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Dave Allen & Marshall Crenshaw
$20 General Admission


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he rules Dave Alvin has followed throughout his 24 years as a solo artist were discarded during the creation of his 11th album, Eleven Eleven.

For the first time in his career he wrote songs while touring and recorded during breaks on his tours in 2010 with the Guilty Women. He used musicians he had not recorded with since his days in the Blasters, and for the first time ever, he sang on a record with his brother Phil, the lead singer of the Blasters. "While we were growing up there was a firm line between Phil and me,"

Dave says, referring to Blasters' division of labor: Phil sang, Dave wrote the songs and played lead guitar. "The main reason I decided to have him sing with me was that weÂ1re not going to be here forever; we might as well have fun. Life is too short." Eleven Eleven features three duets: Phil and Dave on the simmering blues "What's Up With Your Brother"; Dave and Christy McWilson from the Guilty Women on the gentle country number "Manzanita" and the whimsical song, "Two Lucky Bums," the final recording of Dave and his best friend, the late Chris Gaffney. The rest of the material, rich in stories that stretch from R&B royalty to labor history to Harlan County in Kentucky, was written over the course of seven months. As he says with sly chuckle: "The songs are not necessarily true, but theyÂ1re all autobiographical." "It is the first album in which every song was either written or conceived on the road," Dave says. "When I go on the road, I shut off that part of my brain. It's really hard for me to write while touring, but I wanted to try something different on this album. "Whenever we had a break and I'd return home, I'd call my revolving cast of the regular guys, see who was available to go in and record, cut a song, and head back on tour. With the exception of (the late legendary R&B saxophonist) Lee Allen, I had never used anybody from the Blasters on my solo records. Then I thought, well why not use them?" While the backing cast varies, the constant through Eleven Eleven is Dave's assured guitar-playing, whether it's finger-picking on an acoustic against an accordion on "No Worries Mija" or blazing riffs on electric over a Bo Diddley beat on "Run Conejo Run." Eleven Eleven reunites Dave with pianist Gene Taylor, whose barrel-house blues sound has not been heard on an Alvin project since the final Blasters album, 1985's "Hard Line." Taylor was one of several blues veterans who would pass through the band Dave and Phil Alvin founded in their hometown of Downey, Calif., in the late 1970s. Beginning in 1980 with the Blasters' debut album, Dave's songwriting pioneered the marriage of punk attitude with blues, California country and rockabilly. The brothers called it "American music"; it would eventually be labeled by others as roots rock. The Blasters released four studio albums between 1980 and 1985 and Dave's songs "Marie, Marie," "Border Radio" and, of course, "American Music" became staples of the burgeoning genre. Dave's solo career began with 1987's "Romeo's Escape" and in 2000 he won the traditional folk Grammy for his collection of songs from the early part of the 20th century, Public Domain: Songs From the Wild Land. Soon thereafter he began recording for Yep Roc, which released his last three albums, West of the West, Ashgrove and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. "The songs on Eleven Eleven, Dave says, "are all about life, love, death, loss, money, justice, labor, faith, doubt, family and friendship. The usual stuff." "Mortality has been an issue on my mind ever since Ashgrove.. Since finishing that album, I lost some great friends -- Gaffney, Amy Farris and Buddy Blue of the Beat Farmers. That weighed on me." The result is an album with songs rich in vivid stories, taking listeners on a bounty hunt in "Murrietta's Head," a tawdry scene of seduction in "Dirty Nightgown" and a true crime recollection in "Johnny Ace is Dead." Dave's guitar work punctuates each tale, reinforcing moments of urgency, remorse and reflection. Despite making the album with different musicians at sessions separated by weeks of time, Dave was consistent in getting a gritty, bluesy feel from start to finish. The studio, and engineer Craig Adams, played significant roles in getting that feel. He recorded the album at Winslow Court Studio in Hollywood, the same studio where West of the West and Ashgrove were recorded, both of which Adams engineered. "Winslow Court is an old Foley studio from the 1930s," Dave says. "It's about the size of Sun Studios and you can have everyone in a circle so you can make eye contact. A lot of the musical dynamics and the arrangement on the record comes just from being able to see each other. If everyone were in a cubicle you wouldn't get that vibe." It's also the one studio where Dave can place his amp beside him and turn up the volume to capture the essence of a live recording. "All great records, up to a certain point in time, were just a bunch of guys in a room. The Blasters tended to record the same way, but because of concerns of engineers I wouldn't get my amp right next to me. The way Craig won me over was during the recording of Ashgrove. I asked 'mind if I make it louder?.' That was one of the few times an engineer has said 'turn it up!"

Marshall Crenshaw

Born

near Detroit, Michigan, Marshall Crenshaw began playing guitar at age

ten and he received his first break playing John Lennon in the

off-Broadway company of Beatlemania. In 1987, he played Buddy Holly in

the Richie Valens biopic “La Bamba.” While living in NYC, he recorded

the single “Something’s Gonna Happen” for Alan Betrock’s Shake Records,

which led to a deal with Warner Bros. His debut album, Marshall Crenshaw was

acclaimed as a pop masterpiece upon its release in 1982 and established

him as a first-rate songwriter, singer and guitarist. The record

spawned the Top 40 single “Someday, Someway,” which rockabilly singer

Robert Gordon covered and scored a hit with a year earlier, and other

classics such as “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” “Whenever You’re

On My Mind” and “Cynical Girl.” The great songs continued with the

Life’s Too Short album on MCA (“Fantastic Planet of Love”), three albums

for Razor&Tie and the 2009 release Jaggedland (“Someone Told Me,”

“Passing Through,” “Never Coming Down

A quote from Trouser Press sums up Marshall Crenshaw’s early career:

“Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon

proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself.” All Music

Guide captured Crenshaw’s vibe perfectly: “He writes songs that are

melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an

honesty and force that still finds room for humor without venom.”

