Awesome photo of Graham Nash at the @stateofithaca this weekend courtesy of @caseymartinphotos !! He's at the @aomtheatre in Northampton tonight!
Academy of Music - Northampton, MA
DAR WILLIAMS Return to MORTAL CITY The 20th Anniversary Tour When The Honesty Room came out in 1994, I left my three part time jobs for one touring life, writing songs on notepads and napkins as I went. I have clear memories of places where I wrote lyrics. My housemate Sarah Davis had said, "I think you should look at this story about an ice storm in Philadelphia. The whole city basically shut down, voluntarily, to help the hospitals keep running." So I wrote half of the song, Mortal City, in Lisa Wittner's bathtub in Boulder. I wrote a verse of As Cool As I Am looking out my friend Jay's window in San Francisco. And then I tried it out on a group of cool woman at the Kumbwa Cafe in Santa Cruz. I started The Ocean in an undisclosed Washington city, surrounded by aspiring heroin addicts, while February began on the drive home from a friendly coffeehouse in eastern Massachusetts. I wrote Iowa...well, it's pretty obvious where I wrote that. Steve Miller, who had done such beautiful work at Wyndham Hill, produced the album. He had this crazy new thing called digital recording that you could do anywhere, and since I lived with one of my managers, Charlie Hunter, we tacked up blankets on the walls and turned a whole room into the sound booth. The Nields sisters went in and harmonized with their sister shorthand: "That's too--" "Yeah." "Maybe I'll try--" "Yes. And I'll--" "Totally." Gideon Freudmann wandered into the blanket room and played the now familiar part in February as well as the trippy solo (as only Gideon could do), on the song about college potheads. Steve brought players into New York City who were as generous of spirit as they were wildly talented. He introduced me to Steve Gaboury, Larry Campbell, Zev Katz, Billy Ward, Marc Schulman and his good friend, the late, great Jeff Golub. He also fired me on back-up vocals on The Christians and Pagans and asked Lucy Kaplansky to sing them instead! He got Eileen Ivers to play the tempestuous part at the end of The Ocean and helped me invite John Prine to sing on it. I remember the first time I was on Mountain Stage in West Virginia, John poked his head into my dressing room and said, "I'll sing on your song." And then, when we released the album in 1996, Joan Baez let me come with her throughout the United States. I loved every minute of touring with Joan. She did everything she could to teach me the ropes while always noting how far I'd already come. One night she had the band in her room after a show and the next morning I found my boots outside my room with the note, "You need new shoes. Other than that, you're perfect. -Joan" A second album can be a daunting experience, but thanks to my managers Charlie and Carole, Razor and Tie, Steve Miller and Joan, it all felt like a magic carpet ride, and I can't thank everyone enough (I might have been too tired to thank them at the time). And, given the title of the record, I also want to mention what I've seen since I released Mortal City. In the nineties, most towns and cities were still reeling from the decline of manufacturing and the rise of shopping malls. I was working with coffeehouse volunteers, local radio stations, and promoters who were trying very hard, with limited resources, to bring music, poetry and life back into their downtowns. Thanks to people like them, not only have many places reclaimed their former glory, they've improved on their histories, embracing their brick-walled, tree-lined Main Streets as they've welcomed more worldliness and diversity in the present. In 1996 I said, "We are not lost in the mortal city" as a statement of faith, and now, twenty years later, I say it as a statement of fact. Thank you for opening up your towns and cities to me over the last twenty years. We're very excited to be presenting the full album on tour this fall. Always, Dar Williams
State Theatre - Ithaca, NY
with PWR BTTM
Side Pony, recorded in the winter of 2015, has an exhilarating feel from start to finish. For listeners familiar with Lake Street Dive, it’s a natural evolution of the band’s sound. The arrangements offer a knowing nod to the past while the lyrics tackle the pitfalls of modern romance in a manner that’s often more playful than rueful. And lead singer Rachael Price’s vocals have a teasing swagger to them. Neither her heart nor her hairstyle will be messed with. A side pony, for Lake Street Dive, is really a metaphor for their philosophy and personality as a band, one that seamlessly incorporates R&B, pop, ’60s era rock, and soul into a unique, dance party ready mix. As bassist Bridget Kearney puts it, “When we were settling on the album title, that one just stuck out to us as embodying the band’s spirit. We’ve always been this somewhat uncategorizable, weird, outlying genre less band. That’s the statement we wanted to make with this record: be yourself.” The members of Lake Street Dive—named after an avenue of seedy bars in guitarist and trumpeter Michael “McDuck” Olson’s native Minneapolis—met in 2004 as students at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. Powerhouse singer Price fronts the quartet while Kearney and drummer Michael Calabrese comprise the rhythm section. Lake Street Dive’s major label debut, Side Pony, will be released by Nonesuch Records on February 19th, 2016
State Theatre - Ithaca, NY
Glass Animals vocalist and songwriter David Bayley draws influence for both music and artwork from his involvement in the world of medicine and neuroscience (at just 22 yrs old, he has studied both) creating a sound with it's roots spread between the electronic and live instrumentation. The result is the warm, narcotic space between a downbeat, slow-burning groove and electro-pop catchiness.
