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Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under

Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under is her latest offering as a solo artist. A collection of live and studio tracks with an Antipodean theme, the album berates a lover for his love of vegemite and celebrates a lady’s nether regions with the new single “Map of Tasmania” which you can download HERE.  All materialfor this album was lovingly penned for and recorded in Australia and New Zealand. It includes some special tributes in the form of covers of Nick Cave and New Zealand’s Peter Jefferies.

Having just struggled to be release from her major label contract, Amanda has been trailblazing in Internet and creative distribution with an effective new model for distribution of music. Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under will be available exclusively for her Down Under fans as a physical release through Liberator. However, true to Amanda’s unique and successful music model, fans will be able to choose their contribution for download, packages and once in a lifetime experiences.  As with her latest release Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele, check out her website for package details.

“This whole record is a love letter to Australia and New Zealand,“ Amanda says flirting wildly with her southern neighbors. Amanda has made no secret of the fact that she’d love to relocate to her “second home” in Melbourne during the New York winter and keep her summer home in the Big Apple the rest of the time. “I have a special relationship with the Australian people. It was the first continent where Dresden Dolls landed and it was Beatlemania. I have a huge resonance with the place and the people. Plus I hate being cold,” she says.

Anyone who’s ever seen or heard Palmer – whether raising eyebrows as the gender-bending “emcee” in the prestigious American Repertoire Theatre’s production of the musical ‘Cabaret’, delivering dramatically direct, wildly theatrical performances as one half of the cabaret-punk duo The Dresden Dolls or, most recently, as a solo artist whose uncompromising vision has frequently made her a flashpoint for both admiration and controversy – will attest to the fact that being a musician and rock star is not merely a job, and never has been.

Instead, Palmer is her art. And, in turn, her art is an extension of who she is, and is always becoming: a voracious seeker of creative catharsis and emotional release, a bold participant in games of truth or dare (she always opts for both) on a life-sized stage and above all, an utterly un-categorize-able work-in-progress. She’s a fearless singer, songwriter and an audaciously expressive pianist who simultaneously embraces – and explodes – traditional frameworks of composition.

Palmer has collaborated with indie-pop pianist Ben Folds (who produced her most recent solo work Who Killed Amanda Palmer) and teamed with acclaimed author Neil Gaiman for a storybook of photography that beautifully expands the conceptual and narrative ideas outlined in her ambitious solo album.

Amanda Palmer Goes Down Undercoincides with the Opera House “Australia Day Spectacular” with Amanda inviting special guests husband Neil Gaiman, cabaret darling Meow Meow and Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentleman to join her on this January 26th celebration.

Amanda Palmer will also be touring January & February taking in the MONO FOMA festival in Tasmania as a special guest of curator Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes. She will also be reprising her much lauded performance at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne.  She will bring the spectacular to the Adelaide Fringe in early March.

Amanda Palmer brings her special brand of humor to Australia w/ headline performances across the country.

FESTIVAL DATES:

01/15/11: Tasmania @ MONO FOMA FESTIVAL
Curated by Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes
FREE info available HERE

01/17/2011: Tasmania @ MONO FOMA WORKSHOP
Info available HERE

01/26/11: Sydney @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under: Australia Day Spectacular
With special guests Neil Gaiman, cabaret act Meow Meow and Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen
Tickets available HERE

Fleck, Harrison, Wooten Adore Jake Shimabukuro

Critics have raved about the artistry Jake Shimabukuro displays on 'Peace Love Ukulele' (out January 4th from Hitchhike Records). The New Yorker said that "in his hands... the ukulele becomes a source of beauty, power, and inspiration."

Jake's fellow musicians agree. Here's what some of them had to say:

"The way Jake plays the 'ukulele is amazing and beautiful... he's a special musician." - Bela Fleck

"To say that Jake is incredible is not enough. He is much more than that. His music takes you on a journey. He plays with so much expression, feeling, and soul; it's like he's an old man in a young man's body. It only takes one listen to understand exactly what I'm saying." - Victor Wooten

"George felt liberated playing the uke and loved it because it made everyone smile. I especially love Jake's versions of George's songs." - Olivia Harrison

"It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I was able to contribute in some way to the rest of the world hearing Jake play. From the moment I first heard his amazing style and watched the audience reaction in a club on the waterfront in Honolulu, I knew he was a unique and universal talent. We all at Mailboat Records are proud and excited to be distributing his latest release, and it gives me another good excuse to get back to Hawaii for 'business' - work, work, work..." - Jimmy Buffett

“Instrumentalists with a truly unique voice on their instrument come around very rarely. It was such a welcome gift to the world when Jake came on the scene... someone whose mastery of the ukulele is eclipsed only by the sheer joy he spreads in playing it. Jake Shimabukuro is without a doubt, one of a kind!” - Dave Koz

Listen to the hard driving "Bring Your Adz" from 'Peace Love Ukulele' here.

