A Benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones Charity Christmas Bowl
A half-century after the mid-’60s British Invasion, the Beatles vs. Stones debate rages on. In case rock fans are still keeping score, Paul McCartney sure upstaged The Rolling Stones at last week’s 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy telethon at Madison Square Garden. The Stones played for 10 minutes; Macca reunited Nirvana, spellbound viewers nationwide with a tender, touching “Blackbird,” and threw in a Wings deep cut or two for good gutsy measure. For the fourth year in a row, and for two nights in a row, a top-notch lineup of local rockers will celebrate The Mop Tops and Glimmer Twins’ faux rivalry in song form at The Basement, with proceeds going to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Like last week’s Sandy Benefit, this pair is stacked with stellar performs. The bill boasts Langhorne Slim, Cory Branan, Courtney Jaye, Derek Hoke, Mike Farris, Matt Friction, The Weeks, Mayhem, Magnolia Sons and more.
Portland OR | Alternative
There is nothing like the challenges and camaraderie of the road to inspire a songwriter who thrives upon the emotional energy and exhilaration only travel can deliver. Some singers are devoted to the pursuit of perpetual motion, and Langhorne Slim releases his wild soul in ways that come out of the discipline of live performance.
The 13 songs that compose Langhorne Slim & The Law's new "The Way We Move" are road-tested, rollicking and very rock 'n' rolling tunes that the songwriter perfected with his loyal band, and come out of the kind of good times and bad experiences that songwriters of Langhorne's lofty stature can turn into life-affirming rock 'n' roll. You could also call what Langhorne Slim does folk music, but then there's his sly, charming and open-hearted feel for pop music -- those summertime melodies that nudge you into a grin even when the song is about something bad.
For Langhorne Slim -- Pennsylvania-born self-taught guitarist who moves to Brooklyn at 18, begins feeling out his place in a burgeoning punk-folk scene, wends his way to the West Coast, and finds himself celebrated from Newport to Portland as one of today's most original singers and songwriters -- "The Way We Move" represents the sound of a band devoted to living in the moment. Riding the success of his 2009 full-length Be Set Free, Langhorne went through some changes over the last three years -- he lost his beloved grandfather, who is the subject of the new record's moving "Song for Sid," and moved on from a relationship that had lasted five years.
And there was the physical moving -- the literal side of the record's title. Pulling up stakes from his home of two years, Portland, Ore., Langhorne also has been touring non-stop with The Law. As he says, "I'm in a bit of a transitional period -- currently, the road will be home. That's just kind of my spirit, to be slightly restless." Perfecting their rangy sound out on the endless grey ribbon, Langhorne and The Law -- bassist Jeff Ratner, drummer Malachi DeLorenzo and banjo player and keyboardist David Moore -- went down to rural Texas in the summer of 2011 to work on new material. With some 30 tunes to consider, the quartet soaked up the Lone Star sunshine and developed arrangements and approaches for Langhorne's latest batch of songs.
Jeff Ratner had joined the group at the time of Be Set Free, and brought on multi-instrumentalist David Moore not long after. Moore and Ratner go way back, having moved to New York around the same time, and they've played together in what Jeff estimates are 15 bands. Langhorne's association with Malachi is equally deep. As the group played together through tours with the Drive-By Truckers and the Avett Brothers, and made appearances at the Newport Folk Festival and Bonnaroo, their bond became ever stronger, their music more confident. This is what you hear on "The Way We Move" -- forward motion meeting deep cohesion, all in the service of Langhorne's amazing songs and compelling vocals.
"We wanted Langhorne's songs to shine, and be as raw as the creatures that we are," Jeff says of the recording process. The band set up in the Catskill, N.Y. Old Soul Studio, a 100-year-old Greek Revival house retooled for recording. With studio owner Kenny Siegal co-producing, Langhorne & The Law fearlessly ran through an astounding 26 songs in four days, with Langhorne putting finishing touches on new tunes as they recorded. Langhorne says it was an intimate affair in Old Soul, with Moore's "banjo room" in a coatroom and the piano in the living room.
