The Orange Constant Dips Toes Into “Jamtronica” With New Single September 20, 2018 12:37

Photo by Shane Nelson
Athens, Ga.-based rock outfit, The Orange Constant has released an instrumental track that nods to its electronic contemporaries. Nearing seven minutes long,  “Prisoner Reprise” captures melodic synthesizer lines, soaring guitar harmonies and explosive transitions that all dabble with the spirit of danceable, digitized music yet remain true to the group’s vintage sound.
The single was recorded with hometown producer John Keane (R.E.M., Widespread Panic) who previously worked on TOC’s debut album, Time to Go, (2015).  Arriving roughly a year and a half after the release of the group’s second LP, Point of Reference, this new song embraces an area of the band that its members say is underrepresented in current discography. 
“We just wanted to show everybody where we’re at and the last album didn’t have an instrumental” said Nickalous Benson, guitarist for The Orange Constant. “It’s a song with a hook but it goes through all these different phases. I think it’s really representative of where the band’s at right now.”

Formed in the college bars of Statesboro, Ga. in 2012 and transplanted to Athens, The Orange Constant has spent the past six years performing across the southeast with national and international acts such as Perpetual Groove, TAUK, Ripe and CBDB. The band says it is eager to spread its sound to music fanatics across the country. 

Stream The Orange Constant's "Prisoner Reprise" here:

Watch The Orange Constant perform "Red Rider" at The Georgia Theatre here:

We Are The Good People, The Ones They Told You About... September 17, 2018 23:18

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
Words by Erika Rasmussen

We are the good people, or so we say. However, even the best among us periodically need a reminder of what that means. Sometimes it’s hard to see our best selves on display. “The ones that disappeared, Behind the calling of the sun…”. In St. Augustine, when everyone was hot and grumpy, it felt hard to see the good people around you. It could feel like we’d just come to the beach to have a good time and taken it too far in the unbelievable heat. And people were touchy. “Like footprints to the sea, They dance upon the rising storm. Ten thousand voices singing, Hardly thrills our soul.” I wasn’t sure, on Saturday night, if the good people philosophies that we profess still thrilled our souls like we say they do. I saw people arguing over petty disagreements and crowded ground space at the show. I watched a former member of our community, who’s supposedly no longer welcome, be treated neutrally. And not completely banished and handled the way everyone had theoretically planned.

“Louder and louder, Hear the engines roar. Faster and faster, Fables overturned. Tighter and tighter, Oh the lightning flash. Closer and closer…” But as I became even more bothered, I realized that this weekend of heat-induced frustration didn’t define us. It’s our good works, like volunteering in 100+ heat at the PanicStream Helping Hands Charity Golf Tournament, that represent who we are as a group. It’s women, like myself and other Gretas I know, that speak up when need be. (This ain’t no flower child.) It’s the real men among our group, who step up to represent what is right and what is strong about this whole idea of a touring, jamming community. It’s the sweet volunteers at the venue, that smile and make a joke with you. It’s the band playing a special song, for a fan lost too soon. It’s that friend that brings you an extra drink so you don’t melt in a puddle on the St. Augustine Amphitheater lawn. “Here are your waters, so drink and be whole again.”

So, yeah, we all experienced a little drama in the sunshine state this weekend. But we also saw that human magic that keeps this whole machine moving forward. And keeps us coming back on tour. I’ll see you there. On my best behavior. *wink*

Bands You Should Know: Ben Sparaco & The New Effect September 17, 2018 15:33


Photo by Andrew Sarta

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen 

Ever since the inception of Live & Listen just four years ago, our primary focus has been to create a valuable platform for up-and-coming bands to reach new listeners. After publishing countless random interviews, we launched a regular series simply titled 'Bands You Should Know'. After an extended hiatus, we've decided to revive this interview series, and that begins today with Nashville's  Ben Sparaco & The New Effect. See below for the band's official bio, which is followed by our complete interview.

Ben Sparaco and The New Effect formed in 2017 when Florida-born singer, songwriter, and guitarist began playing with drummer Anthony Quirk and bassist Adam Discipio. Now based in the flourishing musical oasis of Nashville, TN, Ben and the band have maintained a massive touring schedule, cutting their teeth playing coast to coast in clubs and festivals.
Sparaco spent his teen years playing with Florida’s Crazy Fingers, and making a name for himself in the jam band scene of the southeast, playing with members of the Allman Brothers Band, Dead and Company, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and more before he had even turned 20. This included a touring stint in late Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks’ band. After recording his 2016 release “Bring the Jubilee EP” with a Florida-based group of musicians, he moved to Nashville. There, he amassed a group of some of Nashville’s finest to record his debut solo record “Wooden” with producer Ross Holmes (Mumford and Sons, Bruce Hornsby, Warren Haynes), which also featured a guest appearance from Luther Dickinson.
After finalizing The New Effect’s powerful lineup with Berklee College of Music graduates Quirk and Discipio, Sparaco’s songwriting started drifting from his southern rock roots, showing indie rock and pop influences, evident on their new EP “Greetings, from Ben Sparaco and The New Effect,” available now.
You recently relocated to Nashville, where Ben Sparaco and The New Effect has really begun to flourish. Tell me a little bit about this project and how it came to life.
Ben: I moved here in 2015 to go to school but dropped out in the spring of 2016. Once I put out my first record, Wooden, I needed to find a Nashville-based group of guys to tour with, instead of using guys from Florida, where I started. I found our drummer Anthony Quirk in a Facebook group for musicians, and he introduced me to our bassist Adam Discipio, who he met at Berklee. He flew to Florida to meet us on tour last year and has had the gig ever since. It’s been really nice to play with guys my age and really become a collaborative band, instead of just using hired guns. 
Your musical roots and general background are an interesting as anyone's. You spent much of your teen years playing with Crazy Fingers, South Florida's premier Grateful Dead tribute act. How did this experience come about, and what type of influence did the Grateful Dead have on you as a musician?
Ben: I grew up loving the more improvisational side of rock music, like the Allman Brothers, Band of Gypsys, Live Cream, and stuff like that. I didn’t have much knowledge of the Dead when I started playing with Crazy Fingers at 17, but they knew I could understand the improvisation, even when I was basically learning songs on stage. That really trained my ear, but I got really into the Dead in the beginning of 2017. Since then, I’ve been obsessed. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter have affected me as a musician as much as anybody. 
I've read that you had the opportunity to play with members of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company, and Tedeschi Trucks all before you turned 20. Can you elaborate on these collaborations?
Ben: I grew up in South Florida playing at a venue called The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton a lot. It is basically the main club for good music in that area, and I was really lucky to sit in with great people there as a kid and keep those connections. My first solo band, The Ben Sparaco Band, opened for Butch Trucks, and I ended up doing a tour with him. That led to playing with Jaimoe, Oteil Burbridge, Luther Dickinson, and a bunch of others. Beyond that, just being in the right place at the right time with a guitar has paid off a lot. 
You've obviously been focusing on your own original music in recent years. In January of 2017, you released your debut solo album 'Wooden'. How long had this material been in the works? What did this recording experience mean to you?
Ben: I wrote two of those songs in high school, probably when I was 16. The rest were written during a four month break from touring in 2016. I made that album pretty soon after dropping out of college, and it was a weird, kind of lonely time for me. It’s sort of an emptying out of songs that needed to come out to make way for new ones. It was also my first experience really being a musician in Nashville, and it couldn’t have been a better way to do it. We had so many incredible players on that record. It felt good to make a more acoustic, less guitar-heavy record. 
I'm sure there is much focus now on touring, playing new markets, and hitting as many festivals as possible. As a young band, what is The New Effect's strategy towards balancing out the calendar? 
Ben: We spent the last year and a half touring the entire country twice, hitting every new market we could. It was so much fun, and we learned so much, but after almost four months straight on the road earlier this year, we finally started to feel it. We’re ramping up to get back into tour mode and do it a little smarter this time around, but we’re also preparing for our first full length recording. I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to write songs that sound like me, and they’re much different than anything I have done before. We’ll hopefully spend a good chunk of time working on this record. 
What can fans expect from you guys as you round out 2018 and start looking towards 2019. Is there anything that has the band particularly excited?
Ben: Towards the end of 2018, we'll be spent doing a couple regional runs through the southeast and east coast. We also have a few really cool support slots in the works that we can’t say anything about yet. Then we’re shooting for a record release in the spring of 2019. 
Click Here: Follow Ben Sparaco & The New Effect on Facebook
Click Here: Follow Ben Sparaco & The New Effect on Instagram
Stream Ben Sparaco & The New Effect's latest release on Spotify here:


The Road To CukoRakko: Beck Hall & Taylor Goodwin of The Pearl September 11, 2018 23:04

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

If you're a music lover in Alabama, you've more than likely heard about an amazing grassroots festival known as CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival. Founded in 2014, the festival has been held twice a year at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL. As we prepare for another unforgettable CukoRakko weekend on October 5th - 7th, we're sitting down and getting to know a few of the performers on the 2018 Fall Festival lineup. For our first installment, we caught up with Beck Hall (bass) and Taylor Goodwin (lead guitar) of The Pearl. See below for the full interview, and make sure to catch The Pearl supporting BIG Something at Zydeco on Friday, September 14th. Stay tuned for further exclusive CukoRakko preview coverage!

