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items tagged with Redstone Room

Emerged from the Cocoon: Noëlle Hampton, September 18 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-09-04 14:34:50

Noëlle HamptonLike many other singers/songwriters, Noëlle Hampton moved to Austin, Texas, to make music. What she didn't expect is that it would stop her career cold.

It took five years, but Hampton is back, with the album Thin Line and a fall tour stopping at the Redstone Room on September 18. With an expressive, soulful, and purposeful voice as comfortable in rockers as it is in ballads, Hampton sounds right at home in the record's unforced and well developed (if somewhat generic) tunes.

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“We Share These Things with Other People”: “Moondances Chapter One” CD Release Party, August 28 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-08-19 12:16:03

'Moondances Chapter One'The benefit compilation CD Moondances Chapter One begins with a song Ellis Kell wrote in memory of his daughter, and it ends with one written following his father's death. The second track, "You Can't Hurt Us Anymore" was penned for Sheltering Kevin, a documentary by Carolyn Wettstone about domestic violence.

That suggests a generosity not only of time and art but of spirit. Kell is not merely sharing his talents but also his difficult experiences and his heart. "I've always tried to draw something positive out of when these things happen, whether it was my daughter's passing or my father's passing," he said. "And we share these things with other people."

Read More About “We Share These Things With Other People”: “Moondances Chapter One” CD Release Party, August 28 At The Redstone Room...

All Business: The Afterdarks, July 24 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-07-23 16:49:19

The Afterdarks

The Quad Cities psychobilly trio The Afterdarks wants to make an impression. The weapon of choice is a new 31-track CD - a collection of songs from the group's beginnings in 2003 to now, largely recorded by the current lineup.

There could have been even more. "Thirty-one's all we could fit," said guitarist/singer Jake Cowan, who gave a practical reason for the jam-packed recording: "Rather than take five albums and try to sell them individually, just re-record them, kind of fine-tune them, and put them on one album, and take one album on the road to sell."

The larger aim, said singer and bassist Joe Robertson, is to show record labels and music venues that the band is serious - that it can do more than lay down a handful of demos, that it knows how to pump out product.

Blood Sweat & Gears began as a typical 10- to 13-track full-length but evolved into a summary of the band's existence. The Afterdarks wanted to "draw a line in the sand and say, 'Here's everything up to this point. Now we can move forward,'" Robertson said. "I want to put us on the map. ... I want to actually have record labels take us seriously."

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A New Life: John Brown’s Body, May 12 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-05-07 13:47:51

John Brown's Body

One of the label mates of John Brown's Body is the Easy Star All-Stars, and that outfit has presented albums by Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and the Beatles in a reggae style. Surprisingly successful, these recordings manage to retain the identity of the original songs while staying true to the reggae style -- an artful translation.

What John Brown's Body does is more like a fusion of reggae with other styles. Reggae is the primary ingredient -- "On top of that is where we really start to inject our flavor and our influences," said drummer and band co-founder Tommy Benedetti in a phone interview last week -- but the tastes include hip hop, funk, and progressive rock. And while the base -- the drums and percussion, the bass, and the horns -- is unmistakably Jamaican, its variety and skillful blending defy pigeonholing.

The band -- which will perform at the Redstone Room on May 12 -- began as a roots-reggae ensemble but has gradually shifted to something more amorphous. The death from cancer of bassist Scott Palmer in 2006 spurred several lineup changes, most notably the departure of founding singer/songwriter Kevin Kinsella.

The transition from traditional reggae was already underway by then. Kinsella was the only credited songwriter on the band's 1996 debut, but by 2005's Pressure Points, singer Elliot Martin was the dominant creative force.

Benedetti said that while he will always love traditional reggae, Martin's contribution of "33 RPM" to 2002's Spirits All Around Us was "one of the watershed change moments that we really had. ... When we started rocking that tune live, it was a whole new ballgame."

The shift was a "natural progression" from there, he said. "Elliot ... was really pushing the sonic barriers and really into making more cutting edge -- ... darker grooves, different textures, different sounds.

"Scott's passing was definitely the catalyst for ... people wanting to step out. ... The wheels were in motion. The band really needed a breath of fresh air at that point."

He and Martin "wanted to re-focus the band and the sound," Bendetti said. "We had a lot more music to give and to play."

Because Martin had been gradually taking a larger role, last year's Amplify, the band's first album since Palmer died, isn't a significant departure from its predecessor, he added. It's more like a continuation. "I think our fans realized that the band was evolving," he said. "The sound of JBB when Kevin left didn't drastically change. ... The essence of the band and the live show and the sound we've created over all these years ... was definitely intact."

The album is first and foremost a showcase for Martin's strong melodies and voice, but the instrumental textures are often scintillating. "The Gold" starts with horns that could be drawn from a Mexican gangster movie, and the song documents a life on the lam, with Martin's voice gracefully skating a tricky line between singing and rapping. "Ghost Notes" was written for Palmer, and it's a lovely, soulful, blossoming lament with a detailed instrumental bed under Martin's soaring voice, which sustains an almost frightening emotional fervor.

The closer you listen, the more Amplify reveals, and the reggae core ensures its instant accessibility. Benedetti said that John Brown's body will never abandon its Jamaican-music roots, but its goal is to stretch the boundaries: "We're just trying to breathe life into reggae."

John Brown's Body will perform on Tuesday, May 12, at the Redstone Room (129 Main Street in Davenport). The bill also includes Passafire, and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available at

For more information on John Brown's Body, visit or

Snapshot of an Evolving Beast: Elvis Perkins in Dearland, May 3 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-04-29 12:00:00

Elvis Perkins in DearlandElvis Perkins is so full of articulated doubt in our interview that I ask him a blunt question: Does he like being a songwriter, musician, and bandleader? Because it seems like a miserable existence for him.

"Is that how it sounds?" he replied.

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