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Greaser`s Ball

Reverend Horton Heat

It’s true that the Reverend Horton Heat have been called a great many things over the course of their storied career: Perpetual Carriers Of The Rockabilly Flame, Genre-Shattering Problem Children, Filthy Drunks, and The Most Electrifying Live Act In America (150 shows every year can’t be wrong). But whatever you happen to call them, their country-flavored punkabilly and onstage antics have brought the Reverend Horton Heat a strikingly diverse fan base and a devoted cult following. The Rev himself, aka Jim Heath, leads the way with signature guitar riffs, while pounding out the bottom notes (often on top of) his upright bass is Jimbo Wallace, while Scott Churilla keeps time on the drums.

Big Sandy

Ben Miller Band

Ben Miller – vocals/guitar/banjo
Scott Leeper – one-string washtub bass
Doug Dicharry – drums/trombone/trumpet/mandolin/electric washboard/spoons

"I like the idea of saying something very complicated in a very simple way," says Ben Miller, discussing the trio that bears his name. "That's what we strive for musically, and what I strive for lyrically—to get directly to the point and save the flowery b.s. for the romantic poets. John Sargent, the painter, said 'That which is not necessary is detrimental,' and we try to live by that."

Since its formation in 2004, the Ben Miller Band has staked out a singular niche that's established the Joplin, Missouri threesome as both a potent creative force and a perennial fan favorite. Any Way, Shape or Form, the BMB's New West debut release, showcases the seasoned threesome's fierce creative spirit and infectious performing chemistry, as well as Miller's melodically catchy, lyrically resonant songwriting.

On Any Way, Shape or Form, the Ben Miller Band channels a century's worth of wide-ranging influences into 13 new songs that radiate with energy, smarts and soul. The result is music that's wholly contemporary, while ringing with ages-old echoes of bluegrass, delta blues, Appalachian mountain music and more. A stew they lovingly call “ozark stomp.”

Miller writes roots-rocking barnburners ("The Outsider," "Burning Building"), thoughtful ballads ("I Feel for You," "Prettiest Girl") and left-field departures ("23 Skidoo") with melodic skill and lyrical insight, and the band elucidates them with urgency and eloquence. While those tunes show off Miller's songwriting craftsmanship, a memorable workout on the traditional "The Cuckoo" underlines the band's interpretive abilities.

The hard working threesome has already won a substantial—and still-growing—grassroots fan base through old-fashioned ingenuity and an unstinting work ethic. Their D.I.Y. success helped to win the band its current deal with New West, and led to some high profile touring with ZZ Top, thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of avowed fan Billy Gibbons. Opening for ZZ Top on a 2013 tour of Europe, the humble BMB wowed unfamiliar crowds on stages in large halls and arenas, including a triumphant set at the fabled Montreaux Jazz Festival.

The Ben Miller Band's homespun, self-reliant approach extends to the lo-tech, and largely self-built, instruments that the members play on stage and in the studio, e.g. singer-songwriter Miller's thrift-shop guitars and banjos, bassist Scott Leeper's one-string washtub bass – comprised of a weedeater string attached to a wooden pole – and Doug Dicharry's varied arsenal: trombone, trumpet, mandolin, electric washboard and electric spoons.

The band's use of offbeat instrumentation, however, shouldn't be misunderstood as a gimmick. Instead, the three bandmates have mastered the technical challenges of their unconventional axes to produce a uniquely evocative ensemble sound that offers a compelling frame for Miller's compositions.

"What I really care about is songs, and the rest of it is just a vehicle to get you to that destination," Miller asserts, adding, "Just because we use junk to make music doesn't mean we aren't serious about it."

"Our sound," Dicharry notes, "is something that we never thought much about. It's just something that kept growing without us really trying, and at some point we realized it sounded pretty cool."

"The instruments that we use ," Miller explains, "were originally born out of necessity, because we didn't have any money. People would give us their old gear that didn't work anymore, and we'd wire things together and try things out in different permutations and see where it led us. Through a lot of trial and error, we arrived at the set up that we've got now. Blazing your own trail through the jungle can take a lot of extra time and effort, but it gives you a chance to end up in a place that nobody's been to before."

That sense of musical adventure has long driven Miller and this bandmates from the start. Growing up in rural Curlew, Washington, Miller began playing guitar at 16, turning his back on a promising career as a visual artist to pursue his passion for music. He gained experience busking and performing in open mic nights while roadtripping around America, and during an extended stint in Eastern Europe.

Miller eventually found kindred spirits in bassist Scott Leeper, who'd been playing since the age of seven and had performed with his family's band, in a duo with his brother, as a one-man country act and in a variety of blues combos; and Doug Dicharry, a musical omnivore and multi-instrumentalist, who can play nearly any instrument and has played in a wide array of projects from noise bands to ska and rock.

The three like-minded players joined forces, and soon their diligent touring regimen allowed them to conquer an ever-widening geographical base and win a loyal live audience. In 2012, the Ben Miller Band took its first tentative steps in the recording studio, resulting in the embryonic self-released CD Heavy Load, which attracted a good deal of fan praise and critical acclaim despite its humble origins.

