News

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Alex King of Sicard Hollow June 17, 2022 22:30

Photos by Kendall McCargo Photography

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
.
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we're continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with Sicard Hollow frontman Alex King. Since the formation of the Nashville-based, jam-grass quartet in 2018, King and his bandmates have quickly established themself as one of the premier rising acts in the country. Sicard released its debut album just before the pandemic struck in 2020, and they have wasted no time climbing through the ranks of the "festival scene." The band has built a strong national following in just a short time, and there is clearly so much more to come. 
.
Many will recall Sicard Hollow from recent  performances at Resonance Music & Arts Festival, The Peach Festival, and Summer Camp Music Festival. They're no strangers to the big stage, and as King explains below, they couldn't be more fired up for Deebs Days. Check out the full interview below, and make sure to follow Sicard Hollow on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
.
.
.
Great to speak with you for a few today, Alex. From what I understand, Sicard Hollow got started back in 2018?
.
Alex: Yeah man. I want to say May of 2018. 
.
Right on. So, you guys have just passed the four-year mark. Before we dive into the band, I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about your musical background and how you found yourself in the world of bluegrass music. 
.
Alex: It's an interesting story all around, because I wasn't raised on bluegrass at all. Neither was anyone in the band, for that matter. So, I'm from Birmingham, and I started playing guitar as a teenager. My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 14 or 15. I was taking lessons, but it wasn't anything serious. I never pursued it past playing a couple of chords. It just wasn't my thing. Skateboarding was my thing.
.
So, fast forward to college. I went to Auburn University. Took a little bit of time off after my first year, and I found myself at Belmont University in Nashville. I was surrounded by a ton of amazing musicians, none of which played bluegrass. I didn't even know what bluegrass was at all, really. I knew what a banjo was, but I did not know the genre whatsoever. I had a guitar, and I started playing a little with people around Belmont. This was a little discouraging. These kids were freaks of nature on their instruments. It was super inspiring at the same time, because I saw what my peers were capable of. 
.
I decided to step it up and start picking. I'm playing electric guitar, and I meet our mandolin player, Will Herrin. At the time, he had never played a mandolin in his entire life. He played electric guitar, and he tried to get me to jam over and over and over again. I was just too nervous to go do it. Eventually, we jammed and started hanging out a bit. I was writing songs on acoustic guitar in my free time. I wouldn't sing or play in front of anyone. 
.
We ended up meeting Matt Rennick, who is our fiddle player. He was just incredible on the fiddle. We fit our genre around his instrument, because he was the best. I had these slower songs, and he could play fiddle really fast and intricately on them. The next thing we needed was a mandolin, so Will said "Screw it" and started learning mandolin. 
.
Sicard Hollow was really born out of that. Trying to throw shit at the wall, for lack of a better term. We just ended up sticking with bluegrass. We all started to figure it out. Now, I've studied and gone down the hole with traditional, new grass, jam grass, and all of the above. Now I consider it a part of my soul, honestly. 
.
You're right. That's a really interesting, and super cool, story. So this is back in 2018, and y'all are in Nashville. When did y'all really start to realize that this was something y'all could take on the road professionally?
.
Alex: At first, I didn't really want it to be that. It wasn't Sicard Hollow. It was four guys. We had an upright bass player who was Will's next-door neighbor. I had no intention of it being a touring band. I was scared, and I didn't really want this. It found me, and it's such a non-traditional Nashville story. I moved here to figure something out, and it wasn't music. 
.
Our first show was pretty unique. Our friend Andrew Manes, and our now manager, Tim Coughlin, were hosting an event at a local outdoor venue. They were streaming a Phish show, and he wanted us to "open" the show with a three-hour set. I'm just like, "Holy shit! We have to play for three hours, and we have maybe four originals." (laughs).
.
We end up having over 100 people at our first show. Whether they were there to watch Phish or see us play, we played for three hours to over 100 people. Off the get go, I think we had that boost of confidence from a really positive crowd response. It was really encouraging to get that type of feedback on the first gig. 
.
We kept on progressing in town. Then we'd drive an hour or so outside of town, and once again I'm just like, "Holy shit! We're getting paid to go play out of town, and we're not losing money." This is our fifth or sixth show at this point. We had this push early on, and I think it really kicked everyone in the ass a little. If this door is going to open up a little, let's kick it down and run with it as far as we can. 
.
I think that mentality has really been the driving force. Now we're working with an agency. We're playing a bunch of festivals and touring all over the country. It's so crazy to think how much it has escalated over the past four years. It was so reassuring from the get go, which I don't think is the case for most bands. I really want to add that I'm incredibly grateful for our trajectory, and how it's been going thus far. 
.
That's so cool. I'm glad you mentioned that, because I've been familiar with the band's name for a few years. I started Live & Listen in 2014, so I stay pretty in tune with what's happening in this particular music scene. I've known that you guys were a bluegrass band out of Nashville, but it did seem like you guys really came on super strong. It makes sense to hear you explain the backstory. I'm sure those Phish fans came out in the right mindset to see some killer music that night. 
.
Alex: Right. And not being possessive about it, but Phish is my band (laughs). They saved my life, honestly. I started touring Phish when I was 20 years old, and I really started pouring all of my energy into that. Through Phish, I found my own musical passion. To have our first show being the "opener" on a big Phish streaming party - it was perfect. The stars aligned. It was such a reassuring experience. 
.
Really love hearing that. I definitely share the passion when it comes to Phish. I always speak up when I hear people acting like they have to "pick" a jam band to love though. Phish is my #1, but I also go see Widespread Panic, moe., String Cheese, and so many others as often as I can. 
.
Alex: Absolutely. I'm no stranger to any of them. I've got my hands in a lot of baskets as far as jam bands go. That's for sure. 
.
.
Alright, so the band gets going in 2018 with some really solid momentum from day one. When did you start to see that the band was taking off and expanding into new markets?
.
Alex: That's a good question. We played this festival called Bluegrass In The Bottoms in Kansas City. It was about a nine hour drive out there. Jeff Austin Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Lindsay Lou, and so many major bands were on the lineup. I knew about these bands back then, but it's even crazier now to look back and think on it. I really didn't know what I was doing back then. I still don't know what I'm doing now. This is all sink or swim. Walk the plank. Jump in. See how long you can tread water for. It was super intimidating going there. 
.
I'll mention this. I remember getting there, and there was a band called Kind Country. Rest in peace to Max Graham. Rest in peace to Jeff Austin, too. Max Graham was so hands on with us. He was so nice to us. We're in the green room, and there were all these killer musicians back there. I'm just keeping my tail between my legs. I wasn't going to talk to anyone. 
.
Max really made us feel like we belonged though. Then we finally got to play a set of our music to a bluegrass crowd. Not a jam band crowd or a Nashville crowd, but these people were there to see bluegrass. The response was incredible. All of these out-of-town people coming up and asking us where we're from. Trying to link us up with new bands and venues across the country. 
.
This was our first bluegrass festival. And as far as I know, a lot of these other bands have been doing this for a little bit longer than we have. It was really a crazy turning point for me. That festival put a lot of things into perspective for me. It also showed us what we needed to work on. That was Bluegrass in the Bottoms. I think it was three years ago. 
.
Makes a lot of sense, man. Parrish Gabriel is y'all's bassist right?
.
Alex: He is indeed!
.
I thought so. I've hosted this event in Montgomery called Funksgiving over the years. Back in 2017, Parrish's old band Soul Mechanic played the event. I just recently realized he was Sicard Hollow's bassist. He's an absolute monster on the bass. 
.
Alex: He is NASTY!
.
He really is. At what point did y'all link up?
.
Alex: Alright. I don't want to go on too long of a rant here, but I'll give you a quick run down of who has played bass for us and led us to Parrish. Chris Hancock was our first bassist. We were jamming at Will's house, and he walks over from next door with a massive upright bass above his head like a Tuscan Raider in Star Wars. He's probably late 30s, early 40s. He's a handyman, and he ends up getting in a circular saw accident. His glove got sucked into the saw. He sends us a picture of his thumb literally dangling. 
.
So, we go bass-less for a little bit. Then, we picked up our buddy Trevor Clark. Shoutout to Trevor. He's an incredible musician. He really put us on to bluegrass when we moved into town. Trevor filled in for a bit, but he has his own career. He ultimately needed to focus his time and commitment on his own endeavors.
.
So, we're back to bass-less. Matt (Rennick) is like, "I know this guy named Parrish." And my first question is, "Is he cool? is he the dude?" Matt assures me that he's the guy. So, Matt calls him up and asks if he has an upright bass. I think Parrish pulled one out of storage, and he was down immediately. He came over, and we must have jammed for six hours. 
.
At this point, I've never heard him play an electric bass. I've only heard him on upright. He's obviously the homie. He's my brother. Immediately, when we started talking, I told him he was my soul brother, and I had his back for life. He was totally down and wanted the gig. Then a little later, I hear him plug in and play an electric bass. I had to sit him down and tell him that I would feel bad taking him away from that, if that's what he wanted to do. 
.
I haven't seen someone slap a bass like that, first hand, maybe ever. It was an interesting thing. We didn't want to take him away from what he loved to do, but he really found a home in Sicard Hollow. He still gets to flex his slap chops in his side project, KillaKeyz. 
.
That's right! I forgot he was a part of that band with Marcus (White).
.
Alex: Yep. KillaKeyz is great. He still gets to do a lot of that. Since day one, Parrish has just been down to play. We're very blessed and grateful to include him in the Sicard Hollow family.
.
That's so great. I guess it's just been in the past year or so that I became aware that Parrish was Sicard's bassist. It's really been that same period of time that I've gotten more familiar with the band, and this is a great segue into talking about y'all's original catalog.
.
I was on the road yesterday, and I decided to throw on Sicard Hollow in the car. I listened to the new single, "Little Miss Tipsy," for the first time. Holy shit! I can't get enough of this song. I must have streamed it 15 times by the end of the day.  
.
Alex: Let's gooo!
.
That song is fucking great, man. From the opening notes, it just has such a fun, upbeat vibe to it. The lyrics are fantastic. 
.
Alex: Man, that means so much!
.
With the way Spotify works, I just moved right along into the Live From Brooklyn Bowl album. I was in the car most of the day, and I ended up listening to Sicard the entire time. While there is a lot of jam grass that I really enjoy, I don't necessarily listen to it super often. I'm really excited about digging deeper in the catalog, and ultimately, seeing y'all's live show.
.
Alex: It's funny you mention that song. I'm literally about three feet from the water at the Harpeth River right now. This is where I wrote that song. I spend a lot of time here drinking my coffee and writing music. The first line in that song, "Let's walk down to the water / It's how I spend my time," that's what I do literally every day. I'm a river rat to my core. 
.
It's funny you bring that up, because I'm sitting here staring at the Harpeth. That just kind of took me back to when I started writing that tune. I'd just go down to the river. Take out my guitar. Maybe crack a beer, or not. I drink my coffee down here too. I just start singing random shit. If something pops in my head, I'll just go with it. 
.
I take out my phone and turn on the recorder. If you go through the voice memos on my phone, there are just hundreds and hundreds. A bunch of them are just jibberish trash, but you find some diamonds in there occasionally. When I started writing "Little Miss Tipsy," it was from my perspective, at first. The more I thought about it, it really wasn't me. It was more like a girl that I know from a festival. 
.
The song kind of wrote itself after that point. That's kind of my writing process. I like to be a vessel to it. I can't really force anything, but when it's flowing, grab it and run with it. Or let it take you wherever it's going to. "Little Miss Tipsy" was one of those where the words were just rolling off my tongue. 
.
Listen to "Little Miss Tipsy" here:
.
.
It's one of those songs that sucks you in right away. A lot of relatable stuff in there. You nailed it with that one. It was just released a few weeks ago, right?
.
Alex: Man, I really appreciate that. Yes, it did. I wrote it while ago. We have a new album coming out later in the year, and contrary to what people believe, "Little Miss Tipsy" will not be on it. We have so much material that we need to record. We decided to go back in the studio and cut a few more tracks that won't be in the album, so there is something to keep people on the edge of the seat until the album release.
.
Speaking of your original music, let's touch on that a little more. Your first album Secret of the Breeze was released in March of 2020. Right before the pandemic hit. You followed that with Live at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville. Tell me a little about these albums. You've been working with Dan Davis in the studio, correct?
.
Alex: That's right. Everything except the live album. Our friend Hank mixed that one. For the first album, Dan was our original banjo player. Dan is also an audio wizard, and he's amazing at what he does. Dan engineered the first album too, along with Preston White, at Southern Ground. That's Zac Brown's studio, which is just incredible. Dan has been amazing to work with. His work ethic is incredible, and we definitely wanted to go back and work on the next album with him. 
.
We also worked with John Mailander, who plays fiddle with Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, on the new album. He played fiddle on two of Billy Strings' albums (Home & Renewal). He plays with Billy a good bit. Having Dan and John on the creative side of the second album has just been a leveling up experience. The first album was great. We were figuring out how to swim. Then with the second album, now we know how to swim and we're working on technique. Getting going in the pool quicker, or maybe in a more beautiful way. 
.
I don't know if that's a good analogy or not (laughs). We leveled up though. Dan has too. It's nice to see these relationships that we have, where we are all progressing, and we're all able to continuously scratch each other's backs as our careers heighten and progress. It's really been cool.
.
As far as the new album, will this be material that you guys have tested live? Will there be anything that's brand new to your fans?
.
Alex: I want to say that everything has been played live, but several songs have only been played a few times. We've been on the road testing some of them out. We haven't played them as much back home. I think there will be plenty of people surprised by what's on the album, and the way we present them on the album. There may be some slightly different arrangements and tempos. 
.
I think people will be really stoked to hear how they are presented on the album. As far as a release date, I wish we could set something in stone. It's funny how it all works out. I'm still learning how the industry works. You can't just record something and release it immediately, which is what I'd like to do. It's done when you get it done. It turns out that there is a little more thought that goes behind these decisions. 
.
I'm impatient, so I'm trying to hold on. I just want to release it and move on to the next album. We're trying to shop it up and get some publicists backing it. We're really hoping to create some noise around it before we release it. We're waiting on certain factors to fall in place. It will definitely be out this year. Late 2022 is probably a safe bet. it feels like it's been a long time coming. I'm ready to get it out.
.
Can't wait to hear it. Before we wrap this up, let's talk about Deebs Days. I know y'all are tight with the CBDB guys. You're a Birmingham native. I'm sure this one is extra special for you. How are y'all feeling about being a part of this Birmingham festival in August? What should people expect from Sicard's performance?
.
Alex: I could go on for days about this. I love Avondale Brewery. My parents live four minutes away from the venue. I grew up across town, but that is literally my family's neighborhood now. I cannot wait for this. We've played the upstairs room at Avondale once before, but this is dreams right now. I've been waiting to play that stage for such a long time. Super stoked on it. Hometown shows are incredible. 
.
This is going to be the largest caliber show that we've played in Birmingham. I've been waiting for this. It almost feels like our Birmingham debut of sorts, because we've leveled up so much since the last time we played there. We are just elated to be included. As far as the performance goes, there is another bluegrass band in Birmingham called The Mountain Grass Unit...
.
I know all about those guys. They are really going places.
.
Alex: Luke, Drury, and Sam are incredible. We love those dudes so much, so you might potentially see some sit-ins, but you can count on high-energy, ripping jam grass. They are INSANE. Absolutely insane. I strive to be on Luke's level on guitar, and he's eight years younger than me. It just goes to show that those guys are next level. They deserve everything coming their way. They're the real deal.
..
It's great to see that relationship already forming between y'all. I think it's a no brainer that there should be a major tour featuring Sicard Hollow & The Mountain Grass Unit down the road. 
.
Alex: Absolutely. 100%. We feel the same way. Not that they have anything to prove to us, but it certainly didn't take much to catch our attention. You hear the first 30 seconds of their set and you're just like, "Holy shit! They are on to something."
.
Can't wait to see what all will unfold down the road with these two bands on the road. I really appreciate your time today, Alex. Can't wait to catch my first Sicard set at Deebs Days in August.
.
Alex: Thanks so much Jordan. We're just as excited!
.
.

Big Something Reveals Lineup For Annual Festival: The Big What? June 13, 2022 16:08

Photo + Press Release via Big Something

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to The Big What?

Big Something has announced the 2022 lineup for their annual Summer music festival and campout - The Big What? - taking place August 4 - 6, 2022 at Pops Farm in Martinsville, VA after a 2 year hiatus. Formerly held in North Carolina, The Big What? will begin a new chapter in its 9 year history with a short move just across state lines to one of Virginia’s most pristine outdoor music venues, Pops Farm, also home to Rooster Walk Music Festival.

“We are so excited to reunite with the ‘what-fam’ for a new adventure together at Pops Farm,” Nick MacDaniels of Big Something explains. “This is going to be a unique creative experience for the band and our community and we are very grateful to have both Pops Farm and Rooster Walk supporting our vision. We've got a lot of fun ideas in mind already and can't wait to bring The Big What? back to life in this beautiful new space."

Every year since the festival first formed in 2012, The Big What? has featured a 3 day musical and artistic journey curated by Big Something, Possum Holler Productions and Life Is Art Studios. Now in its 9th year, The Big What? will continue where it left off in 2019 with the same core team of organizers plus additional support from members of the Rooster Walk organization. Fans can expect a fun and collaborative environment with multiple unique performances by Big Something plus an eclectic lineup of musicians, artists and performers.


Phil Lesh & Friends + Wilco to Join Forces as 'PHILCO' at Sacred Rose June 10, 2022 08:06

.
Press Release via Sacred Rose
.
Phil Lesh & Friends joins previously-announced headliners Khruangbin, The War On Drugs, Black Pumas, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Goose, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Kamasi Washington, Animal Collective, and Margo Price
 Friday, August 26 - Sunday, August 28, 2022 at Chicagoland’s SeatGeek Stadium Campus
.

Chicago’s new multi-genre festival SACRED ROSE, debuting at SeatGeek Stadium on August 26 - 28, 2022, has announced details of its Friday, August 26 headliner Phil Lesh & Friends..Featuring the world debut of special guests Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy (vocalist/guitarist) and Nels Cline (guitarist) alongside host and captain of the musical ship Phil Lesh, SACRED ROSE will proudly present the first-ever ‘PHILCO’ performance. The headlining Friday night set in Wilco’s native Chicago will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime musical moment, melding together the fabrics of two iconic American bands for the first (and likely last) time ever. Anchored by Lesh’s white-hot bass riffs, PHILCO will see Tweedy channel Jerry Garcia’s vocal power while Cline purveys six-string shredding.

Also joining Lesh, Tweedy and Cline is an all-star roster of critically-acclaimed musicians including Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Co, Wolfpack), Karl Denson (Rolling Stones, Greyboy Allstars), John Molo (Phil Lesh & Friends), Stu Allen (Phil Lesh & Friends + Dark Star Orchestra), Grahame Lesh (Phil Lesh & Friends + Midnight North), and Elliott Peck (Midnight North).

