887 West Marietta St. Studio C
Atlanta, GA, 30318
Doors 8:00PM / Show 9:00PM
This event is 18 and over
Musicians often claim they are “giving themselves” to their listeners, but it’s rarely as true as on Ben Sollee’s fourth album, Half-‐Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are. Known for his thrilling cello-‐ playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-‐smooth-‐smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens. Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy.
The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including
Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn. Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello.
“I wanted it to have a raw, real-‐time performance quality,” Sollee says. “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we're looking for in between defined styles and genres. It won't be easy to place this in one category, but I, and my generation, are measured by a little bit of everything these days.”
Sollee first gained major notice with his 2008 debut, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-‐ flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good." Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-‐Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-‐
length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit album Circuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-‐inspring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression.
Through it all, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. They will be greatly pleased with this, his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals. “The vocals are more off the cuff and freer,” he says, stressing that the production strives more for rawness than perfection. “We steered our ears toward getting the right energy for each song. The takes took on their own life and led us along. The machines and mics had a weighty sound that we could use to drive the story through the lyrics and arrangements.”
The songs give us the many facets of a human being who is acutely aware of the world around him and his own faults. The album is novelistic in its scope and theme as we travel with the narrator who reveals everything about himself as a father, a spouse, a musician, and more. We are along for the ride as the narrator sings of selfishness, joy, impatience, romance...being human.
With Half-‐Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.
With limitless energy and spontaneity, The Singularity Tour kicks off in the Summer of 2012, putting Casey Driessen’s unique creative vision center stage. The set up is simple: One man. One fiddle. One pedal board. Mixing his signature percussive fiddle style with digital loops and effects, the GRAMMY-nominated fiddler will build each show layer by layer in real time in front of the audience. The result is a one of a kind experience that pushes the boundaries of musical genres and styles.
• A FIDDLER’S BACKSTORY
On a blustery cold morning in December of 1978, in the small southern Minnesota town of Owatonna, a fiddler was born. His father played banjo and pedal steel guitar in a band called Everybody & His Brother while his mother gardened and painted with watercolors. The first fiddle he ever held was a cardboard box with paint stirrer taped on for a neck and a wooden dowel used for a bow. As soon as he learned to respect his “instrument,” the child was given his first real fiddle.
The boy grew up healthy and strong on two different diets: tater tot hot dish and popsicles for physical nourishment, and Bluegrass, Western Swing, and Jazz for his ears. His parents used to say the song Roly Poly was written about him. There had also been passing mention that he had been found under a rock—a theory that has yet to be disproved.
This young boy learned the value of hard work and practice by being bribed with baseball cards. He grew and grew and practiced and practiced…and then grew some more…stopping just a hair short of 5’7″. It’s been speculated that summers full of bluegrass festival campfire jam sessions and fiddle camps, years of public school orchestra, and a couple of seasons on the diving team may have prevented him from reaching 6’0″. However he did reach his goal of growing a goatee by the end of high school…if you could call it a goatee.
Goatee was accepted to Berklee College of Music—along with many other goatees—and swiftly left his then home of Chicago. The following three years taught him about life on his own, parking in Boston, and all the other wonderful “lessons” you learn in those “college years.”
With diploma in hand, this young man—really a big kid at heart—moved to Music City USA, home of the Grand Old Opry, the Station Inn, George Jones, the Wooten brothers, and hot chicken: Nashville TN. Goatee already owned a pickup truck but felt life could be more fully realized if he changed his name to Mustache.
Harnessing the power of red shoes, Mustache and his trusty sidekick, 5-String Fiddle, have spent more than the last decade in studios, on stages, and crammed into various forms of transportation, crisscrossing the North American continent and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans—not only as a collaborator with artists such as Béla Fleck, Bassekou Kouyate, The Sparrow Quartet, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, and Frank Vignola, but also as a solo artist with his band, a drums/bass/fiddle power trio called The Colorfools—fighting evil music, toppling language barriers, and sharing his view of the world through a camera lens.
In 2006, Mustache and 5-String Fiddle made their debut record entitled 3D (Sugar Hill Records). On the morning of his birthday, what at first seemed like prank phone call turned out to be the honest truth—3D, more specifically the track Jerusalem Ridge, was nominated for a GRAMMY. Hailed as a “tour de force” (New York Times), this choptastic interpretation of a Bill Monroe bluegrass fiddle tune helped to establish Mustache as the leader of “The Chop,” a new percussive bowing technique permeating every corner of the fiddle/violin world.
Two years, thousands of frequent flyer miles, and even more thousands of notes later, the time had come to return to the studio. Genre lines were smeared; sounds and colors from beautiful to ugly and everywhere in between were explored; drums & loops (Matt Chamberlain), bass (Viktor Krauss), electric guitar & pedal steel (Darrell Scott), fiddle & voice (midwest boy) grooved through twists and turns; new melodies were born while old ones were de’rranged. Life’s most recent adventures of sight and sound were sonically summed up in less than an hour on a record named after an M.C. Escher work, Oog (Red Shoe Records).
Since then, Mustache and 5-String Fiddle have rarely (perhaps never) slept a full 8hr night. Our fearless fiddler and his feared sidekick have been making countless special guest appearances on stages and in studios for all manner of eclectic and innovative artists—including performances for their largest audiences to date with the Zac Brown Band and the honor of melodically dueling with the Fantastic Four of the acoustic/electric/bluegrass/jazz/fusion world, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. There’ve even been collaborations with musicians from China, the Republic of Tuva, and four African countries. Through it all, 5-String Fiddle remains unchanged, with the exception of road wear and strangs. Mustache, however, has stepped out of the (cell)phone booth with a blazing monochromatic new identity…Red Suit.
No new solo record? (you say!) Patience, music lover. Red Suit has been tinkering steadily, deep under ground in his top secret fiddle lab, experimenting with ground breaking Chop techniques and solo solo real-time looping capabilities full of pedal board tones brimming with electricity. Patience, music lover.
That midwest boy hopes to see you out on the road somewhere. Look for him performing under the alias Casey Driessen on a sonic adventure he’s calling The Singularity Tour. And although you can’t hear them (or can you?), you know he’s wearing red shoes.
Wed, June 19
Thu, June 20
Fri, June 21
Sat, June 22
Wed, June 26
Sat, June 29
Fri, July 5
Wed, July 10
Tue, July 16
Thu, July 18