eTown Live Radio Show Taping w/ Colin Hay & Doyle Bramhall II
- When: January 13, 2017 Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Where: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
- Cost: $25 Plus Applicable Service Fees
Presented by 105.5 The Colorado Sound
More than just a regular concert, eTown is a unique live experience! Audience members will watch the eTown Broadcast recorded before their very 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
Show End: 9:00pm
FIERCE MERCY is an epic, cinematic step forward from singer-songwriter Colin Hay, most beloved for his intimate, confessional live shows but most widely known for being an influential and celebrated frontman. The range of artists who have chosen to cite him as a muse or who have found themselves on stage with him in the past year spans the genre landscape from heavy metal, to Americana, to Cuban rhythms and beyond. His inclusion as a playlist favorite from the likes of Metallica to The Lumineers reflects his continuing relevance and broad appeal.
Recorded in both Los Angeles and Nashville and mixed by Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White) and Gordon Hammond (Buddy Miller, Don Williams), FIERCE MERCY explores themes of love and loss, mortality, and even the odd UFO sighting, but always with the singular perspective and insightful wit that define Hay’s work. He has created a new classic in his impressive repertoire (this is his 13th solo release), using a palette of pop songcraft, Americana flourishes, and soundtrack-ready strings. FIERCE MERCY is animated by its pensive, honest, and impassioned lyrics, and, Hay adds, by a sense of urgency felt deeply in the song “The Last to Know,” which introduces the album’s title concept of “fierce mercy.”
“When you’re in your 20s, you think you’ve got all the time in the world,” Hay said. “You get older, and you go through a quickening. Everything seems to get faster.
Using his gift for expressing struggle in a way that resonates with a wide variety of people, he compares this to the messages mankind is getting on a global level: “With the changing weather patterns, or the polar ice caps melting, we’re getting all of these warnings, and a lot of them are incredibly fierce. But they still feel somewhat merciful — they’re not destroying us totally. We’re all being told, ‘Listen, you can still maybe address this, and it won’t get to the point where I have to take you all out. You’ve still got a shot.’”
Ten of the album’s 13 stellar compositions were collaborations with Michael Georgiades, who contributed to Hay’s previous sets Next Year People (2015) Gathering Mercury (2011) and American Sunshine (2009). The pair co-wrote two of the album’s clear stand-outs, the pop vocal ballad “A Thousand Million Reasons” and the Americana leaning “Come Tumblin’ Down.” "Michael Georgiades is my secret weapon but I guess now with this album it’s not a secret anymore,” Hay jokes.
Some of the songs are deeply personal: “She Was the Love of Mine,” is an elegy for the singer’s mother, who died three years ago. Some are novelistic: “Frozen Fields of Snow” recounts the story of a war veteran returning to his childhood home after outliving the other members of his unhappy family. “Sometimes lyrical ideas will come into your head, so you follow them and see where they go,” Hay says.
Largely recorded in Topanga with Hay’s wife, Cecilia Noël and Hay’s regular accompanists — bassist Yosmel Montejo, drummer Charlie Paxson, keyboardists Fred Kron and Jeff Babko, and guitarist/tres player San Miguel Perez— FIERCE MERCY was completed in sessions at Compass Sound Studio in Nashville with Compass Records principal Garry West at the helm, who also contributed bass on a few cuts.
Hay says, “Garry is always trying to get me to Nashville to do some recording, to get me out of the comfort zone of my own studio — get me out of my lair! So I went to Nashville and we recorded the strings with a nine-piece section, and he introduced me to some players that he loves, who added another fantastic layer to the album.”
The Nashville players include guitarists Audley Freed (Sheryl Crow, the Black Crowes, the Dixie Chicks) and Doug Lancio (John Hiatt), pedal steel guitarist and organist Jim Hoke (Iris Dement, Don Henley, Darius Rucker) and Compass co-founder Alison Brown (banjo).
Though many music fans will be glad to see the end of 2016, it was something of a breakout year for this career artist that included a three-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe; performances on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and ABC’s Greatest Hits; sharing the stage with Of Monsters and Men, Milk Carton Kids, Choir Choir Choir!, Kings of Leon; being publicly cited as an influence by artists as distinct as James Hetfield of Metallica, Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers, Troy Sanders of Mastodon, and The Infamous Stringdusters; as well as the completion of a documentary film about his career entitled Waiting for My Real Life, named for one of his best known solo recordings. Now finding himself in the unprecedented place of having both ’80s fame and indie credibility, it's possible that Hay has delivered the defining album of his solo career.
