This record is something I’ve been waiting my whole life to do,’ veteran Dobro master Jerry Douglas says of Earls of Leicester, the self-titled debut album by the new all-star dream team combo that he’s assembled, organized and produced. The six-man band encompasses Douglas plus acclaimed solo artist Shawn Camp on lead vocals and guitar, renowned Nashville banjoist Charlie Cushman on banjo and guitars, second-generation fiddle phenom Johnny Warren, and Barry Bales, Douglas’ longtime bandmate in Alison Krauss and Union Station, on vocals and bass. The new group is the product of Douglas’s lifelong passion for the music of bluegrass pioneers Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and their band the Foggy Mountain Boys, whose seminal work in the ’50s and ’60s created the template for what we know as contemporary bluegrass, and transcended traditional genre barriers to popularize the music with an unprecedented mass audience. The punningly-titled Earls of Leicester revisits 14 timeless favorites from the Flatt and Scruggs songbook, infusing such rousing numbers as ‘Big Black Train,’ ‘Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down,’ ‘Shuckin’ the Corn,’ ‘Dig A Hole in the Meadow’ and ‘Dim Lights, Thick Smoke’ with fresh energy, while maintaining the same emotional authenticity, instrumental expertise and vibrant creative spirit that made the original versions such enduring classics.
Pianist, composer and lyricist, Dave Bass, is a great American success story that reads like a riveting bio-pic script. This Cincinnati native began piano lessons at age seven, and shortly after graduating high school, formed his own band who opened for Captain Beefheart. He was soon accepted into Boston’s Berklee College of Music, leaving after just a few months to study piano with the legendary Madame Margaret Chaloff. Madame schooled him and other young, immensely talented jazz artists as Keith Jarrett, Steve Kuhn and Kenny Werner, who understood the importance of developing a signature sound and style. Chaloff taught in the ‘Russian Technique’ ‘ a unique tool for tone production and musical articulation. A typical lesson might not go beyond using a ‘weightless wrist’ to correctly play a single note. While in Boston, he also studied composition with George Russell and Avram David, again formed his own band, worked a variety of commercial gigs, serendipitously landing a great stint as Brenda Lee’s pianist, leaving Boston behind for multiple tours of Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. In June 2010, he released his first CD, GONE, with the Dave Bass Quartet featuring Ernie Watts, Babatunde Lea, Gary Brown and guest vocalist, Mary Stallings, showcasing ten Dave Bass original rock-solid compositions ranging from post-bop, sultry ballads, to gospel, straight-ahead, and to Bossa Nova and Tango. In addition to Dave’s ten originals, GONE features an exciting duet with Ernie and him on Astor Piazzolla’s famous Libertango. Produced by Babatunde Lea and Dave Bass, GONE hit #2 on the national JazzWeek Radio Charts after only 3 weeks. Bolstered by such great national interest and radio play, Dave was inspired to write new, exhilarating compositions and arrangements for his new CD, NYC Sessions, featuring jazz legends Phil Woods, Karrin Allyson, Harvie S, Ignacio Berroa, Conrad Herwig, and others. Dave also brought a new dimension to two of his instrumental compositions from GONE with his original lyrics and vocals by Karrin Allyson on Lost Valentine, and Paulette McWilliams on Since I Found You. National tours and a new label affiliation are currently in the works. Stay Tuned! Who said lawyers can’t swing?
A Narrows favorite, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, great guy and one helluva guitarist.
