COVID-19 UPDATE

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion will be postponing and rescheduling some of our upcoming concerts. Previously purchased tickets for the originally scheduled concert dates will be honored at the rescheduled date. You can see which concerts have been rescheduled and the most up-to-date information here:
 
Whiskey Myers
with special guest Shane Smith

Friday, May 15 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Country / Southern Rock

Genre-bending band Whiskey Myers have played more than 2,000 live shows since their emergence in 2007 and have sold out 95% of their headlining shows over the past two years to ever-increasing crowds. New self-produced album WHISKEY MYERS, out now on the band’s own Wiggy Thump Records, debuted atop the Country and Americana/Folk sales charts, at No. 2 on the Rock chart and No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. The self-titled project follows their most recent album, Mud, which reached No. 1 on the iTunes country chart with single “Stone” hitting Top 10 all genre. USA Today describes the band led by frontman Cody Cannon as “a riff-heavy blend of Southern rock and gritty country that has earned comparisons to the Allman Brothers Band and Led Zeppelin,” with Rolling Stone noting “it’s the seminal combination of twang and crunchy rock & roll guitars that hits a perfect sweet spot.” The band has also earned sync success with features in Seasons 1 & 2 of Paramount Network’s Kevin Costner hit show “Yellowstone” as well as the Renée Zellweger-led Netflix series “What/If.” As Esquire proclaims, “Whiskey Myers are the real damn deal.”

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“You can tell when somebody is faking it,” says Cody Cannon, lead singer and guitarist of Whiskey Myers, “and you can tell when it’s real.” This kick-ass band has been steadily building a devoted following with its gritty authenticity, and with their self-titled fifth album, they’re poised to explode.

Each one of the releases from Whiskey Myers has been bigger and bigger — following their break-out third album, 2014’s Early Morning Shakes, their most recent record, Mud, climbed to No. 4 on Billboard’s country charts in 2016. And that was before the group was featured in Kevin Costner’s TV series Yellowstone in 2018 (not just on the soundtrack, but on screen, performing in a bar), which propelled the band’s entire catalog into the Top 10 of the iTunes country chart.

But playing to larger and wilder crowds — including audiences of more than 100,000 at the Download Festivals in London and Paris — didn’t cause Whiskey Myers to change their approach this time around. “We just bring our songs to the table and make it sound like us,” says Cannon. “We never think about it. We just try to go in and write a good song, whether it’s country or rock and roll or blues.”

“There’s never a plan or the sense that we need to make a song sound a certain way,” adds guitarist John Jeffers. “A country song could end up a rocker or the other way around — it’s extremely organic, and that’s always been us as a band.”

The big change for Whiskey Myers was the decision by the group (which also includes Cody Tate on guitar, Jeff Hogg on drums, bassist Jamey Gleaves and Tony Kent playing keyboards and percussion) to produce the album themselves. GRAMMYwinner Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson) helmed the band’s last two albums, but this time around, they felt ready to take the wheel.

“We loved a lot of things about our producers,” says Jeffers, “but it was time to be set free and do it ourselves — to take what we learned from them and put it all together, figure it out. I think it just made it more authentically us.” “We didn’t know what to expect being on both sides of the glass, but we loved it,” says Cannon. “Everybody got along, and we really incorporated everybody’s ideas.”

Jeffers emphasizes how that sense of collaboration and experimentation really defined their whirlwind eighteen days of recording at the Sonic Ranch studio, outside of El Paso. “There’s never a right or wrong answer when it comes to ideas,” he says. “We would run every single idea from everyone — some work and some don’t, but we give them all a shot. And then there’s that magical moment when the whole band hears it, your eyes get a twinkle — ‘That’s it, that’s us!’ It’s usually a no-brainer.”

It should come as no surprise that at this point, the members of Whiskey Myers can communicate and create so cohesively. The band’s roots stretch back decades into the red dirt of East Texas, where Cannon, Jeffers and Tate first began playing together. They earned a rabid local following on the strength of their 2008 debut album, Road Of Life, and then notched their first No. 1 on the Texas Music Charts with the 2011 follow-up Firewater.

With Early Morning Shakes, though, the rest of the world started to catch up to what Texas already knew. Esquire called them "the real damn deal," while USA Today wrote that their music had “shades of Led Zeppelin and David Allen Coe.” They took their blistering live show across the U.S. and U.K. non-stop, sharing stages with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr. and Jamey Johnson and racking up more than 300 million streams of their songs.

The band draws as much inspiration from Nirvana as from Waylon Jennings, and Whiskey Myers bursts out of the gate with the raging “Die Rockin’,” followed by such bruisers as “Rolling Stone” and “Gasoline.” Over the course of fourteen tracks, though, songs expand, moods change and songs like “Bury My Bones” and “California to Carolina” explore different stories and emotions.

“You want an album to be like a rollercoaster,” says Jeffers. “Does it really take you for a ride, with ups and downs and some loops and sometimes you’re upside down?”

“Those first songs on the album were the first batch we recorded, and they were really rock and roll,” says Cannon. “That got the juices flowing. But an album should be like a whole work of art that moves, comes out strong, ends strong, flows in the middle — like a good show does.”

Whiskey Myers hasn’t dialed down their Southern Rock rowdiness, but these songs also reveal new maturity and changes in the lives of the band — both Jeffers and Cannon got married since the release of their last record. “There’s always pressure there,” says Jeffers about the challenges of maintaining a relationship and a relentless touring schedule, “‘Bury My Bones’ is about being home. I was on the road and just wanted to go home. It is on your mind, sometimes harder than others, and it shows in the songs. And then sometimes you’re just pissed off and you write a song called ‘Bitch!’”

