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Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.

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Saturday July 20 2024
  8:30PM doors -- music at 9:00PM
•••  21 AND OVER
$17 in advance / $20 at the door
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
 alt country rock
 cowboy psychedelica alternative folk
Jimmy Touzel
 alt country

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
-from Chapel Hill, NC
-It’s obvious listening to Sarah Shook and the Disarmers’ clear-eyed, biting, and unafraid songs that integrity is the most important thing to the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, country-punk outfit. “A lot of artists are in this industry for fame, recognition, and money but those things don’t mean anything to me,” says bandleader River Shook. “Songwriting is it for me. It’s the only real healthy coping mechanism I've ever had. It’s life-saving. I don't care about any superficial things when I’m making a record.” On their resonant fourth album Revelations, produced by Shook and out March 29 via Thirty Tigers, these raw and resilient tracks come first. Throughout, Shook’s deft storytelling documents regular people getting by and keeping on, all presented without filter or pretension.

In 2022, Shook was remarkably productive. They released two albums: debut solo indie rock record Cruel Liars under the moniker Mightmare (Kill Rock Stars) and a third Disarmers full-length called Nightroamer (Thirty Tigers). Compared to every Disarmers record before that, which captured the in-the-room energy of the band with live recorded songs, the latter LP was instead more of a product of the studio with meticulous tracking sessions and an outside producer. While that effort was well-received, Shook believed the songs on Revelations deserved a more direct approach. “Since the Disarmers started in 2015, our strength has always been in our live performance,” says Shook. “To me, an album should capture the essence of a band. With this new set of songs that are all super special to me, I didn't trust anybody else to capture the songs and decide how to best serve each song.” Shook, who honed their production skills with their Mightmare LP and Izzy Ryder’s debut record, confidently took the reins during a blistering recording session, capturing 10 songs in two days.

For Shook, it was paramount the recordings match the band’s tangible live ferocity because these songs boast their most immediate lyrics yet. “All of my writing is autobiographical, and I write everything based on my observations and experiences,” says Shook. “But there was something about Revelations that felt more personal to me. I unlocked this level of honesty with myself and an ability to be more objective about the things I struggle with daily.” Take the title track, which finds Shook singing about the precariousness of navigating mental health under capitalism. Over a rollicking, twang-hued arrangement, they sing, “Black cloud followin' me around, little storm in my head / Some days I levitate off the ground, some days I can't get outta bed.” The track doesn’t preach or romanticize. Instead, it’s galvanizing and relatable.

These are lived-in stories about real people with real dreams, atmospheric pasts, and inescapable problems. “I think of myself as a collector: I just go around and collect experiences and observations,” says Shook. “I'm still adjusting to writing songs as a sober person but a lot of the themes are just about being a working person and navigating mental health and relationships with other people going through the same things.” Lead single “Backsliders” comes directly from Shook’s life when they were a bartender at a Chapel Hill dive called The Cave. The song is a deceptively breezy romp about workplace romantic entanglements with Shook singing, “Love you like a breath when I ain't workin' myself to death / cause I'm longin' for the ghost of a friend.” On one hand, it captures the closeness that only service workers can experience on the job but on the other, it plainly states how easy it is to fall into bad habits when dealing with any type of loss.

Throughout the LP, there are cathartic, snarling kiss-offs to villainous men (“Motherfucker”) but also moments of tenderness and ecstasy. Shook describes closer “Criminal” as their “gay cowboy song”, the torturous longing of the lyrics is anchored by shimmering guitar leads from Blake Tallent and bastioned by drummer Jack Foster’s hypnotic rhythms. River sings, “If lovin' you will always be a crime I'll always be a criminal.” It’s a triumphant line that highlights Shook’s emotional sturdiness. “That line got me thinking about how we as queer people have been persecuted, and how we so often have to keep all kinds of things under wraps because of the law because of social taboo,” says Shook. “I wanted “Criminal” to portray these feelings of longing and desire that two gay people can have for each other. They're complicated feelings because human beings are complicated. Gay love is every bit as complicated as straight love.”

Revelations is the most assured Sarah Shook and the Disarmers record yet because it so pointedly captures the gamut of the human experience: anger, sadness, confusion, love, and acceptance. It’s a document of Shook at the top of their game and a reflection of their own journey not just as a writer but as a person. “I’m a firm believer that if you are an artist, and you want to make better art, a big part of that isn't just exercising your musical skills, it’s growing as a human being,” says Shook. “So every time I make a record, I want to be able to listen to it and look back on who I was then. I want to see this arc and this evolution. That's really fucking important to me.”

-from the Bay Area, CA
-There’s music you hear and there’s music you see, the best kind achieves both. ISMAY creates music that is a tapestry of alternative American roots full of alt-country textures and lush
folk songs that transport you straight to the land where they were written - deeply rooted in the heart of Sonoma Mountain. It is music that transcends tradition and blurs boundaries,
embodying the sound of the New American West.

