1FriOctober 1, 2021
Dead Letter Office not only performs R.E.M.'s major hits (Losing My Religion, The One I Love, Man on the Moon, etc), but also dives deep into their catalog to please the die-hard fans!
Based in Chicago, Without U2 recreates the sight and sound of the legendary Irish rock band U2 in an incredible fashion. We perform at all types of venues all over the USA, from small Irish pubs to outdoor fest stages, in full costume and using authentic gear.
Just like a real live U2 show, we perform extended singalong versions of all the hits such as One, With or Without You, Where the Streets Have No Name, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Mysterious Ways, New Year's Day, Desire, Pride (In the Name of Love), Beautiful Day, I Will Follow, Out of Control, and Bad....You name it and we play it! We will design a setlist that meets your needs.
Our members are professional musicians and lifelong U2 fans. We will not settle for less than complete authenticity. While wading through the audience with his wireless mike, Jimmy Holmes (guitar/vocals/harmonica) belts out soaring vocals that rival Bono himself. Matt Gignac (guitar/vocals) recreates the tech guitar wizardry of "The Edge", and Michael Koelling (bass) supplies the melodic low end of Adam Clayton. Jeff Kropp (drums/percussion) plays the role of Larry Mullen, Jr., with the the heart, soul and attention to detail that makes Without U2 the best rock band in the world.
2SatOctober 2, 2021
Features include: dynamic sound effects, original video projections, dazzling choreographed lighting design, full laser production, and nine of USA's finest musicians, you'll "THINK" FLOYD was right there playing in front of you.
THINK FLOYD USA has performed on some of America's finest stages including The Surf Ball Room, Milwaukee Summerfest, Chicago's legendary Kinetic Playground, Shank Hall, Schwagstock and many more. From Green Bay to Tampa FL, TFUSA is truly THE AMERICAN PINK FLOYD SHOW!!!
3SunOctober 3, 2021Riz La Vie
6WedOctober 6, 2021Wayne Hancock
Noah John and Ringing Iron
Always an anomaly among his country music peers, Wayne's uncompromising interpretation of the music he loves is in fact what defines him: steeped in traditional but never "retro;" bare bones but bone shaking; hardcore but with a swing. Like the comfortable crackle of a Wurlitzer 45 jukebox, Wayne is the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie.
Wayne makes music fit for any road house anywhere. With his unmistakable voice, The Train's reckless honky-tonk can move the dead. If you see him live (and he is ALWAYS touring), you'll surely work up some sweat stains on that snazzy Rayon shirt you're wearing. If you buy his records, you'll be rolling up your carpets, spreading sawdust on the hardwood, and dancing until the downstairs neighbors are banging their brooms on the ceiling. Call him a throwback if you want, Wayne just wants to ENTERTAIN you, and what's wrong with that?
Wayne's disdain for the slick swill that passes for real deal country is well known. Like he's fond of saying: "Man, I'm like a stab wound in the fabric of country music in Nashville. See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That's me."
Wayne factoid: Wayne is the only Bloodshot artist to have had their CD taken aboard a space shuttle flight (that we know of...)
7ThuOctober 7, 2021
Mato Nanji's father, the late Greg Zephier, Sr., was a well-known and highly respected spiritual advisor and spokesperson for the International Indian Treaty Council. In addition to this leadership role, he was an accomplished musician and a member of the musical group, The Vanishing Americans. Formed by Greg and his brothers in the '60's, The Vanishing Americans toured nationally and shared bills with such legends as Bonnie Raitt. Besides being heavily influenced by the music his father and uncles were making, Mato was exposed to Greg's vast collection of blues records by legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King. Consequently, Mato embraced and began utilizing his own musical talent at a young age. With the experience, love and wisdom of their father to guide them, Mato, his brother, sister and cousin formed the band Indigenous while in their late teens.
After much time invested in practicing and building a following, they began touring extensively across the country. In 1998, they released their award winning debut album Things We Do. The title track's video, directed by Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals), won the American Indian Film Festival Award and was shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Indigenous' music caught the attention of blues icon B.B. King and the young band was invited to play on his annual B.B. King's Blues Tour in 1999. Sadly, Mr. Zephier would pass away before seeing his children receive this great honor.
With momentum gaining, Indigenous' 2000 sophomore release, Circle, was produced and arranged by Stevie Ray Vaughan's longtime friend and collaborator, the late Doyle Bramhall, Sr. Three more cds; Fistful of Dirt (2002), Indigenous (2003) and Long Way Home (2005) would follow before the 2006 decision by the siblings to 'disband' and pursue their own musical paths but Mato carried on with the Indigenous band name. "Playing with my family for 10 years was a lot of fun, but it was time to grow and keep moving forward."
Mato continued touring and in 2006 released Chasing The Sun. Two of the cd's songs, "Come On Home" and "Leaving", were featured on the hit Discovery Channel show The Deadliest Catch. "Come on Home" was also featured on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
On 2008's Broken Lands, an intensely personal record, Mato and Leah, his lyricist and wife, pay tribute to his Native heritage. The album decries the poverty, isolation and reality of life on the reservation with "Place I Know." The album gains its title from the line, "all is lost in these broken lands."
Of The Acoustic Sessions (released in 2010), Mato commented, "It's a collection of some of my favorite songs that celebrate 10 years of releasing albums. Every song that I have ever written began with the acoustic guitar, so it only felt natural to create an acoustic album."
Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji (2012) would mark Nanji's debut on the Blues Bureau International label and the beginning of his collaboration with noted producer, Mike Varney. Joining Mato on the disc's opening track "Free Yourself, Free Your Mind" is the soulful Jonny Lang. On it, the two guitar-masters trade vocals and guitar solos. It's truly a blues lover's 'match made in heaven'.
