Tucked into the beautiful historic gold rush town of Grass Valley, The Center for the Arts is a haven for world famous musicians of all kinds. Big names and emerging artists alike love to make the Center a stop on their tours since it’s often on their way from one big city gig in the Bay Area or Sacramento to another, and they love the warm, welcoming atmosphere they find here. There are some wonderful acts coming up that you won’t want to miss:
Dance Concert – Limited Theater Seating
Thursday, August 3, 8:00 p.m.
Singer/songwriter Tyler Rich returns to his home turf for a concert of original country music at The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley on Thursday, August 3. Rich was named “One to
Watch in 2015” at Nashville’s Country Music Social Media Awards in 2015.
Growing up in Yuba City he found his love for country music at the age of 8 when his cousin took him to see George Strait. From George Straight to Garth Brooks to Brooks & Dunn, Tyler immersed himself in music. Three months before his 14th birthday, his Grandparents surprised him with a guitar for Christmas, and he never stopped playing.
After countless hours working on his craft and years touring with multiple bands in his early twenties, Rich decided it was time to pursue his career as a solo artist.
Recently Rich has performed alongside artists including Sam Hunt, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi, Canaan Smith, Maddie & Tae, and he spent 4 months on the road opening their “Hell of a Night” tour with Dustin Lynch and Chris Lane.
Learn more about Tyler Rich HERE
The Secret Sisters
Friday, August 4, 8:00 p.m.
With recordings produced by T Bone Burnett and Brandi Carlile, The Secret Sisters bring their southern flavored original music to The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley for a concert on Friday, August 4.
About a 20-minute drive is all that separated The Secret Sisters from being born in historic Muscle Shoals, Alabama, though its sheer proximity to their hometown of Happy Valley practically foretold that Laura and Lydia Rogers were destined for lives as recording and performing artists.
Growing up surrounded by the sounds of the South and the powerful timeless music emanating from Muscle Shoals, The Secret Sisters were heavily influenced by a range of uniquely American musical styles, including country, bluegrass and gospel, as well as classic rock and pop. They were raised on a rich tapestry of music, listening to everything from George Jones and Loretta Lynn, to The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Ramones, Fiona Apple and Rufus Wainwright.
Their debut album was soon lauded by critics and adored by their rapidly growing legion of fans. The stage was set for the sisters to advance as artists and further establish themselves as songwriters, which they proved to do on their sophomore album, Put Your Needle Down, an eclectic mix of musical styles and sounds rooted in storytelling. Luckily the duo had a powerhouse producer, T Bone Burnett, to help them on their first two albums. “We became friends with T Bone early on in our career and he was a wonderful guide,” said Lydia. The Secret Sisters are always careful about how they want their music to sound. “I think that recording live is the best way that you can record an album because it really captures a band’s ability to glue themselves to one another and create something beautiful.” She adds, “There is something beautiful and honest about not being perfect.”
For their third studio album, the Secret Sisters worked with long-time friend, mentor, and hero Brandi Carlile. With Brandi as well as Phil and Tim Hanseroth at the helm, the sisters have spent the majority of 2016 recording in Seattle. The final product, You Don’t Own Me Anymore is coming spring 2017 on New West Records.
There is still an aura of mystery that surrounds The Secret Sisters, and they certainly like to keep their fans wondering where they’ll head next on their musical journey. But with Laura and Lydia, one thing is for certain: integrity and honesty will guide every note.
Opening the show, Wolf Creek Boys are an acoustic duo hailing from Grass Valley comprised of brothers Mathew and Jerry Sena. Their focus on honest songwriting, as well as a sound that blends Americana influences with their upbringing in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has continued to grow both their live and recorded presence in the northern California music scene. They spent their first few months playing local open mics, but have since moved up to sharing the stage with Chuck Ragan at venues such as the Sierra Nevada Big Room in Chico and Moes Alley in Santa Cruz. The Wolf Creek Boys spent most of 2016 playing shows around California and Nevada to support their first self-titled physical release, and are making plans to continue to tour along the West Coast and beyond. They’re scheduled to release their next EP late in the summer of 2017, in addition to releasing a video produced by Devan Power.
Learn more about Secret Sisters HERE
An Evening with Katie Rubin
Warning: These Jokes Will Probably Kill You
Saturday, August 5, 8:00 p.m.
Katie Rubin returns to The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley bringing her latest comedy piece, “Warning: These Jokes Will Probably Kill You.”
