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Jun
20
Thu
TODD SNIDER – Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3 Album Release Tour with Kevin Gordon
Jun 20 @ 8:00 pm
TODD SNIDER
TODD SNIDER
One morning near the end of August, Todd Snider was relaxing with a visitor on the back porch of his house just outside Nashville, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze while his dog, Cowboy Jim, took a nap nearby. After awhile, Snider said to his guest, “I’ve got an album’s worth of songs, and I think the songs are telling me to make a folk record.”

This was a surprising bit of news considering he had spent the last six years making rock albums of one kind or another. But Snider was feeling as if he had “maybe drifted too far from the shore.” He was feeling the pull to start over, to go back to what he was doing when he first began, to return to his roots as a folksinger. 

If Snider needed any further evidence that was the direction he should pursue, he got it a half hour later. Back inside his home office, he checked his email and had one from his manager informing him he had just received an offer to play the 2019 Newport Folk Festival, an event he had never done.

Snider mentioned he had been listening to Woody Guthrie’s Library of Congress Recordings, then crossed the room to the turntable and put the needle down on side one of the record. “Woody Guthrie sometimes gets me reset on why you do a song, instead of how,” Snider explains of the man who has long been a touchstone for him. “When I was young, there was something about him that made me want to do it. So once or twice a year, I’ll go back to him, I’ll go back to the source.”

Guthrie famously had the words “This machine kills fascists” printed on his guitar, and on several of the songs on Snider’s new album, Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3, he squarely aims his guitar at the creeping fascism he sees in America. He had been wanting to make a political record since 2016, and although only half the songs lean in that direction, there is one constant throughout the album: a man, his guitar, and the truth.

* * * * *

Snider has long been recognized as one of his generation’s most gifted and engaging songwriters, so it’s no surprise he has returned with a brilliant set of songs — and make no mistake, Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3 contains some of his best work as a writer. But what really jumps out on the album is Snider’s growth as a musician and vocalist. He plays all the instruments on the record, and his guitar work and harmonica playing are nothing short of exceptional; not only full of feeling, but highly skilled. In regards to his guitar playing on the record, Snider says he wanted to take everything he’s learned over the past 30 years and play the way he used to play really well. 

As far as his vocals on the album are concerned, Snider is singing with more confidence than ever, a confidence born in part from his time with Hard Working Americans doing nothing but sing. His stirring vocal performances range from slurring blues mumble to Dylanesque talking blues to gravely, honest ache.

Of the five songs on which Snider serves up his humorous brand of socio-political commentary, three are performed in the talking blues style: “Talking Reality Television Blues,” a hilariously accurate short history of television; “The Blues on Banjo,” a bad case of the blues caused by the sorry state of everything from the crooked international monetary-military-industrial complex to the spineless politicians who serve it and which references “Blue Suede Shoes,” Richard Lewis, and Townes Van Zandt; and “A Timeless Response to Current Events,” a brilliant bit of wordplay on which he calls bullshit on faux patriotism, crooked capitalism, and lying politicians. Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires contributed backing vocals on the latter two songs.

There are two other songs on the album featuring Snider’s socio-political points of view: “Just Like Overnight,” about the surprising inevitability of change, and “Framed,” written from the point of view of the framed ‘first dollar bill’ in a bar, a point of view that shows doing the right thing doesn’t pay.

There also are three songs with a music theme. If not for the events that led to the writing of one of those songs,“The Ghost of Johnny Cash,” there almost certainly would be no Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3. After a visit to Cash Cabin Studio for a Loretta Lynn session in 2015 where she recorded a song they cowrote, Snider began having a recurring dream about the studio that featured the Man in Black himself. The dream led him to book time at the studio and ultimately inspired him to write “The Ghost of Johnny Cash,” which tells the story of Loretta Lynn dancing with Cash’s ghost outside the studio in the middle of the night. As he did on much of the record, Snider played the century-old Martin that had long been Johnny Cash’s favorite instrument on that song.

Snider paid tribute to Cash’s longtime friend and confidante in another of the music-themed songs, “Cowboy Jack Clement’s Waltz.” Inspired by the iconic record man’s oft-quoted maxims regarding the art of recording, the song achingly laments Clement’s passing, while touchingly celebrating his legacy. 

The album opens with the other song with a music theme, “Working on a Song.” It’s an existential exercise, a song Snider wrote about writing a song called “Where Do I Go Now That I’m Gone,” an idea he actually has been working on for thirty years, but which remains unfinished.

There are also two songs that are personal in nature: “Watering Flowers in the Rain,” which was inspired by a former associate of Snider’s whose nickname was “Elvis,” and “Like a Force of Nature,” a philosophical reflection on the orbital nature of friendships. Isbell also added harmony vocals to “Like a Force of Nature.”

If Snider is anything, he is a true artist, and he reminds us of that on Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3. At a point in time when the world has never been more complicated and confusing, with people getting louder and louder, Snider did a 180, went back to his roots as a folksinger, to a simpler, quieter form of expression; and it might be what the world is waiting to hear: just a man, his guitar, and the truth.

