Here's a photo of @guster at the @stateofithaca this past weekend! Thanks to everyone who came out 😃 we had a great time! More photos on our FB 📷: Casey Martin #dsp2015
Capitol Center for the Arts - Concord, NH
“Everyone needs to be risking something,” says Seattle-based singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. She’s discussing the M.O. behind The Firewatcher’s Daughter, her stunning new release – her first for artist-friendly indie label ATO. The 12-song collection marks a triumphant return after a three-year recording hiatus, and her strongest, most rock & roll album to date. “Rock & roll music as a genre always has a sense of erratic recklessness to it,” she says. “It can’t really be rehearsed – in fact, rehearsal can kill it. On this album, each song has its honest rock & roll moment, even the ballads; it’s between the point where you’ve learned the song enough to get through it, but you don’t have any control over it yet.” Since her heralded, genre-defying 2005 Columbia debut, Carlile and her indispensable collaborators, Tim and Phil Hanseroth, aka The Twins, have always offered listeners both control and abandon, often within a single song. The most well-known Brandi Carlile tunes, 2007’s “The Story” and 2012’s “That Wasn’t Me,” are dynamic journeys in themselves, encompassing myriad emotions and varied stylistic touches; “The Story” morphs from understated balladry to epic stadium rock, while “That Wasn’t Me” effortlessly straddles country soul and pop gospel. Infused with Carlile’s clarion voice, The Twins’ tight sibling harmonies, and stellar musicianship from everyone, it all simply sounds like Brandi Carlile. Yet, over four acclaimed Columbia albums, countless sold-out tours, and fruitful relationships with top producers Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett, something was missing: Carlile and The Twins hadn’t yet captured the distinctive spark of old friends working up new tunes, a slippery magic born of years touring together, and often caught only on raw demos made at the behest of the label. The Firewatcher’s Daughter, by contrast, is a full-on Carlile/Twins co-production, cut live in Seattle’s Bear Creek Studio, with complete artistic control granted by ATO. With this new freedom, Carlile and The Twins, intent on capturing the elusive essence of a song’s spirit, tracked the album live, with little or no rehearsal. Ironically, during this time of liberation, Carlile and The Twins all transitioned to married life; the Hanseroths became dads, and Carlile’s wife, Catherine Shepherd, was pregnant during the making of The Firewatcher’s Daughter. So when the engineer hit RECORD, the stakes were higher than usual: Carlile and the Twins producing, kids underfoot or on the way, and three years since an album. But true to form, they wrangled it all into song, catching many, many lightning-in-a-bottle moments; the crackling Lucinda Williams-meets-Fleetwood Mac of “Wherever Is Your Heart,” the CSN-meets-Bonnie Raitt of “The Eye,” to the dark folk-punk of “The Stranger at My Door,” the Elton John-meets-McCartney of “Beginning to Feel the Years,” and more – all executed without a net. “Everything is completely live,” Carlile says. “That’s the only way to make the moment happen. It’s way too easy to say, ‘Hey guys, you get your part down and I’ll spend the rest of the evening by myself in a fucking booth not taking any risks, and trying to nail down my contribution while I drink a bottle of Jameson.’ A lot of the songs are in about the highest key I can sing them in. The vocals were very emotional for me. I was right on the edge – I’d been off the road for a long time, I was on the precipice of becoming a mother, and there was a lot that needed to come out before that could happen.” The title, The Firewatcher’s Daughter, comes from a line in “The Stranger at My Door,” written after Carlile stared into a bonfire for a long, long time. “I wrote it standing next to one of my frequent bonfires up in the horse pasture on our land. I have a bonfire compulsion. I tend to stand there and stare into them close to every day, and I’m able to tap into something beyond my day-to-day consciousness. I often write lyrics, solve problems, run for President – the usual stuff. Catherine was pregnant and I was contemplating the juxtaposition between religious rigidity and beauty, and its effects on families and society.” Carlile says she and The Twins always insert a through-line in her albums: “An instrument keeps appearing, a theme keeps getting touched on, or we try to use the same microphone. But of all my albums, I felt the least amount of control over this one. Catherine was nine months pregnant, The Twins’ kids were there, the tension was there, but the love was also there, so the continuity is felt.” Part of that continuity is the concept of “chains,” which recurs over the course of The Firewatcher’s Daughter, from the lullaby “Wilder (We’re Chained)” to the chorus of the gorgeous “The Eye”: “I wrapped your love around me like a chain / But I never was afraid that it would die / You can dance in a hurricane / But only if you’re standing in the eye.” Carlile lays this chain fascination at the feet of Fleetwood Mac, a band she and The Twins listened to a lot in the run-up to The Firewatcher’s Daughter, and whose classic love song “The Chain” is bittersweet reality. “The twins and I were inspired by that band’s connection and their turbulence,” she says. “I find it fascinating how culturally some things can get cast in a negative light, like a chain. But a chain can bind and connect, like a fire can refine and renew. We would definitely describe ourselves as chained in the best possible way.” After stepping back from this fine new work and assessing it, Carlile knows exactly what she wants from The Firewatcher’s Daughter: “My goal,” she says, “is to connect on a soul level with our longtime fans and friends, and to reach new people with the honesty of this music. Also, I would like my daughter, Evangeline, to grow up and think I’m cool.”
