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Cat's Cradle

Haw River Ballroom


  • Mar
    1 Fri
    Yo La Tengo
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Yo La Tengo

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
    Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World
     
    Time keeps moving and things keep changing, but that doesn’t mean we can't fight back. Yo La Tengo have raced time for nearly four decades and, to my ears, they just keep winning. The trio’s latest victory is called This Stupid World, a spellbinding set of reflective songs that resist the ever-ticking clock. This is music that’s not so much timeless as time-defiant. “I want to fall out of time,” Ira Kaplan sings in “Fallout.” “Reach back, unwind.”
     
    Part of how Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew escape time is by watching it pass, even accepting it when they must. “I see clearly how it ends / I see the moon rise as the sun descends,” they sing during opener “Sinatra Drive Breakdown.” In the séance-like "Until it Happens,” Kaplan plainly intones, “Prepare to die / Prepare yourself while there’s still time.” But This Stupid World is also filled with calls to reject time – bide it, ignore it, waste it. "Stay alive," he adds later in the same song. "Look away from the hands of time.”
     
    Of course, times have changed for Yo La Tengo as much as they have for everyone else. In the past, the band has often worked with outside producers and mixers. Yo La Tengo made This Stupid World all by themselves, though. And their time-tested judgment is both sturdy enough to keep things to the band’s high standards, and nimble enough to make things new. 
     
    Another new thing about This Stupid World: it’s the most live-sounding Yo La Tengo album in a while. At the base of nearly every track is the trio playing all at once, giving everything a right-now feel. Take the signature combination of hypnotic rhythm and spontaneous guitar on “Sinatra Drive Breakdown,” or the steady chug of “Tonight’s Episode,” a blinkered tunnel of forward-moving sound. There’s an immediacy to the music, as if the distance between the first pass and the final product has been made a touch more direct. 

    The songs on This Stupid World were still journeys, though. An example is the absorbing, three-dimensional “Brain Capers.” To construct this swirl, the band blends guitar chords, bass loops, drum punches, and various iterations of Hubley and Kaplan's voices into shifting layers. Simpler but just as dense is closer “Miles Away." A dubby rhythm lurks below Hubley’s vocal, which brushes across the song like paint leaving bright blurs. Throughout the album, these touches, accents, and surprises intensify each piece. It’s a rarity – a raw-sounding record that gives you plenty of headphone-worthy detail to chew on.
     
    This Stupid World gives your brain a lot to digest, too. All the battles with time drive toward some heavy conclusions. In the gripping “Aselestine,” Hubley sings about what sounds like a friend on death's door: “The clock won’t tick / I can’t predict / I can’t sell your books, though you asked me to.” In “Apology Letter,” time turns simple communication into something fraught and confusing: "The words / Derail on the way from me to you.” Not everything is so serious, though. The absurdist “Tonight’s Episode" helps McNew learn to milk cows, steal faces, and treat guacamole as a verb. And somehow Alice Cooper, Ray Davies, and Rick Moranis show up in “Brain Capers,” all telling us time isn’t finished yet.

    Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

     Public Onsale:
    12:00 AM
    Mar 1, 2024
  • Mar
    2 Sat
    Yo La Tengo
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Yo La Tengo

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
    Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World
     
    Time keeps moving and things keep changing, but that doesn’t mean we can't fight back. Yo La Tengo have raced time for nearly four decades and, to my ears, they just keep winning. The trio’s latest victory is called This Stupid World, a spellbinding set of reflective songs that resist the ever-ticking clock. This is music that’s not so much timeless as time-defiant. “I want to fall out of time,” Ira Kaplan sings in “Fallout.” “Reach back, unwind.”
     
    Part of how Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew escape time is by watching it pass, even accepting it when they must. “I see clearly how it ends / I see the moon rise as the sun descends,” they sing during opener “Sinatra Drive Breakdown.” In the séance-like "Until it Happens,” Kaplan plainly intones, “Prepare to die / Prepare yourself while there’s still time.” But This Stupid World is also filled with calls to reject time – bide it, ignore it, waste it. "Stay alive," he adds later in the same song. "Look away from the hands of time.”
     
