Talented singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews began playing guitar and writing her own original songs while just a teenager in Phoenix, and she began performing live before graduating high school. Soon enough Andrews (above, performing “Table for One” live in studio for KEXP FM) became a backup singer and session guitarist for numerous artists, including the likes of Damien Jurado and Jimmy Eat World. But thanks to her own work, combining country, folk and pop, she’s earned the reputation of a songwriter’s songwriter. Andrews’ most recent release, Honest Life (stream it below)—which she considers a coming-of-age record—came out last year. It’s “an album at once elegant and deeply moving,” said Paste in a review comparing her to Emmylou Harris and Neko Case. “They’re excellent songs, expertly written, but Andrews’ voice is what makes them unforgettable.” Experience that voice live when Courtney Marie Andrews plays the early show on Monday night at Mercury Lounge.
Tag Archives: Emmylou Harris
Country singer Elizabeth Cook is equally known for her terrific songwriting, an incredible voice and her energetic live performances. So it should come as no surprise that she’s been appearing at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 15 years, earning comparisons to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris in the process. Her most recent album—the first in six years—the blues-inflected Exodus of Venus (stream it below), came out in June to rave reviews. Rolling Stone called it “magnificently entertaining,” American Songwriter made note of “an instantly identifiable voice and music that uses its inherent twang as the bedrock for an often heavy, even dangerous sound,” and PopMatters proclaimed, “Cook’s mostly melancholy music contains rough diamonds whose brilliance needs to be brought out in the cutting.” And with her current tour winding down, Cook (above, performing “Exodus of Venus”) brings a taste of outlaw country to the Big Apple when she plays The Bowery Ballroom tonight. East Nashville singer-songwriter Derek Hoke opens the show.
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, Derek Hoke, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Cook, Emmylou Harris, Exodus of Venus, Live Music, Lower East Side, Music, New York City, Outlaw Country, Preview, Video
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Prior to launching a solo career, crafting lush, ambient classics like “The Maker” and many more, Daniel Lanois was best known as a producer extraordinaire, working with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris—and perhaps most notably for teaming up with Brian Eno on several U2 albums, including megahit The Joshua Tree. But in the present, Lanois’ most recent album, Flesh & Machine (stream it below), came out last week, and PopMatters says, “This is ambient music with the capacity to excite, engage, and evoke.” Additionally, “The real Flesh and Machine visual component that sounds extraordinary will be Lanois’ live shows in support of the release. Each night, Lanois, along with bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Brian Blade, will sample, dub and process in real time on stage each night, making for a singular performance on each date of the tour, never to be recreated.” And when Lanois and Co. (above, performing “Opera”) appear at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on Monday, it will be for Antithesis, “an evening of electrified shimmy and sonic wonder curated by Daniel Lanois,” featuring a full set each from Lanois, Mali desert-blues outfit Tinariwen and Brooklyn dream-rock trio the Antlers, plus a special appearance by “outsider artist” Lonnie Holley. This is one of those special shows you don’t want to miss.
Tags: Bob Dylan, Brian Blade, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Flesh and Machine, Jim Wilson, Lonnie Holley, Masonic Temple, Neil Young, Preview, the Antlers, The Joshua Tree, Tinariwen, U2, Video
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Larkin Poe – Mercury Lounge – October 29, 2014
When I saw Conor Oberst play Central Park’s SummerStage back in July, I loved his massive hodgepodge of a backing band, the majority of which was made up of opener Dawes, and there was a horn section. But most notably there were two women tearing it up on slide guitars and singing the Emmylou Harris parts during the Bright Eyes songs that night—and I knew I had to find out who they were.
It turns out they are the sisters who make up Larkin Poe, a country-tinged band from Atlanta that last night set Mercury Lounge ablaze with a pressure-cooked set of songs. Fresh off an appearance backing up Kristian Bush on the Today Show and not far removed from a tour opening as a duo for Elvis Costello (“We got to stay on his tour bus,” admitted older sister Megan Lovell excitedly), they looked and sounded ready to be doing their own thing again. “It feels so good to be back with the full band,” the younger Rebecca Lovell candidly told the crowd. The exposure and experiences the pair were able to rustle up in the last year or two must have been fun, but you could see they are now dead set on focusing that momentum on Larkin Poe.
