The Jon Pardi show scheduled for August 21st has been postponed until August 14, 2021. All tickets will be honored for the new date. Ticketholders have until August 25th to request a refund or request that your payment be applied to purchase tickets for another show at Innsbrook After Hours. To do so, please call Etix at 1-800-514-3849.
The snarl in his voice sets the tone for Jon Pardi’s California Sunrise. He’s a traditional country singer, bred in the West Coast honky tonks, and he won’t apologize for chasing the dream on his own terms.
It might be considered contemporary cool to inject country songs with programmed drums, rap phrasing and poppy melodies. But Pardi isn’t worried about what’s trendy. He’s more concerned with making country music that will last, and California Sunrise successfully hits that target. It’s stocked with classic Nashville melody, blue-collar lyrical themes and authentic country instrumentation – real drums, loud-and-proud fiddles and tangy steel guitar. The album’s 12 songs draw a direct link to such forbearers as Dwight Yoakam, George Strait and Marty Stuart, and it’s intentional.
“There’s a growing audience for throwback,” Pardi says. “People want to hear somebody who really enjoyed the ‘90s country music era and brings that to 2016 country. A lot of this record is bringing an old-school flare back to a mainstream sound, but that gives me my own lane.”
Pardi established that lane with his 2014 debut, Write You a Song, a rough-and-rowdy project that made him familiar to the suddenly-hip country crowd, thanks to his Top 10 party song “Up All Night.” The music oozed with youthful brashness and longneck longing, and Pardi drew a raucous following, increasingly selling out 1,000-2,000 ticket clubs, sometimes out-performing higher-profile country acts playing across town the same night.
In fact, as Pardi began adding material from the new album into the set, he was shocked at the passion with which the music was consumed. As he played unreleased songs from California Sunrise, he discovered fans were already singing back the music verbatim – even the verses – having learned the songs from YouTube postings of earlier concerts. They’re ready for Jon Pardi, and he knows exactly what they need.
“I’ve been hitting the road steady for four years,” he says. “I’ve learned more about what the radio stations want, and I’ve learned what the fans want. It’s a whole different perspective on your second record, and I kind of took that perspective and put it into the 30-year-old me that loves recording music and loves writing.”
The result is a creative step forward. It’s not a left turn, necessarily, but there’s a clearer focus to Pardi’s vocal performances and a smart brew of sexy romance, western fashion and all-American work ethic that permeates California Sunrise. “Head Over Boots,” his ultra-melodic two-steppin’ radio hit, hints at the attitude with its playful proclamations and Texas dancehall influence. But there’s plenty more throughout the project: ragged barroom rhythms in the opening “Out Of Style,” Strait-like overtones on the ballad “She Ain’t In It,” a Motown cowboy romp in “Heartache On The Dance Floor” and a breezy, Eagle-esque country/rock closure with the title track. As invested as he is in throwback appreciation, Pardi is clearly not a one-dimensional dude.
“It’s a very diverse album,” he notes. “You can listen to ‘She Ain’t In It’ and you can listen to another song, and they sound like they should be put together in an album, but they’re completely different.”
The unifying thread, of course, is Pardi’s artistry, a blend of that crackling, masculine voice with irresistible musical taste and a working-man spirit that’s at the heart of his being. Pardi is a native of the Golden State, but he’s no Hollywood Hills golden child. He’s a middle-class son of a Northern California construction boss, a kid who – like most kids – tried to figure out the shortcuts, only to learn from the old man the value of putting in the time to finish the job the right way.
“My dad was a super-hard worker,” Pardi explains. “Now as a grown man I really appreciate that. The area I’m from is really blue-collar, agricultural, everybody’s working, everybody’s doing something in construction, something in farming. Everybody’s just working hard. When I go back, there’s that pride there that’s like this made me who I am.”
The work started at age 14. He did a short stint at a grocery store before progressing to grunt work at a Ford dealership, to ranch work and, later, to operating heavy machinery.
“Not everybody knows how to swing a framing hammer,” he says. “I’ve had to teach a friend how to swing a hammer. It’s really all about living and learning.”
Pardi wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, but he mostly wanted to wrap them around a guitar. He started writing songs by the age of 12 and was in his first band at 14. By 19, he knew Nashville was in his future. Once he arrived in Music City, there was more conventional work to keep him going – he was a lifeguard at a public pool for a time – but he found his way into Nashville’s songwriting community, where he applied some of the same skills he’d learned at his father’s dusty feet.