It comes through on "The Way We Move" -- the live feel of the sessions, which found Langhorne singing along with the band on every track. "Singing with the band that way, it's almost like I was performing on stage," he says. Cutting everything live to tape gave the band exactly what they'd been looking for: a super-charged evocation of their raucous, friendly stage performances. Langhorne and Jeff value in music for its rawness, and it doesn't matter whether that rawness -- the insurgent spirit that unites the Clash and Charlie Poole -- comes from in punk, country, soul or folk. Langhorne is a fan of Porter Wagoner, Jimmie Rodgers, Waylon Jennings, and early rock 'n' roll in general. But there's nothing referential or detached about the music Langhorne & The Law make. Langhorne writes songs that are yearning, sad, happy, defeated and optimistic, with hints of '50s rock 'n' roll balladry.
"We all love Wu-Tang Clan as much as we love Bowie, or Brazilian psychedelic pop," Langhorne says. On "The Way We Move," David's probing piano often provides focus for Langhorne's tales of love and loss. "On the Attack" begins with a delicate, watercolor section that turns into an ingenious variation on a classic soul ballad -- Solomon Burke meets punk blues in a smoky folk club. Langhorne addresses it to a current or past love. Similarly, "Past Lives" sports a piano introduction that gives way to a melancholy 6/8 ballad that perfectly supports lyrics about possible past lives and their interaction with the present.
It's a spirited, inspired slice of real rock 'n' roll -- exuberance meets hard-won experience in an explosive combination. David's banjo and Malachi's walloping drums add up to a new kind of folk music. The music drives, but there's no loss of subtlety. And when the group lays into the garage-rocking "Fire," with its funky electric piano and supremely callow lyrics about first kisses and the hot-burning passions of adolescence, it's clear Langhorne is one of the great rock 'n' rollers of our or any time.
Road-tested as the band is, the new music also shows just how far Langhorne Slim has come as a singer. He croons, exults and sings the blues throughout "The Way We Move." And there are his lyrics, which are about strange dreams featuring women who want him dead even as he desires them, the pressures of small-town life, ambition, and how much he appreciates his mother's love and support. That's all Langhorne and his life -- his mother, he says, really was amazingly supportive of his ambitions to become a musician, as was the rest of his family.
It comes through as you listen to his virtuoso demonstration of a singing style that seems alive to every fleeting emotional shade of meaning. Langhorne puts you in mind of John Lennon's singing from time to time -- it's nothing exact, and Slim doesn't do much music that is very Lennon- or Beatle-esque, but it's something in the timbre, and the openness of his vocals. It's worth repeating here that Langhorne learned Nirvana songs as he began to explore the guitar and songwriting, and Kurt Cobain's intense singing is another reference point.
But these guys don't play the reference game, and like to keep it raw. The new record moves in ways that are fresh for Langhorne Slim & The Law, and demonstrates all the ways we can go forward while keeping an eye on the mirror. They're laying down the law. It's very American, and when Langhorne Slim contemplates whether or not he fits in to any narrow-cast definition of this country's music, he replies with a perfect, laconic joke: "I think we fit in most places that would take us."
Cory Branan is a natural-born storyteller. As with any of his musical and literary pedestal sitters, from John Prine and Leonard Cohen to Raymond Carver and Marquez, his seemingly conversational, painstakingly crafted anecdotes benefit from a hard-eyed stare at hydra-headed experience.
MUTT-Branan's Bloodshot debut-also bears the marks of his "American gumbo" heritage: a winding path from nascent guitar shredder in the small, state-line town of Southaven, Mississippi, to fledgling troubadour in Memphis' lauded underground music scene, and now a Nashville-based itinerant road warrior thrilling Thunderdomes as varied as Warp's Country Throwdown and Chuck Ragan's Revival Tour. While his music tips its hat to road-map influences from Motown to Mellencamp, the Delta bluesmen to folk pickers of '60s Greenwich Village, the united result is a singular sound spurred on by years spent on tour honing something rare that is altogether its own.
"Courtney Jaye's wonderful throwback voice makes for splendid grooves. In a business where you don't think there are any more authentic crooners left, you stumble across a record like this & have faith that the tradition will be carried on. "Box Wine" has become a theme song of mine when thirsty and looking for haziness. Courtney Jaye is a talented recording artist with real style, class & talent. Unlike most of the jerkoffs in her business. I so adore this record."
