miners

Jóhann Jóhannson To Release The Miners Hymns June 7th

Icelandic composer/arranger/electronics-manipulator Jóhann Jóhannson’s first release for FatCat, The Miners’ Hymns, is the score to an exciting collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison (best known for his masterpiece Decasia, heralded by the Village Voice as “the most widely-acclaimed American avant-garde film of the fin-de-siecle”). Their film/music project treats the history of Northeast England’s mining community using gorgeous found footage and a brass-based score, which moves from dark and brooding minimalism to moments of rousing transcendence. The Miners’ Hymns album will be released in the U.S. on June 7.

Centered around the Durham coalfield in Northeast England, The Miners’ Hymns film focuses on the hardships of pit work, the powerful role trade unions have historically played in bettering the lives of miners, and the trade unions’ battles with police during the famous 1984 strikes. The film was initially commissioned for Durham County (UK) Council’s International Brass Festival, which incorporated the annual Miners’ Gala into a program celebrating the cultural history of mining with a strong focus on the regional tradition of colliery brass bands. It was created from BFI, BBC, and other archival footage and produced by British artist organization Forma. Immaculately edited, and almost entirely in black-and-white, the film intercuts footage spanning the past 100 years, serving, as Jóhannson puts it, as “a kind of requiem for a disappearing industry, but also a celebration of the culture, life, and struggle of coal miners.”

The Miners’ Hymns marks a welcome return to brass instrumentation for Jóhannson, whose recent work has paired his electronics primarily with strings. Performed and record live by a sixteen-piece brass ensemble (whose ranks included players in the current incarnation of a brass band started by miners in 1877) led by Iceland’s Gudni Franzson, the score is at times lamenting, lyrical, almost droning; elsewhere led by sweepingly triumphant chords and pulse-quickening crescendo. Combined with the ensemble and the huge Durham Cathedral organ, Jóhannson’s own subtle electronics peek through gaps in the score like shafts of life through the church’s stained-glass windows, adding quiet, otherworldly brightness.

The beautifully-packaged CD release of The Miners’ Hymns includes liner notes giving an overview of the historical importance of brass band music in the history of English coalmining and the rise of trade unions, as well as archival photos, film stills, and shots of the recorded performance inside the great Cathedral.

Jóhannson's music has also recently been used for film in a quite different context, soundtracking a much talked-about trailer for the blockbuster film Battle: Los Angeles; watch the trailer here.

The Miners’ Hymns is a featured selection of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Jóhann Jóhannson will be touring later this year in support of the album.

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The Miners’ Hymns at Tribeca Film Festival:

4/22 – Clearview Chelsea 5 (7:00 pm)

4/25 – Clearview Chelsea 9 (7:30 pm)

4/28 – Clearview Chelsea 8 (12:45 pm)

The Miners’ Hymns Tracklisting:

1. They Being Dead yet Speaketh

2. An Injury To One Is The Concern Of All

3. Freedom From Want and Fear

4. There is No Safe Side but the Side of Truth

5. Industrial and Provident, We Unite to Assist Each Other

6. The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World

Great American Taxi - May 2010 News!

Great American Taxi is hitting the highway again tomorrow (seems like we just got back from North Carolina...we had a blast in the Midwest, Rust Belt and Southeast last month, thanks everybody!) and heading for a week in Texas.  We hope to see a bunch of the new friends we made last time down there with Todd Snider.  We will end the Texas run on Saturday May 8th in Tyler, TX at the Southbound Sound Music Festival where Taxi plays there own set at 3 pm and then backs up Todd at 5:30 pm.  Old 97s and Joe Ely among others are on the bill.  We'll also be heading to Amarillo, Dallas, Austin and Bryan.

After that it's full festival mode with stops in Lincoln, NE on May 20th, Festy Fest in Lawrence, KS on May 21st and a one day festival on May 22nd at the always wild and fun Mishawaka Amphitheater with Motorhome, Dead Floyd, Patti Fiasco and the Wirefaces.  We are also making a one day stop at the Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio with Todd om May 16th and then on to Memorial Festival Weekend at Schwagstock in Salem, MO for two days and Festi Di Bella Vida at beautiful Harmony Park in Geneva, MN (this one is almost sold out folks, 200 hundred tickets left).  We are also lining up a possible Memorial Day afternoon celebration in La Crosse, WI.

Lots of fun stuff lining up for the Summer and beyond.  We're feeling blessed and excited for Spring and Summer here in Taxi land.  Hope all is well in your world.  Don't forget to get your copy of "Reckless Habits" if you haven't already.  We are also helping the campaign for the miners' families who lost men in the Upper Big Branch Mine.  You can download "Appalachian Soul" from our debut record "Streets of Gold" (which will be available again for purchase in two weeks) for free if you promise to make a donation to the miners.  You can find more information out about that at www.greatamericantaxi.com as well as see our first music video and also watch a trailer to the upcoming documentary release "Coul Counrty".  All the very best to all of you.  Hope to see you all soon!

