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Life is good Festival Two Day Ticket
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Sara Bareilles, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Soulive, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Allen Stone, ALO, Eric Hutchinson, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Ryan Montbleau Band, Sarah Jarosz, Katie Herzig, Muck And The Mires, Air Traffic Controller, Orange Television, The Fresh Beat Band, Dan Zanes and Friends, The KIDZ BOP Kids, Josh & the Jamtones
5 Blue Hill River Road
Canton, Massachusetts, 02021
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Life is good Festival Two Day Ticket
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Longtime friends and collaborators Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds have released three live double-CDs together: 1999’s multi-Platinum Live At Luther College, Live At Radio City, which bowed at #3 on The Billboard 200 in July of 2007, and Live In Las Vegas, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts in January 2010. Matthews is best known as the vocalist/guitarist for Dave Matthews Band, which has sold a collective 37 million CDs and DVDs combined since the 1994 release of its major label debut, Under the Table and Dreaming. In 2003, he released his solo debut, Some Devil, which Reynolds played on. A multi-instrumentalist, Reynolds has been hailed as an “underrated master” by allmusic.com. He founded TR3 (the Tim Reynolds Trio) in 1984, which released three albums. He has subsequently released a series of solo albums and guested on numerous Dave Matthews Band albums, including 2009’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, which was nominated for two GRAMMY® awards, including “Album Of The Year.” He has also toured extensively with the band.
Michael Franti and Spearhead
The Sound Of Sunshine -- the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti & Spearhead -- is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world.
“Music is sunshine,” says Michael Franti, one of the most positive and conscious artists in music today. “Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.”
“Music is something you can’t hold in your hands, smell it, taste it or even see it, yet somehow just coming together and feeling these little vibrations that tickle our eardrums can somehow lift us all up out of our most difficult moments in life to unimaginable heights.”
Ironically, often joyous and uplifting The Sound Of Sunshine actually came out of a darker and tougher personal experience for Franti. “Last August, my appendix ruptured suddenly in the middle of a tour and I ended up in the hospital for eight days while they figured out what was wrong with me,” recalls Franti. “I almost died and I wrote many of these songs coming out of that experience while I was in the hospital for another week or so after that. During that time, I really took a moment to prioritize what’s truly important in my life -- and in the end, that’s really about the people who I love. Even in that hospital, I could laugh with the people I love, cry with them, and start to find the sun again.”
Well aware that countless others face far worse problems than he did, Franti wants The Sound Of Sunshine to communicate a sense of hope and possibility for anybody who needs it. Franti’s singularly open spirit reflects his own eclectic and intriguing background. Michael was born to an Irish-German-French mother and an African American and American Indian father in Oakland, then adopted by a Finnish American couple who raised him along with their three biological children and another African American son. While studying at the University of San Francisco, Franti formed the punk band The Beatnigs, and later the far more hip hop-inflected The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Through it all, Franti has crossed all sorts of musical and physical boundaries in order to make music for everybody.
In the mid-Nineties, Franti first formed Spearhead, and increasingly in recent years, he’s found his own voice musically and his own organic brand of popular success. Franti and Spearhead’s last album, 2008’s All Rebel Rockers -- recorded in Jamaica with legendary producers and players Sly & Robbie – became the biggest hit of Franti’s career, hitting the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, and yielded his biggest hit, the Top 20 “Say Hey (I Love You).”
“I had a nice, long time to get ready for that first hit, and so I really appreciated it when it happened,” says Franti. “So when we were just mastering the new album, I was saying to my manager, “Boy, wouldn’t it be fun to have a sophomore hit?” He was like, “Sophomore hit? You’ve already been through grad school, man” So yes, I’ve paid some dues, and that’s made getting this far -- and still being here -- mean even more to me. The funny thing is that `Say Hey’ went into the Top Twenty right as I was being wheeled into surgery. I got the text, and I thought, `Wow, I’ve finally got a hit record, and I’m not even going to live to enjoy it.’ That put everything in perspective too.”
Michael Franti is not a man to openly chase success – in fact; he’s not a man who even wears shoes(for the last ten years). Still, Franti has absolutely no problem hearing his music on the radio now. “When I was a kid, I used to listen to AM radio on family vacations in the car, and at family barbeques and my dad would leave the radio on.
So songs that were the silly pop hits became a really meaningful part of my childhood - and of my adult life now. So when I think of the fact that there’s some family out there on the beach in the summer together listening to `Say Hey,’ it makes me feel really good. The truth is a good pop song that makes you feel good can be something of value and meaning to people.”
Arguably the most cohesive, romantic and life-affirming album that Franti and Spearhead have ever made, The Sound Of Sunshine reflects the fact that, as Franti puts it, “With time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound. I feel like for a long time, I dabbled in other sounds. Like `Let’s do something with a reggae vibe here.’ Or `Let’s really rock here.’ But now, I write everything from the acoustic guitar up -- which keeps you honest. Then Jay Bowman, my songwriting partner and I, take a lot of time figuring out what’s the best way to present this song and make every word of it come across and ring true.”
Even the recording process for The Sound Of Sunshine reflects Franti’s desire to communicate directly with his audience. “We started in Jamaica actually recording a bunch of tracks with Sly and Robbie who are, of course, great, and we used some of those tracks. Then we got home and started mixing the record. Then I went to Bali and wrote some more songs, but we still didn’t have it finished. So we said let’s bring a portable studio on the road with us. We’d literally recorded the drums in the locker room of the Toronto Raptors or in the shower of some NHL team. Then we’d go right onstage and play the song and see how other people would react to it. We’d see what worked and go back and record it again the next day. So these songs have really been road tested in front of live bodies.”
For Franti, “To play for people and share your songs with them is to make a real connection. That’s why we play outside our shows for those who can’t afford to come inside. They need the songs too – maybe more. That’s the reality. And as a musician I was on tour with put it recently, “Our fans didn’t come to us from a reality show. They came to us from reality.” And so, we mean something in their lives. We’re the music they put on when they drive their little kids to school, or hang out with the person they love at night. There’s no higher honor. So they have an investment in the music. And that means so much because this music is very personal to me too.”