In addition to his Indigenous 'day job', Mato Nanji has been a member of the critically acclaimed Experience Hendrix Tour since 2002. Playing alongside original Jimi Hendrix band members Billy Cox and the late Mitch Mitchell, the tour roster includes some of today's blues greats including Buddy Guy, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon (Double Trouble), Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, and Robert Randolph.
Once the 2012 Experience Hendrix Tour concluded, Mato and fellow EHT tour mates David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) would collaborate and release the hard-driving, psychedelic blues-infused 3 Skulls and the Truth (Blues Bureau International) disc. The album's no-holds barred setting is the ideal foundation for the three veteran axemen to simply 'let it fly'.
February 2013 would bring the Mato Nanji-inspired release from trance-blues artist Otis Taylor, My World Is Gone (Telarc). Mato and Otis explore the plight of the American Indian people in a lightning bolt of musical creativity and social commentary. "Mato inspired the entire direction of this album," says Taylor. "We were talking about history backstage at a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert he had just played, and, in reference to his people, the Native American Nakota Nation, he said 'My world is gone.' The simplicity and honesty of those four words was so heavy, I know what I had to write about."
"My dad was my favorite musician so he really influenced me a lot with everything. I just felt it was time to pay tribute to him and his band," says Nanji. That tribute, Vanishing Americans, was released on May 21, 2013 and promptly found its place on iTunes Top 10 Blues Chart. Blues Rock Review (6/5/13) said: "each song is brought together with heavy and powerful guitar riffs akin to those of Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix, while bellowing, raspy vocals turn a talented guitarist's vision into a relatable song for many, just as any praiseworthy blues album should."
"Mato continues to refine his guitar and vocal vocabularies with each new release and is also expanding his songwriting skills with his wife Leah," said producer Mike Varney of Time Is Coming (May 2014). From the infectious opening track of "Grey Skies"; the Soundgarden/Rage Against the Machine influenced "Won't Be Around No More"; and the gut-wrenching blues of "Don't Know What To Do", and at all points in between, Mato Nanji "tears at his guitar strings, bending and shaking them to within an inch of their life, it is clear that he is no mere copyist. He is a genuine virtuoso..." (Rhys Williams, bluesblastmagazine.com 5/14).
Ultimately, Mato dedicates Time Is Coming, to the Indigenous youth and all young people on the Indigenous reservations. Of the song says Nanji; "still to this day, the struggle continues to just live in peace. Growing up here on the reservation I've seen a lot of broken families...broken homes. I feel our families' "Tiospaye" are the core of what makes us who we are. Now family and its meaning is not as strong as it used to be for our people...almost non-existent. So I send my heart and soul out to the indigenous children having a tough time in their lives and in their homes. This record is inspired by them and made in their honor. I hope for the best for all. Tomorrow is another day."
The Plateros, a three piece award winning family band from the Navajo Nation in Tohajiilee, New Mexico consider Mato Nanji and Indigenous one of their greatest musical influences.
Levi and The Plateros played their first show, a festival in Bird Springs, AZ in December 2004, and by April 2005, they would find themselves onstage performing at the largest PowWow in the world, The Gathering of Nations. Lead guitarist Levi, with his natural born talent, slid across the stage with power chords and screaming blues that amazed the packed crowd. He was just 13 years old.
In the years to follow, Levi, along with his cousins Douglas Platero on drums and Bronson Begay on bass would receive numerous nominations for native music and video awards, and their cd Hang On would take home a win for Best Blues Album at the 2009 New Mexico Music Awards.
In 2012, they joined Indigenous for The Kinship Tour, with The Plateros opening the double bill. They would join Mato for blistering encores that would bring the proverbial house down.
Touring in support of Time Is Coming in the summer of 2014, Mato Nanji would once again call on Levi, Douglas and Bronson to hit the road with him. This time, though, would be different. They would be onstage as Indigenous' rhythm section; Mato and Levi trading leads and solos while Bronson and Douglas provided the strong, stable rhythmic foundation that allowed the two guitarists to 'tear it up'.
As the band made its way across the east coast, the after show buzz was audible. The incendiary chemistry of Mato Nanji, Levi Platero, Bronson Begay and Douglas Platero innate.
They are Indigenous.
9SatOctober 9, 2021Altered Five Blues Band
Barefoot Jimmy and Stephen Hull
A 2018 Blues Music Award nominee, the Milwaukee-based quintet released its new album, Ten Thousand Watts, September 6 on Blind Pig Records. Recorded over four days in Nashville, TN and produced by three-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the 12 tracks stir up a thunderstorm of original, roots-rockin' music. The set kicks off with the burning boogie of "Right On, Right On" and is followed by "Too Mad to Make Up," a roadhouse rocker about a relationship in peril. The title track then finds Taylor strutting his stuff, testifying his powerful passion. The audacious theme continues with "Mischief Man," before the band cuts loose on "Great Minds Drink Alike," a sure-fire hit with the bar crowd. "Don't Rock My Blues" eases the tempo and captures a traditional vibe. The collection of succinct, tight-but-loose songs reflect the continuing evolution of the band's deft songwriting, blended with the intuitive musical interplay of the longtime bandmates. The album reached #10 on the Billboard Blues Chart, and hit #1 on both the iTunes and Amazon blues charts.
The new album arrives on the heels of back-to-back award-winning records. Cryin' Mercy won "Best Self-Released Album" at the International Blues Challenge in 2015, and Charmed & Dangerous scored Song of the Year at both the Independent Music Awards and Wisconsin Music Awards in 2018. Both albums reached the Top 5 in the iTunes blues store and hit #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Album Chart. Guitar World magazine called the song "Charmed & Dangerous" a "menacing, swampy blues," and the track has been in regular rotation on SiriusXM's Bluesville along with many other programs and playlists. The album's third track, "Three Forks," was inspired by legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson and features music, adapted with permission, from the seminal classic "Crossroads."
