Twelve new songs amid the 100,000 that get uploaded to Spotify every day (according to hypebot.com). Will any of them rise above the din enough to be heard? So far, a few of them have been hanging out with the likes of young Americana superstars Charlie Crocket and Margo Price on the Americana Music Association album and singles charts, as well as the popular Spotify playlist, The Pulse of Americana.
It's Cleaves' second release on Candy House Media, which consists of himself and his wife and manager, Karen Cleaves, with hired gun Angela Backstrom promoting to Americana radio. It's one of the rare self-releases on the charts, and the early success of the first few singles is a testament to the consistent quality of Cleaves' output over the past 25 years, and to the bond he's built and maintained with the dedicated music lovers at Americana radio since its inception in the mid 1990s.
Slaid teamed up with producer Scrappy Jud Newcomb for the third time in early 2022 to record a new batch of songs, Slaid's first in five years. Familiar themes of struggle and resilience will be a surprise to no one. TOGETHER THROUGH THE DARK digs into the crucial moments and experiences that shape our journeys. A kind word when it's needed most, the effort to act honorably in dark and violent times, the wisdom of a barfly, the majesty of rock and roll, the dignity of work and the enduring grace provided by true love.
As Scrappy puts it, "This album speaks to the hopeful, the hard working, the battered, confused, and the sad. But above all to the believers in the city of freedom that we heard in the stories of our youth and all those FM radio hits."
Slaid Cleaves has recently released his latest album, TOGETHER THROUGH THE DARK.
ROBBIE FUILKS is a singer, recording artist, instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter. His current release, Bluegrass Vacation on Compass Records, returns him to his bluegrass roots, with a large group of masterful musicians including Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Justin Moses, Ronnie McCoury, Alison Brown, David Grier, Tim O’Brien, Todd Phillips, John Cowan, Brennen Leigh, Randy Kohrs, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Shad Cobb, and Chris Eldridge. Across 11 new original songs (and one freewheeling interpretation of the Delmore Brothers), Robbie covers themes like small-town blues, the endurance of childhood memory, inebriation, love, divorce, the role of music in strengthening family bonds, losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s, and bluegrass itself.
His most recent release, 2017’s Upland Stories, earned year’s-best recognition from NPR and Rolling Stone among many others, as well as two Grammy® nominations, for folk album and American roots song (“Alabama At Night”).
Fulks was born in York, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a half-dozen small towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. He learned guitar from his dad, banjo from Earl Scruggs and John Hartford records. He attended Columbia College in New York City.
In 1983 he moved to Chicago and joined Greg Cahill’s Special Consensus Bluegrass Band. He taught music at Old Town School of Folk Music from 1984 to 1996, and worked as a staff songwriter on Music Row in Nashville from 1993 to 1998.
His early solo work — Country Love Songs (1996) and South Mouth (1997) — helped define the “alternative country” movement of the 1990s. For most of the present century, Robbie has been playing acoustic music through microphones, which lets him give more attention to his flatpicking and banjo playing, and complements his more sepia-toned subject matter — the slings of time, the troubles of common people. His repertory of traveling players includes folks like Shad Cobb, Missy Raines, Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman, Matt Flinner, Don Stiernberg, and Jesse Cobb. However, two non-acoustic recent side projects are his 2018 duo record with Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, an NPR favorite which leans to rock-and-roll and classic country-and-western, and his double-vinyl reinterpretation of the Bob Dylan record Street-Legal, which is titled 16, is musically unbounded and is no one’s favorite.
Radio: multiple appearances on WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry”; PRI’s “Whadd’ya Know”; NPR’s “Fresh Air,” “Mountain Stage,” and “World Cafe”; and the syndicated “Acoustic Cafe” and “Laura Ingraham Show.” TV: PBS’s Austin City Limits; NBC’s Today, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Later with Carson Daly, and 30 Rock. From 2004 to 2008 he hosted an hourlong performance/interview program for XM satellite radio, “Robbie’s Secret Country.” Artists who have covered his songs include Sam Bush, Kelly Hogan, Andrew Bird, Mollie O’Brien, Rosie Flores, John Cowan, and Old 97s.
Robbie’s writing on music and life have appeared in GQ, Blender, the Chicago Reader, DaCapo Press’s Best Music Writing anthologies for 2001 and 2004, Amplified: Fiction from Leading Alt-Country, Indie Rock, Blues and Folk Musicians, and A Guitar and A Pen: Stories by Country Music’s Greatest Songwriters. As an instrumentalist, he has accompanied the Irish fiddle master Liz Carroll, the distinguished jazz violinist Jenny Scheinman, and the New Orleans pianist Dr. John. As a producer his credits include Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck (Sugar Hill, 2004) and Big Thinkin’ by Dallas Wayne (Hightone, 2000). Theatrical credits include “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” and Harry Chapin’s “Cottonpatch Gospel.” He served twice as judge for the Winfield National Flatpicking Guitar competition. He tours yearlong with various configurations.
Besides country and bluegrass music, Robbie is fiercely fond of Charles Mingus, P.G. Wodehouse, quantum mechanics, his wife Donna, comedy in almost all forms, cooking, swimming laps, the past, Arthur Schopenhauer, Universal horror movies, his grandson and even his sons, coastal towns in the off-season, and rye whiskey, though in nothing like that order.
Best known for his high voice, unique guitar playing and songwriting (“Nature”, “Feel Us Shaking”, “Did You Ever Look So Nice”) rock, reggae and folk singer/songwriter Sean Kelly front man for The samples was born February 7, 1965 in Norwalk, Connecticut. The son of a WW2 veteran and a mom who worked construction to put food on the table, Kelly grew up in Vermont. While attending only one year of high school, he began playing guitar and composing his own songs. After moving to Colorado in 1987 to start a band, Kelly became a fixture on local club stages as the front man for The Samples, playing original songs with a variety of rock, reggae and folk. When not touring with The Samples, he enjoys playing his songs acoustically. The Samples are currently recording their 20th album, Indian Summer, to be released later this year. Kelly’s songs have been featured in Perks of Being a Wallflower and more recently in television’s Younger and in ads for MSNBC’s midterm election coverage.
With the soul of a country singer and the mind of a vaudevillian, Robbie Fulks is a chameleon-like artist who can whip it out in honky-tonk, country, bluegrass, power pop, or whatever strikes his ample whimsy at the time. Don’t miss your chance to see him up close in the intimate Back Room @ Colectivo.
“If country music has an Elvis Costello, it’s Robbie Fulks, who marries Ivy League cleverness to an appreciation of hillbilly music that actual hillbillies could only envy.” — Entertainment Weekly