original rock

Girls Rock Carbondale Showcase: A Musical Celebration of Young Women

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

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Girls Rock Camp Benefit 2016: An Expression of Power
Girls Rock Camp Benefit: Amped Up for a Good Cause
Girls Rock Camp Showcase 2016: For Those About to Rock!


Who: Libre Unschool
What: Girls Rock Camp showcase
Where:
When: 2017-08-12
Pictured: Dust Bunnies of Doom.
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

words by Craig Wilson

picture by Mitch Mitchell

The annual Girls Rock Showcase will return Saturday, August 12 to the Hangar 9. The doors open at 5 p.m.

Girls Rock is an international movement to help girls between the fourth and twelfth grade start bands and perform. The Carbondale camp was founded in 2014 by Jessica Lynn.

Some bands that formed at the Girls Rock Carbondale include Distorted Vision, the Rockettes, Out of the Kitchen, Personal Tragedies, Teen Angst, and Twisted Ego.

Last year’s Girls Rock Carbondale showcase at the Hangar 9 drew a large crowd. There were plenty of smiles and good times.

Lynn told Nightlife a little more about Girls Rock Carbondale. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.

What’s your process for setting up Girls Rock and what’s your history?

Girls Rock Carbondale is a weeklong summer program that puts girls and gender-nonconforming youth center stage. We teach campers the basics of an instrument, coach them on being in a band, offer a range of educational workshops, and steep them in a world of fun. With their band, campers write an original song and play it live at a local music venue. Being in a band is demystified and campers spend a week immersed in an ethos of empowerment.

Girls Rock Carbondale has held two prior sessions in 2015 and 2016— both guitar-smashing successes. In 2017, Girls Rock Carbondale moved from being a Carbondale Community Arts program to a Libre Unschool program. I’m the director of Libre Unschool— a small arts, cultural, and educational endeavor that is slowly expanding with more programming like this summer’s Eco Theater Camp and a few small afterschool programs kicking off this fall. You can check out our efforts at <http://LibreUnschool.org>.

What can you say about this year’s Girls Rock Camp?

This year Girls Rock Carbondale is seven days. We spend Monday through Friday in workshops, instrument instruction, band practice, and our famed Merch Op art workshops. Saturday, the Hangar 9 hosts Girls Rock Carbondale and our campers for the annual Girls Rock Camper Showcase. Sunday, bands will record their song at Plaza Records under Two Headed Twin Records. We are thrilled to offer workshops on self-defense, critical literacy of the media, song/lyric writing, harmonies, screen printing, and creative writing.

This summer we have approximately thirty-five youth, which is about how many we worked with last year. Lack of adequate space has been a limitation on increasing our capacity, but it’s been an inspiration to see our volunteer base nearly triple since 2014 when I started the camp in Carbondale. Our volunteers are the life force of Girls Rock— they are the magic behind the scenes— and lately in the scenes with awesome programs like Rock Roulette.

Girls Rock Carbondale summer camp will kick off in August this year. In the meantime, we’ve just finished our final fundraiser with Rock Roulette, an eight-week rock camp where adults form a band and play live locally. We’re also seeking to fill two bass-instructor positions, at beginning and intermediate levels. Our annual gear drive is just kicking off— we’re collecting loaner instruments like bass guitars, amps, mixers, and more. We’re still trying to fill our campers’ and volunteers’ bellies for three more days during the week— our lunches are graciously donated by local businesses. Girls Rock Carbondale is always accepting volunteer applications. Check our website at <http://www.GirlsRockCarbondale.com> for more information.

What kind of environment will participants find at Girls Rock Camp?

We speak of camp magic a lot, but it’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate the nuance of how that magic is made. At Girls Rock Carbondale, we seek to create an environment without judgement. Campers encounter many experiences that challenge their boundaries around creativity and self-expression and are able to do so in a safe environment. At last year’s showcase, when I individually asked campers, “How do you feel?” after their performance, every single camper's reply was: “Awesome!”

who Libre Unschool

what Girls Rock Camp showcase

where Hangar 9

when Saturday, August 12

Bible of the Devil: A Catchy, Brutal Rock ‘n’ Roll Gospel

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

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Bible of the Devil and ZüüL: Ready to Shred


Who: Bible of the Devil / High Spirits / Seamstress / Buzzzard
What: rock ‘n’ roll metal
Where:
When: 2017-07-22
Bible of the Devil. Black metal, not quite! Don’t be fooled by their name. This rock ‘n’ roll metal
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

words by Craig Wilson

picture by Patrick Houdek

Bible of the Devil. Black metal, not quite! Don’t be fooled by their name. This rock ‘n’ roll metal band plays Saturday, July 22 at the Hangar 9 with High Spirits; locals Seamstress and Buzzzard are up first.

Bible of the Devil formed in Chicago in 1999; they’ve released numerous full-length albums, several EPs, various splits and singles, plus a demo. They are firmly rooted in 1980s heavy metal and classic guitar rock. One can hear the influences of Iron Maiden, Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, and Judas Priest, for example. But the band brings enough original flair to keep it fresh.

They successfully weave plenty of guitar crunch and heartfelt vocal choruses into the same songs; rousing, dramatic songs that sometimes reflect upon the harsher things in life. As their Facebook page asserts, “Rock music can be catchy and brutal at the same time.” The interplay between the two guitarists adds another ingredient for a lively listening experience and stage show.

The current band members are NathanPerry (vocals, guitar), Greg Spalding (drums, loathing), Darren Amaya (bass, vocals), and Chris Grubbs (guitar).


Bible of the Devil played their second gig in Carbondale in 2001; apparently this was the source of the cover image for Firewater at My Command. Their most recent full-length album is 2012’s For the Love of Thugs and Fools. Find out more at <http://BibleOfTheDevil.net>.

Nightlife caught up with Spalding and Perry to ask about their summer tour and the recently released split with Leeches of Lore.

It looks like your summer tour starts in Minneapolis on July 14 and ends in Carbondale on July 22 to make a total of nine shows in nine days. From what I hear, you’ve been through here before!

Spalding: Definitely! Carbondale has been a great tour stop for Bible of the Devil over the years and we have played with some great bands like Züül, the Hateful Dead, It Burns, and Bourbon Knights, just to name a few. There’s always a sense here that people really like rock, punk, and metal, and they provide an enthusiasm that you just don’t see in many other towns in the U.S.

