Artists

artists

Hot Buttered Rum is Coming to Denver - Aug 14

HBR @ All Good Fest 2008 - photos by Sanjay Suchak- for the Grateful Web

In the Fall of 2006, itching to release their first live album, Hot Buttered Rum announced that it would be recording a handful of shows for official release.  Live in the Northeast (released May 2007) beautifully reveals the true core of live Butter: music that is forceful without being flashy, serious without being stuffy, intricate without being inaccessible, and diverse without being distracting.  The performances were professionally multi-tracked and later carefully mixed by Butter's long-time sound engineer, Josh Osmond. The result is striking, presenting the unique energy and improvisational spirit of a Hot Buttered Rum live performance in studio-quality sound.

Often described as a rock band playing bluegrass instruments, no prior Butter recording has so perfectly displayed the band's bolder and heavier side.  Their full sound permeates Live in the Northeast - from the reggae-tinged "Return Someday" and psychedelica of "Desert Rat" through definitive covers of the Grateful Dead's "Cumberland Blues" and Leo Sayer's "Feel Like Dancin'" - winding the listener through a robust and intense set of acoustic rock.

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, the guys of Hot Buttered Rum grew up on the trails, in the mountains, and on the slopes.  Their ties with nature have only grown and as a group, the band has dedicated much time and energy to reducing their carbon footprint and promoting alternative fuel sources.  As a heavily touring band, Hot Buttered Rum had to face the tough reality of how a national tour can affect the environment and counter it with a positive change.  In response, the band helped to promote the biofuel renaissance, touring the country on recycled vegetable oil and biodiesel as early as 2003.  Band members have participated in numerous Renewable Energy and Biofuel conferences, as well as sitting on discussion panels at such renowned music festivals as Bonnaroo and High Sierra.  Highlighted in the November/December 2005 issue of E: Environmental Magazine, Hot Buttered Rum is commended for trying to "leave an impact on its fans, and not solely on the road that passes beneath its bus tires as it travels from coast to coast".  For more information on Hot Buttered Rum and their greening efforts, visit the band's website, www.hotbutteredrum.net.

The band's current list of confirmed tour dates is as follows:

July 16 Mountain Village Sunset Concert Series Mountain Village CO
July 19 McCall Summer Folk Festival Donley ID
July 22 Neurolux Boise ID
July 25 4 Peaks Music Festival Bend OR
July 26-27 Trinity Tribal Stomp Junction City CA
August 07 Black Oak Casino Tuolumne CA
August 08 Dead on the Creek Willits CA
August 13 Live from Mt. Crested Butte Crested Butte CO
August 14 Oriental Theatre Denver CO
August 17 Yarmony Grass Copper Mountain CO
September 07 Rancho Nicasio Nicasio CA
September 13 Mulberry Mountain Music Festival Ozark AR
September 25 Domino Room Bend OR
September 26 Wonder Ballroom Portland OR
September 27 Triple Door Seattle WA Two Shows!
October 30-31 Las Tortugas at Evergreen Lodge Groveland CA
January 24 Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Utica NY
February 20-21 Wintergrass Tacoma WA

More dates to be announced. 

The widespread appeal of Hot Buttered Rum's music stems not only from the band's musical versatility and prolific songwriting, but also from the magnetic chemistry the group creates onstage together.  It is this chemistry that is propelling the band to ever greater success. The band has performed at festivals as diverse as the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, Grey Fox, High Sierra and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and has shared the stage with such artists as Phil Lesh, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, Chris Thile, Mike Marshall and Peter Rowan, the last two of whom worked with the band on its critically-acclaimed studio release, Well-Oiled Machine

Sonic Bloom: Winterpark 2008

Relentlessly winding upwards along Berthoud Pass, my brain lights up like a pinball machine in action and BAM my thoughts of needing to extol some elder wisdom on my co-hort becomes apparent. The event we are quickly approaching entry into, is unlike most of the "festivals" she has attended in the past.

Railroad Earth Launches RRE-Mix

RRE @ Gathering of the Vibes 2005- for the Grateful Web

RAILROAD EARTH's (RRE) new album, Amen Corner (released on June 10), brings music appreciation to the next level with its RRE-Mix interactive feature. The band's latest self-produced album goes a step beyond the traditional "purchase and listen," and will now allow fans to digitally remix three of the album's tracks through their personal computer, with the help of some simple editing software.
 
"Since we recorded this whole album ourselves, and since more and more people own computers with audio recording and mixing capability, we thought it might be fun to give fans a whack at some of the individual tracks from our new record to play with on their own time," said Johnny Grubb, RRE bassist, who also wrote the easy-to-follow tutorial included with the downloads.
 
From an album that truly showcases Railroad Earth's remarkable songwriting and uniquely crafted arrangements, comes the innovative RRE-Mix feature, which will allow the band to engage its fans in a new and interactive way. Amen Corner was written and recorded at singer/songwriter, Todd Sheaffer's, 300 year-old house in New Jersey's rural countryside, and was the experience of a lifetime for the band's members. The non-traditional recording setting resulted in a collection of songs that truly resonate with the energy of what the band was experiencing during and around the sessions.
 