Grammy-winning guitar legend ALBERT LEE first came to prominence during a 1964-68 stint in British Blues and R & B stalwarts Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds. After working in the UK bands for touring country acts such as Bobby Bare and Skeeter Davis, Lee’s next full-time berth was two years with the UK answer to the Flying Burrito Brothers and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-Head , Hands, and Feet. His reputation grew and session work blossomed, including appearances on ‘The London Bo Diddley Sessions’ for Chess and Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘The London Sessions’. This and other work with U.S. based greats led to a permanent position in the Crickets, and by the time that ended Albert had long since made Southern California his home. There he became friendly with Don Everly, who had also settled in Southern California; they played regularly on a formal and informal basis, with Albert contributing to Don’s 1974 solo effort ‘Sunset Towers’. The move to California also led to work on sessions for the debut album of Jackson Browne. Lee joined Joe Cocker’s band in the mid 70s, a time that included recordings for the April 1976 release ‘Stingray’. From there A & M records signed Albert as an artist in his own right. The solo album’s completion was delayed by constant studio and touring work, primarily in Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band; in 1976 Albert replaced James Burton when Burton left to continue work with Elvis Presley’s TCB band. The Emmylou Harris albums ‘Luxury Liner’ (Jan. 1977), ‘Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town’ (Jan. 1978) ‘Blue Kentucky Girl’ (April 1979), ‘Roses in the Snow’ (May 1980, recorded July 1979), and ‘Evangeline’ (Jan 1981, recorded 1978-80) all include Albert. He ended his touring tenure with the Hot Band to complete his solo album, and ‘Hiding’ was finally released in 1979. An invitation around the Christmas season in 1978 led to a five year adventure for Albert in Eric Clapton’s band. The live album ‘Just One Night’, recorded at Budokan in December 1979, was the first release (April 1980) to feature Albert. ‘Another Ticket’ (Feb. 1981), ‘Time Pieces Vol 2-Live in the 70s’ (1983), and ‘Money and Cigarettes’ (Feb. 1983) all were part of Albert’s tenure with Eric. His studio work in this period continued, including contributions to three albums by Rosanne Cash: 1979’s ‘Right or Wrong’, 1981’s ‘Seven Year Ache’, and 1982’s ‘Somewhere in the Stars’. Other sessions included work with Dave Edmunds, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith, Carlene Carter, and countless others. His solo efforts continued as well, with the self titled ‘Albert Lee’ in 1982, and instrumental releases on MCA- the acclaimed ‘Speechless’ (1986) and ‘Gagged But Not Bound’ (1987). When the Everly Brothers reunited on September 23, 1983 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Albert was on hand as guitarist and Musical Director. He continued in that role for over 20 years until the Brothers retired. An invitation in 1987 by steel guitarist Gerry Hogan for Albert to play his annual festival led to the formation of Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes, who remain an active touring force in the UK and Europe- and a recording force worldwide, with 7 albums to their credit. The DVD ‘Live at the Tivoli’ was released in 2011, and the new CD, ‘On the Town Tonight’ was released on February 14, 2012. Albert remains an occasional member of the Crickets, and tours regularly with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. Sugar Hill records released Albert’s solo efforts ‘Heartbreak Hill’ in 2003 and ‘Road Runner’ in 2006. A summer 2011 jaunt with John Jorgenson prompted Albert to form his own U.S. band for the very first time. The Albert Lee Band includes John Thomas, aka ‘J.T’, on keyboards. J.T.’s musical resume includes 23 years with Bruce Hornsby, who graciously called John ‘the greatest keyboard player in the band.’ Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Sparks, Tracy Chapman and a host of other have called upon John’s gifts. Bass player Will MacGregor’s credits are a testament to his wide-ranging talents, having worked with the likes of the Pretenders, Pat Boone, Exene Cervanka, and more. Jason Smith brings both the subtlety of jazz and pounding pulse of rock to his drum stylings. Among his many credits: his jazz trio released the celebrated ‘Tipping Point’ and ‘Think Like This’ CD’s , and on the rock side Jason toured with Five For Fighting, supporting the ‘America Town’ CD with it’s smash single ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’. With sellouts at McCabe’s in Santa Monica and the Theatre at the Musical Instrument Museum already in their rear view mirror, the newly minted Albert Lee Band is on tour in the United States in July and August 2012.
A pre New Years Eve bash with America’s favorite party band. The legendary NRBQ ‘ founder & driving force Terry Adams on keyboards & vocals, Scott Ligon on guitar & vocals, Casey McDonough on bass & vocals, and Conrad Choucroun on drums ‘ released their latest studio album, the critically-acclaimed Brass Tacks, earlier this year. ‘Brass Tacks is as accomplished and as spirited an album as the band has ever made,’ said the Los Angeles Daily News.’ ‘Brass Tacks contains the fun, zest, humor and flat-out rock that has defined the band since their birth decades ago,’ said Rolling Stone in their online review, and, added Magnet, ”hats off to the NRBQ dynasty.’ NRBQ and the Whole Wheat Horns will hit the road in December, adding magic to your holiday celebrations! What to expect besides the unexpected? ‘Ability to groove like no other band on the planet.’ ‘popmatters. ‘NRBQ is still liable to play anything. Roaring rockabilly, transcendent pop-rock, roadhouse blues, avant jazz ‘ you name it.’ ‘Minneapolis Tribune. ‘Honest about inspiration wherever it is found, fearless, searching for possibilities, taking chances.’ ‘Daily Hampshire Gazette. ‘Inventing music right before our ears.’ ‘Blurt NRBQ Headquarters is the band’s facebook page.