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Trading Label for Fan-based Experiment: Ari Hest's Song a Week

Ari Hest- for the Grateful Web

In January, singer/songwriter Ari Hest launched an ambitious project to write and record a song each week of the rest of the year. Fans would then pick their favorite songs and twelve songs would be pressed into a new album. Fifty-two songs in a year would daunt many a songwriter, but for Hest it's an opportunity to showcase new work. "I have a lot of ideas," Hest says. "Music comes to me very quickly. It's the lyrics that take a while longer. I knew that that would really be the hardest part of writing this year. There are still tons of songs I still have to write. I just have to keep life interesting and keep meeting new people for inspiration."

It's not surprising that Hest is attempting this kind of project. He's been writing songs since he was in high school. "I never thought that this would end up being my career," he says.  He was writing and playing in bands for fun.  But after his last band broke up, Hest recalls, "I started to realize that I don't need a band with the music that I was writing, which was highly percussive, acoustic guitar music." He began recording his own records that didn't leave room for any other instrumentation.

Then, in 2004, he was signed by Columbia Records who decided to re-release one of his independent recordings. They remixed it and offered it to the public. That effort set a precedent for Hest. From that moment on, Hest was chasing his older material. For some artists that wouldn't be a problem, but for Hest who was constantly evolving, those label efforts jerked his creative temperament. That first recording had songs on it that were three or four years old. "I thought I was done with them, but then I had to tease myself into thinking that they were new again for the general public who still had not heard them," he recalls. "I was writing stuff in 2004 that didn't see the light of day until the Break In, which was my last CD in 2006.  It just set this cycle up where I had plenty of material all the time. It was kind of a nice problem, but at the same time it was mentally a little challenging, knowing that you are writing better songs now but you have to promote songs that you wrote a while ago. Really for me, the style of my playing changed and my thinking about what I feel is a quality song, even my singing style changed tremendously in the last three years."

Those old songs have been good to Hest. "If you go to iTunes right now and you look at what my most popular downloaded songs are," he says, "you'll find that the majority of them are old. They are songs I wrote six or seven years ago.  It almost doesn't sound like what I do now. I am proud of those songs. I think the writing, especially for my age at the time, is pretty good, but I feel that I've gone in a very different direction, one that I'm happier with now."

So, when Hest parted with Columbia, he decided to find a new way to produce his music.  He decided then to write and record current songs. But this time the songs are immediate. These weren't songs that were written months or years ago, but last week or yesterday.

But Hest realizes that even putting a song a week on a website may not be enough involvement for his fans. "We wanted to make this more interactive. We wanted to involve them as much as we could in the creative end of things," he says. "Basically, they're being my A&R people. They are telling me which songs they like the best and which songs they think that other people will like the best. I'm going to listen to them." Moreover, Hest will hire a producer to bring some cohesiveness to the album.

"Everybody needs more word of mouth networking," Hest adds. "I don't have the money to do a whole lot of publicity without a major label. I need to rely on my fans to tell their friends."

Between meeting interesting people and recording the songs those meetings generate, Hest continues to tour college campuses.

Koo Koo for The Kooks

It may not have been quite the British invasion like those of the Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, or The Who, but The Kooks made quite an appearance at Thursday night's show in downtown Denver at the Ogden Theatre

Rex Foundation: Limited VIP Tix for Upcoming Summer Shows

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

The 2008 Rex Musical Caravan keeps growing, as we announce the availability of a limited number of VIP tickets for the upcoming summer shows where RatDog tours first with Gov't Mule and then with the Allman Brothers Band.  Enjoy access to top-priced, reserved seating tickets at the shows listed below, while also supporting the Rex Foundation.  Each ticket price noted includes a $50 charitable contribution.

RatDog with Gov't Mule at the Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA

Wednesday, July 9th - $115 per ticket

Thursday, July 10th - $115 per ticket

RatDog with the Allman Brothers Band:

Wednesday, August 13th, Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY - These tickets at $210 each includes a special party before and during the concert with food and beverages, along with VIP Parking.  Theresa and Sandy look forward to seeing you and joining in on the fun.

Saturday, August 16th, Tweeter Center, Mansfield, MA - $113 per ticket

Friday, August 22nd, Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands PAC, Canandaigua, NY - $115 per ticket

Saturday, August 23rd, Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ - $131 per ticket

Saturday, August 30th, Red Rocks, Denver, CO - $113 per ticket

To order tickets call the Rex Foundation office at 415-561-3134.

