The Inverters are a ska band from Austin, TX heavily influenced by The Specials, Madness, The English Beat and other amazing 2 Tone bands of that era. Add in a dash of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and what you get is honest & in your face ska!
As a co-founder (w/ brother Bill Clifton) of Fresno’s The MoFo Party Band, John Clifton has solidified himself as one of Central California’s most in demand Blues frontmen since he started in the late ’80’s. His from the gut vocal and harmonica presence and high energy performances have captivated audiences worldwide.
Hitting the road hard since the early days and performing over 150 dates a year, John regularly tours in the U.S. and has headlined some of the most well known venues and festivals throughout Europe such as the Beersel Blues Festival in Belgium, and the Blues Express and Polish Boogie Festivals, both in Poland. He has also electrified audiences on festivals and in venues throughout the islands of New Zealand and Fiji!
IN 2016, The John Clifton Blues Band performed on the Doheny Blues Festival, California’s largest and most prestigious festivals, with Edgar Winter and Lynyrd Skynyrd headlining. He also injected a shot of adrenaline to the acclaimed Edition de Bain de Blues Festival in France.
With style and prowess on the level of Kim Wilson and Rod Piazza, John has always kept it real with his own voice and identity and never set out to be a copy of any of his musical heroes. As a showman he delivers straight from the heart, soul, and gut, staying clear of the typical clichés and novelties.
He also keeps things fresh and exciting by effortlessly infusing styles from West Coast to Chicago Blues, classic R&B and Soul, to some hard driving vintage Rock’n’Roll.
John’s reputation and performances have earned him the respect of many of the greats as he has been invited on stage with the likes of James Cotton, Rod Piazza, Tommy Castro, John Mayall, Huey Lewis, Willie Big Eyes Smith, Luther Tucker, Kim Wilson, Billy Boy Arnold, James Harman, and Rusty Zinn. He was also given the honor of opening for BB King, winning and being a multiple nominee for the Modesto Area Music Awards, and receiving the “Declaration of Appreciation” from the State of California for his contribution to the arts.
John has performed as a featured harmonica player 7 times and the prestigious Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blow out show and has been ask to join in as a guest on many occasions with Mark Hummel and many other of the top blues harmonica players in the world.
In addition, John was asked to tour and record as the featured harmonica player with Big Bill Morganfield, Blues Hall of Fame inductee and son of Muddy Waters, on his 2016 release “Blood Stains On The Wall”.
He has also brought his skills as a producer to the studio with a band from Poland called The Boogie Boys, featuring piano giant Bartek Szopinski, and winning the Polish Blues Award for “Best Blues Album 2013” for their CD “Made In Cali”.
Producer David Z best known for his work with Prince, Etta James, Billy Idol and many others, chose John’s song “Anytime Is Cool” for the 2017 motion picture release “Shattered” John and Band were also asked to appear in the movie and were featured in the first scene.
John captured the attention of Scott Abeyta, owner of Rip Cat Records in Southern California, and was added to a roster that included The Blasters, the 44’s, and Kid Ramos among many other great names. He released his first solo album “Let Yourself Go” in 2015 to worldwide acclaim and airplay, and the single “Let Your Self Go” charted in the Top 10 on the Duke University WXDU Americana Show.
The album boasts guest performances by Kid Ramos, Rusty Zinn, brother Bill Clifton, Bartek Szopinski, Marty Dodson, and Bob Welsh. Scott Abeyta holds down the main guitar duties, and fellow Fresno music icons Roger Perry, Jake Finney, and John Shafer are also featured.
2018 Brings a new CD on Rip Cat Records “Nightlife” .The new CD has been getting great reviews and song “Still A Fool” from Nightlife was the #10 of the top new releases on Top 15 Rack of Blues Radio show on BB Kings Bluesville on Sirus XM Radio. Also an extensive tour in support of “Nightlife” in the Mid West and East Coast for the summer 2018.
