Founded by guitarist and songwriter Jeremy Hilliard, the band first came together in mid- 2016. By that Fall they played an inaugural, now-infamous residency at American Beauty in New York City and then road-tested many of the songs on an extended northeast tour. One thing that became apparent right away was that there was going to be an exploratory spirit to their live shows and that the songs are, on one level, springboards for extended improvisation as well as vehicles for dance-floor workouts. Inspired by rock, funk, and jazz artists such as The Band, The Talking Heads, Phish, The Grateful Dead, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, Grant Green and countless others, the goal, in their own words, is to “not know where we’re going” because that feeling of excitement and adventure translates to the audience. Front and center in the mix is Jeremy Hilliard’s guitar, which is unmistakable in tone. He lists as early inspirations BB King and Jimi Hendrix, and using that as a jumping off point he brings jazz concepts to tell longer, more complex sonic stories.
Jeremy is no newcomer to the scene. He established his songwriting voice as a bandleader and lead guitarist for the band Turbine, with whom he made 4 studio albums and toured nationally for many years, including regular appearances on the some of the country’s biggest stages such as Bonnaroo Music Festival, Telluride Music Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, Moedown, and many others. Jeremy found his perfect compliment in the multitalented keyboardist Johnny Young. Johnny is an established presence on the New York music scene and is highly regarded as a soloist, singer, songwriter, producer, and composer. Friends for many years, Jeremy and Johnny finally got the chance to work together in 2017 when they began writing songs together in earnest. His soulful voice, virtuosity on the keyboards, understanding of harmony, and natural chemistry with Jeremy have taken the band to new heights. All of which is made even more remarkable by the fact that he has been blind since the age of 17. Holding this all together, and the driving pulse of the band, is the bass playing of Eric Thachuk. Hailing from Toronto, he somehow always knows the exact right note to play that will hold down the fort for all the harmonic and rhythmic interplay, and his elegant choices as an improviser give the music a sophisticated form. He is also a multi-talented musician, programming all the electronic drums on the bands’ debut album. The newest member of the group is John Venezia on drums, who is an up-and-coming killer on the kit; you don’t know it yet, but you need to see him live. After spending their first summer jamming, and then going out and getting 50 shows under their belt, the band knew that they wanted a full-length studio album to define their sound, and it would be all about the songs. So in early 2017 they hunkered down in Dave Brandwein’s (Turkuaz) Galaxy Smith Studios in Brooklyn to finish writing and record what would become their debut album, Electric Bouquet, released in 2018.
When the Night Comes Calling You June 2018 DROM, NYC
Three and a half albums into their career and Mumford & Sons find themselves at another turning point. They could take whichever direction they choose. So what’s it to be?
The world is a big old place, and Mumford & Sons want to see it all and meet everyone.
2016 was a fine example of that. Firstly, we’re all familiar now with the story of how nobody quite saw it exploding the way it did, quite so emphatically. Four amiable, talented lads from West London, one inexplicably clinging to a banjo. Give over, not a hope. And yet… BANG. One of the most successful bands in the world and one of the most hard-working too. Gigs upon gigs upon gigs. Jubilant, joyous gigs. One cornerstone starts to blur into the next and yet still it keeps on getting bigger, keeps on getting better. They play it like they really mean it. From the heart.
We digress… Back to 2016, then. A first trip out to South Africa. A couple of introductory ‘taster’ shows somehow turned into six sprawling sold-out, outdoor park dates. Historic. Epic. 85,000 tickets sold. There was one in Pretoria that particularly caught the eye. Thunderstorms like firework displays, and the tropical rain kicking up the dust. During some rare, brief downtime in Johannesburg, the band hit a makeshift studio at The South African Broadcasting Corporation with some friends. Senegalese hero Baaba Maal, Malawi’s The Very Best, and local favorites, Cape Town’s Beatenberg all hunkered down to see what would come of it together. That’s where the ‘half an album’ comes from, the gloriously affecting, collaborative ‘Johannesburg’ mini-album.
Then what? Well, for a band renowned for their relentless, far-flung touring, it was quite a surprise to learn that Mumford & Sons were yet to step foot in South America. When the lights went out on the South African trip, the party headed off for debut shows on the Lollapalooza run. Sao Pãolo, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.. Wild, raucous shows. Everyone giving it their all, on both sides of the barrier. They’ll be returning, that’s for sure.
Back in the UK, there were three big live moments to enjoy. A headline slot for Radio 1’s annual live extravaganza down in Devon, and then the Summer’s piece de resistance. London’s iconic Hyde Park in July. 65,000 fans going absolutely nuts one hazy Summer’s evening. Backed by an all-star cast throughout the day, Mumford & Sons typically rose to the (overwhelming sense of) occasion, and even the Johannesburg lads made the considerable effort to fly in and to take to the stage, performing a few tracks together from the, just released, mini-album. What a day. Another of those so-called ‘cornerstones’. Hyde Park. Tick.
Speaking of extraordinary outdoor shows, it would be prudent to mention the band’s own rolling festival series, The Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers. These community-mindful, community-minded and altogether exhilarating affairs have historically rolled up into towns and cities that don’t often enjoy regular live shows or are in the shadow of the nearby major cities. Huddersfield and Galway hosted the first GOTR Stopovers back in 2012, and they’ve since taken this rolling circus to the likes of Walla Walla, Troy, Guthrie, Dungog, Lewes, Monterey and Aviemore. The band is hugely proud of these events, hearing the people’s stories, and involving them all in the planning and orchestrating. It’s quite the undertaking, and that’s before the hand-written notes or emails go out inviting bands to play at them. On that score, they’ve done pretty well too. From Foo Fighters to the Flaming Lips, St. Vincent to Leon Bridges, Vampire Weekend to Dave. And having headlined Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds Festivals, GOTR partnered with the Latitude Festival 2017 in Suffolk, UK to bring a taste of the Takeover to a fully-fledged British music festival. No pressure, then. Just the small matter of finding forty quality, eclectic artists to route it into their Summer plans, let alone go and headline the bloody thing. But manage it they did, and the sun and sound lit up this pretty corner of the English countryside. The Takeover literally took-over Latitude. Tick.
Then later that year, in the Winter of 2017, the band headed out to Senegal to see their ol’ pal Baaba on home turf. They brought with them an artist whose music is never off the collective band stereo, the magnetic Maggie Rogers, and Maggie soon took to her socials expressing a certain giddiness at this new adventure and extolling the extraordinary virtues of ‘today’s studio’. Pals be plotting.
So, what next? Well, a few festival slots have just started to appear on the band’s website for later this Summer which tends to suggest that something is going on behind the scenes. One click later and you find yourself scrolling through their Instagram, currently documenting candid footage of the band in the familiar environs of a recording studio. Working hard. It’s too early to suggest album four is on its way, but an optimistic fan might have every reason to be enthusiastic.
Yet just maybe it’s a band who like to try different things, look curiously at things from a different angle, take another route.
The music of Umphrey’s McGee unfolds like an unpredictable conversation between longtime friends. Its six participants—Brendan Bayliss [guitar, vocals], Jake Cinninger [guitar, vocals], Joel Cummins [keyboards, piano, vocals], Andy Farag [percussion], Kris Myers [drums, vocals], and Ryan Stasik [bass]—know just how to communicate with each other on stage and in the studio. A call of progressive guitar wizardry might elicit a response of soft acoustic balladry, or a funk groove could be answered by explosive percussion. At any moment, heavy guitars can give way to heavier blues as the boys uncover the elusive nexus between jaw-dropping instrumental virtuosity and airtight songcraft.
The conversation continues on their eleventh full-length album, it’s not us on their own record label, Nothing Too Fancy Music, out January 2018.
“It represents the band because it basically runs the gamut from prog rock to dance,” says Brendan. “We’ve mastered our ADD here. The record really shows that.”
“No matter what you’re into, there’s something on it’s not us that should speak to you,” agrees Joel. “This is a statement album for Umphrey’s McGee. The sound is as fresh as ever. The songs are strong as they’ve ever been. We’re always pushing forward.”
It is also how the band is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Instead of retreading the catalog, they turn up with a pile of new tunes.
“It’d be easy to play the hits from our first five or ten years,” continues Joel. “We’ve never been a band to rest on our laurels though. New music is key to our continued development. We’re known as a strong live band, but we take so much pride in our writing. This album distinguishes us because the focus is on that writing.”
Appropriately, this idea gestated on a sunny May afternoon at Wrigley Field. Six months before The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, Brendan took in a game on a rare day off.
“I can pinpoint the actual a-ha moment,” Brendan goes on. “My wife was out. My kids were at daycare. I walked to Wrigley, bought a standing room ticket, and enjoyed the game. Halfway through it, I thought to myself, ‘If we can get into the studio by the end of the year, we can have a brand new record.’ That’s where it all started.”
Bringing things full circle, Umphrey’s McGee entered I.V. Labs Studio in Chicago ready (and maybe a little hungover) a week after that historic game seven. For the first time since recording Local Band Does O.K. in 2002, five of the six members roomed together in a rental condo with Brendan staying a stone’s throw away at home.
“We would wake up, bounce ideas off each other, and go to the studio together,” recalls Joel. “We did all of this as a unit. There was something really special about our group ethos coming together for this project. We decided to go in for a week, live, eat, and breathe Umphrey’s McGee. It’s the most fun we’ve had in the studio. It really was a blast. Having that camaraderie was really cool.”
That camaraderie shines through in their inimitable interplay, which finds them at the pinnacle of their craft and groove as a band. That chemistry defines the approach—which sees Umphrey’s McGee hone their songwriting to its sharpest point to date.
“I feel like we’re getting better and better at writing succinct, concise musical pieces,” Brendan elaborates. “When we started out, we were trying to figure out how to fill time. We didn’t have much of a catalog, so we had to extend things and repeat parts in order to make up space. Since our catalog is so big now, we don’t feel the need to make everything ten minutes long. We’ve really trimmed the fat. Everything seems to be the right length.”
It is definitely the case with the first single “The Silent Type.” Powered by a bombastic beat, funkified rhythms, fiery fretwork, and a chantable refrain, this anthem introduces it’s not us with a bright and brilliant bang.
“It’s super simple,” explains Brendan. “This character is in the wrong place at the wrong time making the wrong decisions. Everybody has to deal with temptation. That’s a part of life. This guy goes out, and he blows it after a girl offers him a cigarette. You see it all the time.”
