ZZ Ward – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – September 28th, 2013

ZZ Ward

Early Show

ZZ Ward

The Wild Feathers, James Bay

Sat 9/28/13

5:30 pm

$18

Sold Out

ZZ Ward - (Set time: 7:45 PM)
ZZ Ward
By all accounts, 2012 was a banner year for up-and-coming blues-hop/soul singer ZZ Ward. Releasing the mixtape Eleven Roses in January, the Criminal EP in May and her full-length debut Til the Casket Drops in October, the reaction to ZZ’s unique blend of swampy blues and hip hop beats was palpable from both critics and fans alike. ZZ has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, Last Call with Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel Live. She’s also had her music featured on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, MTV's Awkward and in promos for ABC's hit series Nashville. On the touring front, ZZ and completed a 50-date headlining American tour with sold-out dates in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Denver and Nashville. Ward is still in awe of the buzz that has continued to build around her and her music this past year.

“That was the first year I played in cities I'd never been to, and yet I had fans there,” says Ward. “They came to the shows, knew the lyrics, and had already connected with the songs. It was fun, but surreal.”

Ward, whom NPR recently declared “is going to be a star,” and whose vocal prowess Rolling Stone has praised as being “chill-inducing,” has been gradually working her way into the music scene since she began performing for her father’s blues band at age 13. Growing up in rural Oregon, her love of hip-hop and rap eventually took her to the nearby college town of Eugene, where she sang choruses at underground hip-hop clubs for local rappers. Despite these experiences though, she struggled to reconcile her love of blues, hip-hop, soul and rock on a professional level.

“It took me a while to embrace the sort of music I wanted to make and accept that making it for myself was enough,” Ward says. “I just wanted to write songs that I loved, so that's what I did on this record.”

Ward's honey-smoked vocals and soulful lyrics ensnare you from the opening moments of the stomping title track and hold you in their hypnotic sway clear through the final notes of the cool, R&B-flavored “365 Days.” The album features thirteen tracks ranging from heartfelt ballads (“Last Love Song”) to groovy up-tempo numbers (“Move Like U Stole It”), and includes guest appearances by rising hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar and rapper Freddie Gibbs. Bluesy ditties like “Lil Darlin” sound like something you might hear in a dive bar, and the funky hip-hop track “Charlie Ain't Home,” acts as an imaginative reply to Etta James’s “Waiting on Charlie.” The maverick sensibilities which appear throughout this show-stopping record have also earned Ward’s music a nickname—Dirty Shine—which she happily embraces.

“What dirty shine means to me, personally, was the moment I stopped thinking about what people were gonna think about my music, and I just accepted who I was and what my sound was,” Ward says. “It’s about embracing your authentic self, doing what makes you happy and committing to it. That’s the message people have been getting from that phrase, so it’s inspiring.”

2013 is promising to be even busier for Ward. She’s already appeared on Conan, Last Call with Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel Live, is headlining her second U.S. tour and will be making the summer festival rounds including Sasquatch, Firefly, Wakarusa, Summerfest, Bumbershoot, Life Is Beautiful and Voodoo Music Fest. If you thought 2012 was a great year for Ward, 2013 is going to prove the best is yet to come.
The Wild Feathers - (Set time: 6:45 PM)
The Wild Feathers


