Tue. Sept. 9: CHRIS ISAAK -7:30pm- $89.50
It has now been more than a decade since Gaelic Storm’s career lifted off with their appearance in the blockbuster film Titanic. Since their big-screen debut 10 years ago, the band’s fan base continues to multiply with each new album, turning the one-time-pub-band into one of the premier touring acts in the Celtic/World music genre. Gaelic Storm’s compelling originals and fresh arrangements steeped in Celtic traditional melody combined with their unique blend of world rhythms continue to broaden the musical horizons of the Celtic music genre creating new standards for generations to come. Highlights from their decade-spanning career include seven Billboard Chart topping albums, a DVD, a full-length concert film featured on HD.net in 2007-2008, song placement on two EA Sports Games, a 2008 Hallmark greeting card featuring their song “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, countless television and radio appearances, and of course, an appearance in James Cameron’s Titanic. Gaelic Storm has sold out hundreds of theatres and performing arts centers and has now played to audiences totaling in the millions.
Gaelic Storm released their 7th album What’s the Rumpus? (Lost Again Records) in July 2008 with a stellar debut at #1 on the Billboard World Album Chart, #1 on the iTunes World Album Chart and #5 on the Billboard Internet Album Chart. Inspired by the music that drives their loyal fan base, What’s the Rumpus? is a wild party of an album, full of colorful characters and outrageous stories, flavored with Gaelic Storm’s signature acoustic sound that gets you dancing and never lets you go. “I think this is some of the best writing we have ever done, everything seemed to come together perfectly for this cd,” says Steve Twigger, “…it is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and a barrel of good times.” From the upbeat opening title track to the final cut, “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe” (a true story involving singer Patrick Murphy), the music captures the contagious energy of the band’s carefree attitude and infectious live performances. With instruments ranging from African drums, Irish bagpipes and Celtic fiddle to trombones and Cajun-style accordions, WTR is a three-ring circus of acrobatic songs, swirling tunes and galloping rhythms. Steve Twigger produced the project with co-production by drummer Ryan Lacey and Pat Manske, and additional production by Patrick Murphy. Returning to The Zone studio in Austin TX where the band recorded their previous release Bring Yer Wellies, Gaelic Storm also enlisted the help of a few select Austin locals including Lloyd Maines and 1960’s psychedelic performer, Arthur Brown, to round out their eclectic Celtic sound. To quote Patrick Murphy, “We have so much fun together as a band, we managed to capture some of the good times we have together on this recording.”
Consistently touring over 125 dates per year, Gaelic Storm routinely breaks attendance and merchandise sales records, headlining the world’s largest Celtic festivals as well as mainstream events such as The Rock Boat, Ships N Dips and the Cayamo Songwriter’s Cruise alongside acts such as Gavin DeGraw, The Barenaked Ladies, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett. Remarkably, the band has headlined the world’s largest Irish Festival, Milwaukee Irish Fest, for 6 straight years, playing to crowds of 15,000 per performance and breaking the festival’s policy of not inviting artists to perform in consecutive years. In June 2008, Gaelic Storm expanded their touring to include Australia, kicking off their tour at the National Celtic Festival outside Melbourne.
Since their eponymous first album reached #5 on Billboard's World Music Chart in 1998, Gaelic Storm continues to consistently climb to the top of the Billboard Charts. The band’s 2006 release Bring Yer Wellies (Lost Again Records) debuted at #2 on the Billboard World Chart, #16 on the Internet Sales Chart and #31 on the Independent Album Chart. Their previous five albums have all charted high on the Billboard World Music Chart, including reaching the #2 position on additional occasions.
Gaelic Storm recorded a very special version of "Scalliwag", an original song off Bring Yer Wellies, for two EA Games Sims video games. All the words were translated into "Simlish" (the official language of the Sims video game world) and then re-sung in "Simlish" by the band. The song appears in both "EA Sports - The Sims2 Castaway" and "EA Sports - The Sims2 Bon Voyage" video games.
In 2008, Hallmark released a special “soundcard” greeting card for St. Patrick’s Day featuring the master recording of the original Gaelic Storm song “Kiss Me I’m Irish” from their album Bring Yer Wellies. The greeting card was released throughout the US and the UK.
On St. Patrick's Day, 1996, Patrick Murphy of Cork City, Ireland (vocals, piano, accordion, spoons, harmonica) officially joined forces with Steve Twigger of Coventry, England (vocals, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki), at O'Brien's pub in Santa Monica, California. In 1997, Gaelic Storm was catapulted out of their formative pub haunts by an appearance in the blockbuster film Titanic. Cast as the "party band" in the steerage scene, they landed the part while still drinking pints and playing weekly at O'Brien's. In 2003, Ryan Lacey (drums and world percussion) became a member of Gaelic Storm. From Pasadena CA, Lacey graduated twice from the Los Angeles Music Academy; once for hands and once for sticks. Pete Purvis of Merrickville, Ontario (uilleann pipes, tin whistle, deger pipes and highland pipes) joined the group in 2004. A Grade 1 piper, Purvis previously toured with award winning pipe bands including the Braemar Pipe Band and performed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The newest member of the band, Jessie Burns (fiddle), originally hails from Suffolk England and now lives in Colorado. Prior to Gaelic Storm, Jessie played with Gregory Alan Isakov and The Freight, as well as David Ford in England.
