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The Story Behind the Song

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Guitarist Suzanna Spring of the Mustangs of the West reflects on her life as a songwriter and the story behind their new single “T-Shirt from California.”  Come hear the Mustangs play the song THIS FRIDAY, October 26 at the Bankhead.  Read her story and then get tickets to hear it live!

The Story Behind “T-Shirt From California”

I wrote the song “T-Shirt From California” as a valentine to a place I missed when I was living in another state. I wasn’t born in California, but my parents were always California dreaming and we moved here the year I turned sixteen. I still remember the shock of the big sky, the far horizon, and the freedom. No one asked what church I went to, and it felt like everyone out here was just beginning something. I used to drive in the evenings up to a reservoir, because the road had twists and turns, and with the windows down I could really feel the way the air changes from desert-hot to cool. I became a Californian. I fell in love with the mountains and the desert. I went free-diving for abalone up the coast; hiked in Yosemite, in Joshua Tree, drove down Highway 1, to the teal-color ocean that is Big Sur.

I moved to southern California after college, and I auditioned for a band called The Mustangs, because my mom had taught my sister and me to sing and how to harmonize, and I wrote poems and songs and played guitar. I always had melodies in my head, because I’d kept a radio next to my bed since age six, soaking in the music. This band–The Mustangs–all of us women had similar stories in a way, and we had given up a lot to begin something new. We played gigs around southern California, frequently at The Palomino for Ronnie Mack’s Barn Dance. We were new writers, and we wrote a lot of love, and love-gone-wrong songs. We had some ballads, too, and a cool version of a Stones song. I always pictured that when The Mustangs got a record deal, I’d drive up PCH and run out on the beach screaming.

The band dissolved when one person left the band, another moved, and I went to Nashville to write songs. Nashville was different than California. The checkers at the grocery stores would ask, “How can I hep you?” and one time I overheard two grocery baggers having a discussion about which was the best religion: Methodist or Baptist. Any night of the week in Nashville you could hear great music, great songs–and just like all the waiters in L.A. are actors, a lot of the waiters in Nashville had song ideas they sometimes wrote on napkins, and if you talked to a waiter long enough, they would tell you a song idea they had, and ask you what you thought.

I had mostly written songs alone, in moments of angst, but in Nashville your publisher would make writing appointments for you, with co-writers, and you’d have a regular schedule of appointments: 10am-2pm, 2pm-5pm, 5pm-8pm. Not all of those necessarily on the same day, but sometimes, yes. You needed to write 12 songs a year for the publishing deal, but everyone wrote more than that, to improve the odds of getting a song cut. Then you’d make rough recordings of your songs and play them for your publisher, and if your publisher liked them, you’d get a studio recording session. This was heaven, and one step closer to having your songs played for artists, managers, and record labels. I learned that a lot of the songwriters kept “hook books”–journals where they jotted down song titles and ideas. It was more efficient than a napkin and kept all the ideas in one place. You could take this book to your writing appointment and say, “I’ve got this title,” and if your co-writer didn’t grab onto it you could say,”Well I’ve got this other idea…”

I wrote for Bluewater Music, a publishing company known for signing artist/writers. Unlike some publishers who would put up a blackboard telling their writers they needed an uptempo positive song for a particular country artist, Bluewater mostly let us write what we wanted to write. Of course the songs didn’t always get cut, because they weren’t about wise grandparents or falling in love at age four and still being crazy about each other at fifty, but If a Bluewater song did hit, it usually hit big. They were known for good and quirky writers and although I didn’t like it that they didn’t pay much, I did like the freedom.

I was missing California one morning, and just sitting on the small sofa in my living room, strumming guitar, and the chorus to “T-Shirt From California” came into my head. I knew it was good because it stayed with me; I don’t think I even wrote it in the hook book. I took the chorus to a writing appointment with Wes Hightower, a writer and session singer, and we wrote a song about how it feels when someone leaves for California to start something new– and how it feels to be left. The things I loved about California–the ocean, driving up Highway 1 or down Sunset Boulevard, hiking in Topanga Canyon –all went into that song.

