The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Celebrates First Gold Digital Certification

Over two decades after its release, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s (NGDB) No. 1 hit single “Fishin’ in the Dark” is still setting records.  The classic song has been certified GOLD by the RIAA for digital sales of over 500,000 copies.  “Fishin’ in the Dark” was a monster hit for NGDB dominating the No. 1 spot on the country charts in both the US and Canada in 1987.  It was first released digitally in 2009.

“’Fishin’ in the Dark’ seems to have a life of its own and has certainly become a signature song for us over the years,” said band member Jeff Hanna. “We love that this song has become a summer anthem and continues to appeal to new audiences year after year.”

Often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in Country Rock and American Roots Music, NGDB continues to add to their already legendary status.  With multi-platinum and gold records, a string of top ten hits, multiple Grammy, CMA, ACM and IBMA Awards and nominations, and now a GOLD Digital Certification, the band's accolades continue to accumulate. Showing no signs of slowing down, NGDB is currently on an extensive North American Tour.  The band is celebrating another HUGE milestone this year, over four decades of touring and making music!

NGDB is currently on the road in support of their most recent release, the critically acclaimed album Speed of Life (2009, Sugar Hill Records). For a full list of tour dates, visit www.nittygritty.com.

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Tour Dates:

05/07/2011 - Fort Yates, ND - Prairie Knights Casino & Resort
06/03/2011 - Scottown, OH - Appalachian Uprising Bluegrass

06/04/2011 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage

06/16/2011 - Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts

06/17/2011 - Louisville, KY - Kentucky Country Day School Theater
06/18/2011 - Springfield, MO - Show Me Music Festival
06/19/2011 - Littleton, CO - Hudson Gardens and Event Center
06/24/2011 - Manhattan, KS - The Country Stampede Tuttle Creek State Park

06/25/2011 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
06/26/2011 - Laytonville, CA - Kate Wolf Memorial Music

07/03/2011 - Mountain View, AR - Ozark Folk Center

07/08/2011 - Huntley, MT - Huntley Homesteader Days Festival

07/09/2011 - Libby, MT - CARD Summer Concert

07/24/2011 - Twin Lakes, WI - Country Thunder USA

07/27/2011 - Minot, ND - North Dakota State Fair

07/30/2011 - Sweet Home, OR - Oregon Jamboree

Paul Brady's 'Hooba Dooba' Streets 5/24

The career of Paul Brady — whose 12th solo album, the exuberantly titled Hooba Dooba, gets its U.S. release on May 24, 2011 via Proper American — is not that of your usual singer/songwriter. And the new record is the most wildly eclectic this man for all seasons has yet recorded. “I’m a marketing department’s nightmare,” he jokes, before discussing the confusion that has surrounded him for so long.

