Animal Liberation Orchestra has had an enormously successful year, which has found them touring with the likes of Jack Johnson and recently signing with Brushfire Records. Their album “Fly Between Falls” suffices when you can’t see them live, but the sounds of their laid back optimistic pacifism almost creates a conversation between the dancing fans and musicians. ALO originated in California and has been playing together in various incarnations since college. The band is made up of Zach Gills (keys, accordion, vocals, and ukulele), Dan Lebowitz (guitar, percussion, vocals), Steve Adams (bass, vocals) and David Brogan (drums, vocals). All four members are equally trained in jazz, classics, pop and funk, creating an educated new brand of creative funkiness.
According To Our Records (ATO Records) is a record label committed to artists and building their careers. Founded by Dave Matthews, manager Coran Capshaw, and two associates – Michael McDonald and Chris Tetzeli – ATO seeks out talented songwriters, musicians and performers for whom there is genuine passion and belief. ATO strives to build career artists. As a truly independent label ATO is steadfast in our commitment to maintaining that focus.
ATO is based in New York and distributes its records through SonyBMG. ATO looks for the label to evolve naturally on an artist-by-artist basis. The priority for the label is that there be sufficient time and attention to develop each artist and each release. There is no timeline, but there is a plan to build the label on the quality of the musicians we work with.
Upon returning from Senegal, said Dave about the trip, “We got to meet Baaba Maal, one of my heroes.” In 2004, Dave and Trey Anastasio toured Dakar, performed with Orchestra Baobab, performed on Goree Island and went to a Baaba Maal concert all recorded for posterity by Vh1. Baaba Maal is a pillar of the African music world. For over ten years, he has been creating magical compositions ranging from the purest traditional sounds to exciting, innovative fusion. Using his music as a vehicle to express his concerns and empower his people, Baaba Maal sings and speaks for Africa with unprecedented authority.
BELA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES
Often described as a band that performs bluegrass stylings with jazz sensibilities, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones serve as a prime example of what can happen when musicians leave their preconceived notions about music on the cutting room floor. The sound of the Flecktones is certainly a breath of fresh air and each member of the quartet offers something distinctive and exciting to the overall sound. Bass guru Victor Wooten provides a deep and intricate low end that shows just how far you can go with a bass guitar. Saxophone player Jeff Coffin coaxes sounds out of his horn that only the most accomplished players are able to do. Bela Fleck’s banjo picking skills, renowned the world over, adds a layer of sound that is both complex and delicate. Completing the mix is Future Man, whose steady and innovative beats hold it all together.
Ben Kweller’s undeniable knack for melody leaves you singing long after your Walkman batteries are dead. On April 6th, 2004, BK released his highly anticipated second studio album, “On My Way”, on ATO/RCA Records. One of the main differences between “On My Way” and Kweller’s first album, Sha Sha, is the distinctly live feel of the new record, akin to a mid-sixties rock recording. Through this release it is obvious that BK has progressed musically in every aspect. Yet, in the end, he’s managed to keep the songwriting sensibility and diversity for which he is known and loved.
Three years after his last album, the four times platinum ‘A New Day At Midnight’, David Gray presents ‘Life In Slow Motion’, recorded between autumn 2003 and spring 2005 and released through ATO/RCA Records. ‘Life In Slow Motion’ is the deceptively consummate product of two years of near-constant evolution, described by David as “the tip of an iceberg” of new material generated along the way.
DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances. They have revitalized the brass band in New Orleans and around the world, progressing from local parties, clubs, and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents. The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes. More recently, the Dozen have joined the likes of Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic and Modest Mouse for recording dates. And this doesn’t even dip into the band’s own recorded output, stretching back 27 years and 10 albums.
DJ MOTION POTION
Motion Potion (Robert Kowal), called alternately “the Dj for people who hate Dj’s” and the “Swiss Army DJ”, MoPo seems to have something for everyone. MoPo is a funk impresario, mashup enthusiast, and live collaborator with such bands as Parliament-Funkadelic, the Mutaytor and Galactic. His career has been defined by an attempt to break down genre and scene barriers, playing every conceivable kind of music in the course of a night, a set, or a seven-minute mash-up. His own mix CD’s range wider than most label’s catalogs; live mixes that range from underground hip hop electronic breaks to world fusion to rare southern rock.