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
The Mighty Diamonds—Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy ”Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “ Judge” Ferguson formed in 1969 in the Trenchtown area of Kingston, Jamaica. They are the most consistent and long-running vocal trio in Jamaican musical history and for the past 41 years have been entertaining and educating the world with their sweet harmonies and conscious lyrics.
With their soulful harmonies and polished performances, they quickly became known as the young group with the Motown sound. Their first recordings at Dynamic Sounds eventually led them to their classic hit "Shame and Pride" in 1973. Their first hit singles “ Country Living” and “ Hey Girl” were recorded on the Channel One label. After touring the US with Toots and the Maytals, the group signed to Virgin Records in 1975 and recorded four albums. Their debut album “ Right Time”, released on Virgin has become a classic. By 1982, "Pass the Kutchie" from the album 'Changes' had become an international hit and has since been covered by Musical Youth, whose version "Pass the Dutchie" has also been a hit all over the world.
Tabby, Bunny and Judge have produced over 40 albums in their long career. The trio has toured the world extensively and has a strong following in Europe and Japan as well as in the US. In Jamaica they are forever loved. On stage antics of the Mighty Diamonds are reminiscent of the Four Tops with their animated hand gestures and energetic footwork. Favorites of the dance hall crowd, roots or progressive audiences.
The Mighty Diamonds continue to achieve stardom on their own terms, wrapping a militant message in some of the prettiest melodies around. Even with their mushrooming international popularity, the Mighty Diamonds have not forgotten their roots which come from the unique cultural potpourri of Jamaica with its harsh ghetto realities and its irresistible reggae pulse.
The Mighty Diamonds are remarkable for the fact that the three founding members have remained together, despite the ever-changing and cut-throat music business, for 41 years -- and counting! They find strength and inspiration in their faith in Rastafari and their love of Jah. Their message is one of unity, love and at times, rebellion in the face of injustice.
Their unquestionable reputation for a stylized traditional and polished sound has earned them prominence as a model reggae harmony trio.
On Sunday November 1, 2009, in celebration of the 79th Anniversary of the coronation of Haile Selassie—TSO Productions and the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music held their 5th annual Reggae Culture Salute at Nazareth High School Performance Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Mighty Diamonds were awarded a Congressional Proclamation from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, of the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York along with a Citation from Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President and the first ever Award for Excellence from TSO Productions and the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music.
