Amoeba Music presents...
The Be Good Tanyas
Leftover Cuties, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show)
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
Doors 8:00PM / Show 9:00PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
The Be Good Tanyas
The Be Good Tanyas play an old-timey blend of folk, country, and blues bolstered by sweet harmonies and traditional fingerpicking. The Vancouver trio has garnered comparisons to like-minded predecessors such as Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent. The group came together when Samantha Parton, who had spent her post-high school years traveling with her guitar (drawing strong musical influence from visits to the Southern U.S.), returned to Vancouver. She and Jolie Holland initially formed the group, then added Frazey Ford and Trish Klein, who Parton had met while planting trees in Nelson, British Columbia. (Ford and Winnipeg native Klein had met at Selkirk Music School in Nelson.) The musicians played together for the first time in 1999, busking outside the Lilith Fair venue in Vancouver. They soon moved on to local thrift store and coffee shop gigs. Holland left the group, and the remaining trio was soon touring Canada and released their debut album, Blue Horse, in 2001. Two years later, the ladies returned with the lighthearted sophomore effort Chinatown, while Hello Love, which included covers of Neil Young, Mississippi John Hurt, and even Prince, came out in 2006.
“This balance of sweet and spooky is at the heart of the Be Good Tanyas' timeless beauty. Decades from now, their musical sound is natural next to the traditional songs that inspire their work” –Meredith Ochs of NPR Music
Some things are eternal. Love songs. California sunsets. The ukulele.
Leftover Cuties embody all of that goodness on their debut album Places To Go. Produced by Tony
Berg (Bob Dylan, Michael Penn, Jesca Hoop), the eleven breezy, sophisticated songs evoke a magic-
hour stroll on the beach with a special someone. Who knows what year it is? Who cares when the
songs are this sweet?
To call Leftover Cuties retro or throwback would be too easy, and frankly dismissive. Sure, the music
fits beside Billie Holiday, but it’s also current in its sex appeal, its sophistication, its confidence. The
Cuties’ music – plied with upright bass, accordion, the brushed drums, and yes, ukulele – is not
slavishly old-timey, but honors its forebears in the right way. Melody. Sharp playing. Stylized,
confident, character-laden singing.
When Leftover Cuties chanteuse Shirli McAllen steps to the microphone, she commands your
attention because she’s got something to say. And a beguiling way of saying it. Sultry. Aching with
longing, yet in control. She’s the Cuties’ charmer-in-charge, and her silky voice hooks you from the
get-go. You keep looking to see bluebirds landing gently on her shoulder for a listen. You could
hardly blame them.
When McAllen first moved to Los Angeles from her native Israel (where she served in the army), she
was still finding her way musically. “I grew up listening to Israeli music, ‘90s grunge rock and singer
songwriters,” she says. After a couple of years trying to make her mark in the city’s crowded singer-
songwriter scene – a lot of good writers and singers, but not a lot of memorable personalities – she
struck up a friendship with multi-instrumentalist Austin Nicholsen.
"One day, Austin walks in with a ukulele,” McAllen says, "I thought it was a toy. He started playing
and I started singing the lyrics. We wrote 'Game Called Life' in about five minutes."
With a newly defined musical direction, the duo dubbed themselves Leftover Cuties (more enigmatic
and distinctive than Old Clementines, and sweeter). Stuart Johnson (drums), Ryan Feves (bass), and
Mike Bolger (keys, horns, accordion) came on board to flesh out the sound, and the band was off and
running. In 2010, that sweet tune written on a napkin in five minutes was tabbed as the theme song
for the acclaimed Showtime series “The Big C” starring Laura Linney. The band’s fan base swelled,
with fans emailing them from all over the world, and their live shows packing them in.
With a debut album that delivers on the promise of that early success, Leftover Cuties’ journey has
just begun. They’ve got places to go…
Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show)
Willie Watson, former lead singer and songwriter for Old Crow Medicine Show, is feeling inspired. Inspired by the reverence of the old and the anticipation of the new. After 13 years as a founding member of OCMS, where he gained fans such as Norah Jones and Gillian Welch while also paving the way for other rootsy bands like Mumford and Sons, Watson left the group to pursue a solo career. Invigorated to get back into the studio, Watson is concentrating on those high lonesome vocals so prominently illustrated on “Wagon Wheel” and “Minglewood Blues.”
Hailing from Upstate New York, Watson began playing music in his early teens, eventually honing his skills while busking on the street and joining OCMS. In 2011, Watson partook in the historic “Railroad Revival Tour” with OCMS, Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Traveling exclusively by vintage train, the bands played concerts throughout the Southwest, capturing every moment for the Emmett Malloy helmed “Big Easy Express,” winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. Watson’s career has extended well beyond OCMS, performing and touring with Dave Rawlings Machine and John C. Reilly and Friends, an ongoing project with Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Tom Brosseau.
Fans of OCMS have come to expect the revelry and high-energy brought to their performances. Watson’s solo shows are stripped down and intimate, a mix of music penned throughout his career as well as traditional songs, the outcome of delving into old-time music. Dividing his time between guitar and banjo, Watson’s focus is on his voice, which he utilizes with an effortless maturity aptly described by Megan Frye of AllMusic as the “genius of Watson’s distinctive howl.”
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