The BoDeans

The BoDeans (10:00 PM)

Nicki Bluhm (9:00 PM)

Wed, May 16, 2012

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $20.00 / Day of Show Tix $23.00


This event is all ages

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The BoDeans - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
The BoDeans
“I’ve always thought of the BoDeans as a truly American band,” says Kurt Neumann, the founder, primary writer and frontman of the veteran Milwaukee-based group. “We were blue-collar kids straight out of the heartland—how could we be anything else? ‘Roots rock’ was a label I fought when I was younger, but I came to realize that if by ‘roots’ you meant blues, rock, country and soul all slammed together into one sound, then I’d say yes—that is the sound of American-made music.”
Neumann fully embraces that notion on American Made, the BoDeans’ eleventh album. Its dozen songs are laced through with strands of indigenous roots elements—Heartland hoedown folk (“American,” with guest Jake Owen spinning out the guitar solo), Celtic-rooted mountain music (“Walk Through This World,” “Flyaway”), zydeco (“Everything You Wanted”), Southern roadhouse soul (“Don’t Bring Me Down”), Chicago blues (“Shake the Fever”) and 100-proof roots rock (“All the World”). These tracks are played with heartfelt emotion as well as jaw-dropping skillfulness by the band—Neumann on vocals and guitars, original member Michael Ramos (Patty Griffin, John Mellencamp) on keyboards and accordion, longtime BoDeans bassist Ryan Bowman and new member Warren Hood, a fiddle/violin virtuoso from Austin.
As it turns out, the album title bears a thematic resonance as well as a stylistic one. With American Made, the BoDeans have created a soul-stirring song cycle that directly reflects the American experience at this critical moment in our history. The album—which also includes a powerful rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”—was inspired by Neumann’s blue-collar upbringing and his desire to express what a great country America remains, despite its troubles and the challenges facing it today.
“As we’ve moved into the new millennium, we’ve begun to question our identity as Americans—who we are, or who we want to be,” says Neumann. “With the onset of the Tea party and the Occupy movement, it feels like we’re pulling in two very different directions. The song ‘American’ talks about this land of ‘endless possibility,’ and ‘Where else in the world you ever gonna find this kind of ideology?’ We’re lucky to have the rights and opportunities that we have, but I believe those rights come with a responsibility to help each other along. It’s wrong to stockpile millions or billions of dollars while all your neighbors struggle to survive. It feels like we’re losing the common sense that has always guided us, and that worries me. We’re so out of touch with each other—and just trying to find an American-made product has become almost comical. I wanted to bring that all of that to the surface—hence the album title.”
If American Made is about resilience in the face of daunting obstacles, the same can be said of the unforeseen circumstances that led to the album’s creation. Sam Llanas, one of the original members, left the band last year in order to launch a solo career, the news coming just one day after the release of the band’s previous LP, Indigo Dreams. When Llanas quit, Neumann could have thrown in the towel, but he chose to stick with what he’d begun nearly three decades earlier as the band’s driving force and the architect of its sound. So he and his fellow band members
cinched up their belts and carried on. Since then, Neumann has discovered that while unexpected change can be difficult, it can also be revitalizing.
The first order of business was to come up with a cohesive batch of material—Neumann didn’t realize going into the process that it would yield what amounted to the most intensely personal songs he’d ever written.
On “Jay Leno,” Neumann metaphorically invokes the name of the pop-culture figure in recounting a traumatizing childhood experience. “When I was eight years old, growing up in Milwaukee, my family and I came home on a frigid February evening to find our back alley lined with police cars,” he recalls. “Someone had found a young girl’s dead body in the garage next door to my house. Even at a young age, I’d seen a lot of violence in our lower-income neighborhood, but this really shook me up, and my family as well. Soon afterward, my parents moved me and my brother out to Waukesha, a small town just 20 miles west of Milwaukee, but it seemed like a world away from my old neighborhood. I’m not sure why I decided to write a song about it, but as I worked on it, I realized that in a sense this girl may have saved my life. People take drastic measures to get out of poverty, and I’m sure my life would have turned out very differently had we not moved.”
“Chemical” was inspired by growing up with an alcoholic father, and by the many other chemically dependent people in Neumann’s life. “With my dad, even as a kid I could see the writing on the wall,” he says. “I used to feel like there was something he was looking for at the bottom of that brandy bottle. At one point, I called AA trying to find some place I could take him to get help, but the guy on the other end of the line told me I was a fool for trying. He told me I couldn’t help him, that he needed to make that call himself. Sure enough, a few years later, he dropped dead; the booze had killed him.”
As for “I’m on Fire,” Neumann says, “Springsteen’s lyrics have always spoken to me. I know exactly what he’s talking about—I’ve grown up with the same feelings in my gut. This is one of a handful of his songs that I felt I could even approach. I’ve sung it for years. While we were in the studio, we blew it down for fun and it just turned out really nice.
“On another level,” he points out, “the record was inspired by the pop music I listened to on the radio as a kid, feeling the mesmerizing energy busting out of that tiny speaker. As always, I’ve tried to tap into that energy in my songwriting.”
When he’d completed the new material, Neumann called on John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Ben Folds) to produce and mix the record, with the exception of “Jay Leno,” which was mixed by Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty), who’d worked with the band in the mid-’90s. Determined to make the best possible album no matter the cost, Neumann sold his truck, one of his most treasured possessions, in order to cover the cost of recording at L.A.’s state-of-the-art Village Recorder, where the band had worked in years past with T Bone Burnett. Alagia brought in Victor Indrizzo (Beck, Sheryl Crow) to play drums. They tracked the entire album in just three days.
Thanks to Neumann’s renewed passion and determination, the BoDeans are still going strong a quarter century after their Burnett-produced debut Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams led them to win a Rolling Stone readers’ poll as “Best New American Band,” and nearly 20 years after their “Closer to Free” became a massive hit and the theme song of the sitcom Party of Five. The BoDeans continue to tour the U.S. year-round, exposing the kids of their longtime steadfast fans to heartfelt, trend-free, American-made music.
But things could’ve turned out very differently. Neumann acknowledges that Llanas’ abrupt departure had triggered an intensive and extended bout of soul searching, causing him to question the basic assumptions he’d carried with him through the life of his band.
“In my frustration, I asked myself, What is BoDeans?” he says. “Is it me, or someone else, or the music. I thought about all the letters people have written me over the years explaining how our music had played an intimate role in some part of their lives—a wedding, a death, a celebration, growing up, growing old. And I came to the realization that the key to the BoDeans’ identity is the fans’ connection to our music. So the inspiration for this record is just that—to carry on with what I started many, many years ago, and to do it for as long as people continue to feel that connection. That’s why I’m so excited about this record. I’ve been humbled by the notion that the fans have given me the chance to go on.”
Nicki Bluhm - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Nicki Bluhm
Compass Records is excited to announce the release of renowned singer/songwriter Nicki Bluhm's new album, TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL out June 1. To celebrate the announcement, Rolling Stonepremiered the tle track yesterday, hailing the song as "a blast of Memphis soul." TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL as recorded in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording studio and features two co-writes with Ryan Adams and a Dan Penn cover. For these live band analog sessions, Bluhm brought in producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell), and the studio band included Will Sexton (guitar), Ross-Spang (guitars), Ken Coomer (drums and percussion), Al Gamble(Hammond B3), Rick Steff (piano) and Dave Smith (bass), with Reba Russell and Susan Marshall (background singers), Sam Shoup (string arrangements) and various special guests.

