Landshark Lager Presents
Friday Single Day - Southern Ground Music and Food Festival featuring Zac Brown Band
Nightly performances by Zac Brown Band with special sit-in guest Jason Mraz and more, Featuring full set performances by, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Eli Young Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Wood Brothers, Niko Moon, John Driskell Hopkins and The Mosier Brothers Band, AJ Ghent Band, Seven Handle Circus, Reynolds & Williams
1st Ave at Demonbreun St
2:00 PM (event ends at 11:00 PM)
Zac Brown Band
Three-time GRAMMY Award winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band have become one of music's most heralded acts. Their third studio album 'Uncaged' (Atlantic/Southern Ground) debuted at #1 with the band's best first-week sales of 234K copies and followed the band's triple-platinum major label debut 'The Foundation' (Atlantic Records/Home Grown/Big Picture) and platinum #1 follow-up 'You Get What You Give' (Atlantic/Southern Ground). Together these albums have produced a historic series of ten #1 hit singles. Since 2009, the band has garnered over 70 GRAMMY, ACM, AMA, CMA and CMT award nominations. Additional information can be found at http://www.zacbrownband.com/.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' self-made 2005 debut album, Nothing but the Water revealed a musically sophisticated young band inspired by the music of the late '60s/early '70s and fronted by a then-21-year-old dynamo whose nuanced singing, organ playing and songwriting belied her age. The follow-up, 2007's This Is Somewhere, confirmed that the band had no interest in following trends but was instead in pursuit of timeless expression as it forged its identity. On 2010's self-titled third album, GPN, toughened by a half decade of nonstop roadwork, flexed their rock 'n' roll muscles and confirmed that they were in it for the long haul.
Now, seven years after hitting the radar, GPN take an exponential leap with the widescreen opus THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT (Hollywood, June 12, 2012). With this musically combustible and conceptually dazzling work, the Vermont-based band forcefully takes its place alongside the best of its peers while building on the rich legacy of its inspirations. During this a la carte age, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have boldly pushed against the current, making a bona fide album that demands to be heard in its entirety . . . not that its 11 songs don't utterly beguile on their own. "This album is really a different animal than our previous records—no pun intended," says Potter.
"I think what people love about us is the energy we generate playing together and feeding off each other," says guitarist Scott Tournet. "There's a lot of drive in our band, and we managed to capture that on this record. We love the music that we cut our teeth on and it'll always be part of us, but we've reached the point where we're consciously trying to push things forward."
THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT was produced by Potter and veteran producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco, the Tedeschi Trucks Band). Adding to the firepower of the project is Dan Auerbach who produced and co-wrote the track "Loneliest Soul" and also produced and co-wrote the band's first single "Never Go Back," and "Runaway," both of which were co-produced by Scott. David Campbell (Beck, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne) arranged and conducted the strings on the album. The LP was mixed by fellow Vermonter and Grammy award winner Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, TV on the Radio, Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball). Alongside the band's original guitarist/songwriter Scott Tournet, drummer/band co-founder Matt Burr, guitarist Benny Yurco (who joined in 2009), Potter commenced recording the album in October, 2011. They later invited multi-instrumentalist Michael Libramento (from Floating Action) to join them on the sessions.
The band tracked the majority of the record live off the floor at PLYRZ, Scott's studio in Santa Clarita, 30 miles northeast of L.A. "When I first met Jim, I knew I wanted to make this record with him," says Grace. "He totally gets us. He brought the perfect balance of sonic integrity and laid-back finesse." The feeling is mutual. "Grace is a rock 'n' roll superhero," says Scott. "She can really bring it. She's full of ideas, she never misses a note and the band is badass."
Last November, while Potter was in Nashville for the CMA Awards, she and Auerbach got together in his studio. "It was a concentrated environment," Grace says of the breakneck Nashville sessions. "Dan and I were writing lyrics together, singing melodies and trading off ideas, while Benny, Scott and Matt were working up the tracks with us. I love the way Dan's mind works, because it's so out there, but he balanced it really well by stepping back and behaving like a producer/writer." At the end of the three days, they had the spines of "Never Go Back" (the throbbing first single) and "Runaway," while nailing the madcap "Loneliest Soul."
