While attending college in the early 00’s at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and several years after, brothers Jeff and Keef Debonzo crossed the state of North Carolina playing countless live shows as members of Buzzround, a rootsy, 90’s influenced pop band born out of friendships dating to high school. Bass and lead guitar duties were shared, with Jeff mostly on bass, and Keef sticking to lead guitar. Often these shows would be opening gigs for the quirky and lively Chapel Hill band, Big Pretty and the Red Rockets, of which cellist Joe Kwon would go on to join the Avett Brothers. Buzzround then crossed paths more frequently with Raleigh’s American Aquarium, teaming up for a number of performances from the mountains of their home state to the low country of neighboring South Carolina.
The brothers departed Buzzround not long after releasing a self-titled LP in 2008 to slow down and find new direction. Sitting on little original material at the time, friend Ryan Johnson (American Aquarium) suggested to Mississippi’s Come On Go With Us that Jeff and Keef open the show on the band’s next stop through Raleigh. With just weeks to write a sufficient set, the brothers holed up at home, writing many songs that Debonzo Brothers would go on to record. It was a stripped down performance at Slim’s Downtown Distillery of acoustic guitars and upright bass by Bill Corbin (American Aquarium). Following this small success, a second show was booked at Raleigh’s “The Hive”, the raucous on the weekend, dignified on the weeknights bar next to Slim’s. With Bill on tour, Grant Emerson (bass) and Chris Hibbard (drums) joined, solidifying the band, Debonzo Brothers.
From here the band quickly made plans to record their first EP entitled Places, released in 2010. The EP was produced and engineered by Raleigh’s rising recording talent, Mark McKee. Keef, Jeff, Grant, and Chris recorded over several weeks in the winter of 2009/2010, capturing refined renditions of their earliest material. Places featured an array of relatable themes and sounds hinging on Americana, southern rock, pop and hard driving indie rock. Guest musicians appearing on the EP were cellist Joe Kwon (Avett Brothers) and Grammy nominated Rick Keen on dobro. During this period the band landed billing with southern stalwarts Will Hoge, Chatham County Line, Kenny Roby, Small Ponds, Megan McCormick, Josh Oliver (the Everybodyfields), Leslie, John Howie Jr., and upstate New York’s Yarn.
Recording of Debonzo Brothers’ first LP, One Damn Heart, began in March of 2011 with producer and engineer Sean Roux. Shortly following initial tracking, founding member Grant Emerson left the group to tour and record with Durham, NC’s Delta Rae. Joining the group full time was the highly capable Jay Shirley on organ. Steadfastly filling the bass role was North Elementary’s Jimmy Thompson. Over the next year bassist Bill Corbin, fiddler Phil Lanier, and pedal steel player Whit Wright dropped in to contribute to several of the recordings. The result is a collection of poignant, heartfelt Americana tunes about youth, love, folklore, and the past packaged in photography and sketches by longtime artistic collaborators Leon Godwin and Audrey Cregan respectively. 2012 has brought a torrent of songwriting that Keef, Jeff, Chris, Jimmy, and Jay are eager to share on stage or playlist sooner rather than later.
Hardly anyone has it easy these days. If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you work too much for much too little, and you wind up holding on to even less. Lovers and family should make things better, but they can take as much as they give. After all you have to deal with, you sure could use a friend. Then again, friends have their own pressures and expectations. What you need is someone understanding but not demanding, who knows the burdens you bear and only wants to lift your spirit because of that bond. That’s not a friend. That’s Amigo.
Amigo is here for you because they’ve been where you are. Singer Slade Baird, drummer Adam Phillips, and bassist Craig Lentz have gone through their share of difficulties. They want to help you feel good about things, though, even when things aren’t good. Especially then. To prove it, they’ll dress up heart aching poetry about the failure of a relationship in 50’s style doo wop. They’ll celebrate the shortcomings of God and man with defiant guitar solos. They’ll rockabilly their way around masculine emotions and boogie to disappointment with enthusiasm. Amigo won’t kid you that your troubles will all go away, but they can sure get you to dance in spite of them. At least for the night, Amigo can put a joyous twist on the madness and sadness life brings you.
Comfort and assurance, that’s what you get from this band. Even if they deliver those in rowdy fashion. You trust them because their lyrics echo your own feelings and experiences. The music, familiar in a way that takes you back to easier times, provides a certain comfort too. Which is not the same as saying it’s soothing. The Amigo boys know their way around a honky tonk jukebox, that’s for sure, but they’re also proud of their old punk record collections. Raw emotion manifests in the music they play as clear as in the words they sing. This is not a band that holds back. Not on honesty or energy.