Perry: I feel like each time we come back we can paraphrase the movie Dazed and Confused. Carbondale: We keep getting older, you stay the same age! We seem to make new fans each time we return, which is one of the cool things about college towns. And naturally, with the scene that has been maintained... we will no doubt see some old friends, too.

How did the new split with Leeches of Lore come together? I see that’s now available from the bands.

Perry: It was pretty simple— we wanted to put out a song before we started work on a new record, and the song we recorded seemed like something that stood on its own rather than as part of an album. Then we put the word out to bands we were tight with to see if anyone had a song they wanted released, and Leeches of Lore did. It is too bad, it looks like this might be their last release— they are calling it quits.

If there’s anything that comes to mind, it’s always interesting to hear about a band’s greatest moments or some of their favorite tour stories.

Perry: There have been so many highlights, it’s hard to pick one. Getting to tour in Europe was great. During one of our trips there, being handed a copy of Freedom Metal on vinyl, our fifth record overall but our first in that format— that was a big moment for me personally, that’s when I really felt like I had accomplished something big. As far as a tour story from Carbondale, I think my favorite is one night after we finished the show, we then went into town and as thirty-something year-olds, talked our way into a college frat party by saying that we were members of Even Flow, the ultimate tribute to Pearl Jam. Eventually, after an hour or so of harassing people with terrible Eddie Vedder impressions, we were asked to leave. By that time we had finished the last of their beer, so we left peacefully.

What Bible of the Devil album do you like the most?

Spalding: That’s a tough one! All of the records have their place in time and reflect was what going on with us in those particular moments. In the end, the fans decide what they like the most, anyway. That said, we are fortunate to have memorable songs that still resonate with people.

With so many recordings to draw from, what’s happening with your setlist this time around?

Perry: We have a lot of brand-new songs, and of course there are the back-catalog songs, so we’re going to mix it up. We’re also going to try to make the sets a little different on each of the shows by drawing from a big well of songs and switch things up each night, just to keep things interesting for our tourmates High Spirits, since they have to watch us every night. Bible of the Devil: We care.

What are you up to next?

Spalding: In late September of this year, we’ll return to the studio to begin work on the next album. We are all psyched to get back there and bang out some future hits. Hopefully you’ll see us on tour again in 2018!

who: Bible of the Devil / High Spirits / Seamstress / Buzzzard

what: rock ‘n’ roll metal

where: Hangar 9

when: Saturday, July 22

Plaza Records • Carbondale: Enchanters CD release party / David Brown / Commander Keen / Kim Curlee Band / Toy Cowboy

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Eric Howell’s King Mixer at the Sunset Concerts: Starring Again at Turley Park

Venues & Businesses
Sunset Concerts

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Kiko Villamizar: Aquas Frias at the Sunset Concerts


Who: Eric Howell’s King Mixer
What: Sunset Concert Series (progressive guitar pop)
Where:
When: 2017-07-06
The next Sunset Concert marks a homecoming for Eric Howell, whose band, King Mixer, will play Thursd
Chris Wissmann
Video Comentary

words by Chris Wissmann

pictures by Vincent Svandra Photography

The next Sunset Concert marks a homecoming for Eric Howell, whose band, King Mixer, will play Thursday, July 6 at the Turley Park Gazebo.

Howell’s Carbondale group, the Reform (which included drummer LeRoy Jones, guitarist John Riley, and bassist Mike Waggoner; Brian Waggoner later replaced Riley, and all members contributed exemplary original songs), is still the best band this writer has ever seen. Equally inspired by the Beatles and loud alternative rockers like the Replacements, the Reform wrote lyrics that beautifully captured the angst, alienation, and anxiety of SIU students in the late 1980s. But the band married those lyrics to hard-edged, guitar-based pop songs with creative vocal harmonies and unforgettable melodic hooks. They went down like honey.

And with their electrifying performances, the Reform became one of the most popular local groups during an incredibly rich era in Carbondale music. With an appeal that ranged from punks to greeks, they would pack the Hangar or Gatsby’s (the current location of Traxx) on consecutive weekend nights.

They were the obvious choice to grace the cover of the first edition of Nightlife in March 1990. In fact, it’s hard to imagine Nightlife taking off in the first without the Reform inspiring such devotion, which spread out to local music in general.

“One of our first gigs in the Reform was at Turley, up in the gazebo,” Howell tells Nightlife. “That was a long time ago. This upcoming show isn’t about any kind of reunion show or anything— we’re very much rooted in the now. But it is not lost on me that I’ll be back in that same gazebo in Turley Park, some thirty years later. The mind boggles.”

After the Reform broke up in May 1990, Howell returned to Chicago. There he’s led a series of bands, produced hilarious Beatles and Chicago baseball parodies for WXRT (Howell is a flawless mimic), and labored endlessly on intricate but potent solo recordings.

The first of them didn’t come out until 2007, but Greatest Hitch Volume I was an amazing tour de force. The CD came with a feature-length documentary DVD, Beneath the Music, which gave a somewhat fictionalized account of Howell’s life in music. (Full disclosure: This writer was an interview subject in the film and shot some of its footage.)

The film shows that the Reform’s immense local popularity didn’t come close to vaulting the band out of poverty. That and other issues with which Howell struggled made his Carbondale years less than idyllic.

Looking back, however, “I feel great about it,” Howell says. “My time in Carbondale was pretty challenging, but context and time are a funny thing. I was just beginning back then and learning a lot— a student not of SIU, like my contemporaries, but I was attending the University of Hard Knocks for sure.”

Many songs on Greatest Hitch and 2016’s stupendous Hang On continue to take their inspiration from depression and unhappiness. (But with fierce, sweet melodies, they still go down like honey.) Howell says that’s just rock ‘n’ roll tradition and human predisposition, however.

“[I]n the rare moments when we’re feeling true joy, who wants to risk breaking the spell by putting pen to paper?” Howell says. “It’s such a good buzz, but a short-lived one, that breaking open Pro Tools to get it down feels a bit like trying to describe a great dream you just had. The more you talk about it, the more you can feel it slipping away.”

