No Country’s Guide to Pilgrimage Fest 2015 | Saturday Preview Pt. 2

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We first told you about the inaugural Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival back in April, and have kept you filled in as the lineup expanded in subsequent months, quickly becoming Middle Tennessee’s can’t-miss fall event. Set to take place Sept. 26 & 27 at the Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin, TN, Pilgrimage is exactly the type of fest we’ve been hoping to attract in the Nashville area for years, and we couldn’t be more excited for this weekend’s bill, which boasts Wilco, Weezer, Willie Nelson, Cage The Elephant, Steven Tyler, and many more! In addition to music, Pilgrimage will showcase the best of the region with local food, drink, and art, and is committed to creating a family friendly environment, complete with early start and ending times, a kid’s stage, and more. For those looking to keep the fun going late, the fest will also sponsor official after parties, with low admission prices for Pilgrimage ticket holders.

Single day and weekend passes are still available here, and if you’ve been counting down the days like we have, then you already know it’s sure to be a blast (and, undoubtedly, the first of many great years for this stellar new event). To help you prepare to make the first Pilgrimage, we’ve put together a weekend guide with more information and song previews of every single act, ordered by performance time. Check out part one of our rundown of Saturday’s lineup here, and below, check out part two!

NEKO CASE

HQ: Montpellier, VT

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Saturday | Fender Premium Audio Gold Record Road | 2pm

Alternative country singer/songwriter Neko Case won a steadily growing cult audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Case moved around often as a child, spending the largest part of her youth in Tacoma, Washington. She left her parents at age 15, and three years later she started playing drums for several bands on the Northwest’s punk rock scene. Case moved to Vancouver in 1994 to enter art school, and simultaneously joined the punk group Maow, which released a record on the Mint label. She also played with roots rockers the Weasles and eventually formed her own backing band, the Boyfriends, which initially featured alumni of the Softies, Zumpano, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

Case released her solo debut, The Virginian, in 1997, delving wholeheartedly into traditional country via a mix of covers and originals. She went on to perform with Carolyn Mark in the old-timey side project the Corn Sisters and began a long-running affiliation with the Vancouver indie supergroup the New Pornographers. Case completed her studies in 1998, and with her student visa expired, she returned to Washington and began work on her second solo album. The lovely, melancholy Furnace Room Lullaby was released on Bloodshot Records in 2000 and won high praise for its dark compositions, all of which were written or co-written by Case.

Case subsequently relocated to Chicago, home of a thriving alt-country scene, and released the home-recorded Canadian Amp EP in 2001. Its moody, late-night ambience carried over to 2002’s Blacklisted, a darker yet more eclectic affair. Blacklisted garnered Case her strongest reviews yet, making many year-end critics’ polls and landing her a tour slot opening for Nick Cave. In 2004, Case signed with Anti Records in the United States and released a live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, which was recorded during several dates with Canadian surf-country band the Sadies. She then returned to the studio to work on another studio album, a move that required her to take a break from the New Pornographers (with whom she had recorded and intermittently toured with since the band’s inception).

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood followed in 2006 and fared moderately well on the Billboard charts, peaking at number 54 and introducing a wider audience to Case’s dark, country-noir style. The concert recording Live from Austin, TX was released one year later, capturing a 2003 performance for Austin City Limits, and Case contributed vocals to the New Pornographers’ Challengers before returning to her adopted hometown of Tucson, Arizona. Recording sessions for a new album took place in that home environment, as well as Brooklyn, Toronto, and Case’s newly purchased farm in Vermont (where songs were tracked in a barn). The resulting album, Middle Cyclone, was released several months later in March 2009. 2010 saw the release of Together, the New Pornographers’ fifth long-player, followed by Case’s fifth solo outing, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, in 2013, and the New Pornographers’ Brill Bruisers in 2014. [via]

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WILL HOGE

HQ: Nashville, TN

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 2:45pm

Grammy-nominated recording artist Will Hoge catapulted into the national spotlight with the release of his top-selling single “Strong” which is featured on his newest album Never Give In. Breaking into mainstream country, the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter has penned Lady Antebellum’s “Better Off Now (That You’re Gone),” and co-wrote the Platinum-selling No. 1 smash “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” recorded by the Eli Young Band. His stage shows are equal parts sweat, charisma and rock & roll revival which has landed him coveted opening slots for Dierks Bentley, John Mellencamp, Pistol Annie’s, Shinedown and ZZ Top. The Nashville native is currently on the road playing headline shows nationwide and recently released his new single “Middle of America.” [via]

