Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Langhorne Slim and The Lost at Last Band Play HRB

Langhorne Slim returns to Haw River Ballroom this Thursday, November 8. For those of us lucky enough to have experienced his edgy shows before, it's easy to recall Langhorne's tendency to enter the crowd and sing to onlookers while hoisted upon someone's shoulders. In a world filled with fake everything, Langhorne is a reminder that real still exists - through his passion, his lyrics, and the soul he shares with his crowd each and every show. 

As the phenomena of instant connection and the need for constant self-improvement further implant their tendrils into our culture, the ability to truly connect with each other and ourselves has begun to fade. As we all reach for our smartphones to gaze upon the manufactured perfection of the lives of those we admire, we lose sight of what makes our own lives important.

Nashville’s Langhorne Slim interlaces this theme throughout his new album.“Everyone’s searchin’ for something better around every corner, but it’s already right here,” Langhorne says.“We’re all born whole – through livin’ we fall apart…”

The songs on Langhorne Slim’s newest album, Lost At Last Vol. 1, released November 10, 2017, challenge the idea of social rigidity: the attitude that there’s a “correct” way for us to live and a side we should be on. He urges the world to see through the idea that by following that path and focusing only on fitting the mold, one will have lived a good life. He re-interprets the sound of the free-spirited yet vulnerable everyman heard on 2015’s The Spirit Moves and brings forth anew the call for us to abandon “the fold” and re-connect with ourselves and each other.

Langhorne Slim is no stranger to the world of popular culture and commercial success. Lost At Last Vol. 1 is his sixth full-length album; throughout his career he has been defined by reflective songwriting and passionate delivery. Slim’s last album cycle alone garnered him his third appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show, as well as a feature on CBS Saturday Morning, and the highest charting debut of his career. O’Brien, a personal fan of Slim stated, “After one listen, I became an instant, almost obsessive fan.” Slim has consistently toured on his own, and has appeared on extensive worldwide runs throughout his career with artists such as The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Gregory Alan Isakov, Josh Ritter, The Devil Makes Three, Sara Watkins, and more. He’s also appeared on many festival stages, such as Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Lost At Last Vol. 1 is a record that Langhorne wanted to do differently from the start. “Almost immediately after recording our last record, The Spirit Moves,” Slim says, “I felt a deep desire to make another album. One that would take a step sideways in order to take a step forward; one that would be very personal and raw…in the making of this record, I made a deal with myself to trust my own voice and vision more than I ever have before, and to go willingly wherever it led.”

The title alone reflects his need to pen a great wealth of songs, as if the thoughts and inspiration took on a life of their own and just needed to come out. Recorded over the span of around six months in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Catskill, NY, and clocking in at about 34 minutes, it’s a short but intense listening experience. Several songs are under two or three minutes long, but they pack vivid imagery into concise packages in a way that shows a significant diversion from the songwriting on his previous records. Slim keeps his record-making in the family with this release; longtime band member Malachi DeLorenzo co-produced the record along with Kenny Siegal, and DeLorenzo also mixed several tracks in addition to playing drums on the record.

Slim reflects truths that we may or may not want to admit; in “Life is Confusing”, he muses that “life is confusing, and people are insane”. He stands resolute in the face of trial: “…you could break my heart, but you’ll never break me,” he sings on “Never Break”. He calls upon the listener during this time fraught with challenges to unplug from the trajectory our culture has deemed is “right” and find strength in our own vulnerability, in our own instincts. “We look to our phones, drugs, sex whatever to find ourselves when it’s already right here,” Slim says. These songs join in the rallying call for the wild ones in us all. 

The party starts at 8 with the Watson Twins (doors at 7). Head over to the Haw River Ballroom website to grab your tix now, it's going to be a special night in Saxapahaw.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Initial Lineup and Midnight Jam Announced for MerleFest '18



MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2018, which will be held April 26 - 29. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The complete lineup for MerleFest 2018 will be announced over the next few months. Today's lineup announcement includes legendary artist Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, The Devil Makes Three, Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, "Mission Temple Fireworks Revival" featuring Paul Thorn & Band, the Blind Boys of Alabama and the McCrary Sisters, and many more. The 2018 Midnight Jam presented by The Bluegrass Situation on Saturday, April 28th will start at 10:30 p.m. and run well past midnight, with special hostsTown Mountain and Jim Lauderdale. This very popular after-hours hootenanny gathers many performers from the festival for impromptu artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history.

