Announcements


Babes In Toyland Announce North American Tour

posted May 26, 2015, 4:41 PM by Vu Nguyen

Babes In Toyland, the influential Minneapolis-born trio Mojo Magazine said “delivered some of the most electrifying punk rock of the ‘90s,” have set their first North American tour in nearly two decades, with dates kicking off on Aug. 27 in St. Louis.

Babes in Toyland North American tour dates:

June 21     Minneapolis, MN     Rock The Garden Festival
August 27     St. Louis, MO     The Firebird
August 28     Kansas City, MO     The Riot Room
September 1     Salt Lake City, UT      Urban Lounge
September 3     Portland, OR     Mississippi Studios
September 4     Vancouver, BC     Biltmore Cabaret
September 5     Seattle, WA     Bumbershoot Festival
September 15     Covington, KY     Madison Theatre
September 17     New York, NY     Irving Plaza
September 19     Montreal, QC     Pop Montreal International Music Festival

European tour dates:

May 26     London, UK     02 Shepherds Bush Empire
May 27     Manchester, UK     Manchester Gorilla
May 28     Glasgow, UK     Oran Mor
May 29     Barcelona, Spain     Primavera Sound Festival
June 1     Milan, Italy     Lo Fi Club
June 3     Ravenna, Italy     Beaches Brew Festival
June 6     Porto, Portugal     Primavera Sound Festival

The newly announced tour dates are on-sale this Friday, May 29.

“There’s nothing better than playing music with your friends, traveling the country and all of the experiences that come with that,” said Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero. “I’m one fortunate woman.”

The band returned in February, playing an intimate, sold out show at The Roxy in Los Angeles which Rolling Stone described as “searing” and the LA Weekly said the trio “sounded fierce as ever.”  In the months since, Babes in Toyland had offered up only one U.S. date, an eagerly awaited homecoming on June 21 at the Rock The Garden Festival in Minneapolis.  The band, who have long been a favorite of European music fans and critics, confirmed a brief European outing earlier this year, with the band overseas now, playing London tonight before heading to the Primavera Sound Festivals in Spain and Portugal.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Kat Bjelland said the first song they practiced after reforming was the beloved “He’s My Thing,” saying “We started laughing just like we did the first time we ever, ever played together. You just have like a muscle memory.  But it is weird. You’re like ‘what are my arms doing? What are my hands doing?”

“The first practice was really magical. The music was – bam! – right back,” bass player Maureen Herman explained to Rolling Stone. “We couldn’t even believe it: ‘Holy sh*t, we just f**kin’ kicked the ass out of that song!”

Babes in Toyland came to prominence in the late ‘80s with a raw live show that captured a musical and cultural moment; angry, talented and unfettered by societal norms, there were no costumes, no matching outfits and no harmonies. Babes in Toyland were as punk as their contemporaries, male or female, and made history along the way.  Releasing three full-length albums and a number of singles and EPs, the trio influenced a legion of musicians including Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and Jack-off Jill. Dangerous Minds said, “Kat’s delivery was intense and atonal, with her lyrics referencing fairytales (“Handsome and Gretel”), pain, rage, beauty, betrayal, and abusive parents, not sung with sweet, breathy, unsure vocals, but with a gut-wrenching maenad’s growl.”  They were the first of their female contemporaries to sign to a major label (Fontanelle, the band’s sophomore release, arrived in 1992 via Reprise Records) and as a byproduct of their individualism, Kat kick-started the return of baby doll dresses and plastic barrettes. Babes in Toyland graced the covers of Alternative Press, NME and the aforementioned Entertainment Weekly. They played the Reading Festival three times (1991,1993 and 1995), Lollapalooza once (1993) and have been featured in numerous documentaries including 1991: The Year Punk Broke and Not Bad for a Girl. Herman left the band in 1996; Barbero and Bjelland played the final Babes in Toyland show in 2001.

speakeasypr.com

Grammy-nominated rapper Juicy J on tour

posted May 23, 2015, 12:51 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated May 23, 2015, 12:52 PM ]

GRAMMY ®-nominated rapper JuicyJ has released a brand new video for “Already” ft. Rae Sremmurd from his mixtape Blue Dream & Lean 2 .
 