“Half Delayed” builds from airy guitar into an iridescent refrain that serves as “a reminder to stop and smell the roses.” Meanwhile, the bass strut, anthemic beat production, and percussive wallop of “Looks” could be the love child of Nine Inch Nails and Talking Heads. Then, the metallic shredfest outro of “Remind Me” bleeds effortlessly into the gorgeous acoustic love song “You & You Alone.”
“We called the record it’s not us, because it’s really not about us,” adds Joel. “This is for the fans.”
Over 2,200 gigs and 5 million tracks sold later, they’ve enjoyed countless milestones. 2002 saw them perform at the first-ever Bonnaroo and sell more CDs than any other act on the bill. They became the “first group to launch its own single artist streaming service” with UMLive.net, which houses recordings of every gig since 2005. The service has since grown and now lives on through Nugs.net, which is used by the likes of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and more. They recorded ten tracks in one day at Abbey Road for The London Session in 2015. Notably, 2016’s ZONKEY mashed-up the strangest of bedfellows into a critically acclaimed collection that unites Radiohead and Beck, The Weeknd and Fleetwood Mac, Talking Heads and Bob Marley, Metallica and Gorillaz, and more.
That adventurousness extends to their legendary audience immersion experiences. From their initial bar gigs in 1998 to three-nights playing to packed crowds at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2017, the group has simultaneously remained intensely committed to their fans. Beyond intimate backstage encounters and ski trips with their most diehard fans, Umphrey’s McGee instituted the groundbreaking “Headphones & Snowcones” program, granting fans access to professional headphones and a soundboard-quality mix at shows. At their UMBowl, they empowered the audience to vote on the setlist in real-time and choose favorite improv themes via text message. In 2017, they stepped into another realm altogether by integrating themselves into the VR Platform Endless Riff.
With the album on the horizon, a headline tour and a three-night Beacon Theatre residency in NYC plotted to celebrate the anniversary in January, it’s not us kicks off a new era for Umphrey’s McGee and their ever-growing audience.
“There’s something uniquely Umphrey’s McGee that could never be mistaken for another band,” Joel concludes. “I hope it makes people think a little bit or shed a tear or two. Maybe, you smile or laugh. Life is hard. We still believe music can heal and motivate.”
“We’re here,” Brendan leaves off. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re starting to find our identity. I think if you give it a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals)
Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals)
Joel Cummins (keyboards, vocals)
Andy Farag (percussion)
Kris Myers (drums, vocals)
Ryan Stasik (bass)
Toots Hibbert is one of the great voices of Jamaica; a legend whose career spans every development in Jamaican music, from ska through rock-steady to reggae. Toots and the Maytals have helped to chart the course of Jamaican music with unrivaled delivery and dynamism, setting new standards of excellence, and becoming the most enduring of all Jamaica’s groups. Born in Maypen in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica – the youngest of seven children – Toots began singing in the church choir at the age of seven. He left home in his teens to go to Kingston where he met Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias and formed the original Maytals in 1962. They were also sometimes recorded as the Vikings.
The Maytals began their career at Studio One, the headquarters of Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, in Kingston, Jamaica. The group’s debut release, HALLELUJAH, was an immediate hit throughout the island, and featured a mix of Jamaican rhythms and gospel vocal influence that would mark much of the Maytals music. Further successes followed, including I’LL NEVER GROW OLD and JUST GOT TO BE ME, each one building a reputation for the Maytals and their energetic straight-from-church style of singing and their “spiritual” ska beat.
Despite the initial successes, the group soon left Coxsone and linked up with another legendary figure in the Jamaican music business, Prince Buster, the number one sound system operator on the island. The Buster-produced Maytals singles were popular successes in Jamaica and England, where this new type of “ska” music became a sensation in dancehalls. The relationship between Buster and The Maytals produced some of the best records from the original ska era, including DOG WAR, aka BROADWAY JUNGLE.
In 1966, the Maytals began to work with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and won the first Jamaican Festival Song Competition with the song BAM BAM. The Maytals were poised for stardom, but just as their fortune seemed set, Toots was arrested for possession of marijuana and was incarcerated for 18 months, despite his plea of innocence.
The Maytals returned with a vengeance in 1968, recording with famed producer Leslie Kong. The era of ska was ending, giving way to the more complex sounds of Reggae evolving from Kong’s Beverleys Label. Although these years of post-independence marked a more violent era of Jamaica’s history, Toots and the Maytals were far closer to soul and gospel influences than many of the “revolutionary” young artists of the late 60’s. Nevertheless, the Maytals first singlein two years, 54-46 (THAT’S MY NUMBER), combined the story of Toots’ arrest with a powerful downbeat to create one of the greatest rocksteady/reggae singles of all time.
As rock steady became reggae (and the Maytals single DO THE REGGAY was the first published use of the word), the Maytals consolidated their position as leaders in Jamaican music. They recorded the hit MONKEY MAN and the classic SWEET AND DANDY which won the 1969 Festival Song Competition and was featured, along with their dance-floor smash, PRESSURE DROP, on the soundtrack to THE HARDER THEY COME, one of the great reggae albums of all time.
The Beverley’s label folded, however, with the passing of Leslie Kong in 1971. The Maytals turned again to Byron Lee and his Dynamic Sounds, and again won the Festival Song prize in 1972 for POMP AND PRIDE. They released their first album for Dynamic, FUNKY KINGSTON in 1973– a masterful album in every respect and one that helped bolster the group’s international audience- now considered a classic staple for any reggae collection.
In 1975 Toots and the Maytals signed a worldwide recording contract with Island Records. The following year the group hit the British singles charts with REGGAE GOT SOUL, the title track to their new album. They also toured America, Europe and Britain. The REGGAE GOT SOUL album was a superb showcase for Toots’ soulful vocals embellished by fine musicianship from a cosmopolitan studio band that included such talents as Steve Winwood, Eddie Quansah, Dudu Pukwana, Rico Rodriguez and Tommy McCook.
Constant touring showed audiences what Jamaicans had known for over a decade – that Toots and the Maytals were simply one of the greatest live acts in the world. Their popularity increased throughout the 70’s with such popular releases as PASS THE PIPE (1978), IN THE DARK (1979), JUST LIKE THAT (1980), KNOCK OUT (1982). IN THE DARK, which included the songs TIME TOUGH and TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS was internationally acclaimed, and BEAUTIFUL WOMAN from the KNOCKOUT album was an international hit. The world’s audiences were able to hear Toots and the Maytals fuse reggae, soul, gospel and even country, into a dynamic original combination.
On September 29, 1980, Toots and The Maytals made history when the band played at London’s Hammersmith Palais. Less than 24 hours later, a live album from that show was on sale in record stores throughout Britain. It was the fastest live album in recording history and, according to some critics, TOOTS LIVE ranks alongside Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, James Brown At The Apollo and Otis Redding in Europe as one of the finest live records ever made.
After disbanding the Maytals in the early 80’s, Toots began recording with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The combination produced SPIRITUAL HEALING — a chart success around the world, even reaching number one in South Africa and another hit, PEACE PERFECT PEACE. The popular and critically acclaimed TOOTS IN MEMPHIS (1988) followed, featuring Toots covering Stax classics in his own inimitable way.
Toots reformed the Maytals and picked up the touring pace again in the early 90’s. The group released RECOUP (1997), and the Grammy-nominated SKAFATHER (1998) – featuring new re-cuts of older material with a few new tracks included. Toots and the Maytals have been nominated three times for Grammy Awards – the other nominations were for TOOTS IN MEMPHIS and TOOTS LIVE. The Maytals also hold the record for the largest number of number one hits in Jamaica, with 31 to their credit. They are the only Jamaican group that has both sides of one of their records become number one on both Hit Parades (DADDY and IT’S YOU).
The 2002 release, WORLD IS TURNING, on Toots’ own D & F label, was the first album of all new material to be released in two decades. The album contains songs that were works in progress over a long period between 1973 and 2002, and features refreshing originals with a wide variety of styles and influences, including rocksteady, reggae roots, funky r&b, rave disco, and gospel. The 15-song album includes only one re-cut, a hot new version of the roots-reggae FEEL FREE, with a brilliant cameo from the Messenger, Luciano.
The latest album, TRUE LOVE, finds Toots and the Maytals revisiting some of the band’s most classic works with a host of musical friends onboard – Keith Richards, Shaggy and Rahzel, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck, Ben Harper, No Doubt, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Ryan Adams, Bootsy Collins and the Roots, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Terry Hall and the Skatalites and Trey Anastasio – for delightful fresh-ear journey through Toots’ musical history. Add in the surprise tracks- Willie Nelson and Toots groovin’ on Willie’s STILL IS STILL MOVIN TO ME, Rachel Yamagata pleading on the newer BLAME ON ME and Bunny Wailer’s vocal comradery on the never-before-released TAKE A TRIP for an unparalleled reggae joy ride.
Indeed Toots and the Maytals artistry spans every phase of Jamaican music’s evolution, earning him the reputation as one of Jamaica’s most consistent and inspired performers, and one of the greatest reggae/r&b singers of all time. Generations of fans – old and new- are discovering that Toots and the Maytals were – and are – masters of reggae and the live performance. The combination of great reggae rhythms, heartfelt vocals, and soulful gospel influence remains potent and powerful –probably the most cohesive mix of reggae and soul music ever, and still going strong.
Three Grammy Nominations:
Skafather, Toots in Memphis, Toots Live
Three First Place Festival Songs (and two second places), including the first year of the contest 1966 BamBam, Sweet and Dandy, Pomp and Pride
Record Holder for number one Hit Parade Songs in Jamaica (31)
Record for having two number one songs on one 45 release in Jamaica. (Daddy/ Its you)
Guinness World Record for shortest time between the recording and release of a live album-TOOTS LIVE at the Hammersmith Palais
Gold, and number one in various countries for :
Knock Out album (Beautiful Woman number one in Australia/album gold in New Zealand)
Toots in Memphis album
Spiritual Healing 12″ (South Africa)
The Harder Thay Come – one of Vanity Fair’s Top 10 Best Soundtracks of all time- contains 2 tracks from Toots and the Maytals, who were also featured in the film.
Fredrick “Toots” Hibbert
Rad ‘Doogie’ Bryan
Named for an Italian musical direction meaning “with spirit,” Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area seven-piece that plays energetic soul, psych-rock and R&B that’s as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With charismatic singer Ziek McCarter bringing “the dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a tight, veteran band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show.
