When they met in the mid-1990s, Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton and Rob Garza instantly bonded over their shared passion for bossa nova. Dedicating their 1996 debut 'Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi' to bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Washington, D.C.-based duo have spent nearly two decades creating boundary-warping, complexly crafted electronic music partly inspired by bossa nova's intricate rhythms and lush textures. Now, with their seventh studio album 'Saudade,' Thievery Corporation present their first release devoted entirely to the Brazilian-born genre that first connected them. "We always try to progress into something different and stretch our musical chops, and taking a whole album to dive into this one sound seemed like a really great way to do that," says Hilton. Adds Garza: "It's a bit of a departure for us, but at the same time these are our roots, this is what brought us together. It's us coming full circle from electronic music back to something organic before we move on to our next chapter."
Released on their own label ESL Music, 'Saudade' borrows its title from a Portuguese word meaning "a longing for something or someone that is lost, a contented melancholy, or, simply, the presence of absence." "Saudade is the essence or feeling of true bossa nova," explains Hilton, who names "those warm, soulful, melancholic vocals" as one of the elements of bossa nova that's most alluring to him. Drawing influence from classic Brazilian performers like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gal Costa, and Luis Bonfa, along with Serge Gainsbourg, Ennio Morricone, and more modern artists like electro-samba pioneer Isabelle Antena.Saudade achieves its delicate yet deeply sensuous sound with the help of more than a dozen guest musicians. With each track sung by one of five female vocalists (including longtime Thievery cohort LouLou Ghelichkhani, newcomer Elin Melgarejo, Nouvelle Vague singer Karina Zeviani, Argentine chanteuse Natalia Clavier, and former Bitter:Sweet singer/songwriter Shana Halligan), the endlessly mesmerizing album also features such guests as U.N.K.L.E. drummer Michael Lowery, Argentine singer/songwriter Federico Aubele, and master Brazilian percussionist Roberto Santos.
Thievery Corporation Present Their First Release Devoted Entirely to the Brazilian-Born Genre that First Connected Them
Although Thievery Corporation stay true to traditional bossa nova's elegant fusion of samba and jazz all throughout 'Saudade,' the album is rich with strange and wonderful flourishes that revel in the duo's hyper-inventive tendencies. Opening with the dusky "Decollage," 'Saudade' glides from the smoldering and string-drenched "Quem Me Leva" to the hushed and mysterious "Sola In Citta" (an Italian-sung nod to the legendary sound tracks of Ennio Morricone, featuring Wurlitzer electric piano by Enea Diotaiuti) to the sweetly ethereal "No More Disguise" (a dream-like piece laced with orchestral strings and bolero rhythms). With the instrumental title track serving as its gently stunning centerpiece, 'Saudade' also offers the sultry and spacey"Claridad" (a swaying Latin number propelled by analog organ beats) and the French lullaby of "Le Coeur" (featuring the sublime saxophone work of Frank Mitchell, Jr.). And on the final track "Depth of My Soul," Halligan delivers a haunting vocal performance that merges with the song's swirling symphonic soundscape to hypnotic effect.
Saudade is the Essence or Feeling of True Bossa Nova
Over the years, Thievery Corporation have given nods to their bossa-nova influence on individual album tracks, slipping those quietly enchanting songs into recordings that reveal the duo's careful studying of everything from Jamaican dub reggae to punk to vintage film soundtracks to psychedelic space rock. After coming up with sketches for several bossa-nova-style numbers while recording their last studio album (2011's Culture of Fear), Garza and Hilton considered releasing an EP showcasing a handful of Brazilian-inspired songs. "The more we worked on those songs, the more we got into the vibe of that vintage, organic sound," recalls Hilton. "Making an album fully dedicated to that sound felt like a good idea, especially at a time when the electronic dance music world is so saturated and there's not much of a focus on musicianship." Rather than feeling hemmed in by the unfamiliar approach of creating music solely in one style, Thievery Corporation found a great deal of freedom in writing and recording the songs that make up 'Saudade.' "In a way it was really liberating to do something out of our wheelhouse, to put ourselves in a totally different mindset and immerse ourselves in this one particular genre," notes Garza.
We're Still Chopping Up Beats, But This Time We're Making Them Sound Warm And Vintage
Now on 'Saudade,' Thievery Corporation are once again changing direction, trading the fiery energy of their last two albums for a wistful mood and summery spirit.a shift that both members found highly refreshing. "Even though we're very socially conscious, it's nice to take a break from the political theme and just concentrate creating some beautiful songs in the same vein as all these old records that we love," says Garza. And as one ofthe most influential and respected names on the electronic/dance music scene, Thievery Corporation also discovered their own breed of rebellion and innovation in committing themselves to a time-worn genre on 'Saudade.'"We're still chopping up beats, but this time we're making them sound warm and vintage.which is not at all what's happening in electronic music right," says Hilton. "What we're doing here is pretty traditional and timeless-sounding, and in that it's completely contrarian."
