The Mid-Week Beat: Northwest Day of Digital Detox

316597-250Digital technology…what a wonderful thing it is! It has changed the modern music industry in countless ways: from making production more efficient to connecting musicians all over the world. It has even made distribution of music an instantaneous process.

Like any technological advancement, there are some bad things that come along with the good. I can go on all day about the degradation of fidelity or the financial implications digital distribution brings, but I was recently slapped in the face by an observation I made at a show at a great independent venue named Reggie’s in Chicago. After visiting the lounge, the record store and band merch area, I made my way to the balcony where I could take in the entire room and really get a feel for the place. The sound and lights were great. The bands were all well rehearsed and enthusiastic, but something seemed strange and it took me about five minutes to figure it out. It was Friday night at 10pm and the room was pretty full and about 30% of the room were typing on their phones while the band played on stage. I was a little disturbed by the image of the band pouring out their hearts and all these people ignoring them to keep up with their social media circles. This got me thinking about how much time I waste and how much I actually miss trying to keep up with things in the digital world, and that even though this digital technology really can make the world a better place, it is easy to fall out of balance with it.

A few days later I heard about the inaugural Northwest Day of Digital Detox that is happening this Saturday in Olympia, Washington. It is an annual event that is not so much meant to be an anti-technology rally, but an opportunity “to step away from your technology, guilt free…relax, unwind, unplug, detach, disconnect and enjoy five blissful hours of live music, free from any texting, posts, comments, uploads or likes.”
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The Mid-Week Beat: Vinyl Rules

big_vinyl_rules_1Today is an important day in history for all lovers of vinyl records. On this day in 1878, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and unwittingly created the “record business” as we know it today.

Previous inventions had succeeded in recording sound, but Edison’s phonograph was the first device to be able to reproduce sounds. The original phonograph recorded sounds onto a tinfoil cylinder, and could both record and reproduce sounds. In the 1880s, Alexander Graham Bell made improvements on Edison’s original phonograph by introducing the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and a cutting stylus that moved in a “zig zag” pattern across the record. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that Emile Berliner introduced gramophone records: flat, double-sided discs with spiral grooves, the early ancestors to today’s vinyl records.

The vinyl record dominated the market of recorded music until the mid-1960s when 8-track tapes were introduced to the public. These would be followed by cassette tapes and eventually compact discs, which almost succeeded in eradicating vinyl records all together but luckily hip hop DJs and turntable enthusiasts kept the vinyl market alive until today, when we’re seeing a resurgence in vinyl production and consumption. Part may be due to nostalgia but many argue that digital formats like CDs and mp3s are unable to recreate the “warmth” that vinyl gives to a recorded piece of music.

I know for me personally, my favorite songs always sound better on vinyl, pops and hisses aside. I admit that part of this is nostalgia and the fact that putting a piece of vinyl on a turntable somehow makes that music seem more special than something I double-click in iTunes. There’s a ritual involved and a sense of tangibility that will never exist with digital files.

So, in honor of the record, I’m featuring some events that center either around vinyl itself, famous record labels, classic albums that are synonymous with vinyl or styles of music that rely heavily on vinyl.

And, be sure to thank Edison for all the great recorded music we’ve enjoyed for the last 136 years.

52a8fd08967a9.preview-620Friday, February 21 I Respect Yourself Screening and Book Signing with Author Robert Gordon Atlanta, Georgia

Some of my favorite records to spin on a Saturday night are old Stax Records sides like Otis Redding’s Live In Europe or any of the amazing records by Booker T. and the MG’s, Stax’s house band.

At this event in Atlanta, music historian and Memphis native Robert Gordon will be signing copies of his book Respect Yourself after a screening of the documentary with the same name about Stax Records. The book tells the story of a white brother and sister who build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Stax defined an international sound and their story is loaded with epic heroes in a shady industry. It’s about music and musicians–Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the M.G.’s and the legendary sound that they helped forge.

