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Happy 70th Birthday, Robert Hunter!

What a long, strange trip it's been indeed... June 23 marks lyricist, singer-songwriter, and poet Robert Hunter's 70th birthday. A long-time "member" of the band, Hunter first joined up with his old friend Jerry and the gang after penning the fantastical "China Cat Sunflower." He would go on to write countless lyrics for the majority of the band's original songs including the much-beloved "Dark Star," the all-time classic "Friend of the Devil," and of course, "Truckin'."

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Robert Hunter joined the Grateful Dead in the fall of 1967, when he arrived at a rehearsal just in time to write the first verse of the band's classic "Dark Star." Though he'd never play onstage, he became not only a genuine band member but its secret Ace in the hole. Though Bob Weir's words for "The Other One" would endure, most of the band's early verbal efforts would not; it was Hunter's work that would elevate their songs from ditties to rich, complete stories set to song. Hunter had fallen into the Dead's general scene in 1961 when he'd met Garcia in Palo Alto, and he'd played in several of Garcia's early bluegrass bands. But he'd always thought of himself as a writer -- probably a novelist -- and it was only in 1967 that he fulfilled his personal destiny, and enriched the Dead's. He's gone on to write several books of poetry, and is currently at work on a novel.

Robert Hunter turned 70 years old today, June 23rd, 2011.  Happy Birthday, Robert Hunter!

Kelli Scarr Announces US Fall Tour / To Play The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Benefit

Kelli Scarr's interest in music and recording started early, at the age of three with her Nana using a handheld cassette recorder to record her singing. Growing up amongst the soundtrack of her parent’s records and singing in the Lutheran church of her hometown, music quickly became an important part of Kelli Scarr’s life.

After high school she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study voice at Berklee, and she soon joined the band Moonraker.  Following college, Kelli, along with Moonraker, moved to Brooklyn, NY where they were thrown head first into the ever-expanding indie scene, opening for bands like the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene.

After several years of touring and three albums, the band dissolved in 2005 and Kelli started to shift her musical focus more towards film scoring, composing the score for Matthew Nourse’s full-length feature, “The Pacific and Eddy” and Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary, “In a Dream” (HBO).  Kelli soon found herself nominated for best original score for, “In A Dream” by the Cinema Eye Honors alongside fellow nominees Nick Cave and Danny Elfman. It was also during this time that Kelli joined Brooklyn-based alt indie group, Salt and Samovar.

During an almost accidental bill sharing, Kelli was noticed by local NYC musician, Moby. After striking up a friendship, Kelli and Moby were soon working on music together with Kelli singing the title track of Moby’s haunting and introspective 2009 release, “Wait For Me” (Mute). Kelli also quickly joined Moby’s touring band for a world tour to support the critically acclaimed album. On top of singing and playing keyboards within Moby’s band, Kelli was also asked to open the shows, playing her own music in supporting slots for Moby and winning over crowds all over the world.

Amidst all of the transitions and touring, Kelli had begun recording songs on her own. She began simply by recording quiet piano songs at home in between working her hospital day job and in brief moments to herself during her three year old son’s naps. From what began as a simple process Kelli quickly found herself with a collection of recordings that spanned the world, two and a half years and included a diverse cast of musicians, engineers and producers.

The themes and inspiration for her music ranged from the once small gold rush town of Folsom, CA, now turned suburban sprawl, to the raising of a child and the wishes of a parent. For a majority of the record the songs acted as a therapeutic release and moment of reflection for the relationships in her life and the struggle to find peace within them. Along with these moments of self-release, her songs captured the images of her childhood and reflected everything from scenes of driving through California to the memories of her favorite childhood movies like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.

After a long and exhausting two and a half year process Kelli had a record of mainly home recordings, which she named, “Piece”; a name she adopted early on with the advice of friend and filmmaker Matthew Nourse, to help her visualize the album as a “snapshot in time” within an otherwise hectic time.

In the end “Piece” reflected a large portion of Kelli’s life and those around her. From the sounds of her creaky upright piano and midnight acoustic recordings to the whimpers of her son waking up from a nap in the next room, “Piece” captured an extremely personal journey, providing a photo album's worth of lush images. “Piece” will be released on August 10th, 2010 as the debut for indie start-up label, Silence breaks.