Amigo has maintained a rugged schedule of live performances in the Carolinas since 2012. On stage, the trio perform with remarkable confidence and fun. Adam, who played in Kimosabe with Slade, drums with delightful efficiency. Craig’s bass lines complete the jubilant rhythm section and provide harmonic texture to the songs. The guitar playing is well-edited but expressive, and Slade is a terrific showman, charming and engaging audiences with apparent ease. The band will embark on a national tour in 2014 in support of their debut LP, Might Could, recorded with Scott Solter (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats).
Amigo knows life can be hard. They also know how to laugh, rock and roll, and have a good time. Be encouraged. You have a friend in Amigo.
Engraved as "outlaw folk", "damaged country", "dead mountain music", and "alternative appalachian", Michael Rank's work under his russian roulette collected band, Michael Rank & Stag, has been marked as many things by many folks. His three albums (Kin, In The Weeds, Mermaids) recorded and released in a fifteen month stretch came to roost in numerous Year's Best Lists and global inked posts. An impending 2014 release of his latest work, Deadstock, is next to be placed into his singular dust-fed landscape.
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Doors at 8pm
Show at 9pm
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Instead of riled up and rootsy, the band's debut LP The Brave and the Blue is chilled out, cosmic and expansive, like Sea Change-era Beck or post-Summerteeth Wilco. - Nashville Scene
The bearded Americana bandwagon got crowded, so Belle Adair invented something so fresh it defies categorization…they released a six-song EP and every track unfolds in glorious colors with stellar vocal harmonies. - Relix Magazine
This is Spartan-but-sophisticated pop music grounding itself with acoustic strings, harmonium, pedal steel guitar, and precise harmonies, yet never indulging the clichés of Americana, country rock, or freak folk. Most of the music suits a lazy Sunday morning, but if called upon this group can rock in the manner of The Band and Tom Petty—something involving swirling organ riffs and, again, envy-inducing harmonies. - Black & White (Birmingham, AL)
At its softest (as in the opening track “STN"), the album is comforting, full of deft harmony, wandering melody and ambient noise. At its most upbeat (in the single-worthy “Paris is Free"), it is accomplished acoustic-pop at its best. You’ll hear many of the familiar tropes of Americana here, but never in an obvious or clichéd manner. - Birmingham Weekly
Belle Adair takes the listener into a sonic bubble where the only thing that matters is the noises coming from their instruments. - The Examiner (Atlanta, GA)
Belle Adair on Facebook
In the last decade or so, it's been invigorating to watch new developments in the American Primitive style of acoustic guitar, as it finds new voices and revives its progenitors. By my estimation, enough time has passed since the first and By the Fruits You Shall Know the Roots compilations to influence a younger crop of guitarists. The long-form pastoral works of , the ghostly Appalachian music of and, here, Daniel Bachman's "Copperhead" all find early-twentysomethings furthering and redefining this music. More than his compatriots, Bachman inherits a hefty but important lineage at 22, but it wouldn't be right to mention it until you've heard "Copperhead."
Daniel Bachman on NPR
"The beginning of Embers End. In the summer of 2013, Emily Pate and Bryant
Lovette formed a band. Their idea was to craft catchy indie tunes with heavy
folk leanings. Their tools were their acoustic guitars, their powerful
voices, and their mutual yearning for truth, beauty, and love in music.
Together, they invited John Reardon, Sean McWeeny, Ledah Finck, Vincent
DeSio, and Matthew Kilby to take part in their adventure.
A duo of natural storytellers, Pate and Lovette weave their voices together
with thrilling vibrancy. Reardon compliments the two with a third voice, the
voice of his amber-toned instrument, the cello. Another duo battles to be
heard as McWeeny and Finck speak together through their fiddles. A jazz-head
thrown into a bluegrass setting, DeSio walks a mean bass. As for Kilby,
Embers End marches to the beat of his drumming.
Embers End seeks to breathe life into the folk genre while creating a sound
which can be described as acoustic indie folk. However, each member¹s sonic
inspirations widely differ from classical to hip hop, metal to Mumford &
Sons, the creative backgrounds of Embers End allow for a unique blend, a
unique folk effort. Despite widely varying backgrounds, ambition drives the
group to create a mutual background. Embers End seeks to be the new folk.
Embers End is a group of dreamers desirous of company. Join us and we¹ll
share a dream together."