"In late November, as the song list continued expanding, I felt the priorities starting to shift," Grace recalls. "I began to look at the whole project through new eyes. I realized then that making this record wasn't about just putting a bunch of great songs together; it needed to be a cohesive piece of work with connections between the songs."
Not long after the band returned to Scott's studio, Potter surprised everyone by abruptly calling the project to a halt, despite the fact that the band was playing better than ever, Scott was capturing the performances in all their eruptive immediacy and the record company was excited by the quality of the tracks that were being delivered.
Potter, for whom everything musical had always come so easily, had hit the wall for the first time in her life as an artist. "I knew within a few weeks of being in the studio that something didn't feel right. At first I was in total denial, and we just kept chugging along like we always do – but deep down, I just didn't love the direction the music was going in," Grace recalls. "It wasn't the band or Jim, it was me. There was an unsettling voice in my head telling me to pull back and look at the bigger picture. I realized that I had no idea what kind of record we were making until we were already two months deep."
This shocking realization led to a round of intensive soul searching. "It was a scary moment for me, because stopping is not really in my genetic makeup," she says. "Pulling out was a real bummer for everyone else because the band was just hitting its tride—but I wasn't hitting mine. So I called the record company and said I needed a month to work on the existing songs and write some new ones from scratch, plus another week with the band away from the studio to just play music together. Then I jumped in my car and disappeared. I needed to refocus my intentions for this record without any distractions or outside opinion."
Potter pointed her car north and drove. "I did the thing I always wanted to do: the real fantasy road trip. For years we'd be traveling through beautiful country in the tour bus, and I would look out the window and see all these long dirt roads that look like they go nowhere – so this time I decided to drive down them." Potter's journey took her up the west coast until she reached the rocky coastline and redwood forests of Big Sur. By the time she arrived, Grace had begun to unlock the riddle of the album. After a week in the California wilderness, she flew back home to Vermont, where she tramped the snow-covered hills, invigorated by the winter air—"and the music came pouring out of me," she says. "I wrote four new songs in Vermont. Then I traveled again to a quiet place by the ocean, holed up in a hotel room and finished some songs I'd written over a year earlier that just needed a second chance. I had no guidelines, which was part of the problem at the beginning, but also part of the breakthrough at the end."
Potter's soul journey unlocked the thematic riddle, yielding, among other things, a pair of new linchpin songs in "Timekeeper" and "The Divide," while also completing the title track, "The Lion The Beast The Beat." With these key pieces in place, the tracks they'd cut prior to the break, including the stomping rocker "Keepsake," the yearning "Parachute Heart" and the three Auerbach collaborations, now snapped right into place, conceptually and dynamically. "Once I found what I'd been looking for," she says, "the floodgates opened, and we cut the rest of the album in two weeks." With the help of her eager and talented band and co-producer, Potter had achieved what she'd set out to do: to create a musically audacious and thematically unified Big Statement.
Less a concept album than a panoramic sonic terrain across which various thematic vectors collide and combine, THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT "plays on the duality of human nature—the fact that we all have our demons and we all have the ability to be good." Grace explains. "More than ever, I think outside perception affects how we view ourselves… I started thinking about these archetypes: everyone perceives a lion as a powerful, glorious animal and a beast as a flawed, scary, unpleasant creature…but that's just on the outside. You only have to read a few children's fables to see those themes: the 'Cowardly Lion' from The Wizard of Oz, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast – I'm fascinated by the idea that we all hold such a broad spectrum of impulses and how we choose to act on them makes us who we are."
"'The Lion The Beast The Beat' is a big part of what made this record what it is," Grace says of the title song. "It had to be absolutely undeniable, and I think that song lays it all out on the table. It's a dynamic journey, taking the listener on a series of emotional twists and turns. It took a long time to take shape, but when it did, it became a pillar of the album."
