The Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, located in Franklin, TN (outside of Nashville), announced its third line-up today. Held at The Park At Harlinsdale on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, the festival will be headlined by Justin Timberlake and Eddie Vedder. Timberlake is a producer of the festival, held in his current hometown.
Also on the bill are Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, and many more. Tickets are on sale now and full details can be found on the festival’s website.
From its humble beginnings twenty years ago as an event held in founder Brad Selkoâ€™s backyard, Hot August Blues has grown from a two band (Charlie Musselwhite and Brett Wilson), 300 person event, to an annual ten band, 5000 person festival that has been recognized as one of the best midsized Festivals in the country (Tri-State Indie Award for Best Regional Festival 2011.)Â Held at idyllic Oregon Ridge Park just outside the Baltimore City limits, Hot August Blues has separated itself from other festivals its size and in the area with its relaxed low-key atmosphere and consistently stellar line-ups that favors quality over quantity, with a schedule that features minimal over-lap between the two stages, and set lengths that give every band from the opener to the closer ample time to get up and stretch out their musical legs.
As in years past the line-up was a diverse mix that was tied together through the loose thread of â€œthe bluesâ€, but that thread and label were stretched thin into imaginable directions with a line-up that boasted the classic blues-riff-rock of Govt Mule, the bombastic explosion of New Orleans funk of Trombone Shorty, to the heartfelt country-folk tunes of Justin Townes Earle on the main stage, and included the gritty real Chicago Blues of Magic Slim & the Teardrops and the soul-revival sound of JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound on the B-side stage.Â Â The B-Side stage is still a fairly new weapon in the Hot August Blues arsenal, only being added for the first time two years ago, but it is an extremely welcome addition. This year it was dominated in the early afternoon by intensely powerful singer/songwriter Chris Kasper.Â Kasper gave way to Chicagoâ€™s JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound who have been garnering much attention for their mind-bending cover of Wilcoâ€™s â€œI am Trying to Break Your Heart,â€ which has even gotten the attention of the songâ€™s author Jeff Tweedy who invited them to appear at Wilcoâ€™s Solid Sound Festival this year.Â Magic Slim closed out the B-Side stage with a classic set of Chicago blues, that found Slim wailing through his set like a bluesman of old.Â Â While Magic Slim keep the blues alive with their true to its root sound, on the main stage that blues thread was stretched on all directions with a line-up that was an intoxicating mix that careened from style to style.Â The biggest departure from that blues thread was the second act to hit the main stage, Locos Por Juana.
Â Billed as a bilingual jam-band, Locos Por Juana was born in 2000 in Miami Florida with roots that dig deep into Colombia (singer Itagui Correa and drummer Javier Delgado were both born in Colombia, while guitarist Mark Kondrat was born in Miami of Colombian descent.)Â The band has been nominated multiple times for Grammy Awards, but still is generally off of the average music fans radar.Â But if their set at Hot August Blues was any indication of the power of this band, it might be a good idea to stand up and take notice of them.Â Led by dynamic vocalist Correa, who is an explosion of energy and swirling dreads that reach down almost to the ground.Â Locos Por Juana sound is built around Latin rhythms, but there is a steady current of Caribbean flavor flowing underneath with a smattering of reggae riffs, dancehalls grooves, hip-hop beats, and rock-laden guitar work all bubbling to the surface at some point.Â Â The core trio is usually augmented by additional musicians with some kind of combination of percussion and horns rounding out the deep, bouncing groove, and today was no different as they had a trombone and full percussion kit to provide a little more kick.Â Their set is a high-energy ass-shaking party, and it was clear from the way crowd responded that the bandâ€™s request to â€œget up and moveâ€ did not go unheeded.