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
The Hurry and The Harm “I just wanted to make an honest record.” So says Dallas Green, otherwise known as City and Colour. He’s not really talking about confessionals (though that might happen, too) but truthfully incarnated music: organic songwriting, natural process and sincere moments captured in the studio. Captured—not manipulated. For his fourth LP, The Hurry and The Harm, Green not only wanted to present an honest album, but an honest version of himself. To do so, he had to leave some things behind, confront others and let the rest simmer. Green wasn’t quite prepared to make another album so soon. On tour to support his last album, Little Hell (2011), he couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was unbalanced, uneasy. “I was being pulled in two different directions,” Green recalls. He was mentally near the end of the road with his former band, Alexisonfire, but couldn’t yet share the news with his fans. “I wanted to be in one place, but I didn’t want to let my friends down.” He started reading poetry— specifically the Kentucky-born author Wendell Berry, and his work “The Peace of Wild Things.” “I come into the peace of wild things, who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water,” it goes. Those lines made Green “excited about words again,” and comforted him in a time when things didn’t seem too peaceful. The songs came—quickly, even. It’s no surprise, really. City and Colour’s music is exactly that: peace, in wild things. There’s a calm, dulcet tone to the songs, the melodies crafted to provide restlessness amidst a sonically complex journey that both soothes and rustles. The record’s first leaked track, “Of Space and Time,” showcases Green’s voice as it dangles in his own special kind of falsetto, set to a chugging drumbeat and subtle strum. “I’m roaming through the hills all alone,” he sings. “I’m trying to find my direction home.” Maybe he didn’t know it at the time, but home is City and Colour—it’s not simply a “solo” project from an otherwise accounted-for band member, but is Green, his primary entity, and his honesty. The Hurry and The Harm is the first City and Colour album recorded outside of Canada—Green took his process this time to Nashville, Tennessee’s Blackbird Studios. “I’ve never gone anywhere else to make a record,” Green recalls. “I think it worked out, and it was a wonderful experience.” He recruited an excellent team of players to round out the songs, including Jack Lawrence on bass (The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather), Bo Koster on keys (My Morning Jacket), Spencer Cullum (Caitlin Rose) on pedal steel and both Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, Fiona Apple) and James Gadson (Bill Withers, BB King) on drums. Green once again found great kinship in producer Alex Newport, who has worked with such varied and dynamic artists as At The Drive-In, Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party and The Mars Votla (and more notably with Green on Little Hell). The resulting album is a journey through a state of mind, exploring everything from Green’s struggles to leave his previous band (“Of Space and Time”) to his distaste for gossip media (“Commentators”). Musically, the artful evolution can be felt in the crushing, sweeping rush of the first single, “Thirst,” with its aggressive vamp and both acid instrumentals and tongue: “after I’m gone / once I finally leave / you will be left alone to the wolves and the thieves.” There is a longing in the words but a certain direction in the songs, such as on “Two Coins” which balances a quiet folkiness with an unexpected guitar solo, searching through the play in his voice and the introspection of the ironically upbeat strums of “Harder Than Stone.” “Lyrically, now that I look back at the record as a whole, there are a lot of songs that deal with me searching for something,” he says. “And I know now that I wrote those songs near the end of Alexisonfire.” “I don’t have a lot of faith in myself, so it is hard for me to have a lot of faith in something I have created,” Green says. “But I’ve never been happier or prouder about something that I have done.” Green began recording as City and Colour in 2005, with Sometimes, followed by 2008’s Bring Me Your Love and 2011’s Little Hell and has experienced huge success both on the charts and the road. All three previous studio albums have achieved platinum status in Canada, while Little Hell is also now Gold in Australia. Additionally, Little Hell debuted at #1 on Canada’s Top 200 Chart, #28 in the U.S., #2 in Australia and top 40 in the U.K. Moreover, almost every show in 2011 and 2012 sold out (including the famed Royal Albert Hall, a two night stay at the Roundhouse in London and New York’s Terminal 5). In support of The Hurry and The Harm, City and Colour will once again embark on a wide-ranging set of dates across North American and the world. The tour will feature a brand new touring band including Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, Dead Weather) on bass, Dante Schwebel (Hacienda, Dan Auerbach) on guitar, Doug MacGregor (Constantines) on drums and Matt Kelly on pedal steel guitar and keys. Playing guitar since age eight and crafting songs since his teenage years, Green has always known he wanted to write music and sing: mostly for himself, to find peace and clarity amongst the chaos. He thinks it’s kismet that others happen to like to listen. “At the end of the day, when I write a song, it has to make me happy,” he says. “I have to want to sing it again. And then the hope after that is that somebody else will like it.” And they do, because it’s the peace of wild things.
