PM Pick

U2's Dance With Duende

David Kootnikoff

Life rocks, says Kootnikoff. Let it — and U2 — shake you, baby!



U2 at the US Superbowl, February 2002

No band in the universe is as big as U2. U2 is so big, the joke goes, that when Bono wants to change a light bulb all he has to do is hold it and the world revolves around him. Indeed, few bands blur the line between rapture and corn quite like the Sonic Leprechaun and his Irish Soul Men. At their worst, U2 comes off with bombastic pretension. At their best, they achieve what very few artists in any genre can: they create work with a sustained intensity that transforms the particular into the universal. U2 has that rare ability to communicate what the late Spanish writer, Frederico Garcia Lorca called 'duende'; that "mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains" (In Search of Duende, 1998, New Directions.)

Popularly associated with flamenco dancing, the concept of duende originated in the south of Spain centuries ago and has since migrated over to the English language. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary gives its meaning as "the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm", but it's much more than that. In 1933, Lorca gave his famous lecture, La Teoria y Juego del Duende (The Play and Theory of the Duende) in Buenos Aires detailing his conception of duende:

"I have heard an old master guitarist say: 'Duende is not in the throat; duende surges up from the soles of the feet.' Which means it is not a matter of ability, but of real live form; of blood; of ancient culture; of creative action."

Searching for the duende in the music of U2 may seem like the ultimate form of sycophancy or pretension, but as Miles Davis once so elegantly riffed, so what? No other band from the past two decades has so consistently given listeners reason to believe in the transcendental power of rock 'n' roll. U2 has the primacy of duende's "creative action" to thank for it.

The seeds of duende have been present from the beginning of U2's career over 25 years ago. With limited success, U2's first two albums, 1980's Boy and '81's October, toyed with religious themes of innocence and experience while the band's reverb-charged musical assaults broke new ground for the time. "Out of Control" and "Into the Heart", both from Boy, contain the elements of power and grace that would eventually be fused together on future releases to a greater effect.

War (1983), U2's commercial breakthrough, heralded a new sense of social purpose and a heightened dramatic tension. The elements of power and grace, present in earlier work, attained full maturity on the opening track, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and the hymn-like closer, "40".

My interest in the band started when I walked into A&B Sound on Seymour Street in Vancouver and caught a glimpse of their first video for the album. As I watched the peculiar spectacle of four figures galloping on horseback across the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle, the ricocheting chords and slithering bass of "New Years Day" filled the store:

And so we are told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage

It was the antithesis of the times. Boy George, Madonna, and Michael Jackson all exemplified glossy pop. Duran Duran, the big band of the day, embodied the pursuit of glamour, singing "Rio" in pastel suits aboard a yacht in the sun-kissed tropics. But here was something different -- a band confronting harsher elements, brilliantly fusing bombast with conviction in a song, according to U2's authorized biographer, Bill Flanagan, that was partly inspired by the Polish independent union Solidarity. Throughout 1982 when much of War was written, Solidarity and its leader, Lech Walesa, were in headlines around the world challenging the communist authorities in both Warsaw and Moscow. For a pubescent kid looking for something to believe in, this was a group that inspired faith. With War, U2 shifted the paradigm; it was cool enough to care, to believe that music could change the world. I didn't know it at the time, but I was responding to the exuberance of what could be, the limitless possibilities inherent in what Lorca called "newly created things" that duende conveys and U2 embodied.

After three albums with producer Steve Lillywhite, the band opted for change. New producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois were invited in to shape the murky contours of 1984's The Unforgettable Fire and '87's The Joshua Tree. The raw intensity U2 had cultivated with Lillywhite wasn't lost, but rather, this collaboration helped refine tracks such as "Bad" and "A Sort of Homecoming". Through the latter part of the '80s Eno and Lanois helped catapult U2 into the stratosphere of global rock domination on the strength of such singles as "With Or Without You" and "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

By the end of the '80s, however, after the release of the semi-live album and concert film Rattle And Hum, the band's earnest bombast had begun to betray the sincerity of their convictions. As Lorca knew, duende couldn't be faked. A novelty band based in Dublin, The Joshua Trio, began performing mocking renditions of their songs and other parodies emerged, most notoriously Negativland's 1991 crushing version of "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Negativland remixed the song with outtakes from the program, "American Top 40", containing avuncular keener host, Casey Kasem spewing expletives at his staff. As band member Mark Hosler explained:

