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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.”

The Devil Makes Three 2011 Spring/Summer Tour

The Devil Makes Three returns to the West Coast and announce the recording of a new live album over two nights in Petaluma and a very special show in Pozo, CA opening for country legend Dwight Yoakam.

The Devil Makes Three's true power must be experienced live - check out the bands' appearance on the first season of the successful IFC series Dinner With the Band, four live songs on the always great Daytrotter and "Aces and Twos" - the lovely black & white video created from still photographs.

Check out The Devil Makes Three doing The Allman Brothers classic "Statesboro Blues" {play}images/mp3/thedevilmakesthree_statesboroblues.mp3{/play}

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The Devil Makes Three Live

Apr 21 - Harlow's - Sacramento, CA
Apr 22 - Arcata Community Center - Arcata, CA
Apr 23 - WOW Hall - Eugene, OR
Apr 24 - Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR
Apr 27 - Crown Room @ Crystal Bay Club Casino - Crystal Bay, NV
Apr 28 - Slim's - San Francisco, CA
Apr 29 - The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30 - Pozo Salon - Pozo, CA
w/ Dwight Yoakam
May 1 - Cellar Door - Visalia, CA
May 5 - Caspar Inn - Caspar, CA
May 6 - Mystic Theater - Petaluma, CA
Recorded for DM3 live record
May 7 - NPR West Coast Live - San Francisco, CA
May 7 - Mystic Theater - Petaluma, CA
Recorded for DM3 live record
May 8 - Domino Room - Bend, OR
May 9 - The Bouquet - Boise, ID
May 10 - The Top Hat - Missoula, MT
May 11 - Emerson Cultural Center - Bozeman, MT
May 13 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN
May 15 - The Beat Kitchen - Chicago, IL
May 16 - Woodlands Tavern - Columbus, OH
May 17 - The Lizard Lounge - Lancaster, PA
May 18 -Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ
Aug 6 - Petaluma Music Festival - Petaluma, CA

