Stop Light Observations

John Keith Culbreth (aka Cubby) was 16 years old—no longer the religious child he had been back in his childhood days spent in Anderson, SC—but was, unknowingly, poised for a divine intervention of life-altering proportions. While peacefully sleeping after a classmate’s musical performance, an entity presented itself to Cubby—the entity presented itself as God. “It was the most vivid dream I had ever had,” says Cubby. “It felt so bizarre.” “God” spoke to Cubby. It told him to contact his classmate, Will Blackburn, and come together to create music. Cubby obliged, Blackburn agreed, and the band proceeded to practice for over a year, never playing a show.

Stop Light Observations’ inaugural performance took place on Sullivan’s Island. Among the crowd was Cubby’s childhood pastor—a man with whom he had once had a close relationship. As it turns out, Cubby’s former pastor was Will Blackburn’s grandfather. Divinity had served up fate. Cubby and Blackburn had been childhood friends, but never knew it. SLO was born, and the sky was the limit.

But things didn’t truly take off until a few years later when SLO released their acclaimed 2013 debut, Radiation. Metronome hailed the record’s “emotive and elegant” songs, which landed perfectly in the sweet spot between arena and indie rock. The band went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston’s largest club, The Music Farm, in just a year.

Since then, Stop Light Observations have broken the record for most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm and have toured across the country, playing standout festival sets at Firefly, Summerfest, and more. SLO’s most recent LP, Toogoodoo, saw coverage at major national outlets from PBS and Conan O’Brien’s Fresh Noise to Impose, PopMatters and Garden & Gun, the latter praising Toogoodoo as “a promising debut from the band, who have wowed audiences throughout the South.”

Now, following the successful release of Toogoodoo, and an ambitious year on the road in support, Stop Light Observations are poised to tackle their next major endeavor—an ongoing series of digital 45s, each with an A-side and B-side, entitled The Volume, which will disperse the band’s hard-hitting yet melodic songs in a more immediate fashion.

“The Volume is much more than just bypassing the mechanics of an album,” Cubby explains. “Its about inspiring ourselves and others with this approach that lends itself to complete creative freedom. The Beatles released 250-plus songs in 7 years without the technology we have today. If they can do it, why can’t we?”

At the center of the first volume is Stop Light Observations’ new single, “Coyote.” It’s a stunning, slow-building piano ballad that evolves strikingly through distinct dynamic phases, vocalist Will Blackburn’s effortlessly toggling between a delicate croon and an anthemic howl. With “Coyote,” the group distills its already potent arena-ready indie rock all the way through the song’s powerful crescendo of an outro.

Thematically, “Coyote” deals with loss—something the entire band has coped with many times over the years. “The situations and emotions behind our songs are extremely personal,” SLO guitarist Louis Duffie explains.

Cubby adds, “When I was 15, I started dating my childhood sweetheart—who is now my wife—and after our first year of dating we received the earth-shattering news that her best friend, Lizzy, had committed suicide. She was the sweetest, happiest, and kindest girl in our entire high school and to believe she would take her own life was unfathomable. ‘Coyote’ is that story for me—the story of the pack animal, still feeling alone despite its family joining in its howls of pain. It is the girl with the bright smile taking her life—the fallen angel. It’s the first time you meet up with all your friends and that person you all loved so much isn’t there.”

The first installment from The Volume also offers up “The Ghost of Larry Ford Jr.,” an instrumental track that tackles the next step of loss: the frustration, anger and anxiety of letting go, all seamlessly communicated sans lyrics. The stylized, labyrinthine track sounds like a Wes Anderson films looks, along the way deftly mapping the chaotic trajectory of a mind in mourning.

Stop Light Observations may be blazing their own trails, but they want everyone to join them on their journey—fans, friends and family, past and present. “The Volume releases will ultimately be defined as a series—a voice for the voiceless. A podium for those who have yearned for the opportunity to share their own stories of struggle, passion, and love,” vocalist Will Blackburn explains.

