Tahomawebair

Tahoma

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm FREE EVENT

Every Monday in July, “The Cactus Artist in Residence series presented by Lone Star Beer” continues with Tahoma. The Austin indie folk duo is composed of multi-instrumentalist Brandon Aguilar and vocalist Sarah Oermann. Admission is free.

Tahoma is the latest creative manifestation of Texas born & raised artist, Brandon Aguilar. It is neither a side-project, nor a band, but a liberating pursuit of captivating melodies & stories. After playing extensively with various bands for over 8 years, Aguilar began writing & performing solo under the moniker in the winter of 2013. Tahoma predominantly features acoustic instrumentation, folk-style songwriting, and dynamic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist Aguilar recorded a 6-song EP in the spring of 2014, with the addition of vocal harmonies by Sarah Oermann. The debut EP entitled “Honest Mark” was released in September, engaging listeners from the Viva Terlingua Festival out in west Texas…to the local music community in Austin and beyond.

Austin Songwriters Group

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7pm Show: 7:30pm General Admission: $10.00

Last year’s series brought about 40 ASG songwriters to the Cactus Cafe stage and many new listeners. The Cactus Cafe is kind enough to give ASG songwriters the unparalleled opportunity of performing in one of the best listening rooms in the Country, so come out and support your local songwriters and be sure to invite your friends.

Doors for each of the shows will open at 7:00 with the first set kicking off promptly at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10 and available at the door. Save the dates of Wednesday, 8/5 and Tuesday, 9/1 for our next two “ASG Nights at the Cactus Cafe”. We look forward to seeing you at each of these shows to support many of ASG’s finest songwriters on their nights at The Cactus Cafe.

Heymanstuart

Tom Heyman & Dan Stewart

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $10.00 in advance and $12.00 day of show.

This July, Tom Heyman & Dan Stuart, two songwriter’s songwriters are teaming up for an Austin to San Francisco jaunt with a few stops in-between. Having met only once before, but with many friends and experiences in common, the two plan on trading songs and stories both onstage and off and investigating every worthy tourist trap and diner from Fredericksburg to Gilroy. They will drop in unannounced on old friends and foes, discuss and solve all the world’s pressing problems, and try to remember to take their blood pressure medicine everyday. They will drink too much, sleep too little and occasionally bug the shit out of each other. In short, it’s a freakin road trip folks with a few gigs thrown in: 7/10 Cactus Cafe, Austin, 7/11 Lost Horse Saloon, Marfa, 7/12 Club Congress, Tucson, 7/14 Yucca Tap Room, Tempe, 7/15 Cafe NELA, LA, 7/16 Hotel Utah Saloon, SF, 7/18 The Last Record Store, Santa Rosa… more dates to follow, donations occasionally accepted.

A few words about Tom Heyman: Singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tom Heyman started playing and recording in the late 1980s with the Philadelphia based band Go To Blazes. He wrote songs, played guitar, and the band released 5 full-length records and toured the US and Europe extensively before breaking up in 1997. After relocating to San Francisco in 1998, he began working as a sideman, eventually joining local favorites The Court & Spark, as well as Chuck Prophet’s band. All the while he was discovering his voice as a solo artist and bandleader. His second solo record Deliver Me, was critically acclaimed, receiving 4 star reviews in both Mojo and Uncut magazine, and songs from the record were heard in the TV shows True Blood, Justified and Damages. Heyman recorded his third solo record, That Cool Blue Feeling, in Portland, Oregon with Mike Coykendall (M. Ward) producing and Rusty Miller (Kelley Stoltz, Jason Lyttle) and himself covering the musical bases. The record was written mostly at night, after long shifts tending bar, and is an examination of the loneliness and alienation of the nocturnal life, and the true cost of love. http://www.tomheymanmusic.net/

A few words about Dan Stuart: Dan Stuart is a songwriter, author and habitual expat currently residing in Mexico City. He was a founding member of LA legend’s Green on Red featuring Chuck Prophet, as well as Danny & Dusty with Steve Wynn in the 80’s before leaving the music business in 1995 for a decade and a half. His critically acclaimed comeback record in 2012 has the same title as his 2014 false memoir: The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings, both available through Cadiz Music, London. His latest record, Marlowe’s Revenge, recorded with Mexico City’s Twin Tones will be released September 2015 with his 2nd novel to follow Spring 2016. http://www.marlowebillings.com/

