CVIndependent

Fri01182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

Ryan Sheridan, a DJ known by music fans as Gossip Culture, has created some great dance cuts—which you can catch for yourself at Birba on Friday, April 18, at the Catching Shade party, produced by Cream and Eventseeker.

The event’s sponsors include the Coachella Valley Independent, and other performers include Templeton, from Los Angeles; Cream DJs, a collective out of Los Angeles; and local favorite (and Independent resident DJ) All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington.

If you fire up Sheridan’s Soundcloud, you’ll hear dance music presented in a very unique way. During a recent phone interview, Sheridan discussed Gossip Culture’s beginnings in Cleveland (which is also my hometown).

“In Cleveland, I had my original first band,” Sheridan said. “It was a trio, and it was called Gossip Culture. I played the venues there called Happy Dog, the Grog Shop and the Beachland Tavern for about two years before I moved to Los Angeles.”

While Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a vibrant music history, the city’s local-music scene has been in a bit of a rut, with some of Cleveland’s legendary music venues closing up shop.

“The rock hall is there, and there are a lot of good people there,” Sheridan said. “The Black Keys from Akron, and Kid Cudi—it’s funny, because all of these people come from Cleveland, and it seems like they don’t represent it when they get out of there.”

Sheridan said he left Cleveland for Los Angeles because of opportunity and exposure.

“Gossip Culture is very Internet-based,” Sheridan said. “When I first came here, Binary Records and a lot of bookers in downtown Los Angeles were saying, ‘We’d like to book you and help you get set up.’ So that was my main motivation for coming out here. Gossip Culture as a band slowed down, but once I was out here, I met my producers.”

When he began to start recording material, he had a lot of help in high places.

“A lot of the people who helped me make my music are people from Mayer Hawthorne’s band,” Sheridan said. “We kind of just put all of our brains together, and we had hip-hop, soul and a lot of other things. Topher Mohr co-produced it; I just hit him up online and was like, ‘Hey, I’m in L.A., and I have my demos, and they need a good mix,’ and he directed me to a studio in Culver City, and it went from there.”

The material that Sheridan puts together as Gossip Culture gives him the opportunity to work with many Los Angeles artists. For example, his track “Waiting” features Quincy McCrary, a Los Angeles songwriter and vocalist.

“I feel lucky with the way I got hooked up, but it also happened really fast, because everything was here,” Sheridan said. “In Cleveland, there are a lot of really cool people, but it’s hard to make a record there.”

Sheridan said attendees of Catching Shade will be treated to some brand-new music.

“The DJ set is going to be some new remixes, and there’s a new ‘Waiting’ remix from a guy named OneFive, and he’s actually from Orange County. I’m also going to play a lot of throwback stuff. I feel like a lot of DJs try to pump you up, and I’m trying to slow things down a bit. It’s still going to be tropical, but we’re going to keep the BPMs under 120.”

Catching Shade starts at 9 p.m., Friday, April 18, at Birba, 622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is $8; 21 and older. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Desert Daze, which started at the Dillon Roadhouse as a lengthy alternative-to-Coachella event in 2012, will return to the Sunset Ranch Oasis for the second consecutive year, this time during Stagecoach, on Saturday, April 26.

Desert Daze combines local, regional, national and world music acts during a day of music. Local bands War Drum and Slipping Into Darkness have played at the festival; last year, the lineup included the Saharan folk band Tinariwen (who, by the way, will be at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Sunday, April 20). This year, the Desert Daze lineup will feature Blonde Redhead, The Raveonettes and actor/musician Vincent Gallo.

The mastermind behind the festival is Phil Pirrone, the founder of Moon Block Party, a festival and concert producer. During a recent phone interview from Pomona, Pirrone recalled the inaugural festival at the multiday Dillon Roadhouse in 2012, and discussed what made him decide to turn it into a one-day event in Mecca.

“We wanted there to be camping. We wanted there to be a wide-open space for it to take place in, and so when it came time to do it again last year … we decided to move it to the Sunset Ranch,” Pirrone said. “But the concept behind it was to just throw an event that would be more for the kind of music that we would like to see than some of the other options out there.”

Pirrone is passionate about the festival being a platform and an opportunity for local and regional acts.

“It’s the strong thread of our overall ethos of creating a new avenue for artist development,” Pirrone said. “It’s not like being a record label; it’s not like being a management company, or anything like that. It’s all about having community artists make their own festival for big artists that they’re friends with and that they also believe in, not only to showcase the band’s music, but also give the band members an employment opportunity. So there’s a huge local element to the festival.”

Pirrone said that the festival has a staff of more than 100 people—half of them are working musicians. He said that he and his staff members taught themselves how to be masters of promotion, booking and logistics when it comes to music festivals. The efforts have paid off.

“We really love the idea of getting some of our favorite bands from around the world that we would (normally) only dream of seeing, let alone producing a show that they would play,” Pirrone said.

How did Pirrone and co. manage to book the enigmatic Vincent Gallo?