 
Kevin Gordon
Kevin Gordon
A Louisiana native, now 20-year East Nashville resident, Kevin Gordon is a touring recording artist and songwriter. His latest release, Gloryland, garnered high critical praise from The New York Times, USA Today, Rolling Stone, and many others. His songs have been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, Ronnie Hawkins, and more. The title track from his Down to the Well CD, a duet with Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, was featured on two prominent compilations: the Oxford American Southern Music Sampler, and No Depression: What It Sounds like, Volume 1. Also a published poet, Gordon earned an MFA degree from the renowned University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Jun
21
Fri
Sounds on the Square Featuring Tony Lucca
Jun 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Bring your lawn chair and join us for Sounds on the Square! This free event takes place at The Square at Spirit Square. Concessions and beverages will be available for purchase. This event will be moved indoors if there is inclement weather.

In 2012, Lucca burned up The Voice stage, making it all the way to the finals on the back of his electric performances. Following this monumental experience, Lucca felt poised for a change and headed to Nashville.

Lucca has spent his fair share of time exploring the country’s greatest music scenes. From his hometown Motown mecca of Detroit, to the hills of Hollywood, to the borough of Brooklyn. Each has made its impact on Lucca, but none quite like Nashville. Lucca brought his same workman-like mentality to songwriting in his new hometown, writing “daily and diligently.”

There’s one song in particular so arresting it became the cornerstone for all the work to come after it. “I wrote something that reminded me I still have something sufficient to say, something that still matters to me — and that was the song ‘Everything’s Changing,’” Lucca says. The emotive, dynamic song became a live show stunner and the catalyst for Lucca’s forthcoming 2019 LP. The combination of meticulously crafting songs and freewheeling in the studio led to a record that is ready to announce Lucca as a force not just for his vocals, but also for his voice.

Jun
22
Sat
THE VEGABONDS
Jun 22 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

With their third European tour under the belt, three full-length albums including a fourth nearing completion, and a gravitational pull to their growing fan base down every American highway, the Vegabonds are on a musical pilgrimage to spread the gospel of pure, unadulterated New South Rock.

Some might assert that their sound is Americana, while others may consider them to be true rock ‘n’ rollers. Regardless of what fans like to call them, the Alabama-born, Nashville-bred quintet is pulling themselves up by the bootstraps just in time for 2018, forging ahead into the future by avoiding pigeon holes.

With a sound reminiscent of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers mixed with the grit and twang of the Allman Brothers Band, The Vegabonds give their fans a sensational performance with powerhouse guitar riffs and impactful songwriting night after night. Their hard work and unbridled talents have not gone unnoticed; the group has opened for such notable acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the late Gregg Allman, and Kid Rock, among others. Rousing performances at festivals like Peach Fest, Magnolia Fest, Sunfest, and Toadlick grew their notoriety nationwide, leading to a west coast tour that formed in-roads with the music and comedy community in Los Angeles. It’s no wonder that Live for Live Music has compared them to musical legends like My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes, calling them “a force to be reckoned with,” complete with “gorgeous harmonies and impressive instrumental skills mak[ing] for a perfect combination.”

Born in Alabama. Bred in Nashville. Seasoned by the Road. Celebrated the world over. Come let your hair down with The Vegabonds.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Saturday, June 22
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: This event will proceed rain or shine
Jun
29
Sat
MICHELLE MALONE & SARAH PEACOCK: Kickin’ and Singin’ Tour
Jun 29 @ 8:00 pm
MICHELLE MALONE

MICHELLE MALONE

‘While the vocals and songs on Slings and Arrows are outstanding, the slide guitar work is the real revelation. ” – NO DEPRESSION

Michelle Malone’s musical roots run deep and wide like the mighty Mississippi river, twisting and turning through rock, blues, and alt-country music territory. She is ‘a master at mixing blues and Americana music” (GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE). Over the course of Malone’s career, she has shared stages with artists from Gregg Allman to Indigo Girls, SugarLand’s Kristian Bush to Brandi Carlisle, Mississippi All-Stars Luther Dickenson to ZZ Top, released more than a dozen records, and went indie when it still took guts. Her powerful live show will take you on a journey from red dirt back roads to bright city lights, whether she’s solo acoustic in a living room concert or in a big arena backed by her band. She ‘has the soul of a bluesman, the heart of a folk singer, and the guts of a rock and roll star wrapped up in one fiery bad ass’ (NASHVILLE RAGE), and she’s determined to bring the masses back together in the name of love and music with her latest, Slings and Arrows.

SARAH PEACOCK

SARAH PEACOCK

1.2 million miles, 2,800 shows, and fourteen years of flying solo is quite a road trip. Sarah Peacock bridges gaps between Country, Blues, Americana, and Rock-N-Roll. Her music is raw, truth telling, and fiercely unique. 

Held hostage by her record label at 21, the troubadour life came with a rude awakening for the young Georgia native. Peacock made her home in a ‘92 Volvo with her dog and a guitar, and for nearly seven years earned a living in the corner shadows of American dive bars. 

The tables turned in 2011 when an anonymous fan helped Peacock buy out of her recording contract. Since then, she has released six additional albums and won multiple awards for her songwriting. “Hurricane” won Best Song in the American Songwriting Awards, and “Beautiful” was a winner with International Unsigned Only. “The Cool Kids,” and “Are We There Yet” have nominated her for Best Female Artist and Best Song in a number of songwriting competitions. Peacock was also named Listening Room Network’s Artist of the Year. 

