MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD – VORCZA TRIO – THE SLIP – THE RHEOSTATICS – THE TREWS – THE JIMMY SWIFT BAND – GRAND THEFT BUS – UNIVERSAL SOUL – SLAINTE MHATH – HOT TODDY – CHRIS BROWN AND KATE FENNER – LUTHER WRIGHT AND THE WRONGS – BURT NEILSON BAND – NERO – HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER – BLUE QUARTER – STEPHEN FRANKE & NOISES FROM THE TOOLSHED – ANDRU BRANCH & HALFWAY TREE – THREAT FROM OUTER SPACE – DUANE ANDREWS – CAUTION JAM – HU NOO – FAT JEBUS – WASSABI COLLECTIVE – MELON WORKS – SLOW COASTER – MELLOTONES – KAEJEMA – THE NEW SHADY GROVE – ALL OF GREEN
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
San Fransico, CA
In 1992, Franti and Beatnig member Rono Tse became the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy with multi-instrumentalist Charlie Hunter. Franti toured with U2, recorded with William Burroughs, and became a protest music icon.
Since the release of Stay Human in 2000 Michael Franti and Spearhead have toured relentlessly, headlining hundreds of shows for their legions of devoted fans as well as sharing the stage with acts as diverse as Dave Matthews, Ani Di Franco, Trey Anastasio, Phish, and KRS-One.
Lyrics from his song, “Bomb The World”, written in the dark aftermath of September 11, have found their way onto protest signs and T-shirts all over the world from Los Angeles to Berlin, San Francisco Chronicle to CNN as millions have marched for peace. “You can bomb the world to pieces,” he sings, “but you can’t bomb it into peace.”
“Right now, people ask me, ‘What can one person do to change what’s going on with the world?’ I don’t know what one person can do except to connect with other people. In doing that, each of us play our roles,” he says. “My role is as a storyteller and a songwriter. I’m somebody who is trying to keep the spirits of other people up, despite all the chaos and fear around us”
Known for their explosive, high-energy live shows, Vorcza is earning recognition as one of Vermont’s most exciting improvisational ensembles. This trio of musicians and composers has, in only a few years, developed a singular style of playing together. Their music takes audiences to dizzying heights of rhythmic and harmonic exploration while still satisfying listeners who crave melody and nuance.
Composed of Ray Paczkowski on hammond organ, piano and keyboards, Gabe Jarrett on drums and Robinson Morse on acoustic bass, Vorcza starts with the language and tradition of jazz as a base from which to create new music. Truly original, the group’s approach can be aptly described as “sounds and ideas in time.” Their unique musical chemistry keeps a dedicated following coming back again and again to hear what each show will bring, and by constantly evolving, Vorcza makes new fans every time they play
Gabe Garret (Percussion) has toured internationally and recorded with the Jazz Mandolin Project and performed with Michael Ray and the Cosmic Crewe, Gordon Stone, James Harvey, Matt Schulman, Peter Apfelbaum, The Jazz Passengers, Adam Kolker, Karl Berger and many others. He has taught percussion at Goddard College and the University of Vermont.
Ray Paczkowski (Hammond Organ, Piano, Keys) is also a member of Phish’s lead man’s Trey Anastasio Band and has performed on The Tonight Show and David Letterman.
Robinson Morse (Acoustic and Electric Bass) has recorded with Dave Schools (Widespread Panic). He has also performed with Trey Anastasio.
The Phish connection continues as The Vorcza Trio’s latest release “Maximalist” was recorded at Trey’s deluxe recording studio “The Barn” in spring 2002. These super talented musicians will blow your mind and then some.
The Slip use group intuition, organic sounds, and song simple structure as a basis for their musical creations. The music is at once gentle, soulful, and body shaking. It navigates through many emotions and, when all sails are up, rides the wind of inspiration gracefully and convincingly. From dirty syncopated dance beats to tender Americana lullabies, The Slip enables a journey for their listeners.
For the past six years The Slip have been touring America, Japan, and Canada with great success. The trio performs about 150 nights a year and has toured with such groups as The John Scofield Band & Page McConnell’s Vida Blue.
They have acquired a reputation as “musicians’ musicians”, and their more famous supporters include Maceo Parker, Phish, & and Les Claypool of Primus.
For more than two decades, the Rheostatics have mapped new frontiers across Canada. Their music has been described variously as “prog-rock,” “art-rock,” “orchestral psychedelia” and “a loosely organized cacophony of sound,” all of which reveal the frustrating limits of language, especially as employed in the service of music journalism. As the irrepressible court jesters of culture insist, writing about music is like dancing about sculpture.
“The modus operandi of the Rheostatics,” says guitarist Martin Tielli, “is that you can be a complete buffoon one minute and then say something profound the next.”
The Rheostatics have released eleven albums since 1987. In a millennial survey of Canadian music critics, the Rheostatics placed two albums – Melville and Whale Music – in the top ten Canadian records of all time.
