Blind Melon

The Crocodile Presents:

Blind Melon

Joshua James

Tue, August 28, 2018

7:00 pm

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA

$32 Adv.

This event is 21 and over

Blind Melon
Blind Melon
In recent years, the tale of Blind Melon has taken a dramatic turn – from an abrupt and tragic end, to a rebirth and reconnection with their legions of dedicated fans. No matter how you slice it, the group was responsible for some of the most memorable and pure- sounding rock music of the ‘90s, and with their reformation in 2007 with singer Travis Warren, Blind Melon have picked up with their fans, exactly where they left off. Blind Melon originally formed in 1990 in Los Angeles, California, when five transplants from other states crossed paths – singer Shannon Hoon (from Indiana), guitarist Christopher Thorn (from Pennsylvania), and guitarist Rogers Stevens, bassist Brad Smith, and drummer Glen Graham (all from Mississippi). With a buzz created around the band shortly thereafter due to Hoon’s appearance on Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 release, ‘Use Your Illusion’ (and specifically, the hit single/video, “Don’t Cry”), a recording contract soon followed with Capitol Records. The group’s now-classic self-titled debut followed in 1992.
The album saw the group fit in perfectly with the then-burgeoning alt rock/grunge movement, due to their stripped-down, rootsy sound, as evidenced by such standouts as “Tones of Home” and “Change.” But it was the song “No Rain” that became a smash on radio and MTV a year later, and Blind Melon became one of rock’s feel-good ‘overnight success stories.’ As the album scaled the charts, plum opening gigs piled up over the next year – Guns N’ Roses, Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz, and the Rolling Stones, as well as an unforgettable appearance at Woodstock ’94. Despite high expectations, the group’s sophomore release, 1995’s ‘Soup,’ was panned by critics upon release. Over the years however, the album has rightfully become recognized as one of the decade’s most underrated rock gems, spawning such standouts as “Galaxie,” “Toes Across the Floor,” and “Mouthful of Cavities.” Barely over two months after the album’s release, Hoon died while on tour from a drug overdose, at the age of 28. The four surviving members regrouped and issued an outtakes collection, 1996’s ‘Nico’ (named after Hoon’s then- baby daughter, and spawning such further Melon classics as “Soup” and “Soul One”), as well as the Grammy nominated home video, ‘Letters from a Porcupine.’ An attempt to find a replacement for Hoon was abandoned, and in 1999, the group officially went their separate ways. Smith and Thorn subsequently formed a short-lived group, Unified Theory, featuring Dave Krusen of Pearl Jam and Chris Shinn of Live, as well as opening up their own recording studio (Wishbone), and becoming much-in-demand producers, working with such artists as Anna Nalick, Critter Jones and Under the Influence of Giants. Thorn also played in Live and Awol Nation and Smith has released two full length solo records under the moniker “Abandon Jalopy”.
Stevens, having moved to New York, appeared in a pair of groups, Extra Virgin and Tender Trio, while Graham, who also settled back east, outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, played with Jimbo Mathus and his Knocked Down Society, Joe Tullos, and The Harmony Four in addition to founding The Meek and The Jakeleg. Also during these intervening years, interest in Blind Melon continued to grow further, due to the emergence of the jam band scene – which many feel the group helped create -while such compilations as 2002’s ‘Classic Masters’ and 2005’s ‘Tones of Home: The Best of,’ as well as 2005’s ‘Live at the Palace’ CD and ‘Live at the Metro’ DVD, racked up impressive sales. Add to it an ever-growing Blind Melon online community of fans, and

