APRIL 8TH-TRUCK STOP HONEYMOON, OPENING ACT: PASTENSE
Truckstop Honeymoon play tough, funny, hi-octane songs about interstates, pinball arcades and true love. Katie Euliss pounds a doghouse bass while Mike West punishes a banjo mercilessly. Together they charm festival crowds and drive roadhouse drinkers to the dance-floor.
Since hurricane Katrina washed them out of New Orleans, Truckstop Honeymoon have traveled to the ends of the Earth and back, performing in Australia, Holland, Germany, Britain and throughout the US. Their music tells a story so honest and strange you know they didn’t make it up.
Katie learned whore-house piano and bucket bass in the streets of the French Quarter. There she met Mike, a banjo-slinging grifter who sold CDs he claimed cured hangovers and small-mindedness. After a court house wedding, the pair hit the road. They spent their wedding night in a truck stop somewhere between Lafayette and the Atchafalya Swamp. And so Truckstop Honeymoon was born.
On August 29 2005, flood waters submerged their home base in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Truckstop Honeymoon were on tour when the storm hit and so on-tour is where they stayed. Mike and Katie played shows every night, lived out of their van and kept their two daughters entertained in convenience stores across America. But eventually, the road weary family parked their rig as far from any large body of water as they could get: Lawrence, Kansas.
April 29th-Sky Smeed CD Release concert
Sky Smeed was born and raised outside of Chanute, Kansas, in an old, one-room schoolhouse his parents bought and turned into a home in the early 1970s. Last year, he sold the country home he built by hand and migrated to Lawrence, Kansas, a place that has provided a non-stop supply of creativity, community and culture, and began settling in to an old fixer-upper on the north side of the Kaw River.
“I was spending so much time in Lawrence recording my last album Drive All Night and playing shows in the Kansas City area that I fell in love with being here,” Smeed said. “Maybe someday I’ll move back out to the country, but right now it’s a great thing to be able to walk to the store for groceries.”
Lawrence, too, helped reel in the lyrics and music for “Bumper Sticker”, the crowd favorite from Sky’s new album Lunker Bass (Digital Release: Feb. 1, 2017, Physical Release: March 1).
“You can learn a lot about a person’s taste in music, ideology and humor from the back of their car,” Smeed laughed. “I kept noticing bumper stickers everywhere, so I took note of a bunch of bumper sticker slogans and arranged them into a song in 30 minutes. It makes no sense, but it kind of rhymes!”
Much of the material on Lunker Bass came together quickly and naturally; from Lawrence to London, Smeed has found a groove or sweet spot in his songcraft, yielding the pub-pleasing “Small Town Celebrations”, heartfelt ballads like “Starting All Over Again” and “Hard Man to Love”, and the title cut’s vivid narrative. “’Lunker Bass’ is as true as any fishing story should be,” Smeed laughs, recalling going fishing in his youth with his dad, who told him “one of these days we’ll catch that lunker bass.” Lo and behold, his dad snagged that bass on the last cast of the day, but always gave his son credit for landing the legendary fish.
Smeed hopped across the pond for two tours in 2016 with U.K-based folk songwriter Beans on Toast, who knew right away European audiences would go head-over-heels for Sky’s country tinged tunes of working hard, dogs, love, money, beer, coffee, and the call of the road. The first tour, dubbed the Small Town Celebrations Tour, inspired the song of the same name. The following tour, A Spanner in the Works, again paired Smeed with Beans on Toast for raucous routings through major markets including London and Manchester.
“I’ve seen Sky Smeed win over audiences all over the U.K. It’s impossible not to fall for his charm, his smile and his wonderful songs,” Beans said.
To date, Smeed has self-released five full-length albums: Flying High (2002), The Front Steps (2004), Mill River (2006), Sky Smeed (2012) and Drive All Night (2015). His sixth album, Lunker Bass (2017), was recorded and produced at The Ninth Ward Pickin’ Parlor in Lawrence by none other than award-winning folk duo Truckstop Honeymoon (Mike & Katie West). Lunker Bass saw digital distribution on Feb. 1 and physical distribution on March 1.
To this day, Smeed remains an independent recording and performing artist, booking his own shows at bars, clubs, festivals, and listening rooms across the U.S. and Europe. He’s currently prepping his first solo tour across Europe in the summer of 2017, as well as non-stop touring across America in support of Lunker Bass.
“Smeed’s own grin has the power to start plenty of parties.” – Mike Warren, No Depression
“He has the ability to convey what can be complicated emotional territory simply and organically.” – Diana Griffin Ennis, DJ 90.1 KKFI
“Drive All Night is likely the best feel-good indie album to come out of Kansas in 2015.” – Currentland
“…a poignant, foot-stomping good time sprinkled with sentimental moments and allusions to not-so-illegal smiles.” – RedDirtNation.com
“Mill River is a rollicking bunch of songs, with Smeed stretching emotionally, compositionally and hitting every mark full stride.” – Metroland
MAY 20TH-TRET FURE with CINDY NOVELO OPENING
THIS CONCERT IS COSPONSORED BY THE CAPITAL CITY EQUALITY CENTER AND A PORTION OF THE PROFITS WILL GO TO THE EQUALITY CENTER
Tret Fure began her career at the age of 16, singing in coffeehouses and campuses in the Midwest. At 19, she moved to LA in hopes of obtaining a record deal. Within a year she was performing as guitarist and vocalist for Spencer Davis, touring with him and penning the single for his album “Mousetrap”. She went on to record her own album in 1973 on MCA/UNI Records, with the late Lowell George of Little Feat as her producer. With the success of that release, she opened for such bands as Yes, Poco, and the J Geils Band.
