Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones

Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones (10:00 PM)

The Far West (9:00 PM)

Sat, June 14, 2014

8:00 pm

$20.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

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Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones
It took a near-death experience to reunite Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, the California brothers at the heart of "roots heroes" (Rolling Stone) The Blasters.

"Phil died and was brought back to life over in Spain," Dave says of his brother's 2012 health scare. "That was a real wakeup call to me. We hadn't made a full album together since 1985, but as you get older, you realize you're not immortal and you've only got so much time."

It only made sense, then, that for their first record together in three decades, the Alvin brothers would go back to where it all started and pay tribute to one of their original shared musical heroes: Big Bill Broonzy.

"I first remember seeing Big Bill's picture on an album cover that I bought when I was 14 or 15," says Phil. "I didn't really know who he was and came home and played it and was overwhelmed by him."

"We're brothers, we argue sometimes," Dave adds with a laugh, "but one thing we never argue about is Big Bill Broonzy. I remember the day Phil brought the record home, it was one of those childhood memories like you're graduating grammar school or stealing your first Playboy. For me, Big Bill is in that elite company of Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, people like that."

Like the Alvins', Broonzy's career lasted more than 30 years and spanned several stylistic incarnations, all of which the brothers sought to capture on 'Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy.' "He played both country blues and ragtime blues picking, and then in the late 1930's and 40's he was one of the inventors of the Chicago blues sound," explains Dave. "And then in the late 40's until his death, he was the guy that brought blues and American folk music to Europe. He was the first guy to go over there and blaze the trail."

That the Alvin brothers feel such a kinship with a trailblazer like Broonzy is little surprise. The Blasters emerged to international fame in the early 1980's, blending American roots and blues with searing punk energy to critical acclaim. Rolling Stone hailed their "bright, raw playing, terrific taste and...[Phil's] full-bodied vocals," while in the Village Voice, Robert Christgau wrote that Dave was "a major songwriter, one with John Fogerty's bead on the wound-tight good times of America's tough white underbelly." The band performed with everyone from X and Black Flag to The Cramps and Queen, and even gave early breaks to Los Lobos and Dwight Yoakam by inviting them on the road as openers. As AllMusic puts it, "it's practically impossible to imagine the roots rock scene of the '80s and onward existing without [The Blasters] as a roadmap."

The brothers went their separate ways in 1986, when Dave left the band to pursue a solo career. After decades apart musically, they reunited briefly to record songs for the 2013 soundtrack to "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," a musical written by Stephen King and John Mellencamp featuring performances by Elvis Costello, Taj Mahal, and Kris Kistofferson among others, and produced by T Bone Burnett.They also sang a duet on "What's Up With Your Brother" for Dave's last Yep Roc release 'Eleven Eleven.'

"We rehearsed at David's house a few times for that," remembers Phil, "and that was a good step in bringing us back together."

Once inspiration struck for the Big Bill Broonzy project, all it took was a phone call from Dave, and Phil was onboard and ready to head into the studio for their first album together in three decades.

"We used this old Foley studio from the 30's that had been used for movie sound effects," says Dave, who shares vocal duties with his brother on the record. "We set up all in that one little room a la Sun or Chess and just recorded."

"It was easy," he continues. "I'm not as boisterous as I used to be. Like the title suggests, this is where we come together. It's square one. There was nothing to argue about outside of 'Am I playing the guitar part right?'" he laughs.

Rather than trying to recreate Broonzy's exact guitar parts and vocals note for note, though, the record honors his innovative spirit and musical adventurousness, blending chords and melodies from different songs and incorporating stylistic nods to other guitarists—everyone from Magic Sam to Bo Diddley—whose work bears Big Bill's unmistakable fingerprint.

That encyclopedic knowledge of American music, that expansive musical vocabulary and the fluency with which the Alvins slip in out and of genres and eras is what enables 'Common Ground' to triumph. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin may have set out to honor the legacy of Big Bill Broonzy with this record, but in the process, they solidified their own as one of roots music's most exceptional duos.
The Far West - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
The Far West
"Technically pure, slightly jaded, no-nonsense and honest with stellar storytelling for the every-man." The Far West came together in early 2010, each member having left other bands to pursue a unique sound they weren't getting elsewhere. Robert Black, hailing from Texas has played in dozens of bands from the plains all the way to the coasts (in both directions). In his Texas days he backed a number of bands in all day BBQ hoedowns and late night jam sessions. He even had a band share a bill with Townes Van Zandt. In Los Angeles, after working as a session bassist for several LA bands like Leslie & The Badgers, West of Texas & many others, he met singer Lee Briante. Briante comes from the fertile Hudson Valley of NY, by way of the rolling hills of Western Mass. His parents instilled a deep love of music in him from a very early age, taking him to see a wide variety of music like Arlo, Pete Seegar, Charlie Daniels and many others. Memories of rowdy irish bands burning through bow rosin in low ceiling riverside taverns stand out in his mind. Lee has been playing in bands since he was 15 or so, among others he played in the Northampton, MA ambient band paris., the Boston band 1986 and the LA based Queen Victoria. Ready to start a project of his own he made contact with Robert Black by posting a simple craigslist ad that consisted of nothing more then a Waylon Jennings video. James Williams, Keys, has played in Biirdie, the breakups, and SpongeBob SquarePants and the Hi-Seas. He has performed live on KTLA Morning News, KXLU, and KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic with Nick Harcourt. James has hared the bill with Mates of State, my ex-girlfriend's favorite band, thereby winning the breakup.His permanent medical records include that I drink cosmopolitans. Taylor Negron once called him a poseur. Chicago native Aaron found his true passion for music when he picked up his first guitar at fourteen. He's played was an integral part the Chicago band, Dorian Taj. Aaron has also been seen playing with Clip Art, Dick Prall, The Eighth Grade, The After School Special, Hobo and Boxcar, Face for Radio, Coldcock Jones and the Shithawks, The Last Vegas, and Keith Scott. On the drum perch, a California native and Los Angeles music scene stalwart, Travis Popichak. Travis is a hotly sought after drummer in LA, as much for his drumming as his unique and flamboyant style of dress. His mutton chopped mugg has been seen behind the kit for Paul Chesney, Leslie & The Badgers, Welldiggers Banquet, Ben Redell and countless others.