“We’re growing up,” says Cannon, “and this is exactly the place we’re at, and it comes out in our songs, in our business, everything, We’re not as wild as we were — we’re not totally calm, but you see how your life changes. You always write about little sections of your life — you can write a happy song when you’re sad, but you tend to go to where you are — and I just think this album is happier, more upbeat, doesn’t have too many dreary songs on it.”

For this band of renegade brothers, the goal isn’t to fit into a format or try a new direction for its own sake, it’s to be true to the music they love — and with Whiskey Myers they continue pushing in all directions and sharpening their attack, whether country, rock, blues, whatever — even adding the legendary McCrary Sisters’ gospel influence to the project on background vocals. “Everybody wants you to pick a genre, but we did this our whole career,” says Cody Cannon. “We like it all, so we’re gonna do it all. We’re better than we were at 20 years old — you try to hone your skills and get better, write better, play better. This is just how it came naturally, and it works better that way.”

Tower of Power
with special guest The Sweetwater All Stars

Tuesday, June 9 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Funk / R&B / Soul

Through the years, Tower of Power has been nearly impossible to label within the confines of conventional genres: soul, funk, rock, or pop — none of these encapsulate their unique vibe. That’s because nothing this group does is conventional. TOP has released 26 albums and classic hit tracks such as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard to Go,” and “Down to the Nightclub,” and they’ve blown away countless crowds with their horn-heavy sound. For half a century, this legendary band has moved audiences with their chart-topping hits and larger-than-life performances.

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“We knew when we went into the studio, we were going to make the best record that we could make – the best album of our career. And we did. We took it to another level.” – Emilio Castillo

With a landmark 50th anniversary album, 2018’s Soul Side of Town, still visible in their rearview mirror, one would think Tower of Power (or TOP, as it is more often referred to by its global legion of fans), the much-lauded creators of their own horn-based, hybrid brand of East Bay soul/funk/R&B/rock, would take a well-deserved breather. But that is not in the band’s DNA, nor that of its founder and ringmaster, tenor saxophonist and bandleader Emilio Castillo.

Beginning with East Bay Grease, their 1970 album debut on legendary impresario Bill Graham’s San Francisco Records, the tireless unit has released 26 albums, been responsible for such classic hit tracks as “What Is Hip?,” “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard To Go” and “Down To The Nightclub,” among so many others. TOP’s horn section, the heart of the band, have long been sought after sidemen, appearing on recordings by top artists ranging from Elton John, Aerosmith and Bonnie Raitt to Otis Redding, Santana and Heart. TOP paved the way for other high-powered brass rock/R&B hit artists of the 70s like Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Now, with their latest album release available on both on CD and LP, Step Up, the band forges on into the next decade of the 21st century, keeping to its continuous hardcore tour schedule (200 days a year!) and ongoing reinvigoration with the continual addition of new talent, most notably the phenomenal young lead vocalist, Marcus Scott, among many others. Marcus replaced TOP’s longtime lead singer, Ray Greene, who makes his final appearance with the band on Step Up. Also taking his bows on the new album is 30-year TOP veteran bassist Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, who is stepping back from life on the road and whose driving fingerstyle funk is ably replaced on tour by Marc Van Wageningen.

The new album came together in a somewhat unusual manner, Emilio says. In 2018, after spending a few years crafting a large body of new songs, TOP headed into the studio with Joe Vannelli, the GRAMMY® nominated producer with a long string of R&B, jazz, rock and pop credits. Between the writing, arranging and recording, says Emilio, it was a long and careful process – six years in the making.

“We knew when we went into the studio, we had so much great material, much more than one album,” says Emilio. About halfway through recording, he continues, Artistry Music [an imprint under Mack Avenue Music Group], the band’s new label, “loved what they were hearing so much, they wanted to put all the material out on one album for the band’s 50th anniversary.

“But we decided we were going to do the Michael Jackson thing,” Emilio laughs. “You know, where you record way more than you need and pick the best 12. So, we ended up with two great albums instead – Soul Side of Town for the anniversary and then Step Up for this year as we move forward.”

It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy road for Emilio and TOP, who says he feels fortunate to have found his calling in life and stuck with it, shepherding his ever-evolving band through the decades, keeping a dedicated fan base all the while.

In the early 60s, at a time when many kids were picking up electric guitars and listening to early rock and the British Invasion, Emilio was listening to R&B, jazz and blues. He asked his father to get him a saxophone instead and he never looked back.

“It was because of my father,” he says. “My dad was a bartender and he worked in joints that had bands with horn sections! I listened to ‘Harlem Nocturne,’ ‘Night Train,’ ‘Gigolo’ – songs like that were my early influences.”

He started his first band when he was 14 and says he has always had a band ever since. “I’d be lost if it wasn’t for the band,” Emilio laughs. “I play sax, but my instrument is the band. My talent is to help great musicians bring their sensibilities together.” The sign of a great bandleader, he observes, is to “not hog anything for yourself. You want to bring people in, create unity.”

By the summer of 1968, Emilio had already played in several bands when he met Steven ‘Doc’ Kupka, the baritone sax player and songwriter whose soulful style and Bohemian personality have become a defining part of the band’s songwriting, image and sound.

“Doc was the first hippie I ever met,” Emilio laughs. “He’s an old-school guy, an old soul. He just thinks differently.” Along with longtime drummer Dave Garibaldi, the three form the consistent core of TOP.

From the band’s debut up to Step Up, the TOP sound remains true to Emilio’s original musical vision: reach inside the deep, multidimensional well of what is broadly called soul music and bring together all its diverse components in a singular, emotional sound. With the exception of a brief attempt in the late 70s to chase the disco trend, the band has stayed true to that aim.

