The heart of rock and roll is alive and well with Fred Eaglesmith’s 20th album, Tambourine. Fusing together all of Fred’s past influences, the result is pure rock ‘n ‘roll reminiscent of 1966.
Eaglesmith is a veteran of the music industry and at the same time is about as far away from actually participating in today’s music industry as one could be. Never operating within anyone’s boundaries, he continues to set the standard for independent artists everywhere. While blazing his own often colourful path he has avoided most of the traps and pitfalls of his peers, his career reads like a manual on how to succeed in music today without trying to fit into the traditional business models.
“Modern Texas blues at its best…impeccable, soothing soul and flashy, jumped-up roadhouse blues…heartfelt emotion and sweet as molasses soul delivery…as a vocalist, he's untouchable.”
“W.C. Clark has it all…everything from good old rock 'n 'roll and gritty roadhouse R&B to strutting Memphis soul, second-line funk and contemporary blues.”
“If the blues is played right,” says Austin, Texas native W.C. Clark, “it makes your soul feel clean.” Indeed, master guitarist/vocalist Clark – known as “The Godfather of Austin Blues” – has been playing the blues right and cleansing souls from the east side of Austin to stages around the world for over 40 years. He's been mentoring countless young blues and soul players in the finer points of the music for almost as long. Blues stars from Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan to Angela Strehli to Lou Ann Barton to Marcia Ball have all perfected their craft under Clark's tutelage. Clark's mix of modern Texas blues, searing guitar and heartfelt, Memphis-style soul vocals have made him a favorite of blues and R&B fans alike.
"He is one of the singular instrumental stylists of American roots music, and to hear his sound once is to have it indelibly etched on one’s musical memory."- Pop Matters
Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen is one of the fortunate few who can step onto any stage, play those trademark licks that drove his seminal Commander Cody classic Hot Rod Lincoln into the Top Ten, and elicit instant recognition for a career that has spanned over 40 years and includes guitar work with Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello and many more. Named “A Titan of the Telecaster” by Guitar Player Magazine, he celebrates an American musical tradition where rock 'n' roll and country music draws upon its origins in blues and bluegrass, Western swing from Texas and California honky-tonk. His current CD Word To The Wise on Proper American features duets with many of these artists he's worked with, including Elvis, Nick, Maria Muldaur and Dan Hicks.
“To me, music is food and you need a variety to stay healthy and strong,” - Luther Dickinson on his prolific musical output, which, at last count, includes three new, somewhat divergent roots albums planned for 2015.
When Luther Dickinson was growing up in rural Mississippi — just 40 miles south of Memphis, but deep in the hill country — his favorite band was Black Flag, the caustic L.A. punk band that defined the hardcore movement in the 1980s. That may surprise listeners who have been following his career as a folk-blues-rock innovator. With his brother Cody, Luther is a charter member of the North Mississippi Allstars and has recorded with an amazing array of musicians over the years: Beck, Patty Griffin, Mavis
Staples, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, RL Burnside, Lucero, Jon Spencer, and Robert Plant. He’s also produced albums by Jim Lauderdale, Amy LaVere, and Otha Turner, whose Everybody’s Hollerin’ Goat was named one of the top 10 blues records of the ‘90s by Rolling Stone.
The Lee Boys – Sacred Steel
The Lee Boys are one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. This family group consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). Each member began making music at the ages of 7 and 8 in the House of God church they attended in Perrine, FL. Here they underwent a rigorous course of training in a variety of musical instruments, including lap and pedal steel guitars. Born and raised in Miami, each of The Lee Boys grew up in the church where their father and grandfather, Rev. Robert E. Lee, was the pastor and a steel player himself.
“Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations. Influenced by the Hawaiian steel guitar fad of the 1930’s, brothers Willie and Troman Eason brought the electric lap steel guitar into the worship services of the House of God church in Jacksonville, FL. The Pentecostal congregation embraced the soulful sound, and over time this unique sound became the hallmark of the church. The pedal steel guitar was added to the mix and soon became the central instrument. The Lee Boys are part of the fourth generation of musicians in this faith.
This music form was totally unknown to the world outside the church until the mid 1990’s, when folklorist Robert Stone attended House of God services and recorded the music, as well as its history, contributing the name “sacred steel.” A series of compilations featuring artists such as Aubrey Ghent, Calvin Cooke and the Campbell Brothers, as well as the late Glenn Lee followed on legendary roots label Arhoolie Records, for whom The Lee Boys also record.
When The Lee Boys bring their joyous spiritual sound to the stage, audiences instantly recognize that this is not “sitting and listening” music: dancing, shouting out, and having fun are considered essential parts of their tradition. Founder and bandleader Alvin Lee explains “The inspiration and feeling that comes along with our music is the reason that people feel good. It is like the new music on the block and it’s just getting ready to explode!” It’s mostly original material, with a few standards and hymns the group “blueses up a little.” Audiences often dance, shout out, and always have a great time. In 2008-09 alone they performed for more than 250,000 music fans at festivals throughout the United States. In the process, their unique sound has attracted musical artists such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue, Umphrey’s McGee, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toubab Krewe, Victor Wooten, The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin’ McCourys- all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them.
