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Posts Tagged ‘jason ashcraft’

Forecastle-07-17-2015-Sam-Smith-S-1

Photo by Willie MacLean

Once upon a time, in July of 2002, a grassroots-organized neighborhood gathering of music, art and activism took place in a quaint little patch of grass in the Fredrick Olmsted-designed Tyler Park. Located in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, the first Forecastle was comprised primarily of local artists and musicians who all performed for free.  Drawing a few hundred people nonetheless, festival founder JK McKnight made it all work on a budget of less than $500.

Fast forward to today, and this little grassroots festival has steadily evolved itself into a corporate-controlled, behemoth midwest tourist attraction, drawing thousands and thousands of festival-goers from 49 states and 12 countries. Now fully orchestrated by Knoxville’s AC Entertainment (producer of Bonnaroo & Sloss Music Festival), Forecastle Festival will once again take place on Louisville’s Waterfront Park this weekend, from July 15-17th.

The Dwindling Local Element

As an advocate for all things Kentucky, this writer would be remiss to note how our largest home state music festival seems to play host to fewer and fewer “Kentucky” musicians and artists, as each year passes. Sad, but true. In 2015 there were five artists, including My Morning Jacket, who hailed from the Bluegrass State, but this year it’s been reduced to only three, which is another aspect of the festival’s inevitable evolving trend. On the this year’s official lineup of musical artists with Kentucky roots we’ve got 1200, Joan Shelley and Louisville Orchestra Director, Teddy Abrams & Friends, who will likely feature a variety of other Kentucky musicians during his set.

Nonetheless, there’s still plenty to revel about and be excited for as Forecastle Festival maintains its status as Kentucky’s largest annual gathering of music and art. According to official ticket sales to date, this year’s festival is expected to surpass their all-time ticket sales record set last year, with over 65,000 tickets sold. 

Here are some of my personal highly-anticipated on and offstage attractions that I will choose to jabber about, in no specific order. You can even download a FREE set of tunes from a handful of Forecastle 2016 artists.

Ryan Adams

The last time I saw Mister Ryan Adams was in 2007 at Louisville’s Brown Theatre. This was when he had the audacity to only deliver a 20 minute acoustic set, sitting in a dimly-lit half circle with his band the entire time. After about three songs, plus a cover of Alice in Chains’ “Down in a Hole,” he stepped to the mic and uttered the words “Thank you, goodnight,” and then proceeded to walk offstage. Everyone in attendance was infuriated.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Regardless of that incident, this dude is one hell of a songwriter and live performer, with a 20+ year catalog of songs to draw from. I just happened to catch him on one of those shitty nights where ole’ Ryan just wasn’t feeling it. Chances are I won’t be the only person present at Forecastle this year who last saw him at the aforementioned flub show. That’s why I will confidently predict that his upcoming set at Forecastle will be an enthralling live demonstration of his musical prowess in one of his rare festival appearances. So, how about a total rock-out with your cock-out set there, Mister Adams? Some of us have been waiting a long time for it…

The Arcs

The last time a Dan Auerbach-fronted rock-n-roll machine graced a stage at Forecastle was in 2013, when the Black Keys gave a rock-n-roll sermon for over 2 hours to a rambunctious, yet appreciate drunken mass of fans. I was happily part of that mess.

The Arcs - Photo by Richard Swift

The Arcs – Photo by Richard Swift

Auerbach returns to the Forecastle stage with his newest rendition of psychedelia/garage rock while keeping intact his trademark vocals and reverb-drenched guitars. Also a vital part of the band is bassist Nick Movshon, whose better known for his extensive work with the late, great British soul queen, Amy Winehouse.

Keep an ear out for “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” if you’re a Keys fan. It should be just as a trippy performance as the song’s video. Hopefully. Catch them early on Saturday at 5:15 on the Mast Stage.

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr with his signature Epiphone Casino

Gary Clark Jr with his signature Epiphone Casino

Making his 2nd Forecastle appearance in only 3 years is Austin-based Gary Clark Jr., one the next soon-to-be greatest Blues rockers of our generation. He’s a festival staple across the country and his experience with the Forecastle crowd will lead to another guitar and vocal-fueled battleground experience for his audience.

Just wait till he plays “The Healing” at some point during the set. Who doesn’t need some healing from living in today’s world? Catch him on Sunday at 5:00 on the Mast Stage.