Ssisters2

The Secret Sisters

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $20.00

The Secret Sisters’ incredible story is as simple and true as the effortless harmonies that got them here. Begin anywhere – the thick and fertile brambles of their own family history (their grandfather and his brothers actually forged a group called ‘The Happy Valley Boys’) or light upon the branches of the wondrous, fractal menagerie that makes up their debut album (a guileless, rapturous mixture of roots- ified pop that includes classics like “Why Don’t Ya Love Me?” and “Why Baby Why”). The pure goldenrod from a pair of Alabama sisters direct from Muscle Shoals (barely twenty-somethings themselves) dare to cover the Sinatra untouchable “Something Stupid,” one minute, and deliver their own self-penned, soon-to-be signature anthem “Tennessee Me,” the next. And the space between Laura and Lydia Rogers, well … you couldn’t slip a butter-slice between that. Fortified by an airtight familial camaraderie – ‘a love of music from all sides’ gushes Laura – ‘our father, our mother’s side of the family, her mother and father – our church…all our cousins…’ and emboldened with a zeal for country music and a knowledgeable repertoire of the American canon of classic recordings – the bond between Laura and Lydia is as deep as “the Tennessee river in springtime” – one of their other favorite colloquialisms. Such grounded wisdom permeates their stunning musical debut, recorded in Nashville in a mere two weeks in legendary Blackbird studios. The 10-song valentine – helmed by acclaimed producer Dave Cobb (Waylon Jennings, Jamey Johnson), manages to evoke, dare we say, even loftier pop latitudes by tapping into the indie-cool power of the Secret Sisters’ mesmerizing vocals: Arrow-straight (“Timeless,” is how Cobb describes their harmonizing) the unique, un-filtered Rogers’ sound deftly ambling between savant-like grace and ‘good ‘ol fashioned’ pop horse sense – defying both convention and the fake-it-as- you-go M.O. of the contemporary, hyper-shuffled music industry.

Tahomawebair

Tahoma

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm FREE EVENT

Every Monday in July, “The Cactus Artist in Residence series presented by Lone Star Beer” continues with Tahoma. The Austin indie folk duo is composed of multi-instrumentalist Brandon Aguilar and vocalist Sarah Oermann. Admission is free.

Tahoma is the latest creative manifestation of Texas born & raised artist, Brandon Aguilar. It is neither a side-project, nor a band, but a liberating pursuit of captivating melodies & stories. After playing extensively with various bands for over 8 years, Aguilar began writing & performing solo under the moniker in the winter of 2013. Tahoma predominantly features acoustic instrumentation, folk-style songwriting, and dynamic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist Aguilar recorded a 6-song EP in the spring of 2014, with the addition of vocal harmonies by Sarah Oermann. The debut EP entitled “Honest Mark” was released in September, engaging listeners from the Viva Terlingua Festival out in west Texas…to the local music community in Austin and beyond.

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Sara Hickman

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $15.00 in advance $18.00 at the door

Shortstop Show!!

“To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Shortstop”, Sara will be performing the record in its entirety. “Shortstop” was Sara’s major label debut and launched her career world-wide. It brought her to The Tonight Show w/Johnny Carson – twice! as well as VH1. The track “I Couldn’t Help Myself”, which made it to #11 on the Billboard charts, along with the title track and almost every song on this record are still a popular favorites among her fans. Don’t miss this unique performance!”

Harvestthieves

Harvest Thieves with Graham Weber

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $7.00 in advance $10.00 at the door

We used to be electric punks. You and I. A couple of idealists. Carving out ideas. In an ideal-less world. I’d say anything if it sounded like it came from the inside of an incinerator. But your purpose is easy to find when your needs aren’t being met. Don’t you ever forget that. In fact, you can quote me. We’re as drunk as we ought to be. You gotta start somewhere

Tahomawebair

Tahoma

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm FREE EVENT

Every Monday in July, “The Cactus Artist in Residence series presented by Lone Star Beer” continues with Tahoma. The Austin indie folk duo is composed of multi-instrumentalist Brandon Aguilar and vocalist Sarah Oermann. Admission is free.

