(Upcoming Show) Grant Lee Phillips Brings His Lone Star Songs to CSPS in Cedar Rapids on 5/15

grantlee.KenScott_04

I think it must have been a compilation CD that came with CMJ Magazine that included a song from the 90’s band Grant Lee Buffalo that lured me to purchase Mighty Joe Moon in 1994 or so. The album kicks off with the searing guitars of “Lone Star Song” and proceeds to swing bipolar between sweet folky acoustic and burning electrics all housed in HUGE unabashed reverb like only the 90’s could deliver. Needless to say this was exactly what my then 26-year-old self thought was the best thing ever! Playing though that CD this evening and writing this article, it is still surprisingly an exciting and emotional album for me.

I bought Fuzzy and Jubilee and listened to them quite a bit, but by the end of the last century I was listening to much different music and didn’t continue to follow what frontman Grant Lee Phillips was up to. As it turned out, he kind of abandoned the band in pursuit of a solo career, and has eclipsed the band in releases.

His most recent release came out in October, 2012 and is called Walking in the Green Corn. The album, which concerns itself with the extensive research that Phillips did regarding his Native American roots was recorded very quickly over the winter months leading into 2012. “I do my best work when nobody’s paying attention – including myself,” he recalls. “That’s what happened: it really snuck up on me. By the end of the year, I had most of the album written and recorded.” The resulting album leans more towards the thoughful folk acoustic sound than the often blistering electrics of his previous band, but doesn’t abandon the emotion and sentiment distilled from his mixed heritage. “Connecting to my ancestry is like having this deep trunk that’s embedded in the earth, with deep roots. It was always something that was important to my grandmother, who was Creek, and to my mother.”

Phillips is on tour right now and is bringing his show to the crown of the NewBo district, CSPS on Wednesday night at 7PM. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. This is a rare chance to catch him– I don’t remember the last time he was in the area!

Click Here for information about the show at the Legion Arts website and how to get tickets.

The player on Phillip’s website has most of the new album in it if you want to check it out.

Last year Grant Lee Phillips was on tour with another CSPS alum Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and WPA. Here are the two of the performing the title track:

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown and the Sawdust Collective Live at CSPS Friday 1/18/13 – Boulevard & Wires Photograph Exhibition This Week

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Pieta Brown is kicking of the 2013 year of shows with a return to CSPS on Friday, January 18th. She’s bringing with her The Sawdust Collective which is her regular collaborators Bo Ramsey on guitars and backing vocals and Jon Penner on bass. The last time I saw Pieta at CSPS was during the Acoustic Cafe show in January of last year along with Kelly Joe Phelps and Carrie Rodriguez (my pictures here).

Since then, both Pieta and Bo contributed songs to the Iowa City Song Project album– a local-artists tribute to the Englert in celebration of the venue’s 100th birthday. I wrote a review of that album for Little Village back in October. You can check out her contribution “Doesn’t Take Long” here:

Martina by Pieta Brown

Martina by Pieta Brown

Boulevard & Wires by Pieta Brown

Pieta also lent a hand with Greg Brown’s new album Hymns to What Is Left and Iris DeMent’s new album Sing the Delta. Pieta also contributed the photographs for the cover art of both albums. These photographs will be part of an exhibit of photographs that will be opened in conjunction with the show Friday night. Titled Boulevard & Wires, it’s a selection of shots she’s taken on the road that she shows on her Blue Streak section of her website. “The communion takes place in just a blink, no flash,” she says.  “The simple process lends itself to chasing the gritty and mysterious essence of any given moment.” The exhibition will be in the Commons Gallery and will continue through February 28th– admission to the exhibit is free.
The performance on Friday night will start at 8PM and will be $17 in advance and $21 at the door.

Information on the Legion Arts Website HERE for the performance, and HERE for the gallery exhibition.

Duncan Sheik Returns to CSPS Thursday 11/15 With Sunset Sessions Lineup

Holly, Gerry & Duncan

Duncan Sheik is making a return to Cedar Rapids tomorrow night. He is making a stop in the area as part of the Sunset Sessions Live tour and also in support of the fact that his Tony and Grammy winning musical Spring Awakening is going to be put on by U of I Arts. Sheik is going to speak at the UI Theatre from Noon to 1 and then he’s performing at CSPS at 7PM along with Austin band Alpha Rev and New Jersey singer/songwriter Laura Warshauer.

I saw Duncan in 2009 at CSPS when he came through Iowa in support of his Whisper House album. He apparently likes to tour with an ensemble– as in 2009, he’s bringing other bands with him. This tour is sponsored by The Sunset Sessions which is an organization that puts on events which are specifically designed to draw together musicians with radio programmers and music supervisors (the people who put your new favorite songs into TV shows, movies, advertising and video games). These days, music supervisors are up there as the leading tastemakers (next to music blogs, ‘natch 🙂 ). This tour is designed as a showcase for some bands that have been featured in these events, so we get to hear some new music from Duncan Sheik, as well as Alpha Rev (who has music all over TV on VH1, Bravo, ABC, The CW as well as film, and Laura Warshauer (who has been recently signed to Def Jam/Island).

Duncan is touring in support of his latest album, Covers 80’s Remixed, which, as the title implies, is a remix album of his 2011 release Covers 80’s, which has him delivering interpretations of his favorite songs from bands like Japan, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, The Cure and Tears for Fears.

