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Counterculture icon and peace activist Wavy Gravy celebrated his 80th birthday last night at Mill Valley, CA’s Sweetwater Music Hall. The party featured performances from Bay-area natives ALO, Steve Kimock and Friends, and the Doobie Decibel System Duo. With Wavy Gravy (born Hugh Nanton Romney) seated at the side of the stage, each act played a full set, with ALO’s set featuring sit-ins from bassist Bobby Vega and Kimock. The guitarist joined Zach Gill, Dan Lebowitz, Steve Adams, and David Brogan on the band’s original track “Barbeque” which segued into Prince “1999” and back into “Barbeque”. As always, ALO put their own unique spin on the song and provided the party atmosphere.Jam Cruise Shares Video Of ALO’s Funky Pool Deck Performance [Pro-Shot]All proceeds from the event benefited the Seva Foundation‘s blindness prevention programs around the world. Check out ALO w/ Steve Kimock below, courtesy of bmwmunk:[via Jambase]
Putting in hard work on the road and in the studio for more than a decade, Paul Hoffman and his band, Greensky Bluegrass, have watched audience sizes and stages grow exponentially over the years. 2016 is a big year for the band and its fans, as they ready a new studio album for the fall, prepare for their first headlining show at the legendary Colorado venue Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and lay the groundwork for the next step in the evolution of the band. With a fall tour just announced and tons of festival appearances on the way, including sets at The Werk Out Festival, North Coast Music Festival, Suwannee Hulaween and more, there’s just no stopping Greensky Bluegrass!One of the biggest factors in that idiosyncratic sound is the dexterous mandolin playing and the passionate singing and song writing of Mr. Hoffman. Between his lightning fast fret work and his heart-wrenching wails of pain and effusive cries of joy, each Greensky show is an emotional roller coaster of music and mayhem. Our own Rex Thomson caught up with Hoffman, to discuss his thoughts on the state of all things Greensky Bluegrass.Read on for the exclusive!Live For Live Music: You guys have been teasing songs from a new album coming this fall. How excited are you to have new material out there?Paul Hoffman: I’m really excited to share it. I’m happy with the album and all the songs. These songs are all new this time, which is something we haven’t done before. We did start playing a couple of them…three of them total, but other than that they’re all new songs. That’s cool. We haven’t done that before.L4LM: So you held songs back and haven’t played them yet. That had to be hard for you.PH: It’s not easy. It really helps to get the record done and out there. I wanna play these songs. L4LM: How many songs would you say that you write in a year?PH: I’m not sure, really, but I am guessing not many compared to a lot of people. I haven’t really been writing a lot while we’ve been putting this new record together. There’s something about getting these songs out there…and there’s something about learning from playing songs and seeing where the tricks and the background of putting them together leads me to where the next song is coming from. Sitting on these songs has held me back in that area, if that makes any sense… L4LM: It does, but it’s possible that you personally not writing much could be a positive. Your songs are often gripping tales of emotion and woe. Should we be worried?PH: No. I’m okay. I’m very happy actually. When you talk about stories and novels and stuff like that…the general point of any good story is conflict. I look at songs in the same way.Check out “Burn Them” from Greensky Bluegrass’s epic opening day set from this year’s Summer Camp for a taste of Hoffman’s dark lyrical presence below:L4LM: Can you tell me a bit about your song-writing process? Do you set out with topic or riff in mind, or do you let whatever comes to you come?PH: That really depends. It varies all different ways. Sometimes I’ll sit down and start playing and spit out a verse, sometimes I’ll sit on that verse for awhile and think about it. Sometimes I write a bunch of stuff without music and then later when I am playing I mess around with it. Sometimes I have a specific thing to write about and I set out to write about that thing. It just really varies for me a lot. L4LM: Have you ever worried that, since you do such a great job of writing from a tortured perspective, that the band might try to depress you on purpose?PH: That is a great question! I hadn’t realized that until just nowL4LM: Will the tune you debuted on Jam Cruise be on the disc?PH: It’s called “Living Over” and yeah, it’s on there.Check out exclusive video of the song’s debut on Jam Cruise with Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins on piano, below:L4LM: The name of the new album hasn’t been revealed….any chance on an exclusive?PH: Yeah, not sure if I can disclose that or not. All our big Hollywood suits have all these big plans for us and all…L4LM: Really?PH: No, not really.L4LM: That point can’t be too far away for you and Greensky. This weekend is a huge step for you and the band, headlining the legendary venue Red Rocks for the first time. That’s quite an accomplishment. Has the reality of it hit you yet?PH: It’s a pretty awesome feeling. It’s also a pretty humbling experience…y’know? I’m stoked to play Red Rocks this weekend, but kinda scared too. Lotta pressure. There’s a lot of people coming from far away to see us play, and that pressure is real. I mean, I’m not worried about it totally…it’s a little overwhelming.Oh, and we do still play Tuesdays in dive bars. It’s not all Red Rocks now. But I am excited, and the show is almost sold out. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.L4LM: You have Leftover Salmon on the bill with you there. One would suspect you’ll have a hard time keeping Vince Herman from barging in on you during your show.PH: I would suspect there are collaborations already in the works.L4LM: Your success is so well deserved, since it seems to come straight from your hard work. You guys have averaged over 100 shows for the last ten years, right?PH: In 2005, we started touring, and by 2006 we were playing around 150 shows a year.L4LM: Well…it’s understandable that you could be a little nervous playing a milestone venue like Red Rocks as the stars of the show, but it does sound like you’ve put in the time.PH: Yeah, we definitely have a lot of experience hours. And even though this is our first headlining show, this is the fourth time we’ve played Red Rocks. The first time was hard…it’s just so big and so powerful. It means so much to so many people it can just consume you. Luckily, having done it three times, I hope to be slightly more prepared. As prepared as you can be for something like that. Something as amazing as playing there.L4LM: You mentioned people coming from far away for the show. You have an amazingly dedicated fan base across the country and a crazy fan page online. Have you ever checked out the Camp Greensky page or keep tabs on your fan groups?PH: I’m familiar with stuff that goes on in there. Sometimes I even share things in there that we want folks to know about. They’re a good bunch, our fans, our friends…it’s a family. L4LM: So is there an official name for your fans?PH: We used to joke around about Camp Greensky, and it seems like that is sticking. It’s what we called a group of our friends at a show in ’04 or ’05 and it’s just been kinda adopted. L4LM: Greensky has some fun festival slots coming up in the second half of the year, including the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago. How did you end up on that varied line up?PH: Hey hey! We’re stoked to be playing with Umphrey’s McGee! Playing in Chicago is always a blast, for all our Chicago crew. And we’re playing for our friend Michael Berg of Silver Wrapper Productions. We’re always happy to play for him anywhere. I would carry him through the desert.L4LM: I’ve talked with bands who point to headlining Red Rocks as a milestone in their careers. Where do you want to go from here?PH: I’m excited about the record, obviously. There’s plenty of awesome venues we haven’t played yet. The Greek. I’d love to play The Greek. There’s festivals we haven’t played yet. Love to play The Gorge…that one is on my mind from seeing everybody’s Phish pictures…That would be sweet.I really just want to keep bringing people joy. I want to continue the growth path we’ve been on. We haven’t been an overnight success but there’s been enough growth to keep us happy and secure, and to give us a chance to get better at what we do. We’re comfortable and we’re happy and more of that is really all I could hope for. L4LM: You play a intensive instrument, the mandolin. You have to regularly serve the rhythm and switch to picking leads, all while singing! Do you ever get the feeling you’re working too hard?L4LM: No, I’m not working at all. Hardly workin’ really. I like to joke about it…I call it “the Office” when I go to the show. It puts it into perspective for me.L4LM: Greensky has a fun little transitional song that has evolved from a joke into a really fun part of the show. It’s a call and response bit between you and Anders Beck called “Fo Sho, Uh Huh.” Do you guys have any sort of plan what you’re going to talk about, or is it just a free-for-all?PH: It’s just whatever he wants to ask me, and it’s also never on the set list…it’s just something we play sometimes. It started as a joke. The questions came spontaneously one night when we were playing something else…the music came out of a sound check jam. But you know…it’s nice to break up a set that can be pretty serious with a bit of silly. It’s nice when we can remind people we’re a bit silly…when so much of what we do is heavy. Dark, even.Here’s a fun version of “Fo Sho, Uh Huh” with Keller Williams from this Summer Camp earlier this year:L4LM: What is it about musicians and Reno? Johnny Cash shot a guy to watch him due and apparently if your song “Jaywalking” is to be believed someone is looking for ya? Is it just a country-bluegrass thing or what?PH: I think it’s more a Reno thing. It’s just out there in the middle of the desert. We never really specified WHAT part of Reno was on our trail. I mean…if you put your mind to the kinda possibilities that could be there…but I think there’s just something about all that gambling in the desert without any of the glory or prestige of Vegas. I guess it’s easy for people to get in trouble in Reno…Check out their tune “Jaywalking” below:L4LM: Say no more. Well, thanks for taking a few minutes out of your Red Rocks prep to chat with us! Have a great show, and good luck with everything!PH: Thanks, I appreciate it.