John Clifton…one of those rare musicians that has dedicated himself to the Blues and has found continued success and relevance by remaining dedicated, excited, hardworking, and focused.
Today (5/20/19), Wade Bowen announced that his critically acclaimed 2018 album Solid Ground will be released on vinyl for the first time ever on May 31 via Thirty Tigers. The special edition vinyl will also include a previously unreleased song “Yours Alone” that was recorded during the sessions for Solid Ground.
“This song has always been on the back burner for me waiting for an album,” explains Bowen. “I’ve loved this song since Sean McConnell and I wrote it. It was a tad too happy for the record for the original release but I feel it was maybe the best song on the album. Sometimes we have to cut our favorites to make the album make sense. I’m glad this song is finally being heard by the world. Love the lyrics and maybe my favorite melody I’ve ever had the pleasure writing.”
To celebrate the upcoming vinyl release, Wade Bowen will play three in-stores next week at Waterloo in Austin, TX on May 28, Cactus Music in Houston, TX on May 29 and Chief Records in Fort Worth, TX on May 30. Bowen and his band will also be touring extensively thoroughout the summer. Find a full list of tour dates below or visit his website.
“This album was meant for vinyl more than any album I’ve ever done. Keith Gattis brought producing to the highest level of authenticity in my opinion and I’ve waited for it to be released since we finished. Enjoy!”
Upon its release, Rolling Stone called Solid Ground “…a love letter to his home state of Texas and his most musically ambitious set of songs in a career that stretches back two decades.” Sounds Like Nashville called it, “A versatile album that blends many sonic flavors and influences seamlessly, Bowen’s Solid Ground continues to enhance the singer’s lengthy catalog all while paying tribute to his deep Texas roots.”
Bowen’s single “Fell In Love On Whiskey” is currently #1 on the CDX Radio Chart and #5 on The Texas Regional Radio chart.
Where Texas rock and the British invasion meet. Original rock n roll mixed with classic 60’s & 70’s cover music.
Strong British Invasion/Glam rock influence.
Presented by Texas Folklife.
Accordion Kings and Queens showcases the amazing musical diversity of Texas accordion styles, featuring legends of conjunto, polka, country western, zydeco, Cajun and more. Accordion Kings & Queens draws a capacity crowd of six thousand to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. The event celebrates the cultural diversity of Texas by bringing communities together for an evening of dancing and roots music played on the accordion, “the national instrument of Texas”. Come out for an evening of dancing and roots music, featuring the best of Texas accordion music genres. Pick up your FREE tickets at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre the day of the event.
Artists performing: The Walk Offs, Nuclear Juarez, and 61 Ghosts
Otto Records! is a Rock-N-Roll label from San Antonio Texas. Releasing music from all over the world. Rock, Punk, Garage, Indie, Surf.
On his new and first solo record, the soon to be released, OFF AT 11, recording artist and Chicago native now Nashvillian, JD SIMO wants you to know that above all things, what matters most to him is that music should be honest. The gifted artist more than offers this in a psychedelic, free-flowing, dynamic soundscape that exemplifies just that… Honesty.
Acid rock, traditional blues, folk, soul, free form jazz, and the never ceasing desire to improvise pulses from this collection in a mind bending, kaleidoscope of sound, energy and vibe. NPR said, “Nashville blues trio SIMO sounds as if it comes to us straight from 1968.” And Rolling Stone lauded, “J. D. Simo spins soulful psychedelic blues rock with an improvisational bent reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Though he’s been performing in bands since his teenage years, [he] has begun to get national attention….”
With influences as diverse as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Captain Beefheart, Miles Davis and the Allman Brothers to blues guitarists such as Lightnin’ Hopkins and BB King, this young artist, is taking the listener on a musical journey using LOVE as the guideposts. He explains, “There’s an underlying theme of LOVE that permeates the album. Both outward love but also inner and self love. These days, everything is so heavy, but I just want to point out some joy, love and deep passion; in this world, we all share that spirit. OFF AT 11 does that.”
