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by Amy Harris 07.11.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Bunbury Performers Everest

Neil Young cohorts perform at second annual Bunbury Music Fest this Friday

Everest is an Indie Rock band unique in a cluttered genre. The group has been able to work with many major players — most notable is the band's relationship with Neil Young, whose recording studio produced their first studio album. Young has had the band to open for him many times over the last several years. Last year, Everest released its third studio album, Ownerless, which came out on Dave Matthews' ATO label.

CityBeat spoke with bassist Elijah Thomson about the group's unique vision and feel and also where he feels the band is going in their evolution. Everest will be playing the Bunbury Music Festival at Cincinnati's Sawyer Point/Yeatman's Cove on Friday alongside fun., Walk the Moon, Devotchka, Tegan and Sara and many others. Everest plays the Bud Light Stage at 5 p.m. Friday.

CityBeat: What have you guys been up to since I saw you last summer at Forecastle in Louisville?

Elijah Thomson: We took a little break. We were touring with Neil Young at the end of the year, which was really fun. We were a little beat down from a year of touring. We took probably about six months off. We did a little tour in April with Minus the Bear, so we sort of violated our own hiatus to go out with those guys, but that was better. We just did a couple weeks' run from L.A. to Chicago, so we went out there to do a couple dates.

CB: I know Neil Young personally picked you guys to go on tour with him and open his shows. What was the highlight of playing with him?

ET: It has been pretty sweet over the years getting to tour with Neil and obviously a total honor to be able to play with an artist of that caliber and a living legend, as far as I am concerned. 

On a certain level, it is still a gig — you know, driving and loading in and out and all that kind of stuff. I think for me personally, watching a guy like Neil night in and night out, it sort of proves that sort of mystical thing in music, what is compelling about somebody that can sustain them for so long. 

People are coming out in droves to see Neil and for me it is a personal study on art and what it is that enamors people with art. With Neil, I think it is primarily an honesty with his art. He will put it out there. The first song on his new record is like 27 minutes long. That’s the kind of bravery that comes from having nothing to prove and I think for them, like us, we have to understand why that is important and to find a formula that works, but also (be) true to ourselves and true to our own desires musically. That is a process. It has not been instantaneous, but I think we are sort of on the verge of realizing that ourselves.

CB: Did Neil give you any advice?

ET: I think if there ever was, it was just (to) absolutely do whatever you want and don’t make any apologies and don’t play it safe. It was the kind of real world wisdom that is important. It is not about playing some game. We should not be concerned where we will be classified in a musical genre. It is more about making what you feel and letting other people classify it. 

CB: You guys toured pretty consistently the past few years. Do you have any crazy tour stories on the road?

ET: One of the main things we talked about from last year, we seemed to be pretty slippery when it came to crossing paths with law enforcement. We were slippery, we had no issues. I don’t know how we did it. We had a couple close calls, but were able to talk our way out of it every time.

CB: Are you working on any new music right now?

ET: Yeah, the biggest change in Everest is a slight personnel change. Jason Soda, a founding member of the band, decided to resign. I don’t know if I should say why, but ultimately he needed more normalcies in his life. 

His replacement — I hate to put it that way — his name is Aaron Tasjan, an amazing guitar player who we met while we were on the road with Alberta Cross. He was kind of filling in for guitar and when it came up that J was going to resign, Joel and I were talking about it. 

I think it was a sensitive thing — who were we going to collaborate with and how were we going to take this opportunity to improve the internal chemistry? We had a really great rapport with Aaron and when we were on the road he watched our set every night. He would open the shows doing solo stuff and we would jump on stage with him and jam with him. His spirit has been really amazing since he has been playing with us, bringing a freshness and newness that we have really desired and I think interpersonally it has been good and natural. 

Also, the drummer chair has been in rotation the last year and a half or so since Davey, our original drummer, stopped playing with us. Our drummer now is a guy named Dan Bailey, a guy I have known for years. I really respected his drumming. He is an absolutely astounding drummer. It was very easy to ask him to join. Bass players and drummers generally want to choose who they are going to play with. He has known this band for a while, since I have been in it, and he has been chomping at the bit to jam with us, so we are on this new plane that we have never really experienced. It is really sort of a beautiful and fun creative discovery. 

