On Stage (Extra): Sublime With Rome returns to Philly

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

Sublime with Rome

Sublime with Rome

It’s been almost a year to the day when Sublime with Rome visited Philadelphia for a show at Festival Pier. The band was touring in support of its recent album, “Sirens.”

Now, Sublime with Rome is coming back to Philly — back to the same venue.

On July 9, Sublime with Rome will perform another hot show at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing (601 North Columbus Boulevard at Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215- 629-3200, www.festivalpierphilly.com).

Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California that featured the trio of Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh. Formed in 1988, Sublime screeched to a halt when Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996.

In 2009, Sublime rose from the ashes in the form of Sublime with Rome.

Sublime with Rome started as a musical collaboration featuring Wilson, Gaugh and singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez.

Ramirez began performing with Gaugh and Wilson in 2009, where they played under the name Sublime. Then, Nowell’s estate issued a legal challenge to the use of the trademarked name for a venture not including Nowell. As a result, they changed their name to Sublime with Rome in January 2010.

 “I met Eric in a studio a few years ago,” said Ramirez, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from a tour top in Baltimore. “We became friends and started jamming together all the time.

“After about a year, he asked me if I wanted to join Sublime with him and Bud. Sublime was my favorite band in the world ever since I was 11 so I was thrilled to be asked to join them. It was like a dream come true — a great big dream come true.

“We made the ‘Yours Truly’ album six months after we got together. The luxury of time is important — time to dive into the songs. We only had three weeks to record the album. So, we didn’t have enough time to get into the zone. The album still definitely had some badass songs.”

On July 17, 2015, Sublime with Rome released its sophomore record “Sirens” on BMG Chrysalis. The group has been touring the album ever since as well as progressing with other new projects.

“In the last year, we’ve gone into the studio and made some new music,” said Ramirez. “We went to Japan and did some stuff over there. We played a big show for the U.S. Air Force at Misawa Air Base in Misawa, Japan..

“We’ve been doing a lot of writing — preparing for a new album. We did about a month in the studio at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas. We got four or five songs that we’re pretty gassed on. We hope to release the album in the fall.”

Sublime with Rome always focuses on expanding its musical scope.

“Definitely, ‘Sirens’ was a lot different than our first record,” said Ramirez. “We recorded it at Sonic Ranch. We went there twice. The album was very organic. Some songs were older and some were new jams. But, nothing was really settled until we dived into the recording.

“We went to Texas because it was crucial to get away from distractions back home — to get away and focus on the music. The majority of the tracks were recorded live in a big room at the studio. We had just finished a tour of South America so we were on a super-creative high. That’s why we went right into the studio.

“Now, the new stuff we’re working on is — let’s say a little more stripped-down for want of a better definition. Everyone was in the same room and we tracked live. We’d do five or six takes and then pick the best one and put overdubs on the next day.

“When we were in the studio, we just got on our instruments, looked at each other and then wrote something on the spot. We just went back to the old days of recording and played live. It was exciting.”

The current tour will not just be a showcase for the new songs — a tour designed strictly to support the new album.

“We do play some of the new songs but only five or six per show,” said Ramirez. “We’ll do four or five from ‘Sirens,’ four or five from ‘Yours Truly’ and all the great early stuff.

“Sublime has so many great songs to draw from. It’s hard to figure out which ones to play each night. But, we can go all the way back and play the early stuff. I know even the older songs because I’ve been listening to them for years.”

Video link for Sublime with Rome — https://youtu.be/a6RAr7k2MDo.

The show at Festival Pier starts at 6:30 p.m. with opening acts Dirty Heads, Tribal Seeds and Bleeker. Tickets are $39.50.

Emily King

Emily King

It has also been almost a year to the day when Emily King visited Philadelphia for a show at Underground Arts. The talented singer-songwriter-guitarist was touring in support of her sophomore album, “The Switch.”

Now, she is coming back to Philly. She’s still touring “The Switch,” but will perform at a better venue with the same band — a band that has months of experience touring the album. On July 11, King will perform at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com).

“Over the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff to figure out how to get to the next level,” said King, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in New York.

“I have a deluxe re-issue of ‘The Switch.’ I decided to do the re-issue. I got with my manager and brainstormed about it. When I put it out last year, I didn’t have any support so I put it out again.

“There are three new songs. We recorded them around four months ago. We went to as little cabin in upstate New York. We cut the songs in Woodstock and then finished them in Brooklyn. We recorded one of the songs at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock.

“I’ve always been in love with singles. When I started making the album, I wanted to make an album of singles. The three new songs are all very different from each other. The song ‘Focus’ is very different than anything I’ve ever written.

“I was conscious of having additional stories that would add to the arc. I was also conscious of trying to make each song its best and that it would fit in with the other songs on the album. I feel like the new songs fit well. I hope that people feel that way too.”