Tahoma is the latest creative manifestation of Texas born & raised artist, Brandon Aguilar. It is neither a side-project, nor a band, but a liberating pursuit of captivating melodies & stories. After playing extensively with various bands for over 8 years, Aguilar began writing & performing solo under the moniker in the winter of 2013. Tahoma predominantly features acoustic instrumentation, folk-style songwriting, and dynamic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist Aguilar recorded a 6-song EP in the spring of 2014, with the addition of vocal harmonies by Sarah Oermann. The debut EP entitled “Honest Mark” was released in September, engaging listeners from the Viva Terlingua Festival out in west Texas…to the local music community in Austin and beyond.

Hems2014web

The Hems

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $8.00 in advance $10.00 at the door

The Hems are an acoustic duo made up of Austin based musicians, Dusty McClellan and Jamie Zanelotti. Dusty, originally from Houston, moved to Austin in 2010 in hopes of finding some musical inspiration. The same year, Jamie moved from her home state of Maryland with similar aspirations. The two started playing together in a roots rock band but shortly realized their love for the sound of the Stanley Brothers, Carter Family, and other classic country acts. Since then, The Hems have had the honor of playing legendary venues around Texas like the Cactus Cafe and Cheatham Street Warehouse, headlining their own shows and opening for Texas acts like James McMurtry and Carolyn Wonderland. They officially showcased at the 2012 Regional South West Folk Alliance and were New Folk Finalists at the 2012 Kerrville Folk Festival.

Joeelysolo

Joe Ely

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $35.00 in advance $40 at the door

With Satisfied at Last, Joe Ely has made the album of his life. Literally.”It reflects where I am and where I’ve been,” he explains. “The whole record takes a kind of journey. As you reflect on it, you’re just glad you made it. Everything adds up differently than you had thought it would.”

Musically and lyrically, the song cycle represents a pilgrimage, from the vagabond troubadour’s perspective of the album-opening “The Highway Is My Home” to the spiritual acceptance of the closing “Circumstance” (one of the two songs on the album written by fellow Flatlander Butch Hancock). It’s a homecoming journeyHas reflected in the pivotal “Not That Much Has Changed”—that finds a restless spirit settling back and taking stock. It expresses the older-and-wiser insights of a seeker who has discovered that “heaven’s here on earth, and so is hell,” as he sings on “You Can Bet I’m Gone.”

“I’m probably as pleased with this record as any I’ve done,” says Ely. “Just like those records in the `80s with the loud rock and roll band felt right at the time. They were boisterous and rowdy and that’s the way I felt then. And this record really sums up where I’m at right now.”

Joeelysolo

Joe Ely

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $35.00 in advance and $40 at the door

With Satisfied at Last, Joe Ely has made the album of his life. Literally.”It reflects where I am and where I’ve been,” he explains. “The whole record takes a kind of journey. As you reflect on it, you’re just glad you made it. Everything adds up differently than you had thought it would.”

Musically and lyrically, the song cycle represents a pilgrimage, from the vagabond troubadour’s perspective of the album-opening “The Highway Is My Home” to the spiritual acceptance of the closing “Circumstance” (one of the two songs on the album written by fellow Flatlander Butch Hancock). It’s a homecoming journeyHas reflected in the pivotal “Not That Much Has Changed”—that finds a restless spirit settling back and taking stock. It expresses the older-and-wiser insights of a seeker who has discovered that “heaven’s here on earth, and so is hell,” as he sings on “You Can Bet I’m Gone.”

“I’m probably as pleased with this record as any I’ve done,” says Ely. “Just like those records in the `80s with the loud rock and roll band felt right at the time. They were boisterous and rowdy and that’s the way I felt then. And this record really sums up where I’m at right now.”

Tahomawebair

Tahoma

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm FREE EVENT

Every Monday in July, “The Cactus Artist in Residence series presented by Lone Star Beer” continues with Tahoma. The Austin indie folk duo is composed of multi-instrumentalist Brandon Aguilar and vocalist Sarah Oermann. Admission is free.

