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Black Fortys: Revisiting the Past, Previewing the Future

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Black Fortys
Jewels

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Black Fortys

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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

More Articles
Black Fortys’ Voodoo Moon: Moodier, Darker, and Groovier
Jewels: Introducing a New Local Jazz Trio’s Debut CD


Who: Black Fortys / Jewels
What: CD release party (indie rock)
Where:
When: 2014-11-01
On Saturday, November 1, homegrown indie band the Black Fortys will celebrate a dual CD release at T
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

On Saturday, November 1, homegrown indie band the Black Fortys will celebrate a dual CD release at Tres Hombres. A reformed version of indie-jazz group the Jewels will warm up.

“We have printed up the entire Black Fortys catalogue in a new package,” frontman and Black Fortys founder Josh Murphy told Nightlife. “One album is called The Early Years, which features songs and recordings from 2007 to 2010, some of which are unreleased. The second album is a repackaging of our 2011 album Voodoo Moon.”

The group is also working on a new album, which at this time remains untitled, but it should be available in a few months. “The songs we are performing [at Tres] are the songs that will be the new record,” Murphy said. “We are basically playing a new album live.”

Fans may preview a few of these songs before the show. “We will be doing a Six Feet Above recording session that will be hosted and engineered by Dylan Frost,” Murphy said. “We will feature one or two of these songs on WDBX Thursday, October 30 between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.”

The Six Feet Above session will be available in its entirety November 5. Until then, head over to the Black Fortys’ Bandcamp page to hear the full-length release Voodoo Moon and one of their two EPs, Kaskaskia Island.

The Black Fortys were founded in 2007. The group won one of fifteen slots at the North American Union Music Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they supported Bob Dylan and Spoon, among other huge names in the industry. They currently consist of Murphy on guitar and vocals, Kevin Ohlau on Fender Rhodes and bass, Nathan Doyle on guitar and bass, and Jimmy Beers on drums.

During a somewhat enigmatic seven years, the Black Fortys have come to represent the quintessence of a quote/unquote indie band for many regional fans and musician peers alike. But it is difficult to fit them into an ultra-specific genre. They describe themselves as a progressive dark-pop band, and pull from all sorts of influences and styles. Their music is simultaneously subterranean and pop-sensible, classic and fresh. Murphy is a prolific, educated, and tasteful songwriter. The entire band is undoubtedly tasteful, technically superb, and eclectic as far as their influences and range of musical reach.

In addition to this band, Murphy continues to stay busy under different mediums and monikers. He plays in two other local groups, Wild Murphy and the New Year and William Feigns. He has written, produced, and scored an independent film, Water Snakes, with Marcus Lappin of the Flowers of Evil and David Brown from Secondary Modern; the movie will premiere November 1 at Tres. Murphy is also releasing field recordings he has made of local bands on his William Feigns Bandcamp page.

The next Black Fortys’ album will take exciting directions.

“There is a Brazilian influence on this album that makes it different from anything we’ve done before,” Murphy says. “As usual for us, there are many juxtaposed influences and styles happening simultaneously, so it’s hard to pin the music down as one particular style. We focused on rhythmic elements and keeping the songs simple and allowing space in the music.

“Our last album, Voodoo Moon, to me was very intense and seemed like inhaling and holding your breath,” Murphy added. “The new album is a continuation of that feeling, but it is the exhale of Voodoo Moon. It has moments of tension but is more relaxed and groovy while remaining upbeat. To me, the new material gives you the sense of going somewhere or the start of an adventure. It should make great driving music.”

who: Black Fortys / Jewels

what: CD release party (indie rock)

where: Tres Hombres

when: Saturday, November 1

Crackerboots: Setting the Mood for Jen Haselhorst’s Photographs

Venues & Businesses
Grotto, The
Newell House


Who: Carbondale Music Coalition
What: Jen Haselhorst (photography exhibit) / Crackerboots (jazz)
Where:
When: 2014-11-05
Crackerboots bring a blend of retro imagery and breezy jazz-centric blues Wednesday, November 5 to t
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

 

Crackerboots bring a blend of retro imagery and breezy jazz-centric blues Wednesday, November 5 to the Newell House Grotto Lounge. The music will accompany a photography exhibit featuring the work of Jen Haselhorst, who among other things is well-known for documenting the local music scene; her promotional shots of David Gene, Bosco and Whiteford, and the Scandal have appeared in Nightlife. The event is sponsored by the Carbondale Music Coalition.