After the screening Gordon further discusses his work with The Bitter Southerner‘s Editor-in-Chief Chuck Reece and resident “soulologist” Nelson Ross.


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The Mid-Week Beat: Long Beach Rehab, Post-Folk in Davis and the Zoo Music Awards in Missoula

Long-Beach-RehabSo, no grand plan this week on the Mid-Week Beat. Just thought I’d share some of the cool upcoming shows we got coming up: Long Beach Rehab on tour in Washington State, a “post-folk” show in Davis, California and a local music competition in Missoula, Montana. If you’re near any of these events, get out there and see some music!

Tonight, Wednesday February 5 to Sunday, February 9 I Long Beach RehabMultiple Cities in Washington State

Long Beach Rehab was put together by Qball of Sublime LBC and Bad Brains singer Isreal Joseph. They added Smash Mouth guitarist Greg Camp, Matt Myers, Paget and Derek Hooks into the band and have toured the US, Japan and Mexico performing hits from Sublime, Bad Brains as well as original compositions.

Qball has a long history in California punk rock. He and partner Monk ran the record label that released the first three Social Distortion records and he was also half owner of Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach. This is where Qball and Bradley (Sublime) first met and started working on songs during late night party sessions in Long Beach. In 2002, after the break up of the Long Beach Dub All Stars, Qball decided to tour paying tribute to his friend and late Sublime singer Bradley. Qball found Matt Myers and they took the music of Sublime to over 30 countries, touring for ten years as Sublime LBC to crowds reaching 90,000 fans.

These days Long Beach Rehab uses both former Bad Brains singers Derek and Isreal for the Bad Brains songs, while Matt Myers sings all the Sublime songs. LBR perfoms all the best songs from Sublime, Bad Brains as well as new songs.

This week they’re doing a short tour of the Pacific Northwest hitting five cities in five days. Here are the dates and just click on the club name to get tickets.

TONIGHT! Wednesday, February 5 I Jazzbones in Tacoma, Washington

Thursday, February 6 I 88 Keys in Seattle, Washington

Friday, February 7 I Hub City/Aerie Ballroom in Centralia, Washington

Saturday, February 8 I Culpeppers in Graham, Washington

Sunday, February 9 I Rock N Roll Lodge in Tacoma, Washington


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The Mid-Week Beat: RIP Pete Seeger

APphoto_Obit SeegerMusic fans got some sad news yesterday, legendary folk singer and rabble rouser Pete Seeger passed away at the age of 94.

Over the last 24 hours, it’s been interesting watching the variety of musicians come out with memories and tributes to Seeger on Facebook:

“Peter Seeger towered over the folk scene like a mighty redwood for 75 years. He travelled with Woody Guthrie in the 1940s, stood up to Joe McCarthy in the 50s and marched with Dr Martin Luther King in the 60s. His songs will be sung wherever people struggle for their rights. We shall overcome.”Billy Bragg (UK-based singer/songwriter)

“To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven. Turn, Turn, Turn Pete Seeger 1919-2014 Pete Seeger, America’s tuning fork”, believed in “the power of song” to help bring social change.”Willie Nelson (legendary country music singer/songwriter)

“RIP, Pete 1919 – 2014 – “You want to know why Pete Seeger is beaming (see photo)? He was watching a rocking set from Wanda Jackson. So much for the old folk music versus rock and roll conflict.”Elvis Costello (UK-based singer/songwriter)

“Pete Seeger was not satisfied just having spectators. He believed that getting people to sing with him would bring them together, bringing more awareness to social injustice. RIP Pete Seeger” – Mike Ness (founder of Social Distortion, legendary Orange County punk band)

“Yes, he really was a swell guy wasn’t he? And by “swell guy,” I mean an absolute bad-ass pioneer of punk, free will, free expression (save for his distaste of the electric guitar) freedom for all humanity, equal rights…you name it, he tried to save it! R.I.P. Pete!”Mark Pickerel (Seattle-based drummer for Screaming Trees, Neko Case and others)

