KCA Welcomes Zach DuBois to the Roster
Ellis Dyson & the Shambles expertly blends old-time influences ranging from Piedmont murder ballads, to traditional jazz, to big band swing. The result: whiskey-soaked, foot-stompin’ songs that bring party music of departed eras to crowds both young and old. The Shambles have made waves with their theatrical and explosive live shows and masterful musicianship that electrifies every audience. Bursting with exuberance and effortless expertise, this playfully hootin’ and hollerin’ act is guaranteed to bring the ruckus.
Ellis Dyson & the Shambles consists of Ellis Dyson (banjo, vocals), Eli Whitman (acoustic guitar), Adam Maloney (upright bass) Danny Abrams (soprano/alto/baritone saxophones, vocals), and Danny Grewen (trombone, vocals). The band has come together through a series of fortuitous meetings in Chapel Hill, N.C. Beginning as a saxophone and banjo duo, the band has grown into a driving, freight train string band with a flashy horn section.
Watch: Ellis Dyson & The Shambles- I Wanna Be Like You (The Jungle Book)
"Breathing new life into a bygone era of party music, the dapper dudes splice horn-laden swing, ragtime, Dixieland, jump blues, and old-time influences into original, whiskey-fueled concoctions that are at once raucous, theatrical, and jocular." - Spencer Griffith writing on behalf of the "Indy Week,"
Lee Olsen: Lee@keithcase.com
Maybe April is a Country Americana trio made up of Katy Bishop, Kristen Castro, and Alaina Stacey. Hailing from Jonesboro, AR, Simi Valley, CA, and Chicago, IL, the three met in the summer of 2012 at a music industry camp in Nashville, TN and wrote a song that would later take them to Los Angeles to play at a GRAMMY week event, along with Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Allen Shamblin, Gavin DeGraw, J.D. Souther, Joy Williams from the Civil Wars, and many others. Since then, amongst hundreds of shows, the girls have opened for Brandy Clark and Sarah Jarosz, and have played Pilgrimage Music Festival and IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. Maybe April is recognized for their three-part harmonies, strength as instrumentalists, original songs, and shared roles as frontwomen, each adding something different from their musical backgrounds to create a unique sound. Just like their harmonies, Alaina, Katy, and Kristen are a perfect fit. Their love for each other and their music continues to push them in their endeavors in Nashville, where they have been based since 2013.
The Lefsetz Letter Review Below
Sometimes the best entertainment is free.
“Tommy” was not an immediate smash, but it was in my house. It was led by the exquisite single “Pinball Wizard” during the winter of ’69, which got little airplay and was not worth buying as a single since you knew the double LP was coming, and in the spring, it did!
Not sure it’s the same experience anymore. First you had to drive to the store. After you knew the album was coming. This was before the rock press matured, you depended upon the radio, and free-form had invaded the New York market, I drove with my newly-acquired license to E.J. Korvette to buy the double LP.
And we treated them like gold. At least I did. Sure, packages would get scuffed as time went by, there’d be wear and tear, but when you got home they were still brand new and you broke the shrinkwrap and opened them so gently, removing the LPs by the label and edge only, dropping them on the turntable and waiting for…
Those first notes you’d never heard before.
Kinda liked dropping the needle on “Hotel California” the day it was released, the only thing that was on the airwaves was “New Kid In Town,” I had a brand new stereo with JBL L100’s and I dropped the needle on my direct drive Panasonic and…WOW!
Kinda like buying “Band On The Run” when all you knew was “Helen Wheels.”
In the ensuing weeks FM played elements of “Tommy,” but I was still part of a very small club, which over time grew bigger, to tell you the truth what really blew it up was the “Woodstock” movie the following spring, suddenly everybody was involved, SEE ME, FEEL ME, TOUCH ME, HEAL ME!
But there was not another hit on “Tommy,” hell, in America the Who’s only real hit had been mild, with “I Can See For Miles,” and most people still weren’t tuned into FM, if they even had a radio that could receive that band, so I dug deeply into the rock opera and told everybody about it, had my mother send the album to Chicago so I could turn the frat rats in the basement on to it as we resided upstairs and they smoked dope downstairs.