JuicyJ has just kicked off “The Hustle Continues” Tour. The 25-date tour will bring him to major markets such as Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta and more. The Academy Award Winner is touring in anticipation of his upcoming album THC: The Hustle Continues.
 
JuicyJ has been keeping busy in 2015, starting off with an appearance at the 57th Annual GRAMMY® Awards in celebration of the nomination for his 6x Platinum song with Katy Perry “Dark Horse” in the ‘Best Pop Duo/Group Performance’ category. Additionally, the song has since been recognized with a 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards nomination for ‘Favorite Song of the Year’ and 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards nomination for ‘Best Collaboration.’ JuicyJ is also currently featured on two major Top 10 singles, including Usher’s “I Don’t Mind” and Ne-Yo’s “She Knows,” and also released a new track “For Everybody” featuring Wiz Khalifa and R. City. “For Everybody” is available
 
 JUICY J TOUR DATES

May 23             San Francisco, CA     Fillmore
May 26             Seattle, WA                Showbox SoDo
May 27             Vancouver, BC          Commodore Ballroom
May 30             Denver, CO               Fillmore
June 3              Minneapolis, MN        Skyway Theatre
June 5              Indianapolis, IN          Egyptian Room
June 6              Chicago, IL                House of Blues
June 7              Detroit, MI                  St Andrews Hall
June 8              Cleveland, OH           House of Blues
June 10            Boston, MA                House of Blues
June 12            Wallingford, CT          The Dome
June 13            Philadelphia, PA         TLA
June 15            New York, NY            Irving Plaza
June 17            Washington DC         Fillmore
June 18            Raleigh, NC               The Ritz
June 19            Charlotte, NC             Fillmore
June 20            Myrtle Beach, SC       House of Blues
June 25            Atlanta, GA                Tabernacle
June 26            Orlando, FL                Venue 578
June 27            Miami Beach, FL        Fillmore
June 28            Tampa, FL                  Ritz Ybor
sonymusic.com

The Dø - Winners of Album of the Year @ French GRAMMYs

posted May 23, 2015, 12:36 PM by Vu Nguyen

Franco-Finnish duo The has announced their first U.S. tour dates in support of Shake Shook Shaken, their incredible synth-laden, electro-pop album released last month. The band, comprised of Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy, has been busy taking the international music scene by storm – they won the coveted award for “Best Album of the Year” at the French GRAMMYs (Les Victoires de la Musique), earned the title of Best Alternative Album on iTunes, graced the cover of France’s coolest music magazine Les Inrocks, and sold out shows across Europe, Australia and the UK. Now, The has their sights set on the U.S. – see below to find a show near you! All tickets go on sale on Friday, March 27th at 10 AM locally.

The ’s undeniable chemistry on Shake Shook Shaken translates seamlessly into high-energy performances. For a taste of what to expect from a live show, check out the band’s killer rendition of their single “Despair, Hangover and Ecstasy” at Les Victoires de la Musique.  

 

North American Tour Dates (Tix on-sale Friday, March 27 @ 10 AM local time):

5/28/15                Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg HiFi  

5/29/15                San Francisco, CA @ Popscene at Rickshaw Stop 

5/30/15                Seattle, WA @ Neumos 

6/1/15                   Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry 

6/2/15                   Chicago, IL @ Schubas 

6/3/15                   Detroit, MI @ Shelter 

6/5/15                   Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha 

6/6/15                   Montreal, QB @ Theatre Fairmount 

6/7/15                   Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall 

6/10/15                New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom 

6/11/15                Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle 

pressherepublicity.com

Murder by Death announces New Tour Dates

posted May 21, 2015, 2:56 PM by Vu Nguyen

Murder
By Death
recently released their fantastic new album Big Dark Love on February 3rd, via Bloodshot Records. After a lengthy U.S. tour, the band will be hitting Europe in May, and is now announcing several new dates, including a headlining slot at Chicago’s Do Division Street Fest, New Year’s Eve shows at a venue repurposed from a Western-style 1940s movie set, and a run of consecutive performances at the Stanley Hotel – the inspiration for the novel and film The Shining – in 2016.

