Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band - There are few artists whose names are synonymous with one instrument and how it's played in service to an entire genre. Utter the phrase "young blues rock guitarist" within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The Louisiana born axeman and songsmith has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens. In a 20-year recording career that began when he was just 16, Shepherd has established himself as an immensely popular recording artist, a consistently in-demand live act and an influential force in a worldwide resurgence of interest in the blues. From television performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (amongst others) to features in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Maxim Magazine, Blender, Spin, USA Today and more, his musical career has been nothing short of phenomenal.
At 16 years old, he signed his first record deal and burst onto the national scene with the release of his 1995 debut album Ledbetter Heights, which produced the radio hits "Deja Voodoo," "Born with a Broken Heart" and "Shame, Shame, Shame." His relentless touring and success on rock radio helped to drive the album to Platinum sales status. His 1998 sophomore effort Trouble Is… also went Platinum, yielding such radio hits as "Blue on Black," "True Lies" and "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway." 1999's Live On spawned the radio hits "In 2 Deep", "Shotgun Blues" and "Last Goodbye." 2004's The Place You're In was a blistering rock record and was followed up by 2007's ambitious 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads, for which Shepherd and his band traveled throughout the American South to record with such vintage blues greats as B.B. King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins and David "Honeyboy" Edwards on their home turf. 2010 saw the release of Shepherd's long-awaited first live album, Live! In Chicago, recorded at Chicago's House of Blues during the all-star Legends tour and featuring guest appearances by such blues legends as Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. The live disc debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues chart, as did 2011's How I Go. In 2013, Shepherd further expanded his musical horizons by teaming with veteran rockers Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg to form THE RIDES, whose first album Can't Get Enough helped to expand Shepherd's audience as well as his musical resume. 2014 saw the release of Goin’ Home, Shepherd’s sixth # 1 debut on the Billboard Blues charts. Goin’ Home features several talented friends who shared Shepherd's enthusiasm for the project's back-to-basics ethos. Those guests include fellow guitar icons Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo' and Robert Randolph, longtime friend Ringo Starr, Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, the Rebirth Brass Band and co-producer Blade's father, Pastor Brady Blade Sr., who lends a bracing dose of preaching to Shepherd's version of Bo Diddley's’ "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover." In the months since its release, Shepherd and his band have toured the world extensively blazing a fresh trail for the historical American art form in the 21st Century.
Paula Cole - More beautiful than ever, in a twenty-plus-year-career, Paula Cole releases Ballads, a twenty-song collection of American jazz and folk classics from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. It is dedicated to her father, Jim Cole. Cole started as a jazz singer and now returns, at nearly 50 years of age, to pay homage to her first love of jazz and folk. A self-described “mother and human being first” Cole is a timeless voice not only in song, but for those who have felt pain, and who still stand shining light, against all odds. With a voice that is big, rich and gorgeous, a mind that is intelligent, and a heart that transforms suffering into beauty, Paula Cole sings for our enlightenment, for our souls. Ballads is a journey to Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan, to John Coltrane and Nina Simone, to Bobbie Gentry and Nancy Wilson, sung by a stunning Paula Cole we’ve not yet heard. Start pouring the fine wine. Some things get better with age. Paula Cole is the voice behind Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live, hits “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”, “I Don’t Want To Wait”, and the brave, brazen double platinum album, This Fire. Cole has infused wit and poetry in seven albums of original work over a twenty-plus-year-career.