"At one level, U2 is just these four guys making some music. But they're also not that at all. They're so huge that it becomes something else entirely. They're like Coca-Cola. As a commodity, as a corporately manufactured and distributed entertainment commodity, they — to me — become totally legitimate targets and you don't have to worry about what their feelings are or ask permission or anything." ( "Suits, Lawsuits, and Art: Negativland Takes On The Man" by Deuce of Clubs )

Not surprisingly, U2's label, Island, saw matters differently and sued. This caused resentment among those who saw the move as blatantly hypocritical considering that U2 would itself be guilty of the same sort of sampling/cultural appropriation during its forthcoming Zoo TV tour. While the band claimed to know nothing of the lawsuit, for the first time in U2's career a backlash was gathering speed.

In response, U2 disappeared to a newly liberated Berlin and while there, reinvented themselves. If a mysterious allure defined their previous studio efforts, 1991's Achtung Baby unveiled a new preoccupation with death and sensuality. 'MacPhisto', a demonic combination of Goethe's Mephistopheles and a Vegas-era Liberace, became Bono's new persona for the following Zoo TV Tour. The getup seemed to be a post-modern smirk -- the band's answer to the pomposity of Rattle and Hum.

Beneath all the camp and cosmetics however, the same primal intensity burned on. The album's strongest track, "One", remains a moving plea for universal love and the accompanying Mark Pellington directed video of buffalos running off the edge of a cliff continues to be an enduring image. As Lorca noted, "duende does not come at all unless…death is possible", and Achtung Baby, perhaps U2's greatest album, wrestles with the limitations of love and mortality.

Then, as if the band came too close to being seduced by the darkness at the core of Achtung Baby, they retreated once again through the rest of the '90s to have fun, trading emotional tension for technique on 1993's Zooropa and 1997's Pop. Bono describes the prevailing mood best on Pop's "Staring At the Sun":

I'm not the only one
Staring at the sun
Afraid of what you'd find
If you took a look inside


All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000) was celebrated as a return to the familiar U2 terrain of the mid-'80s, but in retrospect it sounds more like a preparation for the direct attack of what was to come in the form of their next release. Nevertheless, Bono's morning-after rasp on "Beautiful Day" conjures up a convincing world-weariness, while "Stuck in a Moment You Can't get Out Of", written for late INXS singer Michael Hutchence, pulls beauty from the jaws of despair. The song's coda reaches the elemental rapture inherent in the tradition of the best gospel music.

While their current release, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb doesn't break any new ground technically, it is the strongest, most consistent album of their career. Like every U2 album, it has moments that soar above anything recorded by peers REM or Wilco, for example. "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own", their recent single, is one of them. The band reconnects with duende's emotional power, a power that "surges up from the soles of the feet" with the velocity of an accelerating rocket. Written for Bono's late father Bob Hewson who died in 2001, the song uncovers a condensed kernel of human pathos recognizable to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one:

And it's you when I look in the mirror
And it's you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can't make it on your own

As Bono says on the album's accompanying DVD, "a song can change the world . . . it can change the temperature in the room". As I was listening, my heart leapt into my throat with the force of a Molotov cocktail, bathing my senses in incandescent waves of euphoria.

In recent interviews Bono has drawn attention to a new vitality in his voice and it seems as though the entire band has rediscovered theirs. After two and a half decades of trying on different masks, they stand before the world grizzled, focused, and ready to rock.

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don't have to go it alone

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "all loss, all pain, is particular" and the lyrical intimacy of this song creates a solid connection with its emotional core. Listening to it feels though we're listening in on a private conversation:

I don't need to hear you say
That if we weren't so alike
You'd like me a whole lot more

In the video, Bono smiles slightly while singing this line, enhancing rather than diminishing the song's mood. For a song that could easily take itself too seriously, it's a welcome dose of comic relief.

As with songs like "Bad", "Without Or Without You", or "One", "Sometimes" is a smoldering ballad that gradually intensifies until finally breaking into a transcendent crescendo:

Can you hear me when I sing?
You're the reason I sing
You're the reason why the opera is in me

It's an explosive confession that raises the room temperature, melting away any distance between audience and performer. And for Bono's father who apparently loved opera, it's a fitting tribute.

Producer Chris Thomas, who has worked with everyone from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols, doesn't intrude or impose any formulas upon the song's trajectory. The structure feels organic, soulful and modern.

