515-B North McDonough St.
Decatur, GA, 30030
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
What will we do? For Lula Wiles, the trio made up of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin, the question is central to the creation of their music—and it’s the title of their sophomore album, out in 2019 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. “We wanted to make an album that reflected, in a current way, what we are all staying up late thinking about and talking about over drinks at the dinner table,” says Obomsawin. “What is everyone worried about, confiding in their friends about, losing sleep about?” Anchoring the band’s sharp, provocative song-craft is a mastery of folk music, and a willingness to subvert its hallowed conventions. They infuse their songs with distinctly modern sounds: pop hooks, distorted electric guitars, and dissonant multi-layered vocals, all employed in the service of songs that reclaim folk music in their own voice. The musicians take turns in different roles––Burke and Buckland on guitar and fiddle, Obomsawin on bass, all three singing and writing—but no matter who’s playing what, they operate in close tandem. All three members grew up in small town Maine, and the band came of age in Boston’s lively roots scene. Since then, they have toured internationally, winning fans at the Newport Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, garnering acclaim from NPR Music and a Boston Music Awards nomination, and sharing stages with the likes of Aoife O’Donovan, the Wood Brothers, and Tim O’Brien. Lula Wiles exists in the tense space where tradition and revolution meet, from which their harmonies rise into the air to create new American music.
Leah Calvert is many things, among them a singer-songwriter and in- demand Atlanta-area fiddler and vocalist. Over the years, she has shared the stage with award-winning artists including Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Kristian Bush (Sugarland) and renowned songwriter Radney Foster. In addition to her work as a solo artist, she is a member of Atlanta acts The Dappled Grays and John Driskell Hopkins Band (Grammy winner and founding/current member of Zac Brown Band).
Calvert’s work with The Dappled Grays has spanned over a decade, during which time the group has found an audience in the United States and beyond. In 2012, they penned music for and appeared in Clint Eastwood’s film Trouble with the Curve, and their album Doin’ My Job received critical acclaim and heavy rotation worldwide, charting on both Sirius and XM.
With her new record Satellite, Calvert moves into uncharted territory, articulating a sound that is wholly her own. Though the compositions and vocal stylings offer a humble nod to her acoustic bluegrass roots, the record is musically a departure from this sound. With co-producers Marlon Patton and Rick Lollar (of Atlanta rock outfit Weisshund) providing a refined rock backdrop, Calvert deftly maneuvers through forms and styles ranging from traditional ballads to blues.
With Satellite, Calvert launches the listener directly into space; the record soars, it orbits, transmitting complex information in a palatable form. Several themes emerge: the fear and alienation that exists within our current political climate, emotional detachment from reality, and keeping safe the things which are most precious to a person -- which for Calvert include her young daughter. “Having a child,” she says, “augments the weight of the world on your heart.” In the liner notes, she includes several lines from environmental activist Wendell Berry's "How to Be a Poet," lines which ultimately became the inspiration for the record. In the poem, Berry urges readers to “Live / a three-dimensioned life; / stay away from screens. / Stay away from anything / that obscures the place it is in.” Many of the songs on Satellite read like poems, demonstrating both a clarity of thought and an urgency which demands that the listener be present in this three-dimensioned life.