Michael Kiwanuka

With Michael Kiwanuka, it's all about the voice. A voice that he describes as "hitting straight through to the core" with direct, emotional songs about love, yearning, comfort and belonging. It's a voice that built him a following via MySpace and small London gigs, and led Paul Butler from The Bees to invite him to the band's Isle of Wight studio to lay down these introductory tracks from what promises to be a major new British singer/songwriter. Which makes it all the more strange, really, that what Michael originally set out to be was a session guitarist who maybe wrote the odd song for other people.

Growing up in North London, he struggled at times to see where he fitted in. An avid England and Spurs fan, he found it hard to imagine a day when a name like Kiwanuka could sit comfortably on the back of a football shirt here. Nonetheless, when his parents took him and his brother back to Uganda to visit family, he and his brother were immediately recognised as British tourists. Like most of his schoolmates, he liked bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, Offspring and Blur, but it was only when he discovered that Jimi Hendrix was black that he understood he had a place playing rock guitar.

Kat Edmonson’s sophomore album Way Down Low is out now. Self-released on Kat's label Spinnerette Records, the album debuted #1 onBillboard’s Heatseekers Chart and has sold over 10k albums in its first two months. Following sold-out shows at New York's Joe's Pub, Boston's Scullers Jazz Club, Edmonson has played a host of taped performances this summer including on Austin City Limits, NPR’s “World Café” and PBS’s “WoodSongs” She’s added new dates in throughout Texas including another taping at Austin City Limits with Willie Nelson, date at Colorado’seTown and The Philadelphia Art Museum. See full list of dates below.

On Way Down Low, the native Texan makes not only her songwriting debut but also co-produces the album with Danton Boller. She performs with Lyle Lovett on the title track “Long Way Home” which Entertainment Weekly calls “an airy country duet.” The album was recorded at the historic Avatar Studio and Capitol Studios with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Al Schmitt (Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke) and includes input from producer Phil Ramone (Paul Simon, Billy Joel).

The Texas native grew up in Houston with a mother who introduced her to the Great American Songbook. Determined to be a singer, she auditioned for American Idol during its second season, but soon returned from Hollywood to Austin. Back in Texas, Kat became a regular at the Elephant Room, a premier Austin club, building a following and making musical connections that energized her career. Her self- released 2009 debut album Take To the Sky hit the top 20 on Billboard’s jazz charts, adding enough juice that she found herself playing gigs with Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett. A musical kinship with Lyle led to a high-profile duet on the Christmas classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” which the pair performed together on tour as well as on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. On her tour with Lovett, Kat opened nightly, performing songs on which she’d begun writing and working. This set the stage for Way Down Low, her second record and first to include her original material.



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Michael Kiwanuka with Kat Edmonson

Wednesday, July 31 · 7:00 PM at 9:30 Club