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Asleep At The Wheel @ Boulder Theater | 7/24

Can a wheel reinvent itself while it’s still rolling?

Sounds like an impossible task -- but you never want to say “impossible” to Asleep at the Wheel, the famed western-swing, boogie, and roots-music outfit that’s, amazingly, still on the upswing. That’s saying something, too, considering the group’s been around for nearly 40 years, turning out an incredible 25+ albums while playing an unrelenting schedule of one-nighters that would make a vaudevillian dizzy.

“In terms of how many people we played for, what we accomplished, and how much money we made – well, we didn’t make any money – this year was absolutely our best year ever,” says Wheel founder and front man Ray Benson with a chuckle.

And even as the Wheel rolled on, the reinvention had begun. You could see and hear it in their live shows, where new vocalist Elizabeth McQueen invited comparison with the classic female vocalists of the band’s earlier era, and fiddler-singer Jason Roberts gave the band a second male lead voice to complement Benson’s immediately identifiable baritone.

These days, the reinvented Wheel is also rolling down a couple of new avenues. One involves to the critically acclaimed musical play, A Ride With Bob, which stars Benson as himself -- encountering the ghost of Bob Wills on a tour bus – Roberts as the young Wills, and McQueen as Minnie Pearl and other famed entertainment figures, with the rest of the band members featured as well. Originally designed as a one-off celebration of Wills’ 100th birthday in ’05, A Ride With Bob quickly took on a life of its own and, notes Benson, “it’s absolutely a part of what we do now.” Another success has been the adaptation of the Wheel’s repertoire for pops symphony. Performances with Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth & Amarillo symphonies have drawn record crowds.

The Wheel’s new look is also spotlighted in several new discs – the first called, appropriately enough, Reinventing the Wheel. The 12-cut celebration of American – particularly Southwestern – music features guest appearances by gospel’s Blind Boys of Alabama (with a splendid reworking of the old Wills tune “The Devil Ain’t Lazy”) and banjoist Rolf Sieker, along with lead vocals by McQueen and Roberts as well as Benson, whose voice has been synonymous with Asleep at the Wheel for decades.

The second is 2009’s Willie and the Wheel; a collaboration with Willie Nelson that was originally envisioned by famed producer Jerry Wexler in the 1970s. Unfortunately before they had a chance to cut it, Nelson had left Atlantic Records. But over the ensuing decades Wexler kept the idea alive and even gave Ray his entire collection of western swing vinyl that included his notes on song choices and treatments. In late 2007 the idea was revived and Jerry and Ray reconnected by phone. Always the producer with a vision, Jerry was involved in every way. He insisted that some of the tracks should include horns as well as a return to traditional fiddles and lap steel guitar associated with western swing. As the sessions concluded and Willie finished his vocals the tracks were sent to Jerry. “To my delight and relief,” says Ray, “he loved them.” In fact, Wexler heard most of the finished tracks prior to his passing in August 2008. "Jerry wanted us to do this album and I'm glad we got to do it for him, “says Willie Nelson. “And that he heard it before he passed on."

The success of the Willie and the Wheel album release was quickly followed up by a tour and even a taping of the 35th anniversary of Austin City Limits for PBS (for broadcast in Fall of 2009), a fitting double-bill as Willie had taped the pilot and Asleep at the Wheel appeared in the very first regular episode of the legendary live music television program.

And now in contemplating the 40th anniversary of Asleep at the Wheel in 2010, Ray remains focused on the original concept. “I carried the load for many, many years, but I’ve always just wanted to have a band, as opposed to Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel,” Benson explains. “That’s what we had in the ‘70s – a band, a revue kind of deal, which was the whole concept. But trying to replace a Chris O’Connell was very difficult. And then Elizabeth walks up, and boom – here’s my girl singer. And then I kept pushing Jason, both through the play and through the band, saying, `Man, you’ve got talent. You can sing. You’ve got the golden ear – just apply it to your singing and songwriting.’”