Rubin is a nationally touring Stand Up Comic, Solo Show Performer, Regional Theatre Actress, Writing/Improv Coach, and Energetic Healer. Katie has written and toured three hour-long Stand Up Comedy Shows to Theaters, Comedy Clubs, Universities, Women’s Events, Spiritual Retreats, Cruises, Corporate Jobs, and a wide variety of venues. She earned her MFA in Acting from UC Davis and her BA in Theatre and Dance at Amherst College.
Her first professional solo show, “Insides OUT!”, toured to venues across the country for eight years. “Insides OUT!” received a nine week Equity production at the Sacramento Theater Company. The show has toured to over 100 events and venues.
Ms. Rubin’s second solo show, “Amazing and Sage,” was commissioned by Professional Regional Theatre, Capital Stage in Sacramento. “My Spiritual Death” toured for several years, followed by “Why I Died, a Comedy!” which was produced at The Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, and was then picked up by The Echo and The LA Women’s Theatre Festival.”Why I Died” has had several regional theatre productions, one of which lead to the commissioning of Ms. Rubin’s 5th solo show, “F*%k Christmas.(But Gently, and With Love),” which ran two nights at Capital Stage in Sacramento.
Rubin has performed professionally for more than 15 years and regards her road to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction as part of the reason for her multifaceted creative abilities. “I’ve done so much personal growth work, and have made so many efforts to clear what’s been limiting for me in consciousness, that the creative work I do can only benefit from that,” she says. The aim of her work? To point out daily human struggles and then laugh about them. Recovery doesn’t define her, she says. Rather, her inspiration comes “from being alive and paying attention.”
Learn more about Katie Rubin HERE
Doyle Bramhall II
Dance show with limited theater seating
Friday, August 18, 8:00 p.m.
Texan, guitarist, producer and Eric Clapton band-mate Doyle Bramhall II brings his band to The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley on Friday, August 18 for a concert featuring music from his most recent solo release, “Rich Man.”
Doyle Bramhall II is one of the most distinctive vocalists, guitarists, composers and producers in contemporary music. Eric Clapton, with whom Bramhall has worked for more than a decade, lauds him as one of the most gifted guitarists he has ever encountered.
Son of the late Texas music legend Doyle Bramhall, he was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock ’n’ roll styles indigenous to Texas. The elder Bramhall played drums and was also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, not to mention a lifelong collaborator with childhood friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, who composed such SRV signature tunes as “Change It” and “Life by the Drop.”
In addition to his work with Clapton, Bramhall became an in demand composer, guitarist and producer. He enjoyed high profile collaborations with a broad range of other major artists, including T-Bone Burnett, Elton John, Gary Clark, Jr., Gregg Allman, Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Erykah Badu, Questlove, Meshell Ndegeocello and Sheryl Crow, whom he produced and composed songs for on 100 Miles from Memphis (2011), and then joined her to support the record on tour. In 2015 he teamed with ace guitarist Derek Trucks (with whom he was proclaimed “The New Guitar Gods” by Guitar World when both served in Clapton’s band in the late 2000s) in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, also starring Trucks’ wife, Susan Tedeschi. Bramhall’s songs and guitar playing have graced each of the three, critically acclaimed Tedeschi Trucks Band albums issued to date.
Since 2008, and in the year following his father’s death, Bramhall had extensively explored India and Northern Africa. The influence of these journeys manifest in Rich Man’s inclusion of the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi—played by virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh—and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, played by Bramhall’s own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger.
Also appearing on Rich Man is Norah Jones, with whom Bramhall had been performing every six months or so in a concert series. The duet “New Faith” was emblematic of the entire album in its hope that people can look beyond all that divides them and find a new way of thinking that enables peaceful progress through mutual respect and understanding.
Rich Man, then, is a watershed achievement for Bramhall, both in terms of the many music styles in the tracks—which begin and end with his fundamental American blues influences, and in between, follow his global music explorations and arrangements–and the inner examinations resulting in the spiritual growth expressed in the lyrics.
Learn more about Doyle Bramhall HERE
Ruston Kelly opening
Sunday, August 20, 8:00 p.m.
Pokey LaFarge continues his nationwide tour with a stop at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley on Sunday, August 20 with an opening set by songwriter Ruston Kelly.
The summer tour celebrates LaFarge’s new album, Manic Revelations. Released to widespread praise, NPR Music recently premiered the official music video for “Music Be A Reason.” Of the song, NPR Music’s Bob Boilen hails, “The contours of Pokey LaFarge’s music have always evoked a time before he was born, but the here-and-now is center stage in the themes and messaging within.”
Pokey LaFarge is a musician. He is a storyteller. He is a feeler of feelings. He is a narrator of the messy, unkempt American experience. He sits, he watches, he writes.
Recorded in LaFarge’s hometown of St. Louis, Manic Revelations features 10 new original songs and was produced by the Southside Collective along with additional production by Tony Hoffer.
“The manic revelation is the state where artists create,” says LaFarge. “I got to the point in writing these songs where I felt like a house on fire that just kept burning.” He continues, “This album is about confronting yourself. It’s about confronting your city, its relation with the world, and all its people.”
Since his debut in 2006, LaFarge has released eight studio albums.
Opening the show will be Nashville songwriter Ruston Kelly who, as it turns out, may be an even hotter artist. In the past 2 years, he has amassed an impressive catalog of cuts including tracks for Kenny Chesney, Josh Abbott Band, and Tim McGraw’s track “Nashville Without You.” Sure, Ruston can write a “country” song, however, he has also created a personal sound which embodies indie, folk and rock – that when paired with his raw and honest lyrics makes for something different altogether. A captivating performer, his knack for storytelling along with his melodic vocal control seems to leave audiences in awe. He’s shared this gift on tour with artists including Robert Earl Keen, The Oh Hellos, and The Lumineers, and at festivals such as Bonnaroo and Wakarusa.
Thursday & Friday, August 24-25, 8:00 p.m.
Following up on his two sold out shows in 2016, winner of NBC’s The Voice – Sawyer Fredricks – returns to The Center for the Arts for two nights on August 24 and 25.
Eighteen year old singer-songwriter Sawyer Fredericks, hailing from his family’s farm in central New York State, is fast establishing himself as an authentic, original, Americana artist with an old soul. His deep, beyond-his-years lyrics and melodies, raw, soulful vocals, and powerful live performances have attracted an ever growing number of devoted fans of all ages, selling out shows throughout the US.
As a folk/blues singer-songwriter, who cut his teeth at local farmers markets, open mics, and iconic New York venues like Caffe Lena, the Towne Crier Cafe, and The Bitter End, Sawyer seemed an unlikely match for reality tv, but quickly won over broad audiences with his genuine delivery and unique arrangements of classic songs, going on to win season 8 of NBC’s The Voice.
Fresh from that whirlwind, Sawyer went forward with the release of his major label debut, A Good Storm, with Republic Records, an impressive blend of soulful Folk, blues, and rock, entirely written or cowritten by Sawyer. His 2016 A Good Storm Tour included 62 shows across the US. For 2017, Sawyer has once again gone independent, is busy crafting his sophomore offering, with full artistic freedom, and continuing to tour.
Learn more about Sawyer Fredricks HERE
Thursday, August 31, 8:00 p.m.
Country music prodigy EmiSunshine returns to The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley for a concert on Thursday, August 31.
It’s impossible to explain the exceptional talents of EmiSunshine, a 13-year-old from East Tennessee who has captured the nation’s attention as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Steeped in Appalachian music, she is a true vocal stylist, one who instinctively knows how to interpret the nuances of a song with her impressive range, even though she has yet to gain the life experience and empathy seemingly necessary to fully comprehend the words she sings. Despite a given name that reflects optimism, she is drawn to darker themes of pain, anguish and even murder, like that of The Louvin Brothers, whom she loves.
The Tennessean is just the latest to describe her as “an old soul,” noting, “Onstage, this soul’s presence is commanding and her singing voice authentic and folksy.” While her youth might remind many of Taylor Swift, a more apt comparison would be to artists such as Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss or members of the Carter Family.
Whether she’s performing on the Today show or the Grand Ole Opry or taking the stage at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, she is fearless, confident and firm in her musical direction. As she says, she sings “old-time music,” but it’s her own unique blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure. Her talent is indescribable and inexplicable, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be understood to be appreciated.
“What makes me want to do this is I just love it,” she says. “I just really, really love it. I wouldn’t trade anything not to do this.”
“I love how I get to sing to people and make them happy,” she says. “I’m really blessed that I get to do this. It makes me feel amazing, like I’m touching somebody’s life.”
Learn more about EmiSunshine here
For more information about these shows and more, or to purchase tickets, visit www.thecenterforthearts.org.