This idea of allowing fans to partake in the music creating and mixing process crosses a relatively new frontier in the music industry. To help fans navigate, the band has provided basic tutorials about how to use mixing software...as well as a free downloadable online program with a relatively easy to use interface. RRE-Mix is designed for individuals at all levels of digital mixing ability to enjoy.

 

Railroad Earth is currently on tour.  Confirmed tour dates include:

July 12 XPoNential Music Festival Camden NJ
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 Bond 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 25 Roxy Theatre West Hollywood CA
September 26-27 The Fillmore San Francisco CA
October 18 Paradise Rock Club Boston MA
 
More dates to be announced soon.

Steve Earle: Renaissance Man and American Rebel

photo by Ted Barron- for the Grateful Web

There are vast depths to singer/songwriter Steve Earle. Not only is he one of the best creative writers in music, having received thirteen Grammy nominations and winning two for Best Contemporary Folk Album, but he writes soundtracks for movies and television (P.S. I Love You, Brokeback Mountain, Pay It Forward, The Horse Whisperer, G.I. Jane, Dead Man Walking, and many more).  He's also an actor, having appeared regularly in the HBO prison drama The Wire, and he paints a little, too.

Earle ran his own record label for a few years. "I started a label called E Squared with a friend of mine named Jack Emerson right after I got out of jail in 1995,"  Earle said in a recent phone conversation.  "I recorded for that label with one distribution scheme or another till about three years ago when Jack passed away.... Just having a record label kind of got to be anti art. It got to be sort of like owning a pickup truck and everybody calls you to help them move.  I was just so busy trying to keep all that going I felt like I didn't have time to concentrate on what I do." He now records with   New West Records.

He's been working on a novel for the past six years, hoping to get that magnus opus done in the next few months. He did finish a book of haiku, a full year's worth of little gems, written one-a-day from wherever he was on the planet. He also published a collection of short stories called Doghouse Roses. In eleven stories, he told the tales of people struggling with drugs, trying to make it in the music industry, or living nightmares in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the literary world raked these human portraits over their ivory tower braziers. Earle never intended to create great art, just human art. And, he's been doing that for decades through multiple artistic genres.

"There's not as much difference as people would think between the job of writing and singing a song or acting or writing a book or a play," Steve Earle said. "The jobs aren't that far apart." Each one, calls upon the artist to walk in someone else's shoes to convey the story. "Some people get confused about that," he said, "but it is the way I approached doing it....That's the job. For me, it always has been."

Earle has the uncanny ability to create unforgettable characters, especially in his songs. Responding to a rough cut of the film Dead Man Walking that screenwriter/director Tim Robbins sent him, Earle wrote a gut-wrenching song about a prison guard called "Ellis Unit One."  "In The Horse Whisperer, I wrote a song based on the character as I saw it," Earle said, referring to the Robert Redford character, Tom Booker, who had finesse with people as well as horses. "I actually put words into the mouth of one of the characters in the movie."

However, that ability to get inside a character once caused media to vilify him. When "John Walker's Blues," which he wrote in 2002 about the young man who came to be known as the American Taliban, started hitting radio stations, it sent a shock wave throughout the country, with some  stations refusing to play it and causing talking heads to smack their mouths in a media frenzy. Yet, anyone who actually listened to the song understood that Earle wasn't being un-American. He merely saw a human being in the eyes of John Walker Lindh.  "I have a son that's exactly the same age as John Walker Lindh," Earle said. "I was really relating to that as a father. I saw that kid on TV. He was strapped to board, a skinny 20-year-old kid, and I had a skinny 20-year-old kid of my own at the time."

Earle's skinny little kid, Justin Townes Earle, is now 26 and he'll be playing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this week. "He's been playing since he was 13 or 14," Earle said. "He was one of those post modern Nirvana fans. He was too young to have been a Nirvana fan when Cobain was alive. The acoustic thing, for him, kind of started from listening to the Nirvana Unplugged thing on MTV. Cobain was doing what he called 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night' and I always called 'In the Pines.'  My son was talking about how much he liked that song and I told him it was a Leadbelly song. He got into my records and my Leadbelly records are right next to my Lighting Hopkins records. He sort of went from there." Earle also had video recordings of some of these roots players, including Lightning Hopkins. "He could literally watch those and watch where they were putting their fingers. He plays that stuff really well."

But six years ago, Steve Earle steeled himself for the onslaught that his songwriting would produce. Even before he wrote the lyrics, he ignored advice from fellow musician Elvis Costello and others not to write it.  "I knew people were going to freak out," Earle remembered. "I had to make a conscious decision to write it anyway. I wrote it because I was genuinely inspired to do it." Still, he knew that he would not be understood. "There are a lot of people out there who only listen to every third word. At that point in time, most people were reacting to the reaction of a handful of people whose job is to overreact to stuff for the entertainment value of overreacting, the Rush Limbaughs, the New York Post.....I mean, if you're not pissing off the New York Post like I did, then you're not doing your job."