I am excited to bring this to Cincinnati. There is a great spirit going on. The plan right now is to finish out this summer touring, a couple weeks in July and a couple weeks in August on the West Coast. Then we are going to go back in the studio. The sound checks for our shows have gone into much more depth with the music; I don’t like the word "jamming," so we will say "spontaneous musical landscapes." It is something we have been wanting to do for a long time and it is really amazing to go on stage and just not have it all pre-programmed, even calling out set lists on the stage, stretching songs out, kind of taking our time with things, letting things be different night after night and really encourage our creative flow together. We are really excited about getting in the studio and experimenting with this.

CB: What is your favorite bass to play?

ET: I play a Gibson Les Paul Recording bass (from) 1973. I have been playing it exclusively for about 12 years. I do own several basses. The first bass I ever had was a Gibson Les Paul Recording bass. My Dad was a bass player and he gave it to me. It was kind of his junker bass and I didn’t even like it but it was something.

It sounds really stupid and mystical, because it was the bass I learned on and I kind of wore it out and it was an awkward bass, but I was always coming back to it because it was familiar. 

I was playing with a guy named Richard Swift (producer, singer/songwriter and current member of The Shins), still do, a really dear friend. Right around when we first started playing together, he said, “That is the raddest bass I have ever heard. You should only use that bass when you are playing with me.” I was like, “OK no problem.” I basically decided that was my thing and I was going to stick with it. 

I haven’t played any other bass for years and years except in a studio, and even then it is only one song, maybe. 

CB: Did you always want to be a musician?

ET: Like I said, my dad was a musician and so I grew up on the road and around music. My uncle owned a studio, still does, and we still work out of there a lot. I have been recording bands since I was 17 years old and have been playing music since I was 12 years old, always had guitars around. When I was a little kid I thought I was the talentless one in the family because I didn’t pick it up before the age of 10. I eventually found my way. This was always what I was meant to do, in a way.

CB: Somebody the other day said that the best way to become a successful musician is to not have a backup plan. 

ET: I’d say so, and I’d say most true artists would rather downgrade and live in a shack and still be doing what they are passionate about. It really plays into the artist mentality. I am no spring chicken, so I certainly decided I was in for life. I don’t have a retirement plan. I don’t ever want to stop. This is what I do. I get into other things outside of music so it is not a total obsession. I found a way to make it this far. I don’t know why that would change in the future. If it does, it does, and I will figure it out. This is what works for me; there is no backup plan.

CB: Where did the band name come from?

ET: The story … I wasn’t in the band when they named it and maybe I wouldn’t have picked that name, but that is for another conversation. 

From what I gather, Russ and Jason had named their studio Everest Recordings because of a pack of cigarettes that Geoff Emerick had. He was an engineer on a lot of the Beatles stuff and supposedly Abbey Road was originally going to be named Everest and they were going to do a photo shoot in Nepal. It became a logistical nightmare and, as the legend goes, Paul or somebody said, "Let’s shoot a picture out front and be done with it." So the name Everest has significance to them, however it is sort of a common thing for something to be named. 

It is hard to Google something like that. That is something you have to think about nowadays and maybe it gets lost in the shuffle a little bit. 

CB: What can the fans look forward to at Bunbury seeing you guys for the first time?

ET: As a band we are really relaxed and comfortable. Every new show is an adventure. Every show we have had with this lineup has been over the top amazing. 

I guess what fans can expect is the unexpected. They can expect to see some sort of fine but not some self-congratulatory musicianship, people making themselves vulnerable in front of people and making up stuff on the spot and really trying to live in that spirit of Jimi Hendrix and Zeppelin and the kind of feelings those shows had when it was a beautiful thing of stream of consciousness. I think that is something rarer these days in music. I am happy and proud to be in a band that values that part of live performance.

Everest performed at Lousiville's Forecastle fest last summer. Check out the "A Day in the Life" Forecastle photo series with the group here.

Everest – Let Go from Everest Channel on Vimeo.

 
 
by Jeff Roberson 05.01.2012
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music, Music Commentary, Reviews at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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MerleFest 2012: That's a Wrap

April 29 - Super 8 Motel, Wytheville, Va.

Wytheville — pronounced "whiteville," I believe — sits at the cross of I-77 and I-81. Looking down I-81, I used to see Bristol, Tenn., and think of that time in 1927 when The Cater Family and Jimmie Rodgers separately met a rep from the Victor Talking Machine Company and recorded a couple of songs. They got paid about $100. Lot's changed since then, though the pay's about the same. These days when I look down towards Bristol I see a redneck deputy hauling a longed haired songwriter off to jail for the crime of relieving himself behind a bush. In 1981, that cost $25. There use to be a great BBQ joint in Wytheville. It's gone. too. They had the best fried chicken and blackberry cobbler.

