Over the last three decades, Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys have kept up a constant cycle of traveling back and forth across the lower 48, then hopping across the pond to Europe and beyond. They bring with them a brand of American music that has earned them an induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, several national television appearances, guest spots on The Grand Ole Opry, and a slew of adoring fans. ‘I truly love being out on the road, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to sing my songs all over the world,’ said Sandy. ‘But when I’m away from the U.S. for too long, it’s like I need a recharge… like I need a solid dose of everything Americana. Give me a Chuck Berry song while rolling down the interstate, or a truck stop conversation with a waitress who once danced with Lefty Frizzell, and I’m good for another three thousand miles.’
Dom Flemons is the ‘American Songster,’ pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has played live for over one million people just within the past three years. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry. In July 2014, Dom released his third solo record with Music Maker Relief Foundation, and his first since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Prospect Hill finds Flemons digging deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern folk music, string band music, jug band music, fife and drum music, and ballads idioms with showmanship and humor, reinterpreting the music to suit 21st century audiences. He was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more.
Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer, educator and entrepreneur from New York City known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland award, and two GRAMMY?? nominations. While his career spans more than 40 recordings as a leader, his active projects include his Quintet; Sound Prints, a quintet co-led with saxophonist Joe Lovano; Riverside, a quartet co-led with Chet Doxas; a duo with pianist Uri Caine; and, debuting in 2015, High Risk, an electronic music-influenced quartet with Mark Guiliana, Jonathan Maron and Shigeto. Two 2015 projects demonstrate his virtuosity as well as his penchant for wide ranging explorations of new genres and creatively enriching partnerships with other musicians. High Risk, released June 2015, is a collaboration with electronic music artist Shigeto, backed by Jonathan Maron on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. According to Seth Colter Walls in Pitchfork: ‘Simultaneously chill and surprising, it’s the sound of a group discovering a valid language, and then proceeding to push the limits of that new aesthetic.’ Sound Prints: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival captures the Wayne Shorter-inspired collaboration between Douglas and Lovano. Martin Johnson of the Wall Street Journal calls the music ‘diverse, abstract and yet highly accessible’ while Fred Kaplan wrote in Stereophile: ‘They’re among the most vibrant, dizzying jazz bands around. Douglas and Lovano bounce off each other with an energy and virtuosity I’ve rarely seen either sustain in other settings (and that’s saying a lot).’
Charlie Hunter, Curtis Fowlkes and Bobby Previte share a whole lot of history, but they’ve never recorded an album like ‘Let the Bells Ring On.’ Gritty, greasy, and downright celebratory, the album features 10 original tunes by Hunter designed for the trio’s singular, deep-pocket sound. Hunter is releasing the album on CD on April 14, 2015 and vinyl on July 21, 2015 on his label Charlie Hunter Music. Previte and Fowlkes, charter members of the Lounge Lizards and the Jazz Passengers, were both essential participants on Downtown scene in the 1970’s and have worked together in countless settings over the years. Hunter and Previte have toured and recorded together in various all-star cooperative ensembles, such as The Coalition of the Willing (with fellow renegades Steven Bernstein, Skerik, and Marco Benevento) and more recently Omaha Diner, the deconstructivist quartet with Bernstein and Skerik. But their most extensive undertaking is the free improv project Groundtruther, a protean project that assumes a new form with each special guest (a list that encompasses more than three dozen players, including Greg Osby, John Medeski, DJ Olive, Peter Apfelbaum, Uri Caine, and Jane Ira Bloom). For Let the Bells Ring On, Hunter was looking to showcase a different side of Previte. ‘He’s probably known as a composer more than anything else,’ Hunter says. ‘But he’s always been one of my favorite drummers. He came up in the 1960s, and he has the beat. You have to have lived it to have that feel. Because of his composer’s mind, we can play the simplest groove and it becomes something really exciting and compositional.’ This trio can go anywhere. Exploring a variety of sonic spaces, the tunes range from the foreboding tension and release of ‘Anthem: USA’ and the tautly cinematic ‘Fellini Farm Team’ to the antic hoedown ‘Hillbilly Heroine Chic’ and churchy waltz ‘Spence.’ After several years of focusing on his stripped-down duo with drummer Scott Amendola, Hunter wanted to expand his textural and orchestrational possibilities. He had called on Fowlkes for his 2003 quintet album Right Now Move (Ropeadope) and couldn’t resist his huge, soul-drenched sound and vivid palette for his new trio. ‘Conceptually I’ve been doing a duo thing with Scott that I love, but I wanted to have that third voice,’ Hunter says. ‘I wanted somebody with a vibe who understands free improv and Al Green and Frank Sinatra and Sam Cooke. I wanted someone who can sing on their horn. I needed Curtis.’
