The Grifter's Hymnal
As a music lover of impeccable taste, odds are that you're already looking forward to spending the better part of the next hour – and several more after that – getting rather obsessively familiar with this latest serving of song and groove from Ray Wylie Hubbard. Having no doubt played his last album, 2010's A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C), to digital bits — and committed to memory such earlier chestnuts as Snake Farm, Growl, Eternal and Lowdown, Crusades of the Restless Knights, and maybe even everything else going all the way back to that 1975 Cowboy Twinkies LP that Hubbard himself would rather you forget – you probably can't wait to tuck into The Grifter's Hymnal and leisurely savor it from end to end.
This, of course, is how things should be. But a couple of variables could throw the above plan off the rails a bit. Suppose, for instance, that the damn Mayans were right, and what's left of 2012 is all the time we have left, period. Or, maybe despite that aforementioned impeccable music taste, you've somehow managed to make it this far into the 21st century without ever hearing of this Hubbard fellow. Grim scenarios, yes, but fear not; because whether you're short on time due to an impending apocalypse or simply need a tidy introduction to bring you up to speed, the opening track on The Grifter's Hymnal, "Coricidin Bottle," tells you everything you need to know in just under two minutes. What it tells you about The Grifter's Hymnal is that the record rocks. And what it tells you about Ray Wylie Hubbard is, he's the kind scrapper poet with the devil-may-care wherewithal to write both "lay down a groove like a monkey gettin' off" and "shakes the mortal coil round my amaranthine soul" into the same song – and the lethal charm and chops to pull it off.
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
As Wade Bowen looks ahead to the full-length release of his major-label debut and his emerging transition from regional success to national prominence, there was one vital dynamic affecting the timing: his fans. Across five independent albums and a decade-plus of touring, Bowen not only amassed a string of regional hits and awards, but also the kind of fan base whose passionate anticipation motivated the timing behind the May 2012 release of The Given, a 10-song collection and his first new music since 2008's If We Ever Make It Home.
Indeed, in the fourteen years since Bowen launched his career at Stubb's Barbecue in Lubbock, Texas, he's risen from collegiate greenhorn to the top of the Texas music and Red Dirt circuit. His colleagues and friends Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band and others had made the major-label leap, helping to take a vibrant regional sound to the rest of America. Now Bowen is poised to bring that Red Dirt and independent spirit to country music at large.
Make no mistake, this collection is a document of artistic evolution. Longtime fans (and there are quite a few of them) will hear the Bowen they've known and the next steps on his journey. They'll get better acquainted with the ballad singer who doesn't often get a chance to show that side of himself in honky tonks. Newcomers will hear a head-turning country artist with range, road-tested hits and one of the best male voices in the business.
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
Merging the studied cool of the new wave revivalist movement with the sleek textures and commanding rhythm of electronic pop, Hockey burst out of the Portland, OR music scene in 2009 to become cult favorites in the United Kingdom on the strength of a handful of live appearances and a self-produced demo EP.Vocalist and guitarist Ben Grubin and bassist Jeremy Reynolds formed Hockey in 2007 while they were both students at Southern California's Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, a free-form college affiliated with the University of Redlands. The Johnston Center allows students to establish their own curriculum, and Grubin and Reynolds used the opportunity to focus their attentions on music.
They began writing songs and playing out as Hockey accompanied only by a drum machine, and a demo recorded by this early incarnation of the band attracted the attention of A&R executives at Sony Music. Hockey were signed to a record deal, but communication between Grubin and Reynolds and Sony soon broke down, and attempts to cut an album with producer Jerry Harrison (ex-Talking Heads) came to a halt when Sony dropped the band. Grubin and Reynolds left California for a creative environment where they could start over, and after a spell in Spokane, WA, they found it in Portland, OR.
Hockey expanded to a four-piece with the addition of percussionist Anthony Stassi and guitarist Brian White during the band's stay in Spokane, and they started playing clubs and college parties as soon as they hit Portland. Home-recorded versions of the songs "Learn to Lose" and "Work" found their way to Zane Lowe, a disc jockey at BBC Radio 1, and airplay generated a demand for the group in the U.K.. After being invited to play the London club Water Rats, and a showcase hosted by the influential music magazine New Musical Express, Hockey were once again being courted by the major labels, and they signed with Virgin for the U.K. and Europe and Capitol for the United States. Hockey's album Mind Chaos, featuring revised versions of the songs from their demo, was released in fall 2009. - by Mark Deming -
Doors 8 | Show 9
"How is it having four singers in the band?" is the question most asked of Truth & Salvage Co., often followed by "Where's the group from again?" Though answers often vary depending on who you ask, the fact is that there would not be a Truth & Salvage Company without four singers; the band would have never come to be. It is through the collaboration of their songwriting and the unique combination of their voices to which they owe their inception. Since the forging of this completely functional family-by-choice in 2007 their music has been nothing but infectious. They quickly caught the attention of Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes) who signed the act to his label Silver Arrow Records, and produced the band's self titled debut, released in May of 2010. Before the record was even released T&S was invited to support the The Black Crowes on tour for the better part of 2009, which greatly helped to spread their gospel. Rolling Stone magazine awarded their debut effort with a 3 and 1/2 star review, and USA Today touted the group as being one of the top up and coming acts to see. Countless other shining critical reviews have been bestowed upon them as well as numerous TV appearances including PBS Sun Studios Sessions and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Doors 7 | Show 8
The Clumsy Lovers have been bringing their mix of fiddle and banjo-fuelled, bluegrassified Celtic rock to North American audiences for almost 15 years. With well over 2500 shows under their belts since forming in Vancouver, Canada in the late 90's, the band has been to 49 states and most of Canada while earning it's reputation as one of the continent's busiest, and most entertaining, touring bands.