“I don’t really fit any of the recognized models for artists,” he acknowledges. “That has to do with my musical background, the variety of my tastes and the fact that I’ve jumped from place to place in my career. But at the same time, I’ve never found a compelling reason to narrow my perspective on the music I love by making a record that is only a small bit of what I am. I love big, romantic ballads, screamin’ blues songs, folk songs, country tunes. All these things have been hard to put into one box and say what it is, and I suppose I’ve suffered from that to a degree. But that’s what I am, and my fans are into me because of that — they’re the kind of people who resist marketing strategies, who like to discover things themselves. They respond to the sound of a voice, which says something to them on a subliminal level emotionally, rather than falling for some image.”
In 1963, five years after picking up his first guitar at age 11 and playing along with Shadows and Ventures records, the young Irishman snagged his first paying gig tinkling the ivories in a Donegal hotel, marking the beginning of 48 uninterrupted years of making music — all kinds of music. Like so many of his contemporaries on that side of the pond, he spent a chunk of the ’60s cranking up the volume in R&B bands before making a radical shift into Irish folk music, working with the Johnstons and Planxty, in collaboration with Andy Irvine and on his own, interpreting traditional songs. In the late ’70s, now married and with two kids on the way, he dedicated himself to writing his own material, inspired in part by the music of Gerry Rafferty, another folk artist who’d remade himself as an eloquent singer/songwriter. Hard Station, Brady’s 1981 solo debut album, containing the first fruit of his labors, returned him to the realm of rock and pop, and he scored his first big cover a year later when Hard Station’s “Night Hunting Time” wound up on Santana’s million-selling Shango, to its author’s surprise and delight.
Brady spent the next two decades leading a double life as a recording artist making a sustained effort to get on the radar and a much-covered songwriter, a number of his songs made famous by singers far better known than himself. These included such high-profile covers as Bonnie Raitt’s memorable, multiple-Grammy-winning rendition of “Luck of the Draw” (1991) and Brooks & Dunn’s chart-topping country single “The Long Goodbye” (2001). Around the turn of the century, the multitalented veteran once again reinvented himself, this time as a self-contained, truly independent artist. Since this latest metamorphosis, he’s been touring constantly in small-group settings on both sides of the Atlantic and making records whenever he felt inspired to do so. Which brings us back full circle to Hooba Dooba, its multiple facets glinting like an uncut diamond nestled in a field of shamrocks.
Brady describes “The Winners’ Ball,” propelled by a springy, soulful groove, as “a tongue-and-cheek look at the excesses of the modern end of music,” while “Rainbow” is a lush, widescreen ballad that begs for a country cover, though Brady insists that it’s closer to Memphis than Nashville. “The Price of Fame” builds to a string-laden crescendo in the grand manner of vintage Elton John, and the following “One More Today” sounds like some just-discovered Tin Pan Alley standard.
The album’s most dramatic segue takes the listener from the earthy, rollicking “Follow That Star” to the heart-wrenching “Mother and Son.” “I do like slapping people in the face, figuratively, with an emotional change,” Brady explains. “‘Follow That Star’ comes out of a genre that I have always loved, raw, acoustic blues — anything from Lead Belly to Mississippi John Hurt to ’60s British blues of Winwood, Beck and Clapton. ‘Mother and Son’ is a song about my relationship with my mother. It’s a song that I was trying to write for many years, but only managed to finish it after she passed on.”
The album also contains his first-ever recording of “Luck of the Draw,” the only song here not of recent vintage — apart, that is, from its lone non-original, a sublime, irresistible rendering of “You Won’t See Me” from Rubber Soul. “I wrote ‘Luck of the Draw’ when I was making the Trick or Treat album in L.A. back in 1990, and that’s when Bonnie Raitt picked up on it. I’d always wanted to record it because I had a very different take from the way Bonnie did it, but I decided to leave it alone for a respectable amount of time after hers was current. That was a long time ago, obviously, and it seemed like the right time to do it.” Good move — Brady’s take is so unlike Raitt’s familiar one as to be virtually unrecognizable, providing the song with an edgy, vital second life.
When asked why he decided to title the album Hooba Dooba, Brady replies, “It’s a phrase I’ve used many times in situations when something takes me by surprise that’s pleasurable. In this case, I was in the art department with the designer who was working on the cover looking through various ideas, and when he showed me the image that eventually became the cover, I looked at it and went, “Hooba dooba.” He said, ‘Is that the album title?’ and when I told him no, he said, ‘Well it should be.’ And I decided he was right. Nothing more profound than that.”
Given Brady’s back story, it’s hard to say whether Hooba Dooba — which features guests Jerry Douglas on lap steel and Sarah Siskind on backing vocals — will clear up the confusion about just who this multifaceted guy is or add to it, but one thing’s for sure: this record is a dead-honest picture of a one-of-a-kind artist who has always been absolutely true to himself.

“I’ve been in this business over 40 years, and I’m a survivor,” says Brady with unconcealed pride. “I’ve been through plenty of ups and downs, and I know what the business is. I have a broad enough base in terms of my activities to have survived for this long and to still be enjoying what I’m doing. Anything above and beyond that is icing on the cake.” He pauses for a moment, his face lighting up in a smile. “And the cake is okay.”

Back by popular demand - the Grateful Dead Movie

By popular demand, The Grateful Dead Movie will be back in theatres on Thursday, May 5th! This special event not only features the legendary 1974 concert that captured the Dead at the pinnacle of worldwide fame, but exclusive never-before-seen interviews with Jerry and Bob conducted during the making of this cinematic rockumentary over 35 years ago. Originally recorded at San Francisco’s Winterland Arena in 1974, The Grateful Dead Movie makes film history with spell-binding performances of “U.S. Blues,” “One More Saturday Night,” “Casey Jones,” “Playing in the Band” and “Sugar Magnolia,” among other Grateful Dead classics.

Experience the magic all over again - Click here to find a theater location and buy your tickets. Limited seats available.

Take the music home with you when you pick up the 5-CD soundtrack to the film. Get it here!

David Bromberg's USE ME Tapes Friends

When David Bromberg, one of America’s finest roots musicians, emerged from a recording hiatus of 17 years with the solo, acoustic, traditional folk-blues album Try Me One More Time (Appleseed, 2007), fans and critics were thrilled, and the CD was rewarded with a Grammy nomination. For his follow-up album, Use Me, Bromberg chose a different approach: Why not ask some of his favorite singer-songwriters and musicians to write (or choose), produce, and perform on songs tailored to his versatile but distinctive skills as a guitarist and vocalist?