In 2013, Peacock released her self-produced album, Albuquerque Sky, recorded in hotel rooms across the country while maintaining her rigorous 250 show tour schedule. Albuquerque Sky was followed by a season of goodbyes, tremendous growth, and challenges, and became the catalyst for her next album, Dream On (2016). “This record helped me get un-stuck. I had a collection of live recordings which became Dream On. After such a creative dry spell, I knew I needed to hit the road and stay out a while – reconnect with my fans,” says a determined Peacock. “I found this old silver eagle tour bus in Austin, TX. I was so enchanted with it, and the renovation process really reigniting my troubadour flame. So I bought my very first bus. Oh, what a feeling!” But less than 4 months later, she would watch it burn to the ground at a California truck stop. 

One of Peacock’s fans voluntarily initiated a fundraiser, which is what kept her on the road. Another fan, so touched by her story, donated his motor home so that her tour could go on. That special connection between Sarah Peacock and her fans is what gives her the strength to continue overcoming. “You have to be unstoppable, even when you don’t believe you are.” That’s the modus operandi for the now half Tennessean, half Texan road warrior. 

Sarah Peacock is active in the anti-bullying community, and her song, “The Cool Kids” has become a powerful anti-bullying anthem. Its message has taken on a life of its own. As she travels the country, Peacock shares her story in schools, empowering young people to embody her message of kindness and love. 

Peacock is also an animal lover and tours with her pups as often as she can. Her late road dog, Gibson, was one of the first canines to receive a prosthetic mitral valve in a clinical trial at CSU in Ft. Collins, CO in May of 2017. Unfortunately, Gibson passed away. To honor his memory, Peacock recently formed her own 501(c)3, The Band Waggin,’ benefiting various animal health and rescue programs throughout the United States. 

After completing two EP’s for Nashville label, American Roots Records, Peacock plans to release a full length album on her own label in 2019. Sarah Peacock is the truest definition of a self-made overcomer, hustler, and DIY machine. She’s got a remarkable knack for finding beauty in the ashes, and there’s no denying the future is looking bright for this tenacious up and comer.

Jul
3
Wed
RAYLAND BAXTER – FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
Jul 3 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced.

“I packed everything in my van and moved to Franklin for three months,” says Baxter. “It was the fist time I ever got to be alone and focus solely on songs like that. All I did was write, write, write all day every day. I was obsessed.”

By the time Baxter emerged, he’d penned more than 50 tunes and crafted a detailed blueprint for his spectacular new album, ‘Wide Awake.’ Deftly produced by Butch Walker, the record infuses Baxter’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger, marrying lean, muscular songwriting with adventurous, inventive arrangements. It’s a cutting, insightful collection, one that takes a sardonic view the violence, greed, and division that seem to define the modern American landscape. Rather than point a finger, though, the music holds up a mirror, offering a sober reflection of the times thoughtfully bundled in bright, infectious hooks. There’s no judgment here, only keen observation, and Baxter implicates himself as much as his neighbor through it all.

Enjoy Rayland Baxter during the Fourth of July Celebration.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Fourth of July Celebration (July 3)
  • Time: 8:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Jul
11
Thu
The Wood Brothers
Jul 11 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

“It’s the freest album we’ve done, the most independent album we’ve done, and was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record,” says Oliver Wood. “And most importantly, this is the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.”

Indeed, The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of the album’s opening track “River Takes The Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The wistful ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of stream of consciousness, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with turmoil, yet “Sparking Wine” is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

Jul
13
Sat
C2 & THE BROTHERS REED
Jul 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Hailing from Kentucky with a sound as unique and smooth as the state’s beloved bourbon, C2 & The Brothers Reed’s authenticity shines – in their music, and on stage.

After the independent release of their first EP “Hot Mess”, along with an extensive tour schedule (250+ shows in 2015-16) traveling mainly in the southern part of the country, they took to the studio less than a year later to cut their new record Weigh Station Tour. Split into sides, ‘Exit A’ and ‘Exit B’, Weigh Station Tourexplores gritty rock and roll while referencing 60’s and 70’s era soul music, embracing a style that is nearly lost but deeply needed in the surge of modern sound and technology.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Saturday, July 13
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Jul
18
Thu
DANGERMUFFIN
Jul 18 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Charleston, SC’s Dangermuffin is an eclectic quartet that weaves lyrical themes of sea, sun, and spiritual connection with Americana, Island influenced, Folk and Jam grooves. The band’s live show swims between tasty acoustic, and rockin’ electric sounds. On the band’s 6th and latest release, ‘Heritage,’ Dangermuffin reaches into their creative arsenal to craft an album showcasing the band’s signature coastal-influenced grooves mixed with Americana sensibilities and Appalachian fingerpicking. The album’s lyrics contemplate the universal human connection to our ancestors, ancient traditions and symbols while yearning for humanity to get back to its roots. It is an audible showcase weaving introspective lyrics with catchy, nimble guitar riffs. Fittingly, the album’s soaring vocals were recorded in Charleston’s historic Unitarian Church, a National Historic Landmark built in 1772.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Thursday, July 18
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: Belmont Abbey College Island
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: This event will proceed rain or shine
Max & Heather + Stalling and Rob Baird
Jul 18 @ 7:30 pm
Max Stalling

Max Stalling

Max & Heather Stalling are a singer-songwriter duo based out of Dallas, TX. Max handles rhythm guitar and lead vocals and Heather provides fiddle and harmony vocals. Their collaboration has been a long time in the making and they are excited to bring their show to new audiences.