The 9th Ward - Buffalo, NY
with PWR BTTM
Recently called one of “the Western Mass. indie scene’s brightest creative lights” by Pitchfork, Northampton, Massachusetts’ And The Kids recently released their debut full-length album, Turn to Each Other (Signature Sounds). Turn to Each Other is more than an album title: it’s a statement of fact for the band, whose bond — as musicians, friends and creative foils — is as tight as they come. The album features 11 tracks full of ringing guitars from Hannah Mohan, knotty rhythms from drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro and bold accents from synthesizers and percussion by Megan Miller. Together, they create “apocaplyptic pop”, a dizzying stop-start ride with lush, intricate soundscapes that frame Mohan’s lively lead vocals. NPR Music recently raved, “Guitarist Hannah Mohan’s striking vocals rival the vibrato and boldness of Siouxsie Sioux… [And The Kids] make music that’s both fearless and entertaining.” An ongoing struggle with border issues for Miller, a Canadian citizen, initiated the addition of bassist Taliana Katz to the touring ensemble. Katz made her debut as part of the band at their NPR Tiny Desk Concert and continues to carry the energy of the album to the stage.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
With the success of Dan Deacon’s 2007 album Spiderman of the Rings, came an opportunity for the electronic-music iconoclast to increase the breadth and depth of his entire musical project. Deacon moved from self-contained computer music to orchestral epics. His interactive live show, honed in DIY spaces, was taken to museums and concert halls. He frequently expanded his performances to include a horde of side musicians. Gliss Riffer, an entirely self-produced record of almost all electronic sounds, is a return to Deacon’s Spiderman of the Rings-era process. He calls it “easily the most fun [he’s] ever had making a record.” After a string of large ensemble projects (including 2009’s Bromst and 2012’s America) Deacon longed for the “simplicity” of the days when he did nearly everything himself. So he made plans to sequester himself in his studio and conjure an album from the sketches and songs he had begun in the back of the van on the European leg of the America tour. Those plans were upended when he received a last-minute invitation to tour with Arcade Fire in August. Rather than lose momentum by pushing back his recording schedule, Deacon continued to make the record on the road. “I was mixing and arranging in the green room before sound check and each night back at the hotel.” Deacon said, “On days off I’d find a studio to track vocals or mix. When a studio couldn’t be found I dismantled a hotel bathroom, sealing the vents with towels and using all the bedding to turn it into a control room.” This is his first record to showcase his newfound appreciation for his vocal cords, an appreciation he gained after going through an extended bout of laryngitis. “I started thinking about how the voice is an instrument that expires,” he said, “and that made me want to make an album with the voice more exposed.” And that he did. While Gliss Riffer contains all the instrumental layering we’ve come to expect, the vocals are mixed with a prominence (“Feel the Lightning,” “Learning to Relax”) and, at times, a clarity (“When I Was Done Dying”) that have never been heard on a Dan Deacon record before. All the vocals are performed by Deacon himself, even the female voice on “Feel the Lightning” is the product of vari-speed recording techniques. This album also marks the first time Deacon replaced his digitally realized parts with analog synthesizers, giving Deacon the opportunity to experiment with synthesizers in the same way he experimented with strings and wind instruments on America. Deacon travelled to Asheville, N.C., to record with Moog’s at-the-time-unreleased Sub 37 analog synth. Gliss Riffer is the first record in the world to feature the instrument. Despite being predominately electronic, Gliss Riffer’s sonic palette is informed by his post-Spiderman material. The Disklavier, a MIDI-fed player piano first heard on Bromst, is present here. (This time around, Deacon ran it so hard it broke.) Cross-rhythms suggestive of America’s orchestral opus “USA” and Deacon’s art music work (including a Carnegie Hall performance and film score for Francis Ford Coppola) are also in evidence. What Gliss Riffer shares with Spiderman of the Rings as a musical experience is an aesthetic directness and ecstatic energy. Gliss Riffer trades in exuberant, uncontained fun. Lyrical images of lightning, oceans, lakes, and roads crop up frequently as stand-ins for freedom and self-realization. The tracks were started on the ever-changing landscapes that greet a touring musician. The lyrics, on the other hand, were mostly written in Deacon’s studio, a room with no windows and no air conditioning in Baltimore’s sweltering summer where it was easy to imagine being somewhere else. So while Gliss Riffer is all about fun, it’s figured dramatically. It’s a euphoria tempered by yearning and set in defiance of life’s nagging anxiety. “Happiness takes time,” we are reminded by tremolo vocals in the middle of the supremely danceable “Mind on Fire.” The bliss on this record is well-earned.
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
with Kevin Kinsella
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of his breakthrough album, Live at Stubb’s, Matisyahu has taken a new look at the music that first made his reputation in Live at Stubb’s III: A 10-Year Journey. In two stripped-back sit-down shows in March of 2015, Matisyahu performed new arrangements of his early reggae hits from the original album, along with a selection of later favorites up through Akeda. This tour reconnects Matisyahu with long-time musical collaborators and friends from his early touring days, including Live at Stubb's guitarist Aaron Dugan. Matisyahu and his band will present an evening of stripped-back arrangements highlighting the music that launched his career while taking fans of all ages on a journey through the evolution of Live at Stubb’s to his most recent release Akeda.