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival 

While this band is newer project, you guys have been active members of the Birmingham music scene for years. How did The Pearl ultimately come together?
Taylor: We met each over the last couple years through our friends in the music scene at jam sessions and pick-up gigs. Beck has also been putting on these warehouse parties for the last few years, inviting local players to come collaborate with one another. At last years Annual Christmas Jam, we really started noticing a connection.
Beck: Taylor was starting his final semester in Nashville, while I had started booking gigs as The Pearl as well as Honey & Pop, just using them as excuses to play with different people (often with Devonte on drums.) I think that big "AHA" moment occurred the first time we played together as a trio in March. After that, every gig we booked as The Pearl was the trio were are now.
You can tell that there is a strong chemistry amongst the band already. What type of playing history is there amongst the three of you?
Taylor: We’ve all known and listened to each other for a while now, which makes it a lot easier to understand and meet somebody where they are, musically speaking It helps that we're all really tight friends, so honest communication comes easily. 
Beck: It also helps that we're all practice junkies.. so a lot of work normally done in rehearsal is ready at the start of practice. So, although we haven’t played together exclusively for an incredibly long time, the chemistry came pretty quickly.
You guys have a notably upbeat, powerful presence. How is the song structure working for you thus far? What is your approach to improvisation?
Beck: Glad our presence comes across this way! Seems like the key is never taking the music too seriously to laugh at a flub or take risks, while at the same time doing all we can to prepare. 
Taylor: Regarding song structure, it’s sort of case by case… our originals have lengthy through-composed forms and are probably the hardest songs we play, whereas some of the music we play is a simple vamp/groove that we sort of use as a departure point to improvise from. 
Beck: In terms of our approach to jamming, we really don’t talk about it very much at all or plan our jams. We try to just let things happen naturally, which has been feeling great so far. 
Have you made any plans to hit the studio?
Taylor: Sooner than later, hopefully. We’re currently focused on broadening our original repertoire and putting together the best live performances we can. We’re also doing our best to capture these live performances, which we might could use to put together our first release. 
Beck: We've been writing a good amount of material though. I think we wrote four full compositions in two weeks during July. So, yeah, the live shows have been a big focus, because everything's been happening pretty quickly. It's good to know that we can crank out (what we consider to be) quality music at such a consistent pace. 
Tell me about the general grind associated with starting a new band at this point in your lives. What all goes on behind the scenes?
Beck: Well, frankly there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when compared to starting a band from scratch, say, ten years ago. For one thing, just getting all the social media started takes quite a while, as you have to have original content (both audio and video or both covers and originals), create an in depth Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Twitter page. There are lots of things you have got to have these days that, in past, weren’t quite as important. Also, practicing twice or more a week is a pretty heavy investment, considering we all have side gigs on top of this one. It’s a labor of love to get a serious new project started, but definitely worth it.
There seems to be a nice buzz surrounding The Pearl already. You've played quite a few rooms around the city in a short time. How do you see the schedule progressing in the future?
Beck: The local scene has really showed us some serious support for being so new to the scene, and we can’t thank them enough. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow at the rate we have been. We have all been playing around for quite a while and we chatted at the beginning about how easy it is to get stuck in that bar circuit, which happens to so many groups.. so we opted to really work hard to have a product ready and worthy of the the bigger stages as to start there instead of in bars. It’s been working out great playing the club/theater size venues from the get go. Bands tend to gain momentum much quicker from those shows. In terms of the future, we have some incredible shows coming up, but really plan to hit the ground running, in terms of touring more, at the beginning of next year.
I know you have quite a few things cooking for the later part of 2018. What can fans expect and what are you guys most excited about moving forward?
Beck: I’d say the thing we’re most excited about at the moment is being welcomed so warmly into the amazing crew surrounding the CukoRakko Music and Arts Festival during the first weekend in October. It’s one of our favorite festivals, put on by some of our favorite people. We’re going to be opening the festival this year with a very special set and playing some shows to get people warmed up for the event. It’ll be amazing playing alongside such acts as The Charlie Hunter Trio, The New Orleans Suspects, and many many other amazing national and regional acts.
We’re also excited to be playing this Friday night (9/14/18) with Big Something at Zydeco. We also have some really awesome Halloween and Holiday plans that we can’t quite talk about yet, but please stay tuned, as more dates will be released in the coming weeks!
Listen to The Pearl's "Pudding and Pie" here:


Pearl Jam Delivers Powerful Performance in Missoula September 05, 2018 14:49

Words and Photos by Kinsey Blake Haynes

Pearl Jam performed their first “Away” show to a [sold-out] crowd of 25,000+ on Monday August 13th, in Missoula, MT - the hometown of bassist Jeff Ament.

This particular concert was a charity even for the band’s Rock2Vote Initiative which strives to help Montana residents register to vote. It was also a campaign rally for Senator Jon Tester, who is running for again for office in November.

Washington-Grizzly Stadium was packed to the top with fans screaming as the band walked out the 1994 Vitalogy track “Aye Davanita.”

Ed Vedder graced the stage wearing a white leather “Evel Knievel” jacket, (which appears to be an homage to the legendary stuntman who is buried down the road in Butte, Montana.)

The band started off slow with tracks “Pendulum” and “Low Light” before launching into raucous, fan favorites “Go” and “Do The Evolution” followed by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros’ “Arms Aloft” and “Mind Your Manners.”

“Music brings people together and we are glad that everyone came out for a very important reason,” said Vedder. “Jeff, thank you for organizing this and inviting us. It is nice to be back.”

The crowd started cheering “Jeff! Jeff! Jeff!” which was a beautiful sound echoing across the Montana mountains.  

Vedder told a story about Paul McCartney playing in the same stadium a few years prior and started playing a few seconds of The Beatles’ “Blackbird.”

He mentions The Rolling Stones have played there as well, which inspires lead guitarist, Mike McCready, to play a note from “Jumping Jack Flash,” to which Vedder had the idea of all members of the band playing a different Stones song - at the same time.  

Ed makes a comment about being the first band to play this stadium twice.

“A person who brags about crowd size isn’t really a good guy,” said Vedder. Without naming anyone, it was obvious who Ed was referring to, since he made a comment about this person breaking Elton John’s records. Ed said he would only brag if Montana had its largest voter turnout in the election. “That I would brag about all day,” he said.

“Corduroy”, “Pilate”, and “Even Flow” followed his ramblings and he proceeded to tell an appreciation story about drummer Matt Cameron.

“How about a little history,” asked Vedder. “We were on campus 21 years ago today. It  was the first real show we played with Matt Cameron was right here on this stage.” The band played the Cameron drum favorite “In My Tree.”

The show progressed with “Down”, “Lightning Bolt”, “Not For You/Modern Girl(tag)”, “Daughter/It's OK(tag)”, “Setting Forth”, and “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town”

Ed points out a couple in the front row wearing matching t shirts that say “I <3 Sex & Beer.”

“I am glad you found each other,” said Vedder. “Now, I am gonna give these to you and I want to watch you enjoy them.” The couple, Keith and Angie Torgerud from Wisconsin, drove in two days before the show to wait in the 10 Club general admission line with several family members and  friends to ensure they were front and center. Keith and Angie were high school sweethearts and were 17 and 15 when they met.

Pearl Jam recently released their first single in five years, the politically charged “Can’t Deny Me” and Vedder had some intriguing thoughts on its content: “I want to say before the next song that election day should be a national holiday,” he said. “The best thing is on that day we are all equal. It is a right and a responsibility. “We need to vote in big numbers because there are complications like big money, corruption and Russians. Voting is the Antidote. It is your vote they can’t deny.”

They played the new politically charged anthem with a raw energy that was remnant of their early days playing in small clubs (See Vancouver, 1991) and closed out their first set with “Porch.”

The second set began with two songs Vedder said were “ones for the serious collector.” The songs were “Bee Girl” and “Fatal” which has only been played eight times total!

After the initial excitement of rare songs, Pearl Jam continued with a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, then played fan favorite “Given To Fly”, followed by the Neil Young song “Throw Your Hatred Down.”

“Better Man” was tagged with U2’s “With Or Without You”, The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, and the classic “Save It For Later” tag which is now a staple in the song.

Their popular hit “Jeremy”, a cover of Joe Strummer’s “Know Your Rights, “Alive”, “Rockin’ In The Free World”, and “Indifference” closed out the evening and left fans satisfied with the performance.

Ed’s final words were thank yous to Evel Knievel, the band, and Jon Tester “for being someone we can believe in and trust.”

For two hours and 46 minutes, fans were singing, crying, laughing, chanting, and existing together for a common reason: music.

Setlist: Pearl Jam - Missoula, MT - 08.13.18

Low Light
Do the Evolution
Arms Aloft (Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros cover)
Mind Your Manners
Even Flow
In My Tree
Lightning Bolt
Not for You (with 'Modern Girl' tag)
Daughter (with "It's Ok" tag)
Setting Forth (Eddie Vedder song)
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Can't Deny Me

Bee Girl
Imagine (John Lennon cover)
Given to Fly
Throw Your Hatred Down (Neil Young cover)
Better Man
Know Your Rights (The Clash cover)
Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover)

*"Green Disease" and "Got Some" were on the setlist, but not played.

SunSquabi Releases New Single "Chrysalis" August 31, 2018 12:04

Colorado based trio SunSquabi released its newest single ‘Chrysalis yesterday in anticipation of their upcoming full-length record.  Chrysalis is the second stage in a 3-part series that started with the track ‘Caterpillar’The band has been focusing on biology and evolution as themes for inspiration during their writing process. The way the music is coming to fruition has changed recently with the addition of Josh Fairman (bass/synth) into the band and the metamorphosis between Caterpillar > Chrysalis > Night Moth are symbolic of this change. “Capturing the live element in the studio is really something we have been focusing on and we feel like this is the best representation of the band to date.” says Josh Fairman  

The metamorphosis becomes more evident as these stages are revealed. It's been a really fun process to work on.” says Kevin Donohue. Chris Anderson’s (drums) brother Spencer Anderson is also featured on the violin in the trackThis one was memorable for me. We flew my brother Spencer Anderson out to record violin on Chrysalis. You can usually find him on stage with his orchestra at Skidmore College, but this time we wanted to explore strings in the context of SunSquabi tunes. Collaborating with family is so special,” says Chris Anderson.  

Stay tuned for the final stage of this metamorphosis followed by a full-length release from the band in Fall 2018.  


About SunSquabi 

There’s a place, deep in the cosmos, where jam bands and electronic dance music intersect with rhythm-driven funk. You’ll feel like you’re floating here but not lost completely to the atmospheric elements. Instead, you’re tethered to an avant-garde spaceship with Colorado-based SunSquabi on the frequency. This cosmic wonderland is a melting pot of a variety of musical genres and it represents the future of music. 

A three-piece suit - SunSquabi has been catching the eyes and ears of music fans around the world with their ever-evolving sound in the studio and on the live stage. SunSquabi has gained national attention for their unique way of producing music. The band’s live show can be described as an ‘Electronic Hydro Funk Experience’ that is different every single time out. SunSquabi continues to break down and analyze the expectations of what a “Live-Electronic” band should be. The band unveiled their debut EP with All Good Records, titled, ‘Odyssey’ which featured artists GRiZ and Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic. Their 2nd EP ‘Deluxe’ was a sophomore success with the label that continued where Odyssey left off. The band has now released 2 singles ‘Just A Little’ and ‘Caterpillar’ ahead of their upcoming 2018 release. 

Combining the talents of Kevin Donohue (guitars/keys/production) Josh Fairman (bassist/synth) and Chris Anderson (drums). This project is a disciplined and structured group. It takes a seasoned musician to stay in the pocket for the sake of building well-developed lines and climaxes. To do that seamlessly requires patience and skill. “It’s kinda like breathing, honestly. We can communicate directly with each other both verbally and non-verbally, onstage and off.” That connection will take the music collectively where we all want to go.” – Kevin Donohue 

Follow SunSquabi  


Tour Dates 

Sep-15 Denver, CO Grandoozy 
Sep-20 - 22nd Thornville, OH Resonance 
Oct-4 Kansas City, MO Crossroads KC w/ Umphrey’s McGee 
Oct-5 Madison, WI Orpheum Theatre 
Oct-6 Chicago, IL Concord  
Oct-12 Santa Fe, NM Meow Wolf 
Oct-13 Durango, CO New Animas 
Oct-14 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom 
Oct-18 Houston, TX Last Concert Cafe 
Oct-19 Dallas, TX Deep Ellum Art Co 
Oct-20 Austin, TX Mohawk 
Oct-25 Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre 
Oct-26 Birmingham, AL Zydeco 
Oct-28 Live Oak, FL Hulaween 
Oct-31Charleston, SC Pour House 
Nov-1 Greenville, SC The Firmament 
Nov-2 Asheville, NC Asheville Music Hall 
Nov-3 Richmond, VA Broadberry 
Nov-8 Fayetteville, AR George's 
Nov-9 Tulsa, OK IDL Ballroom 
Nov-10 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theatre

Funk You Prepares For Latest Album Release 'What's On Your Mind?' August 29, 2018 13:23

Funk You's upcoming release, Whats On Your Mind, simply put is an honest album. After several years of touring the country and fine tuning their talents, Funk You settles comfortably into their own identity with this album. A strong and vibrant energy keeps the listener engaged throughout their listening experience without slowing down. Whats On Your Mind? has soul, authenticity, and everything else that we have come to expect from a band establishing themselves as a national presence like Funk You. 

