Women in Jazz: Joyce Cobb & Rhodes College Jazz Band
Mar
31
6:30 pm18:30

Women in Jazz: Joyce Cobb & Rhodes College Jazz Band

  • Benjamin Hooks Library

The Rhodes Jazz Ensemble, the college’s big band, is directed by John Bass and performs multiple times per semester on campus and around Memphis.


Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and reared in Nashville, Joyce Cobb first sang in her grandmother’s church. At an early age the influence of music was present in her home environment. Both parents were avid music lovers, with an emphasis on Jazz.

Joyce’s career spans from live orchestrations for Nashville’s WSM radio and television stations, to live performances in Europe.  She landed a record deal with a subsidiary of Stax Records just before the label folded, but continued her recording career with West Coast-based Cream Records.  Under the direction of Wayne Crook of Shoe Productions, she wrote, sang, and performed the single "Dig the Gold" that earned her a NO.42 spot in Billboard Magazine. Maestro Alan Balter, conductor of the Memphis Symphony, heard her sing at the Peabody Hotel in 1990 and Cobb has since been invited to perform with the symphony on numerous occasions.

(Re)Birth Of Cool with the Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra
Apr
14
6:30 pm18:30

(Re)Birth Of Cool with the Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra

  • Benjamin Hooks Library

The Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra has a long reputation of musical excellence at the University of Memphis. The group is comprised of 17 outstanding full-time university student musicians ranging from undergraduates through doctoral candidates. The ensemble performs a wide range of styles from composers Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington to modern composers such as Jim McNeely and Bob Brookmeyer. The group continually performs and records new student compositions, commissions, and new works from outside composers on an annual basis.

Past performances have included a tour of Europe and presentations at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, and the Tennessee Music Educators Association convention. Most recently the group was honored to be a part of the National Endowment of the Humanities "Looking at Jazz" series held in the Mid-South.

They have recorded two CDs, "Voices" and "Out of the Bluffs" for Select-O-Hits, Memphis.

The Legends of Jazz featuring Dr. Bill Hurd
Apr
28
6:30 pm18:30

The Legends of Jazz featuring Dr. Bill Hurd

  • Benjamin Hooks Library

Bill Hurd is a welcome feature at any Memphis venue catering to jazz fans. His mastery of the alto and tenor saxophone is reminiscent of Coltrane and his virtuosity on soprano and baritone sax is equally impressive.

Hurd has recorded with Kirk Whalum, Isaac Hayes, Maurice White, Greg Curtis, Phil Perry, Kevin Whalum, J. Blackfoot, and Wendy Moten and with fellow legendary Memphis musicians like Floyd Newman, Rod McGaha, Rick Braun, and Lester Snell.

But Bill Hurd’s genius is not limited to music. He is also known as Dr. William C. Hurd, a practicing Ophthalmologist. In addition to his medical degree, he has an MBA from M.I.T. and a B.S. in engineering from Notre Dame (where he was an All-American captain of the track team and named Notre Dame's 1968 Athlete of the Year). Furthermore, Hurd has patented inventions of medical devices relating to his work as an eye surgeon. His two sons are honors graduates of Notre Dame, and his wife of 42 years is a Tennessee Circuit Court Judge.

Obviously, Bill Hurd has high standards, and those standards extend to choosing the members of his quartet. Tom Lonardo (drums), Sidney Kirk (keyboard), and Erroll Thomas (bass) are all considered among the South’s finest musical talents. And you’ll hear how it all comes together on this performance captured live in Memphis, TN.


The International Jazz Twins: Carl & Alan McGuire
Mar
17
6:30 pm18:30

The International Jazz Twins: Carl & Alan McGuire

  • Benjamin Hooks Library

Carl & Alan, the twins were born in Tokyo from a Japanese mother and an American father. They grew up in an international environment in Hong Kong from ages 3-15. They moved to the vibrant music city of Memphis, TN in USA at age 15. At age 11 they decided to form a rock band with their older brother named Kevin. He assigned Carl to play drums and Alan to play bass and that's how they ended up on their instruments. They arrived in Memphis determined to pursue music and soon after they joined the world renown Stax Music Academy and found a love for jazz. They learned to improvise sitting in at jazz clubs in Memphis. At age 17, Donald Brown discovered them in his university recruiting tour and they became his pupils. In 2014, they recorded their first album titled ‘The Sound of Music’ with Kirk Whalum as the guest artist and Donald Brown on piano/producing. They have been touring in Japan and Hong Kong, their home countries every summer. In the summer of 2016 they played their own concert with Yosuke Onuma, one of Japan's premier guitarists, for a packed house of 400 people in Akita, Japan. They are currently still studying under Brown at the University of Tennessee to refine their skills and widen their musical perspectives to deliver their own sound of music. They have lived in 3 countries and traveled to more than 20 countries. With their international experience, the world is their stage and only the sky is limit.
For more information please visit www.carlalanmaguire.com
e-mail info@carlalanmaguire.com

 

REACH
Mar
3
6:30 pm18:30

REACH

  • Benjamin Hooks Librarby

 

REACH is an Instrumental Jazz Fusion group based out of Memphis, Tennessee that formed in the Fall of 2011. REACH strives to push the boundaries of musical development while still maintaining the ability to relate to people and to overall just have a good time. While the main direction leans more towards Jazz Fusion, they do not restrict themselves to other styles of music. The band has influences that range over many genres, such as Funk, Latin, Reggae, Rock, and Blues, which is clear in their playing. These influences along with each members musical background proves that diversity is a key factor in REACH's music.

