World Cafe Live Philadelphia Presents
Shovels and Rope
Andrew Combs, Mechanical River
3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Shovels and Rope
SHOVELS & ROPE
Necessity is the mother of invention. Less is more. Make it work with
what you've got. 2 Guitars, a junkyard drum kit harvested from an
actual garbage heap and adorned with tambourines, flowers and
kitchen rags. A handful of harmonicas, voices, and above all..
songs. Shovels & Rope prefer to keep it simple. They have cleverly
managed to take 3 separate recording projects and combine them
into 1 cohesive, folk rock, sloppy tonk, harmonized, loose but tight,
streamlined audience killing machine.
Michael Trent (Texas/Colorado) has just released his second solo
album entitled "The Winner", and Cary Ann Hearst
(Mississippi/Tennessee) is about to release her second record "Lions
& Lambs". Together hey have one duo release entitled "Shovels &
Rope" which came out in 2008 and are currently working on the
follow up "Shovels & Rope V.2" in their house, van, and backyard. At
the shows, expect to hear a little something from any or all of these
releases while the duo switch instruments and share lead vocal
duties. Also prepare to rethink your definition of a live rock band.
“Ever heard of a happy song?”
That question is posed to Andrew Combs in “Rainy Day Song”, the lead track on his acclaimed 2014 album, All These Dreams, during a barstool chat with a sarcastic friend. The singer — offended but gracious — smiles and allows the moment to pass, eschewing confrontation for the sake of a gem he polishes as an afterthought for the listener: “Tab’s on me if you think I’m lying / Laughing ain’t a pleasure till you know about crying.” The moment, full of the understated charm and pulsing honesty that defines his music, is as good a metaphor as any for the songcraft of Andrew Combs.
A Dallas native now living near the same Nashville airport immortalized in the opening sequence of Robert Altman’s country music odyssey, Andrew Combs is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and heir to that 1975 film’s idea of the Nashville troubadour as a kind of musical monk. Here in the twenty-first century whorl of digital narcissism, where identity can feel like a 24/7 social media soft-shoe performance, Combs makes music that does battle with the unsubtle. Like the pioneering color photographer William Eggleston, he sees the everyday and the commonplace as the surest paths to transcendence, and he understands intuitively that what is most obvious is often studded with the sacred. As a songwriter, Combs relies on meditative restraint rather than showy insistence to paint his canvases, a technique commensurate with his idea of nature as an overflowing spiritual wellspring. NPR music critic Ann Powers noted as much in a 2014 review: “His song-pictures are gorgeous, but he recognizes their impermanence as he sings.” This deeply felt sense of ecology, of the transient beauty within nature’s chaotic churn, lies at the heart of Combs’s approach to his art.
After touring behind All These Dreams, a record that earned him international accolades and comparisons to everyone from Leonard Cohen to Mickey Newbury to Harry Nilsson, Combs has returned with a new album that puts down stakes in fresh sonic terrain. Canyons of My Mind, out in March on New West, is — as its title suggests — a landscape where the personal and the pastoral converge. Drawing inspiration from the biographies of literary figures like Charles Wright and Jim Harrison, Combs has created an album that explores the notion of “sustainability” in its many facets — artistic, economic, spiritual, environmental.
“When I set out to record All These Dreams, I had a distinct vision of what I wanted the record to sound like. It was a cocktail of the Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Nilsson vibes that you can hear right there on the surface,” Combs says. “Canyons of My Mind is much more personal. It’s a testament to my acceptance of who I am as a man, and who I am becoming.” The record’s sonic adventurousness bears witness to that evolution, as well as to some big changes in his personal life. Between All These Dreams and Canyons, Combs married his longtime girlfriend Kristin, with whom he honeymooned for six weeks in the Minnesota wilderness. “She walks through her life exuding such open-mindedness and kindness,” Combs says. “I can’t help but watch in awe. She lets me be whoever I want to be, and that’s new to me. And quite refreshing, and freeing.”
The quiet struggles and satisfactions of carving out an identity in a world gone wrong are palpable throughout the album. Whether questing through the labyrinth of his own spiritual yearning, (“Heart of Wonder”), recreating a rail rider’s full-body sensation of freedom beneath an azure Montana sky (“Rose Colored Blues”), imagining a near-future dystopia where the very idea of green spaces has been annihilated (“Dirty Rain”), or channeling the desire of a peeping Tom who has fallen in love with his sylvan quarry (“Hazel”), Combs refines the vulnerable vagabond persona he mastered on All These Dreams while pushing it beyond those boundaries, into a more pastoral realm aligned with artists like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley. The idea of the artist’s creative life as an ecosystem — one just as in need of cultivation and care as our own imperiled world — informs much of Canyons. For Combs, the quest to sustain his own capacity to create on a daily basis is what drives him. “I want to create for the rest of my life — writing, singing, painting,” he says. “I also want my life to include a family, a house, and kids. Seeking out other artists who’ve been able to keep the lights on without compromising their art – that keeps me inspired.”
"Astral Castle" Out May 27th 2012. Mechanical River is the melancholic and twisted folk project of ex-Working Title frontman and Charleston, SC native Joel T Hamilton. As the Working Title, Hamilton's first E.P. "Everyone Here Is Wrong" was rated 5 out of 5 in Alternative Press Magazine and they also labeled The Working Title, A Band To Watch. The band's next LP, About Face, was released July 18, 2006. On October 6, 2005, The Working Title began the "The Music Is Much Too Loud Tour" with Circa Survive, Mae, and MUTEMATH as an opening act. The band has also been on tour with bands such as mewithoutYou, Copeland, Vedera, As Tall as Lions, Counting Crows, Our Lady Peace and the Goo Goo Dolls. In 2008 Hamilton released his first solo record "Officina" and in 2010 released the critically acclaimed "Feels Like We're Gonna Win" on Charleston label Shrimp Records (Shovels and Rope, Owen Beverly)
With musical influences running the gamut, Hamilton's new project Mechanical River effectively paints the Christ-haunted southern low-country into every song with a then-and-now blend of digital loops, 80s Casio keyboards, swampy effect-riddled vocals, a cigar box guitar and even more traditional instruments like accordion, banjo and fiddle. At the top, Hamilton's voice is both soaring and despondent - crooning a transcendent lyrical portrait of the muddiness of life and love
Live, Mechanical River features Hamilton as the classic one-man band - singing, playing guitar and drums all with the accompaniment of backing tracks. The cacophony of sound is both captivating and surreal.
$12.00 - $15.00
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