Crackerboots provide the musical ambiance of a romantic stroll with peaceful melodies and effortless vocals. There is a relaxing quirk about them.

Nightlife spoke with both Luella Wood and Bill DeMain while the Nashville, Tennessee-based pair were taking a break from a writing session to talk about influences, staying true, and what’s next for the duo.

Wood and DeMain met nearly a decade ago. What they found was an undeniable ability to make music together.

“We just found that we had this amazing chemistry,” Wood said. “We didn’t plan any of it. It just sort of happened by accident.”

DeMain said that they also found they liked many of the same movies and television shows and had a mutual appreciation for vintage and retro styles.

“We like a lot of the same things, and we just clicked,” DeMain said. “Because we have the similar interests we could play with that and let that be one aspect of our show.”

Much of Crackerboots’ music has a soft truth in each guitar-string bend. On “Safe,” a song that the duo pitched for the last Twilight movie, Wood sings, “I can’t pretend that I don’t love you / It’s like a knot that I can’t undo.” Her voice captures the delicate balance of tenderness and surrender.

“It’s very honest and heartfelt,” DeMain said of the band’s music.

For Crackerboots’ latest album, which had a release party in August, the band brought in Brad Jones, producer of Jason and the Scorchers’ Halcyon Times. Pianist Micah Hulscher and drummer Dave Harrison also came in to round out the sound.

The album features several sultry songs as well as influences ranging from bossa nova to post-war pop.

The Nashville Scene called the album “a sweet soundtrack for those transitional days where stifling late-summer afternoons yield to nights with just the faintest hint of autumn’s chill.”

Wood and DeMain said they have plans to record new material at the hallowed grounds of RCA Studio B, which became famous as the birthplace of the Nashville Sound in the sixties. Many legendary recording artists have laid down tracks there, including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley.

While Wood also sings with Luella and the Sun and DeMain is the cofounder of Swan Dive, audiences should not expect to hear anything similar in Crackerboots’s music.

“We want people to know that the stuff that we do with Crackerboots is completely different than what some people might know us from,” Wood said.

And they can’t wait to prove it.

“We’re really looking forward to coming to play in Carbondale,” he said.

For more information, check out Crackerboots on Facebook. See Haselhorst’s photography at <http://www.JenHaselhorst.com>.

who: Carbondale Music Coalition

what: Jen Haselhorst (photography exhibit) / Crackerboots (jazz)

where: Newell House Grotto Lounge

when: Wednesday, November 5

 

Hot Club of San Francisco’s Meet Me in Paris: Whisked Away to the City of Lights

Venues & Businesses
John A. Logan College


Who: John A. Logan College Student Activities
What: Hot Club of San Francisco featuring Isabelle Fontaine presents Meet Me in Paris (jazz)
Where:
When: 2014-10-24
The Hot Club of San Francisco introduces romance and culture Friday, October 24 at John A. Logan Col
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

The Hot Club of San Francisco introduces romance and culture Friday, October 24 at John A. Logan College. The group’s show, Meet Me in Paris, features singer Isabelle Fontaine, who will croon songs in three languages.

Bandleader Paul Mehling is known as the godfather of American Gypsy jazz. He became a fan of Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France while he was in grammar school. He said from the time he was just one year old, he would sit in front of the stereo and listen to music.

“My father was a record collector,” he told Nightlife. “I grew up with the music of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, and all the swing-era bands.”

Mehling admits that being exposed to swing at a young age helped shape his musical tastes.

“To this day, I get a sense of déjà vu whenever I hear a song I heard back then,” he said.

The Hot Club of San Francisco (known as Le Jazz Hot when the group plays in their hometown) plays love songs and driving Gypsy-jazz tunes that were made famous in Paris by the Hot Club de France, Django Reinhardt, and Stéphane Grappelli during the twenties and thirties.

After the First World War, Paris became a gathering place for artists from all around the globe. The unique Gypsy jazz sound wove together the interwar cultures of those different geographies and fused them into something special.

Mehling produced the Hot Club of San Francisco’s first album, which was then released on the band’s own label. Since then, they have released nine more albums and developed numerous shows. In 2000, the Hot Club of San Francisco was the first American band invited to play the Festival de Jazz Django Reinhardt in Samois-sur-Seine.

