1) “King of the Zulus” - Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
Here we have a classic New Orleans jazz tune. Louis Armstrong’s sultry trumpet and timeless voice are integral to the celebrations of February 9th. Seemingly the only jazz artist to not suffer a tragic death, Louis Armstrong continued playing hard into his late sixties. He was a great trumpet innovator and coined the term “scat” singing.
2) “St. James Infirmary Blues” - The White Stripes
Standing at just shy of two and a half minutes, this short song is of old English folk origins. It was written about a young soldier who, plagued by the horrors of war, spends his money on prostitutes. He later dies of venereal disease, lacking the funds for medical care. The White Stripes join a list of acclaimed musicians who before have recorded this tune, including Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
3) “Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing” - The Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Tom Waits
A lively rhythm section and persistent melody drive this modern recreation into the top five. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when Preservation Hall’s doors were closed due to damage, the band toured ceaselessly until they could return. In 2013, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band preformed alongside The Black Keys and Dr. John at the Grammy Awards.
4) “House of the Rising Sun” - The Animals
One of my favorite songs of all time, this work spawns from the psychedelic era. “House of the Rising Sun” sets the ideal atmosphere for New Orleans’ historic downtown areas such as Vine St. Eric Burdon’s croons become increasingly dramatic and unpredictable throughout the song, much like a Mardi Gras party.
5) “Goin’ Back to New Orleans” - Dr. John
Dr. John and his bandmates strive to keep boogie woogie and jazz fresh in modern times. No note is superfluous, but each is soulful. Growing up in New Orleans, this native exudes the spirit of Mardi Gras. “Basin Street Blues” and “All on a Mardi Gras Day” are two more Dr. John songs which make excellent additions to a playlist.
Illinois based singer-songwriter, Dan Hubbard has released 7 studio albums since his start in 2003. Hubbard has spent his time out of the studio traveling extensively from coast to coast. His music fuses the classical sounds of greats such as Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Jackson Browne. Hubbard describes good times and bad with songs written about love, loss, and soul searching. It wasn’t until 2010 with the album “See You Again,” that Hubbard finally got some radio play. “See You Again” was played on over 120 radio stations nationwide. Popularity continued to rise with the release of “The Love Show”, which appeared on the Top 50 Roots Rock Chart.
In 2015, Hubbard partnered up with Nashville producer and 3-time Grammy Nominee Ken Coomer. The latest work is his self-titled album “Dan Hubbard”. February 5 will be his album release show at The Castle Theatre. Come down and listen to Dan Hubbard’s newest music with us. The Show Starts at 8:00 so be sure to get your tickets in advance at thecastletheatre.com.
Martin Sexton has released several live albums over the years (Live & Direct and Live Wide Open just to name a couple). This is hardly surprsing, as Sexton is an artist that thrives more on the stage than in the booth. They really show Sexton at his best: raw, emotional, and highly personal.
For as good a songwriter as Sexton is, his singing and performance skills are just as astounding. After all, the chief reason Sexton decided to go independent after only two major label albums is because he and his peers felt that grandiose pop production does not really do his style much justice. By self-compiling raw live performances, Sexton is also paying homage to the bootleg culture of the 1960's, an era that has served as his biggest influence throughout his career. He harkens back to the days when he and his buddies would road trip to California to whatever Grateful Dead set they could get their hands on or when lovers would dedicate the tape of that John McLaughlin set he did with Santana to each other.
In the days when undocumented eras of an artist's career arc were popular (for example, Miles Davis's initial foray into electric-powered fusion went almost entirely ignored by his label), the live performance was treated with a higher degree of relevancy than it holds now. Sexton understands this and wants to bring the importance of the live performance back--and he's succeeding!
That is the concept of his latest album, Mix Tape for the Road. Sexton created an album based on those beloved mixtapes of not only the Summer of Love but the ones we've all made in out lives, whether it be recorded to cassette at a music festival or ripped from iTunes to CD-R. It's a concept we can all relate to and his storied live performance skills make all it the more personal.
After the success of the first season of True Detective, so many fans were extremely excited to see what a new season would unfold in this surreal dark HBO series. Then, along came the trailer for season two. Lera Lynn’s original “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For” plays as images of the new cast are shown introducing you to what was to come. As a fan, this trailer had me so excited! I shouted when I saw it. Fallowing speculations and leaks for weeks I finally had something real and it was darker and more emotional than anything I had expected. The trailer had no actors speaking just that song pounding at the depths of your soul. After the season was over many were disappointed, claiming that the story itself was a bit of a problem. The ending was bleak and did not give the same satisfaction the end of the first season did. The thing we do remember liking from season 2 was the dive-bar scenes where a drugged out lounge singer drowned the conversations. Lear Lynn, with lots of makeup on, was that lounge singer and forced us to focus on Vince Vaughn’s and Colin Farrell’s darkest and most private conversations during the season which were arguably the most memorable moments.
