(Upcoming Show) The Pines at CSPS on February 4, 2012 – Video debut for “Cry Cry Crow”

The Pines Live at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 9-3-11

Red House Records recording artists and former Iowa City band The Pines are returning to the big stage at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, February 4th.

The Pines were here just last September as the third act to play the newly re-opened CSPS which had gone under a very extensive remodeling and updating over the previous year. The picture above is from that show.

This time the band is back as part of a tour supporting the release of the band’s fourth album Dark So Gold which came out this week and has already drawn some critical praise for its uniquely moody atmospheric approach to folk blues.

A first for the band– a video has been produced for the song “Cry Cry Crow” from Dark So Gold. Written and directed by Andre Durand who also did the “Calgary” video for Bon Iver, it captures the mysterious vibe of the song well. I hope the band will continue making videos!

The Pines will be hitting the Legion Arts CSPS Hall stage at 8PM. Tickets are $11 in advance and $15 at the door. Click Here to visit the Legion Arts website for more details.

By the way, you should consider visiting Daytrotter to check out their Pines session.

The upcoming Tour Dates (from the Pines Website):

Date Venue City
Friday, February 3, 2012 Cafe Paradiso Fairfield, IA
  8pm show
Saturday, February 4, 2012 CSPS -Legion Arts Cedar Rapids, IA
  8pm show
Friday, February 17, 2012 Cedar Cultural Center – Dark So Gold Record Release Minneapolis, MN
  Jeffrey Foucalt opens
Saturday, February 18, 2012 SPACE Evanston, IL
  10pm show – Sad Brad Smith opens
Friday, March 2, 2012 Ironwood Theater Ironwood, MI
  7:30pm show
Saturday, March 3, 2012 Stagenorth Washburn, WI
  7:30pm show
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 South By South West Music Festival Austin, TX
  performance date and time TBA
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 The Iron Horse Northampton, MA
  7pm show with The Parkington Sisters
Thursday, March 29, 2012 City Winery New York, NY
  The Pines open for Mason Jennings
Friday, March 30, 2012 City Winery New York, NY
  opening for Mason Jennings
Saturday, March 31, 2012 Castaway’s Ithaca, NY
  Richie Stearns opens
Friday, April 6, 2012 The Englert Theater Iowa City, IA
  opening for Mason Jennings
Saturday, April 7, 2012 Turner Hall Milwaukee, WI
  opening for Mason Jennings
Friday, April 20, 2012 Stoughton Opera House Stoughton, WI
  7:30pm
Saturday, April 21, 2012 Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, IL
  Opening for Loudon Wainwright two shows 7pm & 10pm
Sunday, April 22, 2012 Severson Dells Nature Center Rockford, IL
  3pm show
Saturday, May 19, 2012 Sacred Heart Duluth, MN
  Erik Koskinen opens
Saturday, July 21, 2012 Moonshine Showcase – Broadway Theater Wabasha, MN
 
Friday, October 26, 2012 Red Barn Concert Series Northfield, MN
  7:00pm doors – SOLD OUT

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown with Carrie Rodriguez and Kelly Joe Phelps Bring An Acoustic Cafe Roadshow to CSPS Tuesday 1/31/12

Though we don’t get this fantastic show on Iowa Public Radio, Acoustic Cafe is an independently-produced 2-hour radio show hosted by Rob Reinhart focusing on a wide variety of music, but tending to center on the “unplugged” side of things.

Acoustic Cafe also sponsors a tour, and for some of the dates on their evening tour Pieta Brown is joining the 2nd half of the run replacing Erin McKeown in the lineup with also includes Carrie Rodriguez (who Pieta toured with in 2011) and Kelly Joe Phelps. This is the lineup that will be gracing the big stage at Legion Arts/CSPS on Tuesday, January 31st.

We always welcome a chance to see Pieta live, and it will be great to see her at the remodeled CSPS along with a couple of complimentary acts like Rodriguez and Phelps. Rodriguez’s latest album is We Still Love Our Country, which is an album of covers with collaborator Ben Kyle of Minneapolis band Romantica. Phelps has been recording since 1994, and his latest album Western Bell came out in 2009 and is a beautiful John Fahey-esque album of instrumentals. While I’m sure he will perform songs from all points of his career– I’m hoping he includes some of these instrumentals!

Click Here to read my review of Pieta Brown’s new album Mercury that I wrote for Little Village Magazine.