Roberts, who’s been the Wheel’s full-time fiddler since early ’96, welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the revamped, revue-style Wheel. “I think everybody got a chance to put their two cents in, and bring to the table what they had, ” he adds. “God bless Ray Benson for allowing us to do that..”

Adds McQueen, “One of the things about Asleep at the Wheel is that they always have great musicians. That’s what they’re known for. So for them to ask me to join and then to keep me in the band, and to let me step out a little more and stand in the shoes of Chris O’Connell and Maryann Price, who were amazing singers – that’s an incredible honor. It’s above and beyond my greatest expectations.”

So, whether your next encounter with Asleep at the Wheel is at a dance or concert, or backing up Willie Nelson via the new disc, or at a live production of A Ride with Bob, you’ll be witnessing something very special -- a band that’s not only been entertaining audiences with its own genre-busting music for four decades, but also a group that’s never been afraid to try something new -- including a reinvention, inspired by the past, that rolls joyously toward a long and shining future.

More Info / Buy Tickets

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Date/Time: July 24, 2011, 8:00 pm

Audience: All Ages

Seating: All Seated Reserved/GA

Ticket Availability: Yes

General Admission: $32.00

Reserved Tickets: $37.50

Gold Circle: $48.50

Great American Taxi's "Blair Mountain" is free mp3; supports WV mining ecology

For Great American Taxi and frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, fighting for social justice in Appalachia and calling for an end to mountaintop removal seems the natural thing to do.  According to a recent studypublished last week in the journal Environmental Research, a "significantly higher" rate of birth defects exists in babies born near mountaintop removal mining sites than those in non-mining areas. Mountaintop removal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock.

So it’s no surprise that “Blair Mountain,” the aptly named title of the first single from the band’s forthcoming yet-to-be-titled new album (set for release this fall), premiered exclusively on the Sierra Club’s special public service call-to-action video, Battle for Blair Mountain. The song was recorded in May with Todd Snider producing. Master folk musician Tim O'Brien, a West Virginia native recently inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame, plays banjo and fiddle on the track.

GAT is encouraging fans to download a free MP3 of “Blair Mountain” from the band’s website and get involved in restoring Blair Mountain to the National Register in support of the Sierra Club’s recently filed legal petition with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to make Blair Mountain off limits to mining.

“I wrote the song “Blair Mountain” to try and do my part to let people know about what we as working people stand to lose if Blair Mountain is destroyed,” said Herman. “As the grandson of a proud union miner, and former resident of the mountain state, this struggle connects deeply. The coal wars are not over in this country as whole communities are destroyed, water tables ruined and mountains bombed daily in what has become a national sacrifice zone to the interests of the coal companies. I hope that his song may help get us closer to ending the destruction of the most diverse forests in America.”

Great American Taxi continues its summer tour; June highlights included concerts with Barry Sless (Phil and Friends, David Nelson Band, Moonalice) at the Nelson Family Vineyards on 6/19, at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol on 6/22, and special guests New Monsoon in Santa Cruz on 6/23. More surprise guests will be announced for the Eldo in Crested Butte on 7/9 and GAT played with Todd Snider on 6/25 and 6/26.



Great American Taxi includes Vince Herman, Chad Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.

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.

The Wheel | A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia

On December 4th, the musicians bring us full circle in a tribute to Jerry Garcia's musical legacy. Join us as we come together to celebrate the music and where it will take us next.  Join the Rex Foundation for a one-of-a-kind evening to celebrate the music and the musicians, and to help us cover just a little more ground.

Set up in festive cabaret style with reserved seating on the floor, The Fillmore, with its beauty and iconic connection to Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, sets the stage for this special occasion.  At the pre-concert reception, enjoy hearty finger foods and beverages as you reconnect with friends and family. Your generous reception/concert ticket purchase of $150 or $500, of which all but $70 is a charitable contribution, will fund Rex Foundation grant making, and you'll receive a print of the event poster designed by Cory and Catska Ench.