"The Music They Were Playing And The Whole Mood Of The Place Was Very Inspiring."
Thievery Corporation was hatched in 1995 when Hilton and Garza were introduced by a mutual friend at Washington, D.C.'s Eighteenth Street Lounge . a popular gathering place for musicians and nightlife seekers that is co-owned by Hilton. Hilton had been producing parties and various music events before opening the Lounge with a fellow DJ in the top three floors of a turn-of-the-century mansion just below Dupont Circle. He also had a recording studio, where Garza had once done some music production work, but the two had never met until the night Garza walked into the Lounge.
JOE RUSSO'S ALMOST DEADWEBSITE
Joe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo.
"Not only does this quintet play tight and vicious versions of some of the most complex songs in the Grateful Dead's repertoire, but they play them with a rawness & energy absent from the stage since the "Live" Dead era. More importantly, all of the jams are wild and incredibly adventurous. Russo's a beast behind the kit who's in the peak of his career. Metzger is a criminally underrated guitarist who has a chameleon-like ability to alter his sound to compliment any situation. Dreiwitz's intensity is unmatched by anyone, while Benevento spouts these crazy tones and layers of sound that mix the best of what each keyboardist in GD history brought to the band. Finally, add Hamilton, whose voice and biting leads help push this ensemble over the top." - Scott Bernstein, Jambase 9.12.13
There's a great scene in The Last Waltz - the documentary about The Band's final concert - where director Martin Scorsese is discussing music with drummer/singer/mandolin player Levon Helm. Helm says, "If it mixes with rhythm, and if it dances, then you've got a great combination of all those different kinds of music: country, bluegrass, blues music, show music…"
To which Scorsese, the inquisitive interviewer, asks, "What's it called, then?" "Rock & roll!"
Clearly looking for a more specific answer, but realizing that he isn't going to get one, Marty laughs. "Rock & roll…"
Well, that's the way it is sometimes: musicians play music, and don't necessarily worry about where it gets filed. It's the writers, record labels, managers, etc., who tend to fret about what "kind" of music it is.
And like The Band, the members of Railroad Earth aren't losing sleep about what "kind" of music they play - they just play it. When they started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. As Railroad Earth violin/vocalist Tim Carbone recalls, "All of us had been playing in various projects for years, and many of us had played together in different projects. But this time, we found ourselves all available at the same time."
Songwriter/lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer continues, "When we started, we only loosely had the idea of getting together and playing some music. It started that informally; just getting together and doing some picking and playing. Over a couple of month period, we started working on some original songs, as well as playing some covers that we thought would be fun to play." Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and - to the band's surprise - they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they'd even played their first gig. This prompted them to quickly go in and record five more songs; the ten combined tracks of which made up their debut album, "The Black Bear Sessions."
That was the beginning of Railroad Earth's journey: since those early days, they've gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live one called, "Elko." They've also amassed a huge and loyal fanbase who turn up to support them in every corner of the country, and often take advantage of the band's liberal taping and photo policy. But Railroad Earth bristle at the notion of being lumped into any one "scene." Not out of animosity for any other artists: it's just that they don't find the labels very useful. As Carbone points out, "We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we're definitely not a bluegrass or country band, which sometimes leaves music writers confused as to how to categorize us. We're essentially playing rock on acoustic instruments."
Ultimately, Railroad Earth's music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. As mandolin/bouzouki player John Skehan points out, "Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the song. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them." Sheaffer continues: "The songs are our focus, our focal point; it all starts right there. Anything else just comments on the songs and gives them color. Some songs are more open than others. They 'want' to be approached that way - where we can explore and trade musical ideas and open them up to different territories. But sometimes it is what the song is about."
So: they can jam with the best of them and they have some bluegrass influences, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). What kind of music is it then? Mandolin/vocalist John Skehan offers this semi-descriptive term: "I always describe it as a string band, but an amplified string band with drums." Tim Carbone takes a swing: "We're a Country & Eastern band! " Todd Sheaffer offers "A souped-up string band? I don't know. I'm not good at this." Or, as a great drummer/singer/mandolin player with an appreciation for Americana once said: "Rock & roll!"
Looking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn't so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jamgrass genre. Today, Leftover Salmon is: Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard); Drew Emmitt (vocals, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass); Alwyn Robinson (drums).
Though the lineup would change through the years, the foundation of Leftover Salmon remained strongly rooted in the relationship between co-founders Emmitt, Herman, and banjoist, Mark Vann, proceeding through a decade of constant growth and nonstop touring.