 

All tour dates can be found below or at the band’s tour page: https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/tours-events/189

 

5/21/2015

Berlin


Germany

Badehaus Szimpla

5/22/2015

Munich


Germany

Ampere

5/23/2015

Zurich


Switzerland

Exil

5/28/2015

Milwaukee

WI

US

Turner Hall Ballroom

5/29/2015

St. Paul

MN

US

Turf Club

5/30/2015

Chicago

IL

US

Do Division Street Fest

5/31/2015

Chicago

IL

US

Subterranean

7/08/2015

Charlottesville

VA

US

The Southern

7/09/2015

Kingston

NY

US

BSP Kingston

7/10/2015

Pawtucket

RI

US

The Met

7/12/2015

Burlington

VT

US

Higher Ground

12/30/2015

Pioneertown

CA

US

Pappy and Harriet's

12/31/2015

Pioneertown

CA

US

Pappy and Harriet's

1/15/2016

Estes Park

CO

US

Stanley Hotel

1/16/2016

Estes Park

CO

US

Stanley Hotel

1/17/2016

Estes Park

CO

US

Stanley Hotel

 

 

bloodshotrecords.com

Butch Walker Launches the Autumn Leaves Project

posted May 19, 2015, 11:29 PM by Vu Nguyen

GRAMMY-nominated producer & recording artist Butch Walker has teamed up with Nashville-based non-profit organization The Nikki Mitchell Foundation to launch the Autumn Leaves Project.

The Autumn Leaves Project is a nationwide effort dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer, founded in honor of Walker’s late father, Butch Walker, Sr. The Autumn Leaves Project will work in conjunction with the Nikki Mitchell Foundation to help find a cure and offer support to individuals and their families affected by pancreatic cancer, in particular the overwhelming number of musicians and artists who are battling this disease and do not have access to proper healthcare. In addition to donations, those who want to support the Autumn Leaves Project will have the chance to purchase a special-edition t-shirt from Butch Walker on his current US tour for which part of the proceeds will benefit ALP.

“Pancreatic Cancer doesn’t give you a chance to reconcile with it, doesn’t let you make plans sometimes, or prepare for the ending it just usually sneaks up on you and gives you no warning until its too late. We need better programs for pre-screening, we need more affordable alternatives to the methods and drugs that are out there to cope once its diagnosed, and most importantly we’ve got to find a cure for it,” states Walker.

Nikki Mitchell was the longtime friend and manager of country music legend Waylon Jennings. Before her death of pancreatic cancer in 2013, she challenged the music community to shine a light on the need for research, by creating in the final weeks of her life, her vision for the foundation. Supporters of NMF include Jamey Johnson, Keith Urban, Shooter Jennings, and Jessie Colter, along with The Pen Fund, a project of NMF, founded by Suzi Cochran and Booth Calder (whose late husband/father Songwriter Hall Of Fame member, Hank Cochran also had Pancreatic Cancer).

“Nikki was larger than life and she lived everyday making those around her feel like nothing is impossible. We carry that legacy into our mission at NMF by fighting for the cure to the disease that has affected so many in and out of the music industry,” states Nikki Mitchell Foundation President, Rhonda Miles.

By partnering together, the Autumn Leaves Project and The Nikki Mitchell Foundation are putting the need for pancreatic cancer research on the map, and expanding their efforts to find a means for early detection and the ultimate cure for pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is expected to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer death by 2020. Research for the disease currently receives only 2% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget. 94% of those diagnosed do not live beyond 5 years. 

As Walker states, “It’s time for us to deal with it.”