“We invited him, and he said yes,” Pirrone said. “I knew that he and I had similar tastes in music, so I thought it was worth a shot. I shot him an e-mail; he wrote me back in a very short response. He was very old-school about it and told me to give him a call. That’s pretty cool in this day and age when everything is done through e-mail, and it was very nice to talk to someone over the phone for a change.”

As for what attendees can expect from Desert Daze this year, Pirrone said the logistics will be much improved, after listening to attendee feedback regarding last year’s festival.

“The campgrounds is just new and improved in every way imaginable,” Pirrone said. “The entire general camping population will be moved to a new area of the ranch where there’s a dry lake that’s huge. It’s soft, dry, and it’s not a dust bowl. There’s easier check-in, easier parking, easier load-in—it’s really ideal. Last year was our first year at the ranch, so there was some trial-and-error stuff going on where we were really learning the layout of the land. We’ve really improved the way everything is laid out this year.”

Art will also be a big part of the festival this year.

“There are going to be a lot of cool and interesting installations from local artists,” Pirrone said. “There’s all sorts of stuff planned in addition to the music. There are going to be a lot of well-known artists collaborating with some of our headliners this year, which is pretty exciting. It’s new ground for us.”

Pirrone said that while he appreciates Coachella, he and his crew are focused on the smaller scale of Desert Daze.

“We want to improve the quality of the festival,” Pirrone said. “We want to maintain the same feeling at the festival, and we also want to maintain the fact that it’s an affordable option. We want to increase the quality without increasing the price too much. We like what’s happening here with the small one-day, one-night, really concentrated thing, and we want to maintain it.”

Desert Daze 2014 starts at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 26, at Sunset Ranch, 69520 Lincoln St., in Mecca. General admission tickets are $45; camping options are also available. For tickets or more information, visit www.desertdaze.org.

While most of the music world is focused on happenings in the east valley over the next two weekends, the Hard Rock Palm Springs is making sure the west valley is getting in on the action—with a series of eight pool parties featuring world renowned DJs.

On Friday, April 11, the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, in partnership with LED Day Club, hosted A-Trak in the second of eight parties during the Coachella weekends. A-Trak is known for collaborating with Armand Van Helden (under the name Duck Sauce) on the track “Barbara Streisand,” and was once the touring DJ for Kanye West.

A-Trak—in a black T-shirt, twin shades and a backwards cap—took the elevated DJ stage in front of the pool around 11:45 a.m.. He started off with a remix of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me,” mouthing along to the chorus of “Hey, must be the money!” In between main tracks, he would play deep house as well as nu-disco and hip hop. One transition featured a house cut with beatboxing samples from the ’80s hip-hop group the Fat Boys.

With Friday marking first day of Coachella, the pool-party crowd was not large, but attendance started to increase a bit around 1 p.m. People lounged or hung out in the pool, with the black-and-white LED-logo beach balls bouncing around here and there. Some hotel guests watched from the balconies of their hotel rooms.

One of the more interesting remixes featured Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” This was not the traditional ’90s version of the song; A-Trak's version featured a more modern dance sound. This track would no doubt get an entire dance club grooving.

A-Trak’s talents as a DJ really showed when he took the Temptations’ 1969 track “Cloud Nine” and turned it into a song that sounded just like a modern dance hit; you would never think the song was from 1969.

Other tracks from A-Trak’s set included Snbrn’s “I Remember,” Vanilla Ace’s “Musicology,” Luminodisco’s “Ragazzini,” Musiq Soul Child’s “Just Friends” and Detroit Swindle’s “Woman.” A-Trak invited a friend to share the mixing board with him during the later part of his set; A-Trak lit up a joint which they shared, along with a glass of champagne.

The Hard Rock’s LED Day Club parties offer a great opportunity for locals to enjoy world-renowned DJs—some of which, like Skrillex, are also playing at Coachella—in a more intimate setting. Oh, and the Hard Rock folks definitely know how to throw a pool party, too.

For tickets or more information, visit leddayclub.com.

When it comes to pre-Coachella shows, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace almost always has some of the best—and such was the case on Thursday, April 10, when the Afghan Whigs put on a fantastic outdoor show.

Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle (right) took the stage as the sun began to set. During a set of mostly Distillers songs, Dalle opened with “Die on a Rope.” Dalle explained that earlier in the day, she had been in some sort of accident with a Joshua tree, and that her left leg was a little numb—but she never showed any signs that it hindered her. When Dalle and the band (which includes Distillers and Spinerette guitarist Tony Bevilacqua) played “Sick of It All” and “I Am Revenant” toward the middle of the set, she was on fire, belting out the lyrics and playing her guitar masterfully. It’s been said that Dalle’s voice is not that attractive; however, she is a punk-rock frontwoman, after all, and her voice suits the themes of her songs quite well.

Toward the end of her set, Dalle pointed out two young kids standing in front of the stage and asked how old they were; when the boys said they were 13, she cheered them on. One of the boys screamed out that it was his birthday; Dalle then wished him a happy birthday.

One of the last songs in her set was a cover of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments,” before she closed out with “Underworld.”