Heather is an award-winning violinist and fiddle player who picked up her instrument at 3 years old and has never stopped playing it since. As a child she traveled with her parents across Texas and the surrounding states competing in fiddle contests. As a teenager she moved to Branson, MO to be a member of the “The Texas Gold Minors”. They performed 7 days a week for two straight years. Upon returning home she took side jobs playing for various touring acts to include Johnny Lee, Cory Morrow, Bob Schneider, Ed Burleson, Mark David Manders and The Old 97s. In 2005 she put together her own project, blactopGYPSY, released two full length studio albums and toured relentlessly until the lead singer (and her best friend) became gravely sick.

Max followed a slightly different path into the music business. He has a master’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University and left a day job as a research scientist for snack food giant Frito Lay to pursue a fulltime career as a songwriter. He has 6 studio albums and two live projects including a full-length DVD. He is a staple in the Texas/Red Dirt scene as well as having chart-topping history in the Americana radio format. He has a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame and is a former member of the Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter of NARAS. In addition to solo and duo shows, Max travels with a five-piece band and does 150+ shows annually. Of recent, Heather has been playing with Max’s band after her band’s lead singer fell ill. 

Max & Heather were married in 2007 and are now finally finding that the timing is right for them to do a project together. 
While they perform the occasional song they have written together as well as a handful of cover songs, the bulk of the show is songs that Max has written in his 20+ year career as a performing singer-songwriter. First-time listeners can expect a fun and witty show balanced between solid original songs, amazing fiddle playing and fun banter.

 
Rob Baird

Rob Baird

A gambler of wit, Rob Baird spins lyrical luck in his fourth record, ​After All​to find out what happens when you go looking for yourself in someone else. In the 2019 follow-up to his third 2015 record, ​Wrong Side of the River​, Memphis-bred Baird smashes right into heartache, chasing losses just to end up winning back the love he never knew he was looking for.

“For me, until you get your heart broken as an adult, you don’t really know how to write anything meaningful. You can make it up…that works for a little while. I’m not saying you have to be completely unhinged to make music, but I think you do have to know what it feels like to be completely vulnerable,” explained Baird of the record. “Every emotion you feel in a breakup — anger, anguish, disappointment, lust — you’ll feel it as you listen.”

Recorded straight to tape, at Battletapes, an East Nashville studio under the direction of Jeremy Ferguson (Cage The Elephant, Andrew Combs, Lucie Silvas) — ​After All combines the known with the unknown applying new processes with familiar relationships. Produced by long time friend and collaborator, Rick Brantley who did time on Music Row as well as in the trenches with the likes of John Hiatt and Brandi Clark; Texas-based musicians’ Austin ‘Woodrow’ Morgan and Z Lynch, After All brings together a depth of sound only musicians playing together for a decade can make. According to Woodrow: “We’ve gone from hating each other to living together to playing together so much that we hated each other all over again. Somewhere along the way we figured out how to grow up and now after so much time spent talking about it, we have finally made a record together.”

Drawing inspiration from Lucinda Williams’ tender melodies to the raw chords of James McMurtry, Rob surrounded himself with the sounds and souls that have known him best to make his latest album. Shaped serendipitously and with the help of friends Burleson Smith, David Beck and Brian Douglas Phillips, the songs were crafted over a couple years at a kitchen table in Austin.

The material gnaws on the hard truths that heartbreak surfaces. The title track, “After All,” an ironically light-hearted start for the relationship roadtrip it confesses. Rob sings of the road less travelled in “Losing Hands,” admitting you can’t be made whole when your down this low. With the song, “Devil Woman Blues,” Rob illustrates a series of

seductive vignettes that tackle faded dreams of innocence. “Greedy Eyes” alludes to the infallible realities that come with making promises no man can keep. In “I Tried,” Baird takes you on a haunting journey of the self-realization that comes when you’ve risked everything and put too much of you into us. To wrap up the record, “Best That I Was” intentionally drags out closure to the relationship rollercoaster you’ve been on. The entire record is like a handshake with heartache that ends in a hopeful goodbye bringing warmth to a cold shoulder lover.

“It’s my fourth record and after ten years of recording I have — through luck and shear persistence, surrounded myself with the right people. It’s these people, living these songs with me one-by-one, note-by-note. These people living this album with me that have brought an honesty I wouldn’t have found on my own.”

The more you listen to ​After All, ​the more you hear the depth of gray that lies between the black and white lines of love, “thank God I got out of my own way and back to my roots,” shares Baird.

Throughout the last decade playing and writing songs, Rob’s mastered the art of skating as close to the truth as you can without sinking the ship. It’s hard to make an album come alive with each listen and Rob’s done just that with ​After All​— and not by mistake.

Jul
19
Fri
JEFF CROSBY & THE REFUGEES
Jul 19 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Born and raised in Idaho, Jeff Crosby has been sharing his unique perspective of Americana throughout the US and beyond for the past decade. His songs are a collection from growing up in a small town in Idaho with all of the hardships and beauty of living in small town America, to five years living in a shoebox apartment off Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles CA, then to traveling and living on the road playing 250 shows a year. Though recently making the move to Nashville TN, Jeff continues to spend majority of his time touring the country.

After spending the last two years splitting his time between playing guitar for Widespread Panic song-writer Jerry Joseph and performing with his own band, Jeff hit the studio to produce his fourth full length album, Postcards from Magdalena. The collection of songs was inspired by the places and cultures Crosby experienced while traveling across the U.S., Iceland, the UK., Colombia, Nicaragua, and Alaska.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Friday, July 19
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
ROGER CLYNE & THE PEACEMAKERS
Jul 19 @ 8:00 pm
ROGER CLYNE & THE PEACEMAKERS
Bridging the gap between rock & roll, roadhouse Americana, and the music sound of the southwestern United States, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers have carved their own path over the last 25 years. They’ve traveled the world, sent eight albums to the top of the Billboard Internet Sales Chart, launched an annual music festival in Mexico, started their own line of ultra-premium tequila and built a global community of music-lovers and peacemakers – all while remaining 100% independent.