“R.I.P. Pete Seeger. The Pope of capitalism-hating banjo nerds passed away today. You will be missed Petie!”Blackbird Raum (Santa Cruz-based folk-punk band)

“Pete Seeger is the reason I’m a banjo player. He invented the job I have. His example has been illuminating and inspiring, and his voice will be missed. If you’ve ever seen Pete perform, you’ve lifted your voice in song with him. He showed us that our voices were just as important as his. In honor of Pete, we should all sing out today, but don’t sing alone! If enough people join in, It might feel like he’s still here. We do have a hammer!”Curtis Eller (North Carolina-based acrobatic, yodelling banjo player)


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The Mid-Week Beat: Rockin’ in the New Year!

imagesHappy 2014 everyone! I’m sure many of you are nursing some healthy hangovers today after last night’s festivities but the beat goes on. Why not start planning for your next night of musical festivities. Dick Clark may be gone but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a rockin’ new year.

2013 was a great year in music for Brown Paper Tickets. We ticketed a ton of shows featuring up-and-coming and well established artists, as well as a whole slew of great festivals, tours and house shows.

2014 is already looking like another banner year and today on the Mid-Week Beat, I thought I’d share some exciting shows that are happening in this first month of the new year. Doesn’t matter what kind of music you dig: folk, blues, metal, singer/songwriters, r&b, classic rock or ska; we got you covered.

Check these out, enjoy the tunes and then get back in bed. New Year’s day is all about recovery.

Saturday, January 4 I Ramblin’ Jack ElliottSan Francisco, California

One of the last direct links to the great folk traditions of this country, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is one of the legendary foundations of American folk music. In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next.

In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody to California and Florida, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. Along the way he learned the blues first-hand from Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Jesse Fuller and Champion Jack Dupree. So it’s fitting that in 2011, he received a Grammy Award in the Traditional Blues category for his album, A Stranger Here. He received the National Medal of Arts award and was honored with a special dinner at the White House.

Recently the award-winning film The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack introduced a new generation to his timeless music and yarns.  SF Live Arts is honored to have this national treasure start their concert year.

Americana/country/rockabilly singer Vikki Lee opens the show.

Monday, January 6Keb’ Mo’ and Friends with Beth Nielsen Chapman, JT Hodges and Casey WasnerNashville, Tennessee

Keb’ Mo’ is a three-time American Grammy Award-winning blues musician. He is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, currently living in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Robbie Brooks Moore.

He has been described as “a living link to the seminal Delta blues that travelled up the Mississippi River and across the expanse of America.” His post-modern blues style is influenced by many eras and genres, including folk, rock, jazz and pop. The moniker “Keb Mo” was coined by his original drummer, Quentin Dennard, and picked up by his record label as a “street talk” abbreviation of his given name, Kevin Moore.

Join Kind of Blue Music for an intimate night of music in the round to benefit the Abrintra Montessori School, hosted by Montessori dad, Keb’ Mo’ himself.

Other artists will be: BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN, JT HODGES and CASEY WASNER.

Raffle will include a beautiful Bedell Acoustic Guitar signed by the artists.


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The Mid-Week Beat: Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

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The Mid-Week Beat: RIP Ray Price

1387236857-ray-priceSome more sad news for music lovers out there, Texas-born country music legend Ray Price passed away on Monday at the age of 87. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Price, he penned country classics “Release Me”, “Crazy Arms”, “Heartaches by the Number”, “For the Good Times”, “Night Life” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”. Price was a consummate performer as well and continued to tour and record well into his eighties.

Price was born in Perryville, Texas and began singing for KRBC in Abilene, Texas in the late 1940s. He moved to Nashville in the early 1950s, and even shared a room, for a brief period, with the legendary Hank Williams. When Hank passed away, Price managed his band, the Drifting Cowboys and had some minor success in 1954 with the song “Release Me”.

