their

Mama’s Cookin’ Return to Their Colorado Roots

mamaMama’s Cookin’ returns to their Colorado roots in March for a 10-day trek through the mountain west. The formerly Colorado-based project is well known in the area for their trademark blend of hip-hop beats and soul-driven rock. Kicking off the tour in Fort Collins, CO - the band will zigzag across the state, playing shows in Denver, Boulder and a handful of mountain towns.

Since forming in Gunnison, CO, in 2001, Mama’s Cookin’ has garnered a reputation as being a pioneer of a new sound with a knack for precise timing and fluidity. The rootsy ensemble is driven by gritty guitars and an impeccable rhythm section that dares audiences not to dance. Zebuel Early’s sincere lyricism and vocal delivery incorporates spoken word and soulful singing. Their huge rock sound has Led Zeppelin painted all over it, yet their soul seems to come straight from the Mississippi Delta, with a dusting of New Orleans funk.

With more than seven successful years under their belt, the quartet features the right proportions of harmonica and slide guitar with a tight rhythm section carrying the sound. The tightened arrangement now features Zebuel Early (guitar, vocals), Eric Matlock (keys), Mike Adamo (drums) and Steve LaBella's (bass) – allowing the music to breathe more freely. One only need look at the quartet’s influences – R.L. Burnside, Hound Dog Taylor, Johnnie Taylor, Digable Planets – to realize the variety in their musical ambition.

On tour in support of their self-titled album, which was named by Jambands.com as the 12th best of 2008, Mama’s Cookin’ packs a powerful punch both live and recorded. Their trek through Colorado will include stops in Boulder, Breckenridge, Denver and Vail, before heading back to where it all began for the band, Crested Butte. Two shows follow in Telluride with a Colorado finale in Grand Junction, before the band heads west for select coastal performances.

Expect added dates and keep up with the tour at:  www.myspace.com/mamascookin and www.mamascookinmusic.com

Tour Dates:

3/04 – Moe’s Alley – Santa Cruz, CA
3/06 – TBA – Salt Lake City, UT
3/07 – The Canyons (daytime performance) – Park City, UT
3/07 – The Star Bar (nighttime performance) – Park City, UT
3/11 – Hodi’s Halfnote – Fort Collins, CO
3/12 – Boulder Theatre – Boulder, CO
3/13 – three20south – Breckenridge, CO
3/14 – Quixote’s – Denver, CO
3/17 – Sandbar Sports Grill, St. Patty’s Day – Vail, CO
3/18 – Eldo – Crested Butte, CO
3/19 – Fly Me to the Moon, Live in Telluride – Telluride, CO
3/20 – Sheridan Opera House (Private Event) – Telluride, CO
3/21 – Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
4/02 – The Mint – Los Angeles, CA
4/03 – SoHo – Santa Barbara, CA
4/10 – Mission Rock Cafe – San Francisco, CA
4/17 – TBA – Vancouver, BC
4/18 – TBA – Vancouver, BC
4/19 – Telus MTV World Ski & Snowboard Festival – Whistler, BC

Salvador Santana Band: Carving Out Their Own Sound

Salvador Santana- for the Grateful Web

Salvador Santana has not just big shoes to fill, but legendary ones. His father is rock icon, Carlos Santana. Like many children of musical experts, he has pulled away from his father's instrument and even Santana's classic rock sound.

Recently, I was sent a five track demo by Salvador Santana and his band. It is a sampling of the group's jazz, hip-hop sound. Salvador has chosen the keyboard as his instrument of choice, and he's producing some sweet sounds. Assisting him on this EP, are Emerson Cardenas (bass), Eric Mendez (percussion), Rene del Fierro (guitar), Gene Coye (drums), Carla Holbrook (vocals) and Sam Totah (MC, vocals).

Five cuts aren't really enough to see the breadth of this artist, but I did see a sampling of his choice of lyrics, his writing style, and the avenues he was exploring. Though I found the first cut, "We Rock Da Mike" and the final cut, "SSB," to be self indulgent as some hip-hop can be, they gave me not only a taste of things to come, especially Carla Holbrook's haunting voice, but also framed the album. Both of these songs, like all but one of the others on the EP, were collaborations, and they clearly reflect the influences of MC Sam Totah.

