Blog

Frankie Ballard to headline NYE Block Party 2014!

Frankie Ballard 2 - Copy (1024x745)

Frankie Ballard has launched onto the country music scene with breakthrough #1, Gold-certified smash “Helluva Life”. The single is featured on his current album “Sunshine and Whiskey”, which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard Country Albums Charts. The Battle Creek, Michigan native is currently touring all over the country playing headline shows and will join Jake Owen’s Days of Gold Tour for select dates through the summer. His dynamic live show has caught the eye of many headliners, including Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, and longtime idol Bob Seger, who have previously tapped him for coveted opening slots. Ballard has appeared on TBS’ Conan, NBC’s TODAY Show, and CBS’ Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Jon Pardi to Headline New Years Eve Block Party 2013!

Capitol Records Nashville artist Jon Pardi may be new to the country music scene, but his strikingly original songs and relaxed confidence would suggest otherwise. His sound is undeniably country — paying homage to some of his musical heroes such as Dwight Yoakam, George Strait and Alan Jackson —with his lived-in voice and authentic delivery. But it’s his carefree musical style combined with his high-energy live show which give this singer-songwriter his own niche in a diverse country landscape.

Hailing from a small town in Northern California, Pardi’s first taste of country music stardom started in his Grandmother’s house, where he sang to her with the radio and on karaoke tapes at the tender age of 3. The singer-songwriter spent his youth perfecting his craft – by 8 years old, he was playing the guitar and at 12, he was writing his own songs. Pardi had his first band at age 14, performing a mixture of classic rock and country, all the while polishing his live performance skills. Determined to make his dream of country music fame a reality, Pardi moved to Nashville at 22 years old, where his unique musical style gained the attention of Song Factory which led to a publishing contract, and later a record deal.

Last year, Pardi signed with the legendary Capitol Nashville, home to recording artists as varied and successful as Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, and Keith Urban. Pardi has shared the stage with Pat Green, Dierks Bentley and has opened for Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break” tour and Eric Church “Blood, Sweat and Beers” tour. He has just finished the final touches on his debut album. Pardi’s first single will be hitting radio stations nationwide this Spring.

Lit and James Durbin from American Idol Headline our Saturday St. Patty's Day Block Party

Lit 2013

Lit have just released their fifth studio album, The View From The Bottom on Megaforce Records, so it’s natural to ask yourself, “Where has the band been?” But the answer to that question is particularly complicated, rife with stories and situations of triumph over tribulation. The answer is all in the new record’s title.

 

No, it has nothing to do with Lit having slid off the face of the earth (and the charts) over the past eight or so years. In fact, through a number of heartbreaking challenges, the Fullerton, CA rock band, comprised of bros, singer A. Jay Popoff, guitarist/singer Jeremy Popoff, and lifelong friends, bassist/singer Kevin Baldes and drummer Allen Shellenberger, would remain active. Even vital.

As if it needs to be said, the group, had seen significant success with their second album A Place in the Sun (1999) which spawned 3 uber hit singles: “Miserable,” which went to #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks, and whose video featured the flaxen voluptitude of Pamela Anderson; “Zip-Lock,” and “My Own Worst Enemy” (which held the number one position on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for three months, and received a Billboard Music Award for the biggest modern rock song of 1999). The song has actually sold over 650,000 downloads to date, which is no small feat considering that it was released before the advent of that technology.

Most of Lit’s salad days were spent on the road. They rocked Woodstock 1999 and supported the Offspring, No Doubt and Garbage, spanning the globe and clocking in close to 500 shows between 1999 and 2000 (They were also seen all over television on MTV Spring Break, Cribs, TRL, Leno, Conan and more). And riding on its heels, A Place In The Sun’s 2001 follow-up Atomic boasted yet another Top Ten single for the band, “Lipstick And Bruises,” and a support tour with Kid Rock.

After a very short breather, Lit would again, hit the road in 2003, this time, with a more intimate club tour to support the release of their fourth, self-titled LP, released in 2004, post a bold move to an indie label. A long-form live performance DVD release, All Access would follow later that year, and concurrently, Jeremy would give the band’s hometown of Fullerton, CA a new watering hole, the Slidebar, which fast became a top Orange County hang.

