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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.

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Lost & Nameless

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $10.00 in advance & $12.00 at the door

They may call themselves Lost & Nameless, but all it takes is a few notes for listeners to recognize this foursome is anything but. With original compositions featuring complex, turn-on-a-dime arrangements and performing histories dating to childhood, the members of this Austin-based band are seasoned professionals who whip up an unforgettable sonic whirlwind wherever they play. On their new release, Empty Spaces (March 18, 2014), there’s a song title that sums up their contemporary folk-rock sound perfectly. It’s called “Little Tornado.” Filled with staccato rhythms and instrumental intrigue, it’s a charmer — just like the band that performs it. Lost & Nameless can be traced to St. Louis, where Arkansas fiddle champion Chris E. Peterson, then a member of the band Wagon, met vocalist/guitarist Patrick Conway in 1993. They began jamming together and did some busking and recording in Europe, then went their separate ways. Peterson eventually moved to Austin to attend graduate school, and in 2006, Conway followed. “On my second day of living in Austin, we were onstage playing together,” Conway recalls. They decided to form “a great live band” and within a week, found keyboardist Nathan Quiring. Vocalist/fiddler Kimberly Zielnicki, winner of the 2012 Old Settler’s Music Festival Youth Talent Competition, became a full-fledged member in 2008, at age 11 — just two years after she began studying fiddle and classical violin with Peterson. Together, they imbue their originals (and the occasional cover) with a playful energy and soulfulness. Their sound simultaneously evokes Ireland and Appalachia, old-time folk and timeless pop, with an orchestral fullness. And with Conway and Zielnicki trading lead vocals (and harmonizing beautifully on “Monsters We Become,” among others), while everyone performs on multiple instruments, they deliver a dizzying array of surprises. (Conway also plays bass, banjo and harmonica; Zielnicki plays bass, ukulele and piano; Peterson also handles mandolin, lap steel and vocals; and Quiring adds accordion, glockenspiel and vocals.)

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Ricky Stein

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $5.00

Special Guest: Pierson Saxon

Austin singer/songwriter Ricky Stein specializes in the eclectic blend of folk, blues, rock, and country that has been a hallmark of Austin music for the last 50 years. A second-generation Austin musician, Stein has built a steady career performing at some of the top venues in one of the world’s great musical hotbeds.

Accompanied by a haunting steel guitar and the warm backing vocals of his younger sister Erin, Stein strives for a sound that is both distinctive and familiar. Lyrically, Stein’s songs range from somber meditations on love and death (“I’m a Stone,” “The Best in Me”) to lighthearted vignettes about companionship (“My Little Drinking Partner”) and the struggle to connect in the digital age (“It’s Tough Out There”).

Stein’s catalogue includes two full-length albums and an EP, all of which are comprised of original material. He also performs his own interpretations of songs ranging from traditional folk tunes to compositions written by friends in the Austin music scene. A prolific writer with a good-humored stage presence, Stein continues to build his following in Central Texas and beyond.

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Views & Brews: Wes Montgomery

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 6:30pm Event: 7pm FREE EVENT

Coming up with our next Views and Brews at the Cactus Cafe this Tuesday night at 7 it’s WES MONTGOMERY AND THE ART OF CONFIDENCE. Join KUT’s I’m Rebecca Mcinroy along with Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe and a live jazz ensemble featuring Mitch Watkins, Roscoe Beck and Brannen Temple, to explore the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most influential jazz guitarists, who inspired many to explore his distinctive, single note playing. Views and Brews is free and open to the public, we hope to see you this Tuesday at 7 at the Cactus. Find more details at cactuscafe.org

Coming up with our next Views and Brews at the Cactus Cafe this Tuesday night at 7 it’s WES MONTGOMERY AND THE ART OF CONFIDENCE. Join KUT’s I’m Rebecca Mcinroy along with Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe and a live jazz ensemble featuring Mitch Watkins, Roscoe Beck and Brannen Temple, to explore the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most influential jazz guitarists, who inspired many to explore his distinctive, single note playing. Views and Brews is free and open to the public, we hope to see you this Tuesday at 7 at the Cactus. Find more details at cactuscafe.org