The recording of this rocking, blues driven, electric tour de force, was recorded over a three day period in the summer of 2018, “Our next summer of LOVE”, says JD Simo. Recording during a brief break in touring including JD’s first shows as a newly cultivated member of Phil Lesh and Friends, JD and his band recorded these musically dense and inspiring tracks in a “groovy space” to lay down something authentic, filled with fun and NO edits, NO tricks. “Just honesty and a tape machine” he continues.
Produced by JD in association with his co-manager Michael Caplan, and due to be released this year, OFF AT 11 consists of 8 tracks that are laid out on the record like a musical journey through gifted guitar playing and singing, incredible rhythm section arrangements and lyrics that convey that “all the feels” momentum.
Songs titles: Off at 11, Temptation, Sweet Little Angel and others could have been released in the height of the 60’s but have a modern musical approach that are clues to the immense talent of JD Simo and his band.
With his band, SIMO, JD and cohorts have gained a solid fan following from touring and opening for bands such as Blackberry Smoke, The Gregg Allman band, Warren Haynes, Tommy Emmanuel and others. They have played Bonarroo, Warren Hayne’s Christmas Jam and Mountain Jam since the formation of the band in 2010.
“The experience with SIMO set the stage and pushed me forward to record OFF AT 11” I loved the process, the playing and the struggle to make this record a reality. I hope everyone feels the LOVE.” JD said.
SIMO debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Blues chart in January 2016.He has been noticed by No Depression, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Relix, Guitar World and NPR among others. The band was featured on NPR’s World Cafe which was broadcast nationally after the initial broadcast in late January on Philadelphia’s WXPN. The band started its first full national tour in January 2016 bringing them to over 37 states and playing over 80 shows.
Elena Lacayo is a singer-songwriter and leader of the DC-based bilingual Latin-rock band Elena & Los Fulanos. Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Lacayo identifies herself as both American and Nicaraguan and her music, which ranges from twangy, heartbreak-themed folk Americana, to soothing, introspective, violin-infused Latin rock reflects this dual identity. Her band’s Wammie-nominated debut album, Miel Venenosa, was released in 2014 and her band’s second album, Volcán, (2017) has been hailed as “a bilingual folk album for the resistance” by the Washington City Paper, who also included her in their People Issue 2017 highlighting notable Washingtonians. Most recently, Elena started playing guitarrón (mariachi bass) with the Latin GRAMMY-winning group, Flor de Toloache.
Come into Cactus for a FREE In-store Performance with Randy Rogers. Purchase the new Randy Rogers Album “Hellbent” (out Friday, 4/26/19!) and receive a FREE WRISTBAND for a Meet & Greet “Priority Line Placement” after the performance.
Few relationships in life are more complicated than those among band members. Music history is filled with stories of the rise and fall of creative personalities, but the Randy Rogers Band is a unique brotherhood fueled by a shared passion for making great music and a strong commitment to each other. That bond forms the foundation for the new music on their latest album Hellbent, a high-octane collection of songs buoyed by the same fearless spirit and sense of camaraderie that has made them one of country’s most compelling bands.
In a business where bands come and go and membership is often a revolving door, the Randy Rogers Band has been together for more than 17 years. “Just like any other relationship, you have to pick your battles and have respect for each other,” Rogers says. “None of us know how to do anything else. This is our livelihood. It’s how we take care of our families. Years ago when we were really struggling and wondering how we were going to make it, there were some deep and emotional conversations that we all had with each other about if this is really what we all wanted and the decision was made a long time ago. The answer was yes then and the answer is still yes now. It’s something we all believe in. This is our life’s work.”
The culmination of their musical journey thus far can be heard on Hellbent.
“Creatively we all bring something different to the table and you can hear it in the records,” Rogers says. “You can hear people’s personalities in the records.”
It’s that blend of unique personalities that have fueled the Randy Rogers Band’s success for nearly two decades.