You can catch Funk You in action this Saturday night (September 1st), as they'll be playing their official album release party at Terminal West in Atlanta. Special guests Andy Frasco & The U.N. will be providing direct support, while local five-piece Zale will get things started.

We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show, and it couldn't be easier to enter the contest. Simply 'share' this post from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section. 

Check out the exclusive stream of "What's On Your Mind?" here:

We recently caught up with Funk You lead guitarist Evan Miller to learn a little bit more about the band's new album. Check out the conversation below and stay tuned for further updates.

Tell me about the overall recording process of this album. Any change in approach from previous recordings?

Evan: This record was made in a very similar way to our last album, Apparitions. Everything was tracked live in the studio as a band. After we got a good live feel with the energy we wanted to capture, we would go back in and overdub/add parts as needed. Our drummer, Will Clark, owns the studio (Prana Recording Studio), so it's very comfortable in there for that. 

How did the songwriting balance out this go round? Has much of this material been in the existing live rotation? 

Evan: The songwriting for this album was spread a little more evenly than the past releases. A few of the songs were old songs we had put on the shelf. Once we played them in the studio we realized the potential and went for them full force. I think those decisions paid off with a lot more input from everyone reworking those tracks. Most have been in rotation over the past year or so which allowed us to figure out which direction we wanted to take them. 

How does this album reflect where you guys are as a band?
Evan: I'd say we've really gotten a much more mature sound out of our writing and performance in the studio. 

What can fans expect at the album release party on Saturday night?

Evan: I'd say be prepared to expect a little bit of everything. But mainly, one big party with a bunch of friends. We are really excited for this show!

Nashville's Tom Galloway Releases Debut Solo Album August 17, 2018 12:59

Nashville singer/songwriter Tom Galloway has been a staple in the southeastern music scene over the past decade. While many know Galloway as the frontman of rock bands Mama's Love and Maradeen, his latest work portrays a fresh yet diverse look into the artist's catalog. Cross Currents represents Galloway's first full-length solo release, featuring previously released tracks such as "Old Black Dog," "Our Due Time," and "Red Whiskey & Wine." Combining the sounds of americana, alt-country, and southern rock, Cross Currents provides a tasteful blend of nostalgic, conspicuous tracks that make for an excellent listen from start to finish. Find out for yourself and stream the album in full below. 

Born in Georgia, raised in Texas, and currently a songwriter in Nashville, Galloway combines roots of folk, bluegrass, classic country and rock, to form a unique blend of expression and storytelling. Developing his craft for years, strong hooks and captivating lyrics have been the mission. Galloway has been the frontman and principal songwriter for the rock bands Mama's Love and Maradeen, touring extensively across the country. 

We recently had a chance to catch up with Galloway, who provided some extensive background info on the new release and latest step in his already decorated career:

"I wrote most of these songs at our family cabin up in North Georgia between my move from Athens to Nashville. It's hard not to be affected by the feel of the Appalachian country writing up there alone. It's definitely my favorite place to write. The sound of the nearby river was always running low in the background and that was the initial inspiration for the album title. I was also reflecting on the current that was pulling me to Nashville during that transitional time. 

The album also has aspects of loss and redemption and the cross relationship between dark and light. "Poorhouse of Sin," probably the darkest tune, is followed by "Lean Into the Light" which is probably the most positive song, yet they're both beautiful to me in different ways. The crossing of genres too became interesting as the album progressed because I set out to make a singer/songwriter Americana album, but there are a lot of different sounds going on with some interesting sections and driving rhythms.

It's hard for me to define the genre, but we really tried to give the album its own sonic atmosphere. There are sections that are thick with layers but also exposed sections, and I guess it's all based on serving and building each song. The songs are diverse, but I do think we were able to maintain a cohesive characteristic to the album, which is good.

One of my favorite parts of the record is the very last minute, because every band member and guest musician trade licks over a climactic swing as the record fades out.We thought a lot about the track order as well because we wanted a lot of the songs to kind of flow into each other, for the whole album to hold up together as one I'm serious when I say you need to spark up that doobie, put on some headphones, and let it roll from start to finish."

Stream Tom Galloway's Cross Currents in its entirety here:

The Musicians' Musicians: An Interview With Todd Nance & Friends August 15, 2018 10:33

Interview by Erika Rasmussen

Photos by Christan Newman

In every industry, there are the consummate professionals that others seek out. In the world of tunes, these are the musicians’ musicians. The people that highly talented and creative artists listen to and with whom they want to collaborate. The people who write the music that us nerds can all bliss out to. Folks like Col. Bruce Hampton (Retired), Big Star, Leon Russell, and the luminary like. 

I had the rare and fortunate opportunity to sit down with six of these examples in the modern era. These gentlemen share a body of work that has interwoven over the years in such acts as Bloodkin, Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, Barbara Cue, Blueground Undergrass, Aquarium Rescue Unit, brute., and a number of others. And that’s quite a formidable résumé. When the group of friends and peers were all in Asheville recently to perform under the moniker of “Todd Nance and Friends”, I got to sit down with them and geek out about all things music. Here’s how that all went down. 

Ok, so I do I want to warn you guys that I was quite the talented drummer in sixth grade when we all had to choose chorus or band so I don't want the legend of my “Wipeout” performance to intimidate any of you going into this. You just have to forget about the reputation I built up at Bragtown sixth grade. 


So, when you guys come here to Asheville is there anywhere that you like to go? I know during the day you gotta rest, but is there anything that you hit here with all the fatty food and heady breweries and hipster hangouts? 

MOSIER: We went to Sierra Nevada today. It was cool. 

We couldn't get in; it was, like an hour and a half wait. 

MARTINEZ: We went kinda early and there was still a decent line.

You’re troopers. We gave up and went to the seedy BBQ joint instead and it was pretty good.

NANCE: Luella's. That's good.

That’s my favorite. Imma steal that mirror ball disco pig one day. It’s going home with me. 

MARTINEZ: I like Sunny Point. I don't make it there too often, though.

Yeah, you have to go up there early too.

MARTINEZ: I passed it.

So, if you guys are on the road and you stop at a gas station, what kind of junk food do you get?

NANCE: I get pistachios.

Shelled or lazy?

NANCE: Shelled. Salty shelled.

So it gives you something to do and...

NANCE: No, I just like pistachios (laughs). You can pick 'em out too quick if they're already shelled. You gotta pace yourself.

So what do you guys eat on the road? Like, not what you tell your wife you eat, but what you really eat when you stop at QuikTrip in Burlington.

MARTINEZ: My wife knows exactly what I eat. She watched me look at, and she tells the story all the time, we were at a kiosk of cinnamon buns and she said to Tori (Pater), "I wish he looked at me that way..." (laughter all around) I was like "damn, look at that!" 

“Look at the curves on that thing…” Have you ever heard the Louis C.K. skit about people in line at Cinnabon? There's no one happy in line at Cinnabon?

JN: Yeah yeah yeah (laughs) he stopped at one when he was leaving the airport.

Yeah. Even better. If you have to get your fix on your way out, that's a whole new level of Cinnabon hell. (laughter) Speaking of on the road, when you get to go somewhere very "hallowed", like Muscle Shoals, or when you worked with Terry Manning and there was some guitar that was supposedly Robert Johnson’s, do you ever feel that, like, magic around those places and those instruments or is it "this is all hype that we've all built up in the urban legend folk persona?"

NANCE: In some places, it's actually documented, you know, the Robert Johnson guitar will, it's not officially documented but they're pretty damn sure 

It stays in tune, right? You don't tune it?

NANCE: You don't tune it. If it stays in tune with itself, you just, well, that's what we did

And the sound at Muscle Shoals is hard to reproduce

NANCE: The whole vibe there, too, is just...

I just don't know if I get into that whole fan girl thing like this is magic and I watched the documentary which is so amazing and

NANCE: I love that stuff

Yeah. Now. I have a theory that the guy who's the drummer in the band is the guy who "gets things done" and is the toughest and strongest in personality. This may be another stereotype, but think about Jon Bonham, right? Bill Kreutzmann used to be the guy that would punch people out if they didn't pay the band. Charlie Watts punched out Mick Jagger for saying, "where's my drummer?"

NANCE: I love that story!

MARTINEZ: In his suit! Got dressed in his suit.

Yeah! Got dressed in his Savile Row suit first.

NANCE: Are we talking about punching people out as gettin' shit done? (laughter)

Hahaha. Or just being tough mentally.

NANCE: Gettin' shit done! (laughter)

I mean, even Animal in the Muppets, they modeled him after that stereotype. He's the toughest in the band. If no one paid the Muppets, they'd definitely send in Animal. (laughter). Do you see that in drummers or that could be anyone and they just get that...?

NANCE: That could be anyone. 

Do you see that in you?

NANCE: I just wanna play my drums and take it easy. I'm not looking for trouble. (smiles)

MOSIER: He's one of the most mild mannered drummers I’ve ever seen.

I was gonna bring that up. You don't tear through your kit like Bonham and other drummers...

NANCE: No...

And he never thought they were precious. Do you keep your kits?

NANCE: Oh yeah.

Do you collect other kits?

NANCE: (laughs) I’ve got enough of my own.

That's true. You collect guitars, right?

NANCE: Yeah, I do have a guitar collection, it's not a huge collection, but-

MARTINEZ: He's got some badass guitars.

I know I’ve heard you talk about a hollow body Gibson?

NANCE: Yeah, I’ve got an ES-330 

That's interesting! I'm listening to Clapton's autobiography now-

NANCE: There ya go! (laughs) But it belongs to my brother, it's on permanent loan.

Ahhhhh. I see. In your storage facility, yeah. So I am actually listening now to Clapton's autobiography talk about how he had the generic mock-off of the 335 was the k-something? And when he knew I’ve really made it was when he could buy an es-335. He was "holy shit, I’m a professional". 

NANCE: (laughs)

And I don't know a lot about guitars so I don't even know that was such a big deal til recently. Any other really notable in your collection? Or, to you, they're all notable. They're in your collection....

NANCE: Yeah, John Neff gave me a lap steel, which I’m kind of fond of.

Oh really? Do you get to play that often? 

NANCE: At home, but I’ve been so lazy lately that I haven't really touched my guitars very much.

Yeah. It seems like, even for a guitar player, the lap steel is such a different instrument. I can't imagine knowing all the layers of that. Do you guys collect your own instruments? Different instruments other than what you play?

JN: Yeah

What is your weird and freaky “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” instrument?

JN: I don't know...I have an electric sitar.


JN: Mmmm-hmmmmm.

I don't think I even knew that was a thing. Is that like Beatles psychedelia Indian electric sitar?

JN: It's not as exotic as a real sitar. But it sounds buzzy it has a bridge, it's strung tuned just like an electric guitar but the bridge is a buzz bridge and it gives it that buzzy sound.

I could see that. Do you guys have any interesting instruments in your collection, collecting dust at home?

HUTCHENS: I don't think of it as a collection, I have a number of guitars at home, but I play 'em-

That's true. If you play it, it's not a "collection".

HUTCHENS: They don't hang on the wall. Although there are a few that hang on the wall....