The same maverick spirit that motivated the BMB's early musical adventures came into play in the recording Any Way, Shape or Form, which they cut with seasoned producer Vance Powell, who's renowned for his studio work with the likes of Jack White, Buddy Guy, Wanda Jackson, Willie Nelson and Kings of Leon.

"Our original plan," Leeper notes, "was to scale it down a bit, and have it be even less produced than the first one. It came out sounding like us, which is all we really want."

"It was the first time we'd really had a producer/engineer," Dicharry notes, adding "It felt like we could finally breathe, because Vance was on top of things and got some really cool textures. We had a lot of confidence in him, so we were comfortable just going in and laying it down."

"We wanted to keep it as live as possible," Miller asserts, "so we recorded it live and did lots of takes, on average around thirty takes before we felt we really nailed it down. That was important to us because we’ve been a live band for our whole career and we wanted that to come across in the recordings, that feeling of guys playing in a space together. We worked long days in the studio for about a month, just playing the songs over and over and working to push our performances and maintain the energy of what we do.”

With Any Way, Shape or Form encapsulating the Ben Miller Band's salient qualities, the three intrepid bandmates are eager to hit the road and bring their new songs to live crowds around the nation and around the world.

"Our plan," Leeper says, "is to just get out there and play for as many people as we can. That's pretty much been our plan all along, and it's worked for us so far."

"The title Any Way, Shape or Form is sort of our way of saying that by any means necessary we will make the music that makes sense to us,” Miller explains. “That’s always been our attitude, and that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are and how we will get to where we are going.”

Blackfoot Gypsies

Matthew Paige and Zack Murphy ARE the Blackfoot Gypsies. They are the amplifier for your heart and soul, your love and hate, your on and off, your push and pull. With caution being checked at the door, there is no room for thinking... only feeling. Breaking the lines between hipsters, punks, posers, dads, normies, cowboys, rockers, and burnouts; everyone gets stripped to the core on the floor. And
no one leaves the same as they came before.
Scouting the future of the American music that has been progressing since the dawn of time. There's no stunting the Blackfoot and there's no stopping the Gypsies.
The torch has been lit and will be carried with pride, speaking up for a generation unlike any other. It's all happening here, and it's all happening now.

Bottle Rockets

In a country where interstates don’t take you to new places, but to the same places, where everywhere you go you’ve already been or you’ve just left, The Bottle Rockets’ new album absolutely nails a sound and a vibe with a palpable sense of place. Lean Forward is suffused with the determination and resilience of their distinctly midwestern roots; theirs is a celebration of pragmatism and tempered optimism, not the delusions and exhortations of glassy eyed zealots—they aren’t going to fall for that. Oh, it’s a flat out, smoking rock record, too.

Lean Forward continues the Rockets’ creative resurgence ignited by 2006’s Zoysia. Reunited with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (who ran the knobs on the Bottle Rockets’ seminal albums The Brooklyn Side and 24 Hours A Day), the Bottle Rockets do what no other band does better — look into the hearts and minds and faces of the dying small towns in America and crafts populist anthems with the sympathetic eye of Woody Guthrie and sonic stomp of Crazy Horse. They are songs that demand the windows be rolled down and the volume turned up. And with the hooks, you’ll wonder how they make such problems sound so good …

Lean Forward is stacked with a sharp lyricism and gritty fatalism that looks off the front porch for inspiration, and has the locked down groove of a band on top of its game. “The Long Way” looks on the bright side of the path not intentionally taken and works into a joyous song-ending jam. Songs like “Done It All Before” and “Get on the Bus” shine with an irresistible buoyancy, as does “Shame on Me” which gets to the meat of the relationship matter that, despite our best intentions, we’re all gonna screw up. “Hard Times” whips up a ZZ Top-inflected boogie with effortless mastery and a dual guitar attack that’ll put some much-needed flare back in your jeans.

On “Kid Next Door,” the lyrics bypass protest in favor of simple commentary on a war coming home, making it a far more powerful song no matter where one stands on the issue. It’s a stone cold classic and handled with the deftness and conviction that speaks to the Rockets’ sober-minded realism. To see that they’ve still got scruffy punk moxie to spare, look no further than “The Way It Used To Be” and the channeling of Bo Diddley via the Stooges on “Nothing but a Driver.”

With their 15th anniversary now in the rear view mirror, the Bottle Rockets show no signs of letting up. Lean Forward is an album that celebrates the forces of erosion not earthquakes, of the marathon not the sprint. Honed in their towns and on their back roads, it is distinctly the Bottle Rockets. Rather than be confining, this identity broadens the appeal and strength of their music far from their backyards into our own. Their specificity speaks universally and the message is a simple one: Lean forward, man, because it beats falling back


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June
8
Friday
Greaser`s BallReverend Horton HeatBig SandyBen Miller BandBlackfoot GypsiesBottle Rockets
  • BOX OFFICE OPENS AT 3:00 PM
  • DOORS AT 5:00 PM
  • SHOW AT 6:00 PM
  • All Ages
  • Lawn chairs and Blankets are allowed.
    They must be set up behind the sound board.

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