Members:

Greg Langston- Guitar
Alex Morgan- Guitars
Zach Nixon- Saxophone
Cedric Taylor- Keyboards/Synthesizer
Zechariah Frink- Bass
Robinson Bridgeforth- Drums/Percussion

Influences:

Weather Report, The Yellow Jackets, Victor Wooten, Snarky Puppy, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, James Brown, The Meters, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea Electrik Band, Bobby Mcferrin, Van Halen, Guthrie Govan, Pink Floyd, BB King, Bob Marley, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Prince, John Coltrane, Bob Minstner, Chris Potter, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Keith Urban, Frank Gambale, Return To Forever, Miles Davis.

 

Balkan Beat Box
Oct
23
7:00 pm19:00

Balkan Beat Box

Balkan Beat Box first exploded out of Brooklyn’s underground music scene in 2005 with a self-titled debut that unleashed into the world their Mediterranean-inflected, globalized electronica sound. 

Founded by Ori Kaplan (DJ Shotnez and ex Gogol Bordello) and Tamir Muskat (producer Asaf Avidan and Ape Records, ex-Firewater) the band built their reputation on explosive live shows. Shortly after forming, Balkan Beat Box drafted their collaborator Tomer Yosef to be the group’s frontman, and his wild onstage energy has been galvanizing audiences ever since. 

The three emerged as a cohesive songwriting trio on 2007’s Nu Med, which featured Tamir hand crafting beats and samples, Ori orchestrating melodies and Tomer writing the hard-hitting lyrics. With the release of 2010’s Blue Eyed Black Boy, the group took their already well-traveled sound to Belgrade and other Eastern points. Their fourth album, GIVE, reveals a harder edge. Inspired by protest movements across the globe—from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street and Israel’s social protests—the album speaks out against social ills while presenting a cautious hope and energizing spirit for our time. The band’s also a hit with other musicians and has been sampled by Mac Miller and Diplo on "Goosebumpz," and Jason Derulo on "Talk Dirty," a #1 hit around the world. 

One of the most driving forces on GIVE is fatherhood—not surprising considering all three members of the group have recently become fathers. It’s a role that’s made each of them more aware of what’s happening in the world, and how they’re changing the planet that their children will inherit. The change is more than philosophical, however. It also inspired the band to pick up new instruments, from children’s toys to analog synthesizers. 

“It was kind of a crazy vibe in the studio sometimes,” Tamir says with a laugh. “We were recording some of our most hardcore songs ever, but our kids were there, running around and playing in the middle of everything. It reminded us that we’re fighting for something, not just against everything.”

Website | Facebook

Eleanor Tallie
Oct
22
7:00 pm19:00

Eleanor Tallie

Vocalist, songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist Eleanor Tallie has been captivated by the groove of American music since her childhood in Israel. Classically trained on the cello and raised in a household of musicians, Eleanor began writing original lyrics and music when she was 12 years old and studied classical music for 15 years. After completing her studies, she traveled throughout Israel performing original songs in Hebrew.

In 2011 Eleanor joined a blues band and travelled with the band internationally as the lead vocalist and songwriter. She toured the Netherlands twice, performing in 13 different cities before she moved to the United States in 2013. Making Memphis her home, Eleanor toured extensively and performed 180 shows in over 30 states in the US within the time span of a year and a half. In the spring of 2015, Eleanor began working on her own sound, which she defines as Neo-Funk: a mixture of funk, neo-soul, R&B, jam, jazz and hip-hop elements. With the combination of an optimistic perspective and her love of funk and groove, Eleanor found herself absorbed in the stylings of influential neo-soul and R&B artists. 

For her debut recording, Eleanor assembled a team of carefully-selected musicians, including 2016 Grammy-winning engineer and producer, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and his son, Uriah Mitchell. A first time collaboration between the father and son, Uriah lends his talents on the EP with a number of rousing hip-hop contributions.

An album designed to elevate the mind and uplift the soul, No Turning Back perfectly captures Eleanor Tallie’s jaw-dropping vocals and powerful songwriting. While the record certainly falls into the definition of Neo-Funk, it is hard to overlook the variety of genres and subgenres which emerge when drifting from track to track. Throughout the recording process, No Turning Back became a symbol of mindfulness as it developed into something much more than a simple studio recording. Each track on this EP embarks on a different journey through the heart of human emotion.

Eleanor elegantly bridges the gap between her past and her future on No Turning Back. The story told behind these songs is one of relationship challenges (“I Tried”); an inner calling for change of perspective (“Hell or Heaven”); A long-awaited love finally found (“Sunlight”); an understanding and celebration of the present (“My Present”); optimistic observations to live by, which include a hypnotic prayer in Hebrew, accompanied by a strumming sitar (“Gotta Be Happy); and a sassy song that gives listeners a little kick, explaining what a real man really is all about (“A Real Man”). This EP will make you want to shake it. It captures a sound that is both timeless and new, and on a deeper level, has a message that is worth hearing over and over again. Life is a present, so celebrate it. 

Website | Facebook

The Blind Boys of Alabama
Oct
21
7:00 pm19:00

The Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators.  They are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in 20th century and almost single-handedly created a new gospel sound for the 21st.  Since the original members first sang together as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s (including Jimmy Carter, who leads the group today), the band has perserved through seven decades to become one of the most recognized and decorated roots music groups in the world.

Touring throughout the South during the Jim Crow era of the 1940s and 1950s, the Blind Boys flourished thanks to their unique sound, which blended the close harmonies of early jubilee gospel with the more fervent improvisations of hard gospel. In the early 1960s, the band sang at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and were a part of the soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement. But as the years passed, gospel fans started to drift away and follow the many singers who had originated in the church but were now recording secular popular music. And the Blind Boys, who refused many offers to ‘cross over’ to secular music, also saw their audiences dwindle. However, the Blind Boys persevered and their time came again, starting in the 1980s with their starring role in the Obie Award-winning musical “The Gospel at Colonus,” which began a new chapter in their incredible history. It’s almost unbelievable that a group of blind, African-American singers, who started out touring during a time of of whites-only bathrooms, restaurants and hotels, went on to win five Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and to perform at the White House for three different presidents. 

