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13 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about Montreal's Valleys consists of Matilda Perks, Marc St Louis and Pascal Oliver. In 2008 they released their first official LP entitled Sometimes Water Kills People. It was well received and the band toured the U.S. and Canada. They continue to make their unique brand of haunting, cinematic and avant-rock desert music on their latest digital release Stoner EP (2010, Semprini).
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172 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about Longstanding Duluth, MN trio Low will release their latest full-length record, C’mon, on April 12th, 2011. C’mon was recorded in an old church in Duluth and mixed in Hollywood with producer Matt Beckley working alongside the band. Singer Alan Sparhawk describes C’mon simply as “Warm, pretty, large like Nashville without the country. Mim and I are talking to each other in the lyrics, sometimes it's not pretty, but it's as honest as love.” Low’s music recently reached a new audience via a rather unmistakable voice. On his 2010 solo album Band of Joy, Robert Plant covered two Low songs from their 2005 release The Great Destroyer garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for his interpretation of "Silver Rider." On March 16th, during this year’s South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX, Low will perform an intimate and undoubtedly memorable show at St. David’s Sanctuary which will serve as the first of a 28-date world tour in support of the new album.
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68 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about Hey Rosetta! hails from the rocky and cold northeastern province of Newfoundland, Canada. In 2005, Tim Baker arrived home from a road trip with a suitcase full of poems and melodies. Hey Rosetta! was formed soon after with the addition of a string section (cellist Romesh Thavanathan and violinist Kinley Dowling) and rhythm section (bassist Josh Ward, drummer Phil Maloney and guitarist Adam Hogan). Since then, they’ve blossomed into a powerful group whose explosive live shows have earned them a devoted following.
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125 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about FENCES www.sadcastle.com Christopher Mansfield is Fences. Don't let the brevity of that sentence deceive you; it contains universes. Fences is not merely the recording alias of the Seattle songwriter. It is the distillation of Mansfield's entire aesthetic. "I've tried to take everything in the world that I love, and turn it into this thing that's Fences," says the straightforward 27-year-old. Fences starts with Mansfield's life experience to date, and ends… well, when he says so. Hopefully not for a long time. Because right now, Fences is just coming into its own, with the release of a stunning debut album, entitled, naturally, Fences. The ten-song set was co-produced by Sara Quin of Tegan & Sara, who Mansfield credits not only with helping him sculpt the most fully realized expression of his music to date, but also giving him impetus to forge ahead before they'd ever collaborated artistically. "I was just working as a breakfast cook, spending my money at the bar, and playing songs with my friends in my kitchen. It was no big deal. And then when she contacted me, I remember thinking, Whoa! My life might be a little different from now on." Not to exaggerate the impact of her interest—this isn't The Blind Side, folks—but encouragement from an established recording artist went a long way towards making Mansfield take his music more seriously. "Everything that Chris writes, melodically and lyrically, has that rare balance of patience and urgency that I love in honest, haunting pop songs," says Quin. And she did her homework before arriving at that laudatory conclusion. Prior to recording Fences, Quin requested that Mansfield send her everything he'd written to date. From those forty selections, they winnowed the choices down. "Both of us wanted to capture the most potent Fences, the thing that sums it up as a whole, song-wise—especially since this was a debut." Fences is the culmination of Mansfield's songwriting to date, stretching back to the project's inception in the Boston area circa 2004, and continuing right up to songs written shortly before recording. "Hands," carried by hypnotic finger picking and a gauzy vocal performance, is among the oldest selections in Mansfield's catalog, while "From Russia With…" and "Sadie"—a standout that stakes out the treacherous terrain between emo and Americana with quiet confidence—are newly minted. Longtime fans will find polished renditions of concert favorites "The Same Tattoos" and the musical dialogue "My Girl The Horse," the latter's haunting refrain "neither one of us will make it down this hill alive" lingering long after the fade. Mansfield jokes that he traffics in "wussy pop music," and his full-band live performances are more upbeat than novices might anticipate, but as Fences attests, beneath his sing-along hooks and charismatic performances are songs with a steel core. Fences summarizes Mansfield's music in succinct, compelling fashion—no simple feat, considering that his sound doesn't fit neatly in any single box. He speaks with audible affection of '80s innovators like the Cure, Kate Bush, and Morrissey, icons who created a consummate, all-encompassing aesthetic, just as he aspires to do with Fences. A close listen to the rhythm tracks on several cuts also underscores Mansfield's love of down-tempo classic country. An anthology of Johnny Cash's Sun Records sides was one of his constant soundtracks while working as a dishwasher. "The tempo of that material just has a unrelenting drive," he reflects. "It carries the lyrics from start to finish before you even realize what has been said." Further enriching his sound, Mansfield also has a powerful affinity for jazz, citing John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wayne Shorter among his favorites. "Sometimes that music is just so chaotic, which is what growing up feels like," he observes. "I always wondered why more confused teenagers didn't listen to jazz. The girl you're in love with doesn't love you back? Go home and put on Charlie Parker playing 'Embraceable You.'" Later he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Sometimes Mansfield's jazz background is reflected in something as simple as augmenting a minor chord with a major seventh, but Berklee also sold him on the value of commitment and discipline. Hence Mansfield's laser-like focus on achieving his goals. "I appreciate the workmanship, the dedication required to get the art to where it should be." Like the aforementioned Morrissey, Mansfield's involvement in Fences extends well beyond the music, to the accompanying record sleeves, promotional photos, and videos. The cover of his self-released 2008 Ultimate Puke EP may have seemed better suited to a sludge or speed metal band, with it's well-executed cartoon of a grizzly bear regurgitating a half-digested Fences logo, but Mansfield commissioned that imagery for specific reasons: "That EP was a mix of all these demos and shit on my computer," literally purged from his hard drive. Plus he wanted a sleeve that eschewed the obvious visual vocabulary a comparable artist might've chosen. "You wouldn't expect that kind of art to accompany this sort of music, you'd expect maybe a cute little bird on the cover." On the other hand, for the more thoughtful Fences, he chose a personal talisman, a found photograph (of a young girl covered in Christmas tinsel) he'd long used as a bookmark. "I wanted this album to look slightly mature and beautiful, but you still can't categorize exactly what that might be. If you just saw that art, you wouldn't really know what the music sounds like." But you would definitely be intrigued, and your curiosity would be rewarded. Or watch the video for "Girls With Accents." Despite a lyric that has been misconstrued out of context, Mansfield navigates a confusing landscape—labyrinthine houseplants, kitchen chairs stacked to the rafters, and the layered look taken to ridiculous extremes—while feeding his dog, putting away the dishes. In the clip's maelstrom of seeming insanity, he stays centered… just as his music feels rooted on terra firma no matter how unpleasant or odd the circumstances that inspired it, or how noisy the buzz surrounding it continues to grow. Chris Mansfield is Fences. And Fences is just the first taste of great things to come.
