North Bay Hootenanny presents
The Easy Leaves
Alison Harris and The Barn Owls, T.V. Mike and The Scarecrows, Emily Bonn and the Vivants
628 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA, 94117
Doors 7:30PM / Show 8:00PM
This event is 21 and over
The Easy Leaves
Old Standards, New Directions is a mighty fine slogan for the The Easy Leaves - Or New American Music from the Western Edge. Full-Spectrum Americana also does the trick. And as elated as they certainly would be by these turns of a carnival barker, this fine tuned yet loose, crafty yet tender, down-home racket of The Easy Leaves travels endless country miles past tweety length, out catching any catch phrase. So if you’re interested in getting properly acquainted with The Easy Leaves, a good-listen to the music itself is the only way.
Their new record, American Times (Omega Records), spans the breadth of American roots music from grassland stomps, minor swings and Honky Tonk grinds, to personal spirituals, and Rhythm and Blues. One example of the latter mentioned influence, the track Fool on a String, holds its own with ease, a worthy reciprocal to The Rolling Stones’ Under My Thumb.
The album also has an anthem, Keep It Country. The cruising dreamscape Honky Tonk Magic flirts with Doo-Wop melody and speaks to a purer time, and the empyrean feeling of a love lost. The (almost) title track, The American, extra handsome and honest, is about acceptance of self, and of something bigger. Heathen is about a relationship with organized religion, and it “goes there” with matchless finesse. And if this record were a religion the central belief might just be that the spirit of a rowdy drunken celebration and that of an old-time revival salvation are not separate. But , American Times as religion also wouldn’t try and force you to believe anything (maybe everything though? Maybe too it’d pull a shiny nickel from your ear, unscrew the top to the salt shaker, and help Grandma cross the street).
The Easy Leaves, songwriters Kevin Carducci and Sage Fifield, formed north of the Golden Gate in 2008 immersed in a diverse set of flailing rockers, gospel skeptics, and country outlaws. Their initial intent was to establish an old-time string band. However, this did not happen (at all). In love with just too many different musics, artists as disparate as Bob Wills and Smokey Robinson slinking into their songwriting, Kevin and Sage gave up their banjo habits cold-turkey. The Easy Leaves’sound was born- A modern acoustic sound, its roots kept close to the chest while tirelessly sprawling out in new directions that stretch the borders of the Americana genre in exciting ways.
“Our sound is a personal distillation of American music, based on the styles we like and all the songs and sounds we’ve been saturated with.” The finest filters on this still are songs written with painstaking attention to detail and dynamic intricate vocal harmonies. They’re melodic, lyric-driven (catchy-as-all-hell) compositions pinned with the syncopated rhythm of two acoustic instruments, guitar and upright bass. A trap kit, and pedal steel – The whipped cream and cherry.
Live, The Easy Leaves beguile any kind of audience.
Now here, with the explanation wrapped up, you might have concluded, might say, These The Easy Leaves are bringing in from most any musical column – We’ve heard of these turn left then right types. You’re probably correct. From that you might then conclude, might say, A record that does that must not be focused – Why these The Easy Leaves can’t keep their hands out of the Johnson’s trick or treat candy. But then see, with all due respect, you are not correct. To the contrary it doesn’t get more honed-in than The Easy Leaves, than American Times. And to know this for sure, know what’s being talked about, give that good-listen a go.
Alison Harris and The Barn Owls
Alison Harris lives on the edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, a wild space between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa, California. The leaves are turning and the vineyards glow with red and orange. The owls are singing their night song, the sassy mocking birds have quieted with the approach of winter chill.
Alison's music embodies this lush unique environment. The coastal winds, creeks, and redwood trees of this small Sebastopol Valley, where she also grew up, can be heard in every note she plays and sings.
She is the daughter of an elementary school music teacher and the granddaughter of an eccentric big band composer. She is classically trained, beginning violin lessons with her father at the age of five, and piano at nine. She was nurtured from a young age with studies of Beethoven, and Bach, while simultaneously being exposed to blues piano, and artists like Ray Charles, Johnny Otis, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Ella Fitzgerald.
She began writing her own compositions when she was thirteen and went on to complete her degree in music from Sonoma State University. She picked up the guitar in her early twenties.
Alison’s own songs have been heavily influenced by contemporary female singer-songwriters such as Lucinda Williams, Emmy Lou Harris and Gillian Welch. Her music explores the strength and fragility of the heart.
In 2007 she signed with Omega Records. She has shared the stage with many formidable Americana artists including Sam Bush, The Mother Hips, Langhorne Slim, Poor Man’s Whiskey, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.
Her debut record “Smoke Rings in the Sky” was recorded at Different Fur Studios (Herbie Hancock, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, David Byrne) in San Francisco. The album was produced by Chris Chu (POP ETC. –formerly The Morning Benders’- frontman/composer) and Patrick Brown (Tegan and Sara, Gomez, Black Lips, Violent
Femmes, Kate Walsh, Rodrigo y Gabriella).
“Harris’ cozy alto, and the occasional piano goes down like a Lime Rickey: refreshing and sweet, with just a little kick. Drink it up.” – Rhapsody
“Alison Harris sounds like a country songbird perched on Bonnie Raitt's shoulder. She sings about loneliness and longing with a grace and beauty that almost makes those things desirable.” – SF Magazine
“An original voice and talent as pure as a crisp mountain morning. Alison Harris is a true American muse, not since the days of Joan Baez have we heard such a sincere and playful love of melody” – KALX
T.V. Mike and The Scarecrows
Emily Bonn and the Vivants
"Emily Bonn is undoubtedly going to appeal to those who like a heavy dose of the traditional in their roots music. Instrumentation does not extend beyond acoustic guitar, violin, double bass and accordion and (sic) their is a washboard and stomp rhythm to most of the tunes. Bonn has a charismatic old school country vocal you just don't hear any more outside the phony imitations of the plastic-coated reverb-drenched Nashville scene." --Americana UK
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