Todd Snider’s Traveling Folk Show: Featuring Hayes Carll, Shawn Mullins, & Sarah Jarosz – Tickets – Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR – August 10th, 2013

Todd Snider's Traveling Folk Show: Featuring Hayes Carll, Shawn Mullins, & Sarah Jarosz

Oregon Zoo Summer Concerts:

Todd Snider's Traveling Folk Show: Featuring Hayes Carll, Shawn Mullins, & Sarah Jarosz

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Oregon Zoo

$24.00 - $44.00

This event is all ages

Valid for zoo admission day of show only. Rain or shine. No refunds. For additional info please visit the zoo concerts page.

Todd Snider
Todd Snider
Todd Snider is on the happy back end of happy hour at a favorite East Nashville bar, talking about his new album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. “This record doesn’t come from good times,” Snider says. “I wanted to sound the way I feel, which sometimes means sounding like a broken soul.”

On the 10 new songs, Snider doesn’t talk around the vulnerable part, or the angry part, or the part about how everything we’re taught about goodness and righteousness and capitalism, about God and family values winds up exploding into violence and chaos, wonder and longing. He might carry the mantle of “storyteller” – it’s what he titled his live record, after all – but Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is anything but a nice, folk/Americana troubadour album.

It’s not a nice anything.

It is jagged, leering, lurching and howling, and filled with unhappy endings both experienced and intimated: “It ain’t the despair that gets you, it’s the hope,” he sings in the album-closer, “Big Finish.” That Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is also roaringly funny is tribute to Snider’s unique sensibilities, and to his standing as what Rolling Stone magazine calls “America’s sharpest musical storyteller.” Anguish without laughter is boring, like intensive care without morphine, and Snider has never been within 100 miles of boring. Also, he didn’t earn the attention, friendship and fandom of American musical giants like Kris Kristofferson and John Prine by writing mopey protest songs.

Anyway, these aren’t protest songs and they’re not meant to incite class warfare (though he knows they might anyway). They’re populated mostly by losers in the midst of losing, with a couple of spotlight appearances from the humbly anointed 1 percent. At album’s outset (“In The Beginning”), Snider credits the church with sustaining peace by noting that “We still need religion to keep the poor from killing the rich.” From there, it’s on to the certainty of warped karma (“Good things happen to bad people,” he sings in “New York Banker.”), to a remarkable reworking of “West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown” (possibly the album’s most acerbic song, and from the pen of Jimmy Buffett... no, really), and a slew of stories inspired by the world at large, writ small and barbed, in a manner both penetrating and empathetic. There’s one happy love song, called “Brenda,” about Snider’s favorite couple, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

“I admire that relationship a lot,” Snider says. “What Mick and Keith have is real, and it can’t be touched and it can’t be beat. I’ve never met them, but I believe in the Rolling Stones. That’s who I think about at Christmas, anymore. They opened their hearts and gave us so much. And they tried to be true to each other.”

Musically, Snider and co-producer Eric McConnell sought a sound that mirrored the times and that didn’t replicate anything they’d done together on critically acclaimed works East Nashville Skyline, The Devil You Know or Peace Queer. With McConnell on bass and Snider playing guitar and harmonica, they gathered a core band of percussionist Paul Griffith, violinist/vocalist (and gifted songwriter) Amanda Shires, and keyboard player Chad Staehly, along with guest guitarist Jason Isbell and harmony vocalist Mick Utley, and offered up a sonic mission.

“I told them I wanted to make a mess,” Snider says. “That was the goal.”
And so a handful of accomplished musicians set about making a mess. And did so. Shires’ violin is the call-and-response heroine to Snider’s lyrics, filling the role Scarlett Rivera filled for Bob Dylan on Desire. Only messier. Meanwhile, Griffith makes like some off-kilter offspring of Keith Moon and Zigaboo Modeliste while Snider’s guitar plays lead switchblade.

The result is something disconcerting, cracked and wholly original. It’s something that stands apart from the music of Snider’s heroes, and from Snider’s own, much-celebrated past. Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is Snider’s 12th album (14th, if we count a “best of” set and a collection of B-sides and demos), and it uses its predecessors not as a compass but as a trampoline. Snider found different song forms, different inspirations (from Alaska ne’er do well Digger Dave to Chicago Mayor, former White House Chief of Staff and friend..... no, really..... Rahm Emanuel) and different means of expression. He paints a world where begging turns to mugging, where investment turns to ruin, where babies grow into felons, where honesty is blunt trauma: “Wish I could show you how you hurt me in a way that wouldn’t hurt you, too,” he sings. And there’s no way.
Shawn Mullins
Shawn Mullins
Since we last heard from Shawn Mullins on 2008's honeydew, the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and bandleader has undergone a series of transformative experiences, leading to a second coming for the veteran artist. Evidence of Mullins' newfound level of musical and lyrical ambition courses comes through with Light You Up, his latest release. This captivating song cycle will likely be viewed as a flat-out revelation even by Mullins' most fervent fans.

