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items tagged with Redstone Room

Meeting in the Middle: Kaivama, March 10 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-29 12:27:22

The Minnesota-based Finnish-American instrumental folk duo Kaivama – performing at the River Music Experience on March 10 – has been around for less than two years, and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rundman acknowledges that “the whole band has kind of happened in reverse. We got a gig before we existed as a group. So we had to form the band in order to play the gig.”

And its self-titled debut album came out less than a year after the group’s genesis – before it had even toured.

Rundman attributes this to demand. The Finnish-American population, he said in a phone interview last month, is small but active, and that audience frankly doesn’t have many options when it comes to traditional music from its ancestral home.“It’s a niche,” he said. “We’re some of the only choices they have as far as that goes.

“But apart from the demographics, I think it’s because Nordic music is really beautiful. I don’t say that because we’re such a great band; I say that because ... it’s just beautiful music. ... It’s just undeniably gorgeous music. ... The raw material is wonderful.”

He’s right, but also too modest. With roughly the same number of traditional tunes and originals, Kaivama is expertly poised between the old and new – aged melodies adorned by modern flourishes. A warm, jaunty keyboard, for example, matches Sara Pajunen’s coolly nimble fiddle on opening track “Schottische 150.”

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Radical Optimism: The Cerny Brothers, December 23 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-06 11:26:29

The Cerny Brothers

In an interview, Robert and Scott Cerny – who will be playing as the Cerny Brothers on December 23 at the Redstone Room – said their album Dream grew out of one song: “I Want You to Run.” The record’s second track, it fuses elements of country, folk, and bluegrass with polished vocal and lyrical stylings that sound more like pop.

Starting at an ambling pace, “I Want You to Run” mixes a simple drum and high-hat beat supporting steel and acoustic accompaniment that rolls into the first verse: “I want you to run / Past your childhood home / To the great unknown.”

This verse embodies the major thematic element of the album – that yearning to leave, that desire to take a chance and have someone else come along to share the experience. The writing here has a simple elegance and unforced honesty that work with the intricate pick work to create a sense of urgency. Here there’s a radical optimism that’s at the core of the entire album, a refusal to believe that dreams are better deferred than pursued.

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Confidently, Accessibly Experimental: The Envy Corps, December 16 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-05 20:47:55

The Envy Corps. Photo by Seth Warrick.

The Envy Corps sell a T-shirt that proclaims the Iowa- and Nebraska-based band is “Radiohead for Coldplay Fans.”

Vocalist and bassist Luke Pettipoole said in an interview last week that he came up with the idea with his tongue in cheek, and that he’s been surprised how receptive fans have been. “People really seem to enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re making fun of us, or we’re making fun of Coldplay, or what.”

But it’s possible there’s no mockery involved at all. After a one-record stint on major-label imprint Vertigo (which released 2008’s Dwell), the Envy Corps returned this fall with the self-released full-length It Culls You. Beyond the way Pettipoole’s phrasing and frequent falsetto bring to mind Thom Yorke (“I sing the way I sing,” he said), the album sounds like the child of Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief – and in the best way possible. Spacious yet full, odd yet alluring, the parentage is obvious but It Culls You never feels like you’re listening to a clone. If Coldplay figures in, it’s in the way the Envy Corps favors accessibility over alienation.

Read More About Confidently, Accessibly Experimental: The Envy Corps, December 16 At The Redstone Room...

Out of the Holding Pattern: Rachael Yamagata, November 12 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-11-04 01:20:37

Rachael Yamagata. Photo by Laura Crosta.

After singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata was freed from her contract with Warner Bros., she called producer John Alagia about making her third album. She didn’t send him songs to consider, and they didn’t discuss material. The next day, they were making arrangements to get equipment and musicians to his house in Maryland.

“Within a few weeks, we were ... actually doing it,” Yamagata said in a phone interview this week, promoting her November 12 performance at the Redstone Room.

Moving quickly was a response to “several years of kind of being in this holding-pattern experiment with major record labels,” she said. “It was a lot of leap-before-you-look scenarios. I just knew that if you got the right people in the room, we could make it work.”

And the right people wanted to help. “I think people look at me maybe as an underdog of sorts, always wanting good things for me,” she said. “A lot of my peers I think have felt the frustration with me about ‘Where’s your next record?’ or ‘Why aren’t you on the road?’”

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Never Stop Learning: Joe Robinson, September 2 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-08-11 19:45:10

Joe Robinson. Photo by Ethan James.

Self-taught guitarist Joe Robinson won Australia’s Got Talent in 2008, and he earned the top prize at the 2009 World Championships of Performing Arts – meaning that at age 20 he carries the ridiculous title of Senior Grand Champion Performer of the World. Guitar Player readers tapped him the best new talent in the magazine’s 2010 poll. He released a pair of solo instrumental acoustic albums as a teenager.

All of that hints at a young man with talent and ambition. Now it’s time to see whether Robinson’s chops can match his drive. Because what Joe Robinson really wants to do is sing.

He will play at the Redstone Room on Friday, September 2, and the show promises to be significantly different from his two CDs, which showcased a surfeit of compositional and performance skills in the jazz and blues veins.

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