Keller Williams has been on a roll with his newest creation, KWahtro. After years performing primarily as a solo artist, Williams has built up a reputation as one of the most versatile musicians in the business. By teaming with Gibb Droll, Rodney Holmes and Danton Boller, Keller’s new four-piece has been taking the country by storm.Last week, on November 3rd, Keller brought the KWahtro to Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, CA, performing a hits-filled show with classics, covers and more. Thanks to Brandon Weil, we have photos and a video from this great night of music!Watch a clip of Grateful Dead’s “Eyes Of The World” streaming below.Keller continues to tour with KWahtro and more throughout the fall, and just announced an exciting winter tour with the great Leo Kottke. Read more about that here, and see the full gallery from Hermosa Beach below. Load remaining images
Load remaining images Michael Franti & Spearhead performed a sold-out show at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday night. The evening also served as a very special occasion for the Do It For The Love Foundation,. Do It For The Love is a wish-granting nonprofit organization that brings people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges, and wounded veterans to live music concerts. The foundation was started by Franti and his wife, whose experience as a Registered Nurse bridges the couple’s passion with expertise. Tuesday night’s show doubled as an awareness gathering and celebration of their 1000th recipient, with the first-ever recipient from the foundation (who has ALS and was too sick to attend the concert) thanking everyone for their amazing work. It was a complete family affair, and you could clearly see Franti’s wife and son enjoyed the celebration as well. The emotional event also included Zac Brown Band percussionist Daniel de los Reyes for the entire show, which helped the musical experience reach new heights.Photographer Emily Butler was on-site to capture the special evening. Enjoy her photos below:
Gregg Allman’s posthumous final album, Southern Blood, will be released Friday, September 7th, and those who purchase the album’s deluxe package and first run of the vinyl will receive a very significant portrait print of Gregg. Before his death earlier this year, Allman and his daughter, Layla Brooklyn, commissioned an odd painting from lauded surrealist painter Vincent Castiglia.Gregg Allman Delivers Emotional Farewell On ‘Southern Blood’According to Yahoo Music, in a deal conceived by Brooklyn and sealed on December 24th, 2015, Gregg Allman, recruited Castiglia to paint a portrait of him–using his blood, and the blood of his children, as the paint–as album art for his latest album, Southern Blood. Castiglia quickly agreed, unaware that Allman would pass away before the painting was completed. Notes Castiglia, “This is the single most important work I’ve ever painted, for two of the loveliest people I’ve had the opportunity to connect with in this life.”Brooklyn described the process behind Southern Blood (both the album a the painting) after hearing that Castiglia had painted a portrait with his own blood: “A few years ago, I invited him to the studio when my metal band was tracking sessions for a record that I didn’t end up releasing. Upon listening to the early stages of my father’s Muscle Shoals sessions, I knew [the blood portrait concept] was a perfect visual representation for what would be my father’s last body of work on many levels.Gregg Allman’s Farewell Album Is Now Available For Stream“I suggested to my father he send Vincent vials of his own blood to save for his yet-to-be titled record. He did it, and nearly a year later, the title Southern Blood popped into my head to tie it all together. The story, the music, the painting and my dad’s fight to keep playing music when he became ill represent his dedication, passion and contribution, not only in metaphorically giving his blood to the fans for decades, but literally.”You can watch a time-lapse video of the creation of the painting here. [h/t – Yahoo Music]
