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This month’s edition of Communion Club night at Underground Arts gets a seductive R&B makeover tonight with a set from newcomer Johnny Stimson. Flaunting an effortless falsetto range, Stimson’s voice is soulful even as it accompanies more upbeat, dance tracks. Also on tonight’s lineup is folksy singer-songwriter Gretchen Lohse who recently released a dreamy video for “Spider At the Gate”. Dig into tracks from both artists below and get tickets here.
Waxahatchee (aka singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield) will play at First Unitarian Church tonight. Crutchfield began the alt-folk project back in 2011 and has released two albums under the moniker (which was named after Alabama’s Waxahatchee Creek) with the most recent being 2013′s Cerulean Salt. Watch the video for the crunchy-but-catchy “Misery Over Dispute” below and get tickets here.
Wilmington’s Grand Opera House will welcome rock and roll / country icon Bonnie Raitt to its stage tonight. The ten-time Grammy Award winner released her 16th album Slipstream in April of last year, and American Songwriter called it “her best album in years”. During her 40-year career, Raitt has enjoyed remarkable success and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Get tickets to the event here and watch the video for her classic hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me” below.
Pennsylvania three-piece HogMaw has built a reputation over the past few years as a sting band that breaks down the walls of what a string band can be. For a while, it used the word “thudergrass” to describe its sound – bluegrass informed by rock and roll energy, and yes, a little bit of heavy metal technical dynamics.
The band has frequently performed in the campground of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and played the mainstage in 2011 for the fest’s 50th anniversary; it also gigs regionally and nationally on the bluegrass circuit, and its latest outing, Ideal Proof, finds HogMaw reeling back its boundary-breaking side to record a set of traditional songs.
The album was produced by Dom Flemons of renowned folk crew Carolina Chocolate Drops, who the band connected with when they performed together at The Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center, and we swapped emails with Colin Reeves of HogMaw to find out about how the project came about.
“We released our debut album Wake last summer,” Reeves writes. “It’s all originals and has more of a ‘newgrass’ feel. We would tour and play some very traditional bluegrass festivals and concerts and some old timers would literally walk out and turn their noses up at our original tunes, which is the price you pay for being an artist.”
But traditional songs are what got these players – Reeves on a variety of instruments, from mando to dobro, Matt Baldwin on guitar and Ryann Lynch on fiddle - into bluegrass and folk music. It’s the stuff they played around campfires for years.
“So last year we started throwing around the idea of maybe doing a more traditional album of some of our favorite tunes,” Reeves continues. “It was a way to prove to everyone, and more importantly ourselves, that we could play traditional music and more ‘songy’ songs instead of in-your-face shredding bluegrass and newgrass tunes.”
They thought Flemons would be the ideal producer to help them bridge the worlds of the old and the new: some emails and an Amtrack ticket later, and he was sitting in on one of their sets in Lancaster and working with them in the studio for a week.
Reeves says songs that will make the album are a mix of ones we chose and ones Flemons brought to the table.
“I think a couple he had wanted to do with the Drops but never got to,” he continues. “We had a long long list and started playing them and narrowing things down until we got ones we felt really good about. Some we’ve played live a bunch, some we had never ever played before, but we all felt they had life and were worthy of the record.”
Flemons was evidently so happy with the project that he invited HogMaw on the road with him this fall. They’ll play songs off the new record together and performing as his backing band; you can catch them performing locally on The Folk Show with Gene Shay on WXPN on Sunday, October 27th, then at The Strand Capitol on November 3rd and The Sellersville Theater on November 5th. Tickets and information on the concerts can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
In the liner notes that will appear on Ideal Proof, Flemons writes that both band and producer wanted to find something that would play to traditional bluegrass standards but also display HogMaw’s strengths as a group.
“Whether it be by getting up and jumping to your feet,” Flemons says, “or just sitting and listening to the sounds of the strings, this record is for those who have a strong love for string band music and a strong love for the spontaneity and vitality of truly great bluegrass music!”
Below, listen to HogMaw’s rendition of the traditional number “Darlin’ Corey” from Ideal Proof; for updates on the album and the tour, follow the band’s Facebook page.
Americana rock favorites Dawes just added another show to their 2013 tour. In addition to their spot at the XPoNential Music Festival, the group will perform at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York, PA, on September 24th. Tickets went on sale for members of the Center yesterday morning, but will be available for general purchase at 10 am on Friday, July 12th. Check out the video below of a live performance of “From a Widow Seat,” a tune off Dawes’ third (and most recent) album, Stories Don’t End. For tickets and more information, click here.
Philly folk duo Honey Watts are playing with Infantree, The Jantiques, and Don Black (Avolcano/Ghiant) tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. Don Black and his project Avolcano/Ghiant just played a great set at Folkadelphia‘s Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA this week. The 21+ show starts at 7:30PM and tickets are on sale for $10 here. Check out Honey Watts’ song “It’s a Shame I Know” in the player below.
Local rockers Arctic Splash (featuring Joey Sweeney of Philebrity) are celebrating their one year anniversary with a free show at 9PM tonight at Gunner’s Run. Check out the band performing “Denim Tuxedo” for Bands in the Backyard in the player below.
WXPN welcomes Lyle Lovett and his acoustic group to the Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center tonight at 7:30PM. The show is in support of the Grammy-winning artist’s most recent album, Release Me. Tickets prices range from $54 to 64 and are available here.
Finally, Philly bands City Rain, Cold Fronts, and The Mendles are playing a variety show with local comedians Lisa Yost, James Hesky, and Alex Grubard at PhilaMOCA tonight. There is an $8 donation fee at the door and a portion of proceeds will go to the organization To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Doors open at 6:30PM and the show starts at 7:30PM. Visit the event page here for more details. Listen to the title track off City Rain’s upcoming EP, Montage, in the player below.