Howell’s writing, then, isn’t necessarily an indication of his mood, which he says is pretty good these days. And not all of his songs refract the sunshine away from the lyrics. Howell buoys Hang On with “Forty-five,” a joyous song that by all rights should light up summer radio waves across the nation. Using the little records with the big holes as a metaphor for how life spins ever faster with age, Howell belts out an exultant survivor’s tale: “I can’t believe I’m still alive/I can’t believe I’m forty-five.”

“There’s a lot of ‘there but for the grace of God’ in King Mixer music these days,” Howell says. “Mind you, there are definitely a lot of things worth getting one’s ire up nowadays, certainly on a national and planetary level. But, you know, personally, day-to-day, it takes a lot more to rankle me at this stage. So the line is long and loud first thing in the morning at Starbuck’s. Relish it. I wake up every morning thinking, ‘I made it!’ That is literally the first thought in my mind every day: ‘I made it another day.’ This is not guaranteed to any of us.”

The King Mixer band that will rock the Sunset Concerts will include drummer Colin Rambert, bassist Justin Loftus, and a horn section. “I also hope to bring a special guest or two to Turley as well,” Howell teases. “Time will tell if everything lines up in that regard, but I’m hopeful.”

As did his idols the Beatles, Howell definitely uses the studio as an instrument, painsakingly layering instruments, vocal harmonies, and effects on his songs. That, of course, begs the question: Can King Mixer capture all of those subtleties when they play live, or do they need to work around them somehow?

“That is a question that can only be answered from the vantage point of a gazebo,” Howell says. Then he quotes one of his other idols, Paul Westerberg of the Replacements: “Can’t hardly wait.”

Meanwhile, check out <http://KingMixerMusic.com>.

who: Eric Howell’s King Mixer

what: Sunset Concert Series (progressive guitar pop)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

when: Thursday, July 6

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a long response Howell gave to a question about songwriting. Dave Schultz, to whom Howell refers, was a member of the great 1980s Carbondale band October’s Child.

You don’t feel as if you need to be in a bad place emotionally to write great lyrics?

Regardless, no, I don’t think one needs to be in a bad place emotionally to write great lyrics. Not at all. But where that notion might arise is that what happens is you need to be tuned into “where you are” and really be in touch with sensations, colors, detail, and how you are feeling in order to accurately reflect your “truth.”

Generally when we’re in a bad place, you know it. You’re living it day in and day out, and you can’t escape yourself or get away from it (“wherever you go, there you are” kinda thing). And with that comes a certain understanding that can typically only come from an acute awareness that you are not all right or that things are not playing out as you would like them to. Your inner reality does not match the outer reality. That creates conflict within— and often manifests itself into the outside world in damaging ways, unless you can turn your pain into art. So yeah, I’ve been there in my own songs, sure. And I’ve used music as my outlet to save my own life.

But as a very wise and brilliant songwriter named Dave Schultz once told me, “Songwriting is not therapy. Don’t tell someone how to feel in your music.... Make them feel what you’re feeling by paying attention to what you’re describing. Focus on the sensations.”

Brilliant. And true.

All the best songwriters do this. It’s why you can hear a Bob Dylan song at a certain period of your life and suddenly the lyrics resonate so clearly you’d swear the song is without question about you. And then, years later, having moved on with your life, you reconnect with that song, thinking “God, I haven’t heard this in years...” and as you listen again in your new, modern life, you realize that the song is still about you, in your new world. As a writer, that’s quite a trick if you can pull it off.

But to address the converse: Can you write great lyrics when you’re in a good place? Absolutely. Or, if not lyrical, you can certainly tap a vibe and capture it on record. All the best rock ‘n’ roll songs are less about lyrics and more about vibe. “Tutti Frutti” can, at times, have just as much relevance as “Like a Rolling Stone.” But the ratio may be lopsided in favor of darkness equals great lyrics, because in the rare moments when we’re feeling true joy, who wants to risk breaking the spell by putting pen to paper? It’s such a good buzz, but a short lived one, that breaking open Pro Tools to get it down feels a bit like trying to describe a great dream you just had— the more you talk about it, the more you can feel it slipping away.

So there’s that angle. But the truth is, neither extremes are necessary to write great lyrics. Again, listen to Schultz on this one. It’s about “how brilliantly can you describe an experience?” And I’m still working on that one! My strength has always been an apparently innate ability to nail the vibe, both music and words working together to create a mood, which luckily for me, people seem to instantly understand. Typically, music or hook [comes] first, followed soon after by whatever lyrics I’m sounding out as I work on the song. Sometimes it’s instant, but in more recent years, it’s been music first. I have tons of demos of just melodies— it’s ridiculous. I’m waiting for a filmmaker to approach me for rock-inspired instrumental beds.

But in general, King Mixer’s appeal seems to be that my music is familiar to you without being specific or too gratuitous in reference, whatever the vibe may be. There’s a mashup of influences at work, sometimes multiple genres within the same song, certainly within the same album. You know when you see a movie and you can tell where the plot is heading but you don’t mind? You’re not rolling your eyes, you actually see where it’s leading and you enjoy it. Hopefully, King Mixer is the musical equivalent, I suppose. There’s layers both in vibe and lyrically. A lot of my best work makes for terrible poetry if you just put the words out on paper. But that’s why there’s proper poetry versus rock ‘n’ roll. Rock ‘n’ roll can be poetry, but it’s hardly a requirement, right?

“Shama Lama Ding Dong” is poetry to me. “You put the ooh-mow-mow (uh oh, uh oh) back into my smile, child/That is why (that is why) that is why, you are my shoody doody do (yeah!)”

 

That is deep.

Barrence Whitfield: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fireball Opens the Sunset Concerts

Venues & Businesses
Sunset Concerts


Who: Barrence Whitfield and the Savages
What: Sunset Concerts (rock ‘n’ roll!)
Where:
When: 2017-06-15
“Is there a record shop there?” Barrence Whitfield asks about Carbondale, his speaking voice mannere
Chris Wissmann
Video Comentary

“Is there a record shop there?” Barrence Whitfield asks about Carbondale, his speaking voice mannered and slightly bemused, the polar opposite of the bracing shouts and screams that mark his wild, joyful, fifties-styled rock ‘n’ roll.

Record stores loom large in Whitfield’s life. When Nightlife called for an interview, the Barbecue, Blues, and Bikes festival in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, had just cancelled Whitfield’s appearance due to dangerous weather, so he and his band were shopping at a record store, awaiting a popup club gig in Cincinnati to stay sharp for a short tour of England in early June. (“The interest in Europe has always been total excitement,” he says.)

