all good news

 
Perpetual Groove
@Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
16

Perpetual Groove



Saturday Oct 16|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Perpetual Groove

official band site »

Perpetual Groove caught everyone by surprise in 2015 when they returned to the stage after a two-year hiatus. The band performed eight weekends that year, over multi-night runs, to sold-out shows in some of their favorite cities across the country, thus ringing in a new chapter for Perpetual Groove. The band resolved to make a big change by taking the time to craft, and bring to focus, music that stays true to their creative vision.

That change is here on their new self-titled album. The band recruited producers Jason Kingsland and Tim Friesen to help them accomplish the most engaging and sonically-gratifying Perpetual Groove album to date. While recording at The Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC and Studio MG in Roswell, GA, the band and producers engineered an album that will define Perpetual Groove for years to come. Seven new songs were written by the band specifically for this album representing all that life brings—loss, redemption, and hope.

Perpetual Groove continues to create a cultivated, unique experience for each live show. This new chapter for Perpetual Groove showcases the continuing evolution of their music and performances. This is a band that is fully realized and ready to bring their new sound, storytelling, and live experience to the masses.



 
Perpetual Groove
@Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Oct
17

Perpetual Groove



Sunday Oct 17|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


Perpetual Groove

official band site »

Perpetual Groove caught everyone by surprise in 2015 when they returned to the stage after a two-year hiatus. The band performed eight weekends that year, over multi-night runs, to sold-out shows in some of their favorite cities across the country, thus ringing in a new chapter for Perpetual Groove. The band resolved to make a big change by taking the time to craft, and bring to focus, music that stays true to their creative vision.

That change is here on their new self-titled album. The band recruited producers Jason Kingsland and Tim Friesen to help them accomplish the most engaging and sonically-gratifying Perpetual Groove album to date. While recording at The Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC and Studio MG in Roswell, GA, the band and producers engineered an album that will define Perpetual Groove for years to come. Seven new songs were written by the band specifically for this album representing all that life brings—loss, redemption, and hope.

Perpetual Groove continues to create a cultivated, unique experience for each live show. This new chapter for Perpetual Groove showcases the continuing evolution of their music and performances. This is a band that is fully realized and ready to bring their new sound, storytelling, and live experience to the masses.



 
The Mavericks
@Lincoln Theatre | view more info »
Oct
22

The Mavericks



Friday Oct 22|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
Lincoln Theatre|get directions »
1215 U St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 888-0050


The Mavericks

official band site »

Any band that manages to survive three decades, seeing its core members go from young adults to music veterans, is bound to have its swings and cycles.

The Mavericks, the eclectic rock and country group known for crisscrossing musical boundaries with abandon, has gone through three distinct phases since it was founded in Miami in 1989. An initial period of heady success marked by big hits and critical acclaim in the ‘90s. A long hiatus starting 2003 when the musicians each went their own way. And finally, a triumphant reunion in 2012 which held long enough for them to recently celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary.

Now, The Mavericks are releasing a new album that ushers in the fourth phase of their evolution.

“It's like we've had three different lives,” says Raul Malo, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, “and now this is a whole new beginning. We’re sort of going into uncharted territory. I’m looking forward to it and I’m kind of nervous about it too. It's certainly a new adventure.”

On August 21, The Mavericks officially launch that adventure with the debut of their first-ever, all- Spanish album, released on the band’s own Mono Mundo label. Entitled simply En Español, it is produced by Malo and the band’s long-time collaborator Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Prince, Sheryl Crow). The line-up includes Malo’s fellow Miamian and charter bandmember, Paul Deakin on drums and vibraphone, as well as veteran Jerry Dale McFadden, who joined in 1993. Eddie Perez, a Mexican American guitarist from Los Angeles, is the band’s youngest and newest member, becoming a Maverick in 2003.

The band readily embraced the all-Latin concept, as a team. “It’s a communal project in many ways,” says Malo, “even though I'm leading the charge.”

Although all 12 tracks are in Spanish, as the title suggests, the collection represents a diversity of musical styles and cultural traditions, from tender boleros to brassy mariachi to reimagined Afro- Cuban classics. Seven of the tunes are familiar gems drawn from the vast Latin American songbook, while five are originals written or co-written by Malo. Like the band’s entire body of music, this one album cannot be boxed into a single category. The songs are as diverse as Latin America itself, and as cohesive as the ideal of the American melting pot. To

season this rich musical paella, The Mavericks add their signature country/rock/Tex-Mex flavors and a refreshing spontaneity to the mix.

En Español flips the band’s usual fusion formula, which adds a striking assortment of genres – salsa, ska, norteño, mariachi, and much more – to its sturdy rock/country base. Now, the foundation is solidly Latin with streaks of irreverent rock and twangy guitars running through it, all branded with the unmistakable Mavericks style. “This album, to me, celebrates all those cultures that are so beautiful and so vibrant,” says Malo, who was part of the diverse ensemble known as Los Super Seven in the early 2000s. “I'm proud of this record for that. I think it’s a very inclusive record. Because this story is not just my story, it's the story of a lot of Latinos.”

The idea for an album consisting entirely of Latin music has been percolating in Malo’s mind for several years. The concept crystalized toward the end of the band’s extended separation, during which Malo was performing and making albums as a solo artist. But even when he was on his own, he never conceived of recording an all-Spanish album without his band.

“I was doing this solo stuff and I thought, ‘If The Mavericks ever get back together, I would love to do this project with them. I think The Mavericks would make a great album in Spanish.’ “

In 2012, the band finally did get back together, and started touring and recording as a group again. In 2019, they celebrated their 30th anniversary with a successful tour that was unfortunately interrupted earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the tour was suspended, work on the new album continued.

The inspiration for this labor of love is rooted in the immigrant experience of the band’s founder. He was christened Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr., the son of Cuban exiles who was born and raised in the stimulating immigrant environment of Miami’s Little Havana.

His parents, Raul Sr. and Norma, both came to the United States in the early 60s, fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. They met after arriving in Miami, got married and bought a home in the shadow of the old Orange Bowl, west of downtown. The hub of the growing clan was the abode of Malo’s maternal grandfather, who himself had immigrated from Spain to Cuba, later bringing his family to Florida. As Malo entered adolescence in the 1970s, the Latin music industry was flourishing in the United States. Pop and folk music from many countries flooded Latin communities. Recordings from many countries were distributed domestically by major labels, sold in neighborhood discotecas, and broadcast on television and radio via a booming network of Spanish-language media.

Malo’s musical milieu was a mind-expanding cultural mashup. At home, there was a family piano to play at family gatherings, and his grandfather regaled guests with his “beautiful baritone,” Malo recalls. And there was a stream of music always in the air. Songs by Cuba’s venerable Omara Portuondo, Mexico’s romantic Trio Los Panchos, and brash mariachi superstar Vicente Fernandez. But his father also loved Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, while his mother exposed him to the refined art of opera and classical music.

The budding musician soaked in the sounds, unlike many first-generation teenagers who reject their parents’ music as corny or old-fashioned. “I was never one of those kids who were like, ‘Ah, I hate that music,’” says Malo. “I liked it all, and I would take it all in. To me, it was just part of the vocabulary, part of the DNA.”

With a lifetime of music to choose from, picking songs for the new album could have posed an overwhelming task. But for Malo, it felt like a natural selection.

“To me, the criterion really was pretty simple,” he says. “The songs all mean something to me, personally. You’ve got to remember too, I’m not only thinking about what I want to sing and what I think I’d sound good singing. I also have to consider what would sound good with The Mavericks. Because we’re a pretty versatile band, but let’s face it, we’re not a salsa band, and we’re not pretending to be mariachis either. Those are entirely different things.”

