If you were to give country music an address, you might say it’s at the corner of sacred and profane, two doors up from the blues and folk, and just across the street from gospel, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. And on a deeper emotional and spiritual level, it resides where Saturday night meets Sunday morning. No one understands these coordinates better than Marty Stuart. For over forty years, the five-time Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, photographer and historian has been building a rich legacy at this very crossroads. On his latest release with his band The Fabulous Superlatives, the double-disc Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, Stuart captures all the authentic neon and stained-glass hues of country music ‘ from love and sex to heartache and hardship to family and God ‘ in twenty-three tracks. Born in the small town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, Marty Stuart caught the music bug early, displaying prodigious talent on every stringed instrument he picked up. At an age when most kids are running bases in little league, 13-year old Stuart was logging cross-country interstate miles as a mandolinist with the legendary Lester Flatt’s road band. In his twenties, Stuart toured with Johnny Cash, and also played with other legends such as Bill Monroe, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. By the late 1980s, Stuart was a solo artist, rising faster than mercury in the heat of a hillbilly fever. But amidst the hits and hoopla, the bright lights eventually revealed a deeper truth. With Saturday Night and Sunday Morning set for an autumn release, and more touring ahead for the Superlatives, Stuart says his expectations are high, but grounded in reality.
For The Sacred Shakers, there’s nothing finer than old-time, country and blues-influenced gospel music. Think Hank Williams, The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Beginning in 2005, that music drew a small but ever-widening circle of some of Boston’s finest musicians and vocalists together at the Country Gospel Brunch concert series. In short order, The Boston Globe described the group as ‘a local Who’s Who of all-star roots musicians.’ And last summer, after hearing a single live performance by The Sacred Shakers, indie Signature Sounds label owner Jim Olsen encouraged the group to record their repertoire. On their eponymous debut, The Sacred Shakers offer new life to the gospel genre by revisiting the stripped down country and bluesy gospel material that inspires them. ‘Turn it all upside down,’ Zoe Muth sings on the opening track of her third full-length album, World of Strangers. ‘See the stars when we’re looking at the ground, shining all around.’ Muth brings us ten heartrending tales of the leaving and the left behind in her trademark style of infusing moments of despair with hope and levity. This time around she has made some changes, channeling a wider array of influences ranging from classic country ballads to early folk-rock. First making her name in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s been called ‘Seattle’s Emmylou,’ and heralded as one of the best songwriters to come out of Washington State, Muth spent the last three years touring across the U.S. and Europe. Playing bars and caf??’s as a young pre-school teacher, she saved up her minimum wage earnings and beer bucket tips to pay for her 2009 debut album, Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers. That album, along with her 2011 follow up, Starlight Hotel, went on to garner praise from the international press, and landed on No Depression’s ‘Top 50.’
TJ’s Music presents their music students in a night of cool tunes from cool kids.
15-year-old Quinn Sullivan is quickly gaining quite a reputation among today’s most respected guitar players and musical artists. He has been touring the world with his mentor and friend, Buddy Guy, promoting his latest CD, ‘Getting There,’ produced in Nashville with multi-Grammy winner Tom Hambridge. Since the age of 7, Quinn has been sharing stages with legendary players like Eric Clapton, BB King and Buddy Guy at iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, and Red Rocks. He has also performed at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals including Montreux Jazz, Austin City Limits, and Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. In 2011, Quinn released his debut CD, ‘Cyclone,’ which peaked at #7 on the Billboard blues album chart. He performed the title track on Jimmy Kimmel Live in March of that year and continued to tour throughout the U.S. and Canada, gaining thousands of new fans and followers along the way. Quinn released his second CD, ‘Getting There,’ in June of 2013. He continued touring and exploded onto the national television scene making appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, before returning to the Ellen DeGeneres show a second time in January of 2014.
Waves of shimmering notes crashed the Narrows stage in unbroken sets, save only for occasional quiet and beautiful eye of the storm interludes. Eric Johnson Mike Stern and their indomitable bass and drum section rocked and jazzed up the full Narrows house Tuesday night. Beauty and raw power charged from the stage with lightning fast arpeggios punctuated by wailing climaxes- it was the Mahavishnu Orchestra with Jimi Hendrix sitting in and John Schofield serving an occasional reminder to slow down and deliver an occasional sweet desert rose. A performance for the ages.
