Seth Walker takes a 'Leap Of Faith' | Album Streets March 3rd

Seth Walker- for the Grateful Web

Seth Walker will make you believe with his forthcoming new album, Leap of Faith, set for release March 3 on Hyena Records. A rising star in blues and roots music, the young Austin, Texas-based songwriter, singer and guitarist has made his finest record to date. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Gary Nicholson, the twelve-track collection showcases Walker's impressive command of modern rhythm and blues, as it calls to mind artists like James Hunter, Robert Cray and Susan Tedeschi. And while Leap Of Faith centers around Walker's soul-stirring originals, such as the album's first single, "Rewind," it also features inspired renditions of other songwriter's work, including an unforgettable take on Nick Lowe's "Lately I've Let Things Slide."

Music audiences around the world were first introduced to Seth Walker with the release of his widely praised, self-titled 2007 Hyena Records debut.  It hit the top twenty of the Americana and Living Blues charts, while receiving unanimous praise from publications like No Depression, Blues Revue and Maverick UK Magazine.  Walker's undeniable style is also garnering accolades from legendary artists like Bonnie Raitt, Taj Majal and Delbert McClintonMcClinton makes a guest appearance on Leap of Faith, lending his vocals to the track "Something Fast" and raves, "The first time I heard Seth Walker at a small club in Nashville I was impressed like I haven't been impressed in 30 years, with performance, presence, and great songs." No overnight success, Walker has been developing his craft in his adopted hometown of Austin, Texas for upwards of a decade.  Seth took an unlikely path to the blues, growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina as the son of classically trained musicians. He played cello from the age of five before discovering the guitar in his late teens.

Seth Walker will be a featured performer at this year's South by Southwest, and heads out on a U.S. tour in early 2009. Known for his scorching live shows, he hit the road extensively throughout '08, performing at world-renowned festivals like Flat Rock in North Carolina, Springfest in Florida, Rawa Blues in Poland and Moulin Blues in Holland.  He's headlined shows across the U.S., often playing to sold-out rooms, while joining the likes of Johnny Winter, Marcia Ball and Robert Cray for opening appearances.

Umphrey's Mantis Pre-Order Takes Off

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Umphrey's McGee's one-of-a-kind pre-order campaign for their highly anticipated new studio release, Mantis (January 20, 2009 / SCI Fidelity Records) is already being recognized as a brilliant and innovative use of digital technology. The power of this new pre-order concept is in the hands of the fans.  Umphrey's offers fans more free bonus content the more Mantis pre-orders they receive; the fans "unlock" levels of content by getting more of their friends to pre-order the album.  The idea is to give the fans incentive to help spread the word about the album, and to offer a totally unique music experience.

Industry and fan response to the Mantis pre-order has been stellar.  Industry tastemakers and digital news leaders have taken notice, declaring it "one of the coolest pre-order ideas this side of [Radiohead's] In Rainbows and [Of Montreal's] Skeletal Lamping" and "...a pretty brilliant idea!!"

Thousands of fans have already passed around the Mantis widget, posting it on their Myspace and Facebook pages, blogs, etc.  In under a week, Umphrey's sold out of "deluxe package" preorders (which at $49.99 offers a copy of Mantis on Vinyl, a bonus DVD, and a number of other goodies that will be a surprise for fans who were able to grab one of these limited edition gems), and the band has taken more pre-orders than any release in their 11 year history.

Of course, all of this action has already helped unlock content Levels 1-6 of 9 possible levels. Fans are tracking their progress, and the bonus content they'll receive, at the Mantis pre-order page: umphreys.com/mantis.  The music has already begun to flow. Just last week the band gave their fans an unexpected nod: those who have pre-ordered were given exclusive download access to a live track from the band's recent Halloween show in San Francisco and a special "fly-on-the-wall" vocal rehearsal from back stage that same night, as well as a free MP3 of the first single from Mantis "Made to Measure".  Next, on December 4th, the band releases all Level 1 bonus content.

