Danny Click and the Hell Yeahs!

Until a few years ago, Danny Click was one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, a musician’s musician who’d won the respect of some of alt-country’s biggest names but hadn’t yet found widespread recognition.That changed when Click’s latest CD, Life Is A Good Place, was released in April, 2011 and spent more than 12 consecutive months on the Country, pop, and Americana radio charts. The first single, “Wait My Turn”, reached #1 on Nashville’s Indie World Country Chart, and the second single, “I Feel Good Today”, topped out at #14 on the NMW national Country chart along side Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where Click now resides, he’s built a large and passionate fan base that includes musical greats Carlos Santana and Elvin Bishop, both of whom have joined him on stage for impromptu jams. Click and his band The Hell Yeahs, featuring a round-robin roster of top-shelf musicians, have played more than 200 sold-out shows over the past two years, as well as opening for legends Taj Mahal, Cake, Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Sonny Landreth and JJ Cale. Last summer Click bumped it up another notch, playing large festivals like the new Mount Tam Jam and Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland. What’s causing all the buzz? First, there’s Click’s sound – a refreshing return to smart, sassy blues-inflected country rock. Think Tom Petty crossed with Wilco, spiced with the southern tradition of Lucinda Williams and John Hiatt. Add to that Click’s searing guitar, reminiscent of Stevie Ray and David Lindley, and you’ve got at least part of the picture. Then there are Click’s live shows; an anything-can-happen mix of stellar songwriting alternating with blistering blues-rock. When Click brings it down with the strings-inflected “Blue Skies”, you can hear every breath in the room; when he launches into the infectious “Wait My Turn,” there’s not one person who can stay seated. Lastly, there’s his songwriting. Continuing in the tradition of the Texas greats, Click pens wide open songs deeply rooted in a life well-lived. Growing up in a small farm community outside Indianapolis, Click was the youngest of nine children in a working class family. He was gigging in his older sister’s country and western band before he was out of high school. Click moved to Austin, where his three-piece alt-country outfit, Danny and the Hurricanes, was a local phenomenon. He then spent three years with Americana artist Jimmy LaFave. Life Is A Good Place is the payoff, putting Click squarely in the upper echelon musically and lyrically. From its radio perfect songs to the sparse stories taken from real life, it leaves you filled with hope and a new respect for the human condition. Fast forward to 2013. After four previous records and literally hundreds of gigs on the road, Click’s latest single, Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley’s Grave, went to #9 and stayed in the top 10 for the entire month of October, 2013. The music video is on CMT and is a viral share online. In 2014, Danny became a regular guest at Grateful Dead legend Phil Lesh’s club, Terrapin Crossroads and released a ripping live CD, ‘Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs! ~ Captured LIVE!’ In April 2015, Danny and band finished a brand new studio album with legendary producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, etc.) which was released worldwide on Sept. 18, and is still on radio charts and DJ playlists across the country. The title track reached #1 on Indie Country radio in June 2016. Hell Yeah indeed.

In The Valley Below

In The Valley Below – Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob – meld harmony-laden Americana, adventurous art rock, squelchy synth pop and woozy blues into something altogether different: stylistically elusive, yet oddly inclusive. Her loaded purr cajoling with his weathered inflections, they craft gauzily compelling music at once introverted and all-embracing. A small-town girl from Michigan, Gail discovered songwriting while holed-up on an even smaller Caribbean sailboat. A thousand miles away in Memphis, Jacob was inhaling Link Wray’s ragged rebellion and the darker side of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. In The Valley Below was born one Texas night when the pair, performing at SXSW in an experimental L.A. rock band, recognized their rare on-stage connection. Back in California, they plunged into collaboration with twin-like telepathy and a feverish, fated chemistry ITVB’s genre-ambiguous, dreamily accessible expressions traveled well, inducing tireless touring. High-profile stops included England’s Reading and Leeds festivals, Rock en Seine in Paris, Austin City Limits, Corona Capital in Mexico City, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Conan. They have toured with bands from Cold War Kids to Tricky, White Lies to Albert Hammond Jr. and many more. “Peaches”, their debut single from “The Belt” (Capitol Records) first found the airwaves in Europe, debuting on BBC Radio One and climbing the charts in France and Germany, becoming #1 on French Alternative radio. Over a year later, it became a staple on US alternative radio. The song was remixed by Passion Pit, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party and more. Their latest chapter is an ongoing relationship that is rooted in both the music they create and the family which has followed. Relocated from their tiny, one-bedroom Echo Park apartment in Los Angeles, the pair have moved to a 100-year-old house they bought in Grand Rapids, MI. There, they installed a basement studio that served as the birthplace for their sophomore album released on acclaimed indie labels Bright Antenna and Arts & Crafts. The band self-produced their album for a second time with one song produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. “The Pink Chateau” album release was a groundbreaking creative endeavour with a live immersive experience in Los Angeles and a feature length music video/movie. “The Pink Chateau” film premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival and screened across the US while the band played the accompanying soundtrack broadcast through headphones to a live audience. The full movie is now streaming on Amazon.

(((folkYEAH!))) & Huichica Present: EMMA SWIFT plays Blonde on the Tracks (The Songs of Bob Dylan)

Emma Swift is an Australian-born songwriter, currently residing in the Nashville, TN and London, UK. A gifted singer inspired by Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Linda Ronstadt and Sandy Denny, Emma’s sound is a blend of classic folk, Americana and indie rock. Although she writes her own songs, she is best known for her interpretations of other people’s work. In August 2020 she released the critically-acclaimed “Blonde On The Tracks”, an inspired reimagining of some of her favourite Bob Dylan tunes on Tiny Ghost Records. The album received Best of 2020 accolades from Rolling Stone, Nashville Scene, No Depression, The Guardian and more. The album charted in the Australian Top 10, as well as in the UK, US and European Americana Charts.  In 2021, Rolling Stone Magazine named her version of Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” as #18 in the 80 Best Dylan covers of all-time. In addition to making music, Emma loves surrealist art, collage animation and travel. She counts visual artists Dora Maar and Dorothea Tanning among her heroes, as well as the poets Mary Oliver and Louis MacNeice. She is married to British alternative songwriter Robyn Hitchcock and the pair frequently perform live together. As a duo they have released two 7 inch singles, “Love Is A Drag” and “Follow Your Money”. Swift has toured all over the world and hopes to do so again soon.  “Her high, clear voice highlights each syllable, letting you hear the words form, one seemingly following inevitably from the other, until they feel handed down, fragments of old songs now speaking to each other.” – Greil Marcus, LA REVIEW OF BOOKS “Swift navigates Sansone’s majestic folk-rock arrangements like the able captain of a frigate sailing over shimmering seas.” – Bud Scoppa, UNCUT MAGAZINE “Nobody has ever sung Dylan quite like this Nashville-based Australian singer-songwriter, nor with such a rare interpretive gift…comparable to Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball in its intent, execution and intimacy.” – Andrew Stafford, THE GUARDIAN More info and tour dates can be found here.  

Garage A Trois

Garage A Trois return in the form from which they were born 22 years earlier with a new studio album, ‘Calm Down Cologne.’ Comprised by guitarist Charlie Hunter, saxophonist Skerik and drummer Stanton Moore, OG GAT released its debut album ‘Mysteryfunk’ to wide acclaim in 1999. The band evolved over the pursuant years in various configurations before eventually going on hiatus following its 2015 album, ‘Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil.’ In 2019, however, the original three piece line-up reunited for a handful of shows. This would also result in an afternoon spent recording at Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle, right across the street from where the band was playing a sold out, three night run at Nectar Lounge. Ace engineer Randall Dunn was invited to document the proceedings and captured the resulting album in one magical session. Dunn would take the tracks back to AVAST! Recording Co. for mixing. With all but a few edits on beginnings and ends of performances, Calm Down Cologne presents the music as it was played in the studio that day. As for the rather curious album title, the story goes that legendary underground Seattle artist Rick Klu gave Skerik the idea when he was describing a bouncer having to use some ‘calm down cologne’ on an unruly patron. More metaphorically speaking, a whiff of Garage A Trois’ new magic potion elicits a “free your mind and your ass will follow” response—truly a much needed balm in these anxiety-ridden times.

Garage A Trois

Garage A Trois return in the form from which they were born 22 years earlier with a new studio album, ‘Calm Down Cologne.’ Comprised by guitarist Charlie Hunter, saxophonist Skerik and drummer Stanton Moore, OG GAT released its debut album ‘Mysteryfunk’ to wide acclaim in 1999. The band evolved over the pursuant years in various configurations before eventually going on hiatus following its 2015 album, ‘Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil.’ In 2019, however, the original three piece line-up reunited for a handful of shows. This would also result in an afternoon spent recording at Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle, right across the street from where the band was playing a sold out, three night run at Nectar Lounge. Ace engineer Randall Dunn was invited to document the proceedings and captured the resulting album in one magical session. Dunn would take the tracks back to AVAST! Recording Co. for mixing. With all but a few edits on beginnings and ends of performances, Calm Down Cologne presents the music as it was played in the studio that day. As for the rather curious album title, the story goes that legendary underground Seattle artist Rick Klu gave Skerik the idea when he was describing a bouncer having to use some ‘calm down cologne’ on an unruly patron. More metaphorically speaking, a whiff of Garage A Trois’ new magic potion elicits a “free your mind and your ass will follow” response—truly a much needed balm in these anxiety-ridden times.

Sugar Candy Mountain

Helping to spearhead a revival of neo-psychedelic pop, California’s Sugar Candy Mountain fuses sunny, retro sounds with lush, sophisticated composition. Blending classic ’60s West Coast psychedelia with pastoral folk and pulling inspiration from pop experimentalists and Brazilian Tropicalia.  Their latest album “Do Right” takes a more modern approach layering vibrant synths alongside more organic instrumentation. Oscillating between the hazy psychedelic pop of Mild High Club, the driving energy of Tame Impala and the danceable familiarity of The Supremes, the band is a perfect cocktail of old and new, imploring the listener to take a ride into the sunset with Sugar Candy Mountain.

Big Brother & the Holding Company

Big Brother and the Holding Company– along with bands like The Grateful Dead,  Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service – is considered one of the original, first wave of great psychedelic bands that came out of San Francisco in the summer of 1965. The embryo that was to become Big Brother and the Holding Company began when Peter Albin, a 21 year old, aspiring Folk Blues guitarist, who had been a part of South Bay Roots’ music scene that also gave us Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter and the Grateful Dead, met Sam Andrew, a 23 year old guitarist who’d been in bands since his teens in Okinawa and had studied languages and philosophy at University of SF and the Sorbonne. Sam and Peter began jamming together in the basement/ballroom of an old Victorian mansion in the Haight –Ashbury district. With the help of their friend, future manager and concert promoter Chet Helms (The Family Dog, Avalon Ballroom), Big Brother and The Holding Company was born.The band launched the career of Janis Joplin and recorded the hit album “Cheap Thrills,” cementing them as a part of rock music history.  Their legacy as one of the great bands of the 1960s is secure. In their current live shows they perform original material as well as all of their legendary songs; “Piece of My Heart”, “Summertime”, “Ball and Chain”, “Bye Bye Baby” and more, as only the original creators of this music can.

Achilles Wheel

Achilles Wheel is a California band that blurs the lines between genres with a mix of infectious high energy dance beats and stark lyrical ballads. Roots Rock storytelling combined with dance psychedelia. Much like life itself, their music breathes in and out with joy and pain, hurtling forward like a wheel, intent on hope and love. They play hard as a way to break down walls and celebrate life. Their idealism is not diminished by the harsh light of the modern world as we struggle to live free and have a good time…and in the end – hopefully make a difference. Achilles Wheel fearlessly sings out to these times – to the here and now. And so, when the great train of humanity came off the rails in 2020 and left a smoking crater where live music used to be, the band decided to release a massive Live 3 CD set titled ‘Live On Wesley’s Road’, taken from shows recorded in 2019. A scant 3 hours and twenty five minutes of great live music. Some of these songs were brand new at the time and will be released again on an upcoming studio release. But on ‘Wesley’s Road’ you can hear Achilles Wheel doing what they do best, squeezing and pulling on the music as if searching for how it works best. If you’re a fan of live recordings ‘Live On Wesley’s Road’ is a must have.Check the events page on the site and the Achilles Wheel Facebook for updates on upcoming shows. And don’t forget to follow them on Instagram:@achilleswheelband. Also, volunteers are always welcome for the ‘Friends of Achilles Wheel’ highway cleanup, which is getting up and running again after the lock down.We wish you all good health as live music finds its way forward. There will indeed be music and good times on up the road.

The Pimps of Joytime

The Pimps of Joytime puts the needle in the groove with its fresh collection of 10 funk anthems ready to put a smile on faces across the globe. An intersection of Brooklyn’s indie music scene, New Orleans funk and San Francisco soul, the Pimps’ new studio release Third Wall Chronicles (Sugar Road Records: March 24, 2017) unites us around a common bond of Peace, Love and Music. The apex of positivity and a solace from the daily grind shines bright as the Pimps of Joytime throw the dance party of the year on Third Wall Chronicles and everyone is invited! Brian Jay, Pimps of Joytime band leader, is no stranger to working with A-List talent in the studio as he’s produced albums for a “who’s who” of New Orleans heavyweights, including such stars as Cyril Neville (The Neville Brothers), James Andrews, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (The World’s Most Recorded Drummer), and Corey Henry (Galactic). He’s shared the stage with Art Neville, George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters), Eddie Bo, and he’s currently working on an album with GRAMMY Award-nominated blues artist Cedric Burnside (grandson of legendary blues musician R.L. Burnside). Brian Jay co-produces Third Wall Chronicles with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Co-writers on the album also include Anthony Cole (JJ Grey & Mofro), Nappy G (Turntables on the Hudson), DJ Black Pearl, and Chancey Yearwood. Third Wall Chronicles is the Pimps Of Joytime’s fourth full-length studio album and features standout performances by fellow Pimps band members Mayteana Morales (vocals/percussion), Kimberly Dawson (vocals), David Bailis (bass/sampler) and John Staten (drums). Pimps of Joytime will headline venerable West Coast venues in February and March 2017 before heading to the East Coast for their national album release event at The Bowery Ballroom on March 25, 2017.