“Surround yourself with great people is a great thing to have in your mind for life,” he says. “Find the best people to work with. You can learn a lot.”
Among the key people he learned from is songwriter Brice Long, who co-wrote such trad-country pieces as Randy Houser’s ballad “Anything Goes” and Gary Allan’s #1 single “Nothing On But The Radio.”
“Brice is always saying, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing, don’t worry about everyone else,’” Pardi notes. “You need those kind of guys that have hits on the radio telling you that.”
Pardi became particularly close with songwriter Bart Butler, whose successes include Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna” and Bobby Pinson’s “Don’t Ask Me How I Know.” Butler not only became a frequent co-writer, he also emerged as Pardi’s co-producer, someone who’s able to handle the detail parts of the gig but also to assist Pardi in expressing his own creative voice.
“We’ve stayed true to Jon’s soul, even though we knew that may be a risk,” Butler says. “We still feel like country music with twin fiddles or musicians doing a steel solo can compete in the market today.”
Indeed, “Head Over Boots” – the first single from California Sunrise – became Pardi’s fastest-rising single to date, thanks to its buoyant melody and incessant optimism. Pulling from that same upbeat viewpoint, Sunrise makes multiple allusions to fashion through such titles as “Head Over Boots,” the bouncy “Dirt On My Boots” and the suggestive “Cowboy Hat.” The latter finds a young buck in a countrified take on the Tom Jones/Joe Cocker title “Leave Your Hat On,” keyed by the memorable line “Can’t resist you in that Resistol.” There’s a workman-like ethic embedded in the sweaty “Night Shift” and the pounding “Paycheck.” And there’s an innate sexiness throughout.
Pardi delivers it all with increasing authority. He introduced that confidence in Write You a Song, but he takes it another step on California, owing to the additional experience he picked up in the interim as an opening act at arenas and amphitheaters for Dierks Bentley and Alan Jackson.
“A vocal cord is like a muscle – if you work it out, it’s gonna get better,” Pardi suggests. “It’s like going to the gym and doing push ups and sit ups, and now it’s just my voice kind of growing up.”
As is his artistry. Pardi wrote a bulk of the songs on California Sunrise, but he was more than willing to consider material from other Nashville songwriters. He discovered a bevy of tunes that had been overlooked in the rush for synthetic productions from some of his contemporaries. He used mostly the same band that backed him on the first album, and they were invested in both the music and Pardi.
“It was like the Blues Brothers – ‘We’re getting the band back together!’” Pardi says with a laugh. “We got all seven of them in the room, and there was just a spark.”
The whole ensemble was able to hone in on the core of Jon Pardi, that California, working-class kid who still finds inspiration in the unfettered sound of a dancehall guitar. It’s snarling, hard country for a new generation, a throwback sound to an energized audience that sees it as moving forward.
Ushered into the world on the same label that launched Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, Pardi has found a whole chain of believers in his mission: the dedicated band behind him, the foot-stomping fans with cold beers at the foot of the stage, and a label that knows Pardi’s “throwback” sound is really made for these times.
“Everybody wants to play at an arena and headline it, and I’m not gonna lie – that’s one of my goals,” Pardi says. “Capitol is always the first to remind me that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.”
Those people who already know the words to his songs even before they’re released are evidence that he’s not just running the race. Jon Pardi is winning.
The Lee Brice show scheduled for September 12th has been postponed until August 6, 2021. All tickets will be honored for the new date. Ticketholders have until August 25th to request a refund or request that your payment be applied to purchase tickets for another show at Innsbrook After Hours. To do so, please call Etix at 1-800-514-3849.
Blame Aunt Henrietta. When you dig into Lee Brice, with its thick grooves, the squalling guitars, the tumbling drums, sheets of steamy B-3 organ and wide open vocals, the two time CMA/ACM/Grammy Song of the Year nominee takes listeners to church, school, home and out on a Saturday night. For a man known for raucous live shows and contemplative songs, there’s a whole lot of gospel driving his fourth album.
“My Aunt Henrietta had the groove,” he says. “She could play one note, and pierce your heart. She played the piano, and when she played she was black — and I didn’t know it, or think about it. I was so sheltered, I didn’t understand; it was just church music – and it felt good! It coulda been Ray Charles, too, but it was all over her playing.”
