2014 TALL TALES LINEUP
Cory Chisel's Soul Obcura
Old Believer \ Ōld bǝ-l ēvǝr\ n 1 : one who has been through a lot in their life and hasn’t lost hope 2 : one who doesn’t feel cynical and still feels connected to the world that we’re living in but is wise enough to know a thing or two about it 3 : OLD SOUL
Cory Chisel is an old believer. You can hear it in his music – there’s a wisdom beyond his years in that voice. You can see it in his story – the son of a preacher, sheltered from pop music, raised on hymns and Johnny Cash. “Mom played piano and organ, my dad did the preaching, the thing that my sister and I could add to the service was to sing.” As fate would have it, the kid was born to do it.
He grew up in the iron range town of Babbit, Minnesota, and the rural flatlands of Appleton, Wisconsin. Along with the family’s spiritual doctrine came a musician uncle, who taught Cory about the blues: Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson.
This musical education put young Cory on a path that was well worn by the greats who came before him and influenced him. People like Cash, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. For Cory, songwriting is a byproduct of existing. We all talk to ourselves. Cory does so with a melody. Those internal conversations are the seeds, the building blocks of his songs. “Where a painter, in order to express himself, would reach for a canvas and paints, I go to the guitar and try to build it out. Or sometimes songs just come fully formed, usually if I’m really sleep-deprived and driving for whatever reason, it’s like a radio station that my brain picks up.”
Just in case the title alone wasn’t a dead give away, Amanda Shires’ Down Fell the Doves is not a record for the faint of heart, faith or spirit. Not that anyone who heard her last album would have expected such. Carrying Lighting, the critically acclaimed 2011 breakthrough that put Shires on the map as one of Americana music’s most arresting new voices (and Texas Music magazine’s 2011 Artist of the Year), was a kudzu-tangled web of frayed heartstrings and combustible desire that revealed the one-time “little fiddle player from Lubbock” to be a grown woman unafraid to “get wrecked in love” and dish out the same with keen poetic insight and unnervingly mature, femme-fatale conviction. But as striking as Lightning was, Down Fell the Doves (Shires’ debut for Lightning Rod Records) is where the gloves really come off.
"With a voice that whispers Dolly and lyrics that scream Faulkner, this girl shines like a diamond." --Justin Townes Earle
AG, Garrison Starr, & Maia Sharp
To say that Garrison Starr knows her way around the industry would be an understatement. Hailing from Hernando, MS, she released her major label debut, 18 Over Me, in 1997 for Geffen and the rest is history. Her career has taken her from rooms of 12 people (at which she received a standing ovation) to touring with her idols in amphitheaters and back again. But she’s not just a road dog. Starr is a writer and performer with a knack for “marrying pop smarts and Americana grit with a voice of remarkable power and clarity”(gomemphis.com 2012).-
Born and raised in Miami and based in Los Angeles, singer/songwriter Adrianne was interested in music from an early age. Self-taught on piano and vocals, she was inspired to write her own songs after discovering the Indigo Girls when she was in high school and getting her first guitar at age 17. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music with a degree in music production and engineering, Adrianne signed a publishing deal with Lionel Conway and relocated to the West Coast. Her first album, For Adeline, was released in 2000 and followed four years later by 10,000 Stones. Her third album, Down to This, was released in 2005, and her fourth, Sweet Mistake, debuted in 2006. Adrianne self-released a covers EP entitled Boy Songs in 2007.
We've passed the point where it's news that Maia Sharp is a giant among her music industry peers. Those who write the songs, the singers who scout out the best material for themselves and major artists who seek the stimulus of work with their most creative colleagues, have already placed her name at the top of their list of collaborators. Beginning with Hardly Glamour in 1997, Sharp has released four solo albums and one trio album with Art Garfunkel and Buddy Mondlock, each garnering critical recognition, and built her following through touring on her own as well as opening for such headliners as Bonnie Raitt, Keb' Mo', Patty Griffin, Art Garfunkel and Jonatha Brooke. A gifted and highly sought-after songwriter, Sharp has penned songs for Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Cher and many more. On the long and winding road that is the music business, Sharp has proven her ability to excel wherever talent manifests itself in music.
Andrew Combs is a songwriter, guitarist, and singer from Texas who lives in Nashville. His debut album, Worried Man, was named one of American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2012. He has toured with Jason Isbell, Shovels & Rope, Caitlin Rose, and Houndmouth. “When it comes to singer-songwriters with lyrical skills, Andrew Combs is the real deal,” writes Southern Living. “The Nashville-dwelling, Dallas native is well on his way to becoming a preeminent voice in his genre.”