Â Â Despite the Blues label, the real focus seemed to be on songwriting, with three of todayâ€™s best songwriters, in Cris Jacobs, Justin Townes Earle, and Warren Haynes, gracing the main stage throughout the day.Â The day got started with the Cris Jacobs Band and a passionate set that dripped with a soulful intensity.Â Â After ten years fronting roots-rockers The Bridge, who called it quits at the end of 2011, Jacobs has re-emerged with a new band with which to give life to his always timeless songwriting that seems to ring out with a deep, emotional, clarity.Â Jacobs set was a bluesy mix, with him leading the charge with a guitar work out that recalled the southern-fried goodness of Little Featâ€™s Lowell George.Â His band features the familiar drumming of Mike Gambone who provided the backbeat for the Bridge, the steady upright bass of Jake Leckie, the dreamy-textured pedal steel of Dave Hadley, and longtime musical co-conspirator, multi-instrumentalist Ed Hough who provides soaring harmonies to Jacobsâ€™ soulful wail.Â Their set pulled heavily from the bandâ€™s debut album, the sublime Songs for Cats and Dogs released earlier this year featuring â€œDragonflyâ€, â€œStoned on You,â€ â€œBe My Stars,â€ and â€œSaddle Up,â€ among others.Â Locos Por Juana followed next, before giving way to Justin Townes Earle.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Justin Townes Earle might just be the best young songwriter around right now, and with his set he made a strong case for just that title.Â Starting as he says he always does, â€œaloneâ€, Earle began his set with a couple of tunes by himself, â€œLay That Hammer Down,â€ and â€œWandering,â€ the latter of which took him a couple of false starts to get through before he finally remembered the lyrics, but this would prove to be the last hiccup Earle would have in what would prove to be a glorious set.Â Â He related the stories behind each song throughout the afternoon, giving life to each tune Â as he weaved the narratives that told of the birth of each song, explaining how it took six months for him to realize Brooklyn was not for him in, â€œOne More Night in Brooklyn,â€ that a then girlfriend, not named Maria wanted to know, â€œwho the â€˜Fâ€™ is Maria,â€ before he launched into the song of the same name, that â€œRogerâ€™s Parkâ€ came about from simply not having written a song in over a year, or warning a an ex-girlfriend who wanted a song about who to watch what she wished for as he used their break-up as fodder for â€œNothingâ€™s Gonna Change the you Feel About Me.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Sandwiched in between Earle and the Fest closing set of Govt Mule, and hitting the stage as the sun began to set over the tall trees that flanked the large hill that served as a natural amphitheater ofr the day, was New Orleansâ€™ Trombone Shorty.Â Trombone Shortyâ€™s set was an explosive affair, full of his trademarked boundless energy that found him pin-balling around the stage, dancing, singing, switching between trumpet and trombone, and leading his band through a set that was a non-stop blur of high octane funk.Â Â This provided a nice contrast to Justin Townes Earleâ€™s stellar set, which was a subtle, musical gem, as Trombone Shortyâ€™s time on stage was a pure Nâ€™alwns throw down, giving every one license to cut loose and shake their ‘thang.’
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Â The day closed with a headlining set from Govt Mule and a dose of Warren Haynesâ€™ classic bluesy-southern rock songwriting.Â Govt Muleâ€™s set featured the least surprising sit-in of the day since Warren Haynes sauntered on stage an hour before during Trombone Shortyâ€™s set for a run of songs (really who didnâ€™t see that coming?), as Trombone Shorty and longtime Haynes friend, collaborator, and Washington D.C. resident Ron Holloway (who shows up anytime Haynes is within a 100 miles of the Nationâ€™s Capital) broke out his sax and joined the stage for a mid-set combo of The Box-tops â€œThe Letterâ€ andÂ Albert Kingâ€™s â€œFeel Like Breaking Up Somebodyâ€™s Home.â€Â In addition to these covers, as is their norm, Govt Mule pulled heavily from their influences with the Beatles â€œShe Said, She Said,â€ Led Zeppelins â€œHow Many More Times,â€ and Jimi Hendrixâ€™s â€œRed House,â€ all showing up throughout the night.Â Â It was a bit of a nostalgic set for The Mule as it was colored by older classic Mule tunes, â€œBlind Man in the Dark,â€ â€œBad Little Doggie,â€ and â€œMule,â€ that truly gave their Fest closing set its strength. These older tunes highlight Haynes strength as a songwriter, but it was the encore that truly showed how special a songwriter he can be. In a move that was even less surprising than the dayâ€™s various sit-ins, Govt Mule closed with the Warren Haynes standard â€œSoulshine,â€ that was aided by the return of Hollowayâ€™s always welcome sax work.Â While sometimes derided for itâ€™s all too often appearances, â€œSoulshineâ€ with its all too commonality begs to ask the question, â€œIf you wrote a song as good as â€˜Soulshineâ€™, wouldnâ€™t you play it every night as well?â€
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Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Despite the blues, the ass-shaking grooves, the explosive funk, the sit-ins, Soulshine, and the un-paralleled songwriting, the real star of the day was Hot August Blues founder and organizer Brad Selko.Â Now in its 20th year, the one-time backyard party has blossomed into one of the premier midsized festivals around, and the credit for that growth goes directly to Selko and his tireless efforts year in and year out.Â In the program that was handed out at the front gate as you entered the festival grounds, there was a picture of Selko taken at the very first Hot August Blues. He was leaning on the fence in his backyard smiling broadly at what he had created.Â Selko was omnipresent throughout the day, this year as he always is, walking in the crowd, chatting folks up over by the front gate, hanging by the merch table, grooving on the side stage, and while he may be a little older, a little grayer than he was in that picture from 20 years, the smile was just as big, and the fest he first started 20 years in his backyard while it might be a little bigger, and host more bands, it is still without doubt just as special now as it was then.
Click the thumbnails to view more photos from Hot August Blues by Tim Newby…
Live from MSG featuring Ben Bridwell (Band Of Horses)
:::Click the image to download:::
Shortly after completing their back to back tours in Japan and Australia, My Morning Jacket are taking their celebrated, exhilarating live show back on the road this August with the announcement of their North American tour, with Band Of Horses in support.
