Kevin Morby Sings of a Haunting LA on ‘City Music,’ Hits GAMH in September (Sat. 9/23 w/ Shannon Lay)


Former Woods bassist Kevin Morby has in recent years enjoyed widespread praise for his flourishing, prolific solo career. He’d previously played in the Babieswith Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls. The duo put out a couple of excellent albums before the project was declared inactive.

Since the end of the Babies and his departure from Woods, Morby has kept busy. 2013’s Harlem River marked the start of a slew of releases: four albums in five years, all of which display nuanced songcraft and a rambling folk imagination. But it was last year’s Singing Saw that won him significant acclaim, helped along by favorable coverage from the influential blog Aquarium Drunkard.

Morby’s songs have always tended towards the mournful. Singing Saw is an album of the wilderness: ballads for the somber forests, mystical desert wanderings, folksy hymns of the mountains, and of lost souls. His latest, City Music (out on Dead Oceans) embraces new geographies while allowing Morby’s Kansas roots shine through. City Music plays like an elegy for LA, as the singer-songwriter is wooed by its charms without losing his outsider’s eye for its uglier facets. On album opener “Come To Me Now,” Morby sings “I can’t wait for the sun to go down / Tired of squintin’ at this godawful town.” Over the course of the album, he collages together religious atonement, rock and roll love stories, and the seediness of the forbidding, alienating metropolis. It’s a juxtaposition that crops up often in film, literature, and music alike — a gothic rendering of LA’s sun-baked sprawl.

The narration that opens the title track’s music video intones: “Each night, each bar had a band playing music. And the music was electric. Different than the music back home. As this wasn’t music from the country—but from the city.” Arguably Morby's best work yet, the slow and wistful City Music is a lovely and lovelorn take on the classic trope of country-boy-in-the-big-city. Pick up a copy and bask in some of its melancholy beauty. - The Bay Bridged

Fanna-Fi-Allah (Sun. 7/9 at GAMH)


In this time of religious extremism, there are still those who are carrying the flame of religious tolerance, devotion and mysticism - and the Sufis are some of the most ancient.

Fanna-Fi-Allah carries the tradition and teachings of the Sufis in their music, the devotionally driven and passionate music of Qawwali. Through many years of study and practice under the guidance of Qawwali masters of India and Pakistan, their expression of Qawwali music has become an authentic representation and continuation of this ancient tradition of Sufi music.

Wallows Make Their SF Debut Here at Slim’s on Sat. 7/15!


Wallows are Cole Preston, Braeden Lemasters, and Dylan Minnette. The LA-based band recently released their debut single “Pleaser” which quickly amassed over 2 million streams on Spotify and hit #2 on the Global Viral Top 50. (“…an upbeat, lo-fi indie rock anthem that will have your head-banging into the weekend. The song radiates some major summertime vibes, and we can practically feel the sun beaming down on us as they shout in the chorus.”- NYLON)

Their first show in San Francisco here at Slim's comes on the heels of sold out shows at The Troubadour, The Roxy and Constellation Room.

Tickets for Sat. 7/15 are going fast - get 'em while you can!

Bea Miller Gets Colorful In 2017 Album Releases (Playing GAMH on Mon. 6/26 w/ Latitude)


Maplewood, N.J.-raised, Los Angeles-based actress, singer-songwriter Bea Miller has adopted an intriguing record-release strategy. The former “X-Factor” contestant issued her full-length debut “Not An Apology” in 2015, but this year she’s putting out a series of color-coded EPs: “Chapter One: Blue,” “Chapter Two: Red” and the upcoming “Chapter Three: Yellow.” “I have synesthesia,” she explains. “It’s essentially when you can see music in color. So ‘Blue’ is the songs I wrote when I was feeling sad and lost, ‘Red’ was written when I was going through a stage of empowerment, and I’m writing ‘Yellow’ right now, about the light at the end of the tunnel.”

You were raised by two showbiz moms. How cool was that?

It’s been awesome having two moms. I grew up in a town where everyone for the most part was very accepting, and there were a lot of LGBT families there. So I’m lucky to have grown up where I did, because there are a lot of places in the world where people are still having problems with things like that. And I was lucky to have experienced something that was different, kind of outside the box. Plus, having two bad-ass moms that didn’t take s— from anybody has helped me become the person I am.