Answering David’s call were well-known artists from the many genres comprising the amorphous “Americana” musical category. Representing contemporary rootsy singer-songwriters: John Hiatt, the first musician Bromberg approached, who penned the pensive “Ride On Out a Ways” for him; for New Orleans “fonk,” Dr. John; there’s three-guitar jam band interplay with Widespread Panic and jug band music with Levon Helm (the sprightly “Bring It With You When You Come,” produced by Grammy-winning Larry Campbell). Linda Ronstadt puts in a rare appearance on a soulful Brook Benton ballad, Los Lobos contribute a Mexican-flavored waltz, Vince Gill and Tim O’Brien take care of the country and bluegrass quotient, Keb’ Mo’ brings the blues, and the hitmaking Butcher Brothers, producers Phil and Joe Nicolo (Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Cypress Hill, Nine Inch Nails), provide the languid R&B groove for the title song, a cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Use Me.”

The resultant album is due for July 12, 2011 release on Appleseed Records. A national tour will ensue.
Standout tracks change with each listening, but some of the high points include the crisp blues shuffle “Tongue,” the album’s lone Bromberg original, with Levon Helm on drums; “You Don’t Wanna Make Me Mad,” featuring David on slide guitar and Dr. John on piano; the ominous slow blues “Diggin’ in the Deep Blue Sea,” updated by Keb’ Mo’ and Gary Nicholson from Larry Davis’ “Texas Flood” to address the dangers of offshore drilling, and the chipper Vince Gill — Guy Clark co-write “Lookout Mountain Girl,” the only song on which David cedes most of the lead guitar duties (to Vince, although David splits the lead with Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring on “Old Neighborhood”).
Rather than collating individual instrumental parts literally phoned in to a central location, the recording sessions for Use Me generally took place on each guest artist’s home turf — in Woodstock (Levon Helm), New Orleans (Dr. John), Nashville (John Hiatt, Tim O’Brien, Vince Gill), Los Angeles (Los Lobos), and so on, to retain their regional flavors. For Bromberg, who started his professional career as an accompanist for everyone from Dion and Jay and the Americans to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, the sessions were simultaneously a throwback to his sideman days and a sidestep from his own recordings. “As artist and producer, I get to completely mold my vision of how the song should go,” he explains. “The drawback is that I don’t get many ideas that are not my own. It was fascinating for me to see the different approaches that everyone used in production.”
No matter who the producers, songwriters or accompanying musicians are on Use Me, Bromberg’s expressive guitar-playing and “rippling Fred Neil-like baritone that . . . brings warm, reassuring comfort” (Rolling Stone) remain the centerpiece of the CD, diamonds in golden settings.
Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, NY, “I listened to rock ’n’ roll and whatever else was on the radio,” says Bromberg. “I discovered Pete Seeger and The Weavers and, through them, Reverend Gary Davis. I then discovered Big Bill Broonzy, who led me to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues. This was more or less the same time I discovered Flatt and Scruggs, which led to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.”
Bromberg began studying guitar when he was 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The call of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the Reverend Gary Davis.
Bromberg’s sensitive, blues-based approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and lots of employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon. In the early ’90s, David produced an as-yet-unreleased Dylan album, although two tracks have been issued as part of Dylan’s “Bootleg Series.”
An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut included the mock-anguished “Suffer To Sing the Blues,” a Bromberg original that became an FM radio staple, and “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison on which Harrison also played slide guitar. David, who had met the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia at the Woodstock Festival when they both took refuge from the rain in a tepee, wound up with four Dead members, including Garcia, playing on his next two albums.
Bromberg’s range of material, based in the folk and blues idioms, continually expanded with each new album to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country and ethnic music, and his touring band grew apace. By the mid-’70s, the David Bromberg Big Band included horn-players, a fiddler, and several multi-instrumentalists, including David himself. Among the best-known Bromberg Band graduates: mandolinist Andy Statman, later a major figure in the Klezmer music movement in America, and fiddler Jay Ungar (who wrote the memorable “Ashokan Farewell” for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, “The Civil War”).
Despite jubilant, loose-limbed concerts and a string of acclaimed albums on the Fantasy label, Bromberg found himself exhausted by the logistics of the music business. “I decided to change the direction of my life,” he explains. So David dissolved his band in 1980, and he and his artist/musician wife, Nancy Josephson, moved from Northern California to Chicago, where David attended the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. Though he still toured periodically, the recordings slowed to a trickle and then stopped.
After “too many Chicago winters,” in 2002 David and Nancy moved to Wilmington, Del., where they currently serve as unofficial “artists in residence” and where David established David Bromberg Fine Violins, a retail store and repair shop for high quality instruments. Frequent participation in the city’s weekly jam sessions helped rekindle Bromberg’s desire to perform music “live” again, and the encouragement of fellow musicians Chris Hillman (The Byrds, Desert Rose Band, Flying Burrito Brothers) and bluegrass wizard Herb Pedersen helped nudge him back into the recording studio. The Wilmington jams also led to the formation of Angel Band, fronted by Nancy and two other female vocalists, with David frequently serving as an accompanist.
Bromberg’s participation in his local and musical community has subsequently included a fund-raising music festival (Bromberg’s Big Noise in the Neighborhood) to help renovate a local theater, and a keynote address at this past spring’s Folk Alliance International convention, a non-profit organization of musicians, concert presenters and industry professionals.
David continues his musical revitalization with projects like Use Me, playing solo shows or backed by his own bluegrass quartet and reunions of the David Bromberg Big Band. Use your ears and catch him when you can!

