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Alligator Records' Artists Marcia Ball, Dave Hole, and Guitar Shorty to Perform In and Around Philadelphia


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Performance information is as follows:

At Maggie's Place
816 N. Easton Rd. Doylestown, PA

Dave Hole
Sunday, August 7th 6:00 p.m.
$12 in advance/$15 @ door

Guitar Shorty
Friday, August 26th 8:30 p.m.
$17 in advance/$20 @ door

Philadelphia Folk Festival
Old Pool Farm Philadelphia, PA

Marcia Ball
Saturday, August 27th Showtime: TBA
Ticket Price: Check website

“Biting electric-slide, banshee squeals and hell-bent fret runs...a jubilant high-speed showcase.”
Rolling Stone

Australian slide guitar master DAVE HOLE will make a rare concert appearance in Doylestown. His seven Alligator recordings have earned him critical praise and enthusiastic fans all over the world. Hole's aggressive, over-the-top slide playing never fails to bring audiences to their feet and leave them open-mouthed in amazement.

His last CD, 2003's The Live One, was recorded in front of wildly enthusiastic audiences in Dave's hometown of Perth, Australia in 2001 and in his spiritual home of Chicago, Illinois in 2002. The Live One captures blistering live performances of songs from throughout Dave's career. And as any fan will attest, there's nothing quite like experiencing the energy and guitar assault of a live Dave Hole performance

Dave Hole's love of blues started early. As a young teenager he followed the musical trail of the Rolling Stones, the Animals and Them directly to records by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed. When he joined his first band in Perth at age 16, Dave recalls “mystifying" people with music they'd never heard before - the blues. But people were even more mystified - and blown away - when Dave discovered the secrets behind the eerie sounds of Waters, Elmore James and Robert Nighthawk came from slipping a small piece of glass or metal over the little finger - a slide. He set out to master the style, but an injury to his little finger forced him to take a rather unusual approach. Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for his finger to heal, Dave put the slide on his index finger and hung his hand over the guitar neck, creating a launching pad for a sound and style all his own. When the finger finally healed, Dave continued playing the wrong way for all the right reasons.

While it's been just over 10 years since Dave Hole first put himself on the United States musical map, he's actually been playing and performing for 35 years. Born in England in 1948, he moved with his family to Perth, Australia when he was a child. After falling in love with the blues, he wanted to hear more, but because of Perth's isolation it was difficult to find blues records. It was even rarer for a blues artist to perform there, so Dave had to teach himself how to play. At first, only Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix albums were easily available, but with persistence (a trait Dave Hole has in abundance) he got his hands on records by Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson and many others. His main teachers - on record - were Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Hole listened to their recordings over and over, until he knew all of their licks, and he then developed his own radical instrumental technique.

Beginning in 1974 and throughout the 1980s, Hole was playing steadily around Perth and the country towns of western Australia, only twice venturing to major eastern cities like Sydney and Melbourne. In 1990, the blues magic struck again for Hole when he self-financed and recorded his debut album, Short Fuse Blues, primarily for sale to his fans at his live gigs. Acting on a whim, he mailed a copy of his record to Guitar Player magazine. An April 1991 review and a July 1991 feature story launched Hole into the blues stratosphere. Then a copy of the story and the album landed on the desk of Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer, who took a chance by releasing the album and making Dave Hole the label's only overseas signing.

The gamble more than paid off. Critics all over the country heaped mounds of praise on Hole, and many new fans heard Dave on the radio as hundreds of stations spun the disc in their rotations. Even without setting foot on American soil, Dave's name was being mentioned alongside those of Duane Allman, Ry Cooder and Johnny Winter, taking him from virtual obscurity to international recognition. And it wasn't just the critics who were paying attention. People everywhere were moved, including Metallica's Kirk Hammett, who named Dave Hole as one of his favorite guitarists, saying, “His slide playing kills me."

Hole made his debut North American tour in 1993, playing almost 50 shows in nine weeks in every major city in the United States. His next five Alligator albums made Hole a bona fide slide guitar hero. Repeated American tours kept Hole firmly on the radar, satisfying fans' hunger to see him perform live. Billboard exclaimed, “Slide guitar fanatics will have their brains blown out by this Australian fret-melter."

Mixing his blistering, over-the-top slide work and supercharged vocals on The Live One, Dave continues to place more and more people under his unbreakable blues-rocking spell. But even with a slew of globe-crossing tour dates, can Dave Hole - one guitar player from Perth, Australia - possibly live up to all of this praise? “Yes," said Blues Revue, “he's that good."