It's me, Sara. As I've said before, I don't do those fancy bios. So sue me.
Kaleidoscope Heart is my new album, and I'm beyond proud of this collection of songs, in no small part due to the fact it was like pulling teeth to write them.
We spent the better part of three years touring and supporting my first record, Little Voice, and by the end of that process I was completely burnt out. Don't get me wrong, it was an unbelievable ride that far surpassed my expectations in the best way. We had some unforgettable high points as well as some very humbling low ones, and like any good rollercoaster, it's exhilarating but you still feel a little bit sick at the end and are happy to have your feet on the ground again.
I thought that I would use our much-needed time off to just pour myself into writing, but I actually found that I wanted nothing to do with music for a little while. I preferred drinking copious amounts of coffee, going to yoga, and looking for cute throw pillows at Target. I love throw pillows.
As the time passed, I slowly started writing again, and truly amazed myself with just how horrible the songs were. And then the fear set in.
I think I fell victim to what a lot of artists go through with a second record: the expectations, the pressure, the anxiety of what's to come, the idea that maybe I've already written my best work…
Weeks before I was supposed to start recording, I was in full-scale panic-attack mode, feeling pressure to start the ball rolling again, but not having material I cared about. I only had about 4 new songs that I really loved, and the rest were truly embarrassing. Thankfully, over a margarita, my good friend Matt said something profound and poetic that made it all come clear:
He said, "You can't polish a turd. A bad song is a bad song. Ask for more time."
And so I did.
My manager suggested only recording the 4 songs I loved and I agreed. Thank God he did, because the floodgates opened after a taste of what being in the studio would look and feel like. It was easy, and exciting, and infinitely inspiring. I wrote the rest of the record in about a month, largely based around the song "Uncharted" that still feels like the centerpiece to me. My fear of what was to come was keeping me from doing anything. And finally, I cared about what I was saying.
As homage to the song that freed me, I took the title of the record from its lyrics.
My counterpart in the studio, Neal Avron, is one of my Buddhas in this world. He's one of the most patient, musical, kind, and dedicated people I've ever met. We were an odd pairing for sure, as he's best known for his rock records (Fall Out Boy, Say Anything), and I do covers of songs from Dumbo and love the Golden Girls. But it was exciting and felt completely right. We spent about 6 months making this record, and the record that came from it is exactly what I wanted. With Neal's help, I took risks, and pushed myself both as a player and vocally, and I followed my gut wholeheartedly for the very first time. And I can't wait to share it.
I can't wait to see these songs come to life.
I can't wait to reconnect with fans from the stage. I can't wait to see how many times the word "Kaleidoscope" gets misspelled.
I can't wait to get on the ride again.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Since the release of their Grammy®-nominated 2010 debut album, Backatown, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have grown creatively while winning hordes of new fans performing nonstop on five continents. Their new album, For True (Sept. 13 on Verve Forecast), offers substantive proof of their explosive growth, further refining the signature sound Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews has dubbed "Supafunkrock."
"There was excitement from everywhere," says Andrews (who's now 25) of the experience on the road and how it fed into the creation of For True. "We did over 200 shows in the last year and a half, and every night we allowed the music to take us over. Musically and creatively, we wanted to shoot for some different things."
The band - Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dwayne Williams on percussion, Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax and Tim McFatter on tenor sax - stirs together old-school New Orleans jazz, funk and soul, laced with hard-rock power chords and hip-hop beats, and they've added some tangy new ingredients on For True as they keep pushing the envelope, exploring new musical territory.
"We never sat down and really thought about concepts and what we wanted our music to sound like," Andrews explains. "It's just that, over the years, we allowed each one of the band members to bring their influences and taste in music into our music. Anything we hear or are influenced by, it naturally comes out in what we're trying to do. It's just our sound, and it happened naturally."
Andrews wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks on the new album, including collaborating with the legendary Lamont Dozier on "Encore," while this time playing as much trumpet as trombone, as well as organ, drums, piano, keys, synth bass and percussion. Indeed, he played every part on the swaying, Latin-tinged "Unc." He's also come into his own as a singer, honoring the hallowed legacy of the great soul men of the 1960s and '70s. Like its predecessor, the new album turns on a rare combination of virtuosity and high-energy, party-down intensity.
Among the special guests are longtime NOLA cohorts like Ivan and Cyril Neville (who bring their trademark sound to "Nervis"); Galactic's Ben Ellman, reprising his producer's role on Backatown (percussion on opener "Buckjump," harmonica on "Big 12") and Stanton Moore (drumming on "Lagniappe Part 1" and "Part 2"); bounce rapper 5th Ward Weebie and the Rebirth Brass Band (who team up on "Buckjump") and Troy's longtime friend Charles Smith (who adds percussion to the same track).
"On the last record, we just basically did it with my band," Andrews points out, "but we've got a lot of New Orleans people on this new record - the music just called for it. The Rebirth Brass Band, these are all people that helped me grow in my career and teach me different things. And 5th Ward Weebie, who's one of the lead voices in the bounce community, we're like brothers. I'm excited to have those people on there, because they bring a taste of where I come from and where I'm going."
The album also bears the fruit of more recent relationships Lenny Kravitz (who plays bass on "Roses"), has the longest-standing bond with Andrews, discovering the then-teenage prodigy in 2005 and taking him on tour with his band. Calling Andrews "a genius player," Kravitz says, "He's got nothing but personality, he plays his ass off and he's a beautiful human being." Kid Rock (whose vocal is featured on "Mrs. Orleans") came out to see Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue at an outdoor show early this year in NOLA, and a month later Troy joined the star onstage at Jazz Fest. Andrews played with Warren Haynes (whose eruptive solo further heats up "Encore") at his annual benefit and again at the guitarist's Mahalia Jackson Theatre all-star event during this year's Jazz Fest. Ledisi (who sings on "Then There Was You"), met Troy at the 2010 Grammys, later came out to see him in New Orleans and was later featured in a segment for the landmark "Red Hot + New Orleans" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for which Andrews served as musical director.
