Tres Hombres • Carbondale: Jewels (jazz)

Jewels - Herbie's Blues - Introducing the Jewels

Herbie's Blues

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Jewels - Okraschoten - Introducing the Jewels


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Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Simply Sinatra Christmas: Classic Tunes in the style of Classic Croons

A special event looks to honor the holiday season with the soulful and smooth stylings of a one-of-a
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A special event looks to honor the holiday season with the soulful and smooth stylings of a one-of-a-kind artist: Frank Sinatra.

The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra presents A Simply Sinatra Christmas Thursday, December 1 in Shryock Auditorium. The orchestra is under the direction of music director Edward Benyas, and the performance features guest vocalist Steve Lippia of Las Vegas.

The holiday concert includes several classic Sinatra songs, including “Come Fly With Me,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “My Way.” In addition to those tunes, the symphony and Lippia will perform several Christmas standards like “Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow,” and “The Christmas Song.”

“It’s a mixed show,” Lippia tells Nightlife. “It has both Christmas songs and other classic songs. I like to call it Sinatra and Friends because there are a lot of other artists from that era featured.”

Lippia, who has been nominated for a Grammy, has established himself as an energetic interpreter of jazz standards and traditional pop music. He performs eighty to one-hundred shows a year along with several orchestras. He also has a headlining gig at Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. He has performed at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club in New York City and appeared on several television programs, including Extra, Good Day New York, and Showbiz Today.

Lippia said that once he found he could sing in the same style as Ol’ Blue Eyes, he created a show that covered the legendary musician’s best-known tunes.

Lippia believes Sinatra is still loved because he embodies a long-ago era with class and style.

“He came about at a critical time,” Lippia said about Sinatra. “It was right after World War II, and everyone was looking for something to speak to them.”

Lippia said the Christmas songs in his set help to conjure memories of holidays spent with friends and loved ones.

“[Christmas] only happens once a year, and that is part of the magic,” he said. “If when you went and saw a firework show and one firecracker lasted fifteen minutes, it wouldn’t be as special. Christmas is just once a year and you are often surrounded by family. Children, too, get caught up in the magic of it all.”

Tickets are $20 for the public and $8 for students. For an extra $30 admission, patrons may attend a pre-concert wine-and-cheese reception.

For tickets, call (618) 453-6000 or visit ticket outlets at McLeod or the SIU Arena. To buy online, visit <http://www.SIUSalukis.com>, click on the Tickets popup, and then on the Tickets Home link. There are no service charges for in-person purchases, though phone and online purchases will carry charges in the $2 range.

Find out more by checking out <http://www.SteveLippia.com> and <http://www.SouthernIllinoisSymphony.org>.

who: Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Studio Jazz Orchestra featuring Steve Lippia

what: Simply Sinatra Christmas

where: Shryock Auditorium


when: Thursday, December 1

Funky Butt Brass Band: New Orleans Beat with Saint Louis Heat at the CarbondaleRocks Revival

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Music Coalition

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Funky Butt Brass Band: A Funky Good Time
Funky Butt Brass Band: Mardi Gras in August!

Who: Funky Butt Brass Band
What: CarbondaleRocks Revival music festival (Dixieland jazz)
When: 2016-10-01
One Saint Louis-based band is ready to make CarbondaleRocks Revival audiences shake their rumps to a
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

One Saint Louis-based band is ready to make CarbondaleRocks Revival audiences shake their rumps to an infectious beat usually renowned for coming from a bit further down the Mississippi River.

The Funky Butt Brass Band captures the spirit of the New Orleans second-line brass-band traditions with a Gateway City twist Saturday, October 1 on the Washington Street DaVinci Stage.

“We like to say that it is New Orleans brass meets Saint Louis attitude,” as the band’s guitarist and vocalist, Tim Halpin, describes the Funky Butt Brass Band to Nightlife.

