Grant-Lee Phillips

Wednesday
08
Jun

Introspective Roots & Folk

Why you should see this show…

Enjoy an acoustic evening from acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter and ultimate storyteller, Grant-Lee Phillips. Phillips’ empathetic voice and rich acoustic guitar will have you instantly charmed as he performs his folk, alternative, pop and Americana songs.
 

 

Grant-Lee Phillips Bio
When you’re a musician used to a certain creative groove, it’s disorienting to have this rhythm disrupted. But that was just the position Grant-Lee Phillips found himself in spring 2020: Months before the release of a new full-length, Lightning, Show Us Your Stuff — an album he was already previewing on an early 2020 tour with John Doe and Kristin Hersh — the pandemic led to the cancellation of tour dates and other promotional plans.

Like many musicians, Phillips sought out silver linings wherever he could find them. He started performing weekly at-home livestreams, dubbed Live from the Parlor, and promoted Lightning, Show Us Your Stuff from his house in Nashville. But in early 2021, when Phillips realized any potential touring options were still on hold for the foreseeable future, he started to write and record a new solo album at home. “I found respite in the process when I could do little else,” he says. “It became a sort of meditation on this time in my life and the events that we’ve collectively experienced.”

The resulting full-length, All That You Can Dream, is understandably introspective, as it’s anchored by Phillips’ empathetic voice and rich acoustic guitar. The album’s lyrics attempt to make sense of an uncertain, anxiety-riddled time, while coming to terms with the idea that once-unshakeable things now seem fragile or fallible. “In terms of subject matter, I found that the circumstances of being off the road, and left to reflect on what this time feels like, produced a different kind of song,” Phillips says. “I wasn’t entirely certain—and to be honest, I’m still not altogether certain—when I get to take these songs on the road. In some ways, that freed me up to write and record the kind of song that was personal and executed as though it were for an audience of myself alone. That’s freeing.”

Nevertheless, writing at home was admittedly an adjustment for Phillips, who was used to the solitude of songwriting while on the road. However, he still found inspiration in movement — he and his family took daily drives in the serene Tennessee countryside, marveling at turkey vultures and haphazard hay rolls — even as his songwriting turned toward global current events. “By and large, most of what you hear is me reacting to everything that we’ve gone through in this year, alone,” Phillips says. “The attack on the Capitol, making our way through this pandemic, and everything else.”

By coincidence, he found that some of the older songs he was working up for the album had similar thematic immediacy. The string-buoyed “A Sudden Place,” written in 2019 following the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral, speaks to how quickly unshakeable monuments can crumble. The solemn, piano-driven “My Eyes Have Seen,” meanwhile, references the inhumane ways immigrants and asylum-seekers were treated at the southern border during the Trump administration, a troubling development that’s still not rectified.

“The only way that I know how to write is filtering whatever’s coming in from the outside from the social stimulus, and the direct personal stimulation of family and whatever’s going on internally,” Phillips says. “All of that gets thrown into the blender. We bring our work home with us and we bring our politics home with us—even if we never get the opportunity to leave home.”

All That You Can Dream is also rife with Phillips’ signature songwriting flourish: using rich historical references to illuminate modern truths. “I’m always juxtaposing the events that we’re all going through with similar events in history—sometimes laying one over the other to draw a comparison, to find parallels, to seek out patterns,” Phillips says. As an example, he cites the “Rats in a Barrel,” an unsparing condemnation of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Building with a specific nod to historical turmoil (“Old Lincoln saw it all go down/Almost looked like the first time ‘round”).

The album-closing “All by Heart” also cautions against historical complacency: “In our memories / We seek to find some meaning in the past / But do not think, for once / That grief is buried in the grass.” And the title track speaks to the idea that, as time has shown us, not everyone benefits from progress and forward motion. “All of us are engaged in a collective dream,” Phillips says. “In this dream, we have a choice between a world that’s hospitable or one that’s brutal. We face a struggle between the visionary and the cynical. In this way, there’s a dual meaning in ‘All That You Can Dream’—the possibility of betterment or the inevitably of collapse.”

In a nod to this lyrical elegance, All That You Can Dream‘s music is ornate but spare. Phillips wrote and arranged the album’s songs on guitar or piano, adding a basic rhythmic and vocal framework. To flesh out the music’s contours, he then enlisted a pair of trusted previous collaborators, the Los Angeles-based bassist Jennifer Condos and drummer Jay Bellerose. “They were going stir-crazy themselves and welcomed the idea of a long-distance recording project,” Phillips says. Bellerose set up drums in his living room, Condos served as engineer, and the duo laid down rhythm tracks to songs Phillips had sent over, as if the three musicians were all in the same room.