And at this point I’d been to the opera, that’s the luxury of living so close to NYC, the school takes you, the best one was “Carmen,” my mother had a policy, when it came to the arts there was an unlimited budget, and just like those productions in Manhattan, “Tommy” began with an overture, and when the HillBenders blew into the “Overture” Friday night, tears came to my eyes.
It was better than seeing Roger and Pete, they’re going through the motions, I’m just gonna be reminded of what was, seeing them with Moon and Entwistle do it straight through at the Fillmore, it would be nostalgic, it would be a bit creepy, but this bluegrass version…IT WAS FULLY ALIVE!
None of the HillBenders were alive when “Tommy” first came out. They were playing classic music, with a twist.
Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been. Not only to fans of the Dead, but to those of us who lived through the classic rock era, who saw the pop acts wiped off the map by the Beatles, who sparked the free-format era, the concept album concept, and then the explosion of FM leading to corporate rock and then MTV to…
I don’t know where here is. All I know is it won’t be fully free of constraints until the baby boomers pass the torch, which they’re loath to do. They hate electronic music, they hate rap, they hate everything the streamers care for. But you can’t hold back the future, and we’re getting somewhere great.
But I’m not sure it’ll be as great as where we once were.
On paper, “Tommy” is a stupid concept. But, like the initial live performances of “Quadrophenia,” the HillBenders explained it. And it kind of made more sense.
But to those of us who were there, we’d transcended the story, we knew the music by heart, even if we rarely played it, it’s in our DNA.
And these free shows are dominated by geezers and grazers, people out on a lark, getting out of the house on the hottest night of the year, it could be anything on stage, but to gain their attention…
You have to know how to play, to perform, your material’s got to win.
And seeing these pickers in action, you were wowed.
But they were playing some of the best material of all time.
I never checked my phone. And I do that at shows of today’s greats.
All I could do was sit there, nod my head, sing along at times, and marvel at where I once was and how I got here. Being nowhere in the suburbs and making it to L.A., climbing the ladder, going somewhere, the movie of my life unfolded in my brain. Since this was a new band playing the music with the aforementioned twist I didn’t have to compare it to what once was, I didn’t have to feel old, but then the memories came flooding back, of not only seeing the Who, but where I was when I was listening, memories that are so deeply buried some of them haven’t resurfaced since the sixties.
Is classic rock the new classical music?
It’s amazing how many bands have fallen by the wayside. Has anybody played a Seatrain album recently?
But then there’s stuff that sustains.
Other stuff that’s rarely played but people know.
And when you hear it you marvel at the creativity embodied, the great leap forward artistically, the Who went from a middling band to the absolute bleeding edge, they only got bigger from there, one can argue “Who’s Next” was superior, many people believe “Live At Leeds” is the best live LP extant. And you wonder how Pete came up with this stuff.
And the HillBenders worked through songs we know by heart, the transition from the “Overture” to “Captain Walker,” they played “Pinball Wizard” with as dramatic a transition as the original, do you remember listening on headphones waiting for the explosion to arrive in the other ear, and there were appearances by Uncle Ernie and Sally Simpson and then…
Welcome to the camp
I guess you all know why we’re here
Actually, we didn’t. We were just going about our business, going to school, being on the swim team, and then the whole world went topsy-turvy, the sixties truly arrived, that’s what that first installment of the Grateful Dead movie depicts so well, suddenly the establishment was done and the hippies took over. And leading the charge was MUSIC!
We weren’t gonna take the old crap anymore. The youth were not divided, we were all on the same page, gaining strength all the time.
We got the music.
We felt the heat.
We millions saw the glory.
We got opinions.
We got the story from rock acts like the Who.
And what we wanted most was to be seen, to be felt, to be touched, the music healed us.
And when “We’re Not Gonna Take It” faded into the ether there was only one option…
A STANDING OVATION!
In September 2014, three songwriters met for the first time in a cafe in East Nashville. By the next morning they had put the finishing touches to their first song, ‘Applewood Road’, which they recorded live to tape at Nashville’s all analogue studio, Welcome to 1979.
The song’s nostalgic air, along with the clear, sparse arrangement of three vocals accompanied by double bass, drew immediate positive response, and they decided to expand the idea into a full album.