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
with Oh Whitney
Grace Potter’s epic musical journey reaches a new milestone with the arrival of her solo debut, Midnight (to be released August 14 on Hollywood Records), an inspired work that is surprising, revelatory and wildly original. Midnight was recorded and mixed at Barefoot Studios in Hollywood with producer Eric Valentine, whose own diverse discography—from Queens of the Stone Age to Nickel Creek—evidences a similarly adventurous spirit and openness to possibility. If Valentine’s studio work has a distinguishing characteristic, it’s his hard-hitting sonic signature, which is on display throughout Midnight’s dozen tracks. The core studio band consisted of Potter and Valentine on most of the instruments, with Burr on drums and percussion. In addition, members of Potter’s longtime band The Nocturnals: guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento contributed to the sessions, as well as former tour-mates and friends including singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter, Audra Mae, Noelle Skaggs of Fitz & the Tantrums, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, and Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age. “This album is about embracing life as it comes at you – with all its unexpected twists and turns,” says Potter. “I took a much more open approach to songwriting than I have in the past – probably because it was unavoidable. I’ve experienced a huge amount of growth and change in the past two years - both personal and professional, and it can be overwhelming for an artist to find ways to express that in a vacuum. So I tried to strip away the confines of other people’s expectations. I started tapping into some of the deep-running themes that have shaped me into the human I’ve become, and as I went deeper and deeper, I found the results to be insanely satisfying. “This music means so much to me because it was hard-won. It was a terrifying yet fulfilling process of boiling down what I really wanted to say – peeling back all the protective layers of lyrical metaphor and sonic padding that I’m so used to leaning on. Ultimately the process has fueled` me to share more, learn more, listen carefully, work harder, love harder… Our time on earth is far too short to be resistant to beautiful opportunities as they come our way, so when my inspiration took me somewhere new, I did what I always do: stripped buck-ass naked and ran straight into the fire.” Citing Miles Davis, Dylan, the Beatles, Bowie, Blondie and Beck as prime examples, Potter says she is drawn to artists who make sonic leaps from record to record—a notion she has explored throughout her career. For an artist who has built a devoted fan base through her electrifying live show, Potter seems hell-bent on breaking out of the box when it comes to studio work. She refuses to be defined by a single genre. Over the last three years, she has seamlessly transitioned from collaborating with the Flaming Lips, for a Tim Burton film, to songwriting and producing for soundtracks and theme songs for film and TV, to multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated country duets with her friend Kenny Chesney, to most recently joining The Rolling Stones on stage for an inspired rendition of “Gimme Shelter.” “The bands and artists that captivate me,” Potter explains, “are the ones who are always pushing it, always taking risks. A great musician can shine in any genre. I refuse to make the same kind of record over and over—that’s not how art works for me. The worst thing an artist can do,” she asserts, “is what is expected of them.” The seeds for what would become Midnight were planted by Potter at home, in Vermont, in the fall of 2013. “I had been messing around for a few weeks with making really wacked-out home demos - lots of sounds, beats and melodies that I had never tried before,” she recalls. “It was a dark, stormy, moody day and I could hear the thunder in the distance – these big ominous clouds were rolling in fast. There was something about that threat of inclement weather beyond my control that just made me vibrate with anticipation and adrenaline, so I channeled it into this heavy boogie song—it goes right for the throat and says ‘Own your existence on earth, because who knows what’s gonna happen next.’ That solitary moment guided everything that followed, and “Alive Tonight” was the beginning of it.” Fittingly, “Alive Tonight” is Midnight’s lead single. Valentine was intrigued by Grace’s sonic experiments in her work-tapes, so much so that they formed the blueprint for a number of the arrangements that made the final cut. “Her demos had an incredible vibe that really captured a groove or mood that would immediately grab your attention,” he notes. “So it seemed like that was the way to chase down this record as an honest representation of what Grace wanted to say and how she wanted these tracks to feel—because she had done such a good job of laying it out herself.” “Hot to the Touch,” the aggressive, hook-heavy rocker that Grace chose to open the album, was the last song written for it. “When you’re making an album, you rarely have the opportunity to look at the whole thing and ask yourself what’s missing,” she