The dark, sinuous "Timekeeper," which opens with the ticking of a clock, provides the thematic bridge between the album's epic bookends, while also serving to "transition between the two stages of making the record," says Grace. "It was a reckoning - a breaking point. I wrote the song while I was in the thick of it. It's a manifestation of a lot of fears, not just around the making of the album, but around life. This really sums up THE BEAT… – the beat of a heart, the turn of a page, the tick of a clock…the inevitable reality that time will pass."
The other pillar is the progressively building showstopper "The Divide." Just as "The Lion The Beast The Beat" demanded to be the opening track, "The Divide" could only be the closer. The album's denouement is unlocked in the latter song's recurring passage, "The lines are blurring/I can't tell the lion from the beast." "'The Divide' really presents a question rather than making a declaration," Potter explains. "The search continues. The end of this album takes you right back to the beginning again. It's an ellipsis."
"It's been a journey, but Grace really stepped up to the plate," says Tournet. "She had a vision and she stuck with it. When I listened to the mixed album, I was blown away by how slammin' and ballsy it turned out. We went way deeper on this one, and it's gonna be incredible to play live."
THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT represents a rite of passage for a band that is knocking on the door of greatness. "This process was more painstaking than on any other record we've made; a complete labor of love and hate. I credit the Nocturnals for courageously jumping off that cliff with me," Potter acknowledges. "We all took a risk and I hope that resonates when people hear the album."
Grace Potter (vocals/ keyboards / guitar)
Matt Burr (drums / vocals)
Scott Tournet (guitar / bass / keyboards / vocals)
Benny Yurco (guitar / bass / vocals)
Eli Young Band
It's a crazy-good story. The Eli Young Band—four musicians who met during their
college days in Texas—is now 11 years into a career built on touring without a single
lineup change. That dedication is paying oﬀ big-time as the band enjoys a crazy new
level of success. They sell a crazy amount of tickets. Get a crazy amount of airplay.
And are selling a crazy amount of downloads—EYB received their ﬁrst platinum record
for "Crazy Girl" and have sold over 1.5million downloads of the track.
Penned by fellow artist Lee Brice and Nashville songwriter Liz Rose ("You Belong With
Me"), "Crazy Girl" is a perfect introduction to Life At Best, a 14-track album that takes
the band's wide-ranging multi-genre inﬂuences and distills them into a focused,
engaging vision: edgy country with hints of heartland rock bands such as Tom Petty
and classic Eagles.
Produced by Mike Wrucke with executive producer Frank Liddell (a team noted for its
award-winning work with Miranda Lambert), Life At Best takes the listener on a journey,
winding through songscapes that walk a delicate line. There's a distinct variance from
track to track as EYB veers from energetic quasi-rockers to steel-ladled country songs
to conﬂicted ballads. And yet the album maintains a singular identity, built around a
sound that's been masterfully created over the course of three studio albums.
"We were able to just go in and record the entire record all in the same time period, and
so you're in the same state of mind the entire time you're recording," lead singer Mike
Eli notes. "There's something to be said about that when you're creating music, and I
think this album demonstrates it. There's a degree of cohesiveness with this record that
I don't think we've had with our prior records."
There's also a degree of anticipation—understandable given that "Crazy Girl" provides
a new level of exposure to a national presence that's been created by simple touring.
Their last album, Jet Black & Jealous, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Country
Albums chart in 2008 even though the group had never made the Top 10 through radio
play at that point in its career. One title from that project, "Always The Love Songs,"
provided that Top 10 breakthrough while the group earned critical acclaim from People,
USA Today, Billboard, The New Yorker, American Songwriter and Country Weekly and
picked up television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show With
Jay Leno. EYB also nabbed a nomination from the Academy of Country Music for Top
New Vocal Group of the Year.