Six months later, they reconvened to write, rehearse and record songs for the self-titled album Applewood Road. The songs were again performed live around a single microphone at Welcome to 1979 and recorded to two-track tape with minimal accompaniment from some of Nashville’s finest session players, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Josh Day, Fats Kaplin, Jabe Beyer, and Telisha Williams.
The tapes were assembled at London’s most exclusive high-end mastering suite, Gearbox Records, mastered through their vintage analogue outboard, and lacquers cut in-house on their own Haeco lathe.
Applewood Road is Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace.
Folk Alliance presented a lifetime achievement award to American treasure Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, the 84-year-old folk legend who befriended Woody Guthrie and directly inspired Bob Dylan – and, by extension, every one of the more than 2,000 folkies hanging around Kentucky for Folk Alliance this past week.
We would like to congratulate Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley for their nomination in Best Bluegrass Album for Before The Sun Goes Down on Compass Records. We would also like to congratulate The Fairfield Four for their nomination in Best Roots Gospel Album with Still Rockin’ My Soul on Fairfield Four Records.
SHEL is the acronym for the four sisters names: Sarah on violin, Hannah on keyboards, Eva on mandolin, and Liza on drums, djembe and beatboxing. SHEL’s forthcoming sophomore LP will be released on Dave Stewart’s new label, Dave Stewart Entertainment, in the Spring of 2016.
TITLE TRACK PREMIERE ON
"Radio" - Paste Magazine
"Blow Me Away" - No Depression
Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers’ highly anticipated new album, RADIO, will be released August 28 on Rounder Records and can now be pre-ordered via Amazon. Produced by Jerry Douglas (John Oates, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck), the album’s title track premieres today on The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. Of the track, The Wall Street Journal comments, "Led by bright fiddle and tight, interlocking harmony vocals, the track is a wide-eyed tribute to the magic of discovering music over the airwaves, with sly references to other songs salted into the lyrics." Stream the song and read the piece here: http://on.wsj.com/1GLaTft. In addition, the band is currently in the midst of a widespread U.S. tour including dates in Telluride, CO, Boulder, CO, Charleston, SC, Raleigh, NC, New York City and Washington, DC.
The Steep Canyon Rangers are Woody Platt (guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Nicky Sanders (fiddle) and Mike Ashworth (box kit). Known for touring extensively and widely praised for their performances, the acclaimed bluegrass band performs between 125 and 150 dates per year, including tours they share with actor/comedian and respected banjo player Steve Martin and esteemed singer-songwriter Edie Brickell.
RADIO is Steep Canyon Rangers’ ninth studio album and was recorded with Douglas at Asheville, NC’s Echo Mountain Recording Studio. The album comprises twelve all-original bluegrass/ Americana tracks written by Sharp, Humphrey, Platt and Guggino in varying degrees, including a few co-writes with fellow musicians from the folk world such as Phil Barker of the Carolina bluegrass band Town Mountain.
RADIO follows Steep Canyon Rangers’ 2013 release, Tell The Ones I Love, which Bluegrass Today praised as “…a great mixture of today’s bluegrass styles, excellent harmonies, and a few surprises…an excellent album…The Steep Canyon Rangers have delivered another winner, and their fans are sure to be pleased.” Ed Helms’ The Bluegrass Situation asserted, “It’s an exquisite recording, a wonderful marriage of their talent and work ethic, and Larry Campbell’s remarkable intuition.” Previously, their 2012 release, Nobody Knows You, was presented the Grammy Award for “Best Bluegrass Album.” The band has also been nominated for and won multiple awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, including Entertainers of the Year in 2011 for their work with Steve Martin.
Continuously involved with the community and charitable organizations, Steep Canyon Rangers’ annual Mountain Song Festival, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Transylvania County, will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year, kicking off with an inaugural Steep Canyon 50 K & Relay Ultra Run on September 10th. Additionally, the band has entered a partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery and their CAN’d Aid Foundation as well as SevenBar Aviation and their affiliated hospital foundations.
“One of the most expressive bluegrass bands you’ll find…” – CMT Edge
“…holding fast to bluegrass roots but refusing to do what some hard-liners maintain passes for tradition: aping the sounds and styles of first-generation bluegrassers Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs.”
