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AMANDA SHIRES & HAYES CARLL The Kurt: A Benefit for the Kurt W. Saupe Foundation As many of you know, our dear friend Kurt Saupe passed away in June 2012 after a long battle with leukemia. It was Kurts wish that something good come from his passing; he asked that we find a way to remember him by supporting the fantastic work of Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM), a non-profit organization that provides food pantry and other support services in West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains. (www.momhelps.org)Sowe found a way.The Kurt W. Saupe Foundation, Inc. proudly presents The Kurt, our third annual sports and music festival to be held June 19, 2015 in Madison. The festival includes a golf tournament, benefit concert and soccer marathon.The Kurt honors Kurt Saupes legacy and provides critical support to MOMs important work preventing hunger and homelessness. In 2013, The Kurt donated $50,000 to MOM. In 2014 we did it again.Working with our generous corporate sponsors, the foundation is able to underwrite the costs of these events, so that 100% of participant dollars go to support the mission of MOM.THIS EVENT WILL SELL OUT FAST, so please reserve your tickets today. Thank you! We look forward to seeing you at The Kurt!AMANDA SHIRES Down Fell the DovesJust in case the title alone wasnt a dead give away, Amanda Shires Down Fell the Doves is not a record for the faint of heart, faith or spirit. Not that anyone who heard her last album would have expected such. Carrying Lighting, the critically acclaimed 2011 breakthrough that put Shires on the map as one of Americana musics most arresting new voices (and Texas Music magazines 2011 Artist of the Year), was a kudzu-tangled web of frayed heartstrings and combustible desire that revealed the one-time little fiddle player from Lubbock to be a grown woman unafraid to get wrecked in love and dish out the same with keen poetic insight and unnervingly mature, femme-fatale conviction. But as striking as Lightning was, Down Fell the Doves (Shires debut for Lightning Rod Records) is where the gloves really come off. Theres a lot of destruction on this record, says Shires, the observation coming a thoughtful pause after her somewhat casual dismissal of the albums Box Cutters a disturbingly beautiful suicidal daydream as just being a little bit of dark humor.I wrote that one in a haze of delirious exhaustion, she says of the song that imagines, amongst other possible exit strategies, the sweet surrender of a rose-petaled, eyes-closed collapse in a warm blood bath. Maybe you just had to be there.I dont know, Shires concedes with a disarming, self-effacing chuckle, her lilting West Texas drawl as yet unbowed by years of living in Nashville and nonstop touring. I always hate giving things away, because I like it when people can hear a song and make their own stories. But I believe in that old saying, What happens in the dark comes to light. In order to create something, youve got to destroy something: You cant have good without bad, you cant have life without death or growth without decay. And with everything that happens, youre learning something; I think that in this record I realized how much of learning and life experience is relearning. And theres beauty in that. So although theres a lot of destruction and things falling apart on the album, theres also rebuilding going on. I think even in the darkest material theres an inkling of hope.She addresses that theme directly in arguably the albums most gorgeously bittersweet track, The Drop and Lift. Elsewhere, its left to the listener to gleam whatever hope one can from the likes of Box Cutters and Deep Dark Below a somber meditation on the nature of evil (Monsters are men that the devil gets in its usually the weak ones he finds). Ditto the equally unsettling, relationship-haunting demons stirred in Devastate and If I (the latter of which asks, with chilling frankness, If I were to break a promise that I made would you really want me to come clean?). In the album-closing The Garden, a striking still life of an ill-fated love gone to seed, the titular doves drop gray-eyed and flightless like a hard rain of fallen angels, littering the ground like spoiled fruit and jagged shards of broken heart and innocence. Juxtaposing that at times overwhelmingly grim emotional terrain, though, are songs that deliver just enough light to keep the shadows themselves on edge. Noting that all of the songs are reflective of what Ive been doing the last two years, Shires who was married in early 2013 to fellow singer-songwriter Jason Isbell (with none other than Todd Snider