It’s all over Brice’s self-titled new record, too, which serves as a homecoming and a homing device on the essence of what’s defined the man whose written hits for Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and the Eli Young Band, who had their breakout single with “Crazy Girl.” There’s a newfound simplicity to tracks like the real life “Songs In The Kitchen,” the soul searching “What Keeps Me Up At Night,” the loving reality check “Boy” and self-recognizing “I Don’t Smoke,” which scrapes Brice’s music to the bone and features guitars by Warren Haynes.
“Songs that are pleasing to the heart, songs where your heart hears it, and you feel something in your heart, they don’t need all that stuff,” Brice explains. “So this album I wanted to be a real organic thing: I play 99% of the lead guitar, my band’s on it – and there’s even a theremin, which I had to learn to play. When I started, I wanted this record to be groovy, stripped down to the message and the feel.
“There are no computer tricks, no artificial sounds. Even when it sounds like a computer, I promise, we figured out a way to make that sound. To me, being real was everything. I wanted to put a little piece of everything about me, everything I am on this record. No two songs are about the same things, but somehow it all hangs together.”
From the rising romance and deep desire of “Eyes Closed” to the mandolin-flecked homage to making your mark where you are “They Won’t Forget About Us,” the Conway Twitty-esque soul slink of the sultry “Rumor” to the sanctified smoke of the Southern boogie and Detroit manufacture witness “Dixie Highway,” Brice stabs veins of country tributaries to craft a roots swelter that speaks to America’s biggest genre from, the outside in.
His recipe is as straightforward as the man himself. Start with the basics: influences.
“My musical upbringing is so different, it’s hard to explain to people… I’ve listened to things most people never heard of, a lot of gospel quartets: Gold City, the Gaither Vocal Band. I had a few cassettes, but most of my other music was what I taped off the radio.
“I fell in love with Willie Nelson’s The Great Divide, and I wore the tape out of Garth’s first record. And there was Aunt Henrietta. She made a record with my Mom, the three Lewis Sisters when they were teenagers; that stayed with her.”
Music it seems is genetically hard-wired into the father of three, the embodiment of that guy in the neighborhood everybody knows and loves. It’s what gives “The Locals” its sense of enjoying the ones who are happy right where they were born and raised – and captures the positive outlook in the face of adversity that tempers those facing life’s greatest challenges on the loping “Have A Good Day.”
That same positivity infuses the Bruce Hornsby-evoking “Story To Tell” with a sense of how powerful every single person’s narrative is. Written with Edwin McCain, who guests on the track, it taps into music’s ability to transform each of us – if we’ll let it.
“My hero came to my garage, and we wrote two songs,” he marvels. “Before I came to town, I knew Edwin McCain and his music; went to his concert every year at the House of Blues. Those records, I knew by heart growing up… and he has a lot of the same Southern influences. He knows those same things that matter to me, they’re in his music.”
Beyond what Brice was raised on, there are all the things he’s learned along the way. Laughing, the great big mountain of a man admits, “I grew up in Sumter, South Carolina, one of the Twenty Most Violent Places in America. It’s this tiny little town, and it’s rough, which makes you real tough. The last thing you have to worry about is showing somebody how tough you are. For us, it’s working hard and doing right. I have rough edges.”
Rough edges, and a vulnerability that never flinches. Brice, after all, is the man who gave the world the wrenching “I Drive Your Truck” and faltering “I Don’t Dance.” Fully capable of delivering on the “Parking Lot Party” and “Drinking Class” end of the spectrum, be careful how you view his brand of good timing.
“I know, I know,” he allows, “onstage you see this big burly guy stomping around, singing his guts out. You don’t get that from the radio, and it doesn’t add up – except it does. The funny thing is the dudes are as into ‘I Don’t Dance’ as the girls are. I think they see me up there and they feel those things, too, but now there’s a guy trying to be a guy who’s being honest about this stuff.”
Contradictions aside, Brice is probably right. Beyond the hell-raising and church-leaning, there’s a real man who works hard to support his family by driving everything about who he is and what he does into his work. It doesn’t fit into music business clichés, but it’s the bottom line for the rugged songwriter/guitarist.
“I’ve tried to walk a fine line between the commercial and the things that are tangible,” he explains. “I’m on the road 200 days a year, trying to write songs when I’m in town. But I also want to make a life: I have a wife, a baby, two little boys and a home. That’s important to me. So when I’m home, I work harder and dig deeper into living. You know, you have to live so you have something to work from and write about.”
