Americana Trio The Devil Make Three Announce 2018 Tour


Credit: Giles Clement

The Devil Makes Three has announced an extensive North American tour for 2018 with tickets going on sale this Friday, November 10, HERE.


The 23-show run will kick-off in Madison, WI on January 10 and hit major cities throughout Canada and the American Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast, ending in Dallas, TX on February 10. Last year, the internationally beloved, Americana trio released Redemption & Ruin on New West Records to critical acclaim. The album is a thoughtfully curated collection of covers that pays tribute to its versatile genre’s staple players and the band’s most penetrative influences. Divided into two sides, the subjects of “redemption” and “ruin” are explored through various songs written by blues, roots, and rock legends like Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt and more. On the album, the band is also joined by an all-star cast of special guests like Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and guitar great Duane Eddy. The archival piece is tightly wound together by The Devil Makes Three’s rigorous energy and masterful musicianship, both of which shine through their live set. Please see below for full tour details, which includes the band’s current U.S. run that ends with two shows in Denver, CO on November 18 & 19.

American Songwriter calls Redemption & Ruin “a wonderfully successful foray that solidifies and expands the band’s already impressive credentials around a concept that’s a natural extension from their existing catalog of originals.” Additionally, Entertainment Weekly premiered the band’s interpretation of “Champagne and Reefer,” originally written and recorded by Chicago blues legend Muddy Waters, noting, “California trio The Devil Makes Three have served up their singularly spooky blend of blues, folk, and rockabilly for the past decade and a half.”

While Redemption & Ruin brings listeners directly to the source point of the band’s inspiration, original songwriting and a zeal for early Americana is what helped propel The Devil Makes Three through celebrated gigs big and small, including appearances at an array of festivals such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Hangout Fest, Shaky Knees, and Bonnaroo. Through multiple acclaimed albums featuring infectious songs like “Old Number Seven” and “Graveyard,” they have assembled a coalition of indie rock and folk music fans; and their punk spirit, along with some Santa Cruz history, has long pervaded their proudly raw presentation. That ethos helped the band connect with Nashville mastermind Buddy Miller for their 2013 project I’m A Stranger Here, which the Boston Globe praised for “a loose-limbed vibrancy that mimics the intensity of their live shows.”

The Devil Makes Three comprises Pete Bernhard, Cooper McBean, and Lucia Turino. The trio has been playing stomping folk for nearly 15 years and long before it started trending. As early roots influence in America grows, we can count on them not to sanitize its source material, or purge the suffering or the deviance or the repentance, from the stories they sing. “That’s what we think the best stuff is,” Pete says. “And it belongs there. To take it out is to destroy it.”

November 7 – Arcata, CA @ Humboldt State University
November 9 – Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theater
November 10 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
November 11 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
November 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
November 15 – Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
November 16 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
November 17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
November 18 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre (SOLD OUT)
November 19 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
January 10 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
January 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
January 12 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
January 13 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
January 14 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
January 16 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
January 18 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
January 19 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
January 20 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
January 23 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Ballroom
January 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
January 25 – Providence, RI @ Fete
January 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
January 27 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
January 30 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
January 31 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
February 1 – Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom
February 2 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
February 3 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
February 7 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
February 8 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
February 9 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
February 10 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater






James McMurtry and Jason Isbell  will join forces for an extensive co-bill tour together in early 2018. The highly lauded tunesmiths will launch the run at the Criterion in Oklahoma City on January 4 and serpentine for weeks throughout the South, Midwest and East Coast before concluding at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia on February 17. Major markets on this exciting tour include the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh and Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.


“James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth,” Isbell says, “and these days he’s working at the top of his game.”

The McMurtry-Isbell combination offers fans lyrical and musical depth and weight few tours can match. After all, they’ve both been hailed as the finest songwriters of their respective generations whose latest releases — McMurtry’s Complicated Game and Isbell’s The Nashville Sound — show them in absolutely peak form. “James has that rare gift of being able to make a listener laugh out loud at one line and choke up at the next,” Isbell enthuses. “I don’t think anybody writes better lyrics.” “Jason Isbell is one of the best songwriter-performers working today,” McMurtry counters, “and unlike most of us, he seems to have a work ethic to match. I will be studying him from the wings on this run.”

McMurtry continues riding waves of universal acclaim for Complicated Game. “At a stage where most veteran musicians fall into a groove or rut, McMurtry continues to surprise,” Texas Music magazine recently noted. “[Complicated Game] is a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.” Indeed, the Austin resident’s latest collection spotlights a singular craftsman as he turns inward (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtry says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman.”

Either way, McMurtry spins his stories with a novelist’s eye (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”) throughout. “[McMurtry] takes listeners on a road trip of unprecedented geographic and emotional scope,” No Depression raved of Complicated Game. “Lyrically, the album is wise and adventurous, with McMurtry — who’s not prone to autobiographical tales — credibly inhabiting characters from all walks of life.” “[McMurtry] fuses wry, literate observations about the world with the snarl of barroom rock,” NPR echoed. “The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.”