While best known for their live shows, The Clumsy Lovers have also released a series of award-winning and critically acclaimed recordings. After self-producing their early records, venerated label Nettwerk Records came on board to release "After The Flood" (2005) and "Smart Kid" (2006). Both albums won a CD of the year nod from the Indie Acoustic Music awards, as well as being nominated for numerous other honors (including multiple mentions from The West Coast Music Awards, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards).
Doors 8 | Show 9
If you're looking for a story that best summarizes the last year in the life of Charles Bradley, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than the night he and his band showed up in Utopia, Texas to play an outdoor show in the middle of a thunderstorm. "It was just raining, raining, raining," Bradley recalls. "I walked out onstage, and there were about 800 people there – maybe more – all of them just standing out there in the rain and the mud." The band settled in and fought their hardest against the elements, but – for a moment, anyway – it seemed that nature was too much for even the mighty Charles Bradley. About halfway through the show, the power went out, leaving both the band and the drenched fans in total darkness.
At any other show, that would be understood as the meteorological signal for "Quittin' Time," but if there's one thing the last year of tireless touring before enrapt audiences has proven, it's that Charles Bradley does not put on typical shows. "I could hear them screaming, 'Charles Bradley! Charles Bradley we love you,'" Bradley smiles. "And so when the lights came back on, I said, 'If all of you can stand out there in the rain and get soaking wet because you want to see me perform – to see me do something that I love to do – then you know what? I'm gonna get wet, too.'" And with that, Bradley jumped off the stage and into the crowd. "They went completely crazy!" he laughs. "We were laughing. We were hugging. We were getting muddy. It was just love."
Doors 7 | Show 8
The Soul Rebels formed when Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, originally members of New Orleans' iconic Dejean's Young Olympia Brass Band, decided they wanted to play the new, exciting music they were hearing on the radio while respecting the tradition they loved. Both New Orleans natives, the pair was steeped in the fundamentals of New Orleans jazz, but inevitably, contemporary styles of music began to seep into their psyches. While LeBlanc attended the famed St. Augustine High School, Moss went to Lil' Wayne's alma mater McMain High School, and paraded alongside soon‐to‐be Cash Money Records CEO Ronald "Slim" Williams in the school's marching band. New sounds were all around and they found them as exciting as the horn‐combo style featured in jazz funerals since the turn of the Twentieth Century.
"We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition," LeBlanc recalls, "so we knew we had to break away." They found a stylistic middle ground when they spun off and formed a band of young, like‐minded local players from all over New Orleans. Graduates of university music programs throughout the South, the band took the marching band format they had learned in school and incorporated influences from outside the city as well as late‐breaking local styles – R&B, funk and hip‐hop – especially through half‐sung, half‐rapped lyrics. "Most of our originals have vocals," says LeBlanc. "You wouldn't have done that in a traditional brass band."
Soon, The Soul Rebels' contagious originals and updated takes on standards won them a loyal local audience. They began rocking some of New Orleans' most beloved live music venues. A chance gig opening for the Neville Brothers got them a real start—and an official name. It was youngest brother Cyril Neville who first called them "Soul Rebels," a good name for a band that strived to incite positive change in its treasured musical heritage.
Doors 8 | Show 9
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and calling Colorado home, Gregory Alan Isakov has been traveling all his life. Songs that hone a masterful quality beyond his years tell a story of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place.
Music has been a stabilizing and constant force. "I've always had this sense about music and writing that I sort of have to do it. Like I'll implode without it. I probably wouldn't do it if I felt any other way."
His song-craft lends to the deepest lyrical masterpieces, with hints of his influences, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. He has been described as "strong, subtle, a lyrical genius," but the source of his writing often remains a mystery to him. "My songs have nothing to do with me; they have a life of their own. A lot of times I won't know what a song is about when I'm writing it. It just has a certain feeling about it."
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
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