The Afghan Whigs broke up in 2001, with a temporary reunion in 2006 before reuniting again in 2012—but the band played like they’d never left. After an instrumental intro, the band blasted into a song that will be on their upcoming album, Do the Beast, called “Parked Outside.” Their second song, “Matamoros,” is also on the upcoming album, and the songs prove that Greg Dulli and the rest of the guys still have their songwriting abilities. Do the Beast marks the band’s return to Sub Pop Records, and is one of the most anticipated albums of 2014.

A special moment occurred when the Whigs played “When We Two Parted”: Some members of the audience noticed during the mellow instrumental that the moon in the Pioneertown sky had an aura around it. People immediately took out their phones and started photographing the remarkable sight; the band seemed a little lost as to what was going on before Dulli began to sing.

Before playing two more new tracks—“Royal Cream” and “I Am Fire”—Dulli announced that the new album was recorded “right down the road” at Rancho de la Luna, and dedicated both songs to Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching, the owner of the Rancho de la Luna, who was in the audience.

The band returned to the stage for the encore with a cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar, and immediately followed with “Somethin’ Hot,” which was played with such intensity that everyone was moving along to the music, including Pappy’s security man, Big Dave Johnson, who was caught headbanging to the song.

Before the Afghan Whigs left, the band said they had been virgins to playing at Pappy and Harriet’s, and thanked the crowd for “popping their cherry” and “going easy on our hymen.” They then closed with a great performance of “Faded.” Throughout the entire show, the vocals were flawless, and the guitar solos were extraordinary.

After the Afghan Whigs were finished around 10:30 p.m., it was time for Pappy’s second show, this one indoors, featuring GOAT. Many people were curious about the mysterious band which claims to be from a village in Sweden that was pillaged by Christians who accused the villagers of practicing witchcraft. The members perform in costumes and masks, concealing their identity.

Before GOAT took the stage, Holy Wave, a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, performed a short but impressive set consisting of a sound as if someone took the Doors and combined them with Moby Grape. The band members of the band, with the exception of the drummer, rotated instruments, moving between keyboard, bass and guitar.

Cell phones came out the minute that GOAT, minus the two female vocalists, walked in from the patio behind Pappy’s onto the stage and began to tune their instruments. After what seemed like a 10-minute-long tuning session, the band began to play rather suddenly. The two female vocalists seemingly came out of nowhere, dancing and chanting vocals over the psychedelic-rock-meets-Afrobeat sound. They then performed an incredible live set that included their jams “Goatman,” “Let It Bleed” and “Run to Your Mama.”

Pappy and Harriet’s owners Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz deserve applause for assembling the best Coachella celebrations, and things are only getting better: The Pixies are playing at Pappy’s next Thursday night.

Below: The Afghan Whigs. Photo by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net.

Tachevah, a Palm Springs Block Party, offers a great concept: It allows up-and-coming local acts to take the stage with nationally recognized bands—in the midst of all the Coachella-related music insanity.

In the second year of Tachevah, Fitz and the Tantrums and Classixx will be joined by three local acts who won their slots via a public poll, followed by showcases at the Hard Rock Palm Springs: CIVX, from Cathedral City; One11, from Coachella; and the Yip Yops, from Palm Desert.

Only 10 bands were selected to play at the Hard Rock showcases, where they performed for the likes of country singer Shelby Lynne, The Desert Sun music editor Bruce Fessier, and representatives of Goldenvoice (which puts on the party with The Desert Sun, P.S. Resorts, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the city of Palm Springs).

During the first showcase, CIVX beat out local scene veterans Blasting Echo, along with In Viridian, Elektric Lucie and the mysterious local band Alchemy. At the second, One11 and The Yip Yops won slots, beating out one of last year’s winners, Tribesmen, along with The Mellowdie and The Morning After.

We decided to get to know these three local bands a bit.

CIVX

Cathedral City’s CIVX was born after the dissolution of local band PSSSTOLS. Former PSSSTOLS members Nick Hernandez, Salvador Guti and Joel Guerrero formed the band after recruiting guitarist Dillon Dominguez.

“When Sal and I were in PSSSTOLS, we were writing music on the side,” Hernandez said. “I would do my solo thing and record the songs by myself with drums, bass and guitar, and this was while PSSSTOLS was fading out a bit. I told Sal I wanted to do something with one of the tracks that I did, and Sal played on that track. From there, PSSSTOLS just kind of broke up, and we planned to do something else. So Dillon, the other guitar-player we have, he was in another band that I played in, and he decided to come with us, too. After that, we got Joel to come along, too.”

In January, CIVX played its first show under the name of Past Decades, along with Parosella and Tribesmen.

“We didn’t let anyone know that we had formed another band,” Hernandez said. “We had just gotten Joel in the band, and we only had about four original songs, and one of them, I didn’t even write the vocals for yet, so I just hummed out the melody for that whole song. People didn’t understand it; they thought I was singing vocals, but I was just sort of humming and making up stuff as I went along.”

