An Evening With Brandy Clark

An Evening With Brandy Clark (9:30 PM)

Greg Holden (8:30 PM)

Tue, February 14, 2017

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $18.00 / Day of Show Tix $20.00

This event is all ages

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An Evening With Brandy Clark - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
An Evening With Brandy Clark
"Ain't we all the stars playing the leading part in our own soap opera?" Brandy Clark belts out that question to kick off Big Day in a Small Town, positing the premise of not just the opening track ("Soap Opera"), but all 10 songs that follow it. The towns that anchor Clark's new album may be small enough to warrant only a single blinking light, but the lives lived in them are anything but... and neither are the hopes and dreams that rise from their backroads and bedrooms.

When you grow up in a small town, oftentimes, your dreams are all you have. Whether it's to become a football star or a father, a homecoming queen or a hairdresser, your dreams might be the only thing that keep you going. For Clark, the dream she harbored in her small hometown of Morton, Washington, was to be a country singer. Sure, once she moved to Nashville, she had successful cuts as a songwriter [The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," and Kacey Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow" which won the CMA Song of the Year Award in 2014], but being an artist in her own right was a dream she had stopped dreaming until three years ago when her first album, the stunning 12 Stories, debuted.

At the time, it was a passion project, more than anything... a passion project that went on to become a GRAMMY- and CMA-nominated release that topped a myriad of "Best Albums of 2013" lists; earn her opening slots on tours with Eric Church, Jennifer Nettles, and Alan Jackson; land her performances onThe Ellen DeGeneres Show , Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, and a much-talked about collaboration with Dwight Yoakam on the 2015 GRAMMY Awards in recognition of her nomination in the all-genre Best New Artist category; and win her a Warner Bros. Records deal. Now, as she gears up for her sophomore set, the alternately feisty and poignant Big Day in a Small Town, Clark has much higher hopes.

"When I made 12 Stories, I think my dreams were a lot more realistic, in that I didn't expect a lot to happen... then it did," she says. "This time, my dreams are very much what they were when I was going to Vince Gill and Patty Loveless concerts and decided I was going to move to Nashville. Right now, my dreams are as big as when I was naïve enough to really dream them."

Produced by Jay Joyce [Little Big Town, Eric Church], Big Day in a Small Town tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen, and the hairdresser because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing. "All these songs, there's some little truth in them, somewhere, that resonates with me or that is about me," she confesses. Explaining the genesis of "Soap Opera," she offers, "When I would get worried about what people thought of me or what was going on with me, my mom would always say, 'You know, we're all the star of our daytime drama. We're just bit players in someone else's. Nobody cares that much about what's going on with you. They'll only care until there's something juicier going on with somebody else two weeks later.'"

But Clark cares enough about all of these characters to tell their stories: the aging beauty of "Homecoming Queen" who wonders what happened to the life she always wanted... the tempted exes of "You Can Come Over" who do all they can to not get burned by the flame that flickers between them... the heartbroken heroine of "Daughter" who wishes a bit of karmic justice on her ex in the form of a daughter who's "just as sweet as she is hot"... the defiant wild child of "Girl Next Door" who refuses to fit her lover's misguided notion of womanhood.

"'Homecoming Queen' is really real for me — I know that girl. 'You Can Come Over' is very real for me and 'Daughter' and 'Soap Opera'..." Clark's voice trails off as she thinks about the tales she tells. What about "Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'" with its pondering of ways to navigate the sometimes rocky waters of a relationship? Game plan? Wish list? "That's a total daydream," she says with a laugh. "I think we all have that daydream."

One of the most heartfelt moments on Big Day in a Small Town is the one that closes it, "Since You've Gone to Heaven." The song addresses the aftermath of losing someone close to you and it's one that Clark has wanted — and attempted — to write for years. "My dad was killed in a work accident the July before 9/11," she says. "When all that 9/11 stuff was going on and everyone was glued to the TV ... I thought right then, 'Since you've gone to heaven, the whole world has gone to hell.' But I sat on it for years and years because it seemed so bleak." As with all of Clark's compositions, there's some truth in it, just not necessarily the whole truth. "It's definitely not the story of my family in that song. I'll stress that," she says. "But I do think, a lot of times, when somebody dies, it blows things apart more than it brings things together."

While the lyrical themes echo those of 12 Stories, Clark pushed her vocal and musical boundaries on Big Day in a Small Town. Instead of building the songs from a simple guitar/vocal performance, Joyce brought the players in for five days of rehearsals before tracking live with the band. "A lot of those rehearsals became what the record was," Clark says, explaining that the recorded version of "You Can Come Over" includes her one-take, scratch vocal. "I wanted to fix a few things, but Jay wouldn't let me because he felt like it would lose emotion. He's about the heart of music. He's not about making it perfect."

"He is out to serve the artist and the song," she adds. Throughout the process, Joyce insisted that this be a "Brandy Clark record" not a "Jay Joyce record" because she was the one who would be performing it night-after-night even as he moved on to his next project. "If I didn't like something, he'd be the first person to change it. I think this project means nearly as much to him as it does to me."

