Jason Aldean Sells Over 66,000 Tickets in 3 Shows!

As the “My Kinda Party Tour” shifts into high gear for the nation’s biggest summer amphitheatre dates, PLATINUM selling country rocker Jason Aldean is already posting capacity crowds well in advance of each concert.  In the upcoming two runs, Aldean has sold out three shows a week in advance, including the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Indianapolis, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. and the Jiffy Lube Live in Washington, DC for a total of over 66,000 tickets sold for the three dates.

"It is exciting to see Jason's shows selling out, but the fact that they are selling out A WEEK IN ADVANCE is nothing short of amazing,” said Brian O’Connell, Live Nation's President of Country Touring.  “Jason is taking his rightful place at the top of the touring world in all genres as a major superstar.”

Fans can now vote for Aldean for the 2011 CMT Awards where he leads the nominations with four for Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year for “My Kinda Party,” Collaborative Video of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and Best Web Video of the Year for “My Kinda Party” Live from the CMT Webcast.  He will also perform on the June 8 live broadcast.

Additionally, Aldean’s fourth album which was released on Nov. 2, continues to hold strong in the No. one spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart selling nearly 30,000 copies again this week.  The current single, the fan-favorite “Dirt Road Anthem” is driving up the radio charts parking in the Top 20 only five weeks after release. The track follows MY KINDA PARTY’s two previous No. one hits “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and it’s title track.

For a full list of tour dates and upcoming appearances, visit www.jasonaldean.com.

Afrobeta Debut Album Out August 9th

Miami’s avant-dance duo recently announced the release of their debut full-length, Under The Streets, along with the first track from the album, “Nighttime.” Now the band has released a futuristic new video, for “Play House,” directed by Dutch director Ruben Van Leer, along with the details for the “Play House” single, which sees a digital release today (May 10th) on iTunes, Beatport and Amazon. The single will come packaged along with remixes by NYC legend Larry Tee, and Alexander Technique & Junior Sanchez!

Afrobeta’s unique (and diverse) sound transcends genre classifications. Cuci’s rapid-fire delivery, combined with Smurphio’s funky synths and head-bopping basslines, will keep you moving from start to finish on Under The Streets. The thirteen tracks that make up their debut album will undoubtedly ignite dance-floors around the world-the band has a sound that is universally irresistible.

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Click HERE or the Single Art Below to Watch the Futuristic Video For “Play House”

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Under The Streets Tracklisting:

Two Different Worlds
Do You Party?
Nighttime
As Long As You Like It
Play House
That Thing
Touch
Land Of Lost Lovers
Pistol Whip
Love Fur Life
Jealousy
The End
Love Is Magic

Gary Nicholson's New CD, Texas Songbook

Gary Nicholson is a musical renaissance man — a number one hit songwriter, a two time Grammy winning record producer, a guitarist, singer, and recording artist. A consistent presence on the upper reaches of the country chart hit parade for the last three decades, his associations and collaborations read like an honor roll of notable talent in country and beyond: George Strait, Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks, Jeff Bridges, Robert Plant, B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Gregg Allman, The Judds, Buddy Guy, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, The Neville Brothers, Vince Gill, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson among them. His songs have been heard in the movies Crazy Heart, Major League, City of Hope, Message in a Bottle and Where the Heart Is. “I’m always curious about working with different people and styles,” he says.

He is also a true blue son of the Lone Star State whose love and pride for the place he calls home brims from every track of his Bismeaux Records album, Texas Songbook, due out June 21, 2011. Recorded in Austin with some of the finest players in the state, it features such guest stars as Joe Ely, McClinton, Marcia Ball, Randy Rogers, Ray Benson and Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel on songs inspired by or about Texas by Nicholson himself and penned with Texans like the late Stephen Bruton, McClinton, Guy Clark, Lee Roy Parnell and others. It’s sure to satisfy anyone with a taste for swinging, two-stepping, and dancehall and honky-tonk style Lone Star country music.

The album leaps into a Lone Star state of mind from the opening track, “Texas Weather,” and keeps the theme dancing though “She Feels Like Texas,” “A Woman in Texas, A Woman in Tennessee,” “Lone Star Blues” (with Ely and Benson singing along, and just recorded by George Strait for his next album), “Talkin’ Texan” and “Texas Ruby” (with Ball on piano). The set includes the signature song “Fallin’ & Flyin’” from Crazy Heart, the infectiously swinging “Messin’ With My Woman” (with backing vocals by Benson and Roberts), “Same Kind of Crazy” (written with McClinton, who plays harmonica on the track and cut the song, as did George Strait on his Twang album), and “Listen to Willie” (a tribute to the Red-Haired Stranger with Stoney LaRue and Benson on vocals and Mickey Raphael on harmonica). It wraps up with “Bless Them All” (with the McCrary Sisters), “Live, Laugh, Love” (previously recorded by Texan Clay Walker), and the closing grace note of “Some Days You Write the Song” (the title song of the Grammy-nominated Guy Clark album, co-written with Clark and Jon Randall Stewart).

