ELLIOTT SMITH - A TRIBUTE TO HIS LIFE AND MUSIC

Sid The Cat & Bootleg Theater Present

ELLIOTT SMITH - A TRIBUTE TO HIS LIFE AND MUSIC

The Wild Reeds, Ethan Gruska, Meg Duffy, Johanna Samuels, Aaron Embry, Sean Watkins, Sara Watkins, Harrison Whitford, Olivia Kaplan, Madison Cunningham, Gold Star, Christian Lee Hutson, Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes, Special Guests!

Sun. October 21, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Bootleg Theater

Los Angeles, CA

$15.00

This event is all ages

Lineup to be announced soon.

Proceeds go to The Trevor Project

https://www.thetrevorproject.org

ELLIOTT SMITH - A TRIBUTE TO HIS LIFE AND MUSIC
Lineup to be announced soon.

Proceeds go to The Trevor Project

https://www.thetrevorproject.org
The Wild Reeds
The Wild Reeds
Progressive Folk-Rock - The Wild Reeds have transformed from a three part harmony driven band to a full indie folk rock force that has been sweeping the West Coast. In the past year The Wild Reeds have toured along side artist such as Noah Gundersen and Israel Nash while also making an appearance at festivals such as Newport Folk Festival’s sister of the West, Way Over Yonder, Make Music Pasadena, Echo Park Rising, Claremont Folk Festival, Lightning in a Bottle.

"Blind and Brave is a collection of notably poignant tracks that weave smooth melodies driven banjos and swirling guitars together. While the production is noticeably polished the emotions and messages are stripped bare as the quintet deliver heartfelt elegies through a roller coaster of highs and lows.” - Mindequalsblown.net

"Combining indie folk, the LA sound of the ’70s, and traditional folk, the band’s debut album is gorgeous, thoughtful, and simply outstanding.” - The Revue

"When the gals in The Wild Reeds sing in harmony, it’s as if they’re long-lost triplets reunited at a campfire.” - Freebikevalet.com
Ethan Gruska
Ethan Gruska
At once minimalist and expansive, Ethan Gruska’s solo debut, the luminous Slowmotionary, embraces a range of sounds and styles, with influences from jazz and folk to ambient and alternative, Slowmotionary integrates everything into a whole that is original, idiosyncratic, and embraces its own imperfections. “I really tried to let that humanity in and to not only leave these quirky blemishes in, but to highlight them,” says Gruska. “I didn’t want perfect. I wanted true. I wanted honest.” He made room for a little serendipity in his creative process, sensing that too calculated an approach would diminish the impact of the music. That spontaneity provided a wonderful counterpoint to his thoughtful and revealing lyrics.

“What I hope is that people can sense the vulnerability in the writing,” says Gruska. “I hope that they can sense it’s someone telling the truth.” The deeply personal songs on Slowmotionary chronicle a period of transition in his life: The Belle Brigade, which he had started in 2008 with his sister Barbara Gruska, went on hiatus. He got engaged and moved in with his fiancé, leaving the neighborhood where he had lived for years. One chapter was closing, another opening, and the in-between-ness of the experience motivated him to write songs with no real expectations in mind—writing for writing’s sake—with no sense that he was working on an album or anything beyond the song itself.

Before he even knew he was making a solo album, Gruska had a handful of songs in his notebook—what he calls “vignettes”—vivid, wistful sets of melodies and lyrics, visually evocative and emotionally acute, inspired by short stories and short film. And poetry. Gruska avidly devours verse, which informs his songwriting. Each of these songs could live on the page without losing life or meaning. “The poet who has always had my heart is Pablo Neruda. I love Wordsworth and a lot of the Romantic poets, but Neruda was the first one who really killed me and I’ve never been able to move on from him.” Using these writers as guides and muses freed him up from the lyrical constraints he felt previously. “You have this freedom to be surreal and opaque and playful. The narrative doesn’t have to be clear all the time, so you are free to attach your own meanings to the words.”

Only gradually did the songs cohere in his mind into a statement, and with it came certain ideas of what he could express about himself, what he should leave unstated, and what the listener might interpret in the music. “I wasn’t worrying about whether every song had a chorus or a bridge or a hook. I threw all of that out the window for this, and it felt really liberating.” He let the songs themselves dictate their shapes and sounds, their repetitions and arrangements. Some needed to be short, needing less than two minutes to conjure their worlds in vivid details. Others depended on the echoing repetition of lines to conjure the inner workings of his mind. “Where is it you want to be?” he asks, over and over, on the hypnotic “Rather Be,” with its swirl of icy synths and delicate guitar picking. The song culminates in an epiphany about his own emotional dislocation: “We’re never where we want to be, we’re never where we want to be.”

Showcasing Gruska’s hushed vocals and subtle arrangements, these songs resonate with the intimacy of an internal monologue, as though we’re sharing in his darkest worries. On “Reoccurring Dream,” he reaches into his upper register to express romantic hesitations. “Reading your mind is never going to yield and answer,” he sings, as the song gently erupts into a flourish of strings and bass harmonica, like a fleeting memory of Pet Sounds. “Most of the time it’s just uneducated guessing that just leads to depression.” Similarly, opener “The Valley” turns mundane experiences into harrowing emotional ordeals: driving through Los Angeles, letting his mind wander at each stoplight, daydreaming about an ex-girlfriend, pondering his parents’ divorce and his own upcoming nuptials. “It’s family that defines me,” he sings wistfully, over a quiet cascade of piano chords. “I can’t help if they remind me of the fear that can be blinding: that history repeats itself in me.” It’s a quietly devastating moment, all the more powerful for being as uncertain as life itself.

These songs took their time from written verse to skeletal demos to finished album. With several friends and family members—including his sister Barbara, with whom he had played in the Belle Brigade—encouraging him to tackle them in the studio, Gruska called up Tony Berg and asked if he might advise. “Tony is a godfather to so many musicians, because he’s been very open to giving advice and helping people out without there being a caveat,” says Gruska. “I was pretty confused about what I was going to do and he really helped sort things out. I played him eight songs, many of which were very short iterations at that stage, and he said to me, ‘I’ll do this with you. Let’s not worry about the cost or the time.’”

Both Gruska and Berg emphasized unorthodoxy in these recordings. The basic tracking of Gruska’s performances was done live in the studio, as if he were performing for the listener. They worked in bursts and starts, a few days at a time with long breaks in between, a scattered schedule that allowed them to get some distance on the songs and hear them with fresh ears. “It gave us a lot of time to live with it.” Gruska played most of the instruments while never losing focus on the lyrics and what he wanted to communicate. A few friends and family added subtle flourishes. Gabe Noel played cello and bass; Blake Mills guitar; Rob Moose added gentle string arrangements; Barbara Gruska played drums on a few tracks.

“The goal was to have it be like a sound collage that I had made. It was really exploratory, with a lot of sampling and reversing—techniques I had tried in the past but had never gotten to fully explore.” The results are beautifully minimalist: songs as whispered confidences, with what Gruska calls an “arctic” sound, windswept and cold, befitting lyrics that depict moments frozen in time. “I didn’t want to hide behind anything. That’s why it’s produced and arranged the way it is. It’s very barren at certain moments. These songs slow down time for me, which is why I called it Slowmotionary. I needed to put myself out there musically and lyrically.”

And that meant not making it perfect. It meant making these songs sound like the results from something other than a studio. It meant conveying the sense of music that is being written at the same moment you hear it. “A lot of the record is mysterious, even to me. It’s not something you always tap your foot to. You’re listening to my thought process.”
Meg Duffy
Meg Duffy
Meg Duffy hasn't stopped moving, working, or growing since she left her quiet childhood home in upstate New York. You can find her in the back of the van reading a book, quietly warming up backstage with some guitar workouts, or waiting tables at a neighborhood pizzeria. Though Meg didn't pick up the instrument until she was seventeen years old, her intuitive, naturalistic musicality and commitment to the craft of guitar playing have made an in demand collaborator and guitarist for countless indie acts (Kevin Morby, Mega Bog, Weyes Blood) and kept her between the road and the studio for almost three straight years. Like much of the richest art, Meg's LP debut Wildy Idle (Humble Before the Void) (Woodsist 2017) ​is many things at once. The record is a collection of songs written amidst the constant motion of touring, recording, and working part-time jobs; recorded at home in North East LA between other commitments, around the sounds of roommates cooking breakfast, and dogs pattering though an old craftsman house. Layered with Duffy's signature extended guitar techniques, poems read by friends, and musical contributions from contemporaries like Keven Lareau (Quilt), Avi Buffalo, Sheridan Riley, and others, the album combines striking visual storytelling and compelling melody with a deceptively light touch. Drawing on diverse influences ranging from novelist Iris Murdoch to Phil Elverum's seminal work under his Microphones moniker, this album is more than the sum of its parts. Like a folded paper fortune teller, each listen reveals a new, hidden truth about living, working, and falling in and out of love buried in the quietly beating heart of the record. Dark, pulsing tracks like the intoxicating "Bad Boy" sit comfortably beside sunny strummers like "All The While" with its bouncing bass line and beguiling lyrics. The thread that runs through all these songs is Duffy's voice, in turns languid and sweet, and always telling a story. Mixed and mastered by contemporary electronic music maestro M. Geddes Gengras, the result is an LP as hypnotic as Hand Habit's impossibly immersive live set, and filled with the same engaging blend of wild improvisation and perfect restraint. Expansive, atmospheric arrangements punctuated with intricate melodic details. This record is indoor music at its finest: listen in the morning, in bed with your partner, in the kitchen while you make coffee, at night when you read on the porch.
Johanna Samuels
Johanna Samuels
Indie-songstress Johanna Samuels is a breath of fresh air. She revives the singer-songwriter genre with carefully crafted lyrics and earnest pop-laden choruses. The native New Yorker grew up in Los Angeles, before returning to NY at the age of 18. She spent her time in school singing in school choirs, learning to play the songs of her musical heroes by ear. Naturally, Samuels began writing music of her own in her bedroom. At a time where the burgeoning music scene in Brooklyn was bustling DIY venues merging shows that showcased both well-known indie acts with dozens of undiscovered artists, Samuels was inspired to take her songs to the stage. Soon she was playing sold out shows at Glasslands and Union Pool.

In 2012 she recorded and self-released a six-track EP, Giant Fantasy Life and assembled a 4-piece backing band. Her sincere performances drew audiences in, making her one of the most promising acts to rise out of the New York indie scene.

In early spring of 2013 she recorded her first full-length album, titled Double Bind. After recording basic tracks with the band at a quilt factory-turned-studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Samuels and drummer Fen Ikner worked on the tracks whenever the had a chance.The songs on Double Bind were written in Johanna's apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and all share a sentiment of necessary separation or as Samuels puts it "…attempting to own myself and stand on my two feet."

She explains, "While recording the album, a good friend had described the term Double Bind: a dynamic wherein two emotional demands are met but consequently negate each other, leaving one person to feel trapped. For some reason that struck a deep chord in me. It is from that place that many of these songs grew."

Samuels moved back to LA late last year, a sound that is reflected in her upcoming EP Home and Dry: Told a Lie. The songs on the EP melt thoughtful narratives with sunny arrangements. Samuels enters the latest chapter in her artistry, while earnestly pouring out her heart, soul and creativity in the form of ear candy for us all. The best is yet to come.
Aaron Embry
Aaron Embry
At the tail end of his three-year stint as the piano player for the Los Angeles ensemble Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Aaron Embry finally found the voice for which he'd been searching. He discovered this voice captive in an arch top tenor guitar, a harmonica, and a small stack of moleskine notebooks. Travel-ready and now equipped with his new discoveries, Embry found a current and the songs came up like a flood.

He wrote at a prolific rate while on tour throughout the late spring and fall of last year, a body of songs born among communal, creative atmospheres of life on the road with Sharpe and of time on the rails with the numerous musicians of 2011's Railroad Revival Tour. As a songwriter, Embry cut his teeth by recording and touring with greats such as Elliott Smith, Willie Nelson, and Daniel Lanois, among plenty of others.