GAELIC STORM WHAT’S THE RUMPUS? Available at all music outlets.
In the course of Chris Isaak's career, he has released nine extraordinary albums, twelve singles, been nominated for two Grammy awards, acted in several motion pictures and starred in his own critically acclaimed TV series. His legendary shows with his longtime band Silvertone have entertained tens of thousands of people for over two decades. Even his hair has its own fan club. And yet, this highly praised herald platinum-selling artist has never released a greatest hits album.
Hard to believe, no? Well, unlike some artists who roll out a greatest hits package after, say, their second album, Isaak waited until he actually had enough hits to legitimately describe the collection as such.
"Shouldn't a greatest hits collection after two records be called 'Greatest Hit'?" Isaak asks. "I guess I've just always been too busy making records. Plus, it takes a while before you really want to compile everything. But after going through all the songs to make the Best Of, I feel like we have good stuff."
Good stuff. That's typical Isaak self-deprecation- it's much more than good stuff. Best Of Chris Isaak-the CD and accompanying DVD, which features 18 video clips by such esteemed directors as Gus Van Sant, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Mary Lambert and Jean-Baptiste Mondino-take listeners on a gratifying musical journey through the Stockton, Calif., native's two-decade career, showcasing his stellar songwriting; smooth, dusky baritone (and tender falsetto that will alert your dog); and effortless brand of stylish retro-cool.
The album displays Isaak's many different musical personas: the rockabilly rebel ("Dancin'," "Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing," "Speak Of The Devil"), the brokenhearted crooner ("Wicked Game," "Somebody's Crying"), and the breezy acoustic storyteller ("San Francisco Days," "Two Hearts"). It includes two brand new songs, the elegant "King Without A Castle" and the break-up exhortation "Let's Have A Party," as well as two covers: Cheap Trick's power-pop anthem "I Want You To Want Me," a live favorite previously unavailable on any of his CDs ("It's kind of fun to do something a little different for me," Isaak says), an inspired version of his hero Roy Orbison's classic lovelorn ballad "Only The Lonely," and a stirring never before heard acoustic version of "Forever Blue."
"What a sweet guy Roy was," Isaak says. "We opened for him one time and after the show I said to him, 'I don't know if I write hits or not,' and he said, 'You write hits, you just don't know it.' It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time to keep me going for another year."
That was before noted director David Lynch used "Wicked Game," a spare, moody ballad from Isaak's third album, Heart-Shaped World, in the film Wild At Heart. The song went Top Ten in 1991, and the video, a steamy Herb Ritts-directed clip featuring the singer rolling around on the beach with a topless Helena Christensen, made Isaak a star. "'Wicked Game' really put us out there," he says. "We were on the road at the time, and got to ditch our van and get into a bus. For the first time in years, we got some sleep!"
Another significant hit included on Best Of is the south-of-the-border-flavored ballad "Somebody's Crying" from 1995's Forever Blue (both the single and album were nominated for Grammy awards in 1996). "I wrote that song in a closet," Isaak says. "I had just broken up with someone and hadn't been out of the house much. A friend of mine was having a party and as soon as I arrived I realized I didn't want to be there. The house had this big walk-in closet in the hallway, so I went in, shut the door, and sat down underneath the coats. There was a guitar leaning against the wall in the back. I started tuning it up and wrote 'Somebody's Crying.'"
Then there's the swaggering, bluesy rocker "Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing" (also from Forever Blue), which can be heard in Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The director asked Kidman what music she wanted to rehearse the movie's striptease scene to. "Nicole had been listening to the track and brought it in to run through for her rehearsal," Isaak recalls. "Stanley said, 'I love it,' and put it in the film. I owe Nicole Kidman a full body massage."
So what were Isaak's criteria for a song's inclusion on the album? "I wanted it to be a record that people want to listen to over and over," Isaak says. "I tried to pick songs that people request most when we play live, and then make sure it was balanced between slow and fast tunes."
While reviewing tracks, some going back to the mid-'80s, Isaak says what struck him most was how lucky he has been to have the people he works with around him, such as producer Erik Jacobsen ("who taught me everything I know about making records, but not everything he knows"), longtime engineer Mark Needham, and his Silvertone bandmates, drummer Kenney Dale Johnson, bassist Rowland Salley, and guitarist Hershel Yatovitz, who have been with Isaak for years. "People see my picture on the album covers and think, 'Chris goes into a room and he makes an album.' But I go into a room and make it with these guys, who've been supportive, and have good ideas and good energy."
And to what does he attribute the longevity of his career? "You know, I've never tried to jump on a trend, and I've never had to jump off of one," he says. "I try to do what feels right for each song. So I never have to go, 'Well, no more disco for me.'"