conducting the nuptials) coos unashamedly when asked about the tender-hearted Stay. Oh, thats a cute one, she gushes playfully. Pretty sappy, huh? And then theres the flirty but reverent A Song for Leonard Cohen, in which she fantasizes about comparing mythologies with her favorite songwriter over a drink or 12.I wrote it as an exercise on his birthday, says Shires, who has a verse from Cohens Hallelujah tattooed on her forearm. But I did not write it in hopes that he would hear it, In fact, if I had thought thered ever be a chance in hell of him actually hearing it, I never would have written it, because that would be mortifying. But I admire and respect him so much, and that would be my dream encounter with him. Dreaming is a safe way to have fun. Elsewhere on Down Fell the Doves, Shires dreams of being not only careless, weightless and free, but blessed/cursed with the ability to see through everything (Look Like a Bird) and, just for kicks, impervious to bullets, hatchets, hand grenades and all the ways that words cut through/against promises breaking into open wounds (Bulletproof.) Wouldnt that be cool? she asks. I was playing a show in Tampa, Fla., and this guy named Tiger Bill showed up to the merch table with this bag with tufts of hair and claws and stuff in it including this Siberian tiger claw. And I was like, Well thank you for this bag of crazy parts, because I dont know with gifts, its rude not to be gracious, right? But he said that he took care of animals and no tigers were hurt they shed their claws. And then he went, Seriously, you have to hang onto the tiger claw. They say in China that they make you invincible.She wrote the song the following day and still keeps said tiger claw handy just in case. But I dont need anybody testing it out or anything, she says. When it came time to capture magic in the studio, though, the only good luck totems Shires relied upon were her trusty fiddle (and ukulele) and well over half a lifetimes worth of firsthand playing and recording experience augmented by the decades more brought by guitarist Isbell, bassist Jimbo Hart, drummer Chad Gamble and producer Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes, R.E.M.). The album was recorded at LeMasters Chase Park Transduction studio in Athens, Ga. I like a lot of the records Andys worked on, which is how we met, Shires says. And Chad and Jimbo are both from Jasons band, so it was mostly a group of people that I had already developed a rapport with. But this was the first record Ive made where I really let the producer ultimately make the call of how things were going to go. I brought demos in which was another first for me but I just left a lot of stuff up to Andy, which worked well because we had a lot of the same ideas.Though not without its share of mood-enhancing embellishments, like the horns on Stay arranged by Shires and trombonist Chad Fisher, the sonic landscape of Down Fell the Doves is as haunted and provocative as Shires lyrics and melodies. Not to mention as rich with compelling contrasts, with the scrape and howl of Isbells guitars offsetting and perfectly complementing the delicate drop and lift of Shires quavering vibrato and almost supernaturally expressive violin an instrument that, just like the devils in Deep Dark Below, sounds like your deepest desire, lonely and bruised getting over being used.Its a lonesome instrument, marvels Shires, who picked up her first violin at age 10, played Western swing music all through her teens (with the legendary Texas Playboys, no less) and continues to find new and interesting sounds on the versatile instrument that surprise even her. I like the ways you can make it sound like wind, or fire, or like wild. And I like that it can also be pretty. But thats not me, she hastens to add with characteristic humility. Thats the fiddle, because theyve got their own minds. I just follow mine around and make sure it stays in one piece. HAYES CARLLHayes Carll is an odd mix. Wildly literate, utterly slackerly, impossibly romantic, absolutely a slave to the music, the 35-year old Texan is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking.In a world of shallow and shallower, where its all groove and gloss, that might seem a hopeless proposition. Last year, Another Like You, Carlls stereotypes attract duet of polar opposites, was American Songwriters #1 Song of 2011 and KMAG YOYO was the Americana Music Associations #1 Album, as well as making Best of Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and a New York Times Critics Choice.But more importantly than the critical acclaim is the way Carll connects with music lovers across genres lines. Playing rock clubs and