Among the first songs Malo selected was the introspective ballad “Me Olvidé de Vivir” (I Forgot to Live), originally written in French and popularized in 1978 by Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias, one of the biggest stars of all time in Latin pop music. The tune – about a singer’s regret for lost time in the manic quest for fame – was a favorite of Malo’s beloved grandfather.

As fans might expect, The Mavericks did not record straight-up covers of golden oldies. The songs may be sung in Spanish, but the musical language is all Mavericks.

“We had to tailor the arrangements to what The Mavericks do,” says Malo. “That was the trick, finding the balance of playing these beautiful songs without trying to imitate familiar renditions. I think that’s the best way to pay tribute to the music that we love – by doing it our way.”

Asked to explain what “our way” actually means, the normally articulate bandleader grasps for insight into his own creative process.

“Man, I wish that I could put a method into words, like that was on purpose,” he says. “I can’t say that it was. Sometimes I roll a joint and I mess with the sounds, I get the right guitar and sometimes an arrangement comes out, or sometimes a whole song. But sometimes nothing comes out. So it's not as methodical as you might think. If it sounds good, I go with it. “I’ve learned to trust myself a little bit.” In composing the five new tracks, Malo trusted his instincts, both as songwriter and as a Maverick.

“I think I had one of them written,” he says, “and then the others, I just thought it would be fun to see what I could come up with, what I could write, and just give it a shot. After all, if you're a songwriter, you're a songwriter. Musically, if you really listen to them, it's not that different from what The Mavericks do normally. It really isn’t.”

“Poder Vivir,” the first original song in the sequence, at first blush appears to be a simple song about lost love. The two-word title suggests much more.

“I had this phrase and melody that just kept playing in my head,” says Malo about how he wrote the song. “I wasn’t quite sure what it meant exactly, or what I was going to say, but somehow it felt right to start the song with those words… After many conversations and late nights out on the road, the song kind of wrote itself. We wanted it to be conversational and simple in the end, and that’s what we got.”

That, and a killer final verse that makes the song what Malo intended it to be: “a bit philosophical and wise”: A veces la vida nos hace pensar Que el mundo no cambia sino para mal Son solo momentos, también pasarán En fin, ni la muerte nos marca un final

Writing the lovely “Recuerdos” – about the ethereal memories left after love ends – came faster and easier.

“This one was a lot of fun to write,” Malo recalls. “We were under the gun a little bit, trying to finish the record. We were going into the studio on a Sunday. We got home from our show at the Ryman on Saturday night, and we had to be at the studio by noon. Alejandro met me at my house at 9:00 AM. I had coffee ready. I had a groove. I had a melody. And by 12:30, the Mavericks were recording this song at the legendary Blackbird Studios...” Regardless of the songwriting process–quick or labored, solo or collaborative–the resulting five new numbers (including “Mujer,” “Pensando en Ti,”and “Suspiro Azul.”) clearly meet the high bar of blending seamlessly with the established standards.

This is not the first time Malo has written his own songs in Spanish. He included four Castilian compositions on “Today,” his 2001 debut solo album. But he’s still honing his bilingual craft.

For the new album, he listened to old boleros and closely studied his ancestors’ mother tongue, known as the language of love. He also enlisted the help of longtime collaborator and fellow Cuban Alejandro Menéndez Vega, the Mavericks’ director and videographer who’s also a writer and poet.

“I would try writing by myself, but I didn't want to use just common language,” says Malo. “I wanted to work with someone who has a real clear command of the language.”

On this album, Malo joins the rarefied ranks of the esteemed Spanish-language composers of seven timeless tracks. Of these widely known standards, two are from Cuba, two from Mexico, and one each from Argentina, Italy, and France via Spain. Several have been recorded dozens of times, but Malo used as reference the versions with which he was most familiar.

For example, “Sombras Nada Más” was originally an Argentine tango about a desperate lover who threatens to slice his veins slowly and bleed out to prove his love to the woman who spurns him. The song was a huge smash in 1967 by Mexican mariachi star Javier Solís, but Malo was enamored of the lesser known version by elegant Spanish singer Rocío Durcal.

The romantic bolero “Sabor a Mí,” one of the two Mexican songs on the album, is another international smash with multiple renditions recorded over the years. Malo was most attuned to the hit version by U.S. pop singer Eydie Gormé with Mexico’s Trio Los Panchos. The other Mexican tune, “No Vale la Pena,” is a much lighter take on ending a relationship by flatly telling your ungrateful partner, as the title says, “it’s not worth it.” The song was written by Juan Gabriel, another beloved star who Malo considers “one of my favorites.” The Maverick’s mariachi-flavored rendition features guest artist Flaco Jimenez, San Antonio’s world-renowned accordion player.

The two Cuban numbers – “La Sitiera” and “Me Voy a Pinar del Río” – open and close the album like tropical bookends. But it almost didn’t happen that way.

“La Sitiera,” now the album’s featured track, almost didn’t make the cut. An early version was recorded on the band’s first day in the studio, but the results were disappointing.

“That one didn’t hold up,” recalls Malo, with some lingering frustration. “Shoot, we had played it live and it just rocked. But that first recording was not even close. So it just sat forever in the junk pile.”

Later, with some spare studio time near the end of recording, the song was resuscitated, and it jumped back to life with a jolt.

“I knew that once we had that new version, it was going to make the record. It just sounded right, and you can feel it in the studio. Then we added the strings, … and I said, “Guys, this has to open the record.”

“La Sitiera” is a traditional guajira, or Cuban country song, that has been recorded by top performers, including Omara Portuondo and Celia Cruz. But its sweet melody, longing lyrics, and gentle rhythms are entirely revolutionized by The Mavericks. The track opens with Malo’s twangy Fender guitar, with delay pedal and reverb, adding an eerie undertone. The number then moves into a lush passage with horns and strings, culminating in a thunderous crescendo evoking Phil Spector’s “wall of sound.”

"We have a million versions of that song that have been done the traditional way,” says Malo. “But these are The Mavericks. I know my guys and I know what they can play, and when the band jams, it’s a special thing. So I thought, let's arrange this so that it showcases, not only the song, but also this arrangement that lets the band do what it does best.”

The closing track, “Me Voy a Pinar del Río,” is a paean to the natural beauty of Cuba’s western-most province, relatively untouched by tourism. In tone and topic, it is polar opposite from the opening. This track is joyful, irresistible and danceable.

The song is played in a much more straightforward fashion, but it also went through a surprise twist in the studio. For the song’s guitar solo, the usual Cuban tres was replaced by the charango, a small Andean guitar almost never used in Cuban music. The instrumental switch happened by serendipity.

Malo, without The Mavericks, was experimenting in the studio one day with members of a new Cuban rock band, Sweet Lizzy Project, whom he had met while filming the 2017 PBS special, “Havana Time Machine.” Malo later brought the Cuban band to Nashville, recruiting lead singer Lissett Diaz as co- writer and background singer on the new album. On that day at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios, Malo was strumming on the charango while encouraging Sweet Lizzie to join in on an early take of what would become the album’s closing track.

When it came time for the guitar solo, Malo invited the band’s producer and lead guitarist, Miguel Comas, to take a crack at it. But the first take didn’t take. “He was playing a guitar solo and I was like, ‘Dude, that sounds like Eric Clapton. That's not what we need."

So Malo handed the little charango to the long-haired Cuban rocker, who immediately protested, in Spanish, that he had never played the instrument before. But Malo persisted, and it paid off. The spontaneous Sweet Lizzy performance can be heard on the finished track, perhaps the world’s first Cuban charango solo on record.

It’s no coincidence that the album ends with this positive note about going home to Pinar del Río, where Malo’s father is from.

“It's part of the journey and the longing to be there,” says Malo of his parents’ island homeland. “It’s the longing for that beautiful forbidden fruit which we have gone without for half a century, due to politics. It’s a way to view this journey, which would be a fun one, if we all went on it together someday.”



