Sun Oct 16 2022
8:00 PM (Doors 6:00 PM)
$20.00 - $100.00
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Lightning 100 Nashville Sunday Night
Andrea Von Kampen
Vandoliers are a uniquely Texas band, distilling the Lone Star State’s vast and diverse musical identity into araucous, breakneck vibe that’s all their own. After spending much of the last three years furiously writing andrecording music, this Dallas-Fort Worth six-piece is back withThe Vandoliers, a new album that proves these rowdy,rollicking country punks are tighter, more cohesive and more sonically compelling than ever.Forged in the fires of the COVID-19 pandemic,The Vandoliersis the product of a time ofimmense growth andchange for the band. Though most of the record was written in 2019, following the release of their much-acclaimedalbumForever, plans changed quickly in March 2020. “It was supposed to be a quick turnaround,” frontman JoshuaFleming says. “After touring with Lucero and the Toadies, we were supposed to go into the studio to knock out analbum, and head to Europe for the first time.” That didn’t happen—their tours were canceled, the band’s label folded,and what was to come next was totally up in the air.Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Eric Delegard at Reeltime Audio in Denton, TX,The Vandoliersis analbum interrupted. The band’s original two-week recording session ended abruptly in March 2020 as shutdownsbegan across the globe. The band didn’t get back into the studio until November, at which point they realized that,like many of the best-laid plans, their original strategy for the record had to change. “We wanted to make an albumthat had the same power as our live performance—a tight, big sound,” Fleming says. “Through trial and error, labelclosure, fatherhood, sobriety, relapse, the album grew on its own stylistically. After the hardest two years of my life,we created a collection of songs that push us as musicians, songs that reaffirmed my place as a songwriter and afaith in ourselves as a band I don’t think we had before.”Amid all that uncertainty, Vandoliers did what they knew best: they made music. First came “Every Saturday Night,” apandemic-era appreciation of all the rowdy, late-night shows that we all missed while stuck at home. “I thought forsure that this would be the last song I would ever write. I missed all the little things about the life I lived up until thatpoint,” Fleming says. “I missed the smells and tastes of a smoky dive bar, the long overnight drives listening to ourfavorite bands.” Those thoughts clearly struck a chord with listeners, earning the song heavy rotation on the radio,especially Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country, and jumpstarting the band’s plans to head back into the studio to encapsulatetheir electric live shows into the album that would eventually grow into The Vandoliers.The Vandoliersis a manifesto, both sonically and lyrically. It’s an assertion of the band’s distinct character, their sonicrebelliousness, and big, bold stage presence. They’ve got range, too, but that should be expected from a band thatdeftly blends mariachi horns with country-punk rhythms. On “The Lighthouse,” tender vocals pair with Travis Curry’sdelicate fiddle to create a sweet cowpunk lullaby written for Fleming’s one-year-old daughter Ruby Mae, born at theheight of the pandemic. And then there’s “Bless Your Drunken Heart,” a hard-driving ode to the town drunk thatmakes apt use of the South’s favorite passive-aggressive slight and has quickly become a favorite at the band’s liveshows, and “I Hope Your Heartache’s a Hit,” a swinging, swaggering tribute to a one-night-stand written by multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves.On the deeply personal “Down and Out,”Fleming digs deep into his own experiences with loss, anxiety, andsubstance abuse. “I have had an odd relationship with alcohol, and I challenged myself to go one year withoutpartaking as a personal goal,” he says. “I failed after my wife and I experienced our first miscarriage in 2019, just aweek before we were supposed to head out on tour. I was a wreck emotionally, and turned to alcohol to numb thepain as I was reeling from that loss. I was up all-night writing this set of lyrics, contemplating my self-worth anddescribing the dark motel room that seemed like a metaphor for where I was in my life at that time.”Taken all together, this impressive fourth album builds to what is the Vandoliers’ most cohesive effort to date withoutsacrificing any of the distinct identity that makes the band work as well touring alongside punkers Flogging Molly asthey do opening for independent country legends the Turnpike Troubadours or Dallas rockers the Old 97s. Fewbands can bring together the square toes and the steel toes quite like the Vandoliers. As its members have grownand matured, so has the sound of Vandoliers. But what remains the same, though, is the band’s core philosophy ofsolidarity and hope, evidenced by the motto they’ve all had tattooed on their arms: Vandoliers Forever, ForeverVandoliers.Vandoliers are Joshua Fleming, bassist Mark Moncrieff, drummer Trey Alfaro, fiddler Travis Curry, electric guitarist Dustin Fleming, and multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves. Formed in 2015, the band released 2016’sAmeri-Kindaand2017’sThe Nativeon State Fair Records, andForever(2019) on Bloodshot Records
A bustling boulevard in the heart of Milwaukee provides a colorful backdrop for the latest album by folk duo Dead Horses. Brady Street, which is due out on August 12, 2022, is Dead Horses’ first full-length release since their arresting 2018 record, My Mother the Moon. The last album charted on the Americana Top 50 radio charts for three consecutive months. The single “Turntable” accrued more than 35 million spins on Spotify and was also featured on the Amazon and Apple Americana playlists. The pair’s select media highlights include a Rolling Stone “Artist You Should Know” mention as well as profiles in Billboard, Noisey, and even independent global news publication Democracy Now!