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IRON & WINE

HQ: Durham, NC

Sam Beam

Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 3pm

Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron and Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named “Beef Iron & Wine” while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor’s degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, he was firmly exploring the former style when several of his lo-fi recordings caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co-owner of Sub Pop Records. The songs had been recorded in Beam’s bedroom without the aid of studio flourishes, but Poneman nevertheless requested that additional material be sent to the label for submission, and Beam responded by sending two CDs in the mail — both of them full-length albums. Poneman considered releasing them both, but instead slimmed down the set to 12 songs and released it in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle. The similarly themed The Sea & the Rhythm EP followed in 2003.

It was Beam’s 2004 full-length, Our Endless Numbered Days, that signaled his arrival on the indie pop scene. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, the album was resolutely hi-fi, but the addition of a full band only illuminated Beam’s deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Late 2004 found the newly marketable Iron and Wine popping up on television commercials and movie soundtracks (In Good Company, Garden State), culminating in a busy 2005 that saw Beam release two EPs, the lush Woman King and In the Reins, a collaboration with Arizona spaghetti Western aficionados Calexico. The politically charged Shepherd’s Dog, Beam and company’s most diverse — and most listenable — record to date, was released in 2007. A two-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, soundtrack inclusions, and discarded tracks from the Iron and Wine archives called Around the Well arrived in early 2009. Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron and Wine’s first collection of new music in nearly three years and one that found Beam further expanding the group’s sound, was released in January 2011 by their new label, Warner Bros. After a move to 4AD and Nonesuch, Iron and Wine released the more relaxed and intimate Ghost on Ghost in early 2013. The Brian Deck-produced album featured jazz drummer Brian Blade and bassist Tony Garnier of Bob Dylan’s band, among others. Together with Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell, Beam released a covers album titled Sing Into My Mouth in 2015. The record featured versions of songs from the likes of Talking Heads, John Cale, and Sade. [via]

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CAGE THE ELEPHANT

HQ: Bowling Green, KY

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Saturday | Fender Premium Audio Gold Record Road | 3:30pm

On Cage The Elephant’s third album, Melophobia, the rock band was faced with the challenge of finding cohesiveness in the ideas of five different people. After touring for nearly five years straight on their prior releases, 2008’s Cage The Elephant and 2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday, the musicians took some time off the road, to write as individuals before getting back together in August of 2012 to begin work on Melophobia as a collective.

“As individuals we all had fairly vague visions for how we wanted the record to turn out,” lead singer Matt Shultz says. “They were pretty polar. It really became a challenge to combine all these polar opposites together in a cohesive way. We first started writing material that was very intimate and had a very kind of close and hushed sound to it, but our hearts missed that energy and swagger and playfulness we love so much. Once that came to light, the record really started taking shape on its own. It was the uniting of several different ideas that were really different from each other.”

The album, a varied collection of unabashedly vivid and notably thoughtful rock songs, was written and recorded over the course of a year, with various recording sessions taking place at St. Charles Studio in Nashville over the winter and spring with longtime producer Jay Joyce. The approach was highly experimental and based around the idea that that you don’t write a song, you find it. Along with Joyce, the band focused on bringing each track to its greatest potential, which sometimes posed a significant challenge. Throughout the process the musicians stopped listening to other musical recordings almost entirely and Matt Shultz drew songwriting inspiration from listening to those around him interact.

“I wanted the making of this music to be comparable to drawing your childhood house purely from memory,” continues Shultz. “Your mind recreates things that aren’t based so much on physical truth but more based on emotion. I can speak from my own personal experience that pride and fear are always the enemy when you’re creating. Sometimes we cater toward certain sounds or approaches or deliveries because that is what we think society at that particular time has deemed artistic and we totally lose sight of the fact that art is a form of expression. On this record, lyrically and musically, we really strived to be better communicators.”

