eric

Colorado Rock Band Meniskus Selling Naming Rights to Album, Band and Child

Boulder-based rock trio Meniskus is taking a unique approach to financing their upcoming album. The premise is nothing new: The band is soliciting sponsorships from businesses and individual fans. What sets it apart from similar efforts is what the band is offering in return. Depending on their contribution level, sponsors receive benefits ranging from autographed copies of the album up to the right to name the album, rename the band, and even to name the unborn children of a band member.

Raising funds from fans is growing more popular in the post-record label era, but Meniskus has taken the do-it-yourself approach to a new level with this campaign. Sponsorship levels and corresponding benefits differ for individuals versus businesses, with business benefits that include logo placement on the album and website, custom composition of a commercial jingle, and for any well-heeled company willing to foot the $400,000 price tag; the right to rename Meniskus. Thank yous for individuals include concert tickets, backstage passes, “Executive Producer” credit, and of course; naming a band member's child. The campaign gets its official kickoff at Meniskus's “Pre-Release Concert” on Saturday, February 26 at Denver's Walnut Room music venue.

“We intentionally limited the right to name the kid to individual donors. We didn't want to wind up with a son named 'Burger King' or something.” Said drummer Cris Ryt. “But if BK wants to put up the dough to rename the band 'The Whopper Juniors,' we're ready. The timing of the album release kind of required us to do something desperate,” added Ryt, referring to the fact that a commercial funding source for the album filed for bankruptcy just weeks before the album's original release date. “We had to find some way to scrape up the money to get this album out there, especially once we'd gotten the official OK to include our version of a Beatles song on the record.” Lead singer Eric Ostberg acknowledged that “For the last couple years, concert venues just haven't been able to pay like they used to. Apparently drinking and dancing are not as recession proof as you might think.”

Contribution levels for individuals range from $50 (“Special Thanks” on the album, and an autographed copy of the disc) to $5,000 (“Executive Producer” credit and a role in a music video); and then there's that big ticket item – the right to name a band member's child – at a cool $750,000. Business sponsorships start at $250 (“Special Thanks” on the album, and a link on meniskusband.com - averaging 30,000 hits per month) and go up through $20,000 (composition of a company theme song and naming rights to the album, among other items). Don't like the name “Meniskus?” Pony up the $400,000 to name them whatever you'd like.

“We wanted to leverage both ends of the spectrum, from small donations from individual supporters of the arts, up to larger investments from corporations looking to align themselves with a strong, hip brand with a dedicated and diverse following.” Band manager and producer Eric Singer noted. “We've had success with support from businesses in the past, from our first endorsement – free beer from a local brewery – up to playing the holiday party for Google last year. We don't know if anyone will actually take us up on the big-ticket items, but we'll certainly take the money and honor the offer if they do!” Meniskus has flirted with the national spotlight with performances alongside artists including Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, as well as members of Guns n Roses, Parliament and even First Lady Michelle Obama. Despite these notable appearances, the band has yet to really break onto the national scene in any significant way. Venezualan-born guitarist Bardusco added “This is make or break time for us. We had to do something big!” More info on the campaign and the band is available at meniskusband.com

About Meniskus:

Meniskus has shared a bill with an amazingly wide array of artists including Tom Petty, Dave Matthews, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Roots and The Disco Biscuits - and their devoted following (and music) are just as diverse. The unique dynamic of the band starts with a violin and a Spanish guitar - both enhanced by a barrage of effects - and gets driven by an arsenal of percussion. The music is informed by the extensive classical training of Cris Ryt and Eric Ostberg, as well as the unique sound Bardusco brings from his experience as a self-taught guitarist growing up in Venezuela. The three players weave all their diverse flavors into a cohesive, powerful and unique sound. The influences of classic rockers and jam bands, as well as the rhythms of Latin grooves and European house music have found new life in the music of Meniskus.

Check out Meniskus at Red Rocks video here.

A Benefit Jazz Concert Charlie Hunter Duo & Daniel Bennett Group

Sunday Series at Abingdon is proud to present 8-string "groove" guitarist Charlie Hunter and "Folk Jazz" Saxophonist Daniel Bennett who are teaming up for a special double bill performance to benefit not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company.

