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Ohana Festival - Friday (Stevie Nicks, Khruangbin, Brittany Howard) tickets at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point
Fri 30 Sep 2022

Ohana Festival - Friday (Stevie Nicks, Khruangbin, Brittany Howard)

Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA
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Ohana Festival - Friday (Stevie Nicks, Khruangbin, Brittany Howard)

Doheny State Beach
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
Fri 30 Sep 2022
Onsale: Thu 14 Apr 2022 - 10:00 EDT
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Bio: Stevie Nicks

Words… and Music… By Stevie Nicks

I began thinking about making this record in February of this year because I had about five months before Fleetwood Mac rehearsals started in August. We didn't have a year to hang out and work on music like I usually do. I had about 40 songs originally done in demo form from 1969-1987 and '94 and '95. I thought we could certainly make an album from this collection – probably three albums. Many of the songs were already out there on the internet and fans have been asking for them for years through fan sites and letters. I used to make cassettes of my music and give them to anybody. But to know that these songs were finally going to be recorded with the same love they were originally done when they were demos – that was joyous for me. I narrowed it down to 30 and had to keep weeding out. I think Waddy hit it on the head when he said, "Stevie really writes one very long song. They're all involved with each other. Each song is a lifetime... Each song has a soul... Each song has a purpose. Each song is a love story... They represent my life behind the scenes, the secrets, the broken hearts, the broken hearted and the survivors... These songs are the memories – the 24 Karat gold rings in the blue box… These songs are for you."

You usually don't write songs about being super happy... When you write a song or a book, it's usually when someone walks away. I think that's the first moment you start to think about it not working out and you start to write. The relationship may go on for longer but you've already started writing in your head because you see the future... Other times, you know a relationship won't work from almost the beginning but you wouldn't trade what you shared for a million dollars...

It's not acting... It's never acting... It's the reason I go onstage and sing Edge of 17 every night since '81 or Gold Dust Woman. I just take myself back to that time when it was written... Sometimes I can't remember what happened yesterday but I remember so well what happened through the whole period of time that I wrote these songs.

Regarding Fleetwood Mac, it's going to be so great to look over to my right and see Christine behind the Hammond organ... I've missed her so much... I never thought she'd come back... She said she was never coming back... But she started seeing a therapist and one day she had an epiphany. I think he said, "What are you doing staying out in your castle, Guenivere... What are you doing out there? You need to come back and start living life... Go back to the band..." At that time, it was Mick, John, Lindsey and I touring... She called up and asked, "What would you think if I came back to the band?" And I said, "Chris, it is your band... Get a trainer..." So she got a trainer and she's been working out for the last six months and she's stronger than all of us. She's going to leave us in the dust.

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Bio: Khruangbin

Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud. Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.
 
 
 
By the summer of 2019, the Houston group—bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, drummer DJ Johnson—had been on tour for nearly three-and-a-half years, playing to audiences across North and South America, Europe, and southeast Asia behind its acclaimed albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo. They returned to their farmhouse studio in Burton, Texas, ready to begin work on their third album. But they were also determined to slow down, to take their time and luxuriate in building something together.
 
 
 
It’s a lesson Lee had recently learned with the help of a new friend, a near-stranger who had reached out when she was feeling particularly unmoored, inviting her to come hiking with his family. That day, as they’d all made their way toward the distant promise of a waterfall, Lee had felt a dawning clarity about the importance of appreciating the journey, rather than rushing headlong toward the next destination—something she’d almost lost sight of during the band’s whirlwind rise. When they reached the waterfall at last, Lee’s friend urged her to jump, a leap she likens to a baptism. As she did, he screamed her name—her full name, the one she’d recently taken from her grandfather. In that instant, Laura Lee Ochoa was reborn. She emerged feeling liberated, grateful for what her friend had shown her. His name was Mordechai.
 