[Read our March 2016 review of Gary Clark Jr. by our own Miss Autumn en Austin]

1200

1200

1200

Also known as Jecorey Arthur, he is a music teacher for a local school by day, and up-and-coming hip-hop artist by night. There’s not much more of a positive role model coming from his west end Louisville roots. But this boy will ignite your senses with his genuine delivery of real-life inspired songs, and heartfelt authenticity. He’s a “real” musician whose capable of reshaping the overall perception of his style within the uninformed popular thought, so make sure you give him a listen on Friday at 3:00 on the Ocean Stage.

The GONZO Bar

You know, not because I’m freaking biased towards Hunter S. Thompson and virtually anything GONZO, but this will be one of the coolest damn spots to get a bourbon or other GONZO libation of choice. Thompson, a Louisville native, and creator of GONZO Journalism, was also a rabid bourbon connoisseur, amongst quite a few other mind-altering substances of choice.

Gonzo Bar Forecastle Festival

Gonzo Bar Forecastle Festival

Celebrate the GONZO spirit while you enjoy a new feature to this year’s bar – a Grant Goodwine curated “traveling madhouse” of inspired art by Thompson and his longtime British illustrator, Ralph Steadman. Great DAZE!!

Anderson East

Rhythm and blues and soul rockers with dashes of country are definitely crowd-pleasers at Forecastle. This year’s festival will feature one of that genre-orgy’s up-and-coming rising giants, with Michael Cameron Anderson, professionally recognized as Anderson East. 

Anderson East

Anderson East

Yep, this little young Alabama lad can sure as hell man a mic and rock a stage with more heartfelt intent than some of the seasoned veterans around him. And when he’s done doing all that, he parks his boots under Country Music Queen, Miss Miranda Lambert’s bed. How about that?

You’ll have to shake off that Saturday night hangover kind of quickly as he opens the Mast Stage on Sunday at 1:45. Oh yeah, make sure you wish him a happy birthday if you’re in attendance because he’ll be celebrating his 28th.

The Bourbon Lodge

The Bourbon Lodge

The Bourbon Lodge

A celebration of Kentucky’s most famous export, other than horses and world-renowned musicians: bourbon, curated by The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a non-profit organization that promotes and publicizes all the major bourbon distillers throughout the state. You’ll learn about the history and cultivation of bourbon directly from the distilleries who’ve made it a world class export. And of course, be aware this is usually the only non-VIP air-conditioned oasis within festival grounds. So why not give all those sun and heat-relief seekers first class access to Kentucky’s brown hell water? Good call.

Kentucky Landing

Kentucky Landing

Kentucky Landing

This is the corridor where most of the incoming art will be found, along with mixed in festival retailers, many from Kentucky. It’s definitely the calmest and quietest section of the festival ground, and is great place to people watch. Grab a bite to eat. Or drink a craft brew. Or catch a nap. Whatever floats your boat.

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FullSizeRenderWhiskey Bent Valley Boys
On The Fly
Produced by Ben Townsend
Questionable Records: Pewee Valley, Kentucky
Released: May, 2016
whiskeybentvalley.tumblr.com

There’s been a bit of a resurgence of popularity, so to speak, in the world of bluegrass music over the last decade or so, in case you haven’t noticed. While the majority of big time present-day bluegrass renegades experiment with ways of incorporating modern sounds into this pioneering art form of string-picking, Pewee Valley, Kentucky’s Whiskey Bent Valley Boys are non-conformists, in that regard. Conjuring up more of a 19th century, rootsy style, these young Kentucky lads entire persona is about inducing a historical feel to both their sound and image. Almost as if they’re trying to emulate an actual Appalachian backwoods porch jam session amongst family members in 1885. Happy, hillbilly, tenor-induced, string mayhem is how I’ll sum it up, with songs about running rabbits, shady groves and drinking up that whiskey. No doubt they live up to their name.

And just like the majority of their fellow Kentucky-born musical brethren, songs about the home state is always hip subject matter to lay down tracks to. Regardless of your style. You’ve got the instrumental jam session of “Kentucky Traveler,” followed up by the reminiscent testament of “Old Kentucky” where they sing of growing up on the banks of the Ohio, amongst other homages sprinkled throughout.

Whiskey Bent Valley Boys once again cement their status in bluegrass, as an authentic old-time, whiskey-sipping, porch-stomping, string-slaying trio of young lads who belt out tunes which remind us of a time that none of us actually have any real memory of.