Though Earle's latest recording, Washington Square Serenade, doesn't have a song like "John Walker's Blues" on it, the album is no less stirring. His "City of Immigrants" was written to remind TV pundits who rail against immigration that this country was founded by and continues to prosper because of immigrants. And, "Oxycontin Blues," which is probably the most rootsy cut on this album, is about the widespread addiction of this painkiller in the South where it's known as Hillbilly Heroin.

"Before everybody learned the word from Rush Limbaugh, it was in the news," Earle said. "I lived in Tennessee for 32 years. It was in the news in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. People were crushing it up and either eating it or injecting it or snorting it, and they would die. Tennessee is one of the most landlocked states in the United States; it borders seven other states. It has just never had a particularly dependable supply of class A narcotics. It's always been that way. They've always been expensive and hard to get them in there....Dilaudid was the drug of choice when I was using. Nowadays, it's OxyContin."

Earle is currently touring with his wife, Alison Moorer, (Mrs. Earle number seven, by the way).

He will bring a bus load of instruments: a bouzouki, a mandolin, harmonica, tamboura, harmonium, several guitars including a resonator guitar and a 12 string, and his trusty banjo, a copy of an old White Lady open backed model made by Bart Rider made it. "I only know how to play the kind of banjo that scares sheep. It's a very, very primitive instrument in my hands," Earle said. All of these instruments were used on Washington Square Serenade.


His shows will also feature a club DJ, which you would never expect from an organic roots performer like Earle. However, he does have a very good reason for bringing this guy along. "The way we arrived at this record was over beats," Earle explained. "I recorded loops for the most part and played most of the instruments myself. Much of that I could have done solo, and that would have been fine. But for 'Satellite Radio' and 'Way Down in the Hall,' I just couldn't figure out how I was going to do them live. Then, John King, who produced the record and was also a DJ, suggested that I get a DJ. As it turned out my monitor engineer was a club DJ, and we started experimenting with it, and it works. You just have to see it."

Earle sees another album in the near future, as well as a lot more acting. "I'm doing a film in the fall," he said. "And I'll probably be acting more because I'm starting to get asked to.  I like doing it, and the insurance is better."

But he keeps songwriting ever most in his creative repertoire. "Still, my day job is making records and writing songs.  But all the other stuff, I bring back to my home-base craft.  I found that it makes it better."

Steve Earle grabs life and wrings as much meaning—and stories - out of it as he can, giving this Renaissance rebel a deep understanding of the human heart and human hunger. Catch Earle live in his new tour or savor his latest album Washington Square Serenade.

THE NINTH ANNUAL MOE.DOWN AUGUST 29 - 31

The Ninth Annual moe.down will be held August 29, 30 and 31 at the Snow Ridge Ski area in Turin, NY. moe.down has become known as Upstate NY's most musically diverse festival. moe. will perform a total of six sets throughout the weekend. A limited number of tickets are available at $105 until they are sold out or until August 5th. Please visit: moe.org/moedown for up-to-the-minute information and to purchase tickets.

Joby's Retro Dead Reviews Volume II - 3.28.90

The Grateful Dead was at their absolute "post-coma" peak from the summer of 1989 through the summer of 1990. They had never been more popular, playing at consistently sold out venues and even selling out some huge arenas. Jerry Garcia was by all reports clean and sober, and his playing and singing hadn't been as good since the late 70's. The whole band, as always, fed off Garcia's newfound energy and their playing reached levels not seen for over a decade.

Mile High Music Festival Announces Stage Schedule

"Regarded as a breakout [festival] hit" (New York Times / April 2008), today the first annual Mile High Music Festival powered by SanDisk unveils the highly anticipated festival schedule.

KJ Denhert: Urban Folk and Jazz

When the new disc by KJ Denert landed in my snail mail box, I didn't think much about it, considering I get a lot of unsolicited CDs for review. But when I put this one into my player, I was thrilled to discover a new artist to add to my faves pile. Lucky 7 is Denhert's seventh album on her Mother Cyclone Records label. She is a remarkable talent.

Eliza Gilkyson's Beautiful World

Eliza Gilkyson will be bringing her rootsy Americana sound to the Winnipeg Folk Festival this month. She will be appearing with fellow Texan Nina Gerber. Gilkyson is currently touring in support of her new album, Beautiful World, just released at the end of May on the Minneapolis roots label, Red House Records. This is seventh album from the Grammy-nominated songwriter.

ROTHBURY Goes Green

As leaders in the evolving art of sustainable large-scale event production, ROTHBURY is 100% committed to taking every possible step to reduce the environmental impact of the festival.  While such a commitment does not come without its challenges, ROTHBURY, together with local and national partners who share the same pledge, will indeed demonstrate the vast possibilities in sustainability and hopefully highlight those areas that need serious attention.