For their fourth full-length press, the pair decided to stick to their roots and record at Honeytone Studios in Neenah. “We wanted to produce something that seemed true to us, so we opted for a closer-to-home approach,” explains Daniel Wolff. “The experience allowed us to dive in and out of the studio and really work with the individual songs and the overall feel of Brady Street. Because of this, I believe we created a set of songs that contain a wider variety of sounds and textures that we knew were possible for us but didn’t have the chance to accomplish yet based on our previous recording strategies.”
The new record kicks off with its title track, “Brady Street,” a song that took many months to finish, but one that Sarah Vos says she “never lost faith in because it seemed to really capture a mood I’ve never been able to through song.” The second and third tracks open to reveal Dead Horses’ evolution into more intricate places rhythmically and sonically, only to pull away to the live recorded, sparsely beautiful, intimate “Bird Over the Train.” Track 8, titled “You Are Who You Need to Be,” is a ballad meant to empower those who don’t fit into society’s gender and sexuality norms. The final tracks, “Under Grey Skies” and “Days Grow Longer,” leave the listener with an unexpected sound from the band. “The sound is more fun and lighthearted than what we usually create, unless you’re looking too hard,” Vos observes.
"I feel that Brady Street is a coming-of-age record for us – both musically and thematically,” Vos shares. “In some ways, Brady Street is an answer to My Mother the Moon. The latter was written and recorded in the midst of working through childhood traumas and first venturing out on my own. Brady Street is less naive, more gritty, more focused.” Brady Street takes the intimacy of nature and brings it into the oftentimes reckless city life. Instead of walks through the forest, the songs take the audience on walks through the city, past all the old churches and bars with rich histories. Both records are filled with songs of hope and the search for beauty, as well as compassion for others, especially strangers. Written primarily throughout the COVID lockdown, Brady Street turns inward and reflects the introspection many of us encountered over the course of the often-melancholy pandemic.
Since the band’s early days, Dead Horses has been something of a fluid project centered around Sarah and Dan but has also welcomed other like minded musicians for recording and touring. The band's seemingly dark name is a loving tribute to a former friend of the band who passed away due to struggles with opioid abuse. To this end, Vos says, “Our music is about hope and joy, all while sharing an important message that you’re never alone in your battles.”
The union of Sarah’s emotive songwriting and Dan’s intrepid bass playing transcends the singer-songwriter-with-backup-musicians paradigm. Dan’s adventurous musicality equally shines alongside Sarah’s songwriting sensibility. To date, Dead Horses has released three albums, two of which have been produced by Ken Coomer of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, an Audiotree Live Session, three singles, and a five-song EP.
Touring has been essential to the group’s vitality. Choice live performance highlights include national tours with Mandolin Orange and Trampled by Turtles, opening for The Who at Alpine Valley, appearances at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and festivals such as Northwest String Summit, Red Wing Roots, Red Ants Pants, and Bristol Rhythm and Roots.
Sarah and Dan met during post-college crossroads moments. “Everything felt like this blank canvas back then, and we had these lifelong dreams of music,” Sarah recalls. “It all happened very organically.” Initially, Sarah and Dan resided in different musical spheres. Sarah was at a singer-songwriter vantage point, whereas Dan had previously played in punk bands, but the two quickly bonded over their shared adoration of folk music and upbringings in the church.
During those formative times, Sarah showed Dan songs she had been writing since high school. Inspired by her catalog of music, Dan decided to take on a new instrument, the upright bass, and set out to explore its melodic possibilities. Once together, the pair wasted no time in pursuing recording and touring opportunities, garnering a dedicated fanbase from the start.
Dead Horses is thrilled to support Brady Street with tours across the United States. Over the years, the road has become somewhat of a second home for Sarah and Dan. “Connecting with people at shows and being open together breathes new life into everything,” Sarah notes. “You can go somewhere and feel like a total stranger or a lost tourist at first,” as Dan perfectly describes the sensation of performing, “but once you hit the stage, you feel like you’re part of an all-too-familiar community.”
