Swamp Dogg’s 80th Birthday Party

Teragram Ballroom Present: Swamp Dogg [All Ages / Doors 8pm, Show 9pm / $25 General Admission, $35 VIP meet & greet]

VIP ticket includes meet & greet with Swamp Dogg after the show!

 

Jerry Williams’—aka Swamp Dogg—first love was country music, listening to it as a Navy family kid growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia. “My granddaddy, he just bought country records out the asshole,” Swamp remembers. “Every Friday when he came home from the Navy yard he’d stop off and get his records, like ‘Mule Train’ by Frankie Laine, or ‘Riders in the Sky’ by Vaughn Monroe.” His first time performing on stage, in fact, was a country song at a talent show when he was six years old: “I did Red Foley’s version of ‘Peace in the Valley.’” While the 79 year-old Williams’ most enduring persona is the psychedelic soul superhero Swamp Dogg— a musical vigilante upholding truths both personal and political since 1970’s immortal album, Total Destruction To Your Mind—he will tell anybody who will listen that he’s considered himself country this entire time. “If you notice I use a lot of horns,” Swamp says. “But actually, if you listen to my records before I start stacking shit on it, I’m country. I sound country.”

Swamp began his professional singing career as Little Jerry Williams back in the ‘50s before working as an A&R man for Atlantic Records in the late ‘60s. His biggest hit is actually a country song: 1970’s “Don’t Take Her (She’s All I Got).” Written with his best friend Gary U.S. Bonds, the track is country in that woeful, underdog-baring-their-soul sort of way that for some reason only country songs really ever allow themselves to be. Freddie North covered it first and made it a Top 40 pop song, but Johnny Paycheck took it all the way to #2 on the country charts in 1971. Following 2018’s critically acclaimed, Ryan Olson-produced Love, Loss, And Auto-Tune—his first LP to debut on 11 Billboard charts (including at #7 on ‘Heatseekers’) and his first chart ink since his 1970 song “Mama’s Baby – Daddy’s Maybe”—Sorry You Couldn’t Make It allows Swamp to finally dive into the sound he grew up playing. With the support of Pioneer Works Press, they recorded the album at Nashville’s Sound Emporium with Olson as producer once again, and backed by a crack studio band led by Derick Lee, a keyboard virtuoso who worked as the musical director of BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel Show for nearly four decades. Nashville guitar firebrand Jim Oblon combusts his way through lead duties, while frequent collaborator Moogstar and special guests Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), John Prine, Jenny Lewis, Channy Leaneagh and Chris Beirden of Poliça, and Sam Amidon join the action throughout.

A band of 14 players, including Vernon, Lee, Beirden, and Moogstar, among others, provides the background for Swamp’s devastating new take on “Don’t Take Her (She’s All I Got).” Lead single “Sleeping Without You Is A Dragg” is one of Swamp’s most heartfelt songs to date and features Vernon on piano as well as backing vocals by Lewis and Leaneagh. He duets with country-folk legend Prine on two songs (“It’s the first time I seen John since the sixties!” laughs Swamp): the indelible, psychedelic ballad “Memories” and the reflective “Please Let Me Go Round Again.” Originally written and demoed in his forties, “Please Let Me Go Round Again” is a plea for one more chance at life, sung with acute emotional connection. These are narratives about love, of missing the one you love, of compassion, family and friends, and even the kind of love that transcends death. “I was looking for a new way for Swamp Dogg to go,” he explains. “Apart from me singing and writing most of the songs, I didn’t participate—in other words, I told ‘em, ‘Don’t ask me, I wanna see what happens without my influence.’ It was hard for me to do, ego-wise.”

Sorry You Couldn’t Make It sees Swamp come full circle, and closes what has felt to him like unfinished business. “They didn’t have any blacks in country until Charlie Pride came along,” he says. “But in time, all things change and that’s what has happened to country music.” Surveying today’s Nashville reality, Swamp sees opportunity: artists as divergent as Darius Rucker and Lil Nas X are converging in a genre that he once worried might never give him his shot. “I’m anxious because it’s like I’ve taken all my money and put it on one horse,” he says. “But I believe in this horse.”