The band’s sophomore LP, Explorer (out July 6th, 2018 on Transistor), represents an impressive leap for the group PopMatters has called “the best new live band in America.” The album is a travelogue of sorts, written over the course of two years and one presidential election — all while the band was touring the globe (Japan, France, Australia, the Netherlands) and fielding questions about our leaders, our choices, our guns.
While Paradise spoke about inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement, turning a mirror on America in 2016, Explorer looks outward, urging hope in the face of cynicism, but ultimately presenting more questions than answers: What does it mean to represent America abroad during a time of unprecedented volatility at home?
Having proved themselves on an international stage (as well as at U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits), Con Brio breaks new sonic ground on Explorer, expanding beyond raw energy and retro sounds toward a layered, contemporary production style. It’s a big record, with plenty of joy and more than a few growing pains. It sounds, unsurprisingly, like a band on the verge.
“No one can say what’s going to happen next week, let alone next year,” says McCarter. “But we can keep doing what we do. Head out there with our eyes open. And try to create moments of love, of liberation, everywhere we go.”
Ziek McCarter – Vocals
Brendan Liu – Trumpet
Marcus Stephens – Tenor Saxophone
Benjamin Andrews – Guitar
Patrick Glynn – Keyboards
Jonathan Kirchner – Bass
Andrew Laubacher – Drums
Con Brio | “Paradise” Live at Telluride Blues & Brews Festival
Con Brio // A Sex Supreme [Live @ UnderCover Presents: Stand!]
A remarkable thing happened to The Revivalists as they came upon their tenth anniversary as a band. The New Orleans-based septet scored a game-changing hit with “Wish I Knew You,” a wistful song from their third album, Men Amongst Mountains. Guided by dynamic percussion and punchy horns, the single features a contagious hook and feel-good chorus that has resonated with fans across all different genres. Though the album was released in July of 2015 (debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart), the band’s break out single “Wish I Knew You” has a rare and undeniable staying power. The song steadily picked up steam in 2016 spending over 40 weeks on the Billboard Adult Alternative Chart where it peaked at #1 and maintained for multiple weeks. By 2017, the song crossed to Alternative radio rising quickly to #1 and breaking the Billboard chart record for most single-week spins ever at Alternative radio. “Wish I Knew You” then peaked inside the Top 15 at Adult Pop Radio and ultimately spent 9 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100.
The meaning behind “Wish I Knew You” is up for debate and the band could not be happier about it. “Some of the best songs are the ones that don’t have just one meaning,” says vocalist David Shaw. “We love hearing all the different interpretations our fans have. Of course, the song talks about the idea of wishing for more time together earlier in life, but we’ve heard all different takes on who that someone is, what the message means, and even what point of view the lyrics are coming from. We hope that people make our songs their own and ‘Wish I Knew You’ is like a canvas that our fans have filled with their imaginations and personal experiences. That is what we want our music to do.”
The success of “Wish I Knew You” has opened many doors for the band, earning them praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Flaunt, Paste and Interview, nabbing them a nod as a ‘YouTube Artist on the Rise,’ and landing them performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (the host called the song his “summer jam”), Conan, The Today Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where Shaw shared a rare and impromptu mid-performance dance with the star. “That was a surreal moment for us,” he marvels. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be dancing with Ellen DeGeneres!”
Comprised of acclaimed musicians David Shaw [lead vocals/guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard & trumpet], The Revivalists are recognized as an extraordinary live band. And while “Wish I Knew You” has had a seismic effect on their career, The Revivalists’ relentless touring over the past several years has played a major part in getting them to this point.
The band has sold-out headlining tours in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and performed sets at such marquee festivals as Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits. This past year they were invited to perform on the main stage at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest (after six years playing the second stage) for 40,000 people, attracted 5,000 fans to their show at Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City, and visited cities like Toronto for the first time playing to packed houses.
“We did it by building a live audience and our fans bringing their friends to see us,” says Campanelli. “So when we got a song on the radio, it was tens of thousands of people saying, ‘Our band is on the radio!’ That has allowed it to expand because our fans are excited about it and are telling their friends. When we play the single, the new people who come to see us are not just holding up their phones for a video then leaving. They’re singing every word because they’ve become fans as well.” “Playing live is the lifeblood of this band,” agrees Shaw. “It’s how we connect. There’s no substitute for getting out there in someone’s face, letting them see the veins popping out in your neck, or sweat dripping off your knuckles as you strum a guitar.”
The four years that The Revivalists spent touring in support of their second album, City of Sound, informed many of the songs on Men Amongst Mountains, which was recorded live in just 21 days with producer Ben Ellman (Galactic, Trombone Shorty). Album opener “Keep Going” serves as an anthem for these road warriors. “Sometimes it was all of us packed into one hotel room,” Shaw recalls of that time. “If we were lucky, we got two or three hotel rooms to split, so there was no personal space. You’re eating fast food because you don’t have any money. Those were trying times and all of that hardship went into the lyrics.” The album’s title was inspired during the band’s stopover in Colorado where they were awestruck by the majestic grace of the surrounding mountains. “I feel like it’s a metaphor for being small in a vast, expansive universe and knowing you are essentially insignificant, but standing amongst the mountains, you are among the greats, so it kind of elevates you,” says Feinberg. “It’s an uplifting title.”
All members of The Revivalists share songwriting duties, with Shaw writing the lion’s share of the lyrics. “I draw inspiration from what is happening in my life and what I’m being influenced by at the time,” he says. “When life is tumultuous, I write more. When I’m in the light, a person like me is almost seeking the dark. But when I’m in the dark, I’m like ‘Get me out of this hole.’ Songwriting is an escape; a way to externalize a lot of internal feelings.”
By making the personal universal, The Revivalists have managed to attract a wide range of listeners who are also no doubt drawn to their eclectic rock sound, which has a bit of swing and a gritty Southern roots vibe. It’s inspired perhaps not sonically — they are not a heritage brass band — but spiritually by their adopted hometown. “The mood we create in a room makes people feel like they’re in New Orleans,” says Campanelli of the band’s free-wheeling show, which is filled with audience interaction and improvisation. “Wherever we go, we bring that vibe, spirit, energy, and looseness to the room that wasn’t there the night before. We played a show in St. Louis and people lost their minds dancing. Afterward, they told us, ‘Wow, people don’t dance in St. Louis.’ That’s what we bring. We make a Tuesday night in your town feel like New Orleans on a Saturday night.”
The seeds of The Revivalists were planted in 2007 when Feinberg, out riding his bike, came across Shaw sitting on his front porch belting an original song called “Purple Heart” (which wound up on The Revivalists debut album Vital Signs). Shaw had moved to New Orleans two weeks prior for its rich musical history and because he had heard the city was in need of construction workers to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. (He had just graduated from Ohio State with a degree in construction management.) Feinberg had also moved to New Orleans for the music scene and to study psychology at Tulane University. He had only been in the dorms for an hour when everyone was forced to evacuate due to the impending hurricane. That day in August 2007, Feinberg and Shaw struck up a conversation and instantly began to jam and collaborate, establishing an immediate musical connection and friendship. Within weeks they had invited Campanelli, whom Feinberg had met through workshops at New Orleans music venue Tipitina’s, to join them. Rounding out the band’s line-up is Ingraham, Gekas, and Girardot, whom Feinberg and Campanelli knew from Tulane and Loyola respectively, as well as Williams, whom they all knew from the local music scene.
The Revivalists played clubs like Checkpoint Charlie’s in New Orleans and Bamboo Willie’s in Pensacola, which Shaw equates to The Beatles’ “Hamburg Years,” because of the epically long shows. “We played four to five hours a night and didn’t have that much material, so we had to stretch and find ways to engage the crowd,” he says. “We made it our mission to grab every single person’s attention, which is what happened. By the end of the first set, everyone who had been standing at the bar would be standing at the front of the stage. That’s when I started to realize we had something special.”
They called themselves The Revivalists, which felt fitting given what the city was going through two years after the devastation of Katrina. “New Orleans was finally starting to rebound, and seeing it get back on its feet at the same time that this band, which respects older styles of music, was getting together, it just felt right as a name,” says Feinberg. “It’s about the excitement of this great American city, this great musical city, coming back to life.”
Since their conception, Funk/Soul band West End Blend has been playing their version of Funk and Soul in venues all over the Northeast. Fronted by vocalist Erica T. Bryan, the band pays homage to classic throwback sounds while adding their own distinct vibe and flair. Behind her, the Blend packs a four-piece horn section, two guitars, bass, keyboards and drums onto stages every night. From humble beginnings in an epic sweaty funky basement dance party, the Blend’s goal has always been to bring that same atmosphere to every show ever since.
The Blend released their debut full-length record, “Rewind”, in the Fall of 2015. The album was recorded at Telefunken Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer, Brendan Morawski. Alongside their album release, West End Blend shared the stage with Turkuaz, Break Science, Kung Fu, Twiddle, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, The Nth Power, The Motet and countless others Jam/Funk staples throughout 2015-2016. On September 28th, 2016 the Blend released their latest EP “Say Hey!” as they embarked on their Fall Tour across the Northeast. Throughout their Fall tour they shared the stage with Dopapod, The Nth Power, Turkuaz, Hayley Jane & The Primates, Deep Banana Blackout and more. After ringing in the New Year Along Turkuaz and Kung Fu in Providence, RI, West End Blend took off on their 2017/2018 Winter Tour, which spanned the majority of the North East and to the Mississippi River. 2018 will be a break out year for West End Blend which has the band slated to push past the North East and hit the road to middle America and the West Coast.
Erica T. Bryan (VOX)
Sam Horan (DRUMS)
Tom Sullivan (BASS)
Paulie Philippone (KEYBOARDS)
Jesse Combs (GUITAR)
Mike Dipanfilo (GUITAR)
John Mundy (TROMBONE)
Mike Bafundo (TRUMPET + VOX)
Formed in 1990 by South African self-taught vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews, the Dave Matthews Band presented a more pop-oriented version of the Grateful Dead crossed with elements of jazz, funk, and the worldbeat explorations of Paul Simon and Sting. Matthews decided to assemble a band and put together a demo tape with several Virginia-based musicians — bassist Stefan Lessard, saxophonist Leroi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley, drummer Carter Beauford, and short-lived keyboardist Peter Griesar — and the band built up a strong word-of-mouth buzz by touring the country constantly, with special attention paid to college campuses and grassroots marketing. Griesar left the lineup in March 1993, but the Dave Matthews Band moved ahead in his absence, releasing the independent album Remember Two Things later that year and issuing a live EP, Recently, in 1994.