Few would have expected them to still be going strong—stronger than ever, even—so many years after they first joined voices, but they’ve proved as productive and as musically ambitious in recent years as they did in the beginning. In 2001, they released Spirit of the Century on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, mixing traditional church tunes with songs by Tom Waits and the Rolling Stones, and won the first of their Grammy Awards. The next year they backed Gabriel on his album Up and joined him on a world tour, although a bigger break may have come when David Simon chose their cover of Waits’ ‘Way Down in the Hole’ as the theme song for the first season of HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire.  Subsequent Grammy-winning albums have found them working with the likes of Ben Harper, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Willie Nelson.

In 2013 the band worked with Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) to release I’ll Find A Way,  a powerful collection of gospel and spiritual songs new and old, featuring some of the Blind Boys’ most fervent vocals as well as contributions by a new generation of Blind Boys fans, including Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Patty Griffin, and Justin Vernon himself.

Their most recent album, Talkin’ Christmas!, a collaboration with Taj Mahal, continues the band’s streak of creating original and interesting work.  It includes new versions of Christmas standards, covers of hidden gospel gems, and seven brand-new holiday songs - six of which are the first Christmas songs ever penned by the Blind Boys themselves. The new original songs include the title track ‘Talkin’ Christmas!,’ a funky tribute to the power of Christmas featuring Money Mark on keyboards, and the compassionate ‘What Can I Do?,’ which features Taj Mahal on vocals and is one of two songwriting collaborations with Stax Records soul legend William Bell.  The album also features a hand-clapping rearrangement of the usually-slower classic ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ and a refreshingly intimate, acoustic version of ‘Silent Night.’

The Blind Boys' live shows are roof-raising musical events that appeal to audiences of all cultures, as evidenced by an international itinerary that has taken them to virtually every continent.  The Blind Boys of Alabama have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 75 years and shows no signs of diminishing.   “We appreciate the accolades and we thank God for them,” says Jimmy Carter, a founding member and the Blind Boys’ current leader.  “But we’re not interested in money or anything other than singing gospel.  We had no idea when we started that we would make it this far.  The secret to our longevity is, we love what we do.  And when you love what you do, that keeps you motivated.  That keeps you alive.”

Website | Facebook

Sponsored By:

Film: Blues Brothers
Oct
20
7:00 pm19:00

Film: Blues Brothers

After his release from prison, Jake (John Belushi) reunites with his brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) -- collectively known as the "Blues Brothers." Jake's first task is to save the orphanage the brothers grew up in from closing, by raising $5,000 to pay back taxes. The two are convinced they can earn the money by getting their old band back together.

Stars at the Shell: Mavis Staples & St. Paul and the Broken Bones (ticketed event)
Oct
15
7:00 pm19:00

Stars at the Shell: Mavis Staples & St. Paul and the Broken Bones (ticketed event)

VIP Pre-Concert Dinner & Drinks at 6:00pm

St. Paul & The Broken Bones at 7:30pm

Mavis Staples at 9:00pm

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples will go down in history as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time, the breathtaking voice powering one of America's great family bands, The Staple Singers. From the traditional gospel music of the 1950s to the 1960s protest songs that underscored some of the decade's most dramatic social changes, from the self-empowerment anthems of the 1970s to the soulful love tunes and mature Americana of more recent years, Staples and her family have consistently created some of the best and most inspirational music of the past half-century.  Mavis Staples’ latest release, Livin’ on a High Note, released February 2016, features songs written especially for her by a diverse range of artists, including Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Neko Case, M. Ward, Tune-Yards and Son Little.  Coinciding with the release of the new album is the HBO documentary, Mavis!, that traces Staples' career and that of her family's. 

St. Paul & the Broken Bones

Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver on those promises with performances that harken back to classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency.  Front man Paul Janeway’s handle “St. Paul” is a wry allusion to the vocalist’s grounding in the church. Like many a legendary soul singer, Janeway, a native of the small town of Chelsea, Alabama, was raised on the gospel side, in a non-denominational, Pentecostal-leaning local church. Virtually no non-religious music could be heard in his devout household. Janeway says, “The only secular music that I heard at all was a ‘70s group called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it. The rest of it was all gospel music. When I was about 10 years old, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life until I was about 18 years old was to be a preacher.”

VIP Experience - $150/single ticket     

Begin the evening at 6 p.m. with complimentary signature cocktails, drinks and dinner in the new Community Square at the Levitt Shell. VIP guests will receive reserved parking and reserved VIP seating for the concert.  VIP guests will enjoy complimentary food and drinks before the concert, and access to the VIP cash bar and VIP restrooms during the concert.

General Admission - $45/ticket     

General admission is open lawn seating in the general admission seating area. Tickets are $45/ticket in advance, or $50/ticket if purchased at the door. 

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

All proceeds from this event support the more than fifty free concerts and events held at the Levitt Shell each year.  We thank you for your support!

  • Food and beverages (including wine and beer) will be sold at concession stands. 
  • VIP ticket holders will have free food and drinks pre-concert, and VIP cash bar during concert.
  • This event is rain or shine. No refunds.
  • Lawn chairs and blankets are welcomed. VIP ticket holders will have seating provided.
  • The Levitt Shell is wheelchair accessible.
  • No outside food, drinks or pets allowed at this event only.
  • No professional photography, video or audio recording equipment.
  • Kids 12 and under are admitted free in general admission area only.
Film: Mavis
Oct
13
7:00 pm19:00

Film: Mavis

Mavis! is the first feature documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. From the freedom songs of the ’60s and hits like “I’ll Take You There" in the ’70s, to funked-up collaborations with Prince and her recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis has stayed true to her roots, kept her family close, and inspired millions along the way.