Nicholson’s impetus for making Texas Songbook was his recent induction into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I’ve always wanted to make a truly country record,” he says of his fourth release in his own right. “So I figured, okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this in Texas with all Texas players and with songs co-written by Texans. I’m just going to make the most Texas record I can possibly make and have fun doing it.”

To do so, the first and only choice was to “go straight to Ray Benson.” Recorded at Benson’s Bismeaux Studio, the disc features Asleep at the Wheel members and associates Roberts (fiddle), David Sanger (drums), Floyd Domino (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) as well as steel guitarist Tommy Detamore and accordion player Joel Guzman. “I couldn’t have made this record in Nashville and gotten this music,” notes Nicholson, a Music City resident for now more than three decades. “I could have come close. But I knew I could only make this album in Texas.” Plus for good measure include in the creative mix some honorary Texans from the state’s “north 40” of Oklahoma like guest singer and Lone Star/Red Dirt music scene hero LaRue and Kevin Welch, co-writer of “Listen to Willie” and now residing in the Hill Country town of Wimberley.

The trail that led Nicholson to becoming an integral and pervasive presence in the Nashville music industry and scene — and 26 ASCAP songwriting awards and nomination to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame — begins in Garland in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where he came of age within the fertile musical context of the mid 1950s.

He soon took up the guitar and started playing folk and country music, making his public debut in his school’s eighth grade talent show and winning it. Then along came The Ventures and Nicholson took up electric guitar. When he later came to believe that the Beatles “were the greatest thing ever” and heard area resident Freddie King, his fate was sealed. As a teen he played in such British Invasion-inspired bands as the Valiants, the Catalinas and the Untouchables.

While studying at North Texas State University in nearby Denton, Nicholson fell in with such other musical students as soon-to-be Eagle Don Henley and pianist/producer/arranger Jim Ed Norman, later president of the Warner Bros. Nashville label. He stayed busy by night in club bands, and was also recruited to tour with the Nazz after Todd Rundgren left the group. “They hired me because I had a Marshall stack and a Les Paul,” Nicholson recalls with a chuckle. Following a night in 1971 hanging out with Gram Parsons on a swing through Dallas by the American-music pioneer, Nicholson left college and, urged on by Parsons, moved with his band to Los Angeles.

His friends Henley and Norman soon followed as Nicholson went on to win his first publishing deal, scored his debut recorded cover by bluegrass star Doug Dillard, and inked a record deal with Kapp/MCA with his band, Uncle Jim’s Music. They rehearsed in the same building as budding star Linda Ronstadt, whose producer John Boylan helmed the first of the band’s two albums of Nicholson’s songs (with Norman on keyboards for the second), prized by collectors.

Not long after watching Henley join forces with Glenn Frey in Ronstadt’s band and then soar to superstardom in The Eagles, Nicholson married his college sweetheart Barbara and headed back to Texas in 1973. Despite the artistic boom in California, “I liked the music back in Texas better,” he notes. One reason why was an album by locals and fellow expatriates to L.A. who would also return home, Delbert & Glen (Clark).

Nicholson wound up doing stints as a guitarist in McClinton’s band throughout the rest of the 1970s. He also started a group called Hot Sauce that melded country-rock and blues and were sometimes joined by his guitar hero Freddie King at their weekly Sunday residency at Mother Blues in Dallas. He also sharpened his Western swing and country chops taking gigs throughout North Texas, and continued to hone his songwriting skills.

Then Norman tapped a Nicholson song, “Jukebox Argument,” for a recording by Mickey Gilley that ended up on the Urban Cowboy 2 soundtrack. His friend then invited him to relocate to Nashville to write for his publishing company in 1980. By 1984 he had joined the roster of legendary writers at Tree Publishing and nabbed his first No. 1 cut with “That’s the Thing About Love” by Don Williams. He has since written or co-written scores of country chart songs including such Top 10 gems as “One More Last Chance” (Vince Gill), “The Trouble With the Truth” (Patty Loveless), “She Couldn’t Change Me” (Montgomery Gentry) and Reba’s “When Love Gets a Hold of You.”

