Watch & Listen

Gasparilla Music Festival 2015

Downtown Tampa's largest music fest is back for another year! The 2015 Gasparilla Music Fest takes place in Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Garden in Downtown Tampa on March 7th & 8th and will feature over 40 musical acts on 4 stages and cuisine from the region's top restaurants.

GMF is organized by Gasparilla Music Festival Corp, a Florida not-for-profit company. As part of its mission to support and promote music and education, GMF is involved throughout the year in several initiatives including providing scholarships to music students and instruments to local schools.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are an American rock band formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1983. Instrumentally, their sound contains lush, multi-layered, psychedelic rock arrangements, but lyrically their compositions show elements of space rock, including unusual song and album titles—such as "What Is the Light? (An Untested Hypothesis Suggesting That the Chemical [In Our Brains] by Which We Are Able to Experience the Sensation of Being in Love Is the Same Chemical That Caused the "Big Bang" That Was the Birth of the Accelerating Universe)". They are also acclaimed for their elaborate live shows, which feature costumes, balloons, puppets, video projections, complex stage light configurations, giant hands, large amounts of confetti, and frontman Wayne Coyne's signature man-sized plastic bubble, in which he traverses the audience. In 2002, Q magazine named The Flaming Lips one of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die."
The band is best known for its associations with 1960s and 1970s psychedelic subculture, with elements of this culture permeating the group's instrumentation, effects, and composition. Coyne's lyrics, in particular, both reference and embody the fascination with the science fiction and space opera genres of fiction that were popular during the golden age of psychedelic subculture.[1] His lyrical style tends to use the imagery and plot conventions of space opera to frame more abstract themes about the unfolding cycles of romantic love, highlighting its vulnerability while delving into its metaphysical implications.[1]
The group recorded several albums and EPs on an indie label, Restless, in the 1980s and early 1990s. After signing to Warner Brothers, they scored a hit in 1993 with "She Don't Use Jelly". Although it has been their only hit single in the U.S., the band has maintained critical respect and, to a lesser extent, commercial viability through albums such as 1999's The Soft Bulletin (which was NME magazine's Album of the Year) and 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. They have had more hit singles in the UK and Europe than in the U.S. In February 2007, they were nominated for a 2007 BRIT Award in the "Best International Act" category. By 2007, the group garnered three Grammy Awards, including two for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are an American rock band formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1983. Instrumentally, their sound contains lush, multi-layered, psychedelic rock arrangements, but lyrically their compositions show elements of space rock, including unusual song and album titles—such as "What Is the Light? (An Untested Hypothesis Suggesting That the Chemical [In Our Brains] by Which We Are Able to Experience the Sensation of Being in Love Is the Same Chemical That Caused the "Big Bang" That Was the Birth of the Accelerating Universe)". They are also acclaimed for their elaborate live shows, which feature costumes, balloons, puppets, video projections, complex stage light configurations, giant hands, large amounts of confetti, and frontman Wayne Coyne's signature man-sized plastic bubble, in which he traverses the audience. In 2002, Q magazine named The Flaming Lips one of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die."
The band is best known for its associations with 1960s and 1970s psychedelic subculture, with elements of this culture permeating the group's instrumentation, effects, and composition. Coyne's lyrics, in particular, both reference and embody the fascination with the science fiction and space opera genres of fiction that were popular during the golden age of psychedelic subculture.[1] His lyrical style tends to use the imagery and plot conventions of space opera to frame more abstract themes about the unfolding cycles of romantic love, highlighting its vulnerability while delving into its metaphysical implications.[1]
The group recorded several albums and EPs on an indie label, Restless, in the 1980s and early 1990s. After signing to Warner Brothers, they scored a hit in 1993 with "She Don't Use Jelly". Although it has been their only hit single in the U.S., the band has maintained critical respect and, to a lesser extent, commercial viability through albums such as 1999's The Soft Bulletin (which was NME magazine's Album of the Year) and 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. They have had more hit singles in the UK and Europe than in the U.S. In February 2007, they were nominated for a 2007 BRIT Award in the "Best International Act" category. By 2007, the group garnered three Grammy Awards, including two for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Trombone Shorty

Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews has God-given talent, natural charisma and a relentless drive to bridge music's past and future. His third outing for Verve Records, Say That To Say This (Sept. 10), co-produced by Andrews and kindred spirit Raphael Saadiq, sounds like nothing else out there, as Andrews and his longtime band, Orleans Avenue - guitarist Pete Murano, bassist Mike Ballard and drummer Joey Peebles - continue their natural musical evolution. In a very real sense, the torch is passed from one great New Orleans band to another on the new album, which features the first new studio recording from the original members of the legendary Meters in 36 years, as they revisit their 1977 classic "Be My Lady," with Andrews singing lead and playing horns.

The bandleader and multi-instrumentalist describes Say That To Say This as "really funky, like James Brown mixed with The Meters and Neville Brothers, with what I do on top, and we have a bit of R&B from Raphael's side. All the guys in my band are big, big fans of his, so this is a real dream come true for us. And he's a fan of New Orleans brass band music, which I didn't know beforehand. Just listening to his music and the direction he's going in now, I thought that he would be perfect to work with us. What drew me to him was his knowledge of what came before and his imagination of where the music can move forward to. That's the same way I think, so it worked out very well."

Saadiq doesn't just co-produce, he becomes a member of the band, playing a variety of instruments and contributing backing vocals; he also had a hand in writing three songs. Says Andrews of Saadiq: "He's a great producer, but he's also a musician, so he was able to get in there, jam with us and take us to some different places. And we were able to take him to some different places too."

"We felt a certain amount of pressure, because we knew we were working with one of the great young producers and musicians," Andrews acknowledges. "But it was good pressure, and Raphael being in the room with us inspired us to step up as writers and players. We spent an initial two or three weeks in the studio in L.A. working out the tracks, and I think having that stretch of uninterrupted time really played a big part in how creative we were able to get. On the last two records we were so busy touring that we would go in for three or four days and then go out for a week, so we had to switch on and off between the stage mentality and being creative in the studio. So this time, knowing we were gonna be in the studio for two or three weeks straight, we reached down deep and were able to do some things that we wouldn't have come up with if we'd been on a tight schedule. It allowed us to be very free."

The first track laid down for the album, the pumping "Long Weekend," came together in a flash during Andrews' initial foray to L.A. to hang with Saadiq. "I went out there to see how we would jell," Troy recalls. "I met him and his band in the studio and they came up with that song for me, right in front of my face, and it was really fun to just sit back and watch it go down. It didn't take that long - they were killin' it. I put the horn parts on that same day. That track has a lot of energy; I love the way it feels."

The next step was to see how Saadiq would jell with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. "The one where we really clicked for the first time was 'Get the Picture,'" Andrews says of this burner, which has Saadiq's fingerprints all over it, trading guitar licks with Murano and playing clavinet. "After that, he sat back and watched us work, and every once in a while he'd come in and make a suggestion," says Andrews of the recording sessions. "So he basically let us do what we do and fine-tuned it if it needed it, and if it didn't he just kept it the way we had it. And that was very inspiring, because if he thought it was cool, then we felt like we'd done what we needed to do on our end."

The opening title track emphatically sets the vibe, as Murano unleashes a barrage of power chords over a pummeling groove from Peebles and Ballard - but a blast of brass from Trombone Shorty instantly alters the feel, bringing a more elegant form of aggressiveness to the proceedings. The mood then shifts again to a deeply soulful section in the manner of Earth, Wind & Fire, before powering back into rocking mode. "That track is just a timeline of who we are and how we think," says Andrews.

