Nashville's Coolest Cat Kenny Vaughan to release V - 9/13

Sugar Hill Records is proud to announce the September 13th release of V, the long-awaited solo debut from Nashville’s not-so-secret weapon: Kenny Vaughan. Since first arriving in Music City in the late ‘80s from his home state of Colorado, Vaughan quickly set himself apart as a different breed of guitar-slinger—technically assured and, more importantly, armed with a deeply felt reverence for a wide range of musical traditions encompassing vintage country, classic pop, hard bop, and beyond. The ten tracks that comprise V dip toes in all of these waters, forming a handy crash course in the trademark wit, flash, and unfailing musicality that has kept Kenny Vaughan so in-demand for the past quarter-century.

Starting in 2001, Vaughan has been a member of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives, a multi-faceted outfit capable of delivering anything from rollicking bluegrass to classic honky tonk to simmering gospel soul. Aside from one track featuring Vaughan’s Nashville-based organ trio, the Fabulous Superlatives back him throughout V, which opens with the show-stopping Superlatives rave-up “Country Music Got a Hold On Me” and continues through an eclectic program that touches upon western swing (“Hot Like That”), evocative low-twanging instrumentals (“Minuit Sur La Plage,” “Mysterium”), Rockpile-inflected country-pop (“Things I Do”), and even a bit of gutbucket swamp-funk featuring the Oak Ridge Boys (“Okolona, Tennessee”), before concluding with a righteous gospel shuffle, “Don’t Leave Home Without Jesus.”

Recipient of the 2006 Instrumentalist of the Year award from the Americana Music Association, Vaughan is one of the most prominent guitarists of today’s ongoing roots music renaissance. An early pupil of fellow Coloradoan (and fellow eclectic roots alchemist) Bill Frisell, Vaughan has since performed and recorded with an array acclaimed artists, including Lucinda Williams, Kim Richey, Rodney Crowell, Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook, Greg Garing, and too many more to list. Equally comfortable on stage or in the studio, Vaughan can be relied upon for hot, twitchy country leads, bittersweet melodic jangle, and everything in between—all dispatched with the utmost taste and subtlety.

And, as V so aptly demonstrates, Kenny Vaughan is no slouch as a frontman, either. His songs and singing are charmingly conversational, with no shortage of memorable hooks and clever verbal volleys. His cohorts in the Fabulous Superlatives (including bossman Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin) offer honest, road-tightened support that is honest and heartfelt. Sterling confirmation of the potential implied by each sideman gig, session, and walk-on, V may have been a little too long in arriving…but, after all, Kenny’s a busy guy.

AgesandAges | Bluebird Theater | 7/20/11

AgesandAges have been described as “big tent revivalists.” Some lump them into the cult category, alongside Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as they have a sev

Della Mae To Release Debut Album

Della Mae, the all-woman bluegrass quartet out of Boston that brings acoustic grit and twang to town with no apologies, will release its debut full-length album in September.

Della Mae features the 2009-2010 National Fiddle Champion Kimber Ludiker, powerful mandolinist Jenni Lyn Gardner, seasoned bassist Amanda Kowalski, and the sweet, sultry vocals and driving acoustic guitar of Celia Woodsmith.

The band will release its debut full-length album, I BUILT THIS HEART, in September, with all-star guests Alison Brown, Laurie Lewis, Brittany Haas (Crooked Still) and Emma Beaton (Joy Kills Sorrow). The album was produced by Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter) and engineered by Erick Jaskowiack. Advance copies are for sale at upcoming shows.

Vintage Guitar magazine describes Della Mae’s sound as “straightforward, expertly executed music that stays true to its inspirations.” The band’s musical style seamlessly blends years of experience with traditional mountain music and modern singer-songwriter sensibilities. With award-winning instrumental abilities and a reputation for energetic live performances, the four women of Della Mae are turning heads.

In the words of master mandolinist Mike Marshall, “These gals can get down and aren’t messing around.”

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Della Mae’s Upcoming Schedule:
July 23: Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass. ( Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum open)
July 30: RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival, Lyons, Colo.
August 12-13: Saddleback Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Saddleback, Maine
August 27: Newport Art Festival, Newport, R.I. (More info TBA)
November 5-6: Laurie Blue Bluegrass Festival, Prince Edward Island, Canada
December 1-18: Bluegrass Jamboree, Germany & Switzerland

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

Mason Jennings at Boulder Theater | 10.27.11

Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Mason Jennings with The Pines at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, October 27th, 2011.  Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 19h for $22.50 in advance and $25.00 the day of the show.

As one grows into adulthood, remaining focused on one’s pursuits gets increasingly difficult. The musician becomes a band mate navigating the creative energies of those around them. He becomes a boyfriend, a husband, a businessman. Life becomes multifarious, and the pressure to not let the threads of a chaotic life unravel can cause strain on any relationship. With his new album Minnesota, Mason Jennings crafts a collage of love trying to survive the transition into being a grown-up in a complex world.