His relationship with Jeff Beck (check out his blistering solo on "Do to Me") has blossomed since the guitar legend came to Troy's late-night post-Jazz Fest show at Tipitina's in 2010. "I was completely blown away," Beck said of his Tip's epiphany in Mojo magazine's "The Best Thing I've Heard All Year" special feature in January. "The crowd went wild. Troy and his band have just supported me on some U.K. dates. A sensational group of musicians. Trombone Shorty is one to watch." That led Beck to ask Andrews to play on Jeff Beck's "Rock 'N' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul," and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue joined Beck for his U.K. tour last fall.
"I'm fans of all those people," says Andrews. "I met them over the last year or two of touring, and I've been wanting to work with all of those guys and Ledisi. It's like this musical community. It's not like I reached out to them because I needed some big names on the record. I'm really interested in their music and their talents. So for me it's a dream come true to work with some of my favorite artists. Whatever they need me to do, I'll be there."
Since Backatown's release, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have toured nonstop in North America, the U.K., Brazil, Japan, Europe and Australia. Last December, Andrews drew accolades as musical director of "Red Hot + New Orleans" at BAM. The sensational two-night run inspired The New York Times senior music critic Jon Pareles to assert, "Trombone Shorty had clearly set out to present New Orleans as a city whose glory days aren't over... it was a signal that the city's music would push ahead."
Yes, Andrews has made quite an impression on the critics. "Trombone Shorty is so ready for his close-up," The New York Times reviewer Nate Chinen wrote, describing the young virtuoso as "a native prodigy destined for breakout success." The San Francisco Chronicle's Joel Selvin hailed him as "New Orleans' brightest new star in a generation." Rolling Stone's Will Hermes raved that "Backatown is both deeply rooted and culturally omnivorous." And the Washington Post's Mike Joyce described one live performance as "a near-deafening, funk-charged blast of percussion, brass, reeds and guitar distortion that might have knocked the crowd sideways had there been any room to move."
TSOA's performances at and during the New Orleans Jazz Fest are legendary. This year, in one day, Troy sat in for a set of free jazz honoring a recently passed mentor. From there he sat in with Kid Rock. Then to the Gospel Tent for a featured slot with cousin Glenn David Andrews before literally running back to the main stage to close the Festival as a special guest of the Neville Brothers. His respect across a broad spectrum and his musical versatility is further evidenced by his performance resumé, playing at events as diverse as Bonnaroo, the Playboy Jazz Festival at Hollywood Bowl, the Montreal, Montreux and Monterey jazz fests, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Austin City Limits, Fuji Rock in Japan, Philadelphia Folk Fest, Jam Cruise, assorted Blues Festivals and even a Reggae Festival in Germany. The band spent the month of July crisscrossing Europe to perform at festivals from Spain to Slovakia. Andrews has also done a ton of TV, appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America, Tavis Smiley, NFL Kickoff (joining Dave Matthews Band) and a recurring role on the hit HBO series Tremé, on which he played himself in a recurring role. Along with appearing on Beck's Les Paul tribute, he's been a featured guest musician on the latest releases from Eric Clapton, Kravitz, Galactic and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.
Andrews hails from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans' 6th Ward, getting his nickname at four years old when he was observed by his older brother James marching in a street parade wielding a trombone twice as long as the kid was high. Troy started early, learning how to play drums and what he remembers as "the world's smallest trumpet" at the age of three. By the time he reached six, this prodigy was playing trumpet and trombone in a jazz band led by his older brother James, himself a trumpet player of local renown who has been called "Satchmo of the Ghetto."
Not long afterward, Troy formed his own band with some other musically inclined kids from Tremé, including current band mate Williams, and they became regulars at Jackson Square, with dreams of following in the footsteps of his brother James and Rebirth Brass Band, learning and carrying on the New Orleans tradition. While not only carrying on that tradition and expanding its boundaries, Troy has lent a generous helping hand to the next generation as well, having given longstanding support to the city's renowned Roots of Music program. Troy was also recently honored by being named the youngest member of the NOCCA Foundation board - the foundation behind New Orleans' Center for the Creative Arts where Troy and several of his band members studied and began collaborating. He's also finalizing plans for his own new foundation aimed at making sure that talented younger players with limited resources can get quality instruments to play. Starting in September, he'll be delivering Trombone Shorty trumpets and trombones to talented young musicians across the city.
Soulive has never made any bones about what they do best; it’s right there in their name. Since forming in 1999, the trio of guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and keyboardist Neal Evans has carried the torch for the soul-jazz organ trio—that venerable, funky institution pioneered by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Groove Holmes in the late ’60s. Rest assured, when the Evans brothers first brought Kraz by their Woodstock studio, there was plenty of old vinyl spread out on the floor. In their 13 years together, Soulive has followed the muse in the direction of hip-hop, R&B, blues and rock, collaborating with the likes of Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Fred Wesley, The Roots, Ivan Neville and so many others, even going so far as to record a full album of covers by The Beatles (Rubber Soulive). But, no matter how they push the limits of the organ trio, they always come back to their bread and butter: blistering solos and grooves that don’t quit.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings marked history with the release of their fourth album, I Learned The Hard Way. After selling a mere 100,000 copies of their previous album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, since its release in 2007, the band went on to move 23,000 copies of I Learned The Hard Way in the first week putting the album at #15 on the Billboard 200. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have become truly renowned thanks to their incredible live show and relentless touring. Steeped in the gilded and gritty sounds of gospel, soul, and funk, this nine-piece act continues to electrify fans, disc jockeys, critics, record collectors, and bloggers the world over with their heart-felt sound. For Franti, “To play for people and share your songs with them is to make a real connection. That’s why we play outside our shows for those who can’t afford to come inside. They need the songs too – maybe more. That’s the reality. And as a musician I was on tour with put it recently, “Our fans didn’t come to us from a reality show. They came to us from reality.” And so, we mean something in their lives. We’re the music they put on when they drive their little kids to school, or hang out with the person they love at night. There’s no higher honor. So they have an investment in the music. And that means so much because this music is very personal to me too.”