“Raucous, incendiary blues and explosive, bone crunching guitar.”
Living Blues

Master bluesman Guitar Shorty will celebrate the release of his Alligator Records CD Watch Your Back with a live performance in Doylestown. Credited with influencing Jimi Hendrix, Shorty has been electrifying audiences for five decades with his supercharged live shows and his incendiary recordings (beginning in 1957 with a Willie Dixon-produced single on the Cobra label). Shorty's album Watch Your Back was nominated for two W.C. Handy Blues Awards this year for “Blues Album of the Year” and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.”

Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff and Jesse Harms, Watch Your Back finds Guitar Shorty singing and playing with ferocious urgency. While his previous releases have surveyed the musical landscape from New Orleans funk to Texas shuffles to classic R&B, Watch Your Back burns with heavy rock and roll fire from start to finish, putting Shorty's infectious energy and guitar pyrotechnics on full display. In all the years Guitar Shorty has been playing and recording, he's never reached the heights – either vocally or instrumentally – that he does here.

David William Kearney was born on September 8, 1939 in Houston, Texas and raised in Kissimee, Florida by his grandmother. He began playing guitar as a young boy, excited by the sounds of B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and Earl Hooker. At 17, he was already good enough to earn a gig as featured guitarist and vocalist in Walter Johnson's 18-piece orchestra. Being younger - and shorter - then the rest of the band, the club owner dubbed him Guitar Shorty, and the name stuck. After a Shorty performance in Tampa, the great Willie Dixon, who was in the audience, approached the teenager and said, “I like what you're doing; you've got something different. I gotta get you in the studio." A few weeks later Shorty was in Chicago with Dixon as producer and, backed by Otis Rush on second guitar, he cut his first single for Chicago's famed Cobra Records (first label home for Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy) in 1957.

Soon after, Shorty met one of his idols - Guitar Slim, famous for his hit “The Things That I Used To Do" as well as for his wildman stage antics. Inspired by Slim, Shorty began incorporating some of Slim's tricks into his own shows. Soon he was doing somersaults and flips on stage, while continuing to hone his own high-energy musical style. He recorded three 45s for the Los Angeles-based Pull Records label in 1959. Those six sides - all Guitar Shorty originals - showcased his tough vocals and his wild guitar, and earned him a loyal following.

Shorty gigged steadily, working with Little Milton, B.B. King, Lowell Fulson, Johnny Copeland and T-Bone Walker. He eventually settled down in Seattle where he married Marsha Hendrix, Jimi's stepsister, and became a strong influence on the young guitarist. Hendrix confessed that in 1961 and 1962 he would go AWOL from his Army base to catch Shorty's performances. “I'd see Jimi at the clubs," Shorty recalls, “He'd stay in the shadows, watching me. I can hear my licks in 'Purple Haze' and 'Hey Joe.' He told me the reason he started setting his guitar on fire was because he couldn't do the back flips like I did."

Shorty migrated to Los Angeles in 1971, working as a mechanic during the day while playing gigs at night. By 1975 he was playing full-time again - although he still had his share of career tribulations, including a performance (albeit a winning one) on The Gong Show in 1978, playing guitar while standing on his head. After overcoming a serious 1984 auto accident, he recorded an EP and a few more singles, showcasing his fat-toned guitar licks and rough-edged vocals.

He finally cut his debut album for the JSP label in 1990 while on tour in England. Released in 1991, My Way or the Highway won the W.C. Handy Award for Contemporary Foreign Blues Album Of The Year and revitalized Shorty's career in the U.S. The New Orleans-based Black Top label signed him and released three albums during the 1990s and Evidence issued a CD in 2001. All received massive critical acclaim as Shorty barnstormed his way across the U.S. and around the world, with stops in Europe, China and Malaysia. Appearances at major festivals brought him to larger and larger audiences. At the 1998 Chicago Blues Festival, Shorty opened for his old boss, Ray Charles, and thrilled an audience of thousands with his jaw-dropping stage show.

With the release of Watch Your Back, Guitar Shorty's long rise to blues stardom continues unabated. The outpouring of soulful emotion, the power of his playing and the strength of the material all add up to the toughest album of Shorty's renowned career. According to the man himself, “this is the record I've always wanted to do. The songs and the arrangements are what's been in my head my whole life.” Now he's rocking harder, singing stronger and playing with a passion and dedication almost unmatched in today's music scene.