Whitfield and his band’s founding guitarist, Peter Greenberg, met at Nuggets, a record store in Boston where they both worked, and from which Whitfield says both were fired. (He can’t, or won’t, remember the circumstances of their termination.) And Whitfield still works part-time at a record store in Salem, Massachusetts.

Whitfield, who will open the 2017 Sunset Concert Series in explosive fashion Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. on the Steps of Shryock Auditorium, is a rare wonder.

Too many musicians who try to play in the style of early rock ‘n’ rollers end up sounding a lot more like Pat Boone than Little Richard. Not Whitfield. He’s the spiritual heir to Little Richard, and he’s backed by an incredible punkabilly band, aptly named the Savages, who always pull the throttle all the way back.

Listening to Whitfield and the Savages might approximate the reaction of a teenager in 1955 who, after a lifetime filled with easy listening Muzak, heard rock ‘n’ roll for the first time. The Savages’ could prove the only local concert of the year that will match George Thorogood’s HerrinFesta performance for sheer, intense, gutbucket rock ‘n’ roll exuberance.

I think it’s a feeling for the music,” Whitfield says when asked about the secret to capturing the spirit, not just the form, of early rock ‘n’ roll. “You get to love it, you hear it, it’s part of you, it’s part of your life, it’s part of your system, and you’re able to learn more about it.

“We’ve learned a lot through the years... by coming in contact with a lot of the old musicians of the past,” he adds. “I’ve had an opportunity to meet Little Richard, Don Covay, Roscoe Gordon, Carl Perkins, people like that that I could actually talk to and find out about what was happening during the times when they were doing the music and stuff. I think that’s the problem today in music, is not reaching back for roots.”

Whitfield believes those pioneers felt good about the influence they had on the Savages.

“I think they were very impressed and excited that there’s still somebody out there that appreciates what they’ve done through their lives and has incorporated it into their own genre of music,” he says.

After Greenberg heard Whitfield singing at Nuggets, he turned the future vocalist on to his vision for almost out-of-control rock ‘n’ roll. There was one problem, however— Whitfield was born Barry White, but he obviously couldn’t use his real name. The music he and Greenberg wanted to play was, and is, the antithesis of the slow, sultry soul seducer.

Thus it was Barrence Whitfield and the Savages who released a phenomenal self-titled album in 1984 and followed it with an impressive string of incendiary (if hardly chart-topping) minor-label releases, several on the renowned Rounder Records.

In 1993, however, Whitfield took a detour, recording a couple of records with country great Tom Russell that covered territory ranging from folk and country to soul and reggae— and even a kind of sea shanty.

“[W]hen we did that [first] record, it was definitely supposed to be a country record,” Whitfield says of his collaboration with Russell. “Then we got in there, and started doing different styles of music, and it was just coming out of our bodies. And as we were doing the recording in the studio, I said, ‘Man, this isn’t a straight country record. It’s kind of like, voodoo.’ And then [Russell] said, ‘Hillbilly voodoo.’ And the rest is history.”

By 1995, however, the original Savages, save Whitfield, were long gone, and the act seemed to have run its course.

Then in 2009, after staying incommunicado for twenty-six years, Greenberg reached out to Whitfield. Greenberg was planning a show near his home in Taos, New Mexico. Whitfield offered to come sit in, but Greenberg got excited, recruited another original Savage, bassist Phil “Mr. Tenacious” Lenker, and booked a whole tour. They rehearsed with a couple of New Mexico musicians, found the fire still burned hot, and hit the road.

Soon, they caught the attention of Chicago’s great Bloodshot Records, which signed them.

“Bloodshot has been very, very supportive and helpful. I mean, I don’t know of too many record labels that would give guys like us, that haven’t been around for a long time, a four-record deal,” Whitfield says, laughing incredulously.

Their first two Bloodshot albums for the label were as good, and as wild, as the first two the original group recorded back in 1984 and 1985. Their music, if anything, has grown more, well, savage. It’s an amazing feat that few musicians have managed— not softening with age.

Whitfield demurs a little from this observation, saying he’s mellowed a little in his personal life. But musically, it’s a different story.

“I just love this music,” Whitfield says. “It’s been in my blood forever, and I’ll continue to do what kind of musical genres excite me. Anything that excites me, I’ll do it. Because not a lot of people get to do what I do or a lot of musicians do, and enjoy doing it. You’ve got to do it now, while they say, the iron is hot.”

The Sunset Concert audience should prepare to sweat up a storm when the Savages overrun Carbondale, Whitfield says.

“Bring a towel,” Whitfield laughs. “And if it’s hot where we’re playing, you’ll be in trouble, we’ll be in trouble.

“It’ll just be a very festive occasion for people to listen to something that’s very raw and real and no strings attached,” he adds. “Have the welcome mat ready.”

Oh, and Carbondale has two great independent record stores— Plaza/Wuxtry and Hard Copies— so Whitfield likes Carbondale already. Don’t be surprised to find him and the rest of the band at both music retailers before the show.

Find out more at <http://BarrenceWhitfieldSavages.com>.

who: Barrence Whitfield and the Savages

what: Sunset Concerts (rock ‘n’ roll!)

where: Steps of Shryock Auditorium

when: Thursday, June 15

Sunset Concerts Are Set!

Earlier this week the final open dates for the Sunset Concerts were finally locked down. Here’s the rest of the complete schedule.

Thursday, June 22

Turley Park Gazebo

Version City Tour featuring King Django, Brian Hill, John DeCarlo, and Sascha Laue (ska, reggae)

Thursday, June 29

Steps of Shryock Auditorium

Kiko Villamizar (Latin roots music)

Thursday, July 6

Turley Park Gazebo

Eric Howell’s King Mixer (progressive guitar pop)

Thursday, July 13

Steps of Shryock Auditorium

Cha Wa (Mardi Gras Indian band)

Thursday, July 20

Turley Park Gazebo

Sharon Clark tribute featuring Ivas John

Thursday, July 27

Steps of Shryock Auditorium

 

Taj Weekes and Adowa (reggae)

Brent Stewart: Haze and The Restlessness: All Comes Back Again

Venues & Businesses
Varsity Center


Who: Brent Stewart
What: CD release party (folk) / jazz, Americana
Where:
When: 2017-03-24
Brent Stewart unleashes two finished albums during a CD release party Friday, March 24 at the Varsit
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

Brent Stewart unleashes two finished albums during a CD release party Friday, March 24 at the Varsity Center. The Restlessness and Haze represent two different times in the songwriter’s career.

