Aroundtheweb
DC
Strunz & Farah
Sunday 08/16
Strunz & Farah @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Strunz & Farah, performing together since 1980, have created an entirely new expression for the acoustic guitar. From Costa Rica and Iran respectively, Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah have brought the cultural riches of their native lands to their highly virtuosic, rhythmic, and improvisation-rich original instrumental compositions, profoundly influencing guitarists everywhere. The duo's music is perhaps best described as original international acoustic improvisational guitar music, world guitar, or ethnojazz. Their style is saturated with their cultural roots, which include Afro-Caribbean, Latin American folk, flamenco, and Middle Eastern music, and it draws heavily from the jazz concept of improvisation. The first meeting between these two musicians in 1979 marked the first time that Latin American and Middle Eastern music came together on the guitar. The travels of his diplomat father brought Strunz to the United States, while Farah arrived as a student of architecture. Farah came to see Strunz perform with his Latin jazz group Caldera and decided to meet him. Upon meeting, it was instantly obvious that the two were brothers of the guitar from opposite ends of the earth. They quickly prepared a repertoire, began performing, and recorded their first project, Mosaico, in 1980. Although record companies at that time were not ready for this exotic new music, jazz radio embraced it, and world/jazz industry pioneer Richard Bock got the duo signed to the prestigious jazz label Milestone, on which Strunz & Farah cut the records Frontera (1983) and Guitarras (1984). These records defined world music on guitar years before the world music category even existed. Since their genre-defining beginning, the duo has continued releasing complex and beautiful albums, most of which have been on Selva, the duo's own artist-friendly label. Notable efforts included Primal Magic (1990), which won Billboard's World Music Album of the Year award, and Americas (1992), which won a Grammy nomination. Both albums spent months on the top of Billboard's World Music chart. In addition to their own recordings, Struntz & Farah have collaborated with dozens of renowned world, jazz, and classical musicians, including Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ashish Khan, Heyadeh, Manoochehr Sadeghi, Bijan Mortazavi, Jihad Racy, Edwin Colon Zayas, Stanley Clarke, Hubert Laws, Liona Boyd, Joan Baez, and Jackson Browne. Their latest album, Journey Around the Sun, came out in 2011.
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
Wednesday 07/22
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds @ The Howard Theatre
$75 / $85
If you were to closely examine the annals of modern pop music history, few creative forces have been more seminal or impacted the contemporary pop/urban genres as much as Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. In a relatively short time, he has reached icon status as a poignant tune smith, prolific hit maker/producer, superstar recording artist, and revolutionary label owner. He is a statistical juggernaut, who keeps adding milestone after milestone to a legacy that seems to have no threshold or peak in sight. A 11-time Grammy winner with 11 solo albums of his own, Edmonds’ impeccably crafted explorations of love, romance and relationships and has made an indelible imprint on the evolution of contemporary pop music throughout the world: more than 125 Top-10 R&B and Pop hits, 42 #1 R&B hits, and 51 Top-10 Pop hits (including 16 #1’s), which have produced single and album sales in excess of 500 million units worldwide. Just a few of the vocalists from which his music can be heard: Whitey Houston, Boyz II Men, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, TLC, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, John Mellencamp, Anthony Hamilton, Brandy, Aretha Franklin, Fall Out Boy, Pink, Charlie Wilson, and Chrisette Michele. Edmonds is the recipient of numerous awards, including Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards and American Music Awards. He was also the recipient of the third BET Walk of Fame Award (previous honors were Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston), and was named BET’s “Entertainer of the Year” at the First Annual BET Awards Ceremony. Edmonds most recent production with other artists includes Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Keri Hilson, Ledisi, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Aretha Franklin. His 2014 duets album with Toni Braxton titled Love, Marriage & Divorce won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. Edmonds is currently working on a new solo album that will be released late 2015. Edmonds’ charitable work is as impressive as his professional accomplishments. His caring and generosity has earned him several accolades, including the Essence Award for Excellence, The City of Hope Award and Variety Magazine’s “Top of the