"It was the very first song we tracked," Bluhm told Rolling Stone, "and Ken just started playing the groove and the band slowly started to drift in. Ken is such a present musician, and he's listening to the words and reading the room and the vibe...There's a line in the song that says, 'I went looking for some perspective, so I knocked on my mama's door,' and he just hit the drum -- the rim -- like a knock, which brought a playfulness and lightness to the song. I love Will's guitar playing, too. It's so understated, but he makes himself known. It's like the old saying goes: 'The young bull charges down the hill, but the old bull takes his time.' These musicians were tasteful; they're all old bulls full of experience and class. Having a string section arranged by Sam Shoup was the icing on the cake. Memphis had melted into my California soul."

After six years with her band the Gramblers, and recent high-profile collaborations (Phil Lesh, Infamous Stringdusters, Ryan Adams), Bluhm wrote the life-chronicling songs for TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALLover a two-year period, during which she got divorced and moved to Nashville, TN. The album is a chronicle of her state of mind following these deep and fundamental life changes.

"These songs are quite personal," Bluhm says. "They are the conversations I never got to have, the words I never had the chance to say, and the catharsis I wouldn't have survived without."

Bluhm's divorce, along with the need to challenge herself, inspired the West Coast na ve to make her spur-of-the moment, cross-country move to Nashville in 2017.

"Nashville was inspiring because of all the songwriting going on here," Bluhm says. "When I would come to Nashville on writing trips it was just percolating... it was intoxicating. So I very hastily, in a matter of days, decided to move. I just had this gut feeling."

Ross-Spang happened to be mixing a record in Nashville at the time and they met up and hit it off immediately.

"I really needed someone who was going to take the reins and have a vision for the album and he really did," Bluhm says of meeting Ross-Spang. "My ex-husband had been my musical director, co-writer, and producer on all my records except one and I was looking for someone to step into that leadership roll, which Matt did very gracefully. I was looking for a clean slate; the only baggage I wanted to bring into the studio were the words to the songs I was singing. I wanted it to be a fresh experience; I didn't want to even have history with anyone in the room that would pull me into old habits or ways of thinking. So we agreed we'd record in Memphis."

Once settled in Sam Phillips Recording, the sessions revolved around tracking live with an ace band assembled by Ross-Spang.

"We really just recorded live and we didn't do that many takes of each song," Bluhm says. "The final versions we ended up with were all one take. It was really refreshing to go analog. It minimized over thinking and second guessing, forced us all to stay in the moment and play from the heart. Sam Shoup did all the string arrangements and when he walked in the room I thought he was a housepainter; he was the most understated, unlikely suspect. That was the thing about Memphis that was cool... not a lot of egos, just people making music for music's sake. Throughout the session there was a lot of listening and trusting. Matt really spends me curating his sessions and who he decides to bring in; he knows how to keep the vibe right. What you are hearing is, as Jerry Phillips would say, 'not perfection but captured moments in time.'

"I had lost my partner in so many ways," Bluhm continues, "my musical partner, my life partner, my creative partner, and all of a sudden I was left on my own, to start my own engine. It was really intimidating and scary," she says "but I had support from my management, my agent, my friends and family, and ultimately I just had this guttural drive that I didn't even know I had in me. I was on autopilot, ready to move forward and take the steps I had to take to keep moving forward. When the album finally comes out it's going to be like setting a caged bird free."

Bluhm will be touring this year and beyond in support of TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL. The confirmed tour dates are below with more to be announced soon.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change