The Avett Brothers at the Beach
Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, The Head and the Heart, Shovels & Rope, Langhorne Slim & The Law
Wed, January 31, 2018 - Sun, February 4, 2018
Hard Rock Hotel (Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Head down to Mexico with The Avett Brothers this winter for some great music and sunshine! The Avett Brothers At The Beach is a four-night all-inclusive concert vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya taking place Jan. 31- Feb. 4, 2018.
All-inclusive room packages on sale June 15th! http://avettsatthebeach.com/https://www.bowerypresents.com/event/1504120/
The band got its’ start busking on street corners in New York state and up through Canada, winning audiences along the way with their boundless energy and spirit. They eventually found themselves in Boone, North Carolina where they caught the attention of folk icon Doc Watson while playing in front of a pharmacy. He immediately invited the band to play at his MerleFest, helping to launch their career. Shortly thereafter the band relocated to Nashville for a residency at the Grand Ole Opry, where they entertained the crowd between shows.
It’s been nearly fifteen years since these humble beginnings, and the band has gone on to tour the world, sell over 800,000 albums, become frequent guests on A Prairie Home Companion, and play renowned festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and the Newport Folk Festival.
In 2011 Old Crow found themselves embarking on the historic Railroad Revival Tour with Mumford and Sons, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This tour had the bands riding a vintage train from California to New Orleans, playing shows along the way. The magic of this musical excursion across America’s vast landscape is captured in the Emmet Malloy directed documentary, Big Easy Express.
Old Crow Medicine Show now have five studio albums to their name, three of which were released by Nettwerk Records – O.C.M.S and Big Iron World produced by David Rawlings, and Tennessee Pusher produced by Don Was. In 2012 Old Crow released Carry Me Back, on which they continued to craft classic American roots music while pushing themselves in new directions. The band’s newest album, Remedy, released by ATO Records and produced by Ted Hutt represents a new stretch of road in the timeless journey of a rambling string band.
Forty-five years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good. He is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.
Prine’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Tom T. Hall, the Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, and many others. But his genius isn’t found in his resume, it’s found in the brilliance of lyrics from his large catalog of songs.
There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes. – “Sam Stone”
If dreams were lightning and thunder was desire this old house would have burned down a long time ago. – “Angel from Montgomery”
Broken hearts and dirty windows make life difficult to see, That’s why last night and this morning always look the same to me. – “Souvenirs”
The whole thing started early. In 1970, Prine was playing a Chicago club called the Fifth Peg when a young reporter named Roger Ebert walked in, listened and understood.
“You hear lyrics like these, perfectly fitted to Prine’s quietly confident style and his ghost of a Kentucky accent, and you wonder how anyone could have so much empathy and still be looking forward to his 24th birthday,” Ebert wrote.
Soon, Kris Kristofferson walked into a gig at the same bar, encouraged by Prine’s friend and comrade, Steve Goodman. Prine thought he was done playing that night, but Kristofferson took a chair from off the top of a table and asked to hear some of his songs. The resulting all-night session left ristofferson muttering, “He’s so good, we’re gonna have to break his fingers,” but instead of breaking his fingers he served as a megaphone to the world for Prine, who soon garnered a record deal and released the self-titled album that came out in 1971.
“I bought John Prine’s first album on LP when it was released,” said United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, in 2005. “I played it as soon as I got home and noticed at once that here was a truly original writer, unequaled, and a genuine poet of the American people… He’s taken ordinary people and made monuments of them, treating them with great respect and love.”
Roger Waters, part of art rock band Pink Floyd, proclaims that Prine, “lives on that plane with Neil Young and Lennon.”
Bob Dylan ponders songs like “Sam Stone” and “Donald and Lydia” and says, “nobody like Prine could write like that.”
Indeed, Prine’s songs are singular and atypical enough to remove themselves from any notion of competition. They stand alone, yet they pal around with the masses.