For instance, “Bitter Heart,” which manages to be simultaneously plaintive and hopeful. The protagonist recognizes the breach of faith and the sense of estrangement in the relationship, but sings tenderly of rapprochement. To Mason, the central line in this song and the album is “Our world is filled with only what we see/Can we see love now.” Mason says, “I have come to the understanding that the way that we feel inside is the most important thing, and that we have a say in that.” “Clutch” looks back wistfully at a love before the demands of adulthood came knocking. At the end of the song, Mason sings that “Maybe we could work it out, we could live in a dream, live in a dream.”  The song ends in an instrumental break that leads directly into “Witches’ Dream,” a fabulist romp that juxtaposes raw lust with fairy tale imagery.

Musically, Mason paints from a more varied palette than ever.  The piano is featured more prominently than his previous albums. “The piano seemed to fit the emotional core of the album,” he explains. “I felt that it was important to begin and end the album with piano.” Mason played almost all of the instruments on the album, the one exception being “Well Of Love,” a Perez Prado-esque number that features his friends in The Living Room, the side project of Jack Johnson drummer/percussionist Adam Topol. Friend Jason Schwartzman adds additional piano and background vocals on “Raindrops.”

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Mason Jennings

with The Pines

Boulder Theater

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Doors: 7:00 pm

Show Time: 8:00 pm

Mountain Man | Larimer Lounge | 7.16.2011

I am a sucker for old-time music, the older the better. Slices of history that echo the times and evoke images of gone eras. The three young ladies of Mountain Man sing some amazing covers of old-school songs mixed in with their originals, which are at least as good.

Singer-Songwriter Justin Hines Triumphs With US Debut

Optimism permeates throughout Days to Recall, Justin Hines U.S. debut album to be released August 2nd on Decca. The Canadian singer/songwriter’s collection of heartfelt songs about life and love showcase his considerable talents, and his will to overcome insurmountable obstacles.  The CD coincides with a PBS special of Hines in concert -- taped at Toronto’s Royal Cinema with special guests Ron Sexsmith, Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Sierra Noble and The Canadian Tenors -- slated to air multiple times across the U.S. during Public Television’s August pledge drive.

Justin Hines has thrived all his life against odds that would daunt someone with a less indomitable spirit.  Hines has Larsen Syndrome, a joint dislocation condition that confines him to a wheelchair.   He admits his condition has provided challenges, but primarily sees the good it has brought him and the inspiration he can provide others.  “There have been so many blessings. It’s afforded me so many other opportunities. It’s a bit of an attention grabber,” he says. “But then my job is to keep people interested, and keep their attention with my music.”

Highlights on Days To Recall include the first single, the instantly catchy “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” a duet with fellow Canadian/actress Jill Hennessy on the plaintive, “Why Not Love Me” and the uplifting “Say What You Will.”  The latter track took on a life of its own after a South African video featuring the Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu was used as part of a campaign to build 20 schools in 11 days.  Hines performed in South Africa this spring and saw the schools that will educate more than 22,000 students.

To hear “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” click here.

Music was integral throughout Justin’s young life.  He doesn’t remember it, but his mom tells him he wrote his first song when he was seven. In his late teens, he decided to teach himself how to play piano as a way to better express himself.  “I’d done a lot of writing with other people. The most frustrating thing was I could hear the song in my head, but I was relying on other people to write chords since I didn’t play anything,” he says.

Even though Justin grew up singing in church, the realization of pursuing his musical dreams happened at the most unlikely of places— at a Toronto Raptors’ basketball game in his hometown 15 years ago.  A then 14-year-old Justin won a vocal competition to sing the National Anthem at the game — both the Canadian and American -- and his world opened up before him. “In that moment, it all seemed possible,” he recalls. Thrown in the deep end, Hines has performed professionally ever since and realized he could not only survive, but succeed.

To watch the Justin Hines EPK click here.

Lady Antebellum Reveals New Album Details!

Multi-PLATINUM country music group Lady Antebellum is sharing new details today on their forthcoming third Capitol Nashville studio album OWN THE NIGHT, in stores Sept. 13.

After sweeping the 2011 GRAMMY Awards earlier this year, the singer/songwriters returned to Nashville to focus on writing and recording the follow up to their top selling NEED YOU NOW.  The trio penned 10 of the new disc’s 12 tracks, including their fastest rising and current Top 10 single “Just A Kiss.”  Collaborating again with veteran producer Paul Worley, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott also return as co-producers.

"We're definitely more in tune with each other musically and personally than ever," said Haywood. "It's an exciting place to be. This album was created from the ground up—we are writing these songs, playing these instruments and creating these arrangements.  With OWN THE NIGHT, more than ever before, I think we share a real feeling of accomplishment both as a band and as friends.”

