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Bear In Heaven on Tour Now

Bear In Heaven are tearing it up one last time for 2010.  If you haven't seen them yet, this is a show that needs to be experienced.  Joining them along the way for their last US tour for the year, are Lower Dens, Twin Shadow, Sun Airway and Cloudland Canyon.  And just for fun the band have released yet another stellar remix, this time coming from UK band Tropics for the standout track "You Do You."

“Sometimes somebody will come along and amaze you, Tropics amazed us," said Bear In Heaven's Jon Philpot. "They opened up our song “You Do You” like the retractable roof of an arena. It’s slow and bumping. It’s kinda like Phil Collins."

Bear In Heaven's double LP Beast Rest Forth Mouth and special remix LP featuring The Field, Studio, High Places, Justin K. Broadrick (a.k.a. Jesu), & More is available now through Hometapes.

The remix LP has already recieved RAVE reviews in the UK, with the BBC calling it an "absorbing reinvention". In a time where remixes are as common as singles themselves, this is a band who have crafted their already dynamic sound and taken it to an exciting new level.

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US Fall Tour Dates:

11/13 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon*^

11/14 - Atlanta - The Earl*^

11/16 Charlottesville, VA – The Southern*#^

11/17 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s*#

11/18 Cambridge, MA – Middle East Downstairs*#

11/19 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg*#

2/04 - Alexandria Street, Fortitude Valley - Brisbane, QLD

2/05 - Footscray Community Arts Centre - Melbourne, VIC

2/06 - Sydney College of the Arts - Sydney, NSW

2/11 - Fowler’s Live - Adelaide, SA

2/12 - Perth Cultural Centre, Urban Orchard, Northbridge - Perth, WA

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*Sun Airway

#Twin Shadow

^Cloudland Canyon

Delta Spirit Announce US Winter Tour

Let’s start here with a short list of the things that we lose along the way. It seems that the men of Long Beach, Calif., who make up Delta Spirit and who have written and recorded the 11 songs that comprise History From Below, would like this little process. It would make sense to them, this brief focus on what’s gone missing, on what’s been loved and remembered.

It’s not about dwelling on the losses, but recognizing how the losses make all that remains so much more meaningful. It shapes us more than we know – rounding off and enhancing the joys that are still around, that are yet to be made. But we do lose, sometimes without gain, just pain and heartache. So, we lose, in no particular order – chronologically or as importance goes – the following, in varying degrees: our youth, our safety, our comfort, our spirit, our innocence, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, our curiosity, our love, another of our loves, still another of our loves, our wives, our mothers, our fathers, our sight, our hearing, our husbands, our daughters, our drive, our sons, our pets, our time, our hair, our reflexes, our spryness, our brightness, our shine, our guts and we’re just getting started.

We lose nearly everything before we’re done, before we’ve been finished off or written to a stop. We’re wrecked to the point that we need saints and saviors because there’s no doing it on our own. There’s no human being that can get us through these ruts. It must be out of body. It must be something other, something that breathes new breath and something that runs interference with the losses, something that softens them.

Delta Spirit makes music that softens our losses, sure, but it’s a band that makes music to soften their own losses, whatever those may be (see above for a good start). It finds a pleasing heat in a fever and it finds a comfort in a chill, knowing that they will become the other with a long enough wait. They find “churches” wherever they travel and they find those willing to embrace with them in a pageant of the losses, making them feel as if they were three parts sweetness and one part regret. The losses make them realize that so much of our histories come from our hardships, whether we like it or not, and it’s decisive. We can’t help but feel absolutely included and vulnerable when, on “Bushwick Blues,” lead singer Matt Vazquez sings, “My love is strong, but my heart is weak,” with a drawn-out pause, before finishing with the words, “after all.”

