John Hiatt & the Combo

John Hiatt is an American rock guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter. He has played a variety of musical styles on his albums, including New Wave, blues and country. Hiatt has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has been awarded a variety of other distinctions in the music industry. He remains one of the most respected and influential American singer-songwriters.

Matthew Perryman Jones

"An articulate songwriter with a versatile and gritty tenor voice -- a combination that has drawn comparisons to everyone from Jeff Buckley to Leonard Cohen -- MATTHEW PERRYMAN JONES has the touch of a poet and the narrative reach of a short story writer, making the best of his songs deeply resonant." -Steve Leggett (Rovi)

Having just finished his first full length album since 2008, Land of the Living was produced by Cason Cooley (Katie Herzig) and released on May 29th of 2012. This record was fan funded through Kickstarter and raised over $26K in 1 month, 30% over his asking goal. This no doubt conveys an enthusiasm among fans of MPJ's music. Kickstarter backers who received an advance download of the record are already touting this to be Jones' best work to date. Matthew holds nothing back on this record and delivers his most emotional and musically compelling work yet. Shortly written after the death of his father, this album is a courageous personal odyssey through life's most troubled waters of love and loss, and communicates the process by which we grieve, and the fight to find restored hope. The writing process of Land of the Living was an intense wringing of words, emotions, and melody from the rags of Jones' solitude, but are an account of his truth found in the pain. Produced by Cason Cooley (Katie Herzig) and released on May 29th, the record could not have found a better birthplace than the elusive bohemian studio in Round Top, Texas, where it was recorded. The studio itself was made from a 1700's Amish farmhouse, is surrounded by vast land and skies, and haunted by a woman the band came to call Sarah. Matthew slept in a teepee outside the studio for the week the band recorded, and the short time span forced them to "trust our gut and bring our very best to the table."

Jones began playing out in 1997, debuting at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA, but he soon relocated to Nashville. In 2000 he released Nowhere Else But Here followed by an EP, For the Road, in 2003. Released in 2006, Throwing Punches in the Dark was produced by Neilson Hubbard (Glen Phillips, Garrison Star) and met with high critical praise. Jones re-teamed with Hubbard for Swallow the Sea, which was released in 2008. His music has found a home on Film and TV with over 30 placements on shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Bones, One Tree Hill, Pretty Liars & Private Practice.

One of the most sought-after songwriters in Nashville, Jones builds on his accomplishments with his 2013 single, "Anymore of This." The duet, written and recorded with Mindy Smith, was featured on ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" in January.

Jones' songs have also been featured in television shows including Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Bones, Pretty Little Liars, NY Med, Flash Point, One Tree Hill, The Hills, and Eli Stone as well as in the 2012 movie release What To Expect When You Are Expecting.

Watkins & the Rapiers

We play mostly original music, written by the band’s four songwriters. It’s Americana music, folk music with a beat, exploring many genres, rather than calculating a sound to fit a marketing category.

We had our first performance in January 1996. At the time, we weren’t a band, but friends who took turns hosting a weekly hootenanny / jam session with other musicians. The date, at the Rose & Crown, was arranged by our crowd’s mandolin / fiddle player, but the opportunity came up too quickly, and he was unable to participate. So Scott Regan asked the mandolin / fiddle player from his band, the Water Street Boys, to join us that night. Always up for a musical challenge, Bruce Diamond accepted. He raised us to a new level, and the next thing we knew, we were the bar’s Wednesday night band.

For that first job, bar manager Will Taggert had taken out an ad in advance, before he knew who would perform. He called the band Watkins and the Rapiers, the name of his own band from his teenage years in England. (The name derived from an inexpensive electric guitar from the 1960s, the Watkins Rapier.) We didn’t have a name and figured taking on the bar owner’s choice was good politics. And that’s how we became Watkins & the Rapiers.

A few months into the gig, Bruce invited his old band mate, drummer Marty York, to sit in. Soon he was a regular, and our original six-member lineup was in place. We played about a year of Wednesday nights before we had a practice. It was fun, like bowling night, Bruce noted. We played a wide-ranging repertoire, including many original songs along with covers by the likes of Donovan, Steve Earle, Roger Miller, the Morells, John Prine, Jonathan Richman and the Troggs.

We began to practice only after we decided to record a CD of some of our original songs. That CD, Play Along with Watkins & the Rapiers, was recorded and released in 1997. In 1998 we staged the first of our annual Christmas shows. By writing a few new songs for that show each year, we have amassed more than 40 original Christmas songs.

By 1999, accordionist/guitarist/songwriter Rob Goodwin was preparing to move to Bozeman, Mont. To ensure we had a record of the leading songs in our repertoire, we recorded our second CD, What Ever Happened to Watkins and the Rapiers.

We took some time off after Rob left, then reformed in 2002 as a five-piece, often with friends sitting in. In May 2006, we went back into the studio to record about two dozen songs, half of which are on our third CD, It’s Christmas, Baby!, which we released at our 2006 Christmas shows. The rest were released in 2010 on The Return of Watkins & the Rapiers.

In 2004, we released the studio recordings we’d done in 1999, as Whatever Happened to Watkins and the Rapiers. In May 2006, we went back into the studio to record about two dozen songs, half of which are on our third CD, It’s Christmas, Baby!, which we released at our 2006 Christmas shows. The rest will be coming out soon on a new CD.

In between, in 2007, two players who had been sitting in with us became full-time members: Steve Piper, who mainly plays electric guitar with the band, and Rick McRae on trombone and keyboards.

We continue to play at pubs, coffeehouses, cafes, concert halls, festivals, fundraisers and farmer’s markets.

$2 GA / $5 GA seated

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John Hiatt & the Combo with Matthew Perryman Jones, Watkins & the Rapiers

Thursday, August 8 · 5:00 PM at Riverside Festival Site