Join us this Saturday, May 31st: New Monsoon with Special Guest Albino! At The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, where $1 per ticket sold benefits the Rex Foundation.   There will also be a silent auction of fun and unique items.

Click here for ticket details  |  Listen to New Monsoon on our Myspace page

This weekend (May 30-June 1), if you're at the Mountain Jam Festival, be sure to check out the Rex Jam during the RatDog performance that will demonstrate the power of the Rex Community Caravan.  Proceeds from the Rex Jam will support the Family of Woodstock music and arts program for youth.  This will be the first of a great summer of Rex Jams at upcoming festivals, all to be announced shortly.

Because of supporters like you, our combined efforts for positive social change, social justice and social responsibility can become a reality today and for future generations.  Check out our web site to see what you help make happen.  Climb aboard the Rex Community Caravan and together we can further what the Grateful Dead started in 1983.

Gov Ritter Announces Incentives for Woody Biomass Projects

woody biomass- for the Grateful Web

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter today announced that the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) is seeking applicants for $100,000 in incentives for bio-heating projects that use community woody biomass.

The funds are being made available through the Clean Energy Fund for a "Community Biomass for Thermal Usage Program." Bio-heating projects support wildfire mitigation efforts, provide alternatives to slash pile buns, and build local wood-fuel markets.

GEO is seeking projects that support fuel-reduction, restoration activities and local collection sites and that demonstrate a long term availability of biomass supply. Also, GEO is interested in supporting projects that use annual forest thinnings, wood waste, including bark beetle kill, and urban waste. Although biomass can be widely defined and has numerous heating applications, this funding is only available for woody biomass for commercial and industrial projects.   

"Using Colorado's large woody biomass supplies is a clean way to produce heat while addressing problems associated with beetle kill and using waste products from fire mitigation efforts," Gov. Ritter said. "By offering financial and technical assistance to projects that use community produced wood chips or manufactured pellets, we are helping our communities participate in the New Energy Economy while addressing forest health issues and promoting local economic development. The long-term benefits are greater energy security, environmental security and economic security for our communities and our state."

Conscious Alliance Plans for a Busy Spring Season

STS9 in support of Conscious Alliance- for the Grateful Web

This fall, Colorado based not-for-profit Conscious Alliance continued its mission to help feed America's hungry communities, hosting food drives at various music events this winter/spring.  Look for Conscious Alliance at the Langerado Music Festival at the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Florida on March 6th-9th, along STS9 and EOTO Winter Tours, and at select one-off concert events including Keller Williams and The WMD'S on February 2nd at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado and New Monsoon (featuring Tim Carbone from Railroad Earth and EOTO with special guest Michael Kang) on February 9th at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA.  As always, patrons can donate 10 non-perishable food items or $10.00 to receive a limited edition rock art poster.

For this trip, Conscious Alliance will host their second Student Service Learning Project.  The program offers exciting alternative service-learning experiences for college students during their fall/spring breaks.  The Student Service Learning Project synthesizes service learning by combining education and hands-on service.  Participating students learn about hunger related issues, as well as Lakota culture, by providing compassionate cross-cultural community service on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  While on the reservation, students lodge with community leaders Floyd and Natalie Hand, as they sort and distribute food to community members in need, aid with home repairs for Lakota families, participate in educational sessions with Lakota elders, and communicate with Pine Ridge college students and peers about current cultural, social, economic, and environmental issues.  This spring, March 23rd - 29th, Conscious Alliance will organize a group of students from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Conscious Alliance started off the 2008 by partnering with Jam Cruise to host a school supplies drive to benefit children living in Roatan, Honduras, one of the stops along Jam Cruise 6.  Conscious Alliance, Jam Cruise, Pangea Organics, The Children's Fund of Roatan and Zero Hero teamed up to deliver dozens of backpacks and boxes of school supplies, which were collected from passengers when the ship docked at port.  Additionally, Pangea Organics donated 1000's of bars of organic soap that were divided between a school, orphanage and clinic on the island.  The Children's Fund of Roatan shared their history to a group of 40 Jam Cruise volunteers, and children at the orphanage received an acoustic performance by Jam Cruise musicians including Jon Fishman, Jamie Janover, Jeff Coffin, Dave Watts and Dan Lebowitz.

