There’s nothing more exciting than a band that has a great buzz, a sound that deftly mixes soul, R&B and gospel and is coming soon to a small venue near you. That’s the Alabama Shakes and they are headed to Salt Lake. The quartet hails from Athens, GA and features Brittany Howard, Zac Cockrell, Steve Johnson and Heath Fogg. They’ve been compared to the Black Keys, Drive By-Truckers and Sharon Jones. The most compelling thing about the Alabama Shakes is Brittany Howard’s vocals—gritty, smoky and soulful—a mix of Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Tina Turner.
The Alabama Shakes released a 4-song EP, but thier first full length album from Rough Trade Records, Boys and Girls, will drop on April 10.
Take a listen here, then check them out at The State Room on Thursday, February 2. No doubt this will be the show that everyone will be talking about the next day. So get there.
It may be the fact that it’s the first outdoor festival of the season after a long snowy winter, it could be the diversity of cultures and people that attend, or it could just be the food, but the Living Traditions Festival (running May 20–22) is one of my favorite times in Salt Lake City. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?
For 26 years, Salt Lake’s ethnic artists, musicians, dancers and chefs have come to Washington Square to share unique traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Whether it’s Sudanese dance, Tongan cuisine or Navajo basket making there is always something new to discover.
Featured guest artists from around the world also join the festival. On Friday, May 20Vieux Farka Toure the son of the great Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, hits the North Stage in front of the Salt Lake City & County Building. Toure mixes traditional African rhythms and tones with blues, rock, reggae and funk. During the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa he performed before a billion people and has become one of the most celebrated African guitarists in history.
Toure is set to release his third studio album, The Secret, on Six Degrees Records on May 24. The album produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of Soulive fame) also features Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, John Scofield, Ivan Neville and Toure’s final collaboration with his legendary father, Ali Farka Toure.
Be sure to get down to Living Traditions to see Toure live, and possibly hear some tracks from his new album. Then when the album becomes a huge international hit and wins a Grammy (you never know, it may), you’ll be able to say, “I saw him play live outside in Salt Lake City.”
Here’s a preview from The Secret, Aigna featuring Derek Trucks.
Just when you think you know somebody they go and surprise you all over again. That’s the modus oprendi for husband and wife blues team, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.
Trucks, a Grammy Award Winner, has a two decade track record of touring with his band, The Derek Trucks Band, being the guitarist for the Allman Brothers, touring with Eric Clapton and playing on studio albums of Herbie Hancock, Buddy Guy, McCoy Tyner, Dr. John, and wife Susan Tedeschi.
Tedeschi, a killer blues artist in her own right, is known for her powerful blues voice and straight-up guitar playing. She earned three Grammy nominations, most recently for her 2009 critically acclaimed album Back to the River.
Trucks and Tedeschi have played together before. I’ve seen them as the righteous Soul Stew Revival and they’ve toured as The Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band. However, as the newly formed Tedeschi Trucks Band, the couple is breaking new blues/rock ground. This new incarnation features a huge 11-piece band with brothers Oteil Burbridge (noted for his years as bassist with the Allman Brothers Band) and Kofi Burbridge (longtime keyboardist/flutist with The Derek Trucks Band). A pair of drummers J. J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell, trumpeter Maurice Brown, tenor saxophonist Kebbi Williams, trombonist Saunders Sermons, and harmony singers Mark Rivers and Mike Mattison round out the group.
Tedeschi Trucks Band is set to release its new album Revelator June 7.
Check out this video of the making of the album and get set to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Wednesday, May 18th at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band arrives in Salt Lake City Monday, January 17 for the GAM Foundation's JazzSLC series at the Sheraton City Center.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day than by hearing the sweet sounds of traditional jazz. This American art form, born in New Orleans, evolves and changes with each generation but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band keeps safe the true essence of the sound. The Hall was founded by Alan Jaffe in 1961 and is now run by his son, Ben Jaffe who narrates this short video. (Sadly, I am not related to these Jaffes but for fun, let's just say I am.)
Check it out, then get down to see them live Monday night.
Classical cellist Eli Potash is a musical fixture in downtown Salt Lake City. You’ll see him on street corners, in front of movie theaters and outside the Arena. He’s an accomplished musician having studied at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music and played with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recently, he received an early Christmas present from the Daniel Day Trio. This act of kindness captures the true meaning of the season.
New York Times music critic Jon Pareles made his top picks for 2010 and two of Bombshell's favorites made the cut—Mavis Staples' "You are Not Alone" written and produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Galactic's "Heart of Steel" with New Orleans legend Irma Thomas. We've been talking about these artists all year and its nice to see recognition in the paper of record.
Here's Ms. Mavis and Jeff Tweedy doing an acoustic version of "You are Not Alone." Enjoy!
Nothing says ‘Holiday’ like 500 tipsy Santas singing Christmas carols and bar hopping. This Friday, December 17, Salt Lake gets rowdy with the15th Annual Santa Pub Crawl. Get out your red suit and join fellow Santas, Ms. Clauses, reindeers and elves as they take over downtown. Santa groups start off the night at 6:30 p.m. at two locations – Lumpy’s on Pierpont Avenue and O’Shucks on 100 South. They converge on Temple Square to sing carols and hand out candy canes before visiting “Santa Friendly” bars such as The Beerhive, Murphy’s, Johnny’s on Second, The Green Pig and ending at Club Elevate for a little Santa booty shake.
While these Santas are out to party, they are a responsible group, judging from this amended list of Santa Pub Crawl Rules.
1. Santa does not make children cry.
2. Watching Santa get drunk and rowdy is fun. Babysitting Santa while he vomits in an alley is not fun. Don't be that Santa.
3. Santa always pays for his beer and tips the bar staff. This adventure should be cash only. Santa is polite and cultivates the goodwill of the local community.
4. Santa doesn’t get arrested. Please remember that this is all about having fun. There is no "bail fund" for incarcerated Santas and if you cross the line you'll be on your own.
5. Santa doesn't drink & drive and neither should you. If you're going to drink you must make sure that you can get safely home without driving yourself. Take public transportation, carpool with a designated sober driver or reserve a room at one of the designated hotels.
6. You SHOULD "ho-ho-ho" like Santa.
7. You OUGHT to give out gifts like Santa.
8. You MUST address everyone as "Santa."
For those Santa’s that have had too much cheer, The Radisson Hotel on 215 South West Temple and the Peery Hotel on 110 East Broadway are offering discounted rates Friday night. Be sure to mention the Santa Pub Crawl.
Find your fellow Santas and receive updates on the route on Facebook at The Official Salt Lake SantaCon or email