“Our label at the time leaned on us and they gave us a ton of money,” he says ruefully. “But we learned a hard lesson. It wasn’t us and we never again tried to change our sound. We thought we could sound like other bands? No. TOP has its own sound and it’s a blessing not a curse.”

Since that time, many great players have come and gone through TOP’s ranks, including Lenny Williams, the band’s lead vocalist on its classic early 70s hits. Anchored by Doc Kupka’s baritone, the renowned Tower of Power Horn Section has long been considered by many the best in the business and features 1st tenor saxophonist Tom Politzer and trumpeters Adolfo Acosta and Sal Cracchiolo.

The rhythm section is still powered by the original team of funkmasters: Garibaldi on drums and Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia on bass, who have both been with the band since the debut album. Rounding out the 10-piece unit is gifted guitarist Jerry Cortez (nearly a decade with TOP) and soulful keyboardist/Hammond B3 specialist, Roger Smith, who will soon celebrate 20 years with the group.

Through the years, TOP has always been difficult to slot into established music business genres: soul, funk, pop, rock. It incorporates all of those into its own unique and easily recognizable signature sound.

“I don’t think in terms of genres,” Emilio says. “But the rest of the world does. Originally, we were called a soul band. And we do make original soul music. Then, because of Garibaldi, people started saying we were one of the greatest funk bands in the world. But funk is only a small part of soul music.

“Soul music encompasses so much,” Emilio continues. “It has those great love ballads, the ones that put you through an emotional wringer. It has shuffles, medium-tempo love songs – so many different aspects and ways to express them. We’ve incorporated and interpreted them all in our own East Bay way.”

The bottom line for the band is wanting the audience to feel TOP music with both body and soul. “Basically, what we try to do with our music is to move you physically and emotionally,” he says. “When you go to our show, you should leave both sweaty and emotional!”

Gladys Knight

Sunday, June 21 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

R&B / Soul

Few singers over the last fifty years even come close to Gladys Knight’s untouchable artistry. This 7-time Grammy winner has enjoyed #1 hits in the realm of pop, gospel, R&B, and adult contemporary, has been inducted into the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame, has secured her spot among the ranks of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and has triumphed in film, television, and live performance. Everything she does enchants, and her music is as timeless as her presence is breathtaking — don’t miss your chance to see a true legend live!

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The great ones endure, and Gladys Knight has long been one of the greatest. Very few singers over the last fifty years have matched her unassailable artistry. This seven-time Grammy winner has enjoyed #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance.

In her first effort since 2013’s “Another Journey” – Knight’s 8th solo effort – this summer marked the release of “Where My Heart Belongs”, a new inspiration gospel album. Knight is a tw0-time Grammy winner in the gospel category, and “Where My Heart Belongs” dropped on September 9th from Deseret Book, and recently won an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Gospel Album.”

“Another Journey” enjoyed success from the hit “I Who Have Nothing” as well as the up-tempo track “Settle,” produced by Randy Jackson, with whom she previously collaborated with on her Grammy-winning album, “At Last.” Knight also enjoyed the success of her song “You and I Ain’t Nothin’ No More” which appeared over the end credits of the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels film THE BUTLER.

Last month, Knight returned to the small screen in the Lifetime original movie “Seasons of Love”. In the story about two lovers as they journey through life, love and family, Knight stars alongside Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson and fellow Grammy winner Cliff “Method Man” Smith. In the New Year she will guest on Lee Daniels and FOX TV’s new series “Empire” opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.

Also on the small screen, Knight recently shared her musical expertise on the second season of Centric’s original series “Apollo Live.” Joining judges Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins, the legendary songstress gave guidance to contestants as they took the stage with the hope to jumpstart their career in the entertainment industry.

No stranger to performing and light choreography over the course of her career, Knight raised the stakes when she put on her dancing shoes in the spring of 2012. She joined the cast of ABC’s hit reality competition “Dancing with the Stars” for season 14, partnering with Tristan MacManus.

The year of 2011 was a year of much recognition as Knight was both honoring and being honored, first at a Michael Jackson tribute concert, and then at the 2011 Soul Train Awards. At the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Knight joined such performers as Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, and Smokey Robinson in a tribute to the legendary King of Pop in a concert event called “Michael Forever.” Following that, Knight was honored with a “Legend Award” alongside fellow recipients Earth, Wind & Fire on the BET broadcast of the 3rd annual Soul Train Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

Knight, known as the “Empress of Soul,” a longtime Las Vegas resident, returned to the Strip in the late-2000s to the famed Tropicana Hotel for a special engagement that ran in the newly named Gladys Knight Theater, making her the first African-American performer to have a venue named after her in Las Vegas. This followed a successful four-year show run at The Flamingo, which the Las Vegas Review-Journal praised as “the number-one show on the Strip.” A tireless humanitarian, Knight is an iconic supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of America, to which she donated a Randy Jackson-produced song, “The Dream.” As the celebrated singer of the timeless song “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Knight was a natural fit as national spokesperson and host of Amtrak’s National Train Day, the celebration of which took place Washington, DC’s famed Union Station.

In February 2011, Knight reunited with Elton John, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder for the first time in 25 years to perform their Grammy-winning song, “That’s What Friends Are For” at an AIDS research benefit at the downtown Cipriani in New York. Adored the world over, Knight then toured across the UK, performing at packed arenas that included a sold-out performance at Wembley Stadium.

Knight fans enjoyed Before Me – Knight’s last big commercial effort – which paid homage to the great legends of song – Ella, Duke, Billie, Lena – as well as the many artists who served as Knight’s friends, mentors, colleagues and inspiration throughout her career. Knight’s second collaboration with the Saints Unified Voices gospel choir, A Christmas Celebration, was an album of holiday classics. Coming off of a “Best Gospel/Choir Album” Grammy win with their debut album One Voice, Knight again directed the 100-member multi-cultural choir she formed, injecting their unique flavor and definitive soul into such Christmas staples as “Silent Night,” “White Christmas,” and a medley of “Winter Wonderland/Jingle Bells” among others.