This album is overflowing with perfect rhymes, telling detail and underlying intimations. This is uncommonly literate stuff, striking in its insightfulness and compassion. Delivered by Mullins in his companionable baritone, as lived-in and textured as your favorite pair of faded jeans, amid the relentless rhythms, churning Hammond organ runs and swooping guitar lines, every line is absolutely spellbinding, adding incrementally to the album's gripping intensity. "I felt like I needed to get the listener's attention with this record," says Shawn. He can consider that a mission accomplished.
Hayes Carll
Hayes Carll
Hayes Carll is an odd mix. Wildly literate, utterly slackerly, impossibly romantic, absolutely a slave to the music, the 35-year old Texan is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking.
In a world of shallow and shallower, where it's all groove and gloss, that might seem a hopeless proposition. Last year, "Another Like You," Carll's stereotype's attract duet of polar opposites, was American Songwriter's #1 Song of 2011 – and KMAG YOYO was the Americana Music Association's #1 Album, as well as making Best of Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and a New York Times Critics Choice.
But more importantly than the critical acclaim is the way Carll connects with music lovers across genres lines. Playing rock clubs and honkytonks, Bonnaroo, Stones Fest, SXSW and NXNE, he and his band the Gulf Coast Orchestra merge a truculent singer/songwriter take that combines Ray Wylie Hubband's lean freewheeling squalor with Todd Snider's brazen Gen Y reality and a healthy dose of love amongst unhealthy people.
"I guess you could say I write degenerate love songs," Carll says. "That, and songs about people who're wedged between not much and even less; people who see how hopeless it is and somehow make it work anyway. "And the best kind of irony, sometimes, is applying no irony and letting reality do the work."
Letting reality do the work has sure worked for the lanky Texan who walks slow and talks slower. Born in Houston, he went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas – getting a degree in History, then heading back to Crystal Beach to play for
a wild assortment of people either hiding out, hanging on or getting lost in the bars along Texas' Gulf coast.
After releasing Flowers & Liquor in 2002, Carll was voted the Best New Artist of 2002 by The Houston Post. He would go on to release Little Rock, on his own Highway 87 label, which became the first self-owned project to the top the Americana charts.
It wasn't long until Lost Highway, home of Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Van Morrison and the Drive-By Truckers came calling. Trouble in Mind yielded the tongue firmly in cheek "She Left Me For Jesus," a know-nothing redneck send-up/beer joint anthem somewhere between "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" and "Up Against the Wall." "Jesus" was the 2008 Americana Music Awards Song of the Year.
All the accolades, all the facts and all the stats are awesome, but they don't tell the story. Fiercely individual, Carll's banged-up take on classic country is honed by the road – sometimes as a man and guitar, sometimes with his scrappy band, but always taking in the vistas and humanity before him.
"It comes down to the songs and the people," he says. "You write about what you see, the things that cross your mind… and then you wanna get out there and play it back to 'em. You kinda know how you're doing when you see how the people respond."
See above. Hayes Carll is the transmutable jester whose incisive songs and funky beats play as well in shitkicker bars as they do hippie festivals, somewhere as organic as American Public Radio's "Mountain Stage" concert series and middle America as "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."
Maybe it's the influences – Kerouac, Dylan, Guy Clark, John Prine, Hubbard… Maybe it's the fact that somebody has to say something… Maybe it's just the fact that some people are born to play…
But for whatever reason, ten years into a recording career, Hayes Carll shows no signs of having arrived at his creative apex. Each album expands on his already extreme vintage country, extreme thumping bad road boogie, extreme heartbroken ache – and finds new ways to take on the fate of the nation. Whether it's the GI protagonist in the propulsive title track of KMAG YOYO, the train wreck objet d'amour of "Drunken Poet's Dream," also recorded by Hubbard, the road warrior of both "I Got A Gig" and "Little Rock" or the stoner liberal and the uptight Republican vixen of "Another Like You," Carll paints vivid pictures of humanity as it really is.
Thick-headed. Avaricious. Squalid. Hungry. Angry. Getting by.
Like so many Texans before him, there's no agony in the ecstasy – just the wonder of capturing the perfect character in the song. When you're 6 beers down on a 12 pack night, you know Hayes Carll understands. At a time like that – whether in your own backyard or some jam-packed bar – that's the best kind of friend to have.
Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz
SARAH JAROSZ is a 22- year-old, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who hails from just outside Austin, TX. A recent graduate from the prestigious New England Conservatory, she will release her third album, Build Me Up From Bones, for Sugar Hill Records on September 24th. Over the past four years, Jarosz, who musically fits comfortably where contemporary folk, Americana and roots music intersect, has covered a remarkable amount of ground thus far. She has toured the United States extensively, as well as Canada and the UK, taped Austin City Limits and the BBC Series The Transatlantic Sessions and appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. Her two previous records (Song Up In Her Head and Follow Me Down) received high praise from outlets including Rolling Stone, New York Times, USA Today, Paste, Mojo, Acoustic Guitar and American Songwriter, and she has received multiple Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations.

Sarah is supported on the road by stellar musicians Alex Hargreaves (fiddle) and Nathaniel Smith (cello). Hargreaves recently completed the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been tapped to perform and record with such musicians as Jerry Douglas and jazz master Danilo Perez. Smith has toured for years with renown Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster and, more recently, in various configurations with Jeremy Kittel. Jarosz, Hargreaves and Smith, who met at various music camps when they were much younger, have been performing together since 2010; the sheer joy they express on stage during performances is contagious. Hargreaves and Smith are both featured on Jarosz’s upcoming release Build Me Up From Bones.
Venue Information:
Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR, 97221
http://www.oregonzoo.org/

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