James McMurtry, John Moreland,  Inara George and more

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce

James McMurtry, John Moreland, Inara George and more

Sun · March 25, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

$15.00 - $35.00

Sold Out

 
UPDATE: Due to travel conditions Lee Ann Womack will be unable to appear as advertised on March 25. We hope to reschedule another date as soon as possible. 

Day of Show: $35

Available online, by phone (877.987.6487), or at Taylor Books - Downtown Charleston.​​

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James McMurtry
James McMurtry
Inara George
Inara George
Sorrow, particularly when stemming from the loss of a loved one, can be overwhelming. Today, Inara George unveils the music video for "Release Me," a stunning visual metaphor for struggling with grief directed by Jeremy Cohen. Off of her upcoming solo album Dearest Everybody, produced by Mike Andrews and out January 19, 2018 on Release Me Records, "Release Me" features expressive vocals and a consoling rhythm, poignantly recounting her mother's plea for closure after the passing of Inara's father (Lowell George of Little Feat) and exploring heartache's unique transformative potential. PRESS HERE to watch via Baeble.

"I wanted to make a video for this song that captured the feeling one can have when grief feels completely insurmountable and life pushes you around," says Inara. "So serenading the ocean felt like a good way to capture that feeling. I had this clear idea in my head, and my director, Jeremy Cohen, was able to bring it to life. I feel really proud of this video. It was also one of the harder shoots I've ever done. The ocean is no joke. I was getting sand out of my ears for at least a week."

