BourbonTheatre.com http://bourbontheatre.com Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:28:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Motion Trap (Late) http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/motion-trap-late/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/motion-trap-late/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:28:03 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=10002 Saturday, September 27th
w/ Turner Jackson
Door: 9 p.m. || Show: 10 p.m.
$5: 21 and up || $7: 18 and up

Website | Facebook

Motion Trap makes sonic exploration music. An escalating interplay between electronic-tinged riffs and rhythmic muscle leads to a state of wonder, or maybe wander. Dreamy, but not hazy, more like the feeling of being in the moment and letting it all wash over you. All while the beat forever propels you forward.

On the surface, the four piece creates creates music that can easily fill a dance floor. Motion Trap has logged plenty of shows that attest to this, including a recent gig opening for Rusko. Digging deeper, though, and it’s clear they're dedicated to the craft of their songs. Vocal snippets layered into the mix entice the listener to decipher the song’s meaning. Forgoing the instant gratification of many electronic artists, Motion Trap favor steady builds and repeat listens.

Motion Trap is currently putting the finishing touches on their debut album. For listeners familiar with the band, the new sounds are not so much a departure, but a refinement; the sound of a band coming into their own. For new listeners, it’s easy to hear the instant appeal of songs like “120" and “Fresh Start”, the aptly named lead single. The band’s dedication to live instrumentation in studio and in concert has resulted in tight grooves and a wide palette. This is especially apparent in the band's rhythm section, anchored by bassist Kyle Williams and drummer Sean Conlin. “Our music usually starts with a beat I create, then Nathan [Rogers] and Anthony [Chelewski], our guitarists, write the melodies,” says Williams. “Then we bring it to Sean and work together to make it interesting, playing with the rhythm and tempo.”

Motion Trap has solidified their sound and built momentum toward the 2014 release of their first full length. They recently earned slots at the Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado, as well as The Underground Music Showcase in Denver, Colorado, a testament to their fervent and growing fan base. The festival promises to be the first of many for a band that have set their sights high, and It’s clear listeners are already taking notice.

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Hemlock (Early) http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/hemlock-early/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/hemlock-early/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:19:22 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9997 Saturday, September 27th
Doors: 6 p.m. || Show: 7 p.m.
$5: 21 and up || $7: 18 and up

Website | Facebook | Video

Hemlock is a Heavy Metal band from Las Vegas Nevada.

Members of the band are Chad Smith-Vocals and Bass, Jezy Ward-guitar and background vocals, James Gelber- Guitarist, and Brian Smith drummer

Hemlocks sound is a heavy blend of chugging riffs, deep bass tones, rhythmic grooves and catchy ass lyrics, with a haberdash of melody mixed in. The lyrics are always creative and positive, and the songs have lots of scream alongs and hooks. The merchandise is also very creative. Hemlock offers a wide variety of merchandise options. From t-shirts and hoodies, to Hemlock candles, lunchboxes, antennae balls, panties and tons more.

Hemlock has been called “The Kings of self promotion”and have been noted as the hardest working up and coming metal band. Hemlock has a very entertaining live show as well. Hemlock gets the crowd involved in the show, and puts on the show of a lifetime, every time. The band makes sure that everyone goes home knowing they had fun with Hemlock.

Hemlock has been around since 1993. They have released 7 full length albums. Hemlock has toured the United States extensively, and has also recently toured Canada, Europe and Japan. Hemlock tours about 8 months a year, and has toured with Slayer, Slipknot, Ministry, Meshuggah, Otep, Disturbed, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Chimiara, Snot, Devil Driver, Machine Head, Mastodon and tons more.

Hemlock is celebrating 20 years! The band was formed back in 1993 by Chad Smith, Brian Smith and Richard Burnett. The band continues to rock across the globe with Chad Smith, Brian Smith, Jezy Ward, and James Gelber. So come celebrate 20 years of music, songs, tours, adventures and hard work with Hemlock!

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ROAR: A Drum & Bass Night http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/roar-a-drum-bass-night/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/09/02/roar-a-drum-bass-night/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:06:52 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9993 Wednesday, September 24th
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
FREE: 21 and up

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The Werks vs. Zoogma http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/27/the-werks-vs-zoogma/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/27/the-werks-vs-zoogma/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:45:52 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9979 Wednesday, November 5th
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
18 and up || $12: Advance || $15: Day of Show

Rad Kadillac Productions & The Bourbon Theatre present...

The Werks

Website | Facebook | Music

ZOOGMA

Website | Facebook | Music

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Ty Dolla $ign http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/26/ty-dolla-ign/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/26/ty-dolla-ign/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:06:39 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9954 Saturday, November 15th
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
$20: Advance
Tickets On-Sale August 27th @ 10 a.m.

Ty Dolla $ign

Website | Facebook | Video

“My music is a vibe,” Ty Dolla $ign says. “It’s R&B that you can fuck to, not make love to.” No games. It’s sonic Spanish fly. Play it loud enough with the right alchemy of illicit substances and it could incite an orgy.

Right now, the Atlantic Records artist might be the hottest singer in LA. His breakout mixtape, 2012’s Beach House gets nastier than Luther Campbell or Nate Dogg ever wanted to be. Drugs, sex, and stripper booty popping. Just the finer things in life.

His hit single “My Cabana” was not only last summer’s 24-7 party anthem, it figures to be played in every pool and beachside cabana from here until the liquor finally runs out (or no more people can fit in).

“Beach House is definitely who I am, so I’m talking that shit,” Ty says. “It’s everything that I’ve lived in life. It’s bringing that R&B and soul with a slap.”

Don’t trip on the subject matter, Ty writes some of the most well crafted and melodic pop songs you hear on the radio. Y.G. is signed to Def Jam and is one of the most popular street rappers in LA, but it wasn’t until Ty wrote and produced his hit “Toot it and Boot it”, that he earned radio airplay.

Welcome to the omnivorous world of the South Central-raised star born, Tyrone Griffin. Music is in his blood. His father was in the funk band Lakeside (“Fantastic Voyage”) and an uncle was in the Isley Brothers. Ty has been creating music since he was a three-year old writing lyrics and playing a keyboard. Since then, he’s taught himself how to play the drums, bass guitar, electric and acoustic guitar, the violin, the piano, and the Wurlitzer organ.

