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:
The Flatlanders – Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock
Wednesday, October 4, 7:30 p.m.
Texas music titans The Flatlanders perform in concert at The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley on Wednesday, October 4.
The fact that Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock – on their first go-round as The Flatlanders in 1972 – were completely rejected by the country music establishment is surprising in retrospect but, ultimately, poetic. That each went on to have formidable solo careers is a testament to their talent and determination. Add to this their diverse yet complimentary styles – Joe the street-wise rocker, Jimmie Dale the mystic with the classic country voice and Butch the cerebral folk singer – and you’ve got a story of one of the most extraordinary kinships in American musical history.
It took these Flatlanders a mere three decades to release the sequel to their legendary debut. So the swift arrival of the group’s latest New West album Wheels of Fortune – which comes hard on the heels of 2002’s widely acclaimed Now Again – is a delightful and very welcome surprise. The fourteen songs that make up Wheels Of Fortune are absolute wonders of songcraft, sung by three of the most authentic voices in music today.
Joe, Jimmie and Butch initially reunited as The Flatlanders in 1998 to do a one-off recording, at the behest of Robert Redford’s people, for the soundtrack of The Horse Whisperer. It was so much fun, the trio regrouped and cut an entire album. The result, Now Again, was unanimously received as a triumph. Mojo magazine dubbed them a “country Beatles.” Rolling Stone gave it 3 and 1/2 stars. The Washington Post said, “Given the jaw-dropping quality of the disc, three decades almost seems a reasonable wait.” Billboard raved, “An event record that lives up to all expectations.” Now Again spent 17 weeks at #1 on the Americana charts and 21 weeks on the Billboard Country charts.
Learn more about The Flatlanders HERE
Rainbow Girls opening
Saturday, October 7, 8:00 p.m.
Northwest art quartet Kuinka (coo-WINK-uh) brings their latest musical adventures to The Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley on Saturday, October 7.
The name Kuinka comes from the Finnish for “how”; how does a band bristling with spirited creativity continue to evolve artistically and challenge themselves while staying true to their own roots? For Kuinka, the answer comes in the form of letting go: a joyful acquiescence to their cumulative love of songwriting and shared experience, regardless of genre or instrumentation. Brothers Zach and Nathan Hamer, along with Miranda Zickler and Jillian Walker, came together in 2014 to form a unique breed of string band; one proudly defiant of preconceived notions of what fits under the label ‘Americana’.
Their 2014 debut The Wild North, which propelled the band out of the woods and on to stages across the country, was followed by their 2016 breakout LP The Heartland. Both albums were recorded at the famed Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, WA (Fleet Foxes, Metric), and led to featured performances at dozens of festivals and several successful national headlining tours.
Home from touring The Heartland, all four found themselves in the midst of major life changes both as people and as artists; moving out of the house they‘d shared for the previous two years to new cities and broadening the total palette from which they draw as musicians. After fleshing out new songs in rehearsal, the band headed to a studio near Portland, OR with the trusted ears of longtime producer Jerry Streeter (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers). The quartet was joined in the studio with their touring wizard of the woodwinds John Benefiel who handled clarinet and saxophone.
The songs on their forthcoming release Stay Up Late ring with the vibrancy of exploration and discovery. “We’ve spent our time as a band in pursuit of a unique sound that captures our energy and essence” says Zickler. “We’d love for our music to be a soundtrack to adventure. Our biggest goal as a collective is to fight the trend of apathy — to infuse everything we do with a sense of joy, and to affect positive change in the world to the best of our ability.”
Opening the show will be the Rainbow Girls, a collaborative of songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, vocalists, and California natives who spent their first 5 years touring Europe and the US as a rock n’ roll band. Since 2016 they’ve returned to their folkier roots by embarking on a House Concert Tour Across America. The current trio version of the band (Erin Chapin, Caitlin Gowdey, & Vanessa May) highlights their rich harmonies, ageless songwriting, and soulful, bluesy sound at its rawest form.
Learn more about Kuinka HERE and The Rainbow Girls HERE
An Evening with Sarah Jarosz
Wednesday, October 11, 7:30 p.m.
2017 double Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz returns to The Center for the Arts for a concert on Wednesday, October 11.
With her fourth album, Undercurrent, Jarosz makes a studied departure from her previous records, shifting the emphasis from her skills as a multi-instrumentalist to her songwriting and vocal performance. Undercurrent accentuates the growth and maturity that Jarosz, now 25, has achieved since graduating from New England Conservatory and moving to New York City. The change in approach garnered Jarosz two Grammy Awards in 2017 – Best Folk Album for Undercurrent and Best American Roots Performance for “House Of Mercy.” Undercurrent also picked up the award for 2017 Album of the Year from Folk Alliance International.
On Undercurrent, Jarosz delivers a set of all-original songs, centered around four solo pieces that set the tone of the record. The Wall Street Journal notes “This economical approach brings the listener closer to Ms. Jarosz than on any of her previous recordings, and it suits the lyrical theme of passion that, mostly, is forbidden and unrequited.”