"For most of the album," he continues, "we wanted to get it as tight as we could performing it in the studio, so we'd just play the song straight through, but we couldn't do that with 'Shortyville,' which was just myself and Raphael. I started that track by hitting a bass drum with a mallet, like you would in a New Orleans brass band; then I played a full drum set on top of it. We built it up from there part by part, with me doing the horns and Raphael playing the bass and guitar."

Of "Fire & Brimstone," the lead single, Andrews notes, "The beat I was hearing was an old-school hip-hop thing. I can't remember what we were listening to when we came up with the idea, it might've been something by Dr. Dre, Easy E or Run-D.M.C., but when I heard it, I said, 'Joey, let's do a beat like that underneath the track so I can do some intricate things on top.' That's what we did, and it came out with this swampy, voodoo feel."

As for the impromptu Meters reunion, Andrews was listening to the band's eighth and final album, 1977's New Directions, one day, and as the smoothly soulful "Be My Lady" wafted out of the car speakers, it hit him that the track's mellow, romantic vibe ("laid-back in the cut," as he puts it) was exactly what his album in progress needed. But rather than simply covering it, Andrews got it in his head that he had to record it with The Meters themselves. When he told friends of his plan, they told him he was dreaming. Since breaking up soon after releasing New Directions, the four original members had performed together a mere handful of times, and only on stage for special occasions, never in the studio. What's more, there was no manager to contact; Andrews had to call each one and ask if he'd be up for going in the studio with his former bandmates.

"With all four of them, when I asked the question, there was a second of silence," Troy recounts with a laugh. "But then, each one of them said, 'If you talk to the rest of the guys and they're up for it, then I'll do the track. And even if you can't get everybody together, I would still love to play on it. So I was able to get all of them to agree, and then I had to call all of them back to tell them it was on. So they all came to the studio, including Cyril Neville, who sang the original vocal; he does the background vocal and the ad-libbing on the new track. At the end of one of the takes, they started jamming, and you could see a sparkle in all of their eyes at the magic they could make together. Whatever their differences, whatever reasons they don't work together, it went out the window for those few minutes, and I got a chance to experience what it used to be like when The Meters made all those classic records. I had the chills while it was going on."

"After we were done," Andrews continues, "George Porter pulled me aside and said, 'Thank you. You have gotten us to do something that people have been trying to get us to do for 35 years,' and I was speechless. Because The Meters helped to create a sound that gave me a foundation for doing what I do. It was one of those magical moments in life for me, because in New Orleans, The Meters are like the Beatles."

The title, Andrews explains, is a common New Orleans expression that essentially means "To make a long story short," serving as a wonderfully on-point description of the album and of Trombone Shorty's music in general. "This record is a direct expression of everything we hear, everything we've seen and everything we've been through musically," Andrews assets. "We're just making a long story short."

Saadiq is equally thrilled with the results of this musical summit meeting of young giants. "If you're a producer or musician, you want to work with other great musicians," he says, "because it only betters you, I was just honored to be a part of the project."

Andrews' previous projects include 2010's Grammy-nominated Backatown and his sophomore effort, For True (2011), which spent 12 weeks atop Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart. In the past few years alone, Andrews has appeared on recent recordings by an eclectic assortment of artists ranging from Zac Brown to Eric Clapton to Rod Stewart and Cee Lo Green, while taking the time to initiate a mentoring program at Tulane University via his Trombone Shorty Foundation. He's also been featured on the covers of Downbeat and Jazziz magazines, as well as on Conan, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Austin City Limits and in a recurring role on the hit HBO series Treme. The band was also chosen to play the closing set at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a huge honor in the world of true music lovers.

But for Andrews, the biggest thrill of all was performing at The White House in February 2012. "That was a dream come true about 50 times over," he says. "When we started playing, I forgot I was at the White House because I was on stage with all this musical royalty - B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Booker T. Jones, Jeff Beck, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., the list goes on. And then, when I turned to the audience, there's the President and the First Lady. I'm like, 'This can't be happening.'"

Good things continue to happen for Trombone Shorty, thanks to his virtuosity, his dedication, and his ability to move people. That he pursues his passion with such humility and unpretentiousness makes his still-unfolding story as compelling as the music he's making along the way.

10 years! My god, that is a LIFETIME! I cant believe I have been making records on a national level for 10 years. In 1999, I was just making these little beats in my bedroom for release on an independent label. Fast forward to 2009, and I'm….making these little beats in my bedroom for release on an independent label. Ok, to be fair, some things have changed; a bigger studio, I OWN the studio, I OWN the independent label, and instead of driving 10 blocks to a gig in m hometown, I fly 10 hours to a gig in another country. But when it all comes down to its most base level, the goal is still the same: to make a piece of music that is going to hopefully rearrange your brain, or at least provide some relief from real life for a moment or two. So let's take a look at what's happened over the course of those 10 years….

Things all started in Columbus, OH with Fondle 'em records and a rap group I was in called the MHz. We did a few 12" singles in the late 90's on (the now defunct) Fondle 'em, which lead to one of the members, Copywrite, doing a record on (the now defunct) Eastern Conference, which I produced some of. Those early singles also brought me to the attention of Definitive Jux, with whom I signed to(after having my demo turned down by virtually EVERY label in the US and UK that did anything remotely instrumental or weird in hiphop!). After a few singles and songs came out in 2001 under "rjd2", 2002 saw the release of "Dead Ringer", my first solo album. That year became the first in a series of whirlwinds that seem to change shape annually, but never slow down. I toured the world for the first time-Europe/Japan/the US several times, licensed music to an auto company of yesteryear called Saturn, spent time opening for DJ Shadow, and moved to Philadelphia. The following year of 2003 saw the release of "The Horror EP", remixes for Massive Attack, Mos Def, Polyphonic Spree(among MANY others), more touring, and the release of the first Soul Position album, "8 Million Stories". While traveling the states in support of the Soul Position album, I had my MPC plugged into the cigarette lighter of a rented minivan, feverishly slaving away. These tracks I made during drives across the US would become the 2004 album "Since We Last Spoke". By then, "Dead Ringer" had surpassed 75,000 copies worldwide, and had gotten a fair amount of attention, including folks like David Lynch and Mark Ecko, among others.

With the 2004 release of "Since We Last Spoke", I hit the road for my first headlining tour ever. Armed with 4 turntables, an mpc and a video rig, I made my way across the US and Europe for the third year in a row. The production work for other artists also continued for both rappers and singers(Diverse, Tweet, Fallout Boy,Cage, etc). But unbeknownst to the rest of the world, this year was critical in the path that lead me to where I am now: I made the decision to not resign with Definitive Jux. It was really my first move outside of a comfort zone, and into uncharted territory. It was also the start of realizing a vision of being my own boss, both creatively AND business-wise. 2004 was also the beginning of my love affair with "vintage" synthesizers and restoring them; this would lead to things later…

The next few years saw the release of many side projects: a 2nd Soul Position LP-"Things Go Better With RJ and Al", a collaboration with Aceyalone-"Magnificent City", the scoring of my first video game-"Mark Ecko's Getting Up", and the usual remixes and production work for other artists. I also contributed to the cookbook "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good", a cookbook of musicians' recipes. Still waiting for a Vol. 2 so I can include my homemade apple/walnut/raisin pie. Of course, I toured to support the records this year as well(I have traversed the continental US at least once a year since 2001-watch out for my comprehensive guide to espresso in America). But throughout this period of 2005-2006, I was working on some recordings that would mark the furthest reaches of anything I had done to date….