Adding to her already impressive collection, Knight won another Grammy for her duet with the late Ray Charles on his posthumous album Genius Loves Company (2005). The duo won for Best Gospel Performance for their duet “Heaven Help Us All.” Knight’s solo album At Last also won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album in 2002 and featured a duet with Jamie Foxx, “I Wanna Be Loved.” During the televised opening ceremonies kicking off the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Knight performed “This is Our Time” (which she co-wrote with husband William McDowell), which was featured on a commemorative Olympic album.

A tireless performer who still wows audiences around the country and the world, Knight also finds the time to make forays into film and television. Her version of “I Hope You Dance” played during the end credits of Tyler Perry’s THE FAMILY THAT PREYS TOGETHER, and she appeared in his film I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF (which featured her song “The Need to Be”). She also starred in the holiday-themed HOLIDAZE, her first animated project to which she also contributed a track, UNBEATABLE HAROLD, and the Harrison Ford film HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE. On the small screen, Knight did a cameo on the Emmy-winning NBC hit comedy “30 Rock”, and also appeared in NBC’s “Las Vegas,” former CBS hit “JAG,” and former FOX talent competitions “American Juniors” and “Duets.” She also starred as Jamie Foxx’s mother on “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Knight has appeared as a guest judge on FOX’s smash hit “American Idol,” and has performed in the show’s always star-studded finale. In season two of “Idol,” Knight famously dubbed eventual winner Ruben Studdard the ‘Velvet Teddy Bear” while she sat in the guest judge’s chair.

Georgia-born, Knight began performing gospel music at age four in the Mount Mariah Baptist Church and sang as a guest soloist with the Morris Brown College Choir. Three years later, she won the grand prize on television’s “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” and the following year, her mother Elizabeth Knight created the group consisting of Gladys, her brother Bubba, her sister Brenda and her cousins William and Elenor Guest. They called themselves The Pips in honor of their cousin/manager, James Pip Woods. In 1959, Brenda and Elenor left the group, replaced by cousin Edward Patten and friend Langston George. The group was renamed Gladys Knight & The Pips, and following George’s departure in 1962, the classic line-up was in place.

The group debuted their first album in 1960, when Knight was just sixteen. With Knight singing lead and The Pips providing lush harmonies and graceful choreography, the group went on to achieve icon status, having recorded some of the most memorable songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Top 20 hits, like “Every Beat of My Heart,” “Letter Full of Tears,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “If I Were Your Woman,” set the stage for an amazing run in the mid-1970s, with Top 10 gold-certified singles like “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye),” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me” and the #1 smash “Midnight Train to Georgia” established Gladys Knight and The Pips as the premiere pop/R&B vocal ensemble in the world. The party kept rolling with hits like “On and On” from the Academy Award nominated soundtrack of Curtis Mayfield’s “Claudine,” the 1974 comedy about love in the inner city. Knight enjoyed another #1 hit in 1985 when she teamed with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dionne Warwick on “That’s What Friends are For.” She and Stevie Wonder sang together again for the successful Frank Sinatra Duets II album, joining his voice for the song “For Once in My Life” in 1994.

All told, Knight has recorded more than 38 albums over the years, including four solo albums during the past decade: “Good Woman” (1991); “Just for You” (1994); the inspirational “Many Different Roads” (1999); and “At Last” (2001). “At Last” showed the world that she still has what it takes to record a hit album, employing the talents of contemporary producers like Randy Jackson, Gary Brown and James D.C. Williams III, Jon John, Jamey Jaz, Keith Thomas, Tom Dowd and Tiger Roberts.

Her involvement in other creative undertakings, business ventures and humanitarian activities has been extensive, and has brought her honors from industry and community alike. In 1986, she produced and starred in the Cable Ace Award-winning “Sisters in the Name of Love,” an HBO special co-starring Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle. That same year, she showcased her acting ability when she co-starred with Flip Wilson in the CBS comedy “Charlie & Co.” Other acting roles followed on such TV shows as “Benson,” “The Jefferson’s” and “New York Undercover,” and in such television films as “Pipe Dreams,” “An Enemy Among Us” and “Desperado.” She recorded the title theme for the James Bond movie “License to Kill” (1989). In 1999, she completed a starring run on Broadway in the smash musical hit “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

In 1995, Knight earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the next year, Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Knight published an autobiography, “Between Each Line of Pain and Glory” (a line taken from her million selling recording “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”), in 1997, and the next year, she and The Pips were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. In 2004, Knight received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the annual BET Awards ceremony.

A humanitarian and philanthropist, Knight has devoted to various worthy causes, including the American Diabetes Association – for which she is a national spokesperson, the American Cancer Society, the Minority AIDS Project, amFAR and Crisis Intervention, and The Boys and Girls Club. She has been honored by numerous organizations as well, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), B’Nai Brith, and is a recent recipient of BET’s Lifetime Achievement
Award.

Today, Knight and husband William, along with various other members of the family, oversee her busy career from the Las Vegas headquarters of Shakeji, Inc., her personal entertainment corporation. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, performer, restaurateur, and businesswoman with a spiritual outlook on her life. Her faith in God has been the driving force behind all of Knight’s endeavors, guiding her through her many successes.