Dawes to Release Nothing is Wrong June 7th

ATO Records is proud to announce the release of Nothing Is Wrong, the highly anticipated second album by critically acclaimed Los Angeles-based, Dawes, on June 7, 2011.  Nothing Is Wrong is the follow-up to the band’s 2009 debut, North Hills (featuring their breakout anthem, “When My Time Comes”), an extraordinary record that was released quietly and soon became regarded among critics and fans across the country as a classic and must-own favorite. A collection of songs that expertly builds upon the template laid by North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong sees Dawes displaying strong growth and evolution while still manifesting their distinctive, unforgettable voice.
A self-described “American rock ‘n’ roll band,” Dawes represent everything pure and true about that fundamental delineation, four talented friends making music together, fueled by a shared belief in the power of their songs. With Nothing Is Wrong, singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, his brother Griffin on drums, keyboardist Tay Strathairn, and bassist Wylie Gelber – continue to master their blend of singer/songwriter reflection with folk, country, and AOR-inspired arrangements, all ringing guitars, soaring harmonies, and heartfelt melodies.
“We didn’t change up our approach too much and yet we were able to create something that I feel has a new identity from our first record,” Goldsmith says. “It’s definitely taking a step in a direction and at the same time, it’s maintaining what it needs to maintain.”
In 2009, Dawes emerged from the ashes of California combo Simon Dawes with North Hills, which drew instant acclaim for its rootsy revitalization of classic El Lay rock. And like any American rock ‘n’ roll band worth its salt, Dawes followed up by touring nearly non-stop. As a result, Goldsmith was only able to write during rare free moments, in the course of brief visits home or while crashing at a friend’s for a few days.
Goldsmith took a brief break from the band to record with friends and tour-mates John McCauley of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit as the collaborative supergroup Middle Brother, and in September 2010, Dawes reunited with producer Wilson at his new Echo Park studio. As with North Hills, Dawes opted to record Nothing Is Wrong live to 2” analog tape. Far from just an exercise in nostalgic authenticity, the band sees the more traditional technique as a way of focusing their energies and affirming their dedication to the creative process.
“If you’re writing on a typewriter,” Goldsmith says, “you have to commit to whatever you’re writing. Typewriters don’t make it easy for you to go back and rethink things. Same thing with recording analog. We don’t do it because that’s what the people we admire did. We do it because it demands something out of us. It doesn’t allow us to show up lazy or not on our game. We cut every track knowing that this stuff isn’t easy to edit.”
Along with critical approbation and an ever-growing fan following, Dawes has earned admiration from many of their greatest heroes. Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers joined the band on organ on both North Hills and Nothing Is Wrong, while the new album’s “Fire Away” sees guest vocals from Jackson Browne, who has since invited the band to both support and back him on a European tour.  In addition, after Goldsmith contributed vocals to Robbie Robertson’s star-studded new How To Become Clairvoyant, the legendary guitarist/songwriter asked Dawes to serve as his backing combo for a number of promotional performances, sensing in them the character of a true band, a tight knit unit who know how to work together and instinctively play off each other’s individual gifts.
Nothing Is Wrong captures both Dawes’ studio and stage approaches, matching the loose extemporaneity and crunchy dynamism of the band’s live sets with finely honed arrangements and deft musicianship. Beginning next week, ATO Records and Dawes will release a series of weekly videos online featuring interview, candid, recording, and live performance footage leading up to release date on June, 7. Visit the band’s website for more information.
Check out Grateful Web reviews of both Middle Brother and Dawes.
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The tracklisting for Nothing Is Wrong:
1. Time Spent in Los Angeles
2.  If I Wanted Someone
3.  My Way Back Home
4. Coming Back to a Man
5. So Well
6. How Far We’ve Come
7. Fire Away
8. Moon in the Water
9. Million Dollar Bill
10. The You Laugh
11. A Little Bit of Everything
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TOUR DATES
May 5 - Houston, TX - Fitzgeralds
May 6 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
May 7 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
May 9 - Orlando, FL - Beacham Theater
May 10 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
May 11 - Tampa, FL - State Theatre
May 12 - St. Augustine, FL - Cafe Eleven
May 13 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
May 14 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival (2pm -note 2 shows on 5/14)
May 14 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
May 15 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
May 17 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre
May 18 - Carborro, NC - Cat's Cradle
May 19 - Athens, GA - Melting Point
May 20 - Chattanooga, TN - Nightfall Series (free show)
May 23 - New Haven, CT - Toad's
May 24 - Portland, ME - State Theatre
May 25 - Northampton, MA - The Iron Horse
May 26 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
May 27 - Montreal, QC - Le National
May 28 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
May 29 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew's Hall
June 1 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
June 2 - Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
June 3 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre
June 5 - Hunter Mountain, NY - Mountain Jam
June 6 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
June 7 - Louisville, KY - Iroquois Ampitheatre
June 8 - Columbus, OH - LC Ampitheatre
June 9 - Pittsburgh, PA -Stage AE
June 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center
June 11 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap
June 13 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
June 14 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
June 15 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
June 16 - Bend, OR - Athletic Club of Bend
June 17 - Chico, CA -   El Rey Theatre
June 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
June 20 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
June 21 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
June 22 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theatre
June 23 - Las Vegas, NV - Silverton Casino
June 24 - Reno, NV - Knitting Factory
June 25 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre
July 2 - Emeryville, CA - High Sierra Music Festival
July 7 - Winnipeg, MB  - Winnipeg Folk Festival
July 8 - Winnipeg, MB  - Winnipeg Folk Festival

Tea Leaf Green readies 'Radio Tragedy!'

It ain’t easy being gypsies, especially ones who sing for their supper. San Francisco Bay Area troubadours Tea Leaf Green are newfangled Lost Boys, a traveling gang dedicated to seeking wisdom and experience in places both glorious and seedy. The band’s seventh studio album, Radio Tragedy!, will be released through Thirty Tigers available worldwide on June 7. Fans who pre-order the album by May 1st are eligible to win handwritten lyrics from the songwriter.

