successful

Von Ehrics: Two Foot Stomp

Von Ehrics newest CD, Two Foot Stomp, is an up and down ride filled with Punkabilly drive and an authentically Texas flavor. Songs like the first single, "Lord I Pray" are new, refreshing, and fun while other like "Rock and Roll" fall a little flat in energy and creativity. The album is an overall success in authenticity, with a real feeling that you could stumble across the Von Ehrics playing around town in Denton, the funky college town music hub of North Texas where Two Foot Stomp was recorded. The album is also successful in screaming "if you think this is good, our live shows are 100 times better".  I am convinced, and definitely will be buying a ticket next time these boys roll through Colorado.

The Highlights:

"Lord I Pray", the album’s first single, is also it’s height of creativity, combining gospel, thrashy rock guitar, and a hyperactive drum set. “Lord I Pray” is soulful and cynical at the same time. The single is a satirical reflection on consumerism, but avoids a “preachy” feel for a rather funny one as lead singer Robert Jason Vandergrift prays for material good while being back up by a full gospel choir.

"Down the Road Tonight" also shines on the album. The song is reminiscent of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It". That is, if the whole world existed in Texas. You could probably take the lyrics and make them into a scavenger hunt in downtown Austin. Overall it’s super fun.

"Goodbye/The Ride" is a fun, biting little break up song. Vandergrift sings in sweet and slow ballad voice, which we soon learn is totally ironic:

"It's a beautiful night,
the stars are all bright
I've got the moon on my left
and my girl on my right
things are changing tonight
she can kiss my ass goodbye"

then the speedy drummer kicks and one gets a feel of how the guys really feel. I always love a fun break up song.

The guitar lines are a great highlight throughout the album. Just listening to the things Gabe Aguilar (drums) and Clayton Mills (guitar) make up is one of the best parts of the album.

The Not-so-Great:

"Rock and Roll" is a halfhearted cry for what else, rock and roll. I'm not really that convinced, based on this song that the band believes in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. The Von Ehrics take lyrics that belong in a song like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” and play them with the enthusiasm of Neil Young's “Hey Hey, My My”.

It sounds like the guys wanted a Beastie Boys' "You Got to Fight for Your Right to Party”, but were just kind of tired or hung over or something that day.

"Downtown" is another one of the tunes that is missing the party soul. Maybe the song is much better live, at the actual party. Though the song is low energy, guitarist Clayton Mills picks it up with an exciting solo.

"Texas" (When I Die) is the albums only successful anthem, but it really gets the job done.  It's not a call to rock out or party hard, as the boys attempted in other songs, but an anthem for Texas; the state that encompasses of both of the previous. "Texas" succeeds where some of the other attempts on the album failed in my opinion because Texas is very unique to the Von Ehrics. You can hear conviction in their voice as they sing "when I die, let me go to Texas".

“Texas” is the true call of Two Foot Stomp , and really ties the album together as its last track. Two Foot Stomp is a call to this: party, rebel, dance around, stomp your feet, and do it all in Texas.  I am totally in support of it!

New Tori Amos Album and Tour

Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label with Night of Hunters, set for release this September.  The iconic, platinum-selling singer-songwriter continues her legacy of ground-breaking recordings with this 21st century song cycle inspired by select classical pieces spanning the last 400 years.

With Night of Hunters, Amos carries on the classical tradition of variations on a theme: taking inspiration from classical forms to create a bold new work while paying tribute to the mastery of the original compositions.

On Night of Hunters, which she wrote and produced, Amos comments “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter.”

“One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us,” the singer explains.

The release of Night of Hunters will be supported by a tour in Europe and the U.S. starting in Helsinki, Finland on September 28th.

With more than 12 million albums sold and multiple Grammy nominations, Tori Amos is one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation. A pioneer across multiple platforms, she was the first major label artist to offer a single for download, has had her songs turned into graphic novels, and has produced pioneering videos throughout her career. She is renowned for her passionate and broad fan-base, her critically and commercially successful tours, and her ever evolving live show. Ms. Amos is also a noted humanitarian and co-founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), which is the United States’ largest anti-sexual assault organization.

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TOUR DATES

Tori will be heading out on tour this Fall in both Europe and the US. The first of shows are listed below. Links to buy tickets and on sale dates can be found at toriamos.com/tours

9/28  Finland, Helsinki, Ice Hall

9/30  Russia, St Petersburg, Oktyabrsky Hall

10/2  Russia, Moscow, Crocus Hall

10/4  Luxembourg, Den Atelier

10/5  France, Paris, Le Grand Rex

10/7  Italy, Milan, Teatro Arcimboldi

10/8  Italy, Rome, Auditorium Parco della Musica

10/10  Germany, Hamburg, Laieszhalle

10/11  Germany, Berlin, Tempodrom

10/13  Poland, Warsaw, Sala Kongresowa

10/17  Holland, Amsterdam, Carre

10/20  Norway, Oslo, Sentrum Scene

10/21  Denmark, Copenhagen, The Royal Theatre

10/24  Switzerland, Lucerne, KKL

10/25  Austria, Vienna, Stadthalle F

10/26  Germany, Frankfurt, Alte Oper

10/28  Belgium, Antwerp, QEH

10/29  Belgium, Brussels, Bozar

10/31  Germany, Essen, Philharmonie

11/2  UK, London, Royal Albert Hall

11/4  UK, Manchester, Apollo

11/6  UK, Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall

11/8  UK, Belfast, Waterfront

11/9  Eire, Dublin, Grand Canal Theatre

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival wraps Third Successful Event

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival (the biennial event previously known as Wall to Wall Guitar Festival), held September 10-12, 2009 at the University of Illinois' Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, wrapped up its third successful event with more than 30 world-class guitarists - including 11 free performances - over three days.

Renowned for incredible acoustic spaces, the Krannert Center at Urbana's University of Illinois campus offers an enviable variety of state-of-the-art performance spaces. Every other year, ELLNORA brings an amazingly diverse hand-picked lineup to these incredible rooms, offering a "festival" experience unlike any other.  At this most recent event, attendees witnessed indie-rock darlings The National in a room quiet enough to hear a pin drop, watched Junior Brown play thunderous riffs at Ellnora's opening bash, and enjoyed the classical sounds of some of Johann Sebastian Bach's best modern interpreters (including Nigel North, Paul Galbraith and the Brazilian Guitar Quartet) performing live at special festival offering dubbed "Bachfest."

Taking full advantage of Krannert's facilities, the 2009 event moved further into the integration of music and art, this year highlighting especially the visual arts. Bill Frisell performed his moving Disfarmer Project, an ode to photographer Mike Disfarmer's Great Depression-era photos; The Long Count paired visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie with Bryce and Aaron Dessner (The National) and Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders, The Pixies) to create a feast of images and song-filled myth about the beginning of time; and in an outside amphitheater, fans enjoyed silent films accompanied by live musicians (Alex De Grassi and Leni Stern Quartet) performing soundtracks they'd composed especially for the films.

Mike Ross, Director of the Krannert Center, recapped the weekend saying, "It's been a fabulous joy to watch this talent-packed, high-energy festival become a major signature piece for our vibrant micro-urban community in such a short time. The overwhelming response we received from this year's audiences signals an even more robust pathway forward."

Check out www.ellnoraguitarfestival.com for videos, photos, interviews and more from the 2009 event.