Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets will be $20 at the door.
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and bandleader, FRED EAGLESMITH, is a genuine iconoclast and true original. It’s the natural result of following the cue of his musical career and now 19 albums with the January 2012 release of 6 Volts. The result is one of the most fascinating and musically rewarding careers in contemporary music. As he has doggedly gone his own way as an independent musical artist, Eaglesmith has also enjoyed such high profile rewards in recent years as having his songs covered by country superstars Toby Keith, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert, among many other accomplishments.
6 Volts is yet another landmark on a journey. The album takes its title from the battery that powered the game-changing transistor radio – introduced in 1954, the same year that rock’n’roll emerged into popular consciousness – and embodies the notion of back to the future. Captured live in the studio with one microphone onto a one-track reel to reel recorder like so many enduring classics, 6 Volts also bristles with contemporary urgency. The album opens with the memerizing life affirming track “Cemetery Road,” the tragic yet loving “Katie,” and the sparse and meditative “Been a Long Time.” It channels the raw rock’n’roll musical truths of his youth while offering a nod of homage to his country music inspiration on “Johnny Cash.” The title song with its classic rock’n’roll strains offers lyrical insights into Eaglesmith’s symbolic and actual yin/yang equation throughout. The shadow side of love and desire lurk on “Dangerous” and the memory fever dream “Cigarette Machine.” He catalogs his musical past on “Betty Oshawa” and “Stars,” portraying the truths of everyday working musicians. He closes out 6 Volts with the resigned yet still determined onward march of the traveling soul on “Trucker Speed.” The album also draws on the spirit of the era when the transistor radio generation of musical artists and listeners keyed into the electricity of fusing rock’n’roll with country and Southern roots. “That era really felt like that was a powerful place to refer back to,” Eaglesmith notes. “I did not want it to sound like, say, 1963. I wanted it to sound like a record that referenced that but was still made in 2011.”
Throughout the years since his first album in 1980, Eaglesmith has usefully managed to both transcend and blend such genres and categories as rock’n’roll, country, folk, singer-songwriter, Americana, blues and bluegrass to fashion his own distinctive brand of literate, melodic and rhythmic rocking elecro-acoustic North American music. Along the way he has gathered a unique set of accomplishments: a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album, had his music used in films by Martin Scorsese, James Caan and Toby Keith, wrote a hit #1 on the bluegrass charts (“Thirty Years of Farming,” recorded by James King), wowing David Letterman in his U.S. network debut in 2010, and finding his songs included in the curriculum at two colleges. His followers are so devoted that he is the host and centerpiece of a number of music festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He also inspired the Roots on the Rails rolling music fests and hosts its excursions on scenic railways as well as, last year, at sea. When not writing recording and performing music, Eaglesmith creates visual art that is exhibited in commercial galleries and museums.
In addition to having his compositions featured on best-selling albums by country singers and writers themselves like Keith (“White Rose”), Jackson (“Freight Train”) and Lambert (“Time To Get A Gun”), such fellow songwriting talents as The Cowboy Junkies, Chris Knight, Kasey Chambers, Mary Gauthier, Todd Snider and Dar Williams have all recorded Eaglesmith songs.
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