Rolling Stone Heralds Virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro as Ukulele Hero

Ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro has received unanimous acclaim from New York Times, NPR, Time Magazine & NY Post. Next up is the current Rolling Stone “Best of Rock” issue that praises Shimabukuro as an “Ukulele Hero,” saying “one of the hottest axmen of the past few years doesn’t actually play guitar.” Writer Patrick Doyle called Shimabukuro’s cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” “jaw-dropping.”

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Check out the Rolling Stone article here.

Watch Shimabukuro’s rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” here.

More info on Jake Shimabukuro.

Dawes to Release Nothing is Wrong June 7th

ATO Records is proud to announce the release of Nothing Is Wrong, the highly anticipated second album by critically acclaimed Los Angeles-based, Dawes, on June 7, 2011.  Nothing Is Wrong is the follow-up to the band’s 2009 debut, North Hills (featuring their breakout anthem, “When My Time Comes”), an extraordinary record that was released quietly and soon became regarded among critics and fans across the country as a classic and must-own favorite. A collection of songs that expertly builds upon the template laid by North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong sees Dawes displaying strong growth and evolution while still manifesting their distinctive, unforgettable voice.
A self-described “American rock ‘n’ roll band,” Dawes represent everything pure and true about that fundamental delineation, four talented friends making music together, fueled by a shared belief in the power of their songs. With Nothing Is Wrong, singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, his brother Griffin on drums, keyboardist Tay Strathairn, and bassist Wylie Gelber – continue to master their blend of singer/songwriter reflection with folk, country, and AOR-inspired arrangements, all ringing guitars, soaring harmonies, and heartfelt melodies.
“We didn’t change up our approach too much and yet we were able to create something that I feel has a new identity from our first record,” Goldsmith says. “It’s definitely taking a step in a direction and at the same time, it’s maintaining what it needs to maintain.”
In 2009, Dawes emerged from the ashes of California combo Simon Dawes with North Hills, which drew instant acclaim for its rootsy revitalization of classic El Lay rock. And like any American rock ‘n’ roll band worth its salt, Dawes followed up by touring nearly non-stop. As a result, Goldsmith was only able to write during rare free moments, in the course of brief visits home or while crashing at a friend’s for a few days.
Goldsmith took a brief break from the band to record with friends and tour-mates John McCauley of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit as the collaborative supergroup Middle Brother, and in September 2010, Dawes reunited with producer Wilson at his new Echo Park studio. As with North Hills, Dawes opted to record Nothing Is Wrong live to 2” analog tape. Far from just an exercise in nostalgic authenticity, the band sees the more traditional technique as a way of focusing their energies and affirming their dedication to the creative process.
“If you’re writing on a typewriter,” Goldsmith says, “you have to commit to whatever you’re writing. Typewriters don’t make it easy for you to go back and rethink things. Same thing with recording analog. We don’t do it because that’s what the people we admire did. We do it because it demands something out of us. It doesn’t allow us to show up lazy or not on our game. We cut every track knowing that this stuff isn’t easy to edit.”
Along with critical approbation and an ever-growing fan following, Dawes has earned admiration from many of their greatest heroes. Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers joined the band on organ on both North Hills and Nothing Is Wrong, while the new album’s “Fire Away” sees guest vocals from Jackson Browne, who has since invited the band to both support and back him on a European tour.  In addition, after Goldsmith contributed vocals to Robbie Robertson’s star-studded new How To Become Clairvoyant, the legendary guitarist/songwriter asked Dawes to serve as his backing combo for a number of promotional performances, sensing in them the character of a true band, a tight knit unit who know how to work together and instinctively play off each other’s individual gifts.
Nothing Is Wrong captures both Dawes’ studio and stage approaches, matching the loose extemporaneity and crunchy dynamism of the band’s live sets with finely honed arrangements and deft musicianship. Beginning next week, ATO Records and Dawes will release a series of weekly videos online featuring interview, candid, recording, and live performance footage leading up to release date on June, 7. Visit the band’s website for more information.
Check out Grateful Web reviews of both Middle Brother and Dawes.
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The tracklisting for Nothing Is Wrong:
1. Time Spent in Los Angeles
2.  If I Wanted Someone
3.  My Way Back Home
4. Coming Back to a Man
5. So Well
6. How Far We’ve Come
7. Fire Away
8. Moon in the Water
9. Million Dollar Bill
10. The You Laugh
11. A Little Bit of Everything
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TOUR DATES
May 5 - Houston, TX - Fitzgeralds
May 6 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
May 7 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
May 9 - Orlando, FL - Beacham Theater
May 10 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
May 11 - Tampa, FL - State Theatre
May 12 - St. Augustine, FL - Cafe Eleven
May 13 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
May 14 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival (2pm -note 2 shows on 5/14)
May 14 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
May 15 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
May 17 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre
May 18 - Carborro, NC - Cat's Cradle
May 19 - Athens, GA - Melting Point
May 20 - Chattanooga, TN - Nightfall Series (free show)
May 23 - New Haven, CT - Toad's
May 24 - Portland, ME - State Theatre
May 25 - Northampton, MA - The Iron Horse
May 26 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
May 27 - Montreal, QC - Le National
May 28 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
May 29 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew's Hall
June 1 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
June 2 - Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
June 3 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre
June 5 - Hunter Mountain, NY - Mountain Jam
June 6 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
June 7 - Louisville, KY - Iroquois Ampitheatre
June 8 - Columbus, OH - LC Ampitheatre
June 9 - Pittsburgh, PA -Stage AE
June 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center
June 11 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap
June 13 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
June 14 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
June 15 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
June 16 - Bend, OR - Athletic Club of Bend
June 17 - Chico, CA -   El Rey Theatre
June 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
June 20 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
June 21 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
June 22 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theatre
June 23 - Las Vegas, NV - Silverton Casino
June 24 - Reno, NV - Knitting Factory
June 25 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre
July 2 - Emeryville, CA - High Sierra Music Festival
July 7 - Winnipeg, MB  - Winnipeg Folk Festival
July 8 - Winnipeg, MB  - Winnipeg Folk Festival