The band just released their 10th studio album in 20 years – ‘Native Heart’. Produced by Grammy winning legend Steve Berlin and mixed by Michael Brauer at the iconic Electric Ladyland, they shine new light on a band that’s built a career on trekking their own path with their own sound style of twang and taller-than-life characters of the Southwest to a rock & roll soundtrack. 

The band’s roots run deep, sinking back to a time with The Refreshments – the hometown heroes of Phoenix during the mid-1990s, fueled by a major-label deal with Mercury Records, a popular song (”Banditos”) on American rock radio and MTV, and the unique distinction of being both the composers and performers of the theme song for the culture favorite ‘King of the Hill’ TV show. All served to introduce Roger Clyne’s songwriting to a national audience. The Refreshments sang about Mexico, liquored-up bandits and troubadours, mixing the lore of the American Southwest with guitar muscle and pop/rock melody. Clyne deepened that sound with The Peacemakers, a roots rock band relying not on a record label for support, but on near-constant touring and a rare, genuine connection with fans.

Last year, the band’s founders, Roger Clyne & PH Naffah, appeared in a full length documentary ‘here’s to life’ about The Refreshments. Which celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the debut album, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. Two decades after its release, the album continues to influence a wide range of rock and country musicians, 12 of who will put their own stamp on the album’s music with an upcoming, all-star tribute album recreation of the iconic album

 

 
Jul
25
Thu
ARKANSAUCE
Jul 25 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Arkansauce is a genre-hopping, four piece string band from northwest Arkansas, bending the rules and blurring the lines between bluegrass, newgrass, folk, americana, country, blues, and funk. With a loyal following growing every day in the Natural State and along their tour routes, the band is proud to be stepping into a hard-driving sound unique to the Arkansas quartet.

The third album (If I Were You, released April 2017) of all original material finds the palate expanded with more complex melodies, intriguing rhythms, and hard-hitting hooks that leave the songs whirling around your head long after the listening experience.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Thursday, July 25
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Jul
26
Fri
AMERICAN AQUARIUM + BOTTLE ROCKETS
Jul 26 @ 8:00 pm
AMERICAN AQUARIUM

AMERICAN AQUARIUM

In the lush tobacco fields of North Carolina where BJ Barham was raised, people work hard. Families stay nearby, toiling and growing together. BJ loves those farms and his tiny Reidsville hometown, but he had to run off and start American Aquarium, a band now beloved by thousands.
BJ couldn’t stay. But he couldn’t really leave, either: he’s still singing about the lessons, stories, and lives that define rural America––and him.

“I moved to the big city to go to college and fell in love with music,” BJ says. “But half the songs on our record are about small towns––little pieces of my childhood. I’ve had moments where it turns out a piece of broken English my father repeated twice a week is the most accurate way to say something. So I put it in a song.”

American Aquarium’s seventh studio album Things Change offers the band’s finest collection of folk infused Southern rock-and-roll to date. Stacked with BJ’s signature storytelling––always deeply personal but also instantly relatable––the record questions and curses current events, shares one man’s intimate evolution, and leaves listeners with a priceless gift: hope.

“In my early 20s, I was not as hopeful,” BJ says. “Now, as I’m getting ready to become a father, I think I have to be hopeful––especially with the situation our country is in now. For her sake, I have to be positive.” He pauses. “Her” is his daughter, due in the spring of 2018. BJ adds, “Being self-aware has always been a blessing and a curse. But that’s what’s always made my songwriting relatable to people. I don’t hold back. I’m almost too honest.”

BJ’s candor has fueled American Aquarium’s runaway appeal, visible most clearly in consistently sold-out shows across the country and throughout Europe – between 200 and 250 dates a year. Much has changed for the band and BJ since their acclaimed last effort, Wolves. In 2017, every American Aquarium member save BJ quit the group. American Aquarium has featured about 30 players since BJ founded the outfit in 2006, and while each member has left indelible marks, the band has always been anchored by the literary songs and sometimes roaring, sometimes whispering, drawl of BJ Barham. BJ’s personal life also underwent seismic shifts: He got sober. He got married. Soon, he’ll be a dad.

Featuring a new band lineup that includes Shane Boeker on lead guitar, drummer Joey Bybee, bassist Ben Hussey, and Adam Kurtz on pedal steel and electric guitar, as well as a reinvigorated frontman in BJ, Things Change is American Aquarium’s first release on a label after selling thousands of records on their own. “As an artist, your goal is for the newest thing you do to be better than the last. You’re slowly whittling away the bullshit to try and get to the truth,” BJ says. “With this album, I learned how to cut some of that fat so that it’s just truth. It’s our best record.”