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
Over 25 years since breaking through to critical and commercial acclaim with his 1982 self-titled debut and its infectious, era- defining pop hit "Someday, Someway," Marshall Crenshaw creates an incredible new chapter in his career with his 429 Records debut Jaggedland. Crenshaw's first studio recording in more than six years is his most musically dynamic and lyrically intimate collection yet. Classic Crenshaw attributes including an indelible sense of melody and tuneful essence combine to create a rich warmth and intimacy on every song of Jaggedland. The recording has a powerful vibe of immediacy thanks to Crenshaw's warm vocals and riveting guitar work. He takes the production to its highest levels working with a roster of well known musical heroes and veteran producers. Crenshaw first recorded two tracks in Upstate New York with Stewart Lerman (The Roches, Dar Williams), the melancholy "Sunday Blues" and the fiery rocker "Someone Told Me." Crenshaw did seven of the tracks at Sage and Sound Studios in Los Angeles with producer/engineer Jerry Boys (REM, Richard Thompson, Buena Vista Social Club), who had been his "wish list" since he heard the Mambo Sinuendo album Boys engineered for Ry Cooder and Cuban guitarist Manuel Galban in 2003. Highlights of these West Coast sessions are "Passing Through," the hopeful "Eventually" and the powerful "Long Hard Road." The album title Jaggedland is a term Crenshaw says best describes the current state of his brain and consciousness. Simply put, the 12 songs are musical observations about the human experience, mortality, the state of the world and of course, love as viewed through the inimitable Crenshaw perspective. The sessions involved key contributions from legendary drummer Jim Keltner (whose credits include The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson and Joni Mitchell); guitarists Greg Leisz (Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant) and the MC5's Wayne Kramer as well as legendary vibraphonist, Emil Richards (Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Frank Sinatra). "It was exciting and inspiring to work with such amazing musicians and producers. I fell in love with Mambo Sinuendo five years ago," Crenshaw continues, "and when I started thinking about recording my next record, Jerry immediately came to mind. When I found out that he was once an assistant engineer for The Beatles--that sealed the deal!" "I also owe Stewart Lerman much of the credit for getting the ball rolling and inspiring me to start thinking about writing and recording this album," Crenshaw adds. "When we ran into each other at a political event in 2004, he gave me a pep talk and said he wanted to work with me. We hooked up about a year later and I started dabbling in new songs. As things went along, I started to feel like the material was taking on some unexpected dimensions and it dawned on me that I still have such a huge appreciation and respect for records as an art form--and a deep love for the power of songs and music. Even at this late stage of the game, with so many years and recordings behind me, I felt compelled to step up and reach as deep into myself as I could. That renewed sense of passion and commitment is the driving force behind the songs on Jaggedland, which I truly believe are some of my best ever." Born in Detroit, Michigan, Crenshaw began playing guitar at age ten and he received his first break playing John Lennon in the off-Broadway company of Beatlemania. In 1987, he played Buddy Holly in the Richie Valens biopic "La Bamba." Living in NYC, he recorded the single "Something's Gonna Happen" for Alan Betrock's Shake Records, which led to a deal with Warner Bros. His debut album, Marshall Crenshaw was acclaimed as a pop masterpiece upon its release in 1982 and established him as a first-rate songwriter, singer and guitarist. The record spawned the Top 40 single "Someday, Someway," which rockabilly singer Robert Gordon scored a hit with a year earlier. Crenshaw's second album, 1983's Field Day, was another critical smash and led to a successful slate of 20-plus years of studio recordings that offered a fascinating evolutionary journey through an array of musical landscapes. A quote from Trouser Press sums up Marshall Crenshaw's early career: "Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself." All Music Guide captured Crenshaw's vibe perfectly: "He writes songs that are melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an honesty and force that still finds room for humor without venom." As Crenshaw was developing Jaggedland's mix of poignant and incisive love songs and musings on mortality, he ventured once again into the film world, co-penning the title track to the hilarious, critically acclaimed John C. Reilly film "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"; the track was nominated for a 2008 Golden Globe and a 2008 Grammy Award. Over the last few years, Crenshaw has played 40 - 50 shows a year on what he dubs "the NPR singer-songwriter circuit." Says Crenshaw, "This album took a lot of wear and tear on my emotions, but in the end I think it's one of my best ever and I am so excited to have worked with so many of my favorite players on it. When people ask me why I keep making music after all these years, I have a simple answer: because I have to. For lack of a more colorful term, there is truly something magical to it and I never take it for granted."