The Wood Brothers released their sixth studio album, One Drop Of Truth, on February 2nd via Honey Jar/Thirty Tigers. Buzz around the trio’s latest effort started growing following the release of the album’s lead single, “River Take The Town”, back in November of 2017. Today, brothers Oliver and Chris Wood and Jano Rix keep their new album’s momentum building with the release of the second single off of One Drop Of Truth, “Happiness Jones”, and the song’s subsequent music video.Premiered on Rolling Stone, “Happiness Jones” features The Wood Brothers’ traditional rollicking, upbeat, and nostalgic Americana sound. However, the song and the music video both rely on contrasts—with the lyrics undermining the song’s happy-go-lucky melody and the black-and-white music video directed by Daniel Long further pushing these binaries. The best moments of the music video for The Wood Brothers’ “Happiness Jones” are found as Chris Wood shows off his beloved dance skills, which seem particularly exuberant with their juxtaposition against Oliver Wood’s stoic presence.As Chris Wood told Rolling Stone, “Someone suggested I do some ‘interpretive dancing’ for the video, along the lines of the little improvised dance I do for the live show.” He continued, “I enjoy moving to music so we tried to capture that in the video.” You can watch the video below:The Wood Brothers – “Happiness Jones” [Official Video][Video: The Wood Brothers]You can listen to The Wood Brothers’ One Drop of Truth in full below via Spotify:The Wood Brothers – One Drop of Truth – Full Album The Wood Brothers – One Drop Of Truth – Tracklisting1.River Takes the Town2. Happiness Jones3. Laughin’ or Crying4. Strange as it Seems5. Sky High6. Seasick Emotions7. This Is It8. Sparkling Wine10. Can’t Look AwayView ‘One Drop of Truth’ Tracklisting
Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar were the big winners at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, with Mars taking home six statues and Lamar earning five awards. While their victories didn’t come as that big of a shock, there were a few first-time winners that caught our eye.Festival favorites The Infamous Stringdusters picked up their first Grammy last night when their 2017 release Laws of Gravity was named Best Bluegrass Album. Founded in 2007, the band—Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (upright bass)—has put out eight studio albums and recently announced the launch of their new record label. “Cannot thank you all enough for being along for this ride!,” The Infamous Stringdusters said in a statement. “Winning this award was made even better by sharing the honor with Rhonda Vincent.” (In a rare tie, Vincent’s’ All The Rage – In Concert Volume One also won a Best Bluegrass Album award). After a handful of past nominations, LCD Soundsystem earned their first-ever Grammy for their 2017 single “Tonite”, which took home Best Dance Recording. Their comeback album American Dreams was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, though it lost to The National‘s Sleep Well Beast.Interestingly, electronic music legends Kraftwerk earned their first in-competition Grammy at last night’s show, despite having already been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The pioneering German outfit beat out a much younger field to win Best Electronic/Dance Album for their 2017 release 3-D The Catalogue, a record that was borne out of a retrospective project the band showcased at museums and music venues.In a less surprising move, the winners in the blues categories were decidedly on the older side as well. Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ picked up Best Contemporary Blues Album for their collaborative release TajMo, while rock icons The Rolling Stones won Best Traditional Blues Album for Blue & Lonesome, their first studio release in 11 years.Portugal. The Man beat out rising pop stars The Chainsmokers and Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee to win their first Grammy, an award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their single “Feel It Still”. Evidently, the group didn’t take the honor very seriously, as their acceptance speech saw frontman John Gourley pretend to wipe his butt with the trophy while bassist Zach Carothers declared “Hail Satan!”.Other winners at last night’s ceremony included John McLaughlin (Best Improvised Jazz Solo), Alabama Shakes (Best American Roots Performance), Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song), The War on Drugs (Best Rock Album), and many more. You can check out the full list of winners here.