Salvador's hip-hop and Holbrook's R&B create an interesting mix on "Simple Story of Love." That cut is enhanced not only by Salvador's tasty key work but by del Fierro's guitar and, most especially, by Mendez's percussion.

"Another Rainy Day"also pairs Holbrook with Salvador. In contrast, this moody tune is more jazz based, using mainly drumkit and keys, ranging from piano to synth. When del Fierro's guitar enters the mix, it is only to grace the work with suggestions of brightness.

"Electric Moon," Salvador's only solo written piece on the demo again is a tasty jazz-based instrumental. This is where this band shines. Those jazz influences no doubt come from absorbing music all around him as a child and also from his studies at Cal Arts in Calencia, CA.

One thing that was especially unique about this demo was the choice to bounce notes from one channel to the other. This isn't just pumping out guitar from one speaker and keys from another, but to switch keyboard notes (and even sustained notes) from each side in succession. It does a strange trip to your head if you listen to the CD through head phones!

This EP is a precursor to Salvador's full-length self-titled CD out on Tsunami Record Group that is out this year. New band members highlight this new album. Emerson Cardenas returns on bass, but Salvador has added Woody Aplanalp on guitar and vocals, Tony Austin on drums, Quincy McCary on vocals and a second set of keyboards, and Jose Espinosa on sax, flute, percussion, and vocals.

The resulting new sound is heavy with an Afro-Cuban sound. It comes mainly from Espinosa's percussion that complements Austin's drums. That kind of percussion and drum work, for me, has always been at the heart of Carlos Santana's music. It is what drew me to Santana decades ago and what moves me still. But this time, Salvador has dressed it up with hip-hop, R&B, and lots of jazz.

Salvador's bandmates have been amassing their own body of credits before they became part of this band. Tony Austin has played drums with jazz artists like Billy Higgins and Charles Lloyd, as well as the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Star Big Band.  He also has played with Banyan, Rob Wasserman, John Avila of Oingo Boingo, and Erikah Badu. In addition, his work has appeared on NBC's "Studio 60" and "E-Ring," CW's "One on One" and "What I Like About You."

Jose Espinosa, also known as Crunchy, is a fellow grad of Cal Arts and helped found Ozomatli. A multi-instrumentalist, his work has appeared on recordings with Blackalicous and Black Eyed Peas, as well the films Cheaper by the Dozen, Along Came Polly, Havana Nights, and Any Given Sunday.

Quincy McCrary, founder of the LA act Burning Star and a player in Quetzal, also has had his work showcased in films, including Hook, Batman Returns, Dutch, Clifford, What About Bob?, Home Alone, and Captain Ron. He also has done tracks for the television shows Alley McBeal, Amen, the Arsenio Hall Show, and General Hospital. Though he is manning keys and doing vocals for the Salvador Santana Band, you can be sure Salvador will continue to add his own keyboard stylings.

Guitarist Woody Alpanalp has toured with some of the best ethnic musicians in the world. From 2004-6, he did a world tour, backing master Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. He has recorded and played live with African music legend Thomas Mapfumo. Also, Alpanalp has toured with Grammy award-winning hip-hop/R&B artist Lauryn Hill and jazz great Wadada Leo Smith's ensemble, the Golden Quartet. He also steals away to perform with his own eclectic rock group, Papa Woody.

Emerson Cardenas has played exclusively with the Salvador Santana Band.

Salvador Santana is presenting a new freshness on the musical landscape. Check out his self-titled album and you'll see what I mean.

LOTUS ANNOUNCES THEIR "COPY PASTE REPEAT" TOUR

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

For those waiting for a concert experience with the dynamics of a rock band (read: no laptops), the dance inducing rhythms of club music, and the sophistication of modern electronica, an unlikely musical alternative has arrived in the form of the band Lotus.  Formed at a Mennonite college that had banned on-campus dancing as late as the 1980's, Lotus brings their club-worthy beats and rocking instrumental anthems to theaters throughout the country this fall.  No glow-stick bracelets, pretentious Can trivia, or expensive distressed fashion required.