Though Neil Young's Harvest was the only musical reference point the two discussed before heading into Neon Cross Studios, Clark and Joyce each brought their influences along — including Clark's long-standing love of classic country and Joyce's well-documented affinity for edgier rock. "He and I definitely come from different places, musically, which I think is probably good," she offers. "On 'Daughter,' he started to play an organ part and I said, 'That sounds like [Patsy Cline's] "Back in Baby's Arms."' He said, 'What's that?' He didn't know it."

Along with Sturgill Simpson, Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton, and Kacey Musgraves (who provides guest vocals on "Daughter"), Clark is part of a new vanguard in country music — one that tips a hat to tradition, while not eschewing its evolution. "I see what's happening right now and I feel this groundswell of people who love... I would say 'country' music, but I'll take it a step further and say 'real' music. I feel like there are people who are starved for that," she says. "The only music I've ever made is country music. The only music I've ever really listened to consistently is country music. And I want to keep that alive, so there's a responsibility in that, for me."

But, for Brandy Clark, that responsibility is a dream come true.
Greg Holden - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Greg Holden
Singer and songwriter Greg Holden has earned recognition as an independent artist for the past several years, though he is perhaps best known for writing the massive hit "Home" — the debut single for American Idol winner Phillip Phillips that sold five million tracks in the U.S. and earned Holden an ASCAP Pop Award. He's also found success with "The Lost Boy" — a poetic rumination inspired by a Dave Eggers' novel about a Sudanese refugee that hit No. 1 on iTunes in Holland and raised over $50,000 for the Red Cross. Within two weeks of being featured on Sons of Anarchy, "The Lost Boy" sold 30,000 downloads in the U.S. and debuted at No. 36 on Billboard's Rock chart. Soon Holden will also be known for the passionate, purpose-driven rock songs on his major-label debut album, like the anthemic "Hold On Tight" and "Save Yourself." Those songs, plus Holden's powerful voice led Warner Bros. Records to sign the Scottish-born, England-bred, New York-based artist earlier this year. His future is wide open.

But Holden's career almost didn't happen. He nearly gave up on the music business altogether a few times over the course of the past few years. The first was after he spent a significant amount of his own money (in addition to $30,000 crowd-funded through Kickstarter) to make his Tony Berg-produced 2011 album I Don't Believe You, watched his label go bust, and was left unable to promote it. The second was when he went into debt after "The Lost Boy" charted overseas and he set out on a sold-out tour of Holland. "I borrowed petrol money from my drummer so we could drive around Europe in his car," Holden recalls. "That's how bad it was. I was driving to my sold-out shows thinking, 'I'm coming off this tour and I'm giving this shit up. How can I afford to keep doing it?' I was ready to call it a day.'"

Fortunately, "Home" became a success and Holden embarked on a life-changing, seven-week trip to India and Nepal in February 2013 that renewed his drive to be an artist. "The trip gave me a new perspective on how lucky I was, and the fact that I can make music for a living is a miracle," Holden says. "I came home from India and wrote most of my new album almost immediately." The chorus of the album's first single "Hold On Tight" is as such: "I don't take my life for granted /
I'm gonna hold on tight to what I've been handed."

"My last album was brutally honest, but I was very much pointing the finger in the wrong direction," Holden says. "I was projecting my problems onto everybody else. I guess I just realized that was not a good way to be. This new album is about looking at my own shit and realizing 'I'm lucky. We're all lucky and we don't know it and we should.' I really want to make people think with my songs. I'd love for people to take on a more compassionate way of thinking and start considering others besides themselves, myself included."

Given his thoughtful, inspired songwriting, it's not surprising that Holden's earliest musical influence was Bob Dylan. Holden was 17 and working at McDonald's when one of the managers gave him four of Dylan's albums thinking maybe Holden would like them. "When I heard his albums, I was like, 'I want to do this,' He just didn't give a f**k. I loved how he rebelled. I always secretly wanted to rebel, but was too scared of being disciplined," says Holden, who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and spent his teenage years in Lancashire, England, raised by his mother and a "very strict" stepfather. "I started playing so I could write my own music," he says. "I didn't learn covers or anything like that. I picked up a guitar and immediately began writing songs. As soon as I decided to write, I knew I wanted to do it for a living. It was about expressing myself because I never felt like I could in any other way."

Holden's path to the present found him moving to Brighton where he spent two years playing in a punk band, followed by two years in London after he decided to pursue a solo career. (He worked at the Apple Store "teaching old people how to send emails and cute girls how to use Facebook.") Holden also made a handful of trips to New York City between 2007 and 2009, where he recorded his independently released album, 2009's A Word in Edgeways. "The first time I came to New York it was like meeting a girl," Holden says. "I was totally smitten and couldn't stop thinking about it."

He has made the city his home since 2009 and its grittiness and urgency bleed into the songs he has written (either on his own, or with his co-writers Tofer Brown, Richard Harris, Garrison Starr, and Ace Enders) for his major-label debut, which is due from Warner Bros. Records in Spring 2015. Produced by Greg Wells (Adele, OneRepublic), the music is modern, yet timeless, brimming with tough, vibrant energy that thoroughly showcases Holden's lean, literate songwriting.

"I want people to listen to this album and think, 'Where the hell did this come from?'" Holden says. "I would love them to really pay attention to the words in these songs. I'm hoping that if they do, they will have some kind of meaningful reaction. That's what I would love."
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change