For Conscious Alliance, the 2008 winter/spring season comes on the heels of a hugely successful 4th annual Turkey n' Trimmings holiday fundraiser.  As a result of a generous outpouring of donations, Conscious Alliance was able to deliver nearly 2,000 holiday dinners- three times the amount delivered in 2006!  Deliveries were made to communities on Pine Ridge, Northern Cheyenne, Rosebud, Standing Rock, and Fort Peck Indian Reservations.  In addition, the 4th annual Toy Drive received a huge boost this year thanks to a donation from JAKKS Pacific.  The contribution landed the total number of toys donated at nearly 10,000, resulting in distribution to dozens of communities on Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Peck Indian Reservations.  Instead of wrapping paper, toys were given out in pillowcases sewn by quilting groups across the Midwest, thus eliminating excess waste.

Bonerama Teams Up With OK Go for "You're Not Alone"

photo courtesy of Madison House- for the Grateful Web

This Mardi Gras (February 5th), Bonerama and OK Go will release You're Not Alone, a five-song digital EP.  Bonerama and OK Go spent the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina recording at Piety Street Studios deep in the city's Upper 9th Ward.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the EP – available exclusively at iTunes – will benefit members of New Orleans' music community such as R&B legend Al Johnson, who are still struggling to rebuild their homes and their lives in the aftermath of the flood.

"New Orleans is one of the last places in America where music is truly a fundamental part of everyday life," says OK Go singer Damian Kulash. "People get together on the weekends and parade through the streets just playing songs; 12-year-old-kids learn funk on the tuba; everyone dances.  Life elsewhere in the world simply isn't as celebratory.  If we allow the culture of New Orleans to die by leaving its musicians marooned around the country, America will have lost one of its great treasures."

This weekend, OK Go and Bonerama will finish up the second of two benefit shows: a January 11 th gig at New Orleans' Tipitina's (as part of the legendary club's 30th anniversary celebration) and upcoming February 2nd show at The 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, which will be streamed and podcast by NPR. Bonerama will open the DC show, then play material from You're Not Alone with OK Go, who will close the evening with a full set.

On Monday, February 11 th, Bonerama and Kulash will perform " A Million Ways " on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.

Engineered by Mark Nevers (Bobby Bare Sr., Calexico, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), You're Not Alone is an astonishing collaboration, with Bonerama lending its loud, trombone-and-tuba New Orleans swagger to OK Go's bombastic rock.  Together, they re-interpret three tracks from OK Go's most recent album, Oh No: " A Million Ways," "It's A Disaster" and "Oh Lately It's So Quiet."   A pair of covers – David Bowie's "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" – round out the collection. Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, who wrote "Carnival Time," the unofficial anthem of Mardi Gras, contributes haunting vocals to the latter.

Johnson's Lower 9 th Ward home was washed off its foundation by the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina and later demolished by the city without his knowledge or consent.  He has been living in Houston, TX for the past two years.  Proceeds from You're Not Alone will go towards building a new Habitat For Humanity home for him as well as to Sweet Home New Orleans, an organization dedicated to helping repatriate and support the thousands of local musicians who were scattered by Katrina.

Enthusiasm for the project has proved contagious.  iTunes has agreed to donate all proceeds from EP sales, and digital distribution powerhouse IODA is servicing and promoting it free of charge.  In addition, free freight shipping was provided by EFM Worldwide/Horizon Cargo, and Music Travel Management contributed free airfare for the two benefit shows.

About Bonerama:

Bonerama carries the brass-band concept to places unknown.  Hailed by Rolling Stone's David Fricke as "The ultimate in brass balls" last Fall, the band served as the House Band for the live all-star comedy event COMIC RELIEF.  The 2006 event, which featured a long list of A-talent including hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, was recorded live from Ceasar's Palace last November. Recently, Bonerama snagged the coveted "Best Rock Band" honor from the 2007 Big Easy Awards.