From backwoods barbecues and community gatherings; Allen Stone emerges to share personal
melodies, telling his tales of life after just 24 years. Getting his start singing at his father's church in
small-town America; it wasn't until later when introduced to the greats of soul music (Marvin Gaye,
Aretha Franklin) and then to the confessional lyrical fashion of the 60's -70's singer/ songwriters, did
music begin to ignite intense passion, eventually carrying this boy to a musical home.
On his self-titled sophomore album - an independent self-release which hit digital shelves October 4,
Allen has pushed his sound and lyricism to a greater level of noted individuality. It touches upon a
range of styles and themes. Integrating classic soul, catchy pop hooks, r&b beats and folk roots with
lyrical matters of testimonial broken relationships, poisonous politics and the age-old topic of simple,
pure celebration. Stone's music is notable for his finely crafted evocative songs and a fresh, smooth,
soul-filled voice-one that certainly belies his age.
Allen Stone has shot up the R&B/Soul charts on iTunes, peaking at the number 2 spot, and hit #9 and
#62 on the Billboard Heatseekers and R&B/Hip Hop Album charts, respectively, and has garnered
national praise - USA Today called him a “pitch-perfect powerhouse”. He has sold-out tour dates in
numerous markets under his belt including Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, and
Los Angeles. A performance on Conan on October 26 along with his emphasis on live performances
has landed nods from the Washington Post, New York Times, Grantland, and others - all without any
support of a label, publisher, or publicist.
With its delightfully vibrant blend of inventive musicality and genre-blurring reach, Sounds Like This sees ALO operating with fresh verve and vitality, their always-kaleidoscopic funk pop n roll aglow with exceptionally ebullient songcraft and deliriously danceable grooves. The California-based band’s fourth Brushfire Records release showcases their unfettered passion, wit, and imagination while simultaneously exploring hitherto uncharted musical terrain. Invigorated by an unstructured approach to the studio process, ALO have accessed new avenues of resourcefulness, resulting in a truly distinctive collection of songs that adroitly captures all the glorious ingenuity and adventure of the band’s legendary live sets.
“There has always been a division between the fans that get to know us through our live shows vs. the fans that get to know us through our albums,” guitarist Lebo says. “This album is going to bridge that gap.”
Long acclaimed for their deft musicianship, potent songwriting, and astonishing on-stage interaction, the members of ALO have played together for more than two decades, with the current permutation now in its 10th year and counting. The band followed the release of 2010′s Jack Johnson-produced Man Of The World by doing what they do best: playing live, with highlights including the Halloween-themed “Haunted Carnival of Traveling Freaks & Frights” tour and their annual Tour d’Amour benefitting public music school programs.
In April 2011, ALO convened at San Francisco’s Mission Bells studio with no plans other than to make some music together. With studio owner/longtime collaborator David Simon-Baker assisting behind the board, the band opted to take the same improvisational tack towards recording as they do on stage. Any distinctions between pre-production and real recording would be shed, allowing for ALO’s instinctive spontaneity to make it to track.
“We thought, what if we started recording from the get-go,” Gill says, “instead of rehearsing, making songs, and then going into the studio. We decided to start the whole process all at once, with the intention of wanting things to feel really live.”
“Without a clear roadmap, we hit a lot of dead ends,” says drummer Dave Brogan says, “which forced us to create our way out of the morass. I think that helped us look to within ourselves,rather than outside influences, to bring the music to life.”
The band , all based in the Bay Area, Gill, who resides in sunny Santa Barbara, were also able to utilize a lifetime’s bag of tricks in a way the previous album’s sonic scope only suggested.
“The previous record was done in Hawaii, so we simply couldn’t fly with much,” bassist Steve Adams says. “Doing this one in San Francisco definitely made it easier to bring anything we wanted from home, Dave set up a more elaborate drum zone, Lebo had more guitars and amps, Zach brought up more keyboards. I had all my basses and a keyboard rig as well. Having a broader palette of sounds definitely had an influence on how the record turned out.”
In the past, ALO felt compelled to adjust their expansive songs to better suit the recorded format, trimming tracks to a more easily consumed length. While this certainly honed the band’s songwriting skills, ALO were now eager to let it all hang out, marking tracks like the bombastic “Dead Still Dance” with collage-like structures, deep dance grooves, and inventive, intricate solos. The inclusion of longer songs on Sounds Like This epitomizes “ALO being more comfortable with who ALO is,” according to Lebo.
“The truth is, longer songs come more naturally to us,” he continues. “In the past we’ve spent more time whittling the songs down because we felt that we needed to do so in order to ‘fit in.’ This time around, we let the songs be what they wanted to be, and sometimes that meant a long song.”
“There was a part of us that went,”Are we being a tad too indulgent?,’” says Gill, “but in the end we decided that we wouldn’t say we were being indulgent “we were being generous.”
ALO let their imagination run free, both musically and lyrically, resulting in such larger-than-life highlights as the Old West flight of fancy, “Cowboys and Chorus Girls” or the self-explanatory glitterball workout, “Room For Bloomin.” Where prior albums featured songs penned individually and then arranged by the band, this time out, ALO were determined that their collective spirit inform every groove.
“With collaborative writing, everyone’s personal stamp is in the DNA of the song,” Lebo says. “That makes these songs definitively ALO.”