honkytonks, Bonnaroo, Stones Fest, SXSW and NXNE, he and his band the Gulf Coast Orchestra merge a truculent singer/songwriter take that combines Ray Wylie Hubbands lean freewheeling squalor with Todd Sniders brazen Gen Y reality and a healthy dose of love amongst unhealthy people.I guess you could say I write degenerate love songs, Carll says. That, and songs about people whore wedged between not much and even less; people who see how hopeless it is and somehow make it work anyway. And the best kind of irony, sometimes, is applying no irony and letting reality do the work.Letting reality do the work has sure worked for the lanky Texan who walks slow and talks slower. Born in Houston, he went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas getting a degree in History, then heading back to Crystal Beach to play for a wild assortment of people either hiding out, hanging on or getting lost in the bars along Texas Gulf coast.After releasing Flowers & Liquor in 2002, Carll was voted the Best New Artist of 2002 by The Houston Post. He would go on to release Little Rock, on his own Highway 87 label, which became the first self-owned project to the top the Americana charts.It wasnt long until Lost Highway, home of Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Van Morrison and the Drive-By Truckers came calling. Trouble in Mind yielded the tongue firmly in cheek She Left Me For Jesus, a know-nothing redneck send-up/beer joint anthem somewhere between You Never Even Called Me By My Name and Up Against the Wall. Jesus was the 2008 Americana Music Awards Song of the Year.All the accolades, all the facts and all the stats are awesome, but they dont tell the story. Fiercely individual, Carlls banged-up take on classic country is honed by the road sometimes as a man and guitar, sometimes with his scrappy band, but always taking in the vistas and humanity before him.It comes down to the songs and the people, he says. You write about what you see, the things that cross your mind and then you wanna get out there and play it back to em. You kinda know how youre doing when you see how the people respond.See above. Hayes Carll is the transmutable jester whose incisive songs and funky beats play as well in shitkicker bars as they do hippie festivals, somewhere as organic as American Public Radios Mountain Stage concert series and middle America as The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.Maybe its the influences Kerouac, Dylan, Guy Clark, John Prine, Hubbard Maybe its the fact that somebody has to say something Maybe its just the fact that some people are born to playBut for whatever reason, ten years into a recording career, Hayes Carll shows no signs of having arrived at his creative apex. Each album expands on his already extreme vintage country, extreme thumping bad road boogie, extreme heartbroken ache and finds new ways to take on the fate of the nation. Whether its the GI protagonist in the propulsive title track of KMAG YOYO, the train wreck objet damour of Drunken Poets Dream, also recorded by Hubbard, the road warrior of both I Got A Gig and Little Rock or the stoner liberal and the uptight Republican vixen of Another Like You, Carll paints vivid pictures of humanity as it really is.Thick-headed. Avaricious. Squalid. Hungry. Angry. Getting by. Like so many Texans before him, theres no agony in the ecstasy just the wonder of capturing the perfect character in the song. When youre 6 beers down on a 12 pack night, you know Hayes Carll understands. At a time like that whether in your own backyard or some jam-packed bar thats the best kind of friend to have. CANNONBALLCannonball (Chicago) will open the show with its unique brand of hard-charging country/rock/folk music. Featuring Terry White (guitar/vocals), Andon Davis (guitar/vocals) Tom Kneesel (guitar/pedal steel) Mike Krayniak (bass) and Paul Bivens (drums), Cannonball delivers a mixture of original songs and interpretations of personal favorites that veer from swinging rock n roll to swaying country blues with detours down musical guitar exchanges between the dual lead guitarists that ride on a freight train rhythm bed. Fresh off the release of front-man Terry Whites latest album Cannonball Fodder, Cannonball makes every night a raucous troubadour-style experience that has made them one of Chicagos most sought-after roots/rock club bands. (www.terrywhitemusic.com).Special NotesAges: All AgesPresented by: Majestic LiveYou Might Also Like A.A. Bondy at The Frequency Sat, July 25 Arlo Guthrie at Wisconsin Union Theater Wed, October 21 Show Date:Fri, June 19Special Guests:CannonballShow Time:Doors at 6:30pm Show at 7:00pmTickets$25PurchaseRSVPUpgrade Yourself!