Says Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy: “Nels and I are honored to be asked to join Phil and Friends for Sacred Rose. There has been so much about Phil and the Dead to be inspired by over the years, from their longtime musical brotherhood to their wonderful and incomparable music, to their relentless touring and longevity. But perhaps the biggest inspiration is their dedication to the community that has grown up around them. This is a trait that we in Wilco deeply appreciate and have aimed to emulate over the years. There’s nothing better than playing music with your friends, for your friends." 

Lesh has a special relationship with Wilco, dating back to 1999 when the Grateful Dead founding member performed his catalog hit “Ripple” with the band at their California concert. In 2016, Wilco joined forces with Lesh’s fellow founding member Bob Weir to cover Grateful Dead’s “St. Stephen,” with Leshreturning the favor in 2019 when his Terrapin Family Band covered Wilco’s “Misunderstood”.

SACRED ROSE’s eclectic line-up spans the sweet sounds of Americana, psych-rock, jam, indie, soul, funk and bluegrass which includes Khruangbin, The War On Drugs, Black Pumas, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Goose, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Kamasi Washington, Animal Collective, Margo Price, and many more

Both 3-day and single-day tickets are on sale now!
.

SACRED ROSE LINEUP

Phil Lesh & Friends aka PHILCOKhruangbinThe War On DrugsBlack PumasUmphrey's McGeeJoe Russo's Almost DeadGooseSTS9Greensky BluegrassThe Disco BiscuitsKamasi WashingtonSt. Paul & The Broken BonesPunch BrothersDawesAnimal CollectiveHiatus KaiyoteThe Wood BrothersCity and ColourYves TumorLettuceMoon TaxiCory WongLotusThe Infamous Stringdusters Feat. Molly TuttleWith Special Guest Margo Price (Artist At Large)

(A-Z)

Andy Frasco and the U.N.Blu DeTigerCircles Around The SunDanielle PonderGone Gone BeyondHolly BowlingKarina RykmanKitchen DwellerslespecialLiz CooperLuke MitraniMaggie RoseMidnight NorthNicole AtkinsSierra HullSunSquabi Feat. Kanika Moore (Artist At Large)SyzygalThe Dip

White Denim


Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Cy Simonton of CBDB June 8, 2022 16:32

.
Photo by Kinsey Haynes
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
.
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. It was an easy decision to kick off the "Deebs Days Countdown" with none other than Cy Simonton of CBDB. Cy is not only the frontman and founding member of the band, but also one of the driving forces behind this entire concept. Check out the full conversation below to learn a little bit more about the year as a whole for CBDB, their recent hiatus announcement, and everything you can expect at Deebs Days in August. 
.
.
.

It's great to sit down and catch up for a few minutes today, Cy. I figured we could kick off the interview by touching on the latest announcement from CBDB. The band has decided to press pause and take an indefinite hiatus following Deebs Days. What would you like to share about this announcement?

Cy: Yeah man. As far as taking the pause, I think we're just wanting to take a break from being on the road. Try some new things for a bit. I think change is good for the soul sometimes. I think that's what we're looking for. We are looking at Deebs Days as a celebration of the last ten years, I think it will be a perfect celebration of that. 

Totally agree. There's no better way to send the band off for a break and allow y'all to recharge. See what the next proper chapters are in life, right?

Cy: For sure, man.

Tell me a little bit about how this year has gone thus far for the band. I'm sure it's been a blessing to be able to get back out there and play so many of the band's favorite cities and venues. 

Cy: We've had some incredible shows. Knowing that this has been coming, I think that being on stage has been super special. You really try to soak it all in and not take anything for granted. Brooklyn Bowl (Nashville) with Sicard Hollow and LadyCouch was incredible. Both of those bands will be at Deebs Days. The new Brooklyn Browl is just a killer room. We had a great crowd, and that felt really good. A lot of the shows in the Northeast were super fun. Syracuse, Baltimore, Charlottesville, really all of them have been a lot of fun. 

That's so great to hear man. I know y'all just played Candler Park Music Festival in Atlanta. I know that had to be special for you. Playing another major, long standing festival where you grew up. How did things go over in Atlanta last weekend?

Cy: It went really well man. The crowd was super great. I thought we played really well. It was such a great vibe. We were grateful to be a part of it. The weather was perfect. Just great vibes all around at Candler Park.

Love that. Well, let's jump a little more into Deebs Days. I know that the band has been tossing the idea around of curating your own festival for a while now. It's been a really successful concept for many bands that you guys have come up around. Tell me about the thought process that went into this and how you landed on Avondale Brewery.

Cy: Having our own festival is something we've been thinking about for a few years. We knew it would be in Alabama. That's always been home base for the band, even if we don't all live there anymore. From there, it came down to Avondale or Horse Pens 40. The camping aspect is something that is super, super fun, but I think that throws another wrinkle in it for a first time festival. I think, for us, Birmingham felt like the right place to do it.

In Birmingham, Avondale Brewery is clearly the right option. We've had so many great shows there. It's always felt like a home base for us. When I brought this up to Alex Cape (Big Friendly Productions) a while back, he was super into it. I think he had been thinking about doing something similar at Avondale for a while. I think when we had this conversation, it was kind of a serendipitous moment of "this is how we're going to make this happen." 

That's great. From what I understand, this will be the first event to bring in a second stage to the Avondale concert grounds. This will really allow y'all to create a true festival flow.

Cy: Yeah man. It should really allow us to have a seamless thing going that weekend. As soon as one band ends, the next one gets started. No time for any fluff (laughs).

That's really exciting man. Looking at the lineup, CBDB will be playing both nights. You've got Brass Against coming in to headline on Friday. How did y'all go about putting together this group of bands to come together for Deebs Days?

Cy: I think there were a few things that were really important to us with the lineup. We obviously wanted to have bands that are friends of ours that we love. Both local and those outside of the area. We also wanted to make sure that we had a diverse lineup. We didn't want it to be just one vibe. We wanted to be able to bounce around multiple genres that we all enjoy.

Brass Against is gonna be killer. That's just a big, high-energy brass band. They do Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, and Tool covers, along with some original material. I think that's gonna be really fun. We have some great bluegrass acts. There are obviously some awesome jam bands like Mungion or Daniel Donato with the cosmic country but we also are covering more straight forward rock and roll with Dave Hause and others. You have a band like Audiophile, which brings more of a modern indie/pop/rock element to the lineup. We wanted to have lots of different flavors, and I think we accomplished that.  

Absolutely. I think you definitely did that. There's something for everyone, when you start digging through each of the bands pinned to perform. A lot of musical flavors that all kinds of patrons can enjoy. 

Aside from what we've discussed thus far. What message would you like to send to your fans? I know there are some bittersweet emotions surrounding this time period. What would you like to say to those who have supported the band through the years?

Cy: Oh man. Just so much love and gratitude. There are so many incredible memories from the road. So many people have shown us so much generosity. People letting us crash in their homes, cooking meals, buying tickets and merch, and just coming out to support the band night after night. All of it means the world to each of us. I'd really just like to say "thank you" to everyone who has supported us. It has meant the world to us. Then, I'd also like to say, "Get your Deebs Days tickets, and let's get ready to rage!"

That's right. The fans can get ready for what should be two of the most exciting CBDB shows to date. 

Cy: Absolutely. We've been hearing from a lot of people from all over. We're excited to hear that we have people getting flights and traveling from all over for the weekend. The vibe should be incredible, with a lot of close friends coming together in one spot. 

That's amazing to hear. Is there anything else you'd like to touch on before we wrap up?

Cy: I think the main thing is just recognizing all of the hard work and energy that our team and the Big Friendly team are putting into this. Without spoiling any surprises, there are going to be some amazing art installations built for the festival. There has been so much attention to detail. Big Friendly are incredibly valuable to the festival, and we would not be able to pull this off without all of the hard work that they're putting in.

No doubt about that man. That's an incredible group of folks, and you won't find a more talented production company. Knowing that they're on board is fantastic. 

Cy: Absolutely man. I couldn't agree more.

Well, it's always a pleasure chatting, my friend. Excited to be a part of this and can't wait to see it all come together.  

Cy: Likewise, man. Thank you Jordan!


Don't Miss Michael Weintrob's InstrumentHead Revealed Book Launch in Birmingham June 8, 2022 13:10

.
Press Release via Michael Weintrob
.
Instrumenthead:  Revealed Exhibit & Book Launch (Michael Weintrob) 
Saturday, June 11 @ 2:00pm CT 
.
2920 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 
Art, Live music, Food 
.
INSTRUMENTHEAD:  REVEALED
.
PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL WEINTROB’S COMPANION BOOK TO INSTRUMENTHEAD 
.
FEATURES PORTRAITS OF 300+ MUSICIANS, AVAILABLE APRIL 26, 2022
.
PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT NEW ORLEANS MUSICIANS CLINIC 
.
“When you mix art and music like you’ve done here, it’s just phenomenal. It doesn’t get any better than this,” the great Allen Toussaint once said to photographer Michael Weintrob.  The exhibition was for his 2017 book Instrumenthead, where Weintrob photographed 369 musicians with their signature instruments covering their heads, for some of the most unusual portraits in modern music.  “This is where musicians’ heads are really at,” adds Weintrob.   The book won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Most Outstanding Design.
.
Weintrob’s companion book Instrumenthead:  Revealed will be published April 26, 2022 and will showcase “unmasked” portraits of these same musicians, including Bootsy Collins, Susan Tedeschi, Mickey Hart, Johnny Winter, Charlie Musselwhite, all with their own style and artistry.  Preorder is available now at Instrumenthead.com.
.
Three dollars of every book sold will benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.  Founded by a coalition of music advocates in 1998, the New Orleans’ Musicians’ Clinic is the first medical clinic for musicians, performing artists and cultural workers in the US. 
.
“I want to do my part to inspire people to learn about new music and the artists who create it,” adds Weintrob, who photographed the unmasked portraits during the original Instrumenthead sessions.   “I love to connect and break down walls with my photography.  Everyone has the ability to be a kid again. This book is really special, because we’re unmasking the original photos. The book reflects the new energy this year.” 
.
Concert promoter Peter Shapiro added, “Michael Weintrob brings a new approach and new ideas to how to capture musicians in a way where their soul shines through, often in a way that doesn’t come through during the best jam session on-stage. It’s Michael’s ability to capture their inner spirit off-stage that separates him from others, and makes him one of the best music photographers of his generation.”
.
Victor Wooten adds, “Michael Weintrob is a musician, not just any kind, he is musician of the highest caliber. The difference between Michael, myself, and all the other subjects in this work of art is that Michael’s instrument is a camera. Weintrob is a visionary!  As we all journey toward a better tomorrow, there seems to be no better time than now to lower our masks and unveil the faces behind the Instrument Heads.”
.
About Michael Weintrob 
.
Two decades of navigating the music business and transforming the storytelling of image, photographer Michael Weintrob’s work spans all aspects of industry. Created in the field where he has shot over 5,000 artists in-concert or his Brooklyn studio, Weintrob’s work covers everything from advertising to editorial needs showcasing the live element of performance and conceptual campaigns of portraiture.
.
Weintrob has acted as house photographer for Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Festival Network, the CareFusion Jazz Festival Series, and Bluegrass Underground, and is currently the house pick for OZ Nashville’s Brave New Art celebrating its inaugural season.
.
Major exhibitions of work have been hosted in Spain by the US Consulate, in New Orleans during the Jazz and Heritage Festival and in Charleston for the Spoleto Art Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. His work benefits the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Rock the Earth, The Music Maker Foundation and the Newport Festivals Foundation with plans to continue giving as long as there are stories to tell.
.
.
.

Space Was The Place For Widespread Panic At The Orion Amphitheater In Huntsville June 2, 2022 19:19

Words by Monica Dean 

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Widespread Panic kicked off the Memorial Day run with a cover of Neil Young’s, “Keep on Rockin in the Free World”. John Bell delivered the timely message, “Here’s one more kid that will never go to school / Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool” after the recent school shooting in Texas that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. Then it was down to business with a blow of Sunny Ortiz’s whistle into Coconuts, before Dave Schools gleefully welcomed the crowd “to space camp.”  A body shaking “Worry” before JoJo Hermann set fire to his piano with “Big Wooly Mammoth” to close the set.

Panic paid respects to several influencers and mentors Memorial Day weekend, especially to Col. Bruce Hampton. They started the second set with “Fixin’ To die,” a song Colonel Bruce loved to cover. JB's voice resonated in our soul on “Mercy,” before hurling the crowd back into outer space with a playful rap between JB and Schools on “Going Out West.”  Panic slides backwards through space and time into  “Barstools and Dreamers” with a super rare and much missed “Thank You For Lettin’ Me Be Mice Elf” rap that hasn’t been played since 2015.  Second set closed out with a tribute to Tom Petty with “Honeybee.”  Panic raps up their first night in Huntsville with JB getting growly on “Pigeons.”

They were back at it on Saturday night; sipping on a “Tallboy” served up with some “Ribs and Whiskey” to start the first set and closed out with Jojo getting rowdy on “All Time Low”.  Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” opened the second set. There was a long “Fire on the Mountain” tease during “Stop/Go,” and Neil's Young's "Walk On" was up next. “Driving Song” runs into “Surprise Valley,” takes a break for drums and a jam before Panic orbits back around into “Driving Song” and “Surprise Valley” again. The crowd had “an ass kicking time” during “Postcard” to end the second set. A hard hitting “Halloween Face” and “Flat Foot Flewzy” ended night two.

Things got real when a backwards hat JB walked onstage Sunday night for more Memorial Day tributes.  The set started with Link Wray’s instrumental “Rumble” before giving us all a “little bit of room to fly” with “Conrad”. Panic returns to tributes with Willie Dixie’s “Weak Brain, Narrow Mind”, Billy Joe Shaver’s “Chunk of Coal,” and Vic Chesnutt’s “Sleeping Man” and “Morally Challenged” which was played for just the third time ever. JB flows through Danny Hutchens’ (Bloodkin) “Trashy” before grabbing the keys and taking a ride on “Love Tractor” to end the first set. 

Memorials continue in the second set with “Down,” a song written by founding Panic drummer Todd Nance who passed away in 2021. Coming back to Col. Bruce once again for a Zambi inspired jam, “Time is Free'' with a nice “Space is the Place” rap from JB.  When asked about what Zambi meant, Col. Bruce once said in an interview that “the principal of Zambi is when in doubt, go completely out”.  Panic did just that Sunday night with an encore honoring founding Widespread Panic members, guitarist Michael Houser and drummer Todd Nance with “Blue Indian”, “Travelin’ Man” and “The Waker”.

Next up, Widespread Panic makes the yearly pilgrimage to the land of sunny rocks June 24-26 at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver.


The Road to Mountain Music Fest: Kanika Moore of Doom Flamingo June 1, 2022 21:51