At the heart of the album is ALO’s raucous reverie for days past, “Blew Out The Walls,” as well as its more subdued sibling, “Sounds Like That” (included exclusively as an iTunes bonus track). The track reverberates with the excitement and passion of a rock n’ roll band in its nascent stage, that magical moment where four friends first get together in someone’s basement for the sheer joy of making music together.
“I think we all were feeling the dream again,” Adams says, “remembering back to where it all started.”
All four members of ALO agree that a similar sense of excitement is currently spurring the band forward. Sounds Like This has imbued ALO with an audacious energy that is certain to infiltrate the band’s already spirited live shows, not to mention their next studio outing.
“Like all ALO albums, the next one will be a culmination of all the past albums and everything that happens in between,” Brogan says, “I don’t know if we’ll be so bold in our lack of planning next time, but I’m sure we’ll find some other way to challenge ourselves.”
“I love making records,” Gill says. “With this one done, now there’s the excitement of, what about the next one? Those juices are already brewing. I feel like we just cracked the ice so it’ll be exciting to see what happens next.”
As Eric Hutchinson journeyed toward the making of Moving Up Living Down, the delightfully witty and supremely wise follow-up to his hit debut Sounds Like This, he developed a very simple rule regarding new songs. That was the case with finding producers Elizondo and Terefe, who provided environments that allowed Hutchinson’s growing creativity to flourish.
“I’m a big hip-hop fan, which sometimes people laugh at,” he says. “I wanted the record to be rhythmic, feel big but have the intimacy of the lyrics. I’m also a big pop music fan, Beatles and Paul Simon. Mike Elizondo comes from hip-hop, but is a big Beatles fan. I walked into his studio and saw he had all these Beatles pictures up and I knew I was in the right place!”
The combination clicked, taking Hutchinson in some unexpected directions.
“I’m always on the search for new sounds and on ‘Watching You Watch Him’ I was trying to figure out what kind of solo to have, Mike suggested a requinto jarocho, a stringed instrument from Veracruz – and he just nailed it.”
The London sessions with Terefe were just as inspiring.
“I was staying nearby and walked to the studio, got to learn London by night,” he says. “He has a cool set-up like a living room. You sit, playing on a couch. I learned a lot on that couch, about how to make music. It created a lot of freedom in the recording process that showed up in the songs.”
The road remains Hutchinson’s favorite place to make music, of course. “You’re hosting a party, inviting people in and making sure they’re taken care of the whole time.”
Reciprocally, it’s a fertile world for his art. “Breakdown More” is one song that in particular benefited from that two-way communication. It goes all the way back to his college days, appearing on an early and very limited-release live EP. But somehow fans became familiar with it, he says, and began requesting -- or demanding -- it at concerts.
“That one just never went away,” he says. “It always felt good live. Something about it stuck with me. When we got to the studio we really dug in, it really caught its own fire.”
He relishes that sometimes circuitous process, which has given him an album as emotionally complex -- and compelling -- as Hutchinson is showing himself to be.
“The album’s called Moving Up Living Down because it’s about that chutes and ladders lifestyle,” he says. “There’s no end game. It’s about growing pains and I think I’ve grown a lot, experienced a lot since the first album and this is the next step. Sometimes it can be frustrating, learning on the fly. But it’s all worked out really well. Especially as I’ve made this album I’ve had time to reflect over what’s happened in the last few years. Really inspiring, proud and I feel lucky, which is a word I never got to use before. I feel really lucky.”
But the journey’s hardly over. As the title of one song states, he’s “Not There Yet.”
“I traveled so long and got to see so many people and places,” he says. “And sharing music with the fans every night got me thinking: The best concerts are when people sing along with me. So for the next one, what kind of songs do I want people singing with me? What kind of songs do I want people dancing to?”
Get ready to sing and dance.
Road-tested in every setting from a converted garage in Salt Lake City to the 30,000-seat Calgary Saddledome, from San Diego to Dubai, the artist and songs alike bear a playful confidence that was boosted along the way. As the Washington, DC-raised singer, pianist and guitarist traveled the world over the course of several years, word of mouth about his irresistible songs and engaging presence brought out consistently growing concert crowds. That helped turn the song “Rock & Roll” into an international hit (certified Gold in the U.S., Platinum in New Zealand, Norway and Australia) and the album hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, ultimately selling more than 250,000 copies. The songs “OK, It’s Alright With Me” (top 5 on AAA radio) and “Oh!” also caught fire, helping push total single sales past the million mark.
After a brief respite to nail down the writing at home in New York, he took to the road again to make this album in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Regina Spektor) and London with Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, James Morrison).
On Moving Up Living Down, all of Eric’s ever-widening musical embraces are brought into play, from the exuberant folk-pop bounce of “Watching You Watch Him” (the first single, which debuted on the season premiere of ABC-TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) through the reggae lilt of opener “Talk is Cheap” through the soul grounding of “The Basement.” The music is tuneful and rhythmic. The lyrics are engaging and reflective. Comparisons, as always, are tough, but you wouldn’t go wrong thinking of a spectrum that includes Paul Simon, the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, all integrated into a truly Hutchinsonian whole.
“The biggest inspirations of the album were the cities I visited, the inspiration and rhythms of the people,” he says. It’s all about missing people (the so-close-yet-so-far-away family and friends of “The People I Know”), reconnecting with the spirit that got him started (“In the First Place”) and finding communities in unexpected places. Take “The Basement,” for example.
“I love soul music, so it’s sort of an homage to that. One night after a show in Northampton, Massachusetts, the promoter brought us to a club called The Basement -- and it was a full-on rock ‘n’ roll party, DJ playing songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s… It was like, ‘I found my people!’ I named some of my favorite artists at the end -- Isley Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye - I just love that stuff!”
And “Best Days” came straight out of the last few years’ roaming.
“I was reflecting on all the travel I’d done, thinking about the life I have,” he says. “It’s cliche maybe, but these are the best days of our lives. That’s a surprise to me,” he says. “I sort of think of myself as a cynical optimist. I’m a little suspicious, but in the end I think things work out for the best.”