 
 
Ochoa’s rejuvenation found its expression in words—hundreds of pages’ worth, which she’d filled over a self-imposed day of silence. As Khruangbin began putting together the songs that would make up the next record, discovering in them spaces it seemed like only vocals could fill, they turned to those notebooks. Khruangbin had worked with lyrics before: the love-letter poetry of “Friday Morning,” the ghosts of conversations gone by in “Cómo Te Quiero.” But this time Ochoa had found she had something to say—and so did the songs. They needed each other. And letting those words ring out gave Khruangbin’s cavernous music a new thematic depth.
 
 
 
Chief among those themes is memory—holding onto it, letting it go, naming it before it disappears. Again and again the songs play on those notions, from the sun-dappled disco of lead single “Time (You And I)”—which evinces the feeling of a festival winding down to its final blowout hours—to the lilting “So We Won’t Forget,” which finds Ochoa filling her apartment with memories she’s scrawled on Post-Its to prevent them slipping away. It’s there, too, in “Dearest Alfred,” which was inspired by a trove of letters Ochoa’s grandfather wrote to his twin brother, as well as “If There Is No Question,” a metaphysical devotional (by way of Marvin Gaye) that harkens back to Johnson and Speer’s earliest days in a church band. And those same nostalgic wisps curl all around “Connaissais De Face,” a Middle Eastern vamp by way of Serge Gainsbourg that evokes all the ruminative romance of a French New Wave film, layered with its own tender dialogue of reminiscence.
 
 
 
Musically, the band’s ever-restless ear saw it pulling reference points from Pakistan, Korea, and West Africa, incorporating strains of Indian chanting boxes and Congolese syncopated guitar. But more than anything, the album became a celebration of Houston, the eclectic city that had nurtured them, and a cultural nexus where you can check out country and zydeco, trap rap, or avant-garde opera on any given night. The Roy Ayers funk of opener “First Class” created a lush bed for the band to stretch out on, singing wryly about popping champagne while jet-setting all over the world. But in the end, those brags are revealed to be a shoutout to the home that made all this possible, a love that’s evident in its hands-in-the-air refrain of “H-Town.”
 
 
In those years away from that home, Khruangbin’s members often felt like they were swimming underwater, unsure of where they were going, or why they were going there. But Mordechai leads them gently back to the surface, allowing them to take a breath, look around, and find itself again. It is a snapshot taken along a larger journey—a moment all the more beautiful for its impermanence. And it’s a memory to revisit again and again, speaking to us now more clearly than ever.
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Bio: Brittany Howard

“I turned thirty and I was like, ‘What do I want the rest of my life to look like?,’ “ says Brittany Howard. “Do I want to play the same songs until I’m fifty and then retire, or do I do something that’s scarier for me? Do I want people to understand me and know me, do I want to tell them my story? I’m very private, but my favorite work is when people are being honest and really doing themselves.”
 
As the frontwoman and guitarist for Alabama Shakes, Howard has become one of music’s most celebrated figures—the band has won four Grammys (out of its nine nominations), and she has performed everywhere from the Obama White House to the main stage at Lollapalooza, where she sang with Paul McCartney at his invitation. But for her solo debut, Jaime, Howard boldly decided to explore new directions, with diverse instrumentation and arrangements and intimate, revelatory lyrics.
 
“It’s scary to mess with success, because the Shakes are doing so good,” she says. “But I needed to shake it up—and if you’re going to do that, you better go all out and make it worth it.”
 
Howard had amassed a bunch of ideas and song scraps, things that felt like they were outside the realm of the band. Her plans weren’t clear for these incomplete tracks, which were mostly recorded alone on her laptop and given temporary, random titles—making it challenging to even locate them later.
 
“I wanted to do something on my own, just my music, that didn’t have to have a genre or stick to fans’ expectations,” she says. “I knew I wanted to do a record, but I didn’t know where to begin. I was freaking out, I didn’t know what to sing or what it would sound like. I was writing every day, putting all this stress on myself, hoping something would happen.”
 
In search of inspiration, Howard left her home in Nashville and went to Topanga Canyon for a change of scenery. “I was staying in this beautiful place and I was miserable because the songs just weren’t coming,” she says. 
 