In many ways, this quintet is the essence of rock’s adventurous, playfully outlaw spirit, all of which ultimately fuels songs that resonate with classic vibrations, open-ended possibilities and radio-ready charm. TLG are bruised romantics with heavy minds and a lighthearted way with experimentation, as likely to jam out a number as they are to nail a primo verse-verse-chorus pop gem.

All the steadily growing promise of Tea Leaf Green comes to fruition on their new album with the aid of producer Jeremy Black (Apollo Sunshine). The band has crafted a powerhouse work in Radio Tragedy!, with the oomph of their stellar live performances melded to a truly impressive array of vocal nuance, rib-sticking song craft and smart studio flourishes.

From the Bee Gees-esque bite of “Easy To Be Your Lover” to the bouncing modern rock of “You’re My Star,” Radio Tragedy! showcases a contemporary American rock monster fully emerging from the shadows, ready to take on any comers with a sound that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with skilled contemporaries like My Morning Jacket and The Strokes.

Together, Trevor Garrod (keys, vocals), Josh Clark (guitar, vocals), Scott Rager (drums), Reed Mathis (bass, vocals) and newest member Cochrane McMillan (drums) have made a record that’s both timely and timeless — a strange, beautiful space that Tea Leaf Green inhabits naturally and gracefully.

“Much of this record is a reflection on the ups and downs on the road to radio gold, chasing dreams and ghosts on America’s highways and finding triumph, sorrow and sacrifice in the pursuit,” says Josh Clark. “Tea Leaf Green has been a band for over a decade.  We’ve tried to simply focus on music, just music, honest music, operating in the shadow of braggart auto-tuned rappers and inane teeny bop prop puppets that has come to rule and choke the life out of what was once America’s greatest export — rock ’n’ roll.”

“I don't think any of us have ever felt completely satisfied with our past studio experiences, so we went into this one with the deliberate intent of making a complete album.  Each of us brought our own vision and we did our best to fuse those ideas in the studio, all of us committed to seeing each member’s vision take shape,” says Scott Rager. “TLG has been a band for 13 years and I think we’ve made the record we always thought we were capable of making.”

“I wanted a story — something loud, something bright, something to scare your kids goodnight. There is adventure to be had. There is an undiscovered country,” says Trevor Garrod.  “We have been there for each other through thick (rarely) and thin (mostly). There are five of us now and like a pack of pickpockets, we will steal your heart.”

“At the center, our commitment to this music and our passion for making it and performing it has remained rock steady,” continues Josh Clark. “Like countless bands creating phenomenal music today, we work on the edges of the mainstream where we can be heard, looking in on the tragedy that radio seems to have forgotten where to find the gold.  This album is a true story of our lives in pursuit of a dream from another time and how we survive despite it all.”

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RADIO TRAGEDY! track listing

1.    All Washed Up
2.    Easy To Be Your Lover
3.    You're My Star
4.    My Oklahoma Home
5.    Fallen Angel
6.    Sleep Paralysis
7.    Germinating Seed
8.    Honey Bee
9.    The Cottonwood Tree
10.   Arise
11.   Nothing Changes

The Shivers Heading Out on Tour This Spring!

