The Lone Bellow, River Whyless, Martha Scanlan  and more

Mountain Stage w/ Larry Groce

The Lone Bellow, River Whyless, Martha Scanlan and more

Sun · November 11, 2018

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

$20.00

This event is all ages

Available to Mountain Stage Members: Tuesday, May 15 10am

On-sale to public: Friday, May 18 10am

Advance Tickets: $20

Day of Show: $35

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

Become a Mountain Stage Member for public radio perks and early access to tickets! mountainstage.org/member

The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut in 2013. The Brooklyn-based band quickly became known for their transcendent harmonies, serious musicianship and raucous live performance — a reputation that earned them their rabid fan base. It's been three years since the band's victorious Then Came The Morning was released. Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, the album was nominated for an Americana Music Award. The band appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Show With David Letterman," "Conan O'Brien," "CBS This Morning," "Later...with Jools Holland," and "The Late Late Show With James Corden" in support of the album. In the years since the release, the band left their beloved adopted home of Brooklyn and moved to Nashville. Now, The Lone Bellow is back with Walk Into A Storm, which will be released Sept. 15 on Sony Music Masterworks. Walk Into A Storm was produced by legendary music producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, and more) and features their lead single "Time's Always Leaving." The trio, featuring Zach Williams (guitar/vocals), Kanene Donehey Pipkin (multi-instrumentalist), and Brian Elmquist (guitar), recorded this album in only seven days. The group’s first two albums graced the Billboard 200.
Hello June
Hello June
Hello June is an indie rock band from West Virginia whose music NPR described as “bright, blissful indie rock that shimmers, even throughout its darker moments.” Their sound has been likened to Modest Mouse, Jason Molina, and Beach House. In 2018 they were selected as part of the inaugural NPR Slingshot class, highlighting up-and-coming artists. Singles “Dance” and “Mars” have been featured in NPR Music, Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Current”, and Broadway World. Their debut album, Hello June, will be released on Sept. 28.
Royal Wood
Royal Wood
There are various explanations for the term ‘ghost light’ in relation to the world around us. There is the supernatural narrative – that every theatre has a ghost, and that when the light isn’t lit, the darkness provides a chance for the dead to haunt us. And then there is the Royal Wood version of GHOST LIGHT. The kind that lets someone truly shine from within– raw, honest and open…. and that’s why he has named his new record after this mythical glow.

“This album for me was a full return to writing and recording simply for the joy of creation – like when I was a kid. A true letting go and allowing,” says Royal. “I jumped around from instrument to instrument in the studio; playing piano and guitar solos, bass, keys, percussion, anything and everything I could get my hands on.” In fact, Royal played on almost 90% of the record, with a few artists like Hannah Georgas and Felicity Williams (Bahamas) adding their special blend of talents along the way. It was recorded in both Los Angeles and Toronto, with Bill Lefler and Royal at the production helm.

The result is an album that exudes raw emotion and emanates a feel of the songwriters of the sixties and seventies. Without modern day studio trickery like auto-tuning and digital perfection, the album is warm, inviting and completely forthright. “I felt like on this album, I snuffed out the external Ghost Lights, and allowed my internal light to glow instead,” says Royal, “this allowed the spirits of my past, present and future into the room to guide me along my artistic path.” The first single ‘Long Way Out’ exemplifies this definitive focus of the record. It’s gripping and melodic and screams with sincerity.
River Whyless
River Whyless
"We stopped clinging to our individual visions," says Ryan O'Keefe. "All our songs and ideas got thrown into one pot from which anyone and everyone was free to draw."

"Nobody felt as though they were compromising because it was all completely new and unexplored territory," adds Daniel Shearin.

"We were mashing songs together," says Halli Anderson. "We were co-writing choruses and trading verses and switching instruments."

"There was an energy," adds Alex McWalters. "And the songs just kept coming."

When River Whyless set out to write We All The Light (out August 26th on Roll Call Records), its three original members – O'Keefe, Anderson and McWalters – were already accustomed to "collaborating" with each other. Collaboration is a word often used to glamorize a much less appealing process: compromise. By definition, compromise requires mutual concessions. It means one must listen at least as much as one speaks. It's a give and take, a back and forth, an amendment of individual visions for the sake of something greater. With We All The Light, River Whyless bought into that process.

In O'Keefe and Anderson the Asheville, NC band already had two accomplished songwriters. In McWalters, an idiosyncratic percussionist. They were accustomed to the slog of progress, to the necessary but often arduous give and take that ensures only the very best ideas survive. But when Shearin joined the band in 2012, River Whyless acquired not only an accomplished bass player and multi-instrumentalist, but also a third singer/songwriter. The new dynamic added yet another strong personality to an already potent lot, and the result was a period of creative gestation wherein the band's four distinct musical voices struggled to coalesce into a single vision. In short, River Whyless worked for three years to compile a couple albums' worth of songs that everybody liked, but not everybody loved.