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Austin Songwriters Group

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

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

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Thick Red Wine

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $10.00

Special Guest: Ryan Craven

Philadelphia indie-folk-punk artist Mike Wojciechowski’s (Whoa-juhh-house-key) winding and eccentric narratives draw inspiration from 5th grade recess fights, failed juice cleanses, house party disasters, dead philosophers and boxed wine, among other things. The songs are mostly autobiographical. Thick Red Wine started in Austin back in 2012 but has since been active in San Francisco and Philadelphia to share musical stories with old and new friends.

Always a staunch supporter of accepting people for who they are, celebrating difference, and supporting underrepresented and marginalized voices, Wojciechowski has performed all over the country at traditional bars and venues as well as campfires, secret beaches, and countless house venues. Regardless of the stage, Thick Red Wine thrives on a goosebump-inducing intimacy between audience and performer that’s nearly impossible to replicate on a recording.

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Tom Meany, Charlie Gore & Ray Prim

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

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

CHARLIE GORE – Austin, TX – Charlie Gore is a twenty-five year old singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas with a passion for performing live. Seven years after first picking up a guitar, Charlie creates music that tugs on your soul and makes you tap your feet all at the same time. He brings energy, passion and humbleness to his live shows that makes you feel like he is singing directly to you. Charlie was the winner of Texas A&M Online Battle of the Bands and came in at #3 in the Texas Recording Conservatory of Austin (TRCOA) Singer-Songwriter Competition and was picked by the Austin Music Foundation as an Artist to Watch in 2013. His writing and horizons are always expanding and exploring different themes, viewpoints and aesthetics of his craft. Charlie’s music can be heard on his current EP, Walking The Blue Line, released February 2014, and on his soon to be released full length album, The Beat. www.charliegoremusic.com

TOM MENY – Buda, TX – Singer/songwriter Tom Meny is definitely on his way. In May of 2015, Meny was a winner of the prestigious New Folk Competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Meny was also named the Southwest regional finalist for NPR’s 2012 Mountain Stage NewSong contest, making it to the Top 5 overall at Lincoln Center in New York. In October of 2013, Meny won the Stone Valley Texas Songwriters Competition and in December of 2013, he won the Recording Conservatory of Austin’s (TRCOA) Singer Songwriter Competition. To date, Tom Meny has over 2 million YouTube video views. Meny’s desire to live life in a way that is charismatic and filled with passion for what he does comes across in the intelligent lyrics and melodies in his songs. Tom is currently working on his follow up CD to the 2013 release “On My Way”. www.tommeny.com

RAY PRIM – Austin, TX – Imagine Ben Harper and Ray Lamontagne heading over to Abbey Road in a Cadillac convertible to pick up John Lennon and Paul McCartney so they can catch the tail end of The Reverend Al Green’s sermon. Ray Prim’s melody-based approach sweeps you through a variety of emotions that touch on all of life’s great joys and tragedies, moments that echo within each of us that will leave you smiling with nostalgia. Based in Austin, Texas, Ray’s song-writing skills are constantly evolving, soaking up stories and experiences that ultimately contribute to music that will resonate eternally, much like Ray’s approach to making music in general. This guy has no plans to stop playing, so listen up and let Ray’s troubadour skills steal your soul. www.rayprim.com

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B. Sterling & Raina Rose

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $10.00

B. Sterling & Raina Rose, Austin based songwriters and storytellers will be showcasing new songs and old favorites at Austin’s iconic listening room, Cactus Cafe. You don’t want to miss this combo!

B. Sterling is a songwriter that truly draws you in with his dynamic vocals and compelling lyrics…not to mention great stage banter. Here is a quote from beloved singer/songwriter, Eliza Gilkyson “B. Sterling is my new favorite…his music has made its way into my heart-it’s that simple.”