In the early 50s, Price formed the Cherokee Cowboys, who boasted Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck and others as alumni. In fact, Roger Miller wrote one of Ray Price’s classics in 1958, “Invitation to the Blues”, and sang harmony on the recording. Willie Nelson also composed the song “Night Life”.

Throughout the 1950s, Ray Price largely became associated with the honky tong sound. He even developed what would be known as the “Ray Price Shuffle” which featured a 4/4 beat accompanied by a walking bassline, which can be famously heard on his 1956 classic “Crazy Arms.”

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The Mid-Week Beat: Marco Collins Documentary, Bonnie Prince Billy, Cloud Cult, Shook Twins and more!

283488-250Hey there music fans! Welcome to another Mid-Week Beat.

I was perusing our music listings this week and was blown away by all the great shows we got coming up around the country this weekend. As a result, I thought it’d be wise to feature a little smattering of some of them.

The majority of these are celebrated singer/songwriters and that’s appropriate since today just happens to be some pretty legendary songwriters’ birthdays, namely John Lennon, who would have been 73 today and, strangely enough, his son Sean Lennon, who turns 38 today. Also, John Entwistle, songwriter and bass player for The Who would have been 69, PJ Harvey turns 44, Al Jourgensen of Ministry is 55 today, James Fearnley of The Pogues turns 59, Jackson Browne turns 65 and though not technically a songwriter, legendary 1960s French-pop singer France Gall turns 66 today.

So, in celebration of great songwriters and great music, check out these upcoming events:

Friday, October 11

The Glamour & The Squalor Benefit ConcertSeattle, Washington

Come enjoy an evening of Northwest music curated by legendary Seattle DJ, Marco Collins. Marco was a DJ for 107.7FM “The End” (KNDD) radio station here in Seattle during the grunge explosion of the early 90s and is responsible for catapulting the careers of many of the bands from that era. He is considered by many to be the last great commercial DJ and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Attendees will get an exclusive sneak peak of The Glamour & The Squalor, a documentary film about Marco. This will be the only opportunity to preview scenes from the film before it premieres in 2014.

The show will be hosted by El Vez, the Mexican Elvis and will feature live performances by Mary Lambert, The Young Evils, Sean Nelson (The Long Winters/Harvey Danger), Fences (feat. Jen Ghetto of Carissa’s Wierd), Nacho Picasso, Tilson XOXO, Ra Scion & Daniel Blue (motopony), IG88, Ruler and DJ Action Jackson (Fly Moon Royalty). There will also be an art exhibit by P Smoov (Fresh Espresso/Mad Rad) and Danny Bland will read from his new book In Case We Die.


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The Mid-Week Beat: Loscil, Origamibiro and Hidden Orchestra

HiddenorchestraThis week on the Mid-Week Beat we have the pleasure to look at three instrumental groups who each produce their own unbelievably unique, hypnotic sound.

It was probably not until a friend lent me “Mr Beast” by Mogwai that I realised how powerful an instrumental song could be. It really felt like you could immerse yourself in the music and that a vocal would have just been a distraction. When done well, as these three bands are a testament to, instrumental songs pull you right in as they are filled with genuine energy, emotion and atmosphere.

LOSCIL

Loscil produce ambient and electroacoustic music. It is Scott Morgan from Vancouver who is behind Loscil, which takes it’s name from the “looping oscillator” function of the Csound computer music language. Loscil’s self-released album, “A New Demonstration of Thermodynamic Tendencies,” resulted in Chicago independent label Kranky taking an interest in his music. They signed him and released “Triple Point” in October of 2001 which has since been followed by five additional full-length albums including the latest “New Brighton Field Study” released in August of 2012. You can catch Loscil in Glasgow at the The Glad Cafe on Thursday, the 21st March. Hurry tickets are selling fast!


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