Moon Hooch

Teragram Ballroom Presents: Moon Hooch with Jason Leech

[All Ages / Doors Open 7pm / $25]

Franc Moody

The Teragram Presents: Franc Moody [All Ages, Doors Open 8pm, $20]

It took the London band Franc Moody some time to perfect the ideal clap sound. They tried clapping their hands, then they tried numerous people clapping their hands. But after much experimentation, they discovered that the most pristine clap sound comes, yes, when you record three pairs of hands clapping in which one pair is wearing marigolds. This isn’t abnormal behaviour for Franc Moody. Listen to their songs and you’ll hear salt shakers and mugs, dripping radiators, the sound of someone zipping their flies, and their own family playing strings. It’s this kind of DIY sound design and attention to detail that has made the new London duo such a curious and captivating proposition.

Franc Moody’s sound is contemporary funk, awash with electronic inspiration, human touches, and throbbing grooves. Like Daft Punk and Jamiroquai before them, they draw from the sounds, styles and techniques of funk, disco and soul while simultaneously threading in electronic influences of the here and now.

Curtis Harding

Teragram Ballroom Presents: Curtis Harding with Joshy Soul [All Ages, Doors Open 7pm, $20]

 

Growing up, Curtis Harding’s mother used to tell him, “Give me my flowers while I’m still here.” It was a phrase that stuck with the talented singer and multi-instrumentalist through the years, a reminder to show his love and appreciation for the people he cared about before it was too late.

 

“That’s what this album is,” Harding reflects. “It’s me giving my flowers to the world, to anybody who needs to hear what these songs have to say right now.”

 

Written and recorded over the past two tumultuous years, If Words Were Flowers is indeed a vibrant, intoxicating bouquet, one as diverse as it is dazzling. Drawing on vintage soul, R&B, hip-hop, garage rock, and psychedelia, the songs here are raw and gritty, fueled by airtight grooves, punchy horns, and adventurous production from Harding and frequent collaborator Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker). There’s a clear through line on the album from Harding’s 2017 breakout, Face Your Fear, but there’s obvious evolution as well, a boldness that revels in risk-taking and sonic exploration. The result is a pointed, timely album that feels experimental and classic all at once, a moving, generous collection all about love, resilience, and reconciliation from an artist who values the beauty and the power of human connection above all else.

 

“I want this music to help people understand that they’re not alone,” Harding explains. “We’re all going through the same thing right now on some level, and I hope these songs can bring a little bit of comfort and peace.”

 

Harding’s been searching for comfort and peace in music as far back as he can remember. Born in Saginaw, Michigan to a mechanical engineer and a gospel singer, Harding spent much of his formative years on the move, bouncing between north and south until his family ultimately landed in Atlanta. He learned to sing and play drums in church with his mother, who introduced him to the likes of Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples, but it was his sister’s collection of hip-hop tapes that would push him towards a career in music and inspire him to begin writing and rapping. With the Atlanta scene exploding onto the national stage at the time, Harding picked up work promoting artists on the legendary LaFace label and he soon found himself in the studio and on the road as a backup vocalist with some of the city’s biggest stars.

 

“That was when I realized I didn’t have to choose between being a rapper and being a singer,” says Harding. “I started teaching myself guitar and working with more live instrumentation and figuring out how to incorporate everything I grew up on into what I was doing.”

 

Harding recorded his 2014 debut, Soul Power, with little in the way of expectations, but the album managed to generate real heat, particularly in Europe, where Uncut praised it as “a confident take on sleek, horn-powered…soul with a hint of garage muscle” and Mojo dubbed it “something altogether special.” Three years later, Harding broke out Stateside with Face Your Fear, which stretched his sound to exhilarating new heights. Helmed by Cohen and super producer Danger Mouse, the record earned Harding dates with everyone from Jack White to Lenny Kravitz, landed him festival slots at Newport Folk, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and racked up nearly 60 million streams on Spotify alone. NPR declared the record one of the year’s best R&B releases, calling Harding a “gifted, gospel-bred shouter and deep digger in the Curtis Mayfield/Stevie Wonder crates,” while Complex hailed the music as “vintage, classic soul music” with “psychedelic splashes and a touch of garage rock fuzz,” and New York Magazine raved that “with a scorching voice like his, the funk is eternal.”