points out. “And “Hot to the Touch” was the song that tied the whole thing together—the culmination of how I felt about making this entire record. It has a sexy, fiery, James Bond kind of vibe to it, and I came up with this snippy, edgy guitar part that fit really nicely. Lyrically, it’s about the tempestuous nature of love and attraction. That type of songwriting doesn’t happen very often when you’re making an album, so it felt like the cherry on top. “The song “Delirious” was the tipping point of the album in many ways. I was in a really prolific stage of the process. The heart of the record had really taken shape in my mind. I was desperate to get everything down on paper before it left my mind and sleep felt like a distraction - but strange things happen when you haven’t slept in days. I reached a moment where finally, all my pretensions, judgments and preconceived notions vanished. I’d had so many sleepless nights trying to crack the code that my defenses were down, my nerves numb and I needed a real-deal freak-out dance party - an implosion of all the walls I had built around myself.” Looking at some of Midnight’s other key songs, the stirring “Look What We’ve Become” began with a borrowed premise yet wound up as the album’s autobiographical centerpiece. “The label was really pushing me to do co-writes, which I’ve always tried to avoid, but Eric and I quickly developed a creative trust and symmetry that allowed me to feel more open to the possibilities…a few weeks later he set me up with a guy he’d worked with for years, who does a lot of co-writing, who played me a great demo,” she remembers. “When I heard the chorus, I knew I had to sing it—I found myself really attached to the melody and the message. I love the universality of it; everyone has been made to feel that they are unworthy in some way. So I wrote the verses and the bridge about my own experience with the music industry and the band. It turned out to be an excellent example of how co-writing can expand an artist’s field of play.” Grace undertook the writing of “Your Girl” with the aim of coming up with a new take on a classic love triangle on this 70’s tinged soul gem. “In one way or another, we’ve all gone through the struggle of wanting something we can’t have…but this particular cliché has been so overdone. If I wanted it to work, I needed a plot twist that was true to personal experience. Then we basically treated it a lot like a hip-hop track and just set it over an undeniable groove with some awesome quirky hooks,” she says. “In chasing down an originality in the confines of a heavily tread genre, Eric and I landed on one of my favorite sonic and lyrical moments of the album.” With its rippling guitar riff and gospel-choir payoff, “Empty Heart” is one of the catchiest songs on the album. “I wrote “Empty Heart” in the hotel room of a casino in the mid-west somewhere; bored out of my mind after a show. I had a crappy guitar with two broken strings and as I started banging away, hooting and howling, my neighbors one room over started BUMPING Usher... That’s when it hit me: ‘How cool would it be to put a super hi-fi urban beat against this jankytwangy acoustic sound?’ I never expected that it would become the feel-good song that it did…but it just goes to show that you never know where inspiration will come from – or where it will take you. You just gotta take the ride and hang on for dear life.” The release of “Alive Tonight” was shrouded in mystery, and word of Potter’s creative leap sans the Nocturnals hit the blogosphere quite suddenly causing many devoted fans to wonder if this record signaled the end of an era. Fans and friends had lots of questions, but Potter remained silent. “Yeah. People kinda freaked out, some in really good ways, some…not so much. I knew they would and I understood why; this is a bold new sound and for a hardcore fan, it’s a big deal. Loyalty has always been really important to me and so has evolution. It’s hard sometimes to understand that they don’t need to be at odds. The band is an extension of me. They are my family and a huge part of my life. I have no intention of burning bridges or leaving it in the dust. “I’ve been a Nocturnal for a decade….but I’ve been a musician forever. I’ve got a lot of different influences and creative impulses and I can’t always use my band as my springboard. Sure, I could’ve called this a GPN record, but why would I slap a sticker on an apple and call it an orange? Just to keep a few people from freaking out? Shit no! I have a responsibility to the legacy we built. It was hard. It was scary, but it was the right time to jump off with my own momentum – to open the door a little wider so the world can see another side, see what else turns me on. I’m mixing it up, doing something different…feels fucking awesome,” Potter says with a smile and a defiant shrug. “In many ways, Midnight feels like a new beginning, but really, it’s a continuation of my story. I’ve always taken chances and sharp turns. So here I am again wandering into completely uncharted waters—just laying it all out there because ‘why the fuck not?’ I have absolutely no control over how this music will be received, and that’s OK. The risk is mine, and I'm taking it with all my heart.”