Driven by singer/songwriter Avery Hellman, ISMAY released their debut full length album Songs of Sonoma Mountain in 2020, to widespread acclaim. It was named one of the 10 best
Albums in the Bay Area and garnered features in American Songwriter, No Depression, Sonoma Magazine, and more. Their sophomore album, DESERT PAVEMENT (1/26/24) was produced
by Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse and recorded at the famed Echo Mountain Recording studio in Asheville, NC. It is a brilliant representation of ISMAY's unique sound, its songs evoking the
landscapes and lifestyles of rural northern California, where Avery spent most of their 20s working the land on the family's ranch. "The perspective of my songwriting is very rooted in ranch
life," says Avery. "I didn't know what sound I was creating at first, but I knew I was writing songs that made me curious. That was the most important thing to me. I'm not trying to copy
anybody else or take a predetermined path with my music. I'm just trying to be me, whatever that may be." In other words, it's ISMAY's kind of music, owing more to geography than genre.
With Desert Pavement, ISMAY paves a path toward a new horizon, filling the journey with songs about the sights, sounds, and singular characters found way out west.

Growing up backstage at their grandfather’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, ISMAY was inspired early on by artists such as Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Hazel Dickens. Since then,
they have appeared throughout the West Coast at music festivals such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festival, Huichica Festival, The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,
The Lantern Tour, SF Jazz Americana Roots Week, and at renowned venues such as the Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, The Chapel, Golden State Theater, and the Mystic Theater. They
have opened for acclaimed artists including Steve Earle, Watchhouse, Justin Townes Earle, Sunny War, Margo Cilker, James McMurtry, and Chuck Prophet. They were also a featured artist
on Apple TV's 2023 music show, "My Kind of Country."

Avery also executive produced the film "Finding Lucinda." This captivating documentary takes listeners on a heartfelt journey through the life and early career of the iconic country/folk music
star Lucinda Williams, as ISMAY searches for inspiration in their own artistic journey, and to help in answer the question of whether or not to pursue being a musician in the face of self doubt.

Jimmy Touzel
-from San Francisco, CA
- With his soaring tenor vocals and vintage 6-string bass guitar with surf inspired twang,
Jimmy Touzel has crafted a unique concept album and signature solo country act. His debut
full length album, Lonesome Lullabies, was released on July 21rst, 2023 by Belle Isle Records
and is available on all streaming platforms as well as LP/CD/Cassette. Drawing on influences such
as 50’s rock, surf guitar, spaghetti westerns, and the 1960’s Nashville Sound, Lonesome Lullabies
was recorded and mixed 100% on analog tape and is drenched in plate reverb, tremolo, and slap
back delay. These hallmarks of 50’s and 60’s music were deftly used by Jimmy to craft a sound
with Lonesome Lullabies that is dreamy, ethereal, and sad. Early reactions to the album have drawn
comparisons to Brian Wilson, the Flamingos, Eddie Arnold, Link Wray, Hank Williams, Ennio Morricone,
and Ricky Nelson.

Before embarking on his journey as a solo artist, Jimmy has been a mainstay in the San Francisco
Bay Area’s traditional American music scene for the past 15+ years. Playing upright bass, electric
bass, tuba, clarinet, and sax, he specializes in traditional bluegrass, traditional jazz, django jazz,
old time, rockabilly, classic country, and western swing. In addition to numerous music and film
recordings on the upright bass fiddle, electric bass guitar, and clarinet, Mr. Touzel has toured
coast-to-coast at home in the US, as well as performances in Canada, Holland, France, Belgium,
Costa Rica, and Russia. He has performed live on stage with groups of note, such as the Earl
Brothers, Gaucho, the Stylistics, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Evanescence, Lindsey Sterling,
the Brothers Comatose, Jackie Gore, and the Tams.

In addition to his love for traditional American music, Mr. Touzel has a passion for performing
classical music on the clarinet. Before moving to the Bay Area, he held the Bass Clarinet chair
in the Symphony Orchestra Augusta (GA) and the 2nd/Eb Clarinet position in the Long Bay
(Myrtle Beach, SC) Symphony. Additionally, he played with the Wilmington (NC) Symphony
and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. Jimmy has performed under the batons of many of the worlds
leading conductors such as David Zinman, James Dupriest, Julius Rudel, Michael Stern, and Damon
Gupton. He attended the Aspen Music Festival where he studied with Bass Clarinet legend
Dennis Smylie.

Originally from Georgetown, South Carolina, Jimmy earned his Bachelor of Music Performance
from the University of South Carolina where he studied clarinet with Doug Graham, jazz bass with
Jim Mings, and jazz with Bert Ligon. Past clarinet studies also include Mark Brandon, and Gloria
Campione. Past bass teachers have included Ken Miller, Djordje Stijepovic, Craig Butterfield, and
Reggie Sullivan. An educator himself, Mr. Touzel is a member of the instrumental music faculty at
the Oakland School for the Arts, where he teaches classes in classical, jazz, rock, and music history.