 

Rental Event: Moon River Festival
Oct
7
Oct 8

Rental Event: Moon River Festival

The regular Levitt Shell Free Music Fall Concert Series will be taking a break  Oct. 7-9 for an event rental. This is NOT a Levitt Shell show but is a private ticketed event put on by our good pals, Drew Holcomb & Friends. To purchase tickets for this event, please check out their website: www.moonriverfestival.com

University of Memphis, 'This is Memphis' Festival
Oct
2
7:00 pm19:00

University of Memphis, 'This is Memphis' Festival

If the University of Memphis wasn’t considered a musical hotbed in the past, it will be after the “This Is Memphis” festival on October 2nd, 2016. Put on by the University’s student record label, Blue Tom Records, the festival boasts some of Memphis’s top new musicians, including the Band Camino, Kyndle McMahan, Drew Erwin, and The PRVLG. 

The Band CAMINO has found recent momentum, releasing their debut EP "My Thoughts On You", building a strong local fan base, playing Beale Street Music Festival, and landing on the Spotify Viral USA Charts. Formed in August of 2015, the band draws influence from giants of the current alt-rock scene, such as The 1975, The Killers, and Coldplay, while channeling vibes of 80s pop hooks and arena rock anthems. 

Already known for her role in the Memphis Ukulele Band and the Mason Jar Fireflies, Kyndle McMahan has made quite the name for herself in Memphis. Her incredible voice has led to a strong local performance schedule and landed her in David Porter’s Consortium MMT program as an Emerging Star.

Singer-songwriter Drew Erwin has already made himself known on some of music’s biggest stages. At the age of 16, with no performing experience, America voted him the YouTube Audition winner on America's Got Talent Season 7. Since his television appearance, he has shared the stage with Cody Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, Allen Stone, and YouTube sensations Megan & Liz.

PRVLG was founded on a shared ideology that music has the power to bring people of different backgrounds together. The band formed as a spin off of the supergroup Bluff City Soul Collective, known for their fusion of genres like jazz, funk, and soul. True to their name, it is their privilege to bring their musical experience to you. 

The “This Is Memphis” festival is produced by Blue Tom Records, a record label made up entirely of University of Memphis students.

Website

Motel Mirrors
Oct
1
7:00 pm19:00

Motel Mirrors

There’s something strange yet familiar about Motel Mirrors—like an old photograph of a place you think you know, but don’t quite remember having visited. If the collaboration was obvious to LaVere, the style was obvious to Keith: he wanted to emulate the classic 50s and 60s country duets — George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. The two dove into their respective record collections, searching for songs they could make their own.

Three covers — Mickey & Sylvia’s “Dearest,” “Your Tender Loving Care” by Buck Owens and Susan Raye, and Red Foley’s “As Far As I’m Concerned” — blend seamlessly with originals by Keith and a co-write for the pair, “That Makes Two of Us.”

Timeless is a good word for it. If you put the needle down and close your eyes, you might mistake yourself for being somewhere else. At another time, in a different town. In a bar, listening to a band of strangers, whose voices are at once, both fleeting and familiar.

Website

Sponsored By:

Opera Memphis
Sep
30
7:00 pm19:00

Opera Memphis

Opera Memphis' wildly successful 30 Days of Opera is back for its FIFTH YEAR! This event features dozens of totally FREE opera performances across Memphis and the midsouth, turning the opera house inside out and taking the music to you! This year will include performances at the Cooper Young Festival, Germantown Festival, South Main Trolley Night, the Memphis Farmers Market, and many more! To top it all off, we'll present a concert at the Levitt Shell on Sept. 30 - back by popular demand! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or twitter to catch our live updates.

Full 30 Days of Opera event schedule: http://www.operamemphis.org/30-days-of-opera

Website

Sponsored By:

Film: The Wiz
Sep
29
7:00 pm19:00

Film: The Wiz

The Wiz is a 1978 American musical adventure. An urban reimagining of L. Frank Baum's classic 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an entirely African-American cast.The film follows the adventures of Dorothy a shy twenty-four-year-old Harlem New York City, schoolteacher who finds herself magically transported to the urban fantasy Land of Oz, which resembles an alternative fantasy version of the Big Apple. 

New Ballet Ensemble
Sep
25
6:30 pm18:30

New Ballet Ensemble

New Ballet Ensemble brings their annual FreeFall production to the Levitt Shell, and this year it’s a “greatest hits” collection of notable works from the past five years of their eclectic performances. From of the stirring “Ubuntu,” originally live streamed to Ground Zero as part of the 10th anniversary commemoration of 9/11, to the unique dance battle of 2016’s “El Rey,” enjoy the full range of styles the Ensemble is known for – ballet, jazz, flamenco, tap, and hip hop. Bring the kids early for a fun dance lesson with New Ballet company members at 6:00 pm! It’s a perfect opportunity for your whole family to enjoy an exciting evening at the Shell! FreeFall will be performed straight through with no intermission.

Snowglobe
Sep
24
7:00 pm19:00

Snowglobe

Memphis's Snowglobe plays an entrancing blend of cosmic American music that owes as much to pioneering psychedelic country/pop legends like the Byrds and Gram Parsons as it does to modern-day fellow travelers like the Flaming Lips. Having played together since high school, the members of Snowglobe have a unique ability to create complex songs with a rich pallet of sounds in a seemingly nonchalant way. The Memphis based band continues the long lasting tradition of playing honest music for the right reasons. Many comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel, and Elephant 6 recording company have been made to Snowglobe, and as natural as that comparison seems, it seems to be an easy way out, but Snowglobe has advanced far beyond this. Snowglobe sounds like Mercury Rev, the piano balladry of Tim Hardin, early 70s Beach Boys, and the Kinks. Snowglobe is a band that takes from past genres and pushes those influences as step or two forward. This is a very song oriented band. The noises and kitchen sink extremities aren't thrown in nonchalantly, they are precise and subtle flourishes that add texture.