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Jessica Lea Mayfield
174 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Jessica Lea Mayfield
event::about The 21-year old from Kent, Ohio first performed with her family band One Way Rider at the age of 8. At age 15, she recorded her first album White Lies in her brother's bedroom, printing only 100 copies. One of those copies fell into the hands of Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys). After an introduction, Mayfield and Auerbach hit the studio, laying the foundation for her debut album "With Blasphemy So Heartfelt." Says Auerbach of the recording experience, 'I think she's dark and moody in a mysterious way.' He adds, 'I'm just always really excited to make music with her.' "Tell Me," Jessica's 2011 Nonesuch Records debut, is a stunningly forthright 11-song set that addresses late-night longing, serial heartbreak, and intoxicatingly dangerous liaisons conducted in dimly lit barrooms or roadside motels. By the end, the only heart intact is Mayfield's own. It's as if she'd stripped the sentimentality and ruefulness from a bunch of classic country songs, leaving only stark emotion. Auerbach also produced and engineered "Tell Me" at his Easy Eye Sound System studio in Akron, Ohio, matching Mayfield's candor with eerily minimal, brilliantly constructed tracks that keep her mesmerizing, unadorned voice front and center. The New York Times hailed the album a Critics' Pick, while the Associated Press calls "Tell Me" 'the portrait of a precocious girl growing into self-assured womanhood and a producer reaching the peak of his powers. It is a dark and moody album, full of delights throughout, and if it doesn't make Mayfield a star, that too will be heartbreaking.'
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56 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Lia Ices
event::about True to the ever-present dichotomies that serve as a source of inspiration for her, Lia Ices' emotionally driven and experimental pop music is both avant-garde and timeless. A natural yet refined grace permeates her work: she is a piano herself. Dancing on a finely crafted line between the percussive qualities of her instrument, and the melodic elements within the rhythm of her voice, Ices' music reveals itself as epiphany. With such overt elegance as if from a bygone era, listening to her songs inspires a psychic time slip, and its hard to know if you're wading in the warmest of memories or awed by the invention and glow of new surroundings. The album starts with an inviting whisper on stand-out track "Love is Won", as Ices' vocals "Oh you know I need your mystic mind" are accompanied by solo piano. Less than a minute in, we start to catch a glimpse at the depths of the record as we find ourselves, all of a sudden, in the midst of a swaying, swaggering down tempo soul, punctuated by bass and drum interplay. The quiet moments are very quiet, and the space within them is palpable. On "Lilac," a single voice occupies the intimate yet expansive space generated by sparse acoustic guitar and bass. Such a delicate balance is struck that when slight brushwork enters, its impact is surprisingly startling. The warm directness is perhaps best exemplified in a moment of stand out vocals as Ices sings beseechingly, "For only you, I sing for only you, I sing." Ices' voice floats and flutters around you, like the leaves from trees on a fleeting fall day, and the instrumentation matches that subtle dynamism. Grown Unknown is a walk in the park on a day of carnival, the most beautiful day so far this year. Appearing as a guest vocalist for "Daphne," the only duet on the album, is Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The magic generated by Ices' and Vernon's voices together is quite simply a powerful thing. Enjoy. Grown Unknown was recorded at The Clubhouse, Rhinebeck, NY, and mixed at Rare Book Room, NY, NY.
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8 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Bhi Bhiman
event::about "Pronounced "Bee Bee-men," this first-generation Sri Lankan American musician is pretty sure there's no one else in the world with his name. Even if there is, chances are no other Bhi Bhiman could write a song as cool and catchy as the Bay Area's Bhi Bhiman can.” -The San Francisco Chronicle Bhiman is currently working on his sophomore album with producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Langhorne Slim, etc). Recording just wrapped at Kassirer's studio in Parsonsfield, Maine--a house built in 1790 known as The Great North Sound Society. The album, likely to be self-titled, should be out in April of 2011.