The song follows a familiar U2 recipe. Start with a simple acoustic guitar; follow it with Adam Clayton's supple bass and add some echo for ambience. Then allow 'the Edge' (guitarist Dave Evans) to drop a few luminous notes that slowly coalesce into bright chunks of riffage as Bono and Larry Mullen kick the song into flight.

"Sometimes" is a mournful song, but it's not a tome of despair. As with gospel-blues, the raw passion of Bono's voice elevates the music above grief and into the realm of catharsis. "Keening" is how the Irish dramatist JM Synge, referred to this kind of expression. Lorca identified it in the "deep song" of his country's folk music:

It is truly deep, deeper than all the wells and seas in the world, much deeper
than the present heart that creates it or the voice that sings it, because it is
almost infinite . . . It comes from the first sob and the first kiss.

Lorca believed duende recreated familiar forms:

"The duende's arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old
Planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm."

Few other bands come close to these dizzy heights. "Sometimes" is pure duende.

Lorca also stated "with duende it is easier to love and understand, and one can be sure of being loved and understood." U2 acknowledges that "tonight", as in other moments, weakness may overcome strength, but that's OK- everyone has those moments. It's in this realization that "Sometimes" crosses from the particular to the universal, cutting deep into the heart's core to pull out an emotional response that has nothing to do with Bono's father, but everything to do with our shared vulnerability as fragile living beings.

Music of this caliber and class feels as primal as shelter and food. U2 is keeping duende alive in their sound. All we can do is listen.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

The Hall of Fame has been harshly criticized for some of its more inexplicable exclusions and for neglecting certain subgenres of music. Cynicism and negativity over the Hall's selection process and membership is fairly widespread. That said, despite the controversies and legitimate gripes, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is still widely viewed as a career milestone. The Hall's stature feeds its surrounding controversies: after all, nobody would care to argue so vehemently about the merits of one artist over another if it wasn't important. Very rarely will a newly inducted artist miss the opportunity to appear at the star-studded ceremony to accept their honor.

The criteria for nomination is as follows: "Artists -- a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians -- become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock and roll." Specifically for performers, "This category honors bands or solo artists which demonstrate musical excellence. Such a descriptor includes (but isn't limited to) influence on other performers or genres; length and depth of career and catalog; stylistic innovations; or superior technique and skills."

These standards allow the selection committee wide latitude with their choices, and generating a list that would create zero controversy is an obvious impossibility. As for those deserving artists yet to be included, their time will surely come. There has purportedly been an emphasis on increasing diversity among the nominating committee and voters in recent years, and the list of contenders for the class of 2018 reflects this.

Radiohead, as expected and deserved, are nominated in their first year of eligibility, and there is little doubt they will be inducted. Other nominees include Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, the Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, the Meters, the Moody Blues, Rage Against the Machine, Nina Simone, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and the Zombies. It's a strong and varied group.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise on the list, however, is the British duo Eurythmics. Even though they've been eligible since 2006, this is their first nomination. Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox certainly deserve recognition for their important contributions to the musical fabric of the last 40 years. While Eurythmics have always been generally respected, they've never been darlings with the critics like some of their contemporaries. It's puzzling as to why. Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting and creative audacity. Lennox is second to noone as a vocalist, not just in her lead parts but also in the creative, often rhythmic way she uses her voice as an instrument. This nomination could boost the stature and perception of Eurythmics' body of work immeasurably.

Although Eurythmics are often consigned strictly to the synthpop genre, that designation fits only a portion of their repertoire. Each of their nine studio albums has its own unique vibe while retaining the duo's core identity. Eurythmics never repeat themselves, often taking bold risks and swerving in unexpected directions. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Eurythmics didn't "sell out" or compromise by chasing after obvious Top 40 hits. Even their most popular singles aren't commercial in the traditional sense, and they've always sounded like nobody else on the radio.

Despite the sudden emergence of their 1983 single "Sweet Dreams (are made of this)" as an MTV staple and international smash, Eurythmics are far from an overnight success story. Their story begins in London, 1975, when Stewart fortuitously encountered Lennox at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress. The Scottish singer had recently dropped out of the Royal Academy of Music, which she felt didn't suit her musical interests. Stewart and Lennox strongly connected over their love of music, and they quickly became a couple who were inseparable. Along with singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Peet Coombes, Stewart and Lennox formed a short-lived group the Catch. After one failed single, they added two members and renamed themselves the Tourists.