UPCOMING SHOWS

Golden Light Cantina
Amarillo, TX Tue May 04 10 08:00 PM Tickets
Granada Theater
Dallas, TX Wed May 05 10 08:00 PM
Saxon Pub
Austin, TX Thu May 06 10 12:00 PM
Lakeside Icehouse
Bryan, TX Fri May 07 10 07:00 PM Tickets
Nelsonville Music Festival
Nelsonville, OH Sun May 16 10 08:00 PM Tickets
Bourbon Theatre
Lincoln, NE Thu May 20 10 08:00 PM Tickets
Festy Fest
Lawrence, KS Fri May 21 10 08:00 PM
Mishawaka Amphitheater
Bellvue, CO Sat May 22 10 08:00 PM
Camp Zoe
Salem, MO Fri May 28 10 08:00 PM
Camp Zoe
Salem, MO Sat May 29 10 01:00 PM Tickets
Harmony Park
Geneva, MN Sun May 30 10 08:30 PM
The High Life
Springfield, MO Wed Jun 02 10 08:00 PM
Wakarusa Music Festival
Ozark, AK Thu Jun 03 10 08:00 AM Tickets
Revolution Music Room (The Rev Room)
Little Rock, AR Fri Jun 04 10 08:30 PM Tickets
Blue Plum Festival
Johnson City, TN Sat Jun 05 10 08:00 PM
The Abbey Theater
Durango, CO Thu Jun 10 10 08:00 PM
Sheridan Opera House
Telluride, CO Fri Jun 11 10 08:00 PM
Old South Pearl Street BrewGrass Festival
Denver, CO Sat Jun 12 10 01:00 PM
The Filling Station
Bozeman, MT Wed Jun 23 10 08:00 PM
Downtown ToNight-Caras Park
Missoula, MT Thu Jun 24 10 05:30 PM
Groovefest
Cedar City, UT Fri Jun 25 10 08:00 PM
Red Butte Garden Ampitheatre
Salt Lake City, UT Mon Jun 28 10 08:00 PM Tickets
Elko Convention Center
Elko, NV Tue Jun 29 10 07:00 PM
Crystal Bay Club - Red Room
Crystal Bay, NV Wed Jun 30 10 09:00 PM Tickets
High Sierra Music Festival
Quincy, CA Thu Jul 01 10 11:45 PM Tickets
High Sierra Music Festival
Quincy, CA Fri Jul 02 10 01:00 PM Tickets
The Realm of Music Festival
Bond, CO Sat Jul 03 10 01:00 PM Tickets
Northwest String Summit
North Plains, OR Fri Jul 16 10 07:45 PM Tickets
Les Scwab Amphlitheater
Bend, OR Sun Jul 25 10 02:00 PM Tickets
Dead on the Creek
Willits, CA Sat Aug 07 10 08:00 PM


Great American Taxi Donates Track to Coal Miners Relief Fund

Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Great American Taxi, whose current album Reckless Habits is climbing the Americana radio airplay charts, has donated a free download of a song, “Appalachian Soul” culled from its debut album Streets of Gold, to raise awareness of the plight of coal miners and their communities in West Virginia. The track is offered free to radio stations that agree to direct listeners to GreatAmericanTaxi.com, which in turn links to West Virginia Council of Churches website, which collects donations for the miners.

GAT frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, comments: “Great American Taxi sends our thoughts out to the families and communities effected by the mining disaster at the upper big branch mine. We hope that their unconquerable Appalachian spirit and families can help them navigate these difficult times. The country and the world share in their grief. We need coal.  We need our miners to be safe. We need understanding on all sides of this contentious issue of our national energy policy. We would like to make Taxis' tribute to that  Appalachian spirit available as a download here and suggest a donation to the WV council of churches to assist  the families of our fallen brothers. Let's all come together and honor the families who have paid that ultimate price for our energy needs and hope that this is the last such disaster we must face.”

In the past five years, Great American Taxi has become one of the best-known headliners on the jam band circuit, their uninhibited sound a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk, gospel and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. That loose, anything-can-happen feel is the hallmark of Reckless Habits, the band’s second album, which was recorded in Loveland, Colo., with producer Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth) bringing the feel of an onstage performance to the recording process. The new album was released through Thirty Tigers on March 2, 2010.

Blurt called Reckless Habits “a giddy combination of boogie, blues, bluegrass, nu-grass and honky-tonk, it's as readily infectious and genuinely freewheeling as its eclectic content might imply. Hopefully this Great American Taxi will continue to take listeners along for similarly spirited rides in the future.”  Country Standard Time called it  “a well rounded album that fully pays homage to Gram Parsons and his vision of a cosmic American sound that incorporates all the pages of the American Roots songbook.”

When banjo player Mark Vann of Leftover Salmon died of cancer in 2002, that band desolved. Salmon singer/guitarist/mandolinist Vince Herman had a few rough years and survived a broken neck before joining keyboardist Chad Staehly for a superstar jam to benefit the Rainforest Action Group in Boulder in March 2005. “We put together a dream band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig,” Herman recalls. “It worked so well we had to do it again, and again, and again.” And so Great American Taxi was born. The current lineup includes Herman, Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.