"Release Me" follows on the heels of "Young Adult" from Dearest Everybody, Inara's first solo album since the release of Accidental Experimental in 2009. Of The Bird and the Bee (her collaboration with Grammy-winning producer, singer, and instrumentalist Greg Kurstin) and the Living Sisters fame, Inara was recently featured on Foo Fighter's "Dirty Water" and Superfruit's "Everything," which she co-wrote for their debut album Future Friends. This summer, Inara also performed alongside that dog. at Riotfest and duetted with Shirley Manson and Garbage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
John Moreland
John Moreland
The replay of John Moreland's network television debut is…glorious and affirming and a sucker punch. He is announced by Stephen Colbert, lights dissolve, and the camera slowly focuses on the person midway across the unadorned stage, revealing him beneath muted blue lights.
He is a big man.
Seated, alone, cradling his acoustic guitar.
He looks like nobody who is famous.
Then he begins to sing, to caress the song "Break My Heart Sweetly," and all that remains is to whisper, "Oh, my god."
In Colbert's studio everybody stood, like they were in church.
Big Bad Luv is the record John Moreland made after, after everything in his life changed. For the better.
He sings in one of those accents from flyover country that's impossible to locate and implausible to mimic. (Texas, by way of Northern Kentucky, but mostly Tulsa, as it happens.) He sings directly from his heart, with none of the restraint and filters and caution the rest of us would apply for public protection. He sings with resolute courage.
He sings.
And writes. Writes with simple eloquence about love and faith and isolation; the human condition; what every song and poem and novel is about, at the core: Life.
"Break My Heart Sweetly" came from his second solo album, released in 2013 and titled In the Throes. High on Tulsa Heat, released through Thirty Tigers, landed him on Colbert's stage (that's the LP Colbert held up). Song placements on "Sons of Anarchy," an emerging artist nomination from the Americana Music Association.
Enough sales to compel Moreland to give up his DIY label operation, and sign with 4AD. "It grew to the point where I couldn't really handle everything myself," he says. "Even with a manager and a small team, I came to the conclusion that I'd like to play music and not worry about the other stuff."
Enough success to buy a measure of peace, and not more pain. "I expected to just play in the corner of the bar and have people not really pay attention, make $100, go home and go to work the next morning, doing something I didn't like," Moreland says. "So, yeah, I didn't really expect to be here. But, then, on the other hand, I did. I feel like I'm good enough to be here. And I've always been confident, even when I probably shouldn't have been. I knew I was an outsider. I didn't have a lot of faith in the music industry to let me in. But I guess they have. To some extent. That's what I hoped for, but I wasn't sure that would be how it worked."
"In churches learning how to hate yourself/Ain't grace a wretched old thing" he sings, the song called "Ain't We Gold." Big Bad Luv is unmistakably a rock 'n' roll record. If, that is, one understands the term to include Ray Wylie Hubbard, John Hiatt, and Lucero. Or The Band, maybe. Insistent songs, coming from a voice as elegant as unfinished barn wood, songs which insist upon their words being heard.
His fourth solo album, not discounting two records with the Black Gold Band and a third with the Dust Bowl Souls. Nor discounting early excursions into hardcore which were not youthful indiscretions but crucial training in the emotional honesty of confessional songwriting. A rock album, to be performed by a rock band. A partial break with the solitude of solo touring.
"Two or three years ago," Moreland says, "it would have been impossible to picture touring with a band. Now that's changed. I think I'll still do some solo or stripped down shows, but I have the option to bring a band with me if I want. Ultimately it's just what the songs felt like they should be."
Big Bad Luv was recorded down in Little Rock, mostly with a crew of Tulsa friends: John Calvin Abney on piano and guitar, back from Tulsa Heat; Aaron Boehler on bass; Paddy Ryan on drums; Jared Tyler on dobro. And then Lucero's Rick Steff on piano, which ended up being the catalyst for completion.
"I always start off writing whatever comes naturally," Moreland says. "Once I've got seven or eight of those, then I'll take stock and look at what I've got, figure out what belongs on a record together, and what might not. Then I'll figure out what kind of songs I need."
Three sessions over ten months, sandwiched between touring dates and life. The final sequence roughly approximating the order in which songs were written. "I chose the sequence for what I thought worked best musically," he says, untroubled.
"Quick bursts of recording," Moreland goes on. Gives off a quick laugh. "It's not like we're sitting there over-thinking the performances, I'm definitely a fan of just hit record and play it. But then there's long stretches where I'm not in the studio, when I'm listening to what I did, asking how do I turn this into a record?"
The key turned out to be Rick Steff's promise to record next week, even though Moreland didn't have songs, not a one. "I went home and wrote five songs in four days and finished up," Moreland says. Another deep, wry laugh.
Big Bad Luv is, at least by comparison…maybe…a happier record? "I don't think I'm writing songs that are that much different," Moreland says. "It's always been a positive thing at heart, even if a song isn't sunshine and rainbows. At the very least my songs have been a way to exorcise negative feelings so that I can move on. And hopefully they provide that same experience to listeners. So that's what I'm still doing. I think it's a positive thing. I think this record, there's definitely a change in attitude, but it's the same point of view."
Oh, yeah. And Tchad Blake mixed it. "He's also the only person I've ever worked with on a record whose name I can drop."
"Slow down easy, I've been hauling a heavy soul," he sings, this song titled "Slow Down Easy." Carrying it for all of us, but no longer alone.
The Low Anthem
The Low Anthem
The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea
New album released 23rd February 2018 on Joyful Noise Recordings

“One second you’re dozing off in the passenger seat on the way to a gig, and the next, there’s fire and hell flames and black smoke and your face is bleeding and you can’t see, and you can’t process information, and you think it’s all over.” Jeff Prystowsky is describing one of the scariest moments in his life, as The Low Anthem’s tour van crashed and subsequently wiped out Prystowsky for several weeks, as well as wrecking loads of their gear and instruments in the process.

However, the accident also acted as an inadvertent impetus for their latest record whilst Prystowsky was in recovery: a John Cage-influenced concept record. A beautiful, elegiac and largely acoustic – though peppered with subtle yet immersive electronics and humming ambience – album of twelve tracks that barely stretch past the two-minute mark. Recalling the more progressive moments of artists such as Sufjan Stevens and Lambchop, it’s a record of a deep richness, loaded with extreme subtleties and with a space and delicacy counter to the group’s previous dense and complex album.

