The Bowery Ballroom
Pearl and the Beard, Wakey!Wakey!

Family Records Holiday Extravaganza

Pearl and the Beard

Wakey!Wakey!

Rosi Golan, Casey Shea

Thu, December 15, 2011

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

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

This event is 18 and over

Pearl and the Beard
Pearl and the Beard
Pearl and the Beard is three voices, one cello, one guitar, one glockenspiel, one melodica, several drums, one accordion, ninety-six teeth, and one soul.

Former strangers Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles were united in the great city of New York. Each had migrated there from a far corner of the nation with naught but food in their pockets and money in their bellies. Each had the same true love. Since then, the three have nested, and their unique brand of brightly melodic songcraft continues to blossom of its own accord.

Pearl and the Beard loves you the way you’ve always been.
Wakey!Wakey!
Wakey!Wakey!
“There was a point in my childhood when I thought I was going to be a preacher,” says Michael Grubbs, the frontman-songwriter behind Brooklyn’s Wakey!Wakey! “I was going to have a congregation, talk to them about life, about how to get by. I guess this is kind of my pulpit now.”

Ever since his single “War Sweater” jettisoned him into stardom five years ago (thanks to a game-changing plug on One Tree Hill), the indie-pop singer has built a following that’s as passionate as his compositions. His fans have bought 45,000 copies of his self-released debut, the exquisitely tortured Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You. They’ve permanently inked his lyrics on their bodies (you can find them on display at the “W!W! Tattoos!!!” Pinterest board). And in the ultimate gesture of support, they crowd-funded his self-released follow-up album, the fittingly titled Salvation—and even exceeded the goal by 141 percent. Meanwhile, Salvation’s first single, the bright, palpitating “Wake Up (Lily, I Love You…),” is already off to an auspicious start, amassing global grassroots traction.

Wakey!Wakey! fans are not passive, and that is not lost on a humbled Grubbs. “That has fundamentally changed the conversation with me, the way that I connect with fans through music,” he says. With the optimistic Salvation, he continues, “I’m taking a leap of faith that my fans have evolved with me.”

Faith has played a pivotal role in Grubbs’ life. Though more spiritual than religious, the Richmond, Virginia native was raised in a devout family, spending much of that time honing his skills in church, where his dad was music director. At home, the family would sing four-part harmonies at the breakfast table—a round robin of sorts, where each family member would switch vocal ranges. “My whole childhood was like boot camp for music,” he says, fondly. “When we were growing up, I think my mom wanted me and my sister to be The Carpenters.”

His repertoire was made up of spiritual and classical songs, until he discovered Elton John and Billy Joel sheet music at the local library. Grubbs greedily sight-read these curious new finds, changing verses like “Jesus Freaks out in the street/Handing out tickets for God” (in Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”) to “All the freaks in the streets/Handing out tickets to stuff”—to throw off his parents.

A fan of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, Grubbs majored in theater during college, but upon graduating, high-tailed it to Manhattan to chase his dream of being a serious actor. Instead, he wound up on the national musical-theater tour for Camelot. “I remember standing backstage with my tights and cape on. I saw myself in a mirror and was like, ‘F this! This is not what I signed up for.”

He soon quit to pursue a more storied New York occupation: struggling-artist bartender. After 10 years of playing bars and open mics—notably, as a regular during the anti-folk scene at the East Village’s Sidewalk Café—he simply gave up.

Around that time, he’d penned songs such as the sweeping “War Sweater,” mostly out of necessity. “I wrote stuff that was so syncopated, so aggressive, because half the time you played in bars, people wouldn’t shut up,” he says, laughing. Thematically, a sense of remorse reverberated through Almost Everything, with Grubbs’ long-term relationship unraveling as he deflated professionally.

Still, the universe had faith in him: In May 2009, in an act of seeming divine intervention, the creator of One Tree Hill discovered Wakey!Wakey! through a friend. He placed “War Sweater” on a season 6 episode of the show and cast Grubbs in a small role as a bartender. Overnight, everything came back together.

“Literally a day after ‘War Sweater’ debuted on One Tree Hill, it was No. 13 on the iTunes chart,” marvels Grubbs. “Being an artist feels like you’re in a marathon. You see what you think is the end, but you realize it’s the starting line. You run, and you run, and you run. I was so beaten down. But…here I am!”

What he has now is lightness and vantage. Salvation is built on broader themes such as rescue and hope. At its heart lies the title track, which compares “salvation to a light turned on,” explains Grubbs. “You’re down and depressed, and someone says the right thing to you or does an unexpected act of kindness—and you’re just better.” And as the song suggests, you can ultimately save yourself. Sings Grubbs, “When there’s no one left to life you up, you reach up till your arms become wings, and they lift you.”

If “Salvation” symbolizes his album’s driving message, then “Waste Away” represents its ambitions. “Thematically, it’s deep, but it’s also a very spacious song. That’s not usual for me. I tend to write really concisely,” he says. “We took a big step forward toward making something bigger.” After all, there is little fun in comfort zones.