Then, in a tragic turnabout of fortune, A. Jay and Jeremy’s stepfather was killed and their mother seriously injured when they were involved in a motorcycle accident with a drunk driver on the Ortega Highway near their home in Lake Elsinore. The tragedy would make it extremely difficult for the band to weather the work but despite it all, they would continue to write and play shows. In July of 2008, the band had been called to support Kiss on a European tour but just days before the first date, misfortune befell the group again when Shellenberger was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Just over a year later, the illness would take his life.

Spirits left in ruins, still A. Jay, Jeremy and Kevin found the wherewithal to make the music. Initially, the group still felt unable to pen songs for a new disc. Slowly, without forcing it, the group began writing. “It took those traumatic things to slowly start pulling us back together as a unit,” says A. Jay.

With the help of a new drummer/old friend, in fact Shellenberger’s drum tech, Nathan Walker and guitarist/keyboardist Ryan Gillmor, Lit suddenly found themselves with a pile of new material. The inspiration had struck and during various writing sessions throughout 2010 and 2011 The group began to construct their first new tracks in many years. “We’re ready as a band to get out there again,” A. Jay says. “We have the right guys now and our band is more focused than it’s ever been, maybe because we’ve learned so much in the process.”

 

The group headed into the studio in late 2011 with Butch Walker, who had recently helmed records by Panic! At The Disco, Avril Lavigne and Weezer, (along writing credits on countless hits), armed with a selection of these new songs and, for the first time ever, demos. Whereas in the past Lit had written just enough tracks for an album, on this album the band was prepared with way more tracks than appear on The View From The Bottom. The majority of the disc was tracked live on two-inch tape in order to capture a “very organic and real” feeling in the recordings. The process felt natural, like the time to make a follow-up to Lit was finally the right time.

 

“We were thrilled and excited to be able to finally make a record with Butch,” Jeremy says of the recording process. “It was such a blast. It was a very fast, organic process- completely drama free. It was all about fun and making the best music we could make. Just really enjoying the process, which we now have the luxury of doing. It was just the way it should be making a record.”

 

The resulting album is impassioned and alive, a collection of solidly catchy rock songs that reverberate with inspiration.

 

Mixed by Joe Zook (Katy Perry, The Hives, One Republic, Pink) The View From The Bottom tangibly tells the story of Lit’s in between days. The tracks, which veer from upbeat rocker to pensive ballad, narrate the story of the musicians’ experiences over the past ten years, encompassing both their individual and collective histories. Allen’s death is threaded throughout the album, coloring the songwriting on tracks like “The Wall,” a number based around a photograph of the band taken at his last show. “The picture’s in my living room,” Jeremy notes. “We took the picture off the wall and took it into the yard when we were writing and the lyric is ‘There’s more behind that picture than the wall.’ It represents an important growth as songwriters. I’m really proud of that one.”

Other standout tracks include, “The Broken” and most poignantly, “Here’s To Us,” but the new record is not without its lighter, Big Rock Moments- reference the absolutely monolithic kick-starter, “C’mon” and the equally tremendous “You Tonight,” co-written by Marti Frederiksen whose collabs include Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, and Carrie Underwood among others, not to mention the glam stomper, “Same Shit, Different Drink,” (co-written with Walker).

Ultimately, The View From the Bottom is inherently a Lit album, driven by propulsive tracks intended to make the listener let go and have a good time. It reflects two sides of the same spectrum, offering a balanced, diverse listening experience that finds cohesiveness in both its tone and songwriting prowess.

 

“Part of us wanted to touch on the stuff that we’d been through and there was another part of us that just wanted to get back to the idea of having fun and being excited to play live,” Jeremy says of that dichotomy. “I think there was also an element of wanting to make music we felt like was missing from the radio right now. Which is exactly how we felt 12 years ago when we were writing A Place In the Sun.”

 

Now, Lit has succeeded in re-exciting their longtime fans and have even won over new ones with some extensive touring since the release of View From The Bottom, including a triumphant stint on the Summerland tour this past summer as well their fall run with Buckcherry and Saving Abel.