The New Orleans brass stylings are similar to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth, and Bonerama, just to name a few. But Halpin says setlists have also shaken things up by throwing in Saint Louis rhythm and blues, Motown classics, southern rock, Memphis soul, and Chicago blues.

Formed in 2008, the band includes Halpin, Adam Hucke on trumpet and vocals, Austin Cebulske on saxophone, Aaron Chandler on trombone and vocals, Cody Henry on sousaphone, and Ron Sikes on drums.

“We just all thought that something like that was missing,” Halpin said of the reason to form a second-line funk band.

In 2009, the Funky Butt Brass Band released their debut album, Cut the Body Loose. The sophomore album You Can Trust the Funky Butt Brass Band came out two years later.

The latest effort, 2014’s Sugar Sugar Whomp Whomp, features nine original songs and two New Orleans covers.

Halpin said he has fun making unique music with his bandmates. Part of what he enjoys is adapting music that were not originally recorded or even thought of as New Orleans brass-based songs.

Halpin added that these special elements add to the live shows, help freshen the ideas, and act as a cathartic release for the band.

“Sometimes we’ll just do that, pick an artist or theme and try to center a whole show setlist around it,” Halpin said. “We’ve been working on a Huey Lewis and the News one right now.... We were all Prince fans, so when he died we dedicated a whole show to his music.”

Some songs are easier to adapt than others, but the purpose, Halpin said, is to make it work and add an element of fun.

The Funky Butt Brass Band is looking to record a children’s album and possibly another album during the next year. Halpin added that the band will also work on and prepare for their annual Christmas show, a holiday tradition where the rowdy nature of the band meets classic holiday tunes.

All in the name of fun.

“We just want everyone to have a good time,” Halpin said.

For more information, check out <http://FunkyButtBrassBand.com>.

who: Funky Butt Brass Band

what: CarbondaleRocks Revival music festival (Dixieland jazz)

where: Washington Street DaVinci Stage


when: Saturday, October 1

Newell House Grotto Lounge • Carbondale: Jewels (jazz)

Jewels - Herbie's Blues - Introducing the Jewels

Herbie's Blues

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Jewels - Okraschoten - Introducing the Jewels


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Jewels: Sounding Off



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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

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Jewels: Introducing a New Local Jazz Trio’s Debut CD

Who: Jewels
What: jazz
When: 2016-07-07
Local jazz act the Jewels will play as a trio Thursday, July 7 at Tres Hombres.
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

Local jazz act the Jewels will play as a trio Thursday, July 7 at Tres Hombres.

Their first CD, Introducing the Jewels, was recorded at the Skihouse Annex in West Frankfort and released in July 2012. It features mostly instrumental jazz with some forays into vocal songs like the hypnotic “Ven Con Tu Amor (San Jose).” The recording swings from the hard bop of the first track Quick Drag through the upbeat sax wailing of “Royal’s Theme” to the Hancock-flavored “Okraschoten” and into the somber “Lullaby of Golden Leaves.”

While influenced by John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, and other historic jazz greats, they are also inspired by Kraut rock, African jazz, funk, soul, and 1960s psychedelic music; there are covers from Can and the Black Fortys on Introducing the Jewels.

The premiere album, which was largely recorded live in the studio, featured members David Allen, Kevin Ohlau, Marcus Mader, Jimmy Beers, and Mike Alderfer. They played alongside guest musicians from the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra including Metiney Suwanawongse Moore, Becca Perry, Rob Hopkins, and Alex Francois, as well as David Brown from Secondary Modern, who helped mix the recording.

To give it a listen, check out <http://TheJewelsForever@bandcamp.com>.

Nightlife had a few words with Kevin Ohlau to find out what the Jewels have been up to.

So what’s been going on with your lineup changes and guest musicians within the last few years? It seems you play as a quintet as well as a trio, leading to some speculation as to who plays with the Jewels now.