The Infamous Stringdusters
The Infamous Stringdusters are doing something right. They’ve earned critical acclaim, from their inception, awards and nominations aplenty, host their own successful music festival, have their own record label and a quickly growing and enthusiastic fan base across the country. They sound like no one else, combining virtuosic chops on five traditional bluegrass instruments, with an ethos on pushing the genre forward. The Stringdusters are taking improvised string band music to new places, combining musicianship, songwriting and experimental performance. At each show you’ll see the band relaxed and having fun, while "podding up" and directing swells of energy from their fans.
The Ryan Montbleau Band
Averaging over 200 gigs per year for the past few years, Ryan Montbleau Band has generated the kind of buzz that only surrounds a talented artist on the verge.
Emerging onto the national music scene from his home base of Boston, Ryan Montbleau has been described as something of a Martin Sexton by way of Van Morrison and Stevie Wonder. Yet Ryan Montbleau Band’s music is difﬁcult to pigeon-hole or neatly categorize. It is original yet familiar—a fresh sound full of ﬁrmly-rooted ingredients, including Americana, folk, blues, ragtime and ’70’s R&B and soul. Whereas the band’s intriguing instrumentation and arrangements (not to mention top notch chops) help to create this unique sound, all is ﬁrmly anchored by Montbleau’s water-tight lyrics and unmistakable voice.
Having begun his career playing Boston’s coffee shops and folk venues as a solo artist with an infectious, percussive, ﬁ ngerpicking guitar style, the charismatic Ryan Montbleau has evolved into the front man for the eclectic ensemble that bears his name. Make no mistake—this is a band in every sense of the word and is powered by the dynamics of Matt Giannaros (acoustic upright bass, electric bass, vocals), Laurence Scudder (viola), Jason Cohen (piano, organ, clavinet, Rhodes, Moog) and James Cohen (drums).
Their ﬁrst collective album, One Fine Color, was released on Valentine’s Day, 2006 and shows a cohesive vision rarely seen among young artists today. Several thousand copies have sold so far and the album has been raved about by music lovers of all types and, perhaps most notably, all ages (from senior citizens to infants and everyone in between). One Fine Color showcases the timeless songwriting, invigorating energy, and humble, honest sincerity that has allowed Ryan Montbleau Band to expand its passionate fan base one show, and one listen at a time.
This combination of art and personality creates that magical bond between performer and audience that Ryan Montbleau Band is fortunate to have in these cynical times. Sustaining the band through the years as they toured incessantly, virtually living on the road, they have already established a large, passionate following throughout the country.
Sarah Jarosz has as rich a skill set as anybody in acoustic music. She plays, not just one instrument, but enough of them to be a one-woman string band: mandolin, octave mandolin, clawhammer banjo and guitar. She sings – in supple tones that transcend the boundaries between folk and pop – and she writes – old-timey ballads and modern singer-songwriter ruminations alike.
Soon after finishing her acclaimed 2008 album Apple Tree, Colorado-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Katie Herzig received a fateful phone call. "I sat down to paint one day—I hadn't painted in years—then I got a call asking me to write a song for the Sex and the City movie," she says. "So I put down my paintbrush and haven’t painted since!"
What she did instead, as one assignment led to another, was write music for numerous films and television shows, and in the process, find a surprising and exciting direction for her new album, The Waking Sleep, her first release on Downtown/Mercer Street Records. "I was trying new things," says Herzig, "getting outside of what I would normally do as an artist. It was really fun and invigorating to use samples and build tracks digitally. I loved creating like that, and it really allowed me more freedom, because I was doing something less personal, and creating for something else."
But there was also no doubt that at some point, this accomplished artist would return to the distinctive, heartfelt material that made her name. After initially fronting the Colorado-based band Newcomers Home, Herzig released her solo debut, Watch Them Fall, in 2004, followed by Weightless two years later. When she relocated to Nashville, she immediately started to catch the attention of her fellow artists and was invited to perform as part of the remarkable new talent showcased on the Hotel Café and Ten Out of Tenn tours.
As rewarding as the soundtrack work could be, there was another kind of work to be done. "I knew I'd have to get back to writing for me," she says. "I was kind of intimidated by it, but I knew a lot would come out. I do remember saying, though, I thought I might make a really mellow, stripped-down record."
It wouldn't have been a surprise for Herzig to go that direction. After all, her last release was Live in Studio: Acoustic Trio, a bare-bones 2009 re-imagining of some of her material. But there's another side of her musical interests that came to the fore instead.
"I just love bands, and I found myself making a record that felt like that. I was listening to lots of Coldplay, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend..." she says. Herzig and producer Cason Cooley were also especially taken with film composers Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain) and Mark Mothersbaugh who also influenced their thinking.
Herzig knew that she wanted to work with one producer and write a batch of songs that were specifically intended for a new album. Eventually, "The Waking Sleep" emerged as the project's initial composition. "It felt like the first personal song I'd written in a long time," she says. "That got the ball rolling, and felt like it might be the beginning of something."
"Wasting Time" followed soon after, written on a ukulele borrowed from one of Herzig's bandmates. As she and Cooley began to develop these songs, a new process and a new sound were surfacing. "I recorded a lot of these songs at my home studio and started to build tracks as I wrote them," she says. "It was very experimental and not rushed. Before I did all the film and tv stuff I would mostly just write songs on my guitar, now I was building tracks and writing songs within them."
The Waking Sleep was constructed over a full year of work, as Herzig continued to tour on her own and open for Brandi Carlile across the US. "I recorded whenever I was home, and each time it felt like it was a different season of the record," she says. Songs like "Make A Noise" and "Midnight Serenade" represented uncharted territory for Herzig, with skittery rhythms and multiple movements. By combining digitally programmed sounds with organic instruments, she was finding a fresh musical identity.