One of the most prolific artists in the contemporary singer-songwriter arena, Tret Fure has released 15 albums and CDs over the course of her 46 year career. In addition to being a gifted songwriter, Fure has engineered and produced countless recordings by a variety of artists, including her own work.
In the early 80s, Tret began exploring the independent side of the industry discovering the blossoming genre known as Women’s Music. She recorded with and produced some of the best of women’s music including the legendary “Meg & Cris at Carnegie Hall” (1983). She worked as a duo with Cris Williamson throughout the 90s, producing, engineering and releasing 3 CDs together during those years.
Cindy Novelo finds her inspiration in a deep desire to help bring harmony to the world – through her music, but also through the sharing of her stories and the work she does with both groups and individuals. Over the past several years – and in particular since her journey through ovarian cancer in 2010 – she found herself sharing from the stage more and more of her life story and the ways in which her experiences have opened her to the abundant grace in the world – even within misfortune.
As she traveled the country as a professional performing songwriter, time and again members of her audience shared how much her stories meant to them which resulted in requests for Cindy to present to groups as a speaker, workshop presenter and retreat facilitator, as well as working individually with clients who have faced various life challenges.
Novelo’s authentic sound led Kansas Public Radio’s Bob McWilliams to select her album Stone’s Throw as one of his top picks for best folk albums of the year, along with albums by Sarah Jarosz, Richard Shindell and Cheryl Wheeler. “Her arrangements…reverberate with the melodies and traditions of both Medieval and Romantic Europe. The smoky peat fires of the Celts mix with the disciplined heat of full-on symphony… The human condition – bold and beautiful – is what speaks to us through her music.” ~Blue Sky Green Earth Magazine.
Cindy sees all of life as a wondrous adventure – even the daily, seemingly mundane events of our lives. She grew up studying music and dance, then went on to study international politics in France, where she received a Certificate of Political Studies from the Political Science Institute of the University of Bordeaux. While in France, she also continued her study of viola performance at the Conservatory of Music of Bordeaux. She then moved to Costa Rica where she served as Assistant Principal Viola with the National Symphony of Costa Rica for several years. She later moved to Belize where she owned a business and raised twin daughters – resulting in 17 years living abroad. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for many years in international education, teaching and advising students from many different walks of life. She is a certified yoga teacher (RYT-200) with a passion for yoga and yoga philosophy and developed a university-level course entitled The Ancient Art of Yoga which she taught for several years at Baker University. In 2009, she returned to devoting herself full-time to music, merging her classical training with her deep love of folk music.
Cindy has lived through times of jubilation and joy – as well as sorrow and challenge, including divorce, single parenthood, sudden job loss, and her journey through ovarian cancer. But through it all one basic thing has always rung true: Life is full of grace and magic – and is to be savored, every step of the way. The challenges she has faced have fortified her and taught her to mine the endless beauty that springs from perceived darkness. It is this deep wisdom that Cindy brings to her music, performances, workshops, retreats, and life coaching. Her message is one of peace, hope, light and personal transformation. Cindy aspires to be a beacon on the path that leads to a more vibrant and expansive way of being as she helps others to awaken to the grace, beauty and magic in their own lives.
Jennifer Blumenthal, Soul + Life Coach – Nashville, TN
‘Meditation’, click here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cindynovelo2
JUNE 24TH-STILL ON THE HILL
Still on the Hill is a national and international touring group from Arkansas that has been described as “Ambassadors of the Ozarks” for the work they do to preserve a rich culture that is quickly disappearing.
Kelly & Donna of Still on the Hill are award winning ‘story telling-song writers’. Different than most singer-songwriters, this dynamic duo embellishes their songs with a host of unique instruments from the hills they call home. Many of these were hand-made by old-timeStill on the Hill has proved itself a favorite at many prestigious festivals and venues here and abroad, including the Kerrville Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas and countless others. Their own region, the Ozarks, has voted them the “Best Folk Band” for several years running, and the mayor of their town, Fayetteville, Arkansas, proclaimed Dec. 20th Still on the Hill Day for all the work the duo does in community service. They have produced eight widely acclaimed CD’s and nine years ago they signed with Swiss record label Brambus Records for the European release of their CD “Chaos & Calm”. In 2010 they produced their ‘Ozark Project’ which created waves across the region that are still resonating today and also garnered them the coveted Governors Folk Life Award for their effort to preserve Arkansas Traditions.rs and have amazing stories that go with them.