Whiskey Gospel Dance Fest
First Wednesday of Every Month
Singer Bryan McPherson has a tattoo of the unmistakable silhouette of the United States of America on his right arm – the contiguous 48 states, at least. This may seem a strange idiosyncrasy for an artist who is largely considered a protest singer. Truly, McPherson pulls no punches when pointing out the darker side of his homeland, and given the dynamic, folk-punk delivery of his songs about the labor movement, race relations, income inequality, women’s rights, gay rights and other causes of the oppressed and marginalized, it is nearly impossible to not be moved by his message. His agile and shouted tenor, uptempo guitar playing and frenetic harmonica accompaniment are reminiscent of an amped up Woody Guthrie – or maybe Dylan on speed – and McPherson is fearless about taking his message to the people, logging thousands of miles playing solo shows from coast to coast. If there is a salient criticism of modern activism it is that it lacks heart and focus, but Bryan McPherson has both of these things in spades – because it’s when he slows down his tempos, dials down his rage and delivers stark, first-person songs about love and the loss of loved ones that his strong, vulnerable and indelible heart shines through. McPherson’s new album, Wedgewood, was recorded in a rustic studio near an abandoned gold mine in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains – a long way from his hometown of Boston. The collection of songs was named for the brand of wood burning stove that he tended to stay warm, and the theme of fire imparts the music with a palpable feeling of searing change. Bryan McPherson may be a slightly anachronistic protest singer in the Internet Age, but he is offering no vague indictments of those in power, he’s as real as they come. A keen eye will reveal that there are no state lines or red or blue ink to divide the country on McPherson’s tattoo, and that’s an apt reminder for all of those singing and fighting for a better world.
King of the Tramps
First Wednesday of Every Month
KING OF THE TRAMPS is an original roots-rock group, whose sound calls upon influences from modern roots rock, rhythm, and blues, rock and southern, country rock. Their sound has been described as “Whiskey Gospel” and “Midwestern Roots Rock” by critics.
The band has released four albums of original music, “Good People” in 2011, “Wicked Mountain” in 2013, Joyful Noise in 2014 and Cumplir con el Diablo in 2016. According to frontman, Todd Partridge, the music has a loose, raggedy, rootsy, bluesy feel to it and will appeal to fans of bands like The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, The Black Keys, Drive By Truckers and The Band. “The music we are creating has its own unique twist, and is going to appeal to a wide-range of fans, from blues lovers to jam band followers and classic and country rock fans. “ Audiences seem to agree as crowds at gigs and the band’s fanbase is growing!” Partridge said.
The King Of The Tramps live show is a foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ rock and roll gospel, with plenty of crowd participation. According to “City View” show reviewer Chad Taylor, Partridge is “Part troubadour, part tent revival preacher, Partridge holds court over his audience, welcoming all to the Tramps roots rock/jam band sound with the charisma of a faith healer.”
The band takes its name from the spirit of the golden days when hobos and itinerants roamed the U.S. many in search of work and some just feeling the freedom of traveling a beautiful young and wide open country. Woody Guthrie most famously represented the image of the independent traveling troubadour, fighting for downtrodden individuals and singing picturesque songs about the beauty he saw from the door of a boxcar.
King Of The Tramps takes its name for a lesser known rail legend. Not many people know the legend of Tex – King of the Tramps. Tex rode the rails in the 1930’s and 1940’s often leaving his mark “Tex K.T.” carved into bridges, fences and buildings across the U.S. His moniker has been found near old railways around the plains of West Central Iowa. “I once saw Tex’s mark on an old building by the railroad tracks in Carnarvon, Iowa, Partridge said. “Our goal in King Of TheTramps is to create music that makes people dance and feel good and conveys that same spirit of wanderlust and timelessness.”