Lizzy Ross Band - Read Me Out Loud CD - Many bands take their time crafting their first full-length. Chapel Hill's Lizzy Ross Band took a bit longer than they wanted. Their self-released debut Read Me Out Loud shines through a 6-month struggle of broken bones and busted budgets, tackling obstacles with rich indie soul and boundless enthusiasm. Upbeat rhythms and melodies hide more serious themes. Lyrically, Ross's sincerity cuts deep. This is an album about growing up, wanting to know others and be known yourself, about embracing the world and all of its incumbent risks.
These struggles mix perfectly with Ross' fiery pipes. She recently won the Carolina Music Award for Rock Female of 2011 and is nominated for Best Female Blues artist at the 2011 Charlotte Music Awards. It's easy to understand why. Her voice delivers a charming trill one moment, only to erupt in rough, bluesy emotion the next. It's a powerful instrument that's earned her comparisons to artists like Grace Potter and Edie Brickell among others. Backed up by sophisticated arrangements that include touches of country, '60s roots rock, and a dash of Motown, Ross stares down the uncertain future and sings it into submission.
Read Me Out Loud's emotional power is rooted in its troublesome origins. The band began recording at Arbor Ridge in January. Drew Daniel, the band's drummer, broke his wrist two weeks in and recording ground to a halt. The band was at an impasse, but Ross was determined to continue. Unable to schedule regular studio time, Ross and Daniel started recording on a two-channel Tascam interface in her attic bedroom. Ross bought and learned Pro Tools, and Daniel recorded drum parts one-handed - tracking first the right hand part, then the left hand part.
"We were staying up all night, cables and drums strewn across the bedroom floor, constantly preoccupied with recording," Ross remembers. "When my head hit the pillow, I dreamt of Pro Tools."
In the midst of this fervor, the band brought in James Wallace (Max Indian, Light Pines) on keys, Tim Smith (Squirrel Nut Zippers) on sax, Josh Starmer (Birds and Arrows) on cello, John Garris (Big Fat Gap) on fiddle and other guest artists to round out the album, expanding the sound beyond the rough-and-ready folk-rock of their impassioned shows. Recording novices, Ross and Daniel sought out the mixing skills of Chris Stamey to bring it all together.
By the time the album was finished Brett Hart and Jock Pyle had joined on bass and electric guitar to solidify the band's lineup. Finally finished and raring to go, the Lizzy Ross Band plans to tour heavily in the coming year to support their powerful debut.
George Porter Jr & Runnin' Pardners - Can't Beat the Funk CD - Can't Beat the Funk revisits with a fresh modern groove 16 of Porters favorite Meters tracks that were recorded, but never really performed live. The Runnin' Pardners undeniable energy and driving funk make these songs their own.
A member of the original Meters, considered by many to be the founding fathers of funk, Porter has proven to be capable of the ultimate fusion of rock, funk and R&B. He has gained recognition as one of the industry's elite bass players and continues to be not only an in demand performing artist but an accomplished studio musician and producer.
Runnin' Pardners is George Porter Jr's own unique long term project. Well respected by audiences and promoters as a quintessential New Orleans band, the five piece touring band continues to receive accolades on the jam band and festival scene. George Porter Jr has assembled some seasoned and talented musicians to join him on this project. Familiar Pardners - Brint Anderson (guitar) and, Michael Lemmler (keyboards) and rising stars on the New Orleans music scene Khris Royal (saxophone) and Terrence Houston (drums). Excited about the future of this band and this CD, George Porter Jr. plans to keep a smile on his face. "I feel like I am working towards something that will be remembered."
Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkeys CD - Its music is a highly psychedelic mixture of thumping basslines, sound effects and keyboard and guitar work, with a sound influenced by Steve Hillage and Gong. Many of the Ozrics' songs are in unusual time signatures and/or unusual Eastern-influenced modes. Furthermore, the band often features complex arrangements which change time signature, key signature and tempo frequently in the course of a track, a well-known element present in progressive rock. However, there are also moments of straightforward funk-influenced grooves and strong influences from jazz fusion, dub/reggae and ambient music styles.
