It is going to be one busy week here at Blumenthal Performing Arts, but that means we are more likely to have something for everyone! From a three-time Grammy winner, to a modern day Rat Pack, to an outstanding eye-opening film, we have a great variety of entertainment with four amazing shows! That’s pretty exciting stuff. Come to one or come to them all! Read on for full details on each show coming up this week.
Three-time Grammy winner and visionary roots-music storyteller Keb’ Mo’ embarks on a new chapter in his career with the April 22 release of “BLUES Americana” on Kind of Blue Music. His 12th full-length album marks the 20th anniversary of his debut “Keb’ Mo’,” but, more importantly, the disc is a signpost of artistic and personal growth.
Over the past two decades Keb’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances. His songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker and Robert Palmer, and his playing inspired leading instrument maker Gibson Brands to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar. He has collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, jazz diva Cassandra Wilson, Buddy Guy, Amy Grant, Solomon Burke and Little Milton. Keb’ also performs the theme song for the smash sitcom “Mike & Molly” and was music director for TV’s “Memphis Beat.”
Tuesday, Sept. 23, in Belk Theater
Under the Streetlamp, America’s hottest new vocal group with a top PBS special, performs an electrifying evening of classic hits from the American radio songbook. Exuding the irresistible rapport of a modern day Rat Pack, the quartet — recent leading cast members of the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys — deliver an evening of unforgettable entertainment. You’ll hear Doo-Wop, Motown, old time rock ‘n’ roll and all of your favorite songs from The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and many others. And thanks to the permission of Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, the guys perform a medley from the “Seasons” catalog of outstanding hits.
Critics have called Under the Streetlamp “a sure-fire sellout!” All the songs are delivered in the inimitable Under the Streetlamp style, with tight harmonies and slick dance moves that will take you back to an era of sharkskin suits, flashy cars and martini shakers.
Their special guest is the a cappella group Gentleman’s Rule!
Mountainfilm on Tour is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter. The films selected for the show will cover themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of exploring cultures, preserving environments and promoting adventure.
The Mountainfilm Festival is a four-day event held each Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colo., that is part film festival, part ideas summit and part jamboree. For 35 years, Mountainfilm has attracted leading independent documentary filmmakers, artists and photographers, conservationists, mountaineers, scientists, journalists and explorers from around the world to engage in the festival’s motto of “Celebrating Indomitable Spirit.”
Each year, Mountainfilm on Tour takes a selection of outstanding films from the Telluride festival on the road to engage audiences who otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience them. Year-round and worldwide, the tour reaches about 30,000 people on five continents.
The films will begin promptly at 8 p.m. A Mountainfilm presenter will introduce the films as well as host an engaging dialogue with the audience following the films.
The Wood Brothers come to McGlohon Theater for one night only.
The group reached a new level when Chris Wood had a scrap of a song that “seemed like a chorus” scribbled in a notebook and he played it for his older brother, Oliver, who’d had a verse lying around that he didn’t know what to do with. The two pieces, composed months apart — one in urban Atlanta and the other deep in the Catskills — dovetailed musically and lyrically: the verse about a man regretting chasing unattainable women, and the high-lonesome, harmony-driven refrain of “When I die, I wanna be sent back to try, try again.”
“Neon Tombstone” wasn’t the first song that Chris and Oliver had written. Since 2006, they had released three studio albums of Americana as The Wood Brothers. But it was the first one they’d written like this.
“This is how a song is supposed to come together,” Oliver remembers thinking. “There was some chance, some randomness, to it.” The experience marked a deeper level of collaboration for The Wood Brothers, a new found fraternal synchronicity that’s captured on their latest album, “The Muse.”
CLICK HERE to see a full list of upcoming shows, and to nab tickets to any of the shows this week. It’s not too late, but hurry!
Who wouldn’t want to see bassist/composer Edgar Meyer and mandolinist/composer Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, when they team up on Sunday, Oct. 5, in Knight Theater? These two MacArthur Fellows will cross traditional boundaries in a diverse program of largely original music. The duo has collaborated on several critically acclaimed projects including the Grammy-winning “Goat Rodeo Sessions,” a 2008 recording of original compositions (Nonesuch Records) and, most recently, Chris Thile’s 2013 solo recording, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1,” produced by Meyer. CLICK HERE for show details.
Check out the video below to hear their magic!
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Email email@example.com and tell us why you’re excited to see Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer! Use the subject line: Thile-Meyer Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Tuesday, Sept. 23, and notified via email.
Kinky Boots has officially hit the road, and not to anyone’s surprise, it’s a huge hit! The show opened in Las Vegas just over a week ago garnering rave reviews and wowing audiences. We hear they are leaping to their feet night after night! We can’t wait to share the magic of this six-time Tony Award-winning show with you when it comes to Belk Theater in March! CLICK HERE for ticket information.
So what is it about Kinky Boots that leaves show lovers feeling so joyful? This show is simply exhilarating and promises to lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! This inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible … proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
Inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots features a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, direction and Tony-winning choreography by Jerry Mitchell and a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. Come join the sold-out audiences who have discovered why – sometimes – the best way to fit in is to stand out!
Kinky Boots comes to Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center March 17-22, 2015. You do not want to miss this amazing show! CLICK HERE for more information.
There’s something to be said for jazz music and the deep history behind it. In many cities there’s an authentic love for this type of music, a loyal following, and dozens of outlets to take part in it. Blumenthal Performing Arts knows there’s an audience in Charlotte, but there are few opportunities to truly celebrate it.
It has been a longtime dream for Blumenthal to re-energize this genre in the Queen City with an annual jazz festival. Now, through a wonderful partnership with Jazz Arts Initiative, that dream is becoming a reality. This October, the first of what we hope will become a staple again in Charlotte kicks off in uptown.
Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival will take place over two days in early October. The new festival’s headline event is Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis on Oct. 7 in Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now.
The festival kicks off Saturday, Oct. 4, with Find Your Jazz Day at Knight Theater. The all-day event features free performances by local and regional jazz artists, special activities for kids of all ages and talk backs with jazz performers and experts.
Find Your Jazz Day
Find Your Jazz Day is a cultural jazz feast for the whole family! This FREE all-day event begins at 11 a.m. and includes live performances, kids’ crafts, educational activities and more! Join us in a New Orleans-style second line jazz parade to the Knight Theater at 6:15 p.m.
Jazz 4 Tots: Intro to Jazz for the little ones.
Kids’ Jazz Playhouse.
Loonis McGlohon Young Jazz Artist Competition.
CLICK HERE for more information on how to participate in this competition.
Keynote Conversation: Jazz Legends in the Carolinas.
CLT Classic Jazz Fest Second Line Jazz Parade.
(From Trade and Tryon streets to the Knight Theater.)
Music: World-class live jazz performances from the region’s top artists.
Tickets are $5 for this concert in the Knight Theater. To purchase tickets, click “Get Tickets” at the top of the page. More information on the evening performers will be announced soon.
Please call 704-348-5770 for more information on the festival.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Hailed as “an extraordinarily versatile orchestra” by The Los Angeles Times, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is composed of 15 of jazz music’s leading soloists under the leadership of musical director Wynton Marsalis. Drawing from an extensive repertoire that includes original compositions by Marsalis, Ted Nash and other members of the orchestra, as well as the masterworks of Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane and other great jazz composers, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concerts are internationally critically-acclaimed. “The finest big band in the world today,” said The Daily Telegraph, UK.
Visit BlumenthalArts.org/CLTJazzFest for all the details. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to celebrate jazz!
“There is a mystic in the mountains high above the Great Salt Lake / He’s dancin’ in the heaven far below his golden gates / He’s lookin’ at our cars below / And laughin’ at our rock ‘n’ roll,” sings Joshua James on the first lines of “Mystic.”
Strangely familiar, yet refreshingly innovative, James’ songs are said to be devastating in their honesty, working with themes that are intermittently elating, melancholic, and transcendent. He doesn’t so much perform these songs, as he does let them possess him, allowing his voice to be throttled from a husky whisper to a full-bodied roar.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something I want to see! James comes to Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Sunday, Sept. 21. Tickets are $18 general admission. CLICK HERE to nab yours now!
James’ first two albums, 2007’s “The Sun Is Always Brighter” and 2009’s “Build Me This,” topped the year-end Best of iTunes lists, while earning ecstatic praise from press. After the commercial release of his first album in 2007, James spent the next five years touring across the United States and to far-flung places such as Romania and Japan.
Watch the video below and see James perform the song, “Meet Me in the Middle.”
In early 2011, he headed back to Utah, taking a break from the road. During this extended stay at home, James took to vegetable gardening and raising goats and chickens, and he developed a heightened connection to the living things around him. The concept of becoming self-sufficient and living off the land became increasingly appealing.
When it came time to make the new record, James felt he needed to veer outside his comfort zone artistically and looked for a producer who could help facilitate this. His search, along with longtime friend and band mate Evan Coulombe, coincidentally led him to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, home base of producer Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Gardens and Villa, The Mynabrids).