Old 97's w/ Langhorne Slim @ Boulder Theater

Since the Old 97's roared out of Dallas more than fifteen years ago, they have blazed a trail through alt-country and power-pop, led by the piercingly observant lyrics of lead singer Rhett Miller. Each new Old 97's record is hotly anticipated, and rightfully so: "Blame It On Gravity," from 2008, contained some of the band's most deeply felt and passionately played songs. But in a career full of high-water marks, "The Grand Theatre Volume 1″ is perhaps the most ambitious and accomplished set of recordings yet.

The album, the band's eighth, began to come together last year, when Miller was on a solo tour of Europe with Steve Earle. "When I started in this band, I wrote on the road constantly," Miller says. "But I was 23 then, so everything was new to me. Over the years, those strange and wonderful things have begun to feel more commonplace. On the familiar highways, in familiar hotels, it's pretty easy to turn into a zombie. But on this tour, I was in England and Ireland and Scandinavia, places where I haven't spent very much time in, and because of that things seemed somehow fresh. I felt recharged."

The result was a set of songs rooted in specific locations. "The title track, which I wrote in Leeds, is like a series of postcards that try to capture the moment of falling in love; it begins in the Grand Theatre, which is a historic venue there, on the elevator. There's another song, "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," that I wrote, or at least started to write, while I was walking around in Soho. And a song like "The Dance Class" wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in Birmingham, trapped in a hotel, looking out at streets that were bleak and gray except for a dance studio across the way. I imagined an agoraphobic who sees a beautiful girl in that studio and fantasizes about being freed by her." Miller's portraits of love and loneliness are paired with some of the sharpest music the band has ever produced, from the propulsive celebration of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" to the manic (and almost panicked) energy of "The Dance Class."

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Nathan Moore To Release 'Dear Puppeteer' Feb. 1

Nathan Moore has announced the release of Dear Puppeteer, his latest collection of songs, due February 1 on Royal Potato Family. The Staunton, Virginia-based singer and songwriter recorded the album around his home in the Shenandoah Valley with co-producer and guitarist Bryan Elijah Smith, as well as, out West at his previous Santa Fe, New Mexico stomping grounds, Frogville Studios.

Dear Puppeteer could best be described as a letter in 13 songs from Nathan Moore to the puppet masters: fear, mortality, the righteous, the jailor, lost love and lost time. On the title track, Moore sings: “Gonna write a letter, dear puppeteer, I don’t want to play here, I don’t wanna stay here." From this simple plea it's apparent that a restless spirit is at work. Nathan's warm fingerpicked acoustic guitar, ghostly harmonica gales, ancient ukulele meditations and tobacco-stained vocals are inhabited by a poet seeking something better, while giving song to the human condition in all of its beauty and sadness.

A crowning achievement from one of this generation's most prolific songwriters, Dear Puppeteer is Nathan Moore's ninth studio album to date. It follows 2009's well-received EP, Folk Singer, which led Paste Magazine to write, "The sharp, introspective lyrics of Nathan Moore draw an instant connection to the great folk singers of the past." The UK's Maverick Magazine said, "Many have come and many have tried, but we may finally have a storytelling successor to Dylan, Van Zandt and Cash." Moore, who first came to national attention as a founding member of ThaMuseMeant, also currently fronts the revered American rock band Surprise Me Mr. Davis.

Check out some coverage of Nathan Moore on The Grateful Web. | Stream debut track "Hollow" here

Dear Puppeteer track listing:

1. Like A Cartoon

2. Safe To Say

3. Dear Puppeteer

4. In The Basement

5. A Little Crazy

6. I'm The Same

7. The Garden

8. Hollow

9. Can't Fly To Heaven

10. When My Time Comes

11. Train Of Thoughts

12. Choose Thy Love

13. I'm Good Company

Kristy Lee in the Bowery | 12/2/2010

Not to be confused with American Idol’s Kristy Lee Cook, Kristy Lee says she’s the real deal. Indeed, she is.

