Posted by: Nick | April 8, 2009

Umphrey’s McGee, Zappa Plays Zappa, Yonder Mountain String Band, More…Added to Forecastle 2009 Line-up

Forecastle has already announced it’s headliners for 2009, including Widespread Panic, The Black Crowes, The Black Keys & The Avett Brothers.  Now they have added three more groups to the line-up…ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA, UMPHREY’S MCGEE AND YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND!! Pretty Lights, The New Mastersounds, The Whigs, Outformation, Kathleen Edwards, and Dead Confederate were also added!  See below for details regarding each band.  Visit HERE for all of our Forecastle 2009 coverage.

Zappa Plays Zappa

The band debuted in 2006 with shows in Europe, Canada and the United States during May and June (the tour was also known as Zappa Plays Zappa – Tour de Frank’). The shows presented a collection of Frank Zappa’s rock-oriented compositions from 1960s to 1980s. Apart from Dweezil Zappa on lead guitar, the band consisted of a mix of relatively unknown young musicians and older musicians who previously played with Frank Zappa. Among those, Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, flute and vocals) was an integral part of the band, while drummer (and singer) Terry Bozzio and electric guitarist Steve Vai performed as guests in parts of the shows. At several shows Frank Zappa himself performed songs posthumously via synchronized audio/video technology, notedly portions of “Chunga’s Revenge”, “Dumb All Over”, and “Cosmik Debris”.

After a break, the band played again in the US during the Fall of 2006, including a show in New York on October 31. This revived Frank Zappa’s tradition of playing Halloween shows in New York. A DVD documenting the 2006 tour was released in early 2008.

In July and August 2007, the band played a North American tour, with a core line up similar to that of the 2006 band. The band then played in Europe during September and October, before returning to the US, starting with another Halloween show in New York. Special guest on the tour is vocalist and guitarist Ray White.  They ended the 2007 tour in Australia in early December before doing a handful of shows in Japan in January 2008. Steve Vai returned as a guest on those shows. A brief tour of U.S. and Canadian dates is currently scheduled for the Summer of 2008 with the same line-up as the 2007 tour.

At the 51st Grammy Awards in February 2009, Zappa Plays Zappa won best rock instrumental performance for their performance of “Peaches en Regalia”.

Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee is an American progressive rock/jam band originally from South Bend, Indiana, now based in Chicago, Illinois whose music is often[citation needed] referred to as “progressive improvisation.”

Though the band’s approach to their live performances has much in common with Phish and the Grateful Dead (ever-changing setlists, constant improvisation, two sets per night, open-taping policy), they are much more influenced musically by progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Frank Zappa, and Genesis, as well as heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden. The band also identifies The Police, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin as primary influences.

Umphrey’s McGee – Can You Hear Me Knocking (Rolling Stones Cover)

Yonder Mountain String Band

Colarado’s YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND, known for its high-energy, improvisational live shows has just released (April 15, 2008) a new live album on the band’s own Frog Pad Records. This marks the 5th volume in their lauded series of live albums, Mountain Tracks. Blending bluegrass and rock with traditional instrumentation (guitar, bass, mandolin and banjo), YONDER has pioneered a sound that is their own over the past ten years as a band.

Mountain Tracks: Volume 5, a double-disc CD featuring the unreleased and in-demand live show from Columbus, OH at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (July 21, 2007) truly captures this sound. It also features a compilation disc of the best live tunes handpicked by the band from the past couple of years. As bassist Ben Kaufmann notes, “it’s a ‘through-the-years set of music” with the material ranging from 2004 through 2007. The compilation album has been sequenced so that it recreates the flow of an actual live show. It connects all the key elements of a live Yonder show: the fans, the music, the band and the energy.