Altered Five Blues Band now have five studio albums to their name, including Gotta Earn It (2012) and Bluesified (2008), both on Cold Wind Records. The group has performed at many renowned festivals and venues such as: Lucerne Blues Fest (Switzerland), Grolsch Blues Fest (Germany), W.C. Handy Blues Fest (Kentucky), Ann Arbor Blues Fest, King Biscuit Blues Fest, Baltic Blues Fest (Germany), Milwaukee Summerfest, Magic City Blues Fest (Montana), Fargo Blues Fest, B.B. King's Blues Club (Memphis), Buddy Guy's Legends (Chicago), and several appearances on local television.
Bassist Mark Solveson anchors the rock-solid rhythm section with drummer Alan Arber, who joined the band in 2017, and Raymond Tevich melds his crafty keyboard work to top off the group's signature sound. It's been said that "the blues is a feeling," so when the Minneapolis Star Tribune states that the band is a "righteous blast," you know they play it right.
10SunOctober 10, 2021Cold
New Dilemma, Divide The Fall
New songs like "Wicked World" teeter between a primal guitar crunch and airy choral poetry. Meanwhile, "So Long June" builds from a lilting melody into an entrancing hook. On "The Ballad of Nameless," A somber piano gives way to a bombastic beat before breaking into one last vocal exorcism. Cold--Scooter Ward (S.W.) [Vocals], Jeremy Marshall [Bass], Sam McCandless [Drums], and Zac Gilbert [Guitar]--have certainly tread similar ground before on hypnotic radio hits such as "Just Got Wicked" and "Stupid Girl," but their latest offering is the next chapter. Due out July 19, 2011 via the Eleven Seven Music, Superfiction is an open book just waiting to be read...
For Cold, Superfiction brought them back to their very roots. "The main idea was to go back to the lyrical fiction of the first and second records," recalls Ward. "This album isn't so real and emotional. Rather, it's comprised of these grand stories, and it's the most fun we've ever had making a record."
2011 was the best time for Cold to return with album number five. After nearly a decade on the road and making albums, the band took a much-deserved break in 2005. After four years, they realized how crucial Cold was not only to the members of the band but to the army of fans that they had touched. After regrouping for 2009's highly successful "Resurrection Tour," these four musicians promptly entered the studio to record what would become Superfiction. The dynamic was instantly different once they hunkered down in Ward's home studio.
"We'd really matured as people," says Marshall. "When we first came out, we were full of angst. Now, we think about everything before we jump. We have a more reserved attitude and, as a result, we've grown as musicians. We're not kids anymore."
McCandless echoes that sentiment. "The break made the band stronger. We had the privilege of touring before we wrote, and it was incredible to play in front of our fans again. When we hit the studio, we were hungry. Cold has this eternal chemistry because we grew up together. That made it even better for us to go in and write a new record."
Tapping into that chemistry, the band wrote and recorded the bulk of the album over the course of a mere month. That urgency colors the album's landscape, and there's real soul in each note. Co-producing with Kato Khandwala and Jeremy Parker, Superfiction sees Cold growing.
Sonically, the trademarks of Cold's sound remain intact. The bellowing bass, warm guitar hum, and driving drum beats all make for impactful music just like it did when the band first formed in 1996. Marshall goes on, "We like certain tones. We've always played in a lower key, and you learn how to use that to your advantage when you're trying to create emotion and accent certain lyrics and melodies. It took us years to develop our songwriting style because we tell stories with our music, sometimes we were a little rawer back in the day. Now, we've refined that sound we have."
The sound has a degree of refinement, but listeners can still fall into Ward's words the same way that they did on classics like "End of the World" and "No One." "I don't think the message is different," declares Ward. "Even though the songs are fictional, people can still gravitate towards them. I made sure the stories would evoke all emotions."
Those stories at the heart of Superfiction become the catalyst for a flurry of emotions. Whether it's the lament of superhero on "What Happens Now" or the ethereal lullaby of "Welcome2MyWorld," each and every song exists in its own creative sphere.
"It was a journey into a time when I was younger because I didn't feel confined to write about personal experiences," continues Ward. "The whole thing flowed. It was liberating. There was no border. I could go from a song about epic royalty to a song about Frank Sinatra singing in a backyard barbecue."
Ward's own family initially inspired him to tell these stories. His sixteen-year-old daughter Raven, inspired "The Flight of the Superstar" with her brilliant piano playing, while his younger daughter Cameron's fascination with princesses and fairytales gave him the idea for "Welcome2MyWorld." Then, he added his own cast of characters.
Those characters add depth to Superfiction. "As far as I'm concerned the characters in the stories have become real to me." In order to play these songs live, they have to come across that way.
In many ways, that emotional heft and detailed narrative evokes the '70s style. McCandless adds, "I hope this album touches people in a way that our favorite bands touched us. I'd love for Superfiction to inspire other musicians to create."
One big factor in the band's growth was the addition of Gilbert. He joined the band as a touring guitarist in 2005, but Superfiction is his first time in the studio with the band. "I put my whole heart and soul into it," he exclaims. "I love recording with these guys. It was a great experience. I learned a hell of a lot."
The title really sums it all up though. Ward reveals, "Superfiction is art that literally pops off its canvas or foundation. In that sense, it becomes something else. The word wraps up the record because we want these stories to come to life. I want you to sit down and listen to the songs and feel the stories. After you've read the story, you can visualize this unfolding in your mind."
It's impossible not to feel these stories, and they're only the beginning. Ward concludes, "If you're a diehard Cold fan, we delivered the band's traditional sound. With the lyrics, words, and stories, I want fans to think of the album as Cold's version of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Superfiction is whatever it makes you feel. I never thought ten years after we made a record, people would still be talking about it. That's rare, and I want to continue creating music like that." -- Rick Florino, January 2011
13WedOctober 13, 2021
As a songwriter, guitarist, and producer he has worked with the likes of Jack White, Tommy Emmanuel, Luther Dickinson, Dave Cobb, Blackberry Smoke, and even been a member of Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh' "Phil & Friends".