 
Liz Cooper
The Hot Sass Tour | Pearl Charles | @The Recher | view more info »
Oct
23

Liz Cooper

The Hot Sass Tour
Pearl Charles

Saturday Oct 23|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
The Recher|get directions »
512 York Road
Towson, MD|p: (410) 337-7178


Liz Cooper


The Hot Sass Tour

official band site »

On the porch of her one-time Nashville home, Liz Cooper had a multimedia project that combined two of her loves: lips and cigarettes. She painted her own lips with red paint and kissed a canvas two or three hundred times, later dotting them with the detritus left behind in ashtrays by her friends. An overlap of intimacy, indulgence, cheekiness, and sensuality, the piece complements Cooper's roiling second record, Hot Sass. Over jagged, frenetic guitar parts, Cooper sets expectations aflame with the record's title track. Her songs unfurl like smoke spiraling off an incense cone late in the afternoon, with Cooper pushing deeper into psychedelic openness, punk ferocity, and beyond.

Hot Sass marks multiple departures for Liz Cooper: from her nine-year home of Nashville, from her band addendum of the Stampede, from any genre-burdened expectations she'd accumulated over the years. After heavy touring in support of 2018's Window Flowers, where her songs stretched out in live settings, she felt constricted by the Americana-adjacent associations that the Stampede carried. So with her bandmates' blessing, she dropped the moniker, pursuing sounds and songs that let her chase the inspiration lent to her by the likes of Courtney Love, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. In Burlington, Vermont, Cooper and her cohort -- Ryan Usher, Joe Bisirri, and Michael Libramento -- recorded Hot Sass at Little Jamaica, the personal studio/private residence of producer Benny Yurco (Michael Nau). The intimacy of the space and the players' provided a wide-open approach to Yurco's live setup for rolling forward with minimal takes, a sensibility abetted by a whole lot of psychedelic mushrooms consumed in the process. Cooper recorded her guitar parts from the kitchen and living room while Usher played drums in a bedroom.

Completing Hot Sass, Cooper realized she needed a change of scenery from her longtime home of Nashville, where she'd lived in a freewheeling house of itinerant artists known as the Pennock Palace. She settled in Brooklyn at the beginning of March 2020, and found herself confronted with the new challenges of staying still as touring ground to a halt.

"I'm learning more about how to take care of myself -- just facing the darkness head on that I've been running from by being on tour and being so busy my whole life. It's taught me more about what kind of artist I want to be and what kind of person I want to be," she says.

But now, Hot Sass is crackling into public life, charging forward with Cooper's revitalized creative energy. Her Nashville confidant Daniel Yocum, a painter and friend who collaborated with her on the music videos for Hot Sass, first encouraged Cooper to pick up the practice for herself. She's finding new mediums to explore in paints and pedals, discovering even more exciting, untamed space to be herself.

Where did the concept of "hot sass" come from, and how did it become the central focus of your record?

It's something that scares me. It's another part of myself that I'd never really show. It's something that pushes me that goes hand in hand with me not hiding behind a band's name anymore. It is this other side of me, this wild side.

I feel like it is this madness that I've been more comfortable with accepting and like, this fucking attitude that I do possess that I've been hiding from. It's this confidence and sexiness, it's something that I've always been very afraid of. It's me learning about what kind of woman I am and It's not pretty all the time. It's not this thing that you can put in a box. I'm inspired by women who speak their mind, and who don't give a fuck what people think about them.

There's a sense of restlessness that carries across the record, and right after you finished it, you left Nashville for New York. How did that feeling make its way into the songs?

A big thing about touring is how you're not really able to reflect, you're just so in the moment all the time, and you're always surrounded by people. I am an introvert, and I feel like I have to refuel by being by myself, which is literally impossible when you're on the road. I was exhausted. But I think it's also a lot of growth and just learning about myself and trying to be confident. I've always struggled with my confidence and self worth, and facing that.

What was your approach with beginning to write Hot Sass? Where were you trying to push yourself musically?

Really what the beginning of it was, was, very organically and naturally, I met Benny Yurco, who is a fucking creative genius. I just texted him one day, and I was like, "I want to make a record with you." And he was like, "Let's do it." So really that was the beginning push for me to be creating with an artist that I really respected. I knew I had to really bring it for him and for myself.

I wrote this album on the road and any chance I could find, so in between soundcheck and the show, I would hide in the van, or I would write in motel bathrooms. Whenever I'd get home for however long, which is not usually very long, I would just dive in and write.

As soon as we got to Benny's, it was this complete safe haven. All of us trust each other so much, and we let our guards down completely. We flew through recording these songs and tracked the drums, the bass, guitar, and vocals all live. There was no intention besides just making the best song and without any ego.

You spent a few years touring pretty heavily, even by a lot of musicians' standards, and you recorded most of Hot Sass live as a group. How has it been going without that kind of in-person energy for the last year or so?

This is the longest I've gone without playing music my entire life. It's been really important for me, because music is my spirituality and my release, and I've never not had it. To take that away has been a total withdrawal, and an incredible emotional roller coaster to be in an unfamiliar city with that.

It affected me a lot. I know that I needed that break, because it made me learn more about myself: "Okay, well, if I can't just chase this thing all the time, who am I without music? I'm still learning."

What has picking up painting meant to you over the last few years?

I've just been finding my voice with it just like music. And I definitely have ideas of how I want to push boundaries with it. It's just another way to expose my insides which scares me but also makes me feel whole and healed. I love to paint because I don't feel any pressure from myself or from anyone else. It's just fun and it's pure. Purely expressive. If I make something that is horrifying and super shitty, I don't care. You move on, and you learn from it. And that's it. Daniel [Yocum] is the one that really made me fall back in love with it. We push each other, and we're gonna do some collaborations with visual art beyond videos, see what we can dream up in the painting world.

What do you most want to get across with this record?

I'm not sure if there's anything specifically that I'm aiming to get across. I'm still processing these songs. Still reflecting. And I think that's the thing -- Hot Sass is just a stamp in time of what was happening in my life. I just want to continue making art that displays myself, the moments, and the people around me.

Pearl Charles

official band site »

Charles has been playing music since she was 5 years old. At 18, she formed country duo The Driftwood Singers with Christian Lee Hutson, singing and playing guitar and autoharp. At 22, she joined garage rock band The Blank Tapes as drummer. After two fun-filled years immersed in the rock and roll lifestyle, she decided it was time to pursue her own songwriting, and began developing the songs that formed 2015?s eponymous debut EP. Drawn to poppy hooks and catchy choruses, Charles draws on what she loves about the 60s, 70s and 80s while developing her unique style as a solo artist.

In 2018, Pearl released debut album, Sleepless Dreamer, which Rough Trade described as “The best country pop we’ve heard in years” and Buzzfeed called her “A modern June Carter meets Lana Del Rey.” With the upcoming release of the follow up, Magic Mirror, out January 15, 2021, Pearl leans into furthering her own brand of country-disco.


 
Emily Wolfe
Natalie Brooke | @The Recher | view more info »
Oct
27

Emily Wolfe

Natalie Brooke


Wednesday Oct 27|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
The Recher|get directions »
512 York Road
Towson, MD|p: (410) 337-7178


Emily Wolfe

official band site »

The second full-length from Emily Wolfe, Outlier, released June 25th, 2021 on Crows Feet Records, is an album built on exquisite tension: an endless push-and-pull between desire and resistance, determination and self-sabotage, the instinctive need to belong and the urge to strike out on your own. For help in channeling that complexity of feeling, the Austin-based singer/songwriter/guitarist explored and obliterated the boundaries of rock-and-roll and modern pop, mining equal inspiration from the likes of Judas Priest and Ariana Grande in her bold but masterful genre-bending. Produced by Michael Shuman of Queens of the Stone Age and Mini Mansions, the resulting body of work finds Wolfe upending the conventions of each genre, ultimately arriving at a guitar-drenched sound that’s wildly unpredictable and immediately magnetic.