It’s not defensive, nor is it aggressive. Like much of what’s on his 15-song self-titled project, Lee Brice has dropped all machinations that aren’t real for the Southern Baptist kid who penned the first song to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart (Brooks’ “More Than A Memory”), broken Eddy Arnold’s longest charting single record (56 weeks with his #3 “Love You Like Crazy”) and helped the Eli Young Band onto their first nomination streak, while winning Song of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards (“Crazy Girl”). Diversity is a piece of who he is, and those fragments yield something singular in the former Clemson football player.
“Believability has so much to do with the production,” he says. “This time, I didn’t want the tricks and the wall of sound; I figured the stripped back, organic nature would be what held the album together. I wanted heart-to-heart communication – whether it was family-inspired, small town or romance – with nothing in between. So I didn’t sing a lot of vocal takes, and we sometimes strip things down to just a guitar. There’s nowhere to hide, and a whole lot of music.”
For a man who wrote 60 songs and kept 15, that’s a lot of music to turn people on with. But it’s also a compelling sampler of who he is and where he comes from. Whether drawing on Brian McKnight, Phil Driskell or Tupac, as well as vintage Hank Jr. and Alabama, it is the South that permeates his take on 21st century country music.
“There’s a lot of blues from the Mississippi River down from Memphis and all the way up to Chicago,” he begins. “South Carolina and the Southeast have their own thing, with Sister Hazel, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Allman Brothers, Tom Petty – beyond all the church music I was raised with. There’s a whole sound from ‘round here, and it runs through everything.
“To me, if I want people to know who I am and understand my music, this is the place to start. It’s all here, if you just close your eyes and listen. My values as a man, trying to be honest about my doubts and my faith, the music that turns me on – and the way I think songs can bring a whole lot of real life to people.”
In 2017, the trio of brothers who make up pop-rock trio HANSON celebrated 25 years of playing music together, selling millions of albums and reaching fans from Tulsa to Tokyo.
To celebrate this landmark year, HANSON launched the “Middle Of Everywhere 25th Anniversary World Tour,” alongside a new greatest hits collection of the same name, which included single “I Was Born,” infusing a piece of the future into the year’s reflective projects. The year concluded with a special Christmas album release and tour for the group’s Finally It’s Christmas album, which was among the most successful Christmas releases of 2017. The projects were some of HANSON’s most successful of their career, with sold-out concerts in Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, highlighting their staying power and still strong connection with fans, a quarter century after they began in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
As the band embarks on their 26th year performing together they have set their sites on musical projects that break new ground. Echoing the aspirational qualities of the single “I Was Born”, the group is still driven by a sense of purpose and optimism, which imbues every part of their career and continues to attract new and old fans alike.
Founded in 1992 at ages 11, nine and six, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac spent their first five years building a fanbase as an independent band in Tulsa, OK, performing both classic rock ‘n’ roll and soul music and their own original material, to form their own unique blend of harmony-driven, soulful pop-rock. This unlikely focus was forged by an early introduction to music from the 1950’s and early 60’s, with the young brothers citing influences from Aretha Franklin to Otis Redding, The Beatles, Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. These influences formed the bedrock of their musical inspiration, helping to forge their signature sound which incorporated strong melodies and song craft, as well as reverence for their musical forefathers.
After five years and two independent albums, HANSON released their major label debut in 1997, and saw a meteoric rise with the international smash single “Mmmbop” from the album Middle Of Nowhere, which garnered multiple Grammy nominations and five consecutive top 40 singles, including “Where’s The Love,” “I Will Come To You” and “Weird”. Continuing the momentum with their critically acclaimed sophomore release This Time Around, more hit singles and extensive touring deepened the band’s connection with their fans, and helped to cement their place as one of the world’s leading artists.
After a record label merger nearly derailed the release of their second album, in 2003 HANSON decided to found their own independent 3CG Records. The decision to form the label was ahead of its time with few high level mainstream artists choosing to self release, but with the new label the band was able to establish stability in a very turbulent music business, starting a new era for themselves. Their first independent release, Underneath in 2004, was a #1 Billboard Independent Album, and helped establish HANSON as one of the most successful independent bands to date. Since then HANSON has released 3 more studio albums, The Walk, Shout It Out, and ANTHEM, as well as an ongoing stream of special products and live albums through their label, and toured the world, continuing to focus on cultivating a vibrant global fanbase. The group has sold over 16 million albums to date.