Guitarist Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of America's preeminent guitar players and musical innovators. Hunter’s latest recording, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, features the guitarist alongside drummer Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, John Scofield) and a new horn section, including trombonist Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, Bill Frisell), trombonist Alan Ferber (Don Byron,  Kenny Wheeler) and trumpeter Eric Biondo (Antibalas, TV On The Radio). This marks Hunter's second full-length release on his independent label Spire Artist Media. Hunter follows up his latest trio album, Baboon Strength, with an ambitious effort recorded live direct to two-inch analog tape.

Critically acclaimed New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett has recently shared concert stages with national artists like Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, James Carter, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Jerry Bergonzi, and David Fiuczynski. Bennett’s musical journey began as a graduate student at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.  While at NEC, Bennett studied saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, and Ken Radnofsky.  Daniel Bennett graduated from the conservatory in 2004 and began performing as a freelance musician with groups like the Portland Symphony, New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, Musaner, and the Duprees. During this time, Bennett also began to compose songs that featured folk melodies played on the saxophone in a jazz quartet format.  Bennett's chord progressions also maintained a unique minimalist quality, influenced by composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass.. The band’s landmark debut album, A Nation of Bears, was met with critical acclaim. The Daniel Bennett Group released The Legend of Bear Thompson in the spring of 2008. Metronome Magazine ranked the album in their top five picks of the month, declaring, "the trio is so in sync with each other that it's downright mystical."  In 2009, the Daniel Bennett Group released Live at the Theatre, a groundbreaking album that was recorded live during a double bill performance with the Charlie Hunter Trio. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured on popular radio programs like Harvard University’s Jazz Spectrum (WHRB 95.3FM).  The group has also made television appearances on Bandwidth TV, The Music Closet, Style Boston, and Sal's Show. The Daniel Bennett Group can be heard at clubs and festivals throughout the United States.

Since 1993, not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company has developed and produced new plays by American playwrights exclusively. Under the artistic direction of Jan Buttram, the company provides a safe home in which playwrights collaborate with other theatre artists and receive audience feedback through the utilization of a four-step development process: First Readings, Staged Readings, and Workout Labs, which culminate in Studio Productions and Mainstage Productions.  

For Tickets visit their website.

Soulive Pays Tribute to The Beatles on 'Rubber Soulive'

New York City's preeminent soul jazz trio, Soulive, bring the funk to The Beatles' iconic repertoire with the release of Rubber Soulive due September 14 on the band's own Royal Family Records. Featuring renditions of 11 classics by The Fab Four, including "Come Together," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Revolution," Rubber Soulive takes its place in a lineage of classic instrumental albums by the likes of Booker T. & The M.G.'s, George Benson and Count Basie that have paid tribute to The Beatles.  Soulive will announce an extended U.S. Fall tour to support the release in the coming weeks.

"We've always been big Beatles' fans. They're consistently in heavy rotation in all of our lives. And then for Halloween last year we had a great show in D.C. by trying out an all-Beatles set. The material was so much fun to play that we decided it had to be put to wax," explains Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. "At first we thought about doing all of Rubber Soul, but with so many amazing songs to choose from we expanded the scope and picked the ones that lent themselves to our sound, and where we could  best add a Soulive flavor."

Recorded over four days at drummer Alan Evans' own Playonbrother Studios in upstate New York, Rubber Soulive presents the band back in its original trio format. After a handful of albums experimenting with different vocalists and horn sections, it's apparent from the album's opening track, a greasy rendition of "Drive My Car," that a return to form was in order. For the next 40 minutes, Soulive add their inimitable stamp to one classic after the next from The Beatles’ adored catalog. A stately bounce informs "In My Life" punctuated by a majestic organ break courtesy of Neal Evans. "Eleanor Rigby" finds Alan pushing insistent syncopation into the backbeat and Neal covering a full string section with his two hands. A gorgeous rendition of "Something" makes clear that while Krasno can get down with the best of them, he can also dig deep into the heart of a ballad as he rings every last drop of emotion from the classic George Harrison melody. The trio rounds out the set with a three-dimensional version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The performance concisely encapsulates the definitive Soulive sound built upon the trio's shimmering, wah-drenched guitar licks, soaring Hammond organ lines and relentlessly propulsive swing.