US Tour Dates:
11/15/10 Jackpot Music Hall Lawrence, Kansas
11/16/10 Mojo's Columbia, Missouri
11/18/10 High Noon Saloon Madison, Wisconsin
11/19/10 Turner Hall Milwaukee, Wisconsin
11/20/10 Legends of Notre Dame South Bend, Indiana
11/21/10 Mountain Stage Radio Show Charleston, West Virginia
11/22/10 Tralf Music Hall Buffalo, New York
11/23/10 Webster Hall New York, New York
11/26/10 Paradise Rock Club Boston, Massachusetts
11/27/10 The Met Cafe Pawtucket, Rhode Island
11/29/10 OttoBar Baltimore, Maryland
11/30/10 Brillobox Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
12/01/10 The Mad Hatter Covington, Kentucky
12/02/10 Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall Asheville, North Carolina
12/03/10 Mercy Lounge Nashville, Tennessee
12/04/10 Metro Chicago, Illinois
12/07/10  Fillmore  San Francisco, California
12/08/10 The Music Box Hollywood, California
12/09/10 SOHO Music Club Santa Barbara, California
12/10/10 House of Blues San Diego, California

Danielle Ate the Sandwich Releases New Album and Tours Coast to Coast

Danielle Ate the Sandwich is the musical persona of singer/songwriter and ukulele/guitar player Danielle Anderson. Born in Nebraska and living in Colorado since 2000, Danielle’s beautiful voice and unique songwriting are impossible to deny, but one glance at her chosen moniker and it’s clear she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Danielle Ate the Sandwich likes to have fun on record, onstage, and in life. And it’s infectious.

Described by Denver's Westword as, "cripplingly enchanting… her lyrics tell the story of a generation uncertainly coming of age in an age of uncertainty," Danielle might as well be the spokesperson for this brave new world. Part of a young breed of artists who are finding fame in new places, Danielle wasn’t discovered in a coffeehouse like her idols; she was ushered into stardom by YouTube.

A few years ago Danielle started making home videos featuring hokey skits and sweet acoustic songs. Her disarming charm and natural talent captured the hearts of fans around the world. She now has over 3.5 million views and 25,000 subscribers on YouTube and has toured the country, played the Mile High Music Festival, and performed at Colorado’s legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Though she may crack fun at everyone including herself and tell a few dirty jokes during the show, Danielle’s music is full of depth, nuance, and subject matter ranging from sex changes and death to hot dogs. She’s fiercely intelligent and witty as hell but completely disarming, and she’s not afraid to bust out covers like Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl,” Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The U.S.A.” and TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Danielle has certainly made more than a few fans by reworking popular songs until they feel like her own, but it’s her refreshing original material that keeps them coming back. In the summer of 2010 she released Two Bedroom Apartment, her third album and first effort in a professional studio. Upon its release, the album quickly shot to #5 on iTunes’ singer/songwriter chart, confirming the YouTube buzz and welcoming a new star to the indie world. Danielle Ate the Sandwich will be on tour this fall and winter, details below.


Danielle Ate the Sandwich Tour Dates

09/24/10 Denver, CO Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
09/25/10 Colorado Springs, CO The Loft
10/08/10 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
10/11/10 Los Angeles, CA Hotel Cafe
10/15/10 Eugene OR Uketoberfest Eugene Uke Festival
10/16/10 Santa Cruz, CA The Crepe Place
11/04/10 Vienna, VA Jammin Java
11/05/10 Easton, MD Stoltz Listening Room @ The Avalon Theatre
11/06/10 Brooklyn, NY Little Field Arts Center
11/08/10 New London, CT Oasis Room @ The Garden Arts Center
11/11/10 Clinton, NY The Barn at Hamilton College
11/13/10 Philadelphia, PA Tin Angel
11/21/10 Charleston, WV Mountain Stage

Ryan Montbleau Band’s Heavy on the Vine Ripe for Picking

“Time hangs heavy on the vine/Let’s make wine,” Ryan Montbleau sings in the lulling, sensual verse that gives his group’s new album its title. Ryan Montbleau Band has been tending its own musical vineyard for a few years, on the patient cusp of a breakthrough. Their distinctive, long-fermenting blend of neo-folk, classic soul, and kick-out-the-jams Americana finally comes to full fruition in Heavy on the Vine, due out September 21, 2010 on indie Blue’s Mountain Records. It’s an album that represents the product of — and further promise of — a very good year.

It’s been a good year already. The group spent much of it both as opening act and backing band for Martin Sexton, including a round of dates with the Dave Matthews Band. Sexton in turn produced Heavy on the Vine. “I used to dream about getting to meet Martin Sexton,” says Ryan, “and now we’re getting hired as his backing band and he’s producing our record.