Website

Sponsored By:

Parker Millsap & Sarah Jarosz
Sep
23
7:00 pm19:00

Parker Millsap & Sarah Jarosz

Parker Millsap didn’t know not to sing like this. Listening to old albums as a kid alone in his room, he didn’t realize howling like a Delta blues ghost readying the world for rock-and-roll isn’t how a skinny white boy from Purcell, Oklahoma usually sounds. In the midst of a world so fond of condemnation as entertainment, Millsap’s rootsy rock-and-roll poetry offers open-armed love of people and their stories. New album The Very Last Day is the anticipated follow-up to his eponymous 2014 release, which netted him high-profile praise from NPR, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and others, as well as a nomination for Americana Emerging Artist of the Year. Whether the 23-year-old is singing from the perspective of a convenience store robber haunted by his past, or as the King of the Underworld wild with passion, his character-driven songs mine deep wells of joy and despair to create gut-punching narratives that are sometimes hellish, sometimes heavenly, and always human. 

____________________

 

"I really like that word," Sarah Jarosz says of the title of Undercurrent, her fourth Sugar Hill album. "If you look up the definition, it's 'an underlying feeling or influence' or 'a flow of water moving below the surface.' To me, that really encompasses the feeling behind this record." 

 

That evocative imagery is appropriate for Undercurrent, whose 11 original songs seem to reveal new lyrical depth and sonic nuance with every listen. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, a singularly expressive vocalist and a songwriter of rare insight, Sarah Jarosz has been described by The New York Times as "one of acoustic music's most promising young talents: a singer-songwriter and mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success."

Film: Once
Sep
22
7:00 pm19:00

Film: Once

A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard and his Irish band “The Frames,” the film tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story.

Henry Gross
Sep
18
7:00 pm19:00

Henry Gross

Henry Gross has been a recording artist on many worldwide major labels (A&M, Sony, Capitol, Lifesong, Sonet & more) , vocalist , guitarist, (Jim Croce's records) , hit songwriter and producer since 1969 when he played "The Woodstock Festival" as a founding member of "SHA NA NA". He has had worldwide hits as an artist and writer including the two million plus seller "SHANNON" in 1976 and most recently "Big Guitar", a top ten country hit for the Arista recording group, Blackhawk. Henry recently released "I'm Hearing Things" on his own Zelda Records. Henry is currently working on a one man show chronicling the highlights and funniest moments of his life in the entertainment business. The Show is called "One Hit Wanderer". He is currently spending a great deal of time working on a documentary of "One Hit Wanderer" with two brilliant young filmmakers, Ed Greenberg and Mick Perry, at their studio, M360, in Irvington, NY. In Addition, over the past year, Henry has been recording in Ft. Myers, FL with multi-talented engineer/instrumentalist John McLane, producing enough material for two new CD's.

Website | Facebook

George Coleman with the Rhodes College Jazz Band
Sep
17
7:00 pm19:00

George Coleman with the Rhodes College Jazz Band

The Rhodes Jazz Band will be opening up for Coleman (and playing a chart with him).

No tenor saxophonist better epitomizes the robust muscularity of that heavyweight instrument of jazz expression than George Coleman.  With brilliant technique and a deeply soulful tone firmly rooted in his hometown of Memphis, George has performed with many of jazz’ most legendary figures and influenced countless saxophonists during his half century in music.

Growing up in Memphis’ rich musical environment of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, alongside such notables as Booker Little, Harold Mabern, Frank Strozier, Jamil Nasser, Hank Crawford, Phineas Newborn Jr., and blues immortal B.B. King, Coleman began to teach himself to play the alto saxophone in 1950, upon being profoundly affected by the music of Charlie Parker.

So prodigious was his talent that George was soon performing locally and in 1952, at the age of 17, was invited to tour with B.B. King after the guitarist heard him in a local club.  Coleman spent three more years on the vibrant Memphis scene, expanding his musical knowledge through his associations and influences, and writing for popular artists including the Moonglows and Ray Charles.

In 1955 he rejoined B.B.’s band, but this time on tenor sax, which would become his primary horn from that point on. In 1956 George moved to Chicago, along with Booker Little.  The bustling jazz scene brought him together with local heavyweights like Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore and Ira Sullivan, and he joined Walter Perkins’ group, The MJT + 3.  When Max Roach heard George with this unit in 1958, he invited him to join his own quartet featuring Kenny Dorham on trumpet.

Coleman moved to New York later that year and has made his home there ever since.  Booker soon replaced Dorham in the group and George remained with Max for two years.  When eminent trombonist Slide Hampton formed his octet in 1959, George and his Max Roach bandmates Little and Julian Priester formed the brass-heavy front line with Slide and Freddie Hubbard.

He remained with Hampton until 1962, touring Europe for the first time during his stay.  But more importantly, he began focusing more on his own composing and arranging, laying the foundation for his own octet that would be formed in 1974 and which is still a powerful force on the scene today.

After a brief stint with organist Wild Bill Davis, a call from the incomparable Miles Davis in 1963 briefly re-united Coleman with his old Manassas High schoolmates Mabern and Strozier, who soon departed in favor of the personnel that would form one of the most influential groups in jazz history.

For two years George was a member of that groundbreaking quintet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, recording four classic albums – Seven Steps to Heaven, My Funny Valentine, Four and Miles Davis in Europe – before departing to pursue other projects, leaving that highly visible position to Wayne Shorter.  The following year George and Hubbard joined with Miles’ rhythm team for Herbie Hancock’s landmark Maiden Voyage, one of the most popular albums in the history of jazz.

Over the ten years from 1964-74, Coleman freelanced as a member of various groups led by some of the music’s most prominent figures, including Lionel Hampton, Lee Morgan, Elvin Jones, Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Chet Baker, Shirley Scott, Charles McPherson, Cedar Walton and many more.  He also composed and arranged for various ensembles.