In early 2013, The Far West began working with Mongrel Music Booking, an inspiring development and a welcome reward for years of hard work. The Far West have been gigging all across Southern California and the southwest at places like El Rey, The Echo, The Satellite, Pappy & Harriets, Hotel Cafe, Cowboy Palace Saloon, Taix, Silverlake Lounge & many more. They've been winning accolades all along the line from bands and critics in all kinds of genres. In the summer of 2012 The Far West opened a sold out JD McPherson show at The Echo and a week later a sold out Nick 13 at the 1,000 seat El Rey Theater.

They're debut album was recorded in Encinitas, CA where the American Legion Post 416 had become a familiar venue to them. The crew at the legion opened up the doors to the band, and over 3 days The Far West recorded their originals with he help of Engineer/ Producer Colin Mclean. Done live-to-tape with minimal overdubs this record captures the live energy and beautiful tone of the Legion Post. The band is currently working on their 2nd album, pairing again with producer Colin Mclean.


What others are saying:

"The Far West do gut-wrenching country better than just about anybody"

"Californiality is categorically labeling The Far West as "the best L.A. country music act of 2011," and here's why: The Far West takes country music where it should be by now in 2011 - technically pure, slightly jaded, no-nonsense and honest with stellar storytelling for the every-man.

The songwriting, musicianship and production quality on The Far West album is superb, so nothing more needs to be said. It simply must be heard."

"The Far West have an authentically Americana sound that’s been described as something like Waylon’s band jamming with Wilco. Their songs are highly personal, introspective and original and portray a deep love of American music."

"Stopped by for a cold London's Pride and caught a set by LA's The Far West. I've know bassist Robert Black for some time, but this was the first time I've really kicked back and absorbed a set of their material. Singer Lee Briante has a kind of rangy Sam Shepard quality to him. (others have suggested a younger David Serby.) He sings in a kind of understated drawl that is a perfect fit for the material. And while I enjoyed the performance, I think it was the songwriting that really turned my head. Tunes like, "I won't have that far to fall" and "This is where I get off" are so expertly constructed classic country songs that you can't help but be drawn in by the storytelling. Robert chimes in at the perfect time with lazy harmonies and the whole thing sounds at the same time familiar and fresh. Guitarist/Pedal steel master Erik Kristiansen is a pleasure and turns a phrase with style and taste. When it comes to sitting down and listening to some heartfelt country music I highly recommend these boys."

The Far West :
Lee Briante
Robert Black
James Williams
Travis Popichak
Aaron Bakker

Once The Far West came together they got right to work, gigging all across Southern California in places like The Echo, Pappy & Harriets, Hotel Cafe, Cowboy Palace Saloon, Taix, Silverlake Lounge & many more. By December 2010 they were ready to record over 15 original songs and headed down to Encinitas, where the American Legion Post 416 had become a familiar venue to them. The crew at the legion opened up the doors to the band, and over 3 days The Far West recorded their originals with he help of Engineer/ Producer Colin Mclean. Done live-to-tape with minimal overdubs this record captures the live energy and beautiful tone of the Legion Post. The boys have been gigging ever since, making stops at the 2011 SXSW festival in Austin & countless jukejoints across the southwest. They're proud to share stages with their contemporaries like Mike Stinson, Brennan Leigh, Broken Numbers Band, David Serby, The Americans, Tony Gilkyson & many others.

What others are saying:

"Californiality is categorically labeling The Far West as "the best L.A. country music act of 2011," and here's why: The Far West takes country music where it should be by now in 2011 - technically pure, slightly jaded, no-nonsense and honest with stellar storytelling for the every-man.

The songwriting, musicianship and production quality on The Far West album is superb, so nothing more needs to be said. It simply must be heard."

"The Far West have an authentically Americana sound that’s been described as something like Waylon’s band jamming with Wilco. Their songs are highly personal, introspective and original and portray a deep love of American music."


"Stopped by for a cold London's Pride and caught a set by LA's The Far West. I've know bassist Robert Black for some time, but this was the first time I've really kicked back and absorbed a set of their material. Singer Lee Briante has a kind of rangy Sam Shepard quality to him. (others have suggested a younger David Serby.) He sings in a kind of understated drawl that is a perfect fit for the material. And while I enjoyed the performance, I think it was the songwriting that really turned my head. Tunes like, "I won't have that far to fall" and "This is where I get off" are so expertly constructed classic country songs that you can't help but be drawn in by the storytelling. Robert chimes in at the perfect time with lazy harmonies and the whole thing sounds at the same time familiar and fresh. Guitarist/Pedal steel master Erik Kristiansen is a pleasure and turns a phrase with style and taste. When it comes to sitting down and listening to some heartfelt country music I highly recommend these boys."
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change