These recordings became 2007's "The Third Hand", a record that was done with a specific methodology in mind: get as far as I could using strictly my own resources. This meant using the MPC sampler, as I always had for my solo records, but primarily for the drums. But save for a few small passages, all of the instrumentation was performed by myself in a studio I had spent years building up to mimic the types of keyboards/guitars/amps/synths/etc that would have appeared on the types of records I COULD have been sampling. And in keeping with the intent of weaning myself off of the samples I had relied on for so long, I took on the duties of vocalist as well. My take on "sample based music" had always been to try and make things that felt like pop records, in the sense that they had a vocal element, but had the urgency and immediacy of funk or hip-hop records. To boot, I arrived at the decision to do the record on XL recordings, as I felt they believed in the record the most. Thus, 2007 was a year that many saw as one of departures, but to me was more another stop in what is hopefully a long journey. I decided at a point that I'd rather look back on a varied catalog that was interesting and challenging, than one of multiple attempts at the same vibe, with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, I just cant get excited about doing the same thing over and over. And if I cant get excited about the music im making, how can I expect someone else to?

Which brings us to now. After two years of touring as a headliner in support of "The Third Hand" with a full band, as well as winning my first award, ASCAP'S best TV Theme for my recording the Mad Men theme-its time for my 4th solo album, "The Colossus". As "The Third Hand" was my first TRULY solo album, with NO guest performances whatsoever, I decided to do the opposite of sorts this time: an album that is as collaborative as possible; an "overview" of all the different types of working approaches ive used over the years; some strictly sample-based material, some live; some guest vocalists, a few songs I sing,; both instrumental and vocal. As this was all tracked at the same time, I think it has a cohesive feel to it. Featuring Phonte Coleman(Little Brother, Foreign Exchange), Kenna(Star Trak, VA Beach), Aaron Livingston(The Roots' "Guns Are Drawn"), Columbus mc's The Catalyst, Illogic, and NP, and a slew of instrumentalists, I think I can safely say this is the most sonically lush and varied record I've ever done.

The last piece of the puzzle is that this record marks the first album I will release on my own label, RJ's Electrical Connections. In addition to re-acquiring the master recordings to ALL of my Definitive Jux catalog, and re-releasing them, this marks a massive step towards being completely working on my own terms, artistically and business-wise. Cheers-here's to many more to hopefully come.

Here We Rest: The first motto of Jason Isbell's home state got changed in the early part of last century to a Latin phrase that translates to "we dare defend our rights". What starts out as peaceful idyll descends into a defensive posture with the threat of bellicosity just beneath the surface. That's what tough times will do to a people. Jason Isbell's home is northern Alabama, a region that has been hit especially hard in the recent economic downturn. "The mood here has darkened considerably," says Jason. "There is a real culture around Muscle Shoals, Florence and Sheffield of family, of people taking care of their own. When people lose their ability to do that, their sense of self dissolves. It has a devastating effect on personal relationships, and mine were not immune."

The characters that populate Here We Rest are wrung out. In "Alabama Pines", the protagonist has found himself on the outside of the life he once knew. He is living in a small room and in a state of emotional disrepair – estranged from the woman that he loved, as well as friends ("I don't even need a name anymore/When no one calls it out, it kinda vanishes away"). He is beginning to recognize that his own remoteness and obstinacy has played a large part in his current state of affairs, and longs for "someone to take him home through those Alabama pines." He's not quite clear how to get back there himself.
Place plays a prominent role in the songs on Here We Rest. Jason was home considerably more this year, having toured less in 2010. After being on the road for 200 or more days for more years than he cares to count, he stayed home mostly to write and record this album. "I could probably live anywhere, but I love it here," says Jason. "Being home is very different than being on the road. You learn a certain discipline that has its entire context within the touring lifestyle. This was the first time that I've been an adult in my own house, in my own community. Plus on the road, you have your whiskey waiting for you when you get to the gig. Here you have to go get it."

Spending all that time around his hometown, he could reacquaint himself with the locale and immerse himself with the rhythms of life in northern Alabama. "Being able to sit on my stool at D.P.'s, a bar in the building I live in, talk to my friends, and hear the problems that they have helped inform some of these songs." Sometimes, people in that bar grow tired of hearing others bitch when they themselves were on the edge, and it would sometimes lead to fights. "Save It For Sunday" grew out of one of those experiences. A bar patron, unsure of the solidity of his relationship, tells his fellow bar patron that "we got cares of our own," and suggesting that the he save his sorrows for his "choir and everyone" at his church.

Our military draws disproportionately from areas that are economically depressed, and northern Alabama has more than its share of those that have served, not only out of a deep sense of patriotism, but also because of shrinking employment options. In "Tour Of Duty," Jason writes of a soldier that is coming home from war for the last time, and will try, more than likely in vain, to assimilate back into civilian life. His soldier is voracious for normalcy. He admits to not knowing or caring how his loved one has changed and dreams of eating chicken wings and starting a family. But there's a subtle sense that this craving for normalcy will cause him to suppress the damage done to him during wartime: "I promise not to bore you with my stories/I promise not to scare you with my tears/I never would exaggerate the glory/I'll seem so satisfied here." Seeming satisfied is not being satisfied, but it's the best he can imagine.

The time off from the road also had an effect on the musical sensibilities that shaped this album. Jason was able to collaborate with more artists (he played on the latest albums by Justin Townes Earle, Middle Brother, Abby Owens and Coy Bowles), which broadened his ideas about how he could present his own music. "I always felt like certain things, like my guitar playing, had to be perfect, and when I was in the studio environment, I could make sure that it was. But looking back, it might have robbed the music of a certain amount of spontaneity.

There's more out and out rock and roll guitar on this album." In addition, Jason embraces a more acoustic, more traditional country music sound to a degree that he had been reluctant to in the past. "When you come from Alabama, that country soul music is in the water. I've always loved it and been proud of it, but there's always been this sense of proving that you were capable of more than just that. If I was going to create an album that gave listeners a sense of the place, I felt it was important to let the songs go there if they wanted to."

The time at home has also had an effect on the lyrical point of view of the album. Because of the subject material of the album, Jason wrote from a more empathetic point of view than ever before. "I tried more than ever to get out from behind my own eyes and see things through others' eyes," he says. In "We've Met," Jason puts himself in the place of a person that was left behind in their hometown and, with a tinge of bitterness, remembers the one who went away better than they are remembered (Jason says, "I'm quite sure that I've been the person that didn't remember before, and I hate it").

As with the last album, the 400 Unit shines. Keyboard player Derry deBorja, guitarist Browan Lollar, bassist Jimbo Hart and drummer Chad Gamble play with either the ferocity or subtlety that the songs call for. Having played over four hundred shows together as a band have given Jason and the guys an innate sense of one another; they are gelling into a truly great band. The original state motto was written by Alexander Beaufort Meek, a former Alabama attorney general, in his 1842 essay outlining the history of the state. The last lines of that history say: "We have shown the condition and character of our population; the Red Sea of trials and suffering through which they had to pass; the fragile bark that floated in triumph through the perils of the tide….From such rude and troublous beginnings, the present population of Alabama, acquired the right to say, 'Here we rest!'" The times are indeed rude and troublous again in Alabama, and Jason Isbell's inspired album offers both documentation and the same fervent hope that his people will find their rest.

