This year’s Wanee Music Festival, located at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in North Central Florida, delivered one of the more solid lineups of the 2017 festival season. Though it takes place in the spring, it set the bar for what a schedule should look like.
An important factor all these years for setting the bar high for Wanee was Butch Trucks. The untimely passing of Trucks in January brought the Wanee community together in an unprecedented way, to honor his life and say thanks for impacting so many over the course of his life. There was an extra sense of camaraderie – both on and off stage – the entire weekend because of the tragedy. Everyone truly realized how fortunate they were to be able to experience this year’s festival. Continue reading 13th Annual Wanee Music Festival 2017→
Grammy nominatedÂ artistÂ MatisyahuÂ has announced that he will be embarking on a headlining nationwide college tour this fall during the months of October and November. Â As one of Americaâ€™s most successful touring artists,Â MatisyahuÂ has spent the summer months co-headlining with the Dirty Heads and making stops in over 50 cities to support his fourth studio albumÂ Spark Seeker,Â which was released to rave reviews. Â “I’m looking forward to taking the show directly to college kids this fall” says Matisyahu. Â “I’ve played a lot of these markets in past summers. Â To be able to return when school is in session and kids are on campus is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.”Â Â Spark SeekerÂ debuted atÂ No.Â 19 on the Billboard 200Â chart,Â No.1 on the Reggae Chart, No.3 on the Independent Album ChartÂ andÂ No. 7 on the Digital Album Chart. Â Also garnering well-deservedÂ acclaim is album track, â€œLive Like a Warriorâ€ which sat atÂ No.1 on the Reggae Single ChartÂ andÂ â€œSunshineâ€Â atÂ No. 2Â duringÂ Spark Seekerâ€™sÂ release week.
On Spark Seeker, produced by Kool Kojak (Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker, Ke$ha) and released on his own label, Fallen Sparks Records via Thirty Tigers/RED on July 17th, Matisyahu has expanded his sound and made his most accessible album to date. Â The album mixes ancient traditional sounds with futuristic electro beats, rapping with singing, and songs of the spirit with songs of the body. The album has a depth to it as well as a lightness, which alludes to the most essential theme of the record–that everything in life–especially music–exists in mixtures and blends. Â Matisyahu explains that â€œThings are not as black and white as we would like to think. Â Not everything can be oversimplified,” which is a message the new album conveys with both energy and thoughtfulness.
MatisyahuÂ makes his film debut later this month, starring alongside Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Sam Raimiâ€™s Lionsgate horror film, The Possession, in theaters onÂ August 31st.Â MatisyahuÂ plays the role of Tzadok, a Jewish exorcist attempting to save the fate of a young girl possessed by an evil spirit trapped in a dibbuk.
â€œSunshineâ€ music video- HERE
“Sunshine” 2012 Summer Tour highlight video -Â HERE
â€œLive Like A Warriorâ€ on Jimmy Kimmel Live!- Press HERE
Matisyahu Performs LIVE for YouTube Presents– Press HERE
Remaining Summer Tour Dates:
**Denotes date w/Dirty Heads 8/21 – Glen Allen, VA – Innsbrook Pavilion ** 8/22 – Chattanooga, TN – Track 29 ** 8/23 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Park ** 8/25 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues ** 8/26- Birmingham, ALÂ Â – Samford University** 8/27 – Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen ** 8/29- Jacksonville, FL- Florida Theatre** 8/30- Orlando, FL- House of Blues** 9/1- Tampa, FL- Vinoy Park** 9/4- Austin, TX- Austin Music Hall** 9/5 -Tulsa, OK -Cainâ€™s Ballroom ** 9/6 – Council Bluffs, IA – Harrahâ€™s Casino at Stir Cove ** 9/8- Denver, CO- Fillmore Auditorium** 9/9 – Aspen, CO – The Belly Up ** 9/10- Salt Lake City, UT- The Rail** 9/11 – Albuquerque, NM – The Sunshine Theatre ** 9/12 – Phoenix, AZ – The Marquee ** 9/13- Flagstaff, AZ- Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park 9/15 – Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Hotel Pool Stage ** 9/18- Hollywood, CA- Palladium** 9/19- San Diego, CA- Humphreyâ€™s** 9/20- Anaheim, CA City National Grove of Anaheim** 9/22 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom ** 9/23- Seattle, WA- The Moore Theatre** 9/24- Vancouver, CA- Vogue Theatre** 9/26 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory ** 9/27 – Lake Tahoe, CA – Montbleu ** 9/29- Mountain View, CA- Shoreline Amphitheatre
Newly Announced Fall College Tour Dates
