In 1990, when journalists were lamenting the death of rock, as cheesy pop and hair metal dominated the charts, Atlanta’s Black Crowes gave the genre a swift and much needed kick in the ass with Shake Your Money Maker. Fueled by singles “Jealous Again,” “Twice As Hard,” “She Talks To Angels,” and the break-through cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle,” the band immediately took the rock world by storm, topping Rolling Stone’s “Best New American Band Readers Poll” in late 1990. The Black Crowes went on to release eight studio and four live albums, selling in the tens of millions along the way; they sold out shows around the world; had legendary guitarist Jimmy Page join as a member; got kicked off a tour with ZZ Top for insulting the sponsor; got screwed by bad record deals; got married and divorced, fought amongst themselves and against the rest of the world. In other words, they’ve done everything a legendary rock group should do.
Widely ranked among the greatest live bands of their generation, My Morning Jacket have long maintained their status as one of the most vital forces in American rock-and-roll. With their thrillingly expansive and eclectic sound, the Louisville-bred band has influenced an entire era of musicians, largely by staying one step ahead of mainstream pop culture and following their instincts to endless innovation. On their long-awaited new full-length—a self-titled body of work that marks their ninth studio album—My Morning Jacket reaffirm the rarefied magic that’s made them so beloved, embedding every song with moments of discovery, revelation, and ecstatic catharsis.
Their first new music since 2015’s Grammy Award-nominated The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket came to life after a nearly permanent hiatus for the band (vocalist/guitar Jim James, bassist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, guitarist Carl Broemel, and keyboardist Bo Koster). “We didn’t know if we’d make another record again,” James admits. “For a long time I was feeling burnt-out, and unsure if I wanted to do this anymore.” During that hiatus, James and Broemel each released a series of acclaimed solo projects, while Koster toured the world as part of Roger Waters’ band and all members except James played in Ray LaMontagne’s band. But after performing four shows in summer 2019 (beginning with two mind-blowing nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre), My Morning Jacket was overcome with the urge to carry on. “It’d been so long since we’d played together, there was that question of ‘Is this maybe going to be a wake-up call that it’s time for us to move on?’” Blankenship recalls. “But then as soon as we got onstage, it felt like coming home.”
That November, My Morning Jacket headed to Los Angeles studio 64 Sound and spent several weeks working on new songs in intentional seclusion. “We’ve realized that the addition of any one person changes the vibe, so it was just us in the studio the whole time,” says James, who produced and engineered My Morning Jacket. “I told everybody to just bring whatever felt comfortable to them, to avoid getting caught up in trying out 80 different amps or 4,000 pedals before we cut a song. I just wanted us to have fun and not get too precious about it.” With that first session yielding a bounty of new material, the band returned to 64 Sound the following February and completed the initial recording just a day before the world went into lockdown. “Coming out of those sessions was so illuminating,” says Hallahan. “It shined a light on the special energy that happens when it’s just the five of us in a room together. It felt like we’d built a fort and we were all playing around in it.”
Thanks in no small part to that sense of playfulness, My Morning Jacket harnesses the hypnotic intensity of their live show more fully than ever—a major triumph for a band whose storied history includes a four-hour-long, 35-song, rain-drenched set at Bonnaroo 2008. “For years we’ve been trying to capture that feeling of the five of us vamping on something with absolutely no road map,” notes Hallahan. In channeling that free-flowing spirit, the album imparts countless moments of wild transcendence. “It feels like nowadays everyone’s afraid to get raucous or silly, but that reckless explosion of rock-and-roll is something we really try to hold onto,” says James.
For all its unbridled joy, My Morning Jacket again reveals the band’s hunger for exploring the most nuanced and layered existential questions in song form. To that end, the album opens on “Regularly Scheduled Programming” and its poetic commentary on the impulse to numb out in order to escape a painful reality. “This song really hits home for me after what we’ve gone through with the pandemic,” says James. “But even before then, it felt like so many of us were trading real life for social media, trading our own stories for the storylines on TV, trading our consciousness for drugs. We need to help each other wake up to real love before it’s too late.” One of several songs featuring the heavenly backing vocals of Briana Lee and Maiya Sykes, “Regularly Scheduled Programming” unfolds as a gloriously spacey number, beginning on a bit of psychedelic poetry (“Diamonds are growing in the garden/Raindrops are filling up the sea”) and ultimately building to its resolute conclusion (“One shot at redemption: a mighty and sacred love”).