Natalie Brooke

official band site »


 
Turkuaz
Thumpasaurus | @9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
28

Turkuaz

Thumpasaurus


Thursday Oct 28|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Turkuaz

official band site »

Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, a spirit takes shape on stage nightly for Turkuaz via larger-than-life performances. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “[Turkuaz] delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.”

The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their newest EP, Kuadrochrome.

Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums, EPs and live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement.

“I would love for our music to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark world. You can come to our shows, let go, exist, and have a good time in spite of what may be going on outside. That’s what music does for us. We want to share that.”


Thumpasaurus

official band site »


 
Nefesh Mountain
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Oct
28

Nefesh Mountain



Thursday Oct 28|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Nefesh Mountain

official band site »

Since their arrival on the scene in 2015, Nefesh Mountain has been hailed as one of today’s formative boundary pushing Bluegrass/Americana bands. They’re among the first to truly give voice and openly represent Jewish American culture, tradition, values and spirituality in the world of American roots music. In a testament to the unbridled imagination and extraordinary grace of their musicianship, each track on Songs for the Sparrows ineffably evokes the sensation of roaming through the unknown. True to the album’s spirit of loving inclusivity, Lindberg and Zasloff, have created an elegantly wayward sound by melding elements of everything from Americana and Appalachian bluegrass to Celtic folk and Eastern European music. Not only a reflection of their vast musical knowledge, that open-hearted embracing of so many eclectic genres also speaks to the joyful curiosity that animates every aspect of their artistry.

Writing thirteen of the fourteen tracks, the duo looked back on a life-changing trip to Eastern Europe in 2018. “We tracked down the towns where our families are from, and it was devastating to see the destruction of the Holocaust firsthand, and to know that we’re not so far removed from that time,” says Lindberg. “” ‘Songs For The Sparrows’ ultimately came from that experience, and from thinking about the many groups of people who are horribly discriminated against in the U.S.” Zasloff adds: “To us, sparrows represent a small but mighty voice. That’s why we chose to name the album for them—they’re often overlooked, but they’re beautiful and everywhere.” Lindberg and Zasloff are the heart of this eclectic band, alongside longtime bandmate and fiddle player Alan Grubner, David Goldenberg on mandolin, and Max Johnson on bass.

In addition to the core band, the album also features an all-star lineup of musicians including Jerry Douglas (Dobro), Sam Bush (mandolin) and Bryan Sutton (guitar) “Jerry and Sam are part of this amazing group of bluegrass musicians who really blew the doors off the whole genre back in the ’70s and ’80s, and paved the way for folks like us to bring in all kinds of influences,” says Lindberg. “So, while this record is in many ways a celebration of American music, it’s also our attempt to introduce some otherworldly elements that you may not get from pure Americana.” In that spirit, Lindberg and Zasloff brought aboard Celtic phenoms John Doyle (guitar/bouzouki) and Mike McGoldrick (whistles) to help achieve this global sound. “Celtic music is such an integral part of our lives as American roots musicians” says Lindberg. “We wanted to share our love of Scots-Irish music in a number of these songs as a way to bring in a European influence, and for us was such an honor to record and collaborate with two of our favorites; John and Mike”

Additionally, the album features stellar players, Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano, dulceola), Wes Corbett (banjo), and John Mock: (bodhran).



 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Sunsquabi | @The Anthem | view more info »
Oct
29

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Sunsquabi


Friday Oct 29|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

official band site »

Hailed as “musical explorers” by Rolling Stone, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong first took flight roughly a decade ago at the University of Maryland, and the pysch-funk trailblazers have since gone on to play more than a thousand shows across 44 states. In just the past two years alone, the band has co-billed at Red Rocks, played halftime at Madison Square Garden, performed on Adult Swim’s FishCenter Live, celebrated the tenth anniversary of their beloved music festival, Domefest, and even earned their first headlining arena show. The Baltimore quartet’s latest album, ‘Presto,’ is their most sophisticated and joyful collection to date, drawing on everything from funk to rock to electronic music as it builds off the group’s unparalleled live energy and hits new heights of emotional and technical maturity. At a time when America seems to grow more divided by the day, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong still believes in the power of music to bring people together, and ‘Presto’ is a big, bold album all about celebrating the present and sharing it with the ones we love most.


Sunsquabi

official band site »

There’s a place, deep in the cosmos, where jam bands and electronic dance music intersect with rhythm-driven funk. You’ll feel like you’re floating here but not lost completely to the atmospheric elements. Instead, you’re tethered to an avant-garde spaceship with Colorado-based SunSquabi on the frequency. This cosmic wonderland is a melting pot of a variety of musical genres and it represents the future of music. A three-piece suit - SunSquabi has been catching the eyes and ears of music fans around the world with their ever-evolving sound in the studio and on the live stage. SunSquabi has gained national attention for their unique way of producing music. The band’s live show can be described as an ‘Electronic Hydro Funk Experience’ that is different every single time out. SunSquabi continues to break down and analyze the expectations of what a “Live-Electronic” band should be. The band unveiled their newest album ‘Instinct’ in January of 2019. The 10 track LP finds the band at their highest peak as they have been dedicated to the metamorphosis of capturing elements in their live performances in the studio as improvisational jams have been fleshed out into full-blown songs and staples in their repertoire.

Combining the talents of Kevin Donohue (guitars/keys/production) Josh Fairman (bassist/synth) and Chris Anderson (drums). This project is a disciplined and structured group. It takes a seasoned musician to stay in the pocket for the sake of building well-developed lines and climaxes. To do that seamlessly requires patience and skill. “It’s kinda like breathing, honestly. We can communicate directly with each other both verbally and non-verbally, onstage and off.” That connection will take the music collectively where we all want to go.” – Kevin Donohue


 
Lettuce
@9:30 club | view more info »
Nov
5

Lettuce



Friday Nov 5|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Lettuce

official band site »

LETTUCE both feed the rich history of funk and also combine it with strains of hip-hop, rock, psychedelia, jazz, soul, and go-go. The GRAMMY® Award-nominated six-piece—Adam Deitch [drums, percussion, arrangement], Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff [guitar], Erick “Jesus” Coomes [bass], Ryan Zoidis [alto, baritone, tenor sax, Korg X-911], Eric “Benny” Bloom [trumpet, horns], and Nigel Hall [vocals, Hammond B-3, Rhodes, clavinet, keyboards]—once again break rules, push boundaries, and uplift on their sixth full-length studio offering, Resonate [Round Hill Records].

To date, their discography comprises Outta Here [2002], Rage! [2008], Fly [2012], Crush [2015], the EP Mt. Crushmore [2016], the live album Witches Stew [2017], and Elevate [2019]. The latter lifted LETTUCE to new heights. Notably, it garnered a 2020 GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album” and bowed at #1 on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart and iTunes Top R&B Albums Chart. Elevate also soared to the Top 15 on the Billboard Jazz Albums, R&B Album Sales, and Heatseekers Charts. Not to mention, it put up 3 million streams within six months, and simultaneously received acclaim from BrooklynVegan, Billboard, Rolling Stone, NPR, and more. Throughout 2019, LETTUCE siphoned all of this energy back into the studio. Written and recorded during the same Colorado Sound sessions that spawned Elevate, the band brought Resonate to life alongside iconic producer and engineer Russ Elevado [D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu]. Lettuce introduces this chapter with the first single “Checker Wrecker” featuring Washington D.C. go-go music legends Big Tony Fisher of Trouble Funk and Tyrone “Jungle Boogie” Williams of Rare Essence.



