Kurt Vile and The Violators

Cat's Cradle Presents

Kurt Vile and The Violators

Luke Roberts

Fri, January 27, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Haw River Ballroom

Saxapahaw, NC

$23.00 - $25.00

Sold Out

Kurt Vile and The Violators
Kurt Vile and The Violators
Having been the subject and willing conspirator of many intentional lies planted in Sonic Youth bios over the years, I know first hand the way album lore can bend reality to its truth. After the infamous Byron Coley originated the SY “Trilogy” myth in the Murray Street bio, we had no choice but to fulfill those expectations with Sonic Nurse. “Why did you decide to make a trilogy?” was always the first question asked in interviews around that time.

But this is Kurt Vile’s bio, and I wont do that to him. Anyway, Kurt does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt’s words, “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”

For a record that plays like a cohesive acoustic experience, its musicality marks Kurt’s departure from an electric guitar experience to include a range of instrumentation with a large group of players. From the banjo he plays on “I’m an Outlaw” to the piano and lapsteel on “Life Like This,” and the myriad other instruments on other songs, including farfisa, resonator, arps, horns and synth, one never thinks about what exactly yr listening to as it all serves the song.

The heart of the record is “Stand Inside.” The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself and celebrates a man willing to be defined by a woman and his love for her as witness to each other’s lives… Don’t stand by my side, stand inside gives up roleplaying for true exposure and vulnerability.

It’s a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband, partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding … that’s life though so sad to say… I love this record,

b’lieve i’m goin down.

Kim Gordon
Luke Roberts
The music made by Luke Roberts is wide in scope and spare in structure. It is as universal as it is personal – if you have to label it, the right stamp to put on it might be "redemptive blues." The songs themselves are not looking for or extolling redemption, but the search for liberty that underlies them and the sense of freedom they express (often between the lines) leaves the listener with a sense of optimism that can only be called redemptive. Roberts' songs, while deeply personal in origin, touch on universal life experiences and emotions. Both the music and the musician celebrate the quest for liberty: What is it? Can it be imbibed? Embodied? Sunlit Cross is unwaveringly honest and raw, as Roberts gets closer than ever to his true self: a person who looks past the dark truths to see a real light.

Roberts has long searched for freedom — even as a kid growing up in East Nashville, he began train-hopping, exploring who he was and where he should be in the world. Four years after the release of his second album The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport, Roberts has gone from living in a trailer in Montana to living on acreage in Tennessee, where he is learning how to farm. In the passing years, Roberts dealt with heartbreak and wanderlust, driving between New York and Nashville, living out of his car for weeks, traveling to Cambodia and Thailand and finally to Kenya, where he stayed with a family whose day-to-day challenges and simple needs impressed him. It was in Kenya where the songs on Sunlit Cross originated. The record is a lullaby, Roberts says, one that pits darkness and disenchantment and the ugly side of life against levity, love, and childhood. The songs on Sunlit Cross are a conversation, one that takes place between Roberts himself, the listener, and "God, everything, everyone." "I spend a lot of time counterbalancing things," Roberts says. "If I want to say 'yes,' I'll pronounce it 'no,' and then ask myself why and I end up saying 'Jesus.'"

Sunlit Cross was recorded at Ronniejone$ound with Kyle Spence (who, in addition to recording tracks for Kurt Vile's B'lieve I'm Goin Down, also drums with Vile and Harvey Milk). Spence worked closely with Roberts to make the record sonically richer than ever before.

The Sunlit Cross crew (including Stephen Tanner of Harvey Milk and Music Blues) would sit on the deck and eat White Castle burgers and drink beers and look out on the Georgia pines with birds and crickets echoing all around. "It feels like you're in a billionaire's office in a treehouse," Roberts says, "making music with some real pros." Vile, who became enamored with Roberts' music invited Roberts to tour with him, sings backing vocals and plays banjo on "Silver Chain." John Neff (Drive-By Truckers) plays pedal steel, and Creston Spiers (Harvey Milk) contributes viola, guitar, and piano. Roberts and his Athens, GA-based band will be touring in late 2016 and into 2017.
Venue Information:
Haw River Ballroom
1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road
Saxapahaw, NC, 27340