Nicholson showcased his skills as a producer on his 1995 solo debut, The Sky Is Not the Limit. Four albums for McClinton followed, two of them Grammy winners (Best Contemporary Blues Album) and another nominated, and to date the longtime friends have written some 40 songs together that Delbert has recorded. His other noteworthy productions include T. Graham Brown’s acclaimed Wine Into Water, New Day Dawning by Wynonna and the landmark Reunion by the Judds as well as discs by Chris Knight, Seth Walker and Pam Tillis plus Marcia Ball’s latest album, among others.

Soon after arriving in Music City Nicholson did his first session as a guitarist. His credit can be found on numerous albums since, especially when a taste of Texas C&W and blues is called for. He toured out of Nashville in his early years there with Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Tracy Nelson and Gail Davies until Bobby Bare advised him to leave his band and better spend his time at home writing songs. Now that his sons are grown, Nicholson is back out on the road and with his band Fortunate Sons, who put out an album in 2010, as well as gigging and making a record under his nom de blues Whitey Johnson. As Texas Songbook hits the market, he also gathers together a country band to share stages with Asleep at the Wheel over the summer of 2011.

Texas Songbook follows the form of his previous Nashville Songbook album that collected a number of Nicholson’s top country covers in his own versions. Given his Lone Star State roots, his latest disc is a truly special endeavor for the multi-talented musical artist. “I’m really proud of it,” he concludes. “It’s very important stuff for me. As great as Nashville is and has been to me, it will never take the place of Texas in my heart."

Cloud Control Premiere New Track "Mediation" & US Dates

With affirmation of their brilliance in from their homeland, being awarded the critically acclaimed Australian Music Award Cloud Control are set to unleash their stellar collection of quirky layered harmonic psyche-pop on the rest of the world.
Cloud Control signed to bespoke independent label Infectious Music in 2010, and very quickly the tightly packed four-piece from the picturesque and rugged terrains of Australia’s Blue Mountains started to turn heads with the NME claiming “We’ve got a new bunch of favorite fuzzlings, and their name is Cloud Control” and noted BBC Radio 1 D.J Nick Grimshaw hailing Bliss Release the bands debut long-player “perfect for summer time”.
The first part 2011 has seen Cloud Control complete a string of live shows on both sides of the Atlantic, including a grueling nine show campaign at SXSW in Austin Texas and support slots in the UK with Noah & the Whale, Mona and the Naked and Famous. During this first visit to Europe, respected Dutch music title Oor Magazine noted “Cloud Control is setting a foundation for an undoubtedly successful music year for them in Europe. Let The Vaccines, Mona and the rest fight over being newcomer of the year. Here in Paradiso stood one of the festival hits of 2011.”
With their amps still steaming Cloud Control jetted back to the UK for their debut headline tour in April, which ended triumphantly in front of a sold-out crowd at venue XOYO in London’s East End. And it seems as the weeks continue to unfold towards the UK & EU release of ‘Bliss Release’ on May 23rd, more and more people are professing their love for the group, including Huw Stephens from BBC Radio 1 who tweeted “Watching Cloud Control filling the breathtaking Koko venue with their stomping harmonious beauty” and Drowned In Sound who declared “Cloud Control have made a tremendously enjoyable album.”
Keep a close eye on Cloud Control this summer who play a slew of festival dates that already include Great Escape, Hop Farm and Field Day Festivals in the UK and the likes of Lowlands, London Calling, Hurricane & Southside and Les Rock Dans Tous Ses Etats in Europe. The band will be back in the US this Summer playing shows in New York and LA.
Cloud Control are Alister Wright (guitar/lead vocals), Jeremy Kelshaw (bass) and siblings Heidi Lenffer (keyboards/vocals) and Ulrich Lenffer (drums).
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US Dates

July 24th - Knitting Factory - Brooklyn, NY
July 25th - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY
July 27th - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA

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

Marty Stuart Reveals Lineup For 10th Annual Late Night Jam

GRAMMY award winner Marty Stuart will host a special 10th Anniversary Late Night Jam on June 8 beginning at 10:00 PM at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  Country music icons Dolly Parton, Mel Tillis and Connie Smith, along with The Quebe Sisters Band, Doug Kershaw and more surprise guests will be joining Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives for this year’s event.  The Late Night Jam has become the unofficial kick-off of the CMA Music Festival and prior to any lineup information being released, tickets for this year’s event have sold faster than ever before. Proceeds will benefit MusiCares with a portion also going to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“It's hard to believe that the Late Night Jam is ten years old,” said Stuart.  “I can't help but think back on the first one.  I was nervous; pacing and hoping that we'd have enough people show up.  The show ended up being a sell-out and we’ve been going strong ever since.  That first show was over 25,000 people ago, and it was also many good deeds ago from MusiCares, and a lot of really magical performances ago from some of my dearest musical friends. Every year I say, ‘How can I top that show?’  Somehow it happens and good things result from it. This year will be no different.”

