Across the country, exciting collaborations are happening among Levitt venues and AMP grantees with artists, schools and nonprofits that fuse music with learning opportunities for youth. From putting student musicians center stage during Levitt Shell Memphis’ annual Stax Night, to bringing esteemed performers into middle school classrooms through masterclasses at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, to a robust “Levitteen” internship program giving young people hands-on experience with concert photography at Levitt AMP Utica, there are myriad ways these partnerships are using the power of music to catalyze learning, inspire possibility and create opportunities for youth. Read on to learn more!
You know that feeling when October rolls around and your favorite summer songs just don’t feel right anymore? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with a new playlist of seasonally-appropriate tunes selected by our staff! From musical horror stories to danceable tracks that will keep your body temperature up even in sweater weather, there’s something for everyone on Levitt’s Fall 2019 playlist. Dive into the music now and read on to learn more about our favorite fall songs!
Today on our Spotlight Series we’re featuring The War and Treaty, a husband/wife duo whose visceral blend of gospel-steeped vocals and classic Americana trappings has been making waves across the country. Tonight, you can catch them performing for free at Levitt Shell Memphis – recently named “Best Place to See Live Music” by the Memphis Flyer!
This week in our Spotlight Series, we’re honing in on alt-rock legends The Breeders, who are playing a free show tonight at the Levitt Pavilion in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio!
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know that we at Levitt love talented, award-winning all-female musical powerhouses. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re huge fans of Sister Sadie, the GRAMMY-nominated bluegrass supergroup that brings together “some of the best women bluegrass music has ever claimed.” Full of intricate vocal harmonies and hard-driving five-string banjo licks, Sister Sadie’s music is a masterful display of bluegrass prowess that purists and casual listeners alike can delight in. Tonight, Sister Sadie is performing in the heart of bluegrass country, at the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, and we couldn’t be more excited! Continue reading
Today’s entry in our Spotlight Series features SoCal folk-rock outfit The Brevet, who will be headlining the final concert of the 2019 Levitt AMP Carson City Music Series tomorrow night in Carson City, NV! The band’s sound, which they describe as “epic Americana,” is an expansive musical experience perfectly suited for a late-summer performance on the Levitt stage.
In today’s Spotlight Series we’re featuring the LowDown Brass Band, a Chicago-based ensemble that takes the traditional sounds of the Big Easy to new heights with infusions of jazz, blues, funk and hip-hop. The group’s hard-hitting horn section, groovy sousaphone and funkified drums create an atmosphere that fans describe as “an absolute party,” and the recent addition of ferocious poet MC Billa Camp’s energizing rhymes has made their live performances even more explosive. After lighting up Levitt AMP Sheboygan earlier this month, the LowDown Brass Band will be bringing the funk to Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks tonight for another pumped-up performance.
Welcome to another entry in our season-long Spotlight Series! This week we’re featuring a true living legend of Chicago blues: Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson. An architect of the rough-and-tumble “West Side” sound, Johnson has been performing on stages everywhere from Poland to Japan since the 1960s, releasing four albums and taking home a GRAMMY award in the process. Tonight, he’s bringing the blues to Levitt AMP Woonsocket.
Johnson was born in the Mississippi Delta and drew heavy influence from gospel music growing up. His family moved to Chicago in the late 1950s, just as the city was becoming the de-facto epicenter of blues music. After singing and playing bass with a few local groups, Johnson picked up the six-string and adopted the moniker “Guitar Junior” at the age of 23 when his then-bandleader, Tall Milton Shelton, turned away from music following a religious awakening. Rather than let the group dissolve, Johnson took the reins and made it his own.
Johnson established himself as one of Chicago’s top guitar talents over the next several years, and eventually caught the attention of one of the most venerated bluesmen of all time: Muddy Waters. He joined Muddy’s crew in 1972, coincidentally replacing guitarist Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson in the band. Guitar Junior toured the world with this all-star lineup for the next eight years, recording his first solo album, Luther’s Blues, while on the road in France in 1977.
When the band dissolved in 1980, Johnson created a supergroup called The Legendary Blues Band with several other Chicago heavyweights. The group famously appears in the classic film The Blues Brothers as John Lee Hooker’s backing band. Soon after, Johnson parted ways with Chicago and moved out to the East Coast, forming a new band called the Magic Rockers and further refining his sound. He contributed to the GRAMMY-winning compilation album Blues Explosion in 1985.
Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson’s raw, soulful, and thoroughly original style of Chicago blues will be on full display tonight at Levitt AMP Woonsocket. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this storied artist perform for free!
Our season-long Spotlight Series continues this week with Dwayne Dopsie (pronounced DOOP-see), a fiery accordionist from Lafayette, La. Along with his band, the Zydeco Hellraisers, Dwayne will be bringing an upbeat blend of blues, rock, and traditional Zydeco music to the stage at Levitt AMP Santa Fe this Saturday.
We have several fascinating facts about Dwayne Dopsie for you, but first let’s address a question that may already be on your mind: what is Zydeco? Indigenous to Louisiana’s Creole communities, Zydeco is a centuries-old style of music characterized by the unique combination of accordion in the forefront and washboard anchoring the rhythm section. The latter is usually worn on a vest called a frottoir that leaves both hands free for rhythmic rubbing. Most Zydeco tunes are fast-paced and eminently danceable, with two-step beats and furious bursts of accordion driving them forward.
Now, let’s get to know a musician on the leading edge of the contemporary Zydeco scene: Dwayne Dopsie!
- Dwayne Dopsie’s family is a bona-fide Zydeco dynasty. His father, Alton “Rockin’ Dopsie” Rubin, recorded with the likes of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, and contributed to bringing Zydeco to audiences outside of Louisiana for the first time in its history. Two of Dwayne’s brothers, Dopsie Jr. and Alton Jr., are also Zydeco pros — their band is called Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.
- At the age of 19, Dwayne was crowned “America’s Hottest Accordionist” after winning a national competition hosted by the American Accordion Association. He founded his band, the Zydeco Hellraisers, the same year.
- Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers scored a GRAMMY nomination in 2017 for their album Top of the Mountain. The album competed in the category of Best Regional Roots Album.
- Dwayne is fluent in Louisiana Creole French, and often incorporates the dialect into his lyrics.
- Despite his muscular physique, Dwayne claims he has never lifted weights. He instead attributes his bulging biceps to many years of accordion playing. The instrument weighs about 20 pounds and requires considerable effort to open and close.
- Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers have taken their Zydeco sounds around the world. They’ve performed in China and the Baltic state of Georgia, to name a few.
Don’t miss your chance to see Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers live in concert this weekend at Levitt AMP Santa Fe. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for fans of eclectic music to experience the energy of Zydeco firsthand.