Live Music Fans,
Last week, we had a wonderful Sunday night show with John Gorka. The night started early and the room was full of appreciative fans. And, the real beauty ofthe night for us was that we were in Arizona at the time for a family wedding. Many thanks to Tom, Dave and Brad who helped pull off the special show. Nice to know that the shows can go on without me being in the room. There goes my job security, eh? And, thanks also to Jason and Tom for making the country show happen on last Friday night with Dylan Earl.
This week, I am planning on pulling the musical wagon again with two sweet nights of talented musicians. Back in the booking saddle starting on Saturday with six of our talented local singer/songwriters joining John Satz from the Front Range. Hosted by local singer/songwriter, Jackson Emmer, these special early shows feature a host of other songwriters and their original songs. Just what our room was meant to host from the start. A perfect match for this longtime goal of our room.
Then, on another special Sunday night, we are hosting one of our all-time favorite singer/songwriter/guitarists again in the little room. It’s been over a decade since we fell in love with Willy’s amazing spirit and musical skills. He first played the room with his Guild signature “Willy Porter Model” and just blew us away with his guitar playing and songwriting skills. He continues to amaze me with his ability to write an original song on the spot for each of his shows for us in the past. Come out and see why we are such big fans of Willy. A special musician, for sure.
See you at the shows!!
SATURDAY NIGHT – MARCH 30TH – SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND – FEATURING JOHN SATZ – www.johnsatz.com – 7pm to 10pm – $15
I do not have the list of local songwriters for this Round but knowing Jackson, they will be some of the best in the valley. For past Rounds, there has been six local songwriters who share several original songs with the room. Then, the headliner will be John Satz and his original songs for a 40 minute set. You will hear new songs for the first time and give support to the creative musicians who love to share their songs. What’s not to like about that for an evening? Here’s a few words from John’s website.
“The truth is that John Statz got his heart broken in 2017. And another truth is that he did it to himself. Unpacking the pain and understanding the reasons behind a failed relationship led the Denver-based singer-songwriter to record his most intimate album to date, tracked in his living room with some of his closest friends. Ernest Hemingway once gave the advice that one should, “write hard and clear about what hurts”, and so John did. John takes us into the steep terrain of desire, hope, and longing that sometimes lingers beyond the defined end of a relationship. We retrace our steps. We look at what we thought we knew. We ultimately discover and face the truth under the stories we told ourselves along the way. Darkness on the San Juans is a pause for reflection, and then it is an open road back to oneself.
One of the more prolific young songwriters working in the Folk/Americana genre today, John Statz has released eight studio albums and performed all over North America (including Canada and Mexico) and Europe, all in just twelve years’ time. The Boston Globe has called John’s music electric, urgent folk; aching, sweet country-rock while American Songwriter has said that he writes the kind of songs that float through your mind and stay nestled in your thoughts long after listening. On his last three albums John worked with some of the best producers in the genre: Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown), Jeffrey Foucault, and Megan Burtt. For this go around, John invited Nathan Edwards—a former college buddy who is now a recording technology professor at their alma mater, The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh—to co-produce an elemental, heartfelt acoustic record.
John Statz was given a guitar by his grandmother when he was 15, which turned out to be perfectly timed for a teenager who, after ten years of piano lessons, had lost interest in classical music and had taken to learning John Lennon and Elton John tunes. It wasn’t until Statz was 19 and attending university in Oshkosh that he began writing songs. The spark lit after attending a show at the storied Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin featuring Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey, who quickly became heroes, and, later on, friends and collaborators. The first record, Dusk Came Slow, was engineered by the very same Nathan Edwards who co-produced Darkness on the San Juans, completing a circle of sorts between past and present. John moved to Denver in 2010 where he casually gardens in his backyard, cooks almost entirely in cast-iron cookware, and reads presidential biographies in chronological order.”
SUNDAY NIGHT – MARCH 31ST – WILLY PORTER – www.willyporter.com
“Willy Porter continues on a musical and personal odyssey spanning over two decades, 11 albums, and multiple continents. His journey has been defined by an inquisitive love for humanity and the language that describes what we all hold to be true. Porter’s songs weave a universal perspective about the questions, struggles, and triumphs of human existence. His live shows are guitar-driven grit, soul, silence and muscle– at times electrifying, dynamic, and unique in the way that Porter’s voice blends and fuses with his fret work.
A largely self-taught musician, Porter began treating audiences to his brand of guitar playing and wry storytelling in the late ‘80’s while living in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1990, he released his first full-length independent album, The Trees Have Soul, and the touring life has flowed steadily ever since. Porter has literally logged millions of miles across America, Canada, the UK, and Europe, touring solo, as well as with various incarnations of the Willy Porter Band and in support of artists like Tori Amos, Paul Simon, Jethro Tull, Sting, and Jeff Beck.