“He may not be a household name but to me and so many others, he’s a legend,” Montbleau adds. “But one thing he made clear from the start was that he didn’t want his fingerprints on this record. He wanted us to just play and be us.”

As a songwriter, Ryan recently contributed the single “Something Beautiful” to Trombone Shorty’s recent major-label debut album Backatown. Shorty turned to no less than Lenny Kravitz to contribute vocals and a guitar solo to the track, to help bring across the song’s soulful vibe.  Ryan also co-wrote the Backatown track “One Night Only,” the tune Shorty and his band performed on their Late Night with David Letterman debut in June.

“I’m not one of these people who’s like, ‘Oh, we can’t be pigeonholed.’ I honestly wish we could, just so I could describe it quickly to people,” Montbleau says. “This record has folk songs, funk songs, country tunes, a reggae tune . . . and the end is almost like prog-rock. It’s all over the map, but it’s all us, and we always do it wholeheartedly. We’ve sort of come up in the jam scene, and that’s where our hearts have been in a lot of ways. But we don’t go off on 15-minute epics. We’re actually trying to make the songs shorter as we go. So I would lean more toward the Americana thing than the jam thing. But more than anything, we’re definitely about the song.”

The “us”-ness of the band comes through in Heavy on the Vine in vivid, funny, touching, and hummable spades. The opening “Slippery Road” playfully examines the fine line of moderation between inebriation and sobriety, a subject familiar to most of Montbleau’s contemporaries and more than a few non-musicians. “Carry,” the purest love song Montbleau has written, is in demand as a wedding song by some romantics who’ve heard it being road-tested. “Fix Your Wings” deals with damage and healing in relationships, with tight gospel harmonies adding to the surprisingly sprightly feel. Both the rocking “Here at All” and the ’20s-styled “Stay” address the itinerant musician’s thwarted impulse to settle in one place for more than one night at a time. An admirer of Paul Simon, Montbleau reaches some of his greatest lyrical heights in “Straw in the Wind,” which asks, “Wouldn’t it be nice . . . if you could reconcile the smile you want to feel with the one that you show?”

“For the song ‘More and More and More’ we had done another weirder version in the studio with a strange old synthesizer. But Martin said, ‘We need to try a Rolling-Stones-in-Nashville country version of this,’ with an untuned piano they had in the studio. And it turned out great.”

The Peabody, Mass. native got his first guitar at age nine but didn’t get the bug to become a serious player until he was attending Villanova University. He spent many years as an acoustic solo artist. His first album, Begin (2002), was followed by the live Stages. The first Montbleau Band recording was One Fine Color (2006). And by the time 2007’s Patience on Friday was released, Ryan Montbleau Band (Montbleau, guitar, lead vocals; Laurence Scudder, viola, vocals; Jason Cohen, keyboards; James Cohen, drums; Matt Giannaros, bass, vocals; and Yahuba, percussion, vocals) were hometown heroes.

The band’s unusual makeup was somewhat accidental, as the leader tells it; he never had it in mind, for instance, that he needed a full-time viola player. “It just evolved over the years, because I really didn’t have a sound that I was going for,” he says, before qualifying that claim. “Well, I knew I wanted an upright bass, I guess. And I knew I wanted the drummer in some ways to be more of a jazz drummer than a straight-ahead rock drummer. But that was all I knew. I’ve personally always loved the B3 organ, but the keyboard approach really comes from Jason (Cohen), who’s a vintage gear nut and tone junkie who loves old Rhodes, organs, Wurlitzers, Moogs, etc.”

Abject realism and a sense of limitless possibility coexist in Montbleau’s ever-ripening mind. “For the last 10 years, I’ve had this insane desire to just go out there and do this. And I face the realities that, okay, I’m 33 and I’m not selling out stadiums yet. I get more realistic as I go and I also get more appreciative of just being able to do this at all. My goal for a few years when I was starting out was to make a living off playing music, and now I’ve been doing that for seven years or so, and the goals change as you go. Now the goal is to spend more time practicing and writing and creating, and a little less time doing all the business stuff.”