    Of course, times have changed for Yo La Tengo as much as they have for everyone else. In the past, the band has often worked with outside producers and mixers. Yo La Tengo made This Stupid World all by themselves, though. And their time-tested judgment is both sturdy enough to keep things to the band’s high standards, and nimble enough to make things new. 
     
    Another new thing about This Stupid World: it’s the most live-sounding Yo La Tengo album in a while. At the base of nearly every track is the trio playing all at once, giving everything a right-now feel. Take the signature combination of hypnotic rhythm and spontaneous guitar on “Sinatra Drive Breakdown,” or the steady chug of “Tonight’s Episode,” a blinkered tunnel of forward-moving sound. There’s an immediacy to the music, as if the distance between the first pass and the final product has been made a touch more direct. 

    The songs on This Stupid World were still journeys, though. An example is the absorbing, three-dimensional “Brain Capers.” To construct this swirl, the band blends guitar chords, bass loops, drum punches, and various iterations of Hubley and Kaplan's voices into shifting layers. Simpler but just as dense is closer “Miles Away." A dubby rhythm lurks below Hubley’s vocal, which brushes across the song like paint leaving bright blurs. Throughout the album, these touches, accents, and surprises intensify each piece. It’s a rarity – a raw-sounding record that gives you plenty of headphone-worthy detail to chew on.
     
    This Stupid World gives your brain a lot to digest, too. All the battles with time drive toward some heavy conclusions. In the gripping “Aselestine,” Hubley sings about what sounds like a friend on death's door: “The clock won’t tick / I can’t predict / I can’t sell your books, though you asked me to.” In “Apology Letter,” time turns simple communication into something fraught and confusing: "The words / Derail on the way from me to you.” Not everything is so serious, though. The absurdist “Tonight’s Episode" helps McNew learn to milk cows, steal faces, and treat guacamole as a verb. And somehow Alice Cooper, Ray Davies, and Rick Moranis show up in “Brain Capers,” all telling us time isn’t finished yet.

    Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

     Public Onsale:
    12:00 AM
    Mar 2, 2024
  • Mar
    20 Wed
    Guster
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Guster

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION

    Look Alive is our 8th album. The bulk of it was recorded in a vintage keyboard museum in Calgary AB, during a January stretch when the temperature reached 30 degrees below zero. We ended up in Canada because our British producer, Leo Abrahams, couldn’t turn around an American work visa fast enough, and we feel lucky to have discovered Studio Bell at the last minute. Despite having access to room after room of well-maintained analog keys, Leo gravitated to a cheap Ensoniq Mirage synth from the 1980’s that made Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation-era sounds from floppy disks. Leo spent countless hours poring over these floppy disks while the band gawked at the mellotrons, harpsichords, and other vintage equipment housed at Studio Bell. It was the beginnings of a stylistic clash that would ultimately play out beautifully. Our band had always gravitated to “warm” sounds. Leo would introduce us to “cold” sounds and the way they challenge us as listeners. He was the perfect complementary piece for Guster.


    After working with the late Richard Swift four years ago and discovering a more raw and vintage sound on Evermotion, we fully embraced studio production with Leo this time around. The sheer amount of production on Look Alive grew into its own statement. There is a lot to unpack.


    One day in Calgary we arrived at the studio to discover that Leo had put in a few extra hours on our song “Summertime.” He’d built an entire new intro using the Ensoniq Mirage overnight and played it for us. The band reaction wasn’t too kind. Our beautiful song now had a jarring, harsh, disruptive introduction, instead of the soft mellotron flutes we’d known. After some days of light bickering about it, Leo finally shed his proper British diplomatic side and belted out that “the world doesn’t need another fucking Beatles pastiche!” This would eventually become a rallying cry for the album as we strove to make something new and powerful together.