An album that endlessly wanders into new psychic terrain, My Morning Jacket next delivers the mantra-like directive of “Love Love Love,” a groove-driven and sweetly euphoric track. “That one’s trying to steer the ship away from everything I’m talking about in ‘Regularly Scheduled Programming’ and speak toward positivity and pure love, finding truth within yourself and in the world around you,” says James. From there, the band drifts into the delicate majesty on “In Color,” a gorgeously wayward epic graced with a feverish riff that came to James in a dream. “‘In Color’ is just a simple statement of wishing everyone could agree that difference is what makes life beautiful, and that things look better with all of us here: every shade of the rainbow, every gender and race and sexual orientation,” says James. “If you deny that, you’re missing out on one of the greatest joys in life: the wonders of what people can give to each other.”
One of the most frenetic offerings on My Morning Jacket, “Complex” brings a shred-heavy urgency to James’s self-reflection. “In a lot of ways I feel like I’m a puzzle piece that won’t fit,” he says. “There’s so much in life that I can’t figure out, like how to make a relationship work or how to make a career work in a way I feel fully satisfied with. ‘Complex’ is sort of me asking, ‘What am I missing here?’” In its convergence of intense introspection and outward-looking inquiry, My Morning Jacket achieves a particularly riveting power on the nine-minute-long “The Devil’s in the Details.” “That song came from thinking about being an adolescent and growing up at the mall,” says James. “It’s like this strange in-between place for when you can’t quite be part of the world yet — and on top of that there’s the horror of the mall and how much of what’s sold there is made through slave labor. I wrote that song so that nothing gets resolved; I wanted to leave the listener with an unsettled feeling.” At the very opposite end of the emotional spectrum, My Morning Jacket closes out with “I Never Could Get Enough,” an otherworldly love song that precisely captures the rapture of infatuation. “I’m really proud of that one; I love that it’s a little slow and moody and lets you get lost in it,” says Blankenship. “It’s like the song’s not demanding you to be involved the whole time — you can just let it play and go off into your own world for a while.”
For My Morning Jacket, the ability to supply those sublimely dazed moments is closely tied to the uncalculated nature of the album-making process. “Everyone in the room was willing to let the songs come together naturally, which I think allowed for a lot of exploration,” says Hallahan. “This is what it sounds like when we get out of the way and let the music go where it wants.” And within that surrender is a profound sense of purpose, a commitment to providing listeners with the kind of emotional outlet that feels more essential all the time. “I hope this album brings people a lot of joy and relief, especially since we’ve all been cooped up for so long,” says James. “I know that feeling you get from driving around blasting music you love, or even lying in bed and crying to the music you love. The fact that we’re able to be a part of people’s lives in that way is so magical to us, and it feels really good that we’re still around to keep doing that.”
Nine-time GRAMMY AWARD recipient Sheryl Crow is an American music icon. Her first nine studio albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide; seven of them charted in the Top 10 and five were certified for Multi-Platinum sales. In addition to such No. 1 hits as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Crow has lofted 40 singles into the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Country Songs charts, with more No. 1 Triple A singles than any other female artist. Sheryl Crow has been feted by a new generation of singer songwriters who have covered her work and talked about her influence including Phoebe Bridgers, Haim, Maren Morris and Best Coast.
On her most recent studio album “Threads”, Crow collaborated with a broad array of her musical heroes, including Stevie Nicks, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Chuck D, Joe Walsh, Kris Kristoffersson, and the late legend Johnny Cash. “Threads” also featured contributions by young artists shaping music today, including Gary Clark Jr, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Andra Day, St. Vincent, and Maren Morris.
In 2022, “Sheryl”, a full length documentary film about the singer-songwriter’s life and career premiered at SXSW, in partnership with Showtime Networks, where the film is now available for streaming. An intimate story of song and sacrifice, “Sheryl” navigates an iconic yet arduous musical career while the artist battles sexism, ageism, depression, cancer, and the price of fame, before harnessing the power of her gift. “Sheryl” has received widespread critical acclaim, and a rare 100% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A career-spanning album package including her classic hits and several new tracks was released to accompany the film via Big Machine Label Group, in cooperation with Universal Music Group.