“Our bass player, Johnny Chops, has this way of writing. It’s a little old school, a little Waylon-esque if you will. His lyrics aren’t necessarily anything like mine. They are a little bit more vague and more interpretive,” Rogers says, bragging on his bandmate. “What Brady Black adds to our makeup is his sensibility on stage, his appearance, his energy, his unique way that he plays the fiddle. He’s a crowd pleaser.”
“Les Lawless, our drummer, has played on hundreds of albums with many different artists. He’s kind of the human metronome. He’s a solid drummer. I can’t recall a mistake he’s ever made on stage. He’s just a rock. Geoffrey Hill [guitar, vocals] is a very talented musician. He’s a great singer, a great harmony singer. Most of our sound as a band is because of Geoffrey and his unique vocals and the way he blends his vocals with my vocals.”
Of course, the lineup wouldn’t be complete without longtime member Todd Stewart. “There isn’t an instrument that Todd can’t play and he sings well,” Rogers enthuses. “Onstage he’s playing guitar on one song, mandolin on the next one, fiddle on the next one and a piano on the next one and a B3 on the next one. He’s a key part of our band because he fills up all those spots musically that no one else can do like him. It’s fascinating to watch him switch between every song.”
That dynamic musical chemistry has taken the Randy Rogers Band beyond the competitive music scene in their native Texas to build a national fan base with sold out shows across the country. The band has become skilled at capturing that live energy and passion on their albums and Hellbent is a perfect example. “We’ve been through this process long enough to know that we wanted this record to be perfect and complete so we kept writing and went back in and we recorded again,” Rogers reveals.
“It is important, especially in today’s day and age, not to put out content just for the sake of content. People see through that and it’s a big mistake young artists make just to put a video or a new song out just to have something to talk about. There is a lost art to making an entire album, being a cohesive unit and have it be something that you can stand up and play. We have to record songs we can play live. Ninety nine percent of the income we share is because we’re playing a show, so those songs can’t be throwaway songs.”
The first single, “Crazy People,” is a relatable tune that paints a picture of strict parents that weren’t always so straight-laced. “I did not write that song, however, I did live that song, and that’s why I cut it,” Rogers says with a chuckle.
“When I heard it, I could imagine that my parents weren’t always fanatically religious. As a young kid, I definitely wasn’t comfortable around neon signs or around restaurants where they were serving alcohol. I just thought that was something very, very bad and that’s what was instilled in my head. It was very, very much a sin, so I was a little freaked out when I was a kid. It’s nothing against my parents. Both me and my brother turned out just fine, but I just think there was this sense of over protection and security and a lot of that was based around the church. So the first thing I did when I turned 16 was tried everything.”
Another highlight on the album is “You, Me and a Bottle,” penned by Rogers. ‘I love love songs, and that song is a carefree kind of love song about kind of getting lost with your significant other,” Rogers says.
“The troubles of the world and stresses of the week fade when you are with that one special person. That all disappears. That’s kind of the feel-good song on the album I think and the prettiest love song on the record.”
On the other end of the emotional spectrum, “Anchors Away” is about a man who can’t commit and keeps running from love. “‘Anchors Away’ is a very sad song,” Rogers admits. “The chorus says, ‘Anchors away, works like a charm, first sign of danger, I pull the alarm,’ and the lyrics that really get to me are, ‘I don’t want to leave, I don’t know how to stay.’ That lyric to me really paints the picture of somebody who doesn’t know how to love and doesn’t know how to love someone back. Out of all the lyrics on the album, that lyric might be the most poignant lyric because a lot of times people sabotage themselves and relationships they are in because they don’t know any better because they’ve seen their parents do it or they are just in a cycle repeating the same mistakes. I think that’s a lot of people.”