During lockdown in '20, he started cutting tracks in his makeshift studio on a weekly basis. Joined by longtime collaborator Adam Abrashoff on drums and the addition of longtime friend, bassist-producer-engineer Adam Bednarik (Justin Townes Earle), they mused a proverbial soup of shared influences.Hill country trance blues of Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside and Asie Payton. Hypnotic Afro Beat of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen. Psychedelic warps of Captain Beefheart, Funkadelic, and Jimi Hendrix. The old school blues of John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker and Lightnin Hopkins. As well as the raw fuzzy rock of The Stooges and Nirvana.
Mind Control is the product of 3 like minded buddies huddled in a humble setting, making music to make them feel good. The songs stark revealing nature, is the product of them using the creative process for therapy and enjoyment in a messed up time. A positive theme of growth, self help and struggles with addiction and mental health lay along side a haunting, low down musical landscape. It's raw, funky and real. Such is life.
GA-20 was formed by friends Pat Faherty and Matthew Stubbs in Boston, MA in 2018. The project was born out of their mutual love of heavy traditional Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll of the late 50s and early 60s. Faherty and Stubbs bonded over legendary artists like Lazy Lester, J.B. Lenoir, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Junior Wells. Feeling a void in current music, the duo have set out to write, record and perform a modern version of this beloved art form. Joined by drummer Tim Carman in 2019, GA-20 is a trio of 2 guitars, vocals and drums. Raw, passionate and honest performance, both on stage and in the studio, is the only goal. GA-20 released their debut album "Lonely Soul" Oct 18th 2019 on Karma Chief / Colemine Records. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard blues charts.
Stubbs has spent the past 11 years as guitarist for Blues legend Charlie Musselwhite. During that time he has also backed up and toured with such Blues giants as John Hammond, James Cotton, Junior Watson and James Harman. Stubbs also leads his own original instrumental psych-rock band, 'The Antiguas'.
14ThuOctober 14, 2021
That same year, a 4-track EP, featuring a cover of the Trammps' "Hold Back The Night," claimed the band two appearances on Top Of The Pops and gave them a UK top twenty single.
Their third album, "Stick To Me," (1977) made the UK top 20 and "The Parkerilla," a three-sided live album, reached #14 in the spring of 1978. "Parkerilla" spawned a hit single with the re-recorded and somewhat discofied version of Howlin' Wind's epic "Don't Ask Me Questions."
The bands' classic 1979 release, "Squeezing Out Sparks," cemented their position as one of Britain's top live acts and ensured sell out concerts on their seemingly endless world tours. "The Up Escalator" followed in 1980, reaching #11 on the UK charts and sold well throughout the world.
GP and The Rumour disbanded after "Escalator" and Parker went on to forge a solo career that continues to produce powerful work including 1988's "The Mona Lisa's Sister," 1991's "Struck By Lightning" and the hard rocking "Acid Bubblegum," released in 1996.
Dozens of compilations are available on a variety of record labels and Parker continues to tour frequently, sometimes with backing musicians but more often as a solo act. In June 2000, Parker released "Carp Fishing On Valium," a collection of short fiction published by St. Martin's Press (US) and Simon & Schuster (UK). He composed songs to compliment the stories and took "Carp Fishing On Valium Ã‘ the Stories, the Songs" on the road in September/October 2000. The book was also published in paperback in May 2001.
Parker's first four albums plus a collection of lost demos and the fabled "Live at Marbl Arch" were recently re-released by Universal in the U.K.
The powerful and eclectic "Deepcut To Nowhere" was released on August 21st, 2001 on Razor and Tie and was voted one of the ten best albums of the year by Sound And Vision magazine.
In November, 2003, Thunder's Mouth Press published Parker's new novel, "The Other Life Of Brian." (Graham wrote a surreal, comedic novel, "The Great Trouser Mystery" when he was just 21. The book was finally published in the UK in 1980 with illustrations by Willy Smax.) In 2004 Parker released "Your Country" on Chicago's Bloodshot Records, a rootsy collection that included a cover of Jerry Garcia's "Sugaree." His version of this classic was much acclaimed by the songs' co-writer Robert Hunter and heralded by horror fiction writer Stephen King as the best ever version of the song in "Entertainment Weekly." "Your Country" was followed in 2005 by the powerful full force rocker "Songs Of No Consequence," this set backed by Parker's occasional touring band The Figgs.
In addition to his studio albums and the many live sets and compilations released on traditional record companies, Parker's website now sells an "official" bootleg, "Yer Cowboy Boot," featuring the multi-talented Tom Freund. ("Live Cuts From Somewhere," backed by the Figgs, was the first in the "official bootleg series" but has long since been sold out.)
The professionally recorded "Live Alone: The Bastard Of Belgium!" is on sale but is also very near sold out.
2006 shows no sign of Parker slowing down with the haunting new song "2000 Funerals" released as a one-off single only in downloadable form on itunes and emusic.
New GP tunes are being tried regularly out at his solo shows and a new album can't be far behind!
Songwriter, singer and guitarist John Sieger has a long resume. His band the R&B Cadets ruled the dance floors in Milwaukee in the 1980s, playing a mix of his originals and obscure soul tunes unearthed by bandmates Paul Cebar and Robin Pluer. Their debut, "Top Happy," for Twin/Tone Records, turned out to be their finale. In the late 80's his band Semi-Twang recorded for Warner Brothers Records. Both bands have regrouped in recent years and since then, Semi-Twang has released three more collections of his songs, most recently and ode to his hometown, "Kenosha."
Other Sieger songs have been covered by a long list of great artists including Dwight Yoakam (Don't Need It Done), Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads (Rev It Up), The Bodeans (The Strangest Kind), Flaco Jimenez (I Found Out), Robbie Fulks (You Break It - You Pay), Phil Lee (I Hope Love Always Knows Your Name, Neon Tombstone) and Greg Trooper (My Bluebell, Real Like That and others). Recorded but still waiting to be released, is a version of "Salty Tears," sung by Etta James.