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In 1962, Jerry Garcia began playing the banjo and exploring bluegrass music, forming a band called the Hart Valley Drifters that included David Nelson on guitar. In 1964, Jerry and his pal Sandy Rothman packed up a tape recorder and took off for the American South on a bluegrass pilgrimage, especially wanting to see "Jim and Jesse" (McReynolds), of Dothan, Alabama. Jerry was delighted to see them perform and get Jesse's autograph, and he held Jesse's mandolin playing and music in high esteem for many years. Jim and Jesse went on to legendary status in the bluegrass world, with more than 45 years at the Grand Ole Opry, Grammy nominations and awards, and membership in any Hall of Fame that means anything to this music.

Meanwhile, in 1969, as the Grateful Dead released Aoxomoxoa, they also turned to their own musical roots. Jerry, wanting to play his new pedal steel guitar, reconnected with old friend John "Marmaduke" Dawson and with Nelson, forming New Riders of the Purple Sage. As the Grateful Dead continued to evolve, in 1973 he formed another bluegrass band, Old and in the Way, with David Grisman, John Kahn, Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements.

Fast forward to today: David Nelson and Friends fire up fans with their electric sounds, and the New Riders play their past favorites along with new songs written by David and Robert Hunter. Grammy Award winner and five-time Grammy nominee Peter Rowan is a bluegrass singer/songwriter whose career spans over five decades; his continuous stream of original recordings, collaborative projects and tours has garnered a devoted, international fan base.

Now Jesse has just released Songs of the Grateful Dead - A Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Collaborating on this special album of 12 classic Dead songs, from Black Muddy River and Ripple to Franklin's Tower and Standing on the Moon, is none other than David Nelson. And, to top it off, there's a brand-new McReynolds-Hunter tune called Day by Day. Check out the music and get a sampling of Jesse McReynolds' talents here.

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Reception, Food and Premium Seating Concert Tickets

(All but $70 is tax deductible)

Includes Drinks, Hearty Finger Food and Event Poster

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Lightning: $500.00 - Reserved Front Floor Seating

Thunder: $150.00 - Reserved Floor Seats

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6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Reception

7:30 p.m. Doors Open for Concert

8:00 p.m. Music Begins

Reception/Concert Tickets available through the Rex Foundation website or call (415)-561-3135 and through GDTS,TOO

Great American Taxi announces Boulder charity event

Great American Taxi will host a night of music at the historic Boulder Theater here to raise money for the Mark Vann Foundation charity.  In its eighth year running, the holiday benefit concert this year includes Great American Taxi, Todd Snider, Bill McKay Band, Bonfire Dub, Shannon McNally & Hot Sauce and others.

“It’s our own little way of keeping alive and nurturing the joyous spirit of Mark Vann,” said Chad Staehly, executive director of the foundation and keyboardist/singer for Great American Taxi. Vann, the banjo player for the Boulder-based band Leftover Salmon, died in 2002; the foundation in his name assists various nonprofit groups.

This year funds will directly benefit There With Care and CareConnect.  Previous beneficiaries include Rock-the-Earth, The Rex Foundation, Tipitinas Foundation Artist Relief Fund, ConservationValue, Community Food Share (Boulder & Broomfield Counties' Food Bank), The Music Maker Relief Foundation, The Van Go Mobile Arts Project and JAMS, and the Steam Powered Preservation Society.

The evening also includes an art exhibit and silent auction. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. People are encouraged to wear a fun or favorite hat.

Great American Taxi, revered as one of the most energetic country-, rock- and bluegrass-influenced Americana bands in the land, is currently in the midst of its Fall Harvest tour, playing with some of the most innovative and acclaimed players currently on the jamband/newgrass and Americana scenes.

Taxi’s latest CD release, Reckless Habits, remains active on both the Jambands.com radio chart and the Colorado radio chart, complemented by two months in the Top 25 on the Americana radio chart.