When the band entered their video for the Tachevah poll, the members had low expectations.

“We just wanted to enter the competition,” Hernandez said. “We were like, ‘We’ve only been a band for such a short time, and we have nothing but having just played a show.’ We had one of our fans record us about a week before the deadline. Two days before Tachevah, we went out to the desert for recording the video with our cell phones. That whole night before, we just worked on the video. We didn’t know what to expect, because we just did it for fun.”

The members were stunned when they learned they had nabbed a spot in Tachevah.

“It was one of the best things I have ever felt,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never been in a competition like that. A lot of the local bands we like have played something for Goldenvoice, and it felt so good to play at that level.”

The members of CIVX have been working on new material, and Hernandez said the band will play a new song during their performance. “We have this one new song that we’re working really hard on, and it’s already done. We’re just adding new stuff here and there, and this song is pretty much Tachevah-made. When we write music, we want people to be into the music as much as we are, and just going into it with that.”

The Yip Yops

Like CIVX, The Yip Yops are also new—in fact, they are only about six months old. During a recent interview, guitarist and lead vocalist Addison “Ison” Van Winkle talked about how Jacob Gutierrez (bass) and Ross Murakami (drums) joined him to create the band.

“I met Jacob in seventh-grade at a talent show; we actually competed against each other,” Van Winkle said. “After we performed, he came up to me and asked me if I was doing anything or if I was in a band. I didn’t really have answer, and being the douche that I am, I was blowing him off for a little bit. I met Ross about a year or so before I started the band. … It was one of the reasons why I started the band, because I saw him and his former band playing at a family friend’s house, and it was a life-changing experience seeing how cool it was interacting with other guys playing music and sharing music.”

While the members of The Yip Yops certainly didn’t expect to earn a Tachevah slot this year, it was a goal they had in mind. 

“When we first got together, our main goal was to play Tachevah,” Van Winkle said. “That’s kind of what we were getting ready for a little bit. We knew it was going to be a real big struggle, because we weren’t around as much; we didn’t have as many fans like Parosella or One11 does. Somehow, we just spread the word, and we got in. We’re kind of blessed to be in this position and have all the fans and support we have behind us.”

Playing the showcase at the Hard Rock alone was a dream come true for the band.

“Speaking for the whole band, I think that was one of the best experiences that we’ve had as a band and probably in our entire lives,” Van Winkle said. “Just the energy of the crowd, the energy of getting up on stage in front of Goldenvoice and Shelby Lynne—I think we just liked the pressure of doing that kind of thing.”

Van Winkle said his band hopes to turn in a solid performance at Tachevah.

“It’s not like any other gig because of the exposure, and a lot of people are going to be there,” Van Winkle said. “It’s going to be bigger than anything than any of us have ever thought about. I just think we’re going to do the same thing as we did for the voting: We’re just going to tell as many people, and hope for the best. We’ll see what happens.

“We don’t really have any fears. … It’s all part of the experience for us. It’s cool enough for us just to be on the lineup and playing there.”

One11

One11 may be more experienced than CIVX and The Yip Yops, but they aren’t exactly the Rolling Stones: The group has been together for just two years.

However, the band has made the most of that time, playing more than 200 shows both locally and in well-known venues around Los Angeles, such as the House of Blues, The Roxy, and The Key Club.

One11 has become a local favorite thanks in part to their combination of pop-punk and an alternative sound.

“We all have a lot of different inspirations,” said drummer Ryan Cenicola, whose bandmates are Evan Boydstun (lead guitar), Michael Ramirez (lead vocals, guitar) and Matt Sutton (bass). “Our guitarist is really into classics like Led Zeppelin; I’m into Green Day; our other guitar-player is into Arctic Monkeys, and it all just comes together into this unique sound. We all bring our own unique twist into it.”

When it came to entering Tachevah, they focused on putting together the best video entry that they could. When they found themselves in the showcase, they knew they had some intense competition.

“The competition was really, really fierce,” said Cenicola. “I saw CIVX when they played, and they were awesome; The Yip Yops are really cool, and every band that played was awesome. After we played, we felt good about ourselves, but with the competition being so fierce, we knew it could have gone either way.”

While One11 has played many shows, Cenicola said he was still blown away the amount of support they received during the showcase.

“I can’t believe how many people came out to see us,” Cenicola said. “It was awesome how many people came out to support us. All of us were overwhelmed with the love we were given. It was a really unique show, because it was intimate, and I just wanted to play my heart out so I could earn this spot at Tachevah.”

Cenicola said that Tachevah represents the big time to the band.

“This show is obviously going to be of a higher caliber, because a lot of people are going to be there, and it’s on such a huge stage,” Cenicola said. “Because it’s on a huge stage, we need to make it a huge show. We’re going to tweak our show and make it as big as possible, as great as possible, and bring as much energy as we can.”

The Tachevah Block Party takes place on Wednesday, April 16, at the Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. Doors open at 5 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Tachevah. Below: One11.

Some of the biggest names in electronic dance music are coming to the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs during Coachella.