"Our only hope and expectation for this record is that it will build on the first two," adds Charles Kelley.  "At the end of the day, we just want our fans to be able to say that we continue to give them solid albums with solid songs they can enjoy from start to finish."

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OWN THE NIGHT Track List:

1. We Owned The Night

2. Just A Kiss

3. Dancin’ Away With My Heart

4. Friday Night

5. When You Were Mine

6. Cold As Stone

7. Singing Me Home

8. Wanted You More

9. As You Turn Away

10. The Love I’ve Found In You

11. Somewhere Love Remains

12. The Heart Of The World

TG Sheppard and Wayne Mills Collaborate to Remake Sheppard's Hit "I Loved 'Em Everyone"

Wayne Mills and country legend, TG Sheppard head into Ocean Way Studios along with famed producer Denny Diante to remake Sheppard’s 1981 hit “I Loved ‘Em Everyone” which will be featured on Mills highly anticipated new album Long Hard Road under Diesel Records. Other musicians rounding out this all-star cast include Johnny Neel on the keyboard, formerly with the Allman Brothers, Chris Powell on drums, “Cowboy” Eddie Long, Jason "Rowdy" Cope, all with Jamey Johnson’s band, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, from Willie Nelson’s band, Gary Craig on bass and Luke Davis on guitar, both from Mill's band, and seasoned studio musicians Brent Mason and Steve Rutledge on lead and rhythm guitars.

“I came into the studio to record with Wayne because I believe in him. I hope our collaboration on this song is as good to Wayne as it was for me when I began my career,” says Sheppard when asked about remaking his hit “I Loved ‘Em Everyone.”

“Working with a country music legend like TG Sheppard is an incredible honor on both a personal and professional level,” says Mills. “I am humbled and grateful to have him on my record.  I am sure that all of our fans will enjoy the remake of ‘I Loved ‘Em Everyone,’” adds Mills.

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Wayne Mills Band

Wayne Mills will soon release his 7th studio album Long Hard Road where he worked with powerhouse producer Denny Diante under new Nashville record label, Diesel Records. Wayne, a native of Arab, AL, pushes the boundaries of contemporary country with tracks including “I Need the Country, Whiskey Bent and Jail Bound” and the title track “Long Hard Road” which chronicles the lonesome tale of a man making bad decisions and working through the consequences. With more than fifteen years of touring experience, Wayne has proved himself the consummate performer with a huge following in the Southeast while gaining influence in other markets. This singer/songwriter’s traditional country style blended with an edgy rock sound will please new and old country music fans alike with Long Hard Road. His music is the soundtrack to his life: leaving no stone unturned when it comes to lyrics and his life.

Little Bird From Kasey Chambers Out Today!

Sugar Hill Records is excited to announce the release of Little Bird from one of Australia’s most accomplished singer-songwriters, Kasey Chambers.  The 14 song collection – her first solo project in four years - is the result of an outpouring of new material from Kasey written within a hectic two week period in February of 2010, and Chambers is confident in calling Little Bird the best recording of her career.

Recorded a month later in brother Nash’s Foggy Mountain Studio Little Bird features an all-star band that Kasey dubs The Millionaires; John Watson on drums, Jeff McCormack on bass, Shane Nicholson, Jim Mogine (Midnight Oil) and Kasey’s dad Bill Chambers playing all manner of guitars and stringed instruments.  Guest vocalists Missy Higgins, Camille Te Nahu, Patty Griffin and more accompany Kasey on various tracks.

“These guys are some of my favorite musicians and singers, including the backbone of my touring band, so there is a familiarity and intuitive understanding of where this music should go,” says Kasey. Nothing in the recording process sounds forced or labored; every track sounds fresh, positive, exciting. "When the songs are that fresh, there’s something magical about taking them into the studio and bringing them to life, right then and there."

The new album, which is already certified Gold in Australia, represents a diverse spread of musical styles from Kasey’s glittering career, which has reaped multiple ARIA and APRA awards, Number One hits and multi-platinum sales in Australia and around the world.

Despite the upbeat and optimistic vibe of Little Bird, Kasey notes that it also reflects on a young woman’s insecurities.  “I started remembering how I felt when I wrote “Not Pretty Enough” and comparing it to how I feel now. I was wondering how that sentiment would come out if I revisited it,” says Kasey. “I still have moments like that, of feeling insecure and unsure, but I feel differently about that now. I feel stronger and more powerful, not willing to compromise so much.  This record is like the strong, secure version of ‘Not Pretty Enough’.”

Kasey excitedly rates Little Bird as the best recording of her career. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited by a bunch of songs. They all came out completely differently. I was back in that same frame of mind that I had for the early albums. And it made me feel so confident. I was so absolutely in love with all these songs, I could not wait to make them come to life.”