In 2007, they launched a grassroots campaign to help combat poverty and provide HIV/AIDS relief in Africa (TakeTheWalk.net), hosting one-mile barefoot walks with thousands of individuals committed to the cause. In 2013, the group diversified its brand with the founding of their Hanson Brothers Beer Company, and in 2014 established The Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival, based in their hometown of Tulsa, OK, which brings artists and brewers from all over the world to one of the country’s leading Craft Beer and Music Festivals with 40,000 in attendance.
HANSON has never been driven by trends or fame, but instead is fueled by the personal drive to create great art, inspire connection and cultivate community. Those qualities are at the root of the band’s longevity and lasting connection with fans.
Steve Earle, a man who doesn’t mind telling a story, was talking about the first thing Guy Clark ever said to him.
“It was 1974, I was 19 and I had just hitch-hiked from San Antonio to Nashville,” Earle said in mid-Texas-cum-Greenwich Village drawl. “Back then if you wanted to be where the best songwriters were, you had to go to Nashville. There were a couple of places where you could get on stage, play your songs. They let you have two drafts, or pass the hat, but you couldn’t do both.
“If you were from Texas, and serious, Guy Clark was a king. Everyone knew his songs, ‘Desperados Waiting For A Train,’ ‘LA Freeway,’ he’d been singing them before they came out on Old No. 1 in 1975.”
“So I was pretty excited when I went into the club and the bartender, a friend of mine says, ‘Guy’s here.’ I wanted him to hear me play. I was doing some of my earliest songs, ‘Ben McCullough’ and ‘The Mercenary Song.’ But he was in the pool room and when I go in there the first thing he says to me is `I like your hat.’”
While it was a pretty cool hat, Earle remembers, “worn in just right with some beads I fixed up around it,” Clark did eventually hear his songs. A few months later he was playing bass in Guy’s band.
“Now, I am a terrible bass player…but I was the kid, and that was what the kid did. I took over for Rodney Crowell. At that time Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ was a top ten hit, which was amazing, a six and half minute story song on the radio. So Guy said, ‘we’re story song writers, why not us?’ So we went out to cash in on the big wave.”
The success of ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ was not replicated, but Earle reports that being the 19-year-old bass player in Guy Clark’s band was “a gas.” At least until Earle went into a bar and left the bass in the back seat of his VW bug, from which it was promptly stolen. “It was a nice Fender Precision bass that belonged to Guy, the kind of thing that would be worth ten grand now. He wasn’t so happy about that.”
More than forty years later, Steve Earle, just turned 64, no longer wears a cowboy hat. “It was more than all the hat acts,” Steve contended. “My grandmother told me it was impolite to wear a hat indoors.” As for Guy Clark, he’s dead, passed away in 2016 after a decade long stare-down with lymphoma. But Earle wasn’t ready to stop thinking about his friend and mentor.
“No way I could get out of doing this record,” Steve said when we talked over the phone from Charlotte, North Carolina, that night’s stop on Earle’s ever peripatetic road dog itinerary. “When I get to the other side, I didn’t want to run into Guy having made the TOWNES record and not one about him.”
Townes van Zandt (subject of Earle’s 2009 Townes) and Guy Clark were “like Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to me,” Steve said. The mercurial Van Zandt (1944-1997) who once ordered his teenage disciple to chain him to a tree in hopes that it would keep him from drinking, was the On The Road quicksilver of youth. Clark, 33 at the time Earle met him, was a longer lasting, more mellow burn.
“When it comes to mentors, I’m glad I had both,” Earle said. “If you asked Townes what’s it all about, he’d hand you a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. If you asked Guy the same question, he’d take out a piece of paper and teach you how to diagram a song, what goes where. Townes was one of the all-time great writers, but he only finished three songs during the last fifteen years of his life. Guy had cancer and wrote songs until the day he died…He painted, he built instruments, he owned a guitar shop in the Bay Area where the young Bobby Weir hung out. He was older and wiser. You hung around with him and knew why they call what artists do disciplines. Because he was disciplined.”
“GUY wasn’t really a hard record to make,” Earle said. “We did it fast, five or six days with almost no overdubbing. I wanted it to sound live…When you’ve got a catalog like Guy’s and you’re only doing sixteen tracks, you know each one is going to be strong.”
When he was making TOWNES, Earle recorded “Pancho and Lefty” first; it was a big record, covered over by no less than Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan. “You had to go into the bar and right away knock out the biggest guy in the room,” Earle recalled.