10/10 Â Â Â Ft. Collins, CO – Aggie Theatre
10/11 Â Â Â Telluride, CO – Sheridan Operah HouseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
10/13 Â Â Â Missoula, MT- The Wilma Theatre
10/14 Â Â Â Calgary, AB- Private Show
10/15 Â Â Â Boulder, CO- Boulder Theatre
10/16 Â Â Â Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
10/17 Â Â Â Santa Cruz, CA- The Catalyst
10/18 Â Â Â Ventura, CA – The Ventura Theatre
10/21 Â Â Â Little Rock, AR- Rev Room
10/22 Â Â Â Baton Rouge, LA- The Varsity Theatre
10/23 Â Â Â Gainesville, FL- The Florida Theatre
10/24Â Â Â Â Greenville, SC- Handlebar
10/25 Â Â Â Athens, GA- Georgia Theatre
10/27 Â Â Â Jupiter, FL- Seabreeze AmphitheatreÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
10/28 Â Â Â Charleston, SC- The Music Farm
10/29 Â Â Â Greensboro, NC- Greene Street
10/30 Â Â Â Wilmington, NC- Brooklyn Arts Center
10/31 Â Â Â Charlottesville, VA- Charlottesville Pavilion *
11/1 Â Â Â Â Â Rochester, NY- University of Rochester
11/3 Â Â Â Â Â Sayerville, NJ- Starland Ballroom
11/4 Â Â Â Â Â New Haven, CT- Toad’s Place
11/5 Â Â Â Â Â Burlington, VT- Higher Ground
11/6 Â Â Â Â Â Ithaca, NY- State Theatre
11/7 Â Â Â Â Â Columbus, OH- Newport Music Hall
11/8 Â Â Â Â Â Ann Arbor, MI- Pease Aud. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
11/10 Â Â Â Lansing, MI- The Loft
11/11 Â Â Â Bloomington, IN – The Bluebird
11/12 Â Â Â Lincolnshire, IL- Viper Alley
11/13 Â Â Â Madison, WI- Capitol Theatre
11/14Â Â Â Â St. Louis, MO- The Pageant
11/15Â Â Â Â Columbia, MO – Blue NoteÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Matisyahu has premiered the music video of his new single, â€œSunshineâ€ from his fourth studio album, Spark Seeker, out on July 17th– WATCH BELOW.Â
For this video, Matisyahu returned to the beautiful deserts of Israel where he recorded the album. Directed by Gil Green (John Legend, Usher, Timbaland), the cinematography is breathtaking and inspiring, making you feel as if you are a part of the Israeli landscape and culture. The video illustrates one of the key messages of the album which is seeking the spark; finding the self which you left behind and reconnecting with your inner child. The vivid footage seamlessly captures the essence of â€œSunshineâ€™sâ€ uplifting lyrics and sweeping melody, proving it to be the perfect summer song and video. For an inside perspective on the making of the video, See BELOW or visit Matisyahu’s Facebook and Twitter.
Since first emerging on the international stage in 2005, Matisyahu has established a reputation for transcending boundaries- from the stripped-down roots reggae of the gold-certifiedÂ Live at Stubbâ€™sÂ to the trippy ministrations ofÂ the Grammy nominated YouthÂ to the polished pop eclecticism ofÂ Light. Then,Â in 2010, he returned to the venerable Austin venue that introduced him forÂ Live at Stubbâ€™s, Vol. II, demonstrating that all of his travels had only strengthened his connection to his musical bedrock. Selling over 2 million albums worldwide, it was a whirlwind half-decade journey, one that earned Matisyahu a place inÂ popÂ culture at large.
Now based with his family inÂ Los Angeles, Matisyahu blasts off yet again withÂ Spark Seeker, a bold new studio album that finds the one-of-a-kind vocalist and songwriter exploring uncharted territory with help from an expansive cast of collaborators from around the globe.Â The album mixes ancient traditional sounds with futuristic electro beats, rapping with singing, and songs of the spirit with songs of the body.
Spark Seeker, produced by Kool Kojak (Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker, Ke$ha) is set for release on his own label, Fallen Sparks Records via Thirty Tigers/RED. He recorded the 13-track album in Los Angeles, New York and Israel. You can purchase, â€œSunshineâ€ on iTunes and Amazon.Â The album has a depth to it as well as a lightness, which alludes to the most essential theme of the record–that everything in life, especially music, exists in mixtures and blends. Â â€œThings are not as black and white as we would like to think. Â Not everything can be oversimplified,” says Matisyahu.Â As one of Americaâ€™s most successful touring artists, Matisyahu has also announced the first leg of an extensive Summer tour supporting the new release with co-headliners Dirty Heads.