Andrea von Kampen’s That Spell is an emotionally evocative powerhouse. It’s cinematic and sweeping- with literary references, reflections on nature and above all the ability to transport you to a memory, a place in time or somewhere you saw in a dream with vivid lucidity. Like a film director, she works as an aural auteur building scenes with her rapturous voice and the plaintive plucks of her guitar strings. With these ten songs, the Nebraska-raised singer-songwriter immediately establishes herself as a formidable talent with her deeply felt folk-indebted sound and inquisitive, empathetic lyrics. Andrea excels at connecting the dots between personal experience and the world at large, and it’s what makes That Spell such an instantly memorable breakthrough to experiencing her artistic state of mind and the worlds she builds in her music.
The fact that That Spell achieves such cohesion and confidence is no accident. It’s the culmination of a life immersed in music. The youngest of four children, Andrea, and her siblings all learned instruments—a byproduct of their musician mother and choir director father. Their parents fostered a love of music, but it was also the family business - and the generational passing down of the skills they’d honed to their children was a given and a blessing. Andrea’s instrument of choice was the guitar and she picked it up at a young age.
“Music was just what we did,” she remembers, as she absorbed the work of vocal jazz icons like Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald as well as folk-pop legends Paul Simon and James Taylor—both of whom, like Andrea, are also part of the Fantasy Records family. Andrea wrote her first song, the inquisitive and quietly glowing “Trainsong,” in college—which set off a creative spark that’s fueled her since. “Ever since then I’ve looked daily for that hour to read, write, listen, and be intentional with keeping my creative muscle working,” she explains.
In 2015, Andrea released her debut EP Another Day, and the following year she submitted a performance of “Let Me Down Easy” to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest that was shared by All Things Considered. After a steady stream of EPs that included 2016’s potent Desdemona, her debut album Old Country followed in 2019; since then, Andrea’s also starred in and composed the soundtrack for the forthcoming film Molto Bella and has accrued hundreds of thousands of regular Spotify listeners worldwide.
That Spell was begun shortly after the release of Old Country and worked on throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. After building the melodies and writing the lyrics, she turned to her lifelong collaborator — her brother David, who composed string arrangements and worked with Andrea to build out the instrumentation that would ultimately fulfill her vision.
An album that radiates quiet luminescence while possessing undeniable power, That Spell concerns itself with themes in a way best described by Andrea as “A response to what was going on politically, as well as reflecting on my childhood.” Indeed, That Spell features Andrea’s ruminations on ecology, classism, and adolescence, as she wields an empathetic lens through which she transmutes these ten melodic reveries.
First single “Water Flowing Downward” is teeming with gorgeous keyboards and Andrea’s floating yearn of a voice: “I was humming this old tune and I just penned lyrics to it, which I never do,” Andrea recalls how the contemplative song came about. The song’s lyrical content was inspired by the Oscar-winning film Parasite —specifically, the way the film uses water as a metaphor.
“It was a useful tool for the wealthy, and something that could destroy people who aren’t wealthy,” she explains. “I was inspired by the way that spoke to class discrepancies.” The deceptively airy-sounding title track was similarly inspired by Andrea’s recent readings on gender equality issues in society. “It was my response to all of the times as a female that I’ve been at the whim of people with more power than me,” she states. “I’m so done with that, and I’m not just going to pander to everyone just because society tells me to.”
The quietly radiant “Take Back Thy Gift” was inspired by the poetry of Lord Alfred Tennyson, as well as the Greek story of Tithonius that Tennyson once wrote about himself. “It felt like an ancient cautionary tale that I wanted to breathe new life to,” she explains. Later on the album, Andrea offers a lush and gorgeously dreamy cover of the Beach Boys’ classic Pet Sounds cut “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder),” adding her own texture and personality to the unforgettable tune.
The honeyed melody and lush instrumentation of “Carolina,” meanwhile finds Andrea drawing from James Taylor’s musical influence on her childhood, as well as realizing the power of music at large: “When I was growing up, whenever that song would come on the radio, my whole family would reverently pause for it. That was a taste of realizing that sometimes songs mean more than just what it seems on the surface.” What she took away from that experience not only informed “Carolina” but the artistic ethos that courses through That Spell as a whole: “I realized that songs have power and that I wanted to have that effect on people, too.”
Vandoliers + Dead Horses + Andrea Von Kampen
Sun Oct 16 2022 8:00 PM
(Doors 6:00 PM)