Margo Price, SOLAS, Dead Man Winter, The Company Stores  and Jonny Fritz on Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce

Margo Price, SOLAS, Dead Man Winter, The Company Stores and Jonny Fritz on Mountain Stage

Sun · February 26, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm)


This show will take place at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater.

Prefer to procure your tickets over the phone? Call 1-800-745-3000

Margo Price
Margo Price
"All I wanna do is make my own path
Cause I know what I am, I know what I have..."

First impressions matter. Especially on a debut album. Time and attention-strapped listeners size up an artist within a song or two, then move on or delve in further. Fortunately, it only takes Margo Price about twenty-eight seconds to convince you that you're hearing the arrival of a singular new talent. "Hands of Time," the opener on 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter' (coming Spring 2016, Third Man Records), is an invitation, a mission statement and a starkly poetic summary of the 32-year old singer's life, all in one knockout, self-penned punch. Easing in over a groove of sidestick, bass and atmospheric guitar, Price sings, "When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was fifty-seven dollars from bein' broke . . ." It has the feel of the first line of a great novel or opening scene in a classic film. There's an expectancy, a brewing excitement. And as the song builds, strings rising around her, Price recalls hardships and heartaches -- the loss of her family's farm, the death of her child, problems with men and the bottle. There is no self-pity or over-emoting. Her voice has that alluring mix of vulnerability and resilience that was once the province of Loretta and Dolly. It is a tour-de-force performance that is vivid, deeply moving and all true.

"I'm writing from my heart and life experiences," Price says. "I knew I wanted to start the record with this song, but everyone in the band said, 'No, no, that's a bad move.' And then Third Man said, 'We think this should be the first song,' and I was like, 'Yes!' It really just lays it out. If you can get through 'Hands of Time,' the rest of the record is going to come very easily."

And indeed it does. The honky tonk comeuppance of "About To Find Out," the rockabilly-charged "This Town Gets Around" and weekend twang of "Hurtin' (On The Bottle)" all add fresh twists to classic Nashville country, while sounding like they could've been hits in any decade. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting blues grooves of "Four Years of Chances" and "Tennessee Song" push the boundaries further west to Memphis (the album was recorded at Sun Studio). Throughout, producer Alex Munoz, engineer Matt Ross-Spang and the ace band help frame the material with spare, spacious arrangements, keeping the focus on Price's soulful vocals.

"I think about an artist like Bobbie Gentry, who was able to mix country with soul," Price says. "But really, I never set out to make a country soul record. It's just that I like Etta James, and I like Hank Williams, and sometimes those things come together and make nice little babies."

Her tastes developed early. Growing up in Aledo, Illinois (pop. 3,612), Price was surrounded by music -- everything from Tom Petty to the Statler Brothers. By middle school, she was singing in the choir and doing the national anthem at local football games. "I was one of the only people who could sing it without changing keys," she says, with a laugh. With money from her eighth grade graduation, Price bought her first guitar and started writing songs, influenced by Joni Mitchell and Maria Muldaur. After dropping out of college, she moved to Nashville in 2003 and began the usual apprenticeship of open mic nights and networking.

Though she loved the friendliness of Music City, she says, "I didn't feel like the glossy country music at the time had any space for me." On the advice of her great uncle, Bobby Fischer, a successful tunesmith with over 500 cuts by artists including George Jones, Tanya Tucker and Reba McEntire, she kept writing and honing her voice. She soon met bass player -- and future husband -- Jeremy Ivey, and formed a band called Buffalo Clover. They self-released three records and built a local following. Of course, the music biz being the minefield of dreams that it is, there were false promises and glittering temptations along the way (humorously catalogued in "This Town Gets Around"). "I'm so glad that I didn't sacrifice my integrity five or ten years ago," Price says. "I had opportunities to. I remember meeting this one guy who said, 'I'm a big producer and I know all these people on Music Row.' So Jeremy and I tried to write some mainstream country songs. We created pen names because we didn't want anyone to know it was us -- Sylvia Slim and Sam Pickens. Together it was Slim-Pickens. We wrote a couple things, and I felt gross doing it. The producer guy didn't like it, and we didn't either. So it was, 'All right, I tried that, now I'm just going to write for myself.'"