The album’s flagship single “Come A Little Closer” is a boisterous, blues-laden rocker and was one of the first songs the band completed for the album. The song marries the raw energy and playfulness the band is known for with their present interest in creating intimately expressive music, both in its pensively poetic lyrics and surging melody. That sensibility carries over to “It’s Just Forever,” the final track the band laid down, which features guest vocals from The Kills’ Alison Mosshart. Mosshart’s yelping croon builds the intensity of the stomping number, an apt juxtaposition to the mid-tempo soulfulness of album standout “Hypocrite” and acoustic closer “Cigarette Daydreams.” Overall the album captures familiar sounds in a new way, balancing a nostalgic sonic aesthetic with a fresh, innovative sensibility and embodying a truly classic voice. Melophobia resonates with a sense of joyful abandon, which comes from facing those initial challenges head on.

“The more intensely we worked on it and the more we put it under a microscope, the more afraid we became of it,” Shultz adds. “Then we had to overcome that. Sometimes it’s not the most fun thing in the world and sometimes it’s jubilation. Immense joy. It was all about overcoming that fear of creating music under false pretense or with skewed intent.”

Melophobia follows Thank You, Happy Birthday, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 and has sold over 250,000 copies to date. The album’s single, “Shake Me Down,” spent six weeks at No. 1 on Alternative radio, following Cage The Elephant’s 2009 breakout single “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” which landed in the Top 5. Cage The Elephant has sold over 550,000 copies to date and spent 73 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Top 200. The band has toured extensively, selling out several headlining runs and performing alongside Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse, Stone Temple Pilots and Silversun Pickups.

For Cage The Elephant, who originally hail from Bowling Green, KY, the aim is to always improve and evolve, ensuring that each subsequent release and tour represent a step forward. In that way Melophobia is not so much about a fear of music but a fear of not pushing music to its potential.

“You hope that you naturally evolve as a person and you’re able to apply the things that you’ve learned to your creative works,” Shultz says. “Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to keep yourself from getting into this place where you’re just dialing it in. That’s what we’re really afraid of.” [via]

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PUNCH BROTHERS

HQ: New York, NY

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 4:15pm

After Nickel Creek disbanded in 2007, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile assembled an all-star quintet called Punch Brothers (the name comes from the Mark Twain short story Punch, Brothers, Punch!) with guitarist Chris Eldridge, formerly of the Infamous Stringdusters; bassist Greg Garrison, who has played with Ron Miles and Leftover Salmon; banjo player Noam Pikelny, who has worked with John Cowan and Tony Trischka, and violinist Gabe Witcher, a sought-after session musician and a member of Jerry Douglas’ band for a half-dozen years. The new group quickly signed with Nonesuch Records and issued a debut album, Punch, in 2008, which was anchored by Thile’s ambitious 40-minute, four-part suite “The Blind Leaving the Blind.” The double-disc (plus a third DVD concert disc) Antifogmatic, produced by Jon Brion, arrived from Nonesuch in 2010, and was followed in 2012 by Who’s Feeling Young Now?, produced by Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Modest Mouse), and the Ahoy! EP. After working with T-Bone Burnett on the soundtrack for the 2013 Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, the Punch Brothers teamed with the producer to record their fourth full-length album, The Phosphorescent Blues, which appeared in January 2015. [via]

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SHERYL CROW

HQ: Nashville, TN

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Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 4:30pm

Feels Like Home may be the most focused album I’ve ever made,” Sheryl Crow says of her debut album for Warner Nashville, the label based in Music City where Crow choose to settle and raise her children years ago. “All of my albums have had a few different styles going on in them, and this album definitely has a few different takes on what country music means to me, but not calculatedly so. First and foremost, I just wanted to make sure that for this album I wrote about were things that I really knew about – subject that hit close to home.

Full of great storytelling and featuring some of the most powerful and heartfelt vocals of Crow’s career, Feels Like Home is literally an album that this proud daughter of Kennett, Missouri was born to make. “Country music is rightly suspicious of carpetbaggers who jump on a bandwagon, but in my case, this world in Nashville really does feel like home. I grew up three and a half hours from Nashville, and my parent just moved out of that home that I grew up in recently. So I grew up in a community that was all farmland and churches and school and a town square. So country is where I come from, and that’s the kind of life I wanted to give my kids, and you can find that sort of life here in Nashville. Even though Nashville has so much more to offer, there is still a small town feel that I love.

As Crow recalls, “Back when I was growing up, the outside world wasn’t much of our experience, and that’s different now. But we grew up with two radio stations that played country, but now the world is much more connected wherever you are. Clearly, I’m also a girl who also loves to rock and fell hard for the Rolling Stones and Dylan too – but you’ll notice my favorite rockers also had close ties to country music too. And I’ve love being part of the community here in Nashville, and the fact that my kids are growing up inside of that community. For me, it’s been amazing to not only be around so many other artists and music people who go to church together, and support each other’s school fundraisers, and basically have a real sense of community here.”

