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Hey, There Sunshine hits #1 

SO happy for Danni Nicholls as she marks her first #1 single on the Roots Music Report airplay chart with “Hey There, Sunshine“!  In addition, “A Little Redemption” has ascended to #8 on RMR’s Folk Album chart.  Many thanks to all of those who contributed including Danni’s co-writer Dave Burn, Transmission Recordings, Will Kimbrough, Bryan Owings, Stephen Leiweke, and my fellow “Big Dog” Al Perkins for his stellar dobro track!

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EPIX Big Movie Shorts 

I was on set in New York late last summer for the filming of “Big Movie Shorts”, a series of vignettes created for the EPIX HD network centered around a movie and pop-culture obsessed family.  EPIX BMS

The series was conceived of and written by my friends Tom Dunn and Dan Callahan, and the charming cast includes my cousin Brendan Patrick Connor (aka “Uncle Rango“).  I provided original music and musical supervision for the series and am very pleased to here present “Get Busy Livin‘ “, the first featured episode (click here for the full series):


 

 


COMPANY! 

I first fell in love with the music of Stephen Sondheim at a Circle Players production of “Into The Woods” in the mid-nineties (I had also recently fallen in love with and in awe of the show’s pianist, Laura Donohue).  Sondheim’s mastery of the musicality of the English language makes him one of the most brilliant and influential lyricists of the modern age, and across the entire range of human emotion his music is haunting, evocative, and at times utterly hilarious.

Fast forward to 2014 and an item to check off my bucket list – a chance to play in the orchestra for the Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s production of Sondheim’s “Company” (1970).  In the pit (or, in this case, behind the onstage bar) with me are Musical Director Tim Fudge, Russ Davis, Chris Walters, Sam Levine, Doug Moffett, Mike Casteel, and Sam Wiseman.

Set in New York City, “Company” is a comedic and profound look at marriage through the eyes of Bobby (Patrick Waller).  The cast, direction, and choreography are all inspired and superb.  You can find out more information about the show at the Tennessee Rep’s website.  We’d love to see you there!


Spring 2014 

Earlier this month, I packed the contrabass and a couple of audiobooks in a rental car and drove down to Austin to meet The Grahams for a few SXSW showcases.  Our favorite set of the day was one we had performed earlier in the morning for the solar-powered KDRP, but here’s a pic from an afternoon set at the Midwest Takeover Stage:

I drove immediately back home the next day to begin rehearsals for The Tennessee Repertory Theatre‘s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”.  We opened on the 20th of March and the show will finish its run this Saturday at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen Sondheim’s music for many years, and this being my first Sondheim show as an orchestra member I could not be more stoked:youtube video (P8kYvy7OZrc)

Last week, most of Emmylou’s Red Dirt Boys were reunited under the direction of Will Kimbrough to cut a record for Doug Seegers.  This is a haunted voice if ever I’ve heard one:
youtube video (XMzcdeXb26Y)

From late April into early May, I’ll be performing a run of 10 concerts with Tom Jones that stretches from Atlanta to Los Angeles. His new album “Spirit In The Room” releases on 23 April.  Here’s a clip of Sir Tom performing “Tower of Song” on Jools Holland in 2012:

youtube video (GljDF4ptCMg)

Upwards, Cx


My Pete Seeger Story 

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Shortly before taking the 2011 Newport Folkfest stage with Emmylou and the Red Dirt Boys to close out the festival, we were told that Pete Seeger was going to sit in at the end of our set.  Bryan Owings and myself huddled together with him and in his gentle, faltering voice he talked us through his arrangement of “Turn, Turn, Turn”, which was to be his encore.

As Emmylou’s set wound down, her tech appeared off stage-right waving this handwritten sign (the bottom of a Magic Hat Brewery flat) to alert us that Pete could walk on any time:

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Pete eventually did come out, bringing with him just about every artist that the organizers could locate backstage including (in more civil times) The Civil Wars:

Immediately after the encore, I ran to find the handwritten sign on stage left and managed to get Pete to sign it before he and his wife left the backstage area.  It now sits in a corner of my studio as a reminder of the truly remarkable opportunity we were afforded to perform with this American musical legend, an opportunity which I know is not taken for granted by any of my friends and colleagues who were there that day.

Wishing this colorful and determined character all the peace in the universe on his next journey.  Thank you, Pete…cx


Pete Lanctot CD Releases 14 February 

En route to Folk Alliance next month, Ill first be making a detour up to Brooklyn to attend Pete Lanctot's CD release party at Littlefield. We produced Pete's Caledonia EP last September at my studio in East Nashville with the support of Joe McMahan (gtr), Bryan Owings (dr), and the lovely Ginger Dolden (vln). As a bonus, Pete's backing band (and closing act) that night will be the uber-sensational Hot Sardines. Its going to be an unbelievable night of music well worth making time for if youre in the NYC area.

You can click here for more details about Pete, and here for details about the gig.

Pete Lanctot Caledonia


New License Lab Album: “Cheese And Crackers” 

Following on the heels of 2013s Retro Camp, heres a new set of Sixties-inspired tunes I wrote and recorded for my friends at The License Lab entitled Cheese And Crackers. A close listen will reveal moments where my less-than-abundant drumming skills are severely tested, hopefully with humorous and genre-appropriate results. I confess that I look forward to the song descriptions written by the LL staff as much as the release of the music itself. So then, for your consideration:

cheese & crackers


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