Coombes was the dominant creative force and primary songwriter behind the Tourists. Lennox and Coombes shared vocals on the band's dour and melancholy power-pop. The Tourists released three albums and managed a handful of chart appearances in the UK. Two of their singles, a peppy cover of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You" and the hard-rocking "So Good T\to Be Back Home Again", made the UK Top 10. The band toured extensively, but their success was fleeting. The Tourists' third album, Luminous Basement (1980), tanked badly despite containing their strongest material yet, and the group dissolved shortly thereafter.

Lennox and Stewart also endured a painful ending to their sometimes tumultuous romance, but they recognized the power of their musical chemistry and decided to continue working together as a duo. They were a pair "who couldn't be together, and who could not be apart", as Lennox reflects many years later in the song "17 Again". History has shown that they made the right decision: Stewart and Lennox compliment each other intuitively through a shared passion for music, the thrill of experimentation, and the need for emotional release that songwriting and performing allows.

The name Eurythmics was derived from a technique used to teach music to children based on sensory and physical methods of learning rhythm. The newly-christened duo signed with RCA Records and in early 1981 headed to Germany to record their debut album with highly-respected krautrock producer Conny Plank.

Plank already had a long string of acclaimed albums to his credit, including collaborations with Neu!, Can, Ultravox, Kraftwerk and Brian Eno among others. The sessions for what would become Eurythmics' debut album, In the Garden, were held at Plank's studio in Cologne. He brought several of his regular collaborators into the proceedings, including bassist Holger Czukay and drummer Jaki Liebezeit of avant-garde rockers Can, Blondie drummer Clem Burke and D.A.F. electronics whiz Robert Görl. Stewart has described the sessions as a learning experience that helped expand his perception of what pop music could be and how it could be created without following any rules, a perspective that served Eurythmics well.

Eurythmics' austere and hypnotic debut single "Never Gonna Cry Again" was released in May 1981. They filmed a low-budget video and landed a couple TV slots to promote the track, but the song's haunted nature did not translate to mainstream success: it barely scraped the lower reaches of the UK singles chart. A second single, the dreamy guitar-rocker "Belinda", followed in August but failed to chart.

In the Garden was finally released in October 1981, but without a hit to generate momentum it was barely noticed. Despite scant sales figures, the album's gloomy psychedelic guitar-pop makes for a rather strong debut. In the Garden exists in late summer shadows, densely atmospheric and shrouded in a veil of dread. Lennox's vocals are understated, subtle and lower in the mix than on subsequent albums. Sound effects, odd vocalizations and bits of sonic experimentation fade in and out like flashes of hazily repressed memory.

RCA wasn't eager to invest in a follow-up to In the Garden after its disappointing reception, so Stewart financed Eurythmics' second album largely through a personal bank loan. Faced with a minuscule budget, they worked in a London warehouse to avoid spending money on studio time. They were able to purchase cheap second-hand equipment for the sessions, including the basic TEAC 8-track on which most of the album was recorded. Adam Williams, former bassist for the ska band the Selectors, helped the duo learn the equipment while co-producing some of their earliest tracks.

The primitive set-up was the ultimate blessing in disguise. Since they were financing the sessions and self-producing, Eurythmics had the freedom to experiment with no oversight. As both Lennox and Stewart were enduring periods of deep personal strife at the time, the sessions evolved into an emotional and creative catharsis that helped shape the mercurial nature of the music. It was out of this environment that a classic was born.

Despite appearing only a few months after their debut album, the first single to emerge from the new sessions proved radically different than any of Eurythmics' prior work. Released in April 1982, "This Is the House" is a flamboyant, horn-driven spectacle on which Lennox belts out a vocal more confident and brash than any of her prior work. The song's odd mix of synthpop, R&B; and latin influences renders it completely unique, but despite its infectious ingenuity and beguiling loopiness (or perhaps because of it), "This Is the House" failed to chart.

The follow-up single that landed two months later is even better. Entrancing and soulful, "The Walk" exudes the anxiety, drama and innovation that became Eurythmics' hallmark. The vocal arrangement is ingenious, and Dick Cuthell (known for his work with Madness, the Specials, Fun Boy Three and others) lets rip a blistering trumpet solo. As in many of their songs, "The Walk" slowly ratchets up the tension through hypnotic repetition and the gradual addition of more layers of sound until it reaches a haywire frenzy. Although a brilliant recording, "The Walk" fared no better than its predecessor.