And for more information about Lit, please visit: http://www.litband.com

The Dirty Heads - Cabin by the Sea

The first time I listen to Cabin  by  the  Sea, the new album from The Dirty Heads, it’s 40 degrees outside and a cold, bitter rain is lashing against my window. Inside, it sounds like summer. “That’s exactly what we wanted,” says Heads front man Jared “Dirty J” Watson. “It starts with the title. No matter where you are or what’s going on, when you hear this record, we want to transport you to this place, this ‘Cabin by the Sea.’”

For the SoCal rock/reggae/hip-­‐hop band, Cabin represents more than just good vibes. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and endless touring, and a chance to refine and improve on their breakthrough, 2008’s Any Port in the Storm. That’s not an easy act to follow – their debut album featured one of the decade’s biggest rock singles, “Lay Me Down” (which spent eleven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart, a record for an independent release and more than any single that year by anyone, including The Black Keys, Kings of Leon and 30 Seconds to Mars) and a shout-­‐out in Rolling Stone as one of year’s best new bands.

But the Heads knew better things lay ahead. “Last time was our first time in the studio, working with a producer,” says Watson. “This time out, we nailed it. We trimmed the fat and got the sound we were always going for.”

Cabin by the Sea was co-­‐produced by Mario C and Lewis Richards -­‐ splitting time between Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas and 17th Street Recording Studios in Costa Mesa, CA. Maintaining the diversity from their first album, Cabin ranges from sunny acoustic pop (the title track) to hip-­‐hop with mariachi horns (“Disguise”) and feel-­‐good reggae (“Day by Day,” “Your Love”). The album’s defining trait? An insistence on positivity and good vibes (with an herbal assist), a philosophy summed up nicely by the single, “Spread Too Thin.” “It’s about having too much going on, work or whatever is stressing you out,” says guitarist Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell. “It’s about needing a breather in life.”

(The album’s one outlier, “Smoke Rings,” is a punk/hip-­‐hop fueled rager. “We’ve matured, but we still have that side of us,” says Bushnell. “It’s talking shit for a couple of minutes, and we use a sample from an old movie called Satan’s Satanists. It’s fun, nothing more than that.”)

While Port contained an expanded roster of guest stars, from M. Shadows to Billy Preston (best known for his work with the Beatles), Cabin keeps the guest list tight. Still, a few A-­‐level names make an appearance, including a return engagement from Rome (from Sublime with Rome), Del the Funky Homosapien, Ky-­‐Mani Marley and Hasidic hip-­‐hop star Matisyahu. “He’s awesome. We got to know him years ago on tour,” says Bushnell. “We had built this great relationship, so we asked him to guest on a track. He came down to the studio and knocked it out of the park.”

The recognizable guest stars, big tours and hit songs are a long way from the group’s humble origins in Bushnell’s garage. Back in 1996, school friends Watson and Bushnell started their musical career almost on accident. “It was hilarious: I was in a punk band, but Jared had no musical inclination,” remembers the guitarist. “Then one day he started rapping over these cheesy hip-­‐hop songs I’d make with Casio beats, and I’m like, wow, you’re really good!” (Note to fans: Bushnell recently rediscovered tapes of those teenage sessions, but don’t plan on hearing anything in the near future)

The group, later rounded out by percussionist Jon Olazabal, drummer Matt Ochoa and bassist David Foral, eventually outgrew the funny rap vibe and developed a local following as an acoustic hip-­‐hop group. Surprisingly, the Heads grew to be very successful on a small label with little to no resources, an indication of their organic momentum and appeal. The Dirty Heads are now signed to a worldwide deal with Five Seven Music.

The group plans to spend the rest of the year on a number of different tours. For now, though, you can experience the band’s sunny, good-­‐time outlook on their new record. “Whatever has happened to us over the years, we’ve always kept a mindset about staying positive and squashing negativity,” says Watson. “And that’s the vibe we had making this album. I think that comes across to anyone who hears it.”

Give us your email & we'll give you the dirt

Stay up to date with all that's happening at Scottsdale's Ultimate Block Party & Open Air Events by joining our email club.

Latest Tweets

Follow us!