“Wine in a Coffee Cup” paints an interesting portrait of a high-powered career woman. “Women have roles in the workplace that are very different than they were maybe 50 years ago,” Rogers says. “There are a lot of CEOs, CFOs, a lot of presidents and vice presidents. Huge companies are run by women. It’s an interesting fact that nobody is perfect and my idea of that song was a CEO of a company walking in every day and everybody thinks she has everything together and her life is perfect, but in all actuality she is like everybody else. She’s struggling with something. It could be her relationship, home life or family, but even the most successful people have flaws, so that was my take on it. It’s a nod to women and the fact that they are, in this day in age, hopefully treated as equals in the workplace but here’s this girl that’s running the company and she’s coming in buzzed every day. That song isn’t about someone I know personally. It’s about the culture and the environment we live in now. I guarantee that that song is happening somewhere.”
“Hell Bent on a Heartache” is a song Rogers first heard and fell in love with on Guy Clark’s album My Favorite Picture of You. “I love that album start to finish and that song was my favorite song. Chris Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, wrote that with Guy Clark and I had no clue,” he says. “We were in the studio the week Tom Petty died and on that track especially there is this kind of Heartbreaker kind of feel to that song. It’s produced in a way that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would have done it. The influence definitely shines through on this album, especially on that track.”
In recording Hellbent, the Randy Rogers Band worked with producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and recorded at the legendary RCA Studio A. “A large part of the country really enjoys the records that he’s made over the last 10 years and obviously I was paying attention to that,” Rogers says.
“I was noticing the albums I was listening to, and they were produced by him, so I called him up and asked if we could meet for lunch. I’d never worked with him before, so it was a very exciting going into RCA and meeting him and the team. We’re very thankful for that opportunity and getting to record in Studio A. So many people whether it be Dolly Parton or George Strait have recorded in that room, so it was a bit of hallowed ground. It was a little overwhelming as well. There’s pictures all over the walls there of people who recorded. It’s amazing.”
Recording Hellbent is just the latest chapter in the Randy Rogers Band’s thriving career. In addition to being a gifted vocalist, insightful songwriter and talented musician, the band’s founding member is also well known in music industry circles for his business savvy. He graduated from college with a degree in PR and is one of those rare musicians who has great executive skills too.
Rogers is co-owner of several Texas venues including Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas where George Strait began building a fan base in his early career. Rogers is also a partner in Big Blind Management with Robin Schoepf and steers the careers of Red Shahan and Parker McCollum.
Rogers seems to have a unique talent for seeing around corners. It’s what drove him to take his band outside of Texas and develop fans on both coasts, even when the initial investment was risky. “I’m left brain and right brain,” the Cleburne, Texas native says. “I’m a very organized person and I can also see six months from now. I’m always thinking a step ahead and it wears my wife out because I’m talking about booking my life months from now. My brain is always spinning and thinking about what is coming next instead of really sitting in a moment. That’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing that I can never really turn my brain off.”
Rogers is also a big fan of collaboration and has partnered with friend Wade Bowen on the infectious Hold My Beer projects and joined forces with Lone Star legend Robert Earl Keen as the Stryker Brothers. He recently joined Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker to sing on Michael Martin Murphey’sAustinology album.
Though Rogers is prone to eagerly explore other musical avenues, the core of his creative adventure continues to be the Randy Rogers Band. For Rogers, Hellbent was the perfect name for the album, and not just because it comes from one of his favorite songs.
“The album is named Hellbent and isn’t necessarily for ‘Hell Bent On a Heartache.’ We’re in it for the long haul. We’re lifers,” he says with a grin.
“This is obviously our way of life. This isn’t some Johnny-come-lately group of guys. We’re like an oak tree. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not hinged on whether our next single will be a No.1. We’re not hinged on an album topping the charts. We have a great and loyal fan base and we do things right. When we play our shows, people expect to have a great night and to go home satisfied. As long as we keep doing that, no change in the industry, no record deal or anything like that can make or break this band.”
Karina Nistal is back with a new album “Je Ne Sais Quoi” (I don’t know what), which best describes her style of Latin Hip Hop and Soulful House. Karina has that certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi” and for this special Cactus Record Store Day performance she’ll be backed by Freddy B to preview her new songs.