    Title track “Look Alive” is an ominous, processed sonic collage with haunting words about waking up and becoming active in the midst of hollow words and fake heroes. “Hard Times,” written in the studio, came out more like the dark pop of Peter Gabriel / Depeche Mode / Tears for Fears than what people might think of Guster. “Overexcited” felt like classic Brit-pop and so Ryan sang it with a British accent over an Ensoniq marimba. Some of Guster’s critics will say “but you can’t do that” — and that’s something we’ve heard our entire career. We don’t subscribe to the same musical ideology they do and never have.


    Writing songs for the second straight record with multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds (who joined the band in 2010) has been a key to our evolution. Working with artists like Leo Abrahams, John Congleton, and Collin DuPuis proved to be inspiring and adds to a “brain trust” that bolsters the songs. With Look Alive the plan is simple. Grow our musical community. Write better and better songs. Keep our minds open. Never repeat ourselves and create a legacy of music that is undeniable.

    – Brian Rosenworcel, drummer of Guster

    Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | TikTok


     Public Onsale:
    12:00 AM
    Mar 20, 2024
  • Apr
    12 Fri
    Madison Cunningham & Juana Molina
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Madison Cunningham & Juana Molina

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
    TICKET PRICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
    ADVANCED: $27.00
    DAY OF: $30.00

    TICKET SALE DATES
    ADVANCED Public Onsale: February 2, 2024 10:00 AM to April 12, 2024 12:00 AM
    DAY OF Public Onsale: April 12, 2024 12:00 AM to April 12, 2024 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
    As its title suggests, Revealer—the new album by Madison Cunningham—is full of confessions, intimations, and hard truths the Los Angeles singer-songwriter-guitarist might rather have kept to herself. It’s a warts-and-all self-portrait of a young artist who is full of doubt and uncertainty, yet bursting with exciting ideas about music and life, who has numerous Grammy nominations but still feels like she has far to go, who turns those misgivings into songs that are confident in their idiosyncrasies. It’s also a rumination on music as a vehicle for such revelations, what’s gained and what’s lost when you put words to your innermost feelings. “There’s a sense of conflict about revealing anything about yourself—not just what to reveal, but whether you should reveal anything at all,” she says. “When you have to vouch for yourself and present a true picture of who you are, that can get confusing very quickly. This record is a product of me trying to find myself and my interests again. I felt like somewhere along the way I had lost the big picture of my own life.”

    Reassembling that picture resulted in songs full of odd turns of phrase, skewed imagery, and witty asides; Cunningham writes to figure things out, and she doesn’t settle for easy answers or pat platitudes. Instead, more often than not she pulls the rug out from under herself, playing both straight man and comic relief. “I’m not immune to a piece of bad news, I just do what I must to move on,” she sings on the percolating opener “All I’ve Ever Known.” If it sounds like a cry of determination and fortitude, Cunningham immediately undercuts herself: “Give me truth but put me under so I don’t feel a thing.”

    These are dark, funny songs for dark, not-so-funny times. “I wanted this work to reflect how I was taking in the world at that moment, and I promised myself I wouldn’t withhold the good or the bad from this self-portrait. I couldn't have planned for the startling range of emotions a pandemic would bring on — sorrow, depression, anger, anxiety, fear, apathy.  Much less writing during one. While I could take some comfort in knowing other people were experiencing those very things, I had yet to understand how many conflicting emotions a person could carry at once.” The confusion she shared with the rest of the world, however, was compounded and complicated when her grandmother died unexpectedly. Suddenly, the pain became unbearably personal. Revealer became a way for her to work through all of those overwhelming emotions. With rich strings eddying around her measured guitar strums, “Life According to Raechel” is a catalog of missed opportunities and lost time, all the visits she never made to her beloved grandmother, all the important details that make up a life. “There’s always something left unsaid,” Cunningham sings. “Were your eyes green? Were they blue? What was it that I forgot to ask you?”

    Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Soundcloud

  • Apr
    14 Sun
    Mighty Poplar
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Mighty Poplar

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
    TICKET PRICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
    ADVANCED: $30.00
    DAY OF: $33.00

    TICKET SALE DATES
    ADVANCED Public Onsale: February 16, 2024 10:00 AM to April 14, 2024 12:00 AM
    DAY OF Public Onsale: April 14, 2024 12:00 AM to April 14, 2024 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
     At its heart, bluegrass music is about what happens when you commit to the moment. The joy of improvisation keeps the music fresh, and the fun of crafting ideas on the fly keeps the musicians on their toes. This true spirit of bluegrass infuses the self-titled record from Mighty Poplar, a new all-star roots project featuring Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse, Noam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers, bassist Greg Garrison (Leftover Salmon) and fiddler Alex Hargreaves (Billy Strings) coming March 31, 2023 on Free Dirt Records. Regarded as some of the finest players of their generation, the playing is never showy and always in service of the song. Though Pikelny, Eldridge, Garrison all knew each other from their early work with Punch Brothers, impromptu backstage jams with Marlin at festivals across the country were the key that unlocked the project. A lifelong song collector, Marlin selected and sang lead on most of the songs here, bringing classics as well as deep cuts from greats like Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, John Hartford, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Norman Blake. Throughout, the songs and tunes are as immediate and emotionally impactful as the playing is tasteful. Gathered knee-to-knee in a rural studio outside Nashville, the collaborative 10-track album emerged organically over a few days. “It felt so special and effortless; it didn’t take work,” says Eldridge, “other than the work and effort we’ve put in the rest of our lives.” With their debut album, Mighty Poplar has captured the fierce and playful energy of an all-night jam between old friends who just happen to be grandmasters of the music.

    Speaking to the band, it’s clear that each player joined out of pure excitement to play music with each other. “I’m convinced Alex Hargreaves only knows how to play the perfect notes at the perfect times,” muses Eldridge. Pikelny speaks highly about Marlin’s innate musicality: “We listen to a lot of Watchhouse at our house. Supporting a singer and songwriter of Andrew’s caliber is about the most rewarding thing I get to do, so I leapt at the opportunity to collaborate when Greg first pitched the idea for this project.” Marlin talks up the other players' instrumental virtuosity. “When I think about it from a player’s perspective, I didn’t feel like I belonged in this group; I haven’t spent my life trying to improve my chops. I’ve been more of a song gatherer,” a humble Marlin admits. That last point is key here, as it focused the approach to the new album on an appreciation for the roots of bluegrass and for the songs especially. Inspired by the 1980s albums of The Bluegrass Album Band, which united some of that era’s best bluegrass players, Mighty Poplar sought to emulate the fun and spontaneity of those inspirational recordings. “My love for the sound and feel of those Bluegrass Album Band records–the energy, the undeniable chemistry, the subtle virtuosity–led me to imagine what that might look like in our collective gumbo of today’s bluegrass,” says Garrison. “We grew up on those records,” Eldridge continues. “We loved the idea of musicians banding together for a special project where you explore your common influences.” But don’t mistake Mighty Poplar for a tribute record; the band aimed to find their own arrangements and deliver fresh takes on the songs. In Eldridge’s words: “It’s an homage to where we came from, without it being a recreation of an earlier era.”

    Website | Instagram | Facebook | SpotifyTikTok

  • Apr
    21 Sun
    An Evening with Cowboy Junkies
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    An Evening with Cowboy Junkies

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION


    This is a seated show.


    Sometimes revolutions begin quietly.


    In 1988, Cowboy Junkies proved that there was an audience waiting for something quiet, beautiful and reflective. The Trinity Session was like a whisper that cut through the noise -- and it was compelling. It stood out in the midst of the flash and bombast that came to define the late 80's. The now classic recording combined folk, blues and rock in a way that had never been heard before and went on to sell more than a million copies. 