With the duo's second album Sweet Dreams (are made of this) completed, RCA began a strong promotional push, issuing the opening track "Love Is a Stranger" as a single in November 1982. Lennox's dazzling vocal ranges from icy cool to fiery passion over a relentless electric groove bracketed by sinuous lines of synth. "Love Is a Stranger" rose to #54 in the UK, their highest placement yet, and momentum was finally building for the duo thanks in part to the single's provocative video.

The first significant chapter in a series of visually arresting promotional clips that Eurythmics generated over the span of their career, "Love Is a Stranger" showcases Lennox's dramatic presence and her innate ability to command the viewer's attention. She plays multiple roles, ending the clip with her red hair slicked back and dressed androgynously in a man's suit. Image was quickly becoming an important part of the Eurythmics' equation, with Lennox always compelling no matter which character she inhabits, and Stewart often appearing as her sort of mad-scientist counterpart.

Sweet Dreams (are made of this) hit the shelves on 4 January 1983, along with its title-track, a single that continues to reverberate through pop music nearly 35 years after its release. Suddenly everything changed for Eurythmics. An obscure British duo, barely managing to survive in the music business, soared to the top with one of the more unconventional songs ever to scale those lofty heights.

"Sweet Dreams (are made of this)" has an unusual structure, with no real verses or chorus. Lennox has described it as a mantra, and indeed it is. The lyrics, which Lennox rattled off spontaneously in a matter of minutes, are a simple but profound statement about the human condition: "Everybody's looking for something," the search for meaning and fulfillment, the ephemeral "this" of which sweet dreams are made.

Lennox begins the song with a single line of vocal, then starting with "some of them want to use you" at the 0:24 point it doubles. From there the song gradually builds intensity, with the vocals increasingly layered. A masterful finalé combines all the sonic elements before fading to black, the mantra repeating endlessly, the "this" still stubbornly undefined. The booming minor-key bass riff and the epic string-motif solo starting at 1:31 are played by Lennox on a Roland Juno-6 synthesizer. The main riff (improvised by Lennox while listening to Stewart working on a drum-machine pattern), is a simple two-bar arpeggio that loops throughout most of the song. Two parts were recorded separately and panned on opposite sides of the sound spectrum, creating a richly resonant effect. "Sweet Dreams (are made of this)" is no dated relic from the early days of MTV burdened by the limitations the time. Its massive waves of synth flood out of the speakers with enormous power, as inexorably as the tide.

The music video, which became wildly popular on MTV during its heyday, is forever entwined with the song in listeners' collective consciousness. The iconic image of Lennox in her masculine suit and flaming orange flat-top helps to define the new wave era. Her forceful demeanor, nervy confidence and the subtle nuances of her facial expressions amplify the song's inherent tension. She confronts the viewer directly by pointing right in our faces at the 0:24 mark. At 1:56, she offers a sly half-smile with, "some of them want to abuse you", and at 2:15 she pounds her fist just as the song reaches its dramatic apex. Stewart appears throughout the video stoically pecking away on the drum machine he used in the recording of the song, the Movement MCS Drum Computer MK1 (except for that part where he and the cow have, well, a moment… It's all in the eye contact).

After a slow climb up the US pop chart, "Sweet Dreams (are made of this)" was finally able to derail the Police's "Every Breath You Take" from its seven-week reign at the top during the week of 3 September 1983. It would be Eurythmics' only chart-topping pop hit in America, and it reached #2 in the UK. In the wake of Eurythmics' new-found fame, "Love Is a Stranger" was re-released, this time becoming a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The album's deep cuts are every bit as strange and fascinating as its better-known singles. The ghostly "Jennifer" is a narcotic reverie of keyboard swells and spectral atmospherics. "I've Got an Angel" and "Somebody Told Me" are serrated neurotic fits, swerving dangerously off-the-rails from anything that would normally be considered pop music. A long and mesmerizing exploration of urban isolation, "This City Never Sleeps" is a powerful finalé. Sweet Dreams (are made of this) is an examination of the human psyche fraught with turmoil, a series of jagged recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks set to music that is soulful and experimental, melodic but eccentric, a stark electronic soundscape that bristles with horns and unexpected sonic jolts.

Next Page: Potent and Ferocious

This film suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

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10

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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8
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