Girls, Guns, and Glory (with Susan Cattaneo opening) at the me&thee
For the past eight years, Boston's rising stars Girls Guns and Glory have been making a name for themselves through relentless touring (about 200 gigs a year worldwide), the release of four critically acclaimed records, a slew of local awards, including being the Boston Music Awards first act of its genre to win Act of the Year, and international awards (Independent Artist of the Year at the French Country Music Awards). And, now, the hard-working band is refining their focus to the roots of rock 'n' roll with a twist of country on their fifth album, "Good Luck," due on February 4, 2014 on Lonesome Day Records.
The foursome (Ward Hayden on vocals/guitar, Paul Dilley on electric and upright bass/piano, Josh Kiggans on drums/percussion, and Chris Hersch on lead guitar/banjo) found inspiration for this record from early '50s rock 'n' roll icons such as Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly, as well as country greats like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
With Good Luck, GGG is looking back to that era of music for a more rock 'n' roll-focused record with producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Nils Lofgren, Steve Earle, The Bottle Rockets) at the helm. "We were familiar with the work he'd done with Steve Earle and The Bottle Rockets and he was Joan Jett's original guitarist. Right after we made our fourth record 'Sweet Nothings' in 2011, he heard us on the radio and contacted us, asking about our plans. It's funny because we had been talking about trying to get in touch with him and there he is calling us out of the blue," explains Hayden.
It was this serendipitous coming together that really solidified the sound of "Good Luck." "One of the ways we really benefited from Roscoe was that he had seen us play live several times and was able to see what the audience reacted to the most," continues Hayden. "Even though we play a variety of styles of music, he saw that fans really reacted to the more rocking songs. We wanted to focus this album on making more of a straightforward rock 'n' roll record that would translate well to the live show and he really helped us accomplish that."
The 10-track album kicks off with the heartfelt, feel-good rocker "All the Way Up To Heaven," which sets the tone for the album thematically. "It's about finally winning in love and feeling that thrill of getting something good and having a true appreciation of it," says the singer.
The record was written over the past two years with the exception of two songs, "Shake Like Jello" and "UUU," which have been in the band's repertoire for about four years. "We never really had a place for those songs because we were viewing ourselves more of a country band than a rock 'n' roll band and those two songs are definitely more rocking. They fit perfectly on this album," he notes.
Another song close to GGG's heart and the band's Northeast roots is the ballad "Centralia, PA." "Chris and Paul are originally from Eastern Pennsylvania and we tour a lot in that area. We found out about this coal-mining town there called Centralia that was destroyed by a coal fire over 50 years ago. It's a ghost town now because it's unfit to live in. I became fascinated by the tragic story of the town and we kind of wanted to put Centralia back on the map with this song," he says.
SUSAN CATTANEO opens
Susan Cattaneo is not afraid of the dark. A powerful singer and sophisticated songwriter, Susan has seen the darkness in the corners and sings about it fearlessly. Following in the footsteps of Matraca Berg, Kim Richey, Lucinda Williams and Gretchen Peters, the well-respected Boston artist combines vivid storytelling with a modern songwriters spin. Call it New England Americana with a twang. Respectful of tradition, but not bound by it, Susans rootsy vibe blends rock, folk, soul and blues with a healthy dose of country.
"I'm a songwriting geek, I appreciate the work that goes into creating a song. Great songwriters have an authentic point of view, but they are also artisans, masters of the craft. I'm proud that my songs have something to say, and that they are carefully crafted." Not a surprising statement from an artist who is also a Songwriting Professor at the world-renowned Berklee College of Music.
A Jersey girl with a Southwest heart, Susan grew up on a farm in the Garden State but spent her summers on a ranch in Arizona. She began her music career early, singing six-part harmony with her family and performing country songs by the campfire. She played in bands during her college years and performed in many clubs in New York City while pursuing a career in television (she is an Emmy-nominated writer/producer and NY State Broadcasters Award winner) before turning to music full time.
For a number of years, Susan wrote in Nashville and raised two children. In 2009, she returned to performing. Since then, she has released three records and toured nationally and in Italy. Her songs have been played on country stations all over the world, charting on the Americana Chart, the Music Row Chart and the European Country Chart. She has opened for or shared the stage with artists such as Amy Grant, Rose Cousins, David Wilcox, Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women, Son Volt, Melissa Ferrick, Paula Cole, Travis Tritt, Bonnie Bishop, Ellis Paul and Huey Lewis and The News.
Susan's fourth album Haunted Heart is the culmination of a journey of self-discovery and a creative left turn. Leaving behind the modern country of her previous albums, Haunted Heart marks a return to a more organic sound.
Produced by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli, Ronnie Earl), the album features a stellar cast of musicians from the national Americana scene (including some of New England's best). Acoustic, electric and all sort of steel guitars are provided by Duke Levine (Peter Wolf, J. Geils, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Garland Jeffreys), Kevin Barry (Peter Wolf, Ray LaMontaigne, Mark Cohn) Lyle Brewer (Ryan Montbleau) and Stu Kimball (Bob Dylan). The rhythm section includes Richard Gates (Susanne Vega, Melissa Ferrick) on bass and Marco Giovino (Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Band of Joy) on drums. Kenny White (Peter Wolf) is on keyboard and special guests include Jimmy Ryan on mandolin and Kristin Cifelli and Scarlet Keys on vocals.
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