– The Tennessean
“Meaningful and engaging.” – PopMatters
“Virtuosic playing…witty, honest, songwriting.” – Charleston City Paper
RADIO TRACK LIST
2. Diamonds In The Dust
3. Simple Is Me
4. Blow Me Away
5. Blue Velvet Rain
6. Looking Glass
7. Down That Road Again
10. Long Summer
11. When The Well Runs Dry
12. Monumental Fool
Press Release: Sacks and Co.
Out June 2nd on Compass Records
Watch the video for “Tommy’s Holiday Camp/Eyesight to the Blind” Exclusively Available Via Billboard.com
“The HillBenders...proved to be the perfect group to execute this "Whograss" concept” –Rolling Stone, “50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW”
“Ambitiously and audaciously rendered…Well worth standing in the rain to hear.” –Gary Graff, Billboard
“Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry was the highpoint of a night of many stellar Friday night performances at Folk Alliance.” –Timothy Finn, Kansas City Star
May 5, 2015 (Nashville, Tennessee) – Forty-five years after its initial release, The Who’s rock opera Tommy has been transformed by The Hillbenders into a full-length bluegrass tribute with all of the original record’s energy, instrumental showmanship, and rock star vocals in tact.
Originally recorded with a full rock band, the dynamic bluegrass quintet recreated the legendary album with a banjo, Dobro, mandolin, bass, and guitar. The “Bluegrass Opry,” as its been dubbed, brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying homage to its creators.
SXSW co-founder and musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers conceived the idea of a “bluegrass opry” and felt he’d found the right band to pull off this high-wire approach to the record when he met The Hillbenders, a band known for its ability to bridge the gap between musical genres and fans.
The live performance is a full 75-minute show covering the original album from start to finish with special video accompaniment and audience participation.
The HillBenders will host a pre-launch show on May 10th at Nashville’s historic bluegrass haven, Station Inn.
“There are a lot of worthy and compelling Americana singer-songsters and bands out there right now, it’s a rich landscape. But The Honeycutters, fronted by Amanda Platt is surely a wonder to behold. The band just sounds so darn good and makes a style of country music that always makes me feel good, even when it’s so melancholy. I think Amanda has something to teach us about the economy of words, the magic of a good melody and the satisfaction of an aching and honest vocal.” – Amy Ray, The Indigo Girls Led by songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, The Honeycutters include Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums, and Matt Smith rounds out the band on pedal steel, electric guitar, and dobro to create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as in a church or a theater. Fueled by the powerful songwriting and vocals of founder Amanda Platt, Me Oh My moves her into the spotlight as producer, band leader, and principal creative force behind the band. With songs that are honest and relatable, part chagrin and part hope, Platt’s voice carries a timeless appeal.
In both her simple composition and honest delivery it’s easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her Father’s extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, Platt cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.
Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst calls The Honeycutters “… just superb, with a sweet toned and melodious aura… Today’s Smoky Mountain area modern folk thing does have a certain vibe, and these guys are among its finest purveyors.” Folk Music About.com’s Kim Ruehl wrote, “Their music embodies a very catchy, accessible, optimistic sort of spirit so frequently lacking in folk circles (where brooding, hyper-analytical music reigns supreme). What’s more, like Carolina Story, they’re a great band replete with tasty harmonies.”
The Honeycutters formed in 2007 in Asheville, NC, the town they still call home, and had quick success with their first release Irene (2009). Me Oh My is the highly anticipated follow up to the 2012’s When Bitter Met Sweet. Each album has helped to grow grow their audience and expand their tours to include notable appearances at MerleFest, Suwannee Springfest, Strawberry Music Festival, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Folk Alliance, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Nelsonville Music Festival. They have also performed alongside esteemed musicians Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Amy Ray, Donna the Buffalo, Jill Andrews, and The Steep Canyon Rangers.