Since 1973 Coleman has focused primarily on his own groups, working in quartet, quintet and octet settings, adding the soprano saxophone to his arsenal in 1990.  With those various groups the powerful saxophonist has become a prominent figure at festivals, prestigious concert halls and top clubs all over the U.S. and Europe, also performing as a special guest artist with such notable pianists as Ahmad Jamal, Hilton Ruiz, Richie Beirach and the late Tete Montoliu.  He has recorded more than a dozen albums as leader for labels such as Verve, Muse, Timeless, Evidence, Birdology and most recently, Two and Four, not to mention plus countless recordings as a sideman.

For the past 30 years George has also been a major force in jazz education.  In addition to his private teaching of advanced jazz techniques, he has also been a consultant and teacher at the New School University, Long Island University, New York University and Mannes School of Music, and has conducted workshops, seminars and master classes at universities all over the U.S.

A winner of numerous honors and awards, Coleman has twice been presented the Key to the City in his hometown, and in 1997 received the Jazz Foundation of America’s Life Achievement Award. Despite his seemingly overwhelming schedule and commitments in jazz, Coleman has amassed formidable credits outside that scene as well.

Working briefly in the ‘60s with the outspoken and courageous actor/activist couple, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis marked an area of interest that would remain with him in the ensuing years.  George performed on the soundtrack and appeared in Sweet Love, Bitter – the intriguing and disturbing 1967 film featuring Dick Gregory, based somewhat on the life of the idol of George’s youth, Charlie Parker.  And he also appeared in Freejack, the 1992 science-fiction film with Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger and Anthony Hopkins; and 1996’s Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.  He was also featured on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s first film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop:  We Cut Heads.

Television credits include Bill Cosby’s 1991 A&E special, Revue, as well as appearances on CBS’ The Guiding Light, and the venerable children’s show Captain Kangaroo. A handsome and imposing figure, George has also amassed some significant modeling credits.  In 1991, still photographs with pop icon Madonna appeared in major newspapers and magazines as part of the Truth or Dare! promotional campaign.  And in 1997 he appeared in magazine layouts for The Preacher’s Wife.  He’s also done fashion layouts for Ebony Magazine and Travel and Leisure.

At 76 years old, George is still in full motion. His latest CD, Four Generations of Miles with Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb and Mike Stern was released on Chesky Records in October 2002. 

New Breed Brass Band
Sep
16
7:00 pm19:00

New Breed Brass Band

“That’s what we came up under,” says snare-drummer Jenard Andrews of second line bands like the ReBirth, Dirty Dozen and Lil’ Rascals Brass Bands. “Now we’re trying to take that sound and bring in some new stuff and expand it.  We bring outside influences like Earth Wind & Fire and Brass Construction, trying to interpret a different song for every genre, and make it all our own sound.”

With a founding core of five New Orleans natives, New Breed Brass Band made its street debut as a nine-man unit in November 2013 at the Nine Times Second Line.  Since then, they have showcased their originality opening for such diverse bands as The Fray, Red Baraat, Dr. John, The Waterboys, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, as well as competing in the Red Bull Street Kings brass band competition in 2013.

Most of the members have been playing music since they were toddlers and count such New Orleans legends as James “12” Andrews, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Topsy Chapman, Karl Leblanc, and Bruce “Sun-pie” Barnes as family members.  Honing their childhood experiences playing music with their families, and on through high school marching bands and concert ensembles, the nine members of New Breed are united to one cause: rocking each show and entertaining audiences to the maximum degree possible.  The band’s strong desire is to be the next heavyweight contender among internationally-known New Orleans brass bands.

Whether performing in their hometown or on the road, New Breed will forever bring the vibe of the New Orleans second-line with them.   “We can’t wait,” Andrews says of bringing the New Breed sound to stages and festivals around the world.  “It’s a new breed of music that we’ll be bringing to our culture, and we hope to create a new sound for our city in the process.”

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Film: RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY
Sep
15
7:00 pm19:00

Film: RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY

RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY

RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY chronicles the birth of Stax Records, soul music, and the “Memphis sound.” During a time when the United States was segregated and the struggle to end racial discrimination and extend civil rights to African Americans was raging, Stax was racially integrated and eventually became one of the most successful black-owned companies in the nation. Through classic performances and interviews with Stax artists, founder Jim Stewart, and many others associated with the record company, the film tells the story of America’s preeminent soul label.

Levitt Shell 80th Anniversary: Cedric Burnside & Sons of Mudboy
Sep
13
7:00 pm19:00

Levitt Shell 80th Anniversary: Cedric Burnside & Sons of Mudboy

Celebration, Historical Markers, Food Trucks, Music, and More!  Details to Come!

Sounds of Mudboy: Sons of Mudboy include: Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Steve Selvidge, Paul Taylor, Jimmy Crosthwait, Ben Baker, Al Gamble, Harry Peel, and many many others


Born and raised around Holly Springs, Mississippi, Cedric Burnside, grandson of legendary R.L. Burnside and son of drummer Calvin Jackson, has been playing music all his life. He has developed a relentless, highly rhythmic charged style that takes the blues to another level. This four-time winner of the prestigious Blues Music Award’s Drummer of the Year (2010-2014) is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world and has begun to make a name for himself as a traditional blues guitarist, as well.

Delta Rae
Sep
11
7:00 pm19:00

Delta Rae

It's been a good few years for the relentlessly hard working six piece rock band from Durham, NC, whose sophomore album After It All will be coming out on April 7, 2015. Since the release of their debut album Carry The Fire in the summer of 2012 and 2013's follow-up EP Chasing Twisters, Delta Rae has been profiled everywhere from NPR and Time to Forbes. Rolling Stone proclaimed that "if Fleetwood Mac came up in North Carolina, they might resemble Delta Rae." VH1 hand selected them for their "You Oughta Know" Artist Of The Month program, and they performed not once, but twice on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Conan. Live is where Delta Rae truly flourish, having spent the last year and a half playing to sold out venues from coast to coast, even sharing the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama when they performed during a Democratic rally at UNC Chapel Hill. They've played pretty much every festival under the sun, including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Voodoo, and are excited to be hitting the road again this spring.