I always thought “T-Shirt” would get cut by an artist in Nashville, but now I realize it probably belongs to California. I sent it to Sherry Rayn Barnett, with some other songs, since we’d stayed friends after The Mustangs. And after I moved back to California, Sherry said she had an idea about The Mustangs, and had been talking to Holly Montgomery about us playing together again, and that we should record this song. Holly had played with a drummer named Suzanne Morissette Cruz and Sherry had met Aubrey Richmond, and Sherry had found a place to record. George Landress engineered. From the first run-through, it felt right. And all the things I love about California music, the guitar jangle and the Beach Boys harmonies, it’s all there. Sherry got the song to Kirk Pasich at Blue Élan, and he got it.

And so the song came back to California, and became something new, as did The Mustangs Of The West: Suzanne, Aubrey, Holly, Sherry and me. We got a record deal, and “T-Shirt From California” is our first single. So don’t stop California dreaming–It’s different out here.

–Suzanna Spring

DON’T MISS the MUSTANGS of the WEST
Opening Act: Paul Jefferson

Friday, October 26 at 8pm

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW!

Hot Shows Added!

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Jake Shimabukuro, Robert Cray, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers (top), The Choir of Man (bottom), Keb’ Mo’

The 2018-2019 Season at the Bankhead just got more exciting! Our season is largely set by the end of May, but we jump on the opportunity to add great shows like these. There’s both returning favorites and artists completely new to our audiences.  The list includes two blues greats, the return of Robert Cray on February 10 and Keb’ Mo’, making his first appearance at the venue on May 14. Country music stars Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers bring familiar hits from their long career such as “All the Gold in California” plus the stories behind the songs on November 16.

Called the “ultimate feel-good show…90 minutes of indisputable joy,” The Choir of Man arrives February 17 with their rollicking concert set in a real working pub. The nine male band members sing, dance, and foot-stomp through music, from pub tunes, folk, Broadway, classic rock. All while pulling pints and inviting the audience to get up close and personal with the show.

Back by popular demand, ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro returns on January 29 on tour for his just released album “The Greatest Day.” The new release features some of his most adventurous works, both original and imaginative covers of iconic rock hits.  He’s sold out all five times he’s been at the venue, even the Bankhead’s inaugural year when he was largely unknown beyond his viral YouTube video.

Tickets for Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’, The Choir of Man, and Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers are on sale now.
Member presale only for Jake Shimabukuro until October 8.

 

And don’t forget an earlier addition! The Mustangs of the West brings their fresh California Country sound to the Bankhead on October 26.  Started in Southern California in the early 1980s, the Mustangs have reunited and are ready to soar again. Bonus note — Suzanna Spring of the Mustangs is a Livermore local! Often seen at her studio, Dragonfly Yoga, Suzanna has been a Mustang from the very beginning, her guitar and vocals an integral part of their sound.  Hear their latest song T-Shirt from California here and read about Paul Jefferson who will be opening for them at the Bankhead.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!*

Become a member now and you’ll hear about new shows first,
receive a 10% discount all year long, and other member benefits. 

*Tickets for all shows except Jake Shimabukuro on sale now. Member Presale for Jake Shimabukuro ends October 8.

 

New Season – On Sale Now!

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Artists (clockwise from upper left):  Russian National Ballet, BJ Thomas, Melissa Manchester, Branford Marsalis, Nobuntu, The Clairvoyants, Don Felder, The Chinese Acrobats, Tom Papa, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  

Tickets for some shows are already moving fast … Don’t miss this chance to get the best seats!

SEE THE ENTIRE LIST, THEN BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

MEMBERS receive 10% off single tickets or 15% off five or more shows.
Membership starts at just $125. Click HERE to become a member today!

The 2018-2019 season at the Bankhead Theater are now on sale! Located at the heart of downtown Livermore, the Bankhead will welcome a range of artists from all musical genres, as well as comedy, dance, theater, and other performing arts.

