WILD RIVERS - Where We Left Off Tour *Canceled*
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Tickets: $16 adv/$18.50 dos ($20 at the show)
$3 Under 21 Surcharge at Door / 18+ Valid ID required for entry into venue / Under 18 permitted with parent - Accepted forms of ID: State Issued ID or Driver's License, Military ID, Passport.
$1 per ticket sold will be donated to support Voices of our City Choir
Bands share a whole lot more than just music. They encounter and endure life’s ups, downs, and everything in between as a collective. Along the way, band members grow individually and collectively. Following a year highlighted by 150-plus shows, Wild Rivers transpose personal experiences into relatable anthems woven from strands of folk, indie, rock, pop, country, and beyond. Their 2020 EP, Songs To Break Up To [Nettwerk], brings Wild Rivers—Khalid Yassein [guitar, vocals, keys], Devan Glover [vocals, bass], Andrew Oliver [lead guitar, bass], and Julien Laferrière [drums]—closer as it also draws listeners in.
“The EP was very personal for me specifically, but building it out with the band was a big step for all of us as friends,” says Khalid. “I spend 95% of my time with my bandmates. We’re a family, so we go through everything together. It’s autobiographical, but the group saw the vision and were empathetic. It went from a singular experience to everyone serving the vision tonally and musically.”
Since the release of their self-titled 2016 debut, Wild Rivers consistently progressed towards this point. As of 2019, their total streams surpassed 100 million and counting. 2018’s Eighty-Eight EP garnered acclaim courtesy of Rolling Stone Country, PopMatters, Earmilk, No Depression, and more. Additionally, the band packed shows across North America and beyond, touring alongside The Paper Kites, Donavan Woods, and Jake Bugg, to name a few.
In the midst of a 2018 road marathon, Khalid faced the dissolution of a long-term relationship, so he poured his heartbreak into the music.
“When we began writing, the songs that spoke to us all were centered around the breakup,” he says. “We decided to lean into the theme and make the EP an exploration of the topic, what the different sides of a breakup are, and what the feelings are. These include the good and the bad, the acceptance and the sadness, and the new freedom. We wanted to write a collection of songs covering the spectrum of what you feel going through the end of a relationship.”
In order to do so, the group retreated to Nashville, TN in October 2019, working out of Creative Workshop with producer Skylar Wilson (Rayland Baxter; Justin Townes Earle; Joshua Hedley). In the studio, they expanded their sonic palette by further incorporating synths, guitar effects, gang vocals, and choral harmonies.
“In the past, we’ve mainly recorded in Toronto,” says Devan. “We could just hop into the studio whenever. In Nashville, we only had a limited amount of time, so we got locked in and focused on the end goal as a team. We were all staying together, so we were living and breathing the EP the whole time—which was awesome.”
“Our philosophy was to take risks and do something different,” Khalid elaborates. “The whole ethos really helped in making decisions and guiding what we did. If we felt unsure, different, or vulnerable, we always chased that feeling.”
By chasing it, Wild Rivers uncovered five undeniable tunes led by the first single “Thinking ‘Bout Love.” Clean guitar and a steady beat reverberate amidst a heartfelt vocal volley between Khalid and Devan. Wistful recollections of an old flame give way to gospel-style harmonies as Devan soulfully sings, “I’m just thinking ‘bout love.”
“When you’re talking about breaking up or after it’s over, one person will think practically like, ‘We shouldn’t be together on paper. These are all of the reasons this relationship doesn’t make sense’,” Khalid goes on. “It’s the rational side of deciding whether or not you want the relationship. Then, there’s my side, which is romantic and naïve. I think, ‘Nothing matters, if we have love and our relationship is good.’ That’s the only future I’m thinking about. One partner thinks about the logistical hurdles; the other thinks about love. It’s the hopeless romantic versus the cold rational adult.”
On the follow-up “Kinda Feels Alright,” soft strumming and delicate percussion offset candid admissions from Khalid such as, “Last year baby, I was checking in. Now, I’m crashing.”
“One night, I went out on the town with my friend, got drunk, had a bunch of laughs, totally relaxed, and just experienced this amazing feeling,” he recalls. “I wasn’t sad about anything. I stopped thinking about the split. When I was walking home, something made me think of my ex, and all of these feelings came back. It turned on a dime. I realized I couldn’t focus on it anymore. I needed to get closure and get back to my life.”
Elsewhere on the EP, drum machines anchor the poignantly playful “Small Talk” as a piano that once belonged to Ray Charles rings out on the bold ballad “Do or Die.” Now, as the band bring Songs To Break Up To on the road, they’ll contribute $1 from every ticket sold to Voices of Our City Choir—a San Diego-based charity working to amend the housing crisis.
By opening up on Songs To Break Up To, Wild Rivers ultimately connect like never before.
“We want to validate people’s feelings,” Khalid leaves off. “It’s okay to be sad; it’s okay to be happy. There’s no right way to handle something like heartache, but you can talk about it with your friends. We try to show that.”
“In this collection, there’s something for everybody,” Devan concludes. “The songs span different genres and vibes. We hope there’s something that can connect with you in terms of the music and the message.”
