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Music roundup for Sept. 4, 2014

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
September 4, 2014

Trampled by Turtles at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $28. Call 608-258-4141.

Trampled by Turtles are on a national tour in support of their album “Wild Animals,” released in July.

They come from Duluth, Minnesota, and have been at the forefront of contemporary bluegrass music since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2004.

“Wild Animals” is the band’s eighth album. The recording is full of heartfelt lyrics, indelible melodies, sharp picking and strumming, and the kinds of musical flourishes that distinguish the band from so many of its peers.

The sound on this album is airier and more atmospheric than on previous albums, and band members also seem to have honed their instrumental skills, creating lush waves of strings that complement the soaring vocals and harmonies.

The band is led by vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter Dave Simonett, who helped form Trampled by Turtles in the early 2000s. Its music is a great jumping-off point for people new to contemporary folk, incorporating hints of bluegrass, pop, garage rock and country.

Groundation at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $15. Call 608-255-0901.

Reggae music doesn’t get much better than this. Groundation, a nine-member band from Northern California, will take the stage at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday with positive vibrations and swirling, jazz/funk-inspired horns.

Harrison Stafford, Marcus Urani and Ryan Newman formed the band in 1998 at Sonoma State University, where Stafford taught the school’s first course on the history of reggae.

The group’s music is reggae based and includes strong elements of jazz, funk, blues, roots rock, African-based polyrhythms and soulful harmony vocals. The band has released 11 albums since its debut in 1999.

Groundation’s concerts feature lots of improvisation, high energy and a communion-type atmosphere. Having gained international fame for its progressive fusion style, Groundation regularly plays at major international festivals. This will be its first appearance in Madison.

Wishbone Ash at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $75. Call 414-286-3663.

People who came of age in the early 1970s likely will remember Wishbone Ash, the British hard-rock band that was one of the first to use dual lead guitars.

The band not only “invented” the harmony twin lead guitar format, but guitarists Andy Powell and Ted Turner were widely considered to be among rock music’s best guitarists.

The band was a big draw at such venues as the Dane County Coliseum, now the Alliant Energy Center.

Wishbone Ash formed in 1969. Turner left in 1974 and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. The band enjoyed strong critical and commercial success until 1980.

Its music includes elements of progressive rock with hints of folk and classical music. Band members had strong connections to such groups as King Crimson, Roxy Music and Uriah Heep.

Wishbone Ash has recorded 25 studio albums since its debut in 1970. Its highest charting album, “Argus,” was released in 1973 and peaked at No. 3 on the British album charts.

The band has recorded five albums since 2000, including “Blue Horizon” earlier this year. It’s considered something of a nostalgia act these days, although it still commands high ticket prices.

The Brothers Comatose at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $10-$12. Call 414-276-7288.

The Brothers Comatose are led by Ben and Alex Morrison on lead vocals, guitar and banjo. The brothers front a rocking string band that has become a West Coast headliner and national touring act over the last four years.

With stellar accompanists Phil Brezina on fiddle, Ryan Avellone on mandolin and bassist Ryan Lukas on high harmonies, the band’s energetic, engaging shows have caught fire with fans.

Band members draw from a deep knowledge of folk, rock, traditional and other genres. Stand-out original songs such as “The Scout” and “Pie For Breakfast” have become anthemic sing-alongs at shows, and beautiful ballads such as “Morning Time” have become hits on their current CD, “Respect The Van.”

The Brothers regularly sell out shows in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Earlier this year, they enjoyed considerable success on extended tours with Devil Makes Three and Yonder Mountain String Band, which led to their own tour this summer and fall.



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