The season officially begins on Saturday evening, September 8, 2018 at the Brilliance at the Bankhead Gala featuring Grammy Hall of Fame legend BJ Thomas accompanied by the Livermore-Amador Symphony. The festive fundraising event begins on the plaza with a dinner reception and full bar, and continues inside before the concert with live and silent auctions.

Other notable highlights among the nearly 40 events scheduled through May 2019 are acclaimed artists such as jazz great Branford Marsalis, rock guitarist Don Felder, and singer/songwriters Jim Messina and Melissa Manchester, all of whom will make their first appearance in Livermore.

BJ Thomas on Sep 8

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy on Feb 27

Returning favorites include comedian Tom Papa, fiddle master Natalie MacMaster, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with their infectious feel-good swing sound. Music of all genres as well as comedy, theater and dance are well represented, including a first visit to the Bankhead by renowned all-male comic ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

 

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on Jan 31

In addition, the Bankhead will take the opportunity this season to present some excitingly different performances including The Clairvoyants, whose mind-blowing, mind-reading talents stunned the audience on “America’s Got Talent” in 2016, Cirque Éloize “Saloon”, a musical acrobatic adventure of the wild, wild West, and the visually-spectacular combination of dance moves, compelling rhythms, and lighting effects that tell the story of “Currents” by Mayumana. Chicago’s remarkable Mariachi Herencia de Mexico, the first youth mariachi band ever nominated for a Latin Grammy, will appear in October on their first national tour.

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico on Oct 27

Cirque Eloize “Saloon” on Mar 21

Executive Director Scott Kenison emphasized Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s commitment to making entertainment accessible to all audiences. Starting this summer and extending through the upcoming season, a new $20 seating level has been introduced for every single Bankhead Presents show. While quantities are limited, Kenison hopes the opportunity to enjoy great artists at an affordable price will allow everyone in the community to be touched by the performing arts. Tickets also priced at $20 for students and active military personnel are available year round.

Family-friendly events bring the arts to all ages from the dazzlingly athletic feats of The New Chinese Acrobats to Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, the original “all-dogs, all-fun” show. Family Films, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Princess Bride,” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” are being screened at the Bankhead this summer, and the popular Classic Film Musicals, complete with newsreel and cartoons of the era, will return in the fall with “On The Town,” “Showboat” and “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

The Bankhead has established itself as a popular venue for comedy and a number of events will keep audiences laughing. This season a comic approach to nearly every holiday is offered from The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged),” and Second City’s Valentine-themed “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” to Late Nite Catechism’s “Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?”  Comedy and drama will merge in a single performance of L.A. Theatre Works powerful production of “Steel Magnolias” in October.

In addition to Bankhead Presents shows, the Resident Companies of the Bankhead – Del Valle Fine Arts, Livermore-Amador Symphony, Livermore Valley Opera, Pacific Chamber Orchestra, Rae Dorough Speakers Series, Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre, and Valley Dance Theatre – offer nearly 50 performances and events of their own during the season.

The 2018-2019 Season at the Bankhead opens at the end of the previously announced Summer Series which features more than a dozen shows including country music legend Lee Greenwood, blues-rock band Indigenous with Chris Duarte, and the return of western swing greats Asleep at the Wheel.

Be sure to check out the entire 2018-2019 Season list! Or flip through the online brochure.

The more the merrier!  With such a great line-up,
you’ll want to join us at the Bankhead often.
Buy tickets for any FIVE shows
at the same time and receive a 10% discount.*

 * Members receive a 15% discount on five or more shows. If you’re a member login here. If you’re not a member, consider joining today — there’s never been a better time!   In addition to supporting the arts, you’ll be among the first to hear about any new shows and you’ll receive 10% off single tickets for Bankhead Presents shows all year (Resident Company and Rental Company shows are not eligible.) Other benefits are available at higher levels. New members under the age of 35 can join at the new 35MM level for just $50.

 

Summer at the Bankhead!