The current list of confirmed Bonerama tour dates is as follows:

February 01 8x10 Club Baltimore MD

February 02 9:30 Club Washington DC Benefit performance with OK Go

February 04 Howling Wolf New Orleans LA

February 07 The Pour House Charleston SC

February 09 Berkeley Cafe Raleigh NC

February 10 The Garage @ The Biltmore Asheville NC

February 13 Smith's Olde Bar Atlanta GA

March 08 The Gretna Jubilee Gretna LA

March 26 Iowa City Yacht Club Atlanta GA

March 27 Cabooze Minneapolis MN

March 28 Overture Center For the Arts Madison WI

March 29 Martyrs' Chicago IL

April 04 First Energy Berks Jazz Fest Wyomissing PA

April 05 The Swamp Thing and Crawfish Festival Austin TX

May 02 Mid City Lanes New Orleans LA

May 20 Bourbon Street Music Club Sco Paulo Brazil

May 29 Chans Woonsocket RI

June 01 Mike Arnones Crawfish Festival Wakefield RI

July 05 Iowa City Jazz Festival Iowa City IA

More dates will be announced.

Tell Congress to reject loan guarantees for the nuclear industry

- for the Grateful Web

The Senate energy bill passed earlier this year includes a highly objectionable provision sought by the nuclear power industry that seeks to provide taxpayer guarantees of repayment on a potential $50-$100 billion in loans to finance the construction of new nuclear power plants. The proposed "loan guarantees" would protect future investors in the debt obligations of new plants (which can cost $3-5 billion apiece) by ensuring that federal taxpayers would repay the loans if the new nuclear power projects go bust, as many of them did 25 years ago during the first big wave of nuclear reactor construction.

 

The Senate provision would greatly increase the number of reactors eligible to obtain such loan guarantees, and strip congressional appropriations committees of their obligation under current law to set annual limits on the Secretary of Energy's authority to issue new guarantees, thereby allowing the secretary at his own discretion to obligate future taxpayers to the potential repayment of billions in bad nuclear debts.

 

Even the Bush administration "strongly opposes" the proposal, noting that the new loan guarantee program "would remove appropriate controls over the size of the program and significantly increase potential taxpayer liability." It also would defeat the original intent of the loan guarantees, which was to spur deployment of "innovative" low-carbon technologies, and instead tilt the energy technology playing field in favor of nuclear power at the expense of truly sustainable renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power, advanced biofuels and other low-carbon options.

 

Whatever nuclear power's role in our energy future turns out to be, it should be a function of improved reactor performance, improved safety and security, improved plant economics, and a technically credible pathway for long-term nuclear waste isolation - and not the result of a greedy industry power play that seeks to rig the revival of a stagnant nuclear power industry at the expense of truly sustainable energy alternatives.

 

Senators and representatives will decide the fate of this blatantly over-reaching special interest provision during ongoing negotiations to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the energy bill.

 

Tell Congress to reject massive loan guarantees for the nuclear industry.  Take action now at: http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/nrdcaction_110707

Just Like Old Times for Panic in Memphis (09/21/07)

photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

Widespread Panic made their return to Memphis, this time with a new twist, a new guitarist and a few old tricks up their sleeve.

This year's Fall Tour-opening run marked the band's first shows in this melting pot of American Music since the end of July, 2006, and a few changes were apparent this time around.  

Not only was this their first time playing the new downtown FedEx Forum, only a stone's throw from world-famous Beale Street, but it was new guitarist Jimmy Herring's first Memphis Panic shows since he joined the band at this time last year.

The band's last shows at their old home, the dark, dingy and loveable old space ship that was MidSouth Coliseum, were also two of the final three shows for former guitarist George McConnell, who had replaced founding member Mikey Houser just before his death from pancreatic cancer on August 10, 2002. McConnell quit last summer's tour after the next day's show in St. Louis, once he confronted the rest of the band regarding rumors of his lame-duck status.

But in a new venue, with a new guitarist, the same old road warriors lit the same old town on fire, showing the versatility that has made them a stalwart of consistency for over twenty years.

This show had a little bit of everything you could ask for from a Panic show.

There was the bouncy, happy sound, exemplified by the show opening trio of A of D, Space Wrangler and Walkin' (For Your Love). It was Herring's first try at the instrumental A of D, a song not played since longtime producer John Keane and Houser's old guitar tech Sam Holt shared the lead spot to help the band finish last summer's tour, before Herring was hired for fall. Wrangler and Walkin' got the band warmed up and the crowd in the mood and ready to keep singing along with front man and resident preacher John Bell.