Recorded at 3CG Records in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Things Change was produced by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter John Fulbright and features cameos from Americana standouts including John Moreland and Jamie Lin Wilson. Brazen album opener “The World is on Fire” is a richly layered rock-and-roll anthem that documents BJ and his wife’s stunned reaction to the last presidential election. Emotional and conversational, the song taps into widespread feelings of confusion and fear: “She said, ‘What are we going to do? What’s this world coming to?’ / For the first time in my whole life, I stood there speechless.” But what begins as despair builds into defiant faith, as BJ growls a call to action to cap off one of his favorite songs he’s ever written. “I’m complaining about the state of things, and then the third verse almost serves as a challenge to myself: hey, you’re in charge of another human being. You can create change,” he says.

Driving rock-and-roller “Crooked + Straight” explores the small-town consequences of questioning religion, and the tightness of family in the face of one member’s rejection. His father’s advice anchors the song. “I come from a blue-collar family. I’m the only one who didn’t go into farming. I learned if you want something, you have to go out and take it. You can’t expect anything from anybody,” BJ says. “You can only go out there and work harder. My dad always said you can outwork anybody else.” Love for hard work and the people who carry it out appears repeatedly throughout Things Change. Guitar-heavy “Tough Folks” is a snarling ode to those with dirt under their fingernails, while bass- and pedal-steel-infused “Work Conquers All” spins a tale in praise and pursuit of Oklahoma’s state motto.

The album’s love songs are the kind of achingly beautiful that only comes with maturity and a willingness to expose one’s own flaws. Haunting “Shadows of You” recalls a lover’s flight as the protagonist longs for what he let get away. Gorgeous “Till the Final Curtain Falls” celebrates loyalty and pledges endless devotion. The moving title track takes an often doleful topic––people’s tendency to change––and turns it on its head, tracing BJ’s personal growth and recognizing his now-wife’s steadfast love.

BJ’s other two favorite tracks are album standouts. Moving “When We Were Younger Men” addresses the break-up of American Aquarium head on. As BJ professes love for his former bandmates over stripped down acoustic guitar, his voice is honeyed and deep. “It’s an open letter to five guys who I spent eight years of my life with seeing the entire world,” BJ says. “I think anyone who has ever had to walk away from a friendship or has had somebody walk away from them will relate to the song.” Stunner “One Day at a Time” is self-perceptive and vulnerable, detailing BJ’s battles with himself. Even within his career full of well-written gems, the song is a towering accomplishment.

“At the end of the day, if you’re not writing songs to affect other people’s lives, you’re in it for the wrong reasons,” BJ says, reflecting on the new album, where he’s been, and where American Aquarium is headed. “Money may come and go. You may never get fame. But if you sit down and write songs to affect people, you can do it your whole life and be happy.”

BOTTLE ROCKETS

BOTTLE ROCKETS

Formed nearly 30 years ago, the Bottle Rockets helped forge a now-popular subgenre—small-town, middle-class, Midwest American roots rock—part right-to-the-gut poetry, part rock ‘n’ roll, all truth. Bit Logic is a different sort of album for the St. Louis natives and shows them at their most self-aware, self-challenging, and socially alert.

Recorded in St. Louis at Sawhorse Studios, engineered by Mario Viele and produced by longtime studio collaborator Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (The Del-Lords, Steve Earle), the Bottle Rockets’ 13th album has them looking at their unique stylistic blend through a different lens. While one of the group’s earmarks is constructing blue-collar anthems, Bit Logic has the quartet focusing outside themselves, at how change and adaptation affects the bigger picture.

“We were not planning any kinda ‘theme’ to this album, but one kinda showed up,” said lead singer and guitarist Brian Henneman. “If it’s about anything at all, it’s an album about existing in this modern world. Trying to dodge depression and anger. These songs are views from the moments when you’re mostly succeeding at it.” Yet, to balance those times when success may seem just a breath out of reach, the album includes the infectious pop masterpiece “Maybe Tomorrow” which offers an optimistic and buoyant outlook on momentary failure.

The band returned to its more democratic songwriting approach this time, which generated four co-written songs, in contrast to their previous and critically acclaimed album, South Broadway Athletic Club, which Henneman primarily wrote. Leading up to their time in the studio, Henneman sent around some bare-bones acoustic iPhone recordings that would serve as the album’s blueprint, and the group fleshed out one song a day by means of three 4-day studio sessions.

The group went into the recording sessions with a fresh outlook—to bring out more of their Americana influences and to write a record that more accurately reflected their collective approach. What they found while doing so surprised them.

“The past provided touchstones,” said Ambel. “Times when you could hear Merle Haggard and the Grateful Dead on the same radio station. The country vibe came from the sounds that inspired us in the studio. Sounds from the more experimental times of country. Post Hank, post George.”

Other inspirations came from “off-the-beaten-path Americana” sources like Don Williams, Poco, Jackson Browne, Jerry Reed, and more, all of whom “showed up” in the music during the sessions, audibly channeling themselves through John Horton’s hot-shit, phase-shifted country-folk pickin’; Henneman’s penny philosopher, raspy drawl; or Mark Ortmann and Keith Voegele’s in-the-pocket, country-rock overdrive.

The title track and “Lo-Fi” are pointed laments of how the ever-relevant topic of modernization affects the individual—how it can be a marvelous dream, but also a dehumanizing reality. In “Bit Logic” Henneman and Ortmann team up to pen some of the band’s most clever and conscious wordplay, “In my technicolor childhood / We burned incandescent dreams / Illuminatin’ on these future things / That didn’t turn out like we thought they would.” But there’s always the other side of the coin, as in “Lo-Fi”: “Al Green in the kitchen/ On the AM radio/ Best bad sound that I ever did know/ Scratchy and it’s muddy / But it carries me through/ Straight on down to Memphis in ’72.”

