P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
June 5, 2003
MASS MoCA Puts on American Music Festival as part of Summer's Yankee Remix
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, The Persuasions, Reggae Cowboys, amusia, & Melodrome
(North Adams, Mass.) MASS MoCA will host a Yankee Remix Festival featuring distinctly American music by a host of innovative players on Saturday, July 5. Concert-goers are welcome to visit MASS MoCA's summer exhibition Yankee Remix anytime during the day and then move outside at 6 as the music begins. The festival includes an astounding lineup of performers - country folk singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore of Flatlanders fame; legendary a cappella group the Persuasions; Caribbean country rockers the Reggae Cowboys; and Massachusetts-based amusia and Melodrome, injecting a hip local flavor. In true New England festival spirit, the event will include all the amenities from fried dough and lobster rolls to cotton candy to face-painting and games for kids. Gallery admission is included in the ticket price, and the galleries will be open from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. with free tours offered throughout the day.
Headlining is the Austin-based, down-home Jimmie Dale Gilmore, offering up a rootsy blend of country, folk, rock, and blues. Pulse! calls Gilmore "the musical and spiritual heir of Willie Nelson." Best known for his songs Treat Me Like a Saturday Night and Dallas, as well as being one of the core members of the now legendary band the Flatlanders, Gilmore got his start in the 1970s in Austin, Texas. His late '80s albums--After Awhile, Fair and Square, and his self-titled release--received critical acclaim although little attention from Nashville due to their straightforward honky-tonk style. Gilmore's recent releases--Spinning Around the Sun, Braver Newer World, and One Endless Night--show off his ability to flow seamlessly from contemporary to traditional country and folk styles.
The Persuasions, who sold out a performance at MASS MoCA two years ago, will perform a cappella versions of Grateful Dead covers. Jerry Lawson, Jimmy Hayes, "Sweet Joe" Russell, Jayotis Washington, Bernard "BJ" Jones, and Raymond Sanders started the group in the early '60s when a group of transplanted southerners living in Brooklyn fell into the time-honored New York pastime of sitting outside on warm nights, singing on the stoop. They have repeatedly pushed the boundaries of R&B with tunes like The Partridge Family's I Woke Up In Love This Morning and a recent children's recording of The Good Ship Lollipop. From the Lord's Prayer to Elvis Presley, from the Temptations to the Beatles, they sing every type of music. One recent endeavor is a recording of a cappella versions of Grateful Dead classics entitled Might As Well: The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead. Longtime friend Tom Waits has said of the group, "These guys are deep sea divers. I'm just a fisherman in a boat."
West Indies natives Bird "Stone Ranger" Bellony and Lajernon Delano "Click Masta Sinc" Rabess formed the Reggae Cowboys in 1993. They each cover both vocals and guitar. Together with bassist Roy "Gully" Clarke, keyboardist Marshal King and drummer Hitman I, they've become known for fusing the lilting rhythms of the Caribbean with the outlaw imagery of the Wild West. They released their first album, Tell the Truth, in 1996, their second, Rock Steady Rodeo, a few years later. Since 2001 the Reggae Cowboys have performed at festivals all over North America and France. The Montreal Mirror describes them as a "blend of rootsy reggae and a dash of blues with spaghetti-western twang."
The pensive but melodic music of amusia has a distinctive sound. It's eerie and atmospheric but with a solid dance beat. The group has become known for front woman Ruth Peterson's powerful but delicate voice. It blends surprisingly well with David Sella's rock-weaned electric riffs, Michael Calienes' spidery bass lines, Matt Russell's solid funk drums, and Todd Russell's acoustic strumming. According to Metronome Magazine, "amusia continues to deliver stunning musical masterpieces."
Melodrome delivers contemporary rock music with a slight retro flavor. Simple, pulsing drums; smooth, tight bass lines; haunting guitars; and a hypnotic vocal sound combine to make a deep sound with an emotional and lyrical resonance but with an edge. The group consists of Jesko Stahl on bass and vocals, Matt Sloan on drums and vocals, Darren Todd on guitar and vocals, and Robby Baier as the lead vocalist and songwriter, as well as guitar player. Baier's songs have appeared in various films and TV shows over the years including Drowning Mona, The Brutal Truth, Judging Amy, Touched by an Angel, Robocop, and Walker Texas Ranger. According to The Boston Herald, "Baier sounds like Mick Jagger under the guidance of Ani diFranco".
Tickets to the Yankee Remix Festival are $27 adults/$22 members/$11 kids. Price includes gallery admission. Tickets are available by calling the MASS MoCA Box Office at 413.662.2111 or online at www.massmoca.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person from 10-6 daily at MASS MoCA located on Marshall St. in North Adams, Mass.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release