The song "Way To The Future" came suddenly, at the end of a session, when Cooley played Herzig a drum loop he wasn't sure what to do with. "I sat down and started playing this string sample against it," she says. "I was about to leave, but I stayed and we just wrote the song- it was really fast and fluky."
Herzig knew that these songs would present a new kind of challenge for her on stage, since she'll follow up the album's release with a headlining tour, as well as another run on the Ten Out of Tenn tour. Speaking a few days after her first live performance of five songs from The Waking Sleep, she says that "it felt like I was playing my first show—a whole different energy, like we were a different band."
In addition to the changes that The Waking Sleep represent in her sound, Herzig also found that the lyrics of her new songs were moving into new areas. "These songs are less relationship-driven," she says. "Of course, there's still some of that but the key songs—"The Waking Sleep," "Make a Noise," "Way to the Future," "Free My Mind"—all raise bigger questions about things going on in the world. Like a lot of people, I've felt constantly overwhelmed by the state of the world, and finding myself asking how it will work out and how we can help solve things."
With The Waking Sleep, Katie Herzig displays maturity and creative fearlessness that extend far beyond her previous work. She knew the risks involved, and knew that breakthroughs only come from having the confidence to believe in your instincts. "I was afraid that all I wanted to write about was global warming and the economy," she says, "and I don't really know how to write about those things. But I just needed to raise questions. I see all these things happening around me, what can I do about them?
"On some songs, I don't even know what I'm writing about," Herzig concludes. "But it feels like exactly what I need to say."
Muck And The Mires
Boston's MUCK & THE MIRES have been called a blend of the 1964 Beatles and the Ramones. They were named #1 Garage Rock Band in the USA by LITTLE STEVEN Van Zandt (The E Street Band) and have albums produced by legendary RUNAWAYS producer KIM FOWLEY. The band tours worldwide and have been profiled on MTV.
Air Traffic Controller
Serving in the US Navy as areal-life air traffic controller, singer/songwriter Dave Munro sent home4-track demos he had written and recorded during his deployment. With hisenlistment up, Munro returned to hometown Boston and discovered an impressive numberof fans, prompting the genesis of the aptly-named rock band Air TrafficController.
With a refreshing, modern day, indie rock sound resembling TheDecemberists, ATC further infuses its compositions with unforgettable popsensibilities in the vein of Petty, McCartney, and Springsteen. Munro keeps ithonest, with autobiographical lyrics and well-crafted storytelling reminiscentof classic singer/songwriters such as Paul Simon and Cat Stevens.
Orange Television is a psychedelic rock band from Western Massachusetts. Many have compared the sound to early Pink Floyd and a blend of Zeppelin crossing over with sounds of the 90’s such as Blind Melon and Pearl Jam.
The Fresh Beat Band
The Fresh Beat Band Live in Concert Tour Presented By Nickelodeon features Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Shout (Thomas Hobson), Marina (Tara Perry) and Twist (Jon Beavers) performing The Fresh Beat Band hits from seasons one, two and three of the Nickelodeon live-action music series that teaches preschoolers about music appreciation. Songs performed include "Here We Go, "A Friend Like You, "Bananas," and "Just Like A Rockstar," among others. The first-ever The Fresh Beat Band soundtrack – The Fresh Beat Band: Music From The Hit TV Show -- is currently available on iTunes and in stores everywhere. The album features 19 catchy, preschool-friendly tracks also culled from three seasons of the TV series and has been number-one on the iTunes Children's Music chart since its release in January.
Nickelodeon will premiere a new episode of The Fresh Beat Band, "Keeping It Green," on Earth Day, Friday, April 20, at 1:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The Fresh Beat Band debuted in 2009 and is now in its third season on Nickelodeon. The Fresh Beat Band centers on four best friends – Kiki, Shout, Marina and Twist – in a band who love to sing and dance. In each episode, preschoolers sing and dance along as they help The Fresh Beat Band solve everyday challenges. Preschoolers learn the fundamentals of music such as melody, rhythm, tempo and performance styles and the importance of friendship, working together, and respecting each other's differences. Ne-Yo, Justin Bieber and Jason Mraz have all hung out with the Fresh Beats and additional celebrity guests will appear throughout season three.
Check out the tour website -- http://www.freshbeatbandlive.com, Facebook page www.facebook.com/freshbeatbandlive and for more Fresh Beat activities and fun go to http://www.nickjr.com/the-fresh-beat-band/.
Dan Zanes and Friends
This Fall Grammy-winners Dan Zanes and Friends will release Little Nut Tree, their first
family album in five years. As the official follow up album to the 2007 Grammy ™ winner
Catch That Train, the new album, which will be released September 13 on Zanes’ Festival Five
Records, is a return to the age-desegregated mixed musical bag approach that has earned Zanes
his place at the forefront of the family music movement.
Zanes recorded Little Nut Tree in his new homespun studio at Festival Five Records in Brooklyn
where friends and guests visited to hang around and collaborate. The album features the multitalented
singer/violinist/whistler Andrew Bird on the original song “I Don't Need Sunny Skies”;
funk/soul singer Sharon Jones brought her powerful voice to play in a duet with Zanes on the
Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto R&B classic “Down in the Basement”; West African group
the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars came out to Brooklyn for a jam on the album’s title track, a
cover of the Melodians’ “Little Nut Tree”; and Zanes’ long time friend Joan Osborne added her
Kentucky voice to another original “Everybody’s Going to be Happy.” Zanes also traveled to
downtown L.A. to record with the scrappy and soulful youth orchestra of the nonprofit
organization The Harmony Project with whom he performed during the winter of 2010.
Additional performances come from Zanes’ band (Sonia De Los Santos, Colin Brooks, Saskia
Lane and Elena Moon Park), newcomer Shine (aka Shawana Kemp) and many other past
collaborators including Father Goose, Barbara Brousal, Bonga, Simon Kirke, Donald Saaf,
and Tareq Abboushi.