“His intelligence, integrity, and passion for the great song always

show up in his music,” wrote Robert Christgau in his Consumer Guide of

Marshall Crenshaw. Over a span of 30 years, Crenshaw has released 13

albums, all of which have received the highest marks from critics and

have earned him a fiercely loyal fan base.

“I wanted to think of a different way of working that would inspire

me and keep me motivated,” Marshall Crenshaw says of his newest

endeavor: a subscription-only service that addresses the recent seismic

changes in the music-industry landscape by cutting out the

record-company middle man to distribute his new recordings directly to

fans.

The subscription service, which the veteran

singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer recently launched via a successful

Kickstarter funding campaign, will provide fans with a steady stream of

new Marshall Crenshaw music via a series of exclusive three-song

10-inch, 45-rpm vinyl EPs on Addie-Ville Records, six of which the

artist plans to release over a two-year period. In addition to the vinyl

discs, subscribers will also receive a download card for high-quality

digital versions of the EP tracks.

Each EP will consist entirely of newly recorded,

never-before-released material, encompassing a new original Crenshaw

composition, a classic cover tune, and a new reworking of a time-honored

favorite.

“I really do think that vinyl sounds best, and that playing a vinyl

record is still the optimum listening experience,” Crenshaw asserts.

“And with the sound quality that you get at 45 rpm, I think that these

things are going to deliver the goods, sonically.”

The first subscription EP’s A-side is the brand-new Crenshaw number

“I Don’t See You Laughing Now,” recorded with longtime cohorts Andy York

(John Mellencamp, Ian Hunter), and Graham Maby (Joe Jackson, They Might

Be Giants). The record’s double B-side features a memorable new reading

of The Move’s 1971 post-apocalyptic anthem “No Time,” recorded with

veteran New Jersey rocker and frequent Crenshaw collaborator Glen

Burtnick; and a new version of “There She Goes Again,” whose original

version appeared on Crenshaw’s eponymous 1982 debut album, recorded live

with alt-country icons the Bottle Rockets.

All three tracks were mastered for maximum awesomeness by legendary

engineer Greg Calbi, who will handle mastering duties on the entire EP

series.

Earlier this year, fans made the subscription project a reality by

pledging more than $33,000 to Crenshaw’s Kickstarter campaign, above and

beyond Crenshaw’s original goal, in increments ranging from $1 to

$5000.

Crenshaw is excited that his new subscription model allows him to

embrace his love for singles, while allowing him to make music on his

own terms, free of record-company politics and the emotional baggage

that routinely accompanies the making of full-length albums.

“I’ve always put a great deal of care into the albums I’ve made,”

Crenshaw states. “But as a listener, I’ve always been a singles guy and

an individual-tracks guy. I’m looking forward to creating a steady

output of music in small batches, rather than being stuck in a cave for

months and stockpiling a whole bunch of music and dumping it out all at

once. Now, when I finish something, I get to put it out, instead of

having to wait until I’ve got 12 more.”

Over the course of a career that’s spanned three decades, 13 albums

and hundreds of songs, Marshall Crenshaw’s musical output has maintained

a consistent fidelity to the qualities of melody, craftsmanship and

passion, and his efforts have been rewarded with the devotion of a broad

and remarkably loyal fan base.

After an early break playing John Lennon in a touring company of the Broadway musical Beatlemania,

the Michigan-bred musician began his recording career with the

now-legendary indie single “Something’s Gonna Happen,” on Alan Betrock’s

seminal Shake label. His growing fame in his adopted hometown of New

York City helped to win Crenshaw a deal with Warner Bros. Records, which

released his self-titled 1982 debut album. With such classics as

“Someday, Someway” and “Cynical Girl,” that LP established Crenshaw as

one of his era’s preeminent tunesmiths — a stature that was confirmed by

subsequent albums Field Day, Downtown, Mary Jean & 9 Others, Good Evening, Life’s Too Short, Miracle of Science, #447, What’s in the Bag?and Jaggedland.

Along the way, Crenshaw’s compositions have been successfully covered

by a broad array of performers, including Bette Midler, Kelly Willis,

Robert Gordon, Ronnie Spector, Marti Jones and the Gin Blossoms, with

whom Crenshaw co-wrote the Top 10 single “Til I Hear It From You.” He’s

also provided music for several film soundtracks, appeared in the films La Bamba(as Buddy Holly) and Peggy Sue Got Married, and was nominated for a Grammy and a Golden Globe award for penning the title track for the film comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Crenshaw also wrote a book about rock movies entitled Hollywood Rock ’n’ Roll,

and has assembled compilation albums of the music of Scott Walker and

the Louvin Brothers, as well as the acclaimed country-and-western

collection Hillbilly Music . . . Thank God! Since 2011, he has hosted his own radio show, The Bottomless Pit, on New York’s WFUV, Saturday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

But it’s writing songs and making records that remain at the center

of Marshall Crenshaw’s creative life, and he’s distinctly excited about

the potential of his new subscription service. “I still think that

recorded music is a great art form, I still love it and believe in it,

and I’m still always striving for excellence. The fact that the

Kickstarter thing was a success, and that people responded so well to

the concept, felt like a good validation of that.”

“This is a really inspiring situation,” Crenshaw concludes, “and I

think that it’s gonna be a good way for me to proceed into the future.”

http://marshallcrenshaw.com

http://www.davealvin.net



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