Featuring TRAVIS MEADOWS, JANN BROWNE, CISCO & DEWEY and more than 15 other artists. Benefiting STREET LIFE PROJECT
FEBRUARY 27, 2015 7PM – 1:00 AM at SCHMIDY’S TAVERN, PALM DESERT
By Lisa Morgan
It’s a funny, yet sad truth, that few people can understand the fine line between “home” and “homeless” like those trying to carve out a living as musicians. Perhaps that is why this incredible lineup of troubadours, committed to the craft of creating new music of their own, are lining up to support a local (with hopes of going national) outreach that is loving people back to life from the streets. The outreach is the Street Life Project, and the event is the Nashville and SoCal Songwriter Showcase.
The event has its own theme song entitled, “What We Ain’t Got”. This song recently hit the airwaves through popular country artist, Jake Owen, and it is currently headed for country music’s top 10. Jake Owen has been very vocal about the origin of this song, and the man who bled it from his own personal story – Nashville songwriter, TRAVIS MEADOWS. Meadows has since been hailed, “Nashville’s Most Badass Songwriter” by Rolling Stone Magazine, heating things up for this songwriter and performer whose life story is as big as his song catalogue, a catalogue that has been cherry picked by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and Wynona Judd to list a few . Fortunately for us, he is making time to fly here from Nashville for this very special benefit.
STREET LIFE PROJECT
There are secret communities of homeless all across our low and high desert communities. They make their homes in our overpasses, where they sleep in catacomb-like insets below overhead traffic. They use broken pieces of furniture set in the dirt and hang pictures on the cement walls to make it feel like…well, less homeless. There are camps nestled in the Tamarisk trees, using broken brick and stone or tires to form an entry. There are broken people, some from heartache, some from addiction, but human, hurting and hungry just the same. And there is a lot of mental illness, women and men that have slipped through the cracks of our system.
There are individuals who know these people and their stories first hand, because they are part of a volunteer organization called Street Life Project. They do more than deliver food and toiletries. They talk to them, hear their stories, find out why they are there and if there is a desire to make a change. Tuesdays, they cover Indio and Coachella. They meet first at Miles Avenue Park, then behind Winchell’s Donuts, then under the overpasses, then outside of Martha’s Village, then to the tree lines by the freeway off of Highway 86. Thursday it’s Palm Springs starting at Sunrise Park. These bruised and breaking are evidence of how little distance there really between society and its forgotten. Life is a slippery slope, for some more than others, and the climb back out is much more difficult than the slip to the bottom.
Street Life Project, driven by Christian Jelmberg of Jelmberg Real Estate, is there consistently, meeting all the immediate needs they can, but never without offering a way out. David Tonelli is there every week. David knows the power of being loved back into life, because little over a year ago, it was his turn. After a year of being offered help to beat the clench of heroine that had dominated his life for decades, the people of Street Life Project were there when he was ready to change his life. Street Life Project was there when he finished his time in rehab. Street Life Project was there when he needed a suit and a resume to apply for a job. They were also there when he had to face jail time for past offenses left unattended. Now, having done the work and paid his dues, David is one of their numbers, there to offer the same hope and help he found. He has also been clean and sober for 17 months, and works a security detail at Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
While Street Life Project is experiencing major triumphs helping the homeless get off the streets in Indio and Palm Springs, there is a huge need to fill in Palm Desert as well. It is for this reason, a benefit concert has been organized. Just like compassion is the heart beat of Street Life Project, songwriting is the heart beat of the music industry. While celebrating both, we hope to get closer to meeting human needs by inspiring volunteers and building the financial resources required.
The artists helping to make this happen:
Headlining the event, is Travis Meadows, the songwriter Rolling Stone Magazine calls “Nashville’s Most Badass Songwriter.” He will be sharing decades of songwriting along with the songs we have very recently heard on the radio. Meadows describes himself as, “an orphan who turned into a preacher, a preacher who turned into a songwriter, a songwriter that turned into a drunk, and a drunk that is learning to be a human being.” His journey, bled through pen and guitar, has a way of inspiring the rest of us to be more “human”.
