Janiva Magness

DepressionThe story of award-winning vocalist Janiva Magness’ rise to the top of the blues world and beyond is a testament to the redemptive power of music and the human spirit. Possessing a rich, soulful voice and absolute command over her material, Magness is an incredibly gifted performer who can lead her audience through a range of emotions, from the deepest sorrow to overwhelming joy. A survivor of an impossibly rough childhood, Magness’ life experience informs her music in a way that is brutally honest, emotionally moving and, above all, spiritually healing. Winner of the 2006 and 2007 Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Artist Of The Year, Magness has seven solo recordings to her credit and has made guest appearances on CDs by R.L. Burnside and many others.

The Holmes Brothers

An absolute Narrows fave. The spine-tingling harmonies, boundless energy and telepathic musicianship of The Holmes Brothers (bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist/pianist/ vocalist Wendell Holmes, drummer/vocalist Popsy Dixon) mix Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of Sunday’s church service. As Wendell says about their blend of the secular and the sacred, ‘Jesus turned water into wine, not wine into water.’

Howard Fishman and his Band

Acclaimed singer, guitarist, composer and bandleader Howard Fishman’s exuberant, spontaneous, and unvarnished music has made him a favorite of audiences and critics alike. Ever-evolving and increasingly difficult to pin down, Fishman filters a deep passion for New Orleans jazz, gritty pop, fervent gospel and open-hearted country music through a completely original aesthetic to create a sound entirely his own. Fishman is on tour to support his latest CD ‘Better Get Right,’ a collection of material inspired by New Orleans. Howard Fishman began his musical career on the streets of New Orleans and in the subways of New York before making his debut at The Algonquin Oak Room in 1999. He has since headlined in major venues both in the States and abroad, including Lincoln Center, The Steppenwolf Theatre, The Blue Note, NJPAC, The Pasadena Playhouse, Joe’s Pub, The Bottom Line, and Le Petit Journal in Paris. Fishman has also been a frequent NPR guest, making feature-length appearances on ‘Fresh Air’ with Terry Gross, ‘World Cafe’ ‘The Leonard Lopate Show’ and ‘Soundcheck’ with John Schaefer, among others.

Catherine Russell

World Village/harmonia mundi proudly announces the release of vocalist Catherine Russell’s Inside This Heart Of Mine on April 13, 2010. Her third album for the label, Inside This Heart Of Mine is a collection of 13 songs — tied together by the special place these songs hold inside the heart of Catherine Russell. It’s a heart that’s warm and effusive, bluesy and erudite, bold yet vulnerable, passionate yet ethereal.Just listen to Cat’s masterful reading of ‘Troubled Waters’, a seldom heard tune scored by the Duke Ellington Orchestra for both Ivey Anderson and Mae West, performed here as a sultry meditation. Then there’s ‘We The People’, a never before covered Fats Waller tune from an originally unreleased recording, a tongue-in-cheek populist manifesto from the previous Great Depression, which implores legislators to provide ‘syncopation’ as the surest way to ‘please the people.’ The Spencer Williams languid blues melody, ‘Slow As Molasses’, was originally recorded as an instrumental by Luis Russell in 1929 with his band The Jungle Town Stompers. Wordsmith Rachelle Garniez added lyrics just for these sessions, allowing Cat’s evocative vocal spin on the new creation, some 80 years following her Dad’s original version. This decades spanning collection of songs, originally performed by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Howlin’ Wolf, Wynonie Harris, Fats Waller, and Catherine’s father, Luis Russell, draws from Vaudeville wit, Tin Pan Alley tune craft, New Orleans swagger, Swing Era sock, the European Cafe, Jump Blues jive, modal Delta Blues, and Django-esque swing, with an immediacy and a timeless quality that’s refreshingly oblivious to current ‘trends’. Here in you’ll find works by Hall of Fame Songwriters, like Andy Razaf, Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler, Alec Wilder, and Willie Dixon, as well as being introduced to newer Contemporary songs with an old-time vibe by Rachelle Garniez and producer, Paul Kahn.