Photo and Music Video by Paul Chelmis

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As countless music fans prepare for this year's Mountain Music Festival at ACE Adventure Resort in Oak Hill (WV) on June 2-4 (2022), we're sitting down with a number of this year's performers to get a better feel for what fans can expect this year. This festival was established in 2014 and has proceeded to solidify itself as one of the most anticipated jam-focused events of the year. While MMF features an array of major national acts, Doom Flamingo is most definitely amongst those generating the most excitement this weekend.
.
Since the band's formation in 2018, this band has been on the fast track to success. Led by Umphrey's McGee bassist Ryan Stasik, this project was originally assembled for a UM afterparty, and there wasn't any specific plan for a long term future. Fellow Charleston musician Mike Quinn (saxophone) helped assemble an incredible cast of musicians for a set of music often described as "synth wave." The reception was absolutely incredible from day one, and it was apparent that this was not meant to be a one-time party. 
.
Here we are four years later, and Doom Flamingo has made significant progress up the "jam/festival" ladder. Not only will you find them performing frequent late-night sets after Umphrey's shows, but they're being booked for the vast majority of major music festivals. This is truly an all-star cast of musicians, and you can expect them to keep this train rolling for many years to come. 
.
Earlier this week, we caught up with lead singer Kanika Moore, who provided some insight on her personal journey, as well as that of the band. Kanika has established herself as one of the premiere vocalists in the game, and if you've had a chance to listen to this band, you already know why. You can catch her performing with TAUK Paper Scissors on Friday and Doom Flamingo on Saturday at Mountain Music Festival this weekend. See below for the full conversation, and make sure to follow Doom Flamingo on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
.
.
Thanks so much for your time today, Kanika. I thought we could get started by talking about your introduction to singing. At what point did you realize this was something you wanted to pursue full time?
Kanika: I was really surrounded by music at a young age. I was totally surrounded by it. I didn't actually start pursuing it until about 10 years ago. I think what sparked it was when my grandmother passed. She saw me sing with her in church a lot. She was involved with the choir and have me sing a little bit during rehearsal. When she passed, I sang a song at her funeral. From then on, I knew that's what I wanted to do.
I went to school for surgical technology, but I ultimately decided I wanted to work in music. I moved away from Charleston (SC) for a while. I was actually in Columbia (SC), and that's when I started working with Mike Quinn (Doom Flamingo) in Charleston. I was working with a few of my family members who play around here as well. But yeah, It wasn't until about 10 years ago that I got into music as a professional.
That's amazing. I know losing someone as important as your grandmother had to be extremely challenging, but that had to be such a special experience. For that to have sparked such a major journey in life...that's pretty powerful.
.   
Kanika: Yeah absolutely. It was one of those things that kind of connected me to the music that I always knew. Before she passed, I was living with her. I started exploring more music, and that's when the interest really started developing. I eventually moved back to Charleston, and I was working with Mike. We were working with this wedding band, and that sparked into Motown Throwdown. Then, I started working with Ross and TK (Thomas Kenney). Actually, I've probably been working with TK as long as Mike.
  .
We started working on some side projects. Hank (Wharton) reached out to one person, and someone reached out to someone else. Ryan (Stasik) had just moved here, and he was looking to start a side project. We put the band together like a puzzle. It was really supposed to be just a few gigs when Umphrey's was playing in Charleston.
.
From there, we got in the studio and recorded some stuff. We realized quickly that this was a lot more than that. Ever since then, we've just hit the ground running. We slowed down for a second during quarantine just like everyone else did, but it was still a new project for us. During that slow time, we got to send music to each other and build more original music.
  .
That's really interesting. I know COVID hit the music industry so hard. It was such a road block for touring musicians in so many ways. I can see how a new project as unique as Doom Flamingo found some light in that darkness though. All of the time you need to build that original catalog.
  .  
Kanika: Definitely. It's been great to work on writing with someone like Ryan. The first time that I performed with Umphrey's was actually the first time I'd heard them live. That was quite the experience. I have a close friend who passed away a few years ago. He couldn't believe that I didn't know who Umphrey's McGee was. I went over to his house to buy some weed or something. He has his friend were watching videos of this band for hours and hours. They told me it was Umphrey's McGee, and I was like, "I don't know who that is!" I ended up staying the night and watching hours of videos. The next time I saw them was when I was performing with them on stage.
.  
Incredible. Well, I know that you said that there are a lot of Doom Flamingo shows that coincide with where Umphrey's is playing. Your audience really seems to be taking off on its own though. SweetWater 420 Fest had to be a really special experience for you. You sat in and sang with so many bands. I thought I'd see if you could tell me about that weekend and any other memorable experiences this year.
.
Kanika: Well, I think I took a late interest in music outside of Christian, R&B, and soul. When I started to learn about all of these other genres, I got really eager and wanted to learn everything. My outlet for that now is being able to play with different bands and experience that. I want to be busy, and I like all of the variety. I know that when you put a band together, you have a certain theme. I like the idea of being able to come to these festivals and play with everyone.
.
Doom really seems to be taking off this year. This is really the first time that we've had to focus on a band and try to cover a whole selection or set of music. That's what we did with Queen at 420 Fest. Ross had that idea. He's always had a passion for Queen. It's interesting playing with Ryan, because he works with Umphrey's, and that's also a really big thing. It does work out to do those late-night shows, but it's also been working out to play these festivals and be there for the entire weekend, like we will at Summer Camp.
.
Most of our plays are late-night, but the variety is also really nice. Kicking off the day at 420 Fest with that Queen set was amazing. Big Something comes to Charleston a lot. I hadn't had an opportunity to be a part of their show until that weekend. I had a lot of things on my chest that I wanted to do, and I got a lot of that done at 420. I didn't know how much I would be able to perform with others, but I definitely made myself available.
.
I loved that whole experience. It was amazing. The footage that I saw. The experience that I had on stage. Being able to perform our original music. Being able to perform with The Psychodelics. That band hadn't had the opportunity to play that large of a festival before. There were just a lot of things on my checklist that I got to do. The weather was perfect. The people were perfect.
.
They had a tent set up in the back. It was right after the Queen set. They had a chiropractor and a Vida Flo tent with the IVs. Right after that set, I got straightened up by the chiropractor. The rest of the weekend was just smooth sailing. It's easy to not take great care of yourself on the road. I'm so glad that they had all of that. I bought a bunch of shit out there. I had such a great time.
.
That's so great to hear. It's amazing to hear that the performers are having an equally amazing time. That sounds like top notch hospitality. In a few weekends, you will be at Mountain Music Festival. Doom plays on Saturday. You're also a part of the TAUK Paper Scissors set on Friday, right?
.
Kanika: Yes, I am. I've known the TAUK guys for a few years. I've always been interested in working with them. They just reached out to everyone to see if they were available. I'm sure you've seen how they do the TAUKing McGee thing. This seems like a similar thing. I'm not even sure how much time I'll be on stage with them, but I'm really excited to work with them.
.
This is why I love these festivals. When you're there, and these musicians are playing, you're going to brush shoulders at some point. You're going to figure out how much you have in common. All of the sudden you're working on music together. And if it hits hard enough, maybe you go into the studio and record it. So, fingers crossed things work out with what we're doing with TAUK. I do have some high hopes for that. Just the collaborating and merging of the band while we're in one area.
/
Absolutely. I know Doom is part of Saturday at MMF, which is the final day. Attendance should be at its peak moment. This should be such a great opportunity to keep building Doom's fanbase in that part of the country.
.
Kanika: Absolutely. The people just become more familiar with you.
.
I almost forgot to mention the new single. I know today is a big day for Doom Flamingo. The new single, "Lux Noir," was just released. What's the story behind this tune?
.
Kanika: Ross wrote this song. Originally, a guy named Jordan Noir was working on some artwork to go along with our comic book that we came out with a few years ago. He came up with animated characters for each member of the band. Ross wrote this song about an idea of what our band would be doing if Charleston was completely different, and we were of the future. It started out with that, then the words, and we talked about putting some videos together.
I'm obviously a woman, and I've been on this girl power pitch for a while. When I first got into the festival scene, I noticed how few women were performing on stage. Female performers are such a big reason as to why a festival is so much fun. The colors, the dancing, just everything about it makes me feel spectacular. The video features an all-girl party, and I love that.
.
That's definitely something that I've noticed in recent years. The female presence is definitely increasing in this scene, and that's an amazing thing. It's amazing to keep seeing that diversity. Before we wrap this up, is there anything else that you'd like to mention that you're excited about?
.
Kanika: Just the content that we're waiting to release. We have an album coming out. Releasing a bunch of songs. There is another music video coming out soon. More singles, another album, and more videos this year. Just eager to get the content out for everyone to listen to.
.
I know there are a lot of people out there who will be so excited to see this content surface. Thanks so much for your time today, Kanika. Looking forward to seeing you at Mountain Music Fest.
.
Kanika: Thanks so much, Jordan. See you there!
.
Check out the official music video for "Lux Noir" here:
.
.

Nashville's Tom Galloway Salvages Gold With New Album 'Wreckage' June 1, 2022 21:04

Photo by Middle TN Films

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Tom Galloway has been grinding his way through the world of music since his teenage years. After leading various groups through his time as a high school student, Galloway founded the jam/rock band Mama's Love during his college years in Athens, Georgia. Quickly becoming one of the Southeast's most popular touring acts at that time, it was immediately clear that he was on to something special. The band remained active and toured regularly all the way up through 2014, when Galloway and his bandmates began pursuing other musical endeavors. 

After relocation to Nashville, he would join up with former Mama's Love bandmate Whit Murray's band Maradeen. Shortly thereafter, Galloway would also begin focusing on his solo career as a singer/songwriter. After releasing his debut EP Cross Currents in August of 2018, Galloway followed with his sophomore EP, Rearview, in October of 2020. While so many were familiar with Galloway's work playing electric guitar and singing in Mama's Love and Maradeen, these releases allowed him to showcase a completely different, more personal side of his songwriting. 

As you will read in the Q&A below, there was a collection of songs that Mama's Love started recording back in 2014 which had never seen the light of day. While many of these tunes had become fan favorites in the band's later years, even Galloway himself had almost forgotten about them. This material was extremely personal and held a special place in his heart. They were rediscovered back in 2020, and thanks to the help of Nashville-based producer Dan Davis, they're now available on all major streaming platforms as of Friday, May 27th.

Just a few days ago, I was fortunate enough to catch up with Galloway and hear all about the story of Wreckage. I learned that this release is truly as important as any other collection of music he has released, and after listening to these tracks, I can totally see why. Check out the Q&A below to learn a little bit more, and make sure to give this album a full spin as soon as you can find the time. 

Tell me about the lineup you assembled for this project. What's your history with these guys?

Tom: The original group in the studio was the Mama’s Love lineup from 2013-14: Bill Baker, Ross Bogan, Richard Chamberlain, & Doyle Williams. This was set to be the fourth Mama’s Love record but was left unfinished. Most of these songs were the new favorites of our live shows around that time. This group was full-time on the road for years. We had ourselves a time all up and down the east coast and frequented the west in a treacherous converted red shuttle bus we named Bunny Wheeler. 

The Nashville sessions included Dan Davis behind the board, with guitar overdubs from Stephen Taylor (Tom Galloway Band), Whit Murray (Maradeen, Mama’s Love), and Daniel Donato (Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country). Davis also recorded and sang background vocals with Cy Simonton (CBDB), Willow Scrivner (Willow & Wood), and percussion from John Rodrigue.  If you are familiar with all these guitarists, it’s really cool to try and guess who is playing where. The mix of all these guys makes for a dynamic listening experience for sure.   

What's the backstory on these seven tracks? Is this all previously unreleased material?

Tom: A lot of these songs were written during a transition in my life when things were uncertain. The lyrics deal a lot with isolation and searching for love and meaning. The opener, "Land of the Midnight Sun," and the single "Missouri," were written on the same day. We always paired these songs together as openers for our live shows, so it felt natural to have them back to back at the beginning of the album. "Levees of the Heartland" deals with dropping emotional barriers to the power of love. "Hey Little Angel" was brought to the table by keyboardist, Ross Bogan, and it was always a rowdy song to play live. After hearing Angel again I had to call him up and ask if I could release it. "Times of Trouble" touches on broken dreams mixed with unhealthy distractions. "Stone Farm" is a story of desolation, a farmer haunted by lost love praying for redemption. "Broken Blues" is a heartbreaker and an ode to the healing power of music. 

Tell me about the recording process for Wreckage.

Tom: We started the record in ‘14 with songs I’d been writing since ‘12, and now 10 years later, here we are. In the process of moving to Nashville and getting involved in different projects, the foggy idea of releasing these songs kept getting pushed and for a while, I had forgotten about them entirely. But when I recovered the basic tracks in 2020, I was reminded of how important these tunes are to me. The true hero in this is my good friend and producer, Dan Davis, who was able to take these raw scattered tracks and transform them into worthy releasable songs. I don’t think either of us knew what we were getting into trying to piece this all together. We had several guitar overdub sessions in Nashville, and we recut all the lead vocals, harmonies, and percussion, while Bogan sent us some fresh overdubs from Charleston. Slowly but surely, we got the tracks to a place where we felt comfortable releasing. It wasn’t easy, and I’m truly grateful for the time and energy spent by Dan and everyone else on this project, and it feels good to say we salvaged the gold from the wreckage.     

What do you hope people take away from this recording and these songs?

Tom: I realized halfway through the re-recording process that putting this out was really more for me than anything else. And as we struggled to get this right, the more I needed these songs to come out. Because it’s not just seven old songs being released, it’s a part of my life I can now revisit through this music; a collision of the musical family of my past with the musical family of my present. It’s really cool to listen through and hear the different parts from everyone. The album melts into an amazing sentimental and satisfying piece of personal history and I’m grateful to everyone that made it happen.

Stream Wreckage in its entirety via Spotify here:


The Road to Mountain Music Fest: Rich Vogel of Galactic May 26, 2022 10:13

Photo by Marc Pagani

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As countless music fans prepare for this year's Mountain Music Festival at ACE Adventure Resort in Oak Hill (WV) on June 2-4 (2022), we're sitting down with a number of this year's performers to get a better feel for what fans can expect this year. This festival was established in 2014 and has proceeded to solidify itself as one of the most anticipated jam-focused events of the year. While MMF features an array of major national acts, I think everyone can agree that Galactic is the main event of the weekend.
.
Since the band's formation back in 1994, Galactic quickly solidified themselves as a permanent fixture on the festival circuit. I think it's accurate to call them one of the founding members of the modern jam/funk scene. Hailing from New Orleans, this band has truly done it all over the past 30 years. You won't find long-standing, major festival that they haven't played. This is funk music in its truest form, and their Friday night / Saturday morning set at MMF might just set the mountain on fire. 
.
Earlier this week, we had a chance to sit down with founding member Rich Vogel (keyboards) just ahead of the festival. As you will read below, Rich and his bandmates became true pioneers early on, and they haven't even thought about looking back. Check out the full conversation below and make sure to follow the band on Instagram and Facebook to stay in tune with all of the latest happenings. 
.
.
.
Great to speak with you today, Rich. Galactic has been going at it for nearly 30 years now. I think you guys started back in 1994. The lineup has seen so many collaborations. I was hoping you could tell me a little more about when this band started to take off.
.
Rich: Yeah, you got it right. We started playing together back in 1994. I think that's when I started playing with them. Rob (Mercurio), Jeff (Raines), and Stanton (Moore) already had something going. They wanted some keyboards, so I volunteered my services (laughs). They invited me to a rehearsal, and the rest was history.
.
We played a few gigs around town. We'd open for guys like George Porter Jr & The Runnin' Pardners. Played a bunch of uptown clubs. It was really in 1995 that we met Dan Prothero. He was an engineer / record producer who had done things on a label called Ubiquity out in San Francisco. They were putting out some old school, rare groove stuff from the 50s and 60s. Some of the underappreciated and unreleased stuff.
.
Back then, all of music wasn't available like it is now. There was so much music that hadn't ever been released, especially in that world. They were rereleasing some things and really creating a scene out there on the West Coast.
.
Dan came to New Orleans and was looking for a local band to record. Somehow, he got in touch with us. We ended up doing one track in our apartment, which was kind of the band house at the time. Stanton, Rob, and Jeff lived there, and I lived a few blocks away. We did all of our rehearsing there. We set up make shift recording gear. Dan had a DAT, which is a digital audio tape. It was pretty cutting edge at the time. No one was recording on computers yet.
.
He was able to set up a make shift studio. We ended up cutting one song, which was "Black Eyed Pea." That appeared on a compilation record that Ubiquity put out. I remember the title of the record was Is That Jazz?  It was an interesting title, because it was a bunch of instrumental music with solos and everything, but it was more so based in funk.
.
It was really that collaboration with him and making a recording of any kind that made things start to gel with us. We made plans with Dan to make a record. He came back in the summer of 1995. We booked two days at Sea-Saint Studios, which is a legendary studio in New Orleans. Sadly, it's no longer here post-Katrina. It was Allen Toussaint's studio where so much incredible music was recorded there in the 70s.
.
Pretty much everything The Meters did was recorded there. We really wanted to work there, because it was the source of so much music we loved. We figured out we could record two days there (laughs). That was about how much analog tape we could record at the time as well (laughs). We were recording on 24-track analog tape. We also set up at the house so we had a few more days to fine tune some other stuff.
.
We ended up making Coolin' Off, our first record. That was really it for us. That really turned the corner for us. We had an album, and we got accepted to play New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for the first time in 1996. That was when we really hit the road and never looked back.
.
.
That's amazing. I feel like the mid-late 90s was when so much was happening in that scene that Galactic fell in place with. Bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, and moe. were really taking off. Now you see the emergency of Galactic, Medeski Martin & Wood, Sound Tribe Sector 9, and Keller Williams. It seemed like a really special time to be a part of that movement.
.
Rich: It really was. I completely agree with you, especially looking back now, It seemed like there was a handful of bands, you know? It seemed like we ended up knowing all of them within about a year or two of being out on the road. The bands were just really getting out there and playing shows.
.
We were kind of used to playing for hours, late into the night around New Orleans. That was just how things went around there. We were trained up to go out and do whatever. These festivals were coming together. We were kind of designed for that with our history in New Orleans.
.
I have a vivid memory of Medeski Martin & Wood coming into town. They playing a tune on WWOZ, our radio station in New Orleans, and I knew I needed to go see them. They had a keyboard player who plays organ and all of the old keyboards that I love. These weren't really in vogue prior to this era that you mention. Guys like Medeski, JoJo from Panic, and I were bringing out old Wurlitzers, Leslies, and Hammonds that had fallen out of vogue in the 80s and early 90s.
.
I went to an MMW gig at the old Howlin' Wolf. It was fantastic. I was mesmerized by their whole evening of music. It's just three guys playing instrumental music. I'd never seen anyone who played music like that. They were so talented. They were improvising. Playing a lot of groove stuff with hip hop beats. It was so cool, and the 12-15 people who were there with me completely agreed (laughs).
.
I think they came back 6-9 months later, and there were a few hundred people there. Then I they opened for Phish at some point, and when they came back, they were about ready to headline Tipitina's. That was right when we were getting to. The same type of thing happened. We went out in '96 and hit a bunch of clubs on the West Coast. Thanks to Dan and Ubiquity, there was already a little buzz about us out there.
.
We had some pretty solid shows, but we played a bunch of clubs. There might be 30-50 people in one room, but those people really dug it. So, we kept coming back, and it kept growing and growing. And you're right, that was really the beginning of that era. There was such a synergy with all of these bands. That really lasted into the early 2000s.
.
We were riding that wave and didn't even realize it at the time. It was a great time to be on the road, and it feel like a special thing. We always wondered why there weren't more bands out there doing what we were. There were some older bands, such as Dirty Dozen Brass Brand, which certainly had been doing it. It was a great time for us to be interested in what we were naturally interested in. We loved all of this old school funk, soul, R&B, and rock.
.
We were in New Orleans, and we love The Meters. They have the same instrumentation as us. Those groove-based rhythm sections that were so good. That's why i was so taken with Medeski. We just wanted to hone those skills. A rhythm section that can really groove. Everything feels good and you develop it from there.
.
Absolutely. Whether you knew it or not at that time, Galactic really did help pave the way for what would become such a huge scene. It's damn near impossible to keep up with all of the new acts emerging these days. Being a teenager in the early 2000s, I have such vivid memories of the era of music.
.
I remember stumbling across the Coolin' Off back in middle school. I can't tell you how many times I listened to songs like "Something Wrong With This Picture" and "Church" back then. Definitely an interesting era for music with what was going on with modern rock at the time. The grassroots movement that Galactic was a part of really became the modern jam era.
.
Rich: Yes, you're absolutely right.
.
.
I know there has been plenty of evolution within the band over the years. While y'all are predominantly instrumental, House Man (Theryl DeClouet) added a major element with the vocal material. Later on, you've had so many special guests join the band for various projects. Who have you guys been working with on vocals lately?
.
Rich: That's kind of been our mode ever since House Man had to stop touring. For a minute, we searched around for another vocalist. Ultimately, we decided that we weren't going to "replace" House Man. We felt that we should focus on collaborations. We knew so many talented singers. When it comes to making records, you can do anything. Why not collaborate with the best people who were interested?
.
While we had that strong instrumental side, there wasn't going to be a new "lead singer" of Galactic. For a band like us, this overgrown rhythm section, as I like to say sometimes, it kind of made sense. Then when you go out on tour, you want to present these songs, and you want to have someone who can do them justice. It's a tall order when you've recorded songs with Irma Thomas, Cyrille Neville, Allen Toussaint, and Jon Boutee.
.
These are the kind of vocal artists we were collaborating with. And with that, you need a pretty heavy hitting singer to come out and help you represent your history and material. We've had tremendous luck to find the right person at the right time. Some of them have joined us on the road for a year, two years, or whatever it may be.
.
Right now, we're in as great of place as we've ever been with Jelly singing. We call her Jelly, but her name is Angelica "Jelly" Joseph. She's just amazing. Her presence is amazing. Her take on all of the songs is fantastic, while uniquely hers. They live up to the original while bringing something different, which is kind of what you always want.
.
You want the music to stay fresh and get reinjected with something that feels fresh. Not regurgitating your old records. She totally brings that. We also have Eric Gordon playing trumpet with us, who is equally amazing. He rounds out our horn section. We get to call it a horn section since we have two players (laughs). We already had Ben (Ellman), who also amazing playing tenor, bari, and harmonica. Ben and Eric together are just perfect.
.
We're really just having fun. Being on the road again is great. We took a forced hiatus like everyone else, and I think that makes you come back with fresh eyes and ears. A new appreciation for being able to get out and do this for a living.
.
I'm sure it comes with a rejuvenated sense of appreciation for it all.
.
Rich: It definitely does. As we're talking about these festivals coming up, it's just great to have a real summer festival season again. We just had the first Jazz Fest since 2019, and it felt so good to be out there. You could feel the joy around the whole event. It had been three years without the festival. It just feels so good to be back playing.
.
Didn't you guys go on right before The Who at Jazz Fest?
.
Rich: Yeah, that was a fantastic slot. We sure did. You can't beat that. It was an incredible day.
.
You really won't find a better spot than that. I didn't make it to Jazz Fest, but I was at SweetWater 420 Fest that last weekend of April. Atlanta also had another festival called Shaky Knees that weekend, and they were both sold out. I hadn't been to anything with that many people in several years, and it was incredible to know that both of these major festivals in Atlanta were sold out. People can finally feel safe doing these things again.
.
Rich: Absolutely. It feels so great to be back to this point. Like Jelly always likes to say on stage, "We back, baby!" She means all of us, not just the band!
.
Well before we wrap this up, I wanted to talk a little bit about Mountain Music Festival on June 2-4 in West Vrigina. Galactic is the headliner on Friday. Starting right at midnight, which feels so appropriate for y'all.
.
Rich: (laughs) They still give us those late spots. We can still do it!
.
Oh, I have no doubt about that. It's been way too long since I've seen Galactic at all, much less in that perfect time slot. Can you share a little bit about what the West Virginia can expect that night, and how you're approaching the rest of the festival season in general?
.
Rich: Yeah, i really like those late-night sets. If you have a shorter set during the day, you're pretty strategic about it. You have to hit all of these certain notes within an hour or maybe hour and fifteen. The late ones sometimes prove to be the most fun. I think the attitude is a little different, and it takes us into interesting directions.
.
Sometimes you're just the right combination of up but also laid back from the end of the day. It's always fun to play outside at night. Playing outside at night in West Virginia sounds nice to me. We love New Orleans, but we do look forward to summer festivals. Getting out of town and going anywhere sounds a little more comfortable (laughs).
.
Could not agree more. I'm in Birmingham, Alabama and I was looking at the weather forecast yesterday. Anything in the 70s sounds like a dream. We're already cracking well into the 90s here.
.
Rich: Oh yeah. We're all for it. You know what a Gulf Coast summer is like.
.
We're off to another scorching summer. That's for sure. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your time today. I've been a Galactic fan for what feels like majority of my life now. I haven't been able to see y'all near as many times as I would like. It's been way too long since the last one, and I know that I'm not the only one who is stoked for Friday night at Mountain Music Fest.
.
Rich: Oh definitely. We're really excited about it. We're primed for this festival season. And like Jelly says, "We're back, baby!"
.
Love to hear it. Well thanks again, Rich. Hope to have a chance to say "hello" up on the mountian.
.
Rich: Please do, Jordan. Thanks so much for doing this!
.