It all funnels into the brilliant, poignant, quotable critique on the music industry, “Bad Time to Be an Outlaw.” In the bouncy, meta, swampy country number Henneman takes stock, rethinks his choices in life, but still ends up at the same outcome. The lyrics are pure Prine, the music wonderfully reminiscent of Waylon and Reed.

That Nashville Pop it ain’t my deal
Even though that cash flow’s real
But these days “What Would Waylon Do?”
Don’t make much money sad but true
It’s a bad time to be an outlaw

Don’t get me wrong I love what I do
Couldn’t even change it if I wanted to
But random selection of the universe
Is makin’ me think my job’s a curse
It’s a bad time to be an outlaw

Through it all, the album is the simple meeting the complex, traditional meeting modern, stick-to-your-guns resoluteness meeting adaptation. It’s what Bottle Rockets have always done, but with a fresh take. Bit Logic breaks new artistic ground but remains in character.
Full Bio

The Bottle Rockets will release their new album Bit Logic on October 12th, 2018.

The band was unceremoniously birthed in 1992 and they very quickly became a forebearer for the new style alongside Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks, Old 97’s, Blue Mountain and Whiskeytown.

When The Bottle Rockets hit the scene in the mid ’90s, the world wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. With their punk-rock pedigrees and arena-rock energy, their tougher-than-Springsteen storytelling and their romantic hearts sewn bare on their denim sleeves, the pride of Festus, MO confounded musical generalities as they laid waste to clubs across the Midwest and then, soon enough, the nation.

Back in a time when the critical language and resulting idioms for mixing underground rock with country was in its infancy, The Bottle Rockets were fearlessly — and quite loudly — playing rootsy weepers alongside howling rave ups, with singer/guitarist Brian Henneman (who paid some dues as a roadie for Uncle Tupelo and playing on their March 16-20, 1992 album and Wilco’s debut A.M.) leading the charge as some sort of Roger Miller of the indie set. It’s a sound propped up (and hopped up) just as much on the pillars of Leslie West & Mountain as it was on those of the Ramones and the Clash.

Until every regular guy gets a fair shake, the songs and sentiments of the Bottle Rockets will never get stale. The band, and their sound and their message, goes beyond a time or a place or a fad. The Bottle Rockets are true folk music, albeit it with beards, biker wallets and a lot more muscle.

Aug
9
Fri
Sounds of Summer in First Ward Park – Brett Dennen w/ Emily Sage
Aug 9 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

First Ward Park, at 301 E 7th Street, is again hosting a FREE Americana concert series in 2019.

Sounds of Summer in First Ward Park

For the past ten years, Brett Dennen – with his poet’s perspective, off-kilter vocals, insane sense of humor, and limitless musical freedom – has turned dancing like no one’s watching into a lifestyle. As a songwriter, performer, watercolor artist, and environmental conservationist and outdoorsman, the shows he performs and the events he hosts generate more than good vibes. His impact has been to gather like-minded music fans to consistently try to make the world a better place.  
   
As a young man in Northern California, Dennen’s passion for environmental conservation and his outrage at injustice led him to work as a camp counselor for at-risk youth. There, he used music as a teaching tool. Through song, he could pull different demographics of kids together, he could communicate in a different way with those who found trouble finding their own words, and obviously…guitar + bonfire = good times.

When Brett began to pursue recording and touring professionally, neither his voice nor his intentions changed. His debut album in 2007 kickstarted a career that uses every color of the musical palate. So much so, that with each song, the ‘musical math’ to summarize his sound shifts. From Paul-Simon-meets-Bob-Marley to Violent-Femmes-meets-Buddy-Holly – it’s all there over an absolutely iridescent catalogue.  

As with any true artist, Brett’s talent surpasses music. He is an incredible painter who focuses on watercolor, a wine lover with his own vintage, and an organizer whose annual ‘Lift Series’ and ‘Vacationer Series,’ held in mountain ski towns and beaches, respectively, combine music with activities and conservation.

Here’s Looking At You Kid was released in August 2018 as the second half of a two-part EP collaboration with Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Adele, Dixie Chicks) on Downtown Records. The first EP, entitled Let’s… was released Feb. 2018 and included “Already Gone,” which rose to #3 on BDS AAA and #4 on MB AAA. The second EP, Here’s Looking At You, Kid was released in Aug. 2018.

Dennen spent 2018 headlining the US and UK, and joined Jason Mraz to support his summer North American run. Dennen recently wrapped a successful Third Annual Lift Series.

 

Performing With: Emily Sage – 7pm

www.emilysagemusic.com

Aug
23
Fri
THE FLOORBOARDS
Aug 23 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Floorboards are an American Roots Rock Ensemble hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The band marries rock & roll and country roots with the sights and sounds of southern mountain towns. Jake and Rob shake the leaves from the trees. Chris coaxes stringed cries from the hills and hollers. Matt writes and sings the story.

The Floorboards released their second studio album, Borrowed Moon, on November 21, 2017. Borrowed Moon finds the Roanoke, VA based band delicately walking a line between singer/songwriter, Matt Browning’s, evocative lyrics and guitarist/songwriter, Chris Blankenship’s, tastefully blistering guitar work.