With songs that take their cues from '60s pop and Hawaiian folk, The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye falls somewhere between the sock hop and the luau. There's a bit of countrypolitan twang thrown into the mix, too, a product of Jaye's time spent in Nashville, and the album's biggest asset is its ability to jump between cultures with each tune, evoking tropical living one minute and Southern bar culture the next. Tying the disparate package together is Jaye herself, the sort of unsung musical hero who regularly wins the approval of her indie cohorts (Neal Casal, Ryan Adams' guitarist and an unsung hero in his own rite, gets credit for the album's cover art, while Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell joins Jaye for a campfire cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's “Sometimes Always”) but has yet to amass a similar following. That's a shame, since songs like “Don't Tell a Girl” and “Sweet Ride” are almost aggressive in their tunefulness, with the former suggesting the glory days of Brill Building pop and the latter setting itself up as an old-fashioned drinking song. There are some pleasant diversions along the way, too; the mostly instrumental “Maru Maru” focuses the spotlight on Jaye's backup band, and the breezy ballad “Sweet Ride” is far more contemporary than the rest of the record. Even so, The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye is mostly a vehicle for Jaye to create her own retro-leaning world, one in which the Laurel Canyon, Music City, and the Kaua'i coastline are just minutes apart.
"Blending the rhythms and slack-keyed guitars of the islands with country-politan arrangements, Jaye presents a sound that's both refreshing and vintage. The tracks are stacked with breezy pop melodies, lush instrumental textures and disarmingly sweet vocals that do more to channel the mod sirens of the '60s—with their giant eyelashes and come-hither grins—than any guitar-toting beach-bums she might have stumbled upon strung out in the sands of Kaua'i."
Ashley Melzer-Paste Magazine
"My feel good record...no matter where I am, when I Iisten to it, its 75 and sunny in my mind."
- Nathan Followill/Kings of Leon
"What to say about Courtney Jaye. The Exotic Sounds and lovely twang. She's your last best friend, telling you why."
- Peter Hayes/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Nashville TN | Americana
Derek Hoke has crafted a collection of equally endearing and infectious songs for his long awaited sophomore release – Waiting All Night. Out August 21, 2012 on Electric Western / Thirty Tigers, Waiting All Night picks up right where Hoke left off with his first release Goodbye Rock N Roll. There is a significant difference here though. If Goodbye Rock N Roll was slow crafted, simmered in Hoke’s brain on low, and came to life on a lazy saw dust floor one night in town, then Waiting All Night was born under the lights on stage. It’s clear that Hoke and his band have been affected by the past years of playing week after week. Nashville has a way of doing that to a singer. A way of molding a voice around the lingering smoke and whiskey hanging in the air night after night. And first and foremost, Derek Hoke is a singer. The songs, even the ballads, reach out and yearn for a late night in a dark room. It’s the same feeling you get when you leave the house at 2am to catch last call…because if you don’t you might miss something. You might miss the steel guitar or meandering piano solos and telecaster riffs. Well, get out of the house, because you won’t want to miss a tune on Waiting All Night.
Nashville TN | Alternative
The sound of wind through the pines, bare feet brushing through leaves, snapping sticks like the spines of the weak. When we started we were small and strong at heart, five southern souls damned to speak the truth. But with this responsibility comes pain and loss. And as the years passed our numbers grew smaller, and there were four. This did not stop these brave soldiers of thought, keepers of truth. They were older now and their soft footsteps through the forest had grown louder and stronger. Like the dust filled hoof beats of a thousand wild horses, they layer sound like musket fire, their melodies bend and twist like train-tracks. A music shaped from the calloused hands and wrinkled faces of their fathers. They have walked through the fire wide-eyed and crazy, and came out enlightened. You cannot stop these men, your armies can’t cease their hands, dampen this thunder, or silence their tongues. We have trudged through the muddy swamps to freedom.
Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls.