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Top: Rita Coolidge, Derik Nelson & Family, Shawn Colvin, Keiko Matsui, Mato Nanji of Indigenous
Bottom: Southern Fried Chicks, Rockapella
Not shown: The Company Men, Chris Duarte

ON SALE NOW!

The 2018 SUMMER SERIES at the Bankhead Theater is now on sale! Seven great shows are planned at the Bankhead, running from June through the beginning of September. See the LIST hereMEMBERS receive 10% off single tickets or 15% off five or more shows.* Members log in here to buy now.  Membership starts at just $125. Click HERE to become a member today!

This summer the Bankhead Theater will welcome the return of such favorites as legendary pop icon Rita Coolidge, a two-time Grammy Award-winner who filled the theater in 2012. Her timeless hits such as “Higher and Higher” and “We’re All Alone” topped the charts in the 1970s and she has explored other genres as well including classic jazz tunes and music that pays tribute to her Native American heritage. Keiko Matsui returns in August with her signature contemporary smooth jazz  and this summer marks the third visit to the Bankhead for the powerful full-band vocal sound of Rockapella. In an afternoon of pure vocal magic, Rockapella will share the stage with The Company Men, whose voices blend  in irresistible mash-ups of hit songs, both classic and modern.

 ROCKAPELLA & THE COMPANY MEN

Several other artists will make their first visit to Livermore including singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin and the American blues-rock band Indigenous, featuring Mato Nanji, with Chris Duarte. A night of laughter will bring the Series to a close on September 1st with the Southern Fried Chicks hilarious take on life and love in their “Cage Free Comedy Tour!”

And this summer don’t miss Derik Nelson & Family! The three talented siblings, Derik, Riana and Dalten Nelson, will return with their perfectly-blended folk and jazz harmonies only a family can deliver. As they did last year, the three will lead a week-long music workshop tailored to teens that focuses on musicianship, songwriting and performance techniques. The workshop builds skills and confidence through both one-on-one technique building and group interaction and ends with a student performance on the stage of the Bankhead. On Friday evening, July 13th, audiences can enjoy Derik Nelson & Family’s full multi-media concert experience.  The workshop will be open to middle school and high school students and run Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm. Registration

  DERIK NELSON AND FAMILY MUSIC WORKSHOP

in addition to the Summer Series at the Bankhead, resident company Tri-Valley Repertory Theater will present “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” for seven performances from July 21st through August 5th.  Other events are planned throughout the summer from community concerts to film screenings.  Visit the website frequently for updates and stay in touch by joining our email list on the bottom of our homepage.  View all the Bankhead Presents shows on sale HERE and order your tickets today. It’s summertime at the Bankhead … you won’t want to miss out!

DON’T MISS SUMMER AT THE BANKHEAD
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

 

* Members receive 10% off single tickets and a 15% discount on FIVE or more Bankhead Presents shows. If you’re a member login here. If you’re not a member, consider joining today! Memberships start at just $125. In addition to supporting the arts, you’ll be among the first to hear about any new shows and receive member discounts all year long. Additional benefits are available at higher levels.

 

Dazzling Displays!

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Walked by the Bankhead Theater lately?

If you come up the walkway from the street or parking garage on Railroad Avenue you can’t miss the three new digital displays running along the side of the building. Hundreds of performances and events are now held at the Bankhead each year — music of all kinds, dance, theater, comedy, and more — we welcome a diverse range of artists that appeal to different audiences. More opportunities were needed to let people know about upcoming shows at the theater.

Having digital screens replace the static print posters inside the glass cases on the side of the building had been on the wish list for some time, but we were only just recently able to complete the project. The bright, colorful displays went up on January 4th and are computer controlled from inside the building so they can be changed easily to reflect new information. More than a dozen upcoming events can be on display at any given time with each of three panels rotating 3-5 different images.

Take a stroll by the Bankhead and see the Displays …
then just walk around the corner to buy your tickets! 

And if you won’t be downtown in the near future, check out upcoming events here

 

 

Don’t Wait to Buy Tickets!

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Bankhead Shows Are Selling Fast!

