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Free First Friday Concert feat. The Nightowls & Hazy Ray
February 6, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 11:55 pm
Defacto Productions & Grand Stafford Theater present Free First Friday Concert Series feat. The Nightowls & Hazy Ray!
It’s 1,390 miles from Austin, Texas to Detroit, but when Austin band The Nightowls rev their musical engines, that distance disappears with the speed of sound. But The Nightowls not only channel the Motor City’s classic dancin’-in-the-street beats; they build on them to create an irresistible neo-soul sound that’s all their own.
Founded by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Harkrider, the Nightowls—all ten of them—have been spreading their sound all over Texas ever since August 2013, releasing a critically acclaimed debut album, Good as Gold, and the toetapping, four-song EP Good as Gold B-Sides – which includes Austin’s official theme song, “Nobody Ever Wants to Leave” – in September of 2014. Good As Gold (The A-Sides) will be released on vinyl, giving fans an opportunity to hear The Nightowls’ jukebox-ready music the way it was meant to be heard, with the vinyl’s warm tones filling their ears and hearts.
Hailing from all over the map geographically and musically, the Nightowls claim terrain from New England to Arizona and influences from Americana to funk. Bassist Rob Alton was trained at Berklee College of Music; other bandmates honed their skills in dive bars and intimate listening rooms. Together, they push R&B’s boundaries while staying true to its horn- and harmony-laden heart, from the catchy hooks and soulful vocals to the crisp suits and dazzling dresses they wear onstage.
Fresh from performances at KGSR-FM’s “Blues on the Green” concert series and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, where they wowed a capacity crowd, The Nightowls are currently putting the finishing touches on their sophomore album, which is slated for release in 2015. Recorded at legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (where legends like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Joe Tex recorded some of the best soul music the world has ever known), the eight-song album is bursting with the modern-day Motown sound and smart, catchy, original songs that the band is known for. Members of the original Fame backing band, “The Swampers,” including Spooner Oldham on keys, bassist David Hood, and vocalists The Shoal Sisters, who played on nearly every album recorded during the golden age of Fame Studios, appear on Fame alongside The Nightowls, bridging the gap between soul music’s legendary past and its vibrant future.
Footage is being compiled for a short documentary on The Nightowls’ Fame sessions, and the band is also preparing to shoot a music video for the album’s infectious lead single, “Get Up!”
Alongside acts like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, The Nightowls are leading the soul revival that’s been brewing for years. There’s no use trying to resist. Just crank up the volume and sing along.
The Nightowls on Facebook | The Nightowls on Twitter | Official Website
Hazy Ray is an amalgamation of sights and sounds you may have seen and heard before, but never blended together so distinctively to create an experience that ensnares the senses and communicates the soul. The five piece band boldly describes their sound as “… at the core, true rhythm & blues,” pulling from their vast influences that range from Jamie Cullum and Dave Matthews to Radiohead and Maroon 5. Hazy Ray’s head-turning sound is equal parts new and familiar, as the band continuously draws from a seemingly-endless bag of tricks. In 2011, the band’s premiere performance in New Orleans birthed the signature sound they now brand as “New Orleans Rock.” Their debut album, “Deep and Shallow,” was recorded at Houston’s Wire Road Studios later that year.
On stage, Hazy Ray is known for their precise and exceptionally energetic live show that leaves audiences dancing to new charts and singing along to familiar, albeit different, covers.The Texas natives stepped onto the New Orleans scene quickly, landing on bills with singer/song-writer John Lefler of Dashboard Confessional, Everclear, Free-Sol, Hunter Hayes, Grammy award-winning Rapper/Actor Ludacris, blues greats Tinsley Ellis and Tab Benoit, and festival headliners Cowboy Mouth, Chicago, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Music Festival appearances at Springboard South (Houston), Gretna Music Fest, French Quarter Fest, and performances during SXSW and Jazz Fest this past year show promise into future festivals. The band’s 2012 and 2013 summer tours have expanded the group into a National Touring Act, performing across 15 states. Hazy Ray has concluded their summer tour and performed their 100th show of the year by headlining the New Orleans House of Blues Parish Room.
Hazy Ray on Facebook | Hazy Ray on Twitter | Official Website