“We live in an era of polar divisions perpetuated by fear,” Blackburn continues. “And the divide seems to be growing exponentially. But if we turn off the cable news channel and walk out our front doors and speak to our neighbors, we may find that our struggles, while they vary, are often quite relatable. It is my hope that trough this style of releasing music that we may open up the conversations that need to be addressed most in today’s America. All are equal and all opinions should be heard with hopes of perpetuating peace and understanding. Love is the way and this is the path we have chosen to move forward.”

American Spirits (2013) and GROOVE (2015) debuted Little Bird to FM radio waves and would lead to pocketed audiences and a modest following throughout the Mid-Atlantic. The band would be named 1770 Records "Band of the Year" in 2016 after playing and headling various festivals such as Bay Funk, Pink Moon, Silopanna, Doah, EastPortaRockin' along with sharing the stage with the likes of G. Love & Special Sauce, Fortunate Youth, Long Miles, Zach Deputy, Boy Named Banjo, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Pressing Strings, Mo Lowda & the Humble and many more.

After various member exchanges, the Surf Rock/Jazz/Americana group began relentlessly touring throughout the East Coast early 2017. Originally from Annapolis, MD, the band is based out of Charleston, SC, including members James Rubush (Guitar), Ben Mossman (Bass), Oleg Terentiev (Drums), Noah Jones (Piano), Shelby McDaniel (Vocals), and Jay Hurtt (Guitar/Vocals).

In October 2017 the band along with Engineer/Producers Shane Woods, and Jeff Lucci (Mo Lowda & the Humble) recorded at Headroom Studios (Philadelphia, PA). The self-titled Little Bird EP will be released April 2018.

Mikey Pauker

Mikey Paukeris a folk/world artist from Berkeley, California. His new album, ASCENSION, is an invitation to listen to the call of our inner wilderness and to greet our darkness with understanding and an open heart. It was recorded in raw, live instrumental sessions —a departure from Mikey’s more electronic past recordings —under the guidance of Grammy-nominated producer Warren Huart(The Fray, Trevor Hall, Matisyahu). With songs like “Say Yes”and “I AM”, listeners are elevated with catchy melodic hooks and reggae/rock beats. Inspired by the recent California wildfires and hurricanes that have swept Texas and Florida this past season, “Believe”reminds us that these tragedies are opportunities to rebalance our relationship with our planet and the communities we surround ourselves with.

Growing up in Orange County, Mikey’s early experiences at underground shows exposed him to the intense, primal energy of live music, as well as the strong community bonds that form in an authentic and close-knit scene. Inspired by teachers who blend yoga and mystical practices he went to study in Jerusalem, soaking up the hidden teachings of his ancestral lineage. These spiritual dimensions guided his artistic development as he explored ecstatic music festivals and mystical religious traditions. His music implores us all to look within, sit with our darkness,and transform it into light. Mikey’s sound blends elements of folk, reggae, and hip-hop, incorporating English and Hebrew roots into his devotional songwriting. Mikey’s music draws from influences such as early Bob Marley, Van Morrison, and The Police, and listeners will immediately identify his style to the likes of Michael Franti, Trevor Halland Nahko & Medicine For The People.

Mikey has shared the stage with Local Natives, Matisyahu, Trevor Hall, MOONZz, The Polish Ambassador, Ayla Nereo, Mike Love, MC Yogi, Kosha Dillz, Tubby Love, and many more artists. Notable performance highlights include SXSW, Lucidity, Beloved, Bhakti Fest, Mystic Rising, SoulPlay, and Chant 4 Change on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. TIME Magazine named Mikey as one of the 10 Stars of New Jewish Music. Mikey’s new album ASCENSION was released on January 26th, 2018, and will be supported by extensive touring.

Advance $15/ Day of Show $15 + Fees

Tickets

Stop Light Observations: Southern Retro Electro Rock 

Ticket sales online end at 5 pm day of show. Tickets available at the door unless listed as sold out.

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