The hotel, in conjunction with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, is hosting a series of pool parties during both Coachella weekends. The big names include Skrillex, Tiesto and David Guetta.

The Hard Rock Hotel recently celebrated its official grand opening, and this will be its first Coachella season. Vice president and general manager Hector Moreno said these LED Day Club parties are only the beginning of the great stuff to come.

“We have a great partnership with Goldenvoice and LED,” said Moreno via email. “I believe this will be the first of many epic events at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs.”

Their events surrounding Coachella are already generating a lot of buzz.

“The response has been overwhelming (from) music-lovers all over the world who know our lineup. Our locals have shown amazing support to us, and we look forward to an amazing month.”

The doors open at 11 a.m. for each party.

On Thursday, April 10, Dirty South will play. The DJ from Australia is one of the world’s top DJs and should kick off this series of pool parties in style. Tickets are $40.

On Friday, April 11, A-Trak will be bringing his hip-hop style grooves. The Canadian turntablist has worked with Travis Barker, and he was the tour DJ for Kanye West in 2004. While he’s more known for his hip-hop collaborations, he has also done some nu-disco. Tickets are $40.

On Saturday, April 12, Disclosure will be returning with a DJ set after playing Coachella last year. The English duo has been on fire ever since releasing its debut album, Settle, last year. They two were also nominated for a Grammy. Tickets are $100.

On Sunday, April 13, David Guetta will be bringing his nightclub style of DJ’ing to the Hard Rock. He has turned in hit collaborations with people such as Sia, Nicki Manaj, Snoop Dogg and many others. If you have the time and/or funds to attend just one LED Day Club party, this is it, in our humble opinion. Tickets are $100.

Brace yourself on Thursday, April 17: Skrillex will be bringing his infamous hardcore dub-step sound to the Hard Rock. What will the neighbors think? Tickets are $60.

On Friday, April 18, Dutch DJ and Tiësto protégé Martin Garrix will be performing. His electro-house style should provide a nice vibe for the pool. If you haven’t heard his track “Animals,” be sure to check it out. Tickets are $100.

On Saturday, April 19, superstar DJ Tiësto will be performing. He’s known for his performance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as well as his spectacular live show. This should be one hell of a performance. Tickets are $125.

On Sunday, April 20, Showtek will close things out. The techno and electro-house duo will put on an insane show that should whip people into a dancing frenzy. Tickets are $40.

For tickets or more information, visit leddayclub.com.

At Stagecoach, attendees never quite know what to expect. Big Nashville stars mix with folk singers, alt-country rebels, old-time country acts and rock stars performing solo sets.

Of course, many of the most-intriguing acts won’t be gracing, as it’s called at Stagecoach, the “Mane Stage.” Here are some bands and musicians we think attendees should consider checking out.

Friday, April 25

The Howlin’ Brothers: If you like old-time, traditional country, The Howlin’ Brothers have you covered. Their old-time sound is quite an experience, as demonstrated on their debut album, Howl; check out songs “Hermitage Hotstep” and “Tennessee Blues.” They’ll definitely offer an enjoyable experience.

The Wailin’ Jennys: The all-female trio from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is known for beautiful harmonies that leave listeners wanting more. Listen to their tracks “Swing Low Sail High” and “The Parting Glass,” and you’ll definitely want to add this group to your list of acts to see. Does the name sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve heard one of their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion.

Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers: Sagal—best known as the actress who played Peg on Married With Children, and who now plays Gemma on Sons of Anarchy—is back at Stagecoach with the Forest Rangers for the second year in a row. I mentioned them in last year’s list of Stagecoach acts not to miss, and I was not disappointed. When the Forest Rangers took the stage last year, they played a few songs without Sagal—leaving those in the crowd wondering if she would even appear. However, appear, she did—and it was unbelievable how beautifully she sang Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire.” When Curtis Stigers showed up to sing “John the Revelator,” it was equally spectacular. Hopefully, the group will have a longer set than they did last year.

Eric Paslay: Eric Paslay is an up-and-coming star with a big Nashville sound. The native Texan has had a lot of success in the last couple of years. After performing on Amy Grant’s How Mercy Looks From Here—with Grant and Sheryl Crow on the track “Deep as It Is Wide”—he released his self-titled debut album in February, and it shot to No. 4 on the Billboard country chart. Country fans love his track “Friday Night.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lynyrd Skynyrd? At Stagecoach?! Why not? The renowned Southern-rock band was one of the biggest bands of ’70s, sharing stages with the Rolling Stones and The Who. However, tragedy struck in 1977, when the band’s plane crashed, killing original frontman Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, as well as several others. The surviving members, all of whom were injured, decided to dissolve the group afterward. In the late ’80s, the band resurfaced, with Van Zant’s brother Johnny taking the lead. Since then, the band has lost original members Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Billy Powell after each of them passed away. The band is best known for rocking out tunes such as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimmie Three Steps,” “Simple Man” and, of course, “Freebird,” but in recent years, the band has alienated many fans by recording anti-left songs and performing with the likes of Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. Still, their classics are worth sitting through the new material; just flick your Bic and scream “FREEBIRD!!!” when you find yourself annoyed.