The Jewels have primarily been a trio for the last two years. We’ve had a few guests sit in from time to time. However, at one of our most recent gigs, we expanded to an eleven-piece big band to play some arrangements from Charles Mingus’s record Ah Um. That was an unforgettable experience! We had some great players from around the country join us. Most were in town for the Southern Illinois Music Festival.

For the past two years, the Jewels’ lineup has been Jimmy Beers on drums, Mike Alderfer on bass, and myself on tenor sax, flute, keyboard, and vocals. I acquired a Fender Rhodes a couple of years ago, and that has made it possible to throw a few more colors around without having to add extra members.

In late 2013, there was notice of your work on a new album. Your discography, unless I’m mistaken, includes only Introducing the Jewels from 2012; it looks like a new album has not yet been released.

We have a second album finished, but no one is allowed to listen to it. Actually, we just haven’t decided what to do with it.

You told Nightlife in 2012 that jazz and improvisation when mixed is a true form of human expression, and that “jazz tends to mean something different every decade or so.” You emphasized that Jewels are not limited to the field of jazz, but that you “write jazz tunes for the decade we’re living in.” I was wondering if you had any further thoughts on that.

Regarding composing, if I were to have any sort of mantra at the moment, it would be, “Don’t try.” That could be slightly misleading. It doesn’t mean not to put forth effort, but simply to trust yourself. Trying seems to imply that I somehow need to be more than myself. Trying might imply that I have a finished product in mind. I prefer to let the piece take whatever shape comes naturally over time. If a piece or song I compose isn’t right for the Jewels, we simply don’t play it. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write it. Jazz is such a wide genre at this point, there’s no need to try to fit inside. It’s all in there.

I thought it interesting that some of you have a background in punk and rock music and others work with the [Southern Illinois] Symphony, but now you create your own eclectic sounds with influences from jazz, improvisation, garage rock, et cetera. What can we expect from the Jewels in the future?

I’m fortunate to have two of the most in-demand Carbondale musicians as a rhythm section, Mike Alderfer and Jimmy Beers. A somewhat interesting aside: Jim and I play drums and sax in the Jewels. Our fathers also played drums and sax in a jazz big band a few years ago. I digress.

Having those two as a rhythm section makes learning new material and rehearsing in general quite painless. Our collective backgrounds include basically every genre of music you could think of. Come to think of it, the bands Jim and Mike are currently performing with cover most musical genres.

The Jewels will continue performing around Southern Illinois mostly as a trio, but possibly as a quartet from time to time. We’re always adding new music to our set.

who: Jewels

what: jazz

where: Tres Hombres


when: Thursday, July 7

Southern Illinois Music Festival 2016: History in the Music-making

Venues & Businesses
Alto Vineyards

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Southern Illinois Music Festival 2010
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011 Takes It... Bach to Beethoven!
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Three-dozen Concerts in Three Weeks
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Adolphe Adam's Giselle: Dancing Evil Spirits Away
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Faith, Love, Lust, Betrayal, and Murder: Mascagni's Opera Cavalleria Rusticana
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: Mozart, Beethoven, and More: SIU Alum and Clarinet Soloist Boja Kragulj Returns for the Festivals
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: New Arts Jazztet: Hands-on American Music for Adults and Children
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: The Southern Illinois Bassoon Quartet: The the Clown of the Orchestra Takes the Spotlight
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2011: The Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra: Heading Bach to Brahms With Two SIU Alum
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 Continues With Kara Benyas performing Rachmaninov and Strauss
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 presents La Bohème: A Night at the Opera
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2012 Presents Stravinsky Ballets: Petruchka and The Firebird
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2013: A Classical Tradition Continues
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2014 Takes Opera to the Final Frontier: The Abduction from the Seraglio
Southern Illinois Music Festival 2014: Mostly Mozart in the Midwest

Who: Edward Benyas
What: Southern Illinois Music Festival (jazz)
When: 2016-05-28 - 2016-06-13
A longstanding annual summer festival is set to transport audiences back to the eighteenth century.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A longstanding annual summer festival is set to transport audiences back to the eighteenth century.