“I can play music with the wall and some pencils,” Ty says. “I want to leave people with incredible and timeless music, it’s a soundtrack to people’s lives. I want to get better every time. I really take pride in my sound.”

Complex hailed him as “a less self-serious version of The Weeknd…one of the most promising artists to work in this R&B Kelly-style R&B vein since The-Dream first broke.” The magazine also named his forthcoming Atlantic Records full-length, Free TC as one of 2013’s Most Anticipated.

But Ty might be the most eclectic artist of his peers. His inspirations go way deeper than just R&B. Ella Fitzgerald, 2Pac, Prince, Michael Jackson and Nirvana are as important to his conception of sound as Mint Condition and Brian McKnight. So is contemporary electronic music. If anything, Ty Dolla $ign might be heir to DJ Quik’s title of America’s most complete artist.

This is why he’s collaborated with everyone from top 40 perennials like Wiz Khalifa and Chris Brown, to West Coast hood stars like Y.G. and Joe Moses. And in the immediate future, Beach House 2 is adding a sundeck, Jacuzzi, and more bad chicks to the cabana.

“It’s just the next step—some club joints, some slower ones. I’m saying things that every man feels. It’s going to get a lot of people laid this summer,” Ty says. “But I’ve stepped up the music and production, the singing and the videos. You’ll see. “

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Boys Noize // Baauer http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/boys-noize-baauer/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/boys-noize-baauer/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:57:43 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9948 Wednesday, October 22nd
w/ Lido, Spank Rock, Nadus
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
$25: Advance || $28: Day of Show

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Dena Dena Dena // The Go Rounds http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/dena-dena-dena-the-go-rounds/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/dena-dena-dena-the-go-rounds/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:34:11 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9943 Tuesday, September 9th
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
$5: 21 and up || $7: 18 and up

Dena Dena Dena

Website | Facebook

Dena Dena Dena is the musical project of independent South Bend, IN musician, Dena Woods. Dena Dena Dena translates as both an intimate conversation between listener and solo performer to a moving and swelling full band sound with other players including keys, guitars, ukulele, drums, bass, and beyond. Woods' music tells soulful stories of confusion, broken hearts, misadventures, all with the hope that transformation can be born out of adverse circumstances.

Her recently released single, "Come Home, " has been described as "lovely, haunting, and melancholy...the sparsity of instrumentation and seeming simplicity provides so much air for the lyrics to breathe...her voice soars incredibly."

The Go Rounds

Website | Facebook

Kalamazoo's favorite suns. High energy twang-rock and jelly roll.

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HouseHoldName presents: The Saga http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/householdname-presents-the-saga/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/21/householdname-presents-the-saga/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:22:06 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9939 Saturday, September 6th
w/ thedjKG, Moeglie Jungle Bastard, Pete Lo, Natron 88, Myth
Doors & Show: 9 p.m.
FREE: 21 and up || $5: 18 and up

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Ashdown Forest & Spock Nixon (Early) http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/ashdown-forest-spock-nixon/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/ashdown-forest-spock-nixon/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:26:56 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9935 Saturday, September 6th
featuring: Ashdown Forest & Spock Nixon
Doors: 6 p.m. || Show: 7 p.m.
$5: 21 and up || $7: 18 and up

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Hector Anchondo & Gabe Nelson w/ Pants http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/hector-anchondo-gabe-nelson-w-pants/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/hector-anchondo-gabe-nelson-w-pants/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:23:23 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9933 Saturday, August 30th
Doors: 6 p.m. || Show: 7 p.m.
$7: 21 and up || $9: 18 and up

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TEST http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/test/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/20/test/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:21:15 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9931 Thursday, August 21st
w/ Disrotted, Doperunner, Vickers
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
$8: 18 and up

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Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/15/nicki-bluhm-and-the-gramblers/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/15/nicki-bluhm-and-the-gramblers/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:20:33 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9917 Sunday, September 7th
w/ Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
$13: Advance || $15: Day of Show

1% Productions & The Bourbon Theatre present...

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers

Website | Facebook | Video

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers made a needle’s-eye leap onto the national music circuit in 2012, bringing with them a refreshing sound, spirited stage show and wellspring of good vibes, along with a turntable and milk crates stocked with their favorite vintage vinyl for backstage sustenance.

Now, the San Francisco-based band and its striking front woman with a girl-next-door demeanor step out with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, a luminous, heartfelt patchwork of California folk-rock, brisk Americana and show-stopping soul, punctuated with fresh four-part harmonies, crisp rock guitar and Nicki’s soaring, nuanced vocals that some critics say remind them of Linda Ronstadt. The first record under the banner of the full band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers is very much a family album, featuring 11 new songs penned by the band members, arranged and produced by Nicki’s husband and the band’s musical director, Tim Bluhm, and recorded at the Bluhm’s Mission Bells studio in San Francisco.

The lead single “Little Too Late” kicks off the proceedings with a fun and funky punch of soulful rock and an anthemic quality to the lyrics that quickly made the song a fan favorite at live shows in the months prior to the album’s release. Also released in advance of the album, “Ravenous” marks a departure for the band as Nicki flirts with her dark side, urged on by haunting echoes of classic Fleetwood Mac. Tim and Nicki’s great love of country music and Americana storytelling takes center stage in the sparkling “Till I’m Blue”, an enchanting ode to lasting love, as well as in “Deep Water”, Nicki’s endearing telling of life lessons learned. Bluhm family friend Steve Poltz, best known for his collaborations with the singer Jewel, contributed the coaxing soul waltz “Check Your Head”.

There is an evergreen quality to the band’s music that resonates with music lovers across ages and time zones, fans who are touched by the band’s natural, bright-eyed charm and timeless expression of life and love. “We make music that generations of friends and families can share,” Nicki offers with a quiet confidence. “For me, there is a tenderness, a humanness. It’s about getting down to the basic level of bringing joy. We’re a fun, honest group of people who love traveling and seeing the country. I’m with my husband and my best friends, we’re so lucky to be doing this, and we’re so grateful for those coming out to visit with us.”