Crow is known as well for her passionate support of multiple charities, including The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The World Food Program, Feeding America, ADOPT A CLASSROOM, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, MusiCares, the Delta Children’s Home and many other worthy causes.
Goose — Rick Mitarotonda [vocals, guitar], Peter Anspach [vocals, keys, guitar], Trevor Weekz [bass], Ben Atkind [drums], and Jeff Arevalo [vocals, percussion, drums] — fluidly traverse genres with head-spinning hooks, technical fireworks, and the kind of chemistry only possible among small town and longtime friends. Following 2016’s moon cabin, the Norwalk, CT quintet quietly took flight, playing countless shows during their ascent while slowly and steadily amassing a nationwide following.
The end of 2017 saw the band welcome Peter Anspach on guitar and keyboard – a pivotal moment that solidified the group’s core lineup. Months of relentless touring prepared them for a string of milestone festival performances during the summer of 2019, most notably defined by a storied performance at The Peach Music Festival in Scranton, PA. The band’s subsequent pro-shot video gained significant traction, highlighting the existing catalog of content compiled over the previous two years.
With increased buzz came increased demand. One by one, Goose sold out each show of their fall 2019 headlining tour and sold out last minute performances at both Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg in January 2020.
Due in part to Goose’s penchant for improvisation, the band has successfully navigated the myriad challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. They produced a series of intimate virtual events, culminating in a universally acclaimed Bingo Tour. The interactive, two-week live streaming event featured four full concerts with setlists determined by the outcome of a live Bingo game.
Fall 2020 saw a welcome return to live performance with a slew of sold out drive-in shows throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid Atlantic. Propelled by seemingly unstoppable momentum, the band concluded the year with their sixth annual Goosemas holiday concert, an epic live stream from a rooftop at Rockefeller Center.
Shenanigans Nite Club, released in June 2021, encapsulates the band’s rise. The nine track project is an ode to oft-forgotten vestiges of Goose’s experience, both personal and collective. Bestowing deserved éclat on the emergent musicians, the album debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top New Artist Albums chart. Goose kicks off 2022 with a nationwide headlining tour that includes their inaugural arena show at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The band will begin a jam-packed summer with a two night stand at the legendary Radio City Music Hall on June 24th and 25th.
Dripfield, the band’s third studio offering, is scheduled for release on June 24th, 2022. The album is an introspective dissection of Goose’s journey, anchored by a theme of balance.
Multi-platinum, award-winning recording artist Elle King has enjoyed over 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Her most recent single release has her reuniting with Miranda Lambert on the infectious collaboration “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Rock and Country Digital Song Sales Charts. Co-written by Elle King with Martin Johnson, who also produced the track, “Drunk” was recorded in Nashville and New York pre-pandemic. This is the second time the two female platinum-selling powerhouse performers have recorded together with their first release “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (along with Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes and Caylee Hammack) going on to win the 2020 ACM Award for “Music Event of The Year.” Elle also was a special guest on Miranda’s 2019 Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars tour. To accompany the track, King and Lambert met up in Nashville to film an 80s-inspired wedding video starring Elle as the bride and Miranda as her Maid of Honor complete with a cameo from Elle’s real-life fiancé as the groom. The video was shot in January by directing duo Running Bear using strict COVID protocols.
Elle’s latest EP Elle King: In Isolation was released in summer of 2020 and is a collection of raw demos/songs she’s recorded acoustically while quarantining at home in Los Angeles.
Her debut album Love Stuff featured her breakthrough single “Ex’s & Oh’s,” which earned her two GRAMMY nominations and is certified 4x times platinum. The breakthrough single hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs Chart, topped the AAA, Hot AC, and Alternative Radio charts, leading King to become the second female artist in 18 years to reach No. 1 at the latter format. Her 2016 collaboration with Dierks Bentley on “Different for Girls,” also scored a No. 1 on the Country Airplay charts and won the CMA Award for “Musical Event of the Year.”
Her single “Shame,” featured on her second studio album Shake The Spirit marked King’s fourth radio #1 single and marking Elle the only act in history to have scored No. 1 singles on the Adult Pop Songs, Adult Alternative Songs, Alternative Songs and Country Airplay charts. Rolling Stone wrote “Elle King is a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll, but ultimately, she’s punk as fuck.” Variety wrote “…King churned the clotted cream of punkish country, raw R&B, crotchety rock and deep blues into rich, buttery musical drama…(she) belted, crooned, purred, sauntered and swaggered her way through a tautly rocking set…one thing became very clear: nearly every song was equally contagious, catty-cool, and hit-worthy.”