JN: I hang 'em on the wall but I play 'em (laughter all around)

HUTCHENS: Mine have just been hangin' on the wall recently...But you know, it's not like a museum piece, and I beat the hell out of 'em and they get dirty and sweaty and scratched up.

MOSIER: It's a weapon of mass construction. (laughter)

I like that. That'll be my next t-shirt I make (referencing our earlier discussion about the stuff I’d made and worn that weekend). 

MOSIER: Yeah! That's what it is.

Don't let me hear anything witty I’m just like "I want that on a t-shirt!" (laughter) Do y'all collect anything else? Does anybody have any quirky-

MOSIER: I don't have to collect banjos. I'm really blessed to the extent that I leave my window cracked on my car and I leave a banjo in there and always somebody in the public will come by and leave another banjo (laughter) with my banjo, so I’ve got like 150 thousand banjos that I’ve collected over 30 years of parking lots all over the country (laughter). 

NANCE: Mosier Depository. (laughs)

MOSIER: It's just they all…they usually just put a little note on there, "Good luck".

NANCE: "I hope you give it more life than I did!" (laughs)

MOSIER: Yeah. "Take this outta my life..." (laughter)

"Take this pain!" I just keep imagining these little banjos just popping up all over the country... (laughter)

MOSIER: It's marvelous.

I love it. Does anybody have any quirky collections? Or when you're on the road is there any random thing you collect? 

NANCE: I had a friend and she always wanted a refrigerator magnet from whatever state I was in or city, so I would go out on a little quest at these truck stops.

MOSIER: (laughs) I did that for my kids.

NANCE: Did you? 

It's nice to have a thing to look for. It gives you a reason to get out and look and interact. You're like "Man, I gotta find another magnet. I have five skylines of cities, gimme something new."

NANCE: Yeah. I don't have to do it anymore because I think she got all of the states I go to, she got one from there already.

Nice. When I was a kid and we had the pens that you tilt and they'd slide and the picture'd be revealed? Like of a lady’s boobs? That was my thing.... (laughter)

So, I find the drum-guitar crossover interesting. I always hear blues guitarists talking about "bending the note" with their string and I’ve wondered before, is that something you can or want to or tried to bring to percussion? Like with a flick of the wrist or inner-to-outer edge?

NANCE: You can do it with timpani, the foot pedal.

Oh, right.

NANCE: And there are other-

MOSIER: What's the talking drum?

NANCE: The talking drum is where there are cords that hold the heads together and then they're on the same cord and you squeeze it and tightens the tension on it and you got this little curl stick that looks like a walking cane. Actually, I’ve seen one that was a floor tom and you would, it had like a kick pedal or a high hat pedal you would step on and it would change the pitch. I can't remember where I saw it. But I have seen one of those.

Have you found other guitar or other instrument tricks that you've found you could translate over? I think that's fascinating all the subtleties that everyone in the audience isn't even aware of. Or have you now fine-tuned your set-up? What defines your sound? Do you have one with what you've refined over the years as your set-up, do you think?

NANCE: Yeah, I think all of us could answer and say 'yes' to that. It's like these guys, it's easier for me to play a rental kit, it's not as hard as if you've got a certain amplifier or certain outboard gear you use and stuff like that. So, yeah, everybody tries to keep their general sound about them and have that available now.

Yeah, cause I’m in my Clapton phase now and he was talking about how his sound was modeled after Freddie King and that high thin sound, but because he brought his amplifier closer and had more distortion, it became the Clapton sound. So, have you ever, maybe when you were starting out, modeled your sound after someone do you think? Even consciously or subconsciously?

NANCE: No, not, no...

MARTINEZ: I’ve been trying to copy Eric Carter since day one. (laughter)

HUTCHENS: Can't be done. 

MARTINEZ: I’ve been trying.

MOSIER: I’ve tried to sound like Bela Fleck and after five attempted suicides, I quit trying. (laughter) He's just the master. Amazing. He's just great. I’ve met him and he's a great guy, too. But he helped the banjo more than, in this kinda world, I could even say. 

I’ve just started learning more about banjo. I know a luthier outside of Raleigh who's taught me more about banjo and strings, James Griggs.

MOSIER: I know who you're talking about. I’ve heard the name.

I figured. He's taught me more of the ways because he realized how poor my education was in the banjo arts. So have you guys learned any tricks that translated over from another instrument or have you invented anything like 'Oh, this is the Hutchens English Flick of the Wrist'?

HUTCHENS: No, I don't think so. I think you just, or to me, find what you're comfortable with. Not looking for a trick. And I think with a lot of us it's just a kind of second nature, like you know what works for you. 

Like, what doesn't give you carpal tunnel syndrome? (murmured agreement)

HUTCHENS: All the experimentation, I could know pretty quickly when I play a certain guitar if it suits me.

And now you guys have better guitars and they're not strung as high and you're not having to kill yourself hopefully...

HUTCHENS: I’ve definitely had worse guitars. 

I honestly didn't even realize til a few years ago the difference that that made and I think it's so hard to play a good guitar-


I just don't have the hands to fit it, so I can't imagine having to really grab up there. 

HUTCHENS: I play heavy strings, anyway. 

Oh really?

HUTCHENS: I’m used to playing rhythm, and like, a solid chord, so-

So they don't snap as often but it's gonna be harder to play?

HUTCHENS: Yeah, there's a difference, but you know. It's all relevant to what you do. 

I'm such a nerd about that stuff. (To Todd) I noticed how low your drum kit is and Ashley was saying that's a jazz kit and Chris was saying it's also adjusted for your back to not hurt to be-

NANCE: Well, also it's low, too, cause it's just a 20" kick drum and my big ass behind it makes it look small.

Like Bonham aping it up behind the drum!

MOSIER: You really are bigger than it seems. When we were in the car, I was like, "How tall are you?!?" (laughter)

Yeah. We always see you sitting! You know we have these big dogs in the hotel this weekend that are way over 25 pounds? The joke is that if we get busted, we're standing them beside Big Jimmy for scale so they seem tiny. (laughter, as the dogs have been the running entertainment of the weekend) 

So another thing I find interesting is the technology interface that's kind of coming about. You've come a long way from having the phone receiver tied to your head with a bathroom belt (for phone rehearsals) to Bluetooth headsets and ears and all that. Does that make it easier for you guys? Do you miss the simplicity of not having so much?

NANCE: Saved my hearing. 

Good! Okay.

NANCE: If I hadn't started wearing "in-ears" 20 years ago, I’d be deaf as a post.

Right. What about the social media?

NANCE: I don't...I haven't looked at it.

It's not your thing. And, full disclosure, I work in technology and my company works in making concerts more interactive and that's something I may get into, but the thing is how interactive does...? Because the audience wants interactivity, the venue wants interactivity because that feeds sales, but is the band like "Jesus, another point of interactivity? Can we not have the green room sacred space?” Or, is it interesting to see the interactivity during that? I think that's such a controversial issue. Some bands are "Gimme all the data you can" and-

NANCE: But that's not the music.

Right. Even when I’m writing a show up, I don't take my phone out, I don't take notes, I think it's very distracting. And I get paid a whole buncha money to push technology, but in the show, I think that's sacred. I dim my watch (laughter at my Apple watch), I put my phone away, so that's what I worry about. Are we pushing it too far? Is it one more burden when you have so much going on already in your headspace?

MOSIER: There's no replacing being there.


MOSIER: You get the most pixels when you're there. We're the highest definition. So, that's what it's for. It's a medicine we made for ourselves and we purvey these things called songs and package this wonderful material of polyrhythms, lyrics, melodies, and hopefully help the people feel better than they did when they got here. If they had a gun in their mouth, they'll pull it out. They'll just feel more hopeful. Now more than ever, even with all the technology, it's the need for just standing in the shower of sound coming off that stage is something that I need, we need it, and the people out there need it. It's just an amazing powerfully magical life-changing substance, and that's music. It's just incredible and there's no technology, there's nothing that could come up that could jazz up the jazz.

Yeah! That's a good way to put it.

MOSIER: You can't jazz up the jazz. And music is truly…it doesn't need to be jazzed up.

I think that's a good point that it's so unifying and there's very few places that you can go to today like that. You can go to a sports arena and even a fan of the same team may argue with you about a referee's call. If you go to church, there's controversy about who made the pound cake. This is one of the few places that we can just come together and just openly, freakily love each other. (laughter). So, what do you see on the horizon for y'all? Each of you or together?

NANCE: We're just gonna see how this goes and if it keeps rolling down the hill then we'll just keep riding it. If the wheels don’t come off. We've all got to a place now where we've got time to get together and do this and before we were all a little too busy, you know? 


NANCE: To do just a couple single shows here or there or wherever....

Right...half-assedly? Not that y'all would do anything half-assedly...

Mills: Yeah.

NANCE: What were you gonna say?

Mills: I was just agreeing about the half-assed part. (laughter)

Mosier: I’m just hired; I’m not on the board of directors.

A contractor. 

Mosier: I’m a hired gun.

Martinez: He's our gunslinger. "Banjo...Banjo..." (sung in a western tv show style)


What kind of recordings have you not released? Isn't there a kids recording?

HUTCHENS: Yes. A bunch. A bunch.

Mills: We had a whole record that we never did anything with.

Which one? Do I know of it?

Mills: No, because nobody's heard of it.

Nance: The Romper Stompers?

Mills: Yeah.

No, I know that. I’ve heard of that.

Mills: Yeah, that was me and him and Danny and Neff. 

Yeah. And I have two children so we're your target demographic.

Hutchens: There's a number of things. That's always on the-

You just wanna finish post processing or are you still recording or...?

HUTCHENS: It's just, things get backed up. I want them out. You know, you have to find the right way to do it. You have to find financing, and then the Bloodkin world, Romper Stompers, recordings with Interstellar Boys. There's a bunch of stuff, it's just not released and it's, you know, it's always something coming in the pipeline. 

Where do you like to play? Music halls like this? Do you see yourself outdoors? Do you see yourself doing some sweaty festival? I'm getting ready to go to Lockn and avoid heat stroke as hard as I can.

Nance: We talked about trying to get on some festivals.

I didn't know if you enjoyed that anymore.

Nance: You get a huge crowd, you get paid, you get exposure, you're on a big ass stage, and they accommodate everything you need. 

Mosier: Great way to see music, too. You get to see your friends. Kind of like the watercooler for musicians. Otherwise, we don't get to see each other. So, there's a lot of magic that happens with sit-ins and collaborations and workshops. It's just more heady and sweet and nice and it's very lucrative. And you get word of mouth, like Todd said. It's a very human way to present music. It's very communal.

I like that about Jam Cruise. I got to do that once, and just all the random impromptu set-ups. You know, they're sitting on the deck, the guys from Love Canon. 

Mosier: They're great.

Imma let you guys relax before the show, I really appreciate your time. I hope they weren't questions you've been asked a million times.

Nance: Those were better questions than most.

Oh, good.

Nance: "What's your favorite color? How'd you name your band?" (laughter)

I listen to music audiobooks all day long and interviews. And I get bored of that. First of all, if you're a fan, you'd know the basic facts and second of all, that doesn't really speak to YOU. Like "tell me your favorite color", unless it was the blue of your grandmother's eyes. 