In performance, Cole gives of herself to such a degree that she elicits tears and gasps and goose bumps from audiences. In her lyrics, she writes of inner life, of redemption, a woman’s perspective; of social justice. As the first woman in history to solely produce and receive the Best Producer Grammy nomination for her work, This Fire, Cole broke boundaries with a searcher’s spirit. Recently Paula is celebrating the 20th anniversary of This Fire, and will be performing This Fire in its entirety at select concerts. She has released a new video of “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”, and a 20th anniversary-memento-live album entitled This Bright Red Feeling. From a small town Rockport, Massachusetts, Paula was raised in a musical family, learning standards that would eventually become Ballads. She attended Berklee College of Music as a jazz singer, graduated in 1990, fervently writing and recording her original work. In 1993, Peter Gabriel heard her then-unreleased debut album Harbinger and invited Cole to join his Secret World Live tour. While touring internationally with Gabriel, Cole’s Harbinger debuted in 1994 to critical acclaim. She toured non-stop and released her second album, 1997’s This Fire for which she won the Grammy for Best New Artist along with seven nominations. Cole led the pack at Lilith Fair’s opening years, and in 1999, followed her muse to release Amen, a genre-crossing, social-spiritual album to diverse audiences. After a seven-year hiatus to raise her daughter Sky, who battled childhood asthma, Cole returned to her “second, more authentic career” releasing five more albums, Courage (2007), Ithaca (2010), Raven (2013), 7 (2015), and This Bright Red Feeling (2016), touring consistently over the last decade. Cole walks her path with her fans, writing out her life, sharing her connection at concerts and over social media. Cole’s compositions have been covered by a diverse range of artists (jazz legend Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, Katherine McPhee, JoJo, hip-hop duo THEY), she has sold approximately three million albums, performed with icons such as Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock, Emmylou Harris, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Burt Bacharach, Counting Crows, Matchbox 20, and currently has over four hundred thousand monthly listeners on Spotify. With a loyal fan base who appreciate the depth of her catalog, the loving artist-fan relationship, and the wisdom earned through pain, tears and joy, Cole is proud to go independently on her own label, 675 Records. Cole is now Professor at her alma mater Berklee College of Music, between tours and albums. She continues to write, produce, record and perform heartfelt, meaningful, lasting music that defies categorization.
LADAMA - LADAMA is a group of four women, virtuosic musicians, and educators -- Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas—each from a different country and culture of the Americas, who are sisters in song, rhythm and spirit. Harnessing music from their respective countries of origin --Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States, the group utilizes traditional and non-traditional instruments from across the Americas, but with a modern twist, to produce Latin Alternative music. LADAMA’s debut, self-titled album, set for release in the Fall of 2017, could not be more timely; both Latin America and the United States, in fact the world, are in need of projects that transcend boundaries and defy norms. This is precisely what their debut album, crafted carefully on a journey through Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and New York, represents. LADAMA’s new self-titled album transcends space, time and borders. Hatched across continents and language by the members of the group themselves, it delivers a fresh take on a myriad of traditional, Pan-American rhythms all coming together seamlessly into LADAMA’s unique blend of enthralling sounds. The songs in this collection emit an electric pulse and energy that are truly global in concept and vision. A song like Porro Maracatu is a vibrant and provocative marriage of two traditional rhythms from Afro-Colombian and Afro-Brazilian culture. Confesión is a tender love letter to self-actualization and womanhood. Traditional instruments combine with electric arrangements to produce a vibrant, melodious experiment in allowing oneself to feel, speak and reimagine the currents that connect us all across the Americas.
In its deepest essence, LADAMA’s inaugural album is a reflection of what it means to communicate across the Americas. Written, composed, arranged and produced by the dynamic foursome, the album is an organic yet modern expression of authenticity across cultures. LADAMA met on the road in 2014 while touring Los Angeles, Arizona, and New Mexico as part of the prestigious OneBeat Program. Between individual performances, leading youth workshops and public music-making events. Lara, Daniela, Mafer and Sara uncovered a common dream of building communities through sound and empowering women and youth through music. Reimagining South American and Caribbean styles like cumbia, maracatu, onda nueva and joropo and blending them with soul, R&B and pop, LADAMA creates a new sound all their own. Together, the four shred on the Bandola Llanera from Venezuela, the Tambor Alegre from Colombia, and the Pandeiro from Northeastern Brazil. With powerful vocals, often accompanied by Pat Swoboda on the bass, LADAMA delivers an utterly unique musical experience. LADAMA flows from the electric to the acoustic, from Spanish to English and Portuguese, and from the high plains of Venezuela to the Colombian coast. Their art proves that borders are meaningless, transporting us to a future where the world communicates across continents and cultures, through sound and story.