On a primal level, we react to music through movement.
A head-nod, a foot-tap, or a handclap certainly shows appreciation, but dancing seals the eternal bond between audience and musician. Siphoning the spirits of rock, funk, R&B, jazz, and pop through a kaleidoscope of unpredictable and virtuosic improvisation, Boston-based Ripe consistently bring people to their feet. Most importantly, they prove that “dance music” in its purest form doesn’t have to come from computers and synthesizers. It can be an unstoppable groove or an extended moment of ecstatic release. Like those bodies moving on the floor, it’s the result of the energy, friction, and communication between living and breathing people. An inimitable and indefinable chemistry has separated and singled out Ripe since day one. Subverting any and all standard genre boundaries once again, their latest offering confidently continues that tradition. These five musical soulmates —Robbie Wulfsohn [vocals], Jon Becker [guitar], Sampson Hellerman [drums], Calvin Barthel [trombone], and Nadav Shapira [bass]—once again incite listeners to move on their full-length debut, Joy In The Wild Unknown.
“What we make is music you can dance to,” affirms Robbie. “We’re drawn to the peak of a song—the emotional catharsis when everything comes out. It’s all about reaching that moment. The revelation comes back to us when bodies shake with joy.”
“Every time we play, something unique happens,” adds Jon. “You’ll never see the same show twice. We want to bring that unexpected element into the pop sphere.”
Ripe brings the swagger of funk filtered through a rock anthem, a musical journey that somehow gets as stuck in your head as your favorite pop banger.
Formed during their Berklee College of Music days, the boys have built a rabid fan base through tireless gigging and a steady stream of music. Following their debut collection of songs, Produce The Juice EP, the 2015 Hey Hello EP yielded fan favorites “Goon Squad,” which clocked over 4 million Spotify streams. The band then raised the stakes with their debut album, Joy In The Wild Unknown, which represented a creative journey as Ripe became a national presence. The band tapped the talents of producer Cory Wong of Vulfpeck behind the board. Additionally, five-time GRAMMY® Award winner Joe Visciano [Mark Ronson, Adele, Beck, Coldplay] mixed the music, while mastering came courtesy of Randy Merrill [Lady Gaga, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift].
Over the course of twelve songs, it finds the elusive sweet spot between jaw-dropping technicality and airtight songcraft as Ripe collectively kick off a fresh, focused, and fiery next phase. Averaging over 250K monthly listeners on Spotify, the group landed looks from the likes of WXPN, Huffington Post, Verge Campus, Boston Globe and Hype Machine love from sites like Ear to the Ground and Indie Obsessive. Along the way, they also hit the stage at festivals such as SweetWater, Levitate, The Rock Boat, High Sierra, LaureLive, Brooklyn Comes Alive, Audiotree, and Summer Camp.
The common thread would always be the translation of their individual interplay to their audience, one that Ripe views as not just fans, but old and new friends; an extended family that is rapidly growing as their sound spreads and their world deepens. Ripe gives the same weight to happiness as is often given to sadness. Their music signifies more than just a distraction from your troubles for a few hours – it’s an experience of connection and acceptance; a warm welcome into their world. In the end, this Joy is shared by an ever-growing community that’ll be dancing every time Ripe roll through town.
“The first time Yelawolf and I connected on a track, it was like this fire exploded in my mind,” says Shooter Jennings. “It confirmed my long-held suspicion that there was something really special between the two of us.”
Special, it turns out, is a serious understatement when it comes to Jennings and Yelawolf’s extraordinary new collaboration, Sometimes Y. Recorded in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo’s self-titled debut is a bold and intoxicating rock and roll hybrid, one that fuses past and future sounds to conjure up some alternate universe where David Bowie fronted Thin Lizzy or Axl Rose sang with The Cars. The songs here are as addictive as they are unpredictable, mixing ’80s bombast and arena rock energy with country earnestness and hip-hop swagger, and the performances are thrilling to match, fueled by the pair’s undeniable chemistry and irrepressible joy. Jennings’ production work is lush but never crowded, and Yelawolf’s lyrics are utterly arresting, grappling insightfully with purpose and perseverance, struggle and triumph, pain and transcendence. Weighty as the record can feel at times, it’s ultimately a work of liberation and release, an ecstatic declaration of creative freedom fueled by adventure, discovery, and a little bit of chaos, which is precisely what Sometimes Y is all about.