Nightlife caught up with Stewart— a former writer for this newspaper— to talk about the double-disc release, making music all over the Midwest, and finding a way back to the stage.

Stewart grew up in Murphysboro as a fan of songwriters. His first cassettes were by rock ‘n’ roll greats Chuck Berry (who died last weekend) and Buddy Holly, and at twelve, he bought his first Bob Dylan album. The purchases sparked a songwriter, and Stewart has been performing his own songs ever since.

After his first solo shows with an acoustic guitar and harmonica, Stewart, still in high school, formed his first band, the Sympathizers. The band recorded four records. Stewart recently rereleased some of the best songs on the compilation album Songs You Never Heard.

Stewart began working on another Sympathizers album in 2010 but, as these things sometimes do, the members started to spread out across the Midwest. Stewart traveled from Southern Illinois to Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; and Carmel, Indiana, to track the songs for an album that he would ultimately shelve.

“It just happens,” he said. “Life took us all in different directions. So I’d travel to all these different places where they were, and we would work on a song here or there.”

Stewart moved to Saint Louis a few years ago and put the performance life on hiatus. He said it has been during the past year that he has gotten back to playing a few acoustic shows with guitarist Daniel Tejada from the Flowers of Evil.

Stewart said when he noticed how much material he had accumulated over the years, he decided to release the two albums at once.

“I had all these Sympathizers songs and other more recent songs I’ve written since,” Stewart said, “so I thought why not put them out at around the same time?”

Both albums were mixed and mastered by Lescelius at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro. The two records may be released at the same time, but the songs and instrumentation conjure different alt-rock styles.

Haze is more acoustic-sounding, more like the songs Dan and I are doing on our shows,” Stewart said.

The Restlessness, on the other hand, features a full band, with Stewart on acoustic guitar and vocals, Benjamin George on drums, Chris Keith on electric guitar, Pat Jones on bass, Andrew Staff on guitar and bass, and Nathan George on guitar and slide guitar. Also on the album, Steve Saunders played the organ while Mike Lescelius played synthesizers.

The differences in the two albums is perhaps best represented in the title tracks. Haze has a bright simplicity while The Restlessness takes full experimental advantage of its use of sympathizers over a punchy guitar and backbeat that promises no rest for the wicked.

Stewart said he is looking forward to playing in front of the audience at the Varsity.

“I’ve been working on these songs for a long time,” he said, “and I’m really looking forward to finally letting them come out and be heard.”

Stewart said he has other songs on his back burner that he plans to release.

“I still have more I’d like to do,” he said.

For more information about Stewart, check out his website at <http://www.BrentStewartMusic.com>.

who: Brent Stewart

what: CD release party

where: Varsity Center

 

when: Friday, March 24

Kyle Nachtigal Is Living the Singer/Songwriter Dream

Venues & Businesses
Von Jakob Vineyard


Who: Kyle Nachtigal
What: original rock, blues
Where:
When: 2016-10-15
Since February, eclectic singer/songwriter Kyle Nachtigal has had a breakout year, playing coffeehou
Thomas Henry Horan
Video Comentary

Since February, eclectic singer/songwriter Kyle Nachtigal has had a breakout year, playing coffeehouses and vineyards and nightclubs from Kansas City to Atlanta to Milwaukee to Saint Louis to Eureka Springs to Birmingham. He returns Saturday, October 15 to Von Jakob Orchard in Alto Pass.

Nachtigal is based in Nashville, a city that can either make or break an aspiring performer. It seems to have made Nachtigal. Onstage, he has the kind of confidence— and skill to back it up— that wins over audiences. He’s had the chance to jam with the best, and learned to hold his own. He knows he’s good. Now, on the road, he focuses on making it good for the audience.

Find out more at <http://KyleNachtigal.com>.

Nightlife recently sat down with this thoughtful and talented young man for an interview just before a show at J.P.’s in Paducah.

Do you come from a musical family?

Not exactly. My parents don’t play or sing, but I was deeply influenced by their musical tastes. While I grew up, they listened to the Beatles, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Sheryl Crow. My dad is a huge fan of Dave Matthews.

When I was little, I wanted to be a Backstreet Boy. Then, in high school, I wanted to be a heavy-metal guitar shredder. Everything my parents didn’t listen to. But now that I’m in my twenties, I realize how much closer to them I’ve returned, musically.

What were your other musical influences?

The Beatles are the closest thing I have to a religion. I’ve been trying to lay the template of their early success over my own career at this point. The hard work, the hard audiences, the determination. These are my Hamburg years. I’m working on developing myself into someone who can engage a multitude of different audiences. Not just build a fan base, but learn how to earn anyone’s attention.

What are your non-musical influences?

I read a lot. Lots of history, politics. I’ve been reading Barack Obama’s books. Not just what he writes, but how he writes it. The eloquence. The way he expresses himself in his ideas.

Speaking of your writing process, what comes first for you— the words, or the music?

The music comes first. The lyrics come to me slowly, over time. As it develops, the melody, the musical phrasing, will begin to suggest certain words and ideas. I’m pretty disciplined about spending a long time with a song and allowing it to mature.

You graduated from Belmont University in Nashville. Why there?

It’s in Nashville, of course. I mainly wanted to play guitar, get really good at it, and their guitar program is excellent. For one, thing, there’s a lot of pressure at a school like that. I was used to being the hotshot guitarist at my high school, then I come to Nashville, and suddenly I’m rubbing elbows with people who are a lot better than I am. It was humbling, for sure. I had to rise to that level. But that’s also when the songwriting started.

No label?

Not yet. But I’m starting to think maybe I don’t want one. I’m not in a hurry right now. I feel like I have been in such a hurry. But this year, I’ve been making a living playing live. Ironically, nowadays, you make more money touring than selling records, anyway. And all these out-of-Nashville gigs are great, because of the challenge of getting strangers to like me. I want to make sure I sound as good live as I do in the studio.

What is your definition of success?