Over a decade into their career, Soulive are having more fun than ever recording and performing together. This past March the band set up shop at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg for a two-week residency dubbed Bowlive that featured special guests ranging from Talib Kweli to Susan Tedeschi to Raul Midon. The event will be documented on a forthcoming DVD release this winter. They operate their own state-of-the-art recording studio, as well as, their own record label Royal Family Records that alongside recent Soulive projects is preparing to offer up albums by Eric Krasno, Lettuce and Break Science. In early 2011, the fledgling indie will release the highly anticipated debut album from the acclaimed, young R&B vocalist Nigel Hall. In the coming months, however, the focus is clearly on the lineup that put them on the forefront of the soul jazz revival. With a fall tour on the horizon and a delectable new album filled with red hot renditions of classics by The Beatles, things are starting to "Come Together" for the original three, right now, all over again.

www.royalfamilyrecords.com/soulive
www.facebook.com/soulive

Rubber Soulive is available September 14 on vinyl, CD and mp3.

SNL's Christine Ohlman's new CD with Marshall Crenshaw

Christine Ohlman, a.k.a. “The Beehive Queen,” whose “day job” is that of the flashy, gritty long-time featured vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, has completed her first new album in five years, The Deep End, to be released by the Horizon Music Group through Selct-O-Hits on April 6, 2010.

Having won the respect of many fellow artists over the years, Ohlman recruited a stellar group of them to contribute to the new CD, including Marshall Crenshaw, Dion DiMucci and Ian Hunter as duet partners, as well as an all-star list of accompanists: G.E. Smith, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel from the Del-Lords, NRBQ veteran Big Al Anderson, Catherine Russell, the Asbury Juke Horns (Chris Anderson and Neal Pawley) and more.

Working in a swampy, guitar-driven style of contemporary rock/R&B, Ohlman and The Deep End co-producer Andy York (John Mellencamp) crafted 15 songs of life and love tempered by loss. It is Ohlman’s first album of new work since 2004; her recording hiatus followed the deaths of both long-time producer and mate Doc Cavalier and guitarist and founding member of Ohlman’s Rebel Montez band, Eric Fletcher. (The band presently includes Michael Colbath, bass; Cliff Goodwin, guitar; and Larry Donahue, drums.)

Christine is a musicologist of note of whom SNL bandleader Lenny Pickett, quoted in the New York Times, once said, “She knows the really good, obscure stuff.” The covers on The Deep End were lovingly chosen from her fabled record collection. She duets with Dion on the obscure Southern soul gem “Cry Baby Cry” and with Crenshaw on a Motown classic, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells’ “What’s the Matter With You Baby.” A third duet with Ian Hunter on Ohlman’s own “There Ain’t No Cure” celebrates her love of the music and language of the Delta behind a punked-out, soul-searing groove. It’s one of a group of eleven new originals that includes “The Gone of You” (a song of loss and longing so central to The Deep End’s theme that it appears twice: in a full-band version and in York’s evocative, loop-driven demo, dubbed “After Hours” both for Ohlman’s late-night vocal and its darkest-before-the-dawn sensibility); the Muscle Shoals-tinged ballad “Like Honey”; flat-out barnburners “Bring It With You When You Come” and “Born To Be Together”; and Ohlman’s post-Katrina lament “The Cradle Did Rock,” which will appear later this year alongside tracks by Irma Thomas, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint as a bonus cut to the reissue of Get You A Healin’, a CD benefitting the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.  The late Eric Fletcher is memorialized in the album’s third cover, a pristine reading of Link Wray’s “Walkin’ Down the Street Called Love.”

Ohlman and her previous recordings have impressed critics. The late Brownsville Station leader, bluesman and musicologist Cub Koda, writing in Stereo Review, believed, “Musical treasures like this don’t come along very often. Ohlman is the number one secret weapon in America’s gal-singin’ sweepstakes.” Charles M. Young in Playboy observed, “The first thing you notice is her tough, rousing, sexy voice.” Elmore magazine noted: “Few singers today are truly versed like Ohlman in all things soul. Tough and raw around the edges, she belts with a voice steeped in the heritage of this musical tradition.” All Music’s Hal Horowitz raved: “Ohlman never sings a tune halfway . . .she’s the leader of the pack.” And of the new album, critic/broadcaster Dave Marsh said, “There are so many ‘wow’ moments.”