Tempted as Montbleau might be to look toward the big picture, not losing sight of the small one is why the band has maintained such a loyal and evangelistically inclined base. “I still go back to my original philosophy of just one person at a time,” he says. “I never even told people ‘Bring your friends to the show’ at the beginning, because it wasn’t about them bringing their friends, it was about them bringing themselves. I’m trying to focus on the one person, because if they come and like it, they are going to bring their friends. We’re still grass roots in that way.” No surprise, then, that those well-tended roots have sprung up into such pregnant vines.

Mimi Fishman Foundation Auction | August 2010

The Mimi Fishman Foundation just launched an auction are hosted for our friends at Conscious Alliance which features a handful of signed posters from bands such as String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, Disco Biscuits, Umphrey's McGee, STS9, and Phil Lesh. Also included is a Jam Cruise 6 poster with tons of sigs. Check it out here.

In addition the Mimi Fishman Foundation just announced several donations made by the Foundation.

$12,500 to the Phish''s WaterWheel Foundation
$2,500 to The Delta Gamma Center
$2,500 to Lincolnville Central School
$1,250 to Burlington''s Women Helping Battered Women
$1,250 to Lake Champlain Land Trust
$1,250 to The People Place

The Foundation has now donated over $390,000 since it’s inception 12 years ago. A huge thanks to all your support over the years!!!

Yoko Ono To Release "Wouldnit (I'm A Star)" The Remixes

Just in time for the balmy, dog days of summer, YOKO ONO delivers another sweltering dancefloor juggernaut with the release of “WOULDNIT” (I’M A STAR). The explosive single finds the avant-garde pioneer, once again, holding sway with discerning DJs, clubbers and tastemakers worldwide who’ve propelled her to the top of Billboard’s club charts nestled comfortably alongside mainstream and electronic pop heavyweights like LADY GAGA, KATY PERRY, RIHANNA, KYLIE MINOGUE, SCISSOR SISTERS, KE$HA, TAIO CRUZ and GOLDFRAPP.

“WOULDNIT” (I’M A STAR) is the latest release from ONO’s acclaimed remix series, which has paired the iconoclast with an impressive cast of innovative collaborators (FLAMING LIPS, ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS, PET SHOP BOYS, BASEMENT JAXX, SPARKS, PEACHES, CSS, and Oscar winning composer CRAIG ARMSTRONG) and spawned 6 #1 dance singles to date including “GIVE ME SOMETHING”, “I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH”, “GIVE PEACE A CHANCE”, “NO NO NO”, “EVERYMAN / EVERYWOMAN” and the seminal “WALKING ON THIN ICE”.

“WOULDNIT” (I’M A STAR) has been blazing up the BILLBOARD HOT DANCE CLUB PLAY CHART since its debut five weeks ago entering at #32* with a bullet (Issue Date: 08/07/2010). It quickly ascended to the #24 power pick (Issue Date: 08/14/2010), and is currently in the Top Ten at #8* with a bullet (Issue Date: 09/04/2010)!

Originally appearing in 2 different settings, one on YOKO’s LP BLUEPRINT FOR A SUNRISE and the other on her IMA collaboration RISING, the bluesy reflection has been retooled into a surging motivational anthem for anyone with the courage and conviction to re-make themselves, follow their dreams and aspire to greatness regardless of obstacles.

It’s classic ONO: unfettered and defiant.

Featuring potent, modern reinventions from established dance music stalwarts DAVE AUDE, RICHARD MOREL, RALPHI ROSARIO and leftfield, New York techno / house producer ROB RIVES (aka FLOPPY SOUNDS / PHANTOM POWER), along with newcomers DJ YIANNIS, DENNY TSETTOS, EMJAE (aka MATTHEW JOHNSON of Boston-based duo, NIGHTRIDERS), M-DEEP and TIMMY LOOP, the single is a tour-de-force and easily one of ONO’s most immediate remix offerings to date.

It’s unbelievable that at 77 years young, the alt-rock matriarch is as inventive and prolific as ever.  Nearly 5 decades since first bursting onto the unsuspecting art and music worlds with her forward-thinking works, Yoko continues to evolve and thrive – both inside and outside the margins – still dreaming, pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo with her own unique and uncompromising artistic vision.

It’s been quite a storied journey with many more exciting moves to unfold.

“WOULDNIT (I’M A STAR)” will be released later this month as a digital green release (no materials used or abused) on MIND TRAIN / TWISTED Records.