I’ve been telling myself for the last decade that I wanted to be self-supporting purely as a musician. Now, I feel like I’ve made it to that level, and I have to start thinking about what the next level means to me. For now, I’m developing a bigger grassroots following so I will be better able to maintain control over my brand and my music. I definitely want the live experience to be the essence of my music and my career.

The crowd in J.P.’s tonight is as eclectic as Nachtigal’s music. A wedding rehearsal party, several tables of homecoming-night dates, tourists, local characters. Nachtigal greets them all like an old friend who happened to stop by and serenade them. He mixes up original songs with original takes on old classics. There’s Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” transformed by Kyle into a thoughtful, soul-searching ballad. A new fan loves it and shouts, “Play ‘Man in the Mirror’!”

“I don’t know that one. Yet. I’ll have to learn it for when I come back,” Nachtigal promises. Then he slips into “Fly Me to the Moon.” Then a Justin Bieber tune, one reminiscent of the undiscovered Bieber, busquing on the streetcorners with his acoustic and his hair and his smile. Then an Amy Winehouse ballad. Then a Kyle Nachtigal original. The right amount of strumming, the right amount of picking, the right amount of tapping, the right amount of bass string, the right amount of hollow-body slapping. A warm, engaging voice. A twinkle in the eyes. A tasteful set for diners in a tasteful southern bistro. Nachtigal singing for his supper, and ours, too. He’s smooth, he’s self-assured, he’s reassuring. An old pro at twenty-five.

who: Kyle Nachtigal

what: original rock, blues

where: Von Jakob Orchard

 

when: Saturday, October 15

Girls Rock Camp Showcase 2016: For Those About to Rock!

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Community Arts
Hangar 9

More Articles
Girls Rock Camp Benefit 2016: An Expression of Power
Girls Rock Camp Benefit: Amped Up for a Good Cause


Who: Carbondale Community Arts University
What: Girls Rock Camp showcases
Where:
When: 2016-07-16
A weekend showcase will feature the future of the local music scene as young participants in Carbond
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A weekend showcase will feature the future of the local music scene as young participants in Carbondale Community Arts’ annual Girls Rock Camp get ready to turn it up on the Strip.

The camp began earlier this week at Carbondale Community High School as the girls from fourth grade through their senior years in high school formed bands, rehearsed, and learned about songwriting, production, stagecraft, and music business. The camp culminates at the Girls Rock Camp showcase, which will rock Saturday, July 16 at the Hangar 9. As many as twenty-eight campers in seven bands (including B.W.G., the Dynamite Dolls, Neon Love, Out of the Flames, Skeptic System, Spunky Punx, and Twisted Ego) will amp up. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a suggested donation of $5.

A full merchandise station will be provided by Merch Op and the Girls Rock Camp. A Camper Hall of Fame with Sarah Mitchell’s video and photography work will also be on display.

“Camp is all about having fun and developing a sense of self as well as learning how to build cooperative relationships with others,” Carbondale Community Arts executive director Jessica Lynn told Nightlife earlier this year. “It’s more than a music camp, it’s an expression of empowerment.”

Lynn also said that the Girls Rock Camp serves a vital purpose in the Southern Illinois music scene because it provides young women with an avenue through which to express themselves and show their creative sides.

“Any organization that promotes issues like accessibility, community, egalitarianism, feminism, anti-racism, and critical thinking is an important organization to have in Southern Illinois— especially for youth,” she said. “This camp specifically intends to free youths’ voices, highlight ways that women have been artists, writers, performers, activists, and musicians throughout history, but who have faced marginalization in the media, and give youth a wider breadth of role models in whom they can see themselves.”

For more information, visit <http://www.GirlsRockCarbondale.com>.

who: Carbondale Community Arts

what: Girls Rock Camp showcases

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Saturday, July 16

Steepwater Band: Getting Their Ya-yas Out

Bands
Number Nine Blacktops

MP3's
Number Nine Blacktops

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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

More Articles
Number Nine Blacktops: Turning the Strip into the Drag Strip
Number Nine Blacktops’ New CD Launches the Carbondale Music Coalition


Who: Steepwater Band / Number Nine Blacktops
What: Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-yas Out tribute / hotrod rockabilly
Where:
When: 2016-02-27
For approximately seventeen years, the Steepwater Band has been writing and playing original rock ‘n
Alex Kirt
Video Comentary

For approximately seventeen years, the Steepwater Band has been writing and playing original rock ‘n’ roll music, touring far and wide. Their original music has been featured in several television programs and in motion pictures. The band has released about thirteen albums (including a live concert DVD). Jeff Massey (guitars and vocals), Joe Winters (drums), and Tod Bowers (bass) founded the band in Chicago in 1998. In 2012, guitarist Eric Saylors joined the band as second guitarist and backing vocalist.

The Steepwater Band is a classic rock ‘n’ roll band, with a sound deeply rooted in the improvisational rock of the 1970s. Their music is reminiscent of early albums by Humble Pie, with thick, warm, bluesy guitar tones, growling bass lines, and tight, thunderous drums. Their original albums feature well-written songs with a staggering amount of soul and substance. They are set to release a highly anticipated, brand-new full-length original album, Shake Your Faith, April 1.

In the meantime, they needed to get their ya-yas out, literally. Sometime last year, the band decided to go on tour this winter performing the Rolling Stones’ classic live album Get Yer Ya-yas Out. The Steepwater Band will get their rocks off for Carbondale’s music lovers when they bring their act Saturday, February 27 to the Hangar 9 with local openers Skinny Jim and the Number Nine Blacktops.

If you have any doubts, search online for live concert videos of Steepwater performing songs from Ya-yas. I prefer watching Steepwater play the Stones’ music. They get right down to the meat of the music while managing to avoid the unpleasant parts of watching a live Stones concert, such as the $300 tickets and Mick Jagger’s peacock dances. The Steepwater Band might be the perfect band to pull off an entire set of Mick Taylor-era Stones songs.

Thanks to the wonders of wireless communication, Nightlife was able to interview the guys in the Steepwater Band, who are currently in the midst of the Ya-yas tour.

What inspired you to learn an entire album by the Rolling Stones and to go on tour performing those songs live?