On March 4, 2002, Vann lost his battle with cancer. He was only 39 years old. Herman issued in memoriam: "Mark lived life to its fullest and he would insist that we do so as well," so LoS carried on through a succession of replacement players including Matt Flinner, Scott Vestal, Tony Furtado, and Noam Pikelny, but then took a hiatus from touring at the end of 2004.
Had they never played another note, the Leftover Salmon legacy would have been secure; butin the summer of 2007, the band were ready to hit the road again. Soon after, banjo phenom Andy Thorn was brought into the group, a new album, Aquatic Hitchhiker, (2012) was recorded and released to critical acclaim, NPR's Mountain Stage, for instance, heralding the group as "one of the most beloved acts on America's summer-festival circuit.
"Said Drew Emmitt of the band's resumption, "The time is right for this band to come back on a lot of levels. It's taken us a little while, but I think we're finally there."
On September 15th, 2014 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN Herman announced a brand new long player, High Country, set for release on November 28th, Black Friday, initially to participating Record Store Day indie outlets nationwide.
High Country is a 12-song, rock/country/bluegrass/blues masterpiece, featuring 10 spanking new LoS offerings, including Thorn's rollicking title track complete with requisite blistering banjosolo, Herman's Cajun-flavored kick off, "Get Up And Go," but also sporting 2 covers- a Payne/Robert Hunter tune called, "Bluegrass Pines" and a Lowell George/Keith Godchaux classic, "Six Feet Of Snow," immortalized on Little Feat's, Down On The Farm. Then there's Emmitt's progressive ramble n' roll, "Two Highways," destined to become an LoS classic. All in all, High Country slips seamlessly in and out of character, disposition and style offering the full palette of Leftover Salmon's aesthetic, from lightening-powered pick n' grin to thoughtful blues balladry and all in between. The record's a classic, if we've ever heard one.
The formation of The Revivalists was all about chance, but everything since then has been a combination of hard work, awesome music, and friendship. The septet has been playing nonstop since 2007, crafting a genre-hopping sound that rounds out traditional rock instrumentation with horns and pedal steel guitar and mixes the divergent backgrounds of its individual members with the humid, funky undercurrents of the band's New Orleans home. The result is like English spoken with an exotic accent: familiar, yet difficult to pin down.
Religion aside, a revival is all about the tangible electricity that can only be created when enough like minds are crammed under a single roof for a singular purpose. It's a spiritual spectacle, a carnival of the divine, a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The same could be said for The Revivalists' searing live performances. The band has a knack for bringing music to life on a stage, and they have tuned their talents to Swiss-watch precision over years of relentless touring. Their bombastic showmanship is the outgrowth of a desire to connect with audiences on a personal level, and that intimate connection is what elevates their shows above simple entertainment.
True to their name, The Revivalists lean more heavily on the older styles and warmer sounds of the golden age of rock 'n roll, but the band isn't afraid to dabble in electronics and sleight-of-studio when it's right for the song. The group tends not to bother with questions like "does this sound like us?" or "does this fit with our other stuff?", instead allowing songs to define themselves and take shape organically, each on its own terms. Is this a dark, heavy rock manifesto driven by a steel guitar line that borders on electronica, or is it an airy, acoustic story about star-crossed lovers, rich in vocal harmony and sparsely arranged until the coda? This one's funky, that one's sweet, this one's heavy… To The Revivalists, it doesn't matter. They just write songs that they want to play.
Some of the best parties are the ones that weren't even supposed to occur. Two or three friends lazily enjoy each other's company, then another two or three join the impromptu festivities. Jokes are cracked, drinks are guzzled, and the next thing you know, it's 3 a.m.
Celebration, Cabinet's third studio release and seventh overall, is that kind of get-together. Initially intended to be a straight bluegrass record, the album instead emerged as the band's most diverse release yet, which is no small statement when you consider the various genres the band has touched upon in the studio and on the stage to date. What's remarkable, though, is that the tunes, which span the band's eight-plus years of existence, showcase that diversity while retaining a distinct, cohesive common thread that the band deftly weaves from track to track. It barely needs to be noted at this stage in the game that the individual musicians' playing prowess is at a high level, but what makes this a true album rather than a loose collection of unrelated songs is not those acclaimed Cabinet instrumental chops, but its time-honored writing abilities, which are in top form here. Scenes and moods are evoked, established and subtly revisited, sometimes via timeless lyrics and sometimes with just the simple turn of a musical phrase or accent.
What's more surprising is these songs, despite their shared sensibilities, were not all written during the same period. Some have been kicking around the Cabinet catalog for some time, like "Home Now," a live staple for the Americana outfit since its early days, which gets a relatively raucous reworking here. Others, like "Pine Billy" and "Red River," are brand new. "Red River," specifically, finds the band at its introspective best, a yearning, pretty tune that might pleasantly surprise some Cabinet fans.