In April 2012 he began recording, and the outcome is Tiny Prayers: a 10-track collection that explores a wide range of emotions while anchored in the cardinal folk tradition of simplicity. Elemental song structures and spartan acoustic arrangements bring Embry up close and in focus as a songwriter, singer, and musician. Lyrics such as "Is my happiness dependent on its own design? Am I only waking up to leave my dreams behind?" are evidence of his love for emotional complexity, while his voice and bare instrumentation carve melodies that are built like something low to the ground yet wide as the sky.
Sean Watkins
Sean Watkins
Sara Watkins
Sara Watkins
American singer-songwriter and fiddler, born June 8, 1981 in Vista, California.
Harrison Whitford
Harrison Whitford
Harrison Whitford is a solo artist and an accomplished guitarist, having worked in the studio and on the stage with artists ranging from Willie Nelson, Phoebe Bridgers, Ryan Adams, Jonny Lang, Conor Oberst, Korey Dane, Joe Bonamassa and many more. His own music features personal lyrics and touches on the more emotional side of the singer/songwriter genre. His debut solo record, Afraid of Everything is to be released Winter 2017.
Olivia Kaplan
Olivia Kaplan
In 2003, Olivia Kaplan picked up her father’s Guild acoustic guitar and taught herself Cat Stevens’ The First Cut is the Deepest,“...only it was definitely the Sheryl Crow version.” While one may hear influences of that first Sheryl cover, Kaplan’s melancholic but open-hearted music aligns her more naturally with songwriters like Angel Olsen and Cat Power. She recorded her first EP, Goddamn, I Miss You (2014) upon returning to Los Angeles from studying music at McGill University in Montreal. Since then, Kaplan has established herself as a frequent performer and studio vocalist on a range of music projects across the city with artists like Dzang, Shannon Inouye, and Dessert. A keen emotional note-taker, Kaplan’s songs are thoughtful responses to relationships made or observed, and human situations to which she’s borne witness. Her grounded vocals combined with a minimalist approach to instrumentation embody a desolate closeness, capturing the desperation that comes with attempts at modern empathy.
Madison Cunningham
Madison Cunningham
Madison Cunningham "Love Lose Remember" Available now on iTunes and Spotify
Gold Star
Gold Star
Gold Star’s Marlon Rabenreither grew up in L.A. with a native son’s sense of what’s real and true and a childhood fascination with the Beatles, teaching himself to write and play a special kind of stark guitar-noir Americana that soon got him opening for Ryan Bingham and an admiring Lucinda Williams. On his new Autumn Tone release Big Blue—named after the ramshackle Hollywood home where he produced and recorded the album—he shines and redefines the sound of his self-titled 2013 EP and his 2015 full-length Dark Days to reveal an autobiographical work as influenced by writers like Fante, Baldwin and Chandler as it is Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Wilco or Elliott Smith. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it wasone of those lost classics—but really it’s just a long letter from a young singer/songwriter both weary and wise beyond his years.
Christian Lee Hutson
Christian Lee Hutson
Whoever the gallantly self-defeating 24-year-old singer/songwriter is, he's an amalgamation of a long line of Americana tradition, a packed handful of unpleasant days, and his own past musical endeavors, including 2012's EP Will Never Break Up, and his debut LP, The Hell With It.

Now, after a song-a-month release over the course of 2014 comes Hutson's second album Yeah Okay, I Know, a record championed by Americana UK's James McCurry as "...Startlingly good. Like 'year's end list' good." Yeah Okay, I Know captures twelve songs from the rapidly-evolving King of Bummercore, with all his youthful regrets, laments, and apathy worn unabashedly on his sleeve.

Hutson's search for self spills from his records onto the road in a relentless touring schedule across the States and throughout Europe, where the prolific songster's perpetually unveiling new tunes and discovering new ways to take shots at himself. Like Sean Moeller says in Paste Magazine, "He will change you. Go see him tonight."
Venue Information:
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
http://www.bootlegtheater.org/