“When you’re a kid in school, they teach you all these rules about spelling,” Jennings explains, “but then they tell you about ‘sometimes y,’ which calls the entire system into question. Suddenly everything’s out the window and you can do whatever you want. That’s what it felt like making this record.”
It’s little wonder Jennings and Yelawolf bonded over that shared sense of childlike wonder given the similarity of their upbringings. The son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter spent his early years surrounded by country and rock royalty, as did Yelawolf, whose mother’s partners worked on the road with artists like Randy Travis and Alabama. Though their parents ran in similar circles and the two even attended the same church growing up, Jennings and Yelawolf didn’t formally meet until 2008, when their paths crossed backstage at a show in Atlanta. At the time, Yelawolf was still teetering on the verge of stardom, but Jennings was already well aware of the fast-rising rapper’s reputation.
“One of the guys in my band was really into Yelawolf’s music, and he and I used to listen to it together in the back of the bus all the time,” says Jennings. “My nephew [Struggle Jennings] was a good friend of his, too, so I’d been hearing about Yelawolf for a while and was really excited to finally meet him.”
For Yelawolf, the feeling was mutual.
“I was a huge fan of Shooter’s songwriting and his whole perspective,” he explains. “We had really similar taste in music and hit it off right away, and we kept saying we should get together in the studio sometime.”
In the decade that followed, the two would continually flirt with the idea of collaborating but could never seem to sync their increasingly busy schedules. For his part, the hard-touring Yelawolf was well on his way to being hailed as “one of hip-hop’s most vital voices” by The Guardian and signing deals with Interscope and Eminem’s Shady Records on the strength of what Rolling Stone described as his “intricately hyperactive verses.” Jennings, on the other hand, was blossoming into one of the Americana world’s most sought-after producers, soon to take home a pair of GRAMMY Awards for his work with Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker. In early 2020, though, the stars finally aligned, and Jennings and Yelawolf began work on Sometimes Y without even realizing it.
“Shooter sent me a voice memo of this guitar part he’d recorded one day, and I was inspired to add some vocals on top and send it back,” recalls Yelawolf. “The sound wasn’t what either one of us expected it to be, but we both loved how it came out and decided to just run with it.”
“The track absolutely blew my mind,” adds Jennings, who immediately booked studio time for the two of them. “I thought, ‘Man, if this is what our first song together sounds like, I can’t wait to hear what the tenth thing we do is!’”
Though their original studio dates were postponed due to the pandemic, the pair eventually made it into LA’s famed Sunset Sound studio in June for ten days of pure creative bliss. Jennings, who enlisted his longtime band for the project, brought a slew of demos and ideas to the studio, most of which he promptly threw out when it became clear how naturally they could all write new material together on the fly.
“It was amazing to me how much of this record Yelawolf wrote in the studio,” says Jennings. “The speed with which he’d come up with lyrical concepts and melodies was just incredible.
“Nobody was complacent about anything during the sessions,” adds Yelawolf. “We weren’t afraid to try new stuff and push ourselves, which was so fulfilling. We’d be like ‘Alright, we nailed that vibe, now let’s go on to another vibe and never return to it.’ Every song is so totally different, but so totally us.”
That eclecticism reveals itself early on Sometimes Y, which opens with the schizophrenic title track. Shifting gears from a trippy, sci-fi synth exploration into a gritty, Southern-rock-on-speed jam, the track puts Yelawolf’s lyrical acrobatics on full display as he spits out his lines a mile-a-minute. Like much of the record, the song is fierce and laced with defiance, but dig beneath the surface and you’ll find a bittersweet undercurrent of longing and desire, a hunger for something that remains perpetually out of reach. Infectious lead single “Make Me A Believer” channels the nervy charm of Ric Ocasek and the indelible hooks of Rick Nielsen as it reckons with self-worth and the need for external validation, while the brooding “Rock & Roll Baby” suggests a more psychedelic Lynyrd Skynyrd in its reflection on the spiritual and emotional consequences of growing up too fast, and the driving “Radio” (which sounds like something straight out of the soundtrack to some long lost, cult favorite ‘80s sci-fi action flick) spirals out of control in single-minded pursuit of the hustle.