When she eventually went into engineer Shawn Everett’s studio in Los Angeles to record, she only had a handful of finished songs. But once she started working with the band she had assembled—a core group of Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell (“We’ve known each other since we were kids,” she says, “so working with another bass player seemed ludicrous”), innovative jazz-based keyboard player Robert Glasper, and drummer Nate Smith—Howard started to feel the music taking shape, sometimes out of their playing and sometimes simply out of conversations. 
 
“I had forgotten some of these songs even existed,” Howard says with a laugh. “’History Repeats’ took forever to mix because it’s the original from my Logic recording, which I had recorded vocals on just to show my friend how the program worked and then forgot about it. The vocal on ‘Run to Me’ was recorded on a cell phone!”
 
The work Howard has done with her side bands, Thunderbitch and Bermuda Triangle, also impacted her ambitions for the songs on Jaime. “The Shakes do a cycle of recording and touring, and then I get restless in the time off,” she says. “Actually, to me, there is no time off—I’m a creative person and I need to create or I just feel weird, not fully human.
 
“With Bermuda Triangle,” she continues, “I learned about raising my own voice. The other girls had their own songs, they could just play them on an acoustic guitar and they didn’t need a band. My music is really composed, with lots of moving pieces, so that inspired me to really pay more attention to what I write and try to be a better songwriter.”
 
Different sounds and approaches started to emerge. Howard plays all the parts on “Short and Sweet,” while “Presence” sees her accompanied only by a harp. “13th Century Metal” grew out of Glasper and Smith jamming in the studio—“I heard that and knew I had to do something with it,” she says.
 
Even more striking, though, are the stories Howard is telling on Jaime, the deeply personal and emotional territory she covers directly and nakedly, stripped of overtly poetic distance. She confronts harsh truths about relationships in songs like “Baby” and “Tomorrow” and examines spiritual ritual in “He Loves Me.”
 
Howard points to “Georgia” as a breakthrough song on the project, and for herself. “That’s a straightforward love song to another woman, which is something I never confronted until I was older,” she says. “In a small town like where I come from, different is bad—I never wanted to be different. My greatest wish was to be like everybody else. I didn’t want to be almost six feet tall, didn’t want this big, bushy hair. That’s the truth of what it feels like to hold everything in and just want to be accepted for being yourself.”
 
“Goat Head” is a painfully candid account of Howard’s family experience when she was growing up as a mixed-race child in a small Southern town. “It’s a story my mom told me when I was 13 or 14,” she says, “about how it was really hard to have little brown babies, how hard it was raising us. I never saw our town that way, never experienced it because I was too young, but it explained so much about my mom—why she was always so stressed, had so much trouble getting a job.
 
“When I sang it, I instantly felt afraid, embarrassed, vulnerable. I was definitely scared for the sake of my folks, bringing up bad memories, But it is my story to tell—that song was the experience of growing up in the South.”
 
Howard titled the album after her sister, who taught her to play the piano and write poetry, and who died of cancer when they were still teenagers. “The title is in memoriam, and she definitely did shape me as a human being,” says Howard. “But it’s also about me—the people who know me well know how important she is to me.” 
 
As the first project to come out under Brittany Howard’s own name, Jaime represents an enormous step both musically and personally. “It’s my first time making decisions on my own, being the captain of the ship,” she says. “It brings up existential questions—why am I here, why do I do this? People think that touring in a band is super-fun, and it can be, but nothing about it is normal. You miss out on a lot of stuff, so I need to make sure I’m doing it for the right reasons.”
 
Howard looks forward to playing these songs live, but is tempering her expectations. “I have no idea what’s going to happen,” she says. “I have to measure my success by the fact that I did something I didn’t think I could do—I knew I could, but I didn’t know if I would. So just the fact that I made it, and gave myself permission to just fuck it up and do some stuff that’s maybe stupid and not cool, is pretty successful. Being a creative person, that’s the most successful thing.”
 

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