Over the past 10 years, Stuart has brought artists such as Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Porter Wagoner, Neko Case, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Lee Lewis and more to the Ryman stage for a one of a kind marathon jam session all in the name of charity and country music.

Stuart, a stalwart of traditional country music, recently received his fifth career GRAMMY award for “Best Country Instrumental” for “Hummingbyrd,” from his critically acclaimed album GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS).  His TV show, The Marty Stuart Show, continues to bring traditional country music into living rooms across the country every Saturday night on RFD-TV.   Upcoming episodes will feature Brad Paisley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Keith Urban, Paul Shaffer and Travis Tritt.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.martystuart.net.

TOWER OF POWER @ Boulder Theater | 8/7/11

Boulder Weekly & Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Tower of Power at the Boulder Theater on Sunday, August 7th, 2011.  Tickets are $30.00 and On Sale Friday, May 6th.

With 42 years of recording and touring experience behind them, Tower of Power has a new album, THE GREAT AMERICAN SOULBOOK which features covers of soul classics with guest singers Joss Stone, Sir Tom Jones, Huey Lewis, and Sam Moore.

The group still garners rave reviews, and leaves the audiences dancing in their seats in the arenas, theatres, and outdoor venues they play year 'round. Melding soul, jazz, funk, and rock in a way no group ever has, the ten-piece outfit is, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, “tighter than a clenched fist.”

The late great James Brown was quoted in HEEB magazine about Tower of Power, as saying, "There's no black group that plays my stuff as good as them."

Well known in the '70s for tunes such as “What is Hip?” and “You're Still a Young Man,” Tower of Power toured with Santana, Sly Stone and Credence Clearwater Revival, eventually creating traffic jams when they headlined their own shows. They performed on records with Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, and Dionne Warwick, influencing a generation of musicians (including Sting, who has told Emilio Castillo, founder of the group, that he once had a “Tower of Power clone band” before he formed The Police). In the 1980s, they backed Huey Lewis and the News, Heart, Eurythmics, and Little Feat, just to name a few.

Tower of Power, after 40 years, is experiencing more popularity than ever before as they tour year 'round packing venues in the United States, the Pacific Rim, and all over Europe.

On June 6, 2004 The California Music Association honored Tower of Power with a Lifetime Achievement Award and cited their 2003 Sony Legacy anthology “Havin' Fun” as Soul/R&B album of the year, beating out releases by En Vogue and Raphael Saadiq.

As of August 19, 2009 the group's original trumpet player Mic Gillette returns to the band reuniting with original members David Garibaldi, Emilio Castillo, Doc Kupka, and Rocco Prestia. Says Emilio, "Having Mic back in the band brings back incredible memories. His ability to play screaming lead trumpet and then switch effortlessly to trombone is world class. What an amazing brass player he is. It's just incredible that after all these years the three original horn players are back together in Tower of Power."

The band's frontman Larry Braggs is also a powerful force. Emilio, who shares frontman duties, is in awe of his singer, "with his astounding range and irresistible energy, he has a soulfulness that knows no bounds, finessing a ballad with the best of them, and then turning right around  to make it as funky as it gets. Larry's joyful spirit is undeniably contagious."

When asked to describe the band's music, the group members give a variety of responses. Says Emilio, “What Tower plays is Oakland soul music.” Former Tower saxophonist Lenny Pickett, current musical director for the Saturday Night Live band, says “TOP is the world's best rhythm and blues band.” In reality, TOP's horn-driven, in-your-face sound is all its own. Read more about Tower of Power at www.towerofpower.com.

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Tower of Power

Boulder Theater

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Doors:  7:30 pm

Show Time:  8:00 pm

Sugar Hill Records To Release Little Bird From Kasey Chambers

Sugar Hill Records is excited to announce the July 12th 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.”