Walker is also headlining a full North American tour that started last week and runs through mid-June including tomorrow's show at The New York Society for Ethical Culture (May 5), and three sold out dates in Los Angeles at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Walker is touring with Dallas die-hard Jonathan Tyler as well as the gorgeous harmonies of The Dove & The Wolf. A full list of dates is below.

Butch Walker released his highly anticipated seventh full-length album Afraid Of Ghosts via Dangerbird Records last month to a massive response. The album debuted at #1 on the Top New Artist chart as well as in the Billboard Top 200. Afraid of Ghosts was met with critical acclaim upon release: Esquire praised its "bright, acoustic driven tunes," Relix called it "a deeply personal, affectingly lovely album," and Billboard noted that it was "tender and lovingly constructed."    

 

TOUR DATES


05/20: Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues*
05/22: Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center*
05/23: Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre*
05/24: Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre*
05/26: Toronto, ON @ Mod Club Theatre*
05/27: Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon*
05/29: Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe @ Old National Center*
05/30: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's*
06/02: Columbia, MO @ Rose Music Hall*
06/03: St. Louis, MO @ The Duck Room @ Blueberry Hill*
06/04: Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom*
06/06: Austin, TX @ Stubbs*
06/07: Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre*
06/10: Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre*
06/12: Scottsdale, AZ @ Livewire*
06/14: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall*
06/16: Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge*
06/17: Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge*
06/19: Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge*
07/02: London, UK @ Borderline
07/03: Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
07/10: Edinburgh, UK @ Electric Circus
 
* = w/ Jonathan Tyler & The Dove & The Wolf

crushmusic.com

Other Lives on tour; Rituals out now

posted May 19, 2015, 11:21 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated May 19, 2015, 11:22 PM ]

Rituals
, the much anticipated third album from Other Lives is out now, with the band's first shows of their North American tour slated for Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Consequence of Sound said Rituals is  "[A] wild success... It's a range of aural treats, each constructed of big, bold layers arranged with careful hands." You can read what the band has to say about the album track by track in Q Magazine.

Other Lives is the work of multi-instrumentalists Jesse Tabish (piano, guitar, lead vocals), Josh Onstott (bass, keys, percussion, guitar, backing vocals), Jonathon Mooney (piano, violin, guitar, percussion, trumpet), Daniel Hart (violin, backing vocals), and Danny Reisch (drums) of Portland, Oregon, by way of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Through the years the band has become known for their mesmerizing live show and powerful atmospheric music.


Full list of tour dates available below.


 

North American Dates

 


5/21 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN 

5/22 - Metro - Chicago, IL

5/23 - The Pyramid Scheme - Grand Rapids, MI

5/25 - Lee's Palace - Toronto, ON

5/26 - Fairmont Theatre - Montreal, QC

5/27 - Brighton Music Hall - Boston, MA

5/29 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

5/30 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY

6/01 - Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC

6/02 - The Southern - Charlottesville, VA

6/03 - Haw River Ballroom - Saxapahaw, NC

6/05 - 3rd & Lindsley - Nashville, TN

6/06 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA

6/07 - Saturn - Birmingham, AL

6/10 - Fitzgerald's Downstairs - Houston, TX

6/11 - Mohawk - Austin, TX

6/12 - Club Dada - Dallas, TX

6/13 - Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa, OK

6/16 - The Crescent Ballroom - Phoenix, AZ

grandstandhq.com

Stream TORRES' New Album, Sprinter, Via NPR Music's First Listen

posted May 19, 2015, 4:23 AM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated May 19, 2015, 4:24 AM ]

TORRES, 24 year old, Georgia-bred, Brooklyn-based Mackenzie Scott, will release her sophomore album, Sprinter, next week on Partisan. Suffused with a keen awareness of Scott's place in her family and in the world, it's at times frail and quiet, and at other times rich, powerful, emotional and vicious. Following her self-titled debut in 2013, TORRES pushes herself to even noisier and more personal extremes on this record, which was recorded in Dorset, England with co-producer Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) and at the Bristol studio of Portishead’s Adrian Utley, both of whom perform on the album, alongside bassist Ian Olliver (PJ Harvey). After previously sharing three songs off the album – “Strange Hellos,” “Sprinter,” and “Cowboy Guilt”Sprinter is now available to stream in its entirety via NPR Music.  Listen below, and catch TORRES across North America beginning May 4th.