With the theme William Tell in 1776, the Southern Illinois Music Festival features Gioachino Rossini’s famous opera William Tell at the Marion Civic Center. The entire opera will be presented twice over two-day periods, Tuesday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 8, and then again for a repeat performance Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11. Many will recognize the famous overture in William Tell as The Lone Ranger theme.

Festival artistic director and orchestra conductor Ed Benyas said the huge undertaking of producing William Tell requires a large cast of performers, including a forty-voice chorus, twenty-member ballet company, and the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra.

Due to its length and complexity, William Tell has rarely been produced in its entirety.

“Producing Rossini’s final opera, William Tell, is the most ambitious thing we have ever done in the twelve years of the Southern Illinois Music Festival,” Benyas said. “Our production, updating the setting to 1776 America, is unique, and even producing the entire opera in its original language and uncut with all the original ballet music has only been done a handful of times in this country in the past century.”

Josh Shaw, director of the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles, is also the director of William Tell. Shaw said that many of the singers, including Wes Mason in the title role, are internationally recognized for their talents.

“We were able to get those talents because of the production,” he said.

The other three-dozen events for the Southern Illinois Music Festival remain consistent with the 1776 theme. These shows include orchestral concerts (on June 4, 9, and 11) that feature music about revolution or of a revolutionary nature.

Also scheduled for the festival is a special spotlight on Mozart. In 1775, a nineteen-year-old Mozart wrote all five of his violin concerti, and three members of the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra’s violin section will perform the last three concerti on two nights of the festival.

The Festival Orchestra will present music of the Three Bs Thursday, June 9, opening with J.S. Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto followed by Johannes Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra. Soloists for the Brahms spotlight include SIU violin and cello professors Michael Barta and Eric Lenz. The final B will be Beethoven’s Third Symphony, also known as Eroica. Beethoven had intended to dedicate the music to Napoleon and an enlightened era of freedom then emerging in Europe. However, when he learned of Napoleon’s excesses, Beethoven renamed the piece.

Small chamber ensembles will also pepper the festival schedule, playing in locations from Herrin and Marion to Murphysboro, Anna, and Cairo.

Benyas said the continued success of the festival is a testament to the community backing the event receives year after year.

“[W]e could not sustain the festival this year without the support of a variety of generous corporate, governmental, foundation, and individual sponsors,” Benyas said.

Shaw added that the can’t-miss William Tell show is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Either way, it’s history,” Shaw said. “It will probably be the only time in your entire life that you will get to see it.”

For the complete schedule, log on to <http://SIFest.com>. Tickets (including a $100 pass that nets access to all festival activities except the special-event fundraisers) sell via the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office at (618) 997-4030 or <http://www.MarionCCC.org>.

who: Edward Benyas

what: Southern Illinois Music Festival

where: various locations


when: May 28 through June 13

Keith Javors: A Local Jazz Savant Returns

Venues & Businesses
Newell House

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Keith Javors: Playing Jazz and Paying it Forward

Who: Keith Javors
What: jazz
When: 2016-05-18 - 2016-05-19
Keith Javors, born in DeSoto, Illinois, has been internationally recognized as a vibrant and eclecti
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

Keith Javors, born in DeSoto, Illinois, has been internationally recognized as a vibrant and eclectic piano player and producer. He returns to the region on Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19 for two shows at the Newell House Grotto Lounge in support of his latest recording, The Meeting, which will be formally released on May 31; at the Grotto he’ll be joined by bassist Jim Wall and drummer Jim Goodwin.

Javors has won awards from Downbeat magazine for his playing and for his role as a composer, producer, and educator. He appears on several recordings on the label he runs, Inarhyme Records, which has produced a number of critically hailed albums. The Chicago Tribune praised Coming Together, where Javors played alongside Chris Potter, Steve Wilson, Terell Stafford, Delbert Felix and John Davis, as one of 2009’s most innovative recordings. Among other places you can also hear him: Rhyme and Reason, Mo’ City Jungle, The Free Project (as part of the American Music Project), and From Here to the Street. The forthcoming release The Meeting features Javors with Oleg Kireyev, Tom Harrel, Ben Williams, and E.J. Strickland.