The Austin Chronicle’s Jim Caligiuri declared “For Austinites who’ve followed her since her early teens, the fact that Wimberley native Sarah Jarosz blossomed into one of the most stirring musicians of her generation comes as absolutely no surprise,” while NPR’s Katie Presley made note of Jarosz’s newfound maturity, praising her “uncharacteristically (and deliciously) unyielding” vocal carriage.
Jarosz ended 2016 and began 2017 building on her previous successes in the UK and Ireland, including sold out shows at Union Chapel in London and City Halls in Glasgow. She also continues to make frequent appearances on the new Chris Thile-hosted A Prairie Home Companion.
Joining Sarah will be Jeff Picker on bass and Anthony da Costa on guitars and vocals.
Learn more about Sarah Jarosz HERE
Saturday, October 14, 8:00 p.m.
Described as “dazzling” by the New York Times, Makana is an internationally acclaimed guitarist, singer, composer and activist who is widely known for lending his musical talent for social change. He has been a TEDx talk presenter, and his guitar playing has been featured on three Grammy-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film “The Descendants”.
In 2011, at the apex of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, Makana’s song “We Are The Many” went viral on YouTube garnering more than half a million collective views and was coined the “Occupy Anthem” by Rolling Stone Magazine. His performance of the song at an APEC World Leaders’ Dinner hosted by the Obamas also went viral and became the #1 news story on Yahoo worldwide for two days, garnering appearances on CNN, BBC, ABC, Democracy Now!, Sean Hannity and other major news outlets.
Makana’s captivating and wide-ranging performance style has led him to share the stage with Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, open for music legends Sting, Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello, and perform in venues ranging from Asian and European opera houses to The White House. He has released 8 records to date and most recently a music video anthem, “Fire is Ours”, for Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Makana’s career is incredibly diverse: he recently opened for Common at the Global Green Pre-Oscar party in Hollywood, co-headlined a music festival with Nahko and Medicine for the People, scored the Hawai’i Visitors & Convention Bureau’s entire 2016 TV campaign for Hawai’i (airing on networks and in movie theaters nationwide) and was awarded a PELE advertising award for his score, composed a song honoring the historic pier of the coastal town of Cayucos (after helping raise funding for its restoration), and produced 3 tribute concerts honoring his late mentor, slack key legend Sonny Chillingworth. In the summer of 2016 he was invited to open a US national arena tour for rock legends Bad Company & Joe Walsh, and debuted his newest album “Introducing SLACK ROCK”.
The focus of Makana’s art is to celebrate the beauty of tradition while exploring new, relevant perceptions, sounds and themes. In his music he often honors his forebears, the vintage Hawaiian music legends as well as the rock poet idols of the 60s, paying homage to the kupuna (elders) who carry within their Beings the cultural wisdom passed down through generations.
Learn more about Makana HERE
with Gill Landry (from Old Crow Medicine Show) opening
October 16 & 17 8:00 p.m.
Conscious collective Rising Appalachia returns to The Center for the Arts for two concerts on Monday and Tuesday, October 16 and 17.
Rising Appalachia brings to the stage a collection of sounds, stories, and songs steeped in tradition and a devotion to world culture. Intertwining a deep reverence for folk music and a passion for justice, they have made it their life’s work to sing songs that speak to something ancient yet surging with relevance. Whether playing at Red Rocks or in rail cars, at Italian street fairs or to Bulgarian herbalists, this fiercely independent band has blazed a unique and colorful path across the globe. Eleven years into their movement, Rising Appalachia believes that the roots of all these old songs are vital to our ever evolving soundscape.
Led by the collective voice of sisters Leah and Chloe, and joined by percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown – Rising Appalachia is a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off.
On Tuesday, October 17, prior to their performance, there will be a ticketed “conversation” on music, life, and the role of art in the social justice movement. The band will weave conversations, questions from the audience and acoustic songs into a natural off-stage experience. Each Conversation ticket includes a ticket to the full length show as well.
Listen for a tapestry of song, clawhammer banjo tunes, fiddle, double bass, acoustic guitar, djembe, barra, bodhran, spoken word, and a wealth of musical layering that will leave you called to action and lulled into rhythmic dance simultaneously. It is both genre bending and familiar at the same time. Proudly born and raised in the concrete jungle of Atlanta, Georgia, sharpening their instincts in the mountains of Appalachia, and fine tuning their soul on the streets of New Orleans they have crafted a 6-album career from the dusts of their passion.
In 2015 Rising Appalachia founded the Slow Music Movement, to help maintain an independent musical spirit in the face of such a fast-paced world. They are creatively committed to keeping their work accessible at the local street level as well as expanding to larger audiences abroad, and have continued to maintain autonomy by self- managing, recording, producing and creating, and directing their work. They are greatly honored to do the work that they do.
Learn more about Rising Appalachia HERE
For more information about these shows and more, or to purchase tickets, visit www.thecenterforthearts.org.
Content and photos provided by Peter Wilson