Saturday, December 16th, 2023
Relix and Lightning 100 Present

Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country Christmas Jam

Grace Bowers, Drew Smithers, JD Simo, JoJo Hermann, Sierra Hull, Anders Beck, Duane Trucks, Mountain Grass Unit, Willow Osborne

$25 ADV / $28 DOS Get Tickets UPGRADE TO VIP
Doors: 6:00 PM / Show: 7:30 PM 18 & Over
Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country Christmas Jam

Event Info

Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
925 3rd Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
This event is 18+, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Valid government-issued photo ID is required for entry. No refunds will be issued for failure to produce proper identification. Want to have the total VIP experience? Upgrade your ticket today by reserving a bowling lane or VIP Box by reaching out to nashvilleevents@brooklynbowl.com

This ticket is valid for standing room only, general admission. ADA accommodations are available day of show. All support acts are subject to change without notice. Any change in showtimes or other important information will be relayed to ticket-buyers via email. ALL SALES ARE FINAL Tickets purchased in person, subject to $3.00 processing charge (in addition to cc fee, if applicable). Sales Tax Included *Advertised times are for show times - check Brooklyn Bowl Nashville website for most up-to-date hours of operation*

Artist Info

Daniel Donato

There are a lot of musical influences and sources that Daniel Donato has drawn on during his career and that inform Reflector (Retrace Music), the Nashville guitarist-singer-songwriter-band leader’s first all-original album. But within those Donato has carved out a unique and individualized spot for himself, one that speaks to the deep American music heritage that inspires him — and that he’s pushing towards the future with inspired, intentional vigor.

 

He calls it Cosmic Country, a moniker that’s both self-descriptive and a statement of purpose. It’s an organic rock band aesthetic with plenty of roadhouse twang, a showcase for Donato’s instrumental virtuosity and facility for melodically infectious songcraft. Bridging Nashville and the Great West, Kentucky and mid-60s northern California, tie-dye and plaid, it’s a world of his own, and wide world of musical adventure at that.

 

“I think Cosmic Country is a tale as old as time, really,” Donato explains. “It’s yin and yang in a musical form. It’s three chords and the truth, and then on the other side it’s exploration and bravery. I really went through a lot of years of grinding, and still am, to achieve this sound which is a vehicle for my personality, and the personality is a vehicle for my soul. So (Reflector) is more that than any other record I ever put out.”

 

Reflector’s 15 songs offer 66 minutes of ecstatic musical immersion. It’s an album in the classic sense of the word, tracks that are individually memorable but sound even better coming one after the other and make the sum greater than the total of its parts. “We’re touching on a lot with this record, which is also why there’s so many songs on it,” acknowledges Donato, whose stinging Fender Telecaster tone is the strongest glue of continuity throughout — and is positively screaming on tracks such as “Gotta Get Southbound” and “Dance in the Desert Pt. 2.” “If you’re the kind of person who wants to listen to a record and have a record be a companion with you, then Reflector is going to vibrate in your frequency.”

 

Donato’s own musical frequency was tuned at a young age, while growing up in Nashville. His father “picked around a guitar a small bit;” more importantly, he instilled in his son a discerning taste for quality music, filling his son’s ears with legendary music of all genres. The rock meanwhile, came from Guitar Hero; the game was crucial to broadening Donato’s vistas of listening to JImi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, et al, as well as a particular attraction to Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City. “Those players stuck with me and gave me my first foundation of guitar,” says Donato, whose father taught him his first chords on one of his old guitars. “I was a strange kid — still am a strange person. I really didn’t have any friends that got me, but the guitar understood me, and I had a vision for what my life could be.”

 

It was Papa Donato who suggested the fledgling and industriously minded (even at just 14) artist start busking in Nashville’s lower Broadway area and outside concerts, for eight hours at a time on the weekends. After one of those sessions the two happened by Robert’s Western World, a legendary honky-tonk where local mainstay the Don Kelly Band was onstage – which was also Donato’s first time playing a Telecaster, through a Fender amplifier no less. “I played country songs and fell in love with it,” says Donato, who became a member of the band, playing four hours a night at Robert’s (464 shows in total). “Their songbook was that of my main influences still to this day — Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills, Marty Robbins, Bill Monroe, traditional bluegrass music, Hank Williams Sr. — old-timey music with real stories and emotions that everybody has. It just hooked me right away.”

 

Another piece of the puzzle came through later in Donato’s teenage years — the Grateful Dead, thanks to a high school American History teacher who gave him a pile of bootleg recordings when he was 18. “When I discovered Jerry Garcia, there’s really never been anyone who writes like that,” says Donato. “From there I went on to discover Bob Dylan and all the great writers and made me want to make that part of what I did as well.”

 

The whole package of player, singer, writer and band leader was in place when Donato began working on his own during 2018. It was on display via his first album, A Young Man’s Countryin 2020 but refined on Reflector, which features all original songs and finds Donato and his band – Nathan Aronowitz (keyboards/vocals), Will McGee (bass/vocals) and Noah Miller (drums and percussion) –honed from playing more than 200 shows during 2022, after the Covid lockdowns had lifted. That allowed Donato to not just play again but also to road test the songs that would comprise the album and expand the audience.