This is what Nashville is saying about him:
“Travis is such an amazing artist, singer and songwriter,” says Jake Owen, who recalls sitting in on a writing session with Meadows six years ago. “I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘Man, I can’t hang with this guy. He’s better than me at this point in my life. I need to practice really hard.’ We ended up becoming friends.” – Jake Owens, 2014
“I run into people every day in search of authenticity. They want to discover the real deal. Well, call off the search – I’ve found him. His name is Travis Meadows. I am proud to call him a friend and I’m in awe of his talent. Killin’ Uncle Buzzy is the most honest record I’ve ever heard. In one word, it is stellar! I can’t wait to hear what comes next!” – Eric Church, 2014
“When I first heard that song (“Riser”), I thought, ‘Wow’. It really hit me hard. Not only did we know we were going to record it, but we thought it’d be the cornerstone of the record,” says Bentley. “You hear a song like that and you have to meet the guy behind it. And Travis has been through a lot — he’s lived and breathed and died with that song. I feel honored to have it.” – Dierks Bentley, 2014
“NASHVILLE’S MOST BADASS SONGWRITER, TRAVIS MEADOWS… The artist who conquered cancer and addiction, and made friends with Eric Church and Jake Owen, has penned some of country’s most stinging songs…” – Joseph Hudak – ROLLING STONE, 2014
Country Music artist Jann Browne will be joining the line-up. Jann Browne was selected by The California Country Music Association as “Entertainer of the Year” two years in a row and was a nominee by the Academy of Country Music as “Female Vocalist of the Year”. Her first album “Tell Me Why” produced two top ten hits, along with a number one video on CMT.
Jann once toured as female lead singer with Grammy award winning band Asleep at the Wheel. She is a shining link in the Southern California Americana roots tradition. Emmylou Harris said: “There’s something about the way she sings that is so pure and honest, and her writing is wonderful.” Emmylou backed up her quote to the LA Times newspaper, by singing with Jann on her first CD. The song “Mexican Wind”, co-written by Jann, became a number one video in the U.S., and was recorded by a variety of international artists.
A Los Angeles Times pop critic named Jann’s 3rd album, “Count Me In” as one of his three favorite albums of the year (alongside Johnny Cash and Neil Young). Times critic Mike Boehm placed it first on his list calling it “Cohesive, sumptuously melodic, emotionally vivid, and insightful.”
Jann’s song “Trouble’s Here” was recorded by country singer Lee Ann Womack, and gave Browne and her co-writer/guitarist, Matthew Barnes, their first gold record. Other artists including Joy Lynn White, Dwight Yoakam and Texas singer Danni Leigh, have also recorded music penned by Jann.
Her album Buckin’ Around (Jann’s tribute to her friend Buck Owens), was chosen as one of the TOP 30 Albums of Decade by Paul W. Dennis, a “The 9513” contributing writer. (“The 9513” is the web’s premier country music blog, and a go-to resource for thousands of readers in search of the latest country music news and reviews.)
Jann has performed on the Grand Ol Opry, CMT, and many other TV and radio shows. She has been featured in “People” magazine and “USA Today”. The artists that Jann has toured and performed with is a virtual Who’s – Who of country music history – names such as Dolly, Willie, Vince Gill, the Judds, Emmylou, Trisha Yearwood and on and on. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear one of country music’s true and authentic voices!
CISCO & DEWEY (Acoustic Duo)
Tony “Cisco” Marsico was a member of the Los Angeles punk band, The Plugz, who would later morph into the Cruzados. The Cruzados released two albums on Arista records. Their bands wide open desert sound was a hybrid of Tex Mex and rock and roll that helped set the tone for the L.A . scene in the 80’s consisting of X, The Blasters, Los Lobos, Dwight Yoakum and more. Marsico would go on to record as a session bassist with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithful, Dr. John, Matthew Sweet among others.