Saturday, April 26

Whiskey Shivers: Whiskey Shivers is a bluegrass style band from Austin, Texas, with all of the traditional instruments represented—yes, even the washboard. Some of their bluegrass tunes are funny; others have punk-rock-style lyrics; yet others may leave you wanting to square dance (or whatever it is you do to bluegrass music). In any case, they’re an entertaining addition to the Stagecoach lineup.

Seldom Scene: On the other hand, if you like your bluegrass more on the sentimental side, the Seldom Scene is worth checking out. Since forming in 1971, the band has paid its dues—although the members received some criticism for adding an electric bass at one point. Ben Eldridge is apparently the only original member of the band left, but the band’s credentials are nonetheless impressive: The Seldom Scene was invited to a White House dinner in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy Award not too long ago.

Trampled by Turtles: If you’re a fan of Old Crow Medicine Show, you’ll love Trampled by Turtles (right). This alt-country/bluegrass band from Duluth, Minn., played Coachella in 2012; they played Stagecoach once before, too, in 2010. While they haven’t achieved the popularity that some other alt-country bands have, take it from me: They are still one of the best live acts in America.

Don McLean: While many people think “American Pie” is about the death of American values, it’s really about the day the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly’s plane crashed in Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 1959. Don McLean, a folk icon of the late ’60s/early ’70s, has written other great tunes, but is unfortunately most remembered for “American Pie.” If you get tired of country and bluegrass, McLean’s act should offer a nice retreat.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed in the 1960s group and developed a great combination of rock and country music—and they’re not from Texas or Tennessee, but Long Beach! They started as a traditional country band, playing the acoustic instruments you’d hear in folk music, but eventually transitioned to electric instruments. They’ve done everything from opening for Bill Cosby to jamming with Dizzy Gillespie, and they recently re-recorded their hit “Mr. Bojangles” with Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley. They’re a great live band—and three of their original members are still part of the group.

Sunday, April 27

I See Hawks in L.A.: I See Hawks in L.A. is a great alternative-country band from—you guessed it—Los Angeles that has been around since 2000. The band has a bit of that Bakersfield sound combined with cosmic country, with great songs such as “Stop Driving Like an Asshole,” “The Beauty of the Better States” and “Hallowed Ground.” While they’d sound fantastic up at Pappy’s and Harriet’s, they’re sure to sound fantastic at Stagecoach, too.

Shovels and Rope: I had never heard of this group until I saw them on the Stagecoach lineup; the name alone made me want to learn more. The info I gathered on this band is that they’re a folk duo—and they rock. There are some gospel influences in there with some old-time folk, but there are also electric guitars and some old-time percussion instruments in the background. This is one performance I’m personally looking forward to.

Michael Nesmith: The Monkees frontman seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth for a while after a 1990s Monkees reunion. While Nesmith is primarily known for the Monkees, he has written country music in the past, and has even released some country songs; you can find some recordings on YouTube, including some recent live performances. This was definitely one of the more surprising names to appear on the Stagecoach lineup; in any case, it should be interesting when Nesmith takes the stage.

John Prine: Not even cancer in the neck could stop this prolific folk songwriter (below). While he doesn’t sing like he once did, he’s still writing great songs about love, life and humor. He also hasn’t been afraid to write songs with social commentary. Many of today’s biggest songwriters, such as Conor Oberst and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, have been influenced by Prine; they even appeared on an album made in tribute to Prine. In late 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer again—this time, in the lungs—and underwent successful surgery. Despite the recent illness, he remains on the lineup and plans to make the show.

Rock ’n’ roll and country have always been connected—and they’re certainly connected with The Wild Feathers. The Nashville group uses influences from Led Zeppelin and Neil Young to create a strong Americana sound. They’ll be performing at Stagecoach on Friday, April 25.

All of the members were raised on rock music with Southern musical traditions, but they have embraced more of a classic country sound in their music.

During a recent phone interview, Joel King (vocals, bass) discussed The Wild Feathers’ formation. The Wild Feathers are Ricky Young (vocals, guitar), Joel King, Taylor Burns (vocals, guitar), Preston Wimberly (lead guitar/pedal-steel guitar) and Ben Dumas (drums).

“Me and Ricky knew each other in Nashville,” King said. “We got together and wrote some songs, and really started the band from that. It was kind of a natural thing, and one thing led to another. We kind of set out for it, but not really.”

While Nashville is obviously known for being at the heart of the mainstream country-music scene, it’s also a home of the early rock ’n’ roll sound.

“It’s the best place in the world,” he said. “The quality is really high there. I love Los Angeles; I love New York, given they have everything there, but Nashville is just music, pretty much. Everybody has something going on—or fucking 10 different things going on—and it’s just cool to be around that. It’s inspiring.”

When it comes to the big “Nashville sound,” King said it’s obvious that modern country music has become quite diverse.