White Rabbits Announce US Tour With Interpol

After spending the better part of two years on the road (including festival stops at Lollapallooza, Glastonbury (UK), Sasquatch, Monolith and tours with The Walkmen, Spoon, Richard Swift, The Cribs, White Denim and Tokyo Police Club) White Rabbits hunkered down in their Brooklyn practice space to set about re-envisioning the dark pop of their debut Fort Nightly, while adding new sounds and influences to achieve an original work.  The result is It’s Frightening, their second full-length album.

White Rabbits signed to TBD Records (US home to Radiohead/Other Lives/Hatcham Social) and erected a makeshift studio in their basement rehearsal space to demo new material.  Band members popped in and out over the course of several months lending ideas and personality to a new batch of songs that defy instant categorization. After enlisting tourmate, friend and songwriter Britt Daniel (Spoon) as producer, the pair began the process of exchanging demos between Brooklyn and Portland.  White Rabbits recorded It’s Frightening over the course of four weeks, only taking a break to play the Transmusicales Festival in Rennes, France.  The sessions were recorded by visionary engineer Nicholas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY.  Taking special care to recreate the unhinged nature of the original demos, the band utilized the wide range of tools in the analog-friendly studio to shape the personal spirit infused in the new tracks.  Upon the completion of tracking, White Rabbits traveled to Austin, TX to mix the record with studio wizard Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail Of Dead) using his exceptional ears to transform It’s Frightening into a uniquely rewarding headphone experience.

It’s Frightening plays like a classic reel of tape from start to finish. Opening with the visceral drums of “Percussion Gun,” it is clear that time-off from the road has served the band well.  The many highlights include the emotional centerpiece “Company I Keep,” the new sonic territory of “Lionesse” and the macabre lyrics of “Right Where They Left.”  Fans of Fort Nightly will find much to go weak in the knees over and new listeners are in for an awakening as White Rabbits flip the switch on an already impressive beginning. It’s Frightening is a journey into the playfully dark musings of Everyman.

The lineup : Stephen Patterson (vox/piano), Jamie Levinson (drums), Matthew Clark (drums, guitar), Alex Even (guitar), Gregory Roberts (guitar/vox). A U.S. tour will follow the May release of It’s Frightening

US Tour Dates With Interpol

10/18 - Fox Theater - Oakland, CA

10/21 - Soma - San Diego, CA

10/22 - The Joint - Las Vegas, NV

10/23 - Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

10/25 - Ogden Theatre - Denver, CO

10/27 - The Palladium Ballroom - Dallas, TX

10/28 - Stubb's Waller Creek Ampitheatre - Austin, TX

10/29 - Verizon Wireless Theatre - Houston, TX

11/01 - The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA

11/03 - Constitutional Hall - Washington, DC

11/04 - Tower Theatre- Upper Darby, PA

11/05 - United Palace - NY, NY

11/06 - United Palace - NY, NY

Ana Sia at the Mishawaka Ampitheatre

Cervantes Masterpiece presents Ana Sia at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre on Friday, August 20th, 2010.  She has toured through clubs and forests all festival season long with serious stacks in the middle of nowhere.  The Electric Canyon show will feature Ana Sia leading crew including Octopus Nebula, Eskmo, and The Passage Project.

I was lucky enough to see her set at Summer camp that made arms sway, heads bob, and the same forced rush of an indoor thump to an outdoor amphitheatre.  Watching the crowd come alive is almost as enlightening as the musical experience itself.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you aren’t dancing half as hard as she is on stage then step back.  There will be plenty rushing forward to dance with her.

The Mishawaka Amphitheatre is like a swing set of sound, the electric canyon crew will no doubt light it up.  Ana Sia has been warming up after parties enough.  Her worldly excursions are put to sturdy declarations of bass with treble dancing over the top.  It’s as if she embodies the Virgo through her music.  It’s time for the first lady of euphoric rhythm to lead the pack.  Her response to the crowd is always posed, graceful, and delicate with prayer hands in peaceful association.

Ana Sia co-creates her show with the audience.  The word puppeteer has a negative connotation, yet such a familiar feel at an Ana Sia show.  It’s not negative when you see how she handles the power of the beat.  Its fun like a puppet show, her music is beckoning you, “let me pull your strings.”  As hard as your feet will push you, the beat controls the strings that makes souls sing.