The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so hot that their first rehearsal became a show. So many people had lined up outside the venue, they decided to just charge admission and let everybody in! They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions. These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems around the island. The band became legendary, backing all the developing artists of the day, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and ‘The Wailing Wailers’ featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. These groups were all recording on the new beat called ska, which had an infectious rhythm that was catching on like wildfire. Eventually, the beat slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. This wildfire spread unstoppably around the world, developing into a huge musical tree with many stylistic branches, including lovers rock, dub, dancehall/ ragga, ska-punk,, and others. Hugely popular groups, like The Police, The Clash, The Specials, The English Beat, Sublime and No Doubt, all have their roots firmly planted in the music of The Skatalites. Since reforming after an almost 20 year hiatus in 1983, and beginning regular touring as a unit in 1989, they have not stopped thrilling audiences in every corner of the globe. Even after 50 years, and various lineup changes as members leave one stage for another, the band continues to perform and record new music in the inimitable Jamaican style, like only they can. The road has been long and hard, and sadly, seen most of the original members pass on. Often asked ‘when will you stop?’ and ‘how do you keep doing it after all these years?’ the answer is simple: never ‘ It’s the love of the music and the way our fans respond that keep us going forward! Featuring original alto sax man Lester ‘Ska’ Sterling and vocalist Doreen Shaffer, along with the current lineup of outstanding musicians they have chosen to accompany them, the band proudly presents live the music of Jamaican Ska.
O’Brien has been busy the past few years touring and recording with Darrell Scott, Hot Rize, recent Grammy winners The Earls of Leicester and with Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, and the fall shows will be his first solo performances in over two years. As if that wasn’t enough, he also launched the new Short Order Sessions digital label. ‘It’s a new model and it’s kind of liberating. SOS releases two singles every month, and they’re not arranged in any thematic way like a CD would be. Some friends might stop by my house and we’ll nosh and then play and record, or I might have an extra hour on a session and we’ll cut a song. On Groundhog Day in Glasgow during the Transatlantic Sessions tour, I grabbed two hours and some friends to record a new old-time song called Dance You Hippy Dance. That comes out this week. Now I’m scheming to put out a special track as benefit for Nepal quake survivors.’
Their performances astounding, and diversity unparalleled, these three revered musicians are not actually natives of the ‘Golden State.’ The California Guitar Trio (CGT) is Bert Lams from Belgium, Hideyo Moriya from Japan, and Paul Richards from Utah. Together, their technical wizardry is breathtaking, as is the wide range of instrumental music the group renders… everything from unique originals to dazzling, cleverly-arranged interpretations of jazz, classical music, and even surf rock. Since their inception in 1991, the Trio has released 14 CDs: nine studio albums (including a Christmas record), three live releases (including An Opening Act from their 1995 worldwide tour with King Crimson), and two compilations. On screen, CGT can be seen in documentary Following the Music: On The Road w/ California Guitar Trio (??2004 Stone Chapel Films) and the new Hi-Def multi-camera shoot of an intimate house concert in 2009. In October 2010, the California Guitar Trio released Andromeda, an entirely new all-original album nearly three years in the making. It was named Best Instrumental Album that year by the Indie Acoustic Project.
America’s Jewish Troubadour, Kinky Friedman, is described as Mark Twain meets Groucho Marx . . . at the corner of Johnny Cash and Lenny Bruce. He’ll also be carrying books, posters and music, surely enough for anyone. The Kinkster, who has just wrapped up a highly anticipated new book with Billy Bob Thornton titled The Billy Bob Tapes, and who has started writing one with Willie Nelson, will will sing all the tunes for which he is famed, including ‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ and ‘Ride ‘Em Jewboy,’ and, naturally, he will continue his long-running commentary on current politics and the state of the union, as well as give a book reading. An official signing party will follow each show; Kinky vows he ‘will sign anything but bad legislation.’ As thousands of folks have discovered or rediscovered over his last tours, Kinky Friedman is the real deal, an amazing performer, and one of America’s brightest literary lights. Kinky Friedman is the troubadour of our times, with a show for the ages. He will be touring in support of his new cd Wandering Star. Guest artists on the CD: Willie Nelson and Micky Raphael.
A founding member of British rock band The Kinks, guitarist Dave Davies was an integral part of the quartet who helped shape the sound of rock with hits like ‘All Day and All of the Night,’ ‘Lola,’ and ‘You Really Got Me,’ the latter of which features his iconic guitar riff to kick off the song. Named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,’ Davies’ massive guitar sounds have inspired bands from Van Halen to Green Day. He also released a few critically acclaimed solo albums and, in 1990, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Kinks. For this show, Davies will be performing with a full band.
Fall River native, Michael Troy has written amazing songs about his home town, people who have touched him and life itself, in the way he knows best’ through his ability to combine his music with storytelling. He will tell you he has lived many lives as a mill worker, fisherman, laborer and carpenter, however he has always come back to his first love, music. Michael and his family invite you to join them to enjoy live performances by: Johnny Botelho, Margret Ferri, Phil Knudsen, Mike Laureanno, Louis Leeman, Mary Beth Soares, Art Tebbetts and Chuck Williams as we look back on Michael’s catalog of music from, ”Whispers in the Wind’, ‘Romancing the Moon’ and ‘Mill Town Boy’. In addition we look forward to a listening experience of Michael’s highly acclaimed new CD, ‘I Am American.’ Please join us to celebrate the music of Michael Troy and the songs that will be with us for many generations to come.