Styx

Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Rock / Classic Rock

“Come Sail Away” with the legendary rock band Styx! Producing top-100 hits from the moment the original lineup emerged on the mainstream rock scene, Styx has been “Rockin’ the Paradise” and melding upbeat rock and heavy riffs with wrenching power ballads and thrilling theatrics for over 40 years. These rockers are the real deal, and their efforts have earned them a multiplatinum certification, several chart-topping hits, a Grammy nomination, a People’s Choice Award, and countless devoted fans.

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The six men comprising Styx have committed to rocking the Paradise together with audiences far and wide by entering their second decade of averaging over 100 shows a year, and each one of them is committed to making the next show better than the last. Styx draws from over four decades of barnburning chart hits, joyous singalongs, and hard-driving deep cuts. Like a symphony that builds to a satisfying crescendo, a Styx set covers a wide range of stylistic cornerstones. From the progressively sweeping splendor that is “The Grand Illusion” to the hunker-down fortitude of all that is the “Blue Collar Man,” from the majestic spiritual love for a special “Lady” to the seething indictment of preening, primping pageantry for pageantry’s sake of “Miss America,” from an individual yearning for true connection as a “Man in the Wilderness” to a soul-deep quest to achieve what’s at the heart of one’s personal vision in “Crystal Ball,” from the regal reach-for-the-stars bravado of “Come Sail Away” to the grainy all-in gallop of that rugged “Renegade” who had it made, the band draws on an unlimited cache of ways to immerse one’s mind and body in their signature sound.

Styx hit its stride with guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw’s first LP with the band, 1976’s Crystal Ball, and then they become the first group to score four triple-platinum albums in a row: The Grand Illusion (1977), Pieces of Eight (1978), Cornerstone (1979), and Paradise Theater (1981). Over the ensuing decade, Styx weathered the shifting winds of the public’s musical taste, reconvening for a highly successful 1996 Return to Paradise tour that was expertly documented on both CD and DVD in 1997. With a little help from their many friends in Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra, One With Everything (2006) became a hybrid orchestral rock blend for the ages. And on The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight Live (2011), the band performed at its peak when tackling every track from a pair of their finest triple-platinum albums back to back. Not only that, but the band re-recorded two discs’ worth of its classic material with much finesse and musculature, aptly known as Regeneration Volume I & II (2011 & 2012). Observes Tommy, “Now you have something you can take home with you and go, ‘Yeah, that’s the band I saw last night.’ ”

After more than a decade together on the road, this incarnation of Styx is looking forward to performing as many shows as it can as long as it can. “It all comes back to the chemistry,” says bassist/vocalist Ricky Phillips. “The legacy of this band will be that it brought joy to millions of people,” notes drummer Todd Sucherman. Observes keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan, “We’ve always tried to explain why this is this happening. It’s obviously a multitude of factors, but the main one is that our show is really good! And if it’s really good, they’re going to come to see it again.” Styx hopes it’s a wave that never crests. “Every night, we go on that magic carpet ride together,” observes original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who joins the band on tour as often as he can. “Music is this amazing force that comes from a higher place. I'm humbled for this band to have the great success that it has,” says co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young. “We just want to keep on doing this,” asserts Tommy. “We want to let life take its course and let this music continue to be the soundtrack to it. And this band will continue to evolve as long as we live and play this music.” The jig is up, the news is out: The Esprit de Styx is alive and well, and now it’s time to see for yourself. Welcome to the Grand Evolution.

An Evening with The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute

Sunday, August 30 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Beatles Tribute Band

The Emmy Award–winning Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles' classics such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Twist and Shout," "Here Comes the Sun," and "Hey Jude," the Fab Four will transport you back in time to the high point of the British Invasion and beyond, complete with costume changes to represent every era of this dynamic band’s illustrious career.

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If you want to experience the best Beatles tribute ever, you won’t want to miss The Fab Four-The Ultimate Tribute.

The Emmy Award Winning Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles Tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles' classics such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Yesterday," "A Day In The Life," "Twist And Shout," "Here Comes The Sun," and "Hey Jude", the Fab Four will make you think you are watching the real thing.

Their incredible stage performances include three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-changing career, and this loving tribute to the Beatles has amazed audiences in countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, The United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.

The Fab Four is truly the Ultimate tribute.

Coheed and Cambria
with special guest Chon.

Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30PM (Doors open at 6:30PM)

Alternative / Progressive Rock

With melodic guitars and soaring vocals, Coheed and Cambria have told massive and memorable stories across nine albums, plus produced fantastic fiction in comic books, novellas, and more — the definition of true artists. They will rock the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion for NEVERENDER, playing No World for Tomorrow (Good Apollo Vol. 2) in its entirety. Don’t miss your chance to sing along and hear the album’s story as it’s told from the stage!

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Coheed and Cambria is a rare band whose music is able to transcend “scenes” and effortlessly cross genres of rock - from indie to progressive, to metal and pop-punk to classic rock. The band is frequently compared to progressive, operatic rock bands of the ‘70s, ala Queen, Supertramp or Rush due to their thrilling concept albums that take you on a grand journey of sounds and often clock-in around 10 mins, but still somehow include sugary pop-laden hooks.

The group’s following has grown steadily every album, partly due to their ferocious live show that brings fans to their knees with an equally expansive light show.

Kool & The Gang
with special guest The Sweetwater All-Stars

Wednesday, September 16 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Funk / R&B

Wherever parties are happening, that’s where you’ll hear the music of music industry legends Kool & the Gang. This multifaceted R&B group has earned global fame and a following that spans generations thanks to countless platinum-selling smash hits from the ’70s, such as “Celebrate” and “Jungle Boogie,” that are still being played and sampled to this day. These Grammy-winning masters will go down in the annals of funk fame — and if the band’s fifty-year lifespan is any indication, fans will be getting down on the Gang’s fierce and soulful sound for decades to come.