I guess everyone wore themselves out Saturday as no one stayed up past midnight to talk or jam or whatever. On Sunday morning, with a solid six hours of sleep, I was up and drenched in coffee by 8 a.m. I packed up camp and planned what was left of my MerleFest weekend. I like to get going, so it was an easy morning and I headed out to the Traditional Tent for some Shape Note Singing with Laura Boosinger.

I misidentified this a few days ago as Sacred Heart singing. The idea is the same — using shapes for notes instead of notes on a musical staff. Sacred Heart uses four notes. Shape Note uses seven. The workshop I attended was about those seven notes and how to sing them. It's pretty straight forward — anyone who's ever seen The Sound of Music and sang "Do Re Mi" will get the idea. "Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti" — each note has a particular shape attached to it and you sing that note when you see that shape. Laura talks about the history of Congregational singing, why they use shapes (people actually patented musical notation at one time) and how Sacred Heart differs from Shaped Note contextually, historically and regionally. Pretty cool stuff, even if the Traditional Tent smells like a barn and is now filled with flies. Laura is also really funny, cracking denominational jokes that the churchgoers find hilarious. I don't get them.

My interest in Sacred Heart/Shaped Note singing came when I wandered into a church one Sunday morning 30 or so years ago. I was wandering around northern Alabama on a motorcycle making my way to the Natchez Trace and then south to New Orleans when I stopped for a breather and cool air beneath a tree. I heard the singing as soon as my head stopped rattling. I slipped inside the outer part of a church and heard the most glorious harmonies — not sweet or beautiful, but primitive and inspiring.

In Shape Note, everyone is singing to the pitch the lead singer has identified. There is no piano, no organ, no hip dude playing guitar, only imperfect humans looking for the most comfortable place for their voice to sing. Your split into four groups depending on your vocal range  — altos (includes sopranos), tenors, bass (includes baritones) and leads (anyone who can't but follow the melody regardless of range). I go to the bass group. Each group has a different part to sing — the altos, basses and tenors all singing a harmony part and the leads singing the melody. When it all comes together it unifies the same way most old time music does. It's wondrous and miraculous; if there is a place where God exists, it is inside the dissonance that has congealed into a thing so coherent and beautiful that any existence of God outside of it becomes marginal and meaningless.

I leave the Traditional Tent invigorated and inspired and head back to camp to pack the van. Everything packed and lunch consumed, I head back to the Traditional Tent for one last show before heading home — "Women Singing Traditional Music." On stage are women ages 20 -70, including hosts Carol Rifkin and Gaye Johnson, Brooke Buckner, Laura Boosinger, Joan Wernick, Tara Nevins (Donna the Buffalo), Kim McWhirter and Gailanne Amundsen (Jubal's Kin). All give outstanding performances, but Kim McWhirter brings the house down with a moving version of the Dolly Parton song "Crippled Bird" (which in turn is based on an English Broadside) sung in a sweet mountain lilt and strummed sparingly on guitar.

A wonderful to finish to a great MerleFest.

Addendum
MerleFest is so much more then one guy can write about, no matter how much he tries. I like what I like — new bands and rediscovering old favorites. In addition to what I see and hear, there are workshops on everything from clawhammer banjo to dulcimer playing, a kids stage and activities, open mics, sitting and picking, indoor concerts, food, vendors galore. It is amazing how much music and activity the organizers pack into one day (and then clean it all up and do it again).

A lot of people stream in mid-afternoon for the nighttime concert. As mentioned, these always feature name acts. I am most fortunate to be able to tag along with my sister, help her in her booth and receive onsite camping privileges in exchange. By 8 p.m., I'm pretty exhausted and looking forward to reading under the remaining light and then laying back and hearing what's on the main stage.

This year they had some good acts. Thursday night the very humble and talented (and maybe the last real Country act standing in Nashville) Vince Gill had a fine set. Saturday I was fortunate to hear Derek Trucks take Sam Bush and his band to school on how to play melodious improvisation on the Clapton tune "Bell Bottom Blues." Derek Trucks is the living heir on slide guitar to the dead-to-early Duane Allman and he has unquestionably extended that legacy way past a wink and a nod and into something quite imaginative and bold. His wife Susan Tedeschi joined them on The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and hit all the backing vocal parts with soul.

Later that night, Trucks and Tedeschi helped Los Lobos to new heights on a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Bertha." They sounded like they were having a blast, and my noisy camp neighbors confirmed as much the next morning as they were on stage watching the whole thing go down. Unfortunately, I slept through most of Los Lobos set and the Tedeschi/Trucks set Saturday night, though I caught the first few songs, and they sounded quite excellent. Good sleeping music — that's a compliment!