On May 10th, The Shivers will return with their latest record More, set for release on Silence Breaks. Recorded in Manchester, UK early last year, the album finds Queens, NY songwriters Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow exploring everything from shambly garage rock to melancholic barroom ballads. In honor of the band’s new album, the band has made “Used to Be” available for free download. Check out the track HERE. The band will also be heading out on a west coast tour starting in early May that will be capped off with a New York homecoming at Mercury Lounge on May 29th. See full tour dates below.
Using every dime they’d saved, Zarriello and Schornikow traveled to Manchester in Spring of 2010 to record their latest record in an entirely analog studio. Over five days, the two worked tirelessly, fleshing out the tracks they had worked on in the small church in Queens where the band practices. The end result was More, an album that runs the gamut of American rock ’n’ roll, delving into everything from gritty Lou-Reed-inspired rock to the swaggering soul of Nina Simone. Starting with the brief piano elegy “My Mouth is for Love,” More segues quickly into “Irrational Love,” a bouncy organ-driven rock track with a chorus that sounds like it was plucked from 1966. The album teeters between the upbeat pop of tracks like “Used to Be” and “I Want You Back” to the heartsick, Leonard-Cohen-inspired ballads like “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” and “Love Is In The Air.” The album closes with the record’s title track “More,” a slow-building confessional that serves the record’s triumphant last call. It’s an apt end for a record that sounds like an apologetic love note, written on barroom cocktail napkin.
Hailing from Queens, NY, Keith Zarriello began writing music as The Shivers started back in 2001 and has spent the last ten years mining the depths of American rock, developing a songwriting style that ranges from earnest, heartbroken ballads to ’60s garage rock revival. In 2004, Zarrellio released Charades, which featured the much lauded track “Beauty,” which earned universal praise from the likes of Pitchfork and The Guardian, and would end up being named Gorilla Vs Bear’s thirteenth best song of the decade. The album also caught the ear of an Australian, classically-trained church organist named Jo Schornikow, who joined the band as a full-time member that year. Adding counterpoint of beauty with her piano and keyboard flutters, The Shivers spent the next six years touring aggressively in the U.S. and the U.K., and releasing a grand total of four albums, leading up to the ultimate release of More this year.
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The Shivers Tour Dates:
05/04: San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
05/06: Ashland, OR @ Culture Works
05/07: Portland, OR @ Backspace
05/10: Moscow, ID @ John’s Alley
05/11: Hailey, ID @ Sun Valley Brew
05/12: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
05/14: Las Vegas, NV @ The Las Vegas Country Saloon
05/15: Fullerton, CA @ Commonwealth Lounge
05/19: San Diego, CA @ Habitat House
05/20: San Diego, CA @ Eleven
05/21: Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Café
05/29: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
06/10: Fredericksburg, VA @ Read All Over Bookstore
06/15: New Haven, CT @ BAR

The Greencards' new 'The Brick Album' features Vince Gill, Sam Bush

From the first notes struck together in 2003 through tours with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, up to and beyond their fourth studio album in 2009, The Greencards have won steadily escalating acclaim for their multi-dimensional Americana vision. Each step they’ve taken has widened their appeal. Their releases have topped the Billboard Bluegrass charts. In both 2008 (for their Viridian album) and 2010 (for Fascination), they were nominated for Grammy Awards in the “Best Country Instrumental” category. They’ve earned ovations from “newgrass” music devotees at MerleFest and from indie-rock loyalists at Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival. RollingStone.com noted, “This imported band is creating some of the finest Americana around.”

But this four-piece band, spearheaded by Australians Carol Young and Kym Warner, is interested less in past accomplishments than in looking ahead for new goals to achieve. Produced and engineered by studio veteran Justin Niebank (Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Keith Urban), The Brick Album on the band’s own Darling Street Records is the first to successfully infuse The Greencards’ eclectic musical references with the excitement they generate onstage.

“We’ve been striving for this since our first record,” says mandolinist Warner. “We recorded totally in one room this time, with very little isolation. It was all about doing the performance now, without going back to add anything later on.”

“What you’re hearing is all one take,” bassist and singer Young adds. “If someone really didn’t like what we’d done, we’d play it all again from the top rather than drop the part in. When you drop in a part, you lose a little bit of the feel. You’ve got to get a run-up to it.”

That immediacy was heightened by the addition of two new members of the group. Tyler Andal, a young fiddle whiz from Tennessee, reinforces both The Greencards’ grounding in roots music and their eagerness to let in the fresh air of newgrass, rock, folk elements, Latin America and much more. “He thinks outside the box,” Warner explains. “We’ve always had a strong rhythmic aspect to our music, and Tyler definitely brings that.”