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Kool & the Gang, officially launched in 1969, after performing for five years under various band titles, has influenced the music of three generations and, at the age of 49, the band has become true recording industry legends.

Thanks to iconic songs like Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie, Summer Madness and Open Sesame, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums.

From Nairobi to Newark, Kool & the Gang has performed continuously longer than any R&B group in history and their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled R&B band of all time. A reviewer recently called their performance “a 24-karat show” and every year, even after a half-century on the road, yields a non- stop schedule of shows across the globe.

The heavily-in-demand band has continued to tour the world, appearing most recently alongside Kid Rock, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John, The Roots and a 50-city tour with the legendary rock band, Van Halen.

In 1964, Ronald Bell and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined Jersey City neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. At first calling themselves the Jazziacs, the band went through various names – The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames – before settling on their famous moniker.

Over the next several years they solidified their musical chemistry on the rough-and-tumble East Coast music scene supporting acts like Bill Cosby, Ritchie Havens and Richard Pryor. Their self-titled 1969 debut album introduced their signature instrumental sound and fierce horn arrangements and spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single, Kool & the Gang.

In 1969 Kool & the Gang released their self-titled debut album. It was the introduction to a theme, music is the message, that Kool & the Gang stands by today. The instrumental album was an expression of their deep love of music. It was also an introduction to their signature sound and the fierce horn arrangements created by Khalis, Dee Tee, and Spike. Their debut album spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single Kool & the Gang and later Let the Music Take Your Mind.

In 1970, their audacious sophomore set Live at the Sex Machine peaked at #6 on Billboard’s R&B chart and yielded three hit singles: Funky Man, Who’s Gonna Take the Weight, and I Want to Take You Higher. Next came The Best Of Kool & the Gang Featuring The Penguin, Kool & the Gang Live at PJ’S, Music Is The Message, and Good Times, all of which helped solidify a sound that wowed not only fans but such contemporaries as James Brown and Nina Simone. The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc Wild & Peaceful took Kool & the Gang to another level (#6 R&B, #33 Pop), spurred by the immortal party anthems Funky Stuff, Hollywood Swinging and the platinum smash Jungle Boogie. Hits like Higher Plane (#1 R&B), the classic Summer Madness (featured on the Grammy-winning movie soundtrack Rocky) and LPs Spirit of the Boogie, Love & Understanding and Open Sesame followed. The latter’s title track was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all time, Saturday Night Fever, earning the group their second Grammy.

In 1979, Kool & the Gang unveiled a smooth new sound with Ladies Night. Produced by the legendary Pop/Jazz musician Eumir Deodato, it became their first platinum album. The #1 R&B title track reached #8 at Pop. It was followed by Too Hot (#3 R&B, #5 Pop). The 80’s would see them dominate the mainstream, starting with the double platinum- selling album Celebrate (driven by the international monster hit Celebration, which spent six weeks atop the R&B chart and became a #1 Pop single).

Celebration, which played as the American hostages returned from Iran, remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide. The smashes Get Down On It, Take My Heart, Let’s Go Dancing, Joanna, Tonight, Misled, the #1 R&B, #2 Pop giant Cherish and the #1 R&B anthem Fresh (these last three from the multi-platinum LP Emergency) solidified the group’s international stardom. Kool & the Gang landed global commercial endorsements, supported countless charitable causes and were the only American group to participate in Band Aid’s 1984 Do They Know It’s Christmas project for famine victims in Africa.

With the explosion of hip-hop in the 90’s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJ favorites. They were second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap music samples.

Today, the group enjoys global fame and recognition and a following that spans generations due in part to the groups widely sampled catalogue. Kool & the Gang’s drum beats, bass, guitar and signature horn lines lace the tracks of numerous artists including the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, and P. Diddy. Kool & the Gang is the most sampled band in hip-hop by far. Their music is also featured on the soundtracks for Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction, Wreck-It Ralph and countless others.

In 2014, they were honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award and in October 2015, in the town they sing about in one of their earliest hits, “Hollywood Swinging,” Kool & the Gang was honored to take their place as American musical icons with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2016, they released a single, "Sexy (Where’d You Get Yours),” which rose to #15 on the Billboard Adult R&B chart. The song signifies a modernization of Kool & the Gang’s unmistakable sound, down to the dance floor tailored bass grooves and the perfectly timed horns. It was their first airplay chart hit in a decade.

More new music is due out in 2018.

Kool & the Gang’s 50th Anniversary is just around the corner. Here is how they begun to celebrate the milestone:

▪ Induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
▪ In a touching tribute, a street they grew up on in Jersey City has been renamed in their honor: “Kool & the Gang Way.”
▪ “Celebration” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
▪ Kool’s bass is displayed at the new Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
▪ Artifacts from the band’s archive have recently gone on display, next to Count Basie, at the newly-opened Grammy Museum Experience in Newark, NJ.

Kool & the Gang continues to delight fans around the globe with their timeless hits and amazing live performances.

For information and tour dates: www.koolandthegang.comketing

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Friday, September 25 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Blues / Rock

Even after 20 years in the limelight, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is only just getting warmed up. His brutally honest blues all but flies from his Fender and captivates audiences with a down-and-dirty rock sound that is entirely his own. This self-taught trailblazer of blues has rocked his way toward five Grammy nominations, millions of worldwide record sales, and the #1 spot on the blues and rock charts with ease. And he’s coming back to the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion to show you how it’s done.

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There are few artists whose names are synonymous with one instrument and how it's played in service to an entire genre.

Utter the phrase "young blues rock guitarist" within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The Louisiana born axeman and songsmith has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens.

In a 20-year recording career that began when he was just 16, Shepherd has established himself as an immensely popular recording artist, a consistently in-demand live act and an influential force in a worldwide resurgence of interest in the blues.