Matt the Electrician - Despite the name, Matt the Electrician is no longer an electrician, focusing instead on a music career that has spanned the course of two decades, a dozen records, and literally thousands of shows. It’s folk music for a modern age, rooted in lyrics that focus on the realities and challenges of the 21st century as opposed to, say, the old-school thrill of hopping trains. “I don’t generally write mining disaster songs,”he explains. “I tend to write about things that have happened to me and my family. Songs about the small things in life, which, to me, are really the big things.” With his newest project, Matt gets by with a little help from his friends. Throughout 2015 and 2016, he’s focusing on a string of 7-inch vinyl singles. Every new release will focus on collaborations with different artists who’ve crossed Matt’s path over the years, including the bluegrass band Wood & Wire (who appear on the very first installment of the vinyl series), experimental solo musician Little Brave, and others. Rather than record an entire album’s worth of material, then carefully plot the album’s release for months, Matt the Electrician will release the 7-inch records as they’re finished, with each new release following its predecessor by three or four months. The goal? To get new music to his fans as quickly and creatively as possible. The icing on the cake? Matt gets to extend the collaborative spirit that’s been present in his music ever since his very first gig in Pacific Grove, CA, when he invited his high school classmates to join him onstage. “The coffee shop paid me in tips, free coffee and a sandwich,” he remembers of that teenaged gig. “I had to fill three hours, and I only had two songs, so I invited all the friends I knew kids from the school orchestra, friends, other kids who had started writing songs and the show wound up being ‘Matt and Friends.’ That was 25 years ago and that’s what I’m still doing.”
Years before moving to Texas and launching his career as a boundary-breaking, working-class folk musician, Matt Sever grew up on the West Coast. His parents, a union carpenter and a seamstress, played John Denver and Pete Seeger songs on the family record player, and Matt spent his earliest years surrounded by the things that would later fill his own music: acoustic guitars, timeless melodies, lyrics that celebrated the joys and heartaches of everyday life, and above all else a strong work ethic. That work ethic served him well in the mid-1990s, when he moved to Austin in search of new horizons and better opportunities. Matt was already playing music by then, and in need of a steady day job to help pay the bills, he began working as an electrician, spending his days wiring houses in the sweltering Texas heat. Once quitting time came, he’d grab his guitar and drive himself to an evening show, usually taking the stage in his work boots and sweaty clothes. “Hi; I’m Matt the Electrician,” he’d tell the crowd, hoping his occupation would help explain his appearance. The name stuck, even after his growing fanbase at home as well as abroad, where he’s since become a frequently-booked musician throughout Japan and Europe allowed him to hang up his pliers for good.
Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons - Armed with electric guitars, swooning vocals, and songs that split the difference between rock & roll and dreamy psychedelia, Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons pack the biggest punch of their career with Homemade Vision. Like the band’s debut, Hey Kid — an album whose kickoff track, “Athens,” earned Perley an International Songwriting Award in 2014 — Homemade Vision was recorded in the Howlin’ Moons’ hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Many of the songs were dreamt up somewhere along the highways and backroads that crisscross America, though, coaxed into life by a group of roots-rock road warriors who regularly play more than 100 shows a year. As a result, Homemade Vision is the sort of wide-ranging record that creates its own geography, building an imaginary place where the influences of David Gilmour, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, and Nebula all intersect. It’s also the work of a genuine band. Chris Connor’s guitar playing — a flurry of fuzz, crunch, twang and bang — occupies just as large a role as Perley’s voice, while Billy Zehnal’s bass — coupled with cymbal crashes and snare hits from an arsenal of heavy-hitting drummers — glues the mix together. Inspired by love, heartbreak, and everything in between, Homemade Vision is a battle cry from a band that’s spent years fighting the good fight, carving out their own brand of atmospheric, aggressive Americana along the way.