Indeed, it was a friendly conversation with one Nashville neighbor by the name of Brad Paisley that set Crow on the course to start work on Feels Like Home. “I had a lot of trepidation about trying too hard to make an album within the country format. Because I do love it, and between my friends in Kansas City, and California and even New York, it is what anyone who wants to hear songs, and wants to hear guitar solos and storytelling basically listens to now. But over the years, I’ve seen lots of artists try to make this transition and it hasn’t to me gone well or felt natural or real to me, and the only way I wanted to do this was authentically. Brad instantly understood how to approach this. He said, `Let’s just do what you do. Bring your influences with you. Just turn your vocal up and make your stories a little more concise and you’re already there.’ That realization that I already was at home here is really the reason this album ended up being made.”

This is not Sheryl Crow’s first musical rodeo. She is, after all, a nine-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 50 million albums around the world. Still, Feels Like Home captures the sound of a great and established artist enjoying a kind of fresh start. Feels Like Home really got started with Crow, Paisley and Chris DuBois — one his frequent collaborators – penning one of the albums’ standout tracks “Waterproof Mascara,” a stunning song that recalls classics by some of country’s greatest female vocalists like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, the latter of whom Crow sang with, along with friend Miranda Lambert on the CMA Awards in 2011. According to Crow, “It meant so much that a great country artist like Brad put his faith in me, there wasn’t a label at that point – Brad just believed we’d land in the right home here, and I do believe with Warner Nashville, I’m on the greatest label for me now. I feel spoiled to be around people who are on fire for music — especially after being in another situation that did not feel like that.

Gradually, Crow began working with a series of collaborators that included her longtime guitar play and frequent co-writer Jeff Trott (with whom she co-wrote such past Crow classics as “If It Makes You Happy,” “Her Favorite Mistake” and “Every Day Is A Winding Road) as well as many of Nashville’s finest writers, including Chris DuBois, Luke Laird, Natalie Hamby and Chris Stapleton, among others.

“The thing about country music is the stories you tell usually get to the point quicker,” Crow explains. “So writing the songs for this album, after 20 years writing songs, felt so great because I am still doing what I love, but I’m learning and stretching at the same time. Because I have such a strong curiosity and the songwriting process that’s really at the heart of what goes on in Nashville, it’s been invigorating and satisfying to study what makes a country song work.”

The writing process for Feel Like Home was a little different for Crow. “It took a while because I didn’t want to find people to write a Sheryl Crow song for me, but in the end I loved the experience. One thing I found interesting is that in Nashville people often write in groups of threes – which I don’t think I’ve ever done,” she says. “In fact, other than my first album, I’ve rarely written with anyone else other than Jeff Trott — let alone two other people. But it works — I think there’s a sense that if there are three people there, then a song will actually get finished.”

Crow also credits her co-producer Justin Niebank as a key collaborator on Feels Like Home. “After a little false start, I was asking around for a great engineer, and Vince Gill told me Justin was the man for the job, and he was right. And after a few days, I realized that he was more than just a great engineer, but a real partner in producing this album.

For Crow, making her first album for a Nashville label is an experience she won’t forget. “It was amazing to be making an album in my community, and have my life still be my primary inspiration,” she says. “I was still driving my kids to school in the morning, and doing mommy things in-between sessions. Having a structured time to work, and being able to work at my house, everything about this just felt very loving and homey. Like the title says, it just felt like home.” [via]

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WEEZER

HQ: Los Angeles, CA

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Saturday | Fender Premium Audio Gold Record Road | 5:15pm

As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of ’70s metal learned from bands like Kiss. What truly set the band apart, though, was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers Cuomo, were conventional rockers: they were kids who holed up in their garage, playing along with their favorite records when they weren’t studying or watching TV.