Longtime fans know McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have turned heads for more than a quarter-century now. His critically successful first album Too Long in the Wasteland (1989), which was produced by John Mellencamp, marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for Long Form Music Video for “Where’d You Hide the Body.” Additionally, It Had To Happen (1997) received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album. In his long career, songs like “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Peter Pan,” “Levelland,” and “Out Here in the Middle” only begin the list of high watermarks. (Yes, Robert Earl Keen covered those last two, “Levelland” remaining a live staple.) Childish Things (2005) scored endless critical praise and spent six full weeks topping the Americana Music Radio chart. In 2006, it won the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year. The track “We Can’t Make It Here” was named that rapidly rising organization’s Song of the Year, and was cited among The Nation’s “Best Protest Songs Ever.” Just Us Kids (2008) earned McMurtry his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched Americana Music Award nominations. Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorites “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” Songs detailing the lives of everyday people, like “Fireline Road,” pierce listeners’ hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary. “James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” said Stephen King.

Meanwhile, Isbell’s The Nashville Sound follows his critically acclaimed Something More Than Free (2015), which won two Grammy Awards (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song, “24 Frames”) and two Americana Music Honors and Awards (Album of the Year and Song of the Year, “24 Frames”). Nashville Sound’s ten tracks address real-life subjects, including cultural privilege, politics, love, and mortality. The release also finds Isbell and his bandmates returning to their rock roots full force.

Isbell steadily has become one the most respected and celebrated songwriters working today. “With his honeysuckle drawl and unrivaled knack for lyrical detail,” Rolling Stone noted, “Jason Isbell is arguably the most revered roots-rock singer-songwriter of his generation. Isbell sings of the every day human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty, and the new album is no exception.”

The Nashville Sound was recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A and produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, who also produced Something More Than Free as well as Isbell’s 2013 breakthrough album Southeastern. The Nashville Sound is the first official Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit album since 2011’s Here We Rest. Isbell’s band the 400 Unit features Derry deBorja (keyboards), Chad Gamble (drums), Jimbo Hart (bass), Amanda Shires (fiddle) and Sadler Vaden (guitar). The group’s five-night stand at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in October sold out in less than three hours.

McMurtry’s no stranger to sold-out venues himself. He’s been packing houses with the James McMurtry Band since the release of his first record. In 2004, the popular Live in Aught-Three, on Compadre Records, demonstrated McMurtry & co.’s power on the road. In 2009, the CD/DVD Live in Europe was released, capturing the band’s first European tour and extraordinary live set. Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, the disc features special guests Ian McLagan (the late Faces keyboardist and longtime Austin fixture) and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, Skunks).

McMurtry tours year round and consistently throws down unparalleled powerhouse performances. The Washington Post notes: “Much attention is paid to James McMurtry’s lyrics and rightfully so: He creates a novel’s worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he’s an accomplished rock guitar player … serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band.”

U.S.Tour Dates

Thur., Jan. 4 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK The Criterion

Fri., Jan. 5 DALLAS, TX The Bomb Factory

Sat., Jan. 6 BATON ROUGE, LA Baton Rouge River Center

Sun., Jan. 7 MOBILE, AL Saenger Theatre

Thur., Jan. 18 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Fri., Jan. 19 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Sat., Jan. 20 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Sun., Jan. 21 LITTLE ROCK, AR Robinson Performance Hall

Tue., Jan. 23 CEDAR RAPIDS, IA Paramount Theatre

Wed., Jan. 24 MILWAUKEE, WI The Riverside Theatre

Fri., Jan. 26 ANN ARBOR, MI Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Sat., Jan. 27 INDIANAPOLIS, IN Murat Theatre at Old National Center

Mon., Jan. 29 PITTSBURGH, PA Heinz Hall

Tue., Jan. 30 BUFFALO, NY UB Center for the Arts

Wed., Jan. 31 ALBANY, NY The Palace Theatre

Fri., Feb. 2 PROVIDENCE, RI Veterans Memorial

Sat., Feb. 3 BROOKLYN, NY Kings Theatre

Mon., Feb. 5 RED BANK, NJ Count Basie Theatre

Tue., Feb. 6 BALTIMORE, MD The Modell Lyric

Thur., Feb. 8 ATLANTA, GA Fox Theatre

Fri., Feb. 9 ATLANTA, GA Fox Theatre

Sat., Feb. 10 DURHAM, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Sun., Feb. 11 DURHAM, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Tue., Feb. 13 ITHACA, NY State Theatre of Ithaca

Wed., Feb. 14 READING, PA The Santander Performing Arts Center

Fri., Feb. 16 RICHMOND, VA Altria Theatre Richmond

Sat., Feb. 17 CHARLESTON, WV Charleston Municipal Auditorium



Americana Duo The Contenders Debut Album Tomorrow

The Contenders-Laughing With The Reckless-cover.jpg

Americana/folk-rock duo The Contenders (singer-songwriter Jay Nash and singer/drummer Josh Day) are set to release their  debut full-length album, Laughing with the Reckless, tomorrow via Rock Ridge Music.