View Jeff Roberson's photos from MerleFest 2012 here.

 
 
by mbreen 01.05.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Festivals, Music News at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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January Music Fests Booked

Details for the first two big local music festivals of 2011 have been announced. The One More Girl on a Stage fest returns Jan. 21 and 22 to Newport’s York Street Café for the Rivertown Music Club’s last ever event, while the Cincy Blues Society’s annual Winter Blues Fest takes over the Southgate House Jan. 28 and 29.

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by Deirdre Kaye 07.11.2012
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bunbury Sleeper: The Silent Comedy

The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is just two days away. All this week, CityBeat's music blog will be featuring samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.

Our next "sleeper" is The Silent Comedy, performing Saturday at 8:45 p.m. on the AliveOne Stage.

Imagine you’re in an old bar filled with the clinking and clunking sounds of ragtime piano music. Next, add in the sound of an electric guitar and rugged vocals. Now imagine that sound coming from four mustachioed bartenders and replace the tables with people packed to the rafters. If that doesn’t work, think "Baritone Ben Folds." The music and people you’re imagining are guaranteed to look and sound a lot like The Silent Comedy. The band consists of four dudes from California who dress like they belong in an old western movie, write modern lyrics and have an authentic, dusty Roots/Folk sound. Whether they’re singing about hookers, bad choices or hypocrisy in the church, The Silent Comedy’s music is always relatable and always good.

Here's a cool clip of the band performing for "The Living Room Sessions."


Tickets and full info on the Bunbury music festival can be found here.

 
 
by Brian Baker 07.12.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Festivals at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bunbury Sleeper: Now, Now

The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is TOMORROW! All this week, CityBeat's music blog has featured samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.

Our next "sleeper" is Now, Now, performing Sunday at 3 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage.

Cacie Dalager and Bradley Hale, paired up as songwriters since 2003 when both were in high school marching band, officially started as a duo with the unwieldy handle Now, Now Every Children; their 2008 debut full length Cars was an indie sensation.

That success ultimately resulted in a moniker makeover to the sensibly edited Now, Now and the addition of second guitarist Jess Abbott, which broadened the band’s sound on its 2010 EP, Neighbors. Sporting an energetic Indie Pop vibe that could pass for Kathleen Edwards channeling Motion City Soundtrack, Now, Now teamed with veteran producer Howard Redekopp for its just-released sophomore full length Threads, an expansive album that throbs with an aggressive Ambience.

Here's "Thread" from Threads.


Tickets and full info on the Bunbury Music Festival can be found here.

 
 
by Mike Breen 05.17.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals, Local Music at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music at Saturday's OTR Summer Celebration

Washington Park set to come alive with art, live music and a 5K run

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the seventh annual OTR (that's "Over-the-Rhine," if you don't get the hip lingo) 5K Run and Summer Celebration, featuring a fine art show, food, drink and other vendors, the 5K Run and a strong lineup of local, original music in OTR's Washington Park.

The festivities kick off with the 10 a.m. OTR 5K, which begins and ends at Washington Park this year. Here are the artists — including several Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominees and winners — you can check out (on the park's Bandstand and Main Event Lawn Stage) this year. (Click each name for more info on the performer.)

The Cincy Brass (Event Lawn Stage 10:15am-11:30am)
Baoku & the Image Afro-Beat Band (Event Lawn Stage 12:00pm-12:45pm)
DAAP Girls (Event Lawn Stage 1:15pm-2:00pm)
Decker, the solo guise of Histoire singer Jane Smith. (Event Lawn Stage 2:30pm-3:15pm)
The Tillers (Bandstand 11:30am-12:15pm)
Mia Carruthers (Bandstand 12:45pm-1:30pm)

There will also be the following "special appearances":
Young Professionals Choral Collective (Bandstand 10:45am-11:15am)
Cincinnati Opera (Bandstand 2:00pm-2:20pm)
Queen City Brass Band (Bandstand 2:45pm-3:30pm)

Click here for more info.

 
 
by Mike Breen 11.09.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals, Playlist at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Explore Heights of Local Music This Weekend

Heights Music Festival fall event brings another eclectic Cincy music sampler to Clifton Heights

The Heights Music Festival returns this weekend for its fall event and another wide-ranging sampling of Cincinnati’s original music scene. Music will run Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. until about closing time at four venues in Clifton Heights near the University of Cincinnati campus — Baba Budan’s, Mac’s Pizza Pub, Christy’s Biergarten and Rohs Street Café (the only location open to music lovers of all ages).