 
Circles Around The Sun
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Nov
7

Circles Around The Sun



Sunday Nov 7|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Circles Around The Sun

official band site »

Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup Circles Around the Sun returns with the release of their self-titled, third full-length studio album, Circles Around the Sun. The seven-track collection marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs. It’s an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even DANCIER version of themselves – a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars. The thing is, their sound isn’t the only thing that’s evolved. Since their last LP, Circles has undergone a transformation internally. It’s a tale of life, death and rebirth, of love and loss, of shedded skin and new beginnings. But let’s start with the new album, shall we?

Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with…a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks™ from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members—guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy—were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks™. “The built-in beats on it are actually pretty janky,” says Horne. “But we knew we wanted to make more of a dancey, groove-driven album that would translate live, to give our shows a more high-energy feel.” Drawing inspiration from P-Funk, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, and Beastie Boys’ slinky instrumentals, the band used the Drumtraks™ driving rhythms as the foundation for each song.

Album opener “Babyman” makes it clear the Circles Around The Sun ride is headed in a new direction, closer to Air’s Moon Safari than the psych-jazz odyssey of their previous LPs, Interludes for the Dead (2015) or Let It Wander (2018).

An origin story, for context: in 2015 Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill, invited Casal to compose the intermission music for the Dead’s Fare Thee Well concerts, a victory lap celebrating their final shows. Neal assembled the guys, recorded five hours of jams, and was surprised to find an eager audience and label support from Rhino Records. And Circles Around the Sun was born.

On epic disco jammers “Detroit Dos” and “Land Line Memories,” MacDougall’s sizzling analog keyboards (like the Minimoog Model D and phaser-soaked Clavinet) echo vintage library music and 1978’s crate digger fave Black Devil Disco Club by Bernard Fevre. “This band was never something I thought would get done to a click,” says MacDougall. “But we all talked about it being more of a fun record, so we hung some mirror balls and played a bunch of dance music!”

As it happens, Circles’ new sound was created partly by design, but also partly by tragic circumstance. On August 26, 2019, a week after laying down his tracks for Circles Around the Sun, founder Neal Casal committed suicide. He left behind a note for the group, asking for them to continue in his absence—to continue recording, touring, and playing together. They’ve chosen to honor his wishes. “Our mission is to extend Neal’s musical legacy,” says drummer Levy. “He was a classy dude and had a regal vibe about him. The other side of it is the mental health legacy. Maybe there are people out there in the same sort of darkness Neal was in, who can hear us and say we can work positively on multiple fronts in his memory.”

In this metamorphosis, Circles Around the Sun spans both heartbreak and hope. Doors close; windows open; new directions extend themselves in mysterious ways. But sometimes you know it’s real from the first beat. It just clicks. We’ll see you on the dancefloor, at the festival, at the next jam session, where everyone comes together and all is forgiven. It’s just how Neal would want it. It’s Circles Around The Sun.



 
The Hip Abduction
Joe Sambo | @Union Stage | view more info »
Nov
11

The Hip Abduction

Joe Sambo


Thursday Nov 11|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


The Hip Abduction

official band site »

Evoking the ocean and guided by the spirit of travel, the St Petersburg Fl outfit The Hip Abduction pilot a sonic expedition past genre barriers. The band is the moniker for singer/songwriter/producer David New, but live shows morph into a versatile musical ensemble consisting of Matt Poynter (drums), Chris Powers (bass), Justino Walker (guitar, vocals, ngoni), and Cody Moore (keys, sax); each of whom have a mutual appreciation for African (Afrobeat/Soukous/Malian Blues), Caribbean Reggae, and American (jam/electronic/indie) music. Since 2012, the band has played almost every noteworthy music festival in the country, has landed major TV/Movie syncs and Sirius Xm radio spins, have ~400k mo listeners on Spotify, have provided direct cross country tour support for artists like Dirty Heads, Galactic, Slightly Stoopid, The Revivalists, and who’s highly energized live show have landed the 5-piece a sizable fanbase across the US and Canada.


Joe Sambo

official band site »

Joe Sambo is a reggae/rock artist from New England. Salem, New Hampshire to be exact. And he’s been tearing up the reggae charts since April of 2019 His album “The Wrong Impression” debuted number 1 on the reggae billboard charts the first week of may 2019. He also was awarded Male Artist of the year at The New England Music Awards.?Riding on the success of The Wrong Impression, Joe Sambo has been working hard in the studio to release his sophomore record. that record will be featuring his single “Focus” which is available to stream now!


 
Yonder Mountain String Band
@9:30 club | view more info »
Nov
11

Yonder Mountain String Band



Thursday Nov 11|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Yonder Mountain String Band

official band site »

Pioneers. Innovators. These are but a few of the monikers that Yonder Mountain String Band has worn since their inception. From the first Yonder shows in the fall of 1998 to their drive-in tour of 2020, this touring force has brought their adventurous musical spirit to countless venues for nearly a quarter century.

Yonder Mountain’s early success was fueled by their desire to make a sound distinctly their own, whether performed on crowded stages or selling out the hallowed Red Rocks Amphitheater. Their traditional take on bluegrass sound was fused with their diverse musical influences ranging anywhere from punk rock to the Grateful Dead.

The combination of the band’s unique personalities, extended musical improvisations, their jam band fan culture and their collaborative effort on writing and arranging original songs which span multiple genres—attracted more of a freewheeling jam crowd than the traditional bluegrass scene which, in turn, exposed a whole new generation of fans to Bluegrass.

No band that has stood the test of time is without transformation and Yonder Mountain has had their fair share of change. In 2014, Yonder Mountain and Jeff Austin announced they were parting ways. Austin went on to tour full time with his side project, The Jeff Austin Band, with a rotating lineup of musicians playing with him until his unexpected death in 2019.

Founding members Adam Aijala on guitar, Ben Kaufmann on bass, Dave Johnston on banjo, alongside the 2015 addition of Allie Kral on fiddle, and newcomer, multi-instrumentalist Nick Piccininni handling duties on mandolin, second fiddle, and anything stringed.

With their instrumental prowess and adventurous musical spirit, Yonder Mountain String Band were — and still are — a pioneering group in the emerging progressive bluegrass scene that now includes marquee acts like Billy Strings, Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass and the Infamous Stringdusters.

- Rollinig Stone

This past April, the band recorded their ninth studio album, scheduled to be released in late 2021. The band will road test the new material this summer and fall.



 
Billy Strings
@The Anthem | view more info »
sold out
Nov
13

Billy Strings



Saturday Nov 13|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930
Sold Out


Billy Strings

official band site »

Please note, there is NO OPENER for this show. Please plan to arrive with plenty of time for processing and entry.


Michigan-born and now Nashville-based, Billy Strings is a GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician, who arrived on the scene as “one of string music’s most dynamic young stars” (Rolling Stone). Strings is in the midst of a triumphant year after winning Best Bluegrass Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards for his critically acclaimed record, Home. Produced by Glenn Brown, the record also led Strings to top Billboard’s 2020 year-end charts in both Bluegrass categories—Top Bluegrass Artists and Top Bluegrass Albums—and continues to receive widespread critical acclaim. Of the release, The Associated Press proclaims, “it is his creative musical storytelling, paired with solid vocals on Home that should seal the deal, pleasing fans of the genre and creating some new ones…the perfect blend of pure talent and pluck,” while The Wall Street Journal declares, “Billy Strings has clearly emerged as a premier guitar flatpicker of this era.” Since his debut, Strings has been awarded Guitar Player of the Year and New Artist of the Year at the 2019 International Bluegrass Music Awards, selected as one of Rolling Stone’s “New Country Artists to Know” and performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and PBS’ “Bluegrass Underground.” Known for his electric live shows, Strings will continue his extensive headline tour throughout 2021 including upcoming shows in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Austin, Atlanta and Nashville among several others.