Yonder (Adam Aijala-guitar, Jeff Austin-mandolin, Dave Johnston-banjo and Ben Kaufmann-bass) first came together in September 1998 over a growing love for bluegrass that quite unexpectedly brought the four players together during a free-for-all jam session at The Verve, a bar outside of Boulder, in 1998. Once they met, they knew they were onto something. “It was an eye-opening experience because we heard a unique sound,” says Johnston. “Something coalesced that night.”

Emphasizing song craft and unafraid to push its boundaries, things began snowballing quickly. In 1999, the band debuted with Elevation, produced by Grammy-winning dobro player Sally Van Meter and released (like each of its ensuing studio discs) on their own Frog Pad Records. Yonder Mountain returned in 2001 with Town by Town, helmed by Grammy Award winning songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Tim O’Brien. Van Meter was back behind the boards for the 2003 set Old Hands, a concept album of sorts that featured the songwriting of Benny “Burle” Galloway. Featured on the evocative tunes about cowboys, miners and all sorts of hard-livin’ Western folk were O’Brien, lauded fiddleman Darol Anger (Bela Fleck, David Grisman Quintet, Vassar Clements) and dobro player Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris). In between those studio discs, the band released Mountain Tracks Volume 1-IV, issued on Frog Pad Records, and each capturing the energy of its increasingly popular live shows. Their last studio release, “Yonder Mountain String Band” was produced by rock producer Tom Rothrock (Foo Fighters, Elliot Smith, Beck) creating a sound for the band that continues to close the gap between bluegrass and rock. It’s an album that “represents us more than any other record we’ve done,” states Aijala, “because it incorporates more of our musical influences than ever before. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of and I’ll never take for granted just how lucky we are to do what we do. It makes me more excited for the future.”

With little radio support, Yonder Mountain has become one of the fastest rising touring bands in the country, its fanbase having ballooned over the past five years through steady gigging and high-profile festival sets, all of which are full of improv and none of which feature the same set list. “Now that we’re maturing as performers, our improvisation is more beholden to playing with good tone, good feel, good timing,” says Johnston.

It can’t be understated just what the band has achieved with that untraditional banjo/bass/mandolin/guitar line-up. Using bluegrass as its bedrock, the band has grown like few rock bands even do these days. “It’s funny,” says Austin. “But now we’re selling out Red Rocks in Denver, just 40 miles from where we became a band.” Yonder will return to Red Rocks August 2nd after last year’s triumphant sold-out show. This summer will be a big year for the band with a co-headline tour with longtime collaborator Keller Williams, lots of festivals (Bonnaroo, Rothbury, Telluride Bluegrass, the band’s own North West String Summit), and ending the summer with a hometown show at Red Rocks.

Yonder Mountain String Band- Girlfriend is Better (Live)

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights is the musical vision of the ultra-versatile Colorado based producer Derek Vincent Smith, accompanied in the live setting by drummer, Cory Eberhard. Together these two achieve a raw energy rarely reached in the realm of electronic music. At a time when music lovers from almost all subcultures, and genres are finding common ground in the basic form of bangin’ beats, Pretty Lights is giving the people what they want; electro organic cutting-edge party rocking beats that fill venues with energy and emotion, and send dance floors into frenzies. What makes Pretty Lights truly different tho, is that these beats have serious soul. Derek’s latest album, “Filling Up The City Skies” is a two disc, 26 track journey through past, present, and future. He juxtaposes collages of beautiful vintage samples against backdrops of futuristic synthesis and dirty broken beats, creating a sound that can snap your neck while simultaneously shedding your tears. The album has been downloaded over 30,000 times from the Pretty Lights website in the short 3 months since its release, proving that the PL sound is not only getting around, it’s spreading like a virus.