Lera Lynn will be ever grateful for being on True Detectives but really does want people to understand she is more than just that. She has two albums that did very well which helped expose her to T Bone Burnett, the music director for True Detective. Have you met Lera Lynn? was her début LP that really got her career going. The song “Bobby, Baby” won Merefest’s 2011 Chris Austin songwriting competition. After touring and collaborating in some of the best concert halls and recording studios in the United States, Lera decided to write her album The Avenues stunning fans as she fuses folk, country, jazz, and pop to tell us the story her story of love. The album progressed like a love evolving, starting happy and getting ever so emotional. The last song on the album “Sailor Song” starts with a guitar strumming what sounds like a death march with a ship leaving for the last time.
Saturday, November 21st Lear Lynn will be at the Castle Theatre giving Bloomington a night full of some of the most emotion music written recently. In an article with Rolling Stone Lera said one of the most important things she learned from doing True Detective was that people still react emotionally to long drawn out music that is not overly complicated and it actually brings out emotions that present music has brought out in a while. These are the emotions she hopes to bring out in people while she performs.
Lera Lynn performing "My Least Favorite Life"
To begin with the basics, the Drive-By Truckers currently consist of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, both on vocals and guitar, Brad Morgan on drums, Jay Gonzalez on keys and pedal steel and Matt Patton on bass guitar. The band through the years, has gone through many incarnations, but the two constants who started the band in 1996 in Athens, Georgia are Hood and Cooley. The band boasts a unique sound blending alternative country and southern rock, which the band has used to create an incredibly loyal fan base. The band has garnered a lot of commercial success as seen through appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman as well as Conan O’Brian’s and Jimmy Fallon’s late shows. The band has also performed at world renowned music festivals such as Lollapalooza as well as Bonnaroo and Coachella. They have also also in 2010 for a time, toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Many of you probably know of Jason Isbell for his current solo career and his last performance on the Castle stage for our fifth year anniversary, but his career really started as a member of the Drive-By Truckers playing guitar and singing. Isbell was a key contributor to the band from 2001-2007 before a divorce with the band took place so he could launch his solo career. To this day Jason Isbell is the closest DBT has ever had to a third front man as Jason’s compositions during his time with the band became nearly as well-known as Hood and Cooley’s.
The band has changed up its sound over the years, listing influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neal Young as seen through the album, Southern Rock Opera. The album received a four star rating from Rolling Stone and was released in 2001. The band also lists the influence of Tom Petty as well as the Rolling Stones in the album, English Ocean’s released in 2014. Through the songwriting of Hood and Cooley the band has brought together album after album of stories about characters both real and fake that have a harmonized way of bringing up issues such as break ups, politics, history and folklore. The band has always had a charismatic approach with their crew, this can be seen through the band’s most recent album of new music, English Oceans. On this album the band dedicated the final song on the album, Grand Canyon to their close friend and merchandise guy, Craig Lieske who passed away suddenly at the age of 48 in 2013. The band has continued their touring ways and has just released on October 30th their latest live album, It’s Great To Be Alive Live at the Fillmore. Come to the Castle Theatre this November 17, to see the Drive-By Truckers and their energetic show that has become such a huge part of their trademark sound; you don’t want to miss out on this!
Shit Shot Counts – off DBT’s 2014 album English Oceans
Since 1991, Machine Head has been thrashing their way to success one show at a time. Machine Head was formed by Robb Flynn as a side project but soon took over as his active band. The first album Burn My Eyes, shipped 400,000 copies. This was their record labels best selling debut album to date. Allmusic reviewer John Franck stated, "Burn My Eyes is a bone-shattering exercise in brutality". The band's musical brutality stems from influences such as Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, and Testament. If you like any kind of metal music, you’ll be in for a treat with Machine Head. They have been all over the U.S. and Europe this year with no sign of slowing down.
Machine Head’s live energy is what really brings the show together. With many of the band members approaching 50 years of age, most people would expect them to start slowing down. Never have they been more wrong. Many reviews say that Machine Head is performing better than ever after 24 years. One review states “Machine Head totally blew the roof off, the doors open, and the windows out. They’ve never sounded this ferocious before. The energy on that stage could have powered China”.
This is one show you won't want to miss! Tickets are available online or at the Castle box office.