Allman Brown has been hailed amongst today’s most compelling new singer-songwriters, a preternaturally gifted vocalist, performer, and tunesmith whose own remarkable journey allows him rare access to the universal. DARLING, IT’LL BE ALRIGHT, the London-based Brown’s long awaited sophomore LP, more than delivers on the promises made by such breakthrough singles as 2013’s “Sons & Daughters” and 2017’s acclaimed debut album, 1000 YEARS. Recorded in January 2019 with longtime collaborator Ian Barter (Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith), the album marks an immense evolution in his artistry, its bold sonic approach providing the ideal backdrop to Brown’s distinctive lyrical vision. Songs like “Home” and the passionate first single, “Shapes In The Sun,” are both intimate and epic, their carefully etched power and passion built to soothe, arouse, and inspire genuine emotion and personal action.
“It’s a really positive record,” Brown says. “The world is in a state these days but there are still incredible things happening. A lot of people are speaking out and coming together, there’s this counterforce to the endless tide of negativity we see every day. I wanted to feed into that, offer my own counterweight. So this record is about reassurance, about me putting some positive energy into the world.”
Born and raised in Hong Kong before moving to London at age 11, Brown arrived in 2013 with the hit single, “Sons & Daughters” (performed with Liz Lawrence). The track proved a Spotify smash, with 10 million worldwide streams thus far as well as featured placement on multiple TV soundtracks. 1000 YEARS followed in 2017, earning Brown critical applause for his tender balladry and folk-fueled pop inspired by such like-minded artists as Bon Iver, Tracy Chapman, Paul Simon, and Feist. Brown spent much of the next year mired in the vagaries of negotiation, ultimately and happily signing with NYC’s The Orchard in December. Though he yearned to record, Brown enjoyed the time with his family whilst also devoting himself to his work. Indeed, once he made peace with the slight delay, his songwriting provided a refuge, the extra few months turning out to be more reward than obstacle.
“It was just kind of an odd situation,” he says, “but I was busy enough that it didn’t feel too debilitating. I had a chance to sit with the songs, which was really helpful. It gave me the opportunity to invest a little bit more time in crafting them, so in the end, it all worked out quite well.”
“Fired up” from touring America in early winter alongside Good Old War and Beta Radio, Brown finally set to work in January 2019, reuniting with 1000 YEARS producer Ian Barter at his home studio in Reading.
“I was missing him,” Brown says. “I think Ian understands what I’m best at. We’ve become good friends; I’ve seen his kids grow up. Going to his feels like an extension of home. We spend half the time having deep theological discussions and the other half recording. It’s great. Who wouldn’t want to make a record with a good buddy?”
Brown and Barter worked quickly, their mission made easier by the extensive prep time that preceded them. The two multi-talented mates tracked live wherever possible, playing virtually all instruments on their own.
“We just hit the ground running,” Brown says. “I don’t like to take a long time to record, I’d rather work fast. I don’t mess around.”
Indeed. DARLING, IT’LL BE ALRIGHT is both grandiose and ambitious while still retaining an undeniable spirit of the homespun. Songs like “Bury My Heart” -- previously recorded twice before, but only now reaching the heights its creator intended – and the touching title track utilize acoustic textures and symphonic backdrops to showcase Brown’s vocal power and admittedly sentimental songcraft.
“My heart’s on my sleeve, really, in my songwriting,” Brown says. “My strength is not in esoteric melancholy.”
Which is not to say Brown veers away from the intensely private – far from it, in fact. Rather, much of DARLING, IT’LL BE ALRIGHT sees him going deep within his own experiences in an effort to touch something similar in us all. “Home” is a moving missive from the road while the gripping “Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles” uses his ongoing battle with tinnitus to capture a strikingly relatable sense of isolation. That said, “Natasha,” the album’s tender closing track, might well be its most personal by far.
“It’s about my wife,” he says. “It’s just a totally intimate song. There no dissembling or pretending that the song is about everybody else – it’s particularly about her. I really enjoy combining universality and intimacy in my songwriting. We live in a big world and I don’t want anyone to be excluded. With ‘Natasha,’ they’re not excluded, it’s more like they have a window into my life.”
For the immediate future, Brown’s life will see him traveling the globe nearly non stop in support of DARLING, IT’LL BE ALRIGHT, touring both as solo act and with a full backing band. Brown has long put the same fresh energy that infuses the LP into his performances, interacting with his audience to ensure each and every show is a one-of-a-kind experience unto itself.
“Maybe the best thing about playing live is you never know what’s going to happen,” he says, “I was in Columbus, Ohio last year and someone shouted out, ‘I think you’re great, I’ve got a tattoo parlor down the road and if you want a free tattoo you can have one!’ So I went and got a tattoo!”
The road Allman Brown has traveled thus far has taught him a great many life lessons, not the least of which is the true size of the small world in which we live. With DARLING, IT’LL BE ALRIGHT, this uniquely talented tunesmith has offered up a heartfelt musical gift to all of his 7.7 billion fellow humans, a collection of extraordinary small gems that might brighten modern life with irresistible charm, creative drive, and matchless conviction.
“I’ve got a wife and daughter and another baby on the way,” Allman Brown says. “I don’t want to complain – I want to make something people can feel energized by. Whether it’s just feeling positive themselves or maybe they’ll go and do something good, make some kind of change.
“I’ve grown up all over the world. I have family all over the world, friends of many different faiths. The world is a big old mix of people – I don’t just want to write about my road in London, I want to write for everybody.”
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