Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers

Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers

Silver City Bound

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Tickets available at the door, $20 cash only, 21+

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Amy Helm
Amy Helm
"I'm just trying to tell some stories as honestly as I can," Amy Helm says of ​Didn't It Rain, ​her first solo album and her eOne Music debut.

Although the personally charged, organically soulful ​Didn't It Rain ​is her first release under her own name, Amy Helm has been making music for most of her life. She's already won widespread praise as a singer, songwriter and live performer, first as a member of the celebrated alt­country collective Ollabelle and subsequently for her extensive work with her father, musical icon Levon Helm, who passed away in 2012.

Blessed with a commanding, deeply expressive voice and an uncanny songwriting skill that instinctively draws upon a deep well of American musical traditions, Amy Helm delivers a timelessly powerful statement with Didn't It Rain.

The spellbinding dozen­song set is rooted in first­person experience, exploring universal themes of life, love and loss on such musically and emotionally resonant originals as the smoldering soul ballad "Rescue Me," the hushed, lilting "Deep Water," the meditative "Roll Away" and the stark, haunting "Wild Girl." Complementing Helm's originals are her personalized takes on the Sam Cooke classic "Good News" and the traditional title track, which she delivers with the heartfelt gospel urgency that's always been an element of her vocal persona.

Accompanying Helm on ​Didn't It Rain​ is an impressive roster of players and singers that demonstrates the esteem in which the artist is held by her peers. Helm's former Ollabelle bandmate Byron Isaacs, who produced the album, co­wrote the majority of the songs with Helm, and is featured as one­third of Helm's current live trio the Handsome Strangers, playing bass alongside guitarist Daniel Littleton and drummer David Berger. Also contributing their talents are Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne; guitarists Larry Campbell, Chris Masterson and Jim Weider; keyboardists Marco Benevento, John Medeski and Brian Mitchell; and guest backup vocalists Carolyn Leonhart, Elizabeth Mitchell, Allison Moorer, Catherine Russell and Teresa Williams.

Didn't It Rain ​also marked the final recording sessions of Levon Helm, who acted as the project's executive producer as well as adding his unmistakable drumming on three tracks; Levon's distinctive count­off can be heard kicking off Amy's rousing take on Martha Scanlan's "Spend Our Last Dime."

Helm had originally planned to release her solo debut a bit sooner, but chose to substantially rework the album that she initially recorded, recutting more than half of the songs with the road­tested Handsome Strangers.

"That was kind of a reckless move financially, and it's resulted in the album coming out two years later than I originally thought it would, but it was the right thing to do," she acknowledges. "When I started the record, I'd never done a gig under my own name, and I was still getting comfortable with the idea of being a solo artist. I thought I'd finished the record, but then I started going out on the road, and the stuff that we were doing live was so much stronger thanwhat I had recorded, and I started feeling more confidence and focus. So we went back in the studio, with no money and no budget, and found a way to do it and get it right."

Many of ​Didn't It Rain​'s songs are the product of an extended period during which the artist endured a series of personal trials and life changes, including the April 2012 passing of her father and chief musical mentor.

"The past few years have been profoundly transformative for me, so I wanted to tell some of those stories as honestly as I could," she asserts. "I thought about the people I had lost, and things that had fallen apart and things that were coming together, and that influenced the way I sang these songs."

Amy Helm began connecting with audiences early in life, playing her first gig in her early teens in a Manhattan bar and drifting informally through a series of combos before her father recruited her to join his live band. She also absorbed musical and personal inspiration from her mother, noted singer/songwriter Libby Titus; and her stepfather, Steely Dan co­mastermind Donald Fagen, who offered Amy additional opportunities to find herself as a performer.

"I always did gigs through high school and college," she explains, "but my fears and insecurities kept me from committing to it. That's when my dad became a huge influence; he scooped me up when I was in my mid ­20s and put me in this blues band. I was very, very green, but I got my road­dog status with him. It was like walking through fire every time I got on stage, but it forced me to decide if I wanted to do this. And I decided that I absolutely wanted to do it."

