David Johansen

Originally influenced by Mick Jagger and by Rob Tyner of MC5, David Johansen began his career as the singer of the protopunk band the New York Dolls in the early '70s. Johansen wrote the bulk of the material for the band, along with guitarist Johnny Thunders. Although the group released two albums, New York Dolls (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974), it failed to earn much commercial success. After the dissolution of the final Dolls lineup in 1977, Johansen embarked on a solo career, performing frequently with Sylvain Sylvain. His first two solo albums, David Johansen (1978) and In Style (1979), contained numerous standout tracks, and a number of cuts eventually associated with the Dolls, including "Frenchette" and "Funky But Chic," actually first appeared on Johansen's solo albums. In the late '80s, belated commercial success came Johansen's way under the pseudonym Buster Poindexter, appearing as part of the house band on Saturday Night Live. As Poindexter, he scored his first hit song "Hot Hot Hot" which, in an interview on National Public Radio's Fresh Air, he called "the bane of my life," owing to its pervasive popularity. Johansen would issue a number of albums under the Poindexter alias, spanning a wide gamut of stylistic diversity, from the jazz-tinged Buster's Happy Hour (1994) to the R&B fusion record Buster's Spanish Rocket Ship (1997). After the success of Poindexter, in the late '90s Johansen turned his attention in yet another direction, this time to country blues with the release of David Johansen and the Harry Smiths (2000). After releasing a second album in a similar vein (2002's Shaker), he reunited with the living New York Dolls members in 2005, releasing a reunion album, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, in 2006. 2009's Cause I Sez So saw the band reunite with Todd Rungren, the producer of the Dolls' 1973 debut. The band's latest release, Dancing Backward in High Heels (2011), returns to the power-pop sound of the '60s in a sort of retrospective on Johansen's entire career. In addition to his work with the new edition of the Dolls, he continues to host David Johansen's Mansion of Fun, a weekly radio show on Sirius.

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The Last Bison

e Last Bison’s mountain-top chamber music combines elements of alternative indiefolk with classical sensibilities. Incorporating traditional folk instruments with a reed organ, percussion and classical strings, The Last Bison creates a unique hybrid sound that defies pigeonholing the band. Ben Hardesty’s (vocals and guitar) songwriting bears sonic resemblance to groups such as Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and The Decemberists. The music of this seven-member band grew organically in the family living room and around backyard bonfires giving it a rootsy quality and yet the complex arrangements and refined strings seem just as appropriate in a symphony hall.

Folkhive stated, “Dare I say that The Last Bison is to folk what Arcade Fire is to indie rock? Boasting 7 members and a sound seemingly born on the tree covered mountain tops of Virginia The Last Bison lays down expansive and yet imminently listenable folk with an original feel I’ve not experienced in quite some time”. The band was featured on Noisetrade in May 2012 and since that time has had over 21,000 downloads of their independent album Quill. Noisetrade stated ““The Last Bison’s songs ebb and flow with powerful rhythmic surges, lush instrumental passages, rich vocal harmonies and deceivingly complex arrangements. While this is never exactly an easy thing to do, it’s even harder to accomplish when you’ve got a stage full of folks rivaling Arcade Fire or The Polyphonic Spree.” The blog “Independent Clauses” stated, “The Last Bison’s debut album Quill uses the seriousness of Fleet Foxes’ grounded sound as a framework, layering strings, bells and more on top. “Iscariot” and “The Woodcutter’s Son” have a darkly pastoral bent that recalls pre-The King is Dead Decemberists.”

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Los Texmaniacs

Combine a hefty helping of Tex Mex conjunto, simmer with several parts Texas rock, add a daring dash of well-cured blues, and R&B riffs, and you've cooked up the tasty TexManiacs groove. Not to say that this group's sound is for musical gourmets only… it is, "hip music everyone can relate to" .

Los Texmaniacs — feed the masses, with only the best in musical fare. Founded by Max Baca (bajo sexto, vocals), the TexManiacs are a product of his wide-ranging experience touring and recording with everyone from his father's family conjunto, Flaco Jimenenz, the original Texas Tornados, Los Super Seven and even the Rolling Stones. Max is a legend on the bajo sexto, a twelve string guitar-like instrument, which customarily provides rhythm accompaniment for the button accordion, thus creating the core of the conjunto sound. On the bajo, Max does all that and way more, using the instrument to push the TexManiacs sound to another level of vibrancy altogether. He has displayed a musical virtuosity and blistering guitar riff solo style, that is now being emulated by young bajo players internationally. Max is being credited as turning a traditional folk / roots/conjunto instrument hip again, attracting young, new audiences while maintaining his roots in traditional conjunto. His many sojourns as a life long musician have resulted in an impressive international touring schedule, including four tours to Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Kosovo to entertain our troops. Max has appeared on national television programs such as Conan O' Brien, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Austin City Limits. Max has also bee featured in several PBS documentarys such as: Songs of the Homeland, American Roots Music, and Latin Music USA. Max has also participated on ten Grammy winning projects including the double-platinum CD for the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge (Virgin 96). Max' most recent Grammy was earned with his band, Los TexManiacs Jan 30th 2010 for Borders Y Bailes (Smithsonian Folkways) 2009.

Like a great salsa., the Texmaniacs mix the simplest yet finest ingredients of Texas music to create a sound solidly rooted in tradition, exploding with contemporary vitality. Texmanics versatiility has led them to performances such as The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Internatinoal Accordion Festival, Kennedy Center , Governor of Texas Ball and many major festivals oversees in countries such as Germany, Holland, and Spain.

Los Texmaniacs have been awarded proclamations as ambassadors of good will from several goverment entities such as : Cities of San Antonio Texas, Austin Texas , Los Angeles California , and Alberquerqe New Mexico.

Their first CD, A Tex Mex Groove,(2004) contains a wide sampling of musical focus that is characteristic of the group. It also hosts a legendary line-up of guest artists, such as Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, and Ruben Ramos, and Los Lobos, who share the TexManiac take. The second CD,"About Time"(2007) peaked at #1 on the Tex-Mex charts. Los Texmaniacs current CD is the Grammy Award winning "Borders Y Bailes" for Smithsonian Folkways (2009). Smithsonian Folkways is the record label of The Smithsonian National Museum of The United States.

This project further cemented Los Texmaniacs, rightful place in history as master musicians in their respective musical disciplines. So don't just stay for supper, make sure you stick around for dessert.

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Eliana Burki

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