Two brand new albums hit the streets today from The Fairfield Four & The McCrary Sisters! Do yourself a favor, and be sure to pick up a copy of each!:
The Fairfield Four: Still Rockin' My Soul: http://smarturl.it/StillRockinMySoul
[Fairfield Four Records | Distribution by Thirty Tigers, Sony Red, and Provident]
The McCrary Sisters: http://smarturl.it/Lets-Go
[McC Records | Distribution by Thirty Tigers]
The Fairfield Four are a legitimate national treasure with a history that goes back nearly 100 years when the original members began singing at The Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville. Over the years the group has received numerous honors including two Grammy awards, a National Heritage Award and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They are best known for their appearance in the Coen brothers movie, “O Brother Where Art Thou,” and the corresponding soundtrack. The current members of the Fairfield Four are Joe Thompson, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., and Bobbye Sherrell. Their four soulful voices combine into a rich harmony that’s as soothing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Deborah, Regina and Alfreda) are the daughters of the late Rev. Samuel McCrary -- one of the original members of the legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four. The daughters were raised in harmony, singing at home and at their father's church, but word soon spread of their individual accomplished voices and each began sharing the family vocal legacy as solo artists with a wide range of performers to include Bob Dylan, Elvis, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder.
In 2011, the Sisters officially formed their own group, The McCrary Sisters, and have recorded or performed with the Black Keys, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph, The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Nashville’s Jonathan Jackson, Mike Ferris and many more. They have been featured on Bobby Jones Gospel and TBN’s Jason Crabbe Show.
The McCrary Sisters’ new CD Let’s Go is produced by Buddy Miller and features The Fairfield Four.
“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball” Maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but a line known by all the world from the biggest rock opera of all time, The Who’s Tommy.
45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock has now been fully realized as a full length bluegrass tribute featuring Springfield, Missouri’s The HillBenders. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers, this Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying total respect to its creators.
Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant value". In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Tommy number 96 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this high wire bluegrass approach for several decades and The HillBenders are the right band. With a perfect mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring Pete Townshend’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way.
It’s amazing to hear banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass, and guitar bring the same energy and vision to Tommy as The Who did with a full rock band and orchestra.
The HillBenders are one of the few bluegrass groups that recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any hillbilly stigmas. With their widely varied influences, they are trying to bring to bluegrass songs that unify. “We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with —rock and roll!” say HillBender Nolan Lawrence.
The live performance is a full 75 minute show covering the original album from start to finish with special video accompaniment and audience participation.
This recording was originally planned as a co-production with the legendary musician/producer Lou Whitney. After Lou’s tragic passing in October 2014, plans were revised to record in Lou’s studio in Springfield, Missouri surrounded by those that helped create the Lou Whitney sound and style of making records. This record is dedicated to the memory of the late great Lou Whitney.
Tommy is appealing to music fans of all ages. This is truly a classic.
Credits: Jim Rea – Guitar/Arranger Nolan Lawrence - Mandolin Chad "Gravy Boat" Graves - Dobro Mark Cassidy - Banjo Gary Rea – Bass All vocals: The HillBenders Recorded at The Studio, Springfield MO
Born in New Jersey to a musical theater father and a dancing mother, Alessandra has lived in the entertainment world her whole life. She studied Public Relations at SUNY New Paltz until transferring to Belmont University to study Music Business. Alessandra co-founded a concert series called Little Light Shows, bringing bands into the living rooms of local Nashvillians. Apart from going out to see great bands, her favorite thing is when she can sleep in on a rainy Sunday with her cat, Lina.
The Fairfield Four is back in action! The group just launched a PledgeMusic Campaign where you may pre-order the brand new album, Still Rockin' My Soul, as well as check out exclusive items: autographed CDs, photos, the group's signature overalls, and legacy items such as rare 78's and signed pictures of earlier members.
With every pre-order, you'll receive a download of the album ahead of the digital release AND you'll also have access to exclusive photos and videos of The Fairfield Four backstage or in the studio. You'll even have the opportunity to sing on stage with the group or have them over for a house concert!
Still Rockin' My Soul will be released on March 10th, 2015 (Distribution by Thirty Tigers, Sony Red, and Provident). The album features Lee Ann Womack and coordinates with the PBS pledge campaign entitled, "Rock My Soul!"
The Fairfield Four are a legitimate national treasure with a history that goes back nearly 100 years when the original members began singing at The Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville. Over the years the group has received numerous honors including two Grammy awards, a National Heritage Award and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They are best known for their appearance in the Coen brothers movie, "O Brother Where Art Thou," and the corresponding soundtrack. The current members of the Fairfield Four are Joe Thompson, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., and Bobbye Sherrell. Their four soulful voices combine into a rich harmony that's as soothing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
To get album teasers, special offers, and the most up-to-date news, join The Fairfield Four's mailing list via their website or Facebook page below: