Join us at Saranac for Burgers & Brews!
For $20, you get your choice of burger, side, and a beverage, 3 hours of awesome entertainment from Last Left, AND you're supporting a great cause! This deal cannot be beat! 🍔🍺🎶
Join us at Saranac for Burgers & Brews!
For $20, you get your choice of burger, side, and a beverage, 3 hours of awesome entertainment from Last Left, AND you're supporting a great cause! This deal cannot be beat! 🍔🍺🎶
MAIN ACT: 8:00PM
Tickets available here.
START MAKING SENSE
If David Byrne is one of the geniuses of modern times, then Start Making Sense is a tribute to genius. The musicians in this 7-piece Talking Heads Tribute take pride in faithfully recreating the music of Talking Heads entire career. Together they bring much of the Heads unique live show to the stage, with front man Jon Braun as a spot-on David Byrne, giving you a "once in a lifetime" experience. Prepare yourself for a rockin', funkin', danceable celebration of the new-wave art punk you loved from the 80's !!!
Jon Braun // Lead vocals & guitar
Jon Fadem // Lead guitar & backing vocals
Ryan Berg// Percussion & backing vocals
Brad Murray // Keyboards
Michael Davidson // Bass
Jesse Braun // Drums
Jenny Founds // Backing Vocals
Kathleen Weber // Backing vocals
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s sixth studio album MAKE IT BETTER was released September 16, 2016 on Rootfire Cooperative. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart.
Formed in 2001 in Rochester, New York, GPGDS first received praise for their live show, which combined world beats and reggae rhythms within jamband aesthetics. In recent years the band’s studio recordings, which showcase their songwriting and musicianship across all genres of roots music, have further cemented their legend as master innovators and artists. “There is a lot of intention in this release. We had a purpose to prove to ourselves recording this album [MAKE IT BETTER]. We wanted to know that we could put our heads down and do good work fast. It was a great release artistically. It uniquely sounds the most progressive of anything we have ever done while also sounding the most like our first album.” -James Searl, Bassist/Vocalist
James Searl: Bass, Vocals
Chris O’Brian: Drums, Vocals
Dylan Savage: Guitar, Vocals
Dan Keller: Guitar, Vocals
Tony Gallicchio: Keys
“Steady cements GPGDS as one of the most innovative and boundary-pushing reggae bands out there.” –Live For Live Music
“Steady is the equivalent of a painter putting his most inspired vision on canvas with impeccable execution.” –Top Shelf Reggae
“Steady is a simply amazing album full of the band’s deep-dish reggae, ska, and rock steady with an added burst of curiosity. It’s the best thing the band has ever done.” –City Newspaper
“The band’s five masterful musicians weave layers of complex music within a reggae framework and may be one of the most diverse bands in the genre.” –JamBase
This will be our biggest Hop Harvest to date! We're excited to announce headliner Keller Williams.
Aaron Kamm and the One Drops
Opening Acts: TBA
Main Act: 9:00PM
Tickets available here.
Keller Williams released his first album in 1994, FREEK, and has since given each of his albums a single syllable title: BUZZ, SPUN, BREATHE, LOOP, LAUGH, HOME, DANCE, STAGE, GRASS, DREAM, TWELVE, LIVE, ODD, THIEF, KIDS, BASS, PICK, FUNK, VAPE, SYNC and RAW, , those who have followed his career will know this. Each title serves as a concise summation of the concept guiding each project. GRASS, for example, is a bluegrass recording cut with the husband-wife duo The Keels. STAGE is a live album and DREAM is the realization of Keller’s wish to collaborate with some of his musical heroes. THIEF is a set of unexpected cover songs, KIDS offers Keller’s first children’s record, PICK presents Keller’s collaboration with royal bluegrass family The Travelin’ McCoury’s, and RAW is a solo acoustic album. Each album showcases Keller’s comprehensive and diverse musical endeavors and functions to provide another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Keller Williams. Keller’s collaborative and solo albums reflect his pursuit to create music that sounds like nothing else. Unbeholden to conventionalism, he seamlessly crosses genre boundaries. The end-product is astounding and novel music that encompasses rock, jazz, funk, and bluegrass, and always keeps the audience on their feet.
Since he first appeared on the scene in the early ’90s, Williams has defined the term independent artist. And his recordings tell only half the story. Keller built his reputation initially on his engaging live performances, no two of which are ever alike. For most of his career he has performed solo. His stage shows are rooted around Keller singing his compositions and choice cover songs, while accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. With the use of today’s technology, Keller creates samples on the fly in front of the audience, a technique called live phrase sampling or looping, with nothing pre-recorded, the end result often leans toward a hybrid of alternative folk and groovy electronica. A genre Keller jokingly calls “acoustic dance music” or ADM.”
That approach, Williams explains, was derived from “hours of playing solo with just a guitar and a microphone, and then wanting to go down different avenues musically. I couldn’t afford humans and didn’t want to step into the cheesy world of automated sequencers where you hit a button and the whole band starts to play, then you’ve got to solo along or sing on top of it. I wanted something more organic yet with a dance groove that I could create myself.”
Williams’ solo live shows—and his ability to improvise to his determinedly quirky tunes despite the absence of an actual band—quickly became the stuff of legend, and his audience grew exponentially when word spread about this exciting, unpredictable performer. Once he began releasing recordings, starting with 1994’s FREEK, Williams was embraced by an even wider community of music fans, particularly the jam band crowd. While his live gigs have largely been solo affairs, Williams has nearly always used his albums as a forum for collaborations with fellow musicians. An alliance with The String Cheese Incident on 1999’s BREATHE marked Williams’ first release on the band’s label SCI Fidelity Records, DREAM, Keller’s 2007 release, found him in the company of such iconic musicians as the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, banjo master Béla Fleck, bass great Victor Wooten, American musician/poet Michael Franti and many others.
“That album took, from start to release time,” says Williams, “about three years. The object was to get people that I admire musically to play my stuff, so when I’m old I can crank this album in my pimped-out golf cart and have something that I’m really proud of. I was going for the historical effect for my own personal listening pleasure.“Each record,” he continues, “is a little snapshot of history. I like to think of it as a period piece for an artist. Each record is a little bit different but all of them have some kind of common thread, which is my musical ability as far as I can take it. I enjoy making records. In some people’s eyes, they’re a dying breed, but I’m very passionate about it. They document where my head is at that time in my career and where I am in my songwriting.”
Williams’ story begins in Fredericksburg, Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C. There he was exposed to a wide variety of music at an early age, starting with country and bluegrass and working his way up through hip-hop and go-go, a brand of funk particular to that part of the country. Once he began playing guitar, Williams’ sphere expanded to what he calls “the post-pseudo-skateboarder punk-rock rebellious type of thing, Black Flag and Sex Pistols and Ramones, Dead Kennedys, things like that. That slid into the more melodic college rock, like the Cure and the Cult, the Smiths, R.E.M.’s first five or six records.”
Then came the Grateful Dead, a seminal influence on Williams’ own music. “I studied and learned their music and went to the shows,” he says, adding that the impact of Jerry Garcia on his attitude toward music remains incalculable. Another major influence was Michael Hedges, the late virtuoso acoustic guitarist. “He was really excelling in a whole different world from what I knew,” says Williams.
After relocating to Colorado, further exposure to bluegrass music and progressive acoustic artists such as Béla Fleck and the Flecktones also had a major impression on Williams. As he began to develop his own distinctive compositional and performing style, Williams incorporated all of the lessons he’d learned from the long list of artists who’d found their way into his world, then filtered their music through his own experiences until something wholly unique emerged. The list of artists whose music he has covered either in concert or on his recordings constitutes a mind-blowing spread: songs originally performed by everyone from Pink Floyd and Ozzy Osbourne to Ani DiFranco and old-school rappers the Sugar Hill Gang!
When he first started out, Williams played in regional bands but also performed as a solo artist, “me sitting on a stool playing covers, like a happy hour situation,” he says. “I’d get dinner and maybe tips. There were bands in high school and in college. But it turned out I could get the same money playing solo that I was getting with the band. Around that time I was also doing temporary jobs and I was making the same amount playing music as I was scraping mortar out of the cracks of cinder block walls for eight hours in the summertime at minimum wage. So it seemed like the obvious choice was to play music. I started to work and over the years I incorporated more technology. The looping thing started to happen and tickets were sold and people came to shows, so there wasn’t any reason to fix something that wasn’t broken.”What Williams calls “the looping thing” is actually a big part of what has made him such a compelling live performer. “Basically, I have these machines that are essentially delay units,” he explains. “What I do is step on a button and sing or play something. Then I step on the same button in time and it repeats what I just played or sang. Once that initial loop is created, I can layer on a bass line or a drum line and then have this layer that I just created in front of an audience that I could sing over and solo over. Nothing is pre-recorded. Everything is created onstage in front of the audience.” If it sounds complicated, it is: but the basic thrust is that the technology has allowed Williams to go out on tour week after week, year after year, and play music by himself—without limiting his sound to what we most often associate with the solo singer-songwriter: a guy strumming a guitar and singing. With his arsenal of tech toys, Williams can expand his reach onstage by, in essence, jamming with himself.
As years have gone by and Keller has continued to evolve he has created more and more unique projects and collaborations with fellow musicians. In 2007 Keller formed a band of his own, Keller Williams with Moseley, Droll and Sipe which featured Keller on rhythm guitar and vocals, Jeff Sipe on drums, Keith Moseley on bass and Gibb Droll on lead guitar. After touring throughout 2007 – 2008, they subsequently released a double live record with a companion DVD, in true Keller Williams fashion, it’s called Live.
The summer of 2010 found Keller sharing a bus with two of his biggest heroes, former Grateful Dead drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, as a member of their powerhouse assemblage the Rhythm Devils. “That was a very surreal experience,” Williams says. “We rehearsed for a few days and then we were on a bus with 12 people, two of them being the original drummers from the Grateful Dead.” On that tour, Williams was put in the enviable position of singing many songs from the Grateful Dead catalog for audiences that loved every minute of it. Inspired by this experience and his admiration for The Grateful Dead, Keller added two Grateful Dead projects to his repertoire: Grateful Grass and Grateful Gospel. With an ever revolving cast of Jam, Bluegrass, and Gospel musicians, Grateful Grass and Grateful Gospel have become fan favorites and festival staples. Keller’s Grateful Grass tunes can be heard on two live digital releases, REX and DOS. Keller’s guests on these recordings include: Jeff Austin (Jeff Austin Band), Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident), Michael Kang (String Cheese Incident), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green), The Keels and many more. Following the Grateful Dead theme, keller also released KEYS, a digital only release on which Keller is at the piano singing a collection of Dead tunes. All three of these releases donate proceeds to the Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation. Williams has also toured as part of a string trio with fellow Virginians, singer/guitarist Larry Keel and his wife, singer/bassist Jenny Keel, dubbed Keller and the Keels. You can find them hitting key stops on the bluegrass festival circuit playing songs from their two releases GRASS AND THIEF.
If it seems as if this is a man who never stops, that would be about right. Keller released the amusingly titled THIEF—his all-covers project with the Keels—early in 2010, and KIDS, his sixteenth album, in the fall of that same year. A father of two himself, Williams was, of course, inspired by his own offspring but, he says, some of the songs were written before his children were born. “When Not For Kids Only by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman came out, I knew that there was hope for me with kids music,” he says. “I was really attached to that record.” The songwriting for Kids, Keller says, “was not necessarily singing to the kids. A lot of it was me singing from the perspective of the kids. That was my plan, to get on their wavelength, on their level, and be one of them, so it’s kind of like one of their friends singing to them.”
In 2011, BASS found the multi-instrumentalist only playing bass guitar. BASS was also the first album to be recorded with Keller’s live reggae-funk band Kdubalicious, which in addition to Keller on bass and vocals, features Jay Starling on keyboards and Mark D on drums. On the other end of the spectrum – but just as tasty – is Keller’s 2012 release PICK. This collaboration featuring Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts—although the parts are rather massive on their own, to be sure. “Performing with The Travelin’ McCourys is one of my favorite things to do in the world,” Keller explains. “This project has struck a special chord with me [pun intended]. It is very addictive.”
Indeed, Keller always enjoys working with a band. For 2013 he stepped out with a new muse, a 6-piece funk band dubbed More Than a Little. Williams drew from the Richmond, VA R&B/gospel scene including a pair of show stealing female singers. FUNK – a sexy live recording that pays deep homage to the genre’s roots, Keller style – hit the streets in November 2013 and More than a Little made its way around the country becoming a festival staple all their own.
Early 2015 found Keller back in the studio working on his 20th release, VAPE. While mainly a solo endeavor, it does feature a few special guests such as Sampson Grisman, John Kadlecik and a track with the Travelin’ McCourys. In Keller’s own words “Imagine taking these songs and blowing high pressured life through them in a low pressured atmosphere. Out comes highly concentrated music that can be heated up and inhaled through your ears…Vape”.
In 2016, Keller assembled yet another band, Keller Williams’ KWahtro. KWahtro, featuring Gibb Droll, Danton Boller and Rodney Holmes, toured the country throughout the winter and fall of 2016. The first KWahtro album, SYNC will be released in January of 2017. According to Keller, SYNC began as acoustic dance music but with the help of Droll, Boller and Holmes and special guests Mike Dillon and The Accidentals, the album “morphed into a type of acoustic acid jazz that draws on imagery in both the lyrics and the music.”
As if one album release wasn’t enough for 2017, Keller’s first all solo acoustic album, RAW, will also be released in January of 2017. Keller started working on RAW in 2011 but got sidetracked by a number of other projects that began to take form. It was when Keller’s 2017 winter tour, Shut the Folk Up and Listen with Leo Kottke, started to take form, that he jumped back into it and completed the album. For Keller this album and tour represent his roots; all solo acoustic guitar and vocals, no looping, pedals or bands.
Two albums at once, why not! Something different. That, we can assume, is how it will always be with Keller Williams.
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Tickets available here.
HAYLEY JANE AND THE PRIMATES
Hayley Jane has been touring nonstop all around the country in 2018 with Hayley Jane and the Primates, Yes Darling and her solo acoustic show. She shows no signs of slowing down this summer. Yes Darling recently announced a series of summer festivals and events that included Green River Music Festival, Disc Jam Music Festival and more. Now, Hayley Jane and the Primates have revealed their summer tour which is mixed with festivals, outdoor stage events, a Tumble Down after-party and a summer closing 2 show weekend run in Vacationland. Some festival highlights include a return to Peach Music Festival, StrangeCreek Campout, Jerry Jam and a headlining July 4th holiday celebration at The Hive’s Jam Fam Campout. Hayley Jane and the Primates will perform a free outdoor show in their hometown of Boston at Lawn On D. Some other outdoor stage highlights include Rochester’s Party In The Park with Devon Allman/Duane Betts, a beautiful backdrop of Lake Placid NY for the Songs At Mirror Lake series, and headlining the grand finale of Summer Serenades at Rockingham Hill Farm. There are only a couple indoor events for the band but they are exciting. Hayley Jane and the Primates will close out Tumble Down in Burlington VT with an Official After-Party at Nectar’s. The summer tour closer is a 2 night run in Boothbay Harbor ME for a Labor Day Vacationland Experience.
HAILING FROM DIVERSE MUSICAL BACKGROUNDS, NINA'S BREW IS A MELTING POT OF INFLUENCE, GENRE, AND TALENT. THE TRIO JOINED FORCES IN WINTER OF 2017 IN BURLINGTON, VT, WHERE THEY FIRST MET. THEIR SOUND IS ROOTED IN BLUES AND SOUL MUSIC, AND ALSO MEANDERS THE LIKES OF R&B AND ROCK. THE DISTINCTNESS OF NINA’S BREW LIES IN THEIR VOCALS, ALL THREE BRINGING AN EXCEPTIONAL RICHNESS TO THE GROUP, AND CREATING SPACE FOR EACH MEMBER TO SHARE THE LEAD; EACH VOICE ITS OWN DYNAMIC INSTRUMENT. THEY INTEGRATE TIGHT HARMONIES, HEAVY BLUES GUITAR SHREDDING AND CAN QUIET THE ROOM TO A HUSH OR TAKE IT BY STORM.
SAAC, MIKE AND GIOVANINA HAVE BEEN IN THE NEW ENGLAND SCENE FOR SOME TIME, NAVIGATING SOLO AND BAND PROJECTS ALIKE. WHEN THEY DECIDED TO GIVE IT A GO, THE TRIO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING... SHARING THE STAGE WITH SOME OF THEIR FAVORITES INCLUDING ZACH DEPUTY, ROOT SHOCK, NAVYTRAIN, BRICKDROP, SWIMMER AND ANNIE IN THE WATER. THEY'VE MAINTAINED A BUSY TOURING SCHEDULE BETWEEN NY AND VT AND JUST RELEASED THEIR FIRST EP, DON'T TELL MAMA. THEY'RE HARD AT WORK CRAFTING NEW SONGS, REVISITING OLD ONES AND CREATING AN AUTHENTIC SOUND THAT RESONATES ACROSS A SPECTRUM OF LISTENERS. THE TRIO FEATURES GIOVANINA BUCCI ON RHYTHM GUITAR AND VOCALS, MIKE BREWSTER ON LEAD GUITAR AND VOCALS, AND ISAAC FRENCH ON VOCALS, PIANO, PERCUSSION AND IF THE IRON STRIKES, GUITAR AS WELL. THEIR LIVE PERFORMANCE IS UNIQUELY INFECTIOUS AND SOULFUL. AND NOT TO BE MISSED.
Mason McDowell: 7:30PM
Nigel Felony: 8:00PM
Ramblin' Brooks Band: 9:00PM
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Tickets available here.
2018 has already been a busy year for Sophistafunk. New music. A Cali Tour. A new vehicle. Now the band is embarking on another tour from February 16th through 25th, which includes stops in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Lincoln, and Chicago.
From their home in Syracuse NY, Sophistafunk has gained international notoriety with their unique combination of live hip hop, funk, and jam music. Last week, after returning from a nearly 4-hour show with 5 encores at the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco, the guys immediately took off to Connecticut and bought a Mercedes Sprinter tour van. It was yet another new addition for drummer Emanuel Washington, who recently became a first-time father with the birth of his son Onyx this past August.
Sophistafunk will be debuting new songs from their upcoming album during the Colorado Tour, which begins Friday, February 16th in Boulder at The Lazy Dog. The next night, February 17th, the band travels to Denver to perform at Cervantes’ Other Side, followed by Fort Collins at Downtown Artery on Feb 18. After a private event with Zac Brown Band in Las Vegas, Sophistafunk returns to Nebraska and Iowa before concluding the tour at the Tonic Room in Chicago on Sunday, February 25th(full details below).
Following the success of their recent single “No More War” on the national circuit, Sophistafunk will be even busier in 2018. They will also be joined by their newest member, saxophonist Tommy Weeks of the Funky Dawgz Brass Band.
WEST END BLEND
Since their conception, Funk/Soul band West End Blend has been playing their version of Funk and Soul in venues all over the Northeast. Fronted by vocalist Erica T. Bryan, the band pays homage to classic throwback sounds while adding their own distinct vibe and flair. Behind her, the Blend packs a horn section, two guitars, bass, keyboards and drums onto stages every night. From humble beginnings in an epic sweaty funky basement dance party, the Blend’s goal has always been to bring that same atmosphere to every show ever since.
The Blend released their debut full length record, “Rewind”, in the Fall of 2015. The album was recorded at Telefunken Studios with Grammy Award winning engineer, Brendan Morawski. Alongside their album release, West End Blend shared the stage with Turkuaz, Break Science, Kung Fu, Twiddle, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, The Nth Power, The Motet and countless others Jam/Funk staples throughout 2015-2016. On September 28th, 2016 the Blend released their latest EP “Say Hey!” as they embarked on their Fall Tour across the Northeast. Throughout their Fall tour they shared the stage with Dopapod, The Nth Power, Turkuaz, Hayley Jane & The Primates, Deep Banana Blackout and more.
Ryan Montbleau has been an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and bandleader for more than a decade, but with his new album I WAS JUST LEAVING, the New England-based artist has truly arrived. Contemplative and richly emotive, the album offers a glimpse into the often-lonesome life of the relentlessly traveling troubadour, a strikingly single-minded existence too often clouded by the blur of constant motion. Recorded at New Orleans’ Esplanade Studios over four days in January 2016 with producer Anders Osborne and engineer/mixer Mark Howard (known for his work with such icons as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Neil Young, and U2), the album marks Montbleau’s first full length release in the wake of a series of seismic personal shifts. Songs like “Bright Side” and the touching title track reveal a uniquely blessed artist who has truly found his voice, his gift for melody and a remarkably open-armed approach.
“There’s no part of this record that I am unsure of,” Montbleau says. “All the juice of the last fifteen years is in there. My humanity and my heart are on this record.”
Montbleau has been among America’s finest songwriters and performers, earning national attention and a fervent fan following with songs like “75 and Sunny” and his breakthrough cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” the latter a Spotify smash with total streams now in excess of 14 million.
After twelve years on the road Montbleau found himself at a crossroads in 2016. “Within a very short time, my world got flipped around. My partner was gone, my band of ten years was gone, my friends were all far away. The one thing I had was a career, because it turns out that was all I had worked on. When the dust settled, I realized I didn’t really have much of a home life.”
“I thought all along that I had been building a home but it turned out I was just leaving. That’s where the title of the song and the record came from. So many raw feelings were just aching through me at that point. Eventually they vibrated out through the guitar, through singing. I had to sing these songs.”
An artist’s artist, Montbleau has collaborated with such diverse performers as Martin Sexton, Trombone Shorty, and Galactic. His association with Anders Osborne extends back to 2012 when the New Orleans-based singer/songwriter/guitarist played on Ryan’s Ben Ellman-produced FOR HIGHER alongside such fellow Big Easy icons as Ivan Neville and The Meters’ George Porter, Jr. Two years later, Anders and Ryan reconnected on the road backstage at a festival. The seeds were planted for a collaboration.
Montbleau’s guitar playing and vocals are both front and center on I WAS JUST LEAVING, with Osborne accompanying on drums, percussion, bass, guitar, and harmonica, each used simply and sparsely for maximum effect. Osborne and Howard built upon that same goal, creating space and capturing rawness by utilizing as many early takes as possible.
“Bright Side,” the album’s first single, is perhaps the song most emblematic of Montbleau’s growth as both a human being and artist. At once finely etched and strikingly direct, “Bright Side” is an ideal distillation of his approach to songwriting, balancing multiple shades of emotional nuance with a fearless, unfettered sentimentality that ultimately leads to a greater truth.
I WAS JUST LEAVING marks a singular milestone for Ryan Montbleau, the moment in which this exceptional singer, songwriter, and performer has blossomed into a fully matured artist.
“I’ve been planting these seeds for so long and it has all led up to this moment. It feels like finally the fruits of all my efforts are coming out. I’m still working hard but there’s an ease to what’s happening. I have a career that I’ve built, that I’ve earned. Now what’s fun is putting out the best music I can and seeing what happens.”
Tickets available here.
Opening Act: Follow the Muse
When Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People hit the stage things get torqued up quickly like a tent revival during tornado season. Named Top Ten Bands to watch by CityPaper, and winner of the 2015 and 2016 Roc Awards, "Best Band", Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People transcend musical genres with a blast of deep, powerful groove and soul. The band is the groove while Ponder’s pipes keep it rooted in soul. And according to Ponder, soul is more than a sound.
“Soul music is something you feel,” she says. “It gives you goose bumps.”
This Rochester, NY Native has spent the past years rendering goose bumps by perfecting her style and charismatic performance. She sings, you listen, you melt. The result of her focus and dedication is a tone that is both enchanting and seductive along with a riveting, honest stage presence. It is this voice that has helped her secure gigs opening up for powerhouses such as George Clinton, Ledisi and The Roots. The band has also completed two successful European tours. Boyd Kletter of Bourbon Street Blues Club in Amsterdam said "Danielle shines bright both on and off the stage. She's truly is a star!"
In 2016 the singer released her debut EP Blow Out The Sun.Soultracks.com said “Ponder’s vocals combine the spirit of the church with the speak-truth- to-power assertiveness of a movement leader. “ Jeff Speak of the Democrat & Chronicle wrote "Ponder’s tough-sounding vocals on “Three Word Revolution (I Love Myself)” is a defiant call to self worth. That title track feels custom built as a room-shaking anthem for women in the audience.” In 2016 the band would also enter the AfroPunk Battle of the Bands contest, where they surpassed hundreds of bands and made it to the final four.
To Ponder, the audience is integral to the performance. They are, in a sense, part of the band. We are all tomorrow people.
"When I get on stage I want the audience to be just as important as the musicians. I want to hear them, feel them, and see them dancing and moving.”
And the crowd does just that. This daughter of a preacher take the audience to church, as she dances across stage and belts out her notes, it is clear that her gospel roots have had a strong influence. This sensational singer also lists powerful influences that lit her fuse like Nina Simone, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, and Lauryn Hill. Ponder opens her mouth to sing and it’s readily apparent; there’s another name that belongs in that pantheon as well. Danielle Ponder, and her time is now.
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Tickets available here.
Magic Beans (Scott Hachey, Casey Russell, Chris Duffy and Cody Wales) have steadily built upon their national notoriety in a very short period of time with a passion for music that is as infectious as their songs. Hailing from Denver, their development has been aided by the warm hearth of the Colorado music scene, and quickly setting themselves apart from the pack as one of the state’s premier acts. Their new album, “Casino Cabaret” (available March 16th), is titled in homage to the vintage sign that hangs above Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom located in the Five Points area of Denver. The venue has served as the heart beat of the Denver music scene for decades under different monikers. Its a place where the legends of jazz, soul, and funk found a common stage, and inspired the Magic Beans to craft an album capturing the different styles and genres that can be heard any given night down in Five Points. With “Casino Cabaret”, the band looks to bring the heart, the vibes, and the feelings of those Denver nights coast to coast.
Holing up in the foothills of Colorado at Scanhope Sound studios, the band looked to build upon their past studio experiences and hone in on the new sound they’ve been building since their last release. Taking the time to make these songs come to life, adding some brass to their already full sound, and dialing in the tones on analog equipment they found ways to add layers to the songs in a way not possible to achieve live. From the album opener “Here On Out” - featuring the saxophone of Clark Smith (Dynohunter), trumpet of Matt Wilkolak (Michal Menert & Big Gigantic), and rounded out by percussion from frequent collaborator, Will Trask, the band puts forward a full and accessible sound. True to form, the Beans even included some studio interludes taken from recording jam sessions to help tease those moments on the road where the band will lift off and take the songs for a ride.
With appearances in 2018 at some of the scenes marquee festivals, a stacked touring schedule and hosting their own Beanstalk Music Festival every June in Colorado, Magic Beans are poised to bust out across the scene and make waves for many years to come.
A David Gans "solo electric" performance is likely to consist of several elements: country-blues-style fingerpicking; loop-based improvisations created live in the moment; sweetly-sung ballads, original or borrowed; Grateful Dead songs reinterpreted to suit his voice and guitar; wry observations of the music-festival subculture and the larger world; soulful and passionate political commentary; favorites from the folk-rock canon of the last 50 years. Mix and match - it's never the same show twice, but it's always worth a listen.
OPENER: 5:30PM, 7:30PM
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Tickets available HERE.
Rock band from Saratoga Springs, NY.
THE SPRING STREET FAMILY
We are a family, none of us by blood but our brotherhood is strong. We all have had different upbringings and different musical backgrounds, but have found a common ground through the music we like to create, willingness to have a good time and openness to the beauty/tragedy around us. We are an original band who knows how to work in covers to embrace our surroundings.come be a part of the magic that we call The Spring Street Family
Eclectic, in philosophical terms, is defined as, “belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to any recognized school of thought, but recognized such doctrines as they wished from various schools.” The same could be said for Syracuse’s own Barroom Philosophers, who embody eclecticism in both the scholastic and the literal sense. From the reaches of Jamaican roots reggae and dub, acid-drenched psychedelia, Chess Records’ Chicago blues and Parliament-era funk, Barroom Philosophers bend genres across the spectrum to create a unique, original groove that differs every show.
Formed in 2014 as a cover band, guitarist Joshua Way, bassist/keyboardist Ty Hancock, drummer Brenden Boshart and lead vocalist Dave Koegel began playing the bar circuit in Syracuse and at Oswego State University. The group began writing and cut their first EP, Thoughts That Count, with Langston Masingale at StudioDog Pro in 2015. The three-song EP was warmly received, and was played substantially at local radio stations in Syracuse. Barroom Philosophers concluded 2015 with a nomination for the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMY’s) and continued playing live relentlessly.
As 2016 began, Barroom Philosophers had garnered a reputation for their animated, high energy shows, and the band continued to thicken its catalog of tracks. The spring saw the hiring of guitarist and vocalist Shawn Tallet, rounding out the sound as a quintet. Feeding their voracious appetite for gigging, “Barroom Philosophers,” could be found on the bill of many Upstate festivals, including MOVE Music Festival in Albany, NY and Sterling Stage Ameribeat. Their versatility can be best understood not only by their sound, but also by their resume of supporting gigs - including John Brown’s Body, Dirty Heads, The Unlikely Candidates, Badfish and the Strumbellas.
In November of 2016, Barroom Philosophers entered the studio for the production of their debut, full-length album, Barroom Philosophers. Co-produced, engineered and mixed by Andrew Greacen and mastered by Jason “Jocko” Randall (John Brown’s Body, Sophistafunk, Turkuaz) at More Sound Studio, the record features 10 tracks of genre boundary-smashing grooves and is set to be released on February 3, 2017. Upon its release, fans can expect Barroom’s standard tireless live schedule and eclectic sound to come to their town very soon.
MAIN ACT: 9:00PM
Root Shock formed in 2012 with regional veteran musicians whose love of reggae music flows deep. Their unique blend of reggae and heavy drum & bass combined with American roots and soul, and a focus on conscious lyrics result in positive dance music will make you want to move! The band has been surprising and delighting crowds across the New York region and beyond, bringing their unique high-energy style spearheaded by the stunning soulful vocals and stage presence of Jessica Brown to a wide range of settings. The band’s dedication to spreading music with a positive message has paid off in entertaining, elevating, and energizing music lovers of all walks of life!
On the heels of their 2016 debut album, Root Shock is stepping up their game, hitting the road and bringing their renowned live show to clubs, festivals and concert halls far and wide. 2017 is already treating them well; winning the Syracuse Area Music Awards “Best New Artist” accolade as well as being crowned winner in the NYS Music’s state-wide March Madness fan favorite competition. The band is continuing to concentrate on spreading their uplifting message and vibes to the masses. Root Shock’s genre-bending sound has proven to fit many musical settings yet always stand out!
In 2013, the thriving Virginia reggae scene gave birth to Buddha Council. Originally functioning as a reggae think-tank comprised of members from Virginia Beach based bands, Bimini Rd. and Session Rockers, the band quickly found footing in their own unique take on Future Roots music. The band released their debut self-titled album in 2014 and followed up with their sophomore studio album, "Consider This," in late 2015. Buddha Council's music has evolved into the perfect balance of a band continually pushing genre boundaries while simultaneously rediscovering forgotten rhythms of reggae's yesteryear.
Buddha Council seeks to make music in all formats and mediums, not only as a band, but more precisely as a musicians' collective. Our objective is to contribute to the music community at large by enhancing and encouraging the musical collaborative experience. This provides fans with unique listening experiences from artists they already know, as well as helping them discover new artists through the Buddha Council. For the musicians involved, it provides the opportunity to reach more fans through the Council.
Adam Ezra Group w/s/g Mike D and the Laughing Buddha Episodes
Tickets available HERE.
MAIN ACT: 9:00pm
ADAM EZRA GROUP
It’s difficult to impart the roots-steeped, road-trippin' essence of the Adam Ezra Group into a single word, but frontman Adam Ezra nonetheless keeps one in mind as something of a mantra: community.
To the musicians at the heart of AEG, community is epitomized by a belief they all share, one that has long doubled as a mission statement for the group: namely, that making music together is itself a form of grassroots organizing, capable of nothing less than changing the world.
That Ezra and his bandmates hold sacred such an inclusive approach to their craft helps explain the gathering storm of an album that is “Hurricane Wind,” one of AEG’s most ambitious undertakings to date. Not only fan-funded, but also fan-produced, the project found the broader AEG fan community playing a role in every step of the process from inception to its release on May 21st 2017.
Such a groundbreaking form of collaboration makes all the sense in the world for a musical collective like AEG. After all, as Ezra sees it, the fans are really part of the band, active members of their movement who’ve always exercised a critical role in AEG’s ability to carry out its mission. This inclusive approach to musicianship, centered about respecting and celebrating their listeners above all else, Ezra insists, is what has allowed the group to explode out of their Boston-area origins to emerge as one of the most uniquely powerful, relentlessly entertaining live-music experiences in the country.
AEG’s grassroots efforts recently caught the eye of John Oates, of Hall & Oates fame. For the past year and a half, Ezra and Oates have been regular writing partners, meeting up in Nashville between tours. Three of their co-writes are featured on the upcoming Adam Ezra Group album, and Oates himself joined Ezra in the studio to sing and play on the album. They performed their first co-written song, "All I Am", live in-studio as an acoustic duet, a process also shared with fans, who were invited along for a virtual tour of the studio as well as granted access to unreleased studio performances.
Last December, AEG galvanized their community partnership by releasing 23 studio demos to fans, including multiple collaborations with Oates. Ezra established an innovative framework through which fans could follow the process of song arrangement and studio tracking, help whittle the album down to just 11 polished final cuts, steer artwork creation, and assist in naming the project itself.
The now-released album, “Hurricane Wind,” speaks to an elemental, overpowering force of nature, a quality AEG believes exists in every human being and can be magnified through the unifying power of music.
When the record arrived on May 21, the AEG fanbase turned the full power of its collective hurricane wind outward, and shared the music for free with over 5000 people over the course of two weeks. Such a groundswell of activity wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago; “Hurricane Wind,” to AEG, represents both a celebration and reaffirmation of how remarkably that community has grown.
Even amid ballooning success, Ezra says it’s been not just easy, but natural for AEG to stay dedicated to its mission and true to its humble roots. Perhaps no song sums this up more than a fan favorite, selected to anchor the new album. Called “I Believe,” it’s a gorgeously layered, nakedly emotional ode to the long path they’ve already traveled as a community - and to the wide-open road ahead.
You’ve got a style, that comes on like a hurricane wind,” sings Ezra on the track, backed by a group of musicians all equally engrossed in the material and attuned to its significance.
“You’ve got a spark, that lights the fire that never ends." With his next lines, Ezra speaks not only to the internal maxim that keeps him moving, but also to the enduring force for hope and change that his band has come to symbolize to its ever-swelling fanbase: “And in the times when hope is gone, you give me the strength to carry on - I know the path is long, but I believe.”
Big Mean Sound Machine w/s/g Joe Driscoll!
Doors: 6 PM
Opener: 7:30 PM
Main Act: 9 PM
Tickets available HERE.
BIG MEAN SOUND MACHINE
“BMSM might be one of my favorite bands on the planet. With a horn section to kill for, a drummer that can put me in a beat coma instantly, and a knack for hitting grooves in a pantsless stride, they aren't easy to ignore,” writes Joel Frieders of SYFFAL.com and he’s not kidding. For a band without a lead singer, Big Mean Sound Machine has character in spades. When assembled from a selection of the finest, well-lubricated, musically brilliant human components, the final result is the aural equivalent of positive feeling, “...the embodiment of feeling… delicious,” writes Frieders. People dance when a rhythm moves them, and there’s no defying instinct when Big Mean Sound Machine is on stage.
Anyone who has experienced the band in action knows that their performances are the heaviest and sweatiest. “Incorporating Caribbean, African, and Latin sounds and everything in between, these musicians… sound as though they’ve been playing together since the sandbox days. They transition effortlessly from a collective of trombone, sax, and trumpet to riveting soloists. Then, there is heavy bass before… percussion, guitar, or keys take the limelight, and when [they’re] not playing simultaneously, those who are stepping aside are jamming out as if they were in the crowd with the rest of us,” writes Mary Mistretta of UpstateLIVE. A polyrhythmic monster with a crisp, constant, unrelenting groove, the band brings together many musical traditions in a unique blend that reinterprets and reanimates live dance music unlike any other band playing today.
At the band’s birth in Central New York State, the founders wanted to set themselves apart artistically while honoring the true, primal reason that people listen to music in the first place: because good music feels good; and though their sound has evolved since their inception in June 2009, they have stayed true to their mission for the better part of a decade. Few bands can trace their roots all the way back to a specific set of values shared in casual conversation among good friends; in the case of Big Mean Sound Machine, honoring the ideas the group was founded on seems to be more of an instinct than a choice.
Big Mean is contemporary proof that it’s possible to create art that stimulates the body while also challenging the mind to explore beyond the status quo. “For the listener who stops shaking to pay attention at a Big Mean show, they can find a musical education,” writes Josh Brokaw of The Ithaca Times. Borrowing elements from traditional afrobeat, roots reggae, ethiojazz, and funk among others, “Big Mean’s [style] is not easily captured by the precise, genre-parsing descriptors of a contemporary music press that’s uncomfortable admitting to being surprised with a new sound,” writes Brokaw. Their instrumental soundscapes have no overt messages yet they’re anything but barren. “You get the feeling of walking the streets in a city late at night as those who are up to no good are coming out of their homes searching for their next score,” writes Bryan Lasky of NYSmusic.com. “Seamed together by an amazing rhythm section… the core of the group commands attention while providing a passionate and constant groove,” boasts Vinyl Fluid Records, noting the fact that this purely instrumental band stimulates audiences both physically and cerebrally, though devoid of vocal indoctrination. The theme the band delivers again and again through evolving rhythms and melodies is to enjoy music for its creativity and musicality, and the way it makes you feel in every sense of being able to feel.
We're so excited to have Zach back at The Yard for the third summer in a row.
In making his fourth album Wash It in the Water, Zach Deputy dreamed up a sunny and soulful new sound that fuses hip-hop, funk, and folky pop with the spirited rhythms of soca and calypso. With that sound embodied by the album’s brightly melodic and richly textured title track, Wash It in the Water finds the Georgia-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist mining his Puerto Rican and Cruzan heritage for inspiration.
This is one of our favorite events of the year!
This year we are incorporationg a benefit for the SPCA. They will be accepting donations, and a percentage of ticket sales will go towards SPCA. You might even get to meet some furry friends!
Like every year, the restaurant will be closed for this event but we will be serving from our food truck outside! The indoor and outdoor bar will be open
Opening act: Mike Powell and the Black River (4PM)
Main Act: The Lightkeepers (6 pm)
Words from Qwister:
We are more than excited to return to Ray Brothers for an awesome night of Qwister Reggae Party Rock. Good vibes, lots of laughs and positivity, not to mention some fantastic people! Oh and don't forget they have best food around!!! This is just going to be an all around great night you don't want to miss!
Join us for live music with Alyssa Rose to kick off the holiday weekend!
Since the start of my performing career in the summer of 2015, I have played in all kinds of venues from coffeeshops to restaurants, private parties to theaters, yoga classes in Costa Rica and at Grace Potter's festival Grand Point North, to mountain top in the Adirondacks. I have opened for notable artists such as Jackie Greene and Ryan Montbleau, released my debut EP, “Tumbleweed” and went on my very first cross-country tour with my dear friend and fellow musician, Giovanina Bucci (Nina’s Brew). It’s been a whirlwind. There have been SO many beautiful moments of meeting new people, hearing stories of why someone relates to a particular song, collaborating with other musicians and also the humbling feeling of starting something from scratch.
This road of music has not come without struggle and pain but I’ve learned to invite everything in, the tribulations and triumphs. The past year or so has been all about finding the balance, in all aspects of life. In that, I am just now starting to feel like I am coming into my own, musically. In the beginning, I played the few originals that were stage-ready and beefed up the rest of my repertoire with covers so I could play longer shows and so I could play what people were familiar with. Somewhere along the way, I realized that goes against everything I believe in. Quality over quantity has always been extremely important to me and I am constantly throwing myself out of my comfort zone offstage, so why not do that onstage? I think people identify with honesty and raw emotion.
That being said, I’m changing my sound up a bit. My writing process is changing. I’m looking less to my head and more to my heart for lyrics.. letting the words pour out as they come and trying to figure out what they mean later. I’m trying to incorporate music into the way of life that I am transitioning into.. rising with the sun and sleeping with the moon, slowing down, simplifying, getting closer to the earth. I want to play fewer barrooms and more yoga classes, more shows by the ocean, mountains, lakes, etc., where I feel most at peace. It’s all a little nerve-wracking and kind of a risky move but it’s honest and in my opinion you have to be happy before you can make anyone else happy.
I’ve been traveling and reading, writing and meditating and continuing to dive deeper and deeper into this, whatever “this” is. I’m currently on a bit of a hiatus from performing but am so excited to come back and share the latest chapter with you all. In the meantime and always, keep doing whatever it is that makes you happy..