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Scott Sharrard & Bruce Katz

Presented by Levon Helm Studios
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Levon Helm Studios

160 Plochmann Lane

Woodstock, NY 12498

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Levon Helm Studios presents Scott Sharrard & Bruce Katz with special guest James Maddock on Friday, September 27, 2019.

About this Event

Two great artists combining their two bands into one!

  • Scott Sharrard on guitar and vocals
  • Bruce Katz on Hammond B3 and piano
  • Aaron Lieberman (God Street Wine) on guitar and vocals
  • Ray Hangen (Sean Costello) on drums
  • Rich Pagano (Fab Faux) on drums and vocals
  • Bratt Bass (Gregg Allman Band) on bass

With special guest James Maddock

ABOUT SCOTT SHARRARD

SCOTT SHARRARD IS BEST KNOWN as lead guitarist and bandleader to the late Gregg Allman. But his personal artistic journey – which includes singing, songwriting, producing and arranging – began long before he first teamed up with the rock icon.

It’s a mission that resumes with “Saving Grace,” Sharrard’s fifth album -- and his first since Allman’s death.

“Gregg had a pure passion and heart,” Sharrard says of his friend, “especially when it came to being a musician. That authenticity and dedication is a daily inspiration, and I will always carry that with me onstage and in the studio.”

“Saving Grace,” with the blues at its core, bears a distinctly southern spirit, seamlessly assimilating the sounds of American roots music that Sharrard has long embraced. Sessions took place in Memphis and at the historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Half the album employs the Hi Rhythm Section, the other The Swampers of Muscle Shoals.

“These guys are legends and heroes of ours who have played on so many life-changing records,” Sharrard says. “This record was steeped in the best the South has to offer. We cut the rhythm section and lead vocals all live on the floor, direct to tape. Old school. We let the songs and the band speak. We also had some of the best barbecue and soul food you could ever imagine, and a lot of laughs and good times with our heroes. How can you lose?”

‘All those cats schooled me…’

Sharrard’s travels to the heart of the American South began in his native Milwaukee. He was born December 28, 1976 – the day his hero Freddie King died – and was a club fixture in Brewtown long before he could legally take a drink.

“Milwaukee at that time was an oasis for a whole group of musical masters,” Sharrard recalls. “Mel Rhyne, Buddy Miles, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison, Clyde Stubblefield… They were our local bar bands! All those cats schooled me in different ways, backstage, on gigs and at jams.”

Sharrard was 15 when his father took him to a local blues joint called the Up and Under Pub. There he sat in with singer/guitarist (and local one-named legend) Stokes, who would become his mentor. Another was powerhouse “Chitlin’ Circuit” singer and guitarist Willie Higgins.

Sharrard soon graduated to occasional dates in Chicago, with tutelage coming via jams alongside two fabled Muddy Waters sidemen, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins.

Big Apple, not Big Easy

Then came a chance 1996 move to New York City. The 20-year-old Sharrard, eager to bolt Milwaukee, had his mind on New Orleans. But his friend Sean Dixon, with whom he had a band called The Chesterfields, had found a rent-controlled apartment in the East Village.

“That settled it,” Sharrard remembers with a laugh. “I became a New York City resident for the first time. My next-door neighbor was Allen Ginsberg, who was already one of my literary heroes at that time. I used to eat at Mee’s Chinese restaurant sitting across from Allen. It was our corner restaurant with a cheap dinner special. He’d always order the ginger fish and write! … It was like a dream, really. All those giant buildings spreading into infinity. It was so overwhelming.”

Sharrard had been in the Big Apple but a year when he met iconic Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun, who mentored The Chesterfields and gave the young guitar-slinger some sage advice.

“Ahmet told me that you must do it all – and well – if you want to survive as a musician,” Sharrard remembers. “He told me to get it all together: writing, singing, producing, playing, arranging. He convinced me to work twice as hard because around 2000 he saw the end of the music business as we knew it. He felt no one was around to support artists like back in the heyday of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.”

The Chesterfields cut three albums and toured nationally before Sharrard began to chart his own course. A series of releases followed, including “Dawnbreaker” (2005), “Analog/Monolog” (2008) and “Ante Up” (2009).

Ertegun wasn’t the only legend with Sharrard on his radar back then: The young guitarist also forged a relationship with Levon Helm – performing with The Band drummer about a dozen times, including his final gig just before his death in April of 2012.

Sharrard remains close with Helm’s daughter, Amy, and a host of other artists on the Woodstock scene.

Preparation meets opportunity

It was through Amy’s then-husband, multi-instrumentalist Jay Collins – already a member of Allman’s band – that Sharrard embarked on the collaboration of a lifetime. In the fall of 2008, Sharrard began a nearly decade-long run with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

“I grew up on the music of the Allman Brothers,” says Sharrard. “I consider first hearing them to be the ‘Big Bang’ moment for me as a pre-teen. I’ve always been chasing what I like to call ‘Real Rock and Roll,’ a blend of blues, jazz, soul, country and folk – with the central goal being to create an original sound of your own. In that respect, working with Gregg just solidified everything I’ve believed since I was a kid.”

Sharrard joined the Gregg Allman Band as a touring guitarist and later became Musical Director.

The fruitful partnership ended with the 69-year-old Allman’s death on May 27, 2017. But not before Allman covered Sharrard’s “Love Like Kerosene” on 2015’s “Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA,” and again on Allman’s eighth and final solo album, the posthumous, GRAMMY-nominated “Southern Blood” (Rounder Records, 2017).