John’s parents, William Prine and Verna Ham Prine migrated from Paradise, Kentucky in 1934, joining the many others chasing work in the industrial north. They settled in the west Chicago suburb of Maywood, and raised four boys. John and his brothers – David, Doug and Billy – grew up in a close, loving extended family where country music, the Grand Ol’ Opry, good Southern cooking, and annual visits ‘home’ to Kentucky were as naturally part of their lives as Chicago hot dogs and baseball.
In the late 1960s, after a 2-year tour of duty in Germany, Prine worked as a mailman in his own Maywood neighborhood. He passed mail delivery time by making up songs, and soon began singing those songs in Chi-town clubs.
“Hank Williams was my dad’s hero, and I wanted to impress my dad,” Prine says. “When I started writing my own songs, it was so that he’d know that I could. If he’d have liked ballet, I’d have been Rudolf Nureyev.”
Prine classic albums include, Diamonds in the Rough (1972) Bruised Orange (1978) Storm Windows (1986) The Missing Years (1991) In Spite of Ourselves (1999) and Fair & Square (2005).
He has collaborated with musical heroes from Bruce Springsteen to Mac Wiseman, and has been name-checked in songs by Country Music Hall of Famer, Vince Gill, and contemporary country songbird Kacey Musgraves.
John’s music has stayed as relevant as ever. A song called ‘Paradise’ written by John, for his father, and was a track on his 1971 debut album, has recently reappeared in the headlines. The song is about the devastating impact of coal strip mining, with references to Peabody Coal Company, who, before declaring bankruptcy in 2016 , had fought to keep the lyrics to ‘Paradise’ from a lawsuit.
Prine is an Americana Music Honors & Awards winner for lifetime achievement in songwriting and 2017 Artist of the Year. He was recently awarded the prestigious PEN New England Lyrics Award. He continues to record and perform at sold out shows all over the US, Canada, and Europe.
Following the 2015 death of his dear friend and business partner Al Bunetta, John Prine is now President and sole owner of Oh Boy Records.
He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Fiona, and enjoys spending time with their three sons, a daughter-in-law, and his grandchildren.
John is currently preparing to release his first new album of original material. More details about the album, which is set to be released Spring 2018, will be announced soon.
After his own cross-country trip to reconnect with family and friends, vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Russell traveled to Haiti and found inspiration working with the non-profit Artists For Peace And Justice. "When I found out we were going to have a significant amount of time off, I saw it as an opportunity to touch base again -- to listen to what other people were saying and what they were going through," he says. "I really wanted to make sure that I reconnected with a world that was starting to feel farther and farther away."
When The Head and the Heart regrouped last summer in Stinson Beach, Ca., to start writing together again, "it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn't tried," Zasche recalls. "We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We'd wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together."
That renewed sense of purpose can be felt throughout "Signs Of Light," the group's first release for Warner Bros. Records. "This album isn't about us now having achieved our dreams," says Thielen. "The day we started being able to live off our art was the day we achieved our dreams, in my mind. This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as those artists."
Recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant), "Signs Of Light" crackles with the upbeat, sing-a-long energy of The Head and the Heart's finest work. Lead single "All We Ever Knew," which was written during the "Let's Be Still" era but never captured to the band's satisfaction until now, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, while "Turn It Around" seems primed to be a future concert staple, matching its inspirational message with a lush and multi-layered soundscape.
Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal. The propulsive, smile-inducing ode to Los Angeles "City Of Angels" and the head-nodding "Rhythm & Blues" nod to classic Fleetwood Mac, while the organ-flecked "Dreamer" is a timeless-sounding ballad that could have been beamed straight out of an old jukebox.
"Jay was really adamant about getting a great performance," Russell says. "We have all the tools in the world to make something sound real or more excitable, but it's never really as true as the band in the room for the whole take. 'City Of Angels' - we had previously re-cut that song and played it so many times. But within two takes in Nashville, we nailed it. It felt like we were playing on a massive stage in front of tons of people."