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Civil Twilight
Sep
10
7:00 pm19:00

Civil Twilight

“What am I to build, if my hands are broken, if I’m not the chosen one?” sings Steven McKellar of Civil Twilight on “Story of An Immigrant”, over a lush, dynamic beat that evokes the sounds of his native South Africa while steeped in the band’s ever-evolving present. The foursome (Steven, his brother and guitarist Andrew, drummer Richard Wouters and Kevin Dailey on keys and guitar) are living proof of what happens when you stop worrying about being the chosen one and make music built on both the roots that grew you and the love that keeps you thriving every day. Civil Twilight’s songs embrace every corner of human emotion, balancing delicate, poetic lyrics with sweeping arrangements that touch all the senses: a phrase to make you think; a rolling drumbeat you can feel in your bones; a guitar vamp as illustrative as a picture; a shimmer of keys whose light can nearly be seen and heard.

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North Mississippi Allstars
Sep
9
7:00 pm19:00

North Mississippi Allstars

North Mississippi Allstars formed in 1996; the product of a special time for modern Mississippi country blues. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson soaked up the music of their father, Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, and absorbed the North Mississippi legacy while playing and shaking it down in the juke joints with their blues ancestors. R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Otha Turner and their musical families were at their peak, making classic records and touring the world. Eventually, Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody (drums, vocals) formed the North Mississippi Allstars and pioneered their own brand of blues-infused rock and roll.

The North Mississippi Allstars released their debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty, in the spring of 2000. Their debut proved to be a success and earned them a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’. After earning 2 more Grammy nominations in the same category for 51 Phantom (2001) and Electric Blue Watermelon (2005), the North Mississippi Allstars earned the reputation as one of the most intriguing acts to emerge from the loam of Southern blues and roots rock.

In 2008, after five studio albums and more than a decade touring together, the Dickinsons decided to branch out and pursue other projects. In 2009 Luther teamed up with Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus to form the South Memphis String Band. The trio has toured across the country and released two albums since then. In 2012, Luther formed The Wandering, a five-piece folk band featuring Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June and Sharde Thomas (Otha Turner’s granddaughter), and released their debut record Go On Now, You Can’t Stay Here. He also recorded and released a solo acoustic album, Hambone’s Meditations, which received a 2013 Grammy nomination for ‘Best Folk Album’.

Meanwhile, Cody broadened the scope of his musical career and became what one might call an artistic entrepreneur in the fields of music, film and TV. Cody has contributed to several major motion picture soundtracks, including Barnyard, Snoop’s Hood of Horror and Black Snake Moan. He had a recurring role on MTV’s $5 Dollar Cover series and appears in G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation. As a producer Cody has worked with a wide range of musicians including Lucero, Cisco Adler, and Les Claypool. He also produced British blues guitarist Ian Siegal’s last 2 albums, The Skinny(2011) and Candystore Kid (2012), both of which were nominated for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’ at the annual Blues Music Awards. Despite all his work as a producer, Cody continues to be one of the industry’s premier drummers, demonstrated by his 2013 Blues Music Awards nomination in the ‘Best Instrumentalist/Drums’ category.

The brothers reunited in 2010 to record Keys to the Kingdom after the passing of their father. Jim had always told them, “You need to be playing music together. You are better together than you will ever be apart.” Inspired by his words, Luther and Cody went into the family’s home recording studio Zebra Ranch, to create a record that could help them cope with the loss and rejoice in his honor.

Most recently, Luther and Cody have toured extensively with Robert Plant & The Band of Joy, headlined major festivals and toured internationally as a headliner and with Ian Siegal as part of The Mississippi Mudbloods. They also released two live bootleg records, 2011’s Live in the Hills and 2012’s Live in the Hills Volume II, both recorded at the annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, MS.

The North Mississippi Allstars are at times joined by Lightnin’ Malcolm, Alvin Youngblood Hart, the legendary Chris Chew, and a host of other talented musicians. Luther and Cody continually expand the tradition of the Mississippi hill country blues that has inspired them from the beginning, but as Rolling Stone aptly notes, “the Allstars may be children of tradition, but they’re digging deep in undiscovered country”.

In 2013 the North Mississippi Allstars released their new career-defining record World Boogie Is Coming. The album marked a return to the band’s blues-infused rock & roll roots and pays homage to hill country legends and songwriters like RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. Produced at their own Zebra Ranch Studios in Hernando, MS and featuring special guest appearances by Robert Plant, Duwayne and Garry Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharde Thomas, Chris Chew, Steve Selvidge, Lightnin’ Malcolm and others, World Boogie Is Coming is the record that perfectly ties it all together, fusing all the elements that have made the Allstars special while pushing the band’s sound further into the future than ever before. 

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Stone Soul Picnic
Sep
3
1:00 pm13:00

Stone Soul Picnic

 

The 2016 WLOK Stone Soul Picnic will be held on Saturday, September 3, at Levitt Shell in Overton Park. The time is 1 p m to 10 p m. This will be the 42nd annual WLOK Picnic, which makes it one of the longest running and most traditional events in Memphis. It is also unique in that the WLOK Stone Soul Picnic is free and offers entertainment throughout the day featuring major local and national artists. 

 The WLOK Stone Soul Picnic began forty-two years ago when two WLOK announcers decided to do a promotion at Riverside Park, which was later renamed Martin Luther King Riverside Park. Their idea was to spin records in the park and invite listeners and give them a free soft drink and free hot dog. It was a way of saying "thank you" to the WLOK listening audience. The announcers expected possibly a hundred people to come to the park and were astounded and overwhelmed when thousands came to the park to enjoy the day.