As the second daughter of a country music historian and a Jewish poet, Americana musician and songwriter Raina Rose revels in sharing with you her beautifully twisted, yet refreshingly optimistic perspective on the world. Her unique voice and exceptional guitar playing transcend age, gender, generation, and even catch the ears of those who aren’t typically into acoustic guitar-driven songwriting.

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Views & Brews: Molly Ivins

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 5:30pm Event: 6pm FREE EVENT

More info to come!

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Bobby Dunne

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

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

Bobby Dunne writes music that is compelling in its contrasts. His love songs can be adoring or brutal, his lyrical landscapes hopeful or torn apart by violence. He has delicate folk songs and ones with driving blues riffs, all tied together by his unique sound and powerful voice. Bobby is a nationally touring singer-songwriter, based in San Francisco. He has recorded two albums, Alameda Hooky and The Water’s Gonna Rise.

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Coffee Sergeants

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 8pm Show: 8:30pm General Admission: $12.00

Long-running Austin band The Coffee Sergeants are undoubtedly of legendary status here in our beloved city. They may have never hit it big outside of Texas, but the rock/psychedelic/alternative/jangly folk band have a (well-deserved) dedicated cult following. Their music is inspired by Pink Floyd, Buffalo Springfield, and R.E.M., and they released their first album, “Moonlight Towers,” named after Austin’s infamous moonlight towers, in 1993. Though they went on to break up in 1994, they eventually got back together in 1996, “unwilling to resume their status as ex-bandmates”. They released their most recent album, “Purple Martin Sanctuary” last year, and they’ve been playing gigs on and off for the past year.

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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.”

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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.

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Austin Vida Presents: Leticia Rodriguez

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

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

Leticia Rodriguez made history this year as the first American artist to be invited to perform at the XXI International Festival de Las Romerias de Mayo, Holguin, Cuba. A photo montage of the trip will accompany her performance at the Cactus Cafe.

Multidisciplinary artist and musician, Rodriguez performs Pan American music. Through soulful, exacting vocals and instrumentation, she celebrates and explores culture, family and inclusion. After the release of her first album, La Americana, Rodriguez was interviewed on National Public Radio, for her tribute to international star, Eva Garza, Rodriguez’ aunt. Rodriguez has been a featured performer on tastemaker radio station, KEXP, as well as nationally acclaimed radio program, Undercurrents. Her recording, Sagüita al Bate, ranked last year in the top ten national radio charts, and both her albums have earned Grammy recognition.

Most recently, Rodriguez was honored along with other Texas artists, for her contributions to Texas music at the Texas Music Museum, Austin, TX. There’s more that could be written, but Rodriguez prefers to have you come and hear for yourself.

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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

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Howard Jones “The Songs, The Piano & The Stories”

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 6pm Show: 7pm General Admission: $40.00

It was in 1983 that Howard Jones first burst upon the contemporary music scene and brought his very English song-writing and pioneering synthesizers to an unsuspecting world. Anyone who was around in the mid to late eighties will remember those high energy gigs and his first two albums Human’s Lib and Dream into Action. They lived in the higher reaches of the album charts in the UK, USA, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia and many other countries in the 1984-86 period and the hits kept coming New Song, What is Love?, Pearl in the Shell, Hide and Seek,(which he performed at Live Aid in 1985), Like to Get to Know You Well, Look Mama, Things Can only Get Better, Everlasting Love and the quintessential No One is To Blame, which reached No.1 in the US.

Now Howard Jones has re-mastered those first two classic albums ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream into Action’ and played them both live in their entirety for the first time on November 6th 2010 at the IndigO2 in London’s O2 Arena Complex. The re-mastered albums are available from www.howardjones.com. A special re-mastered box set of the 12” mixes was released in March 2011 and a DVD of the IndigO2 concert will be available in the summer of 2011.

A classically trained pianist, Jones applied his technique to the early synths particularly the Roland Juno 60, the Jupiter 8 and the Moog Prodigy. He also pioneered the classic Roland 808 drum machine and the Sequential Pro-One. In the early days he was triggering sequencers live on stage whilst playing and singing, something that no one had done before.

These days he still operates on the cutting edge of today’s technology and has been one of the leading exponents of the Roland Fantom G8 and the Roland V-piano. He has also been working closely with Roland on the development of the 2011 Jupiter 80 which he will be using on stage. Many contemporary giants of the dance world have shown interest in working with Howard which has resulted in tracks such as ‘And do you Feel Scared?’ with Eric Prydz and ‘Into the Dark’ with Ferry Corsten.

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Howard Jones “The Songs, The Piano & The Stories” (MEET & GREET Ticket)

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 6pm Show: 7pm Meet and Greet Ticket: $50.00

LIMITED NUMBER of meet and greet tickets includes Reserved seating and a meet & greet with Howard. Only 30 available!

It was in 1983 that Howard Jones first burst upon the contemporary music scene and brought his very English song-writing and pioneering synthesizers to an unsuspecting world. Anyone who was around in the mid to late eighties will remember those high energy gigs and his first two albums Human’s Lib and Dream into Action. They lived in the higher reaches of the album charts in the UK, USA, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia and many other countries in the 1984-86 period and the hits kept coming New Song, What is Love?, Pearl in the Shell, Hide and Seek,(which he performed at Live Aid in 1985), Like to Get to Know You Well, Look Mama, Things Can only Get Better, Everlasting Love and the quintessential No One is To Blame, which reached No.1 in the US.

Now Howard Jones has re-mastered those first two classic albums ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream into Action’ and played them both live in their entirety for the first time on November 6th 2010 at the IndigO2 in London’s O2 Arena Complex. The re-mastered albums are available from www.howardjones.com. A special re-mastered box set of the 12” mixes was released in March 2011 and a DVD of the IndigO2 concert will be available in the summer of 2011.

A classically trained pianist, Jones applied his technique to the early synths particularly the Roland Juno 60, the Jupiter 8 and the Moog Prodigy. He also pioneered the classic Roland 808 drum machine and the Sequential Pro-One. In the early days he was triggering sequencers live on stage whilst playing and singing, something that no one had done before.

These days he still operates on the cutting edge of today’s technology and has been one of the leading exponents of the Roland Fantom G8 and the Roland V-piano. He has also been working closely with Roland on the development of the 2011 Jupiter 80 which he will be using on stage. Many contemporary giants of the dance world have shown interest in working with Howard which has resulted in tracks such as ‘And do you Feel Scared?’ with Eric Prydz and ‘Into the Dark’ with Ferry Corsten.

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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.”

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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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Liz Longley & Max Gomez

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm Show: 8pm General Admission: $18.00 in advance & $20.00 at the door

Liz Longley: Liz Longley confides with you as though you’re sitting on the sofa with her in a talk that’s intimate and vulnerable. And now, the Berklee College of Music graduate and award-winning songwriter is set to share her confessional songs with listeners on her self-titled album—her first after signing with Sugar Hill Records in December 2014.

While Longley’s songs and vocals invite complimentary comparisons to Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole and Nanci Griffith—all artists she’s supported live—her latest effort spotlights a style all her own. Her voice and tone, touched with the slightest of country inflections, pours out like clean, crystalline water.

Longley first felt the magic while growing up outside of Philadelphia. A song she wrote in ninth grade—her first ever—earned a standing ovation when she performed it for the student body: “I was unprepared for that sort of reaction and it was life-changing moment,” she says. “That’s when I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life.”

The track record she’s assembled since shows just how much Longley grew into her dream. She’s taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition.

Max Gomez: The most northern of the New Mexico pueblos, the hamlet of Taos, sits approximately 7,000 feet above sea level. It is an hour and half drive north of Santa Fe, or rather, just remote enough to stave off the casually curious person. Fiercely independent, the town, steeped in natural beauty, has long attracted artists and freethinkers of every stripe. It is within this bouillabaisse of nature, art and spirituality that we encounter Max Gomez. A young singer-songwriter in the seasoned vein of Jackson Browne and John Prine, Gomez grew up splitting his time between the sloping mountains of Taos and, for a period, the rolling plains of Kansas. On his family’s ranch in Kansas, Gomez still lends a hand with chores but relishes the time he can spend out on the lake practicing the art of fly-fishing. But it is in Taos, where he was ultimately inspired to explore his art and the ethos behind it.

The son of an artisanal furniture craftsman, Gomez grew up watching his father, learning the tools of the trade while simultaneously learning his way around the frets of his guitar. The workmanlike quality of his songwriting carries over from his days spent in the woodshed through an economy of words, phrase and narrative. A blues enthusiast from an early age, the young Gomez immersed himself in the primordial Delta and traditional folk blues of Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and, of course, Robert Johnson. Though 1,200 miles and decades removed from his Mississippi heroes, Gomez had his imagination to fill in the gaps. Having honed his chops on the blues, Max turned his interest to traditional American folk music; “I’m influenced by the old stuff,” Max admits. “To me, that’s the best music.” As the Harry Smith anthology gave way to contemporary masters Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark and John Hiatt, so did Gomez’s songwriting. “The songs I write are not real straightforward. You have to decode them. I like when the listener has to create their own story, rather than be told what’s happening.” In short, storytelling that oscillates between everyman poetics and enigma.

In the span of its ten songs, the Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow) produced Rule The World traverses varying themes of heartbreak, regret, young love, desperation and, ultimately redemption. “Run From You”, the album’s first single and co-written with Trott, reveals Max’s story telling skills. Gomez explains, “Sometimes I refer to this one as an anti-love song. We all come across trouble and often take the wrong road even when we know we should turn back.” With his smoky voice, Gomez sings of desperation for change on “Rule The World” and on “Never Say Never”, young love is likened to a “cool kiss in the August summer heat,” as the protagonist laments its fleeting nature. While the LP’s pop instincts are evident, Rule The World is balanced by Gomez’s love of roots music; see the blues-driven “Ball And Chain.”

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Carlene Carter

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Doors: 7:30pm Show: 8pm General Admission: $30.00

With Carter Girl, Carlene Carter once and for all proclaims who she is. Her first album for Rounder, it features songs spanning the Carter Family generations, including celebrated Carter Family songs like “Gold Watch And Chain,” and others written and performed by the descendants of the original Carter trio—including Carlene herself. Not that she’s ever shied away from being the heiress to the legacy of country music’s foremost family. “I always include at least one Carter Family song, or one written in the Carter Family spirit,” says Carlene, citing as a pertinent example “Spider Lace,” which appeared on her deeply personal last album, Stronger (2008). “I wrote it thinking of the Carter Family’s flowery lyrics and romantic themes,” she says, noting, too, that the Carter Family catalog is heavy both on songs of faith and far darker fare. Turning to Carter Girl, she notes that all these facets of the Carter Family’s pioneering work which are reflected in a stunning album achievement that honors her ancestors while confirming her proud place among them. She is, of course, the daughter of 1950s country superstar Carl Smith, and June Carter Cash, who was herself the daughter of Maybelle Carter—“Mother” Maybelle Carter of the original Carter Family trio that formed in 1927 in the tiny Southwest Virginia hamlet of Maces Springs. Along with Mother Maybelle’s brother-in-law, A. P. Carter, and his wife and her cousin Sara, the Carter Family recorded such seminal country music songs as “Can The Circle Be Unbroken (By And By),” “Wildwood Flower” and “Keep On The Sunny Side,” and forever influenced the development of bluegrass, folk, pop, gospel and rock music genres, as well as country music. Mother Maybelle Carter and her daughters June, Helen and Anita, later performed as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters, and after Maybelle’s passing, as The Carter Family, of which Carlene was a part for a time in the late ‘80s. But with the 1978 release of her self-titled debut album, Carlene Carter established herself on the edgier end of the country music spectrum, having recorded it in England with Graham Parker’s band The Rumour.

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