Elsewhere, Thielen's "Library Magic" could almost be seen as a letter to the other five members, acknowledging the ups-and-downs of life in a successful band while celebrating the unique and constantly evolving bond between them. "I wrote that song after having our first real time off as a band," she says. "It touches on the storied relationships between band members trying to survive living in a van off of accelerated time and gas station crafts for years straight, but it also applies to any of life's relationships."
The Head and the Heart's 2011 self-titled debut album captured a nascent but undeniable creative partnership between six strangers thrown together by little more than a shared love of music. It became one of Sub Pop Records' best-selling debut releases ever, and rocketed the band to acclaim well beyond its then-home base in Seattle. The formative experiences that followed both on and off the stage heavily informed the 2013 follow-up "Let's Be Still," which continues to remind Russell of "the stale beer, bleach and potato chips from all the venues we saw once this became our livelihood."
On "Signs Of Light," that gamut of emotions is felt most deeply on the Josiah Johnson-penned title track, which none of the other members had ever heard until they happened to walk in on him playing it over and over at the piano during pre-production in El Paso, Texas. "It was one of those moments where no one talks," Russell remembers. "No one needs the chords, no one is looking up. You simply pick up your instrument and play. The next thing you know, nearly 10 minutes have gone by and you have no idea how or why or what just happened."
The 12-song collection, produced by Trent at the couple’s home studio in Charleston, succeeds 2014’s Swimmin’ Time and 2012’s O’ Be Joyful; the latter title garnered the twosome Americana Music Awards for Song of the Year (for “Birmingham”) and Emerging Artist of the Year. Last year’s Busted Jukebox, Volume 1 was a collaborative collection of covers featuring such top talents as the Milk Carton Kids, Lucius, JD McPherson and Butch Walker.
On the new release, Trent and Hearst as ever play all the instruments and penned the material, which range from stomping rockers to delicate acoustic-based numbers. Many of Little Seeds’ finely crafted and reflective new songs – completed in the late summer of 2015 — are drawn from tumultuous events experienced by the couple over the course of the last two years.
“There were two major changes that happened at the same time,” Hearst says. “We found out we were pregnant, and at the same time Michael’s parents had been living with us, because his father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Those two things, having the baby and facing the reality that our parents were aging, made this weird, awesome circle of humanity that really just took us out. I guess we were in the crosshairs of human existence.” Trent continues, “We started putting this record together right after the baby was born. Every spare moment I had I was in the studio doing my best to work around the cries, and Cary would have to sneak up and do her parts when the baby was asleep. It’s a funny thing trying to make a rock n roll record with a sleeping baby in the house.”
Hearst adds, “As we were finishing the record and making the final decisions about what to include in it, our good friend Eric was killed here in town. We ended up dedicating the record to his memory. The beginning of ‘This Ride’ is actually Eric’s mother telling the true story of how he had been born in the back of a police car. With her blessing, we added that to frame ‘This Ride.’”
“Invisible Man” and “Mourning Song,” were directly inspired by the debilitating illness faced by Trent’s father. Hearst says of the former song, “The disease is preventing him from being able to mentally wrap his mind around it. I wanted to speak for him. I wanted to express what it would be like for a man like him, a capable, funny dude. I wanted to put that in an up-tempo pop song, because it’s always interesting for dark material to be presented that way.”
Of “Mourning Song,” Trent says, “I was envisioning what it was going to be like for my mother after he wasn’t around anymore. It’s weird, maybe, to write a song about the death of your father who hasn’t died yet. It seemed like something he would do – write a tune to comfort my mother after he’s gone.
The hushed, moving spoken word “BWYR”, a song of unity at a time when some try to divide, is torn from an event close to home: the mass shootings at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.
“The night we heard about it, we were in Denver and approaching the end of ‘touring while pregnant’, which was pretty intense,” Trent says. “We flew to Chicago, our show was cancelled – it was rained out – and we were stuck in the hotel, and that’s where it was written. We were talking to our friends and texting, and we wanted to be home so bad, to be with our people. These mass shootings seemed to be happening every weekend, and the thought of bringing a child into the world was overwhelming and scary.”