Since their sold out Madison Square show to end off 2011, they’ve played a triumphant performance at the Independent Spirit Awards in February and shared the stage with Preservation Hall Jazz Band commemorating their 50th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall. Jim James also completed a tour with New Multitudes (Jay Farrar, Will Johnson and Anders Parker) in promotion of their album honoring Woody Guthrie. Additionally, the band has been busy curating the Forecastle Festival for the festival’s 10th Anniversary, where they will conjointly be headlining the event along with Wilco and Bassnectar.
The band are showing no signs of slowing down in the months surrounding their tour. My Morning Jacket will be contributing to John Fogerty’s new album, Wrote a Song for Everyone, which will be released this fall. In the month of June, they will complete a European tour making stops in Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The band will also be headlining this year’s Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee and Newport, Rhode Island’s Newport Folk Festival, as well as performing at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival next month.
Commencing their tour in Denver, Colorado at Red Rocks on August 3rd and 4th, My Morning Jacket will be recording both performances and offering them as complimentary downloads to all ticket holders for those shows. Both My Morning Jacket and Band Of Horses are enthusiastic of hitting the road for the month long tour. “YES! We’re touring with the incredible My Morning Jacket!â€ says lead singer Ben Bridwell. â€œSo psyched toÂ hit the road with our buddies and (hopefully) warm you all up for theÂ greatest band going.”
My Morning Jacket North American Tour Dates
% = $1 from each ticket will be donated to the local charity listed
* = with Band Of Horses
^ = with Trombone Shorty
+ = with Trampled By Turtles
# = with Shabazz Palaces
5/04: Memphis, TN @ Beale Street Music Festival
5/05: New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
07/13: Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07/14: Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival (performance)
07/15: Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07/28: Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
8/03: Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre^*% (Flobots.org)
8/04: Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre^*% (Platteforum)
Michael Franti & Spearhead (with Trombone Shorty and Pimps of Joytime)
The Greek Theatre
October 8, 2011
The Greek Theater in Berkeley, California is a magical place. When things align just right, this 8000 seat venue, that boasts impeccable acoustics, can seem downright intimate. Saturday October 8 was one of those nights when a triple bill consisting of funk, R&B and hip hop made its way onto the famed stage.
Courtesy of The Pimps of Joytime, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and Michael Franti & Spearhead, the Greek was transformed into a dance party of gigantic proportions; and for those who didn’t make it out to the gig, the show was carried to the masses via an online simulcast which will also be available on DVD sometime in the future.
As an appetizer, The Pimps of Joytime put their best foot forward and opened the evening with a brief high energy set and set the table for the stage’s successors. This New York City based band made it clear as to why their climb up the circuit’s ladder has been as steadfastly upward as it has by making the audience — that was primarily gathered for the evening’s headliners — infectiously move to their funky beats.Following the Pimps, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue brought their â€œSupafunkrockâ€ New Orleans sound to the Bay, and it seemed that no soul could stand still while listening to Shorty and company dirtily funk it up.
Troy â€œTrombone Shortyâ€ Andrews is one of the more recent stars to emerge from The Crescent City. Over the past few years, Shorty has appeared seemingly everywhere. From a cameo role on the popular HBO show Treme to European treks with Lenny Kravitz, the trombone prodigy has bolstered his reputation to one of large notoriety through high energy sets that are long on improvisation and short on breaks in energy.
Drawing heavily from the ensemble’s most recent studio effort, ForTrue, Shorty and his group of fellow young New Orleanians served up an intoxicating shot of funk as danceable grooves efficiently lubed up the large Greek crowd for the evening’s main attraction, Michael Franti & Spearhead.
As the lights dimmed and a subsequent introductory film shone, Michael Franti and Spearhead made their way onto the stage. Well known for his positive and uplifting shows, it was no surprise that Franti delivered the goods to theirÂ hometown crowd by not only reaching from the recent top 40 crazed numbers, but also by digging deep from the ensemble’s deep repertoire. Whether going poppy with “Sound of Sunshine,” getting political with “Yell Fire,” or plucking the heart strings with “I’ll Be Waiting,” Michael andÂ crew covered all of the bases.
From the onset, it seemed that Franti had the Greek gathering in the palm of his large hands, evidenced by the energetic response shown to each imploring urge from the front man to â€œmake some noise,â€ â€œjumpâ€ or respond to the “how ya feeling” question that the lanky source of positivity cannot help but ask.
Michael Franti has successfully moved out of hip hop and into the mainstream with songs being featured commercially and while this has caused some members of the “too cool to listen to pop music” club to question his authenticity, what has actually happened is that the door has been opened for a further reaching broadcast of a message of the peaceful and though provoking message that has always been at the heart of Spearhead.
Click the thumbnail(s) to see photos from the show by Susan Weiand…