Another bit of joy marked the opening of the second set, with the instrumental Party at Your Mama's House showcasing Herring's growing sense of comfort with his new band in the form of a very patient jam. Bell also chimed in throughout with nice work on the slide, which is pretty much the only time during a show you can easily hear his instrumental contribution. But, hey, they don't pay the man to play the guitar.   

But that wasn't all this show had in store.

There were the hard rocking foot-stompers. The upbeat Tie Your Shoes followed Walkin', and gave the crowd a usual second set piece of sandwich bread in the first set. The song allowed both the rapid-fire notes of Herring and the rolling bass line of Dave Schools to shine.

More songs in this vein would follow the rest of the night, from the dark rollercoaster of funk that is Pigeons in the first set to their heavy take on the traditional blues of Junior in the second set.

One of the hardest rockers came in the person of Glory, making its first appearance in a set in nearly six full years. And the band nailed this version, appropriately providing a rare surprise for the fans in a town with its own special place in Panic lore.

And while Herring continues to find his comfort zone with this group, there are still noticeable growing pains. It seemed as though he approached shows in the spring as a contest to see how many notes he could play during solos, this Eddie Van Halen-esque style being a stark contrast to the floating, psychedelic sound of Houser. He began picking his spots a little better over the summer, but he overdid it a bit this time on songs like Big Wooly Mammoth and Surprise Valley.

The rest of the band had their moments, too. One can expect some hiccups during tour openers, and this Friday in Memphis was no different. Schools started early for the encore, Imitation Leather shoes, before becoming visibly agitated. Bell appeared to sound unsure of himself as he began the vocals to Climb to Safety, which led to a slightly disjointed beginning. And a second set drop back into Chilly Water from You Got Yours was a bit sloppy.

But, as it is with most Panic shows, the good far outweighed the bad inside the Forum.

The highlight of the first set came with the jam out of Rebirtha, into the fan favorite Ribs and Whiskey. The former ended with lots of funk and great work from Herring, before dissipating into easily one of the longest, most patient Ribs intros that this reviewer has heard, with Herring accented nicely by great slide work from Bell, both flowing over Todd Nance's steady kick drum.

More exemplary jamming followed in the second set, first with the opener, Party, and then with one of the funkiest versions of Climb to Safety you will ever hear. Keyboardist Jojo Hermann carried the jam with his clavinet, riding on top of a funky bass line from Schools that reminded one of their cover of Solid Rock, and song from Bob Dylan's Christian revivalist period. It was a wonderful change of pace for a song too often mailed in with little variation within the jam.

Hermann was not done there, however. His next standout moment would begin a stretch of the show that exemplified why fans still come back to Panic after all these years, because they feature a dark, evil edge to their sound that is truly unmatched by anyone else in the scene.

A drum intro from Nance and percussionist Sunny Ortiz led into an especially sinister version of Dr. John's I Walk on Guilded Splinters, featuring Hermann putting the fear into the crowd with a mix of funky Hammond B-3 and chaotic piano. The jam also featured outstanding work by Herring and a lot of call-and-response between the two of them.

Guilded segued nicely into a Chilly Water sandwich, the meat being more loud, dark, thunderous rock in the form of You Got Yours. The band followed this with the unquestionable highlight of the evening, Colonel Bruce Hampton's Time is Free, which Herring effectively carried on his back with one stretch of psychedelic shredding after another, helped by Bell's growling vocals and rambling raps. 

The set very well could have ended after Chilly Water, and probably should have ended after the marathon version of Time is Free, but Herring jumped right into the roaring stomp of Neil Young's classic, Mr. Soul, finally ending a monster second set and leaving much of the crowd exhausted, undoubtedly nursing sore arms from constant fist-pumping.

The crowd hardly seemed bothered by the short encore, but, after the previous stretch, who could blame them?

After all, once Imitation Leather Shoes gave them time to catch their breath, the debauchery of Beale Street awaited them outside the Forum's doors.

09/21/07 FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

1: A of D, Space Wrangler, Walkin' (For Your Love), Tie Your Shoes > Pigeons, Blue Indian, Rebirtha > Ribs and Whiskey, Big Wooly Mammoth

2: Party at Your Mama's House > Junior, Glory, Smoking Factory, Surprise Valley > Climb to Safety, Guilded Splinters > Chilly Water > You Got Yours > Chilly Water, Time is Free > Mr. Soul

E: Imitation Leather Shoes 

Searching for a Real Outlaw Part II

Some features take hours to write, others weeks, sometimes a month. The timing from interview or event to writing and then to publishing is dependent on so many variables that to describe them would be a feature unto itself. Usually, I have a pretty good turn around. Until, that was, I talked with Mike Seeger, went to a string festival and ended up almost going native in the hills of Eastern Kentucky.

