Little Big Town – October 17th @ 7:30
The country vocal quartet Little Big Town features Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook and Kimberly Schlapman. The quartet began with Kimberly and Karen, two Georgia natives who began singing together in college. Arkansas-born and Alabama-raised Jimi Westbrook, a friend of Fairchild’s husband, joined them to make a trio, and the group was completed by the addition of Arkansan Phil Sweet in 1998. From the outset, Little Big Town devoted their sound to harmony and multiple lead vocals, a combination that made the band a hard sell at first. They finally landed a deal at Mercury Records, but it fell through due to disagreements about musical direction. In the wake of the success of the Dixie Chicks, however, Little Big Town were taken up by the Dixie Chicks’ label, Monument Records in 2000 and Monument issued the band’s debut single, “Don’t Waste My Time,” in the winter of 2002. The song was on its way up the charts when its accompanying album, Little Big Town, arrived in May. Although the debut produced several minor hits, Little Big Town didn’t become a superstar act until 2005, when The Road to Hereyielded four Top 20 singles (including the ballad “Bring It On Home”) and earned the group its first platinum record. A Place to Land followed in 2007 and netted three singles. In August of 2010, Little Big Town’s fourth studio album, The Reason Why, was released by Capitol. The band returned in 2012 with the single “Pontoon,” which wound up topping Billboard’s country charts. The band’s fifth full-length album, Tornado, followed in September 2012 and it became their highest placed album on the Billboard 200 up to that point, reaching number two.
An Evening with Mark Knopfler and Band – October 27th @ 8:00
A multiple Grammy award winner as the lead vocalist and songwriter for Dire Straits, Knopfler has released seven solo albums as well as recording Neck And Neck with one of his guitar heroes, Chet Atkins and collaborated with Emmylou Harris on All The Roadrunning. He has created soundtracks for Local Hero and The Princess Bride and is currently working on a new film, Altamira. In addition to producing his own records Knopfler has also produced albums for Bob Dylan and Randy Newman amongst others. He was made an OBE in 1999 and was given the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Ivor Novellos in 2012.
Tracker, the new record from Mark Knopfler, will be released March 17 on Verve Records. Tracker marks the eighth solo recording from Knopfler, who Rolling Stone praises as one of the ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.’ Fans who pre-order the record digitally will instantly receive the single “Beryl” with the order. Knopfler will celebrate the release of Tracker with a 36-city North American Tour that kicks off in Vancouver on September 10 and continues through the end of October. Fans that purchase tickets to An Evening with Mark Knopfler and Band online will receive a physical copy of Tracker for each pair of tickets purchased.
“Part of the fun is thinking what you might have a go at, for a new tour. For me, that’s part of the joy of it, getting that little crew together again, and setting sail once again. It’s a real adventure,” says Knopfler. Knopfler has always viewed touring as the final part of the process running from songwriting through recording and ending up on the road performing old and new songs. He now writes more music whilst actually on the road.
Recorded at his own British Grove Studios in West London, Tracker includes 11 new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects including Beryl Bainbridge and Basil Bunting. The album was produced by Knopfler and his long-time friend and collaborator Guy Fletcher who also plays keyboard on the record. Tracker will be available on CD, double vinyl, deluxe CD with four bonus tracks, and a box set that will include the album on both CD and vinyl with a bonus CD featuring six extra tracks, a DVD with an exclusive short film directed by Henrik Hansen and an interview with Knopfler where he talks about the new record. Sleeve notes have been specially written by acclaimed U.S. author Richard Ford and also contain a numbered art print and six photographic prints.
Ponte Vedre Music Hall, Ponte Vedra FL
Dr. John & The Nite Trippers with Walter Parks -October 4th @ 8:00pm
The legendary Dr. John is a six-time GRAMMY Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy, Dr. John is a true icon in American culture. His colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford.
Dr. John headed west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. During that time he launched his solo career and developed the charismatic persona of Dr. John and the Nite Tripper. A legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-Gris, which introduced to the world his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots. Several of his many career highlights include the masterful album Sun, Moon and Herbsin 1971 which included cameos from Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger and 1973’s In the Right Place, which contained the charts hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such a Night”.
In addition to his six GRAMMY wins (1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2013), he has received six other GRAMMY nominations over the years. In 2006, he was nominated forSippiana Hericane, his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings. In 2007, he was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2008, he released City That Care Forgot, winning a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album. His 2012 release Locked Down, with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys also won a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
On August 19, 2014, Dr. John released Ske-Dat-De-Dat… The Spirit of Satch on Concord Records, an album in tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. He honors Armstrong’s musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 classic numbers drawn from various phases of the seminal trumpeter and vocalist’s five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast. After a half century of creating music for other and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane.
Dr. John continues to be on a roll with his band The Nite Trippers, headlining a string of US and international dates which are earning rave reviews from critics including David Fricke of Rolling Stone. Career accolades are also pouring in: Dr. John just won Best Blues Artist from Jazz FM and he helped to induct “What a Wonderful World” at the 2015 Songwriters’ Hall of Fame gala. This tour, which includes a stopover at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on October 4, features classic Dr. John hits reaching all the way back to his legendary albumBabylon, to Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch, his critically acclaimed Louis Armstrong tribute album, which debuted at #1 this fall on Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Chart and landed on Best Albums of 2014 lists.