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The Chapin Sisters
33 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists The Chapin Sisters
event::about THE CHAPIN SISTERS (a short bio) Abigail and Lily Chapin are singing, songwriting sisters who have been performing under the name The Chapin Sisters since 2004. They are knows for pristine harmonies and haunting melodies that have gained comparisons to sister acts of old and Appalachian family groups, yet their songs and arrangements have a very contemporary aspect, with elements of pop, blues and psychedelic rock. Their first full-length record Lake Bottom LP was a collaboration with their other sister, Jessica Craven, who is now taking a leave of absence to spend time with her new baby. Produced by Thom Monahan (Lily’s, Devendra Bandhart, Vetiver) and Mike Daily (Whiskeytown, Grace Potter), the record was critically acclaimed and was named one of LA Weekly’s Top Ten Records of 2008. Abigail and Lily and co-producers Jesse Lee (Gang Gang Dance) and Louie Stephens (Rooney) retreated to an old family farm in rural New Jersey where they put together a studio and recorded Two. This record incorporates lush keyboards, layered percussion, electric guitars and warm, rich vocal tones, in addition to the staple acoustic guitar and three part-harmonies that the sisters are already known for. Two will be released in the US & Canada on September 14th via their own label, Lake Bottom Records (Thirty Tigers/RED). This year, The Chapin Sisters have been busy touring as part of She & Him’s band and opening many of their shows. They have also begun headlining their own club shows. “There’s a sinsister tenderness to this L.A. duo’s sad, soft, gorgeous folk.” - Jonathan Durbin/Paper 7/10
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164 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Josh Ritter
event::about " he sets out to carry a world of ideas on a few basic chords .there is no limit to the depth and ambition of his songs." The New York Times 'If you love music and have a device on which to play it, you should listen to Josh Ritter ' - Mary-Louise Parker in Esquire Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. The son of two neuroscientists, he was on his way to follow in their footsteps when he discovered Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" in high school. He has since released five studio albums and has been recently named one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine, alongside Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young. Joan Baez has covered one of his songs; Stephen King named one of Ritter's albums the best of recent years and David Letterman has requested him twice, so far. His new album, So Runs the World Away, is ambitious and literary. It was released on May 4th, 2010 by Pytheas Recordings, a label recently started by Ritter and his longtime publicity partner, Sacks & Co., with Redeye Distribution. His first novel, "Bright's Passage," will be published by Random House / Dial Press on June 28th, 2011.
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14 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Amy Speace
event::about Amy Speace is a singer-songwriter who recently moved to Nashville after having been based in New York City since the start of her music career in 2001. She was discovered by Judy Collins and signed to her Wildflower Records label, where she recorded two albums. Amy's "Weight Of The World" was recently named one of the top five folk songs of the last decade by WFUV's John Platt. NPR.com says the she "recalls an early Lucinda Williams," and USAToday says, "Speace is a rising star." Her new album Land Like A Bird will be coming out on March 29 on Thirty Tigers. It was produced by Neilson Hubbard and features Kim Richey on background vocals. Amy will also be seen in the upcoming documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story.
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36 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Ben Sollee
event::about Ben Sollee wants you to experience all the beauty and banality that life has to offer. It's a serious request, and his enthusiasm is genuine. Armed with a cello, Sollee is canvassing the country, sometimes by bicycle, imploring folks to rediscover the connections between music, art, film, dance, their community, and personal relationships. These factors ultimately translate to the mindset and making of Ben's new project Inclusions. Beyond bridging genres and demographics with earnest, dynamic songwriting and passionate performances, Ben Sollee seeks to intertwine his music with art and life. The theme of Inclusions is large, humanistic and universal how relationships influence us all whether intentional or not. The classically trained pop cellist recognized his community and relationships in every facet of Inclusions. Collaborating with local visual artist Phillip March Jones, the album art for Inclusions brings a visual reference to the allegory of the album. Ben's newfound rhythmic intensity comes courtesy of a compositional backbone provided by his old friend and tour confidant, Jordon Ellis. Listeners are also treated to the voice of Cheyenne Marie Mize, who threads soaring harmonies throughout, as well as songwriting for 'I Need.' 'I love this record,' Ben admits. 'I love it for all of its meanings, explicit and incidental. I love the people I got to work with and the sound they helped create. I love how challenging it was to excavate some of the musical ideas and how others washed up in conversation. In these songs, I can hear the city I grew up in and the people that lived down the street.' Ben Sollee first emerged with his inviting 2008-debut Learning to Bend. Saturated with sweeping moods and visceral maturity, Learning to Bend showcased a wild mixture of musical approaches that Ben describes as 'classically influenced folk with leanings of R&B and soul.' The album caught the ear of NPR's Morning Edition, which heralded Sollee as one of the 'Top Ten Great Unknown Artists of 2007.' While people were getting their first listen of Learning to Bend, Ben was out touring with banjo player and songstress Abigail Washburn as part of the Sparrow Quartet. The ensemble, also featuring Grammy-nominated fiddler Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winning banjoist Bela Fleck, explored the congregation of eastern and western folk music. The critically acclaimed ensemble toured throughout the world, including a US Ambassadorial tour of Tibet. In 2010, Ben collaborated with fellow Kentuckians Daniel Martin Moore and My Morning Jacket front-man Yim Yames on the Sub Pop released Dear Companion. The album explored Ben's desire to use musical encounters as a catalyst to inspire environmental stewardship. Additionally, Ben works with regional non-profits like Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to help preserve a cornerstone and major influence of his songwriting his ancestral Appalachia. This past summer, Ben teamed with his Dear Companion collaborators for the Appalachian Voices tour an eight-date tour to raise awareness about the destruction caused by mountain top removal coal mining in central Appalachia. 'I never expect to see that cello in one piece after Ben gets done playing it,' says Yim Yames. 'He bows and beats and works it over with a passionate fury rarely seen. Don't get me wrong he can play it and hold his own with the most schooled and delicate scholars out there, but more importantly, Ben makes it live.' He continues, 'Ben's songs speak worldly wisdom and stand on their own, and he is out there in this world with those songs and that cello and that god-given voice of his, riding his bike and fighting the good fight and doing all he can to help make the world right.' Later in 2010, Ben embarked on the 'Ditch The Van Tour.' Ben and his band abandoned the comforts of a motorized vehicle and hauled their gear and instruments (yep, the cello too) across the country on bicycles. Ben's mission was to engage a greater sense of community involvement at every performance. By huffing it on two-wheels between cities, instead of driving or flying, Ben and his crew were able to discover people and facets of our country in ways that traditional touring could not allow. 'It's not about being green or even sustainable we want to exploit the limitations of the bicycle to slow down and experience the rich communities and people that I've spent years flying-by and driving past.' Ben Sollee is not satisfied with just being a musician. It is absolutely paramount to him to incorporate collaborations, regardless of age or credentials, in his personal and professional life. 'I'm such a mutt myself, biologically and socially, that it just makes sense to express that as my pedigree. In the end, that's what folk music is all about; each of us telling our own story.'