The Iceman Special Confirms Phish After Parties in Orange Beach May 20, 2022 16:42

.
Photo by Kimberly Braddy
Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
If you're heading down to Orange Beach for Phish's upcoming three-night run at The Wharf Amphitheater, we've got some vital information for you. The funkadelic, "dirty funk" four-piece known as The Iceman Special has just confirmed late night shows on Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th at The Undertow. The venue is just a quick two-mile drive down Canal Road; making for a super easy option for those looking to venture into the night. Both shows will operate on a first come, first served basis. 
.
This year has been has been full of major highlights for these guys. This all started with a wildly successful show at New Orleans' Joy Theatre featuring The Iceman Special and Break Science.  If you spent time in New Orleans for this year's Jazz Fest, you may have even caught them at Live For Live Music's Daze Between Festival at Fauborg Brewery. They are now fresh off of an exciting weekend in Texas and Louisiana, which included stops at Last Concert Cafe (Houston), Parish (Austin), and Chelsea's Live (Baton Rouge).
.
"These Big Easy Bombardiers pack an ample amount of audio artillery in their set, and you better believe that the funkadelic swamp will rain down heavily when they plug in. The Iceman Special is a four-piece outfit transplanted from the swamps of Louisiana to the big city of New Orleans. They combine a sound of dirty funk and delicate groove with elements of disco and rock and roll to create danceable jams with plenty of edge and substance. Screeching yet smooth guitars, wandering yet punchy bass lines, electronic synth samples, driving drum beats and powerful vocals form one a kind soundscapes."
.
The one week countdown to Memorial Day weekend is officially underway. Chances are that most of your work obligations aren't kicking back in until Tuesday, May 31st. So go ahead and let your Phish crew know that you've got the post-show shenanigans covered. It's all going down at The Undertow with The Iceman Special on Friday and Saturday night. 
.
.

The Road to Mountain Music Fest: George Norrell of The Talismen May 20, 2022 13:12

Photo by Nicholas Jude Photography

.
As countless music fans prepare for this year's Mountain Music Festival at ACE River Resort in Oak Hill (WV) on June 2-4 (2022), we're sitting down with a number of this year's performers to get a better feel for what fans can expect this year. This festival was established in 2014 and has proceeded to solidify itself as one of the most anticipated jam-focused events of the year. While MMF features major national acts such as Galactic, Cory Wong, Big Something, & Spafford, one of the Southeast's hottest up-and-coming acts, The Talismen, will close out The Lake Stage at 4:00 PM on Saturday, February 4th.
.
Since their formation as teenagers in 2015, The Talismen have evolved into a four-piece, progressive rock powerhouse. Hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, their days as popular college band have come to an end, and they're hitting the road as hard as anyone in 2022. Fresh off a recent run with Papadosio, this band is poised to continue building momentum and solidifying their place in the jam/festival circuit. 
.
Earlier this week, we had a chance to sit down with George Norrell (drums) just ahead of Mountain Music Fest. As you will read below, George and his bandmates have an incredibly unique bond as lifelong friends. Their musical talent and professional work ethic knows no boundaries, and the ceiling is incredibly high for this group. Check out the full conversation below and make sure to follow the band on Instagram and Facebook to stay in tune with all of the latest happenings. 
.
.
Alright George...This has clearly been a big year thus far for The Talismen. The band has been playing just about every weekend, with a few more extended runs mixed in the schedule. Tell me about how things have been going for you guys thus far.
.
George: It's been really great to have these opportunities to do what we love on a regular basis. We sure hope that things do not slow down anytime soon. It's been especially great to hit so many new markets in the past few months. Going into a new city and playing a venue for the first time can be a bit of a toss up, but the reception continues to be really positive. That's something we are super grateful for. I think all of us are just focused on carrying that momentum into the summer.
.
We were right at that point of taking the next step as a professional, touring act when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Our EP, Extra Vehicular Activity, was weeks away from the release date, and things were really moving in the right direction. We were able to get in the studio with Kevin Scott and Jason Kingsland, who recorded and produced the EP. Everything seemed to be falling in place for a big year, and we all know the rest of that story.
.
That time allowed us to really get in the practice room, focus on our original song-writing, and continue building our chemistry. Things seem to be getting back to normal this year, and we're just stoked to have the opportunities in front of us. We've had a busy spring, and our summer calendar looks promising. Definitely excited to share more on that here soon.
.
I bet. I know that y'all just wrapped up a run of shows with Papadosio. That had to be an exciting opportunity for you guys. How did those shows go?
.
George: Yeah, it was great to get to meet and share the stage with those guys. They've already seen so much success, and it was pretty special to play a few shows with them. Anytime we have the opportunity to get to learn from a band of that caliber is invaluable. Definitely hope to cross paths with them again at some point.
.
I'm sure that made for some great exposure. When you look back at the year thus far, are there any other highlights that stick out?
.
George: We've had a bunch of really great shows. Earlier this year, we played our first true theatre gig with Big Something in Knoxville. We really look up to those guys and appreciate the opportunity to share the stage with them. We had another great night at The One Stop in Asheville a few weeks ago. That's a place that we really love playing. We've had a lot on fun the road so far, and we're going to keep hitting it hard.
.
.
That's great to hear. Mountain Music Festival is coming up in just a few weeks. This takes the band all the way up to West Virigina. I'd imagine the excitement level is mighty high for this one.
.
George: Absolutely. You look at the lineup and see Galactic, Big Something, Spafford, Cory Wong, and the list goes on. This is exactly the type of lineup and atmosphere that we want to be involved with. We just finished up a few shows in Virginia, and we couldn't be more excited to see what West Virginia has to offer. 
.
For those in attendance who will be seeing The Talismen for the first time, what would you say that they can expect from this performance?
.
George: Mostly original music that is based is progressive rock, with elements of jam, funk, jazz, and a healthy dose of improv. We definitely strive to provide a totally unique show every time we step on foot on stage. I can tell you that our level of excitement for Mountain Music Fest is through the roof. Those who catch our set will definitely be able to feel that energy. We're hoping to maybe even have a special guest or two join us for a tune. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out. 
.
Love to hear all of that. I know that the band has released a few new singles in recent months. What can you tell me about these latest tracks?
.
George: We decided to take on an exciting project at the beginning of this year. We converted our guitarist Jack Bennett's basement into an incredible rehearsal space and recording studio. We've already spent countless hours practicing and down there, so it made since to take on the challenge of recording and producing our own music.
.
Thus far, we've released two singles: "Savage Road" and "Lockwood." These are two originals that have been in the live rotation for a few years now. Bringing them to life in the studio was such a special process. Our friend Casey Cranford from Big Something even stopped by to lay down some EWI on "Lockwood." We're shooting to have a total of 6 new singles by the end of the year. Stay tuned, because we're currently working on the next one. 
.
That's exciting news. I know your fans will be excited to hear there is more new music coming soon. Before we wrap this up, what else is the horizon for The Talismen in 2022?
.
George: Well, we're dropping our summer tour dates early next week. In terms of festivals, we're stoked to be playing CBDB’s Deebs Day Festival, Kampout at Cave Springs, Alex City Jazz Fest this summer. We have our first headlining gig at Druid City Music Hall in Tuscaloosa. We’re hitting several more new markets. I know we have at least one more festival to announce, and we're hoping to add a few more along the way. It's going to be an exciting year. That's for sure. 
.
I'm glad to hear it and hope everything continues moving in the right direction. Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat today, George. Looking forward to the set at MMF.
.
George: Absolutely. Thank you sir!
.
.

The Road to Mountain Music Fest: Casey Cranford & Jesse Hensley of Big Something May 17, 2022 20:53

.
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
As countless music fans prepare for this year's Mountain Music Festival at ACE River Resort in Oak Hill (WV) on June 2-4 (2022), we're sitting down with a number of this year's performers to get a better feel for what fans can expect this year. This festival was established in 2014 and has proceeded to solidify itself as one of the most anticipated jam-focused events of the year. As the festival has continued to evolve and grow over the years, there's been one clear constant. That's the powerhouse known as Big Something.
.
They're back for an eighth consecutive year, and this time, they're headlining Saturday night. I was lucky enough to discover this band nearly ten years ago (Thanks again, Sirius JamOn), and it's been an incredibly fun ride watching them grow. Festival season is already in full swing for these guys, and they've only scratched the surface.
.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to sit down with Jesse Hensley (guitar) and Casey Cranford (EWI/saxophone) in preparation for MMF. They've been back to the grind, touring across the country, and simply loving that they're allowed to perform on a regular basis. You won't find a more genuine, hard-working group of guys, and they've most definitely earned every bit of their continued success. 
.
.
Hope both of you guys are doing well today. I thought we'd get started by touching on how this year is going for the band. You've been hitting the road hard, as usual. Festival season has officially begun. Let's walk through some of the highlights thus far. 
.
Jesse: Yeah man. It's been a blast just getting back out there and seeing everyone at shows. People want music again. Well, we've all been wanting it, but we're all actually seeing it come back now. Getting back to live performances with live audiences has felt amazing! 
.
Festival season has been crazy good. 420 Fest was killer. A lot of cool stuff coming up too. Beaufort Music Festival coming up this weekend. Summer Camp and Revival Fest are around the corner. But yeah, I think everyone has been really anxious to get back out and get going again. Super pumped about it.
.
Right on. How's 2022 been treating you, Casey? 
.
Casey: I think the highlight has just been getting back out on the road. We recently played Austin, TX with Papadosio and some other really cool bands. We've been down to The Spirit of Suwannee a few times, which is always great. Working on our new music has been really cool too.
.
I'm glad you mentioned that. Somehow, it's been a few years since the last album release. I know that the band has debuted several new originals over the past year. "Bob and Weave" has become a real favorite of mine. Can you tell me a little bit more about where you guys are with new material?
.
Casey: I think we have debuted two new ones, "Chemistry" and "Algorithm." I'd say we have maybe 8 or 10 more.
.
Jesse: Yeah, 8 or 10 more. I think we're still kind of hashing out parts as we go. It's been really cool. We've had a lot of production practices getting ready for festival season. That's been super helpful to get together, write, and actually play on a stage. We've set up in a few venues, gone through our entire rig, made sure the cables are good, and everyone is happy with their in-ear mixes.
.
In the process, we've been knocking away at some of these new songs we've been working on. It's been super helpful for that. We're pumped to get back in the studio and get cracking on some of this stuff. I think there are some plans for recording sessions later in the year. 
.
Casey: Yeah, hopefully we will have some progress. It's hard to say when, at this point. We're really looking forward to that though. 
.
Oh, I'm sure. I know there is a lot that can happen between now and next month, much less now and the end of the summer. Having that new material in pipeline has to be a nice feeling. Testing the audience's reaction as these songs are debuted live will be plenty of fun. 
.
Jesse: Yeah absolutely. It's always nice to have some new things in our pockets and ready to throw out at the crowd. 
.
In just a few weeks, we've got Mountain Music Fest coming up. Very familiar territory for Big Something. It seems like y'all have become such a staple of the festival. You've even played the resort as a one-off show outside of the festival weekend. How has this relationship been? What has the Mountain Music Fest experience been like?
.
Jesse: West Virginia has almost become a second home for us. Several years back, we played in so many different towns and venues across the state working our way up through the festival circuit. It's been awesome to get to meet and hang out with all of those people. We've built some great relationships there. 
.
It's always a staple, man. Mountain Music Fest is such a blast every year. There's always a bunch of crazy things happening on site (Laughs). The lineup and the bands are always killer but they also have tons of daytime activities to enjoy like whitewater rafting, mountain biking, swimming at the waterpark, ziplining or just taking a beautiful hike. It really packs the biggest punch, in terms of the time you spend at the festival, and things you can experience while you're there.
.
I remember the year I finally got to see The Wood Brothers for the first time. I'd been listening to them for years. There is always that band who really speaks to you every year. It's just been awesome to have that experience every year and keep coming back. It's been really fulfilling.
.
Casey: I just feel honored that they keep having us back. I believe they have had us every year. They're a great team over there. The venue is beautiful. So many things to do outside of the music, like rafting and swimming. I think there may be a rope course too. It's always been a super welcoming experience. The crowd is always super hyped for us, which we really appreciate. We're just happy to be returning. I haven't had a chance to see Galactic in a while.
.
Jesse: Yeah, I'm pretty pumped about Galactic too!
.
Very excited about Galactic. Somehow, I've only managed to see Galactic a few times, and they've all been during the day. I know they are known for being one of the best late night bands around. 
.
Jesse: Oh yeah. It's gonna be a party.
.
Casey: They are from New Orleans....
.
Watch Big Something perform "Bob & Weave" at Mountain Music Fest [2022]
.
.
Looking at the lineup for Friday, you have Galactic at 10PM. Then there is the TAUK Paper Scissors following at midnight.
..
Jesse: I'm really pumped about that too. A lot of cool stuff is likely to happen during that set.
 .-
Absolutely. That's a ridiculous group of players. 
.
Casey: Yeah man. Karl Denson is one of them.
.
Jesse: Is this the one that Antwaun Stanley is a part of?
.
That's correct. They've also got Jen Hartswick, James Casey, Jason Hann, Clyde Lawrence... So many exciting names. I'm super excited to see how that whole situation unfolds. 
.
Jesse: That is for sure. 
.
I'm sure it's even extra exciting being the final headlining act this year. I believe there is a late-night set on another stage, but Big Something is essentially closing out the whole festival. You've got Doom Flamingo and Cory Wong leading up to your set. What a night that will be. 
.
Jesse: Absolutely man. We're totally pumped.
.
Well fellas, aside from everything we've covered thus far, what else is happening in the world of Big Something. Anything in particular that we should touch on before we wrap this thing up?
..
Jesse: You got anything, Casey? (laughs)
.
Casey: Well, we've got Summer Camp coming up. We've got Rooster Walk coming up, which is up closer to Mountain Music Festival. In addition, we're also moving our own festival, The Big What?, to Pop's Farm in Martinsville, VA. 
.
Shit, I nearly forgot to even ask about The Big What?. What are the dates again?
.
Jesse: It's going down on August 4th-6th. Just a few months away. 
..
Casey: That's right. It will be a fun three nights of music. 
.
Jesse: And Pop's Farm is in the southern part of Virginia. It's a beautiful place, man. The setup and the infrastructure are just top touch. Pretty pumped about having all of that at our disposal this year. I also wanted to mention that The Ride Festival is coming up in July. We're always stoked to get back out to Telluride. That's one of our favorites, for sure. 
.
.
That's right. And that's another one that y'all seem to be playing every year, right?
.
Jesse: Yeah, man. It's been awesome to be able to make that trip just about every year now. 
.
I can imagine. The view from that stage looks about as beautiful as anything you could imagine.
.
Jesse: It's pretty breathtaking, for sure. 
.
That's right. Well, just one more thing before we wrap this up. Jumping back to The Big What? for a minute. Over the years, whether it's The Big What?, The Werk Out, DomeFest, or even Summer Camp & Hulaween, that concept of a band initiating and curating its own festival seems to be invaluable. How important would you say that this festival has been for Big Something?
.
Jesse: I think it has been huge. In past years, It's really just felt like a BIG family reunion with bands that we get to play shows with throughout the year. We might play all over the country with a group, but sometimes we never get the opportunity to bring them back to our neck of the woods. It's really nice to be able to share that music and those personalities with our homies at home. 
.
To me, that's the most fun part of it all. Getting to turn people on to new artists and seeing their reactions to the music that has inspired you. That's definitely one of my favorite things about the festival.
.
Casey: Yeah man. That's it right there. Jesse nailed it. 
.
I'd love to find a way to make the trek up there this year. I'm always super jealous when I see the footage and setlists rolling out that weekend. 
.
Jesse: Come on with it dude!
.
Casey: We've gotta get you up there man. 
.
I'm gonna do everything that I can. That would be a highlight of the year. No doubt about that.
.
Jesse: Well, we'd sure love to have ya. 
.
Absolutely man. Well, once again, thanks for your time today guys. Always a pleasure getting to catch up with y'all. Can't wait to kick it here in a few weeks in West Viriginia.
.
Jesse: Can't wait man. We will see you there!
.
Casey: Thanks so much, Jordan!
.