GREAT AMERICAN TAXI ON THE ROAD, 2010

Wed., Oct. 27  FORT COLLINS, CO w/Oakhurst
Fri., Oct. 29  ENGLEWOOD, CO Gothic Theatre w/Todd Snider and Drew Emmitt Band
Sat., Oct. 30   DENVER, CO Fillmore Auditorium w/Leftover Salmon and Todd Snider
Sun., Oct. 31   AVON, CO Agave
Tue., Nov. 2   BILLINGS, MT Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
Wed., Nov. 3   LIVINGSTON, MT The Mint
Thurs., Nov. 4   MISSOULA, MT Top Hat
Fri., Nov. 5   PORTLAND, OR Mt. Tabor Theater
Sat., Nov. 6   BEND, OR Silver Moon Brewing Co.
Sun., Nov. 7  EUGENE, OR w/Emmit-Nershi Band
Tue., Nov. 9   APPLEGATE, OR Applegate Lodge
Wed., Nov. 10   ARCATA, CA Humbrews
Thurs., Nov. 11   BERKELEY, CA Ashkenaz w/David Nelson Band
Fri., Nov. 12   SEBASTOPOL, CA Hopmonk Tavern w/David Nelson Band
Sat., Nov. 13   SANTA CRUZ, CA Moe’s Alley w/the Down Beets
Sun., Nov. 14   UKIAH, CA Nelson Family Vineyards w/David Nelson Band

7 Walkers release self-titled debut today!

7 Walkers, the new project featuring famed drummer and Grateful Dead co-founder Bill Kreutzmann, guitar master Papa Mali, legendary New Orleans bass man George Porter Jr. (The Meters, Funky Meters) and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard (Willie Nelson, Fastball), today release their self-titled debut. With nearly all of its songs co-penned by Papa Mali and longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, early reviews on 7 Walkers have been incredible.

The highly anticipated release features a batch of brand-new originals, a guest performance by Willie Nelson on “King Cotton Blues,” and a few smokin’ instrumentals. A self-proclaimed “open love letter” to the city of New Orleans, the end result is a fiery and funky collection of tunes that quite brilliantly capture a unique collaboration between these very different musical shamans.

For both Kreutzmann and Papa Mali, 7 Walkers—whose name is borrowed from one of the band’s songs—is something of a dream come true. Kreutzmann has New Orleans in his DNA, literally—his mother was born there—and he’s always been partial to the city’s music. “I have a real feeling for that music and I get along with the folks down there really well,” he says.

The Crescent City, of course, also impacted native Louisianan Papa Mali incalculably. Although he grew up in Shreveport, he made frequent trips during his youth to New Orleans, where his mom’s family was from. “I bought my clothes and my records there, saw lots of live music there and began to forge my own personal style and musical identity in New Orleans,” he says.

The songwriting partnership between Robert Hunter and Papa Mali created undeniable chemistry. Their collaboration, says Kreutzmann, “reminds me very much, and not because of the personalities or anything, of Garcia and Hunter working together, in that really tight fashion. Those words, if you just read them, they’re fun stories, but when you put the music to them it sends them over the top."

He’ll get no argument from Robert Hunter. “7 Walkers hit the ball so far out of the park it’s still sailing,” he says about the album. “It might actually have gone into orbit. I’m very proud to be part of the project. This album is sheer joy from first note to last.”

The complete list of 7 Walkers tour dates is as follows:

Thursday, December 9 Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville CT

Friday, December 10 Narrow Center for the Arts Fall River MA

Saturday, December 11 Higher Ground South Burlington VT

Sunday, December 12 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH

Tuesday, December 14 Port City Music Hall Portland ME

Thursday, December 16 Stage One Fairfield CT

Friday, December 17 Boulton Center for the Arts Bay Shore NY

Saturday, December 18 World Cafe Live Philadelphia PA

Sunday, December 19 City Winery New York NY

Tuesday, December 28 Tupelo Music Hall White River Junction VT

Wednesday, December 29 Pearl Street Northampton MA

Thursday, December 30 Westcott Theater Syracuse NY

Friday, December 31 The Silo Reading PA

Great American Taxi announces 2010 fall tour

Revered as one of the most energetic country-, rock- and bluegrass-influenced Americana bands in the land, Great American Taxi announces tour dates that will feature some of the most innovative and acclaimed players currently on the jamband/newgrass and Americana scenes.

