Live eTown Radio Show Taping w/ The Band of Heathens & Stephen Kellogg
- When: December 1, 2018 Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Where: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
- Cost: $25 Plus Applicable Service Fees
More than just a regular concert, eTown is a unique live experience! Audience members will watch the eTown Broadcast recorded before their eyes, complete with performances and interviews with both of our visiting artists, as well as the eChievement Award segment, eTown's opportunity to honor everyday heroes who are doing their part to make the world a better place. You won't want to miss it!
Show Start: 7:00pm
The Band of Heathens
A Message from The People Revisited by The Band of Heathens
We were on the road somewhere in New England in early 2017, when the topic of conversation drifted toward the troubled social climate in the country. We all shared a sadness that bordered on despair at the relentless stream of unsettling news of corruption, social injustice, and an overall lack of moral decency. We related similar experiences with how divisiveness was affecting those around us, how families were being torn apart over political and social issues. Eventually the weight of it all left us feeling quite solemn and the conversation trailed off -- we returned to our thoughts and personal reflection as we rolled up the interstate. After a long period of silence, we felt like we needed to lighten the mood, and nothing heals the soul quite like music…
Trevor went to an obscure and out-of-print Ray Charles album that he had ripped from vinyl to mp3 to listen to on the road, A Message From The People...how appropriate. Some of us were vaguely familiar with the context of this record -- that it was released in the early 70’s (April ’72) during a time of great social upheaval in America. Nixon, Vietnam, race riots, protests in almost every major city…the country had fallen on some hard times. Just by glancing at the LP's artwork it’s easy to deduce that Ray had a message in mind when he made this record. The cover is a painting of Ray in a reflective pose next to a group of children with different ethnicities. They all sit beneath a Mt. Rushmore-like image with the faces of Bobby Kennedy, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. With the first notes of the opening track “Lift Every Voice And Sing”, Ray had our undivided attention. Often referred to as the Black National Anthem, Ray’s genius is in full flight from the get-go, singing with incredible jubilation and hope, hitting us like a ton of bricks. It seemed like Ray had picked up where our conversation had trailed off just moments before…we were really LISTENING. The second track, “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong”, he sings with such a powerful sentiment of loneliness and helplessness -- the plight of many in society who are forgotten or ignored. We remained silent, intently listening and reflecting on the meaning of every word he sang. Halfway through the record a couple of us were in tears. The messages in each song that Ray had carefully selected back in 1972 rang as true today as they did during the turbulent times they were initially released. In these moments, Ray’s voice became the voice of an elder -- a true master was speaking to us from the past. There is sorrow, protest, and anger but also resolve, hope, and deliverance. On the final track of the record, Ray saved for us his most powerful message and the perfect coda; the definitive version of “America The Beautiful” is absolutely glorious. It is quite simply the apotheosis of soul. “America! God done shed his grace on thee! He crowned thy good, he told me he would, with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”
Just like that, the masterpiece that is A Message From The People came to an end. Breaking the ensuing silence, Gordy turned around and said, “What if we covered this album? People really need to hear these songs again.” The idea was hatched right then and there.
Fast forward almost a year later. In December 2017 we were working as a backing band on a variety of projects for other artists being produced by Gordy. The sessions took place at the Finishing School, a studio built by close friend, producer, and musical collaborator, George Reiff, who tragically succumbed cancer in May ’17 after a 10-month fight. The studio had been dark since George’s passing. With the blessing of the Reiff family, the lights were turned back on and we went to work for a few weeks. The final four days of session time were blocked off for us to work on something of our own. A few weeks prior to the sessions it was collectively decided that we would use that time to take a shot at recording some of A Message From The People. Working alongside our close friend (and George’s right-hand-man in the studio) Steve Christensen, there was a palpable vibration in the air. It was somber but also very peaceful. Our expectations were tempered, as we knew that doing any Ray Charles record justice was going to be a real challenge -- let alone one with such lush arrangements. On top of that, we were working in a new bass player, Jesse Wilson. These sessions would be the first time we had worked with him in a studio environment (which can be a crucible for some). In spite of all that, the collective mentality, while unspoken, seemed to be “let’s give this a shot, this could be cool, there’s no pressure here.” To our amazement, after four days, we had finished the record. In between takes we frequently reminisced about George and were even visited at the studio by some of George’s close friends and family. Feeling confident that what we had accomplished was going to be worthy of a release, we unanimously agreed that it would be dedicated to the memory of George and that proceeds would go to a charitable organization that focused on social justice.
Going forward, our hope is that our performance of these songs has sufficient merit to carry the listener to the musical feeling that we strived to infuse in these recordings -- a spirit of brotherhood, hope and understanding, liberty, and justice for all.
Over the last decade, New England native Stephen Kellogg has performed more than 1500 concerts around the world, raised thousands of dollars for causes close to his heart, been named Armed Forces Entertainer of the Year, and penned singles for artists like platinum selling rock band O.A.R and American Idol winner Nick Fradiani. Stephen’s most recent writing work with legendary guitarist Robert Randolph, led to a 2017 Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary Blues Record." He's also had his songs covered by international major label acts and released ten studio albums of his own yielding hundreds of thousands of ticket and record sales.
A father of four and married to his high school sweetheart, filmmaker Peter Harding was so moved by the everyman nature of Kellogg's story that he made a documentary called "Last Man Standing" which went on to become an Amazon exclusive film. In recent years, Kellogg has added authorship and speaking to his resume as well. He delivered a TEDx Talk on job satisfaction, the key note speech for the prestigious photography summit WRKSHP, and was invited to speak to the students at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO on the topics of social justice and 'finding your voice.’ He has appeared as a contributing author in several publications and in 2019, Wetware Media will be publishing his first full length book entitled “Objects in the Mirror: A Storyteller’s Take On What Matters Most.”
Kellogg’s newest studio album, “Objects in the Mirror”, was recorded over the course of a single week in Nashville, TN. Produced by Will Hoge and featuring twelve songs that explore American life in 2018, the decision was made to track the band live, keeping the results in tact with minimal overdubs. “I wanted to make an album that sounded and felt like the ones I grew up loving; Bob Seger and Cat Stevens, Tom Petty and Rod Stewart. Emotional records where the songs relate to each other and the lyrics are front and center. That’s my true north.” Kellogg’s emotion has never been in question with one music blogger succinctly describing his music as ‘a beautiful display of—well, his heart.” And as for the lyrics, Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz can lately be heard singing their praises on his ‘Underwater Sunshine’ podcasts.
While Stephen Kellogg may have remained underneath the radar for some in the main-stream, he has succeeded in building a meaningful career alongside many of the best in the business. He’s sung duets with Sara Bareilles, Josh Ritter, Rosanne Cash, and Pat Monahan of Train and participated in the 2018 “Garden Of Dreams’ concert at the Beacon Theater. His music has found its way onto the Billboard charts and been featured in numerous films and TV shows. Whether performing solo or with a band, Kellogg’s soul and energy fuel one of the most dynamic shows anywhere. “With beautifully written songs and an engaging personality”, The Michigan Daily reports, “Kellogg appears as if he was born on stage, taking the spotlight and using it to his advantage, but never let-ting go of his connection with the audience.” A master storyteller in his prime, he will spend much of 2018 and 2019 where he’s always been at home…the road.