Here's the full lineup/schedule for this year.

FRIDAY
Rohs Street Cafe
: 7:00
Music Resource Center showcase; 8:00 – Wendy’s Yellow Poncho; 
9:00 – MC Forty and Wonder Brown
; 10:00 – Cowgirl; 
11:00 – The Yugos

Baba Budan’s: 
8:00 – Sulla; 
9:00 – Second Chance At Eden; 
10:00 – Damn It To Hell
; 11:00 – Buenos Crotches
; 12:00 – Grey Host

Mac’s Pizza Pub: 
8:00 – The Celestials; 
9:00 – Majestic Man
; 10:00 – The MJ’s Blues
; 11:00 – Hickory Robot; 
12:00 – Jeremy Pinnell & The 55′s; 
1:00 – The Founding Fathers

Christy’s Biergarten: 
8:00 – The Marmalade Brigade; 
9:00 – The Heavy Hinges; 
10:00 – The Perfect Children; 
11:00 – Shrub (Columbus, OH); 12:00 – The Guitars

SATURDAY
Rohs Street Cafe
: 7:00 – Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center showcase; 
8:00 – Alex Evans
; 9:00 – For Algernon
; 10:00 – Young Heirlooms
; 11:00 – Oui Si Yes

Baba Budan’s: 
8:00 – Pursuing Hounds
; 9:00 – Sweet Ray Laurel
; 10:00 – Jamwave; 
11:00 – The Regrettes (Columbus, OH); 
12:00 – The Natives

Mac’s Pizza Pub: 
8:00 – Tangerine Sound Machine
; 9:00 – Somebody’s Something
; 10:00 – Big Rock Club
; 11:00 – Valley High
; 12:00 – Junya Be & Wazali

Christy’s Biergarten
: 8:00 – Killer Looks & Noise
; 9:00 – Horsecop; 
10:00 – Loudmouth; 
11:00 – Black Signal
; 12:00 – DAAP Girls; 
1:00 – The Frankl Project

Tickets are $5 per night if purchased in advance through cincyticket.com here. Admission is $8 for one night or $12 for both if purchased at the festival. Visit the fest's official site here for more info. Here's a sampler the organizers compiled featuring some of the performers:

 
 
by 09.23.2010
 
 
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MidPoint Day 1: Odds & Ends

The 2010 MidPoint Music Festival is finally upon us. In fact, it actually kicks off at noon today on the outdoor plaza outside the Main Public Library at Ninth and Vine streets with local Americana/Roots favorites Magnolia Mountain. Should be a hot start to a long, action-packed weekend. Literally.

If you're looking for last-minute updates and answers to your questions, you can stop by the MidPoint World Headquarters across from the library at Garfield Suites Hotel (Vine Street and Garfield Place). They'll be open for business by noon today. The MidPoint web site is a good spot for daily schedules, venue details, maps, Metro shuttle bus info and everything else.

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by Jason Gargano 03.31.2010
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals at 03:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

MusicNOW: Day 1

MusicNOW kicked off last night with performances from Fleet Foxes’ frontdude Robin Pecknold, who apparently played a solo acoustic set of new material (I arrived just as he was finishing), and Joanna Newsom, whose intricate songs proved the perfect aesthetic match to the ornate Memorial Hall.

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by Brian Baker 07.11.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals, Music Video at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bunbury Sleeper: The Henry Clay People

The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is just two days away. All this week, CityBeat's music blog will be featuring samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.

Today's "sleeper" is The Henry Clay People, performing Friday at 3:45 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage.

Glendale, Calif.’s Henry Clay People has been around in one form or another for over a decade, first as Vallejo By Knife in 2003 and then HCP in 2005. With an energetic sound that approximates an Indie/Classic Rock gene splice of Camper Van Beethoven, Pavement, Tom Petty and Crazy Horse, The Henry Clay People has released four full-lengths, a pair of EPs and a live album in the last seven years, including their last record, the freewheeling and well-received Somewhere on the Golden Coast in 2010, which was accompanied by their triumphant tours with Silversun Pickups and Against Me! in the summer and Drive-By Truckers in the fall.

The Henry Clay People’s hotly anticipated new release, Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives, hit the streets late last month and it has all the earmarks of an HCP classic — brashly exultant, breathlessly eclectic and wildly original.

Here's a video for The Henry Clay People's great new-album cut, "Friends Are Forgiving."


Tickets and full info on the Bunbury music festival can be found here.

 
 

 

 

 
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