As a result, their music was infused with a quirky sense of humor and an endearing awkwardness that made songs from their debut Weezer (aka the blue album) like “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Buddy Holly,” and “Say It Ain’t So” into big modern rock hits during the mid-’90s. All the singles were helped immeasurably by clever videos, which may have made the songs into hits, but they also made many critics believe that the band was a one-hit wonder. Perversely, Cuomo began to feel the same way, and decided that the band would not rely on any visual gimmicks for its second album, 1996’s Pinkerton. Simultaneously, Cuomo took control of the band, making it into a vehicle for his songwriting. While the album didn’t sell as well as their 1994 eponymous debut, it did earn stronger reviews than its predecessor and paved the way for Weezer’s long career. Cuomo’s assumption of Weezer’s leadership wasn’t entirely a surprise, since he had been the band’s primary songwriter since its inception in 1993. Raised in Massachusetts, Cuomo moved to Los Angeles to attend college in the late ’80s. During high school, he had played with a number of metal bands, but his interests broadened to include alternative and post-punk music upon his move out West. By 1993, he had fused such interests together and formed Weezer with bassist Matt Sharp and drummer Patrick Wilson. Over the course of the next year, the group played in the competitive Los Angeles club scene, eventually landing a deal with DGC during the post-Nirvana alternative signing boom. Three days before Weezer began recording a debut album with producer Ric Ocasek, they added guitarist Brian Bell to the mix. Upon completing the record, Weezer went on hiatus temporarily; Cuomo was studying at Harvard when their eponymous debut record came out. With the support of DGC and a striking, Spike Jonze-directed video, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” became a modern rock hit in the fall of 1994, but what made Weezer a crossover hit was “Buddy Holly.” Jonze created an innovative video that spliced the group into old footage from the sitcom Happy Days and the single quickly became a hit, making the album a multi-platinum success as well.

By the time the album’s final single, “Say It Ain’t So,” was released in the summer of 1995, the group had gone on hiatus once again, with Cuomo returning to Harvard. During the time off, Sharp and Wilson formed the new wave revival band the Rentals, who had a hit later that year with “Friends of P.” During the hiatus, Cuomo became a recluse, disappearing at Harvard and suffering writer’s block. When Weezer reconvened in the spring of 1996 to record their second album, he had written a loose concept album that featured far more introspective material than their debut. Ironically, the band sounded tighter on the resulting album, Pinkerton. Released in the fall to generally strong reviews, the album failed to become a hit, partially because Cuomo did not want the band to record another series of clever videos. Grudgingly, the remainder of the bandmembers contented themselves to be a supporting group for Cuomo, largely because each member had his own solo project scheduled for release within the next year. DGC, however, had the band make one last chance at a hit with “The Good Life,” but by the time the single was released, MTV and modern rock radio had withdrawn their support not only of Weezer, but their style of guitar-driven punk-pop in general.

Shortly after the tour in support of Pinkerton was completed in 1997, it appeared as though Weezer had fallen off the face of the planet. Stung by the public’s initial reaction to their sophomore effort (Rolling Stone even named Pinkerton the Worst Album of 1996), the band took time off to regroup and plan its next move. Unhappy with the sluggish rate of the reassessment period, Sharp left the group to concentrate more fully on the Rentals, fueling rumors that Weezer had broken up. But a funny thing happened during Weezer’s self-imposed exile — while their copycat offspring were falling by the wayside (Nerf Herder, Nada Surf), a whole new generation of emocore enthusiasts discovered Weezer’s diamond-in-the-rough sophomore effort for the first time, and their audience grew despite not having a new album in the stores.

Once Weezer’s members wrapped up work on their side projects (Bell: Space Twins; Wilson: the Special Goodness), the band recruited former Juliana Hatfield bassist Mikey Welsh to take the place of Sharp and began working on new material. Before they could enter the recording studio to record their third release, however, Weezer tested the waters by landing a spot on the 2000 edition of the Warped Tour, where they were consistently the day’s highlight. Hooking up again with the producer of their 1994 debut, Ric Ocasek, Weezer recorded what would be known as “The Green Album” (an informal title given by fans, since it was actually their second self-titled release). The album was an immediate hit, debuting at number four in May 2001 and camping out in the upper reaches of the charts for much of the spring/summer, during which such songs like “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun” became radio and MTV staples, reestablishing Weezer as one of alt-rock’s top dogs. During their tour that summer, Welsh fell ill and was replaced by Scott Shriner, also of the band Broken. (Welsh died in Chicago in October 2011 at the age of 40.) That fall and winter, the group busied itself with touring alongside bands like Tenacious D and recording its next album, Maladroit, which arrived a year after The Green Album’s release.