Ryan Montbleau Band's Martin Sexton-produced album out September 21

“Time hangs heavy on the vine/Let’s make wine,” Ryan Montbleau sings in the lulling, sensual verse that gives his group’s new album its title. Ryan Montbleau Band has been tending its own musical vineyard for a few years, on the patient cusp of a breakthrough. Their distinctive, long-fermenting blend of neo-folk, classic soul, and kick-out-the-jams Americana finally comes to full fruition in Heavy on the Vine, due out September 21, 2010 on indie Blue’s Mountain Records. It’s an album that represents the product of — and further promise of — a very good year.

It’s been a good year already. The group spent much of it both as opening act and backing band for Martin Sexton, including a round of dates with the Dave Matthews Band. Sexton in turn produced Heavy on the Vine. “I used to dream about getting to meet Martin Sexton,” says Ryan, “and now we’re getting hired as his backing band and he’s producing our record.

“He may not be a household name but to me and so many others, he’s a legend,” Montbleau adds. “But one thing he made clear from the start was that he didn’t want his fingerprints on this record. He wanted us to just play and be us.”

As a songwriter, Ryan recently contributed the single “Something Beautiful” to Trombone Shorty’s recent major-label debut album Backatown. Shorty turned to no less than Lenny Kravitz to contribute vocals and a guitar solo to the track, to help bring across the song’s soulful vibe. Ryan also co-wrote the Backatown track “One Night Only,” the tune Shorty and his band performed on their Late Night with David Letterman debut in June.

“I’m not one of these people who’s like, ‘Oh, we can’t be pigeonholed.’ I honestly wish we could, just so I could describe it quickly to people,” Montbleau says. “This record has folk songs, funk songs, country tunes, a reggae tune . . . and the end is almost like prog-rock. It’s all over the map, but it’s all us, and we always do it wholeheartedly. We’ve sort of come up in the jam scene, and that’s where our hearts have been in a lot of ways. But we don’t go off on 15-minute epics. We’re actually trying to make the songs shorter as we go. So I would lean more toward the Americana thing than the jam thing. But more than anything, we’re definitely about the song.”

The “us”-ness of the band comes through in Heavy on the Vine in vivid, funny, touching, and hummable spades. The opening “Slippery Road” playfully examines the fine line of moderation between inebriation and sobriety, a subject familiar to most of Montbleau’s contemporaries and more than a few non-musicians. “Carry,” the purest love song Montbleau has written, is in demand as a wedding song by some romantics who’ve heard it being road-tested. “Fix Your Wings” deals with damage and healing in relationships, with tight gospel harmonies adding to the surprisingly sprightly feel. Both the rocking “Here at All” and the ’20s-styled “Stay” address the itinerant musician’s thwarted impulse to settle in one place for more than one night at a time. An admirer of Paul Simon, Montbleau reaches some of his greatest lyrical heights in “Straw in the Wind,” which asks, “Wouldn’t it be nice . . . if you could reconcile the smile you want to feel with the one that you show?”

“For the song ‘More and More and More’ we had done another weirder version in the studio with a strange old synthesizer. But Martin said, ‘We need to try a Rolling-Stones-in-Nashville country version of this,’ with an untuned piano they had in the studio. And it turned out great.”

The Peabody, Mass. native got his first guitar at age nine but didn’t get the bug to become a serious player until he was attending Villanova University. He spent many years as an acoustic solo artist. His first album, Begin (2002), was followed by the live Stages. The first Montbleau Band recording was One Fine Color (2006). And by the time 2007’s Patience on Friday was released, Ryan Montbleau Band (Montbleau, guitar, lead vocals; Laurence Scudder, viola, vocals; Jason Cohen, keyboards; James Cohen, drums; Matt Giannaros, bass, vocals; and Yahuba, percussion, vocals) were hometown heroes.