“There are a lot of great singer-songwriters doing the classic sound of country right now,” he said. “I think a lot of classic rock could be called country music these days. I don’t know if Neil Young would be classified now under country, Americana or whatever you’d want to call it, but there’s a lot of really good stuff going on now—and a little bit of a revival going on right now as well. We can kind of sense it.”

The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2013. King said the band took a laid-back approach.

“We did one song a day,” he said. “We did it live in the same room. Usually, people do something like: The drummer comes in for one day, and it’s drum day. ‘Prepare yourself for tomorrow, because it’s the vocal day!’ We were like, ‘Fuck that!’ You lose excitement, and you lose energy doing that. We would get in there and do everything we could live. Sometimes the vocals would be live, whatever we could get down. By the end of the day, we’d have great songs.”

The band, in a sense, has a local connection: Band members have said their sound is like “Led Zeppelin and The Band had a baby in Joshua Tree (who) grew up listening to Ryan Adams covering the Stones’ ’70s country influenced songs.”

Is there a Joshua Tree influence in The Wild Feathers’ music? King said there most certainly is.

“We’ve been out there a bunch of times,” he said. “We went up there to the Joshua Tree Inn and rented the room Gram Parsons died in. We stayed in that room on his birthday, and we had to get as drunk as could be to make it through the night, because we were scared.” 

Stagecoach lineups have been known to stretch the definition of country music a bit—and that explains JD McPherson’s inclusion in the 2014 lineup.

JD McPherson—who will perform on Friday, April 25—plays music that is a throwback to ’50s rock ’n’ roll. Yes, his music includes some classic country elements, too, but McPherson is best known for belting out high-energy vocals with that ’50s bass and guitar sound in the background. Since he released his debut album, Signs and Signifiers, in 2012, he’s been on fire and was named an “artist to watch” by Rolling Stone.

McPherson, a native of Oklahoma who currently lives in the city of Broken Arrow, talked about his upbringing in Talihina, Okla., during a recent phone interview.

“My upbringing in Oklahoma was very rural,” McPherson said. “I grew up on a 160-acre ranch in southeast Oklahoma, and I had a lot of time on my hands. The ‘mall’ for me was kind of a monthly trip with my parents to Portsmouth, Ark. That’s when I would pick up music and music magazines.

“The (local) music scene was the one me and my two friends made for ourselves,” he said with a laugh.

He went on to earn a master’s degree in arts at the University of Tulsa, and became an art and technology teacher. However, he didn’t feel like teaching was really his calling.

“I always poured more energy into music than I really had business doing as far as a ratio to responsibility,” he said. “Music was something I was perfectly happy doing in my spare time, and I was fortunate enough to go on to be doing it for a living. It was absolutely the best thing that could have happened to me.”

McPherson’s musical influences are undeniably diverse. Buddy Holly is one; another is Little Richard. I asked what drew him to the music of Little Richard.

“One of my favorite (songs) of all time is ‘Keep-A-Knockin’,’ and it’s just the most awesome, swinging, full-abandon record I’ve ever heard,” he said. “I can’t believe that got played on the radio. It’s just really, really psycho. That record sums up everything for me. It obviously influenced a lot of folks; Led Zeppelin copied the drum intro for ‘Rock and Roll.’ A lot of the garage bands are trying to touch that sound. It just sounds like fun and danger at the same time.”

Another influence: hip-hop from the ’90s, such as the music of Wu-Tang Clan.

“It’s the sound and textures,” he said. “Especially in the ’90s, a ton of really exciting sound textures were happening. I don’t know if it was the sampling technology they had at the time, but everything sounded like it was coming from a TV, and there was some really cool production stuff happening back then. I think a lot of the Ice-T records were really cool, and the Dr. Dre records obviously sound cool. They were sampling all these funk records and stuff, which were already squashed and crunchy-sounding. But when they did their treatment to it, it just sounded really cool.”

He said the release (by Rounder Records) and eventual success of Sounds and Signifiers caught him by surprise

“I made that record as a project while I was still teaching school,” he said. “I had no idea that I wasn’t going to be teaching school any more. We just made it as something we wanted to make. Everything sort of happened at the right time—including me losing my job. That allowed for it to happen.”

The recording process was entirely independent, he said.

“It was not made for general consumption by any means,” he said. “It was the first full-length recording recorded at my bass-player Jimmy’s studio. He had been building a studio in his attic, and it was the first thing he did. We put everything into it.”

While the record’s success was a complete surprise, McPherson said he and his band did have one goal—eventually accomplished—in mind with the recording.

“There was a little scene of places we would be able to get gigs once in awhile, especially overseas,” he said. “We knew for sure we’d probably get some weird rock ’n’ roll gig at a festival in Spain. Spain has this really rabid rock ’n’ roll fanbase. We were like, ‘Hey, man, we might get a free trip to Spain out of this. Let’s put everything into it!’

“We worked really hard on (the album), but the more we worked, the less … it looked like a ’50s record. I have to brag about our sound engineer, Alex Hall, for a moment, because I don’t think there’s another modern record that completely nailed the sound of ’50s rock ’n’ roll. But it was mission accomplished, because our second gig was in Spain.”

