hits

Bonerama Hits Colorado

Bonerama at the 2008 10KLF - photo by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

When Bonerama struts onstage with its four-trombone frontline, you can guess it's not quite like any rock 'n' roll band you've seen. When they tear into some vintage New Orleans funk, there's no questioning from which city these guys hail. And when those 'bones start ripping into Hendrix and Led Zeppelin licks, all stylistic bets are off.

Bonerama carries the brass-band concept to places unknown.  Hailed by Rolling Stone's David Fricke as "The ultimate in brass balls" last Fall, the band served as the House Band for the live all-star comedy event COMIC RELIEF.  The 2006 event, which featured a long list of A-talent including hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, was recorded live from Ceasar's Palace last November. Recently, Bonerama snagged the coveted "Best Rock Band" honor from the 2007 Big Easy Awards.

Since live performance is what Bonerama is all about, it's no coincidence that their third album, Bringing It Home, is also their third consecutive live disc. It also testifies to the amount of tightening-up the band's done in recent years. Joining another stack of Bonerama originals are covers ranging from the Meters and George Porter Jr. to the Beatles (two from the White Album, no less) to Thelonious Monk. And when they take on Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" - with trombones doing the familiar backing vocals along with the big guitar riff - you can practically hear the audience's jaws dropping.

The current list of confirmed Bonerama tour dates is as follows:

July 29 Fox Theater Boulder CO
July 30 The Eldo Crested Butte CO
July 31 Snowmass Village Snowmass CO
August 01 Cervantes Denver CO
August 02 Copper Triangle Bike Race Copper Mountain CO
August 14 Gerald Veasleys Jazz Base Reading PA
August 15 Chenango Blues Festival Norwich NY
August 16 Hot August Blues Festival Cockeyville MD
August 17 Town Point Summer Concert Series Norfolk VA
August 20 GottRocks Greenville SC
August 21 Smith's Old Bar Atlanta GA
August 22 The Nick Birmingham AL
August 23 Two Stick Market Oxford MS
August 29 On The Waterfront Rockford IL
August 30 Detroit International Jazz Festival Detroit MI
August 31 The Livery Benton Harbor MI
September 12 Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival Fredericton NB
September 26 Skippers Smokehouse Tampa FL
September 27-28 Hollywood Beach Clambake Festival Hollywood FL
October 03 The Green Room Music Club Covington LA
October 05 Gretna Hertitage Festival Gretna LA
October 10 The Loki Festival Millers River NC
October 25 VooDoo Music Experience New Orleans LA
November 08 Berlin Jazz Festival Berlin Germany
January 04 Jam Cruise 7 Ft. Lauderdale FL

More dates will be announced.

Even in a city that doesn't play by the rules, New Orleans' Bonerama is something different. They're not a traditional brass band, but they've got brass to spare-even with no trumpets or saxes in sight. Bonerama features a dizzying display of trombone talent; four trombones, to be exact. Band leaders Mark Mullins and Craig Klein (of Harry Connick's band) shelf any jazz subtlety for Bonerama, opting instead for heavy funk, rock 'n' roll, and pure horn muscle.  Mullins and Klein are joined by fellow boners Steve Suter and Rick Trolsen, imaginative and dynamic sousaphone player Matt Perrine and edgy experimental guitarist Bert Cotton. The band also features a rotating cast of New Orleans' finest drummers, including Russell Batiste, Stanton Moore, Eric Bolivar, and Terence Higgins.

Railroad Earth's Amen Corner Hits Streets June 10

photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

After a long wait and plenty of anticipation, Railroad Earth prepares to release their new studio album Amen Corner, which will be in stores nationwide on June 10, 2008 (SCI Fidelity Records).  Written and recorded at lead singer/songwriter Todd Sheaffer's 300 year-old farmhouse in New Jersey's rural countryside, Amen Corner is, literally and figuratively, the rustic sound of a band happy to be at home. 

"Normally," Sheaffer explains, "you come home after six weeks on the road and jump into the studio, all frazzled because you don't have much left in the tank.  This time I feel like we've invited our friends into our living room and that's basically how we recorded it.  We wanted for years to try working this way and I'm so happy we were finally able to do it."

Combine that with the fact that Sheaffer, bassist Johnny Grubb and drummer/percussionist Carey Harmon all became fathers in the months leading up to the recording sessions and you have a recipe for change.

"The changes in our lives brought about a peacefulness that is reflected in the music," says Sheaffer. "We consciously tried to take the approach of 'less is more' in how we arranged the songs."

That "less is more" attitude is also evident in the band's and record label's decision to make the album as "green" as possible.  After considerable research, SCI Fidelity selected Printing Responsibly of Rockaway, NJ to print all promotional materials related to the album.  All posters and postcards announcing the album release are printed on FSC Certified paper using soy based inks, as will tour materials which will be produced later this year.

"SCI Fidelity and Railroad Earth have devoted considerable time and energy, educating ourselves on environmental issues and the green movement," said Matt Hogan, Director of Marketing at SCI Fidelity.  "The Forecast page on the album web site is devoted entirely to various green-related issues, environmental action and sustainability causes."