Matisyahu, the artist known for his spiritually significant lyrics and religious beliefs, has decided that his long held religious beliefs will no longer be what he is known for. Moreover, it seems that he has decided to break from the religion all together.
Today, on his Twitter account, Matisyahu posted photos of himself freshly clean shaven, a look that his fans have never seen. Though the beard was somewhat of a trademark for the New York artist, it is also something which holds deep religious significance within the Hasidic religion and his Crown Heights community.
In an explanation on his website, Matisyahu explains his new outlook on life and religion:
“Sorry folks, all you get is me … no alias,” the statement reads. “When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality — not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity … to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules — lots of them — or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission. “Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth,” he added. “And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry … you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.”
His latest Twitter post seems to be somewhat of a retraction from the above.
Matisyahu’s latest tweet: “For all of those who are being awesome,you are awesome.For all those who are confused:today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday”
In 2009, Honest Tune‘s David Shehi spent time on the road with Matisyahu. As you will see in one of the videos (below) that David shot while on the road, at that time, Matisyahu was still very much holding onto the religious aspect of his spirituality.
Now, back by popular demand,Â MatisyahuÂ will release hisÂ MiracleÂ EPÂ digitally and physically via Fallen Sparks Records/Thirty Tigers and Red Distribution.
TheÂ Miracle EPÂ features alternate versions of â€œMiracleâ€ including a track with his band Dub Trio, guest vocals by rapper Shyne, a remix by freshman UC Boulder student Miniweapon, a beatboxing and acoustic version.
Matisyahu, backed by his bandÂ Dub TrioÂ will also be hitting the road this December on his sixth annualÂ Festival of LightÂ tour,including a three night stint at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as well as performances in Philadelphia, and DC. Tickets for theÂ Festival of LightÂ tour are on sale now.
Matisyahu Festival of Light Dates:
Dec 19 Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
Dec 20Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
Dec 21 Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg **
Dec 22Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â New York, NY @ Webster Hall ^^
Dec 24Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Philadelphia, PA @ TLA ^^
Dec 26Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Portland, ME @ State Theatre ^^
Dec 27Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground ^^
Dec 28Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^^
* Aunt Martha opening
^ Dub Trio opening
** Adam Deitch and Break Science opening
^^ Cris Cab opening
Famed promoter Bill Graham once booked Miles Davis to open for the Grateful Dead, because he "wanted to introduce Dead fans to a different kind of music." He took joy in juxtaposing different genres on one bill, booking artists that really had no business playing in the same building on the same night.
Some nights you’d have Black Sabbath playing after Yes, or Rashaan Roland Kirk opening for Jefferson Airplane, or maybe the Buddy Rich Orchestra warming up the crowd for Ten Years After. Today, these pairings may not sound as off-the-wall, but in an era of more limited musical choice, Graham expanded the musical palates of many people that bought concert tickets from him.
Today, getting from Miles to the Dead doesn’t take as many steps as it did back in the 60s and 70s, when you really just had rock, jazz, blues, and country. There was no rap or techno. Back then, critics didn’t break the "jazz" genre up into acid jazz, cool jazz, or fusion. People may have been playing different styles, but it wasn’t until later that writers and audiophiles decided to start labeling every microcosm of music.
The triple bill of Particle, Matisyahu, and 311 would have seemed off the wall four decades ago. Even today, it’s not often that you buy concert tickets to a show that features an electronica act out of Los Angeles and a Hasidic Jew who fronts a reggae/rap group. In this case, though, the headliner takes a little out of both openers, adds in some punk rock and funk, and mixes it all together to create something entirely different, yet ties it all together at the same time.
Particle opened the show, to an almost packed venue, most fans unfamiliar with the band. Walking into Mud Island Amphitheatre, 311 fans kept asking, "who’s this Particle band?" coming out of the mouths of plenty. However, by the time they finished their short yet sweet set, they had undoubtedly made a few new fans.
Despite the disadvantage of being the warm-up act for the warm-up act for 311, a band beloved in Memphis, Particle played their cards right. Instead of noodling their way through two songs during their 30 minute set in front of thousands who weren’t familiar with their style, they condensed their songs. They made sure to include "Cheap Novelty Hats" and "Control/Escape" – songs with vocals that were a little more palatable for rookies.
"The American Dream" was a downright dirty rocker, and the audience ate up their cover of Radiohead’s "Creep" and the standard-for-a-Particle show "Axel F," a novelty to those who haven’t seen them before. Their set closed with a great "Sun Mar 11," driven by Darren Pujalet’s pounding drums. The tension and release build-up was immense, a great way to end a strong set. As always, the allstar of the Particle show was Steve Molitz, a veritable whirlwind of motion and sound.