 

“We were home for less than two weeks between January and September of 2022,” says Donato. “There was the existential necessity of going through a staggering amount of growth. All those shows and all those hours of experience really curated my values as an artist. That informed my composition, informed my band-leading…everything that goes into making music that has real value and impact.”

 

Donato had good help in achieving that on Reflector; he enlisted producer Vance Powell, a six-time Grammy Award winner whose eclectic resume ranges from Chris Stapleton and Martina McBride to Phish and Clutch to Buddy Guy and the Jack White universe of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. They’d actually met when Donato was a teen playing at Robert’s, and he remembers Powell telling him that “one day you’re gonna make a record, and I want to work with you,” which made him the perfect candidate to help Donato achieve his far-reaching vision this time out.

 

“Vance was on damn near every record I enjoyed,” he  notes. “He seemed like the only logical choice to take a band that has country songs and old-timey folky songs that also jams and organize it into a digestible piece.”

 

It’s hard to find a more concise summation of Reflector than that. It kicks off with the joyous Southern rock roll of “Lose Your Mind,” a sound echoed in other tracks — especially the harmony-laden “High Country” — and gets high ‘n’ lonesome on “Halfway in Between.” “Double Exposure’s” slinky funk is accented by dueling guitar lines, while “Half Moon Night” and the instrumental “Sugar Leg Rag” feel like a contemporary incarnation of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. “Gotta Get Southbound,” weighing in at nearly eight minutes, dances through its ebb and flow dynamics, and “Faded Lovin'” echoes the organic majesty of The Band. Donato and company get their cosmic on with both hip-swaying parts of “Dance in the Desert” — one more acoustic, the other a trippy electric opus — and the richly melodic odyssey “Weathervane.”

 

Reflector — which features Nashville pedal steel legend Paul Franklin on four tracks  — also reflects “the work I did on myself and the work I did on my art” during the past three years, according to Donato. “I really started discovering new psychological and ritual domains I wasn’t really aware of,” he explains. “The whole concept of Reflector is of a duality. The entire world that you see externally is a reflection of your internal world, so you have this internal world you exist in and this external world you exist in, and that’s what this work is about. I like dualities; it allows me to see where each side of the fence post is, and I can paint in the middle.”

 

The middle of anything has never sounded as engrossing and beguiling as Donato makes it on Reflector. These are songs that prompt a listener to hit “repeat” and that stick with you long after they’ve finished playing. They hit the heart, the soul, the mind — and the cosmos, making it the kind of trip you won’t want to end any time soon.

Grace Bowers

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Grace Bowers was baptized by rock ‘n’ roll music. She cut her teeth on sweat soaked stages inside dive bars and found fellowship in the divine playing of B.B. King. She once studied six-string scripture – written by Slash and Leslie West – for hours a day, mastering her favorite riffs on a ‘61 cherry-finished Gibson SG.

As an up-and-comer in Nashville, Dolly Parton recruited her for a network television special and Tyler Childers requested that she join him on stage. She’s played with a who’s-who of three-chord storytellers and guitar-pickin’ torchbearers – Lainey Wilson, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Susan Tedeschi, to name a few.

And she’s not yet old enough to graduate high school. Phenom? Wunderkind? … Prodigy? No matter what label may be pinned to Bowers, she’s just a teenager who’s putting her faith in rock ‘n’ roll – one song at a time.

“[It’s] a cool thing,” Bowers said. “It blows people’s minds that I’m a 17-year-old girl, playing guitar. And as much as I hate being labeled as that, it’s true.”

But Bowers isn’t just a sought-after 17-year-old guitarist storming jam sessions with her Gibson and a gold-blonde mop of shoulder-length curls, of course. She’s a bandleader and songwriter preparing to leave her mark on some of the biggest stages in music. Her debut album, Wine On Venus produced by ace guitarist and songwriter John Osborne (of hitmaking country group Brothers Osborne) – hits turntables and streaming services later this year.

Listeners get a first taste of the album on lead single and standout number “Tell Me Why U Do That,” where Bowers and her band – affectionately called The Hodge Podge – deliver a throwback, feel-good tune that comes jam-packed with funk grooves, soul-inspired melodies and a stop-you-in-your-tracks guitar solo. It’s the type of song that dares listeners not to stand up and sing along.

Bowers co-wrote “Tell Me Why U Do That” alongside Osborne and his singer-songwriter wife Lucie Silvas, plus Nashville artist-songwriters Meg Mcree and Ben Chapman.

“I hope this is the one that gets stuck in people’s heads,” Bowers said, with a laugh.