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with City Limits
Young songwriter Marcus King’s debut album, Soul Insight, out now via Evil Teen Records, displays his stunning command of rock, blues, psychedelia, funk, soul and improvisation — all with a distinctly Southern musical accent. It also brings the 19-year-old a step closer to his musical destiny. “I guess I knew I was born to play guitar when I was seven,” King says. “That’s when I got my first electric guitar, and while all the other kids were outside playing, I’d be inside on that guitar. When I got in trouble in school, my daddy said I could choose between a spanking and getting my guitar taken away for a week. I took the spanking.” Soul Insight is the explosive result of that dedication, magnified by another dozen years and more than a thousand nights playing in clubs — initially alongside his father, bluesman Marvin King — since the age of 11, just two years before Marcus formed his own group and stepped into the role of leader. King’s talents and trajectory have already led his band across the country, and he’s opening shows for the Foo Fighters, Johnny Winter and, of course, Gov’t Mule and its leader, Warren Haynes. King emerged from his native Greenville, South Carolina, and its sister city Asheville, North Carolina, where Haynes was born. King hit Haynes’ radar thanks to the reputation the young artist has earned with his incendiary live performances. In December 2014, King and his band were invited to perform as part of Haynes’ annual Christmas Jam benefit, which occurs in Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center Arena, the prestigious club the Orange Peel and other rooms around the musician-and-artist-heavy mountain city. A few months before that, the Marcus King Band had recorded Soul Insight at the Compound Studio, just south of Los Angeles in Signal Hill, California. “Recording the album was a really organic experience,” says King, who also produced Soul Insight. “Whether I wrote the song or, in the case of the instrumentals, we developed them together as a band, we’d played them long enough so we were really comfortable with the material. And we lived at the studio while we were recording, so it was really laid back and comfortable. That let me relax and play my best.” How good is King’s best? Good enough that Haynes picked up the album for his Evil Teen label and has signed on to produce its follow-up. The proof of King’s developing virtuosity and vision is in the tracks. Soul Insight opens with “Always,” a riff-driven rocker about a spurned lover that brings King’s big burnished tone to the fore. “Boone” displays King’s acoustic side and reveals his talents as an arranger, opening with his singing slide resonator guitar and voice, and building to an explosive crescendo that echoes the influence of his own guitar heroes, including Haynes and his Allman Brothers Band foil Derek Trucks, and Jimi Hendrix. Soul Insight’s first single and album’s closing song, “I Won’t Be Here,” also echoes the Allman’s in King’s gorgeous, arcing vocal melody and the blend of King’s acoustic and electric guitars as he sings about the bittersweet experience of moving past an old romance into a new relationship. “Warren and Derek were big influences on me,” King relates, citing the 2003 Allman Brothers’ album Hittin’ the Note and Trucks’ Grammy-winning Already Free as particularly inspiring. “That’s the level I aspire to with my own music,” King adds. The instrumental “Fraudulent Waffle” channels those aspirations in a daring five-minute journey into the elegant, expansive jam world that was the Allmans’ forte and remains a hallmark of Gov’t Mule. King double tracks his instrument to emulate the Allmans’ signature twin guitar harmonies and then launches into a solo that embraces elements of jazz and blues before an exploratory duet with the album’s organist Alex Abercrombie. Of course, King’s singing is every bit as potent as the sweet and surly voices of his guitars — a mix of his main Gibson SG, a Les Paul Deluxe and an ES-345 plugged into a pair of Fender Super Reverb amps run in stereo and teased by only one effect: a Tube Screamer overdrive pedal. King’s warm, soaring tenor reflects a variety of soul and blues greats he considers fuel for his songwriting and performing that includes Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Ray Lamontagne and Haynes. But King’s first musical well was his father, a guitarist and singer whose Marvin King & the Blues Revival remains a staple of the Carolina music scene. “My father is still my biggest musical hero,” King says. “I’d see him coming home in the early morning hours after gigs when I was a little kid, and I thought my dad had the coolest job ever. I wanted to carry on the lineage. His father played fiddle and guitar, and his grandfather played fiddle. So when he took me to play my first gigs with him when I was about 11, it already felt completely natural.” “Natural” and “organic” are words King uses often. He