The other recent arrival, former National Flatpicking Championship winner Carl Miner, excels as a guitarist in that tradition but more importantly applies his virtuosity equally well beyond it. “He’s good at everything,” Warner says. “He’s one of the most versatile musicians, and probably the most consistent, we’ve ever played with. With Tyler and him in the band, everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

Make that “directions.” The Brick Album kicks off with “Make It Out West,” a rhythmically irresistible chant powered by guest artist Sam Bush’s slide mandolin, with lyrics conjuring restless dreams and far horizons. From there the songs take listeners through ever-changing vistas — the Spanish-inflected “Heart Fixer,” whose vocals by Young and guest artist Vince Gill stir memories of Marty Robbins; the slinky, teasing “Mrs. Madness,” written by Warner after a night of watching Bored to Death; the magical “Girl in the Telescope,” which floats like a feather in sunlight; “Tale of KangaRio,” an intimate Brazilian dance of mandolin and guitar; “Loving You Is the Only Way To Fly,” a dreamy evocation of the Louvin and Everly Brothers, the pillars of classic country duet vocals.

There’s much more, but two tracks bear special mention. The wistful “Faded” is a sweetly harmonized tune, so natural that you don’t even notice its unusual 5/4 time signature. Similarly, “Adelaide” is a brisk instrumental, built over a rushing stream of chord changes made accessible by melodies and solos of eloquent coherence.

“As we get older, the more I think about it, the more we want something in music you can cling to,” Warner says. “That comes with melody. What we do on The Brick Album allows us to have something not only on the record but also on our live show. It brings it back to “more than anything, this is about lyrics and harmony.”

It’s also about integrating fans more than ever into the band’s process. The Greencards followed an independent path with The Brick Album, partnering with its followers rather than with record labels to fund its sessions. In exchange for contributing to the “Buy A Brick” project, each donor had his or her name permanently inscribed on a brick within the wall that comprises its cover art.

“The times have changed a lot in the music industry, not so much in the creative side but in business side of making music,” Warner says. “We just wanted to give something unique and special to people, not just by sending them an early copy of the record by putting their names on the artwork. That makes them fully a part of it.”

But it’s the music that makes us all part of this journey. Warner and Young were both steeped in country music; she charted several No. 1 singles in her homeland as a solo artist and he won the Australian National Bluegrass Mandolin Championship for four consecutive years. They moved to Austin, put together the first incarnation of The Greencards there and today call Nashville home.

Along the way, they have picked up some influential fans. Their 2009 release, Fascination, prompted Rosanne Cash to say, “The Greencards are a little island of truth and beauty in a sea of artifice and mediocrity. What a fine group, and what a great collection of songs.” Buddy Miller called it one of the year’s “most inventive discs.”

With this new release, the world becomes more than ever The Greencards’ stage. Their sound defies category, balancing taste and technique, engaging lyrics and melodies and wildly creative arrangements. There may be a wall on The Brick Album’s cover, but the future suggested on these tracks knows no barrier.

Other Lives Announce Dates With The National, The Decemberists

There’s no point in trying to unearth an obvious “single” in Other Lives’ second album,Tamer Animals. Here’s a better idea instead: succumb. Let every last song wash over you like proper long players once did, from the swift strings and pulsating horns— a technique learned from old Philip Glass LPs—of “Dark Horse” to the richly orchestrated denouement of “Heading East,” a cut that could have been cribbed from the early instrumental sessions of Other Lives’ old band Kunek.

“The core of that band is still with me,” says frontman Jesse Tabish, who founded Kunek with cellist Jenny Hsu and drummer Colby Owens. “In a lot of ways, it’s still what I gravitate towards, songwriting wise.”

Unlike their self-titled debut—a studio-bound effort that was produced by Beck’s longtime drummer, Joey WaronkerTamer Animals was tracked in the privacy of the band’s own space in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Waronker eventually mixed the entire affair and sanded down its edges, but it took Other Lives 14 months to get to that point. We’re not talking about lazy Sunday sessions here, either. More like 11 songs that were carefully sculpted over time, with certain sounds creeping up when the record called for them, and nothing that’s forced or rushed. “Every sound has a purpose without being too indulgent,” explains Tabish. “There’s nothing like, ‘Hey, let’s rock out on this!’ It’s homemade in a way. For better or for worse, it’s all our sound.”