“Tell Me Why U Do That” and the rest of Wine On Venus showcases Bowers’ journey from a teenager who livestreamed bedroom practice sessions on Reddit – sometimes to 20,000+ viewers, no less – to a bona fide album-maker with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram. She picked up the acoustic guitar as a nine-year-old obsessed with so-called “cheesy” hair metal videos. A few years later, her fandom progressed to blues music after she stumbled across B.B. King while shuffling through radio stations in her mom’s car. The proverbial floodgates opened, leading her to discover essential blues artists Mississippi John Hurt, T. Bone Walker and others.

A native of Northern California, Bowers and her family relocated to Nashville two-and-a-half years ago, weeks before her freshman year of high school (Bowers now studies online). Not yet old enough to drive, she continued to grow her audience on social media, becoming a Gibson-endorsed artist by age 14.

She found her way to performing live, taking her skills to dive bars and pay-at-the-door rock clubs before graduating to guest spots at Newport Folk Festival, Nashville’s Big Bash New Year’s Eve concert and her own fundraising gig for victims of the city’s Covenant School shooting in 2023, among others.

How did one teenager cover so much musical ground in such a short time? “Lots of practice,” she said. “Lots of cutting teeth. Lots of not saying ‘no’ to people when I should’ve. Just being stubborn and persistent. I have worked my ass off to make this happen. Just hard work.”

On the album, Bowers and The Hodge Podge graduate from traditional rock and blues influence to sounds inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly and the Family Stone, she said. The group takes its name from a mixed bag of players that Bowers would invite to share the stage with on a given night. Despite now being a solidified group, the name stuck. The Hodge Podge includes vocalist Esther Okai-Tetteh, bassist Eric Fortaleza, drummer Brandon Combs, guitarist Prince Parker and keys player Joshua Blaylock.

Bowers co-wrote most of Wine On Venus in songwriting circles – a creative exercise that took her “a hot second” to comfortably navigate. But listeners wouldn’t know a first-timer was behind much of Wine On Venus; that’s clear on “Holding On To Something,” a savvy and confident number anchored by a riff Bowers began toying with years ago, she said. The song features a slow-building solo that culminates with harmonized playing and a high-flying howl from Okai-Tetteh. 

“I never forgot [that riff] and I was jamming on it one day with a friend of mine. We were writing some lyrics to it and we called over Esther,” she said. “This was the first time we had ever written [together]. It turned out to be that song.”

And Wine On Venus features a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” that takes on a Hodge Podge twist.

“It was just fun,” Bowers said, recalling the cover session with a laugh. “If you listen to it, you can hear all of our voices in the background throughout the entire song, which I thought was a cool thing to keep in. That one took us a couple hours to knock out. It was a fun, easy song.”

This year, Bowers and the band take Wine On Venus on the road for a run of dream-making festival shows, including slots at BottleRock Napa Valley, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Bourbon & Beyond and Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, among others.

But a booked schedule doesn’t mean Bowers isn’t already thinking about the next project. Like most people who believe in something, she wants to find out where this rock ‘n’ roll journey leads her. 

“I love it,” she said. “Seeing where I can go with it, I still have so much to learn.”

Drew Smithers

JoJo Hermann

Sierra Hull

Sierra Hull.jpeg

Sierra Hull is widely regarded to be a as a master of her instrument; A two-time Grammy Nominated artist and songwriter, recognized for both her most recent projects, 25 Trips (2020) and Weighted Mind (2016), she is also the 4x recipient of IBMA’s Mandolin Player of the Year, the first woman to ever receive this distinction. A pioneer for acoustic music throughout her already impressive multi-decade career, she has graced the country's most iconic stages, including Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, and the White House. Her virtuosic abilities have garnered respect from genre-defining trailblazers, friends, and collaborators such as Alison Krauss, Sturgill Simpson, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, and Brandi Carlile. Originally hailing from Byrdstown, Tennessee, her unique sound is rooted in bluegrass, and she is widely considered one of acoustic music’s most inventive artists.

Anders Beck

Duane Trucks

The Mountain Grass Unit

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The Mountain Grass Unit consists of three Birmingham pickers, Drury Anderson (mandolin and vocals), Luke Black (acoustic guitar and banjo), and Sam Wilson (upright bass). The Mountain Grass Unit has played music festivals, private functions and multiple music venues, playing bluegrass tunes and adding a bluegrass touch to country, jazz, funk, rock, and even metal. With the addition of Luke Black and Sam Wilson on harmonies, The Mountain Grass Unit has established the firm foundation to take on not only the vocal harmonies of traditional bluegrass tunes, but also the freedom to adapt songs from various genres to an all-acoustic format. Aside from their original songs, all three are equally comfortable restyling a Tony Rice number, a classic Grateful Dead tune, or covering contemporary acoustic masters like Billy Strings. The youthful exuberance and energy they bring to the stage is always remarkable. Their competency at what they do was best described by Birmingham music promoter Steve Masterson when the boys performed at his Acoustic Café festival: "They don't just play good for their age, they play good. Period." Sam, Luke, and Drury are excited to share with their audiences this new and exciting musical chapter.

Willow Osborne

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