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Feb 28, 2016 Warren Haynes and The Ashes & Dust Band Knoxville, TN You think you know someone, and then you realize that there’s more than meets the eye. Grammy Award winning artist Warren Haynes has been recognized as a cornerstone of the American music landscape and revered as one of the finest guitar players in the world. Throughout his prolific career as part of three of the greatest live groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead – his virtuosic artistry has led to thousands of unforgettable performances and millions of album and track sales. Despite all of the ground that Haynes has covered on his musical journey, the impressive thing is that he still has many miles to explore. On his newest solo album Ashes and Dust, he puts forth one of his most gorgeous, musically rich and personal albums to date. It is endlessly exciting to see one of the most brilliant minds in modern music shine an entirely new light on the depths of his creativity. Ashes and Dust, only the third studio album Haynes has ever released under his own name, is a masterful work of art and a particularly important statement for Haynes. The songs are immediately and clearly different from his usual style – encompassing beautiful acoustic arrangements, a rootsy/Americana soundscape and honeyed vocals that cut straight through to the soul. Although many of these songs are brand new, some of the tunes that make up this album have been dear to Warren for years. In some caseshe has been carrying them around for 20 or 30 years, waiting for the right time to record them. “I’ve been writing songs all my life from a more folky, singer-songwriter, even Celtic direction,” he says. “For a while, I’ve been compiling songs that didn’t necessarily fit in with Gov’t Mule or the Allman Brothers or even my last solo album. So this record was really a chance to bring a lot of that music to fruition. It’s really given me the opportunity to take a lot of songs I love, that didn’t have a home, and build a home for them.” learn more
Mar 2, 2016 Kurt Vile & The Violators Knoxville, TN Having been the subject and willing conspirator of many intentional lies planted in Sonic Youth bios over the years, I know first hand the way album lore can bend reality to its truth. After the infamous Byron Coley originated the SY “Trilogy” myth in the Murray Street bio, we had no choice but to fulfill those expectations with Sonic Nurse. “Why did you decide to make a trilogy?” was always the first question asked in interviews around that time. But this is Kurt Vile’s bio, and I wont do that to him. Anyway, Kurt does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt’s words, “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.” For a record that plays like a cohesive acoustic experience, its musicality marks Kurt’s departure from an electric guitar experience to include a range of instrumentation with a large group of players. From the banjo he plays on “I’m an Outlaw” to the piano and lapsteel on “Life Like This,” and the myriad other instruments on other songs, including farfisa, resonator, arps, horns and synth, one never thinks about what exactly yr listening to as it all serves the song.The heart of the record is “Stand Inside.” The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself and celebrates a man willing to be defined by a woman and his love for her as witness to each other’s lives… Don’t stand by my side, stand inside gives up roleplaying for true exposure and vulnerability. It’s a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband, partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding … that’s life though so sad to say… I love this record, b’lieve i’m goin down. -Kim Gordon learn more
Mar 10, 2016 John Mayall Knoxville, TN John Mayall was born on the 29th of November 1933 and grew up in a village not too far from Manchester, England. It was here as a teenager that he first became attracted to the jazz and blues 78s in his father's record collection. Initially it was all about guitarists such as Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Brownie McGhee, Josh White and Leadbelly. However once he heard the sounds of boogie woogie giants Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis, his desire to play was all he could think of. At the age of 14 when he went to Manchester's Junior School of Art, he had access to a piano for the first time and he began to learn the basics of this exciting music. He also found time to continue learning the guitar and a couple of years later, the harmonica, inspired by Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter. After his two years at art school, he joined the art department of a major department store while starting to build up his own record collection that was to be his source of inspiration to play the blues. At age eighteen when he was due for National Service he spent three years in the Royal Engineers as an office clerk in the south of England and in Korea all the time playing whenever he got a chance. As no-one seemed to be interested in this type of music, John felt pretty much of an outsider throughout his twenties until 1962 when the news broke in the Melody Maker that Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies had opened a club in Ealing devoted to blues music. After Britain's ten year traditional jazz boom had about run its course, a new generation was ready for something new. Out came the amplifiers, guitars and harmonicas and out came young enthusiasts from all over the country eager to sit in and form their own groups. This was all the encouragement thirty-year old John needed and, giving up his graphic design job, he moved from Manchester to London and began putting musicians together under the banner of The Bluesbreakers. Although things were rough at first, the music quickly took off thanks to the popularity of the Rolling Stones, Georgie Fame, Manfred Mann, The Animals and Spencer Davis with a young Steve Winwood. John also backed blues greats John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, and Sonny Boy Williamson on their first English club tours. learn more