Mosier: The great Col Bruce Hampton, one of the things that he taught us on some level, it IS all the same. If you're playing Danny Boy in a nursing home, or if you're in Madison Square Garden, the gigs are the same. The tenets of music. It requires the exact same attention no matter what the crowd. It's easy to look at the crowd and the budget and the hype and the delusion and all that, but, that's why I'm here because I know why they're here and how they play and we're on the same page that way.

It's a thoughtful interaction, like what he had. He (Col Bruce) was on that Jam Cruise of course. He was on all of 'em. And my last conversation with him was about this framed artwork where they took all the Jam Cruise luggage tags and put 'em together for all the years he'd been there and he wanted me to bring that back with me. He's like "Shug, how am I gonna get this back?" And I go "How am I gonna get this back?!? What are you talkin' about? Col, they'll ship that for you." He goes "That's right...they will..." and we leave Jam Cruise and I go party on a sailboat for a night and I just remember thinking "Thank God I don't have Col Bruce's framed artwork on this boat right now." (laughter)

Mosier: That's right!

And I had very many wonderful interactions with that man which I'm very grateful for. I'm a lucky, lucky soul. Thank you gentlemen. I'm gonna wrap this up. 

Listen to Todd Nance & Friends' show at Isis Music Hall (08.10.18) here:

Listen to Todd Nance & Friends' show at Isis Music Hall (08.11.18) here:

Umphrey's McGee and Spafford Deliver Sold-Out Sunday Special August 13, 2018 16:20

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
While Sunday afternoon would see heavy rains roll through early on, the skies would clear just in time for a rock show that Birmingham will be talking about for some time. Jam veterans Umphrey's McGee always bring a special show to The Magic City, but there was a notable buzz surrounding this particular date. The opening gig for Umphrey's has been a highly coveted spot for years, and I'm not sure that role has ever been filled by a hotter band than Spafford. These two seem like a match made in 'jam band heaven', and Sunday night's sold-out show at Avondale Brewing Company was everything we could have hoped for. 
Spafford has quickly become one of the hottest rising acts in the jam/festival scene, and the showing of fans for this early 5:30 PM set was a direct indication. This would be just my third opportunity to catch these guys, with the first two coming earlier this year at SweetWater 420 Festival. The band came out firing with an 18-minute "Windmill" to open the set, showcasing their brilliant approach towards improvisation early on. Next up was the beautifully melodic "Slip and Squander," one of my favorites from the band's latest release For Amusement Only. This one captures the essence of keyboardist's Andrew "Red" Johnson's vocals as well as any tune in the bands arsenal. Heavy jams within "Lovesick Melody" and "Soil" would round out one of the stronger 45-minute sets of music I can remember. While we were all hungry for Umphrey's, Spafford left one hell of a mark on Birmingham. We'll all be anxiously awaiting their return, which will undoubtedly be a hot ticket. 
Umphrey's took the stage shortly after to the first sold-out crowd that I've witnessed in quite a few shows at the brewery. This was a night that featured a heavy dosage of UM staples, starting off with a rocking "August." The set continued with "Day Nurse" > "The Linear," only to be followed by one of my all-time favorites, "Mantis." I can't help but throw my hands up in celebration when the chorus for that one comes around. The jam would ultimately segue into "Draconian" and one of the band's newest tracks, "Forks," would follow. Frontman Brendan Bayliss then called on "local up-and-comer" Taylor Hicks for the band's debut of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" to close out the set. If anyone hadn't been singing along by this point in the night, they surely chimed in for this moment. Video footage from "Mantis" and "Drift Away" can be found below.
Speaking of all-time favorites, the second set was about as strong as a long-time Umphrey's fan could ask for. "Ringo" lit a fire in the rowdy Birmingham crowd and a massive "Cemetery Walk" > "Cemetery Walk II" made for a super funky, electro dance party. Keyboardist Joel Cummins would continue to shine as he led the way into "2 x 2," another UM ballad which just resonates with a beautiful, peaceful vibe. "Bridgeless" provided some of the evening's heavier moments, as it tends to do, before a nice segue into "Seasons," a newer tune from the band's recent surprise album it's you. "Seasons" ultimately led back into the unfinished "Mantis" from earlier in the night, which made for an emphatic end to the second set. 
The encore would point the spotlight on Cummins yet again as he sparked the intro and led the way through "Kimble." Just when I was thinking we might get another big cover to close out the night, the band ripped back into "Bridgeless" and finished in appropriately raging fashion. It had been about a year since my last non-festival, two-set Umphrey's show, and this was just what the doctor ordered. This band operates like a well-oiled machine, and they continue to raise the bar like very few have ever been capable of doing. We'll be anxiously awaiting their return, and speaking of which, would it be too much to ask for a two-night run in Alabama?  You know what they can't get a hit unless you swing the bat. 

Spafford - Birmingham, AL - 08.12.18

Set: Windmill, Slip and Squander, Lovesick Melody > Soil

Umphrey's McGee - Birmingham, AL - 08.12.18

Set 1: August, Day Nurse > The Linear, Mantis > Draconian, Forks, Drift Away[1]

Set 2: Ringo, Cemetery Walk > Cemetery Walk II, 2x2, Bridgeless >  Seasons > Mantis

Encore: Kimble > Bridgeless

Notes: [1] debut, Dobie Gray; with Taylor Hicks
Watch a clip of Spafford performing "Soil" here:
Watch a clip of Umphrey's McGee performing "Mantis" here:
Watch a clip of Umphrey's peforming "Drift Away" with Taylor Hicks here:

Phish Announces Free Webcast in Raleigh on Friday August 08, 2018 12:41

Photo by Nicholas Lintz
If you're looking to catch a Phish show this weekend but can't make it to North Carolina or Maryland, we've got great news. The band just confirmed a free webcast this Friday, August 10th at 7PM EDT from Phish's show at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC. Tune-in to the FREE webcast at
The band will continue to Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday - Sunday (8/11 - 8/12) before heading up to Watkins Glen International Speedway for their Curveball festival the following weekend (8/17 - 8/19). For those wondering how the band is sounding this summer, go ahead and check out the HD video of "Bathtub Gin > You Sexy Thing Reprise" from Atlanta on Sunday night below!
Watch "Bathtub Gin > You Sexy Thing Reprise" here:

CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Confirms 2018 Lineup August 07, 2018 16:20


Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Festival organizers have revealed the initial lineup for CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival, which returns Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL for the fifth consecutive year on October 6th - 8th. This annual, grassroots music and arts festival has seen tremendous growth with each year, and 2018 looks to be no exception. The Fall Fest lineup includes veteran nationally touring acts such as The New Orleans Suspects, Charlie Hunter Trio, and The Fritz, as well as Steady FlowThe JaunteeEat a Peach (Allman Brothers Tribute)The Brook & The BluffLamont Landers Band, Early James & The LatestSkydyed, and The Pearl

Advance general admission tickets and VIP packages can be purchased at  Stay tuned for info on the official Thursday night pre-party, future updates, exclusive artist interviews, and everything you need to know about CukoRakko. See below for further info on what to expect from this year's lineup.

As part of our CukoRakko preview coverage, we're giving away a pair of weekend passes to the festival. To enter the contest, head over to the Live & Listen Facebook page, share this post, and tag a friend in the comments section. Make sure your settings are designated to public, so we can see the shared post on our end. 

Artwork by Mike Sears: Light Train Studio

The New Orleans Suspects

New Orleans Suspects began playing together in 2009 as a pick-up band at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans. Comprised of some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in NOLA, the group called themselves The Unusual Suspects. Their chemistry was undeniable and by the summer of 2011 they decided to tour full-time, renaming the band New Orleans Suspects. They quickly began attracting large crowds from San Francisco to New York. They've released four CDs and established themselves as one of New Orleans’ best supergroups.

Charlie Hunter Trio

With a career spanning 16 years and almost 20 albums, Charlie Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with the likes of Norah Jones , Mos Def, John Mayer, D’Angelo and countless others. He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight - string guitar, and continues to stun audiences with his ability to simultaneously bust out tasty bass parts, melodic leads and swinging rhythms.

Hunter has previously recorded for the venerable Blue Note label, Concord, Ropeadope, GroundUP and others. His recent independent venture is steered by his motivation to release music that most inspires him. Critics have touted his genius technique, but it's his profound artistic sensibility that propels his original music. Hunter's signature style of writing and performing has secured his place as one of today's great guitarists.

The Fritz

The Fritz is a soul-driven dance rock band hailing from Asheville, NC. The group’s aggressive approach to funk, soul, and rock creates a sound that is uniquely their own. Their high-energy, danceable songs provide a platform for each member to shine. With powerful vocals, climactic solos, and tight grooves, The Fritz has built a devoted following and is captivating audiences everywhere.

Originally formed in the rehearsal spaces of University of North Florida's School of Music, The Fritz discovered an immediate chemistry. Drawing on influences such as Prince, Talking Heads and Jimi Hendrix, the quintet integrated their diverse musical tastes and began writing music together. 

With their college days behind them, the Fritz soon set their eyes on the mountains of Western North Carolina, eventually settling in Asheville in July 2011. After the release of their 2012 debut album, Bootstrap, the band launched into a near-constant touring schedule. With appearances at festivals such as Hulaween, Wakarusa, and Catskill Chill, the band quickly gained a reputation as a live act not to be missed.

Steady Flow

From the Heart of the Midwest, Steady Flow brings a unique style of powerful funk music like you've never heard it before. Formed in 2012 by 18 year old, soul guitarist extraordinaire, Tanner Brown, and his older brother, Ky "Goonie-Mom" Brown on bass guitar, the group has now transformed into a six-piece funk-powerhouse, quickly claiming their spot as one of the best live acts around.

In Steady Flow's short existence, the group has taken on music festivals such as North Coast, Summer Camp, Phases of the Moon, and the list goes on. The band is constantly turning heads at every performance as their hard hitting Funk Rock compositions shake the room and force all audiences to dance, rage, & simply feel good.

Steady Flow released their first EP, "The Oneoff Sessions" in 2013, and their debut album, "Loud." in June 2015. The band released their newest full length album, "Do You Like That?" in April 2017! Do not miss a live show near you. Steady Flow is "The Future Of Funk."

The Jauntee

In a world filled with instant gratification, gimmicky over saturation and a lack of true improvisation, The Jauntee pays tribute to music’s ability to transcend simple entertainment and cultivate a truly distinctive experience. The Jauntee has fostered a musical community based on a breadth of original material that engages fans through nightly exploration and risk taking. Averaging over one hundred shows a year, with each containing a unique set list and their own special improvisational moments, the band is constantly expanding upon what defines them and their live performances.

With almost a decade’s worth of touring experience; appearances at major festivals such as Peach Fest, Catskill Chill, and Resonance; and 36 states toured with stops at national touring staples such as Brooklyn Bowl, Georgia Theatre, and the Paradise Rock Club, The Jauntee have been nurturing a fanbase of dedicated followers who are inspired by their music and willing to travel to see what the band has in store next. Fans that thoroughly analyze their music, track their set lists and passionately promote their music. The Jauntee makes each night an exciting prospect of a new shared experience with bust-outs, fresh jamming, poignant covers, and accessible songwriting.

