Bettye LaVette is one of the most soulful singers alive. She started life in Muskegon, Michigan in the late '40s but moved to Detroit with her family when she was six years old. Unlike most of her peers, she did not grow up in a Baptist church singing gospel. As she says, "I am a child of the blues", which was the music she heard as a young child. Her soul is so deep, that it is assumed that she must have started in church.
"Rootsy, southern-fried blues doesn't come much more boggy than Swamp Cabbage." Jon Sobel - BlogCritics.org
Founded by Jacksonville Florida native Walter Parks, Swamp Cabbage presents a three piece soundtrack to a voyage through Northeast Florida palmetto thickets and Southeast Georgia gator marshes. Swamp Cabbage is true Americana roots music.
The dynamic bluegrass quintet from Springfield, MO with their high-octane shows, tight harmonies and stunning instrumental prowess, have been winning fans and making waves at every festival they have been invited, and consequently re-invited to since their formation in 2008. Recently signed to Nashville-based roots music company the Compass Records Group, the HillBenders will release their new album Can You Hear Me? on September 25th, presenting an intensely charismatic album imbued with the spirit and energy of their live shows. "Our music appeals to anyone that can enjoy a fun performance. We share a passion for the music, a passion to perform," says guitarist Jim Rea, "It's evident we have fun on stage. People come up to us and say sarcastically, 'liven up!'"
Thus the challenge in recording Can You Hear Me?" was clear — the band had to capture their undeniable live appeal on the twelve tracks, eight of which are originals. Lead singer and mandolinist Nolan Lawrence with Jim Rea and his cousin Gary Rea on guitar and bass respectively, banjoist Mark Cassidy and Dobroist Chad "Gravy Boat" Graves channeled the rawness and intensity of bands like Newgrass Revival into the carefully executed arrangements. They worked closely with roots music engineer and producer Bil VornDick for an album that aligned their diverse tastes and styles while showcasing the collective talent of each band member, including a grassified cover of the Romantics' "Talking in Your Sleep" and Hal Ketchum's country hit, "Past the Point of Rescue," which includes a samba-grass breakdown after the second chorus.
The album-opening "Train Whistle," is a rambling train song, a staple to the bluegrass band, though the band hesitates the genre distinction. "Bluegrass is where we found our voice as performers, so we feel like we owe a lot to it. We have one foot in bluegrass all the time while the other is reaching out and exploring our interests in rock and roll, jazz, funk and Americana," says Chad. By winning the Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in 2009 and the National Single Microphone Championship the following year, the band became favorites on the bluegrass festival scene with their own brand of acoustic fusion. "A lot of people, even at the more traditional festivals, tell us 'You guys are so fun to listen to!' This comes from the die-hard traditionalists. They are saying that it is really refreshing to see something new. At the same time we're not afraid to be looked down upon – all of that formality melts away when we just be ourselves."
The HillBenders recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material for the album that defies any hillbilly stigmas. Nolan comments, "With our widely varied influences, we're all trying to bring in songs that unify. We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other American music we grew up with —rock and roll!" Their festival appearances also reflect the crossover; the band recently played the very traditional Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival and the esteemed Philadelphia Folk Festival on back to bay days on the same weekend.
Still, the heart of the new album draws from the band's live performances. Nolan adds, "If the music isn't played with intensity, you can tell. You have to play the music with that passion or it just isn't going to sound right." Can You Hear Me? is an album that showcases a young band with ambition and talent at a volume that comes across loud and clear.
Joe McQueen is a legend among Jazz enthusiasts and the Ogden crowd. Making his way through Ogden in 1945 he was stranded and has pretty much stuck around ever since. Unpretentious and honest in his musicmanship, Joe plays from the heart and strives to share his soul through the wail of his saxophone.
During his life, McQueen has performed in Ogden with jazz luminaries such as Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, Paul Gonsalves, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. McQueen has toured as a musician in the Rocky Mountain West. He played in 1962 in Idaho Falls, Idaho with Hoagy Carmichael.
During his early years in Ogden, McQueen worked and played at the Porters and Waiters Club in Ogden. This was one of the few venues open to black Americans at the time. McQueen was the first African-American in Utah to play at previously white-only establishments and to have a mixed-race band.
At the age of 94, McQueen continues to perform live in clubs from Ogden to Salt Lake, record, and was recently the subject of a documentary film: "King of O-Town."
No strangers to the OFOAM stage, The Sister Wives will kick off the first annual Ogden Roots and Blues Festival in style!
Ranging from soulful blues to fiery rock to all-out dance band, the Sister Wives defy the conventional norms typically set for all-women bands with the range and depth of their musical energy and virtuosity.
The Sister Wives display a multitude of musical attitudes in a style that is part Stevie Ray Vaughn, a little Sippie Wallace, and a little Allman Brothers.
Their live shows persuade even the most skeptical that "Girls Rock!".