Friday, May 4
Saturday, April 25, 2015 ♦ 7:00 PM
4545 N Lincoln Ave · The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall · 773.728.6000
Led by a trail of incense and a little voice at the back of her brain that whispers "Nice try, 60s," Nellie travels to a land of strange and wonderful music on My Weekly Reader, revisiting some of the melodies born out of that fertile, conflicted time.
“Freedom's just another word for turning off your phone,” says Nellie, who first collaborated with famed Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick on her debut Get Away From Me. They reunite for My Weekly Reader (March 24 / Savoy 429 Records). With the aid of Emerick's golden ears, she covers songs from the era of political turmoil and creative delight by Zappa, Ray Davies, Steve Miller, Country Joe McDonald, and then some.
“It's important for us to be aware and not succumb to what (jazzman) Dave Frishberg has referred to as ‘weapons of mass distraction," adds Nellie. “These songs come out of a time of less cynicism - back in the 60's the darker things in society were balanced by a certain innocence and hope.”
The New Yorker has warily described McKay as “funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented.”
Since her last album, besides eating potato chips, scratching her ass, and watching reruns of Mister Ed, Nellie has indulged an extended run in the award-winning off-Broadway hit Old Hats and written three acclaimed musical biographies - I Want to Live!, the story of Barbara Graham, third woman executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin, Silent Spring: It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature, an exploration of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson, and her latest, A GIRL NAMED BILL - The Life and Times of Billy Tipton, named one of the Best Concerts of 2014 by The New York Times.
Nellie has previously released five full-length albums, including Pretty Little Head, Obligatory Villagers and Normal as Blueberry Pie ("among the killer overhauls of American standards” - The New York Times). She has won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera and performed onscreen in the films PS I Love You and Downtown Express, as well as writing original music for the Rob Reiner film Rumor Has It and contributing to the Emmy-winning documentary Gasland.
Nellie's music has been heard on the TV shows Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, and Nurse Jackie, and she has appeared on numerous TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic). In 2010, the Chase Brock Experience produced a ballet of Obligatory Villagers and Nellie contributed the forward to the 20th anniversary edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams. Her writing has also appeared in The Onion, Interview, and The New York Times Book Review.
A recipient of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Humanitarian Award in recognition of her dedication to animal rights, Nellie is an annoyingly vocal advocate for feminism, civil rights and other deeply felt progressive ideals. She is currently part of the campaign to get horse-drawn carriages off the streets of New York City.
Martha Redbone's music flows equally from her own unique, award-winning blend of Native American elements with funk and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues favored by the matriarchy that raised her on a rich sojourn from Clinch Mountain, Virginia to Harlan County, Kentucky and beyond to Brooklyn's Dodge City-esque mean streets. Indeed, Garden Of Love seamlessly evokes the mid-20th century old timey gold rush when such artists as her fellow Kentuckians Jim Ford and Jackie DeShannon fearlessly infused their down home blues between canyon air ballets and retronuevo cabinessence – before their followers developed newgrass and Redbone's twangy forebears Buffy Sainte-Marie and Rita Coolidge brought Indigenous concerns to the rock & roll arena in the 1970s. Yet don't call this project bluegrass or the purists might have a fit.
Saturday, April 25, 2:00 PM
Martha will teach Southeastern intertribal singing from Cherokee and Choctaw Nations, also including some of the Cherokee language in a call-and-response format, incorporating harmonies and Cherokee language. Cultural references will be made to Martha's family homeland in Harlan County, Kentucky and include personal life experiences about her multicultural background of Native and African American parents.