to 8:00 PM
10 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Erin McLaughlin
event::about Im Erin McLaughlin, I sing and write songs and I live in Southern California. Sometimes I feel like Ive lived at least two lives, I say that mostly because of the experiences Ive had. I used to travel a lot, and by that I mean, after high school I moved out of my folks and never stayed in one place for more than a few months for nearly 6 years. I got to see a lot of the world, which was nice. Along the way I would play other peoples guitars and sing other peoples songs because thats what you do when youre a gypsy. Finally I moved home to go to school. I bought my own guitar at that point and wrote a couple of songs. But then, in 2007 my little brother died. He was 16. He took his own life. Its not enough to say that I was ruined. I've had to rebuild so much of my world, the views I held and the things I've wanted for my life. Music helped me process a lot of that information. Naturally, I wrote more songs. Some of them are sad. Some are not as. My friends helped me make an EP- it's called Something Like a Miracle. Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek/ Fiction Family) played the guitar. I also got the rest of Fiction Familys rhythm section to play on it. It sounds pretty good. I'm writing new songs now too. Benmont Tench said my new stuff sounds the best. I was encouraged by that, that's why I mention it. I play shows, and I thrive on the energy exchanged between myself and the listener. In San Diego I play at Lestats and sometimes the HOB. In LA I play at the Hotel Cafe, where recently I opened for the Secret Sisters- those girls are some real sweethearts. In March I get to play SXSW for the first time. I just can't tell you how excited that makes me. One day Id like to go on the road with Ryan Adams, maybe have him sing harmony on a song and share a mic. What a thrill that would be. People seem to get attached to me when I play live. They believe in me I think. I take it as a compliment. Im not a big deal. But I'm not sayin I wouldn't like to be. I really just want to tour and make great records, have a date at the Opry and have my songs played on NPR all the time. I don't think that's too tall an order. Just a little honesty, a little of who I am, what I do and what I would like to be doing at some point. I quit college for now because I actually was good at it. But the late nights in Hollywood were starting to wear on my honors Philosophy grade. I guess Id rather do one thing well than many things in mediocrity. So its music. And maybe one day when Im on the road (with Ryan Adams) my life- apart from my perspective- wont look so very different than it used to. Thanks for reading. E
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34 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Agnes Obel
event::about AGNES OBEL ‘PHILHARMONICS’ On 4 October Agnes Obel is to release her debut album on [PIAS] Recordings. Called, ‘Philharmonics’, the album will be preceded by the release of the ‘Riverside’ EP on 6 September. Feeling musically related to Roy Orbison, Agnes currently lives in Berlin and possesses the rare gift of a songbird’s voice, bringing to mind Ane Brun, Joanna Newsom or even Ricki Lee Jones. Play “Just So” to anyone in Germany and they’ll tell you it’s the music from the Deutsche Telekom television advertisement. It’s the kind of exposure many an artist would die for, or the kind of publicity an independent spirit might agonise over - venturing into the commercial arena. Yet isn’t it intriguing how a few bars of music can seep into our consciousness and set us off wondering where they came from? This facebookish world of ours offers us the illusion of getting to know people we don’t really know, who their friends are and what they like. Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel likes Alfred Erik Lesley Satie and Sonic Youth, Debussy and Dylan, Hitchcock and PJ Harvey. She is from Copenhagen but she lives in Berlin. She studied at the University of Roskilde, a town renowned for a Glastonbury style music festival and home to a marvellous viking ship museum. Then we study the photograph - the owl and Agnes. Their watchful gaze leaves you with the feeling it is they who are looking at us, rather than the other way around. Agnes looks a little like Liv Ullmann in Bergman’s “Persona”, or Tippi Hedren in self-assured Marnie guise rather than the catatonic figure in The Birds. She appears perfectly balanced alongside the eagle owl, both of them mutually protective of their proud serenity. “I walk to the borders on my own To fall in the water just like a stone Chilled to the marrow in them bones Why do I go here all alone” Magically reminiscent of Badly Drawn Boy’s “Camping Next To Water”, “Riverside” begins to draw us deeper into the world of Agnes Obel. Not content to sit in contemplation on the river bank, she becomes one with the current, the translucent quality of sunlight on a stream, the smoothness of pebbles, the singsong of nature. A pastoral idyll in splendid isolation, a heightened sense of awareness she transports back to urban life: “Streetlights dancing in the dark, across the park Guess I just hear every sound on the ground” Pascal Comelade comes to mind, his piano haikus of such persuasive clarity, whilst Agnes’ voice is ever so slightly evocative of Rickie Lee Jones on “Pop” and somehow less plaintive than fellow Scandinavian sirens such as Nina Kinert, Stina Nordenstam or Ane Brun. She has such poise, elegantly evading the singer-songwriter undertow by being so much more. “I don’t see myself as a singer that plays piano. It always feels weird when people refer to me as a singer, because to me being a singer is secondary to the music. The songs and the melodies are the most important to me. But I’m not sure what you call that..” Then again, why give a name to everything? Still, it is tempting to ask, does one come before the other? The piano keys or vocal chords? “Well the piano and the singing are two equal things to me - maybe not inseparable but very connected. You can say they are like two equal voices, one can accompany the other and vice versa. I don’t see any hierarchy in that relation. I use them both when I’m writing songs and making melodies. Sometimes I switch one or the other so the piano role is the vocal role, or I let them answer each other, or simply follow each other as one.” Amongst her own compositions, a cover of John Cale’s “(I Keep a) Close Watch” represent one definite locus we can perhaps pin to Ms. Obel. “I have to say I don't really see an affinity at the moment to anyone. I always felt somehow related to Roy Orbison, or at least to his music.” She says, referring to the dreaminess and emotion of his writing, where one is able to make something universal and timeless with a simple and intimate song and melody, “Maybe this is what I’m trying to achieve when I’m making my music ...”