Their upcoming live album “ALWAYS NEVER KNOWING” is a quintessential selection of live works from the band’s 2017 two-night-run at The Bridge Sound & Stage in their hometown of Cambridge, MA. It features 16 tracks that were professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered by sound engineer Alex Allinson. It showcases the band’s masterful playing and inspiring ability to take their original music and create something uniquely theirs night after night. It also features nine previously unreleased tracks that have quickly become staples of their live show. Experience the band in their purest element, pushing the boundaries of their sound while sharing that trip with their fans.

Eat a Peach (An Allman Brothers Tribute)

Eat A Peach consists of five guys from Birmingham that share a mutual respect for the Allman Brothers music. With Will Cash on guitar, Matt Casey on guitar, Peyton Grant on keys, Mark Lanter on drums, and Aaron Branson on bass, what was once just an idea in high school came to life in the summer of 2008. All the members found their way back to Birmingham and back out on the music scene again. After a lot of rehearsing and learning tunes, the boys were ready to take the classic songs to the stage. With a great deal of local success, the band decided to hit the road playing college towns, private events, and festivals. Keep your eyes peeled for Eat A Peach in a town near you! Anyone who is a fan of the Allman Brothers Band is sure to have a great time at an Eat A Peach show.


The Brook & The Bluff

Established in Birmingham, AL, The Brook & The Bluff is a four-man band that has been traveling and recording music since late 2016. The group consists of frontman Joseph Settine, drummer John Canada, guitarist Alec Bolton and bassist Fred Lankford. 

The guys have quickly become recognized for their evocative blend of instrumental talent and vocal harmony. These elements are readily apparent in the band's first single, “Masks.” Released in September of 2016, the song has helped spur the band forward in their musical pursuits. 

The group's first year as a full band has been widely successful. From charting on Spotify's US and Canada Viral 50 Playlists, performing at the NAMM shows in both Nashville and Anaheim, and selling out shows in Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville, the band has had an exhilarating 2017. The band will be releasing a variety of new music in 2018!

Lamont Landers Band

Born and raised in Alabama, Lamont Landers grew up absorbing the soulful sounds of the south that surrounded him. At the age of 14 he taught himself how to play guitar, and at the age of 19 began singing. He spent years quietly honing his talents behind his bed room doors, listening to records by Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Sly & The Family Stone, and Ray Charles on repeat. At the age of 22 a candid video recorded by his sister of him performing the Ray Charles’ classic “Hit the Road Jack” went viral on YouTube, and with the help of garnered over 400,000 views overnight. His YouTube channel now has over 11,000 subscribers and over 1.9 million views, and his four-piece outfit, The Lamont Landers Band has since become a staple in college towns and perform across the southeast bringing their joyful noise of Soul, Funk, and R&B to audiences of all sizes.

And now with their crowd-pleasing performance on Showtime at the Apollo, the Lamont Landers Band is destined to become a household name.

Early James & The Latest

Birmingham based Americana band that attempts to re-spin what has been spun before. A mishmash of Blues, Country, Folk, and Jazz with crooner-esque styling.  While drawing influences from both old and new, we attempt a unique spin on something that has been spun many times over. A combination of genres that will not only knock your socks off, but put them back on for you afterwards.


Skydyed is a three-piece band that blends cutting edge electronic production with live instrumentation from Fort Collins, CO.

Featuring Andrew Slattery on bass synths and bass guitar, Max Doucette on guitar and keys, and Craig Babineau on drums, the band integrates generations of the state’s extensive musical heritage with their own deep-seated ties to the electronic music scene. With roots in rock, funk and jazz, Skydyed has created their own, diverse sound that intertwines organic live drums, bass and guitar through soulful jam, hard-hitting bass and profound break-beats.

With their unique and advanced production, Skydyed has established itself as a can’t miss performance that bridges the gap between EDM and live music.

The Pearl

The Pearl is a product of collaboration... a natural progression of musicians playing next to one another in different settings with different people, starting in 2016. All three members are quite good at keeping themselves musically busy, so as the gigs began to overlap, side projects and pop-up shows, typically featuring a mixture of this trio with other local talent, starting becoming more frequent.

As musicians, they also share a common thread in that all three work exceptionally hard between shows to practice and grow as musicians and people. Each member, even before they had met, had developed borderline excessive practice routines so, in hindsight, forming a trio was the move to make. 

Finally, in the Spring of 2018, when Taylor moved back home from Nashville to finish his masters in music education from Belmont, all it took was one trio gig for The Pearl to start writing, booking, and practicing together many hours a week. 

Here we are, just a little ways down the road, with full sets of original material + pages of cover songs, pulling crowds to some of the areas most popular venues & festivals.

The Future of Guitar: A Conversation with Brandon "Taz" Niederauer August 07, 2018 12:01

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you have most likely heard about teenage guitar prodigy Brandon "Taz" Niederauer. Taz has taken the jam scene by storm, appearing at many of the nation's most prominent music festivals, and sitting in with the likes of Gregg Allman, Col. Bruce Hampton, George Porter Jr., Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, and so many more. Last Friday, Live & Listen's lead photographer, Craig Baird, had a chance to sit down and catch up with the young superstar. See below for the full conversation, as well as various video content and a photo gallery from the Terminal West show. 

Interview by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Let's talk about how this all started. I've read that your musical journey began after watching School of Rock when you were eight. At what point did you really start focusing on playing?

Taz: Watching the School of Rock is definitely what started it all. I started taking the guitar seriously as soon as I picked it up for the first time and played my first couple of notes. I knew I loved it and wanted to pursue it. 

It wasn't long until you were cast as the principal guitarist in the broadway  musical (School of Rock) at age 12. How was that experience, and what type of opportunities came from this role?

Taz: Many opportunities came from that, I was an amazing experience. I loved every second of it. One experience that came from that was I got to play in Jesus Christ Superstar live on TV. An Andrew Lloyd Webber live production so that was amazing. So many opportunities have came from that production that I can't even name them all. I'm so happy, and I'm so grateful for all of these opportunities.

Wow...I read that almost 10 million people tuned in to watch that.

Taz: Yeah, it was really cool.

Your rapid popularity certainly steered you to a unique lifestyle at an early age. How vital has your family been through this experience, and how do you guys go about balancing things out?

Taz: We have family dinners. We're just a normal family when I'm home. They're just so supportive. My mom, dad, and my brother are just the most supportive people I know, and I can't thank them enough for that. I'm so grateful for them. When I go home, my brother and I are playing football and basketball outside. We play video games together. It's very much a normal family when I'm home. I still go to school, so I'm at home most of the week, and then I do shows on the weekend. I'm just so grateful to have a super supportive loving family. 

It seems like each year, the momentum continues to build. Who were some of the early big name artists that invited you to play with them? Are there any in particular that stick out the most?

Taz: As far as the notable artists that I've played with, I can't thank them enough for the opportunity to play. I definitely can't pick a favorite. Every single person I get to play with, I'm super grateful for the opportunity. I guess I'd say the more notable artists I've played for would have to be George Porter Jr, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Col. Bruce Hampton, Lady Gaga, Slash, Dr. John, Warren Haynes, Umphrey's McGee. Those are the first few that come to mind, and I can't thank them enough for the opportunity.

That's amazing. I'm no musician, but I know that comprehending and writing original music is no easy task. Not many have reason to do it in their early teenage years. What is your current approach, and how do you see things unfolding moving forward?

Taz: It's either things that happen in my daily life, or I'm writing a story about a certain character, or I'm writing about something that everybody experiences. I hope that the audience, at least one audience member, every night, can connect to what I'm singing, because I really do mean it. Even through my playing, I hope that I can touch one person in the audience, move them, make their day. I can't thank these people enough for coming to my performances. I mean...they could have stayed home or done something else. To spend that night with me is just mind boggling. The band...we spend many hours a week rehearsing, and I hope our hard work pays off, and they love what we're doing, because we love them. 

I know this city brings a whirlwind of memories to mind. Most recently, performing with Umphrey's McGee, String Cheese, Tedeschi Trucks, and so many more on at SweetWater 420 Festival. There was also the Hampton 70 show. How would you describe your relationship with Col. Bruce and his lasting impact on you personally?

Taz: My relationship with Col. Bruce was special. He was such a mentor. He was probably my biggest mentor. Not just to me, but to everyone in the music world. I mean...everyone has been touched by him. He's given me so much advice. To always play with the utmost intention. Always be humble. Love your fans. Make them the number one priority. He was an amazing guy. He's brought up so many amazing musicians. The time that he devoted to helping me out is just again, mind boggling. The fact the he would even consider taking me under his wing. The Hampton 70 show, of course it was a whirlwind of emotions. It was an amazing time and unfortunately was the day of his passing. Once you get past the horrific part...I say this all the time, but if he were to write his own story, his own life, that's the way he would go out. 

I agree. My friend and I right in front of the both of you during that encore and his passing. It was truly an emotional night. So let's switch gears and talk about Brooklyn Comes Alive, which is coming up this September. Tell me how that came about.

Taz: Well, they asked me to lead a set focusing on the artists that we've recently lost, including Col. Bruce Hampton, members of the Allman Brothers, and a whole bunch more. I said that's something I would be delighted to do, so I got some of my favorite musicians in the world, including George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Peter Levin (Gregg Allman Band), and Elise Testone (American Idol). I asked them if they could come play and they said yes. All of these musicians that I'm playing with for this special set have influenced me, so the fact that they said yes to play with me is an amazing thing. 

I know that will be a special experience. Your calendar seems to be as busy as anyone these days. Before we wrap this up, I'm curious to know what can we expect from Taz and Co. the rest of this year? What has you most excited?

Taz: I'm going to Japan this October. I've got jitters for that. I can't wait to go and play four shows, so that's gonna be awesome. I can't wait to go to new states that I've never been to before. We're going to Illinois and Indiana soon. I'm looking forward to meeting those folks over there. Every single state has a different way of life. Different culture. Even every city. The crowd is even different, so I can't wait to feed off the energy of the different crowds and meet all the new people. 

That will be an amazing experience. It's been a pleasure watching your story unfold thus far, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Thank you so much for your time today Taz. 

Taz: Of course. Thank you and hope you enjoy the show.

Watch Taz perform his new tune "My Revival" at Chicago Music Exchange here:

Watch Taz perform "Statesboro Blues" with Tedeschi Trucks Band at SweetWater 420 Festival here:

Craig Baird (Home Team Photography) and Taz at Terminal West

Grateful Dead's 'Meet-Up at the Movies' in Select Theaters Tonight August 01, 2018 00:12

Meet up with friends and fellow Dead Heads in cinemas nationwide for the 8th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies on Wednesday, August 1st. This special one-night event features the complete concert recorded at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia on July 7, 1989

The Philadelphia concert offers a snapshot of the Dead’s 1989 tour, where the band played to some of its biggest audiences ever. The band helped raze the aging stadium, thundering through “Hell In A Bucket,” “Little Red Rooster” and Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.”

Many sitting at north end of the open-air stadium recall the concrete bleachers trembling during Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann’s drum duet in the second set. The show closed with another Dylan cover, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” the last song ever performed at JFK.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this Grateful gathering in movie theatres. Get your front row seats now!

Click here to locate a theater near you!