Niagra Falls ON / Antigonish NS
In April 2004 The Trews became the first indie band to have the most played rock track in Canada! “Their music is perfect, seamless, blue-eyed soul that buggers off into chunky rock and back again with a tightness found only in nature…”
They are represented for live performances by industry veteran Ralph James at The Agency Group, Toronto (Nickelback, Default, Big Sugar). The Trews have been touring as the opening act and recording their original material with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar whose production and mixing credits include: Wide Mouth Mason, The Black Crowes, Reel Big Fish and of course, his own multi-platinum recordings with Big Sugar.
With Colin MacDonald’s vocal dexterity, John Angus MacDonald, a guitar hero in the making and a steady groove laid down by the rhythm section of Jack Syperek, bass and Sean Dalton, drums, Canada and beyond are about to hear from The Trews……..the boys from Antigonish!
THE JIMMY SWIFT BAND
Enjoying a cult-like following the Halifax-based bands’s highly anticipated album Onward Through The Fog, was released in June 2003. The CD is an 11-song, independent, all-original recording that features lush sonic textures that weave in and out of tight, danceable grooves.
Having performed to sold out crowds from Halifax -> Toronto -> Vancouver and beyond, this 4 piece Canadian powerhouse will energize any audience right from the onset their show. These guys tore the roof off the barn last year at EVOLVE. Who knows what surprises are in the mix for this year. Don’t miss these guys.
GRAND THEFT BUS
Hailing from Eastern Canada, Grand Theft Bus has garnered a reputation as one of Canada’s busiest and most exciting new bands. Although known for their sprawling exploratory live performances, the group’s first studio effort Birth of Confusion was extremely well received by both critics and fans alike, and serves well as an introductory probe into their vast repertoire of original material.
Since it’s inception in 2000 the band has performed over 400 shows, including sell out shows in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
In their travels the band has had the honour of sharing the stage with Canadian rock icons The Rheostatics, The New Deal, and Righteous Babe recording artists Drums and Tuba.
As seen on Much Music, Universal Soul is a collective of three MC’s & one DJ who have banded together to bring light into the hip hop world. The group has been performing hip-hop since its Haligonian beginning in 1985, and is seen all over Much Music these days. The group focuses on the roots of hip-hop, rather than emulate the “status quo” of the industry. The lyrics target positive messages while at the same time set the stage for a funky atmosphere. The group walked away with the Urban Artist of the Year Award from Nova Scotia Music Week’s 2003.
Universal Soul has performed and created music with an eclectic selection of internationally renowned talent from all genres of music, from the Nova Scotia Symphony, Anne Murray to Sloan. They have also performed with such acts as Public Enemy, MC J & Cool G, Maestro Fresh Wes, Dream Warriors, Michie Mee, and Run DMC.
Currently working on their new album, Universal Soul have every intention of expanding the limits of both hip hop and their own growing audience as they work up some surprising collaborations and new beats to set the world on fire…
Cape Breton, NS
Slainte Mhath (pronounced Slawncha Va) is an innovative Cape Breton quintet that is keeping its traditional roots firmly planted, with a determination to making 21st century Celtic music and bringing it to a global audience.
The Slainte Mhath (Gaelic for “good health to you”) sound draws from a wide range of influences. This high-energy group features traditional instruments associated with the Celtic genre intertwined with grooves, hooks, and sub-bass lines, all augmented with contemporary arrangements.
Their live performance is nothing short of incredible. Their critics call them classy, charismatic, and outrageously fun: world class talent with the accessibility of the infamous “Maritime kitchen party.” Intense, electric, melodic – Hot Toddy burns up the stage in a frenzy of high-energy vocals, aggressive guitar strains and heart-stopping instrumentals. Tom Easley (double bass, vocals), Thom Swift (acoustic guitar, dobro, vocals), and Joel LeBlanc (electric guitar, harmonica, vocals) surprise and delight every audience they encounter with their unique brand of storytelling and fresh innovative sound. An iventive blend of roots and jazz accompanied by downright mischievous lyrics and driving rhythms anchored on a base of blues make the crowds shout for more.
Two time winners of the Dutch Mason Blues Award, Hot Toddy have been finalists in the prestigious Toronto Blues Society Competition, nominated for a Maple Blues Award, and a Canadian Independent Music Award. Their previous albums have all been nominated for East Coast Music Awards. Their second CD Shoe Factory received critical acclamation abroad. They’ve been picked up by a German recording label.
CHRIS BROWN & KATE FENNER
New York, NY
Beginning in their teenage years, they founded The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, whose well-traveled road at the end of its ten-year existence led them to New York City, where they have been busy ever since. In late May 2004, BB King’s New York City based management team have just signed up Chris and Kate!
Throughout the last 6 years Chris and Kate caught the ears of friends and musicians, such as Ani DiFranco, the Barenaked Ladies (for whom Chris Brown played organ and clavinet for the “Stunt” world tour), and The Tragically Hip. Chris and Kate have toured the world with all of these artists and have contributed to their studio recordings as well.