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4 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about For Brian Wright (www.brianwrightmusic.com), life as a traveling troubadour began in Mclennan County, Texas near the highway and the trains. That is where his father took a job that required a great deal of travel, making the family VW van Wright's first crib. Consequently Wright feels most at home when on the road, and this movement has helped shaped Wright's sense of bare-boned lyrics and achingly beautiful songs that seem both distant and intimate at the same time. After spending his early twenties on the Austin/Waco/Dallas bar circuit, playing everything from punk to covers, Wright flipped a coin to decide his future home, either New York City or Los Angeles. Going West won the day. Today, when not touring, he resides in Los Angeles where he is a fixture in the LA music scene. For the last six years he has been the front man and lyricist for his band Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies, a band that has gathered a devoted audience across the country. 'When people ask what I sound like I usually say I'm somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Velvet Underground,' says Wright. It's true but there is also hints of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark fused with a bluesy slide guitar and a simple, but enchanting Paul McCartney like bass line. Wright's newest release House on Fire boldly declares a new chapter in his life as a musician and producer. His two previous albums, Bluebird and Dog Ears were recorded with a live band in the studio, both in a span of three days. These were done in an attempt to capture the true essence of the band's energy. House on Fire approached the recording process from a different angle. The album is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of Brian's to play every instrument on the record. This album took time, craftsmanship, and a sustained passion to produce a sound that reflects Wright's newest chapter in his journey as a musician and songwriter. The result is an album that truly reflects the man behind the voice. With House on Fire, Wright doesn't just write songs, he composes short stories with images and characters, fusing the rural beauty of old time country with the echoes of rock 'n' roll. 'I love playing in my band, sitting in with fellow musicians, but this album finally allowed me to make the music the exact way it was in my head.' The fourteen songs on House on Fire further cement Wright's quest to becoming a premiere singer/songwriter. The album is co-produced with Mike Vizcarra, who created a studio in a one-room Laurel Canyon apartment, coincidentally the same hovel that was once the home of Waco's most famous former resident, Steve Martin.
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13 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Jim Bianco
event::about Jim Bianco's new record "LOUDMOUTH" will be unmuzzled and released on April 5th, 2011. LOUDMOUTH|ˈloudˌmouθ| noun a person who tends to talk too much in an offensive or tactless way. And so Jim Bianco goes at it again; exposing, embarrassing and offending ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, fellow singer/songwriters and, most notably, himself. Speaking to the sinner and the heartbroken in all of us, Jim Bianco has sifted through the filth and wreckage in his heart and put it to music on his new record, “LOUDMOUTH”. And as always, he’s done it in a way that makes women want to simultaneously sleep with him and slap him in the face; and men want to pick a fight and sing along. The songs on LOUDMOUTH explore the reckless depths of a troublemaker, the devastation of a broken heart, the irony of being in love with someone who treats you like shit and the whimsical inclinations of a temporary secretary who dreams of being an elevator operator. “There is humor on this record, but there is a darkness that comes along with it. You’ll get an occasional laugh, but it won’t be free. And there is no love song. There are songs of lust, songs of loss and songs of longing, but no love song.” Bianco, who has always been a fiercely independent artist, funded the record entirely through his fans. “With the decline in funding for the arts that we’ve seen over the past few years, and the fact that music is so accessible that it’s essentially free, I’m thankful that I can put out an album and tour independently with only the support of my fans. I’m grateful for the direct relationship I have with my fan base; it allows me to continue making the music that I like for the people who want it – all without a middle-man to muck up the process.” Bianco’s fans are also grateful for the direct line they have to him. But it’s not only about the music. There’s a sensibility that Bianco radiates in all his art. “I began blogging from the road just to pass the time. There’s something redemptive about having people read about my follies and laugh and cry along with me.” Bianco’s writing has received such a positive response from fans that he is in the process of publishing a book of short stories, which he plans to sell on tour in 2011. As if that weren’t enough, Bianco has recently taken to writing, acting, directing and editing his own silent films, which have garnered not only the attention of his fans, but of cinephiles including Lorenzo DeStefano, the head of the Ventura Film Society. “Bianco’s films are a throwback to another era. He touches upon the human spirit in a simplistic way that is charming, yet profound.” But at heart, Bianco is a performer. With a firecracker’s presence on-stage, vocal chords that crack the plaster, and an occasional burlesque dancer, it is truly a wonder to watch him command a room. With LOUDMOUTH, it’s as if Bianco has transformed himself from the juggling clown of the circus into to it’s ringleader. But make no mistake - he’s still in the circus.