Doyle Bramhall II is one of the most distinctive vocalists, guitarists, composers and producers in contemporary music. Indeed, none other than Eric Clapton, with whom Bramhall has worked for more than a decade, lauds him as one of the most gifted guitarists he has ever encountered.
As the son of the late Texas music legend Doyle Bramhall, he was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock ’n’ roll styles indigenous to Texas. The elder Bramhall played drums and was also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, not to mention a lifelong collaborator with childhood friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, who composed such SRV signature tunes as “Change It” and “Life by the Drop.”
But the younger Bramhall—a rare and distinctive guitarist who plays left-handed, but with his instrument strung for a right-hander and flipped backwards--had his own connections with the Vaughan brothers: Early in his career he was befriended and supported by Stevie. When he was 18, Bramhall was recruited by Jimmie to play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After Stevie’s tragic death in 1990, Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton formed the Arc Angels with drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon of Stevie Ray's fabled rhythm section.
The Arc Angels’ self-titled debut album yielded such widely popular songs as “Living in a Dream” and “Sent by Angels” before disbanding. Introducing himself as a solo artist in 1996 with Doyle Bramhall II, he followed with a pair of critically acclaimed albums, Jellycream (1999) and Welcome (2001). It was then that Bramhall’s unparalleled guitar mastery won the attention not only of Clapton but Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who showcased him on his 1999, 2000 and 2002 In the Flesh concert tours and companion CD and DVD.
Clapton, meanwhile, came next. He featured Bramhall songs and guitar as part of his Grammy-winning Riding with the King album with B.B. King, also of 2000. He then recruited him full-time, and they toured together worldwide, thrilling fans with their dramatic guitar interplay and drawing comparisons to past Clapton triumphs such as Derek & the Dominoes. Clapton’s ensuing 2004 albums Me and Mr. Johnson and Sessions for Robert J both showcased stirring Clapton-Bramhall guitar duets recorded in the same Dallas room where Robert Johnson recorded his classic blues songs in 1937. Bramhall’s own songwriting talent was highlighted in Clapton’s Reptile (2001), Back Home (2005) and The Road to Escondido (2006) albums, and he later co-produced Clapton (2010) and Old Sock (2013). In 2013 he again joined Clapton on his 50th anniversary tour and played on his 2014 album The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale.
In addition to his work with Clapton, Bramhall became an in demand composer, guitarist and producer. He enjoyed high profile collaborations with a broad range of other major artists, including T-Bone Burnett, Elton John, Gary Clark, Jr., Gregg Allman, Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Erykah Badu, Questlove, Meshell Ndegeocello and Sheryl Crow, whom he produced and composed songs for on 100 Miles from Memphis (2011), and then joined her to support the record on tour. In 2015 he teamed with ace guitarist Derek Trucks (with whom he was proclaimed “The New Guitar Gods” by Guitar World when both served in Clapton's band in the late 2000s) in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, also starring Trucks’ wife, Susan Tedeschi. Bramhall’s songs and guitar playing have graced each of the three, critically acclaimed Tedeschi Trucks Band albums issued to date.
With all this outside activity, Bramhall hadn’t made a solo album since Welcome. But while honing his skills as a producer, he stockpiled ideas and songs he'd written for himself as well, and when they were selected and sequenced for his fourth solo album, Rich Man,
(scheduled for release on September 30, 2016 via Concord Records), they documented an intensive spiritual and musical journey that took him to the other side of the world in search of new sounds, and an inner peace sought following the death of his father in 2011.
Since 2008, and in the year following his father’s death, Bramhall had extensively explored India and Northern Africa. The influence of these journeys manifest in Rich Man’s inclusion of the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi—played by virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh—and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, played by Bramhall’s own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger.
Also appearing on Rich Man is Norah Jones, with whom Bramhall had been performing every six months or so in a concert series. The duet “New Faith” was emblematic of the entire album in its hope that people can look beyond all that divides them and find a new way of thinking that enables peaceful progress through mutual respect and understanding.
Rich Man, then, is a watershed achievement for Bramhall, both in terms of the many music styles in the tracks—which begin and end with his fundamental American blues influences, and in between, follow his global music explorations and arrangements--and the inner examinations resulting in the spiritual growth expressed in the lyrics.
“I read a quote from Charles Mingus,” Bramhall stated upon the completion of Rich Man.“He felt that he was not just playing a style of music so much as expressing the sounds of his life and experiences through the medium of music. I very much relate to that."