Chicago's Umphrey's McGee enters its second decade together with their hardest, darkest, and most artistically cohesive album to date. The new album hits streets on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, when Mantis casts another Windy City family into the limelight. Over 2 years in the making, Mantis pushes the envelope in composition, arrangement and group interplay.  In an Umphrey's McGee first, the album offers 100% new material  - a drastic change of pace for a band whose typical modus operandi is to work out the material live on-stage before recording studio versions. 

In addition to a one-of-a kind pre-order campaign where fans can participate in "unlocking exclusive bonus material, Mantis incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver new content throughout 2009.  PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc will act as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available.  

Mantis is yet another innovative music experience to be offered by Umphrey's McGee, who have proven adaptive and inventive both in music and business over the last 10 years. Through online community building, creative web-based promotions, and open taping policies allowing live music sharing among fans, Umphrey's McGee has harnessed the internet's momentum to spread their music far and wide.  The band's download store UMLive.net is an archive of their ever-diverse live performances, hosting downloads of over 300 shows with 750,000 tracks sold since 2004. Umphreys.com hosts the iTunes friendly UM Podcast which releases two 75-minute episodes of live material each month to its 20,000 subscribers. Since 2001, Umphrey's has released soundboard recordings of each night's concert immediately after the show in both physical and digital formats - and each show typically sells upwards of 300 copies per night. The band's unique approach to online and digital distribution, paired with word of mouth buzz, has helped Umphrey's McGee sell out shows nationwide while keeping their fans a top priority.

Look for Umphrey's McGee on tour now, including their upcoming New Year's eve run at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, where they'll be joined on stage by musical icons Buddy Guy, Stanley Jordan, Joshua Redman, Jeff Coffin, and Koko Taylor.  Previous guests who've shared the stage with Umphrey's include Tortoise, Taj Mahal, The Wailers, Los Lobos and many more.

Matmos Takes on Boulder Theater July 15th

Matmos- for the Grateful Web

Matmos' approach is quickly pushing them to the center of the experimental music world.  Straddling pop and serious electronica, they've toured and recorded with pop icon Bjork, performed in Lincoln Center and the Whitney Museum of Art, given seminars at Harvard and worked with some of the top musicians in the classical world. They're collaborating with the Kronos Quartet and composer Terry Riley, the city of Verona commissioned a re-think of Verdi's "Aida" from them last summer, and they're now readying a new work for the prestigious Group de Recherches Musicales in Paris.

"It's fascinating, what they're doing," says David Harrington, founder and first violinist of the Kronos Quartet, who commissioned a piece from Matmos after hearing one of their early recordings. "They invent these incredibly beautiful, thought-provoking sounds, and bring them together in ways that seem totally unique and natural. And there's nothing precious about it; there's a kind of openness about their music that attracted me immediately."

The new album finds the dynamic duo taking a holiday from conceptual responsibility, skipping the outré sampling antics in favor of a light-hearted "cosmic-pop" record made entirely out of synthesizers. Expect the unexpected.

Opening for the duo is Offthesky, multi tasking interdisciplinary artist Jason Corder from Lexington, Kentucky. Presenting Phonograffiti, a portmanteau that describes an interactive artistic community performance project where the musician and public audience are able to interact together on an intimate level. It is an event where everyone is able to become a performer. Offthesky has invited local painters to take the stage, painting on canvas hooked up with contact microphones. The painting creates the sound for the musician to process via brush strokes or light tapping while painting on the canvas during the performance.

Radio Ready

Celebrating 30 years of independent community radio, Communikey presents Matmos in honor of KGNU. Matmos will make a special appearance at KGNU performing live from the studio on Monday July 14th. A portion of proceeds from the 30 Year Anniversary Celebration show at the Boulder Theater on Tuesday July 15th will go to benefit the station. Doors are at 8:00pm and the show is all ages. Tickets can be purchased at www.BoulderTheater.com.

COMMUNIKEY PRESENTS: CMKY 19: MATMOS (Matador Records) with Offthesky (Live Installation)









TICKETS ONLINE: http://bouldertheater.com