John Cowan Band

Bluegrass, Newgrass, Gospelgrass, Rock N’ Rollgrass’true innovators like John Cowan break boundaries and personify innovation. John’s ability to take audiences on a musical journey through multiple genres has made him one of the most unique vocal artists of his generation. John Cowan rose to fame when he became the lead singer for New Grass Revival. He and band mates Sam Bush, Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn introduced a new generation of music fans to an explosive, experimental brand of bluegrass’Newgrass! However, after inspiring and entertaining fans for nearly two decades. On his own, John was free to give his creative muse full rein. He recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums spanning the musical spectrum, often bending and blending genres.

Comedy Night featuring Brad Mastrangelo, Christine Hurley and Graig Murphy

Mastrangelo is a 15 year veteran of the comedy scene, and is a regular in Las Vegas as well as having appeared on Comedy Central. Mastrangelo headlines in New York, Atlantic City, Hollywood and virtually every stop in between. Mastrangelo’s unique routine hits home with audiences of all backgrounds as he relates tales of family, marriage, fatherhood and countless other topics. A frequent writer for Jay Leno’s Tonight Show monologue, Mastrangelo’s observational comedy has earned him rave reviews and spots on the best comedy stages around the country. Christine Hurley was the first runner up in the nationally televised ‘Nick-At-Nites’ search for America’s Funniest Mom contest and frequently tours with national comedian Loretta LaRoche and works with LaRoche’s production company. With children at home and husband Jimmy Hurley by her side, there is never a moment in the Hurley house where comedic inspiration can’t be found. Christine has a way of looking at the daily struggles and joys of family life and finding the silver (sometimes more grayish) lining in everyday life. ‘I can pretty much take anything and look at it in a funny way.. Graig Murphy rapidly shot to fame in part due to his hilarious impersonations on Sports Radio WEEI where he can be heard doing the voices of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former Sox manager Grady Little, announcers Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, Shannon Sharpe, and Harry Kalas, as well as Governor Deval Patrick, James Earl Jones and more. But Murphy is more than a sports impersonator as his stand up routine is more than funny as he quickly climbs the comedy ladder.

Sonny Landreth

One of the most innovative and exquisite guitarists on the planet. Eric Clapton declared ‘Sonny is one of the greatest musicians alive.’ We think so as well. He’s got a great band who totally let it rip.

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats

Rick Estrin ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward. The Associated Press called his harp playing, ‘endlessly impressive.’ The great guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. (who was schooled by Robert Johnson and who played on most of Little Walter’s Chess recordings) told Estrin, ‘Little Walter would be very proud of you.’ His award-winning original songs have been favorably compared with those of Willie Dixon and the team of Leiber and Stoller. And his hipster, street-smart vocals are the perfect vehicle for driving his songs home. For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick fronted the jumping, swinging Little Charlie & The Nightcats, featuring guitarist Little Charlie Baty. With Baty’s recent retirement from touring, Estrin — along with the Nightcats longtime rhythm section of J. Hansen and Lorenzo Farrell and a new member, fiery guitarist Kid Andersen — takes the lead on his own. The band’s debut album, Twisted, while still swinging the blues, is a harmonica-driven, rocking, guitar-fueled rave-up. Featuring 14 songs (including 10 Estrin originals, two by Kid Andersen, one by Hansen, and a superb band-created instrumental), Twisted showcases Rick’s seemingly effortless command of the harmonica, his streetwise vocals and his remarkable original songs.

Chip Taylor

If you’ve ever wondered how Chip Taylor, the songwriter whose hits include ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Angel of the Morning’ and whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, and the Hollies wound up pursuing a career as a country performer, don’t worry. With the release of his latest album, Yonkers NY, he takes you back to the start of his life and explains it in a collection of songs with the patented Chip Taylor charm and grace. Yonkers NY is a depiction of a fairly normal childhood spent in the suburbs of New York City with loving parents and two older brothers who only tormented young Chip in the ways older brothers always do. The family was subtly different from its grey-flannel-suit-wearing suburban neighbors in that the elder Taylor was a golf pro, not a businessman commuter (although he managed to convince his youngest son for years that he was also an FBI agent), as well as a high-stakes gambler on occasion.