Sunny Ade & His African Beats @ Boulder Theater

King Sunny Ade, sometimes also called the Minister of Enjoyment, was born in Oshogbo, Nigeria in 1946, the son of a Methodist minister. He began his musical career when, after dropping out of grammer school, he drifted to Lagos and joined a highlife band. Inspired by the music of I.K. Dairo, he joined the Rhythm Dandies, led by Moses Olaiya (later known as Baba Sala, Nigeria's preeminent funny man and a prolific film maker). King Sunny was influenced by the legendary Tunde Nightingale (early Juju pioneer extraordinare) and borrowed stylistic elements from Nightingale's 'So wa mbe' style of juju.

In 1966 he formed his own band, the Green Spots. After a long eight years in which they recorded 12 LPs for the Nigeria-Africa Song label, in 1974 he entered into increasingly annoying contract hassles and a public court case. This experience prompted him into forming his own recording company linked to Decca Records. At this time he changed the name of his band to the African Beats.

King Sunny Ade and The African Beats tour with the typically large African line-up of 20-30 members. They play a spacey, jamming sort of Juju, characterized by tight vocal harmonies, intricate guitar work, backed by traditional talking drums, percussion instruments, and even adding the unusual pedal steel guitar and accordian.

Sunny Ade & His African Beats will play the Boulder Theater on April 30th, 2010.   Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

NOTE: This show has been cancelled.

DSO News & Spring 2010 Tour Dates

Gratefulfest Artist Additions

Nelsons Ledges has just announced a great lineup of artists joining us for 4th of July weekend. There will be 2 special performances by Keller Williams. One is Keller & the Keels do Deadgrass & more plus a Keller solo dance set! There will also be sets from: New Riders of the Purple Sage, Peter Rowan's Bluegrass Band, JGB, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Moonalice, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, Jemimah Puddleduck, Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Boombox, David Gans, DJ Harry, Rumor Has It and Ekoostik Hookah projects- Katz & Jammers and The Spikedrivers.

These bands will join us as we play three nights during the weekend of July 2-5. Visit NLQP.com for more details.

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One Way Or Another...

April brings the band back to the mountains for another great run out west. The tour begins with stops in Aspen and Avon before holding down the Boulder Theater for Friday and Saturday night. From there its off to Northern California for two nights at the Mystic Theater before heading to the northwest for shows in Portland, Seattle, Olympia and Ashland. 4/20 finds the band back in CA at the Eureka Theater. Then its off to Reno before swinging into San Fran for a weekend at the Regency Ballroom. The last leg of the tour winds south through California stopping off in Modesto, Los Angeles, Santa Ana before wrapping up with 2 nights at the Belly Up in Solona Beach.

Our friend Stu Allen will be joining us for this tour starting April 7th. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Stu joined Melvin Seals & JGB in June 2004 and appears on the 'Keepers of the Flame' album. In the early 1990's, he co-founded the Minnesota-based acoustic-electric jam band, Blue Man Jive. In addition, he is a founding member of The Jones Gang, Minneapolis' premier Grateful Dead tribute band, to which he still lends his talents. A resident of San Francisco, Stu continues to explore, experiment, create, and recreate, within a variety of musical styles. He can't wait to join us on the road and come and play for you folks.

Ticket info and more details available on our Tour Dates Page.

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Summer's Here and the Time is Right...

The first leg of our summer tour is locked in and we are excited to share our plans with you. Kicking off in Minnesota and cruising through the mid-west with stops in Iowa and Illinois before hitting Summerfest for the annual street fest where there will be plenty of dancin' in the streets. From there we head to our annual celebration at Nelson's Ledges where we will celebrate 4th of July weekend (July 2-3-4) with Gratefulfest 11 and will be joined by Keller Williams, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Peter Rowan's Bluegrass Band, JGB, Emmit-Nershi Band and more! Follow that up with a headlining spot at All Good's Thursday Throwdown and a return to the annual Gathering of the Vibes. Summer is looking pretty sweet.

Visit our Tour Dates Page for more info.

Tracy Bonham & Company + Tony Trischka

Join multi instrumentalist Tracy Bonham for new music from her upcoming release Masts Of Manhattan as well as old favorites and covers with new twists. She has an amazing line up: Nicole Federici: viola, violin. Dan Cho (Regina Spektor): cello. Mike Duclos: bass. Konrad Meissner: drums (Matt Nathanson). Tracy weaves in and out of alternative rock, where she is most commonly known, to bright moments of Classical, Eastern European, and Gypsy music in just a few brushstrokes. Tracy and her band will be joined by special guests Tony Trischka on banjo. Come join Tracy and her friends every first Wednesday of each month for the next four months, and watch collaborations unfold.

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