G. Love To Release New Album Produced By The Avett Brothers

G. Love's new album, Fixin’ To Die, is set for release on February 22nd on Brushfire Records. Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, and produced by Scott and Seth Avett (The Avett Brothers), this new body of work is arguably G. Love’s most sincere and candid work to date. After a chance meeting in Boston last fall, G. Love and The Avett Brothers forged a friendship and bonded over their love of back road blues.  After performing together onstage and discovering their shared musical heritage, G. Love invited Scott and Seth Avett to not only produce his new album, but perform on it as well.
The result is Fixin’ To Die, a collection of G. Love originals, rearranged traditionals, and a classic cover, many simmering for over a decade, all sharing a common goal: to strip away all pretense and capture the original spirit and sound G. Love has cultivated over his entire career but never fully embraced until now. From the ragged jangle of its opener “Milk & Sugar” and floorboard stomp of Bukka White’sFixin’ To Die,” over the loping lilt of “Home” and longing for “Katie Miss,” through the greasy fried “Get Goin’” and moonshine reverb of “Heaven,” to the hip shake hootenanny in Paul Simon’s infamous kiss off “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” G. Love and The Avetts deliver a life lesson in how to find a song’s sweet spot.
It was an emotional recording session and I was truly blown away by the level of focus, care and passion Scott & Seth brought to it.  It was a tremendously positive and encouraging experience. This is the most inspired I’ve ever felt making a record,” G. Love said.
As Scott Avett says, “There’s a little bit of this record on all the previous G. Love records, you just had to look for it. This is the record we all knew he should make and he could make, but again, he had to open himself to the core to make it. That’s the difference.”
G. Love will tour the U.S. extensively in support of Fixin’ To Die in 2011.

The Mynabirds Toast the Holidays with X-Mas Single

Today the Mynabirds release a limited edition 7" on Saddle Creek that features "All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)", an original (anti-) Christmas song, and a cover of the Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" on the B-side. The first 200 copies from Saddle Creek's online store will be offered on white vinyl. A black vinyl version of the 7" is available at retail outlets, and all records include a free digital download. The songs are also available at all digital outlets. If you haven’t checked it out at Brightest Young Things, a free mp3 of "All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)" is available now via Saddle Creek by clicking HERE.

With charming chords descending the wurltizer keys like falling snow, the Mynabirds' "All I Want" starts out like a typical Christmas song. But by the second line, it's clear that this is singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn's cry for anything but another ordinary holiday. "All I Want" navigates global warming, messy politics, endless wars, and American consumerism, and brushes it all away to remind us of the snow-white core of the holidays: love. "Have yourself a happy little New Year," Burhenn sings, "'Cause the politicians will be at their same old arguments: Should we start another war or should we raise another tax?" Burhenn declares that she's opting out of society's endless back and forth to "sit down with [her] love and…remember what it means to celebrate without a single store-bought thing." Like a mug of hot cocoa served with a dash of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth", "All I Want" goes down like an old standard in a whole new era.

"This Will Be Our Year" is the perfect song to close out a year of haunts and minor catastrophes to look to something new. The slide of J. Tom Hnatow's pedal steel colors the Mynabirds' version of this Zombies' classic as a sweet, country-tinged take on the original. Both "All I Want" and "Our Year" were recorded to tape in a single day at Inner Ear in Arlington, Virginia with producers Chad Clark and TJ Lipple at the helm. A host of DC friends joined in, including the Roofwalkers' Elmer Sharp (drums), Ben Licciardi (backing vocals), and Raj Gadhia (bass and vocals); These United States' J. Tom Hnatow (pedal steel); and Winston Yu (strings).

What We Gained in the Fire - Video

Also out now is a new video for "What We Gained in the Fire", the opening track from the Mynabirds' debut album. The video premiered on Friday at AOL Spinner. Director Rob Walters layers new Super 8 footage of singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn traversing a snowy landscape with vintage footage of her own family's home movies that span three generations. Stretching from the 1940's to present day, the viewer gets a window into a family story, watching clips of young love blossom, of babies growing into men, piecing together what might really be going on behind the nuclear family facade.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Keep the Music of their Childhood Alive

The centuries-old story of their country and culture has been the foundation of the a cappella singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo since its beginnings, almost fifty years ago. On 'Songs From A Zulu Farm,' out January 25, 2011 (Listen 2 Entertainment Group), the nine-man group returns to their origins in the open fields of Zulu country to recreate the idyllic world in which they once lived by singing traditional folk tunes sung by mothers and fathers to children throughout the generations.

"These are songs from the earliest time in our lives," says Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and frontman Joseph Shabalala. "When we sing these songs, we're singing from our personal history. It is such a joy for us to put these stories and songs together for our fans to enjoy too."

'Songs From A Zulu Farm' speaks to the universal joys of childhood. "Whether you are in Ladysmith, Virginia, or Ladysmith, South Africa, children are hearing songs they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and share with their own children," Shabalala says. "We hope that these songs sung to South African children can be enjoyed by families in many other places in the world."

Among the 16 tracks on 'Songs From A Zulu Farm' is "Old McDonald… Zulu Style," the classic children's song reworked in ways never before imagined as it's piped through the language and culture of the Zulu people.

Listen to "Old MacDonald" here.