Everyone has done it … seen an announcement for an interesting concert, show or program but waited to buy tickets.  In the past, many people have assumed they could wait until a few days before the show or even walk up to the window that day and buy a ticket. But this past year they just might have been wrong!

Since the beginning of summer 2017, more than a dozen shows presented by Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center have sold out completely. And three more this January and February are already at capacity. From comedian Paula Poundstone’s sold out show on July 7th, through the New Year’s Eve celebration with Crawdad Republic last month, plus performances by resident companies, audiences have been flocking to the Bankhead to enjoy all types of entertainment.

In November, concerts by both viral video pop sensation OK GO and the legendary smooth vocals of Manhattan Transfer completely filled the house.  It was particularly satisfying having those two sell out without 10 days of each other, said Executive Director Scott Kenison. “The two reflect our ability to interest very different audiences, reaching people who attend regularly as well as welcoming new faces.” OK GO attracted audience across a board age range as well as pulled people from Sacramento and even further to see their show.

The shows have also been selling more quickly. OK GO, which went on sale to the public in June, was completely sold out by the end of August, and the single performance by ukulele master, Jake Shimabukuro, sold even faster. A late addition to the 2017-2018 season, Shimabukuro’s February show went on sale in early October and reached capacity in just three weeks. One of the benefits of LVPAC membership is advance ticket purchase and a portion of the tickets were sold to members prior to the public-on-sale date. Nonetheless, according to Kenison, the day tickets were first available to the public marked one of the largest single sales days in the Bankhead’s decade-long history.

“We know not every show will be a sell out,” says Kenison. “Some artists are less well known and some types of shows have more limited appeal, but we’re committed to offering a wide range of musical genres and reaching out to everyone with shows they’ll enjoy.”

So if you hear about a show you think you might want to see, buy your tickets as soon as possible! Five for Fighting with String Quartet (Jan 25) and Vicki Lawrence & Mama (Jan 26) are already sold out. Upcoming shows such as Marc Cohn (Jan 19), Lee Ann Womack (Feb 19), Richard Marx (May 3), and Capitol Steps (May 6) are expected to be fully sold as well.  We’ll be announcing our Summer Series at the Bankhead in just a few weeks. Get on the mailing list at the bottom right side of our homepage and you’ll hear about it in your email.  Better yet, become a member now and you’ll be eligible to buy your tickets before everyone else. You won’t want to miss out!

Check out the list of remaining shows in the 2017-2018 Season here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Concert – Sold Out

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US NAVY SEA CHANTERS

February 27 at 7:30pm

Throughout the year, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers a range of arts experience to the community through free concerts, art exhibits and cultural events. For the past two years, the Livermore-Amador Symphony and dancers from Valley Dance Theatre have participated in a free holiday concert in early December.  This year, the Bankhead Theater will host the US Navy Sea Chanters in a free concert on Tuesday evening, February 27 at 7:30 pm.  The Navy Band Sea Chanters is the United States Navy’s official chorus. The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including sea chanteys and patriotic fare, to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music.  Watch the US Navy Sea Chanters in Concert here and don’t miss this opportunity to see them live in Livermore!

CONCERT IS FREE BUT TICKETS ARE REQUIRED
Please arrive early. Open seats will be released to the wait list at 7:15 pm
Event is sold out — to be added to the wait list click here

 

MORE ABOUT THE SEA CHANTERS

Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Adam Tyler, the Sea Chanters perform for the public throughout the United States. At home in Washington, they perform for the president, vice president and numerous congressional, military and foreign dignitaries. In 1956, Lt. Harold Fultz, then the band’s assistant leader, organized a group from the Navy School of Music to sing chanteys and patriotic songs for the State of the Nation dinner. An immediate success, Adm. Arleigh Burke, then chief of naval operations, transferred them to the Navy Band, named them the Sea Chanters and tasked this all-male chorus with perpetuating the songs of the sea. In 1980, the group added women to their ranks and expanded their repertoire to include everything from Brahms to Broadway.