-This review also published at GonzoToday.com

 

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GFLou2016
GonzoFest Louisville
, Louisville’s annual celebration of its most famous 
literary son, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, returns to Waterfront Park’s Big Four Lawn to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Louisville’s own Hunter S. Thompson on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

GonzoFest Louisville, now in its sixth year, has stacked this year’s lineup with national and local acts. Nashville rockers with Kentucky roots, Fly Golden Eagle and rock & roll trio Natural Child, who are also from Nashville, will headline GonzoFest Louisville 2016. Old-school hip-hop artists Dr. Dundiff with Touch AC and Smoke Shop Kids, along with garage punk band Chrome Pony, and indie rock band Quiet Hollers are set to perform on the main stage.

Also on the bill is Frederick The Younger, a slinky vintage pop band from Louisville, local rockers Your News Vehicles, and acid country rock band The Bottom Sop. Along with Frogg Corpse & Mr. Stranger Present The End of The World on the Gonzo Today Stage.

In addition to music and spoken word performances, Tinderbox Circus Sideshow, the self-proclaimed “most mind-blowingly devilish backwoods troupe from the ground up”.will be performing at the Gonzo Today Tent Stage throughout the day.

Craft vendors, food, liquor, beer, will be available at the festival as well. GonzoFest Louisville 2016 will also feature a non-fiction literary contest and a satirical political portrait art contest. Submit literary entries to gonzoliterarycontest@gmail.com. Art entries must be sent to 4016 Summer Place New Albany, IN 47150. Literary and art entries must be submitted by March 15, 2016.

The official GonzoFest Louisville after-party at The New Vintage begins at 11:00 p.m.; featuring The Sundresses, Discount Guns, plus a very special jam session with festival musicians. Present your GonzoFest Louisville 2016 ticket stub for free entry to the after-party ($10 at the door otherwise).

Proceeds from GonzoFest Louisville 2016 will support the creation of a life-size bronze statue of Hunter S. Thompson. Sculptor, Matthew Weir will be present during the festival. GonzoFest Louisville is sponsored by Falls City Brewing and Four Roses Bourbon. Gates open at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at Eventbrite. Additional information, including details about the 2016 literary contest, vendor applications, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can be found by visiting www.GonzoFestLou.com.

For the latest news about this year’s festival fans can visit GonzoFest Louisville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About GonzoFest Louisville
GonzoFest Louisville is a literary and music festival honoring Hunter S. Thompson, as well as the lasting mark he has made on literature, art and music. Through poetry, spoken word, art and live music and more, GonzoFest Louisville celebrates the life and times of Hunter S. Thompson in his hometown. 2016 will mark the sixth year of the festival.

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ky bscBlack Stone Cherry
Kentucky
Barrick Studios: Edmonton, KY
Mascot Label Group
Available: April 1, 2016
BlackStoneCherry.com

“So turn the radio up when your heart breaks down.”

Rock n’ roll. Southern. Hard. Dirty. Grungy. But, sometimes soft. Ballad-esque. That’s who they are. And they’re perfectly comfortable with that. Opting not to experiment that much with their solidified iconic sound, Black Stone Cherry continues to pledge allegiance to their musical roots by returning to the very studio where they first recorded Rock-n-Roll Tape, their first EP in 2003, recorded at Barrick Studios in Glasgow, Kentucky. The same studio they would eventually record their first self-titled major release via Roadrunner Records, now 10 years ago. It’s fair to refer to this album as a “roots” endeavor, right?

Most of the album is a metaphorical product of its time, both for the band personally, and our generation as a whole. They waste no time showing that sentiment on the opener, with “The Way of the Future.” Filing some well-timed complaints about greasy politicians, BSC wales of the semi-dystopian state of our current reality with heavy washed-out guitar riffs and bone-crunching percussion that emulates the frustration we all feel.

A cover of Edwin Starr’s 60’s classic “War” is a doggone epic rendition of the original, and represents the Doo Wop and Soul influence that was bestowed onto the band by way of drummer John Fred Young’s musical familial heritage, father and uncle of grammy award winning Kentucky Headhunters. Nonetheless, the song’s appearance on the album feels like another well-timed political statement they’re making overall. I’m pretty sure I’m hitting the nail on the head with this assertion.

Ok, I gotta wrap this shit up. I’m rambling, but speaking of which, “The Rambler” is probably the most heartfelt and tear-jerking song these boys have ever written, “Cheaper To Drink Alone” is not only true, but a damn good rock-junkie song to drink to, and “Soul Machine” is another guitar-solo-fueled example of their soul influence.