Shabalala professes his love and longing for the times and places of his youth in “Thalaza,” a song he composed to encourage Zulus – and people of every nation and culture – to reconnect to the innocence of their younger years. “Your roots are who you are,” says Shabalala, who revisits the farmland of his youth every month. “I go home to see the sights I’ve known since I was a baby. When I see a field there, I see my father and mother standing with me as a little boy. I love going home because it is just that…home.”

Check out some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Juan-Carlos Formell @ Zinc Bar | NYC

Grammy-nominated Cuban guitarist/composer/vocalist Juan-Carlos Formell re-ignites the connections between Cuban music and jazz with his explosive new project "Johnny's Dream Club". Named for a legendary Havana jazz cabaret, "Johnny's Dream Club" represents a place outside time - the vortex between New Orleans and Havana, where the parallel lines of Cuban music and American jazz converge. It's a new dimension of latin jazz --intense, lyrical, dangerously dream-like. Formell and his all-star quartet map this territory in a delirious sequence of juxtapositions: "Ciudad" ("City"), evoking the nightmare of an urban apocalypse, flows into a  jazz ballad about an elusive love ("Siempre que te vas"); songs about being lost at sea ("Las islas son malvadas", "Cuando hable de la noche") and the bloody history of the Caribbean ("Yanbando") are set against haunting, mystical love songs ("Sotavento", "Fuego de Amor") inspired by Havana's "Feeling" movement.

A precursor to - and influence upon - bossa nova, Feeling emerged from the Bohemian enclaves of Centro Habana in the late 1940s. Feeling's free-style guitar, with progressive harmonies, diminished chords and bittersweet texts of disillusioned love reflected the sophisticated after-hours atmosphere of Havana's bohemian AfroCuban musicians: composer/guitarists Jose Antonio Mendez and Cesar Portillo de la Luz; singers Elena Burke and Omara Portuondo; pianists Bebo Valdes and Peruchin.

Feeling was also the starting point of Juan-Carlos Formell's biography. Born in Havana in 1964, a fourth generation Cuban musician, he learned the technique of the Feeling guitar from the creators of the genre: Mendez, Froilan, Guyun.  He began composing in his teens, and studied bass with Andres Escalona, the first bassist of the Havana Symphony Orchestra. After completing his studies Juan-Carlos became the bassist for the jazz pianist Emiliano Salvador.

As a classically trained bassist, virtuoso guitarist, and composer gifted with a groundbreaking and powerful writing style, Juan-Carlos had all the elements to become a voice of his generation - but instead, was prevented from performing or recording his own work by Cuba's government-controlled music industry because his music didn't fit into any official category. In 1993, after touring Mexico as a replacement for bassist Cachaito Lopez, Juan-Carlos fled to the United State to realize his mission of creating a new wave of Cuban music. He settled in New York City and soon started his own band. His years of struggle were vindicated when he was signed to a major record label in 1999 and his debut album, "Songs from a Little Blue House" was nominated for a Grammy. Part prophet, part poet, in exile Juan-Carlos has forged a post-modern identity for AfroCuban music that has been hailed as "musical magic realism". His five albums constitute an epic poem of Antillean mytho-history, with songs ranging from a paen to the flora and fauna of his native country, a personal invocation to an AfroCuban deity, an ode to a sacred river or a hymn to the "divine light" that brings us to a union with our higher selves. Juan-Carlos describes his new project as "a reflection of our culture today -- in the post-modern landscape, we are all refugees from the broken city, haunted, adrift at sea, in danger of losing our true reference points and losing our way forever. I keep returning to New Orleans for inspiration because I believe that there, at the crossroads of the Caribbean, it's possible to create music that embraces the past while gazing at the future -- a new music without genres and categories."

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Juan-Carlos Formell @ Zinc Bar | NYC  -- November 10th, 2010

ZINC BAR 82 West 3rd St (btw Sullivan & Thompson)
sets: 9:30 PM, 11:30 PM & 1:00 AM

John McLaughlin @ The Boulder Theater

Available through Abstract Logix in USA on April 20, 2010, To The One is the result of a burst of inspiration that struck the legendary English guitarist and composer in summer of 2009. "This music started to come to me," McLaughlin explains, "without any call from my part. The sound and feel of this new music took me back to 1965, to when I first heard A Love Supreme. I was 23 years old at that time, and struggling with questions of existence that we all confront sooner or later. Some of us discard them or don't bother to delve deeper, but that's not my nature. I was asking big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is this word "god"? What is this spirit? It was then that Coltrane came along and single-handedly brought this dimension of spirituality into jazz"it was a pivotal experience to me. It was so encouraging to me in both my musical and spiritual quests. To The One, as an album, is about those two aspects of my life - music and spirituality - crystallized by this recording of Coltrane's, and how A Love Supreme coincided with my search for meaning in life.

Check out John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension at the Boulder Theater on December 4th, 2010.

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