Johnny Brenda's Presents
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
The Dustbowl Revival is a Venice Beach, CA - based American roots orchestra with eight full-time members. Known for their free-flowing sets that often spill off the stage - they play it all - bluegrass, hot jazz, pre-war blues, southern soul and a good dose of New Orleans funk, mashing the sounds of traditional American music into a genre-hopping, time-bending dance party that coaxes new fire out of familiar coal. It's a celebration of the sounds that have kept America moving for more than a century, performed with all the flair of a medicine show and rooted in the sweat and swagger of a juke joint song swap. Over the last five years the band has toured throughout North America and Europe as festival veterans, recently sharing stages with bands as diverse as Lake Street Dive, Rebirth Brass Band, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty. Perhaps the thing that inspired the band years ago was witnessing The Preservation Hall Jazz Band merging with Del McCoury’s seasoned bluegrass troupe from Nashville in a series of concerts. It was like a flashbulb going off. Maybe that's the secret ingredient in the Dustbowl Revival's sound: the bridge connecting two American genres that grew out of places more similar and entwined than people realize - but a century or so after they first became popular, couldn’t sound more different. Preservation Hall and The Grand Ole Opry rarely get mentioned in the same sentence. In Dustbowl’s first mostly-live record “With A Lampshade On” - released by Massachusetts based roots label Signature Sounds, these estranged folk traditions are reunited with songs that rely as heavily on bluegrass trombone breaks and jazz mandolin runs as funk fiddle solos and gospel sing-alongs. That unique middle ground — the place where jazz, folk, gospel and blues all intersect — is where the band shines brightest. With each show, The Dustbowl Revival isn't just paying tribute to the sounds of decades long past. Rather, the band is attempting to participate in the evolution of American roots music, tipping a hat to what's come before while looking ahead to what's on the horizon.
Ladybird's roots first took hold on a front porch in the Western heart of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Now flourishing and spreading towards audiences all across America, Ladybird brings their unique and eclectic folk sound to the ears of many.
Brought together by their mutual love of the traditional American songbook, Ladybird draws on their multi-dimensional background, including European classicism, Swedish folk, and jazz to create a sound that echoes like a wind through the Appalachian pines. Their original material is informed by these textures and brought to life by their instrumental abilities, but thrice as nice are their voices; “Emoting deep from the back of their throats, each artist nuanced not only with the character of her instrument but also with the individuality of her vocals,” (Tri-State Indie).
It is their diverse background that lends new treatments to old time songs. “Hey There, Ladybird!” consists of three traditional songs (High On a Mountain, Rain and Snow, Red Rocking Chair) and one original. The three traditional songs are common in the repertoire, but Ladybird’s renditions are indeed uncommon. Sarah says, “the best advice we ever got was from Ry Cooder; he said ‘why play a song the way it’s been played before? Doesn’t matter if it’s better or worse, at least it’s different.’” Whilst playing their traditional instruments (guitar, tenor guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and resonator guitar) the girls, with producer Michael Southerton (Song Dogs) began to experiment with harmony and texture. The result is an EP dipped in sepia and soaked in a Southern honey, radiating with a dark beauty and warmth.
The pursuit of American sound has been a varied path for all of the girls, both geographically and spiritually. Anna Cecilia Ferneborg’s young musical life began in a rural town in Sweden, as the daughter of two fiddle players. After coming to the United States, she began her career as a jazz vocalist, incorporating her Swedish folk music roots into modern jazz compositions and arrangements. In addition to performing original music with her jazz group and Ladybird, she has toured extensively with her swing and blues band, Anna Cecilia & the Big Time.
In contrast, Sarah Williams Larsen comes from a strictly classical background, with her forays into jazz and fiddle music being much more recent. “I was the kid in the frozen wilds of Wisconsin who was practicing violin for hours, and ended up in conservatory studying that and music history.
My mother was a classical pianist, as was my sister, and both were my collaborative partners.
After college, I took some time off from playing, and came back to it by playing bluegrass and jazz. Songwriting has followed suit.” Along the way, Ms. Larsen added several new instruments to her repertoire, including mandolin, guitar, and banjo. As the resident “big sister” of the trio, Sarah’s quest for new, “old-time” styled songs has brought the girls to explore deeply into their favorite traditional material, discovering new tones and timbres for the Ladybird sound. When Ms. Larsen isn’t spending time in the nest with Ladybird, she is on the town performing as her alter-ego, “Hurricane Hoss”, everyone’s favorite gypsy/cowgirl/songwriter, or as Philadelphia’s most respected and hardworking side-woman. Additionally, Ms. Larsen is well-versed in the field of instrument repair and appraisal, with a vast knowledge and understanding of collectible instruments.
The last Ladybird, Laura Kay, is the band’s Johnny-come-lately. When she was thirteen years old, she picked up her first guitar, her father’s cherry burst jazz guitar, a Guild Starfire II model. She soon fell into a deep love with music, as it became a cornerstone of her being, but playing for audiences didn’t come until college. This self-taught instrumentalist quickly applied her fingerstylings to the resonator guitar and banjo through playing with the girls of Ladybird. “I am a stubborn old hen who likes things her own way, so everything I do is self-taught, fingerstylings and all. Despite my love of learning from others, I don't like to conform to how I "should" be playing an instrument. I enjoy the rush of discovering an instrument all on my own, and what I might find may be a new and different way to play. ” Her inquisitive nature extends to world music, independently practicing and performing on the Andean charango as well as the Chinese guzheng.
All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission