June 13-14, 2015
Madison Square Park, NYC
Each year we feature a few incredible musical guests who help us turn up the heat at the South end of the park. Check out the performance schedule:
Get to know the bands and artists who will be performing this year below!
“I never seem to stay in the same place for too long,” says Reed Turner, smiling, “it doesn’t suit me.” The native Austinite is talking about his often transient lifestyle, but he may as well be referring to his music. He’s become associated with the sort of genre-melding that defines heroes like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, and he has the resumé to back it up.
An award-winning songwriter, Turner has garnered top honors in several national songwriting competitions, including first place at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour Competition. But it’s his voice that gets the message across; soulful and clear, with an “entrancing intimacy reminiscent of Jeff Buckley.”
His last independent-release, the critically acclaimed Ghosts In The Attic, found it’s way onto several year-end “Best Of” lists, and was put into rotation on over 200 stations across North America and Europe. The single, “Room For Doubt,” received heavy airplay on Sirius XM and earned him an invitation to record a live in-studio performance. Establishing himself as one of Austin’s best new acts, Turner has since toured nationally, opening for the likes of Gary Clark Jr., Marc Broussard, Will Hoge, and Jessica Lea Mayfield, amongst others.
In 2015, Turner and his band will release the single “I Got Love,” followed by an EP titled Native Tongue.
“I love the harmonies of the Shook Twins, the dreamlike songs that seem somehow permeated by the American Folk tradition, without actually being part of it. They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.” - Neil Gaiman, New York Times – Best-Selling Author
Born and raised in Sandpoint Idaho, Shook Twins are an Indie folk-pop band now hailing from coniferous forested Portland, Oregon. Identical twins, Katelyn and Laurie Shook, Kyle Volkman and Niko Daoussis form the core quartet. Central elements of the Shook Twins’ sound are a wide range of instrumentation, including banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass, mandolin, electric guitar, electronic drums, face drum (beatbox), glockenspiel, ukulele, banjo drumming and their signature golden EGG. Beautiful twin harmonies, layered upon acoustic and electric instrumentation coupled with Laurie’s inventive use of percussive and ambient vocal loops, and Katelyn’s repurposed telephone microphone, set their sound apart, creating a unique and eccentric blend of folk, roots, groove and soul.
The twins are the main songwriters but they have recently started backing up their band members, Niko Daoussis (Cyber Camel) and Anna Tivel (Anna and the Underbelly) and adding their stunning songs to the mix.
Each Shook Twins song tells a story, distinctive, sharp, genuine, and well – sometimes quirky. Drawing from their life experience, select subjects include, being potters’ daughters, imagined superpowers and a chicken named ‘Rose’ they befriended. Shook Twins also pull out unexpected takes on classic hits, retellings of their musician friends’ songs, heartfelt ballads and rhythm driven dance numbers.
After releasing their first album “You Can Have the Rest,” the twin sisters moved to Portland in December of 2009, conceptualizing their 2011 release “Window” (featuring Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law of Elephant Revival).Both albums were recorded and produced in Santa Cruz, California, at InDigital Studios. Favorable reviews, extensive radio airplay and a busy tour schedule have created an ever growing fanbase & kudos from many major musicians.
Shook Twins and their full band, including Niko (mandolin, electric guitar,vocals), Kyle (bass), Anna Tivel (violin,vocals), and Russ Kleiner (drum kit, percussion), recently finished recording their third album with Grammy nominated producer Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios as well as partnering and recording an album, with fellow Portland musician Ben Darwish on his epic concept piece, “The Clear Blue Pearl.” Shook Twins have shared the stage with artists including: Ryan Adams, David Grisman, Mason Jennings, Blizten Trapper, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, The FruitBats, Jonatha Brooke, JJ Grey and MoFro, The Indigo Girls, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, The BoDeans, Elephant Revival, The Head and The Heart, The Lumineers and many more. Eclectic, amusing and whimsical, Shook Twins’ laid-back and fun stage presence draws the listener in, allowing them to take the audience away on the adventure that is their live show.
“The Portland, Ore., folk group is ready to rattle the music world with its ‘What We Do’ album.” – USA Today
“The Shook Twins have sass and spunk to spare! Their live show is tons of fun to behold.” - Laura Veirs
“The Shooks will Shake you. These ladies have been keepin’ it real since the day they were born and that was only seconds apart from one another I think. Do yourself a favor and check ‘em out. I do declare, ya won’t be sorry.” – Langhorne Slim
“The Shook Twins put on a heck of a show. Keep your eyes on these folks. I’m excited to hear what they do next.” – Tucker Martine
“A unique, personal music that lights up the stage with its joy and enthusiasm.” – Mason Jennings
Andrew Combs is a songwriter, guitarist and singer from Texas who lives in Nashville. His debut album, Worried Man, was named one of American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2012. He has toured with Jason Isbell, Shovels & Rope, Caitlin Rose, and Houndmouth. “When it comes to singer-songwriters with lyrical skills, Andrew Combs is the real deal,” writes Southern Living. “The Nashville-dwelling, Dallas native is well on his way to becoming a preeminent voice in his genre.”
Barefoot, sleeveless and sweaty, Whiskey Shivers frontman and fiddle master Bobby Fitzgerald never stops smiling on stage. “All right! Let’s kick this thing in the face!” he barks, as the band tears into their stringed instruments at breakneck speed.
It’s almost impossible to watch him perform more than a song or two without cracking a smile yourself. His exuberance is contagious, and it bleeds through into the music. Whether they’re playing at a backyard house party in Texas, a punk-rock dive bar or a sprawling country music festival, crowds take notice. People put down their phones, pick up their drinks and start dancing.
“Whiskey Shivers isn’t just the five of us on stage, it’s everybody in the room,” Fitzgerald says. “We try to bring everybody into the moment and get them to realize there’s no wall between us and the crowd. We’re all in this together, and we’re all here to have a good time. We’ll do our best to facilitate it, but it takes all of us to make it happen. When you start to feel that, you can’t help but feel a little attachment and become invested in the show. You realize, ‘Oh, I’m here to have good time too!’”
Despite their joyful demeanor, the guys in Whiskey Shivers aren’t pretending that life is always easy. Far from it, Fitzgerald explains. Their new self-titled album, produced by fellow roots music boundary-pusher Robert Ellis, is heavy with traditional bluegrass themes and imagery lamenting universal struggles - work, pain, sin, regret and death.
It’s in the contrast where Whiskey Shivers’ music shines. They infuse their songs with punk rock energy and a darkly comical light-heartedness, stretching the bluegrass genre to fit whatever they feel is right. For them, being happy is a conscious choice, and making fun of life’s struggles is part of their philosophy.
The full lineup now consists of Bobby Fitzgerald (vocals, fiddle) from Dundee, NY, Andrew VanVoorhees (bass, vocals) from Prineville, OR, Joe Deuce (washboards) from Vider, TX, Jeff “Horti” Hortillosa (vocals, guitar) from Middlesboro, KY, and James Bookert (banjo) from Georgetown, TX.
Fitzgerald admits that it can sometimes seem impossible to maintain such a high level of energy night after night on the road. “Well, it can seem that way, up until the moment the show starts,” he says. “We could have a really tough day, driving through bad weather on no sleep, feeling like shit, the sound is terrible, or whatever else is going on that day. And then as soon as we start playing, it all just kind of falls away. All of the sudden we’re having a good time again, and the momentum carries itself. That’s why we’re doing this, because we love it.”
For her hotly anticipated sophomore album, Nashville songstress Nikki Lane teamed up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys for a record that turns the vulnerable singer-songwriter stereotype on its ears. With songs that crucify ex-boyfriends, celebrate one-night stands (as long as she can bolt town right after) and proclaim that it’s “always the right time to do the wrong thing,” Lane comes across like a modern-era Wanda Jackson, albeit with more oats to sow. “My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what’s been going on in my life, so thisis one moody record,” she says. “There’s lots of talk of misbehaving and moving on.”
Nashville songwriter Jonny Fritz’s work ethic and boldness have paid off in spades. It’s been a big year for Jonny, with opening stints for Alabama Shakes, Deer Tick, Dawes, Shooter Jennings and rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson and kudos from CMT and Rolling Stone, among many others. He’s signed a deal with indie label ATO Records (he actually signed the deal with gravy at Nashville landmark Arnold’s Country Kitchen), and his third full-length album, Dad Country, is set for release on April 16, 2013.
Produced by Jonny and Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, recorded at Jackson Browne’s Los Angeles studio and finished up in Music City, USA, this is a breakthrough album, balancing Fritz’s earthy trademark humor and unfiltered worldview with some of his darkest material to date. The album has a Nashville sound kept aloft on a sure Southern Californian wind, no doubt from the influence of his backing band: Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Tay Strathairn and Wylie Gelber of Dawes, Jackson Browne, and his Nashville band of Spencer Cullum Jr, Joshua Hedley, Taylor Zachry and Jerry Pentecost. Dad Country is also his first release under his real name, Fritz, with Jonny ditching the “Corndawg” moniker he’d carried since his early teens.