 

STREAM TORRESSPRINTER VIA NPR MUSIC’S “FIRST LISTEN” –

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/26/401257074/first-listen-torres-sprinter

 

TORRES’ TOUR DATES:

Wed. May 20 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry

Thu. May 21 - Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle @

Fri. May 22 - Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory @

Sat. May 23 - Toronto, ON @ The Garrison @

Wed. May 27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Baby's All Right @

Sun. May 31 - Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound

Tue. June 2 - Paris, FR @ Le Carmen

Wed. June 3 - Berlin, DE @ Privat Club

Thu. June 4 - London, UK @ Rough Trade East

Thu. June 25 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott

Fri. June 26 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge

Sat. June 27 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle

Sun. June 28 - Washington, D.C. @ DC9

Tue. June 30 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook

Wed. July 1 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

Thu. July 2 - Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm & Brews

Fri. Sep. 4 – Sun. Sep. 6 – Dorset, UK @ End of the Road Festival

 

* with Jenny Lewis

@ with Aero Flynn


pitchperfectpr.com

AthFest Educates Announces Outdoor Line-up for AthFest Music and Arts Festival (June 26-28) in Downtown Athens, Georgia

posted May 11, 2015, 8:53 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated May 12, 2015, 9:31 PM ]

ATHFEST EDUCATES ANNOUNCES OUTDOOR LINE-UP FOR ATHFEST MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL JUNE 26TH-28TH IN DOWNTOWN ATHENS

As excitement for the 19th annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival mounts, AthFest Educates, the organization behind the three day long celebration of Athens’ music and art scene,  released the full line-up for the free outdoor stages.

Friday, June 26

    Main stage:

5:00pm Wrenn
6:30 Sam Burchfield
7:45 New Madrid
9:00 The Whigs

     Hull Street Stage:

6:00pm Purses
7:15 Tedo Stone
8:30 Blue Blood
Saturday June 27

      Main stage:

12:00pm Drift
1:00 Walden
2:15 Athens Band
3:30 Emily Hearn
4:45 Sol Driven Train
6:00 Stokeswood
7:45 Kuroma
9:00 of Montreal

     Hull Street Stage:

12:30pm Check the Signs
1:45 The Flamethrowers Surf Band
3:00 Big C & The Velvet Delta
4:15 Halem Albright Band
5:30 Sumilan
7:00 Blacknerd Ninja
8:25 T. Hardy Morris & The Hardknocks.
Sunday June 28

    Main stage:

12:30pm  Ruby Love Jr.
1:45 The Hobohemians
3:15 John King
4:30 Ruby Velle and The Soulphonics
5:45 We Love Tractor
7:00 The Baseball Project

     Hull Street Stage:

1:15 Ken Will Morton
2:45 Houston in the Blind
4:00 Lona
5:15 Partial Cinema
6:30 Honeychild.

Friday night will also include the first ever Up Next Showcase, with performances by and for young adults, which will be on the KidsFest stage and will feature Blue Box at 6:00, Absent Mind 6:50, Benjamin Simpson 7:40, Feedback 8:30 and DJ Nowa at 9:00.

Troy Aubrey, Music Booking Chair for AthFest said, “We’ve all worked hard to curate a well-rounded sampling of acts from our ever-shifting music scene here in Athens, including everything from acts that will feature legendary Athens musicians to some of Athens’ best new artists. Whether you are into Indie rock, Americana, soul, jambands, classic alternative Athens bands, neo-folk, country, hip-hop, or many other genres of music, we’ve definitely got something for everybody this year! I personally can’t wait to see all of these great bands perform in June and to witness Athens as we continue our town’s growth locally, regionally and nationally as a respected leader in music, arts and fun!”