“I know that I have to bring my A-game when I work with them,” Phillips says. “That’s a personal thing where I feel like I don’t want to bring them my sketches—I want to bring them something that I feel really strongly about. I know they’ll be very respectful, and they’ll inspire me as well.”

Indeed, these songs inspired Phillips to layer on additional textures himself—for example, mellotron or pump organ—or enlist outside musicians to add keyboards, pedal steel or cello. “This more gradual kind of production allowed me to ruminate on the songs, to arrange parts for strings or keys,” he says. “While working at home imposed some restrictions, it pushed me to take the wheel as an engineer, mixer and producer. Consequently, so many nuances remain in the final mix, all the weird stuff that sometimes gets lost in the polishing stages of production.”

Audiences first discovered Phillips’ thoughtful, literate songwriting in context of the rock band Grant Lee Buffalo, a trio which found success with the 1993 debut Fuzzy. The title track catapulted the group to international recognition. Grant Lee Buffalo followed up Fuzzy with 1994’s Mighty Joe Moon (an album featuring the modern rock hit “Mockingbirds”) and two more well-received full-lengths, 1996’s Copperopolis and 1998’s Jubilee. Beginning with his 2000 solo debut Ladies’ Love Oracle, Phillips opened another chapter in his career, as a folk- and Americana-focused artist crafting songs and stories rich with details and humanity.

During the pandemic lockdown, he also started diving into another creative endeavor: painting. One example of his artwork, as seen on the All That You Can Dream‘s cover, depicts a well-loved pair of headphones spray-painted silver. Phillips has kept the pair for nearly 30 years; in fact, he wore them in photographs included in Mighty Joe Moon‘s booklet. To Phillips, the artwork signifies not just All That You Can Dream‘s interior vibe, but his own meditative past few years.

“My wife said the album is very dreamlike, and feels very internal and personal,” he says. “It’s the kind of record where when we were growing up, we probably would have enjoyed listening to it on headphones, going within ourselves. In some ways, maybe I was taking inventory of the arc of my work up to this point. There’s more to come, but I was taking a moment to reflect back on that person who I was.”

Maintaining this sturdy through-line between the past and present gives Phillips’ music emotional heft. All That You Can Dream is no exception. “I’m driven by the potential of making a connection,” he says. “Finding that place where the listener is able to engage by way of their own experience and what I’m bringing to the table. We’ve experienced some staggering events over the last year or so. When people speak of those things, it’s not enough to simply highlight or underline the headlines of the day. The aim is to tap into the feelings that we share that are trapped beneath our skin—and figure out how we expel those feelings by talking about them.”

 

 

Jarrod Dickenson Bio
Storytelling is something of a Texas tradition. Tall hats and even taller tales are woven into the fabric of The Lone Star State, and singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson can spin a yarn with the best of them. Hailing from Waco, now based in Nashville via Brooklyn, Dickenson spends most of his time on the road bringing his own particular brand of soulful Americana to a wide variety of music loving audiences around the globe.

Growing up in Central Texas, Dickenson began playing music relatively late, only picking up a guitar for the first time at the age of 18, but music had always been a constant presence in his upbringing.

“As a kid and especially into my teenage years I was always sifting through my dad’s old record collection,” he recalls. “I’d spend hours listening to people like The Beatles, The Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and Tom Petty. I think it’s safe to say that my love for and early education in music comes from my father. My creative side, however, definitely comes from my mom. She’s always been a very artistic and creative person. As a kid she taught me to draw, and throughout the years she’s been an amateur painter and is now a phenomenal quilter. I have no doubt that she could have made a career as an artist if she’d chosen to go down that path.”

At 20, Dickenson left Waco and moved south to Austin to finish college at the University of Texas. It was there that he began to cut his teeth as a budding musician and songwriter in the Austin music scene. He played virtually every coffee shop, club and bar in Austin for the next four years, during which time he recorded his first album, Ashes On The Ground. Shortly after the release of his first record he decided to give up his apartment in Austin, as well as the financial security of his day job, and hit the road; a decision that would prove to be quite literally life-changing.

“In early 2010 I decided I needed to leave my comfort zone. I loved Austin, but I wasn’t satisfied with simply playing the same gigs week in and week out. I wanted a change. I wanted to be on the road. So, I booked myself something like 26 gigs in 31 days all along the west coast. Now, I’d never even been to California at that point, so I had no logical reason to believe that anyone would actually attend these shows,” Jarrod remembers “but I was young and naive and ready to take on the world. That tour, in a financial sense, was a massive failure! Most of the shows I played were to the sound guy, the bartender and the door person, and every now and then, the odd person who just happened to walk in that night. I drove myself over 4,000 miles, lost a ton of money, and only gained a handful of fans in the process. Any sane person would have thrown up their hands, moved back home and gotten a straight job, but I had the time of my life! While that tour wasn’t a success in the traditional sense, it showed me that I loved being on the road. I loved traveling. I loved singing my songs in different places to anyone who would listen. I learned a lot of lessons about how not to do things on that tour, but I also realized in that moment that there wasn’t a single thing in this world I’d rather be doing.” Since that time, Dickenson has shown no signs of slowing down. In the last ten years he’s played hundreds upon hundreds of shows in over 15 countries.

Jarrod’s musical journey has also led to multiple cross-country moves over the last decade. He first moved from Austin to Nashville, TN, and then had a brief stint in Los Angeles, where he recorded his critically acclaimed second album, The Lonesome Traveler, with producer-engineer Ryan Freeland. That album opened the door for Jarrod to begin touring in Europe; a step that would not only play a significant role in the evolution of his career, but it would also forever change the course of his personal life.

By early 2012 Dickenson had once again packed his belongings into his car, pointed northeast and moved his life to Brooklyn, NY. It was also around this time that Jarrod found himself performing at a songwriter’s festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where thanks to a chance meeting, Jarrod met his future wife, Claire Dickenson (then Claire Ward). After just a few days spent together, the two immediately embarked upon what would be a three and a half year long-distance relationship between New York and Belfast, and have now been married for nearly five years. After about a year of dating, Jarrod was sitting in his 250 square foot studio apartment in Brooklyn playing guitar and working on a new song while Claire was in town for a short visit, when out of nowhere, Claire started quietly singing a harmony to what he was working on. “I couldn’t believe it,” Jarrod recalls “I’d never really heard Claire sing up to that point, and I was completely blown away. I stopped mid song, and asked her why she’d been keeping that voice a secret!” Though it took some coaxing, Jarrod gradually convinced her to join him on stage at his gigs. Claire is now an integral part of the show, and the two tour the world together as a Texan-Irish husband-wife team. Their duet, Your Heart Belongs To Me, has become a fan favorite, and has been used as a first dance song for several of Dickenson’s fans at their weddings.

Over the last 8 years, Jarrod has continued to tour the UK and Europe relentlessly, building a formidable and fiercely loyal fan base in the process. Breakout performances at Glastonbury, Black Deer and Cambridge Folk Festival, along with recent tours supporting legendary artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Don McLean, and The Waterboys as well as his own headline tours have seen Dickenson’s audience grow exponentially. In the autumn of 2019 Dickenson embarked upon his biggest headline tour to date, resulting in a 13-date fully sold out tour across the UK.

Jarrod’s new album, Ready The Horses, which received a major label release in the UK is another step forward for the artist. Where The Lonesome Traveler was rich with folksy storytelling and largely acoustic instrumentation, Ready The Horses dives head-first into the whiskey-soaked worlds of soul and junkyard blues, while retaining Dickenson’s knack for telling a captivating story. It’s louder and electrified with an intensity that can’t be denied. Recorded live straight to 2” tape in a studio on the southeast coast of England, Ready The Horses is filled with punchy horns and big Hammond organ swells, infectious melodies and most importantly, incredibly well-crafted songs. The album has a sense of urgency and potency that grips the listener from the get-go, straps them in and takes them on a journey.

Hot off the heels of his critically acclaimed album, Ready The Horses, released worldwide in May 2020, Dickenson is back with a tip of the hat to his home state of Texas with Under A Texas Sky. The five-song EP celebrates the music and musicians of The Lone Star State, and shows its rich and diverse musical heritage. Dickenson endeavored to reimagine songs from Texas-born artists such as Roy Orbison, Esther Phillips, Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm and Guy Clark to offer a bold, earthy and honest collection of Texas tunes.

 

Dining Option

Our Concert Hall menu is fast to the table and allows you to dine right in your ticketed seat. Tableside food service will start 2 hours before showtime and the kitchen will close approximately halfway through the show. Tableside beverage service will continue throughout the concert.

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