Amy's vocal and songwriting talents soon found a home in the New York­ based Ollabelle, whose three acclaimed albums and countless live gigs saw her evolve into a confident, charismatic performer. She also resumed her musical collaboration with her father, singing and playing in his band, playing on and co­producing his Grammy­ winning 2007 comeback album Dirt Farmer​, and helping to organize the now­legendary Midnight Ramble concerts at Levon's home studio in Woodstock, NY.

"He was the best teacher, in so many ways," Amy says of her father. "He wasn't interested in overthinking anything; all he cared about was playing music. He saw himself as a working musician, and it was serious business and it had to be right. Playing side by side with him in the Ramble band for ten years, and building those shows with him, really changed the way I approached things, and his humility influenced and shaped me as a musician, as it did everyone who played with him."

With ​Didn't It Rain​ reintroducing her to the world as a solo artist, Helm says that her immediate plan is "to just get out and play as many gigs as possible. I think that the job of a musician is to try and shake people out of their own heads for an hour or two, and bring some joy into the world. So I want to get out there and do the job the best I can."
Silver City Bound
Silver City Bound
“Silver City bound, Silver City bound, Gonna tell my baby, I’m Silver City bound. Gonna find Blind Lemon, and ride on down.”

- Lead Belly

Silver City Bound is Road Music. Rebel accordion. American wanderlust. It’s the music you blast when you're driving 1,300 miles from Brooklyn to New Orleans. With soulful harmony and award-winning songs, the band has rock and rolled from sold-out shows at Lincoln Center to concert halls, iconic dive bars and major festivals in twenty-six states and six countries. And they’re just getting started.

Based in New York City, Silver City Bound (formerly The Amigos) was formed in 2011 by accordionist and keyboardist Sam Reider and guitarist Justin Poindexter. Calling themselves The Amigos, the pair got their start busting into college parties like guerrilla mariachis, jumping on top of cheap furniture and singing Hank Williams songs. They quickly became infamous in the New York music scene and a favored opening act for artists like Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Sam Bush.

The Amigos released their debut album, Diner in The Sky, in February, 2014. Joined by bassist Noah Garabedian, drummer Will Clark, producer Devin Greenwood (Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones, Sweetback Sisters), saxophonist Eddie Barbash (Late Show with Stephen Colbert), and legendary composer, musician, and beat poet David Amram, the album won Best Americana Music Album from the Independent Music Awards and propelled the band to appearances at CMJ, Folk Alliance International, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Cotati Accordion Festival, the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, and the Kerrville Folk Festival. They collaborated on stage with Jim Lauderdale, Dom Flemons, David Amram, Ranger Doug (of Riders in the Sky), The Time Jumpers, and Nellie McKay. In 2014 they toured China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, giving over 40 concerts and performing with local and international artists.

In 2015, the band changed their name to Silver City Bound, to better embody the spirit of the American roots musicians to which they are indebted. Their new EP, Take My Picture, is set for release in February 2016, and will feature four original songs and a new take on the classic love song “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man." Soaring accordion, throaty electric guitar and a pulsing rhythm section echo the Flying Burrito Brothers, Tom Petty, Clifton Chenier, and the Band.

Justin Lafayette Poindexter hails from Greensboro, North Carolina. The son of a Nascar-endorsed country singer, Justin studied music composition at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to New York for a fellowship at Lincoln Center. He’s a self-professed garbage head and can tell you basically anything you want to know about any country, rock or soul band you’ve never heard of.

Sammy “Squeeze" Reider grew up in San Francisco, the official home of the squeeze box. Born into a family of classical musicians, Sam was touring professionally at young age and was featured on NPR’s Piano Jazz when he was 18 years old. He moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where he fell in love with folk music and studied songwriting in the Great Depression. Rumor says he’s a descendent of Gypsy Rose Lee.

Noah Garabedian hails from Berkeley, California, is the son of Armenian-Mexican-Americans, and holds a masters in music from NYU and a undergrad degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA. He’s a local food freak and maintains the band’s touring food blog “Wild” Willie Clark was born in Eugene, Oregon, the heir to a granola empire. Before he was a drummer, he had a whirlwind career as a prodigy juggler at county fairs around the northwest.

“Take me by the hand, oh baby, and lead me to the promise land."
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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