Sam Holt Band Pays Tribute to Michael Houser & Todd Nance in Birmingham May 16, 2022 13:14

Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Sam Holt Band closed out a special three night run on Saturday night.  They band stepped on stage as the sun was beautifully setting at Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama. A perfect background for a celebration of the lives of founding members of Widespread Panic: guitarist Michael Houser, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2002 and drummer Todd Nance who passed away suddenly in 2020.

Sam Holt, who was Houser's guitar tech, paid tribute to his mentor and friend on Houser’s rig, sharing the quintessential Houser-style lingering leads with the crowd. Holt was joined onstage by Adam Grace (keys), Ross Parker (bass guitar), and Jeremy Ward (drums).

The first set started with a tribute to Houser with his song, “Can't Change The World Past."  Two Widespread Panic instrumentals “A of D” and “E on a G” followed, before flowing seamlessly into “Sandbox”, a Houser tune not played by Widespread Panic since the guitarist's death. A lingering transition into a “Diner” jam leaves the crowd yearning to hear the rest, but Holt slips into “Counting Train Cars” before coming back to the Outformation catalog for “90”. A jubilant “Walkin'” is next with a jam into “Gunner,” which ultimately led into a heartfelt “Gimme.” This tune included the haunting lyrics “give me a hand here, Michael.” The set ends with “Ain't Life Grand,” a song Houser wrote reminding us to celebrate the mundane of everyday life, and it sure felt good.

After a quick, light rain, the second set begins with the reminder “where there is love there is hope” with a pristine “This Part of Town.”  Houser’s song named and written for his son, “Waker” is next. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful tribute of Houser’s own. Holt then pays his respects to Bloodkin with a cover of “Mercy Train to Bogart,” before diving into a “Hatfield” jam. Holt digs deep for the seldom played “Burned Faceless,” followed by two instrumentals, “Happy” and “L.A.”  Keyboardist Adam Grace jams into “You Should be Glad” with beautiful harmonies by drummer Jeremy Ward. “This is for all of you,” Holt announces before leading the way into “Airplane.”  A crowd rousing favorite, “Porch Song” would then close out the second set.

Holt points to the back of his Home Team shirt which says “In Todd We Trust” for an encore tribute to Nance. These are the first Remembering Mikey shows since Nance’s death, and Sam Holt Band decided to close the show in his memory with a pair of Nance’s own songs: “Cynic Clinic” and “You’ll Be Fine.” Holt & Co. played this show with love, and the result was a heartfelt celebration of Houser and Nance that the Birmingham faithful was so clearly honored to experience.

Setlist: Sam Holt Band - Remembering Mikey & Todd: Saturday, May 14th [2022]

Set 1: Can’t Change the Past, A of D > E on a G > Sandbox>Diner Jam > Counting Train Cars, 90, Walkin' > Gunner, Gimmie, Ain’t Life Grand

Set 2: This Part of Town > Waker > Mercy Train to Bogart > Hatfield Jam, Burned Faceless, Happy > LA, You Should be Glad, Airplane > Porch Song

Encore: Cynic Clinic, You’ll Be Fine

Watch Sam Holt Band performing "Porch Song" at Avondale Brewing Company here:

 

 


The Road to Mountain Music Fest: TAUK's Matt Jalbert Discusses TAUK Paper Scissors May 11, 2022 16:08

.
Photo by Dani Barbieri
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
.
As countless music fans prepare for this year's Mountain Music Festival at ACE River Resort in Oak Hill (WV) on June 2-4 (2022), we're sitting down with a number of this year's performers to get a better feel for what fans can expect this year. This festival was established in 2014 and has proceeded to solidify itself as one of the most anticipated jam-focused events of the year. While there are numerous reasons why we're excited about this year's festivities, the "super jam" known as TAUK Paper Scissors is certainly at the top of the list. 
.
Mountain Music Festival announced that the four-piece rock/fusion act known as TAUK would be calling on a star studded cast for this one-of-a-kind set just a few months ago. Special guests will include Jennifer Hartswick and James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band), Antwaun Stanley (Vulfpeck), Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident), Clyde Lawrence (Lawrence), Jordan Cohen (Lawrence), and Kanika Moore (Doom Flamingo).
.
Earlier this week, we caught up with TAUK's Matt Jalbert (guitar) in an effort to learn more about the band's latest happenings, as well as some additional insight on TAUK Paper Scissors. Check out the full interview below and make sure to head over to Mountain Music Festival's official website for all of the latest details.
.
.
.
Great to speak with you for a few today, Matt. I know it's been an exciting year for TAUK thus far. You've been to Iceland with Umphrey's McGee. Played shows with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong & lespecial. TAUKing McGee at 420 Fest. How's everything played out thus far?
.
Matt: Yeah man. All of those bands are friends of ours. We've known the Pigeons guys for a while. We played DomeFest back in the day. Hit if off with them immediately. Playing their festival was a huge help for us to get down to that part of the country. We're always appreciative of them for that. Opened up some doors for us.It's been great to get back out and play some shows. We're doing a bunch of sit-ins. Playing a bunch of songs together, which is always super fun. So yeah, those shows were really great and high energy.
.
The set with Umphrey's in Atlanta was really cool, because we just went to Iceland with them. That was postponed from early 2020, when the pandemic was really starting. Needless to say, everyone was bummed when that got cancelled, but we still made it happen. We just did those shows a little while ago. We did a TAUKing McGee set in Iceland. We did a late-night set and a TAUKing McGee set while we were there.
.
It was so much fun. It felt like a huge celebration amongst everyone who was there. So when the lineup at 420 Fest was shifting around, Umphrey's hit us up last minute to see if we wanted to do it again down there. Anytime we get to play with those guys is great. We're actually doing it again at Summer Camp.
.
And yeah, we're fresh off a few nights with lespecial. We played two nights in Buffalo with them. We did our first shows together in Philly earlier this year, and we've loved what they've been doing for a while. Been trying to link up with those guys to do some shows together. We finally made that happen. Buffalo was amazing. The crowd was great. lespecial killed it. Good times all around. Just getting back out and playing music with our friends. It's been a lot of fun.
.
.
Photo by Dave Vann
.
That's so great to hear. I know how tough it's been on so many different levels over the past two years. It's great to see so much musical action happening thus far in 2022. It was brutal seeing things shut back down at the end of last year. I guess that was the Omicron variant?
.
Matt: Yep, that was Omicron. We had to cancel our New Year's run in Charleston.
.
That's right. Well, I love hearing that things are going so well. I'm sure it's been a challenge to keep the momentum going throughout at the last two years. I know we aren't out of the woods yet, but it seems like thus far, we're moving in the right direction.
.
Matt: Yeah man. We're taking it as it comes. Everyone is still in that same ballpark. There are more shows happening. You'll still see some cancellations as someone tests postivie for COVID. I think everyone is on the same page at this point. If something has to be cancelled, it's a bummer. Luckily, it seems like it's happening less and less. It's really out of our control. Everyone's just trying to do what they can.
.
Absolutely. I know that festival season is fast approaching. I guess it already started for TAUK at 420 Fest. Mountain Music Festival is right around the corner. I'm sure you're fired up about the TAUK Paper Scissors yet. You've assembled an incredible lineup with Antwaun Stanley, Clyde Lawrence, Jennifer Hartswick, and James Casey, to name a few. Without spoiling any surprises, what can you share about this upcoming performance?
.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. When we played Mountain Music Fest last year, that was our first show back from COVID. We were stoked to play, and you could just feel it in the air. The energy was just insane. Needless to say, our set was wild. So much fun. After that, the festival reached out to see if we could come back this year. They asked if we wanted to try something different. We were all for it and thought it was a fun idea.
.
The idea was to not just to "TAUK & Friends" or "TAUK Superstars." Come up with something a little more unique. We started working on a list of names, playing with the band name, and TAUK Paper Scissors seemed to be the one that stuck. We're still working out how this is gonna operate, in terms of the "rock, paper, scissors" concept. We have some cool ideas though.
.
In terms of the band, we started working on a list of people. Some we had played with previously, and others that we've been watching and really admire. We started putting out feelers to see who would be into it. You can see now what the band looks like, and we're stoked. Like you said: Antwuan, Clyde, Kanika, the horn players, Jason Hann from String Cheese. We're so stoked. The only issue we're running into is fitting all of the songs into the setlist. We're thinking about all of these cool opportunities with a band like this. We have a list going, and we're narrowing it down. It's going to be such a cool experience.
.
Watch TAUK's official music video for "Make Your Move" here:
.
.
I'm sure it is. When you look at that list of players, you have several from bands already on the lineup. You also have some heavy hitters coming over just to be a part of this performance. This is the staple "super jam" for this festival, if you will. I know there's already a lot of excitement surrounding it all.
.
So, Chaos Companion is the latest studio release, right?
.
Matt: Correct.
.
Before we wrap this up, is there any other exciting news happening within TAUK that your fans should know about?
.
Matt: We definitely have some exciting festival appearances coming up. Summer Camp & Peach Fest are two big ones. Festival season is definitely underway. In terms of new material, we wrote a ton during the pandemic. Not to give too much away, but people should definitely keep an eye out for a new release. Maybe even something that people won't be expecting. We have a lot to be excited about.
.
That's fantastic news. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your time today, Matt. Thanks for chatting for a few, and I look forward to catching the TAUK Paper Scissors set in person next month.
.
Matt: Thank so much, Jordan. Look forward to seeing you there as well!
.
,
Photo by Matt Shotwell

Wilmington Widespread: A Celebration of The Ones Who Shaped Us May 10, 2022 12:56

Words by Erika Rasmussen: Rasmusic

Photos by Neil Peek

Like all true Southern gentlemen, Widespread Panic takes the time to pay homage to the great influences in their lives. During May 6-8 (Mother’s Day weekend) in Wilmington, NC, Panic created a foot-tapping, heart-warming, gut-wrenching tribute to some of their greatest influences: the literal mothers in our lives, the rough-and-ready character of the “Panic Mama”, and the musical influences in their careers. Most especially highlighted was their friend, mentor, and songwriting influence: the late, great Danny Hutchens. Sunday brought the emotional one-year anniversary of Danny’s passing. I was friends with Danny, and not only did I get to interview him, but we also collaborated on an article about his own late mother and the inspiration she provided for his song “American Country Ghosts” during her struggles with dementia. I consider Danny’s words that he so poignantly shared in that article as much a work of art as the song he composed. I share the same reverence for the musical influences that Widespread Panic works to continually expose us to and remind us of. I truly enjoy weekends like this past one, when I get a refresher of the playlists and pop culture that created their sound.

Panic launched an all-original set one on Friday with “Jack”, which hasn’t opened a show since 9/18/91! Song two, “Goodpeople”, kicked off the “mom” theme of the weekend with “The ones your mama warned you about”. Stay tuned for more of those references. The band then ebbed and flowed through “Pilgrims >”, “You Got Yours”, and “Pickin’ Up the Pieces >” like the Cape Fear River running behind their backs. In honor of Willie Mays’ birthday that day, the band obviously had to cover “One-Arm Steve” (“Well, say hey, Willie Mays, what's in your suitcase full of wonders?”) The return of the mom is seen in “Steven’s Cat >” during “Mama tried to protect my soul yes, she did bit by bit save me from sorrow”. “Bear’s Gone Fishin’ >” then rolled out with its supposedly scandalous song origin in New Orleans, reminding us of the band’s raucous roots, despite their sweet love of their mothers. Speaking of, “Love Tractor” prompts us that “Mom said that I'm alright…” and ended set one. Thanks, Mom.

Set two led with two Bloodkin songs: “Henry Parsons Died >”, into “Sleepy Monkey>”. Remember this lyric - “It' could be a déjà vu, Cognition coming true” for a couple songs, mmm-kay? “Diner >” cites the quintessential idea of a Panic Mama – “She's beautiful - natural.” We peacefully settle into “Cease Fire >” and then are taken into “Jamais Vu >”, which is the opposite of déjà vu. See what they did there? “Bass And Drums >” satisfied a primal urge to just converse with the rhythm, as always. “Tie Your Shoes >” carries the ageless lesson to “Love your girl, you’ve got to love your girl”. Take note, y’all. Perhaps one of the sweetest images of mothers is represented in “Papa’s Home >” with the line “Mom's holding sister in the chair, sharing stories and forgetting time.” The band’s friend and sometime lyricist, Jerry Joseph, is highlighted in “Climb to Safety” to end set two. 

The encore kicks off with the seemingly shelved “Flicker >”, which hasn’t been played since 8/31/18. The hauntingly beautiful “This Part of Town >” took us into “Travelin’ Light” by the formidable J.J. Cale, whose influence on the rock world cannot be overestimated.

Watch footage of "Diner" via whereshaynes on YouTube:

 

Saturday’s set one led with the always poetic “Surprise Valley >” and the geographically appropriate “Mother talkin' the waters; Spirit moves in all things...” Easily one of my favorite musical influences, and perhaps yours, too, is David Byrne. When the band went into Byrne’s “City of Dreams >” before diving back into “Surprise Valley >”, I was as pleased as ever. “Rock” and “Heroes” then took us into “Airplane >” and the trademark oath of love, “Got me a pilot, she's going my way; If she's got wings, if she's got wings.” As they so often do, Panic went from “Airplane >” into “Take-Off Jam >” (teehee). Coming back ‘round to their great influences, we heard “Rebirtha >”, which once debuted as an instrumental in ’93 with "Apologies to George Porter" (of the Rebirth Brass Band). It is our great fortune that Widespread, and JoJo Hermann especially, have such a love of New Orleans music that shows in their work and that we get to boogie to. There was an interesting “Not Fade Away” tease after “Rebirtha” for the 76th birthday of Grateful Dead member, Bill Kreutzmann. Our musical influences then swing over the Atlantic to everyone’s favorite Irish rabble-rouser, Van Morrison, and “Send Your Mind”. Some technical or vocal issues popped up during “Blackout Blues” but the band ended set one strong, nevertheless. 

We crashed into set two of the night like a wave, starting with the Vic Chesnutt pair of “Protein Drink >” and “Sewing Machine”. Even Vic is makin’ Mama references – “Mama makes a dress on the sewing machine…” As is required by a coastal setting like Live Oak Bank Pavilion, they covered “Vacation >” and then “Disco >” and then a freakin’ cross-country roadtrip of a “Drivin’ Song >”. The tune bookended “Ain’t No Use >” (last played 8/31/19 and originated by New Orleans’ The Meters), “Saint Ex >”, J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High >” (with “Sewing Machine” reprise), “Zambi Jam >”, back into “Ride Me High >”, and then back to “Drivin’ Song >”. Whew. It makes me tired just typing that set out because it spun us around and shook us up, for sure. “Space Wrangler” ended set two as sweetly as ever. Skål, as my Norwegian family would say (that’s “skol”, to y’all). 

The encore began with “Sometimes >”, by Ed Crawford of fIREHOSE. This band is of the Camper van Beethoven scene and that in itself just warms my heart, much less the line: “But now April's turning to May.” The closer of “Action Man” brought up an interesting mom reference – “Willie said ‘he was the mostest horse’; Mahubah, Fair Play, desert mama's boy.” I just learned in researching this article that Fair Play was Man o’ War’s mother (dam) and Mahubah was his father (sire). The more you know…

Sunday can be summed up in one word: cold. But we loyal Spreadheads filed into the venue wearing everything from Patagonia to hotel robes to warm up. JB’s greeting of “We can play, we can dance, we can snuggle up" added a lightheartedness to the weather as the sun started to set and the band began to play. “Little Kin” brought the ever-loveable “He's got his mamma's eyes, He's got his daddy's younger hands” in honor of Mother’s Day that day. “Ain’t Life Grand” went into “Greta >” and the always-amazing chorus “Mother Nature's come to arms, She's in a fighting mood. Greta's got a gun, This ain't no flowerchild.” This aptly depicts not only the band’s friend, Greta, but also once again brings up that Panic Mama ideal – a tough hippie that you don’t mess with, despite her sweet exterior. “Radio Child” bounced along into “Aunt Avis >” by the beloved wordsmith, Vic Chesnutt, who is again recalling his mom – “Help me mama, for I have grinned; Save me daddy from where I'm goin'.” Perhaps to remind us not to gripe about the cold so much, we were then served “You Should Be Glad”. “Hatfield >” was a timely choice with the story of how "’Charles always kept in touch’, swears his mother; ‘Always had the touch’". We were then treated to the wise words of New Orleans’ Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down >” (last played 12/31/11). In what JB has jokingly referred to as "A tender little love song” the band busted out Bobby Rush’s “Bowlegged Woman” in the kind of love anthem that Panic couples could most easily identify with. We all love our mamas, but Bridgerton characters we ain’t. 

Watch footage of "Greta" via Loma Deren on YouTube:

 

Set two of Sunday kept everyone warmed up with an "I Trusted You" tease, which has only been played twice before. Riffing on this “song” of Andy Kaufman’s is one of the reasons why this band is so loveable. They aren’t afraid to make a joke or even be the punchline of their own joke. See the Halloween ’19 performance of this song by Schools and the Kaufman video, if you’re unfamiliar with the skit. The set then officially started with David Bromberg’s “Sharon >”. “Bust It Big” brought back the Panic Mama / Panic Daddy down & dirty love vibe with “She's my little salt lickin', agave guzzlin', worm eatin', lime suckin' girl, I love her so.” Next, we cannonballed into “PAYMH/That Thang >” and Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breakin’ Down”. It should go without saying that Robert Johnson is an influence on anyone and everyone who ever played the blues or rock. He, too, was a sucker for a pretty lil’ mama: “Every time I'm walkin', Down the streets. Some pretty mama start breakin', Down with me.” “Sundown Betty” then took us into another couple of New Orleans references in “Gradle >” (“A blind New Orleans painter man, Doesn't get many straight lines”) and “Fishwater >” (“Drink more fishwater there, Than any whale's mama ever seen. " JB has said this is a tune about “just excess and the nature of New Orleans".) For only the second time ever, the band went into “Dear Prudence” by Paul McCartney and John Lennon and ended the set with “Porch Song”. 

To aptly wrap-up the Mother’s Day weekend dedicated to their lost friend, Danny Hutchens, the encore started with Bloodkin’s “Trashy” and a line that summed up Danny, the band, and many of us so well – “Wild eyed love and getting high and trucks and cars and my guitars; That’s my recipe for life so far.” In what could not be a more perfect closer, the band played George Clinton’s “Red Hot Mama”. Did you know that George Clinton is from good old Kannapolis, NC? Thanks for bringing it all back to the Old North State, fellas. 