An Acoustic Cafe Evening with Pieta Brown, Carrie Rodriguez and Kelly Joe Phelps will happen at 7PM on Tuesday, January 31st. Tickets are $17, $21 at the door. Visit the Legion Arts website for more details.

Upcoming Show : Jeffrey Foucault at Legion Arts/CSPS 12/9/11

Somewhere between Milwaukee, Rockford, IL and Chicago sits Whitewater, WI. Whitewater is home of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (alma mater of John Belushi if you believe Wikipedia) as well as folk/country/Americana singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault.

Foucault has been spinning his particular yarns into song for going on ten years and has performed in support of complimentary artists like Greg Brown, Todd Snider and Chris Smither. His 2006 album Ghost Repeater was produced by Bo Ramsey and included a few of his regular sidemen– Rick Cicalo on bass, Steve Hayes on drums, as well as Nate Basinger from the Diplomats of Solid Sound, and Dave Moore guesting. Eric Heywood from Son Volt provided pedal steel guitar.

Foucault’s latest album Horse Latitudes came out in May to critical acclaim, also has some notable sidemen– Heywood returns on pedal steel and Van Dyke Parks provides keys! Horse Latitudes is the first album I’ve heard from Foucault, but his vibe recalls some of the great songwriters of our time– here and there I hear drops of Neil Young’s early work around Harvest, Springsteen and Gordon Lightfoot. An impressive work from beginning to end.

Foucault will be performing at Legion Arts/CSPS in Cedar Rapids, IA on Friday night at 8PM. Tickets are $14 in advance and $18 at the door.

More information at the Legion Arts Website.

Watch Jeffrey Foucault on Sound Pass

Click Here to listen to “Horse Latitudes” from Horse Latitudes.

Click Here to listen to “Pretty Girl In A Small Town” from Horse Latitudes.

Click Here to listen to “Goners Most” from Horse Latitudes.

Catch Jeffrey Foucault on Tour (from his website):

12.09.11 Cedar Rapids, IA CSPS
12.13.11 Marshfield, WI Vox Concert Series Hayward Williams opens
12.14.11 Fort Atkinson, WI Cafe Carpe Redbird
12.15.11 Fort Atkinson, WI Cafe Carpe Redbird
12.16.11 Fort Atkinson, WI Cafe Carpe Redbird
01.01.12 Shelburne Falls, MA Memorial Hall Redbird
01.06.12 Baltimore, MD Cellar Stage With Mark Erelli
01.07.12 Newtown Square, PA Burlap and Bean With Mark Erelli
01.08.12 Stony Brook, NY University Cafe At Stony Brook University with Mark Erelli
01.13.12 Pittsburgh, PA Club Cafe
01.14.12 State College, PA Acoustic Brew Concert Series
01.20.12 Marblehead, MA Me & Thee With John Fullbright
02.17.12 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center Support to The Pines
02.18.12 LaCrosse, WI The Root Note
02.25.12 Stoughton, WI Stoughton Opera House
03.2-4.12 Ashfield, MA The Mighty Albert A Guitar/Songwriting Workshop Weekend
03.03.12 Ashfield, MA Elmer’s Store Concert
03.16.12 Syracuse, NY Folkus Project
03.31.12 Cambridge, MA Club Passim
04.27.12 Fairmount, IL Sleepy Creek Vineyards
04.28.12 Springfield, IL Hoogland Center for the Arts
05.12.12 Pomfret, CT The Vanilla Bean

(Upcoming Show) The Sway Machinery at Landfall Music Festival- Cedar Rapids, IA, 9/25

The Landfall Music Festival starts this week. The Landfall Music Festival is the Legion Arts’ World Music festival that has taken place since 2008.  Like last year, the festival will take place at Greene Square Park in downtown Cedar Rapids. There will not be any performances at CSPS as it is under construction due to remodeling.

Legion Arts announced via their CSPS Facebook Page that The Sway Machinery was going to be added to the Saturday lineup. Although I hadn’t heard of The Sway Machinery before, the connections to Balkan Beat Box, The Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Antibalas was enough for me to take a closer look at the band.

The Sway Machinery is the cross-cultural music project of Jeremiah Lockwood who has been the guitarist for the touring version of Balkan Beat Box. Lockwood saw a synergy between American folk-blues, African folk rhythms and his own Ashkenazic Jewish Cantoral heritage. Lockwood is the grandson of the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg as well as the son of composer Larry Lockwood.