Though the Hot Club owes much to Gypsy jazz, “We have a swing-or-die approach to the music that’s distinctly American,” he said. “We’re trying to challenge the tendency to slavishly imitate Django’s style without watering down the Gypsy tradition or diluting the music. We bring out the visceral element of the music that Serge told me is so important. When I talk with Gypsy musicians, they say that they love what we do because they can tell we love the music. If people dig our music, when Gypsy bands come to America there will be an audience waiting to hear them.”

Using Paris as a backdrop for this touring show, Mehling said the band aims to transport its audience to the City of Lights. The show even includes vocals in Fontaine’s sweet, sultry voice in English, French, and Spanish to help the music create a European atmosphere.

“Paris has always been that place,” Mehling said. “It has always been that center of art, culture, and beauty. We want the audience to feel like they are there.”

When asked what is his favorite part of the show, Mehling said the answer varies from night to night.

“For me, it depends,” he said. “I like seeing which songs the audience responds to every night. It is always different, and that’s exciting.”

And that creates synergy, Mehling said.

“You feed off the energy,” he said. “You work to get that relationship with the audience with a give and take.”

For tickets, contact Logan’s Office of Student Activities at (618) 985-2828 ext. 8287 or visit <http://www.jalc.edu/activities>.

For more information, check out <http://www.hcsf.com>.

who: John A. Logan College Student Activities

what: Hot Club of San Francisco featuring Isabelle Fontaine presents Meet Me in Paris (jazz)

where: O’Neil Auditorium

when: Friday, October 24

New Arts Jazztet: Phil Brown’s CD Release Party

Venues & Businesses
Grotto, The
Newell House


Who: New Arts Jazztet featuring Phil Brown
What: jazz CD release party
Where:
When: 2014-10-16
Thinking you have one musical genre figured out can only prove that you have so much more to learn.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

Thinking you have one musical genre figured out can only prove that you have so much more to learn.

“Jazz is over one-hundred years [old] now,” SIU music professor Phil Brown told Nightlife. “A lot of what people think of as jazz, or elevator jazz, is not the only kind of jazz.”

Brown and the New Arts Jazztet celebrate Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. at a CD release party featuring songs from their new record, Arkadia. The event will take place at the Grotto Lounge at the Newell House restaurant.

Arkadia is Brown’s fourth recording as leader. Brown said the album was recorded in 2012, and on the disc, the New Arts Jazztet performed ten original songs by Brown and one track by keyboardist Mel Goot.

“There’s straight swing, Latin, contemporary, all kinds... and a couple of them are even performed with a string quartet,” Brown said.

The Newell House gig comes a couple days after the national release on October 14, so copies will be available for purchase at the performance. Fans can also find the recording through Brown’s website at <http://AcalderaJazz.com>.

Brown writes about each of the album’s compositions in Arkadia’s liner notes. The title song is a reflection on a spiritual and idyllic existence, while “Neil’s Notion” honors one of Brown’s mentors, Neil Slater. “Amethyst Eyes” was written in memory of his cousin. “Demage,” pronounced de-Mah-jay, is about an endearing young boy Brown randomly met in Cairo, Illinois, set to a blend of jazz and rock. “In Black” laments the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Brown’s last recording, Bright Side, came out in 2009 and also featured the New Arts Jazztet, as did 2004’s Darkness Into Light. The group was formed in 1984 by several members of the School of Music faculty. Current members of the group include Dick Kelley on reeds, founding member Bob Allison on trumpet, Goot on piano, Isaac Lausell on guitar, Jimmy Beers on drums, and Brown on bass.

Brown came to SIU in 1991, where he currently works as professor of double bass and jazz studies as well as coordinator of the music-business program. Throughout his music career, Brown has collaborated with a number of well-known jazz and popular-music artists— his 2003 disc, Hope Street Saunter, featured guitarist Fareed Haque.

Brown encouraged people to come out and check out the interesting assortment of Arkadia’s sounds for themselves.

“People should come out and see us,” he said. “You will get to hear all the songs on the CD live and by the same performers on stage.”

who: New Arts Jazztet featuring Phil Brown

what: jazz CD release party

where: Newell House Grotto Lounge

when: Thursday, October 16

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Band Members
Mike Alderfer - bass, vocals - Mel Goot - keyboards, vocals - Tom Hensold - timbale kit, vocals - Larry Millard - congas, djembe, percussion - Lucy Perez - vocals, percussion - Buddy Rogers - saxes, flute - Stephen Santiago - guitars, trumpet, vocals
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