"FSC certification is about much more than recycled paper", stated Steven VanPraagh, owner of Printing Responsibly.  "It's about knowing where the fiber in the paper comes from, and that any trees that are cut are replanted.  It's about people all over the world working in the timber and paper industries being as responsible as possible; replenishing and sustaining our renewable resources.  It's about environmental, economic, social and personal responsibility.  And in this case, it happens to be about great music too."

Amen Corner is a collection of crisp and crafted roots, bluegrass, and acoustic sides that resonates in all the right places. The tunes breathe both on and between the notes. They hit you immediately, but then linger like a good buzz.  Look for Amen Corner in stores nationwide on June 10, 2008.

The band tours this summer in support of Amen Corner.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

June 04 The Orange Peel Asheville NC
June 05 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA
June 06 Riverbend Festival Chattanooga TN
June 07 Bama Jam Enterprise AL
June 10 Vintage Vinyl St. Louis MO 6pm In-Store Performance
June 10 Blueberry Hill St. Louis MO
June 11 The Crossroads Kansas City KS
June 13-14 Ogden Theatre Denver CO CD Release Party!
June 16 The Paladium Salt Lake City UT
June 17 The Big Easy Concert House Boise ID
June 19 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
June 20 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
June 21 The Showbox Seattle WA
June 28 Community Theatre at Mayo Center for Performing Arts Morristown NJ
July 01 Summerfest 2008 Milwaukee WI
July 03 ROTHBURY Rothbury MI
July 04-05 High Sierra Music Festival Quincy CA
July 13 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
July 25 Floydfest Floyd VA
July 27 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Hillsdale NY
August 01 Dunegrass Festival Empire MI
August 02 Silver Maple Music Festival Comstock Park MI
August 13-14 YarmonyGrass Copper Mountain CO
September 04 9:30 Club Washington DC
September 05 The Fillmore at the Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA
September 06 The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza New York NY
September 13 Barrymore Theatre Madison WI
September 14 Miramar Theater Milwaukee WI
September 16 The Cabooze Minneapolis MN
September 17 The Englert Theater Iowa City IA
September 19-20 Fox Theater Boulder CO
September 22 Orpheum Theatre Flagstaff AZ
September 23 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
September 26-27 The Fillmore San Francisco CA

Umphrey's New Release Hits Streets Today

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

The ascension continues for Chicago's Umphrey's McGee, not only in terms of their commercial success but in creative accomplishment and instrumental achievement as well.  Their performance on Live at the Murat (SCI Fidelity), their first official live release, is as impressive as anything they've recorded to date, with the power and finesse, the yin and the yang, that have come to characterize their by-now classic material.

Recorded in Indianapolis in April 2007 and produced by longtime "sound caresser" / honorary seventh member Kevin Browning, the two-disc set features fan favorites like "Push the Pig," "The Triple Wide," "In the Kitchen," and "Nothing Too Fancy" along with rare tunes like the set-ending "Padgett's Profile" and the brief but torrid "Angular Momentum," centered on the combo of drummer Kris Myers and guitarist Jake Cinninger.  The band also dusts off tunes like "Hajimemashite" from '98s Songs for Older Women, and the Yes meets Little Feat-influenced "40's Theme," a live favorite for the band and its fans.

Throughout the show, UM's invention brings the progressive instrumental chops of Zappa and the stylistic savvy of Steely Dan.  It is innovative without being indulgent, exhilarating without losing control, and there are plenty of improv passages that keep the band and their fans off-balance.  Clearly, logging 120 gigs a year, "live" is where UM lives.

The current list of confirmed tour dates is as follows

October 16 Toad's Place - Lady Byrd Hat Building Richmond VA
October 17 Nightclub 9:30 Washington DC
October 18 Magic City Music Hall Johnson City NY
October 19-20 Nokia Theater Times Square New York NY
October 22 Harro East Ballroom Rochester NY
October 24-25 Higher Ground Ballroom Burlington VT
October 26 Orpheum Theatre Boston MA
October 27 House of Blues Las Vegas NV
October 28 Vegoose Las Vegas NV
October 31 Fillmore Auditorium Denver CO
November 09 IU Auditorium / Univ. of Indiana Bloomington IN
November 10 Eagles Ballroom Milwaukee WI
November 15 Amos' South End Charlotte NC
November 16 City Hall Nashville TN
November 18 Bear Creek Music Festival Quincy FL
November 29 Orbit Room Grand Rapids MI
November 30 Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Columbus OH
December 01 Michigan Theatre Ann Arbor MI
December 13-17 Caribbean Holidaze Runaway Jamaica
December 29-31 The Aragon Ballroom Chicago IL
March 16-18 Jam in the Dam Amsterdam Netherlands

Live at the Murat is the latest feather in the cap of the dazzling sextet.  They followed their highly touted spring 2006 studio release Safety In Numbers with the magical odds and sods The Bottom Half in the spring of this year.  The album, with its outtakes, alternate versions, and other nifty bits, reached #26 on Billboard's coveted "Heatseakers" Chart and received high marks from the music press.  HARP magazine recently noted "…[The Bottom Half delivers] creamy studio work infused by diabolical skill."  Also in 2006, Umphrey's McGee sold out shows in theaters coast to coast, appeared at Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, and made their late night TV debut on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  Booked by the Monterey Peninsula Booking Agency, the band recently sold out three nights at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom, two nights at Irving Plaza, San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, and the list goes on, as does Umphrey's McGee.