Still, nothing demonstrated the band's impact on the public consciousness better than
its ability to turn a disappointing concert hurdle into personal triumph. A handful of
dates on the multi-act Country Throwdown Tour were dropped in 2010 as the
promoters made a cost-cutting move during a diﬃcult touring season. With only nine
days notice, the Eli Young Band announced a concert on its own in Dallas and sold an
impressive 20,000 tickets with little advance. "We were rolling the dice on that show," drummer Chris Thompson admits. "It was great to see the payoﬀ on that concert and
know that those people have our back."
If the band's fan base has its back, it's merely an extension of the solidarity the Eli
Young Band has demonstrated since the beginning. Thompson, guitarist James Young
and bass player Jon Jones formed an instant friendship and started performing around
Denton when they were students at North Texas State University in 1998. Eli came into
the picture when he enrolled at the school the next year, ﬁrst playing duo shows with
Young, then singing lead as the gang of four oﬃcially made its live debut in October
"In the very beginning, we decided that this is gonna be the four of us or it wasn't
gonna work," Jones reﬂects. "Way before Nashville was even on our radar, we had time
to ﬁgure out how we wanted to do it and really kind of commit to each other. We
decided that we would be stronger, the four of us going through it together instead of
just one person, which I think is the best thing about being a band. You have a group of
people to share everything with—to share some of the work and keep each other
There was plenty of work. And little pay. EYB built its reputation by honing its music in
front of audiences. They'd play a club, sometimes for fewer than 100 members, but
when they returned to that venue, the crowds were invariably larger. Within three visits,
they usually sold out the house and would soon need to move up to a larger hall.
The group routinely plowed its earnings back into the business, buying better
equipment, fueling its cramped van, and gambling on the good vibes the musicians
shared as a band—and with their growing legion of fans. It's the same method that
lifted many classic bands: New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band,
Seattle's Nirvana and Detroit's Bob Seger. The Eli Young Band established itself ﬁrst in
Denton, grew to prominence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, expanded into a regional
act across Texas and Oklahoma and eventually extended its tentacles from coast to
EYB shed the van in favor of a bus several years ago and has stepped into even larger
venues, opening for the likes of Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean and the Dave Matthews
Band. And the group has reached a level where it regularly sells out 5,000-seaters on
its own in the Southwest and 3,000-seaters in other areas of the nation.
"Crazy Girl" underscored the strength of the group's foundation when it sold 47,000
copies in its ﬁrst week out. It quickly became the fastest radio hit in EYB's career and
sent an undisputable signal that the group is now a coast-to-coast phenomenon.
"Some of the biggest responders were way outside of Texas," Jones asserts. "It
seemed like everywhere we're went people were really welcoming us into the doors
and ready to give the single a chance." But as strong a reception as "Crazy Girl" has
received; it's merely an introduction to an album long on ingratiating melodies,
magnetic hooks and subtly provocative storylines. "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" kicks it oﬀ with a breezy Petty feel, and the project runs through the punchy "Every Other
Memory," the optimistic crunch of "Recover," the introspective ballad "My Old Man's
Son" and the gritty "Skeletons."
"What I like about our records is there are diﬀerent kinds of songs here and there, and
there's something for everybody," Young says. "We don't set out to write just one kind
EYB members wrote or co-wrote nine of the 14 tracks, drawing on their collective
experiences as musical partners and growing individuals. They referenced their
struggles as a band, the pitfalls of relationships, the complexities of family heritage and
the diﬃculties of simply being human. Despite digging into hardship, they transmitted it
with an unerring sense of optimism.
And they did it in a way that only four guys who have held together as friends and
business partners through several years of diﬃcult touring can. They were all born
within a 15-month span, and that's created a shared prism through which they're able
to see the world and their music.
"Life At Best has just a little bit more maturity than anything we've done before," Jones
says. "We're always writing about what we're going through, and the type of song that
appeals to us changes with our lives. We've been growing up together and going
through the same phases really since college, and you can see some of that in this
record. You can see that we're a little bit older than in Jet Black & Jealous."