“‘Radio’ was probably the most fun song to write, in part because it took me to places that I’d never been before vocally,” says Yelawolf.
“Not everybody knows how good of a singer this guy is,” adds Jennings, “but he’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with. His instincts for melody and phrasing and timing are just so fresh and exciting.”
Though Yelawolf occasionally raps on the album (the aching “Shoe String” finds him delivering slow, deliberate verses over languid pedal steel and a rich, cinematic landscape of found sounds captured on the road by Jennings), his singing is indeed revelatory here, channeling Tom Petty on tracks like the rapturous “Jump Out The Window” and mesmerizing “Hole In My Head” and even offering shades of Paul McCartney on the slow burning piano ballad “Catch You On The Other Side.” But it’s perhaps it’s the understated intensity of his delivery on “Fucked Up Day,” which was written and recorded in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, that best showcases just how versatile a vocalist Yelawolf truly is, building from a whisper to a snarl as he sings, “I’m not old but I seen this before / I been sold on this shit before.”
“We started recording the album the day the protests began, and there were people marching past the studio, cars honking, helicopters flying overhead all day every day,” says Jennings. “There was a heavy energy and a lot of uncertainty in the world at that moment, and it just seeped into everything we were doing.”
And yet, despite all that pain and uncertainty, there’s something reassuring about Sometimes Y, something inspiring in the way it refuses to surrender and insists on standing tall even in the face of doubt and hardship. Sure, it’s a hell of a record, but more than that, it’s a testament to the enduring and fundamental power of honest human connection, and there’s nothing more special than that.
Few bands stick around for thirty years. Even fewer bands leave a legacy during that time that marks them as a truly special, once-in-lifetime type band. And no band has done all that and had as much fun as Leftover Salmon. Since their earliest days as a forward thinking, progressive bluegrass band who had the guts to add drums to the mix and who was unafraid to stir in any number of highly combustible styles into their ever evolving sound, to their role as a pioneer of the modern jamband scene, to their current status as elder-statesmen of the scene who cast a huge influential shadow over every festival they play, Leftover Salmon has been a crucial link in keeping alive the traditional music of the past while at the same time pushing that sound forward with their own weirdly, unique style.
As Leftover Salmon nears their 30th year, their inspiring story is set to be told in a brand new book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! that will be released February 2019 by Rowman & Littlefield. In this book, critically acclaimed author of Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound & It’s Legacy, Tim Newby presents an intimate portrait of Leftover Salmon through the personal recollections of its band members, family, friends, former band-mates, managers, and the countless musicians they have influenced. Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! is a thorough guide covering a thirty-year journey of a truly remarkable band. It is a tale of friendships and losses, musical discoveries and Wild West adventures, and the brethren they surround themselves with who fortify Salmon’s unique voice. Their story is one of tragedy and rebirth, of unimaginable highs and crushing lows, of friendships, of music, but most importantly it is the story of a special band and those that have lived through it all to create, inspire, and have everlasting fun.
Heading into their fourth decade Leftover Salmon is showing no signs of slowing down as they are coming off the release of their most recent album, Something Higher (released in 2018) which has been universally hailed as one of the band’s finest releases. Something Higher shows how even upon preparing to enter their fourth decade Leftover Salmon is proving it possible to recreate themselves without changing who they are. The band now features a line-up that has been together longer than any other in Salmon history and is one of the strongest the legendary band has ever assembled. Built around the core of founding members Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman, the band is now powered by banjo-wiz Andy Thorn, and driven by the steady rhythm section of bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson, and keyboardist Erik Deutsch. The new line-up is continuing the long, storied history of Salmon which found them first emerging from the progressive bluegrass world and coming of age as one the original jam bands, before rising to become architects of what has become known as Jamgrass and helping to create a landscape where bands schooled in the traditional rules of bluegrass can break free of those bonds through nontraditional instrumentation and an innate ability to push songs in new psychedelic directions live. Salmon is a band who over their thirty-year career has never stood still; they are constantly changing, evolving, and inspiring. If someone wanted to understand what Americana music is they could do no better than to go to a Leftover Salmon show, where they effortlessly glide from a bluegrass number born on the front porch, to the down-and-dirty Cajun swamps with a stop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, to the hallowed halls of the Ryman in Nashville, before firing one up in the mountains of Colorado.