Tea Leaf Green readies 'Radio Tragedy!'

It ain’t easy being gypsies, especially ones who sing for their supper. San Francisco Bay Area troubadours Tea Leaf Green are newfangled Lost Boys, a traveling gang dedicated to seeking wisdom and experience in places both glorious and seedy. The band’s seventh studio album, Radio Tragedy!, will be released through Thirty Tigers available worldwide on June 7. Fans who pre-order the album by May 1st are eligible to win handwritten lyrics from the songwriter.

In many ways, this quintet is the essence of rock’s adventurous, playfully outlaw spirit, all of which ultimately fuels songs that resonate with classic vibrations, open-ended possibilities and radio-ready charm. TLG are bruised romantics with heavy minds and a lighthearted way with experimentation, as likely to jam out a number as they are to nail a primo verse-verse-chorus pop gem.

All the steadily growing promise of Tea Leaf Green comes to fruition on their new album with the aid of producer Jeremy Black (Apollo Sunshine). The band has crafted a powerhouse work in Radio Tragedy!, with the oomph of their stellar live performances melded to a truly impressive array of vocal nuance, rib-sticking song craft and smart studio flourishes.

From the Bee Gees-esque bite of “Easy To Be Your Lover” to the bouncing modern rock of “You’re My Star,” Radio Tragedy! showcases a contemporary American rock monster fully emerging from the shadows, ready to take on any comers with a sound that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with skilled contemporaries like My Morning Jacket and The Strokes.

Together, Trevor Garrod (keys, vocals), Josh Clark (guitar, vocals), Scott Rager (drums), Reed Mathis (bass, vocals) and newest member Cochrane McMillan (drums) have made a record that’s both timely and timeless — a strange, beautiful space that Tea Leaf Green inhabits naturally and gracefully.

“Much of this record is a reflection on the ups and downs on the road to radio gold, chasing dreams and ghosts on America’s highways and finding triumph, sorrow and sacrifice in the pursuit,” says Josh Clark. “Tea Leaf Green has been a band for over a decade.  We’ve tried to simply focus on music, just music, honest music, operating in the shadow of braggart auto-tuned rappers and inane teeny bop prop puppets that has come to rule and choke the life out of what was once America’s greatest export — rock ’n’ roll.”

