We come at the music collected and lovingly reimagined by The Grateful Dead and The Jerry Garcia Band with the same sense of discovery, care, and exploration as our heroes. The songs we play—all music associated with the Dead or Garcia in one form or another—come from a beautiful American lineage: blues, country, jazz, rock, and soul. It is music that belongs to all of us, and that so many of us learned from Jerry and the band as they made it part of their unique, democratic language of rhythm, melody, and harmony.
Better Off Dead aspires to play the music anew, often with fidelity to the past but just as often with the daring to forge our own path. We feel privileged to connect to the wonderful community of fans who love the Dead, and this grand and enduring tradition, as much as we do.
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Plank Stompers do not like to think of themselves as a group; but rather, as a movement. Before knowing Plank Stompers, you must first know the Preamble to the Stompstitution: “We, the Stompers of the United Planks, in order to form a more funky union, establish ruckus, insure intergalactic stank-quility, and provide listening pleasure to whoever we may encounter along the way, do hereby proclaim: If sound was butter, and the last 250 years were a biscuit, then Plank Stompers would be the hypothetical knife that smears, scrapes, and swirls all of the sounds from the past together. Pickaxes and pianos, war woops and woodwinds, fiddles sawin’ and crows cawin’, bass drones and mobile phones, all getting pushed into a greasy noise anthology.”
This is not to say that their music is an unorganized, incoherent smattering, but rather, is untethered to the previous burdens of genre-specificity. What began as a coffee shop college town duo–doing tricks for tips and trying to interpret the meaning of bluegrass while occasionally pissing off cats that wasn’t hip to their experimental sounds–has turned into a vehicle for group improvisation and a melding of old time soul with futuristic funk. Plank Stompers are now embarking on a mission to engage both themselves and their audience in singing, dancing, clapping, and getting down with their bad selves.
Lace up yer stomping shoes
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The Fox Hunt are a West Virginia based multi-instrumentalist string-band that play traditional fiddle music and original country music through a single condenser microphone. With a deviant cast of characters and some truly exceptional talents, The Fox Hunt offer a unique approach to one of the most sustainable forms of music, and add to it a style all of their own. With only a few years now behind them, The Fox Hunt have begun to build an ever growing allegiance of fans across the US and beyond!
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Larry Keel is described by music critics and reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic flatpicking guitarist performing today. Keel has absorbed the best lessons from his Bluegrass family upbringing, both sides deeply steeped in the rich mountain music culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia. From there, he has always integrated that solid musical grounding and natural-born talent with his own incomparable approach to playing amplified, acoustic guitar and composing original music. He's also got a knack for choosing interesting and appealing material from all realms of music with guts, whether it's a tune written by a fellow song-writer/musician friend, or a surprise cover from any number of musical acts all over the map. The combination is pretty irresistible, and has earned Keel the highest respect and billing among the top acoustic and jam rock musicians alive, and some now gone: Tony Rice, Chris Thile, Steve Martin, Tim O’Brien, Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, and Danny Barnes to name a few. And his fierce, high-spirited energy also appeals to young rockers, jammers and alt-country pickers and fans who are equally drawn to Keel’s blazing guitar power, the deep rumbling voice, his earthy and expansive song-writing, and his down-home-gritty-good-time charm. Keel convenes and collaborates with JamBand and Rock giants Greensky Bluegrass, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson, Little Feat, Railroad Earth, String Cheese Incident, Fruition and Leftover Salmon, amongst others.
Keel has a variety of musical formats he presents throughout the year; look out for his core band The Larry Keel Experience (featuring award-winning and highly accomplished Jared Pool on mandolin and penetrating vocals, and wife Jenny Keel with her rock solid bass lines as well as tenor vocal harmonies), Larry Does Jerry (Keel performing the music for Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead), Larry and the Smokin’ J’s (featuring Jon Stickley, Jay Starling and Jared Pool), Keller Williams and the Keels, and steady swirl of pairings with Keel and Drew Emmitt, Andy Thorn, Danny Barnes, members of the Del McCoury Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, just to name a few. Of note for early 2017 is Keel’s top billing at New York’s Carnegie Hall, where he will headline along with Al Di Meola, Stefane Wrembel and Stochelo Rosenberg at the Django A Go-Go concert, celebrating Django Reinhardt’s influence on the world of guitar music.
Throughout his career, Keel has released 15 albums and is featured on 10 others. The most recent release, March 2016, is EXPERIENCED, an entirely original work that showcases Larry’s and banjo virtuoso Will Lee’s exceptional songwriting, singing and jaw-dropping instrumental performances, accompanied by Keel’s equally talented wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and harmony vocals. This Americana Radio charting album exemplifies the raw sophistication of Keel’s progressive acoustic style, and features musician-friends who appear as guests on various tracks of Experienced; the artists include Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers) and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass). Quotes about Keel and his music from these artists themselves capture the essence of what this album and Keel’s artistry represents:
“Larry Keel is a triple threat… songwriter, guitar player, entertainer. He can do it all.” — Del McCoury
“Larry is a true original, be it traditional, progressive, improv.. he does it all, and with such joy. I love jamming with Keel. Enjoy the music. Larry does.” — Sam Bush
“Larry is the yin and the yang.. he will break your heart with a waltz, but he can also scare the hell out of you in the next song. He plays on the edge.. no, strike that- he creates genius guitar solos while staring over the edge and laughing maniacally.” — Anders Beck, Greensky Bluegrass
For Keel the musical mission is always clear: to let natural ability, finely-honed skill, honest emotion and fearlessness connect the playing and singing to audiences, to entertain and to thoroughly enjoy the experience of creating and sharing in music.
