Will Stewart, Leon III, Janet Simpson

Will Stewart

Leon III

Janet Simpson

Fri · October 26, 2018

Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 10:00 pm

$8.00

This event is 21 and over

Will Stewart
Will Stewart
Rock from Birmingham AL

In March 2016, Will Stewart headed back home to Alabama.

He'd been away for years, living in Nashville while earning his stripes as a songwriter, frontman, and lead guitarist. His fans reached as far away as London, where The Guardian — one of the U.K.'s most widely-reached papers — hailed his work.

Still, something kept drawing him down South. He'd grown up there, surrounded by the twang of classic country music and the stomp of rootsy rock & roll. Alabama was a complicated place, its history filled with dark characters and cultural clashes, but it was oddly compelling, too. It was home. Unable to resist the pull, Stewart returned to Birmingham. There, after a decade away, he rediscovered his muse: the Modern South, whose characters, complexities, open spaces, and strange beauty are all channeled into Stewart's full-length solo debut, County Seat.

Released in 2017, County Seat is a guitar-fueled Americana record, caught somewhere between the worlds of country and electrified rock. The songs are roomy and lush, the result of an inspired — led by Stewart, who handles singing and guitar-playing duties — whose members recorded all nine tracks in two short days. There are swirls of swooning pedal steel, layers of vocal harmony, and the pastoral punch of a songwriter looking to turn the landscape of his home state into music. Close your eyes while playing songs like "Brush Arbor," whose title references Dennis Covington's Salvation on Sand Mountain, and you'll hear Stewart's Alabama home.

County Seat is also a record about time. On the album's title track, Stewart sings about a lonely man in his twilight years, hoping to find some sort of transcendence from an otherwise mundane, day-to-day life. During the nostalgic "Sipsey," Stewart longs for the wonder and innocence of young adulthood. And with "Heaven Knows Why," he takes a look at his own vices, realizing the hour has come to leave some of those habits behind. Like Stewart's own move back to Birmingham, County Seat finds its narrator in constant motion, hoping to weather the mysteries and murkiness of the 21st century South by holding on to a shred of hope.

Co-produced with Les Nuby (who also engineered and mixed the album) and recorded in a series of live takes, County Seat nods to a number of songwriters who sing about the beauty of their homeland without glossing over its imperfections. There are electrified moments influenced by Neil Young, guitar arpeggios suited for R.E.M., turns-of-phrase worthy of Bob Dylan, and the modern-day folksy charm of Hiss Golden Messenger. On an album that evokes some heavy starpower, though, Will Stewart shines the brightest. This is his first full-length release as a solo artist: a rallying cry from a Son of the South who, having returned home after a long trip, looks at his birthplace with renewed eyes.
Leon III
Leon III
Folk Alt Country Rock from Virginia

Although Andy Stepanian and Mason Brent are longtime bandmates and collaborators in Virginia’s Wrinkle Neck Mules, their duo Leon, III's initial output bares only a hazy resemblance to that band’s alt.country past. Originally conceived by singer and principal songwriter Andy Stepanian as a vehicle for his moodier pieces, the project has trappings of a solo project – even adopting a moniker from his lineage. But, Brent plays a vital role in pushing the material out of the realm of songwriter introspection with his rock sensibility and deft guitar and bass playing.

The pair employed the help of Nashville’s Mark Nevers to produce their forthcoming debut. Nevers brought along a familiar cast of characters from his Lambchop pedigree highlighted by Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews) on drums, Tony Crow (Lambchop) on piano, Pete Finney (Bobbie Bare, Dixie Chicks) on pedal steel, Jordan Caress (Caitlin Rose), Kai Welch (Abigail Washburn) and Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart). The result is a dynamic and multi-textural ride through a cycle of thematically linked songs. Expertly produced and arranged, the work touches on the instrumental largeness of Pink Floyd, the shadowy realms of The Velvet Underground – whose song Jesus is covered on the record - and the psychedelic streams of Grateful Dead.
Janet Simpson
Janet Simpson
Rock & Roll, Folk & Roll from Birmingham AL

Singer, Songwriter

Janet Simpson began singing and writing songs in fifth grade and can't seem to stop doing it even though she's a whole 41 years old. She formed her first band in 9th grade. She's had the great fortune to play and sing with many incredible artists through the years. Additionally, she has scored music for both film (Saultopaul) and television (Journey Proud.)

Janet has appeared on dozens of albums as a guest musician as well as fronted several bands including Timber, Delicate Cutters and Teen Getaway. These days, she regularly sits in as a member of Will Stewart's World Famous Band.

It has been through her musical collaborations with Will in Timber and in World Famous Band that Janet began a new body of solo works. She is in the process of putting together a full-length solo album of these recent works, projected to be released in 2019.
Venue Information:
The Nick
2514 10th Ave S
Birmingham, AL, 35205
http://www.thenickrocks.com/