King definitely has savvy when it comes to making attractive music. Making music is more than something that is in her blood — it’s in her DNA.

“My folks got me into singing,” said King. “It was something I was raised to do. I don’t know what I’d be doing other than making music because I don’t know how to do anything else.”

Her parents, Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, were a singing duo who performed and traveled regularly, bringing her and her older brother along with them.

Cowings is a jazz singer who was mentored by the legendary Jon Hendricks and is a master of scat and vocal technique. Involved in commercials, voiceovers and jingles, Cowings received the advertising industry’s Clio Award. He is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a published lyricist with Quincy Jones, Wayne Shorter, Frank Foster, and Sonny Rollins.

Kalesti is an acclaimed torch singer who is known for her project “Kimistry, The Living Museum,” a moveable feast of sounds, beats, visuals, philosophy, and words that deals with emotional subjects that affect the way we live and feel.

“My parents sang jazz together for 14 years,” said King. “They’d tour with bands and take my brother and me along with them. We were bored at the time. But, we were constantly exposed to the music so we were subconsciously soaking it in.

“They sang jazz standards such as the music of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. My father wrote a lot of lyrics for jazz sings. He also sang a lot of scat and be-bop. But, they also let us listen to whatever we wanted.

“My brother and I were into hip-hop in the early 90s — also Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and a lot of Motown — whatever we heard on the radio. My uncle gave me a tape of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album and that was my first love connection with rock-and-roll. Later, I got into the Beatles, Cat Stevens and soft rock.”

King stepped out on her own at an early age.

“When I was 16, I asked my parents if I could leave school and they said yeah,” said King, who grew up in the East Village near Little Italy, Chinatown and Greenwich Village.

“I spent the summer taking classes from a teacher in Harlem to get my GED. I started doing shows at restaurants. They fed you and paid you $50. That’s when I realized I could be a professional. My first show at a big venue was at the Bitter End here in New York.”

It didn’t take long for King’s talents to get noticed by people in the music industry. In 2004, she has a meeting with legendary music mogul Clive Davis that led to her signing a record deal with J Records/Sony Music.

“At that meeting, people were nervous because it was Clive Davis but I was feeling rebellious at the time,” said King. “He walked in and the result was that I signed with J Records. That was my dream — to sign with a label. I made the album and it took three years to be released. I went through a lot of growing pains.”

King’s debut album East Side Story was released in August 2007. The crtitically-acclaimed album earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary R&B Album of the Year.”

“The Grammy nomination did help my career a bit,” said King. “But, it wasn’t a win. It did get people to start paying attention to my music. I got a Grammy nomination and then got dropped by the label later that years and that was that.”

In 2001, King released a well-received EP titled “The Seven.”

“I was pretty determined to create something I was proud of,” said King. “I recorded ‘The Seven’ on my own with produced Jeremy Most. From then on, I’ve gotten good response to my record.”

In May 2012, King was awarded the Holly Prize (a tribute to the legacy of Buddy Holly) from The Songwriters Hall of Fame for recognition of the “all-in songwriter” whose work exhibits the qualities of Holly’s music — true, great and original.

“Winning that award was a real boost to my confidence,” said King.

Over the last few years, King has toured with John Legend and Sara Bareilles and has recorded duets with José James and Taylor McFerrin. Last month, she released her sophomore album titled “The Switch.”

“Jeremy and I started working on ‘The Switch’ about three years ago,” said King. “We really kicked it in about a year ago after I finished a tour with Sara Bareilles. ‘The Switch’ was a natural progression from ‘The Seven.’ We worked on keeping a variety of styles of songwriting and finally got the songs we wanted.

“When I’m touring, I have a steady band that I use. There are six of us — electric guitar, backup singer, keyboards, bass, drums and I sing and play guitar. I have fun playing old songs and new songs. I try to pull from a lot of styles — R&B, jazz, blues and soul.

“I’ve been playing with this band for more than three years already. In the shows now, we’re doing a lot of songs from ‘The Switch.” And, we’re playing the three new songs — ‘Focus,’ ‘BYIMM,’ and ‘See You There.’  It’s been fun.”

Video link for Emily King — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-qGzywSz9Yideo.

King’s show at Union Transfer on July 11 will start at 8 p.m. with opening act PJ Morton. Tickets are $20.

Other upcoming shows at Union Transfer are Steve Gunn & The Outliners (Record Release Show), Nap Eyes, and Spacin’ on July 9, and The Hotelier, Told Slant, Bellows, and Loone on July 13.

On June 3, Pale Dian released its debut album “Narrow Birth” via Manifesto Records.  On the same day, the trio from Austin, Texas started its album support tour with a CD release party in its home town.