Just before Maladroit‘s release, former bassist Matt Sharp sued Weezer, seeking compensation and songwriting credit for songs such as “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “El Scorcho,” and “The Good Life.” The band eventually reconciled with Sharp, though he didn’t rejoin, and Weezer continued on with the lineup of Cuomo, Bell, Wilson, and Shriner. The limited-edition live EP Lion and the Witch appeared in May 2002, and Maladroit’s “Keep Fishin'” was released as a single. Most of 2003 was spent on side projects; Cuomo did some hired-gun songwriting, Bell’s band the Space Twins put out End of Imagining, and Wilson’s Special Goodness project issued Land Air Sea. Weezer returned to the studio in 2004, working with Rick Rubin on their fifth full-length album. Make Believe appeared in May 2005, prepped by the single “Beverly Hills,” and eventually went platinum in multiple countries. Weezer (Red Album) followed in 2008 and featured a more collaborative approach, with several bandmembers contributing songwriting ideas and lead vocals to the tracks. One year later, the band returned with Raditude. Greeted with mixed reviews, Raditude marked Weezer’s last album for Universal. They jumped to the indies in 2010, releasing Hurley on Epitaph. The new album was quickly followed by two archival releases: an expanded deluxe edition of Pinkerton and the outtakes collection Death to False Metal.

Weezer took their time to return to the studio, finally re-emerging in the autumn of 2014 with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, a record produced by Ric Ocasek and released on Republic Records. Greeted by generally good reviews, the album debuted at five on the Billboard 200 upon its October 2014 release. [via]

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DR. JOHN

HQ: New Orleans, LA

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Saturday | Hard Rock Harpeth River | 5:45pm

The legendary Dr. John is a six-time Grammy Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy, Dr. John is a true icon in American culture. His colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford.

Dr. John headed west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main St.” During that time he launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John The Nite Tripper. A legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-Gris, which introduced to the world his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots. Several of his many career highlights include the masterful album Sun, Moon and Herbs in 1971 which included cameos from Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger and 1973’s In The Right Place, which contained the chart hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such A Night.”

In addition to his six Grammy wins (1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2013), he has received six other Grammy nominations over the years. In 2007 he was nominated for Sippiana Hericane, his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. After Hurricane Katrina Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings. In 2007 he was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2008 he released City That Care Forgot, winning him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. His album Locked Down, released in 2012 with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys also won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. In 2013 Dr. John was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tulane University alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dr. John’s critically acclaimed Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch is a tribute to New Orleans music legend Louis Armstrong. Dr. John and the album’s co-producer and arranger Sarah Morrow released Ske-Dat-De-Dat in fall, 2014. After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane. [via]

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WILCO

HQ: Chicago, IL

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Saturday | Pilgrimage Midnight Sun | 6:15pm

Wilco is an American alternative rock band based in Chicago, Illinois. The band was formed in 1994 by songwriter and guitarist Jeff Tweedy following the dissolution of Tweedy’s former band, Uncle Tupelo. The Whole Love (released September 27, 2011) is the band’s latest album, and the third album by the current lineup of musicians, which solidified in 2004 when guitarist Nels Cline and guitarist/keyboardist Patrick Sansone joined Tweedy and Wilco co-founder, bassist John Stirratt (who was also Tweedy’s band mate in Uncle Tupelo), drummer Glenn Kotche and keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen. Together, they have released Sky Blue Sky (2007), Wilco (The Album) (2009) and The Whole Love (2011). To date Wilco has released eight studio albums, a live double album, and four collaborations: three with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus Five.

Wilco’s music has been inspired by a wide variety of artists and styles, including Bill Fay and Television, and has in turn influenced music by a number of modern alternative rock acts. Initially the band continued in the alternative country direction of Uncle Tupelo on its debut album A.M. (1995), but has subsequently introduced more experimental aspects to their music, including elements of progressive rock and classic pop.

Wilco garnered media attention for its fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), and the controversy surrounding it. After the recording sessions were complete, Reprise Records rejected the album and dismissed Wilco from the label. As part of a buy-out deal, Reprise gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. After streaming Foxtrot on its website, Wilco sold the album to Nonesuch Records in 2002. Both record labels are subsidiaries of Warner Music Group, leading one critic to say the album showed “how screwed up the music business is in the early twenty-first century.” Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is Wilco’s most successful release to date, having sold over 670,000 copies to date. [via]

Last month, the band released a surprise ninth album, Star Wars, online for free.

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