The record is very much about the perseverance of hope in dark times along with the powerful connection of music, old friends, and loved ones, all delivered with a wry and wistful narrative, and is the follow-up to their 2014 EP, Meet The Contenders. Dear friend and fellow troubadour Joey Ryan of The Milk Carton Kids has said that it is not just an album of “infectious rhythms and sublime two-part harmonies,” but one that conveys a balance of hope with a unique and powerful sense of heartbreak.

The pair makes the sort of music found in the intricate and varied tapestry that is real Americana—full of grit, with a steady heartbeat and a hint of honky-tonk—writing songs that speak of wanderers and highways, lovers and losers, good times and missed chances, all of it with a ferocity born of hard work and honed skill. The Contenders’ raucous foundation of rhythm and harmony is based upon such simple things—glorious two-part vocal harmonies, a guitar and drums. Wrote Country Weekly of the pair’s music: “The duo’s sound paints a picture of open stretches of road as well as lazy days at home—sonic comfort food constructed on a bed of groove and storytelling.”

Nash and Day, who are based in Vermont and Nashville respectively, met in Los Angeles over a decade ago when they bonded over a shared love of The Band, roots music, and a sacred admiration for the great American songbook. As their paths continued to cross over the years, collaboration, they concluded, would be inevitable.

Jay Nash’s music is like the river that raised him—strong and deep, with a little bit of lullaby and a big damn current. Twenty years ago, he played loud in bars along the Saint Lawrence River, in the reaches of New York so far-flung they’re almost Canadian. For the last decade, he’s journeyed the U.S. and Europe solo, selling over 60,000 records without ever putting ink on a conventional record deal. Now in the Green Mountains, the quiet cold of winter rarefies wit and musicianship into the kind of Americana that knows where it comes from.

Hailing from the sweet, sticky hill country of North Carolina, Josh Day brings a percussive virtuosity that shapes the music and supports the vocals. With unusual creativity and fine-boned craftsmanship, Day has that special something that resonates with audiences and always feels a bit like a party. Be it playing bluegrass with the Kruger Brothers, roots rock with John Oates, touring with Sara Bareilles, or drumming for Jennifer Nettles, Day keeps it steadfast honest, just what one would expect from a man who plays with so much heart.

2017 has already been busy for The Contenders, with a performance at MerleFest (their second appearance there) in April, as well as a number of tour dates across the U.S. Plans are in place for touring in the Netherlands and Germany in October. More U.S. dates in support of the forthcoming album are scheduled for November (see tour schedule below). Additional dates will be announced soon.

The Contenders Tour Schedule:

11/8 – Somerville, MA – The Rockwell

11/11 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2

11/12 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live Upstairs

11/13 – Vienna, VA – Jammin Java

11/14 – Minneapolis, MN – Aster Café

11/15 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

11/17 – Spring Lake, MI – Seven Steps Up

11/18 – Columbus, OH – Rambling House Music Bar





Nashville Beats: New Single from Kelsey Waters


Emerging singer-songwriter Kelsey Waters released her new single “Want” via Spotify’s “Femme Fatale” playlist. Sitting next to the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Elle King, Lana Del Rey among others, “Femme Fatale” also includes Waters’ “One More Habit.” Both tracks showcase Waters’ hypnotic vocal and unique indie rocker sound on electric guitar.

Kelsey explains, “I wrote ‘Want’ a few years ago, and at the time, it was a story I was all too familiar with. In very few words, it’s about the realization of being addicted to someone who’s addicted to something. The song encapsulates everything from desire to heartbreak. It’s dark. It’s sexual. And to me, it’s very honest.” She continues, “I wanted to shine a light on addiction and what it’s like to love someone with demons. Resigning to the fact that you will always come second and, in a sense, that you are just as much of an addict yourself for choosing to stay.”