Asked to describe his newest release, an 11-song collection called Modern Folk, Vol. II, Sieger says, "These songs draw a bead on the cracks between folk, blues, country and pop. It's dedicated to artists I admire, ones who avoid calling themselves poets, but always strive for something poetic in their writing."
"Sieger on Songs," his column at UrbanMilwaukee.com, is John's ongoing love letter to the music he digs. A live show at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts (on hiatus for now) brings John and fellow artists together to talk about their songs and those that have influenced them in a new series called "Sieger on Songs: Conversations."
15FriOctober 15, 2021
16SatOctober 16, 2021
Back in 1988, Semi-Twang thought they'd taken their best shot with Salty Tears, their Warner Brothers debut. That record generated tons of critical acclaim but little in the way of sales. Soon after its release, other opportunities beckoned and the band members went their separate ways. Friendships survived, but the band was history. For John Sieger, the songwriter and main vocalist, Nashville, TN seemed like a good idea. Dwight Yoakam was one of many artists who found Sieger's songs and producers like Pete Anderson and Jerry Harrison were finding slots for his tunes. Mike Hoffmann stayed busy producing other artists and the other fellows in the band, all great players, were soon scooped up by other groups around town.
After the '09 Shank reunion, the band decided a new recording was in order...the one they should have made first. Unlike their debut, (a major label project with a budget just this side of a NASA launch) the band recorded on the sly, mostly at Hoffmann's House Studio and Sieger's Room w/a VU -- both Pro Tools equipped, comfy and cozy. The pace was relaxed with sessions every few weeks for most of 2010. The atmosphere was loose but unwavering in its vision - get in, make the best record you've ever made, get out -- what's so hard about that?
In March of 2011, Wages Of Sin, their first album in 23 years, was released to overwhelmingly positive response - glowing critical reviews, over-the-top fan praise and lots of local airplay. Semi-Twang had always harkened back to classic artists like Dylan, The Beatles and The Band. This approach paid off handsomely on Wages, an album that dares you to to put a time-stamp on it. Songs like the title cut Wages of Sin and When The Wind Kicks Up sound like the kind of country music Nashville might be making if producers and record companies weren't trying to own the middle of the road. Nervous Energy and Move It Or Lose It recall iconoclasts like Dave Edmonds and Nick Lowe in full-tilt mode. Then, there are songs like Just A Train and It's That Time Again that harbor a very distinctly Semi-Twangian Thang... You can imagine, somewhere down the road, some young band trying to reproduce that unique feel.
Which brings us to 2013: On March 23 of this year, the band has released their third project, The Why & The What For, a recording that ups the stakes in a very entertaining way. It is topical and personal with a bit more R&B soul influence that includes a few throwbacks to the duckwalk days of Chuck Berry. Oh, and you'll also be rewarded with one or two of those unclassifiable yet familiar songs you've come to expect from Semi-Twang. The Why & The What For will be getting heavily promoted to the press and radio here in the states and in the UK by Pavement Media.
Iconic Wisconsin singer songwriter Sam Llanas has released several acclaimed solo albums including his back to his roots Return of the Goya series. This past may(2021) Llanas released his fourth in the Goya series. Entitled Ghosts of Yesterdays Angels,this mostly acoustic affair finds him remembering reminiscing and lamenting past friends and lovers in his classic storytelling style. It also includes his tribute to fallen music heroes like Petty Bowie,Prine and Prince called Down Here in the Cold. This rock solid collection of songs proves that even at 60 years old, Llanas remains one of the premier singer songwriters to ever emerge from Wisconsin.
17SunOctober 17, 2021
Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.
Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.
Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, "Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It's way beyond where I am, but it shows where I'm going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I'm grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me."
19TueOctober 19, 2021
MacDougal Blues, released on Island Records in 1990, announced the rocker's arrival on the folk scene, with the engaging title cut and nine more acoustic tracks, produced by Buck, and mostly played by his bandmates from Drivin N Cryin.
Though often cited as a working-class lyricist, Kinney cannot easily be thrown into the same bag as Springsteen, Mellencamp, or Dave Alvin. Instead, his is a unique spin on class, not urban yet not completely rural.
Kinney still continues to tour as a solo artist in-between dates with Drivin N Cryin, and is known to help host the annual Christmas Jam in Asheville with Warren Haynes. Darius Rucker cut Kinney's song, Straight To Hell, on his album When Was The Last Time. The Drivin N Cryin song was a major hit on their album, Mystery Road, originally released in 1989.
20WedOctober 20, 2021Marshall Crenshaw
Louie Lucchesi & Mike Benign
Over the course of a career that's spanned three decades, 13 albums, Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, film and TV appearances (Buddy Holly in "La Bamba") and thousands of performances, Marshall Crenshaw's musical output has maintained a consistent fidelity to the qualities of artfulness, craftsmanship and passion, and his efforts have been rewarded with the devotion of a broad and remarkably loyal fan base.
Along with touring around the country and the occasional recording project, Marshall currently hosts his own radio show, "The Bottomless Pit", every Saturday at 10 PM on New York's WFUV. (http://www.wfuv.org/content/bottomless-pit) Other current projects include a documentary film-in progress about legendary record producer Tom Wilson. Says Crenshaw, "This is a road that I never imagined taking before, but it's been amazing and is going great.."
"Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself." - Trouser Press
Accomplished Milwaukee singer-songwriters Louie Lucchesi and Mike Benign have joined forces to co-author an album’s worth of songs featuring Lucchesi’s unmistakable lead vocals.
Lucchesi began his career performing at notorious New York City nightclubs like Tramps, CBGB's and The Bitter End. He returned to Milwaukee and established his band Crime Family, which released the well-received “Running in The Rain” LP. Lucchesi next formed the band Brother Louie to support his 2005 record, “Second Hand Smoke.” Most recently, he performed with Klaus Nomi's Homies, a tribute to Milwaukee legends The Oil Tasters.