“I don't think any of us have ever felt completely satisfied with our past studio experiences, so we went into this one with the deliberate intent of making a complete album.  Each of us brought our own vision and we did our best to fuse those ideas in the studio, all of us committed to seeing each member’s vision take shape,” says Scott Rager. “TLG has been a band for 13 years and I think we’ve made the record we always thought we were capable of making.”

“I wanted a story — something loud, something bright, something to scare your kids goodnight. There is adventure to be had. There is an undiscovered country,” says Trevor Garrod.  “We have been there for each other through thick (rarely) and thin (mostly). There are five of us now and like a pack of pickpockets, we will steal your heart.”

“At the center, our commitment to this music and our passion for making it and performing it has remained rock steady,” continues Josh Clark. “Like countless bands creating phenomenal music today, we work on the edges of the mainstream where we can be heard, looking in on the tragedy that radio seems to have forgotten where to find the gold.  This album is a true story of our lives in pursuit of a dream from another time and how we survive despite it all.”

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RADIO TRAGEDY! track listing

1.    All Washed Up
2.    Easy To Be Your Lover
3.    You're My Star
4.    My Oklahoma Home
5.    Fallen Angel
6.    Sleep Paralysis
7.    Germinating Seed
8.    Honey Bee
9.    The Cottonwood Tree
10.   Arise
11.   Nothing Changes

The Shivers Heading Out on Tour This Spring!

On May 10th, The Shivers will return with their latest record More, set for release on Silence Breaks. Recorded in Manchester, UK early last year, the album finds Queens, NY songwriters Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow exploring everything from shambly garage rock to melancholic barroom ballads. In honor of the band’s new album, the band has made “Used to Be” available for free download. Check out the track HERE. The band will also be heading out on a west coast tour starting in early May that will be capped off with a New York homecoming at Mercury Lounge on May 29th. See full tour dates below.
Using every dime they’d saved, Zarriello and Schornikow traveled to Manchester in Spring of 2010 to record their latest record in an entirely analog studio. Over five days, the two worked tirelessly, fleshing out the tracks they had worked on in the small church in Queens where the band practices. The end result was More, an album that runs the gamut of American rock ’n’ roll, delving into everything from gritty Lou-Reed-inspired rock to the swaggering soul of Nina Simone. Starting with the brief piano elegy “My Mouth is for Love,” More segues quickly into “Irrational Love,” a bouncy organ-driven rock track with a chorus that sounds like it was plucked from 1966. The album teeters between the upbeat pop of tracks like “Used to Be” and “I Want You Back” to the heartsick, Leonard-Cohen-inspired ballads like “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” and “Love Is In The Air.” The album closes with the record’s title track “More,” a slow-building confessional that serves the record’s triumphant last call. It’s an apt end for a record that sounds like an apologetic love note, written on barroom cocktail napkin.
Hailing from Queens, NY, Keith Zarriello began writing music as The Shivers started back in 2001 and has spent the last ten years mining the depths of American rock, developing a songwriting style that ranges from earnest, heartbroken ballads to ’60s garage rock revival. In 2004, Zarrellio released Charades, which featured the much lauded track “Beauty,” which earned universal praise from the likes of Pitchfork and The Guardian, and would end up being named Gorilla Vs Bear’s thirteenth best song of the decade. The album also caught the ear of an Australian, classically-trained church organist named Jo Schornikow, who joined the band as a full-time member that year. Adding counterpoint of beauty with her piano and keyboard flutters, The Shivers spent the next six years touring aggressively in the U.S. and the U.K., and releasing a grand total of four albums, leading up to the ultimate release of More this year.
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The Shivers Tour Dates:
05/04: San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
05/06: Ashland, OR @ Culture Works
05/07: Portland, OR @ Backspace
05/10: Moscow, ID @ John’s Alley
05/11: Hailey, ID @ Sun Valley Brew
05/12: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
05/14: Las Vegas, NV @ The Las Vegas Country Saloon
05/15: Fullerton, CA @ Commonwealth Lounge
05/19: San Diego, CA @ Habitat House
05/20: San Diego, CA @ Eleven
05/21: Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Café
05/29: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
06/10: Fredericksburg, VA @ Read All Over Bookstore
06/15: New Haven, CT @ BAR