From television performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (amongst others) to features in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Maxim Magazine, Blender, Spin, USA Today and more, his musical career has been nothing short of phenomenal.

At 16 years old, he signed his first record deal and burst onto the national scene with the release of his 1995 debut album Ledbetter Heights, which produced the radio hits "Deja Voodoo," "Born with a Broken Heart" and "Shame, Shame, Shame." His relentless touring and success on rock radio helped to drive the album to Platinum sales status. His 1998 sophomore effort Trouble Is... also went Platinum, yielding such radio hits as "Blue on Black," "True Lies" and "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway." 1999's Live On spawned the radio hits "In 2 Deep," "Shotgun Blues" and "Last Goodbye."

2004's The Place You're In was a blistering rock record and was followed up by 2007's ambitious 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads, for which Shepherd and his band traveled throughout the American South to record with such vintage blues greats as B.B. King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins and David "Honeyboy" Edwards on their home turf. 2010 saw the release of Shepherd's long-awaited first live album, Live! In Chicago, recorded at Chicago's House of Blues during the all-star Legends tour and featuring guest appearances by such blues legends as Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. The live disc debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues chart, as did 2011's How I Go. In 2013, Shepherd further expanded his musical horizons by teaming with veteran rockers Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg to form THE RIDES, whose first album Can't Get Enough helped to expand Shepherd's audience as well as his musical resume. 2014 saw the release of Goin' Home, Shepherd's sixth # 1 debut on the Billboard Blues charts. Goin' Home features several talented friends who shared Shepherd's enthusiasm for the project's back-to-basics ethos. Those guests include fellow guitar icons Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo' and Robert Randolph, longtime friend Ringo Starr, Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, the Rebirth Brass Band and co-producer Blade's father, Pastor Brady Blade Sr., who lends a bracing dose of preaching to Shepherd's version of Bo Diddley's' "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover." In the months since its release, Shepherd and his band have toured the world extensively blazing a fresh trail for the historical American art form in the 21st Century.

Pure Prairie League
with special guest The Why Store

Sunday, September 27 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Classic Country / Soft Rock

From a group of friends playing cover tunes in mid-’60s Ohio to the present-day crew, Pure Prairie League continues to embellish the rich 50-year history of one of country-rock’s pioneering forces. With their ground-breaking first album, a multi-platinum sophomore effort and nine more innovative albums and countless shows, a legacy has been forged for the next generation of country-rockers. Don’t miss your chance to catch this legendary band live at the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion.

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From their beginnings in mid-Sixties Ohio as a group of friends playing cover tunes to the present-day unit featuring founding member/pedal-steel innovator John David Call, veteran bassist Mike Reilly, propulsive drummer Scott Thompson and guitar ace Donnie Clark, PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE continues to embellish the rich 43-year history of one of Country-Rock’s pioneering forces. As one reviewer recently wrote: “PPL’s sound combines sweet memories with edgy, contemporary muscle. Their vocals are as strong as Kentucky moonshine and the musicianship and performance skills are as sharp as a straight razor”.

Their eponymous first album - featuring the Norman Rockwell/Saturday Evening Post cover that introduced fans to PPL’s trademark cowpoke “Sad Luke” - has been hailed as a “major early influence in the emerging popularity of Country-Rock music”. Their second effort, the multi- platinum “Bustin’ Out” brought us the Craig Fuller-penned classic “Amie”, along with other gems of the genre. With “Two Lane Highway”, nine more albums and countless shows, a legacy has been forged and enriched during the ‘70s and 80’s, highlighting contributions from several noteworthy members, including original co-founder George Ed Powell, Cincinnati’s legendary Goshorn Brothers, Country Hall of Famers Gary Burr and Vince Gill, award-winning writer Jeff Wilson (3 Top-20 singles) and a host of other guest appearances from Chet Atkins, Johnny Gimble, Emmy Lou Harris, David Sanborn, Eagle Don Felder, Nicolette Larson, and many more.

Now in their fifth decade, Pure Prairie League continues to lead the way for the new generation of Country/Rockers such as Keith Urban, Nickel Creek, Wilco, Counting Crows and so many others that cite PPL as a major influence.

As crisp and clean as spring water and as comfortable as a well-worn cowboy shirt, Pure Prairie League still brings it all back home.

Samantha Fish
with special guest Southern Avenue

Friday, October 2 at 7:00PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)

Blues / Rock

Samantha Fish has lovingly explored the blues across 10 albums, work which has twice earned her an Artist of the Year award from Offbeat magazine. Her sweetly sorrowful guitar and crooning vocals take audiences straight into a landscape of lost loves and hard luck. She’s coming back to rock the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion, ready once again to deliver a sonic catharsis note-by-note and straight into your heart!

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Samantha Fish
Kill Or Be Kind
September 20, 2019

“That was my mission on this album: To really set these songs up so that they have a life of their own,” says Samantha Fish about Kill or Be Kind, her sixth solo album and her debut on Rounder Records. “Strong messages from the heart – that’s what I really set out for.” Indeed, what comes across immediately on hearing the album is the extraordinary level of songcraft on its eleven tracks, the way these songs are so smartly put together to deliver a potent emotional impact.

Anyone who has ever heard Fish’s previous albums knows that she has earned a place in the top rank of contemporary blues guitarists and that her voice can wring the soul out of a ballad and belt out a rocker with roof-shaking force. And, rest reassured, those virtues are fully in evidence on Kill or Be Kind. But each of the songs on the album does far more than simply provide a setting for Fish’s pyrotechnics. They tell captivating stories, set up by verses that deftly set the scene, choruses that lift with real feeling, and hooks that later rise up in your thoughts, even when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of music at all. It’s the kind of songwriting that emerges when raw talent is leavened by experience and aspiration, and when a committed artist genuinely has something to say. Those qualities make Kill or Be Kind a genuine artistic breakthrough for Fish.