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14 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Laura Jansen
event::about For many of us, suffering a painful break-up means a journey through the famous five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Laura Jansen learned this unpleasant lesson five years ago as she struggled to make sense of the implosion of a very stormy romantic relationship. “The end came on Christmas Day, which was pretty awesome,” she says jokingly before turning reflective. “I thought the pain might literally kill me, but it’s amazing the little things you start to do to save your own life. It’s fascinating.” Jansen, a Dutch-born, Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and musician, chronicles those little things, like cutting her hair, buying pink floral sheets, and venturing out for a drink with the guy down the hall, on “Single Girls” — the deceptively simple, but emotionally devastating first single from her debut album Bells, a dreamy collection of piano-driven alt-pop songs with lush arrangements and intimate, intelligent lyrics reflecting the thoughts and hopes of an independent girl alone in the world. In the U.S., Jansen is a fixture in the constellation of artists associated with Los Angeles nightclub The Hotel Café — a musical haven, creative incubator, and ultimately, national launching pad for such confessional-minded artists as Sara Bareilles, Priscilla Ahn, and Joshua Radin, whom Jansen toured with in 2008 and will hit the road with again in 2011. Jansen’s songs were used in various television shows on MTV and ABC. Jansen, being half American, half Dutch, was invited to The Netherlands in 2009 for a series of appearances, which led to her signing with Universal Music. Debut album Bells (composed of Jansen’s two previously released EP’s 2007’s Trauma and 2009’s Single Girls, plus “Use Somebody”), has already gone platinum in Jansen’s native Holland and reached a #1 position on iTunes. Propelled by “Single Girls” and a stunning cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” which has spent more than 6 months lodged in the Top 25 on the Dutch singles chart. Jansen hit the road in Europe with her pal William Fitzsimmons as a member of his band as well as his support act. In 2010 she sold out both headline tours of her own in The Netherlands, after which she toured in Germany, Austria, UK as fans spread the word. The year 2011 promises to be yet another exciting year, with Jansen’s debut album Bells being released in both the US and the rest of Europe and tours set up on both continents as well.
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67 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about A quick recap of how Meiko (mee-ko) spent the past year: the singer-songwriter signed a label deal, released a self-titled debut to critical acclaim, performed on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and the premiere episode of “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” appeared in the pages of the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Spin and Paste, shared stages with the likes of Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Brett Dennen and Rachael Yamagata, had her music appear in episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “One Tree Hill” and “The Hills” (among others), garnered significant radio airplay for lead single “Boys With Girlfriends,” and hit the No. 1 spot on both the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Album and Singles charts. Not bad…especially when you consider that she was still waiting tables when the year began. A Georgia native, Meiko got her start at the famed Hotel Café in Hollywood, where she was a waitress and performer before local and national buzz allowed her to put aside her drink tray for good. “I am now officially retired from the waitressing field,” she muses. “Getting up in the morning and writing songs is my new profession.” Listen to her songs in a single setting and it’s clear that she’s very good at her job. A songwriter with a keen eye and vivid narrative gift, Meiko collects jagged moments and devastating conversational flashes and turns them into deceptively simple tunes with hushed, gentle tones and stunning detailed imagery. Heartbreak has never sounded as lush or felt as wrenchingly familiar as it does on her breathtakingly beautiful debut. The album finds the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter simultaneously tough, tender and funny on songs that explore loss and loneliness but remain hopeful. "I don't write love songs,” she says. “I write frustrated love songs." Many of the songs on her Lucky Ear/MySpace Records/DGC debut were sharpened on the Hotel Café stage, and then recorded over the course of two years, often in wine-fueled late night sessions. “I had no money to record, so I wound up calling in lots of favors, usually recording at 3AM when the studio wasn’t being used by other bands.” Self-released by Meiko in ‘07, the disc was the No. 1 Folk Album on iTunes with more than 200,000 downloads. She also earned regular play from LA tastemaker KCRW and key placements on prime-time television, including a prominent spot on the season premiere of Emmy-winning TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.” Intense label interest followed and Meiko eventually signed with MySpace Records and DGC (Lucky Ear is her own indie label), sensing their commitment to nourishing her as an artist. "I feel like I’ll be given the creative freedom I need to flourish", she says, "rather than be pressured to put out music I’m not comfortable with." Months after its initial release, the album was remixed, remastered and includes re-recorded versions of fan favorites along with a brand-new track/lead single: “Boys with Girlfriends,” a jaunty send-up of the dangers of befriending gents with jealous girlfriends. Among the album’s many highlights is "How Lucky We Are," a sumptuous folk-pop confection; "Under My Bed," which showcases the versatility and strength of Meiko's stunning voice as she considers the souvenirs left behind by a former flame; and the spare and compelling “Reasons To Love You.” And though her music is inspired as much by Sade and Cocteau Twins as by Patty Griffin and Nina Simone, Meiko credits her father as being the most important influence in her life. She grew up in Roberta, GA (population 808) in a log cabin (really) built by her dad. Her folk-pop sensibility is a mix of his favorites, which included classic rock staples from the likes of The Eagles and The Allman Brothers. “He had this beautiful old Gibson guitar,” she recalls, “and he played and sang for me ever since I was a baby. Of course, back then I didn’t realize that he was playing covers, so I was pretty surprised years later when I heard some band named Led Zeppelin playing my father’s song—‘Stairway To Heaven’—on the radio.” After high school, Meiko moved to Los Angeles, started attending open mic nights and cut her teeth on the Hotel Café stage. She got the chance to open for Patty Griffin, whose album Living With Ghosts changed her life. "When my boss at the Hotel Café asked me to play that gig, I swear I almost lost it. I mean, sharing the bill with Patty Griffin was a huge deal to me." Next up for Meiko is non-stop touring (and she wouldn’t have it any other way). “I wanna get my music to as many people that will listen,” she says. “Most important of all, I wanna reach the headphones of that girl in that tiny town, like me way back when, and let her know that there’s a whole other world out there.”