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
with Stone Cold Miracle
“fiery brass- and gospel-infused funk” - LA Times “…stick-to-your-ribs style rock…” - Wall Street Journal “Sister Sparrow, Arleigh Kincheloe’s nom de disque, is a soul queen with a voice strong and raspy enough to compete with riffing horns and clipped funk beats.” - Washington Post “…frontwoman Arleigh Kincheloe has one of the biggest voices in the soul-funk business. Prepare to be blown away.” - Baltimore Sun “What do you get when you cross Amy Winehouse and Tina Turner with Mick Jagger…?” - Glamour ”Arleigh Kincheloe…presides over eight musicians with smoldering intensity, and her body language is as sly and stirring as her bluesy voice” - New Yorker What It’s All About: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is an eight-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of seven men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re focused on delivering the band’s infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive. The Latest 2012 was a breakout year for the eight piece soul/rock outfit Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. The band closed out the year with two nights of opening for Gov’t Mule, which included a night at the famed Beacon Theatre in New York. They played more than 150 shows in 35 states for the second year in a row, and their high-energy show is in high demand after scorching sets at festivals as Bonnaroo, Mountain Jam’s main stage, the Voodoo Experience, and the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, where they opened for The Avett Brothers. The year included a number of accolades for the band – selling out the Independent in San Francisco with Rebirth Brass Band, opening for Fitz and the Tantrums, Counting Crows, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and a three week run with Allen Stone that culminated in an Austin City Limits late night set. In February, they played a Midnight Ramble at Levon Helm’s studios, where they shared the stage with Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule) and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan). Band History The band’s journey is steeped in family and life-long friendships. Dynamic singer and front-woman Sister Sparrow first began penning tunes in the alleyways and back roads between New York City and the Catskill Mountains as a teenager. Though already aided and abetted by her harmonica-shredding brother Jackson, it was clear to her that a large, powerful band was needed to do justice to the songs she was crafting. The brother and sister team called upon their cousin Bram, a California-bred drummer of considerable prowess, to help them assemble a super-band of epic proportions. Bram brought in childhood friends J.J. Byars (alto saxophone) and Ryan Snow (trombone), and Ryan called upon baritone saxophonist and close friend Johnny Butler. The trumpet chair changed hands until March 2011, when the addition of trumpeter Phil Rodriguez solidified the unstoppable force of the virtuosic Dirty Birds’ horns. The rhythm section was filled out by guitarist Sasha Brown and bassist Aidan Carroll, a thundering tandem that proved to be the perfect engineers of the hard-driving, bare-knuckle grooves that propel this ferocious group. The band first got together in September 2008. It was evident from the start that the deep connections among its members translated directly to the music they made together. While Sister Sparrow is the principal songwriter and unifying voice of the band, the entire band has always worked collaboratively on arrangements. The result is musical creativity and diversity seldom seen in groups of this size and character. By the middle of 2009, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds were packing New York’s Rockwood Music Hall every Saturday night, holding down a five-month-long residency that built them a reputation for being one of the funkiest, tightest groups in the city. With the strength of their live show in mind, the band recorded its debut album (released in November 2010) at a single twelve hour session at New York’s famed Avatar Studios. When the band embarked on their first tour at the end of April 2011, they set out with the mission of taking the country by storm. By the end of the year, they had driven over 50,000 miles to play 150 shows in 28 states. They exploded onto the scene, opening for Dr. John, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, and appeared at such festivals as Gathering of the Vibes, Bear Creek, and late night at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. The band is building a following the old-fashioned way – and the demand for their infectious music has kept them on a relentless tour schedule across the country. Fueled by the band’s boundless energy, every show turns into a wild dance party, and the Dirty Birds are establishing a rabid following of fans eager to receive a potent dose of good times, delivered by the band night after night. Sister Sparrow’s commanding stage presence alone is more than enough to dazzle audiences, but the magic doesn’t end with her: the band’s palpable camaraderie, undeniable talent and passion for music makes for a contagious combination that is taking the country by storm. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds’ blend of seductive soul and dirty blues-rock reminds audiences why they love live music. Band Members: Arleigh Kincheloe – vocals Jackson Kincheloe – harmonica Bram Kincheloe – drums Sasha Brown – guitar Josh Myers – bass Phil Rodriguez – trumpet Ryan Snow – trombone Brian Graham – baritone sax More From the Press: “They may be from Brooklyn, but the fiery brass- and gospel-infused funk emanating from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds is rooted in Memphis soul. Their rhythmic wheelhouse combines big-city grit and down-home sweetness with a little bit of Americana twang.” – LA Times “If you’ve had a hankering to get down and dirty with some funky old soul, then this nonet, featuring powerhouse vocalist Arleigh Kincheloe and Berklee grad Sasha Brown on guitar, may have just what you need” - Boston Globe “‘Band On The Verge’… the nine-person, horn-driven band prove that they can swagger as well as skank—and get bluesy and torchy when they need to.” – Relix “a seriously funky collective capable of bringing elements of deep soul, New Orleans funk, Stax/Memphis stylings and earthy R&B together in a manner that makes the sentient mammal want to shake it” - Buffalo News “…rollicking blend of soul, funk and backwoods Americana rock ’n’ roll, which draws even indifferent hipsters onto the dance floor.” - New York Daily News “’Make It Rain’, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds Funky horns and Arleigh Kincheloe’s sultry, sassy vocals propel this track from new ‘Pound of Dirt.’” – The Playlist: USA Today “The forefront of soul/funk bands to be recognized” - MusicMarauders.com “…this nine-piece soul-rock crew does red-hot and brassy ‘60’s soul with a scraggly blues edge.” – M Music & Musicians Magazine
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
Punch Brothers are the acoustic quintet of mandolinist Chris Thile, guitaristChris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinistGabe Witcher. Says the Washington Post, "With enthusiasmand experimentation, Punch Brothers take bluegrass to its nextevolutionary stage, drawing equal inspiration from the brain and theheart." Their latest album, the T Bone Burnett-produced, ThePhosphorescent Blues, was released in January 2015 on NonesuchRecords.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
Unexplained phenomena of all kinds can be attributed to magic. Music is among those marvels. When a group of unrelated individuals of different backgrounds gets together and locks into a sonic unity, there must be some sort of mysticism at work. That’s the only way to properly explain it. The members of Nashville’s All Them Witches would agree too. That energy even courses through their moniker, which unsurprisingly comes from Roman Polanski’s 1968 masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby. “The name can be interpreted in many different ways,” explains singer and bassist Michael Parks, Jr. “It could be a person’s view on what the forces of good and evil are or even how we interact with each other as human beings. There’s a little bit of witchcraft in everybody’s life. Just waking up is pretty magical—you’re alive another day. In terms of the music, we’re so loose, and that’s where the magic comes from. There’s no controlling factor. We do exactly what comes naturally. We go in a room without any idea about what will happen, get in the groove, and it works. That’s supernatural.” All Them Witches began conjuring up music together in 2012. Foregoing theater school to focus on songwriting, Parks traded New Mexico for Nashville at 19-years-old. The Shreveport, Louisiana native met drummer Robby Staebler while the two shared a shift at a “corporate hippie store”. Robby showed Parks some music he and guitarist Ben McLeod had written, and it inspired the singer to jam—which he adds, “I usually never do. It made sense though”. Adding Robby’s longtime friend Allan Van Cleave to the fold on Fender Rhodes, All Them Witches cut their debut Our Mother Electricity. Almost immediately after, they began working on its follow-up 2013’s Lightning At The Door. Recorded live in a matter of days with producer and engineer Andy Putnam, the boys tapped into a distinct energy, mustering bluesy soul, Southern swagger, and thunderous hard rock all at once. “We tracked everything live in the same room,” says Parks. “We got a lot of bleed from the mics and the amps being together. Everything felt organic. You get us untainted on the record.” The first single “When God Comes Back” swings from a Delta-dipped groove into a striking riff juxtaposed with Parks’ transfixing delivery. It’s as hypnotic as it is heavy. “Sometimes, I get visions, for lack of a better word, that lead to songs,” the frontman admits. “I’ll be doing a mundane task at work, walking somewhere in the woods, or driving, and I’ll get these narrative flashes in my head. Personal experiences play into those narratives. This song is about our egos coming to break us down and destroy everything. We try to govern each other and turn the only landscape we have to live in into a parking lot. There’s no room for anybody. So, when God comes back, he’s going to be really mad.” Elsewhere on the album, one story connects the expansive and entrancing “The Marriage of Coyote Woman” and “The Death of Coyote Woman”. The tracks twirl through rustic instrumentation and muscular distortion before building into a wild climax. “It’s a two-part song that follows one character in my brain that has its own trials and tribulations to go through,” Parks goes on. “It also discusses how and where I grew up. It’s a hodgepodge, and the lyrics and music just came to me while I was driving.” Given their powerful and potent psychedelic sound, All Them Witches has shared the stage with everybody from punk luminaries Broncho to the buzzing Windhand. They’ve also rocked at WRLT's weekly live series "Nashville Sunset", played the station's Live On The Green and appeared at the Scion Rock Fest. “We can take so many different paths,” he adds. “The music is ever-shifting. None of us grew up listening to the same music. In Louisiana, I heard a lot of ZZ Top and Blues band. Allan was raised on classical, almost exclusively. Robby and Ben listened to a ton of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. When we came together, it simply works.” Ultimately, everything comes back to that certain magic for All Them Witches. “Not to sound too much like hippie, but I hope everybody can ride our vibe,” Parks leaves off. “We’re very simple people doing something we really love. We have such a short amount of time on this earth. Everybody should be doing what they love. If there’s a message here, it’s that.”