puts a premium on writing songs that share his perspective on the world and in letting arrangements come to life in rehearsals and on the stage, evolving as the group plays them. King says he’s already recorded more than two-dozen varied demos for Soul Insight’s follow-up. “The band’s current line-up is really perfect for me,” King explains. “With a trumpet and trombone we can have a really interesting instrumental color along with the guitar. Having an organ lets me get into the zone of classic jazz and blues. And with a percussionist and a drummer, we can do more elaborate rhythms and explore Latin music. So I have all I need to really take the music anywhere. “Off stage, I’m a very introverted person,” he continues. “Making music is how I speak my mind and let people see the way I view the world — as a big, rich and colorful place with so much in it and so much to offer. And with Soul Insight, I think me and my band have come out kickin’, showing everybody who wants to listen what I’m all about.”
The Bushnell - Hartford, Connecticut
More than 50 years into a storied career, Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable -- marching on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, inspiring Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, singing on the first Amnesty International tour and more recently, standing alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park. She shined a spotlight on the Free Speech Movement, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the Vietnam War, then forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest the Iraq war. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963, beginning a tradition of mutual mentoring that continues to this day. Amongst the many honors bestowed upon her, she is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the greatest honor that the Recording Academy can bestow (2007). Day After Tomorrow, her 2008 album was praised by critics and nominated for a Grammy. Its release was followed by the PBS American Masters premier of her life story, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound. In addition to multiple tours of the US and abroad, the recent past has included the induction of Joan’s 1960 debut Vanguard LP by the National Recording Academy into the Grammy® Hall Of Fame and the presentation to her of the inaugural Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights at Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary gathering in 2012.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
The Get Up Kids is an American alternative rock band from Kansas City, Missouri. Formed in 1995, the band was a major player in the mid-90's emo scene, otherwise known as the "second wave" of emo music. As they gained prominence, they began touring with bands such as Green Day and Weezer before becoming headliners themselves, eventually embarking on international tours of Japan and Europe. They founded Heroes & Villains Records, an imprint of the successful indie rock label Vagrant Records. While the imprint was started to release albums by The Get Up Kids, it served as a launching pad for several side-projects such as The New Amsterdams and Reggie and the Full Effect.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with Hop Along & Alex G
When Built To Spill wanted to find out what their music sounded like they locked themselves in Doug Martschs garage. Without a tentative conclusion or even a hypothesis the four members began to experiment. Their collaborative efforts lasted seasons and yielded dozens of hours of ADAT tape. The album You In Reverse documents the newest branch of Built To Spills chaotic, yet elegant evolution. Doug Martsch formed Built To Spill in 1992. His intention was to sustain a project that would involve a rotating cast of musicians to record albums and tour. The first incarnation of Built To Spill included Doug, Brett Netson, and Ralf (Youtz). Recording in the middle of the night in order to get free studio time, they assembled 1993s Ultimate Alternative Wavers. For a few years and a few records band members came and went. In 1996, while recording the album Perfect From Now On (their Warner Bros. Records debut), Doug found a rhythm section he could not relinquish: Brett Nelson and Scott Plouf. This line-up toured and made records with additional guest musicians Brett Netson and Sam Coomes. In 1999, after the release of Keep It Like A Secret, Jim Roth joined the band as live co-guitarist. In the five years since the bands most recent effort Ancient Melodies Of The Future was released, Built To Spill took an eighteen-month vacation. When the group returned to work, the line-up included Jim Roth as a core member. This foursome started jamming and recording their hours-long musical explorations. According to Doug, they had no idea what kind of music they wanted to make. You In Reverse arrives as the most collaborative record in the bands thirteen-year history. To a large extent, each musician wrote his