So you weren’t afraid to recently call out electronic duo The Chainsmokers on Twitter, saying they only made music to meet models. Which was hilarious.

Yeah. And a lot of people just took that too seriously. A lot of times I’ll say things like that, and people get kind of angry with me. But I think a lot of people actually agree with me, because it is kind of hilarious that these two guys who are very frat-boy-ish are so successful in a very feminist world — it’s interesting, to me, that they can get by with this.

What sexism have you witnessed in the music business?

Well, if you’re a guy in music, you can be anything. You can be cute, you can be weird, you can be any style of human being, and as long as people like your voice, they’ll listen to you. But if you’re a woman, unless you’re really beautiful, like a model, you’ll have a hard time finding success. I’m not model-beautiful, like a Rihanna or a Selena Gomez, but I’m also not super weird, either. And so far, I’ve struggled with that. And I feel like a lot of women have that problem, where they have to over-sexualize themselves or do things that are weird and different. I don’t feel good about that, and I tweeted about it. I mean, you don’t see guys running around, shaking their asses in music videos! - SF Examiner

Guitar Player Presents North Mississippi Allstars at GAMH on Sat. 6/17


Roots guitar guru Luther Dickinson brings his modern take on muddy Mississippi blues to one of the City by the Bay’s most historic venues—the Great American Music Hall—on the Prayer for Peace tour supporting the new North Mississippi Allstars album of the same name. The Allstars continue to celebrate the legacy of the blues while pushing it forward in a blend of nasty funk, modern soul, and mule-kicking rock and roll.
 Throughout the timely Prayer for Peace album, the Allstars blend a down home musical sensibility with messages of positivity, hope, and family. That’s all in play on the potent title track, which finds Dickinson’s furious fingerpicking and slinky slide in call-and-response with Sharde Thomas’ fife over a modern, electronic-tinged boogie beat. Other notable guests at the picnic include Hill Country Blues guitarist Kenny Brown, Midnight North’s Grahame Lesh, bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company), and singer/bassist Danielle Nicole (Trampled Under Foot).
 For this special stop on the Prayer for Peace tour, there will be significant six-string support in the form of opening act Cosmic Twang featuring premier acoustic flatpicker Scott Law and Terrapin Family Band stalwart Ross James.
 Guitar Player will be onsite at the Great American Music Hall Saturday night with an assortment of free goodies including magazines, D’Addario strings, and Planet Waves accessories. There will also be a raffle for a Mese/Boogie Flux-Drive overdrive pedal. Don’t miss this opportunity to share in the Prayer for Peace tour on this San Francisco stop during the 50th anniversary of the historic Summer of Love. - Jimmy Leslie / Guitar Player Magazine

 

Video Premiere: The Happys – Trippin (Playing Sat. 6/24 at Slim’s w/ Mad Caddies)


The Happys are a Bay Area-based rock band that started in 2012 by lead singer Nick Petty. This new music video is the title track for their album Trippin which was released on 4/20/2016. “Trippin” is a breakup song that comes from the point of view of laughing at the pain and not letting it take you out. The video was directed by the band and shot by filmmaker Will Rushton all along the California coast and at San Francisco’s annual 420 Fest at Hippie Hill. You can catch The Happys live on tour by viewing their upcoming tour dates with the Mad Caddies by clicking HERE! Grab their album inside iTunes by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song and video - www.thepier.org

Excited To Announce That Actual Wolf Has Just Been Added To Our Show With Mipso Here At Slim’s On Fri. 6/16!


Actual Wolf is country rock for people who love country & rock music... oh yeah, and bad-ass country funk.

There are outlaws, and there are outlaws. Actual Wolf is a real outlaw and has pled guilty to it. In and out of the slammer since age 16 and/or whenever the mood strikes. And like Charlie Manson and Johnny Cash recorded music in prison, Actual Wolf recorded a pair of EPs while serving time - each showing 'another side of the Wolf.' The first is USA, an everyman’s acoustic album that channels both Woody and Dylan. The second, Lightning & the Wolf conjures a 30-something’s symphony to Gawd, a rock EP at times so ethereal that it floats like smoke up into the aether, at others so earthy & grounded you can almost feel the parole.