When it came time to record Delta Spirit's third album, the band members knew one thing: It was time to shake off the stylistic labels that have shadowed them since they formed in San Diego, CA, in 2005. Though lyricists Matt Vasquez and Kelly Winrich were grateful for the warm reviews that their previous albums Ode To Sunshine (2008) and History From Below (2010) received, they were perplexed at being called "rootsy Americana" or "twangy folk." In their eyes, Delta Spirit has always been a thoroughly modern rock band, and, with their self-titled new album, they set out to prove it.

We found the sound that we've been looking for, that we've been growing into, and as soon as we hit on it, we ran with it," Vasquez says. "That's why it's a self-titled record, so we could connect our identity with the album, because this album is what we think Delta Spirit is. People make records for their time and we wanted to make one for our time. Just like novelists want to write the Great American Novel, we wanted to make a Great American Record. Not one about yesterday, but one about right now."

To help them realize their vision, Delta Spirit recruited producer Chris Coady, not only for his indie-rock credentials (he's worked with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Beach House, and Smith Westerns, among others), but also because, with five strongly opinionated band members, Delta Spirit needed a producer who wouldn't be pushed around easily. "We also wanted a great engineer and someone who knew how to make sounds that didn't sound stock and average," Vasquez says of Coady, who brought in a home-built synthesizer, which was used on the song "Home."

The band also experimented sonically, creating layers of texture by using previously verboten instruments like MPC samples and drum machines. They also empowered their new guitarist, Will McLaren, to create stand-alone parts, and to go to town on electric instruments. The experimentation can be heard throughout the album, which opens with the rollicking
opening number "Empty House," and serves as a transition between Delta Spirit's previous sound and its new one. "The intention was to introduce the album with something that hints at what we used to sound like," Winrich says. "We wanted to ease people into it." The band, who recorded the album at Dreamland — a converted church built in 1896 in Woodstock, New York — also upended traditional song structures, playing around with writing songs with no choruses ("California") and generally throwing off simple verse-chorus-bridge conventions, making sure each verse felt different from the one that preceded it.

When it came to lyrical content, Vasquez and Winrich stuck to what they knew. "We're not hearkening back to anything in the lyrics," Vasquez says. "We're writing about situations that are mostly personal. I think the topic of love has affected us the most." The most direct approach comes from Winrich. "My songs all seem to pertain to one situation, a failed relationship," he says. "'Anyone who's been in a long-distance situation will be able to relate to 'California.' 'Otherside' is about being delusional and holding onto something that may or may not be real, and 'Time Bomb' is about being blind to what the future holds and how happiness and sadness are kind of intertwined."

Several (though not all) of Vasquez's songs tend to make their points through the perspective of others, a style favored by some of his favorite songwriters, including Tom Waits and Nick Cave. On "Empty House," he takes on the persona of a construction worker who is seeing the Dharma in his work. "This guy is mixing concrete and suddenly notices the tiny glinting specks in it," Vasquez explains. "He begins to wonder 'What got me here? Where am I headed' and relating that little speck to his life." "Tellin' The Mind" is about Colton Harris Moore, the teenager known as the Barefoot Bandit who became an internet sensation after committing several burglaries, and stealing and crashing a plane. "I loved him," Vasquez says. "I thought he deserved an anthem." "Tear It Up" was originally inspired by the events in Egypt during the Arab spring, but morphed into a more universal song about what can happen with people get together with a common goal. Vasquez's most personal song is "Yamaha," which he wrote for his wife when she grew upset about his being away on tour for long stretches of time. "I felt like shit but I couldn't do anything. A guy's first instinct is to fix it, but you can't when you're three time zones away, so I wrote this song for her."

The album's raucous energy and no-holds barred performances will appeal to Delta Spirit's fanbase, which has grown consistently thanks to their explosive live shows. The band, who have completed headlining tours of the U.S. and Europe and appeared at SXSW, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella, are looking forward to hitting the road and playing the new songs. "There's no other experience on earth like playing music with people and feeling that kinetic energy," Vasquez says. "I want to do it even when I'm old and it's ridiculous to see me on stage. If I can hold on to even a tenth of the feeling we have when we're playing, I'll be happy."


Matt Vasquez (lead vocals, guitar), Kelly Winrich (keyboards, vocals, drums), Jonathan Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (drums/percussion), Will McLaren (guitar, vocals)

Los Amigos Invisibles

Since their first album in 1995, Los Amigos Invisibles have developed a sound based on the "gozadera" – an irresistible fusion of Latin rhythms with fiery funk and lounge music. The band got their first break when David Byrne (Talking Heads) discovered one of their albums by chance in a Manhattan record shop. He immediately called the band up in their native Venezuela and soon after, signed them to his label: Luaka Bop. Byrne opened doors for the band across the globe and Los Amigos Invisibles soon became an international touring machine.

Los Amigos Invisibles moved to New York City from their hometown of Caracas in 2001 and entrenched themselves in the local scene. With their electrifying live show, the group began building a considerable fan-base across the U.S. collaborating with artists such as Louie Vega (Masters At Work), Dimitri From Paris, Natalia Lafourcade, Cachorro López and Jorge Gonzalez, among others. Los Amigos Invisibles were able to establish themselves in the international dance music scene and expand their sound, while raking in Grammy nominations year after year and performing all over the globe as well as on television shows like The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Fiery anthems and tumultuous confessional songs punctuated with raw, inspired guitar.
--USA TODAY

Rich and glorious…Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.

Osborne seeks an epic quality to much of his music, crafting layer upon layerof hugely scaled soundscapes.…never lazily derivative…every slashing guitar figure, every cry of a lyric, seems to come from an authentic place.
--New Orleans Times-Picayune

Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans' Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today. Guitar Player calls him "the poet laureate of Louisiana's fertile roots music scene." New Orleans' Gambit Weekly recently honored Osborne as the Entertainer Of The Year. OffBeat named him the Crescent City's Best Guitarist for the third year in a row, and the Best Songwriter for the second straight year. Osborne also won Song Of The Year for his composition, Louisiana Gold.

Since the release of his 2010 Alligator Records debut, American Patchwork, his 2012 follow-up, Black Eye Galaxy, and his critically acclaimed 2013 EP, Three Free Amigos, Osborne has earned hordes of new fans. He has toured virtually non-stop, either with his road-tested trio, as a solo artist, or as a guest with his countless musical admirers, including Toots and The Maytals, Stanton Moore, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. He's appeared on Galactic's Ya-Ka-May album, and in 2011 produced and played on critically acclaimed albums by Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone and Mike Zito.

Now Osborne delivers the next chapter of his spiritual odyssey, Peace. With the new CD, Osborne continues the journey started by American Patchwork and Black Eye Galaxy, emerging from a whirlwind of emotional chaos and moving toward a sense of inner peace. Recorded at Dockside Studios in Louisiana and produced by Osborne and Warren Riker, Peace looks at the title subject from all angles. Drawing strength and inspiration from his family and friends, Osborne created the most observational record of his career.

According to Osborne, "Peace is light from darkness. The songs are written from the outside looking in. They are not making any judgments. I'm just stating facts. I'm writing from a brighter perspective. There's less dusk and dark, and much more sunlight. The results are greater than I expected. The driving tones and sounds are free and natural. This is one of the coolest records I've ever made."

Since his recording debut in 1989, Osborne has written virtually all of his own material and contributed memorable songs to a wide variety of artists. Two tunes co-written by Osborne appear on Keb Mo's Grammy-winning 1999 release Slow Down. Country superstar Tim McGraw scored a #1 hit with Anders' song Watch The Wind Blow By. Osborne's compositions have been covered by artists as diverse as Brad Paisley, Tab Benoit, Jonny Lang and Kim Carnes. His songs have appeared in multiple feature films. He can also be seen performing in an episode of HBO's New Orleans-based drama, Treme.