It wasn't till the band decamped to Maine in the summer of 2015 that We All The Light began to take shape. Set up in a woodshed, the only objective was to start fresh. New songs, new ideas. The slate was clean, and their minds, coerced by creative desperation, were open. Every morning, before entering the woodshed, they helped Joe, their host, haul cedar logs across the property. Joe was building another shed. It seemed an apt metaphor. The logs were large, and it took four people to haul them, and the ground was uneven. But it wasn't complicated, as long as there was communication. One log at a time, piece by piece. This made sense to them. There was a newfound clarity. Compromise developed into actual collaboration.

In an attempt to further explore the virtues of collaboration, the band enlisted, for the first time, an outside producer.

Enter Justin Ringle, a musician and producer who was, ironically, accustomed to running his own show. Having written and self-produced five successful albums as the lead singer/songwriter behind Horse Feathers, Ringle had every right to expect a certain level of autonomy while working on We All The Light. But what proved Ringle's greatest asset, aside from the obvious musical prowess his resume displays, was not necessarily his ability to impose his own creative vision. Rather, it was his ability to listen, to adapt and improvise, to effectively apprehend the level of complexity with which a band comprised of three songwriters and one discriminating percussionist tends to express itself. Ringle, embracing the collaborative spirit, understood that his job involved as much emotional orchestration as it did musical. He recognized how much love the band members had for each other and for their craft, and how that love, more than anything else, was the band's greatest weakness; how the care and concern, expressed in different ways, was the thing that so often impeded their progress.

Ringle and the band worked with engineer Kevin Ratterman (who also mixed the album) in La La Land, a studio in Louisville, KY, where the album's sonic foundation was recorded to tape. Then the group decamped again, this time to Ringle's home in Astoria, Oregon, where they built a studio in the living room. Here is where they explored what Ringle recognized as the band's strongest common denominator: its growing interest in global music. At its core, We All The Light is still very much a folk album. The global music influence is subtle, but significant in that it ties the record together, if not sonically, then spiritually. Which is not to say We All The Light is a religious album. It's not that explicit. But it was music created outside the United States—of Africa and India and Asia—that inspired the band to experiment, to explore, and, most importantly, to have some fun. In "Kalangala," for example, a track that includes tabla and kalimba, the band's three songwriters sing in unison: "Here we are unbound," a line that seems an apt encapsulation of the album's musical and emotional attitude.

With three superlative singers and songwriters in O'Keefe, Anderson and Shearin, River Whyless consciously worked to blur the designation of a lead singer on We All The Light, deftly blending the three voices throughout the record. The trio's vocals intertwine and layer together with gorgeous harmonies, rarely working alone. The vocal synergy is in many ways another instrument on We All The Light, adding additional colors and textures to the sonically adventurous mix.

The band's music has already gained fans in the press. NPR Music's Bob Boilen says the "immensely talented band from Asheville, N.C., was my favorite discovery at this year's Americana Music Festival. River Whyless builds its music around fiddle, guitar and harmonies, with imagination and textures that set the band apart from many of its acoustic and folk-based peers." Paste called their self-titled EP one of the best of 2015, saying "sometimes it can be hard to stand out in the crowd when you're producing experimental folk rock. Plenty of groups are capable of harmonizing well and turning simplistic rhythms into infectious anthems, but it's rare to find artists who can evoke as much emotion as River Whyless." River Whyless will make their Newport Folk Festival debut this summer, and also return to the Americana Music Festival in Nashville.

We All The Light is an album about heeding the need to adapt, to change, and, yes, to relinquish. It's about submitting to the pains of compromise in order to honor the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's about taking to heart the virtues of equality and learning how much more complicated that can be in practice than in theory. But also how rewarding.
Martha Scanlan
Martha Scanlan
In the opening moments of Martha Scanlan’s fourth recording, The River And The Light, there is this pause right before the music kicks in; it occurs like the deep breath in right before a sigh, or the brush of sand against the bottom of a boat being gently pushed into the current.
What follows is a journey, and in this day and age of Spotify and playlists it is rare to find a recording compelling enough to be so taken into such a journey. There is a sense of aliveness and wonder throughout each song and throughout the album, this sense of anticipation of what awaits around the next bend.
“The boat metaphor is interesting, because for both Jon and I these songs have occurred like rivers, like these currents winding in and out and around each other.”
Jon is Portland based guitar player, producer and longtime musical collaborator Jon Neufeld.
The current one is swept into on the opening track Brother Was Dying is pulsing with rich electric guitar tones, somehow lush and spare all at once, the tension of so many opposites- hope and despair, intimacy and inclusion, birth and death, weaving seamlessly in and out of each other in one winding pulsing groove.
It was the first take of a song Martha had just finished writing moments before.
“I think it was the only take,” she laughs.
This is not unusual for them.
Venue Information:
Culture Center Theater
West Virginia State Capitol Grounds
Charleston, WV, 25305
http://www.wvculture.org/agency/cultcenter.html