Magnolia Sons is a nostalgic rock and soul group based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They are a 12-piece supergroup composed of artists and musicians from all over the United States. Their music is a tribute to the vintage sound of classic rock and soul from the 1960's and 1970's created by writers Austin Aguirre and Benjamin A. Harper. In the time of the resurgence of record collections, Magnolia Sons is both a throwback and a breath of fresh air. Inspired by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops and the Temptations, Magnolia Sons have a sound that harkens back to the sound of 60's soulsters and American Band Stand, and as a 12 piece, they definitely fit the retro profile. While many older fans will recognize the sound from their own record collections, it is new for many of their younger fans who can be found dancing along to the catchy tunes at many of Nashville's venues.
Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
Formerly one of Nashville’s most eclectic bands, Buffalo Clover now feeds a more fitting hybrid of roots-rock and soul into the Music City bloodstream.
Hailing from somewhere in the Midwest, front lady Margo Price grew up in a farming town where music didn’t thrive. Fortunately, it did thrive in the more obscure parts of her lineage. Price traced her creative genes to a great-grandfather who played piano using only the black keys.
A restless soul brought her to Nashville in the early aughts where she met guitarist Jeremy Ivey. The two made a couple as well as co-writers and got married. In late 2008, they met bassist Matt Gardner whose guitar chops were so good, he eventually switched instruments. They added bassist Jason White later, and drummer Dillon Napier joined in late 2010.
Throughout the band’s formative decade, Buffalo Clover, even in its developmental stages, attracted a variety of talent. Price has worked on two different projects with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Pianist Micah Hulscher, who plays with rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson on the road, recorded on Buffalo Clover’s last record, Low Down Time, and sometimes joins the band for live performances. They’ve also shared the stage with The Flaming Lips, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and legendary sax player Bobby Keys, proving their southern soul style can match up with anyone.
In the simplest terms, Buffalo Clover are vintage rock ’n’ rollers, but the South tends to creep in. This brand of southern soul bears a striking resemblance to their idols, the Rolling Stones and The Band. Taking a cue from Bob Dylan with a lyrical poeticism inspired by the troubled times, and Janis Joplin with her rough-hewn-but-honest, bottom-of-the-heart soulful lilt, Buffalo Clover emulate their musical paragons in a style of their own.
Never playing the same show twice, the band’s genuineness translates to a loyal local fan base. It makes them just as much at home playing in the UK, which they toured last summer, as The 5 Spot in East Nashville.
Ever the victims of wanderlust, what Buffalo Clover has in mind for 2012 is getting back to those places, in both Europe and the states, and continuing to bring the southern soul to a wider audience.
Nashville TN |
Mike Younger is the product of a journey along the road less traveled. His music and persona are unique and noteworthy for the breadth of styles and genres they touch upon as well as the content behind them.
Having been exposed to and inspired by some of the milestone artists that defined the rock and roll era of the fifties, sixties and seventies he was determined to dig deeper into the history and roots of these musical forms.
At the age of seventeen Younger took to the road, traveling by thumb, rail, shoestring, bus etc. Though his origins lead back to eastern Canada, his musical journey has passed through many towns and cities....his stages have been piers, sidewalks, doorways, town squares, coffee shops, bars, saloons, joints, nightclubs and theaters. He has never performed on American Idol and never will.
Anchor Thieves is a three-piece alternative rock band from Nashville, Tenn. Initially formed as Homework, the group set out to recreate and perform home recordings of singer/ guitarist Cayce Keller. These songs with minimalist arrangements, buried harmonies and undeniable hooks served as an ideal starting point. The band remains rooted in solid pop songwriting and familiar fuzzy guitar tones, but new material flirts with a broader array of styles. Songs now also exhibit more ambitious structures and thicker arrangements. If you listen carefully, you might even detect a cautious optimism for the future of creative melody-driven rock 'n' roll.
Americana singer/songwriter Tim Easton has been driven westward both geographically and musically since his college days in Ohio. On his 5th album, Porcupine, the Joshua Tree, CA resident lets a myriad of guitar riffs rooted in blues, country, rockabilly and campfire folk set the color for observational lyrics capturing life from the desert to the sea. The new album finds Tim's storytelling skills as sharp as quills, possibly inspired by his friend and pal Lucinda Williams. One of Porcupine's shining moments is the wistful two minute pop-folk jangle "7th Wheel" (conjured by the same spirits that entered the room while Browne and Frey wrote "Take It Easy"). Easton, known for his incessant touring (from Dublin to Anchorage to Ft. Wayne to Jacksonville), will be on the road, supporting Porcupine for a long time.