G. LOVE AND SPECIAL SAUCE
Garret Dutton, a.k.a. G Love, has reenlisted Special Sauce, James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott on upright bass and Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens on drums to complete the Philadelphonic Sound. Together they will be releasing a new album in 2006. G Love himself confirmed that Soulive will be featured on the record in a funky song called “Change”.
Galactic was born in the early ’90s, after two Washington DC punks – guitarist Jeff Raines and bassist Robert Mercurio – relocated to New Orleans and found themselves intoxicated by the sounds of the scene that nurtured The Meters, Professor Longhair, the Neville Brothers and Dr. John. Armed with the rhythmic tradition of its hometown, the six-piece future funk outfit has spent over a decade tearing through venues across the world, leaving hordes of die-hard Galactic junkies in its wake.
Chariot, Gavin DeGraw’s J Records debut, introduces the world to a vital, magnetic young artist whose abundant talent and charisma are already well known to New York clubgoers. The 11-song collection is a remarkably accomplished and compelling first effort offering the same combination of raw emotion and eloquent songcraft that originally drew hometown fans to his live shows. Gavin DeGraw toured as support for several dates on DMB’s 2005 winter tour. Gavin hit the studio early year and will be working on an array of new material, so be sure to look out for his new record soon.
For How We Operate, their fifth studio album (2006), Gomez didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. Oh no. The British quintet just wanted to change the blueprint for a different sort of rounded object: Their own records. British music fans have long been hip to Gomez and their retro-pop sound and electronic experiments. However, the group is just now finding itself poised on the brink of mainstream American recognition. To help focus their energies on their first studio release for ATO Records, the band decided to try a wholly new tack, and enlist the help of their first outside producer Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters).
By now, the word has spread about Gov’t Mule. The group’s incessant nature along with its visceral blues and jazz-based attack has garnered one of rock’s most loyal followings. The Mule, led by Warren Haynes and Matt Abts, are frequent DMB touring companions. By now, the word has spread about Gov’t Mule. Their latest release, Deja Voodoo, is available on ATO Records.
Jem is an ATO Records artist. Jem’s sound is a lush blend of pop melodies and hip hop infused grooves that has been described as a cross between Beth Orton and Dr. Dre. Her debut album, Finally Woken was released on ATO records in early 2004.
JOHN BUTLER TRIO
True to its title, the John Butler Trio’s new album “Sunrise Over Sea” marks the latest chapter in the odyssey of John Butler. Here he emerges as much as a singer and songwriter, arranger and producer, as he is a gifted, rootsy guitarist. The album’s lead-off single, the crossover radio hit, “Zebra” already sent the message to Butler’s legion of followers: don’t assume that you know what’s coming. JBT has captivated fans spanning from Europe to North America as an amazing touring act. The band’s music draws on influences of reggae, hip-hop, funk, blues, folk, and country.
Actually comprised of six members, Jurassic 5 is part of the new rap underground of the late 90s. Their last album, Power in Numbers, was released on Interscope Records in 02. Jurassic 5 performed as support act for DMB for several dates during the summer 2005 tour.
KARL DENSON’S TINY UNIVERSE
The Tiny Universe is taking some well-deserved time off while Karl works on writing and recording a new KDTU album. Karl is also going to be touring with the Greyboy Allstars in the first half of 2006.
Combining the sounds of Bob Marley and Shlomo Carlebach, yet remaining wholly original, Matisyahu’s performance is an uplifting, powerful experience for all in his presence. Even the most pessimistic in his audience is inspired by his ability to so honestly convey such a delicate, topic as faith/spirituality. It is his dedication to his belief and openness to others that compels one to respect his artistry and message. It’s in that fleeting moment when our skepticism melts and our souls open up, that Matisyahu enters with his booming sound of faith.