After fielding offers from major labels, the band signed with RCA and released the debut effort Under the Table and Dreaming in September 1994 which went to No. 11 in the Billboard 200 . By the following spring, the record had launched the hit single “What Would You Say” and sold over one million copies, thus setting the stage for an extremely successful career.
A year and a half after the release of Under the Table and Dreaming, the record had sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone, propelled in part by the success of “Ants Marching” and “Satellite.” The Dave Matthews Band responded by releasing 1996’s Crash, which entered the charts at number two and quickly went platinum. The group spent the bulk of 1996 touring in support of the eclectic album, which reached multi-platinum status and spun off five successful singles, including the Grammy-nominated “Crash into Me.” That same year, Matthews launched an attack on bootleggers in conjunction with the federal government, targeting stores that were selling semi-legal discs of live performances. The efforts of Matthews, his band, and his management resulted in an unprecedented crackdown on for-profit bootleggers in early 1997 — with nearly all of the major foreign bootlegging companies placed under arrest by the United States — thereby putting a moratorium on the entire underground industry.
To further combat the bootleggers, the Dave Matthews Band released an official double-disc live album, Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95, in the fall of 1997. It was an unexpected success, debuting at number three on the charts and selling a million copies within the first five months of its release. The live record paved the way for a string of future DMB concert recordings; it also drummed up support for the April 1998 release of Before These Crowded Streets, the group’s most ambitious album to date. Another two-disc live effort, Listener Supported, followed one year later, and summer tours kept the band busy as the decade drew to a close.
The new millennium, however, saw the band returning to the studio with producer Glen Ballard to record a fourth studio album, Everyday, which was issued in February 2001. Although notable for its slick, mainstream-minded sound — not to mention the presence of electric guitar, which Matthews had never used on previous albums — it was overshadowed by rumors of a darker album that had been recorded with Steve Lillywhite in 2000. Although the original album was rejected, the band eventually chose songs from those sessions, re-recorded several others, and released the results in July 2002 as Busted Stuff. Its debut single, “Where Are You Going,” fared well on national radio, and the band rounded out 2002 with the release of Live at Folsom Field in November.
Several years after releasing Live at Luther College, a concert album that did not feature his band, Dave Matthews released his first proper solo album in 2003. The moody and brooding Some Devil was supported by a “Dave Matthews & Friends” tour — the “friends” being Trey Anastasio, Brady Blade, Tony Hall, Ray Paczkowski, and Tim Reynolds — and the album’s chief single, “Gravedigger,” earned Matthews a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Boyd Tinsley also released a solo album that year, but the Dave Matthews Band reconvened shortly thereafter, releasing two additional live albums (The Central Park Concert & The Gorge) and returning to the road in 2004. The band mates also joined Bruce Springsteen‘s Vote for Change tour toward the end of the year, just as their mail-order-only DMB Live Trax series debuted. In early 2005, they launched a website that featured progress reports on their next album in the form of video footage, diaries, and sound bites. When the flawed Stand Up finally appeared in May, it was the band’s first album of all-new material since 2001’s Everyday. Like its three predecessors, Stand Up topped the charts, making DMB the only band other than U2 and Metallica to score four consecutive number one albums.
Weekend on the Rocks, another live set, followed Stand Up at the end of 2005, and a two-disc compilation entitled The Best of What’s Around, Vol. 1 collected studio material and unreleased live recordings one year later. Matthews and Tim Reynolds launched another joint tour in 2007, canvassing Europe and North America in the process. A performance from the latter continent was featured on the album Live at Radio City Music Hall, which served as a companion piece to 1999’s Luther College. Meanwhile, the Dave Matthews Band released their own concert album, Live at Piedmont Park and began working on new material, although the project was temporarily shelved during pre-production as the band diverted its focus to touring.
The musicians returned to the studio the following year, but LeRoi Moore, unfortunately, passed away before the record could be completed. The saxophonist had suffered a serious ATV accident in June and ultimately succumbed to his injuries two months later. Former Béla Fleck saxophonist Jeff Coffin joined in his place, and the band heralded his inclusion with the release of Live at the Mile High Music Festival, a three-disc set capturing a Colorado performance from that summer. Early the following year, the Dave Matthews Band paid tribute to LeRoi Moore with the release of Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King. The three-CD/one-DVD set Europe 2009, which chronicled a July 5, 2009 show in Lucca, Italy (CD) and a June 26, 2009 show at O2 Academy Brixton in London (DVD) arrived in December 2009. Additional performances were documented on 2010’s Live in New York City and 2011’s Live at Wrigley Field , the latter of which was released during the band’s 20th anniversary. The Dave Matthews Band’s seventh studio album, Away from the World, released in 2012, found them reuniting with producer Steve Lillywhite, who produced the band’s first three studio albums.
Dave Matthews Band’s most recent album, 2018’s Come Tomorrow, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, making Dave Matthews Band the first group to have seven consecutive studio albums debut at the peak. As of 2018, the Dave Matthews Band has sold more than 80 million tickets since its inception and a collective 68 million CDs and DVDs combined.
The band is most known for playing its songs differently each time they’re performed live. This has become a staple of DMB’s live shows since inception.
After seven years, three albums, innumerable sold out shows, and countless beers, bluegrass mavericks Horseshoes & Hand Grenades appropriately consider themselves a “family” on a wild, wonderful, and often whacky roller coaster. The bond between the quintet—David C. Lynch [harmonica, accordion, spoons, vocals], Collin Mettelka [fiddle, mandolin, vocals], Russell Pedersen [banjo, fiddle, vocals], Adam Greuel [guitar, dobro, vocals], and Samual Odin [bass]—fuels their creativity and chemistry on stage and in the studio.
“Sometimes, it feels like we’re modern-day cowboys on some kind of strange journey,” Adam affirms with a laugh. “We’re five friends who set out to do something we enjoy doing, meet interesting people, see old friends and make some new buddies along the way. Because of that, everything happens organically.”
That’s been the case since these five musicians first met in Stevens Point, WI at college, joined forces and hit the road post-graduation in 2013. They have ignited stages alongside everyone from Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Trampled By Turtles to Railroad Earth, Merle Haggard, and Marty Stuart in addition to appearances at festivals such as Delfest, High Sierra Music Festival, Blue Ox Music Festival, Northwest String Summit, John Hartford Memorial Festival, and many more. Their three albums—Another Round , This Old Town , and Middle Western —have spawned fan favorite hits, including “Get Down To It,” “Stuck On Your Mind,” and “Whiskey.”
In many ways, everything set the stage for the 2018 offering, The Ode.
“It marks a point of growth,” explains Adam. “We’ve got the bluegrass burner type tunes we’re known for on there, but we’re experimenting with other elements. Little pieces of everybody are encapsulated in this record. For the first time, we were really conscious of allowing our respective musical curiosities into the fold. Sam drops in a jazz and classical feel. Dave brings that Zydeco, Cajun, and old school blues vibe. Collin turns up with this kinda pop-folk energy, and Russell gives us the old-timey banjo feel. For me, I’m trying to play out my singer-songwriter curiosities. There are five songwriters in the band, and we’ve gotten better at harnessing our individual creativity and bringing it to the collective.”
The boys found the perfect place to bottle those signature spirits. They retreated to Cannon Falls, MN in order to live and record at Pachyderm Studios — where Nirvana recorded In Utero — for just a week. Joined by Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett in the producer’s chair, they tracked the eleven numbers that would comprise The Ode over the course of a marathon session.
“Pachyderm is in the middle of nowhere,” he elaborates. “We’re all outdoorsy people, so the setting was super comfortable. It contributed to the laidback approach. We had this awesome chemistry with Dave. It was by far the easiest recording project we’ve done. The whole experience was super positive and uplifting.”
That feeling courses through the upbeat bluegrass gallop of the first single and title track, “The Ode.” The ebullient and enigmatic anthem serves as something of a mantra for the group, “Sing the ode my friend!”
Elsewhere on the record, bluesy piano resounds through “Eat the Cake,” while rustic banjo reverberates during the anthemic “Foggy Halo.” A clever outlier, “Millennial Girl” veers towards self-aware pop with its sharp lyrics. Meanwhile, “Stay Awhile” redefines the breakup song.
“I was thinking about how you can split up with somebody for various reasons, but still be in love,” he elaborates. “You split up for each other—not because of each other. It’s about the impermanence of relationships and the permanence of love.”
Ultimately, the Horseshoes & Hand Grenades family grows stronger by the day. The Ode is proof.
“The best part of this has been building a community,” Adam leaves off. “In this day and age, it’s wise to look for things that bring people together rather than separate them. We’re creating an extended family to get through these times together. That’s the ‘Horseshoe Crew.’ Everything happens because of that bond.”
David C. Lynch – harmonica, accordion, spoons, vocals
Collin Mettelka – fiddle, mandolin, vocals
Russell Pedersen – banjo, fiddle, vocals
Adam Greuel – guitar, dobro, vocals
Samual Odin – bass
The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so hot that their first rehearsal became a show. So many people had lined up outside the venue, they decided to just charge admission and let everybody in! They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions. These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems around the island. The band became legendary, backing all the developing artists of the day, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and “The Wailing Wailers” featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. These groups were all recording on the new beat called ska, which had an infectious rhythm that was catching on like wildfire. Eventually, the beat slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. This wildfire spread unstoppably around the world, developing into a huge musical tree with many stylistic branches, including lovers rock, dub, dancehall/ ragga, ska-punk, and others. Hugely popular groups, like The Police, The Clash, The Specials, The English Beat, Sublime and No Doubt, all have their roots firmly planted in the music of The Skatalites.
Since reforming after an almost 20-year hiatus in 1983, and beginning regular touring as a unit in 1989, they have not stopped thrilling audiences in every corner of the globe. Even after more than 50 years, and various lineup changes as members leave one stage for another, the band continues to perform and record new music in the inimitable Jamaican style like only they can. The road has been long and hard, and sadly, seen most of the original members pass on. Often asked “when will you stop?” and “how do you keep doing it after all these years?”, the answer is simple: never – It’s the love of the music and the way our fans respond that keep us going Forward!