Kris Kristofferson – Kris Kristofferson is a three-time Grammy winner who has recorded 30 albums, including three with pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen. Kristofferson has spent three decades performing concerts all over the world and achieved remarkable success as a country songwriter at the start of the 1970s. His songs helped redefine country songwriting, and by 1987, it was estimated that more than 450 artists had recorded Kristofferson’s compositions. In 1977, he earned a Golden Globe for Best Actor and has acted in more than 70 films to date. Kristofferson is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has been recognized with the Songwriter Hall of Fame’s prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, the Johnny Cash Visionary Award, BMI’s Icon Award, the Francis Preston Music Industry Award, the PEN Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Kristofferson is scheduled to play on Thursday.

Jamey Johnson – Truth and tradition. These non-negotiable principles serve as the bedrock of the music of eleven-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson, who is “one of the greatest country singers of our time,” according to The Washington Post. Indeed, the Alabama native has been acknowledged by many as country music’s north star, guiding us down a path of confession and conflict to a place of reflection and redemption. He has received tremendous praise from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and other publications, many of which have hailed his albums as masterpieces. His influential album, "That Lonesome Song", was certified platinum for 1 million in sales, and his innovative double album, "The Guitar Song", which debuted at No. 1 on the country album charts, received a gold certification. In 2012, he released a Grammy-nominated project honoring one of his heroes, Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. He is one of only a few people in the history of country music to win two Song of the Year Awards – for “Give It Away” and “In Color" – from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. He has written singles for George Strait, Trace Adkins, James Otto, Joe Nichols and others. Johnson is scheduled to play on Friday.

“Today, MerleFest is proud to announce more than 75 artists who are part of the festival’s 2018 lineup, commemorating the 31st year of the festival. MerleFest welcomes back five special artists that haveplayed all 31 years: Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Joe Smothers, and Jack Lawrence. The initial lineup reflects the musical diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival,” says Steve Johnson, MerleFest Artist Relations Manager. MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.” The initial lineup includes several notable acts; to see the full list, visit the website at MerleFest.org/lineup.
  
Tickets for the festival, as well as the Midnight Jam, are on sale now, and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14 to February 18, 2018 and Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival. 

Stay tuned for our annual MerleFest spotlights highlighting various artists from this impressive lineup. Buy those tickets now and we'll see ya MerleFest!



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Imagine Music Festival 2017 Review

Stepping onto the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first night of the Imagine Music Festival, I couldn't help but pause and appreciate the evolution of this magical event. Three years ago, my two festie-besties and I entered our first Imagine at Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward Park. At that time, the event was in its second year and held three stages and minimal space, however the effort put into the fest was huge. The three of us didn't quite leave IMF the same; we bonded as friends, we created unforgettable memories, and we learned that we needed more moments like this in our lives. IMF has since grown to a six-stage wonderland at the speedway. Spanning 887 acres, the festival now allows for the fun of camping, endless sensory adventures, and most importantly meaningful memories.

Day 1 presented a great beginning to the weekend. We got the day started with Yheti at the Disco Inferno Stage. With his creative flow and unique melodies, he brought the perfect amount of weird to allow for a smooth transition from the real-world into festival mode. Afterward the main stage, Oceania, brought on one heavy-hitter after another. For our crew, it started with Datsik, who came out on stage with the bass guns blazing. He started on a high level and never came back down, keeping the crowd amped and ready to go all night. Finishing out the stellar lineup was Tiesto. Filled with power and energy, this EDM legend kept the crowd moving for his entire 90 minute set, playing favorites both old and new.

After an exceptional opening day, we were stoked for day 2. The night started with one of our most anticipated sets: Black Tiger Sex Machine. After recently experiencing them at Electric Forest, I could not wait for them to take me to church once again. Just as I had imagined, they did not disappoint. The energy that comes from a BTSM show is hard to match. All three members engage with the crowd, creating a connection that pulls everyone together. Add that to the visuals that match every beat and the perfect set is created. Appropriately following that powerful set on the Oceania Stage was Zomboy with his infectious beats, continuing what BTSM started. Then came Flux Pavilion. I have to be honest, I saw Flux once before and found his set to be mediocre. I was beyond surprised and pleased that he proved me wrong at Imagine. Using heavy bass, melody and rhythm, Flux had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands. He mixed his own popular song "Bass Cannon" into an intricate web of bass and beats, recreating my personal favorite tune into a whole new sound. Of course once he played "I Can't Stop," everyone lost their minds, screaming the words that caused an echo across the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

As if all of that wasn't enough excitement for one night, we had to make a nearly impossible choice: Pretty Lights vs. Deadmau5. How does one choose between two legends? We decided to go with Pretty Lights because we were curious and intrigued with the fact that he was playing a live set. This was a new experience for me and well-worthy of the hype. Seeing the already mystical music by Pretty Lights played live on stage with actual instruments was a music nerd's dream come true. As we all know, Pretty Lights is a master at putting his audience into a visual trance and this set was no exception.