Since the Floorboards’ debut album in 2012, the years have gone by in a flash of Ford Econoline and rock ‘n’ roll. Borrowed Moon was given its first kick at life in 2013 with the band’s original lineup. Something with the music didn’t feel right, so they took to the road to figure it out. As the dust settled, the band experienced lineup changes, a few broken bones – and the songs that singer/songwriter Matt Browning penned with an acoustic guitar became their proud workingman’s rock ‘n’ roll music. Somewhere between Birmingham, Alabama and New York City, the band agreed a total change of scenery was needed to drive their next album forward.

Since forming in Roanoke, Virginia in 2012, The Floorboards have toured extensively throughout the East Coast, sharing stages with Dwight Yoakam, Trampled by Turtles, Darryl Scott, Tim O’Brien, Yarn, Los Colognes, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Will Overman, and many more.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Friday, August 23
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Aug
31
Sat
THE CONTENDERS
Aug 31 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Contenders are an Americana Folk Roots duo of Jay Nash (9 albums, 10 EPs, 900 shows, 400,000 miles) and Josh Day (Sara Bareilles, John Oates, Brandi Clark, and Jennifer Nettles drummer) they have toured the US, opened for The Milk Carton Kids half a dozen times, played Americana Fest with Patti Griffin, played Merle Fest where Jens Kruger of the Kruger Brothers joined them onstage, toured Europe (Holland, Germany, and France) have released an EP ‘Meet The Contenders’ and released their debut Album ‘Laughing with the Reckless’ last year to critical acclaim.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Saturday, August 31
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Sep
7
Sat
TELLICO
Sep 7 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

With vivid, original storytelling, vibrant musicianship and intelligent arrangements, Asheville, NC band Tellico creates an innovative sound that redefines what today’s Southern Appalachian music can be. Instead of modernizing tradition, Tellico takes it deeper, effortlessly weaving meaningful, imaginative songwriting with intelligent arrangements. There is no gimmick here, and yet, there is nothing tired or cliche. Tellico explores the beauty of songcraft through the lens of tradition and an unmistakable sound.

At its core is the voice and guitar of Anya Hinkle. Her sound is rooted in the mountains of her home in southwestern Virginia, but seasoned by travels across the world and back. With arresting honesty, her singing and songwriting comes from the heart. The foil to Hinkle’s heartfelt singing and songwriting, can be found in fellow songwriter, vocalist, bass and harmonica player, Greg “Stig” Stiglets. Inspired from the stories and events of daily life, his attention to melody and groove help to further showcase the instrumental prowess of the band.

Both Aaron Ballance (dobro, lap steel, pedal steel) and Jed Willis (mandolin, clawhammer banjo, electric guitar) hail from central North Carolina. The state itself provides its own conservatory for study, and its students learn from first generation roots music pioneers as well as serious students of the genre in the classrooms of jams, bands, and festivals. Obsessed with playing music going back to their teen years, Ballance and Willis are veteran players.

These four musicians deepen their awareness each year of the synergy among them while eyeing terrain that is yet uncovered. From their converged paths emerges a sound that has jelled over more than a decade of collaboration. Their freshman effort Relics and Roses was well-received, gathering accolades from tastemakers and earning them stage appearances at the country’s most prestigious festivals (MerleFest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Official Showcase Artist and World of Bluegrass-IBMA).

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Saturday, September 7
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Sep
12
Thu
YARN
Sep 12 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

You might expect a band that calls itself Yarn to, naturally, tend to spin a yarn or two. “that’s what we do, we tell stories, live and in the studio, truth and fiction” singer/songwriter Blake Christiana insists. “We don’t always opt for consistency. There’s a different vibe onstage from what comes through in our recordings. There’s a difference in every show as well, you never know what you’re going to get.”

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: Thursday, September 12
  • Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Location: River Jam Stage
  • Cost: Free and open to the public
  • Weather: Events are scheduled to proceed rain or shine.  In the event of severe weather, the USNWC reserves the right to reschedule/cancel live music performances.
Sep
13
Fri
Sounds of Summer in First Ward Park – Keller & the Keels w/ Coddle Creek
Sep 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

First Ward Park, at 301 E 7th Street, is again hosting a FREE Americana concert series in 2019.

Sounds of Summer in First Ward Park

Definition: Appalachian Psychedelic Bluegrass

“Award winning flat picker Larry Keel and his rock solid, in the pocket bass playing wife, Jenny Keel, make up two thirds of this super fun trio I started in 2004. With two albums recorded together the handful of gigs we play a year turn into acoustic picking parties. We vowed from the beginning that we wouldn’t do it often so that when we did, it would be special and it is.” –Kw

Performing With: Coddle Creek – 7pm

Coddle Creek Facebook

Nov
7
Thu
The SiriusXM Coffeehouse Tour featuring Joshua Radin & The Weepies
Nov 7 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Share in an evening of indie-Americana with singer-songwriters Joshua Radin and Deb Talan and Steve Tannen of The Weepies. These musicians explore the intricacies and adventures of love with distinctive sentiment and exceptional lyricism.

About Joshua Radin

Love and the complications surrounding it have long been Joshua Radin’s songwriting forte. Featured in more than 150 different films, commercials and TV shows, Radin’s songs have reached large audiences with their ability to convey all of the ambivalence and excited uncertainness of new love.

About The Weepies

Deb Talan and Steve Tannen began writing songs together the night they met. Soon after, they formed The Weepies, an indie junket launched by the now husband-wife duo’s harmonies and insightful songwriting. Their charming performance style and prolific work ethic have led to the sale of more than 1.5 million records and fans across the globe.