Tod Bowers: Well, we wanted to do a special show for Halloween this past October, and thought about doing an album in its entirety. Get Yer Ya-yas Out was one of the first Stones albums I ever bought, over twenty years ago, and in a time of overproduced slick rock music, Ya-yas had a huge impact on me. I loved the raw power and energy the whole band had. Immediately it was something that I wanted to strive for musically. So years later, when we started tossing around this idea of covering an album, it was the first one that popped in my head. The Steepwater Band already embodies that classic vibe of Ya-yas, so it was a no-brainer, really. Plus, being a live Stones album of that era, we can cover the instruments as a four-piece. It was before the Stones added horns, keys, and backup singers.

Have your guitar players converted their guitars to a five-string tuned to open G (or Spanish tuning, as it’s also known) in order to play Keith Richards’s licks? If so, did they study the five-string open-G guitar style before the band came up with the idea to cover Get Yer Ya-yas Out? Have they explored the styles and techniques of any other blues guitarists who use the open-G tuning, such as R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, or Fred McDowell? I’m curious about your guitarists’ interest in the music that inspired the Stones, specifically Keith Richards, to write many of his riffs in the hill-country blues style.

Jeff Massey: I didn’t go as far [as] actually removing the sixth string, but yes, both Eric and I experiment with tunings in our own music, so it felt natural to adapt to the Stones’ material. I’ve used open-G tuning for years with our own music, so I was ready to tackle “Honkytonk Women” and of course open-E tuning for “Street Fighting Man.” Eric has been using open G on a lap-steel guitar for “Love in Vain,” and that’s working really well.

Most of the other material is in standard tuning on Ya-yas, and it’s been fun blending the Mick Taylor parts with Keef’s. Eric and I kind of switch off who’s doing what sometimes, even in the same song, not to mention putting our own little spin on the guitar parts, but trying to stay true to the spirit of it all. Eric and I both appreciate a lot of guitar players, of course, and have done our share of borrowing from a lot of different influences like most players do: Freddy King, Robert Johnson, [Jimmy] Page, Keef, et cetera.

And yes, Fred McDowell and all that good ol’ hill-country blues has made an impact on us as well. Love it.

Millions of people can recognize at least a handful of Stones songs simply by hearing the hook riff. Does that make you nervous at all when you’re performing these songs?

Massey: Not really. People are actually more lenient than ya would think. I think we are staying true enough to the record to please the diehard Stones fans, but also putting enough of our own stamp on the music.

Bowers: Yeah, big-time Stones fans seem to be loving what we’re doing. At almost every show there’s been at least one guy who comes up and says how Ya-yas is one of their favorite records of all time. Sometimes they’ll yell out the classic Jagger stage banter in between songs during our set: “Charlie looks good tonight!” I know we’re doing it right when I see a smile on their face during the show.

During this tour, do you consider yourselves (however temporarily) to be a tribute band, or do you think of it more as your own personal exploration of the Stones’ music for the sake of artistic enlightenment? Or is it something else entirely?

Bowers: No, we’re not a tribute band. This is just something we are doing for fun until our new record drops in April.

Both the band and the people seem like they are having a good time with all this.

We have been recording and performing original music for years now, and even with this Stones tour, we still perform our own music either after Ya-yas or in a second set every night.

But I do think digging into the Stones record has made us a better band overall. The songs are so well-crafted, and when you pick them apart and learn all the musical subtleties that are involved, it really opens your mind up as a songwriter and what it takes to write a really good song and see why certain bands and songwriters remain timeless.

The main reason we did this was because we wanted to have fun. It’s something fresh to give our fans until the new album drops, and because we love the Stones and this album!

I watched the Youtube video of Steepwater playing “Midnight Rambler,” and I was impressed, specifically by the fact that you nailed those crazy tempo changes in the song. Did you have a long series of rehearsals leading up to this tour in order to capture the essence of the Stones in what many consider to be their greatest era?

Massey: Well, we all did some studying on our own, but the band really only had two rehearsals. Over-rehearsing would be a mistake. It’s not that kind of music. It’s about the feel.

Bowers: Speaking for Joe and I, I think we’ve heard “Midnight Rambler” so many times those tempo changes and feels are embedded in our brains.

Your drummer, Joe Winters, really seems to have embodied the style of Charlie Watts for these performances. I was impressed by his ability to recreate Watts’s somewhat non-conventional yet inventive feel. Has Winters studied Watts’s playing for long? I’ve noticed that he even does Watts’s signature hi-hat/snare thing that looks somewhat awkward but sounds and feels ever so raw and soulful.

Joe Winters: That’s a huge compliment, and thank you! For sure, Charlie Watts is one of my favorite drummers and biggest influences in drumming, but it’s even more so just being a huge Rolling Stones fan. I know their music, grooves, and feel really well just from listening to it so much over the years. I think that naturally our approach to our own music is very similar to that of the Stones, and that’s why covering this record wasn’t really a stretch for us. I actually didn’t have to study it at all. We just got together and played it, and it felt good right out of the gate.

Tod Bowers really seems to have found the Bill Wyman tone for this tour. Can you talk about the preparation that went into tweaking your bass rig for this series of concerts? Were you trying to capture Wyman’s tone through your equipment, or did that happen by accident through learning Wyman’s playing style?

Bowers: Want the honest answer? I didn’t purposely do anything for this tour.

I run my bass through my normal touring rig, an early seventies Ampeg V4. It so happens that the Stones exclusively used Ampeg amps on that tour and almost [all their] tours in the seventies. Bass players like Bill Wyman and Ronnie Lane are the reasons I use Ampeg amps. I love the big, round, gritty sound. I’m not a big fan of the modern, super-clean bass sound.

Now I did recently spend a decent amount of time really listening to Bill’s playing on Ya-yas, and I want to capture that vibe. They don’t sound too rehearsed. Bill is basically improvising the whole time. As much as I’ve listened to Ya-yas in the past, I never noticed how all-over-the-neck Wyman was.

who: Steepwater Band / Number Nine Blacktops

what: Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-yas Out / hotrod rockabilly

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Saturday, February 27

Josh Roberts and the Hinges: Rock ‘n’ Roll Science-fiction

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres


Who: Josh Roberts and the Hinges
What: rock ‘n’ roll with a subtle Americana twang and careful, conscious pop sensibility
Where:
When: 2015-08-27
Josh Roberts and the Hinges will perform Thursday, August 27 at Tres Hombres. Hailing from Charlesto
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Josh Roberts and the Hinges will perform Thursday, August 27 at Tres Hombres. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, the group (Josh Roberts on guitar and vocals, Leslie Roberts on guitar and vocals, Corey Stephens on bass and vocals, and Dennis Ware on drums and vocals) plays a distinct, tight version of rock ‘n’ roll with a subtle Americana twang and careful, conscious pop sensibility— similar to early My Morning Jacket. Their song writing style is diverse, emotive, simple, and sensible.