The album feels like a new palate for the group and comes at the end of a period of profound change and evolution. Not only did the van crash cancel their tour (after just four dates) but, combined with some record company troubles, it led to the album they were due to tour all but disappearing. Eyeland was the group’s deeply experimental 2016 album, one that was their first in several years and one that was also a direct response to a world in which they had found themselves but didn’t really want to be.

Prystowsky formed the band with Ben Knox Miller and after the huge success of their 2007 debut album, What The Crow Brings, the band found themselves signed to Nonesuch and Bella Union for their even more successful follow-up Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. They toured the world and were reluctantly lumped in with the so-called "folk revival". However, night-after-night of performing their early material was not ultimately where they wanted to land. “The moment was losing its mystery. We were scared of becoming robots,” the band said after six years of reflection.

They returned to their hometown of Providence, Rhode Island back in 2012 and instead poured their energy into their local community by restoring a vaudeville-era theatre and building their own recording studio within. The band were still enamoured with music itself and holed down here for years experimenting and learning to record and produce what would become Eyeland but they were no longer the group that they had once been. “It’s like eating stale bread,” Prystowsky says. “Fresh bread is better. You want to cook with fresh ingredients and eat it while it’s still warm. If you wait too long, the moment is gone. So you reheat it but with each reheating, a little bit is lost…until it can’t be reheated anymore.”

The pair are involved with the running of The Columbus Theatre, they help book and promote shows and are in attendance for every new production, burrowing themselves at a grassroots level into their community. It has become an important place for them in terms of an inspirational creative space. “It’s a magical place with a long history,” Prystowsky says. “I like to call it a palace of music. You’re walking into a theatre from almost a hundred years ago, still intact, built for the acoustics of music, pre-the invention of the PA. It’s so unlike anything in the 21st century that it ignites your creative muscles to work. You immediately lose your frame of reference, in a good way.”

Five years on since moving back to Providence, building a recording studio then recording a deeply experimental, stylistic u-turn of a record in Eyeland before having to ditch the whole thing after a near miss accident, the band are now finally into a groove of their own, under their own terms. They are settled and have found themselves again both in terms of a sense of place as well as musically.

This feeling of comfort, confidence and newfound identity shines through on The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea, an album that was triggered when Knox Miller was reading John Cage’s biography Where The Heart Beats, by Kay Larsen. He soon became transfixed by the
salt doll fable he came across. The salt doll fable basically tells the story of a doll that wants to know itself, and what it’s made of. A teacher tells it, “salt comes from the ocean,” so it goes to the sea. When the doll puts its toe in, it knows something, but loses its toe. Then it puts its foot in, knows even more but loses its foot...and so on, until it’s completely dissolved, never to return to the shore.

This fable soon blossomed into a full album that Knox Miller wrote on stripped down equipment (given that all the band’s usual stuff had been destroyed or damaged in the crash) and the end result was an album that, according to Prystowsky: “Is a concept album with a story arc weaving through the songs like a constellation. It’s an underwater circular journey to the bottom of the sea following the salt doll who, attempting to measure the sea (and thus, know its true origins), in the end, becomes part of it. Along the way this non-human, conscious chemical compound, encounters all kinds of fantastical oceanic things.”

Knox Miller wrote the song cycle whilst Prystowsky was recovering from a concussion and it became a part of him in the process. A project to immerse himself into completely, mirroring the tale of the salt doll but also filling the void left by the absence of his usual creative partner (who soon returned to good health to help finish the record.) “I ate it, I slept it” Ben says of the process.

It finds the Low Anthem of 2017 a vastly different band from the one that emerged 10 years ago with their debut. One that has experienced more ups and downs that many would manage in an entire career but also one that now feels settled in their skin and only interested in venturing toward the horizon instead of re-treading old ground.
Venue Information:
Culture Center Theater
West Virginia State Capitol Grounds
Charleston, WV, 25305
http://www.wvculture.org/agency/cultcenter.html