Brooklyn NY | Singer-Songwriter
Megan Palmer spends a lot of time thinking about, playing, listening to, and writing music. She has done this since about age 6. She plays piano, violin, guitar and sings. She has played with many bands and songwriters. Most recently she has worked with the Spikedrivers, Tim Easton, Luther Wright, Eric Nassau, The Wahoos, as well as leading her own solo efforts. The Hopefuls are her band in Columbus. The Hopefuls consist of John Boerstler (guitar), Jimmy Castoe (drums) Larry Cook (bass), and sometimes Jeff Ciampa (bass) and Jen Miller (vocals). Megan has recently moved to Brooklyn NY, where she is playing lots of music also, with great minds such as Jason Crosby (fiddle, piano, guitar) Teddy Kumpel (guitar) Benny Cha Cha Rubin (bass) + Steve Purcell (drums)… The other notable thing Megan does to keep everything afloat is work as much as she has to as a registered nurse. It keeps her mind from going too crazy with all this music. She has been merging the two things lately and doing some volunteer work with a couple of organizations and has found that to be an interesting next step in all of this. Hopefully in 2010, the long awaited Hopefuls record will be released. Megan is also hoping to record more with the Spikedrivers, as well as more solo material in NY this coming year. Sometimes Megan likes to nap.
Nashville TN |
Have you ever listened to a record and thought to yourself, "Man! I wish I could have played on that album!" That's where MAYHEM comes in. MAYHEM is a collective of Nashville's best up-and-comers, playing classic albums we all love and grew up on. The group is the brainchild of Jerry Pentecost (Jonny Corndawg, By Lightning!, De Novo Dahl, Tristen, My So-Called Band, Hands Down Eugene, Brandon Jazz and His Armed Forces, BOOK CLUB, etc). They have tackled several records from Huey Lewis and the News' "Sports" to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." They performed two Rolling Stones albums with Bobby Keys and are in talks with some other major hitters about future albums. Most recently, they tackled Prince's "CONTROVERSY" with Dez Dickerson of Prince and the Revolution. Other special guests included: Matt Mahaffey (Beck, Self), Greg Mangus (Cameo, Set'em Up Joe), Joel J. Dahl (De Novo Dahl, By Lightning!), Trisha Brantley and Sara Beck (Guilty Pleasures), Dave Daeger (John Carter Cash) and Jimmy Matt Rowland (Jamie Lidell).
Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
The story of The Danberrys begins in the late 1990's in Dickson, Tennessee, population just over 12,000.
Dorothy Daniel first discovered her soul mate and singing companion, Ben DeBerry, while in junior high school. "When Ben was in eighth grade, and I was in seventh grade,” Dorothy told Billboard, “(I saw him play) ’Knockin' On Heaven's Door’ at a talent show. He had this teal electric guitar, and I fell in love with him.”
Once they started dating in high school, they discovered their own musical connection not long before graduation, when Ben pulled out his guitar and strummed along while Dorothy sang a couple of Jewel tunes. During college, they went their separate ways until one fateful night when they crossed paths at a late night bar. The next day, they confessed what they both knew all along: they had always wanted to be together. Not long after that, they were married.
The five years they spent apart yielded the songs that would become the building blocks of The Danberrys. "I didn't write all that much during that time," says Ben of the years they were separated. "What little I wrote had more of a rockier, electric sound." Dorothy, however, came back to the relationship with a stack of songs on which she’d been working. "They were all songs about how much I missed Ben," she laughs, "And how I wanted to be with him."
Four of those cuts made it onto the band's 2011 EP, Company Store. Touted by Larry Vanderpool of The Examiner as a record steeped in Appalachian music tradition and oozing rich soulful harmonies, Company Store won The Danberrys a 2011 Independent Music Awards "People's Choice" trophy and the honor of appearing on stage at The Ryman with the legendary Robert Earl Keen.