John Prine Hits The Road

John Prine - Photo by: John Chiasson- for the Grateful Web

There are very few treasures that arrive with a battered acoustic guitar and open up the windows on basic lives with passion and grace. But when John Prine hits the road, the darkest corners and smallest joys get illuminated by the light of his gravelly, utterly American voice, his way with the plainest of language and the vintage Guild and Martin guitars he plays.

It's when you take these songs out and play them for people that you really get to know 'em," says the Chicago-born and -raised musician. "And it's funny. When we went in to make this record, some of the songs, because we'd been doing them live already, were just so comfortable to record. They were like old buddies almost. That's what I like about performing, beyond the actual performing.

And this year, the celebration of life's forgotten moments begins at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, North Carolina on April 8. The tour - which is currently booked through May - will extend through the summer and take the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter to all the places people traditionally gather to hear his tales of distinctly common people and ruminations on the fragile, yet tender beauty of life, love and loneliness.

We're gonna have Keb Mo on some of the shows," says Prine of his musical companions. "And we're gonna bring Leon Redbone out for a bunch of the other shows. That's all part of what we're trying to figure out. It's just a matter of making the details work.

Prine will tour again this year with two pieces behind him - along with all the classic Prine favorites fans expect: "Sam Stone," "Hello In There," "Angel From Montgomery," "Paradise," "The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" as well as songs from Prine's forthcoming Fair & Square, due in-stores on April 26. Certainly songs like "Some Humans Ain't Human," "Other Side of Town" and "My Darling Hometown" have been making friends everywhere they're played.

Fair & Square marks the first album of Prine original material - in addition to Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons" and A.P. Carter's "Bear Creek Blues" - in 9 years. With guest appearances by Mindy Smith and Allison Krauss, it's Prine's usual mix'n'match batch of vintage American styles - ranging from sultry shuffles to finger-picked narratives to molten jukebox weepers. "I don't know what exactly I've been doing all this time, though I have been out playing dates. There's something about the road - you start doing it, sometimes, and you forget about making records," confesses the wry songwriter. "This year, though, I'm gonna do both. I can't wait."

John Prine's 'Fair & Square' hits stores on 4-26

- for the Grateful Web

Nashville: John Prine takes his own sweet time dancing with his muse - and truly writes what's in his soul. So if it takes him a little longer to write the songs that capture moments and reveal the gently folded human truths that bind us all together, it's always worth the wait. Now, nearly nine years since the release of his Grammy-nominated Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings, the iconic American writer is putting the finishing touches on Fair & Square, which will be released on Prine's Oh Boy label April 26th.

"It was just time," says Prine in his always understated way. "I had a bunch of songs. I'd started recording em, and it turns out, I liked 'em pretty well. So, now, I get to get 'em all just the way I like 'em - and then I get to let 'em go out to meet the world."

Drawing on Prine's incomparable sweetness, his wicked wit and social commentary and his split rail simplicity, Fair & Square turns on the phases of the human heart - and the way the people getting by live, dream, love and survive their lives. With the occasional wheezing accordion, curlicue electric guitar parts, quick-wristed mandolins, billowing B-3 pads and puddles of pedal steel guitar, the rough-voiced singer/songwriter's first self-produced record is a homey affair that draws generously from the palette of traditional American music - be it folk, bluegrass, shuffles, almost vintage rock & roll, torch, country - for an amalgamation that would be at home on any Wurlitzer in a whiskey-soaked tavern with beer signs flickering from age and the walls stained deeper than sepia from the years of constant smoke.

Whether it's the sultry celebration of post-encounter rapture "Morning Train," the afterglow burning until the next moment can happen "Long Monday" or the down-stroke electric guitar charged "She Is My Everything," Fair & Square captures Prine's candy heart. But there's also the Joshua Tree dry wit of our culture's tabloid obsessive culture "I Hate It When That Happens To Me" and the fame-chasing self-mockery of "Crazy As A Loon", not to mention the gentle political nudge "Some Humans Ain't Human" that's soft-spoken indictment at its most aw-shucks.

With bluegrass queen Allison Krauss on the ode to his Irish refuge "My Darlin' Hometown" and the street corner desolation of "The Moon Is Down" and alt.country princess Mindy Smith bringing allure and tartness to "Morning Train, "Long Monday" and the melted neon ponder of "Taking A Walk," Fair & Square is the work of a man at ease with his life, secure with his place in the world and willing to share the things that he sees.

"It's been a while, so I'm pretty excited," Prine admits with that Oh! Boy! grin. "And that's a really good place to be."

Tour dates will follow shortly. Advance music is being pulled together. But given the working class Midwestern origin of the Grammy-winning songwriter, you can bet the songs will be served - and the fans who want to see and hear them will have their chance.