Elana James Inks New Deal, Plays Fuji Rock Fest & Keeps Swingin' For Fences

Photo by Richard Dowdy, 2007- for the Grateful Web

The North Carolina-based music mavens at Redeye will be handling North American distribution of the eponymous solo debut disc by singer, violinist and songwriter Elana James beginning Tuesday, July 24. The move will make the ebullient, eclectic collection of town 'n' country swing available at most major nationwide chains-including Borders as well as in hundreds of discerning, independently-owned stores.

James began enchanting listeners in 1998 as co-leader (with Whit Smith) of the Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown, a refreshing, nimble-fingered combo that merged the sophisticated, high-stepping sizzle of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli's Quintet of the Hot Club of France with the driving energy of Western swing.

Buoyed by five critically-acclaimed discs and live shows imbued with an almost punk-rock energy, the Hot Club was on the verge of a popular breakthrough when, just after opening all of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson's ground breaking 2004 summer tour of American minor league ballparks, the group disbanded.

Still reeling from the breakup, the young musician had only begun weighing future options when the two musical godfathers whose very tour ushered the demise of the Hot Club stepped in with offers that could not be refused.

First, veteran producer Fred Foster called James with an invitation to play twin fiddle parts with the legendary Texas Playboy Johnny Gimble on Willie Nelson's next record. Almost immediately after that call came an invitation to play in Dylan's touring band.

"When I got that call," Elana remembers, "It was so incredible - I felt like God had reached down out of heaven and anointed me with a golden wand."

The Dylan slot ended up expanding to two full tours (one as the fiddle player for Dylan himself complete with prominent positioning in the shows), but James experienced a real revelation before the first tour was even complete:  Oddly enough, performing with arguably the greatest, most-revered songwriter of the last 50 years gave her the confidence to pursue a similar path leading her own band.

". . .He's peerless at what he does, and yet he's still doing exactly the same thing as everyone else," she notes. "And it made me realize that if I started my own thing, there's a lot of dignity in just doing it; you don't have to worry about who you're playing for, you don't have to worry about how it's received, you just have to do it."

Elana James began recording her self-titled debut album in 2005, but a second Dylan tour delayed completion of the recording until the summer of 2006, with assorted finishing details further setting back the release.

But by any measure, the elegant Elana James is more than worth the wait, presenting an artist brimming with talent, self-assurance and a strong musical vision that encompasses string-jazz and country roots as well as displaying - through a half-dozen artfully-drawn original tunes, Elana's rare gift for truly integrating lyrical content with melody and tone.

Through it all, James' clearwater, emotionally - transparent vocal delivery is the ideal vehicle for her uniquely personal world view, and her violin playing slips with a natural grace from bold, charismatic leads to empathetic ensemble playing and back again.

The legendary swing fiddler Johnny Gimble illuminates a pair of traditional Western Swing fiddle tunes, pairing his inimitable style with Elana's on his own arrangement of "Silver Bells" and using electric mandolin to spar with James' violin on an immaculate, up-to-date rendition of "Goodbye Liza Jane."

With knowing, soulful nods to Duke Ellington ("I Got It Band (And That Ain't Good)" and "I Don't Mind") and Eubie Blake (a luscious "Memories of You" ), Elana James - with and her fine, hand-picked cohorts - further extends her impressive musical palette and wide-ranging love-and command - of American music.

Willie Nelson lauds James as "a beautiful voice, a fantastic musician with the heart and soul of an angel."  He neglected to mention that she's smart and beautiful, too, but it's a sure bet he noticed.   

(Elana James is currently available through such online outlets as Amazon.com, CDBaby, Miles of Music, etc.).

 

ELANA JAMES AUGUST 2007 TOUR DATES

August 7 Starlight Concert Series, Evanston, IL

August 10 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI

August 11 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI

August 12 Great Lakes Festival, East Lansing, MI  

August 15 Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX

August 18 Performing Arts Center Simsbury, CT

August 22 The Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX      

August 29 The Continental Club Happy Hour, Austin, TX