Theoretically, every album released by Black Stone Cherry could’ve been called “Kentucky.”
Why?
Dumb question.
Because that’s what these boys are – in and out, thru and thru. 
Ken-FUCKIN-tucky.
OK?
Just like the crazy BASTARD who scribbled this review.

*Reviewed under extreme duress of Vanilla Stoli and Diet Coke by Jason Ashcraft

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Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 1.07.24 PM

David Bowie by Ralph STEADman

Greetings GONZO lovers!

I’ve had the privilege of being able to dialogue with Mister Ralph STEADman via email over many different subjects in the last few months. MANY subjects.

Most of these conversations between him and I will remain private until the time comes when I decide to eventually publish an autobiography on all my life’s adventures, risks, and shenanigans in travel, music, art, events, sabbaticals, women, people, substance-abusing, solitude-seeking, near-death experiences and bouts with the loss of freedom and sanity that life has sum-totaled for me.

HOWEVER, until that time comes, I feel I obligated to share the following:

On my learning of the passing of David Bowie at 0630 on Monday, 11January, I emailed my GONZO mentor buddy, Ralph STEADman, and said: “Ralph! What is your greatest memory or influence you experienced from David Bowie? I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news by now…(also sending him a link to David Bowie’s “Lazarus” video)

And not long after I send that email, Ralph replies back – with a very recent painting he did of David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust – and says:

“Listening to him as I type – he was never a Rat Pack Crooner like Frank – but I doubt he ever wanted that baggage. His free Spirit was far too restless and he just kept moving on. Ziggy Stardust was the child inside him and played Guitar pretty good….in fact, he sounds just like a 5 year old enjoying the sound of his own voice!  He scattered his personalities everywhere – like it was all a big game!!  He cared – and he didn’t care a DAMN!!  He was having FUN!!! I tried to pull him out of a Dirty Water SPLAT as an experiment…… and he pulled a silly face at me!!! -SO – I computerized him!!!

He played a lot of Bum notes just to see what would happen – and some of them were magic – because of that – Like splatting ink all over the Goddamn place!!!  Creatively – we are from the same kind of curiosity stable…..”

**This interview also published at GonzoToday.com

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Blackstar_album_coverAlbum Review: Blackstar by David Bowie
Produced by: David Bowie and Tony Visconti
Released: January 8, 2016
Label: ISO Records (Columbia/RCA)

His final composure.
His last recorded album.
His magic show is over, folks.
He knew it.
His band knew it.
His family knew it.
We now all know it.

From the opening note on the title track the vibe is immediately established this album is a mixture of David Bowie’s death opus, and his celebratory last lap in the studio. The final recording from over five decades worth of work. Both his fans and the musically-inspired will celebrate his catalog for many more decades to come.

Bowie’s now among the stars on his own space oddity, except he’s the Blackstar out there, NOT the white star, as he candidly points out midway through the title track. And, yes, the stars will forever now look different today because of it…

Lazarus was the last video he made a song into, recorded only days before he came to pass, and it shows. It’s one artfully spooky song that is just mind-boggling when you realize the song’s message. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s first impression till they’ve heard it, so that’s all I’m gonna say about it for now…

Girl Loves Me, with its layers of funky synth beats leaves you contemplating who cheena is, and where the Fuck did Monday go? Questions unanswered is a typical Bowie song trait, we must remember. 

The entire album is essentially beautifully arranged recorded cries of despair masked equally in joy and sorrow mixed amongst doses of artsy, jazzy, avant-garde synth rock, and beats and melodies that tease all your human emotions. He is one of music’s TRUEST musical composures of our generation by every measurable quality. He was a perfect combination of both God-given and self-developed natural talent any real artist could hope to have within them.

And we now find ourselves, holding in our hands, or programmed into our iTunes/mp3 player, what may be the greatest thing the man ever composed for us.

Thank you, David Bowie, for the weirdness.



**This review also published at GonzoToday.com

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MERRY (whatever) you MAY or MAY NOT be celebrating at the current time.

Just dug up an interview with another KENTUCKY boy I did back in 2012 in the Seelbach Bar. Sorry about the volume. I do this shit for FREE sometimes…

Oh and one of his videos also, which by the way, is F’ing AWESOME…

Tonight’s post was inspired by OLE SMOKEY moonshine…

G’night folks…

OK…

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