This show is the official West Coast digital release party for the brand-spankin' new release, Faded Days. Check it here: https://www.redhouserecords.com/store/faded-days

Country Joe Confirms 50th Anniversary San Francisco Show (Playing GAMH on Fri. 6/9!)


Country Joe McDonald will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his landmark Electric Music For Mind & Body with a special show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall on Friday, June 9. The Woodstock veteran and his classic Country Joe and the Fish helped kick off the Summer Of Love with the May 11, 1967 release of their debut, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, which is credited as one of the first breakthrough San Francisco psychedelic records. A few weeks later, they performed at the first great rock music festival Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967

As previously reported,, McDonald recently released his appropriately titled new album, 50. McDonald first started working on the new batch of songs, which features The Tubes’ Prairie Prince and members of his band, in 2015. They returned to the studio 25 times to perfect the material. - Jambands.com

Desert Trip: Gram Parsons and ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ (Don’t Miss Sleepless Nights XIV at GAMH at on Sat. 6/10!)


A recent poll of young Britons found that nearly a third of younger millennials—29% of 18 to 24-year-olds to be exact—claimed that they had never knowingly listened to an Elvis Presley song. Zero percent of this age group reported listening to Elvis’ music daily. This really isn’t all that surprising—or at least it shouldn’t be. We’re soon approaching the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death and while everyone of a certain age can probably recall exactly where they were when they heard that the King of rock ‘n’ roll had died—whether you were a fan or not, it was earth-shaking news in 1977—to someone born after that, bluntly put, the once titanic cultural importance of Elvis Presley is pretty negligible. If your reaction is that this is depressing—and perhaps it is—then you’re only showing your age. It’s just the way things are.

As the editor of a blog like this one—I was eleven years old when Elvis ate his final fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and frankly I doubt that I listen to him more often than once annually myself—I’m acutely aware of the balance between nostalgia and discovery. The biggest cohort of our readership is comprised of millennials. If nearly a third of young Brits have never purposefully or consciously listened to an Elvis Presley number, then how many of them would know a DEVO song? If you were born in 1965 or 1975, how much knowledge of the music of the 1940s or 1950s do you realistically possess? DEVO’s heyday is even further back than that for someone who is a high school senior in 2017.  “Oldies” radio doesn’t play Herman’s Hermits, the Supremes or Sonny & Cher anymore, it programs Sting, Nirvana and Celine Dion where that format even still exists.

So where would that leave the legacy of a cult artist like Gram Parsons, who died in 1973 at the age of 26 with but a small, yet influential body of work, as the 21st-century marches ever onward? If you are of a certain age, and presuming that you are a pretty big music fan, you no doubt have heard and hopefully appreciate the “cosmic American music” of this golden-voiced country rock progenitor/genius. To be sure, I think that there’s still a pretty strong Gram Parsons cult out there, but in 2017 its members tend to be know-it-all baby boomers with graying ponytails who want to give you their opinions of whatever album you happen to be looking at in a record store.

Only in Southern California, always a stronghold of Flying Burrito Bros. fandom, does there seem to be an organic all ages awareness of the great Gram Parsons. This has much to do with the desert and how inextricably intertwined the desert trip is with the mythos of Parsons’ death by OD in room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn and how his body was subsequently stolen and given a drunken cremation near Cap Rock by his manager, Phil Kaufman.

It’s a SoCal rite of passage to do magic mushrooms in Joshua Tree and trip out under the desert stars listening to The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Bros. as there is simply no greater soundtrack for this sort of activity in that particular place and I’d wager that 99% of all the patrons of Pappy & Harriett’s, whether young or old, male or female could readily identify any song from it that came on their jukebox. But again, it’s specifically a desert kinda thing. Let’s assume that the rest of the country’s Gram Parsons fans are probably spread out a little bit more.