Javors’s work is infused with a socially conscious outlook. In 2013 Inarhyme Records teamed up with the Los Angeles based organization Jail Guitar Doors to improve the lives of the incarcerated through music; specifically, they help inmates get access to musical instruments. Javors said of the organization founded by Wayne Kramer, Margaret Saadi Kramer, and Billy Bragg that “They’re leading great initiatives... to really improve our society and change many lives.”

This was noted by the Jazz Review, which wrote, “Perhaps Javors’s concern for the people he meets and his well-wishing for the world community at-large characterizes his work.”

Visit <http://www.KeithJavorsMusic.com> for more information.

Nightlife had a few words with Keith Javors.

So you’re from DeSoto and went to high school in Carbondale. Welcome back! It must be interesting to return to this area, a town so different from your current city, Philadelphia.

It’s a much different vibe for certain, but I’ve always loved where I come from; the warm and friendly people, the relaxed pace, the beauty. I have a special place in my heart for Southern Illinois. I moved away from the area when I was seventeen, but the people here are still some of my greatest fans and supporters. It takes a village to raise a child and that was true in my case: my family, friends, teachers, the community. They have all played a role in making me who I am today.

According to your bio you took an interest in music at an early age. I was curious what got you started and how you evolved into the piano player you are today.

According to my parents’ recollection, there was an old, defunct player piano in the house where I grew up, and at three I just started picking out television themes by ear on it. I played by ear for a few years before starting formal lessons at seven or eight. I consider the love and fascination I’ve always had for music to be a gift from God, and still feel the same way today. I’m just as excited, as fascinated with music and its innate power as I ever was and that hopefully keeps me growing.

You’ve played with a lot of great jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck and appeared on numerous albums. You manage the Inarhyme Records label where you show up in different duos and ensembles. So in all these collaborations, what forms of musical arrangements strike you the most? What are some of your favorite collaborations and shows?

That’s a tough one, as I have many favorite settings and it’s generally whatever one I’m involved in at the moment. But I see music as one of two things: Good or bad. And I don’t judge beyond that. I am a big fan of cross-pollination of styles and outside-the-box collaborations in general, and feel something really unique and special can come from those. And so with the label, we’re always looking for projects that are high-quality but go against the stylistic grain in some kind of way.

Any thoughts on playing as a trio at the Grotto? How much of a mix between standards and improvisation do you incorporate into your set?

I anticipate the Grotto will be a nice mix between jazz standards and originals. I’m looking forward to playing with Jim and Wayne again; they’re very supportive musicians with big ears, as we like to say in the business. I think there’ll be something for everyone. I try to present music that is challenging and fun for the musicians to play but that is, at the same time, accessible to the everyday listener.

You recorded with spoken-word/hip-hop artist D-Priest as part of the American Music Project. According to Jazz Times you’ve also had a nineteen-piece band. The Coming Together album featured a sextet in memoriam of your friend Brendan Romaneck. The new release The Meeting was recorded with a quintet. So you seem to be a jazz musician with a diverse range. Though some of your recordings have been hailed as being post-bop and it seems to be something that drives you as a player, you obviously reach beyond that.

It’s hard for me not to reach and take risks in music. Not only is it something my teachers and mentors instilled in me, but I grew up in a much different generation than, say, Miles Davis or Dizzy Gillespie, and so the influences are different. You could never replicate their greatness anyway. So I’m okay with letting my other tastes come through when possible and appropriate, anything from [rhythm and blues] and pop to rock and funk to gospel and even country.

What are your plans for the future?

