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LAMPLIGHTER- PETER MULVEY/SIMON BALTO/CHRIS PORTERFIELD/ ANNA VOGELZANG
December 9, 2016 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm$20
Lamplighter sessions enlightment here
Who is PETER MULVEY and why does he lamptoon us each year?
Over the past 20 years, Mulvey has pursued a restless, eclectic path as a writer and musician – immersing himself in Tin PanAlley jazz, modern acoustic, poetry, narrative, and Americana stylings. Relentlessly touring as a headliner – his attitude is, “When you love what you do, you can work all the time,” – he has also shared the stage with luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Ani diFranco, Indigo Girls, and Greg Brown, and has attracted an audience that stretches from Anchorage to Amsterdam.
In every aspect of his career, Mulvey draws on an extremely broad swath of influence; he is always reading, listening, and eager to hear new poetry, modern minimalist composers, old-time fiddle tunes, Argentinean trip-hop, or top-shelf bar bands. Said The Irish Times: “Peter Mulvey is consistently the most original and dynamic of the US singer-songwriters to tour these shores. A phenomenal performer with huge energy, a quick fire, quirky take on life, and an extraordinary guitar style. A joy to see.”
….Still, it is the live performance that defines that work. Night after night, whether performing solo, duo (with David “Goody” Goodrich), or sometimes even with a band, Mulvey attempts to be the sum of his parts, to draw on all the musical legacies he has studied, to make a fresh, vital moment out of everything he and the audience have brought to the table that night. “People need this. I need this. To come together in a room, to try to make music come alive, for real, for right now, and then to let it go…that is the whole deal for me.”
SIMON BALTO‘s work has garnered praise from critics both local, regional, national, and international.
Most people mention the voice first. It comes from deep within. Sounds like it means what it says. Then come the lyrics and the stories — ones about workers and lovers, mothers and sons, the dying and mourning, the prideful and the abused. Ones about the Midwest and the beauty and difficulty that characterizes life around here. There is a humanity in the songs that recalls the work of some of the folk tradition’s finest architects.
The songs linger. Exhale. Persist.
Irish music publication Deadly Music! has compared his songwriting to top-of-his-game, Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan. The Chicago-based music curator Music Means Family said the following: “An unbelievable talent, his layered folk ballads are reminiscent of Baez and Dylan, Guthrie and Prine. There is a deeply satisfying componentto each of his songs – a reminder of home, woodsmoke, and the first traces of your breath as winter begins to settle.”
He has been featured on Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio, Big Top Chautauqua’s Tent Show Radio, Daytrotter, and has supported and shared stages with a wide range of artists in recent years, from Jason Isbell to Johnnyswim, Field Report to Anderson East, Peter Mulvey to Communist Daughter, Charlie Parr to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.
In 2016, he will release Murmurations, a full-band record that features Shane Leonard (Kalispell, Field Report), Ben Lester (S. Carey, The Tallest Man on Earth, Aero Flynn), Steven Hobert, Kevin Rowe (Buffalo Gospel), and Amanda Rigell (Count This Penny).
CHRIS PORTERFIELD says he is “midwestern to the core” and we find no fault with that kind of core.
“The body remembers what the mind forgets,” Chris Porterfield reminisces on his acclaimed band Field Report’s sophomore record, Marigolden. The record is strewn with references to the inevitable tolls taken by the passage of time, and prolonged distance from home and loved ones.
The past couple of years have flashed by for Porterfield, who was thrust into the spotlight after years of musical reclusion. His Milwaukee-based band, Field Report (an anagram of his surname), was culled together in the studio while recording their 2012 self-titled debut. They suddenly found themselves championed by their former idols: offered support tours by Counting Crows and Aimee Mann, lauded by the likes of Mark Eitzel and Richard Thompson, and covered by Blind Boys Of Alabama.
The band honed itself from a septet to a quartet in the year that followed, focusing its sound and tightening the screws. With a heavy batch of songs under their arms, they retreated to snowy Ontario in December 2013 to record their sophomore album,Marigolden, with the help of producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist).
Spending two years roaming around the country playing tiny venues and sold-out amphitheaters alike, Porterfield was uncertain whether he was leading the charge toward an artistic epiphany or headed down a misguided path of self-destruction. Marigolden reflects this, as he ruminates across homesick tension and an un-grounded anxiety. But rather than wallow in melancholy, Porterfield finds solace and inspiration through his songs, which reveal themselves as uplifting and celebratory. The album is brighter than their 2012 debut, but somehow remains just as elegantly ominous.
Marigolden’s second track, the surprisingly catchy radio single “Home,” finds Porterfield on the road, hoping the home, wife, dog, and life he left behind in Milwaukee will still be there upon his return. “Leave the lights on,” he asks, “it might be nighttime when I get there, but I’m on my way home.” While the song contemplates lonesomeness, there is an undeniable sense of hope driving it. In “Summons,” the penultimate track, he recalls this thought, repeating, “I’ll be coming home to you” like a mantra. This sense of balance and symmetry across the album helps provide stability to the otherwise volatile themes. Case in point: the album starts with a sunrise in “Decision Day” and ends full circle with another in “Enchantment.”
Whether reconsidering sobriety in “Pale Rider,” sticking to tonic water in the bars of “Summons,” or cashing in a 30-day chip for a kiss in “Enchantment,” Porterfield’s relationship with alcohol runs through the current of nearly every song. Most notably in “Ambrosia,” where he find himself face to face with the reality of where his drinking is destined to lead.
The album runs the musical gamut, from the Traveling Wilburys-esque pop of “Home,” to the Neil Young-inspired piano ballad “Ambrosia,” to the electronic sonic landscape of “Wings.” While the compositions express a wide range in terms of genre, they find unity in themselves within the limits of self-imposed minimalism. In the studio, the songs were stripped down to the bones and built back up using only their essential elements.
ANNA VOGELZANG‘S melody-driven, multi-instrumental folk-pop ballads have been met with warm reviews (9/10, PopMatters) & landed her at festivals, conferences, and on bills with some of her heroes, including Sara Bareilles, Gillian Welch, Mirah, Anais Mitchell, Laura Gibson, Wye Oak, Steve Poltz, Amanda Palmer, & many more. Anna is currently touring in support of the Driftless EP, a home-spun, steadfast collection of gritty new-folk songs, many of which were written in 2014 as part of the song-a-week project RealWomenRealSongs. In 2015, she will return to the studio to work with producer Todd Sickafoose on her fifth LP. Vogelzang plays the banjo, ukuleles, guitar, and kalimba on stage, but has always been a singer who loves words and feelings first and foremost.