The former frontman for Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty has found out even more about what it means to be a songwriter and an artist. His new solo album HAUGHTY MELODIC (ATO Records), features unique songs rendered in fully realized form, fleshed out with the help of a full band—the first the singer has recorded with since Soul Coughing split in 2000.
MY MORNING JACKET
My Morning Jacket is a four-piece band from Louisville, KY, built solidly around the vocal and songwriting talent of group leader Jim James. Their sound is lonesome, haunting, almost classic country at times.
MMJ’s fifth full-length studio album, Evil Urges represents the most far-ranging, surprising, and satisfying sounds of their career. From the freak-funk electro-slam of “Highly Suspicious” to the contemplative “Sec Walkin’,” which could almost be a Nashville standard, on Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket display the scope and fearlessness that demonstrates their growth into one of the world’s great rock & roll bands.
NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
Unquestionably one of the most important contributors to rock n roll, Neil Young continues to influence musicians with his lyrical poetry and powerful performances. Prairie Wind, his newest recording, was released in early 2006 as a CD/DVD – with video of some of the studio sessions that took place while recording the album.
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
NMA’s sound is a combination of the blues, gospel, and traditional psychedelic rock’n’roll. NMA has received acclaim for bridging the gap between younger listeners and the blues. Their latest release, Electric Blue Watermelon (ATO Records) is a return to form and concept for NMA. With special guest appearances by friends Lucinda Williams, the incredible Robert Randolph, old road buddies Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and the ever present syncopated rolling thunder of the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, this theatrical musical statement goes straight into the cosmos of collective imagination.
The island-vibe roots rock sound of O.A.R. first developed in Rockville, Maryland in 1997 in the basement of drummer Chris Culos’ childhood home. While still in high school, the band released their first album, The Wanderer, and by the time they had graduated from college, they already had three albums under their belts. Known for their energetic live performances, the band began touring throughout the country upon graduation. In early 2005, the band returned to where it all began, Culos’ basement, to find inspiration and begin work on their most recent release with Lava Records, Stories of a Stranger.
Los Angeles’ beloved Afro-Latin-and-beyond style-mashers. Ozomatli’s latest release, the Grammy winning Street Signs is both a mature testament to the band’s nearly decade-long evolution and a fresh, dance floor-rocking reminder of their commitment to creating original music in the face of industry conservatism.
Since Pat Green started building a life in songs, framed with a husky voice that suggests long nights, worn memories and deep passions, and a battered acoustic guitar that was perhaps his most constant companion, the search for that truth has made him the kind of artist that just about all of Texas could see their own truths in. Along the way, he’s garnered three Grammy nominations, had a Top 5 Billboard Country Single with “Wave On Wave”, and sold out the Houston Astrodome twice. Certainly his evolution as a writer is present on Lucky Ones, his most recent release and second project with noted roots producer Don Gehman.
By the summer of 1999, Ray had quit his job in a Maine shoe factory and had put together a ten-song demo tape of his songs, and that demo found its way into the hands of Jamie Ceretta at Chrysalis Music Publishing. The publishing house signed the young songwriter and teamed him with producer Ethan Johns in the studio, resulting in LaMontagne’s highly acclaimed debut album, Trouble, which was picked up by RCA Records and released in the fall of 2004.
ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND
Robert Randolph & the Family Band are ready to change your life, just as music changed that of this group’s dynamic leader. Raised in a firestorm of faith and danger, dividing his time between battles in the streets and safety in the arms of his music, Robert Randolph found his way up from darkness with help from a most unusual source: the pedal steel guitar. in Randolph’s world, which centers on the unique “sacred steel” tradition within the House of God Church, the pedal steel is a different animal, a source of ferocious, passionate sound. And in Randolph’s young hands, it’s a weapon, used to slash at darkness and rip away the shades that hide sunlight from our lives.
