About The Band
As the L.A. Weekly aptly put it, “This West Coast group deftly dashes across decades of American music to create a sound that’s steeped in tradition but never bogged down by traditionalism.”
An eclectic aggregation composed of singer/multiinstrumentalists Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Jerry Fletcher – the band can sing and play anything with spot-on feel, from roots to rock, blues to bluegrass, gospel to stone country, which is what they’ve been doing – to the ongoing delight of a fervent cult that includes many of their fellow musicians – throughout their first quarter century as a working unit. Their trademark multi-part harmonies never cease to captivate, whether on record or in live performance.
The band recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with the scintillating tour de force, Jubilee. The album, produced by the late and legendary Nashville cat Cowboy Jack Clement and recorded at the city’s venerable Sound Emporium,
which Clement built, features guest performances from artists Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart and Larry Campbell.
Campbell, a master musician of all things stringed, three-time Grammy winning producer, and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, was so impressed with the band during his session work on Jubilee, that he signed on to produce its follow-up album. That effort, much of which was recorded at the venerable Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY, turned out to be a perfect match of artist and producer and will hit the streets later this year.
Also on board for 2015, Marley’s Ghost is launching Praying for Rain: Songs & Stories of the American Farmer, a multimedia theatrical performance piece about the men behind one of the most iconic and enduring images in our culture. Set against a backdrop of struggles –extremities of weather, changing markets, shifting political winds, and the tragic consequences of the Dust Bowl – it is at once a resonant story about persistence of vision and warning about our impact on today’s environment. Fueled by the band’s deep musical roots, narrative prowess, and passion for history, Praying for Rain promises a thoughtful and resonant evening of theater and song.
We’re extremely pleased to announce the release of The Woodstock Sessions, produced by our good pal Larry Campbell. Larry is not only a master musician and all-around great guy, but also a three-time Grammy-award winning producer and recipient of the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award. The lion’s share of the album was recorded at the venerable Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, home to more great music than we can begin to name. And working with Larry was beyond joyful. A kindred spirit who is utterly devoted to the music. Needless to say, we’re very excited about the project and encourage you to give it a listen.
Praying for Rain:
The Dust Bowl and Beyond
Through evocative songs and narration, musicians and actors forge a compelling tale from first hand accounts, various historical sources, and the sobering vantage point of hindsight. Onscreen projections augment the story with graphic images of the toll taken upon the land and those wed to it.
In the late 19th Century, the land beyond the Mississippi, the Great Basin, witnessed a dramatic change that would profoundly affect its future. Large tracts of land were sold off, plows broke the buffalo grass, and wheat farmers made a killing. Less than 30 years later, poor farming practices and a cataclysmic drought created The Dust Bowl, one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th Century. Three million people left their farms on the Great Plains; half a million of them migrated to other states. Many others stayed on, tied to the land, often at devastating cost and hardship.
PRAYING FOR RAIN is a multimedia performance about the coming of the plow, the tragic results of the Dust Bowl, and its echoes as a warning about our own impact on today’s environment. Through evocative songs and narration, musicians and actors forge a compelling tale from first hand accounts, various historical sources, and the sobering vantage point of hindsight. Onscreen projections augment the story with graphic images of the toll taken upon the land and those wed to it.
Original tunes, folk songs of the early settlers, the Dust Bowl ballads of Woody Guthrie, the diaries and personal narratives all combine to evoke the courage, humor, and enduring spirit of the people who lived through what’s been called “the worst hard time.” Often blinding in their intensity, the great dust storms known as the “black blizzards” of the Dirty Thirties, cast a long shadow. With its pathos and parallels to our present day lack of vision, PRAYING FOR RAIN makes for a thoughtful and resonant evening of theater and song.