Kelly Joe Phelps

It’s as thin as the edge of a razor, the road separating Heaven from Hell, sin from salvation, redemption from despair. It’s a lonely road to go down and like the old gospel says, you’ve got to walk it for yourself. Kelly Joe Phelps has been doing lot of soul searching since his last record, ‘Western Bell’ came out in 2009. Three years later, his journey has wound its way to a recording studio in Vancouver, and Kelly Joe has once again beaten a path to Steve Dawson’s door with a new batch of songs tucked into his satchel that reflect both the new insights gained along the journey as well as things that have been dropped by the wayside. Together Phelps and the veteran producer embarked on a three-day recording odyssey that marked their fourth collaboration since Dawson played slide on ‘Slingshot Professionals’, produced ‘Tunesmith Retrofit’ and released ‘Western Bell’ after it proved too daring for Rounder Records. The result is ‘Brother Sinner and the Whale’, a record that may very well come to be recognized as the best of an already very impressive body of work.

Buckwheat Zydeco

American musical legend Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural Jr. – along with his band, Buckwheat Zydeco – is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana Zydeco music. If you’ve gotten into Zydeco music, or felt its influence, or watched the world celebrate this great aspect of Louisiana culture over the past 30 years it’s likely been because of Buckwheat Zydeco. Bringing the unique sound of Zydeco into the musical mainstream, they released the first-ever major label Zydeco album in 1987, and claim the three largest selling Zydeco albums of all time. No other Zydeco artist has come close to selling as many records or exposing the music to more people around the world. Over the course of Buckwheat Zydeco’s career, Buck has gigged with everyone from Eric Clapton (with whom Buckwheat also recorded) and U2 to The Boston Pops. The band performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics to a worldwide audience of three billion people. Buckwheat even performed at both of President Clinton’s Inaugurals. Recent national television appearances include PBS’s tribute to Paul Simon where Buck performed with Lyle Lovett; sitting in with Paul Shaffer on The Late Show With David Letterman (and playing ‘Hot Tamale Baby’ for Martha Stewart); and feting Ozzie Ozbourne among other’s on VH-1’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Buck was recently profiled in a ten minute feature by Scott Simon, on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday. The band has appeared six times on Letterman, and on CNN, The Today Show, MTV, NBC News, CBS Morning News and many others.

Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco

By day John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone sell thousands of albums, tour the world with indie juggernaut Wilco and lend their writing, playing and producing abilities to dozens of high-profile recordings. But by night these renowned pros are able to sit down, relax and create something special that comes straight from the heart of why they pursued music as a career – and that’s the Autumn Defense. After releasing 2007’s The Autumn Defense on their own Broadmoor label, Stirratt and Sansone teamed up with North Carolina’s Yep Roc Records to release the full-length work, Once Around. For the past nine years, this pair of Southerners-turned-Chicagoans had quietly been nurturing the reverent, classic pop of the Autumn Defense. Though the outset of the band saw Stirratt handling the bulk of the songwriting while Sansone lent his talents to production, the duo has steadily evolved into a partnership in both respects. From 2000’s debut LP The Green Hour to the critically lauded, salt-of-the-earth folk rock of 2003’s Circles, the Autumn Defense developed its late afternoon kickback sound like a fine wine develops and deepens ‘ with time. Once Around is a formidable tapestry of thoughtful, intricate sunshine wrapped around a core of timeless, experienced songwriting. It’s the kind of record that needed to be made, for the audience but also for the artists.

SOLD OUT Marcia Ball

A consummate performer and four time GRAMMY Nominee, including her last three albums: Peace, Love & BBQ (2008), Live! Down The Road (2005) and So Many Rivers (2003), plus an earlier nomination for Sing It! (1998) with Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson. She has a great new record ‘Roadside Attractions.’ Always a sell out.