DISCOGRAPHY
2013 Peace (Alligator)
2013 Three Free Amigos (Alligator)
2012 Black Eye Galaxy (Alligator)
2010 American Patchwork (Alligator)
2007 Coming Down (MC)
2006 Tipitina's Live 2006 (Shanachie)
2002 Bury The Hatchet with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (Shanachie)
2001 Ash Wednesday Blues (Shanachie)
1999 Living Room (Shanachie)
1998 Live At Tipitina's (Shanachie)
1995 Which Way To Here (Okeh)
1993 Break The Chain (Rabadash)
1989 Doin' Fine (Rabadash)

DJ Le Spam & Spam Allstars blend improvisational electronic elements and turntables with latin, funk, hip hop and dub to create what they call an electronic descarga. It's not a known genre. It's hard to describe. It attracts many types of people. But as they look out and see people dancing salsa, next to break-dancers, and festival-goers driving for hours to catch a show — they know something very special is going on.

Spam Allstars were formed by Andrew Yeomanson, a/k/a DJ Le Spam, who was raised in Toronto, Bogota and London, and has called Miami home since 1993. He got his start by playing guitar in Haitian band Lavalas, and recording and touring with Miami based artist Nil Lara. Along the way he added to his vinyl collection, and when off the road he would DJ locally. These DJ gigs evolved into collaborations with live musicians, performing on an internet radio show, recording in his home studio, and the first of many residencies combining his samplers & DJ skills with a live band.

In 2002, Spam Allstars began a weekly residency at Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana, which continues today. In 2003 they started monthly residencies in New York City, Gainesville, Tampa, Atlanta, and New Orleans, and playing nationally wherever people would host them. Today they perform 200+ shows, and average 56,000 miles each year.

With feet firmly planted in the old-time song tradition, hands soiled by the dirt of rock n’ roll and eyes fixed steadily on the future of real country music, the Hackensaw Boys are among the most exciting groups charting new territory in today’s diverse Americana music scene.

How does it work?

Everybody sings a bit of lead, everybody sings a bit of harmony and most members know when to shut up. Instrumentation includes banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica, upright bass, charismo (a home-made tin can contraption) and the occasional trap kit.

Where do they come from?

In the beginning they all lived in Charlottesville, VA, but now the seven members are spread throughout Virginia, West Virgina, New York, and New Orleans. For more than a decade, however, they’ve come together to tour the United States, Europe and the U.K. and to record several critically acclaimed albums.

Who are they?

The group’s lineup includes:
• Ward Harrison (strings and thumb picks)
• Ferd Moyse (strings and horsehair)
• Ben Townsend (strings and horsehair, strings and thumb picks)
• Brian Gorby (traps and sticks)
• David Sickmen (strings and improvised straps)
• John Miller (stand up strings and fingers)

J Roddy Walston & The Business

Praise for J Roddy Walston & The Business:

"Full of spirited and sweaty Southern rock. "
-SPIN

"J Roddy Walston and the Business grab your attention, and hold fast Full of spirited and sweaty Southern rock. "
-American Songwriter

"They're loud, relentess and wear you out before they're even halfway done with you."
-Arkansas Times

"Their sound has everything there is to love about rock'n'roll, blues, country, gospel...even punk rock throughout. "
-Alternative Press

"When it comes to pure, unadulterated rock music, there aren't nearly enough bands these days that do it the way J Roddy does. "
-Each Note Secure

"Nobody rocks as hard as J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Watching these guys perform is like watching a live bull fight, with audiences dancing for their lives in the aisles."
-Philly Style

"Infectiously manic...they make James Brown look lazy."
-Baltimore City Paper

"What takes them to the level of awesome, is the street-wise, working class attitude that infects each of these numbers - if it's folk, then its tough folk. If we're talking rhythm and soul, it's tough rhythm and soul. And if we're talking rock n roll, you guessed it, it's tough."
-irockcleveland.com

http://www.facebook.com/jroddywalston
http://www.myspace.com/jroddy
https://twitter.com/JRoddyBusiness

Check out 'Heavy Bells' from J. Roddy Walston and The Business's new album, 'Essential Tremors,' out 9/10 on ATO Records:
https://soundcloud.com/j-roddy-walston/j-roddy-walston-the-business

The Soul Rebels

The SOUL REBELS formed when Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, originally members of New Orleans' iconic Dejean's Young Olympia Brass Band, decided they wanted to play the new, exciting music they were hearing on the radio while respecting the tradition they loved. Both New Orleans natives, the pair was steeped in the fundamentals of New Orleans jazz, but inevitably, contemporary styles of music began to seep into their psyches.

While LeBlanc attended the famed St. Augustine High School, Moss went to Lil' Wayne's alma mater McMain High School, and paraded alongside soon-to-be Cash Money Records CEO Ronald "Slim" Williams in the school's marching band. New sounds were all around and they found them as exciting as the horn-combo style featured in jazz funerals since the turn of the Twentieth Century.






"We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition," LeBlanc recalls, "so we knew we had to break away." They found a stylistic middle ground when they spun off and formed a band of young, like-minded local players from all over New Orleans. Graduates of university music programs throughout the South, the band took the marching band format they had learned in school and incorporated influences from outside the city as well as late-breaking local styles – R&B, funk and hip-hop – especially through half-sung, half-rapped lyrics. "Most of our originals have vocals," says LeBlanc. "You wouldn't have done that in a traditional brass band."

Soon, the Soul Rebels' contagious originals and updated takes on standards won them a loyal local audience. They began rocking some of New Orleans' most beloved live music venues. A chance gig opening for the Neville Brothers got them a real start—and an official name. It was youngest brother Cyril Neville who first called them "Soul Rebels," a good name for a band that strived to incite positive change in its treasured musical heritage. Since those days, the band has settled on an eight-piece lineup, building a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in the party-like atmosphere of a dance club. Their weekly show at Uptown New Orleans spot Le Bon Temps Roulé has been known to descend into a sweaty shout-along as the band mixes up songs from its five studio albums with hits by Jay-Z and OutKast.

While touring the U.S., the Soul Rebels have shared the stage with notable artists from many corners of the pop and jazz worlds, including Arcade Fire, The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Counting Crows, Green Day, Drive By Truckers, James Brown, Roy Hargrove, Allen Toussaint, Chuck Brown, Terence Blanchard, The Gap Band, Better than Ezra and many more. Averaging around 250 shows per year, the Soul Rebels have brought the party to stages as far away as South Africa and Europe, playing some of the world's best-known music events, including, Umbria Jazz Fest, Antibes Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz festival, Bonnaroo, the Wanee Festival and, of course, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

When Hurricane Katrina struck their hometown in 2005, the band scattered across the region. Though a few members relocated to cities in Texas, the band frequently reconvened for gigs in New Orleans, this time with a renewed purpose. "Music has been the number one vehicle for Katrina recovery," says LeBlanc. "That catastrophe has brought so much world wide attention to our music."

Indeed, since the storm, the band has been more successful than ever serving as an international ambassador of the New Orleans sound. Now a hardcore touring band with a solid-as-ever lineup, the band has recently represented its hometown on television, appearing in the season finale of the HBO series Treme, the Discovery Channel hit After the Catch, and the NBC broadcast of the parade before the Saints' winning 2010 Super Bowl.