At the end of the weekend, I was left with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. I’m grateful that I still am lucky enough to have my mom around, that I’m the mom of two amazing little girls, that I have an extended Panic family who always surprise and delight me on tour, that I have had the chance to see this band for the past 27 years who has introduced me to music and experiences I never would’ve had otherwise, and mostly I’m grateful to have met amazing people like Danny Hutchens. I’m so very grateful to have heard his music, read his words, laughed at his jokes, played with his beloved pets, and just generally know the man. Thank you, Danny, for the mother of all songbooks and the colorful stories that you’ve left behind. You are greatly missed but your legacy lives on in your own children and your musical contribution to the world. 

Thanks to Steven Ziegler, Bennett Schwartz, Curtis George, PanicStream, and Brown Cat for their tapings, resources, and support.  


Jam Cruise Reveals Massive Lineup For 19th Year In 2023 May 4, 2022 15:26

Photo by Jesse Faatz Photography

Press Release via Cloud 9 Adventures

Delray Beach, FL – Today, Jam Cruise announces its highly anticipated artist lineup and complete event details for the 19th edition of the beloved music cruise. This concert vacation at sea brings an eclectic community of first-time performers, Jam Cruise veterans, super-groups and master guests onboard an intimate cruise across the Caribbean. The complete lineup is included below.
.
This year Jam Cruise will feature six nights of fun with an itinerary including stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and two days at private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas. Jam Cruise returns to Miami on February 12th after a full sailing of music, activities, exploration, beachside fun, and more.
.
The 2023 event returns to the MSC Divina, a luxurious cruise ship that maintains intimacy and innovation. Fans can expect an array of onboard programs specially curated for the Jam Cruise community. Unique offerings such as Masters Camp at Sea classes led by renowned musicians and other artist-hosted activities break down the barrier between artist and fan. Cruiser favorites Brews at Sea and Chefs at Sea will return, showcasing a variety of breweries and guest chefs from around the country. Wellness at Sea provides an opportunity for cruisers to engage in daily yoga, zen workshops, and mindfulness classes led by like-minded practitioners while on vacation. 
.
.
Jam Cruisers can explore eight unique stages as organizers transform the cruise ship into the ultimate music venue. Featuring the top acts in the live music scene performing on the Pool Deck Main Stage, the stunning 1500-seat Pantheon Theater, cherished late-night Black and White Jam Room, collaborative Jazz Lounge, and crystal Atrium, with more to explore - this expansive yet intimate setting feels like home. In addition to nearly round the clock music, comfortable staterooms (including those in the ultra-luxe Yacht Club) and multiple dining options, the MSC Divina offers a variety of attractions and amenities for fans to enjoy. Jam Cruisers can take advantage of a full service spa, fitness center, impressive casino, pools, hot tubs, and gorgeous spots throughout the ship to take in the beautiful surroundings at every turn.
.
Masters Camp at Sea passes are available as an add-on for fans who wish to participate in an immersive learning program while onboard. Cruisers can pursue their own musical mastery through discussions, jam sessions, and hands-on workshops with legendary musicians over the six nights. The complete Masters Camp at Sea lineup below is impressive in and of itself. 
.
Charitable organization Positive Legacy remains an integral part of Jam Cruise, integrating music & service into the experience. Positive Legacy initiatives work to positively impact the environment, offset the carbon footprint of traveling, and support the local communities who welcome Jam Cruise to their shores. With an annual Day of Service while in port and onboard activities, Positive Legacy is able to raise funds to further their charity efforts in the surrounding areas.
.
Those who reserved a spot during the pre-book period will be able to select a cabin starting May 9, 2022. Any remaining cabins will go on sale to the public at 11am ET on May 12, 2022.  
.
Visit www.jamcruise.com for all of the details. 
.
.
Jam Cruise 19 Artist Lineup:
.
Umphrey's McGee
The Fearless Flyers
Oteil & Friends ft. Steve Kimock, Eric Krasno, Jason Crosby, Jennifer Hartswick, Johnny Kimock
The Word ft. John Medeski, Robert Randolph, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Rayfield “RayRay” Holloman
Galactic ft. Anjelika ‘Jelly’ Joseph
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe
Lettuce
Cymande
George Porter Jr. & Dumpstaphunk perform The Meters*
Andy Frasco & The U.N.
Neal Francis
Trouble No More ft. Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Daniel Donato, Dylan Niederauer, Jack Ryan, Nikki Glaspie, Lamar Williams Jr., Peter Levin, Roosevelt Collier 
The Bamboos
Fruition
The Lil Smokies
Mihali
phoffman
The New Deal
SunSquabi
Doom Flamingo
George Porter Jr. & Runnin' Pardners*
Dumpstaphunk*
Polyrhythmics
Honey Island Swamp Band
Karina Rykman
lespecial
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
Neighbor
Butcher Brown
Little Stranger*
Punkadelick*
Stranger Is Doomed*
Dogs In A Pile
Pixie & The Partygrass Boys
Dave Watts Super Jam*
Everyone Orchestra*
The Sweet Lillies*
DJ Brownie
DJ Airwolf
Yesmann
.
Special Guests:
.
The Horn Section
Dan Lebowitz
Mike Dillon
Skerik
Judith Hill
Sammi Garett
Tyree Woods
Masters Camp at Sea:
.
Isaiah Sharkey
Nikki Glaspie
Reed Mathis
Peter Levin
Vaylor Trucks
John Medeski
George Porter Jr.
Adam Deitch
Robert Randolph
Roosevelt Collier
.
(All Artists will play two shows, except those denoted with * will play one show.)
.
About Jam Cruise:
.
Jam Cruise has been delivering an unparalleled music experience for nearly two decades. Featuring the top acts in the live music scene, Jam Cruise revolutionized the fan experience by blending the community, spontaneity and good times of live music with the convenience, luxury and adventure of cruise travel. Jam Cruise is full of moments that music fans simply cannot get anywhere else. This intimate experience is what has fans continually coming back onboard since Jam Cruise’s inception in 2004.
.
Jam Cruise 18 is brought to you by Cloud 9 Adventures, the industry leader in concert vacations on cruise ships and at all-inclusive resorts. Cloud 9 Adventures also produces Jam Cruise, Strings & Sol, Holidaze, Holy Ship! Wrecked, Panic en la Playa (feat. Widespread Panic), My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday, The Avett Brothers At The Beach, Zac Brown Band’s Castaway with Southern Ground, and Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend..
Cloud 9 Adventures - Changing the Live Music Experience, Changing the Way Fans Vacation.
.
Check out the Jam Cruise 18 Official Recap Video from 2019 here:
.

 


CBDB Reveals Lineup For Inaugural Deebs Days Festival in Birmingham April 28, 2022 12:37

.
Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
$50 Early Bird Two-Day Passes On Sale Now!
Grab these while you can, because they won't last long.
..
Tuscaloosa-born jam rockers CBDB made major news this week, as they revealed the initial lineup for their inaugural Deebs Days Festival at Birmingham's Avondale Brewing Company on August 19th-20th (2022). The band is teaming up with our friends at Big Friendly Productions to bring you music, food, art, and friends as the summer festival season comes to a close. While Avondale Brewery has hosted countless major concerts since opening in 2010, this will be the first event to feature two stages on the property. 
. 
CBDB becomes the latest group to curate its own festival lineup, which is a strategy that has proven to be quite successful amongst their peers. Fellow jam bands such as The String Cheese Incident (Hulaween), Umphrey's McGee & moe. (Summer Camp), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (DomeFest), The Werks (The Werk Out), and Big Something (The Big What?) have seen great success establishing and building their own festivals over the years. With the dissipation of Birmingham's SlossFest a few years back, there is certainly a void in the city's summer music calendar, which Deebs Days looks to fill. 
.
Deebs Days revealed the initial lineup on Tuesday, which features the likes of CBDB (x2), Brass Against, Daniel Donato, Mungion, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, Sicard Hollow, The Shady Recruits, The Talismen, The Mountain Grass Unit, LadyCouch, Andy Lyle Hall, Audiophile, Kenny Analoggins, and Potato Gun Canyon. Little Raine Band is listed as the official artists at large, so you can certainly expect to see those guys sitting in with various bands throughout the weekend. More bands are expected to be announced in the weeks to come, as well as details on after parties / late night sets at both Saturn and Zydeco
.
Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and you can find more details by clicking here. A total of 250 Early Bird Weekend Passes are available for $50. Make sure to stay tuned to Live & Listen socials, as we will be providing extensive preview coverage, exclusive promotional offers, interviews with this year's performers, and maybe even a few ticket + merchandise giveaways. 
.
Earlier this week, we caught up with CBDB frontman Cy Simonton and Big Friendly Productions co-founder Alex Cape, who shared the following thoughts on the launch of this new and exciting venture for both parties:
.
“Some of our favorite memories as a band have been made in Birmingham at Avondale, and we couldn’t think of a more fitting place to throw our inaugural Deebs Days Festival. We have rounded up a killer lineup of bands, artists, and vendors, and we can’t wait to share in all of the fun with all of you!“ 
- Cy Simonton (guitar/vocals) of CBDB
.
“Big Friendly is really excited to team up with CBDB to produce this festival. It will be a one of a kind music and art experience in the backyard of Avondale. We have been dreaming this thing up for a long time. Don’t miss it!”
- Alex Cape of Big Friendly Productions
.
For those looking for more in-depth look at the Deebs Days lineup, you can find a video clip of each band on the lineup below. 
.
.

CBDB

Brass Against

Daniel Donato

Mungion

Sicard Hollow

The Shady Recruits

Dave Hause & The Mermaid

The Talismen

The Mountain Grass Unit

LadyCouch

Audiophile

Andy Lyle Hall

Little Raine Band (Artists at Large)


Wildeyes Premieres Single "Open Your Eyes" From Forthcoming Album 'Shut Up And Dance' April 25, 2022 13:28

Press Release + Photo via Wildeyes

Nashville, TN -- When Wildeyes was born, life was simple. Emily and Daniel Kohavi were living a few doors down from guitarist Max Hoffman, where they would gather in one of their Madison, Tennessee backyards to create an initial catalog that would land them on NPR’s Tiny Desk On The Road and FireFly Music Festival before they had even stepped foot in a recording studio. 

The first time they put pen to paper, Beauty & Sadness blossomed, with the debut album peaking at #9 on the Billboard HeatSeekers chart. The phone rang non-stop with agencies promising to turn the trio into industry darlings, and it seemed like something small had the chance to make it big.But as life wants to do, things got complicated. Emily’s reputation as the touring community’s ultimate hired gun earned her touring spots with Hozier, Phoebe Bridgers, Kacey Musgraves and more, until she was gone so often it almost seemed like the band was set to burn out before they really caught fire. Two years after the release of their chart-topping debut, Wildeyes felt the pressure to create another album— one that diverged from the folk-filled box the industry seemed to want to jam them into, and one that would expand their lineup to a full band with a deeper, psychedelia-infused Americana sound. 

With Emily’s multi-instrumentalist prowess in high demand, Wildeyes understood how precious their time with their leading lady was. The band booked a two day session at the legendary Sound Emporium, working with Grammy award-winning producer Ed Spears and bringing in bassist Calvin Knowles (Katie Pruitt, Muddy Magnolias) and Terence Clarke (Robert Cray Band, Keith Urban) on drums. Originally intended to be a session for demos, the core members laid the groundwork for their second album. Knowles and Clarke immediately picked up the framework, building some of the biggest riffs the project would become shaped around. Wildeyes tracked seven original songs from what would become Shut Up And Dance in one take— a tried and true specialty from the band that thrives on live performances in remote places. 

“The core performances (bass, drums, guitars, lead vocal) were all just that,” says Daniel Kohavi. “Performances in a room with no click track. This matches the way the first record was made, and is a big part of the ethos of the band. Capturing a moment, a performance, with all of its imperfections is what we have built Wildeyes on. For us, it’s all about the performance and the real musical interaction that happens within a collective of musicians."

Even with the bulk of the work done, bringing an album to fruition is complicated. Add in a front woman who spends the majority of her year globe trotting on other artist’s world tours, and the process is downright painful. Add in a global pandemic, and it is sheer torture. 

“We’d spent two years on a recording hiatus between [Emily’s] tours with Hozier and Phoebe [Bridgers], and then covid added all of this extra uncertainty,” says Daniel. “The band wasn’t playing any shows, sitting on an unfinished record with no future release dates in sight.

They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and that is especially true for career musicians. With an abundance of free time, Wildeyes was forced to sit with an unfinished album, nitpicking every aspect to what felt like the point of no return. The Sound Emporium session had brought them one step forward, and the pandemic took them two giant leaps back. 

In an effort to see through the fog, Wildeyes reached out to Hozier musical director Alex Ryan, stepping back into the studio with Spears in mid 2021. In that time, Wildeyes was able to record two brand new additions, “Angels” and “Let’s Talk,” and add thematic string elements that breathed new life into already existing tracks.

“Alex brought a new energy and excitement to some songs that we had been in the studio with for far too long,” says Kohavi. “[The album] gets her name from the title track. Shut Up And Dance is a sentiment that has been building up in the band’s ethos, and seemingly in the world it inhabits.”

The album finds the Kohavi’s and Hoffman writing about personal matters— their frustrations with a lack of touring (and therefore purpose), loneliness felt within a relationship, questions on self-identity as both a band and as individuals— as well as musings on the modern world outside. The songs are laced with layered strings, entwined electric guitars, and warped feedback, driven forward by ethereal hooks that lend a touch of nineties nostalgia. Gluing everything together is the band’s collective pent up energy, a palpable reminder that for Wildeyes, the time for talking about it whatever it is has come to a close. It’s time to Shut Up and Dance before the music shuts off and there's no one left on the dance floor.

Shut Up And Dance tracklisting: 

  1. Shut Up And Dance
  2. Who’s Gonna Love You 
  3. Lone Wolf 
  4. Heartbeat
  5. Everchanging
  6. Let’s Talk
  7. Open Your Eyes
  8. American Made
  9. Angels

More on Wildeyes: 

Wildeyes began in the heart of Madison, Tennessee, where neighbors and founding members Emily and Daniel Kohavi and Max Hoffman bonded over an undeniable love for the stage. Continuously receiving praise for their music, the band has peaked at #9 on the Billboard HeatSeekers chart, received placements in Rolling Stone, and been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk On The Road. Wildeyes front woman Emily Kohavi is also recognized by established artists in the industry for her talents, grabbing the attention of Hozier, Phoebe Bridgers, and Kacey Musgraves and earning touring positions on their world tours. 

Prior to the release of Wildeyes’s debut album Beauty & Sadness in 2018the band spent two years touring together, earning coveted plays at Firefly Music Festival before even stepping foot in a recording studio. The band enjoys capturing live performances of their songs in some of the country’s remote places, including the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree Park, and the flats of New Mexico. The struggle of getting the gear, instruments, and video equipment to the location, along with the possibility of sudden weather or temperature changes fits the bands ethos of fighting for genuine performances and capturing real moments. 

Get social: @wildeyesband 


Little Raine Band Discusses New Album 'Beyond The Cave' April 7, 2022 15:49

.
Photo by Charity Rachelle
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
Somehow it's been three full years since Little Raine Band released their second, full-length studio album, Dreamwalker. The Birmingham-based, improv-driven quartet has built a longstanding, loyal fanbase since their days at Auburn University, and thankfully, we don't have to wait much longer for another album full of brand new material. LRB will release Beyond The Cave on Friday, April 15th, and there are several upcoming opportunities to celebrate with the band.
.
The first of three album release shows is scheduled for Thursday, April 8th at The 5 Spot in Nashville. LRB fans will most likely recognize a few familiar faces during the opening act, as supergroup Potato Gun Canyon features members of CBDB, Mama's Love, and more. Little Raine Band returns to Saturn for a hometown throw down in Birmingham on Friday, April 15th. This one will be especially sweet, as their "Day After Christmas" show fell victim to a COVID cancellation just a few months ago. The album release run will conclude on Saturday, April 16th at The One Stop in Asheville (NC).
.
Earlier this week, we caught up with Davis Little (guitar/vocals) to learn more about the upcoming release, the surrounding shows, and the the band's plans for 2022. Check out the full conversation below, and make sure to follow Little Raine Band on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates within the band. 
.
Head over to the Live & Listen Instagram for a chance to win tickets to the Birmingham show + a special merchandise package from the band!
.
..
Little Raine Band will release its third full length, studio album Beyond The Cave on Friday, April 15th. This follows up the Dreamwalker album, which was released back in 2019. Give me the inside scoop on these tracks, the recording process, and everything in between.
.
Davis: We started this album right at the beginning of the pandemic. We knew we weren't going to be playing shows for a minute, and we decided to put our nose to the grindstone for this project. A lot of these songs are new and haven't been played live much at all. There is a few that have been played live, but they're all new songs.
.
It's almost a concept album but not quite fully. We're calling it Beyond The Cave, which alludes to Plato's allegory of the cave. A lot of the songs are in that vein. It's not necessarily a story, but I think it's up to the listener as to what it means to them. It's basically our quarantine project.
.
What a great use of that downtime. It makes sense that this material wouldn't have much live history if they were written in the midst of all of a time where live shows have been fairly scarce.
.
Davis: Right. Like a lot of other people, when the pandemic really began, we were just like, "Oh shit. What do we do now?" Our booking agent ultimately switched professions due to understandable financial pressure. Our manager was getting super busy with other projects, as well. We just decided it was the right time to focus on a new album. That made the most sense, and honestly, I'm really happy that's what we did.
.
This would be the first studio release since Charles Gray became LRB's new drummer, right?
.
Davis: We actually started the record with (Justin) Sledge. He's on two or three on the tracks, and Charles is on the rest. It's almost a mashup of both of both of those guys. Charles had been playing with us already. He was our go to fill in for Sledge. He knew a lot of the material, and we'd been building our chemistry with him for a while. It really feels natural with Charles. Nothing caught us off guard, but yeah, this is Charles' studio debut with us. That's really exciting.
.
Right on. So, you, Isaiah (Smith), and Daniel (Raine) have all been together since the beginning of this band. How would you say that the songwriting process balances out amongst y'all? How has it evolved over these ten or so years that y'all have been doing this?
.
Davis: Honestly, much of the songwriting is the same as it's always been. There are a few different ways that it seems to happen with the band. There are songs that will be purely collaborative, and then there are those that any one of us brings to the table, and we'll bring it all together as a band. It's typically a collaborative process. I think that this album, more than any other since we were all isolated, leans more towards starting with one of us. In the end, we always bring them together to put the final touches on.
.
I really do feel that this our most mature writing to date. I rarely listen to our stuff, but when I listen back to our first album, it's funny because we weren't even old enough to drink at the time. With this material, we're all essentially going on 30 years old. It's nice. I guess the boys are growing up (laughs). It's definitely our most mature songwriting thus far though.
.
That's always great to hear. Where was the album recorded? Anyone specific that you worked with in the studio?
.
Davis: We recorded this at Boutwell Studios in Homewood (Birmingham), which was new to us. Brad Lyons produced and engineered it. Brad really helped us out a lot, so big shout out to him. Boutwell had some specific things that we wanted. They had an amazing drum room, for example. Brad is just a great producer, and we were really excited to work with him.
.
That's great. Is there any particular direction that y'all are going with the release? Are you focusing on a specific track that you're pushing as a single?
.
Davis: I think on our previous albums, it has been more clear which one was the single. We were all talking, and it's been kind of hard to pinpoint one single song for us. We decided to release it all at once and just let the people decide how they feel about them. I'm sure the ones that I like the most are different even amongst the band.
.
I like that approach. One of the strongest signs of a truly great album is when you can just push play and let it ride from start to finish. No skips to get to that next song that you tend to gratitate towards.
.
Davis: That's what we're hoping for. We did kind of make it with listening to it as an album in mind. It's definitely more conceptual on that front than any previous releases. When finalizing the track listing, we were thinking a lot about vinyl. How is this going to sound if we sat down at the record player? What's that journey going to be like?
.
Totally. Before we wrap up, y'all have the first of three album release shows at The 5 Spot in Nashville on Thursday, April 7th. You'll follow that with a hometown show at Saturn in Birmingham on Friday, April 15thand finish off with The One Spot in Asheville on Saturday, April 16th. I know Saturn will be extra special, as it's also a makeup for the cancelled show back in December. Tell me a little more about this run.
.
Davis: We're extremely excited to be playing more live shows and touring on this record. We're planning to tour on it for the rest of the year, and we're super excited. Like you said, we had to cancel the last Saturn show due to COVID-related issues. Tragic City is opening up that show. I'm sure there will be several sit-ins there. We always love getting back to both Asheville and Nashville, too.
.
Y'all have a relatively new Nashville supergroup opening the Nashville show, right?
.
Davis: That's right. They're called Potato Gun Canyon. It's Cy Simonton from CBDB, Tom Galloway from Mama's Love, and Dan Davis on banjo. They'll be doing an acoustic thing, which should be a lot of fun. I believe they start at 9PM, and we'll follow after that. I'm excited to see their set.
,
Love to hear it. I know this is an exciting time with plenty of anticipation for these shows and the album release. Always a pleasure chatting, Davis. Best of luck with everything moving forward.
,
Davis: Thank you, Jordan. We really appreciate you doing this!
.
Watch Little Raine Band perform "Other Side" live here:
.