In addition to her years on Saturday Night Live, Ohlman has an impressive resume. She sings on the theme song for 30 Rock; performed at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary bash at Madison Square Garden with George Harrison and Chrissie Hynde; performed at President Obama’s Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C.; led Big Brother & the Holding Company in a Central Park tribute to Janis Joplin; worked on a musical with Cy Coleman, who compared her sense of timing to that of Peggy Lee; and frequently duets with blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Eddie Kirkland. She also edited Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography 2Stoned (Oldham described Ohlman’s Wicked Time as “a deep swamp theme to a movie Burt Reynolds wished he’d made’)  and worked with Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards — all while continuing to torch clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard with Rebel Montez. She counts among her friends Willie Nile, Syd Straw, Charlie Musselwhite, Hal Willner, David Johansen, Paul Thorn and Marshall Chess.

A Connecticut native and resident, Ohlman played with G.E. Smith in the Scratch Band in the 1970s, leading to her long association with Saturday Night Live. Her stint in fabled Studio 8H of Rockefeller Center includes the Sinead O’Connor and Ashley Simpson meltdowns (she was present for both) and the current season’s hilarious “Swine Fever” commercial parody, featuring a magnificently beehived Ohlman in full Dolly Parton regalia. She fondly recalls waltzing around 8-H with the late Chris Farley to Paul McCartney’s impromptu rehearsal performance of “Hey Jude.” With her long-time mate, the late Doc Cavalier producing, Ohlman released four records with Rebel Montez: The Hard Way (1995), the live Radio Queen (1997), Wicked Time (1999) and Strip (2003). In 2008 with current business partners Alex DeFelice and Vic Steffens at Horizon Music Group, she released a career compilation called Re-Hive. Yet she has remained under the radar — a best-kept secret. Until now.

Reflecting on The Deep End’s central theme of love both lost and found, Ohlman says, “Rosanne Cash and I were talking and she asked me if I’d written sad songs. It wasn’t until then that I realized I hadn’t. Ultimately, this album is about love and the courage to fall into it. Loss just informs you; it opens emotional doors that couldn’t possibly have opened before, no matter how much you thought you knew about it. I wrote about love — the newness of it, the glory of it, the loss of it, the sadness that can come from it, the wonder of it . . . the sweet bitterness of it.”

Har Mar Superstar Plows Through The West Coast

The golden-piped sexy beast known as Har Mar Superstar is getting ready to charm the pants off the ladies and gentlemen of the west coast when he hits the road this month.  Har Mar recently released his latest album, Dark Touches, and has been on a hot streak ever since.  The album’s addictive lead single, “Tall Boy,” was co-written/co-produced by Greg Kurstin (Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Lily Allen), and made waves when it was revealed that it was originally submitted for Britney Spears.  The dance floor jam took on a new life when Har Mar performed it on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and as MTV.com noted, he “tore down the house with a performance of his body quaking new single.”   The song’s video brought another tidal wave of Har Mar fever.  The futuristic looking clip features Eva Mendes, Eric Wareheim (“Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development,” Whip It!).  Check out the “Tall Boy” video by clicking HERE.

Other musical collaborators on Dark Touches include John Fields (Andrew WK, Jonas Brothers, Rooney), The Faint’s beatmakers Clark Baechle and Jacob Thiele, singer-songwriter Adam Green, P.O.S. of the Rhymesayers collective, Neon Neon’s Boom Bip, Flowers of Doom, and Samaire Armstrong. In addition to his fertile musical career, Har Mar also appeared in the Drew Barrymore film Whip It! last year and will team up again with the its leading ladies Alia Shawkat and Ellen Page (Juno, Whip It!) to produce a new HBO pilot titled “Stitch N’ Bitch.”

Har Mar Superstar 2010 Tour Dates

01/20: Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland

01/21: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop

01/22: Sacramento, CA @ The Townhouse

01/23: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios

01/24: Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

01/26: Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club

Eric Hutchinson sounds like...

Eric Hutchinson- for the Grateful Web

Eric Hutchinson shines with a unique brand of pop-soul on his debut album, Sounds Like This. Although the charismatic singer/ songwriter has been favorably compared to his early idols (Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Paul Simon), one of the most remarkable things about Sounds Like This is the sheer breadth of musical styles that Hutchinson effortlessly encompasses.
 
The record was released on Hutchinson's own label, Let's Break Records, at the end of August 2007 and overnight it was breaking records. One of his buddies emailed celebrity blogger Perez Hilton a link to his MySpace page, and Hilton was immediately impressed, recommending the music on his site. Soon after, Sounds Like This was ensconced in iTunes' Top 10 becoming the highest-charting album by an unsigned act in iTunes history.
 