Labor Records reissues Heiner Stadler’s album Tribute to Bird and Monk

A truly groundbreaking landmark recording, Tribute To Bird and Monk, was widely lauded when it was first released in 1978 – credited as one of the best and most unusual albums of that year by Neil Tesser in a Jazz Magazine article that noted the record’s “tough, bright, innovative resiliency” and earning the coveted five star (highest) rating in a Downbeat review by critic Jerry de Muth (who called the two LP set “a brilliant mixture of arranged and free jazz”) and garnering arranger-producer Heiner Stadler a place in the magazine’s Annual Critic’s Poll as a Talent Deserving Wider Recognition.  More than thirty years later, the album originally released on Tomato Records, is a coveted collectors item whose importance has only been compounded with time, while Stadler’s pioneering conception continues to be a talent very much deserving of wider recognition.  Now reissued as a compact disc on his own Labor Records imprint, it is likely that Stadler’s unique talent will again be heard as deserving increased attention and the music will once more be praised on a level comparable to when it first appeared. The considerable artistic success of Stadler’s pioneering project can be credited as much to his visionary assembling of a truly distinctive ensemble to perform his inventive orchestrations, described by de Muth as “far more than arrangements,” noting that “recompositions would be a better term.”

In selecting veteran cornetist Thad Jones, a Monk alumnus and one of the most renowned arrangers of his day, to be an important member of the band filled out by much younger musicians who were closely associated with more modernist, even avant garde aspects of the jazz genre, Stadler imbued the date with an intriguing traditionalist facet at atime when tradition and innovation were virtually at war.  Tenor saxophonist George Adams, most recognized for his work with Charles Mingus made him at home in both camps, but his fierce uninhibited sound was certainly heard as being outside the mainstream.  The youngest member of the group, trombonist George Lewis as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was clearly recognized as a member of the avant garde.  Stadler’s choice of rhythm section mates could be considered most astute, with multitalented pianist Stanley Cowell as one of the few players of his instrument to find a place in the post Ornette realm of forward looking modernism. Virtuoso bassist Reggie Workman, a veteran of Coltrane’s innovative band and  then a member of Max Roach’s creative quartet was extending both the range and the role of the bass.  While Lenny White, known for his pioneering fusion work on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and Chick Corea’s Return To Forever, proved to be a propulsive force, capable of swinging with fiery power.  The addition of percussionist Warren Smith on tympani for a pair of tracks further contributes to the band’s uncommon sound.

In his introductory comments for the reissue Tribute To Bird and Monk (prefacing the late Robert Palmer’s original liner notes) Jazz Journalist Association President Howard Mandel observes,  “By casting a unique sextet of New York City’s best improvising instrumentalists to explore the potentialities and retain the essences of music by two great jazz modernists composer-producer Stadler proved prescient. In 2010 tribute projects proliferate, though few take the dramatic leaps to create new art from indestructible aspects of established creations that Stadler’s does.” With remixed sound by the brilliant engineer Malcolm Addey listeners can now appreciate more the nuances of Stadler’s polytonal arrangements and the soloists’ daring improvisations on the six tracks split evenly between Monk and Parker compositions.

As Palmer points out in his liner notes (now reprinted) Parker’s opening “Air Conditioning” begins, “deceptively as it turns out, with a unison theme statement in C.”  Deceptively, as it is, because Stadler’s “polytonal manipulations on the theme …especially evident in the horn backgrounds that frame the solos.”  Each of the sextet members improvise boldly with Jones kicking things off with one of the date’s most conventional statements, followed by Lewis who pushes things a bit further out, preceding Adams who gradually takes things into space, with the ensembles raucous backgrounds deftly referring to Parker’s melodic line.  Cowell’s outing is particularly adventurous, proving himself to be one of the very few keyboardists who wasable to interpolate the vocabulary of Cecil Taylor into the more traditional language of bebop.  Workman, whopowerfully pushes the unit throughout, acquits the bass as an instrument quite capable of holding its own in the spotlight, while White solos musically, hearkening to Max Roach’s work with Bird.

Drums dramatically open Monk’s “Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are,” followed by Workman’s vigorously bowed bass and the horn section’s statement of the theme, which begins ominously before morphing into a carnival-like mood reflecting the composer’s sly sense of humor. Cowell, the lone remaining soloist, improvises lengthily here – referencing Monk frequently, occasionally with verbatim phraseology -- as horns enter and exit at odd intervals chime in with backgrounds transcribed from Monk’s original piano solo with Cecil Bridgewater (subbing for the snowbound Jones) playing with free spirited assurance.  Palmer notes the performance seems to be a particularly radical recomposition with each phrase of the theme voiced polytonally and separated from the next by a free collective improvisation, with Stadler’s score warning “don’t improvise too long in order to avoid losing the continuity of the melody.”