Taxi’s Fall Harvest Tour will showcase the exceptional instrumental and versatile vocal abilities of Drew Emmitt, who will bring his mandolin virtuosity appearing with both Leftover Salmon and his own Drew Emmitt Band. The latter is on the October 29 bill in Englewood, CO. Emmitt will team with (The String Cheese Incident) as Billy NershiNershi-Emmitt to perform with Taxi for one night only at the Wow Hall in Eugene, OR, on November 7.

Modern troubadour Todd Snider continues to add concert dates with Great American Taxi. Snider brings his guitar, piano, and harmonica along with his stellar musicianship and treasured lyrics to the stage with Taxi and the Drew Emmitt Band on October 29 and Leftover Salmon, October 30 in Denver.  Snider is currently criss-crossing the country playing dates in support of his recent release The Excitement Plan.

David Nelson Band brings its exploratory improvisational jam sessions to November 12 and 14 dates in Sebastopol, CA, and Ukiah, CA, respectively. The group features Nelson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) on guitar and vocals; Barry Sless (Phil Lesh and Friends) on pedal steel and guitar; Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna) on bass and vocals; and John Molo (Phil Lesh and Friends) on drums and Mookie Siegel on keyboard, accordion and vocals.

Taxi’s latest CD release, Reckless Habits, climbed to No. 3 and remains in the Top Ten for spins on both the Jambands.com radio chart and the Colorado radio chart, complemented by two months in the Top 25 on the Americana radio chart.


GREAT AMERICAN TAXI ON THE ROAD, 2010
:

Wed., Oct. 27  FORT COLLINS, CO w/Oakhurst
Fri., Oct. 29  ENGLEWOOD, CO Gothic Theatre w/Todd Snider and Drew Emmitt Band
Sat., Oct. 30   DENVER, CO Fillmore Auditorium w/Leftover Salmon and Todd Snider
Sun., Oct. 31   AVON, CO Agave
Tue., Nov. 2   BILLINGS, MT Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
Wed., Nov. 3   LIVINGSTON, MT The Mint
Thurs., Nov. 4   MISSOULA, MT Top Hat
Fri., Nov. 5   PORTLAND, OR Mt. Tabor Theater
Sat., Nov. 6   BEND, OR Silver Moon Brewing Co.
Sun., Nov. 7  EUGENE, OR Sam Bond's Garage w/Emmit-Nershi Band
Tue., Nov. 9   APPLEGATE, OR Applegate Lodge
Wed., Nov. 10   ARCATA, CA Humbrews
Thurs., Nov. 11   BERKELEY, CA Ashkenaz w/David Nelson Band
Fri., Nov. 12   SEBASTOPOL, CA Hopmonk Tavern w/David Nelson Band
Sat., Nov. 13   SANTA CRUZ, CA Moe’s Alley
Sun., Nov. 14   UKIAH, CA Nelson Family Vineyards w/David Nelson Band

Vince Herman with The David Nelson Band in Hawaii!

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon, Great American Taxi) will be joining the David Nelson Band for their extended stay in Hawaii this January.  This is the 3rd year The David Nelson Band has made the trip to the islands and the fist year Vince will be joining in on their fun little island adventure.  The David Nelson Band includes Pete Sears, John Molo, Barry Sless, and Mookie Siegel.  The trip to the islands will start on Friday, January 16th in Pahoa, HI and then its off to Keauhou, HI on the 17th. On the 18th the band and Herman will be in Ocean View, HI followed by a private party in S. Kona on the 19th.  The private party will be an all day affair starting around noon and finishing up at 7 with a full day of sun, music and an island feast all right on the beach - admission includes food, beer, and wine.  After a short break to give everyone ample time to enjoy the big island everyone will be moving on to Maui to continue the festivities!  January 22nd in Kihei at Soundawg's Pool Party, the 23rd at Stella Blues also in Kihei and wrapping up the whole adventure on the 24th at Charley's in Paia, Maui.  For more information on the whole ride click here.  FESTIVAAAAALLLLLL!!!