Holed up in Swift’s creative alcove National Freedom, the three of them took James’s voice and songs in unexpected directions, interested much more in honesty than sheer flawlessness. Recorded predominantly live over the course of two weeks, Swift strived to capture the immediacy of James’ live performances, without laboring over multiple takes or lengthy overdubs. After giving one or two impassioned live performances of each new song, James stepped back to make way for Swift’s own artistic vision.
“The writing and recording of this record has been a time of transition and realization for me,” says James, “and that set me free to explore other sounds and forms of expression. It’s been about finding a center and realizing that not everyone needs to see the world like you do. We all have differences. I love the fact that we are not all the same, nor should we be.”
Don’t miss Joshua James when he comes to Stage Door Theater this Sunday! CLICK HERE for more information.
The Wood Brothers are indeed brothers: Chris and Oliver Wood. They are joined by Jano Rix, a drummer and singer. The Wood Brothers are mix of influences from jazz to country to the blues. The result is a roots music sound that impresses not only the old school fans but wins over those who follow The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons.
The Wood Brothers return to Charlotte Sept. 27 at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Special guest is Chris Kasper. Tickets start at $18.50. Get yours today!
The group recently played the Lockn’ Festival in central Virginia featuring headliners such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Phil Lesh and Friends, Willie Nelson and Wilco. The Wood Brothers then kicked off a jam-packed fall tour.
Based in Nashville, the brothers played in other bands before joining forces. Here’s what you need to know about The Wood Brothers before you go to the Sept. 27 show:
1. Chris Wood, who possesses extraordinary bass chops, studied at New England Conservatory of Music with some of the finest players in jazz. He is in Medeski Martin & Wood, a trio that specialized in jazz, funk and a myriad of musical styles.
2. Oliver Wood is a student of the electric blues guitar. Think “the Kings” (B.B., Albert and Freddie) and Albert Collins. He played in blues singer-guitarist Tinsley Ellis’ band for two years. Ellis kicked Oliver to the mic and told him to sing. Oliver later formed King Johnson (named for his heroes, the three Kings and Robert Johnson.
3. The brothers decided to give being band mates a shot after a gig in Winston-Salem. Oliver Wood sat in with Medeski Martin & Wood, and he found a remarkable chemistry – particularly with his brother, despite the fact that they had been on separate musical paths for some 15 years. “It was a creepy experience, like watching myself,” Chris Wood recalled. “He had a lot of the same impulses I did. Part of it was influences and part was blood.”
4. Rix, a drummer and ace-in-the-hole multi-instrumentalist, literally patented a percussion instrument, the “shuitar,” an acoustic guitar rigged up with tuna cans and other noisemakers, which, in his hands, becomes a veritable drum kit. The shuitar helped when the band picked Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” for The A.V. Club’s Undercover challenge in 2012.
5. The Wood Brothers’ fifth album, “The Muse,” was produced by the legendary Buddy Miller and recorded at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. Paste magazine interviewed the band and Miller about the collaboration.
Get social with The Wood Brothers
Steve Forbert, the Grammy-nominated folk-rock musician who burst onto the music scene in 1978, will be in the Queen City this week! Forbert has since released 14 studio albums and captured the hearts of millions with his music. Don’t have your tickets to see him here in Charlotte? It’s not too late, but you better hurry! The show is this Thursday, Sept. 11, in Stage Door Theater. CLICK HERE to buy now. It’s general admission for only $22!
Want to know more about the man behind the guitar? Read on!
As a young man from Meridian, Miss., Steve Forbert traveled to New York City and played guitar for spare change in Grand Central Station. He vaulted to international prominence with a folk-rock hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” during a time when roots-based rock was fading out and the Ramones, Talking Heads and other new wave punk acts were moving in to the public consciousness. Still, critics raved about Steve’s poetic lyrics and engaging melodies, and the crowds at CBGB’s club in New York accepted him alongside those acts.
“I’ve never been interested in changing what I do to fit emerging trends,” Forbert says. “Looking back on it, I was helping to keep a particular American songwriting tradition alive at a time when it wasn’t in the spotlight.”
After his first two records came a plethora of well-crafted, unforgettable songs on such albums as “Little Stevie Orbit,” “Streets of This Town,” “The American in Me,” “Mission of the Crossroad Palms” and “Evergreen Boy.” His tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, “Any Old Time,” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004.
In October 2012, 35 years after his first album, Forbert released an exciting new album, “Over With You.” Its 10 fresh but mature songs pinpoint a wide range of emotions that color personal relationships – emotions that most listeners have undoubtedly felt and struggled to understand at some point in their lives.
“This is an album that has taken a lifetime to make,” says Forbert. “You don’t just pull these songs out of thin air – you have to live them.”
Don’t miss Forbert in Stage Door Theater Thursday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m.!