“Buffalo Nickel” takes on the most personal of all subjects: Trent and Hearst’s relationship as a married couple who also collaborate creatively. Only as the song developed did they begin to understand its topic. “We were trying to figure out what the story was about,” Trent says, “and the more we wrote on it, we said, ‘Are we talking about us here? Are we airing some things here?’” Without a beat, Hearst adds with a laugh, “And we were.”
Little Seeds also contains songs that deploy Shovels and Rope’s widely admired talents as storytellers: the thrashing “I Know,” a wryly observed description of intra-band backbiting, and “Botched Execution,” a darkly funny tale of a convict on the run in the manner of Southern gothic writer Flannery O’Connor. Inspired by a concise history written by Hearst’s father, “Missionary Ridge” looks back at the decisive 1863 Civil War battle.
The album also tips a hat to the group’s Americana forebears. “The Last Hawk” pays homage to Garth Hudson, the master keyboardist of the Band, who Hearst calls “a quiet genius, this weird, wonderful creature who can do anything with music.” Trent recalls, “There was an article in Rolling Stone that was one of the first things you’d ever seen where it was just Garth, explaining things from his take. We read it on an airplane, and I looked over at Cary, and she was crying – it really moved her.”
Both Trent and Hearst acknowledge that making Little Seeds took the band into previously unexplored and even unimagined creative terrain.
“It was cathartic,” says Trent. “There were some songs we had trouble getting through because it was too emotional for us. That’s not really how we had approached songwriting in the past — we got really into writing character-based songs on Swimmin’ Time. For Little Seeds, this is what was going on, and it was all consuming, physically and emotionally, and I feel like we couldn’t help but to be very raw and honest.”
Hearst says, “At a certain point in your relationship, professional or personal, you think it’s maybe run its course – ‘We can’t possibly write more together than we have in the past. We can’t possibly live closer than we have in the past. We can’t possibly understand each other more.’ But in the last couple of years, that has happened. We have become even more intimate as writing partners, and in life, collaboratively. It showed me that there were new depths to conquer in our creative life and our personal life and our family life. It’s all deeper and wider than I could ever have imagined it. Which is great.”
'The Spirit Moves' is Langhorne's newest artistic attempt to refine the wildness. The result is an effervescent collection of his now-signature, cinematic, joyful noise, rooted in folk, soul, and blues. Out on Dualtone Records on August 7th, 2015, the album marks his second with rock-solid band The Law, and the highly anticipated follow-up to 2012's critically acclaimed 'The Way We Move.'
'The Spirit Moves' is a stunning portrait of Langhorne's life in transition: the "born to be in motion and follow the sun" rambler found a home in Nashville, Tennessee. While he's put down roots in a place, he's unattached to a person, single for the first time in recent memory. 'The Spirit Moves' is also the first album of his career written and recorded entirely sober. Together, the record's beautiful glimpses of bold beginnings and risks taken create an ode not only to a better life, but to the vulnerability needed to live it.
"I'm a strong believer that sensitivity and vulnerability are not weaknesses. They're some of the greatest strengths of man and woman kind," Langhorne says. "And that's what a lot of the record is about."
Langhorne and The Law sought out engineer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) and recorded 'The Spirit Moves' at Tokic's studio, the Bomb Shelter, in East Nashville. Producing duties were shouldered by Langhorne, the band, and trusted cohort Kenny Siegal, reuniting the family behind 'The Way We Move.'
"I went to battle with my demons, and I'm still doing it," Langhorne says. "My brothers stood beside me and kicked ass on the record." Three of his brothers are The Law: drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, bassist Jeff Ratner, and keys and banjo player David Moore. "My band is not a hired gun group of guys," Langhorne says. "They are my band and they are uniquely spectacular."
And then, there's brother Kenny Siegal. "In Kenny, I've found a musical brother," he says. "We drive each other crazy, but the man understands me somehow in an energetic, spiritual sense, more than most anyone I've ever met."