Since then, the self-described student of pop signed to Warner Bros. Records, toured with One Republic, released the undeniably catchy single "Rock & Roll," snagged a spot on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 Soundtrack, and recently became one of VH1's "You Oughta Know" artists. Hutchinson takes pride in the raw, vintage vibe of Sounds Like This: "I tried really hard to keep it organic," he says. "Music is human expression and what's more human than to make a mistake? So to record something and then take out all the mistakes leaves the project with no soul to it." With ska-inflected grooves, jazzy melodies and vocals that veer from a gritty growl to a shimmering falsetto, Sounds Like This might just be the most soulful thing you've heard all year.

Eric Hutchinson looks like the kind of guy you can trust – honest, approachable, somehow familiar. There's just something about him that invites you to give up your innermost thoughts. And complete strangers don't hesitate to do so, as he wryly details in "Oh!"

Riding the subway with the scent of her hair She took out a toothbrush started using it there She explained "I'm always sure today's the day I will die I wanna look good if I get to look God in the eye" And I said "Oh!"

"Oh" is one of 10 keenly observed songs from Hutchinson's self-released debut album, Sounds Like This. The CD, which showcases the young singer-songwriter's unique brand of soul, bowed at #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in September 2007. But "Oh!" was penned during a dismal period of his life. His deal with Maverick Records had fallen apart when the parent company shuttered the label. With the plug pulled on his nascent recording sessions, Eric hit the road again. "It was all about getting the exposure and the experience," he says. After a relentless touring schedule, Hutchinson, who began writing songs as a child in the DC suburb of Takoma Park, MD, put everything he had into making his album.

Sounds Like This was released on Hutchinson's own label, Let's Break Records, at the end of August 2007. Overnight it was breaking records – thanks largely to the efforts of a good friend. One of his high school buddies emailed celebrity blogger Perez Hilton a link to Hutchinson's MySpace page. Hilton recommended it on his site and soon, Eric's album was ensconced in iTunes' Top 10 alongside the latest releases from Kanye West and Dave Matthews. It peaked at #5 on the iTunes album chart, becoming the highest-charting album by an unsigned act in iTunes history. No small accomplishment for a record that almost didn't get made.

A flurry of press followed, including features in Billboard and the Washington Post, which said ""Hutchinson is undeniably charismatic, splitting his time between keyboard and guitar, crooning about stormy romances and everyday struggles."

Eric recorded most of Sounds Like This with producer Will Golden (Joe Purdy, Ian Ball) in Los Angeles and two songs with Paul Kolderie (Radiohead) in Boston. "They were both really open to letting me do my own thing, but at the same time, were there to guide everything," he says. "They didn't involve their egos at all – they just wanted to make music they believed in."

Although he's been favorably compared to his early idols (Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Paul Simon), one of the most remarkable things about Sounds Like This is the sheer breadth of musical styles Hutchinson effortlessly encompasses. His ease is perhaps inherited from his grandmother, who played viola in a local orchestra, backing everyone from Tony Bennett to Aretha Franklin as they came through town. From the buoyant album opener, "Ok, It's Alright With Me" to the thoughtful "Back to Where I Was," depicting two friends at crossroads in their respective lives, to the soulful "You've Got You," the self-described student of pop music fuses divergent styles into a sound he alone owns. Hutchinson's vocals veer from a gritty growl to a shimmering falsetto on "Outside Villanova," which gives way to the jazzy "Food Chain," wherein the narrator comes to terms with a relationship marred by lies and broken expectations.

Fan favorite "Rock & Roll" follows a pair of players rolling their way through the bar scene and ultimately into bed with one another, while its lilting ska-inflected groove erupts into one of Hutchinson's rapid-fire bouts of wordplay. Eric takes pride in the raw, vintage vibe of Sounds Like This. "I tried really hard to keep it organic," he says. "Music is human expression and what's more human than to make a mistake? So to record something and then take out all the mistakes leaves the project with no soul to it."

Hutchinson moved to New York last spring and, eager to tour behind Sounds Like This, began putting together a band. With Jimmy Coleman on drums and Tom Craskey on bass, the trio hit the road in January 2008 with OneRepublic and will be touring non-stop as Eric closes in on his goal of playing each of the 50 states (he's up to 40) and embarks on his first international gigs. And, of course, he will no doubt find inspiration in the inevitable random conversations with total strangers along the way. He's already writing material for the next record. "I need to be able to road test songs before I feel comfortable putting them on an album," says Hutchinson, preparing to burn rubber.