This promises to be a pretty spectacular evening, frankly– some up-and-coming acts coupled with some 80’s nostalgia delivered from a great songwriter. It can’t miss.

Duncan Sheik, Alpha Rev and Laura Warshauer will hit the CSPS big stage at 7PM. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Details at the Legion Arts Website.

HERE is the Facebook Event for the show.

Landfall Festival Alumni Ani Cordero Brings Her Band Back to CSPS on Saturday 10/6

A Young Fan Watches Ani Cordero at Landfall Music Festival
One of the great things about Legion Arts is their annual Landfall Music Festival. They manage to fill their stages some of the best world music acts touring the nation. Back in 2010, I had the opportunity to catch one artist that really captured my heart with her boisterous Latin-infused pop, folk and rock.

Ani Cordero has a really colorful history in the music business. In addition to recording a few solo albums as bilingual band Cordero, she has also been a member of Man or Astroman?’s associated band the Gamma Clones and as a founding member of Pistolera. Since 2010, she has been working on her most personal work to date with Sergio Dias of Os Mutantes. Titled Recordar, the self-released album is comprised of covers of songs that were part of the Nueva Cancion movement. Including songs from Latin activists and musicians such as Victor Jara and Violeta Parra the album exhibits the inspiration she found in the movement from her friend and mentor Dr. Juan Allende, nephew of Chilean President, Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in a military coup d’état in 1973.

The album is clearly a labor of love for Ani, and the effort pays off. She tapped in some friends with great musical pedigree to help bring the beautiful recording to fruition: Charles Giordano of The E Street Band, Kelly Pratt from Arcade Fire and Beirut, percussionist for Malian musician Vieux Farke Toure, Tim Keiper, long-time associate of Wynton Marsalis, Omar Akil Little, who also collaborates with world-renowned producer Lee Scratch Perry, and Brent Arnold of Modest Mouse. The album is a fitting tribute to the songs she chose as she delivers the emotion and passion of the songs as if they were her own.

On Saturday night Ani will be bringing the six-piece band she is touring though the midwest to CSPS in Cedar Rapids! When Ani and band played at the 2010 Landfall Festival, some of the crowd in Green Square Park got up and danced– maybe she can coax the usually reserved crowd at CSPS to get up, too?

The show will be this Saturday night, October 6th at 8PM. Tickets are $14 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information and how to order tickets visit the Legion Arts Website.

Here is the Facebook Event for the show.

Here is some video I shot of Ani and band at the Landfall Music Festival in 2010:

(Upcoming Show) Surf Zombies “Lust for Rust” Release Show at CSPS 6/16/2012

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I reviewed the latest release from Cedar Rapids Surf Czars The Surf Zombies Lust for Rust in Little Village Magazine last month.

The latest incarnation of the Zombies has bit bit more edge than the previous albums thanks to the production and engineering of Ian Williams (guitars for the Zombies and also in The Wheelers) and lineups, and I think that Lust for Rust is by far the best release from the band to date.

Tonight at CSPS, the Surf Zombies are taking over the big stage at CSPS for their record release show at 8PM. Tickets are $15 at the door. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to take in the Surf Zombies– galloping drums and bass, gigantic reverbby guitars and a fantastic selection of beer and wine in the recently-opened bar which is operated by the fine folks at Brewed Awakenings.

More details here.

(Upcoming Show) California Guitar Trio Returns to CSPS 3/23/12

California Guitar Trio at CSPS on 10/9/2008
The over-the-top classical-slash-progressive-slash-surf instrumental guitar group California Guitar Trio is making a return visit to Legion Arts/CSPS on 3/23. Their last visit to our fair city was in October of 2008, and marked the first show following the devastation of the 2008 Flood.

For that show, CGT was touring in support of their covers album Echoes (named after the jaw-dropping cover of the Pink Floyd song). The trio played on the small risers in front of the stage to a very receptive house– everyone in attendance aware of the miracle which was the reopening of CSPS in such a short time. The band graciously donated part of the proceeds of the show to Legion Arts which goes to show how much they appreciated being part of the resurrection.

Four years later and the venue is again following a period of being closed, but this time it is due to a major overhaul of the facility that finds it even more a center of the arts for Cedar Rapids with new creative spaces created in the century-old brick building. CGT is on tour for their 13th album Andromeda which is the first release that is comprised completely of original pieces and they bring in some guest musicians to help round out the album. Incidentally, Andromeda marks the first release on vinyl for the band (that hopefully they will bring so I can get one signed!).

 

I’ve been a big fan of California Guitar Trio dating back to their work with Robert Fripp (of King Crimson). The trio met in one of Fripp’s Guitar Craft schools and he asked them to be part of his Robert Fripp String Quintet along with Chapman Stick player Pat Mastellato. Mastellato would become part of the “double trio” reformation lineup of King Crimson in the late 90’s, and it was during that tour in Minneapolis that I saw California Guitar Trio for the first time. Their mixture of classical, surf and sheer virtuosity and mind-blowing synchronized guitar work still amazes me to this day.

So, I’m pretty excited to announce that they will be back in Cedar Rapids Friday night, and I’ll be there. Tickets are $17 in advance and $21 at the door.

Click Here to get more information about the show from the Legion Arts Website.

Click Here for the band’s website.

Click Here to visit the band’s current record label Karate Body, who had the sense to press Andromeda on vinyl.

(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.

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