Tahoma is the latest creative manifestation of Texas born & raised artist, Brandon Aguilar. It is neither a side-project, nor a band, but a liberating pursuit of captivating melodies & stories. After playing extensively with various bands for over 8 years, Aguilar began writing & performing solo under the moniker in the winter of 2013. Tahoma predominantly features acoustic instrumentation, folk-style songwriting, and dynamic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist Aguilar recorded a 6-song EP in the spring of 2014, with the addition of vocal harmonies by Sarah Oermann. The debut EP entitled “Honest Mark” was released in September, engaging listeners from the Viva Terlingua Festival out in west Texas…to the local music community in Austin and beyond.

Hollymiranda

Holly Miranda

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $15.00

On a trip intended to jumpstart the creative process for new material, Holly Miranda reflects, “I had a dream that I was going to rent a house in Joshua Tree and go write by myself for a month. I’d never been there before, but I woke up the next day and booked the first house I found and left a few days later. It was about getting away from the chatter of Los Angeles and reconnecting with myself and nature. I had a bit of writer’s block after the last record, I wasn’t having fun anymore and I really needed to get back the core of why I started making music 17 years ago.” she says.

Whatever it was Miranda needed from her time in th desert, she seems to have found it. On her self-titled sophomore release Miranda nods at her singer-songwriter roots but also pushes herself in new directions. She co-produced the album with Florent Barbier, and tracks like “Desert Call” and “Everlasting,” show off straightforward songwriting, soulful delivery and a lighters-in-the-air orchestration that places Miranda alongside the pantheon of songwriters who can make heartache sound beautiful. After half of her life spent on stage or in a recording studio—with her former rock band The Jealous Girlfriends and more recently as a solo artist— Miranda is still experimenting and diving for deeper truths.

“This is the most honest thing I’ve ever made; it’s very raw and is a contrast to what I’ve done in the past,” she says. After writing in Joshua Tree, she headed to Brooklyn, New York in the winter of 2012 to record most of the album, enlisting the help of bandmates Timmy Mislock, Maria Eisen and David Jack Daniels, while taking turns herself on piano, drums, guitar and bass. “There’s a Motown vibe to some of the songs” she notes of the recordings. “I wanted it to feel like the band was playing the songs live. There’s also a few that are more electronic and ethereal,” like the song “Come On.” She recorded that track in Los Angeles with David Andrew Sitek, producer of her 2010 release The Magicians Private Library.

Slaidwebnew

Slaid Cleaves

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $20 in advance and $24 at the door

Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.

Slaid Cleaves lives with his wife of 20 years, Karen Cleaves, in the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas. While Karen books the shows, the flights, the hotels, and the rental cars, designs, orders and sells the CDs and T-shirts, pays the band, updates the web site, answers fan questions, does the taxes and makes dinner, Slaid writes his little songs (and fixes things around the house). They travel around the world together while Slaid plays for fans far and wide and gets all the glory. If it wasn’t for Karen, Slaid would be carrying all he owned in a shoe box, scrounging around for a happy hour gig.

Davidramirez_greg_giannukos_promo1_web

David Ramirez

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $16.00 in advance $18.00 day of show

The life of the traveling songwriter certainly seems romantic. But as David Ramirez notched mile number 260,000 traveled in his 2006 Kia Rio, the novelty began to wear off.

“I’ve learned a lot from being alone and isolated,” says Ramirez, who until recently toured completely by himself, without a band, manager or anyone else for company. “Yes, it’s romantic in a way. But it has also been kind of rough on my head and my heart. After a while it made it difficult to connect with people on a personal level when I got home. In hindsight, I can see that it’s been kind of detrimental. You know, when you travel around alone for months at a time, the world revolves around you. There’s no one else in the equation. Everything was just about me. It’s a selfish way of living. And I’m ready to move on from that.”

It’s taken three years since that realization, but with his new album ‘FABLES,’ out August 28 via Thirty Tigers, Ramirez takes strides towards that personal growth both as a musician and as a man.

The album’s title, ‘FABLES,’ was inspired by the first single, “Harder to Lie,” which captures the moment Ramirez realized, as he puts it, “I couldn’t bullsht with her anymore. She knew me completely. It got me thinking about how much I bullsht in my life – exaggerating stories, faking a smile, or whatever. Just telling fables. When you don’t know who you really are you can end up hurting people.”

That newfound maturity and clarity translated into his approach in the studio, as Ramirez traveled to Seattle to work with his friend Noah Gundersen, who produced the album. “My previous albums were a bit less personal. I always went in with a certain idea of what I wanted them to turn out like. I had never just walked in and said ‘let’s just see what happens.’ And that’s what we did this time. From the writing to the recording, it was just based on instincts.”