It was on a session for songwriter Gerry Goffin where Marsico would first run into Darran “Dewey” Falcone who had been putting down some vocals and harmonica on the tracks. The two struck up a friendship and started writing songs together. Marsico got called on the road for the next ten years with Matthew Sweet and Dewey pulled up stakes in Los Angeles for a simpler life.
In April of 2014 Marsico and Dewey reunited. In May, the two talked about getting back together and writing songs, and by July, they began recording with producer Tom Lavin. The album is available at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/CiscoandDewey and is, of course, already garnering serious label attention.
Musicians on the album include Tony “Cisco” Marsico (Bob Dylan, Neil Young”), Darran “Dewey” Falcone (Gerry Goffin), Tony Gilkyson (X, Dave Alvin), Joel Alpers (Carole King), Greg Leisz (Eric Clapton, k.d. Lang), Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac, John Fogerty), Barry Goldberg (Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan), Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Steve Miller) and Gia Ciambotti (Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams).
This Nashville, singer/songwriter duo, Elizabeth Elkins and Vanessa Olivarez, were recently featured on CMT with their song, “Never On a Sunday”. Led by a modern-day Linda Ronstadt, Granville Automatic writes songs the Associated Press call “haunting tales of sorrow and perseverance.” Horses, history and war are just some of the topics songwriters Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins prefer – all fitting subjects for a band named after a 19th-century typewriter. With sonic references like Lyle Lovett, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson, Granville Automatic has created a quiet and lyrical sound devoted to telling stories from the past. These artists are accustomed to playing sold out crowds at the Bluebird in Nashville, and for good reason.
(Note: Vanessa Olivarez was a popular contestant on American Idol’s second season – she made it to the top 12)
There must have been something in the Southern California desert water when Rick Shelley, Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Garcia, Brant Bjork and others were growing up in music together in the early 80’s. Somehow, though gaining a huge local following and the production of some incredible records, the gods of “luck” didn’t meet up with Shelley’s band, Woodshed, like it did with Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss. But that does not mean that they were any less deserving. Though the band has dispersed, the calling of song crafting never left Shelley, and the world is better for it. This highly respected artist, musician and human being has crafted music that paints emotion through honest and humble themes, backs them each with seasoned guitar work and an authenticity that is totally deserving of bigger spotlights and forums.
Local musician, John Marek, gained world-wide attention, but none sweeter than when Dave Navarro re-tweeted his one man band, YouTube video saying, “This kid, John Marek, pretty much rules.” Navarro nailed it. The views of that video are just under 1 million, and the number is still rising. Marek continues to put creative genius not only into his song writing but into their production, making them radio ready gems. This prolific songwriter, skilled guitar player and unique vocalist is the whole package, one that stands above many who come through here to play our festivals.
OTHER STELLAR TALENT FROM OUR OWN DESERT
Other local songsmiths joining the line-up have been hand-picked for their genuine, committed love for their craft, as well as their incredible gifts. They include Wade Crawford (Nominated for Song of the Year LA Music Awards 2014), Greg Vincent, Larry Pedersen, Michael Pedersen and Lisa Morgan (4 Song writers for R Buckle Road, CVMA’s Country Band of the Year 2014), Michael Keeth (CVMA Male Vocalist of the Year), Josh Heinz (Blasting Echo, CVMA Nominee for Best Frontman and Best Rock Band), Derek Jordan Gregg (Hive Minds – CVMA Nominee for Best New Duo), Giselle Woo (CVMA Nominee Best Rock Band, Best Female Vocalist), Wayward Sirens, and more.
There will be a suggested donation at the door of $10. A signature Crater Lake/Lotus Elixir cocktail will be received with each donation. The event is open to all ages until 10pm. Schmidy’s Tavern is located at the corner of Fred Waring Drive and Highway 111, next to Men’s Warehouse. It is sponsored by Lotus Elixir, Crater Lake Vodka, Musician’s Outlet, FG Creative and of course, CV Weekly. For more information call Lisa Morgan at (760) 464-6773.