The band’s unusual makeup was somewhat accidental, as the leader tells it; he never had it in mind, for instance, that he needed a full-time viola player. “It just evolved over the years, because I really didn’t have a sound that I was going for,” he says, before qualifying that claim. “Well, I knew I wanted an upright bass, I guess. And I knew I wanted the drummer in some ways to be more of a jazz drummer than a straight-ahead rock drummer. But that was all I knew. I’ve personally always loved the B3 organ, but the keyboard approach really comes from Jason (Cohen), who’s a vintage gear nut and tone junkie who loves old Rhodes, organs, Wurlitzers, Moogs, etc.”

Abject realism and a sense of limitless possibility coexist in Montbleau’s ever-ripening mind. “For the last 10 years, I’ve had this insane desire to just go out there and do this. And I face the realities that, okay, I’m 33 and I’m not selling out stadiums yet. I get more realistic as I go and I also get more appreciative of just being able to do this at all. My goal for a few years when I was starting out was to make a living off playing music, and now I’ve been doing that for seven years or so, and the goals change as you go. Now the goal is to spend more time practicing and writing and creating, and a little less time doing all the business stuff.”

Tempted as Montbleau might be to look toward the big picture, not losing sight of the small one is why the band has maintained such a loyal and evangelistically inclined base. “I still go back to my original philosophy of just one person at a time,” he says. “I never even told people ‘Bring your friends to the show’ at the beginning, because it wasn’t about them bringing their friends, it was about them bringing themselves. I’m trying to focus on the one person, because if they come and like it, they are going to bring their friends. We’re still grass roots in that way.” No surprise, then, that those well-tended roots have sprung up into such pregnant vines.

My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel to Release Solo Album

“It takes a lot of time to know your mind.”  Its a simple statement, yet earnest and profound in its offering.  Sometimes it’s the spaces in between, the subtleties and ambiguities that provide us with the most meaning.
 All Birds Say (ATO Records) is an intimate collection of musings on life from My Morning Jacket guitarist, Carl Broemel.

 Broemel reflects on things as they are with Zen-like contentment, making no judgment on how they should be...he gives pause for introspection but stops short of preaching. The songs are firmly planted between past and present.  It’s in these little fractured moments that the listener bears witness to thoughtful contemplation that give rise to epiphanies on larger themes.

Broemel could’ve taken the easy road and penned a lyrical triptych to the remarkable journey he’s experienced over the past several years, but instead All Birds Say is an incredibly honest and sincere insight into the artist’s inner-most thoughts as he attempts to reconcile his role in life.
 “Where do you start?  Or where do you stop?  And how do you reconcile the things you do versus the things you don’t?  It’s something I’m constantly thinking about.  I think there’s a lot of trying to be aware of what you’re doing now versus dwelling on things or worrying about what’s gonna happen later.  A lot of the songs are really just me talking to myself, trying to make sense of things in my head.”

Deft in its presentation, the songs on the album unfold in a dream-like stream of consciousness with lush and elegant arrangements.  The album’s brilliance is displayed in Broemel’s effortless delivery.  It’s the perfect amalgamation of lazy sophistication…whimsical poise and grace.  The instrumentation serves as the ideal complement to Broemel’s well crafted set of modern-folk standards; complete with pedal steel, dobro, strings, autoharp, clarinet, bassoon, vibraphone, and baritone sax, among others.  Think Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Neal Casal, Andrew Bird, Mose Allison, and early Boz Scaggs singing an orchestrated chorus of breezy ballads and waltzes.

The guitar figure of the instrumental title track that opens the album serves as a natural introduction to “Life Leftover,” an introspective meditation on the importance of being more present in life that’s at the heart of All Birds Say.  The album also afforded him the chance to collaborate with his own father, a former member of the Indianapolis Symphony who provides rich color and depth to the music with clarinet, baritone sax, and bassoon.

“To me, making records is like alchemy.  It’s something that no one can ever perfect, but you have an insatiable desire to keep doing it and get better at it.  I really believe that everything we experience contributes to what we do next, so this album is really a result of all the records and tours I’ve done so far.“

The best records always seem to be the ones that slowly reveal themselves like a pleasant surprise and allow the listener to peel through deeper layers upon repeated listen…the kind of records that you grow with and can go back to months later and hear something then that resonates with you in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise.  It’s an interactive process between the listener and the artist, and one to be thankful for.  This is the kind of album that epitomizes the vinyl experience; an instant classic that is sure to stand the test of time.

Listen to Bromel's 'Heaven Knows'

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