Jeremiah Lockwood appeared in the 2000 documentary “Hasidic Blues” directed by BBC veteran filmmaker Robert Mullan. In the documentary clip below Lockwood discusses how he arrived at the fusion of the seemingly disparate musical styles, “I was intentionally trying to do something new with [the Cantoral] music– trying to create a way of listening to the melody and the vocal style that would give it more context. I guess the emotional experience I’ve had listening to Cantoral music, other people can have that also, so it is important for me to find a way to communicate that.”

Lockwood started The Sway Machinery in 2006 as a collaboration with Israeli percussionist Tomer Tzur who stayed with the band until 2007.  The band released its debut full length album on JDub Records (also the home of Balkan Beat Box) in 2009. Titled Hidden Melodies Revealed, it was based on a concert performed on  Rosh HaShana (the Jewish new year) at Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York City in September of 2007. From the JDub website: “Hidden Melodies Revealed showcases pieces based on mystical texts taken directly from the Jewish High Holiday prayers and reconfigures them in a startlingly new musical landscape.”

In January of 2010, The Sway Machinery traveled to Mali to perform at the legendary Festival of the Desert. While in Africa, the group recorded a new album featuring collaborations with Malian artists, including Vieux Farka Toure and Khaira Arby. The resulting album is called The House of Friendly Ghosts, and will be coming out on JDub in 2011.

For me, The Sway Machinery is a compelling intersection of music between the recent insurgence of music influenced by African rhythms– The Budos Band, Antibalas, Extra Golden are all bands I listen to that claim these as their basis–  and music from Jewish culture and tradition I am not familiar with. The Sway Machinery will make for a strong wrap up for the four-day festival, and is the show I’m most interested in seeing.

Click Here to visit The Sway Machinery’s MySpace Page.

Click Here to visit The Sway Machinery’s website.

The Landfall Music Festival Schedule is: (borrowed from the Legion Arts Website)

Wed Sep 22 Dragon Knights, various times
Barbara Furtuna (France), 6-7:15 pm *
Mahala Rai Banda (Romania), 7:15-8:45 pm
Thu Sep 23 Dragon Knights, various times
Red Baraat (India / USA), 6-7:15 pm
Barbara Furtuna (France), 6:45-8 pm *
Cimmarón (Colombia), 7:30-8:45 pm
Fri Sept 24 Kenge Kenge (Kenya), 6-7:15 pm
Portico Quartet (England), 6:45-8 pm *
Cordero (Mexico / USA), 7:30-8:45 pm
Sat Sept 25 Turkana (Turkey / USA), 1:35-2:45 pm
Salaam (Iraq / USA), 2-3:15 pm *
Calle Sur (Colombia / Panama / USA), 4-5:15 pm
Zedashe Ensemble (Georgia), 5:30-6:45 pm
Salaam (Iraq / USA), 6:30-7:45 pm *
Nation Beat (Brazil / USA), 7-8:15 pm
The Sway Machinery (USA), 8:30-9:45 pm
Performances marked * take place in First Presbyterian Church. Artists and schedule subject to change. For the latest updates visit this Website.

Upcoming Show: Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore at CSPS 3/15/10

Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore— according to the press-releases– met after Ben Sollee– a classically trained cellist and member of Abigail Washburn‘s Sparrow Quartet– stumbled upon Moore’s MySpace page and listened to the music there. Daniel Martin Moore was signed to SubPop records in 2007 on the power of an unsolicited demo. He released his first album Stray Age on SubPop in 2008.

Both Sollee and Moore as well as producer/collaborator Yim Yames (aka Jim James from My Morning Jacket) are from Kentucky and have a shared concern in the mountain top removal that occurs in coal mining in their state today. Sollee and Moore have chosen to take the proceeds of their first collaboration together– their album titled Dear Companion (on SubPop) and donate them to Appalachian Voices. Appalachian Voices is an organization hoping to bring awareness to and end mountain top removal coal mining. They have a really interesting application on their website that shows you how your local utility company contributes to Mountain Top Removal.

The little bit I’ve had a chance to listen to Dear Companion leaves me with the opinion that their stripped-down folk and bluegrass melange is reminiscent of Nick Drake and a little like labelmate The Iron and Wine. An impressive collaboration and very worth checking out.

Sollee and Moore will be performing at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on Monday, March 15th at 7PM. Joining Sollee and Moore on stage will be percussionist Dan Dorff and violinist Cheyenne Mize.  Tickets are $11 in advance and $15 at the door.

