The latest news from Grateful Fred…
March is almost upon us and we’ve got two great concerts coming up.
On Wednesday 4th March at “Grateful Fred’s at The Atkinson” we headline the superb “Woody Pines” from North Carolina, USA.
“They’re the best damn band I’ve ever heard!”
North Carolina hotshots Woody Pines have wowed the crowds on both sides of the Atlantic and after many successful UK and Ireland tours are widely regarded as one of the most entertaining acts on the Americana circuit.
Whenever the next visit is announced, dates are always filled in record time.
Playing with a tight and joyous togetherness that comes from long stints on the road, these three compadres promise once more to deliver what The Scotsman described as “a rollicking and engagingly idiosyncratic” show.
Recently signed by Nashville’s Muddy Roots Records, they will have a brand new album to promote in 2015, produced by Grammy-winner Vance Powell, renowned as one of the best from studio work with the likes of Jack White, JD McPherson, Seasick Steve and Beck.
The trio’s distinctive bigger-than-three viper sound is beefed up by Skip Frontz Jnr on upright bass, adding both foot tappin’ low-end and rapid fire percussion with his red hot slap technique, and Brad Tucker on vintage electric guitar and vocal harmonies.
Maverick magazine praised the last album as “an intoxicating blend of rural and urban stringband, country blues, ragtime and jug band music”, and after they appeared before him at the big Nelsonville Folk & Blues Festival, Billy Joe Shaver, the top gun Outlaw Country legend came on stage and declared: “They’re the best damn band I’ve ever heard!”
The band has previously played big events such as Celtic Connections and Shetland Folk Festival, included for their “fiery moonshine spirit that sparkles with feelgood freshness”. After they appeared at the big midwinter musical jamboree in Glasgow, reviewer Rob Adams said:“They’ve got engine-like momentum but it’s a machine with a very human heart.”
After catching them in action on the south coast of England, American Roots UK said: “Go and see them, you won’t regret it”!
Stateside reviewers are full of praise for frontman Woody’s impeccable style too, No Depression stating “it’s like Willie Nelson singing a Johnny Cash Song in a 1930’s Alabama Juke-Joint.”
Tickets have been selling like hot-cakes so to be sure you dont’ miss out at seeing this great band for just £8.00 (in advance) get your tickets today at: http://www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/woody-pines/
Supporting “Woody Pines” will be “The Holcombe Family String Band” from Leeds, who will open the evening’s entertainment with a great set of “live” old-timey music. Chris and the guys are another great “live” band and will really set the tone for the show.
“Grateful Fred” accompanied by Pete and Vinnie will be hosting the show as usual and will be playing a set of songs on ukulele, ukulele bass, ukulele, ukulele and another ukulele!!
On Monday March 9th at the “Grateful Fred Cafe’ Sessions” at the Cafe’ D’ Art in Formby Village, the excellent “Hannah Aldridge” from Muscle Shoals, Alabama will be returning to Grateful Fred’s for a small, intimate show to just 30 people.
Hannah played a brilliant set at “Grateful Fred’s at The Atkinson” last year and we’ve been lucky enough to tempt her back to the intimate atmosphere of the “Cafe’ Sessions”.
“Dark Americana,” is how the daughter of Muscle Shoals’ royalty describes the ghostly, unflinching, sometimes gritty tales that separate her 10-song RAZOR WIRE collection from the mainstream. The title song –reprised as an acoustic “bonus” at CD’s end — is evidence of how this daughter of Shoals’ tunesmith and icon, Walt Aldridge uses her stark poetic soul to visit life’s dark corners. The song is a lust-and-melancholy retelling of the day she took her wedding ring to a pawn shop and then “was sitting around in a bar with a guy I met there. It’s 100 percent real.” While in some ways the song — the arms and bed of the barfly is eventual salve for love lost — is reminiscent of classic country standards about marital heartache and sexual healing, it demonstrates the raw musical texture and lyrics flavoring her entire album.
Hannah’s song “Black and White,” is inspired by her 6-year-old son, Jackson (named for musical hero Jackson Browne). “I have a picture of my little boy, Jackson, in black-and-white. He’s playing guitar and smiling. I wish I could go back to those black-and-white days, when a box of rocks beneath the bed was cause for joy,” she says. Then there is “Lie Like You Love Me,” a sort of “For the Good Times” song of sex that’s flavored with imagery of addiction: “I miss you like morphine straight to my veins.” “Howlin’ Bones” is an angry declaration of independence. “You thought I was a dirty scoundrel, but you’ve done cross the devil now,” she proclaims in the song she says set the mood for her raw Nashville analogue sessions…”nobody is going to tell me what to say.” “Lonesome,” RAZOR WIRE’s final track (save for the title song’s reprise) — a bitter mood piece about her parents’ divorce – not only explains her against-the-grain musical quest but closes the album out in appropriate melancholia. “I can’t put my finger on it, I don’t who’s to blame, but the one thing that I’m sure of is lonesome goes both ways”.
HANNAH ALDRIDGE, 26, is steeped in the music both of Nashville and Muscle Shoals, the two cities where she was raised as her father — a Muscle Shoals legend as well as a much-honored Nashville songwriter, musician and producer – plied his craft. Her musical youth was spent being trained to be a classical pianist. She didn’t begin writing songs until, as a 21-year-old sound-engineering student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN she took a songwriting class as an elective. “I literally thought we were going to learn how to write songs,” she says. After discovering students were expected already to have written songs, she turned to her dad for help. “I found out it really wasn’t that hard: It’s just saying things that are true and making them rhyme,” says the young woman who began her performing career at Nashville’s most famous singer-songwriter venue, The Bluebird Café, after she was among students chosen to represent MTSU in a showcase. “It was so wild: I had gotten picked out of all those people who wanted to be songwriters.” She sang her entire three-song catalog that night. Two years later, Hannah signed a publishing deal after her song “Lonesome” was featured on the “Hart of Dixie” television series. “That song has been a launching pad for me,” she says.
There is stark contradiction between the “real” and loving Hannah and the hard-loved, almost-fictitious character she becomes when writing songs trekking through life’s darkly carnal sides. The real Hannah, a striking 5-foot-11 blonde, smiles frequently, affably when discussing her music and her life. The mention of her son, sparks a generous gleam in her deep green eyes. “My character is someone who will kill somebody, get high. This person is an outlaw and is also somebody that understands the difference between good and bad. My character is someone who says ‘this is not right, but I’m doing it anyway.’…I would never ride a motorcycle, but you know she would,” says Hannah, putting a fingertip on the cheek of the hard blonde in the cover photo..
The girl on the album cover, in her mind and in her lyrics, does all of the above and much more as she drags the soft-spoken “real Hannah” out of her out of her everyday existence and into the musty magnolia darkness where characters question the darker side of life. “People expect girls to be more refined. But I’ve been to rehab, got sober, been married, divorced, had a kid when I wasn’t married, went to college all the way as a single mom.”
In the end, the album is where the “dark” Hannah and the sweetly profound young mother mingle. “This album is about learning to be a grownup, learning to face the world alone. It’s about being brave enough to look people in the eye and just say ‘This is who I am — imperfections and all.’”
And that’s just what she does. And the listener is the beneficiary.
There are only 3 tickets left so if you’d like to pick up one of the last 3 tickets please call Colin on 0797 077 4618.
We’ll be sending out a much longer Newsletter next time but we needed to get the details of these two great shows out quickly so forgive our brevity in this issue.
Love and Peace…
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