Austin Indie Singer Suzanna Choffel To Release New Album

Suzanna Choffel, whose dusky vocals are as intriguing as her indie-soul-pop originals and sultry stage presence, releases on Tuesday, May 24, her latest album, STEADY EYE SHAKY BOW, a collection of upbeat melodies and ballads that Choffel describes as “blues-colored dark grit” drawing from musical influences that include Stax-style jazz and Motown R&B.

Choffel and her band — Kyle Thompson on drums, Johnny Vogelsang on bass, Laura Scarborough on vibraphone and synthesizer, and Chris Gebhard on keys and guitar —will make numerous special appearances around the new release. The band recently performed at SXSW Music Festival, including a show at Auditorium Shores with Blue October.

Around the release of STEADY EYE SHAKY BOW Choffel will tour in Texas in May and June, including an Album Release Show in Austin. The album has already yielded “Raincloud,” with its smart, witty lyrics and soulful syncopated sound that is more than pop, the song infused with the flavor of New Orleans with the backing by Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and a video viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.
Another song on the new album is “Archer,” from whence the album’s title comes, a song that exemplifies Choffel’s unique lyrical expression of the emotions inherent in relationships.
Multiple award-winner Choffel was named Indie Artist of the Year at the 2009 Austin Music Awards and won top honors in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
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Suzanna Choffel upcoming shows include:
May 13, Saxon Pub, Austin
May 19, The Shady Grove, Austin
May 20, Luna, San Antonio
May 24, Waterloo Records In-Store, Austin
May 28, One World Theatre, Austin (Album Release Show)
June 11, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston
June 16, Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock

Sugar Hill Records Releases Wood and Stone from Tara Nevins

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins releases an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise, in Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999.  Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory.

Fans of Nevins from her 21-year tenure with Donna the Buffalo are familiar with her versatile talents; she shares the vocal and songwriting responsibilities for the band and is a stellar musician on fiddle, guitar, and accordion.  (She plays a mean scrubboard too.) Prior to DTB, Nevins was a founding member of the all-female, old time/Cajun band The Heartbeats. (They join her on two tracks here as well.) Wood and Stone delivers the musical expertise fans have come to expect and surprises with new perspectives.

“This album is personal and sort of revelatory,” Nevins says.  “It’s an expression of recent emotional discovery within relationships lost and found, and how knowing the core of who we are is the real deal. There were so many elements I wanted to explore—to combine all the pieces of my personal musical puzzle--and then have it come together in a cohesive whole. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Larry Campbell.  I am honored to have had him both produce and play on my record.  He's an amazingly talented and soulful musician.  He has a very natural, down-to-earth approach and an instinctual insightfulness that I really appreciate; he really got what I was after. The whole experience was inspiring and challenging in a very positive way.”

Campbell is a much-sought-after musician/producer renowned for his work with Bob Dylan and still rolling from the success of Levon Helm’s two Grammy- winners, Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, which he produced.  He found Nevins’s project immediately compelling.  “I liked the feel of the project-- her combination of old-time mountain music and original songwriting—and I was taken with Tara’s unique talent; she’s got a distinctive voice—there’s a kind of honesty that shines through.”
Ten of the thirteen tracks are originals, and Nevins’s complexity gets a broad stage. She dispenses wit and wisdom with an atypical take on love and relationships through gritty songs such as “You’ve Got It All” and “You’re Still Driving That Truck,” then turns to wrenching hearts with songs like “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale), a beautiful metaphorical ballad about the pain of loving someone unable to truly give back, and “Tennessee River,” a haunting, gripping song about the stranglehold love can have over a person’s whole existence.  “Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.
The record kicks off with the title cut “Wood and Stone,” and that “honest” element is readily apparent in this touching tribute to home and family. Old-timey acoustics are quickly joined by drums and steel guitars as Nevins sings about “the better part of me” regarding her upbringing and early influences.  “It’s got that magical blend of music and lyrics,” Campbell says of it, “and it really paints a picture of where she comes from.”
The record is “framed” by another nostalgic piece, “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” (by Van Morrison), bringing the record full-circle and serving as a sort of catharsis for the dark tone of “Tennessee River”.  “I wanted to end the record with it,” Nevins explains, “because I love the sentiment of the song and it’s kind of like ‘the sun always comes back out’ kind of thing. We grow and learn and take our relationships with us for better and for worse and that’s life in all its beauty and glory.”

Nevins’s rare blend of enormous talent coupled with genuine down-home humbleness has won the hearts of fans and colleagues alike.  “Tara has this worldly awareness combined with a fragile innocence,” Larry Campbell notes, “which makes her songwriting and music very accessible…very appealing.”  Wood and Stone is sure to add to that appeal.