Another “Southern Blood” track, the unforgettable farewell “My Only True Friend” – co-written by Sharrard and Allman – earned a GRAMMY nomination for Americana Song of the Year.

Sharrard’s deep respect for Allman factored heavily into the 2018 release date for “Saving Grace.” Tracking was completed in December of 2016. But Sharrard – knowing Allman’s health was failing and that “Southern Blood” would be his last hurrah – chose to delay its unveiling.

He’s now begun a new chapter with an album he consciously wanted to summarize the last 20 years of his work – and one that showcases the totality of his artistry: as guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and bandleader.

In short, he says, it’s rock n’ roll rooted in everything else.

“I basically have a rock ’n’ roll band,” Sharrard explains. “When I was growing up, I loved bands like Little Feat, Led Zeppelin and the Allmans. They would explore so many styles and experiment. That’s something I have always tried to embrace, and that’s how I want to present my music today. This is what I tried to do with Gregg. Now I’m continuing that as a solo artist.”

ABOUT BRUCE KATZ

Bruce Katz is a legendary keyboardist (Hammond B3 and piano) who has released 9 CDs as a leader and has appeared on nearly 70 other CDs with the likes of John Hammond, Delbert McClinton, Ronnie Earl, Butch Trucks, Duke Robillard, Little Milton, Joe Louis Walker, David “Fathead” Newman, and many, many others.

He has also had a strong musical connection with the Allman Brothers Band, having been a member of Gregg Allman’s band for six years (2007-2013), Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band (2010-2015), Butch Trucks’s Freight Train Band (2015-2017) and Les Brers. Bruce also occasionally toured with the Allman Brothers as well.

He is a five time BMA nominee (2008, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2019) for the “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” award, which is the equivalent of the “Blues Grammys”. He was also nominated by Living Blues Magazine for “Outstanding Musician (Keyboard)” award in 2015 and 2019.

His newest CD, “Get Your Groove!” (American Showplace Music) was released in July 2018 and features all original tunes. He is releasing a solo piano CD, “Solo Ride” in August of 2019

The Bruce Katz Band is an original, very exciting group of musicians that combine blues, “soul-jazz”, and New Orleans inspired roots music. Based in Woodstock, NY, Bruce Katz occupies a unique space where blues and the many aspects of Americana music collide into a style of original music all his own. The band has a trademark sound, blending the B3 organ and guitar in unique and inventive ways.

ABOUT JAMES MADDOCK

A rock & roll lifer, James Maddock has been carving his unique path since the 1980s, when the British-born singer/songwriter kicked off his career with a raw, soulful voice; a storyteller's sense of narrative; and the ability to blur the lines between folk, classic pop, and rock.

Since those early days in London, he's ridden the wave of a music industry that's ebbed, flowed, peaked, and crashed. Maddock has stayed afloat throughout the entire ride, enjoying a brush with commercial success during the late 1990s — including a major-label record deal, a Top 5 AAA radio hit, and a song placement on Dawson's Creek — before transforming himself into an independent solo artist during the decades that followed. Bruce Springsteen is a fan. So is David Letterman. Listening to Maddock's newest record, Insanity vs Humanity, it's easy to see the appeal.

Insanity vs Humanity returns Maddock to his politically-charged roots, bringing him full circle after a three-decade career. Recorded in the wake of the American election that sent Donald Trump to the White House, the new album finds Maddock — a New York City resident since the early 2000s — rallying against capitalism, dictators, and the suppression of equal rights. Songs like "Fucked Up World" make no attempt to hide their anger, while the music itself — a soulful brand of rock & roll that nods to Neil Young, Sam Cooke, Roy Orbison, Bruce Hornsby, and Bill Withers — underscores Maddock's lyrics with plenty of guitar firepower and piano punch. Gluing the mix together is his voice: a stunning instrument that's grown warm and weathered since his days in the U.K., without losing its poignancy.

"I don't think you can change people's opinions with a song," he admits. "A Trump supporter isn't going to turn into asocialist, just because they listened to something I wrote. But that can't stop me from talking about the world we all live in. I had to write about these insane times, and I wanted to do so in a way that wasn't one-dimensional or phony."

Insanity vs Humanity reaches far beyond Maddock's disillusionment with the White House. "What the Elephants Know," with its heavy groove and vocal harmonies, makes a compelling case for animals' rights, while the Jackson Browne-inspired "Kick the Can" finds its narrator waxing nostalgic about a life well-lived. At the album's core, though, are tracks like "Watch it Burn" — a charged rocker that urges its listener to resist and rebel — and the epic "I Can't Settle," whose anthemic sweep brings to mind a young, spirited Bruce Springsteen. No wonder the Boss has been known to kick off his own shows by taking the stage to one of James Maddock's tunes.

Backed by his longtime backup band of NYC-area musicians, Maddock recorded the bulk of Insanity vs Humanity's 11 songs into two quick days. Years ago, back when Maddock was the frontman of the British buzz band Wood, he'd spend three months in a recording studio. This was different. The goal was simple: get everyone into the same room, teach them the songs, and press record.

"This is the honest sound of the band playing the songs," he says simply. "It's not an overly complex record. I wanted it to sound as natural as it does when we play live. It's what happens when you get four guys together in a room, playing the chords and listening to each other."

The modern world is a scary one. Maddock sets that dangerous place to music, mixing sweeping melodies and rousing choruses with lyrics that shine a bright light on these darker times. It's an album about the importance of speaking up and acting out. An album about what it means to be human, even in these insane times. Now entering his fourth decade onstage, Maddock has rarely sounded so compelling, so confident, so necessary.

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160 Plochmann Lane

Woodstock, NY 12498

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