Benign is best known for spearheading Milwaukee bands Blue In The Face, Arms & Legs & Feet and currently, The Mike Benign Compulsion. As a solo performer, Benign has opened for Black Francis, Bob Mould, Marshall Crenshaw, Rhett Miller, Chuck Prophet, Steve Wynn and Bob Schneider.
22FriOctober 22, 20218:00pm $25.00Tickets available here.
Todd Barry has released three one-hour stand-up specials including his latest one for Netflix, Spicy Honey.
He's appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert ,The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan and Late Night With Seth Meyers and his acting credits include The Wrestler, Road Trip, Flight of the Concords, Chappelle's Show, Spin City, Sex and the City. You may have heard his voice on the animated series Bob's Burgers, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Todd is also the author of the critically-acclaimed 2017 travel memoir Thank You For Coming To Hattiesburg.
23SatOctober 23, 2021
24SunOctober 24, 20217:00pm $20.00When Matt Costa started working on the songs for his sixth record Yellow Coat, he'd been on tour for the better part of two years and had just ended a relationship of almost a decade. The music needed to exist, and it was as much an emotional exercise as a creative one.
"I think every other record that I've written, I wrote knowing that the songs would have an outlet," Costa says "And for this one, I really didn't. It was just a process I was going through, clearing myself of these feelings and thoughts."
The songs were like Costa's letters to himself, with the honesty and intimacy of something that was not meant to be heard. " I feel really close to them for that reason," he says. "Some of my favorite writing is like that - Vincent Van Gogh's Dear Theo, or Steinbeck's A Life in Letters. Those are really revealing, because it's not intended as part of their body of work. There's something really special about that. But at the same time, I write songs and perform for a living. So it's hard to think these songs will never see the light of day."
And now, of course, they have. Yellow Coat is a masterpiece of heartbreak from a preternatural tunesmith, its raw emotion channeled into gently swinging, hooky love songs, most of them awash in strings and mellotron and harmonies and groove. From the insinuating acoustic riffs and lo-fi beats of "Avenal" and the snappy fatalism of "Slow" to the almost church-like fragility of "Last Love Song," Yellow Coat is equal parts lost '60s AM radio hits, folk-pop beauty and dark night of the soul music.
At the time that Costa started writing, he had stripped things down not only emotionally, but in terms of his surroundings. He had moved into a Laguna Beach studio - as in the size of his living quarters, not a recording complex - with just the bare minimum of furniture and instruments. Instead of a bedside table, a Wurlitzer Sideman drum machine.
The Wurlitzer eventually got used and sampled on "Avenal," which Costa and his friend Chase Perkowski (Iris and the Shade) wrote on a going-nowhere road trip a few hundred miles northeast of L.A. "I was in a searching headspace," Costa says. "Running away from something, trying to find something, trying to find myself. We stopped at a gas station overlooking highway 5. Chase was strumming a few chords as the gas was pumping, and I sat under a tree humming a melody and frantically writing down lyrics. By the time the car was fully fueled I asked him to play back the chords to me as I sang the song." Back on the road, the next sign said "AVENAL: 2 Miles" and Costa had both his opening track and song title.
The 37 year-old Costa has a lot of music and artistic growth under his belt, particularly in the last six years. He was 21 when he made his first EP, having immersed himself in music after a bad skateboard landing sidetracked what might have been a pro career. Coming out of that world, he had a punk side, but also became enamored of Scottish folk, and Brian Jones' guitar style in the Rolling Stones.
"One of my first shows that I played was with a band that was all about things like At The Drive-In," he remembers. "I went up there with my acoustic guitar and played like a Pixies song, and a Donovan song, and then an original of mine. And I remember thinking, What am I? Do I even belong here?" But at no point did he ever think, "Okay, I'm just going to be a guy with a guitar. I always heard bigger arrangements."
He began his career on Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records, where both his 2006 debut, Songs We Sing, and 2008's Unfamiliar Faces were produced by No Doubt's Tom Dumont. Costa produced 2010's Mobile Chateau himself, while 2013's self-titled effort brought him to Scotland, where producer Tony Doogan (Beck, Air) assembled a backing band drawn from the ranks of Belle and Sebastian. In 2013, he began a several year period of restless wandering, working on soundtracks such as the 2017 documentary Orange Sunshine and releasing short EPs experimenting with different aspects of his artistry. Then, in 2018 with Santa Rosa Fangs, he found a new home at Dangerbird. The record, a winding story about a family of characters in Northern California, was a rebirth of sorts and a second act to a long and storied career.
"I've always had freedom in making my records and songs," he says. "But with Dangerbird, and the last records, they really trusted me to follow my instincts, which is a pretty special place to be."
Even before writing "Avenal," Costa had done a fair amount of home recording. Once an album seemed to be in the cards, the label suggested he connect with producer Alex Newport (At the Drive-In, Death Cab For Cutie, Bleached), as much because they would get along personally as creatively. They worked on three songs that were in varying states of completion, including "Last Love Song" (a simple home recording), "Slow" (a demo) and "Make That Change" (a bare-bones solo acoustic track that Costa and Newport fleshed out from start to finish). Then they kept on going. Costa plays a bit of everything on the record, but he also brought in touring drummer Cory Gash and one-woman string section Alexis Mahler (she plays both violin and cello). Costa and Mahler had previously done a lot of remote recording, but this time she came down to California for a week. "We worked up a bunch of arrangements together that lifted up a lot of the songs in a nice way," Costa says. "I wanted to really pull up some of the emotional stuff with string and things" (said 'things' being the mellotron, which can evoke so many different tones, as well as Costa's layered vocals).
Costa had been playing "Slow" at solo shows before recording it, but it was first written around a rhythm track. With its snappy bass and doo-wop-inspired backing vocals, it feels like a song that could have been plucked from a Scorsese movie, except made in 2020. The sweeping, soulful "Jet Black Lake" is equally cinematic, with Costa pushing his vocal range into falsetto.