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Ginada Pinata taps the influences of jazz, funk, rock, fusion, trance and drum and bass, blending them to create an organic vibe that continually entertains and excites audiences at each and every show. Founded in Shepherdstown, WV in 1998 (and getting funkier all the time) Ginada has relentlessly pushed the musical envelope in search of new sounds and feels. The result is a stylistic collage which truly sets them apart in their genre. 2001 brought the release of “Talking to the Boss,” a recording which at once highlighted the musicianship of the group while serving as the musical template from which they have evolved into one of the area’s most formidable improvisational groups. Over the years Ginada Pinata has played many festivals and clubs including Opera House Live, Sunshine Daydream, 123 Pleasant St., The Barns of Wolftrap, The Velvet Lounge and countless other music venues in the greater Mid-Atlantic region. Their drive is to produce a live show which consistently redraws the boundaries of the traditional quartet – and they’re only getting started…
Ginada Pinata taps the influences of jazz, funk, rock, fusion and trace and blends it to create an organic vibe that entertains and excites audiences. Founded in Shepherdstown, WV in 1998 and getting funkier all the time Ginada has constantly pushed for new sounds and feels. 2001 brought the release of "Talking to the Boss" which highlights the musicianship of the band. Over the years the Ginada Pinata has played many festivals and clubs including Opera House Live, Sunshine Daydream, The Barns of Wolftrap, 123 Pleasant St., The WV Wine and Arts Festival, weddings, events and countless music venues
The Maryland-based band formed in 2004, learning to play music by jamming and listening — really listening — to each other. But now, ten years later, the band has matured into a much more powerful, tight unit. Lionize still hammer out most songs in the studio and rehearsal room from the basic spark of an idea. Jetpack Soundtrack, their fifth album and first for the Weathermaker Music label, is no different.
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Award winning kings of the freak funk phenomenon, Dr. Slothclaw is an all out intergalactic, face-melting, tour de funk that has everyone talking in the east coast festival scene. With thunderous bass riffs, screaming guitars, pulsating drums and super-funky sing alongs, this freak-funk five piece bands genre’s and defies the laws of nature itself. Word has been spreading of their outrageous live shows, and they have won themselves a place as musical titans, with a never ending appetite for creatively pushing the envelope. To prove their point, they were awarded both “Indie Jam Band of the Year” (2012) and “Indie Funk Band of the Year” (2014) by the Tri-State Indie origination out of Philadelphia, PA, and have been featured at festivals big and small alike. Dr. Slothclaw has shared the stage with many amazing acts such as:
Dumpstaphunk, Keller Williams, Kung-Fu,The Heavy Pets, Mickey Heart Band, Yo Mommas Big Fat Booty Band, Particle, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Ozric Tentacles, The Pimps of Joytime, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Consider the Source, Dangermuffin, Rubble Bucket, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Recipe, Ekoostik Hookah and so many more great artists. Formed in 2006 out of York, PA, Dr. Slothclaw has been turning heads and shaking booties ever since. Keep your eyes open for the freak show and see for yourself what everyone is talking about.
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Grand Ole' Ditch is all about having some new fun with that old Appalachian sound. They began as a home-brewed bluegrass band out of the mountain town of Cumberland MD, deriving their name from an important piece of Western Maryland history: the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The Canal, nicknamed the Grand Old Ditch, carried coal from the Allegheny Mountains to the East Coast during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bluegrass told the story of the people of this era, and was an essential part of their culture.
Grand Ole' Ditch is now creating a presence of their own in the Mid-Atlantic bluegrass scene. Featuring the familiar bluegrass instruments we have all come to love, and a collaborative approach to original songwriting, the band has built a solid repertoire of music that is both steeped in tradition and refreshingly modern. Their critically acclaimed album work and lively performances have captured audiences of all ages. From one era to the next, it's music to your ears.
Since their formation in Fall of 2012, Grand Ole’ Ditch has now filled their calendar with numerous shows including appearances with Del McCoury, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The Seldom Scene, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Peter Rowan, Larry Keel, The Hackensaw Boys, Cabinet, and many more. They have appeared at many of the region's premier music festivals and venues, achieving several awards along the way. The band is currently touring full steam ahead, with new shows always around the bend.
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Charleston, SC’s Dangermuffin is proud to announce the release of their newest studio album Heritage on March 31st, 2017. Themes of sea, sun, and spiritual connection weave through the eight-track release combining a cohesive blend of Alt-Americana, Island grooves, Folk and Jam. In celebration of the band’s sixth release, Dangermuffin will tour throughout the spring and summer in support of the album.
On Heritage, Dangermuffin reach into their creative arsenal to craft an album showcasing the band’s signature coastal-influenced grooves melded with Americana sensibilities and Appalachian fingerpicking. The album’s lyrics contemplate the universal human connection to our ancestors, ancient traditions and symbols while yearning for humanity to get back to its roots. It is an audible showcase weaving introspective lyrics with catchy, nimble guitar riffs. Six of the eight songs were recorded acoustically adding to the album’s organic feel; and although Dangermuffin has performed as a trio for nearly a decade, the recent addition of their newest member Markus Helander of Finland on drums makes Heritage the band’s most progressive album to date. Fittingly, the album’s soaring vocals were recorded in Charleston’s historic Unitarian Church, a National Historic Landmark built in 1772.
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