The Sea Chanters are frequently found at the center of our most important national events, including inauguration day in 2009. They have played a vital role in comforting the nation in times of mourning, including appearances at memorials for the astronauts of the space shuttle Columbia and the presidential wreath laying ceremony at the United Airlines flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pa. Their performance of “Amazing Grace” for the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington after the events of 9/11 inspired all in attendance as well as a national television audience. In 2004, the chorus participated in former President Reagan’s funeral at the National Cathedral, and in 2007 performed in the U.S. Capitol’s rotunda as former President Ford was lying in state. The chorus was instrumental in the dedication ceremonies of the World War II memorials in Bedford, Va., and in Washington. In 1994, they provided music at the funeral of former President Nixon in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the interment of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Arlington National Cemetery.

They have appeared at the Kennedy Center Honors and with the National Symphony Orchestra for the nationally telecast “National Memorial Day Concerts” at the U.S. Capitol. In addition the group has appeared on “Larry King Live” and “CBS This Morning” as well as at the premier of the movie “Pearl Harbor.” In 2008, the Sea Chanters performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Mack Wilburg. Noted choral directors Dale Warland, and Donald Neuen have guest conducted the ensemble, and renowned composers Michael McCarthy, Roger Bourland, William MacDuff and Lloyd Pfautsch have written works especially for them. Other notable orchestral appearances include the Kansas City Symphony, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Sea Chanters have enjoyed a great reputation performing with such stars as Perry Como, Marian Anderson, Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie.

Throughout their history, the Sea Chanters have remained true to the Navy’s watchwords of pride and professionalism, and they continue to flourish as a vibrant ensemble.

Interview: Joan Osborne

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In a compelling new interview with writer Lou Fancher of the East Bay Timessinger/songwriter Joan Osborne explains what inspires her about Bob Dylan’s music and how it expands her perspective and influences her music. 

“When you’re doing any covering of other people’s material, your job is to bring out something that hasn’t been discovered yet. When you have an artist of the depth and richness of Bob Dylan, you tend to go to emotional terrains that you haven’t gone to in your own work,” she said.

Because she “cut her teeth” as a singer in part by performing from early on Dylan’s folk-based, American idiom-filled work, Osborne didn’t actually discover new technical aspects to her voice while working on the project. But with years of singing, the 55-year-old says a deep richness and new textures she calls “seasoning” have appeared.

An exceptional songwriter herself, Osborne’s take on Dylan’s songs become a rich collaboration. 

Because her voice and Dylan’s are worlds apart, Osborne never pursued imitation while adapting the songs. “The point was to take the song, divorce it from Dylan’s interpretation, view it as chord progressions, the melody, the lyrics, and do it again from scratch. In that way, it really was about finding the material I loved and connecting that with my voice in a way that the song and my voice blossom.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s interview with Joan Osborne here

Then buy tickets to hear Joan’s take on Dylan’s songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

Joan Osborne sings Songs of Bob Dylan

Opening Act: Will Champlin

Friday, October 27 at 8 p.m.

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

 

An Interview with Songwriter JD Souther

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Writer Lou Fancher beautifully captures the heart of JD Souther’s songwriting genius in a fresh new interview for East Bay Times:

” The world’s best singer-songwriters appreciate time.

Not simply meter, syllables stretched over notes, tempo and other clock-keeper aspects of music, but the passage of time that mellows a tenor’s voice into ease and broader dynamic range.

Musical phrases and tunes pondered during a sunrise or contemplated while hiking may come together begrudgingly or spill out in a gush on occasions when the usual gear-grinding process flips and lyrics and melodies pour out like a river unleashed.

Riding that wave and a long roster of hits, JD Souther will bring his expressive music infused with pop, jazz, country rock and the Great American Songbook to the Bankhead Theater on Aug. 5. The intimate evening with Texas-raised Souther will feature selections from his new studio album, “Tenderness.” Rounding out the possible setlist, popular songs may include the title track of his 1979 album, “You’re Only Lonely,” a solo version of the 1984 duet recorded with James Taylor, “Her Town Too,” or numerous songs written for or performed by The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, Trisha Yearwood, the Dixie Chicks and others.”