But it's "Let Love Heal" and "Last Love Song" that are perhaps the heart of the record, bittersweet evocations of love's power to both soothe and devastate. When Costa first wrote what became "Last Love Song," it had a different title, and was meant to be an anniversary gift. Instead, it turned into a break-up song, its sadness as palpable as the sound of Costa's fingers on guitar strings.
Life does go on, however: the r ecord ends with the last song Costa wrote for it, "So I Say Goodbye," which provides a sense of closure, its piano-driven tunefulness feeling both uplifting and melancholy. And since finishing Yellow Coat , Costa has written and released an even newer piece of music, "Human Kind of Song," which he lyrically crowd-sourced with fans on Instagram while sheltering in-place. Like every other songwriter, he doesn't know when he will next play live in front of people, so the experience provided some community. And while Yellow Coat m ay have started as an album about heartbreak, its sense of sadness, hope and perseverance also feels completely universal.
"Everyone's going through personal trials all the time," says Costa. "And it can be isolating. But now everyone's going through something. And as difficult as that is, there's comfort in that too. Because we're all in it together, and we have been the whole time. Except now we can actually feel it."
28ThuOctober 28, 2021
"I called the album Expectations because I liked that it was ironic," says the 25-year-old artist, now based in Nashville. "This record's really about letting go of what other people expect from you, and being free to be to just finally be yourself."
Co-produced by Pruitt and her close friend Michael Robinson at the home studio of Rounder Records' Gary Paczosa, Expectations gracefully showcases her captivating voice--an instrument that alternately soars and howls and softens to a near-whisper. And while the album unfolds in a guitar-fueled sound steeped in folk and country and rock-and-roll, each track stays centered on the lucid songwriting that recently landed Pruitt on a "20 Artists To Watch In 2019" from NPR.
With its luminous groove and gauzy guitar tones, the title track to Expectations embodies the album's infinite tension between strength and vulnerability, wariness and hope. "I wrote 'Expectations' as I was coming out of a depression," says Pruitt. "It's about how your whole perspective can change if you shift your focus to what really matters, and recognize that there are people who love you and can help you if you need it--you don't have to survive on your own."
Elsewhere on Expectations, Pruitt delicately telegraphs the pain and confusion that come from lack of belonging. A piano-driven recollection of her adolescence, "Georgia" juxtaposes vivid memories of youthful rebellion with fearful confessions about coming out to her family ("My father would scream out in rage/He did not want a daughter whose soul wasn't saved"). On "Normal," Pruitt offers a bit of finely wrought storytelling, sharply narrating the times in her life when she felt most like an outsider ("Marching in line in the halls of my Catholic school/Seven Hail Marys if I copped an attitude"). But by the time Expectations reaches its penultimate track--the gorgeously lilting "Loving Her"--Pruitt has found her way to a joyful self-assurance, infusing every line with her irrepressible spirit ("If loving her's a sin, I don't wanna go to Heaven").
An album informed by love in its many forms, Expectations presents a bracing portrait of self-destructive love with "Grace Has a Gun" (a hypnotic and heavy-hearted track featured on NPR's "All Songs Considered"). "It's about a girl I dated in college who was dealing with a very intense mental illness at the time, and about me trying to be some kind of cure for her," Pruitt explains. On "Out of the Blue," the album slips into a languid reverie, with Pruitt's lyrics channeling a classic-pop romanticism (e.g., "What a lovely day for loving you"). And on "It's Always Been You," Expectations closes out in a moment of understated glory, the song's gently plucked strings and wistful piano melodies magnifying its tender mood. "That one's a love song to my girlfriend," says Pruitt. "It's the first time in my life I've experienced a genuinely healthy relationship, and I wanted to show those moments that are so mundane but beautiful, like making out on the porch or play-fighting with baguettes in the grocery store--all those normal, everyday things that feel so heightened by love."
Throughout Expectations, Pruitt imbues her lyrics with a spellbinding specificity that comes from years of dedication to her craft. Raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, she learned to play guitar from her mother as a kid, then began writing her own material in high school. "I sort of used writing songs as an outlet to work through what I was feeling, which is why I still do it now," says Pruitt. "It's always been a very cathartic thing for me." Although she studied music in college--first in Athens, Georgia, then at Belmont University in Nashville--Pruitt mostly thrived in less formal settings. "I usually skipped songwriting class to just write alone in my bedroom," she notes.
As she set her roots down in Nashville, Pruitt connected with the lineup of local musicians who now form her live band. In recent years, she and her bandmates have taken the stage at major festivals like Pilgrimage, toured with such artists as Ruston Kelly and Donovan Woods, and joined together in creating the OurVinyl Live EP (a six-track offering released in March 2018). Also in 2018, she linked up with Gary Paczosa to record a track called "Thoughts and Prayers" (a powerful protest song that Pruitt performed at the March For Our Lives in Nashville). Eventually inking a deal with Rounder, she set to work on recording Expectations in early 2019.
In the process of bringing Expectations to life, Pruitt discovered a sense of closure that had eluded her for years. "I got to reopen some conversations with my parents, and I ended up hearing from Grace and talking things through with her," she says. "It's made me realize how insanely important communication is, and how we need to really listen to each other, even if we may not always agree on every point." And as she reflects on her guiding mission as a songwriter and artist, Pruitt hopes that her music might help others overcome what often feels insurmountable. "If anyone's feeling rejected or pushed aside, I want them to feel understood," she says. "I want them to know that you don't ever have to conform, or try to be whatever's considered 'normal.' I want everyone to love what's different about them, because your differences are what make you unique and wonderful and fucking rad."
William Prince approaches the big questions with humility and curiosity. Prince's influences, from the gospel of his childhood to the pantheon of classic outlaw country singers, baseball and the great beyond, shape his approach to songcraft, a masterclass in skilful simplicity.