With GUY it was a different process. Clark didn’t have that one career-defining hit, but he wasn’t exactly unknown. “Desperados,” “LA Freeway” were pre-“Americana” style hits. “New Cut Road” charted for Bobby Bare and was recorded by Johnny Cash. “Heartbroke” was a # 1 country record for Ricky Skaggs in 1982. But when you added it up, Clark’s songs wove together into variegated life tapestry, far more than the sum of the parts.
Earle and his current, perhaps best ever, bunch of Dukes take on these songs with a spirit of reverent glee and invention. The tunes are all over the place and so is the band, offering max energy on such disparate entries as the bluegrass rave-up “Sis Draper” and talking blues memoir of “Texas 1947.” Earle’s raw vocal on the sweet, sad “That Old Time Feeling” is heartbreaking, sounding close enough to the grave as to be doing a duet with his dead friend.
You can hear little hints of where Earle came from. The stark “Randall Knife” has the line “a better blade that was ever made was probably forged in Hell,” which wouldn’t be out of place in a Steve Earle song. Also hard to beat is “The Last Gunfighter,” a sardonic western saga to which Earle offers a bravura reading of the chorus: “the smell of the black powder smoke and the stand in the street at the turn of joke.”
But in the end GUY leads the listener back to its beginning, namely Guy Clark, which is what any good “tribute” should do.
Indeed, it was a revelation to dial up a video of Guy Clark singing “Desperados Waiting For A Train” on Austin City Limits sometime in the 1980’s. Looking as handsome as any man ever was in his bluegrass suit and still brown, flowing hair, Clark sings of a relationship between a young man and an older friend. Saying how the elder man “taught me how to drive his car when he was too drunk to,” the young narrator describes a halcyon fantasy in which he and friend were always “desperados waiting for a train.” As time passes, however, the young man despairs. To him, his friend is “one on the heroes of this country.” So why is he “dressed up like some old man?”
Steve Earle delivers these lines well, as he always does. But the author of “Guitar Town,” “Copperhead Road,” “Transcendental Blues” and a hundred more masterpiece songs, would be the first to tell you it is one thing to perform “Desperados Waiting For Train” and another to be its creator. There are plenty of covers better than the original. But “Desperados…” will forever reside with Guy Clark, the songwriter singing his song, just him and his guitar. That is the main thing GUY has to tell you: to remember the cornerstone, never forget where you came from.
There was another reason, Earle said, he couldn’t “get out of” making GUY. “You know,” he said, “as you live your life, you pile up these regrets. I’ve done a lot of things that might be regrettable, but most of them I don’t regret because I realize I couldn’t have done anything else at the time.”
“With GUY, however, there was this thing. When he was sick—he was dying really for the last ten years of his life—he asked me if we could write a song together. We should do it ‘for the grandkids,’ he said. Well, I don’t know…at the time, I still didn’t co-write much, then I got busy. Then Guy died and it was too late. That, I regret.”
Earle didn’t think making GUY paid off some debt, as if it really could. Like the Townes record, Guy is a saga of friendship, its ups and downs, what endures. It is lucky for us that Earle remembers and honors these things, because like old friends, GUY is a diamond.
Los Lobos is unlike any other band, so it’s not surprising that the group’s first-ever Christmas album – Llegó Navidad – would break the holiday-album mold too.
Instead of relying on over-played seasonal standards for its latest album, the band, along with some friends, started out by researching and collecting nearly 150 different traditional (and not-so-traditional) Christmas songs from North, Central and South America. After narrowing down the list to 11 songs – and then adding their own original to the mix – David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin recorded them on their home turf in East Los Angeles.
The band set out to sing new life into these old songs and make the kind of fresh and vital holiday album that only Los Lobos could make. You’ve probably never heard 10 of the songs (“Arbolito de Navidad” and “Regalo de Reyes”); one you’ve absolutely heard (“Feliz Navidad”); and one you’ve definitely never heard (“Christmas And You”) – which was written especially for the album.
Llegó Navidad opens with Rosas singing “La Rama” (the branch), a lively song played in the regional folk style known as son jarocho, which is popular in the Veracruz region of Mexico. La Rama is also the name of the traditional Mexican holiday custom where the community adorns branches from a tree and displays them in a nightly procession through the neighborhood.
Hidalgo sings lead on “Christmas Time In Texas,” a track made popular by Tex-Mex legend Freddy Fender. Lozano’s distorted upright bass keeps time with his son Jason Lozano on drums, who makes special guest appearance on the song.