Porter’s breakthrough album, Dog Eared Dream, was released in 1994, and the song “Angry Words” quickly became a staple at the burgeoning AAA radio format. This led to a major label deal with BMG/Private Music in 1995. Unfortunately, Private was dismantled by BMG just as Porter was preparing to release his follow-up. With contractual freedom in 1998, Porter quickly signed with the San Francisco-based label Six Degrees. There he released three albums beginning with the studio gem, Falling Forward (1999), produced by multiple Grammy-winner Neil Dorfsman (Dire Straits, Sting). The eponymous Willy Porter (2001) followed featuring great guest performances by Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull and Tony Levin. His fan-favorite solo disc, High Wire Live (2003) was co-produced with Grammy-winner Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin).
In 2005 Porter left Six Degrees and launched his own imprint, Weasel Records. Together with longtime keyboardist/ collaborator Dave Adler, Porter produced the atmospheric album Available Light in 2006. His work with Guild & Fender guitars over the next several years would result in the manufacture of the “Willy Porter Signature” acoustic guitar. Porter then took time to record and produce singer/songwriter Natalia Zukerman, on her whip-smart Weasel debut, Brand New Frame (2008). Porter released his next disc, How to Rob a Bank in 2009, the heavily Americana-flavored record featuring the contributions of the LA-based quartet, Raining Jane. Bank was followed with a live disc recorded with the Carpe Diem String Quartet in (2010). This collaboration produced a gorgeous EP featuring several of Porter’s most enduring tunes (“Breathe,” “Paper Airplane,” “Watercolor”), elevated and reinterpreted against a backdrop of lush string arrangements.
In 2011, Porter produced the second Weasel release for Natalia Zukerman, the driving Gas Station Roses. A partnership with Milwaukee-based singer/ songwriter Carmen Nickerson resulted in the album, Cheeseburgers and Gasoline (2013). This spartan production illuminates themes of life-longing and relationship repair, all while balancing the dream of self-actualization on the axle of a carnival’s Tilt-a-Whirl. The record also includes Porter’s brilliant cover arrangement of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging in the Dirt.” Porter’s follow-up release, Human Kindness (2015) incorporated all of his acoustic, electric, and multi-string chops to bear in service of a great selection of songs bearing the influence of soul, rock, blues/Americana, showcasing Porter’s growth as a writer, musician, and producer.
After touring extensively together for more than two years, Porter and Nickerson released a full-length disc of original co-writes: Bonfire to Ash (2016). Produced by Grammy winning producer Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn, Jonatha Brooke) and featuring Bassist Zev Katz and Drummer/Producer Ben Wittman, Bonfire to Ash is a record that charts the experiences bridging the intimate with the universal. Porter and Nickerson borrow from their strong stage chemistry to render the same kind of musical conversation that unfolds in performance within a studio setting. This dialogic style broadens to consider the connections and values forged in the communities we call home (“Living Proof”) and in the responsibility we have to the planet that gives itself to house us (“Plant A Garden”). Bonfire to Ash compiles candid snapshots of the human journey, exposing ideas such as hope, regret, love, loss, and connection that remain immutable against time, history, or place.
In addition to making a life in music, Porter finds ways to make an impact on local and international levels. He is an active supporter of Advocates of Ozaukee, a shelter and treatment facility for victims of domestic violence and abuse in Mequon, Wisconsin. His annual benefit concerts have raised more than $100,000 for this organization to date. He is also an Ambassador for Guitars for Vets, a Milwaukee-based International organization that works to improve the lives of veterans by providing them with guitars and music lessons.”
And, if you are a fellow live music lover, check out these acts in April. I hope you have noticed the high quality of acts coming our way. Must be our enthusiastic and loving fans that keeps them coming back. I’m sure they are the third most important ingredient right after paying the rent and booking amazing talent. You must continue coming so that they will do the same. A simple yet complex formula. And here’s the shows we have booked for April that will give you plenty of opportunities to exercise your musical muscles. Got to use them or lose them!
2 – Sam Weber – www.samweber.me
5 – Upstate – www.upstatelovesyou.com
6 – The Two Tracks – www.thetwotracks.com
7 – Front Country – www.frontcountryband.com
12 – Wild Sway featuring Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer – www.daveandmandymusic.com
17 – Songs From the Road Band – www.songsfromtheroadband.com TBC
20 – Roaring Fork High School Live Music Night
28 – Flamenco Fusion featuring Miguel Espinoza – www.maestroespinoza.com
TBC=To Be Confirmed
Steve, Mary Margaret and Shannon