In January of 2012, the band will finally release its first international album, Unlock Your Mind, on Rounder Records. This new song-driven studio effort includes guest appearances by Cyril Neville, Trombone Shorty and Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli. The album was produced by Rounder VP of A&R Scott Billington, who was also at the helm of many of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's groundbreaking albums.

The Soul Rebels continue charting new territory today. Called "the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong" by the Village Voice, the Soul Rebels combine top notch musicianship and songs with grooves that celebrate life in time-honored New Orleans style.

The longer one lives the greater the number of scars and scrapes one accumulates. It's the same with a band, where the years build up layers one could never have expected when they set out in a van back in the day. So it is with San Francisco's Tea Leaf Green, whose own journey began as a jam-minded party on legs in the late 1990s and now finds them some of the Bay Area's most thoughtful, dedicated craftsmen. As sharply carved and musically robust as any rock unit today, TLG have harnessed their surefire live prowess and ability to seize an audience into a bustling, emotionally dense, ear-snagging studio form with In The Wake (in stores May 14), a complete vision that represents the great skill and open-minded invention in this quintet - Trevor Garrod (keys, vocals), Josh Clark (guitar, vocals), Scott Rager (drums), Reed Mathis (bass, vocals) and Cochrane McMillan (percussion) – placing them alongside contemporaries like Delta Spirit, Everest and Dr. Dog in marrying honesty, artistry and grit in music that hums with bruised but unbowed life.

"The title In The Wake has multiple meanings for us," explains Mathis. "First, these songs came in the wake of our own personal tragedies. Second, the album comes in the wake of our previous album Radio Tragedy (2011). Third, it's a wake where we're mourning some things, and celebrating the departed. And last, it's a sign that we're in the process of waking up. But, the song 'In The Wake' isn't about any of this [laughs]."

Coyote Hearing Studio, an up & coming Oakland, CA recording space co-run by TLG's McMillan and In The Wake co-producer Jeremy Black (Apollo Sunshine), contributed to the flow and ease of making this album.

"It's really helped to have an impeccable environment to record in with multiple people capable of engineering, producing, and creating together. It's really been a laboratory for us. The ideas were continually stringing together between us. It's definitely the most collaborative record we've ever made," says McMillan, who spent many mornings alone in the studio tinkering and fine tuning tracks, a sign of the warm push-me-pull-me creative relationship he shares with Black.

"We've been building towards this sound and recording style for a while," says Clark. "It's a matter of trust to come in and know what the other guys have laid down is good and you can build on it. We trust each other to make the sounds that need to be made. It's also nice when you bring in a song with some words and a melody but you don't have a preconceived idea of how it sounds. We let each song takes its course."

More so than anything in their earlier catalog, In The Wake presents what the blend of the considerable collective talents in Tea Leaf Green are capable of, letting solo spotlights dim in order to illuminate the greater being that emerges when their arms are linked.

Listening to the new album, it's clear today's Tea Leaf Green is a far cry from the young men that wrote "Sex In The 70s" and other easygoing vehicles. That strain remains in TLG's substrata, particularly in their always-invigorating concerts, but creatively and emotionally there's just more heft to them now.

"We love our fans and are very fan-centric, but at a certain point we have to move on and explore new sounds," says Clark. "It's not going to sound like it used to, but we're really not in any kind of control over this. We don't sit down and discuss how we'd like to sound. It just happens. This time we got to explore some softer elements, and to move outside our comfort zones. Who knows where it's going from here."

The intrepid members of Grupo Fantasma have been doing things their own way for over a decade now, which continues with the highly anticipated and self-produced El Existential out May 11, 2010 on Nat Geo Music. An exceptional followup to their Grammy nominated Sonidos Gold (2008), this new effort's love for exploration using the sounds and fundamentals of traditional Latin styles is uniquely reminiscent of Fania Records; and GF, like Fania's staple of artists in its prime, has been on the corner long enough to not only be tough, resilient and self-assured, but also be mature enough to turn out top quality material repeatedly on its own terms.

For El Existential the band opted to bypass the traditional studio route and installed a custom built facility in a three bedroom rental house in their hometown of Austin, Texas. Their goal: to immerse themselves in a collectively occupied homestead so they could create communally in a non-corporate, domestic atmosphere engineered to foster collaboration and experimentation. Special guests on the album include the legendary pianist Larry Harlow (who also appeared on Sonidos Gold) and guitar wizard Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets.

Thematically, there are several references to web-spinning spiders which in Afro-Diasporic folkore is a trickster, a story-weaving teacher and above all a symbol of resourceful survival. Lyrics touch on sinners, seductresses, and self-searching, with a bit of spiritual advice, revenge, and reconciliation added for good measure. Musically, unraveling spools of cumbia, salsa, son montuno, Afro-funk, psychedelia, bolero, jazz, folkloric, cinematic soundtrack and even startling hints of new wave integrate naturally with the touch that only GF can provide. Every cut is animated with this rare analog spark that makes the whole thing warm and hand-made, especially in an era when so much Latin music is created in a teflon laboratory by robots pretending to be de la calle.

The collective power of Grupo Fantasma is what makes this orchestra such a treat live. But their bundle of differences, that is itself an apt metaphor for the Latino experience in the USA, coheres quite well on El Existential. Expect delicacies on this record from incredible vocals to insane brass cavalcades, propulsive guitar and smoking percussion workouts. To enumerate all their individual charms would almost kill the collective thrill of first hearing the songs in sequence. Once you've heard El Existential, you'll realize it's so good that it's hard to keep quiet about it.

"The artist is the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe, he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life." -Henry Miller

Blur The Line feels like an eponymous debut. This record is not a departure, nor is it simply growth. It is a realization purely of where Those Darlins are as artists right now. With Blur The Line, Those Darlins take away the labels and constructs that people use to define, categorize and ultimately destroy. They don't want to hide or create some manufactured mystery. They show it, reveal it. That revelation is more powerful than anything else.

Those Darlins entered the public eye in 2008. They took on matching surnames and announced themselves a gang of resilient outsiders, each a misfit of southern upbringing, with its problems and charms. Their self-titled debut carved out an ethos and a spot on the map. Their warning: they weren't just anybody's darlings; if you didn't want them in all their wild glory, you didn't need to hang. They followed that rural-tinged debut with Screws Get Loose – a spiky garage/art rock album that launched them onto the international scene. However, growth can be painful. In those travels and the travels that followed, the collective persona they had cultivated began to strangle their individuality.

Jessi, Nikki, and Linwood set out to uncover the true complex, contradictory nature of themselves as individuals and as a band. Over a year in the making, Blur The Line is the product of this search. It was written and recorded during their first extended time off the road since formation – this time with a lineup evenly divided between the sexes after the addition of Adrian Barrera (Gentlemen Jesse & His Men, Barreracudas).

The result is a record to file on your shelf between Patti Smith's Easter and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. Blur The Line is a first-rate album of powerful tracks that mingle heavy rhythms and distorted Neil Young guitars with ear-candy harmonies and a slew of captivating lyrics. The band called on Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, John Cale, Jeff the Brotherhood) to produce Blur The Line, and it turned out to be a revelation – a chance to stretch and give shape to their work with his supportive, laid back demeanor and experienced hands at the helm.
Blur The Line is a look inward, asking bigger questions and tackling an archetypal theme – the opposing forces that lurk in us and in our world. "This may be the most important theme on this record," says Nikki, "Balance and finding balance within ourselves and others."