Pretty Lights- Maybe Tomorrow

Pretty Lights- Solamente

New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds are a four-piece band based in Leeds, England, whose modern take on vintage soul-jazz, funk and rock draws influences from Jimmies McGriff, Smith, and Hendrix, as well as their most closely-associated mentors, The Meters. Try to imagine Grant Green and Lou Donaldson having a fight in a Hammond Organ shop while James Brown holds the coats, and you have some idea of what to expect from this band. Their first single, One Note Brown, was released on Blow It Hard Records in 2000 and was passionately championed by acclaimed Northern Soul and funk DJ Keb Darge. To date, the band has released four studio records: 102%, This Is What We Do, Be Yourself, Keb Darge Presents… as well as The New Mastersounds Re::Mixed, and Live At La Cova. Also of note: their single, “Your Love Is Mine” featuring Corinne Bailey Rae, was used in the 2007 Warner Brothers movie Feast of Love.

Having toured throughout Europe, Japan and the USA, the NMS have earned global recognition as a key band in the ‘New Funk’ scene. But purists beware: their unique blend of funk, rock, soul and dance music is hard to sum up and doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre.

Headed soon to a city near you, The New Mastersounds deliver gritty grooves and deep rhythms in clubs, theater venues and festivals alike. Their live shows will get you up dancing and hold you there intoxicated by the funk until last call- when you’ll stagger home, sweaty and exhausted, on a wave of euphoria.

Led by guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts, The New Mastersounds feature Joe Tatton on Hammond, Pete Shand on bass and Simon Allen on drums.

The New Mastersounds- ThermalBad

The Whigs

“[The Whigs] evoke the neo-roots-rock vibe of My Morning Jacket, the cool minimalism of The Strokes and the perfectly constructed pop of the early Sixties.”
– Rolling Stone

See our review of their Waterfront Wednesday Performance HERE.

The Whigs- Right Hand on My Heart


On April 21, 2009, Outformation will release their newest album, “Fastburn,”, the Atlanta-based band’s follow up to their 2007 release, “Traveler’s Rest”. Holt says, “we didn’t have a plan making this record, why restrict ourselves. This is our best work.”

“Fastburn” was produced by Outformation and Eli Akins at Fidelitorium Recording Studio, owned by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Suzanne Vega). “Fastburn” is a culmination of high energy and creative relationships. Outformation really turns up the heat with this newest release. Outformation’s sound draws on a variety of genres, from electrified southern tunes to powerful, melodic vocals. Since being named Honest Tune’s “Best New Band” in 2005, Outformation has built a reputation for bringing the music to the people by playing across the U.S. to their loyal fan base. As an appreciation to the fans, Outformation offered the new album, “Fastburn” to their fans for free for two weeks, a month before the album’s actual release. The fans were in fact much appreciative, as the album received several thousands of downloads in the first week.

Outformation is guitarist-vocalist Sam Holt, guitarist Benji Shanks, bassist Grady Upchurch, drummer-singer Lee Schwartz, and percussionist Jeff “Birddog” Lane.
Fastburn is available for FREE download on our website.
Ready, Set, Download…

To download the new album, visit here.

Outformation- Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

Kathleen Edwards (BIO)

Read our review of her Headliner’s show last year, HERE.

Kathleen Edwards- In State

Dead Confederate

Dead Confederate originally emerged in the Athens music scene in 2006 with a few local shows. The band had been together in Augusta, Georgia as the “Redbelly” since high school, eventually gravitating to “The Redbelly Band”, after keyboard player John Watkins joined the group.   On January 22, 2008, the band released a self-titled EP on The Artist Organization record label, a newly created label by Gary Gersh, known for signing-on bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth to major labels.  This release, along with an appearance at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas gave them some national exposure.

On September 16, the band released their first LP, Wrecking Ball on the Razor & Tie record label.  After the album, the band kicked off a nationwide tour, featuring a free show at the 40 Watt Club in their hometown in Athens. On October 10, the band made their first nationwide television appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Their first single, “The Rat”, debuted and peaked at #39 on the US Modern Rock chart in February 2009.

Dead Confederate- Heavy Petting



  1. If you love shitty jam bands, this is your festival. I’m kind of surprised he doesn’t have someone who rapped on a Gorillaz album headlining this year.

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