“Dónde Está Santa Claus” fires on all cylinders like a lowered Chevy Impala cruising Whittier Boulevard on the weekend. Berlin’s warm Vox Continental organ and Perez’s potent drumming create a head-nodding groove that’s miles away from the 1958 original, which was a novelty hit for 12-year-old singer Augie Rios. His version featured a full orchestra and poppy background vocals.
One of the interesting things about Llegó Navidad is that the rancheras, salsas and son jarochos on the album would sound right at home on the group’s 1978 debut, Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. It’s a rare full-circle moment for the Grammy®-winning band, which has prided itself on never covering the same ground twice while making music for nearly 50 years.
Their journey began in 1973, when Hidalgo (vocals, guitar, and pretty much anything with strings), Perez (drums, vocals, guitar), Rosas (vocals, guitar), and Lozano (bass, vocals, guitarrón) earned their stripes playing revved-up versions of Mexican folk music in restaurants and at parties. The band evolved in the 1980s as it tapped into L.A.’s burgeoning punk and college rock scenes. They were soon sharing bills with bands like the Circle Jerks, Public Image Ltd. and the Blasters, whose saxophonist, Steve Berlin, would eventually leave the group to join Los Lobos in 1984.
Early on, Los Lobos enjoyed critical success, winning the Grammy® for Best Mexican-American Performance for “Anselma” from its 1983 EP …And a Time to Dance. A year later, the group released its full-length, major-label debut, How Will the Wolf Survive? Co-produced by Berlin and T Bone Burnett, the album was a college rock sensation that helped Los Lobos tie with Bruce Springsteen as Rolling Stone’s Artist of the Year.
A major turning point came in 1987 with the release of the Ritchie Valens biopic, La Bamba. The quintet’s cover of Valens’ signature song topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K. Rather than capitalize on that massive commercial success, Los Lobos instead chose to record La Pistola y El Corazón, a tribute to Tejano and Mariachi music that won the 1989 Grammy® for Best Mexican-American Performance.
That kind of sharp artistic turn has become Los Lobos’ trademark, serving to both fuel the band’s creativity and keep its fans engaged. In 1992, that willingness to defy expectations led them to record Kiko, an adventurous album produced by Mitchell Froom that’s considered by many to be one the band’s very best.
Since then, Los Lobos has continued to deliver daring and diverse albums such as Colossal Head (1996), Good Morning Aztlán (2002), The Town and the City (2006), Tin Can Trust (2010) and Gates of Gold (2015). On top of that, the band’s live shows never disappoint, as documented on the recent concert recordings Live at the Fillmore (2005) and Disconnected in New York City (2013). Through the years, they’ve managed to keep things interesting with unexpected side trips like an album of Disney songs in 2009, along with countless contributions to tribute albums and film soundtracks. One of those – “Mariachi Suite” from the 1995 film Desperado ¬– earned the band a Grammy® for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Los Lobos has sold millions of records, won prestigious awards and made fans around the world. But perhaps its most lasting impact will be how well its music embodies the idea of America as a cultural melting pot. In it, styles like son jarocho, norteño, Tejano, folk, country, doo-wop, soul, R&B, rock ’n’ roll and punk all come together to create a new sound that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
The Chase Rice show scheduled for August 15th has been postponed until May 22, 2021. All tickets will be honored for the new date. Ticketholders have until August 25th to request a refund or request that your payment be applied to purchase tickets for another show at Innsbrook After Hours. To do so, please call Etix at 1-800-514-3849.
Here are a few highlights from its many successful US tours…
+ Sold-out shows at the famous Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (15,000 people)
+ Highland Park in Chicago (20,000 people)
+ Seaside Summer Concert Series in Brooklyn, NY (11,000+ people)
+ Sold-out nights at both the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, FL and at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL
+ Sold-out performance at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA
ABBA The Concert continues to be the top ABBA tribute group in the world, dazzling all who see with their fantastic performance while playing the most iconic hits from ABBA, including “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S,” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes All,” “Waterloo,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” and “Dancing Queen.”
Many critics agree, ABBA The Concert is the most amazing and authentic ABBA tribute show in the world. Come dance, come sing, having the time of your life at THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE CELEBRATION!