That decision was brought into even sharper focus by personal tragedy. "I lost my firstborn son to a heart ailment," Price says, "and I was really down and depressed. I was drinking too much. I was definitely lost. I did some things that I regret very much now that resulted in a brush with the law. Thank god I had my friends and family to keep me going. Coming through that, I thought, 'I'm just going to write music that I want to hear.' It was a big turning point."

With a new batch of songs, Price approached producers and labels. Nobody responded. Feeling like "an outcast in Nashville," she turned her sights on Memphis instead. "I once heard someone say, 'Nashville has glitz, but Memphis has grit."'And I'm like, 'Hey, I've got grit too! I'm gonna go to Memphis and make this record.'"

A year before, she had visited the legendary Sun Studio, as a tourist. "The first time I walked in the room, the guide said, 'This is where Elvis stood.' They have the X on the floor, and she said, 'It's rumored that Bob Dylan came in and kissed the X on the floor.' So I waited for everybody to leave, then I got down on my knees, and thought, 'There, now I've kissed both Bob Dylan and Elvis."

Her curiosity piqued by a "Make Your Own Demo at Sun" sign, Price met the house engineer, Matt Ross-Spang. "He and I clicked right off the bat. I liked his energy. He had great ideas. We did a single, and it didn't turn out the way I wanted. But Matt was persistent about us working together again." To finance the sessions for 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter,' Price and Ivey skipped the usual crowd-funding route, instead selling one of their cars, some instruments and even pawning her wedding ring. Price says, "My husband said, 'This is all or nothing. I believe in you. I believe in this record. I'll sell our house if it comes down to it.'"

In Memphis, Price and her band worked the night shift, from 7pm-2am (after the museum had closed), cutting tracks live to analog tape. "It was cool to do later sessions," she says. "It's like doing shows, where you're singing at 11 o'clock. My voice was already warmed up. It was such a relaxed vibe at Sun. And it felt haunted in a good way, like Elvis and Johnny were watching over us."

With the album done, Price says she shopped it to "literally every label in Nashville." Except the one where it ended up. "Honestly, I didn't think it would fit at Third Man," she says. "Then a friend said, 'You're on Jack's radar, he wants to hear the record.' I was like, 'No way.' I sent it over, and it just felt like home. A good creative space to be involved in, and everyone is so down to earth. It was awesome when I met with Jack. He told me he thought my voice was a breath of fresh air, and that he loved the record."

As Price looks ahead to a busy 2016, full of touring and promoting 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter,' she reflects on her hopes for what listeners might get from these songs. "I hope that the record helps people get through hard times or depression. That's ultimately what music did for me in my childhood, and especially in my early adult years. It's about being able to connect personally with a song, and hopefully, it makes you feel not so lonely."
2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of the quintessential Irish-American band, Solas. Formed in 1996, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for "light"), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions.

11 albums later, with numerous awards to their credit, and more miles traveled touring the world to count, Solas will mark this milestone with an exciting new recording project and tour, ALL THESE YEARS. It is a celebration of a band that, from its inception, captured the musical world's attention and went on to become one of the most influential groups in the history of Irish music. ALL THESE YEARS sees Solas reuniting with all the members of the band, past and present, to record new material and embark on a year-long world tour.

Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), who form the backbone of the uniquely definable Solas sound, long time members Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and Mick McAuley (button accordion, vocals) and newest member, the dynamic Moira Smiley (vocals, banjo), Solas is musically at the top of their game and continues to be the standard bearer not only for great Irish music, but great music in any genre.

Indeed, it can be convincingly argued that no band has done more than Solas to prove that Celtic music today is a truly universal musical language, like jazz, rock, or bluegrass. The band's sound is explosive yet seductively personal; timelessly melodic yet rippling with modern muscle. It can bring edgy urban hipness to ancient reels, and make songs by Tom Waits and Bob Dylan feel like they've been aging for centuries in the sweet old casks of Celtic tradition. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.

From their early days with singer Karan Casey, to the present lineup featuring Moira Smiley on vocals, Solas' ALL THESE YEARS demonstrates the evolution of a band the New York Times hailed for their "…..unbridled vitality", and the Boston Globe declared to be "the finest celtic ensemble this country has ever produced". Solas' 20th Anniversary Project celebrates their remarkable past while demonstrating why they continue to be one of the most popular, influential, and exciting bands ever to emerge over the past two decades.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see founding members and Solas stalwarts Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan bring the past, present, and future of the band to the stage, with a program sure to delight audiences with old favorites and with new material that lights the way forward.
Dead Man Winter
Dead Man Winter
Dead Man Winter | Dave Simonett from Trampled by Turtles electric rock & roll band.

On a bleak, cold, frighteningly typical winter night in 2002, the last band I was in before Trampled by Turtles played our final show in a modified pizza restaurant-turned-venue in Duluth,Minnesota. The show ended, our band ended, glasses clinked cheers. We had plenty of help loading out our gear that night. So much, in fact, that someone walked away with my electric guitar and amp. They walked right passed the car where it was supposed to end up and went off into the frozen night, putting a giant period on the end of a what had been a short, struggling, but very necessary musical time for me.

I was now fully unemployed and sleeping indoors only by the good graces of friends willing to share a couch, and the loss of my instruments was more than a little devastating. Of the few possessions I still had, the one that now gained top billing was a cheap acoustic guitar collecting dust in a small room on Duluth's central hillside. A few other musicians in town had similar instruments collecting a similar dust and we started what was our first acoustic band, Trampled by Turtles.

We've been able to stay together ever since and had some good fortune that escapes many more deserving and talented bands. Lately, though, the drums and amps ringing in the back of my head have been getting louder and the desire to play, write, and record in a way removed from what I've been up to has been getting stronger. Dead Man Winter was born out of these things.

I'd been renting a studio in Minneapolis, and with the help of some amazing people I set to the task of making a record. My partner in the dirty and thankless work of recording was local engineer, songwriter, producer, guitar slinger, and master of the vibe Erik Koskinen. We spent countless blissful hours exploring guitars, amps, mics, and players in the worn-in beauty and sanctity of Realphonic Studios. Without a doubt, countless more hours could have been spent but you can't begin work on the next record until you put out the current one, so here it is.

The musicians that play on this album are dear friends – there's not a one of whom would I'd hesitate to trust a song that I hold dear. In the end, the whole experience has reconnected me to that couch-surfing kid in Duluth trying to figure out what to do next in this big, terrifying, wonderful world and now, with a few more years behind me, it's refreshing.

- Dave Simonett, 2011
The Company Stores
The Company Stores
The Company Stores is an Appalachian rock band from Charleston, WV, that smoothly blends elements of many genres of roots and modern music. They pull inspiration from styles such as Appalachian folk and bluegrass, modern rock, funk, acid jazz, and electronic dance music. This creates a fun, yet powerful sound that listeners love! Vocalist Casey Litz's sultry and soulful voice captivates the audience while the band lays down danceable grooves between dynamic builds. Their live show is hard to match. The extreme amount of onstage energy and engaging crowd interaction, along with tangents of incredible musicianship and creativity, make it an exciting show, to say the least. They are set to release their sophomore album "Little Lights", recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Ashville, NC, in the Spring of 2017.
Jonny Fritz
Jonny Fritz is back- with a new album, a new hip, and a new homebase in Los Angeles, California. When last we met our hero, Jonny had just wrapped up the purgative classic, Dad Country, his call to the rising generation for a renewed lyricism in country music, recorded in Jackson Browne's personal recording studio and released by ATO records. Now in his newest, Sweet Creep, the lyricism returns, but with a wide hopeful grin. Recorded in Jim James' makeshift hilltop studio in Montecito Heights, where golden twilight fills up thirsty grass valleys, Sweet Creep reverberates with the same feeling of sunny new vistas. From the empathetic "Are You Thirsty?" to the summer-crushy "Humidifier," Sweet Creep is a freshly-signed lease on life, with the movers downstairs waiting by the truck.
For the couple years prior, Jonny hobbled around the globe on a hip fractured in an ill-advised marathon run. He bounced between Malibu, New Delhi, Houston, Australia, Montana, Tokyo, Mount Hood, London then back again, looking for the right landing for the album, to no avail. He jumped from town to town and house and house, unpacking and packing up, with characteristic restlessness-until one day, the pieces all snapped together. A doctor looks up from the x-ray and wisely says "son, you need hip surgery." Jonny finally buckles down in Los Angeles to make music and leatherwork because, as he puts it, "Nashville had gotten too LA for me." And then with some welcome advice from Jim James, Jonny throws himself into Sweet Creep by stripping things down to the essentials. He gathered up the crew-Nashville's Joshua Hedley and Dawes' Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith-and literally recorded the whole album outdoors, in three days, underneath a tent purchased at Home Depot, with half the equipment "borrowed" from Guitar Center. The fresh air, freedom from studio pressures, and strong cups of tea all mix into the music, with ATVs briefly heard in the background and two senior tortoises listening at Hedley's feet as he fiddles away. If as John Hartford tells us, "style comes from limitation," Jonny credits Jim James for much of the pared-down and uninhibited sound of Sweet Creep. James encouraged the first takes, the simpler set-up, the outdoors, and the worry-free flow that coasts us from the first to the last of the record.
Born in Montana and raised in Esmont, Virginia, Jonny has passed weeks in nearly every city in the United States, and plenty others overseas, cramming ten lives into one, and half his possessions into the garages of friends and well-wishers. But despite the vitalism and exploits he's gained a name for, most of his music comes from the smaller moments. He takes a weird little piece of life, unnoticed by most, then steeps it in song until it's ready for vinyl. The overlooked sorrows of a fellow party goer. The real tedium and pains-in-the-ass of touring life, rather than the mystique. An old residential hotel, once hidden back, but whose uncurtained windows now tell human stories to the drivers-by on a newly built highway. An impromptu songwriting session with a friend's four-year old daughter that includes the line "I burped in my pants then the party was over" and ends in a cloud of Jonny's laughter. In contrast to the heartsick Dad Country, the songs of Sweet Creep are, if not always brimming, at least fully accepting of his fortunes. On a song like "I Love Leaving," Jonny even learns to love his own discontent, surmising "but me I hate talking 'bout the good old days / I never want go down memory lane / I only want to get into the passing lane, and I've always been that way / I guess I love leaving, leaving when I said goodbye."
Sure enough, for all the anguish it may sometimes bring him, we have this discontent to thank for Jonny's tremendous creative range-his It's-a-Fritz leatherwork seen on stars and stages all over, his forays into character acting and hosting his own variety show Who's That Singin', his public love of vehicles, country legend, chill animals, and craft of any kind-not to mention the constant stream of deep goofing that turns even his average days into a show well worth watching. Jonny is a torchbearer in that celebrated country music tradition of giant-sized personalities overflowing into song. John Hartford, Roger Miller, Billy Joe Shaver-fans look to these country musicians for more than just music strictly speaking. They look for life, for outrageous legend-for a showmanship on and offstage that Jonny Fritz will never fail to deliver. He might not have shot anybody, or spent any considerable time in prison, but in Sweet Creep, he reminds himself and his fans, that sometimes great lives can also be pretty good ones.
Venue Information:
Charleston Civic Center
200 Civic Center Road
Charleston, WV, 25301