Ani DiFranco with Ana Egge – October 9th @ 8:00pm
As a singer, songwriter, activist and independent entrepreneur, Ani DiFranco has been setting her own pace – and encouraging countless admirers to do the same – for more than 20 years. But while she has been known as the “Little Folksinger”, her music has grown far beyond her acoustic solo roots in cozy venues to embrace jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds. All of which are featured in DiFranco’s new Righteous Babe release, Allergic To Water, where she also blends abstract imagery and deceptively understated melodies with personal reflections on her life in New Orleans where she is now raising two children with her partner, producer Mike Napolitano.
“It’s such a humbling, and grueling, thing to raise children,” DiFranco said. “And that makes playing music more precious and makes me more grateful. It’s a real balancing act, but it also has a balancing effect.”
DiFranco adds that becoming a mother has brought her closer to listeners who have followed her music since she began performing in New York City during the early 1990s. But widespread attention never prevented her from holding on to her integrity, and independence. A strong belief in human rights has run throughout her work, including when she played at numerous benefit concerts around the world. At a time when record labels still held an oversized influence, DiFranco stood ahead of the curve in launching her own Righteous Babe Records. The company has released more than 20 of her albums to date, ranging from the popular two-disc live album, Living In Clip (1997), to the expansive To The Teeth (1999), which included such guests as legendary R&B saxophonist Maceo Parker and Prince. Journalist Sylvie Simmons wrote in the British music magazine MOJO in 1998, “Even if her overt politicism and her 200-shows-per-year tours with an acoustic guitar place her in the Woody Guthrie tradition, her music—which has boldly plundered funk or punk, hip hop, rock—doesn’t.”
Suzanne Vega – October 16th @ 8:00
Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful.”
Suzanne Vega was born in Santa Monica, CA, but grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City. At age 11, she picked up a guitar and as a teenager she started to write songs. In 1979, when Vega attended a concert by Lou Reed, she began to find her true artistic voice and distinctive vision for contemporary folk. In 1985, Vega’s self-titled debut album was released and 1,000,000 records later, it was clear that Vega’s voice was resonating around the world. “Marlene on the Wall” was a surprise hit in the U.K and Rolling Stone eventually included the record in their “100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980’s.” 1987’s follow up, Solitude Standing, elevated her to star status. The album hit #2 in the UK and #11 in the States, was nominated for three GRAMMYs including Record of the Year and went platinum. Solitude Standing spawned the hits “Luka” (a song that has entered the cultural vernacular and certainly the only hit song ever written from the perspective of an abused boy) and “Tom’s Diner” which is about a non-descript restaurant near Columbia University uptown. Vega’s follow-up album, 1990’s Days Of Open Hand, won a GRAMMY for Best Album Package. Continuing to battle preconceptions, she released 1992’s99.9F. The album’s sound instigated descriptions such as “industrial folk” and “technofolk.” In 1996, Vega returned with the similarly audacious Nine Objects Of Desire and in 2001, she returned to her acoustic roots and released the critics’ favorite, Songs In Red And Gray. In 2007, Suzanne releasedBeauty & Crime on Blue Note Records, a deeply personal reflection of her native New York City in the wake of the loss of her brother Tim and the tragedy of 9/11. Beauty & Crime won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Ms. Vega continues to tour constantly, having just played dates with artists as diverse as Moby and Bob Dylan.
Tab Benoit – October 22nd @ 8:00
Tab Benoit is a three-time GRAMMY-nominated musician and five-time “Contemporary Male” Blues Music Award Winner. Benoit began releasing music in 1993 with the release of Nice and Warm. In 2006, he received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album for Brother to the Blues, a collaboration with Louisiana’s LeRoux. LeRoux joined Benoit on Power of the Pontchartrain in 2007 and the live Night Train to Nashville in 2008. In 2007, Benoit won the dual awards of B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Best Contemporary Male Performer at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis.
Known for his signature “Bayou Blues” sound, Tab Benoit is Louisiana’s #1 roots export. More than just an acclaimed bluesman, he is an indefatigable conservation advocate. Benoit is a driving force behind Voice of the Wetlands, an organization working to save Louisiana’s wetlands. In 2010, he received the Governor’s Award for Conservationist of the Year from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. Benoit also starred in the iMax motion picture Hurricane on the Bayou, a documentary of Hurricane Katrina’s effects and a call to restore the wetlands. Benoit was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010 at the LMHOF Louisiana Music Homecoming in Erwinville, Louisiana.
In April, 2011 Benoit released Medicine, featuring Anders Osborne, Michael Doucet of Beausoleil, and Ivan Neville. Medicine showcases a lean, energetic young band, and vibe-wise it’s hipper and groovier than anything Benoit has ever done before. The recording also spotlights the work of keyboardist Ivan Neville, drummer Brady Blade and bassist Corey Duplechin.