Willie Watson

Harlow's and (((Folk YEAH!))) Present

Willie Watson

Bedouine

Thu, September 21, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Harlow's Restaurant and Nightclub

Sacramento, CA

$18 pre sale - $20 day of show

This event is 21 and over

Willie Watson
Willie Watson
For nearly two decades, Willie Watson has made modern folk music rooted in older traditions. He’s a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveller, with a catalog of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. On Folksinger Vol. 2, he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own version of the music that came long before him.

Southern gospel. Railroad songs. Delta blues. Irish fiddle tunes. Appalachian music. Folksinger Vol. 2 makes room for it all. Produced by David Rawlings, the album carries on a rich tradition in folk music: the sharing and swapping of old songs. Long ago, the 11 compositions that appear on Folksinger Vol. 2 were popularized by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The songs don’t actually belong to those artists, though. They don’t belong to anyone. Instead, they’re part of the folk canon, passed from generation to generation by singers like Watson.

And what a singer he is. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he breathes new life into classic songs like “Samson and Delilah,” one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel quartet the Fairfield Four. He’s a balladeer on “Gallows Pole,” whose melancholy melodies are echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on “When My Baby Left Me,” accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar. “Dry Bones” finds him crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while “Take This Hammer” closes the album on a penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning soul singers.

Arriving three years after Folksinger Vol. 1 — his first release since parting ways with the Old Crow Medicine Show, whose platinum-selling music helped jumpstart the 21st century folk revival — Vol. 2 expands Watson’s sound while consolidating his strengths. Several singers and sidemen make appearances here, including Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert, and Old Crow bandmate Morgan Jahnig. Even so, Watson has never sounded more commanding, more confident, more connected to the music that inspires him.

“I’m not trying to prove any point here,” he insists, “and I’m not trying to be a purist. There’s so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires me. I heard Leadbelly singing with the Golden Gate Quartet and it sounded fantastic, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’ I heard the Grateful Dead doing their version of ‘On the Road Again,’ and it sounded like a dance party in 1926, and I wanted to do that, too. That’s the whole reason I ever played music in the first place — because it looked and sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.”

Nodding to the past without resurrecting it, Willie Watson turns Folksinger Vol. 2 into something much more than an interpretation of older songs. The album carries on the spirit of a time nearly forgotten. It taps into the rich core of roots music. It furthers the legacy of American folk. And perhaps most importantly, it shows the full range of Willie Watson’s artistry, matching his instrumental and vocal chops with a strong appreciation for the songs that have shaped not only a genre, but an entire country
Bedouine
Bedouine
Like her name implies, Bedouine's music has a nomadic heart. Sweeping, hypnotic. Esoteric yet familiar. It is untethered to place because its home is everywhere.

Bedouine's sound is for the modern cyber gypsy, dipping a curious toe in the swaying Mediterranean before caravaning for weeks across the deserts of the Middle East, and finally catching a redeye back to L.A. for a pre-dawn Southern California stroll.

"It's in my roots," Bedouine says over a tenuous Skype connection from Saudi Arabia. "I love exploring different places and sounds. My childhood was this amalgamation of different cultures, so I've never really belonged to a particular place. But being nomadic can be a beautiful thing if you're accepting of it -- not knowing exactly what you're doing or where you're going, but with conviction. Being experimental, even with your intentions."

An outsider and an introvert, Bedouine prefers anonymity but loves making music enough to share hers with anyone willing to listen -- even if it means confronting her fears. An aversion to the spotlight led her away from the stage for several years, where she worked from the shadows, composing music for independent films and art installations until something unexpected happened -- she wound up in Los Angeles and experienced the opposite of the cliché.

"The joy I get from making music has nothing to do with any kind of recognition," Bedouine says, "so when I moved to L.A., I had no intention of pursuing music as a career. But then I started meeting so many inspiring people -- talented musicians who were living these double lives, going out on the road with successful bands and playing stadiums, and then coming home to this amazing scene and playing all these great little clubs and bars. It made the idea of starting over with my music less intimidating, and it made me more comfortable with the idea of performing. L.A. actually made me less jaded."

She soon fell in with the tight-knit community of performers in her Echo Park neighborhood, spending nights trading songs and listening to records with some of L.A.'s best underground artists. "One of my favorite ways to hang out with people," Bedouine says, "is to take turns listening to each other's music, bouncing ideas back and forth."

It was on just such a night that she met collaborator Jake Blanton (The Killers, Father John Misty, Jenny O.), with whom she would record the songs for her new self-titled EP.

The two co-wrote "The City," and put together a short yet memorable set of songs propelled by insistent, mesmerizing beats, and anchored by chiming guitar, daydreamy piano and above all, Bedouine's unforgettable voice. Impressionistic, her languid vocals swirl into the ether, another color in the palette, another instrument in the band. Her words roll soft off the tongue, careful brushstrokes, oil paint swept across a canvas. The music is beautiful and striking, always revelling quietly in its search for some enigmatic unknown just out of reach. There is no ego here, no filter between Bedouine's heart and her songs.
Venue Information:
Harlow's Restaurant and Nightclub
2708 "J" Street
Sacramento, CA, 95816
http://harlows.com/