The critically acclaimed Amsterdam-based Anatolian rock and Turkish Psychedelic Folk band, Altın Gün, spend their pandemic period in the studio and released two albums! Yol, was released on Glitterbeat Records (Europe) and ATO Records (America), Âlem, a release for charity is a bandcamp exclusive release. Buy a song, protect at least 1m2 of nature.
Amsterdam’s Altin Gün have built a strong reputation for fusing past and present to make brilliantly catchy, upbeat pop music, as seen with their Grammy-nominated second album, Gece. Yol, their third album in as many years, continues that trend; while unveiling a number of sonic surprises.
It should be no surprise to learn that the band again draws from the rich and incredibly diverse traditions of Anatolian and Turkish folk music. But however familiar the story, Yol as well as Âlem are not just records that reframes traditional sounds for a contemporary audience. The albums which often presents a strongly international, poppy sound, also signals a very different approach in making and recording for the band. Singer Merve Dasdemir takes up the story: “We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts. The transnational feeling maybe
comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.” Yol and Âlem displays a noticeable dreaminess, maybe born from this enforced time to reflect. And select elements of late 1970s or early 1980s “Euro” synth pop also shine through. This new musical landscape was nurtured by certain instrument choices; namely the Omnichord. Altın Gün sounds like a Turkish kindergarten music teacher from the 1980s using an 808!’
As ever, the tracks are the result of a true group effort, with ideas on the mentioned Omnichord, 808 and other elements – such as field recordings and new age-esque ideas – continually kicked about between the six band members. At a safe distance of course. The records also owes something to a new approach to recording, with the band working with Asa Moto (the Ghent-based producer-crew, Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë) who mixed the records. Before this the band always recorded on tape with their own sound engineer. It would be wrong to say that what made Altın Gün such a loved and successful band has been left to one side. The pressure-cooker workouts, ‘Sevda Olmasaydı’ and ‘Maçka Yolları’ are classic cuts from the band. And on Âlem two originals on their signature employment of a dizzying array of ideas and approaches can be heard with the marked Brazilian feel of ‘Kara Toprak’ and the bands’ original ‘Kısasa kısas’ with a taste of cosmic reggae filters through the grooves of ‘Yüce Dağ Başında’, and there is a steaming version of ‘Hey Nari’ which gives the traditional composition by Ali Ekber Çiçek a kick onto the dancefloor.
Altın Gün have maybe patented their own magical process of reimagining and sonic path- finding, one probably not heard since the late 1960s and early 1970s British folk rock boom. Less of a reworking than a seduction, their recordings transport the listener to a world where the original songs never previously inhabited. Merve Dasdemir again: “After we worked on them, they got a whole new life of their own. Maybe we went a little bit too far (laughs).”
Altın Gün are:
Merve Dasdemir – vocals, keyboards
Erdinç Ecevit – vocals, saz, keyboards
Jasper Verhulst – bass
Thijs Elzinga– guitar
Daniel Smienk– drums
Chris Bruining– percussion
A native of Terrell, Texas, Shane Smith made music a full-time pursuit after moving to Austin. A passionate musician and songwriter, Shane soon connected with Bennett Brown, along with other musicians many of whom now make up The Saints. That group includes Bennett on fiddle, Dustin Schaefer on lead guitar, Chase Satterwhite on bass, and Zach Stover on drums.
With a reputation as a high-energy live act with stunning four-part harmonies, Smith follows in the footsteps of such Lone Star songsmiths as Chris Stapleton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hayes Carll, and Ryan Bingham. Their first album, Coast, was released in 2013, and two years later came Geronimo, followed by Hail Mary in 2019. “I don’t like just throwing stuff out there. If I’m going to be singing about something every night, I try to make it personal, make it something I can really relate to,” says Smith, the band’s lyricist and primary songwriter. “I like to sing with conviction, an honest conviction.”
It’s with this passion, timing and intention that Shane offers up his newest studio recording, “Hummingbird.” You may have heard about Shane Smith & The Saints from a friend who saw their amazing live show, or from a playlist on your favorite streaming service. Perhaps you heard the cast of Yellowstone shout them out in Season Four or maybe you’re just hearing of them now. Whatever the case may be, we hope you enjoy this latest single!
Keep checking back, there’s lots more music on the horizon. Shane Smith & The Saints are currently on tour all summer with Whiskey Myers.