Originally from Florida, the Nashville-based singer released an EP earlier this year called Cool Cars garnering critical praise. Waters’ was recently compared to one of her biggest influences by Young Music City who noted, “Kelsey Waters is the coolest of cools” calling her “a hipster 20-something Sheryl Crow with angelic whispy pipes and really cool clothes.” Growing up in a musically and artistically-inclined family, Kelsey taught herself how to play guitar at thirteen, when she also started writing her own songs. Later she attended Florida State University for design while performing in bars and clubs up to five nights a week. Deciding that singing, recording and songwriting was her passion, she left school to focus on music full-time. Inspired by the underground rock scene and artists such as Paramore, Kings of Leon, along with Jack White’s label, Kelsey decided to move to Nashville in 2013 to hone her craft of songwriting. Within the first year after her move, Kelsey landed a publishing deal and started writing full-time. She soon signed with William Morris Entertainment, booking shows and going on the road with artists such as The Band Perry, Indigo Girls, Kiefer Sutherland, Wynonna, LeAnn Rimes and Pat Benatar, among others.  Kelsey sites her influences as musical legends David Bowie and Led Zeppelin, along with great rock women of the 90’s including Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Joan Osborne and Bonnie Raitt.



New Release from Arlington’s Reggae Outfit — SOJA


Nearly two decades ago, SOJA began as high school friends in a D.C. area basement teaching each other to be musicians and play roots reggae music. Today, the 2x GRAMMY-nominated eight-piece band, with over 7 million online followers and over 300 million Youtube views, headlines concerts all over the world for their massive dedicated fanbase.

For their latest studio album, Poetry In Motion it was essential for SOJA to consciously go back to the beginning and recapture that same sincere, collaborative magic sparked 20 years ago.





A Sound Recommendation: Austin Based Duo — Hovvdy


photo:  Bronwyn Walls

Based in Austin, Texas, Hovvdy (pronounced “howdy”) is the writing and recording project of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor. The duo, both primarily drummers, first met in the fall of 2014 and quickly bonded over a love for quiet music. Within a few weeks, they had combined songs and began recording their first EP in bedrooms and family homes across Texas.

By 2016 the two had committed to each others growth in songwriting and recording, resulting in their debut album Taster, originally released on Sports Day Records and reissued in 2017 by Double Double Whammy. Hovvdy has found a unique identity in rhythmic, down-tempo pop songs that are hopeful, yet melancholy; relatable, yet distinguishable.

Hovvdy’s sophomore album, Cranberry, expands on a familiar texture, building off Taster’s minimal complexity and covering new ground. Cranberry will be released on Double Double Whammy on February 9th.


Hovvdy have released a video for “Petal,” the lead single from the new album, which NPR, who premiered the video are saying it’s “tender, thoughtful bedroom pop built off simple elements and pensive melodies.”

PRE-ORDER Cranberry

Additionally, Hovvdy have announced a west coast fall tour. All dates below.

11/7 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
11/8 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
11/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
11/10 – Santa Barbara, CA @ UCSB
11/11 – Oakland, CA @ The Hole
11/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
11/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Trunk Space
11/16 – Marfa, TX @ Lost Horse Saloon
11/17 – Denton, TX @ Bean Cave
11/18 – Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s



Rodney Crowell To Be Honored With Prestigious ASCAP Founders Award


Multi-Grammy Award winning troubadour Rodney Crowell will be honored by ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, with its prestigious ASCAP Founders Award at the 55th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards on November 6, 2017. The Founders Award is one of ASCAP’s highest honors and is presented to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Previous recipients include George Strait, Alan Jackson, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Neil Young.

Crowell’s new album Close Ties, released March 31st of this year, has gained considerable critical acclaim with NPR Music stating, “There’s no doubt that Crowell was an architect of Americana as we know it, and with Close Ties, we’re fortunate to have a look at his blueprints.” The Wall Street Journal raved, “[Close Ties] proves energizing, engaging and often fascinating;” and the Associated Press added, “…the set ranks among his best.” The Los Angeles Times called it “exceptional,” while No Depression noted, “Whether he’ll accept it or not, [Crowell has] now assumed the mantle of the late Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, two poets who could zero in on our emotions by telling wry, straight-as-an-arrow stories about the desiccated desolation of the failures or triumphs of relationships, or the battered denizens of small towns searching for truth, comfort, love, or refuge in their own halting ways.”

Throughout his long and successful career, Crowell has written or recorded 15 #1 songs on the country music charts, with cuts by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait) to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James) to rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). He has won six Americana Music Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2009 as well as Song of the Year in 2017 for Close Ties’ single “It Ain’t Over Yet,” which is a vocal collaboration between Crowell, his ex-wife Rosanne Cash, and John Paul White. Rolling Stone Country premiered the Reid Long-directed video for the song stating, “The evocative lyrics call to mind the two-tone, punked-out cover image from Cash’s 1985 LP Rhythm and Romance, which preceded Crowell’s mainstream country breakthrough of five consecutive Number One hits from 1988’s Diamonds & Dirt and the subsequent collapse of the couple’s marriage.” The video also features legendary harmonica player Mickey Raphael and can be seen HERE. The Nashville Scene called the track “a folky shuffle about not quitting even if you feel like you have nothing left to offer. The elegantly crafted song takes the form of a conversation…and it’s one gem among many on Crowell’s album Close Ties.”