Chris Brown has also recently compliled the GAScd. This is a double cd featuring friends such as Michael Franti & Spearhead, Bruce Cockburn, The Hip, David Suzuki, Jello Biafra, Sarah Harmer, The Rheostatics, Bill Frisell, Maude Barlow, Sexmob and many more. It was created to raise money in order to pay for the legal defense of street activists demonstrating against corporate globalization.
LUTHER WRIGHT AND THE WRONGS
It’s been 6 good years now that Luther Wright and the Wrongs have been playing and recording their own songs; that old style country music that runs the gamut from heartbreakers to full-out foot stompers. Primarily made up of members from poprockers, Weeping Tile (Atlantic), the Wrongs started out busking on the streets of Kingston, Ontario. They had already started making a name for themselves touring throughout Canada in support of their two original albums (HURTIN’ FOR CERTAIN and ROGERS WALTZ), before they introduced their country bluegrass special treatment of the Pink Floyd epic, THE WALL. These cats will get everyone up & dancing.
BURT NEILSON BAND
Formed in 1996 in Ontario, Burt Neilson Band is a four-piece group simply in love with music. Consisting of basses, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals, BNB (for short) thrives on live performances and on-stage creativity. The band, in their seven year career, have toured Canada coast to coast twelve times, played over six hundred shows, had three successful independent releases, and secured an army of loyal fans ready to dance, party and bring down the house every night.
These guys pioneered the music that envelopes this scene and have headlined this event in the past. Always a get down, spin round, shakedown!
nero is an instrumental trio that has spent several years developing their progressive,aggressive, riff-oriented improvisational style, and many miles building their incredibly dedicated fanbase. In the hundreds of shows they have played since they started seriously touring in 2001, nero has won over thousands of fans throughout North America and have played with a lot of great bands like moe., Jazz Mandolin Project, Particle, The Slip, and others, and appeared at several festivals and showcases, including moe.down IV, Evolve, NorthByNortheast, and many more.
Maintaining a rigorous touring schedule has brought the band significant media attention, including a two-page feature in Relix (Feb/March 2004), a cover story in Revolving Door (Nov. 2003), New Groove of the Month on jambands.com (July 2003), and countless newspaper articles from coast to coast. This media attention, coupled with a huge online presence and an audience actively involved in trading live shows, has given nero a reputation as one of the bands to watch in 2004. With a new studio album slated for spring release and a partnership with The Booking Agency (Tim Reynolds/Cyro Baptista), nero is a band that will be seen and heard widely this year.
HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER
High Plains Drifter is a modern jazz, funk and world beat ensemble whose dynamic live performances is captivating audiences across Atlantic Canada. Comprised of young veteran musicians who met while studying Jazz at St. F.X. University, High Plains Drifter features saxophonist Nick Fisher, guitarist/vocalist Jay Cleary, percussionist Ashley Chalmers, pianist/keyboardist James Dalzell and bassist/vocalist Carl Laudadio.
Drawing inspiration from artists such as The Meters, James Brown and Taj Mahal.
Blue Quarter is a cohesive three pieces musical entity that delivers an original Techno-Jazz groove! Given the diversified musical backgrounds of these three individuals, BQ never ceases to explore the grounds of sounds.
These guys have shared the stage with such performers as Antibalas, Bruce Cockburn, Cinematic Orchestra, Drums & Tuba, Garag Mahal, Medeski, Martin & Wood, The New Deal, Universal Soul, The Smalls and Vinyl.
Often referred to as one of Canada’s hardest touring band, BQ is continuously solidifying its reputation as a forerunner within the Canadian music scene. All I can say is go to their website and listen to one song. The groove is incredible. Their music creates the feeling I get while surfing.
STEPHEN FRANKE & NOISES FROM THE TOOLSHED
Learning from such great Canadian storytellers as Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen engages his audience with charming banter and humour while the chemistry between Stephen and the rhythm section creates energized performances that rival any live act today.
Stephen Franke, a former student of prominent Canadian jazz musicians Hugh Fraser and Pat Coleman, has become a well-regarded and involved member of the musical community in Victoria, BC.
Steven has shared the satge with such acts as Blue Rodeo and the Jazz Mandolin Project.
In the spring of 2003, Stephen Franke and Noises From The Toolshed released a live EP resulting in invitations to the concert hall stages of the Edmonton and Calgary Jazz festivals, where they stunned audiences opening for the legendary acts Little Feat and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
ANDRU BRANCH & HALFWAY TREE
“The only thing halfway about Andru Branch,” reports the Toronto Star, “is the name of his backing band.” After many years on the Toronto music scene, Andru Branch has secured a place as one of Canada’s foremost reggae artists. Accompanied by his group “Halfway Tree”, Andru has held fast to the true spirit of roots reggae music, and yet maintains a style all his own.
Following a brief trip to Africa, Andru was back in the studio recording with some of Toronto’s top reggae musicians, including Tony “Raffa” White and Ras Kawintseb Sellassie. Well-known producer Peter Blake, head of Kingston Muzik in Jamacia, quickly picked up this recording, and this was to be the beginning of Branch’s first album.
“What If I Told You” is a world class reggae album which features a host of reggae legends, including Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Tyrone Downie and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson of the Wailers family!