And a little more established. Their growing TV presence, their continuing road-warrior
commitment and the imminent Gold of "Crazy Girl" all point Life At Best in one
direction: a crazy little thing called success.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Andrews hails from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans' 6th Ward, getting his nickname at four years old when he was observed by his older brother James marching in a street parade wielding a trombone twice as long as the kid was high. Troy started early, learning how to play drums and what he remembers as "the world's smallest trumpet" at the age of three. By the time he reached six, this prodigy was playing trumpet and trombone in a jazz band led by his older brother James, himself a trumpet player of local renown who has been called "Satchmo of the Ghetto."
Not long afterward, Troy formed his own band with some other musically inclined kids from Tremé, and they became regulars at Jackson Square, with dreams of following in the footsteps of his brother James and Rebirth Brass Band, learning and carrying on the New Orleans tradition. While not only carrying on that tradition and expanding its boundaries, Troy has lent a generous helping hand to the next generation as well, having given longstanding support to the city's renowned Roots of Music program. Troy was also recently honored by being named the youngest member of the NOCCA Foundation board - the foundation behind New Orleans' Center for the Creative Arts where Troy and several of his band members studied and began collaborating. He's also gearing up his own new foundation aimed at making sure that talented younger players with limited resources can get quality instruments to play.
The Wood Brothers
Two brothers decide to form a band, adapting the blues, folk and other roots-music sounds they loved as kids into their own evocative sound and twining their voices in the sort of high-lonesome harmony blend for which sibling singers are often renowned. While that's not a terribly unusual story, Oliver Wood (guitar, vocals) and Chris Wood (bass, vocals, harmonica) took a twisty path to their ultimate collaboration.
Indeed, The Wood Brothers pursued separate projects for some 15 years before joining forces. Originally hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Chris and Oliver imbibed the heady tones and stories of American roots music – notably folk, blues, bluegrass and country – at the feet of their father, a molecular biologist with a passion for music and performing. Their mother, a poet, meanwhile, taught them a deep appreciation for storytelling and turn of phrase.
Oliver ended up in Atlanta, soaking up the roots of blues, the soul of the south and founded his band, King Johnson. Chris ended up in New York City and formed the hugely influential, instrumental trio Medeski Martin & Wood. In 2004, the brothers seized the opportunity presented by a family reunion andrecorded some material together. 2006 saw the release of their debut album, Ways Not to Lose, which was named top pick in folk by Amazon.com's editors that year. "Modern folk and blues rarely sounds as inventive and colorful," declared Amazon reviewers. The brothers' sophomore release, Loaded (2008), was heralded as one of NPR's "Overlooked 11." Both albums were produced by Chris' MMW bandmate, John Medeski.
In August, 2011, The Wood Brothers released their third full-length studio album, titled Smoke Ring Halo, on Zac Brown's independent record label, Southern Ground Artists. Produced and engineered by Jim Scott (Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams), Smoke Ring Halo has received critical praise. Paste Magazine lauds "Smoke Ring Halo only further cements the pair's reputation as masters of soulful folk." And Nate Chien of the New York Times exclaims, "This band has been working at something and it shows."
Seven Handle Circus
"Formed in 2010, Seven Handle Circus is a six-piece Georgia band that has been critically acclaimed as "bad-ass bluegrass" with the "drive and energy of a rock band." During their legendary live performances they push the limits of human endurance to send each crowd into a dancing and partying frenzy. Elements of rock, punk and alternative infuse their shows and they have even rocked crowds with rappers such as T-Pain & Yung Joc.
On their most recent EP, Whiskey Stills & Sleeping Pills, "Seven Handle Circus draws from their love of traditional bluegrass and folk and distills these influences into a modern sound that is all their own. With themes ranging from the fun of drinking to the complexities of life, Seven Handle Circus shares the beauty of the music they love, along with plenty of new surprises."