Parker’s ” Au Privave” features the trombone of George Lewis whose years of experience playing numerous uptempo Bird songs with Anthony Braxton finds him well prepared for his exemplary work here.  Adams plays the opening theme over Workman’s bass walking (in a different key) joined shortly thereafter by the horns. Lewis improvises marvelously, following Stadler’s instructions to vary his tempo, playing either slightly faster or slower than half time, while the rhythm sections plays in the set tempo.  The result is in Palmer’s words “constantly shifting mosaic of tempos … and each tempo swings.”

Workman and White open up Monk’s “Straight No Chaser” before the horns begin playing fragments of the well known melody with the various separate components linked by collectively improvised horn ensembles. Jones solos first, playing with an inspired abandon Palmer described at the time of the original release as “his most exciting and creative recorded work in years.”  Cowell again proves himself to be one of the most creative soloists of his generation improvising in tandem with the primordial Workman in a manner recalling Monk, while White’s drums run the gamut from New Orleans to out(er space) in a rhythmic duel with the horns’ staccato background. Workman’s extended unaccompanied bass solo brings the horns back in and the bassist walks things to a close

“Misterioso,” the final Monk exploration again begins with a Lenny White solo, his drums here joined by Warren Smith’s tympani, as various members of the ensemble play fragments of the bluesy theme to frame their percussion discussion, with Cowell’s piano clearly drawing the line between Monk and Cecil Taylor.  Workman’s bass is in the spotlight again, displaying a vast sonic array with incredible pizzicato and arco sections that are sensitively backed by the rest of the band on a truly masterful interpretation of the Monk classic engendered by Stadler’s daring arrangement which concludes with a return to the percussion section’s buoying of the theme.

Parker’s “Perhaps” ends the date on one of its lighter notes, with brass playing the not so widely known Bird line to open things up for Adams’ breathy flute as the rhythm section swings over Workman’s fast walking bass, joined intermittedly by trumpet and trombone, breaking up thetempo before Adams lets loose on tenor playing with a full emotional range -- from terrifying to tender -- that leads to a final ensemble statement of the theme with an almost conventional tone that offers an unexpected final relief.

The durability of this music, as daringly modern todayas it was when it was made more than three decades ago, stands as a tribute not just to Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, but also to Heiner Stadler, whose sympathetic vision of the two great composer’s creativity has brought their sound into the future while paying homage to the tradition from where it sprang.  As Mandel notes, “Tribute is a fair indication of Stadler’s powers. In it, he demonstrates that Bird and Monk wrote immutably multi-faceted music from which inspired individuals can generate kaleidoscopic variations, and that their music has inspired him to stretch form in a manner indisputably wed to content. There is no higher tribute than an artist making something new and enduring out of sources he admires and acknowledges.” This is the splendor Heiner Stadler provides to us with his Tribute to Bird and Monk.”

Boris Garcia: Today We Sail

Dear Music Friend of mine:

As we all know, bands with genuine musicians have a life cycle. No matter their level of chops, they start as beginners with lots of energy and perhaps less of the subtle judgment skills that great musicians have -- the ability to listen to each other, the ability to know when not to play.

And if they don’t fall into the snares of ego and delusion, they grow. They listen more, both to other music and each other, and they hear more (two different things!), and they reach a higher level.

Boris Garcia is the band that just fell together, and now with Today We Sail, three CDs later, they’re playing at a place that’s ever richer, ever more creative. The simple acoustic feel of their first work has become much more varied: a case in point is “Walking Barefoot,” which begins with a hard-edged rock sound that becomes lovely mandolins and then almost sounds like a full orchestra – an effect they get from just a very few strings (Producer Tim Carbone’s fiddle and Bud Burroughs’ mandolin) – amazing. And Bob Stirner’s lyrics are getting deeper, more evocative: “I’m not indifferent much or maybe, surely, I’ll be on my way, I’ll be on my way/You can’t see Santa if you don’t believe, I’ll be on my way…”

Jeff Otto’s whimsicality maintains its strength here, with “Song Dog” and “Deaf Dumb and Blind” – “But why can’t I see, that love’s for fools and I’m a fool so love’s for me” – but the playing is truly impressive, with piano punctuations sliding against the pedal steel – very hip, very deft. In fact, Chip Desnoyers’ pedal steel (with mandolin in “Song Dog”) is all over Today We Sail, and it’s powerful stuff.

Boris’ songs range from the power rock chords of “Mighty High,” which comes across as almost Springsteenish to me, to “Long Black Hair,” which takes me to “Long Black Veil,” to “Good Home,” which is a sweet love song that opens into a grand psychedelic guitar jam. And lots more.

They’re all over the musical map, but in this case it’s a good thing.

My, how the kids have grown.

Press: D. McNally, dennismcnally@mac.com

Today We Sail is available from www.borisgarcia.com or www.amazon.com