* ABBA The Concert is not affiliated with the original ABBA group or Mamma Mia. *
Recording artist, actor, philanthropist, restaurateur…just a few of the befitting titles for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who first gained worldwide acclaim more than 10 years ago with his debut album, Back for the First Time (2000). Ever since, his unrivaled lyrical prowess, dynamic performances and timeless hits including “Stand Up,” “Get Back,”, “Number One Spot,” “Money Maker,” and “My Chick Bad,” have solidified him as one of music’s best entertainers and led to the sale of more than 20 million albums domestically.
With the 2013 release of LUDAVERSAL, fans can look forward to more great music from Ludacris.
In addition to immense commercial success, Ludacris’ consistent output of stellar music has garnered the admiration of his peers, as well as numerous awards and honors including three Grammys.
The same talent and versatility that Ludacris showcases in his music has enabled him to make a seamless and successful transition to acting, with acclaimed performances in films including Crash, Hustle & Flow and the #1 movie, No Strings Attached in January 2011, and television’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, under his belt. His work in Crash earned him the prestigious Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice awards. He co-starred in The Fast & The Furious film series, Fast Five, which debuted at #1 in April 2011 and in May 2013, he will co-star in the latest installment of the series, Fast Six.
In addition to his non-stop efforts in the studio, on stage and on the big and small screens, Ludacris’ long held entrepreneurial spirit led him to open a restaurant, Straits, in Atlanta, GA in 2008 which he closed after 2 years in business to concentrate on the opening of his new restaurant, Chicken n Beer, which opens in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Concourse D in 2013. Along with launching his own spirit, Conjure Cognac in 2009, Ludacris also entered into a partnership to launch SOUL by Ludacris headphones, which entered into the market in the summer of 2011. Both of these ventures have captured the attention and affection of the public and firmly established themselves in their respective markets in a short time.
Although one could wonder how Ludacris finds the time for anything outside of work, his artistic and business fortitude is only rivaled by his desire to give back and use his success to change the lives of others. This passion inspired him to establish the Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to inspire youth through education and memorable experiences to live their dreams by uplifting families, communities and fostering economic development.
In 2010, MSNBC.com named Ludacris, along with other eminent figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet, as one of today’s most effective influencers on American culture. With his feet firmly planted in so many diverse areas, we can certainly see why.
Killer Queen are the only tribute to have sold out the same arenas as Queen in their heyday. Patrick and the band’s performances at Forest National and Ahoy were scale recreations of Queen’s epic performances. The band are also the longest established tribute to Queen. The band tour extensively all over Europe and the US – they are regulars at prestige American venues such as Red Rocks and Austin City Limits.
Simply put – this is Elton!
Scotsman Rus Anderson is Elton John’s official body double for his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ world tour launch promo video.
Hand picked by Elton John & David Furnish, it was Rus’ own live tribute production ‘The Rocket Man Show’ which got him noticed.
In the show, Rus recreates the magic & live persona of a young Elton like no other. Storming around the stage with a fun-loving sense of flamboyance; part diva, part soccer player, killer vocalist, fierce piano player, all rock & roller.
Rus’ painstaking attention to detail includes wearing gorgeous, colorful & spectacular costumes (many actually worn by Elton) including his iconic boots, glasses & jumpsuits from 1973, as well as a sparkly Swarovski tuxedo from 1984.
It is clearly the most authentic Elton John tribute show in the world.
The Rocket Man Show is a regular feature across the USA at venues such as House of Blues, Hard Rock Live, Caesar’s, Harrah’s, Legends In Concert, BB King’s, Universal Studios & Walt Disney World. You cannot go wrong with this much experience onstage at your venue.
Rus & his full band of merry crackerjack musicians are the very best in the business. The show is 100% live in both vocals & instrumentation. Absolutely no tracks or lip-syncing. The performance itself is an extremely sincere, intense & visual spectacle of a journey. There are ballads & driving rock songs. Audiences laugh, cry, sing & dance as they recall the highs & lows of Elton’s epic career.
In summary, the key to success when hiring a band – or even buying a ticket to go & see a band – is knowing how professional they’ll look, act & perform when they arrive.
Rus Anderson has been officially hired by Elton John himself to re-enact the most memorable moments of his career. How’s that for peace of mind?
With hundreds & hundreds of shows & satisfied clients, thousands upon thousands of dollars in costumes & a 5-star rating on many of the USA’s elite talent rating platforms, Rus is an ASCAP member, Disney verified & fully licensed & insured.
You are OK with Rus, Elton John thinks so too!
What you see is what you get & that’s entertainment.
See you at the show.