it was clear that there was still an unmistakable demand for the band. It was precisely around this time that Smith and Thorn were asked to produce a few tracks for Texas- based singer/songwriter, Warren – who also happened to be a die-hard Blind Melon fan. Working with Warren on his demo, Smith jokingly said to Thorn that Warren “could sing Blind Melon songs in his sleep.” The idea was born. The four remaining members – who hadn’t been in the same room in years – came together to be reacquainted with each other, and to meet with Warren. Soon after, it had become apparent that they had finally located Blind Melon’s new singer. With Stevens and Graham reclaiming their spots as well, Blind Melon was back in business. Setting up shop at Wishbone, the reformed band spent most of 2007 writing and recording. But before issuing a new album, the group decided to introduce their newest member via a highly successful and completely sold out club tour in late 2007. If the strong response from fans at these shows is any indication, the group’s upcoming shows and forthcoming new music will continue to spread the word even further.
After a short hiatus in 2009, Blind Melon has again returned to the stage playing cities all over the globe including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and more. The band continues to play a handful of special shows each year, looking forward to what the future will bring.
Joshua James
Joshua James
Raised in hard-bitten Nebraska, Joshua James’ work reflects a distinctly American ache, a yearning for a big sky and an open road. Beckoned westward out of his heartland home by the voices of Jim Morrison and Isaac Brock, he made it as far as the mountains of Utah, where like the settlers before him, he was stopped in his tracks by the arresting beauty. Here, where the mountains pierce the heavens, some believe a conduit is open between man and the divine.
Strangely familiar, yet refreshingly innovative, James’ songs are devastating in their honesty, working with themes that are intermittently elating, melancholic, and transcendent. He doesn’t so much perform these songs, as he does let them possess him, allowing his voice to be throttled from a husky whisper to a full-bodied roar.
His first two albums, 2007’s The Sun Is Always Brighter and 2009’s Build Me This, topped the year-end ‘Best of iTunes’ lists, while earning ecstatic praise from press (“Build Me This is convincing from its opening line…through its solemn last words” – Paste; “Every line rings with desperation and a desire for salvation” – Esquire, about “Mother Mary”, off Build Me This). After the commercial release of his first album in 2007, James spent the next five years touring across the United States and to far-flung places such as Romania and Japan.
In early 2011, he headed back to Utah, taking a break from the road. During this extended stay at home, James took to vegetable gardening, raising goats and chickens, and developed a heightened connection to the living things around him. The concept of becoming self-sufficient and living off the land became increasingly appealing.
Ultimately, his home and burgeoning farm were deemed ‘Willamette Mountain,’ a namesake that came to James in a dream. Both figuratively and literally, Willamette Mountain serves as a daily reminder of the simple beauties that can so easily be overlooked. “We’ve got a few acres, goats and honeybees,” he says, “it’s a place for reconnecting with nature, and for letting go of everything else.” It was here that he bore the songs compiling his newest album, appropriately titled From The Top Of Willamette Mountain.
When it came time to make the new record, James felt he needed to veer outside his comfort zone artistically, and looked for a producer who could help facilitate this. His search, along with longtime friend and bandmate Evan Coulombe, coincidentally led him to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, home base of producer Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Gardens and Villa, The Mynabrids). Holed up in Swift’s creative alcove National Freedom, the three of them took James’s voice and songs in unexpected directions, interested much more in honesty than sheer flawlessness. Recorded predominantly live over the course of two weeks, Swift strived to capture the immediacy of James’ live performances, without laboring over multiple takes or lengthy overdubs. After giving one or two impassioned live performances of each new song, James stepped back to make way for Swift’s own artistic vision.
As a result, James found his own voice while escaping the traditional confines of the folk genre. The elements of the confessional remain, but the music here breathes and moves with a life all its own. Songs like “Wolves” begin sparse and pretty before suddenly moving into the epically symphonic. “Ghost In The Town” is a poignant goodbye to youth in the form of a guitar strum noir. “Surrender” is existential angst hidden between piano waltz and doo-wop sway. The album’s lead off single, “Queen of the City”, came out of a late night, whisky-induced haze, depicting the internal paradox of good and evil, the id and the ego, faith and doubt.
“The writing and recording of this record has been a time of transition and realization for me,” says James, “and that set me free to explore other sounds and forms of expression. It’s been about finding a center and realizing that not everyone needs to see the world like you do. We all have differences. I love the fact that we are not all the same, nor should we be.”
Where Build Me This addressed the concept of rebirth, From The Top Of Willamette Mountain accomplishes a rebirth artistically. Whatever he found up there at the top of his imaginary mountain or in the Oregon studio, James now seems to be directing his questioning inward, rather than towards a hole in the sky, and the conversation is getting much more interesting.
Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
http://www.thecrocodile.com/