“I think I’ve grown as a performer and as a player,” she explains. “I’ve become more respectful of the melody. You can go up and down the fret board and up and down your vocal register, but that’s not going to be as powerful as conveying a simple melody that people can really connect to and sing themselves.” To help bring those elements to her music, Fish sought out high-quality songwriting collaborators – the likes of Jim McCormick (who has worked with Fish before and also written for Luke Bryan and Keith Urban); Kate Pearlman (who has worked with Kelly Clarkson); Patrick Sweeney; Parker Millsap; and Eric McFadden. The result is an album on which each song is distinct, but the complete work hangs together as a coherent, entirely satisfying statement. “When you get to this point in your life as an artist,” Fish says, “it’s good to work with others, because it makes you stretch. I think you hear a lot of that nuance on the record, songs that have a pop sensibility to them, hooks that really pull you in.”

You get a good sense of the range the album covers from the first two songs released. Fish propels “Watch It Die” with an insistent guitar riff, but near the song’s end two female background singers lend the song a haunting soulful feel. Meanwhile, “Love Letters” moves on an insinuating, stop-time riff in its verses until it bursts in passion on its chorus. Both songs use horn sections for finesse and texture. “Love Letters” also introduces one of the album’s central themes: the allure of losing yourself in love – and the dangers of it. “Keep waking up in the bed I made,” Fish sings. “Forget the pain when you wanna play/I’m back to broken when you go away.”

“That’s just a love-sick song,” Fish says, laughing. “like I think I was when I wrote it.” The title track, a seductive ballad, offers a lover a stark choice: “Make up your mind/I can kill or be kind.” To explain that dichotomy, Fish says, “It’s funny how love can be so fickle, how quickly you go from object of affection to one of disdain. I’ve always found that dynamic interesting. That track is full of that duality. ,” she adds, laughing. “I also loved the Memphis sound of the horns on there. They sound modern, but it’s got this vintage feeling as well.” The songs “Dirty,” “Love Your Lies” and “Fair-Weather” explore similar themes – how deceit, self-deception and shifting expectations can alter the course of life and love. The affecting ballad “Dream Girl” stands the endearment of its title on its head, and explores the dilemma of a love not coming to fruition. “I wish you’d take the rest of me,” Fish sings. “These tears, they kill your fantasy.” On “She Don’t Live Around Here Anymore,” a soul ballad once again bolstered by tasteful horn parts, the singer confronts the feeling of being used and finds empowerment in walking away.

The album is framed by songs — “Bulletproof” and “You Got It Bad (Better Than You Ever Had).” “Bulletproof digs into the theme of vulnerability, about it being mistaken for weakness, and how we often times feel the need to wear a mask to survive in the world today, while “You Got It Bad (Better Than You Ever Had)” is about working towards your dreams and the knifes edge we often walk to reach our goals.

“Trying Not to Fall in Love With You” finds the singer not wanting to rush a relationship – and therefore undermine it. “I fall fast,” Fish admits, “I have to remember to take care and not scare the person away.”

To make Kill or Be Kind, Fish chose to work at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis, with Scott Billington as producer. “I worked at Royal before, when I made my Wild Heartalbum,” she says. “The soul in the walls, the vibe – you can feel it in that place. I’m such a fan of Al Green, Ann Peebles and all the classic recordings that happened there. Memphis just kept calling to me. I’ve always felt so inspired there.” As for Billington, a three-time Grammy winner, Fish appreciated both his open-mindedness and his willingness to ease her out of her comfort zone. “Scott allowed me to see the building-out process of the album all the way through, from the top to the bottom,” she says. “Bringing in background singers and synthesizers, which I’d never done on an album before, that added an extra edge. Honestly, it was a challenge. It pushed me to think about the songs differently. That trust from my producer gave me the freedom to really take some risks.”

Having completed an album that she believes in so strongly – “This is me coming through, my personality,” she says – Fish is eager to bring it to the world. “I got the moon in the back of my mind, and I want to shoot for it!” she declares. “I want to reach over genre lines and get out to as many people as possible. This album is so broad – and it’s all me. So I’m just hoping it catches people and appeals to them.”

She concludes, “Overall my big goal, career-wise, is to contribute something different and new to music. I want to give something that stands apart and yet is timeless.” With Kill or Be Kind, Samantha Fish is well on her way along that path.

– Anthony DeCurtis




Southern Avenue

On their self-titled 2017 debut album, the boundary-breaking Memphis combo Southern Avenue sparked a one-band musical revolution, embodying an effortlessly organic soul/blues/R&B fusion that reflects the band members' diverse roots as well as their deep commitment to their chosen style. On their second album Keep On, set for release on May 10, 2019 via Concord Records, the dynamic outfit expands its gritty musical vision to embrace new musical challenges and a more expansive creative vision.

Southern Avenue combines the talents of a prodigiously talented set of young musicians who bring their individual backgrounds to the table to create music that carries the Southern soul legacy into the 21st century, spanning the band members' wide-ranging musical interests while showcasing the powerful chemistry and electrifying live show that they've honed through extensive stage and studio experience. Since the release of their debut, Southern Avenue has played in over a dozen countries and wowed audiences at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Firefly, Electric Forest and Lockn’.

Guitar phenom Ori Naftaly originally built his reputation in his native Israel before joining forces with deeply expressive Memphis-bred singer Tierinii Jackson and her subtly powerful drummer sister Tikyra Jackson. The band's lineup is rounded out by versatile keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax Records' renowned music academy.

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