AthFest Music and Arts Festival is a fundraiser for AthFest Educates, a non-profit which seeks to advance high-quality music and arts education for local youth and the Athens community through direct support of school and community-based programs and events, including the annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival, which will take place June 26th to the 28th in downtown Athens.

Speedy Ortiz on tour now

posted Apr 25, 2015, 3:15 PM by Vu Nguyen

After sharing a stream of it a week early via NPR's First Listen, Speedy Ortiz has released their brand new album Foil Deer today via Carpark Records. Its release comes in conjunction with the band sharing the video for second Foil Deer single "The Graduates" via T Magazine. 

 

The remainder of the band's week won't let up any either, as their North American tour kicks off tomorrow night in Cambridge and the band will be hosting a Reddit AMA April 23rd at 3PM EST . 

 

Check out the video for "The Graduates" along with what the press has been saying about Foil Deer below and grab a copy of the album via iTunes.

 

Tour Dates

4/25/15 ­ New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *&
4/26/15 ­ Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's *&
4/28/15 ­ Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo *!
4/29/15 ­ Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop *!
4/30/15 ­ Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle *!
5/1/15 ­ Madison, WI @ The Frequency *!
5/2/15 ­ Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry *!
5/3/15 ­ Iowa City, IA @ Gabe's Oasis *!
5/4/15 ­ Champaign, IL @ Highdive *!
5/6/15 ­ Washington, DC @ Black Cat *!
5/7/15 ­ Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
5/8/15 ­ Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle ­ Back Room *
5/9/15 ­ Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
5/11/15 ­ Tampa, FL @ The Crowbar *
5/13/15 ­ New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
5/14/15 ­ Houston, TX @ Walter's Downtown $
5/15/15 ­ Austin, TX @ Red 7 $
5/16/15 ­ Dallas, TX @ Club Dada $
5/21/15 ­ Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo $
5/22/15 ­ Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room $
5/23/15 ­ Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium $
5/25/15 ­ Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios $%
5/26/15 ­ Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt $
5/27/15 ­ Seattle, WA @ Barboza $
5/29/15 ­ Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court $^
5/30/15 ­ Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge $^
5/31/15 ­ Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room $^
6/1/15 ­ Columbia, MO @ Rose Music Hall $^
6/2/15 ­ St. Louis, MO @ Firebird $^
6/4/15 ­ Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory $^
6/5/15 ­ Toronto, ON @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern $^
6/6/15 ­ Montreal, QC @ Bar Le "Ritz" P.D.B. $^
7/17/15 ­ Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival

* w/ KRILL
&w/ Mitski
! w/ Two Inch Astronaut
$ w/ Alex G
% w/ Broken Water
^ w/ Palehound
lifeordeath.co

ROBBEN FORD streams 'Breath of Me' ft ZZ Ward ahead of new album 'Into the Sun'

posted Apr 4, 2015, 11:46 PM by Vu Nguyen

Guitar virtuoso Robben Ford’s new album Into The Sun (Mascot Label Group) shines a bright light on his artful, contemporary songwriting and the stunning playing that’s made him a favorite foil of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison and other legends.

 

The five-time Grammy nominee describes the 11-song set as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done” — a staggering observation considering his extensive discography, which embraces more than 35 albums under his own name and with his various bands. There’s also Ford’s session and sideman work, which includes hundreds of concert appearances and albums by Bonnie Raitt, Barbara Streisand, Charlie Musselwhite, KISS, Ruthie Foster, Jimmy Witherspoon and Rickie Lee Jones.

 

Into the Sun, which follows last year’s critically acclaimed A Day In Nashville and 2013’s Bringing It Back Home, explores the breadth of Ford’s sophisticated, visionary writing and playing, creating a new chapter in his brilliant musical history. The album features a coterie of guests: gritty Southern rock newcomer Tyler Bryant on “Stone Cold Heaven,” Allman Brothers guitarist and Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes on “High Heels And Throwing Things,” slide guitar guru Sonny Landreth on “So Long 4 U,” Americana and blues icon Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel wizard Robert Randolph on “Justified,” and vocal sensation ZZ Ward on “Breath Of Me." Niko Bolas, whose credits include Neil Young, John Mayer and Keith Richards, engineered.