Phil Lesh & Friends Leads Massive Lineup For Debut Sacred Rose Festival March 24, 2022 10:14

It's a fairly rare occasion when you see a brand new festival stop everyone in their tracks with their debut lineup announcement. In a world where there seems to be new festivals popping up left and right, it's easy for some of them to get lost in the mix. Sacred Rose Festival certainly caught the entire music world's attention last week, as the debut festival dropped one of the heaviest hitting lineups in recent memory. 

Sacred Rose will take place at SeatGeek Stadium Campus in Bridgeview, Illinois on August 26th-28th (2022). The first year festival will feature the likes of Phil Lesh & FriendsKhruangbinThe War on DrugsBlack PumasUmphrey's McGeeJoe Russo's Almost DeadGooseSTS9Greensky BluegrassThe Disco BiscuitsKamasi WashingtonSt. Paul & The Broken BonesPunch BrothersDawesAnimal CollectiveHiatus KaiyoteThe Wood BrothersCity And ColourYves TumorLettuceMoon TaxiCory WongLotusThe Infamous Stringdusters feat. Molly Tuttle, and so many more. Check the official festival graphic below for a look at the full lineup. 

Sacred Rose’s name pays homage to the festival founder Michael Berg’s Grandfather, a professional and pianist, and the music and the Grateful Dead. The festival will welcome Grateful Dead founding member Phil Lesh, as well as beloved Grateful Dead cover band leader Joe Russo to the newly renovated stadiums, seven new astroturf fields and interactive art installations. 

Sacred Rose will host three genre-specific stages, each with a defined daily lineup organized, so each stage feels like its own nonstop concert. The nascent event wants festival-goers or “#RoseBuds” to have the option to truly choose their experience from psych-rock and jamband to Americana.

Make sure to stay tuned for further details on this exciting first-year festival. You can click here for further details on tickets and weekend passes. For all of the latest updates on Sacred Rose, make sure to follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram

Click Here: Watch The Official Sacred Rose Lineup Announcement Video 


Peace in the Valley: Widespread Panic at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas - March 11-14 (2022) March 17, 2022 09:15

Words by Erika Rasmussen: Rasmusic

Photos by Jeff Fernandez

The name Las Vegas was given to the city in 1829 by Rafael Rivera and literally means “The Meadows”. The artesian wells and grasses found in the area gave much needed relief to weary travelers. Almost 200 years later, the same still holds true for Widespread Panic tour veterans. We gathered for a much- needed weekend full of sentiments of world peace and several new and notable songs. Keep reading and be sure to click on Jeff Fernandez’s photos and the songs’ titles to hear that specific song from this weekend. Song files are found on Relisten and are powered by PanicStream. Thanks, Curtis!

The buy-in for capturing all of Friday’s show was actually getting there on time. The band did not kick off at their usual twenty minutes after the hour but went promptly into “Let’s Get Down to Business”, “Good People”, and then “Worry”. “This Part of Town” then offered the first taste of their seemingly intentional message of love and hope with "Where there is love, there is hope". After “Little Kin” came an “Airplane” that I heard many people call “the prettiest one I’ve heard”. Like a gambler running hot, they cruised into “Take-Off Jam”, “Impossible”, and “Machine”. The first set ended with “Barstools and Dreamers” and its idea that "All the world's dreams have died."

In what could easily be another Vegas theme song (were it not about Savannah), Panic kicked off the second set with “Up All Night” and “Blackout Blues”. The following “Party at Your Mama’s House” debuted 5/7/97, the same day as the “Take-Off Jam” featured in the first set. JoJo’s classic “Tall Boy” sums up southern stereotypes such as our obsession with religion: "We're gonna summon the Holy Ghost from the battlefield". This is basically the song equivalent of Danny McBride’s "Righteous Gemstones" series, which is his ode to Southern spirituality and the current favorite tv show for many of us.

We were then absolutely blown back by only the 4th ever performance of the instrumental Halloween Face,which is a new favorite of mine. After Second Skin, Leon Russell’s Stranger in a Strange Landappeared for the 2nd time ever. Panic then doubled down on another familiar Russell song in A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall. The song was written by Bob Dylan, of course, and he was quoted as saying that he wrote "A Hard Rain" in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis (though he actually began writing the song a few months before the crisis).

In a time of tension that’s very relatable now, Dylan said "Every line in it is actually the start of a whole new song. But when I wrote it, I thought I wouldn't have enough time alive to write all those songs so I put all I could into this one." The more things change, the more they stay the same. We went back into Stranger in a Strange Landand were reminded Well, I don't exactly know, what’s going on in the world today. Don't know what there is to say, About the way the people are treating each other, not like brothers.

The rare nugget Four Cornered Roomis not only elusive to many fans, but War is quoted as saying that through that song, what we’re really trying to say, you can be successful, as long as you do unto each other as you’re supposed to do, be a good neighbor. Get out and do the best you can. Work with each other. Work as a team. That’s what we need in America. We don’t need all these different factions: I’m a Democrat, I’m a Republican, I’m Independent...Theres some food for thought for you. After that heater, we ended the second set and cooled off with Chilly Water, though the water bottles were too expensive for much liquid to be tossed around.

The fellas went for broke in the encore of Blue Indianand Lawyers, Guns, & Money. We all absolutely roared as they sang Warren Zevons line of How was I to know, she was with the Russians too?Take that, Putin. (Just kidding. Dont come for me, please.

The boys more than “covered the spread” (see what I did there?) with Saturday’s first set which was led by “Greta”, “Bowlegged Woman”, and “Bear's Gone Fishin'”. In “Better Off”, we’re inspired with the timely idea of “Gonna get together gonna write us a book; Call it, 'Stop Running the World'.” They hedged their bets with “Shut Up and Drive” and “Radio Child” before going into a touring theme with “Travelin' Light” and “Travelin' Man” (last played over 2 years ago on 10/25/19). The first set closed with “The Waker”, a bet that was formerly “off the line” out of respect for Michael Houser and his namesake son.

It may be an underdog, but Saturday’s second set kicked off with “Thought Sausage”, a favorite of mine. This was followed by Bloodkin’s “Henry Parsons Died” and then a rare “Dark Day Program”. This song hasn’t been played since 2/28/20 and has been played less than 20 times in 14 years. After “Proving Ground” we were given another rarity in Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee”, which has only been played 15 times in 5 years. A “Surprise Valley” > “Drums” > “Surprise Valley” sandwich brought us into Vic Chesnutt’s “Protein Drink" > "Sewing Machine”. We ended the set with “Papa's Home” and “Mr. Soul”. Whew.

The Saturday encore consisted of Visiting Dayinto Jerry Garcia’s Cream Puff War(he loved to point out that he actually wrote this one himself). Stop and take a minute to consider this lyric in the current political situation: "Well, can't you see your killing each other’s soul? Your both out in the streets and you ain’t got no place to go. Your constant battles are getting to be a bore. So go somewhere else and continue your cream puff war."

On Sunday night, Panic parlayed their bets into one face-melting, house-burning throwdown. The first set began with One Arm Steve, Walk On, Rebirtha, and Postcard(first played 10/6/1986 the same day as Machineheard on Friday night). Alan Price of The Animals wrote the next song, Sell Sell, and it is one of my favorites not only for its message but because it will always remind me of beloved tour veteran Erika Sell SellSelman Patrick. If I had to put the over/under for the next songs number of times played, it would statistically be high, but for only the 9th time ever, we were offered a version of Bloodkin’s Trashy. Cheers to our late, beloved Danny Hutchens.

Following You Got Yours, Panic went into the first ever solo Dark Bar. This is usually played every 2-3 times they play “Goodpeople”, in the middle of the song. However, it was not played at all from 2/1/12 til 6/29/19. Hmm. I would love to hear why. This particular version of the song sang Had a dream in Vegas, got up and boogied outta bed. Dancinwith the aliens, just like we were little kids.I feel ya, JoJo. There were some aliens in our section dancing with us, too. A pretty out-of-this-world Love Tractorbrought the set to a close.

Sunday’s second set anted up with openers of Old Neighborhoodand Jack(first played 8/4/1988, the same as Friday’s “Impossible”). During Diner, we were tickled to get a "Her Dance Needs No Body" JB rap. This was surely a nod to the Dolly Parton stickers I brought to town with that line. Heh. After Pilgrimsand You Should Be Glad, the crowd howled along with JB to Howlin’ Wolf’s Smokestack Lightning. Next up were some Panic staples: Contentment Blues, Jorma Kaukonens Genesis, and a Fishwater> Drums and Bass> Fishwatersammy.

Though it sometimes seems we take the encore set for granted, Sunday night reminded of us how to close a show like damn rockstars. The timely Hope in a Hopeless Worldfrom Roebuck 'Pops' Staples (father of Mavis Staples) echoed today’s sentiment of "Searchin' for love in these hateful times". But the closer absolutely blew our minds. For the first time ever, Panic broke out The BeatlesDear Prudenceand the crowd went nuts. John Lennon and George Harrison wrote this in an attempt to lure Prudence Farrow (sister of Mia Farrow) out of her obsessive, dayslong seclusion in her tent during their shared studies with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. Interestingly enough, the song follows and crossfades in from “Back in the USSR” on the White Album. In light of other lyrical references this weekend, I doubt that was a mistake. page4image20282368 page4image20282560

So, how do you sum up such an amazing weekend? I asked some tour “high rollersand “card sharps” about their thoughts on the Vegas run. Jacob Christiansen said After hearing the second set on Sunday, they sound like they’re at the top of their game. They sound as good as I have ever heard them.” (Spoiler alert: he’s heard them A LOT.) Chloe Hickman was the first to point out the peace, love, and rainbow- colored-lighting theme of the weekend to me, FYI. Michael Estep spoke for many of us when he said,The whole feeling/underlying message of songs like YSBG, Contentment Blues, Genesis, etc. is the reminder of why I bother waking up. The boys remind me of that every time I see them, but last night they were really driving it home for all of us. They really give me the Hope in a Hopeless WorldI needed to continue striving forward.And one of the newer tour figures, Maddi Hodgson, stated so very eloquently Jimmy be doing a lot.

Whether you spent the weekend in complete debauchery (some of you may have even gone to The Champagne Room with a 90s TV icon, though Im not naming any names), obsessive gambling (note: bet on your birthdate on roulette), or dining on Vegasbest food (Salt Bae is now my homie, yall), this weekend provided musical inspiration to make this run a win, across the board. Well keep betting the limit and going for bust, on tour and in the world at large, as long as the band keeps doing the same. See yall on the next run.

All opinions are the author’s as well as any errors. Huge thanks to Ellie at Brown Cat, All Eyes Media, Jeff Fernandez, and Curtis George of PanicStream. See more of Jeff’s amazing photos below (without song hyperlinks).


Kendall Street Company & Underground Springhouse at Avondale Brewery: Official Preview March 15, 2022 09:55

.
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
.
Big Friendly Productions is back at Birmingham's Avondale Brewing Company on Saturday, and the lineup for this show is absolutely killer. Two of the hottest acts in the jam/festival scene, Kendall Street Company & Underground Springhouse, have teamed up for a big run of shows this spring. If that wasn't enough, Atlanta's Bird Dog Jubilee will be opening up this show. These three bands will join forces for what's sure to an epic Saturday night in Birmingham. 
.
The gates at Avondale Brewery will open at 4:00 PM CST. Bird Dog Jubilee will kick things off in strong fashion at 5:00 PM CST, with full sets from Underground Springhouse and Kendall Street Company to follow. Big Friendly always does a killer job crafting these lineups, and Saturday will be no exception. We strongly encourage those who plan to attend to go ahead and grab your tickets in advance. You can click here to do that via Avondale's Ticketing Page.
.
In preparation for Saturday night, we caught up with Kendall Street Company frontman Louis Smith and Underground Springhouse frontman Charlie Haas to catch up on all of the latest happenings within these bands. See below for a quick Q&A with both bands, and make sure to head over to our Instagram page for a chance to win tickets to this show!
.
.
Interview with Louis Smith of Kendall Street Company
..
Great to speak with you today, Louis. I figured we could start off with a little background on the band. Tell me a little bit about how Kendall Street Company got started.
.
Louis: Yeah man. We all met at University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We started playing around town: Greek life events and the local bars. We kept at it, and when we graduated, we decided to keep going at it. We've been doing this full time for several years now. We started by traveling up to DC and doing the regional tours. Eventually, we were playing in New York City, Charlotte, and other markets like that. That's pretty much the story. Just keeping at it. That's what you have to do.
.
Absolutely man. Build your regional market and expand from there. I know that the past two years had plenty of COVID-related challenges. How would you say KSC was able to keep the momentum going through these challenges?
.
Louis: It was really tough for us. We're definitely a "live" band. Not being able to play live was really a big thing to be taken from us. First, we were totally isolated from each other. Then, we got to a point where we felt safe getting together. We did a live stream series called "Containment Entertainment," and we focused on getting The Stories We Write For Ourselves out there, as well as The Year The Earth Stood Still project. We just dug away in the studio doing a lot of writing and recording. It was a really stressful time, not really having an income. Not being able to fund these records, but we figured it out. 
.
Those band meetings and business were tough. Some people really wanting to play shows, and others not feeling comfortable at the time. You know...it was definitely stressful on the band and the business. As soon as the vaccines came out, we had this fraternity date in Texas that had been postponed a few times. We finally got to go play that show in April of 2021. We've been trying to get back out there, as safely as we can, since then.
.
I'm sure that was a great feeling to get back on stage. Never hurts when it's that type of private gig that you know is going to be a super rowdy occasion.
.
Louis: It was amazing. We booked the gig and blasted down to Texas. I think we had a few other shows booked along the way, but you couldn't really make a well routed run at that point. We just wanted to go play the show. They had already paid a deposit, and we were ready to make it happen.
.
Right on. Well, I'm glad you mentioned The Year The Earth Stood Still. I noticed that this wasn't the band's first double album / multi part album. How has this particular concept worked for KSC?
.
Louis: It's worked pretty well. The first time we did it was by design. We had about 17 songs, and we figured we could divide those into two releases, which both had their own vibe to them. With The Year The Earth Stood Stillthe whole preface behind that record is that we went into the studio with nothing written. We wrote and recorded the double album in six days in the studio. We did some overdubs and things like that afterword. 
.
Everything, pretty much, was captured and written over those six days. I believe this was back in July of 2021. We hadn't been playing live, and we felt there was a lot to create. So, it wasn't not intended to be a double album, but it also wasn't intended to be a double album. It was kind of ambiguous as to what the project would be until we got out of the studio and evaluated the material.
.
So, you guys went in the studio with nothing, and ultimately wrote and recorded close to 20 songs?
.
Louis: We did. I think it ended up being 16 or 17 total songs.
.
That's one hell of a brainstorming session!
.
Louis: It really was. We really didn't know what we were going to get. Maybe we'd get a full record. Maybe we wouldn't. We recorded at White Star Studio, where we recorded Space For Days several years ago. It's in Louisa, Virginia. It's out in the country, with places to sleep and stay for a bit. So that's what we did. That isolated atmosphere really helped get the creative juices flowing.
.
I'd imagine so, man. That sounds like a really ideal situation for what you guys were hoping to accomplish.
.
Louis: It really was. They had some goats out there. We released a video for "Say Hey" which featured some of the goats (laughs).
.
I'll check that out. I noticed you released a studio cover of The Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon" back in January. Was this a cover that's been in the live rotation for a while?
.
Louis: Yeah, pretty much. We had a few days off in Nashville, and we figured we'd try to get in the studio and record something. We've been doing that cover for many years. It seemed like the right one to record, and it's actually a first take. We knew what we were doing, which helped us knock it out pretty quick. We had two days in the studio, and we also recorded a couple of songs for an upcoming project called "The Untitled California Project." We're trying to coordinate that with a West Coast run later in the year.
.
Sounds like you guys are really keeping the studio momentum rolling this year.
.
Louis: Yeah, it's nice because we have a lot of great songwriters in the band. We don't really tether ourselves to a certain sound, so with anything that someone is inspired to write, we can generally find a place for it. The Untitled California Project, in particular...it's pretty silly. It's almost a bit of a joke, in a way, but we're putting the effort in to make it sound great. Hopefully people will get the joke. It's kind of similar to The Nautical Aquatical, which is the nautical themed album. We have some other themed releases that we're working on as well.
.
I'll be looking forward to that. I know you're gearing up for a big run of shows, which includes Saturday, March 19that Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham. This is one of many with Underground Springhouse. Atlanta's Bird Dog Jubilee is also on this show. Tell me a little bit about the band's history in Birmingham and the Southeast in general.
.
Louis: We have played in Birmingham a few times. It's always been a great time. I know we've played WorkPlay in the past. We've also done Tuscaloosa several times. I believe we have another private gig in Tuscaloosa in April. We love playing in the South. The energy is great. The traffic is bearable, with the exception of Atlanta. You can cruise around the southeast a lot easier than the northeast. I'm really stoked to be heading down there this time of year. Our old keyboard player, Andrew King, lives in Birmingham.
.
You guys will love playing Avondale Brewery. It's such a well-run venue. The staff is amazing. There should be a really nice turnout for a Saturday show in March. I know plenty of people are really excited about this particular show.
.
Louis: Woo-hoo! That's great to hear man. We are excited about it.
.
Well before we wrap this up, what else is coming up for KSC that the band and your fans can look forward to?
.
Louis: We're hitting the Southeast markets over the next few weeks. Next month, we're heading up to the Northeast. We'll be back in New York City. We have our first show in Portland, Maine. It's our first show ever in Maine. I'm a big fan of Maine. We're hoping to play as many festivals as we can this summer. Hitting up the West Coast in the fall. We're planning to make our way back out to Colorado as well. There should be an announcement for an official live release coming up soon. We will be announcing a new studio album pretty soon. We're still deciding on a final name for it. As I mentioned, we also have The Untitled California Project as well. Lots of studio releases and live releases. Lots of shows too.
.
That's incredible man. New releases are equally exciting for the band and your fans. I'm sure you'll have the KSC fanbase fully engaged, while also reaching plenty of new fans this year.
.
Louis: That's right. I also wanted to mention that we have Repsy and Relix Magazine presenting this March & April tour, which is really exciting. We have a full page in Relix Magazine, which people can pick up at our merch table. That was really cool to be featured in Relix.
.
That's incredible. I'm sure it will be a successful tour. Really enjoyed chatting with you today. We're all looking forward to seeing y'all on Saturday, March 19th in Birmingham.
.
Louis: Absolutely. Thank you, Jordan!
.
..
.
Interview with Charlie Haas of Underground Springhouse
.
We've finally progressed into a year in which the COVID climate seems to be headed in the right direction. Tell me about how the course of 2021 treated Underground Springhouse in general. How did you guys manage to stay the course?
.
Charlie: It was certainly a big bump in the road for us, considering our busy touring schedule. Like all bands, we’ve had plenty of shows cancelled over the past two years, but we still managed to be pretty productive as a group. Writing new music and playing whatever shows we were able to at the time. We definitely improved a lot through that period of time, and it ended up being a nice break to regroup. But now we’re back at it and ready to hit the road again full speed.
.
With the calendar seeming to have more promise and consistency in 2022, what is the band most excited about this year?
.
Charlie: We’re super amped for our upcoming tour with Kendall Street Company. We’re hitting most of the Southeast, and they should be some of our most exciting shows yet. We’ve also got new music coming very soon, so we’re really excited to release some new tunes.
.
It's been nearly a year since the release of your self-titled album Underground Springhouse. This was the band's first studio release sinceTom Fooleryin 2019. What was this recording process like, and how was it unique from those of the past?
.
Charlie: Our first few singles and EP,Tom Foolery, were recorded in a home studio in a friend’s basement. The studio had decent equipment, but it was also pretty bare bones. After our first EP, we recorded our next singles and debut album at 1093 in Athens, which is a great and affordable studio space. That was really fun to be in a real studio and have access to a lot more gadgets and gizmos.
.
On Saturday, March 19th, you guys return to Birmingham's Avondale Brewery for a big Saturday night show with Kendall Street Company. What type of history does the band have in Birmingham? How is this run of shows with KSC shaping up?
.
Charlie: It seems we’ve played every city in Alabama except for Birmingham. This will be our first show there, and I can’t imagine a better way to do it than at such a great venue with such a great lineup of bands. This run with Kendall Street is shaping up quite nicely, and it sounds like both bands are gearing up for a hell of a time. We’re super excited.
.
Let's say you were speaking with someone who is planning to attend their first Underground Springhouse show in Birmingham on March 19th. What should they expect from the moment you take stage until the encore concludes?
.
Charlie: I’d tell them to expect some groovy original tunes, one or two surprise covers, and some saucy improvisation making for a funky tropical rock show.
.
When you look at this year as a whole, how would you summarize the band's overall vision and goals for the course of 2022?
.
Charlie: Our goal is to keep making the best music we can, both in the studio and on stage. We’re aiming to keep the train rolling and play as many shows in as many places as we can.
.
Right on man. Well, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Looking forward to this show. Best of luck with the entire tour.
.
Charlie: Thanks so much for having me!