“I wrote the last album when I was in a pretty dark place,” he says. Grubbs’ ache was powerful and relatable—which, of course, won him a lot of fans. Salvation, in kind, captures his current state: happy. Really happy. He figures the least he could do is share that with his fans, as well. “I don’t want to write songs that make people in the front row cry,” he says, then adds: “At least not for the whole show…”

- Nisha Gopalan
Rosi Golan
Rosi Golan
Rosi Golan didn’t so much choose to be a songwriter as much as it took her over. In many ways, Golan’s songwriting can most closely be likened to a storm, or a weather system that has come and stayed for the last decade of her life. In the years since this weather system has entered her life, it’s changed significantly – gaining elements and force as it travels across the topography of her emotional life. This weather system has reached its most lovely expression on Golan’s sophomore album, Lead Balloon, the culmination of two years, organized around the pain and joy contained within that space.



Unlike most, Golan didn’t dream of live shows and lyrics. At the age of 19, Golan found herself rudderless and unsure, reeling from the simultaneous experiences of both personal and communal tragedy. “My grandmother passed away, and it was not long after September 11th. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” Golan explains. “I was having this thought while I was in a car – and a commercial came on for a guitar store.” Shortly thereafter, Golan found herself there, and, never having played before, purchased a guitar for the self-admitted worst reason ever: “I liked the color,” she laughs. It shouldn’t have worked out, but it has.



In the years since that fateful radio tuning, Golan has worked to refine and calibrate her sound, collecting new elements and shaping it in the places she finds herself. The Drifter & The Gypsy, Golan’s first album, generated several songs that were prominently featured on numerous television shows (including One Tree Hill and Private Practice) and in film (Dear John). Golan embarked on a series of tours on the strength of Drifter that sent the Israeli-born Golan traipsing the globe. Lead Balloon was written on breaks from tours over the past two years, Golan can hear the spaces the songs took shape in – there is the bone-damp of London, the constant buzz of Brooklyn, the arid wind of Los Angeles. Building on the success of the friendships that lead to her well-received debut, Golan continued working with many of the songwriters she co-wrote that album with. “Everyone who I co-wrote with has become like family,” says Golan. “Generally, the group of people I write with are people who I have a relationship with, who I keep in touch with. We spend time together outside of writing music together.” The emotional shorthand shared in the context of her friendships imbues the tracks with a warm ease, even if the subject matter lacks it.



If the relationships were what Golan wanted to carry forward on this record, its production was another matter. “I wanted to throw in some wrenches,” says Golan. “And I think those wrenches were thrown by Tony Berg.” Golan credits her producer with reframing her approach to making music. “Every song was its own entity. The only thing that glued the record together was my voice, and maybe the constant of an acoustic guitar.” With no strict structure to the sound of the album, Golan was freed to interpret each song as it came to her, rather than concerning herself as to whether it kept to an overall sound. As a result, the album moves fluidly between genres, containing songs steeped in Americana, clever pop currents running throughout, and thoughtful folk.



As much as Golan may have been working without a conscious idea, in retrospect she realizes there was some governing order to Lead Balloon. It wasn’t until Golan was finished that she realized the polarities contained on the album. If “Lead Balloon” serves as the album’s mission statement, album opener “Paper Tiger” is its contrast, a honey-vocalled kiss-off that chugs along to resolution through strings, triangles and a xylophone. In contrast, the gorgeous “Lead Balloon” borrows from the best of country music, with Golan harmonizing with a mournful lap steel buoyed by its steady beat. “That song came from a bad day I was having,” says Golan. Fortuitously, she was due to meet with co-writer and friend Natalie Hemby. “When we came up with the title ‘lead balloon,’ I thought no matter what happens, I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the title of the record.” The quietly stirring “Everything Is Brilliant” is a series of recollections, followed by its refrain, which serves as both a statement of fact and a wish.



In keeping with the twin polarities Golan sees on the record, there is as much joy on the record as there is pain, and with the output of loss, there is the input of hope. When asked whether the emotional depths reached on this record are ever difficult to plumb or painful, Golan explains that in the writing, there is catharsis. “Once you write the song and put it on the record, you put them out there and let them become somebody else’s. I’m going to see it to its completion, and I’ll send it off, and let it find somebody else.”
Casey Shea
Casey Shea
"Casey's stage persona is equal parts James Brown, Elvis Presley, and Bono...but then comes the surprise, etched in cursive on the head of a pin. Listen closely, and the songs are beautiful, heartfelt, and wrenching." - MTV News

Casey Shea spent his youth tuned into classic rock radio. While his friends were headbanging along to the grunge bands of the 90s, Shea found solace in Brian Wilson's, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times."

Born in Louisiana and raised in Florida, Casey spent two years in Nashville honing his songwriting style before moving to New York City. Now in his tenth year in the city, Shea, who for a couple of years found himself fronting three separate bands, has spent the past few years re-dedicating himself to his solo career. He's kept busy those three
years, persistently touring the U.S. and Europe and releasing two albums with a third on the way.

His work, both recorded and live, has been reviewed by NME, MTV, CMJ, and The New York Times, and his songs have set the scene in episodes of One Tree Hill, Necessary Roughness, MADE, Friends With Benefits, The Gates, the movie Peace Love and Misunderstanding, and the independent documentary Mr. Rogers & Me.
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/