Prince's JUNO Award winning debut Earthly Days introduced the songwriter's poignant philosophy and rich baritone to the world. His breakout song "Breathless," found audiences worldwide. Prince followed up with Reliever, released February 2020. For this album, Prince began with a single word, Reliever, which informed a collectionthat explored how peace is found. Relievers come in all forms; for Prince, it is song.
Prince surprised fans with a second new album in 2020. Gospel First Nation, released in October, is a "21st Century Northern Interlake Country Gospel" collection that tells stories of family and faith in the age of grief. The album explores Prince's own family tree, the places and music that shaped his childhood, and explores the extremely complicated relationship of faith and colonialism with grace and empathy.
29FriOctober 29, 2021
Forbert's debut album, 'Alive On Arrival', became one of 1978's most acclaimed records. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild recently reflected that "now or then, you would be hard-pressed to find a debut effort that was simultaneously as fresh and accomplished," comparing it to "a great first novel by a young author who somehow managed to split the difference between Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger."
One track from that album, "Grand Central Station, March 18, 1977", earned him a spot on the 2014 Village Voice list of The 60 Best Songs Ever Written About New York City, along with many musical heavyweights like Jim Croce, Tom Waits and Frank Sinatra.
Hailed by The New York Times as "an introspective, homespun philosopher," Forbert's second album, Jackrabbit Slim, released in 1979 achieved RIAA Gold record status on the strength of its hit single "Romeo's Tune," which reached #11 on the Billboard charts and helped cement his status as a genuine craftsman. Jackrabbit Slim was re-mastered and re-released in 2019 by Blue Rose Music to commemorate its 40th anniversary.
Forbert's songs have been covered by a wide range of artists, from Keith Urban and Rosanne Cash to Marty Stuart and John Popper. Forbert also appeared opposite Cyndi Lauper in her iconic music video for 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'!
Forbert has released 20 studio albums, including a Grammy-nominated tribute to Mississippi legend, Jimmie Rodgers. In 2017, An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert was released, featuring renowned musicians like John Oates and Robert Earl Keen, performing his songs.
In 2018, Forbert published his memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock. "Like the earlier Bob Dylan and Patti Smith books, Forbert has a warm way of describing the pull of NYC and the ensuing challenges of getting traction, against the context of a small-town upbringing. He offers a sparkling observation about the pull of music as excellent as any I have seen," says Entertainment Today.
This year, Forbert was the recipient of the 2020 Governor's Arts Award in his home state of Mississippi, having already been inducted into the Mississippi Musician's Hall of Fame in 2016.
Anyone who reviews Steve's catalog of music can see the writer in the musician. His songs are as literary as they are musically vibrant. Brutally honest lyrics delivered with sensitivity create an uncommon trust with his listeners. Excelling in every decade of his career, Forbert exemplifies the heart and soul of the troubadour tradition.
On May 1, 2020 via Blue Rose Music, Steve will release a cover record of 11 of his favorite folk-rock songs, entitled Early Morning Rain. "I recorded this album in an attempt to renew people's appreciation for the fine craftsmanship these songs represent," says Forbert, "and as an acknowledgement of how much good 'ol songs like these have meant to me."
Forbert continues to tour extensively, both nationally and internationally.
30SatOctober 30, 2021
Mutlu has already made substantial headway with his high-caliber soulful sound. He's collaborated and toured extensively as a support act with legendary duo Daryl Hall & John Oates. He even holds the distinction of having made the most guest appearances on Daryl Hall's acclaimed, award-winning TV show "Live From Daryl's House". Mutlu has toured as a support act and longtime collaborator with noted singer/songwriter Amos Lee, and has shared stages with the likes of Adele, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis & many more. Additionally, he was the support act on the North American leg of Joe Jackson's acclaimed "Rain" tour. Mutlu has rocked stages across Europe and America, including: Greek Theatre (Los Angeles, CA), Ascend Amphitheater (Nashville, TN), Tower Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), Royal Festival Hall (London, UK), to name a few.
Mutlu Onaral began writing music shortly after he picked up the guitar in his mid-teens. He then continued on to play in a few bands and join an acapella group during college. While growing up steeped in Philadelphia's deep R&B traditions, Mutlu eagerly absorbed the fundamentals of old-school soul music and incorporated it into his own musical persona. "I've always loved all kinds of music, but it was my love of soul music and especially artists like Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Al Green that inspired me to have a career in music", Mutlu says. His local success in Philadelphia led to a recording deal with Manhattan/EMI Records, which released his acclaimed 2008 debut album Livin' It and was produced by the late, great T-Bone Wolk. The LP featured guest appearances by Daryl Hall, Amos Lee, G. Love and Raheem DeVaughn.
Six EPs later, Mutlu is has released his 7-song collection entitled: Good Trouble. Mutlu co-produced the record with songwriter/producer Darius Amendolia. Additionally, Good Trouble was mixed and mastered by Grammy winning producer/engineer Phil Nicolo who has also worked with renowned artists like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, Aerosmith, and others. The album features the lead soul-folk single "Lifeline". The empowering new track touches on the search for unity within a divided society. Mutlu hones in on the importance up standing up for justice and equality. Other songs like "Scarred" and "Work For It" discuss the mind's worst enemies between depression and self-doubt. Mutlu empathizes these feelings and offers something real and relatable to listeners. Good Trouble also includes "Nothing In This Whole Wide World" featuring John Oates, a song that admirably channels that classic, 1970's Philly-soul sound. The track was co-produced by John Oates and Hall & Oates guitarist Shane Theriot, and includes Hall & Oates band members Brian Dunne (drums) and Klyde Jones (bass).
Mutlu's deeply rooted retro grooves and smooth vocals continue to win widespread praise. He has been supported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, NY Times, LA Times, and others. Mutlu's inspiring songwriting carries resonating messages that are undeniably limitless, while instilling hope in audiences worldwide.
31SunOctober 31, 2021