Saul Williams may not directly challenge the status quo every day but an uprising is at core of his being. When he performed a free show for Summerstage in Marcus Garvey Park, Williams began his set late due to technical difficulties some of which continued through his set. However, with a simple stage arrangement, it was simply him and his a backup DJ/producer, Williams commanded attention at the park. When the music dropped out (due to audio issues?) he continued on and later, he inflamed the audience further from the crowd. With the lights low (and the sun down), Williams’ system challenging lyrics aligned with his MartyrLoserKing multimedia backdrop and allowed his message to be the center of attention. As an artist, a poet, an activist and more, Williams is steadfast on his principles and his music reflects his social and political views. Check out some photos and a couple of clips from his set below.
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Eli Paperboy Reed blends soul and gospel into a style Chris Ingalls called “garage soul” on his latest album My Way Home. Moving away from pop into roots music suits Reed to a tee as he benefits from a strong, passionate voice positively dripping with soul and an incendiary performance style that leaves crowds in awe. Reed tells PopMatters that “‘My Way Home’ was the first song [he] wrote for this album and it really helped reveal the direction the rest of the record was going to take and what [he] wanted to get across both musically and emotionally.” That’s readily apparent as the title song builds to a moving finish that will slay soul freaks. Like Mike Farris, Reed keeps the rock ‘n’ roll energy in his music and he’s grown into a consummate artist that’ll thrill audiences for many, many years.
Colorado’s Paper Bird have been turning heads on the Americana scene with their unique sound featuring three female lead vocalists. So much so, in fact, that John Oates of the legendary Hall & Oates became a fan of the group and then signed on to produce their new self-titled album releasing September 9th via Thirty Tigers. That’s just in time for the AmericanaFest crowds to have digested their new music ahead of their appearance at the festival on September 24th. You’ll hear influences from Fleet Foxes, the Lone Bellow, and Fleetwood Mac on Paper Bird and, of course, from John Oates himself as the band honors him with this delightful take on the Hall & Oates classic, “Make My Dreams Come True”.
On the eve of its US release tomorrow, we have the premiere of Terra Lightfoot‘s new album, the stellar Every Time My Mind Runs Wild. Back in May, we said, “Love the Alabama Shakes and Brittany Howard? Then get ready to adore Terra Lightfoot, a roots rocker with a powerful voice and a badass Gibson SG that she plays with consummate ease. Yep, she could be your new rock ‘n’ roll hero. Drawing from rock, soul and blues, Lightfoot is a monster talent that will be gracing the world’s largest festival stages in no time.”
See for yourself, as Lightfoot honors her roots music influences—Maybelle Carter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Leadbelly, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding,Nina Simone and Billie Holiday—with complete mastery while remaining very much her own artist, a true original with a long career ahead of her.
Post-rock trio Esben and the Witch will release the album Older Terrors November 4 via Season of Mist. The band has just issued the track “Sylvan” to celebrate the record’s impending arrival. With passages that range from spare and haunting to loud and frightening, the 13-minute tune serves as a perfect taste of the whole album. Vocalist Rachel Davies sings with an uncommon ease and grace, further establishing herself as one of the most remarkable voices in any genre. Drummer Daniel Copeman plays with both taste and passion, while guitarist Thomas Fischer creates intricate but subtle layers that strike the perfect balance between darkness and light.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article