Langhorne wasn't looking for a co-writer, but that's exactly what Siegal became for eight of the record's songs, making 'The Spirit Moves' the first time Langhorne has ever written with someone else for an album. For Langhorne, writing is often an arduous process. "I rarely write a complete song immediately," he explains. "Every once in a while, one hits, but songs mostly come in pieces. Those pieces build up and start to taunt me as they swirl around in my head. Eventually, they make me feel like I'm going totally crazy. It's like they're gonna devour me -- eat me alive."
He pushed through alone to pen some of the tracks, chasing each song's individual truth. In creating others, Siegal helped him put the pieces together.
What emerged is a record that delights in contradiction: freewheeling but purposeful; celebratory but confessional; looking to light even when it's dark. Langhorne's voice -- an arresting howl sublimely at home in a Mississippi roadhouse or on a Newport stage -- has never sounded better.
He wrote the title track just weeks before entering the studio, "terrified that I didn't have enough and what I had wasn't good enough." The song is no mere reflection, but a manifestation of unbridled joy, and a celebration of opening up oneself to the supernatural that surrounds us.
"Changes" is an intimate look at a soul being reborn, but Langhorne hopes each listener can hear something of their own in it. "When I'm writing, it's coming from a heart or soul kind of place, not the mental zone of 'Well, I moved to Nashville and I got sober and I'm single and I'm going through changes, so let's write a song about it,'" he says. He calls infectious garage-pop growler "Put it Together" "the most painful song I've ever written," not because of the subject matter, but because of the process. He found the opening lines and crunchy chords while seeking relief after his beloved 1977 Mercury Comet was stolen. But then, the song took months to complete. "I've never worked that hard to get a song," he says.
The refusal to let a heart harden helped bring about "Life's a Bell," a dreamy call-to-action that nods to 50s rock-and-roll and Sly and the Family Stone. "A lot of my music is celebration of light," he says. "It's a horrible thing to shield our hearts and not be vulnerable."
"Wolves," based on a James Kavanaugh poem, tackles similar subject matter, and Langhorne feels it's the "truest expression of myself that I've put into a song." "I'm tough enough to run with the bulls, and I'm too gentle to live amongst wolves," he sings, his soul-shouting subdued to a hush that's just as powerful.
The rollicking "Southern Bells" pulses with the optimism of a new day, while "Strongman" and its piano pay tribute to perseverance and seizing the moment. "Whisperin'" captures another kind of breakthrough, relatable and intense, while "Strangers" is classic Langhorne Slim, and begs to be danced to, uninhibited and free.
"Airplane" is a poignant example of his ability to capture the redemptive hope in desperation. Part meditation, part urging of an unnamed co-conspirator, the song puts his defiantly tender vocals front and center, hugged by a rotating cast of instruments that kicks off with stark guitar and piano, swells into lush strings and percussion, then ebbs back into its stripped-down beginning -- like the waves of confidence and doubt that make up faith itself.
The song is undoubtedly a career standout for Langhorne, and creating it was a long road. Three key "muses" -- his Grandma Ruth, dear friend Joel Sadler, and another confidant -- gave him encouragement along the way. "I kept going for 'Airplane' because it made sense to me and there were people around me who were moved very deeply by it," he says. "It's one of my favorite songs I've ever written."
With a new home and a clear head, Langhorne is exhilarated thanks to the realization of what he knew was possible. "I had a problem with drugs and alcohol from the time I was 15 until I quit last year on my 33rd birthday," Langhorne says. "I was hitting my head against the ceiling. I knew all I had to do was quit, and my head would burst through that ceiling. I didn't really know what would be there, but I knew it'd be something greater."
For Langhorne, something greater includes making the best music of his life.
"By opening myself, I'm vulnerable and I'm fearful, but I start to get real. And in that realness, there is immense strength that I wish for everybody," Langhorne says. "Maybe everybody's scared to be a freak. But when you live as a freak -- " he laughs -- "it's so much more fulfilling."
- Elisabeth Dawson, 2015
Hard Rock Hotel (Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Carretera Cancún-Chetumal KM 72
Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico, CP. 77710