Author Archives: Abner Jacobson

 
(Left to Right) Top Row: Brothers Osborne, Flor De Toloache, Gary Clark Jr., Rosanne Cash, Southern Avenue, Tank and the Bangas; Middle Row: Catherine Russell, Dick Oatts, Larkin Poe, Mariachi Divas, Yola Carter; Bottom Row: Ranky Tanky, Maren Morris, P.J. Morton, Patty Griffin, Third World, The String Theory.

(Left to Right) Top Row: Brothers Osborne, Flor De Toloache, Gary Clark Jr., Rosanne Cash, Southern Avenue, Tank and the Bangas; Middle Row: Catherine Russell, Dick Oatts, Larkin Poe, Mariachi Divas, Yola Carter; Bottom Row: Ranky Tanky, Maren Morris, P.J. Morton, Patty Griffin, Third World, The String Theory.

The 2020 GRAMMY nominations are in, and 17 artists who have performed on Levitt stages in the past are up for awards! There’s a lot to be excited about among this crop of nominees — Tank and the Bangas, who performed at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles and Levitt AMP Chattanooga in 2017, are competing in the prestigious category of Best New Artist alongside the likes of Lizzo and Billy Eilish, and Gary Clark Jr., who performed at Levitt Shell Memphis in 2011, scored four nominations for his monolithic rock album This Land. Read on for a full list of past Levitt performers in contention for 2020 GRAMMY Awards, and catch the ceremony on January 26, 2020!

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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!

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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!

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The war and treaty spotlight

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!

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Sister Sadie

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

The Brevet_3Today’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. 

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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.

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The High Kings Spotlight

This week we’re turning the Spotlight to The High Kings, a quartet of Dubliners whose tight vocal harmonies and energetic live performances have helped popularize traditional Irish music around the globe. The band is bringing the sounds of Ireland stateside this Thursday for a performance at Levitt Shell Sioux Falls — before the music starts, get to know them with some trivia!

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Luther Johnson spotlight header 7-18Welcome 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!