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound bring forth a funky, lyrically charged racket that is explosive, yet intimate. Taking cues from the dance bands of western Louisiana (and his native Midwest,), the streets (and 45’s) of New Orleans, touring African and Caribbean combos and the soul, funk & blues of his youth, Paul Cebar is a masterful synthesist of rhythmic culture. His time spent in his second home of New Orleans, as a musicologist in Florida, and as a journeyman wanderer in Cuba, is reflected in his musical worldview. At the core is gifted songwriting, and the company Paul keeps bears it out: Bonnie Raitt, Nick Lowe, Chris Smither, John Hiatt and Cesar Rosas are among his friends and admirers. ‘Cebar is the real thing: a proper soulful cat with the tunes, the chops and the voice to swing this epoch back to it’s senses.’ Nick Lowe. ‘He’s a rare treasure because of his incredible passion for such a wide range of music that is too often overlooked. I salute him and admire him, and I love him.’ -Bonnie Raitt Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound’s latest album, ‘Fine Rude Thing’ was released on November 5, 2013. The songs ‘Baby Shake’ and ‘You Owe it to Me’ feature Cebar’s unique mixture of R&B, Caribbean and New Orleans style.

SOLD OUT Narrows Winter Blues Festival featuring Joe Louis Walker, Jesse Dee, The Holmes Brothers, Cedric Burnside Project and Delta Generators

This show features 5 acts and over 7 hours of music. Joe Louis Walker (10:40 p.m. – 12 midnight) Fans and critics have been celebrating Walker for years. Blues Revue calls Walker ‘one of contemporary blues’ most dynamic and innovative musicians, releasing consistently exciting music. No matter what he’s singing, Walker’s approach is soulful, heartfelt and spellbinding.’ Living Blues says, ‘His fretwork is indelibly stamped with his own trademark blend of emotional heat and impeccable precision-even at his most flamboyant, Walker sounds as if he’s playing ideas, not just notes.’ Jesse Dee (9:10 p.m. – 10:25 p.m.) Jesse Dee writes timeless songs that resonate as both humble tributes and clever updates of the classics. He brings them to life with a compelling voice that will lift you up as sure as it will lay you down. As a youngster in the Boston suburb of Arlington, Jesse was fascinated by the doo-wop groups and rhythm and blues artists he heard on the oldies stations. Since then, the singer/songwriter has drawn inspiration from everywhere he can; the raw and righteous Stax legends and the steam rolling electric grit of the Northern soul icons have ended up front and center. The Holmes Brothers (7:35 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.) Over the course of their 30-plus year career, The Holmes Brothers (bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist/pianist/vocalist Wendell Holmes, drummer/vocalist and brother-in-spirit Popsy Dixon) have been feeding the souls of their devoted and ever-growing fanbase with a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and country. Their amazing three-part harmony singing, mixing Wendell’s gruff and gravelly vocals with Popsy’s soaring falsetto and Sherman’s rich baritone brings the soul and spirit of gospel music into everything they perform. Equally gripping is the rhythmic foundation laid down by Sherman’s bass playing and Popsy’s drumming, perfectly complimenting Wendell’s blues-soaked guitar solos and church-inspired piano playing. The band easily blends Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of Sunday morning’s church service. Cedric Burnside Project (6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.) Cedric was born and raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi. At the young age of 13, he began touring around the world playing drums with his grandfather, North Mississippi blues legend R.L. Burnside also known as ‘Big Daddy.’ In late 2006, Cedric & Lightin’ Malcolm teamed up and toured as ‘The Juke Joint Duo’ which produced the award winning record, ‘Two Man Wrecking Crew.’ In 2010, Cedric collaborated with his younger brother, Cody Burnside, and his uncle, Garry Burnside, to create The Cedric Burnside Project. They created a new genre of music by infusing Mississippi Hill Country Blues, Funk, R&B and Soul that will keep your foot stomping all night long! Following the passing of his brother, Cody, Cedric keeps the flame burning, touring with Trenton Ayers Delta Generators (5:00 pm. – 5:45 p.m.) On Hard River to Row, the Delta Generators capture the same kind of soulful passion and raw intensity that they’re known for in their live shows. But vocalist Craig Rawding, guitarist Charlie O’Neal, and simmering rhythm section Rick O’Neal (bass) & Jeff Armstrong (drums) are always looking to expand their well-honed musical palette, and on their sophomore studio release they gracefully touch on blues, soul, funk, rock ‘n’ roll and even country! The impressive songwriting and musical chops would be enough in themselves, but the Delta Generators also have that certain indescribable quality that makes a band special. As music critic Bill Copeland wrote, ‘the Delta Generators are one of those rare bands that go beyond talent to arrive at charisma and that extra something that just makes listeners take a strong liking to it.’