 
Pink Talking Fish
@The Recher | view more info »
Nov
14

Pink Talking Fish



Sunday Nov 14|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
The Recher|get directions »
512 York Road
Towson, MD|p: (410) 337-7178


Pink Talking Fish

official band site »

Pink Talking Fish is a Hybrid Tribute Fusion Act that takes the music from three of the world's most beloved bands and creates a special treat for fans of the music.

Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish are all more than just bands... they are Phenomenons. Their creations have artistically inspired people and their mind-blowing live performances have brought people together to form a special sense of community around the love for their favorite band.

Although the music from each act is different, Pink Talking Fish has discovered that fusing the material together creates an amazing story. The epic emotion of Pink Floyd.... The funky, danceable layerings of The Talking Heads.... The multitude of styles, unique compositional structures and pure fun of Phish.... to merge these three into one gives music lovers a special experience.

Pink Talking Fish features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums and Cal Kehoe on guitar. This is a band created by musicians who love the music of these acts. It's purpose is to heighten people's passion for this music by creating something fresh and exciting for fans.

Discovering connections is part of the fun: Pink Floyd's "On The Run" seamlessly fitting in the middle of the composition of Phish's "You Enjoy Myself". Perfectly placing Phish's "Sand" into the groove of The Talking Head's "Slippery People". Segued collections from all three acts such as Run Like Hell > Making Flippy Floppy > Piper > Run Like Hell or Mike's Song > Have A Cigar > Once In A Lifetime > Weekapaug Groove. These ideas are the spirit behind Pink Talking Fish.

The story is ever evolving. The experience is always exciting. Come join Pink Talking Fish for the ultimate fusion tribute and celebrate the love of this music in unique fashion.



 
Keller & The Keels
@Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Nov
19

Keller & The Keels



Friday Nov 19|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


Keller & The Keels

official band site »

Appalachian Psychedelic Bluegrass

Keller’s description: "Award winning flat picker Larry Keel and his rock solid, in the pocket bass playing wife, Jenny Keel, make up two thirds of this super fun trio I started in 2004. With three albums recorded together the handful of gigs we play a year turn into acoustic picking parties. We vowed from the beginning that we wouldn't do it often so that when we did, it would be special and it is."
--Kw



 
Andy Frasco & The UN
Nick Gerlach’s Cult Conference | @Union Stage | view more info »
Dec
1

Andy Frasco & The UN

Nick Gerlach’s Cult Conference


Wednesday Dec 1|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Andy Frasco & The UN

official band site »

Born and raised in California, Frasco’s first exposure to the music industry came not onstage, but rather in an office. As a young teenager, he worked with legendary indie label Drive-Thru Records and helped book bands like Hello Goodbye, and by the time he turned 18, he’d already moved to New York City for a gig with Atlantic Records. When the job fell through, though, Frasco made a leap of faith and decided to launch his own career as an artist, taking everything he’d learned working with other bands and applying it to himself.

Initially, Frasco hired local pickup musicians off of Craigslist to back him for gigs, but soon he put together a steady(ish) lineup, and Andy Frasco & The U.N. began taking the world by storm. The group would release a series of acclaimed records, share bills with the likes of Leon Russell, Galactic, Gary Clark, Jr., The Revivalists, and Marcus King among others, and slay festival stages everywhere from Mountain Jam in the U.S. to Rock am Ring in Germany and COTAI Jazz & Blues in China (this summer, Frasco will perform at multiple summer festivals including Summer Camp, FloydFest and hopefully many more to be announced). NME hailed the constantly evolving group as “party-starting touring stalwarts,” while Relix praised their “raucous energy,” and Clash lauded their live show as a “nightly high-octane experience that doubles as a celebration of life and music…energized by a powerfully entertaining multi-cultural soundtrack that will shake the foundations of all nearby structures.”

Every party has to end sometime, though, and while it seemed Frasco was living out his rock and roll dreams on his 2019 and early 2020 tours, he was facing an internal darkness few knew about.

“I hit a breaking point,” he explains. “I was sitting alone in my van, and I realized that I didn’t know who my friends were. Worse, I didn’t know who I was. I was drinking too much, I was addicted to cocaine, and I was dealing with really heavy depression. I even contemplated suicide, but I decided that if I’m fortunate enough to leave behind a legacy, I didn’t want to be remembered just as some good-time party guy. I wanted to show people that I’m more than the crowd-surfing, Jameson-drinking maniac they see onstage.”

Frasco began writing poetry that eventually became songs. He wrote about despair and anxiety, about friendship and growth, about accountability and potential, transforming the poems into defiant rock and roll anthems. These songs became his most recent album ‘Keep On Keeping On' released at the beginning of the pandemic in April of 2020. Like many, the pandemic hit Andy hard. He was once again feeling that ‘breaking point’ and he quickly transformed his high energy road show into a year long digital blitz of new music, a 33 episode variety show (Andy Frasco’s World Saving ShitShow) which garnered 20 millions views, a highly attended digital Dance Party and Andy further developed his already successful and compelling podcast (Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast). His variety show and podcast included interviews and musical performances by many notable guests such as Tony Hawk, Kurt Vile, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kamasi Washington, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and more.

Additionally, Frasco recently scored ‘The Great Depresh,’ an HBO documentary about Gary Gulman exploring the comic’s struggles with depression that was produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Mike Bonfiglio)


Nick Gerlach’s Cult Conference

official band site »


 
Bumpin Uglies
Dale and the ZDubs | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
3

Bumpin Uglies

Dale and the ZDubs


Friday Dec 3|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Bumpin Uglies

official band site »

The trajectory of Bumpin Uglies started over a decade ago, making music with friends, playing backyard parties and anywhere else they could get a gig. For Brandon Hardesty, lead vocals and guitar, it was a simple time, but one that taught him lessons that stay with him today as he leads the band into the 2020s. One was that he would do whatever it took for him and his band to be successful. Another was in discovering that doing it his way was the only way, which still applies today. Bumpin Uglies do things their way, free to play, think, and write however they feel, critics and the mainstream music industry be damned.

In the early days, Hardesty was hustling waiting tables while stoking his musical fire with every minute of free time he had. A point came years ago when he knew it was time to put up or shut up if he was going to make a career as a musician, so he dug into doing all of the things it takes to grow Bumpin Uglies from a grassroots local band into a nationally touring act. It took a tireless DIY ethic; and it still does, but if Brandon did not have the singular focus on breaking through and achieving his musical dreams, the story of Bumpin Uglies wouldn’t be what it is today.

Bumpin Uglies are a band that have hoisted themselves up and forged their own path, but even as they look around at where they are, how far they have come, it is clear to them that there is so much more work to do and they continue to do it every day. With the help of bassist Dave “Wolfie” Wolf, drummer TJ Haslett and keyboardist / master shredder Chad Wright, they are doing just that.

Bumpin Uglies recently came off the road, having to cancel their spring tour due to COVID-19. Brandon and the boys have been keeping their rabid fan group “Uglies Nation” entertained with full band live streams, hosting socially distant concerts and even a few Drive-In concerts until the world slowly gets back to a place where Bumpin Uglies can tour once again.

Fresh off the successful release of full length, “Keep your suitcase packed.”, they are in the midst of a new project called “The Never Ending Drop." The concept is simple, yet groundbreaking..

"For the last ten years, we’ve been on what feels like the never ending tour. So in a year where the tour is forced to stop, we decided to double down on the music making portion of our job description," Hardesty explains. The band released their first single, "Fear," in October and plans to release a single per month indefinitely on the second Friday of each month. Be sure to check out the new material on Spotify or wherever you stream music.

Who is Bumpin Uglies?

