to Belong," will be available for sale through digital retailers on Tuesday, March 22nd (March 21st internationally).

Also released on May 31st is Water on the Road, a live-concert DVD directed by Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Christoph Green featuring performances from Vedder’s August 16 and 17, 2008 solo tour engagements at Washington, D.C.'s Warner Theatre. The DVD features a live performance of "You're True" from Ukulele Songs as well as a mix of Pearl Jam catalog, covers and songs from Vedder’s critically acclaimed, award-winning solo record, Into The Wild.

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Ukulele Songs Album Tracklisting:

1. Can't Keep

2. Sleeping by Myself

3. Without You

4. More Than You Know

5. Goodbye

6. Broken Heart

7. Satellite

8. Longing to Belong

9. Hey Fahkah

10. You're True

11. Light Today

12. Sleepless Nights (featuring Glen Hansard)

13. Once in Awhile

14. Waving Palms

15. Tonight You Belong to Me (featuring Cat Power)

16. Dream a Little Dream

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Water on the Road Live Concert DVD Tracklisting:

1. The Canyon

2. Sometimes

3. Trouble

4. Around the Bend

5. Girl From the North Country

6. Guaranteed

7. Setting Forth

8. Far Behind

9. No Ceiling

10. Rise

11. Golden State

12. Society

13. Forever Young

14. Ed Piano (Instrumental)

15. I’m Open

16. Man of the Hour

17. Driftin’

18. No More

19. You’re True

20. Ukulele Interlude (Instrumental)

21. Unthought Known

22.  Arc

23.  Hard Sun

24.  The Canyon (reprise)

Saxophonist Plunky Releases R&B CD

J. Plunky Branch's new release, Plunky On Fire, is a funk jazz concept album that burns across a wide swath of the urban contemporary music landscape. Plunky On Fire takes us on a musical journey through down-tempo funk jazz; house-tempo dance; R&B love songs; spoken word; smooth mellow jazz; novelty funk; world soul message music; live gig clips and thought leader lecturing, all on one chockfull compact disc.

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness create musical theater that combines the quirkiness of George Clinton and the musicality of George Duke with the vocal poetics of Jill Scott and Gil Scott Heron. Plunky's words and melodies are crafted over hip-hop influenced instrumental tracks produced by his son, Jamiah “Fire” Branch, hence the double entendre CD title.

The father-son duo has produced an album of 14 new songs that are both retro and ultramodern, a new organic-techno soul music that is jazzy, funky and highly danceable. Two songs are targeted for initial airplay: "On Fire," a hot, sax driven dance instrumental with a vocal hook; and "Inside These Walls" a quiet storm love song featuring Chyp Green on lead vocals.

Released on his own N.A.M.E. Brand Records label, this, Plunky's 25th album, will be available at CDBaby.com and all the most popular online sites, including i-tunes, Rhapsody and Napster. CD’s will be distributed to record stores by Liaison Record Distributors of Maryland. The March 29th release date also kicks off the Plunky & Oneness promotional touring in support of the new CD.

Plunky & Oneness is one of the most versatile and enduring funk jazz groups, having toured in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean for over 25 years. They have appeared in concert and at festivals with some of the biggest names in Black music, including Earth Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, LL Cool J, Chuck Brown, Wyclef Jean and many others.

Plunky has also been active in music education and arts and culture presentations and some of his insights on aesthetics and African concepts of the groove are presented as interludes on the album. His positive empowerment and political messages are infused in the lyrics of several of the songs as well. He comments, "I just think it’s important to inspire people to reach for their highest aspirations and I believe it can be done while we're having fun; what some call partying with a purpose."

Plunky On Fire presents R&B as art music and this concept extends to the CD cover as well. The original portrait of Plunky on the front was painted by French artist, Dan Brussat; and the inside photograph taken at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was shot by the design and layout artist, Danja Mowf. On this album the music and the art are hot like fire…

Web site: www.plunkyone.com CD Link: www.cdbaby.com/cd/plunky

Acoustic Africa @ The Boulder Theater | 3/16/11

The second installment of Acoustic Africa's exhilarating musical journey focuses on the richness of the African guitar tradition. The Acoustic Africa tour features Habib Koite, the Malian superstar whose exciting concerts have endeared him to audiences worldwide, Oliver Mtukudzi, the best-selling artist in his home country of Zimbabwe, and, a guitarist, singer, and composer from Mali whose songs evoke the Afel Bocoum evolution of traditional Malian society. The three artists, backed by a traditional African band, unite in song in a collaborative performance that honors their African heritage while simultaneously pushes contemporary musical boundaries.

One of Africa's most exciting performers, Habib Koite plays music that reflects the diverse musical traditions of his Malian homeland. Accompanied by his band Bamada, Koite has released a number of successful and critically acclaimed albums and has appeared on the The Late Show with David Letterman and in major magazines such as People and Rolling Stone. Over the past 10 years, Habib and his band have performed over 600 concerts for adoring audiences in far-flung locations such as Japan, Australia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. With their engaging stage presence and expert musicianship, Habib Koite and Bamada always put on a show to remember.

Lovingly called "Tuku" for short, Oliver Mtukudzi began recording in the mid-1970s as a member of Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. After Wagon Wheels rolled to fame in Southern Africa, Tuku formed Black Spirits, the band that has backed him throughout his career. Mtukudzi has been heavily influenced by chimurenga, the genre pioneered by Mapfumo that is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His music also incorporates pop influences, South African mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style JIT, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan, the Korekore. While Tuku's music is undeniably contagious, it is his lyrics that have captured the hearts of his people. The words to his songs invariably deal with social and economic issues. One of Tuku's biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Oliver "a treasure", but has also used his music as inspiration for the song "One Belief Away" on her album Fundamental.

Afel Bocoum began his music career with his uncle Ali Farka Toure, in his group Asco, a collaboration which lasted some thirty years. In the 1980s, he founded his own group, which he named Alkibar, in which he plays the guitar, composes, and sings. Bocoum sings mainly in Sonrai, his mother tongue, but also in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, and in Bambara. In spite of his growing success, Bocoum remains gentle and unassuming, modestly directing the energy this recognition brings him towards the welfare of his people and the inspiration they give to his music. In the dancing melodies of the river and the palpitating rhythm of the hard desert wind, there is no doubt that the heritage of Ali Farka Toure is in good hands. With remarkable subtlety and a sure talent, Afel Bocoum has proved that he is a true "Messenger of the great river", and it's certain he will actively contribute to keeping Malian music at the forefront of the international scene.

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