In January 2008, Lotus embarks on their "Copy Paste Repeat" tour, which celebrates the release of Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed, and album the band released this past November. The recording offers 12 remixes by renowned producers including DFA Records artist Juan Maclean, DJ Harry, and Lotus's own Jesse Miller.  Lotus's post/electro/dancerock is deconstructed and reassembled into club ready dance, dub, glitch-hop, and IDM tracks.  The band's website is currently offering up the source files for the track 'Bubonic Tonic' for fans to create their own remix and submit for review.  The site will feature the band's favorite submissions.

Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed comes on the heels of the band's third studio album. Escaping Sargasso Sea, released May 2007, is a double-disc live album that draws from two previous studio albums, Nomad and The Strength of Weak Ties, along with never before released material.  From the post/math-rock of "When H Binds to O" to the slippery dance beats of "Wax," this collection shows Lotus's ability to deconstruct, stretch, and rebuild their compositions spontaneously on stage.  Restraining from flaunting their individual chops, Lotus builds compositions on catchy melodies and heavy grooves.

The five-piece band has creatively fused electronic dance music with instrumental post-rock for eight years. The result is an explosive live show that has made crowds get down across the US, Canada, and Japan. Armed with a massive light rig and one of the most energetic shows on the circuit, Lotus proves why they have become a go-to act for late night festival slots.  This tour takes the band into renowned theatres nationwide including Georgia Theatre in Athens, the Recher Theatre in Towson, and the Granada Theater in Dallas, among others.

Lotus' complete list of confirmed dates is as follows:

January 04 Jam Cruise 6 Ft. Lauderdale FL 
January 23 Cat's Cradle Carrboro NC
January 24 Orange Peel Asheville NC
January 25 Georgia Theatre Athens GA
January 26 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte NC
January 27 The Pour House Charleston SC
January 29 Beta Bar Tallahassee FL
January 30 Blue Nile New Orleans LA
January 31 Granada Theater Dallas TX
February 01- 02 Club 115 Austin TX
February 05 George's Majestic Lounge Fayetteville AK
February 06 Newby's Memphis TN
February 07 The Dame Lexington KY
February 08 Satellite Ballroom Charlottesville VA
February 09 Recher Theatre Towson MD
March 16 Jam in the Dam Netherlands 

More dates to be announced.

What critics have been saying about Lotus:

"…intent on creating a new genre (few try that these days)...it is rock, and smart disco, funk and soul, piano pop, world music, and modern alienation stuff and jazz fusion you can dance to all wrapped up in cellophane."  -Big Takeover 

"In this new terrain in which lie endless creative possibilities, Lotus continue to expand upon its post-everything rock/electronic/jazz/free-form pastiche."  -Big Shot Magazine

"If you were listening to the music of Philadelphia five-piece Lotus right now, you would be dancing. There's no doubt about that. Their grooves are tight, and fast, and fun, and one would be hard-pressed not to shake it hard at a Lotus show." -Jambands.com

WSP Kicks Off Their Four Night Run At The Fillmore

Widespread Panic- for the Grateful Web

In the Wake of Vegoose, Widespread Panic quietly embarked on not only their first ever appearance at The Fillmore in Denver, but a 4-night run at that. I was lucky enough to score a ticket for this Thursday night kick off and as people meandered around the block surrounding the venue you could tell spirits were high.

 

I'm coming up on the ten year anniversary of my first Panic show back in Georgia and as much as things have changed since then, its good to know some are still around. Of course, Panic has been through a lot changes with the loss of founder member Mikey Houser, adding new lead guitarist George McConnell and just exploring new musical avenues in general, but their music plays on. Panic almost personifies life in a way; its not always so great, things end and others begin but the train keeps rolling and you have to make the best with what you got if it feels good. Well, what can I say? It feels damn good.