Featuring original vocalist Doreen Shaffer, along with the current lineup of outstanding musicians they have chosen to accompany them, the band proudly presents live the music of Jamaican Ska. Forever indebted to the inspiration and talent of Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Don Drummond, Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes, Lloyd Knibb, Tommy McCook, Donat “Jackie” Mittoo, John “Dizzy Johnny” Moore, and Lester Sterling, collectively known as The Skatalites.
Band Members Roland Alphonso
Joseph ” Lord Tanamo” Gordon
Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes
Donat Roy “Jackie” Mittoo
John ” Dizzy Johnny” Moore
Widespread Panic has been together for 30 years. Formed by original members vocalist/guitarist John “JB” Bell, bassist Dave Schools and late guitarist Michael Houser, who lived together in a suburban house in Athens, GA, where they met as students not far from the University of Georgia campus, later to be joined by drummer Todd Nance. The band’s line-up was solidified with the addition of percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz and keyboard player John “JoJo” Hermann and Duane Trucks on drums.
Over three decades have passed since forming their original line-up in 1986, Widespread Panic is still hungry to be the best band they can be, every single night, for their loyal fan base. Their accomplishments over that time are well-documented. During their impressive run, the band has released 12 studio albums (including Street Dogs) and 43 live albums, selling more than 3 million copies as one of the most successful touring acts in the world. Widespread Panic has broken attendance records at major venues throughout the country, including a staggering 48 sold-out shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. A banner hangs in the rafters at Philips Arena in Atlanta where the band has 18 sellouts, with records also set at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Oak Mountain Amphitheater near Birmingham, AL and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where Panic has headlined eight times, breaking the single day attendance record with 63,000. The band has headlined most of the major U.S. festivals, including Bonnaroo (eight times), Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Lockn’ Music Festival, Outside Lands Music Festival, Forecastle Festival, Phases of the Moon, Rothbury Festival, All Good Music Festival, Gathering of the Vibes and many more. To commemorate Widespread Panic’s 25th anniversary in 2011, the State of Georgia’s Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions honoring the group for their music, service, charity and longevity, while they were also inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
“We acknowledge this is a milestone few groups get to achieve,” admits JB about their remarkable longevity. “It’s like Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Every time we go out there, we learn more tricks, bring that knowledge with us, and then apply it. We’re way more experienced, focused and to the point, but still willing to stretch out without wandering too much.”
All photos by Josh Timmermans
John Bell guitars, vocals
John “JoJo” Hermann keyboards, vocals
Jimmy Herring guitars
Domingo S. Ortiz percussion, vocals
Dave Schools bass, vocals
Duane Trucks drums
Grizzly Bear is a rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. Their music uses melody and ambiance in conjunction with hazy-eyed choruses, whistles, piano, banjo, and several woodwind instruments.
Grizzly Bear was originally the solo project of Edward Droste (vocals/guitar/omnichord/autoharp), who recorded his debut album Horn Of Plenty at home. The record was originally meant for his friends, but it eventually circulated and got a proper release in 2004, this time with the help of Chris Bear (drums/vocals). A re-release with a bonus disc of remixes was issued in 2005.
2005 also saw the addition of the two other band members, Chris Taylor (7) (woodwinds/electronics/engineering/production) and Daniel Rossen (vocals/guitar). Playing as a four-piece allowed the complexity of sound that was recorded on Horn of Plenty to be played live. The band toured throughout the year, playing songs off the first album as well as some of the new songs they were collectively writing that would make up Yellow House, their first release as a four-piece, in 2006. A year later, the Friend EP, which featured cameos from Beirut, Atlas Sound, CSS and Band of Horses, arrived.
For 2009’s elaborate album Veckatimest, the band collaborated with contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly, Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, the Acme String Quartet and the Brooklyn Youth Choir. The album was a resounding success for the band, debuting at number eight on the Billboard 200 and making the band a ubiquitous entry on critical year-end lists. After a long break from touring Veckatimest, the band followed up three years later with it’s 2012 release of Shields.
“Freedom is another word,” so the song went back in an easier and less costly time, “for nothing left to lose.” Freedom—the kind that Tedeschi Trucks Band has created for themselves since their inception in 2010—has come at a much higher price and required a deeper sense of dedication. It’s the kind of freedom that has allowed them to keep a band that has grown to more than a dozen musicians and crew on the road for five years, garnering an ever-increasing international audience, while developing a musical identity that has yielded original, award-winning recordings.
Let Me Get By is the third and latest studio album by the TTB, featuring ten new, original songs that together stand as a testament to the hard work, independent spirit, and now full-on commitment of the husband-and-wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, plus the musicians and music professionals who are part of the band’s ongoing journey. The album’s artwork—a Mongolian golden eagle caught a moment after flying from its master’s glove—and even the album title, reflect the sense of total dedication that serves as the driving wheel of TTB.
“’Let Me Get By’ actually refers to a lot of things,” says Trucks, “like the band becoming more self-reliant than ever before—writing our own songs and producing our own music in our own studio. It’s about moving on to a new recording label with a deal that gives us more freedom, and personally, I found myself with more time to focus on TTB after the Allman Brothers played their final shows this past year.
“It definitely took time for us to get here. I think the connections we have in this band and among the crew and extended family are the real reason why. I look around the stage every night and am just in awe of the situation—the music’s amazing and road-tested and we all really like each other. That’s what I hear in the music on this new album—this feeling that we’re now putting 100% of what we have into this band, not going back to anything else, not having anywhere else to go.”
The TTB journey began on April 1, 2010 with their first gig at the Savannah Music Festival, and led to the recording and release of their Grammy-winning debut album Revelator in 2011, and Made Up Mind two years later. During their five-year rise, the group toured incessantly, raising their profile and being handpicked to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Santana; to appear on television shows hosted by Jay Leno, Conan, and on the premiere of Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show; and hosting special all-star musical salutes themselves, including Bonnaroo’s Superjam in 2014 (with Chaka Khan, Anthony Hamilton, Taj Mahal, and others), and Lock’n Festival’s Tribute to Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen in 2015 (with Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and many other original members.)
What began as an eight-piece group has now expanded to an onstage lineup of twelve musicians—a lineup that has remained unusually consistent. In 2015, for the fifth straight year, they were on the road for more than 200 days, and sold more tickets than ever before. Swamp Raga, the recording studio that Trucks and Tedeschi built from scratch next to their house, has been expanded and updated to the point that no other facilities are required. Bobby Tis, the band’s longtime, on-the-road monitor engineer has become their full-time studio engineer; Trucks himself now serves as sole producer. All tracks on Let Me Get By, to be released on January 29, 2016, are credited to Trucks, with three songs co-produced by guitarist and longtime collaborator Doyle Bramhall II.
“Derek hears everything from a big picture stance,” says his wife and band co-leader, singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi. “Not just track by track but the album as a whole. What needs to be added, when a song is done, and he really knows how to get the best out of each player. On this album I feel like I was personally produced with more direction than I ever have. He instinctively knew when I could sing a better take, and would have a suggestion or two, and that really brought the best out of me.”
Let Me Get By is the culmination of an exceptionally busy year for TTB. The music on the album in fact, as guitarist and bandleader Trucks remembers, was born during tour rehearsals in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida in January with an impromptu idea played by the band’s keyboardist. “The song ‘Let Me Get By” started at sound check one day, Kofi [Burbridge] playing that riff and then we took it into the studio and [singer] Mike Mattison and Sue went upstairs and the lyrics just poured out. It’s a bunch of different true stories meshed into one.”
Like the group’s other recordings, Let Me Get By benefits from a number of musical elements that have become TTB trademarks: their deep sense of American roots music: rock, blues, soul, and especially gospel. Their balance of easy-flowing song structures and soaring, improvisational sections. Tedeschi’s spiritually charged vocals, and Trucks’s wide range of guitar tones slide and picked, from back-alley, distorted rawness to Indian sitar-like sinuousness.
There are a number of characteristics that differentiate the music on this new album. One is a clearer, more mature musical identity that comes through a generous array of musical moods and feels. Tedeschi credits it to the inside familiarity among the group’s members: “the album didn’t come from any outside influence. This is the first time it’s all in-house, so I feel it’s really a good look at the actual band in action, how we communicate together.” Trucks agrees, adding that “the band is in a better place than it’s ever been that way. When everybody would be in the room anyone could just throw out ideas and everybody’d be willing to listen. You have to really trust each other and not be afraid of getting your feelings hurt. That’s more how it was at the beginning but now it’s a fun process, with everyone contributing.”
Another growth ring is a sense of expansion to TTB’s sonic signature. There’s an increased focus on Tedeschi’s powerful guitar playing (especially on “Don’t Know What It Means,” in which she solos powerfully before her husband’s guitar statement. As well, the album features the first lead vocals on a TTB album by Mike Mattison (on “Crying Over You” and “Right On Time”), whose mastery as a lyricist and songwriter has always been a central part of the TTB sound.
For Trucks, Let Me Get By is concrete evidence that the band is on the right track, and that more singular music will continue to flow from the expansive yet tightly connected musical family TTB has become. “There’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into a band like this and the fact that everybody’s on board musically, hearts and minds, makes it very humbling. There are nights on stage when I think I don’t know if it’s ever been more fun to be in a band and be on the road and be alive than it is right now with a group like this. For me, that’s the joy and the thankfulness that comes across in Let Me Get By.
“Susan and I take that seriously and at the same time, Susan started a kind of joke about it. After shows, she started to say to everyone, ‘Thanks for letting me be in your band’ and we’d all laugh. Now we all say it.”
Derek Trucks – Guitar
Susan Tedeschi – Guitar & Vocals
Kofi Burbridge – Keyboards & Flute
Tyler Greenwell – Drums & Percussion
J.J. Johnson – Drums & Percussion
Tim Lefebvre – Bass Guitar
Mike Mattison – Harmony Vocals
Mark Rivers – Harmony Vocals
Alecia Chakour – Harmony Vocals
Kebbi Williams – Saxophone
Elizabeth Lea – Trombone
Ephraim Owens – Trumpet
During the early ’90s, Phish emerged as heirs to the Grateful Dead’s throne. Although their music was somewhat similar to the Dead’s sound — an eclectic, free-form rock & roll encompassing elements of folk, jazz, country, bluegrass, and pop — the group adhered more to jazz-derived improvisation than folk tradition. Moreover, they sported a looser, goofier attitude; after all, their drummer regularly played a vacuum during their concerts. However, Phish’s main claim as the inheritors to the Dead’s legacy was their approach to their musical career. The band didn’t concentrate on albums, dedicating themselves instead to live improvisation. Within a few years of their 1988 debut, Phish had become an institution in certain sections of America, particularly college campuses and other liberal locales. While their in-concert popularity didn’t necessarily translate to huge record sales (their biggest-selling albums usually halted at gold status, with the notable exceptions of Junta and A Live One), Phish’s members were still the de facto leaders of the neo-hippie jam band movement.
Guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, drummer Jon Fishman, and guitarist Jeff Holdsworth formed the band in late 1983 while attending the University of Vermont. After meeting and jamming in their dormitory, the trio posted flyers across campus to recruit a bassist. Mike Gordon answered the advertisement and he was soon added to the original lineup. Phish began practicing regularly and soon assembled a demo tape; by the fall of 1984, they’d also begun performing off-campus concerts. At this stage in their career, the band was augmented by percussionist Marc Daubert and, occasionally, a vocalist called the Dude of Life. Keyboardist Page McConnell soon joined the group, too, having previously booked Phish to play Goddard College’s Springfest in 1985. Shortly after McConnell’s arrival, Holdsworth left the group, and both Anastasio and Fishman transferred to Goddard College during the fall of 1986.
Early in 1988, Phish recorded the debut album Junta, which they sold as a cassette-only release at local shows. The group played their first tour outside of New England the following year, traveling through the Southeast. Phish also recorded another album, Lawn Boy, in 1989, although the album wasn’t released until the fall of 1990 (when it was issued by the independent label Absolute A-Go-Go, a subsidiary of Rough Trade). Throughout early 1991, Phish toured America; during the summer, they recorded their third album, as well as a set of sessions with their old friend, the Dude of Life.
Rough Trade collapsed that August, taking Absolute A-Go-Go with it. Phish were left without a record contract, but they were soon signed by Elektra, which released A Picture of Nectar in February 1992. The group then embarked on an extensive national tour to support the album, including a handful of shows on the H.O.R.D.E. tour. That same summer, Elektra reissued Lawn Boy and Junta, which gave fans greater access to the band’s early material. Rift, Phish’s fourth album (and the first they recorded with a producer), appeared in February of 1993. During Phish’s 1993 tour, the group sold tickets specifically designed for those fans who were taping the concert, a major gesture of goodwill. Hoist, the band’s fifth album, was released in 1994; one of its songs, “Down with Disease,” became the band’s first video and received some airplay on MTV. Hoist sold better than the group’s previous albums, which was an indication of how large the group’s fan base had become. Crimes of the Mind, the album Phish had originally recorded with the Dude of Life in 1991, was released on Elektra Records before the year’s end.
In the summer of 1995, the band released the double-live album A Live One, which attempted to definitively capture the Phish concert experience. The year 1996 saw two additional releases — one of them a Trey Anastasio solo project (a free-form jazz side project called Surrender to the Air), and the other a full-fledged Phish album entitled Billy Breathes. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, Billy Breathes garnered the group’s best reviews yet. Slip, Stitch & Pass, the band’s second live LP, followed in 1997, and Phish continued their prolific output in 1998 with the studio effort Story of the Ghost. Hampton Comes Alive, a six-disc release that captured four full live sets over the course of two performances, appeared in late 1999 and went gold, a testament to Phish’s rabid following
Phish’s popularity only grew during the latter half of the ’90s, as their ceaseless touring had helped make them one of the top concert draws in the nation. In the spring of 2000, Phish delivered the pastoral studio effort Farmhouse, which was hailed as one of their finest and tightest releases to date; they also landed some mainstream exposure thanks to the single “Heavy Things.” However, exhausted by touring and separation from their families, Phish decided to take an extended break, announcing a temporary breakup in October 2000. One month later, Elektra reissued The Siket Disc, which was previously available only through mail order; it featured improvisational tracks from the band’s 1997 Story of the Ghost sessions.
Each member branched out into different directions during this period. Anastasio released a series of demos before collaborating with Primus bassist Les Claypool and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland for the bizarre Oysterhead project. He also released an eponymous solo album during the spring of 2002. Jonathan Fishman worked with his own side project, Pork Tornado, as well as the touring jazz combo Jazz Mandolin Project. Page McConnell released the first recordings from his other band, Vida Blue, and contributed keyboards to Tenacious D’s first record. Mike Gordon, meanwhile, did some work with friend and former employer Col. Bruce Hampton; he also dabbled in film work, both in front and behind the camera. Finally, both Gordon and McConnell worked on Gov’t Mule’s The Deep End, Vol. 1.
As for the band, Phish became more a part of American culture than ever before, and they made an appearance on The Simpsons before releasing a massive set of live albums (as well as a DVD) during the spring of 2002. By the end of the year, the group bowed to pressure and announced that they would begin to play live dates again, starting at the end of December. Touring soon commenced and continued for a year and a half; however, following the release of Undermind, the group decided to officially call it quits in the summer of 2004. Of course, this didn’t mean that more albums couldn’t be released, as a slew of posthumous releases kept the band’s spirit alive while maintaining demand for Phish’s reunion. The year 2005 saw the release of a 1995 New Year’s Eve concert at Madison Square Garden, 2006 witnessed another live album with Live in Brooklyn, and 2008 brought about the mammoth At the Roxy (Atlanta ’93), which compiled eight discs of live concert material into one package.
Phish’s official reunion arrived in March 2009, when the band played three sold-out shows at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. A reunion tour was launched that summer (with venues including Fenway Park and the main stage at Bonnaroo), and sporadic shows continued throughout the year. In addition to playing live, Phish also released their first studio album in years, having partnered with former Billy Breathes producer Steve Lillywhite for the creation of 2009’s Joy; the album debuted at 13 on the Billboard Top 200. From that point on, Phish toured regularly, appearing at festivals of their own making and headlining other events, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Outside Lands, and Bonnaroo. Along the way, some archival releases appeared, including the 2013 box set Ventura, which housed two late-’90s concerts performed at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
In 2013 Phish reconvened at their Vermont studio, the Barn, for writing sessions that resulted in a set of ten songs for a new studio album. The bulk of the songs were debuted live at their Halloween concert in Atlantic City, after which the band decamped to Nashville to record with famed producer Bob Ezrin. Entitled Fuego, the album, their tenth, was released in June 2014 and was preceded by the single “Waiting All Night.” Fuego was warmly received as one of their best studio efforts in years, and they subsequently reunited with Ezrin for a follow-up album, Big Boat, which arrived in October 2016.
Two very talented and multi-instrumental men from Asheville, NC make up the duo Screaming Js, Jake Hollifield and Michael Gray. Screaming J’s are two unique low fi high vibration musicians and masters at their craft. Their music which the two have characterized as ‘underground outsider music’ that has energized late-night audiences all over the United States. Whether the Screaming J’s are in the woods or deserts these guys thrive in any environment as long as the audience is made up of music lovers. The drum and piano duo which kicks out classic sounds of rags and blues; however, they live in the present moment always including topical comment and clever stories. The Screaming J’s are both old and new, big and small. The Screaming Js have it all.
Jake Hollifield – Vocals/Piano
Michael Gray – Drums/Percussion
Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music “cool” again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70’s funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!
Through discipline, practice & study KUNG FU has sought excellence in the art of improvised dance music. Schooled by the masters, The Headhunters, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa, the quintet of masterfully seasoned musicians blends electro-jazz-funk with an EDM informed danceability at the highest level of skill & inspiration nightly. The resulting “NU-SION” is “captivating”, “explosive”, “jaw-dropping” and “musically mesmerizing. Prepare yourselves for a devastating, LETHAL FUNK to be rained down on you by a BAD-ASS BLACK-BELT BACKBEAT. For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: ENTER THE DRAGON!
Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling “nu-sion” project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.
Kung Fu features Tim Palmieri (guitar & vocals), Robert Somerville (tenor sax & vocals), Beau Sasser (keyboards & vocals), Chris DeAngelis (bass guitar & vocals), and Adrian Tramontano (drums/percussion). The powerhouse quintet’s live show has been described by critics and fans alike as “lethal funk”, “explosive”, “jaw-dropping”, and “musically mesmerizing”. For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!
The New Mastersounds rank among the preeminent modern soul and funk bands of their time. The New Mastersounds have been delighting audiences with their infectious brand of funky soul-jazz since they formed in Leeds, UK, in 1999. Since then the quartet tour the globe regularly, bringing their hard-charging, delectably greasy jams to all corners of the globe with a rabid fanbase that stretches from New York City to Tokyo, San Francisco to Amsterdam and all points in between. Though they have collaborated over the years with such musical luminaries as Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Corinne Bailey Rae, Art Neville, Quantic, and Lou Donaldson, they are at their best on stage as a tightly-packed quartet – bass, drums, guitar and Hammond organ – firing scorching funk grooves off each other and feeding off the energy of the joyful dancers in the front row.
From their inception nearly two decades ago in Leeds, UK, The New Mastersounds have wholeheartedly embraced the “old school” label—their sound rooted deeply in those classic soul jazz, boogaloo and funk albums on labels such as Blue Note and Prestige by artists like Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Lou Donaldson. In the course of their career spanning 17 years, 15 albums and countless tours and live performances around the globe, British four-piece The New Mastersounds have carved out a unique space for themselves as world-class purveyors of contemporary jazz-funk. Their particular blend of mostly instrumental, guitar-driven grooves has developed throughout the years to include a rich tapestry of textures that find their full expression in latest full-length and eleventh studio album “Renewable Energy”.
Recorded in two separate sessions, one in New Orleans and the other in Denver a few months later, “Renewable Energy” expands on the NMS template while still providing plenty of the band’s trademark sounds. Guitarist Eddie Roberts, drummer Simon Allen, bassist Pete Shand and keyboardist Joe Tatton are joined on this 11-track effort by a number of guests: Sam Bell, one of the founding members of NMS precursor The Mastersounds who also guested on two previous NMS albums plays percussion on most of the tracks. Mike Olmos and Joe Cohen of West Coast Horns once again provide added horn action as they did on “Made For Pleasure” from 2015, while Adryon de León from LA band Orgone contributes vocals on “Gonna Be Just Me”. Uptempo numbers “Tantalus” and “Yokacoka” see the band flexing their playing chops over a tightly-wound rhythm, while “Green Was Beautiful” and “Groovin On The Groomers” are toe-tapping slabs of soul jazz. The band’s cover of James Gang’s “Funk 49” takes the album in a fuzzed-out psych-rock direction with Eddie singing the lead, while the moody Hancock-esque inflections of “Stash” and the sweet mellow vibes of “Swimming With My Fishes” add the final brushstrokes of color to the canvas.