“Just when you think you’ve heard the best of the up-and-coming Americana stars, along comes one whose music almost takes your breath away.”—Nancy Dunham, No Depression
Aaron Mortenson and Jay Rutherford set out to make their debut Los Colognes album in the mold of the great JJ Cale records of the ‘70s. Working Together is parched desert country blues at its best—full of relationships gone south, one-liners that make you think twice, and slow-burning boogie woogie.
Los Colognes’ Working Together reflects the simple but straight-on lyricism of John Prine, the unhurried grooves of Cale, with a touch Mark Knopfler’s mid-‘80s Dire Straits polish.
Tom Brosseau, an LA-based progressive folk artist and Grand Forks, North Dakota native, has a voice that has been called "totally earthbound and at the same time sorta out there in the ether." (NPR's All Things Considered).
An immensely talented writer, performer, and actor, Tom is a frequent collaborator with Grammy Award winners Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), and Academy Award nominated actor John C. Reilly, with whom he recorded a 7" vinyl release for Jack White's Third Man Records.
Tom's new album, 'Grass Punks,' has received overwhelming critical praise, described as "a quietly seductive combination of acoustic stringed instruments, serene melodies, and pristine vocals." (Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune)
Count This Penny
In late 2009, Count This Penny's Allen and Amanda Rigell cancelled their cable, wrote three songs, and played at an open mic inside the wide-hewn walls of the Down Home in Johnson City, TN.
Within three years, they relocated to Madison, WI, released an EP and recorded a full length at Madison's legendary Smart Studios just before the doors there closed for good. After their national radio debut on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, their EP took the #6 spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart.
This year, amidst sold-out hometown and regional shows, they're writing new songs that ring out shinier -- and sharper around the edges -- delivering on the promise of their first steps onto the stage.
A jazz-schooled, Appalachian influenced songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Shane Leonard's wide-ranging collaborations have put him on stage and/or record with Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Ben Sollee, Evan Ziporyn (Steve Reich), Sean Carey (Bon Iver), The Ericksons, MIT's Balinese Gamelan and Berklee College Of Music's Ensemble Robot, among others. Shane grew up playing drums with jazz combos and big bands before studying classical percussion and English education in college, later learning clawhammer banjo and old time fiddle in the homes of masters Clyde Davenport and Lee Sexton.
Shane currently tours with Field Report and Kalispell, playing drums, guitar, fiddle, banjo, and singing.
Duke Otherwise might not be Noah Riemer’s real name, but this slightly off-kilter stage character Mr. Riemer has developed is very real to his audience members. His zany show features his clever and thoughtfully composed original songs, wild dancing, and storytelling which all highlight his offbeat sense of humor--oft times catching children and adults unawares.
Performing family shows is Duke’s forte ́. “It’s a delight to scan the crowd,” says the Duke, “and see the children in uproar and really enjoying themselves. But it’s just as gratifying to see the adults reacting the same way and the beautiful camaraderie between them and the kids. I love it when I see them exchange glances and smiles after a funny lyric or an unexpected twist in the song.”
The Figureheads are an award-winning musical act turned non-profit organization that uses original, positive, hip-hop music to engage youth and educators, from pre-kindergarten through high-school, to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. Through their music, they have reached more than 300,000 kids in communities throughout the United States.
Figureheads members Greg Marshall, Jeremy Bryan, and Dave Olson focus on two acts to help young people achieve great respect for themselves, families, friends and their communities:
1. Inclusion, or the ability to collaborate with those different from you in age, ability, gender and race.
2. Literacy, the development of creative thinking towards oneself and society, which results in greater interests in reading, writing and the pursuit of knowledge.
Orange Crush Band
The BHS Orange Crush Pep Band is a collaboration between Burlington High School students and faculty. In their capacity as house band for BHS basketball games, Orange Crush Band has captivated a legion of followers with their musical talent and infectious enthusiasm. No longer the best-kept secret of the high school gymnasium touring circuit, OCB has been invited to grace the stages of venues as diverse as The Coffee House at Chestnut & Pine, Chocolate Fest, and the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Stop us if you've heard this one before: A drummer, a bass player, and a guitarist walk into a coffee shop...okay, you're right, probably not terribly original. But what if you add a killer sax player, a young piano prodigy, and a rotating cast of vocalists and instrumentalists, and this musical collective becomes the "house band" of said coffee house?
This is the story of Mad Bark, a collaboration that grew out of Thursday open mic nights at The Coffee House at Chestnut & Pine in Burlington, WI. Coming from a diverse background of musical experiences and influences, the genre-less sound and crazy alchemy that is Mad Bark works because of a shared passion for putting on a great show. To see them play is to understand what makes the creative community at The Coffee House so special.