own parts. Half of the finished material incorporates segments the band wrote together during jam sessions. Doug did bring in a few songs ready to go. Tracks like Liar and Saturday were pretty much there when the band learned them, while Goin Against Your Mind and Traces are full of riffs discovered during musical research. Dougs private writing process then allowed him to meld favorite spontaneous moments with composed transitions and intricate melodies. With a batch of songs in hand, the goal became to keep the recording simple and stripped down. The band wanted to retain the impromptu, organic feel of their jams. Rather than Dougs former reliance on extensive overdubs, the group tried to capture loose and live moments, letting each individual musicians talents be more accurately represented. Instead of a broad, atmospheric sweep, this record sounds natural. It resonates with relationships, the way the band as a whole responds to music and to each other. Being the new guy, Jim Roth appreciated this approach. To Jim, they were striving to see what the band could be, the four of us. Now we can see the potential. These new songs are just starting to scratch the surface. Expressing his connection to music as that of both craftsman and artist, he considers each composition to be like a painting or a sculpture, its own thing. As a discrete creation the record relies on more than good chemistry and Dougs expansive writing. The band decided to self-produce in order to put themselves in a new situation. Similar to the generative process, they felt a need to try something different. Just to see what would happen, Doug admits, Ive made enough records to know I could do this. Also, engineers take pride in their work and would not let it be too fucked up. When they chose Steve Lobdells Audible Alchemy studio, they happened upon another element of the album. Steve, being the musical person he is, just fell into the role of co-producer, Doug says, then recants, Its not even really produced. Its cleanly recorded and mixed. Its not slick. At Audible Alchemy, they wound up chasing a 1960s sound. Sonically, Doug says, We wanted it to sound like classic rock or soula piece of vinyl. Both Steve and engineer Jacob Hall are audiophiles who love old records and are into those sorts of sounds. They used analog recording equipment and spent hours listening back to tracks for the smallest nuances. Steve (a member of Faust) also played space echo, guitar, vibes, and percussion on the record. He understood the songs and their parameters, making specific and well-considered contributions. Other guest musicians include Quasis Sam Coomes on organ and longtime Built To Spill contributor Brett Netson on guitar. Partway through the making of this record, Netson officially joined Built To Spill as their fifth member and played guitar on three of the songs. His mind-melting solo on Just A Habit will remind longtime Built To Spill listeners of the amazing lead guitar tracks he laid down for Perfect From Now On. When Doug is asked what he wants people to know about the album, he replies, I would rather not manipulate peoples opinions about it. Bassist Brett Nelson thinks this record is what everybody in the band would want it to sound like. Brett also mentions the different styles of songs, anything from New Wave to Reggae breakdowns. While many influences and song structures arise and dissolve, none dominates the overall force of the album. The songs are haunting rather than catchy. Each musical thought is surprising and complete. Dougs lyrics hint at politics, but could also be personal. As usual, the words lining the songs are neither directive nor dogmatic. Rational thoughts are constantly sacrificed to the metric and melodic needs of each song. No message blares forth. And yet, its understood.
State Theatre - Ithaca, NY
“I’m at a point where I’m having a lot of fun with music, more than ever,” Boz Scaggs says about his spellbinding new album, A Fool to Care. “It’s like I’m just going wherever I want to go with it.” You can hear that sense of fun, as well as that ability and willingness to wander in any musical direction throughout the album’s twelve tracks. The inspirational heart of those songs lies in the sounds of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma that played such a vital role in shaping Scaggs’ musical sensibility. Fans who have followed Scaggs’ remarkable career dating back to the late Sixties with the Steve Miller Band; his solo triumphs with such classic albums as Silk Degrees (1976) and Middle Man (1980); and the splendid assurance of late-period high points like Some Change (1994) and Dig (2001), will instantly recognize Scaggs’ characteristically deft touch as a singer. Scaggs believes that this album and Memphis, its immediate predecessor, might turn out to be the first two parts of a trilogy, a three-album collaboration with producer Steve Jordan and the band of extraordinarily empathetic musicians they love to work with.
The Dock - Ithaca, NY