After almost two decades of activity it’s obvious The New Mastersounds are in no shortage of fuel, indeed they appear to have found the formula with which to stay relevant and fresh, running on “Renewable Energy”.
In their previous release, The Nashville Session, a 10-track collection cut at Welcome To 1979 studio in Nashville, which was multi-tracked live onto one-inch tape in a single evening session in front of a small studio audience. Following the performance, the recording was mixed down to quarter-inch stereo and cut direct to vinyl lacquers. There are no guests and no overdubs, just bass, drums, guitar and organ—essentially pure New Mastersounds. Hitting the studio at the tail end of their Fall and Winter 2015 cross-country U.S. tour, the band was razor sharp and vise tight. They selected material to record from across their 16-plus year career and ten studio albums. The lone exception being their take on legendary jazz guitarist Grant Green’s arrangement of James Brown’s “In The Middle.”
“We made the decision to record in this context because our older tunes have been evolving over a decade and a half of live presentation. Once-spontaneous improvised sections have gradually become fixed into the live arrangements. Much of the change has come about since organist Joe Tatton joined the band in 2007,” explains drummer Simon Allen. “It was also the perfect time to capture the cheeky, spontaneous and confident energy of a live show at the point—straight off of tour—when the band was at the top of its game. As lovers of ’60s and ’70s funk and soul jazz, we have never much enjoyed the sound of modern digital live recordings. Somehow the balance of frequencies such recordings deliver is never what we crave; our music just makes the most sense to our ears and to our feet when everything is crunched onto tape, exactly the way the music that first influenced us was recorded.”
The Nashville Session was released exclusively on vinyl via a limited edition 1000-piece pressing on Royal Potato Family which you can purchase here. Top to bottom gritty, greasy and funky to the bone, the collection presents The New Mastersounds at their finest—utterly unadulterated by modern digital technology, full-on analog and unapologetically doing it old school.
In 2015, The New Mastersounds returned with “Made For Pleasure“ — their most sprawling and ambitious record to date. The band’s core four are joined on the 11-track effort by guests including super fabulous soul chanteuse Charly Lowry, revered percussionist/vibraphonist Mike Dillon and the North Cali-based West Coast Horns, featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Cohen and trumpeter Mike Olmos.
Recorded in New Orleans, The New Mastersounds high-step through the humidity and heat leaving no soul or funk touchstone unturned. Both the title track and “High & Wide” are drenched in The-Meters-meet-Lee-Dorsey Big Easy funk, while tracks like “Enough Is Enough,” “Joy” and “Just Gotta Run” are firmly rooted in classic soul sister rhythm & blues tradition; think Tina Turner, Ann Peebles, Bettye LaVette. Super-charged by Eddie Roberts’ stinging guitar leads, “Cigar Time” and “Sitting On My Knees” take a decidedly soul jazz turn, diving headlong into Grant Green grit and groove. Capping off Made For Pleasure and further validating its title is a dubbed out reinvention of Iggy Azalea’s smash hit “Fancy” that cleverly turns the pop artist’s ode to materialism into a 21st-century stoner anthem with the repurposed refrain, “I’m so irie.”
The New Mastersounds know what feels good and deliver it in spades on their latest long player, and rightfully so, as it was after-all…Made For Pleasure.
Eddie Roberts – guitar
Simon Allen – drums
Pete Shand – bass guitar
Joe Tatton – organ and piano
Video teaser for new album
Video for track off new album “Tantalus” by The New Mastersounds
Video for track off new album “Green Was Beautiful” by The New Mastersounds
Video for track off new album “Stash” by The New Mastersounds
Full length concert video
The New Mastersounds: 2016-12-03 – College Street Music Hall; New Haven, CT [4K]
How many highly successful musical artists do you know that have thrived for 20 years without a radio hit, a big budget video, or major label backing? Moreover, have managed to do high-profile TV appearances, own and operate their own independent label since day one, sell several million albums and continue to expand their fan base across the globe each year. They’ve collaborated with such uniquely famed artists David Byrne, Perry Farrell, The Flaming Lips, Anushka Shankar, Femi Kuti, Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto, and been featured on major film soundtracks such as Garden State. They’ve headlined top music festivals, such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, and have influenced a whole generation of electronic producers and DJs. If you add these elements together, you can arrive at only one conclusion: Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, aka Thievery Corporation.
Since 1996, Garza and Hilton have released 8 studio LP’s, 2 remix collections, 2 DJ mix albums, and continued to perform live on 5 continents. Along their unique musical journey, they have virtually defined an entire sub-genre of electronic music. And now they’re ready to embark on yet another journey with the release of their new album, “The Temple of I & I.”
Longtime fans of Thievery Corporation are keenly aware that the duo has been heavily influenced by Jamaican music. Since their debut LP, “Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi,” the production team has applied a uniquely diverse dub ethos and aesthetic to their music. After paying tribute to bossa nova and easy listening inspirations on their 2014 release, “Saudade,” Hilton and Garza set their sights on the culturally rich and warm musical environs of Port Antonio, Jamaica. There, they dove even deeper into their singular exploration of classic Jamaican sounds for the “The Temple of I & I.” “The innovation, spirit and power of Jamaican music is a constant source of creative manna for us,” explains Hilton. “On the musical map, Jamaica is an entire continent. We could have spent a year there, soaking up the vibes in the air, and constantly being inspired by the strength and resilience of the people.”
Their journey began on a cold February morning in 2015 when Garza, Hilton, and their DC-based rhythm section touched down in Kingston and ventured across the Blue Mountains to what Jamaicans call the “real Jamaica
” Port Antonio. Setting up camp at Geejam Studios in San San, they felt immediately connected to their surroundings as they began recording just steps from the turquoise waves crashing below. As the Thieves played through day and night, heads poked through studio doors as curious locals seemed intrigued by such authentic sounds. “People couldn’t believe Robbie Myers, our guitarist, wasn’t Jamaican,” laughs Hilton. “I think they’re used to people coming down from London or LA to record rock or pop records and they were amazed we had such a handle on their sound. It was beyond gratifying, and high-grade ganja and Appleton rum started showing up on the reg.”
After a week of round-the-clock sessions, Thievery Corporation brought the Geejam session tapes back to their lab at Montserrat House Studios in DC. From there, the mission continued with months of vocal, horn and editing sessions. Familiar voices appear, including Notch Howell, who had performed “The Richest Man in Babylon” and “Amerimacka” on previous records. Hilton calls him, “possibly the best male tenor we know.” Other collaborators included Mr. Lif, Puma Ptah, Lou Lou, Zeebo and Elin, who are all known by the Thievery audience as key members of their ensemble, both from past recordings and their live shows.
Also figuring prominently in those sessions was a Thievery Corporation newcomer; Racquel Jones from Kingston, Jamaica. Garza and Hilton had met Racquel on their first trip to Port Antonio, where she played some demos for them at Geejam that used Thievery Corporation as a backing track, and which sounded like a perfect match to them. “We’d been waiting years to find a conscious, brilliant, female Jamaican singer and MC,” Hilton explains. As a model and former Miss Jamaica contestant, one would not expect the pure lyrical fire and tough delivery that comes out of her on tracks like “Letter to the Editor” and “Road Block.” “It’s impressive,” says Hilton. Few musical artists are as diverse as Thievery Corporation, moving from space rock, hip-hop, Indian trip-hop, dub, French torch songs, and shoe-gazer blissfulness with remarkable cohesive ease. Boundaries and following trends have never been part of Garza and Hilton’s agenda.
Explains Rob Garza, “We’ve never been concerned with fitting into the ‘music industry.’ We started making music in the liquor room of DC’s Eighteenth Street Lounge with random bits of music gear among boxes of spirits. Approaching our music as a production duo has allowed us to never feel limited to one particular sound and traverse many fascinating musical landscapes.”
In great anticipation of this exciting new release and in the reflection of an astonishing two decades together, one may be prompted to ask what has been the magic formula behind Thievery Corporation’s great success and what does the future hold from here? Perhaps the answer can be found in Rob Garza’s concluding thoughts: “What inspires us to continue to create this genre of sound is the broad spectrum of collaborators and audience members it continues to draw. We have been extremely privileged to work with artists of all cultural, social and political backgrounds, and our fans display even greater diversity and age differences. The people who have come together through Thievery Corporation are as much an accomplishment as the music we’ve produced to date and will continue to produce in the coming years.”
A vanguard in his own right, Rob Garza has consistently pushed conceptual frontiers, succeeding in an intercontinental legion of musical prowess and accomplishing a covetable sonic narrative.
The San Francisco-based producer and co-founder of Thievery Corporation, known for their holistic performances and electronic-infused modifications of dub, trip-hop, reggae, and bossa nova, has maintained a prolific career owing to his ever-evolving taste and diverse influences based off the cultures and styles encountered during his travels. Constantly inspired by his surroundings and experiences, Garza’s artistic foresight has always supported a fundamental motif of connecting people through music. As a solo artist, Rob Garza infuses his own adept house and nu-disco artistry into every one of his productions, boasting a specific style that is perceptive, powerful and globally-stimulated.
Elementally defined by his unique perspective, Rob Garza’s work is a glowing attraction to the relationship between human emotion and musical expression, while his sonorous and multi-faceted output continually strengthens the backbone of his experiential pedigree – a distinctive merit that remains uniquely unmatched.
Ashish Vyas is a bassist and artist whose eclectic musical taste has guided him on his sonic adventures. His influences and interests have taken him from improvisational, avant-garde music to post-punk rock to exotic, world sounds and rhythms to electro-pop…
Currently, he is recording and performing with electronic, world music, downtempo pioneers THIEVERY CORPORATION; and on the other end of the spectrum in post-punk rock outfit TIME is FIRE.
He was a founding member of the now-defunct San Diego art rock band GoGoGo Airheart (1996-2006). Who released several albums, EP’s and 7″ singles. That lead to tours throughout the States and Europe.
As a performer, he has toured with or played with artists as diverse as Marshall Allen (Sun Ra), Lou Pride, Federico Aubele, SEE-I, Everyone Orchestra, Natalia Clavier, Sleepy Wonder, Grant Green Jr., Chris Haskett (Rollins Band), Ron Holloway, and others who have slipped his mind.
Jeff Franca (aka Congo Sanchez)
Jeff Franca’s (aka Congo Sanchez) time as the drummer for Thievery Corporation has clearly had an effect on his ears as he continues to explore the downtempo, reggae mezcla, with an obvious hip-hop overtone to the overall musical composition. You will be taken through an array of sounds and rhythms, paying homage to the roots of music with thick layers of percussion, signature to the Congo Sanchez sound. Most importantly the band puts out a conscious message which is typically non-existent in most of the music we hear these days.
Born and raised in Boston, Lif broke out with his seminal Enters The Colossus EP and quickly established himself as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking MCs in the game.
As the first artist to sign to the legendary Definitive Jux Recordings – a movement in both independent rap and independent music culture – Lif cemented his status with a string of critically acclaimed releases, including Emergency Rations, I Phantom, & the Perceptionists’ Black Dialogue project.
A 9-time Boston Music Award winner, Lif has been featured on MTV, Rolling Stone, SPIN, The NY Times, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, and XXL, among others.
In 2011, Lif joined legendary world music group Thievery Corporation as a vocalist and member of the band’s live performance troupe. His song “Culture of Fear” became the title track of their 6th studio album.
Lif has toured over 20 countries as a soloist, and has collaborated with a slate of critically acclaimed musicians including Aesop Rock, Cut Chemist, The Polish Ambassador, Galactic, Chali 2na, Jedi Mind Tricks, El-P, DJ Q-Bert, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Murs, and DJ Krush.
Today, if Lif is not in the studio tracking vocals or building beats on Maschine, he is on stages worldwide bringing his musical experience directly to the people.
LouLou Ghelichkahani is was born in San Jose California and raised in Paris, France. The Singer/Songwriter records and performs with Thievery Corporation, as well as Bonefur and Night Glitter.
Growing up in Buenos Aires, Natalia Clavier was immersed in a world of music – classical, jazz, Argentinian folk & pop and Spanish singer-songwriters, as well as the revolutionary sounds of American soul and protest rock. A move to Barcelona broadened her horizons further, and she was soon adding vocals to dance singles, singing live at raves in front of thousands as well as solo in the rather more intimate surrounds of the jazz circuit. There she met fellow ex-pat Federico Aubele, an Argentine singer-songwriter with several albums to his name on Thievery Corporation’s label Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL Music). Natalia and Federico became partners, in music and in life, and the demos they made soon led to her debut album, Nectar, released in 2008 on ESL Music.
Nectar took a traditional approach, using Natalia’s pure and beautiful voice to gorgeous effect over spare jazz-soul arrangements. It was a perfect reflection of where she was at during that period, as was Live at the Triple Door, the live album that followed one year later, and her live work as the lead vocalist with the celebrated Thievery Corporation.
But a later move to Brooklyn brought new sounds, new ideas and a new urge to incorporate the dynamism of one of the world’s premier melting spots into her Buenos Aires soul. In came Adrian Quesada, Grammy-winning producer and guitarist with Grupo Fantasma, The Echocentrics and Ocote Soul Sounds. Together they’ve wrought a transformation for her new album, Lumen. In place of Barcelona’s laidback vibe, Lumen moves with the bumper-to-bumper bustle of Brooklyn, a place where sounds collide and mutate.
This new direction is evident right from the start with Every Time. Not only is Natalia now singing in English (though most of Lumen remains in her native tongue), but the drums strike with the hypnotic power of a hip-hop loop. The piano line is stripped back and simple, like vintage Dr. Dre, while the guitar resonates with a James Bond twang. Adios! adds the delirious psychedelic energy of The Echocentrics (another of Quesada’s groups and one for whom Natalia has sung), a track with all the zip of Nuggets-era garage, but the snap of its distinctively South American rhythm.
Lumen is where Natalia steps out from behind the curtain and places herself center stage – the next step on her journey from the concert halls of Buenos Aries to the world festival circuit. It’s an album as relevant to the streets of New York as the boulevards of Buenos Aires.
These are songs of love and lust, of excitement and adventure. Most of all they’re songs of life.
Christopher “Puma” Smith
Christopher “Puma” Smith is an MC, vocalist, and photographer based out of Washington, DC. Born in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he has performed with Thievery Corporation since 2011.
Frank O is percussionist and vocalist with Thievery Corporation, as well as the lead vocalist and founder of Poi Dog POndering.
See-I, Washington, DC’s most prodigious live band, have built on the sound and success of their debut record to create a work that comes straight from the heart. Founded by brothers Arthur “Rootz” Steele and Archie “Zeebo” Steele, who have toured and performed for over 15 years as frontmen for the Thievery Corporation live band. See-I is comprised of Rob Myers on guitar, Ashish Vyas on bass, Jeff Franca on drums, Frank Mitchell on saxophone and Salem Steele on keyboards, all of whom live within the 10 x 10-mile square known as Babylon, er… the Nation’s Capital. From humble beginnings in North Carolina, the Steele Brothers got their start singing in the church choir and were soon transfixed by the funk, soul and rock sounds they heard on the radio in the 1970s. Decades of musical depth and experience are the secret weapons they bring to the table, both live and in the studio.
Via the Jamaica Star: “Recording artiste Racquel Jones has reportedly made quite the impression on EDM group Thievery Corporation. The 26-year-old roots-reggae singer braved the recent blizzard that hit the east coast of the United States to fly to Washington, DC, where she met up with the group and created a great first impression.
The news gets even better because the former Miss Jamaica Universe contestant revealed that greater things are in store for her. “There is not much that I am allowed to say right now, but just know that a relationship has been cemented between Thievery Corporation and Racquel Jones,” said the extremely excited singer.
The artiste, who is in the embryonic stages of her recording career, had flown to the US expecting to record one track with the group but got a lot more than she bargained for.
“The sessions were creatively intense. I spent five days in the studio,” a thrilled Jones revealed about the sessions with TC. “The initial agreement was that it was supposed to be one song, but the energy was so great we ended up with three songs.”
The Wonder When singer said she also discovered the enormous impact that reggae music has on the world stage. “It was amazing to see the influence of my culture and reggae music on others; everything about them depicts their fascination about reggae. From the decor of the studio to the sound of their music to the studio conversations we had, I felt right at home in the amazing creative atmosphere they created.”
The singer, who is near releasing the hot new video for her new single, Regret It, said she felt honored and humbled to have been given an opportunity to be part of the experience.” – Via Leighton Levy at Jamaica-Star.com
Notch was one of the Former lead vocalist and one of the creative force behind the Reggae-Hip-Hop duo Born Jamericans; the dynamic group that is often said, to be one of the pioneers to introduce Reggae to mainstream American in the late nineties; thru that time period til now He has shared headline billing on sold-out tours around the world with the likes of Destiny’s Child, Snoop Dogg, Sean Paul, Rabanes, Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, just to name a few.
During and since her time as the lead singer/songwriter of Bitter: Sweet, Shana Halligan has sold more than 500,000 records and has accumulated over 70 album credits to her name. Additionally, her music has received numerous high-profile synchs and licensing deals in film, TV, ad campaigns and beyond, including Sex and The City, The Devil Wears Prada, Focus, Cars 2, “The Feud,” “The Blacklist,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Entourage,” “Nip Tuck,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” just to name a few. She’s also collaborated with many major acts, including writing and recording with Serj Tankian of System Of A Down and Thievery Corporation (co-writing and performing their biggest hit in recent years “Depth Of My Soul”), and has performed at several celebrated venues around the globe, including the Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center, the Royal Albert Hall (London), the Bowery Ballroom (NYC) and the Hotel Cafe (L.A.).
New Album details
Full, continues audio stream of Thievery Corporation’s 2018 release, “Treasures From the Temple.” GET THE ALBUM TRACK PLAYLIST: Youtube // ABOUT THE ALBUM // Released on April 20, 2018, Thievery Corporation’s “Treasures from the Temple” is a follow-up LP to the band’s chart-topping 2017 album, Temple of I & I. The 12-track compendium includes a trove of original recordings and remixes from the band’s Temple sessions at Geejam Studios in Port Antonio, Jamaica with vocal appearances by LouLou Ghelichkhani, Mr. Lif, Sitali, Racquel Jones, Natalia Clavier and Notch.
Falling somewhere between rock, jazz and electronic mayhem we find space rock. This is a genre that is not readily defined and is a state of mind as much as it could be considered a genre. This range of frequencies is where Papadosio tends to spend their time, sometimes dining in deep space, and other times snacking right on your front porch. Papadosio strives to create music that is strangely familiar and calls all walks of humanity to bask in a unique experience celebrating the one constant in an ever-changing world: music.
Join Papadosio in an effort to create, augment, and rejoice in the universal language of music. Most importantly, have a good time.
20 years before the emergence of STS9, NASA sent Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 on a mission to the farthest reaches of the solar system and beyond. Each of these probes was equipped with identical Golden Records, special messages attached to what Carl Sagan called “a bottle launched into the cosmic ocean.” They contained numerous images and sounds from throughout the world, pieces of music from various cultures, a map identifying the location of our planet, and other information for whomever, or whatever, might find them.
While the Golden Records included greetings in 59 languages, they made no mention of nations and borders, wars and rivalries, or anything else that divides us. What they did mention was life, love, peace, birth–the things that bind us to one another and to the planet we call home.
The Universe Inside is a reflection of this message. It is a story about human identity and the magical truth of who we are, where we’re going, and our place in the Universe. It says we are one, made of stardust and the forces of nature that evolved over billions of years. Connected by the sun, moon and stars, we are the living, breathing conscience of the Universe.
“We are one, made from dust of the stars / down here we bear the weight of the pain and the scars / just want to live with nothing to hide / every one of us a universe inside.”
Since forming in Atlanta over a decade ago, instrumental electronic rock band STS9 has experienced a meteoric rise to the forefront of the international music scene. Consistently ranked among Pollstar Magazine’s list of top-grossing touring acts, STS9 continues to average over 5,000 tickets per city, boasting a genre defying list of opening acts along the way such as Snoop Dogg, Ghostland Observatory, Bassnectar, Thievery Corporation, Pretty Lights, Big Boi of Outkast and countless others. The band’s most recent tour has seen the band sell out multiple nights at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Chicago’s Congress Theater and a mid-summer sold out performance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.
Hunter Brown – guitar/keys
Jeffree Lerner – percussion
David Phipps – keyboards
Zach Velmer – drums
Alana Rocklin – bass