This isn't mopey existentialism; it's a salute to what's always been at odds in our world, and the beauty that comes from that friction. Asking big questions leads to great art. The record is an exploration of dualities: masculinity/femininity, nature/civilization. Blur The Line is nothing if not forthcoming, laced with sardonic humor and overt sexuality, coupled with sincere vulnerability and often brutal honesty. "I don't think a three piece female band could have made this album," notes Jessi. "Nor could an all male band."
On BTL, it's Those Darlins' ability to balance and love both the masculine and feminine powers (as all great rock does) that gives them potency, and in that crucible, great music is made – without the reductive and often exclusionary world of "women's" rock. Feminist critics deride oevres by bands like Led Zeppelin as oppressive and one dimensional while ignoring their long womanly hair, flowing shirts and moaning falsettos that sing, in truth, of women's actual power, albeit to the sound of phallic guitar thunder. On the other hand, Patti Smith makes no apologies about her love of men and male-created art. She understands the power of both male and female etc, and chooses simply to be an artist. Balance.

The sparks of the band's self-scrutiny may have been lit during the band's European tour last summer. A German radio interviewer asked of the band, "Are you optimists?" After some blank stares, Linwood moved the conversation along. But Jessi couldn't shake the question – or her inability to answer it. "I was hung up on the realization that the answer was no. I remembered a time when I was an optimist, but somewhere along the road that had changed. I wanted to get back to an optimistic point of view." Her eventual reply became the lead lyric in one of Blur The Line's most potent numbers, "Optimist"—"Used to be an optimist / It got too dangerous."

Listening to the album's bookend tracks, we hear the band's musical and thematic approaches at work. Their modern take on the underpinnings of rock and roll is revealed, bubbling up from the gritty traditions of both white rural folk and African American blues. Starting with the graphic, moving narrative of "Oh God," a modern fable that chronicles a shadowy exchange with an unsettling host of visuals, and ending with "Ain't Afraid," a vivid and blustering 12-bar declaration, the album's narrative comes full circle. "I don't know what lays in store / but I ain't afraid anymore," sings Jessi. Facing fear leads to empowerment.

The coming months will have Those Darlins back on the road, doing what they're known for: delivering some of the most dynamic and indelible live shows today. Come ready. As Jessi shouts on the anthem "Western Sky," "I don't wanna hear another civilized roar / Let's make our own noise."

Alexander & the Grapes

"Alexander and the Grapes packs a sweet and juicy wallop of pop, psychedelic and country. Whether those styles come at you mixed up or distilled with pure directness, there isn't a bad tune in the bunch."
~ Julie Garisto, TBT

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker is a New Orleans based artist, currently signed to ATO records.

Under The Willow

Under The Willow was born in the spring of 2008 as a Duo, just Vocals and Guitar founded by Erin and Patrick Donovan. Since then they've had the pleasure of playing with many great local musicians and its not uncommon to see one off the long list sit in at a show. In August of 2012 at an Open Mic They jammed a song with Hayley Skreens and Joe Lenza and everyone knew it was the start of something special. The song would later become the bands first single "We Are Cold".
The band consists of four Utility players and they make good use of them switching instruments throughout the show, taking full advantage of each players different style on Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin and Dobro. Lead vocals and backups are shared by Erin Donovan and Hayley Skreens. The string band is complete with Erin on the fiddle, and all members contributing to the writing process.
With socially conscious and thought provoking lyrics you might call them folk. With their instrumentation you might call them a bluegrass band. You might hear elements of pop,jazz, or soul when the girls sing. With all the switching of instruments and dancing around stage you might call it the best show you've seen in a long time. They call it New Grass, and they call themselves Under The Willow!

Although Hymn for Her hails from Philadelphia, Lucy characterizes H4H as "a band born on Route 66." With their daughter Diver, Manny the nanny and Pokey, their spirit guardian dog, this little self-contained unit enjoys life's unknown adventures on the highway. They recently had a successful U.K/European tour and plan to return soon.

H4H live, tour and record in their 16 foot, 1961 Bambi Airstream (comes with dog and baby). Their last release, 'Lucy & Wayne and THE AMAIRICAN STREAM' was entirely recorded in their classic trailer on a coast to coast U.S tour. They stopped at various campgrounds and friends driveways between shows, set up their gear in their Bambi/home recording studio, rolled tape and rocked out. The duo certainly covers a lot of musical territory in their new release "Lucy & Wayne's Smokin Flames". Their wild-eyed mash-up of country, blues and punk led U.K. music critic Steve Bennett to call H4H's sound "a riotous, rocking roadkill stew," while others have referenced such diverse bands as Captain Beefheart, Primus, X, R.L. Burnside, JS Blues Explosion and the Ramones.

Impressively, the two create their "ripsaw sounds" (Los Angeles Times' Randy Lewis) with only a few instruments. Wayne (with the devilish voice), mainly playing the kick-drum, high-hat, acoustic guitar and harp, serves as the group's rhythmic driving force. Lucy (of the fallen-angel voice) delivers a gritty squall on her "Lowebow" — a custom-made cigar-box guitar that she describes as "The Riff Monster."

On his debut album, Matt Hires emerged as a golden-voiced troubadour with a penchant for setting heart-on-sleeve lyrics to sweetly infectious melody. Now, on his sophomore release entitled This World Won't Last Forever, But Tonight We Can Pretend, Hires weaves in grander arrangements, brighter hooks, and a more richly textured sound to assert himself as a formidable new force in the singer-songwriter realm.

"My favorite artists are the ones who keep making records that give you something different from what came before, but still hold onto their own unique sound overall," says the 27-year-old Tampa-based singer/guitarist. "With this album, I pushed into the direction of making music that's more fun and pop-oriented but also retains that sense of honesty that I've always valued as a songwriter."

Indeed, the album offers up more than its share of sing-along-worthy melodies and sunny harmonies, all while elegantly showcasing Hires's warm yet masterful vocal work. At the same time, the album bears a bigger, more bombastic energy that reveals the deep-seated influence of rock-and-roll heroes like The Band and Bruce Springsteen. And all throughout the album (the follow-up to 2008's Take Us To The Start), Hires delivers delicately rendered lyrics that shift between sharp-eyed social commentary and strikingly intimate storytelling. "Even though I broke out of the traditional singer-songwriter mold, there are still some songs that are very confessional," Hires notes. "At heart, I'm still that guy strumming an acoustic guitar in his bedroom."

For help in reshaping and expanding his sound, Hires reunited with Eric Rosse (producer on Take Us To The Start, as well as Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes and Grammy-nominated Under the Pink). To shake up his song-crafting approach, he also teamed up with songwriters like Alex Dezen (singer/guitarist for The Damnwells) and Busbee (who's previously worked with artists ranging from Kid Cudi and Katy Perry to Liz Phair and Lady Antebellum). "When you get into a groove with another songwriter, it's the most fun thing in the world," says Hires. "With every co-write I've done, I've taken away something from my collaborators and used that to develop my own writing."

Right from the opening track, the album radiates with a shimmering intensity that reflects both sophistication in songwriting and purity of spirit. Pairing tender harmonies with tense, urgent strings, "Forever" captures the bittersweet longing to freeze time and preserve a perfect moment with the one you love ("I wish that we could lay right here and never think about our fears forever," sings Hires). On the flipside of that starry-eyed love song is "Restless Heart," a bright and bouncy folk-pop pastiche fueled by chiming guitars and a barrage of kiss-off lyrics ("Pretty girls come from the ugliest places/You come from the worst of them all/Heartbreakers like you are hard to erase/You lift me up just so I'll fall"). "It's about a girl most of us have met, the heartbreaker who wants to get you to fall for her and then just move on to the next guy," explains Hires of "Restless Heart, an ultimately triumphant track featuring "I won't let you break my heart" as its coda. "It's sort of an anti-love-song, telling that girl 'You're not gonna get it from me,'" he adds.