Artist Line-Up

2016 WLOK Stone Soul Picnic

1:00          Devotional - Pastor Earl and Ryanwood Church

1:05-1:15    Dora Mckinnie -  Star Spangled Banner/Lift Every Voice - Medley   

1:20-1:30    Ryanwood Singers

1:35-1:50    Stars of Faith

1:55-2:10    Bishop Cooper & Revelation

2:15-2:30    James Nelson   (Heaven Help Us All / What A Friend)

2:35-2:40    HOUSE OF MTENZI (Stand)

2:40-2:55    Spiritual Excitement

3:00-3:15    Carla Talbert Taylor

3:15-3:35    Supreme Harmonettes

3:40-4:00    Pastor Marcus Newsom    

4:05-4:15    C’BEYOHN     

4:20-4:40    Lil’ Roy & Revelation

4:45-5:00    Tennessee Mass Choir

5:05-5:25    Kelly & Kelly

5:30-5:50    STAX Music Academy

5:55-6:15    Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association

6:15-6:35    The Strong Family

6:40-6:50    HOUSE OF MTENZI / RUNAWAY MAN     

6:55-7:15    The Bell Singers

7:20-7:40    UNCLE RICHARD’S HOUSE

7:45-8:10    Echoaires      

8:15-8:35     Darrell Petties & Take 2        

8:40-9:25    Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites

 

 

                    

Alvin Youngblood Hart
Jul
31
7:30 pm19:30

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory is a live explosion of roots rock that is a test of time in the world of music. He creates a blurred line of Blues, Roots, Country and Rock music that has been enjoyed in our culture for decades. The band bends the strings and drops the groove to a level that is only achieved with experience and true love of playing with such passion. This trio brings a very eclectic music experience that you will be telling all of your music loving fans about the next day and for years to come. Known as a “musician’s musician,” Alvin Youngblood Hart’s praises have been sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to Brit guitar gods Eric Clapton & Mick Taylor.

In the summer of 1999 found Hart teamed up with celebrated producer Jim Dickinson to begin recording START WITH THE SOUL, a record hailed as a new-breed Southern Rock classic and one that piloted Hart’s return to the “sacred garage.” START WITH THE SOUL was chosen by the New York Times as one of the top 10 releases of 2000, as well as the BBC’s Blues Record of the Year.

In the summer of 2005, fortified in the wake of much recognition and determined to defy any stereotypes attached to his artistry, Hart released the self-produced (and personal favorite)MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER a rock guitar free-for- all, paying homage to fallen and missing rockers like Phil Lynott and Sly Stone. Hart’s songwriting, singing and electric guitar prowess are all championed on this project and showcase the versatility he continuously strives to offer his fans and profession.

In 2006, Hart collaborated with several Memphis area musicians in the Craig Brewer cult hit film “Black Snake Moan” by both serving as a guitar tutor to the film’s leading actor, Samuel L.Jackson, and recording a duet with the film’s female lead, Christina Ricci, for the film’s riveting soundtrack.

In the fall of 2006, Hart was invited to hit the road for two months with Rock-n- Roll legend Bo Diddley for what turned out to be Diddley’s final coast to coast tour.Hart then joined fellow notable string playing colleagues Corey Harris, Don Vappie, Keb Mo and Guy Davis and contributed to the uniquely progressive 2007 OtisTaylor record RECAPTURING THE BANJO.

A personal career highlight occurred in the summer of 2008 when Hart met the late Irish guitar legend Gary Moore. Moore invited Hart, a lifelong Thin Lizzy fan, onstage to jam with himself and original Thin Lizzy drummer, Brian Downey. In the Spring of 2009 Moore requested Hart’s band as the opening act on a tour of Germany. Moore was seen offstage most every night with friends, cheering Hart’s band along during their set.

In 2010 Hart joined forces with friends Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes) and Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Tri-State Coalition) to form “The South Memphis String Band”. The fun-loving and regaling trio was quickly dubbed by the media as an “acoustic super group”. Recorded in a borrowed radio station studio while the band was on its first road trip, their debut record HOME SWEET HOME was received with rabid enthusiasm. The 2011 Blues Music Awards (The Blues Foundation) nominated the record for “Best Acoustic Album”. The group released a second album in the spring of 2012. A third record is in the making.

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RIPE
Jul
30
7:30 pm19:30

RIPE

Ripe is a Funk/Pop band out of Boston, MA that was born as a result of our seven members' uniting over one belief: with enough passion and honesty, music can still make the earth shake. With one eye looking back to the inception of both funk and psychedelic music, and the other looking forward with a modern concept of what makes people move, Ripe seeks both to honor musical history as well as to make it. The perfect fruit is equal parts past and present, and this is the approach of the Ripe sound.

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Snowglobe
Jul
29
7:30 pm19:30

Snowglobe

Memphis's Snowglobe plays an entrancing blend of cosmic American music that owes as much to pioneering psychedelic country/pop legends like the Byrds and Gram Parsons as it does to modern-day fellow travelers like the Flaming Lips. Having played together since high school, the members of Snowglobe have a unique ability to create complex songs with a rich pallet of sounds in a seemingly nonchalant way. The Memphis based band continues the long lasting tradition of playing honest music for the right reasons. Many comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel, and Elephant 6 recording company have been made to Snowglobe, and as natural as that comparison seems, it seems to be an easy way out, but Snowglobe has advanced far beyond this. Snowglobe sounds like Mercury Rev, the piano balladry of Tim Hardin, early 70s Beach Boys, and the Kinks. Snowglobe is a band that takes from past genres and pushes those influences as step or two forward. This is a very song oriented band. The noises and kitchen sink extremities aren't thrown in nonchalantly, they are precise and subtle flourishes that add texture.

Snowglobe has released 6 albums over the past 15 years.  After many years in the studio and through the throws of life, 2016 brings the release of a Self Titled New Album.  

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