Which is why the word needs to get out about Intervention Records’ recently released vinyl and (upcoming) SACD re-issue of The Gilded Palace of Sin. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, this is one of the best-sounding slabs of wax that I’ve ever heard in my entire life, which is exactly what you would want someone to say if you’re a new boutique record label catering to the snobbiest of jaded (and easily disappointed) audiophiles. Think you’ve heard it all? Wait until you’ve heard this! That beautiful young man’s quivering, vulnerable, plaintive voice, those harmonies with Chris Hillman and the exquisite chime of Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s buzzing, warmly-distorted almost psychedelic steel guitar, it’s all there in the grooves as never before, like they coaxed some extra music particles off the low generation analog tapes it was mastered from. Since I first heard The Gilded Palace of Sin in the early 90s—yes I was in Joshua Tree, and yes I was tripping under the desert stars—I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, but this is something else entirely. Always an exhilarating—and well-recorded—album to begin with, this absolutely sparkling pressing by Intervention represents the apex of the state of the art analog “triple A” production (no digital anywhere in the workflow) going today. They even make a new vinyl stamper after every 5000 uses so every copy is a “hot stamper.” I’ll say that again: If you’re looking for some primo vinyl to throw at your turntable, this is as good as it gets, a record you will find yourself flipping over and playing again and again and again. (And although I’d bet this is their showpiece, Intervention Records have also released exquisite editions of classic albums by Joe Jackson, Big Audio Dynamite, Stealers Wheel and they’ve announced some upcoming Judee Sill releases. Everything I’ve heard from them is crazy good, 10/10 stuff. Every audiophile should keep an eye on what they’re releasing.) - Dangerous Minds

Smidley Makes Bay Area Debut with Tigers Jaw (Playing at Slim’s on Tues. 6/6!)


In the oddest of circumstances where you have yet to secure your ticket to Tigers Jaw and Saintseneca at Slim’s, an additional 10 reasons to put you over the edge were released this past Friday.

Conor Murphy, the voice of Foxing, has just unveiled a new record under the moniker Smidley and will be found on stage opening the night.

Click HERE to read the rest of The Bay Bridged's preview!

Stream Secret Sisters’ Defiant New Album ‘You Don’t Own Me Anymore’ (Playing GAMH Tues. 6/6!)


"We write songs as a way for us to keep a scrapbook of our lives," says Laura Rogers, one half of the traditional-country harmony duo the Secret Sisters. On their vulnerable new album, You Don't Own Me Anymore, Laura and sibling Lydia Rogers flip the book open wide, revealing their most personal project to date. Produced by Brandi Carlile, the sisters' third album arrives June 9th on New West Records, but is streaming in its entirety below on Rolling Stone Country.

Take a listen HERE!

The Lumineers Light Up Slim’s (Mon. 5/22)


45 minutes into The Lumineers’ set at Slim’s on Monday night, the trio walked off stage knowing they’d be coming right back. That’s because, even in the intimate venue, the cheers for an encore were near-deafening. Not that the band is any stranger to the attention. Just days before playing the KFOG Special Acoustic Performance, they were opening for U2 at the Rose Bowl in LA for more than 95,000 music lovers. Humbly, lead vocalist/guitarist Wesley Schultz conceded the horde wasn’t necessarily for them, but they hoped they had some converts – to which the amped Slim’s-crowd responded “yeah you did!”

Wesley, Jeremiah Fraites (drums), and Neyla Pekarek (cello, piano) took the stage Monday night for the slightly smaller, yet completely enthralled audience. The folk-Americana bandmates were treated more like rock stars, with shouts from women and men throughout the show and interviews (“we love you!”) flying ubiquitously. Every song was a hit, almost evenly split between tracks from their debut record The Lumineers and sophomore album Cleopatra, which just went No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart.

Click HERE for the rest of the review!

We Miss Barry Zito On The Mound, But He’s Back With Music! (Playing GAMH On Sun. 5/28)


Barry Zito is coming back to the Bay Area and you have 2 chances to see him. Barry has been busy writing and recording songs and he's performing them at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Sunday May 28th. On Monday May 29th, Memorial Day, Barry Zito returns to the field at AT&T Park for pre game festivities and a San Francisco Giants salute to the military.  I had the good fortune to talk to Barry and you can hear that interview and his music here... - Teri King / 96.5 KOIT