These features are mixed with electronic elements, including densely layered psytrance- and techno-influenced arpeggiated synthesizers, pads, synth basslines, effects and programmed drumbeats. It also has a strong influence from dub and ambient music, with many quiet relaxed tracks that balance the frenetic, intense material.
Zach Deputy - Another Day CD - On his new release Another Day, soul-singer/songwriter/guitarist Zach Deputy-- with the help of Grammy-winning producer Scott Jacoby-- taps into the spirit of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder, creating a soulful rhythm and blues album rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs. Another Day shows another side of a Zach Deputy-- well-known as a master of live looping and a staple in the grass-roots club and festival circuit-- and provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. To handle the ever-present Latin, Caribbean and African elements in Zach Deputy's backbeat and place them in the contemporary soul / pop format of the songs, Jacoby tapped Graham Hawthorne (Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, David Byrne) for the drum kit. Bassist Al Carty came into the studio the first day after having played four church gigs. Despite the list of artists he has recorded or toured with (Lou Reed, De La Soul, Carrie Underwood, Gavin DeGraw), the church gigs alone proved that Jacoby was on the mark with this choice for the low end. Zach Deputy is, after all, a soul singer whose music is underpinned by Gospel as much as by any other musical idiom. Equally at home in the Gospel tradition, pianist / organist Will Buthod (Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Alicia Keys, The Harlem Gospel Choir) completed the studio trio that fleshed out Zach's vision for the recording. Best described as soulful rhythm and blues, Another Day will appeal to fans of classic soul legends as well as fans of contemporary artists like Jack Johnson and Amos Lee.
Johnny Winter - Roots CD - This album returns Johnny to his roots by paying homage to the iconic blues heroes whose pioneering music influenced Winter's own signature sound. Roots is the follow up to his Grammy-nominated I'm a Blues Man, and includes a host of special guests join Winter trading licks in honoring his idols.
About Johnny: When you talk about Johnny Winter, you are talking about a person who walked with the originators of the artform. A man who played Woodstock, jammed with everyone from Muddy Waters to Jimi Hendrix to Willie Dixon to Albert Collins to John Lee Hooker to Janis Joplin to Steve Ray Vaughan - the list is full of endless icons. Johnny Winter has been the unofficial torch-bearer for the blues, championing and aiding the careers of his idols like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Johnny had a special relationship with Muddy Waters and is often credited with revitalizing the legendary guitarist, where Winter produced and played on Waters Grammy-winning comeback album Hard Again, Grammy-winning I'm Ready (1978), Grammy-winning Muddy Mississippi Waters Live (1979) and also King Bee (1980). Johnny was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.
Yellow Dubmarine presents Abbey Dub CD - 40 years after four musicians completed their swan song album which was named for the studio that they made famous, another group of supremely talented musicians entered into a studio to re-imagine that same album. Abbey Dub, the debut recording from Yellow Dubmarine, is an aural journey through the history of reggae with The Beatles' masterwork Abbey Road as your guide. From 'Come Together' through 'Her Majesty,' Yellow Dubmarine finds new life in all of the legendary album's 17 songs, keeping the heart of each tune present, but re-casting them in an entirely new light. Horns emerge where there was once the voices of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, a dubbed-out groove where there was once Ringo's four to the floor beat and a mellow skank that seems to discover the long lost island-roots soul of Abbey Road. A blissfully exuberant, rock-steady, Jah-worthy celebration of the Fab Four, Abbey Dub is quite simply a chance to hear this much loved classic again for the first time.
Oct 6-9 Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival - Pittsboro, NC
* Oct 20-23 Magnolia Festival - Live Oak, FL
Oct 29 The Costume Ball - Raleigh, NC
* Nov 10-13 Bear Creek Music Festival - Live Oak, FL
*Look for the Home Grown Music Booth at this event!
Video of the Week:
George Porter Jr & Runnin Pardners with Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley at Bear Creek Festival 2010
Thanks for reading! Treat yourself to some good music this week.