Hands to the Loom: Weaving a Collective Memory

Hands to the Loom: Weaving a Collective Memory is a project undertaken by the dyer and weaver, Rhonda Fazio, whose studio is located in Narrows Center for the Arts. It was a ‘call to arms and hands’ to creatively reconnect the citizens of the South Coast with the region’s historical textile legacy. Visitors had the opportunity to share a word, memory, names, or tasks relating to the textile mills that were once a dominant piece of the city’s economic structure. The response of each participant was written on a strip of cloth and woven into the artist’s loom by the individual. The project aims to reclaim the experience of hand weaving in a post-industrial community. It has resulted in a permanent piece of art, a woven memory, for the city of Fall River. Textile manufacturing began as a cottage industry taking place in homes prior to the Industrial Revolution. As textile manufacturing transformed into the standardized production of cloth, increased product and profit diminished the process and value of the hand woven, replacing it with machine made cloth. The city of Fall River, once an economic powerhouse of textile mills, became a shell of its former ranking as a leader in America’s economic system. Mill buildings began to shut down, some rather abruptly, people lost their jobs permanently, materials and equipment sold and shipped elsewhere in the world, thus solidifying the economic and class division that persistently underlines the American culture. What was once ‘made in America’ is now made for Americans. This has been an opportunity for people to express how they feel living amid the vacant, industrial landscape ‘ nearer to our living history rather than a distant memory. This project is supported, in part by a grant from the Fall River Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Opening Reception: Saturday, December 14 from 12 to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

John Nemeth and the Bo-Keys

This is a 9 piece Stax/soul revue of the highest order John N??meth is a rising blues star; a singer steeped in the tradition and reminiscent of B.B. King, Ray Charles and Junior Parker, and a harmonica player of riveting intensity and virtuosity. His decade long career has found him opening for Robert Cray, Keb Mo’, and Earl Thomas. Performing major music festivals around the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia has brought him critical acclaim. The Bo-Keys are a Memphis Soul group featuring legendary Stax/Volt and Hi Records session players. The Bo-Keys performed the original score for Hustle & Flow, and appear in the film Soul Men, performing on-screen with stars Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. They also appear on three songs for the film’s soundtrack including the Grammy nominated song, ‘Soul Music’ by Anthony Hamilton. In 2010 The Bo-Keys were featured on Cyndi Lauper’s Grammy nominated Memphis Blues album. The band’s latest release ‘Got to Get Back!’ has been featured on NPR, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Eilen Jewell Band

Eilen Jewell is the queen of the minor key. Sad songs are her wealth and finery. But beware, savvy observer. Do not confuse the singer and her songs. Eilen’s fans have marveled at her warmth, unique wit, and onstage humor. Her song writing is a blend of influences from early blues, rockabilly and surf-noir, to 1960s era rock and roll. Her repertoire includes everything from up-tempo rockers that swing, to stunning, lyrically poetic ballads. The Los Angeles Daily News wrote, ‘Sometimes as darkly damaged as Lucinda Williams, at others as defiant and teasing as prime Peggy Lee and always authentically Americana in the Gillian Welch tradition…. She’s mighty good.’ Eilen and her band have been living on the road, from North America to Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and have shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Blind Boys of Alabama, Chris Smither, and Junior Brown. Hollywood stars (Tom Hanks in Entertainment Weekly) to heads of state (British Prime Minister David Cameron in Britain’s Telegraph) have praised Eilen’s music in the press. Eilen is currently recording her fifth, full-length, solo album with her long-time road band of guitar great Jerry G. Miller, husband and drummer Jason Beek, and slapping upright bass player Johnny Sciascia.

Girls, Guns & Glory and Sarah Borges CD Release Party

This double bill features two of the Narrows favorites both of whom will be celebrating the release of new cds. GGG’s latest ‘Good Luck’ is their best yet. With great tunes, soulful vocals and organic production from Roscoe Amble, this record rocks, Sarah’s latest ‘Radio Sweetheart’ is produce by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Well crafted tunes with brassy vocals makes this disc a winner. Expect some collaboration between the two acts as well.