 

“The album is really upbeat,” Ford relates. “It has a positive vibe to it — a good time feel. There are a lot of different rhythms and colors and the way the instruments are used is really different on this and that track. It makes me very happy to have something so diverse.”

 

Although Ford’s recent releases have been hailed as returns to his musical roots — which go back to his discovery of blues as a teenager in the 1960s – Into The Sun is a clear departure, using tradition as a springboard to incorporate his timeless vocabulary of jazz, pop, blues and rock into a modern framework for his poetic lyrics and the most graceful, emotionally nuanced and melodic vocal performances of his career.

 

“This album is obviously of these times,” Ford says. “And the rule during the recording process was to have no lid on things. I’ve worked very hard to master my craft as a musician and a songwriter, but other than relying on my strengths in those areas, I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my collaborators brought to the music. When you’re open to different concepts and approaches, the most beautiful things can happen.”

 

All of the music and most of the lyrics from Into The Sun came directly from Ford, but he also collaborated with ZZ Ward on “Breath Of Me” and enlisted the enigmatic Kyle Swan, whose own recordings liberally mix images and styles to build articulate modernist-pop tone poems. That quality reverberates in the four songs Ford co-wrote with Swan, married to the guitar giant’s own deep commitment to narrative. “Working with Kyle was part of my desire to toss up everything and see what might happen, to get a fresh perspective,” says Ford.

 

“Justified” is a sheer gas with Keb’ Mo’ and Ford trading tongue-in-cheek vocal lines as Randolph adds soaring pedal steel punctuation over Jim Cox’s purposefully wobbly honky tonk piano.

 

Into The Sun was recorded by Bolas, a collaborator of Ford’s since his all-instrumental 1997 album Tiger Walk. “Niko is simply the best tracking engineer I’ve ever encountered,” says Ford. “He gets great sounds instantly.” All the better to capture Ford’s glorious guitar tones, this time derived from four of his go-to instruments: a pair of Gibson SG’s from 1963 and 1964, his beloved 1960 Telecaster and his Gibson B-25 acoustic. As he’s done on every album he’s made since 1983, Ford used a Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier.

 

“For me,” Ford says, “it’s all about the art. If you work hard at something you’re going to get better. I honestly think I reached a point with my writing on Into The Sun where I could just go with the flow and bring some of the best songs I’ve ever created to life.”

 

Ford already has an impressive number of shows lined up to support the album, both here in America and overseas. One of the more notable upcoming appearances will be the from August 31-September 4, 2015, at the elegantly rustic Full Moon Resort, in Big Indian, NY in the Catskill Forest Preserve (about 30 miles west of Woodstock), guitar enthusiasts and guitarists of all skill levels will get a once in a lifetime opportunity to get inside the minds and see the hands up close of Ford and other music icons at Robben Ford’s Traveling Dojo Guitar Camp.

 

In addition to his robust profile as a world-class musician, Ford is a highly sought-after educator with a series of acclaimed and groundbreaking interactive videos presented on a variety of formats including disks, downloads and mobile apps.  This Traveling Dojo Guitar Camp will include master classes, one-on-one sessions, landmark live performances with sit-in opportunities, and all-inclusive meal options and lodging accommodations.  Ford will be joined by special guest guitar virtuoso John Jorgenson; as well as Ford’s ace rhythm section (Brian Allen on bass and Wes Little on drums), who will conduct master classes on groove, time, and pocket; and Ford’s friend and trusted guitar tech, Rick Wheeler, a jazz virtuoso, will also conduct sessions on jazz guitar.  One of the most thrilling aspects of the Traveling Dojo Guitar Camp will be hearing these complimentary talents make music together.  To get more details on the camp and/or to register, visit: http://www.robbenfordguitarcamp.com/

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