In a world full of singer-songwriters hawking their stories, Ramirez has managed to stand out from the noise, developing a fiercely loyal following of fans who are drawn to his intimately personal songwriting. “When someone buys a record of mine, they’re getting my life. They are essentially memoirs. They’re going to know a little bit more about who I am.”

‘FABLES’ is a sparse, poignant set of songs crafted around Ramirez’ starkly beautiful baritone, which the New York Times once described as full of “haggard loneliness.” NPR Music praised his knack for writing “dark, wrenching tales that are immediately identifiable to those who’ve loved and lost,” while Paste described his “brutally honest” lyrics as “almost alarmingly descriptive.”

After years on the road touring as an opening act for artists like Noah Gundersen, Gregory Alan Isakov, Shakey Graves and Joe Pug, Ramirez is excited to finally embark on his own tour. “Fans have been paying high-dollar tickets to watch me open for other bands, and I’m very thankful for it. I’ve also had the chance to see how other songwriters I respect work on a professional level. I’ve learned a lot and been challenged a lot. It’s like I’ve been going to school. I’ve been taking notes. And now I think I’m ready for the job. I’m really excited to finally go out with a band and do my own full set. It will be more fun and energetic.”

Milkdrive2015web

MilkDrive

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $15.00

While most bands point solidly to one member on fiddle, another on mandolin and so on, such limited designations only give half the story on MilkDrive. This Austin-based, acoustic power team features skilled multi-instrumentalists versed in a variety of musical styles.

Indeed, swapping instruments comes most naturally for the band’s three founding members, who grew up steeped in musical community – particularly the fiddle contest scene. Brian Beken, Dennis Ludiker and Noah Jeffries met as youngsters and co-contestants in the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. Late-night jams resulted in musical kinship for the friends who eventually joined forces to start MilkDrive. Fourth member, bassist Jesse Dalton, joined recently, rounding out the low-end for the band’s sophisticated sound.

The band’s third studio album, Places You’ve Not Been, is available for purchase in March of this year. Recorded at Austin’s Bismeaux Studio (Asleep at the Wheel) and self-produced by the band, the project features predominantly original material that is indicative of the group’s extensive influences and talents. An audible treat for the senses, Places features refreshing arrangements decked with strong, tight harmonies.

Bobbylong

Bobby Long

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $12.00 in advance & $15.00 at the door

British singer-songwriter Bobby Long emerged from London’s club scene with a reputation for creating memorable songs inhabited by hauntingly poetic lyrics. Since relocating to New York, he has released two CDs of powerful original material: the first—A Winter Tale (2011)—an homage to his acoustic roots, while the second— Wishbone (2013)—bears a grittier sound that showcases his sorrow-filled voice and his stellar guitar playing. Ode to Thinking, his third full album, marries his varied musical influences, resulting in a strong collection of compelling new songs. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it was supported by a highly successful PledgeMusic campaign and is set for release by Nashville-based Compass Records in August, 2015. Visit: www.bobbylong.info www.musicbobbylong.com www.facebook.com/musicbobbylong www.pledgemusic.com/bobbylong www.youtube.com/musicbobbylong

Nelsclinejulianlage

Nels Cline + Julian Lage (Early Show)

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 6:30pm Show: 7pm General Admission: $18.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door.

Nels Cline is a major force as a guitarist and improviser, ever since he debuted on record in 1978 and as a leader in 1988. Named by Rolling Stone as one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Cline has gained his widest fame as a member of acclaimed rock band Wilco since 2004. He’s known for a certain cranked-up experimental mayhem, the kind sometimes heard from his extraordinary trio the Nels Cline Singers, which released the well-received MACROSCOPE on Mack Avenue earlier in 2014. But throughout his career, Cline has undertaken projects, sometimes acoustic or semi-acoustic duos, highlighting an intimate and reflective approach that’s just as central to his artistry.

With ROOM, Cline returns to Mack Avenue, creating a world of melodic beauty but also hard sonic edges and technical brilliance in the company of Julian Lage. At just 26, Lage has taken the world of jazz guitar by storm. The New York Times hails the “disarming spirit of generosity” in Lage’s music and notes the young guitarist’s “roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music.” In addition to his work with Mark O’Connor, the late Jim Hall, Anthony Wilson and a great many others, Lage leads his own groundbreaking groups as documented on the albums Gladwell and Sounding Point (the latter earning Lage a Grammy nomination).