The last day is always a little sad because the thought of returning to reality is truly depressing. However, with the enchanting lineup on Sunday, it was impossible to feel anything except pure joy. I'm personally not always into the "feelsy" electronic music, but the Sunday lineup got me trapped in a zone of the feels and I loved every second of it.

Who better to start a heartwarming day than Illenium? This eclectic producer is a master at giving purpose to his music while still creating a hype show; generating a perfectly balanced experience that is sure to captivate the entire audience. Creating a flawless transition was Seven Lions hitting the stage right after Illenium. With his visuals being almost as beautiful as his flowing hair, I couldn't help but feel I was existing in the world he created on screen. Scenes of nature meshed with angelic melodies took the audience to a whole new level of peaceful bliss that felt like entering a dream. As if the night could get any more whimsical, the final set on the main stage was Above & Beyond. This was my first time seeing these trance gods and all expectations were exceeded. They worked their magic to make the crowd feel as one, moving and singing along to every calming beat. Of course, this was the main stage finale, so Imagine had to pull out all of the stops with a mesmerizing firework display. The festival couldn't have ended in a more beautiful way with soothing melodies, a fantastic light show, and my two best friends.

After the finale on the main stage, Claude VonStroke was the sole survivor keeping the crowd moving at the Disco Inferno. Once we finished grooving to his set, we all headed toward the exit of the speedway.

As we walked up the steps, we turned to span the festival, taking in the vibrantly flashing lights, the creatively dressed festies, and recalled entering this same festival three short years ago. The setting has changed, the space has grown, but that same intimate and genuine feeling first created by Imagine in the beginning, holds strong three years later. That's what a notable festival is all about: the best of friends creating new memories with an eloquent soundtrack constantly spinning in the background. Thanks for giving us a place to expand our memories, minds, and friendships, Imagine. We'll see you next year for your fifth birthday! Start making your own memories and grab the $99 customer appreciation passes while they last. How do you imagine? There's only one way to find out...



Monday, September 18, 2017

Imagine Set Times Released!

The time has come, boys and girls! Imagine has released their daily set times. Now it's time for the joy of sifting through the impressive list of  artists and carefully choosing which acts to hear and when. Good luck, there are some tough choices (I'm looking at you, Deadmau5 vs. Pretty Lights).



The official Imagine Mobile App for Apple and Android is also now available.  There are a lot of fun distractions at Imagine; just download that bad boy to ensure you don't miss any of your favorites. 

Lastly, as you know, many people along the East Coast were affected by Hurricane Irma. Imagine has started an official donation site via the American Red Cross. The music world is known for loving, caring and giving, so let's throw some support to the victims of Irma. 

It's almost time to Imagine, folks! How do you imagine?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Imagine Music Festival Spotlight - Black Tiger Sex Machine

Imagine Music Festival 2017 is right around the corner, folks! Soon enough, the complete schedule will be released and it will be time to carefully pick and choose which unforgettable acts to see. While this can be a daunting task, have no fear, we're here to help! In coming weeks, we'll be sharing our top picks for each stage. There are some heavy-hitters playing the Oceania stage like Deadmau5, Tiesto, and Flux Pavilion, but our first choice for this stage is Black Tiger Sex Machine.

Who's ready to go to church? First up we have sci-fi-inspired bass hitters, Black Tiger Sex Machine. With a name like that, how can you even think about missing their act? BTSM are known for their electrifying shows and their ability to bend, manipulate, and mesh every genre of electronic music into one performance. Their sound implements everything from dubstep and electro to drum and bass. At a BTSM set, the audience is immersed in hard-hitting bass and classically-influenced instrumentation with darker electro styles. BTSM is also known for creating partially live sets, which is refreshing in a world of press-play artists. Be sure to head to BTSM Church on Saturday and get lost in the hard and heavy sounds of this dynamic trio. To see what a BTSM show is all about, check out their tour recap below. Buy your tickets now for Imagine, they're worth every penny and going fast!




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Imagine Music Festival Drops Day Schedule



Imagine Music Festival has dropped their day schedule for the September 22-24 event.  Taking place once again at Atlanta's Motor Speedway, the lineup is stacked and offers a variety of options for bass heads and trance-lovers alike. Check out the schedule below and head over to their website to purchase your weekend pass.  



Hopscotch 2017 Day Parties Announced

Hopscotch is getting ever so close and today they revealed the schedule for the coveted day parties. Stroll around to all of the best local music spots on any given Hopscotch day and you're guaranteed to find either a familiar hometown artist or discover new budding talent.  Either way, a true lover of music can't go wrong with the variety provided by Hopscotch, especially with the day parties. Check out the full schedule here

Also don't forget that main stage tickets to see Future Islands, Run the Jewels, Solange and Big Boi go on sale this Thursday, August 24th.  

Don't miss the full event happening throughout downtown Raleigh from September 7-10.