Town” Honored Award. He was the National Spokesman for Boarder Babies, and personally helped raise more than $500,000 for a transitional home, The Little Blue House, located in Washington, D.C. He has also personally donated more than $100,000 to the VH-1 Save the Music program and he continues to contribute to a host of other worthwhile organizations, including the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In 2008, Edmonds combined his musical prowess with his charitable efforts, co writing and producing the song “Just Stand Up” with longtime partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid, which served as the backbone of a multi-purpose breast cancer awareness special. The song featured such current heavyweights as Beyonce, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Leona Lewis, Ciara, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, and Miley Cyrus, to name a few. Edmonds and Reid were honored by the Noble Awards for their contribution to Stand Up To Cancer. Recently Edmonds his has been very active in supporting Carousel of Hope, which benefits the Children's Diabetes Foundation and Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, as well as Larry Ruvo's "Keep Memory Alive," who are committed to improving the lives of patients and their families as they navigate the extraordinary challenges of brain disorders. In Las Vegas, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health treats patients with Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease, as well as frontotemporal dementia and multiple sclerosis. Among other expressions of Kenny’s generosity are his charitable performances at several fund-raising events for FasterCures, the center for accelerating medical solutions of the non-profit Milken Institute. During an extended 2012 performance at FasterCures’ Celebration of Science at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., he not only enthralled the audience with his songs, but also moved them by recounting the health challenges of his parents including the lung cancer that took the life of his father, a decorated soldier who succumbed when Kenny was in the eighth grade.
Yacht Rock Revue
Friday 07/10
Yacht Rock Revue @ The Hamilton Live
$20 / $25
You’re Welcome! The Yacht Rock Revue is the Greatest Show on Surf and the finest tribute to ‘70s light rock to ever perform anywhere. Ever. Their spot‐on renditions of Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, and the rest of the Time‐Life Infomercial Catalog have enthralled fans across the United States. It goes without saying they have taken their act to the high seas, performing showcase sets on music cruises with Weezer, Kid Rock, Train, Zac Brown Band, Sister Hazel, and fitness guru Jillian Michaels. By blurring the lines between a tribute, an original act, and a comedic troupe, the Yacht Rock Revue has forged a unique niche market and a special bond with their fans. The band attacks each song as if it were their own, and the energy exchanged between the band and the crowd has more in common with a stadium U2 show than that of a typical bar band. The band has won accolades ranging from “Best Place to Get Drunk With Your Dad” to “Best Overall Music Act in Atlanta” to “Best Place to Start an Extramarital Affair,” and has been name‐dropped by the New York Times, Pitchfork, the Guardian UK, Spin, TimeOut New York, Billboard, MTV.com, and (probably) your mom at her last cocktail party. Speaking of name‐dropping, members of the band have played on‐stage with members of Weezer, Billy Joel, Walter Egan, .38 Special, John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Little River Band, Sheryl Crow, Noel Gallagher, Starbuck, Sarah McLachlan, Don Henley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Finn, Jellyfish, Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Joan Jett, Wet Willie, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and the Saturday Night Live Band. (None of those were a joke.) The Yacht Rock Revue has packed out shows at historic venues including the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, the Knitting Factory in New York City, Athens’ famed Georgia Theatre, Washington DC’s State Theatre, and Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. They played at the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race for 50,000+ two years running; played on Turner Field for 30,000 fans on July 4; and sang the National Anthem at Braves Manager Bobby Cox’s last game. The Greatest Yacht Rock Revival in the Universe on August 13, 2011 was the Yacht Rock Revue’s smoothest success to date. Almost 2,000 fans flocked to Buckhead to see the Yacht Rock Revue headline a show that featured legit ‘70s icons Little River Band, Ambrosia, Peter Beckett from Player, Walter Egan, and Starbuck. 2012 promises the return of the Greatest Yacht Rock Revival in the Universe, a new album of original material, an album of live material recorded at the historic Georgia Theatre in Athens, and more sailings on the high seas and across the United States.