Brandon Hardesty – Vocals, Guitar

Dave Wolf – Vocals, Bass

TJ Haslett – Drums

Chad Wright – Vocals, Keys, Guitar


Dale and the ZDubs

official band site »

A fresh rock-reggae groove is flowing out of the nation’s capital, and their name is Dale and the ZDubs. A distinct reggae influence intertwined with a hard hitting rock style, DZD’s songs tell raw and oftentimes ridiculous stories. High-energy live shows feature multi-part vocal harmonies, along with thick guitar driven melodies. And sometimes Dale gets naked. DZD’s absolute obsession with performing live is the catalyst of their 150+ show dates a year all across the country. The most recent studio album, Tuna, produced by Jim Ebert (Everclear) and Jason “Jocko” Randall (John Brown’s Body), is streaming everywhere.


 
Shakey Graves
@Rams Head Live | view more info »
Dec
19

Shakey Graves



Sunday Dec 19|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Shakey Graves

official band site »

The prehistory of Shakey Graves exists in two overstuffed folders. Inside them, artifacts document an immense era of anonymous DIY creativity, from 2007 through 2010 - the three years before Roll The Bones came out and changed his life.

There are stencils, lyrics, drawings, prototypes for concert posters, and even a zine. The latter, which Graves - aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia - wrote and illustrated, tells the tale of a once-courageous, now retired mouse who must journey to the moon to save his sweetheart. At the time, he envisioned the photocopied storybook as a potential vessel for releasing his music.

“There was a lot of conceptualizing going on - trying to figure out what I wanted stuff to look like, sound like, and be like,” Rose-Garcia recalls, shuffling through the physical files on his second-story deck in South Austin. “And, honestly, a lot of trying to keep myself from going crazy.”

In this lode of unreleased ephemera, CD-Rs are the most bountiful element. There are dozens of burned discs with widely varying track lists, loosely resembling what would become the Austin native’s 2011 breakout debut Roll the Bones. For Rose-Garcia, who’s long loved the incongruous art form of sequencing strange mixtapes for friends, his own record was subject to change every time he burned a disc for somebody. Consistency didn’t matter, he asserts, because there was no demand or expectations.

Thus Roll the Bones was by no means a Big Bang creation story, rather a years long process of metamorphosis where literally hundreds of tracks were winnowed down into ten. As the album took shape, he began manufacturing one-off editions of the CD, stapled to self-destruct in brown paper, with black and white photographs glued upon them, and an ink pen marking of the artist's enduring logo: a skull struck by an arrow.

“I liked that if they were opened, you couldn’t close them again,” he smiles. “Sometimes I’d spray paint the CD so they looked good and people would stick them in their car stereo and it would fuse in and never come out. They’d tell me, ‘You’re lucky I like this record because it’s the last one I’ll ever be able to listen to in my car.’”

In the shadows self-doubt that surrounds any artists first record, Rose-Garcia had a fantasy: he releases Roll the Bones, only ten people hear it, it’s rediscovered a decade later by Numero Group, hailed as before-its-time, and finds an audience as a lost treasure. He still plays that scenario through his mind like an alternative reality.

Of course, that’s far from what actually materialized. Roll the Bones was released on the first day of 2011 without a lick of promotion advancing it. It was simply thrust into the world as a decapod of perplexingly memorable, narrative-wrapped songs with a mysterious cover and no information about the artist… only available on the relatively new platform of Bandcamp.

That year, an editor at Bandcamp made it a featured album for a month and from there it stayed in the website’s top selling folk albums evermore. The record has since seen well over 100,000 units sold - even while being available for free download. In the “Supported By” section of the Roll the Bones Bandcamp page, you can endlessly click “more” and squares of avatars will keep showing up until you grow tired and stop.

“If you discover something for yourself, it will always hold more water because it’s tied to memory and coincidence,” Rose-Garcia reasons as to why he never pushed Roll the Bones onto a wider marketplace. “It gives you a sense of ownership as a listener.”

Now fans can obtain Roll the Bones as their own physical artifact. Through Dualtone Records, Shakey Graves will release a Ten Year Special Edition double LP with a black and gold foil re-arting of the taxidermied cow head cover. Separate iterations, hitting record collections on April 2, offer the 180g vinyl in a black and gold combination or two marbled “galaxy gold” discs. The lovingly assembled packaging includes handwritten deep explanations of every song, offset with original photography.

Along with its deluxe vinyl emergence, Roll the Bones today becomes available through all digital service providers - Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, et all. For the last decade, the songs have lived exclusively on Bandcamp. This full-spectrum digital release arrives concurrent with Shakey Graves Day, which was minted on February 9, 2012 by Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Year one, Rose-Garcia spent what he calls his “alter ego’s birthday,” as an excuse to go play laser tag. Ever since, he’s used it as an occasion to stage intimate pop-up shows and open up the attics of his discography - making all of his albums, plus hundreds of unheard songs temporarily available for free. “I’ve used Shakey Graves Day as a challenge to myself,” he assesses. “I make so many random songs throughout the year that I either forget about or I’m too nervous to put on an album and it becomes a clearinghouse for that. It surprises me when people tell me that something released that day is their favorite of my stuff. In a larger sense, it builds off what I initially did with Roll the Bones - which is give it away for free.”

Accompanying Roll the Bones anniversary pressing are 15 additional tracks comprising an Odds + Ends LP, which stands as an essential document of Grave’s early era. Highlights include the mandolin imbued “Chinatown,” which sounds like it could be dubbed off a 1930’s silver screen soundtrack, and “Saving Face” - a seminal version of what would become Roll the Bones title cut. The crown jewel, however, may be a the first ever proper recording of the trifling love song “Late July,” a version that’s drastically different than the live rendition that’s racked 14 million views on YouTube.

Prepping Roll the Bones thoughtful 2021 edition gave Rose-Garcia an opportunity to take a new look at the person.

“I hear someone who felt really trapped,” he reveals. “In a lot of ways it was a breakup record. My first serious relationship had fallen apart and I was wanting to break up with my life - run away, be transient, and figure out who I was in the world. I can hear myself blaming the girl and trying to support myself, like maybe it’s okay to be dirty and crazy and have blinders on. Then, at the end, everything’s zooming back in and I’m saying ‘I guess I just got hurt and I’m in a bit of pain and, you know, it’s going to be okay.’”

Claiming he’s “further confused” listeners with each release, Rose-Garcia believes this purge of early output will provide some needed framing for his discography. It’s his genesis story, before he had the studio time to make the shiny And the War Came or the full-band cohesion to make the painstakingly dense Can’t Wake Up. To him, it’s a scrappy effort, but the most intentional work he’s ever produced - and, a decade later, he wouldn’t change a thing.

“It’s a record that sounds like my years of exploration and influence, funneled through my abilities at the time - and it all became something bigger,” he muses. “If you would’ve offered to me: ‘Let's do exactly what you want, right now” Roll the Bones wouldn’t have come out like this… and I’m happy that’s the case. Total control is an unhealthy myth, it leaves out the emotional side of how all the accidents come together. This record’s a period of time smashed into a single product and, in my own heart, it’s a moral compass: to always get back to feeling like this about the songs I make.”



 
Cory and the Wongnotes feat. Antwaun Stanley
special guest Sierra Hull | @9:30 club | view more info »
Feb
5

Cory and the Wongnotes feat. Antwaun Stanley

special guest Sierra Hull


Saturday Feb 5|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Cory and the Wongnotes feat. Antwaun Stanley

official band site »

Music motivates at the most primal level.

You instinctually hum a tune in order to get pumped up in the morning, for fuel on the treadmill, to soundtrack your commute, or as the pre-game to a big night out. As much as he treasures his roles as a guitarist, composer, and producer, Cory Wong fashions himself “a hype man,” first and foremost. Living up to this classification, he slings a Stratocaster and hurls “dad jokes” from the stage with the same panache, poise, and power.