 

The band started things off smoothly with old-time original The Take Out and was followed by James Taylor's Knocking 'Round the Zoo. Panic rocks this tune out like it's their own and was aptly played with JB singing "Just knocking 'round the zoo on a Thursday afternoon." Good People is a newer original and is a testament to the band's future songwriting capabilities. The next song, Who Do You Belong To?, always reminds me of listening to my old analog tapes during college in the South. That means nothing to you folks, I know, but the song choice was perfect.

 

The boys kept the show trucking along with a floor rockin' Dyin' Man and then another old classic, Pickin' Up The Pieces. Pickin' is a slightly slower song with a subtle jazz swing that once again sent my mind wondering. Panic's songs have a timeless feel to them that remind you of the first time you heard the song and yet feels fresh at the same time. Another aptly played tune, One Armed-Steve, had keyboard/piano player, Jo-Jo Hermann, singing, "Well, One-Arm Steve, yeah he threw me out the door, said 'come back sometime when your picture's on the wall". Anyone that's stepped foot in a Fillmore knows the walls are covered with amazing photos of musical acts that have graced their stages. Widespread Panic had now made the Denver wall.

 

The first set ended with an amazing medley beginning with a cover of Bob Dylan's Baby, Let Me Follow You Down that they pulled off quite well. Lead guitarist, George McConnell pulled off a short solo that Robbie Robertson would have beeen proud of. This gem led into the stop-and-go composed epic, Conrad. The story of Conrad the Caterpillar twists its way to an amazing set closing jam and climatic lyrical return, "I just need a little room to fly, I spent all of my days just trying to keep dry. Oh, I'd take a waterfall or a drop for my eye, I can't see nothin' from here anyway, I might as well make room and try…might as well try."

 

The piano bar bouncing Greta let Jo-Jo show off his dexterity and set the tone for a festive second set. Dirty Business, originally written by the New Riders of the Purple Sage, has been in the Panic repertoire for sometime now and is always a fun one to hear. Dirty Business melted into a dark segue that eventually led into the newer tune, You Should Be Glad held down by one of the many catchy Dave Schools bass lines. The mesh of music continued as the band morphed into the live favorite, Bears Gone Fishin'. At about this time in the concert, if you haven't realized that Dave Schools is one of the baddest bass players in the scene, you aren't paying attention. The man provides such an original sounding low end that blends melody and intricate note placement all you can do is nod your head and smile.

 

Just when I thought I had probably heard all the old stuff for the night, they put me right in my place. Blight, a Panic tune that caught my ear nearly ten years ago, comes thumping from Schools's bass while Sonny Ortiz on percussion and drummer Todd Nance pick up the beat. Blight dissolves into a Drums breakdown to which the band leaves the stage for a brief stint as Schools comes back on stage for some Drums and Bass. A few teases later, I'm certain I heard a Dark Star tease in there, the band remerges for R.L. Burnside's Snake Drive, a hard-hitting blues rocker.

 

A slight downshift in the set found the band meandering through the swirling sounds of the old Robert Johnson tune, Me and the Devil Blues, which Panic released on their official debut album Space Wrangler back in 1988. Yes, sir, the song selection was right up my alley tonight and the rest of the crowd seemed to agree. The jam out of Me and the Devil Blues rolled like a runaway train picking up speed and eventually settling into Neil Young's Mr. Soul. A regularly played, but always welcomed, All Time Low was next and had its standard peak at the end that never ceases to get feet moving and people smiling. Rock ended this great set and gave JB one last chance to sing from his whiskey-stained belly. I mean that in a good way.

 

The encore was an uplifting one, starting with NRBQ's Help Me Somebody led by Jo-Jo's rolling piano work and accompanying JB vocals. And if there is ever a song you can expect Panic to finish with after a show like that, it's Ain't Life Grand. The bar was set for this 4-night run, and set pretty high at that. You have to approach these things like a marathon. If I know Panic, and I don't, tonight was a warm-up lap and their just getting warmed up. As for tonight, "Everybody's moving but me, but I'm gonna make it home piece by piece."

 

***************************************************************************

 

Past Ryan Reviews:

 

Mountain Jamming with The Allman Brothers Band

 

I'll Have The Widespread Panic With A Side Of Galactic

 

Trey Anastasio & 70VP at Red Rocks