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Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band
75 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
event::about KEVIN DEVINE With a musical repertoire that spans the spectrum from hushed finger-picked narratives to bombastic rockers, Kevin Devine is one of those rare talents who straddles a multitude of genres and feels equally at home in each. Whether he’s playing solo to hundreds of his devotees in a cramped NYC club, joining friends on stage at Lollapalooza or touring with artists varying from Rachel Yamagata to Brand New, Devine’s songs enrapture a diverse set of ears like few musicians. Born and raised in New York and currently dwelling in Brooklyn, Devine is a singer/songwriter who has been quietly honing his craft since the release of his first album in 2002. He’s since been adding idiosyncratic chapters to his unique success story by building his diehard international fanbase with incessant touring and a series of compelling releases that highlight his introspective lyrical wordplay, each displaying an impressive musical evolution. Brother's Blood, his fifth record and first with Manchester Orchestra's Favorite Gentlemen record label, is the most resounding evidence of that ethic and maturation - a sprawling, confident mission statement about conscience, culture, and personality. Brother's Blood is a response to the three years Devine spent touring relentlessly behind his major label debut, the Rob Schnapf-produced Put Your Ghost To Rest, initially released by Capitol/EMI in 2006 and later re-issued by Brand New's Procrastinate! Music Traitors following Devine's dismissal from Capitol during its bloody merger with Virgin. True to Devine’s character, he turned a potentially grisly outcome inside out and instead exited the label with a healthier and more thriving career than when he went in. Devine accomplished this feat the old fashioned way: playing close to 600 shows between June 2006 and December 2008, further broadening his appeal and versatility, and doing it all without the centralized support from a label. These shows offered him opportunities to share stages (and vans) with artists as diverse as AA Bondy, Annuals, Manchester Orchestra, Elf Power, Rachel Yamagata, Lucero and Corinne Bailey Rae. He appeared at The Sundance Film Festival alongside She & Him and Mandy Moore and at Austin City Limits with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Andrew Bird. He traversed the globe at a feverish pace: the UK with All-American Rejects, Australia with The Offspring, England and Ireland, Europe and Japan, and of course, the States. Back home, he triumphantly oversold two headline gigs at New York's Bowery Ballroom and was asked to join two very different groups of friends, Brand New AND Okkervil River, on their respective stages at Lollapalooza 2008. Somewhere in all that motion, Devine managed to whip 15 or so songs into shape and started visualizing what would become Brother's Blood. He recorded barebones acoustic versions of the tracks in early '08 and eventually rehearsed and demoed those with his erstwhile Goddamn Band (Brian Bonz on keys & percussion, Chris Bracco on bass, Mike Skinner on drums, Russell Smith on guitar, and Mike Strandberg on guitar) in their Brooklyn practice space all summer. Carving away at and layering ideas with producers Bracco & Skinner and engineer Dan Long, the band bunkered down in Williamsburg's Headgear Studios (TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Au Revoir Simone, Son Volt) for the first two weeks of August. Devine consciously ceded more control of arrangement to his players, hoping to affect a more live, full-band feel for the first time on record. The results speak for themselves. Brother's Blood is both the next step and a break in form; it reflects the diverse talents and contributions of The Goddamn Band as much as it speaks to the scope of Devine's influences and commitment to exploring new stylistic territory. Lead single "I Could Be With Anyone" is a charging and hook-heavy pop song equally indebted to The Cars and Superchunk; "Another Bag Of Bones" (initially released as a Rob Schnapf-produced acoustic single around the ramp-up to the election) pins its dystopian and restless vision of a civilization in freefall to a dark and explosive groove before finding release in a choir's hopeful strain. Meanwhile, the title track is a massive and dynamic homage to the epic guitar freakouts of Neil Young and Built To Spill and the hypnotic and ominous "Carnival" sets the tone its with spacious, swirling flares of psychedelia – a dynamic exploration of tension and release which plays against a nightmarish hallucination about lost willpower and the fear of finally waking up to a reality that's even crazier than your dreams. But far from being one of Devine’s rockingest recordings to date, many of Brother's Blood’s finest moments are its quietest. Opener "All Of Everything, Erased" lays a bed of nimble and rhythmic finger-picking for its vivid description of a world left with no recourse but to cleanse itself of humanity and start over. "Fever Moon" is a sultry, Latin-influenced meditation on lust and its consequences that wouldn't seem out of place on a 1970s Leonard Cohen album, while "Murphy's Song" features a dazzling vocal turn from Jaymay that adds some jazz-era sensuality to the song's trumpet and piano-sprinkled Carribean lilt. On "Tomorrow's Just Too Late," Devine and Brand New's Jesse Lacey deliver a delicate and weaving full-song harmony that would make Simon & Garfunkel proud. Whether he’s joined in a duet, backed by his Goddamn Band, or singing quiet ruminations into his microphone alone with just his acoustic guitar, Devine deftly illustrates his unique versatility and breadth with each note. Brother’s Blood not only serves as a reminder of this but as the next step in his exciting evolution.
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75 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Cary Brothers
event::about Cary Brothers is an indie rock singer-songwriter from Los Angeles best known for his song "Blue Eyes" from the Grammy-winning "Garden State" Soundtrack. Brothers recently released his second album "Under Control," which premiered at #1 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart. He has had over 60 songs featured in TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "Bones," and the recent hit teen film "Easy A" in addition to appearances on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "The Late Late Show." He is the co-creator of The Hotel Cafe Tour and has toured worldwide with artists such as Imogen Heap, Sara Bareilles, and The Fray. In the electronic dance music world, Brothers has found success collaborating with DJ Tiesto on a club remix of his song "Ride" as well as original material for Tiesto's latest collection "Kaleidoscope."