Click Here for the Legion Arts webpage about the Dear Companion show.

Click Here to listen to their Daytrotter Session.

Click Here for the Dear Companion website.

Click Here for the Appalachian Voices website.

Upcoming Show: Ben Schmidt Record Release Show at CSPS 2/6/10

Iowa City musician Ben Schmidt has been on the Eastern Iowa scene for a while, releasing two critically-acclaimed self-released albums– Write It Down in 2002 and While You Were Sleeping in 2005. His press releases draw accurate comparisons to  John Gorka, Jesse Winchester, Kelly Joe Phelps and Leonard Cohen.

Ben is releasing a new album titled Silt which draws its inspiration from post-flood experience– the songs are from the perspective of people who have experienced personal “storms” — physical, emotional and spiritual and what remains when those waters subside. The album is pretty much a one-man affair with Ben recording vocals, guitars, bass, drums and electric piano. Assisting one the album is Nate “The Count” Basinger from the Diplomats of Solid Sound on organ, piano and accordion, Steve “The Chief” Hayes on drums, Lori Lane on harmony vocals and Larry Mossman on mandolin.

I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Silt, and I found myself focusing on his lyrics. Ben is a masterful storyteller and his deep, smooth voice provides the perfect narrative match. His style recalls some of the great classic singer-songwriters and anyone who is a fan of Lightfoot, Croche and Taylor should find Schmidt a complimentary listen.

To gear up for the promotion of Silt, Ben along with Larry Mossman are taping a Java Blend show with Ben Kieffer today (2/5) at the Washington St. Java House in Iowa City which will be aired on Friday 2/26 and Saturday 2/27 on Iowa Public Radio.

Ben will also be performing a show at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on Saturday 2/6 as a CD release show. Ben will be joined by Dustin Busch on guitar, Steve Hayes on drums, Lori Lane and Larry Mossman on mandolin. Dustin Busch will be opening the show with his hill country blues-influenced music. Doors will be at 8PM and tickets are $11 in advance and $15 at the door and available through IowaTix.

Click Here for the details of the CSPS show.

Click Here for Ben Schmidt’s MySpace Page.

Upcoming Show: Works Progress Administration at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 12/1/09

The original Works Progress Administration was part of FDR’s 1939 New Deal initiative which put millions of people to work in the darkest part of the Great Depression. This spirit of community and creativity is carried in the philosophy of a band that takes its name.

Works Progress Administration is a supergroup of sorts– an “expanding collective” according to the band’s website. At its core it is Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and solo, Sean Watkins formerly of the excellent Nickle Creek and Luke Bulla who spent time in Lyle Lovett’s band. On record the band includes Sean’s sister Sara from Nickle Creek, Benmont Tench from Petty’s Heartbreakers, Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello’s Attractions, ace sessionmen Greg Leisz and Davey Faragher. Faragher was a founding member of Cracker as well as part of Costello’s Imposters. Works Progress Administration is a continuation of the collaborative nature of the relationship between Philips and Sean and Sara Watkins of Nickle Creek. Philips, the Watkins and Pete Thomas were also in the group Mutual Appreciation Society which recorded an album in 2000 and was released by Sugar Hill in 2004.

Even though WPA is a collective effort of its members, it’s clear that this band is really leaning on Phillip’s songs since he’s provided half of them. Sean Watkins, not content to stay at the bench, has contributed three standout songs (love “Paralyzed”!) and Luke Bulla’s “Cry For You” is an easy favorite of mine and would seem to have a lot of potential to be a highlight live. Seeing this group play CSPS in Cedar Rapids would be a real treat!

WPA will be at the pearl in the crown of New Bohemia in Cedar Rapids known as CSPS on Tuesday, December 1st at 8PM. Tickets will be $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Click Here for the Works Progress Administration’s Website where you can see other tour dates and stream the new album.

Click Here for the Legion Arts / CSPS website where you can get information on how to get tickets.

Listen/Buy Works Progress Administration. This band is independent– meaning no record label. If you like what you hear please support this band by buying their album!

<a href="http://wpamusic.bandcamp.com/album/wpa">Always Have My Love by Works Progress Administration</a>

Upcoming Show: Chris Smither at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 10-27-09

Next Tuesday night, October 27th, folk and blues singer-songwriter Chris Smither will be making a stop at CSPS in Cedar Rapids during his Fall tour in support of his new album on Signature Sounds Time Stands Still which came out on September 29th.