Matthew Miller created an interesting paradox when he morphed into Matisyahu – an ultra-orthodox Jew performing a very un-ultra-orthodox art form. He’s had to adjust his stage persona to appease the Hasidisc higher-ups, no longer being able to stage-dive because he’s shomer n’gia – he can’t touch a woman who’s not his wife before he’s married. He certainly has plenty of naysayers, who think his religious devotion is just a schtick.
While some may doubt his faith, what can’t be doubted is his skill. He kicked his set off with "Sea to Sea," and had the crowd around his finger from the start, as he belted out rapid-fire lyrics in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. His stage presence is commanding, essential for an MC.
For an hour, Matisyahu spit out lyrics while his stellar band cranked away behind him. Touring with a bulked up rhythm section – a bass player, a keyboard player, a drummer, and a percussionist – his band has a full sound that really punches behind his vocal abilities. "Chop ‘Em Down" was probably the highlight of the set, and he ceded the stage to guitarist Aaron Dugan, who showed his own formidable skill on his instrument. However, even then, the spotlight managed to stay on Matisyahu, who was perched on top of a speaker stack, taking in the whole scene.
After the customary "Beat Box", a solid "Jerusalem," and the fan-favorite "King Without a Crown," the unlikely Jewish reggae artist said goodnight, and the stage was set for the main event. Matisyahu found religion several years ago, and undoubtedly some concert goers found a new one themselves during his set, in the form of an up-and-coming star.
[Editor’s note: photography wasn’t allowed during Matisyahu’s set, and I had to leave before 311’s set due to a prior committment – so this is as far as the review goes]
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina has emerged as one of the south's premiere blues clubs. Opening in late 2006, owner/operators Aaron Seigel and Randy Abraham have put their heads together to create the best BBQ, the best bourbons, and the best music, offering all in a quaint, rustic atmosphere that aludes to some of the most prominent jukejoints and honky tonks around the region.
Using Gary Erwin's (Shrimp City Slim) Lowcountry Blues Bash as a springboard for success, FRHTBBQ introduced an incredible line-up for this year's festival. Featured on this year's bill was Michele and the Midnight Blues, Big Bill Morganfield, local bluesman and Home Team House Man Davis Coen, Lil' Dave Thompson, and many other local and regional performers.
Michele and the Midnight Blues kicked the event off at Fiery Ron's, performing an eclectic mix of originals standards as well as twisting some favorite rock and roll songs into a blues flavor. Michele Seidman can be heard on many radio stations throughout the USA and abroad, in part to their first commercial CD release Eyes Set to Midnight and their appearance at the 2006 International Blues Challenge.
Next up on the Home Team stage was Big Bill Morganfield, the son of the late blues legend Muddy Waters. The largest turnout for the venue to date, Big Bill packed a sellout crowd into the BBQ joint, treating the energetic crowd to two full sets of standards and originals including "Mannish Boy," "Blues in the Blood" and "Champagne and Reefer." Accompanied on stage by lead guitarist Brian Bisesi, who in 1978 was invited by Big Bill's father to replace an ill Luther 'Guitar Jr.' Johnson. Also accompanying Big Bill was Larry Griffith on drums, Cindy Adler on stand-up bass, and Lil Joe Burton on trombone, all responsible for the crowds' high level of participation.
Midway through the week The Home Team House Man, Davis Coen added a relaxed set to the line-up as the only acoustic act of the week. Supporting his newest release Can't Get There From Here, Davis' performances of his originals such as "Fool's Gold," "Soft of Heaven" and "What's Wrong" as well as traditionals like "Prodigal Son" and his twist on Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere" provided the warmup he needed. Davis is heading out on his annual trek to the jukejoints of Mississippi, so be on the lookout.
The final highlight of a successful blues festival took the stage on February 17 in the form of Lil Dave Thompson. Hailing from Hinds County Mississippi, Dave Lonzo Thompson treated the audience to the most intricate guitar playing by a featured musican. His guitar solos combined the buzz-saw solos of Albert King and the sweet, metallic sting of Little Milton. Supporting his latest release Got to Get Over You, Lil Dave brought all of his energy and stamina to the Home Team this cold February evening.
The success for this year's blues bash is still being evaluated; however, such great local acts as The Michael Garrett Band, The James Garner Band, and Cotton Blue Band as well as out-of-town up-and-comers such as The Rev. J. Peyton's Big Damn Band and Jon Short cannot be overlooked.
Success is seen in the way those boys at the Home Team love their blues.
Success is seen in the way Gary Erwin promotes his festival.
Next year's performances promise to be off the hook.