As Wade Bowen looks ahead to the full-length release of his major-label debut and his emerging transition from regional success to national prominence, there was one vital dynamic affecting the timing: his fans. Across five independent albums and a decade-plus of touring, Bowen not only amassed a string of regional hits and awards, but also the kind of fan base whose passionate anticipation motivated the timing behind the May 2012 release of The Given, a 10-song collection and his first new music since 2008's If We Ever Make It Home.
Indeed, in the fourteen years since Bowen launched his career at Stubb's Barbecue in Lubbock, Texas, he's risen from collegiate greenhorn to the top of the Texas music and Red Dirt circuit. His colleagues and friends Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band and others had made the major-label leap, helping to take a vibrant regional sound to the rest of America. Now Bowen is poised to bring that Red Dirt and independent spirit to country music at large.
Make no mistake, this collection is a document of artistic evolution. Longtime fans (and there are quite a few of them) will hear the Bowen they've known and the next steps on his journey. They'll get better acquainted with the ballad singer who doesn't often get a chance to show that side of himself in honky tonks. Newcomers will hear a head-turning country artist with range, road-tested hits and one of the best male voices in the business.
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
The Soul Rebels formed when Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, originally members of New Orleans' iconic Dejean's Young Olympia Brass Band, decided they wanted to play the new, exciting music they were hearing on the radio while respecting the tradition they loved. Both New Orleans natives, the pair was steeped in the fundamentals of New Orleans jazz, but inevitably, contemporary styles of music began to seep into their psyches. While LeBlanc attended the famed St. Augustine High School, Moss went to Lil' Wayne's alma mater McMain High School, and paraded alongside soon‐to‐be Cash Money Records CEO Ronald "Slim" Williams in the school's marching band. New sounds were all around and they found them as exciting as the horn‐combo style featured in jazz funerals since the turn of the Twentieth Century.
"We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition," LeBlanc recalls, "so we knew we had to break away." They found a stylistic middle ground when they spun off and formed a band of young, like‐minded local players from all over New Orleans. Graduates of university music programs throughout the South, the band took the marching band format they had learned in school and incorporated influences from outside the city as well as late‐breaking local styles – R&B, funk and hip‐hop – especially through half‐sung, half‐rapped lyrics. "Most of our originals have vocals," says LeBlanc. "You wouldn't have done that in a traditional brass band."
Soon, The Soul Rebels' contagious originals and updated takes on standards won them a loyal local audience. They began rocking some of New Orleans' most beloved live music venues. A chance gig opening for the Neville Brothers got them a real start—and an official name. It was youngest brother Cyril Neville who first called them "Soul Rebels," a good name for a band that strived to incite positive change in its treasured musical heritage.
Doors 8 | Show 9
"Writing and performing is a mystery to me," explains singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Alan Isakov. "I try to get myself out of the way as much as I can." This Empty Northern Hemisphere is Isakov's latest collection of songs in which he conjures the miracles and heartaches of day to day living then transforms them into melodies, with a serious commitment to songcraft and musicianship. "The record for me is about traveling a lot, leaving things behind and feeling like the whole world's been pulled out from beneath you," he says.
Isakov composed the songs for This Empty Northern Hemisphere following his relocation from the Colorado wilds to the town of Boulder. The period also marked the beginning of a new creative cycle for the 28-year-old singer songwriter, who combines his personal past with poetry to create a musically vis- ceral present. "I've always liked song-based old-time music along with '70s-string-section-jazz-type things. I think it all creeps into my songs. But then I was Pearl Jam's biggest fan too," he laughs.
Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm
Three years after stepping away from a full-time music career to attend graduate school, Vienna returns to the studio with a new sound, a new producer, and a new approach to songwriting and recording. What's emerging from that process is her most uptempo, pop-influenced album yet—and full of surprises, even to its creators.
"I have all these songs in various stages of completion," Vienna explains. "Some are just fragments of melody set to a beat I recorded on my phone. Some are a verse and chorus with no lyrics. I've never been a prolific writer, and then I got really involved in school, so my songwriting pace just went glacial," she says with a laugh. "It's sort of terrifying to have so little figured out as we start recording, but it also opens up a lot of possibilities."
At the same time, she's been thinking more like a producer from the outset, often sketching out percussion and vocal arrangements in demo recordings. "This album began with restlessness," Vienna says. "I wanted the songs to have movement; I wanted to be on my feet. So I started writing more on guitar while walking around the house. I'd make rhythmic patterns on the looper and dance around to them. That's probably part of why these songs are taking so long to find their shape. Nothing about this is familiar."
Doors 8 pm | Show 9 pm
The State Room, a 300 capacity live music venue, presents nationally acclaimed musicians and the finest local acts. We are located in the heart of Salt Lake City. We have a full bar serving beer, wine and cocktails. The State Room is a 21+ venue.
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