Samantha, a California native has coined the term “Cali Soul” to describe her music; A soulful blend of pop and rock with a twist of jam. Samantha’s ability to improvise on stage allows her to transcend boundaries of her pop-sounding songs and enter the realm of jam. Her shows are festivals of sorts, good spirited fun, and she delivers a sexy, delightfully raw, mellifluous sound. Some would say her music is “sweet as tulepo honey”. Samantha released her first album, Square One in 2005 and has been touring in support.
Best known the world over for the group that bears his name, Carlos Santana has been reinventing and reshaping the landscape of the known universe’s musical culture for close to four decades. A visionary artist with no regards for genre boundaries, Carlos’ fluid sound long ago laid claim to the concept of “world music” before the term ever surfaced on pop culture radar. Visit the site of Santana and check out Dave Matthews’ vocals and Carter Beauford on drums on “Love of My Life,” an incredible track on Supernatural.
Ocean Beach, CA’s Slightly Stoopid, who are already coasting into their second decade of rock n’ roll at the ages of 26 – 27 years-old, released their fifth album, Closer to the Sun, in April 2005. Fusing acoustic rock and blues with reggae, hip-hop, and punk, Slightly Stoopid have cemented a signature sound and created a legion of die-hard fans in the process.
The Fray is a Denver-based quartet whose earnest and melodic songs have been striking a huge chord with audiences. Formed in 2002 by Isaac Slade (vocals, piano) and Joe King (guitar, vocals), The Fray owe all of their early success to their organic, grassroots beginnings. If you haven’t caught their shows yet, you can get a taste on their recently released iTunes exclusive live “bootleg,” Live At The Electric Factory, released July 18 (iTunes has also been good to The Fray: their album has been in the iTunes top 10 for six months straight, a feat not accomplished by many other acts).
Reynolds is a guitarist who rises above the mere mastery of chops to a virtual state of communion with his instrument. Reynolds makes use of every capacity the guitar possesses. He has brought a whole new sensibility to his instrument with his wide-ranging musical ability. From progressive rock, straight-up jazz and high-powered funk fusion guitar, to bass, piano, sitar, mandolin, violin, and a plethora of ethnic percussion instruments. Tim Reynolds has collaborated with DMB on numerous albums and toured with “Dave Matthews & Friends” subsequent to the release of Dave Matthews’ Some Devil.
TOOTS & THE MAYTALS
Toots is one of the true architects of reggae – so much so that “Do the Reggay,” a 1968 single by Toots and his group, the Maytals, is credited with giving the genre its name. Classic songs written and recorded by Toots and the Maytals have been covered by the likes of the Clash and the Specials, and the group was featured in reggae’s greatest breakthrough event – “The Harder They Come,” the 1972 film that became an international sensation.
Guitarist, composer, songwriter, Trey Anastasio has a long list of appropriate titles rivaled only by the list of his musical accomplishments. Co-founding the seminal improvisational rock band, Phish, in 1983, the limits to Trey’s creativity seem to have no boundaries. In 2004 alone he performed his last concerts with Phish, did several festivals with his horn-driven Dectet, toured as a part of Dave Matthews and Friends and conducted a self-composed orchestral set in front of 90,000 fans at Bonnaroo. Now, his musical genius is out in the form of his most recent release, Shine (Sony).
“He was a voice during the revolution … a voice of hope, the Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan of South Africa and still is.”
- Dave Matthews
Vusi’s vocal talents can be heard on the Dave Matthews Band “Everyday” album and his debut US release The Voice is out now on ATO Records. Vusi is featured on the
2006 Oscar Award winning motion picture Tsotsi.
Surf/roots artist Xavier Rudd weaves stories of the mistreatment of the indigenous people of his homeland and songs about humanity, spirituality and the environment, compassionate songs encouraging understanding and looking to celebrate life. And running through those songs are all sorts of instruments: guitars, shakers, didgeridoos, Weissenborn slide guitars, Tongue drums, stomp boxes, djembes, harmonica, ankle bells, and slide banjo—and they’re all played by Rudd! Even more impressive, though, Rudd recreates these songs live – playing the guitar, didgeridoo and various percussion parts simultaneously – using a unique stage set-up. It’s a sight to behold for sure!