Pale Dian — Ruth Ellen Smith (vocals, synths, drum machine), Derek Kutzer (guitar), Nicholas Volpe (bass) — has shown that it is definitely serous about taking its music to the people. The tour, which started at the beginning of June, will conclude two months later with a show on July 23 in San Antonio.

Pale Dian

Pale Dian

On July 11, Pale Dian will visit the area for a show at Bourbon and Branch (705 North Second Street, Philadelphia, 215-238-0660, bourbonandbranchphilly.com).

“We started a few years ago as a band called Blackstone Rngrs,” said Smith, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Pale Dian is a lot different. We really developed our style with our first album and we’re supporting the album with a lot of live shows.

“We’re all from Texas. Derek and I have been playing together for as long time. We started writing together years ago. When we moved to Austin, we needed a new bass player and that’s when Nicholas joined.”

On its Facebook page, Pale Dian describes its genres as “dark pop/shoegaze.”

“I really developed my voice and my singing style when we were making the new album,’” said Smith. “In the studio, most of the songs started as ideas. We were able to experiment with a lot of pedals and a lot of vocal takes.

“With the vocals, I’m a soprano so I wanted tossing in a range I was comfortable with. As far as the sound, with the drum machine, the sequencer can take the drum sound any Way we want.”

The album is a densely-layered studio album with songs that can stand on their own without studio effects.

“There was no problem getting this ready for the road. We do open up some of the songs when we’re playing them live. For example, with the track ‘Evan Evan,’ we expand it when we want.

“The songs were mostly written in the year before we recorded them. We were in the studio last July and August at Elmwood Studio in the Dallas area. When it was finished, we started shopping the album around.

“It’s a pretty emotional album. It’s almost desperate at times. Some of the songs are my songs and some were written as a band. The songs are all completely different and the vibe came together in groups of two.”

Video link for Pale Dian — https://youtu.be/n_W-pkh0-EY.

The show at Bourbon and Branch, which starts at 8 p.m., also features Man Like Machine, The Stargazer Lilies, and Dulls. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Ridge Summit and Namesake, Ultimate Golf on July 10, Cheerbleeders, Jack and the Coax, Wild Joy, and The Up Up Ups on July 12, and Lizanne Knott with Ross Bellenoit on July13.

On July 12, the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) will host a band that started making music before any of the members of Pale Dian were even born — Cowboy Junkies.

Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian band that transcends genres — alternative, country, blues, folk rock, psychedelic music, Americana, and straight-ahead rock. The group was formed in Toronto in 1985 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Alan Anton (bassist),

Now, Cowboy Junkies are performing select 2016 tour dates in support of their latest release “Notes Falling Slow.” After an 18-month break from touring, the band is revitalized and ready to hit the road.

“We’ve been touring the album since January,” said Anton, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from a stop in New Hampshire. “We go out for a couple weeks at a time.

“The first set focuses on the material from the ‘Notes Falling Slow’ box set. The second set will reach back and delve deep into the group’s extensive catalog. It’s all our older songs.”

“Notes Falling Slow” (Latent Recordings) includes re-mastered versions of the three studio recordings that the band released in the 2000s — “Open” (2001), “One Soul Now” (2004) and “At The End Of Paths Taken” (2007).

A fourth disc — “Notes Falling Slow” — features songs that were written during the making of the three studio albums, but never completed or released. A few of these songs made it to the band demo stage, some never made it past songwriting demos and a couple were completed but were left off the final albums.

“We were looking back at that time when we made three records in a couple years,” said Anton. “We were looking for stuff to pull out for our live show. We realized that we had forgotten about those three albums.

“And, we also found a lot of demos. Some of the demos were almost moxed and othrs were just a acoustic guitar and vocal. We listened and and imagined which would be th eb3esr to revisit. We took our time.

“When were listening to the three albums, we realized that it was such a different time in our lives. We were all starting to become parents. We all had children late and realized that our audience now had teenagers of their own.

“We also found that we had written a ton of stuff that didn’t make the album. It was frustrating then because there were good songs that just didn’t fit on those albums. Now, we were looking at them with a different approach. It wasn’t hard — but it wasn’t easy either.”

The band’s history stretches back over three decades — back to the Timmins family home in Ontario. The Timmins siblings decided to form a band with Anton. With several Juno Awards “Group of the Year” nominations and more than 20 albums to their credit, it appears as if they made the right decision.

“Right now, we probably have about 50 songs we can pick from for our live set – all the way back to our first album,” said Anton. “We play about 20 songs each show. We try to change it every night.”

Video link for Cowboy Junkies —https://youtu.be/p8uDPpvdCtQ.

The show at the World café Live at the Queen will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40. Other upcoming shows at the Queen are kRUSH and Alive! ’75 on July 9 (Downstaira) and Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes and Gina Forsyth on July 9 (Upstairs).

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