With such an earnest appreciation for every moment of the grueling work and endless hours required for touring “uncharted waters,” as she puts it, one can imagine Nicki almost pinching herself to prove that this really is her life -- and rightfully so. She never saw any of this coming.

Tim and Nicki’s paths first crossed at a house party, when someone passed a guitar to Nicki. Though she’d never before sung in front of a crowd, she took a chance and belted out an impromptu blues number, immediately catching Tim’s ear. It was a spark-plug moment that evolved into the two playing music together, followed by Tim mentoring Nicki as she developed into a career singer/songwriter. As love blossomed and marriage ensued, the couple created and released Nicki’s debut solo album, Toby’s Song (2008).

The formation of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers happened in similar organic fashion, when Nicki recruited her childhood friend, Deren Ney, to play lead guitar in her new band. Dave Mulligan accepted an invitation from Nicki to join the Gramblers on guitar and vocals while out hiking with the Bluhms one day. Bass player Steve Adams and drummer Mike Curry each got the call from the Bluhms and agreed to double-time it with their existing musical commitments. When not working with his own band, the Mother Hips, Tim takes his place on guitar, keyboard and vocals. Nicki’s second album, Driftwood (2011), earned numerous positive reviews and put Nicki and the Gramblers in front of a wider swath of show goers across the western U.S.

It was during this time that the band’s “Van Sessions” video for Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” went viral and introduced Nicki and band to the world of their endearing, stripped down versions of classic songs as well as to an existing catalog of original tracks from Nicki’s two previous solo albums. They went back on the road and quickly developed into a tight knit, six-piece headlining act, logging over 200 dates in 2012. In 2013, Nicki and the Gramblers’ touring schedule has included auspicious sets at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Hangout Music Festival and Mountain Jam, as well as being featured on network television by veteran journalist Anthony Mason for “CBS This Morning”.

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I’m Shmacked: Cornhusker’s Doorbuster ft. Heroes x Villains http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/13/im-shmacked-cornhuskers-doorbuster-ft-heroes-x-villains/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/13/im-shmacked-cornhuskers-doorbuster-ft-heroes-x-villains/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 20:05:39 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9897 Friday, September 19th
Doors: 9 p.m. || Show: 9:30 p.m.
18 and up || $27: General Admission

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Mt. Eden & Bass Science http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/13/mt-eden-bass-science/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/13/mt-eden-bass-science/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:31:01 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9881 Wednesday, August 27th
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
18 and up || $18: Advance || $20: Day of Show

Mt. Eden

Website | Video | Sounds

Bass Science

Facebook | Sounds

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Hennessy V.S Presents Nas: Illmatic 20 Year Anniversary Concert http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/12/hennessy-v-s-presents-nas-illmatic-20-year-anniversary-concert/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/12/hennessy-v-s-presents-nas-illmatic-20-year-anniversary-concert/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:11:40 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9862 Saturday, October 11th
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
18 and up
$35: Advance || $40: Day of Show || $75: VIP

VIP Includes:
- Private balcony table seating with VIP access only bar
- VIP only drink specials
- More TBA

Hennessy V.S Presents Nas: Illmatic 20 Year Anniversary Concert

Website | Facebook | Video

"So much to write and say/Yo, I don't know where to start/So I'll begin with the basics and flow from the heart" – Nas, "Loco-Motive"

Hip-hop is a fickle, ephemeral beast; a genre filled with trend-hopping "artists," corporate hucksters and walking gimmicks desperate to achieve their 15 minutes of shine. Look back at the hip-hop charts 20 years ago—hell, look back 10—and see how many names you're still reading about today.

Ever since a 17-year-old Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones appeared on Main Source's 1991 classic "Live at the Barbeque," hip-hop would be irrevocably changed. Nas. Gifted poet. Confessor. Agitator. Metaphor master. Street's disciple. Political firebrand. Tongue-twisting genius. With music in his blood courtesy of famed blues musician father Olu Dara, the self-taught trumpeter attracted crowds with his playing at age 4, wrote his first verse at age 7 and, with 1994’s Illmatic, created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time before he could legally drink. Two decades on, Nas remains an incendiary, outspoken and brutally candid rapper on the recently released Life is Good, his tenth album and sixth to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.

Critics and fans immediately flocked to Life is Good, with everyone from Rolling Stone ("He cuts his rhymes with midlife realism and daring empathy") and MTV ("The most emotionally raw record he’s made since his first") to HipHopDX ("An obvious maturation from the veteran") and Pitchfork ("Best New Music") praising the album. Far from divorcing personal problems from a hyperbolic, caricatured alter ego, Life is Good finds Nas confronting the myriad issues he's faced head-on since 2008's Untitled ("Daughters, "Bye Baby"), mixed with a wayward wisdom that allows him to channel the past without attempting to ape it ("Loco-Motive," "Nasty").

"I used to listen to that Red Alert and Rap Attack/I fell in love with all that poetry/Mastered that" – Nas, "The Don"

Before the 13 Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums and Top 5 rankings on MTV's 10 Greatest MCs of All Time and The Source’s Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, 17-year-old Nas would take daily trips to Manhattan hoping to secure a major label deal, only to be shot down by nearly every label. When 3rd Bass co-founder MC Serch brought his demo tape to the attention of Faith Newman, then-Director of A&R for Columbia Records, she made a deal with Serch that day, offering Nas a $17,000 advance and the lifeline to begin his career.

With hundreds of thousands of words alongside entire books written on the album, it seems almost trite today to discuss the universal impact and acclaim that Illmatic had on rap. Put simply: the album has long been considered a masterpiece not just in hip hop, but music as a whole, inspiring countless subsequent rappers and establishing Nas as the most vivid storyteller of urban life since Rakim and Chuck D.

1996’s It Was Written built upon Illmatic’s foundation, with “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World” (the latter with Lauryn Hill) becoming radio staples and vaulting Nas into mainstream success. For his two 1999 albums, I Am… and Nastradamus, the rapper balanced commercial aspirations with extended metaphors and rough street anthems, carving out multiple identities that better reflected the rapper’s expanded worldview.

"My success symbolizes loyalty/Great friends/Dedication/Hard work/Routine builds character/In a world full of snakes, rats and scavengers" – Nas, "You Wouldn't Understand"

In 2001, the rapper released his fifth album Stillmatic at the height of his escalating battle with Jay-Z for King of New York. Tracks like “Ether” and “Got Ur Self A….”could be heard on radio stations and in cars across the country and would eventually sell more than 2 million copies, while songs like “Rewind,” which told the story of a payback hit in reverse a la Memento, solidified Nas as an atypical rapper unafraid to play with convention. God’s Son, with the booming anthem “Made You Look,” would follow one year later and go gold.

As Nas entered his 30s, his scope and breadth became even more ambitious. While most rappers struggle to say anything on one album, Nas released the 2004 double album Street’s Disciple, reuniting with his estranged father on the blues/hip-hop hybrid “Bridging the Gap.” The album also featured the Iron Butterfly-sampling “Thief’s Theme,” which remains one of Nas’ most anthemic songs.

In the past decade, Nas has only gotten more inflammatory and passionate, purposely titling albums to provoke weighty discussions on a global level. 2006’s Hip Hop is Dead sparked widespread debate on the veracity of the title, while Nas changed 2008’s Untitled from its original title Nigger, yet still incited intense polemics on race and politics in America.

"Reveal my life/You will forgive me/You will love me/Hate me/Judge me/Relate to me/Only a few will/This how it sounds when you too real/They think it's just music still" – Nas, "No Introduction"

In recent years, though, Nas has transcended mere rapper status and engaged in greater levels of philanthropy. The rapper is an avid UNICEF supporter, helping to raise funds for East African region Horn of Africa and teaming up with the family of George Harrison for the organization’s Month of Giving. The rapper also donated all proceeds of Distant Relatives, his 2010 collaboration with longtime friend Damian Marley, to help end poverty in Africa.

Nas’s desire for greater interaction with his fans has also led him to new business ventures. He serves on the board of social photo sharing site The Fancy alongside Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and has invested in Mass Appeal and RapGenius.com. Most recently, Nas announced plans to open 12AMRun – a sneaker store in Las Vegas.

The artist’s most recent release was 2011’s Life Is Good, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, marking the sixth #1 album that Nas has produced in his career. The collection also received four GRAMMY nominations bringing the rap icon’s GRAMMY recognition count to 13 overall.

Nas’ seminal debut album, Illmatic, will be released as a special 20th Anniversary Edition, titled Illmatic XX in Spring 2014 by SONY Legacy. In conjunction with the release, Time Is Illmatic – a feature length documentary film that examines the album – will open The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Rapper J-Live once said satirically, “To be a great MC, you have to be a great liar.” It’s safer to not tell the truth; safer to sanitize your existence; safer to align yourself with the producer du jour; safer to rhyme about tropes over truths. Nas’ catalog speaks for itself. Over 10 albums, the rapper has never been one to play it safe. Whether it’s rhyming about politics, hip hop, race, religion, other artists or personal relationships, Nas has consistently brought unparalleled and unprecedented levels of honesty to hip hop, a trait often overlooked in the genre. On Life is Good’s “Reach Out,” Nas rhymes, “So call me a genius/If you didn't/Now that I said it/I force you to think it.” For most artists, this would be arrogance bordering on hubris. For Nas, who’s remained vital and relevant for nearly 20 years, it’s just fact.

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Kottonmouth Kings http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/09/kottonmouth-kings/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/09/kottonmouth-kings/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 19:31:41 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9856 Saturday, August 23rd
w/ Special Blend, C4 & Nicky Gritts, Pilot Touhill, Imperial Soundclash, Chucky Chuck, & The Movement ft. JaySay
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
18 and up || $20: Advance || $25: Day of Show

Kottonmouth Kings

Website | Facebook | Video

On Aug 14, 2012 The Kottonmouth Kings released their most prolific and smashing record to date, "Mile High". It includes 18 certified bangers that will cement the Kottonmouth Kings legacy, as one of the most influential and underrated groups of our time. "Mile High" is the Kottonmouth Kings on steroids with a twist of ecstasy and a pot brownie! The sonics and bass alone on “Mile High” will blow speakers from coast to coast! So buy stock in speaker companies, if you need some investment tips. "Mile High" has the Kings passing the mic around like the Harlem Globetrotters pass a basketball. There is not a group on the planet that can rival what the Kottonmouth Kings have pulled off! “Mile High” will have music snobs down on their knees, wiping semen from their cheeks. You will find no traces of tight jeans or trendy indie trash!

The Kings are an independent music force! The Kings are seasoned vets ready to storm troop the music industry like Navy Seal Team 6 raiding Osama Bin Laden’s compound! The Kings are here to take no prisoners and make no apologies. The Kings have never stopped pounding and smashing for over 15 years. What other group of our generation has done more collectively and as a unit? What other group releases as much prolific solo and group material. It is high time to recognize that the Kottonmouth Kings are not some novelty weed act - but one of the most intensely original and profound groups of our generation. Don't take our word for it - go to a show and you will see thousands of people lose their fucking minds every time the Kings hit the stage.

It all started seventeen years ago, deep in the suburbs of Southern California, in the aftermath of a punk rock & hip hop revolution - an unlikely group of stoned misfits formed a musical partnership that would ignite an entire generation of weed loving, free thinking, bass bumping, rip hop junkies. KMK has become one of the worlds most radical and savagely independent underground musical forces. KMK is fine flying under the radar - the Kings have dug underground tunnels that most people don't even know exist. KMK is responsible for creating one of the most intense and largest subculture movements in modern times, as well as connected millions of Kings and Kweens worldwide. "Mile High" finds the Kings Flying high delivering lyrical gymnastics over a sonic sound-scape that defies anything else happening in music today!

“Mile High” also contains a deluxe bonus disc that contains all the original Kings: Saint, D-Loc, Richter, X, & The Dirtball, wrecking tracks all together again! This is history! Spread the good word! Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the flight! It's 2012 and the Kottonmouth Kings have their red eyes set on the future - so be prepared to blast off to whole new dimension. Go get your copy of“Mile High” now available worldwide.

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EOTO http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/07/eoto-3/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/07/eoto-3/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:11:22 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9822 Wednesday, October 1st
w/ BASSthoven & Linear Symmetry
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
18 and up || $16: Advance || $20: Day of Show
Tickets On-Sale Saturday, August 9th @ 10 a.m.

EOTO

Website | Facebook | Youtube

As electronic influences continue to penetrate the live rock, jazz, and jam ethos, one band consistently rises to the top, bringing together fans from across the musical spectrum. EOTO crisscrosses the country blowing out basement dives, packed theaters, and stages under the stars. Check your festival schedules: this 100% improvised dubstep/breakbeat/house/drum & bass/trip-hop duo is the premier late-night party in the country.

Throbbing bass and thudding beats are the signatures of this project from drummers Michael Travis and Jason Hann. Born out of their shared love of electronic dance music, EOTO’s M.O. is to take the free-wheeling party vibe of a DJ set to the next level by using organic instruments, innovative performance technology, and uncharted musical exploration. Live drums, guitars, and keys, and vocals are mixed, remixed, and sampled on the fly using cutting-edge programs. This is all done without a script, and without a net.

Hann plays a hyper EQ’d drumkit, chock full of multi-touch screens and MIDI controllers, and throws a number of effects on his otherworldly vocal styles. Travis takes on subsonic frequencies, generating the band’s crushing low end with analog, digital, and software synthesizers, occasionally picking up guitar or a bass guitar and showing off his proficiency with instruments of all shapes and sizes.

Hann, has been playing percussion professionally since the age of 12. Years of collaborating, touring, and recording with the likes of Youssou N’Dour, Isaac Hayes, Dr. Dre, Loreena McKinnett, SCI, and a slew of other established artists running the gamut from Latin jazz to R ‘n’ B and soul allows him to move fluidly between styles. Adding to this is his depth in African and Latin drumming traditions, allowing the futuristic EOTO sound to keep itself rooted in the past.

For the last 16 years, Travis has been the drumming octopus in SCI. He morphs roles to melodic multi-instrumentalist in EOTO, providing the raw basslines and harmonic tapestry that fill out the soundscape of the duo. Both Hann and Travis have the chops and stamina for physically demanding, EOTO improvised sets, which have been known to go upwards of 4 straight hours. “When we’re playing live for 3 hours a night, it’s like playing tribal drums in a ceremony,” Hann explains. “I’m looking at one person at a time out there, and thinking ‘what can I do to make you dance?’”

An EOTO set is a nebulous beast. Setlists are only broken up into tracks for the sake of posterity. In reality, changes in mood, energy, and inspiration are reflected—in real-time—by rhythmic and melodic shifts. The duo moves effortlessly from choppy dubstep to whip-smart, four-on-the-floor house to psychedelic trip-hop. It’s a dance marathon, but everyone’s in it together. The EOTO set is dependent on crowd energy and activity, effectively breaking down the wall between artist and audience.

Because EOTO starts fresh every night, the band’s evolutionary progress has been thrust into hyperspeed, eclipsing standard acts who return to their dusty catalog for every performance. This is apparent when following the musical evolution of their live performances, which are recorded every night and made available to their fans. On EOTO’s first 2 studio releases–2006’s Elephants Only Talk Occasionally, and the 2008 release Razed, EOTO bounced playfully between house, trance, and breakbeat. A huge change in their sound came when Travis and Hann first saw, felt, and heard the cathartic vibes that dubstep could produce at DJ Skream’s set at Shambhala during the Summer of 2008. This influence saw the duo become the first National, live, dubstep act in the US. The wobbly, buzz-saw bass and heavy backbeat style has become a signature of their sets, as heard on their live recordings and on the 2009 studio release, Fire the Lazers!!! Newer material has the duo co-opting sounds from outside the realm of electronic music with scratchy punk riffs and fuzzy sludge metal bass.

While the recording of each album is no different than the live performance—completely improvised in one take—the records are an appetizer to the live performance. Hann and Travis are consummate road dogs, playing almost 200 shows a year. EOTO has played more than seven hundred unique showcases in 48 different states in the five years since the project’s inception. Each set is recorded and released (http://www.livedownloads.com ) so fans can capture their unique EOTO dance throwdown, reliving the experience again and again.

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Private Event http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/private-event-5/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/private-event-5/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 01:19:29 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9849 Friday, October 3rd

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Lipstick Homicide http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/lipstick-homicide/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/lipstick-homicide/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 20:22:46 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9845 Sunday, August 24th
w/ Rational Anthem, Boys, The Ridgways
Doors: 6 p.m. || Show: 7 p.m.
All Ages || $5: 21 and up || $7: under 21

Lipstick Homicide

Website | Facebook

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Problem http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/problem/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/problem/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 20:12:11 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9840 Saturday, September 20th
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
All Ages || $21: Advance || $23: Day of Show

Jade & The Bourbon Theatre present...

Problem

Website | Facebook | Youtube

The 26 year old Artist Problem aka Jason Martin is also known for being a writer, producer, engineer, song arranger and father. Problem was born in Germany, raised in Compton. His musical inspirations are Eminem, everything under the NWA tree, Lil Wayne, Isley brothers, Prince, Aaliyah, R.Kelly, The Temptations, Dj Quik, The Jacksons & The group DeBarge.

His entry into the industry was writing a verse for a producer & friend Terrace Martin, for a song called “Be thankful”, featured on Snoop Dogg’s compilation album “The Big Squeeze”. The track garnered praise from notable artist such as Nas & Talib Kweli amongst others. Problem began recording records with recognized artist such as Daz, Kurupt, Snoop Dogg, & Dj Quik. Problem’s first big break was when Snoop Dogg heard a record which was also produced by Terrace Martin called “Neva Hafta To Wurry About That”. He went on to write three records on Snoop Dogg’s “Ego Trippin” LP.

Since that time Problem has worked with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Soulja Boy, Tha Dogg Pound, Jim Jones, The Game, E-40, Wiz Khalifa, Guru, Bobby Valentino, 9th Wonder, Teddy Riley, Murs, Chris Brown, Polow Da Don, Baron Davis, Nipsey Hussle, Warren G, Y.G., Mann, Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, Michael Corleone, Mike Epps, Katt Williams, DeeRay, Kenneth Crotch, Marlon Williams, Andrew Gouche, Pharrell Williams, Travis Barker, Dj Drama, Diggy Simmons, Tru Life, James FauntLeroy, 1500orNuthin, Kanye West & John Legend to name a few.

Over his career Problem has dropped seven mixtapes, was signed to Universal & has experienced much success with the release of his party anthem “I’m Toe up”. With the talent and accolades to match, Problem is destined to shine. When asked Problem what style of music he wants to present to the world his response is “Whatever the (expletive) I feel like doing. I will not be boxed into any style or genre of music. So when you try to classify my style of rapping, don’t. Just let me be an artist.”

So with that said expect the unexpected from the Diamond Lane recording artist Problem.

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Rogue Valley http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/rogue-valley/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/rogue-valley/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 19:45:36 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9836 Wednesday, September 3rd
w/ The Ambulanters, blét
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
$5: 21 and up || $7: 18 and up

Rogue Valley

Website | Facebook | Video

Rogue Valley is a band born of grandiose ambition: in a single year, they have written, recorded, and successfully released four full length albums, each one sonically steeped in the season of its creation. Together, the four albums tell a sweeping story of love, loss, regret and hope that is inseparable from the geography of classic American wanderlust. The 46 songs act as chapters, standing strongly on their own, yet creating an undeniably rich experience when taken as a whole. Few bands are so productive in an entire career, yet Rogue Valley and songwriter Chris Koza have realized a breadth of ambition that is beyond simple prolificacy – the entire series stands out for its dynamism, craft, impeccable production and fantastic songwriting.

Imagine Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jeff Tweedy sharing a dugout canoe across a calm river; Jack Kerouac and My Morning Jacket sitting around a campfire; John Steinbeck and Fleet Foxes hitch-hiking along county roads and highways from coast to coast. Rogue Valley makes music that fills a dynamic spectrum, from surging electric guitar rock to woodsy finger-picking ballads. The unifying trait throughout is the band’s soaring, lush vocal harmonies that lift the cinematic arrangements to emotional heights.

Known as one of the Twin Cities’ most dynamic live acts, Rogue Valley and lead singer/songwriter Chris Koza perform regularly at top Minneapolis/St. Paul venues (First Avenue, The Fitzgerald Theater) and festivals (Basilica Block Party, MN State Fair), and have shared the stage or supported artists like Spoon, Weezer, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Andrew Bird, Justin Vernon, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Mason Jennings, Eric Hutchinson, Nellie McKay, Céu, Cloud Cult, Jeremy Messersmith, Haley Bonar, Scout Niblett, and Jay Clifford, among others.

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Skrillex in the Streets http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/skrillex-in-the-streets/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/06/skrillex-in-the-streets/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 18:38:48 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9826 Thursday, October 16th
w/ special guest TBA, GTA, Alesia
Gates & Show: 5 p.m.
13th & N Streets - Downtown Lincoln, NE
All Ages || $40: Advance || $45: Day of Show

Skrillex

Website | Facebook | Video

Sonny Moore found club and mainstream stardom beginning in 2008, when he swapped his gig as post-hardcore frontman for From First to Last and created the dancefloor-oriented project Skrillex. He originally used the name for live DJ sets, but in 2009 the project moved into the studio with Skrillex remixing the likes of Lady Gaga (“Bad Romance”) and Snoop Dogg (“Sensual Seduction”). In 2010, the self-released digital download EP My Name Is Skrillex appeared, combining the Benny Benassi and Deadmau5 styles of electro with the over the top samples and giant noises of acts like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. Moore would sign with Deadmau5’s Mau5trap label that same year, where he would release his second EP, Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites, along with the club hit “Kill Everybody.” If topping the club charts didn't prove the producer had arrived, a 2011 appearance on the revived Beavis & Butthead television series did, along with his collaboration with the surviving members of the Doors called "Breakin' a Sweat." The recording of the track was captured in the documentary film RE:GENERATION, while the song itself landed on Skrillex's Bangarang EP, which appeared in early 2012.

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Randy Rogers Band http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/05/randy-rogers-band/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/05/randy-rogers-band/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 19:21:11 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9815 Wednesday, September 10th
Doors: 8 p.m. || Show: 9 p.m.
18 and up || $16: Advance || $20: Day of Show

Website | Facebook | Youtube

When a band spends the bulk of its year on the road, its members are bound to have their share of trouble and strife. But only the truly talented are able to take those trying experiences and turn them into enduring art. The Randy Rogers Band is one of those few, and they’ve transformed coal into diamonds yet again on their latest album for MCA Nashville, Trouble.

Teaming up for the first time with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage the Elephant, The Wallflowers), the Texas five-piece—vocalist/guitarist Randy Rogers, guitarist Geoffrey Hill, bassist Jon Richardson, fiddle player Brady Black, and drummer Les Lawless—dove headfirst into songs of loss, love and, above all, truth.

“No matter what, trouble always finds us. And that title honestly sums up the last two and a half years of making this record,” says Rogers. “At times it cuts deep and you can hear the pain, but it’s honest, it’s real. On the flip, we like to have a good time and you can hear that too. ”

During that time, the band and its extended family suffered an assortment of calamities, including the untimely death of Richardson’s brother. Instead of letting those events derail them, the band pulled together tighter than ever and allowed their personal experiences, pain and loss to seep into their work while hunkering down in the studio with Joyce.

“Getting Jay onboard pumped us up, made us work harder, and made me more creative. I think it reenergized our band,” Rogers says. “It was a blessing. The timing couldn’t have been better.”

A blessing for both the group and for their passionate fan base, w ho will no doubt connect with the 11 tracks of Trouble, the band’s eighth album. The band has always enjoyed critical acclaim, thanks to their signature blend of outlaw edge coupled with guy-next-door charm. This album takes that duality to the next level.

The first single “One More Sad Song” is a heart wrenching autobiographical tale of the end of a relationship. The sorrow in the lyric is tangible and echoed by a soaring, haunting chorus. “Fuzzy,” with its dirty, swampy groove, is the hazy recollection of a night that many have heard of and only a few have had. And “Speak of the Devil” is about one man’s efforts to forget his ex whose name and memory haunts the darkest corners of his mind. “I came in here to drink to drown you out and watch you sink…to do anything but think. Speak of the devil.”

“This album is a little more out of the box for us. We pushed the envelope intentionally, to try to grow and experiment with our sound in the studio. Knowing the depth of Jay’s talent and his genius, we were all willing to take a chance to expand our range. We felt comfortable in our skin with him and were able to try sounds that are a bit out of the ordinary,” Rogers says. “Glad we took those chances.”

On “Fuzzy,” for instance, the band uses wrenches and cooking equipment to add texture and layers to the sound. The payoff, a unique album with roots that run deep.

“We’ve grown as a band with this record. But I still don’t think we could make an album without the soul and passion that that embodies Texas music and it’s heritage,” said Rogers. “I am definitely proud that we are from Texas. We got our start here and cut our teeth here. To me, it’s the whole reason I have a gig.” Rogers continued, “Without growing up dreaming to be George Strait or Willie Nelson, there wouldn’t be a Randy Rogers Band.”

As such, there’s a certain cachet attached to the group—an authenticity that can’t be manufactured, and one that is often coveted by other artists.

“We work hard touring, building up our fan base and putting on a good show night after night, over 200 nights a year. I feel like people have grown to respect us for that.” Rogers is nonetheless honored by the group’s three consecutive ACM Award nominations for Vocal Group of the Year. “It’s validating. The ACM nominations, and even the regional awards we’ve won in Austin, mean a lot to the band. I can’t tell you how proud we are every time we hear that we’ve been nominated.”

And they’re equally proud of the fact that their hero Willie Nelson graces “Trouble Knows My Name,” a true-to-life song about the perils of the road that recalls the Red Headed Stranger’s own “Me and Paul.”

“We went out to Willie’s studio to record his vocal and guitar tracks. That is a day I’ll never forget. Having him on our record and being able to be in the studio while Willie Nelson was recording, priceless.”

“In the verse that Willie sings, there really was a guy hanging halfway out of our bus after a show in New Orleans,” Randy says. “We scared him off, and he came back and threw a bucket full of concrete through the window trying to get back in.”

“If I Had Another Heart” is a track that honors one of the band’s influences, Radney Foster, who produced three of the group’s previous albums. “We’ve always been huge fans of Radney and we always try to include him in our records. He was one of my first mentors and I’ve learned so much from him. ‘If I Had Another Heart’ is an incredible song, it really fits what we do as a band on the stage. We were excited he let us cut it, we hope we made him proud.”

Which is exactly where the band excels: on the concert stage. Under those bright lights they actually develop new songs, reinterpret old favorites and, most importantly, forge a connection with their audience before heading back to the studio and employing what they’ve learned. Such was the case with Trouble.

“We like to view albums as snapshots. It’s a photo of where the five of us are and where we came from. We made this record as a team and we’re really proud of it. It showcases who we are as a band and we got to include some of our heroes—and you just can’t beat that,” says Randy.

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New Found Glory http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/05/new-found-glory/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/05/new-found-glory/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:41:35 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9807 Tuesday, October 28th
w/ We Are The In Crowd, Fireworks, Red City Radio
Doors: 6 p.m. || Show: 7 p.m.
All Ages || $20: Advance || $23: Day of Show
Tickets On-Sale Friday, August 8th

Website | Facebook | Youtube

New Found Glory (formerly A New Found Glory) is an American rock band from Coral Springs, Florida, formed in 1997. The band currently consists of Jordan Pundik (vocals), Chad Gilbert (guitar), Ian Grushka (bass) and Cyrus Bolooki (drums). Longtime guitarist and lyricist Steve Klein departed from the band, in late 2013, following "personal differences." During their lengthy recording career, the band have released seven studio albums, one live album, two EPs, and three cover albums.

Emerging as part of the second wave of pop punk in the late 1990s, music critics consider them a key pioneer of the genre. Labelled the "godfathers of pop punk", Allmusic credits them for "practically serving alongside the work of Blink-182 as the blueprint to the entire genre for the early 2000s." Also renowned for their energetic live performances, the band has garnered a cult following since their inception.

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Big Smo http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/04/big-smo/ http://bourbontheatre.com/2014/08/04/big-smo/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 22:44:25 +0000 aaron http://bourbontheatre.com/?p=9800 Thursday, December 11th
Doors: 7 p.m. || Show: 8 p.m.
$20: Advance || $20: Day of Show

Big Smo

Website | Facebook | Video

"You can tell when something's real," says the man known simply as Big Smo. "You can tell when it's true. And I think what's made us successful and gotten us this far is that we're just real people, down-home country folk who really love to make music, and people see that."

That success has been as hard won as it is impressive. What began as two friends—Smo and Orig the DJ—experimenting with samples, beats and lyrics in a makeshift home studio has turned into four independent CDs and hundreds of tour stops before over-the-top crowds from mud parks in Florida to night clubs in Vegas. He and his band—Orig, vocalists Alexander King and Haden Carpenter, guitarist Travis Tidwell, bassist Eric Flores and drummer Ryan Peel—have opened for Brantley Gilbert, appeared at 2012's Bamajam on a bill with Kid Rock and Jamey Johnson, and rocked the crowd at 2013's CMA Music Fest in Nashville. Perhaps most impressive, though, has been the phenomenal success of their breakthrough indy hit, "Kickin' It In Tennessee." Its video, a slice of real life shot on a shoestring at Big Smo's 32-acre Middle Tennessee farm, has earned well over five million YouTube hits.

Now, with the release of his major-label debut, Kuntry Livin’, the man known as the Boss of the Sticks is poised to take it all up a very big notch.

It was that homegrown video, "Kickin' It," that turned the tide, bringing Big Smo to the attention of Warner Bros. senior vice president and head of radio promotion Chris Stacey.

"The moment I saw Big Smo on YouTube," says Stacey, "I knew he was something special. I grew up loving rap music and loving country music, and Big Smo is the first artist that I have ever seen that seamlessly combines the two. Big Smo is for the kids with the jacked-up trucks and camo hats that love Jason Aldean and Brantley Glibert—but also bump Lil Wayne."

Big Smo’s growing legion of fans would agree. His is the story of a country boy catching fire in a digital age, where musical cross-pollination is everywhere, where Nelly teams up with Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, and Ludacris joins forces with Jason Aldean, who’s "Dirt Road Anthem" was the best-selling country song of the year. Big Smo's rise has been fueled by high energy and relatable lyrics, a band with the ability to rock a crowd, and the studio savvy to capture that lightning in a bottle. Big Smo owns that place where country, Southern rock and hip hop come together, where the beat rocks the story and the story rocks the beat. An early review put it this way: "If Kid Rock and Run D.M.C. had a love child, he would be named Big Smo."

The added reach and clout of the label deal comes with something Big Smo values even more—freedom to do it his way.

"The most important thing," he says, "is that when we went from being independent artists to being on a label, we didn't want to lose control of who we are. That's why the label called us—because of who we are, not because of what somebody made us. They said, 'We'll let you drive. We like the way you steer.' I was like, 'Cool. I won't let you down.'"

Produced by Jon Conner and Orig, Kuntry Livin’ sums up everything that has brought Big Smo to the forefront. The beats are pulse-pounding, the vocals passionate, the guitars electrifying, and the subject matter—well, that's pure back-country reality. It includes the boots-on blue-collar anthem "Workin'," the country-as-cornbread celebration of roots, "Who I'll Be," the work-hard-play-hard life sketch, "Down in the Backwoods," and the love-gone-wrong tale, "Cover My Eyes."

Working with Big Smo on individual tracks are producer extraordinaire Michael Knox (Jason Aldean), songwriters Casey Beathard, Rhett Akins and Jim Beavers, singers Josh Thompson and Shelly Fairchild, and musicians including Charlie Worsham, Jimmy Stewart, David Yudkin and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Peter Keys.

Big Smo's story begins on the farm he grew up on—the farm that is still home. His first memory, in fact, is "sitting on the tractor with my father. I can still remember the smell of the fresh cut hay and how blue the sky was. I had a great life as a child and as a teenager. I had hard-working grandparents and even harder-working parents that had great family values. My father taught me everything it was to be a man and he became not only the best father to have but my best friend."

He played drums and keyboards as a boy, took up trumpet in middle school and was part of the drum line in high school.

"I was always into music," he says, "and on the side I was always writing, whether it was a short story or these crazy movie ideas."

He began writing poetry in high school, "expressing the side of me I didn't really want to share with everyone else. It was where I could put down how I felt inside. My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, they would explode onto the paper."

As with so many of his generation, he heard music from both sides of the fence, rural and urban, country ("with an outlaw vibe") and hip-hop, and both stirred his soul, as did the Southern and classic rock he heard as a teenager.

"When I listen to the music we make today," he says, "I see all those things in everything we make. The elements are all there and it's working. People love it because they can relate to it."

Not long after he got out of high school he met Ray Riddle, who was just learning to be a DJ and who would become Orig the DJ.

"He had this Technics turntable." says Smo, "and he was learning how to sample pieces out of a record. I thought, 'That's so cool.' I really dug this kid, his enthusiasm and where his heart was when it came to music. It was like watching an artist paint a picture."

Soon, they were writing together, learning every aspect of the process from the ground up. They played an early song for some friends, who loved it, then started the long process of gathering and mastering equipment and writing and performing original songs.

"To this day," he says, "Orig and I are in the studio working late all the time and we're still as tight as ever. Our moms look at both of us as sons."
The two began making the one-hour journey north to Nashville, paying for the chance to play in tiny clubs--Kung Fu Coffee was the first--and giving away CDs they made at home and labeled with Sharpies.

"People got into what we were doing and before long we had our first paid gig," he says. "I'll never forget it. We piled our equipment in the car and drove to Georgia and we got there and they gave us three hundred bucks and a case of water. We were like, 'What? All we did was show up and they haven't even seen us yet!"

Soon they were taking what they'd learned and the contacts they'd made and putting on shows of their own, with Orig as DJ and Big Smo as host. They learned Photoshop and other programs and designed their own flyers. They began producing their own CDs, which got increasingly sophisticated, and began touring all over the southern U.S., booking their own shows and traveling in a converted church bus.

They learned everything they could about the possibilities inherent in the Internet, and were off and running.

"YouTube became the place for seeing what was happening," he says. "That opened the window for independent artists to share with the same amount of people that you had to wait on MTV or CMT or BET for in the past. This was your 'reach out and touch somebody' opportunity."

They took full advantage, and that road, of course, led to Warner Music Nashville, where the back woods met the power of full-scale national promotion. At bottom, though, is the same wide-ranging love of music and the same bootstrap mentality.

“We were raised on Waylon and Willie, Johnny Cash and Jerry Reed,” he says, “and we were raised on the Beastie Boys and Dirty South, so it’s not a surprise that’s who we’ve become. And that’s the place a whole lot of fans are, loving not just country but hip-hop as well. They’re country people who love to party and have a good time, and love that hip-hop beat and that country story telling. I’ve always followed my heart about the music, and it’s connecting to a lot of people.
“I wouldn’t trade away anything about the way we did it, because we learned it from the bottom up,” he says. “We paid our dues. I enjoy knowing that’s where we started and here’s where we are today.”

All of it comes together on stage, which is where Big Smo says he is most at home.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve come across in my life,” he says. “When you’re on stage and your fans are in the crowd and they’re singing along and they know the songs and you’re there to give them the best you are, it’s an exchange of love and enjoyment you just can’t beat. No matter how chill I am backstage, when I hear ‘Dueling Banjos,’ it’s like a light switch. I’m like, ‘It’s time.’ I just go out there and unleash whatever that week held for me, taking all my emotions and fueling them into my show.”

It’s an approach that has thrilled countless fans who have followed Big Smo from the Internet to some of the music world’s most exciting live shows, creating back-and-forth energy he is as excited about taking forward as his fans are.

“I could play a show every night for the rest of my life,” he says, “and I’d be the happiest man on earth.”

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