Mostly, I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and develop, both as a human being and as a musician. In addition to touring and promoting The Meeting, I have a pop project with a fantastic vocalist named Jennifer Perryman that’s starting to come together and a new progressive-jazz record on the horizon as well. And then there’s the work with the label and producing other artists and running our programs. It really never ends, and I think that keeps me happy.

who: Keith Javors

what: jazz

where: Newell House Grotto Lounge


when: Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19

Eshé Bhairavi

Band Members
Eshé Bhairavi (E-Shay) (Buh-Rah-Vee)
Contact Info

Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra and New Arts Jazztet: Holiday Jazz

The holidays are just around the corner, and with the mistletoe and jingle bells come some of the jo
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

The holidays are just around the corner, and with the mistletoe and jingle bells come some of the joyous and most triumphant sounds of the year.

Holiday Jazz presents a special night of seasonal favorites Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Shryock Auditorium. The concert will include the individual and combined performances of Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, vocal soloists, the SIU Studio Jazz Orchestra, and the New Arts Jazztet.

Conductor, School of Music professor, and New Arts Jazztet saxophone player Dick Kelley said the event marks the second year in a row that the orchestra and the Jazztet have joined forces to produce an end-of-the-year concert.

“It is a real treat when they come together,” Kelley said. “It’s rare, but it’s great when it happens.”

For those who want to pop the cork on the celebrations a little early, a pre-concert wine-and-cheese reception will also take place Thursday in the Shryock Auditorium balcony lobby. All ticket proceeds for the reception, hosted by Trish Guyon and the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra Patrons Committee, will benefit the orchestra.

Ever since 1903, the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, which consists of university faculty and students as well as other talented community musicians, has presented several live events on campus each year.

In January 2001, the Illinois Council of Orchestras named the Southern Illinois Symphony the Community Volunteer Orchestra of the Year. In 2005, the council named its music director, Edward Benyas, Conductor of the Year in the small-orchestra category.

School of Music professor and New Arts Jazztet bassist Philip Brown has arranged several songs for Holiday Jazz, including traditional favorites and contemporary Christmas tunes. Those songs may even include a novelty medley of two cartoon classics— “Christmas Don’t Be Late” from Alvin and the Chipmunks and a song from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Brown said he hopes Southern Illinois will come out and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season in song.

“It’s our gift to the community,” Brown said, “and we’re hoping the community sees it that way and comes out to see us.”

Tickets to Holiday Jazz cost $20 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets for the wine-and-cheese reception are $30 to attend. For tickets, call (618) 453-6000 or visit ticket outlets at McLeod or the SIU Arena. To buy online, visit <http://www.SIUSalukis.com>, click on the Tickets popup, and then on the Tickets Home link. There are no service charges for in-person purchases, though phone and online purchases will carry $2 charges.

who: Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra and New Arts Jazztet

what: holiday music

where: Shryock Auditorium


when: Thursday, December 3

Woody Pines: Down-home Swing at the CarbondaleRocks Revival

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Music Coalition
Tres Hombres

Who: Woody Pines / Gentle Ben
What: Americana, jazz, festivals and fairs
When: 2015-09-10
Woody Pines will perform Thursday, September 10 at Tres Hombres with Gentle Ben supporting. The show
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Woody Pines will perform Thursday, September 10 at Tres Hombres with Gentle Ben supporting. The show is part of the CarbondaleRocks Revival festival.

Woody Pines is a swoon-worthy troubadour who sounds as sweet and lush as a root-beer float and as homey as a beaten old front porch in Alto Pass on a warm fall evening. Woody describes his music as “Down-home swing. It’s a juke-joint house party feel with little bit storytelling.”

The musical roots of Woody Pines go all the way back to New Orleans circa 1998, where he went to school and performed with the Kitchen Syncopators. After school Woody packed up to Ohio, where he released his first solo album, Rags to Riches, in 2006. There have been nine releases and two relocations since Rags to Riches. Woody Pines now takes up residence in Nashville, Tennessee.

