Swinging Steaks and Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez

A five-man band out of Boston,MA, Swinging Steaks are among the originators of the current roots rock/ alt.country movement. Fueled by singer/songwriters Jamie Walker, Tim Giovanniello, and Jim Gambino the group’s material explores a rich diversity of musical Americana from full tilt rockers to mandolin-driven melodies and soulful ballads. The Steaks’ second album, ‘Southside of the Sky’ introduced the band to a national audience with two top ten AAA radio singles and appearances on NBC-TV’s ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ and NPR’s ‘Mountain Stage’. Their four self-released albums, ‘Suicide at the Wishing Well’, ‘Shiner’, the live, acoustic ‘Bare’, and their latest ,’KickSnareHat’ have continued to expose the group to new audiences and garner them appearances at SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon and Nashville Extravaganza. The Steaks have appeared with John Fogerty, Hank Williams,Jr., the Black Crowes, Poco, Los Lobos, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Paul Westerberg, The Band, Jason and the Scorchers among others and have toured extensively on their own. . Known as ‘The Beehive Queen’ for her outrageous, mile-high hairdo, Christine is the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, who sang at SNL’s 25th Anniversary telecast, Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary bash at The Garden (with George Harrison, Chrissie Hynde, and others), the 2009 Obama Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., The Lincoln Center ‘American Songbook’ series with Sting and Lou Reed, and the Central Park Summerstage Tribute To Janis Joplin (fronting both Big Brother & The Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band); appears on Grammy nominees A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf (with Taj Mahal and Lucinda Williams) and Charlie Musselwhite’s One Night In America (with Marty Stuart); sings the theme song for NBC’s 30 Rock; worked on a musical with the late Cy Coleman (who compared her sense of timing to Peggy Lee’s); duets live whenever possible with the aforementioned Miss Spector, as well as with blues legends Eddie Kirkland and Hubert Sumlin; collaborated on critically-acclaimed tracks with Marshall Crenshaw (Labour Of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe), Big Al Anderson (Pawn Shop Guitars), and Ian Hunter (Shrunken Heads); edited legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography 2Stoned and is a cover-story-writing contributor to Elmore Magazine; and worked with Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder & others on the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards–all the while continuing to torch clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of her recordings (Strip, The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, 2008 career retrospective Re-Hive, and 2010’s The Deep End, her first CD of original material in five years, featuring special guests/duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus Levon Helm, GE Smith, Andy York, Eric ‘Roscoe’ Ambel, Catherine Russell, Big Al Anderson, and others) with her band Rebel Montez (Michael Colbath-bass; Cliff Goodwin-guitar; Larry Donahue-drums).

SOLD OUT Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues, according to DownBeat magazine, ‘are in a class by themselves.’ With their masterful combination of jumping, horn-heavy, hard-edged blues and R&B, it’s no wonder why the great Count Basie called them ‘the hottest blues band I’ve ever heard.’ Since 1967, the group’s deeply rooted blend of swing, rock ‘n’ roll, jump, blues and soul has earned it five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards (one for Blues Band Of The Year in 2005). The band has been led since 1996 by guitarist Chris Vachon. Guitar Player says, ‘Vachon burns with explosive solos and a delightfully greasy sense of rhythm.’ Roomful of Blues has always maintained its signature sound by boasting great musicianship and a stellar horn section — featuring tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille, who first joined the band in 1970. Lataille’s masterful playing can evoke either the fat-toned honking sax of the glory days of early rock or the cool elegance of big band swing jazz.. Their latest cd Hook, Line & Sinker features twelve carefully chosen songs from Little Richard, Dave Bartholomew, Amos Milburn, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Floyd Dixon and others. Produced by Vachon, the CD is a ferocious and enthusiastic blast of rocking guitars, punching horns and huge, room-filling vocals. The results are a nonstop, hip-shaking party. It’s clear why People magazine said Roomful’s music ‘can turn a dull evening at home into a heel-clicking night of fun.’

SOLD OUT Judy Collins

Judy Collins has thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique blend of interpretative folksongs and contemporary themes. Her impressive career has spanned more than 50 years. She is a relentlessly creative spirit, is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