Watch the official preview here:

Win Tickets to Phish After Parties at Smith's Olde Bar & Aisle 5 July 31, 2018 12:15

Summer is upon us, and it's time for Phish's annual weekend run in the Southeast. This year is an extra special treat as the band is preparing for it's first-ever three-night run at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, GA. If you're looking for additional music in Atlanta this weekend, our friends at Don't Fret Entertainment have you covered. 
We're giving away a pair of ticket to both of Don't Fret's after parties, which include The Grass is Dead feat. Rev. Jeff Mosier at Smith's Olde Bar on Friday night and THE FLOATIEZ w/ special guests Schema at Aisle 5 on Saturday night. To enter the contest, share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section. We will announce the winners on Friday at 12:00 PM EST. Further details on both shows can be found below!

8/3/2018 - The Grass is Dead Ft. Reverend Jeff Mosier - Smith's Olde Bar

Doors: 11PM

Tickets: $15 Advance / $18 DOS / $10 with Phish Ticket Stub at Door

Event Page / Ticket Link

8/4/2018 - The Floatiez Perform A Tribute to Jamiroquai W.S.G. Schema

Aisle 5 - Doors: 10PM

Tickets: $10 ADV / $15 DOS / $10 with Phish Ticket Stub at Door

Event Page / Ticket Link

The Grass is Dead: 

This isn't your normal Grateful Dead Tribute band, they should be thought of more of a Joe Russo's Almost Dead or Dark Star Orchestra in that they are nationally touring and bring something different than your normal group of old dudes playing the same songs for the last 20 years.

They've played some of the biggest bluegrass festivals around this year including Suwannee Spring Roots Revival, Rooster Walk, Aiken Bluegrass Fest and Del Fest.

Watch Grass is Dead perform "Shakedown Street" here:


With every great music scene, comes great musical collaborations. Which is exactly what THE FLOATIEZ are. They are comprised of some of Atlanta’s fastest growing funk/jam bands: Funk You, Voodoo Visionary, Hedonistas, Donna Hopkins Band, and even a couple throwbacks Dank and Bodega Roja. 

THE FLOATIEZ has a rotating cast of musicians that keeps their live shows intriguing and unique. With Jamiroquai’s newly released US tour dates, this is a great way to pay tribute to a great artist and to bring the hype to ATL. 

Watch The Floatiez perform "Wha'ts Hip?" here:


“a representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model”

Schema is a 4-piece instrumental outfit native to Charleston, SC. The band reformed in 2016, and has hit the ground running in Charleston’s fresh, yet flourishing music scene.

Schema intertwines dance grooves with progressive-savvy songwriting, along with an organic electro-synth touch, that has helped to produce a sky-like ceiling for the bands potential. 

Watch Schema perform "Ometape" here:

Phish Announces Free Webcast For Wednesday In San Francisco July 24, 2018 15:40

Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo
Phish's summer tour is officially in full force, as the band has just wrapped up its initial multi-night runs at Lake Tahoe and The Gorge. The band is five shows into the tour, and they've already clocked in 90 different songs without a single repeat. Do we expect that trend to continue much longer? Probably not. Regardless, it's refreshing to continue to see their creative approach after the magic of The Baker's Dozen last summer. 
If you can't make it to San Francisco on Wednesday night, you're in luck. Phish will offer a free webcast tomorrow, Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30PM PDT / 10:30PM EDT for the second night of their Bill Graham Civic Auditorium run. Tune-in to the free webcast at

Umphrey's McGee Reveals New Year's Plans in Atlanta July 23, 2018 10:21

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography.

Progressive jam rockers Umphrey's McGee have confirmed their new years plans, which include a four-night run at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. The news was confirmed earlier this morning via the band's social media outlets. The run kicks off on Friday, December 28th and concludes with a big night with three sets on Tuesday, December 31st. See below for the band's official press release.

"Umphrey’s McGee is heading back to The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia for four nights to ring in the New Year. Be there December 28 through the 31st as UM fans from around the country descend onto one of the most racaus and enjoyable rooms we have the pleasure of playing. The Tabernacle offers accommodating sight lines, crisp sound, and an overall solid fan experience befitting of an Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s celebration.

Of course, partying is better with friends. That in mind, we have lined up some incredible special guests for the run. Who might you ask? Stay tuned, info dropping soon.    

umVIP is rolling out the red carpet to ring in 2019. As we take over the Tab, umVIP is offering several different packages to ensure you can roll in the manner that best suits your needs. Whether that’s early entry for rail riding or reserved balcony seating for settling in, we’ve got you covered. Every package includes a private soundcheck show, private bar and bathrooms, exclusive UM gear, autographed screen print and more. Check out packages, travel options and more here.  

UM ticket pre-sale and umVIP on sale will take place Wednesday, January 25th at 11am ET, with a public on sale Friday, July 27th at 11am ET.

Umphrey’s loves the Tabernacle, and so should you.  It’s gonna be a rock & roll marathon, people. Eat your Wheaties."

Watch the official announcement video here:

Space Kadet Releases Funky "Return of the Mack" Remix July 20, 2018 17:47

Atlanta's Space Kadet continues to turn heads across the electronic / jam scene, as their persistent instrumental exploration never fails to deliver a fresh, upbeat variety of sounds. Having shared the stage with the likes of  The Floozies, Russ Liquid Test, Zoogma, Sunsquabi, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and The Werks, the eclectic three-piece has built notable momentum over the past year. This has led to an impressive run of festival appearances, including SweetWater 420 Festival, Imagine Festival, Purple Hatter's Ball, and Zen Awakening. 
If you're looking for a fresh addition to your summer playlist, you're in luck. Today, Space Kadet has released their latest studio work, which comes as a remix of Mark Morrison's 1996 hit, "Return of the Mack," which can be streamed in full below. We recently caught up with drummer Rohan Prakash, who gave us the inside scoop on the band's new release: 
"When Thomas Garret (guitarist) joined the band in July of last year, he would mention from time to time that we should write a remix to Mark Morrison's classic, "Return of the Mack." We never really thought much of it until earlier this year. I happened to find the acapellas for the track one night and remember spending that whole night toying with different sounds and writing different ideas on Ableton etc. I was mainly going for a housey/spacey sounding vibe, but I wanted to stay true to the originally intended R&B/funk feels of the track.
The original "Return Of The Mack" is a classic, and I was pretty nervous to drop this remix at first.  We played it live in Atlanta opening for The Floozies back in February, and it got an amazing crowd reaction. Since then, this has been one of our favorite remixes to play live. Over the past few months we have brushed it up, and we recently got to spend some time in the studio, where Bambi and Thomas would finalize their bass, synth and guitar parts. Our good friend Josh Bell helped mix and master the track for us. It's safe to say that we are quite pleased with the final product. We figured that this would make for a great summer time release."

Little Raine Band, The Pearl, & Killakeys To Join Forces In Birmingham July 18, 2018 21:22

Photos by Thomas Diasio
It's no secret that the local music scene in Birmingham is booming with creative talent, and Saturday night will feature a prime display. Veteran jam group Little Raine Band is teaming up with two newly formed supergroups, The Pearl and Killakeys, for what is sure to be an evening full of powerful and funky collaborations at Saturn Birmingham. In preparation for the weekend's festivities, we're giving away a pair of tickets via Facebook. To enter the contest, simply head over to our Facebook page, share this post, and tag a friend in the comments section. We will select and announce the winner at 12:00 PM on Saturday. See below for further details on the show!
Little Raine Band: LRB has been fixture in the Southeastern music scene for many years, but one thing has been proven time and time again. These guys continue to evolve.. With their second studio album on the horizon, it goes without saying that this quartet is on their game. With a very clean exploratory sound, unique and catchy originals, and a cleverly chosen list of covers, the Little Raine Band doesn’t disappoint.
The Pearl: The newest group to rise to the ranks of Birmingham's thriving homegrown music scene, The Pearl is a high energy power trio that goes heavy on the improvisation and original compositions, both of which are deeply rooted in funk, drum and bass, gospel, progessive rock, and jazz. The trio features Beck Hall (Birmingham Allstars, The Dagobah System) on bass/synth/vocals, Taylor Goodwin (Matt Bennett Band, Raquel Lily, JOVA) as the lead and rhythm guitar wizard, and Mr. Devonte Hutchins (LRB, Soul Mechanic, Taylor Hunnicutt) on drums and samples. 
Killakeys: Marcus White, the mind-blowing keys and synth player from Soul Mechanic who most recently filled in with The Marcus King Band, has pulled together a band of familiar faces to start a fresh new Funk/Fusion keyboard trio, with a recognizable pocket. Featuring Parrish Gabriel on Bass, and DeVonte Hutchins on Kit (both also members of Soul Mechanic) this trio brings the funk, high energy improv, and a pocket that is undeniably danceable.  

CBDB's 'Out Of Line' Proves To Be The Perfect Summer Release June 21, 2018 22:22

Words by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

With the release of their third album to date, Out of Line, CBDB continues to impress us beyond expectations. The 5-piece band from Tuscaloosa takes the success of their sophomore album, Joyfunk is Dead, and builds directly on top of where they left off. The latest release is a more concise and assertive effort that showcases their abilities as not only master tunesmiths but also brilliant lyricists.

Go see CBDB live, and the musicianship and synergy is undeniable, but what is truly impressive with Out of Line is the band’s ability to create a collection of songs that speak for themselves. Out of the seven tracks and just over 30 minutes of music that make up the album, there isn’t a single weak moment. In fact, the entire thing is exceptionally strong from start to finish. Initially, one of the greatest factors that jumps out is the giant leap in production from previous albums, and rightfully so. The band recorded Out of Line in Nashville, TN at Zac Brown’s studio, Southern Ground, with the help of producer Dan Davis.

Thematically the band seems to be extending a bridge to its growing fanbase. The leadoff track “Patterns” is a reminder that despite their rising popularity, these guys are no different than you or me. They remain susceptible to the mundane ebb and flow of daily life that we all occasionally fall victim to: “Simple repetitions / Carve lasting grooves in your day-to-day” and encourage us to rise above what makes us comfortable and follow our passions: “Break free from the sequence / Choose your path, don’t neglect the signs.” Words we all need to hear at some point in our lives.

Music fans who get their rocks off at live shows know that once the band strikes up, it’s not about what you know, but what you feel. When the groove sets and people begin to move, it doesn’t matter if you are familiar with the material or not, but more importantly, understanding how to tap into the spirit in the air. “Mumble Bull” is evidence that these guys are not just musicians, but fans as well and understand the concert experience from the audience’s perspective. “We mumble bull through lines we know/  We close our eyes and wind up home / We don’t ever miss a beat / I got my people here with me / The nonsense still lands note for note / We close our eyes, inside we know.” As frontman Cy Simonton sings these words, we are assured CBDB is no stranger to the concept of feeling at home in a crowd full of strangers. 

With “Unintentional Liar,” and in classic CBDB fashion, the album is kicked up a notch. Vocal harmonies quickly give way to anxious, hard-hitting guitar and synth riffs, alongside lyrics that reflect the frustration of online culture and the inability to decipher fiction from reality, as technology becomes more and more today’s primary source of information and communication. “Opelika Yella” is a hilarious tune about a misunderstanding in an Alabama gas station (I mean, what could have possibly gone wrong) and also presents listeners with the longest track on the album; clocking in at just over five minutes. The album version features a very brief foray into improvisational jam, but in the live setting, it is already serving as a major jam vehicle.