That sound amounts to one hell of a sweeping listen—an atmosphere, a mood, a state of mind. So while you might find yourself going back to the minor-key melodies of “Dust Bowl III” or the Morricone-caliber arrangements of “Old Statues” more often than not, it’s all part of a greater whole. And since Tabish prefers treating his vocals like an instrument, the lyrics are left open to interpretation.

To be honest, they don’t even matter in the end. What matters is how Tamer Animals makes you feel; how it aims to hit you in the chest…hard, like the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós LPs that made Tabish want to write this kind of music in the first place. (If you can believe it, he played in punk bands as a kid and didn’t resume the piano lessons he started in third grade until he was 18.)

“I’d rather us be an ensemble than a rock band,” he says. “That’s my goal—to get away from those traditional ideas. It’s not a strength in numbers kinda thing, either, where 12 people are on stage and five of them are playing the same melody. When the music calls for that many players, we’ll go there. We’ll destroy the band itself.”

He’s smiling as he says that. And frankly, so are we.

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Tour Dates

4/19/11 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, OK w/ The National

4/29/11 House of Blues Dallas, TX w/ The Decemberists

4/30/11 Stubb’s Waller Creek Austin, TX w/ The Decemberists

5/12/11 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI w/ S. Carey

5/13/11 The Mill Iowa City, IA w/ S. Carey

5/14/11 Slowdown Jr. Omaha, NE w/ S. Carey

5/15/11 The Record Bar Kansas City, MO w/ S. Carey

5/16/11 Hi-Dive Denver, CO w/ S. Carey

5/18/11 Club Congress Tucson, AZ w/ S. Carey

5/19/11 Soda Bar San Diego, CA w/ S. Carey

5/20/11 Velvet Jones Santa Barbara, CA w/ S. Carey

5/21/11 The Satellite Los Angeles, CA w/ S. Carey

5/22/11 Henry Miller Library Big Sur, CA w/ S. Carey

5/24/11 Café Du Nord San Francisco, CA w/ S. Carey

5/25/11 Sophia’s Thai Kitchen Davis, CA w/ S. Carey

5/26/11 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR w/ S. Carey

5/27/11 Panadaland Bellingham, WA w/ S. Carey

5/29/11 Sasquatch Music Festival Quincy, WA (festival)

5/30/11 The Badlander Missoula, MN w/ S. Carey

Colin Stetson Releases Live Video On Pitchfork

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, making a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver.  Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at Montréal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse StudiosBen Frost.
The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player; a compositional tour-de-force; and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster contained in the first pressing. The album will also be available digitally.

Marshall Crenshaw celebrates 30th anniversary with special NYC shows

“His intelligence, integrity, and passion for the great song always show up in his music,” wrote Robert Christgau in his Consumer Guide of Marshall Crenshaw. Over a span of 30 years, Crenshaw has released 13 albums, all of which have received the highest marks from critics and have earned him a fiercely local fan base. And now as Crenshaw prepares to transition from releasing physical albums to making his new music available in a subscription series to be announced soon, he will celebrate his first 30 years of recording in a special three-nighter at City Winery, 155 Varick St. in New York on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, which are already sold out, with Sunday, May 1 just added. For information, click here.

Crenshaw will perform his debut single and his self-titled debut album in sequence, adding as many other hits and favorites as time permits. He will be joined by Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan, longtime associate Graham Maby on bass, drummer Josh Dion, and on the 29th by original drummer (and brother) Robert Crenshaw.

According to Crenshaw, “The emphasis in the advertising, etc. has been on my first album but this year actually marks the 30-year anniversary of the release of ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ on Shake Records, my first record, and a really, really darn good one, produced by the late Alan Betrock and myself.  Therefore, this year marks my 30th year as a recording artist . . . amazing. It’s crazy!! Holy @!*&&^%!!!

