John Craigie "Keep It Warm 2019" Tour with Nicki Bluhm

Event Date/Doors Open: 
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event Time: 
8:00PM
Cost: 
$18 Advance, $23 Day of Show

On Wednesday, December 11, the Community Center for the Performing Arts and KLCC proudly welcomes the John Craigie "Keep It Warm 2019" Tour to the WOW Hall with special guest Nicki Bluhm.

When Craigie plays, it’s one of those special shows that can make you laugh and cry in the same song. It’s a musical journey that can’t be denied.  He’s the type of artist whose genuine appeal gives fans the impetus to say, “You’ve got to hear this performer.”

A favorite of audiences at the Oregon Country Fair and other large festivals, Portland’s Craigie is renowned for his eloquent Americana style, engaging live shows, and off-the-cuff clever observations.  John Craigie carries on the legacy of classic singer-songwriters, while blazing a trail of his own.

“Since releasing No Rain, No Rose, which he recorded with contributions by Gregory Alan Isakov and The Shook Twins, among other musical friends, he released a stripped-down studio album, Scarecrow, (first only on vinyl, and then, after fan requests, on streaming media), he put out a live album, LIVE – Opening for Steinbeck, and he went on a stadium tour with Jack Johnson,” reports Glide Magazine.  “He’s recorded his next studio album with Bart Budwig, who was the engineer for No Rain, No Rose, and a group of mostly Californian musicians.

“In between, he has toured relentlessly, and it’s at these shows, mostly at smaller venues, that he creates something unique and bordering on magical. His storytelling, which is funny enough to stand on its own as a comedy routine, leads into songs that are sometimes just as funny, and sometimes serious. But somehow, along the way, without any sense of sentimentality, he leads the audience to revelations that are inspiring and hopeful. He does the last thing you expect from a folk singer, from a guy standing alone on a stage with a guitar. He makes you feel good.”

The New Noise review of Scarecrow states:

“Of the 10 songs here, most were written for last year’s No Rain, No Rose but were cut because they just didn’t fit the vibe. All of these tracks are slower, but no less worthy of release. The album, taken as a whole is devastatingly beautiful. Craigie’s earnest vocals paired with little more than an acoustic guitar is melancholy songwriting at its best. The song order is perfect and just another reason why this album should be enjoyed on vinyl, listening to each one come out in the proper order.           

“Craigie says he called the record Scarecrow, because these ‘are songs that are out alone in a field.’ That’s pretty damn bleak, but also a solidly apt descriptor. And lest you think Craigie is the patron saint of Sad Bastards everywhere, just check out his live albums; he may just be the funniest guy to ever hold a guitar.”

“Craigie recently played a series of sold-out shows in his hometown where took on Abbey Road all by himself on guitar,” reports Spectrum Culture.  “This comes on the heels of him doing the same thing with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album in prior years. He called the concerts Abbey Road Lonely and did exactly what he had promised: rearranged the entire record for guitar and harmonica.

“Craigie stripped the songs on Abbey Road down to their very essence. He knows his limitations as a solo musician and rather than replicate some of the harder sections, Craigie instead changed these rock tunes into what is promised on his website: serious folk. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” lost none of its intensity but Craigie recast the rocker into a slow-burn dirge. Meanwhile, “Here Comes the Sun” remained a delicate crowd-pleaser, the song Craigie claimed was his favorite on the record.”

 

NICKI BLUHM

 

After spending the last six years as lead singer and front person of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, as well as recent high-profile collaborations and performances with the likes of Phil Lesh, Infamous Stringdusters and The Wood Brothers, Nicki Bluhm is stepping out on her own with her new album, To Rise You Gotta Fall.  The  result heralds Nicki’s arrival as a songwriter and vocalist of great depth and immediacy.

To Rise You Gotta Fall is a chronicle of Bluhm’s state of mind following both a divorce and a separation from the only band she had ever known.  Said Bluhm, “These songs are quite personal. They are the conversations I never got to have, the words I never had the chance to say, and the catharsis I wouldn’t have survived without.”

Fundamental life changes and the need to challenge herself inspired the West Coast native to make a spur-of-the moment, cross-country move to Nashville in 2017. “Nashville was inspiring because of the all the songwriting going on here,” Bluhm says. “When I would come to Nashville on writing trips it was just percolating…it was intoxicating. So I very hastily, in a matter of days, decided to move. I just had this gut feeling.”

The songs on the album were written over a span of roughly two years, each one capturing a different phase of a dissolving marriage of a decade.

“I began writing the songs for this record when I was in a failing marriage to a man who was not only my husband but also my musical partner, mentor, and bandmate. The earliest song written for the album is ‘How Do I Love You’ and was essentially a plea to understand how to make the communication better in a marriage I was desperate to save. ‘Battlechain Rose’ is a coming to terms with the reality of deception and betrayal while ‘To Rise You Gotta Fall’ is a more hopeful message born out of a lot of therapy, contemplation, time, self-help and healing.”           

The musicians included Will Sexton (electric guitar), Matt Ross-Spang (guitars), Coomer (drums and percussion), Al Gamble (Hammond B3), Rick Steff (Wurlitzer), Dave Smith (bass), and Reba Russell and Susan Marshall (vocals), with Sam Shoup (string arrangements) and various special guests. What you hear is the sense of discovery in each song.

Nicki Bluhm, newly inspired songwriter and solo artist, is enjoying Nashville, her new band, and the challenge of establishing herself on her own.

Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.  Tickets are $18 in advance, $23 day of show. 

$1 from each ticket sold will be donated to Food Lifeline, which works to feed people today and solve hunger for tomorrow. They believe that nobody deserves to be hungry and that ending hunger in Western Washington is possible. By redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores, and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste, they're able to provide the equivalent of 116,000 meals every day for people who are experiencing hunger. And, by working regionally on advocacy efforts that shape policy and partnering with organizations that are addressing the needs of low-income families, they are working to end hunger in the future.