“For me, it’s all about the listener’s experience,” he explains. “I want them to have a visceral response like: ‘I feel better,’ ‘That was really fun,’ or ‘I got to escape for an hour.’ You’ll hear my voice through the guitar, but I’m just a hype man. To uplift audiences with instrumental music that has no singing or lyrics is a fun challenge. I’m trying to solve the riddle. If I can get one person to feel good this way, it’s a success.

Straight out of Minneapolis, Cory positioned himself as music’s answer to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins since emerging in 2011. Head-spinning rhythm guitar wizardry, technical ebullience, laugh-out-loud jokes, and radiance on stage established him as both a sought-after collaborator and celebrated solo artist alike. He lent his talents to television programs such as The Voice at the dawn of his career. After an impromptu meeting at the weekly jam hosted by Prince’s rhythm section (where the Purple One often either performed or watched), he crossed paths with Vulfpeck who welcomed him as a frequent collaborator and member of the band. Solidifying a fruitful partnership, the group named their most popular instrumental track “Cory Wong,” in tribute. Lighting up the stage in the band everywhere from Red Rocks Amphitheatre to Madison Square Garden, he remains a cornerstone of Vulfpeck’s storied gigs.

“I try to feature the guitar, but I don’t force myself into being the star of every song,” he says. “The instrument plays an appropriate role. It’s not all flash. I’m bringing rhythm to the forefront where it’s not so shreddy. I refer to it as ‘Covert chops.’ I’m doing things that are sneakily hard, but they lay in the cut. I allow the song to breathe and present myself as more of a composer rather than a guitar player.”

In the end, Cory transmits joy in its purest form through the guitar. “The guiding light is to impart a feeling of joy,” he leaves off. “I want people to experience instrumental music in a different way. This is hype. It’s more than just guitar.”


special guest Sierra Hull

official band site »

In her first 25 years alone, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Sierra Hull hit more milestones than many musicians accomplish in a lifetime. After making her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 10, the Tennessee-bred virtuoso mandolinist played Carnegie Hall at age 12, then landed a deal with Rounder Records just a year later. Now 28-years-old, Hull is set to deliver her fourth full- length for Rounder: an elegantly inventive and endlessly captivating album called 25 Trips.

Revealing her profound warmth as a storyteller, 25 Trips finds Hull shedding light on the beauty and chaos and sometimes sorrow of growing up and getting older. To that end, the album’s title nods to a particularly momentous year of her life, including her marriage to fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses and the release of her widely acclaimed album Weighted Mind—a Béla Fleck- produced effort nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

“There’s a lot of push-and-pull on this record, where in some moments I feel like everything’s happening so fast and I wish I could slow it all down so I can really enjoy it,” Hull points out. “But then there are also times where I’m looking forward to the day when the craziness has died down a bit, and life’s a little calmer.”

Made with producer/engineer Shani Gandhi (Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Sarah Jarosz, Alison Krauss), 25 Trips continues the musical journey begun on Weighted Mind, a body of work that built off Hull’s bluegrass roots and ventured into entirely new terrain. But while its predecessor assumed a sparse and stripped-back palette, 25 Trips embodies a far more intricately arranged sound—an effect achieved with the help of peers like guitarist Mike Seal, bassist Ethan Jodziewicz, violinist Alex Hargreaves, and fiddler Christian Sedelmyer, as well as several musicians that Hull has long admired (including bassist Viktor Krauss, guitarist Bryan Sutton, and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Duncan). Along with integrating electric instrumentation and percussion into her material for the first time, Hull dreamed up the album’s eclectic textures by embracing a free-flowing process that often gave way to lightning-in-a-bottle improvisation.

“There were some songs that we created from the ground up, where I’d go in and play by myself, and from there we’d bring in other musicians to add more and more layers,” Hull says. “It was really wonderful to work that way, where we started from a place of mystery and then just let the song show us what it wanted or needed to become.”

Immediately proving the power of that approach, 25 Trips lures the listener into its unpredictable sonic world on the beguiling opening track “Beautifully Out of Place.” With its shifting tempos and gently tempestuous mood, the song was sparked from words of encouragement spoken by Hull’s husband at a time of self-doubt and confusion. “I remember Justin saying to me, ‘I believe in you, so you’re just going to have to learn to believe in yourself,’” she recalls. “That inspired the first line for me, and the song just wrote itself from there.”

Although much of the album bears a rich complexity, 25 Trips also includes moments of stark simplicity that perfectly showcase Hull’s stunning vocal range. On “Everybody’s Talking,” for instance, her luminous vocals quietly capture the frustration of finding clarity in the midst of constant chatter from the outside world. And on “Ceiling to the Floor”—co-written with Kai Welch, a songwriter/musician known for his work with Glen Campbell and Abigail Washburn—Hull spins a tender metaphor from her longtime fear of heights. “I was telling Kai about how when I was little my dad used to try to get me over that fear by holding me up to the ceiling and saying, ‘Just touch it—I’m not gonna let you fall,’” she explains. Featuring a performance from legendary steel-guitar player Paul Franklin, “Ceiling to the Floor” drifts from memory to real-time reflection, slowly unfolding as a nuanced meditation on courage and love.

One of the most unexpected turns on 25 Trips, “Escape” emerges as a delicate collage of hypnotic percussion, otherworldly electric-mandolin tones, and poetic yet plainspoken lyrics (e.g., “I want to escape to a world that’s not closing in”). “I didn’t even have that song on my list for the album, but I played Shani a voice memo and right away she said, ‘I wanna record that,’” remembers Hull, who penned “Escape” with singer/songwriter Angel Snow. “I was a little hesitant since it’s so unlike anything else I’ve done, but in the end it was really exciting to play electric and come up with something in a completely different vein.”

In closing out 25 Trips, Hull shares an especially poignant track titled “Father Time.” “I wrote that song with Mindy Smith after spending a week with my husband and his grandma, after his grandpa had a stroke on Christmas morning,” she says. “His grandma had suffered with Alzheimer’s for years and couldn’t really stay by herself, and through that experience I decided to write about watching my husband take such good care of her, and how that made me love him even more.” With its heavy-hearted melody and choir-like harmonies, “Father Time” shows Hull’s effortless finesse in embedding her music with so many subtle details (including an instrumental reference to “Jingle Bells” tucked into the second verse). “We had our instruments with us at Christmas, so at some point we played ‘Jingle Bells’ for my husband’s grandma,” says Hull. “She can’t remember my name or Justin’s name now, but for some reason ‘Jingle Bells’ stuck, and she still asks for it year- round—it’s the most amazing thing.”

Even as its songs continually shift in genre, encompassing everything from bluegrass to folk-pop to ethereal alt-rock, 25 Trips remains rooted in the sophisticated musicianship that Hull has cultivated almost her entire life. Hailing from the tiny Tennessee hamlet of Byrdstown, she learned to sing from her mother as toddler, took up mandolin just a few years later, and began joining in local bluegrass jams by the young age of eight. With her childhood triumphs including joining her hero and mentor Alison Krauss onstage at the Grand Ole Opry at age 11, she made her Rounder debut with the 2008 album Secrets and promptly garnered the first of many nominations for Mandolin Player of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. In 2016, after a near- decade of consecutive nominations, Hull became the first-ever woman to win the award—then claimed that prize again at the 2017 and 2018 IBMAs. Over the years, Hull has also maintained a rigorous touring schedule, and has made occasional guest appearances with such icons as the Indigo Girls, Garth Brooks, and Gillian Welch.

Marking a bold new era in Hull’s artistic evolution, 25 Trips wholly channels the pure and palpable joy she discovered in the album’s creation—and ultimately illuminates certain truths about the indelible connection between risk-taking and reward. “One of the things I most enjoyed about making this record was getting to show the wide variety of music I love,” says Hull. “I don’t really know what category the album falls in, but I also think that matters less and less. What really matters to me is trusting myself to be who I am, and just putting my voice and my heart out there in the most sincere way that I possibly can.”