Elsewhere on the album, Hires takes on weightier material while maintaining a defiantly hopeful mood. On the slow-building, piano-laced epic "I Am Not Here," for instance, he sorrowfully serenades "ex-girlfriends and kids with guns" before acknowledging that "Things are getting better/Better late than never." ("That's a searching sort of song," says Hires. "It's for anyone trying to figure out where they fit into the world.") And on "When I Was Young" ("the best song I've ever written," according to Hires), he turns a melancholy, midtempo melody into a soaring tribute to reclaiming youthful optimism and "living this life like I'm never gonna die."

For Hires, striking the balance between heady emotionalism and killer hooks stemmed in part from years of studying a diversity of songwriting styles. "When I was 16 and first started writing songs, I was mostly into bands like Dashboard Confessional and all their angsty songs about falling in love and getting your heart broken," says Hires, who learned to play music on a handmade guitar given to him by his father. "From there I moved on to the musicians who influenced the artists I loved, which is how I discovered Bob Dylan, especially his early acoustic solo work."

An ardent fan of legendary songsmiths like The Beatles, The Byrds, and Tom Petty, Hires also found inspiration in the earnest, earthy alt-rock of contemporary artists like Wilco and Coldplay. He channeled that inspiration into his first band, Brer, then struck out on his own as a solo artist—and, at age 23, released his first album for F-Stop/Atlantic Records. Shooting to the top 10 on iTunes' overall "Top Singer/Songwriters Albums" chart, Take Us To The Start instantly announced Hires as an uncommonly authentic pop-rock phenom.

It wasn't until recently that a happy accident led Hires to explore his poppier side. "About a year ago, the CD player in my car broke, so I started listening to a lot of pop radio," says Hires, who identifies himself as a newfound fan of Bruno Mars. "From there I began to incorporate some of those pop elements into my own songs, like those simple and catchy melodies."

But no matter how melodic and tuneful the tracks on the new album, Hires remains first and foremost devoted to infusing his songs with an unwavering honesty. "I always go into it thinking that I just want to write the best song that I can," he says. "I just do my best to let a song be what it wants to be, rather than try to force it into something that isn't genuine." And as he continues to hone his songwriting chops, Hires adds, upholding that genuineness becomes more and more empowering. "It's scary to tell the truth in your lyrics, to get up and sing about things that you're afraid to talk about in the day to day," he says. "But the more songs I write, the more honest I'm able to be. And as long as I do this on my own terms, I know I'll be able to keep on telling stories and making something meaningful with my music."

Culture Featuring Kenyatta Hill

Culture is reggae’s preeminent harmony group. Born in the 70′s golden age of reggae, the ever viable Culture garnered continual US and international acclaim for its long series of classic “roots” albums. Culture’s legendary “Two Sevens Clash” (Shanachie) was Reggae Album of the Year in 1977 and is acknowledged today by Rolling Stone Magazine (April 11, 2002) as #25 of the 50 all time coolest records (the only reggae album to make the list).

CultureReduced sizeCulture’s music, featuring the shining lead vocals of Joseph Hill, is solidly roots, perfectly executed and delivered with genuine emotional fervor. Joseph Hill’s devotion to the traditional Rastafarian values of purity, simplicity and justice is exemplified by Culture’s lyrical themes. Milo Miles, writing for The New York Times, named Culture as “the leading exponent of ‘conscious reggae’”. Hill’s message is clear and uplifting. His songwriting abilities are outstanding and music reviewers have lauded his achievements for two decades.
Born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and involved with music since early youth, Joseph Hill began his professional recording career in 1972 with the single “Behold the Land.” By 1976 Joseph and his cousin Albert Walker had formed a trio whose name evolved into Culture with the release of the mythic “Two Sevens Clash.” Joseph Hill performed solo under the name Culture and recorded several projects during the early eighties; he and Albert subsequently reunited and produced a long series of critically acclaimed recordings. In fact, Culture’s entire body of work (over 28 albums) can be recommended almost without exception. Noted albums such as “Nuff Crisis”, “Cumbolo,” and “Wings of a Dove” virtually define the “roots” genre.

Culture’s level of energy and creativity are consistently superlative. They have performed brilliantly to spellbound audiences at countless festivals, concerts and clubs around the US and throughout the world. Culture’s backing band provided cohesion and energy behind the sweet harmonies of Albert and Telford Nelson and Joseph’s dynamic lead vocals.
Kenyatta Hill’s career began the day his father’s ended. Joseph Hill, singer and songwriter for the legendary Jamaican vocal trio Culture, collapsed and died while on a 2006 tour of Europe. To the amazement of promoters, fans and critics alike, Kenyatta stepped onstage and delivered electrifying performances time and again – nineteen shows in all – until the tour was complete. This was unheard of in any genre of music at any time. Kenyatta gave of himself so totally – as his father had for so many years – that the two seemed to become one, the eerily similar voices and the vibes igniting the critics and yielding a new reggae mantra “magic, not tragic!”

At the Ranny Williams Center in Kingston Jamaica at the memorial concert for his father, Kenyatta’s performance with Culture was the highlight in a star studded night and garnered him the rousing support of the hard-to-please Kingston reggae audience. Kenyatta went on to front Culture in a series of performances in the US, Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina and Peru, again leaving audiences amazed and delighted.

Influenced by elements of dancehall, grounded in the roots tradition and motivated to carry on his father’s work, Kenyatta set to writing – to finish songs that Joseph had started and create new music of his own. On his poignant debut single, “Daddy,” (Tafari Records), backed by a masterful roster of musicians including Sly Dunbar and Dean Fraser, and produced by Lynford “Fatta” Marshall, he confronted the emotional pain and uncertainty he felt after the loss of his father. He cried while he wrote, just as audiences in Europe had cried while he sang.
Pass the Torch, the complete CD described as having “a collector’s item feel,” was released in 2007 to longtime Culture fans and critics who have embraced the son, named for Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime minister of Kenya. With its “very lovely and high level vibe” Kenyatta Hill’s first CD prompted one longtime Culture fan to proclaim “Culture is ALIVE.”

Indeed, Culture featuring Kenyatta Hill continues to share the wisdom of Joseph’s conscious reggae overlaid with Kenyatta’s own lively and youthful musical vision. Touring in support of Pass the Torch with a number of festival appearances continued throughout 2009, including most recently a highly successful US tours with Beres Hammond in 2009 and 2010.

2011 saw the release of “ Live On “ a highly acclaimed tribute to the music of Joseph Hill and Culture with Kenyatta performing fresh renditions of some of their classic compositions..

Adrian Younge's Venice Dawn

Adrian Younge represents the next generation of black music producers. Twelve Reasons is Younge's first project immersed in the world of rap and hip hop, and his aim is to deliver an organic re-appropriation of hip-hop circa the mid-90s. Younge's previous releases, the Black Dynamite (2009) soundtrack and Something About April (2011) touched on psychedelia, 'blaxploitation,' and the cinematic soul of the 1970s.

$60 - $150

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2014 Gasparilla Music Festival with The Flaming Lips, Trombone Shorty, RJD2, Jason Isbell, Delta Spirit, Los Amigos Invisibles, Anders O...

Saturday, March 8 · Doors 10:00 AM / Show 11:00 AM at Curtis Hixon Park