1215 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Doors 7:00 PM
Chris Cornell is a rock icon who thrives on contradictions. An innovator who resists genre labels, he was nonetheless the chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Ranked as "one of the best voices in music history," he has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a multi-Grammy award winning musician, Golden Globe nominee and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.
Seattle trailblazers Soundgarden were a law to themselves, edgy, dark and deeply individual. Their savage soundscapes, coupled with Cornell’s incisive lyrics and predatory roar, seduced audiences hungry for musical depth and complexity while leading trends in street fashion and iconic design. In 1989, they became the first Seattle band to sign to a major label Their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering albums.
Celebrated side project Temple of the Dog had already shown Cornell’s more soulful side and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to the world. Later, Cornell shocked the business once again with richly melodic, critically acclaimed solo album “Euphoria Morning,” swiftly recognized for its alienation and despair. As the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from Rage Against the Machine to create Audioslave, a multi-platinum, multi-Grammy nominated supergroup. On May 6, 2005, Audioslave played a free show in Havana, Cuba for over 50,000 people, becoming the first American rock group to perform an open-air concert in the socialist republic of Castro's Cuba. Rather than making a political statement, the trip was conceived as a musical cultural exchange with the joint authorization of the United States Department of Treasury and the Cuban Institute of Music. Cornell commented: "Hopefully, this concert will help to open the musical borders between our two countries."
Over three solo studio albums, Cornell has continuously redefined his sound and vision to encompass new music, new collaborations and new activities. Having contributed solo songs to movie soundtracks for "Singles" and “Great Expectations” to “Mission Impossible II,” he became the first and to date, only American male artist to be commissioned to write, record and perform the theme song for the James Bond franchise with "Casino Royale.” At the royal reception and premiere in London, Cornell was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. He has also had the honor to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington DC, as well as in front of three United States Presidents.
Soundgarden made a historic return to the live stage in 2010. The band has since released retrospective album "Telephantasm" and "Live on I5", taken from archive recordings of their 1996 US tour and a new studio album, 'King Animal' was released on November 13 last year to rave reviews.
In January 2011, Cornell announced his solo acoustic Songbook tour, following on from a series of acclaimed solo acoustic shows in Los Angeles. The sold out tour of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South America received universally positive reviews. As Jim Farber of The New York Daily News observed, “sometimes you don't recognize the full power of a voice until you strip everything away from it.” Performances from the tour feature on Cornell’s 2011 live album, "Songbook".
As an innovator, Cornell forged the first-ever multimedia partnership between an artist and a commercial airline, Virgin America. As he has continued to evolve as an artist, Cornell has also evolved as a humanitarian through his passion for philanthropy and community, saying: "I'm in a fortunate position to use music to support important causes that help foster change." Cornell has been an active supporter of the Make A Wish Foundation, Stuart House and MusiCares.
In 2010 Cornell became closely involved with the Fulfillment Fund, a college-access and mentoring organization, and he and his wife have helped draw a whole new generation of mentors and donors to this cause. Chris’s Dream benefit concert was successful in raising much-needed funds and the new Chris and Vicky Cornell Scholarship Fund will enable a qualified student to be selected annually for a special educational award.
In August 2011 Cornell helped raise awareness for Sam Childers' Angels of East Africa children's charity with his song “The Keeper,” written for the Marc Forster directed film Machine Gun Preacher. For the first 24 hours of release, the song was exclusively available as part of the "Donate to Download" campaign and a portion of the proceeds continue to go to the charity. The song is also the lead track on the film’s soundtrack album and was nominated for a Golden Globe in January 2012.
In 2012, Chris and Vicky created the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, which fights to protect the most vulnerable children. The Foundation is currently developing projects and programs working with leading charitable organizations and partners to raise awareness and mobilize support for children facing tough challenges including homelessness, poverty, abuse and/or neglect. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only the most confident would claim to predict exactly what comes next for Chris Cornell. Only one thing’s for sure – he’ll continue to break rules, make history and challenge expectations.
Bhi Bhiman is an American original, and yet he seems transported from an era when songs were more important than the pretty faces that delivered them. His rich, bellowing tenor can soothe or explode at a moment’s notice. His lived-in, knowing delivery belies his years. His songwriting, too, is quick to captivate. Bhi’s mix of humor and deep empathy puts him in the company of distinguished (and much older) lifelong songsmiths like John Prine, Nick Lowe and Randy Newman. And Bhiman’s technical, emotive guitar playing rises to the challenge that his striking voice presents.
It’s fitting, then, that there truly is–as far as anyone can tell–only one Bhi Bhiman. His parents, emigrants from Sri Lanka, named the songwriter after Bhima, a central character in an ancient Indian text called The Mahabharata. But Bhiman’s own American experience was markedly less exotic than his name would imply–he came of age in the ’90s in St. Louis, reared on Soundgarden and Nirvana, and later relocated to the Bay Area, where he lives today. Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder may have first inspired him to write songs, but Bhiman’s approach–comical, curious, whip-smart–remains wholly unique. As a songwriter, Bhi consistently exceeds the expectations that should rightly rest on the shoulders of a well-adjusted twenty-something: He can inhabit any number of disparate characters and make them his own.
On his forthcoming disc, BHIMAN, he sings from the perspective of a North Korean prisoner (“Kimchee Line”); a happy-go-lucky redneck (“Ballerina”); a railroad-riding hobo (“Guttersnipe”); a jealous lover (“Eye on You”) and a hopeful retiree (“Take What I’m Given), among other characters. The wide stylistic range Bhiman covers–without losing the cohesiveness of his sound–is just as impressive: “Guttersnipe” is a sprawling, nearly seven-minute epic folk testimonial with a deep empathy for the downtrodden; “Mexican Wine” is an instrumental that sounds like Simon & Garfunkel jamming in West Africa; “Crime of Passion” is buoyant murder ballad–as unlikely as that seems. Through every deviation of style, Bhiman’s love of wordplay and that jaw-dropping voice carry the listener through to a new track and a compelling new story.
Of course, it helps Bhiman’s fine songs to have expert help in crafting his sound. While some of the more minimal tracks on BHIMAN were recorded by the artist on his laptop, the bulk of the disc was tracked at John Vanderslice’s famed Tiny Telephone studios by engineer Jay Pellicci and produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Langhorne Slim), who also contributes instrumentation the album. Together, they have created a deep, layered record that is urgent enough to grab listeners at first listen and deep enough to keep them coming back to hear the subtle, soulful shifts in both instrumentation and that powerful human voice. BHIMAN is Bhi’s first truly great album, but one gets the impression that he’ll be singing his stories for a very long time to come.