Steve Earle & The Dukes

Steve Earle & The Dukes (9:30 PM)

The Mastersons (8:30 PM)

Sat, August 12, 2017

8:00 pm

Adv tix $35.00 / Day of Show $40.00

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This event is all ages

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Steve Earle & The Dukes - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Steve Earle & The Dukes
Three-time Grammy Award recipient and 11-time Grammy nominee Steve Earle is a cornerstone artist of Americana music. One of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation, he has released twenty albums - a number of them were as Steve Earle and the Dukes, one was Colvin and Earle, another was Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band, etc. Earle’s songs have been recorded by such music legends as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Carl Perkins, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill and Joan Baez. He has created such country successes as “When You Fall in Love,” “Guitar Town,” “Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left,” “A Far Cry From You” and “Nowhere Road.” During his four-decade career, Earle has also become a novelist, a film, TV and stage actor, a playwright, a short story author, a record producer and a radio host. He is a longtime activist whose causes have included the abolition of the death penalty and the removal of the confederate flag. Always musically adventurous, Steve Earle has crafted folk, blues, rock, country, rockabilly and bluegrass recordings. His diverse collaborators on disc have included such notables as The Pogues, Lucinda Williams, Patti Smith, The Fairfield Four, The Indigo Girls, Chris Hillman, Sheryl Crow and Shawn Colvin. His new Warner Bros. Records album, So You Wannabe an Outlaw, explores his country songwriting roots and includes collaborations with Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush and Miranda Lambert.

Hard times out here in Outlaw Country, the good ones dropping like flies. We lost Hag last year. Leon Russell’s gone, too, and closer to my own heart and home, my personal teachers, Steve Young and Guy Clark. And ol’ Death doesn’t discriminate for reasons of age. He took contemporaries and students of mine away from here as well (RIP Greg Trooper and Bap Kennedy).

Now, it’s no secret that loss comes naturally to those of us who wander the outer edges of the wide world. We’ve not only come to expect it but most of us have made it our stock and trade to embrace it, savor it, set it to the melody that the North Wind whistles and the rhythm of a broken heart.

Sound melodramatic?
Good. That’s what I was going for.

I was the Kid when I arrived in Nashville, assuming that mantle from Rodney Crowell as he shipped off to the coast to front Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band. On any given night you could find a dozen good songwriters and a couple of great ones up late in somebody’s house or a hotel room passing a guitar around and trying our most recent creations out on each other. There was no caste system. Established writers like Guy (and don’t forget Susanna), Steve Young and Billy Joe Shaver rubbed elbows with street level scufflers like myself, David Olney and Richard Dobson.

Occasionally out of town luminaries the likes of Roger Miller, Mickey Newbury and even Neil Young would fall by. On your way home you could stumble over to J.J.’s Market and find Waylon-By-God-Jennings and Tompall Glazer banging away on adjacent pinball machine until sunrise.
It was fucking glorious.

We were the Night Shift, denizens of a nocturnal Nashville that no longer exists, a brief and shining moment when the inmates were clearly in charge of the asylum. Without a doubt we were surfing a shock wave that had been set off a thousand miles away in Austin by Willie Nelson. But for us, the Nashville contingent, in the winter of 1975, the center of our universe was Waylon Jennings. He led and we followed and for a minute there it looked for all the world like a change had finally come and we would reshape Music City in our own individual images.

And then, it was done. Gone. Perhaps we were victims of our own excess. It’s possible that it was simply inevitable and only a matter of time before the mop up crew moved in and restored the “natural” order of things along 16th and 17th Avenues. Maybe it was a little of both.
Now, me, I’ve never been big on looking back. Determinedly forging ahead always seemed to be the far better part of valor.

But I’ve been attending an awful lot of funerals lately and maybe that, alone explains my sudden need to acknowledge where I come from, to revisit the solid foundation upon which I have constructed this house of cards of mine. Maybe it’s just looking in the mirror at “the age in my eyes” and remembering that in spite of the obvious math, nobody that knew me back then, when I was 20 and Waylon was 38, would have ever believed that I’d still be here today and he’d be gone all this time.

When I was locked up I received a letter from Waylon. Well, actually, when I opened the envelope I found that it contained only a photograph, a snapshot of Waylon, onstage somewhere “out there”, playing his tooled leather covered Telecaster. Around his wrist was tied a bright red bandana. On the back of the photos was inscribed, in Waylon’s unmistakable sprawling scrawl:


So, it’s been way too long coming back around but better late than never I guess.

This record is dedicated to the memory of Waylon Jennings. See you when I get there, Maestro

The Mastersons - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
The Mastersons
Don't bother asking The Mastersons where they're from. Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Terlingua; they've called each home in just the last few years alone. If you really want to get to know this husband-and-wife duo, the better question to ask is where they're going. Perhaps more than any other band playing today, The Mastersons live on the road, perpetually in motion and always creating. Movement is their muse. On tour, in the unpredictable adventures and characters they cross, in the endless blur of skylines and rest stops and dressing rooms and hotels, that's where they find their greatest inspiration, where they hone their art, and where they crafted their brilliant new album, Transient Lullaby.