Boubacar Traore

Boubacar Traore is a harmonious contradiction, a musician whose art and biography are striking not so much for their balance as for their extremes. An idol for the whole west coast of Africa in the 1960s, forgotten in the 1970s, rediscovered in the 1980s, and now touring once again in Europe and, for the first time, in North America in the 1990s. In the sixties, the people of Mali awoke each morning to his music on the radio. In the evening, they’d dance to it in clubs. They called him Kar Kar, from kari kari, meaning ‘one who dribbles too much’. The name has stuck ever since those soccer-playing days. His big hit, Mali Twist, served as a kind of national anthem for the newly emerging country of Mali, in 1963. In the song he called upon his compatriots to rebuild the country after independence. He was regarded alternately as the Chuck Berry, the James Brown, the Elvis Presley and the Johnny Hallyday of Mali, but because there were no music royalties paid, he rarely had enough money in his pocket for a pack of cigarettes. He turned to other kinds of work – tailor, a salesman, agricultural agent – and his music became something shared only with a close circle of friends. In 1987, he appeared on Malian television, surprising the whole country, many of whom mistook him for his older brother, also a musician, who indeed had died a few years before. When his beloved wife Pierette died suddenly that same year, Boubacar was lost in grief. He left for France, determined to earn enough money to support his 6 children at home. He worked construction jobs, and played guitar only within the African expatriate community there. A few years later a British record producer happened to hear a tape of a radio show Boubacar had performed on, and excitedly sent someone to Bamako to find him. The people in Bamako sent this emissary to Kayes, Boubacar’s home village in western Mali. There he learned that Boubacar wasn’t in Mali at all, but in Paris. They eventually tracked him down, and brought him to England to record two new albums. His career took on a new life. He toured in England, Switzerland, and Canada, and played select dates in the United States. Upon his return to Mali, a studio in Bamako, at the Revue Noir’s initiative, produced his third album, Les Enfants de Pierette (Pierette’s Children), with the participation of several big names in Malian music including Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate and Ketetigul Diabate. Boubacar has continued to record new material and Rolling Stone magazine named his 2000 album Macire one of the top 50 albums of the year. ‘If guitarist Ali Farka Toure is Mali’s answer to John Lee Hooker, then Boubacar Traore is Mali’s Robert Johnson,’ wrote one critic, and with good reason. The sense of rhythm, space and time in Boubacar’s music cannot help but remind us of the seminal American blues figure. The roots of the music are in the distinctive Khassonke rhythms of the Kayes region in northwest Mali, but Arabic influences are also present. However, it would be a mistake to think he is simply a blues musician. Although there is a strong case to be made for connecting the historic links of American blues with the music from Mali, in fact the music of Mali incorporates a much broader spectrum than can be attributed to the branch that leads to our blues. To label him simply as a blues musician fails to recognize the magnificent traditions of this great African culture. If you do not take ‘blues’ as a form of music, but rather as a description of a feeling, you begin to discover the key to Kar Kar and his music.

Solas

Since its birth in 1996, Solas has been loudly proclaimed as the most popular, influential, and exciting Celtic band to ever emerge from the United States. Even before the release of its first Shanachie CD, the Boston Herald trumpeted the quartet as ‘the first truly great Irish band to arise from America,’ and the Irish Echo ranked Solas among the ‘most exciting bands anywhere in the world.’ Since then, the praise has only grown louder. The Philadelphia Inquirer said they make ‘mind-blowing Irish folk music, maybe the world’s best.’ The New York Times praised their ‘unbridled vitality’, the Washington Post dubbed them one of the ‘world’s finest Celtic-folk ensembles’ and the Austin American-Statesman called them ‘the standard by which contemporary Celtic groups are judged.’ Solas is virtually unique in the new territory it has opened up for Celtic music. It has performed at all the major Celtic and folk festivals, including Philadelphia, Edmonton, the legendary National Folk Festival, and Milwaukee’s Irish fest; but also at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the chamber music summer series at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It has performed at Symphony Hall, Wolf Trap, the Ford Amphitheater, and Queens Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. In New York City, where the band was based in its early years, it has played at the legendary Bottom Line folk club, but also at vaunted classical venues Town Hall and Symphony Space.

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers

If you are a fan of Eilen Jewel, you will love Zoe. She’s got a little Emmylou as well, a plaintive beautiful voice wrapped around very well written songs. She also has an excellent band that make the songs breathe and rock. By the time of this visit, she will have her debut record out on Signature Sounds. Be the first on your block to witness this great new talent

Kim Richey

Two-time Grammy-nominated Kim is a storyteller; a weaver of emotions and a tugger of heartstrings. Tender, poetic and aching with life’s truths, Kim’s songs transport you to her world, where words paint pictures and melodies touch the soul. And then there’s her voice. Pure, arresting and honest, her voice makes you take notice; Kim has the kind of voice where if emotions were ribbons, they’d be streaming in rainbow colours from your iPod. Her voice gives you goose bumps. The 15-year musical journey that has led Kim to her latest album, ‘Wreck Your Wheels’ has been a dream run. Aside from her two Grammy nods, she has released five critically acclaimed albums; been listed in the Top 10 Albums of 1999 in US Time Magazine for her album ‘Glimmer’, and been given 4 stars in Rolling Stone and named Alt-Country Album Of The Year in People Magazine for her album ‘Rise’. She has written two Number 1s and four Top 10 hits in the USA and singles in the Top 50. She has had her songs recorded by the likes of Trisha Yearwood and James Morrisson among others; sung on albums by Ryan Adams, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter

The John Davis Caravan

A fixture on the roots music circuit, pianist John Davis returns to the Narrows armed with his unique repertoire at the intersection of white and black culture and high and low culture in American society. To date, this cutting-edge, genre-crossing artist is most associated with three critically-acclaimed CDs on Newport Classic that have defined, excavated, and disseminated a previously-unacknowledged American roots music. John Davis Plays Blind Tom, a recording of music by the Georgia slave pianist, Blind Tom, became a top-ten seller in Classical Music at Amazon.com and Tower Records, and, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ‘singlehandedly revived the lost legacy of Thomas Wiggins.’ Marshfield Tornado: John Davis Plays Blind Boone, featuring compositions by John William ‘Blind’ Boone, a sightless black pianist from Missouri who modeled his career after Blind Tom’s, has been a repeat #1 CD on the Ragtime chart at Amazon.com. ‘In John Davis’ hands,’ writes Living Blues Magazine, Boone’s piano works become ‘more than artifacts’they live, with an immediacy that cannot be denied.’ Davis’ latest, Halley’s Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis, a recording paying tribute to the widespread musical interests of America’s most famous author, Mark Twain, was lauded as ‘an unexpected pleasure’ by Keyboard Magazine. A substantial review in The New York Times of Davis’ recent in-concert performance of Halley’s Comet at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan reported Davis as playing Twain-related pieces from the CD ‘powerfully and with a rich palette,’ before concluding that ‘it is refreshing to find a player whose fascinations lie elsewhere.’