“Take a buttery voice laid over two-fisted barrelhouse piano playing and apply it to boogie, blues, rock and soul and it's a killer combination that leaves your toes tapping.”
- Associated Press

Pianist / vocalist / songwriter Marcia Ball will celebrate the release of her first-ever live CD, Live! Down the Road, with a performance in Philadelphia. Ball won two 2004 W.C. Handy Blues Awards for “Contemporary Blues Album of the Year” for the Grammy-nominated CD, So Many Rivers, as well as the award for “Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year.” And she recently picked up another W.C. Handy Blues Award in 2005 for “Best Instrumentalist – Keyboards.” Over the course of her career, Ball's infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional songs have won her a loud and loyal fan base all over the world.

For more than 30 years, Ball has been delivering her signature brand of Texas blues, Louisiana R&B and Gulf Coast swamp pop to audiences all over the world. She has earned a huge and intensely loyal following through critically acclaimed albums and continued non-stop touring. Live, she's simply unbeatable.

Previously, the only way for Marcia Ball's fans to hear one of her stellar live performances was to see her in person. But now that all changes, as Ball rewards her fans with her first-ever full-length live album, Live! Down the Road, a blistering set recorded at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in 2004. The CD mixes songs from throughout her career, including longtime fan favorites like “La Ti Da" and “Crawfishin'" as well as newer material like “Louella." Ball gives each song the workout of a lifetime, reinventing and reinvigorating every track with the immediacy and fire only a live show can deliver.

Born in Orange, Texas, in 1949 to a family whose female members all played piano, Ball grew up in the small town of Vinton, Louisiana, right across the border from Texas. She began taking piano lessons at age five, playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother's collection. From her aunt, Marcia heard more modern and popular music. But it wasn't until she was 13 that Marcia discovered the blues, as she sat amazed while Irma Thomas delivered the most soulful and spirited performance the young teenager had ever seen. According to Ball, “She just blew me away; she caught me totally unaware. Once I started my own band, the first stuff I was doing was Irma's.” In 1966, she attended Louisiana State University, where she played some of her very first gigs with a blues-based rock band called Gum.

In 1970 Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, Texas, and while waiting for repairs, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. It wasn't long before Ball was performing in the city's clubs with a progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs, while beginning to hone her songwriting skills. It was around this time that Ball delved deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano players, especially Professor Longhair. “Once I found out about Professor Longhair,” recalls Ball, “I knew I had found my direction.”

When the band broke up in 1974, Ball launched her solo career, signing to Capitol Records and debuting with the country album Circuit Queen in 1978. She released six critically acclaimed albums on the Rounder label during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1990, Ball - collaborating with Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton - recorded the hugely successful Dreams Come True on the Antone's label. At the end of 1997, Marcia finished work on a similar “three divas of the blues” project for Rounder, this time in the distinguished company of Tracy Nelson and Ball's longtime inspiration, Irma Thomas. The album, Sing It!, was released in January, 1998 and was nominated for both a Grammy® and a W.C. Handy Blues Award as Best Contemporary Blues Album. Ball also received the 1998 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year and for Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards. In 1999, Marcia and her band appeared in the nationally televised Public Television special In Performance At The White House along with B.B. King and Della Reese. Her albums and performances received glowing reviews in major music publications, and Marcia was featured on leading radio and television programs, including Austin City Limits and National Public Radio's Fresh Air and Piano Jazz.

Since the release of her Alligator debut Presumed Innocent, Ball has received more popular and critical acclaim than ever before. So Many Rivers, her 2003 follow-up, continued the trend. Billboard declared, “Ball is a consummate pro – a killer pianist, a great singer and songwriter. Powerful. Righteous. So Many Rivers is the best album Ball has ever tracked.”

Feature stories ran in magazines across the country, including USA Today, Keyboard, DownBeat, Billboard, US News & World Report and in newpapers from coast to coast. Ball performed on National Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion, World Cafe and Whad'Ya Know?, Public Radio International's Studio 360, the nationally syndicated Mitch Albom Show, and the PBS-televised version of Mountain Stage. Ball was featured on CNN in 2002, and in February, 2003, she joined her friends The Hackberry Ramblers on NBC television's Today Show. She was featured on the cover of The Austin Chronicle as well as Blues Revue magazine and even appeared in Piano Blues, the film directed by Clint Eastwood included in Martin Scorsese's The Blues series which aired on PBS television nationwide.

Now, with Live! Down the Road and a long list of high profile tour dates, Marcia Ball is poised for even more acclaim. Blues Revue declares, “Marcia Ball has an uncanny ability to synthesize all the sounds of the Texas-Louisiana border and deliver them with an honesty that makes it all seem natural and logical. She has this amazing power to light up a room.” With Live! Down the Road, Ball's singing, songwriting and piano playing, along with her foot-stomping, road-tested band, will move souls and feet together, creating a romping, stomping roadhouse full of heartfelt passion and fervent music for anyone within earshot.

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