"When you travel like we do, if your antenna is up, there's always something going on around you," reflects guitarist/singer Chris Masterson. "Ideas can be found everywhere. The hardest thing to find is time."

For the last seven years, The Mastersons have kept up a supremely inexorable touring schedule, performing as both the openers for Steve Earle and as members of his band, The Dukes, in addition to playing their own relentless slate of headline shows and festivals. It was Earle, in fact, who pushed the duo to record their acclaimed debut, Birds Fly South, in the first place.

"Before we hit the road with him in 2010, Steve said, 'You'd better have a record ready because I'm going to feature you guys during the show,'" remembers fiddler/tenor guitarist/singer Eleanor Whitmore. "We didn't even have a band name at the time. We were going through all these ideas and Steve suggested, 'Why don’t you just be The Mastersons, and that was that."

Upon its release in 2012, Birds Fly South was a breakout critical hit on both sides of the pond, with Uncut awarding the album 9/10 stars and Esquire dubbing The Mastersons one of the “Bands You Need To Know Right Now”. Two years later, they followed it up with Good Luck Charm, premiered by the NY Times and praised by Mother Jones for its "big-hearted lyrics, tight song structures, and sweetly intertwined harmonies." Pop Matters ranked it "among the top Americana releases of 2014," while American Songwriter called it "a perfect soundtrack for a summer of warm nights and hot, lazy days," and the Austin Chronicle praised the band's "spunky wit and rare measure of emotional maturity." The album earned The Mastersons slots on NPR's Mountain Stage and at festivals around the world, from San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Australia's Byron Bay Bluesfest.

With endless touring came new levels of comfort and confidence, and when it was time to record Transient Lullaby, The Mastersons knew they wanted to take a different approach than their first two releases. The band set up shop at Arlyn Studios in Austin, TX, where Chris shared production duties with longtime friend and collaborator George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Band of Heathens). Together, they chased a sound that was subtler and more evocative, deeper and more contemplative.

"A lot of what we listen to when we have some rare time off is what we consider late night music," explains Chris, who previously played guitar with Son Volt and Jack Ingram among others. "The last record was bright and jangly and we wanted this one to be vibey and dark. A lot of the stuff is very performance-based and not at all fussed with. We've grown so much more comfortable in our skin that we really weren't trying to sound like anyone other than ourselves this time around."

"We've had a lot of time and a lot of miles to refine our sound and our style of singing," adds Eleanor, whose resume includes work with Regina Spektor and Angus & Julia Stone. "I think the depth of our songwriting has really grown, too. Part of the time we're writing on a tour bus with Steve Earle, and the bar for poetry is pretty high when you're within earshot of one of the greatest songwriters alive."

Rich with Eleanor's stirring string arrangements and Chris's masterful guitar work, the songs on Transient Lullaby more than live up to the challenge. The album opens with "Perfect," a loping duet written partially in Washington, DC, and partially in Newcastle, England, that paints a portrait of two broken lovers who still manage to find a strange optimism in this challenging world. Spare and affecting, the song puts the spotlight on the duo's intoxicating vocal harmonies and makes for an ideal entry point into an album full of characters facing down difficulty and darkness with all the grit and humility they can muster. "Fight," written in a downtown Cleveland hotel, is a wry wink at the battlefield of marriage ("I don't wanna fight with anyone else but you"), while the fingerpicked "Highway 1" twists and turns on a California road trip through an emotional breakup.

"Life's not easy," reflects Chris. "It's hard for everybody, and I don’t see it getting any easier. All you can hope for yourself is grace when walking through it, and someone to prop you up when you need a little help."

Though it's a deeply personal album, Transient Lullaby is not without its political moments. The Mastersons found themselves on tour in Lexington, KY, during the height of Kim Davis' obstinate stand against the Supreme Court's same sex marriage decision, and so they penned the infectious "You Could Be Wrong" in a dressing room before taking the stage with "Love Wins" draped across their guitars. "This Isn't How It Was Supposed To Go"—a cosmic country duet written in Cologne, Germany—has taken on new layers of political meaning in 2017, while "Don't Tell Me To Smile" is a tongue-in-cheek feminist anthem, and the gorgeous, slow-burning "Fire Escape"—which came to life in a hockey rink locker room in Alberta, Canada—suggests that the only solution to a polarized world of fear and distrust is to find strength and guidance in our loved ones.

"As we look at the world political landscape, global warming, a refugee crisis and the uncertain times we’re all living in, rather than lose hope, we look to each other," Chris says. "It’s a little brighter than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but not much."

Ultimately, the road is at the core of everything The Mastersons do. "Happy When I'm Movin'" reflects their constant need for forward momentum, both physically and emotionally, and the title track paints the pair as "pilgrims of the interstate" on an endless voyage. "No I don’t unpack my bag / Traveling from town to town," they sing in beautiful harmony. "Set ’em up and knock ’em down / Where there’s work and songs to sing / You’ll know the place where I’ll be found / If you don’t want to be alone / Then come along."

For The Mastersons, all that matters is where they're headed, and the songs they'll write when they get there.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change