In March of 1997 Pantera, one of the greatest bands in the history of metal, traveled down south of the border to open up for their hero’s Kiss (quite possibly the forefathers of all metal). They put on a show that drew metal fans by the thousands. Jeff Gilbert, a writer for Guitar World Magazine, journaled the day of the show. He spent most of the day complaining about also having to be a roadie in order to cover cost Guitar World wasn’t already covering. The day of the show Pantera did not wake up till about 5 p.m. still hungover from the night before. Dimebag Darrell, with his cherry color beard at the time, was having fun before the show buying bootleg Pantera shirts, which weren’t illegal in Mexico, and having the young Mexican girls giggle and comment on his beard. Before the show Jeff commented that Kiss was being rushed around by what must have been the secret service. Hardly seen by the crowds of fans, Kiss was able to sneak out of the back of the hotel and go straight from their van to a side door. Right before the show, and afterwards, Darrell ran in Ace Frehley where Ace told Darrell that he felt bad that he would be too busy putting on make up to see Pantera play. After the conversation Darrell flipped out like a child getting to meet his hero. Then after they both put on amazing shows, and Kiss was called out for third encore, the two guitar legends got together and drank till the crack of dawn.
This Friday Cemetery Gates, the region’s best Pantera tribute band, and Dressed to Kill Shows, the world’s longest running tribute to Kiss, are going to give Bloomington a kick ass show. It might be about 50 degrees colder than it was in Mexico but that won’t stop either one of these bands from putting on a show that would make you believe you were rocking with the originals.
The members of Pantera dressed like Kiss
Influenced by American Roots and Folk music, Cornmeal is a five-piece band from Chicago, Illinois beginning in 2000 that seamlessly blend fast tempos and impeccable harmonies to an unbeatable live performance. They have performed in many nationally renowned festivals including Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Magnolia Fest, Wakarusa Music Festival, Summer Camp Music Festival, Bonnaroo, All Good Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, 10K Lakes, and many others. Earlier this year they released an album called “Slow Street”, which pushes the boundaries of bluegrass, Americana, and folk for a whole new generation of music lovers. The album is over 60 minutes of high-energy acoustic/electric landscapes and improvised jams. They balance the energy and feel of their one of a kind live shows with the articulation and precision of studio production.
Watch Cornmeal's live video for "All Things Must Change", and come out Saturday, November 7th to The Castle Theatre to see them for yourself!
If you are looking for a high energy, adrenaline-pumping show, you won’t want to miss Blameshift this Thursday at the Castle Theatre! Blameshift, a rock band based out of Long Island, have taken the meaning of DIY musicians to a new level. The members, Jenny Mann (vocals), Tim Barbour (guitar and vocals), Mike Sarkissian (bass) and Dan Scofield (drums) have covered over 200,000 miles of touring and produced a fully recorded EP all funded by loyal fans and sponsors. By choosing to refrain from signing with a record label, Blameshift has created a lot of buzz in the music industry. With the attitude that failure is not an option and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, the band has achieved major success. In 2008, the band won the Taco Bell contest “Feed the Beat” and were named “Unsigned Band of the Month” in August of 2008 by Alternative Press. Under the spotlight, Blameshift continued to expand their fan base with their trademark high intensity shows and with the promise of a new material. In 2011, they released their self funded EP “The Black Rose”, and in 2013 they released a full length album titled “Secrets”. While the band has their own unique sound, they have been said to use elements similar to Paramore, Fallout Boy, and Linkin Park. Come out to The Castle Theatre this Thursday to see them perform live!
Watch the title track off Blameshift's latest album, Secrets.
Rolling Stones Voodoo at Halloween is a spectator live album recorded in the legendary Voodoo Lounge. This gave The Rolling Stones’ fans something to make a tradition out of on Halloweens to follow-- that tradition being finding this rare album and playing it during thier Halloween party. Finding this album is truly a difficult task; even finding the tracks digitally takes a little bit more than your average google search. The quality of this album surpasses all other bootlegs of the Stones Voodoo Tour, and it is only fitting that it was in Oakland California on Halloween Night. The party just could not have been bigger yet the sound quality is great, for the balance between the music and the audience is right where it needs to be.
Now with the same enthusiasm, The Steepwater Band is presenting Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out at The Castle Theatre this Halloween. Feel free to dress in your best costumes to celebrate this holiday with some amazing music inspired by one of Rock and Roll’s greatest concerts from 21 years ago.
The Giving Tree Band, some of the best rockers in Illinois today, are presenting the best of The Band-- the Canadian classic folk band that helped define what classic rock was and is today thanks to Bob Dylan. The Giving Tree Band performs great covers; this was proven when they won a Grateful Dead Covers Project with the song “Brown Eyed Woman.”