“In 1978, by chance, not by design, I landed in New York City (with my wife) and the next few years were something like a whirlwind. We still do and always will look back on those days with great fondness; these anniversary shows will give me and everyone else in the room on those nights a chance to celebrate those times.”

“As it stands now we’re planning on mostly focusing on early repertoire, sprinkling in some middle period stuff, even some brand new stuff,” Crenshaw says. “I’m normally not that big on nostalgia and don’t plan to make a habit of it, but sometimes it can be a sweet feeling, harmless fun, etc.”

Rolling Stone, in its review of Crenshaw’s first long-player, called the album “1982's most gorgeous singer-songwriter debut,” adding, “every song here sounds like a classic.” Said Creem: “Marshall’s songs are perfect unto themselves — melodies, jaunty rhythms, super fine love lyrics and an exactly executed production that gives the songs a final and finished veneer when put on vinyl.”

Indeed, it was 1981 when Detroit-area native Crenshaw released his first single, “Something’s Gonna Happen” b/w “She Can’t Dance,” on New York Rocker founder Alan Betrock’s Shake Records label. The collectors’ site Discog calls it “As truly romantic, energetic and catchy as any early Beatles, British Invasion or Buddy Holly top hit record.” From it came the Warner Brothers contract that produced such classics as “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” “Someday Someway,” “Whenever You’re On My Mind” and “Cynical Girl.” The great songs continued with the Life’s Too Short album on MCA (“Fantastic Planet of Love”), three albums for Razor & Tie and the 2009 release Jaggedland (“Someone Told Me,” “Passing Through,” “Never Coming Down”). The Onion’s “A.V. Club” cited Jaggedland’s “sophisticated, warm, and carefully crafted melodies,” while SonicBoomers called it, “as good as anything he’s ever done,” adding, “There is a freshness of spirit to all these songs, like the artist is just starting out instead of being 30 years into a career.”

As The New York Times noted, “Mr. Crenshaw’s songs seem to roll off the guitar in a casual blend of pre-1970s styles — folk-rock, surf-rock, country and above all the Beatles — that put melody first. With his winsome tenor, he delves into the ways love goes right and goes wrong, from distant yearning to the aftermath of infidelity, hiding turmoil within the chiming tunes.”

And the Denver Post, reviewing a show from Crenshaw’s most recent tour, stated, “Crenshaw’s best songs, replete with irresistible hooks and perfect for his voice, are what drew critics and listeners from the beginning. Yet, in live performances, as well as on record, Crenshaw’s noted guitar talents shine through.”

As well as celebrating the first 30 years, the City Winery shows will mark the end of the album era for Crenshaw, who will shortly elaborate on plans to offer a subscription series to a quarterly series of vinyl and digital EPs, which will be available from his web site and other locations.

Further reflecting on his 30-year-old debut 45 RPM recording, Crenshaw notes, “I know that on that night I’ll be thinking of Alan Betrock. We already had some momentum on a couple of fronts: Robert Gordon’s version of ‘Someday Someway’ was causing a big sensation on NY radio, our club gigs were creating a lot of excitement, the press was getting on board, etc., but when Alan stepped into the picture it really put the pedal to the metal. We made a great record, my first, and really, I’d wanted to make a record with my name on it since I was a little kid. Alan put us in touch with another mover and shaker, the great Andy Schwartz, who had taken over New York Rocker magazine from Alan. There were others but that magazine was one of my bibles at the time; in fact I’d met Alan by responding to an ad that he’d run in the magazine announcing the launching of Shake Records.

“These guys had clout and credibility, not just with me but with everybody who was cool and involved with rock music in the city. Pretty soon ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ was on the radio right alongside of Robert Gordon’s ‘Someday Someway’ and we were officially a big deal on the New York rock scene, something I was hugely proud of, and hopefully not too arrogant behind.”

And looking toward the three dates at City Winery, Crenshaw says, “I’m excited to say that joining us on guitar all weekend, all night long, will be the great Ira Kaplan, somebody who really knows how to spice up the proceedings.”

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.