A collection of stripped-down orignals and a few choice covers by Dylan, Knopfler and Frank Hutchison, Time Stands Still was recorded in an astounding three days and captures the immediacy of his live show.

Chris’s songs have been recorded by artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and Donna Krall. It was Raitt’s recording of “Love Me Like A Man” for her 1972 album Give It Up that marked the beginning of a long-standing working partnership. Diana Krall covered this same song in 2004 for her album The Girl in the Other Room.

The show will be at 7PM next Tuesday night (October 27th) and tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. Don’t miss this opportunity to see this acclaimed songwriter and performer at the amazing CSPS!

Click Here to listen to “Surprise, Surprise” from Time Stand Still.

Click Here for Chris Smither’s Website

Click Here for the Legion Arts page on the Chris Smither show

Upcoming Show: Melissa Greener and Pezzettino at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 10/18/09

With the Legion Arts live performance schedule well underway, we are seeing the expected eclectic selection of acts– everything from Viking Folk Music to Czech bluegrass. I’m really excited for the prospects of the upcoming season!

Next weekend– 10/18– we see a couple of female singer-songwriters both making their debut in Cedar Rapids and at CSPS. While both take a distinctively different approach to their art, they both are utilizing a business model that involves direct contributions from their fan base.

Melissa Greener is described as an up-and-coming singer-songwriter with “quirky and literate songs” and compared to the energy often attributed to Ani DiFranco. Based in Manhattan, her goal is to move back to Austin, TX where she lived and worked for a time and considers home. For her sophomore release Melissa is fundraising at different levels with the goal of completely paying off the recording she has completed which will allow her to be debt-free and able to focus on the business of touring.

Opening for Melissa is Margaret Stutt who performs as Pezzettino (“Little Square”). Like Melissa, Margaret is also doing a direct-to-fan type of self promotion and sales. Someone who seemingly doesn’t need to sleep, she is a constant stream of activity and creativity. To fund her tour of houses and art spaces which has her stopping in Cedar Rapids for two nights, she has been taking donations and requests for songs– mostly cover tunes– where she deconstructs the song in question, rebuilding the song in her own distinctive way and making a video for the song. Sometimes dark and moody, sometimes quirky and funny, but distinctly Pezzettino these pieces are generally created and completed within a day! Margaret is a classically-trained pianist (at least until she was 12), but her instrument of inspiration is the accordion. She takes the squeezebox to task with her very personal and emotional songs on her release Lion and the follow up Lamb to be released in 2010 will be a more subdued affair.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see two these two up-and-coming artists. The show will be at 7PM at CSPS. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Because the show is on Sunday, it starts early, it will end early for all you concerned with getting up for work the next morning!

Ticket Information

Click Here for Melissa Greener’s Website

Click Here for Pezzettino’s Website

Pezzettino is pressing a very limited edition (300 copies),  random color vinyl 7″ single of “You Never Know” with artwork by Milwaukee artist Dwellephant. As Margaret says, the b-side will be a surprise because, “you never know,” right? Click Here to learn more and order one!

Upcoming Show: Eilen Jewell at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 6/1/09

Eilen Jewell’s music has been compared to Lucinda Williams, Dusty in Memphis and Peggy Lee. Certainly her fusion of rockabilly, 60’s twangy folk rock and vintage country swing draws those comparison’s quickly. To my ears she draws a favorable female comparison of Chris Isaak’s Silvertone years, or Reclines-era k.d. lang.

In addition to Eilen’s satisfyingly bluesy vocals, it’s the timewarp guitars on Eilen’s new album Sea of Tears provided by Jerry Miller that completes it’s classic sound. From beginning to end I’m reminded of the music that my parents loved– Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers and Ricky Nelson– all acts that influenced my love of Chris Isaak, I.R.S.-years R.E.M., Tom Petty and pretty much any band that runs clean electric guitars through a Fender Twin.

Eilen’s and her band are bringing the twang and reverb to  Cedar Rapids on Monday, June 1st at CSPS. I can’t think of a better venue with the big stage that should give the appropriate room for those guitar chords to ring out. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to hear this band and at $10 it’s a deal ($12 at the door).

Click Here to visit Eilen Jewell’s website

Click Here to visit Eilen Jewell’s MySpace Page

Click Here to download “Rain Roll In” from Eilen Jewell’s new album Sea of Tears.

Click Here to visit the LegionArts page on the show and how to get tickets

Here is the title track “Sea of Tears” live

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