The Wild Feathers Return To Avondale Brewery On Thursday Night March 8, 2022 10:36

Our friends at Big Friendly Productions have another exciting week ahead for Birmingham music fans, as Nashville-based Americana outfit The Wild Feathers returns for another performance at Avondale Brewing Company on Thursday, March 10th. Fresh off the completion of the Big Friendly Takeover, the local production company brings their show back to the main stage on Thursday night.

Just as you would expect with any nationally touring act, the past year was full of plenty of ups and downs for The Wild Feathers. While a number of COVID-related reasons presented multiple setbacks throughout the year, the band spent much time on the road with acts such as The Allman Betts Band and Blackberry Smoke, including a performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in late October. 

In preparation for Thursday night, we caught up The Wild Feathers' Joel King (bass guitar) to get all of the latest info about the past year, as well as what lies ahead in 2022. Check out the full conversation below, and head over to Avondale's ticketing page to secure your tickets in advance!

We've finally progressed into a year in which the COVID climate seems to be headed in the right direction. Tell me about how the course of 2021 treated The Wild Feathers in general. How did you guys manage to stay the course?

Joel: We just try to do anything and everything possible to stay busy and sane. Going out with Blackberry Smoke and The Allman Betts Band was a lot of fun. There were a few set backs, positive tests, and delays, but overall, it was a blast. Then we put put out Alvarado and did a headlining run. It was such a relief to be back in a regular club playing as long as we wanted for our most die-hard fans. The crowds are not fully back to 100%, but it’s only getting better as people are getting braver.

With the calendar seeming to have more promise and consistency in 2022, what is the band most excited about this year?

Joel: We're most excited about enjoying what we have. We’re always looking ahead too much and trying to milk every situation. I just want to relish in a good old fashion rock and roll show. There’s a pretty good variety of club, theater, and festival dates that will keep us on our toes. One of our favorite places to play, The Mercy Lounge, is closing, and we will be playing a very special show in April to say farewell. I’m also really excited about playing Pappy and Harrietts near Joshua Tree. We have been patrons there many times but have never played a full set.

It's been nearly six months since the release of your most recent album Alvarado. This was a rather quick turnaround from your 2020 release Medium Rarities. What was this recording process like, and how was it unique from those of the past?

Joel: Alvarado is our most unique record to date. We have always went to a cabin to work out songs for a new record, but this was different. Usually, we would get a voice memo, then go track a demo at my studio, and then go into the studio with a producer. We decided to streamline the process and scraped together all the sweetest recording gear we could find. On this session, we were going for a vibe and performance. There’s nothing like playing a song for the first time. Not hammering it down to where you don’t even like it anymore. Most the time, you’re not set up to record while jamming, so that’s the point. Capturing it. It really does sound like a band just having fun making music.

Later this week, you guys return to Birmingham's Avondale Brewery for what is sure to be an exciting show. What is it about the energy in the deep South that makes shows like this so special?

Joel: Birmingham has always been one of our favorite spots to play anywhere. We love the city, the people and the food. To me, it’s always had a little bit of a Nashville vibe. Most people in Birmingham have a little better taste in music, art, food and history than some of the surrounding scenes. It’s a special place.

Let's say you were speaking with someone who is planning to attend their first Wild Feathers show in Birmingham this week. What should they expect from the moment you take stage until the encore concludes?

Joel: If you are coming to see us for the first time ever, I am jealous of you (laughs).I love when people don’t expect who is singing or what’s coming next. We trade off lead vocals then into harmonies, then into guitar solos, then into outer space. Everyone in the band has a distinct personality and talent that keeps everyone in the audience and on stage guessing. As far as an overall vision or goal for the year, just one word: Enjoy!

Stream The Wild Feathers' latest album Alvarado here:


Recharged And Ready To Rock: An Interview With Spafford March 3, 2022 17:27

Photo by Paul Citone Photography

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

After a three month hiatus from the road, Arizona-based jam band Spafford is gearing up for what looks to be their strongest year to date. We all know the toll that the ongoing pandemic has taken on the music industry. This band is certainly no exception. Spafford was one of many who were forced to shut down their New Year's plans due to heightened COVID concerns in December.

We've now landed in much more encouraging times, and the band is looking ahed to next week's run through the great state of Colorado with much enthusiasm. This will be followed by a major national tour across the East Coast and Southeast, which ultimately culminates with a performance at SweetWater 420 Festival in Atlanta in late April. 

If that wasn't enough, fans can also rejoice in the release of a brand new live Spafford compilation titled Hindsight, which is set for release on all major streaming platforms on Friday, March 4th. Hindsight will feature a collection of live material recorded over the course of 2020. 

We recently sat down with all four members of the band (Brian Moss: Guitar/Vocals, Andrew "Red" Johnson: Keyboards/Vocals, Nick Tkachyk: Drums, & Jordan Fairless: Bass/Vocals) to discuss how they have managed to overcome the challenges of a global pandemic, a beautifully positive outlook on 2022, and much more. See below for our full conversation with the band, and make sure to follow Spafford on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest info. 

It's a pleasure to speak with you today, guys. I know it's an exciting time for Spafford, as you're preparing for your first tour in quite a few months. Let's start off by touching on the past year for the band, and how you guys have kept things fresh amongst so many challenges.
.
Brian: Absolutely. For me, ever since trying to get back on the road, life has just been full of really high highs and really low lows. The opportunity to go out on our recent fall tour was met with a lot of challenges, just navigating around COVID. That ultimately continued at the end of the year, as we had to cancel our New Year's run due to the heightened COVID concerns. 
.
It's been a while since we've even played a live show, and we're very fortunate and grateful to be able to jump back out for this Colorado run, which starts next week. After that, we'll be getting ready for the Sunny Dispositions Tour, which has a bunch of dates along the East Coast and Southeast. 
.
We're really grateful for the opportunity to keep this thing alive, get back on the road, and do what we do best. In the meantime, it's been an opportunity for all of us to take care of our personal lives. Be there for our families at home. The lack of touring has provided those opportunities, which we've met with open arms. 
.
I can definitely say that I am ready to get back on the road. I'm ready to play live music again. It's my greatest passion and my greatest outlook on life. It's my relief and my therapy to go out and play music. I just can't wait for the opportunity to get out there and do it again.
.
I can only imagine. When exactly was y'all's last show?
.
Jordan: It was back in November of last year. We were supposed to have New Year's, and things got pretty crazy in the greater New York area. We kind of held off on other potential opportunities just because of the overall conditions out there. We were aware of the effect that COVID was having, even with all of the restrictions in place. It's easy to think about it from the performer's perspective, but then you also have to think about the venue staff, bartenders, merchandise handlers, and the cleaning staff. 
.
There is a really interesting analysis on the overall drop rate of tickets sold versus people in attendance. You start to see how that trickles down into every aspect of the show. You could sell out a show, but only have half of those people show up. That's half of the people buying merchandise and drinks, too. 
.
You look at the overall impact that it was having on so many people, and we had to make some tough decisions. It had a big effect on a lot more than just the four guys on stage. It's a big machine that feeds it all. With that being said,  we couldn't be more excited to get back out there. It feels like the right time to try and do it again. We've been home since November, and we are ready to play again. 
.
Wow. I knew that you guys had to cancel the New Year's shows, but I didn't realize that it had been that long. I'm sure y'all are amped about next week in Colorado. So back in December, y'all released the Jam in the Van EP. Tell me about that experience and the four tracks that ultimately made the cut. 
.
Nick: Yeah man, that was a super fun gig for us. That was in Los Angeles. That setup is just so cool. You're playing inside of a camper/trailer outfit that's decked out with band stickers and merchandise all over the inside. That was a pretty big deal for us to do Jam in the Van. We were super stoked about that. Personally, I've seen so many cool performances in that van from bands that I love over the years. That was so much fun to finally get in there and play in that vibe. 
  .
We played four songs. I believe we played "Be Strange," which is from our album The Gaff Tapes. We played one new song, which was written by Brian, called "Pursuit Of Madness." That's one that we've played live a few times, but it was in a totally different genre. We called it "Pursuit of Trance," previously. That version had more of a techno/trance feel to it. We also played one of Jordan's new tunes called "Giants In The Light," which is a new rock and roller that we've been playing lately. Then we did one that Red wrote called "Comfortable," which features lyrics written by our good friend Chuck Johnson. That one is also from The Gaff Tapes.
   .
That sounds like a blast. So, this was Spafford's first time doing Jam in the Van?
  .
Nick: It sure was. Spafford's debut at Jam in the Van.
   .
Very cool. I feel like that series is somewhat of a 'rite of passage' in the world of musicians. That had to be a fulfilling experience. 
  .
Nick: Yeah, it was super rad. I believe we played at Belly Up in Solano Beach later that night. Jam in the Van was actually in Costa Mesa? South of Los Angelas. It was on the way to Solano Beach. We played the Teragram Ballroom in downtown LA, then we did Jam in the Van, and then Solano Beach. The Belly Up is another historical venue that has been doing super rad shows for years and years. It was a really nice run through Southern California. That's for sure.
.
Sounds like it. So, you guys released For Amusement Only in 2018 and The Gaff Tapes in 2019. Since then, there have been several live releases. Most recently, you've released the Jam in the Van EP. What type of impact has the recent downtime had on writing new material and the ability to continue collaborating with one another?
    .
Red: Yeah, all of us individually are always writing and coming up with new material. I will say that with all of the time on my hands, it gave me the opportunity to finally sit back and sift through some of the stuff that I've been working on for a long time. We were very fortunate to be in the same town for a while. We kept our bubble very tight, and we were able to get together to work on new material and old material. Revamping old stuff, while coming up with new stuff as well. We were very fortunate to be able to do that. 
.
   .
Love hearing that. Now that things seem to be trending in the right direction, with less cancellations and more shows on the calendar, how is the calendar shaping up for the band?
    .
Brian: Well, on Friday, March 4th, we're releasing a brand new live compilation called Hindsight. This will be a compilation of a bunch of music we played over the course of 2020. Some of the tracks on the album were played in front of virtually no one. They were pulled from our New Year's show, which ended up being an indoor live stream show, instead of an outdoor show with a live audience. We were kind of making lemonade, you know? 
  .
It was a two-night stint, and the music that came from that was some of my favorite music that the band has played in a long time. I think you could really hear and feel the emotions and effects of what was going on with COVID at the time. The band gets on stage and finally had the ability to release all of that frustration, anger, and rage (laughs) that was going on at the time. The music really reflects all of that. Several of the tracks were pulled from that, and some were pulled from the shows we played in early 2020, before we were pulled off the road for essentially 18 months. 
    .
So, that album is coming out on Friday, March 4th. It'll be available on all of your major music outlets. We're finally getting back out there. We have a festival play here in Phoenix this weekend, which is going to be awesome. That will be the kick off to our new touring year. We have a run of five shows in Colorado, which will be great. We'll come back home for a bit, and then we hit this more major tour, which kicks off in April. 
   .
Once we're done with that tour, we have a bunch of festivals lined up for the summer. There are always big things on the horizon. Plenty of secrets that we can't talk about just yet. We're always cooking up some things. I think the fall is going to be really huge for us. All of this leading into the 2023 should be a really promising time for us. All I see is a nice increase in flow and engagement between us and our fans. Hopefully the COVID stuff can be behind us and not be hindering our success moving forward. 
    .
I sure hope things continue in that direction. From what I recall, Spafford was amongst the bands leading the way with socially distanced, innovative shows during the initial COVID shutdown. Is that correct?
    .
Brian: Yeah, we did take the time to do all of that. Out here in Arizona, it gets really hot once May comes around. That kind of eliminated us from being able to do too many of those shows; putting the band, our crew, and our fans through that type of heat. Like Red said earlier, we tried our best to stay inside, keep our bubble really tight, and work on all of our music as a whole. 
   .
We did a lot of writing and recording, and I think that all of that is still what we are preparing to release for the rest of this year. So, keep your eyes and ears peeled for more announcements and releases from the Spafford camp. It's going to be a really exciting rest of the year. 
    .
That's so great to hear. Well, in regards to these Southeast shows coming up, I know there is plenty of excitement brewing. I'll never forget when y'all made it down south for the first time. Your Atlanta shows were selling out in a matter of minutes. You played SweetWater 420 Fest, then turned around and played to sold out Variety Playhouse later that night. How has it felt for you guys being so well received down here since day one?
   .
Red: I'll tell you this. We love the south. Some of those shows in Atlanta are amongst my favorite that we have ever played. Some of the Birmingham shows, specifically at Saturn, that is such a sick venue. I love that place. I remember one show at Saturn where we walked out on stage, and somehow the soundboard and PA just crashed. We were just stuck out on stage. We couldn't really do anything about it, so we just sat down and started chatting with the crowd. 
   .
We love it down there. I think this will be the first time that we've played both Huntsville and Tuscaloosa. The vibe in the south is high, and we absolutely love it. Plus, it's just beautiful down there. Well, at least at this time of the year. I know it gets pretty sticky down there in the summer. 
   .
.
That's the truth. The summers can be rough. I know there is a whole lot of excitement about y'all coming back down here though. I know that there will be no shortage of excitement this go round.
   .
Brian: You mentioned SweetWater 420 Fest. I still hold that memory as one of the largest crowds we've ever played in front of in our entire career. The opportunity to be able go back is really exciting. What's most exciting is that this tour we're leading into in April caps off at SweetWater 420 Fest. It kind of feels like the road to 420 Fest and getting back to that place that is such a special memory for us. It's just a really great feeling to know that's coming up after enduring this whole COVID thing for so long.
 .
I bet that is a great feeling. 420 Fest should be a really special one this year. That's such a major weekend for so many music fans across the southeast. Not that they have ever slacked with the lineup, but my goodness, I'm not sure I've seen a better bill than what they've put together this year. 
   .
Red: Yeah, we couldn't be more excited to be a part of that festival again this year. 
  .
Well guys, it has been a true pleasure speaking with y'all today. All of us here in the southeast are certainly ready for a healthy dose of Spafford next month. Stay safe on the road, and we'll see you real soon.
.
Brian: Thanks so much Jordan!
.