Those long-time fans will delight in the new material, and the uninitiated will be won over, too, thanks to the warm, inviting nature of the songs and the way they're presented sonically. Themes of home and family abound, further welcoming the listener to gather around the proverbial campfire with the band as tales are told and songs are sung. It's a good place to be, and you'll be mighty glad you stopped by.
Cabinet is a band with roots firmly planted in the Appalachian tradition. They wear their influences like badges, honoring the canon of roots, bluegrass, country, and folk, weaving these sounds into a patchwork Americana quilt. But this music isn't romanticizing or rehashing the past. Cabinet makes it mark on today. The steady aim of their harmonies soar straight onto target each time, the soaring vocals giving voice to the story of each song. Their music takes the long way home, treating its listeners like passengers on a ride through scenic back roads. Their live shows are inclusive, celebratory, and community-building. Members Pappy Biondo (banjo, vocals), J.P. Biondo (mandolin, vocals), Mickey Coviello (acoustic guitar, vocals), Dylan Skursky (electric bass, double bass), Todd Kopec (fiddle, vocals), and Jami Novak (drums, percussion), all live and love music, and aren't afraid to show it.
Cabinet formed in 2006, bringing together players from various musical and personal backgrounds. Some of the members were barely old enough to drink legally, but their thirst for older music was unquenchable. Whether its rustic "American Beauty"-era Grateful Dead or old-timey bluegrass, Cabinet has digested it all. But that is not to say that Cabinet recreates older styles. No, this is music that might have its roots in the past, but it is current and vibrant, with a sense of celebrating the now.
"The instrumentation may evoke the hills of Appalachia, but the vibe is more like the valleys of Neptune." - relix
"Cabinet has their roots planted in the old-timey music of the past while existing in the present and fans of the bluegrass genre are pumped to have this band in the mix." - Upstate Live
"The songs are filled with luscious harmonies, grand and euphoric in scope and sound, the depth of which are accentuated with the powerful banjo picking by Pappy and finesse fiddle mastery by Kopec." - Glide Magazine
"Like many forms, Bluegrass and folk are most understandable when there's harmony; Cabinet believes in the occasional pleasures of dissonance." - Highbrow Magazine
Just a few months ago, very few people outside Kansas City, Missouri knew there was a young, dynamic musician named Samantha Fish getting ready to take the world by storm. In fact, it's not all that long ago that the 22-year-old singer/guitarist first discovered the blues and started paying her dues on that city's local scene. With Runaway, her solo debut, she now breaks out big time, announcing herself as a newcomer to be reckoned with.
The album's ten tracks – nine of them originals – incorporate "all the sounds I grew up with, with my own spin," says Fish, who seems to have spent her formative years in the Midwest soaking up a vast array of musical styles. Runaway features sharp-edged, riff-driven blues ("Down in the Swamp"), breakneck boogies ("Runaway"), smoky, late-night jazz ("Feelin' Alright") as well as hints of the sultry 70s hard rock of Ann and Nancy Wilson and the 4/4 ruggedness of the Rolling Stones. Throughout, Fish demonstrates astonishing range and depth as a songwriter. Her vocals are cool, confident and nothing less than beguiling.
Backing her on this eclectic collection of modern electric blues is the same crack team that first convened for the making of Girls With Guitars. That collaboration with fellow female artists Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde, released earlier this year, already showed that Fish refuses to be intimidated, even when working with musicians more experienced than herself. "They are incredibly talented and creative, so it made for fun sessions," she says of the well-oiled studio band heard on Runaway. Jamie Little, one of the UK's most in-demand drummers, reunites with bassist Cassie Taylor to give the record plenty of rhythmic thump. Producer Mike Zito, a St. Louis native and 2010 Blues Music Award winner, adds thick, meaty electric guitar on most cuts. "Mike and I have known each other for a few years now, so he knew the sound and style I was after. He did a great job of taking ideas and giving them direction in the studio setting."
In between making these first two albums, Fish spent a month on the road with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde for the first leg of the year-long Blues Caravan Tour. It gave her the valuable opportunity to road-test the material heard on Runaway to a discriminating audience. With an exciting new debut album now in her back pocket, the tour continues throughout the summer and into the fall of 2011, touching down at many European and North American festivals and even taking to the seas on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in October.
LITZ strides to sonically transport its listeners to another planet free of the stress, struggles and tribulations of modern day life through the use of funky horn riffs, wah-wah keys, pounding bass, driving/progressive rhythms and melt your face guitar.
EASTMAN STRING BANDWEBSITE
Good Deale Bluegrass Founder and multi-instrumentalist Tim Finch teams up with the sweet vocals and songwriting styles of Savannah Finch along with his entire band to create exciting and unique music that melds the roots of Bluegrass with Americana exemplifying an "Alt-Grass" sound. Sponsored by Eastman Strings, they mix heartfelt vocals with high energy instrumentals and soaring harmonies!