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Grandchildren Play DENVER At Larimer Lounge On 10.18

In Grandchildren, every memory is a montage of sound. The beat-driven, orchestral-pop epics play like an audio scrapbook of memories from songwriter Aleks Martray's life.

Martray, the son of a high-ranking military officer, and Grandchildren's creator, was born on a US army base in Germany and raised on both sides of the Atlantic.  “I was restless from a really young age,” he explains, “Growing up in flux between different places I gravitated towards more intangible things like stories, melodies, movies, and dreams, and so early on music became a way of making a home for myself.”

Grandchildren’s debut album, Everlasting, feels like a culmination of all that restlessness. A sonic collage of the sentimental and the confrontational- the album is a safe haven for multiple realities- fusing tribal beats, frayed electronics, fireside folk melodies, richly-woven orchestral-pop flourishes and even field recordings from Martray’s journeys across Central America, the Caribbean and Africa.

“The project began during my nomadic mid-20’s. I was split between Baltimore, Philadelphia, NY, DC, and travels abroad. I think the music is a reflection of a young person processing their own coming of age through constant self inflicted culture shock. The textures of the final album span time and space,” he says. “And yet, it comes across as one seamless reality. You can feel the influences but you can’t put your finger on them.”

During this time Martray’s closest thing to home was a small 3rd floor bedroom in a dilapidated Victorian house in west Philadelphia known as Danger Danger. At the height of its illegal phase, this notorious underground venue hosted everything from IDM-infused metal (Genghis Tron) to frantic free-jazz (Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra). These eclectic sounds billowed up towards Martray’s make-shift bedroom recording studio, taking what began as a solo experimentation in dizzying new directions.

“The songs evolved through the recording process,” explains Martray, “they were so layered that when I went to play them live, so much had to be sampled. That’s when I realized this wasn’t a solo project. It’s music for a small orchestra.”

With that in mind, Martray brought his fellow housemates—a motley crew of instrument-swapping misfits—into the fold one by one. This included drummer Roman Salcic, a Croatian transplant reared on American rock music; jack of all trades Tristan Palazzolo; math-thrash guitarist Adam Katz; bassist/percussionist Russell Brodie; and classical-pianist-turned-synth-slinger John Vogel. Over the course of one daunting year, the group developed Grandchildren’s 10-song album into a live set that’s as seamless and widescreen as the recordings.

“It looks spontaneous to people,” explains Katz, “but everything’s carefully choreographed on our end.”

A lot of that stems from a two-month North American tour in 2008, one that was plagued by chicken pox, blizzards, border patrols, and van break-ins. This not only brought them closer together; it gave Grandchildren the chance to perfect the ebb and flow of their live set.

“And now that everything’s down to a science,” says Martray, “it becomes a form of art in and of itself. As full and layered as the album is, it rests on the backbone of those early bedroom recordings. Kind of like with a car, where you keep replacing parts until the whole thing is new. By the end you can’t even remember what came from where. The process hides within the sound.”  He pauses and adds, “We want people to feel the music first, and ask questions later.”

US Dates:

09/20 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA (w/ No Age)

09/26 - The Roebling Inn - New York, NY

10/08 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA (w/ Special Guests)

10/18 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO (w/ Seabear)

10/19 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT (w/ Seabear)

10/20 – Neurolux – Boise, ID – (w/ Seabear)

10/23 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR (w/ Seabear)

10/25 – Independent – San Franciso, CA (w/ Seabear)

10/26 – Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA (w/ Seabear)
10/27 – Casbah – San Diego, CA (w/ Seabear)

Shy Blakeman To Release LONG DISTANCE MAN

Shy Blakeman, the Texas singer-songwriter with a colorful past and engaging character who was first introduced to audiences during the 2006 season of “Nashville Star,” is scheduled to release his third album LONG DISTANCE MAN today.

Influenced by the eclectic southern mixture representative of The Black Crowes, Waylon Jennings and Ray Charles, Blakeman succeeds in his efforts to break ground on a new sound by melding genres into an album that is equally pleasurable and viably commercial. This new venture allows the listener to go along for a ride with the “Long Distance Man” as he musically meanders through songs that cross the plains of Texas country at “Quarter to Three,” hears the blues and tastes the “Swamp Water Whisky” of Baton Rouge, dances all night in a few of the “So Many Honky Tonks” that decorate the true country landscape, and establishes roots at the Americana homestead that is “Dragon Fly.”

Produced by Ted Russell Kamp (Shooter Jennings) and Executively Produced by Warren Izard, the album also features a bevy of world class players who have graciously lent their time and talent to support the new project. Artists of note include Marc Ford (The Black Crowes), Audley Freed (The Black Crowes, Cry Love, Peter Frampton), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, Jewel), Kenny Vaughn (Steve Earle, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell), Michael Webb (John Fogerty), Jason Sutter (Chris Cornell), Ron Dziubla (Royal Crown Reveue, Ricky Martin), and Gia Ciambotti (Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt).

The rollicking title track was released to radio on February 23, 2010 and early commendations for the album are already rolling in. “I’ve been drowning in a sea of cookie-cutter music. Thank you Shy Blakeman for throwing me a life preserver [with] LONG DISTANCE MAN,” says Kelley Peterson of KHKX/KMCM/KQRX in Odessa, Texas.

Blakeman will be promoting his new album today during a performance at the Kinetic Entertainment "The Early Bird Gets The Music" showcase at Annie’s West, 706 W. 6th St. Austin, Texas. He has also been invited to perform for the CMT Awards after-party in Nashville, Tenn. Scheduled for June 9, 2010, this unofficial wrap-up to the CMA Music Fest activities will be hosted by Cowboy Troy, the 2006 and 2007 co-host of “Nashville Star.”

For more information visit: www.shyblakeman.com

Ben Harper to headline Colorado early vote events

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Ben Harper will join with Obama for America and the Colorado Campaign for Change to host early vote events in Boulder and Denver this Saturday.  He'll play a few songs in Denver at Civic Center Park at 12pm and again at UC Boulder's Mary Rippon Theatre at 2pm.  Both events are free and open to the public.