The press has caught on as well, as evidenced by the USA Today review of their set at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2008: “The Lee Boys, from Miami, rocked the blues tent with their rollicking ‘You’ve Got to Move.’ The song started slow and low but steadily picked up pace, taking on the feel and sound of a runaway train. As guitarist Roosevelt Collier plucked at his pedal steel guitar, an electric guitar mounted on a stand and played from a sitting position, audience members danced in the aisles, jumped up and down and waved their arms to the mounting melody.” As well in March 2009, Billboard Magazine wrote: “The band’s dexterity with multiple genres is its strongest point; it combines folk, soul, funk, blues, country and gospel into upbeat, steel guitar-led performances that can’t help but inspire secular and sacred revelry.”
These engaging artists work well in a variety of venues ranging from intimate club settings to performing arts centers to large festival stages. Their music attracts audiences from the jamband, folk, blues and Gospel worlds. They’ve performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and will continue influencing audiences worldwide with their “sacred steel”. Their tour calendar includes over 100 major festival performances, including headline stops at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Memphis in May, Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Austin City Limits, Philadelphia Folk Festivals, MerleFest, DelFest, Wanee and All Good Festival. In December, 2008, the band debuted on national television with a rousing performance on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien that had the host jumping out of his chair and raving about the band.
The Lee Boys have been in the studio with The Travelin’ McCourys completing a joint album entitled “Meetin’ In The Middle” which illustrates their amazing bluegrass/sacred steel festival shows. The 6 song EP debuted at MerleFest 2010 and is now available.
“Young bluesmen take up the torch for a musical tradition...the crop of younger black blues musicians who can take the tradition and transform it with their own identity is relatively slim...emerging up-and-comers include...The Peterson Brothers of Austin.” – The Washington Post
For the past five years, since Freeman saw their debut performance at the Pinetop Perkins 97th Birthday Celebration at Antone’s in Austin, Texas, The Peterson Brothers have performed for enthusiastic fans at clubs and blues festivals across the country, including the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival and The King Biscuit Festival in Helena, Ark. They have also opened shows for B.B. King, Los Lonely Boys, Michael Burks, Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Marcia Ball, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Buddy Guy invited them to share the stage with him during one of his shows at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin and Willie Nelson had them open his show, the brothers being the only nonrelated act on the bill.
Now The Peterson Brothers are releasing their first studio recording. Each cut on this record has its own identity, feel and energy, opening with a strong version of Albert King’s “You’re My Woman,” and on to a Little Johnny Taylor composition, “If You Love Me Like You Say.” Glenn and Alex then provide us with a light swing song of their own, “Hey Baby.” Their version of “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me),” well known from covers by Bobby Blue Bland and Bernard Allison lead into Tampa Red’s “Don’t You Lie To Me.” Two more originals “I Gotta Go” and “Tell Me Everything” follow, paving the way for a lively version of Earl King’s “Come On,” an instrumental original “Feeling Like Home” and a sensitive arrangement of “Amazing Grace.” The record closes with a swing version of “I Gotta Go.” The entire work takes us on a very personal journey for these two young artists.
“Bastrop blues siblings got their mojo workin’... as long as youngsters like the Petersons keep the flame burning, the genre will never die.” – The Austin Chronicle
Glenn and Alex live near Austin, in Bastrop, Texas the sons of supportive parents Glenn Sr. and Deanna Peterson. There they live as any normal teenagers would, going to school where they consistently receive high grades, play in the school band and do volunteer work. Every other waking hour is spent playing their instruments and working towards their dream. “Music for us is like soccer or football for someone else,” Glenn explained. “We just love what we do and this is our life.”
Glenn, 19 years old, plays guitar and sings lead, delivering the blues with a heavy influence of funk in his rhythm guitar playing. Through a smooth, jazz-influenced style he combines a traditional blues approach to his leads reaching inspiration from blues greats BB King, Albert King and Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Hubert Sumlin, T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins and borrowing from contemporary players like Robert Cray, Michael Burks, Ernie Isley, Eddie Hazel and jazz icons Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.
Alex, 17 years old, plays 5-string bass, violin and sings. He holds down their sound with supportive bass lines then breaks out with distinctive melodic riffs, often with a funk and jazz style that transcends his young age. Like his brother, he has a wealth of knowledge about his instrument and the musicians who have influenced him. They include Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Jacob Pastorius, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Ron Carter, Ray Brown, Quintin Berry, Louis Johnson, Adam Blackstone, Stanley Clarke, Rocco Prestia Bob Stroger, and James Jamerson.
Together the brothers discovered the likes of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Stevie Ray Vaughan at an early age around the house. The bond between the brothers is apparent. “It comes naturally to us,” says Glenn. “We just seem to know and feel what the other is thinking instinctively.”
Singer-Songwriter Michelle Moonshine's original songs have an upbeat tempo, catchy vocal lines and heartfelt lyrics; but it's her unique voice that truly engages a listener at a performance. Her timbre can be described as incredibly sweet and whimsical, and is yet saturated in feeling that makes you want to stop and listen to every word. During her four years of performing, Michelle has garnered recruitments from NBC's The Voice in 2014 (which she turned down after being accepted); and from America's Got Talent in Fall 2015 which is still ongoing. Within that time she has put a national tour under her belt and honed her craft in producing her own blend of Country-esque Americana. Regularly performs solo as well as with her band as both a three and four piece with new member John Davis on electric guitar, lap steel and backup vocals. In the rhythm section is Goose on the drum kit and Bronk on the upright bass, who both have some classical training which adds to the dynamic. With a fully funded Kickstarter, they completed their first album and plan to tour their new release this Spring.