In a 2013 Q&A with JazzTimes, Lage described the Cline-Lage duo sound as “200 percent power,” and that’s exactly what comes through on ROOM: an inspired collection of originals and collaborative pieces that run the full range from intricately composed and complex to free and spontaneous. Cline builds on the strength of his previous duo work with the likes of Vinny Golia, Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Carla Bozulich, Marc Ribot and not least of all the late West Coast bassist Eric Von Essen, to which the gorgeous dual-acoustic showcase “Whispers from Eve” is dedicated. Lage, for his part, has worked in duo settings with David Grisman, Martin Taylor, John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and others.

Cline and Lage remain on acoustic guitars to end ROOM with “Calder,” a reference to the visionary sculptor Alexander Calder. “I have a Calder mobile that my mom sent me years ago when I moved back east,” Lage says. “It hangs in my apartment and I just love it. So though I wrote the tune first and the title came later, I felt like the presence of the mobile fit the mode of the piece well.”

On ROOM one hears two guitar masters who span the generations, comfortable in every conceivable role, meeting the daunting challenges of these compositions while giving themselves over to the moment. In the JazzTimes Q&A, Cline credited the duo for revitalizing his playing overall: “I was burned out on touring, burned out on myself…. And when Julian and I started playing together it kicked my ass hard. At the same time it inspired me and refreshed my soul.” Lage replied, “Likewise.”

Nelsclinejulianlage

Nels Cline + Julian Lage (Late Show)

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 9pm Show: 9:30pm General Admission: $18.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door

Nels Cline is a major force as a guitarist and improviser, ever since he debuted on record in 1978 and as a leader in 1988. Named by Rolling Stone as one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Cline has gained his widest fame as a member of acclaimed rock band Wilco since 2004. He’s known for a certain cranked-up experimental mayhem, the kind sometimes heard from his extraordinary trio the Nels Cline Singers, which released the well-received MACROSCOPE on Mack Avenue earlier in 2014. But throughout his career, Cline has undertaken projects, sometimes acoustic or semi-acoustic duos, highlighting an intimate and reflective approach that’s just as central to his artistry.

With ROOM, Cline returns to Mack Avenue, creating a world of melodic beauty but also hard sonic edges and technical brilliance in the company of Julian Lage. At just 26, Lage has taken the world of jazz guitar by storm. The New York Times hails the “disarming spirit of generosity” in Lage’s music and notes the young guitarist’s “roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music.” In addition to his work with Mark O’Connor, the late Jim Hall, Anthony Wilson and a great many others, Lage leads his own groundbreaking groups as documented on the albums Gladwell and Sounding Point (the latter earning Lage a Grammy nomination).

In a 2013 Q&A with JazzTimes, Lage described the Cline-Lage duo sound as “200 percent power,” and that’s exactly what comes through on ROOM: an inspired collection of originals and collaborative pieces that run the full range from intricately composed and complex to free and spontaneous. Cline builds on the strength of his previous duo work with the likes of Vinny Golia, Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Carla Bozulich, Marc Ribot and not least of all the late West Coast bassist Eric Von Essen, to which the gorgeous dual-acoustic showcase “Whispers from Eve” is dedicated. Lage, for his part, has worked in duo settings with David Grisman, Martin Taylor, John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and others.

Cline and Lage remain on acoustic guitars to end ROOM with “Calder,” a reference to the visionary sculptor Alexander Calder. “I have a Calder mobile that my mom sent me years ago when I moved back east,” Lage says. “It hangs in my apartment and I just love it. So though I wrote the tune first and the title came later, I felt like the presence of the mobile fit the mode of the piece well.”

On ROOM one hears two guitar masters who span the generations, comfortable in every conceivable role, meeting the daunting challenges of these compositions while giving themselves over to the moment. In the JazzTimes Q&A, Cline credited the duo for revitalizing his playing overall: “I was burned out on touring, burned out on myself…. And when Julian and I started playing together it kicked my ass hard. At the same time it inspired me and refreshed my soul.” Lage replied, “Likewise.”

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