Embers End on Facebook
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Show @ 8:00 PM
Raised in the backwoods country of Monroe County, Indiana, Austin Lucas was born into a folk and bluegrass lineage. His father, Bob Lucas, is an accomplished musician and performer in his own right, having earned songwriting credits on two of Allison Krauss’ albums. Learning to harmonize before learning to read, Lucas honed his vocal control as a member of the nationally-acclaimed Indiana University Children’s Choir. In a narrative as well-worn as it is true, Lucas rebelled against his upbringing, leaving his Americana roots for the catharsis of punk rock. After the better part of a decade spent criss-crossing the globe with a series of bands in broken-down vans, Lucas hit a musical glass-ceiling, eventually finding respite for his ringing ears in the delicacy of traditional songcraft.
Singing with the conviction of a preacher bereft of his faith, Lucas tackles recurrent themes of the soul, sin as personal purgatory, and the possibility of finding redemption in this life. The fallacies of man take center stage as the righteous false prophet is denounced as a “hollow vessel with unsteady hands.” Turning the harsh light of hindsight on himself, Lucas addresses the hard lessons learned in the passing of youth, ruminating on the failures and missed opportunities, pledging, “If there’s a light shining/ Point the way there/ A straight way of walking/ I’ll be like an arrow.”
Following his solo debut, The Common Cold (2006), Lucas has steadily built upon his recorded output, releasing Putting The Hammer Down (2007), the Bristle Ridge (2008) collaboration with Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music, and Somebody Loves You (2009), which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Culminating with his fourth album, A New Home In The Old World (2011), Lucas has consistently evolved and grown as a musician and songwriter, resting on no laurels and developing the songs’ framework further with each successive album.
Having raised his profile on the road with Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour, the troubadour-packed Revival tour, and in support of Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim, Lucas has also bolstered his loyal grassroots following with appearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Canada’s Sled Island Festival, Florida’s Harvest of Hope, and a 2011 European tour. Folk music is for the common folk, and Lucas delivers, often ending his shows playing on the floor amidst the crowd. Lucas will tour extensively through 2013, sweeping through Australia in January before heading to SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX in March, then to Europe in March/April, followed by a US headlining tour with dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
Campfires and Constellations
Founded by guitarists Corey Bax and Charlie Smith in Dunn, NC, C&C has existed in its current lineup since the Spring of 2012. Ernest T picks the banjo and pedal steel, while Stevie Moon and Dangerous Dan fill in on drums and bass, respectively.
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Doors @ 7:00 PM
Show @ 8:00PM
Summer Solstice Sirens of Song
Sarah Shook & the Devil
Sarah Shook is known for scorching country originals, belting out Hank Williams numbers with ease and drinking Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey by the half gallon. Jon Baughman has become a force to be reckoned with when he slaps that 1964 Kay bass and clicks them strings til you just can't take the heat. Eric Peterson's guitar and Phil Sullivan's lap steel harmonies are so tight they ain't got an inch of daylight betwixt 'em.
Son, if you like smokin’ vocals, savory lap steel, badass bass and come-on-back-y’all geetar you'll be so damn pleased you'd sell your soul just to hear a hair more.
Based in Brooklyn, Diana Potakh and Holly Overton, formerly of American Sun, felt the urgency to create music experimenting with their obsession with early country music like Loretta Lynn and Waylon Jennings. At a sunny Summer beach gathering, they asked bass playing friend Andrew McNey, formerly of The K-Holes, to join in. Kevin Faulkner, of The Men, maximizes the experience with eerie and beautiful lap steel licks. They love to tour because of the wonderful people they meet along the way.
Mary Johnson Rockers
Mary Johnson Rockers is her name, not a band. But with the Spark behind her, she delivers “great, roving Americana with pipes to spare,” ranging from soft twang with impeccable harmonies to driving rock rhythms full of late-night swagger. Their 2011 release Hummingbird Heart gained them traction, dubbed “a triumph,” full of “catchy, well-written and eclectic” songs (Chris Parker, Independent Weekly) together with a score of solid performances throughout their local NC Piedmont. Mary is joined by longtime friend and vocalist Miriam Chicurel-Bayard, contributing songwriter Jim Kremidas on vocals, guitar, pedal steel, and dobro, bassist FJ Ventre (Swang Brothers, Jon Shain, The Stars Explode, Tom Maxwell) and percussionist Robert Cantrell (Hobex, Tim Smith Band, Greg Humphreys, Samba Jovem).
$8 advance / $10 day-of
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