Woody Pines is currently touring in support of his tenth album, a self-titled affair, which Muddy Roots Records released in May. Stream it online at <http//www.WoodyPines.com>. The tour started off overseas and is wrapping up in the States.

Nightlife caught up with him on a short tour break for an enlightening and inspiring interview.

When did you start playing music?

I started out when I was five, playing homemade drums and homemade string instruments and harmonica.

How did you decide on the name Woody Pines?

Me and my pals in high school were into all the old blues guys who had pseudonyms. I had a hard time coming up with one until someone said, “You already have a great name, Woody!” Pines just sort of fell from the sky.

How has the Nashville scene treated you?

The Nashville scene has been really supportive. It’s great to come home from a tour and be able to go out and see great live music any night of the week. It’s also great to be around so many great performers all the time. When you’re from a small town, you feel like an outcast because music is so important to you and you think you’re the only one. Then when you move to Nashville, everyone around you is working hard in the music world and you feel like you’ve found your people.

So you started off busking and took off from there? Is that a common way to get started in Nashville?

I don’t think so much in Nashville. But when I was in New Orleans it seemed liked everyone paid their dues playing on the streets. Then you’d see them in the clubs, and if that didn’t kill them you’d [see] bands take off. Bands like the Deslondes, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, the Loose Marbles, Cory Harris, Madeleine Peyroux, people who are touring the world now were all playing in the streets of New Orleans.

What changed while you were busking to get you on the path of touring and signing with Muddy Roots?

Nothing, really. Maybe planning. You have to plan ahead to do a tour. When you busk, you stick your head out the door and say, “It’s a nice day. Let’s make some music.”

You have one self-titled release on Muddy Roots. What does that album mean to you?

I wanted to make the album have the energy of the live show, but also have a big acoustic sound. I also wanted put the new songs I’ve written with Felix Hatfield on the record. We have cowritten songs together for years and he is a big part of my life. The new album has a few traditional folk songs on there as well. These are important because American roots and traditional music is our music after all, and it’s our job to keep them growing and evolving

Do you have any new recordings in the works?

While on tour, we’ve been posting bootleg recordings of live shows we get from radio stations and sound guys. I’m mostly touring the new album now, but starting to write some new tunes that I hope will be on the next album.

You have the Muddy Roots Music Festival coming up. What is that all about?

Muddy Roots Festival, yes! Looking forward to that all year. It’s gonna be a great lineup this year as well. People come from all over the world to be part of this punk/roots/bluegrass/country/folk festival. The organizers are really forward-thinking to put all these bands together in one festival.

How has the tour been going? Are there any highlights we should know of?

So far, so good. We just got a new, bigger van, so now have room for a few more friends and musicians. It’s fun to travel with a good crew of people.

This year so far I have played a show on a boat in Martha’s Vineyard, a train in Tennessee, and a cave 333 feet underground at the Bluegrass Underground.

We started the year off with four weeks in the U.K., Ireland, and Germany. We released the album overseas first and sold out six or seven shows over there. Already, we have next march booked in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, and I just got a request today about coming to Belgium and the Netherlands, so it’s pretty exciting.

Who are some of your major influences who do not at all sound like how you sound?

Harry Houdini and Mark Twain.

What is it about music that makes you want to play?

Music is like food— you can’t eat it, but it feeds you.

What are some major themes of your songwriting?

The continuing adventures of characters from the American folk world, hobos, and alligators. Love, death, and small-town dynasties.

If you were incapable of playing music, what do you think you would do instead?

Paint music.

Who in your opinion is the worst musical artist in the world?

Someone who is making music they don’t like for money.

The best?

Someone who is making music they love for no money.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Keep at it and follow your heart no matter what. If you have two hearts, then... I don’t know what to do.

who: Woody Pines / Gentle Ben

what: CarbondaleRocks Revival (jazz, Americana)

where: Tres Hombres


when: Thursday, September 10

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