Out of Line begins to dig into its second side with the enormously catchy track “Unaware.” This track softens the overall mood a bit while lyrically dealing with the complexities of relationships amongst loved ones and friends and the various shortcomings that are inherently present within us all. "Unaware" also features a meatier midsection with nice solos coming from Kris Gottlieb on guitar and Glenn Dillard on sax.

“Fine Line” has the whole band really pouring in instrumentally on this heavy attacking rager of a song that lyrically covers exactly that, a rager, and the heavy toll that it can dish out. The last track on the album, “Feel So Far,” gives listeners one last chance to really shake their bones, featuring Dillard playing a Hammond organ that at one time belonged to the late southern rock legend Gregg Allman. Guest vocalist Maureen Murphy, best known for her work with STS9, even lends a hand on harmony vocals during the closing chorus of the final track.

Out of Line raises the bar for CBDB, and as the temperature outside heats up, it should prove to be the perfect summer soundtrack; whether you’re out on the water, a long road trip, or at a late-night party in your best friend’s living room.

Check out the official promo video for Out of Line here:

Stream Out of Line via Spotify here:

Waterloo Music Festival Just Confirmed A Massive Inaugural Lineup June 12, 2018 12:37

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
Just over a month ago, organizers of Waterloo Music Festival made quite the splash with the initial lineup for their inaugural festival on September 7th - 9th. The three-day event, which will be held at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX, would feature The String Cheese Incident (x3), as well as Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Railroad Earth, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento, and many more to be announced. Earlier this morning, the festival rolled out the complete lineup, and this looks to be one of the hottest jam festivals of the summer.
The latest additions include the likes of Oteil & Friends (Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, Scott Metzger, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane, and Alfreda Gerald), Leftover Salmon, Perpetual Groove, BIG Something, Everyone Orchestra, Tea Leaf Green, and many more. The complete lineup can be found on the graphic below. Waterloo is presented by Heard Presents, Havin’ A Ball Productions, and Unknown Entertainment. Various ticket and camping packages are available now via the festival's official website. Make sure to follow Waterloo on both Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates!

Expect Big Things From Birmingham's SliceFest This Weekend June 12, 2018 01:48

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

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Our favorite annual Birmingham street festival returns to the Lakeview District on Saturday, and this year's lineup has us excited in a "BIG" way. Live electronic duo Big Gigantic will handle SliceFest's headlining spot, just after The Original Wailers take you on a spiritually uplifting reggae ride. While these two acts may provide the most prominent name recognition, BIG Something is guaranteed to deliver one of the most dynamic sets that this festival has seen. The North Carolina-based band is easily one of the hottest acts on the festival circuit, and their momentum continues to build. 

Make sure you arrive early for this one, because Too Many Zooz, The Vegabonds, and LUTHI will be kicking things off with a diverse and powerful variety of performances on the main stage. The local stage looks to provide a strong showing as well this year, as Tragic CityWIll StewartRiverbendBrook & The BluffMutton Chops, and Rug Monkey will assure that the music never stops on Saturday. See below for a nice taste of what you can expect from this year's lineup

SliceFest 2018 celebrates its 7th anniversary as Birmingham's largest food & music block party hosted by Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. If you love music, great food and brews, giving back and Birmingham then you don’t want to miss this festival.  Slice Pizza & Brewhouse hosts the event to celebrate the restaurant’s anniversary and thank the Birmingham community for their continuous support. Over the past six years, the event has grown to a full-blown festival bringing in local and regional music talent paired with local craft beer and specialty pizzas. 

As with previous years, SliceFest is presented by Birmingham Budweiser and is expected to welcome a sold out crowd on this 7th anniversary with patrons from across the Southeast. Community is what SliceFest is all about, not just a celebration of those that support Slice Pizza & Brewhouse, but a way to give back to the community.  SliceFest has donated over $50,000 to Birmingham-based non-profits.

“SliceFest represents the wonderful communities of Birmingham. We strive to emphasize the substance of our city while bringing in various layers of the local culture,” stated Jason Bajalieh, Bro-Founder of Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. “The musical lineup reaches across generations and genres to give entertainment for all preferences.” Previous artists that have appeared at SliceFest include: GRiZ, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Revivalists, Galactic, Keller Williams, Foundation of Funk, Dumpstaphunk, JJ Grey and Mofro, North Mississippi Allstars with Anders Osborne, and Earphunk

Click here to purchase your tickets in advance!

Big Gigantic's "All of Me" feat. Logic & Rosez: 
The Wailers: Live at O2 Academy Leicster - March 6th 2018:
BIG Something - "The Flood" feat. Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee:
Too Many Zooz - "Bedford":
The Vegabonds - "Long Haired Country Boy":
LUTHI - "Every Body" Official Music Video:
Tragic City - "Turned Out" - Live from Monotonia Studios:

A Few Thoughts On The Magic Of Purple Hatter's Ball June 11, 2018 12:42

Words + Photos by Dawn Cassizzi 

It always feels good rolling up to the The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and my arrival to the Purple Hatters Ball was no different. This was my first time to attend PHB, and I was pleasantly surprised by the intimate feel of this little gem of a festival. With such a stark contrast to the crowds and craziness of so many other festivals I’ve attended at the park, I felt like I had happened upon a secret; a secret that included Spafford and one of my long-time favorites, Lettuce.

After arriving and setting up the camp site on Friday, we headed in for a yoga flow to get our bodies prepped for the full two days of dancing to come. Yoga, lunch and bike rides proceeded the afternoon that began with the heady jams of Hive Mind; a take-off of Atlanta based band, Space Kadet.

With just enough time between sets for a snack and a “trip” back to camp, my partner-in-crime and I returned to catch the soulful and sometimes sultry sounds of Memphis powerhouse, Southern Avenue. Band frontwoman, Tierinni Jackson knows how to put on a show and I loved seeing her sister, Tikyra as the drummer. This band puts a modern spin on “Memphis” style music that will take you all the way from the church to the club.

As the day began to turn to dusk, Toubab Krewe hit the amphitheater stage to set the vibe for the evening. With a sound that is challenging to describe, but impossible to forget, TK is a band that is not to be missed! *And lucky me… this time I did not miss the chance to pick up one of their limited-edition vinyl releases of their latest album, Stylo.

Toubab Krewe was followed by The Heavy Pets, and to close out the evening, Spafford. After discovering Spafford at Hulaween 2017, I knew I would make my strongest efforts to see them any time I possibly could. For my second show, they did not disappoint and kept me on my toes for the entire set. Filled with twists, turns and surprises, they have moments that are reminiscent of styles of so many of my favorite, but very different sounding bands…and yet I hesitate to compare, as they are so unique. I knew I was on the verge of obsession, however when they encored with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” merged with “Reprise”, my feelings were confirmed.

Day two began with a slower start due to some scattered showers, but as soon as the rain passed we headed in to catch the Roosevelt Collier Trio, Breaking Biscuits and Lettuce. Roosevelt Collier, whom I heard referred to as the “Hometown Kid”, brought several of his friends up to join him including Nigel Hall (keys), Eric 'Benny' Bloom (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (sax) of Lettuce, as well as Luke Quaranta of Toubab Krewe on percussion.  

Our dancing shoes were broken in just in time for Breaking Biscuits, a groovy-trippy collaboration of Break Science and Disco Biscuits that has just enough electronica to keep the EDM kids happy. Of course, the crowd went wild when they brought up Rosey for a cover of Prince’s “1999”.

Closing out a spectacular line-up, Lettuce brought the funk and left the crowd satisfied with the 11th annual PHB.  Lettuce gives me life, and I hope they continue to return to this extra-special, boutique festival. Thank you to Mama Margie and Paul Levine for giving me another excuse to return to The Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park and for honoring your daughter, Rachel Morningstar Hoffman in such a beautiful way. See you next year!

Videos via RexAVision

Watch Toubab Krewe perform "Hang Tan" here:

Watch Southern Avenue perform "Don't Give Up" here:

Watch Breaking Biscuits perform "Inside You > Robot Rock" here:

David Byrne Adds Birmingham Show, Tickets On Sale Friday June 06, 2018 23:35

Legendary Talking Heads' frontman David Byrne is in the midst of his first solo tour in nearly a decade, and more new shows continue to surface. Byrne originally  announced a small amount of shows on the American East Coast and South America, as well as European festivals including Inmusic in Croatia and Roskilde, Denmark. Festival appearances at Atlanta's Shaky Knees, Chicago's Lollapalooza, and Coachella were quickly added, as well as a massive amount additional dates in a variety of markets across North America. See below for a complete list of dates. 
The latest announcement includes a stop at The BJCC Concert Hall in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday, October 3rd. This show is presented by Red Mountain Entertainment, and tickets go on sale Friday, June 8th at 10AM CST. Click here for further information, and make sure to grab your tickets early!
Watch David Byrne perform "Once In A Lifetime" at Coachella here"
David Byrne Tour Dates:
06/07 – Kansas City, MO @ Kauffman Center for the Arts
06/08 – St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House
06/09 – Indianapolis, IN @ Farmers Bureau Lawn Amphitheater
06/14 – Oxford, UK @ New Theatre
06/15 – Glasgow, UK @ Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
06/17 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Symphony Hall
06/18 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Apollo
06/19 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo
06/22-23 – Prague, CZ @ Metronome Festival
06/25 – Zagreb, HR @ INmusic Festival
06/26 – Wien, AT @ Museumsquartier
06/30-07/01 – Ewijk, NL @ Down The Rabbit Hole
07/05-08 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/06 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
07/05 – Gdynia, PL @ Open’er Festival
07/11 – Oeiras, PT @ Cool Jazz Festival
07/13 – Bilbao, ES @ Bilbao BBK Live Festival
07/13-14 – Barcelona, ES @ Cruilla Barcelona
07/17 – Zürich, CH @ Theater 11
07/19 – Ravenna, IT @ Ravenna Festival
07/20 – Perugia, IT @ Umbria Jazz Festival
07/21 – Trieste, IT @ Piazza UNita
07/27 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival
07/31 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
08/01 – Shelburne, VT @ Shelburne Museum – The Green
08/03 – Toronto, ON @ Sony Center for the Performing Arts
08/05 – Canandaigua, NY @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
08/08 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Devos Performance Hall
08/10 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theater
08/11 – Huber Heightes, OH @ Rose Music Center
08/12 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
08/16 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
08/18 – San Jose, CA @ City National Civic Auditorium
08/21 – Sacramento CA @ Community Theater
08/24 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
08/27-28 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
09/07 - West Long Branch, NY @ OceanFirst Bank Center at Monmouth University
09/08 - Wallington, CT @ Oakdale Theater
09/09 - Albany, NY @ Palace Theatre
09/11 - Portland, ME @ Merrill Auditorium
09/12 - Montreal, QC - Bell Center
09/13 - Ottowa, ONT - CityFolk Festival
09/15 - Queens, NY - Forrest Hill Stadium
09/17 - Palace Theatre - Brooklyn, NY
09/22 - Bourbon & Beyond - Louisville, KY
09/23 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts Center
09/26 - Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theater
09/28 - Orlando, FL - Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts
09/29 - Miami Beach, FL - The Fillmore
09/30 - Tampa, FL - Mahaffey Theater
10/02 - Atlanta, GA - The Fox Theatre
10/03 - Birmingham, AL - The BJCC Concert Hall
10/05 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits
10/06 - Dallas, TX - Verizon Center at Grand Prairie