The original version of the title track “Little Nut Tree” as played by the Jamaican rocksteady
group the Melodions has a special place in Zanes’ heart as it was the first recording that he ever
played for his daughter Anna. Although she is now 16 she has long been credited as his
inspiration to begin creating family music. According to all sources she still approves of his
music especially since he and the band performed at Lollapalooza last year.
In 2010 Time Magazine named Zanes “the family music genre’s most outspoken and eloquent
advocate.” As this calendar year marks 10 years of Festival Five Records and this is his 10th Dan
Zanes and Friends release, Zanes is as inspired as ever. “When I started making family music, or
21st century all ages social music, I wanted to try and create the updated version of the Folkways
records I grew up with. They had a homespun mix of old and new songs from a variety of
traditions that sounded like they were recorded on someone’s farm.” said Zanes. “It’s been
almost 5 years since Catch that Train!, our last release of this type and in that time not only have
we done a lot of singing but we've danced our tails off! I would say that Little Nut Tree is the
grooviest of the DZAF family series CDs although you could still nap to it if you needed to.”
Dan Zanes and Friends will continue their live performances nationwide in support of the new
release. The live concerts which the LA Times referred to as a "dance party, hootenanny for the
21st century" continue to receive much acclaim in the US and beyond. Dan Zanes and Friends
have performed outside the US in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain and Bahrain.
The band tours year round and regularly perform with local groups, particularly youth orchestras
and West African drum and dance ensembles. Fans can expect dates in major cities around the
About Dan Zanes and Festival Five Records
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Festival Five Records, the home of Dan Zanes and
Friends and their 21st-century handmade all-ages family music. Zanes began exploring agedesegregated
music after the birth of his daughter in 1994 and soon after decided to abandon a
pop music career, which had included four albums with Boston’s Del Fuegos, to form Festival
Five Records, his decidedly independent label, and pursue family music full time. His first
release Rocket Ship Beach was an immediate hit with families around America and ten years
later the Grammy award-winning artist is known widely as the leading man of the family music
genre. Among the several Parents Choice Award-winning, bestselling albums for kids and kid
sympathizers are the acclaimed House Party, Night Time!, ¡Nueva York!, and Catch That Train!,
which won the 2007 Grammy for “Best Musical Album for Children.” Music videos for Zanes’
songs have aired on The Noggin Network, Sesame Street and The Disney Channel’s “Playhouse
The KIDZ BOP Kids
KIDZ BOP 21, the latest volume in the best-selling KIDZ BOP audio series, has entered the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at #2. KIDZ BOP 21 is the third consecutive KIDZ BOP title to debut at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, and the 14th title to hit the Top 10 since the series launched in 2001. In Billboard history, only six other artists have had more #2 albums including, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Madonna, and Tim McGraw. KIDZ BOP has experienced tremendous growth with digital album sales up more than 70% from KIDZ BOP 20. This news coincides with the launch of KIDZ BOP Block Party!, on SiriusXM, the all-new interactive weekly radio show where kids can participate online by visiting KIDZBOP.com.
KIDZ BOP 21 also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Children’s Chart, where there are currently two other KIDZ BOP albums in the Top 10. The new release follows a chart-topping 2011 where the KIDZ BOP Kids ranked as the #1 Kids’ Artist of the year, above Big Time Rush, according to Billboard.
Cliff Chenfeld, Co-Founder of KIDZ BOP, said, “2012 is already off to an incredible start with the release of KIDZ BOP 21 and the launch of our new radio show on SiriusXM.” Craig Balsam, Co-Founder of KIDZ BOP, also added, “It’s going to be a very exciting year for KIDZ BOP with increasing digital album sales, new licensing partnerships, and the expansion of consumer products across key retailers.”
About KIDZ BOP LLC
KIDZ BOP is the #1 music brand for kids ages 5-12 in the U.S., featuring today’s most popular songs, sung by kids for kids. KIDZ BOP celebrates the authentic voice of kids across the entire brand—through music, videos, live appearances, licensed merchandise and its popular social networking and content sharing website, KIDZBOP.com. In 2011, the brand celebrated its 10th anniversary. KIDZ BOP CD titles have earned one Platinum® and nine Gold® certifications since their debut in 2001. KIDZ BOP’s last release, KIDZ BOP 20 debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart where it spent five consecutive weeks in the Top 10. Check out KIDZ BOP’s new weekly radio show, KIDZ BOP Block Party!, a new two-hour weekly radio show on Kids Place Live, every Friday at 6PM EST.
KIDZBOP.com is the leading SAFE social network and video sharing site for kids and tweens with one million registered members. The website allows kids to express themselves—as themselves—through unique online applications and proprietary functionality. Kids can star in video-based “Web Shows,” challenge each other to “Super Contests,” and build “Fan Pages” as part of KIDZBOP.com’s fun features. An introduction to social networking, the site also features a profile page for each member where they can chat with each other via a safe text messaging system. KIDZ BOP’s expert moderators have screened more than 35,000 hours of video content and nearly half a million photos before they were published to the site. KIDZBOP.com is also home to America’s biggest online talent search for kids 15 and under, KIDZ Star USA.
Josh & the Jamtones
Formed in 2011, Josh & the JamTones is the coolest music band performing for kids, children, and all families in Boston, Wellesley, Newton and greater Boston! Whether it's performing for major charities and family events, or rocking out your private birthday party at our Program & Performance Center in Wellesley, Josh & the JamTones never fails to deliver its promise of super awesome fun for the whole family! As you can see from the List of Events below, word is spreading fast about Josh & the JamTones!! You can request the band for your special event - size doesn't matter! - or you can check out our birthday party page and have the coolest and most unique birthday party for your special family member.
$35.00 - $120.00
All tickets are general admission.
This is a rain or shine event. Lineup subject to change. This pass includes admission Saturday 9/22 & Sunday 9/23.