Mother Plug Music Archive

HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER

HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
Starring on stage at 2017 Sloss Music & Arts Festival and one of MusicBham’s Editor’s Choice for 2016 Albums of the Year, see Hiss Golden Messenger perform songs from, Heart Like a Levee (Merge Records, 2016), and choice cuts from other critically acclaimed albums.

The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington, DC, in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling-more acutely than I had ever felt before-wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of deadend gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then-driven by monthly bills and pure fear- I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that…

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Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke

“I think that this record does a really good job of conveying what we do and what we’re about,” Blackberry Smoke singer-guitarist-songwriter Charlie Starr says of Holding All the Roses, the band’s fourth studio album and its first Rounder release. Indeed, Holding All the Roses compellingly captures the energy, attitude and honesty that have already helped to make Blackberry Smoke one of America’s hottest live rock ‘n’ roll outfits, as well as a grass-roots phenomenon with a large and fiercely loyal fan base that reflects the band’s tireless touring regimen and staunch blue-collar work ethic. The 12-song set—produced by Brendan O’Brien, whose previous production clients have included AC/DC, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young—showcases the Atlanta-based quintet’s emotion-charged mix of bluesy rock, gospel soul, and country, with Starr’s raspy twang matched by his and Paul Jackson’s snarling guitars, Brandon Still’s hauntingly expressive organ and piano, and the propulsive sibling rhythm section of Richard and Brit Turner. The songs’ musical and emotional appeal is further elevated by the band’s three-part vocal harmonies and expanded arrangements that make judicious use of fiddle and added percussion. The five musicians’ instinctive musical rapport manifests itself equally strongly on such surging rockers…

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Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness is in for a sizeable surprise with her third album, MY WOMAN. The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is now burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-centre than before, and the overall production is lighter. Yet the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain, so anyone who might attempt to pigeonhole Olsen as either an elliptical outsider or a pop personality is going to be wrong whichever way they choose – Olsen continues to reign over the land between the two with a haunting obliqueness and sophisticated grace.

Given its title, and track names like ‘Sister’ and ‘Woman’, it would be easy to read a gender-specific message into MY WOMAN, but Olsen has never played her lyrical content straight. She explains: “I’m definitely using scenes that I’ve replayed in my head, in the same way that I might write a script and manipulate a memory to get it to fit. But I think it’s important that people can interpret things the way that they want to.”

That said, Olsen concedes…

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BIT BRIGADE (PERFORMING CASTLEVANIA, BATMAN & CONTRA)

“When was the last time you attended a live music performance with a genuine element of risk involved? And no, going to a Gwar show with a white t-shirt on doesn’t count. When Bit Brigade takes the stage your mind will frantically oscillate between “Oh! Agh!! Please don’t die!!” and “YES! He’s doing it!!” Combining the dread and daring of a live video game speed run with the spot-on technique of a live band covering the musical accompaniment to everything you’re seeing on-screen in real time, Bit Brigade will have you swinging between the two mediums. From thrashing about to live renditions of your favorite stage themes, fingers yearning to the sky in a rock ‘n roll parody of sea anemones seeming to silently plead, “Please, feed us more fretboard pyrotechnics!,” to being locked in stock-still rapture as the infallible maestro of the d-pad, Noah McCarthy, takes on the final boss and risks his video game life under the threat of intense peer scorn (or the reward of night-long glory and a credits score). No matter the outcome, Bit Brigade must play on until the deed is done – which it always is – on the first (and last)…

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AARON LEWIS – The Sinner Tour

“Life is circular. Country just came back to me. It’s like the acoustic thing. I did that before the band . This is full circle because this was the first music I was ever exposed to as a child.” –AARON LEWIS

If you want to get to know AARON LEWIS, just listen to The Road. On his first full-length album, the Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum singer, songwriter, and guitarist tells one story after another. Echoing traditional country, some of those tales are hilarious and heartwarming, while others are pensive and personal. Nevertheless, they’re all equally powerful, vibrant, and unforgettable. For Lewis, The Road continues to wind and surprise like it always has.
In 2011, the Staind frontman formally arrived in the country world with the release of his debut EP, Town Line. Highlighted by the success of gold-selling single “Country Boy” featuring the legendary George Jones and Charlie Daniels, the seven-song EP reached #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and #7 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release. Critical praise followed: PEOPLE’s Chuck Arnold said, “He proves to be a natural on nostalgic ballads like ‘The Story Never Ends,’ (3/14/11),” while the ASSOCIATED PRESS’ Michael McCall wrote, “He injects a flavor…

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, comprises 15 of the nest soloists, ensemble players and arrangers in jazz music today. The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education and advocacy. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest artists spanning genres and generations, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of performance, education and broadcast events each season for people of all ages.

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ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO WITH PETER BUCK, SCOTT MCCAUGHEY, KURT BLOCH, JOHN MOEN

There are songwriters who sing their songs, and then there are songs who sing their writers.

Alejandro Escovedo is one with his muse and his music. Over a lifetime spent traversing the bridge between words and melody, he has ranged over an emotional depth that embraces all forms of genre and presentation, a resolute voice that weathers the emotional terrain of our lives, its celebrations and despairs, landmines and blindsides and upheavals and beckoning distractions, in search for ultimate release and the healing truth of honesty. Sometimes it takes the form of barely contained rage, the rock of punk amid kneeled feedback; sometimes it caresses and soothes, a whispery harmony riding the air of a nightclub room, removed from amplification, within the audience.

His rise has been gradual, a steady incline rather than a quick ascendance, but it has deepened and burnished his music, made it closer to the bone, where it begins to break, deepening his insight and his ability to find that insight in performance. His tireless touring, and dogged determination to place one album after another, has taken him through many musical scenes, remaining the same persona within each, of an artist who doesn’t settle for the easy…

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