On the topic of his latest album “Tenderness,” Fancher writes:

“Tenderness,” he said, has a more cinematic sound than previous recordings. Inspired by Cole Porter and George Gershwin and joined on the CD by a top-tier band (pianist Chris Walters, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, trumpeter Till Brönner, pianist Billy Childs, vocalist LIzz Wright), Souther’s guitar and vocals get to expand.

“The orchestrations are beautiful, the players astonishing,” he said. “It’s the album I intended, conceived in one time period for this one album.”

In fact, Souther would have made a film, had millions of dollars been handy. Listening to the lyrics on “Tenderness,” a narrative forms, with the final track, “All Your Wishes,” serving as an epilogue. LIke a miniature almost-opera, grand themes told in simple, conversational language beg only for movement, costumes, sets and lighting.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s fascinating interview with Songwriters Hall of Famer JD Souther here

Then buy tickets to hear him sing his songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

JD Souther in Concert

One Night Only!

Saturday, August 5 at 8 p.m.

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

 

Event Preview: Asleep at the Wheel

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Since 1970, the country music group Asleep at the Wheel has filled one venue after the next. The legendary kings of western swing continue in their quest to keep western swing music alive and kicking. Fans of the group appreciate the fun, toe-tapping music and rich harmonies that set Asleep at the Wheel apart from other groups. Read on to learn more about this iconic group and how you can see Asleep at the Wheel in person soon.

Frontman Ray Benson and Lucky Oceans got things started as the two opened for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, D.C. In 1973, Asleep at the Wheel released their first album called Comin’ Right At Ya. The group’s upward trend continued the next handful of years with singles including “Don’t Ask Me Why,” “Bump, Bounce, Boogie,” “Nothin’ Takes the Place of You” and others. Along their journey, Asleep at the Wheel has earned nine Grammy awards from more than 25 albums. Benson refers to western swing as “jazz with a cowboy hat,” a musical melting pot from fiddle tunes and country bluegrass, to blues and big band.

In 2007, the group was recognized by the Austin Chronicle as the Band of the Year, Best Country Band, and was consequently elected into their Hall of Fame.

More About Benson

Throughout the group’s history, Benson has remained the integral cog. In 2002, Benson was elected into the Austin Music Hall of Fame, was given the Texas Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, and was recognized as an Outstanding Producer by the National Academy of Recording Arts in 1988. Not to mention, Benson has also been given numerous Citations of Achievement by Broadcast Music, Inc. It’s no wonder why Benson and Asleep at the Wheel remain some of the strongest, most recognizable names in country music.

What others are saying

“The finest Western swing band in existence today.” – Country Music

“The wheel just keeps rollin’ along with a steady eye and a keen sense of swing.” – Dallas Morning News

The Venue

Have you ever been to the Bankhead Theater in Livermore? At LVPAC, our mission is to offer a variety of performing arts opportunities and experiences to engage our diverse communities. Whether that’s symphony, ballet performances, opera shows, or upcoming concerts, the Bankhead is the premier choice. We are thrilled that the Bankhead continues to present a fun, rich environment for all those involved. Our performing arts center also strives to keep performances affordable. For example, nearly all LVPAC Presents events are priced at just $16. Come and see Asleep at the Wheel for yourself and take in the intimate setting and perfect acoustics found only at the Bankhead. Together with the Bothwell Arts Center and Downtown Art Studios, it’s easy to see what makes LVPAC the heart of a vibrant cultural arts community.

The Performance

Asleep at the Wheel makes its appearance at the Bankhead Theater Friday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the event range from $35 – $60. Be sure to call or visit the box office


Upcoming Events

Fri 18

Melissa Manchester

Fri, January 18 @ 8:00 pm
Sat 19

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Sat, January 19 @ 8:00 pm
Organizer: Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre
925.462.2121
Sat 19

Django Shredders

Sat, January 19 @ 8:00 pm
Mon 21

Branford Marsalis Quartet

Mon, January 21 @ 7:30 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information