Joey Dosik

Joey Dosik with Victoria Canal, Jeremy Sole (DJ)

Dumpstaphunk

Dumpstaphunk with Dagnasterpus and Emma Negrete

Dumpstaphunk

New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk released their new album Where Do We Go From Here on April 23, 2021 (via Mascot Label Group / The Funk Garage). The release marks the band’s first full length album in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed of their career.   Previously released singles include “Justice 2020,” recently called one of the “Best Songs of 2020” by the New York Times, and the contemplative title-track “Where Do We Go From Here.” The record is a sharply relevant statement, even more-so than the group anticipated during writing and recording sessions just prior to the unprecedented events of the last year.

The album is now available on all digital platforms, vinyl and CD HERE.

In celebration of the announcement, Dumpstaphunk will perform songs from the upcoming album on NPR’s World Café today, along with an exclusive interview with band leader Ivan Neville.  Fans can tune in worldwide on their local NPR station or on-line.

Dumpstaphunk released the album’s title track “Where Do We Go From Here” in August 2020, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, earning praise from the New York Times for its “slinky funk backbeat” and “gospel determination.” On the eve of the presidential election the band strategically released the single  “Justice 2020” (featuring Chali 2na and Trombone Shorty), which became an unofficial anthem of the social justice movement. The powerful music video led the New York Times to name “Justice 2020” one of the “Top 20 Songs of 2020,” in part due to the music video’s strong message alluding to social injustice, systemic racism, police brutality and the need for change, while also demanding lyrically that as human beings “We Are All Beautiful.”  Dumpstaphunk will release a remix of “Justice 2020” by Cut Chemist this Friday, January 15th.

The band’s arsenal of classic and modern influences can be heard throughout the new album, a distinctive mix of genuine New Orleans funk, old school R&B and guitar fueled modern rock;  from the slap-bass rave “Make It After All” to the band’s contemporary renderings of NOLA R&B rarities  (the 1975 Blackmail gem “Let’s Get At It”) and early Seventies classics (Sly and the Family Stone’s “In Time”). One song with an unexpected genesis is the band’s urgent cover of Buddy Miles’ 1973 Hendrix inspired “United Nations Stomp,” which features searing guitar solos from special guest, rising blues guitar phenom Marcus King.

“We hope people can hear the new songs and are inclined to dance, and inspired to think at the same time,” says Ivan, speaking to the new album’s delicate balance between topic material and dance-floor rockers.

Over the past 17 years, Dumpstaphunk has earned its reputation as a highly respected next-generation New Orleans musical institution, the type of band whose live performances have attracted sit-ins from legends like Carlos Santana, Bob Weir, George Clinton and members of Phish.  Alongside original core members Tony Hall and Nick Daniels,  and the new additions of Alex Wasily, Ryan Nyther and drummer Devin Trusclair,  Ivan and Ian Neville (the sons of Aaron Neville and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville respectively) have built upon their family’s iconic NOLA legacy as they’ve transformed Dumpstaphunk into the city’s pre-eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export, resulting in recent career highlights like their July 2019 opening gig for the Rolling Stones on their home turf at the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Modernizing and reinvigorating the Neville/Meters family groove has been one of the driving forces of Dumpstaphunk since the band spontaneously formed during New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2003. Where Do We Go From Here is perhaps the best evidence yet of Dumpstaphunk’s ability to strengthen and transform their singular Crescent City roots in combination with the deeper outside musical and philosophical influences on which the band is founded.

“Obviously, the New Orleans history is just embedded in us, but we manage to incorporate all the other stuff we’ve listened to over the years,” says Ivan. “We’re representing a legacy, but we’re reimagining a lot of it, too.”

Franc Moody

The Teragram Presents: Franc Moody [All Ages, Doors Open 8pm, $20]

It took the London band Franc Moody some time to perfect the ideal clap sound. They tried clapping their hands, then they tried numerous people clapping their hands. But after much experimentation, they discovered that the most pristine clap sound comes, yes, when you record three pairs of hands clapping in which one pair is wearing marigolds. This isn’t abnormal behaviour for Franc Moody. Listen to their songs and you’ll hear salt shakers and mugs, dripping radiators, the sound of someone zipping their flies, and their own family playing strings. It’s this kind of DIY sound design and attention to detail that has made the new London duo such a curious and captivating proposition.

Franc Moody’s sound is contemporary funk, awash with electronic inspiration, human touches, and throbbing grooves. Like Daft Punk and Jamiroquai before them, they draw from the sounds, styles and techniques of funk, disco and soul while simultaneously threading in electronic influences of the here and now.