Long before it got broken up into a million sub-genres, rock & roll was just rock & roll. Pure, true, organic. Six strings, booming harmonies and the call of the open road. It’s a singularly American tradition that Nashville’s The Wild Feathers are full-force dedicated to not only preserving but also – more importantly - evolving. Their sound melds the five unique voices of Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly, and Ben Dumas, taking inspiration from across the musical spectrum – country, blues, folk and rock – and spinning it into a roaring web of warm, cosmic melodies with vintage roots and modern tones. The Wild Feathers are a rock band that feels impossibly fresh with the air of having been here all along.
Ricky, Joel, Taylor and Preston were all lead singers before they came together as The Wild Feathers, fronting their own bands and writing songs with their own distinct sounds. All hailing from Texas with the exception of Joel (Oklahoma), each member grew up with a deep sense of southern musical traditions, while at the same time being raised on records like Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Tom Petty. As kids, their moms played them the Rolling Stones instead of lullabies, literally and figuratively rocking them to sleep.
Eventually Ricky and Joel both migrated to Nashville, where they connected in 2010. Occasionally, they’d get together to write music and play: Stones songs, riffs they’d written, ideas here and there. “Ricky and I wanted to do something with a bunch of singers, not just one lead,” Joel says. Their vision was of a group where each member is as indispensible as the next; a solid set of four, not just a front man backed by session players. Of course, finding the proper matches for something like this is no easy task. With strong voices can come stronger egos – just the thing to rip a fledgling band apart. Somehow, The Wild Feathers found their missing pieces, leading them to become what Joel calls a “four-headed monster,” not four separate monsters, butting heads.
Mutual friends suggested a man by the name of Taylor Burns with a strong electric-guitar rip and bluesy growl. He seemed the perfect thing to complement Ricky’s smooth, folk tone and Joel’s rock & roll bellow. Next came Preston Wimberly, who rounded out the loose, bright harmonies and added an occasional country twang through some masterful pedal steel. The four gathered to play music in Austin, and it clicked nearly instantly. Instead of a battle of wills, it was effortless. The Wild Feathers was born that day. “It was a match made in heaven,” says Joel. “Or hell,” he adds with a smirk.
“I wanted to do something greater than I could on my own,” Ricky says, but every member of the band could easily echo the same sentiment. “To create something bigger than any one of us individually, and write great songs that last the test of time.” While some of their influences come from deep in the 60’s and 70’s, they’re still thoroughly modern, fusing and evolving their pedal steel and Laurel Canyon harmonies rather than regurgitating and repackaging what’s already in existence. So it’s no surprise that they’re more likely to simply call themselves American than Americana. “We like folk music, but we’re going to have a distortion pedal on when we do it,” laughs Preston.
For their 2013 debut, The Wild Feathers, the band enlisted Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, the Wallflowers, Emmylou Harris) as producer, who encouraged the band to tap into their innate sense of harmony and true rock & roll sound. Their days in his Nashville studio were full and tiring (“like we’d been waterskiing and drinking beer in the sun all day,” says Ricky, “but so inspiring”), recording most tracks live, one at a time. “It was kind of like the old days with Elvis at RCA,” says Joel, “recording one song per day, really living in each one.”
The resulting record is a display of four unique talents effortlessly unified: bluesy, hard rock tunes like “Backwoods Company” live effortlessly next to harmonic stunners like “Hard Wind” and slow, folky love songs like “Tall Boots.” “When Rick Danko (of The Band) would sing harmonies, it was like he was singing lead,” says Ricky. “That’s what we try to do.” And it shows. Songs like “Left My Woman,” allow Ricky, Joel and Taylor to sing a few solo bars each in the opening, before joining with Preston on the chorus. Visually, they are united, too – playing shows standing in a line straight across the stage, as one.
“We make songs that I could never write on my own,” says Ricky, “even if I worked from now until I die. But with these guys and what they bring, it’s easy.” Adds Taylor, “we’re making something better than we could have ever done by ourselves.” What they make is modern rock & roll, laced with nostalgia, built for the new millennium. What they are is The Wild Feathers.
James Bay - (Set time: 6:00 PM)
James Bay
James Bay is a 22 year-old artist who possesses that untarnished strain of talent that many newcomers lose as they develop over time. His raw expressions and graveled voice work in a magical unison that captivates audiences and strips pop melodies back to a skeletal efficiency. Bringing his own twist to the music of his heroes Carole King, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and James Taylor, James Bay is a young singer-songwriter hailing from the small town of Hitchin in the UK, who has already gained a great reputation thanks to stints at London's Blue Flowers club, supporting Laura Mvula, and the Communion monthly night at Notting Hill Arts Club. He recently opened for Rae Morris across the UK and is about to embark on his first dates across America in support of his debut EP (out in Summer 2013) and will be opening for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London in July.
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
http://930.com