That starts with their first full-length, Kin, released last week, an album full of sweet melodies juxtaposed with bluesy grit often materialized in the form of Rebecca’s straight guitar licks or Megan’s atmospheric slide-guitar playing. Larkin Poe played most of the album last night, and as good as those songs sound in headphones, they’re even more of a force to hear in person. And if Larkin Poe can find a way to use the sisters’ music-industry momentum to attract more ears, the sky’s the limit. —Sean O’Kane
Tags: Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst, Dawes, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Kin, Kristian Bush, Larkin Poe, Marlon Patton, Megan Bush, Megan Lovell, Mercury Lounge, Photos, Rebecca Loveel, Review, Robby Handley, SummerStage
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Levon Helm Band – SummerStage – July 18, 2011
In 2007 on Eye to Eye with Katie Couric, Levon Helm made a surprising confession. When asked by interviewer Anthony Mason how throat cancer affected his status as a singer, Helm responded, “I’ve always thought of myself as the drummer and I’d take my turn to sing whenever I’d have to, but my joy is to play the drums.” This sentiment is not a coping strategy, but a humble concession of one talent in the service of another. In fact, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 91 in the list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rather, Helm, a drummer for more than 50 years with acts ranging from the Hawks to his career-defining stint with the Band, seems quite pleased to continue drumming into his 70s. And on Monday night at Central Park’s SummerStage, he steadily manned his band’s rhythm section, contented by a workman’s approach and delighted with a broad smile.
Joined by openers Hayes Carll and seminal country musician Emmylou Harris, the Levon Helm Band played from nightfall to rainfall. In the beginning, Helm offered his vocals on the Band classic “Ophelia.” Fans showed great appreciation for the effort, a reminder of Helm’s rare ability to simultaneously sing and drum exceeding well. And despite being able to sustain vocal duties, the rest of his extraordinarily talented band compensated for the loss, singing and harmonizing beautifully throughout the show.
Renditions of country standards “Long Black Veil” and “Deep Elem Blues,” made popular by the Grateful Dead, shared similarities to the original versions but took on a unique, lively character when played by the Levon Helm Band, a reflection of the band’s namesake. So even as rain poured down on the all-ages crowd, Helm and his band’s energy overcame the elements. And when the band closed with “The Weight,” joined by special guests Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne and David Bromberg, all in attendance forgave the weather and sang along. We’re more than happy to share vocal duties with Helm. —Jared Levy
Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com
Levon Helm is a member of rock royalty. He grew up in Arkansas but headed to Canada after high school to join rockabilly-star Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, the Hawks. Eventually he played alongside Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson before those five struck out on their own. By the mid-’60s, Bob Dylan was looking to go electric and he decided the Hawks were the perfect musicians to accompany him. While Dylan’s plugged-in takes on his folk classics would eventually gain widespread acclaim, it certainly didn’t happen overnight. As the audience’s booing and catcalls intensified, Helm decided to leave the band rather than face that negativity night after night.
In the meantime, Dylan and the Hawks headed to Europe and then to Woodstock after Dylan had a disastrous motorcycle accident there. While they were in upstate New York, they recorded a slew of material—eventually released as The Basement Tapes—at Danko, Hudson and Manuel’s house, affectionately known as Big Pink, in West Saugerties, N.Y. With things going so well musically, Danko invited Helm to rejoin them and write their own music, and somewhere along the way the band became the Band. They toured and released seven studio albums—including their spectacular debut, Music from Big Pink, and their fantastic sophomore effort, The Band—and one of the greatest live albums ever, Rock of Ages.
With their supreme musicianship, vivid storytelling and three of the finest voices (Danko’s, Helm’s and Manuel’s) in the history of recorded music, the Band went on to influence countless musicians and songwriters, and their songs, including “The Weight,” “Ophelia,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” are an enduring part of the rock canon. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. And so the Band closed up shop at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1976. It was, quite literally, The Last Waltz. And one of the participants of that epic show was another legend herself, Emmylou Harris, who sat in on a breathtaking version of “Evangeline.” The ageless Ms. Harris, a supremely talented singer-songwriter, has been performing live for more than 40 years. So it’s a real treat to see her playing SummerStage on Monday, 7/20, alongside the Levon Helm Band (above, doing “The Weight” on PBS). And as an added bonus, get there early to see the gifted Hayes Carll open the show.
March has begun, which means a few things: We change the clocks soon, the NCAA Tournament is fast approaching and The House List is headed back to SXSW next week. We’ll be setting up camp again at IFC’s Crossroads House on Sixth and Brazos, and we’ll be keeping you up to date with everything happening 3/16-18. We’ve got a great lineup of interviews and performances, including Brett Dennen, Portugal. The Man, Lupe Fiasco, Young the Giant, City and Colour, Little Dragon, Emmylou Harris, Fitz and the Tantrums, Liz Phair, Sharon Van Etten, the Rural Alberta Advantage and Wild Flag. And we’ll have links to live streams, interviews and plenty of photos. So make sure you tune in! In the meantime, check out Broken Social Scene, above, playing “Texico Bitches” at last year’s SXSW.
Tags: Brett Dennen, Broken Social Scene, City and Colour, Emmylou Harris, Fitz and the Tantrums, IFC Crossroads House, Little Dragon, Liz Phair, Lupe Fiasco, Portugal. The Man, Preview, Sharon Van Etten, SXSW, the Rural Alberta Advantage, Video, Wild Flag, Young the Giant
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