"We put the EP out as a total experiment," says Ben. "It was like: we have these songs, we're here in Nashville, there are 300,000 studios available and players who want to play the stuff so let's see what happens. Then WSM Radio found it and liked it and thought we were perfect for the Robert Earl show. It was quite the honor."
Stoked by the success of Company Store, Dorothy and Ben returned to the studio this past winter with engineer Wilton Wall, mandolinist/co-producer Ethan Ballinger and friends to record their first full-length album, The Danberrys. Drawing on a broader palette of moods and sounds than existed on the EP, the couple chose to lead off the set with the gentle quiet of "Here We Go Round."
"We took a slight chance leading off with that tune," notes Dorothy, "especially in this day and age, when everyone wants to grab your attention with louder and faster." Following "Here We Go Round" is the careering drive of "Rain In The Rock," a cut that's one part country gospel and one part runaway train. There's more country gospel with "Blow On Wind," a tune that owes its inspiration to Neil Young and The Band, the godfathers of Americana who regularly inspire Ben and Dorothy’s songwriting.
The Danberrys also has a chant-like ballad ("Meet Me There"), a gorgeous country hymn worthy of comparison to Emmylou Harris ("Jordan"), a song about living the Southern life ("Jimmy") and an exuberant party song a la Stephen Stills' Manassas ("Come Give It"). There's even a trucker song ("Big Rig") that Ben wrote in the studio, picking up the terminology from the back of a compilation of old highway songs.
"I thought I'd make it nonsensical," says Ben of ’Big Rig,’ "except that it's not nonsense if you have the key to the terms. I hear from the truckers that the lingo is kosher,” he laughs, “so it's not too fraudulent."
Early reviews of The Danberrys are, naturally, 100% positive. “The vocals and the harmonies are outstanding, as is the instrumentation all over the disc,” says Chuck Dauphine of Music News Nashville. “I don’t know if you can define it, but all The Danberrys need is to be heard!”
“There’s a flavor of bluegrass that’s always worked on me,” says Music City Roots’ Craig H., adding that their music is “characterized by old world tonalities, polished, modern drive and jazz-smart instrumental work.”
For their part, The Danberrys – who are still a self-managed grassroots operation – are humble yet excited about their album and about the future. “We tried to arrange the record in different ways but what it came down to was making it more than just a bunch of songs. We wanted to make it a ride you could listen to from beginning to end.”
As for the future, Ben says: “We already have demos for three more tunes on tape, so we’re getting ready to do it again.” For current and future fans, that’s nothing but good news.
One of the first acts signed to The Label, were alt-metal rockers LazerSnake -- consisting of brothers Dusty Forsythe (lead vocals), and Jeremy Forsythe-Mullins (lead guitar). There have been over a dozen rotating members rounding out the group at the drum and bass positions.
While their songs expectedly contain the excellence of such contemporaries as Nickleback and 3 Doors Down, Forsythe's voice at times is eerily similar to Creed's great frontman, Scott Stapp, containing unmistakable elements of traditional hard rock.
In early 2012 we'll see the release of LazerSnake's major-label debut, Beggin for the Bone. Shortly after they will embark on a European tour with Staind and a month later a full tour of the U.S. as part of the Family Values 2012 tour, alongside Puddle of Mudd, Linkin Park, and Godsmack.
"Mike Farris has enough heart, soul, and power to light up a city. He mixes up the elements and turns them into something new, beautiful, and uniquely his own."
"Mike’s set was truly dynamic and one of the most thrilling and audacious performances I’ve seen in a long time. His show will be remembered as one of the great highlights of the convention."
--Tim Kolleth Alligator Records
"Sometimes you have to go through hell to reach heaven, & watching Mike Farris perform songs off "Salvation In Lights" with a full band, I’d have to think someone earned his wings. Fantastic Show bordering on a religious experience."
--Larry Timko, WIKX
"I’m so glad I saw Mike. I have spent countless hours in the gospel tent at Jazz Fest listening to hardcore black gospel from all over the south and he has the same vibe."
--Jim Manion, WFHB, Bloomington
If Mike brings this ensemble on the road to a town near you,you had better go because you WILL NOT be disappointed,I guarantee it !!!"
-- Big Kev Ploghoft, WXLV, Schnecksville, PA