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36 schedule::attendeesLocation St David's Historic Sanctuary
Artists Brooke Fraser
event::about Held every year on verdant polo grounds in Indio, California, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is many things to many people: A way to hear the best alternative music, a giant lawn party of hipsters wearing hemp sunhats, or the one place you can gawk at members of super-bands as they ride around on golf carts. For Brooke Fraser, Coachella 2009 was the event that re-awakened her desire to make music. It was April and the New Zealand-born singer and songwriter was burnt out after completing a three-year tour supporting her second album, 2006’s Albertine, which debuted at No. 1 in New Zealand, reached five times platinum, and remained in the Top 20 for nearly a year. “I felt so exhausted, I could barely get out of bed,” Fraser says, “let alone think about writing songs for a third album.” As the sun went down over Indio on the Saturday night of Coachella 2009, Fraser found herself watching one of her favorite bands, Fleet Foxes. “Robin Pecknold began to sing and the purity of his voice seemed to melt away every memory of trauma and disillusionment,” she recalls. “Then the other voices joined his and it all felt so human and honest; I and everyone around me was enthralled. We were all being spoken to, and we were all listening. It was a moment where I remembered the power of music as a language, a connector. I remembered that I’ve been given the gift of speaking a particular dialect of this language and realised I didn’t have the option of being resigned to silence and I didn’t want it.” The experience inspired the song “Coachella” — one of several emotionally resonant and uplifting tunes on Fraser’s new album Flags, a dreamy, alternative-pop collection that showcases her agile soprano, lilting melodies, and knack for telling her stories through the lives of vibrant characters on songs like “Betty,” “Crows and Locusts,” “Jack Kerouac,” and “Ice on Her Lashes.” “I’ve never used as many characters or as much narrative in my songwriting as I have on this record,” Fraser says. “On my previous albums [2003’s What To Do With Daylight and Albertine], I was singing completely as myself, which is why I think I got so burnt out from touring. Albertine was inspired by incredibly significant events and people and every time I’d sing I’d go back to that moment where my heart was ripped open. So singing such heavy songs nearly every night for three years took a toll. On Flags, it’s still me speaking, but it’s me speaking through the voices of different characters and their stories. It’s more survivable.” “Betty” (co-written with Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman and Ben West of Detroit indie duo The Real Efforts of Real People) is about a cool, unapproachable girl who hides her Canadian-shaped birthmark - a thinly veiled metaphor for all the other things she is afraid to show people. “Crows and Locusts” is a Steinbeckian story of a farming family helplessly witnessing the decimation of their crops through various forms of pestilence, told through the eyes of the young daughter. “Ice On Her Lashes” is a meditation on the cycle of grief. “There’s that moment when you get a phone call and find out that something life-shattering has happened and you look around and wonder how other people are still going about their daily lives, sitting in traffic or buying milk, when yours has just been changed forever,” Fraser says. “The song is about how most of us will at some point be somewhere in that cycle. Life goes on and the pain doesn’t go away, but becomes liveable.” Other album highlights include the rollicking pub song “Orphans, Kingdoms”, the high-energy, summery romp “Something in the Water”, “Who Are We Fooling?” a duet with Aqualung’s Matt Hales, co-written by the two, and the title track “Flags”, a meditation on injustice. Fraser wrote the songs in bursts, making writing trips to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Northern California’s Bodega Bay before she and her husband decamped from their home in Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles in February 2010. Once in L.A., Fraser invited a group of local musicians, including guitarists Michael Chaves and David Levita (who played on Albertine), to join her in the studio where they set Fraser’s powerful stories to exquisitely textured backdrops of acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, piano, strings, horns and wild percussion often played on the body parts of Brooke and the band themselves— creating an earthy, organic feel to the proceedings. The album was engineered and mixed by Joe Zook and produced by Fraser herself. “I’ve always written and played my own songs and had my very particular say in the way they sound, and it just began to get to me the way people would ask, ‘Who’s going to make your next record.’” Fraser says. “Just this idea of ‘What man is going to help you to be a musician?’ I’m a good musician and I know what I want. People hire a producer because they like the sound that particular producer can create. I didn’t want someone else’s sound. I didn’t want someone else’s idea of my sound. I wanted my sound.” Fraser’s confidence is rooted in a life-long history steeped in music. Her mom discovered her plinking out “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music on the piano when she was two, and made sure her daughter had access to instruments. Fraser grew up in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, and her earliest musical memory is of watching her great-uncle Athol, “a one-armed trumpet player,” practice circular breathing on his horn. At seven, she began piano lessons. At 12, she began writing songs after a music teacher asked her class to compose an original tune about Christmas. “I discovered that I felt at home in the process of creating words and melodies,” she recalls. “And I’ve been writing ever since.” Fraser fell in love with the confessional lyrics and timeless melodies of James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Paula Cole, and eventually began to play the guitar. In 2002, when she was 18, Fraser signed with Sony Music and moved to Auckland where she played regularly at local venues while she wrote the songs that would appear on her debut album, What To Do With Daylight. That album, released in New Zealand in 2003, debuted at No. 1 and achieved gold status the same week. It eventually went eight times platinum, selling more than 120,000 copies in New Zealand alone, and remained in the Top 10 on the album charts for more than a year. The album spawned five Top 20 singles and made Fraser a star in her home country, leading to 2004 tours of Australia and New Zealand with John Mayer and David Bowie. In 2005, Brooke took a trip to Rwanda, 11 years after a genocide that claimed the lives of nearly one million people. During the journey, she met and befriended a number of Rwandans who entrusted their stories to her, including an orphan named Albertine, the namesake of her second album, which was released in the U.S. in May 2008. After being featured on the iTunes homepage as an “Editor’s Choice” selection, Albertine album climbed to No. 5 on the digital retailer’s U.S. album chart. Fraser toured the States that fall, winning over audiences with her dry wit and warm stage presence. Now she’s starting anew with Flags, the title inspired by her writing trips into the more remote parts of the U.S. “I was traversing these incredible landscapes and wondering at all the people who had worked this land and what their lives were like, how they had come to arrive in and then leave these places. One day this image of a flag popped into my mind and I thought, ‘Our lives are like flags - flying for a short while, a stake in the ground, marking our territory,’” she says. “We fly our colors - our history, belief system, culture, identity – but eventually our flag will wear out and return to the ground and someone else’s flag will replace our own. I feel like that theme weaves its way through my new songs, like ‘Ice On Her Lashes’, ‘Crows and Locusts’ and of course ‘Flags’. The characters i…