These cats have toured hard since their inception. They have shared bills with a hefty list of reputable artists, including George Clinton, Big Head Todd, and Robert Randolph.

The band is about to release their fifth album, as yet untitled, and produced by Ryan Monroe of Band of Horses. According to their bio, Monroe had this to say about the Hinges, “This is my favorite band. There aren’t many groups out there that play a festival like a bar gig and a bar gig like a festival, but Josh Roberts and the Hinges do exactly that. When the Hinges are onstage, I get the impression that they are the only people on earth who are aware of a missile headed toward the gig that will blow everyone to bits on the final, final chord of their set. It’s as if three men in suits and shades always come backstage five minutes before they go on and give them this classified information, and they are sworn to secrecy in order not to cause a panic.... Josh is a goosebump-inducing songwriter, poet, guitar-slingin’ badass and inspires me to no end. The Hinges are the real deal, folks. Consider this is your first warning.”

The show at Tres marks Roberts and the Hinges’ debut performance in Illinois.

Nightlife caught up with Roberts while he was on the road with the Hinges. Dig.

What is the scene like in Charleston?

The scene in Charleston— it’s fantastic. There are so many good musicians, bands, venues, and so much public support, it feels like a real renaissance these days. It’s always been a pretty special culture town, though.

When will your new album come out?

We don’t have a release date yet for the new record. It’s basically done, but it looks like very early next year to actually let it loose....

The producer is Ryan Monroe. He plays keys and guitar with Band of Horses. He and I have been best friends for a long time and have made a lot of music together in the past, and it worked out perfectly for us both for him to work this album. We’re really excited about it. Ryan’s a genius in the studio, and it shows.

How would you describe your sound for someone who has never heard your music before?

Unique. We let everybody’s voices speak in the music, and I think anytime a group does that, you’re gonna get something interesting.

Who are some of your influences who do not sound like the Hinges?

Influences that don’t sound like us? Good question! Gospel music, the Grateful Dead, metal like Metallica and Motörhead, lots of old folk and blues, but that’s probably more obvious. Oldies, man, oldies. That old-fashioned songcraft.

How does your songwriting process usually work?

Usually I bring in the basics of a song and the band takes it and runs with it. We work hard on arranging together and making everything work. Sometimes we build together from the ground up, and sometimes another Hinge starts the process. No rules, you know?

What are some of the themes of your lyrics/music?

A lot of science-fiction themes have been rising lately. Animals and sci-fi. Miners in space ordering mail-order brides from Earth. Animals being dumber than humans and humans being dumber than animals and animals being smarter than humans and humans being smarter than animals.

Do you write the lyrics as a group?

I pretty much write all the lyrics. Recently Dennis has written a really good song we’ve added, though.

What’s up next for the band?

We’re working up this next record and preparing to release it. Making videos, too! That’s something we’re really excited about. Leslie’s been building props and everything. Bringing our own little world to the visual realm is new to us.

Making records is always fulfilling. Really finishing something you’ve worked on so hard.

If you could open for any band dead or alive who would it be and why?

Opening for any band? Probably Neil Young and Crazy Horse. I’ve wanted to be like them since high school.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Trust your instincts and work hard at bringing them to life while playing well with others.

who: Josh Roberts and the Hinges

what: rock ‘n’ roll with a subtle Americana twang and careful, conscious pop sensibility

where: Tres Hombres

 

when: Thursday, August 27

Sunset Concerts 2015: Sam Lee Both Parts of the Singer/songwriter Genre

Sam Lee loves a crowd, and he’s ready for us all to have a good time together. As part of the Sunset
K. Brattin
Video Comentary

Sam Lee loves a crowd, and he’s ready for us all to have a good time together. As part of the Sunset Concert series, Lee will play original rock music and covers with his Nashville band Thursday, July 9 at Turley Park in Carbondale.

A singer/songwriter who grew up in Colorado, Lee began his professional musical career out west almost a decade ago as a college freshman, performing in local bars. Feeling a change was due after completing his first two albums in Denver, he made the big move to Nashville, a city he says is “known as a place where an artist can find their way.” Though he is based in Tennessee, he has appeared at venues all around the country.

Lee is an entertainer who enjoys playing in front of an audience— the larger the better. “I love bigger crowds,” he says. After all, he points out, at a venue like the Sunset Concerts, “everyone is there to have a good time— I don’t have to convince them.” In fact, he says, “I get more comfortable the larger the group of people I’m playing for. There’s some solidarity there.” He enjoys varying his set, playing both original material and covers, which he sees as a unique opportunity. Putting his own spin on a song that’s familiar to the crowd is “a really cool way to tie a brand-new audience into what I do.”

Known for his strong, melodic voice as well as his catchy lyrics, both parts of the “singer/songwriter” genre are important to Lee. Always singing along with the radio as a child, he first turned his attention to learning musical instruments— he plays three now— in order to build a home for his voice. Now he views meaning-finding to be synchronous with sound. Singing and songwriting are equal parts of an artistic process, building upon each other. “When I write a tune, I never really feel it until I’m singing it,” he explains. Lee spent his early career working collaboratively on songs, which he says helped him solidify who he is as a creator, but he now writes much of his material alone.

During his two years in Music City, Lee made about a dozen music videos and has recently completed an EP, which is due to be released in the fall. To give the new songs energy, he recorded them live with a band in the studio. He’s distanced himself a bit from the bombastic classic-rock sound of his last full-length album, focusing instead on the soul, funk, and blues roots of the music he loves. “If you looked at my music collection,” Lee laughingly told Nightlife, “almost everyone in there would be dead,” yet the music he’s making now is of-the-moment in its fusion of genres— or as his producer terms it, its “mono-genre” sound. Lee points out that these days, pop, country, and rock all influence each other to such an extent that genre divisions sometimes feel superfluous. Lee feels good about his new material. “The more records an artist creates,” he says, “the closer they get to their center.”

who: Sam Lee

what: Sunset Concerts (original rock)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

 

when: Thursday, July 9

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