    Formed in Toronto in 1985 with siblings Michael Timmins on guitar, Margo Timmins on vocals, Peter Timmins on drums, and Michael’s lifelong friend Alan Anton on bass, the band has sparkled over the course of 26 albums. “I’ve known Alan longer than I’ve known Pete,” says Michael. “We were friends before Pete was born.”


    Unlike most long-lasting groups, Cowboy Junkies have never had a break up or taken a sanity-saving hiatus. There’s an appreciation of each other that keeps them constantly working. “It’s that intimacy and understanding of what each one of us brings to the table,” says Michael. Cowboy Junkies’ will be performing a career-spanning show, including their new album, ‘Such Ferocious Beauty’, which was released worldwide on June 2, 2023 to universal critical acclaim.






     Public Onsale:
    12:00 AM
    Apr 21, 2024
  • Apr
    25 Thu
    Teenage Fanclub
    Cat's Cradle Presents

    Teenage Fanclub

    Saxapahaw, NC
    United States
    Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
    TICKET PRICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
    ADVANCED: $25.00
    DAY OF: $30.00

    TICKET SALE DATES
    ADVANCED Public Onsale: February 23, 2024 10:00 AM to April 25, 2024 12:00 AM
    DAY OF Public Onsale: April 25, 2024 12:00 AM to April 25, 2024 8:00 PM

    PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION

    The first Teenage Fanclub single, 1990’s “Everything Flows,” was all about getting older and finding your way: Right from the beginning, the Scottish band somehow inherently understood the joy and confusion of forging a creative path. Even with that knowledge, the band’s three equally proficient and prodigious songwriters—Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, and Gerard Love—probably wouldn’t have predicted that this path would still be unfolding nearly 30 years later.


    Steadily—and, if we’re being honest, sort of slowly—Teenage Fanclub have built an incredible catalog of gleaming pop songs. It’s been a relatively straight line in pursuit of pop perfection, from the snarlier early days to the highly vaunted Bandwagonesque to the grand Songs from Northern Britain to their more measured, contemplative latest, 2016’s Here. Consistency has been a virtue, never a handicap.


    They spent a decent chunk of 2018 looking back, something they’re not inclined to do, but duty called: Five classic albums originally released between 1991 through 2000 were remastered at Abbey Road and lovingly reissued, and Teenage Fanclub took that as a challenge to relearn nearly every song from that era and plan a special series of three-night stands in the UK during which to play them.


    “We don’t spend a lot of time listening to the things we’ve done. Actually, we don’t spend any time,” says McGinley. “Sometimes you live with your own imagined version of a song in your head, and what you play is different than the records. Memories can be unreliable. It’s an interesting process to be forced to listen to the reality.”


    “As a musician you never listen to your own music—it’s masochistic!” laughs Blake. “Back at the start I wasn’t too clever on the guitar. And you can hear the change in the tone of your voice through aging. We sound like young men on the early records, full of optimism! Lots of these songs we have never, ever played live before. It’s exciting.”


    A big plus to relearning the oldies: They’d have a bigger pool of songs to choose from live, something they still cherish. A trip around the world was planned, starting with Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It turned out, though, that Love’s enthusiasm for touring far-off places had waned, while the rest of the band consider touring to be crucial fuel for creativity. That impasse led to Love’s amicable departure from the band: He’ll play the back-catalog shows in the UK in October and November, and then turn in his Fanclub membership.


    McGinley and Blake have nothing but praise for their bandmate; they’ll miss his contributions, but they’re more excited than ever to make songs together—including, sooner than later, brand-new ones. “The good part of any change is that it forces you to not be complacent about things,” says McGinley. “There’s always something exciting about any kind of change.”


    “The three of us have spread the burden of songwriting over the years, so there will be a bit more work involved creatively,” says Blake. “We don’t feel pressure to get somebody in as a songwriter to replace Gerry. We could collaborate with other people, we could write together… I’m not worrying about it too much. Whatever happens, I know that we’ll create something that we’ll be happy to put our name behind.”



Haw River Ballroom

1711 Saxapahaw-bethlehem Church Rd
Saxapahaw, NC
United States