There’s a new album in the works. McPherson and his band are working with Mark Neill, one of the producers on the Black Keys album Brothers.

“We’ve been working on it for a while now,” he said. “We’re really excited about it. Mixes are starting to roll in right now, and it’s sort of preliminary.”

As for his performance at Stagecoach, he said he’s not worried one bit about his music fitting in.

“We’ve played very, very sacred folk music festivals where we had no business wheeling a Hammond organ onto the stage, and we’ve played things like Bonnaroo,” he said. “We just kind of go and do our thing. We’ve been very fortunate to be invited to so many kinds of festivals. There’s no bigger country music fan than me, and I personally love the challenge of going into something that seems like we don’t necessarily belong. I love that.

“We will play our hearts out every time.”

The members of The Rebel Noise moved from their hometown of Paso Robles to the Palm Springs area in 2011—and only then did they have the idea to start a band.

Since that fateful decision, they have been a band on the rise—and they’ll be performing on Thursday, April 3, with War Drum and Brothers Weiss at Bar in Palm Springs.

The Rebel Noise is Leo Rodriquez (guitar, vocals), Collin Pintor (guitar), Ben Travis (bass) and Ashley Pintor (drums). The move to Palm Springs started with a job offer made to Collin Pintor.

“My company has two offices, and one of them is down here,” Collin Pintor said. “We vacationed here all the time when we were kids, so it just kind of made sense to make a move. It was a good time for me. The rest of the band followed about a year after.”

But they weren’t yet a band at the time. In fact, the only one who had played in a band was Ashley Pintor, who had been in an all-girl band in the Paso Robles area.

“We played a couple of shows,” Ashley Pintor said about her old group. “One of them was this saloon, and we actually opened up for the Kottonmouth Kings, which was super-weird, because our music style did not mesh at all. But that was it, and it lasted for about half a year.”

Another surprising fact about The Rebel Noise: Leo Rodriquez has only been playing the guitar for about two years.

“When we were all living up north, I didn’t know how to play guitar,” Rodriquez said. “I had just picked up my acoustic guitar and was learning major chords, and that was about it. I didn’t even sing or anything. (Collin and Ashley) used to jam all the time, and I’d just sit there in their band room and listen to them play. I couldn’t jam, because I didn’t know how to play anything. I stole my little sister’s acoustic guitar, and Collin showed me my first chords—and I would just play the shit out of it.”

Rodriquez moved to the area and had two weeks off between jobs; he used that time to learn how to sing and play guitar. He said he even wrote his first “terrible song.”

“We were blown away,” Collin Pintor said about Rodriquez’s musical talent. “We could see the potential. That was always one thing we were missing—a singer. We came out and we’re like, ‘What in the hell? You’ve never sang before? Ever?’”

Rodriquez said the band’s sound has been developing ever since.

“Every recording that we do, every new song that we write, it gets tighter and tighter, and it sounds better and better,” he said.

All the hard work by Rodriquez and his band mates has paid off, leading to some great songs and a unique sound that offers a mix of blues and hard rock. One of the band’s songs, “Possessed,” starts off with Rodriquez singing gently—and then shifts to full-on insanity, with a blast of heavy guitar and Rodriquez screaming. (Scroll down to see a video.)

“We actually just wrote that one,” Rodriquez said. “It was kind of on a whim. (Collin) had a lick, and we were just like, ‘We could write this song right now.’ We wrote that song in one practice.”

Rodriquez said the band members try to emphasize a diversity of sounds in their songs.

“It’s important for us to use dynamics in our songs,” Rodriquez said. “You can’t just rock out the whole time. It kind of becomes numb at that point. We like to bring it way up and bring it back all the way down to the floor again. We always do that.”

When they look back on their first live show—at the Dillon Roadhouse, two years ago—they cringe.

“We probably practiced for about two months before we played that show,” said Collin Pintor.

Rodriquez remembers that Michael Durazo from Slipping Into Darkness helped them land the gig. And how’d it go?

“We sucked really bad,” Rodriquez said. “I remember being so nervous before that show that I was shaking onstage, but it was fun, and it was a good first-show experience. I even have one video of one of our songs, and I watch it just to see how far we’ve come. Every time I watch it, I can only watch about half of it before I have to shut it off.”

In the two-plus years of The Rebel Noise’s existence, the band has earned love from many local bands.

“People are into the music scene here, which is nice,” said Collin Pintor. “The other bands here are really cool. We’ve met some of the bands where it feels like it’s very competitive, and they’re standoffish. But usually when we play down here, we hear, ‘Hey, that was a really good show; looking forward to your next one.’”

They also have the support of their neighbors around their home in Palm Springs. In fact, a neighbors’ daughter might end up on the cover of their debut album, which they hope to have ready during the summer.

“She’s actually listening to our song through a pair of headphones,” said Ashley Pintor. “She busted up her chin and has a Band-Aid on her chin looking all hardcore. It’s seriously awesome.”