PJ Morton
Monday 07/27
PJ Morton @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
“I feel that being on stage is my most natural habitat. I'm able to truly show the range of who I am as musician and artist,” explains Maroon 5 keyboardist/backing vocalist, PJ Morton. The multi-talented musicianis back with a new live album, Live Show Killer, which was recorded at the historic Henson Studiosin Los Angeles. The event, attended by fans and media alike, produced botha live album and DVD to be released in July of this summer. The highly anticipated album is comprised of fan favorites and hand-picked selections from his celebrated solo releases. “It was important for me to include songs that I knew the audience would sing along with because that's a big part of what my live show experience is and what I wanted to capture,” says Morton. A love and respect of music’s rich history attracted PJ Morton to Henson Studios.“I love history. I think it's all connected. We were in the room where 'We are the World' was recorded. All of my favorite artists and influences in one room. It definitely played a part in the experience we had recording there.” Boasting a legendary roster of alumni including: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Doors, The Ramones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and more, the event was undoubtedly an experience that all in attendance won’t soon forget. “This is a live/in studio album,” explained Morton.“I wanted to do something unique. So while we had the live show aspect, we also had the studio aspect where we wereable to manipulate sounds etc. It doesn’t sound like just any live album you've heard before. Henson, with the big live room, was just the perfect size to have an intimate audience in there.” Live Show Killer’spredecessor,New Orleans(2013),was his major label debut, released via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. It hit #1 on the iTunes R&B Albums Chart and the Top 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Just one listen to Morton’s music quickly reveals why he is a favorite on the indie R&B circuit and an in-demand songwriter/producer. “Only One,”New Orleans’ lead single, featuresStevie Wonder and earned him a Grammy nomination (PRESS HERE). Armed with an infectious hook and a head-boppin’ groove, the up-tempo number showcases Morton’s velvety tenor, songwriting skills and musicianship, accented byWonder’s distinctive harmonica.“Steviejoining me on the track is the ultimate start.It’s my dream come true,” says Morton of teaming with Wonder. “I want to continue the legacy he represents: musicianship and positivity.” New Orleansitself stemmedfrom Morton’s acclaimed 2012 EP, Following My First Mind,featuring guest cameos from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Lil Wayne and Jazmine Sullivan. Influenced by acts ranging from the Beatles and James Taylor to Wonder and Donny Hathaway, the New Orleans native is the son of gospel singer Paul S. Morton. His formal foray into the industry was as a member of the band Freestyle Nation, which debuted in the early 2000s. But it was as a songwriter/producer that Mortonleft his first indelible impression. He won a Grammy Award for his songwriting/production of India.Arie’s “Interested” from her 2002 album Voyage to India. That opened the door to more collaborations (Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Monica, MusiqSoulchild, Trinitee 5:7) and additional accolades (Dove and Stellar Awards) for his work with gospel singer DeWayne Woods. Woods’ “Let Go, Let God” spent a record 70 weeks on the gospel chart. Along the way, Morton released several acclaimed indie solo albums. He also attracted the attention of Academy Award-winning producer AR Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who asked Morton to contribute a song (“Sajna”) to the soundtrack for the Vince Vaughn comedy “Couples Retreat.” Morton’s next big break occurred when he was asked to audition by friend and Maroon 5 music director, Adam Blackstone, for a spot in the band as its keyboardist/vocalist. Soon after, childhood friend and Young Money Entertainment president Mack Maine championed Morton’s music and vision to Cash Money co-CEO’s Roland “Slim”Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. With the approval from co-signer, Lil Wayne, PJ Morton released New Orleans via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. As PJ Morton ventures into the next chapter of his career, he returns to his indie roots releasing Live Show Killervia the newly formed Morton Records.Fans can expect an album that captures the essence of his mesmerizing live performance, and will be delighted to hear his live take on the songs they have already grown to love.