Concrete Blonde came howling out the chute in that year of our Ronnie Ray-Gun 1986 and knocked out three classic albums by 1990: Concrete Blonde, Free and Bloodletting. The latter begat the hit single ‘Joey’ ‘ a sobbing love song to a dying alcoholic ‘ perfect rock balladry. Napolitano was born in Hollywood ‘ the belly of the beast ‘ and her songs were (and remain) cinematic ‘ feature films compressed into three-minute rock ‘n’ roll: ‘Still In Hollywood,’ ‘God Is A Bullet,’ ‘True.’ Walking In London, Mexican Moon, and a collabo with Chicano punk-rockers Los Illegals followed. ‘Ghost Of A Texas Ladies Man’ and ‘Heal It Up’ ‘ among others — hail from that period. She is also one of the great song interpreters of our time, as proven by the way she turned James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s World’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ into Johnette songs. In between recording she toured the planet. ‘Gigging was always just as much about traveling,’ she explains. ‘Like my godmother told me when I was 9 years old ‘you must travel, you must go to Europe, you must see these places.’ I never forgot that ‘ this was my way out and into the world.’ She worked on side projects — Pretty & Twisted, The Heads with Talking Heads vets, and a legendary, much-bootlegged ’90s solo album that went officially unreleased because of record racket shenanigans. Just as importantly, the girl who’d dreamed of an unaffordable art school when she was a child became the woman who pursued all of her dreams. She’s been an artist and art gallery owner, conducted psychic readings, keeps horses, studied pottery with a master in Mexico as well as flamenco dance and song in Spain and is now a practicing tattooist. ‘I’m licensed to ill, baby!’ she proudly exclaims in her delicious, throaty laugh. Her Joshua Tree Tattoo business focuses on ‘nature-based design.’ After moving from L.A. a dozen years ago, she’s incorporated the desert aesthetic like she used to use Hollywood as a muse. ‘I absorb my surroundings,’ she explains. The 21st Century brought the gorgeous, solo Scarred, various Concrete Blonde reunions and her book Rough Mix ‘ a collection of short stories, lyrics and drawings. She’s now touring on her own ‘ just an acoustic guitar and her songs, passages read from Rough Mix against projected backdrops of original and found art ‘ and that voice.
Epic in sound and kaleidoscopic in vision, the eclectic Martha’s Vineyard-based six-piece Entrain has been thrilling critics and fans alike since its inception. Entrain has jammed with the likes of singer/songwriter James Taylor, Grateful Dead Alum Bob Weir and rock legend Bo Diddley. But Entrain’s goal is not just to be the biggest and the best, says founding member Tom Major, ‘We wanna create music that makes people feel good. When we look out from the stage, all we see is smiling faces and bodies moving. You can’t beat that feeling.’
These days Jonathan is likely to be found on the road. I’ve been…doing what I do best, which is playing live in front of people. I’ve been concentrating on that and loving it,’ he says. An artist who measures his success by his ability to attract and take good care of an audience for four decades, Jonathan maintains that it is the feedback he receives after his shows that keeps him going. ‘Sometimes, in our darker moments, we imagine our music not finding receptive ears, unable to reach open hearts. So it is really gratifying to hear [someone say], ‘Your stuff has meant a lot to me over the years.” On the verge of his fifth decade in the music business, Jonathan Edwards shows no sign of turning into a ‘Sit Down Rock and Roll Man.’ Upcoming plans include new markets, new audiences, new songs, and a new studio recording. As this barefoot troubadour prepares for the next stage of his journey, you are more than welcome to join him for an evening or two as he continues to make good on that promise he made all the way back in 1971: ‘Sunshine, come on back another day. I promise you I’ll still be singing.’
Join The Johnny Winter Band in an emotional remembrance concert that promises to be a blues bash like no other. Amazing musicians and fans alike will have a chance to gather and celebrate the music and spirit of one of the greatest Blues Guitarists of all time. If you’re a fan of Johnny and/or the Blues in general, you can’t miss this… Due to the tremendous outpouring of emotion from Johnny Winter’s Fans since we lost him, this official ‘Johnny Winter Remembrance Show’ has been put together with the approval of his brother, Edgar Winter and Johnny’s family. The show features original members from Johnny’s band which include Johnny’s guitarist Paul Nelson, Scott Spray on Bass and Tommy Curiale on Drums, all of whom had toured with Winter and recorded on his last album, ‘Step Back’ due out September 2, 2014. Along with Jay Stollman on vocals the show will also consist of Special Guests as well as a screening of Johnny’s documentary, ‘Down & Dirty: The Johnny Winter Story.’
Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. Having released a series of timeless records since the early 1970s, Chris’ newest release, ‘Still On the Levee’ (release date: July 22, 2014), is a career-spanning retrospective double CD. Recorded in New Orleans with studio-mates he calls The Motivators, Still On the Levee plays host to special guests including Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III. The record highlights the vast catalog of an American music master. Reviewers and fans from around the world agree that Chris is a profound songwriter, a blistering guitarist and, as he puts it, a ‘one-man band to the bone.’ Chris melds the styles of his two major influences, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mississippi John Hurt, into his own signature guitar sound. His music continues to draw deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets and humanist philosophers. He may be best known for writing ‘Love You Like A Man’ which Bonnie Raitt and, more recently, jazz great Diana Krall have covered. His music has been covered by numerous artists and featured in soundtrack albums, independent film, television and commercials New York Times: With a weary, well-traveled voice and a serenely intricate finger-picking style, Mr. Smither turns the blues into songs that accept hard-won lessons and try to make peace with fate.