Do you have anything pressing you’ve been meaning to ask former Grateful Dead backing vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux? Well, you’re in luck! Godchaux will field questions from fans as part of a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on Friday, March 30th. The Q&A will take place from 7pm to 9pm ET on the Grateful Dead “subreddit” page.Godchaux and her husband, keyboardist Keith Godchaux, were members of the Grateful Dead from 1972 to 1979. Keith passed away in a car accident not long after their departure from the band, and Donna went on to record with a number of other projects—such as the Heart of Gold Band—in the ensuing years Prior to her time with the Grateful Dead, Donna worked as a session singer at some of Muscle Shoals, AL’s most respected studios, where she contributed vocals to classics like Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” and Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds”. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 as a member of the Grateful Dead. In 2016, Godchaux performed with Grateful Dead spin-off Dead & Company during a few shows, including shows at Boston’s Fenway Park and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.Fans that would like to ask Godchaux a question or two will need to create an account on Reddit. You can find out how to do that here.Watch Donna Jean Godchaux’s AMA announcement video below:[Video: C Melmel]
There are few bands currently touring that combine elements of jazz, blues, southern rock, and good ol’ Americana as effortlessly and beautifully as The Wood Brothers. With Oliver Wood’s pseudo-southern roots and bassist brother Chris Wood’s extensive free jazz experience in Medeski, Martin, and Wood, the group is undeniably one of the most raw, heartfelt, and genuine bands on the live music circuit today.Following a heavy, folky, punk-laced opening set from Indiana rockers (and Stanley Hotel legends), Murder By Death, the brothers took the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, joined by their other third, multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. The sun began to set on an unseasonably warm Friday night, and with a quiet hello and little fanfare, Oliver broke into the certifiable classic, “Postcards from Hell,” off of their 2008 release, Loaded. The song seems to be one of Oliver’s favorites, and tells the story of a man with a deep passion for the blues and for music. It’s not the first time the band has played this song at Red Rocks, yet it seems to strike a new chord each and every go around. In our current, rather unstable political climate, the song seems to speak to our beliefs and our commitments, serving as the perfect opening tune. The trio followed with “Tried and Tempted” off their debut album Ways Not to Lose. The stripped-down, bass-led groove got the crowd moving, and the band quickly slipped into another rocker, “This Is It,” from their latest release, One Drop of Truth.The group kept chugging along, playing the fan-favorite “Keep Me Around” off of 2013’s The Muse back-to-back with the classic “Mary Anna.” The chorus of “Mary Anna” featured a new, slightly faster, funkier arrangement that seemed to derive itself from many of the groovier, keyboard-led songs on One Drop of Truth. Perfectly transitioning into said new material, “Sparkling Wine” and the title track, “One Drop of Truth” came next, both keeping the crowd on their feet. Determined to keep the energy up, the brothers pulled out “Snake Eyes” from their 2015 album featuring Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Paradise. Oliver’s rhythmic strumming and Jano’s steady beat allowed the song to really open up, and giving Chris a chance to dance around with his bass, both musically and literally. Following “Snake Eyes,” they continued to criss-cross their catalog, playing “Loaded,” “Shoo Fly Pie,” “Happiness Jones,” and “That’s Where My Baby Might Be.”Near the end of the set, Oliver took a moment to point out that he saw “a show at Red Rocks” as a 19-year-old kid from Boulder, Colorado. He noted, “I didn’t really realize how important it was at the time,” or something along those lines. The band then dropped into a blistering, original rendition of the late Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me.” Bearing an eerie resemblance to Petty, Oliver played the part perfectly, both vocally and musically, mentioning afterward, “oh yeah, it was Tom Petty!” Following the tribute to a guy who has to be one of Wood’s southern heroes, the band wrapped up the set with a sing-along take on their hit single, “Luckiest Man” before ending the night with “Honey Jar.”Not to be forgotten, The Wood Brothers were followed by California’s own The Devil Makes Three. Playing their own pioneering blend of bluegrass, folk, gypsy jazz, and Appalachian hick-pop, the band played to an absolutely ecstatic crowd that was eager to see them after too much time away. Playing a set heavy with tunes off of their eponymous album, “All Hail” and a spacey, feedback-laden “Chained to the Couch” came early in the set. “Hallelu,” “Graveyard,” and the quintessential “Old No. 7” closed out the evening, leaving the fans with little left to desire.Generally, early season Red Rocks shows can always be hit or miss with the weather and the music, but Friday night proved to be an absolute barnburner. With an incredible summer calendar ahead, it’s looking to be another divine summer at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.Setlist: The Wood Brothers | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 5/25/18Postcards From Hell, Tried and Tempted, This Is It, Keep Me Around, Mary Anna, Sparkling Wine, One Drop of Truth, Snake Eyes, Loaded, Shoo Fly Pie, Happiness Jones, That’s Where My Baby Might Be, You Wreck Me*, Luckiest Man, Honey Jar* – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers cover Photo: Chris Klein The Wood Brothers, The Devil Makes Three | Red Rocks | Morrison, CO| 5/28/18 | Photos: Chris Klein Load remaining images